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Guest Glen Alexander

Vistavision workflow?

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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?

For what it's worth, Glen has sent me a DVD of his short film.

This is far above yer usual Film Festival stuff, people I've shown it to keep expecting it to turn into a commercial for something very expensive:-)

I really doubt that stills would convey much, and they don't have the soundtrack.

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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.

 

People are finding workarounds, apparently one of the better ones is black promists. Kell factor is pretty well understood, it's just a matter of finding a low pass filter that works at the resolution desired.

 

I'll bet at camera firms like Canon, Sony, Panasonic, etc. their imaging ubergeeks talk about Butterworth, Chebyschev, Minimum Ripple, and other filter transfer functions. That's where the rubber hits the road (photons hit the sensor) when you're addressing aliasing.

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I know that Blu-Ray discs cost a lot of money however something originated in VistaVision should at least be delivered in the low cost high definition AVCHD format which should be playable by most Blu-Ray players.

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A low pass filter may help but the aliasing problems are so bad that it turns your pin stripe shirt with vertical lines into a shirt with horizontal lines. I am all for hybrid cameras but the specifications should be reasonable. The sensor should have been designed just like the Red camera to max out at 8 megapixels which would produce excellent stills and allow the image to be easily supersampled scaled and downconverted to 2 megapixels for the best possible 1080p video. Unfortunately 8 megapixel DSLR's do not sell but rather they have to be 25 megapixels which is an impossible resolution for any video processor chip to handle.

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For what it's worth, Glen has sent me a DVD of his short film.

This is far above yer usual Film Festival stuff, people I've shown it to keep expecting it to turn into a commercial for something very expensive:-)

I really doubt that stills would convey much, and they don't have the soundtrack.

 

Douchebag is French isn't it? It my have well looked great. It may be a great film. His personality will only hurt him, for what it's worth.

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He clearly wants to communicate with other filmmakers,

I wonder if that statement is entirely accurate, communication implies a certain amount of give and take, Mr. Alexander, if that IS his real name, seems to be determined to lecture much more accomplished film makers, sure as yourself, on the fine art of film making as though he were the ultimate authority on all things cinema. His maniacal promotion of a universally accepted as dead, format is somewhat quaint and in a twisted sort of way heroic but his arrogant, boorish, contemptuous manner negates any respect one may have for his droning, nonsensically, incoherent, babble. Now ARROGANCE I can deal with so long as you can back up your poop, but Mr. Alexander seems to do NOTHING but argue at the drop of a hat. THIS to me, is nothing but self-deprecation veiled in bluster and pretension. As it was once said, When one knows one can move a mountain, there is no need to move it, or in this case, argue the point to death and berate, insult, abuse and generally act like a total ass to anyone who disagrees with one.

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But today it is an entirely different ballgame. After the movie theatre industry and studios invest billions of dollars for 4K projectors they are going to be screaming for content based on 65mm film origination. And I don't think that they are going to buy into this idea that regular 35mm is good enough because if they thought that they would have just invested in 2K projectors. The reason why the theatre owners are insisting on installing 4K projectors is that they are running scared because they are getting a lot of competition from Blu-Ray. Of course the easiest way to solve this problem is to shoot everything in IMAX but this would be cost prohibitive for most productions. 8 perf Vista Vision or 5 perf 65mm film represents a good compromise because it gives the theatres the resolution that they need without busting the budget and it eases the worries because the theatre owners know they are getting content specifically designed for 4K projection.

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[. . .]After the movie theatre industry and studios invest billions of dollars for 4K projectors they are going to be screaming for content based on 65mm film origination. [. . . ]

 

PLEASE stay on your own personal thread. . .

 

 

 

 

I don't like people saying Vistavision is obsolete, though. It is currently still used for plate photography. Something that is obsolete is completely out of use.

 

Personally, I think that the 8-perf. format is a waste of good negative area. It has to be cropped pretty substantially to fit to 1.85, let alone scope. That's the same dimensions of 35mm stills, right?

 

Although it'd be more expensive, a word no one wants to hear these days, I would have opted for a 9- or 10-perf. movement to stay in keeping with cinema dimension standards.

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VistaVision is 1.50 : 1 -- I don't think that's a big waste to crop to 1.85. Besides, we crop regular 35mm all the time for 1.85 and 2.40 unless we shoot anamorphic. People are shooting 4-perf 35mm 1.33 cropped to 2.40 -- that's a much bigger waste on a smaller negative.

 

Someone built a 12-perf 35mm horizontal camera but it never caught on because there was no post infrastructure for it.

 

VistaVision is a great format but the lack of modern Panaflex-style quiet self-blimped cameras with a VistaVision movement basically kept it from taking off again when there was a chance it could happen. More people have dabbled in resurrecting 5-perf 65mm for that reason, there are modern cameras for dialogue shooting in that format.

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Again I think you are nitpicking about me being off topic. To be closer to the topic of this thread I could have said the theatre owners are demanding VistaVision origination for 4K projection but that would have been an inaccurate statement because in reality they are demanding content originated with 65mm film based on professional demonstrations of 4K projection. However if VistaVision can be professionally demonstrated with 4K projection I think that this content will also meet the demands of theatre owners who truly want to offer the public a better viewing experience than what you can get at home. VistaVision while not a true 65mm film format is nevertheless the IMAX of 35mm film.

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Wouldn't the advantage of using VistaVision is that you can use 35mm film which is readily available at the best possible price point?

 

It's not much of an advantage if you are talking about buying new stock fresh from Kodak -- you basically pay for real estate with film. VistaVision uses double the amount of 35mm, so it costs you twice as much, and 65mm costs a little more than twice as much as 35mm, so it's a wash. Of course, you could find cheaper recan and buyback stock. On the other hand, Kodak has tended to give people bargains on 65mm stock just to promote it.

 

But in terms of processing, telecine, scanning, etc. 35mm, including VistaVision, is more available, supported, etc. than 65mm.

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It's not much of an advantage if you are talking about buying new stock fresh from Kodak -- you basically pay for real estate with film. VistaVision uses double the amount of 35mm, so it costs you twice as much, and 65mm costs a little more than twice as much as 35mm, so it's a wash. Of course, you could find cheaper recan and buyback stock. On the other hand, Kodak has tended to give people bargains on 65mm stock just to promote it.

 

But in terms of processing, telecine, scanning, etc. 35mm, including VistaVision, is more available, supported, etc. than 65mm.

Nobody can predict the future with any certainty.

 

I certainly would never have predicted the speed at which image quality and price have rocketed off of opposite directions for consumer video displays. 1920 x 1080 42" and larger displays with built-in HD tuners and multiple HDMI inputs are available for a small fraction of the price people paid for 1366 x 768 displays with just an analog tuner, and analog AV inputs, just a few years ago.

 

We were driving around last night looking at people's Christmas lights, and what struck me were the number of houses with one, two or even three newish-looking TVs neatly stacked on the footpath! Occasionally I can't stand the temptation and pick up one of the choicer looking morsels, and I haven't found one yet that didn't work. It's shocking, but what I am I going to do with it? Nobody wants them any more.

 

The point is, when the market for 1920 x 1080 screens reaches saturation, what will manufacturers come up with to tempt new consumers of things they don't really need? Ultra-large screen 4K displays is one obvious answer and is at least theoretically possible.

 

And in that market, 65mm acquisition may suddenly acquire new importance, as may future-proofing for it today. Most of the so-called "digital revolution" has turned out to be a lot of hot air, whereas film has a proven track record.

 

As you say, the advantage of VistaVision is that it can be processed in an ordinary 35mm processing chain. Yes, VistaVision scanners are thin on the ground, so Glen built his own. How many people here could have done that?

 

While various nonentities are airily dismissing VistaVision as an "obsolete" format, other people with the imagination and vision they desperately wish they had are looking at opportunities, instead of spending all their time trying to "reverse-engineer" other people's artworks in the forlorn hope that one day they might be able to copy them.

 

Just be careful what you say here, you might wind up being quoted in the credits of somebody's film :-)

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Just be careful what you say here, you might wind up being quoted in the credits of somebody's film :-)

 

Alexander the Great was a jerk. Feel free to use that one.

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Someone built a 12-perf 35mm horizontal camera but it never caught on because there was no post infrastructure for it.

 

It was Jim Martin and Don Slemp. Jim was an optical printing guy. They never got particularly well funded, and then DI came along and sorta pulled the rug out from under them. The nice thing about 12 is that it's just slightly larger than a 5 perf 65 frame.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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According to Paramount, they only have one place that can project VV, Gower Theater.... haven't found any in Paris.... yet!!

 

 

Salut si le gros format t'intéresse contact lm.barthelemy@free.fr, il demeure près de Paris il a même un projecteur 70mm.

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It was Jim Martin and Don Slemp. Jim was an optical printing guy. They never got particularly well funded, and then DI came along and sorta pulled the rug out from under them. The nice thing about 12 is that it's just slightly larger than a 5 perf 65 frame.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

 

Just some extra info, -

Jim and Don's 12-perf system was known as the "Horizon-12", the company was Imagination FX out of Burbank,Ca. I was FX supervising there for a short time and the company was in a slow death spiral in 1999.

Spent a lot of time asking questions in the tech dept, handled one of the 12-perf movements - what a jewel of mechanical engineering! They did have a optical printers for the format and I think they were building a scanner. They were counting on sales to Events and Theme parks...well...not so much! Sadly, I never got to see a projected image- I was told it was impressive! -Sort of 70mm in Imax-y resolution.

Edited by Will Paguntalan

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Just from watching the first few minutes, all the sharp b&w shots are frozen stills and every time he cuts to the moving VistaVision footage, it's got focus problems, exposure problems, development problems, dirt & dust & grain... I don't get it, isn't the point of shooting in VistaVision to get high-resolution wide shots? I kept waiting for one clean, sharp wide shot of footage that wasn't a still frame.

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Just from watching the first few minutes, all the sharp b&w shots are frozen stills and every time he cuts to the moving VistaVision footage, it's got focus problems, exposure problems, development problems, dirt & dust & grain... I don't get it, isn't the point of shooting in VistaVision to get high-resolution wide shots? I kept waiting for one clean, sharp wide shot of footage that wasn't a still frame.

Davids right, i noticed flickering and why would you be out of focus for so many shots the whole point is to get clean crisp high resolution shots not blurs at least not a project like that, handheld looked really awful.

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Don't have the bandwidth to watch it, but what's the use bragging about high-quality footage and then you process it in your bathtub or something? So many filmmakers out there that love makign film look, well, bad. One thing if it were a music video or a distressed print for effect here and there, but there are guys that shoot whole movies embracing the "make film look bad" aesthetic.

 

 

Anyway, B&W rates are so cheap anyway, assuming that's what he used and not desaturated color, I don't know why he wouldn't get his film done at one of the many good B&W labs still out there. . .

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Anyway, B&W rates are so cheap anyway, assuming that's what he used and not desaturated color, I don't know why he wouldn't get his film done at one of the many good B&W labs still out there. . .

It was shot on Fuji Infra-red film, which is not so easy to get processed.

He sent me a Blu-Ray a little while back. I didn't have a Blu-Ray player then, so I must dig it out and have another look at it in HD.

 

He wanted to shoot his next short on Fuji Velvia, but he said Fuji weren't interested in supplying it in "bulk", they now only supply it for stills cameras. Not sure what he's up to at the moment.

 

Glen might come across to some of you as rude and/or eccentric at times, but he knows his stuff. One of the things we were discussing is whether it would be practical to convert old pensioned-off Minilabs for short-run movie processing.

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