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  1. I posted this before on Bill Dipiettra's thread, Sad Day For 35mm Film. It may have got lost there, so I'm starting a unique thread for it. This is my sincere attempt to write some kind of personal begining point on this. It's not an invitation to conflict. I'll call it an invitation for others to offer their own thoughts about it or to make creative reactions. For those interested in that, I suggest we basicly ignore any reactions of an ugly or personalized sort. For some years, from 1993 to 2010, while I avoided any involvement in film making, I occasionally had the strange thought to write something on the differences between the film and the electronic motion picture image - the impact of this difference on art, culture, human experience. I didn't, the grass grew under my feet and now it's almost too late. There are many reasons why people may lament the apparent demise of film and it may be that they all have some legitimacy. Some important things may be wrongly dismissed as mere sentimentality. For example some people are intimately identified with the physicality of the camera, the perforated film and a photographic process which verges on the inexplicable or magical. This can be quite profound and not to be dismissed. The photographic process is more densely packed with intelligence and meaningful information than we can possibly imagine. A tiny pixel sized dot on the cheek of an actor. How many photons arrive there per 1/50 second while the cinematographer watches. There are probably some on the forum who can tell us, per unit of measured light. It's a lot, a vast number. The interaction between the photons and the actors skin, we have to assume is on the molecular level, or on the scale of the atoms there. My contention is that this interaction between the photons and the material structure of the actor is changing the physicality of both photon and actor. I mean on an incredibly microscopic level. Further, some would contend, that the microscopic contains functional principals of the macroscopic. I'm thinking that each single microscopic interaction somehow encodes a snapshot of the macroscopic, at that moment. So this deluge of photons heading towards the cinematographers eye in the 1/50 seconds interval is overwhelmingly dense with information far beyond issues of light, dark, color, contrast that the cinematographer might normally deal with. You could assume that human sense perception is incapable of responding, or that common disbelief would disable the chance of receptivity. Again, taking an intuitive leap, I suggest that some cinematographers are at least subconsciously receptive to this more subtle, densely rich stream of information and process and make use of it without even being aware of it. Regardless of the degree of receptivity in the cinematographer, after the expiration of 1/50 second, all that stream arrives at the emulsion. Thinking intuitively about that, and yes again making some intuitive leaps, the interaction between photons and emulsion could be conceived of on a microscopic level. Maybe black and white is easier to talk about. Imagine a very small element of grain. The arriving photons make an impression apon it. This can again be considered at a microscopic level. Being saturated with information on a very refined level from their interacation with the actor, now an interaction on a similar level is possible with the emulsion. My guess is that with current methods, contact printing the camera original, we loose a lot of or the purity of this vast storehouse of photographed information. On the conscious level, normal human perception may be unable to see it, but this does not mean that it is unable to make an impact upon us and leave us with something useful. Think art, magic, subjective experience. Now, the digital version. The cinematographer, assuming he is lucky enough to have a spinning mirror, no longer has a photographic capture process that is analogous to his own ocular perception. As before we could hope that his retina, neurophysiology and style of awareness is responding in some way to the microscopic interactions with this vast incoming stream of densely laden photons. Again, after the expiration of 1/50 second, all that stream arrives at the .......sensor. All I can think from what is commonly described about the configuration and function of sensors is that the vast bulk of all that impossibly dense, richly packed information is suddenly all but gone. It's replaced by a relatively) tiny stream of zeros and ones that encode a crude value of only some aspects of that. I think photochemical process is capable of creating a direct and profound impression. The photons landed on the negative and changed it. It enables a direct visceral connection that someone can later make with that moment. Not imaginary, not virtual, not smoke and mirrors. It's real, palpable, can feel as real as being punched in the stomach. But I don't think we all respond uniformly, most significantly for me because we don't all have the same acuity of seeing or functionality of awareness. But then again, moving pictures as a popular art form require some degree of common or shared style of seeing. So perhaps the main stream film industry, in particular, digital exhibition, will culture us to see in a way that is useful to them and no one will notice or know any different. On Bill's thread I rounded it off here , thinking I was using more than my share of space. Cheers, Gregg
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