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Could Digital Kill Film?


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#21 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:13 PM

Stage and screen are two different forms of art. Stage never pretends to be cinema.

 

If there is a great medium competing with a great medium, no problem, let the ticket sales show the way. If there is a cheap medium pushing out a quality medium - and pretending to be the same medium, and at times using deception to clear its path, that's a problem. Film is a higher quality. A lot of people are uncomfortable with that. People who play digital clarinets are sometimes jealous of violinists who practice very hard to get where they got, and who required a lot of talent to do what they do. It's just the way of things. Some things are just better value as art. It's a painful lesson of the human condition. Art is a tough road.


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#22 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:24 PM

About half of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time were shot digitally, if we're to follow the ticket sales would that mean digital is now on par?

 

It's like someone thinking they can beat Tiger Woods if he has thrift store clubs and they have Nike clubs.


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#23 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:39 PM

Macks, digital is here to stay. That's not what this thead is about. We're talking about film, and whether it will be "killed." I'm saying it's still the gold standard, and always will be, because it is artistically a higher quality and a more down to earth and real medium - a crucial aspect. If people keep shooting on film, Kodak or someone else will keep making it. I don't understand the point you're driving at.


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#24 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:44 PM

I feel like I've stumbled across a forum discussion from 2007, not 2017...
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#25 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:14 PM

I don't understand the point you're driving at.

It seems like you read the title but not the actual post itself.. I'm asking what technical things digital cameras must do to make film an afterthought, I didn't realize people would just delve into aesthetic rather than pin-pointing statistical differences that need to be made up.

 

I visually look at a digital image versus a film image and clouds clipping is an annoyance which one can technically pinpoint.

 

 

I feel like I've stumbled across a forum discussion from 2007, not 2017...

2007 didn't have the URSA Pro or Alexa ;)

The gap is not closed, but narrowed, no?


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#26 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:25 PM

The gap is not closed, but narrowed, no?

From a technical standpoint, the gap is nonexistent. The remaining differences between film and digital are aesthetic, and therefore a matter of taste and opinion. The only thing that will kill film is economics, and that is something that so far hasn't happened. In the stills market, there is a small, but profitable market share for film. I would imagine that something similar will continue to exist in motion picture as well, although the market forces at play in the movie industry are considerably more complex


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#27 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:51 PM

The remaining differences between film and digital are aesthetic, and therefore a matter of taste and opinion. The only thing that will kill film is economics, and that is something that so far hasn't happened.

I was always under the impression that highlight clipping and color science are still the very apparent gaps.

 

Can a $6000 camera (URSA mentioned before) really have the equivalent DR of celluloid?


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#28 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:28 PM

Kodak themselves claim between 14 to 15 stops of dynamic range in color negative and the ARRI Alexa measures at 14.5-stops. Add to that the finer noise/grain level for digital and you have more latitude for color-correction in the shadows, and the lack of grain in digital also allows for more latitude in cropping & enlarging. In some ways, you could almost consider that a "downside" in that going to larger sensors with more pixels doesn't necessarily create as visible a jump in quality compared to going to larger film formats, you can mix 3K Alexa with 6K Alexa 65 footage with less of a change in visible quality compared to mixing 35mm and 65mm, or 16mm and 35mm.

Of course film behaves differently than a digital sensor, particularly as you overexposed the image. And film doesn't have pixels, compression, etc. until it gets digitized. And many archivists would place more bets on YCM film masters on acetate base surviving over a century than any data storage format short of continual migrating of data.

I agree with Stuart that the primary argument for shooting on film is aesthetic followed by archival. "Standards" of quality all depends on how you want to define quality. If a lack of grain is your definition of quality then you are more likely to hold digital as a standard.
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#29 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:44 PM

I would also add that there is the emotional element of defining the look of cinema based on the movies you grew up with. Some people are resistant to higher frame rates, HDR, lack of grain, etc. because that has little to do with the look of movies they admired growing up.
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#30 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:11 PM

I would also add that there is the emotional element of defining the look of cinema based on the movies you grew up with. Some people are resistant to higher frame rates, HDR, lack of grain, etc. because that has little to do with the look of movies they admired growing up.

I feel that's something many die-hard film lovers have a harder time admitting.


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#31 Keith Walters

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:56 PM

I feel like I've stumbled across a forum discussion from 2007, not 2017...

Ahrrr yes....
http://www.cinematog...ge=2#entry28874
 

(Can't go any earlier; correct me if I'm wrong, but this forum appears to have only started in Jan 2004 :rolleyes:)

Mind you, approximately the same discussions have been going on virtually since the first videotape rolled in 1956.
Video technology has changed recognition since then, and the various pos(t)ers have come and gone, but B.S. hasn't really changed since at least biblical times.
But life was much slower then; such discussions had to be carried out via letters to the editors of paper magazines. (In 1956 that is, not biblical times).

Plus you had to get past an editor, who could often make a reasonably accurate call on whether their correspondents had even the vaguest clue of what they were talking about, which is something you don't get on forums like this. 
I'd love to see some of these guys posting on CML :-)

I still have the links to some of the more memorable responses from the those-who-don't-suffer-fools-easily brigade.....


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#32 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:00 PM

I would also add that there is the emotional element of defining the look of cinema based on the movies you grew up with. Some people are resistant to higher frame rates, HDR, lack of grain, etc. because that has little to do with the look of movies they admired growing up.


Completely agreed.

It's an aesthetic that's been around for 100 years and it defines what "cinema" is. When you remove that aesthetic, it's no longer "cinema" it's now television.
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#33 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:03 PM

Ahrrr yes....
http://www.cinematog...ge=2#entry28874


Per David's comment about never having loaded a 35mm film camera before. I couldn't imagine not knowing the equipment I use and maybe even own, inside and out, to the point of even memorizing certain part numbers.

It's that curiosity that's kept me loving film for so long. There is always something new to learn and explore.
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#34 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:45 PM

I've been shooting 35mm for the past month on a project, still haven't loaded a mag or threaded the camera itself. Not that it wouldn't be fun to learn that, but it isn't necessary nor is it even a good use of my time on set. Not sure why my cinematography would be any better if I threaded the camera myself, any more than if I was the one to replace a burned-out globe in a lighting unit.

But everyone has different degrees of interest in the mechanics of filmmaking. I certainly know more than many working cinematographers about obsolete film formats and color film processes, and know more about Silent Era movies than many, but I can't say that my knowledge has a lot of practical application every day on a film set.

But I've never been an equipment owner nor do I have any mechanical skills, that's just not where my passion lies.
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#35 Samuel Berger

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:52 PM

But I've never been an equipment owner nor do I have any mechanical skills, that's just not where my passion lies.

 

That's definitely a good thing. A lot of us suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome and just obsess over equipment like madmen. And then suddenly we have all this crap that we've spent a fortune on and that doesn't make us better cinematographers. It's hoarding.


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#36 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:56 PM

But I've never been an equipment owner nor do I have any mechanical skills, that's just not where my passion lies.


Good point and yea... I mean you know A LOT about the medium. Which is funny for someone who doesn't have "mechanical" skills because some of the stuff you've discussed here, is very technical and mechanical as well.

Would you say your understanding of things is more on the creative side as a consequence?
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#37 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:04 AM

A lot of us suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome and just obsess over equipment like madmen.


Well... I mean if you buy equipment and it doesn't make you money, then the point of owning is silly.

I own a fancy edit bay because it makes me money. I own cameras because they're either on rental OR I'm using them to make money.

I own projectors, flatbeds, rewinds, film freezer, darkroom, tools and workbenches, due to convenience of working with the medium.

I honestly can't imagine not owning this stuff and working on film. To me, it's all part of the learning process and if you never get a chance to see your stuff projected, never get the opportunity to randomly go shoot stuff for fun for experimentational purposes, it kinda looses the "fun" for me.
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#38 Samuel Berger

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:20 AM

Yeah, stupidest thing I did lately was to get talked by a friend into buying a fully rigged new-in-the-box BMPCC with lenses and accessories from someone else. That was just idiotic. If I hadn't made that mistake I would now own a 2-Perf Arri IIc. I spent $2500 on something that couldn't be given away now, and that was just two months ago. I only use it for family home movies and it doesn't look near as good as the stuff shot on my Fujica ZC-1000 or Canon 814XL-S.

 

If I were to sell it now I think I'd lose about $1500.  Nobody is under the Black Magic spell anymore, unless you're talking Ursa Mini Pro, but that too will go away.


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#39 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:53 AM

Nobody is under the Black Magic spell anymore, unless you're talking Ursa Mini Pro, but that too will go away.


Meh, still using my pocket cameras. Love'em, they work great, easy to use, great/flawless codecs and perfect post workflow. Mine have literally been around the world on 6 documentary series and worked great.

The fact you can fit 2 cameras, 4 lenses, batteries, cards, audio, accessories and two bottles of water in a backpack smaller than most people's laptop bags and all of that for the price of ONE A7SMKII, is beyond impressive for the quality image they reproduce. In my "to be so humble" opinion, having shot a documentary feature on Canon 5DMKII and MKIII's plus worked with the GH4/GH5 and Sony A7SII on many occasions... I can attest to how much BETTER the Pocket is in pretty much all situations outside of the "large imager" look, slow-mo and low-light, neither one of which I have any interest in.

I can't wait to get an URSA Pro, they just came out with a optical low pass filter with IR reducer for $600 bux or something. It pretty much solves all the problems the camera has, outside of it's size and weight, which for what it is, isn't any different then the competition.

I'll be a "devotee" until Blackmagic goes out of business and even then, probably still using their products long after. I just like their color science, I like how "soft" the imager feels and looks. To me, it doesn't look as digital as the competition for the same price range. Also... it takes some talent to get a good image out of it, no joke.
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#40 Samuel Berger

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 01:17 AM

Meh, still using my pocket cameras. Love'em, they work great, easy to use, great/flawless codecs and perfect post workflow. Mine have literally been around the world on 6 documentary series and worked great.

The fact you can fit 2 cameras, 4 lenses, batteries, cards, audio, accessories and two bottles of water in a backpack smaller than most people's laptop bags and all of that for the price of ONE A7SMKII, is beyond impressive for the quality image they reproduce. In my "to be so humble" opinion, having shot a documentary feature on Canon 5DMKII and MKIII's plus worked with the GH4/GH5 and Sony A7SII on many occasions... I can attest to how much BETTER the Pocket is in pretty much all situations outside of the "large imager" look, slow-mo and low-light, neither one of which I have any interest in.

I can't wait to get an URSA Pro, they just came out with a optical low pass filter with IR reducer for $600 bux or something. It pretty much solves all the problems the camera has, outside of it's size and weight, which for what it is, isn't any different then the competition.

I'll be a "devotee" until Blackmagic goes out of business and even then, probably still using their products long after. I just like their color science, I like how "soft" the imager feels and looks. To me, it doesn't look as digital as the competition for the same price range. Also... it takes some talent to get a good image out of it, no joke.

 

But it's not film. And it will never look anywhere as good as the stuff from your Aaton.

 

In the end, digital is just glorified VHS.


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