Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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filmnotdigital

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Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostFri Jan 25, 2013 10:43 am

Re the polls just started by Richard and Frederica:
Asking whether digital capture is better than film capture is like asking whether watercolor is "better"
than oil painting,or whether poetry is 'better" than prose. They are different media, depends on what the artist is trying to do.
Asking whether digital projection is better than film is also too simplistic. The question should be rather, is the
work being authentically presented in the medium in which it originated? For Nitrateville purposes since most of what
we talk about is old movies that were made before digital/video even existed, the answer is an obvious one: Digital is
not true to the original and should therefore be shunned except for narrow in-home use, or maybe classroom study,
certainly not for public presentation
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Frederica

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Re: Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostFri Jan 25, 2013 10:47 am

filmnotdigital wrote:Re the polls just started by Richard and Frederica:
Asking whether digital capture is better than film capture is like asking whether watercolor is "better"
than oil painting,or whether poetry is 'better" than prose. They are different media, depends on what the artist is trying to do.
Asking whether digital projection is better than film is also too simplistic. The question should be rather, is the
work being authentically presented in the medium in which it originated? For Nitrateville purposes since most of what
we talk about is old movies that were made before digital/video even existed, the answer is an obvious one: Digital is
not true to the original and should therefore be shunned except for narrow in-home use, or maybe classroom study,
certainly not for public presentation


I didn't start the poll.
Fred
"She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me."
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Richard--W

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Re: Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostFri Jan 25, 2013 11:40 am

I started the poll.

I deliberately kept the questions simple, and I see nothing wrong with that.

I do know that I'll never see Chaplin's Keystone shorts projected on 35mm film again. But I'll see digital restorations in Flicker Alley's lovely DVD box-set. When watched on a luminous monitor, they look fine. But if the DVD were projected in a theater -- which is happening all over the country now -- it would look dim, murky and poorly defined.

Like it or not, digital restoration is replacing photochemical restoration. Digital capture is replacing film capture. Digital projection is replacing film projection. It breaks my heart, but photochemistry will be obsolete in a few years. I shot my first film in 1977. I'm having difficulty making the adjustment to digital because the quality is as not as good either in capture or in projection. To my experienced eyes, digital capture doesn't have the resolution or definition of film. Digital projection is dimmer and not as well defined as film. It troubles me that paying audiences settle for it.
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Michael O'Regan

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Re: Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostFri Jan 25, 2013 1:14 pm

Richard--W wrote: It troubles me that paying audiences settle for it.


It troubles me not, but, I won't be parting with one brass penny for the experience. The cinema no longer has anything I don't have at home.
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pookybear

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Re: Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostFri Jan 25, 2013 1:20 pm

filmnotdigital wrote: Digital is
not true to the original and should therefore be shunned except for narrow in-home use, or maybe classroom study,
certainly not for public presentation


While this fact is true there is a problem with this concept. If one only has ever seen the narrow in-home or classroom
study digital copies it could be argued that film has failed to reach any audience. So of course digital would be better
as it has at least found a way to show the film in the first place.

Now of course I like I film better, just a personal thing really. However, with the fall of presentation in movie
theaters with the inventions of the xenon bulbs and plater systems. This in turn allowed the firing of trained projectionist
to be replace by untrained booth lumps that just push a button to start a movie. Also over the years the run of print
changed. Long gone is the road show that ran for months or years. Now everyone has to see it in the first weekend.
Film prints would go out in mass numbers and placed into the hands of these new booth lumps with the attitude of
if I damage the film it is not a problem as it is out of here on Monday. This lead to prints being destroyed in short order
at a cost of 2000.00 a print. Needless to say this was a big push for digital. Scratch and damage free shows with
less cost.

For most people in today's society it does not matter how bright the picture is or how black are the blacks. It all
boils down to this, if it does not look damaged and looks sharp around the edges it has to be better. Just look at
fall of music as a key to why this is true: acoustic recording to electric, then digital (real player remember that)
at 16 and 32 bit rates. Then it was digital cut down to a 8 bit rate, and moving right along to MP3 with its smooth
3 bit rate. This last generation has forced music artists to compose to the format so it still sounds good.
But as you can see most people do not know how music should sound, they do not know any better. So my guess is
in five years no one but a small handful (read as us) will even know what film is suppose to look like. There will be
no force to even see anything but a digital copy as who would want to see a scratched or damaged print. The same
once again can be applied to music as the major part of America does not want to heard any music from a record
that might just have a scratch that goes "pop", thus in their minds digital has to be better.

Sad really, I have quickly found myself stuck in time, clinging onto forgotten and forsaken technology. So in the
end it is a simple question with a clear winner. It just happens the format I like in the public eye is outmoded.
Old or New? Damaged or Perfect? Film or Digital? That is all the public sees. It is a simplistic question.

Pookybear
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syd

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Re: Digital/Film Questions Too Simplistic

PostSat Feb 02, 2013 8:49 pm

"Richard--W wrote: It troubles me that paying audiences settle for it....."

"Michael Reagan wrote:
It troubles me not, but, I won't be parting with one brass penny for the experience.
The cinema no longer has anything I don't have at home........."

.................including commercials.

It also is unfortunate that younger people today have never seen
how good black and white cinematography can be. The art of B/W
print making has disappeared along with most print making stocks.

Kevin Brownlow in his Oscar acceptance speech mentioned how good
B/W used to look and surprisingly got applause.

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