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digital capture VS film capture


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#1 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:26 AM

This poll was prompted by a screening of ZERO DARK THIRTY in a state-of-the-art theater that was so dim and murky it hardly qualified as a cinematic experience. This level of capture and the audience acceptance of it has become commonplace. This poll is about the picture quality of digital capture as opposed to film capture. Which medium of image capture offers the better picture quality? Today, all movies go through a digital intermediate, so that they come out looking digital whether they are captured that way or not. Vote, and perhaps say a few words describing your positive or negative experience watching a movie captured digitally as opposed to captured on photochemical film.

#2 of 39 Robert Harris

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:32 AM

This poll was prompted by a screening of ZERO DARK THIRTY in a state-of-the-art theater that was so dim and murky it hardly qualified as a cinematic experience. This level of capture and the audience acceptance of it has become commonplace. This poll is about the picture quality of digital capture as opposed to film capture. Which medium of image capture offers the better picture quality? Today, all movies go through a digital intermediate, so that they come out looking digital whether they are captured that way or not. Vote, and perhaps say a few words describing your positive or negative experience watching a movie captured digitally as opposed to captured on photochemical film.

Not only are you mixing metaphors, between photography and projection, but the subject of your entire argument / question for discussion, is not based upon fact. RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#3 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:34 AM

That was an ultra fast reply. My argument and topic for discussion is based on fact. How would you word the poll, RAH? I'll adjust the wording to suit you if I can.

#4 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:43 AM

What happened to the brother poll "digital projection VS film projection"? It disappeared within seconds of being posted. I'm puzzled.

#5 of 39 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:47 AM

Define "better".
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#6 of 39 TravisR

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Posted January 25 2013 - 01:53 AM

This poll was prompted by a screening of ZERO DARK THIRTY in a state-of-the-art theater that was so dim and murky it hardly qualified as a cinematic experience.

I could be wrong but having seen the movie, I just assumed that it was intended to look VERY dark.

#7 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:03 AM

There are dark nighttime scenes, yes, but I'm talking about the quality of the image, not whether or not there are dark scenes. When I drew the manager's attention to the problem he said he would check the bulbs in the projector tomorrow because it could not be done tonight. But I think it is a technology issue. I'm still puzzled over the disabling of this poll and disappearance of the other poll. It wasn't intended to upset anybody, merely to ask for your opinions.

#8 of 39 TravisR

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:11 AM

There are dark nighttime scenes, yes, but I'm talking about the quality of the image, not whether or not there are dark scenes. When I drew the manager's attention to the problem he said he would check the bulbs in the projector tomorrow because it could not be done tonight. But I think it is a technology issue.

Obviously, I don't know what your presentation looked like and I'm certainly no expert but as a whole, Zero Dark Thirty looked noticably darker than movies that I usually see presented digitally. To the point, I remember thinking "Man, this movie is dark." Once again, I could be totally wrong about that being an intention of the filmmakers but the darkness of ZDT is not indicative of what I normally see in theaters today.

I'm still puzzled over the disabling of this poll and disappearance of the other poll. It wasn't intended to upset anybody, merely to ask for your opinions.

I can still see and voted in the poll. If I had to choose, I'd say that I prefer the look of film but I don't have a problem with a movie that is shot with digital cameras that can 'fool' me into thinking that it was shot on film.

#9 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:17 AM

I would not use the term dark since even the exterior daylight scenes were dim and poorly defined. There would be more clarity, sharpness, texture and detail in Super 8 in both night scenes and day scenes, interiors and exteriors..

#10 of 39 RPMay

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:36 AM

Without knowing what the filmmakers intended, I don't think we the viewers can vote on a generality of whether digital or film capture is superior. I have seen both very good and very bad from both systems.

#11 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:51 AM

I don't agree. It is a matter of technology not aesthetics. Even nighttime scenes should have the same resolution as daytime scenes. Of course you can vote. RAH, did you delete the brother poll?

#12 of 39 Robert Harris

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:09 AM

Originally Posted by Richard--W 

I don't agree. It is a matter of technology not aesthetics. Even nighttime scenes should have the same resolution as daytime scenes. Of course you can vote.

RAH, did you delete the brother poll?

Possibly you need to see the film again, in a better projection environment.


The screening that I attended, which was projected film, looked proper, and as I know the facility,

would have been hitting the screen at right around 14-15 foot lamberts.


You need to measure actual light as reflected by the screen to make any determination of what is proper.


I do not delete threads.


I am not a moderator.


RAH


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#13 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:29 AM

It never occurred to me to bring a light meter into the theater with me. Which light meter do you use? The screening I attended at a Harkins theater was a digital projection and came nowhere near 14-15 foot lamberts. I travel some and go to late-night screenings as often as I can and this was about average. Los Angeles is the center of the industry where theaters observe professional standards set by the SMPTE, but one can not judge the quality of projection across the country by what one sees in Los Angeles. It is my observation that digital intermediates reduce the brightness and resolution of film. The results can be more than satisfactory when viewed on a luminous monitor, but not on a flat matte screen in a theater. When blu-rays are projected in a theater something has went wrong in the industry. This is a legitimate topic for discussion, and all opinions are invited.

#14 of 39 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:39 AM

How did the trailers look? Similarly dark? I've seen how our 2K machine looks when the lamp reaches the last 10% of its life and it definitely produces a darker image. Just as the regular xenon's in the 35mm machines start to flicker and darken as they reach the last 10% of their life.
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#15 of 39 Robert Harris

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:48 AM

Originally Posted by Richard--W 

It never occurred to me to bring a light meter into the theater with me. Which light meter do you use?

The screening I attended at a Harkins theater was a digital projection and came nowhere near 14-15 foot lamberts. I travel some and go to late-night screenings as often as I can and this was about average. Los Angeles is the center of the industry where theaters observe professional standards set by the SMPTE, but one can not judge the quality of projection across the country by what one sees in Los Angeles.

It is my observation that digital intermediates reduce the brightness and resolution of film. The results can be more than satisfactory when viewed on a luminous monitor, but not on a flat matte screen in a theater. When blu-rays are projected in a theater something has went wrong in the industry. This is a legitimate topic for discussion, and all opinions are invited.

You'll need to have them project white light for measurement.


Projected brightness has little to do with the way that a DI is timed.  As to observations, you're going to have to go a long way toward setting up any real comparisons to prove your observation as correct.  And once again, you're mixing metaphors.  If your desire is to discuss the technical merits of DI vs. film, I suggest that you leave any discussion of projection out of the mix, and stick with one theater, one room, three projectors (one 35mm, the other two digital 2k and 4k), all with matched optics and professionally calibrated.  Blu-rays projected in theaters has nothing to do with the discussion.


From my observations, having viewed an original negative print vs. DI vs. digital capture, in the same room of the same subject under perfect conditions, my personal feeling is that none of it matters, as long as everything is done properly.


The final imagery, as seen on screen, is irrelevant to the means of capture, and is best decided upon by the physical needs of the shoot.


As 35mm will soon be out of the process anyway, the subject will shortly be moot.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#16 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:49 AM

How did the trailers look? Similarly dark?.

That's a good question. The first set of trailers were part of the "pre-show" and were obviously a video-projection in a low quality while the house lights were still on. The film trailers looked brighter and sharper than ZERO DARK THIRTY and may have come from a different system or projector, but I'm speculating there. I didn't turn my head around to see which window they were coming from. No screening should be as dim as this was under any circumstances. But I've experienced pretty much the same poor quality at other theaters while watching other films, notably KILLER JOE, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and others,

#17 of 39 Robert Harris

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Posted January 25 2013 - 03:56 AM

Originally Posted by Richard--W 


That's a good question.

The first set of trailers were part of the "pre-show" and were obviously a video-projection in a low quality while the house lights were still on.

The film trailers looked brighter and sharper than ZERO DARK THIRTY and may have come from a different system or projector, but I'm speculating there. I didn't turn my head around to see which window they were coming from.

No screening should be as dim as this was under any circumstances. But I've experienced pretty much the same poor quality at other theaters while watching other films, notably KILLER JOE, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and others,

How did outdoor, ie. bright sequences appear?


If they were dark, then the theater has problems.


I would suggest that you make them aware, but if things have gotten that bad, they probably don't want to be hit with
the costs of extra amps, and have turned down output.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#18 of 39 Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2013 - 04:16 AM

Dim. I couldn't tell the color of Jessica Chastain's eyes in a close-up in daylight. But the projection at this Harkins is usually up to professional standards. The manager told me only two of his auditoriums are equipped with 35mm now. My position is that the technology is problematic. As an aside, a screening of SKYFALL at the Arclight -- where I go as often a possible when I'm in L.A. -- was flawless compared to the second time I saw it in Albuquerque. The second time it was as dim and ill-defined as ZERO DARK THIRTY. If SKYFALL had been shot on film and projected on film, it would not have looked so dim. These problems simply did not exist when films were shot on film and projected on film. Even a cheap best-light 16mm transfer from the 1970s has more resolution and better definition than a digitally captured and digitally projected movie today.

#19 of 39 Doctorossi

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Posted January 25 2013 - 05:05 AM

Which medium of image capture offers the better picture quality?

Neither. Which fruit offers the better flavor? Apples or oranges?

#20 of 39 Robert Harris

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Posted January 25 2013 - 05:09 AM

Originally Posted by Richard--W 

My position is that the technology is problematic.

As an aside, a screening of SKYFALL at the Arclight -- where I go as often a possible when I'm in L.A. -- was flawless compared to the second time I saw it in Albuquerque. The second time it was as dim and ill-defined as ZERO DARK THIRTY. If SKYFALL had been shot on film and projected on film, it would not have looked so dim. These problems simply did not exist when films were shot on film and projected on film. Even a cheap best-light 16mm transfer from the 1970s has more resolution and better definition than a digitally captured and digitally projected movie today.


These problems existed with hand-cranked projectors in 1894.  Little has changed.  There are good, average and superb venues.  They're much like restaurants.


You know where you're going to find quality dining.


And sorry, not seeking to pick a fight, but your final comment is absolutely, totally incorrect.  I have no need to go into specifics.


Simply wrong on all accounts.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence





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