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Author Topic: Film vs Digital ... Lets put this one to bed.
Steven J Kirk
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 873
From: Southern England
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted August 22, 2016 05:52 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's okay I have a cat!

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VistaVision
Motion Picture High-Fidelity

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 22, 2016 06:45 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here is one example where "film" wins out big time. A while ago I bought the Blu-ray of "Dances with Wolves" thinking this should be good projected on a VP. Well it wasn't, picture was ok but nothing to rave about, but much worse, the sub-titles when the Indians talk were of into the black masking at the bottom of the screen [Mad]

So it was down to making up my old 35mm print, I loaded it onto the platter and projected it non-stop on my 1920s Ernemann 2 projector. What a huge difference, and what a treat, the film looked and sounded "Dolby Stereo" great. I have never run that Blu-ray since...does any one want to buy it? [Wink]
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All this stuff, projectors and platter would have all gone to scrap by now if I had not grabbed it....and glad I did.
For me its a real treat to bring film projection back to life.

David its a pity you threw out the "Westar" could a museum not have taken it? I helped to obtain one and got it going in a small way at the Heritage Park. One day "hopefully" it might be part of a small cinema down there, running all types of film from Standard 8 to 35mm.
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Dave Groves
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 508
From: Southend on Sea, Essex, UK
Registered: Feb 2015


 - posted August 23, 2016 05:12 AM      Profile for Dave Groves   Email Dave Groves   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I must admit I find film versus digital discussions a bit pointless. Film is film and does what it does. Digital is the same and those who go to the cinema are perfectly happy with it and don't even think about what's producing the picture. Last night I watched the Blu-ray of 'Cinema Paradiso'. Bit grainy but wonderful. If I could own it on film I'd crow forever but it ain't going to happen so digital rules. Both have obvious advantages. Film can be archived long term, digital can't. Film is now expensive and getting hard to find but digital is cheap and everywhere. Yesterday I bought loads of dvd's for 66p each (new) from British Home Stores closing sale, but they won't mean more to me than my old 'Bowery Boys 16mm film'. I'm enjoying the best of both worlds. Public shows of 35mm and 16mm every Wednesday with my pal John Salim, and 16mm monthly shows up at The Salvation Army`for an audience of between 30 and 40. And when I run out of stuff to show publicly (when I'm left with only faded or VS prints I shall happily switch to digital projection publicly and still enjoy Flash Gordon at home. Everthing has an enjoyment quotient and I intend to get every bit out of both.

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Dave

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Stuart Reid
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 720
From: Worthing, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Feb 2009


 - posted August 23, 2016 06:06 AM      Profile for Stuart Reid   Email Stuart Reid   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have prints of THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH on both 8mm and 16mm. I also have a DVD the same title. To these eyes the DVD blows both my film prints into the weeds visually. My 8mm print of this title cost me £ 125.00. My 16mm print cost me £ 250.00. It is much better than the 8mm print released by DFS.

David, if you ever wish to move on either of these prints please let me know, thanks.

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 23, 2016 12:31 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I were single I'd have more time, money, and probably space for my hobbies but that wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. [Wink]

My wife had had the extreme misfortune of being an only child to severely ailing and eventually dying parents. Her mother liked to buy things and their house was filled with stuff that had never been used tucked into every available nook and cranny. Along with having to deal with the grief of her passing, my wife had to deal with the estate. The volume of "stuff" was so overwhelming that a lot of things that would have been valuable to someone just got tossed. She did give a lot away and there was an estate sale, but just the time involved was too much, let alone dealing with the emotions.

So I can understand why sometimes even going through the effort of giving something away isn't worth it, though I personally hate to bin anything.

Being an only child was rough in her case, but at least she didn't have to fight with anyone over those sorts of decisions. My sister-in-law on the other hand, had a different set of challenges to deal with when her father died.

Something similar happened with our elderly neighbors. Their son was the only one that lived in the area and he was charged with dealing with their property. He lived about an hour away and had his own young family to manage. There was an estate sale but not everything was sold. Given enough time I'm sure he could have found homes for most of what was left, but time was something he didn't have.

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Brian Fretwell
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: London, UK
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 - posted August 24, 2016 02:50 AM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This makes me wonder what happens to cine things when a "House clearance" firm disposes of a home of a deceased person whose relatives don't appreciate what they have. I can't say that I have seen anything like that in any saleroom near me.

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David Hardy
Jedi Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 24, 2016 03:06 AM      Profile for David Hardy   Email David Hardy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Graham your correct there they don't get the Blu-Ray disc
transfers spot on all the time.
Some can be a bit dire or indifferent. I have some early
DVDs that look dreadful as they were clearly sourced from
a Video Tape master.

Nice picture of the Westar and the platter system you use.
I did offer my machine to a cine -museum but they had plenty
of them so that was that.
Personally I always disliked working with the non-rewind platter
systems when they were first introduced in the 1970s.
I felt they de-skilled the job somewhat and were merely used to
exploit projectionists into working in more screens for less money with the coming of Twins/Triples and of course Multiplexes.
They did also cause some redundancies of very knowledgeable
and highly skilled cinema projectionists. Sad Times.

Insofar as Cinema films go give me Reel to Reel changeovers
and Carbon Arcs anytime. hahaha ! [Wink] [Wink] [Wink]

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

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
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 - posted August 24, 2016 03:17 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Reading through everyone views about this subject has been very interesting. I don't think it will ever be put to bed, but that's not a bad thing....good topic.

Brian.

I think in many cases family films have simply been thrown out "destroyed". My guess is some families don't want those films finding there way to just anyone, which is really fair enough due to the personal nature of much of the content.

They may also have had them transferred to VHS or DVD thinking that in itself will do.

Good points David [Smile]

PS David another disaster of a Blu-ray was "Letters From Iwo Jima" the sub-titles are in the black as well [Frown] We ran the 35mm print a few years ago and its one film I would like to get my hands on [Cool]

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Stuart Reid
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 720
From: Worthing, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Feb 2009


 - posted August 24, 2016 06:47 AM      Profile for Stuart Reid   Email Stuart Reid   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I thought Letters From Iwo Jima was an outstanding film. Very tough watch in places, but excellent.

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 24, 2016 06:20 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You see some family films and photos showing up on Ebay. At first I couldn't imagine why anybody would be interested in some other family's home movies. I sort of get it now.

Then there is the story of Vivian Maier which I know has been posted about here before. She was a nanny most of her adult life, but photography and shooting 8mm film were passions of hers. She had so many photos and films that she had rented storage to keep them all, yet she never shared them with anyone else.

We she got older, she became destitute and could no longer afford the rent for her storage space. The owners auctioned off the contents. The buyers eventually realized what a talent she was and now her work has gone public.

On a different note, my wife has no siblings and is not terribly close to most of her family. She has some movies that were taken by her parents and grandparents which I probably care about more than she does. I can also see that my family movies, which I value a lot, will likely be valued less by future generations as they will have had no personal connection to the people in the movies.

Maybe someone in the future will want to preserve the films out of a desire to preserve family history, but maybe not. A little sad to think about, but in the end it's probably better to worry about maintaining good relationships with the living rather than with the dead.

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Kenneth Horan
Film Handler

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From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 24, 2016 08:07 PM      Profile for Kenneth Horan   Email Kenneth Horan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Film has greater latitude, better color depth, better resolution. Images on film look natural. Digital images have a cold "waxy" unnatural look. Digital lacks detail in highlights which are burned out. Many people may prefer this unnatural look thinking it's sharper but they haven't learned that just because it is newer doesn't mean it is better. Digital was chosen for feature production simply because it is cheap and the files can be highly compressed making distribution cheap and easy. Digital Cinema is really just television.

Films have lasted for over 100 years. Film is archival. Digital is not. Most major producers have their digital cinema features printed out onto film for archival preservation. The digital files themselves, as well as digital media doesn't last very long and corrupts. A great many digital files from the recent past already are unable to be played because of digital corruption and because of media failure. Not to mention the planned obsolescence of computer equipment and operating systems.

So quite simply film is best overall. Digital is a great tool but should have never replaced film. The public doesn't know any better. They're too dumbed-down. I've asked college students how the image is put up on the theatre screen and one guy answered; "It's a big VCR". So much for human evolution.

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Ken Horan

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 24, 2016 10:57 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ken, while a lot of that may have been true in the past, it is becoming less so all the time, and in many cases digital has surpassed film in terms of quality.

Limits to dynamic range and latitude were partially the results of compression but many cameras can capture "RAW" video now with very little or no compression. And it terms of latitude you also have to remember that a digital camera can change the sensor's light sensitivity on the fly so that a lot of latitude isn't as beneficial as it is in the world of film. High quality sensors have already surpassed the sensitivity of high ISO film without introducing as much grain/noise

As far as archiving goes, I think we need think of preserving digital content in a different way. Instead of storing it long term on some media in a climate controlled and protected environment, we preserve it by having multiple copies and moving those copies to new media and new formats on a regular basis. For me that happens without too much effort. When I get a new computer, I copy the contents of my old one to the new one. I backup both to an external drive and a cloud service daily and automatically.

I have 15 year old digital images that I can view any time I wish whether I'm at home or not. I don't have to worry about a flood or fire destroying those videos or images since they are kept in multiple places.

However, not everything is perfect. I have a lot of video still on 8mm tapes and one reason I haven't moved them to other media is because of the storage requirements. Hard drives and flash storage get cheaper all the time but improved video and image quality require more space. It's an arms race.

I still have a soft spot and respect for film. I plan on doing more with it and not less in the near future. However, ultimately whatever I do with film will ultimately end up in a digital format.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
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 - posted August 24, 2016 11:30 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tonight I watched part of my Derann feature print of Grease. Every time I watch this print I am amazed at its beauty, and the re-recorded stereo sound was equally awesome. So here is one example of a movie that I would much prefer to see on film than on my digital projector.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

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From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 25, 2016 12:28 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Me too Paul, if only I had a Derann print of this classic musical.☺

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

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

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From: New Zealand
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 - posted August 25, 2016 03:58 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think the following screen photos does say to a certain extent why its hard to compare
Derann "Peter Pan" feature on Super8 looks fantastic.
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I went to the cinema to watch "The Artist" projected on digital, not only they could not adjust the masking for this format, but the Black and White just came across as very soft. Later I got a loan for a short time a 35mm print and boy you noticed the improvement, even over the Blu-ray projected at home.
A couple of screen shots of the 35mm print with the masking properly adjusted
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The film print does look good, much better than what I watched in digital at the cinema.
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But then I watched "The Sound of Music" in digital at the cinema and it looked fantastic, even the Blu-ray looks stunning.
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so there you go "swings and roundabouts" with all this stuff but I would never dismiss film in this digital age.
[Smile]

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Winbert Hutahaean
Film God

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From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
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 - posted August 25, 2016 04:23 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
For me that happens without too much effort. When I get a new computer, I copy the contents of my old one to the new one. I backup both to an external drive and a cloud service daily and automatically.
Tom, you can do this daily because you are talking your home (domestic) archive.

While Kenneth is talking about professional archive.

So for your rough idea, one 35mm cell :

quote:
A "35mm" frame is 36x24mm in size. Look at the resolution spec for some films and lenses. Some films were rated at nearly 200 lines/mm, but some much less. There was a tradeoff between sensitivity and grain size. That added noise and lowered spacial resolution of more sensitive films. Lenses also cover a range. Let's say roughly 50 lines/mm would be "good", and 100 lines/mm astonishingly superb. Of course that's only at the optimum f-stop and camera mounted and held very still.

So let's see what 75 lines/mm comes out to as a starting point. A "line" is actually one complete light-dark cycle, so you have to allow for at least 2 pixels per line width. So the 75 lines/mm becomes 150 pixels/mm, which means a full 35mm frame would have 5400 x 3600 pixels = 19.4 Mpix.

This means 1 cell can store = 19.4 MP data if we want orange-to-orange comparison.

Now using this chart: http://www.canonblogger.com/megabytes-versus-megapixels/

Roughly that 19.4 MP = 20MB (actually between 17.5-26.2 MB)

1 second of film needs 24 frames, which equals to 24 (frames) x 20 (MB) = 480MB!!

That is only for a second.

So now for 1 minutes shows ....you need......errrrr.. ...480 MB x 60 (seconds) = 28,800 MB or 28GB.

I bet your computer now can only save 4 minutes... [Wink]

FYI to copy a hardisk with 120GB capacity (about 4 minutes) it will take 1.5 to 2 hours.

So for 120 minutes shows..... you can count now what type the hardisk you need and how long to transfer only for one movie.

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Winbert

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 25, 2016 10:40 AM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Winbert: As I alluded to, storage is still an issue but not quite as bad as your post would imply and getting better all the time. If you were to archive in a completely uncompressed format, then I will accept your numbers, but there is no reason to do that to preserve the quality. There are loss-less compression algorithms where every pixel can be reproduced exactly as they were. Think about the way zip files typically work as a non-video example.

And archiving on film isn't cost free either. A single 2.5 hour IMAX 70mm print costs over $150,000. That's a lot of hard drives.

[ August 25, 2016, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: Tom Spielman ]

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Bill Phelps
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 - posted August 25, 2016 03:18 PM      Profile for Bill Phelps     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It makes for fun reading when the film lovers and the digital lovers battle.

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Joe Caruso
Film God

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From: USA
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 - posted August 25, 2016 03:24 PM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
See what happens when a topic is started?

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Mike Newell
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: United Kingdom
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 - posted August 25, 2016 03:27 PM      Profile for Mike Newell   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
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Rob Young.
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From: Cheshire, U.K.
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 - posted August 25, 2016 04:07 PM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just watched Star Wars The Force Awakens in my home cinema.

Wowza...

Honestly looked and sounded better than the big screen Odeon in Manchester where I saw it for the first time last December.

We live in fortunate times for film, erm, movie fans!!!

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Tom Spielman
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted August 25, 2016 04:20 PM      Profile for Tom Spielman   Email Tom Spielman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Force-Awakens is actually a good example of showing that film and digital aren't mutually exclusive choices. You can use both with great results.

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Steven J Kirk
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 873
From: Southern England
Registered: Apr 2008


 - posted August 25, 2016 05:10 PM      Profile for Steven J Kirk   Email Steven J Kirk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A life-long love of films and music with a special focus on the technologies involved. That's how I describe it.

I've just purchased a super 8 Derann feature, a second copy to try and improved on one I already have. But as said above, last week I was re-running THE FORCE AWAKENS on the same screen and speakers as my super 8 and 16mm. No need to choose.

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VistaVision
Motion Picture High-Fidelity

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Alan Gouger
Master Film Handler

Posts: 451
From: Florida
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 25, 2016 10:13 PM      Profile for Alan Gouger   Email Alan Gouger   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The best screening room incorporates the best of a all media. It does not get better then Film-techs cinema.
In my screening room ( modest compared to Brads)I am able to screen DCP's, 35mm,16mm and S8. My fav media is film, all scales. Here is pic of my screening room with a peek of the D cinema projector.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 25, 2016 10:45 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Looks incredible Alan! How about a few more pics?

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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