Re: why we shoot film/contrast ratios and sensitivity

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 15:31:01 PST

I don't know how I've been dragged into this film vs
video thing, because I'm mostly agnostic, although I
prefer the look of film to video.

> We have had a whole slew of posts from people who
> say their reason for loving
> film has to do with the way it looks: the way it
> looks is dictated by its
> responsiveness to light (which is essentially
> sensitivity and dynamic range,
> because everything else can be simulated with
> postprocessing) and resolution.

Perhaps it can be simulated with processing in theory
I think it will be difficult to get things exactly
right. Obviously most film look plug-ins available now
give an effect nothing like film and the better ones
are not great.

I've seen lots of talk by people talking of trying to
emulate the look of the fisher price pxl vision
camera, which should be easy as it is video, but I've
never seen anyone come vaguely close.

and at the end of the day even a DVD telecined off
film itself looks quite different to a film print.

So yes it may be possible to do it in theory, but will
anyone be able to do it in practice, and most of all,
is there any point???! I mean you can just shoot film
if you want it to look like film.

In the distant future when everything is projected and
possibly even originated digitally, will anyone
actually care if it looks like film? Probably not I

> frankly), and others have
> mentioned simply liking the "smell" of film, etc.
> --- obviously one cannot
> argue with something like that, but it's the sort of
> nostalgia which I

I'm not sure it's nostalgia, I mean that implies a
longing for things from the past, and some people
might just like the smell of film, you know the way
some people like the smell of latex.

> personally think has more to do with habit and
> conditioning than it has to do
> with art. I mean, my father is an artist and I
> remember growing up with the
> smell of paint thinner everywhere --- so even today
> I feel nostalgic when I
> smell paint thinner --- but I recognize this is mere
> nostalgia and has very
> little to do with the substance of either my
> father's art or with much of
> anything else of enduring value to the human race.
Well probably the use of paint thinner was an
important part of your fathers art. I mean he probably
used it to thin paint and stuff, and in doing so he
probably got a different look than if he hadn't used
the thinner. Of course you are right to suggest that
the smell of the paint thinner had nothing to do with
his art, unless he liked the smell so much that he
took to inhaling it or something? ;)

> > but film *is* about the art and not the
> technology,
> > that is the thing!
> I really don't know how to respond to this: if one
> talks about the
> "experimental" part of "experimental film" then yes,
> that's about the art.
> If we're obsessing about the "film" part of it, then
> that's by definition the
> technology.

Well yes the statement was vague, but I meant that
using film is a decision that people make because they
want their work to look a certain way or have certain
properties or that may even be to do with the medium
itself, such as the way that the film is scratched or

It's like you might use video or you might use film,
the way you might use oil paints or you might use
acrylic. *shrug*

> The reason we have an aesthetic preference for film
> over, say, watching TV, is
> precisely because of these and other factors. I am

Now I'm completely thrown Going to the cinema is a
very different experience to watching tv.

> just pointing out that HD
> as a medium is getting very close to and in some
> ways surpassing already that
> of at least 16mm film formats in many of the purely
> aesthetic areas. Unless

Surely you mean it is close to film in terms of
technology not asthetically.

> you happen to have simply an aversion to all things
> digital simply because
> they are digital --- which I think is, again, a
> symptom of obsession with the
> technique rather than the art.

Not me, all my stuff tends to be digital at least
somewhere along the line! :)

> > Well yeah but you make it sounds like video is
> what is
> > available to them, when film is also available and
> > people will do things with what is available to
> them,
> > so it isn't really a problem.
> I have never said anything of the sort --- my whole
> point is that film and

I never said that you did say anything of the sort. I
was commenting on the way you made it sound.

> video and HD and so forth are all viable formats,
> and what's interesting
> about experimental film is already inspiring young
> artists to make things,
> and a lot of what they're making is video or HD, and
> I think that's perfectly
> sensible.

Yeah it's wonderful! I can't imagine many people are
doing that much in H.D. yet, but give it another year
or so.

> I mean, my father teaches art and he does still
> believe it is important to
> teach drawing and so forth --- the fundamentals,
> even though his work is
> abstract, etc. But he would never suggest that only
> one medium is valid for
> making art for him --- he has worked in many media.
> Okay, so some people on
> this list are wedded to just the one medium of film

That's what some people like to do. It's a different
process and they like the way it looks and it makes
them happy. They just might not want to do things
differently and they don't have to they can always do
something else.

> --- like I said, everyone
> makes their choices. But in the future, people will
> continue to make great
> creative and interesting work, and it might be in a
> digital format, and that
> isn't going to be a tragedy. It's already happening

No it's great and wonderful.

> and it's fine. That's
> my only point --- experimental film is not dead and
> it won't die completely
> even if the 16mm format entirely disappears.

Well I suppose that technically experimental film will
be dead, but we will still have experimental movies.

Some people won't be into them in the same way

I used to love to listen to music on vinyl discs. I
still listen to music and even make it but not the
same way as when it was on vinyl. My experience of
music has changed, and music really doesn't sound as
good as it did on those old records, and yes I did
like the smell of the records too! ;)

Things change, that's life.



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