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Stephen Perera

Shot digital and then Film print....explain

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...So I really enjoy looking through IMDB technical specs and admittedly make it a point of watching everything shot on film (yes a bit sad).....so anyway, now and again I see shot on Alexa or whatever and then I see a 70mm film print made of it.....for example ROMA.....and more recently The Aeronauts for example.....so what's the idea of this......putting in the texture and beauty of film at the last stage as some kind of LUT so to speak......explain.....

Edited by Stephen Perera

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That's exactly it, Stephen. Making a print adds a little genuine grain to the image, and projecting it adds the cadence of a shutter, and perhaps a little weave. Then when the print gets old enough, you get all the dust and scratches as well 🙂

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You also get slightly better contrast the Xenon DLP projectors and a 70mm print from a 4K source is probably higher resolution then the more common 2K projectors.

But outside the "film-look", its a combination of a sales gimmick. And didn't studios agree to buy a certain amount of filmstock to safeguard film manufacturer. The odd 70mm print of Aeronaughts keeps the film infrastructure alive ready for the next Nolan effort. I guess if they make more money of tickets from "film fans" they will keep doing it. 

Lots of rep theatres make a big deal of classic screening's on 35mm, even in many situations the prints aren't in a good state and DCP would look a lot better 

Personally I don't seek out 70mm prints from digital productions, not much point watching something that's a couple generation's away from the master and potentially scratched. It's not going to look better than a 4k laser screening of the same film - it can't add quality on potentially add artifacts. 

Roma for instance, wasn't that printed on Colour stock? Black and white films on colour stock don't look good. 

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I mean I've seen quite a few of these digitally shot movies printed on film and honestly, outside of a few dead giveaways, you really think it's shot on film. The film contrast ratio, noise floor and flicker, just don't exist in the digital world, so it's quite interesting to see. Everyone who cares about film exposition, should try to see one of those prints at one point. The "Joker" 70mm print looked outstanding. 

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I am not lucky enough to be able to see any 70mm showings around here....

My new question........what version do we see when we buy or rent a film eventually.....as Blu Ray or whatever is the latest home cinema format.....

Do they ALWAYS go with the D-Cinema version or do give us the 35mm/75mm versions ie that would mean, simplistically, scanning the version that was put onto 35mm or 70mm know what I mean???

The Joker is:

35 mm (spherical) (Kodak Vision 2383) 
70 mm (Kodak Vision 2383) 
D-Cinema

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I’m sure there’s exceptions, but the vast majority of movies that you see on blu ray or other digital media will have been produced from the digital masters. Why go to the trouble of scanning a film print when you already have a timed digital master?

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

 The "Joker" 70mm print looked outstanding. 

I'm sure it did, but it can't technically be better then a 4K DCP on a Laser projector . So the preference comes from enjoying the artifacts of film - e.g grain, flicker - they perhaps add to experience while degrading the image - interesting

I guess the vinyl trend is the same thing. Records can't reproduce music with the same degree of accuracy that digital systems can. So when people prefer the sound, they are responding to the formats flaws - e.g the added distortion and HF roll off. Sometimes distortion makes a thing sound subjectively better, even when its not technically better

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For older pictures shot on F900 or D20 there were film prints made just because that was the workflow a lot of cinemas were still using at the time. I love when the home releases for digitally produced things use a film scan instead of the digital master.

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It really seems like it helps a lot (from what I've read) in making it look closer to actual film. Some have gone as far as actually shooting digitally, out to film print, and then scanning that print.

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4 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

I'm sure it did, but it can't technically be better then a 4K DCP on a Laser projector .

You're right, "technically" it should be better than the film print. However, so should a CD vs a 15IPS 1/2 track 1/4 reel to real master. However, the 1/2 track masters always somehow "sound" better. 

I've seen all sorts of laser projection and the only one that's really any good in my mind is the IMAX system. Dolby's system is too focused on HDR and as a consequence, it has a weird unnatural contrast ratio. Laser light also looks entirely different than Xenon lamp from a film projector. I was a big fan of laser when it came out, but having talked to some professionals about it and them showing me some of the inherent flaws, I've finally saw them and it's ruined me for life lol 

5 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

Sometimes distortion makes a thing sound subjectively better, even when its not technically better

For me, it's making the digital image softer and more pleasing to watch. 

Also... film projection IS cinema to me. We've talked about this SO MUCH, but if the same technology in the cinema is available at home, then what makes the cinema special outside of fighting for seats, sitting next to some smelly person who pour soda or popcorn all over you, sitting in a cramped seat for a few hours, having to deal with a screening schedule that may not coincide with yours, etc? I love going to the cinema, but in the last year, I've only gone to a few digital screenings. I generally only come out if I'm going to watch something on film, especially a photochemical finished movie. I have a 35mm projector and let me tell ya, it's IMPOSSIBLE to see what you can see at the cinema on film, at home. You need too much gear, you need two projectors setup for changeovers, you need a projection booth to reduce the sound of the projector, etc. It's not easy and frankly, even if you could do it, sourcing decent prints is very difficult. People like Tarantino have spent years sourcing decent prints and even then, they struggle to keep them decent. So when a film is released on film, it's a very special experience and that's what drives me to the cinema. Otherwise, I have a beautiful home theater that works great for digital content. 

 

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Just a side note:

The IMDB technical specs I have found to sometimes be inaccurate. Not that it has to do anything with your question about a film out, but you can not take what they list on the website as fact. 

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If anyone is looking for an example of a film that was shot on Alexa, printed, and scanned, check out Albert Serra's "Death of Louis the XIV." When I saw that movie on a DCP I constantly felt like halation and highlight quality wasn't there for film capture, but the grain looked nice. After the screening I looked up what the process had been.

My two cents, I am a bit annoyed by some of the marketing that goes into the 70mm prints, but I occasionally enjoy it and do go out of my way to support it. I felt "Roma" looked quite rich in 70mm, but I don't have a DCP experience to compare to. When I saw the "Joker" 70mm print, I constantly felt like it was so perfect that it was essentially a DCP. If I was going to shoot digital and print to film, I would consider making an internegative on the Arrilaser, with a correction to be underexposed, and a 70mm contact print that would then exaggerate that grain on the release print. Maybe it doesn't work like that. What I am getting at is that I wish "Joker" would have had more grain, and some of the halation and highlight blooming of film. "Phantom Thread" was nice and true 35mm capture, but they made some deal about it being a 70mm print at my theater in Chicago, but it was a blow up shown on the same size screen as 35mm prints are usually shown, so I didn't feel there was any way to tell a difference there.

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Trouble with a thin (underexposed) IP is that the print made from it would have weaker blacks plus IP stock is very fine-grained even if underexposed. If you want more grain and contrast in the print, it would be better to film-out to camera negative stock instead of intermediate stock.

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4 hours ago, Andrew Skalak said:

Maybe it doesn't work like that. What I am getting at is that I wish "Joker" would have had more grain, and some of the halation and highlight blooming of film.

It was originally going to be shot on 65mm, so even if it was shot on film, it would have been noise-free. 

Remember Phantom Thread was 500T pushed 2 stops, so that's huge difference. 

I personally liked Joker on 70mm. It's always nice to see film perform the same or better than digital. Where I don't think there is much sense to recording movies shot digitally onto film, I do appreciate the results. Not everyone can do 70mm prints. 

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I'm wondering if part of the reason for making a film print from some digital productions is to firstly get an original neg, which presumably  happens ?  Then that acts as an insurance for archiving ?

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17 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

Trouble with a thin (underexposed) IP is that the print made from it would have weaker blacks plus IP stock is very fine-grained even if underexposed. If you want more grain and contrast in the print, it would be better to film-out to camera negative stock instead of intermediate stock.

David, thank you for this. I only recently started to post on this site, but your contributions to conversations online has been unbelievably helpful for me over the years.

13 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It was originally going to be shot on 65mm, so even if it was shot on film, it would have been noise-free. 

Remember Phantom Thread was 500T pushed 2 stops, so that's huge difference. 

I personally liked Joker on 70mm. It's always nice to see film perform the same or better than digital. Where I don't think there is much sense to recording movies shot digitally onto film, I do appreciate the results. Not everyone can do 70mm prints. 

Fair point regarding grain. I did not mean that I felt the look of those movies to be similar, but that there would be no way to tell a difference between a 35mm print and a 70mm blow up at that screen size. One interesting aspect of the Nolan and Tarantino effect has been that a lot of theaters now have the ability to project 70mm, but not 35mm. I know that some projectors are combined 35/70, so I am not sure if this is completely accurate.

6 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

I'm wondering if part of the reason for making a film print from some digital productions is to firstly get an original neg, which presumably  happens ?  Then that acts as an insurance for archiving ?

I am quite passionate about this, and this thought is correct as film is the only format we can be certain to last 100 years. There is a migration and file type problem in all digital archiving as the storage format, cable connections, and file compatibility is changing every few years. If I could afford it, I would love to make a 35mm negative and print of much of my work, even those projects shot digitally. This is quite expensive, but as of recently Colorlab has a Cinevator machine that can make quite cheap 35mm prints, which is how just a few prints were made for films like "Marriage Story" and "Uncut Gems." I have concerns that these prints are of much lesser quality that what you would get from an Arrilaser workflow. Disney archives all their films on 35mm, and their process is quite interesting. They seperate each frame out to a Red, Green, and Blue channel, then record each one sequentially on a piece of black and white film. Black and white film is very robust and can stand up better to fading than any color stock. If they ever had to reconstruct a film if digital assets were lost, they could scan this film back in, and recolor and recombine these frames to make a new digital master.

Article on this process: https://www.disneydigitalstudio.com/preserving-our-movies/

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31 minutes ago, Andrew Skalak said:

David, thank you for this. I only recently started to post on this site, but your contributions to conversations online has been unbelievably helpful for me over the years.

Fair point regarding grain. I did not mean that I felt the look of those movies to be similar, but that there would be no way to tell a difference between a 35mm print and a 70mm blow up at that screen size. One interesting aspect of the Nolan and Tarantino effect has been that a lot of theaters now have the ability to project 70mm, but not 35mm. I know that some projectors are combined 35/70, so I am not sure if this is completely accurate.

I am quite passionate about this, and this thought is correct as film is the only format we can be certain to last 100 years. There is a migration and file type problem in all digital archiving as the storage format, cable connections, and file compatibility is changing every few years. If I could afford it, I would love to make a 35mm negative and print of much of my work, even those projects shot digitally. This is quite expensive, but as of recently Colorlab has a Cinevator machine that can make quite cheap 35mm prints, which is how just a few prints were made for films like "Marriage Story" and "Uncut Gems." I have concerns that these prints are of much lesser quality that what you would get from an Arrilaser workflow. Disney archives all their films on 35mm, and their process is quite interesting. They seperate each frame out to a Red, Green, and Blue channel, then record each one sequentially on a piece of black and white film. Black and white film is very robust and can stand up better to fading than any color stock. If they ever had to reconstruct a film if digital assets were lost, they could scan this film back in, and recolor and recombine these frames to make a new digital master.

Article on this process: https://www.disneydigitalstudio.com/preserving-our-movies/

In the past I've had some foreign releases use cinevator prints and they were fantastically ... awful!  At the time, the cinevator was using an LCD display to photograph a negative version of the digital movie to film print stock.  Maybe, if they've switched to some OLED display tech, they would be better today.  But, now that distribution on film is essentially dead, I think I'd avoid this.  Certainly, I'd perform a very short cinevator test and project it before ordering a print of your completed film.

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9 hours ago, Andrew Skalak said:

Fair point regarding grain. I did not mean that I felt the look of those movies to be similar, but that there would be no way to tell a difference between a 35mm print and a 70mm blow up at that screen size. One interesting aspect of the Nolan and Tarantino effect has been that a lot of theaters now have the ability to project 70mm, but not 35mm. I know that some projectors are combined 35/70, so I am not sure if this is completely accurate.

Tarantino got the Weinstein's to install 90 or so JJ's, only setup as 70mm. Yes, they are 35/70 normally, but the rebuilt ones were 70mm only sadly. There are plenty of 35mm projectors out there, the problem was getting 70mm ones up and running. The 70mm gate needs to be liquid cooled, but the 35mm one doesn't, so many of the theaters that had 35/70 projectors, didn't have the speciality 70mm parts. 

Funny enough, those projectors are still in theaters to this day. 

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