Super 35 may not be the cause of film grain!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joshua Clinard, Oct 30, 2002.

  1. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,821
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    Back when Harry Potter was announced, I remember all the hoopla about it being filmed Super 35, and I remember people saying that it would have a lot of film grain present because it was shot that way.

    Now after watching the DVD numourus times, I don't think that Super 35 is so bad after all, other than the fact that it let's "the people who transfer the film to DVD" compromise the director's vision and offer a full frame version withought cutting off too much of the sides. But I don't think that Super 35 is the cause of film grain.

    Although some scenes in The Scorcer's Stone appear to have a significant amount of grain, it is not present in every scene. Grain appears mostly in the darker scenes. Scenes that are "lighter" are pretty much grain free. The outside scenes such as the quidditch match are crystal clear. Even scenes that are dark, but inside the castle, are pretty clear, at least on my display. I especially rember the scene at the end of the movie where Harry meets Voldermort being very clear. I also remember it being this way at the theaters. The only scenes that seem to be full of grain are the outside scenes that were shot at night, or dusk. If Super 35 was the cause of "grain," then wouldn't grain be present thoughout the picture?

    This leads me to beleive that this look was intentional, and not caused by Super 35, but caused by filters, or some other method that the filmakers used to acheive this affect.

    I welcome your comments into this discussion.
     
  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    17,345
    Likes Received:
    1,934
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    All valid points... as I recall, the only person pushing the grainy Super 35 bit at the time (and now) is Jeff Kleist, noted antagonist of the format[​IMG]
     
  3. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could have been the film stock used for various lighting schemes throughout the movie. Plus, the Quiddich match was 100% digital so grain wouldn't be a problem.

    The X-Files Movie was Super 35 and that didn't look very grainy because they supposidly used very high quality low light negatives.

    However, I still like that "scope" lens photographed look.


    Dan
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 1998
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    0
    The choice of film stock has much more influence on the amount of grain than whether it's shot Super35 or not.
     
  5. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,821
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    I am not familiar with film stocks. Is that the same thing as the type of film, such as 35mm, 70mm, etc.? I used to think that most movies were shot on 35mm film, but I have recently seen posts mentioning films that are shot on 70mm film and others as well. Are these used very often, or am I correct in saying that most movies are shot on 35mm? What are the advantages to each different type?

    edited for additional information.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    17,345
    Likes Received:
    1,934
    Location:
    Albany, NY
     
  7. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2001
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,549
    Likes Received:
    179
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    It's possible to have films made in Super-35 AND Panavision to have heavy grain.

    For a film made after 1980, grain really isn't much of a sign of the condition of a print. You have to take into consideration the budget, conditions, etc. Many have criticized Top Secret! for being overly grainy. Well, for a low-budget film with a ton of opticals, it's going to be grainy. On the other hand, a film like Titanic can look grain-free on DVD. It's just a matter of those variables.

    Shadow Of The Vampire has plenty of grain in some scenes, but it's intentional. Does that mean the DVD is of poor quality? To those who are ignorant about film, yes. To those who know their stuff, no. (In fact, the DVD is beautiful!)
     
  9. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  10. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,821
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    What I would like to know more about is what those varibles are that affect grain. A film primer is really what I need. Does anyone know of a site that covers all the basics. I have checked out widescreenmuseum in the past, and that seems to be too complicated.
     
  11. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,715
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Aaron Reynolds
    One problem with shooting outside at night is that you have far less control over light than you do inside. Inside, you have more flexibility to light the heck out of a scene and still make it appear "dark", because there are no surprise elements, you have access to lots and lots of electricity, and no sun will come up to spoil your hours of lighting, and no neighbors will complain about the gigantic crane pumping stray light in through their bedroom window. The problem is that real outside almost always looks more real than "outside" created on a set (though a really good director of photography can fake it really well, especially if the set is perfect).

    The solution for shooting outside is to either use a film that is more sensitive to light (a faster film), or deliberately underexpose your film (i.e. not give it enough light) and then compensate in processing. Both options increase film grain, and when used together can make things even grainier.

    Also, many chemical processes that are used to change the contrast and saturation characteristics of a film will increase film grain. Bleach skip a.k.a. bleach bypass is one popular one.

    Yes, I am one of those chemical freaks. I turned my mania for this kind of stuff into a small business, and now I do this kind of thing day-in and day-out (for still photographic applications, not motion picture, but the priciples are the same).
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,549
    Likes Received:
    179
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    However, optical effects are basically dead now due to computer compositing. It USED to be that opticals caused excessive grain

    The opening of Harry Potter was as much the fault of bad lighting as the Super-35 process
     
  14. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 1999
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    1
    Real Name:
    Chad Rouch
    With Super 35 the 'graininess' that's complained about isn't the presence of more grain, but that the grain is blown up to make release prints. Since only a small portion of the actual negative frame is used, and then blown up to fill the frame of standard 35mm, the size of the grain is increased. That's what most people complain about with regard to Super 35 and grain. The release prints of Harry Potter had that problem in theaters (especially the opening), but it's reduced on the DVD.
     
  15. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,821
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    So this could almost be compared to how non-animorphic widescreen works, when displayed on a 16x9 set, couldn't it. I understand that only the middle portion of the negative is used for the picture that will be shown in the theater. That middle portion is blown up, instead of using the whole negative for the image. Are some of the other negative sizes actually in the same ratio as the film? If, so, which size equals which ratio? This salmost reminds me of how non-animorphic widescreen works in that scan lines are used for black bars and the picture...in other words, the negative, or "scan lines" are used for the black bars, er I mean mattes the theater uses. I may not be explaining this so that anyone can understand it, but I think I understand it, so if you don't, I am sorry. Does anyone see what I am getting at? I think I'm definately beginning to grasp it though.

    Thanks for the help guys!
     
  16. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,762
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Real Name:
    Damin J. Toell
     
  17. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, from the top
    If you look at a film print, you'll see 1 area for the image and several lines running down the sides. Those lines are the audio track
    http://members.shaw.ca/quadibloc/other/aspint.htm
    Scroll down till you see the diagram of film strips numbered 1-5, that's a good visual example and explanation. Read that section and you should be clearer
    Super35 is basically like #1 in that diagram. The film leaves no room for an optical soundtrack yielding a larger negative area. However when shooting for a 2.35:1 extract, you still end up with an picture inferior to that of a film shot anamorphicly (assuming all things being equal) due to the fact that it's blown up.
    Of couse, the whole answer to the Super35 vs anamorphic debate is to just shoot 70mm [​IMG] All the benefits of less light and no distortion combined with far superior resolution, grain structure and native wideness that 70 offers [​IMG]
     
  18. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2000
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    0
    A problem is that people mistakenly attribute S35 to anamorphic extractions. S35 pertains to the optical realignment of a camera, not any particular AR (well, it has a typical full aperture of 1.33:1, but most 1.85:1 is acquired on 1.37:1, as is anamoprhic 2.39:1). In many cases S35 1.78:1 will result in a reduction. As will S35 1.85:1. And much of the 4:3 TV you watch is S35.

    In most cases, the use of S35 results in finer film grain. And in all instances shooting S35 has far less influence on grain than exposure and processing variables.

    Blanket correlations between S35 and high grain is due to ignorance.

    A cinematographer selecting 35mm negative motion picture stock from Kodak has many options. The stock selected and the manner in which it is exposed is far more relevant to grain than method or AR of 35mm composition.

    And comparision between DVD quality and your theatrical experience may indicate the influence of grain on the release print/stock, with no association to the method of acquisition.
     
  19. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2000
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    0
    Incidentally, grain is part of filmed cinema. Grain is inherent to the look of film. Grain is not bad. Instances of it being intrusive in theatrical film is uncommon, and likely not associated with S35.
     
  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    17,345
    Likes Received:
    1,934
    Location:
    Albany, NY
     

Share This Page