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Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here, but here's the 3D film I saw 20+ years ago using the same technology utilized by "Avatar".

 

 

My guess is the thing that makes "Avatar" innovative is the equipment is probably more compact.

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The camera itself is most likely different (or so I'm guessing), but I donned the same polarized glasses to watch the MJ film as I did to watch Avatar. To me that can only mean the same technology.

 

It could be that I didn't see the film at an IMAX theatre, and so I wasn't wowed like a lot of the others (*EDIT* and therefore not as impressed). I'm curious if someone has seen this film more than once, and in both formats for a comparison.

 

*EDIT* I'll see about the specs for the Captain EO film to make a comparison.

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I think the talk of cameras used is irrelevant. There is so little real live-action 3D, you could almost just shoot it in 2D anyway. I seem to remember seeing some shots where there was only a single camera, not a double rig.

 

 

What matters is the result on the screen. Even film 3D systems took a hit, with a two-perf. pulldown on the film per eye frame (two perfs. for the left image, two for the right).

 

So the film systems (IDK if the cameras were modified two perf. or if it was all just reduction printing) took a quality hit too, arguably presenting less resolution than a 2K digital camera like what Cameron is using.

 

 

Whatever Cameron is using (I think "Pace" is just a trade name for the rigging of two Sonys together), it still suffers all the problems with flesh-tones I've seen from all the other HD cameras out there.

 

Funny, I think someone already said it on here, the CGI aliens and all of the other CG elements actually do look better than the live-action stuff, which looks like wonky digital imaging.

 

 

 

If this film wins Best Cinematography, I will loose a lot of respect for the Academy. The little-to-nothing in this movie that actually started out on the other end of a lens was unremarkable.

 

The CGI is certainly worthy of an award. It's some of the best I've seen, definitely worthy of a Best Visual Effects award, or a special honor, but it simply isn't cinematography.

 

There were no lights, lenses, filters, camera movements used to create it. Acknowledging this film with a Cinematography nod is like saying that there is nothing worthwhile about using live-action, unless it is cheaper. It is like saying that actual photography is a temporary hindrance that the movies are going to evolve out of.

 

 

If you want to go down the path of virtual worlds that George Lucas and Jim Cameron have, that is fine, but this sort of thing is still more akin to 3D Cartoons than filmmaking. Come up with another awards category if need be, but don't take the award away from a well-lensed on-location work.

Edited by Karl Borowski

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I say no.

 

The James Cameron interview with Charlie Rose. He told of how he had to spend three or four days attempting to shoot a sunset. Now he would not bother with shooting a real sunset he would just shoot green screen.

 

I think when it comes to awards for cinematography, you get a cinematography award for shooting a beautiful sunset, not for drawing a beautiful sunset.

 

When you spend three or four days attempting to shoot the beautiful sunset you have that one moment to earn that beautiful sunset. A CG sunset you can draw, erase, and tweak as much as you want until you have it the way you want it. Its a triumph of money over impatience, I don't believe you should earn a cinematography award for that.

 

I agree there needs to be another category for computer generated imagery.

 

As we get into award season, what do people think about whether "Avatar" should get a "best cinematography" nomination?

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I think the talk of cameras used is irrelevant. There is so little real live-action 3D, you could almost just shoot it in 2D anyway. I seem to remember seeing some shots where there was only a single camera, not a double rig.

 

 

What matters is the result on the screen. Even film 3D systems took a hit, with a two-perf. pulldown on the film per eye frame (two perfs. for the left image, two for the right).

 

So the film systems (IDK if the cameras were modified two perf. or if it was all just reduction printing) took a quality hit too, arguably presenting less resolution than a 2K digital camera like what Cameron is using.

 

 

Whatever Cameron is using (I think "Pace" is just a trade name for the rigging of two Sonys together), it still suffers all the problems with flesh-tones I've seen from all the other HD cameras out there.

 

Funny, I think someone already said it on here, the CGI aliens and all of the other CG elements actually do look better than the live-action stuff, which looks like wonky digital imaging.

 

 

 

If this film wins Best Cinematography, I will loose a lot of respect for the Academy. The little-to-nothing in this movie that actually started out on the other end of a lens was unremarkable.

 

The CGI is certainly worthy of an award. It's some of the best I've seen, definitely worthy of a Best Visual Effects award, or a special honor, but it simply isn't cinematography.

 

There were no lights, lenses, filters, camera movements used to create it. Acknowledging this film with a Cinematography nod is like saying that there is nothing worthwhile about using live-action, unless it is cheaper. It is like saying that actual photography is a temporary hindrance that the movies are going to evolve out of.

 

 

If you want to go down the path of virtual worlds that George Lucas and Jim Cameron have, that is fine, but this sort of thing is still more akin to 3D Cartoons than filmmaking. Come up with another awards category if need be, but don't take the award away from a well-lensed on-location work.

 

It's interesting you feel the need to defend live action cinematography by demeaning visual effects as "cartoons" A statement that is utterly ignorant of the process. Simply put, you don't know what you are talking about here.

 

Lets go to remedial class:

 

CGI uses

 

Lights

lenses

filters

and... "camera movements."

 

In fact, in the case of Avatar, camera movements that were generated, on set, by Cameron operating a camera. Like for real. With his hands, and everything.

 

Yours Sincerely,

R.

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It's interesting you feel the need to defend live action cinematography by demeaning visual effects as "cartoons" A statement that is utterly ignorant of the process. Simply put, you don't know what you are talking about here.

 

Lets go to remedial class:

 

CGI uses

 

Lights

lenses

filters

and... "camera movements."

 

In fact, in the case of Avatar, camera movements that were generated, on set, by Cameron operating a camera. Like for real. With his hands, and everything.

 

Yours Sincerely,

R.

 

You'd better put all of those on your list in quotes, not just camera movements.

 

BTW, so does computer animation.

 

And yeah, I am defensive of live-action as opposed to CGI, even as opposed to models. Even if it were Jim Cameron, I'd be bored out of my HEAD shooting people in front of a blue screen all Day LONG.

 

You are right though, doing a camera movement across a blue-screen makes this sort of shooting worthwhile and fun. :unsure:

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Wowsers, you haven't a clue.

 

R.

 

OK, so because I don't agree with your point of view, I'm wrong and "don't have a clue." :)

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OK, so because I don't agree with your point of view, I'm wrong and "don't have a clue." :)

 

 

No, you haven't a clue because you are talking about stuff you aren't well informed about.

 

That's why.

 

R.

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No, you haven't a clue because you are talking about stuff you aren't well informed about.

 

That's why.

 

R.

 

Ruairi, could you please add something constructive to the conversation instead of making juvenile statements like "you don't have a clue." Perhaps the people who wish to learn on this forum might better benefit from you explaining why he doesn't have a clue because [insert meaningful language here]

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Ruairi, could you please add something constructive to the conversation instead of making juvenile statements like "you don't have a clue." Perhaps the people who wish to learn on this forum might better benefit from you explaining why he doesn't have a clue because [insert meaningful language here]

 

I agree.

 

Ruairi, I appreciate your appearance on this website, but it seems most of your posts are just smoke’n other people’s opinion instead simply stating your own. It’s certainly not just this thread.

 

I’m sure you have more to contribute about your situation beyond yelling at our stupid opinions on nothing.

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I would envisage that there should be a separate category for CG based cinematography, but I certainly wouldn't deride it as a genuine form as many seem to feel about it here. It takes just as much skill to light and shoot in a virtual environment as a real one.

 

I spent over 12 months working on an animated project that involved me using almost all of my DP skills. Its just a different working environment. But I found the skills required to tell the story visually are just the same. I approached the film in exactly the same way I would live action. I discussed the look with the director. We looked at visual references. we created a storyboard. He animated rough versions of the characters in a virtual environment. I then framed the shots, INCLUDING recording live camera moves that I would do from a specially engineered input device ( a much cruder version of what was done on Avatar).

 

I had to light them, consider atmospherics, staging etc.

 

I think the perception is perhaps that because it's computer based, it's as easy as pushing a button and takes no skill.

 

I seem to recall the same arguments in the early days of digital video...

 

Well having attempted it for some time, I can say it takes a huge amount of skill to do well and i think anyone who doesn't think it's a genuine version of cinematography probably hasn't been exposed to the actual processes required to do it.

 

We are visual storytellers are we not ? Should we not be able to visually direct etch-a-sketch animation as much as live action ? Why be so hung up upon the literalness of photography being live action ?

 

jb

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I agree.

 

Ruairi, I appreciate your appearance on this website, but it seems most of your posts are just smoke’n other people’s opinion instead simply stating your own. It’s certainly not just this thread.

 

I’m sure you have more to contribute about your situation beyond yelling at our stupid opinions on nothing.

 

okay if you want my opinion*. A book is a book whether its written on parchment with a quill, typed on a typewriter, or spoken into a computer with speech recognition software and is typed out.

 

Cinematography is still cinematography - if it's photographed on film cameras, shot on video, or generated on computer. The same aesthetic decisions come into play. People that try to dismiss or marginalize the contribution of an entire industry of incredibly talented professionals out of a lack of education about the process really, really, really annoys me.

 

Cinematography is not limited to photography.

 

There you go.

 

R.

 

*subject to change without prior notice. No warranties expressed or implied. Batteries not included. All models over 18 years of age.

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No, you haven't a clue because you are talking about stuff you aren't well informed about.

 

That's why.

 

R.

 

 

Btw I'm referring specifically, and exclusively to the field of CG here. In case thats not explicitly clear.

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If you are looking at my post. I'm not deriding the skill needed to create computer generated imagery. I'm not saying one is necessarily better than the other. But from a practical sense they are different.

 

When photographing a live scene you have to work in the blistering sun, rain, snow or whatever conditions exist. You have a limited amount of time to martial and organize a large group of people into getting the shots needed to tell the story. Creating computer imagery is an entirely different experience. I don't believe the two should be mixed and judged the same.

 

The nature of creating computer imagery, a lot of it comes down to the money and resources available. It would be much more difficult for a production with less money and fewer resources to compete with a production that has nearly unlimited money and resources.

 

I feel with live photography a $2 million movie has as much opportunity to be acclaimed for its cinematography as a $200 million movie.

 

 

 

I would envisage that there should be a separate category for CG based cinematography, but I certainly wouldn't deride it as a genuine form as many seem to feel about it here. It takes just as much skill to light and shoot in a virtual environment as a real one.

 

We are visual storytellers are we not ? Should we not be able to visually direct etch-a-sketch animation as much as live action ? Why be so hung up upon the literalness of photography being live action ?

 

jb

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An actor can perform in a live action film, live on stage, or voice over in an animated film. They all require acting talent and skill. But all require different acting techniques that are not considered the same simply because its acting.

 

Cinematography is not limited to photography.

 

There you go.

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An actor can perform in a live action film, live on stage, or voice over in an animated film. They all require acting talent and skill. But all require different acting techniques that are not considered the same simply because its acting.

 

 

But it's still acting.

 

R.

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Cinematography is still cinematography - if it's photographed on film cameras, shot on video, or generated on computer. The same aesthetic decisions come into play. People that try to dismiss or marginalize the contribution of an entire industry of incredibly talented professionals out of a lack of education about the process really, really, really annoys me.

 

I think you have a point to a certain degree with regards to computer generated work. However, I think there is a huge difference between generating shots in a computer where you have 100% control over all the elements vs being on location and having to deal with wind, rain, shifting light, tiring actors and crew, heat, cold, humidity, etc.

 

James Cameron's "rain forest" was generated inside a computer and it looked very nice. But shooting in a real rain forest is a much bigger challenge it's hot, humid, muddy, you are being attacked by real bugs that bite every second, etc.

 

For that reason I give greater credit to those that shoot real footage on real locations vs those that generate the shots inside a computer. That doesn't mean that I dismiss the artistry and skill possessed by those that created Avatar inside the computer.

 

R,

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Because such an award would go to the cinematographer, not the host of designers and animators who worked on the movie.

 

I think that may be the source of your answer. Vote for it for production design and effects, as that makes the little statues land closer to the folks who deserve them. Give the cinematography award to something that a cinematographer had a lot more control over.

 

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I think anyone who doubts that CG photography and cinematography have a huge amount in common should watch this

 

http://vimeo.com/7809605

 

The skillsets required to frame, light and move the shots require exactly the same decision making skills as any DP will use on set...If anything what's different is the GAFFERS job, but then only because he has the equivalent of every lamp ever invented on the truck ( and a few that haven't).

 

Another thing to remember is that, with live action cinematography, you get a lot of things for free...Try bashing a 12k through a big silk ( or bouncing it off the ceiling) in Maya or XSI.

Well, that's a little inaccurate, global illumination is getting there, albeit slowly....But in general, the lighting requirements in CG are even more exacting than they are on set.

 

The creative process involves exactly the same set of decisions, they're just accomplished with slightly different tools....You're still basically putting a 4K here, a Kino there. Gelling it, flagging it, picking a lens length, deciding whether to go sticks, or dolly, or crane.

 

You can't really say that because the technology is different its not cinematography, that's like the old days of "Ahh, well you see, its video, so they can't really be cinematographers."

Edited by John Allardice

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I think anyone who doubts that CG photography and cinematography have a huge amount in common should watch this

 

But CG "photography" also has a huge amount in common with cel animation.

Thus "pootertoons".

 

& painting too. The impressionists were quite concerned with how light interacts with the subject.

 

& there's something good to be said about happy accidents and random chance.

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But CG "photography" also has a huge amount in common with cel animation.

Thus "pootertoons".

 

In what way do you think ? Do you mean 2D cell (photographed) animation or CG based 2D animation (like flash based work such as South Park).

 

Whilst it is certainly animating, a CG DP wouldn't have anything to do with the actual animation. They would only be *animating* where the camera was positioned and how it moves. They might also animate lights when they want them to move in shot. Like a film set, there are so many specific roles in CG animation that it's entirely possible and in fact necessary to specialise in just one element.

 

A friend of mine right now is a rigger. That means he works on the *skeleton* of the models so that anyone that wants to animate them can do so and they conform to the *rules* defined for that character. Like making it so an elbow can't bend in an impossible way. Of course it IS possible to do it in CG, but not for the character. CG bloopers are usually these kind of animation accidents.

 

He uses the same work environment that I have spent time in, Maya. Yet I would have no idea how to even START doing what he does. But I can light a scene faster than he can. In fact, even when I was learning the incredibly complex interface, I was still faster at lighting than most of the animators that had been doing it for years and I used far fewer lights. It took me 12 months or constant work, focussed primarily on lighting to even become proficient, just at that one job.

 

Their approach was brute force...put a bunch of lights everywhere and move them around until it looked good. I was finding I would first visualise what I wanted it to look like, set a couple of lights and move them at most 3 times and be happy. And with no prior animation experience, I was simply approaching things in the same I do in the real world. Yes, it's a computer and anyone can get a result , but specialisation is what's essential to take things up a few notches.

 

While there are things that you can only do in an animated environment, like making lights invisible and even having negative lights, they are much harder to work with and get looking right. The surfaces in a 3D world all behave differently, so a lighting setup that works for one element, won't always look good for another element.

 

The idea that just because you work in a real environment with weather somehow makes it a more pure form is pretty narrow. I found it's much harder to light and get the result you want in a CG environment than a real one. Like any filmmaking endeavour, there are huge challenges to overcome. Sometimes throwing money at them is a way to solve the issues (aka the Hollywood solution) but there are plenty of indie animation films out there as well, using much smaller teams of people, that are just as resource and time restricted as a small indie live action.

 

We're in a thread discussing Avatar for it's cinematography, we're assuming that all CG based cinematography has similar resources to magically solve problems from the comfort of a desk with a double shot tall latte and a box of donuts.

 

Just like we all know that fixing it in post almost never works this idea that CG photography is less real because its only being produced using a computer is naive. Just like in the real word, it's not about the gear it's about how you use it.

 

jb

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