What is the big difference between Digital and film??

Discussion in 'Revenge of the Sith (Non-Spoilers)' started by Nismo1223, May 12, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. dolphin Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 1999
    star 4
    Not only is digital projecters more expensive it only lasts for like 1 or 2 years. Most theaters couldn't afford that.
  2. opinion Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    ...thanks knimble knight...so when watching aotc on a dlp wednesday night i wont see any glitches at all?...itll look just like dvd?...
  3. lono Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 1
    >>film looks better. It has a warmth and doesn't require as much light as most video needs

    >Film requires less light? You got it backwards.

    Sorry, I wasn't being clear. Film can require less light when shooting a scene. "Barry Lyndon" is a great example of low light conditions photographed beautifully. Kubrick used special film and lenses designed by NASA, but that's beside the point. he was still using film. When I see 24p cameras working under those conditions...

    Anyway, Bucker exlained better than I can. :>

    Lono
  4. JediRac Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2001
    star 2
    When I went to the digital screening of TPM back in July '99, the DLP company spokespersons let the audience take a tour of the projection room.

    From what I recall, the projector ($100k+) holds about 320+ gigabytes of storage for the movie which is in uncompressed format (this might have been improved since then).

    When a movie is placed on film it goes through up to 4 or 5 generations of film processing, which accounts for the degradation you see on screen (dirt, scratches, hair, the cigarette burns in the top right corner, etc.). It only gets worse each time the movie is shown on a standard projector.

    A digital film only goes through ONE generation of processing, which is why the image is so perfect on screen. Add to the fact that it's also being stored on a computer, and it's going to look perfect each time it's shown.
  5. opinion Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    ...so thats a yes then huh...
  6. lono Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 1
    It should also be noted that every film copy of AOTC will be first generation copies from the digital master. Usually we see copies of copies in theaters. So it should look very pristine, despite what Mr. Ebert had to say.

    Lono

  7. pennywise Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2002
    star 1
    Contrary to the opinions of digital enthusiasts, film is not an inferior format. Digital will definitely change the way movies are going to be shown in theatres. But the thing is, a 35mm reel contains a LOT of information, and film's chemical properties tends to give movies certain other-worldly characteristic that's wonderful to watch. So in essence, picture quality is not even an issue when it comes to traditional film, unless you are extremely picky. But, the downside to film is that they tend to scratch easily, usually after repeated viewings, and they tend to gather bits of dust as well. So longevity, not quality, is the real issue when it comes to film. Both digital and film has its advantages and disadvantages, and their strengths used be used appropriately.

    I assure all of you, that only the pickiest of the pickiest will complain about the difference in quality between the two formats.
  8. opinion Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    ...how do you know...
  9. KCLundin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    I don't know from quality, but one thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is storage.
    Film isn't the most stable medium and degrades fairly quickly, however, I worry about a future in which a "film" is never put on film, but rather exists only on a hard drive someone.
    Ever try opening a word processing file that's over ten years old?
    Chances are if you can it's all screwed up and probably unreadable.
    Digital storage techniques now are exceedingly poor compared to almost every other medium, and the technology changes every Moore cycle, so it is likely that a current digital version of Episode II will probably not be able to be projected twenty years from now on whatever equipment is being used.
    If the industry ever totally switches to digital (decades away from now, if ever), there is a very good chance that we would end up losing most of these future works of art, much as most nitrate silent films have been lost.
    Constantly updating the digital movie file to fit whatever projection standard is in place may work, but the quality would degrade with each subsequent copy made.
    (Example, Copy a CD, copy that copy, repeat multiple times and you get a poorer quality CD that will last for maybe two or three decades, tops)
    As I admit, film storage is very difficult to do right and quality is lost over time, but at least you can pick it up, touch it, hold it up to a light and still see the same image that was there fifty or more years ago without having to boot up the projector while worrying whether Windows Media Player v492.3a will crash or not.
  10. pennywise Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2002
    star 1
    Good thinking, thats something that I forgot to think about KCLundin - like film, digitally stored files can degrade overtime and I see your point about that you can actually hold a film and at least not lose it. But you are wrong about the longevity of digital storage, because that form of storage can better preserve motion pictures for many, many generations than a film ever could. The only thing that degrades is the physical storage space, but not the information contained within in.

    There's a reason why some filmmakers are switching over to digital storage. Digital files does not degrade between transfers because it stores information on binary numbers which keeps its original quality and allows a longer life between backups. Sure thing, CD to CD backups does degrade information, but its because of the nature of the physical storage itself (platinum CD-ROMs lasts for 200 years tops). For instance, transferring information from one hard disk to another will not cause any degradation. That's why you can watch your DVD in 20 years time and it will still look just as good as the first time you saw it. The same goes with digital projectors, because they are based on digital technology.

    So the day when all digital physical storage spaces improve in durability, preserving quality will not be a problem.
  11. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    KCLundin :

    > Constantly updating the digital movie file to fit whatever projection standard is in place may work, but the quality would degrade with each subsequent copy made.
    (Example, Copy a CD, copy that copy, repeat multiple times and you get a poorer quality CD that will last for maybe two or three decades, tops)

    ?

    There is no loss from making 1 , 100, 1,000,000 copies of a digital movie or any computer file for that matter.

    Are you talking about copying a song on a rewritable CD or something ? I'm not following your argument.

    The reality is, the digital copy will outlive anything. Since copying the digital movie doesn't degrade the quality, you can have multiple copies in different media, tape, disc, HD, etc.

    The real problem with digital is the lack of standards, and the fact that computer standards don't last long. However, when it comes to preserving film, it's not hard to re-encode something in a new standar, as long as the new standard supports the quality of the previous one at a minimum (obvious of course).

    Anybody know how they compress the digital movies ? The "master" copy of the film can't be encoded in a lossy format like MPEG, so what is it ?
  12. buckner1986 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    the compression scheme would be a highly proprietary one that is still probably in development.

    a friend of mine saw a movie being projected in digital recently, and he believed that they were testing various compression techniques. He saw Bicentennial Man on two seperate occasions that were clearly projected using differing methods, most likely different compression schemes; one was noticeable higher quality than the other.

    with a project like starwars, i wouldn't be surprised if it was used as a benchmarking point to introduce yet another scheme of compression. in any case, it's definitely not some kind of codec like you'd find on a regular playback system.
  13. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    Well , it's probably not a codec used on on vanilla PCs at home. However, the thing I'm really wondering about is if it's lossy or not. My guess of course is that it's not lossy, but who knows ?
  14. Darth_Darren Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2002
    From my experience putting a 16mm film onto DVD, the compression was an MPEG 2, then put through Cleaner, then put in DVD Studio Pro, then put to the DVD. And it looked better than any DV copy I had seen on a tape.

    As far as shooting digitally vs. film, I think film is still the best thing out there. True, I don't know much about it, but from my experience, I still think film looks a lot better. This comparison is between 16mm and just regular old mini DV (nice cameras, 3 chips, but still no 24p). What I have found is that DV, while having sharper, more defined lines, is not as rich as film, either in texture or in the aforementioned grey scale. Blacks do not look as rich on DV. People don't have that same texture on their face as on film.

    Basically, I think film looks more real than video.
  15. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    > Basically, I think film looks more real than video.

    If you are basing that on what you've seen of miniDV cameras for regular users, or even "prosumers" you've got to be kidding.

    The stuff Lucas is using is way more advanced than the little miniDV handelds most people are using (including mine).
  16. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    As for MPEG2, I doubt the cameras they use utilize this scheme as it's lossy. Why the heck would they want to actually lose original data while filming.

    Now maybe they use something like that for the theater, i hope not.
  17. alent1234 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 1
    Unlike word processing, digital films shouldn't have any trouble being read in 20 years. All these incompatibilities are usually on the consumer side of things. There are still plenty of mainframes out there and they communicate with PC's just fine. SNA server is one example. And if standards do change there should be plenty of migration tools out there to rencode the film in a new format. Or the projectors will just support the old formats. It's nothing major. Just some code in the firmware.
  18. KCLundin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    The previous posts about quality degredation are correct, degredation is minimal if any. Also, the same thing applys to film. I'm sure that technology will be able to read the digital files years from now. (one poster mentioned migration tools, which can work pretty well), however, the storage of digital files is still in it's infancy. CDs may last for 200 years, but we don't know for sure since the oldest CDs are probably around 30 or so years old. The National Archive and libraries around the country are dealing with this problem right now, trying to back up old digital files from the census bureau and NASA. (Granted most of this is on exceedingly poor magnetic tape) The main problem that I have is that most digital storage mediums are based on magnetics and do degrade over time simply by existing. 500 years from now, I'll still be able to pull a book off a shelf and read it, or play a record on a turntable. 500 years from now though, if I could plug in my current computer (bear with me here and assume it will still work just fine) and stick a DVD or CD in, chances are it won't read it. Sure constantly copying a digital film from the master every five years or so would hold up well over time, but then we are left with viewing copies, something I just don't like the idea of when it comes to art. Imagine the only time you see a great painting it is a copy. Granted, very few of us will ever see the original strike print of a film, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't abandon the medium for something so transitory. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I don't really have an opinion on the quality issue of film v. digital, I just don't like to see perfectly good technologies fade away just because something new comes along.
  19. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    Sure constantly copying a digital film from the master every five years or so would hold up well over time, but then we are left with viewing copies, something I just don't like the idea of when it comes to art. Imagine the only time you see a great painting it is a copy.

    Wrong. When you copy the digital video (if not lossly compressed) you are viewing the original version PIXEL by PIXEL ! It doesn't matter how many copies you make.

    That's the whole point of going digital.

    Your analogy to great works of art is totally incompatible. Paintings are not projected, they are imprinted by color and you have the "one" original.

    A digital film is just a stream of bits. You don't lose bits when you move them from one place to the other. If that was the case, your credit card record on the bank would "wear out" LOL.
  20. alent1234 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 1
    Storage isn't much of a problem. Master copies can be stored on DVD's or on storage area networks. And offsite backups in special vaults. There are probably a few working copies and a master that is never touched. The working copies will be probably to reuse some FX. Check out http://www.emc.com and http://www.ironmountain.com to see what they offer. We have one where I work and it's a good piece of equipment. As technologies change the film will be migrated to the newer storage techs. And the price of storage is always dropping.
  21. opinion Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    Watching it on film, I wrote, "I felt like I had to lean with my eyes toward the screen in order to see what I was being shown." On digital, the images were bright and clear. Since the movie was being projected on film on another McClurg screen (both screenings were part of a charity benefit for Metropolitan Family Services), I slipped upstairs, watched a scene on film and then hurried downstairs to compare the same scene on video. The difference was dramatic: more detail, more depth, more clarity.

    ...quoted from roger ebert...

    ...has anyone else in this thread done a direct comparison?...

  22. pennywise Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2002
    star 1
    That guy Ebert - he's one lucky guy... how many outside people can actually do that?
  23. pennywise Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2002
    star 1
    Speaking about Ebert's article on digital AOTC, I wonder why he is vehemently oopposed to Lucas' effort to "digitilize" theatres. Ebert felt that Lucas is using his considerable influence just because he could do so for his own convenience.

    I find this interesting, and I wonder if he is opposed to it for artistic reasons, or if he's being an old technophobe. I wonder if he realises that both digital and film can live side-by-side with harmony??? While film has a unique picture quality, digital filmmaking is by far a MUCH cheaper method for those aspiring directors who are on a tight budget. I have a friend who has made a short film, and he swears on how digital technology has saved his ass from spending thousands of dollars.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.