Jump to content
Alex Anstey

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

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Miguel, you’re the punk rocker we need now! 🙂

I don't know! My bank account doesn't agree with my path in cinematography! If we measure success in terms of how much money you make, I'm definitely not successful at all! 

Damn, I recently discovered that recce days are charged as a NORMAL day instead of 1/2 day!!!!!! 😄 

 

Edited by Miguel Angel
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Miguel Angel said:

I don't know! My bank account doesn't agree with my path in cinematography! If we measure success in terms of how much money you make, I'm definitely not successful at all! 

Damn, I recently discovered that recce days are charged as a NORMAL day instead of 1/2 day!!!!!! 😄 

The grass is always greener, isn’t it? One of my DP friends makes at least three times what I make, and he complains all the time about not having any work, and how he never gets anything good to shoot. So I’d say having lots of projects to show that you’re proud of isn’t so bad! 😉

I’d measure success by the percentage of strangers who watch something you shot and say, ‘I have to know who shot this.’ If you can afford to mainly work in narrative, that’s a win I think. That just isn’t possible where I live, at least for most DPs that I know. What I do know is that most of my best work has been on things I shot for free, or practically for free.

But yeah, full day rate for scout, 1/2 day for travel. Might as well start off on the right foot. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/21/2020 at 12:23 PM, Jon O'Brien said:

What is starting to interest me more and more is the idea of shooting on digital but making film prints. [...] Okay, so not too many film projectors in current use but I'm sure they're stashed away somewhere, lovingly greased and protected from dust and awaiting their time to shine again. As I wrote a while back here, I found two myself in a tiny garden shed along a very rough track out in the wilds. 

Film-outs still cost a lot, AFAIK. I wonder how much of that is the film and how much is the printing.

And I'm very jealous of your treasure hunting escapades!

On 7/21/2020 at 2:52 PM, Satsuki Murashige said:

I think we can agree that you can't get a usable exposure under moonlight with 5219 at 24fps.

Moonlight? No, you certainly can't do that with film. That's for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think 10,000 feet (feature length) of 35mm intermediate dupe stock for a laser recorder film-out to an I.N. is about $10,000 to buy and process outside of the film recording costs and the printing costs. There are also machines like the Cinevator that transfer straight to print stock. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/21/2020 at 4:22 AM, Karim D. Ghantous said:

Ah, okay, I think I get it. But the cameras still had pull-down claws, right? So there would have been some tiny bit of misalignment in the camera - correct?

The cameras have pulldown claws. The actions of the transport claws and the register pins overlap, the film is thus always located by one or the other member. The film is under pressure only minimally in the aperture area so that the register pins can move the strip into position. The register pins have lighty tapered tips and are so adjusted that they make a snug fit with the perforation. Misalignment, if you use that expression, can’t exceed the deviations of the punched holes which typically is less than a hundredth millimeter. Only fixed pilot pins yield better registration because there’s no play of them in bushings.

An important factor of image steadiness is that the camera’s or cameras’ geometry should be repeated in the duplication process. Precision is, however, compromised a little by the pin belts that introduce an overall error. The weakest link in the steadiness chain are the projectors. They don’t repeat the geometry of printers or cameras at all. An exception is the IMAX rolling-loop projector.

  • Like 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Karim D. Ghantous said:

... your treasure hunting escapades

It would probably make a fine short film script in itself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/21/2020 at 10:46 PM, Karim D. Ghantous said:

Film-outs still cost a lot, AFAIK. I wonder how much of that is the film and how much is the printing.

Most guys with Arri lasers are $400 - $800 per minute of finished print. (Around $40k on average for a internegative with soundtrack) 

We can do a bit better than that and have done many short films for sub $1000 with a cinevator. It's limited to 2k and isn't quite the quality of the Arri laser, but it's a very good machine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/21/2020 at 7:21 AM, Satsuki Murashige said:

I would say these sample frames from Evan Richard's collection of movie frame grabs  (https://www.evanerichards.com) really highlight the difference in formats. Both gorgeous, but very different in terms of shadow detail and texture. It should be obvious which is film and which is digital.

'Her' DP. Hoyte Van Hoytema

Her_175.jpg

Her_176.jpg

Her_369.jpg

Her_372.jpg

Her_512.jpg

Her_526.jpg

Her_535.jpg

 

'La La Land' DP. Linus Sandgren

LaLaLand_078.jpg

LaLaLand_079.jpg

LaLaLand_080.jpg

LaLaLand_178.jpg

LaLaLand_224.jpg

LaLaLand_273.jpg

LaLaLand_397.jpg

LaLaLand_442.jpg

Sorry for the quote 😄 (although two GORGEOUS films) but yeah, it's obvious, of course it is. I'm not sure why Yedlin's flawed thinking and methodology has been brought back when there was already a thread about it but it'd be fun if he submitted himself to the test of shooting an entire film on film and digital at the same time. Guarantee they'd look completely different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Manu Delpech said:

... Guarantee they'd look completely different. 

On the big screen, at the movies, I've never yet been fooled by digital cinematography into thinking it was shot on film. I can always tell. Pretty quickly.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Jon O'Brien said:

On the big screen, at the movies, I've never yet been fooled by digital cinematography into thinking it was shot on film. I can always tell. Pretty quickly.

I'd say the only time knowledgeable folks could be deceived is really if they're sitting way back in the theater. I always make sure to sit in the third or fourth row to really get a sense of the texture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Manu Delpech said:

Sorry for the quote 😄 (although two GORGEOUS films) but yeah, it's obvious, of course it is. I'm not sure why Yedlin's flawed thinking and methodology has been brought back when there was already a thread about it but it'd be fun if he submitted himself to the test of shooting an entire film on film and digital at the same time. Guarantee they'd look completely different. 

I don’t agree with your conclusion. Mr. Yedlin has basically already done that with ‘The Last Jedi.’ I know personally that in the theater I didn’t notice a big shift in format, scene to scene. Of course, everybody is different but I like to think that my eye is pretty sensitive to that sort of thing.

I think the reason his method works is that he doesn’t push either format beyond what it can capture. By keeping them ‘within bounds’ and capturing all the highlights and shadows, he’s able to make them match later. 

But with the two examples above, Mr. Hoytema is pushing the Alexa beyond what a film emulsion can capture in the shadows. That’s what makes it ‘look digital.’ Still beautiful, just not as film-like as Mr. Yedlin would probably post-process to. 

On the other hand, Mr. Sandgren is pushing the film emulsion fairly hard into underexposure territory here, perhaps not to the limit but close to it. Of course, he’s shooting on slower anamorphic lenses and LA at night is much darker than Tokyo. And he is going for a more punchy look to begin with. But if you lifted the shadows in most of those shots, I suspect that there won’t be much more detail there, just film grain. That’s a guess based on shooting 5219 somewhat recently and grading the 5K log scans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always when you push any image technology to the extremes that the inherent design structure is revealed, it's just that we've had 100 years to get used to the artifacts that extreme exposure of film creates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

On the big screen, at the movies, I've never yet been fooled by digital cinematography into thinking it was shot on film. I can always tell. Pretty quickly.

Yedlin is the only person whose been able to fool me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

Ah, film snobs. Gotta love 'em.

🙂 Well, Stuart, technically a snob is someone who cares more, or only cares, for the superficial, social-climbing 'score points' of a situation than for artistic taste. And that's the absolute last thing I am. Actually I've suffered the brunt of snobs in what I seek to do. Snobs aren't all bad, though ... they're often the ones filling the seats, paying the way for creative people. So here's to art snobs. They're a vital part of the arts economy. But me one of 'em? Nah. I want to shoot on film because I think the image looks so good.

Edited by Jon O'Brien
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

I don’t agree with your conclusion. Mr. Yedlin has basically already done that with ‘The Last Jedi.’ I know personally that in the theater I didn’t notice a big shift in format, scene to scene. Of course, everybody is different but I like to think that my eye is pretty sensitive to that sort of thing.

I think the reason his method works is that he doesn’t push either format beyond what it can capture. By keeping them ‘within bounds’ and capturing all the highlights and shadows, he’s able to make them match later. 

But with the two examples above, Mr. Hoytema is pushing the Alexa beyond what a film emulsion can capture in the shadows. That’s what makes it ‘look digital.’ Still beautiful, just not as film-like as Mr. Yedlin would probably post-process to. 

On the other hand, Mr. Sandgren is pushing the film emulsion fairly hard into underexposure territory here, perhaps not to the limit but close to it. Of course, he’s shooting on slower anamorphic lenses and LA at night is much darker than Tokyo. And he is going for a more punchy look to begin with. But if you lifted the shadows in most of those shots, I suspect that there won’t be much more detail there, just film grain. That’s a guess based on shooting 5219 somewhat recently and grading the 5K log scans.

Except that you can tell on The Last Jedi, I'm not going to go into a spiral again but I've seen his special sauce on Danny Collins, San Andreas, etc and they just look like plain old digital as does Knives Out. Agreed otherwise on Her. It's one of those rare films where I'll sort of agree that, yes film would have looked better, it was right for the film and as him and Spike said, it was the only way they could capture those interiors in Theodore's apartment with the city lights outside. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

film is dead unfortunately  ..   .. ..  someone had to say it .. ..  either the cameras go first ... I presume they are not being made anymore ...or film itself ceases to be manufactured  ..     solid state.. its here to stay .. its amazing film has hung on so long in the feature / commercial world.. it died 30 years ago for everyone else toting a camera for a living ..

  • Downvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Robin R Probyn said:

film is dead unfortunately  ..   .. ..  someone had to say it .. ..  either the cameras go first ... I presume they are not being made anymore ...or film itself ceases to be manufactured  ..     solid state.. its here to stay .. its amazing film has hung on so long in the feature / commercial world.. it died 30 years ago for everyone else toting a camera for a living ..

Yes, you are definitely correct. Dead it is. Now please, would someone donate to me their Arriflex 416? I can ... ahem ... take it to recycling.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Heikki Repo said:

Yes, you are definitely correct. Dead it is. Now please, would someone donate to me their Arriflex 416? I can ... ahem ... take it to recycling.

I'm also looking for a 435 (for recycling of cource) 😉

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Heikki Repo said:

Dead it is. Now please, would someone donate to me their Arriflex 416? I can ... ahem ... take it to recycling.

Get in line Heikko! There are lot’s of us who want to take that 416, etc with attendant rolls to ‘recycling’.......

As to emulsion, yep it’s sooo dead, we keep buying it off Kodak because we feel so sorry for them that they haven’t realised they are ghosts.......

Sad really.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been getting roughly a Bolex every fortnight lately for service/repair.. someone should tell all these kids the sad news about film’s demise. 

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Manu Delpech said:

Except that you can tell on The Last Jedi, 

Well, as I said we’re all different. You could tell, I couldn’t.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

film is dead unfortunately  ..   .. ..  someone had to say it .. ..  either the cameras go first ... I presume they are not being made anymore ...or film itself ceases to be manufactured  ..     solid state.. its here to stay .. its amazing film has hung on so long in the feature / commercial world.. it died 30 years ago for everyone else toting a camera for a living ..

Robin, you work mainly in corporate and documentary right? So do I. Few in those worlds even remember what film is anymore. But to quote Stephen King, ‘there are other worlds than these.’

That said, I did introduce my director to shooting on 35mm anamorphic on my last corporate job before the shut down. He loved the look of the footage, said it was better than the Alexa Mini footage we shot. So I may be pulling the Moviecam and Arriflex back out of their coffins someday soon, if we ever get back to a semblance of normal.

Anyway, no need to shove our beloved granny into the grave while she’s still kicking. She may be as prickly and ornery as ever, but we still love her.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add my two cents here:

Most productions shoot on film, scan it into a computer, color it on a computer, and finish with a DCP.

If a filmmaker truly wants to get a image that only film can produce, then they need to stick with the film pipeline. Shoot on film, color on film, print on film. (A la Dunkirk) And even then, in Dunkirk's case, the home viewing format is still a digital version of the film print. Quote (from the AC article):

Quote

FotoKem was responsible for processing the project’s puzzle pieces in various combinations to eventually manufacture all the required deliverables...[various film print formats listed]

...creating the movie’s DCP based on in-house color science designed to exactly match the film master; optically creating the anamorphic 35mm version; and generating all home-video deliverables

We're kidding ourselves if we truly believe that we can tell the difference between a digitally captured image and a film captured image when both are brought into the computer and color graded.

It's like trying to determine which brand of knife, oven, and pans the chef used. Does the food taste good? Great, then does it matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • G-Force Grips



    Just Cinema Gear



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Tai Audio



    Paralinx LLC



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    FJS International



    Visual Products



    The Original Slider



    Wooden Camera



    Serious Gear



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Metropolis Post



    CineLab



    Ritter Battery



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Abel Cine



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Glidecam


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...