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What will it take for digital camera manufacturers to catch up with the film look?


Matins 2
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Supply and Demand I'd say. 

Its certainly not impossible. You'd just have to take a certain film stock and see how it reacts with over and under expose. Test it under different lighting conditions daylight, clouds, tungsten, florescent, the different variety's of mixed lighting etc.... Test how it sees the spectrum of colors, document the grain patterns when over and under exposed. As long as the sensor chosen has similar dynamic range you could pretty much match the film stock with in camera processing. 

If you shot film side by side with digital you could get them to match pretty much exactly if you have the eye for it. 

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5 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

Supply and Demand I'd say. 

Its certainly not impossible. You'd just have to take a certain film stock and see how it reacts with over and under expose. Test it under different lighting conditions daylight, clouds, tungsten, florescent, the different variety's of mixed lighting etc.... Test how it sees the spectrum of colors, document the grain patterns when over and under exposed. As long as the sensor chosen has similar dynamic range you could pretty much match the film stock with in camera processing. 

If you shot film side by side with digital you could get them to match pretty much exactly if you have the eye for it. 

The Digital Bolex with its Kodak CCD sensor produces good quality images that look more film-like than most if not all digital consumer cameras today. I guess that indeed the demand for it wasn't high enough, or its price was just too steep. It's a real shame that CCD isn't given the priority it deserves.

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4 hours ago, Spaceghost1969 said:

Canon did it 8 years ago with the 1DC. It has a definite filmic look as Armando admits. I also believe it has to do with the analog to digital conversion back in the day.

The 1DC is nice but I wouldn't say its on par with film. The color science is nice but its not mimicking any certain film stock. It also won't respond like film does to under or over exposure. Over exposing the 1DC will result in a digital clippy mess. 

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4 hours ago, jack jin said:

Filmconvert nitrate already did it, with a match the cineon log scan of a bunch of filmstocks, of course there are still things missing like gate weave, accurate halation etc. But in terms of color, resolution, and dynamic range, something like the c70 already exceeds film.

Film convert isn't that accurate though and its relying on you nailing exposure and such. 

Its certainly possible to make digital look like film but it requires a good eye and a good colorist. Hard to nail unless you have a side by side or have seen tons and tons of film stock. 

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2 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

The 1DC is nice but I wouldn't say its on par with film.

Nah, the 1D C has exceeded film in some measures. 

Look and see how each looks at 3200 ASA.....

  

2 hours ago, TomTheDP said:

the 1DC will result in a digital clippy mess. 

Sure, if you mess it up then the 1D C will look sh*t
But the same is true for if you screw up film.
(and to be fair, most of us here are more likely to screw up a film shoot than a 1D C shoot...)

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6 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Nah, the 1D C has exceeded film in some measures. 

Look and see how each looks at 3200 ASA.....

  

Sure, if you mess it up then the 1D C will look sh*t
But the same is true for if you screw up film.
(and to be fair, most of us here are more likely to screw up a film shoot than a 1D C shoot...)

Depends in what degree you are talking about of course. Overexposed film and overexposed digital look very different. Overexposed film looks pretty IMHO. Of course with digital as long as you stay within the latitude of the camera you are fine. Ease of use obviously goes to digital but I don’t think that is what we are talking about. 

 

5 hours ago, Tim Sewell said:

To be fair, film kinda relies on you nailing exposure and such too.

I meant film convert relies on you to expose properly for the color transforms to work. Even then it’s not going to  account for every lighting situation especially mixed lighting.                    For a commercial look properly exposed footage will always be best. Over and under exposed film vs digital are two different animals though. Over or under exposed film has a really unique and cool looking aesthetic imo 

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3 minutes ago, Matins 2 said:

I'm curious to know if you have any footage without rolling shutter to show to support this claim.

I mean the Alexa comes close. RED Komodo is global shutter. 

I do think the Alexa surpassed film. It has great color rendition and amazing latitude. 

What I was saying is that there hasn't been a digital camera on the market that has matched the look of film in all its complexities. Of course shooting on an Alexa you can mimic it with post processing due to the flexibility of the files coming off that camera. Same goes for anything that can shoot RAW. 

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16 minutes ago, TomTheDP said:

I mean the Alexa comes close. RED Komodo is global shutter. 

I do think the Alexa surpassed film. It has great color rendition and amazing latitude. 

What I was saying is that there hasn't been a digital camera on the market that has matched the look of film in all its complexities. Of course shooting on an Alexa you can mimic it with post processing due to the flexibility of the files coming off that camera. Same goes for anything that can shoot RAW. 

Thanks, I'll take a deeper look at those cameras.

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51 minutes ago, Matins 2 said:

I'm curious to know if you have any footage without rolling shutter to show to support this claim.

The Alexa SXT Studio had a rotating mirror shutter, just like a film camera. Technologically, this could be a feature on any digital camera, if there was demand for it. Rolling shutter isn't a sign that digital isn't caught up, per se, it's a sign that in most cases the benefit of film-like shutter artifacts are not worth the added cost.

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Arri had a film matrix (page 9 I think) that allowed for colorists to intercut between film and Alexa footage more easily:

https://www.samys.com/images/pdf/ALEXA-Color-Processing-White-Paper.pdf

But they discontinued it. I've heard it's difficult to work with, but I think over time the digital look has become more standard anyway. The F35, C300, and Alexa all felt like different imitations of film to me, whereas today everything feels more like Alexa or an imitation of Alexa. Which makes sense. You imitate the contemporaneous standard format.

There are technical difficulties from a sensor design perspective, but I don't really understand them. Full well capacity is a physical limitation (think of each photo site as a bucket collecting drops of light) that dictates highlight dynamic range (once the bucket fills, the highlight clip). Bigger pixels mean a greater full well capacity, but so do improved sensor designs. It's no coincidence that the Alexa has the lowest resolution and the most highlight detail. With film it's sort of the opposite: Kodak added smaller grains of film to get two stops more highlight detail in with 5219 500T film stock than with the prior generation.

But if you like the look of S16... why not shoot S16? It is definitely the cool thing to do now.

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53 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Arri had a film matrix (page 9 I think) that allowed for colorists to intercut between film and Alexa footage more easily:

https://www.samys.com/images/pdf/ALEXA-Color-Processing-White-Paper.pdf

But they discontinued it. I've heard it's difficult to work with, but I think over time the digital look has become more standard anyway. The F35, C300, and Alexa all felt like different imitations of film to me, whereas today everything feels more like Alexa or an imitation of Alexa. Which makes sense. You imitate the contemporaneous standard format.

There are technical difficulties from a sensor design perspective, but I don't really understand them. Full well capacity is a physical limitation (think of each photo site as a bucket collecting drops of light) that dictates highlight dynamic range (once the bucket fills, the highlight clip). Bigger pixels mean a greater full well capacity, but so do improved sensor designs. It's no coincidence that the Alexa has the lowest resolution and the most highlight detail. With film it's sort of the opposite: Kodak added smaller grains of film to get two stops more highlight detail in with 5219 500T film stock than with the prior generation.

But if you like the look of S16... why not shoot S16? It is definitely the cool thing to do now.

Shooting S16 is a pain in the ass 😅

I am so spoiled I'd rather just use my S1 with the internal stabilization as gimbals and tripods are too tedious to have to carry and I don't want to have to rig anything up besides putting in a battery and SD card LOL

That was my conclusion after filming a short on a C300 rigged up. My take away was I think I could have been quicker and actually got a better image off the S1 without any rigging. 

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