Originally Posted by RobertR
I've always favored film over digital when it comes to ultimate quality, but I have to say that the BRs of Game of Thrones
(shot on an Arri Alexa) look utterly, spectacularly gorgeous. Everything about the cinematography- lighting, contrast, textures, details, shadow detail, etc. looks wonderful. My understanding is that the Alexa uses a 3.5k sensor with very dynamic range, and was designed with the goal of yielding images that look like 35mm film. Of course, I was watching a downres to 108op on a 65" plasma, but it does make me curious how it would look on a full size movie screen at full resolution.
Since digital is constantly improving and getting cheaper, what I like to speculate is that maybe in the not too distant future, digital cameras and theatrical projectors will be able to match the resolution of 70 mm film without the cost disadvantages. One can dream...
I've been saying for a long time that DYNAMIC range is pretty much the biggest factor between video and film. Camera manufacturers seemed to be intentionally avoiding improving dynamic range much, and instead opting for more megapixels....because us consumers love our super duper megapixels and high rez video. lol.
To me, it's been about achieving more range between light and dark. Super 35mm Kodak film Vision 3 is upto 15 claimed stops of dynamic range. The Arri Alexa is about 14 stops natively. This is why it looks so great. A typical camcorder from a couple years ago probably achieved 6 or 7 stops and probably not much more even now. A good DSLR like the Canon T2i, 7D and 5D Mark II can achieve about 10 stops with Technicolor Cinestyle color profile; Big step up from most consumer camcorders, but not quite at film level, so more care with lighting is needed in certain scenes.
The extra dynamic range gives much more grading room. BlackMagic Design is releasing the first ever true prosumer priced Cinema Camera ($2,995 + Free Copies of DaVinci Resolve 9.0 Color Grading software that's $1,000 by itself generally and UltraScope which is $600 usually) with 13 stops of dynamic range (though it's been said that's a conservative estimate and can reach as high as 15) that shoots 2.5k RAW with 12-Bit Color to standard SSDs.
This is a huge deal and one of the most revolutionary steps ever in indie digital filmmaking. It's pretty close to the original Red Scarlet that was supposed to be $3k and ended up being $16k when operational, minus the expensive proprietary media and accessories and plus the expensive free software included. Thank you BlackMagic Design! They're calling this the Mini Alexa! lol.