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post #1 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Movie Film's Last Gasp



Hollywood directors and studios rally to save Kodak's last film-manufacturing facility. Can they forestall film's extinction?

Over the last few years, commercial cinemas have aggressively converted from film to digital projection, thanks in large part to subsidies from the studios. In 2009, over 80% of US theaters were film-based, while in 2013, over 92% were digital, according to IHS Screen Digest. Similarly, moviemakers have transitioned from film to digital cameras in droves, leading Kodak to close all but one of its film-manufacturing facilities as sales of movie-film stock plummeted from a high of 12.4 billion linear feet in 2006 to an estimated 449 million feet in 2014, a drop of more than 96% in eight years as reported in a recent story on the Wall Street Journal website and elsewhere. And with Fujifilm exiting the business last year, Kodak is the only remaining major producer of movie film.

There are still some directors and cinematographers who prefer to shoot on film—or at least to have the option—even if the end result will be presented digitally. Among them are Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams, who is reportedly shooting the next Star Wars movie on film. These advocates have lobbied studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, Disney, and Weinstein to commit to purchase a certain amount of film from Kodak over the next few years, a plan that is now being finalized. "It's a financial commitment, no doubt about it," says Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of Weinstein Co., in the WSJ article. "But I don't think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn't do it."

Also in the WSJ article, Judd Apatow is quoted as saying that film and digital "are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn't have the opportunity to shoot on film. There's a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film." On the other hand, the article reports that few young directors still use film; in fact, the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California offers only one class that trains students in the use of film.

Of course, shooting digitally is much more convenient, allowing the moviemakers to see the results instantly instead of waiting for the film to be processed—which is becoming a lost art itself, with many fewer facilities than in the past. However, contrary to what I had been led to believe, the WSJ article reports that it costs about the same to rent cameras and recording equipment for a movie in either case, according to industry experts.

Another issue is long-term archiving, which is still done on film, even with movies that are shot with digital cameras. Digital files must be copied onto new storage media as older formats become obsolete—anyone still have a SCSI Zip drive?—and those copies can be corrupted in the process.

This whole thing reminds me of the debate between recording music on analog tape versus digitally. For the most part, even if the recording is done in the analog domain, it will end up being distributed as digital data, yet some recording professionals continue to use analog tape because they claim it offers an ineffable "something" that recording digitally can never achieve. Similarly, advocates of shooting movies on film claim that it offers things that digital has yet to match. And in both cases, proponents claim that those analog qualities survive the transition from analog capture to digital distribution, at least to some degree.

What do you think? Should the studios invest in keeping film stock available—an ironic twist after spending so much on converting commercial cinemas to digital projection—or should they heed the words of Q in the James Bond flick Die Another Day: "Yes, well, it's the future, so get used to it"?

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post #2 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:08 PM
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They should go all-digital and leave film behind. Film had it's 100 years. It's digital's time now.
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post #3 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:14 PM
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Why does what WE think matter? Why even discuss this? We have enough trouble advising manufacturers as to what to do and how stupid we think they are for doing or not doing certain things. Then we must advice the blu-ray forum what to do about 4K. Give us a break. We have enough to do already without now having to advise the studios on what they should purchase in order to maintain the ability to purchase it..

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post #4 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:17 PM
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Comparing 35mm film to a digital file is like comparing an oil painting to a piece of graphic art. The texture of film has a timeless, atmospheric, almost dream-like quality, which I have yet to see replicated in any digital medium. It's worth noting that both Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson are also advocates for 35mm film capture. Long may that continue...
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post #5 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by musicalfox View Post
It's worth noting that both Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson are also advocates for 35mm film capture. Long may that continue...
Interesting that neither would make a long-term commitment to Kodak for buying film, as Tarantino, Abrams, Nolan, and Apatow would.

I saw all this coming like a slow-motion train wreck 10 years ago, and I was in a position to know some of the key players at Kodak and Technicolor (for whom I worked for a long time). The middle-management of both companies understood it was inevitable, as did the worker bees, but the people at the top running the companies were shortsighted and very foolish.

It was clear to many of us after the 2007-2008 WGA strike that the industry was never going to be the same. A year after that, they shut down the entire Technicolor lab in North Hollywood and let 400 people go; about three months ago, the other shoe dropped when Deluxe shut down. Even if they keep making film, the problem is finding the labs that will process it and the crews that know how to work with it.

The one positive thing I can say about all of this is that great images are still happening all the time, because so much of what creates picture quality is the DP, the lighting, and the lenses. I'm not convinced the camera or the medium has nearly as much to do with it. Give a film camera to a moron, and you'll get crappy pictures; give a digital camera to a Bob Richardson or a Roger Dekins, and you'll get a work of art. So it's not the film alone that makes their work great.

I do think that film is a much better long-term archival storage medium, and I get very nervous as to what's going to happen to modern movies shot on digital files. The Academy is, too, as you can read in these reports:

http://www.oscars.org/science-techno...mma/index.html

http://www.oscars.org/science-techno...ma2/index.html

So far, there's no real solution to "The Digital Dilemma" (as the Academy refers to it). And I can say for a fact I know of three separate cases where important Hollywood films were nearly lost because of bad files, server crashes, or corrupted LTO backup tapes. All three cases happened in less than 6 years; you gotta wonder how bad it's gonna be when they try to retrieve important digital files from 20, 30, or (god forbid) 40 years ago.
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post #6 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:37 PM
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Keep film and bring back Technicolor. (The Adventures of Robin Hood)

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post #7 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:42 PM
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This horse has left the barn. IMO the entirety of film making in the near future will be digital. Including the characters and stars in the movies. Those actors better count their days and money. Because they are numbered. They will do facial and body composite likenesses of actors. And use no names to do green room shoots. Tom Cruise, Clark Gable et al will be recreated by their likenesses in a fully digital moviemaking future. Today the film. Tomorrow the people themselves.
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post #8 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:45 PM
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BTW, I know this has been mentioned here before, but Keanu Reeves' 2012 documentary Side by Side went into the film vs. digital debate quite a bit:


What's unfortunate is that the timing on the documentary wasn't great, since so much has gone down since that documentary was made. If they could have had footage of Technicolor and Deluxe Labs shutting down, I think it would have hammered home the point that the real reasons why film was getting pushed out of production are more complicated than sheer economics.

I have seem budget breakdowns of big and small films, and it's sobering to note that the actual costs for film stock and processing are very tiny. And it costs much more to rent digital cameras than it does film cameras, especially today. What is true is that the turnaround for digitally-shot productions is faster, so directors can literally take a look at their footage at lunch time rather than waiting until 7AM the next morning to see dailies. It's hard to argue about the speed issue.

One huge problem that I encounter with digital: many neophyte filmmakers have the mistaken idea that because digital files are "free" (as opposed to film stock, which costs money), they can shoot and shoot and shoot as much material as they want. The problem with this approach is that the post staff winds up getting buried with much too much material every day. It's not unusual for big shows to shoot 6-7 hours of material every day, especially with multiple cameras; on a 60-day shoot, you're looking at 4000 hours of material for a 2-hour feature. That's very high compared to the way things used to be, and it's a huge time suck and distraction for editors and other post people.

i wish that directors had the discipline to make every frame count and have a clearer vision of what they want for the final film. I find this is becoming less and less of a philosophy as time goes on, and too many directors just blindly "shoot the moon" hoping to get enough footage to carve into shape in the editing bay, rather than use storyboards or previs or have some other clear idea of where they want to go. But that's another problem, one beyond film vs. digital.
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post #9 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:52 PM
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This horse has left the barn. IMO the entirety of film making in the near future will be digital. Including the characters and stars in the movies.
We have those movies today: they're called animated cartoons.

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.

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.

It'll be very interesting to see how the next Fast & Furious movie does with a computer-generated version of Paul Walker. Industry reports have it that Universal was able to collect $50 million in insurance to go towards reshoots and CGI work, and that's quickly spiraling out of control. I am very, very skeptical about their ability to make precise clones of humans and have them look good on screen -- despite the fact that I admire the films done by Jim Cameron and Peter Jackson, both of which used CG to create alien or monster creatures. Humans are a lot harder to do, since we know exactly what they're supposed to look like.

People forget that movies are stories about emotion more than anything else. Trying to infuse animation with emotion takes a lot of skill and effort, and the moment you're convinced the character up on the screen is not real... it's all over with. It's a testament to the skill of the people at Pixar that we could buy movies like Toy Story and Wall-E, both of which are very stylized and artificial but still have some warmth and humanity to them. I don't think photo-realistic human animation is there yet, and even if it was, I suspect it's a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.
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post #10 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

This whole thing reminds me of the debate between recording music on analog tape versus digitally. For the most part, even if the recording is done in the analog domain, it will end up being distributed as digital data, yet some recording professionals continue to use analog tape because they claim it offers an ineffable "something" that recording digitally can never achieve. Similarly, advocates of shooting movies on film claim that it offers things that digital has yet to match. And in both cases, proponents claim that those analog qualities survive the transition from analog capture to digital distribution, at least to some degree.

But there's the problem of wear and tear of film. My father used to work in a movie theater projector room in the 1970's. After the film has run so many times through the projector, the quality degrades. It gets scratched up. Hair sometimes get caught on the film and it ends up inside the projector. Then it gets to the point where the film breaks. And that circle that flashes in the corner that lets the projectionist know when to switch projectors is so annoying.

Look what Disney has to do if they want to re-release an old film on a digital medium from their vault. It has to be digitally restored. Who would want to watch a faded film 50 years from now on a digital medium if the only source is film?

As for that "something" that recording digitally can never achieve, is it hiss? I have a CD that has a warning saying the music was originally recorded on analog equipment prior to modern noise reduction technology. The high resolution of CD reveals the limitations in the master tape, including noise and other distortions.
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post #11 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 08:39 PM
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But there's the problem of wear and tear of film. My father used to work in a movie theater projector room in the 1970's. After the film has run so many times through the projector, the quality degrades. It gets scratched up. Hair sometimes get caught on the film and it ends up inside the projector. Then it gets to the point where the film breaks. And that circle that flashes in the corner that lets the projectionist know when to switch projectors is so annoying.
Film distribution is absolutely dead. We're only talking about image capture, which is a different thing.

If you shoot on film, but then immediately digitize the image and treat it as digital from that point on -- which is how most films have been done for the last 10 years -- then there is no film print to wear out in theaters.

In the film days, I can recall going to theaters and seeing a film print on a Sunday night, and it was already beat to hell, scratched, and spliced-up... after 3 solid days of exhibition. I blame the sorry state of maintenance in most film projection booths, as well as the inadequate training average theaters give the personnel nowadays.

At least with a digital file, there's fewer chances that the high school kids serving popcorn will screw it up. But I've already been to a few digital screenings where the server crashed and the audience had to go home, because the theater was unable to figure out how to restart the system and get it going again.

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Look what Disney has to do if they want to re-release an old film on a digital medium from their vault. It has to be digitally restored. Who would want to watch a faded film 50 years from now on a digital medium if the only source is film?
Disney is worth $147 billion. They can afford to digitally remaster their entire library and have at least $146 billion left over. All of their major titles have already been remastered to 4K by Lowry Digital in Burbank, and a lot of their minor titles were remastered to 2K digital (and look fine). In many cases, their films look better today than they did 50 or 60 years ago.
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post #12 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 09:21 PM
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We have those movies today: they're called animated cartoons.
I am very, very skeptical about their ability to make precise clones of humans and have them look good on screen -- despite the fact that I admire the films done by Jim Cameron and Peter Jackson, both of which used CG to create alien or monster creatures. Humans are a lot harder to do, since we know exactly what they're supposed to look like.

People forget that movies are stories about emotion more than anything else. Trying to infuse animation with emotion takes a lot of skill and effort, and the moment you're convinced the character up on the screen is not real... it's all over with. It's a testament to the skill of the people at Pixar that we could buy movies like Toy Story and Wall-E, both of which are very stylized and artificial but still have some warmth and humanity to them. I don't think photo-realistic human animation is there yet, and even if it was, I suspect it's a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

I appreciate your excellent comment and response. I did have animation in mind. But more on the scale of Tron 2 instead of Despicable Me 2. There was no doubt that Jeff Bridges was the main character Flynn and the CGI "Clue". Perhaps replacement is too aggressive an approach today. But who knows 50 years from now. Maybe the real battleground for actors of both genders today, once they achieve great fame is to control 100% of their likeness. That way they can realistically CGI altered in ways to extend their careers. In reality, I hope nothing of the sort ever happens. There is nothing quite like the fresh new talent that breaks through.
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post #13 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post

If you shoot on film, but then immediately digitize the image and treat it as digital from that point on -- which is how most films have been done for the last 10 years -- then there is no film print to wear out in theaters.
Which would you keep as the master copy? A film print can fade over time sitting in the vault.


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All of their major titles have already been remastered to 4K by Lowry Digital in Burbank, and a lot of their minor titles were remastered to 2K digital (and look fine).In many cases, their films look better today than they did 50 or 60 years ago.
Yup, it sure does.

But it may need to be remastered again to 16K 60 years from now.

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post #14 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 09:34 PM
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As long as major directors want to shoot on film it should be available, in time everything will switch to digital, no need to push it. I've seen things shot with the Red and Arri's that have looked very good, and some that would have been horrible even if shot on film.
When Nolan gives up on film than the transition will have advanced.

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post #15 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
Interesting that neither would make a long-term commitment to Kodak for buying film, as Tarantino, Abrams, Nolan, and Apatow would.

I saw all this coming like a slow-motion train wreck 10 years ago, and I was in a position to know some of the key players at Kodak and Technicolor (for whom I worked for a long time). The middle-management of both companies understood it was inevitable, as did the worker bees, but the people at the top running the companies were shortsighted and very foolish.

It was clear to many of us after the 2007-2008 WGA strike that the industry was never going to be the same. A year after that, they shut down the entire Technicolor lab in North Hollywood and let 400 people go; about three months ago, the other shoe dropped when Deluxe shut down. Even if they keep making film, the problem is finding the labs that will process it and the crews that know how to work with it.

The one positive thing I can say about all of this is that great images are still happening all the time, because so much of what creates picture quality is the DP, the lighting, and the lenses. I'm not convinced the camera or the medium has nearly as much to do with it. Give a film camera to a moron, and you'll get crappy pictures; give a digital camera to a Bob Richardson or a Roger Dekins, and you'll get a work of art. So it's not the film alone that makes their work great.

I do think that film is a much better long-term archival storage medium, and I get very nervous as to what's going to happen to modern movies shot on digital files. The Academy is, too, as you can read in these reports:

http://www.oscars.org/science-techno...mma/index.html

http://www.oscars.org/science-techno...ma2/index.html

So far, there's no real solution to "The Digital Dilemma" (as the Academy refers to it). And I can say for a fact I know of three separate cases where important Hollywood films were nearly lost because of bad files, server crashes, or corrupted LTO backup tapes. All three cases happened in less than 6 years; you gotta wonder how bad it's gonna be when they try to retrieve important digital files from 20, 30, or (god forbid) 40 years ago.
I know you can't tell us what those three films were, but can you tell us how old those films were.

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post #16 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 10:05 PM
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I hope this works out. I love the look of film. That realistic texture the picture has can't be replicated with digital cameras. Directors should have a choice between the two.

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post #17 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 10:14 PM
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Comparing 35mm film to a digital file is like comparing an oil painting to a piece of graphic art.
I disagree. The Arri Alexa is dominant in film making today and it can produce some beautiful images. We're now at a point where we need to stop thinking of digital as a poor man's film - it's a digital image that can technically achieve the same as film in most applications.

As someone else pointed out, Robert Richardson will get beautiful images out of any camera. In an interview on Hugo he described his approach to shooting with the Alexa.

"One of my decisions, at the very beginning, was this: I was not going to shoot the Alexa to make it look like film. I did not want to use the film look up table. I wanted to work with the Alexa as Alexa. What its strengths were, its merits, what its weaknesses were, that was what I wanted to incorporate into this project. If its color space was here, I was going to use that color. If it could give me these types of colors, I was going there."

A great film maker will always approach new tools with an attitude of "what can I do with this that I've never done before".
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post #18 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 10:44 PM
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I know you can't tell us what those three films were, but can you tell us how old those films were.
Well... one of them was shot in the early 1990s, one was shot in the early 2000s, and one was shot around 1940. But all from the same studio (coincidentally). All three had potentially million-dollar issues with data loss, all of which were quietly fixed at no charge to the studio.

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Which would you keep as the master copy? A film print can fade over time sitting in the vault.
Nobody gives a crap about the print. Prints are temporary. The original camera negative (OCN) is what's important. Stored properly, the OCN can last well over 60-70 years, maybe longer. You can make arguments that the fine-grain IP (interpositive) struck off the OCN also holds up for a long time and has no splices. Each is kind of a backup of the other, but neither will last forever.

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But it may need to be remastered again to 16K 60 years from now.
Every significant modern studio film (for the most part) ever made has already been transferred at least four times, by my count: original analogue standard def, digital standard def, early high def, and later HD/4K. There's a point of diminishing returns where I don't think 8K or 16K or 128K is going to improve a basic film.

You can make a very good case that the most important thing about a film is the content, not what it was shot on or how it looks. I've argued before with the pro-4K crowd that I don't think Avatar, the Lord of the Rings films, or even recent 2K films like Gravity or The Avengers are going to be worthless tomorrow simply because they weren't done in 4K. Great cinematography, great stories, and great characters still hold up even at resolutions less than 4K.
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post #19 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 10:46 PM
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I know you can't tell us what those three films were, but can you tell us how old those films were.


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Interesting that neither would make a long-term commitment to Kodak for buying film, as Tarantino, Abrams, Nolan, and Apatow would.
...
And I can say for a fact I know of three separate cases where important Hollywood films were nearly lost because of bad files, server crashes, or corrupted LTO backup tapes. All three cases happened in less than 6 years; you gotta wonder how bad it's gonna be when they try to retrieve important digital files from 20, 30, or (god forbid) 40 years ago.
6 years or less?
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post #20 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 10:55 PM
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I disagree. The Arri Alexa is dominant in film making today and it can produce some beautiful images. We're now at a point where we need to stop thinking of digital as a poor man's film - it's a digital image that can technically achieve the same as film in most applications.
The Alexa really can make beautiful pictures, when put in the right hands and photographed well. Hugo and Gravity are two examples of films shot on Alexa that both (deservedly) won Best Cinematography Oscars. And nobody cared that they weren't shot on film. The only important thing was that they looked beautiful and told their stories well.

It's very telling that Arriflex' digital division created the Alexa, and one of Kodak's former color scientists, Glenn Kennel -- one of the head guys behind Kodak's digital Cineon film-presevation file formats -- now heads up the North American office in charge of Alexa. It's clear to me that they deliberately made the camera react to light and color in a way that closely resembled that of film.

I don't think that Alexa is a 100% replacement for film yet, but for certain things -- particularly for TV -- I think it's perfectly fine. For all practical purposes, it's taken over for film, as has Sony's F55 (which goes one better in offering 4K).
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post #21 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 11:00 PM
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6 years or less?
Yes, the projects were done between 1998-2004, and the files were discovered to be bad right around 2004. This was a huge, major train wreck, some of the worst post-production disasters I've ever seen. I was only on the periphery, but I can tell you one of those situations (the oldest film) resulted in about 6 months of lost work at a cost of around $700,000. The other two weren't quite that bad, but it still shows that the digital backup formats aren't as reliable as everybody hopes they are.

The Academy "Digital Dilemma" papers I referenced above point out similar flaws in the whole backup scheme. The beauty of film negative is: it doesn't crash, it's relatively stable, it's not expensive to store, the format is very simple and widely-established, and we know for a fact it'll play back in 50 years. Not a single digital format can do all of these things today. It's scary.

BTW, all the major 4K restorations I know of generally make multiple backups on hard drives, LTO backup tapes, and film negative (aka "digital negatives"). They still keep the original movie just in case, but the negative is there just in case they need to scan it all over again someday, in the event of alien invasion or nuclear disaster.
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post #22 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 11:14 PM
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Film is dead...agreed move on. Big studios want to do it fine, do it. Just like 30 years from now someone will still be driving a gasoline car because they want to.
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post #23 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 11:24 PM
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Interstellar, that is being moved through WB, Paramount, legendary and Syncopy was shot with 100% 35MM and IMAX 70MM film. And to the horror of Christoper Nolan, a digital camera was setup on set for studio dailies. He used a CE Sony for dailies on the Batman movies.

I think now we are seeing 5-8K movie's shot on digital. There is work being done on a 16K camera, still years away. Film, on the other hand has unlimited K. That is why it is still the preferred source material. There were a lot of industry people who confused a lot of us, me included, to believe when Fuji Film folded and Kodiak went into bankruptcy, that was it for film stock. Well in no simple terms, they lied.

Scott you are right about the 92%. However that number is not 100% truth. There is plenty of Theaters in this country that have 2 and 4K DCI's, standing right beside working Christie Cine and Strong film projectors. AMC Theaters, regal, etc, still have locations with the ability to display film. Paramount adapted a "No Film" policy after Anchorman 2. They retracted that policy when they discovered that it excluded 60% of Eastern Europe and 40% of Asia from new feature films, amounting to around a billion lost ticket sales. Hollywood today is far beyond just USA/Canada. Distribution of movies, is as world wide as it's ever been.

Besides what are we supposed to do, rename the New York Film Festival or the Paris Film Festival to the New York Digital Festival and the Paris Digital Festival? I don't think so.




And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.
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post #24 of 221 Old 08-01-2014, 11:48 PM
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I think now we are seeing 5-8K movie's shot on digital. There is work being done on a 16K camera, still years away. Film, on the other hand has unlimited K.
Speaking as a former employee of both Kodak and Technicolor, I would disagree. I was told by several of Kodak's top color scientists (OK, two of them) that at best, original camera negative had 6K, but it's dependent on a lot of factors. By the time it hit theaters, it was 2K at best. But the K might be the least-important aspect of picture quality.

Note that the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, and IATSE all ruled many years ago that "films" and "filmmaking" also include productions shot entirely digitally. "Film" and "Movie" are just words.

I'd guarantee that hundreds of shots in Interstellar have digital visual effects in them. I'm sure Chris Nolan and DP Walla Pfister would agree that the only thing that's important is that the images look good -- not what was used to capture them.
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post #25 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 12:26 AM
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Speaking as a former employee of both Kodak and Technicolor, I would disagree. I was told by several of Kodak's top color scientists (OK, two of them) that at best, original camera negative had 6K, but it's dependent on a lot of factors. By the time it hit theaters, it was 2K at best. But the K might be the least-important aspect of picture quality.

Note that the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, and IATSE all ruled many years ago that "films" and "filmmaking" also include productions shot entirely digitally. "Film" and "Movie" are just words.

I'd guarantee that hundreds of shots in Interstellar have digital visual effects in them. I'm sure Chris Nolan and DP Walla Pfister would agree that the only thing that's important is that the images look good -- not what was used to capture them.
I don't know what the Guild's ruled, i know what IATSE ruled. I also know it depends on when, where, and who you learned with on what your calling it. I know they like saying "films" and "film making". And that in it's self, is a major source of confusion, when your running all digital cameras.

I was told film's biggest problem was the bright, white light that had to be used to display it, and other factors. I had a digital capture guy tell me one time he wished digital captured what film did, as it would make his job a lot easier.

I'm sure there is some form of digital added effects in there.

And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.
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post #26 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 12:58 AM
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I don't know what the Guild's ruled, i know what IATSE ruled. I also know it depends on when, where, and who you learned with on what your calling it.
Well, the only thing that matters is the contracts used in the last decade. IA Local 600, the camera operator/cinematographer guild (which is national), and the ASC (U.S. only) also just defines "motion picture" as being digital, tape, film, or file-based, which pretty much encompasses everything from a DSLR to an Instamatic to an Imax camera. It's whatever you want it to be. At Technicolor, I always used to say, "it doesn't matter what you shot it on; the only thing that matters is how it ends up." It's not unusual nowadays for one feature to be shot on five or six different kinds of cameras. Hell, I think they used everything from Imax to GoPros on the new Transformers movie, and even some film for the slow-mo.

They've had to be even more flexible in recent years, since quite a few major cinematographers have become "photographic consultants" for animated films. Look at the work Roger Deakins has done for Pixar, particularly with Up and Wall-E, as well as Puss in Boots and How to Train Your Dragon for Dreamworks. I'd say those have absolutely beautiful lighting, even though it's just "virtual" lighting without any real lights per se, and certainly no film. What's interesting is that Deakins prodded them into making all their "virtual" lenses follow the same physics as real lenses, so lens flares, shadows, light sources, and so on all still make sense and look real. Deakins has also got very good instincts and good taste for color, and he knows when to go for an intense look and when to dial it back and go normal. He's not a guy who has one style; he might have 50 different styles, regardless of whether it's on film or digital.

People like Deakins understand that the important thing is to preserve the film tradition, even though film itself is gone. A lot of that just involves understanding light, color, shadow, color, balance, composition, and all the basic photographic principles that have been around forever. Heck, one can make a good argument that the best film photography was influenced by fine art by the masters of the 1600s and 1700s.

There was a time 10 years ago when if I saw a movie captured in digital, it bothered me for the first 10 minutes and then I just got involved with the story and characters and forgot about it. Now, I don't give a crap as long as the lighting and basic image looks good. If they assault me with over-the-top orange & teal and all that crap, it doesn't matter what they shot it on; you can destroy great images many different ways nowadays. The end results really justify the means.
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post #27 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 02:05 AM
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The real issue to me is not whether the industry will use film or digital cameras, but the industry not being able to produce many good movies anymore. It all about CGI, explosions, fast cars, planes, or spaceships, with sub par scripts. And if you can slow motion them all together, well, you got yourself a hit.
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post #28 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 02:23 AM
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Well, the only thing that matters is the contracts used in the last decade. IA Local 600, the camera operator/cinematographer guild (which is national), and the ASC (U.S. only) also just defines "motion picture" as being digital, tape, film, or file-based, which pretty much encompasses everything from a DSLR to an Instamatic to an Imax camera..
I was at Universal when all the film or digital recording, or whatever you want to term it as, was going on full time. There were debates everywhere, the debates spilled over into coffee breaks, lunch, even the postman had an opinion on it. Yeah, i fell into what was dubbed the 40% crowd. To me it didn't matter what the finished product was termed. I mean there was still wide use of the term "Motion Picture", that and film goes hand in hand. Were i separated was how it was captured. I voiced my two cents on it. I did then and i still do now, that the correct terminology should be used for the cameras. And yes, that was over ridden to use "Film" or "Motion Picture" as a blanket term. So now you hear terms like "well today were "filming" with RED epics". No, your not technically filming, your recording. To me, that leads to massive confusion.

I can't remember what the first all digital capture and display content was i saw. I know it was a series of two or three minute shorts combined into a twenty minute showing. It was one of those start off with the 1900's type presentations an come to the future, before it was film, today it's digital. The entire presentation had this annoying blue hue to it, nothing about it looked better or real. The running joke that day was that it was supposed to be a film and digital presentation, to showcase the major differences between the two, but Greyhound had lost the film cans.

It has always been funny to me about the endless debate of film versus digital capture. The effects and audio departments never had that debate, it was a win, win for them. Digital does make special effects a lot more easily inserted, after the fact. Audio has seen leaps and bounds with digital. For me on the distribution and presentation side, it was a no brainier. Digital. Easy to ship, easy to use, easy to warehouse. It made my job a lot less stressful. However, my eyes say another story, they miss the natural fps that only film can do. With film your eyes get a break, with digital there is no break as your staring at the same 100% controlled image from stop to start.

Yes there has been some very good movies shot with both film and digital. And there is even more movies with a combination of the two like, Gravity, that used 65MM for the landing at the end, of a otherwise digital movie, "Motion Picture" lol.

And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.
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post #29 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 02:41 AM
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The real issue to me is not whether the industry will use film or digital cameras, but the industry not being able to produce many good movies anymore. It all about CGI, explosions, fast cars, planes, or spaceships, with sub par scripts. And if you can slow motion them all together, well, you got yourself a hit.
I think the studios are turning out more mixed content than ever before, regardless of how it's made. And box office receipts, support there doing something right.

And the payoff is never certain: Some observers contend that a generation has already been trained to be content with the small screen.
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post #30 of 221 Old 08-02-2014, 03:57 AM
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It's funny seeing people trying to dispel the myth that film isn't/wasn't way more expensive than ditigital. Anyone who produces independently will know.

If it comes down to choice, then fair enough. Shoot on the format that you feel is right for your production.

But consider this.

If these production companies are going to float the last remaining Kodak plant. How many millions will this be? And who is paying for it?

Right now, film is a massively astronomical expense, and with such a tiny support infrastructure for it, it will only get more expensive. Wether people like the format or not, or wether they would use it or not, it doesn't change the simple fact that. Film is dead.

As Marc said right at the beginning of the thread. The writing was on the wall a long time back. I started off in the music industry, where we seen the exact same transition. The film v digital argument, or lack of argument, is exactly the same as analogue v digital.

With high precision DACs and ADCs, high bitrates, high sample frequencies and massive CPU/GPU/DSL capabilities. No one in their right mind could possible argue that analogue is better, for music.

Once we are at the same level as the digital audio industry is at, with video/movie making. Then the word film will only exist as a generic term that describes what you see at the cinema, and not as a reference to celluloid.


Cheers,
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