Why is the Soap Opera Effect Considered Such A Bad Thing? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I've seen motion interpolation (such as Samsung's Auto Motion Plus or Sony's MotionFlow) on TVs in stores. To be honest, it looked amazing to me. People's faces shown on those sets seemed to jumped out at me in realism. I know this type of technology gets bashed a lot around here and I was just wondering why people don't like it? It gets called thr Soap Opera Effect. Is it one of those things that looks great in the store and then gets annoying an hour after you own it?

I guess what I really don't understand is why 24 FPS is considered better than the smoothed higher frame rates associated with motion interpolation. I understand that all movies are filmed on film at 24 FPS, but why is that better than if they were filmed using the same film at 60 FPS? Is it just an old standard that we are used to?

It just sounds silly to me that Soap Operas are recorded at a higher framerate (I understand that it is video, not film) than movies, and that framerate is a contributing factor to what makes them look cheaper.

I'm not be critical here...just trying to understand the science behind it.
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post #2 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 05:49 AM
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Its jarring, unnerving and unatural. It looks more like a slightly slow motion than anything else.

If you like it thats fine. everyone has a right to opinion. Its just that purists or people that like things to be right cant stand it. I for one cant stand it.

Sony does excellent interpolation that does not exhibit soap pera effect as long as you set thier settings properly.

Namely motionflow to standard, cinemotion to auto2.
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post #3 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 08:52 AM
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There are folks who do not want to watch a motion interpolated movie because of the fake frames involved, others don't like the look of motion interpolated movies.

On my 100Hz sony interpolation disturbes 2d stability when watching a movie, actually when watching movies/non movie material i see no need for motion smoothing - MotionFlow+Cinemotion auto1 - , i do see a need for better source material.

I do not like 24fps , when watching movies there are often unwatchable juddered scenes which distroys the whole movie experience, apparently movietheater projectors are able to 'hide'' these juddering while those of us who watch those movies at the house are screwed.

Maybe 48fps will be more kind to us homeviewers
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post #4 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 09:47 AM
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I think it relates to the familiar look of the CRT direct-view TVs that many people viewed when they were young. Most of the material presented was film source, displayed on 60Hz displays via Telecine.

Thus for most people, the unnatural motion of Telecined material, and the judder of a too-slow 24fps frame rate, looks familiar and comforting. As does the familiar soft glow of the colored phosphor dots on a plasma display.

For some of us who have made the paradigm shift where we judge a display by the comparision to real life as directly observed by our eyes, versus 24fps film on a 60Hz glowing phosphor display, there just is no comparison. Frame-interpolating displays with bright contrasty LCD panels are miles ahead in video quality, and the look of film on an old CRT is increasingly irrelevent.

Nowadays many movies originate on video and are entirely digital including home distribution and Home Theater display. Not to mention other digital video sources such as games and web video. The "look of film" is increasingly irrelevent in a digital world.

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post #5 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

The "look of film" is increasingly irrelevent in a digital world.

Not sure what you mean by "irrelevant", but many "old school" film directors, who are purist, still believe that film texture is an art form, despite the popularity of these new digital nuances.


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post #6 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 10:52 AM
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Gary makes a good point about the familiar look of a CRT film-based image. In January, I replaced my RCA HDCRT with a toshiba g300u as my primary TV. With 120hz and motion control on, the Toshiba does impart a detectable live or "soap opera" quality to film-based programming. With motion control off, the soap opera effect all but disappears. The moral is this: If you experience soap opera effect and don't like it, turn it(via the motion control) off. Dialing the refresh rate down to 60hz eliminates the live look altogether.

My preference is to leave the refresh rate at 120hz and enjoy a bright,ever-so-slightly-live rendition of a film. Occasionally, I miss the hyper-deep black level performance of my RCA HDCRT. Other than that, I'm wild about the performance of my Toshiba CCFL LCD. Don't fall for the specious arguement that plasma is the only technology that delivers superior blacks and the true film look.
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post #7 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

I think it relates to the familiar look of the CRT direct-view TVs that many people viewed when they were young. Most of the material presented was film source, displayed on 60Hz displays via Telecine.

Thus for most people, the unnatural motion of Telecined material, and the judder of a too-slow 24fps frame rate, looks familiar and comforting. As does the familiar soft glow of the colored phosphor dots on a plasma display.

For some of us who have made the paradigm shift where we judge a display by the comparision to real life as directly observed by our eyes, versus 24fps film on a 60Hz glowing phosphor display, there just is no comparison. Frame-interpolating displays with bright contrasty LCD panels are miles ahead in video quality, and the look of film on an old CRT is increasingly irrelevent.

Nowadays many movies originate on video and are entirely digital including home distribution and Home Theater display. Not to mention other digital video sources such as games and web video. The "look of film" is increasingly irrelevent in a digital world.

and some people prefer paintings over photography even though the paintings will still typically show more flaws while digitally enhanced photography can make things look much more perfect. They each have their benefits and some prefer one over the other and has nothing to do with what we are familiar with.
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post #8 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCA don View Post

Gary makes a good point about the familiar look of a CRT film-based image. In January, I replaced my RCA HDCRT with a toshiba g300u as my primary TV. With 120hz and motion control on, the Toshiba does impart a detectable live or "soap opera" quality to film-based programming. With motion control off, the soap opera effect all but disappears. The moral is this: If you experience soap opera effect and don't like it, turn it(via the motion control) off. Dialing the refresh rate down to 60hz eliminates the live look altogether.

My preference is to leave the refresh rate at 120hz and enjoy a bright,ever-so-slightly-live rendition of a film. Occasionally, I miss the hyper-deep black level performance of my RCA HDCRT. Other than that, I'm wild about the performance of my Toshiba CCFL LCD. Don't fall for the specious arguement that plasma is the only technology that delivers superior blacks and the true film look.

I have a Toshiba LCD and a Panasonic plasma. Recently my wife and I were watching a Harry Potter film, she was watching it on the LCD while I was viewing it on the Panny. We got into a argument as to which TV rendered a more accurate picture in terms of film quality.

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post #9 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

I have a Toshiba LCD and a Panasonic plasma. Recently my wife and I were watching a Harry Potter film, she was watching it on the LCD while I was viewing it on the Panny. We got into a argument as to which TV rendered a more accurate picture in terms of film quality.

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post #10 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 11:41 AM
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Well mailiang: which one won, the panasonic plasma or the Toshiba LCD? Or, have you learned the hard way like me: the wife always wins..even if she doesn't.
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post #11 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

I've seen motion interpolation (such as Samsung's Auto Motion Plus or Sony's MotionFlow) on TVs in stores. To be honest, it looked amazing to me. People's faces shown on those sets seemed to jumped out at me in realism. I know this type of technology gets bashed a lot around here and I was just wondering why people don't like it? It gets called thr Soap Opera Effect. Is it one of those things that looks great in the store and then gets annoying an hour after you own it?

I guess what I really don't understand is why 24 FPS is considered better than the smoothed higher frame rates associated with motion interpolation. I understand that all movies are filmed on film at 24 FPS, but why is that better than if they were filmed using the same film at 60 FPS? Is it just an old standard that we are used to?

It just sounds silly to me that Soap Operas are recorded at a higher framerate (I understand that it is video, not film) than movies, and that framerate is a contributing factor to what makes them look cheaper.

I'm not be critical here...just trying to understand the science behind it.

Legacies are hard to change because there are that many established hardware based on the old standard of 24fps.

But as long as the native is still 24fps, videophiles will still prefer to watch native to reduce artifacts. MCFI could have problems as well:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post18855859
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post #12 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCA don View Post

Well mailiang: which one won, the panasonic plasma or the Toshiba LCD? Or, have you learned the hard way like me: the wife always wins..even if she doesn't.

My wife's a trial attorney. Which one do you think?


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post #13 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 12:51 PM
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Case closed.
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post #14 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post
Frame-interpolating displays with bright contrasty LCD panels are miles ahead in video quality
Miles ahead? This is the nonsense that I cant stand. While I can respect some like A over B and others like B over A - why imply that your Opinion is fact and an obvious one at that. Just like windows or lights in the same room as a pdp. I have no problem that you found pdps in that environment to be not adequate - just don't tell everyone that they will also feel the same way when many people do not share your OPINION.

For example why is a painting valued at millions quite often but hardly any (if any) digital pictures are? How could that be? Perhaps there are some who value things differently than you do?
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post #15 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post
I have a Toshiba LCD and a Panasonic plasma. Recently my wife and I were watching a Harry Potter film, she was watching it on the LCD while I was viewing it on the Panny. We got into a argument as to which TV rendered a more accurate picture in terms of film quality.

Ian
Sorry Ian - If she is watching the same content in another room then I would say its safe to say--- "She is just not that into you!"
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post #16 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 03:17 PM
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Some avid movie goers definitly prefer the "24fps Judder" in theaters which is caused by displaying the 24fps film content at a 48 shutter speed. Wheras non theater goers are far more used to the higher 60fps content of TV video and therefore they lprefer SOE over 24fps Judder.
One of the problems is that the TV user's manuals are terible in describing how to set up your different display ports for the type of motion comensation you prefer since the manuals are a writers understanding of an engineers description. If you ask any of the US TV display program managers to explain the different setup options in english I bet stgrongly beleive that they will just repeat the worthless descriptions from their user manuals since the US CE associtation has not established any standard descriptions for the differeent PQ setting options.
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post #17 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serialmike View Post

Sony does excellent interpolation that does not exhibit soap pera effect as long as you set thier settings properly.

Namely motionflow to standard, cinemotion to auto2.

I agree with this comment. Motion Flow LOW on the vw90es SXRD projector, and Standard on the 46hx929 are both very nicely balanced refinements of the frame interpolation process. I only use High/Smooth for some 1st person shooters which have poor frame rates, like the Fallout series on XBOX.

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post #18 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebernazz View Post

Miles ahead? This is the nonsense that I cant stand. While I can respect some like A over B and others like B over A - why imply that your Opinion is fact and an obvious one at that. Just like windows or lights in the same room as a pdp. I have no problem that you found pdps in that environment to be not adequate - just don't tell everyone that they will also feel the same way when many people do not share your OPINION.

For example why is a painting valued at millions quite often but hardly any (if any) digital pictures are? How could that be? Perhaps there are some who value things differently than you do?

I maintain that "miles ahead" is very accurate when we are talking about two entirely different references for what constitutes "good".

One would be the look of an old NTSC direct-view SDTV, the other would be the real world.

Keep in mind, that the term "soap opera effect" was actually coined when those daytime dramas were shot directly on SD videotape. There is a pronounced difference, enough to see even in such a poor media. I understand why some directors prefer film when the intent is to display a film print in a theater. But so many movies get mastered digitally today that "the look of film" is hardly ever a factor. The facts are, the film infrastructure is rapidly disappearing from both Hollywood, and the local theater.

Thus the preferences of some old school directors hardly matter. If they want to work, and are not independantly wealthy, they will begin making movies on video. I predict that within a decade, few if any movies will be even partially sourced from film, and all will be digitally mastered. A decade after that, film projection will be a quaint technology from the past, on display in museums.

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post #19 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Thus the preferences of some old school directors hardly matter.

You mean like Quentin Tarantino?

Quote:


I predict that within a decade, few if any movies will be even partially sourced from film, and all will be digitally mastered. A decade after that, film projection will be a quaint technology from the past, on display in museums.


Then that day, will be a sad day, for many of us.



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post #20 of 357 Old 05-21-2011, 10:17 PM
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"Miles Ahead" in your OPINION. Nothing more, nothing less. Of no more value than mine. I think it's crap.

People are free to set their panels up as they like. What I find irritating is statement like that that some will take seriously, and use the crappy interpolated images and tell everyone under the sun that is how a movie should look. Bunk.

Having a computer "Guess" what the next image should look like and then "Create" it out of a mish mash of information is nothing more than the latest gimmick. It was simply invented to hide the shortcomings of LCD panels, and that is the only reason it still is used. Now somehow it's become the way things should look? Get real -- something an interpolated image on a panel will never do.
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post #21 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 03:55 AM
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You display a total misunderstanding of the technology. Computers do not "guess". They do not think. They only execute code. When a video processor interpolates a frame between two original source frames, the stationary part of the frame is unchanged. The interpolated position of moving objects is halfway between the two source frames.

I grant you, there is an infinitismal but definately non-zero chance that in between the two source frames, that moving object danced around and sung a show tune. But in my experience - and considering Newton's laws of motion - the interpolated position halfway betwen the two known recorded positions has always been correct. The extra frames provide a smoothness of motion almost like real life - and not very much like the 100-year-old look of film, or the peculiar distortion of a 24fps film source embedded in a 60Hz video signal via Telecine.

The video processor can also "clean up" the leading and trailing edges of the moving object, and considerably reduce the blur caused by an object in continuous motion, recorded by a mechanical film shutter that has to remain open long enough to expose a frame of film.

Video that is recorded with very fast electronic shutters at high frame rates is often criticised as being "too real". I call total BS. Such video more closely resembles the smooth motion and minimal blur of real life motion.

I called it a paradigm shift, and it is indeed such. It may be that some people are incapable of making such a shift, and appreciating the new standard of comparison that has replaced film. But some of us did so years ago, and would not ever consider going back to the antiquated look of film.

By the way, I don't have any problem with someone who prefers film to video, or vacuum tube audio to solid state, or evaporated milk over fresh milk, or riding a horse and buggy instead of a car. Different strokes.

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post #22 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 05:14 AM
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It's not hard to understand why people prefer to view something the way it was intended. When you have more artificial frames than original, there's bound to be disagreements. The technique is also far from perfect.
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post #23 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

You display a total misunderstanding of the technology. Computers do not "guess". They do not think. They only execute code. When a video processor interpolates a frame between two original source frames, the stationary part of the frame is unchanged. The interpolated position of moving objects is halfway between the two source frames.

And where does the code come from? GOD? Its algorithms written by people (like me)that are not all equal. Some do better at it than others but in any event it may or may not be a match to what it would have been if the source contained it.
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post #24 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 07:08 AM
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Some thoughts:
1. AFAIK today's digital filming equipement can shoot at various resolutrions and frame rates. So a studio today can use make a digital Movie useing 1080p/60, 1080p/24,1080i/60 etc. The resolutions and frame rate choices for using film media instead of digital tape media are less and are more expensive for equivalent content.
2. Unless frame interpolation algorithims can not properly track the trajectory of a moving object instead simply using the assumption that it is linear between any pair of frames does not always produce realistic interpolated positions.
3. Frame interpolation can also produce position artifacts as the size of the object get smaller. This is why many of the implementations allow you to very the size of the objects for which interpolation is applied instead of just using one of the two locations.
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post #25 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 07:47 AM
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This camera will surely kill the film.It has better low light capability,it has a much higher color gamut then film.
http://www.eoshd.com/content/609-Fil...t-the-Sony-F65

As far todays lcd they have the option to get soap opera effect,they can also be adjusted down and yet achieve 1080lines of motion resolution and remove judder without causing the soap opera effect.
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post #26 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebernazz View Post

Its algorithms written by people (like me)that are not all equal. Some do better at it than others but in any event it may or may not be a match to what it would have been if the source contained it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

2. Unless frame interpolation algorithims can not properly track the trajectory of a moving object instead simply using the assumption that it is linear between any pair of frames does not always produce realistic interpolated positions.

+1 if you try to interpolate 0deg and 180deg on a sine curve you get a straight line which is obviously incorrect. And the fact that our brain can identify SOE demonstrate that the brain is telling us that it is wrong and unrealistic. OTOH our brain is more gracious to animation interpolation because we know it is fake anyway. Our brain is actually quite smart

The irony is that the error term is much higher for low frame rate interpolation, because information is quite discrete rather than continuous; while OTOH higher frame rate interpolation will be more realistic yet defeat the purpose for MCFI
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post #27 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

Some thoughts:
1. AFAIK today's digital filming equipement can shoot at various resolutrions and frame rates. So a studio today can use make a digital Movie useing 1080p/60, 1080p/24,1080i/60 etc. The resolutions and frame rate choices for using film media instead of digital tape media are less and are more expensive for equivalent content.

the advantage of using analogue film is that u can do a 2k,4k or even 8k scan as per demand, but u will have trouble improving resolution if u film in 1080p.

Then we will be debating about resolution interpolation
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post #28 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

By the way, I don't have any problem with someone who prefers film to video, or vacuum tube audio to solid state, or evaporated milk over fresh milk, or riding a horse and buggy instead of a car. Different strokes.

I just believe that film as a genre, would face elimination, if it were to be converted to video entirely. There should be room for both. After all, some of the best amps today are vacuum tube and there has been a trend from some manufacturers to produce solid state devices that offer a similar sound quality. The less choices we have as consumers, when it comes to artistic appeal, the less freedom we have culturally. Horse and buggy? Please, I'm not that old Gary!



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post #29 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 09:31 AM
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I'll even agree with that - it would be nice if we had both. But the cold hard facts are that you can produce a digital movie with the same crew in about 3/4ths the time as when using bulky film cameras, and then post-produce in the digital realm with 1/4 the number of people.

The only time a digital movie comes close to employing the same number of people is in a massive production such as Cameron's Avatar. Even then, many of those folks whom you see in the several minutes of screen credits were developing the tech used, and won't be needed on Avatar II.

Film movie capture and film distribution cost too much. That is why the same number of people who used to make one film can now make three. That is why you find movies produced and directed by people who in the past were simply crew members. That is why we are glutted with poorly made low budget movies. The eventual fate of Hollywood is to continue to make movies with 1/4th the number of people who used to be employed.

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post #30 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Film movie capture and film distribution cost too much. That is why the same number of people who used to make one film can now make three. That is why you find movies produced and directed by people who in the past were simply crew members. That is why we are glutted with poorly made low budget movies. The eventual fate of Hollywood is to continue to make movies with 1/4th the number of people who used to be employed.


It's funny you say that. I was an actor here in the east and then became a production assistant in LA. I left the business years ago because of poor job security. I can only imagine what it's like today.


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