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Author Topic: Film vs Digital ... Lets put this one to bed.
David Hardy
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 955
From: Johnshaven Village , Montrose, Scotland
Registered: Jan 2015


 - posted August 19, 2016 09:34 AM      Profile for David Hardy   Email David Hardy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you ever get bored and fed up debating with others flogging
this old warhorse to death ?
I do.
Lets face it and if we are truly honest with ourselves the
Digital image is far superior to film in a number of ways.

For decades Cinema Film Exhibitors and 35mm/70mm Film Projector
and Camera manufacturers strived and struggled to succeed in getting an absolutely rock steady image on very large screens.
They never quite achieved this as there was and is always a small amount of movement noticeable on the screen. No matter
how good the equipment or film stock or print.
Its the nature of the beast and intrinsic to the medium.
So this problem comes with the turf and cannot really be solved
for film.

There is also the issue of film going out of focus on the screen
as the reel unwinds. We end up with a slightly softer focus during the course of the film projection.
Cinema projectionists always have to keep an eye on this during
a show.

Another issue with film is of course wear and tear on the film print.
This starts from the first run of the print and continues thereafter.
It may not be noticeable at first but happens in small degrees
no matter how well the print and equipment is handled and maintained.
Yes you can use a film lube to coat and help protect the print
but in the end the print will still wear out.
Be it scratches or perforation strains or heat buckle it will
wear out.

The reason being its a physical / mechanical tangible thing and vulnerable to exposure to the atmosphere and of course use over
time.

So insofar as Cinema Projection of a movie is concerned Digital wins by a very large margin.
Okay I grant that Digital too has its faults and problems because it too is not perfect.
Yes Digital movie files can and do become corrupt from time
to time.

However in general daily use it does not suffer from any of the
drawbacks and defects of film.
It does not wear out during projection and these days gives an
excellent colour bandwidth that has now surpassed any film stocks.
It also now gives a very smooth flowing image on the screen.
Unlike the early days when it could appear a bit juddery during
fast moving shots. Digital always stays in focus too.

I still like film but these days DIGITAL IS KING.

I await your replies.

[Smile] [Smile]

--------------------
" My equipment's more important than your rats. "

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 19, 2016 09:54 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
I can't or won't disagree with anything you say there David.
All is true and every point you make is a valid one. [Smile]

Ultimately, it is simply the fascination with film and film projectors that keeps many of us still interested I suspect David.

As for wear to prints. I am getting away with it for the time being using the cluster of stuff I use.
I don't know how long this will be the case or when my luck on this front in recent years, may begin to run out.

All I know is for the time being at least, I'm the most relaxed and contented I have ever been running real film and given the fascination I have for real film and projectors, that I know for certain, will never ever leave me, I will continue to enjoy for the foreseeable at least, the joys of real film.

In fact while ever I continue to experience this level of satisfaction, I will always gain far more personal pleasure from using a cine projector than I ever will by switching on and plugging in my digital counterparts, much as I enjoy both worlds.

My TV produces a far superior image quality than any film I own, yet I hardly ever bother watching that aside from the news, a good northern gritty drama, or the football.
Certainly I never find myself wanting to watch a film on tv these days, that's despite its glorious image and sound quality.

I gotta say,I could sit and watch good working refined cine projectors whirring away for hours without getting bored.
I'd last about a minute and a half staring at my boring black or white square digital boxes before nodding off despite their superb image quality! [Smile] [Wink]

--------------------
"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 19, 2016 10:57 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This one will never be put to bed!

If all I wanted to do is "watch movies", I wouldn't be bothered with all the paraphernalia and the frustrations. These days "Movies" are like water: you just open up a spigot and they come pouring out.

-but that's not a hobby. A hobby needs challenges to make it worthwhile. If not for that the idea of building a ship in a bottle is completely pointless!

I got a Honda Civic a couple of years ago: delightful little car! It just runs trouble free all the time and it's nothing I really need to think about a great deal. You could spend easily that much restoring an antique car. You can't compare these two though, they are entirely different things for different reasons.

So I'm perfectly OK with sitting down in front of the flat screen and enjoying a digital based movie with my wife and kid: it's relaxing and entertaining. It doesn't demand very much either.

-maybe later on I'll pull down the screen and watch a film too, it packs a lot more endorphins!

--------------------
All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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From: Bristol. United Kingdom
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 - posted August 19, 2016 11:00 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With real film you used to have (me included) real projectionists who put on a good show. The presentation was king, and the projection staff made this happen. Screen masking always the correct ratio. Tabs. Attractive lighting. Even the interval music was selected to match the mood of the feature film. The ice-cream girls had a follow spot on them.

Focus and the carbon arc were continually monitored and the afternoon shows used carbon extenders.

A feature and a second feature, adverts, trailers and a newsreel made up the programme which was continuous all day (pardon me, this is where I came in.) Queues around the block hoping to get in for the evening show.

This was the joy of a real presentation.

I rest my case.

--------------------
Maurice

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 339
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Registered: Apr 2016


 - posted August 19, 2016 11:53 AM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes Maurice, all good points, but that's more about the experience of going to a movie rather than film vs digital. Even at 52 years old, I can barely remember when theaters had real ushers with flashlights. I grew up in a small town and most of the movies I went to where at the theater connected to a shopping mall. That theater was spartan to put it kindly, but it was still film.

There was the Cooper theater a bit farther away, - one of the few "Cinerama" theaters in the area. I did go there a few times and it was wonderful, but there is no reason a comparable experience to what you're describing couldn't be done with digital.

Given my recent interest in film, I've been thinking about this topic a lot. I imagine in 30 years folks will be waxing poetic about the "warmth" and tactile nature of Blue-Ray discs compared to the coldness of having VR productions streamed into their brains.

I too have a fascination with film and the mechanical beasts that capture and display it. And one of the positive things about the rise of digital is that I've been able to get some glorious machines for free or very little cost. Things I could only dream about owning as a kid.

Earlier this week I was going to pay $45 dollars for an old but very nice Canon 35mm camera. I brought a battery with me to try it out, but alas the camera didn't work, so I left without it. The man selling it took it to a camera shop and they pronounced it dead. I had told him I'd give him $20 for it if he couldn't get it working. He emailed me back later, saying he'd give it to me for free since he felt bad about my making a 40 minute trip for nothing.

After some tinkering I have it partially functional but the meter isn't working quite right yet. This is half the fun for me.

I'm also very seriously contemplating developing my own 8mm film after realizing that shooting any more Super 8 will cost far more than I can justify.

But all my work with film will eventually end up in a digital format too. There's just so much that can be done in that world that is very difficult or impossible with film.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted August 19, 2016 12:03 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You can get a perfectly good sweater from a factory in Singapore for less than the wool costs at a local shop.

Why on earth would anybody ever knit one?

(-Maybe it's not entirely about the sweater!)

Let's not even get into the whole "process" of going fishing vs. just buying fish!

(That may be partially about the beer, though...)

--------------------
All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 339
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Registered: Apr 2016


 - posted August 19, 2016 12:22 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For me that sums it up pretty well Steve. I've heard lots of arguments being made that in some ways film is intrinsically better than digital. My recent attempts at shooting Super 8 hasn't borne that out so far. [Wink] I have taken some 35 mm pictures that make me almost believe it.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
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 - posted August 19, 2016 12:44 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Celluloid : Long lasting format over 100 years now.

digital : Can decompose in less than a year, no matter what format you save in. DVD, Bluray ect.

Digital : Superior in image quality ... variable

celluloid : Well you really can't improve upon the original celluoid image, you can just come close to equaling it.

Celluloid : endless hours of happily messing with it, editing, splicing, recording ect.

digital : Gee, I have a round little disc ...

... and, if we lose all electricity ...

Celluloid : I can still pull it out, looking at it frame by frame.

digital : Gee, I have a round little disc ...

[Smile] [Smile] [Smile]

--------------------
"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Mike Newell
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 826
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 19, 2016 01:44 PM      Profile for Mike Newell   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Very Windy Up here Today.

Blondes, Brunettes, Red Heads Black or even folically challenged you go to bed with what turns you on. Moving Images have the same effect some like exclusivituty some like to avail of all options. Instead of stressing out on format go and watch what you want on whatever you want.

Happy Angling and I'm sure the fishing will be good. You are bound to get a catch when you use dynamite. What next a snuff video( pardon the pun) of you burning film in the back garden.
[Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes]

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Daniel Macarone
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 224
From: Summit NJ, USA
Registered: Nov 2015


 - posted August 19, 2016 01:53 PM      Profile for Daniel Macarone   Author's Homepage   Email Daniel Macarone   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, It won't be that easy getting all the film lovers to think digital is superior. I worked at a movie theater while there was film and also after the digital conversion. The digital projectors failed way more times than the film ever did and there was constantly a repairman trying to solve a problem. It is frustrating to not know how to fix these new computerized machines when you used to be able to see and touch every part of a film projector.
The steady image of digital is cold, sterile and too much like an HDTV at home. Manufacturers perfected film projection many decades ago to meet industry standards. It has a gentle vibrating; just the right amount of trembling that is hypnotizing and vivid; It feels alive.
Projectionists and filmmakers have many challenges and responsibilities for film and that is all worth it for watching film. With digital, young theater employees are now given projection duties and there is no rewarding feeling because it is too easy to operate; They have a lack of respect for the presentation.
Digital has always been trying to match the look of film and it's still not there. The frames look nothing like 24fps of film. The depth is very flat because there are no physical layers as there are with film. And when movies shot on film are projected digitally, it doesn't reproduce film grain very well, making it too apparent when it should be gentle.
I learned that the studios are still archiving on negative film because they know that has the best archival qualities. Hence, we should appreciate physical, tangible things.
By the way, there are already many good replies on this subject in another topic called "The romance is missing".

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Steven J Kirk
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 873
From: Southern England
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted August 19, 2016 01:58 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just like AV equipment, really. Old and new. As new equipment and formats come out, some people dump their old things for money or space and they may only want to have the very best picture and sound and nothing else. This is understandable. But I'm a 'keeper' and I am interested in old things so it isn't only about having the best picture and sound but about having interesting equipment. I like discovering and re-discovering things. I have just started with open reel quarter inch tape. This is new to me. I don't 'need' it to record music. I am just interested in it. To me it is a new thing I enjoy finding out about.

--------------------
VistaVision
Motion Picture High-Fidelity

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Mike Newell
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 826
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 19, 2016 02:07 PM      Profile for Mike Newell   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think you will find this topic was covered extensively in this classic thread that has never been equalled since we both gave up thermofilm.🎭

http://8mmforum.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000423

Got you to look [Razz]

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted August 19, 2016 02:08 PM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am not against digital projection as such, the point I was trying to make was that presentation and showmanship has disappeared.

--------------------
Maurice

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1785
From: London, UK
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted August 19, 2016 02:14 PM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I shouldn't watch The Big Bang Theory. I read this and thought Film Vs Digital Hmm Noun vs Adjective :-)

A lot of good points on either side. But remember a 100+ year old film can still be projected and it is relatively easy to manufacture a projector for it without vast technology. Digital file formats tend to need very high technology hardware to read and use practically. how long will file formats stay viable? How easy will it be to convert? Will anyone bother, even to copy and verify when the storage medium is at its end of life? Compressed files (and most digital ones are) are more difficult to restore than analogue images. Movie shows from servers can be programmed to operate lights/sound/curtains etc to give a tremendous show, but where even does that?

Money talks and digital files can be "protected" so that they cannot be pirated or used more/elsewhere than paid for, so for the movie Business there is no choice, if profits are to be made.

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 339
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Registered: Apr 2016


 - posted August 19, 2016 03:10 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think converting current digital formats to new ones will be an issue, but preservation is. You can't just throw them in a closet or a warehouse somewhere and expect them to be playable in 50 years.

And there's a difference between packaged videos and your home movies/videos. If you wanted to make a backup of a packaged Blu-ray, there's encryption to worry about. It can be done, but you have to bother to do it and have some (minimal) technical skills.

Home movies are much easier and they can be backed up to a cloud service. Again, it's not like putting reels of film in a box. A cloud service can got out of business. The person who knows about the cloud service could pass away and family would never find those old movies.

I already have digital images that are close to 20 years old and they look as good as the day I took them, but I'm an IT guy and I care enough to make the effort to preserve them.

A bigger question is how long is long enough? The immediate answer is probably "forever". However, I've paid for lots of music I already had analog copies of. Do I really need to keep it around? Most of it I don't listen to and won't.

The sentimental answer for home movies is also "forever", but there again, I wonder. I really value the home movies that we've taken and that my parents have taken. If my grandparents had any, I might appreciate those too but far less. I never met my great grandparents and while I would like to have their home movies if any existed, I wouldn't treasure them in the same way. The people in them would be like strangers to me.

As for my kids, they'll laugh at home movies of my brothers and I when we were young, but if those somehow got lost, it would not be the end of the world for them. They don't have much connection to them.

[ August 19, 2016, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: Tom Spielman ]

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Cheshire, U.K.
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 - posted August 19, 2016 04:09 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Last weekend, my mate and I enjoyed the "Final Cut" of "The Wicker Man" on Blu-ray, and on the big screen in my modest home cinema.

The previously lost segments have now been digitally restored from a very faded and damaged 35mm print, the only source left.

The results, whilst not perfect are still remarkable and the whole thing was hugely enjoyable and very filmic on my D-ILA projector.

Next day, for fun, I watched my 400ft Marketing Films print of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on the Beaulieu, blown up to give nearly a scope size image.

I marvelled at how little fade there was, and how booming the excellent mono mag sound was, made me feel 11 years old again.

Again, totally enjoyable.

Best of both worlds! [Smile]

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 19, 2016 04:31 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
And no doubt Rob, you wouldn't like to leave yourself without either option for your enjoyment.

I know I wouldn't anyhow. [Smile] [Wink]

I think we are lucky in this era now, as both technologies can live side by side by many for very little expense in terms of the hardware at least.

This wasn't always the case if you wind the clock back even to just 14 small years ago.

--------------------
"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Rob Young.
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From: Cheshire, U.K.
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 - posted August 19, 2016 04:48 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Indeed, and I think you and I both wasted a lot of cash on basically poor video projection back in the day.

The point with digital is that a lot of different facets have advanced over the years; scanning, image manipulation and projection to name but a few and the culmination of many areas of the industry now offer us splendid quality at home.

And we're now at the beginning of 4K, and just as importantly, High Dynamic Range in home set-ups.

I think Maurice is right when he says that showmanship and presentation has vanished, but sadly, I think this is more to do with the popularity of the multiplex and the "get 'em in, get 'em out quick" agenda, which has eroded and cheapened presentation values over the last 30 years.

More to do with intensified commercial gain rather than the presentation format.

There's no reason for a multiplex not to have someone in charge of presentation, except that it's cheaper not to.

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 19, 2016 04:57 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
It didn't seem like a waste at the time Rob, in fact it was astonishing to see these first projected digital images hitting our screens back then for the first time.
Full length movies for around £15 a time back then was very welcomed!

Of course now, those clearly visible cross hatched images or washed out CRT ones would be laughed at compared to what we now can experience for a fraction of that expense back then, but nevertheless, at the time at least, we were happy. [Smile]

As you say Rob, regarding presentation standards now in our cinemas, aside from the actual image size and quality, you may as well stay and watch them at home for what the overall Cinema experience of today brings to the table.

--------------------
"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 339
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
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 - posted August 19, 2016 05:09 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that it is a nice that we have both. They can compliment each other.

Youtube channels, vimeo and other digital video services have made it possible to share old home movies with friends and relatives across the globe. While it was always a special occasion when we got the projector out as kids, often missing from the room were aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Even the bad VHS copies of film that were crudely digitized later can be shared with people across the globe. My brothers and cousins had a great time this Spring looking at some of these old movies and sharing memories, even though it was all done electronically instead of in person.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted August 19, 2016 05:23 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of the things that I love about collecting films is it let me reclaim an old hobby.

When I was a teenager I built electronics for myself. Somebody thought I should go to school for it and I did. As a result, for about 30 years now I've been doing other people's electronics.

When I went into sound, I thought it would be nice to plug into my stereo.

-sounded absolutely awful! (Cool!)

Now at least I got so solve my OWN electronics problem!

Short of going back for some kind of software degree, I don't see myself doing something like this with digital video.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 19, 2016 05:33 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
I definitely think all of this stuff is appealing to all of us middle aged guys, probably more so than it does to our younger generations.

At the end of the day, we all grew up with this kind of technology used back then. Open a cover on a video projector and I wouldn't even stand a chance of knowing where to begin apart from a little panel cleaning and alignment perhaps!
Even this is totally inaccessible now of course as they are all air tight sealed in a separate chamber [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted August 19, 2016 06:00 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most young people have no idea film technology even exists.

-a couple of years ago my son (maybe 10 or 11 at the time?) had some friends in the house.

I heard this conversation:

"What are those?"
"They are movie projectors."

For people of their generation, this discussion doesn't even exist! "Movies" are "films" are "videos" are "films" are "movies"!

-always have been, are now and always will be!

It's part of the reason we keep hearing film called "analog", it's as if people can't imagine the world existed before electronics!

Oil Painting="Pigment Based Analog Still Image"

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

Posts: 5468
From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 19, 2016 06:13 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Simply you cannot compare a classic Chevy Bel Air with a new Honda civic just becauce Honda has a power steering, good air cond, turbo engine etc.

Both can ride us to the city centre, but whose get more attention that is the matter [Wink]

We are collectors and we love that attention, just the same with other type of collecting hobbies. The most loveable question is "what is this? Is lovely" [Razz]

--------------------
Winbert

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 19, 2016 06:13 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
[Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Wink]

(sorry came in at exactly the same time as Winberts comments here. This was obviously aimed at Steve's witty comments, as ever!) [Wink]

--------------------
"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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