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  • The Art of Resolution

    Hey guys, I just want to share a blog post by Joe Rubenstein that is a thoughtful response to the question of whether 2k and small format cameras will soon be obsolete in a large format 4k and future 8k world. It is an outgrowth of an ongoing forum discussion we have been engaged in on the Digital Bolex site, but it certainly applies to the BMC line as well.

    http://www.digitalbolex.com/art-came...ion/#more-2425

  • #2
    That's the first reasonable thing I hear out of Joe Rubenstein's mouth.

    And yeah razz, I know you are a big D-Bolex fan, so don't take it personal
    Blog: http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Frank Glencairn View Post
      That's the first reasonable thing I hear out of Joe Rubenstein's mouth.

      And yeah razz, I know you are a big D-Bolex fan, so don't take it personal
      Ha ha, no offense taken. I did get some brief hands on time with a BMCC and a pocket cam at the Infocomm trade show last week. No recording, but they had them set up on a small diorama with external monitors. Pocket cam looks very sweet for the bucks, but noticeably softer than the BMCC. They had a 4k production cam showcased under glass, not operational. I still think the BMCC is the sweet spot of the line.

      Comment


      • #4
        The overall point is true and valid I think, but I strongly object to this:

        "This is probably not necessary to say, but I’ll say it anyway: cinematographers are not camera operators. They are not technicians. They are artists."

        I hate the crazy notion that one is either one or the other. I see it as : A good artist creates beauty or art in their mind - a good technician knows how to translate these thoughts into a format to share outside their mind. You can be an amazing artist but unless you have the know how, or know someone with the know how - you can never express that art. Cinematography is a perfect example of where one needs to be both and artist and technician.

        Even famous painters needed to know the science and technique of their craft - how to mix colours, how to master perspective or shading, which brush to use, what type of paint etc.

        It is this attitude of "I am an artist! and that is all i need" which is why film schools are crammed full of people who never make it or make badly shot pretentious crap because they are convinced that it is wrong to be concerned with such technical matters.

        In my work, i often have to interpret a vague brief regarding the style of a sequence or the lighting - I have to be creative enough to quantify what a client means when they share 5 completely different example images with different colour grades and yet they all somehow represent what they want. Then comes the technical know-how as to how to actually produce the correct results.

        To say a cinematographer is not a technician but is an artist, is just as false as if they are not artists but technicians - you need both in equal measure.


        As for resolution - the resolution is only important up to the point where the viewer is kept within the experience and it is not distracting - whether from too low resolution or too high. Some films look better soft, others look better tack sharp - the right format for the right job.
        Tom Majerski
        Cinematographer / Photographer / CGI Artist / Filmmaker

        http://www.TetraGrade.com
        http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5157752/

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Tom, I can't say it better

          Comment


          • #6
            I strongly disagree with this article!

            The only reason Aronofsky and Anderson shoot s16 is a BUDGET CHOICE more than an artistic one. After PI, Aronofsky shot REQUIEM on 35mm, it was low budget and made its money back. But THE FOUNTAIN - 35mm - was a financial disaster, and Aronofsky faced the very real fact that he might not get another film off the ground unless it was very low budget: hence THE WRESTLER and BLACK SWAN on s16. But he's now made NOAH on 35mm. Likewise, Anderson's films haven't made enough money to justify large budgets anymore.

            s16 is an inferior format to 35mm, in every way. The only reason people choose to shoot on it is budgetary (or the smaller form factor, but NOT the look)

            Comment


            • #7
              Black Swan was an aesthetic choice due to the need to maintain focus and move with dancers onstage. Small light cameras and lenses plus the extra depth of field of S16 worked very well. There was no focus puller for the dance scenes where the camera is moving among the dancers. For some styles of shooting S16 is the superior format.
              S16 is an ideal format for a moving solo shooter following action which characterized much of the aesthetic and practical shooting done on Black Swan. Personally given a choice of one camera format, S35 or S16, in a digital camera of similar cost and performance for the broadest range of solo or small crew field production assignments I will take S16 any day over 35. Size wise the BMCC format falls closer to S16 than to S35.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom View Post
                The overall point is true and valid I think, but I strongly object to this:

                "This is probably not necessary to say, but I’ll say it anyway: cinematographers are not camera operators. They are not technicians. They are artists."

                I hate the crazy notion that one is either one or the other. I see it as : A good artist creates beauty or art in their mind - a good technician knows how to translate these thoughts into a format to share outside their mind. You can be an amazing artist but unless you have the know how, or know someone with the know how - you can never express that art. Cinematography is a perfect example of where one needs to be both and artist and technician.

                Even famous painters needed to know the science and technique of their craft - how to mix colours, how to master perspective or shading, which brush to use, what type of paint etc.

                It is this attitude of "I am an artist! and that is all i need" which is why film schools are crammed full of people who never make it or make badly shot pretentious crap because they are convinced that it is wrong to be concerned with such technical matters.

                In my work, i often have to interpret a vague brief regarding the style of a sequence or the lighting - I have to be creative enough to quantify what a client means when they share 5 completely different example images with different colour grades and yet they all somehow represent what they want. Then comes the technical know-how as to how to actually produce the correct results.

                To say a cinematographer is not a technician but is an artist, is just as false as if they are not artists but technicians - you need both in equal measure.


                As for resolution - the resolution is only important up to the point where the viewer is kept within the experience and it is not distracting - whether from too low resolution or too high. Some films look better soft, others look better tack sharp - the right format for the right job.
                Aye. A Thousand Times Aye.

                The definition of art is a huge problem I have. I had this short I was filming and there was way too much noise, and the setting was really tense and still and quiet. The camera in the noisy shot had moved or something, and I was watching it over and over basically coming to terms that we had to redo that shot if I wanted it to be perfect. I showed it to someone I know here, who's an 'artist' by the bogus definition we read above. He said, don't reshoot, use it, tell no one you didn't mean it and use it. You can say handheld gives tension and the noise is an aesthetic choice. Put noise in your other shots and you don't have to do the extra work.

                I swear he said that. This is a prevalent attitude here. Like a kid who messes with enough effects of photoshop and illustrator and becomes a graphic designer. It's the idea that counts.

                I've been going through a lot recently. In life not only work. And I begin to feel angry at something I hear, concerning my potential. Potential, like ideas, mean nothing in practice until they cease to be ideas and become something else.

                The thing is, it's not a vocation. Anyone can be an artist. A cook, A cinematographer, sadly even a killer in their twisted mind...

                Art is a series of decisions aimed at provoking thought and emotion. Whether the thought and emotion are unified, and to what extent they can trump their aura or surrounding upon exposure to the viewer, is another talk.

                The step that turns this thought provoking decision into an action, the idea into a production, depends solely on craft.

                It is this definition of artist that risks the neglect of craft. The amount of validation one gets by proclaiming oneself an artist of all things is massive. It's self-exemption.

                I fixed this by not signing my work. Getting another mundane job, just so I can eat and do whatever I like. I know, you have to make money and all of that, but I don't think I'm ready for the rigors of filmmaking if I'm still such a slave to my ego. I've done nothing for a while, hanging on old projects, I even cringe when I think that I made people stop what they were doing, and tried to convince them to work on my things for free coz the idea was so brilliant.

                I took the other end of that stick many times after these realizations.

                I never got a real opinion from anyone who knew it was me responsible. I keep quiet, and I hear the truth. It takes discipline, I'm still working on it. But I don't think I can get into this professionally again until I truly don't care what I get out of it other than getting to that perfect marriage of idea and seamless execution.

                You can write a tune but there's no escaping practice. It's muscle recognition. You gotta do it over and over and over. Hell, we demand that of our actors and actresses.

                This whole migration from art to craft in my head, from saying i'm an 'artist' and that's enough to going back to seeing how hard i suck as an opportunity to do it again is changing everything. Tom landed the sentiment in the post. It just goes really really far for me. Not only with the filming, but the whole deal. Discretion is such a hidden treasure.

                I always used to hear that art is made to be seen, and it still feels like 'the sun revolves around the earth'.

                Looking at craft with as much reverence as 'art' makes me think that art is not made to be seen, as much as art exists to be made. Much more fun ride. Much better work comes out, and you're still you at the end.

                And yeah, the ego fix it brings is crazy. I mean it would be nice to be a ninja at work, but I still wanna get laid if i can on my day off, you know? Otherwise I was nobody before I got into this. I'd like to think someone in there decided to get into this.

                Sorry for the ramble, but your post brought it out. Thanks Tom.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm an artist. It took almost 20 years of art practice for me to finally be able to say it and understand what it means.

                  It's a job.
                  Facebook - Angelis Digital Studio

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The thing is no one can hold focus with a big chip and 4k - so really nothing is actually 4k anyway!

                    How many cameras actually resolve 1080 ?

                    For example AFAIK the 1dc in 4k mode resolves little more than 1080

                    So IMO most of this is totally hypothetical because really only the F65, or maybe low ISO film, on static shots or working with absolutely the best focus puller actually ever hits 4k

                    (and that is before delivery compression!)

                    I look forward to the ability to deliver clean 1080..

                    S

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by greymog View Post
                      A
                      It is this definition of artist that risks the neglect of craft. The amount of validation one gets by proclaiming oneself an artist of all things is massive. It's self-exemption.
                      Well, a lot of - so called - artists usually suck at craft (maybe that's why they have to call it art, who knows).

                      While most artists are able to pump out something random, ask them to do something specific and they fail badly, cause they never mastered the craft.
                      That applies to all artists, from painters to cinematographers. I have a friend, who is making more money on a single painting (just two green stripes on a blue background - done in under 2 hrs), than I make in a whole month with blood, sweat and tears. But ask the same guy to paint an realistic elephant, and he fails, simply he just can't really paint anything beyond random color patterns.

                      Point is, I could make 3 of those same random pattern paintings every day, but nobody would pay me for them, cause I'm not an "artist".
                      If my "artist" friend would make the exactly same pattern, it suddenly becomes "art" with a 6000 bucks price tag. If I do it, it's just worthless patterns.

                      So here is my personal definition of art:

                      True, real art doesn't need an "artist". Folks will know true, real art, when they see it - even without the name of a fancy artist on it.

                      If people are still happy to pay 6000 bucks for something a guy, that flips burgers at McDonald's has made, than it is art.
                      If the "art" needs an "artist" to get that $6000 price tag - and otherwise it's just a random color pattern - it's not art, but just BS.

                      Back to film: A lot of folks doing artsy stuff these days (mostly handheld, shaky) and than slap a bunch of pre made filters on it and call it a day. But ask them to shoot a professional typical glossy commercial, they fail, cause they never mastered the craft.

                      I like it the other way - first master the craft, THAN you can get artsy-fartsy if you still want/need that.
                      Last edited by Frank Glencairn; 06-20-2013, 03:19 AM.
                      Blog: http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I look at the term artist now differently than I used to. When I was in art school, I didn't call myself an artist. It was only until these last couple of years that I've started using the term to differentiate myself from the crowd and there is a difference. I went to art school. Just as if I had gone to technical school to become a mechanic, I too have been trained. I know about semiotics, color theory, Jungian and Freudian psychology. I know about F-stops, T-stops, shutter angles, DOF and FOV. What allows me today to be the artist I wasn't 20 years ago is familiarity with the tools, the language and lexicon of visual imagery. I hadn't lost data, corrupted data, or built and trusted a RAID. It's been a long life, 41 years, filled with performances, tests, preparation and rehearsal. If I'm not an artist now I never was.
                        Facebook - Angelis Digital Studio

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "The step that turns this thought provoking decision into an action, the idea into a production, depends solely on craft.

                          It is this definition of artist that risks the neglect of craft. The amount of validation one gets by proclaiming oneself an artist of all things is massive. It's self-exemption."

                          wow, this hits the nail on the head!
                          Tom Majerski
                          Cinematographer / Photographer / CGI Artist / Filmmaker

                          http://www.TetraGrade.com
                          http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5157752/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by razz16mm View Post
                            Black Swan was an aesthetic choice due to the need to maintain focus and move with dancers onstage. Small light cameras and lenses plus the extra depth of field of S16 worked very well. There was no focus puller for the dance scenes where the camera is moving among the dancers. For some styles of shooting S16 is the superior format.
                            S16 is an ideal format for a moving solo shooter following action which characterized much of the aesthetic and practical shooting done on Black Swan. Personally given a choice of one camera format, S35 or S16, in a digital camera of similar cost and performance for the broadest range of solo or small crew field production assignments I will take S16 any day over 35. Size wise the BMCC format falls closer to S16 than to S35.
                            I'd say it was much more of a PRACTICAL choice of the smaller form factor, as well as a budgetary factor. Your argument is no longer valid because while 35mm cameras are still huge, the BMD 4K cam is the same size as the BMCC.

                            The article says "If S16 is good enough for The Queen, itís good enough for me " Well, NOT A SINGLE SHOT OF HELEN MIRREN was shot on s16. She was shot in 35mm, while the scenes with Blair away from her were shot on s16 to a) make the scenes with the 2 of them feel like he has entered "a more elevated, majestic world" and b) to integrate better with the archival footage, which was mainly 16mm.

                            Would you shoot on super8? This is a very relevant question, because while the majority of cinemas still project at 2K digital/35mm, where s16 looks good (but not great), most major cities this year will move to 4k, so s16 will start to look like super8 on these new projectors.

                            The Digital Bolex is a dead duck

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BM4EVER View Post
                              I'd say it was much more of a PRACTICAL choice of the smaller form factor, as well as a budgetary factor. Your argument is no longer valid because while 35mm cameras are still huge, the BMD 4K cam is the same size as the BMCC.

                              The article says "If S16 is good enough for The Queen, it’s good enough for me " Well, NOT A SINGLE SHOT OF HELEN MIRREN was shot on s16. She was shot in 35mm, while the scenes with Blair away from her were shot on s16 to a) make the scenes with the 2 of them feel like he has entered "a more elevated, majestic world" and b) to integrate better with the archival footage, which was mainly 16mm.

                              Would you shoot on super8? This is a very relevant question, because while the majority of cinemas still project at 2K digital/35mm, where s16 looks good (but not great), most major cities this year will move to 4k, so s16 will start to look like super8 on these new projectors.

                              The Digital Bolex is a dead duck
                              Then the pocket cam and BMCC are dead ducks too. As is every DSLR shooting 1080p video, and most current video cameras of any price. I don't buy this at all.
                              All of the theaters in my area converted to 4k two years ago. But that is only one very insignificant market for indie film makers. Less than 1 in 100,000 indie films ever make it into a commercial theater.
                              With 35mm formats the camera size is only one issue. The optics are larger and heavier, and to shoot at the same depth of field requires stopping down by 2-1/2 stops which requires 4 times the light levels for equivalent DOF.

                              Fact is 16mm sized formats will thrive into the foreseeable future as will 2k cameras alongside the larger and higher resolution formats. Especially in a world where most content delivery will be online and bandwidth limited for some time to come and the vast majority of post even for theatrical release is still 2k due to budget limitations. 2k looks better on a 4k screen than it does as a film print or on a 2k projector.

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