Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
User

Large Format Cameras Are Changing Film Language, From ‘Joker’ to ‘Midsommar’

Recommended Posts

Some insightful info here laid out in plain English with good examples:

https://www.indiewire.com/feature/large-format-cameras-arri-alexa-65-film-language-joker-roma-midsommar-1202179944/?fbclid=IwAR2fUA2vrI9dvj50_-mMrLFtEqdEt0eMb3azO2qu_8DjimOtDQWDLIo3J4M

On a personal note, I'm in the edit on a doc with mixed footage... 1/2 inch, 35mm and full frame. Recently I've been back to making selections from the full frame (5DMkII) footage and when the conditions are right, it can really 'stand apart' from the others and I'm not talking shallow dof. More spacial relationships. That Arri 65 must really be a god king. Anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

HAHAHAHA....  all these people going FF and re-buying all their lenses are already behind the curve!

I've always said that if you're not shooting Medium or Large format then you might as well be using a 1/3" chip camera - you're not going to be getting those luscious immersive images!

Sell all your FF lenses now - the format is dead!  Get out while you still can!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seeing The Hateful Eight as Ultra Panavision 70mm Roadshow was quite epic.

For us mere mortals though... I don't even want dedicate myself to an APS-C let alone FF ecosystem. For me MFT hits the sweetspot. Panasonic, Olympus, Blackmagic, Kinefinity etc are doing great things. You keep the option of frankenrigging it and adapting any sort of lens. At the same time... there's class leading IBIS, best features in the game (Panasonic with internal 10-bit as well as offering 60p in 4K), great ergonomics & reliability and the option of having really small and light lenses to go with it when that's what the situation calls or allows for that day. People can keep their LF. But... if someone is willing to go through all the trouble of acquiring in LF... hey, have at it! I'm sure I will thoroughly enjoy it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, Mmmbeats said:

Kindly elaborate...

From the article:

"In other words, the large format allows you to see wider, without going wider."

“A camera three feet away from him, which also has a real psychological effect of connecting you to a character and feeling that sense of intimacy, but now we didn’t need to shoot it on a 21mm or a 24mm.”

“You get a sense of the environment, but you’ve isolated him in that environment with this shallower depth of field.”

the relationship of foreground and background, or a character and the world around them.

very interesting compromise between depth of field and size of the frame,”

background and foreground appearing closer together.

“You could get these beautiful vistas, but not making things feel like they’re super far away,”

“You have the same sort of presence of being, of seeing like you’re in a close up of someone, but now you also see much more expression, and much more of the physical performance someone is giving,”

“So it just feels like you’re really close in a moment with a character, within the character’s space, in a way more traditionally we would be seeing just less of the performance.

It’s like you kind of get this sort of intimate close up feeling, when watching a scene with a 50mm lens, but now we’re seeing much more of that person. That performance and how the character is framed in their space is just different, in a way that’s almost trippy at first.”

 

7 hours ago, kye said:

HAHAHAHA....  all these people going FF and re-buying all their lenses are already behind the curve!

I've always said that if you're not shooting Medium or Large format then you might as well be using a 1/3" chip camera - you're not going to be getting those luscious immersive images!

Sell all your FF lenses now - the format is dead!  Get out while you still can!!

If I 'get out' it'll be to a small island in Micronesia ;)
At the end of the day, it's more about narrative for me and I absolutely want 'proper' video camera that helps me get the film shot, so this most probably puts me in the 35mm sensor space. Recently I saw Honeyland, it was shot on on a couple of Nikon dslrs and has done quite well as a 'story'. Worth a watch.

Alrighty... back to the front...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, User said:

[..]

If I 'get out' it'll be to a small island in Micronesia ;)

No way. Bar Iakwe! 😄 I always said I wanted to retire and start a diving school at Bikini Atoll. Bikini (of which its existence I found out by randomly placing a finger on a spinning globe as a little kid), of course known for a couple of things, like the two-piece bathing suit, Godzilla and Spongebob Squarepants. The latter two of course greatly affected by nuclear bomb tests (by now the radiation ain't too bad). There's also sunken boats and planes which has made a great home to marine wildlife and made it a great spot for diving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found that article to be very confusing.  We all know that different crop factors can be compensated for in some ways (eg, FOV) but that other things don’t scale (eg exposure) so for example on MFT you put on a lens that’s 25mm T2.8 and get a certain exposure and a certain DoF, but when you put a 50mm onto a FF lens then you can set the lens to be T5.6 and get less exposure but the same DoF, or you can set it to T2.8 and get the same exposure but a shallower DoF.

Tha article seems to be indicating that something changes when you use the larger sensor and then put on a lens to give the same FOV, but it doesn’t say what it is.  It seemed to indicate that you can get closer and still see the same things on the edges of the frame, but that would mean a wider FOV, which is something you can do with any sensor size - just go wider and closer.

Does anyone actually know what they’re talking about?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kye said:

The article seems to be indicating that something changes when you use the larger sensor and then put on a lens to give the same FOV, but it doesn’t say what it is.  It seemed to indicate that you can get closer and still see the same things on the edges of the frame, but that would mean a wider FOV, which is something you can do with any sensor size - just go wider and closer.

Does anyone actually know what they’re talking about?

- I'm really not the best person to comment on this, but if I had to take a stab, it's as simple as having the extra sensor size and the field of view it affords. Na?

Leica-Thalia-with-Frame-Lines-for-Production-Hub.jpg

 

7 hours ago, Cinegain said:

greatly affected by nuclear bomb tests (by now the radiation ain't too bad).

.... well then that certainly sells it all the more. See you there... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The author of this article does not understand perspective. It's the kind of thing I used to think until I took the time to understand that for instance a 50mm has no magic powers to change the way light works over for instance a 25mm. 

"...specifically a shallower depth of field and more compressed rendering of space. In other words, the large format allows you to see wider, without going wider, as you can see in the example below."

🤣 This is false. It's 100% false. There is no such thing as lens compression, only perspective. If you're standing in the same place, perspective will be the same, and as @kye is pointing out, within reason, you can mimic the look of any size sensor by matching the FOV and using an equivalent aperture (and then compensating the ISO).

Having said that, there are certain things that are hard to do, like super shallow depth of field on wider lenses on MFT, or mimicking the look of a 50mm 1.2 FF on MFT, etc.

5 minutes ago, User said:

- I'm really not the best person to comment on this, but if I had to take a stab, it's as simple as having the extra sensor size and the field of view it affords. Na?

You can just get a wider lens though... for instance a 12mm on MFT is the same as a 24 on FF in FOV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, EthanAlexander said:

The author of this article does not understand perspective. It's the kind of thing I used to think until I took the time to understand that for instance a 50mm has no magic powers to change the way light works over for instance a 25mm. 

"...specifically a shallower depth of field and more compressed rendering of space. In other words, the large format allows you to see wider, without going wider, as you can see in the example below."

🤣 This is false. It's 100% false. There is no such thing as lens compression, only perspective. If you're standing in the same place, perspective will be the same, and as @kye is pointing out, within reason, you can mimic the look of any size sensor by matching the FOV and using an equivalent aperture (and then compensating the ISO).

Having said that, there are certain things that are hard to do, like super shallow depth of field on wider lenses on MFT, or mimicking the look of a 50mm 1.2 FF on MFT, etc.

That’s what I was thinking too, that it’s basically false.

I didn’t want to say so straight out because of two reasons, the first is that I don’t think I understand this stuff well enough to say things like that (and i’ve been wrong before!) and secondly that although I can’t find any tangible reason that a larger sensor should be better I have seen enough videos shot with larger sensors (FF and also larger) that had some kind of X-Factor that I just couldn’t place, so they always left me wondering if there was something to these urban legends....

 

It may well be colour science though, that’s entirely possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh great, now I feel like a bit of a bozo for posting this nonsense... ;)
One thing for sure is that the skilled folks who do have access to these limited and expensive cameras, went ahead with them for a reason. Somehow I'm willing to bet it was more than just urban legends... now where is my snorkel? 🐡

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, kye said:

That’s what I was thinking too, that it’s basically false.

I didn’t want to say so straight out because of two reasons, the first is that I don’t think I understand this stuff well enough to say things like that (and i’ve been wrong before!) 

I used to think that there was something distinct about lenses with longer focal lengths but after reading a lot of smart people's posts (smarter than me) on forums like this and then doing my own tests, I realized it really only has to do with perspective and equivalency. 

 

10 minutes ago, kye said:

although I can’t find any tangible reason that a larger sensor should be better I have seen enough videos shot with larger sensors (FF and also larger) that had some kind of X-Factor that I just couldn’t place, so they always left me wondering if there was something to these urban legends....

I think this just has to do with the fact that generally better IQ cameras tend to be larger sensor, and the people with access to these kinds of cameras tend to have higher skills and more importantly, better camera support, lighting, set design, etc.

One thing that is KINDA true about larger sensor cameras though is the extremes, like super SUPER shallow depth of field at wider angles, are really hard to achieve with smaller sensors. For instance, a 24mm at f/1.4 looks great and has that "mojo" on FF that would require a 12mm f/0.7, which to my knowledge doesn't exist, and even speed boosting the same 24mm FF lens with a .64x metabones would only give you an f/1.8 equivalent. 

19 minutes ago, User said:

Oh great, now I feel like a bit of a bozo for posting this nonsense... ;)
One thing for sure is that the skilled folks who do have access to these limited and expensive cameras, went ahead with them for a reason. Somehow I'm willing to bet it was more than just urban legends... now where is my snorkel?

lol it's all good the guy is writing on indiewire so you'd think it would be accurate 😃

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've had heated discussions in this forum on the DOF equivalency principle and on the difference in the looks of different size formats.

 

I am on the side that there is definitely a difference in the general look of different size formats.  I also maintain that the DOF equivalency principle does not account for the rate that the focus "falls off" outside of the mathematical DOF range and that this DOF falloff rate differs between different formats.

 

Keep in mind, that the assertions above apply not to the size of a sensor nor emulsion, but to the optics made for a particular size of sensor/emulsion.

 

If one compares the images from a 16mm camera to those from, say, an 8"x10" camera, the difference in look and DOF falloff is striking.  Here is footage from a recent 8"x10" camera:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, User said:

Oh great, now I feel like a bit of a bozo for posting this nonsense... ;)
One thing for sure is that the skilled folks who do have access to these limited and expensive cameras, went ahead with them for a reason. Somehow I'm willing to bet it was more than just urban legends... now where is my snorkel? 🐡

It's all good.  Even if information is wrong (or incomplete) then it's worth talking about.  There's a chance we might learn something, which is basically the only thing that is actually worth anything in the long run :) 

1 hour ago, EthanAlexander said:

I used to think that there was something distinct about lenses with longer focal lengths but after reading a lot of smart people's posts (smarter than me) on forums like this and then doing my own tests, I realized it really only has to do with perspective and equivalency. 

 

I think this just has to do with the fact that generally better IQ cameras tend to be larger sensor, and the people with access to these kinds of cameras tend to have higher skills and more importantly, better camera support, lighting, set design, etc.

One thing that is KINDA true about larger sensor cameras though is the extremes, like super SUPER shallow depth of field at wider angles, are really hard to achieve with smaller sensors. For instance, a 24mm at f/1.4 looks great and has that "mojo" on FF that would require a 12mm f/0.7, which to my knowledge doesn't exist, and even speed boosting the same 24mm FF lens with a .64x metabones would only give you an f/1.8 equivalent. 

lol it's all good the guy is writing on indiewire so you'd think it would be accurate 😃

Super-shallow DoF is an interesting one, as the forums are full of conversations that go:

  • "I've got to get that FF look...  BOKEH!!!"
  • "You're an idiot, real cinematographers rarely shoot wider than F2.8 - lots of cine lenses are only that fast, go get an education you moron"
  • "Yeah, but....... BOKEH!!!!!"
  • "I'm done with you...   <block>"

but in reading a lot about cine lenses for my cine lens deep-dive thread I found quite a lot of references of people using the Zeiss Super Speeds (T1.3) or Master Anamorphics (T1.9) wide open for one reason or another.  Think about that - S35 sensors being used with 50mm or 85mm lenses at T1.3!!  

And people make snide remarks at me for wanting a Voigtlander f0.95 lens - that's only f2 equivalent.

1 hour ago, tupp said:

We've had heated discussions in this forum on the DOF equivalency principle and on the difference in the looks of different size formats.

 

I am on the side that there is definitely a difference in the general look of different size formats.  I also maintain that the DOF equivalency principle does not account for the rate that the focus "falls off" outside of the mathematical DOF range and that this DOF falloff rate differs between different formats.

 

Keep in mind, that the assertions above apply not to the size of a sensor nor emulsion, but to the optics made for a particular size of sensor/emulsion.

 

If one compares the images from a 16mm camera to those from, say, an 8"x10" camera, the difference in look and DOF falloff is striking.  Here is footage from a recent 8"x10" camera:

 

DOF falloff is a very interesting topic and I found references to that on my cine lens deep-dive.  Apparently people like it when the falloff is more gradual.

In terms of what is going on here, I'm at a loss to understand it.

The way that a lens works is this:

  • the light coming into the lens is projected onto the sensor
  • for any (sensible) setting of focus on the lens there will be a place you can put something in the FOV of the lens that will be "in focus" on the sensor
  • "in focus" has to do with the Circle of Confusion

Circle of Confusion essentially says that any point in front of the lens will either be a perfect point of light on the sensor (ie, perfectly in focus) or it will be out of focus and in the shape of a circle (which is actually the shape of the aperture blades, but circle works well enough as an analogy).  Therefore, in theory, the DoF of what is in focus is infinitely shallow.

This isn't true in reality though, because pixel size matters.  Let's imagine that we have a sensor with pixels that are 1um across (for ease of maths).  If you get an object with an infinitely sharp edge and put that edge at the exact focal distance then the circle of confusion will be 0um across, and therefore will only hit one pixel, and in the final (RAW) file that point of light will be in-focus as it's only putting its light onto one pixel.
Now let's imagine that we get that object and move it towards (or away) from the camera such that the circle of confusion is 10um across, that will be 10 pixels wide, and will probably hit 11 pixels.  Obviously this is going to be seen as out-of-focus in the output files.
The interesting part is where we position the object such that its circle of confusion is 0.3um across.  It's technically out-of-focus, but 0.3um will probably only hit one pixel and so in the output file it will still be perfectly in focus.  

What this means is that we have a DoF greater than zero because the size of the pixels is a limitation.  This means that the larger the pixels, the deeper the DoF for any given lens.  Which is why the DoF calculators ask you for the sensor size and resolution.  A 500MP MFT sensor will have a lot shallower a DoF than a 12MP S35 sensor, even with the same lens.

The maths of this really doesn't care about what sensor you're using - for a given FOV and the same number of MP on the sensor the fall-off should be identical.

The tricky part is where we position the object such that its circle of confusion is 0.99um across.  It's technically out-of-focus, and if that 0.99um happens to like up perfectly with one pixel then it will still appear perfectly in-focus, but all probability suggests that it will fall across 2 or more pixels, making it a bit of-of-focus.  This will also be true for the detail with 0.3um circles of confusion.

What we're getting into here is maybe the gaps between the pixels (larger gaps will mean that more stuff looks in-focus) and maybe it's also the sharpness of the lens as in just the same way that the sensor has a maximum sharpness (it can't tell the difference between 0.001um circles and 0.01 or 0.1 circles) so do lenses.  A lens with lower resolution will have a deeper DoF despite having the same FOV and aperture as another higher resolution lens.

I guess this ponders the question, does a lower-resolution optical path or a higher resolution optical path have a gentler roll-off?

A higher resolution optical path will have a shallower DoF and therefore have a deeper area that is almost in focus, and a lower-resolution optical path will have a deeper DoF and a shallower area where the transition occurs.

Can anyone confirm this?  It would require having two lenses with different resolutions that are the same focal length and can do the same aperture.  @BTM_Pix has a bunch of lenses but might be too busy working on his 127 projects..  I'll have a look through my lens collection.

Certainly if you have a larger sensor camera then the gaps between the pixels are likely to be smaller and the glass you're using is likely to be more modern and higher resolution, so both of those would mean a deeper area of things almost in focus, so the logic fits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last year I met a burned out Western cinematographer spending time at a monastery in Dharamshala. One evening, as he walked through the garden, he tripped over a Arri 65 that a foreign crew had forgotten there while doing a piece with the Dali Lama. Seeing the man fall, several novice monks moved to help set him upon his feet again. Once there, he thanked the novice monks and began to marvel over the Arri. He was reminded of his days as a top globe-trotting dop and proceeded at length to describe the inherent nature of the large format sensor to the young and curious monks. Field of View, spacial relationships, shallow dof and circles of confusion filled the garden air. As the man finished there was a pause, and the youngest of the monks stepped forward and in a soft voice asked, "How will all this make us happy?"

Last I heard, the man had left he monastery and was back in L.A. Working at a camera rental office.
😇

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christopher Nolan used 65mm a ton in The Dark Knight and even more so in The Dark Knight Rises. The option has always been there, it’s just easier now so suddenly everyone “needs it to help tell their story.”

I’ve often heard everyone loves the texture and the film like noise of the Alexa Classic. I would wonder if the intense DI / coloring on all of those films mentioned is a way of negating the gloss from the added resolution.

It seems like too much resolution / sharpness in digital formats has always been where the magic starts to go away. The lust after 1080p CCD sensor cameras are a great example of this. I mean a digital bolex and an Alexa Classic are getting close to the same price these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, User said:

"How will all this make us happy?"

LOL!!!

 

Actually, it would make me happy to have an 8"x10", reflective, DOF rig like the one created by Zev Hoover shown in the video above.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

It seems like too much resolution / sharpness in digital formats has always been where the magic starts to go away.

Higher resolution is not necessarily the primary advantage of larger formats -- the advantage is the look.

 

Our own @richg101 developed a medium format DOF adapter -- the Forbes 70.  He used the OG Blackmagic Pocket (HD) with the Forbes 70, and the images were beautiful and distinct from smaller formats.

 

In addition, or own @Gonzalo Ezcurra made the largest format DOF adapters that I have seen (14"x14" and 20"x20"), and he used HD cameras with it, but the footage was wondrously gorgeous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...