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Another nail in the coffin for film - Page 2

post #31 of 172
Due to the number of people in Hollywood who thought that learning digital tech was their ticket to continued employment in the movie-making industry, we have an excess of production capacity like I mentioned before. But everyone forgot that the industry was already heavy with production capacity when film was still king. Now with digital tech in use, and film on the decline, there is at least a 4X overcapacity for digital productions.

But the true production constraint was and continues to be the number of quality scripts. The word processor took over from the typewriter over 20 years ago, that particular transition is long over with. But the excess movie production capacity is why we have so many unnecessary remakes and brainless sequels. But digital tech does nothing to stimulate script writing, that most creative of movie endeavors.
post #32 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

Movies shot in HD with Red cameras are stunning.

Maybe only if you don't pay too close attention, and don't put any people in your movie so you avoid all skin-tones...
post #33 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post
Due to the number of people in Hollywood who thought that learning digital tech was their ticket to continued employment in the movie-making industry
But the true production constraint was and continues to be the number of quality scripts. The word processor took over from the typewriter over 20 years ago, that particular transition is long over with. But the excess movie production capacity is why we have so many unnecessary remakes and brainless sequels. But digital tech does nothing to stimulate script writing, that most creative of movie endeavors.
I am missing your point here....how is DIGITAL responsible for poor scripts?


Quote:
I'm sure most of those Hollywood types are still cussing at the Republicans for messing up the economy, and expecting full employment any day now.
Huh, that's interesting.
post #34 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post
Maybe only if you don't pay too close attention, and don't put any people in your movie so you avoid all skin-tones...
Yep, exactly what Cameron had in mind.
post #35 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

Maybe only if you don't pay too close attention, and don't put any people in your movie so you avoid all skin-tones...

I think that would depend on the DP and any post production. Skin tones on the some of the stuff I've seen shot with a Red look good. Perhaps you are thinking of other HD cameras? I can agree there especially the earlier ones.
post #36 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

The local news carried a story about the closing just this week of the last film lab in the world that processed Kodachrome film. ....

Here's a link to an article about it for anyone that's interested:

They Took Our Kodachrome Away
post #37 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

... Skin tones on the some of the stuff I've seen shot with a Red look good. Perhaps you are thinking of other HD cameras? I can agree there especially the earlier ones.

The interview that Lee posted here had some interesting comments about the bit-depth they're using to get good skin tones with the iMax digital camera.
post #38 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

I am missing your point here....how is DIGITAL responsible for poor scripts?

The point was, that we have massive overproduction capacity for movies today - due to the reduced headcount needed to shoot/post/distribute digital cinema.

We have the same number of quality scripts as before, i.e. not nearly enough.

Too many movies are being made with below average and downright poor scripts.
post #39 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

The point was, that we have massive overproduction capacity for movies today - due to the reduced headcount needed to shoot/post/distribute digital cinema.

We have the same number of quality scripts as before, i.e. not nearly enough.

Too many movies are being made with below average and downright poor scripts.

Oh, OK, I got it.
And I agree.
post #40 of 172
Technicolor to close North Hollywood film printing plant

Quote:
The film-processing giant said it would shutter the plant because of the rapid acceleration of digital cinema, which has lessened demand for film prints. Operations will be transferred to a Technicolor facility in Mirabel, Canada, outside of Montreal, although Technicolor will still provide some "front-end" services in Los Angeles, such as processing dailies.
http://www.dcinematoday.com/dc/extURLs.aspx?id=394
post #41 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

I think that would depend on the DP and any post production. Skin tones on the some of the stuff I've seen shot with a Red look good. Perhaps you are thinking of other HD cameras? I can agree there especially the earlier ones.

Certainly it does depend, but I've been watching a lot of older 35mm stuff on BD, lots of Criterion stuff, etc. And then here and there I watch something new, and probably 90% of the time when I go "ew, what's with the fleshtones, they just look weird and pasty looking, like too much makeup" I IMDB the picture and without fail it's usually the Red. Once or twice I think it was FW900s, but just the other night I watched the Argentinian film 'The Secret in the Their Eyes', shot on the Red One, and there were some great shots, sure, but there were quite a few that just looked super weird color-wise. Particularly green grass/tree exteriors were just flat and ugly, and skintones had this strange pasty quality to them. I don't know how much of this is post-work, how much is just comparison to 35mm, how much is unfamiliarity with the camera, and how much is the camera itself, but almost without fail, stuff I see shot digitally that is made to look "normal" like film, rather than hyper stylized, just looks weird in some way or another.

I'm super excited about digital cameras, but I'm not one to look at what we have now which is really just one or a couple generations in in terms of camera technologies (with quite a few issues that still crop up frequently), and say "that's it! Film is dead! These cameras are the pinnacle and as good as it's going to get!" Because it's far from that yet. I think digital cameras will supplant film before digital cameras actually match film, I'm just hoping that people are picky enough to keep pushing for greater improvements, because I watch a LOT of movies, and we are not there yet with digital capture. And the more and more I see shot digitally, the more and more I'm convinced of that, and the more problems I see.
post #42 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

Certainly it does depend, but I've been watching a lot of older 35mm stuff on BD, lots of Criterion stuff, etc. And then here and there I watch something new, and probably 90% of the time when I go "ew, what's with the fleshtones, they just look weird and pasty looking, like too much makeup" I IMDB the picture and without fail it's usually the Red. Once or twice I think it was FW900s, but just the other night I watched the Argentinian film 'The Secret in the Their Eyes', shot on the Red One, and there were some great shots, sure, but there were quite a few that just looked super weird color-wise. Particularly green grass/tree exteriors were just flat and ugly, and skintones had this strange pasty quality to them. I don't know how much of this is post-work, how much is just comparison to 35mm, how much is unfamiliarity with the camera, and how much is the camera itself, but almost without fail, stuff I see shot digitally that is made to look "normal" like film, rather than hyper stylized, just looks weird in some way or another.

I always like film better, but not because of color reproduction. I prefer film because of better contrast and less motion artifacts. I always assume the color scheme is set as intended in post-production, regardless of whether it's from a film or digital source.

We just watched "The Secret in Their Eyes" last week, and I noticed the odd color scheme. Some scenes looked natural, and others were garishly yellow/orange like you mentioned. I'm sure it was intentional, but I couldn't see the pattern. At first, I thought maybe the flashbacks were trippy, but they didn't stick to that pattern. Some flashback scenes looked natural, while some current scenes looked garish.

Anyway, I don't think it's digital that produces these odd color timings - it's the director doing it for some reason.

Doug
post #43 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

Certainly it does depend, but I've been watching a lot of older 35mm stuff on BD, lots of Criterion stuff, etc. And then here and there I watch something new, and probably 90% of the time when I go "ew, what's with the fleshtones, they just look weird and pasty looking, like too much makeup" I IMDB the picture and without fail it's usually the Red. Once or twice I think it was FW900s, but just the other night I watched the Argentinian film 'The Secret in the Their Eyes', shot on the Red One, and there were some great shots, sure, but there were quite a few that just looked super weird color-wise. Particularly green grass/tree exteriors were just flat and ugly, and skintones had this strange pasty quality to them. I don't know how much of this is post-work, how much is just comparison to 35mm, how much is unfamiliarity with the camera, and how much is the camera itself, but almost without fail, stuff I see shot digitally that is made to look "normal" like film, rather than hyper stylized, just looks weird in some way or another.

I'm super excited about digital cameras, but I'm not one to look at what we have now which is really just one or a couple generations in in terms of camera technologies (with quite a few issues that still crop up frequently), and say "that's it! Film is dead! These cameras are the pinnacle and as good as it's going to get!" Because it's far from that yet. I think digital cameras will supplant film before digital cameras actually match film, I'm just hoping that people are picky enough to keep pushing for greater improvements, because I watch a LOT of movies, and we are not there yet with digital capture. And the more and more I see shot digitally, the more and more I'm convinced of that, and the more problems I see.

You can wave the "35mm is better" flag all you want. The fact of life is that due to the generation loss, audiences see a fraction of the resolution that is on the OCN. They are seeing better resolution at home then they see at their local cinema. And Hollywood is "stepping it up a notch" when this year they begin to release 4K movies on 4k projection systems.

The major benefit of digital versus 35mm = you see the results instantly. That saves time and money. Two items that are MOST important when shooting a movie.
post #44 of 172
Is previewing the results instantly all that important a majority of the time? I use digital as well as film for both still and motion. With digital I very rarely need to preview the images I take. I find it waste a lot of time.
post #45 of 172
It used to be one had to be rich or in "the know" or both, to make a record or movie, let alone getting it aired. With the advent of "digital", music and "film" is now within the reach of most anyone. Unfortunately, we now have a lot of crappy indie movies and auto-tune.
post #46 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkmedia2 View Post

Is previewing the results instantly all that important a majority of the time? I use digital as well as film for both still and motion. With digital I very rarely need to preview the images I take. I find it waste a lot of time.

When you're making a major motion picture and the burn rate for all the film crew is well north of $1M per day, it's extremely important to make certain you have all the source material you need so that you can wrap up shooting as soon as possible.

Just having to leave a set in place a couple of extra days while you wait on the "dailies" to confirm that you can strike the set and start building he next set that you need could cost a couple of million extra bucks.
post #47 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkmedia2 View Post

Is previewing the results instantly all that important a majority of the time? I use digital as well as film for both still and motion. With digital I very rarely need to preview the images I take. I find it waste a lot of time.

The answer would be YES. In fact when the larger and bulkier film cameras were in use for 35mm or larger film formats, they used to also shoot some 16mm "dailys" to increase the chance that they were capturing just what they wanted on the actual movie film. Viewing the "dailys" after quick 16mm developing (compared to Kodachrome processing in another state) allowed the Director to decide to do a re-shoot while specific actors were still present and before the sets got torn down. If you saw a problem in a "daily" then you could re-shoot the scene the next day.

Later on small video cameras were actually mounted to the large film camera and set to turn on and record the same image as the film being exposed. That way a Director could watch an instant scene replay from video in minutes instead of the next day. This was even more effective at reducing costs with very expensive film cameras, crews, and cast still in place, while the same exact lighting was there in outdoor scenes (due to time-of-day).

The final advance of course was digital HD recording. Now it's possible to see the exact scene recorded to tape, differing from the movie version of the scene only by the lack of the post-processing changes.

But not all of these changes were good for the movie industry. These changes allowed less experienced Directors and Cinematographers to make technically-correct but uninspired movies, with decreased headcounts and reduced costs. The use of video "dailys" was one reason that even before HD recordings, Hollywood had lots of unemployed film processing folks - there was formerly a whole on-site crew and a van full of 16mm developing gear. Not being Kodachrome, the original 16mm camera film was developed into the 16mm positive print used for the "daily".
post #48 of 172
Maybe I was being a bit too broad in my comments and not necessarily 100% in regards to Hollywood film making and more towards the general population. In most non film based photography I often see people shoot way too much footage, or click the shutter way too many times just because it's digital or video just because they can. Often time they mention they MUST HAVE this footage or still on the project I'm making for them. I tell them get me the clip or shot. But 9 times out of 10, they get raw media that is extremely hard to catalog, organize and post process on my end. Most of the time they have no idea what they have even thought it's digital and saw them chimped thru it a bit. But while looking thru a lot of old archived unedited 8mm film... because of the limitations people tend to be more careful in what they shoot. Better set ups and end up better content instead of hours of junk video or lots burst frames of the subject with the new digital SLR owners.

ps. I'm not "in the business" or have a career in video / film. Just a user.
post #49 of 172
Tony, the film stuff is all History now, anyway. (Or will be in a very short time.) But it's still fascinating to recall how many people used to be involved in generating Hollywood magic. Back when we got maybe four big-budget movies a year and TV consisted of CBS/NBC/ABC, most productions were worth watching at least once.

Nowadays with video technology, we have hundreds of TV channels (many in dazzling HD) and multiple movie releases in a week, and much more time goes by without me actually wanting to seek out a "special" movie or TV show for viewing. Meanwhile there are TV series where I never watch a single episode, knowing from the commercials that they are for a different demographic than a 50-something white male.

I don't think I'm all that much more selective than I used to be. I think there is a lot more dreck being made that is not worth my time, because of that overproduction capacity I mentioned several times. But at least I can make use of online resources like AVS to help me sort out the gems from the dreck, without soiling my hands.
post #50 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkmedia2 View Post

Maybe I was being a bit too broad in my comments and not necessarily 100% in regards to Hollywood film making and more towards the general population. In most non film based photography I often see people shoot way too much footage, or click the shutter way too many times just because it's digital or video just because they can. Often time they mention they MUST HAVE this footage or still on the project I'm making for them. I tell them get me the clip or shot. But 9 times out of 10, they get raw media that is extremely hard to catalog, organize and post process on my end. Most of the time they have no idea what they have even thought it's digital and saw them chimped thru it a bit. But while looking thru a lot of old archived unedited 8mm film... because of the limitations people tend to be more careful in what they shoot. Better set ups and end up better content instead of hours of junk video or lots burst frames of the subject with the new digital SLR owners.

ps. I'm not "in the business" or have a career in video / film. Just a user.

Tony, keep in mind that with Hollywood films, only the actual film cameraman sees the image being recorded in his optical viewfinder, and even that image is inverted. The Director and Cinematographer don't even see that unless they push the camera operator aside. But the use of "dailys" changed that - and the economics of having an entire cast and crew - often hundreds of people - standing by made the use of "dailys" a no-brainer. It's a real different case from amatuer photography or filmmaking, where the cost of film processing is the major consideration.
post #51 of 172
When I was a young man in the 1960's, I worked as a projectionist for a few years .. although I hate to see the loss of the film media (at some point) .. the scratches, broken reels, splicing, reel change, etc will not be missed .. and those reels were heavy ..

Then again, folks like Tarrantino will make sure we remember by artificially inserting said issues ..

Strange .. we will wax nostalgic over the loss, yet we will recreate it's shortcomings for effect ..
post #52 of 172
I started in film photography and video, transitioned to digital photography and digital video. The past 10 years or so started dabbling back to film photography and trying Super 8. This I believe made me change the way I currently use digital photographic products which I use a majority of the time. I feel I'm making a lot less crap than I used to with a lot less to post.

for projects, depending on amount of control and freedom I have and familiarity to the subjects. If possible going to rehearsals, pre visualizing so I might be able to change the scene locations, giving minor direction to subjects, I do voice over sometimes, using event outline schedules to my advantage and "editing in camera" before it's captured on film, tape, memory, disc.
post #53 of 172
I played with some film cameras with no real focusing aids before, use of tape measure and lens pull markings. Light meter for exposure. viewfinders that are sometimes reversed and or upside down, etc. so no surprise there.
post #54 of 172
I think the opening up of the technology to the general public is good. The lower cost gear is getting better. And students still sign up for film degrees (or should we be calling them video degrees)? I find too many big budget Hollywood films to be long on technique and short on story. I think there are a lot of good scripts and writers out there but the politics of the industry squelch them. I also have disliked the "Hollywood look" for years where sets were overlit and unrealistic. Sidney Lumet refers to this as the "Ford commercial look." Lumet, BTW, loves using HD cameras. Check out his commentary on "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." This is also why I like a lot of 70s movies when they were breaking away from the confines of Hollywood and shooting elsewhere (including my neighborhood).

I watch a lot of small budget indies along with foreign films which are long on story and short on technique. If the arc and storyline is there I could care less whether the film was shot with a Panavision 35mm camera or a $4K prosumer HD camera. Hollywood is probably going the way of Detroit anyway.
post #55 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Stewart View Post

You can wave the "35mm is better" flag all you want. The fact of life is that due to the generation loss, audiences see a fraction of the resolution that is on the OCN. They are seeing better resolution at home then they see at their local cinema. And Hollywood is "stepping it up a notch" when this year they begin to release 4K movies on 4k projection systems.

The major benefit of digital versus 35mm = you see the results instantly. That saves time and money. Two items that are MOST important when shooting a movie.

Laziness it not an excuse for mediocre images.

And resolution is but one rather small part of the picture. I'm the first one to cheer the continued improvements in digital cameras, it just irritates me when people sit around saying "film is dead!" as if digital cameras have vanquished film altogether in quality and in reality.

Many of the choices to shoot digitally have to do with economics, not picture. And that's fine.

The capacity of digital cameras to enable filmmakers is amazing. You see them deployed brilliantly in films like Children of Men, or in Michael Mann's amazing night shots (which simply aren't possible at all on film), or in allowing James Longley to shoot Iraq in Fragments practically by himself with some prosumer camcorders. I have seen, and continue to see, digital cameras deployed for excellent reasons and to excellent effect. But often, the reason is arbitrary, or cost-related, and the comparison to 35mm just doesn't hold up, yet. It will, but it doesn't yet.

Everything I've seen so far that I've really applauded on digital, has been either because it enables the filmmaker to make something not achievable on film logistically, OR because it goes all-in to capture a style that is possible digitally that is not possible on film (a-la Michael Mann).

I mean, you can say that realistically 35mm film prints in the theater barely reach 1080p quality, and are soft and full of grain. And you could logically say that a pristine digital 1080p or 2k viewing of something shot in HD, say even HDCAM or HDCAM SR will beat 35mm film.

But I just recently watched the french film Cache, shot in HDCAM I believe, and it looks like absolute sh*t. And you could preach all you want about it yielding far better MTF than what is accomplished at an average multiplex on generations-away 35mm, but at the end of the day it still looks like unmitigated sh*t. And when I see a film like that, the only excuse is cost. Because I can't fathom anybody looking at that and going "gee, wow, that looks just fantastic!" And sadly, it's also a fascinating film that might stand up to time, but just a few years later I look at that and go: eww, god that's a hideous-looking disaster. If it were 35mm, which is totally doable for this kind of very simple film, it would absolutely stand the test of time. Instead, it looks like a cheap mess, which is exactly what it is, and it's really unfortunate. And to me, that's frustrating be, because people are bailing out of film before there's an adequate lifeboat for them to jump into. They're bailing out into the ocean for nothing more than a life-vest, and it absolutely shows.

And the quicker digital cameras move along and my complaints become quaint and moot, the better.

Because I'm getting sick of looking at garbage, when films from 20-30 years ago kick the pants off anything I've seen digitally yet.

And when I see something like The Thin Red Line, it's abundantly clear: there's no digital camera that can make that film. Or even when I see low-budget productions, something like Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, shot in 16mm, it would be a horrible shame if she had the capability to shoot that digitally and was forced to do that because of cost or logistics. An absolute travesty. And we can wax on about 4k cameras and distribution, and laugh at the low MTF and grain of 16mm, but at the end of the day Monsoon Wedding would be a cruel joke shot on the Red One.
post #56 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

And when I see something like The Thin Red Line, it's abundantly clear: there's no digital camera that can make that film. Or even when I see low-budget productions, something like Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, shot in 16mm, it would be a horrible shame if she had the capability to shoot that digitally and was forced to do that because of cost or logistics. An absolute travesty. And we can wax on about 4k cameras and distribution, and laugh at the low MTF and grain of 16mm, but at the end of the day Monsoon Wedding would be a cruel joke shot on the Red One.

applause .. in days gone by, a cinematographer would learn the craft of film, adapting the lens, filters, lighting, etc in order to capture the vision of the director, and was rarely, if ever, even remembered for the craft .. while the great Directors and Actors took the lions share of the credit .. Kazuo Miyagawa, Vittorio Storaro, Gregg Toland and many others helped make me what I consider a "Student of Film" as well as a long time photographer ..

Although the digital medium provides a great degree of flexibility, convienience and cost savings, it is far from the manual art of cinemaphotography ..

When I see work that is of the caliber of the above mentioned artists, perhaps my opinion will be swayed .. and they did it with a camera and film ..
post #57 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I just recently watched the french film Cache, shot in HDCAM I believe, and it looks like absolute sh*t.

There are bad examples of everything. But what did you think of David Fincher's use of digital cameras for 'Zodiac' and 'The Social Network'? Good, bad, misguided?
post #58 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

There are bad examples of everything. But what did you think of David Fincher's use of digital cameras for 'Zodiac' and 'The Social Network'? Good, bad, misguided?

I haven't seen either film.

Benjamin Button looked okay. Not without artifacts, but it didn't look egregious, then again I'm sure they put a lot of money into grading that movie, and so much was CG anyway...

And of course there are bad examples, clearly there is a LOT more bad film out there than bad digital. And I'm willing to be uncritical, for instance 28 Days Later, I don't think anyone would say that looked great, but it doesn't bother me that much because it fits the material. I'm okay with that.

What I have yet to see is a masterpiece of digital cinematography. The closest I have come to seeing that, is sequences and films that are masterful that were enabled by digital cameras, but I have yet to see digital images in a film that are the equivalent of Days of Heaven, or Patton, or 2001 (okay, those two not fair, 70mm, but still), or anything by Wong Kar Wai/Doyle, or The Insider, or anything by Kurosawa, or Blade Runner, or even the 16mm in For All Mankind, or say Wings of Desire, or Paris,Texas, etc etc etc.

These films are masterpieces of visual cinematography, and there is no digital capacity yet to do any of these films with equivalent visual quality (let alone superior).

The day I can include a film shot digitally with films of this caliber, I will be elated.

But I have yet to see any film shot digitally, where I can say with unabashed force, that its visuals can stand next to the images from any of these films, in terms of technical and cinematic brilliance. I mean, heck, the 16mm in For All Mankind is simply glorious. And I can't think of a single image shot with a digital cinema camera that can match that stock. And that's paltry 16mm. We can look at MTF charts all day long, but that stuff looks AMAZING! And nothing, not the Red or anything else, matches that yet.
post #59 of 172
Chris,

I don't know if 'Social Network' (shot on Red) is still in theatres, but you owe it to yourself to see 'Zodiac' (shot with Viper) on Blu-ray.

'Benjamin Button' was shot using a combination of film and digital.
post #60 of 172
so does this mean the cheap "dollar" theaters will be going away in the coming years?

the only theater we go to on a regular basis is where movies go 6wks or so after their initial release, and they charge $1.99 per ticket. all of their projectors are strictly film; nothing digital. There's usually a few film cans laying in the corner when you walk in.


The 'stadium' theater is around $10 per ticket, which adds up when you're taking a family out. Plus another $20 for drinks and popcorn. I love movies, and I love going to the movie theater, but not for $50.

I hope the cheap theaters can keep going for awhile.
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