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I've noticed I don't pay for digital movies at the theater anymore.


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#1 Alexander Winfield

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:35 AM

Is it just me, or are there others out there that really love the film medium and when a movie comes out, you look online to see if it was shot on film or not (now I can tell just from the previews). If it was shot on film, you make plans to go out and see it, if it was digitally shot, you decide to catch at later. When? Who cares, just later.

 

Don't hate me, but I started to boycott movies shot digitally. I just don't like the look. What's sad is I can already tell what camera they used. i.e. Arri Alexa, Red One, Red Dragon, Red Fifteen in 15k etc. I don't have to look it up anymore (although I do just to confirm).

 

Some digitally shot movies have the whites blown out. And many others, the people look like clay people. And the rest, hardly any of them have any rich color or dynamic range (if you're used to film that is).

 

Will digital ever look like film? I don't think so, digital still photography still hasn't caught up. It looks flat, clear and super sharp, but flat. I'm hoping that people will come to their senses and demand with their $$$ that film come back because they'll want to return to quality. Maybe that's just a dream.

 

What will probably happen is digital will reach a point that the 80% will be happy with and the other 20% will just have to compromise and come along for the ride. Hopefully that won't happen for at least a decade and a half.

 

There's emotion when watching film, but digital, takes a whole lot more work to feel something.

 

What I find very interesting is, you can watch a series of commercials during your favorite TV show, Tide, Chevy, Taco Bell, but when a Victoria Secrets commercial comes on, it demands your attention. Why? Aside from showing super pretty women, woohoo, most of them are shot on film. Someone out there is thinking and knows how to market their product right.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my rant,

Alexander

 

 

 

 


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#2 John E Clark

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 03:20 AM

In many theaters these days, and it has been the case for quite some time even in the Film film projection days, there is a 'digital' and mostly 'video' program, with ads and various little 'behind the scenes' promo videos...

 

Now, if you can't tell the difference between that 'video' content and the main 'digital' film presented, well ok... perhaps there is still a difference for some people, especially if they have to look up how the film was shot...

 

I see a distinct difference between the 'video' program and the main film... and these days, I could care less how it was originated.

 

I will say that 3-D does strike me as 'washed out' in terms of contrast... but it is still not 'video'... for me.

 

What I go to movies in theaters for is the film story... the last film I saw was "Into the Woods"(2014)... I did not like it, not because it was shot on a digital camera, because I've seen now any number of films shot with an ARRI Alexa of some sort... but it was just a 'less than' movie... as for technical considerations, it was very good... I saw the 2-D version, and the 'dark' scenes had detail and were 'dark'... etc...


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 07:31 AM

That's pretty silly to me, boycott seeing "Selma" let's say, in a theater, because it was shot on an Alexa. Unless you own a large home theater, it's not the same thing to just wait and watch these movies at home. Ultimately either you love movies and love the theatrical experience or you don't, the shooting format is not the primary reason you get into your car and go see a movie in a theater, because if you only are going to see movies shot on film in a theater, then eventually you aren't going to be going to the theater much at all, and if you can do that, then seeing movies out in a theater is clearly something you can live without. It's like boycotting eating pork when you never much of a pork eater to begin with, it's sort of an empty gesture.

I have a 47" HD screen at home so clearly it's not the same experience as watching something on a 75' screen in a theater, digitally-shot or not.
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#4 Alexander Winfield

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 10:19 AM

(Thank you for your input)

 

Well, that's my point, I haven't been to the theater in a while and it's been gradual. I even have an AMC gold pass in my wallet and not even tempted to spend it. Yes, now, I probably wouldn't go see a digitally shot movie, but it's not because I don't like the movie going experience, in fact, I used to work at 4+ movie theaters, I just don't like when a lot of the movies look like Alexa or Red.

 

I think subconsciously, film has a deeper connection to the viewer than digital. Although sometimes a story shot on digital does get people's attention, but that's usually because of the undercurrent, (Lord of the Rings-the books, Social Network-Facebook)

 

Well, let me ask the people in this forum, when was the last time someone NOT in the film business told you to, "Go see that movie." What movie was it, please specify the movie and what it was shot in.

 

I'll start, Pirates of the Carribean, the Curse of the Black Pearl, shot on film. My cousin called me up and told me about it.

 

Your turn.


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#5 James Compton

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 10:20 AM

Is it just me, or are there others out there that really love the film medium and when a movie comes out, you look online to see if it was shot on film or not (now I can tell just from the previews). If it was shot on film, you make plans to go out and see it, if it was digitally shot, you decide to catch at later. When? Who cares, just later.

 

There's emotion when watching film, but digital, takes a whole lot more work to feel something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander,

 

 Movies shot on film stand out among other films when watching trailers at your local movie theater. It's your choice when you go to the cinema. I saw the trailers for 'EDGE OF TOMORROW, NON-STOP and FURY amongst other movies shot digitally. FILM ROCKS. I don't get the same reaction watching digitial movies. I watch movies because I love going to the cinema. Sure there are plenty of movies shot with digital cameras, now. There are still plenty of film indie and studio, that are still shot on film. Your money, your decision. I respect your choice to boycott. A good way to keep up on what is being shot on film currently is to check out imdb.com(under 'Technical Specifications' on the page of any movie that you look up) and motion.kodak.com and look in the 'Shot On Film' section(http://motion.kodak....ions/index.htm). Each year Sundance Film Festival(01/22/15-02/22/15) has a good number of indie movies shot on film.


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#6 John E Clark

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:57 PM

I think subconsciously, film has a deeper connection to the viewer than digital. Although sometimes a story shot on digital does get people's attention, but that's usually because of the undercurrent, (Lord of the Rings-the books, Social Network-Facebook)

 

 

I don't agree with that Film film some how creates a 'deeper connection' to the viewer than Digital film.

 

Since I had been watching Film film for over 40 years by the time Digital film rolled around in significant numbers, this 'deeper connection' should have been clear on the switch over... I preceive no such 'connection'... Perhaps I suffer from some wort of 'Asperger's Syndrome' in relationship to such a 'deeper connection'.

 

I will agree with the claim that some number of films made today, are 'throw away entertainment' films, and as such, I go, see, buy popcorn, leave, and consider the night out a 'success', if the Wife and I don't get into a fight on some trivial issue...

 

It may also be the case that some set of independent , and this term is getting more vacuous as time goes on, as most 'studios' are not bankrolling films as they once did, so 'everyone' is independent... take on subjects and themes that have potentially a more 'deep' connection to viewers... say, a film like "Dallas Buyer's Club", whould be a hard sell for a studio to consider since it doesn't sound like a mega blockbuster, with follow on franchise possibilities... oh... wait... it was shot digitally on an Alexa... with 'no {Hollywood} lights'... I thought it was a pretty good film... and I'm not alone... If that story doesn't have some 'deeper connection' to many viewers... I don't know what would... (of course there may be some who reject the film on some sort of 'religious/philosophical' grounds.. but that aside...).

 

I don't think it would have been 'better' shot on film, and given the 'no {Hollywood} lights'... probably would have been technically 'worse', for some value of 'worse'.


Edited by John E Clark, 05 January 2015 - 12:59 PM.

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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 02:22 PM

Is it just me, or are there others out there that really love the film medium and when a movie comes out, you look online to see if it was shot on film or not (now I can tell just from the previews). If it was shot on film, you make plans to go out and see it, if it was digitally shot, you decide to catch at later. When? Who cares, just later.

Don't hate me, but I started to boycott movies shot digitally. I just don't like the look. What's sad is I can already tell what camera they used. i.e. Arri Alexa, Red One, Red Dragon, Red Fifteen in 15k etc. I don't have to look it up anymore (although I do just to confirm).

Some digitally shot movies have the whites blown out. And many others, the people look like clay people. And the rest, hardly any of them have any rich color or dynamic range (if you're used to film that is).

Will digital ever look like film? I don't think so, digital still photography still hasn't caught up. It looks flat, clear and super sharp, but flat. I'm hoping that people will come to their senses and demand with their $$ that film come back because they'll want to return to quality. Maybe that's just a dream.

What will probably happen is digital will reach a point that the 80% will be happy with and the other 20% will just have to compromise and come along for the ride. Hopefully that won't happen for at least a decade and a half.

There's emotion when watching film, but digital, takes a whole lot more work to feel something.

What I find very interesting is, you can watch a series of commercials during your favorite TV show, Tide, Chevy, Taco Bell, but when a Victoria Secrets commercial comes on, it demands your attention. Why? Aside from showing super pretty women, woohoo, most of them are shot on film. Someone out there is thinking and knows how to market their product right.


I hope you enjoyed my rant,
Alexander


As a HUGE advocate of film...I have to disagree.

 

Yes, I can usually tell when something was shot on digital and when something was shot on film. Yes, I look it up to. Film has a richness and texture that - in my mind - still can't be matched. But your assessment of digital is one that may have been a bit more valid about 5 years ago.

The images produced by the Alexa and the Red are very impressive.  You also have to factor in the fact that not everyone working with cameras are as skilled as some others.  It's still relatively new technology for a lot of people. But to say it has hardly any dynamic range and that the actors look like clay people is simply ridiculous. I remember when I saw the opening montage of Lars Von Trier's AntiChrist.  I was absolutely floored by the gorgeous black & white photography.  I think that was the first time I was fooled.  And I have a very fine eye.  When I found out it was shot on the Red One, that's when I realized that there were digital cameras being made capable of producing real quality images.

Again...this is coming from someone who loves the medium of film.  And I agree that digital presents far too "clean" a look in far too many pictures these days, but if a film appeals to me I'm going to go see it in the theater whether or not it was shot on film. The driving force - for the filmmakers AND the audience - should always be the story.


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 03:28 PM

There's a difference, of course, but it is no longer such a major difference that it ruins the theatrical experience.  If we only saw movies for their resolution and dynamic range, then we would have avoided seeing movies shot on film in the past that used diffusion or movies that used any skip-bleach processing. 


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#9 Justin Hayward

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:18 PM

Unless you own a large home theater, it's not the same thing to just wait and watch these movies at home. 

 

I wait these days, cause you're right, home theaters are awesome.  1920x1080 projected onto an 14' screen that I'm sitting right in front of looks better, to me, than a 2k DCP projected on a 75' screen.  I watched the Star Wars trailer on my projector (and cheered).  If theaters start switching to 4k and that's what everyone is shooting, they'll get my money back.

 

My eye is certainly not as developed as everyone here, so I often can't tell what the movie was originally shot on.


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#10 Alexander Winfield

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:46 PM

Thank you for everyone's perspective, it's great to know what others are thinking.

 

This is just me, and who knows, maybe I'm nuts, but I think what makes film so special and maybe hard to beat is the silver. Yes, there's other stuff involved on that reel, but the silver in that film, that's a precious metal, and it is the most reflective metal on earth. If digital ever can utilize silver in an equal but different manner, I think we pretty much could kiss film goodbye.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:58 PM

But there is no silver in the final color film image, negative or print, unless you do a silver retention process... it's all removed in the processing.


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#12 Oron Cohen

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 06:54 PM

Just from skimming through the comments, I also have to disagree with the OP. If a film is good it's good, I remember watching the celebration and the idiots and how much I loved those films, even though everyone that knows me knows how much of a film fanatic I can be. 

 

Having said that, I watched those Dogma 95 films on film, 35mm prints, and I still prefer to watch films on film. The other night I've watched a not so good Romanian film by a very talented director called: "When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism".

 

It was shot on 35mm film but the screenings was digital, and from the worse kind, I'm almost positive that this was not even a DCP and they just played it off of a MOV file or something, this happen a lot recently with low budget art house films that are screened around the world and just been send for a one off screening. This is worrying as the standards for screening are going down, in the past those films would always get a 35mm screening, now days many producers in Europe are cutting costs when they send your film to a film festival.  I immediately thought on how much close to a plain home projection this looks and even if it was DCP it usually still leaves me disappointed.

 

Regardless of that I was also not really impressed from the Cinematography in the film, even though it was shot on 35mm film, I couldn't care less, which actually made me think that this all thing is really more complex than film vs digital and got many other factors. 

 

It's tough out there at the moment for art house filmmakers... 


Edited by Oron Cohen, 05 January 2015 - 06:55 PM.

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#13 Satnam Khalsa

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:10 AM

The last movie I saw in the theater was Birdman. It was shot on the Alexa and looked great. During the previews I saw 2-3 minute trailer for Inherent Vice which was shot on film. I think that the rest of the trailers were digital. For the first 15 seconds I really noticed the grain. After that the image looked identical. As soon as I was interested in the story the little technical details faded away.


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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 09:51 AM

The thing with this restriction of only seeing film-shot features in theaters is what do you do with the hybrids that shoot film for day work and digital for night work, like "The Homesman", "Lone Ranger", and I believe "Nightcrawler"?  Walk out into the lobby every time a night scene comes up???


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#15 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:36 AM

I thought the same thing. Also, like it or not, digital imagers can do a lot more with quite a bit less light. That's a big deal for more intimate sets where a director demands a minimal set, or logistics don't provide for large lights. I'm very pro-film myself, but there is a reality to the technology and that is even '19 on super speeds wide open can sometimes not be enough. In the AC article on "Nightcrawler" Elswit notes that the Alexa was just more flexible for them doing the night scenes. He still shot the day stuff on film. Perfect example of the right tool for the job, from an excellent cinematographer.
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#16 John E Clark

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:08 PM

For me the 'biggest' cinematography technique that may have me 'walking out of the theater'... is shaky cam. I have gotten use to it now, but early on, in many situations, I would begin to get motion sick feelings, which simple is not a theater experience I like... the last film where I would have walked out was "Beasts of the Southern Wild"(2012), however, the Wife had waited months for a showing near us... sort of... like 100 miles away that was captioned... so, basically this is the only film I've 'watched' with eyes closed for most of it...

 

I watched several of the Best Picture nominees last year, and I was 'wrong' on several counts as to Film film vs Digital film... For example, I though "Twelve Years a Slave"(2013) was 'digital' because the grain pattern looked 'so obvious'... ha... shot on film...

 

The problem of course is that with Digital Intermediates there are no internegs/positives, which were standard in the olden days, and so, there is a certain 'sharpness' that is retained. One can see many flaws in older films that have been newly transfered, which were not really 'visible' in the olden days.

 

I may go up to the New Beverly, which Tarantino is turining into a Film film only theater, and see some Film film projected movies... but probably not any time soon...


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#17 Alexander Winfield

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:55 PM

Yes, I agree just because it's shot on film doesn't make it a good movie to watch, obviously.

Yes, I agree that digital can have a lot of merit, especially for TV.

And I think we can all agree that story is king.

 

What I was saying originally was generally film has more of a connection with the audience, maybe on a subconscious level.

 

And I also have to re-ask my question, when was the last time someone NOT in the film business told you to, "Go see that movie." What movie was it, please specify the movie and what it was shot in.

 

This used to happen a lot, it doesn't really happen much if any anymore. Is that because of the influx of digitally shot movies? Or just lousy stories? Maybe both. From watching people's behavior, it appears to me that digital movies are (hate to say) disposable. Once the public has seen it, they can cross it off their list and move on. But film shot movies, they feel they have more of a tangible ownership and/or experience and want to share it.

 

Just look at women's reactions, they go crazy over Titanic, The Notebook, Twilight, but do you hear any women these days raving about a romantic type movie shot digitally? I don't think so. Is there even one? That's what I'm trying to tell you people, the emotion is in "film", providing the story and skill is there.

 

 

Alexander


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#18 GregBest

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:17 PM

yeah, digital / film no big deal.  I prefer the story, and story first.  To me, an average consumer, I kinda prefer the cleaner digital over the grainy film.

 

Branching off Aleander's note, there are not as many movies I WANT to see these days...  seems like the quality of writing has diminished with the improvements of CG in effects, sets, backgrounds etc...  is that just me?  I mean, I really like MOVIE movies like Indana Jones, Pirates, even Bond, but lately seems like they are mostly emo-indie, comic books.   Even the last Indiana movie felt phoned in to me.  I haven't seen a movie I felt like CLAPPING in for a long, long time.

 

I gotta think shooting digital is easier in movies now days, so are they sloppier?  more after the fast money grab than making a GREAT movie?

 

Like in the music industry, when the tools became available to everyone, everyone made crappy music and we are buried in it now.  Hard to find the great stuff from the average.

Maybe this happens in the big productions as well....    Paranormal makes a billion, FAST, so everyone trying to keep up, releasing less than GOOD movies.


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#19 John E Clark

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:41 PM


And I also have to re-ask my question, when was the last time someone NOT in the film business told you to, "Go see that movie." What movie was it, please specify the movie and what it was shot in.

 

 

Perhaps it is some 'age thing', but I don't have people I talk about 'film' surrounding me. The Boss will comment on 'I liked "The Imitation Game", you should see it' is about as close to a non-film industry person will get to a recommend for me.

 

The Sister-in-Law has 'recommended' a few films in the past, but they don't go to the movies that much... the last one they attended with us was "Into the Woods"... they 'loved' it... the Wife and I were somewhat disappointed, and that opinion was pretty much based on 'story'...

 

I also don't idealize The Past... If you've never seen any of the following, you may think that there were many more films in the past that had better story, better presentation, etc...

 

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957)
Tammy Tell Me True (1961)
Tammy and the Doctor (1963)
Tammy and the Millionaire (1967)

 

And while I'm somewhat embarrased to mention that I've actually sat in a theater watching "Tammy and the Doctor"... it was the only movie showing in the single theater in Cedar Rapids Iowa where I spent that sommer...

 

I think I'd rather watch the Twilight series in full 5 times in a row, before watching any of those films... and needless to say... my opinion of the Twilight series is not that high...

 

Which leads me to...

 

The reason the Twilight series was shot on film... was directly due to the fact that digital had not yet developed to the point it is today. I also think they did the series a 'disservice' by replacing Catherine Hardwicke as director... the first "Twilight"(2008) I could almost stand... I think if the series were to have been started today, it would be digital capture.

 

I don't think the fact that Film film was involved had anything to do with the mass appeal to women and girls... since the books, and by various literary standards, those were not well received... were very popular with girls and young women.


Edited by John E Clark, 06 January 2015 - 02:44 PM.

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#20 John E Clark

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 02:52 PM


Like in the music industry, when the tools became available to everyone, everyone made crappy music and we are buried in it now.  Hard to find the great stuff from the average.

Maybe this happens in the big productions as well....    Paranormal makes a billion, FAST, so everyone trying to keep up, releasing less than GOOD movies.

 

There is quite a bit of difference between the music industry, and what one needs on entry, and 'making a movie'...

 

One 'problem' that I have with the modern theater situation, is that a 'metroplex' is directed to maximizing audience, and also will not show films that may cause their other presentations to suffer audience wise... with a more decentralized theater setup, a theater across town (maybe even on the otherside of the tracks) could run films that were out of the ordinary, and perhaps contained 'morally objectionable material' while still not being 'porn'... I see some of that sort of capability returning with small audience venuues and 'digital' projection...

 

So, you will not see a 'Midnight Cowboy'(1969) (when first released was rated X and is the only X rated film to win an Academy Award...) in a metroplex (or only in some major market like NYC, SF or LA...)


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