Hollywood films still largely shot on film - I didn't know that

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ted_smith, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    I recently watched an episode of "How it's made" on one of the Sky channels and they showed the making of a Hollywod style video camera, used for making block buster films.

    I didn't know that modern films were still recorded on film...I'd assumed they'd gone digital and I'm really pleased to see that's not the case. Having thought about it some more since, and having heard in the show that the "camera exposes 120 frames for each second of the movie" I came to realise why that industry must be so critical to the likes of Fuji and Kodak. I assume it is the movie-making industry that accounts for the most use of traditional 35mm film? If 1 sec = 120 frames, that's nearly 4 rolls a second (I realise they use massive reels), or, for a 2 hour movie, 28,800 rolls!

    I went on Google to see what modern films have been noted for film use and the Lord of the Rings films are one, plus very recently, The Kings Speech (http://www.studiodaily.com/main/technique/projects/12926.html) and the next Johhny English film. No doubt there must be many others.
     
  2. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I think it's fairer to say "lots of Hollywood films are still shot on film", but more and more are digital, especially with the current 3D fad... The new "Hobbit" film is being shot digitally, for example...

    Marc!
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The frame rate is more like 20 frames per second, but it still amounts to a lot of film especially considering that much more film is shot than ends up on the screen.
    Unfortunately, I've heard that the silver prices are accelerating the move to digital for the movies.
     
  4. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    24 frames per second is the standard - although the Kinoton projector at my work has the option for 25 frames per second - great for the projectionist (gets to pack up/go home earlier), but terrible for folks with perfect pitch....

    Marc!
     
  5. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Don't forget TV. In America, the "Law & Order" series (just one example), are shot on 35mm film, then scanned to digital in post.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Member

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    AMC's "Mad Men" shot on film, too.
     
  7. DamenS

    DamenS Member

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    It's not still April Fool's Day is it ?? Peter Jackson is one of Red Cameras main supporters - virtually a schill for them (and one of the main claims to fame of digital video cameras is their "overcranking" capabilities - up to 120 fps on the cheapest Red cameras and up to 600 fps on the Phantom - this is much harder or impossible to do with film). 24 fps is the standard film frame rate. Yes, Hollywood films are sometimes still produced on film, but they are rapidly becoming scarce. Whilst Lord of the Rings may have been shot on 35mm film before being digitally scanned, the new film - The Hobbit - is using approximately 30 Red digital cameras.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    AMC's "Mad Men" was shot on film, too. Christina Hendricks just wouldn't look the same...
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    The actual shooting of scenes is not a great consumer of film. The bulk of it is used in copies for distribution.


    Steve.
     
  10. Gaga

    Gaga Member

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    Quite a few films are still shot on film, but with the rise of camera's like the RED ONE, it's becoming less frequent. Films like Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Harry potter 7 and The social network, to name a few.

    I hope that film doesn't die out. It still has advantages over digital, like you can rescan it at a higher resolution, you can't do that with digital, once you've filmed something you can't change the resolution without losing quality. Which menas the film industry will make more money in the long run with re-masted copies of the film.

    It will be inevitable that hollywood will stop using film, which is a shame. It's only really been in the last few years that digital has started it's takeover.

    The main thing I'm worried about, is if hollywood stops using film, then film will be discontinued altogether. When that happens, to everyone on apug, everyone who shoots film, we will have a huge global protest.
     
  11. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    The standard frame size for a movie shot on 35 mm film is 16x22 mm. A standard frame from a 35mm still camera is 24x 36 mm. That will cut your calculation down by a bit. It is still a lot of film, however.
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    The standard frame rate is 24 frames/second in the film industry as far as I know, but television uses 25 frame/second so it might be that TV serials are shot on 25 frames/second to ease conversion.

    Sport shooting can go at 120 frames/second or more in order to facilitate slow motion replays.

    Most film producers produce film that they don't sell to the cinema industry (Ilford to name a famous one) so at least B&" photography is industrially possible even without the film industry. Which means that even if the entire cinema industry switched to digital, we would still have B&W film.

    As far as colour film is concerned, "Rollei" and Ferrania produce colour material and they don't sell to the cinema industry as far as I know.

    Fabrizio
     
  13. Gaga

    Gaga Member

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    To ease some of the confusion with frame rates.

    24p Cinema standard, really it's 23.97 frames per second.
    25p PAL TV standard, so europe.
    30p NTSC TV Standard, so america and some other places.
     
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  15. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Anyone know what's happening in bollywood movie production on this topic?
     
  16. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    The (very vague) impression I get is that Bollywood is starting to move toward digital but is a little behind the curve relative to Hollywood. Just the other day I was reading an article about how the traditional single-screen theaters of India are being squeezed out by newer multiplexes. Presumably at some point when most of the older theaters are gone, they'll find it worthwhile to invest in digital projectors and all the rest.
     
  17. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    This is only recently true. Even just a couple years ago it was hard to get a digital cinema camera that could run at those speeds. Cue the story about Apocalypto (Mel Gibson movie) from 2006 where they couldn't get their camera to run at high enough frame rates to do convincing slow motion, so they ran them as fast as they could and then acted 'slow' on top of it.

    For quite a long time, film was king when it came to high speed. It's only very very recently that this has changed. Particularly with the Phantom cameras, which is from a company that has a background in scientific high speed cameras, if I recall correctly.

    More importantly, film is still used in Hollywood, and on TV. TV shows that are shot in film off the top of my head: 2 1/2 men, Big Bang Theory, Mad men, Burn Notice (16mm). There are plenty of others. The Hurtlocker is a recent example of a big movie shot on 16mm. I think Black Swan was 16mm too. Most of the other Hollywood movies are done on 35mm. Any thing by Christopher Nolan or Spielberg will be on film - Nolan has been using more IMAX. Obvious exceptions to the rule are usually obvious: 300, the recent Star Wars movies, other really effects heavy films. Peter Jackson and Lucas are VERY pro digital.

    If you are ever interested, go to a movie/show's IMDB page and look for the technical specs link. They usually show the camera and film stock used.

    The NFL is recorded in film too - Not the live games obviously. NFL Films films every game on multiple 16mm cameras, many at 120 fps. They shoot something like 23 miles of film every week during the season. Here's a recent story on it:

    http://www.theblackandblue.com/2011/02/06/behind-the-scenes-of-nfl-films/
     
  18. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Actually, cinema IS 24 fps. Cinema shown on TV is 23.98 fps. Most digital cameras that record at '24p' are usually doing it at 23.98 fps.

    They have it easier in Europe - it's all 25 fps - cinema and video. Though when they show Hollywood movies, they are sped up from 24 fps to 25.

    Lastly, NTSC is run at 29.97 fps. (In reality it's called 60i, and is an interlaced image at 59.94 fps - but it looks like 29.97 to our eyes.) The 'p' denotes progressive, as opposed to 'i' for interlaced. But 30p does run at 29.97 too.

    Thats what the 'i' and 'p's mean after 1080i, 1080p, 720p, etc. for HD standards.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I can vaguely recall reading something about Spielberg saying that he would never shoot a film in digital.


    Steve.
     
  20. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Does it really matter if it's exposed on digital or film? The end result is edited and then printed onto yet MORE film anyways. The majority of movies shown in theaters are running off of film projectors. Even with digital projectors becoming more normal nowadays, they still mostly run finished film in front of the light to see it on the screen.

    So IMO that film you initially shoot with is only half of the equation (or the digital cameras, etc).


    P.S. Justified on FX also shot on film. AMC's The Walking Dead also shot on film (16mm, was it? Or did they go 35mm?) and a number of others. It really does add to the picture quality most times.
     
  21. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Isn't IMAX films shot on essentially thousands of feet of 120 film?
     
  22. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Unfortunately, it's less than half the equation. 1 film, 4000 prints -> the printing side really adds up. And there is a definite shift there moving towards digital projections.
     
  23. Diapositivo

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    I've read somewhere that digital is interesting for the cinema industry for the reason that the distributor can have the cinemas to "download" the film and show it, the idea is to get rid of the physical distribution of the film. A digital video projected on screen never deteriorates, and it is easier to protect it from "leakage" before the first show. Cinema halls are more free to choose which film to show and to change their plans. Cinema networks can more easily distribute "films" among halls.

    On the other hand, small independent cinemas might be reluctant to make the investment and they wouldn't see all the advantage. So maybe digital cinema will grow up without entirely killing the projection of real film.

    My humble idea is that digital cinema will favour piracy an awful lot and if I were a film distributor I would keep things on real film at least until the DVD - Blu-Ray distribution stage.

    Fabrizio
     
  24. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    With theaters trying to maintain their relevance, I don't understand why they are going to digital. They should be advertising film and charging a premium for it, rather than the other way around. If all I'm getting when I go to the theater is a digital projection, I might as well stay at home and watch a disc.
     
  25. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    [QUOTE (and one of the main claims to fame of digital video cameras is their "overcranking" capabilities - up to 120 fps on the cheapest Red cameras and up to 600 fps on the Phantom - this is much harder or impossible to do with film).[/QUOTE]

    Not at all true. There's nothing harder or impossible about it. Just takes a different camera body.

    The vast majority of films you see in the theater are shot on film and yes it matters what you shoot on. The public doesn't realize it and probably never have. They don't know why it looks so good. I'd rather work on productions that shoot film too. It's a different mindset and the job is taken seriously. I got out of the camera department because of video, they just took the fun out of it. The way people are shooting digitally now isn't really saving much money since the lenses and support cost the same or more per week. Then the media must be recorded to film anyway for theatrical release. Film projectors require maintenance but not firmware upgrades. Obselescence isn't built in either. If it breaks, someone likely can get it going again without shipping the whole thing overseas where it was built.
    Film is sold in 400, 1000 and 2000ft lengths with 1000' being the most common and 2000' being used for multiple camera sitcoms. 1000' lasts 11minutes at 24fps. 500T is the most used stock on interiors. I don't know what it's running now but the last I checked was about $600 for a 1000' roll. blah blah blah.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2011
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I think it's 70mm film running horizontally.


    Steve.