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Alex Anstey

"The cinematographer of Knives Out wants to end the film-vs.-digital debate”

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I do like the look of 2 perf. Sharp but with more noticeable grain compared with 3 perf on the big screen. However there doesn't seem to be many 2 perf cameras or movements available for conversion. It's a significant cost saving with very high quality. Possibly easier to find lower-cost lenses for, too.

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5 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

I do like the look of 2 perf. Sharp but with more noticeable grain compared with 3 perf on the big screen. However there doesn't seem to be many 2 perf cameras or movements available for conversion. It's a significant cost saving with very high quality. Possibly easier to find lower-cost lenses for, too.

I've heard this same description mentioned so many times, and I still have no idea where people get the notion from. 

2-perf S35mm is the exact same width as 3-perf, so shot on the same stock, and projected on the same screen (at the same width), the grain is going to be identical between between the two. The only difference would be the taller aspect ratio of the 3-perf frame (if it wasn't cropped to a matching 2.39:1 extraction).

Am I missing something here? Did some people actually shoot 2-perf and do a 1.78:1 extraction from the smaller negative? I've never heard of that.

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22 minutes ago, Mark Kenfield said:

2-perf S35mm is the exact same width as 3-perf,

2-perf is the width of Normal 35mm while 3-perf is the width of Super 35mm.

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7 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

2-perf is the width of Normal 35mm while 3-perf is the width of Super 35mm.

Ah, well that'll do it! Thanks for the clarification Uli. 👍

I was told (by a sales person at Kodak no-less) that 2-perf had a native 2.40:1 aspect ratio. So I never understood why it didn't see a greater take-up, the stock efficiencies seemed too good to ignore. But if it's a tighter extraction, then that explains a lot.

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It's just because the 2-perf full aperture width isn't needed -- if 4-perf 35mm full aperture is 1.33 : 1, then 2-perf has to be 2.66 : 1.

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13 hours ago, Giray Izcan said:

Funny how people speak about music videos nowadays actually. When music videos was a thing, real music videos were massive, much like a regular movie set with serious budgets. I know so because I worked on them as an AC. Nowadays, it is usually some backyard production shot amongst friends etc. Times have changed indeed....

...the most stylish I remember seeing that were like wow to me were Chris Isaaks 'Wicked Game'.....George Michaels "Fastlove'.....Madonna's 'Cherish'.....then there was the oddball Peter Gabriel 'Sledgehammer'......then there was Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' which was very memorable......and the modern-day masterpiece....Childish Gambino 'This is America'

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2 perf looks so fantastic and distinctly different from 3 perf. Great examples of 2 perf are Silver Linings Playbook, The Place Beyond The Pines, First Man, American Hustle, On The Road, I Know This Much Is True (where they cropped to 2:1 and got a texture between 16mm and 2 perf, really cool).

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6 hours ago, Manu Delpech said:

2 perf looks so fantastic and distinctly different from 3 perf. Great examples of 2 perf are Silver Linings Playbook, The Place Beyond The Pines, First Man, American Hustle, On The Road, I Know This Much Is True (where they cropped to 2:1 and got a texture between 16mm and 2 perf, really cool).

I just spoke with Panavision about renting 2-perf cameras, and I quote: 

"I could give you the 'friends don't let friends shoot 2-perf talk', but you will have every bit of dirt, dust, emulsion, and hair in every frame, its not worth it". 

That's one persons opinion, but it hurts a little when someone like that doesn't want to support the decisions of the film maker.  I feel 2-perf is a perfectly valid choice. 

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A lot of very successful recent films have used 2 perf and it looks wonderful. I actually don't mind a bit of visual reminder that it's film, such as a bit of hair in the gate here and there, as long as not too distracting. Once I emailed Panavision in Australia, as I then owned a camera with a Panavision mount on it, and got a very blunt opinion back from one individual with whom I disagreed. Always do what creativity leads you to do and not what technique and technicians lead you to do. Those things are there to serve creativity but creativity actually leads. A technician is a technician, and really, a salesperson. That last bit is the important bit. If you want to shoot 2 perf just do it and it will be great. Get one of those air blower cans, a magnifying glass and a very bright, small torch.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/18/2020 at 3:47 PM, Jon O'Brien said:

I do like the look of 2 perf. Sharp but with more noticeable grain compared with 3 perf on the big screen. However there doesn't seem to be many 2 perf cameras or movements available for conversion. It's a significant cost saving with very high quality. Possibly easier to find lower-cost lenses for, too.

I agree, the main reason why is because its 2mm narrower than super 35mm for a standard 2.40:1 aspect ratio. So it's a MUCH smaller image, which means it's not much taller than 16mm.  So anamorphic 16mm is more cost efficient for not much lesser quality. 

Where with 3 perf, you get the full width and can select your aspect ratio over 1.75:1

So I really like 3 perf, I think it's the perfect 35mm format. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell

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10 hours ago, Jay Young said:

I just spoke with Panavision about renting 2-perf cameras, and I quote: 

"I could give you the 'friends don't let friends shoot 2-perf talk', but you will have every bit of dirt, dust, emulsion, and hair in every frame, its not worth it". 

That's one persons opinion, but it hurts a little when someone like that doesn't want to support the decisions of the film maker.  I feel 2-perf is a perfectly valid choice. 

That person’s opinion is only their own and not necessarily a company stance. It probably just comes from dealing with clients who were disappointed with their results. If you’re careful and/or have experienced crew it shouldn’t be a problem, but some people don’t realise that the cost savings of 2 perf do come with extra risk.

It shouldn’t hurt your feelings if someone tries to advise you against your choices, just inform them that you’re aware of the issues but you want to go ahead anyway.

2 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

Always do what creativity leads you to do and not what technique and technicians lead you to do. Those things are there to serve creativity but creativity actually leads. A technician is a technician, and really, a salesperson. That last bit is the important bit. 

Well as a Panavision technician myself I have to disagree with those assumption. Sales is not even remotely on my radar. If you want to disregard the advice of a specialist because of the sanctity of your artistic vision, that fine, but you don’t need to denigrate their advice or assume an ulterior motive. I’m also an artist in a different field, and I’ve suffered enough disappointments when the reality of a medium showed me the limitations of my vision to know to respect the technical aspects of art-making as much as the creative side. To believe creativity is all that matters is a kind of adolescent cliche. You can mitigate or sidestep or embrace the technical limitations of a medium in all sorts of creative ways, but the one thing you can’t do is ignore them.

If you’re talking on the phone to a rental house you’re probably dealing with a client contact anyway (who is not a technician), and even then they’re not interested in selling you one format over another unless maybe you have a gear request that is hard to fulfill (like asking for 65mm cameras or the rarest lenses). You have a certain budget, and they’re helping you work out what gear you can afford to get the project done. Sometimes (actually most of the time 😉) the budget is way under what it really needs to be, but in my experience client contacts often go out of their way to help people achieve what they realistically can achieve within their budget. I know that the last three film projects we supported (all on 16mm) were given extremely generous discounts on the camera rental.

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I didn't mean to offend you or any other technician, Dom. I believe you are an artist and a great technician. My comment was pointing out that a business will naturally tend to point a potential client more towards their major stock in trade. I will look forward to going to Panavision at some point and I'm sure they will be very helpful. I'm looking for people up my way who are interested specifically in film -- I'm very busy at the moment but looks like a project opportunity may be beckoning. I know of an award winning cinematographer up this way and producer on the Gold Coast who are interested. Who knows, could be a press release kind of affair. "And ... ACtion!! Film cameras whirr once more in Queensland"

 

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