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Max Field

Could Digital Kill Film?

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Obviously I'm talking about DI, scanning in particular, regarding your "the moment you make film digital" comment. DI actually only helps in creating a smooth, painterly image many of us associate with traditional cinematography, thanks to very precise contrast control in grading software.

Digital projection indeed sucks, but less than digital capture.

What!!!!!! D.I kills the all film elements,destroy grain.texture,deepness make the colors artificial after the D.I revolution movies already start to looking digital before digital cameras...

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What!!!!!! D.I kills the all film elements,destroy grain.texture,deepness make the colors artificial after the D.I revolution movies already start to looking digital before digital cameras...

 

That's a very big generalization. It really depends on who is doing the DI and how. For decades film was telecined for television, adjusted for colors, and it didn't look like videotape, because that wasn't the goal. Film going into DI only looks like "digital" if the supervisor either doesn't know any better (like if they grew up watching mostly digital) or wants/likes that look to begin with.

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What!!!!!! D.I kills the all film elements,destroy grain.texture,deepness make the colors artificial after the D.I revolution movies already start to looking digital before digital cameras...

Digital projection is way more damaging to texture than a high-resolution scan (3K+ with sharp optics), and since how much - 99,9% I'd guess - of projection is digital, grain structure will be a bit blurred anyway. And prints weren't as sharp as original neg either.

What appears as "deepness" is likely how tonalities are distributed and how colors saturate depending on lightness. Arriscan's color science seems precise enough to preserve it all - and in scans I can see all the subtle color contrasts that only modern negative can reproduce.

Edited by Michael Rodin

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Back when digital vfx was the new big thing, one of the major
marketing points for the process was its superior integration
into the film workflow versus traditional optical effects.
First-generation quality was assured all the way through
to final delivery. You originated on film, scanned it,
added the digital stuff, then you output to film at the
gloriously high resolution of 2K! Everybody was aiming
for a film finish (no such thing as DCP yet) and companies
like Kodak were constantly beating the drum that the digital
pipeline preserved all of film's outstanding qualities.

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That's a very big generalization. It really depends on who is doing the DI and how. For decades film was telecined for television, adjusted for colors, and it didn't look like videotape, because that wasn't the goal. Film going into DI only looks like "digital" if the supervisor either doesn't know any better (like if they grew up watching mostly digital) or wants/likes that look to begin with.

Well, DI has been around for a long time, since the early 2000's. So many cinematographers have gotten use to the idea of cleaning up everything in post. Where this idea does make sense, it also makes the finished product look more digital. So it's a catch 22... either you do a photochemical finish which can make it more difficult to shoot on set, or you spend a lot of money in post to make everything "pop".

 

Since we all agree that film projection is dead and some agree that making film look like film using a digital source is kind silly... to me I don't try anymore. When I shoot on film, I scan and release digitally because I have no choice. However, when I shoot film, I'm overly cautious and protect the blacks in a way I generally don't with digital. Thus, the amount of work it takes in the coloring suite to make it look acceptable is very limited. That's me though and I enjoy making the negative look properly, even if I'm not doing a photochemical finish.

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That's a very big generalization. It really depends on who is doing the DI and how. For decades film was telecined for television, adjusted for colors, and it didn't look like videotape, because that wasn't the goal. Film going into DI only looks like "digital" if the supervisor either doesn't know any better (like if they grew up watching mostly digital) or wants/likes that look to begin with.

 

Early days of D.I i feel the samething, that wasn't so bad, music videos,tv shows looks so filmic but every passing year movies come out from D.I start to look more digital..

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What!!!!!! D.I kills the all film elements,destroy grain.texture,deepness make the colors artificial after the D.I revolution movies already start to looking digital before digital cameras...

If you've only ever seen a film originated movie in a digital form such as DVD, Blu-Ray, or broadcast, and never seen it as a projected print, how can you say what has been lost and what hasn't? You have no basis for comparison.

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Stuart let's break this down...

 

Well Danny Boyle famously called up Anthony Dod Mantle and said, I want to do something digtally, and that was 28 days later, a perfectly fine digital movie where the material marries to the story. But I basically agree with what you are saying about the top and the bottom, and the rest just simply trying to make a living in the middle and I have zero issues with that.

 

Then we perhaps can agree to disagree because we seem to have completely different points of view here.

 

What you call "not some esoteric notions of whether the medium dictates the quality of the finished piece."

 

I call, the quality of the frame. And once again since the frame is the movie, you can't separate the story from the frame, you will have a radio play.

 

So from my point of view there is no question that the frame affects the movie, and since the capture medium affects the frame it also has to affect the movie since they are one and the same. there is no way around it.

 

But maybe we aren't arguing, that the, capture medium affects the film, but how much it affects the film? That of course is completely open to interpretation.

 

And as you can see in my statement above, it's not about celluloid, I'm praising a film shot on a measly Canon XL-1S. And If you want some Alexa praise Skyfall probably has the best Bond opening of all time. I'll throw in some comedy for you as well the first 25-30 min of Don't mess with the Zohan when John Turturro drops a piranha in his pants is pure comedy gold, or Easy A, a rarely spoken about comedy with Emma Stone and a great performance by Amanda Bynes, both these films where shot on the Genesis.

 

Again it doesn't matter if it's Alexa or Kodak but it has to be a "correct frame."

 

And even if you think that sounds pretentious, that's what film is for me, one correct frame after another, in the correct rhythm, in time, do that for about 1600-1800 frames and you have a movie, and that's all it is.

Edited by Alex Lindblom

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Well Danny Boyle famously called up Anthony Dod Mantle and said, I want to do something digtally, and that was 28 days later, a perfectly fine digital movie where the material marries to the story. But I basically agree with what you are saying about the top and the bottom, and the rest just simply trying to make a living in the middle and I have zero issues with that.

 

As I remember, the decision to shoot digitally with the XL1 was in large part informed by the need for lots of cameras to shoot the deserted London scenes. Also, I think Danny Boyle was interested in shooting digitally because of the freedom it gave him, not because he thought that digital looked as good as film, which it certainly didn't in those days. The end sequence was shot on 35mm. Would it have been a better movie if it had all been 35mm? Who knows? And really, who cares?

 

I don't think anyone is denying that film and digital have different aesthetics (although the differences are harder and harder to spot these days), what I am taking issue with is the notion that there is a 'right' and 'wrong' format, and that, as asserted elsewhere in this thread, a movie cannot be good if shot digitally.

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If you've only ever seen a film originated movie in a digital form such as DVD, Blu-Ray, or broadcast, and never seen it as a projected print, how can you say what has been lost and what hasn't? You have no basis for comparison.

 

What do you mean? If ı'm going to say something about movies look, i only need to watch in the theater. The things i said about D.I you can also see the difference and changes from blu-ray my basis is blu-rays. I saw many print but that was years ago so i can't exactly remember how it looks from print.

I will open the topic about this subject, i hope i can describe myself there.

 

About ''a movie cannot be good if shot digitally.'' the thing what i insist on, a movie can be good shot on digitally but i can't say same thing for cinematography. For example ''birdman'' is good movie i give the 8.3 points but if the movie has some classic film look (not mean 50s generally 90s) i could give 9.3 points, e.g if ''birdman'' kinda looks like ''jackie brown'' ıt would not be bad...

 

My main problem not film or digital, digital has different own look which how much is true called 'digital' we have to say 'alexa' i guess anyway in these days even if you shot on film movies still looks close to digital and for me every passing year movies looking much more worse, i feel like cinematographically cinema is getting weaker, none of the new movies amazed or excite me anymore cinematographically ..

Edited by fatih yıkar

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What do you mean? If ı'm going to say something about movies look, i only need to watch in the theater.

You said that a D.I 'kills all the film elements'. Now that film projection is all but gone, the term D.I is somewhat redundant, but the process by which film is digitized is still in use. If you watch a film originated movie on TV, DVD, VOD, or in 99.9% of theaters, you are watching a digital representation of the film original. For you to say that all the film elements have been removed by the digital process, when you have no idea how that movie would have looked when photochemically finished means that you are not offering an objective evaluation, but rather just imagining how you think it might have looked, had they struck prints, and you'd seen it projected. An imagining which is subject to preconceptions and prejudices. I think it also betrays a lack of understanding of what the film scan/digital color process involves.

 

You are arguing two contradictory points. On one hand you are saying scanning a film removes all the 'filmic' elements from it, and makes it look like digital, yet on the other, you are saying that film is far superior to digital, and offer as proof a whole bunch of movies that you've only ever seen digitally projected.

 

 

 

a movie can be good shot on digitally but i can't say same thing for cinematography.

Cinematography is a skill, and an art that is practised by a person. It's not confined to a narrow perception of format.

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You are arguing two contradictory points. On one hand you are saying scanning a film removes all the 'filmic' elements from it, and makes it look like digital, yet on the other, you are saying that film is far superior to digital, and offer as proof a whole bunch of movies that you've only ever seen digitally projected.

 

 

I'm not saying ''''scanning film removes all the 'filmic' elements, all the film elements have been removed by the digital process''''''

when i said ''D.I'' i refer to digital grading, digital grading removes filmic elements. Yes watching movies from blu-ray is digital representation but for me movies shot on film,photochemically finish,scanning for blu-ray(without digital adjustment) still have filmic elements.In this way i can make judment and compare movies...

Thanks to blu-rays i can say so many old movies looking much better than nowadays movies, otherwise how can i make an assessment, there is no way watching old movies from print..

Edited by fatih yıkar

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digital grading removes filmic elements.

Digital grading is a process, which can involve nothing more than the basic scanning of film. If 'filmic' elements are removed, it's as a result of a creative decision by filmmakers, not by the process itself.

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Digital grading is a process, which can involve nothing more than the basic scanning of film. If 'filmic' elements are removed, it's as a result of a creative decision by filmmakers, not by the process itself.

:) I mean Digital Color grading process ıt's not just basic scan, i like the color of photochemical finish somehow. If you make the colors in digitally i don't think decision is important anymore because process itself can't give the same results that photochemical gives, as for as i know

Edited by fatih yıkar

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:) I mean Digital Color grading not just scan, i like the color of photochemical finish somehow. If you make the colors in digitally i don't think decision is important anymore because process itself can't give the same results that photochemical gives, as for as i know

It's entirely possible to color grade scanned film in a digital environment by using nothing more than 'digital printer lights' and forego any kind of secondary color correction. It's also possible to closely replicate the contrast curve of print film. The fact that these things are not done on many modern movies is as a result of a decisions made by the film-makers. It is not an unavoidable result of digital grading.

 

Maybe the things you are missing are gate weave, scratches and dust. All things that most cinema-goers would hate.

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It's entirely possible to color grade scanned film in a digital environment by using nothing more than 'digital printer lights' and forego any kind of secondary color correction. It's also possible to closely replicate the contrast curve of print film. The fact that these things are not done on many modern movies is as a result of a decisions made by the film-makers. It is not an unavoidable result of digital grading.

 

Maybe the things you are missing are gate weave, scratches and dust. All things that most cinema-goers would hate.

 

This is the thing we can't agree on. I don't think photochemical finish is just about three lights.The things i notice photochemical process adding the picture more texture,more intense looking,depness, natural colors, like ıt's buries the image inside the frame, making it image more balanced,more fluffy, does not destroy the grain but I can't see these things so much nowadays photochemically movies but movies done between 2000 - 2008 really has difference... I can only blame modern film stock and shooting style...

 

Yes movie can go digital environment and just using rgb,replicate the contrast, image maybe look like photochemical finish but i never saw a picture like that and if the these things are not done on modern movies, in my opinion film-makers making wrong decisions in that case.If the digital grading has this potential but no one use, just having possibility does not mean it exists..

I don't miss the gate weave, scratches and dust but this things can be look good on some movie genres.

 

Digital cameras or grading can't even make the colors as beautiful as technicolor 3-strip does which is years ago, so what's the point of all the technology we have after we can't reach the level of beauty that people have 50 years ago...

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The things i notice photochemical process adding the picture more texture,more intense looking,depness, natural colors, like ıt's buries the image inside the frame, making it image more balanced,more fluffy, does not destroy the grain but I can't see these things so much nowadays photochemically movies but movies done between 2000 - 2008 really has difference... I can only blame modern film stock and shooting style...

What you're seeing is the gradual degrading of the original negative image via the IP/IN/Print process. This results in a loss of resolution, and some softness. Some movies would suffer further loss through optical, rather than contact printing. Maybe that is what you like in an image.

 

I can see that we are not going to agree on the subject of film and digital, and there's no reason why we should. All art is a subjective experience, after all. However, I do strongly refute the idea that there is no good digital cinematography. To say so is an insult to the vast majority of cinematographers who work digitally every day, and who create beautiful images, every day.

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RGB offsets in DI are equivlalent to printer lights, except they're linear and the H&D of a print stock isn't. Add a soft knee in highlights and shadows and you've got a pretty close approximation of photochemical timing.

 

How grading works (on the technical side - (non)linearity and things like that) can't really make or break an image.

What really does matter is color contrasts - super important in color cinematography, #2 thing after lighting. And primary grading, unless extreme, doesn't affect them anyway. BTW, to me it seems the very thing that makes color negative superior to video - the handling of subtle color contrasts.

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What you're seeing is the gradual degrading of the original negative image via the IP/IN/Print process. This results in a loss of resolution, and some softness. Some movies would suffer further loss through optical, rather than contact printing. Maybe that is what you like in an image.

 

I can see that we are not going to agree on the subject of film and digital, and there's no reason why we should. All art is a subjective experience, after all. However, I do strongly refute the idea that there is no good digital cinematography. To say so is an insult to the vast majority of cinematographers who work digitally every day, and who create beautiful images, every day.

 

As you remember i opened a topic 6 months ago and i share some screenshot, make a comparison...I generally give an example from comedy and horror movies because they make sequels a lot but these pictures really showing what i meant about digital grading and showing what i like.As you seen sequels have digital grading and looking so different from first movies.

For me this look is briefly not cinematic and things i said about colors,depness,texture etc..i can't see that features in digital grading movies but this is just my personal thought, everybody has different taste...

post-69480-0-22092000-1510334765_thumb.jpg post-69480-0-15924800-1510355169_thumb.jpg

Edited by fatih yıkar

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It's a bit odd to compare pre and post digital timing of movies shot on film from frame grabs from a digital transfer, which means that the "pre digital" example was also scanned and color-corrected digitally.

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It's a bit odd to compare pre and post digital timing of movies shot on film from frame grabs from a digital transfer, which means that the "pre digital" example was also scanned and color-corrected digitally.

This is what I've been saying. There's simply no way of knowing what 'filmic' elements have been lost, if at all.

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The look of movies change decade by decade, ever since the dawn of movies. Some reasons are technical, some are stylistic, but the basic truth is that time marches on and things change. There is no doubt that 80's movies look different than 2000's movies but the reasons for that are many. One reason is that cinematographers back then lit a shot for the contrast range of the print stock, not the negative stock.

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The look of movies change decade by decade, ever since the dawn of movies. Some reasons are technical, some are stylistic, but the basic truth is that time marches on and things change. There is no doubt that 80's movies look different than 2000's movies but the reasons for that are many. One reason is that cinematographers back then lit a shot for the contrast range of the print stock, not the negative stock.

 

Is that also true for a change in look between films in the 60s and films in the 70s?

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