November 13, 2015 at 11:57PM

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Film vs. Digital

What is better, shooting film or digital? I hear a lot of new movies like Spectre are shot in film. Why would they do that when digital seems so much easier?

176 Comments

For people who shot a lot of film, it's simpler to use. Some cinematographers and directors prefer film.

November 14, 2015 at 12:14AM, Edited November 14, 12:15AM

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Charlie K
1382

Thanks

Stephen Crawford

November 14, 2015 at 12:00PM

"Spectre" (2015) was shot with the following cameras...

Arri Alexa 65, Panavision Primo 70 Lenses : DIGITAL

Arri Alexa XT M, Panavision AWZ2 Lenses (aerial shots) : DIGITAL

Arriflex 235, Panavision Primo Lenses : FILM

Arriflex 435 ES, Panavision Primo Lenses : FILM

Beaumont VistaVision Camera, Panavision Primo Lenses : FILM

Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 : FILM

...So two digital cameras and four film cameras were used for the photography of this movie.

Some people who have shot film for 20+ years are resistant to changing over to an all digital process, especially if it means having to learn an entirely new workflow. From this perspective the film workflow that they are familiar with may seem a lot easier.

It's harder to screw up the look of film relative to the digital process, where digital can do everything that film can do ( well maybe not when it comes to 150+ years of archival storage ), but it's all dependent on working with people who are masters of the digital process.

November 14, 2015 at 11:11AM, Edited November 14, 11:12AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

Well, I agree on all points, the cost of film vs digital is a smaller percentage when considering big dollar mega million movies.
Meaning that cost is much less an issue.
The available film stocks for making movies are much diminished compared to the past.
It is all scanned and becomes digital.
I am going to see Spectre this week.
I will be viewing a digital projection as will 100% of the viewing public worldwide.
So when you consider that it is recorded with film and digital, then scanned becomes all digital, edited in digital, then projected in digital, it is a 100% digital film which is undisputed fact, because even if they use a film print, it is taken from 100% digital files for delivery.
Not a bit of film left when projected.

November 15, 2015 at 5:18PM, Edited November 15, 5:26PM

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It is also my understanding that film cameras for Hollywood productions are no more being manufactured, but happy for someone to fact check this.

November 15, 2015 at 5:19PM

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November 15, 2015 at 5:27PM

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Your right, shooting on digital is easier - however, film does have a distinct look even if it is blind to most viewers so most people who choose to shoot on film, do it more for the look and the feel of it, also to keep the tradition alive - nowadays its less about the actual quality and more about the nostalgia and look of it. Spectre was shot on film but also partially on digital, as most big budget films which shoot on film do because digital is easier for the VFX shots.

November 15, 2015 at 9:05PM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
562

Matt, you make a good point except for one thing. This OP is film vs digital. Even if a theater owner projects with film, it is a film of a digital movie.
There are zero percent films made in Hollywood that are 100% film.
There are a sizable number number from Hollywood that are 100% digital from capture to projection.
There can be an exception.
There is no film vs digital anymore, it is all digital even if projection is film

November 16, 2015 at 11:14AM

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Lofar,

"Interstellar" and "The Hateful Eight" are both films made in Hollywood and are "100% film" in the sense that they haven't been through a D.I

Sanji Bravo

January 14, 2016 at 1:09AM

http://nofilmschool.com/2015/11/cinematographer-roger-deakins-audience-d... The irony is that Roger Deakins the most famous DP I know of, discusses this very subject.

November 16, 2015 at 4:29PM

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Woody Allen's next film ( currently untitled ) is being shot by the famous cinematographer Vittorio Storaro using digital cameras.

This is the first digital project for Vittorio Storaro and the first Woody Allen movie not shot on film.

November 16, 2015 at 7:55PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

At least in my mind since zero percent of major motion pictures are made with 100% film from capture to projection, that cinematic film cameras are no longer being manufactured, then the majority of film stocks are no longer made or available. I think it is safe to say that with zero percent there is no film vs digital. However if you want to shoot on film, go ahead and edit on film and project on film if you find a projector that works, great and go ahead.
Film can no longer make the claim to superiority in quality and any advantages would have to be defined, for example film is better to use in a film camera and digital won't work inside a film camera.
It is the same with audio, or tube guitar amps for guitarists. The digital emulations are indistinguishable from the analog.
Something to keep in mind with any analog to digital comparison (I think the so called war is won, but either process can work), I am 62 years old, I grew up with film, all the movies I have watched up to about 15yrs ago were film, maybe up to 10yrs ago. Altho on TV that is an exception. Up to the introduction of the CD I listened to radio or a phonograph record. Every form of film or audio has distortion and quirks. Given my life is mostly when analog was the only option, that seems right to me. My kids and almost grown grandkids have never known this experience like I did. My generation is dying off and so the pure audio of digital audio and movies is what the newer generations know and it sounds correct to them. I say, do not be afraid of change, embrace it and enjoy. I remember my grandparents who were born mid 1880s try and hold onto the past and stepping into their home was a step back in time. Not me, I goda bust me some rymes, I am down with it and my crib is a place for my hommies.

November 16, 2015 at 8:31PM

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Hateful Eight is 100% shot on film and will have an early release at theatres that will project with film.

Interstellar was shot 100% on film.

Star Wars The Force Awakens was shot 100% on film.

The entourage movie was 100% shot on film except for shots where they used a DJI drone.

Breaking Bad was also mostly shot on film.

The instances where digital cameras were used are instances where it would not be possible to get the shot with film for one reason or another.

Julian Faras

November 18, 2015 at 5:35PM

i chose whichever is right for that project that does not negatively affect workflow therefore affecting the final product in a counter productive way.
it has been more digital for me.

November 17, 2015 at 12:18AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1134

I wouldn't compare audio to video. Analog audio has clear advantage over digital. It sounds much much better. Video on the other hand has nearly ZERO difference. You can even simulate analog feel by good postproduction & 99% won't see a difference. In audio it's very easy to see how superior analog is in terms of quality.

November 17, 2015 at 5:54AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1178

Analog lamp guitar amplifier can't be truly simulated by any digital equivalent. The difference becomes very obvious when playing live. Digital instruments sound synthetic.

Einar Gabbassoff

November 19, 2015 at 3:46PM

There are effects and looks in film that are very difficult to emulate with digital tech (though it seems you can pretty much do ANYTHING these days if you throw enough money (i.e. time) at it.

For instance, the highlight streaking found in Saving Private Ryan (particularly the opening sequence) is achieved by setting the shutter out of sync with the film advance mechanism. This way the film starts moving while the shutter is partially open. It mostly effects the highlights, causing them to streak vertically as the film is advanced. You obviously couldn't do this "in camera" with an Arri or Red.

Also, this is just pixel (or crystal peeping) on my part, but I still haven't seen digitally-applied grain structure that matches the randomness or "cleanness" of film. But some call me a fanatic.

Kenneth Merrill

November 23, 2015 at 3:13AM

The fact still remains that shooting film is the only way to keep your work looking good in the future. Film can be rescanned in the future when better scanners are developed, that's why old films like 2001 will look amazing for years to come. They can scan the film up to or past 12K, as film has no pixels.

If you film with a 4K digital camera today, in ten years your film will look like crap. It cannot be scanned and upgraded to 12K, you will be stuck at whatever resolution it was shot on.

That's why digital movies shot only 5 years ago look like shit and films shot 50 years ago look amazing. Examples of ugly outdated digital movies would be 28 days later, Star Wars ep 2-3, or just about anything shot on an f900 or Genesis.

November 17, 2015 at 6:53AM

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Look I love film but a 12k scan isn't going to give you anymore resolution than a 4k scan. In fact there are older 35mm film prints that fall apart at 4k.

Grant DK

November 17, 2015 at 12:43PM

You also have to take into consideration that film stock has only had a 14 F-stop dynamic range since the 1980's, where films shot before this had very poor dynamic range and it shows with blown-out highlights and crushed shadows, or shots that were drastically over-lit to help lower the contrast of the scene.

Guy McLoughlin

November 17, 2015 at 1:13PM

an old dop (74 years ols) that teach me how to work fine in digital told me is only matter of knowledge, if you work with film you must know correct rules of work, if you shoot in digital you must know different rules, but the dop work is the same... he remembered same debacle when there was change from old three strip developing against technicolor and more...
@ninjaMonkey, if you think to rescan an actual 35mm film in 12k in future probably you never scan a negative...
today you can scan better (not 4k) 2001 only be cause it was shooted with good strip, a lot of vfx are shooted with 65mm vistavision, a special horizontal format developed to shoot vfx only, be cause too expansive to use for shooting live.
35mm strip have a line / inch recording capability and is not magical, you cannot scan a 35mm at 12k if info is not inside recorded... you can probably recover more infos from an Imax or 70mm like BenHur, and similar.
film vs digital, like you cannot do a good shooting with 8mm, you cannot do a good shooting from a cheap digital camera.
i'm first to tell that there is digital and digital, someone that too similar to video, someone that mimic the sensibility of film, the curve of sensibility on shadow and light, the gentle roll off of the light of sun in the sky.
too much movies are advertised from hardware used and not from story...
if you note that a movie is shooted in film or digital, don't waste your time about it, but ask what in the story of movie don't work enought that you be distracted from a trivial dectail like shooting in digital or film.

ps 28 day later was a artist choose to do a different shooting with dvcam, not higher quality for all film, with exception of last shot, film, to show green of good end.
about star wars, ep. 1,2,... too immature tech, and i'm totally agree with you, i hate the photography of these movies, too similar to a videogames, no dof, strange gamma, color over saturated in wrong way...

November 17, 2015 at 3:05PM, Edited November 17, 3:09PM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
780

Sure it's easier to shoot digital, but it doesn't look as good as film.

Film looks magic right out of the can.

Shoot on RED and enjoy spending a fortune in post just to get it looking like the nightly news. Then get ready to replace your camera every two years for 4 and 8k that will probably be viewed in 720p.

Meanwhile, pickup an ARRI SRII super s16 camera for $1500 (thats to own!) and some kodak vision 3 film stock (which contrary to the rubbish posted above is still readily being manufactured and sold) and your shooting with same materials they shot the wrestler with.

If you need 20 takes and iso 3200 go digital. If you want to shoot stuff that looks good go film.

November 17, 2015 at 8:18PM, Edited November 17, 8:21PM

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LJ
682

Well, in audio, digital is the superior medium and in blind tests, people choose the digital over the analog. People even experts blind tested cannot tell the difference between analog and the digital emulations of analog. I have an artist endorsement with a very large musical instrument mfg and am privy to blind tests, but this is old news. In every way even on the consumer level digital recording and playback is superior and just like in film, the stocks of analog tapes are disappearing and I do not think there are any machines being made anymore. They also needs part and maint which is not available anymore. If this were a war, it would be an annihilation. Computers don't distinguish between audio and video, in the digital realm it is ones and zeros. This is not speculation on my part, I come from both worlds, it is just fact and fact backed up by science. This has been this way so long now that it is fruitless to argue. Kind of like apple claiming they are superior when they have less than 5% use world wide and PC has well over 90% and dominated computer sales for decades. I don't care what you use. Both can get you there, but in audio and video digital is really the only option and film or tape is in the death throes.

November 17, 2015 at 9:26PM

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Art is not science and you are talking rubbish, not facts. we are not talking about audio. We are talking about film vs digital.

Literally almost all the universally considered top directors working today prefer film. PTA, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Tarintino, Aronofsky... the list goes on. Maybe you think digital looks "good enough" but the bottom line is -- and the guys doing the best work agree -- FILM LOOKS BETTER. I'd merit these guys opinions over armchair speculators.

Kodak have signed deals to continue to produce stock and are sinking money into researching new stocks. Meanwhile the price of scanning and developing film continues to drop, as does the price of raw stock. It has literally NEVER been cheaper to shoot film and the technology of scanning has increased that it has never looked better. Sorry!

LJ

November 18, 2015 at 1:25PM

LJ you can make it personal, it is not personal with me, it is simple, show me the new film cameras being made? Show me the new film stocks being made? and the research and development? You can't because film is beyond serious decline, there is no film vs digital. It is an absolute anihalation, but you can make a film with film with old film cameras if they work and you can use the very limited stocks compared to the past where there was many and make a film. If that is what you want to do go for it.
But if film was superior, it would be available and moving forward like it was in the past.
Every film you will see in a theater 100% will be a digital film, where it was converted to digital and edited. You can dispute that, but you will like a moron if you do. There is no 100% films anymore in big budget films. No one edits films anymore.
LJ where you watch films, in a theater, on a cell phone, you are watching a digital film.

November 19, 2015 at 12:31PM

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Yes digital projection, intermediate and edit are wonderful as long as it's photographed on film It still looks just as good. You are not sacrificing anything. If you shoot digital you are sacrificing quality for ease of use, or cost savings. Which is great, but if your objective is paramount quality there is no competition.

If you judge quality simply by the amount of units being moved than i'm sure you'd probably agree that the music that is at the top of the charts right now is the best ever created right?

Footage from a 40-year-old Arri will look pretty much the same as footage from a brand new one if the same stock is used. They don't need to be constantly re-developed and re-bought. They work, they look good. Not a great a business model for manufacturers but the truth.

The latest films by the best filmmakers --Wes Anderson, Tarintino, P.T Anderson-- They're all shot on film. Why do you think that is? People who know what they are talking about, know film looks better. From an aesthetic standpoint, which is what's being discussed, there is no argument.

All 6 major hollywood studios have signed an agreement to keep kodak producing film. Look it up, it's not my job to educate you and I'm not going to debate the merits of film with you further as you're clearly not interested in facts. Carry on point and shoot soldier.

LJ

November 19, 2015 at 1:45PM

LJ you are 100% on point with everything you're saying. Film is dead right lofar fopah? Better tell that to Tarantino, JJ Abrams and Christopher Nolan. They would slap you in the face for half the knowledgeless camera hyped BS you just spewed.

Obviously they don't edit on film anymore, we are talking about film as a capture medium.

NinjaMonkey

November 19, 2015 at 6:51PM, Edited November 19, 6:51PM

The facts haven't changed. I just don't understand the pleasure in trading insults? It speaks to character and it undermines any creditability in posting. Facts have been challenged with insults. Now the stage is yours, the facts remain unchanged.

November 20, 2015 at 6:38AM, Edited November 20, 6:42AM

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The facts are film is not dead as you said, the major studios and big filmmakers invested to made sure of it.

Tarantino just shot the biggest film on film ever. We may be moving to ultra 70mm film becoming an option.

Kodak is developing new film stocks. Arri and panavision stopped making cameras because demand has curbed. The good thing is film cameras can last over 100 years if maintained properly. Unlike a digital camera that is garbage after 3 years.

Continue with your digital camera hype, needing to upgrade every year because your camera is worthless. Film looks better, good luck making digital look like film it's not really possible.

NinjaMonkey

November 20, 2015 at 7:46AM

I've presented you with the actual facts, to counter the rubbish you're spreading but you just refuse to address them and talk in metaphors about audio tapes.

How about this: The new Star Wars film was just shot on film. BOOM.

November 20, 2015 at 1:49PM

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LJ
682

Nice try, no cigar

November 20, 2015 at 2:35PM

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Haha sorry, yes!

http://screenrant.com/star-wars-episode-7-not-filmed-digitally/

Looks like you are a fan.

November 20, 2015 at 4:12PM, Edited November 20, 4:15PM

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LJ
682

LJ, if it is shot on film, then that means there will be no digital effects just practical effects.
It will be edited on film and then projected on film.
You cannot view starwars anywhere but in a theater, because cell phone-digital, tablet-digital, cable-digital, streaming-digital. Once that real film is transcoded to digital ones and o's it is a digital film. If I were to follow your logic that film is a superior medium, any advantage of film is lost once it goes digital, but of course you know all this and just like to be argumentative. I don't care if a filmmaker uses film or not, right now, the best percentage I can find is that 20-25% are shot on film, but then converted to digital for editing etc. It is simply a choice to make, mostly based on tradition, with big budget movies the cost of film is a small part of the budget, the cost of projection of course is many times over. The bottom line is Zero Hollywood films are shot on film, edited on film and projected only on film. So, in context to the OP, in film vs digital, it is an absolute annihilation, but thankfully if you can afford film, you can use the old cameras and the limited film stocks, but if you are trying to claim that starwars has no digital effects, that is moronic.

November 20, 2015 at 5:40PM

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When film is digitized you still get the far superior dynamic range, color separation, and look. It doesn't look video because you digitized it.

Film has more in the highlights, try over exposing digital 3 stops. You can't because it's a fixed pattern medium without the metal hallides to keep the image alive. Once you go over just a stop, that's it with digital, the shot is ruined.

With digital you have to be far more exact or risk ruining your image, even in raw on a red dragon. With film it can end up looking better if you over/under expose.

Film is a medium for artists while digital is great for technicians and camera zealots.

NinjaMonkey

November 21, 2015 at 6:46AM

I'm trying to say starwars is shot on film.

This is a debate about photographing on Film vs Digital. Stop trying to muddy the debate with semantics. Of course they are edited in digital.

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 12:33PM

You don't have to fully edit on film to finish on film. What you do is scan your film, edit in your Non Linear Editor, then do what's called a Negative Cut, cutting the negative to match the cut you made in your NLE, then you can do a dry gate or wet gate print, even a 70mm blow up. No digital step getting into the final image. This was done for all of Christopher Nolans films after Following.

Peter Phillips

November 23, 2015 at 7:56PM

>>>When film is digitized you still get the far superior dynamic range

False. Film-stock has a DR range of 14+ F-stops. Currently the DR limit for a RED camera in HDR mode is 18+ F-stops. The new Panasonic Varicam 35 and the ARRI Alexa have the SAME DR as film. Panasonic and Fuji are working together on new digital sensor technology that should surpass a DR of 20 F-stops. ( currently 5 years in development and at least 2-3 years before it shows up in a camera )

>>color separation

False. Digital has a larger color gamut than film-stock does, and is able to reproduce colors that film can't. Check out the color gamut of the Sony F65 camera in the graphic below...

http://goo.gl/T7cGT7

>>>and look.

False. Digital can be manipulated through camera settings and post-processing to reproduce anything that film can do, and far beyond the limitations of film.

>>>Film has more in the highlights, try over exposing digital 3 stops.

False. Shoot with an ARRI Alexa and you have up to 5 F-stops of over-exposure latitude. Other cameras like the RED in HDR mode can handle this too.

>>>With film it can end up looking better if you over/under expose.

Film radically changes it's contrast and grain when over or under exposed. Over-exposed film does not look like properly exposed film.

>>>Film is a medium for artists while digital is great for technicians and camera zealots.

Digital can do anything film can do if you have mastery over the digital process.

Great art has nothing to do with the medium used. Digital or film is an irrelevant choice.

November 21, 2015 at 11:48AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

Guy, just FYI when shooting motion picture film it is usually advised to overexposed at least 1 stop. Most labs will tell you this to get the best image. This is to bring out your color and make the image look better. Some cinematographers also underexpose 1 stop to bring out the grain.

These artistic choices can not be made on any digital camera.

Many tests have been done online showing how hard it really is to overexpose film.

In film school we used to do tests on this. We were able to make an image overexposed 3 stops look perfectly normal, if not better than properly exposed.

Digital sensors on the other hand see dark areas better, but their highlight roll off does not touch film. Most of their dynamic range is in the blacks, even a dragon camera. I have shot with dragon several times and the dynamic range is great but film is better in the highlights. Dragon has tons of image blur issues, look it up.

Once you overexpose digital it's gone, there is no information just ugly digital white. The metal halide crystals in film are constantly moving and keep your highlights alive.

I started on digital, then learned film. Besides the Alexa, every digital camera has too many problems.

Try pointing an f65 at the sun, you can because you'll see the debayer pattern reflecting off the lens. All Sony cinema cameras do this in certain situations, look it up.

Digital cameras are being rushed out to make camera manufacturers record profits. And give blogs like nofilmschool more views. In the film age there was not this hype we see today for every new faulty digital camera with countless issues. Most of them have serious issues making them unusable for anyone who can see these issues.

Film on the other hand can be shot in any situation and still look great. It's a perfected technology, while digital filmmaking is still a child.

NinjaMonkey

November 22, 2015 at 12:46AM

Great art has nothing to do with the medium used. Digital or film is an irrelevant choice.

It is about choice, there is one huge advantage of film, that is of archiving.

You can put it in one of those studio salt mines and it will last for 100yrs or more. However for us that make films for less than a million dollars and most of us for less than a thousand dollars.
Kind of like the Mac vs PC arguments in parallel. Mac use world wide aprox 4%, PC use world wide aprox 94%. In terms of ? vs ? it is anhilation, but in terms of choice you can use film, you can use digital, both will get you there, but as stated before, film gets scanned into digital and primarily viewed as digital and no commercial films at all are captured, edited and projected as film, once it is scanned and becomes ones and zeros, it is a digital film.
What commercial film these days has all practical effects? If there are any at all, it is the exception. What the big issue to me as Guy pointed out is that you have choice. It doesn't matter to me there is no longer any films, shot on film, edited film and projected film and seen on film. You do have a choice to shoot on film and glad that this choice exists. Film exists as a choice today because digital makes it practical. Some filmmakers like shooting with film, have spent a lifetime learning to shoot on film. It is very upsetting that cameras are no longer being made, that there favorite film stocks are no longer made and the choices in film are very limited.
I also think that digital projection in theaters is still a minority today, but who is buying film projectors? Its days are numbered. Yet we still have choice and will have choice in the forseeable future. What really hurts film as a medium is the lack of research and development. I for one am glad there is a choice, but in my mind and certainly in the marketplace, the war is won. Digital is the victor, but anyone can use film if they want to, if it helps them achieve their vision and story is still king and the tool is less important and how you use the tool to tell a STORY is all important!

November 21, 2015 at 1:54PM

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Yes, I totally agree that film can have a 150+ year archival life-span when properly stored.

Digital alternatives are being developed, though I don't know if any enterprise level solutions exist right now, but I am sure they will happen over the next 10 years. There's just too much data that has to be archived that includes commercial films.

Guy McLoughlin

November 21, 2015 at 10:33PM

It's not a war. They are capture mediums.

The biggest film on the planet, Star Wars, was photographed on film, in 2015 with film cameras. End of story.

You can backpeddle and carry on about mobile phones and projection all you want. Bottom line is, the BEST filmmakers (Arronfky, Wes Anderson, P.T Anderson, Tarantino, Nolan) still demand film.

Projection and editing in digital doesn't not affect the quality of films photographed on film. its win win. Yes story is king, but that's not what the discussion is about, you just keep moving the goal posts when you crap gets called out.

Hope you enjoy star wars when it comes out :P

But if you are okay with compromising quality for convenience, digital is great!

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 12:42PM

Star Wars is entirely shot on film. not 20-25%. Sorry. Same thing with the Wrestler, Black Swan, Moonrise Kingdom, Django Unchained, Hateful Eight, Inherent Vice, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fruitvale Station and on and on and on. Just because you aren't informed, doesn't mean the facts don't exist.

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 12:46PM

my post may be confusing in the beginning. I absolutly afirm what Guy said, it is not about choice between film and digital video or as he put it, the medium used. I do think it is about choice in that right now, if you have the money, which I don't. However if you do, you can choose to use film if you want to. I do not presume to know why? However if you have the money and the skill you can use anything that will work to achieve your goals.
So, even as digital video is the victor in the market place there is a small minority that prefer to work in film to make movies. Despite them also being digital movies since they are edited and viewed digitally, I am glad we have a choice. What is pertinent is how you use the tools you choose to tell a story.

November 21, 2015 at 3:58PM

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Samsara!

November 22, 2015 at 8:47AM

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revo
101

>>>Many tests have been done online showing how hard it really is to overexpose film.

With color negative film ( most film-stock shot is color neg ) your tonal range gets compressed with over-exposure. One F-stop is not going to make much difference, but over-expose by 3-5 F-stops and you've got a dense neg with little separation of lighter tones and highlights. Sure they won't clip, but their tonal range has been severely compressed.

If you like this look you can create it in digital by exposing normally with a camera that has a wide dynamic range and then messing with your gamma curve in post, so that you can duplicate the type of tonal compression that is happening with film-stock.

November 23, 2015 at 12:43PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

To quote from the website of one of L.A's biggest post houses.

"we always get asked to make digital look like film, we've never been asked to film look like digital"

November 23, 2015 at 12:49PM

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LJ
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1- It's pretty much impossible to make film look like digital because digital can look like anything...

2- There is a LOT of nostalgia for film-stock that will eventually disappear once people realize that digital can do anything that film can do.

Guy McLoughlin

November 23, 2015 at 12:54PM

It's not nostalgia. The chemical process just yields something that looks better.

Saying digital can do anything film can is ridiculous. If you can't see the difference that's fine but there's a reason the world's best directors demand film. Yes it's a pain in the ass, but the easy road is rarely the best. Does film make sense for broadcast tv? NO. Does it make sense for people whose primary concern qaulity? YES.

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 2:31PM

LJ, thank you. Thank you for being able to see the difference. Digital has gotten better in the past 5 years, but it still looks like video to those with a discerning eye.

NinjaMonkey

November 23, 2015 at 2:49PM

And in case anyone is wondering, most feature films ( both Indie and Hollywood ) and most broadcast TV shows are made today using digital cameras...

Cameras Use to Shoot the Oscar-Nominated Films of 2014?
http://goo.gl/0FZkno

Movies and Television Shot with RED Cameras
http://www.red.com/shot-on-red

ShotOnWhat.com
https://shotonwhat.com/

November 23, 2015 at 12:52PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

Don't forget Oscar winners. In the past 10 years the best picture oscar winners are overwhelmingly celluloid.

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 1:30PM

Part of Starwars may have been shot on film, but digital effects are ones and zeros and to say that Starwars has no digital effects when it is a digital effects movie is moronic. End of story

November 23, 2015 at 1:04PM

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The whole movie is shot in film.

I'm not saying there is no digital post-production, that is entirely beside the point.

Star Wars is entirely shot on film. Entirely. Deal with it.

November 23, 2015 at 1:23PM, Edited November 23, 1:23PM

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LJ
682

Yes, including a big chunk of it shot with IMAX cameras using Hasselblad lenses.

I definitely plan on seeing the IMAX version at least once this year.

Guy McLoughlin

November 23, 2015 at 1:52PM

>>>Try pointing an f65 at the sun, you can because you'll see the debayer pattern reflecting off the lens.

Hmmm... Lets take a look at some F65 footage with the camera pointing directly at the sun.

At 8 Seconds in You Will See a F65 Sunset Shot
https://vimeo.com/40090469

Funny, I don't see any debayer pattern here ???

November 23, 2015 at 2:22PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

https://community.sony.com/t5/F5-F55/Strange-Grid-Pattern-in-Flares-Sony...

This is a huge problem for all current Sony large sensor cameras, that's why they are rarely used in Hollywood productions anymore. They can't risk a million dollar day getting thrown away for a buggy camera. That's why they use film, Alexa, or Red.

NinjaMonkey

November 23, 2015 at 2:56PM

>>>This is a huge problem for all current Sony large sensor cameras

Apparently it's caused by strong back-light reflecting from the camera's optical low-pass filter assembly on to the camera's sensor, and this can be cured by inserting a mask inside the camera to prevent the reflection.

Check Reply by ArleneC That Details the Mask They Made
https://goo.gl/ffCRE9

Hopefully Sony will manufacture camera mask kits to simplify installing this fix.

November 23, 2015 at 3:38PM, Edited November 23, 3:41PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

>>>Don't forget Oscar winners. In the past 10 years the best picture oscar winners are overwhelmingly celluloid.

Yes, digital cameras were pretty bad 10 years ago, but today it's a different story.

Wait another 10 years and film will seem like an old antique from the past. ( I still have a soft spot in my heart for Kodachrome 25 film, which was the most amazing film I've ever shot with. Lots of pro careers were built upon Kodachrome 25 and 64. )

November 23, 2015 at 4:35PM, Edited November 23, 4:35PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

What about 9 years ago, 8 years ago, 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 years ago?

Almost all of those years were won by celluloid films too....

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 5:48PM

How silly to claim that the new starwars is shot 100% in film when it is famous for is 100% digital effects!
even 1% of digital effects makes it a digital film. However I do believe that you are ignorant of what the difference between film and digital. The fact is 100% shot on film, limits it to only practical effects. For any reasonable person reading this, how many shots in Starwars will not have digital effects, digital background, digital coloring etc. It is likely none of them will lack digital and the new starwars will be edited in digital and again it is moronic to claim otherwise.
I take your advice and give it back to you . DEAL WITH IT!

November 23, 2015 at 5:17PM

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I work in feature vfx for a living, in fact I am typing this from Burbank in Los Angeles. I know what it means and I know you're full of crap.

It's very plain we are talking about shooting film vs shooting digital. Not the post production process which is completely irrelevant.

I have worked in post production for 15 years and never ever once heard anyone refer to the process as part of "shooting the movie". You're simply trying to change the debate because you've lost.

Starwars is 100% shot on film stock, using a film camera. FACT.

LJ

November 23, 2015 at 5:44PM

>>>What about 9 years ago, 8 years ago, 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 years ago?
>>>Almost all of those years were won by celluloid films too....

But all that started to change once films were shot with the ARRI Alexa and RED Epic cameras. If we look at the 2014 Oscar nominations from the NFS SetLife article ( see the link I posted ), we have 7 nominated films shot on film-stock and 11 nominated films shot with digital cameras. ( pretty much all ARRI Alexa cameras )

I predict that there will be more 2015 nominations for films shot with digital cameras than films shot on film-stock, and prevalence towards digital is only going to increase. Especially when you factor in that we now have the Panasonic Varicam 35 and the ARRI Alexa 65 cameras to shoot with. ( Panavision also has a 70mm digital camera that has been in development for a while )

November 23, 2015 at 6:14PM, Edited November 23, 6:16PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

The Alexa is a beautiful camera, it's also been around for 6 years and there were two arri digital cinema cameras prior to that. Red has been around since 2007.

November 23, 2015 at 7:18PM

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LJ
682

LJ if you would lie about other things, I figure as well as your background. I could list them all the lies, but I am not writing a book just a response. THE FACTS STARWARS IS A DIGITAL MOVIE, EVERY SCENE HAS DIGITAL EFFECTS, EDITED DIGITALLY AND PROJECT DIGITALLY AND THEN DUMPED ON FILM FOR PROJECTION OR FOR DIGITAL PROJECTION WHICH MAKES IT A DIGITAL FILM. STARWARS HAS ALWAYS BEEN MADE THIS WAY WHICH IF YOU WERE HONEST WHICH OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE NOT WOULD KNOW THAT IS THE FACTS! another fact is that you assume that people reading this discussion will not know the difference between a film that is shot on film, edited on film and solely projected and seen on film and a digital movie. Any movie viewed on a cell phone, tablet, computer or television is a digital movie. THAT IS FACT, to continue to insist that STARWARS is not digital when it will be Digital in every scene is moronic, then to claim you have experience and expertise in the field and be ignorant of the facts is beyond belief. I at least respect those reading this discussions to know the difference between film and digital.

November 23, 2015 at 8:10PM, Edited November 23, 8:28PM

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Digital intermediate has nothing to do with it. I shoot film and have it scanned for edit and grading. It does not negate the fact that I shot on film, or that it looks like shot on film. You're simply trying to change the parameters of the debate because you were presented with the fact you are wrong.

So is Dan Mindel, DP of Star Wars lying here in this article when he says he is shooting it on film?

“I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-episode-7-to-be-shot-on-film-not-digi...

Literally straight from the horses mouth haha!

How much further are you going to dig mate? Tell us, is the DP of Star Wars full of crap or is it you? Put down the keyboard and pick up a camera.

November 23, 2015 at 8:32PM, Edited November 23, 8:35PM

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LJ
682

LJ, don't let him get to you. Lofar is obviously a troll.

NinjaMonkey

November 23, 2015 at 8:50PM

November 23, 2015 at 9:08PM

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avatar
Tom Warwick
Writer/Director
183

Well, I will make it real simple for those of you like LJ, when film becomes ones and zeros, it is a digital film, that is what the difference is, if it is captured in digital, it is captured as ones and zeros, if it is captured on film and converted in the workflow of making the film to ones and zeros it is a digital film, if it is viewed from those ones and zeros you are viewing a digital film. In the course of making STARWARS, if there are any digital effects, those effects are seen by ones and zeros, it is not possible yet to show film as ones and zeros, it ceases to be film, which of course anyone with a basic understanding knows. I am not disputing that film was used in making of Starwars, but to use digital effects, it has to be a digital film which you know and I know and of course trolls love to argue. This makes certain people posting and posing assuming people reading are Morons and don't know the difference between film and digital. Right now there are zero commercial Hollywood films made that are all film. That is an indisputable fact, but many movies use capture on film as part of the making of their movie. Right now that is about 20% of all Hollywood films, but has been in steady decline which also in indisputable fact. I am glad that some of the remaining film stocks are being mfg. As you are no doubt well aware that Hollywood film industry struck a deal with Kodak which was prepared to end production of filmstocks for Hollywood.

November 23, 2015 at 9:22PM, Edited November 23, 9:23PM

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Truths and facts, film has been in decline so much so that most of the old filmstocks are no longer being made.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=102670.0

http://www.wsj.com/articles/kodak-movie-film-at-deaths-door-gets-a-repri...

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n130402.html

November 24, 2015 at 1:11AM

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We are talking about film as a capture medium, your argument makes zero sense. I understand what your saying, but you are ignoring the advantages of shooting on a film cameras versus a digital camera.

Too bad most digital cameras are faulty and unusable for film productions.

Manufacturers are rushing them out at record pace, chasing record profits created by your digital hype lofar. It has become similar to the software industry, releasing buggy products with the hopes on them being fixed via software updates.

I'm talking about black sun issues on so many cameras. Also overheating, file corruption, fixed pattern noise, sensor reflections do countless other issues apparent on all digital cameras.

The Alexa is the only digital camera without tons of faults, it was perfected by Arri over years and they are careful not to just rush out products like every other camera company.

Until digital cameras are actually designed better than film cameras (with the exception of the Alexa) You will continue to see great directors shooting on film.

NinjaMonkey

November 24, 2015 at 6:45AM

So your'e trying to change the point of the debate again?

Just answer the question, who's full of crap the DP of star wars or you?

Dan Mindel: “I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

star was %100 shot on film. Digital post is irrelevant. The director and the DP agree. Nice try though.

haha

http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-episode-7-to-be-shot-on-film-not-digi...

Vision 3 are the best film stocks ever made and are readily available.

You are clearly grasping at straws rather than addressing the being called out on your bs.

LJ

November 24, 2015 at 1:00PM

>>>Too bad most digital cameras are faulty and unusable for film productions.

I can't agree with this statement, but I would say that low cost digital cameras have compromises you have to live with in order to produce Indie or commercial content with them.

As with any compromise there are pros to shooting with low cost digital cameras ( like less grain, higher resolution, more detail, significantly higher ISO speeds, low production costs, etc... ) and cons. ( like rolling shutter, less dynamic range, highlight clipping, significantly more complex camera settings, etc... ) Most of these compromises disappear as you increase your camera budget, but we are still probably a decade away from having a $3,000 camera that can produce ARRI Alexa image quality, but I am sure we will get there eventually.

>>>black sun issues on so many cameras

Sony A7S II and some of the original Blackmagic cameras that have since been fixed for free via firmware upgrades. ( including the Sony A7S II )

>>>Also overheating

Some Canon DSLR cameras ( I can't remember which ones )
Sony A7R II in 4K mode when shooting for more than one hour
Sony A7S II in 4K mode when shooting for ? number of hours

>>>file corruption

Almost all of these issues are related to bad memory cards or poor workflow skills of the operator. ( i.e. ALWAYS format your media in camera before using it, EVERY time )

>>>fixed pattern noise

This seems to be largely a Blackmagic issue that happens when shooting at higher ISO speeds. Stick to lower more realistic ISO speeds and it's gone.

>>>sensor reflections

Mostly a Sony issue when shooting scenes with very strong back-light conditions, and apparently it can be cured with a sensor light-mask.

>>>countless other issues apparent on all digital cameras.

Generally if you know what you are doing digital cameras are very reliable and predictable.

>>>The Alexa is the only digital camera without tons of faults

It's one of the best digital cameras on the market, but like anything you pay for what you get, but this does not mean that you can't produce outstanding work with other cameras as we have seen when we look at what people are shooting with Canon, RED and Sony cameras. There is NO perfect camera, and that includes film-stock cameras. Everything is a compromise.

>>>Until digital cameras are actually designed better than film cameras you will continue to see great directors shooting on film.

I see this as mainly a "fear of new technology" where people don't like to move out of their comfort zones if they don't have to, but given how fast digital technology is moving forward, film is rapidly becoming an "antique" technology. As I stated previously, I don't expect to see much produced on film after 2025.

November 24, 2015 at 12:14PM, Edited November 24, 12:15PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

I shoot digital and film. I started in digital. I simply shoot film when I can because it looks better.

LJ

November 24, 2015 at 12:53PM

My biggest fear is footage that looks like the nightly news.

I think the biggest aversion to film is the fear of not being able to have infinite do-overs, not being able to let the camera roll forever, learning to use a light meter and being able to visualize your shots in pre-pro.

You have to know what you are doing with film, you cannot simply point, shoot a bunch of coverage and hope to get something good to stitch together in the edit.

LJ

November 24, 2015 at 1:25PM

For me the OP has not changed, in all my replies I have stuck to the topic of film vs digital. There have been many silly posts such as suggesting that Starwars a film with hundreds if not thousands of digital effects, where likely they are in every scene were shot on film, if that were possible which it is not would show up as ones and zeros.
I have never denied and several times affirmed that film was used in the making of Starwars. The trolls are the ones that are feeding horse shit not fact. Film is in serious decline, has been, everybody knows it, no more mfg of film cameras, very limited film stocks, whole companies quiting making film stocks. Ten years ago there were far more choices for film. I am incredulous that this is denied. You can find your own references, but 20% of movies shot on film, but then converted to digital for editing and distribution, there are no films that are all shot on film, edited on film and delivered exclusively on film. If there is an exception not only would it be rare, but the majority of people world wide would view it digitally on their phone, tv etc.
What movie is more iconic for digital effects? Just so silly to say otherwise. As I have stated before, my main point is that you still have choice, you can make a film film if you want, if you can afford it, but the reality is that the people with the millions of dollars shoot on digital and a minority shoot on film for part of the process and that film is beyond serious decline. Even the point about "magic" attributes on film if this were true, which is not, but even if true, would be lost when scanned to digital. The reason film is still used https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0hZ1KKpV54

November 24, 2015 at 12:57PM

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Post production has nothing to do with how a film was photographed.

You are just desperately trying to find some angle to hold onto your dignity.

From the DP of starwars Dan Mindel

Dan Mindel: “I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

Are you saying he's wrong and you're right? Go play with your GH2

http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-episode-7-to-be-shot-on-film-not-digi...

LJ

November 24, 2015 at 1:03PM, Edited November 24, 1:03PM

Listen to someone who actually knows what they are talking about, and not one of these dslr heroes.

http://screenrant.com/christopher-nolan-interstellar-digital-vs-film/

https://filmmakermagazine.com/93700-i-dont-want-to-sound-negative-about-...

"Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital information will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for."

- Martin Scorsese

But tell us your stories again Lofar.

November 24, 2015 at 1:14PM, Edited November 24, 1:48PM

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LJ
682

LJ
You say post production doesn't matter, of course who watches a film that is not edited? not color corrected? which now is all done digitally, you LJ do not watch film, if you go to a theater even you watch a digital film. I absolutely don't care if part of the movie is shot digitally or on film, but with no post production, there is no movie. Again more silliness from the Master of Comedy. I love how you deny that Starwars has no digital effects. Anyway, keep entertaining us, don't stop now you are on a roll

November 24, 2015 at 1:52PM

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You forgot to answer the questions again, I wonder why?

I'm not saying post production doesn't matter, I'm saying it doesn't negate whether a movie is photographed on film or digital. But you know that, you're just trying to re-frame the debate because you have no legs to stand on. Nice try.

A movie shot on Film looks like film regardless of post production methods. That is all that matters, and that is why the world's best filmmakers shoot on film, because it looks better.

By your logic, any music listened to on a cd or radio is longer played with real instruments. Give it up mate, have you ever shot on anything other than dslr? people on these forums work in the industry. Yes star wars has digital fx, so what? it was photographed on film stock, with film cameras, ENTIRELY and it looks like it was photographed on film stock, with film cameras ENTIRELY. The laser beams they add in post won't change that.

Again, I challenge you to answer the question. Who's wrong, DP of starwars Dan Mindel or YOU?

Dan Mindel: “I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-episode-7-to-be-shot-on-film-not-digi...

You can shoot tests of your cat and wedding videos on your dslr. Nolan, PTA, Wes Anderson, Arronofsky and Dan Mindel can shoot on film. There's room for both!

November 24, 2015 at 2:03PM, Edited November 24, 2:07PM

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LJ
682

>>>My biggest fear is footage that looks like the nightly news.

Totally understandable, but if you know what you are doing with your digital camera ( in terms of lighting, lenses, and cameras setting ) and you know what you are doing with your digital footage in post, then this is an irrational fear because it's easy to avoid.

All of the terrible footage I see always boils down to people not knowing how to use their production gear ( bad lighting, bad lens choices, bad camera settings, etc... ) or how to handle things in post. ( many people can't grade footage to save their life and their finished work looks like crap )

>>>I think the biggest aversion to film is the fear of not being able to have infinite do-overs, not being able to let the camera roll forever, learning to use a light meter and being able to visualize your shots in pre-pro.

But most of these things still apply to digital shoots too. A bad work ethic is ALWAYS a bad work ethic no matter what medium you are working with.

>>>You have to know what you are doing with film, you cannot simply point, shoot a bunch of coverage and hope to get something good to stitch together in the edit.

Digital is a MUCH harder process to master compared to film because there are 10 times as many details that you need to keep track of in the digital production process. This is why some people desperately cling to film-stock because they don't want to go through the whole hassle of upgrading their production skills for the digital process.

November 24, 2015 at 2:12PM, Edited November 24, 2:13PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

Rubbish, these are just excuses. Digital is not harder, it's requires much less discipline. It's exchanging quality for fear of not being able to do it over. Which is a valid concern.

Everything people do in video is try an emulate film. Even at the top end, video looks sub-par compared to film and the best filmmakers know it.

Maybe you're right though, amatuers like the cohen brothers, wes anderson, arronofsky, nolan, PT anderson all desperately cling to film stock because they don't want to upgrade their production skills. While in the other corner, we have the progressive masters of video Guy & Lopar leading the way.

November 24, 2015 at 2:22PM, Edited November 24, 2:25PM

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LJ
682

>>>A movie shot on Film looks like film regardless of post production methods. That is all that matters, and that is why the world's best filmmakers shoot on film, because it looks better.

I would argue that these people are choosing film because it's...

1- Easier ( you have to know MUCH less compared to shooting digital )

2- It's what they know. They have a history of working with film-stock and have no mastery of the digital process, so they stick with what they know.

3- It's a safe bet. It's much easier to f*ck-up when shooting digitally, so many people don't want to take on this risk.

4- They are nostalgic for the traditional film production process. Digital can seem very alien if you are not used to it.

5- They want to use a medium that has proven archival properties, where digital archival storage still seems to be undefined at this stage of the game.

November 24, 2015 at 2:24PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30051

This is rubbish. It's overwhelmingly well-documented that film is harder to shoot on. Digital is the choice for the "fix it post/shoot lots of takes and coverage" crew.

Film is the choice of the masters.

Do you honestly think the filmmakers above have not seen as much video as you, that's your logic? they are used to looking at it, it's just they have the eye to be able tell it looks much worse than film. Which is why they are the top.

LJ

November 24, 2015 at 2:30PM, Edited November 24, 2:30PM

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