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RE: The Soap Opera Effect

 
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RE: The Soap Opera Effect - 4/5/2012 1:58:23 PM   
Spaldron


Posts: 10485
Joined: 6/10/2006
From: Chair
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/markkermode/2012/05/the_film_the_whole_film_and_no.html

Kermode weighs in on the debate.

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Post #: 31
RE: The Soap Opera Effect - 4/5/2012 4:22:54 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5113
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
Does anyone else look back at the days when all you had to decide was which film you wanted to see with fondness?


I still do, mate. Then again I have no idea what anyone's talking about.

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Post #: 32
RE: The Soap Opera Effect - 10/5/2012 12:01:51 AM   
BoDixen


Posts: 201
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Copenhagen, Denmark

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978


quote:

ORIGINAL: BoDixen

IMHO it's bullshit.


Noted.

quote:

Digitally shot high framerate high resolution pictures LOOK better it's a question of getting used to the future.


High framerate images look different to 24fps images; whether they look better will be a matter of personal taste. It is irrelevant whether they were shot digitally or on film.

High frame rate photography is not new. Doug Trumbull's Showscan system shot 60fps on 65mm film. In the '70s. That is higher resolution (both spatially and temporally) than The Hobbit is being shot at.

quote:

Digital technology is FAR superior to chemical film.


Massive generalisation there.

There are some things digital is really good at: it tends to do better in low light conditions, and storage media is reusable. The ability to instantly review your shots is a boon.

Film still has an advantage in bright conditions and in overall dynamic range (at least for now). It is also, potentially, higher resolution than any digital sensor, and you can upgrade your camera easily, and relatively cheaply by changing the film stock you are shooting. Buy a digital camera and the sensor it came with is, in the vast majority of cases, the one you are stuck with.

As far as image quality is concerned both are capable of greatness so why worry?

quote:

They actually NEED better lenses than chemical films because the artifacts show up.


That is because the sensors' imaging areas tended to be smaller than that of a 35mm film camera; especially in the early generations. If you cram more pixels into a smaller space you'll need a sharper lens to get the most out of it. It is down to an optical principle called the circle of confusion.

Use the same sharp lens on suitably fine grained film and it will perform just as well.

quote:

It's the inherent conservatism in the industry that shows idiots that complain of the Hobbit footage in 5K! 48 fps looks bad.


It could be they just didn't like it. It may be something that they will get used to but was jarring at first. I wouldn't call them idiots for that.

I reserve judgment on how it looks until I've seen actual footage; I might love it, I might hate it. I've seen some 48fps footage with a similar shutter speed to that used on The Hobbit and it certainly looks different. I wouldn't say it looks bad, but it might take some getting used to.

In any case even if the Red cameras are shooting at 5k (which is a debatable figure) no cinema will show it at that resolution. All 3D showings will be limited to 2k and the highest resolution 2D standard is 4k. Resolution is only one factor to good image quality.

quote:

Of course old movies shot with the old technology should look as they are, but profiles on Digital TVs can actually make them look natural most tv have settings to turn off the up hz'ing and so forth.


The frame interpolation on these TVs looks horrible, at least to my eyes. I'd rather watch a film at its native frame rate wherever possible; be it 12fps, 18fps, 24fps or greater. Narrative film-making is not about creating natural images it is about creating the images that best tell the story. The images may be naturalistic, but usually aren't.

quote:

We don't have this stupid discussion in videogames where more framerates is actually better even so high we physically can't see it about 60 fps for most people, but some can feel more.


No, you get plenty of other stupid discussions though. Games and movies are different art forms. What is good for one is not necessarily good for the other.

quote:

For instance BBC Nature series LOOKS better than almost any movie today shot entirely digital and native tv framerates.


Which for the BBC is 25fps.

quote:

National Geographic photos all digital.


I'm pretty sure it is up to the photographer what medium they use.

In any case no digital sensor will compete with a good large format film camera for sheer image detail. A 5"x4" plate camera can produce the equivalent of a 20k image. That is about 330 megapixels.

All of which is meaningless if the photographer doesn't know what he is doing.

I'd rather just sit back and look at the pretty pictures than worry about the technical niceties. It is only if something looks bad or is jarring or out of place that I'll worry about it. And even then not for too long.


1. Objectively higher framerate pictures is better than low framerate. You get rid of massive blurring effects and jerky movements and get objectively more information.

2. Trumbull probably experimented with higher framerates exactly because it looked better however not many could show it.

3. Film has no advantage even film shot on film these days are digitized and colour corrected/graded, so the argument with stock shifting and so forth is null and void these days. CMOS sensors will only get better as will the programming that takes the signal from these.

4. I don't pan film shot on film that also looks good and should look as they were filmed at the time hopefully in prime condition, but even Peter Jackson who untill recently was a staunch filmstock defender is now shooting digital a technique that constantly will improve beyond chemical - look at the improvements just in 10 years compared to films 100+ years - no comparison.

5. Yes a big part of the of lenses is sensor size, but general better lenses than before is never a bad thing it pushes further development i lenseproduction.

6. They stated why they didn't like it in exactly the terms of: "It looks too real" "It doesn't look the way we're used to see movies and thats a bad thing". So no they didn't like it because they just happened to not like it (badly shot/lit) it was because it DIDN'T look what they were used to.

7. 12 fps must be almost unwatchable. I doubt anyone shoots that low on purpose even stop motion have double frames in that instance. I don't know what tv's you see, but for most tv's i looks fine they can show 24 fps native (well most of them anyway).

8. The discussion between videogames is actually valid in the sense of moving quality and the argument the critics make. If you applied the same argument to videogames low framerate games and low framerates in the beginning of videogames should be defended, but they are not - advances in technology actually is embraced and people are happy with higher framerates and consider them better because objectively they are (imparts more information and in gaming terms more control precision which doesn't apply to movies, but the more information does).

9. Yes for the BBC and other television (in most of Europe) it's 25 fps but funnily enough so is soap operas. (the digital image doesn't look like soap operas.

10. Maybe you should look into high end digital backends for digital cameras Hasselblad for instance. It can compete with most large plate film in size - you have to blow pictures up to building size for it to have any meaning.

No doubt that digital has it's artifacts, but it's a matter of time.

I agree that ultimately it's the man/woman behind the camera that matters most. But objectively digital will be and are better than chemical ever was and now won't be (there a very few producers of stock left). Something like the Phantom that can shoot 1000/2000 fps slowmotion in colour 1080p in relatively affordable prices is unthinkable as a chemical feat.

Digital will move far beyond the physical limits of chemical.

I don't say that films shot on film shouldn't look like they did in their pristine state, but development on TV's and other means of showing it are improving.

My point was that saying somehing looks bad only because it doesn't look like something we're used to EVEN THOUGH objectively we're getting more information is a conservative and degenerative argument especially in a conservative industry that needs innovation.

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(in reply to Dpp1978)
Post #: 33
RE: The Soap Opera Effect - 10/5/2012 8:00:05 PM   
Dpp1978


Posts: 1168
Joined: 2/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: BoDixen

1. Objectively higher framerate pictures is better than low framerate. You get rid of massive blurring effects and jerky movements and get objectively more information.


By doubling the frame rate you increase temporal resolution by 100%. So objectively you are right. However we are not talking objectively. Any discussion about aesthetics is subjective by nature. That which is objectively better going by the numbers is not necessarily the most subjectively appealing.

quote:

2. Trumbull probably experimented with higher framerates exactly because it looked better however not many could show it.


Showscan faced exactly the same criticisms that The Hobbit's footage is getting. People found it unsettling. A film executive was quoted as saying, "It looks too good, it's a distraction," after a presentation. Does that sound familiar?

Others raved about it.

I expect more of the same come December.

quote:

3. Film has no advantage even film shot on film these days are digitized and colour corrected/graded, so the argument with stock shifting and so forth is null and void these days. CMOS sensors will only get better as will the programming that takes the signal from these.


I am a fan of digital cinema. It is the future for the vast majority of motion pictures. But it is a tool, as film is. A craftsman doesn't choose his tools purely on specs and numbers. It has to be right for his style of work and for the result he hopes to achieve.

Film has something going for; at least for those who chose to use it, else why would they? It isn't purely nostalgia. Again you are applying objectivity to a subjective area of thought.

In any case standard 35mm is rated to be at least a 4k medium, which is the highest resolution DI work is currently carried out at, and the highest it is likely to be for the foreseeable future. Using it isn't a step down in quality; merely a different system of working.

It is also very cheap and easy to store, at least when compared to a similarly information dense digital file. Digital files are not remotely archive safe.

quote:

4. I don't pan film shot on film that also looks good and should look as they were filmed at the time hopefully in prime condition, but even Peter Jackson who untill recently was a staunch filmstock defender is now shooting digital a technique that constantly will improve beyond chemical - look at the improvements just in 10 years compared to films 100+ years - no comparison.


I hope it will continue to improve. It will need to to be "far superior" to film.

At this point digital cinema cameras have finally got to a point where they can produce an image, broadly speaking, on a par with 35mm film. But both formats are limited by the state of the projectors' art.

We are again talking about aesthetics here. In a medium where aesthetics are paramount, whatever tool allows the film-maker to achieve his vision is fine.

quote:

5. Yes a big part of the of lenses is sensor size, but general better lenses than before is never a bad thing it pushes further development i lenseproduction.


Agreed.

quote:

6. They stated why they didn't like it in exactly the terms of: "It looks too real" "It doesn't look the way we're used to see movies and thats a bad thing". So no they didn't like it because they just happened to not like it (badly shot/lit) it was because it DIDN'T look what they were used to.


What is your point?

The reasons they don't like it is irrelevant. Again we are talking about something entirely subjective. Badly shot or lit, to use your examples is also subjective.

quote:

7. 12 fps must be almost unwatchable. I doubt anyone shoots that low on purpose even stop motion have double frames in that instance. I don't know what tv's you see, but for most tv's i looks fine they can show 24 fps native (well most of them anyway).


12 fps is what most animated TV shows were shot at; each frame was shot twice. You still show it at 24fps, but you are only seeing 12 frames per second of motion. For panning shots the background was shot at 24fps as strobing would be horrible otherwise, but the characters, and other objects in frame were still only updated on every other frame.

Similarly most displays which show 24fps video at its native rate will have a faster native update. They'll show each frame for a number of cycles before updating. Even film projectors showed each frame twice to reduce flicker.


quote:

8. The discussion between videogames is actually valid in the sense of moving quality and the argument the critics make. If you applied the same argument to videogames low framerate games and low framerates in the beginning of videogames should be defended, but they are not - advances in technology actually is embraced and people are happy with higher framerates and consider them better because objectively they are (imparts more information and in gaming terms more control precision which doesn't apply to movies, but the more information does).


Videogames is an interactive medium. Too low a frame rate will, as you say, adversely affect gameplay. An uneven frame rate will be distracting. So for video games a high, stable frame rate is obviously desirable.

Motion pictures on the other hand are a passive form of entertainment and as you note many of the concerns important to gamers are rendered moot because of this. It is also easier for the cinema to create convincing motion at lower frame rates than video games.

It is the motion blur which completes the illusion of smooth motion at 24fps. Remove it and the image starts to strobe (see the battle scenes in Saving Private Ryan for a good example of this). Adding cinematic motion blur to a game will use resources better used for other things.


quote:

9. Yes for the BBC and other television (in most of Europe) it's 25 fps but funnily enough so is soap operas. (the digital image doesn't look like soap operas.


The "soap opera effect" refers to a certain type of live soap opera using interlaced cameras. These shot at 50 or 60 fields per second which doubles temporal resolution at the expense of halving vertical spatial resolution.

In fact a good way of approximating high framerate motion characteristics is to shoot some 50i footage and use a bob de-interlacing filter on it. You'll end up with 50fps footage.

The recent BBC nature stuff uses better cameras, including film cameras.

quote:

10. Maybe you should look into high end digital backends for digital cameras Hasselblad for instance. It can compete with most large plate film in size - you have to blow pictures up to building size for it to have any meaning.


It isn't how big you want to blow up the whole image, it is how far you can zoom into it before losing clarity.

The high end Hasselblad backs top out at 50 megapixels or so. That is ridiculously high resolution, and coupled with the lenses used on these cameras can produce exquisite images. But they are also very expensive, both in initial investment costs and long term storage: these files take up a lot of hard drive space. As you note this is ultimately a pretty pointless discussion, as the situations you'd choose to shoot large format is basically landscapes, portraiture and still life. In most cases, even in these situations a good DSLR is more than good enough.

That said large format film cameras do, objectively speaking, still produce the highest resolution images around.

For the price of a mid range DSLR you can get a full large format set up, including darkroom equipment. Of course it will be unwieldy to use, and more expensive in the long run. Only an enthusiast would be interested.

quote:

No doubt that digital has it's artifacts, but it's a matter of time.

I agree that ultimately it's the man/woman behind the camera that matters most. But objectively digital will be and are better than chemical ever was and now won't be (there a very few producers of stock left). Something like the Phantom that can shoot 1000/2000 fps slowmotion in colour 1080p in relatively affordable prices is unthinkable as a chemical feat.


That is the key advantage of digital: it democratises everything. But this in itself is a double edged sword. Just because you have a camera doesn't make you a photographer. Just because you have the apparatus to make a film doesn't mean you have anything interesting to say.

quote:

Digital will move far beyond the physical limits of chemical.

I don't say that films shot on film shouldn't look like they did in their pristine state, but development on TV's and other means of showing it are improving.

My point was that saying somehing looks bad only because it doesn't look like something we're used to EVEN THOUGH objectively we're getting more information is a conservative and degenerative argument especially in a conservative industry that needs innovation.


Mainstream cinemas are in a pretty bad way as far as presentation goes, and are only getting worse. What is the point of having all this wonderful technology to make films when the places that show them doesn't do them justice? But that is a different argument.

Ultimately change for changes sake isn't necessarily a good thing.

I'll be first in line to see The Hobbit, in 48fps 3D if possible, and really want to like what I see. But the crux of the matter is if audiences don''t like it, or even if they just don't care about it what is the point of progress?


(in reply to BoDixen)
Post #: 34
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