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Robert A. Harris addresses digital photography for the Movie Anwser Man.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    From Roger Ebert's Movie Anwser Man column for Sunday, July 14th:
     
  2. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Well-Known Member

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    Go RH!

    Anyone have a link to that Credit Suisse/First Boston report on digital projection vs. Maxivision?
     
  3. Michael St. Clair

    Michael St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    When I saw Episode 2 in DLP, I was wholly unimpressed. The picture of both the feature and the trailers were lacking in resolution. Sharp, yes; detailed, no. The projector was in focus, and this was easily verified by walking down front and looking at the sharpness of the screendoor effect.
    DLP is not ready for prime time, but certain companies and individuals are trying to push it on the industry. I say wait until DLP can match 70mm, not 16mm.
    Then again, since the average viewer thinks that SVM and EE makes pictures look better, and even Robert Altman can be suckered by Darbeevision, I suppose the general public will think DLP looks fantastic. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jean-Michel

    Jean-Michel Well-Known Member

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    I doubt any film standard developed in the rest of human history will be able to match a good-quality 70mm print.

    Ultimately I found Harris' response quite sane -- a lot better than some of Ebert's own opinions on the subject, which act as if a conversion to digital will lead to the complete destruction of cinema. Although I'm not sure what Harris means by "the experience of cinema is gone." Anyway, nobody can really claim that 1.8k resolution is good enough, but fortunately technology moves fast -- 4k is already being used in some capacities and it won't be long before we have 10k. The main problem is just ironing out the digital projection standards and coming up with a more modular design to facilitate easier upgrades (my understanding is that to upgrade a DLP projector now you pretty much have to buy the whole thing again).
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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    Also, you have to remember what the source material was like. While high resolution by digital standards, it's low definition by film standards. Rick McCallum stated that Sony's developing a camera that should be ready by the time Epsiode III starts filming that has nearly 5 times the resolution of the ones used to film Episode II. That alone should close the gap. Also the lenses have been improving leaps and bounds. The lenses that Robert Rodriquez used to film Spy Kids 2 and Once Upon a Time in Mexico are multiples better than the ones Lucas used. Also notable with Episode II was that when editting it, he really abused the footage. He'd take long shots and zoom them into close ups on a few instances for example, which means you're seeing images at a lower resolution than the camera is capable of.

    I'm still hoping for a digital future. While Maxivision beats current digital for quality, it still requires the variables of chemical processes. To ensure that you get the same picture everytime, you need a less organic format. That said I'm glad it's not catching on yet. Let the pioneers like Lucas and Rodriquez push it to where it needs to be first, then let it go mainstream.
     
  6. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Well-Known Member

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    The trouble being that Lucas and Co. are pushing digital cinema before it's ready to go mainstream. He's shot himself in the foot by only having archival footage of AOTC at HD television resolution, as one example. In fact, it might have even been lower than that because the Panavision lenses weren't totally ready to go at the time of shooting and they letterboxed some of the stuff in-camera at a lower resolution.

    If he had shot on fine grain 35mm or even blown some of his billions on Super Panavision 70mm archival stock as Kenneth Branagh did for Hamlet then the camera negatives would have been there to scan it digitally at much, much higher resolution later on and then re-render the CGI to match.

    Dan
     
  7. Kevin Coleman

    Kevin Coleman Well-Known Member

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    I rest my case.
    I agree with RH 100 percent.
    I agree with you also Dan.
    GL will probably wish he did what you suggested in a few years because now all of that resolution was lost and can never be restored. I think his ego got in the way of quality filmaking.
    Kevin C. [​IMG]
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    In George's defense, he certainly knows his technology and has aided the industry in making advancements.

    If one is creating a project in 2k and if 2k fits the needs of the filmmaker for that particular project, then 2k is fine.

    The fact that it doesn't begin to come close to film rez has little to do with anything.

    As an aside regarding my quoted comments, I didn't mean to make it seem that 2k was not a high enough rez for some film, just not for original negative or second generation elements.

    It is entirely possible that if one were working with a third generation element and that element was the only one extant, that 2k might well do the job with no apparent increase in rez, even if one did go to 4 or 6k.

    But as far as newer Eastman stocks are concerned, 2k is not just missing from the party, it isn't even in the building.

    RAH
     
  9. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Well-Known Member

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    Kevin: His "ego"???

    I find it sad that not many people seem willing to give Lucas credit for being so willing to push digital cinema that he put his own baby on the line, and shot a Star Wars movie with a technology that's quite new, sacrificing the definition he could have had with film. He's paying the price of innovation, and hopefully this move will be acknowledged and praised a decade from now, when the resolution of digital isn't an issue anymore.

    As an aside, I saw a film screening of AOTC, and while the yellow text in the opening crawl looked muted, the overall image was quite pleasing. Not as detailed as 35mm film, but I doubt I would have noticed if I hadn't known it was transferred from digital.
     
  10. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Well-Known Member

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    Empty post to get to 667... [​IMG] Don't like that 666 by my name :p
     

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