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Is Film dead?


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#1 Lars Zemskih

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:54 AM

I am about to go to a filmschool that insists and make it their philosophy that pretty much everything is shot on Film. Most of the time it is 35mm shoots and only two shoots or something on digital.

So I would like to know your opinion. How much longer do you think film will last? Is it even worth to study the format anymore. I mean looking at the camera like Red One (who some say looks even better than film and has really low noise ratio in raw form) it is pretty uncertain. This camera makes me nervous, it is so cheap that it won't that long till my neighbor can shoot 35mm 4k footage for his sons' birthday =)

I've shot a lot of stuff digitally though, so it would be good for me to study on film, but I'm just not sure if I'll be studying something that is slowly dying.

What do you think? Do you think film is here for another 10 years or so? Longer? Film Forever?

Thank you
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:09 AM

Yep, Film's Dead. Nothing to see here. Move along folks.


Search the archives, this topic has been beat to death.

-Tim
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:23 AM

Don't cross-post the same question to multiple categories and please change your Display Name to a first and last name, Emile. Thanks.
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#4 Jim Exton

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:58 PM

What do you think? Do you think film is here for another 10 years or so? Longer? Film Forever?

Thank you



I was told in 1992 that Super 8mm was a dead format. Still here 15 years later.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 07:47 PM

I think the operative answer here is that it is liable to be around for long enough to make it worth learning about.

Phil
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 03:14 AM

I think the operative answer here is that it is liable to be around for long enough to make it worth learning about.

Phil


Hi Phil,

I guess you could say the same thing about any digital camera.

Stephen
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#7 Michael Waite

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:03 AM

Be glad that you are going to film school. Be glad that your film school cares enough to teach film. The easy option would be to dump film & teach everything on video. Much cheaper & easier for them & this is happening in a lot of schools now. There are universities teaching photography that have have closed their darkrooms & only expect the students to shoot digital. There is nothing wrong with digital but film gives you extra options. Once you have learned on film it will be easy to pick up digital shooting, but if you learn on digital you will have no idea how to use film.
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#8 rob spence

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:00 AM

Personally I wouldn't touch any film school that doesn't teach a student all about shooting on film...you have to learn your craft at the highest possible level and anything less is second best. Students should aim for the the roundest most in depth education posible.
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#9 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:38 AM

Hi Phil,

I guess you could say the same thing about any digital camera.

Stephen


Hi Stephen,

Here is a video on the very subject!



Andy
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 06:33 AM

It never ceases to amaze me how many horrible sounding anti film posts are created, then when you actually read them, you find out they are more pro film, THAT will probably kill film off quicker than anything else.

How about an alternative title like. My FILM SCHOOL LOVES FILM, are they behind the times? At least that balances the question you ask fairly. How can you be asking if something is dead if YOUR FILM SCHOOL INSISTS ON YOU LEARNING IT?

Chalk this topic up to one of this little bullets that keeps nipping at King Kong. It wasn't anyone bullet, it was the incessant pounding that did the kongster in, prematurely.

I think a bigger issue than how much longer film will be around is when will it be acceptable for film NOT to be around, isn't that the real issue?
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#11 Zachary Vex

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:31 PM

In a word, no. The amount of information stored in a modern emulsion film frame is dramatically higher than any electronic sensor can match, and will be for some time to come. Perhaps forever. Film can be scanned for years to come as scanning quality improves, but if you shoot on one of the limited electronic devices today, your original data will be limited to that soon-to-be obsolete format FOREVER.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 03:48 PM

> In a word, no. The amount of information stored in a modern emulsion film frame is dramatically higher than any electronic sensor can match,
> and will be for some time to come. Perhaps forever. Film can be scanned for years to come as scanning quality improves, but if you shoot on
> one of the limited electronic devices today, your original data will be limited to that soon-to-be obsolete format FOREVER.

To be fair, this is not entirely true. Some but not all current 35mm stocks are capable of resolving enough resolution that it's worthwhile scanning them at 4K, but more than that is really overkill, and the screen result is not much more than 2K in most circumstances. You can dispute this all you like, it's a moving target, but you can't say "dramatically higher... perhaps forever."

Phil
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#13 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 07:08 PM

The formulation Zachary used was maybe a bit lax in your reading, Phil, but I think what he rightly refers to is the continual technological progress in both video resolution, especially when used for telecine or scanning, and the resolving power of cine-film film stock. This progress shifts the terms in which we think of "adequacy" between xK video and VisionX film, and dates our discussions on that matter ruthlessly.

This is why I am personally very careful when setting absolute as well as relative analogies between xK resolution and cine-film's information.

After all, when Kodak released Cineon in 1993, originally creating the 4K DI we now widely see as acceptable, rather many than few industry practitioners ridiculed that efforts with statements that cine-film isn't worth the computational power and far inferior in resolving power than then-contemporary video formats ... that was before ...uhm DigiBeta and DVCPRO50?
While Cineon failed because it was far ahead for the imagination of the purchase-making industry pros and creatives that should have understood better, nowadays, the spirit of Cineon is kicking post to new levels.

Today, when we re-read these previous debates, an inevitable smile should come up, as noone would seriously suggest today that 35mm is on a par with DigiBeta... if it were, then why are we 4K'ing for DI and arrilasering around today?

The implicit ideas of "S8 to HD", "16mm to 2K" and "35mm to 4K" which start to emerge today as being regarded as standard, are already undermined by visually revealing attempts (in a positive sense) by individuals who scan S8 at 2K or 16mm at 3K without regret. As these solutions become financially more viable to a broader base, their increasing acceptance will supplant our current comparative negations and the talk about "overkill" or "underkill".

What if NHK pursues its UHDV format which is roughly 7K (33MP) and brings it to market in 2010+? Will we have the same discussion à la "Is 35mm Vision3 really worth 6K DI telecine ? I can't second that based on my Blu-ray playback on my SED screen", as we had it years ago? À la "HD or 1K is so superior to 35mm, film is dead, no way it will catch up"?
Probably. Maybe even certainly.

So the problem with all this "Is film dead - let's only learn the Red user manual" - which lies at the origin of this thread - is indeed that the debate about the resolving power of film seems strangely, inevitably (and dare I to say "unprofessionally") linked with regarding that aspect as cine-films sole reason-to-be-used as a filmmaking medium. How come that these debates are grounded on the one perspective revolving around the seemingly only marketable dimension video seems to offer as progress: resolution increase? Aesthetical and cultivational aspects which are after all at the very heart of cinematography, filmmaking and (again, dare I say) the result of the historical tech-progress of the "film look", are completely left out of debating the future of media.

As long as the cine-film industry is willing to only defensively engage with the video-industry on what are in effect their grounds, we will have those lp/mm vs bit/megapixel debates again and again, only with higher digital increments to talk about.
The cine-film industry really has to reverse the rules of the card game, change the stakeholders perspectives, take the offensive and establish new comparative criteria, otherwise, they will not be perceived as being cutting-edge tech developers and innovators that should be listend to (and that is the lingo that rules and impresses "the suits" that de facto set industry agenda).
Aesthetics can be sold, you just have to speak the right language to sell it. And Kodak, just as much as Polaroid did, fails in that respect for the time being. In an unvoluntary way, they might well participate in burying the "dead" child while it's still alive and kicking and would have an otherwise glorious future ahead.

Ah, what the hell, maybe someone should close that thread as it was done in the HD subforum. There won't be anything new to say here either on that "living corpse" that is cine-film.

Edited by Michael Lehnert, 29 September 2007 - 07:11 PM.

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