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Alex Anstey

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

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I'd just like to add to your list Phil: Badly adjusted anamorphic.  This happened the last time I saw a 35mm film at a Cineworld theatre in Weymouth.  I missed a few minutes of Warhorse in my fruitless attempt to complain at the popcorn counter, that half the image was out of focus !  It was obvious then, and probably more so now.... the main problem with film is the dearth of real projectionists.  I'm not sure how you'd solve this, even with perfect Kinotons.

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9 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

But the reality of going to a typical multiplex with one "Booth Usher" threading up projectors for 16 screens tended to not result in perfect presentation.

Me during my years as a one person booth projectionist at a 16 screen plex:

giphy.gif

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7 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

I'd just like to add to your list Phil: Badly adjusted anamorphic.  This happened the last time I saw a 35mm film at a Cineworld theatre in Weymouth.  I missed a few minutes of Warhorse in my fruitless attempt to complain at the popcorn counter, that half the image was out of focus !  It was obvious then, and probably more so now.... the main problem with film is the dearth of real projectionists.  I'm not sure how you'd solve this, even with perfect Kinotons.

Another reason I liked 70mm blow-ups back in the past, 35mm anamorphic movies not shown with poor anamorphic projector lenses.

 

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On 7/27/2020 at 2:07 AM, Tyler Purcell said:

from just the people I work with, the "film" movement is MOSTLY young people. 

Sorry but I need numbers on this. I exclusively work with young people and film isn't even a fathomable option in that demographic.

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On 7/26/2020 at 3:33 AM, Jon O'Brien said:

The number of uber-keen kids out there who love film, absolutely it is their dream, is huge. These young kids will be the vanguard of a whole new movement in bringing back cinema film projection

Please define "young" and "the number"

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Just now, Max Field said:

Please define "young" and "the number"

At Reel Good where I purchase my film,  the owners always tell me that students and young people are the ones buying the most film - mostly 16mm.

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1 minute ago, Robino Jones said:

At Reel Good where I purchase my film,  the owners always tell me that students and young people are the ones buying the most film - mostly 16mm.

For what purpose? Gimmick shooting or entire narratives? Do they say the amount?

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2 minutes ago, Max Field said:

For what purpose? Gimmick shooting or entire narratives? Do they say the amount?

I have no idea.. you can call them they're in L.A.

What is "gimmick shooting" and why do you care so much about how many?

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1 minute ago, Robino Jones said:

I have no idea.. you can call them they're in L.A.

What is "gimmick shooting" and why do you care so much about how many?

The average age on this forum is well above 40 trying to comment on what kids are doing. I'm on sets and productions with Gen Zers all the time and none of them even consider film for a second. Betacam and early CineAlta is the cool vintage scene to them. The only time I ever catch wind of someone under 30 shooting film is when it's for gimmicky skate-footy

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8 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

I'd just like to add to your list Phil: Badly adjusted anamorphic.  This happened the last time I saw a 35mm film at a Cineworld theatre in Weymouth.  I missed a few minutes of Warhorse in my fruitless attempt to complain at the popcorn counter, that half the image was out of focus !  It was obvious then, and probably more so now.... the main problem with film is the dearth of real projectionists.  I'm not sure how you'd solve this, even with perfect Kinotons.

I used to get anxious at Eastbourne Cineworld and sit near the the end of the row so I could quickly run out and shout at someone.  What ever they used to automate the anamorphic lens changes after the trailers could be hit and miss.

Projectionists became an endangered species once long play platters and automation got more sophisticated. Cheaper to have someone on close to minimum wage thread up and set the timer and just hope the film starts in frame/in focus.  Projection standards in most locations were pretty lax in most locations by the late 90s. You'd still get proper projectionists in big cities and art house cinemas - but out in the sticks you were at the mercy of Cine-world. 

I was very anti digital projection the first time I saw "Attack of the Clones" on the prototype 1.3K DLP projector - the on screen image looked like the display of a washed out IBM think pad - grey blacks and massive pixels.  I was still a hard core film purist.  But what can I say, places like Cine-World wore me down and digital kept getting better. I've been won over and as I've learn more about filmmaking I've less fixated on the technology (although I'm pretty high on the nerd scale) and think more about the other stuff.. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Max Field said:

The average age on this forum is well above 40 trying to comment on what kids are doing. I'm on sets and productions with Gen Zers all the time and none of them even consider film for a second. Betacam and early CineAlta is the cool vintage scene to them. The only time I ever catch wind of someone under 30 shooting film is when it's for gimmicky skate-footy

16mm is still core curriculum at CalArts. Half our classes are film production on film (from A/B cutting to experimental hand-processing and contact printing) and half our screening classes are on film, from 8mm to 35mm.

I worked as a film projectionist, film archive inspector, 16/35 telecine technician, and TA for 16mm classes all at school. There is high enthusiasm for shooting on film, from short experimental works to feature length narrative.

Just to give a sense of what students are interested in. That said, many people come to CalArts specifically for our continued investment in those resources, whereas other schools have ended these programs (comparatively). 

I love both film and digital, and I greatly appreciate how Yedlin approaches the two. Yet I'll shoot film as long as I can afford it

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1 hour ago, Simon Gulergun said:

16mm is still core curriculum at CalArts. Half our classes are film production on film (from A/B cutting to experimental hand-processing and contact printing) and half our screening classes are on film, from 8mm to 35mm.

Not arguing that but what percent of active CalArts students make up the total number of people in narrative production? Less than 1%? How many of them continue trying to secure film for their projects after the school is no longer providing handouts/discounts?

I'm getting at an economic issue. Rather than trying to save film we should be pushing digital companies into better color capture methods.

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57 minutes ago, Max Field said:

I'm getting at an economic issue. Rather than trying to save film we should be pushing digital companies into better color capture methods.

Does it have to be an either/or scenario? Can’t we do both?

3 hours ago, Max Field said:

The average age on this forum is well above 40 trying to comment on what kids are doing. I'm on sets and productions with Gen Zers all the time and none of them even consider film for a second. Betacam and early CineAlta is the cool vintage scene to them. The only time I ever catch wind of someone under 30 shooting film is when it's for gimmicky skate-footy

Early CineAlta is cool vintage? Maybe you hang with a particular crowd of young-uns? It’s a big world out there, don’t assume your experience is a generalised cross-section.

All I can tell you (from my sad place well above 40) is that every person whose Bolex I service is in their 20s, and I’m servicing more now than I have ever done.

Of course it’s not mainstream, it’s experimental or music vid or arty shorts, but there are lots of young people interested in trying it out. 

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Somewhat in the spirit of Darth Vader, don't be too proud of your youth, you young-uns. It quickly runs out. It's amazing and nothing is more sure, the speed of that change.

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Posted (edited)

I think these are all extremely valid points that have recently been raised here regarding cinema film projection for feature movies. The cineplex with a rank or 'gun deck' of dual 35 mm or platter system projectors will almost certainly never be back, and that's quite okay as, after all, digital projection is rather nice, too.

The only feasible scenario that will really work with a cinema that operates as a business (and not by Government subsidy) with film projectors is a one-off and out-of-the-ordinary establishment with a dedicated single screen or at least not many screens and a real team of pros running the projection booth. That will be a rare situation but a doable one. The ticket price would presumably have to be higher, but maybe not by much. It's difficult but I can see it working.

Then again, presumably many cinema companies are recouping millions they spent equipping and then upgrading for full digital so they would have to factor in that cost to their ticket price as well.

There are many dire stories of terrible projection of film for features but in the seventies and eighties I was an avid cinema goer and not once, not once, ever saw an out of focus or jittery or terribly dirty (I don't mind a slightly, old and scratched print myself) or flickery movie back then. Confidence people, come on, confidence! Let's not talk down what is clearly possible. Good, dedicated and keen young projectionists is the answer and there are people in big cities champing at the bit to do it.

Edited by Jon O'Brien

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I fail to see the logic when everyone here seems to agree that regardless film or digital, it's all about the screenplay and production design for making a good movie.

So with that in mind, multiple posts here have stated that just producing a final feature print for projection is around $10,000+?
Why should we cling on to far more expensive methods when the majority of moviegoers won't even care?

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30 minutes ago, Max Field said:

I fail to see the logic when everyone here seems to agree that regardless film or digital, it's all about the screenplay and production design for making a good movie.

So with that in mind, multiple posts here have stated that just producing a final feature print for projection is around $10,000+?
Why should we cling on to far more expensive methods when the majority of moviegoers won't even care?

My point put a lot better ..   but here is the problem ,there are some who insist that regardless of anything else ,using film is the most important factor above all, and that without its presence .. any project is destined to be fundamentally ,and without question, mediocre crap ..  .... its lovely for enthusiasts to get misty eyed over film and my heart is with them.. young folk are gathering in their masses, wearing berets and clutching their bolex camera,s by the barricades .. film will rise .. music swells .. to take back its rightful place .. sadly in reality its a bunch of accountants who have decided 15 years ago film is going .. the lucky thing is that digital is now on a par and at least the accountants decision doesn't mean a drop in optical quality .. 

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2 hours ago, Max Field said:

Why should we cling on to far more expensive methods when the majority of moviegoers won't even care?

Who is ‘we’, exactly? If you don’t think film matters, then you aren’t obligated to cling to anything. It’s never been easier to ignore film. 

There are plenty of affordable video cameras that can make great images these days. Plenty of affordable digital post-production tools and delivery platforms. Plenty of beautifully shot digital content to view. So what’s to complain about?

Use whatever camera makes you happy, and allow others to do the same. That’s it, really. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Max Field said:

The average age on this forum is well above 40 trying to comment on what kids are doing. I'm on sets and productions with Gen Zers all the time and none of them even consider film for a second. Betacam and early CineAlta is the cool vintage scene to them. The only time I ever catch wind of someone under 30 shooting film is when it's for gimmicky skate-footy

I'm in my early 30s. I have a couple AC friends who work in LA and definitely work on a fair share of 16mm commercial projects. I know multiple DPs in New York who own 16 and 35mm cameras. I have another friend who shoots pretty much only 16mm and 35mm, commercially. He's mid 30's and based in Paris. This market didn't really exist 6 years ago.

Here's a good example. Newest Drake track, Shot on 16mm with with the Arri 416. 184 Million Views. Does it get more Gen Z or Millenial than that?  Have you heard the song? seen the video? If you haven't, maybe it doesn't exist. 🙂

https://youtu.be/xWggTb45brM

All of the high super end films and commercials are going to either be Alexa, Film or Red, yet all of those other camera companies some how exist. You can't Deny that when the top artists are shooting on film, it says a lot about what people of that demographic are into. These are younger directors and DPs that are shooting film, not hold outs in their 60s or something.

3 hours ago, Max Field said:

I fail to see the logic when everyone here seems to agree that regardless film or digital, it's all about the screenplay and production design for making a good movie.

Well most of the people on this forum get paid to care about what images look like. I think a discussion about images is valid. Steve Yedlin should / could have used the A7S and a custom LUT. It would still be a good film.

2 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

My point put a lot better ..   but here is the problem ,there are some who insist that regardless of anything else ,using film is the most important factor above all, and that without its presence .. any project is destined to be fundamentally ,and without question, mediocre crap ..  .... its lovely for enthusiasts to get misty eyed over film and my heart is with them.. young folk are gathering in their masses, wearing berets and clutching their bolex camera,s by the barricades .. film will rise .. music swells .. to take back its rightful place .. sadly in reality its a bunch of accountants who have decided 15 years ago film is going .. the lucky thing is that digital is now on a par and at least the accountants decision doesn't mean a drop in optical quality .. 

The thing is, this was a more valid argument 5 years ago... The amount of film being shot now compared to then has to be 10x. I'm not sure where it will be in 10 or 15 years, but at the moment, it is seeing more a revival than a death.

The two biggest features of 2020 are film; Bond and Tenet. Wonder Woman is 65 and a quiet place 2 is 35mm. Nobody is shooting a feature on the C500 Mk2, Ursa 12k, or the Sony FX9, but those cameras are able to exist. Maybe the market in general is bigger than you think. 

Time will tell. Again, I think it will continue to exist as a niche. People will continue to make tea how they like their tea. Some people will think McDonalds Tea tastes good, other people don't care, some people like small cafes where they charge 5 dollars for a cup. It's good to have options and it's good to push manufactures to build cameras that produce better looking images.

Edited by Ben Ericson
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2 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

 but here is the problem ,there are some who insist that regardless of anything else ,using film is the most important factor above all, and that without its presence .. any project is destined to be fundamentally ,and without question, mediocre crap ..  ....

.. the lucky thing is that digital is now on a par and at least the accountants decision doesn't mean a drop in optical quality .. 

Aren’t these both just opinions? Aesthetic judgements to which there is no correct answer?

This is what these threads always devolve into, going round and round the hamster wheel. A bit silly, no? 

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2 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Aren’t these both just opinions? Aesthetic judgements to which there is no correct answer?

This is what these threads always devolve into, going round and round the hamster wheel. A bit silly, no? 

Yes I agree .. but its a one way street ..some of  the film enthusiasts have this blinkered, almost zealot view that any movie not shot on film, is fundamentally flawed .. regardless of anything else ..  I try to save them but they are beyond help .. 🙂 

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"When the majority of moviegoers won't even care" Such a weak and uninspired argument. Why make this or that film when the majority of people won't care? Why shoot anamorphic when the majority won't care? Why do anything? I do it for the film, for myself,  I don't care if the majority have no idea it's shot on film, I know, and it matters to me. And I think it looks better, and it makes me feel in a way that digital doesn't, and so on and so on. 

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1 hour ago, Manu Delpech said:

"When the majority of moviegoers won't even care" Such a weak and uninspired argument. Why make this or that film when the majority of people won't care? Why shoot anamorphic when the majority won't care? Why do anything? I do it for the film, for myself,  I don't care if the majority have no idea it's shot on film, I know, and it matters to me. And I think it looks better, and it makes me feel in a way that digital doesn't, and so on and so on. 

I rest my case your honor .. no further questions .. 

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The basic rule of film production is if the filmmaker introduces it as:

"My 35mm short film...." 

Its nearly always terrible... its an immutable. 

If the technology is the first thing the filmmaker mentions, they have their priorities wrong. 

(this isn't just a film issue -digital has its own share of miss priorities.  "My RED 8K anamorphic film..." is just as likely to be just as meh, but higher resolution and less grain)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Phil Connolly said:

The basic rule of film production is if the filmmaker introduces it as:

"My 35mm short film...." 

Its nearly always terrible... its an immutable. 

If the technology is the first thing the filmmaker mentions, they have their priorities wrong. 

(this isn't just a film issue -digital has its own share of miss priorities.  "My RED 8K anamorphic film..." is just as likely to be just as meh, but higher resolution and less grain)

 

 

A reply of legendary proportions ..  pure genius sir ..  I prostrate myself at your feet .. 

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