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Question for the experts !!


Yahya Nael
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Hi, I'm new here and this is my first topic in this website.

I came here from google search engine by a chance, but I'm so glad to find this great website.


I'm a photographer and I'm using Nikon gear for my business.



anyways, I was searching for filmmaking and cameras that used in Hollywood movies, but I got confused about their prices !!!


please can any one explain to me why to pay 10000$ by week to rent Arri Arricam or Panavision cameras when I can buy Sony 7S with 5 great prime lenses and all filmmaking accessories in that amount of money ??


ok I know they have more options but all of them use 35mm sensor !! and the 7S have the best low light capability out there !!


also, there is a lot of pro 4k cameras from Sony or Panasonic and others with reasonable prices !!


can anyone please explain ? :huh:


thanks very much

Edited by Yahya Nael
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5D mark2 has the same sensor size than Vistavision camera but the overall image quality is maybe 1/20th or less compared to Vistavision...

 

a dslr is not suitable as a main camera for medium/high budget use and trying to use it for that purpose can easily cost more than renting a better camera with proper cine lenses, for example Alexa or Amira.

even nowadays when "good enough" is enough for some producers they definitely care if a camera trashes lots of takes, is difficult to maintain and unreliable and maybe also needs more lighting gear and crew to handle the additional gear (very expensive!)

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for low budget and one man band use a dslr may be a very viable option and much better choice than for example arricam system. with small and lightweight camera you can capture moments which would be lost if you had to have big crew and one or two vans full of equipment with you all the time. in big movies they can mix formats if a shots can be better archived with dslr but that is usually just a couple of single shots here and there, the shots which could have been very difficult or impossible to get with a cine camera

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... when I can buy Sony 7S with 5 great prime lenses and all filmmaking accessories.... in that amount of money ??

thanks very much

 

You cannot buy 5 great prime lenses for $10,000. In fact you can't even buy one lens for that amount . Take a look at this price sheet to get an idea of what real cine lenses actually cost.

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Out a 35-mm. film camera you have a negative, developed in chemicals, dried, wound on a core, there in a can. It can be duplicated, copied, cut, destroyed of course but that takes a deliberate action.

 

From the video camera you have abstract data, stored on punch cards or punched tape or floppy discs or hard disc or DVD or USB flash drive or, to round it off, some microform. Some of these storage media are sensitive to magnetic fields and pulses, some are not. They become obsolete. You don’t see a picture when you look at them.

 

Film is plutonic, electronics are uranic. Different paradigms. Me, I’m the film type. You have to pay me real money for work on a movie film camera. In fact, I’ve just finished work on a 1965 Paillard-Bolex H-16 S. Gave the claw a grind so that it won’t slip off the perforation any more with the thinner Gigabitfilm 40.

 

post-35633-0-20878500-1424625552_thumb.jpg

 

That camera is not exactly what is used in Hollywood but it does its duty.

All in all, you can’t compare video cameras to film cameras. It’s not even apples and oranges but apples and cherries. Or coconuts

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Hi, I'm new here and this is my first topic in this website.
I came here from google search engine by a chance, but I'm so glad to find this great website.
I'm a photographer and I'm using Nikon gear for my business.
anyways, I was searching for filmmaking and cameras that used in Hollywood movies, but I got confused about their prices !!!
please can any one explain to me why to pay 10000$ by week to rent Arri Arricam or Panavision cameras when I can buy Sony 7S with 5 great prime lenses and all filmmaking accessories in that amount of money ??
ok I know they have more options but all of them use 35mm sensor !! and the 7S have the best low light capability out there !!
also, there is a lot of pro 4k cameras from Sony or Panasonic and others with reasonable prices !!
can anyone please explain ? :huh:
thanks very much

 

 

The several responses are in regard to Film film capture vs. Digital film capture.

 

There are some who place an almost spiritual belief in silver crystals on a strip of acetate.

 

There is however differences between the low end digital capture devices such as the Sonys you mention and the the higher end digital capture systems, which are now being used in many major motion pictures.

 

From my view the biggest issue with using low end equipment is that most users do not consider what is a 'film look' beyond the capture device. I think lighting, set design, and acting tend to contribute more to the evaluation of 'filmic' look, than the capture device.

 

For someone worrying about $10K vs buying one's equipment for the same price, that Digital is the only reasonable option.

 

For a film budget of millions, Film vs Digital capture becomes a negligible difference even now as motion picture film stocks production is declining...

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The original post is an opinion disguised as a question. It's very hard to "answer" such a question because the asker is challenging everyone to prove his already-provided answer wrong.

 

35mm movie cameras have been historically expensive to build and to buy (and thus rent) because they do not benefit from economies of scale. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that more Sony A7S's were sold within the year than all the Arricams or Panaflexes ever built over decades. Movie cameras are more or less examples of hand-crafted precision machinery built for a relatively small professional market.

 

But the question really isn't about why 35mm movie equipment is expensive, the real question in the original post is why doesn't everyone just shoot movies on (relatively) cheap 4K digital still cameras like the Sony A7S, presumably because the original poster plans on doing just that.

 

By the way, professional digital cameras like the Alexa are not cheap to rent either...

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There are some who place an almost spiritual belief in silver crystals on a strip of acetate.

 

 

These little jibes come up because the significance of the comparison (film vs digital) is not deeply understood, on either a scientific or an intuitive or spiritual level. One is comparing an original impression with a simulation of such. How can one express it more brutally than that? And yet, I'm sure the determinedly confused will remain so. They are after all in the majority.

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But the question really isn't about why 35mm movie equipment is expensive, the real question in the original post is why doesn't everyone just shoot movies on (relatively) cheap 4K digital still cameras like the Sony A7S, presumably because the original poster plans on doing just that.

 

For what my opinion's worth, I consider that it's entirely possible to shoot a high-budget, international-theatrical-release type motion picture on something like an A7S, or consider something like the Blackmagic 4K if you can't stand the shutter. Given the otherwise usual high levels of crew, support equipment I suspect nobody would have the slightest idea.

 

But of course at that point the cost of an Alexa body for a few weeks is largely irrelevant. The point here, though, is that camera equipment is no longer the barrier to quality.

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I actually agree with you, the issue isn't image quality any more, not in rough broad strokes level, it's more in the day-to-day functionality and reliability in terms of doing all of the types of typical set-ups done for movies without overheating during long takes, etc. Movie shoots are pretty rough on equipment. But it's certainly possible to shoot a major movie on those little cameras if you take the time to make them work for you.

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But as for the issue of why shoot on 35mm film, assuming that it's even a possibility, it's because it looks like 35mm film, because that's what it is -- for some people, that's special enough to be worth the effort, but that's a taste issue. Some people are just going to take the attitude that they can't see the difference or don't understand the appeal of film. If your criteria for the image is just that it be sharp and sensitive in low-light, not that it has to look like film stock was used, then you are going to be happier with a digital camera.

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The Sony A7S sensor is about 36 x 24 mm. This corresponds to the 35 mm still format. It is much larger than the classical 35 mm cine format of 18 x 24 mm. Assuming you use the whole width of these formats, the lenses used on the A7S must have 1.5× the focal lengths of lenses used on the cine camera to make comparable pictures.

The larger image size gives the Sony an optical imaging advantage over a 35 mm cine format. Look at the performance data for the best cine primes. In particular, look at their MTF values at 40 c/mm. Compare the MTF values at 27 c/mm for high quality still lenses having 1.5× the focal length. You can expect lenses with 1.5× the focal length to put more total image information onto the 36 mm wide format than onto the 24 mm wide format. (The quick explanation is that while aberrations scale with focal length, diffraction doesn't.)

Note the word "onto" in the previous paragraph. The Sony A7S sensor is 4240 x 2832 pixels across is not enough to reap the full optical advantage. Realize that it has a Bayer (or similar) pattern, so the pixel count is not for full-color pixels as in a 3-chip camera. The quality of 4K (or QFHD) that can be gotten out of the Sony A7S depends very much on what Sony's ARW 2.3 RAW is. One would like to get values for every pixel in the sensor, to the full bit-depth of the sensor, uncompressed. Can you get better than 8-bit data out of the Sony A7S? With color film one gets the full information from the three emulsions. No Bionz X processor!

Like everyone in here, I've struggled to identify the key difference between digital video and film. I don't think it is in the color or tonality which often define the "film look". Provided the video camera's R,G,B spectral sensitivities are like a camera film's, video can closely match the output colors of film prints made from that camera film. Provided the video camera's dynamic range is decent video can closely match the film's tonality. One film scholar described the difference as "it's the light". That film scholar had studied physics! What did he mean? I doubt he meant that film projectors project each frame twice with the off time about equal to the on time. This means there's a little bit of residual flicker in the light (and also a slightly modified Phi-Phenomenon) in cinema. This an be simulated with 96 Hz projection. All films jiggle a little and many show small processing flaws.

This leaves grain vs. pixelation as the key difference between digital video and film. It must be. Random grain is an eyeful. It makes every color look different, especially black. It uses mental energy. It makes motion look different, makes time flow differently. This helps explain the aesthetic differences between 8 mm, 16 mm and 35 mm cinema which have greatly differing graininess. Image sharpness is affected by the frame-to-frame grain. Whoever has made a still picture from a film frame knows that it looks much less sharp than the movie looks when running. Publicity stills from movies are seldom taken from the movies. I once did an experiment with making the video camera's pixel array move randomly from frame-to-frame You can download the experiment's results here, but I suggest first downloading the readme here. The jumping pixels changed the expression on the character's face.

The rectilinear arrangement of pixels is simply anti-pictorial. People endured the lines in analog TV, but row & column digital is twice as perverse. It's beyond obvious "aliasing". It doesn't quite go away even with millions of pixels trying to swamp it. The digital image processing algorithms are double one-dimensional instead of honest two-dimensional, so they exaggerate the problem.

Most paintings are on canvas, and many painters of finely detailed work have chosen fairly coarse canvas for it. Canvas, woven with its warp and woof superficially resembling the pixel array, is the ground of the painted picture. The analogy with video fails, because moving images look ridiculous on a static ground. Project a movie or video on a rough wall to see this. The random grain of film that functions as a dynamic ground for cinema, taking the canvas's role.

 

You can fake grain and have a dynamic ground for video, but why not face the challenge of video as it is? Painters on canvas also painted on panels. The gessoed panel had essentially no grain. Real artists enjoy leaving the track.

Edited by Dennis Couzin
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The difference between one frame and another, in film, (even when transferred to digital) provokes a certain dynamic capacity that video/digital can't help but fail to capture..

 

The addition of grain to video/digital can't increase the quality of the original digital signal, but it can help to maintain attributes of the original digital signal if and when it's transferred to a lower bandwidth domain. The grain in film works in the same way. It helps to maintain the original signal (encoded in light) when transferred to a lower bandwidth domain, such as film, or video/digital.

 

This is why you can't get a film 'look' by adding grain to video/digital. But you can get a film 'look' by adding grain to the original light. That is what film does. It dithers the light, and, intentionally or otherwise, enables the signal to better transfer it's power through downstream systems.

 

There is a quasi-spiritual side to this, but it doesn't require faith, as it's quite evident to the eyes, and has a technical corollary. That said, a preference for film would require a preference for this otherwise evident attribute of film. In the absence of such a preference, or in the presence of alternative preferences, other options become, obviously, equally valid.

 

C

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For what my opinion's worth, I consider that it's entirely possible to shoot a high-budget, international-theatrical-release type motion picture on something like an A7S, or consider something like the Blackmagic 4K if you can't stand the shutter. Given the otherwise usual high levels of crew, support equipment I suspect nobody would have the slightest idea.

 

Sure, it's been done before. Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later' was mostly shot on Canon XL1s by Anthony Dod Mantle.

'Crank: High Voltage' was shot by Brandon Trost on Canon XH-A1s among other small consumer cameras. Most of 'Act of Valor' was shot on Canon 5D MkII's by Shane Hurlbut. But in these cases, the production value is created not by the cameras but by what is in front of the lens. Actors, sets and locations, props, costumes, stunts, lighting, etc. The look created by using a specific camera is only small part of what makes a movie look like a professional production and not like a student film.

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Film is plutonic, electronics are uranic. Different paradigms. Me, I’m the film type. You have to pay me real money for work on a movie film camera. In fact, I’ve just finished work on a 1965 Paillard-Bolex H-16 S. Gave the claw a grind so that it won’t slip off the perforation any more with the thinner Gigabitfilm 40.

 

Wow, I hadn't heard of Gigabitfilm. Their datasheet describes a very special film from a very special company. There is one detail that might trouble cine users.

 

 

Density: Attention, Gigabitfilm negatives will appear to be much thinner / softer than usual negatives (-1 gradation) on the light desk, but in your enlarger the correct grade will appear. The reason is the asymmetric Callier-Effect (high quotient for low b/w densities, normal quotient for high densities), the film-speed can use ful thanks this effect. [sic] For exact density measurement only ||S||-measuring geometry (Microdensitometer) is suitable.

 

I think they wrote the explanation backwards. It is the Callier quotient in the high densities that needs to be high to significantly raise the printing gamma. Also it's surprising that such a fine grain film can have a high Callier quotient. But, whatever the explanation, the negatives appearing very thin on the light table means they will print with too low contrast in a contact printer. So cine film, which is generally contact printed, shouldn't be processed per Gigabitfilm's instructions. Then, since their developer is special, how will it function for pushing? What tonality will it yield? Cine usage wants diffuse density measurement, not specular. It would be nice if Gigabitfilm provided a diffuse density characteristic curve, but they think they know better. Their passion about film -- uranic, Simon? -- is unlike anyone's passion about video.

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Hi Dennis,

 

the doc link on the jumpy pixels experiment is a "readme" that refers to a PDF:

"jumpyreport.pdf describes the experiment in some detail. Please read the first page of the report before running the experiment."

 

Is the PDF report available. Very much interested in having a read. Currently downloading the experiment.

 

C

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The look created by using a specific camera is only small part of what makes a movie look like a professional production and not like a student film.

 

Well, exactly, and I think that's what people overlook. Much as it's possible to shoot a blockbuster on a DSLR if you keep all else constant, it's not possible to turn a student film into a blockbuster by renting an F65.

 

P

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There's far more to appreciate in the world of film making than blockbusters on the one hand, and student films on the other.

 

This entrenched dichotomy is the death of cinema.

 

.A great work can be made on anything. And with anything.

 

The same can also be said for the creation of a complete load of rubbish.

 

Whether your budget is tight, or otherwise, don't fake a work. Make a work.

 

C

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Hi Dennis,

 

the doc link on the jumpy pixels experiment is a "readme" that refers to a PDF:

"jumpyreport.pdf describes the experiment in some detail. Please read the first page of the report before running the experiment."

 

Is the PDF report available. Very much interested in having a read. Currently downloading the experiment.

 

C

 

Hi Carl,

The PDF is included in the big ZIP file. The readme just warns that the experiment requires a monitor having at least 2000×1500 pixels and a system with Quicktime able to display a 1800 Mb/s video stream.

I worked in Apple codec "None" to make the experiment's videos with full control, but I was silly to release them in that codec. I didn't understand, or trust, other codecs back in 2009.

 

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But as for the issue of why shoot on 35mm film, assuming that it's even a possibility, it's because it looks like 35mm film, because that's what it is -- for some people, that's special enough to be worth the effort, but that's a taste issue. Some people are just going to take the attitude that they can't see the difference or don't understand the appeal of film. If your criteria for the image is just that it be sharp and sensitive in low-light, not that it has to look like film stock was used, then you are going to be happier with a digital camera.

 

My personal example of an analogous situation is in regard to music. When I was young, the only recordings of 'great music' I had available was a collection of 78 records my mother had acquired at some point. When played they were pretty scratchy, and the player's speaker was pretty crappy. (cue sappy sad violin music...)

 

I am loathed to 'agree' that some how my 'spiritual appreciation' of the music that those records allowed me, was reduced because I could not afford the then vogue system of "HiFi"... To be sure I could 'hear' the difference, but given my circumstances, 'better' play back was not available.

 

Fast forward, to the advent of CDs... for me the fact that this format provided inexpensive, and to me 'high quality' playback for any amount of music, is far 'superior' in getting 'spiritual responses' from the listener, than whether or not 'tube' amps playing back 'vinyl' records, have some 2nd/3rd order effects that gives a 'warm' tone...

 

I could go on to printed versions of major art works. If people have to be in front of the actual work, to obtain the 'spiritual meaning' of the work, then that limits the number of such people to a reserved few.

 

Are there differences between scratchy crappy 78's and any of 'HiFi', 'Stereophonic', analog or digital... of course, can 'I' hear the differences... of course... but are those differences so significant that I would claim 'artistry' can not be communicated via one or the other pathway... never.

 

The 'artistry', the 'spirituality' is purely in the mind of the beholder, and not in the 'media' of presentation.

 

There are of course some 'artifacts' that are due to how the media 'records' real life, which if not dealt with in some sort of craft way, does not optimize the viewer's experience... and I think digital, especially in the high end, has overcome those types of problems for the most part, and many options in the low end, such artifacts can be minimized.

 

There were similar developments in Film film cameras, going from hand cranked capture and projection, to motorized, to sync sound, etc. There are some who believed in the period that 'sound' was the death of cinema... but obviously that was not the case.

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