Death of 35mm Film

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Jeyl

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It's a good question....I just like knowing that film is an organic, seamless response to the organic, seamless environment it's recording, and feel uncomfortable knowing that at some micro-level digital comes to a dead end of unnatural perfect squares, that at its root, digital is plastic, synthetic.
syn·thet·ic
- noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin.

And film is pretty heavy in the chemical department. So judging by your comments, digital AND film are both synthetic. And even if you were to zoom in on film elements, all you'd end up getting is globs of undefinable fuzziness. At least with pixel blocks I can make a building out of it.

I've had enough of your snide comments.

*BAN*
 

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BlobVanDam

Sr Member
I found that article a bit sensationalist, biased and baseless in its lamenting of film at times, although it was a great read, and regardless it had a lot of valid points.

Both film and digital have their pros and cons. I still feel digital is in its relative infancy to be entirely replacing film just yet, although for projection purposes in cinema, I don't feel they raised any good points against digital replacing film.

In terms of actually filming the movie, I still feel film is better than digital because of its higher dynamic range, and the more natural light response. But films have been entirely edited digitally for long enough now, so I don't see that storing these movies solely digitally is any loss here. For older films that were shot and edited on film, I feel that both formats should be kept. Once you've committed to a digital copy, you can never go back and gain any more detail from it. You can't clean up the film, you can't rescan it at higher res, you're stuck with it as is. Many movies are still only transferred and remastered at 2K or 4K, which is nowhere near the potential of 35mm film. And there's the issue of colour depth too. But on the other hand, film can degrade and fade over time, whereas digital can theoretically be stored perfectly as long as you can read the data, so I think that we should be focusing on restoring and preserving old films too. But most definitely not at the expense of the original format just yet. Once you lose your first generation copy, that's it.

I don't see a problem with digital replacing film at all. But it's still a relatively new technology, and I think it's a bit premature to be ditching those old film reels just yet.
 

laszlo

Sr Member
It's a good question....I just like knowing that film is an organic, seamless response to the organic, seamless environment it's recording, and feel uncomfortable knowing that at some micro-level digital comes to a dead end of unnatural perfect squares, that at its root, digital is plastic, synthetic. I suppose it's a philosophical thing, lol... but it's not only that. In amateur digital photography you don't have to enlarge much before digital is pixelated crap, where film will still give something beautiful - the grain effect of a film blow-up can still be aesthetically pleasing.
Amen!
I shoot a lot of 5x4 negative and transparency as well high quality digital.
Film still looks better. Grain does not neccessarily impede clarity, it seems to correlate more to the way the human eye perceives things. Film is dynamic - it is a crying shame digital had won before it was successful enough to warrant the crown.
Saw a lovely print of Tarkovskis Stalker at the BFI in London last year - first 35mm experience in years - it was a rich and amazing sight after years of flat digital projections.
 

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Kerr Avon

Master Member
Once you've committed to a digital copy, you can never go back and gain any more detail from it. You can't clean up the film, you can't rescan it at higher res, you're stuck with it as is. Many movies are still only transferred and remastered at 2K or 4K, which is nowhere near the potential of 35mm film. And there's the issue of colour depth too.
Do you still take digital photos with the same camera you had 10 years go? Or have you gone from taking 640x800 digital photos to 8-10 MP pictures? They're not going to be filming movies with the same digital resolution they are now that they will be using in 5-10 years. Sure, you may not get the same quality of digital video you get in 10 years from films made today, but so what? The technology continues to improve and filmmakers will continue to upgrade their equipment. Digital photography has almost surpassed film, and video won't be far behind.
 

BlobVanDam

Sr Member
Do you still take digital photos with the same camera you had 10 years go? Or have you gone from taking 640x800 digital photos to 8-10 MP pictures? They're not going to be filming movies with the same digital resolution they are now that they will be using in 5-10 years. Sure, you may not get the same quality of digital video you get in 10 years from films made today, but so what? The technology continues to improve and filmmakers will continue to upgrade their equipment. Digital photography has almost surpassed film, and video won't be far behind.
I agree with you. I was only saying that digital transfers of film as they stand right now aren't necessarily capturing the full detail of the original 35mm film. But digital video is progressing continually, so it's only a matter of time.
 

Kerr Avon

Master Member
People can still make films on film, but they're probably going to have to digitize them then and then use that to distribute them. Really, the concept of sending tins around all parts of the country is so laughably antiquated it's ridiculous.
 

Vivek

Master Member
Community Staff
Yeah distribution is actually much easier and economical with digital. But what people like Nolan are insisting is not having the option to shoot film, which is being forced by studios and not giving cinemas to play 35mm films, which of course again all makes business sense to studios.
 

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Borjis

Well-Known Member
I like film too.
I like digital as well.

Anyone concerned about digital Dynamic Range should take a really good look at the RED camera tech and how far it's come in just a few years.

Within the next 5 years or sooner it will surpass the dynamic range film offers. They've also made a big investment in projection technology. Very soon they will be shipping Laser light based projectors. Much brighter and lasting much longer than traditional bulbs.


I found the article a bit sensationalist as well, but it does have a lot of valid points.

The bit of Toy Story 2 being deleted sounds like an incredible story of I.T. incompetence
or massive exaggeration.

That it was stored on a single drive with no form of tape backup or redundancy on a single linux server at a company like PIXAR smells fishy.

The post production facility I manage has a redundant mirrored, server storage which is backed up
every night to tape. Those tapes are rotated every other week and stored off site.
We're nowhere near the size of Pixar, but I feel pretty safe about any data loss.
 
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Laffo

Sr Member
As someone who's being forced to convert or shut down a 70 year old Drive-In it's a moot point. We have no choice. I can also attest to the fact that NONE of the Studios are supporting any repertory screenings of film. We showed Barbarella, Forbidden Planet - here at The Starlight - and the Shining - at the Plaza - for the last time on 35mm from a Studio's collection.
The prints are gone.
“The Shining” at the Plaza Theatre, the Last of the 35mm Public Screenings | IdyllopusPress Presents
Had I known what was going to happen I would have "lost" FP and Barb.

We still don't know how the new deal is going to work with the widespread conversions or how the Studios are going to administer it for shows out of the norm, i.e. screening old movies. As of now there is a deadline of September to have deals and possibly conversions done. There is a good deal of resistance to that so we won't have to convert during high season and so we wait until the deep Winter for it.

I will, eventually watch my friends loose The Plaza this year. The oldest Movie Theatre in Atlanta will go under because of this change and the inability to get repertory titles.

Frankly the march of technology is not so important that we loose ALL avenues of projecting film. There is a Cinemascope version of How The West Was Won being screened in LA this weekend. It is as important to be able to see that version as it is to be able to watch it in my home.

I also have a fear of there being ONLY digital versions of anything. There are cave drawings that have lasted 10s of thousands of years - yet one EMP and an entire generation of photography, illustration, literature, animation, etc. would vanish.

I know in my own life a total digital meltdown would wipe out the better part of the last 15 years of my work.

We will go digital here and remain open, hopefully for another 70 years. I will layoff the 3 projectionists that work for me and they will need to find a new craft. It sucks - but we didn't get asked who cared.

Laffo.
 
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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Digital is close but not yet at films level.

I would keep film around as a back-up though and not just to please us diehards
 

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Weequay

Well-Known Member
I too felt the article undemined itself by being sensationalist.

The toy story 2 incident is either highly exagerated, or made up.

If it did happen it says far more about the person on the delete key than it does about digital as a storage medium.

I am atraditionalist in many ways. I 'like' the idea of celuloid as do many others, but it can become an exercise in nostalga.

As it stands today, the majority of movie going public have no idea how the movie they are watching was shot. They dont care, and never notice how it is projected.

For me, film is a wonderful acquisition format. Beyond that in terms of finished product for the public viewing, I will take digital projection every time. People get caught up ith the whole 'film has more this and that...'

The originals might, but the prints that are distributed to cinemas are poor by comparison.


The option to shoot film will soon be only available to the highest budgets, and I do agree that we may see a deterioration in the quality of work produced (some would argue we already are). This to me is far more concerning.

In 5 years, the top level digital equipment wil be producing images to same level as celuloid. In 10 we will have that equipment in the hands on indies.

Film will exist for some time to come. Hell I still have super 8 in my fridge... :)

weequay
 

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