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Star Wars 9 to be shot on 65mm film


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Again, compare apples to apples... what other $998.00 camera is BETTER then the pocket camera?

 

That depends on your criteria for "better". You can get a camera with smaller sensors that don't have as much rolling shutter or alias distortion, more natural color etc. They used to be common place before the "DSLR revolution".

 

 

Honestly, I refuse to have an extra piece of hardware connected to my camera JUST to get a decent recording out of it. If a camera manufacturer can't build-in a decent codec that's usable, I refuse to even discuss their product's existence.

I agree with you on crippled CODECs, but i refuse to modify a camera just to have alias/IR free images. That argument can be made for many traits.

 

 

 

Yep... and remember, the Alexa and Red cameras have rolling shutter as well. So the whole debate about rolling shutter is kind of moot if ALL the cameras have the problem.

Both those cameras have much better rolling shutter and the top-tier Alexas have mechanical shutters. They also have better color, dynamic range etc. I'm not a fan of Reds, or anything with rolling shutter for that matter, but we were talking D16 vs BMPCC and the BMPCC loses in all my criteria for what makes an acceptable professional tool while the D16 s really only lacking in form factor.

 

 

And for whatever reason, maybe related to the striped sensor, the OLPF was fairly weak so you had a lot of sharp but false edges.

I wonder if that has to do with it being designed for composite work. According to Panavision, they didn't intend it to be a general purpose camera, just something meant to speed up blue/green screen work while still allowing conventional cinema glass.

 

 

-- some people thought it gave it a film-like grain texture but sometimes to me it just looked unpleasant, just depended on the lighting. When you had plenty of light, the image looked pretty good with rich colors. But in warm, underexposed light like in a low-lit interior at night, there could be a noisy muddiness. Probably some of that was pattern noise.

CCDs shouldn't have pattern noise, unless you're referring to the stripped nature. Still, I noticed that noisy muddiness. As I said earlier, a lot of people used it as an excuse to not light professionally and it didn't work because it has little/no internal noise reduction. At its native ISO, it does quite well.

 

 

To create a 4K version of that sensor, it would be something close to 8MP per color for a 2:1 sensor, 12MP for a 4:3 sensor, so either a 24MP or 36MP sensor in a Super-35 form (unless you wanted to go larger with a full-frame sensor.)

That would really eat into the latitude of the sensor. It's not just that, but also the data through-put.

 

 

You are right though that it was not the cleanest signal. But Sony and Panavision's intention was to imitate film. So I think it was never meant to be super clean. The grain is a part of the look there. I'm pretty sure this is the reason it is there. I have actually seen it mentioned when promoting the camera.

Marketing people will make up all sorts of stupid reasons for something being a certain way, especially if it's misleading. The noise in the F35 is just a natural artifact of "dark current" and column/row shifting. CMOS cameras get around the issue with built-in processing while CCDs are completely passive and would require external processing to do the same. If you look at the native engineering specs of equivalent CMOS sensors, they don't natively perform as well as marketing people claim.

 

 

Yes, a 4K 35mm sensor using the same technology would be around 36MP. As it is the F35 sensor is 12MP. That sensor would also be extremely expensive to produce if a CCD.

You'd also need multiple analogue amplifiers, ADCs, clocking and processors to handle the data. With a CMOS sensor, all of that is printed into the substrate at little additional cost. You could expect about a 10-stop native DR by shrinking the pixels that much. That's why Arri stuck with 2.8K until they came out with a "65mm" version.

 

 

The fact that most movies shot with the F35 never got to use the 12-bit 444 format shows how it was never really used at its best. Most movies or people who tried it did so with the HDCAM tape recorder. A wasted chance for Sony really.

...A very common tail. Of course, some times stuff like that is intentional to get people interested in buying the latest hardware. A lot of the CCD cameras of old were capable of MUCH better performance than most people know, but they were programmed to clip the highlights and shadows to maintain only a 7-8 stop range even though the sensors natively handled more like 10-11. Then there was the nasty compression. Any former Panasonic/Andromeda users here? Panasonic's answer to people tapping into the DVX100's full potential was to create a phantom company to buy their shop and bury it.

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That depends on your criteria for "better". You can get a camera with smaller sensors that don't have as much rolling shutter or alias distortion, more natural color etc. They used to be common place before the "DSLR revolution".

 

 

I agree with you on crippled CODECs, but i refuse to modify a camera just to have alias/IR free images. That argument can be made for many traits.

 

 

 

Both those cameras have much better rolling shutter and the top-tier Alexas have mechanical shutters. They also have better color, dynamic range etc. I'm not a fan of Reds, or anything with rolling shutter for that matter, but we were talking D16 vs BMPCC and the BMPCC loses in all my criteria for what makes an acceptable professional tool while the D16 s really only lacking in form factor.

 

 

I wonder if that has to do with it being designed for composite work. According to Panavision, they didn't intend it to be a general purpose camera, just something meant to speed up blue/green screen work while still allowing conventional cinema glass.

 

 

CCDs shouldn't have pattern noise, unless you're referring to the stripped nature. Still, I noticed that noisy muddiness. As I said earlier, a lot of people used it as an excuse to not light professionally and it didn't work because it has little/no internal noise reduction. At its native ISO, it does quite well.

 

 

That would really eat into the latitude of the sensor. It's not just that, but also the data through-put.

 

 

Marketing people will make up all sorts of stupid reasons for something being a certain way, especially if it's misleading. The noise in the F35 is just a natural artifact of "dark current" and column/row shifting. CMOS cameras get around the issue with built-in processing while CCDs are completely passive and would require external processing to do the same. If you look at the native engineering specs of equivalent CMOS sensors, they don't natively perform as well as marketing people claim.

 

 

You'd also need multiple analogue amplifiers, ADCs, clocking and processors to handle the data. With a CMOS sensor, all of that is printed into the substrate at little additional cost. You could expect about a 10-stop native DR by shrinking the pixels that much. That's why Arri stuck with 2.8K until they came out with a "65mm" version.

 

 

...A very common tail. Of course, some times stuff like that is intentional to get people interested in buying the latest hardware. A lot of the CCD cameras of old were capable of MUCH better performance than most people know, but they were programmed to clip the highlights and shadows to maintain only a 7-8 stop range even though the sensors natively handled more like 10-11. Then there was the nasty compression. Any former Panasonic/Andromeda users here? Panasonic's answer to people tapping into the DVX100's full potential was to create a phantom company to buy their shop and bury it.

 

The sensor was not designed for composite work. It's a Sony sensor. If Panavision said that they were wrong or trying some marketing thing.

 

Yes with the F35 you have to light like film. If you try to use it as a video camera it gives you trouble. I think you are right. The video looking stuff from Genesis is because they shoot high gain or messed with the shutter. If you light like film to ISO 500 the F35 looks great and is not really noisier than film at all.

 

But of course if underexposed everything is "noisy". Even film. Or especially film.

 

But as I said the F35 has a very good built in noise reduction function. You can also clean it up in post for even better performance.

 

Speaking of clipped highlights this is another thing the F35 is really good at. Nice highlights.

 

I think the combination of 35mm sensor size, CCD, full RGB for great color and skins, global shutter and a good 12 stops of dynamic range with great highlights is what makes the image so nice.

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I shot quite a lot with the Genesis camera, three seasons of "United States of Tara" and the pilot to "The Good Wife" but I only shot a short film on the F35:

 

 

This was a very small project shot in Hypergamma Rec.709 and finished on some offline editor's CC system in 480P I believe, but I think the daytime desert exterior and interiors turned out well.

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Tara and Wife were probably shot to tape right?

 

The short looks nice, considering the Rec.709 recording and 480p post is not doing it any favors. Your skills show through. I know it's not easy to work with it in Rec.709.

 

My favorite shots are inside the gas station. Really like the look and lighting.

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Yes, I've only used tape on the Genesis and F35. The early SSD solutions were not practical around 2010 when I did that short film, and after that, you had cameras like the Alexa.

Even the last Genesis movie I can think of, "Heaven is for Real" (2014) used HDCAM-SR tape. So did "Captain America" (2011) and the Sony F35 movie "Red Tails" (2012).

 

In the spring of 2010, I did the pilot for "The Chicago Code" on the Red Epic after doing the pilot for "The Good Wife" the year before on the Genesis with the same director ("The Good Wife" used the Sony F35 when they went to series in NYC, I shot the pilot in Vancouver, and later switched to the Alexa).

 

This pilot was an early use of data recording for a TV show and on the first day we ran three cameras on a police crime scene and that night I got a panicked call from the producer because the data wrangler had spent three hours after wrap that night in the camera truck trying to back up all the data and hadn't finished, had to do more back-ups the next shooting day. We had a big car chase scene planned with a second unit, and I was trying to figure out how I was going to get a separate unit working across town to back-up their data, did they need their own DIT, their own RAID, etc. or was I going to be shuttling drives across town, etc.

 

Then another pilot for the same network wrapped and they were hired to shoot our second unit day, and since they were using Genesis cameras to HDCAM-SR tape, the data problem went away.

 

Now of course, dealing with data is no problem.

 

Panavision made an expensive SSD option for the Genesis but it didn't use separate memory cards, so you needed multiple SSD units per camera, the whole unit needed to be downloaded and if you didn't set up a system on set, that meant shipping the SSD units to a post house. So it never really caught on.

 

The only reason that the TV industry abandoned the convenience of HDCAM-SR tapes was the 2011 Japanese tsunami that wrecked Sony's tape manufacturing plant, causing a worldwide shortage of HDCAM-SR tape. Suddenly the industry had to embrace data recording and data vaulting in a big way. But by then, new cameras like the Alexa and the Red Epics were taking over.

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The sensor was not designed for composite work. It's a Sony sensor. If Panavision said that they were wrong or trying some marketing thing.

I'm not sure how that's relevant. it can output true 4:4:4 from a single S35-sized sensor. With a proper OLPF, it can composite more cleanly than most Bayer sensors, which are natively *close to* 4:2:0 regardless of how you encode/capture.

 

 

Yes with the F35 you have to light like film. If you try to use it as a video camera it gives you trouble.

I always try to light as if I'm working with reversal film. That is, set up all the exposures to very tight tolerances so it holds up well on video. Except of course when I'm shooting on actual negative film, which is a lot more forgiving. I still use aim for exact exposure but I can have a lot more contrast in the highlights than video. I love when I light a set before the camera arrives and it just WORKS! I get the occasional "How'd you do that?" :)

 

 

I think the combination of 35mm sensor size, CCD, full RGB for great color and skins, global shutter and a good 12 stops of dynamic range with great highlights is what makes the image so nice.

Yes, exactly. A lot of current CMOS cameras that claim 13 or whatever stops don't really achieve that unless you're shooting outdoors in 70 degree weather and PLAN to use noise reduction in post. Under realistic conditions, you're lucky to get 11-12. The F35 towards the end could reliably do it and with much truer color.

 

 

The only reason that the TV industry abandoned the convenience of HDCAM-SR tapes was the 2011 Japanese tsunami that wrecked Sony's tape manufacturing plant, causing a worldwide shortage of HDCAM-SR tape.

At my studio, we always bought all the tapes (and lamps) budgeted whether we needed them or not, so we had (still do) plenty unopened boxes of tapes despite not buying any for most of 2011. We also didn't abandon tape entirely till 2014 or so, when we switched to Hyperdecks. I hate those things with a fiery vengeance because they're so unreliable, but they're so cheap we can record everything with multiple redundancies. Still, you have no idea how many times two decks failed at the same time (with or without any indication something is wrong), making the third all the more valuable.

Edited by Stephen Baldassarre
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I shot quite a lot with the Genesis camera, three seasons of "United States of Tara" and the pilot to "The Good Wife" but I only shot a short film on the F35:

 

 

This was a very small project shot in Hypergamma Rec.709 and finished on some offline editor's CC system in 480P I believe, but I think the daytime desert exterior and interiors turned out well.

 

That looks lovely David! I don't think I've ever seen more cinematic looking images from a Hypergamma-style Rec709 recording.

 

If you'd had SLOG, that would have taken care of those few rough edges on some of the highlights.

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Yes, I've only used tape on the Genesis and F35. The early SSD solutions were not practical around 2010 when I did that short film, and after that, you had cameras like the Alexa.

Even the last Genesis movie I can think of, "Heaven is for Real" (2014) used HDCAM-SR tape. So did "Captain America" (2011) and the Sony F35 movie "Red Tails" (2012).

 

In the spring of 2010, I did the pilot for "The Chicago Code" on the Red Epic after doing the pilot for "The Good Wife" the year before on the Genesis with the same director ("The Good Wife" used the Sony F35 when they went to series in NYC, I shot the pilot in Vancouver, and later switched to the Alexa).

 

This pilot was an early use of data recording for a TV show and on the first day we ran three cameras on a police crime scene and that night I got a panicked call from the producer because the data wrangler had spent three hours after wrap that night in the camera truck trying to back up all the data and hadn't finished, had to do more back-ups the next shooting day. We had a big car chase scene planned with a second unit, and I was trying to figure out how I was going to get a separate unit working across town to back-up their data, did they need their own DIT, their own RAID, etc. or was I going to be shuttling drives across town, etc.

 

Then another pilot for the same network wrapped and they were hired to shoot our second unit day, and since they were using Genesis cameras to HDCAM-SR tape, the data problem went away.

 

Now of course, dealing with data is no problem.

 

Panavision made an expensive SSD option for the Genesis but it didn't use separate memory cards, so you needed multiple SSD units per camera, the whole unit needed to be downloaded and if you didn't set up a system on set, that meant shipping the SSD units to a post house. So it never really caught on.

 

The only reason that the TV industry abandoned the convenience of HDCAM-SR tapes was the 2011 Japanese tsunami that wrecked Sony's tape manufacturing plant, causing a worldwide shortage of HDCAM-SR tape. Suddenly the industry had to embrace data recording and data vaulting in a big way. But by then, new cameras like the Alexa and the Red Epics were taking over.

 

I understand that for TV work the storage and easy of use advantages of tape count a lot. But for feature work I would rather go for solid state and get 12-bit 444 for better quality.

 

By the way, how did you rate the F35 for the short?

 

And what was your approach to lighting? Did you ETTR, protected the highlights, or what was your workflow?

 

I know the F35 is cleaner than the Genesis so I was normally not very worried about noise. And the highlights hold very nicely, at least in S-log. So I normally approach it like I would film basically.

 

I never used the Hypergammas or Rec.709 with the F35.

Edited by Adam Paul
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I'm not sure how that's relevant. it can output true 4:4:4 from a single S35-sized sensor. With a proper OLPF, it can composite more cleanly than most Bayer sensors, which are natively *close to* 4:2:0 regardless of how you encode/capture.

 

 

I always try to light as if I'm working with reversal film. That is, set up all the exposures to very tight tolerances so it holds up well on video. Except of course when I'm shooting on actual negative film, which is a lot more forgiving. I still use aim for exact exposure but I can have a lot more contrast in the highlights than video. I love when I light a set before the camera arrives and it just WORKS! I get the occasional "How'd you do that?" :)

 

 

Yes, exactly. A lot of current CMOS cameras that claim 13 or whatever stops don't really achieve that unless you're shooting outdoors in 70 degree weather and PLAN to use noise reduction in post. Under realistic conditions, you're lucky to get 11-12. The F35 towards the end could reliably do it and with much truer color.

 

 

At my studio, we always bought all the tapes (and lamps) budgeted whether we needed them or not, so we had (still do) plenty unopened boxes of tapes despite not buying any for most of 2011. We also didn't abandon tape entirely till 2014 or so, when we switched to Hyperdecks. I hate those things with a fiery vengeance because they're so unreliable, but they're so cheap we can record everything with multiple redundancies. Still, you have no idea how many times two decks failed at the same time (with or without any indication something is wrong), making the third all the more valuable.

 

I was just pointing out the Genesis/F35 sensor is not designed for composite. It is indeed intended to be a general purpose sensor. You seemed to be implying it was designed for composite work or saying that Panavision had implied that. I just wanted to clear it up it was not.

 

Lighting for reversal was needed for the DV days where we had 6 or 7 stops max. of DR. Today with cameras doing over 10 stops I don't find it necessary. With the F35 because of the great way it deals with highlights I basically approach it as I would film. Just slight adjustment.

 

There are many F35 users online who point that the camera is capable of even more than 12-stops. I never tested it but in using it I never really felt much limited by the DR. Because you can be pretty relaxed with the highlights and they will look nice, you don't have to be worried about it like with other digital cameras.

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You seemed to be implying it was designed for composite work or saying that Panavision had implied that. I just wanted to clear it up it was not.

Oh, I outright said it was intended for compositing, because that's what one of Panavisions product developers said. Maybe he was lying, but...

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Back to Star Wars. Was watching the behind the scenes featurette for The Last Jedi that they released yday at D23. Spied an IMAX film camera in one scene, but also, curiously, what was clearly an Alexa image playback of an underwater scene when the film is probably 99% shot on film. I know The Force Awakens had some Iceland aerial plates shot on Alexa, and Wonder Woman, another celluloid venture, had all its underwater scenes shot on the Alexa. Can someone explain this to me? I don't understand why they did this on TLJ (and others), I'm assuming that with film cameras being sturdier, and the HD IVS on Arri film cameras giving you crystal camera video assist, one would go for consistency, is it for some kind of practicality? Obviously, a handful of Alexa shots are easy to match with 99% 35mm, but still bothers me.

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I watched that featurette a few times, pausing on a few moments to figure things out. There is a lot more digital then the underwater scenes. There are two scenes, both evening ish on a crane and the camera is for sure digital.

 

There are many reasons you'd shoot certain scenes digitally, but I think a lot of times they do so due to being able to shoot with a higher ISO. This is critical when you have a visual effects scene where the film grain may be troublesome. This is why movies like Jurassic World used both Red and 65mm for visual effects scenes, to keep that noise level down. I'm kinda shocked a big movie like Star Wars, couldn't afford to shoot visual effects on 65mm, to me that's kinda silly considering they had IMAX cameras! EEK!

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Advantages to shooting aerials and underwater stuff with a digital camera are things like not having to use a light meter in variable light conditions, you can judge exposure accurately by monitor and adjust iris remotely, and not having to reload as often, which is the biggest reason digital is preferred, especially for aerial shots where reloading means landing the plane or helicopter. And of course if you are doing low-light work, like night cityscape aerials or dim underwater scenes, especially if they will be used for visual effects, then the sensitivity and lack of grain is an advantage.

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Makes sense, however, it's just that if Nolan does it on Dunkirk for example, where there is underwater work and of course a ton of aerials, why can't others do it? Or is more on the lines of the usual "digital more convenient than film" and "Nolan does it because he's frickin Nolan"? I guess it puzzles me because people have been doing it for decades, I guess having the option of doing specific shots digitally is really appealing, even to a gigantic production like The Last Jedi. I remember reading someone at ILM (when talking about Abrams & Mindel's decision to shoot ana 35mm on TFA) saying in the AC article that their favorite format to work with is anamorphic 35mm. So would film grain be that bothersome in VFX shots considering once again, that we've been working that way for years and years before digital even existed.

 

I guess it's a case by case thing, ie some aerials shot on film depending on how long they need to shoot and the volume of footage to be shot, I mean, if an indie film like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower can afford to have a handful of aerial shots shot on 35mm like the rest of the film?! Low light work I think is fine although the difference btw clean digital low light/night work (ie Silence) and day work on film can be a bit jarring. And then again, on a film like Star Wars that is shooting on film, would they really need to shoot digitally for some very low light situations considering the budget they have? Then again, I'm a newbie, I'm going to discover that through experience very soon, but seems weird to me.

 

I noticed the camera on a crane in the BHS, but so fast that I can't tell for sure.

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65mm was used to shoot the aerials in "Battle of Britain" because Tom Howard (who built the front projection system used for "2001" that involved projecting 8x10 Ektachrome slides) and Charles Staffell (head of process photography at Pinewood) developed a system to project 70mm moving images for front projection process work.

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Makes sense, however, it's just that if Nolan does it on Dunkirk for example, where there is underwater work and of course a ton of aerials, why can't others do it? Or is more on the lines of the usual "digital more convenient than film" and "Nolan does it because he's frickin Nolan"? I guess it puzzles me because people have been doing it for decades, I guess having the option of doing specific shots digitally is really appealing, even to a gigantic production like The Last Jedi. I remember reading someone at ILM (when talking about Abrams & Mindel's decision to shoot ana 35mm on TFA) saying in the AC article that their favorite format to work with is anamorphic 35mm. So would film grain be that bothersome in VFX shots considering once again, that we've been working that way for years and years before digital even existed.

 

I guess it's a case by case thing, ie some aerials shot on film depending on how long they need to shoot and the volume of footage to be shot, I mean, if an indie film like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower can afford to have a handful of aerial shots shot on 35mm like the rest of the film?! Low light work I think is fine although the difference btw clean digital low light/night work (ie Silence) and day work on film can be a bit jarring. And then again, on a film like Star Wars that is shooting on film, would they really need to shoot digitally for some very low light situations considering the budget they have? Then again, I'm a newbie, I'm going to discover that through experience very soon, but seems weird to me.

 

I noticed the camera on a crane in the BHS, but so fast that I can't tell for sure.

 

Well of course you can shoot aerials and underwater work with film as has been done for the past century. HBO's "Westworld" used film for its aerials.

 

But there is a cost and time factor to consider due to having to land to reload and take off again, and considering the per-minute costs of flying around, plus the safety issue of working with planes and helicopters, plus the weight issue of 35mm cameras with larger magazines, etc., there is a strong incentive to work with digital cameras -- particularly if the footage is going to be heavily manipulated for visual effects anyway. Plus with shooting aerials and underwater, considering the danger involved, it's nice to know you got exactly what you needed, with no mistakes, at the moment you are recording, not later in dailies.

 

And again, with visual effects shots there is a lot of reframing and resizing, so it helps to work with high resolution images with minimal grain or noise.

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I shoot quite a bit of underwater stuff and honestly, I can't imagine shooting with an IMAX camera underwater like Nolan did on Dunkirk... Damn camera housing is the size of a small submarine! It takes balls to tell the studio "hey, no we're not shooting digitally and we want all those heavy boxes from Canada that haven't been used in 20 years" lol :P

 

So yea, I get the reason why people use digital underwater.

 

But on star wars, they have no excuse really. They could have shot all of those "dark" scenes on 65mm and pushed the stock 2 stops if they wanted. That's what they would have done on Revenant.

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So yeah, I get it, thanks for the explanations. But really, it comes down to what you are willing to do, ie you really want to shoot everythg on film, you find a way to make it happen within the constraints of the production, I just feel consistency is important, but when it's a handful of shots here & there that they match with 35mm, sometimes it's so fast, it's hard to say.

 

I guess shooting 2 perf with 1000 feet mags could be a good solution unless you really need the resolution. We need bigger mags ^^

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So yeah, I get it, thanks for the explanations. But really, it comes down to what you are willing to do, ie you really want to shoot everythg on film, you find a way to make it happen within the constraints of the production, I just feel consistency is important, but when it's a handful of shots here & there that they match with 35mm, sometimes it's so fast, it's hard to say.

I largely agree, though I often spot quick pickup shots done on inferior B-cams. Not that it matters, but if it was my production, I would have shot the underwater scenes on 35mm. I have only shot 35mm under water and always had good results. Plus, if there's a leak, you ruin the video and the camera. With film cameras, you can hose out the innards, regrease it and you're good to go. The film just needs a warm rinse, not that I've ever had a problem. I don't understand how shooting aerial footage on film is a liability either with modern video taps and remote heads. If they were REALLY worried about 11 minutes of one location not being enough, they had the budget to mount a second camera.

 

 

I guess shooting 2 perf with 1000 feet mags could be a good solution unless you really need the resolution. We need bigger mags ^^

2-perf is not good enough for theatrical release IMO. You don't have much more vertical resolution than 16mm, which is fine for TV but not the big screen.

 

 

But on star wars, they have no excuse really. They could have shot all of those "dark" scenes on 65mm and pushed the stock 2 stops if they wanted. That's what they would have done on Revenant.

Pushing will bring out the highlights but not the shadows. You could flash the film a little too but really, 250 ISO with a T2 lens is fine for most cases. There's aquatic lighting too if you need it.

 

 

I certainly would NOT shoot IMAX under water, or at all for that matter, even if somebody gave me a $200,000,000+ budget. You theoretically have all this real estate, but maintaining perfect contact with the pressure plate in the camera and in printing is almost impossible so you don't really get better resolution than regular 65mm. It's just so large, you can't help but have some flexing at the center of the frame. I know a once-insider at IMAX who said you'd be lucky to get 4K out of it by the time you get to the end product regardless of whether you use photo-chemical or digital post. Then there's the whole weight/size/cost factor... The biggest advantage of IMAX is the ability to push tons of light through the print to fill a giant screen. That's a moot point now since almost nobody is using film for projection. 65mm on the other hand is not only cheaper but actually higher resolution in most cases and I would LOVE to have the budget to shoot a film in that format.

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2-perf is not good enough for theatrical release IMO. You don't have much more vertical resolution than 16mm, which is fine for TV but not the big screen.

Techniscope has been around since the 50's and even back then, it still looked fine.

 

With modern stocks, techniscope looks great today. My only beef with the format is that you have hard edges so if any dirt got into the gate, reframing would be more noticeable.

 

Super 16mm frame height is 7.41mm and techniscope is 9.47mm so it's pretty darn close and good 16mm looks great on the big screen.

 

I certainly would NOT shoot IMAX under water, or at all for that matter, even if somebody gave me a $200,000,000+ budget. You theoretically have all this real estate, but maintaining perfect contact with the pressure plate in the camera and in printing is almost impossible so you don't really get better resolution than regular 65mm. It's just so large, you can't help but have some flexing at the center of the frame. I know a once-insider at IMAX who said you'd be lucky to get 4K out of it by the time you get to the end product regardless of whether you use photo-chemical or digital post. Then there's the whole weight/size/cost factor... The biggest advantage of IMAX is the ability to push tons of light through the print to fill a giant screen. That's a moot point now since almost nobody is using film for projection. 65mm on the other hand is not only cheaper but actually higher resolution in most cases and I would LOVE to have the budget to shoot a film in that format.

They use compressed air to hold the film against the backplate from my understanding. They would do wet gate optical printing, so the two pieces of film touch each other, which works good. With projection, the film is held in place again with air.

 

I've seen actual tests where IMAX dailies held 12k worth of resolution in print form, projected through an actual film projector in a theater. If there was a problem with the center of the image, it would be noticeably softer then the borders which would be WAY crisper, which is not the case. Yes, digital has a far greater perceivable crispness, this is partially because there are no shutters and each frame is actually held on the screen longer then any film projector is capable of achieving. But if you do the math, there isn't a imaging device made that has anywhere near the pixel density of 15/70. So where the format is very difficult to use and in the eyes of some, over-kill... nothing beats it.

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