I’ve been asking for peoples opinions about what needs to be included in the next camera evaluations but the answers are highly contradictory.
It comes back to the old which do you prefer, the look of film or the look of TV. The majority of people will say film. Or at least digital images which emulate the look of film.
They then insist that camera evaluations are done using TV charts and to TV levels.
Given that the original rushes will be made available and also 16 bit EXR files the only people looking at the processed results are either those who can’t use the original files for some reason or other and those who can’t be arsed.
The second group can… The first group don’t need to look at something designed to make the cameras look like TV cameras. They need to know that a workflow to get the best film look has been followed. Let’s not get into the pointless argument of what the film or TV looks are, we all know what we mean by those terms.
We then get to the question of where do we put the levels, there are all kinds of answers varying from 30% to 50% but lets make this clear, I’m working within ACES so log levels on a waveform don’t apply. Once an IDT has been applied and we are in ACES space we are working with an environment that has an inherent toe and shoulder and straight middle gamma.
So I’ve gone back to basics. All the years I sot commercials on film and scanned the neg into a video or later digital environment I used a simple reference. The Kodak Gray Scale Plus. They tell you where to put the mid grey part of the chart in very simple terms. I’m looking at the back of one now and it clearly says 122, 122, 122 in 8 bit values. In the past I’ve used 128, 128, 128 and I’ve had a lot of grief about it. It turns out I was bloody close to the recommended Kodak level and far closer than any of the corrections I was being given.
I will not use TV limited charts.
I will try and produce evaluations that look more like the best film that you have seen and less like NHK.
The title basically says it all.
This is an interview that I did with James Mathers the founder of the Digital Cinema Society when we were at Cinegear.
We talk about the origins of CML and why I got involved in and like ACES…
Wow! just Wow!
I went to see Star Wars the Last Jedi yesterday at the Dolby Cinema in Hilversum and even if the film had been complete crap, it wasn’t, I’d have been blown away anyway.
This is what going to movies should be. A totally black theatre, no extraneous light of any kind, brilliant sound, totally brilliant images from a dual laser projection system.
If more movie theatres were like this attendances would be rocketing up. I normally go to the Imax in Den Haag to get the best possible viewing experience. The Den Haag Imax is a 20 minute tram trip right to the door of the theatre from home and the Vue Dolby Cinema in Hilversum is a tram and 3 trains away taking around an hour and three quarters. It’s worth the journey.
What’s the film like, actually it’s pretty good. You just have to ignore the obviously cute marketing characters and if you can do that then it’s by far the best Star Wars film since the original 3.
It captures the excitement and thrill of the original, how much of that was the overall experience is another matter 🙂
The force is with Dolby!
Even better being the Netherlands, instead of the audience having huge containers of sugary soda and popcorn the guys next to me had beers, bought in the main theatre concession area. I love it!
One of the joys of IBC and shows like it is eavesdropping on conversations by accident.
This year I heard a lot of people whingeing about kit, about how it didn’t give them the look they wanted, about how cameras disappointed them or software didn’t miraculously make their images great. Lighting hadn’t given them the look they wanted or camera movement, track, crane, drone, whatever, hadn’t done what they wanted.
I wanted to scream at them “learn your fucking job!”
It’s so easy to blame kit but the reality is that it’s all, and I mean ALL, pretty bloody good. Oh there are some tools that have issues but they’re not major image killing issues. There’s kit I don’t like the feel of and kit I don’t like the marketing of but thats different. I may not like that kit but I can’t deny that it does its job pretty well.
So why are people having problems getting the images they want?
They aren’t learning their job! They expect it all to just happen without having to put the time in to learn how to do it properly.
It takes time to learn to make great motion picture images, it takes time to learn about lighting, it takes time to learn about lenses, it takes time to learn about post, it takes time to learn the language of images
There is no Google translate for image making. You have to do it the hard way.
10,000 hours to become competent, not good or great, just competent.
Learn the job and stop complaining about kit, it’s you not the kit that produces the bad images.
I thought I’d plug CookeTV and the incredible interviews they have like the ones below 🙂
Use Experienced Crew
Getting into the business
Simple lighting, don’t make it complicated
Resolution, who gives a flying F!
I’m setting up a new blog on CML that will feature news about camera and lens tests and will be home to my rants about things in cinematography that really wind me up!
Welcome to the new CineRant site, it’s a place for me to vent about cinematography issues that annoy me.
I’ll be starting off by re-posting some of my personal blog messages from the recent past.