Cam Man's Cinematography Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys and gals. I thought it might be fun to begin a thread that features cinematography from both the technical and creative aspects. It's always been a fascinating subject, but with the amazing advances in the digital age, I thought you might enjoy having a place where we can post things of interest, and comment. I thought of this after having a number of fun conversations in this forum about Oblivion and the new Star Wars feature to be shot on film. As I researched around, I found there was so much to talk about, but I didn't want to steer off the topic. So, the best thing to do is create a thread for the topic. We will focus (no pun) on capture/shoot and post...because they are now more interwoven than ever.

My two decades + career as a feature film and TV camera operator and director of photography was mostly in the "photochemical era," but has been transitioning into the digital world for about a decade now. Needless to say, I have had a strong bias. I used to think that the original film image was always going to be the benchmark which digital images might approach someday. Even 35mm going to a DI and digital cinema looks great. A couple of years ago, and especially in the last year, I've seen digital cameras do things that I could never have believed; they can actually do a number of things better than film. Heresy! biggrin.gif

Yes, I have a favorite digital camera, but I see digital cameras as being just different enough to make them useful. By that I mean that the idiocyncracies of digital cameras have become somewhat like film stocks. You might choose one or the other because of how you and the director may see it fits your film's subject and vision best. So, let me discourage camera flame wars. Bring examples and let us all see.

Those of you who work in the biz are also welcomed to contribute and correct me when I'm not accurate or incomplete.

Let me start a new reply post now, so that we can light this candle! biggrin.gif
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post #2 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Just when you thought you knew what you saw (or thought had been shot).

Some of you may have heard me somewhere talking about digital capture and how "conservative" you have to shoot...to stay within the exposure latitude of the camera...which ensures that there is maximum latitude to refine the image in post.

In the past, the reference monitor on the set had a pretty ho-hum looking image on it. It was spooking directors and making life difficult for directors of photography (DP) to explain. "Trust me." rolleyes.gif Today, a LUT is created early by the DP, Digital Imaging Tech (DIT), and colorist. That is applied upstream of the on-set monitor.

Here is an excellent demonstration of the evolution of the shot. Note how blah the camera original looks. This is also a great example of how it has become much more important for the DP to remain much more involved in post grading than in the past. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnuUtGFwcKI
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post #3 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 06:33 PM
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Okay I'll jump in with both feet. I don't think the analog film/photo will never have to worry about a digital copy reaching the point of equivilance. As soon as you take any analog media (film/negative/slide) and create a digital representation you begin to put limits on every parameter observed. How many megapixels does it take to replace one eyeball?? Printers use the 4CP method (four color process, magenta, cyan, yellow and black) and seldom have to go beyond 750 DPI. The size of the capture device(s) or CCD element, often the three colors for television RGB are split into three different elements. Building a flat plane sensor the size of a 110 film size is a huge device and quite delicate. Without the huge size, overall elements like lenses have to be treated far different than film lenses. I don't like my pictures to look like they werel taken through a porthole.
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post #4 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 10:32 PM
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(Cam Man) with your experience, I don't think anyone on this forum is qualified to deem you inaccurate or incomplete. That being said, despite no extensive experience or knowledge of the biz, I can usually (but not always) tell a digital project from a filmed one.

I've only done a few short projects on DV tape and am looking forward to expanding someday, so this info is fascinating as well as informative.

"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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post #5 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rezzy View Post

(Cam Man) with your experience, I don't think anyone on this forum is qualified to deem you inaccurate or incomplete. That being said, despite no extensive experience or knowledge of the biz, I can usually (but not always) tell a digital project from a filmed one.

I've only done a few short projects on DV tape and am looking forward to expanding someday, so this info is fascinating as well as informative.

Thank you, but sometimes I stray into areas that I'm not well-informed...and someone who is can help.

Regarding being able to see the difference between the two every time, you might well be a better man than me. There are tell-tale signs that I look for, but even they are getting tougher to spot. The biggest giveaway for digital is clipping. Even the best of the new digital cameras can be pushed beyond their limits, therefore not recoverable in post. I might spot a clipped spot before final grading, but it's really getting tough to spot if it's mild. The video above on grading demonstrates why that is so. There is a shot or two where the background is in full sunlight and clipping slightly. They manipulate the image with such precision as to camoflage that almost completely.

I also find that I am starting to get used to less "film grain" in digital images, and liking it. Conversely, that means that I notice film grain more on film. Grain is very fine on film these days...until you get way out in the toe and heel (extremes of exposure). That is where, for instance, the F65 has made huge strides. Others may also be doing better, but I just don't have much info specifically on them, and my eye is really sensitive to what the image does in low light. Film can get gnarly. So can some digital.

I also find that something of a giveaway on digital is the "perfection" of the image. In that grading video above, they first show the finished product. It's gorgeous! Then they show you that it has been significantly manipulated to get there. The raw capture cannot be that pristine. The colorist is basically doing exposure changes on the fly to isolated areas of the shot, for Pete's sake. Of course, much of the same can be done in the DI of a film shoot.
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post #6 of 56 Old 01-22-2014, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Over on the Oblivion and Star Wars to be Shot on Film threads we've been talking a bit about cinematography. Oblivion really made me sit up and take notice like no other digitally shot film yet had. I'm a little bit of a fan boy for the F65, but not to the exclusion of the other digital cameras such as the REDs and Alexas. Since the images in Oblivion's photography got my attention so, I've been researching the F65 more heavily. I will confess that I favor the larger size/mass of the F65 and Alexa. Small, light cameras create their own issues for the operator. Newton's First Law is more sensitive with a smaller camera, and their weight can make balance a little wanky. Because of their greater mass, the F65 and Alexa are inherently more physically stable.

Here are a couple of videos where industry folks talk about their experience on their shoots. The first is the most informative technically. The colorist speaks specifically to characteristics that caught my eye in a big way when seeing Oblivion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yhu-UjpVx0

The second is a pitch by Sony for the F65 which is an interview with the DP of Oblivion. He clearly thinks some of the questions are silly. Although less informative, there are a few tid-bits of interesting info. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfRK6XsI_Sc

Thoughts?

Maybe somebody can provide similar videos for other camera systems and post here for us. smile.gif
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post #7 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjd420nova View Post

The size of the capture device(s) or CCD element, often the three colors for television RGB are split into three different elements.
CCD sensors are only used in Brodcast cameras and is dissapearing from them to, to the advantage of CMOS sensors.

Non of the new digital cinema camera use CCD sensors.
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Building a flat plane sensor the size of a 110 film size is a huge device and quite delicate. Without the huge size, overall elements like lenses have to be treated far different than film lenses. I don't like my pictures to look like they werel taken through a porthole.
I don't know if you just miss spelled "110", but that is not a large film format (13 mm × 17 mm (0.51 in × 0.67 in).
Most digital cinema cameras today use sensors that are similar in size to Super 35mm film (24.89 mm × 18.66 mm (0.980 in × 0.735 in), approximately same size as APS-C sensors in digital stills cameras.

Some cameras use even larger sensors like 27.7mm x 14.6mm and 30.7mm x 15.8mm, but there will be a limit in size for regular cameras due to lens coverage.
Specialized cameras in the future will have sensors equal to Medium Format film and 70mm film, but then the availability of lenses that can cover these will be very limited.
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Originally Posted by Cam Man View Post

Over on the Oblivion and Star Wars to be Shot on Film threads we've been talking a bit about cinematography. Oblivion really made me sit up and take notice like no other digitally shot film yet had. I'm a little bit of a fan boy for the F65, but not to the exclusion of the other digital cameras such as the REDs and Alexas. Since the images in Oblivion's photography got my attention so, I've been researching the F65 more heavily. I will confess that I favor the larger size/mass of the F65 and Alexa. Small, light cameras create their own issues for the operator. Newton's First Law is more sensitive with a smaller camera, and their weight can make balance a little wanky. Because of their greater mass, the F65 and Alexa are inherently more physically stable.
All cameras used for cinematography becomes large and heavy when they are fully rigged, so you don't have a very good argument. smile.gif

What cameras like F65 and the largest Alexa models can't do is downsizing to fit into capturing shots where a big camera can't be used like you can with a Red or a Canon C500.

How do you fit so many F65s or Alexas into a helicopter gimbal when you need aerial 15K resolution VFX backplates? biggrin.gif
CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 75

Quote:
Thoughts?

Maybe somebody can provide similar videos for other camera systems and post here for us. smile.gif
The F65 has a remarkable good sensor (maybe the best sensor at the moment until Red Dragon sensor is completed) , but one reason it is not used very much is the large size and weight.

Most DPs seems to prefer Alexa for features, which is really sad, because so many movies are shot on Alexa and non of them will ever be able to released as true 4K movies.

So choice of camera and superior image quality seems to mean very little to DPs compared to ease of use and unwillingness to learn something new.

Post production "guru" Michael Cioni recently released a video where he has some thoughts about digital workflow and showing some of the newest tools used today. Worth a look for those that is interested in the subject of where digital movie production.

Sampling Technology: Examining Noteworthy Innovations in Production & Post.

From Michael Cioni:
I have been consistently asked to consult for companies over the years and enjoy evaluating tools and their impact on the creative process as part of my role as a filmmaker and facility owner. I can see my fingerprints and those of my partners in many of the tools professionals use. But when companies want endorsements, I never really know how to do that well. This case study is my attempt at un-marketed information. These are simply examples of technology I particularly enjoy working with. But this video was done without the consent or request of any of the associated companies mentioned.
• No company saw an edit before I uploaded it
• No company contracted me to do this in any way
• I was not paid for any of this information

Sampling Technology: Examining Noteworthy Innovations in Production & Post.
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post #8 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 10:38 AM
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Omg this thread is a DREAM for me.

Lappin' it up guys. Keep it coming. smile.gif
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post #9 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

All cameras used for cinematography becomes large and heavy when they are fully rigged, so you don't have a very good argument. smile.gif

All I can say is "walk a mile in my shoes." Yes, they rig even small cameras out to me wanky giants. But the F65 form is not wanky, therefore easier managed.
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Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

What cameras like F65 and the largest Alexa models can't do is downsizing to fit into capturing shots where a big camera can't be used like you can with a Red or a Canon C500.

Amongst Sony cameras, the F55 is begining to fill those shoes some. But your point is exactly why I/we can't write off other cameras.
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Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

How do you fit so many F65s or Alexas into a helicopter gimbal when you need aerial 15K resolution VFX backplates? biggrin.gif
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LOL. That's great! biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolscan View Post

Most DPs seems to prefer Alexa for features, which is really sad, because so many movies are shot on Alexa and non of them will ever be able to released as true 4K movies.

So choice of camera and superior image quality seems to mean very little to DPs compared to ease of use and unwillingness to learn something new.

That's a shallow conclusion when there are more factors that define "superior image quality" than resolution. Many other camera performance charateristics come into play. DPs are prioritizing. Lazy DPs don't get much work. wink.gif

I look forward to viewing the video you posted!
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post #10 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Omg this thread is a DREAM for me.

Lappin' it up guys. Keep it coming. smile.gif

+1. I love these technical discussions. I am out of my depth in all of them, but I enjoy getting a look into the world of technical matters w/r/t audio and video. Sometimes I can follow the gist of it, but even when it mostly goes over my head, I am happy to watch it go by.

Thanks, Cam Man, for starting it, and thanks to everyone who participates.
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post #11 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 11:59 AM
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Cam Man, perhaps you can weigh in on a topic of discussion in the Oscars thread. Should a movie like Gravity that's 90% CGI with only the live action faces of the actors composited onto the image really be eligible for the "Best Cinematography" Oscar? At what point does cinematography end and animation begin?

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post #12 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Excellent submission, Coolscan! The author seems a bit frustrated, and seems to suggest his logic path is unique. It's not in my experience. I'll only speak for production, specifically the cinematography and DP. There have always been two essential factors for work: 1. Do the best work you can possibly do, and...2. Make the day (stay on schedule). I have known a few cranky old timer DPs who would definately resist these new capabilities, but 98% are always searching for whatever makes the two essential factors come together best for them. Much of what the author and the video propose is already moving like a freight train through the industry. It is even common now for the DP to be communicating with the colorist about today's work and dailies...from his iPad!

Here's an example. In the video I linked above about color grading I see some strong benefits the sophisticated grading tools can bring to my two essential factors. It's late in the day, so the exterior light looks gorgeous, but that also means we don't have much time. Part of the set in in shade, and part of the surrounding geography is in full sun; challenging for film and digital. I don't have the time to drag out a big light and grip package to pump up the stop in the shadow where there actress is. I'll just fly a 12 x 12 silk to soften the sunlight on her, expose the highlights safely, and I'll keep the silk close enough to the actress to keep her at a good exposure. I'll tweak it beyond that in post, and we'll finish the scene on time. That's good use of old technology tools, new technology tools, experience, time, and work flow.

I would disagree with the author in one respect. He has shaped his logic path on what is comfortable for him. He has little value for some (highly useful) past/traditional techniques because he's, frankly too young to have the experience with them. Much can be taken from the past and interwoven with the new technologies and work flows to make a superior product. The trick is to have the wisdom to know how to take all the tools in the tool kit (past, present, and future) and make them work best for you. It is a period of transition. The author seems to not want a period of transition. Often a transition that is too fast can get very bumpy, creating all kinds of unintended "consequences." Regardless of one's perspective on the subject, look at the sweeping changes being attempted in other fields. Sometimes phasing change with checks and evaluation along the way is a good thing.

Such very cool stuff, huh?! Thank again for that video.
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post #13 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:27 PM
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Like I said before, I used to love film but after seeing the F65 ..wow! That plus what the Arri Alexa has been spitting out has shocked me! For Sci-Fis I used to like the Red's look but after seeing the F65...hmmm

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #14 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Cam Man, perhaps you can weigh in on a topic of discussion in the Oscars thread. Should a movie like Gravity that's 90% CGI with only the live action faces of the actors composited onto the image really be eligible for the "Best Cinematography" Oscar? At what point does cinematography end and animation begin?

Josh...great questions. Let me ponder that a while and come back.
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post #15 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Cam Man View Post

Josh...great questions. Let me ponder that a while and come back.

While we're loading you up: do you study the techniques of past decades? And what do you suppose viewers of the future will most notice about contemporary movies ("Oh, that's so 2011...")

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post #16 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:45 PM
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Josh...great questions. Let me ponder that a while and come back.

Ha! I'm happy to have stumped the veteran industry pro!

Related to this, I once had an argument with someone about whether motion-capture movies like The Polar Express were "animation" or not. He argued that they weren't, because real actors were photographed on a stage for reference before their faces and bodies were completely drawn over with CGI. This seems patently absurd to me. If The Polar Express isn't animation, what is it... live action? The only rational answer here is that mo-cap is a form of animation, not much different from rotoscoping. Regardless of whether live actors were used for reference, the ultimate result that appears on screen is animation. My opponent blew a gasket at the suggestion of that.

This was in reference to Avatar winning the cinematography Oscar. I complained that Avatar was as much animation as live action, and much of what the Academy credited as cinematography was CGI.

The Academy had previously defined motion-capture as animation when it nominated Monster House for Best Animated Feature in 2007.

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post #17 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:48 PM
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While we're loading you up: do you study the techniques of past decades? And what do you suppose viewers of the future will most notice about contemporary movies ("Oh, that's so 2011...")

Teal & orange, no doubt. Viewers a few decades from now will look back on movies from our era and wonder what the hell we were thinking with all this hideously gaudy coloring we do to movies today.

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post #18 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Ha! I'm happy to have stumped the veteran industry pro!

Related to this, I once had an argument with someone about whether motion-capture movies like The Polar Express were "animation" or not. He argued that they weren't, because real actors were photographed on a stage for reference before their faces and bodies were completely drawn over with CGI. This seems patently absurd to me. If The Polar Express isn't animation, what is it... live action? The only rational answer here is that mo-cap is a form of animation, not much different from rotoscoping. Regardless of whether live actors were used for reference, the ultimate result that appears on screen is animation. My opponent blew a gasket at the suggestion of that.

This was in reference to Avatar winning the cinematography Oscar. I complained that Avatar was as much animation as live action, and much of what the Academy credited as cinematography was CGI.

The Academy had previously defined motion-capture as animation when it nominated Monster House for Best Animated Feature in 2007.

Good additional point.

As for "stumping," I just owe you a thoughtful response...which I don't have time for at the moment. wink.gif
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post #19 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Teal & orange, no doubt. Viewers a few decades from now will look back on movies from our era and wonder what the hell we were thinking with all this hideously gaudy coloring we do to movies today.

And commericals. What are they thinking with the cyan bias of the Viagra commericals? confused.gif
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 01:14 PM
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I have known a few cranky old timer DPs who would definately resist these new capabilities, but 98% are always searching for whatever makes the two essential factors come together best for them.
Unfortunatly, what I have seen reported back over the years, "98%" of DPs are not challenging themselves with new tools. Most seems to try and stick to whatever works easiest within what they have learned when they where shooting film, which means Alexa.

Example from the new Star Wars movie. The DP, Daniel Mindel, has never shot a digital movie. He also managed to talk the production of The Amazing Spiderman 2 to shoot on film even though the first one was shot digitally.
He now wants to shoot Star Wars on film, even though he knows that it will have a IMAX version and should need all the resolution it can have and would be better shot on Red Dragon or F65.
Quote:
Much of what the author and the video propose is already moving like a freight train through the industry. It is even common now for the DP to be communicating with the colorist about today's work and dailies...from his iPad!
I think you greatly underestimate Michael Cioni.
Much of what you have heard about the latest in digital production/post-production was developed by Cioni and his colleges.
If you ask anybody in the industry who has developed and influenced digital workflow, I believe they who knows anything about it will point to Cioni.

He is in the forefront and was probably the first one to develop the iPad apps for on-set tools like the one he demonstrate in the video.

He is also behind the post-production workflow in 2011 of first (and maybe still the only?) digital shot feature that had a full 4K end-to-end workflow throughout and was released in 4K. (David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)

Michael Cioni is the co-founder of Light Iron post production company.

CreativeCow article on the workflow; http://library.creativecow.net/kaufman_debra/The-Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo/1
Cioni's blog on the workflow; http://michaelcioni.tumblr.com/post/14725750331/4k-digital-intermediate
His blog is worth a look-through for anybody that are interested in the latest in digital movie production technology.
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Teal & orange, no doubt. Viewers a few decades from now will look back on movies from our era and wonder what the hell we were thinking with all this hideously gaudy coloring we do to movies today.

The Summer Blockbuster Colour Grading Tutorial. Now you can do it too. biggrin.gif
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I thought Star Wars wasn't going to get an IMAX release?

Also I remember reading how R. Deakins did try the Red and the Alexa and found the Alexa to his liking but still thought the Red was good. Really depends on what the DP prefers I guess

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post #23 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 01:22 PM
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I got to play around with the Red Epic last week (LMU) and thought it was a nicely built camera but I wasn't really liking what I was getting with it. I'll play with it some more later on this weekend.

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

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post #24 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 01:40 PM
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For all you camera guys, do you remember the name of that one company (mainly makes sensors) that released the first digital cinema camera? The original model was HUGE! But they eventually made a smaller one but Red by than had released their camera first.

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #25 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, where to start?
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Unfortunatly, what I have seen reported back over the years, "98%" of DPs are not challenging themselves with new tools. Most seems to try and stick to whatever works easiest within what they have learned when they where shooting film, which means Alexa.

I think there is cause to question whether what some are saying is that the DPs in question are not immediately jumping on board with the philosophy, products, and agenda that the person in judgement favors. Again, I think that most upper tier DPs are thoughtful guys who love tech and progress, but are careful and wish to transition rather than jump into sweeping fundemental change. I don't see how the Alexa is the default choice for those you describe. Seems it would be other digital cameras from time to time...right? Unless maybe there's something they see that you and others don't in the image quality. That's kinda what they get paid for.

I'll even cite a few examples of problems that exist in the new workflow environment. First is the DIT tent (or on-set monitor). Directors and DPs are spending tons of extra time in the DIT tent futzing with lighting, etc. Many DPs (even some coming from film) light using a monitor. They literally will stand at the monitor, study, then go out on the set with the grips and juicers to do some work...then return to see the result. Repeat many times. Then add the director and DIT putting their two bits in on lighting. Big slow down.

DPs who came from film can work lightning fast in the digital world with their old-school tool, the light meter. They only need to know the camera well in terms of latitude, and come having done their homework ("We're gonna shoot this work tonight out here at a 2. We won't need every light on the truck, and the depth of field will be great.). I, and guys like me, can go onto a set and light up a storm, getting the great majority of the work done, then go to the calibrated monitor to see if any tweaking needs to be done. "Add a single to the fill and let's shoot. Ready!" That's an example of using a skill that only came from working with a medium that you had to know to do your job. I don't need a monitor to tell my experienced eye that something in the bg is too hot. I can control/maintain scene to scene consistency of exposure and contrast with meter discipline. It's a skill that can be learned by guys who have come up in the digital world, but too many feel it's too time consuming to learn it. The monitor crutch is too seductive. Now who's not embracing something that helps the efficiency of the production?

I also see some DPs coming up through digital rather lazy about some things. They might choose to not do something on the set that they really should with the excuse that they can fix it it post. As long as they are right, fine. But it's a bad habit, IMO. Take for instance the shot in the grading video I linked to. There is a shot that dollys along with the actress. She is not in sunlight, but the cliff face in the bg is...and it's just a little clipped in a spot or two. The colorist saw this and went to work to fix it. You can't fix clipping in post; you can only camoflage it. One tool he used was an electronic grad (filter) in the top half of the shot to take down the cliff face a stop or so. I, and every DP I know working in digital who came from film, would immediately see that cliff face as a potential problem...and put an ND grad filter on the camera to do that on the set. It cost no time or money. Zero clipping. No tell-tale signs it's digital. Better...IMO.
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Example from the new Star Wars movie. The DP, Daniel Mindel, has never shot a digital movie. He also managed to talk the production of The Amazing Spiderman 2 to shoot on film even though the first one was shot digitally.
He now wants to shoot Star Wars on film, even though he knows that it will have a IMAX version and should need all the resolution it can have and would be better shot on Red Dragon or F65.
I think you greatly underestimate Michael Cioni.

I personally agree that the decision to shoot the movie on film is a mistake. I would not recommend it if I were interviewed for the job. Maybe he's one like you suggest. Or maybe he has something unique to his lighting that JJ likes, and JJ holds that in higher regard. It's impossible for us to know.

Regarding underestimating Mr. Cioni...not at all. I give him kudos for all the many positives he is offering. I just got the vibe that he underestimates guys like me....and the philosophies and techniques I have described above. I think he is pound wise and penny foolish if he indeed does so. smile.gif I'm not saying the "old ways" are better. I'm saying some of the old ways still work wonders in the new digital world.
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Thanx for starting this thread, Cam Man.
It's great to have you posting regularly.

I probably won't be posting in your thread very much.
The subject, and your expertise, is beyond my very rudimentary understanding of cameras and their tech.
But I will be reading, and hopefully will be learning a bit here and there. smile.gif

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post #27 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanx for starting this thread, Cam Man.
It's great to have you posting regularly.

I probably won't be posting in your thread very much.
The subject, and your expertise, is beyond my very rudimentary understanding of cameras and their tech.
But I will be reading, and hopefully will be learning a bit here and there. smile.gif

Glad you made it over, Oink. I'm able to get in here right now, but I'll have to come and go with the schedule. Frankly, a lot of it is getting to be a handful to keep up with. Hopefully, some of the videos will actually be entertaining. redface.gif
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post #28 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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The Summer Blockbuster Colour Grading Tutorial. Now you can do it too. biggrin.gif

Another really interesting video. I'm not sure how many folks here will have the patience to sit through it.

Although the creative post production flexiblity the technology enables is amazing, I must cross over to the creative side...and ask some questions?

All that work...and why? For what? I'll go out on a limb and say that if the filmmaker or somebody can't provide a reason for such a look, then it's nothing more than self-indulgent nonsense; busy work. When I see these looks, I know they've been messing with the original in a big way. No film stock looks that bad unless it's old and was subjected to bad conditions after exposure on the way to the lab. If it's digital capture, I guess all bets are off. Maybe Kodak can re-capture some market share by creating some nasty looking stocks that will deliver such a look. Sorry; couldn't resist. redface.gif

I find it really interesting that Juan shows us the original footage...which looks really good. Consider the shots from Ghost Protocol. Imagine how the production designer, wardrobe people, and set designers and even makeup feel about this. They work their butts off to deliver fine, well thought out work...and then the color is drastically changed in post...for a creative motivation that I know of no stated benefit. It's just "the look."

Is there an "integrity line" anywhere that we must realize and acknowledge we're crossing? Just asking? What say you?
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Is there an "integrity line" anywhere that we must realize and acknowledge we're crossing? Just asking? What say you?

I've always thought of those knob twiddlers as evil, pure and simple, but I scarcely have a right to an opinion. I do sometimes wonder why I bother to calibrate the display. So I can watch Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD in it's colorized glory?

(Honestly: you get an older natural color film and it all seems worthwhile).

My question: who makes this happen? Someone writes the checks. Why?

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post #30 of 56 Old 01-23-2014, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Cam Man, perhaps you can weigh in on a topic of discussion in the Oscars thread. Should a movie like Gravity that's 90% CGI with only the live action faces of the actors composited onto the image really be eligible for the "Best Cinematography" Oscar? At what point does cinematography end and animation begin?

I don't know enough about the shooting of Gravity to answer specifically to that title. I have the ICG issue about it, but haven't dug into it. I think it is time for two catagories: Cinematography (meaning live-action or originating with live action) and Animatography (meaning purely or nearly all originating in animation). In the case of Gravity and films even like Avatar, I guess it should depend on how much influence the DP has in the lighting thoughout the shoot and post. Tough questions to answer, but good for discussion. smile.gif
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While we're loading you up: do you study the techniques of past decades? And what do you suppose viewers of the future will most notice about contemporary movies ("Oh, that's so 2011...")

-Bill

Oh yes, from a kid through college to today. As for the second question, see posts #17 and #28 for the bad. There's also a lot of good. All IMO, of course. Today I look at things like Skyfall and Oblivion, and admire/aspire. I see things like the examples in the video in post #21 and similar treatments and I am distracted by their excess and obvious over-manipulation.
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post

I've always thought of those knob twiddlers as evil, pure and simple, but I scarcely have a right to an opinion. I do sometimes wonder why I bother to calibrate the display. So I can watch Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD in it's colorized glory?

(Honestly: you get an older natural color film and it all seems worthwhile).

My question: who makes this happen? Someone writes the checks. Why?

-Bill

Those are brilliant questions, Bill. Any takers?
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