Jump to content


Photo

Film Festivals and Camera Choice


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Timothy David Orme

Timothy David Orme
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 105 posts
  • Director
  • Boise, ID

Posted 01 January 2008 - 09:15 PM

I've been making short film for a few years, and have showed them at very small festivals in town. Everything I've shot has been on miniDV, and that's been pretty fine, because with the projetors they use at the local festivals, something shot on miniDV and something shot on a Varicam look almost identical (I've seen examples).

For my next project, I'm considering shooting HD. Renting a Varicam or maybe even a RED. But, I don't want to spend the money for an HD image, if it's going to be projected to look just like miniDV.

Are any festivals out there projecting HD?

What would the advantages be of shooting on a better camera? I'm sure there'd be a little more latitude, but is that all?

Thanks for your help.

I want to make a quality product, but not to spend money that doesn't get on the screen.
  • 0

#2 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 02 January 2008 - 08:36 AM

In my opinion, it's always best to start with a superior capture format and then downrez. For example, S16mm film will look much better on minidv than anything ever shot on minidv (if say you shot the same thing with the same settings (as close as possible enough) with a film camera and a minidv camera.
The other advantage you'd get with say a Red would be the 35mm sized sensor allowing for Depth of Field control and superior optics from PL mount lenses.
The same can be said of a varicam, although it does not have a 35mm sensor; it's performance would far out pace a dv camera.
Another good example would be DVDs; things you may have shot on miniDV or the like vs something shot in hollywood; both arriving on your screen via a dvd will look surprisingly different (the hollywood would look much better even if it was just a shot outside with no augmentation). While this is a result of many factors, one of them is the superior original format.

hope that helped!
  • 0

#3 Timothy David Orme

Timothy David Orme
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 105 posts
  • Director
  • Boise, ID

Posted 02 January 2008 - 09:40 AM

Sure, I understand that. What I'm more curious about, though, is how it might look at a festival, and if those dollars will necessarily translate into a better picture.
  • 0

#4 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 02 January 2008 - 09:44 AM

They will translate into a better picture; but it varies a lot by fest. It's also a question of the formats which the fests accepts. Then there are the ever present issues of projection. While there are standards in place, for theaters, this is not always the case of fests especially of smaller ones. It would be better to contact and/or look at the webpages/info packets of specific fests you're interested in. See what formats they accept (i may be wrong but i'm pretty sure most take HDCam now). The fact, for example, that they do take multiple formats is also a benefit as if you originate in HD you're downrezzing instead of uprezzing so the image quality remains superior.
For an example; take a still with say a camera phone and one with a normal camera (even a point and shoot) and resize the larger to that of the smaller, you'll see how although it's size has changed, and even if you convert it over to the same bit-depth as the camera phone, it is still a superior picture.
  • 0

#5 Timothy David Orme

Timothy David Orme
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 105 posts
  • Director
  • Boise, ID

Posted 02 January 2008 - 10:52 AM

That's good to know. As I said, the festivals I've been to only project miniDV, which looks almost blurry on the big screen.

Thanks for your help.

Tim.
  • 0

#6 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 January 2008 - 11:58 AM

All the bigger festivals can project on HD, but they prefer 35mm prints, especially if you originated on film. In Venice last year they projected some 65mm in 4K and in Cannes also they have a digital cinema setup for at least 2K.
  • 0

#7 Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4708 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 02 January 2008 - 12:05 PM

All the bigger festivals can project on HD, but they prefer 35mm prints, especially if you originated on film. In Venice last year they projected some 65mm in 4K and in Cannes also they have a digital cinema setup for at least 2K.


Hi Max,

I think you proved (to me anyway) shooting Anamorphic 35mm will totally kick ass V any digitally projected material, some of which originated on film.

Stephen
  • 0

#8 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 January 2008 - 12:20 PM

Thanks Stephen

Most festival prints are taken off the original negative so they will look much better than regular release prints that went through IP/IN stages.
  • 0

#9 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2250 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 02 January 2008 - 01:14 PM

Max even after going through a IP/IN Anamorphic still kicks the poop out of anything else .
  • 0

#10 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 January 2008 - 02:25 AM

Yep, saw 'I am Legend' yesterday, digitally projected at 2K and it even though it was shot on anamorphic, I didn't think it looked as sharp as a pure photochemical finish. And don't even get me started about the colors...
  • 0

#11 Ruairi Robinson

Ruairi Robinson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 279 posts
  • Director
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:52 AM

Yep, saw 'I am Legend' yesterday, digitally projected at 2K and it even though it was shot on anamorphic, I didn't think it looked as sharp as a pure photochemical finish. And don't even get me started about the colors...


The thing is, all the vfx would have to have been done at 3.5-4k to match the sharpness of a pute photochemical finish, and therein lies the tradeoff - the vfx require much, much, much more detail to hold up to that extra bit of sharpness, and this is an extremely non-trivial thing for a huge project. It's not just twice as much detail, or twice as slow to render, it's 4x or much much slower (if it even renders at all!). So the tradeoff for projects like this is: slightly softer, but more ambitious images, or higher rez, but less ambitious images. You can't have both. Which would you choose? Because being sharper isn't *everything* - for the sake of getting the images you want on a vfx heavy project, you may have to take a hit on image sharpness...!

though I do agree, I tend not to love the look of 2k DI's so much. I wonder if it's more a matter of filmmakers getting a bit carried away with their new toys as much as anything else...
  • 0

#12 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2250 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:45 PM

Its not the sharpness so much as the horrible flesh tones , why should anamorphic and then go to a 2k DI . I think its great for S16 and then release in 35mm but at the moment thats about it.
  • 0

#13 John Holland

John Holland
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2250 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London England

Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:46 PM

Sorry that should read " shoot " must read before i press send.
  • 0

#14 Ruairi Robinson

Ruairi Robinson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 279 posts
  • Director
  • Los Angeles

Posted 03 January 2008 - 01:06 PM

Its not the sharpness so much as the horrible flesh tones , why should anamorphic and then go to a 2k DI . I think its great for S16 and then release in 35mm but at the moment thats about it.


Well Max rightly mentioned sharpness too as a concern.

I think part of the problem doing a DI is just how is it is to go grade crazyee. (especially in a dark room, grading on a projector) Since your eye corrects the white balance for what you are seeing automatically, you can find that all of a sudden the whole image has gone *blue* and you hadn't even noticed it.

I've seen it happen a bunch of times, people go into the fancy new 2k DI suite and grade it to look "awesome", then they see it played back on a broadcast monitor the next day and go "what the fu** is this poop? Is this really what I graded? It's fu**ing SEPIA! Where have all the colours gone...!!!?"

So do you blame the DI, or the people doing it? It certainly gives you more control over the image...

Thats a big part of why shooting digital or doing DI are so popular with directors - they have MORE control over the images they create. Even if they have to take a quality hit to get it.

Same reason people often prefer to shoot on a sound stage instead of location. Or rear projection. Or green screen. It may look fake as all hell, but at least they have control over it, to create the images they want, to the limits of their taste and talent....

R.
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Glidecam

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Opal

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport