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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Post by Guest » Thu May 23, 2002 5:33 am

Crude tools and techniques? Yes, that is why we are using super 8 and not 35mm. So crude that it makes your stomach turn like a soap opera with it's dry appearance? I don't think that I want to take that path, personally, but thanks for asking! Fight for film at all costs even to point of accepting absolute mindless productions just so that we can get the film look? No, I would never ask anybody, including myself, to sink that low. But thankyou for asking!
Marc

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Re: Comparing Apples to Oranges?

Post by MovieStuff » Thu May 23, 2002 6:04 am

StopMoWorks wrote:
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?
Hi, Lio!

I speak only of the motion characteristic, which is the real bugaboo. The difference in color and "emulsion" type is really secondary as there are so many and no one can tell just by looking at a movie what film stock was used, of if ANY film stock was used if it's a good enough "film look". The 24P merely looks like some sort of generic "film" that was imaged and transferred at 24fps to video, complete with the expected 3:2 pulldown. Does it look like Super 8? Nope. It looked much better. (Sorry guys)

Roger

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THE FINAL WORD ON FILM VS. VIDEO

Post by eggbertsmith » Thu May 23, 2002 8:04 am

........I like potatoes.

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Yeah,and

Post by S8 Booster » Thu May 23, 2002 10:38 am

the soap opera continues.

From http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-etc.html

How do I get "film look" shooting with DV cameras?

Buy a used Arriflex 16BL or CP GSMO, stencil "Canon XL1 DV camcorder" on the side, and shoot film!

Seriously, though, the most important way to get a filmlike look is to shoot film style. Light scenes, don't just go with whatever light is there. Use lockdowns or dolly shots, not zooms. Pan and tilt sparingly to avoid motion judder (i.e., if you're using the XL1's frame mode, you shouldn't compose any shot to call attention to the 30 fps motion rendering). If you're using a camera that allows it (VX1000, VX2000, DSR-200, PD150, GL1, most pro cameras), back down the "detail" or "sharpness" control. Reduce chroma slightly. Lock the exposure; don't let it drift. Use wide apertures, selective focus, and "layered" lighting to separate subjects from the background. Pay attention to sound quality. In post, stick mostly to fades, cuts, and dissolves; avoid gimmicky wipes and DVE moves.

Beyond that, you can use "frame mode" on the XL1, GL1, Panasonic AJ-EZ1, or AJ-D215; try 15 or 30 fps on the VX1000. On the Sony it's not the same as frame mode and has other problems, but it may pass as film for some purposes.

On higher-end cameras (DSR-300, DSR-130, AJ-D700, and the like), you may have setup files to adjust gamma, clipping, sharpness, color rendition, and white compression; these can be exploited to give the camera a more filmlike transfer characteristic.

Take the aperture correction (edge enhancement or sharpness setting), if available, and turn it down or off. This also makes a huge difference both in film transfer and in HDTV upconversion.

Try out the Tiffen Pro-Mist filters. I like the Black Pro-Mist #1 or lower (fractional numbers). Jan Crittenden at Panasonic prefers the Warm Pro-Mist 1/2. These knock off a bit of high-frequency detail and add a bit of halation around highlights. Bonus: by fuzzing the light around bright, sharp transitions, these filters have the added effect of reducing hard-to-compress high-contrast edges, resulting in fewer "mosquito noise" artifacts.

In post, there are a variety of filters or processes available to adjust the gamma, extend the red response, and simulate 3-2 pulldown, gate weave, dust and scratches, film fogging, and so on.

In December 1999, Jeffrey Townsend of The Fancy Logo Company wrote me and said:

...and I have only one thought to add (so far):  In your section on getting a film look on video, you should consider referencing the DigiEffects product "CineLook," which was created as an Adobe After Effects plug-in, but works great with Final Cut Pro.  I almost didn't want to write this note, because I'd just as soon not have everybody know about this incredible cheat.  It's gonna kill the terrific black-box technology called FilmLook, because it's so capable, so flexible, and easily as successful in doing what it's supposed to do.

I promise I don't work for DigiEffects.  I've just gotten going on a Final Cut Pro/Canon XL-1 based production studio, and just rendered three commercials with CineLook (after doing exactly what you describe, lighting as though it was film), and I swear it looks like something between superbly transferred 16mm and an ordinary transfer of 35mm.  And I'm still in my first week of playing with it!  I don't even know how to get the most out of it...
I've never seen such an enthusiastic endorsement before, but it tracks other things I've heard about CineLook. They've got a companion product, CineMotion, for faking 3:2 pulldown. They've got packages for Mac, PC, and Unix systems. The DigiEffects stuff isn't cheap, but it would appear to be worth it (and no, I don't work for DigiEffects, either!).

John Jackman writes that a company called BigFX makes a $500 FilmFX plug-in that's faster than CineLook and does a passable job.

Keith Johnson of Xentrik Films & Software was planning on a plug-in called FliXen, but that project seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Ned Nurk of nurkware worked on a standalone processor for Windows called FilmRender (formerly FilmMunge), which batch-processed AVI files. It was by all accounts good, fast, and very affordable. Unfortunately some slimeball crackers hacked his authentication system and pirated it. As a result, Ned stopped development and sales, and the DV world lost a useful tool. Think about that the next time you decide to "borrow" some software!

There are also proprietary processes such as "FilmLook" that, for a price of around $95/minute, makes the video look so film-like that real film looks like video by comparison (joke. Well, at least a little).

Of course, if you really wanted film, why didn't you shoot film?

•••••

George Lucas cares the least anyway and even less about what we think.

Video will always be "taped theater" (static, 24P or not) while film is "moving images". if I got my English right.

RGDS
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Post by Pedro » Thu May 23, 2002 10:59 am

Haven´t seen the film yet, but I will.
I only disagree with the statements, that it´s only the good story, actors, dialogs and director that makes a good film. A film for me is a 1:1 mixture of that "human" factors, originated in theatre and the technology of the media. The technology has the same weight as the human factors, as it is the only way to show the human factor, there are no real actors present on the screen. So the film grain is responsible to transmit the human factor. And a better technology for shure can transmit it better than a poor technology. For this reason, I would prefer 16 mm over S8 if I only could afford it.
Obviously, you can hide lacks in technology with a VERY GOOD screenplay. But the lack in technology persists. And why accept sth of less quality than a standard 35 mm film? I even would prefer the spell of 70 mm, if only offered more times. (yes, we have some 70 mm theatres in Munich!)
Good technology brings good screenplay closer to you.
Introducion of digital video in theatres may be a step to economize costs in the long run, but making it neccessary to educate the audience to accept lower quality standards.
And the digital technology, of lower resolution and contrast, for shure will influence the art of the film. The way the scenes are designed and lighted will have to combine with the limits of technology. Less details, less light contrast, more saturized color areas and so on.
Better let us forget 70 mm projections in cinemas.
Pedro

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Quality of DV film making.

Post by S8 Booster » Thu May 23, 2002 11:30 am

There is no problem to make Digital Film Productions & Cinema projection to match (or surpass) even 70mm film in quality & resolution. It just a matter of data storage capacity, transfer rates and the tiny catch that you will need multiple Crays to process & project it at each theatre. Dump the compression and you are right there.

Its just a matter of very short time before the terraflops becomes that cheap.

RGDS
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Post by mattias » Thu May 23, 2002 11:36 am

> I only disagree with the statements, that it´s only the good story, actors, dialogs and director that makes a good film

yeah, who said that? (sorry, i haven't followed the thread completely). if that was true, why is the director included in the list at all? surely the *way* the story is told has a huge impact...

as for the canon again: sure, it doesn't use progressive scanning of the ccd's, but the result has more infomation than just a single field, due to the pixel shift. the image is indeed progressive, but not quite as sharp as it would have been if the entire ccd had been used. and whether the image comes from a frame buffer rather than from the ccd, well, *all* digitial cameras work like this, always, interlaced or not.

i think we actually agree on the facts here, but i love a good flame war, and i hate tech buzz words, especially if containing the word "true". it's the result that counts (maybe not as sharp as the 24p camera, but sharper than deinterlaced footage, and great looking in general).

/matt

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And the fact that

Post by S8 Booster » Thu May 23, 2002 11:51 am

at the moment the given pixel price/number of pixels of the DV is close to the pixel price of the film, the film and "film look" becomes an abstract anyway.

The DV is only half way (or less) in its development potential towards film resolution at its best so why use all this efforts on this mediocre DV technology?

Stay film, film rules, projection rules.!

RGDS
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Film Vs. Video

Post by eggbertsmith » Thu May 23, 2002 12:11 pm

I really like potatoes!!!!!

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film vs. video

Post by eggbertsmith » Thu May 23, 2002 12:12 pm

sometimes......I like them fried!

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Post by paul » Thu May 23, 2002 12:30 pm

crimsonson wrote:
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."




non, I wasn't aiming at you. Just meant to say that I didn't like those filters much, and that they look far different from true super 8. But if its is possible, why not welcome it.

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Post by paul » Thu May 23, 2002 4:05 pm

pedro said:
I only disagree with the statements, that it´s only the good story, actors, dialogs and director that makes a good film.
I agree with you Pedro. A couple of years ago, there was a no budget dutch indie playing in the theatres which had an awfull image quality. Later, I saw it on televison and it looked much better(probably the quality was improved by digital means), which was quite a relieve. It looked much more pleasant than it did before. But there still is a point of thruth in good screenplays. The indie was popular already when it was playing in the theatres, despite of it's bad image quality. But presentation, in terms of image quality, certainly won't harm the films potential.

But sometimes "deficiencies" can create the right atmosphere for a story.


paul

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