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-   -   Interesting article on film, vid & film look (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/19615-interesting-article-film-vid-film-look.html)

Scot McPhie January 11th, 2004 04:17 AM

Interesting article on film, vid & film look
Thought this might be of interest


Dan Tolbertson January 11th, 2004 09:09 AM

Good article!

Rob Belics January 11th, 2004 11:29 AM

This article is rife with errors and nonsense.

1) They are using a report from PEI magazine where they compared the Canon 1Ds with Kodak Ectachrome 100 Plus Pro 35mm transparency film. First, they can't spell Ektachrome correctly, second, this film is not used for motion pictures.

2) The images were viewed on television and not their natural viewing environment, ie, film is lit and photographed for the theatre screen.

3) They claim film has an artistic advantage over video for "historic reasons". I would think having an artistic advantage would be due to artistic reasons. This statement alone makes me question the integrity of the writer.

4) The guy spells "losing": loosing, which tells me he is not a professional writer.

5) They talk about a CCD chip with 16Mp per square inch, but don't mention that such chips are not available yet. Also, they claim 16Mp is double the resolution of film which is not true. The better Hollywood films scan their films (for a digital IP) at 4K x 4K which is 16Mp. But this is known as the limit of current digital scanners, NOT film.

6) The Foveon has been reviewed elsewhere as not having achieved its goals.

7) While digital distribution may save theatres a billion dollars, the cost to theatres would add up to much more than that. It claims to save theatres employee costs but most theatres, including multiplexes, only have one or two projector operators to begin with.

8) They talk about the degradation of film yet claim there is no degradation of video after transfers from camera to tape and transmission system. The viewing environment (TVs) only have a color resolution of 280 horizontal lines on an NTSC screen. HDTV improves on that but video degradation still occurs.

9) They claim video is superior to film due to videos inability (!) to properly transfer film!

10) They claim video saves money when doing a lot of shooting yet the director they quote says they do more shooting with video; hence, the misnomer. Do more shooting, time costs money.

11) Then the article turns around and says film is better as you step up to HDTV! Are they talking out of both sides of their mouth?

12) They say it will cost theatres $60,000 to $70,000 to convert to digital in 2003. This is the lowest price I have ever heard and yet there are not projectors that can display at what is considered a bare minimum of 2k x 2k on a 40 foot screen.

13) They claim the latest video cameras can match the brightness range of film but they don't mention which ones. Good luck finding one.

14) They claim video can match film by using dynamic stretching circuitry but do not say what cameras.

15) Once again, they are emphasizing they can match film but ONLY in a broadcast situation!

16) Then they claim, incorrectly, that filmed television shows are done with single film cameras and that using video is better cause you can use multiple cameras. They do mention that the
lighting for video will be poorer and, once again, they will do MORE takes with video which takes time and costs MORE money!

17) God! It seems I can rip apart every single paragraph of this crappy article. It is obviously written by an amateur who has no knowledge of the business. I could continue but I'm getting tired.

Filip Kovcin January 11th, 2004 12:56 PM

big no-no!

you are absolutelly right!

this article is full of mistakes and lack of knowledge.


Anhar Miah January 11th, 2004 02:43 PM

About the film resolution film.

Film does't have resolution as such, its kinda like a circle, you can claim a circle has infinte corners but it really does'nt have any corners, .

Now say you wanted to draw a circle but you are only allowed to do so with straight lines.

Now the more lines you use the closer it will be 'precieved' to be a circle and at some point it will look a circle UNTILL you zoom in then you will need more straight lines to make it look like a circles and so one.

Another way to see is like the numbers between two whole numbers say 1 and 2, there are infinte steps one could take from 1 to 2, but it comes down to what is usefull to us, ie the signifcance of information, if for exmaple you are making a component to 0.01 mm accuracy then information on 0.00001 will not really be of any imporatnce as it will not change the overall value at which you are obersving.

Any way i dont want to start a whole new thing here, just commenting!!

Nicholi Brossia January 11th, 2004 02:47 PM


1) The article specifically said the Canon 1Ds and Kodak 35mm test pertained only to still photography. Quote: "However, when it comes to quality differences between motion pictures and video, the issue is still being debated."

2) Yes they did compare film vs. video on television. Yes film's primary destination is theater, but there is also a huge market for home viewing on the television. That was the comparison the article made.

3) The "historical" artistic advantage refers to the dedication required to advance in the film industry. The less dedicated/talented/artistic are "weeded" out in the process. With video, however, any random person can grab a camera and create whatever they want, whether they have training or not. I don't necessarily agree with this idea, but I do see its relevance.

4) Okay, so he spelled something wrong. I spell that same word wrong all the time. I am by no means a professional writer. That doesn't mean I can't research and record my findings. My writing ability doesn't in any way effect my knowledge of the subject.

5) The article didn't say any such chip was available, it said the chips had been announced. There's a very big difference there. As of the date of the article (Feb. 12, 2003) the company has talked about it and that's all.

6) Again, the article says Foveon "announced" the chip. It didn't mention anything about quality or achievement.

As far as the film megapixel debate... it all depends on who you talk to. I've heard everything from 10 megapixels for film to 25. The comparison is too subjective and will probably never be settled.

7) Another highly subjective study. Both sides of the argument are entirely based on theories, and both can be backed up with solid evidence.

8) The talk about degredation refers to the process of converting video to a television viewable format. As soon as video is recorded, it is viewable on a television. Film must go though a quality degrading process. Yes, NTSC television is only 480 lines of video resolution, most standard definition televisions only seeing 300 or so of those lines. That is substantially less than the theater. But it also degrades digital betacam's 800+ lines of resolution. The television is, in a sense, providing the control group by only allowing 300 lines of resolution (even though the test was most likely performed with higher resolution monitors).

9) This wasn't a comparison of video vs. film. It was a comparison of whether NTSC (30fps) or PAL/SECAM (25fps) was a more convenient conversion process. This section of the article didn't contain anything about film being inferior to video in any way.

10) Quote: "Our crew can shoot more material in the same amount of time"

11) It didn't say film was better. Film has a higher resolution than video. I don't think anyone will argue that at this point. HDTV is also a higher resolution than video, but still not as high as film. When film degrades, as mentioned in the article, it loses sharpness and color depth. Sharpness and resolution aren't the same thing. Until the film is actually transferred to video, it remains higher resolution than HDTV.

12) I don't own a theater. I don't even go to the theater. So I don't have any stats regarding the conversion to digital theater.

13) Quote: "brightness range capabilities end up being similar to film." The article didn't say match. There is a difference. Video has a flat gamma-curve, film's is "S" shaped. Camercorders and NLEs can emulate this with color correction.

14) Here, the article did specifically say "match." Unfortunately, I don't know much about this topic, so hopefully someone else will clear this up.

15) Again, that's the point of the article. The second paragraph states, "each is superior in a number of ways; it depends on your needs." This article referred to television viewing as the need.

16) I don't think you're going to get very far with the argument that video costs as much as film, or even anywhere near it based on more takes due to flat lighting.

When it comes down to it, this is just another incarnation of the digital vs. analog argument like Anhar was referring to. The whole cd vs. records issue was never really settled, but doesn't seem to be as big of a deal anymore. Each person has their own preference, but only realizes that preference after studying both sides unbiased and making their own judgement. This article was actually one of the more objective, and I use that term losely, that I've read. Sure, there are many many more points that can be made to support either side of the argument. Maybe someday someone will include every last point in one long informative article, but I seriously doubt it. That's why this forum exists.

Denis Murphy January 11th, 2004 06:56 PM

So someone criticised the spelling in that article and missed the word "capitol" in paragraph 2.


But don't confuse good spelling with good writing. Blame bad spelling on bad editing and proofreading.

Interesting article -- just a debate: many errors, but also many interesting points.


(By the way, "criticise" is not spelled with a "z" where I live, in case anyone was getting ready to jump in!)

Graeme Nattress January 11th, 2004 08:01 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Nicholi Brossia : Rob,

8) The talk about degredation refers to the process of converting video to a television viewable format. As soon as video is recorded, it is viewable on a television. Film must go though a quality degrading process. Yes, NTSC television is only 480 lines of video resolution, most standard definition televisions only seeing 300 or so of those lines. That is substantially less than the theater. But it also degrades digital betacam's 800+ lines of resolution. The television is, in a sense, providing the control group by only allowing 300 lines of resolution (even though the test was most likely performed with higher resolution monitors).

NTSC has 480 lines of resolution in the vertical direction - and all 480 of them are visible on your and everyone elses TV (apart from the few hidden by overscan, but the lines are there) and DigiBeta also records just 486 lines, not the 800 you incorrectly quote. What in fact, you have done is mixed horizontal and vertical resolutions, and the resolution coming from the camera.

Standard digital NTSC is 486 x 720. Old TV is analogue and they measure it's resolution as bandwidth, or as visible vertical lines to guage horizontal resolution. I don't doubt that the camera head of a decent digiBeta will show 800 lines, but only 720 pixels will get recorded in the horizontal direction - same as DV, DVCAM, D9, DVCPro, D1, etc. etc. etc.

The 480 lines you meantion are horizontal lines giving vertical resolution. VHS records all of them and plays them back, as does every other NTSC format.

However, you're lucky if VHS has a horizontal resolution, measured using vertical lines of 240, and as you say, broadcast TV may be only 300 or so.


Scot McPhie January 11th, 2004 08:48 PM

Gee looks like I opened a hornets nest here - I haven't even read the whole article yet - jsut scanning through it some things made me raise my eyebrows a bit - but it seemed so comprehensive - though that of course doesn't mean accurate - anyway i'll read through it soon :~)


Nicholi Brossia January 11th, 2004 10:11 PM

Thanks for clearing that up, Graeme. I did get the two mixed up.
My intention was just to draw a comparison between high quality digital video and film both being degraded to the same point when recorded onto tape. No matter how high resolution they are to begin with (what the head is capable of), it will always remain 480 x 720 when recorded to tape, as you said in your post. At that point, both film and video are at equal resolutions. The remaining comparison would then be sharpness and color quality, which is what the article was referring to. I did get horizontal and vertical mixed up, and should have made myself clearer, but hopefully the idea still applies.
As far as opening up a hornet's nest, that wasn't my intention and I apologize if I've done that. I thought the article was very informative and, even though it seemed to have a slight bias toward video, was very factual and opinionless. The writer, Rob Whittaker, is from www.internetcampus.com which, in my opinion, is an excellent site for learning the basics of video production. I would recommend their "television production" courses to anyone using a camcorder - whether to learn or just as a refresher course.
I respect Rob's conclusion/opinion just as much as my own, but attacking and misquoting the writer isn't going to help anyone. My hope was to clear up some of the areas that were misread and misquoted so future readers would at least give the article a chance and come to their own conclusions.
If I've written any other inaccurate information, or have over-stepped my boundaries, please point it out so I don't mislead others. Sometimes I have to trade a little pride to gain a little experience :).

Rob Belics January 11th, 2004 10:47 PM

I stand by my criticism of the article as inaccurate and amateur.

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