Jump to content

It's 2021 and digital capture still looks like sh


Recommended Posts

man these digital vs film threads are getting toxic. 

as a potentially useful note, OP have you tried using various filtration to help ease the highlights on a given system? Black pro mist filters can do a great job of creating a filmic halation on light sources. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 152
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Seriously? Aren’t you tired of the old ‘film vs digital’ debate yet?

I get the feeling Stuart, that fact-based responses by experienced cinematographers like yourself and Satsuki are somehow not welcome in this thread.    Well, points for self belief I gues

It's irritating because it's been essentially the same argument over and over since at least 2008. Nothing new is ever said. No-one ever changes their mind. A complete waste of bandwidth. At leas

Posted Images

24 minutes ago, Robin Phillips said:

man these digital vs film threads are getting toxic.

what did you expect? they are the only type of religious / political subject matter allowed on the forum  🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, aapo lettinen said:

what did you expect? they are the only type of religious / political subject matter allowed on the forum  🙂

Haha. We could start a wireless vs manual Follow Focus debate. Shooters, pick your sides!

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

I suppose Karim was referring to the clipped highlight on the actual tail light, which turned white-yellow-red, not the red ghosting above it. What's worse, after grading (and "extinguishing" the blown out part), the white area turned slightly cyan. 

 

image.png

Stop the lens down, use an ND filter, or put ND gel on the tail lights. Problem solved. We used to do that on film after taking a spot meter reading as well.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jay Young said:

Eh, in my opinion, the only thing digital capture did was to make viable content that would have never been created in the first place. 

Now on Wendesday, I'm gaffing a commercial for a new client and we are shooting on the Pocket 6k.   Does the client have the money to make a spot on film? Probably.  Would they rather find a DP who can shoot it for 1/10th the cost? Of course.  Do they care? No.

Following that, I'm prepping a feature which is 90% digital, and the director specifically asked to shoot 16mm for a specific sequence because it needs to look visually very different.  Could we do it in post? Yes.  Would it cost more? Probably. Do they care? Yes. 

I believe at this point its no longer about cost.  Producers always love to pay on the back end, and hard up front costs (film stock and lab fees) always make producers nervous.  If the  budget will support it, I always fight to shoot on film, because its my preferred medium. 


Hi Jay, I think you’re right about viable content. I certainly would not have had the opportunity to move up quickly if the Red One camera hadn’t come along in 2007. Or to shoot the majority of the low/no budget projects that I got back then. Of course, I would have preferred to work on 35mm and 16mm had that been a choice, and I still would choose to shoot on film today if it was up to me. But 99% of the time, it’s not. And that’s with me already owning my own film cameras...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't know why the Film vs Digital conversation is irritating so many?

1. Because nothing conclusive could come out of it?

(That's no reason from keep trying)

2. Because practically speaking film is no longer a feasible choice, so why keep harping on it, on and on?

(True. But film needs to remain an aesthetic reference point. Not the only one. But a very useful one. To help us incorporate some of its qualities not only in digital technological development, but also in application by the digital user, especially in post)

3. Because any image made on film can be exactly duplicated with modern digital capture, provided the same exact conditions?

(I know some believe that, but that is completely untrue: Of all the movies shot on film you watched from the 60s to the 80s and all the ones you watched the last ten years that are shot on digital, and I am talking about hundreds if not thousands of productions, do you really think that the cameras could be interchanged and the resulting images would be the same? Do you really think you could make a film look like Taxi Driver today with an Alexa? If you think so, then you and I have a completely different visual systems. Now I excluded productions shot with film in recent years. Those are sometimes highly digitized in post and could sometimes be indistinguishable from digital capture).

I know I get immersed more in the story when the scene is shot on film. Even if it's just a shot of a girl quietly sitting on a bench. I immediately start to wonder what she's thinking about. What is her story. I am trying to understand why that is and honestly I can't put my finger on the right answers. But I'll keep trying. And please don't tell me that it's my imagination. IT IS NOT!!!

I really think this conversation, if carried undogmatically, is useful. 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Raymond Zananiri said:

I just don't know why the Film vs Digital conversation is irritating so many?

Because the vast majority of the time, nothing new is being said. If you read thru the nearly two decades worth of ‘film vs digital’ threads on this forum, you will see that there’s very little meat and a whole lot of fat. 

Re-stating one’s aesthetic preferences is fine, but when it’s done year after year without being based on any new experiences, it gets old. Kinda like the uncle who tells the same story word-for-word every Christmas...

Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Raymond Zananiri said:

I just don't know why the Film vs Digital conversation is irritating so many?

It's irritating because it's been essentially the same argument over and over since at least 2008. Nothing new is ever said. No-one ever changes their mind. A complete waste of bandwidth.

At least in 2008 there were legitimate comments to be made about the quality of HD-Cam, or the RED One sensor. Here in 2021, people are reduced to arguing about the proper reproduction of car tail lights.

It's disappointing to see just how many people are still obsessed with format after all this time.

  • Like 3
  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

I suppose Karim was referring to the clipped highlight on the actual tail light, which turned white-yellow-red, not the red ghosting above it. What's worse, after grading (and "extinguishing" the blown out part), the white area turned slightly cyan. 

 

image.png

close the Iris a bit .. the problem is Karim is not a cameraman .. and thus doesn't really have an understanding of shooting in the field ..  ie  "You'd think someone would have solved this problem by now. I guess I'll have to come up with my own high level solution, and if I do before someone else does, I'll post it on this site."   

  • Downvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Robin R Probyn said:

close the Iris a bit .. the problem is Karim is not a cameraman .. and thus doesn't really have an understanding of shooting in the field ..  ie  "You'd think someone would have solved this problem by now. I guess I'll have to come up with my own high level solution, and if I do before someone else does, I'll post it on this site."   

To be completely fair, that is just about the most persistent and annoying problem with digital capture - the damn things just don't deal well with seriously overexposed high-saturation light. It's not great and it's not always an easy fix.

Film will actually do it too, it's just much harder to make it happen, and usually by the time it's scanned the photochemical process has compressed the dynamic range to the point where highlights stay looking the colour they should.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

I get the feeling Stuart, that fact-based responses by experienced cinematographers like yourself and Satsuki are somehow not welcome in this thread. 

Says who? What evidence do you have for this claim?

12 hours ago, Tomasz Brodecki said:

I suppose Karim was referring to the clipped highlight on the actual tail light, which turned white-yellow-red, not the red ghosting above it.

Yes.

10 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

if all the new digital movies look like crap then people should only watch the old movies shot before 2002 or so and completely ignore any newer stuff just because it is shot digitally?

What an odd thing to say. Who said that all the new digital movies look like crap? Please point me to the exact quote.

10 hours ago, Jay Young said:

Eh, in my opinion, the only thing digital capture did was to make viable content that would have never been created in the first place. 

That is absolutely true. Examples are everywhere.

8 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Stop the lens down, use an ND filter, or put ND gel on the tail lights. Problem solved. We used to do that on film after taking a spot meter reading as well.

That can work. But one cannot put an ND gel on every light. There must be a better way. I am thinking of one right now, but someone might get there first.

Or, even better, a sensor will be made which makes this entire conversation moot. I think Sony had an idea where every other pair of lines on the sensor would be less sensitive by two stops. I don't know if they ever made this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

To be completely fair, that is just about the most persistent and annoying problem with digital capture - the damn things just don't deal well with seriously overexposed high-saturation light. It's not great and it's not always an easy fix.

Film will actually do it too, it's just much harder to make it happen, and usually by the time it's scanned the photochemical process has compressed the dynamic range to the point where highlights stay looking the colour they should.

.. shoot log / lighting / grip gear / exposure setting / you can get alot better results than this example, that seems to be being put forward as the pinnacle of Digital capture , I wonder if it was even shot with Log gamma ,for some weird reason.. anyone could find  the same from some similar corporate shoot on a tight budget shot on film ..  its the usual meaningless post from the amateur film worshipping cult..  on a day release from the institute 🙂 

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

What an odd thing to say. Who said that all the new digital movies look like crap? Please point me to the exact quote.

As far as I have seen, maybe at least 60% of the people on this forum are thinking just that: in almost every situation a scene "would have been better" if shot on film rather than digital. 

Maybe 10% of those people actually work in the film industry and maybe 1% of them are Cinematographers in more than theoretical level.

the rest probably being somehow connected to some type of multimedia industry but maybe not even working full time. What they have in common is that they love to watch movies and argue about them and are interested in the technical aspects of the filmmaking in a theoretical level more than actually doing anything by themselves. 

basically it is the film critics telling the cinematographers how to better do their job. part of the film vs digital silliness for sure 🙂 

 

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

its the usual meaningless post from the amateur film worshipping cult..  on a day release from the institute 🙂 

The "amateur film worshipping cult" includes a few very successful narrative DP's who shoot quite a bit on film. Many lurk on this form and occasionally post. 

I love it when people who shoot on film come on here and share their love for the process and success with the content they created. 

Eventually those comments will overrun the forum, that will be a great day. 

I think many people would rather be labeled "meaningless" amateur, then be some unknown camera guy who shoots reality tv. At least the amateur's get to make their own product, anyway they see fit. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
  • Downvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tyler Purcell said:

film worshipping cult

I have learned enough in the past year developing my own Crystal Sync systems to know that most people are only interested in the film in a very theoretical and nostalgic level. Part of that POV is that they tend to outright reject any new tools or ideas developed after maybe 2005 or so which may seriously affect the survival of film as a shooting medium by my opinion. Amateur or not, but you HAVE TO be able to update cameras and develop new accessories for existing film cameras whenever needed to keep them alive. Even being able to develop completely new cameras like David S. has presented. It is allowed to S16 or U16 modify film cameras so why the heck the electronics cannot be updated too?   one cannot just rely on the availability of the decades old Tobin modifications which pop up on eBay every couple of months, one at a time if ever. People complaining about the availability of Crystal Sync cameras and then rejecting any newly made option which is offered? I don't get it.

Constant evolution and adaptation is the key to survival for any industry and that is one of the pitfalls of the whole film originating image capture. The way I see it, film enthusiasts tend to be somehow "mind-locked" and cannot easily think out of the box when on the other hand, video/digital persons are very adaptive and can immediately update and finesse their tools whenever needed. 

(images are from the Konvas 15EPSS crystal modification I am working on at the moment. Just to show F.W. and others that I am definitely using SMD parts whenever it is needed... )

50990520902_a2892dc57c_b.jpg

50990520952_78d7937044_b.jpg

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, aapo lettinen said:

I have learned enough in the past year developing my own Crystal Sync systems to know that most people are only interested in the film in a very theoretical and nostalgic level. Part of that POV is that they tend to outright reject any new tools or ideas developed after maybe 2005 or so which may seriously affect the survival of film as a shooting medium by my opinion.

Well that's a quite disappointing find. But I agree, there seems to be among film enthusiasts a class of purists who seem suspicious or even hostile towards anything new.

I think all new developments that play together with analog film are to be lauded and encouraged. And I'm really happy Aapo that you do your projects! If I had a camera that needed a new motor, I'd certainly turn to you. As it is, I'm wondering if I should send my ACL to AZ Spectrum for modification, as having more crystal speeds -- especially between 24 and 50 fps -- would be nice to have and AZ has such modification already available...

But this is getting off-topic.

Ahem. I like both digital and film.

 

Carry on 😇

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

As far as I have seen, maybe at least 60% of the people on this forum are thinking just that: in almost every situation a scene "would have been better" if shot on film rather than digital.  

I totally agree with that statement, although the gap has closed over the past two decades. I recall seeing Prometheus on the big screen (the second-last last movie I saw in a cinema) and it looked great. If you know how to wrangle digital images, you really can make them shine. Having 16-bit RAW does help. 😉 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

As far as I have seen, maybe at least 60% of the people on this forum are thinking just that: in almost every situation a scene "would have been better" if shot on film rather than digital. 

Maybe 10% of those people actually work in the film industry and maybe 1% of them are Cinematographers in more than theoretical level.

the rest probably being somehow connected to some type of multimedia industry but maybe not even working full time. What they have in common is that they love to watch movies and argue about them and are interested in the technical aspects of the filmmaking in a theoretical level more than actually doing anything by themselves. 

basically it is the film critics telling the cinematographers how to better do their job. part of the film vs digital silliness for sure 🙂 

 

Well put .. exactly the case ..  .. add a bit of Walter Mitty syndrome and unfortunately that whats happening on this once great forum ..

This comment sums it up entirely ..

"Eventually those comments will overrun the forum, that will be a great day."    overrun ? yikes ..

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

But one cannot put an ND gel on every light.

As I said before, the job is about making exposure choices based on personal taste. Same as it ever was with film. If you can’t control all of the practical light sources in the frame, then you have to choose which is more important - ambient exposure or highlight detail. 

Back then, DPs shooting on film would ND down lampshades and windows, use Streaks n Tips to darken bare bulbs, use ND grad and attenuators filters, and yes put ND gel on car lights. Many DPs still do these things with digital cameras and get similar looking images.

Film negative is not a magical highlight retaining medium, and people who treat it that way without understanding this will inevitably be disappointed with the results. Yes, film is better at holding highlights than any digital camera currently available. But it’s a marginal difference if you know how to expose and grade to get the result you want.

  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s a common complaint, that digital doesn’t handle highlights like film does, and no matter how much it improves, it never seems to be enough for some people. It’s funny that we never hear complaints about the problems that film has with under exposure detail. No one is berating Kodak for not having fixed this issue. It’s just accepted. In fact, when improvements are made to film stock, it’s usually decried by the purists.

The problem with these discussions is that they are generally bad faith arguments on the part of the people starting them, and it’s always the film fans who start them. There are a substantial number of zealots within that group who will never be convinced, for whom no improvement to digital will ever be sufficient. For them, film has taken on the status of a holy grail, an untouchably high standard that can never be equaled. It’s a fantasy that’s sustained by the fact that most of them never actually shoot any.

  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

The problem with these discussions is that they are generally bad faith arguments on the part of the people starting them, and it’s always the film fans who start them. There is a substantial number of zealots within that group who will never be convinced, for whom no improvement to digital will ever be sufficient. For them, film has taken on the status of a holy grail, an untouchably high standard that can never be equaled. It’s a fantasy that’s sustained by the fact that most of them never actually shoot any.

10 - 11 years ago the digital fans where always starting the conversation by claiming that "film is dead because Red is 4K" and so on. Ever since the HDCAM era it has been this absurd competition or "Format Wars" as some might call it.

One of the sad things for purists is that the "film look" they admire which is generally the stuff shot between 1940's and 1980's is non existent nowadays even if you DO shoot on film and with the exactly same lighting style, set design and the same cameras and lenses. That is because those old film stocks and processing are not available anymore and all the admirable imperfections generated by them are lost forever. Same set design and lighting style are challenging to reach because of the current budgets and schedules.

That is a horribly depressing outcome for people who are clinging to the past, trying to recreate the magic of the silver screen exactly as it was when they were still young. One would need to recreate the whole world of the 60's or 70's to reach even a small bit of the true feeling of being there again, in that dark movie theater in a small town long long time ago.

Not saying that there is anything wrong with it, but it is just a little bit sad I think. People trying to recreate a world which was forever lost a long time ago and which is almost impossible to understand by the newer generations.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some art forms embrace technology others don't.  It's tricky cuz aesthetically we plateaued decades ago as far as the most aesthetically pleasing color spaces for cinema.  Most people would agree that film stocks have those color spaces, so many just shoot on film, it is the path of least resistance to the look.  Nontheless, technology is allowing further and further transformation of color spaces, but DP's in general are not spearheading that endeavor.  The issue for the future is the DP's primary collaborator for color is the colorist, who is an artist as well.  They aren't an image processing technician, so for the problem at hand, a developer is needed as a collaborator.  When you say digital can't match film, you are really saying there does not exist a function that can transform digital camera RGB color space, into film color space, it can't even be approximated.   You are saying that there is nothing in computational geometry, supervised machine learning, or vector field interpolation that can solve the problem.  That's probably not true, harder problems have been solved or approximated. A data scientist would probably say this problem is a piece of cake, DP's just need to talk to the right people.

Edited by Ryan Emanuel
  • Like 1
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.




×
×
  • Create New...