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RED cameras absent from all Oscar cinematography and best picture nominees


Andrew Reid

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Captain Phillips seemed to have the most disparate use of cameras.  Quickly skimming the Nov'13 ACM it appears they used Super-16mm (Aaton) shooting on the water, especially for the Somali only parts

Oh, and it didn't click until now, I must be getting old, Gravity is this year's Life of Pi test. More than 80% of that film is not Alexa or film it's synthetic, lit by digital artists using the Arnol

Funny, that most of you here in the forum comment the absence of RED on the Oscar nominees by technical picture details (pro and cons).   May I give a hint to a possible reason not yet mentioned her

Would have been quite funny if Upstream Color was nominated.

Yeah it would have been, because the Oscars after all is just a big Celeb-fest of everyone patting each other for a job well done of being ridiculously rich and famous. It's all just one big political and marketing jumble....

As for the REDs, the last film I remember was Pacific Rim... well, not really a great film, and Amazing Spider-man was RED as well right?
What stood out for both of those movies was how video-like and digital they looked, nothing cinematic to the picture and the colors were garbage. I'm guessing as with the discussion in some comments as well, that the Arris have that film feel, that creamy image everyone wants

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While the Academy itself is all about politics, which is the only reason I can think of why both Only God Forgives and To the Wonder are missing from Best Cinematography

 

I know Drive got a nomination for sound, but I think the academy is overall far too conservative to get behind a Refn film. 

 

As for Malick, I guess there are only so many times you can celebrate how beautifully shot his films always are.

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As for the REDs, the last film I remember was Pacific Rim... well, not really a great film, and Amazing Spider-man was RED as well right?
What stood out for both of those movies was how video-like and digital they looked, nothing cinematic to the picture and the colors were garbage...

 

I think these are both very skewed reference points though.  Neither one went for anything approaching a realistic look or used anything approaching a delicate touch.  Not because they couldn't, they just didn't.  I loved the mayhem and design and the action but when Del Toro is in full on comic book mode he seriously over lights and you end up with a very TV contrast ratio.  It's almost a tragedy because all of that loving production design is cheapened by there being no real sense of shadow on anything.  

 

A big part of this is very few director+ dp + gaffer combos, when their film is created on a stage, light as if they were on location.  That's part of what makes Ridley Scott, um, Ridley Scott.

 

The same year these were in theaters, last year, I really enjoyed the photography in Maniac, which was RED.  Aja and Co. shot in downtown LA in some of the same locations as NWR for Drive and it had an entirely different feel on the Epic.  I couldn't say better or worse just different...maybe sleazier and more lurid but still beautiful.  I was more surprised after seeing the picture that it was RED since I was convinced after watching it was either Alexa or film.

 

I think the team behind Need For Speed misstepped when they looked for a camera that reacted differently to the electric light of night in the city and chose the C500 which, in their own side-by-side tests, looked like video compared to their Alexa tests.  They should have screened Maxime Alexandre's work on Maniac or done their same test on the Epic, because it also has a different, more vibrant response to those lights without feeling as giveaway electronic and cheap.

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Oh, and it didn't click until now, I must be getting old, Gravity is this year's Life of Pi test. More than 80% of that film is not Alexa or film it's synthetic, lit by digital artists using the Arnold renderer (same as Pacific Rim and, going back a bit, Monster House).  Cuaron named his Framestore vfx supervisor, Tim Webber, in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes which makes him a class act, unlike that prick Ang Lee.  Cuaron acknowledged that his film could not have been made otherwise.  

 

If they give the DP award to Lubezki I'm fairly positive he will also be showing Claudio how it's done.  Unlike Miranda, Lubezki was actually involved in the visual effects and animation that make up an overwhelming majority of the film's imagery and therefore rightfully shares ownership in the end result, like Deakins does in his immersive forays into effects and animation.

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...

I believe the C500 scenes were mostly the night scenes in the car  for The Wolf Of Wall Street.  There's a point when it is intercut with film and you can tell from the bokeh its going from anamorphic (which i believe is film) and to spherical lens which is the C500.  I highly doubt the average person could tell when it was film or digital though, although to me the lack of grain the digital scenes were noticeable after cutting from a scene shot on film.   

 

See my post above, it explains the mix of spherical and anamorphic and use of C500, which was used for ariel octo-copter shots.

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It's not yet common.  Some directors insist and have enough juice to pressure production to fork over the substantial budget increase both 4K VFX and DI will cost them.  Prior to the phenomenon of IMAX presentation for non-educational films 4K was more common for anamorphic films where that's considered rather minimal quality for anamorphic. 

 

I would be really surprised if more than 10% of big VFX films are being posted at 4K and certainly less than 20% right now.  That's up from hearing about the one or two films a year requiring 4K post just a few years ago.  The shift to DCP already gave a resolution boost to 2K finish over general release print quality, commonly considered worth about 1K thanks to all the optical steps.  

 

If you've ever seen first-gen prints straight off a neg projected big and beautiful you cry at how much is just gone by the time it hits the multiplex.  This is a big reason why the death of film as an acquisition format is far too premature, regardless of how good any digital camera is, because DCP of analog origination is the best looking digital presentation going.  Similarly, digital origination looks nice® when printed to film and optically projected.  It would be interesting to see experiments with digital origination, print to neg and then scan that negative for DI and eventual DCP. 

 

Anyhow, yes, I was surprised to read someone had busted out the VV.  They must be doing pan/zoom or perhaps some tricky projections where the extra resolution is desirable above working from a 4K 4-perf scan.  It's maybe a little overkill if they're using it for an Alexa section.  

 

CG itself, regardless of standard practice, doesn't need to be rendered to your target, working resolution because we tyipically work at 4x to 8x oversampling.  You have further shading and geometric oversampling if you're using a REYES style micro-polygon renderer (Pixar's Renderman implementation, prman, or SESI's Mantra renderer being the most common) where, nominally, if you were to only do a 1x spatial sample you would still have four micro quads shading beneath each pixel.  

 

Straight raytracers commonly have even more oversampling thrown at them as they're prone to spatial aliasing but there's decades of research into techniques like poisson disc sampling and other stochastic techniques striving to improve results while lowering computation because noise is less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing (and more consistent with motion picture imagery either analog or digital) than hard, jagged lines.

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none of it is really 4K, 2K upres mostly and HD. Elysium was 4K and then upres to 8K for Imax. Only a handful of studios here in the city can even handle 4K. We have renders for TV that tke 8hrs a frame to render in HD. SO take a shot that is 30F to 300 frames long...and usually if its 300 frames long its some epic explosion with tons of pieces.....put 4K and STUPID STEREO into the mix and then 48 or 60FPS. its getting ridiculous. I prefer 2K 2.39:1 with some nice film grain to it for texture with a great story any day.

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One thing for sure is 4K will hopefully drive the computer innovation more forward, Intel is been stagnated in terms of CPU performance when AMD wave their white flag years ago. And hopefully large SSD will fall more in price too since they are really needed.

 

This chart from Anandtech said the best

cpugpusm.png

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It's not yet common.  Some directors insist and have enough juice to pressure production to fork over the substantial budget increase both 4K VFX and DI will cost them.  Prior to the phenomenon of IMAX presentation for non-educational films 4K was more common for anamorphic films where that's considered rather minimal quality for anamorphic. 

 

I would be really surprised if more than 10% of big VFX films are being posted at 4K and certainly less than 20% right now.  That's up from hearing about the one or two films a year requiring 4K post just a few years ago.  The shift to DCP already gave a resolution boost to 2K finish over general release print quality, commonly considered worth about 1K thanks to all the optical steps.  

 

If you've ever seen first-gen prints straight off a neg projected big and beautiful you cry at how much is just gone by the time it hits the multiplex.  This is a big reason why the death of film as an acquisition format is far too premature, regardless of how good any digital camera is, because DCP of analog origination is the best looking digital presentation going.  Similarly, digital origination looks nice® when printed to film and optically projected.  It would be interesting to see experiments with digital origination, print to neg and then scan that negative for DI and eventual DCP. 

 

Anyhow, yes, I was surprised to read someone had busted out the VV.  They must be doing pan/zoom or perhaps some tricky projections where the extra resolution is desirable above working from a 4K 4-perf scan.  It's maybe a little overkill if they're using it for an Alexa section.  

 

CG itself, regardless of standard practice, doesn't need to be rendered to your target, working resolution because we tyipically work at 4x to 8x oversampling.  You have further shading and geometric oversampling if you're using a REYES style micro-polygon renderer (Pixar's Renderman implementation, prman, or SESI's Mantra renderer being the most common) where, nominally, if you were to only do a 1x spatial sample you would still have four micro quads shading beneath each pixel.  

 

Straight raytracers commonly have even more oversampling thrown at them as they're prone to spatial aliasing but there's decades of research into techniques like poisson disc sampling and other stochastic techniques striving to improve results while lowering computation because noise is less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing (and more consistent with motion picture imagery either analog or digital) than hard, jagged lines.

yeap...

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Anybody here had any extensive experience with film in the low light department? I'm sure somebody has... I look at our (realistically affordable) digital parallel options these days and
I see the black magic cams heading the pack. In terms of bit-depth, latitude, and overall image - they're the only option under $5000 (sans hack and digital bolex) doing what they are. Being ergonomically appealing is a different story... My biggest problem with them is the damn noise. They are so damn noisy. I've been through 3 - 2.5k bmcc's because of excessive green channel noise, rolling wave noise, and a horizontal split screen at Asa 1600 where the top half is brighter than the bottom. Noise noise noise. I guess my question is how comparable film is in low light situations to those cams.. I like grain, but not mosquito static

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I'm a big Blackmagic fan but the 4K camera has it's work to cut out to compete in 2014 with what is coming, a avalanche of better stuff is on the way. Starting with GH 4K, let's just say Blackmagic are going to have to lower the price a lot to sell against Panasonic.

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On the last 18 months, I have been watching movies made with Alexa, Sony f55 and Red cameras. 

Over all the best productions are picking the Alexa, if we exclude David finch and Ridley Scott, most of the best looking movies are made with Alexa and sometime f65.

The reason why the best movie making productions pick Alexa is because over all ARRI is a better and more reliable company than RED. Probably also because they are more familiar on dealing with ARRI from the film days.

I do not think is just a matter of image quality from the camera, (personally I like Alexa the best) but it is the over all production package (including the post) that make the best looking movies. It happens that they pick the Alexa.

 

 

 

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So has Arri reached critical mass?

 

And why the Cinema EOS cameras cropping up in such top flight productions? The image isn't as good as the Alexa!

They are used in little bits here and there, when a smaller rig is needed. I guess EOS are the best crash cams of choice.

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End of film: Paramount first studio to stop distributing film prints

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-paramount-digital-20140117,0,5245137.story#ixzz2qwOjXgH1

"Paramount’s move comes nearly a decade after studios began working with exhibitors to help finance the replacement of film projectors with digital systems, which substantially reduce the cost of delivering movie prints to theaters.

In addition to relying on digital hard drives, theaters are installing satellite systems to digitally beam movies into cinemas. That could significantly lower the cost of delivering a single print, to less than $100 from as much $2,000."


Well that progressed quickly.  Wolf of Wall Street's cameras: Arri Alexa Plus, Arri Alexa Studio,  Arricam LT, & Canon EOS C500.

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