new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by MovieStuff » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:56 pm

carllooper wrote:
MovieStuff wrote:Actually, it is.
And what is your argument in defense of this proposition?

Or are we to simply to have faith.

C
When pixel sizes are reduced to the point that it takes large groups of them to represent a single grain of film and the make up of those pixels is studied and known, then it is possible to create a single, artificial digital film grain that would be indistinguishable to the average viewer from actual film grain that has also been transferred to digital. And if those artificial film grains are then randomly spaced around each frame and never repeat their position, then you effectively have the solution to the problem of emmulating the dance of film grain, which I thought this discussion was about. Again, I am addressing an aesthetic problem common to creating an acceptable "film look" for audiences and not a technical problem.

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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:21 am

MovieStuff wrote:When pixel sizes are reduced to the point that it takes large groups of them to represent a single grain of film and the make up of those pixels is studied and known, then it is possible to create a single, artificial digital film grain that would be indistinguishable to the average viewer from actual film grain that has also been transferred to digital. And if those artificial film grains are then randomly spaced around each frame and never repeat their position, then you effectively have the solution to the problem of emmulating the dance of film grain, which I thought this discussion was about. Again, I am addressing an aesthetic problem common to creating an acceptable "film look" for audiences and not a technical problem.
Ok. Yes, if the discussion is altered to the question of how to get dancing grain effects, (for whatever reason, technical or aesthetic) then there is method to this madness. But one can get those effects even if the source was SD. There' no reason to pack in more pixels to obtain this effect. But in any case the discussion is in terms of how to engineer warmth in an otherwise digital solution. Not how to engineer "dancing grain effects".

When I say you are "incorrect" I only say that with respect to the implication/suggestion that there would be no technical reason for otherwise using digital grain. But there is a very good reason for doing so, and it has nothing to do with fooling an audience, but sustaining a signal in lower bandwidth conditions. And that this has everything to do with anti-aliasing, rather than nothing to do with such.

The way in which film works, whether intentional, or a happy side effect, is that the random distribution of the light sensitive particles, acts as an anti-aliasing stage in the transfer of an image (in light) to lower bandwidth conditions (film).

From an aesthetic point of view (if such can even be understood as any different from a technical point of view) I have no idea why one would want to fool an audience anyway. For one thing it costs more to do such. And for another I don't believe it fools anyone other than oneself.

C
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by MovieStuff » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:33 am

carllooper wrote:
MovieStuff wrote:When pixel sizes are reduced to the point that it takes large groups of them to represent a single grain of film and the make up of those pixels is studied and known, then it is possible to create a single, artificial digital film grain that would be indistinguishable to the average viewer from actual film grain that has also been transferred to digital. And if those artificial film grains are then randomly spaced around each frame and never repeat their position, then you effectively have the solution to the problem of emmulating the dance of film grain, which I thought this discussion was about. Again, I am addressing an aesthetic problem common to creating an acceptable "film look" for audiences and not a technical problem.
Ok. Yes, if the discussion is altered to the question of how to get dancing grain effects, (for whatever reason, technical or aesthetic) then there is method to this madness. But one can get those effects even if the source was SD. There' no reason to pack in more pixels to obtain this effect.
Of course there is. To reduce or eliminate the possibility of aliasing or getting a moire pattern.
carllooper wrote:But in any case the discussion is in terms of how to engineer warmth in an otherwise digital solution. Not how to engineer "dancing grain effects".
????? Seriously, Carl? Go back to Pyrod's post about creating the effect of random grain via random groupings of pixels and your response and then my response to your response, etc. This is about nothing BUT creating a the effect of a random grain pattern.

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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:47 am

MovieStuff wrote:????? Seriously, Carl? Go back to Pyrod's post about creating the effect of random grain via random groupings of pixels and your response and then my response to your response, etc. This is about nothing BUT creating a the effect of a random grain pattern.
Perhaps you could go back to my original post, to which Pyrod's post is a response, and get the bigger picture. Otherwise you are just introducing redundant noise.

And it's true that packing in more pixels does reduce aliasing, but not completely. But it doesn't contribute one iota to obtaining dancing grain effects (which is what I was clearly saying). Film, on the other hand, eliminates aliasing completely. And it eliminates it through the random distribution of the photo-sensitive sites. What we're talking about is how to do the same in a proposed digital system. How to eliminate aliasing. And in film the way it does this obviously has nothing to do with engineering "dancing film grain".

Now this wouldn't matter if one didn't mind a little aliasing in one's digital. However the proposition is that the difference between film and conventional digital is due to aliasing in digital (large or small). Whether this is correct is perhaps the real issue. In any case this is the proposition: that residual aliasing in digital gives it that "cold" look and that film obtains it's "warm" look through the way it completely eliminates aliasing.

C
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by MovieStuff » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:00 am

carllooper wrote:
Perhaps you could go back to my original post, to which Pyrod's post is a response.....
But I wasn't addressing YOUR original post nor was I attempting to change the subject. I was only addressing Pyrod's post and your subsequent response to Pyrod's post. So, rather than me trying to change the subject to "dancing grains" arbitrarily, the subject changed when Pyrod asked his question.These discussions change on a dime. :)

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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:07 am

MovieStuff wrote:These discussions change on a dime. :)
Yes, I can see that. And just as equally I can change it back again. :)

C
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by RCBasher » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:13 am

I still don't get this obsession with making digital look like film. Both products have their own merits and demerits and just like other choices in life (e.g. the car we may decide to buy) we make a personal choice as to which we prefer. Some like lots of grain but you can bet $$$$$ were spent by Kodak and others trying to reduce grain in film! If things were the other way around and digital was the old guy and film was the new kid on the block, would the sentimentalists be backing digital and trying to make this new-fangled random film stuff look like digital?
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:36 am

RCBasher wrote:I still don't get this obsession with making digital look like film. Both products have their own merits and demerits and just like other choices in life (e.g. the car we may decide to buy) we make a personal choice as to which we prefer. Some like lots of grain but you can bet $$$$$ were spent by Kodak and others trying to reduce grain in film! If things were the other way around and digital was the old guy and film was the new kid on the block, would the sentimentalists be backing digital and trying to make this new-fangled random film stuff look like digital?
:)
If we return to film, or otherwise seek to re-engineer digital, it's not to get something that superficially looks like film - it's to get more of what film gets.

To get that "warmth", which is as good a technical term as any.

Grain is not fundamentally a problem. Its fundamentally a solution. The efforts to reduce "graininess" are not efforts to reduce what grain otherwise solves - but to reduce the side-effect of that solution - the graininess or "dancing grain" effect. And for many this side-effect is actually a pleasant experience. But if one does want to eliminate grain (rather than just graininess) then the simple solution is to shoot digital, a secondary effect of which will also be the elimination of graininess. But a downside (for some) is a certain coldness which occurs. Or at least that's the proposition. And the corresponding argument is that one can't fix that coldness by adding graininess back in (if ever that was one's belief). One has to re-introduce the root mechanism for which graininess will be the byproduct again (desireable or otherwise). And if you don't want graininess in the first place, why would you want to add it back in anyway? The root mechanism in film isn't there for creating graininess. It's there for the elimination of aliasing (whether that was ever intentional or just a happy accident). In digital, packing in more sensor cells can also help to reduce aliasing, but it doesn't completely eliminate it. But there are other ways, which the nature of film, or organic retinas, can teach us. Its really just a question of finding some cost-effective way of doing so. If one is so inclined.

All technology has it's merits (and not just in terms of look). For example, I use digital far more often than I use film, for many reasons, not the least being it is far cheaper. And the purposes to which I use it does not require the look that film obtains. It requires or fits into the look that digital provides. Another reason is that, for me at least, there are (now) more economic opportunites that digital provides, ie. from which I can earn a living and pay the rent. But that's not to say one can't also pursue similar opportunities that film might also provide.

And there's a lot more to film than just look (or economic opportunitites, or absence of such). There are aspects of film production for which digital can't ever be a substitute. And vice versa. Simply because they are just not the same thing. If digital is inspired by film and ends up getting more of what film gets in terms of a look, it won't change film as an alternative. Film is already available and it's methods already established, to learn from, modify, or otherwise just appreciate in all of it's amazing qualities. As would be any technology one happens to fall in love with.

C
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by PyrodsTechnology » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:11 pm

Carl, it seems to me that you are turning around the problem like a shark around the prey, but do not decide to attack. Unfortunately my software skills are close to zero, otherwise I would have tried it to see if my idea works or not. ( the goal of my idea was primarily to simulate the 3D effect of film look, in opposition to flatness of video look)

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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by Nicholas Kovats » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:22 pm

Me thinks that Carl's intention is not so much a "shark" encircling it's prey approach but the rigorous application of binary logic. I encourage vigorous debate regarding the simulation of film. But I must admit that relative to digital work I find creating beautiful film based images effortless and immediately pleasing. The "methodology" is sound and perfected.

It is clear that we have yet to exceed the incredible information potential of film. Carl's observation regarding the correlation between film grain and it's anti-alias properties is mind blowing. Or more specifically that film grain is actually the collection of particles. Billions of them, i.e.

"The way in which film works, whether intentional, or a happy side effect, is that the random distribution of the light sensitive particles, acts as an anti-aliasing stage in the transfer of an image (in light) to lower bandwidth conditions (film)."

The wonderful wacky world of incredibly small film particles. As in microns., i.e.

"In the table below it can be seen that the size of film grain is often larger than the ability of
film to resolve detail of a specific size: 10-30 microns (um) vs. 8 um. This strongly suggests
that (a) film grain and (b) the ability to resolving detail are different properties."

SOURCE: http://vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/fi ... on_v24.pdf
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:37 am

PyrodsTechnology wrote:Carl, it seems to me that you are turning around the problem like a shark around the prey, but do not decide to attack.
Yes, that's probably correct.

Or a cat toying with a mouse perhaps?

I've toyed around with simulations of the mechanics. For example: generating random hexagons of various sizes and shape, randomly distributed, and triggering their presence/absence as a function of photon distribution.

The signal I use to drive the simulation is a computed signal - not one pulled in from a photographic source. Everything is computer generated. Which means I can compute the hexagons to arbitrarily high precision and the wave function driving the photon distribution to arbitrarily high precision. And I can convince myself of the way in which film does anti-aliasing (if I wasn't already convinced).

Image

So could we just use the same methods, used in the simulation, to process a digital photograph?

Yes, but if we pull in a photographic signal obtained through a regular sensor grid, to drive the photon distribution, all we're doing is recreating the problem. The proposition is that the "flatness" (or "coldness") of digital/video is a function of residual aliasing and that this is baked into the signal, ie. one can't process the signal in any way to remove it. Or if the proposition is incorrect, I don't yet have any other proposition that could be coded up and tested.

The problem (as proposed) is the regular arrangement of the sensor cells. And I'm not sure that just packing in more sensor cells would help to resolve the goal. Without altering the regularity, such an approach could very well be increasing some as yet un-theorised dimension of the problem.

Anti-aliasing in film works in a completely different way - and is not nearly as costly in terms of problem solving. Film exploits the random distribution of physical material in a film. There's no robot ensuring each grain/particle is placed in a regular grid. There's no robot creating the problem in the first place. And if it insists on regularity, no matter how many sensor cells a robot can pack into a square, it can't get anywhere near the anti-aliasing that film obtains. Film does it through what amounts to controlled chaos. For its not the size, or position, of the particles that matters, but the variability of such: that these two parameters vary (within whatever bounds) and that they do so randomly. And in film this randomness is to an infinite precision (so to speak).

This completely eliminates aliasing. Or to be clearer, it doesn't create the conditions, in which aliasing would occur, in the first place.

Now a proposed digital sensor made the same way wouldn't be simulating film as such. It would be using the same principles that film uses. The principle doesn't belong to film technology. It belongs to the nature of the universe, which film technology exploits. Or that a proposed digital sensor might also exploit. An ironic outcome would be that, after testing out various ways of doing so, one arrived back at film technology as the simplest way to do it.

And as Nicholas observes, here today, film is the simplest way to do it.

Now there's nothing wrong with doing digital simulations. I do them all the time. Its a cheap way to test out and otherwise experience concepts from another angle. But it can also be deeply unsatisfying. Like being in some sort of dream from which one wants to, but can't wake up.

C

Image
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by Nicholas Kovats » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:59 am

Organic random "quantum" particle filmmaking here I come!
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by wahiba » Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:10 pm

This is really the old audio analogue/digital debate taken to a new level with images.

However, let us be brutally honest. Most people, me included, cannot tell the difference between a digital and an analogue audio, except the latter might have clicks and scratched.

Same for analogue and digital imagery except the latter might have hairs in the gate!

The great thing about technology is that it also permits us to continue with old systems out of interest rather than necessity.

Debates about change probably started in the caves of the ice age. New fangle flint, you cannot really beat good old bone!!

Long may it go on. maybe there is a film it there somewhere?
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by carllooper » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:47 pm

wahiba wrote:This is really the old audio analogue/digital debate taken to a new level with images.

However, let us be brutally honest. Most people, me included, cannot tell the difference between a digital and an analogue audio, except the latter might have clicks and scratched.

Same for analogue and digital imagery except the latter might have hairs in the gate!

The great thing about technology is that it also permits us to continue with old systems out of interest rather than necessity.

Debates about change probably started in the caves of the ice age. New fangle flint, you cannot really beat good old bone!!

Long may it go on. maybe there is a film it there somewhere?

New technology, you would think, is a result of a desire for and/or discovery of something better than an existing technology. And this is typically the case. But it's not always obvious what aspect of an existing technology is being improved. But it can be made obvious.

With the invention of tv, video and digital, their adoption wasn't in terms of a better image with respect to film. It was in terms of something else. For example, it wasn't for image quality reasons that NASA did not use film to broadcast the lunar landing. Video, for it's part, doesn't emerge as an alternative to film in terms of image quality. It emerges as a more effective way of storing/retrieving a tv signal. And digital emerges firstly as a computational/language system. It's relation to images and sounds is something that comes much later, and then only to re-argue the status of language as a system prior to sensory systems.

We should not forget that early digital images are easily distinguishable from film. And are, by conventional criteria, poorer in quality. In terms of image quality the digital image is invented as a worse technology! The same goes for video before it, and tv before that. If we're telling the story in terms of image quality alone, we get a story where new technology is going backwards!

For what possible reason would one adopt a worse technology? Answering that question is the real question, rather than how to maintain the idea that technology always is, was, or should be, an improvement on every front.

But this invention of images that are worse than an already existing technology introduces this strange interval in modernism where the new technology will then do it's best to catch-up or more strangely, to converge on the other understood as better - to become the same as the better one. The concept of Modernism (progress) would otherwise be in trouble. It is the era of Simulation. A restart of ideals created in the renaissance (to relive the Ancients). To reach that apparent Nirvana where one can't tell-the-difference. As if this state were desireable. As if sameness were some pinnacle of human achievement. But it's only an interval. Modernism doesn't require this convergence. It is purely the retrograde step that produces this apparent direction towards sameness. One step backward, doesn't reach two steps forward, without passing through one step forward, ie. back through the starting position. Through simulation.

And that's purely from a conservative position, ie. using conservative notions of image quality and history (modernism).

Introduce more radical notions of image quality and the concept of modernism/progress becomes unstable. As it should. For there is no fundamental reason why any image should be considered 'better' or 'worse' than any other. A 40,000 year old cave painting is no better, and no worse, than some painting made yesterday. Picasso as, some supposed pinnacle of modernism and originality will acquire this position while actually appropriating techniques of art practised in Africa for thousands of years. Its not until post-modernism does the same, in a more obvious and critical way, that modernism will be unmasked.

The question becomes, not if we can tell the difference between one technology and another (quite often we seemingly can't), but how to make a difference between them. To make such visible rather than invisible. And one answer to that question is by looking at the differences, however small, and amplifying such. To prise apart this convergence. To deconstruct a narcotic desire for sameness. To critique an implosive desire for a Unified Theory of Everything.

And this is already happening. No longer is the digital domain that interested in simulating a film image. It is breaking free of this peculiar gravitational pull.

And film, for it's part, is pursuing it's alternative path.

Divergence.

C
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Re: new digital camera better than 35mm film?!

Post by wahiba » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:00 pm

Remember:

Nothing is forever. :ymsigh:

Anyone carrying a flag for analogue video? ;)

Anyone carrying a flag for tape? ;;)

I actually have a nice Canon digital tape camcorder. While 576 is not quite as good as 720 on our domestic TV there is very little difference. I am thinking of using this Canon a bit has it has one feature that virtually all domestic digital stuff no longer has, an eye level view finder. Also it can be edited on an older computer. Perfectly fine for YouTube, Vimeo etc.
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