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Author Topic: Why 4K matters - and why it's not ready for prime time  (Read 11576 times)
Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2013, 02:03:31 PM »
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4 K will come ,itīs hen and egg as always, but when more people use it prices will go down, then more people will use it and prices will go down further.
In latest 5 years the discussion should be obsolete, it will be a choice with a comparably moderate premium fee, not much discussion to use or not, just do when the
funding is there.

For Photography thatīs another story, but this will be more interesting when 8k will arrive (first prototypes already in use, Japan doing first test broadcasts in 8k already)
I predict this will kill most of the print business, nobody will have much reason left, if you have 2 m screens with 8k, maybe Oleds, with daylight capable 2000 lumen if needed.
As soon as this arrives also 8k still from video captures will run into quality level of competing with photos.

That will be the day when photography as we all know it, will come to a tipping point. Not immediately for the highend users, but the structure that will build up
will probably completely erase print (we can see this coming already with retina tablets) and as a follow up many changes will appear.

Just think to the change in gear flash/continuous lighting, or lenses with even higher apertures, signal processing/codecs to be used universally for both (probably raw video)
cheap presentation technology for mass ads outdoors and much more which right now has not even been thought about.

I think the 8k change will even go faster than 4k so lets see that timeframe in 7-10 years from now.

I welcome this devellopment and I see a lot of chance to come for new industries, save resources (think about paper or distribution costs of printed matter...)

Greetings from Germany
Stefan
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2013, 02:32:22 PM »
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The cinematic look has relatively little to do with system used to shoot, or system used to display. It's about lighting, frame rates, motion cadence, and DOF among others.
It's simpler than that, it's just fashion; It's whatever people think is right at the time.
The odd thing at the moment is that a bunch of inexperienced experimenters, by virtue of their prolific comments on the internet, are attempting to define 'cinematic' by their own values.

Shallow depth of field ? does that make something 'cinematic' ? if so, that rules out Citizen Kane that was famous for it's pioneering deep depth of filed.
Frame rates and motion ? As bcooter has pointed out 24fps is just a historical legacy. Does it really look better than 50 or 60 ?
Flat low contrast film 'looks' with coloured highlights and shadows ? That would have been thrown out by many of history's great film directors as just plain bad.

What's quite remarkable is how many people have managed to appoint themselves as masters of a craft they've no credible experience of.
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BJL
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« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2013, 05:45:54 PM »
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I've really never understood 24 fps, (I know I'm alone on this) because it was only used to save film, not for any other reasons.
It is a mystery to me too, beyond the sheer comfort of familiarity, even when it is just a subliminal touch of flicker. Maybe it's like the talk of digital images looking too smooth and plasticky, and some people "fixing" that with a film-grain filter.

So, is 24p basically an up-scale Instagram filter for moving pictures?
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2013, 02:30:41 AM »
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I've really never understood 24 fps, (I know I'm alone on this) because it was only used to save film, not for any other reasons.
What is remarkable is how good excellent craftmanship is able to (to some degree) work around the limits of 24p, not that 24p in itself is a desirable limitation.

I much prefer a content delivery system that does not limit the creativity (and gear) of the content producer: given 120+ fps, those who want to make jerky films will still be able to insert black frames/duplicate frames or something similar in order to give the "good old cinema feeling". The opposite is not true: you cannot recreate the smoothness of 120fps capture through a 24fps delivery system.

-h
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2013, 02:36:18 AM »
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It's simpler than that, it's just fashion; It's whatever people think is right at the time.
The odd thing at the moment is that a bunch of inexperienced experimenters, by virtue of their prolific comments on the internet, are attempting to define 'cinematic' by their own values.

Shallow depth of field ? does that make something 'cinematic' ? if so, that rules out Citizen Kane that was famous for it's pioneering deep depth of filed.
Frame rates and motion ? As bcooter has pointed out 24fps is just a historical legacy. Does it really look better than 50 or 60 ?
Flat low contrast film 'looks' with coloured highlights and shadows ? That would have been thrown out by many of history's great film directors as just plain bad.

What's quite remarkable is how many people have managed to appoint themselves as masters of a craft they've no credible experience of.
Perhaps it is even simpler: "good" cinema productions tends to include a large cast of professionals. Whatever their artistic goals, they tend to be able to come close to them, using the combination of time, budget, talent, vision, experience. Be it lighting, make-up, lenses or whatever.

If you give me a any motion camera I will (probably) not be able to produce results anywhere near the same league, for oh so many reasons.

-h
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Manoli
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« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2013, 03:04:48 AM »
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What's quite remarkable is how many people have managed to appoint themselves as masters of a craft they've no credible experience of.

You may well be right, Rhossydd.

The net result of all these posts is that last week I took my RX100 and finally pressed the 'red' button. Yes, the movie button. Now, I don't know s**t about cinematography, but when I played the clips back later, even the 'strife' went 'Ooooh' ! That was straight OOC , no iMovie, no FCP X, not even Lightroom. Built-in auto everything (or so it seemed), built-in steady shot etc etc.

It's never been so easy to get out of the starting blocks, not even in still photography. So, extrapolating my experience down the line, I can see that even though the requirements and knowledge, for quality, professional cinematogs are probably as great, if not greater than yesteryear, today, the result is that technology has enabled a raft of users (inexperienced experimenters, as you call them) to assume the 'mantle'.

And as we know only too well, it's not long before a modicum of knowledge is exaggerated into yet another expert.

--
ps No disrespect intended to any resident experts. Only a comment on how technology has enabled so many users, myself included.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 03:26:49 AM by Manoli » Logged
hjulenissen
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« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2013, 06:19:11 AM »
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ps No disrespect intended to any resident experts. Only a comment on how technology has enabled so many users, myself included.
It used to be that in order to produce a record, you needed a record label and a big studio. In order to pass those hurdles you probably had to have some talent, luck, looks, stamina etc.

Now you can produce a record using little more than a laptop and a microphone. Does this mean that every record released is as "good" as a record released in the 60s? Perhaps not, as some less talented people will do it today "just because they can". Does it mean that some artists can make music today that would not have been able to in the 1960s? I think so.

If the net result is that there is more good records today than in a 60s type setting, then I am all for the spread of good, inexpensive tools, even if it means having to wade through more uninteresting records in order to find the good ones.

-h
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Manoli
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2013, 10:01:55 AM »
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If the net result is that there is more good records today than in a 60s type setting, then I am all for the spread of good, inexpensive tools, even if it means having to wade through more uninteresting records in order to find the good ones.

h,
I think you misunderstood my post.

What I said, in essence, was

(a) it's amazing how technology has allowed inexperienced users, like myself, to produce 'good' footage, with no prior experience. Never said or implied that I was not in favour of technological advancements, but that
(b) producing 'good' footage alone does not make one an expert, even though many may think that they are.

The post was self-deprecating, but I never described my efforts as uninteresting !! (sense of humour required)
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 10:11:56 AM by Manoli » Logged
michael
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« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2013, 11:40:22 AM »
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It's simpler than that, it's just fashion; It's whatever people think is right at the time.
The odd thing at the moment is that a bunch of inexperienced experimenters, by virtue of their prolific comments on the internet, are attempting to define 'cinematic' by their own values.

Shallow depth of field ? does that make something 'cinematic' ? if so, that rules out Citizen Kane that was famous for it's pioneering deep depth of filed.
Frame rates and motion ? As bcooter has pointed out 24fps is just a historical legacy. Does it really look better than 50 or 60 ?
Flat low contrast film 'looks' with coloured highlights and shadows ? That would have been thrown out by many of history's great film directors as just plain bad.

What's quite remarkable is how many people have managed to appoint themselves as masters of a craft they've no credible experience of.

I can only assume that your jibe was directed at me. If so, so be it, though it would have been braver to be more direct.

Credible experience. Humm. Worked in the motion picture industry since 1966. Past member of IATA, National video product manager for JCV, Panasonic, Colortran Studio Lighting, on staff at CBC television for nine years, and have worked with widely respected industry veterin and cine award winner Chris Sanderson producing dozens of productions for the past eleven years. Guess there's a bit of cinema and TV experience here.

As for you comments on 24fps, sorry, you're now at odds with some of the great cinematographers of the past century. Do some reading and online research. It won't take you long to realize that rejecting 24fps is a facile position.

Similarly throwing up straw man arguments against shallow DOF and other cinematic conventions is childish. Examples of anything can be found, but these exceptions prove nothing other than the shallowness of your argument.

It's a big world out here. There's room for lot's of differing perspectives, including yours. There's no need though to be judgemental when supporting you own. It simply weekens your arguments.

Michael
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feppe
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« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2013, 12:30:01 PM »
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The odd thing at the moment is that a bunch of inexperienced experimenters, by virtue of their prolific comments on the internet, are attempting to define 'cinematic' by their own values.
...
Frame rates and motion ? As bcooter has pointed out 24fps is just a historical legacy. Does it really look better than 50 or 60 ?

Yes, films at 24fps looks subjectively better than at higher frame rates. Frame rate (specifically, 24fps) is absolutely a requirement to reach what most people currently consider a cinematic look. Almost everyone who has seen The Hobbit in 48fps thinks it looks more like a National Geographic documentary than a feature movie, and dislikes the look. I saw it in 48fps in "normal" and IMAX theaters, and really wanted to like the look. I didn't.

That's not to say things can't and won't change, or that all video regardless of content and intent looks better at 24fps. Preference in feature films for 24fps is certainly about familiarity rather than technological superiority. It might be that seeing The Hobbit and Avatar sequels in 48fps will get people accustomed to the look, and more such films might be released.

As pointed out by others, the cinematic look is a combination of several factors. Shutter speed/shutter angle, fps, lighting, DOF, and production values all play into it. But there is a lot of variance in that look, from IMAX footage of Dark Knight to RED of Prometheus and 65mm of The Master - and I would say practically everyone agrees all those movies have a cinematic look.

But things can get murky: another technical factor is shutter angle. This can make even a multi-million dollar feature at 24fps shot by the best in the business look like video. Witness Michael Mann's Public Enemies, Collateral and Miami Vice, all shot with a 360-degree shutter.

The opposite is not true: you cannot recreate the smoothness of 120fps capture through a 24fps delivery system.

An important addition here about source material: you can interpolate frames into 24fps source to get 48fps, 96fps or even higher output. This was an integral part of making "bullet time" work smoothly in The Matrix. Tech advances so fast that many consumer TVs and projectors do this on the fly these days, with varying degrees of success. This makes pans in Gone With The Wind as smooth as The Hobbit, and the tech will only get better.

This actually might be a back door into making 48fps more palatable to the general public. As people get used to movies with higher fps (real or interpolated), they might start demanding higher-fps movies in the theaters. Even with my reservations after seeing The Hobbit, I'd much rather see 48fps (or better yet, 60fps) get a hold than gimmicky 3D.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 12:32:58 PM by feppe » Logged

BJL
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« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2013, 02:31:49 PM »
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Yes, films at 24fps looks subjectively better than at higher frame rates. Frame rate (specifically, 24fps) is absolutely a requirement to reach what most people currently consider a cinematic look.
My first question is about how we get from "detectable difference" to "better". One possibility is Pavlovian conditioning: most people are familiar with the 24FPS look, can detect it as _different_ from video, associate the difference with the _better_ experience of viewing in a cinema, which might quite possibly be better due to other factors, and so by "association" or "conditioning", react to it more favorably. As I mentioned before, many people at first reacted badly to the absence of film grain, but most of us have got over it now!

My second question is if people in PAL countries, have the same reaction, with PAL reading each line 25 time per second but split into 50i? If so, it cannot be the difference between 24 and 25 "per pixel" read rate, so is seems likely to be the difference between 24 and 50 (or 24 vs 60 in NTSC countries). If so, down-conversion from 50p to 25p should be simple and adequate simulation of the old-style cinematic flicker, and going from 60p to 30p would I suspect give about the same look ... all while retaining compatibility for future audiences that are no longer conditioned to like the older, more flickery frame rate!
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2013, 02:54:01 PM »
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An important addition here about source material: you can interpolate frames into 24fps source to get 48fps, 96fps or even higher output. This was an integral part of making "bullet time" work smoothly in The Matrix. Tech advances so fast that many consumer TVs and projectors do this on the fly these days, with varying degrees of success. This makes pans in Gone With The Wind as smooth as The Hobbit, and the tech will only get better.

This actually might be a back door into making 48fps more palatable to the general public. As people get used to movies with higher fps (real or interpolated), they might start demanding higher-fps movies in the theaters. Even with my reservations after seeing The Hobbit, I'd much rather see 48fps (or better yet, 60fps) get a hold than gimmicky 3D.
It is also possible to interpolate my 8MP old DSLR images into 30MP. That won't make them similar to the quality of a 30MP camera. Framerate upconversion tries to make something out of nothing. It may work 70% or 90% of the time, but never 100% of the time. What does it do with classic western wagon wheels spinning backwards?

It is beyond me why any film maker would want a distribution system that limits her artistic expression. We got colors these days, but it is still entirely optional to make use of that capability; those that prefer to make movies in "B&W" are free to do so. Same thing with 120fps, it would simply increase the range of expressions that a film maker may or may not choose to use.

-h
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 02:56:29 PM by hjulenissen » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2013, 05:16:27 PM »
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Can you really shoot video consistently at a standard to show the difference between HD ands 4K without serious expense and time? Think hollywood rather than TV sets and certainly in comparison to run and gun video? I think all you'll be seeing is just how bad the focus pulling and hand holding really is.

Add to that the fact that content is being viewed more on ipads than huge screens and..

I posted this in the Motion & Video section but it seems apropos in context of the bolded part as well -

http://fstoppers.com/want-to-take-4k-video-with-your-phone-meet-acers-new-liquid-s2

I think I know what folks on here are going to think.  Grin  But when you consider that an Academy Award-winning film was finished with an iPhone because the filmmaker ran out of money for film, http://petapixel.com/2013/02/28/oscar-winning-documentary-fimmaker-used-his-iphone-when-money-ran-out/, is 4K video in a phone really that much of a stretch?
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feppe
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2013, 06:47:05 PM »
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My second question is if people in PAL countries, have the same reaction, with PAL reading each line 25 time per second but split into 50i? If so, it cannot be the difference between 24 and 25 "per pixel" read rate, so is seems likely to be the difference between 24 and 50 (or 24 vs 60 in NTSC countries). If so, down-conversion from 50p to 25p should be simple and adequate simulation of the old-style cinematic flicker, and going from 60p to 30p would I suspect give about the same look ... all while retaining compatibility for future audiences that are no longer conditioned to like the older, more flickery frame rate!

I live in a PAL country, and have the same reaction, as would most of my compatriots. I and most people will see a difference between a cinematic look and that of video.

But as mentioned in my previous post, it's not only about frame rate. Feature movies shown on TV are 50i - not 24p like Blu-Rays with good players/TVs/projectors - yet they retain their cinematic look. Shutter angle is a big factor as well, as is DOF, grain and bokeh.

It is also possible to interpolate my 8MP old DSLR images into 30MP. That won't make them similar to the quality of a 30MP camera. Framerate upconversion tries to make something out of nothing. It may work 70% or 90% of the time, but never 100% of the time. What does it do with classic western wagon wheels spinning backwards?

I don't have experience with such TVs, but I'd imagine they are "good enough" for 99% of viewers, or will be in the near future. Just like extrapolating an 8MP image to 30MP is good enough for most people.
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BJL
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2013, 07:18:17 PM »
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Feppe,

thanks for this interesting comment
Feature movies shown on TV are 50i ... yet they retain their cinematic look. Shutter angle is a big factor as well ...
This could mean that the up-conversion from 24p (roughly by splitting each of the 24p frames into two half frames) retains timing aspects of 24fps, like a 180š shutter angle meaning blurring motion over 1/48s and the position of each part of a moving objects still only updated at intervals of 1/24th of a second with a gap of 1/48s between the end of recording on one image and the start of recording of the next, whereas an image recorded at 50i has less temporal blurring and more rapid position updates.

How does "shutter angle" work with the continuous sensor output of interlaced readout on a video camera? Is it like shutter angle of 360š, with no "gaps"?

I will try to to re-see The Hobbit in 48fps, which I saw in the 24fps version!
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bcooter
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« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2013, 07:28:55 PM »
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This actually might be a back door into making 48fps more palatable to the general public. As people get used to movies with higher fps (real or interpolated), they might start demanding higher-fps movies in the theaters. Even with my reservations after seeing The Hobbit, I'd much rather see 48fps (or better yet, 60fps) get a hold than gimmicky 3D.

I agree with not liking 3d.  It just bothers me in most cases, though I thought Avatar really used it well.

48fps, I understand that's the new standard for 3d based movies.  Not wild about it, but then again I don't watch many 3d movies.

My thing about 30fps vs 25 for pal broadcast or 24 progressive for movies is when we go into editorial with 24fps source material, titles scrolling left to right or right to left look a little jerky on a computer or pad.

On a broadcast monitor their fine, but broadcast monitors usually switch the frame rate so everything is smoother.

Personally I think being able to throw focus is a great tool when used well, not always necessary when there is not a reason.  Not everything can be painted with a broad brush and I know that a lot of times I'd swear something was shot digital due to smoothness (The Lone Ranger) when it was shot film, or something was shot in film when in reality they shot 2k arri, or 4k red.

I do know at the theatre I was worried about losing the feeling of film when they project digital,  but now I feel the opposite.  There are still a few film projectors left in every city and if I go into a theatre and see jumping on the sides of the frame, I know it's film and I know it probably will be a degraded print with old bulbs, which is true 90% of the time.

Really, there is no standard if it's good.   I've heard people say video was awful and I've seen some very interesting video shoots, especially with the old tube cameras that streaked highlights.  They're cool for a 30 second spot, but I don't think you'd want to watch 90 minutes of them.

Anyway, if 4k becomes the rage or a magic number that people want, the camera, software and computer companies are more than happy to oblige, because they'll just sell more stuff and more stuff makes the world spin.

I personally don't think anyone will notice the difference if the production values are good, but people love to get caught up in catch phrases.  They did it with stills talking and selling megapixels, they'll do it in movies saying the same.  Sooner or later motion imagery will be like digital stills, where almost every camera is so good that nobody cares anymore.  The 24p thing I believe is a catch phrase.  I know, I know people swear by it, but on a computer where 99.999999% of all video is viewed I really don't think there is a lick of difference, but as I mentioned before I gave in, shoot 24 progressive and let it rip.

But speaking of catch phrases, this evening I had a client's european agency want a take from a shoot we did about 3 weeks ago.  Edited down to a 1 minute cut and he asked for uncompressed quicktime in 4:2:2 10 bit.  I did a primary grade in cinex, secondary in fcp and burned it out made a zip and it's going on line as I write this. Just looked and in one hour only 477 mb is up.  At this rate it will be 14 hours before it makes it on the server, if it makes it on the server.  I asked why they wanted uncompressed and never got an answer, other than that's what they want.  I played in on a huge monitor and honestly can't see a bit of difference between the proezz version and the uncompressed version.

Those catch phrases.

For stills I can shoot a 30mpx phase, a 18mpx Canon or a 16 mpx gh3 and OMD and nobody in the still business will bat an eyelash, because they all resolve as well if not better than what goes on paper and post production that is done well evens the score to the point it's non discernible.

BTW:   In TLR the DP said they shot film, pulled in processing to hold more detail.  I guess, but you know I kind of wonder because 10 days ago we shot a scene of a family getting out of a mercedes suv, running under the tailgate to unload and back.  It was a quick cutaway on a day in Malibu when there was no moisture or dust in the air to diffuse the light and it was the hardest light I've seen in LA in a long time.

We didn't have much time or I would have flown a 12x with two shiny boards shot through for a soft fill, so instead we shot it tight and wide, thinking the wide shot would never hold up with the subjects under full shade and 14 stops of hot sun blowing all around them, but when I put it into cinex and pulled it down there was detail in the white, pulled it up and there was nice texture in the faces.   I processed twice, did a quick key and wa-la a nice 14 stop or more image, so I kind of wonder if on a 200 million dollar film like TLR that has 36k of fill light minimum, that they really needed to shoot film pulled down to 25iso, but what they did worked so what the heck.

Maybe I'm just jealous that they had 200 million to spend.  

Now that would be fun.

IMO

BC

P.S.  In regards to shooting 4k, I'm all for it.  My only experience is with the RED's and I love the look of the files, I mean really love them.  I haven't shot a million ft. of motion film stock, but have shot a billion hours of sd, hd in all flavors and nothing to me looks like the RED and nothing to me that is cmos looks as good as the red files.  They're not perfect, but man I do see a difference from the 4k capture down to the 2k edit.

P.S. 2  In regards to the blackmagic, I really hope they get there.  Seriously get there because the more good cameras the better.  I talked to a IATSE guy that worked with us the other day and he's only used the first blackmagic and said it just wouldn't go past low iso without a lot of ugly noise and I just saw some test footage of the pocket blackmagic that had black holes in the specular highlights and some blooming so I hope they fix it, hope the 4k version gives everyone a run for their money, but I'd sure wait a while until they get the bugs worked out.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 07:50:55 PM by bcooter » Logged

hjulenissen
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2013, 12:54:12 AM »
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But as mentioned in my previous post, it's not only about frame rate. Feature movies shown on TV are 50i - not 24p like Blu-Rays with good players/TVs/projectors - yet they retain their cinematic look. Shutter angle is a big factor as well, as is DOF, grain and bokeh.
Broadcasts tend to be 720p50 or 1080i50. 1080i50 can be converted back to 1080p24, and I believe that most tvs attempts to do this.
Quote
I don't have experience with such TVs, but I'd imagine they are "good enough" for 99% of viewers, or will be in the near future. Just like extrapolating an 8MP image to 30MP is good enough for most people.
I have one such tv. I am hoping for true high-rate production and broadcast.

8MP -> 30 MP may be "good enough for most people", but then again 8 MP may be good enough for most people. I am not most people, and neither is most people on this thread.

Having a 30 MP file format does not limit my artistic freedom, and having a 72 fps cinema format should not limit the artistic freedom of Hollywood.

-h
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2013, 12:56:21 AM »
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As for you comments on 24fps, sorry, you're now at odds with some of the great cinematographers of the past century. Do some reading and online research. It won't take you long to realize that rejecting 24fps is a facile position.
I believe there were similar disputes over "talkies" and color. Whenever new possibilities appear, those who have invested their career in making the old possibilities shine will be critical.

In short: when a "great cinematographers of the past century" are used as an argument for a limiting format, I take it with a grain of salt.

-h
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Manoli
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« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2013, 02:26:45 AM »
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In short: when a "great cinematographers of the past century" are used as an argument for a limiting format, I take it with a grain of salt.

"Il futuro ha un cuore antico"
( The future has an ancient heart )
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dreed
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« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2013, 02:35:46 AM »
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That's not to say things can't and won't change, or that all video regardless of content and intent looks better at 24fps. Preference in feature films for 24fps is certainly about familiarity rather than technological superiority. It might be that seeing The Hobbit and Avatar sequels in 48fps will get people accustomed to the look, and more such films might be released.

I thought the goal of 48fps was so that 3D could be presented in 24fps "per-eye"?
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