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Is there a reason why would you still choose to shoot on film over digital?


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#1 Mi Ki

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 07:34 AM

Digital cameras are getting better every day. Why would you still shoot on film? I would like to read your opinions.


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#2 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:05 AM

Digital cameras are getting better every day.

Can you explain a bit more what you mean by "better".


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#3 Carl Looper

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:06 AM

Cars are getting better every year. Why would you still ride a horse.


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 08:32 AM

Because the subject is about a horse.


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#5 Kemalettin Sert

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 09:24 AM

Can you explain a bit more what you mean by "better".

Dynamic Range and Resolution.Oh i forgot low light ;) 

Alexa beats film every day in every situation.


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#6 Pavan Deep

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 09:48 AM

The Alexa is a very good camera, but I'm not sure what you mean by it 'beating film'. Are you talking about 70mm, 35mm, or 16mm?

 

There are several practical reasons why people choose to shoot film, here are some of mine;

 

1) Film gives you that authentic film look effortlessly 

2) There's a certain way you work when shooting film, you are more decisive and more certain

3) High end digital systems are expensive to rent, whereas film cameras are very cheap, film can be expensive but it depends on your shooting ratio

4) Most of the time digital shoots take longer and therefore are most costly, especially in narrative film-making

5) With film you spend less time in the edit or with computers trying to 'fix' the images, digital images need a lot more work in post

 

Pav


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 09:53 AM

I feel like this is mostly a trolling question.


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#8 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 10:04 AM

I feel like this is mostly a trolling question.

 

I actually had to look up "trolling" in Urban Dictionary, just now.  All I knew was that it had some sort of negative internet connotation... ^_^


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 10:06 AM

That's ok Bill I have a friend who didn't realize the other meanings of the phrase "DP," which I informed they should look up online as well-- much more worrisome search results.


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 10:29 AM

Better digital cameras don't come out "every day"...

 

But ignoring the hyperbole, obviously for a lot of people, the quality and the functionality of digital cameras has pushed a majority of still photographers and motion picture makers away from film.

 

So why shoot film today?  While I think there are still technical arguments that can be made about particular image qualities that film is still excels at, plus there is still a very strong argument that film is more archival as a long-term storage medium if handled properly, we have reached the point where more of the arguments are mostly aesthetic -- there are those that can see a difference and the difference still matters to them.  (And there are some people who simply are romantics, there is a nostalgic appeal to film.)

 

So for those that can't see a difference, I'm sure they are scratching their heads as to why someone would want to shoot film over digital.

 

Having just finished a feature shot on film, I can say that perhaps the most striking thing I noticed was that actors look very good when shot on film, it is still more flattering to them.


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#11 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 11:04 AM

Digital cameras are getting better every day. Why would you still shoot on film? I would like to read your opinions.

 

Having just watched Apocalypse Now (1979) last night, I would think any image from that film conjured up in anyone's respective mind's eye would be the end of the argument.  Take a look at the way Storaro used color in that film.  At times, the orange and yellow hues are very deep, but not overly saturated and he still maintains a classic softness on all of the main characters' faces.  Stunning work.

 

I remember seeing dailies somewhere of when Capt. Willard finally reaches the end of the river (while still on the boat.)  I was amazed at how flat the dailies appeared compared to the final cut.  So I guess the majority of the color adjustments for that film were done in the timing.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 11:27 AM

The timing of "Apocalypse Now" was done photochemically so there shouldn't have been an extreme gamma difference between work print and answer/release print (all the same stock, and the movie was contact-printed originally except for the 70mm blow-up) but I have no idea how you saw the dailies versus the final version -- if on home video, then there are a lot of differences in source materials plus they have all be color-corrected digitally.

 

It's true that the release prints of "Redux" were done at the time using Technicolor's prototype dye transfer machine, the one that never caught on, so those prints would have a bit richer than the original Eastmanaolor prints.  And I'm sure the home video version was made to emulate the look of those dye transfer prints.


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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 11:36 AM

The timing of "Apocalypse Now" was done photochemically so there shouldn't have been an extreme gamma difference between work print and answer/release print (all the same stock, and the movie was contact-printed originally except for the 70mm blow-up) but I have no idea how you saw the dailies versus the final version -- if on home video, then there are a lot of differences in source materials plus they have all be color-corrected digitally.

 

I may have seen it on the internet, in which case it would have been compressed into oblivion.  But if all the different versions have been digitally corrected, that would also explain things.


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#14 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:29 PM

A few recent American Cinematographer articles about film-capture productions have cited the ease of use of film in difficult terrain. All you need for a film camera is a battery. A bit different for a major production wrangling data cables and DIT stations. Of course this is case-by-case, but most recently “Jurassic World” and “Fury” are examples of this. 


Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich, 12 July 2015 - 12:29 PM.

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#15 David Cunningham

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:31 PM

I pretty much make up all the reasons already listed for my own projects AND home movies.

 

1.) Archival quality, especially 16mm contact prints on polyester base.

 

2.) "The Look"... why would you want to emulate when you can do the real thing

 

3.) I cannot afford to buy or rent a Digital Video or Still camera that can surpass my Super16 movie or Medium Format/4x5 film still cameras.

 

4.) The "feeling".  This is compromised of nostalgia, the thrill of hearing the advancing film, the smell of a freshly opened film can, the forced selectivity and precision so as not to "waste" film.

 

All those will keep me shooting film until I cannot get it processed anywhere anymore.


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:36 PM

It is a trolling question for sure… it's interesting to hear some of the answers though. ;)

To me, the big things are:

- Latitude
- Color space
- Resolution per frame (original camera negative)
- Physical asset
- Long term lifespan of asset
- More concise filmmaking (get shot move on due to expense)
- Far more options in post production

When ILM were discussing Jurassic World, they requested the filmmakers shoot on film instead of digital because it offers them greater latitude in post production. To me, with so many films shooting digitally, this is sign that digital is not quite there yet. Even though the filmmakers had one of the new 6k Red cameras on location. In contrast, large format 65mm 5 perf is around 8k in resolution.
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#17 aapo lettinen

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:56 PM

For me it's practical to shoot film when i'm shooting small amount of material during long time period so it's very unpractical to rent a high end digital cinema camera for that purpose. Wiht film you also need only one camera and you can change the look by changing film stock and processing.

For example, I can use five days for shooting a 130ft roll of 35mm with Konvas and it costs about 150€ for me including processing etc if I also add some € for the camera body and lenses. If I would like to shoot the same days with for example Amira it would cost me couple of thousand euros.
So, it would be complete maddness to shoot all my material on digital, it's just not cost effective all the time
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#18 Carl Looper

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 05:25 PM

One thing I like about film, whether pursuing a photochemical post, or a digital post, is that film acquired images provide for greater flexibility in post. If you have to alter the image in any way, the shadows and highlights are far more forgiving.. And this means, even before you alter the image, even if the image doesn't require any alteration at all, your experience (subconsciously or otherwise) will be that of a richer image.

 

We can always propose a particular audience, or a particular group of filmmakers, who can't tell the difference, and use that as an argument or rationale for the use of this or that technology. But basing technical decisions on such a proposed group (for me at least), is an automatic recipe for an uninteresting work. Why use the ignorant as a benchmark?

 

I'd much prefer to see digital works that exploited what digital can do, that film can't, (and vice versa), rather than sit through works unaware of the difference.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 12 July 2015 - 05:35 PM.

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#19 Bruce Greene

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 06:16 AM

I agree with David. At this point, it's an aesthetic choice.

It's quite easy to shoot digital with just a camera and a battery if you want.

For most projects, digital is more cost effective.

For my nostalgia fix, I shoot stills on film, but just for fun and the old time look :)
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#20 aapo lettinen

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Posted 13 July 2015 - 03:11 PM

I think that the quicker workflow is the best advantage of digital imaging and the reason for possible cost savings associated to digital. also the reason why most of the productions shoot digital nowadays.

 

Productions will shoot approximately the same amount of footage anyway, film or digital, and despite being relatively cheap to shoot, digital video is NOT that cheap to post process and back up for extended time period, especially if you are using work intensive formats, for example Red or CinemaDNG.

There's quite much work involved also with digital, and it is exponentially more expensive to post if one is shooting large amount of raw material because of the "free shooting media"...

 

You can shoot digital with a bare camera and lens and battery, yes. You can also have enough cards so that you don't need a computer for back-ups, you can just store the material on cards and back up when finished shooting.

 

Film cameras draw generally considerably less power however than a digital cinema camera because the camera body is using power mainly only when the motor is running and maybe for video tap and just a little bit for glow markings. 

If you are shooting in wilderness for example you can maybe manage even for a week with a single battery because the camera is only using power when it is actually running, not for viewing and compositing the shots. 

If you are shooting with for example Epic it is just better to bring a generator with you, it will probably weight less than a cart full of Vlocks and block batteries  :rolleyes:


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