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Future of Cinematography! What’s next?


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Kindly ignore if the topic is irrelevant.

As a student of cinema and cinematography,what I have noticed the advancement in tech is more of a concern in cinematography rather than the aesthetics or in some case, story. Films like Nope or TV series shot in virtual production,or something like Way of Water .

Hence I wanted to ask in what way we are going to see evolution of Cinematography in next decade or two ,and should we still study films by Freddie Young,Vittorio Storaro ,Frederick Elms, Chris Doyle,Bruno Delbonnel,Claire Mathon etc. where the aesthetics is still kept under consideration?

Also the people who are starting out in cinematography ,would need to add some more skill set under the belt ?

Thanks in advance.

Saikat C 

Cinematographer | Colorist

Edited by Saikat Chattopadhyay
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I have a few!

SMPTE 2110 and 2022-6 - complete VoIP solutions utilising Micron, EVS and so forth. With Micron, I can live grade hundreds of cameras (realistically 6-7, but it scales). This also allows remote recording with the goal of local media just for redundancy. 

Colour Science, in the broad and local sense. Understanding cameras are merely tristimulus observers, and Yedlin's whole thing back in 2019 is entirely accurate and poignant. Looking at cameras as a photon counter, a poor one at that allows a better understanding of the entire pipeline. 

Note; I always thought colour science was essential to understanding colour from a camera, but it's essentially the opposite. It's to understand colour as a concept. Noting that in our world, colour is inherently three-dimensional, understanding how to manipulate values effectively using tools such as tetrahedral warping or multi-dimensional tetrahedral warping. 

Radiometry, light is simple EMF, and all the same, laws apply. As we move into larger volume-based productions, the time is in place to do the math to ensure everything works. 

COFDM is more niche but coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing was and has been the standard for communications for decades. However, its throughput didn't allow for FHD-UHD video streams. Let alone 3G-SDI/12G-SDI streams. 

As COFDM technology advances and we can use higher constellations with the same orthogonal multi-channel carriers, we can send high-bitrate signals with significant redundancy (forward error correction). To loop back to the beginning of this post, cameras will become more like sound devices; we can relinquish a cable for robust remote recording over RF. 

 

In summary, my forward-thinking advancements are - people will become more comfortable with colour science and build a greater understanding of cameras allowing for superior look development and less camera loyalty; remote recording (which is already happening by cable and SMPTE 2110) will start happening over RF, extensive lighting exercises will move away from the sole know-how of gaffers with decades of experience but work harmoniously with contemporary physics technology. 

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Light field cameras, which will allow the correction of focusing errors. This might even allow stereo photography without the need for dual lenses.

Lenses with integrated sensors, to eliminate any doubt about alignment and back focus. The sensor could even be a moving part of the focusing mechanism.

Just thinking aloud.

 

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10 hours ago, Saikat Chattopadhyay said:

people who are starting out in cinematography ,would need to add some more skill set under the belt ?

Yes, one thing to learn is that the comma follows the last letter of a word immediately, then comes spacing.

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1 hour ago, Simon Wyss said:

Yes, one thing to learn is that the comma follows the last letter of a word immediately, then comes spacing.

And one thing to learn is an understanding and respect for others that don’t speak English as their first language! 

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Dunno OP...I got no crystal ball.

But they predict that studio photogs will be replaced by virtual production. Maybe they will go that route with movie actors, but only if there is a big savings in cost. Isn't $$ the root of it all? Unless they need virtual actors to do what real actors cannot do.

I don't know if film use has stabilized or not. It just keeps getting more and more unaffordable for the small guy. Big production has no problem affording film, but everyone else does, unless rich.

I'm hoping cine' scanner prices come down as the market gets saturated or new models come out. And if not, maybe more scanners come on the used market.

I plan to buy some AI software in a month or so. I've been looking at it for a few years. It supposedly upscales things via AI. I get lots of low-quality material that could use a little upscaling that actually made it look better. So will give it a try. 

As far as studies?

Don't be prejudicial. Look at as much as you can. We can always learn things. Even if it is by some roundabout way that jars our senses into a new reality. 

Good luck!

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Selection from Majorette Archive

DDTJRAC

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Is there a future for cinematography? E.g. all recent Hollywood-productions seem to be based on Marvel-comics or do have other excuses to replace story-telling with brainless action (most likely to compete with TikTok). 🤪

At the moment, I would say that you should rather concentrate on streamography and producing series with at least six episodes. 😜

On the technical side, there’s currently the trend to produce everything (even series) in cinemascope. And you can see that more and more shots are done with drones - not only the traditional „shots done with a camera mounted onto a helicopter“, but also shots that would have been traditionally done with a dolly (or a dolly on rails). I guess that even tripods will be replaced by drones in some productions pretty soon.

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3 hours ago, Joerg Polzfusz said:

Is there a future for cinematography?

Yes, as long as the DP and/or director are the boss, and the colorist does what they tell him to do. Teal, orange and dirty green are not appealing. Cameras can record a billion colours, and the colorist gives you a choice of three. It's getting stupid.

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I think the "golden age" of modern filmmaking was in the end of 90's and the start of 2000's. After about 2010 it has been constant downfall with some rare exceptions and the Marvel flicks and Netflix stuff have accelerated it even more as there is not much "real movies" made anymore which are original content instead of being a part of some kind of series or being marketing material for other stuff

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30 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

there is not much "real movies" made anymore

I feel you are right, just talking about some of the absolute drivel that is being made just now.

However, as Darth Vader might say,

.... I sense something .....

... an opportunity ....

 

(people still want entertainment, good stuff. Believe me)

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I think as cameras get more powerful, AI becomes more prevalent, and drone technology increases, I am a firm believer that at one point, you will have a drone (as big as a baseball) that acts as a floating camera man. I think lens technology will increase just as fast. I think the technology will sync up with a list of different looking shot templates and the subject will be able to film themselves but have it look like it was filmed from a camera man and I think there are similar applications with tiny drones emitting very powerful lights in the future too.

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I mean the film industry, specially theatrical, is dying right in front of our faces. 

Theatrical is dead. It will turn into a premium experience for the rich, as a way to pre-release content. 

Streaming services are costing studio's so much money, they haven't been able to turn a profit yet from it. 

Most of the movies on streaming platforms are dropping in quality as the budgets and quantities per year are slashed. 

Honestly, I don't see where there is an outlet for any crazy future of cinematography. People will always experiment with the latest and greatest tech, but reality is without a venue to show off new technology, why would anyone bother with the added expense of testing? Traditional filmmaking is cheaper and it's that's where we're headed, not to this utopia world where everything is shot with drones and using an AI engine to create shots. Even the whole LED wall fad has its issues, many people who've built facilities, are losing their shirts financially. If anything, Kodak is hiring people like mad and there is seemingly still a shift towards more traditional filmmaking than less traditional. That gap I feel will increase over time, where the traditionalists will hold on and be successful, whilst the new tech people, will always struggle to get viewers. 

If a movie shot on 35mm looks perceivably the same as something shot on the newest hottest gear, than why will any of the new tech make any real difference in Cinematography? 

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Photography (by which I also mean cinematography) is an art in its own right, quite separate from arts such as painting or drawing from which animation and visual effects emerge. The first known photochemical image was a reproduction of an engraving, but it's not considered the first photograph. It was when the camera was pointed out of a window that the first photograph is deemed to have occurred. Photography, as an art in its own right, is born in this moment. 

Photography in a virtual production studio means that a good proportion of the image is no longer in the hands of the photographer. Its in the hands of artists in other fields such as those who work in gaming.

So I envision a rebellion, where photographers just return to the world outside the studio, and express the power of that world.

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IMHO, IMAX is the future. You don't need CGI, you don't need stars. You do need good cameras, but they are not exorbitant. You need good writing and good locations, too. And you can't get an IMAX-like experience in a typical home.

I envision that IMAX features will be cheap to make, relatively speaking, and thus they will more easily turn a profit, even without a huge audience.

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6 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

IMHO, IMAX is the future. You don't need CGI, you don't need stars. You do need good cameras, but they are not exorbitant. You need good writing and good locations, too. And you can't get an IMAX-like experience in a typical home.

I envision that IMAX features will be cheap to make, relatively speaking, and thus they will more easily turn a profit, even without a huge audience.

Do you mean film Imax ?  Without getting into the arguments of film v digital,  15/70 is obviously the better experience,  that cannot be seen in the average home.  So people will pay for that experience.  And because of the low wear from their unrivalled rolling loop projectors,  the prints arguably don't need replacing often.  However,  there need to be more Imax cinemas in smaller cities, as was the case a few years ago, to go without the long car journeys.

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2 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

Do you mean film Imax ?  

No. Too expensive, too cumbersome. My go-to would be the Red 8K cameras for modern IMAX. And I mean full screen IMAX.

 

Edit: You're right about needing more screens, too.

Edited by Karim D. Ghantous
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The whole affair could collapse into a niche craft sponsoring by small cliques of well-moneyed audiences much like live theatre, opera and symphonic orchestra.

John Humble Cit, Joan Humble Cit and the kids may watch extreme low-budget limited-distribution fare when they can afford to take time off from the three jobs to make ends meet. 

The future may become live interactive alternative reality and gaming but the freedom to indulge in that may also be tied to the future lower discretionary spend of the serfs and time off when other needs to get by can be deferred.

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