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Film vs. Digital Cinematography Comparison


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#1 Terry Mester

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 12:23 AM

Over the past couple years I have expended a very large amount of my time to produce and refine Articles explaining how Film Cinematography / Photography differs from the Electronic Digital process. As someone with a knowledge of molecular chemistry, I have always known that an artificial electronic record of Light cannot equate to a real optical record of Light on Film. Witnessing over the past several years how people are so readily deceived by new technology, I decided to set out to produce these Articles to explain things for average people.

I have been reading some comments on problems with the process of duplicating Films, and some insist that Digital Film Prints are higher quality than Optical Prints. This defies the realities of Light. The quality of the duplicating process naturally depends entirely upon the professionalism of the Lab performing the process. Fundamental to a quality print is the need for the Original and Duplicate Films to be firmly pressed together and flat during exposure, and if they are not (which is probably the case) the result will be refraction and reflection of Light Rays between the Films. A Glass Plate would be needed in front of the Films to press them flat. This would slow down the duplicating process, but good things come to those who wait. Haste makes waste, and the duplicating process should focus on quality and not speed! If the Light source in the Optical Printer is powered by AC Electricity (which cycles on and off) instead of DC, then this will deteriorate image clarity. There of course is no law in place that states that the Inner Negative must be made from the Inner Positive, and this is another area for improving the process. After determining what Frames of what Film Reels are wanted in the final cut, you can then use the original Camera Negative to produce the Inner Negative through 'reversal' developing. This would reduce the number of generations from Camera Neg to final Projector Positive down from three to two. The picture quality of a Movie can also be significantly improved by filming it with 65mm. Any Movie with a budget over $5 Million dollars should definitely be filmed in 65mm. It is also fundamental to film with as LOW an ISO of Film as possible. Try to stick with 100 ISO or lower. They don't currently manufacture 25 ISO Film, but that would be the ideal Speed for professional Movies. All of these suggestions would improve the filming and editing processes.

My Article can be downloaded from the HTTP Links below, or from my Website www.geocities.com/filmanddigitalinfo. The Article is a more thorough explanation and comparison of Film and Digital than would likely be found anywhere.
http://www.geocities...CLE_CINEMA.html (version including Yahoo Advertising)

NOTE. If you would like an Original Version of the Article (without the Yahoo Advertising Window Tab at the Right side), then just Click the Link below, and Save it to Disk without the ".txt" at the end of the Filename. When you subsequently Open the saved File it will automatically become a regular HTML File.
http://www.geocities...CINEMA.html.txt (text version without Yahoo Advertising)


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:17 AM

You're trying to re-invent the CRI... which did exactly what you are proposing, create a dupe negative off of the original negative using a reversal film.

Reversal films make for poor duplicating stocks if you want to control gamma. Plus if you skip a generation, you run into the problem of the emulsion being on the "wrong" side of the final print if contact-printing, unless you want to print one generation through the base, not emulsion to emulsion, or make the dupe negative using an optical printer instead of a contact printer.

It's also unrealistic for all movie scenes to be shot on 100 ASA film -- even when that's the only film speed that existed, a lot of movies found themselves underexposing and push-processing for low-light scenes. And lighting everything for 100 ASA, while it would look nice and fine-grained, might kill a lot of natural ambience and being able to shoot in available light. Combine that with the lower depth of field of 65mm, and 100 ASA becomes even harder to deal with when you need to get the stop up.

And while Hollywood should be shooting more on 65mm -- I agree -- the problem is that many theater owners don't want to project 70mm prints anymore, partly because then they'd have to hire real projectionists. So the majority of your release prints (some 4000 to 6000 these days for a big Hollywood movie) will be 35mm anyway, projected on a platter system in multiplexes.

Besides, why would any of this (slow film, 65mm, reversal intermediates, etc.) improve the editing process?

I just read your article and it's somewhat misguided... you say film is superior because it captures actual LIGHT whereas digital is just an electonic video process that just converts light to electricty. Well, I hate to tell you this, but film also converts light, not to voltage, but it does cause a change in the electron state in a silver halide molecule, allowing it to be developed into silver. So why one process that converts light to electricity is inherently inferior to one that converts light to silver... well, it just sounds like an arbitrary distinction.

Plus it ignores that fact that most of us will end up watching film images more often in the final video versions than in the theater in a projected print -- so in the end, these silver grains get converted to electricty after all.

And the light of any image (on a movie theater screen, on TV, in real life) is converted into electrical impulses by your eyes & brain, which by your definition is an inferior way of handling light.

I'm just saying that one can argue for the superior image quality of modern film over current digital imaging technologies without stretching so hard -- how about simply looking at the images? Or talking about the inherent differences between light captured by a random pattern of moving, changing "sensor sites" (film grain) versus the rigid pattern of a CCD or other digital sensor? Or exposure range? Color depth?
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#3 Keneu Luca

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 03:15 AM

Is it possible that further development of video technology may return to analogue (of course highly improved analogue) in order to mimic the randomness of film grain?
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 03:28 AM

Is it possible that further development of video technology may return to analogue (of course highly improved analogue) in order to mimic the randomness of film grain?


That's what I'm waiting for, the uniformity of pixels, although fine for television exhibition, just isn't attractive to me. So until some revolutionary company creates that, I'll be sticking to film. :)
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 06:51 AM

Hi,

You can store it analogue if you like, but you'll still be using CCD sensors which have a fixed grid of pixels on them.

So, no.

I suspect it might be feasible to use an extremely high resolution sensor and an equally high resolution projector to derive an image with accurately simulated grain, and have say ten frames' worth of predetermined grain mapping known to both the camera and projector onto which to impose this data. That might simulate the higher apparent resolution of grain-based media without having to either store the super high resolution data or actually change the physical layout of the sensor-projector matrices. This might achieve what I think you want, although you'd have to design your pseudorandom grain mappings very carefully so as not to create visible repetition, or use a long sequence of them.

Phil
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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 12:10 PM

Is it possible that further development of video technology may return to analogue (of course highly improved analogue) in order to mimic the randomness of film grain?


Actually, companies are doing this very thing already in the DSLR area. The Nikon D200, D80, Sony A100, Sigma SD14 and Pentax K10D use a lot of analog in their sensor designs. Canon seems to be the odd man out with their pure-digital CMOS design.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:48 PM

Hi,

I'm not quite sure what you mean by a "pure digital" sensor design.

All current practical electronic image sensors work in broadly the same way - photodiodes (a very analogue device) convert photons into photoelectrons, the number of which is then amplified in an analogue amplifier and presented to an ADC for conversion. The only difference CMOS makes is that you can put the output amps and ADC on the same substrate as the photodiodes, and that you can do subpicture binning (where you have several output amps and ADCs) more easily. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, but the difference as far as the user is concerned is very much in the fine print.

CMOS and CCD image sensors cannot ever be purely digital devices.

Phil
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#8 Terry Mester

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 10:23 PM

Reversal films make for poor duplicating stocks if you want to control gamma. Plus if you skip a generation, you run into the problem of the emulsion being on the "wrong" side of the final print if contact-printing, unless you want to print one generation through the base, not emulsion to emulsion, or make the dupe negative using an optical printer instead of a contact printer.

I wasn't referring to using a "Transparency" Reversal Film for the Inner Negative. I was proposing still using regular Inner Negative Film which is "masked" to provide for colour accuracy. You can reverse develop Negative Film. [Cyan and Magenta Dyes have unwanted absorptions of Blue and Green Light, and a Negative therefore contains universal "Masking Dyes" which cancel out these absorptions by universally reducing the Blue and Green. This is corrected during the printing of a "Positive" by having the Blue Emulsion Layer expose more quickly than the Green which is faster than the Red.] You are correct, at some point during the duplicating process, one of the Films would have to be printed through the Base side to rectify Right and Left. I believe that a second-copy final Positive ought to look better than a third-copy, but this has to be tested out. I hope someone on this Website who works in a professional Lab can try this out. They only need to use one single Frame for the test. Cyan and Magenta correcting Filters might be needed in front of the original Camera Neg to copy it directly to Inner Neg Film. Fundamental to a quality copy is using a Glass Plate to press the Original and Duplicate Films firmly together. This would likely provide greater improvement in quality than eliminating the Inner Positive.

It's also unrealistic for all movie scenes to be shot on 100 ASA film -- ..... And lighting everything for 100 ASA, while it would look nice and fine-grained, might kill a lot of natural ambience and being able to shoot in available light. .........
And while Hollywood should be shooting more on 65mm -- I agree -- the problem is that many theater owners don't want to project 70mm prints anymore, ......... So the majority of your release prints .......... will be 35mm anyway, ..........
Besides, why would any of this (slow film, 65mm, reversal intermediates, etc.) improve the editing process?

I realize it's not always possible to use 100 ISO or lower. I only suggest to use it wherever possible. For daylight scenes outdoors it shouldn't be a problem using even 25 ISO if it existed -- never mind 100. Those beautiful old Technicolor Movies used 5 ASA (that's FIVE) Film which is why the colours were so vibrant. Lower Speed Films, which capture more Light, produce more developed Dye Molecules. This means that there is less empty space between Dye Molecules within a Dye Cloud. Naturally it would be better to have 3000 Dye Molecules comprising a Dye Cloud instead of 2000. 35mm Films higher than 100 ISO are going to look grainy when blowing up an image to 30 feet wide. I don't remember where but I read an opinion about how a release print in 35mm looks better if it was filmed in 65mm. Even though there are very few 65/70mm Theaters, unless that opinion is wrong, filming in 65mm would provide improved quality to 35mm Theaters. All of these factors serve to increase the clarity and the intensity of the Dye Clouds in the Emulsion Layers, and this will help limit optical degradation during the editing / duplicating process.

I just read your article and it's somewhat misguided... you say film is superior because it captures actual LIGHT whereas digital is just an electonic video process that just converts light to electricty. Well, I hate to tell you this, but film also converts light, not to voltage, but it does cause a change in the electron state in a silver halide molecule, allowing it to be developed into silver. So why one process that converts light to electricity is inherently inferior to one that converts light to silver... well, it just sounds like an arbitrary distinction.

One Light (Energy) Photon, when absorbed by an Atom, becomes one Electron. When the Halide Crystal absorbs one complete Photon, one Electron in the Crystal is displaced and absorbed by the ionized Silver Atom making it neutral. The "proportions" of the Light Ray have thus been captured in the Emulsion. In developing, depending on the type of Developer, the Developer Molecule needs to come into contact with either two or four neutral Silver Atoms in order to absorb two or four Electrons from the Silver Atoms. The Developer Molecule (now an anion) can then form a 'molecular bond' with a Dye Coupler Molecule -- forming a complete Dye Molecule. As I note in my Article, the Video/Digital Pixel Sensor is "one size fits all", is square (not round) , is linear (not random), it divides or combines Light Rays, and the Digital CCD can only record one colour and only 256 Shades per primary Colour -- where Film can capture thousands of Shades.

Plus it ignores that fact that most of us will end up watching film images more often in the final video versions than in the theater in a projected print -- so in the end, these silver grains get converted to electricty after all.

The lack of picture quality in Theaters is the reason why more people don't go to the Theater. If the Studios don't care about providing the Movie-going public with a second or third-rate quality Movie product, then people will stay home -- and they should! When people are paying $8,$9,$10 dollars and more to see a Movie, they deserve the highest possible quality. There is much room for improving the Movie Theatre presentation -- including abandoning holes in Movie Screens, but switching to an electronic Digital Video presentation will not bring improvement. Even if you were only making a TV production, why wouldn't you want the master copy of the program to be a record of the original Light? You can transfer Film to Video, but you cannot recreate the original Light which is lost in a Video / Digital Camera.

And the light of any image (on a movie theater screen, on TV, in real life) is converted into electrical impulses by your eyes & brain, which by your definition is an inferior way of handling light.

The Eye absorbs Light Photons according to Red, Green and Blue Waves -- just like the Halide Crystal Molecule. The Eye (which deteriorates with age) may not have the same resolution potential as Film, but that doesn't mean that we should not want the image on Film to be as perfect and as high quality as possible.

I'm just saying that one can argue for the superior image quality of modern film over current digital imaging technologies without stretching so hard -- how about simply looking at the images? Or talking about the inherent differences between light captured by a random pattern of moving, changing "sensor sites" (film grain) versus the rigid pattern of a CCD or other digital sensor? Or exposure range? Color depth?

I agree completely. I also believe that scientific factors regarding Film and Digital are important and need to be known. I've had more than one professional Photographer insist that Digital has higher resolution and colour than Film -- even though this is physically impossible. My preference is to debate based upon facts rather than artistic merit, but an on-going artistic debate is also important. As we both know, the Hollywood Studios only make decisions based upon money. I certainly would not want to see Film abandoned as a cost-savings measure. The Movie Theater form of entertainment will not endure if it becomes nothing more than a giant HDTV.

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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 06:19 AM

Hi,

I haven't had time to go through all of that, but some at least is complete drivel. Much of what you've said makes very little objective sense, but I can't help but object to this:


> and the Digital CCD

There's nothing digital about a CCD.

> can only record one colour

Actually a CCD can see from the near infra-red through to the ultaviolet, sensitivity usually peaking in the green-yellow or red, but obviously you have to filter it to record an RGB colour image - colour film works in more or less the same way.

> and only 256 Shades per primary Colour

No, that's nothing to do with the CCD - the sensor itself is an analogue device and has a fineness of colour reproduction limited only by noise (exactly like film). The supporting electronics might quantise the signal into a digital representation of what the CCD sees, and yes, then you might limit the finenenss of the representation. However, any serious digital cinematography device delivers images with at least 10 bits per pixel of colour accuracy, resulting in 1024 shades per primary colour, and many digital stills cameras use up to 16. At that level, the distinction becomes meaningless.

I question whether you have the slightest idea what you're talking about.

Phil
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#10 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 02:25 PM

[size=2]
I wasn't referring to using a "Transparency" Reversal Film for the Inner Negative. I was proposing still using regular Inner Negative Film which is "masked" to provide for colour accuracy. You can reverse develop Negative Film. [Cyan and Magenta Dyes have unwanted absorptions of Blue and Green Light, and a Negative therefore contains universal "Masking Dyes" which cancel out these absorptions by universally reducing the Blue and Green. This is corrected during the printing of a "Positive" by having the Blue Emulsion Layer expose more quickly than the Green which is faster than the Red.] You are correct, at some point during the duplicating process, one of the Films would have to be printed through the Base side to rectify Right and Left. I believe that a second-copy final Positive ought to look better than a third-copy, but this has to be tested out. I hope someone on this Website who works in a professional Lab can try this out. They only need to use one single Frame for the test. Cyan and Magenta correcting Filters might be needed in front of the original Camera Neg to copy it directly to Inner Neg Film.

Fundamental to a quality copy is using a Glass Plate to press the Original and Duplicate Films firmly together. This would likely provide greater improvement in quality than eliminating the Inner Positive.

Those beautiful old Technicolor Movies used 5 ASA (that's FIVE) Film which is why the colours were so vibrant.


As David mentioned there was such a film, ColorReversalIntermediate 5249 introduced in 1968, but cannot find the year it wes discontinued.
If you look at it over a table, it was the most attractive shade of orange masking. It always reminded me of flames.
One problem with it was that it was not archivally stable. Another was that the OCN had to be handled too much for making various I/Ns. A CRI of a CRI was not as good as an I/N from an I/P.

Improvements in intermediate stocks lead to 5249 being discontinued.

For 16mm printing the CRI from the OCN emulsion to emulsion was no problem, Since I/Ns were printed the same way from reversal originals. & reduction I/Ns from 35mm were also A-wind.

Glass plates are not practical for printing movie film. Most printing is done by continuous contact printinting.

The richness of technicolor is not because it was EI 5, rather it was because it was photographed as B/W seperation negatives. Color was not introduced until the print stage.
The YCM negs were actually grainy. The camera prism and the seperation filters ate alot of light so a fast B/W negative was required. By the 50s technicolor's speed was improved to around 25 or 32, the same as monopack color negatives.

& it's not INNER neg; it's INTERNEG/ INTERPOSITIVE shortened from INTERMEDIATE.
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#11 Terry Mester

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 10:04 PM

I haven't had time to go through all of that, but some at least is complete drivel. Much of what you've said makes very little objective sense, but I can't help but object to this:
> and the Digital CCD
There's nothing digital about a CCD.

> can only record one colour
Actually a CCD can see from the near infra-red through to the ultaviolet, sensitivity usually peaking in the green-yellow or red, but obviously you have to filter it to record an RGB colour image - colour film works in more or less the same way.

> and only 256 Shades per primary Colour
No, that's nothing to do with the CCD - the sensor itself is an analogue device and has a fineness of colour reproduction limited only by noise ............ However, any serious digital cinematography device delivers images with at least 10 bits per pixel of colour accuracy, resulting in 1024 shades per primary colour,

Read through things THOROUGHLY before you offer an erroneous critique! The term "Digital" does not only refer to the "CCD" which, as you correctly note, is not digital but analogue. "Digital" refers to the whole Digital Cinematography / Photography process. Under the Bayer Pattern, each Pixel Sensor can only record one of Red, Green or Blue Light -- the computer calculates the other two! I specifically noted "24-Bit" Colour which is 8-Bits per Primary Colour. 8 Bits equals 1 Byte of Computer Memory, and can only record 256 (0-255) different numbers. 10 Bits of Memory can record 1024 numbers. However, this does not mean that the individual Pixel Sensors can accurately produce 1024 different voltage outputs. The voltage output of the Sensor is what determines colour accuracy with Digital -- not the Computer memory capacity. It is probably impossible to get 1024 different voltages from a tiny Pixel Sensor.

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#12 Terry Mester

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 10:16 PM

Glass plates are not practical for printing movie film. Most printing is done by continuous contact printinting.

The richness of technicolor is not because it was EI 5, rather it was because it was photographed as B/W seperation negatives. Color was not introduced until the print stage.
The YCM negs were actually grainy. The camera prism and the seperation filters ate alot of light so a fast B/W negative was required. By the 50s technicolor's speed was improved to around 25 or 32, the same as monopack color negatives.

You're right. The Prisms and three Separation Negatives and Filters were the reason Technicolor needed such extremely bright lights. Apparently the set of The Wizard of Oz was over 100 Degrees Fahrenheit because of the bright lights.

You're also right that my suggestion for using a Glass pressure Plate would require the printing process to be slowed down. The current printing apparatus would also have to be changed. As a perfectionist, my supreme concern is quality. If the printing process should become slower, then the Studios will have to hire more lab technicians. The Studios make about $12 - $14 Billion Dollars per year, and I think they can afford any costs necessary to maintain quality.

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#13 Will Earl

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 02:28 AM

What's that old saying? "Fast, cheap, good: Pick two".

I'm not sure if you work in the film industry or not, but those of us who do are aiming for best flippin' quality you can get into the final film. The problem is we're also got to factor time and money into the overall equation.

There are many cases where using a digital workflow results in better quality than the old film workflow, being able to work quicker and non-destructively has resulted in benefits to the film-making process. The reason why people don't use optical printers for visual effects anymore is because the process of compositing two film strips together results in a loss of quality that you don't get when compositing two film strips together in the digital world. Sure you get stuck with a 2K image which might not be as impressive as the original negative, but the 2K image is deemed acceptable for the time and effort used to create the image, compared with the time and effort it takes to composite something with an optical printer.

That said, I don't really care too much for the whole digital vs film thing, every day I see the best and worst of both formats.
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#14 Terry Mester

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 01:23 AM

I'm not sure if you work in the film industry or not, but those of us who do are aiming for best flippin' quality you can get into the final film. The problem is we're also got to factor time and money into the overall equation.

Hi Will,
I would never criticize an independent filmmaker struggling to finish their project on a fixed budget, and I completely sympathize with every indie striving to get by without bankrolling from Hollywood. I've been struggling myself for 3 1/2 years trying to get a project financed, and so I know the difficulties. I would only criticize the Studios who make gobs and gobs and gobs of money, but they keep looking for new ways to cut costs and pinch pennies so they can make even more money. Considering that King Kong cost $200 Million, I question whether CGI actually saves them money.

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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 01:28 AM

Considering that King Kong cost $200 Million, I question whether CGI actually saves them money.


That's not why Peter Jackson used CGI to create Kong, to save money, but because he felt that was the best way of creating Kong, especially after the critical raves he got for the CGI Golum. It's the same reason why Spielberg opted to use CGI to create the dinosaurs for "Jurassic Park" (outside of Stan Winston's mechanical pieces) and drop the go-motion approach with miniature puppets -- because the ILM tests showed that the CGI version was more believable. No modern audience was going to accept a King Kong done with stop motion puppets or a guy in a suit, and building a life-sized robotic version wasn't going to work either.

You're picking the wrong example if you think Jackson's "King Kong" was about a studio trying to save money on visual effects...
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#16 David Venhaus

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:06 AM

The richness of technicolor is not because it was EI 5, rather it was because it was photographed as B/W seperation negatives. Color was not introduced until the print stage.
The YCM negs were actually grainy. The camera prism and the seperation filters ate alot of light so a fast B/W negative was required. By the 50s technicolor's speed was improved to around 25 or 32, the same as monopack color negatives.


I think, the richness of the color has more to do with the dye-transfer process being photomechanical rather then photochemical. The dyes in the prints are printed mechanically rather then through photochemical interaction, which means Technicolor had a lot more options in which dyes that they could use. So they picked the best they could find, resulting in the best looking, vibrant, non-fade, archival-stable dyes. Not all Technicolor dye-transfer prints were filmed with 3-strip separation cameras. Technicolor dye-transfer prints can be made from single-strip color negatives and after the introduction of it in the early 1950's, almost all of them were filmed with color neg. in a regular cameras.
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#17 David Sweetman

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:31 AM

Well Terry, if there's any place you'd find acceptance of your ideas, I think this would be it. However you contend so conclusively of digital camera users that "These people spent this money because they erroneously believe that Digital Photography is superior to Film Photography," that you unfairly cast knowledgable photographers in a contemptuous light.

There are several people here who have shot features with both formats, and I assure you they knew the pros and cons of each, weighed them, and found "superior" is not defined only numerically.

There are three areas in which one format may be superior to another format. You identify the fist, which is physical - where more physical data is stored by one format over another, thereby achieving "numerical superiority." I don't think anyone can argue film is beaten numerically. The second is aesthetic - for any given reason, one person desires or prefers one format over another, simply because it pleases him - "aesthetic superiority." This cannot be defined nor denied. The third is financial - one format is chosen over another format because, when comparing the two formats, both are determined to serve the story well, but one is chosen instead of the other because of the financial difference. Since both were determined to serve the story, regardless of any differences, neither is a wrong choice.

You obviously feel very strongly about this, but your allegiance seems to be exclusively to the image with complete disregard for the story.

Furthermore, many of your suggestions are downright unfeasible, as Mr. Mullen has pointed out. I don't think there's a soul here who doesn't know slower or larger stock has less visible grain. Again, perhaps grain is desired, or perhaps a smaller aperture is desired.

Furthermore, all of film theory and all methods of film analysis can be transposed from film origination to digital origination. In essence, it's still a representational moving image, containing the same propensity for semiotics, apparatus, and narrative.
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#18 Will Earl

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 05:26 PM


Hi Will,
I would only criticize the Studios who make gobs and gobs and gobs of money, but they keep looking for new ways to cut costs and pinch pennies so they can make even more money. Considering that King Kong cost $200 Million, I question whether CGI actually saves them money.


The last few films I've worked on have all been big-budget studio films, which still have budget and time restrictions.

Having worked on King Kong I can tell you that we used the best (and most practical) tools available to us. Not utilizing digital technology would have maybe tripled the cost and schedule of the film, not to mention some things might not have been possible or would have been impractical to the point of not possible. And dare I say it - the quality of some of those old techniques isn't up to scratch (and don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of vintage VFX techniques).

However if you have any suggestions for maintaining the quality of film prints once they enter distribution then I'm interested to hear it, all that work that goes into removing dust and scratches from the negative goes to waste when the print goes to your local cineplex.
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#19 David Venhaus

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 08:21 PM

However if you have any suggestions for maintaining the quality of film prints once they enter distribution then I'm interested to hear it, all that work that goes into removing dust and scratches from the negative goes to waste when the print goes to your local cineplex.


Increase the quality of high speed prints shown at megaplexes to the level of "show prints". Many megaplexes don't hire professional projectionists. In terms of maintaining and operating the projection equipment to highest standards, this probably has the largest negative impact on the print.
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#20 Terry Mester

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 10:23 PM

However if you have any suggestions for maintaining the quality of film prints once they enter distribution then I'm interested to hear it, all that work that goes into removing dust and scratches from the negative goes to waste when the print goes to your local cineplex.

David Venhaus mentioned important points including lack of top quality prints going to the Theaters. There are definitely things that Theatres can do to improve the Movie experience which I had suggested to Cineplex Odeon Canada back in 2002. I noted previously the harm to picture quality caused by the sound holes in a Movie Screen. Only a solid glossy screen can provide top quality reflection of the picture. In the old days Screens used to have a very thin coating of glass to enhance light reflection. By positioning the Speakers around the outside of the Screen (instead of behind), there are four different sound locations from the left side - to the top / bottom left and right - to the right side. These four locations should easily fill the demand of frontal Sound Effects .

To thwart reflection of light off of the ceiling and walls, I had suggested they simply use dark 'light-absorbing fabric'. It would be better for the ceiling to be corrugated in a 'zig-zag' style with each corrugation having a flat perpendicular front side facing the Screen and the back side at a 40 degree angle. This would prevent the audience from being able to see light reflections on the ceiling which would only hit the front side of the corrugation.

The other remaining problem is the Projector Room Window in front of the Projector which causes degradation of the light image. It can be simply removed and replaced with an open-ended Box made of wood fit into the Window Frame. The Box would extend from the window frame to behind the Projector Lens, and a couple of pieces of soft Foam can be used to seal the open end of the Box around the Projector's Neck. This would fulfil the need for soundproofing even better than a window.

The Aisle Lights should be shaded and located near the floor so that they don't project light into the room. This would seem to be common sense, but many Theaters have rather bright Aisle lighting and even leave Ceiling Lights on at a dim level to light the aisles. I'm sure that pretty much everyone prefers a dark Theater.
As you correctly note, it's not only the Studios but also the Theaters who need to be committed to high quality.

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Tai Audio

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Glidecam

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