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Lawrence of Arabia 70mm Screening


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:53 AM

All,
I was watching Lawrence of Arabia on DVD last evening. I've seen it several times, and last night, I got to thinking how much I really want to view it in 70mm on the big screen. I've seen that in the recent past, some theaters have screened it, notably at the AFI Silver Springs, or as part of R. Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival. But, I haven't heard of any new screenings. Does anyone know if/when someone will screen this movie again, as it was originally intended? Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 11:41 AM

Luckily here in Los Angeles, it occasionally screens in 70mm at places like the American Cinemateque -- in fact, I think there was a screening just a month ago or so. For example, check out this website:

http://www.fromscrip...s_main_page.htm
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 08:22 PM

I was at the American Cinematheque the other night and they mentioned that they are screening a few 70mm films soon. Lawrence of Arabia was mentioned as well as Terminator 2 and Total Recall (if I remember correctly). Here's the schedule for the Aero theater. I don't see any of the films I mentioned....maybe they haven't updated the schedule recently.
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#4 Chris Fernando

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 12:44 PM

Saturday, June 3rd at LACMA.

http://www.lacma.org...ng.aspx#written

It says it's a 70 mil print as well. Saw it at the Arclight in said format about 3 years ago and it put everything else in perspective.
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:24 AM

Just saw Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm last night at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. I had only seen it once before on DVD so this was a real treat. The amount of detail and sharpness is pretty incredible, it's pretty sad that not very many movies exist in this format.

Luckily American Cinematheque runs the '70mm series' quite often, I'm looking forward to catching other ones that I missed like Playtime, 2001, Patton, and the restored Vertigo.

Comparing 70mm vs the latest digital (I saw Superman Returns in DLP Friday night), the perceived sharpness is quite high with both formats. I left the theater with a better feeling after Lawrence of Arabia, it is simply a significantly better movie. The color and texture was definitely better as well. (I know apples/oranges comparison, but they both looked extremely sharp was my point.)
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#6 Michel Hafner

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:39 PM

Comparing 70mm vs the latest digital (I saw Superman Returns in DLP Friday night), the perceived sharpness is quite high with both formats. I left the theater with a better feeling after Lawrence of Arabia, it is simply a significantly better movie. The color and texture was definitely better as well. (I know apples/oranges comparison, but they both looked extremely sharp was my point.)

So I guess that means state of the art first generation 2K is approaching 4th generation old 70mm. Going by that state of the new 4K (Dalsa) should approach old first generation 70mm. :)
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Edited by miha, 03 July 2006 - 12:39 PM.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:57 PM

I would say that 4K origination / 4K projection would feel closer to a 70mm presentation (or even good 35mm anamorphic photography projected digitally in 4K) -- you have to figure that 35mm projection of a release print made from an IP/IN is more like 2K (or worse) even if the negative is more like 4K or 6K.

So in some ways, 4K projection could be like the 70mm blow-ups from 35mm in the past, if not better (I'm talking about grain & sharpness, ignoring the color, contrast, black level, and compression problems of digital projection!)

Either way, it would be nice to make 4K the minimal standard for post work, origination, etc. except for lower-budgeted films and anything where a special look is desired that doesn't require a 4K post.

But the biggest objections I get to 4K come from efx supervisors, who really, really don't want to upgrade from 2K for digital efx work. I think we're going to see movies in the coming years where everything will be 4K except the efx. Just look at "Jarhead" where the 4K-to-2K D.I. is sharper than ILM's efx work in the movie -- on the big screen, I saw a drop in sharpness everytime a digital effect came up. It was almost like they were doing the efx in 1.5K or something.
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#8 Alan Lasky

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:58 PM

David is absolutely correct. The VFX people are the ones pushing the hardest against 4K from our perspective.

It is funny because the Origin 4K digital image capture pipeline is most analogous to the VFX/DI film scanning model. I can't really blame them though, having come from that world and knowing the insane schedules the VFX shops are up against these days. It's amazing anything can get delivered with any quality standard at all.

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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 06:33 PM

David is absolutely correct. The VFX people are the ones pushing the hardest against 4K from our perspective.

Unfortunately that has been my experience as well. Every VFX person that I have ever talked to has said that 2k is 'good enough'.
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#10 Arni Heimir

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:13 PM

Unfortunately that has been my experience as well. Every VFX person that I have ever talked to has said that 2k is 'good enough'.


You guys have to remember. 4k is four time bigger than 2k! It needs more storage. More computer power to process it etc. The postproduction workflow, especially with the VFX end, would be terribly cumbersome. I think that 4k is alot like 65mm film. It's ideal. But practical?

I am willing to bet, that 99% of the filmgoing public couldn't care less about whether it was shot in anamorphic, s35 or even in 65mm! I do think that miniDV and s16 could roll a couple of eyes in the audience.

I just saw "Da vinci code" tonight and was blown away by how smooth and crisp the finished picture was. Incidentally, it was 4k.
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#11 Alan Lasky

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:40 PM

"You guys have to remember. 4k is four time bigger than 2k! It needs more storage. More computer power to process it etc."

To paraphrase the Johnny Cash character from WALK THE LINE: "Do you think we forgot?"

I work with 4K every single day and believe me, I know what kind of overhead it represents. We had the luxury of starting from scratch when we designed our infrastructure at DALSA. Our network fabric for moving data around is all infiniband (an extremely high bandwidth fiber protocol). Most facilities can not afford to change their current network topology in order to support 4K. It makes sense not to for most facilities, at least not at this point in time. Soon though the studios will demand it, and then there will be a 'forced change,' for better or worse.

I believe network bandwidth is the single biggest impediment to 4K VFX workflow. Most of the available composite software can handle 4K fairly easily. Indeed I composite with Shake, After Effects, and Fusion quite reliably at 4096x2048. The other big problem is that the "high speed" compositing systems (Flame, Inferno, etc) are pretty much limited to 2K at this time. I have not used the Quantel Iq, but I have been told it can work in 4K at near real-time.

Some facilities are gearing up for the 4K data tsunami and the hardware is out there to run it. We have a DVS Clipster and that thing chews up 4K like nobody's business.

I am just waiting for that 10 terabyte solid-state-SAN driving a video card with a terabyte of texture memory. I used to think that was an umpteen-vajillion dollar pipe dream, but now I exect it at NAB within 3 years.

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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 06:24 AM

But the biggest objections I get to 4K come from efx supervisors, who really, really don't want to upgrade from 2K for digital efx work. I think we're going to see movies in the coming years where everything will be 4K except the efx. Just look at "Jarhead" where the 4K-to-2K D.I. is sharper than ILM's efx work in the movie -- on the big screen, I saw a drop in sharpness everytime a digital effect came up. It was almost like they were doing the efx in 1.5K or something.



A change from the days when they'd shoot on Vistavision or 65mm to create seamless effects shots.
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#13 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 07:04 AM

"You guys have to remember. 4k is four time bigger than 2k! It needs more storage. More computer power to process it etc."

To paraphrase the Johnny Cash character from WALK THE LINE: "Do you think we forgot?"

I work with 4K every single day and believe me, I know what kind of overhead it represents. We had the luxury of starting from scratch when we designed our infrastructure at DALSA. Our network fabric for moving data around is all infiniband (an extremely high bandwidth fiber protocol). Most facilities can not afford to change their current network topology in order to support 4K. It makes sense not to for most facilities, at least not at this point in time. Soon though the studios will demand it, and then there will be a 'forced change,' for better or worse.

I believe network bandwidth is the single biggest impediment to 4K VFX workflow. Most of the available composite software can handle 4K fairly easily. Indeed I composite with Shake, After Effects, and Fusion quite reliably at 4096x2048. The other big problem is that the "high speed" compositing systems (Flame, Inferno, etc) are pretty much limited to 2K at this time. I have not used the Quantel Iq, but I have been told it can work in 4K at near real-time.

Some facilities are gearing up for the 4K data tsunami and the hardware is out there to run it. We have a DVS Clipster and that thing chews up 4K like nobody's business.

I am just waiting for that 10 terabyte solid-state-SAN driving a video card with a terabyte of texture memory. I used to think that was an umpteen-vajillion dollar pipe dream, but now I exect it at NAB within 3 years.

Alan Lasky
DALSA Digital Cinema


it goes far beyond issues of storage and computing power-- the increase in raw render time for 3D originated vfx and the necessary increase in craftsmanship in regards to surfacing/texturing and compositing would require more manpower and more time (like being a set designer who has to change over from SD to HD), which would equate to a substantial increase in cost and/or decrease in profit margin. i'm sure that 4k becoming the standard is inevitable, but computing and storage issues will have to become so overly-resolved that it would help offset the other disadvantages.

Edited by jaan, 04 July 2006 - 07:05 AM.

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#14 Joe Taylor

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:59 AM

-- you have to figure that 35mm projection of a release print made from an IP/IN is more like 2K (or worse) even if the negative is more like 4K or 6K.


So if your typical theatrical release is "2K or worse" how would a 35mm release compare if made directly from the negative? The reason I ask is because I am about to have a short film I made in 35mm printed for festival circuit. I plan to have only 2-3 copies made of this 17 min. short.

I have always assumed that making a print directly from the original negative would produce a better picture than going from inner postives & negatives. This would be harder on the negative (if making multiples prints) but less expensive than going through the process of making multiple generations.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 11:14 AM

It's hard to measure these things, but obviously the fewer generations you make, the more quality of the original you retain. Just because I say that typical print projection is 2K or less in terms of equivalent resolution doesn't mean I'm advocating 2K origination or post, because you have to start out higher if you will be ending up lower. In other words, if you post at 2K, then your release prints will be even lower.
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#16 Filip Plesha

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 12:26 PM

With digital imaging it's not that easy.

What happens in copying really is loss of accutance (contrast) of fine details, which results in those details that have 30% contrast or less to be compleatly lost in copying because they fall below the limit of what can be seen by human eyes or are lost because native grain RMS is higher than the resulting detail contrast, which means that detail is "consumed" by grain.

This is all pretty straightforward if you are dealing with analog images: optical images, chemical images etc.
because all analog images can be described with MTF: they lose contrast as the "oscilations" of detail get smaller.


With digital it's not that simple, because digital files can be such that two neighbour pixels have 100% contrast. One being black, another white.
So when you copy such a file to film, you do lose some of that pixel contrast, but those pixels are still there, and might be there even in a couple of more generations because you started with 100% contrast, and maybe got reduced to 30% in the end, but it's still there.

so what happened is you had 2K resolution and ended up with 2K after maybe two generations, but with less contrast between pixels.

The reason why any kind of rerecorded-to-film scans behave similar to optical copies is because
they never have 100% pixel contrast, but the contrast is the same or less as in the original film that was scanned, therefore it will be lost in the same way as with analog copying.

But if you have some digital material which does not behave life film, like CG or some 2D graphics, or some future digital capture of 100% "pixel efficiency" then you most likely have very high pixel accutance, and the recording would most probably NOT behave in the same way, and you would probably preserve much of the 2K resolution that you started with.


In the extreme example, a 600x400 pixel recording onto film would not behave in the same way like a film image of 600 lines resolution across the area.
If you copied a film image of such resolution, you would lose it because film carries this resolution on the limit of viewable contrast (that's why it's called "maximum" resolving power in the first place), while a digital file can hold FULL accutance down to every pixel, which means your 600x400 digital image would probably look the same in a 4th generation print as it did on a monitor.


the bottom line is, you said you have to start with more than 2K origination if you wanted to have 2K resolution in the final print.
Not if your 2K original file has high accutance at the pixel level, in which case, you'd lose sharpness, but you'd have all the resolution of the original.
It's because in copying it's not the resolution that is lost, but accutance, and the loss of resolution with analog images is only a result of that.

Edited by Filip Plesha, 04 July 2006 - 12:30 PM.

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#17 Michel Hafner

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 05:45 AM

Not if your 2K original file has high accutance at the pixel level, in which case, you'd lose sharpness, but you'd have all the resolution of the original.
It's because in copying it's not the resolution that is lost, but accutance, and the loss of resolution with analog images is only a result of that.

Pushing contrast has its costs though. If you want high contrast pin sharp 2K material you run out of pixels for avoiding aliasing/pixelisation artifacts. Antialiasing implies loss of contrast at hard edges that are not horizontal or vertical. To have 100% contrast and no visible jaggies requires 4K and beyond for normal viewing distances.
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Edited by miha, 05 July 2006 - 05:46 AM.

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