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Frisch's Law of Photography


Adam Frisch FSF
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I know it's not always the appropriate and I am also pretty sick of the DSRL shallow depth look. But that said, I'll bet anyone here that in 2 years time when all the full frame Arri's, Red's and Panavision's are out and working, nobody will touch anything else. It's like the 2K Arri Alexas today - they can't give them away. My prediction for future is FF and even shallower DOF across the board.

 

An AC friend of mine who's already seen the writing on the wall is selling his full set of Leica Summilux T1.4's (that are not FF), knowing that in 2 years time he won't be able to get half as much for them.

 

 

I agree with you on "medium format" being the format of the future for the time being, till we have a Digital 70 mm Imax equivalent camera, then, that will be the format of the future and one I would love to shoot with almost always.. when Arri releases a 70mm Alexa Mini ha.. maybe in 10 years time after they release the Alexa 65 mini to the public!

 

About the "shallower DOF" prediction, I do hope that you are not right because we will miss so much depth that the use of a larger format than 35mm IF everything is going to be out of focus.. won't be worth! That's my opinion, of course :).

 

Have a lovely day.

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My prediction for future is FF and even shallower DOF across the board.

 

I'm not so sure. I think a lot of productions/DPs will want to shoot FF or bigger, but the DPs won't like the fact that some of their favorite lenses can't be used, and that the lenses that can be used tend to be more expensive. The producers will dislike the fact that lighting packages suddenly need to get bigger again, after years of getting smaller, because now you have to light to f4.5 instead f2.8 if you want to give your focus puller half a chance.

 

Honestly, I don't see what the fuss is. Medium and Large format film is necessary because it's the only way to deliver more resolution. People don't generally shoot in these formats because they want less depth of field, they do it because they want hi res images. I'd argue that digital cinema cameras can already deliver sufficient resolution, without the need for larger sensors. The fact that Roger Deakins could have used the Alexa 65 for Blade Runner 2049, but didn't think it necessary, is telling here.

 

The current fascination with 5/70 and 15/70 film is driven by a very few directors and DPs who have the financial and artistic influence to convince a studio to pay for a very expensive process. The simultaneous move by ARRI and RED to manufacture FF and larger cameras can be explained by the fact that ARRI are catering to a niche market with a rental only camera, and RED as a company have always believed that 'bigger is better' because it helps them sell cameras to rich teenagers.

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There is also the thing that producers like to use special shooting formats because it can enhance marketing and causes more interest among the potential audience. So they just calculate that the movie sells x times better if shot on 65mm5perf for example. Artistic choices can also benefit sales so the producers may actually support the idea of using more expensive process and gear if it helps to sell the movie better

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and RED as a company have always believed that 'bigger is better' because it helps them sell cameras to rich teenagers.

Yeah I've been thinking about this for a while now.

 

I know guys who bite the bullet on film student loans so they tack an extra few hundred to their monthly payments paying off RED loans.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

 

Well, I guess I break that law... I'm sort of in the F/64 camp for stills... diffraction be damned... and use swings and tilts to adjust the plane of focus for 'infinity' sharpness... rectangular lines be damned...

 

 

Large format! So THAT'S why your Hasselblad system sits unused in a closet. The idea of a Hasselblad owner giving up film completely always struck me as odd; the ones in my stills forum seem to have an almost sexual love for them.

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Well, I guess I break that law... I'm sort of in the F/64 camp for stills... diffraction be damned... and use swings and tilts to adjust the plane of focus for 'infinity' sharpness... rectangular lines be damned... or for motion pictures, the Greg Toland camp.. use a split diopter to get the impression of infinite DoF.

 

On the other hand, if one uses shallow DoF... at least get the actor's/actress's eyelashes sharp... and a head brace for said talent to render their head immobile for close up shots...

 

I came from the same camp, by learning using 4x5 and shooting landscapes in deep focus. I like having the background slightly soft, but I also like to use deep focus shots.

 

A depth of field so shallow that the background is mush is rarely appealing to me though. Sometimes I like turning the background into a wash of color for effect, but most of the time I do that it's for macros or wildlife shots.

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I I'd argue that digital cinema cameras can already deliver sufficient resolution, without the need for larger sensors.

For those of you that haven't seen Steve Yedlin's excellent presentation on this subject, you can find it here:

 

http://yedlin.net/ResDemo/

 

The video is fairly long, but basically Yedlin takes a 2k clip uprezzed to 4k, and a 11k IMAX clip downrezzed to 4k and views them side by side at 1:1 pixels, and demonstrates that there is no visible difference. For 90% of viewing environments 4k resolution is enough. Strangely enough, this is a conclusion that I remember reading about in the stills photography world several years ago. Stills photographers want more resolution because they often crop their work, but for print presentation, 4k is enough.

 

Yedlin also demonstrates a variety of factors which affect apparent sharpness, but the main takeaway is that resolutions over 4k are mostly unnecessary.

 

So, if increased resolution isn't a factor, and super shallow depth of field is undesirable from both artistic and practical standpoints, what's the point of switching to FF (or larger) cameras? I'm sure there are plenty of people who will do it regardless, but I'd rather stick with s35, and have the full range of cinema glass available to me.

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A depth of field so shallow that the background is mush is rarely appealing to me though.

 

Does anyone feel this comes down to what era you started in cinematography? I didn't start until the 5D Mark ii splashed into the scene and so in a weird way the shallow depth of field that camera produced has been the subconscious standard for what "good" looks like to me.

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I think the look of the 5D was appealing mostly because it was the polar opposite of the near infinite DoF offered by 1/3" consumer cameras. The razor thin DoF in the 5D was overused by most people, purely because they could, but I think most serious users grew out of it pretty quickly when they realized how much of their footage was out of focus.

 

The DoF at f2 or f2.8 on a s35 sensor is plenty thin, and if you're desperate for less, it's not difficult to find f1.3 lenses. I really can't think of any reason that I would want or need 1.5 stops less than that.

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Less for standard story based cinematography and far more for music video B-roll cinematography. The second one I find myself doing a ton, the f900 I've been using recently has kind of gone against that shallow look so perhaps it will be a learning experience.

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An AC friend of mine who's already seen the writing on the wall is selling his full set of Leica Summilux T1.4's (that are not FF), knowing that in 2 years time he won't be able to get half as much for them.

I always have to shake my head in disbelief when I hear of ACs who own $250,000 lens packages. I wish I'd been that affluent when I was pulling focus.

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The new Sony CineAlta FF sensor (with Crop /Anamorphic modes) is being "presented" on the 6th Sept at Sony LA.. the supposedly not, but very obviously new F65.. seems the idea is an aspect ratio "agnostic" approach.. don't think a lens mount has been announced as yet.. poss FZ.. or just PL.. or something "agnostic ".. I can see the point of having a larger sensor to down sample to 4K... but the march to or assumption that 8K is around the corner and the only way to go ,is a worry.. and unfortunately driven by the need to sell TV,s.. for every world cup or Olympics that rolls around ..

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the march to or assumption that 8K is around the corner and the only way to go ,is a worry.. and unfortunately driven by the need to sell TV,s.. for every world cup or Olympics that rolls around ..

Exactly. RED have been the worst culprits in the camera world, with their incessant drive for greater resolution, which of course goes hand in hand with the TV manufacturer's push for 4k and beyond. That extra resolution is simply not necessary, but I guess it's a lot easier to sell greater resolution than it is dynamic range or color fidelity.

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  • 5 months later...
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Just a little bet:

 

Watch and see how Monstro VV sensor and new Alexa LF cameras will rule everything in less than a year. Nobody will be shooting standard 35mm format video in a years time professionally. The Alexa Mini's will be sitting on the shelf.

 

Frisch's Law of Photography is always in effect. ;)

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I don't think anyone's going to hire me to shoot on an Alexa LF using Nikon Series E primes*.

 

For that matter, I don't think anyone's going to hire me to shoot on an Alexa LF.

 

* not that there's any absolute reason not to, assuming you have an f/4 available to you...

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Funny story-- was talking with director last night about shooting LF Alexa with E Series primes....True story.

We were thinking about it for some night stuff in DTLA kind of sneaking around and "ethereal" feeling.

Probably with purposeful finger-prints on the lens glass....(hence cheaper disposable lenses)

 

though I'm not sure if you can/could use EF Lenses on the camera (e.g. F mount to EF adapter to Alexa)

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though I'm not sure if you can/could use EF Lenses on the camera (e.g. F mount to EF adapter to Alexa)

EF and LPL have the same FFD, so that would be tricky, but Nikon F might be possible.

 

If Leitax come up with a LPL adapter, all of a sudden Contax C/Y lenses will get even more expensive...

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Honestly, we needed a new large format lens mount. I'd always thought Arri would re-use the old Maxi PL they developed for the 765. But instead they developed the LPL. Whatever it is, I just hope we can all rally around a single format so we can exchange lenses. If some go down the Nikon route, others Canon, Arri sticks with the LPL - we could have huge mess on our hands.

 

I'm hoping LPL becomes the format - it's sturdy and easily reverse compatible to PL with the adapter.

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