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How have things changed?


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#1 Mike Lipinski

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:26 PM

I have been away from the business for many years. I posted some days ago, about my dad's American Cinematographers. This is a different subject. So many changes have taken place since my dad shot film. I'm out of touch with any film people. I keep hearing rumors about celluloid film being phased out, and yet here from reading these forums I see that cinematographers are still talking about film as the capture medium, and there seems no letup in movies being shot on film. I'd like to know what the truth is. Is Kodak still producing negative film, and for how long? Is there a "conspiracy" afoot to turn over the capture medium to digital altogether -a frightening thought! That happened with CDs, and before anyone could say, "Hey, hold it!" they'd gone and authored half the record archives, and let the other half rot. Are we going to see a similar technological invasion in film, such that there will only be digital acquisition? I hope not. Film has just a great exposure latitude - and that's just one of its great features. Kodak has "slimmed down." Are they going to be able to stay in business?

I know, sounds like a lot of questions, and maybe I should be asking them somewhere else, but I can't think of a better place than right here, with all you young pros to get some answers. I love film, still or moving, and I would hate to see it replaced by an inferior medium. Up till recently, digital was restricted to the internegative stage, and timing & color correction, and I know there are some great uses for digital in those kinds of processes, but will it ever replace film?

Mike.

BTW There was all kinds of talk as to whether Betacam video would replace film, way back in the 70s, and I recall a Kodak workshop I was at, in Rochester, where that was the big question mark, but back then the quality between the two was so marked nobody would seriously consider switching.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:42 PM

I think the proliferation of digital formats and continual upgrades and changes still makes film a logical choice for many situations because no matter what, you can always go back to the film and retransfer every 10 years and get a better and better looking product.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:28 PM

Hello Mike,

I'm a zero in this biz. My statements carry no weight. But, I've got nothing to lose. So, I'm free to say anything.

DA (digital acquisition) has drawn con artists by the droves. Here's why: The bottom line is the viewing public doesn't know any better. As long as they think they are just fine living on technical and aesthetic junk food, they make most of the choices for us all; Producers, Writers, Directors, DPs... all of us. That means that these digital hucksters can stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon of film and film+DI with a bag of potato chips in one hand and a digital rock in the other and do a captivating juggling routine. They're so good at it that most people forget to even look at the Grand Canyon. I could labor you with why the rock is just a rock and why film is a comparative Grand Canyon. But, you already know film.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 11:33 PM

The wild card is the digital intermediate. It gives you so much more control than just so many points of red, green, and blue. As chips get ever better, and DI is the norm, why not shoot digits to start with? The photochemical market share pretty much has to decline. Is there a volume below which it won't be economically feasible, kinda like a car engine idling ever slower until it dies? Probably. Will it actually slow down to that point? Very hard to guess.





-- J.S.
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#5 Keith Walters

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 01:37 AM

As chips get ever better, and DI is the norm, why not shoot digits to start with? The photochemical market share pretty much has to decline.
-- J.S.

Yeah when they get good enough.
This hasn't actually happened yet.
Get back to us when it does.
Oh, sure you can get any number of chuckleheads who insist that his has already happened. But who gives a rat's arse what they imagine is the case. Nobody of any real importance believes it.
Certainly Digital cameras have replaced film on the bulk of prime-tme shows, but clearly not for quality reasons; it's all about politics and price, as you well know.
The one big Elephant in the Room: Most of the HD cameras being used are more than five years old.
Apparently they weren't good enough when the vast bulk of the audience was watching the programs on NTSC TV sets 26 inches or less but now the same cameras apparently are, when people are switching to Huge screen HDTV sets in droves. All it shows is that most network executives have the attention span of a fence skink, and wouldn't know sh!t from shaving cream.

I have an HD PVR but for the benefit of certain technically illiterate family members I still record stuff on VHS. And you know what? There's still an obvious difference in quality between the few remaining film-originated shows and those shot on HD, even on VHS.

I don't have any particular problem with film being ousted by electronic cameras, I just get annoyed at he implication that some nebulous "corner" has been turned. It hasn't. There's still a long way to go.
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