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Could Digital Kill Film?

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Utterly wrong.

Umm, but it's not. My numbers are way low actually because I was only taking into account a finished asset and ancillary items.

 

The head of digital archiving at one major studio, who asked not to be identified, told me that it costs about $20,000 a year to digitally store one feature film and related assets such as deleted scenes and trailers. All told, the digital components of a big-budget feature can total 350 TB. Storing a single episode of a high-end hour-long TV program can cost $12,000 per year. Major studios like Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner each have archives of tens of thousands of TV episodes and features, and they’re adding new titles all the time.

 

https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/it/the-lost-picture-show-hollywood-archivists-cant-outpace-obsolescence

 

The problem is that as archiving technologies change, everyone is forced to upgrade or be left behind. That cost is paid for by the companies who use the service. We're talking LTO libraries, NOT spinning disk, like cloud storage, which by the way isn't backed up. If you erased something on your google drive, you can't get it back a year from now, there is no backup.

 

Remember this little tidbit, when Pixar wanted to re-release Finding Nemo in the cinemas, they wanted to re-render it and found out they couldn't due to software obsolescence. This is the biggest problem, technology never stops where film... well, it's been pretty much the same "format" for nearly 100 years. Plus, film can be seen with the naked eye, where digital can't. So it's impossile to make digital future proof because humans are incapable of using it without an intermediary device. This would be why books and records are still so popular, they are mediums which are completely compatible with our bodies.

 

SO WHY SHOOT ANYTHING IN DIGITAL?

 

Umm... I can't see why a multi-million dollar production needs to shoot digitally. In fact, colin trevorrow just made a little 9 million dollar indy on 35mm, where are MORE of "those" movies?

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Actually, I don't really mind if a film is digitally projected. The projection is getting better I hear - warmer and all that. Great! I'm just a fan. Would love for some film to stay projected. What I am passionate about is that cinematographers always have the ability to at least shoot on film. Film comes through so truly even through the digital process. I know Tyler doesn't agree.

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OP, they both have their advantages. The biggest killer of film will be when people stop using it.

 

Digital can have a plastic, artificial look to it sometimes. Digital is too sharp. Film is more organic, less harsh. Of course, this is speaking in generalities.

 

What needs to be done with digital is to make the output more random and organiclike the grain structure in film.

 

Here is my take on it, at least with still photography.

 

https://danielteolijr.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/film-vs-digital-image-quality/

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Tyler, it is easy to lose a master. The way round it is to have numerous backupsoff-site. But that is even more $.

 

Why is the cost so high per year to keep a digital asset?

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Plastic, artificial, and to me the other day when I went to the cinema, an odd 'glassy' look that is truly hard to define. I'm a pretty artistic person and I got the mental image of the dead eye of a freshly-caught fish for some reason when looking into the nighttime blacks of the digital image. It's like looking into a perfect, glassy, cold fish pond to me - you know, the sort that has no happy fish swimming in it. Good heavens, how can anyone feel inspired to write good scripts for an industry that has fallen in love with that? Okay, so it does happen occasionally. Rogue One looked pretty good. Not as good as film would have looked, though.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
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Actually, I don't really mind if a film is digitally projected. The projection is getting better I hear - warmer and all that. Great! I'm just a fan. Would love for some film to stay projected. What I am passionate about is that cinematographers always have the ability to at least shoot on film. Film comes through so truly even through the digital process. I know Tyler doesn't agree.

 

Digital projection technology hasn't changed much if at all in 20 years. It's still three DLP imagers, with a colored light source (xenon or laser) bouncing off the imagers, going through a prism and recombining on the screen to form an image. Most imagers are 1.25" across which means calibration between the imagers is critical and as the projectors warm up and cool down each day, they fall out of whack. Plus, there are no more projectionists, nobody checking on the quality of the presentation. DLP is a great technology, but it's biggest weakness is a lined grid that goes across the entire image, which is clearly visible, especially if you walk up to the screen and check yourself. Most theaters actually defocus their projectors purposely to hide this issue and make the image "softer" and more appealing after all the complains they had during the early days of digital projection. Double projection systems have one "crisp" focused projector and one "out of focus" projector, that's how they look "better", if you could consider that. Another weakness is that light doesn't pass through the imager itself, but bounces off. This means, you lose A LOT of light during this process, which means DLP is darker lumen per lumen over film projectors. DLP also has issues dealing with highlights, which is why when you watch digital movies, they're never super bright in the highlights, in the projector, they flatten out the highlights to help prevent clipping. This is why most of the time digital movies look super flat, even if they're shot on film. I'll also say that 3D technology has ruined the theater experience as well. Theaters have needed to install special screens to deal with 3D due to the brightness problem. These more reflective screens, change the brightness of the projector tremendously and make the image look vignetted.

 

What's funny, is that for people who don't deal with post production and projection, they don't get the opportunity to see a finished product on a high-end grading monitor, rather than DLP only. The difference is night and day in my opinion. The grading monitors show all sorts of issues that you'll never see in the theaters. This is mainly because the audience sits so far away, but upon closer look, you will see the projectors really alter the look of the film, which is why most post houses grade on DLP projectors as well. So now your product looks a certain way on a certain type of device, which I guess is like film in a certain way.

 

One more thing that always breaks people's brains is that digital projectors have zero flicker. A film projector breaks the light to put a new frame on. Then it breaks it again mid frame before breaking it again to bring a new frame on. With digital, the light is constant, so each frame is on screen for a longer period of time. This gives for an entirely different look, not comparable at all to film.

 

Plus, can I mention one of the most critical elements... the depth and glassy nature of projected film. Digital turns that depth into flatness that isn't anywhere near as dynamic. Also, because most movies today are finished in 2k, you lose a lot of the "noise" that goes along with film projection, it's just missing. So what you get is an image that sure, has a filmic color space and "look" but for sure isn't what "film" is suppose to look like.

 

When you watch a movie like Dunkirk on 5/70, you see right away what film is suppose to look like. It's literally impossible to compare that experience to digital. I poked my head into a digital screening and noticed immediately how much flatter and less dynamic the image was then the film print playing in the theater next door.

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Fade in. INT. Day. Medium wide shot. Swish looking office. Film exec at desk boils over and flings poster across room, hard, like Ninja throwing a star. Picks up phone. Cut to Close up. "Get me Kodak print stock division on the line!" There is determination in his voice. He looks a man with a mission. Audience sees he has clearly reached a decision. There is a subtle bead of sweat on his brow.

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Aapo, I had no idea you could put a Konvas on a Ronin. I've often wanted to get a 2M but the price of Oct-19 lenses put me off. It's a side effect of the "democratisation" of cinema, every lens for everything is now overpriced compared to even 2010.

 

 

I use the older straight viewfinder Konvas which has a lot smaller motor which does not go on the way of the Ronin tilt axis, I'm not sure if the 2m could be fitted at all (may be too wide with the crystal motor) .

 

the older oct18 mount Konvas lenses are considerably cheaper than oct19 mount ones and have a nice vintage look, so a oct18 based Konvas model could be better for you if the lens cost is an issue.

 

The main issue with the Ronin setup is that the Konvas is very top heavy and will need weights fitted on the bottom to prevent Ronin motors from overloading and shutting down (which also leads to the camera tilting violently to either direction which may damage the tilt stoppers on the motor) .

As mentioned the 1KCP model fits even the regular Ronin if the viewfinder is removed and the additional weights installed on the bottom but it will be much better if having the full Ronin extensions (tilt, C, pan) to make if fit perfectly (C-arm extensions = full tilt capability with the Konvas without the magazine restricting movement , tilt extensions = less need for the additional weights to fit the Konvas so lighter overall setup and less stress to the motors , pan arm extension= possibility to balance the overall setup perfectly with the c-arm extensions installed so that the overall setup is not front heavy and balances correctly so that panning works well and does not lead to complicated side movement )

Edited by aapo lettinen

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Umm, but it's not. My numbers are way low actually because I was only taking into account a finished asset and ancillary items.

 

The head of digital archiving at one major studio, who asked not to be identified, told me that it costs about $20,000 a year to digitally store one feature film and related assets such as deleted scenes and trailers.

 

That's someone justifying their job and budget. It's not the real cost of storing the data; it's as artificial as $50 sandwiches on set. There is nothing special about digital film data: you put it on networked drives and the job is done.

 

..And even 20K a year is cheap compared to $2M for making prints!

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No, you won't see why storing digital is expensive from that article. You'll see why it WAS expensive - films were stored on physical media which had migration costs. That was because when the films were stored hard drive space was something like a thousand times its current cost. You might as well be using an article about steam engines to explain why horseless carriages will never replace the kind you are used to.

 

Once a film is on a drive, there is no migration cost. Even if you need to change the file format, that's a job for a program not a human being. Even if the film companies haven't caught up with this yet, they will do - storing digital is not a cost barrier.

Edited by David Mawson

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I The quality, or lack thereof, of Hollywood movies has nothing to do with the medium it is shot on. A good script, with good actors, and a good director, will shine whether shot on film or digital.

 

Let's not fetishize technology. Film has a long history, and a look and feel, that for many people can't be replicated. Digital offers a different look and feel. They are both equally valid mediums for telling a story, but neither make that story any better or worse than it is written.

But that's the crux of the matter isn't it? It clearly seems to affect the end product.

 

Three examples:

 

In Twin Peaks The Return, Lynch and the great Peter Deming, reprises the scene from the red room where Laura Palmer whispers in Cooper's ear. And if you compare it to the original, the difference is night and day, even though Kyle MacLachlan's old man make up isn't the best, you are there, the red room is a place. While in the new version, the red room simply feels like a fake set. The difference is stark.

 

The Poltergeist remake. Sure there is a slight shift in the script but it sticks pretty close to the original. A film with a great cast, young and I assume hungry director, shot by Javier Aguirresarobe who also shot the The Others, a film I truly like. And yet, once more we have a film where nothing is working. Even though a lot of competent people where involved. And a script, that clearly worked the first time around.

 

Francis Lawrence directed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (for me the best in the series, I prefer it over the first one,) Then just one year later Mockingjay comes out and is mind- numbingly dull (and this from the man who also directed Constantine which I liked,) I can't remember how many sittings I needed, to get through both parts.

 

Sure you can argue cause and correlation, but I'm certain that Francis Lawrence didn't lose all his skills in the span of one year, so there must be something else going on here. Because this an issue that effects the whole industry, it's no better on the art house side, of the street either.

 

The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke's excellent 2009 film tics along just fine, but then his next film Amour has suddenly lost all momentum (even for a Haneke film.)

 

To me it seems that there are just too many disparate films effected by this, to be pure coincidence.

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But that's the crux of the matter isn't it? It clearly seems to affect the end product.

..To me it seems that there are just too many disparate films effected by this, to be pure coincidence.

 

Yes, but what seems to be true - especially when it is the answer you want - is not the same as what is true. Google "confirmation bias" and then never do this again...

Edited by David Mawson

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Yes confirmation bias is a thing.

 

But, I don't want to like a films more because they are shot on film. If anything is true, it is the exact opposite.

 

Since most movies are shot on Alexa, I would of course prefer to sit trough movies I like. The same goes for capturing, not to be locked down to the cost and logistics of film. I truly wish the Alexa was a film replacement, but for me it's just not there yet.

 

But where I think I have confirmation bias is towards the Genesis/F35 over film. I like enough movies shot on that system, that I can talk myself in to shooting on it, instead of going through all the cost and hassle of shooting on celluloid,

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The quality, or lack thereof, of Hollywood movies has nothing to do with the medium it is shot on. A good script, with good actors, and a good director, will shine whether shot on film or digital.

 

Let's not fetishize technology. Film has a long history, and a look and feel, that for many people can't be replicated. Digital offers a different look and feel. They are both equally valid mediums for telling a story, but neither make that story any better or worse than it is written.

 

I totally disagree idea of good script,good actors,good director make the movie good. Appearance of the movie make change the every opinion about the movie even if you not notice that your brain your eyes make judgment.

 

Like the Alex Lindblom said about the twin peaks, i love old twin peaks everything is good about that but new one just look horrible nothing special nothing mysterious, magical same dp same director similar composition but it doesnt feel the good because of look. I will say directing,script,actors not good season 3 but its not true. Actually appearance make me think of that and ıt is acceptable for all people because of aesthetic judgments of humanity...

 

post-69480-0-78044000-1508158287_thumb.jpg

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No, you won't see why storing digital is expensive from that article. You'll see why it WAS expensive - films were stored on physical media which had migration costs. That was because when the films were stored hard drive space was something like a thousand times its current cost. You might as well be using an article about steam engines to explain why horseless carriages will never replace the kind you are used to.

 

Once a film is on a drive, there is no migration cost. Even if you need to change the file format, that's a job for a program not a human being. Even if the film companies haven't caught up with this yet, they will do - storing digital is not a cost barrier.

But archiving (not everyday storage) is still done to LTO tape, not hard drives.

That journalist talked to a lot of professional archivists. You'd think they knew their trade.

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I totally disagree idea of good script,good actors,good director make the movie good. Appearance of the movie make change the every opinion about the movie even if you not notice that your brain your eyes make judgment.

 

Like the Alex Lindblom said about the twin peaks, i love old twin peaks everything is good about that but new one just look horrible nothing special nothing mysterious, magical same dp same director similar composition but it doesnt feel the good because of look. I will say directing,script,actors not good season 3 but its not true. Actually appearance make me think of that and ıt is acceptable for all people because of aesthetic judgments of humanity...

 

attachicon.giftwin peaks2-min.jpg

 

I am no DP but clearly the lighting setup is totally different between these two even if it was the same director and dp, not to mention the focal lengths chosen. The stark difference in look is more about the very different lighting and focal lengths than one being digitial and the other being film. Basically you are comparing apples to oranges and complaining that the apple doesn't taste like an orange.

Edited by David Hessel

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I am no DP but clearly the lighting setup is totally different between these two even if it was the same director and dp, not to mention the focal lengths chosen. The stark difference in look is more about the very different lighting and focal lengths than one being digitial and the other being film. Basically you are comparing apples to oranges and complaining that the apple doesn't taste like an orange.

 

Compressed picture doesn't show evertything, you have to watch in high resolution...

Lighting and focal lenghts are kind of different but you missed point, what i want to say all image,texture,color,depth sense much better in film especially in 90s.

 

I make comparison between film and digital because above written '''Digital or film neither make that story any better or worse than it is written'''

I am against this opinion, new twin peaks has a good story good written show but shot on digital old one is film. Film or digital make the story better or worse because it changes the perception of people..

 

If the film is apple digital only can be apple worm and uneatable. :D

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But archiving (not everyday storage) is still done to LTO tape, not hard drives.

That journalist talked to a lot of professional archivists. You'd think they knew their trade.

 

You're missing both relevant points. Which are

 

1. If the cost of archiving is a problem, then the film companies just need to update their archiving methods

 

and

 

2. The current method was chosen in the stone age - it isn't the one that would be chosen today

 

What's likely the case is that the cost isn't a problem - people have more important things to worry about. But if it is, then it can be cut to almost zero by modernising. There simply isn't a case where the cost of storage makes it attractive to go back to film and incur that extra billion dollars a year print cost.

 

Also if you read the article carefully instead of cherrypicking, you'll see the current longterm cost for hard drive storage:

 

For 20 years of storage, including power, supervision, and data migration every 3 years, USC charges $1,000 per terabyte, or $1,000,000 per petabyte

 

..So even if you want to store a TB of data per film, that's $50 a year. Not the $7000 of 2007 technology. If some film companies haven't modernised - well, that's another example of film companies throwing money away.

Edited by David Mawson

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, i love old twin peaks everything is good about that but new one just look horrible nothing special nothing mysterious, magical same dp same director similar composition but it doesnt feel the good because of look. I will say directing,script,actors not good season 3 but its not true. Actually appearance make me think of that and ıt is acceptable for all people because of aesthetic judgments of humanity...

 

attachicon.giftwin peaks2-min.jpg

 

So your point is that a digital camera won't show exactly the same images as a film camera if the actors are several decades older and the lighting is different... Did you actually expect otherwise?

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No, you won't see why storing digital is expensive from that article.

The article is accurate, the numbers are accurate. That's how much the studio's spend.

 

First off, nobody stores on spinning disks, everything is on tape, duplicated many times, in different locations.

 

Second, in the last 7 years there have been huge technology shifts and companies have been forced to upgrade or be left behind. So archive companies have been charging all clients appropriately for these "upgrades"

 

Three, we're talking about hundreds petabytes for a "studio's archive" not a powerpoint presentation on "cloud" storage.

 

Four, it's expensive because they can charge anything they want for storage, the studio's will pay because they have no choice. Many have tried to do internal solutions, but have found they've lost files and that can't happen, period.

 

Finally, a lot of movies are still archived on film still using B&W separation masters.

 

There is a new technology that's coming around the corner that uses a flexible optical disk media which is really cool. They're still testing and developing, but once it hits the market, it will be a game changer because it won't be erasable and it should be able to sit on a shelf indefenitly without any data loss. Of course, you still have the problem of being able to read the media 50 years from now. IDK if you've tried, but good luck reading your floppy disks from 20 years ago... and technology today is moving at such a fast rate, it's becoming quite an issue for archivests.

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Three, we're talking about hundreds petabytes for a "studio's archive" not a powerpoint presentation on "cloud" storage.

 

Again from the article that you linked but apparently only skimmed for points that confirmed your biases:

 

That works out to a relatively affordable $2.5 million per year for its current 50-PB holdings.

 

..Petabytes are not a problem. Not even now - and 5 years from now, that cost will be a fraction of what is now. The economics of storage will at some point force lazy film companies to update how they store data; they won't force them to go back to film and get hit by that billion dollar a year print cost. Because there is a huge difference between lazy and actually stupid.

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There's a double problem that bothers me here -

 

1. Appalling logic.

 

2. A lack of concentration on actually making good films. The film industry is increasingly restricted to shooting toy commercials; TV is producing some of the finest drama in human history. And people are obsessing with how to get slightly more pleasant tonality rather than asking the question of how grown-up films can be made again.

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