"Film Look"

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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Ned Cordery

"Film Look"

Post by Ned Cordery » Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:32 pm

I have sent Dave a couple of pieces about my visit to the LA DV Show where
a major topic of discussion was how to achieve film look on DV. First I am
not sure I agree with the need for DV to look like film, bit like fitting
a mini with a RR radiator and flying lady, it's still a mini. However, that
said it would be useful to hear people's opinion on what the film look is
and if they have any suggestions on how to achieve it. I don't mean the scratches/dust/sparkle
that can be added as an effect but some way of getting to the special quality
of film.

Ned Cordery

AN

Re: "Film Look"

Post by AN » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:10 pm

"Ned Cordery" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
and if they have any suggestions on how to achieve it. I don't mean the
scratches/dust/sparkle
that can be added as an effect but some way of getting to the special quality
of film.
Use mobile, fluid camera work moving among well placed lighting. Then edit
with panache. For seasoning just add a pinch of stylish music, and a wee
touch of sound acoustics to match the scenes.

Albert...getting a film over his eyes.

Michael Slowe

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:18 pm

"Ned Cordery" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
I have sent Dave a couple of pieces about my visit to the LA DV Show where
a major topic of discussion was how to achieve film look on DV. First I
am
not sure I agree with the need for DV to look like film, bit like fitting
a mini with a RR radiator and flying lady, it's still a mini. However, that
said it would be useful to hear people's opinion on what the film look is
and if they have any suggestions on how to achieve it. I don't mean the
scratches/dust/sparkle
that can be added as an effect but some way of getting to the special quality
of film.

Ned Cordery
It's a deeper more solid picture rather like smooth chocolate. Warmer than
tape you also miss the inevitable lines of the video picture when projected
on a large screen.
Having said that I viewed some Mini DV tapes through a good receiver SVideo
Lead) on a new plasma screen( RGB inputs) and the picture was stunning.
Also I saw the new (expensive) High Definition tape projected on a full size
cinema screen at the London Production Show last May and I challenge anyone
to spot the difference between that and 35mm film - honest.
That is about to become the standard for all TV documentaries etc. and eventually
for the cinema, you heard it here first.

Ned Cordery

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Ned Cordery » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:32 pm

"Michael Slowe" <michael.slowe@btinternet.com> wrote:

It's a deeper more solid picture rather like smooth chocolate. Warmer than
tape you also miss the inevitable lines of the video picture when projected
on a large screen.
Having said that I viewed some Mini DV tapes through a good receiver SVideo
Lead) on a new plasma screen( RGB inputs) and the picture was stunning.
Also I saw the new (expensive) High Definition tape projected on a full
size
cinema screen at the London Production Show last May and I challenge anyone
to spot the difference between that and 35mm film - honest.
That is about to become the standard for all TV documentaries etc. and eventually
for the cinema, you heard it here first.
Which HD system was this? There are several high end HD systems being touted
here for film look there are the Sony CineAlta (as used for Star Wars 2),
the Panasonic Varicam and the Thomson Viper that redords to a HD array at
about a gigabyte a second! For TV we are still waiting for the stations to
go ahead with HD on a broad basis, I have a large screen 1080i which with
a de-interlacer can produce very good pictures.

Your comments, Albert, were more about a "film experience" than a film look,
it is the image that is being discussed. I agree with you comments but would
also like to hear what you see as the film look.

Ned C

Michael Slowe

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:57 pm

"Ned Cordery" <goslands@infowest.com> wrote:
"Michael Slowe" <michael.slowe@btinternet.com> wrote:


It's a deeper more solid picture rather like smooth chocolate. Warmer than
tape you also miss the inevitable lines of the video picture when projected
on a large screen.
Don't worry about poor old Albert, he does get a bit dozey around this time
of day.
The system was the Sony CineAlta and seems to be the one that European producers
are going for, particularly German. The cameras are £80,000 (£40,000 for
Digi Beta) and the projector I saw was £200,000!! So cinemas will not be
re equiping just yet! But on location they love it. Tapes easier to transport
and no problem with unlimited re takes. Also with a monitor they can view
exactly what went through the lens rather than view a video shot beside
the camera.
Having said that I viewed some Mini DV tapes through a good receiver SVideo
Lead) on a new plasma screen( RGB inputs) and the picture was stunning.
Also I saw the new (expensive) High Definition tape projected on a full
size
cinema screen at the London Production Show last May and I challenge anyone
to spot the difference between that and 35mm film - honest.
That is about to become the standard for all TV documentaries etc. and
eventually
for the cinema, you heard it here first.


Which HD system was this? There are several high end HD systems being touted
here for film look there are the Sony CineAlta (as used for Star Wars 2),
the Panasonic Varicam and the Thomson Viper that redords to a HD array at
about a gigabyte a second! For TV we are still waiting for the stations
to
go ahead with HD on a broad basis, I have a large screen 1080i which with
a de-interlacer can produce very good pictures.

Your comments, Albert, were more about a "film experience" than a film look,
it is the image that is being discussed. I agree with you comments but would
also like to hear what you see as the film look.

Ned C

Brian Hazelden

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Brian Hazelden » Fri Dec 13, 2002 10:26 pm

"Michael Slowe" <michael.slowe@btinternet.com> wrote:
Don't worry about poor old Albert, he does get a bit dozey around this time
of day.
I'm sure it would make us all feel a little happier if you could explain
that you and Albert are old friends and are accustomed to insulting each
other in this way. Unfortunately, to those of us that are unaware of your
firm friendship, it appears that you are simply being rude.

Like Albert I also believe that the elusive "film look", so coveted by Americans,
has a great deal to do with production values, and not a little to do with
the NTSC video standard.

I'd also like to say that it is a few years since I've noticed scan lines
on a video projection, but that could, of course, be due to my failing eyesight.

What makes you so special, Michael? You can clearly see the difference between
film and video yet defy anyone else to tell the difference.

Brian Hazelden

Michael Slowe

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Michael Slowe » Sat Dec 14, 2002 11:28 am

"Brian Hazelden" <brian_hazelden@lineone.net> wrote:
"Michael Slowe" <michael.slowe@btinternet.com> wrote:

Don't worry about poor old Albert, he does get a bit dozey around this
time
of day.

I'm sure it would make us all feel a little happier if you could explain
that you and Albert are old friends and are accustomed to insulting each
other in this way. Unfortunately, to those of us that are unaware of your
firm friendship, it appears that you are simply being rude.

Like Albert I also believe that the elusive "film look", so coveted by Americans,
has a great deal to do with production values, and not a little to do with
the NTSC video standard.

I'd also like to say that it is a few years since I've noticed scan lines
on a video projection, but that could, of course, be due to my failing eyesight.

What makes you so special, Michael? You can clearly see the difference between
film and video yet defy anyone else to tell the difference.

Brian Hazelden
I wouldn't say that Albert and I are such "firm friends" but we certainly
go back a long way with shared experiences with the old Ten Best international
competition. I don't think that you need be too worried about our sensibilities,
we appear to be very much on the same wavelength.
As to the film look, you have misunderstood what I was saying. There is a
visible difference with digital (video) as we have known it to date, especially
when projected, BUT the new High Def Cine Alta changes the rules for ever
and it was THAT projected picture that looked as good as 35mm. film.
Sorry if Albert and I upset you, we will have to button mouths in 2003.

AN

Re: "Film Look"

Post by AN » Sat Dec 14, 2002 12:46 pm

"Ned Cordery" <goslands@infowest.com> wrote:
Your comments, Albert, were more about a "film experience" than a film look,
it is the image that is being discussed. I agree with you comments but would
also like to hear what you see as the film look.
Film frames do differ from each other so very very slightly because of the
slight errors each time in the intermittent mechanism of film that this gives
it a 'life' upon the screen that DV lacks....I think this is the elusive
'film look'you speak of.

Re Michael and I...we recently exchanged e-mail letters about another topic
and in one he called me a 'gent.' So no need to
worry Brian, about this....we are the best of fiends, sorry friends! Michael
gets a bit upset at times because he cannot spell Roedean, that's all! :-)
Oh, and he's getting old too!

I'm surprised you are all still writing with two dates alooming ......25th
Dec and 6th Jan. Thought you'd all be too busy with the carving knife and
the timeline razor!!

Albert..."The razor's edge."

Ned Cordery

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Ned Cordery » Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:01 pm

"AN" <AnimatioN@btopenworld.com> wrote:
Film frames do differ from each other so very very slightly because of the
slight errors each time in the intermittent mechanism of film that this
gives
it a 'life' upon the screen that DV lacks....I think this is the elusive
'film look'you speak of.

Albert..."The razor's edge."

Interesting, the "gate weave" we always tried to minimise. I am tending to
the view that you expressed originally and that the film aesthetic is more
a total experience than an adjustment of the image. I am willing to accept
the DV image as it is. I have seen some CineAlta demos and Stars Wars 2 and
it definitely looks different to film even though it is transfered to film
in the end for distribution. In the case of Star Wars the images are so heavily
composited that it is difficult to tell what anything originated on but in
the few shots where there is no compositing the image is different. Sony
have been demonstrating the CineAlta system for a few years and Kodak had
a comparative shoot out with tape systems. I hear that a consumer HD camera
is now on sale in Japan,

Ned Cordery

AN

Re: "Film Look"

Post by AN » Sat Dec 14, 2002 6:41 pm

"Ned Cordery" <goslands@infowest.com> wrote:
slight errors each time in the intermittent mechanism
of film that this gives it a 'life'

Interesting, the "gate weave" we always tried to minimise.
I await a NLE system that allows on to deliberately introduce this 'weave'
as you put it. We can now add scratches, so why not wobble/weave/processing
marks? Maybe easier just to use film after all!

In past days it was not only weave but film processing which I enjoyed so
much(!)...on BW film the variable black streaking in the whiter skies due
to film going thro the development baths all
added to that 'film look' for me in those ol Gaumont British newsreels!
More lens flare all helps too, but the tiny blemishes and the intermitency
of the image really does the trick for me. Ah, maybe I'll drag that ol Bolex
out of the cobwebs agin.
I am willing to accept
the DV image as it is.
It's too clinical looking and steady tho. That's the trouble with digital
cameras now, they're too damned accurate and so lack any 'life', altho camera
wobble does help. :-)
It's as tho' they need a few screws to be undone to give em a
variability that good ol' film had...or maybe a good kick up the
byte!
Albert....getting another screw loose.

AN

Re: "Film Look"

Post by AN » Sun Dec 15, 2002 9:06 am

"Ned Cordery" <goslands@infowest.com> wrote:
Interesting, the "gate weave" we always tried to minimise.
One further thought about that film look, Ned......
Because each individual frame of film has different grain structure and each
grain of a particular colour can vary in a slight way, this also adds to
that, what I choose to call, 'live' look.
With digital camcorder ccd's, each individual pixel will always stay the
same each frame, unlike film. Altho we may not see the grain on film the
outlines of all objects are pulsating due to grain variation on every frame
and this may also account for the 'film look'.

Albert...looking around film.

Ned Cordery

Re: "Film Look"

Post by Ned Cordery » Sun Dec 15, 2002 6:13 pm

"AN" <AnimatioN@btopenworld.com> wrote:
One further thought about that film look, Ned......
Because each individual frame of film has different grain structure and
each
grain of a particular colour can vary in a slight way, this also adds to
that, what I choose to call, 'live' look.
With digital camcorder ccd's, each individual pixel will always stay the
same each frame, unlike film. Altho we may not see the grain on film the
outlines of all objects are pulsating due to grain variation on every frame
and this may also account for the 'film look'.

Albert...looking around film.
Another good point and one never mentioned during the presentations I attended.
I have written a piece on the subject of Film Look - where should I send
it? I know the American Motion Picture Society will publish it in their newsletter
but that has limited circulation. Perhaps them and F&V although that is devoted
mostly to technical and club matters and aesthetics are not really up for
discussion,

Suggestions please.

Ned Cordery

AN

Re: "Film Look"

Post by AN » Sun Dec 15, 2002 7:15 pm

"Ned Cordery" <goslands@infowest.com> wrote:
"AN" <AnimatioN@btopenworld.com> wrote:
One further thought about that film look, Ned......
Because each individual frame of film has different grain structure and
each
grain of a particular colour can vary in a slight way, this also adds to
that, what I choose to call, 'live' look.
With digital camcorder ccd's, each individual pixel will always stay the
same each frame, unlike film. Altho we may not see the grain on film the
outlines of all objects are pulsating due to grain variation on every frame
and this may also account for the 'film look'.
..................
Another good point and one never mentioned during the presentations I attended.
I have written a piece on the subject of Film Look - where should I send
it?
Maybe Dave would be interested in puting it on the IAC web site?
Hit 'im with it before Xmas else he may be under his PC not in front of it!
:-)

I recall the BFI in London when the film theatre was first built under Hungerford
Bridge. The throw from the projection box to the screen appeared to be very
short and having very modern new projectors, the screen was hit by plenty
of lumens!
Consequently the BW images seemed to sparkle and scintilate. I truly wonderfull
sight.

I compare this with looking at a Star and a Planet in the night skies. Film
is like the Stars, it can scintilate and twinkle, whereas DV is much like
a Planet it that it just stares at one without ever changing. So boring.
Funny that Stars are film stars and that there is a DV firm called 'Planet'!
Very appropriate.

Ned, one way or the other, I would like to read a copy of your article please.

Albert....scintilating as usual!

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