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Edward Butt

Will digital ever be as good as film

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I'm surprised that this conversation continues to exist.

 

With respect to Mr Mullen (with whom I am a big fan), we are at a point where we have more tools to work with, more options as a Cinematographer and even more so, the ability to control our image as best we want and can. I even make sure that I'm involved in the post DI to maintain the image's integrity.

 

If you want your image to look akin to "film", you're more than likely speaking on the color, roll off and grain. That's really about it at this point. They both have advantages and disadvantages and it's your duty as an artist and as a technician to not only understand this, but to manipulate it. Not compare by downplaying the tools. What's with this Sega vs Nintendo argument, guys?

 

The brushes continue to be there, whether you like them or not.

Either you paint on the canvas or simply move along while another talented, hard worker will instead.

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I think certain digital systems are already highly competitive with film, certainly to the point that the convenience of digital and the ability to reassign funds elsewhere would be persuasive to me, given all the choice in the world. Alexa in particular looks very nice.

 

P

 

in my opinion only the sony F65 currently is capaple to be a serious competitor with film. but i am actually tired of this endless discussions so i not having further comments on this haha. film is film, digital is digital. who cares. filmdirector X prefers to work digital and film director Y wants to work with film. so it is..amen :-)

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film is film, digital is digital. who cares. filmdirector X prefers to work digital and film director Y wants to work with film. so it is..amen :-)

 

Agreed, these film vs digital threads have thankfully become more scarce, but still somewhat irritating to see them go through the same circle of reasoning.

 

Though sometimes some interesting non-image specific aspects get covered, like the size/weight differences. Digital cameras can get smaller and smaller, but film mags have to pretty much stay the same. Though advances in support equipment help to equalize the balance, an easyrig would help tremendously with handholding a large camera. just be sure to exercise that lower back!

 

But to beat the horse skeleton with my own stick... film has a great look, projects with the appropriate resources have the choice to use it or not, digital has for years been chasing that film look, and while it can certainly be argued that it's still 'missing something' or otherwise isn't identical to film, it's still in my opinion at least reached the 80/20 mark, and thus can and has been used by productions of all levels to produce images that 99% of audience members are dazzled by.

 

a few years back i went to see "crank 2", not really because i cared about the story, i was more curious about the image, since i read that they used i believe the XA-A1 and a bunch of HV20 cameras to shoot the whole thing. and i wanted to see the end result. Now, i'm obviously more sensitive to edits and images than the average audience member(as are we all who shoot and/or edit) but still, despite me picking out some pretty bad looking shots, in some ways they added to the grit of the story and ya know what? not one person stood up in the theater and shouted: "this movie looks like it was shot on my cell phone!" and walked out. The point of course being, story trumps camera, every time. handycam brilliance trumps imax guttertrash.

 

And thats the kicker, crank 2 was absolutely hilarious, i didn't expect to like it, but i and my colleagues enjoyed it probably more than we should have.

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Most DP's including me shoot music videos and short films with Digital Cameras. I personally think Digital cameras will produce that cinema image but cinematographers will still choose cinema cameras over digital.

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in my opinion only the sony F65 currently is capaple to be a serious competitor with film. but i am actually tired of this endless discussions so i not having further comments on this haha. film is film, digital is digital. who cares. filmdirector X prefers to work digital and film director Y wants to work with film. so it is..amen :-)

If only it had a 4:3 sensor and a higher dynamic range...

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uuhm..may i kindly ask what you mean by that? im confused

 

presumably because Reuel prefers shooting anamorphic.

 

Though the higher DR part i don't see reason for. 14 stops is on par with film

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If only it had a 4:3 sensor and a higher dynamic range...

 

 

 

uuhm..may i kindly ask what you mean by that? im confused

 

I think that Reuel's enthusiasm for cinema and film-making occasionally leads him to speak outside of his experience, and offer opinions about cameras he has not yet used.

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in my opinion only the sony F65 currently is capaple to be a serious competitor with film

I'm intrigued by what makes you say that Randy. From the F65 footage I've seen projected and up close, I'd argue it's the least comparable image to film of all the current high-end Digital Cinema cameras. To my eyes it has a clarity and grainlessness that seems more separate from film than the alternatives.

 

What aspects make it closer in your eyes?

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The brushes continue to be there, whether you like them or not.

Either you paint on the canvas or simply move along while another talented, hard worker will instead.

 

The brushes are still there but the canvas is now almost all but gone.

Television technology is the future now and the old cinema is almost over. It's pretty much a done deal at this point.

 

I suspect that in the future the brushes will get whittled down too because video cameras are well suited for display on video formats and fit well in that paradigm.

 

The future is video.

 

Freya

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I'm intrigued by what makes you say that Randy. From the F65 footage I've seen projected and up close, I'd argue it's the least comparable image to film of all the current high-end Digital Cinema cameras. To my eyes it has a clarity and grainlessness that seems more separate from film than the alternatives.

 

What aspects make it closer in your eyes?

 

He only suggested it was capable of being a serious competitor with film, not that it shares many qualities. As David Mullen was suggesting earlier in the thread, video has its own qualities and way of viewing the world and it's unlikely that in the future the focus will be on replicating the qualities of film, for one thing because those qualities will become forgotten about largely.

 

Freya

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film is still so much more beautiful..i think shoot with both so you can keep both film and digital competing and evolving…still large Hollywood films are shooting on film because film excels at special effects..like STAR WARS…and if you have a controlled shooting ratio..film is cheaper...

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film is still so much more beautiful..i think shoot with both so you can keep both film and digital competing and evolving…still large Hollywood films are shooting on film because film excels at special effects..like STAR WARS…and if you have a controlled shooting ratio..film is cheaper...

 

You couldn't have picked a worse example, the majority of the star wars prequels were shot on the f900

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Not sure how he would have a point necessarily. How would shooting on film be beneficial special effects wise? Especially considering the amount of clean up needed from celluloid scanning for proper compositing.

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It wouldn't.

 

prime example: near the end of LOTR return of the king, the big crane in of the people bowing to the hobbits. the keying on that shot looks terrible to me.

 

Though of course it could have had to do with plenty of things other than the camera, ya know, the other important things that get overlooked when camera talk takes over ;)

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prime example: near the end of LOTR return of the king, the big crane in of the people bowing to the hobbits. the keying on that shot looks terrible to me.

 

 

 

As opposed to the Hobbit that just looks terrible all the way through! ;)

 

Freya

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HA, nice jab!

 

I assume you're talking the 48fps, which i have yet to even try to look at.

 

LOTR is certainly a good sample, since you've got the same team, same design, same lots of things, just different camera/acquisition.

 

While im really not a fan of the direction they took the hobbit in, i did like the dragon design/execution quite a lot.

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HA, nice jab!

 

I assume you're talking the 48fps, which i have yet to even try to look at.

 

Nah! I just meant the whole thing from beginning to end really! :)

Shambles.

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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Not sure how he would have a point necessarily. How would shooting on film be beneficial special effects wise? Especially considering the amount of clean up needed from celluloid scanning for proper compositing.

 

I meant that the special effects from the original trilogy, which was shot on film, look far more convincing that any of the special effects from the prequel trilogy, shot on digital.

 

I did not mean to say that film is better for special effects driven movies. But there are certainly examples of series of films where the instalments shot on film look far superior to their digital counterparts.

 

Like Star Wars, which had prequels looking like TV cartoons all the way through. Or yes, like the Hobbit, which suffers from the exact same thing, while LOTR looked beautiful (of course, there are always exceptions, and it would be easy to point to a particular shot in the LOTR trilogy that looked crap, such as the bowing crowd moment mentioned above. However, taking the whole movies into consideration, the film instalments looked far more real than the digital ones).

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