Author Topic: Film Grain  (Read 2178 times)

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2020, 03:07:00 PM »
Yes I've rooted my phone and it's amazing the difference between different camera apps.

The pixel ones do a good job of making it look amazing (and have things like night light which can take photos in next to no light), but are a bit too buggy to be relied upon (on my phone, which seems to have a camera that crashes a lot of apps).

Although I think the google ones use machine learning to tart up the pictures, to the point that what you're seeing is what it thinks you want to see.

Although I guess all digital photography is that to varying extents, and you could argue the same about automatic exposure, focus etc to lesser extents.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #61 on: August 17, 2020, 03:53:18 PM »
At the end of the day theres only so good files from a certain sensor size can be, only so much light hitting the sensor for info, even the largest sensors in mobiles are 1/10th the size of 35mm and most a lot smaller than that.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #62 on: August 17, 2020, 04:02:21 PM »
I don't think they're trying to replace professional/prosumer still or video cameras. They have done an excellent job of rendering consumer cameras and video cameras redundant though, and in some ways look much better than SD video kit from not that long ago.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • You wanna plack the rick, you ha.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #63 on: August 17, 2020, 04:22:34 PM »
Yes I've rooted my phone and it's amazing the difference between different camera apps.

The pixel ones do a good job of making it look amazing (and have things like night light which can take photos in next to no light), but are a bit too buggy to be relied upon (on my phone, which seems to have a camera that crashes a lot of apps).

Although I think the google ones use machine learning to tart up the pictures, to the point that what you're seeing is what it thinks you want to see.

Although I guess all digital photography is that to varying extents, and you could argue the same about automatic exposure, focus etc to lesser extents.

Film photography is the same in that there’s no neutral way to take a picture, and even films which profess to produce true colours will only do so under certain lighting conditions, and will have less dynamic range than a human eye.

Any form of photography will have decisions made about exposure both when the shutter is fired and in the development process (both of those things being done by the same person if they shoot room or have their own dark room), but certain things are outside of the photographer’s hands. In the film world that’s due to the chemists who designed the films available for sale, and in digital it’s the sensor design in terms of how the tone curve acts (historically linear for digital, but I think newer tech behaves differently), any anti-aliasing/UV/IR filters, any noise reduction done in hardware, etc.

A recurring annoyance I have with my partner is if I overcook the exposure or saturation or colour on a snap she’ll ask me to make it more “natural”, without saying which variable she is most offended by. I’ve tried to point out that in her business of directing for stage and telly it’d be like me just telling her to make it more natural, without saying whether I meant shorter cuts or less vivid lights or something.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #64 on: August 17, 2020, 04:36:22 PM »
Yes, and there are quite accurate lightroom (or darktable) presets for various common film stocks now.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • You wanna plack the rick, you ha.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #65 on: August 17, 2020, 05:16:46 PM »
I was quite surprised when VSCO became known as a social network for kids, because I’ve been using their film sims for yonks.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2020, 10:03:01 AM »
Question for buzby/one of the photography and camera experts:

I've often said that one of the drawbacks of HD and (even moreso) 4K is that they really show up the "join" in special effects - wires, where makeup prosthetics meet an actor's skin and the like.  Just as an example, I was watching Friday the 13th 7 (the one with the girl with telekenetic powers) the other night, and the bit towards the end where Jason's mask has come off you can easily see the black bodysuit underneath the prosthetic appliances (particularly noticeable when Jason adjusts his broken jaw).  Another example being the diver underneath the dinghy at the end of Papillon - he's always been there (not helped by the rather bizarre choice of a bright yellow air tank), but even more obviously so in HD.  And there are a lot of other instances where it stands out even if you're not really looking for it.

My question is - would that sort of thing have been that obvious when these films were first released in the cinemas?

I'm of an age where CGI was already being utilised to do things like wire removal, smoothing over of rough edges etc, by the time I knew the technical aspects of how films are made, so any pre-CGI films I would have only seen at the cinema when I was too young to notice (or care), or as a retrospective showing (typically with an old faded negative that had already been round the block a few times).

How good was the quality of, say, Jason 7 when it was first released in cinemas?

Is this more noticeable in HD/4K because of the differences in contrast between cinema and current TV technology?

Or is it that everyone was just too swept up in the moment to notice?

Glebe

  • But when Bruce Wayne goes it's all gonna collapse.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #67 on: August 20, 2020, 01:43:34 PM »
When I know grain has been added for effect it usually really irritates me. It just looks so fake. I could be watching an art film in an unusual screen ratio in black and white and it's still the fake grain fizzing away that will annoy me.

I read before that David Fincher added some fake grain to Zodiac for the Director's Cut, I think. Specifically the scene where Dave Toschi is suddenly woken by in the middle of the night by the phone.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #68 on: August 20, 2020, 07:20:43 PM »
My question is - would that sort of thing have been that obvious when these films were first released in the cinemas?

Going to see things on big screens as a kid in the late seventies I remember things like wires or sharp optical effect borders being occasionally noticeable but just accepting that that was how it was. The move to multiplexes and smaller screens probably stopped those standing out so much, which was a good thing for all the cheap Cannon productions of the eighties and their minimal effects budgets.

Modern digital transfers are done from the best copy possible - camera negatives or first-generation masters preferably - scanned one frame at a time and often with some level of digital sharpening, which can make effects more noticeable without additional work. A typical 35mm print in a cinema would be more generations away (fourth?) which would soften things considerably. Back in the days when UK releases lagged the US by some months our cinemas also often got prints that had already been round the US circuits and were not exactly pristine by that point.

buzby

  • Member
  • **
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #69 on: August 21, 2020, 10:10:45 AM »
Going to see things on big screens as a kid in the late seventies I remember things like wires or sharp optical effect borders being occasionally noticeable but just accepting that that was how it was. The move to multiplexes and smaller screens probably stopped those standing out so much, which was a good thing for all the cheap Cannon productions of the eighties and their minimal effects budgets.
Pretty much. Friday the 13th Part 7 was also not exactly a high budget production ($2.8m) and was directed by the head of the effects shop (John Carl Buechler, of Mechanical and Makeup Imageries) after Paramount's producer Barbara Sachs' lofty ambitions to make a Vorhees/Krueger crossover and then an Oscar-worthy slasher film with a high-profile arthouse director like Fellini fell through.
https://www.gq.com/story/friday-the-13th-vii
The failed negotiations with New Line over Freddy, talks with potential directors and subsequent script rewrites took up most of 1987 and meant that Buechler was only hired in November, leaving 5 months for casting, preproduction, shooting, editing and scoring to meet it's May 1988 release date. I would suggest that having to both direct and supervise the effects on his first big studio picture and being under those time pressures probably led to Buechler adopting an 'It'll do' attitude towards any mistakes or goofs during shooting.
Quote
Modern digital transfers are done from the best copy possible - camera negatives or first-generation masters preferably - scanned one frame at a time and often with some level of digital sharpening, which can make effects more noticeable without additional work. A typical 35mm print in a cinema would be more generations away (fourth?) which would soften things considerably. Back in the days when UK releases lagged the US by some months our cinemas also often got prints that had already been round the US circuits and were not exactly pristine by that point.
The normal print process is to strike an interpositive from the final edited camera negative, strike a number of internegatives from the interpositive and then strike release prints off the internegatives. The release prints are usually 3 generations away from the camera negative. As the internegatives wore out during the print-striking process new ones would be produced from the interpositive.

You also had showprints or EKs (named after the Eastman-Kodak print film used to produce them), usually used for special screenings like premieres and Academy screenings, which like an interpositive would be struck directly from the edited camera negative using a higher-grade film stock than a normal release print. Typically 5 of these would be produced - one each for Academy screenings in LA and NY, two for the producer and one archive copy for the distributor.

When it comes to producing archival digital transfers, the preference order is usually camera negative>interpositive>EK>release print

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #70 on: August 21, 2020, 10:43:16 AM »
Mubi used to have some good stuff done by byNWR involving films that had been rescued (including some that were found in an abandoned film lab). It's quite good as they often have a preface saying where it was all sourced from ("some parts of the internegative were too mouldy to scan so we used the release print here").

I watched the director's cut of the German film Die Sieger (The Innocents) recently and the additional scenes had been added from the director's video archives so they were all washed out and cropped.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #71 on: August 21, 2020, 11:02:27 AM »
One thing I meant to ask was are the massively flammable nitrate prints actually much different to modern prints? I lurk around some noir accounts on twitter and there's definitely some who think the originals provide more contrast or something, and there's occasionally fanfare about a nitrate screening.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #72 on: August 21, 2020, 11:55:22 AM »
I'v certainly seemed it claimed they had better contrast than what followed although how that would compare with prints several decades latter I don't know.

You did have the bleach bypass crazy around the turn of the millennium, that high contrast look Spielberg/Scott often used(or most extremely Pitch Black) which was basically leaving the silver nitrate in colour prints so you effectively have a black and white image over the top of a colour image.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #73 on: August 21, 2020, 12:24:25 PM »
As ever, thanks for the response and info buzby.  It didn't help that I'd not actually seen Jason 7 before, despite thinking I had (I mean they do all blend into one don't they!), so I didn't have any previous viewing of it to compare.


You did have the bleach bypass crazy around the turn of the millennium, that high contrast look Spielberg/Scott often used(or most extremely Pitch Black) which was basically leaving the silver nitrate in colour prints so you effectively have a black and white image over the top of a colour image.

David Fincher kick-started all that with the initial prints of Seven didn't he?

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #74 on: August 21, 2020, 12:30:15 PM »
From what I've read, nitrate stock has slightly improved transparency over acetate but what primarily affects the contrast is the emulsion, which can be used on acetate stock too. However, because it uses silver the studios universally went for the cheaper emulsion after the invention of safety film.

This is a good read on nitrate stock: https://hyperallergic.com/343828/the-unlikely-story-of-how-nitrate-film-endures/. Mentions that some studios burned their nitrate archives so they could reclaim the silver.

Acetate film is turning out to be not such a good long-term archive option as previously thought either: https://theconversation.com/historical-films-may-be-decaying-much-faster-than-we-thought-thanks-to-vinegar-syndrome-131712.

NoSleep

  • This is your Uncle Jim speaking
    • Space Is The Place
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #75 on: August 21, 2020, 01:07:04 PM »
That will whet touchingcloth's appetite.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • You wanna plack the rick, you ha.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #76 on: August 21, 2020, 06:18:29 PM »
I have the syndrome, but I haven’t been doing anything that would make the film stocks degrade, and anyone who tells you they saw me doing otherwise is a liar.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

  • National program director of the chum group
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #77 on: August 21, 2020, 06:32:07 PM »
You want to be careful you don't get vinegar strokes.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • You wanna plack the rick, you ha.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #78 on: August 21, 2020, 06:58:02 PM »
You want to be careful you don't get vinegar strokes.

I haven't tried these. Are they any good? Where would be a good place to find them/

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #79 on: August 21, 2020, 07:03:21 PM »
I hear you can get some just before Billy Mill Roundabout.

touchingcloth

  • Member
  • **
  • You wanna plack the rick, you ha.
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #80 on: August 22, 2020, 03:54:07 AM »
On distracting artefacts and visible effects wires, lots of tellies have digital sharpening effects, and from my experience with editing photos makes me realise that over aggressive sharpening can make strands of hair and eyelashes look distractingly prominent.

Also a home telly could have an apparent resolution higher than a cinema showing, depending on the cinema’s screen size and screen material and quality of projection equipment and age of film reel. Dark tones can also be richer on a backlit tv versus a projected film and I find the projection light in a cinema can make things appear more washed out depending on where you’re sat in the screen.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #81 on: August 22, 2020, 06:57:16 AM »
The Predator example given earlier in the thread is actually as much down to overuse of sharpening(on the disk rather than the TV) which was very common in the early days of bluray. A lot of the time films were being released from masters created for DVD I believe, they were scanned at HD as down sampling has a positive effect on DVD quality but it wasn't especially good HD. A combination of DNR and sharpening was used to try and create the impression of higher resolution.

Whilst UHD does offer potentially the best quality it is also the case that the quality of the masters being used is improving, better 4K scans, better processing of them that you will see a benefit of in HD as well.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #82 on: August 22, 2020, 08:25:26 AM »
It seems like UHD take up hasn't been quite high enough to push a lot of houses into releasing stuff on it sadly, it's a shame the likes of Arrow or Criterion etc can't seem to make it viable.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #83 on: August 22, 2020, 08:29:16 AM »
On distracting artefacts and visible effects wires, lots of tellies have digital sharpening effects, and from my experience with editing photos makes me realise that over aggressive sharpening can make strands of hair and eyelashes look distractingly prominent.

Yep I worked in a place that made a vod app and had a wall of tellies for the QA lot to test things on, most of them were left on their default settings and were all mangling the picture in their own unique way. Nearly all of them haloed text to fuck when the apps or test screens as well.

The worst were the ones that interpolated frames to up the frame-rate though.

My advice is to go to avforums and get the calibration settings and put it in game mode to turn all that shit off.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #84 on: August 22, 2020, 08:51:59 AM »
It seems like UHD take up hasn't been quite high enough to push a lot of houses into releasing stuff on it sadly, it's a shame the likes of Arrow or Criterion etc can't seem to make it viable.

Arrow are actually just starting off UHD, just released Pitch Black and will release Cinema Paradiso in a couple of months. Studio Canal have essentially become a label along those lines as well and have been putting out a lot of the best UHD's so far, Apoc Now, Angel Heart, The Deer Hunter, The Elephant Man, Don't Look Now, etc

I'm guessing longer term the cinemphile market is probably were UHD disks could get a lot of their support.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #85 on: August 22, 2020, 08:56:22 AM »
Yeah, i've not yet bothered with it because there's till not quite enough stuff I still want to see although you say that's getting better, it certainly did feel like the same re-releases they trot out every time there's a new medium.

It's a shame when things seem to miss it, Until the End of the World got rescanned recently but only came out in HD (and region A ffs) as far as I can tell, the last release being on 3 dvd's. That would've been a great 4k release I reckon.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #86 on: August 22, 2020, 11:17:46 AM »
Whilst UHD does offer potentially the best quality it is also the case that the quality of the masters being used is improving, better 4K scans, better processing of them that you will see a benefit of in HD as well.

Quite so - there are standard blu-rays which are better than their UHD equivalents because they've used better masters or had better compression etc.


Arrow are actually just starting off UHD, just released Pitch Black and will release Cinema Paradiso in a couple of months.

Flash Gordon too.


It's a shame when things seem to miss it, Until the End of the World got rescanned recently but only came out in HD (and region A ffs) as far as I can tell, the last release being on 3 dvd's. That would've been a great 4k release I reckon.

Get yourself a multi-region UHD player - they're not that expensive now.  As for Until the End of the World - Criterion are holding off 4K.  Despite hinting several years ago that their 1000th release would be UHD, there's still no sign (they're now on 1041).  Seems crazy to me given that several smaller boutique labels have already dived in.

Re: Film Grain
« Reply #87 on: August 22, 2020, 11:24:52 AM »
If you have the TV for it then a decent player isn't that expensive, the low end Panasonic I picked up does all the various formats for £150. More a question of picking up certain things in UHD that switching over wholesale, a lot of the "standards" do definitely benefit a lot from the format.

Speaking of Wenders I would recommend the German Arthuas release of Paris, Texas, only on BR but it looks significantly better than the old Axiom/Criterion BR, about as close as HD gets to looking like UHD.

UHD is region free, BR's that come with them might be region locked but the main disk won't be.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #88 on: August 22, 2020, 11:29:37 AM »
Speaking of Wenders I would recommend the German Arthuas release of Paris, Texas

Ditto their UHD release of Angel Heart, but more because it's uncut.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Film Grain
« Reply #89 on: August 22, 2020, 11:32:36 AM »
Get yourself a multi-region UHD player - they're not that expensive now.  As for Until the End of the World - Criterion are holding off 4K.  Despite hinting several years ago that their 1000th release would be UHD, there's still no sign (they're now on 1041).  Seems crazy to me given that several smaller boutique labels have already dived in.

Can they output HD too? My telly's HD but it makes sense to get one for future-proofing even if I don't upgrade my telly yet.

Tags: