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James Cameron Says The Next Revolution in Cinema Is…


Justin Hayward
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Cinema is 24 frames per second, regardless of what James Cameron or Roger Ebert says.

 

Stu Maschwitz explains it nicely on his blog at ProLost.com:

 

"Roger Ebert hates that wagon wheels go backwards. It drives him nuts. Years ago he saw a demo of Maxivision 48, a system that shoots and projects 35mm film at 48 frames per second, and he’s never forgotten how smooth it was. Like many, he decries 24 fps as a technological dinosaur, a holdover from a bygone era.

 

Why Roger should relax: With the advent of HD, it became easy to create digital moving images of high enough spatial resolution to pass for film (unless you’re Jim Jannard, see above), but at first we could only do so at 50 or 60Hz. HD video at 60 images-per-second inspired no filmmakers and no audiences—in fact, at the very Sundance I met Roger, a 60fps HD test shot by Allen Daviau was booed off the screen. It wasn’t until we hobbled our HD cameras to 24 that we could start making movies digitally. More frames-per-second is indeed smoother and more life-like. Just like video. Who would have imagined that audiences don’t want movies to feel more like daytime soap operas?"

 

You can read Maschwitz's whole post here:

 

http://prolost.com/blog/2010/7/8/seven-fetishists-and-why-they-should-relax.html

 

 

Congrats to James Cameron for finally discovering Showscan!!! A process that has been around since the mid 1980s. Finally Douglas Trumbull is vindicated, YES!

 

And it only took 25 years for James to see it, next thing he'll be declaring widescreen or 3-strip to be the future...stay tuned...

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If you shot at 48fps then took out 'unnecessary' frames - which I'm assuming you mean every second frame ? - then youd end up with 24fps footage, presented at 24fps, i.e. normal footage but, with a 90deg shutter angle... Hard to describe in test, but have a think about it ;)

 

 

 

Averaging 2 frames instead of chopping 1 would maintain the shutter angle used.

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That reminds me of a favorite quote:

 

 

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

 

 

-- Hmmm, instead of giving everybody the name, let's guess who said it. ;-)

 

-- J.S.

 

*stokes fire*

 

The irony is that Yogi revolutionised the animation industry by introducing a cheaper and more production efficient techniques at the expense of established animation rules. Animation purists were outraged at this assault of standards and looked down upon such techniques as a cheapening of their craft. The public didn't care of course, caring only for expressive, interesting content...

 

Not that this has any relation to any dicussions that happens so often here ... :D

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I wish I had embraced digital when it came on the scene instead of turning my nose up at it because I was a film purist. Had I been more astute and smarter about it, I'd be working today. James Cameron and George Lucas are very successful but nobody wants to listen to them or give them credit for what they have done and where they are going. Don't dismiss them because you didn't like Avatar or whatever. These guys are very aware of the film business and the direction that it's going. They are more successful than anyone here and there is a reason for that. They something we don't.

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I wish I had embraced digital when it came on the scene instead of turning my nose up at it because I was a film purist. Had I been more astute and smarter about it, I'd be working today. James Cameron and George Lucas are very successful but nobody wants to listen to them or give them credit for what they have done and where they are going. Don't dismiss them because you didn't like Avatar or whatever. These guys are very aware of the film business and the direction that it's going. They are more successful than anyone here and there is a reason for that. They something we don't.

 

Umm, I'm sorry, but you'd be working today if you'd thrown film under the bus too?

 

 

There are many people whose livelihoods are based on working with film. They're [EDIT: Cameron, Lucas] so successful from making movies, with film. I liked Avatar, but I wouldn't have anything to do with this business if all movies devolved into that model.

 

Would you really want to give up a normal life and free time so you could "film" someone with motion capture dots on them all friggin day against a green screen? Sorry but that sounds like all work and no play, and I could do that in an office or shoveling sh** or in a coal mine or making tacos.

Edited by K Borowski
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Umm, I'm sorry, but you'd be working today if you'd thrown film under the bus too?

 

 

There are many people whose livelihoods are based on working with film. They're [EDIT: Cameron, Lucas] so successful from making movies, with film. I liked Avatar, but I wouldn't have anything to do with this business if all movies devolved into that model.

 

Would you really want to give up a normal life and free time so you could "film" someone with motion capture dots on them all friggin day against a green screen? Sorry but that sounds like all work and no play, and I could do that in an office or shoveling sh** or in a coal mine or making tacos.

 

I'm not throwing anything under the bus. I said I should have embraced digital. My failure to stay current hurt me.

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wouldn't the Tessive Time Filter do a better job cleaning up motion issues such as reverse spinning wheels and the like while preserving the 24fps we are used to (and that is cheaper for hollywood).

 

http://www.tessive.com/home/time-filter/

 

Darrell,

 

I'm obviously biased to say that you've hit the nail on the head. I believe that the best way to understand how motion is represented in a motion picture camera (film or digital) is to look at the frequency response of the camera and how that interplays with the sampling (frame) rate. In our literature, we always show this as a modulation transfer function plot with the Nyquist rate displayed. That's some high-mathy lingo to describe a fairly straightforward plot, and when you understand the major axes of it, you see that there's an interplay between sampling, aliasing, and frequency response.

 

Frequency response is entirely determined by the shutter. Usually the only adjustment we have is the shutter angle, which necessarily changes the frequency response. Shorter shutters have higher frequency responses. 360 degree shutters have a rapid falloff (make things smeary and soap opera.)

 

Aliasing is entirely an artifact of frame rate. 24 fps systems can only record visible frequencies up to 12 Hz. That's it. Anything in the real world that is above 12 Hz will get folded in as a made-up frequency between 0 and 12 Hz. That's aliasing, and it's usually considered noise, but one project's noise is another project's fantastic artistic effect (Gladiator, etc.)

 

To reduce aliasing, the frequency response is manipulated. That's one reason the 180 degree shutter looks pretty good. It's got a fair balance of good response below 12 Hz and a falloff above 12 Hz to reduce aliasing somewhat. Short shutters pass a lot of aliasing, and longer shutters minimize it somewhat.

 

So that's the way I look at how cameras work. Digital and film cameras really have nearly identical frequency responses, with the exception that the mechanical shutter in film cameras has a penumbral shadow that causes there to be a very slight ramp in and out of the shutter. That softens the aliasing frequencies very slightly (but not much.) Changing the frame rate will shift up the bandwidth of the system, and 360 degree shutters will still lose response even if the frame rate is higher.

 

It's my belief that a lot of the "cine look" is related to the baseband response of the system. I believe that if effort is made to preserve that frequency band, the look will be preserved even if the frame rate is changed or aliasing is reduced. I actually think the "cine look" can be enhanced this way, but ultimately understanding these concepts will allow artists to have ultimate control over the look of their projects, whatever they choose.

 

Now, our system, the Tessive Time Filter, is just an alternate shutter that ramps in and out in a mathematically determined way to yield a shaped frequency response. It's effectively a temporal lowpass filter to reduce temporal aliasing while preserving frequency response (compare that to an optical lowpass filter to reduce spatial aliasing while preserving sharpness). It doesn't make things look like a 360 degree shutter, and it crams more temporal information into the 24 fps (or whatever framerate you have) without introducing a lot of aliasing noise. This results in a higher signal to noise ratio in the same number of frames.

 

We have footage that shows the effect, and we just got a new batch from an independent test done at Shepperton Studios. There's a writeup and link to the footage at our site: Shepperton Test Footage

 

Anyway, Darrell, we'll be at Cine Gear Expo in New York at the end of the month. Please stop by our booth. I think I at least owe you lunch for correctly identifying what we're trying to do.

 

Thanks,

 

Tony Davis

CEO, Tessive

www.tessive.com

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The main allure to celluloid film is the condensation/diffuse look it offers to a otherwise harsh reality. Think of smoke, people in the industry use it to "fix" harsh scenes which need to seem less "dressed" , in miniature work to hide give-away detail or for effect in general. Thus, "fix it with smoke".

 

In the same way, film is a diffuser. Well, with the newer stocks, not so much. Vision 3 stock is ultra sharp and thats why I try to stick to vision 2, or vision 1 if I can get my hands on it. You know what I'm referring to. It's smoother on the eye. The whole point here is we can all agree that life just seems more beautiful without harsh detail.

 

Personally I can't stand digital photography. Tried getting on the wagon but its just too ugly. It's too conspicuous. It presents no challenge. Essentially, there's no process. If your hungry, you can cook for yourself, get creative, buy the ingrediants and be part of the process. Or you can order in. Thats sort of like what I attribute film to. It's a work of chemistry genius and those who want to see it dissapear are uneducated fools.

 

Truth is I have not seen anything impressive about digital cinematography. Zilch. It seems like a bunch of civil rights fanatics are shoving it down the industry's throat, making it seem like 35mm is endangered and being manafactured in someone's basement. Meanwhile, every hollywood picture showing up in theatres is a 35mm print. It's like an independant filmmaker "low budget" street drug. Its main attraction is saving production costs and a solution for the whiny kids who dont want to load film from a can. theres no creative benefit whatsoever. getting a little tired of it all it to be honest.

 

You wont see better movies because of it. I haven't. seems like an easy access for hacks. film seperates the serious endeavors from the simple.

 

thats my rant for the day

I haven't read the entire thread, but this post makes the most sense to me. Don't chips organize light differently than chemicals or old broadcast camera tubes?. I think it's the fact that digital looks nearly like film and is cheaper (ideally, anyway) that makes it attractive.

 

I don't think overcranking is going to make things look more "real". It'll just make it look like video, which is where the technology started in the first place.

 

My old film school instructors (and various DPs and other coworkers) always stated that humans receive visual info at roughly 24 to 25 fps. According to them anything faster looks unnatural.

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Now, our system, the Tessive Time Filter, is just an alternate shutter that ramps in and out in a mathematically determined way to yield a shaped frequency response.

www.tessive.com

 

Interesting stuff !

 

Now... could you make that filter into a 2D array of individually modulated filter pixels ? (I have an interesting job for it then ;)

 

 

Also, do you have nay specifications or comparisons of its optical qualities in terms of sharpness and so on ?

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Umm, I'm sorry, but you'd be working today if you'd thrown film under the bus too?

 

 

There are many people whose livelihoods are based on working with film. They're [EDIT: Cameron, Lucas] so successful from making movies, with film. I liked Avatar, but I wouldn't have anything to do with this business if all movies devolved into that model.

 

Would you really want to give up a normal life and free time so you could "film" someone with motion capture dots on them all friggin day against a green screen? Sorry but that sounds like all work and no play, and I could do that in an office or shoveling sh** or in a coal mine or making tacos.

I just came across this last part of this post and agree so much with it, if the industry were to follow the Avatar model it would reduce not only the camera department to a bunch of technicians but everyone on the set. It'll all be simply about making everything operational (especially the pesky computer with a lens attached) it no longer becomes about making the same movie.

 

It'll just be that everything gets made in post, it is completely decided by what happens in there and what a dangerous thought that really is for not only a director without clout, but for all those miniscule tasks and jobs that seem insignificant but have such a profound effect on the final product nonetheless. And if we were worried about the DI or the edit being screwed around, think about how at a chaotic moment in post process, the film can just be taken over and completely changed. Sure that kind of thing isn't as much of a problem for someone like Cameron or Spielberg, but what about when it's more affordable for lower budget pictures?

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To make a pixel level array out of it is theoretically possible, but it would be expensive -- so expensive that pitching your idea to Jim Jannard would be your best hope.

 

 

As for sharpness, it's no problem at all -- equivalent to a UV filter.

 

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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