PT Were the cameras used on 2 and 3 really that bad?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by darkness0404, Sep 2, 2015.

Moderators: heels1785, Seagoat
  1. rpeugh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    I should clarify. It wasnt until I saw AOTC on dvd and then ROTS on a film projector theater that I realized just how bad both AOTC and ROTS looked on a film projector. I specifically remember the reds in Mustafar looking faded and washed out. I couldnt wait for the ROTS dvd to come out because I knew it would look a lot better.
  2. Seagoat Music and PT Section Sentinel

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 5
    Thing is, digital cameras can do some things 35mm cams can't do

    The very first scene filmed for TPM was of Maul and Sidious on the balcony, and digital camera was used. A 35mm camera could not bring two people into focus at once as clearly as the digital camera did

    [IMG]
  3. Stoneymonster Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2002
    star 4
    That doesn't make sense to me. Optics are optics whether they form an image on a piece of film or a sensor. Unless they were able to shoot in lower light conditions and still stop it way down to increase the depth of field?
    Martoto77 likes this.
  4. rpeugh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    Are you sure about that? My understanding is that only TPM pickups were shot with a digital camera, but principal photography was shot in 35mm because Sony couldnt get the digital cameras made in time.
    Martoto77 likes this.
  5. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 6
    No, in fact they were superior to the cameras used in the OT and TPM.
  6. Darth__Lobot Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2015
    star 4

    Obviously they aren't superior in every way or people would have completely stopped using Film based cameras.

    My understanding is that the AOTC camera had much poorer resolution than could be achieved by scanning film
  7. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 6
    My "stated as fact" thing there was more making fun of people who say digital looks a lot worse like it's a complete fact.

    Nevertheless I do feel that digital is better - it's just a personal preference - I think it gives a much clearer image than film.
  8. Alienware Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2013
    star 3
    The scene in question was reportedly one of the few scenes in TPM that were shot on digital as sort of a proof of concept.

    You can scan film at any resolution you want (the only ceiling is how good the scanner is really), but higher resolution doesn't mean better image quality.
    Last edited by Alienware, Jan 22, 2016
  9. Valeyard Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Most of it looked acceptable, but it is much lower quality than film, or modern digital cinematography. Keep in mind that ever since the early 90's the standard for digital-out to film was 2K resolution. For a 2.39:1 film the resolution was 2048x1556, and that's the same resolution they would scan the frame at as well. Although you have to crop it to 1828x1556 to leave space for the sountrack. For 1.85:1 films the resolution is still 1828x1556 but matted (about 1828x988 or so). When done optically instead of digitally, as in the 80's films for example, effects were often done on 70mm. That's not to say that CGI was always rendered at 2K, it would be rendered in whatever quality they could manage, and then printed onto film at 2K. Lower resolutions probably helped make the CGI in Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 look better. On the other hand, purely digital films like Aladdin and Lion King are full 2K (cropped of course as they aren't scope).

    The lower quality of AOTC and ROTS is really obvious today when compared with other films of the same age shot on film. AOTC is much worse, but they both have problems. At the time that AOTC was made digital cinema (DLP) was at a maximum resolution of 1280x1024 pixels. Much of AOTC was filmed at 1440x1080 (cropped to 1440x818), and some of it was filmed at 1920x1080 (also cropped to 1920x818). They only difference is whether they used HDCAM tapes to record or an external data recorder to get the full 1920 wide picture. The bluray has been quite heavily de-noised, if you get a chance to see the HDTV version you can see quite a lot of the video noise that was smoothed out for the BD often taking the clothing textures with it.

    There are lots of examples where the quality suffers because of the digital filming. And I don't mean the fact that it's 1080p and a super35mm negative would have produced native 4K. By the way what people often forget is that super35mm negatives in the late 90's and on were razor-sharp, the same quality you get today that TFA was filmed on, and it produced true 4K or higher resolution. But what I mean is that even at 1080p the quality suffers compared to a 1080p digital transfer from 4-perf negative. Here's some examples:

    [IMG]

    Pop in the Bluray or DVD and view that scene in motion. One of the problems the digital cameras had were they only had 8 stops of dynamic range (a mere 256 colours per RGB colour), and they weren't very good at picking up the correct colours in the shadows or the highlights. In that shot R2's Blue panels on his dome/head turn purple when exposed to light, and green when a shadow passes over them. I can't imagine that's what GL had in mind when he filmed it! You can also notice this:

    [IMG]

    Everything's low quality actually in that shot, Anakin's hair, etc. But look what they did here, they duplicated the part of the archway and enlarged it instead of doing a digital matte painting... looks absolutely horrible. The format they chose was not designed to be blown-up, had that been filmed on 35mm, even though you would still see that vertical seam from their duplication it would look much better quality - as it is it's noisy, and you have this weird green haze going on along the window's edge, and this pinkish hue as well, and the columns are not distinct from the wall. The wall's brickwork/texture is also all hazy.

    ROTS is actually a big improvement over AOTC in terms of video recording quality anyway... it's still nowhere near 35mm, but much improved dynamic range at least.
  10. darkspine10 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2014
    star 5
    That's not a matte painting, that shot was filmed on location at the Plaza de España in Spain:
    [IMG]
    Last edited by darkspine10, Oct 12, 2017
  11. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    I don't think he's saying it's a matte painting. He's saying that they copied and pasted some of the digital photography to extend the scenery, significantly degrading the image quality.

    (They also copied the entire scene from Lawrence Of Arabia :-B)
    Last edited by Martoto77, Oct 12, 2017
  12. Valeyard Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Yep, the quality wasn't great to begin with but looks even worse when increased in size by 30%! Also, look how much more vibrant the colours are in that photo above!

    Oh, duh, of course I know what I'm seeing now. CCD smearing and blooming. Essentially the individual "pixels" can't change fast enough from state to state and so you end up with pixels that are trying to go to blue going to green instead, and other such problems. Also the state of one pixel affects and "leaks" into its surrounding pixels giving off that fuzzy noisy video-like picture. It's not a problem on film because each frame is independently exposed.

    Here's another good example:

    [IMG]

    There are lots of similar shots you can compare this to in TPM, and you never see the Queen/decoy queen's eyebrows turn green, or the shadow on her face turn red, or a red haze appear around her outfit or that smearing/haloing you see on her crown.
    Last edited by Valeyard, Oct 12, 2017
    DrDre likes this.
  13. Oissan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2001
    star 7
    Would that really be the case though?
    There are plenty of people who use completely outdated methods out of personal preference, even though they could use something that is superior in every way. Not everyone automatically opts for the best possible stuff available.
  14. Valeyard Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2017
    There's nothing wrong with the quality of film, it's just a lot more expensive. If you have the opportunity to see the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express in 70mm I would highly recommend it. Or of course pick another film you want to see in 70mm if presented... ideally one shot completely in the 70mm (/65mm) format.
    Martoto77 likes this.
  15. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    There's a brand new 70mm print of Lawrence Of Arabia doing the rounds at the moment. In the UK, at least.
    Valeyard likes this.
  16. Valeyard Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Nice, just a pity that I'll bet it doesn't have magtracks. They were removed since the 90's and all 70mm films since then are DTS-only. Actually a 70mm print can only have one or the other since the DTS timecode is printed where the outside tracks would be. If people are interested in seeing a film on 70mm there's actually a website dedicated to it at in70mm.com. There are few cinemas that are equipped for it, so a quick search through there should identify any that might be local to people.
  17. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    I can understand mag tracks not getting revived. They were prone to being damaged from getting run through equipment of varying quality of maintenance.
  18. DrDre Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2015
    star 4
    It's kind of funny. It's absolutely fine to enjoy AOTC and ROTS, or feel they are great films. Great films have been shot on all sorts of formats, and early digitally shot films don't have to be an exception. However, there's no denying the early digital cameras were inferior to film in many respects, resolution being the least important one. Color depth is a far more important, and digital only recently has started to approach film in this respect.
    Rickleo123 and Martoto77 like this.
  19. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 6
  20. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 5
    This goes back exactly to what I said right here before:

    As John Knoll has said technical talking about technical lines of resolution in laboratory conditions are all well and fine but the real world performance is what really matters.

    So anyone watching a transfer of AOTC or ROTS in 3D or IMAX or simply the movies now on a regular large movie screen (never mind the far smaller than movie screen size large HD TV's at home) isn't going to really notice anything or care at all about it save for the extreme technophiles who let their knowledge actually interfere with their viewing pleasures.

    In that case then they are never really watching the movies anyway.

    Which segues into the other points I've made on other threads. By this standard then the original versions of the OT are far beyond any problems that AOTC or ROTS have in that respect because their "problems" are caused by optical compositing simply not being able to compare to digital.

    Hence any versions of the movies done in future have to be done digitally and not using the original work which is noticeably substandard in motion. Freeze framing and doing deep dives into the background is all well and fine but that's exactly what you have to do while problems with the foreground and things in motion is a whole other thing.

    Depends on timing. Lucas was being bold and experimental with AOTC and ROTS. Now digital (as seen with Rogue One) is the new standard while using film is part technical but just as much nostalgia.

    Part of it also seems to be the feeling that film is more creative because you are forced to choose since every frame of films counts while digital is unlimited. Besides that you can always digitally go back in later and change it to what you want!
    Last edited by Qui-Riv-Brid, Oct 12, 2017
  21. DrDre Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2015
    star 4
    The difference of course being, that the technical limitations of the OT are strictly limited to special effects shots, and optical wipes. While I personally prefer the original optical effects, being a sort of purist, at least the OT still has the potential of being remastered at 4K 16 bit color. The limitations of the early adaption of digital AOTC and ROTS are baked into each and every frame, so they are forever stuck at 1080p 10 bit color. That doesn't make them bad films of course, but the cameras used to create them are inferior to film and modern digital cameras. This is a fact, and as the resolution and color depth of our televisions increase, it will become increasingly noticeable.
    Last edited by DrDre, Oct 12, 2017
    Rickleo123 and Martoto77 like this.
  22. ZodaEX Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2015
    star 1
    Was the Holiday Special shot on film or video?
  23. Alexrd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    And superior in many others. People don't choose a tool over another because of their disadvantages but because of their advantages. Lucas saw the benefits and invested accordingly.
  24. Rickleo123 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2016
    star 2
    TPM looks stunning and gorgeous because it was shot on film but AOTC is absolutely horrendous on a big screen or even newer 4K TVs coming out now. It's an utter travesty Lucas shot it on freaking HDCAM tapes in 1920x1080.... That's what soap operas were shot on in the 2000's. I mean it was cheaper overall but he really should have waited until true 2k or 4k resolution red cameras were available. That way the image quality would have more comparable to 35mm film. Just another one of the many big mistakes on the prequels and something that can NEVER be fixed or updated on.
    Last edited by Rickleo123, Oct 12, 2017
  25. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 5
    Sure. Meaning that it will go from being almost but not quite totally unnoticeable without specifically pointing it out to almost totally unnoticeable without specifically pointing it out.

    Less so for ROTS than AOTC. ROTS looks totally gorgeous.

    As a tech-phile said here:

    http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Star-Wars-The-Complete-Saga-Blu-ray/14903/#Review

    Episode II was the first film in the series to be shot, processed, and edited with an entirely digital workflow, but it was felt at the time that some of the digital footage was too sharp, so it was softened in post. (Not specifically for this Blu-ray release.) The CGI-heavy sequences aren't as affected, but most of the live-action footage has that characteristic filtered look, and sometimes the actors almost seem to have a kind of hazy glow around their bodies, especially when they're clearly standing in front of a digital backdrop. That's not to say there isn't any fine detail on display here—there certainly is, especially in the intricacies of the computer generated imagery—just not as much as there is in Revenge of the Sith, where Lucas and Co. fully embraced digital filmmaking.

    Episode III is on a whole different picture quality plane of existence. This is the outright stunner of the prequels, with a degree of clarity and color that approaches Avatar and other high-profile eye-candy releases. You can see instantly how much crisper and more detailed everything is here, CGI and live-action material alike. The filtering has been abandoned in favor of an exceptionally resolved picture. See the fabric of General Grievous' cape. The clean lines of the nascent Darth Vader's shiny new helmet. The wrinkles on Yoda's weathered face. Count Dooku's eyebrow hairs, individually visible. This is impressive stuff. Just as striking is the brilliance of the film's color. The first two prequels are far from washed out, but Episode III takes the vibrancy up a notch, with tighter contrast, darker blacks—though not too dark—and some gorgeously vivid hues, like hot magenta spacecraft exhaust ports and, of course, searing neon lightsabers. All of the film's environments—from Kashyyyk to the climactic lava world—look fantastic.

    {Quantum/MIDI} likes this.
Moderators: heels1785, Seagoat