Episode 2, Roger Ebert, and the shortcomings of digital

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What do you think of George Lucas' decission to shoot Star Wars Episode 2 in digital video?

He should have shot on film, DV is not yet ready to compete with film.
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MovieStuff
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Post by MovieStuff » Mon May 20, 2002 2:56 pm

marc wrote:Tough pill to swallow? most of us swallowed that pill a long time ago when we saw countless footage of ours and/ or other people's home movie footage. That was our education in the difference between quality and simple trigger pulling.
Hi, Marc!

Well, obviously, you and other caring people like you are not the super 8 film makers I was referring to. There are a lot of super 8 film makers out there that care about quality and the end result shows. However, they are the exception and not the rule, from what I've seen over the years. My point is simply that many super 8 film makers don't really use their "full-auto-everything" super 8 cameras any differently than many using their "full-auto-everything" miniDV cameras. The only difference is that one gets an automatic, genuine "film look" by using super 8 and THAT difference seems to be the cheat that too many amateur film makers rest their laurels on; as if it merely "being film" somehow elevated their efforts to a level above the same shot on miniDV. Those people are the ones, I think, that are the most threatened by the coming digital revolution because their film look "trick" will become common place.

I've seen the miniDV 24P and it looks damned good. Not Kodachrome but, hey, there's always room for different types of "film look" other than Kodachrome in the world. I still prefer the look of K40 for super 8 but I can see how those super 8 "film makers" (and I use that term loosely) with a vested interest in protecting their egos would bristle at the thought of vidiots armed with 24P miniDVs edging in on their turf. For THOSE super 8 film makers, the coming advent of 24P miniDV IS going to be a though pill to swallow as the limitations of their own material will suddenly be more obvious than before and the fact that it is Kodachrome won't be enough to differentiate it from the other 24P point and shoot hacks.

As you say, any village idiot can pull the trigger and, in most villages, there's already enough idiots around. Don't need more, regardless of whether the medium is "true" film or "digital" film. So, in that sense, I think you and I are in agreement: Content and expertise is what sets the final results apart, not the medium. To that end (and as it relates to this thread) I would rather have good entertaining content, even on 24P, than boring and underachieved content on 24F where, too often, the mere fact that it is 24F is supposed to engender some sort of reverence that supersedes all other deficiencies.

Roger

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Post by crimsonson » Mon May 20, 2002 7:38 pm

Roger
You actually agree with me :)

I just want to clarify that art is not "dirty" word. I think people have a perception that an artist is some kind of recluse that has nothing better to do but create esoteric and obscure pieces. In fact that is far from the case.

Regarding cinema as a narative tool, I too agree but I think there is a perception that if a movie ends up being some kind of high art it is not entertaining or even a comprehensible piece. Most popcorn movies critics and fans and high art critics and fans do tend to agree on the great movies - Godfather, Casablanca, Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, etc.

Second, even the most low brow movies I have seen (even B flics) ARE art. And I am far from the only person to think so. Just illustrate when great French director Oliver Assayas was asked what was his "guilty pleasures:"
he replied I dont have any. In fact I celebrate every movie I enjoy.


Pick up any of those "high art" cinema magazines (even those foreign ones) and you will be surprised how many popcorn movies are discussed, reviewed, praised, panned, and etc.

Cinema is ART. No matter who makes it. The responsibility of cinema is subjective, though I do agree its overwhelming duty as a narative tool. But for me I find paying $10 and 2 hours of my life should be something new or even shocking or at least interesting. That could be a fart or the discussion on some kind of "ism." For $10 and 2 hours make it at least interesting and treat me like I actually think (or at least I think I can).

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Post by paul » Tue May 21, 2002 9:37 pm

Hi Roger!

I was just wondering..what is so special about the mini dv 24p camera. if it is only the 24 progressive scan frame speed, i wonder what will make it such a strong competition for super 8. After all there was and is the very popular canon xl 1 s which had a 25 fps progressive scan (the Pal versions) ("film mode") and, as far as I know, this has not been competitive for most super 8 film makers. Or are there different qualities you see in that 24 p camera which make it competitive for super 8 ?? Just wondering (besides I heard that the Pal edition 0f the above mentioned camera is not going to be equiped with the 24P feature.) And what about the lens? the lenses on about all the mini dv camera's seriously harm the full potential of the cameras because of their limited quality.

Paul

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Post by crimsonson » Tue May 21, 2002 9:58 pm

The upcoming Panasonic 24P miniDV will be released this September. Its was introduced at NAB in Vegas. So final specs can still change. The camera will do an internal 3:2 pulldown in order to be up to spec under DV requirements (4:1:1, 5:1, 29.97fps, etc). However, it will flag the original 24 frames so an NLE capable of doing 24p will pull only the original 24p.

How will affect S8 filmmakers. Not much I guess, since many are hardcore S8 fans to begin with. And a starting price of aroun $3500- many of you would probably spend in on 7008 Pro instead.

The camera will actually sport a Leica lens. One of the worlds best manufacturers of phtographic lenses (up there with Zeiss and Cookes). Regarding miniDV lenses. Remember just like Super 8 you get what you pay for. High end Super 8 cams tend to have nice lenses from Canon, Angeniuex and Schneider. Same with miniDV. Sony use to put Ziess lenses on some of their camcorders.
If you want to see a what miniDV format can check out a camera that has interchangeable lenses liek a traditional ENG Beta cam does. DSR 500 is such.

BTW- The Canon's "Progressive" mode was actually pseudo progressive. It is not true progressive.

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Post by mattias » Wed May 22, 2002 12:23 am

what do you mean pseudo progressive? both fields are captured at the same moment in time. what else do you need? sure, the resolution is a little lower, since the technology is pixel shift based, but that has nothing to do with the resulting image being progressive, as opposed to interlaced, or not. a 100x100 or whatever image can be just as progressive as a 720x576 one...

/matt

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Post by paul » Wed May 22, 2002 1:55 am

Yeah I heard that too. The camera still works at 60 HZ, the 24 fp is a kind of pull down system, with the 30 frames a second as the original base. But for that kind of discussions one should go to http://www.2-pop.com. There is a guy, a representative of Panasonic, named Jan Crittenden, which has posted a few articles on this matter in the dv camera section.

Paul

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Post by paul » Wed May 22, 2002 1:58 am

sorry I misread the last post, dyslectic perhaps?

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Post by crimsonson » Wed May 22, 2002 4:02 am

Because the image is NOT captured as one frame - the true meaning of progressive frame. Instead it captures in fields and sends it in to a buffer and creates a frame by interpolation within the buffer.

Why do you think Canon calls it "Movie Mode" and not progressive mode?

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Post by MovieStuff » Wed May 22, 2002 4:15 am

Hmmm. All the footage I've seen from XL1 cameras in the "movie mode" just looked like regular NTSC deinterlaced. The resolution seemed pretty soft. I assumed that's all they were doing. At any rate, if they aren't just deinterlacing, that's what it LOOKS like to my eyes. The new miniDV 24P footage I saw was razor sharp on all frames and it just plain looked like film transferred on a Rank with a 3:2 pulldown. In fact, when you scroll through it frame by frame, you can see the 3:2 pulldown, just like when 24fps footage is Ranked. Looked darned good, actually.

Roger

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Post by mattias » Wed May 22, 2002 2:36 pm

i'm *fully* aware that the entire ccd isn't used, and that there's some interpolation taking place, but so what? the entire image is in fact captured at the same moment in time, and the resulting image is in fact progressive. what else do you want for it to qualify? the word "true" written on the camera?

anyway, the secret is the pixel shift technology, which means that the 3 ccd's are offset a little to allow for more luma resolution at the expense of some chroma. the result is sharper than a deinterlaced image, but not as sharp as if all the pixels had been used.

why do i think they call it movie mode? i hate that kind of rethorics. basing a discussion on the minds of marketing people doesn't sound like a great idea. why do you think they call it that? you assume to much, to get back to the original topic a little. ;-)


/matt

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Post by crimsonson » Wed May 22, 2002 7:57 pm

Last time I talked to Canon tech was several years ago and themselves could not confirm that it is true progressive.

If I find my old copy of DV magazine I can give you a quote sying the same thing- it aint true progressive

http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article57.htm

From Xl1 Watchdog - a XL1 friendly site

"The XL1 offers another feature that low-budget filmmakers might find interesting—a frame mode. While not a true progressive mode, the frame mode does remove interlace artifacts by discarding the second field of the interlaced signal and interpolating the even lines. "

From DVFilmmakers

"The Sony at 1/30 appears to interpolate one field from the other; it's much better than simple field doubling but not as sharp vertically as the Canon FMM, which in turn is not as sharp as true progressive scan."

Adam Wilt


Again - XL1 cannot be true progessive mode since its CCD is not even true progressive. It captures in Fields. true Progressive CCD capture in frames.
Second the frame it writes on tape is actually created after the CCD - on the buffer. The frame was not from the CCD.


You might not like the rhetoric but it seems like the only people who alludes to progressive frames are Canon ad themselves and I know you would not use their claims as basis for your argument :)

And yes I have used the XL1
I will gladly eat my own words if you can give facts to the contrary.

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Comparing Apples to Oranges?

Post by StopMoWorks » Wed May 22, 2002 10:32 pm

paul wrote: I was just wondering..what is so special about the mini dv 24p...... i wonder what will make it such a strong competition for super 8......or are there different qualities you see in that 24 p camera which make it competitive for super 8 ??
Well, I am probably not as experienced like all of you out here and I have never seen the results of minidv 24p. When Roger or anyone says this feature simulates the look of "film", I was wondering what film format does it look like.....16mm, 35mm? Wouldn't there be different degrees or levels of "film look"? Kind of a subjective call? To me, these larger film format are crisper or sharper than Super8. Also, just my opinion......Super8 has a more "exaggerated" film look & feel (which I esthetically like) when compared to 16mm/35mm. I think Super8 might be in its own category or niche? Perhaps in post, using NLE or plug-ins/software, one can further manipulate the miniDV to give it more a Super8 quality.

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Post by paul » Wed May 22, 2002 11:23 pm

crimsonson wrote:
Perhaps in post, using NLE or plug-ins/software, one can further manipulate the miniDV to give it more a Super8 quality.
I've tried these super 8 filters and althought they gave an "idea" of super 8 (adding dust particles, flicker, but also super 8 - like colours) I didn't find them convincing. Maybe other people (but not of this group, I think)are convinced more easily by these filters, that their watching super 8.
There will always be two kind of people; the ones which are quite indifferent to the quality of the image the see, and the ones who are critical.

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Post by marc » Thu May 23, 2002 2:02 am

Or, as Lenny Lipton put it: " if you are an asthetic illiterate, then you deserve whatever format makes you happy!"
Marc

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Post by crimsonson » Thu May 23, 2002 4:35 am

And if you are an elitist art you deserved to be ignored and apathy from the mass.

Paul please can you correct who you credit the quote to.

"There will always be two kind of people; the ones which are quite indifferent to the quality of the image the see, and the ones who are critical."

there is a third - so critical they forget what the images suppose to do.
Its like those expensive music videos - so sharp, so colorful, so lame.

There is a saying that those who tends to create something original or groundbraking tends to use crude techniques and tools.

Think of Einstein (his first major paper had no references and use a passing train to explain complex physics), Beethoven- Symphony no 9 used several hundred year old tool - a Greek Choir, Picasso (tribal Africa Art), etc.

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