December 26, 2015

Is 70mm The Future of Film? Tarantino & P.T. Anderson Discuss on Christmas Eve

Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson on Film
This 40-minute video is a Christmas present from the Gods of celluloid.

Here's a great chance to get a step closer to two great filmmakers as they discuss the evolution of film, 70mm and Tarantino's new film The Hateful Eight. Check it out below, and then continue on for some takeaways:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEqp1HVj5Ac

"It actually might be film's saving grace. Film's last stand. Film's last night in the arena — and actually conquer."

Quentin: I didn't realize how much of a lost cause [35mm] was. At the same time I didn't realize to the same extent 70mm would be a drawing point. Not just to me and other film geeks. There is no intelligent argument to be had that puts digital in front of [70mm]. It actually might be film's saving grace. Film's last stand. Film's last night in the arena — and actually conquer.

Paul Thomas Anderson: It was something that we could grow outside just a specialized thing. I never for a second thought we'd have a legitimate 70mm run. It was clear that people were coming out for that more than the 35mm.


Happy holidaze everyone.     

Your Comment

49 Comments

(i)"[70mm]. It actually might be film's saving grace. Film's last stand. Film's last night in the arena — and actually conquer."(/i)

Wait, he actually believes that.

December 26, 2015 at 2:43PM

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Shhh, don't ruin his illusions. No more tears now, just dreams...

December 27, 2015 at 1:26PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1509

But I do agree with him that Samuel L Jackson on screen is better than any special effect.

January 3, 2016 at 7:04PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1354

"There is no intelligent argument to be had that puts digital in front of [70mm]."

Some directors, producers, actors, have said they like to be able to see immediately what was shot instead of waiting for film to be developed. There's one argument.

December 26, 2015 at 2:45PM

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If you watch Side By Side (2012), Chris Nolan's response to the immediate HD/4K onset playback argument was "B-b-b-but you can't judge the image off LCD monitor. And film is still b-b-better...". KEK

December 27, 2015 at 1:28PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1509

I think he was talking about the image and its quality, not workflow. Isn't he right? Wouldn't we all jump to shoot our dream project on 70mm if we had the opportunity to actually pull it off? I would. I agree with him, if not on an absolute technical level, at least a romantic one.

December 28, 2015 at 5:23PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
1026

Not everyone thinks 70mm, and celluloid in general, is romantic. Some may feel it was the zenith of shooting---in a time gone by.

But I know some do still do feel it is the zenith.

We should just love what we love, let others love what they love, and not think less of them because they don't feel as highly of some things the way we do........ or something like that. Whatever the philosopher says.

December 29, 2015 at 12:40AM

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Yeah cool I like that. I hate how economics dominates this discussion, vs. artistry.

December 30, 2015 at 2:51PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
1026

70mm film is not the future.. I'd much rather shoot digital on an Alexa 65.

Film looks great but it's just a tool.

Most productions would be better served by shooting digitally and investing in art direction and talent.

I like Tarentino but I think he is out of step with technology.

Mediums don't tell stories, filmmakers do. This hang up on film is some elitist bullshit.

I think it's great older big format glass is being used again.

Tarentino should challenge himself to shoot digital on his next project.

December 26, 2015 at 9:06PM, Edited December 26, 9:19PM

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Andrew Kierans
Digital Cinema Technician
215

Hahaha, maybe you can't see the difference.

There's a reason Tarantino is who he is, because he has a great eye and is a great storyteller.

Alexa 65 is shit compared to ultra panavision 70mm.

December 26, 2015 at 10:06PM

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I'd rather watch a quality story from Andrew's Alexa than a poor story on anything else.

December 31, 2015 at 2:17PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1354

65mm film is cheaper than the digital alternative.

December 27, 2015 at 12:08AM, Edited December 27, 12:08AM

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Peter Phillips
Filmmaker
626

Really, 65mm film is cheaper than digital. To produce the same depth of field as 35mm requires 4 times as much light, meaning HMIs, generators and more labor cost. Chivo used the Alexa 65 at 1200 iso with no to little extra lighting.

December 27, 2015 at 12:02PM

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d shay
388

Once light sensitive sensors like the one in the Sony a7S are prevalent in cameras, there will be a huge difference in lighting, a whole new paradigm how lighting is done. There's just no way film can equal in cost what those sensors will do. There is no hope for celluloid. I don't think this new generation of camera users will think even once, let alone twice, about using film. And why should they.

December 27, 2015 at 12:27PM, Edited December 27, 12:31PM

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Good for you, you caught on that I was talking about the Alexa 65. I'm assuming you also made one google search to see that 500T is the fastest film stock Kodak offers. What you're missing is that 500T 65mm can easily expose at 1200iso or further, either by pushing, flashing, bleach bypass, or a combination of those processes. The increased grain is negligible.

The workflow from capture, to editorial, to presentation for 65mm/70mm is established and as easy as you want it to be. The Alexa 65 on the other hand, fills a terabyte with every 20 minutes of it's 6.5K Arriraw. It's some poor soul's JOB to transcode and back all that data up in order to send it to a distrobution system that will only get you a digital image up to 4K if you're lucky.

December 28, 2015 at 12:19AM, Edited December 28, 12:19AM

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Peter Phillips
Filmmaker
626

Lubezki would disagree. He tested film 35mm and 65mm film for the movie and said "...what the Alexa was able to do in the low end was something we could never do with film. In these conditions, with lots of shadows and limited time with sunlight, it was a very good decision.”

December 28, 2015 at 3:29PM, Edited December 28, 3:30PM

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d shay
388

Congrats you read AC magazine, he also explains how the Alexa can't quite achieve the same the dynamic range of film. He said he would have wanted to shoot film, if it wasn't for X-Ray machines and shipping delays at airports. Roger Deakins also said that the Alexa matches film dynamic range. (Which btw is not true, unless you talk about lowlight) Both of these guys are huge Arri fanboys. They are also great cinematographers. But in my experience and as Peter Philips said celluloid can be pushed to 1200 iso. Hell, I've pushed it to 1600. I applaud Tarantino for doing what he did, can't wait to see Nolan's new WWII epic shot on 5 perf 65mm and 15 perf 70mm.

December 29, 2015 at 1:41AM

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Roger Deakins and Chivo are Arri fanboys? Urban dictionary definition of fanboy "A person who is completely loyal to a game or company regardless of if they suck or not."

Zacuto did a dynamic range test comparing Kodak 5219(at 800 iso) to the Alexa(800 iso), plus numerous other cams. The Kodak stock scored -5 lowlights/ +9.5 highlights(14.5stops), the Alexa -7.3/+6.8(14.1 stops). They also did test shots to compare lowlight performance, and film did not fare very well. That is over 2 stops better performance in shadows for the Alexa over 35mm film. If you think 65mm film can match the Alexa 65 in low light performance, you are kidding yourself. Ergo, you will need extra lighting for 65mm film to match the grainless look of digital, thus the extra costs.

December 29, 2015 at 11:11AM, Edited December 29, 12:06PM

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d shay
388

I mean if we're talking about specific ASAs and cameras in lowlight, I guess we can throw the A7SII since it will have better dynamic range than all of these cameras at 52,600 ISO. Not sure what scanner Zacuto used, and they're settings, but I guarantee you Vision3 film in a well lit environment will have a bit over 16 stops. BTW Deakins IS a total ARRI fanboy. Chivo not as much, since he still dabbles on other cameras and film. He still and understands that each camera has their own strengths even RED Dragon cameras and GoPros. Zacuto tests are alright, but I would look at other tests as well before just referring to one source .

December 31, 2015 at 3:27PM

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"Mediums don't tell stories, filmmakers do. This hang up on film is some elitist bullshit."

Couldn't agree more. Considering the world is rapidly moving toward watching films on tablets and smartphones (and has been for years) the fixation on shooting film because it's "better" is a bit disingenuous.

If 99% of your audience can't tell the difference, then the only reasons to shoot film are for marketing benefits, and for potential creative gains during the shoot.

That's fine, and nothing wrong with that, but at least call it what it is and don't bullshit us that film is the future.

I'll put it like this: if you think "film is the future" then I recommend you go talk to a few still photographers, and they'll you some depressing stories about what happened to the photographers who clung to film during the digital revolution.

December 27, 2015 at 11:14AM, Edited December 27, 11:14AM

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Alex
60

I don't know if 'elitist' is right. For Tarantino, and others like him, film has a special place, and they're accustomed to it. But he's grasping at straws to think film has a winning future.

December 27, 2015 at 12:33PM

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I kinda agree with every one of those statements.

December 31, 2015 at 4:04PM, Edited December 31, 4:05PM

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Honestly, I watched the hateful eight and found that the 70mm medium is not necessarily adding to the story. I can see it working well with anything where you need go really wide and want little distortion (the 65m in the revenant is sometimes a touch too wide for my taste with the lenses el chivo used, almost like a supersized go pro or something, not a fish eye but certainly some warping) but in Tarantino's flick, except for the beginning the other two thirds of the movies could have been shot on 35mm and nobody could ever have been able to tell the difference... IMO at least

December 27, 2015 at 6:18AM

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I thought the same thing. I understand its use for the wide landscape shots but the interior cabin shots could have been shot with anything.

December 27, 2015 at 9:23AM

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Jason
81

Future of Kodak film sales to Hollywood Studios? Maybe. Future of cinema? LOL NO. It's the past, glorious ghost of Industry's past.

December 27, 2015 at 1:17PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1509

Once digital gives us 19 usable stops of dynamic range and a global shutter, I'll continue to prefer film. Just a personal opinion, but it's amazing what digital is able to pull in the low end

December 27, 2015 at 5:58PM, Edited December 27, 5:58PM

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Are you using film now?

December 29, 2015 at 7:04AM

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Yeah, I own a ARRI 435 ES and use it on film I buy from productions that have extra left over. Photography wise, I shoot 35mm and 6x7. Kodak portra 400 has about 19 stops in well lit environments

December 31, 2015 at 3:31PM, Edited December 31, 3:31PM

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Nice. I respect that. I think film has been on the way out for quite a few years but I like the fact that some people prefer that tool. I'm all for diversity of medium.

December 31, 2015 at 4:06PM

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It reminds me of this guy who told me that his old Jaguar is far better than the new cars. Yes it's a beautiful piece, but it has a lot of mechanical issues, no security features, it has a tendency to go off road if you don't master it so well. Bottom line, it's just plain "expensive" nostalgia. Will it be the future of automobile ? Certainly not. Does it have style ? Hell yeah ! Do I want one for Christmas to replace my electric car ? No way.

December 28, 2015 at 5:48AM

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Manu Sapo
Director
88

Then why do most Hollywood films have to use film cameras for action scenes?

Digital cameras are the unreliable tech, it's just too new and glitchy. Every camera is rushed out and has more bugs than the last.

Try to have a memory card ripped off the back of the camera while filming a $250K take, the footage will be corrupted. Have the same thing happen with film, and once it's in the can it's saved. Just protect the mag with reinforcement and it can tumble off the camera with the footage safely inside.

Also having a real optical viewfinder is a must, Oled viewfinders are shit. Only the Alexa has an optical viewfinder which they adapted from their film cameras. Good luck on any other digital camera to view the scene correctly while filming.

If you want to argue for digital you really need to pick up an issue of ASC.

December 28, 2015 at 11:47AM, Edited December 28, 11:47AM

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You should probably send an urgent letter to Emmanuel Lubezki letting him know to stop shooting digital!

I mean, he's won Academy Awards for Cinematography for 2 straight years using digital cameras, but I bet he doesn't know those cameras are "unreliable" and that he should "pick up an issue of ASC" asap!

Thank god for internet experts like you that are here to save the day.

December 28, 2015 at 10:25PM

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Alex
60

Why did he choose film for the movie he shot in between those 2 films?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2101383/technical?ref_=tt_dt_spec&mode=desktop

Apparently he still likes shooting film, he's said it in many interviews.

Nice job calling me an Internet expert, your personal attack really strengthens your argument.

Check out one of my features coming out this year:

Highreliefmovie.com

I made 3 features last year, plus countless commercials and other projects. Calling me an Internet expert before knowing me is shitty.

December 29, 2015 at 12:24PM

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-"Then why do most Hollywood films have to use film cameras for action scenes?"

I think you're wrong. I want titles. "Most" means at least 51%. Give me titles using 2015 movies. That is, most likely, a false statement.

-"Digital cameras are the unreliable tech, it's just too new and glitchy. Every camera is rushed out and has more bugs than the last."

Nope. Unless, once again, you can name the cameras and the number of "bugs" they have compared to the previous generation.

-"Try to have a memory card ripped off the back of the camera while filming a $250K take, the footage will be corrupted. Have the same thing happen with film, and once it's in the can it's saved. Just protect the mag with reinforcement and it can tumble off the camera with the footage safely inside."

Now when would that happen ? Memory cards are not "in the back of cameras". Most of them are tucked away safely behing a door INSIDE the body of the camera. Man: your "true statements" average is, so far, pretty low ! And if a card was "ripped away", it would take a few minutes to check the file and fucking reshoot it if necessary.

-"Also having a real optical viewfinder is a must, Oled viewfinders are shit. Only the Alexa has an optical viewfinder which they adapted from their film cameras. Good luck on any other digital camera to view the scene correctly while filming."

The optical viewfinder of a film camera, just like digital, does not give you a perfect representation of what is "in the can".

-"If you want to argue for digital you really need to pick up an issue of ASC."

I read ASC. They cover digital as much as film.

In conclusion: you, sir, are full of shit. None of your statements are backed by facts.

December 31, 2015 at 4:14PM

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Fpn, black sun, file corruption, buggy software - black magic

Random image blur and other image artifacts- red dragon sensor over MX

Debayer pattern showing, overheating - Sony

Every major digital camera system besides arri has major faults, making them mostly unusable for a budgeted film production.

If you don't see it great, good for you. I see the difference, I can see all the artifacts that aren't present in a clean film print, projected on film or transferred to 4K.

Optical viewfinders are a must, that's why roger deakins demanded one from Arri after shooting "in time." if you don't understand why you need one, I can't teach you this.

In several ASC articles they talk about digital productions having to use film cameras for action scenes. If you really read it, you would know this. Good luck asking for another $250K for another take because the camera had a fault.

Good luck spewing your hate. I shoot on every major camera system and I know what they are like in the field.

Film is better for anything you have a budget for. It requires a different sense of discipline.

Good luck.

December 31, 2015 at 8:14PM, Edited December 31, 8:17PM

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70mm does look gorgeous. The problem lies with getting this in front of the audience. Even where I live there are 2 of the top grossing Theaters in the country. And all 70mm projectors have been pulled. Even the IMAX turned into a LieMax. The Hateful Eight Roadshow has been a shit show.
Uneducated kids trying to run the projector necessary for the 70mm film has a nightmare. Aspect ratio problems. Starts and stops.

Its just gonna get fewer screens as we move forward.

I find it sad. I could care less what something is shot on, but there is something tangible and comforting watching a 70mm presentation. I also grew up before anything was shown digital so even watching an old 35mm print full of scratches and debris looks great to me. So who am I to say.

December 28, 2015 at 10:17AM, Edited December 28, 10:17AM

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Seth Evans
Editor
422

That's why I'm seeing ÉHateful" in 70mm this Sunday with my friend and his two teenage kids. We want them to experience what we experienced when we were their age: scratchy, dusty, shaky, breaky tech. A Tarantino movie will be perfect for that !

December 31, 2015 at 4:15PM

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I am amazed by the defensive comments here about Tarantino's choice of film over digital. It's obviously true that most of us will never get a chance to shoot in 65/70mm, but that doesn't make it "some elitist bullshit." It's a creative choice that he has every right to make as a hugely successful director. He also gets to work with Sam Jackson, who most filmmakers will never meet. If he prefers the color, depth and texture of Kodak film over the Alexa, that's up to him and the studio paying for it. If people come out to see his 70mm movies and enjoy the experience and don't seem to care about the cost differences between transcoding and film processing, they're probably better off. Filmmakers should have more choices in formats, not less, and I don't understand why any filmmaker would argue anything different.

December 28, 2015 at 11:19AM, Edited December 28, 11:19AM

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One thing that really stood out for me was how contrasty and delicious those landscape shots looked on the film projection. The blacks were bloody amazing!!!

December 28, 2015 at 2:02PM

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matt
873

I think I've seen all these arguments before........

December 29, 2015 at 12:49AM

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Wait, someone called Roger Deakins a fanboy. Never saw that before. LOL. omg

December 29, 2015 at 3:14AM

1
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:) it's the horseshoe makers arguing over moonshine over how silly the cars are!

December 29, 2015 at 8:35AM

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Jaia papitz
Titless
74

touché

nice :-)

December 29, 2015 at 8:32PM

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"Hateful Eight" was gorgeous in 70mm, as was "The Master". These two could shoot on anything and I'd see it. However, I'd rather see someone like Tarantino, who truly appreciates the format shoot his films this way than some scrub who doesn't know what to do with it.

That being said, I would love to see Tarantino do a tight hour and a half movie on digital. Just to see how that goes.

December 30, 2015 at 10:48AM

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Tarantino on digital would be the same "auteur". He just doesn't see that himself !

December 31, 2015 at 4:16PM, Edited December 31, 4:16PM

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I think Tarantino should be applauded for doing all he can to keep people going to the cinema. I can't wait to see the 70mm, get my programme, experience the intermission etc.

December 30, 2015 at 12:32PM, Edited December 30, 12:32PM

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Then the next generation of digital tech comes in and the bar is raised still higher, and celluloid won't be able to follow at all.

December 31, 2015 at 2:18PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1354

Hateful Eight now in wide release. Not doing great. 69 score on Metacritic.

Alvin and the Chimpmunks is doing better.

70mm isn't saving celluloid.

Let's talk about 8K now. ;-)

January 1, 2016 at 7:45PM, Edited January 1, 8:12PM

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I blame those Star Wars and Jurassic Park type films for forcing us to use computers. Waiting for vhs rental tapes to rewind was good quality family time that we can't get back. Now with all this new-fangled digital stuff, kids are making their own movies instead of packing the theaters for Hollywood shlop. Ridiculous!

January 1, 2016 at 11:48PM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
803