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Deakins says that film is dead


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#1 Jim Carlile

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 01:59 AM

In today's Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.co...4259029704.html

I think this means that it's just starting to get fun. Who cares what Hollywood does?

Edited by Jim Carlile, 26 February 2011 - 02:00 AM.

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#2 Karel Bata

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 04:07 AM

Good luck to Deakins - he's got True Brit! (groan :lol: ) TG is nicely lit, but it's just a remake of the original, and the plot looks a bit dated now. Would anyone but the Cohens have got it green-lighted?

Meanwhile back in Blighty, Deluxe Soho labs, formely known as Soho Images, have ceased taking orders for the printing of 16mm film. There's no-one left in the UK now who does it. :(

As it happens I'll be looking over an Epic later today... :o
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#3 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:33 AM

Just another man's opinion. I wonder what Nolan or Snyder would have to say if they were asked? Wally? Still, I can't wait to see what he did with his first digital shoot.

The post is misleading, by the way, as it looks like a quote from the article you linked, which it isn't.

I don't see what the big deal is anymore. Use film or not, to keep talking about it won't affect anyone's view to do the same thing, assuming they have the ability to think for themselves and craft to their own needs.

Boring subject matter these days.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:33 AM

I worry, Vincent, that the number of people who can think for themselves has been in a long decline.
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#5 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:09 AM

Just another man's opinion.


I agree, though I consider him to be one of the best cinematographers working today, and I love his body of work.

I wonder what Nolan or Snyder would have to say if they were asked? Wally?


If you haven't already, you should check the latest video in the "Kodak.No Compromise" campaign..I guess Wally's point of view is pretty clear there :)

Still, I can't wait to see what he did with his first digital shoot.


Me too. I would never avoid any movie just because it's shot on this or that format/camera. That'd be so silly.

The post is misleading, by the way, as it looks like a quote from the article you linked, which it isn't.


To be fair, the last quote in the WSJ article is: "This year or next will see more or less the end of film". So, it's not literally the same, but i'd say it's close enough.

I worry, Vincent, that the number of people who can think for themselves has been in a long decline.


dramatically so, in my very humble opinion. And aggressive marketing for an "economy model supporting obsolescence in any way it can" (don't know if this makes sense) is doing the rest.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:12 AM

Quite true Francesco. Also, i have noticed with alarming regularity, people just getting into this industry think it is the gear which makes the shot. And sadly, perhaps because of our generation, growing up buying computers where we examined specs (processor speed, giga bits, whatever) they fall to these metrics which, while useful, fail to really convey too much about how something will work in the wild.
It's nice, though, to be able to say I totally disagree with Deakins in this opinion.
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 11:58 AM

"This year or next will see more or less the end of film," he said, sounding as unsentimental about the end of an era as "True Grit" is about the Old West. "It's been a long time coming, really. Film has had a good run."

Ok so that's a very short time frame, we'll all be around to see the results. If I shoot a film in 2013 on film then I have single handily proven Deakins wrong. Cool!

R,
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:33 PM

"This year or next will see more or less the end of film," he said, sounding as unsentimental about the end of an era as "True Grit" is about the Old West. "It's been a long time coming, really. Film has had a good run."

Ok so that's a very short time frame, we'll all be around to see the results. If I shoot a film in 2013 on film then I have single handily proven Deakins wrong. Cool!

R,


I don't think Deakins was saying that there will be no film production in 2013. In fact, no doubt he will still be shooting some film in 2013. He's just saying that the technology has arrived today that serves the same needs as film more or less.

Let's be reasonable here -- it's not like the switchover to digital broadcasting, there won't be this date in 2012 where all production has to shift over from film to digital.

We are already in a transition as anyone who can look at a graph chart can tell you. It doesn't take a math genius to see that digital will increase in use over time until it exceeds film production -- in fact, if you take into account all narrative production worldwide, including television production, it probably switched over to being predominately digital years ago.

So what are we really talking about? We're talking about mainstream Hollywood studio production as the benchmark for how far digital has made inroads over film, which is why the opinion of studio cinematographers like Deakins matters. What a few independent producers making small movies want to do with their money is their own business, they aren't necessarily defining an industry-wide trend if they choose film over digital. But if the studios, with millions and millions invested in a single production, start choosing digital on a regular basis, well, then film will become a minor player in the industry. It hasn't happened yet, despite all the major 3D movies being shot digitally. Only a few of these big shows will be getting ahold of an Epic in 2011, the camera won't be available to a lot of people until the end of the year. And Alexa, despite being a great camera, is still a 2K camera, so I don't really consider that a true replacement for 35mm, though close. And I don't think every Hollywood director and producer are going to be happy only being able to choose between an Epic and an Alexa before ditching film.

So with that being the current state of the industry, it's hard to say that that's enough -- two primary digital cinema camera options -- to cause an industry-wide switchover away from film in 2011-2013. Maybe. But these are certainly the transition years away from film either way.
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 02:16 PM

But David what does Deakins mean exactly when he says:

"This year or next will see more or less the end of film,"

I mean he can't have it both ways. He seems pretty clear here, he's saying well....this year or next will see more or less the end of film. :)

What I find amusing about the film is dead camp, is that they have been prognosticating for 10 years now for the complete elimination of film. Yet every time one of their predictions misses the date they predicted, they simply move the end date back another couple of years. Kind of a nice position to be in I suppose?

I think the film is dead people need to admit one important fact, they don't know what the *bleep* they are talking about.

On a concluding note we all know that film is set to deliver the knockout blow once again at this years Oscars. It's really quite an embarrassment for the video systems of the world, for all their ballywhoo, they haven't made that much progress at all.

R,

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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 05:42 PM

But David what does Deakins mean exactly when he says:

"This year or next will see more or less the end of film,"

I mean he can't have it both ways. He seems pretty clear here, he's saying well....this year or next will see more or less the end of film. :)


Sure he can mean it both ways.. he said "this year or the next" and he said "more or less". That's not the same thing as being definite, he gave himself some wiggle room of a couple of years.

We're merely haggling over a timeline at this point. And even when film is fairly uncommon for production, there will be several years of "is film making a comeback?" momentary and periodic resurrections. Back in 2000 when 24P HD arrived and people were saying "film is dead" back then, I tossed out the random figure of 15 years before digital took over, i.e. 2015. I still may be right, but either way, I don't think film will disappear by then either, just as film hasn't disappeared from the still market world.

For most of us, the stakes are not that high, we don't have shares in Kodak... Deakins is still going to be working well beyond 2015, whether on film or digital. This is cocktail party conversation stuff.
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:04 PM

Sure he can mean it both ways.. he said "this year or the next" and he said "more or less". That's not the same thing as being definite, he gave himself some wiggle room of a couple of years.


Love it! Deakins should go into politics.

"The economy will recover this year or next, more or less." :D

R,
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#12 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:49 PM

Technology like the Sony F3 is actually going to make it even tougher for indie films to justify that extra $10k+ for film lab fees, especially for those struggling with a very tight bottom line, which only gets tighter each year as the markets have basically died. This scenario just happened right in front of me a week ago. Hopefully I can post more about that soon.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:01 PM

I've been discussions on an indie movie where the director wants to shoot 35mm; based on a 200,000' total footage if we shot in 4-perf (20:1 ratio more or less), I did some very rough calculations and it worked out to be roughly $40,000 for stock and processing for every perf of 35mm we shot, i.e. $160,000 for 4-perf, $120,000 for 3-perf, and $80,000 for 2-perf. Of course, I was picking a fairly high number for the cost of stock and processing, about $800 for every 1000' roll shot and processed, the real number would probably be closer to $600 or less. And of course we could shoot less than 200,000' of 4-perf. So maybe it's more like $30,000 for every perf shot and processed for a 20:1 ratio.

Trouble is that the budget might be under 2-mil while still being a union shoot, and while 10 years ago that still would have meant shooting in 35mm, it's much less common today. But this is a period story and the director doesn't feel that digital would have the right feeling for that.

Funny thing is the last feature I did last summer, a 7-mil feature, also opted to shoot in 35mm because the director insisted on it. So it hasn't gone away yet even for the indies, as long as you are above a certain budget figure.

For years, I shot a bunch of 35mm indie movies in 4-perf, contact-printed, finished photochemically, and we always had 100,000' of stock, and fresh stock was about $500 per 1000' can more or less. So that was about $50,000 for stock alone.

In the "old days" (two years ago) you could say "well, there are no stock and processing costs for digital, though the cameras are more expensive to rent, but the film-out was going to cost you $40,000 or so, not including the color-correction session, which is more like another $40,000. So it's a wash with shooting film and finishing photochemically." Except today it's a given that the movie will need a digital master of some sort even if you finish photochemically, and most people want to do a D.I., so the post costs between digital and film are similar, leaving the difference in the production costs. And it's hard to get around that stock & processing & telecine cost for shooting film compared to digital, even if the digital cameras cost 3X what the film cameras cost to rent. But above a certain budget, film is still viable if the director and/or producer feels strongly enough about using it.
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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:12 PM

Meanwhile back in Blighty, Deluxe Soho labs, formely known as Soho Images, have ceased taking orders for the printing of 16mm film. There's no-one left in the UK now who does it. :(


Just to clarify, this is for making 16mm film prints, not actually processing 16mm. Some people are confused about that.

Because there is now so much demand for 35mm film processing and so few labs left in the UK, they decided it would be better buisness to put all their resources into 35mm to keep up with demand. The 16mm people are less important basically, and while they still make money on 16mm they make more on 35.

Too much demand not enough capacity basically.

love

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#15 Jim Carlile

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:27 PM

The post is misleading, by the way, as it looks like a quote from the article you linked, which it isn't.

I don't see what the big deal is anymore. Use film or not, to keep talking about it won't affect anyone's view to do the same thing, assuming they have the ability to think for themselves and craft to their own needs.

Boring subject matter these days.


It's not misleading-- that's what he's saying.

And it's not "boring" if you can't get a hold of film.
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#16 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:33 PM

My extra "$10k" comment was based on a S16mm feature with about a 6:1 to Prores. This was how much more it was going to cost on that particular film, over renting a red package or now, an F3 with KiPro mini. This price is accurate but only by getting things done with lots of calls for best rates, special deals on film, etc. The rentals on production grade 16mm cameras is super low right now. $4500 will get you a modern package for a month from certain places. Hell I was offered an very nice Aaton Prod for sale recently for $7k.
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#17 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:39 PM

It's not misleading-- that's what he's saying.

And it's not "boring" if you can't get a hold of film.


I disagree.
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#18 Jerry Murrel

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

M. David Mullen, ASC wrote:

"So with that being the current state of the industry, it's hard to say that that's enough -- two primary digital cinema camera options -
to cause an industry-wide switchover away from film in 2011-2013. Maybe. But these are certainly the transition years away from film
either way."

I think David (as usual) has nailed it right on the head - the transition is well underway and will continue, even
though old film guys like me are having a very hard time accepting this.

I spoke with a good friend of mine who works in the front office of Panavision/Woodland Hills last November and
asked him for his take on this topic.

He basically told me that 35mm 4 perf film acquistion is still the most cost-efficient mode of production at this time,
and will most probably be around for several more years.

The progress that has been made in digital cinematography in the last ten years is staggering, especially considering
the dynamic range of new cameras like the Arri Alexa.

I own two Arris (a 16BL and an 35BL) and I feel confident enough in film's future to have had both of these cameras rebuilt
by Axel Broda. But when I saw APOCALYPTO in a theatre several years ago, I was so stunned to see the Panavision Genesis
logo in the end credits, that I could barely get out of my seat. I literally had assumed I was watching a picture shot
on 35mm. That was the moment I experienced cognitive dissonance - it caused me to re-assess everything I had assumed
about film vs. video.


-Jerry Murrel
Little Rock, AR
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#19 J. Lamar King

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:39 PM

I own two Arris (a 16BL and an 35BL) and I feel confident enough in film's future to have had both of these cameras rebuilt
by Axel Broda. But when I saw APOCALYPTO in a theatre several years ago, I was so stunned to see the Panavision Genesis
logo in the end credits, that I could barely get out of my seat. I literally had assumed I was watching a picture shot
on 35mm. That was the moment I experienced cognitive dissonance - it caused me to re-assess everything I had assumed
about film vs. video.


-Jerry Murrel
Little Rock, AR


IMO, Apocalypto had scenes that looked like complete ass. Like TV news from the 80's. Never fooled me into thinking it was film and I don't think Semler cared either way. Obviously the camera was "good enough" for him. The tipping point I think has come by the way of cameras (Red MX and Alexa) that have a "good enough" image to a large number of DP's and producers...finally. I think technology has reached a point where digital images are an acceptable alternative to film. I believe the next generation of digital cameras will make such a huge impact on film that we might loose it just because the companies that make film and film labs are not prepared for the shift. Companies can't seem to scale back, they just cut and run.

I don't think any serious cinematographer ultimately cares if the camera is film or digital. Cinematographers have just been screaming for years that digital cameras need to meet certain standards of quality and usability. These standards have only just been met and that's why digital has been having a serious impact lately.
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#20 J. Lamar King

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:47 PM

Sorry if that sounds a bit aggressive. I'm just trying to make a point that I think we all have an opinion on when digital images are acceptable. Some are good to go now others don't think it's ready.
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