Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

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

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by Ned C » Fri May 02, 2003 2:18 pm

Some differences between film and video are:

grain, the grain structure of film creates a "lively" image.

pull down, the pull down in the gate of the projector creates a slight unsteadiness
adding to the "lively" image. This can also happen in the camera but a good
pin registration camera will give a very steady picture.

depth of field, this depends on the format but with miniDV cameras with their
ever smaller CCDs the DoF is enormous and getting differential focus is difficult.

in my opinion the CineAlta system produces a very fine image but it is different
from film, even after transfer to film some of the video image remains

Ned C

Dave Watterson

Film and video

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat May 03, 2003 4:17 pm

Ned noted that the grain structure of film creates a "lively" image. I certainly
agree. A recent video transfer I watched began with a frame paused in the
gate and the lack of movement was actually disturbing.

Yet that rather sounds like pleading in favour of a weakness in the film
image. Isn't one the the Grails for the photo chemists to produce grain so
fine it isn't visible?

Ned's comment on the stability of a projected image is also true but not
an attribute I admire in itself - some cinemas can make me almost seasick
the way the image moves.

But the depth of field issue does have obvious implications. It is not that
obvious differential focus is much in fashion but the "natural" softening
of the image that is outside the main focus plane is something I could tick
off as a "film" characteristic.

Dave McSprocket

Michael Slowe

Re: Film and video

Post by Michael Slowe » Sat May 03, 2003 4:45 pm

"Dave Watterson" <dave.watterson@wits.end> wrote:
Ned noted that the grain structure of film creates a "lively" image. I certainly
agree. A recent video transfer I watched began with a frame paused in the
gate and the lack of movement was actually disturbing.

Yet that rather sounds like pleading in favour of a weakness in the film
image. Isn't one the the Grails for the photo chemists to produce grain
so
fine it isn't visible?

Ned's comment on the stability of a projected image is also true but not
an attribute I admire in itself - some cinemas can make me almost seasick
the way the image moves.

But the depth of field issue does have obvious implications. It is not
that
obvious differential focus is much in fashion but the "natural" softening
of the image that is outside the main focus plane is something I could tick
off as a "film" characteristic.

Dave McSprocket
No Dave, you don't have to do without differential focus on video. I am often
"focus pulling" and indeed one of my latest films (Still Life) has hardly
anything else! I did an Albert and incorporated every gimmick I could think
of in a 2 minute film. It depends on the camera of course and you do need
a long tele end on the lens and manual focussing.

AN

Re: Film and video

Post by AN » Sat May 03, 2003 5:11 pm

"Dave Watterson" <dave.watterson@wits.end> wrote:
Ned noted that the grain structure of film creates a "lively" image. I certainly
agree. A recent video transfer I watched began with a frame paused in the
gate and the lack of movement was actually disturbing.

Yet that rather sounds like pleading in favour of a weakness in the film
image.
There's a fellow on DV doctor who advocates a change of video gamma setting
and softening of the focus to get the film effect.
Imagine forking out say 1.5k pounds on a video camera and then running it
slightly out of focus! Madness.
O gee, if the story is good who cares if it wobbles or not, or if the 'grain'
is alive or not, or the sound has some wow or flutter on it?

Albert....fluttering, like the robin I am!

Ned C

Re: Film and video

Post by Ned C » Sat May 03, 2003 9:26 pm

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

No Dave, you don't have to do without differential focus on video. I am
often
"focus pulling" and indeed one of my latest films (Still Life) has hardly
anything else! I did an Albert and incorporated every gimmick I could think
of in a 2 minute film. It depends on the camera of course and you do need
a long tele end on the lens and manual focussing.

With the CCDs of 1/4 and 1/6 inch that are now used on some video cameras
differential focus is very difficult to achieve. With 1/2 or 2/3 CCDs I agree
it can be done, not easy with 1/3 CCDs except close in and wide aperture.

Cinematographers often use films of different speeds and grain structures
in the same film to get a required effect.

There is a lot of discussion about achieving film look with video and there
is a Panasonic miniDV camera that shoots 24 fps progressive scan to get that
juddering look when you pan.

Ned C

AN

Re: Film and video

Post by AN » Sun May 04, 2003 7:40 am

"Ned C" <lands@fwest.net> wrote:
There is a lot of discussion about achieving film look with video and there
is a Panasonic miniDV camera that shoots 24 fps progressive scan to get
that
juddering look when you pan.
Altho I like the film look, possibly only for nostalgic reasons, the human
eye/brain doesn't see grain/judder/progressive scan etc so why o why do many
try to attain a false visual effect that the eye doesn't have? When we look
at landscape painting by Constable etc it doesn't wobble (unless you've 'ad
a few the night before!), so why does a documentary film of his works have
to?
Our ears don't hear wow. flutter and distortion, and so we go to great lengths
in the hi fi/film world to avoid these distortions. We don't try to emulate
the old cylinder gramophones, so why try to emulate the old sprocket film
systems?
Albert...just a jerk in the gate.

Dave Watterson

Re: Film and video

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun May 04, 2003 7:51 am

Hmm. Of course Albert is right in saying that the movie is what matters -
if the story it has to tell is told well enough no one cares about "the look"
or minor imperfections.

And I recognise Ned's point that "Cinematographers often use films of different
speeds and grain structures in the same film to get a required effect." -
in other words they use to best effect what might be regarded as the limitations
of the medium. [Is there a parallel with haiku or sonnet poem forms where
an artificial restriction forces special forms of artistic endeavour on the
practioners?]

What prompted my curiosity is when people like Ned, whose views I respect,
write about "the film look" as something valuable in its own right. I love
film - to the point where I am considering a 3-gun cathode ray tube video
projector for my home theatre partly because it has the "brighter in the
centre than at the edges" quality (an imperfection!) which is typical of
35mm cinemas.

But the creative side of me wants to know why we do not revel in the freedom
of release from the limitations of the older medium and concentrate on how
best to use the limitations of the new one. Is it all nostalgia like my
home cinema plans?

Dave McPhilosophical
just off to see some Kaurismäki, Frears and Kiarostami movies projected on
"bright-to-the-edges" video machines!

AN

Re: Film and video

Post by AN » Sun May 04, 2003 9:12 am

"Dave Watterson" <big.dave@email.heaven> wrote:
I love
film - to the point where I am considering a 3-gun cathode ray tube video
projector for my home theatre partly because it has the "brighter in the
centre than at the edges"
Dave, all you need fitted to a normal LCD projector is a slide mounted in
front of the lens which is clear in the centre and increasingly gets greyer
at the edges....
....just photograph a white screen lit 'hot' in centre and use that 35mm
slide. Have a series of slides depending on how you feel about the dimmer
edges for each showing...cheaper than 3 guns!
Albert...sticking to his guns.

Ned C

Re: Film and video

Post by Ned C » Sun May 04, 2003 2:59 pm

"Dave Watterson" <big.dave@email.heaven> wrote:
Hmm. Of course Albert is right in saying that the movie is what matters
-if the story it has to tell is told well enough no one cares about "the
look"
or minor imperfections.
The "look" of a film is an essantial part of storytelling and the look is
created by the characteristics of the medium and the lighting. Lighting is
the essential art of cinematography (film or video) and lighting a set up
takes much longer than the shot. Film noir is a product of lighting, can
you imagine "A touch of evil" as a well lit, detail in the shadows, production?
In the UK DoPs were called "Lighting Cameramen".
But the creative side of me wants to know why we do not revel in the freedom
of release from the limitations of the older medium and concentrate on how
best to use the limitations of the new one. Is it all nostalgia like my
home cinema plans?
DV and NLE have revolutionised low/no budget film making so there is a lot
of experimenting going on. "Raw" DV, ie shot available light, gun and run
makes possible a new approach to documentaries (and heaven help us) fly on
the wall productions. But DV can also record amazingly good results recording
carefully lit set ups.
Enjoy your films Dave!
Ned C

Cinema For Thurso Group

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by Cinema For Thurso Group » Sun May 04, 2003 9:35 pm

Well Michael, you make a good line of enquirey here. So many have gone to
video that they've all forgotten the joys of film. Certainly the format has
it's headaches too but what doesn't? It's a pity my group is right at the
northmost end of the UK because, although we do use video, we are very pro-film.
In fact we believe movie-makers should take a healthy interest in all ways
to make movies.
As is, many who have gone to video are not realising the significant advances
that PC aplications can make to their cinematic efforts, simple sound synchronising
and even optical matting to create some amazing effects not to mention cgi
animations. Maybe that's not your bag as you obviously enjoy the atmospheric
qualities of monochrome (we love it too) but none the less movie film is
still very much a format of considerable worth as Super 8mm is being used
by more and more professionals. Now I think there's a message there!
It's a real shame that very few clubs are still using film. We are all part
of a creative medium and whether one uses 35mm negatives, slides, super 8,
video or PC, these are all tools by which audio-visual experiences can be
made.
At Cinema For Thurso Groups' Homelywood Studios, we use whatever system is
appropriate to the project- if it enables the film to be made then we use
it. CFT Group is an IAC member and we do recommend being a member because
even though there are few using films, the club is still geared towards film
as much as video and has some very helpful services to offer. Moreover you
will get value for money on your membership fees if you make use of the services
availble.
Meantime, happy filming and enjoy the wonders of pure cinema.

Michael Slowe

Re: Film and video

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon May 05, 2003 10:50 am

"Ned C" <goals@windy.net> wrote:
"Dave Watterson" <big.dave@email.heaven> wrote:

Hmm. Of course Albert is right in saying that the movie is what matters
-if the story it has to tell is told well enough no one cares about "the
look"
or minor imperfections.

The "look" of a film is an essantial part of storytelling and the look
is
created by the characteristics of the medium and the lighting. Lighting
is
the essential art of cinematography (film or video) and lighting a set
up
takes much longer than the shot. Film noir is a product of lighting, can
you imagine "A touch of evil" as a well lit, detail in the shadows, production?
In the UK DoPs were called "Lighting Cameramen".

But the creative side of me wants to know why we do not revel in the freedom
of release from the limitations of the older medium and concentrate on
how
best to use the limitations of the new one. Is it all nostalgia like my
home cinema plans?

DV and NLE have revolutionised low/no budget film making so there is a lot
of experimenting going on. "Raw" DV, ie shot available light, gun and run
makes possible a new approach to documentaries (and heaven help us) fly
on
the wall productions. But DV can also record amazingly good results recording
carefully lit set ups.

Enjoy your films Dave!

Ned C
Trouble with all this interesting talk is that I don't get the chance to
continue cutting a very complicated film.

However I must just urge those that can find it to see the revived and restored
(in Technicolor's labs in Rome) print of Visconti's masterpiece "The Leopard".
It is the cut approved by Visconti, running some 3 hours+ (with no pee break
Albert) and if we are talking about lighting and camerawork the 45 minute
scene of the ball at the end is simply breathtaking.(No, I never felt like
dozing off for a second)

By the way, my Media 100 editing system has an option for digitising the
media in such a way as to reduce the fields which they state will give
more of a film look. I haven't tried it but could do so if anyone wants to
see the difference. Anyone caring to drop in and play is welcome if they
care to contact me.

AN

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by AN » Mon May 05, 2003 11:32 am

"Cinema For Thurso Group" <canuimagine@btopenworld.com> wrote:
Well Michael, you make a good line of enquirey here. So many have gone to
video that they've all forgotten the joys of film
My recollections of the joys of film are....
Squinting down the tiny reflex viewer of a Bolex with a graticule transparency
therein in an attempt to move objects smoothly. (waiting for the video rotoscope
and onionskin facility to be invented!!)

Having to carry out reels of tests to establish whether the animation was
going to look OK, and for checking on all the exposure settings etc etc.

Biting my nails waiting to see if the film labs had lost my
100 ft of film which took months to film frame by frame.

Heart beating fast as I laced up both sound and vision film in the same projector
to check if sync was OK. A very risky proceedure with the masters each time.

Keeping fingers crossed that the final married sound/vision print was going
to be OK for brightness/colour balance.

I'll pass over the joys of broken splices/cementspills/spools coming off
rewind arms in full flight, film spills off the projector take up spools,
and all the many, many other joys of film I have encountered in the past.

I can now make films which were completely impossible for me to make on film.
One recent example.. using over 60 different transitions in a 2 minute film
(which some here have seen.)

Albert.....rejoicing in the joy of film to video transition!

Cinema For Thurso Group

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by Cinema For Thurso Group » Mon May 05, 2003 8:00 pm

"AN" <AnimatioN@btopenworld.com> wrote:
"Cinema For Thurso Group" <canuimagine@btopenworld.com> wrote:

Well Michael, you make a good line of enquirey here. So many have gone
to
video that they've all forgotten the joys of film

Thanks Al, was that the only bit you read?- I did say it has it's faults
too but I'd say squinting down the viewfinder was not one of them, (video
cameras have tiny viewfinders too) as for your animation, well it's not difficult
to get even color balance and temperature if you make sure you use the same
lighting all through the project. As for the labs, you must have used some
dodgy one somewhere along the line, touching wood, I've never had any film
go missing and only Fuji managed to lose track of one but it got back safe
and sound. Sound synchronisation isn't as hugely difficult as all that either.
Put in some good planning on your editing, check out the timing of key sequences
in your soundtracks and cut the film accordingly and you will be able to
synch up to 20 minutes without problems- and that's without pulse synch!
Bottom line- as I said- Film, Video, PC and the rest are all tools for making
movies and in that you will understand NOT TO USE the system which presents
difficulties to the project in hand.
If, for your work, video be the best option to achieve production aims then
go for it, if Super 8mm works then use it.
Something to consider as a movie maker in any medium is to put your creative
energy into telling the story rather than technical perfection. Technically
perfect films are not automatic masterpeices, eg. King Kong (1933)which is
a masterpeice but not technically perfect.

Ned C

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by Ned C » Mon May 05, 2003 9:05 pm

"Cinema For Thurso Group" <canuimagine@btopenworld.com> wrote:
movie film is
still very much a format of considerable worth as Super 8mm is being used
by more and more professionals. Now I think there's a message there!
An interesting site for the Super 8 enthusiast - if you haven't all ready
found it is www.pro8mm.com but the prices will make your eyes water as well
as empty your wallet.

Ned C

AN

Re: Does anyone in IAC do film or have all gone to Video?

Post by AN » Tue May 06, 2003 10:50 am

"Cinema For Thurso Group" <canuimagine@btopenworld.com> wrote:
Thanks Al, was that the only bit you read?- I did say it has it's faults
too but I'd say squinting down the viewfinder was not one of them, (video
cameras have tiny viewfinders too)
Compare an up market 16mm film camera with an up market video.....my own
Bolex 16mm reflex with my Sony TRV950. The Sony easily wins hands down,
both viewfinder wise and also in having a large LCD viewer.
Also I view all my takes continually on a big monitor, so the comparison
with film is even more ridiculous for me.

as for your animation, well it's not difficult
to get even color balance and temperature if you make sure you use the same
lighting all through the project.
Same lighting? ...deliberate underlit stage sets with fully exposed tiny
animated spotlights. Glass floors to dance on where exposure can be critical.
All these need special attention before shooting, and one cannot just 'point
and shoot.'
As for the labs, you must have used some
dodgy one somewhere along the line,
1..Very well known London professional lab lost both sound and visual masters
for me.
2...BBC, at White City lost 3 of my master sound tracks and the copy prints,
for material I was making for them.
Sound synchronisation isn't as hugely difficult as all that >either.
Put in some good planning on your editing, check out the timing of key sequences
in your soundtracks and cut the film accordingly and you will be able to
synch up to 20 minutes without problems- and that's without pulse synch!
Try track reading thousands of notes, note by note on sets of waltzes by
Brahms played on a piano. Try track reading a skylark's song note by note.
Accurate sound sync as not just all speech and sound effects. On film that
was very difficult as I didn't have a movieola, but on video now it would
be a cinch.
Bottom line- as I said- Film, Video, PC and the rest are all tools for making
movies and in that you will understand NOT TO USE the system which presents
difficulties to the project in hand.
Except for initial video costs I fail to see any advantage that film now
offers for any type of project... perhaps you could suggest what type of
project where film has the edge over video?

But I do accept that film is very thrilling...the whirl of the shutter, the
click of the gate, the purring of a classy camera, something which I dearly
miss. Oh, I forgot to mention yet another of films many joys...lugging this
bloody Bolex projector of mine up and down these narrow stairs at my age!
:-)

Albert....a stare case!

Post Reply