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Film Is Dead! Long Live Film!


Tim Carroll
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Kodak's Ektachrome 100D is a lovely stock too, but for reasons which they will not explain, they will not make it available in the UK in 100ft rolls. Strange this, since I understand it is available in France and Germany. This illustrates their lack of customer focus. They produce a good product but they will not sell it. One cannot help but wonder what sort of future that approach will generate?

 

 

 

Further to my posting yesterday, we have some great and encouraging news in the UK...

 

After several attempts to get Kodak to make 16mm Ektachrome 100D available in 100ft rolls in the UK, I have today been advised that it can now be ordered directly from Kodak. It seems that initially it will be brought in from France in minimum quantities of two, but making it available to retailers in the UK for stocking is under consideration.

 

The stock has, of course, been available directly and through retailers in 400ft rolls, but anybody requiring it in 100ft lengths have had to purchase it from places such as Germany or the USA, incurring the associated shipping costs and, if purchased in the USA, duty and VAT which was levied not only on purchase price but also on shipping costs.

 

I suspect that I will not be the only one delighted to learn of this development, and having been critical of Kodak for making life difficult for UK 16mm cinematographers by not being prepared to make 100ft rolls available here until now, I say thank you to Kodak for further extending the range of filmstocks available to us.

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John, 2001's HD transfer is quite old, created on equipment now considered inferior. It has Edge Enhancement baked into the final master, which cannot be removed. Warner also filtered high frequency data to try and make it easier to compress. It is not in any way what BD is capable of and much like the horrific SPARTACUS, PATTON and LONGEST DAY releases, needs a complete overhaul from scratch.

 

Nothing can replicate 70mm, of course. But there are some BD releases that do show you, despite their flaws, how wondrous Blu-Ray can be. The recent SOUND OF MUSIC is remarkable and GRAND PRIX on HD-DVD looked incredible.

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I don't understand why Ultra 16 didn't/hasn't taken off more. Similar in size to S16 but instead of extending one side of the image, both sides are extended.

 

I have two U16 Cameras, a K3 and an Eclair NPR. I think it has to do with the fact that most of the cameras that would be converted are the smaller 100 foot reel cameras. They're the cameras that students and weekend shooters would be using and experimenting with. The cost to shoot 100 feet of R16, U16 and S16 is pretty much the same and most labs still think "HD" is something special. HD is the standard now in my opinion. If you shoot over 400 feet the prices are not that bad but still high at some labs. But under 400 feet you're subject to minimums that make shooting a 100 feet very expensive. The best price total I can find to buy film, process and transfer of 100 feet color negative to HD (hard drive) is $230.00 plus round trip shipping. This price is for up-res telecine not scanning. Scanning would be $610.00 for 100 feet R16, U16 or S16. Not much experimenting going on at these prices.

 

The point I'm trying to make is there is not much U16 HD examples on the internet. So folks don't know much about it.

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I know "Breaking Bad," and "Mad Men," are Kodak 35mm. What about their other show? Wasn't really up my alley. Is that 35- or 16?

 

As far as S16 grain, I think it's just fine (underexposure is another matter though, especially with 500T). But a JPEG-2000 of S16 grain is a strobing pulsating mass of pixels, banding, compression, and possibly brings out the worst characteristics of both film and digital.

 

Which show? That spy one that didn't get renewed? It was 35mm. Didn't watch it either. I saw/read an interview with an AMC exec. that explained they were very picky about the quality of their own programming and film played a big part in ensuring their shows hold up to those standards. A good contrast to something like "Southland" where even fire in a shot, in the middle of the day, blows out completely.

 

Well I just saw Blue Valentine at a 4K theater (likely playing a 2K file) and I have to admit, when it switched to the "flashback" scenes that were all shot on S16, it was so much easier on my eyes and more pleasing in all ways to look at. Weird but true for me and I swear I'm not being "film biased"! The modern shots were all on a red I assume, and looked like it. Really great work though.

 

 

It looked like VIDEO to me and not even decent video either, but the thinnest, most vapid video you can imagine -- like soap opera video only worse (if that's possible, and looking at this I'd ahve tosay yes, it's possible!) So this was the much vaunted HD that I'd heard so much about! YUCK! It took Kubrick's BEAUTIFUL film images and made them look like cheap soap opera video! I was horrified, and stupefied as to WHAT all the fuss over HD was about anyway??

 

I am being honest with you I cannot stand to look at HD images, saw "Teh Book of Eli"on his machine too (shot on digital RED One camera) and he had it set on HD and this time it looked like the images in a video game. The colours were whacky (someone told me that was done deliberately in colour correction-- OK if that's what they want to call it) but again,over all the thing just looks so videoishy to me, and HD is worse, not better as far as my eyes can tell.

 

John, are you sure his TV wasn't one of those stupid f***ing TV's that has a "60hz" setting which changes 24p into the 60i look? This scam was developed to push out more HD sets because HD had reached saturation. A Bluray can look incredible when showed properly. Check out Bladerunner, The Devils Rejects (S16mm) or Watchmen to see wonderful examples of how it should be done.

 

I don't understand why Ultra 16 didn't/hasn't taken off more. Similar in size to S16 but instead of extending one side of the image, both sides are extended.

 

It's simple why it won't/didn't take off more than it has; the cameras that are converted are not, in general, the type you do features or most pro work with. If someone is shooting a feature on 16mm now they are going to rent or hire someone with an Arri SR3, Aaton Prod or 416 which are all S16 cameras, which also have PL mounts. Not to mention the few labs that can handle it. Great format though! Cinelicious has some great looking ad work done on U16 like this: http://vimeo.com/12429314

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Maybe Rubicon? That was 35mm and I loved the look.

 

Yes, that was it. Thanks. Sad that AMC has such high programming standards only to have one of teh crummiest HD stations I get! ONly thing I could think of worse than that would be giving the same crap treatment to TCM.

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Yes, that was it. Thanks. Sad that AMC has such high programming standards only to have one of teh crummiest HD stations I get! ONly thing I could think of worse than that would be giving the same crap treatment to TCM.

Most of the AMC shows I wind up downloading in HD via iTunes. Massive compression but it still looked much better than the SD version.

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Yeah, the HD beats SD. File size probably isn't even double the SD version. What chaps my ass is this: They have such high standards, but such a high compression that they aren't really capitalizing on it!

 

They're a movie channel, 35mm 70mm is the norm for the content they show. Yet they have the lowest resolution of my HDTV channels? It's the televisions equivalent of dirty port glass, OOF movies, and minimum wage "booth ushers!"

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DirecTV doesn't even have the HD version of the channel, so I get horrific letterboxed SD, which is soft as heck and made worse by having to zoom on on my 65 inch CRT.

 

It makes the channel unwatchable so I now view all AMC shows when they come out on Blu-Ray. I've no other choice, save torrents, which I don't want to do.

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DirecTV doesn't even have the HD version of the channel, so I get horrific letterboxed SD, which is soft as heck and made worse by having to zoom on on my 65 inch CRT.

 

It makes the channel unwatchable so I now view all AMC shows when they come out on Blu-Ray. I've no other choice, save torrents, which I don't want to do.

 

COuld be worse: Could be pan and scan, or worse hard matting into the center! * am shocked that Starz just does a center crop of every single f***ing scope movie they show. What a sh** job. Great way to endear yourself to every cinematographer out there, cropping their work so Jim Bob doesn't see any lines on his 60" TV. That's if he doesn't already have the stretch on for all of his SD stations and doesn't know how to turn it off.

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They're a movie channel, 35mm 70mm is the norm for the content they show. Yet they have the lowest resolution of my HDTV channels? It's the televisions equivalent of dirty port glass, OOF movies, and minimum wage "booth ushers!"

That's usually up to the provider; Direct TV is notorious for giving HBO more band width than other HD channels. They make decisions on what is more important based on viewership and if viewers are paying for a channel directly. Many local channels look bad on Direct TV too depending on the city you're in. Compare it to the over-the-air digital signal to really see. But generally DirectTv's compression is less than digital cable or the VIOS/U-Verse options.

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Anywhere a guy can get uncompressed HD? I'd HAPPILY go back to six channels, even four channels if I could pick which ones! B) Here's a hint: MTV wouldn't be on my list, nor would HBO or Starz. Does TCM even have an HD channel yet? I can understand why they don't: Classic movie content probably gets the shaft bigtime, except for the all-time classics like Citizen Kane, Wizard of Oz. So, while every move made after 1986 has probably gotten two or three HD treatments already, maybe a lucky ten movies from each year prior to that has gotten any HD treatment at all.

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Wow, what's the make and model? I don't think I've ever seen a tube that big. It must weigh a ton.

 

 

Come on John! You're fitting right into my Jim Bob stereotype, and you're one of the experts that is supposed to know better! :P

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I still prefer 16mm to any of the digital cameras, but it is so expensive (especially the HD telecine). I've been shooting with a Canon 7D lately, and I'm willing to work around its limitations (aliasing, rolling shutter) because of the cost savings. But if I could figure out how to do it affordably, I'd happily go back to my Aaton LTR and Optar primes.

 

Well said.

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Tim, can you post some of these clips to Vimeo?

 

I shot Death Interrupted on my S16mm-converted CP16 camera. Lenses are CP Ultra-T primes. (footage up on the site now is before my DE:noise process)

www.watchdeath.com

 

I shot an older short film (The Chosen) on S16mm film as well, and all my commercial work except for my AT&T ads (35mm). I have two Telly awards for cinematography using my CP16. It's alive and well. The Rosanna Arquette film, Exodus Fall, is shot on S16mm. But I agree that the telecine options have dwindled. Most of the shops closed up since all the mid-low-range shows are using video. Telecine -- Good telecine is much harder to find. Ent. Post was offering $175-$200/hr., but they closed. Fotokem is higher, but they will try to work with a filmmakers budgets. There's still options out there, but if we all stop shooting S16, then sooner or later they all will be gone. I cannot imagine why people are not shooting film right now. It is the best it has ever been. The vision stocks are so amazing.

 

I am selling a regular 16mm CP16 body w/ Zoom Lens and Zoom controller. It has been my back up, and S16mm conversions are ideal for this camera. If anyone or anyone you know is interested.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Special-Rare-Cinema-Products-CP-16R-16mm-Camera-/300543086389?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f9c38f35

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