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post #151 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 11:06 AM
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I think it comes down to money, sadly. The love of the feel and texture if film and vinyl isn't going to keep Kokak and Fuji on business . Yes, you could argue that it's pointless to emulate the look of film digitally, but when you can do it for less than the price of film, what on earth is the point of film? More to the point, even if this ragtag band of freedom fighter do manage to stave off film's death, it'll just be temporary. The next generation of filmmakers are all being trained on digital, so even if it's still around, it won't serve and purpose . There is the very remote possibility that the next generation might take a retro interest in film, or some sort of historical one, but said scenario seems unlikely at best.
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post #152 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post
The point is everything, not just resolution, grain or contrast ratios.

Some filmmakers like "handling" physical film, much like some music fans like "handling" records. You don't get that same feel with a digital format on a screen of some device. Sure, digital is easier. So is driving an automatic transmission car, but there's something to be said for that organic, connected feel you get with non-digital solutions.

Film requires discipline. You shoot only what you need. You only print the good takes. Every edit counts. You have to check and recheck your equipment for dust and dirt. You have to handle things carefully.

Sure, you CAN use that same discipline with digital, but those that never had to be conservative or never had to deal with environmental issues while shooting may not have that same amount of discipline. That means you have the potential for overshooting. You get a lot of "frame f*cking" in the edit room (move it back a frame, move it forward 2 frames...). You get problem footage when no one thought to check for dust penetration because they've never had it happen.

One other issue is the tendency for actors to want to look at their takes on the set with digital. Instead of the director and DP deciding when they've "got it in the can", now you have a gaggle of actors wanting to see if they look just right in the middle of shooting. With some young directors, it can be really hard to say no to a big name actor they were lucky to get for the part wanting to make sure they get their closeup.

Image-wise, it's possible for digital to almost simulate the look of film, but that's not the goal. Further it's foolish. Why simulate film when you can avoid the image issues of film in a digital environment. If what you want is a "film look", then use film. Otherwise, use the vast amount of options digital gives you, including higher frame rates.
I'm sorry, but NONE of those things appeal to my logic. what it sounds like is talking to my grandmother about using the internet instead of doing research in the library. she's scared to learn the new, but easier once she does learn it, method. just because it 'works for her' doesn't mean it's better.


I can accept that some ppl will PREFER film. but I don't accept that it's better for the industry. it is more expensive. it is more difficult to use. it is more difficult to edit. it has very little room for improvement. it's been the superior quality format for a long time, and that's been the reason to put up with all those other issues. now, digital is fast approaching a point where it's as good, and it doesn't make sense to keep film around anymore.


ultimately, this is a few ppl being stubborn and wanting others to pitch in money so they can have their way. there will be no advantage to the movie-goer since the movie will be digital by the time they view it anyway. if tarantino wants to use film, fine, then he can pay for it, he can pay for the extra man-hours and cost of developing and editing it. but that won't happen, that cost will get passed on down the chain, and we'll be spending more at the ticket boxes, or when we buy the bluray, and for what?

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post #153 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 12:38 PM
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If I found a celluloid screening-or Heaven forgive, a 70mm screening, depending on the film , I'd be willing to pay significantly more to see it.
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post #154 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 01:14 PM
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...
I can accept that some ppl will PREFER film. but I don't accept that it's better for the industry. it is more expensive. it is more difficult to use. it is more difficult to edit. it has very little room for improvement. it's been the superior quality format for a long time, and that's been the reason to put up with all those other issues. now, digital is fast approaching a point where it's as good, and it doesn't make sense to keep film around anymore....
They probably spend more money on Cocaine and other perks. I don't think film stock is a significant cost on a multi-million dollar production. One might even argue that because of the cost of film the over all production cost is less because there's an incentive to get it right in the first take instead of shooting retakes.


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post #155 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 02:16 PM
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They probably spend more money on Cocaine and other perks.
haha
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I don't think film stock is a significant cost on a multi-million dollar production. One might even argue that because of the cost of film the over all production cost is less because there's an incentive to get it right in the first take instead of shooting retakes.
interesting, you may be right.


but... obviously the answer is to be more vigilant with digital then, if that's actually a problem.


for what it's worth though, I'm imagining the cost of the film stock, the cost of developing it, and the extra cost associated with using it in post-production. from what I can see, 35mm film costs about 50bux per minute. maybe not huge with a 10mil budget, but I could still see it eating up 10's of thousands in a typical movie.

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post #156 of 216 Old 08-07-2014, 07:19 PM
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But there are painters who still use traditional materials... even though time and time again the art world declared that "painting is dead". I think there will be those that are curious, provided the medium is still around, they will make use of it. Though I'm aware Polaroid closed down their ultra large format despite demand by those like Chuck Close to keep it open... but that was a very esoteric type of medium to begin with.
Maybe, but I think it amounts to the same thing. Even if Ansel Adams was still alive, he couldn't singlehandedly keep a company like that in business. It's about simple economics. Hollywood has found an infinitely cheaper way of doing things which arguably is able to maintain the same aesthetic criterion. I think it's just borrowed time at this point . Abrams, Nolan, Spielberg, Tarantino, Anderson, Scorsese, they may all be big names, but even if they keep interest in it, if it's not financially supportable, I won't be around.

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I guess it all depends on how many artistic directors like PTA or vintage friendly people like Abrams might be around with the wallet to keep film going. If the next generation has no connection to that medium then perhaps it might not matter, as those of us who enjoy film might be too old to care anyhow, but I think it has a ways to go yet.
Like I said, if it's of no interest to the next generation, it's just delaying the inevitable . Granted, if that happened after I died, I could live with it :rimshot:, but this doesn't sound like it could sustain for another generation.

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They probably spend more money on Cocaine and other perks.


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I don't think film stock is a significant cost on a multi-million dollar production. One might even argue that because of the cost of film the over all production cost is less because there's an incentive to get it right in the first take instead of shooting retakes.
Mad Men bailed on film, much to the creator's chagrin, I'm assuming shows like The Walking Dead will be going digital next season? I had heard, at least for a while, that with the breakneck schedules, shooting film or digital for a TV series was about the same. But I think the simply reality is that now that digital is largely able to meet the high standards of film's quality AND is less expensive, it's simply an inevitability . Love to be wrong, but at the rate digital is moving, pretty much every advanage film once had over it is either disappearing or will.

Even then, who from the next generation, all of whom grew up on and were taught on digital, will have an interest in film?
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post #157 of 216 Old 08-08-2014, 07:11 AM
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Maybe, but I think it amounts to the same thing. Even if Ansel Adams was still alive, he couldn't singlehandedly keep a company like that in business.
Actually, Ansel Adams is a poor example.

He only shot large plate photos because 35mm was so poor in comparison. He totally would have been all over HDR photography.

People are often mistaken about his photography and use him as an example of "pure, unaltered photography" and as the case against digital manipulation of images. In fact, it's just the opposite: he used to do a ton of editing of his photos in the darkroom. Those that know his workflow intimately agree that he would have welcomed the modern digital tools.

Walt Disney would be another one in favor of modern digital cinema. He loved modern technology and used it in whatever way made the production better. The work of Pixar would have thrilled him. The thing is, he would have insisted on better resolution in digital cinema. 2K would not have passed muster for him. Good enough would not have been good enough for him. If he were still around, perhaps we already would have end to end 4K workflow.

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Mad Men bailed on film, much to the creator's chagrin, I'm assuming shows like The Walking Dead will be going digital next season? I had heard, at least for a while, that with the breakneck schedules, shooting film or digital for a TV series was about the same. But I think the simply reality is that now that digital is largely able to meet the high standards of film's quality AND is less expensive, it's simply an inevitability . Love to be wrong, but at the rate digital is moving, pretty much every advanage film once had over it is either disappearing or will.

Even then, who from the next generation, all of whom grew up on and were taught on digital, will have an interest in film?
I'm not sure The Walking Dead's schedule would gain anything from digital. Their main holdup is the makeup and other on camera effects. Setting all that up gives plenty of time for film changes between takes.

As far as expense, I'm pretty sure all that outdoor and location shooting eats up far more budget than the cost of film verses digital.


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post #158 of 216 Old 08-10-2014, 10:55 PM
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I'm. It saying this to be a smartass, but if IMAX have the equipment, wouldn't it follow that they'd have some way of processing it?
No, Imax has never owned film processing laboratories. As far as I know, they're almost completely switching over to Imax 4K digital.

I like to believe there will always be a market for the old stalwarts like Spielberg, Scorsese, Tarantino, Nolan, and so on who want to hold on to film. But I give this 5 years on the outside.

Again, the problem isn't so much getting hold of the cameras or the Kodak stock; the problem is processing the film, making dailies, and then creating a post workflow that works today. It wasn't so bad when there were four or five choices for labs in NY and LA and London; when it's down to one choice, that makes things much more dicey.

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They probably spend more money on Cocaine and other perks. I don't think film stock is a significant cost on a multi-million dollar production. One might even argue that because of the cost of film the over all production cost is less because there's an incentive to get it right in the first take instead of shooting retakes.
I dunno about drugs (especially today), but I can assure you that the daily catering and transportation budget for a $100M+ film costs more than film stock. You have a crew of 120 people to feed and move around twice a day, that costs real money. I'd bet $50,000/day is on the low side.

When all the TV shows switched to film about 6 years ago, a fairly high-ranking producer told me all the cost savings got "absorbed" by the executive producers, essentially giving themselves a $100K a week raise. I heard similar sentiments from a couple of associate producers I know, and they griped that they weren't included on those raises.

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post #159 of 216 Old 08-10-2014, 11:06 PM
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Mad Men bailed on film, much to the creator's chagrin, I'm assuming shows like The Walking Dead will be going digital next season? I had heard, at least for a while, that with the breakneck schedules, shooting film or digital for a TV series was about the same. But I think the simply reality is that now that digital is largely able to meet the high standards of film's quality AND is less expensive, it's simply an inevitability . Love to be wrong, but at the rate digital is moving, pretty much every advanage film once had over it is either disappearing or will.
Cinefilm in Atlanta did all the processing on Walking Dead (and a lot of other productions shooting in Georgia), and it was rumored a year ago they were going to shut down the developers. I think they rescinded that and do process motion picture film on certain days of the week.

Walking Dead looked a lot cleaner this past year and I could swear it was on digital, but I haven't been able to confirm it. The wideshots in 16mm are always a (walking) dead giveaway -- they looked as soft as crap. Medium shots and close-ups look fine.

Mad Men looks absolutely dynamite, and a lot of that has to do with DP Chris Manley and the other fine cinematographers who work on the show. Matt Weiner also gives them the time and budget they need to light the show correctly, plus they take great pains to make sure the costuming, set design, and makeup are absolutely perfect. That's a beautiful, beautiful show.

Note that digital is not necessarily that much cheaper than film -- it's more a question of speed and workflow compatibility, turning over 6 hours of material in less than half a day vs. an entire day. People generally didn't see film dailies until about 10AM-11AM the next day, but nowadays, they expect to see them by the end of the same day. And the DIT can hit a button and play them back any take from any scene right there on the set, which is not possible from film (at least with the same quality).

One last quick comment: I've heard DPs complain that they're unhappy that the mystery of film has been eliminated because of the big digital monitor on the set. Before, the director would turn to the DP after a scene and say, "will that look OK?" And the DP would nod and say, "yes, we got exactly what we needed -- I'll show you in the dailies in the morning." And the DP would talk to the lab and they'd make it blue or bright or dark or whatever they needed, and it'd generally look great.

But with digital, directors want to see what it's going to look like right this second, and the problem with that is that now everybody second-guesses the DP. I've heard complaints that it kind of trivializes their work, because the DP understood what they could do in post to improve the pictures later on. This is further complicated nowadays by DPs being shoved out of the post process, where the director and producers start re-coloring and changing the composition of every other shot without the DP's permission or knowledge. It's become a political nightmare, this loss of control.
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post #160 of 216 Old 08-18-2014, 11:09 AM
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Actually, Ansel Adams is a poor example.

He only shot large plate photos because 35mm was so poor in comparison.
Not to be sarcastic, but I sort of assumed this was common knowledge. Every photo of him I've seen has him using a full-sized camera.

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He totally would have been all over HDR photography.
Perhaps, particularly in regards to digital processing.

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People are often mistaken about his photography and use him as an example of "pure, unaltered photography" and as the case against digital manipulation of images. In fact, it's just the opposite: he used to do a ton of editing of his photos in the darkroom. Those that know his workflow intimately agree that he would have welcomed the modern digital tools.
My old film teacher met him once and said that he told him that he used to spend countless hours in the darkroom working on his photos' resolution, coloring, etc. Again, I assumed this was common knowledge. Even as a kid when I used to get 35mm developed for my parents back in the good old days, I noticed how it simply looked like you got what you got, and assumed professional photographers always used more time and different tools to achieve specific looks for whatever they worked on. Though it could just be that I find the image of Ansel Adams hunched over a computer screen using Photoshop intellectually abhorrent .

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Walt Disney would be another one in favor of modern digital cinema. He loved modern technology and used it in whatever way made the production better. The work of Pixar would have thrilled him. The thing is, he would have insisted on better resolution in digital cinema. 2K would not have passed muster for him. Good enough would not have been good enough for him. If he were still around, perhaps we already would have end to end 4K workflow.
Again, not hugely surprising. Disney was a notorious taskmaster. That being said, would he have welcomed CG animation over the cel? Obviously, it's impossibly to know, but given the technical innovations it offered, I guess it's a plausible theory. Certainly, in terms of the scanned resolution, yes, but again, maybe I find the notion of Walt Disney doing anything besides cell animation to be intellectually unacceptable

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I'm not sure The Walking Dead's schedule would gain anything from digital. Their main holdup is the makeup and other on camera effects. Setting all that up gives plenty of time for film changes between takes.
If film dies, it'll be academic. Mad Men already switched over, I wouldn't be surprised if The Walking Dead is next .

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As far as expense, I'm pretty sure all that outdoor and location shooting eats up far more budget than the cost of film verses digital.
I assumed it was the FX stuff which was the most costly part of the whole process. But like I said, if the price of film gets too high, they'll switch over to digital and it'll be academic .

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No, Imax has never owned film processing laboratories. As far as I know, they're almost completely switching over to Imax 4K digital.
That doesn't make much sense, especially given that their camera still use film. Did they always simply outsource the distribution and developing and processing to someone else?

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I like to believe there will always be a market for the old stalwarts like Spielberg, Scorsese, Tarantino, Nolan, and so on who want to hold on to film. But I give this 5 years on the outside.
I share this depressing buy accurate view .

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Again, the problem isn't so much getting hold of the cameras or the Kodak stock; the problem is processing the film, making dailies, and then creating a post workflow that works today. It wasn't so bad when there were four or five choices for labs in NY and LA and London; when it's down to one choice, that makes things much more dicey.
But if you're using a DI, aren't you processing everything digitally anyway?

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I dunno about drugs (especially today), but I can assure you that the daily catering and transportation budget for a $100M+ film costs more than film stock. You have a crew of 120 people to feed and move around twice a day, that costs real money. I'd bet $50,000/day is on the low side.
God, I work retail in the suburbs, and someone came and bought some food recently which she said was for a "film set," probably a bunch of guys shooting on DVCAM, but even then, your "crew" has to eat!

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When all the TV shows switched to film about 6 years ago, a fairly high-ranking producer told me all the cost savings got "absorbed" by the executive producers, essentially giving themselves a $100K a week raise. I heard similar sentiments from a couple of associate producers I know, and they griped that they weren't included on those raises.
Gee, look at that, there's a cutoff point where you don't need a bunch of people below you, and the guys above get a raise .

Sorry, my inner liberal got loose for a minute there. 16 years of Catholic school have led to delayed teenage rebellion.

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Cinefilm in Atlanta did all the processing on Walking Dead (and a lot of other productions shooting in Georgia), and it was rumored a year ago they were going to shut down the developers. I think they rescinded that and do process motion picture film on certain days of the week.

Walking Dead looked a lot cleaner this past year and I could swear it was on digital, but I haven't been able to confirm it. The wideshots in 16mm are always a (walking) dead giveaway -- they looked as soft as crap. Medium shots and close-ups look fine.
I kind of like that softer, grainy 16mm look, it feels closer to the horror flicks they want to emulate. For now, anyway.

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Mad Men looks absolutely dynamite, and a lot of that has to do with DP Chris Manley and the other fine cinematographers who work on the show. Matt Weiner also gives them the time and budget they need to light the show correctly, plus they take great pains to make sure the costuming, set design, and makeup are absolutely perfect. That's a beautiful, beautiful show.
I'm sure that since its become their critical darling, AMC have been willing to throw a lot more money at it too.

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Note that digital is not necessarily that much cheaper than film -- it's more a question of speed and workflow compatibility, turning over 6 hours of material in less than half a day vs. an entire day. People generally didn't see film dailies until about 10AM-11AM the next day, but nowadays, they expect to see them by the end of the same day. And the DIT can hit a button and play them back any take from any scene right there on the set, which is not possible from film (at least with the same quality).
.

To think that there was a time when the monitors on cameras were considered revolutionary. I was born in a pretty amazing time.

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One last quick comment: I've heard DPs complain that they're unhappy that the mystery of film has been eliminated because of the big digital monitor on the set. Before, the director would turn to the DP after a scene and say, "will that look OK?" And the DP would nod and say, "yes, we got exactly what we needed -- I'll show you in the dailies in the morning." And the DP would talk to the lab and they'd make it blue or bright or dark or whatever they needed, and it'd generally look great.
I've also heard some DPs say that as shooting digitally is different from film, even for some Oscar winners, it's something of a learning curve.

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But with digital, directors want to see what it's going to look like right this second, and the problem with that is that now everybody second-guesses the DP. I've heard complaints that it kind of trivializes their work, because the DP understood what they could do in post to improve the pictures later on. This is further complicated nowadays by DPs being shoved out of the post process, where the director and producers start re-coloring and changing the composition of every other shot without the DP's permission or knowledge. It's become a political nightmare, this loss of control.
I have heard plenty of horror stories about this. Add to this the endless teal-and-orange fad, and the infamous color-timing issue which plague many home video releases because of the directors' arbitrary decisions (I'm looking at you, James Cameron and Michael Mann), and I think you wind up with a whole new can of worms. All of this new freedom must come at some sort of a cost-as Orson Welles once said, "the lack of limitation is the enemy of art." And this new power structure after 80+ years doesn't benefit everyone equally. Look at the hideous digital blood being added in and out to get the ratings to PG-13, etc. And lets be frank: the last thing that film needs is anything which diminishes the artistic power of the directors, DPs, etc, and gives more to the producers and studios, IMO. Film critic Mark Kermode actually interviews someone not too long ago who was badly burned because of criticism of his screenplay which had been completely changed by the director and producers to something which barely resembled what he wrote.

Having about as much practical knowledge about this issue as I do about human sexuality (none, in other words ), I can only go by what I've read. I've read a variety of defenses on both sides (Since my head is currently not full of enough worthless information .). The resolution of 35mm not being equaled by many high-end cameras-Alexa, etc., the fact that most DIs are only 2K anyway, the warmth of film vs. digital processing, where the creative control begins and ends, the years of experience which come with celluloid, the storage issues, all of the stuff in Side By Side, etc. But I think that the simply reality is that it'll eventually come down to a point where film can no longer compete financially with the workflow of digital, and that'll be the end of it . I'd love to be wrong, but based on what I've read, there's a little too much truth too it to ignore.

Incidentally, part of this is also a completely selfish impetus on my part to see many films projected in 35mm or especially 70mm (Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, and many others) which I'll never get to, and I personally find that sad.

On another tangent, my local AMC's recent "Classics Series" DCPs were majorly disappointing. The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, apart from being shown on their most dingy screens, didn't look anywhere near as impressive as I'd have hoped, with some washed out colors and poor detail. Whether this was the fault of the projectors or not, I don't know, but it brings around another issue, which is that there isn't the time or ability to scan every single thing everything into a computer somewhere. If there isn't any 35mm projection, doesn't mean that there are an awful lot of films which will only ever be around as SD masters or DVDs or DVD-Rs?
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post #161 of 216 Old 08-18-2014, 04:01 PM
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That doesn't make much sense, especially given that their camera still use film. Did they always simply outsource the distribution and developing and processing to someone else?
Yes. I would guess Technicolor invested at least $200 million in the Universal City lab alone, and I think the 65mm front end plant in Glendale was $50M. Imax doesn't have the money to throw that kind of money away, especially on a diminishing technology like film.

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But if you're using a DI, aren't you processing everything digitally anyway?
Since 2/3 of all North American theaters are D-Cinema, the studios have no choice but to do digital color timing. I almost don't call it "DI" anymore, because it's no longer an intermediate process... it's the final destination. Film is now an afterthought.

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I kind of like that softer, grainy 16mm look, it feels closer to the horror flicks they want to emulate. For now, anyway.
Actually, they can add real film grain to digital images and make them as noisy or ugly or subtle as you want. It's just a random pattern of specific-size particles. I think I have grain samples of about 75 different emulsions (and vintages) in my collection, going back to the 1970s.

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I've also heard some DPs say that as shooting digitally is different from film, even for some Oscar winners, it's something of a learning curve.
That's a long, complicated question worth its own thread. A very fine TV DP told me around 2002, "I'm no longer going to light digital differently than film. As far as I'm concerned, they're capable of capturing the same dynamic range, assuming 500ASA film. You just have to be very careful about overexposing the highlights." Period.

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Look at the hideous digital blood being added in and out to get the ratings to PG-13, etc.
I have worked on quite a few horror films where we had to go in and key the blood, then tape the saturation down by half, just to avoid getting an R rating. Blood you can have, but intense, bright red blood... not so much.

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But I think that the simply reality is that it'll eventually come down to a point where film can no longer compete financially with the workflow of digital, and that'll be the end of it.
Check your calendar. I think that moment happened this year, and that tidal wave started in 2008 when the main Technicolor lab collapsed and they laid all 350 employees off. I'm guessing fewer than 10% of all major Hollywood features are being shot on celluloid now, and less than 5% of the TV shows.

But as I've said, the good news is, in some ways, the pictures are better, more under control, and the ultimate factor determining image quality is really the DP even more than the camera. After the DP, I'd put lighting and lenses, both of which are very important.
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post #162 of 216 Old 08-26-2014, 07:54 AM
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My old film teacher met him once and said that he told him that he used to spend countless hours in the darkroom working on his photos' resolution, coloring, etc. Again, I assumed this was common knowledge. Even as a kid when I used to get 35mm developed for my parents back in the good old days, I noticed how it simply looked like you got what you got, and assumed professional photographers always used more time and different tools to achieve specific looks for whatever they worked on. Though it could just be that I find the image of Ansel Adams hunched over a computer screen using Photoshop intellectually abhorrent .
You'd be surprised at the number of times that people losing out to digitally edited photos in contests have balked and cited Ansel Adams as the "purist" that would never digitally edit his photos if given the chance. There are still plenty of people who have no idea how much tinkering he did with his images. That's why so many photo contests for many years required you to submit slides instead of photos: it's a lot harder to edit them.

As far as him using Photoshop, I can only assume he would use it so invisibly, most people would have no idea he did anything at all - just like with his film photos.

Too often, the newer generation of image creators feel the need to create "a look" that shows they did something when the really hard work is producing an image that looks like you shot it perfectly that way and nothing was done in post.

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Again, not hugely surprising. Disney was a notorious taskmaster. That being said, would he have welcomed CG animation over the cel? Obviously, it's impossibly to know, but given the technical innovations it offered, I guess it's a plausible theory. Certainly, in terms of the scanned resolution, yes, but again, maybe I find the notion of Walt Disney doing anything besides cell animation to be intellectually unacceptable
Absolutely he would. He was constantly changing the way the studio did animation as new technology allowed it, from shooting in 3-strip technicolor (and making sure he was the only one at the start of it) to multiplane animation to being one of the earliest to combine live action with animation. Anything to best tell the story. If that meant computers (and he had no fear of computers), he'd use computers.

Further, with all the difficulties with the giant squid in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", he almost certainly would have been happy to have CGI available to do the scene the way he wanted it.

Like Adams, though, he would have wanted it right. He totally would have tossed out CGI that looked sub par. The only "video game quality" CGI he would have allowed would be in TRON - which he likely would have green lit just for the opportunity to experiment with and learn from computer animation.

When Eisner took over Disney, he didn't want people using the phrase "what would Walt do" anymore. He claimed he wanted the company to look forward, not back. Ironically, that's exactly what Walt would have done.


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post #163 of 216 Old 08-29-2014, 04:48 PM
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The problem with digitally-creating actors, sets, vehicles, and everything else is that no animated creature can turn to the director in the middle of a take and say, "hey! I have an idea! What if we do such-and-such instead?" And it turns out to be a fantastic idea that profoundly changes the film in a beneficial way. It happens.
Can't that can happen from anyone anywhere, even behind a computer monitor? The creative process at Pixar seems very similar to that. However, (and I'm not being 100% glib) don't forget the AI variable which marches ever forward. Some of the virtual characters might well be pedantic pains in the ass to work with someday. LOL...

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The other issue I see is that of the Uncanny Valley, where digitally-created human characters look creepy and weird. Bob Zemeckis found out the hard way that you can only take this so far, particularly with spectacular failures like Mars Needs Moms. Note that Bob is now shooting with human actors.
Isn't this only a matter of time?

Grow milkweed. The Monarch Butterfly requires it, and its numbers are dwindling fast.
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post #164 of 216 Old 08-29-2014, 05:59 PM
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Films and music recordings; aren't they related somehow?

Them big open-real tapes are the reel deel.

♦ Where do we vote?

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Isn't this only a matter of time?
Perfect, undetectable photorealistic CG could eventually happen. But I like to think that what movies are really about is emotion, and I think this is easier to accomplish with real humans on a real set.

There's also the problem of cost. It's very hard to get an animated film done for less than $150M-$170M, and if it's a story you could shoot with real people for $50M, what's the point? Sometimes, I think people are too quick to look for technological solutions when the real challenges boil down to story, money, people, and all the intangibles like that. The technology is not the problem.
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post #166 of 216 Old 09-06-2014, 09:41 AM
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Perfect, undetectable photorealistic CG could eventually happen. But I like to think that what movies are really about is emotion, and I think this is easier to accomplish with real humans on a real set.

There's also the problem of cost. It's very hard to get an animated film done for less than $150M-$170M, and if it's a story you could shoot with real people for $50M, what's the point?
That's just it though. You can't. That's a bit of an old number for the expensive films these days and the A-List crowd. Besides, there's the availability issue and a potential re-invention of the actor workforce.

Imagine Robert Downing Jr. licensing his likeness to work on 7 films at once. Or, or, or, or, or.... And the importance of realism is getting murkier by the day. Japan's favorite pop star is a hologram according to one poll.

And again, that "someday" you're talking about will only result in lower prices for all of emulation. I do believe it's inevitable.

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post #167 of 216 Old 09-07-2014, 03:14 PM
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And again, that "someday" you're talking about will only result in lower prices for all of emulation. I do believe it's inevitable.
So far, VFX prices have only gone up, not down -- particularly as expectations have risen. And one could make a good argument that as a whole, the trend hasn't made movies better or cheaper to make.

Animated films continue to be very, very expensive. Frozen cost $150M, and Tangled cost $260M. At least in Frozen's case, it became the most successful animated film ever made. But it would've been cheaper to shoot in live action, though that also would've been a totally different experience.

BTW, if you want to check out a semi-photorealistic animated film that not a lot of people paid attention to, check out Pixar's Monsters University. That's an extremely well-made movie with great visuals, impeccable "virtual" lighting.
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I can accept that some ppl will PREFER film. but I don't accept that it's better for the industry. it is more expensive. it is more difficult to use. it is more difficult to edit. it has very little room for improvement. it's been the superior quality format for a long time, and that's been the reason to put up with all those other issues. now, digital is fast approaching a point where it's as good, and it doesn't make sense to keep film around anymore.
How much film have you shot and edited? Most of the movies I've worked on for the last 20 years have all been shot on film and edited digitally; almost nobody has cut on film since about 1995 or so. It's no more "difficult" to use than the level of experience of the people you hire to shoot it.

The real problem as I see it is that the number of labs that can develop it are evaporating. It makes no practical sense to shoot on film anymore for most projects, and I think once the Alexa came out, it was pretty much game over. You look at a movie like Hugo or Life of Pi, and they're so beautiful I don't think they'd look even 1% better on film. Granted, both are heavy VFX movies, but it does show that the dynamic range and resolution of modern cameras like Alexa, the F55, and the Red Dragon are close enough to film that nobody cares anymore.

On the other hand, then you have Quentin Tarantino, who just announced that his next project, Hateful 8, will be shot on 65mm film. So some people do care about the difference and are clinging to it, no matter what. I guarantee you that project will be edited digitally. The last major Hollywood studio film I know of that shot and cut on film was M. Night Shyamalan's The Lady in the Water, and that didn't go too well...
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They probably spend more money on Cocaine and other perks. I don't think film stock is a significant cost on a multi-million dollar production.
In the years I worked at Technicolor, the general rule of thumb was that it cost about $10,000 per hour of footage. That included film stock, developing, and dailies. Most films shoot about 2-3 hours of material a day, so you'd be looking at about $150K a week. Assuming a 2-month schedule (which is a long shoot), it'd be roughly $1M. If it's a $100M movie, nobody cares. The catering bill for a huge film that size will be more than $1M. If it were a little $3M indie film, then I'd say the reality would be a 4-week schedule and 90 minutes of dailies a day, maybe $75K a week, for a total of $300K. That's 10% of the budget, which is significant.

I think the problem is more of speed and turnaround. Shooting digitally, they can see some dailies at noon and the rest at 6PM, which you just can't do with film. We could turn around film dailies in about 12 hours, which is fast, but people always tend to want faster.

BTW, note that film cameras are cheaper to rent nowadays than digital cameras. I'd say an average camera package would be 50% cheaper on film, plus it wouldn't require all the support gear (DIT, backup drives, etc.) that a digital camera does. But again, it's not really about the money.
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So far, VFX prices have only gone up, not down -- particularly as expectations have risen. And one could make a good argument that as a whole, the trend hasn't made movies better or cheaper to make.
No, I don't think you can support that argument. The prices have gone up because the expectation demands have gone so very far up. But for any specific level of quality the price has gone dramatically down. To do something the quality of the original Toy Story must certainly be inexpensive compared to how it used to be.

Besides, over time, the cost curve of the technology on the way to "photo realistic actors" (or however you phrased it) will be chasing the cost curve of their respective salaries for acting IRL.

Grow milkweed. The Monarch Butterfly requires it, and its numbers are dwindling fast.

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post #171 of 216 Old 09-07-2014, 08:30 PM
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How much film have you shot and edited? Most of the movies I've worked on for the last 20 years have all been shot on film and edited digitally; almost nobody has cut on film since about 1995 or so. It's no more "difficult" to use than the level of experience of the people you hire to shoot it.

The real problem as I see it is that the number of labs that can develop it are evaporating. It makes no practical sense to shoot on film anymore for most projects, and I think once the Alexa came out, it was pretty much game over. You look at a movie like Hugo or Life of Pi, and they're so beautiful I don't think they'd look even 1% better on film. Granted, both are heavy VFX movies, but it does show that the dynamic range and resolution of modern cameras like Alexa, the F55, and the Red Dragon are close enough to film that nobody cares anymore.

On the other hand, then you have Quentin Tarantino, who just announced that his next project, Hateful 8, will be shot on 65mm film. So some people do care about the difference and are clinging to it, no matter what. I guarantee you that project will be edited digitally. The last major Hollywood studio film I know of that shot and cut on film was M. Night Shyamalan's The Lady in the Water, and that didn't go too well...
that's basically what I'm saying. if there's no longer an image quality advantage to film, even a small increase in cost/difficulty of using it is significant. I've never edited any film, I haven't got a clue where you'd even start to develop or work with film. working with digital is as easy as you want it to be it seems. we can have kids shoot, edit, and present 'movies' within an hour at school. and there really doesn't seem to be any limit to it, it gets easier all the time. I don't think film has gotten better or easier in a long time(but I don't know for sure).


as for the ppl clinging to film, I mean, it's their right if they want to, but it just reminds me too much of my dad still trying to look up phone numbers in a phone book instead searching online. he seems to prefer it because it's what he's used to, but it's definitely not better and similarly, I think if tarantino put in the time to learn digital a little more, he might find out he can get the results he wants with it. and if the industry as a whole committed 100% to digital, maybe we'll have movies being shot completely in 8k that much sooner...

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post #172 of 216 Old 09-07-2014, 08:42 PM
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No, I don't think you can support that argument. The prices have gone up because the expectation demands have gone so very far up. But for any specific level of quality the price has gone dramatically down. To do something the quality of the original Toy Story must certainly be inexpensive compared to how it used to be.

Besides, over time, the cost curve of the technology on the way to "photo realistic actors" (or however you phrased it) will be chasing the cost curve of their respective salaries for acting IRL.
I agree more with this. I think overall, special effects hit a rough patch in the early 2000's as a lot of movies tried doing digital effects before they were really that good. but that's got nothing to do with shooting on film vs digital. it's not like you can't use digital to 'film' traditional effects.


but it is kind of sad to look at movies like Jurassic park, or the old teenage mutant ninja turtles, or even planet of the apes movies where the characters looked good, and then compare it to something made in the early days of digital effects where nothing looks real. maybe that's a good lesson though, that we need to suck up a few years of 'growing pains' before they figure it out. maybe the next couple of years will be rough without film, but a decade from now digital might be better than film ever was

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post #173 of 216 Old 09-08-2014, 06:21 AM
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I agree more with this. I think overall, special effects hit a rough patch in the early 2000's as a lot of movies tried doing digital effects before they were really that good. but that's got nothing to do with shooting on film vs digital. it's not like you can't use digital to 'film' traditional effects.


but it is kind of sad to look at movies like Jurassic park, or the old teenage mutant ninja turtles, or even planet of the apes movies where the characters looked good, and then compare it to something made in the early days of digital effects where nothing looks real. maybe that's a good lesson though, that we need to suck up a few years of 'growing pains' before they figure it out. maybe the next couple of years will be rough without film, but a decade from now digital might be better than film ever was
There's something else too though that I really wish just were not true.

The current level of effects these days are just so good in most cases that I've become completely unimpressed by seeing them.

Remember that feeling in the theater when Jurassic park first came out and we first saw the Brachiosaur reaching high on a tree, grabbing a branch, and then landing back down with a thunderous ground hit? Gave me unbelievable chills. I remember rewinding the VHS tape of it over and over just watching that scene.

Remember the extraordinary effects of the first Die Hard? Or Terminator 2? Floored everyone.

But now-a-days, I could see just about anything and I'm a little like "eh.....seen so much of this....", or maybe "...it's too easy to do in CGI now..."

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post #174 of 216 Old 09-08-2014, 08:54 AM
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There's something else too though that I really wish just were not true.

The current level of effects these days are just so good in most cases that I've become completely unimpressed by seeing them.

Remember that feeling in the theater when Jurassic park first came out and we first saw the Brachiosaur reaching high on a tree, grabbing a branch, and then landing back down with a thunderous ground hit? Gave me unbelievable chills. I remember rewinding the VHS tape of it over and over just watching that scene.

Remember the extraordinary effects of the first Die Hard? Or Terminator 2? Floored everyone.

But now-a-days, I could see just about anything and I'm a little like "eh.....seen so much of this....", or maybe "...it's too easy to do in CGI now..."
I actually like that these effects are becoming so seamless now I hardly notice there are even 'effects'. as impressive as some of those first good examples were, I don't want to be taken out of the movie because I'm paying attention to the production values or something else.


I hate how cheap CGI can be, it's really hard to enjoy any b-list or cheaper movies these days, because they do so much in cgi and its so much more obvious than a 'make-up and puppet' style of special effects

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post #175 of 216 Old 09-08-2014, 03:04 PM
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I actually like that these effects are becoming so seamless now I hardly notice there are even 'effects'. as impressive as some of those first good examples were, I don't want to be taken out of the movie because I'm paying attention to the production values or something else.


I hate how cheap CGI can be, it's really hard to enjoy any b-list or cheaper movies these days, because they do so much in cgi and its so much more obvious than a 'make-up and puppet' style of special effects
I think that's actually the problem I have with a lot of modern examples of digital FX: it's blatantly clear it's an effect and far from seamless. Even simple set extensions look terrible and are getting worse. It's multiplied by impossible camera moves that could only be created in CG or environments that simply appear too clean, as if it were modeled on a backlot set rather than a real location.

It's like the entire effects industry has decided that since people will figure it's CGI, that they don't have to make it look real anymore. Why try to fool people who aren't being fooled?

The thing is, I have a feeling the attitude started with time crunches the studios forced upon the FX artists. They no longer allowed them to have the kind of post time needed to create the effects like they had in the early experimentation days. That yielded a lot of effects that simply didn't appear "done", yet the audience didn't seem to care enough to not pay money to see those productions.

I think that has led to the "good enough" attitude we now see in the industry.


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I think that's actually the problem I have with a lot of modern examples of digital FX: it's blatantly clear it's an effect and far from seamless. Even simple set extensions look terrible and are getting worse. It's multiplied by impossible camera moves that could only be created in CG or environments that simply appear too clean, as if it were modeled on a backlot set rather than a real location.

It's like the entire effects industry has decided that since people will figure it's CGI, that they don't have to make it look real anymore. Why try to fool people who aren't being fooled?

The thing is, I have a feeling the attitude started with time crunches the studios forced upon the FX artists. They no longer allowed them to have the kind of post time needed to create the effects like they had in the early experimentation days. That yielded a lot of effects that simply didn't appear "done", yet the audience didn't seem to care enough to not pay money to see those productions.

I think that has led to the "good enough" attitude we now see in the industry.
I'm betting you're right that it's more about a time crunch, or budget. there's enough examples that show it's possible to get great results. the crappy CGI is this movie generations version of seeing the strings, or having a 18inch dollar Godzilla doll break lego buildings...


I think it's best to judge a technology on what it's capable of, rather than what happens when they cut corners using it.

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post #177 of 216 Old 09-08-2014, 06:49 PM
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Thank you for the response. That clears things up for me a bit. Would anyone have a take on a high quality IMAX transfer like in TDK vs 4k for the home? When I watch IMAX footage, I must say I can't imagine an image any sharper.

Thanks.
The following link might make this resolution difference easier to understand. The link is here but this is the relevant bits of it

https://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/A...ises/page1.php

"To create the 35mm version, the post team combined the original 35mm anamorphic material with 4K filmed-out negative created from 8K scans of the 65mm negative. (These anamorphic extractions were done by Custom Film Effects, and all filmouts were performed by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging.) After the work print was approved, negative cutter Mo Henry used it as the template for cutting the 35mm-negative version of the film."
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Perfect, undetectable photorealistic CG could eventually happen. But I like to think that what movies are really about is emotion, and I think this is easier to accomplish with real humans on a real set.
I wouldn't consider that a foregone conclusion based on recent performances like Charlie Hunnam's in Pacific Rim and Taylor Kitsch's in John Carter lol.

And as far as the debate between film and digital goes, thus far, some of the most impressive visuals I've ever seen in 1080p are from the movie Oblivion shot on the Sony F65.


Max
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post #179 of 216 Old 09-11-2014, 04:43 AM
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Digital will surpass film, IMO, when "motion-blur" is completely eliminated. Oblivion looks great, but it has a bit of motion-blur which sometimes takes me out of a movie.

"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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Digital will surpass film, IMO, when "motion-blur" is completely eliminated. Oblivion looks great, but it has a bit of motion-blur which sometimes takes me out of a movie.
You assume motion blur is a problem. I consider the look of 24fps to kind of represent what a movie looks like. Without the blur, with hyper-sharp images and no blur, you wind up with kind of a "sitcom look," which was the charge many critics gave the first Hobbit film. It'll take a long time for that paradigm to change.

Me personally, I think 24-frame film has a unique look that works well for narrative film. There are rolling-shutter issues with a lot of modern cameras, though they've fixed this recently with the Sony F55 and a handful of new models. I can think of quite a few movies that had enough rolling shutter problems to make me wince.
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