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Guest Glen Alexander

Vistavision workflow?

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People have asked me for prints to put on their wall next to images of Ansel Adams, my images are overwhelming, powerful emotional frames.

I have and prefer that people who watch my filn are emotionally movedi rather than some big name like my lighting. My work is art n

 

I tried looking at your website, but it’s not supported by windows or something. I don’t know. I certainly thought the stills on your website looked good. Can we see the film somewhere?

 

What festivals will it be playing in?

 

Thanks,

Justin

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I ask about the festivals cause you mentioned something about them, not because I was being sarcastic... if it comes off that way.

 

Thanks again,

Justin

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Glenn,

 

Could you please post some photos.

 

If they are difficult to upload you can put them on Flickr of Photobucket etc.

 

I'd like to copy your success.

 

Thanks From,

H.

 

Of course I know Vince. Call the sales dept and ask for Rik, get a quote for DI scanning. The best they could do is $0.50 per frame. Which would have cost about $25,000.

 

This is not for the feint of heart.

 

You need to be a Matlab, Labview, and C/C++ guru.

I built my own hardware and wrote software to scan it myself at 78 lp/mm for about $1400USD.

 

here's what you need

Nikon scanner

Motor with an encoder

2 or 4 gang 35mm film gang

Labview

Nikon SDK

MS compiler

 

Write code that interfaces to scanner, calibrates, scans image. It will take about 3 weeks at 24x7 to scan 50,000 frames of VV with quality control.

 

For processing full 16-bit uncompressed images, color correction, image stabilization, etc.

 

Matlab

 

When the cash flow is more positive, I intend to buy two or three VV cameras and I'll modify them for a Leica mount for my next film, a feature.

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Guest Glen Alexander
Glenn,

 

Could you please post some photos.

 

If they are difficult to upload you can put them on Flickr of Photobucket etc.

 

I'd like to copy your success.

 

Thanks From,

H.

Salut Henri,

 

Send me a PM with your address and I''ll send you an NTSC DVD, I don't have PAL.

 

Etes-vous francaise?

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Hello Glen,

 

I've been thinking about your scan rig and am impressed by your achievement. I was unaware that the Nikon unit could scan at around 4,000 dpi in as little as 20 seconds. Could your system scan 4 techniscope frames at a time and parse the frames accurately? If so, it would be more efficient for me to put in one of your systems at each of my workstations than to continue with my current Bayer pattern rig.

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Guest Glen Alexander
Hello Glen,

 

I've been thinking about your scan rig and am impressed by your achievement. I was unaware that the Nikon unit could scan at around 4,000 dpi in as little as 20 seconds. Could your system scan 4 techniscope frames at a time and parse the frames accurately? If so, it would be more efficient for me to put in one of your systems at each of my workstations than to continue with my current Bayer pattern rig.

 

 

Hi Paul,

 

The 20 sec/frame scan time is for VV, 8-perf, 24 x 38mm is a normal frame, i.e., no calibration. It takes 45 sec/frame for a calibration frame, check on focus, gain etc. Some of the labs now are getting close to real-time scanning at 4k but nowhere near real-time for 6k.

 

Yes, it is trivial to parse the frames afterwards. I wrote code that does image stabilization and align images to sub-pixel resolution. I can align by geometry, perfs or by an object or boundary inside the frame if there is a camera stabilization issue. The VV camera I used had 3 pin alignment but there were issues with the fluid head not being so fluid.

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It's the damn commercialization of the industry towards cheap production values. I'm 'too poor to buy a VV projector and ship one to the festivals. If I had Indian financing like Spielberg, I would. There is nothing like seeing or realky experiencing VV projected.

 

I will put some of my images up against any professional cinematographer here or anywhere.

 

People have asked me for prints to put on their wall next to images of Ansel Adams, my images are overwhelming, powerful emotional frames.

 

I have and prefer that people who watch my filn are emotionally movedi rather than some big name like my lighting. My work is art n

 

 

Do you feel you could be one of the most unenlightened people to have existed?

 

I back up what I say. Go back to your mediocre, average world and leave the artists and pioneers alone.

 

 

OK Tru**(obscenity removed)**, you started this tread over a year and a half ago so I'm calling you out. So far we haven't seen frame one of your brilliant art film so if you want to match frames against any cinematographer here or anywhere, now's the time to do it. Either put up or shut up. Let's see your "art." Show us what you have so we can all go back to our mediocre, average world and leave you artists and pioneers alone. I've seen a lot of movies, both commercial and art films. If I learned anything about the pioneers, they are the guys face down in the mud with the arrows in their backs. Time to back up what you say. Because from where I sit, I see a delusional wannabe with a silly little web site with nothing on it and an IMDB entry with even less. You have one credit and it's for your film that you probably haven't even started. You have one actress and I don't see Christian Bale anywhere. You think your journey of self discovery is unique? It's been done over and over and over, http://www.textweek.com/movies/journey.htm You have the audacity to question other members of this forum and their veracity. I've put millions of feet of film through almost every kind of camera in existence including Vista Vision. Millions of feet of film. Not a 100' of a test reel. I've worked with some of the greatest actors in the world a few of which have Oscars sitting on their mantles. So do yourself a favor, sit back, shut your mouth and open your ears so you might learn something. You are certainly in no position to teach anybody anything. If you can't do that, you should just go away.

Edited by Tom Jensen

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Unfortunately I think that Glen Alexander may be right. Although it may be true that commercialization or stingy producers may not hold back an artist from shooting higher quality formats such as Vista Vision or 65mm if the artist insists on shooting in that format the problem is that in todays tough economic climate there is just too much downward pressure to contain costs for the serious consideration of these higher quality formats. The fact is that we are in a recession and tough sacrifices have to be made.

 

During the last depression of the 1930's there was the same problem shooting with color film. Although the technology existed so that every film in the 1930's could have been shot using color film it was never seriously considered because the 3 strip techniclor process effectively tripled both the acquisition and the delivery cost. However when I saw the Blu-Ray release of the 1939 movie 'The Wizard of Oz' in 1080p high definition the realization was made that there was no way that this movie could have been shot using the conventional black and white cinematography of the time despite the enormous costs of 35mm color production at that time.

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And it is true that when 'The Wizard of Oz' was first released it lost money and expensive color production and distribution probably did not help matters any. However I think the decision to use color was wise because to me the art form is a lot more important than the money.

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Unfortunately I think that Glen Alexander may be right.

 

Wrong. It is the (way) he is saying it that is the problem. Did you read how he addressed Mr. Jenson? I'd quote him but the moderators deleted the thread. Give us a break... go on and kiss his a** if that suits you but it does not suit most of us.

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The VistaVision negative has about a 1.5:1 aspect ratio, so you can compose it for either 1.85 or 2.40, whatever. However, if you don't do a D.I., then you'll have to do an optical printer conversion to whatever release format you need, unless you plan on using a VistaVision projector for a special venue site. The optical printer conversion would probably mean using dupe stocks (IP & IN) in order to get a printing negative.

 

Obviously with 8-perf instead of 4-perf, your stock & processing costs double unless you compensate in your shooting ratio.

 

Biggest problem with VistaVision is the lack of quiet sync-sound cameras, which is why 5-perf 65mm was used in movies such as "Contact" and "The Patriot" for efx work where dialogue had to be recorded. "Contact" used VistaVision for MOS shots where a smaller-than-65mm camera was needed.

 

Not sure what telecines can handle 8-perf for doing offline editing. Maybe the Spirit.

 

5-perf 65mm is not much more expensive than 8-perf 35mm and there are more modern sync-sound cameras available by ARRI and Panavision. Most modern 8-perf cameras like Wilcams were made for efx work.

 

 

Thomas,

I don't know if you read the above post but here it is for you to reflect upon. There is no practical way or real reason to shoot Vista Vision. There are several alternatives already in place that are completely satisfactory by today's standards. In fact we have entered the video age and that pushes us even further away from this hair brained notion that Vista Vision is a practical format for shooting a modern day feature. Alexander the Great isn't going to re-invent the wheel here. We are where we are because everything we have talked about has been hashed over by engineers and cinematographers and producers since the 30's and 40' up until today. Read what Wikipedia says about Vista Vision and you will see why it is an obsolete format as far as shooting an entire live action feature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VistaVision The end result is not worth the costs.

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Although the technology existed so that every film in the 1930's could have been shot using color film it was never seriously considered because the 3 strip techniclor process effectively tripled both the acquisition and the delivery cost.

 

It depends what we mean by the technology existing. IIRC, they only made two or three dozen of the three strip cameras. Theoretically, they could have made enough of them for everybody, but in practice, they didn't. Technicolor was sued for restricting three strip color to the majors only. That happened after Eastman was out with single strip color neg, and lead to the decision to discontinue three strip rather than build more of those extremely expensive cameras.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I'm sad to see Alexander the Great's recent post disappear. They truly exposed him for the phony he is. I'm glad I got to see it before it was deleted. Truly his entertaining work to date. Au revoir.

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Of course it is true that a lot of the newer technologies such as finer grained film stocks have bridged the gap between conventional 4 perf 35mm film and 8 perf VistaVision. However if the same fine grained film stock is applied to VistaVision then the bar is again raised which means there can be no denying that resolution is doubled which produces those stunning Ansel Adams images that are impossible with conventional 35mm cinematography.

 

And it is true that an emerging Cinematographer would naturally want to search for the most powerful tools to create the most stunning imagery. Unfortunately an established Cinematographer would be reluctant to rock the boat by insist on shooting with a format such as VistaVision which would double the costs and would open himself up to blame for cost overruns. On the other hand the emerging Cinematographer will not hesitate to rock the boat because has nothing to lose by gambling with VistaVision because the images produced will be so overwhelming that it could be his claim to fame.

 

As for being a phony was it not true that James Cameron entered the film industry with no schooling and no practical experience yet now he is championing all of these revolutionary technologies such as Showscan and 3D? Yet James Cameron did his homework and became a success and I really think that Greg also did his homework and found a viable workflow for VistaVision and while he may not be the inventor of VistaVision he certainly can be considered its champion.

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Glen Alexander's accomplishments were not the point -- the point was that he was a rude, egotistical jerk. He could have been a valuable contributor here if he didn't have this major chip on his shoulder.

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And it is true that an emerging Cinematographer would naturally want to search for the most powerful tools to create the most stunning imagery. Unfortunately an established Cinematographer would be reluctant to rock the boat by insist on shooting with a format such as VistaVision which would double the costs and would open himself up to blame for cost overruns. On the other hand the emerging Cinematographer will not hesitate to rock the boat because has nothing to lose by gambling with VistaVision because the images produced will be so overwhelming that it could be his claim to fame.

 

As for being a phony was it not true that James Cameron entered the film industry with no schooling and no practical experience yet now he is championing all of these revolutionary technologies such as Showscan and 3D? Yet James Cameron did his homework and became a success and I really think that Greg also did his homework and found a viable workflow for VistaVision and while he may not be the inventor of VistaVision he certainly can be considered its champion.

 

 

The most powerful tool to create the most stunning imagery is called "the story." What we have now as far as formats are concerned is excellent. Getting more resolution will not get you a better movie. A better script will. Look at Spike Lee's first movie. Not Ernest Dickerson's best work but it was one of Spike's best movies. It's not rocking the boat to ask shoot Vista Vision. It's insanity. Why not shoot 65mm. We have IMAX but why do you suppose we don't shoot Imax features. It's not practical. Panavision and Arriflex didn't invest millions in design and equipment if they had thought that Vista Vision was the preferred format. You're missing the big picture here Thomas. I reposted David Mullen's post and the answer lies there. Like I said, you aren't reinventing the wheel. Why do you suppose that James Cameron doesn't shoot Vista Vision?

 

I called out Alexander the Great to show us 1 frame of film. Just 1 single picture. He was the one who said he would go up against any DP here or anywhere. He said he backs up what he says. Hell, if it were true, I might buy one of his prints and hang it next to my Ansel Adams print or one of my own. But, he didn't. He decided to let lose a tirade on me that proved he was a liar. That's what liars do when they are caught. They explode instead of admit the truth. He had his chance to prove himself and he didn't. What more evidence do you need to prove he's a phony?

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I'm sure his b&w VistaVision photography of Death Valley is quite stunning... you'd have to be a mediocre cinematographer to not pull-off something nice with that format in that location. I look forward to seeing Glen's short film when it arrives on the scene.

 

But I've never seen anyone arrive on this forum with such a high opinion of himself, and such a low opinion of others. The guy just begs people to take the piss out of him, take him down a notch.

 

He clearly wants to communicate with other filmmakers, but he has such poor people skills that he just alienates almost everyone around him, because he basically has no respect for other people, and no humility. He brags incessantly and asks to be worshipped as a genius based only on his own words, not his accomplishments.

 

His film may actually turn out to be great, who knows? But I don't believe that excuses poor manners in a forum.

 

Imagine the difference in reaction if he had posted some stunning frames of his work here FIRST and then wanted to talk about how he accomplished it?

 

And I recall warning him of exactly the problem he encountered, which is that VistaVision is not a projection format. Now he has to convert it to another format, which begs the question whether he will retain the original picture quality if he ends up scanning the negative and outputting it to a 35mm b&w print. Because if this is an art film meant for festivals, it's basically either going to be seen in 35mm projection or HD projection, neither of which is VistaVision in quality nor resolution. So at best, he ends up with a less-grainy b&w image in his reduction from VistaVision -- and the bragging rights. But still, it's not like I'm not envious... I'd love to shoot that format, for any reason. But personally, I'd have gone with 5-perf 65mm instead of VistaVision -- at least there's the possibility of digging up a 65mm projector, like at the American Cinematheque or certain museums.

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To a certain extent wouldn't all the features, shorts, music videos, and commercials being shot with Canon 5D-Mk II's count as digital Vistavision? Same aspect ratio, same frame size.

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The frame size of the Canon is equal to VistaVision but the problem with the Canon is that is has aliasing problems because the resolution of the sensor does not match the 1080p format. This results in details which are much to fine to be properly handled by the 1080p format being blown up out of proportion with other fine details missing altogether. Red Digital Cinema promises real digital VistaVision that may be availble next year or the year after.

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Actually James Cameron never advocated 8 perf Vista Vision but rather for shooting film he advocates using 2 perf Techniscope 35mm film. Not that James Cameron is a cheapskate but when you are shooting in stereo 3D at higher framerates you will be using the equivalent of 8 perfs of film for each frame anyway.

 

And about the story there are films shot on 65mm film like 2001 a Space Odyssey that are also good stories. But sadly you can have the best story in the world but could care less about space travel. However the movie 2001 shot on 65mm film allows you to experience space travel as if you were an astronaut there in person. And who would not be impressed by that?

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I'm sure his b&w VistaVision photography of Death Valley is quite stunning... you'd have to be a mediocre cinematographer to not pull-off something nice with that format in that location. I look forward to seeing Glen's short film when it arrives on the scene.

 

But I've never seen anyone arrive on this forum with such a high opinion of himself, and such a low opinion of others. The guy just begs people to take the piss out of him, take him down a notch.

 

He clearly wants to communicate with other filmmakers, but he has such poor people skills that he just alienates almost everyone around him, because he basically has no respect for other people, and no humility. He brags incessantly and asks to be worshipped as a genius based only on his own words, not his accomplishments.

 

You have to remember David, Alexander the Great is an 'Artist'... a 'Pioneer'. They're like that :lol:

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I think David hit it on the head. Of course this does not give anyone the right to start a flame war and to exhalt oneself by putting other people down. However even with the most skillfull of diplomacy I think it would be almost impossible not to hurt other peoples feelings. The fact of the matter is that if one makes the claim that nothing less than VistaVision origination can create the true Blu-Ray high definition experience you will be stepping on a lot of toes. Of course there is a consensus that VistaVision resolution wise is overkill for 1080p Blu-Ray however shooting in VistaVision will allow such a reduction in film grain that the resulting imagery will be so clean and that Ansel Adams waterfall in Yosemite will be liquid. And all of this can be proven simply by obtaining a collection of Blu-Ray movies originated in 65mm and seeing for yourself if there is a difference. With 4K digital projection the differences will be even more overwhelming and we even have Sony corporation promoting the idea that the advantages of 4K digital projection are much more meaningfull if we have 65mm film origination.

 

Perhaps it would be better to wait until The Red Epic delivers which will allow digital VistaVision to become mainstream. However waiters are not creators and it is still not known if the Red Epic can match the lattitude of film.

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