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James Steven Beverly

Tired of hearing "Film is Dead?" Well So Are We!

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No offense, mister Beverly, but your'e getting a little highfalutin' for me, which is why I discontinued our private exchange (which admittedly I started). No one I've ever worked with, no director, no producer, no writer, (maybe an actor), talks in the terms your talking.

 

Best of luck to your production(s), wherever they are.

 

My plan, starting back in 2005, was to finish my degree, get a full time job, pay off my back dues, then shoot a little something using prosumer hi-def gear.

 

It would be nice if I could be left alone to do that.

 

All the best."highfalutin'" before so that's a first. I'm kind of flattered.I can only assume you refer to my turn of phrase. I therefore take that as a complement. As for you request to be left alone, this is, after all, a discussion and you DO have a tendency to make bold, blanket statements, however if you wish, I'll try to refrain from comment where you're concerned but despite that, even though I've promised to cut you some slack, I'm not sure others will.

"highfalutin'", I'm flattered.

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Well, I am tired of hearing film is dead - death is so final. I am not critical of digital at all and make use of it where I can, but I am confident that film is still a better choice. I do sense a lot of hostility and aggression towards film mainly from those who use digital and often praise digital, making claims that it is better than film and making wishing film to be dead. I don't understand why it's fashionable to simply dismiss something like film without really understanding it.

 

Pav

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Film needs good reasons to be used. Not just empty declarations of faith.

 

There are plenty of really good reasons to use film. Plenty. Use it for those reasons rather than some line Kodak is selling or because Star Wars is using it. Find your own reasons. You will enjoy it much more.

 

And there are also just as many good reasons not to use film. Plenty

 

 

There isn't really any way of generalising how you might come to a decision. Every project is different. With different agendas and different criteria for success. Cinematography isn't just something that happens in the cinema. It happens everywhere, across diverse channels, from industry to home movies, to art galleries, to the internet. I expect there are more people using cameras today then ever before in history. Not that they are necessarily interested in the art of it, but it's there. Everywhere.

 

When there was only film, the decision was easy. It was the technology/industry that had effectively made the decision for you. While video looked like a dogs breakfast, blown up on the big screen, the decision, in terms of cinema, was easy. The technology was still making the decision for you.

 

Now the cinema screen is not the only venue for an appreciation of cinematography or film making in general. And it hasn't been for a long time. But of course, it is special. It provides a space for a lot of people, all at the same time, which has it's own peculiar dynamic. Film festivals are a particularly good example of this. It's not only the films on the screen that are important but all of the people with whom you can talk about the films.

 

The cinema is special. It's a meeting place. Even if nobody talks to anybody. It's that sense of being outside of oneself. Out in the world rather than hidden away at home.

 

But even if one decides on the cinema, as the venue, the decision regarding medium is no longer a technologically determined one. Even if the projectors were all digital.

 

Digital might continue to define the delivery channel, from vimeo, to TV, to the cinema screen, but it doesn't yet, and shouldn't define the mediums you might use to originate for those channels.

 

It just means the decision making process may not be as easy as it once might have been. That's probably a good thing.

 

There's a hilarious line in the film, Elizabeth, where the astrologer, John Dee apologises, in response to anxieties from Elizabeth over the uncertainty of the future, he says something like:

 

"Astrology is still more an art than a science"

 

Carl

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Film is certainly going away in favor of digital, but every time I see something like this I am reminded of what film has that video does not. They are not the same animal.

 

 

 

 

For sure. They are not the same animal. A decision to shoot one or the other is a creative decision. Which animal is right for the project at hand? Or what project might a particular animal inspire? Given a Super8 camera and a couple of rolls of film, what might can be done with such, as much as, given a particular script/project what does one shoot it with.

 

Carl

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Film is certainly going away in favor of digital, but every time I see something like this I am reminded of what film has that video does not. They are not the same animal.

 

 

 

NO DUDE, it ISN'T!! Not by a LONG SHOT!! That's the whole POINT!! The ONLY ONES SAYING this is FILM STUDENTS and ULTRA LOW or NO-budget "filmmakers" that don't know SH!T about REAL WORLD film production with an actually budget!!

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IF film production were "dying", the big boys woulda dumped motion picture film like it was a dead, overdosed crack whore in the trunk of the family car, but MOST big productions SHOOT FILM because the image is FAR superior to anything digital can muster....

When you make statements like "FAR" superior, can you give specifics as to what that actually means?

I mean, an actual technical breakdown of what "FAR" superior is in comparison to digital cinema cameras, such as the F5, F65, Red (MX or Dragon), BMCC and Alexa (ARRIRAW).

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When you make statements like "FAR" superior, can you give specifics as to what that actually means?

I mean, an actual technical breakdown of what "FAR" superior is in comparison to digital cinema cameras, such as the F5, F65, Red (MX or Dragon), BMCC and Alexa (ARRIRAW).

look, I'm not going to sit here and look up the technical specs of every freakin' camera on the planet then compare it to every film stock made especially when I already know what the answer will be. It suffices to say, film creates an image on a molecular scale. the dynamic range is well above and below digital and the color range is staggering far exceeding digital. Group all those cameras together and none come close. What more would you have? If you want to do these comparisons, be my guest. For me, there is one other yardstick, it looks better to ME! No matter what I do or who does the post, it NEVER looks the same. Film ALWAYS looks better. That's all the incentive I need to use it whenever I'm able to given the proposed budget. That's the BEST endorsement I can give!!

Edited by James Steven Beverly

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I didn't ask you to compare every camera on the planet. Only if you were knowledgeable of the ones I mentioned and their comparisons to film. Had you been, then you would've understood WHY I mentioned those specifically: in the near future film won't be the gold standard for reference for very much longer, but more of an aesthetic choice (that is easily emulated, I should mention).

 

If we're talking latitude (14.5 stops), it's been equaled (F65, F5, F55, Alexa, Red Dragon)

If we're talking resolution [of 35mm], it's been widely stated that it tops out at around 4-5k before a point of diminishing returns (F65, F55, Red Dragon)

If we're talking color space, it's been surpassed (as stated by Claudio Miranda, ASC in regards to the F65)

Factually, the last advantage celluloid film brings to the table are the options of medium format (65mm and Imax w/ a proposed resolution of 12k) and archival. Safe to say, most of us in this thread haven't shot with 65mm film beyond the still photography category O_o

 

So to be honest, at this point we're talking straight subjective OPINION, which I get. Me personally, I'm still in love with Super 16mm film and the personality it delivers. I even make it a mission to deliberately go to see every Super 16 film released on premiere week (latest being Fruitevale Station). So that's a unique quality that I can't find in digital 35mm right now (unless you're talking ML DNG Raw on the 60D captured at 720x480, then upscaled to 1920x1080). It's all a purely aesthetic choice for the story.

 

However, to say "better" really is subjective and if you had to break it down beyond technical information, it's really just a taste factor.

 

Don't you think?

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Watched Blue Valentine the other night, a mix of super16 and RED. The 16mm captured me, but I hated the RED portions. I am currently watching a great number of Vietnamese films (because I have a feature to be shot there) and they are all RED MX and I really dislike the look. Some of the camera work on the action films is sensational, so don't get me wrong. The crews are performing miracles on sub million dollar budgets. But the super video clean look and overly manipulated colors leave me cringing. Apparently the EPIC has made inroads over the last few months and newer productions are using it. But still... I so miss the look of film.

 

I have found that I prefer the look of the Alexa vs RED and I have no foot in either camp. I've never used either camera. But in looking up how films have been shot I am struck that I tend to be OK with those shot on the Alexa and less so than on the RED.

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in the near future film won't be the gold standard for reference for very much longer,

 

Don't you think?

Yeah, well when that happens, let me know. Until then, I don't want to hear any bullsh!t about it.

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Watched Blue Valentine the other night, a mix of super16 and RED. The 16mm captured me, but I hated the RED portions. I am currently watching a great number of Vietnamese films (because I have a feature to be shot there) and they are all RED MX and I really dislike the look. Some of the camera work on the action films is sensational, so don't get me wrong. The crews are performing miracles on sub million dollar budgets. But the super video clean look and overly manipulated colors leave me cringing. Apparently the EPIC has made inroads over the last few months and newer productions are using it. But still... I so miss the look of film.

 

I have found that I prefer the look of the Alexa vs RED and I have no foot in either camp. I've never used either camera. But in looking up how films have been shot I am struck that I tend to be OK with those shot on the Alexa and less so than on the RED.

For Blue Valentine that was the idea. The flashback sequences on film were meant to be warm and inviting, even by the wider lens choices. The modern scenes: all shot digitally in a clinical way and long lenses to make things claustrophobic.

 

It was the primary intention I believe.

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But isn't this partly a personal taste issue? I mean, you are basically saying "clean and video" as a pejorative because you are assuming that this is not a good look, not the way that movies should look. Meaning that if it looks like "x", it therefore looks bad. Someone else might not feel that way about clean non-film-like images. It's not like the Red footage would look like classic interlaced-scan 60i video, it was shot at 24 fps in progressive scan. So it's really the lack of film texture and artifacts, or an increase in sharpness, that you feel is "wrong", but that's a subjective issue, isn't it?

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But isn't this partly a personal taste issue? I mean, you are basically saying "clean and video" as a pejorative because you are assuming that this is not a good look, not the way that movies should look. Meaning that if it looks like "x", it therefore looks bad. Someone else might not feel that way about clean non-film-like images. It's not like the Red footage would look like classic interlaced-scan 60i video, it was shot at 24 fps in progressive scan. So it's really the lack of film texture and artifacts, or an increase in sharpness, that you feel is "wrong", but that's a subjective issue, isn't it?

This is essentially part of my point too; thanks, Dave.

 

The film look that a lot of people chase (including myself) are really about texture, highlight roll off, highlight blooming, color and latitude. However, the texture aspects are cleaned up so much in many modern celluloid productions these days, people tend to forget that "film" doesn't necessarily equate to that aspect all the time. For instance, Transformers was shot on film, but the grain is so cleaned up, it might as well have been shot digitally on the Red for a comparison.

 

I think that if more people were able to define in the most literal manner what makes film look like "film", in the same way they do [with disdain] toward digital, then we'd have a better grasp on things.

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That's ENTIRELY the point. But in the spirit of detente, you go shoot video, I'll shoot film whenever I can. B)

,

That's a great condescending attempt, but it doesn't help.

We all shoot what we can, when we can and why we can depending on the artistic POV or for budgetary reasons. Be it digital RAW, video, or celluloid. All of which I do on my own for a variety of reasons, as I'm sure others here have and still do as well.

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The budget sometimes determines what format one might use....novel concept, I've never heard that before or dealt with that before. And again, yet another gem, there are many differing people out there using a variety of formats. Thank you for that insight. Without such wisdom, I'd still be painting with red ocher outlined in charcoal on cave walls in France.

 

Look, I'm not being condescending or even particularly argumentative. BUT, the fact is, I REALLY, TRULY COMPLETELY, don't give a sh!t what you shoot on. Why should i? I took a look at your resume' You've shot exclusively video shorts with exception of one video documentary and one short video documentary and there's nothing wrong with that. You're building a list of credits. Good for you, However, it's easy to understand why you would prefer video over film on the budgets you have to work with.You really don't have a choice for the kind of work you're doing.

 

Been there, done that many times before only were made for different purposes and the stuff was significantly longer than a short In fact, I'm currently working on securing an Ultra-low budget feature deal and due to the budget, it will be shot on HD video, unless I can entice another company to come in on a co-production, so I will shoot video, when I have to in order to make the project happen. But it's definitely NOT because I WANT TO. I've also got irons in the fire for funding on a low budget feature that WILL be shot on 35mm film in anamorphic so we'll see what happens on that.

 

My point is this, if YOU find video charming (and I would suspect you do because that's what you know) regardless of the reasons, go for it. It makes no difference to me one way or the other. Many people here love the look of film but are under the delusion it's too expensive to shoot and are afraid of that. It's not. There are people out there and on this forum, shooting it every day. People with very little money....AND people with a LOT of money. I started this thread to debunk the myth that film is dead,, in fact it is far from dead. It's the preferred format in most all professional narrative and television situations. Like you said before. It's the gold standard and with the necessary budget, that's good enough for me. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly

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But isn't this partly a personal taste issue? I mean, you are basically saying "clean and video" as a pejorative because you are assuming that this is not a good look, not the way that movies should look. Meaning that if it looks like "x", it therefore looks bad. Someone else might not feel that way about clean non-film-like images. It's not like the Red footage would look like classic interlaced-scan 60i video, it was shot at 24 fps in progressive scan. So it's really the lack of film texture and artifacts, or an increase in sharpness, that you feel is "wrong", but that's a subjective issue, isn't it?

Yes, it is most definitely personal taste. I am not at all liking digital cameras. The Alexa fools me at times and for the most part I enjoy what it can produce. I have Anonymous and Skyfall on BluRay and when I watch them, I never think I am watching a video. Whenever I view something that was shot on a RED I have that thought. Hell, last night I watched a Vietnamese film called Passport to Love and new within 30 seconds it was shot on the old RED. It was video video video. Ugly.

 

Right now I am pretty much being forced into shooting a feature with the Red Epic because nothing else is viable in the country where we are shooting. My dp would prefer the Alexa, but we cannot find a way to get the support we need. I've looked into 16mm, but the logistics are a nightmare.

 

The Red Epic is a great camera for many people and usually I can go to a movie and not be too distracted by it. But good grief it sucks being told you can't shoot a movie without it.

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If film is better than video, then why did they use video, in 1969, to broadcast the Lunar Landing?

 

C

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Because it was a live transmission !

 

But if film is better than video, then why did they not use film for the live transmission?

Edited by Carl Looper

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I assume you are being funny. Otherwise, explain how you'd get the film back from the moon, process it, and telecine it to video, and do this "live" while the event was happening.

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