Jump to content

Why I've Given Up on Grain


 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Sustaining Member
On 11/24/2021 at 4:32 AM, Matthew W. Phillips said:

I defended film for over a decade (on this forum and others) but I am downright sick of the "diva" characteristics of shooting film. I don't miss huge camera rigs, massive tripods and gear to support said rigs, noisy motors to deal with when trying to record sound (never could afford an Arri 435), big and hot lights connected to mains power, massive dolly, etc, etc. I never could afford a camera good enough to get a rock solid image either; always had that "bobble".

You defended film, but complain about what it takes to shoot on film?  Then you praise digital for being able to allow you to shoot on a budget you can afford? 

In the DIY purchasing world, it doesn't make sense to me.  If a filmmaker doesn't have any money, why buy expensive LED lamps that look gross anyway?  Just get some blonds and bounce them.

In the professional rental world, cameras are still huge and heavy - The Sony Venice Panavised with a full cage, 10:1 zoom and gak still weighs 50 lbs.  the AC's would treat that camera no different than an Arri ST with 1000' mag.  And the ST would be far quicker to setup.

The gear never made a difference.  But now it does.  Tungsten is still cheap, and LED lights get hot.  There are false statements coming from all sides.

In my experience, the only thing Digital has done is allowed the creation of content that would never have been made previously. I have worked three films so far this year with budgets over 10 million in which production was given $900,000, and the producers took the rest.  With named talent, they will make their money back and more.  The bigger issue is that it all looks like garbage, and cameras that can see in the dark with extreme high iso's are promoting this type of shooting.   Conversely,  rental budgets for the gear are so low, we are stuck in a bad spot because LED's are expensive to rent, and so are generators.  Its a no win scenario.

Praise film for the look it gives.  Don't judge too harshly, because in the professional world, all of the same tools are used.  The Digital choice has caused more problems than solutions.

 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
32 minutes ago, Jay Young said:

You defended film, but complain about what it takes to shoot on film?  Then you praise digital for being able to allow you to shoot on a budget you can afford? 

In the DIY purchasing world, it doesn't make sense to me.  If a filmmaker doesn't have any money, why buy expensive LED lamps that look gross anyway?  Just get some blonds and bounce them.

In the professional rental world, cameras are still huge and heavy - The Sony Venice Panavised with a full cage, 10:1 zoom and gak still weighs 50 lbs.  the AC's would treat that camera no different than an Arri ST with 1000' mag.  And the ST would be far quicker to setup.

The gear never made a difference.  But now it does.  Tungsten is still cheap, and LED lights get hot.  There are false statements coming from all sides.

In my experience, the only thing Digital has done is allowed the creation of content that would never have been made previously. I have worked three films so far this year with budgets over 10 million in which production was given $900,000, and the producers took the rest.  With named talent, they will make their money back and more.  The bigger issue is that it all looks like garbage, and cameras that can see in the dark with extreme high iso's are promoting this type of shooting.   Conversely,  rental budgets for the gear are so low, we are stuck in a bad spot because LED's are expensive to rent, and so are generators.  Its a no win scenario.

Praise film for the look it gives.  Don't judge too harshly, because in the professional world, all of the same tools are used.  The Digital choice has caused more problems than solutions.

 

That is the point...things don't "have to make sense" to you. Imagine that there is a whole world of people that each have their own ideas and opinions on things and that is okay. I would have thought the artistic community would understand this. I guess spending years in the academy has made me numb to diverse viewpoints and I don't realize that there are still places that do not encourage independent thought.

Edit: I am seeing a lot of grumpiness from certain people who should be enjoying their job. Maybe the pandemic made people grouchy or something? Goodness..."why buy expensive LED lamps that look gross anyway?  Just get some blonds and bounce them." Haha, because I choose to and it is my money so mind your own business.

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
Quote

Shows like 'Seinfeld' and 'Friends' are currently streaming on Netflix here in the UK and show a lovely grainy texture. I believe both were shot on 35mm 3perf, 200 Tungsten. The image of the graveyard is from a short film I shot on 35mm 3perf 200 T and it is less "grainy", shot on Vision 3 stock. I kind of like the heavier texture of the TV shows, I have to admit.

"Seinfeld" was shot on Agfa XT320 I believe, which accounts for the softness and graininess.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

I don't think digital has caused more problems that solutions, it's just that so many people are shooting digital that by sheer volume there are more issues to deal with.  When most people were shooting film, there were problems too, just different problems. We got used to the limitations of film and worked around them but that doesn't mean the limitations didn't exist. And the costs of film are real too -- recently I started playing around with old film still cameras and dealing with the cost of stock, processing, and scanning, plus the limitations on the number of photos per roll, really makes me think when it is worth trotting out the film camera. Sure, there is a look, a nice one, but the cost and logistics of your chosen shooting method can affect creative decisions.

I also suspect that if everyone was shooting film today and there was no digital, stylistic issues would emerge that might not be to everyone's tastes. Maybe it would be "why is everything shot on underexposed fast film with minimal lights?" rather than "why is everyone shooting on high ISO digital cameras with no lights?"

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
11 hours ago, Jan Sandvik said:

You cannot magically make your film appear in your NLE the same evening.

Actually if you drop off at midnight, you can generally pickup by 3pm the same day. So dailies that night, no problem at all. 

I can't think of an example where I've actually sat down and watched my digital dailies right after I shot something. On any real show, you'll be busy shooting the next day and your DIT will have glanced at the footage, but so few of them actually watch every frame, so it's hard to know what you got anyway. Sometimes we will request certain scenes be synched and proxy files made so we can check for performance or a particular difficult camera move, but that's a low-res file. You can't tell if it's in focus from that. I recently cut a feature in DNX36 and had to take a few scenes out during the color because at full res, there were a few out of focus that nobody noticed. Heck, we had to re-shoot a scene in that very same movie because one of the focus issues was on a critical shot. Nobody noticed prior to color because again, everyone was looking at small screens or proxy files. 

So reality is, mistakes do happen on every format. Where I agree, you aren't going to get hairs in the gate on a digital shoot, I have seen hairs in the mattebox between the filters ruin shots. I have seen dust on the imager that goes for an entire days worth of shooting and nobody notices. I have seen cards not playback and we lose hours worth of footage. Of course focus is one thing that I notice issues with a lot because modern 6k and 8k cameras are so sharp, the viewfinders can't really represent what you're getting. The moment you look at the final clip in an NLE at full res on a high res display, you go... hmm, that's out of focus isn't it? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
6 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Edit: I am seeing a lot of grumpiness from certain people who should be enjoying their job. Maybe the pandemic made people grouchy or something? Goodness..."why buy expensive LED lamps that look gross anyway?  Just get some blonds and bounce them." Haha, because I choose to and it is my money so mind your own business.

You prefaced your entry to this conversation by professing that you aren't a professional filmmaker and that you only make content when you can. So when actual professional filmmakers come on here, why would you tell them to "mind their own business".  

Considering in another thread you are asking for basic help grading something that was probably lit improperly, maybe you could learn a few things from some other folks who have been able to achieve success in this field. 

This is a group forum, if you didn't want advice, you shouldn't have come on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
3 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

And the costs of film are real too -- recently I started playing around with old film still cameras and dealing with the cost of stock, processing, and scanning, plus the limitations on the number of photos per roll, really makes me think when it is worth trotting out the film camera. Sure, there is a look, a nice one, but the cost and logistics of your chosen shooting method can affect creative decisions.

Yea I did the same thing as well. I hadn't shot still film in a long time, but man was it a breath of fresh air to get the results back. I mean, I'm not going to take snapshots on 35mm. But when I go somewhere special and I want to take serious pictures, I will for sure bring it out. Otherwise,  my iPhone does a perfectly good job at taking snapshots. It's not about film v digital, it's about convenience factor.

3 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

I also suspect that if everyone was shooting film today and there was no digital, stylistic issues would emerge that might not be to everyone's tastes. Maybe it would be "why is everything shot on underexposed fast film with minimal lights?" rather than "why is everyone shooting on high ISO digital cameras with no lights?"

Yep, man you know this too well. During the film days, how many people tried film to look different than it did. Pushing, pulling, flashing, bleach bypass, you name it, people tried it. Heck, even fuji vs Agfa vs Kodak was a big deal. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't resists rejoining the conversation here. When I was in my teens I shot on either Kodachrome or Agfachrome Super 8. A huge difference to 35mm but I did want to say that the difference between these two stocks was pretty huge. I liked both but the Agfa was 'thicker,' deeper, and had a gorgeous look that was grainier and more saturated than the Kodachrome. It could look a bit fuzzy on Super 8 at times but it was very 'painterly'. It was especially good for earthy reds and greens lit by direct afternoon or morning light. Would be great if someone could bring that type of stock back. Yes, it was reversal but something like that look in negative film would be a fantastic addition to film stocks.

Back to regular programming ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

You prefaced your entry to this conversation by professing that you aren't a professional filmmaker and that you only make content when you can. So when actual professional filmmakers come on here, why would you tell them to "mind their own business".  

I never asked anyone's opinion (professional or otherwise) of whether I should purchase LED lights or not.

And I guess I will speak the elephant in the room: you fancy yourself some kind of "professional" but I looked you up and cannot find any evidence of anything significant you have done in the field either. And you disparage YouTubers while you ran a (failed) YouTube series that couldn't even get Patreon supporters. This is fine and nothing to be ashamed of except you disparage actual successful YouTubers with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. As one of my old college professors once told the class "you aren't as special as you think you are."

I know what and who I am. I am a hobbyist who enjoys doing this stuff. I am not a professional in any sense of the word. I am a professional software developer and educator. But you need to be honest with yourself about who you are. You aren't exactly some Academy Award nominated cinematographer up in here who graces everyone with your presence. You are just some guy in L.A. with an inflated sense of yourself and a few film cameras. Big deal. If I wanted to neglect my family and their needs, I could buy film cameras too. But adults learn a thing called "priorities."

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

I never asked anyone's opinion (professional or otherwise) of whether I should purchase LED lights or not.

Nobody asked you for your opinion on film either. But you still offered it up. This thread was long dead before you gave your .02 cents. Now look where we are. 

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

And I guess I will speak the elephant in the room: you fancy yourself some kind of "professional" but I looked you up and cannot find any evidence of anything significant you have done in the field either.

Every finished project that gets international distribution is pretty significant. 

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

And you disparage YouTubers while you ran a (failed) YouTube series that couldn't even get Patreon supporters.

I had so many people asking me questions about shooting on film, I figured it would be a lot easier to take some down time between gigs during the covid shutdowns, to shoot a series. It was never designed to be anything else but informational. The fact I have any subscribers with zero marketing, 6 months since launch is pretty amazing. 

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

This is fine and nothing to be ashamed of except you disparage actual successful YouTubers with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. 

You watch content paid for by product manufacturers and you wonder why you're not able to get good results. Maybe instead of listening to advertisers, you listen to people who use the stuff professionally all day long, you'd get better results. 

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

You are just some guy in L.A. with an inflated sense of yourself and a few film cameras.

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Who has actually made a living in this industry. Not on the sidelines, but actually through performance. No backup jobs, just straight filmmaking every day. 

4 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Big deal. If I wanted to neglect my family and their needs, I could buy film cameras too. But adults learn a thing called "priorities."

Telling stories is my priority. 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Nobody asked you for your opinion on film either. But you still offered it up. This thread was long dead before you gave your .02 cents. Now look where we are. 

Every finished project that gets international distribution is pretty significant. 

I had so many people asking me questions about shooting on film, I figured it would be a lot easier to take some down time between gigs during the covid shutdowns, to shoot a series. It was never designed to be anything else but informational. The fact I have any subscribers with zero marketing, 6 months since launch is pretty amazing. 

You watch content paid for by product manufacturers and you wonder why you're not able to get good results. Maybe instead of listening to advertisers, you listen to people who use the stuff professionally all day long, you'd get better results. 

Who has actually made a living in this industry. Not on the sidelines, but actually through performance. No backup jobs, just straight filmmaking every day. 

Telling stories is my priority. 

Out of respect to David (not to you), I will refrain from personal attacks on you. He is a model you should seek to emulate. He has real industry cred but still shows respect to everyone. 

Part of being an expert or professional is knowing when to add your advice and when not to. I may be a Computer Scientist but I don't stand over people's shoulders in Best Buy telling them what computer they should purchase and which are garbage. We have a word for unsolicited opinions..."rude". 

As for "getting good results", I wouldn't be happy if I got results like yours either. I saw those screenshots you put up in my other thread and I wouldn't be pleased with those either. Maybe my standards are too high? Who knows. Like I said, I do it for fun.

Sorry, David, if this post was inappropriate. I tried to be as gentle as I could considering this dude refuses to let it go even when you politely warn everyone. 

Edited by Matthew W. Phillips
  • Haha 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
19 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Out of respect to David (not to you), I will refrain from personal attacks on you. He is a model you should seek to emulate. He has real industry cred but still shows respect to everyone. 

Right, you actually are admitting you have zero respect for me AND you are purposely attacking me. 

19 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

Part of being an expert or professional is knowing when to add your advice and when not to. I may be a Computer Scientist but I don't stand over people's shoulders in Best Buy telling them what computer they should purchase and which are garbage. We have a word for unsolicited opinions..."rude". 

Most professionals I know, dish out advice unsolicited, especially when working together on a project. That's just normal/typical behavior, especially within each discipline. It's part of how you learn new things. If the only way you can learn is by doing or asking, then you'll be a slow learner. 

Ohh and yes, a salesmen job is to tell people what computer they should buy,  that's exactly why sales people exist. Otherwise, you could just buy it online without help of a sales person. 

My backup career has been an engineer in the computer industry, focused on post production solutions. My job is to tell clients what they need, so I'm sorry if I'm direct, but nobody was trying to be rude. We are here to share our experiences. 

19 hours ago, Matthew W. Phillips said:

As for "getting good results", I wouldn't be happy if I got results like yours either. I saw those screenshots you put up in my other thread and I wouldn't be pleased with those either. Maybe my standards are too high? Who knows. Like I said, I do it for fun.

I received nothing but praise with the cinematography on that particular show. I'm not entirely happy with it personally. My comments (pages of them) can be seen on this forum under the "general" section, the film is called "End of Life". You can read through them and see what we messed up on and why. Needless to say, the reason I posted those examples was to show that yes, off the film scanner, things can look ok. It wasn't to show how good the film was. It was a response to a technical question. 
 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
  • Confused 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...