i enjoyed reading your write-up about the ins and outs of the industory. and
what you said about the person feeling ussless, right on. and the one about
the sound guy being over-the-top, i know one of those. yeesh! the truth is,
and you mentioned it, is , everyone wants to direct. even at collage, there
were fights over who was going to direct the film. me i stuck to
clapperboard, oooo. and your fav, continuity. of course i made a bummer when
it came to the editing, it was my first time okay! and celluloid is
different to working with the betercam stuff. that's all the chit chat stuff
out of the way - shew!

one tip to those out there who want to go into film' stick to your
possition. you will not only piss, say, the pa that you send off to do your
job, but the director too.  - okay that can be put in, nothing else man.

now a question, if i can. i was talking with my friend, the kooky sound guy,
and we were talking about the digital thing. now how does one take digital
footage and transfer it to celluloid. it sounds stupid huh! but, after so
many years of floating around this glorious industory, it catches up on you.
know what i meen? it used to be the conventional, and now WHAM - in your
face stuff. so for little people like myself, the starting out will have to
be dvcam. cool, it works with the script, but the workings of the material?
yeah right!

just wonderd if you knew anything on the background of digital, sounds like
your the guy.


Hi Alex,
So it goes like this.  After grading your masterpiece on Digital the output is "scanned" back to film - like telecine in reverse.  This is obviously quite an expensive process: it can be scanned to either 16mm or 35mm, but of course 16mm now has quite limited use in terms of projection.
The one hiccup which the digi guys may not want to tell you, is that quite often the material needs a "re-grade" once on film, as unfortunately the match between what looks good on the monitor and what looks good on the screen is still not very good.
Oliver S.

I was wondering about the loss of quality and trouble matching everything to
the master print when film has to be converted to digital for post
production and then printed back onto film. Is it so problematic that you
still will avoid digital effects, or are you comfortable with it at this


I am yet to participate in this process for a whole film: but the experiences of many cameramen I have spoken to are not very positive.  The price you pay for the extra control over the colour and contrast of the image seems to be:
Overall loss of resolution - more noticeable in wide landscape shots than in close-ups.
A very lengthy (unpaid!) timing process, made even more lengthy by the the fact it has to be repeated at the film stage.
To some eyes - a loss in “film” look.

Every film I have shot for last few years has between one and one hundred digital shots which haven’t proved to be a problem.

I am in the process of completing a no budget DV feature and when the
time comes to shop around for festivals, I was thinking of transferring
from the MiniDV format to High Def. What would the cost of something
like that be? And more importantly, could you explain what happens to
the image when transfered to High Def? Such as would it magnify
electronic grain, can the aspect ratio be altered or preserved, or any
possible problems or advice I should know about this scenario.


I think you might mean Beta rather than Hi-Def.  Hi-Def is not a format that can be played back at the kind of venue you are after.  Just to confuse the picture, there are also several different kinds of Hi-Def.  I would recommend you call the particular festival you are considering and ask them what formats they find acceptable for consideration.  Any kind of transfer to another format is always going to degrade the work, even if it is digital.  This “loss” would not be detectable on most normal viewing situations.  As to cost, you would be getting involved with $200+ per hour places that specialise in this kind of work.  Aspect ratios can be easily altered and recomposing shots is easy, bearing in mind that anything more than a 10% increase in picture size will cause loss of resolution.  You can budget this by calling  a post production house and explaining what you want and how long you think it will take.

I've come to the conclusion that lighting is the greatest special effect. Now I am seeing huge image manipulation in post production of local tonal qualities (Lord of The Rings is an excellent example) -- local dodging, color enhancing, etc. -- using...well what, is it an Avid based system, or something else? The reason I am asking, is that I have been printing color for 30 years, and using Shop for 3 years in a pro color lab in San Francisco, and will soon come into an inheritance. Instead of sitting on my ass and moving to Healdsburg, I would like to invest in study of these techniques for later employment. That would include purchasing my own system. I know I have the eye and the patience...remaining brain cells may be a question. Any info would be great. ??--Andre

This is not really my field, but I would suggest keeping your inheritance for wiser investments than purchasing systems that go out of date with a year. Several high-end companies have folded in the last few months because of the equipment costs being so savage. Learning to use the gear that belongs to a company seems like an excellent idea. I think the color timers of the future will be mostly freelance, moving between the film lab and the electronic lab and having a small pool of DP's that they work with. "Digital Intermediate" is hovering around the 15% mark at the moment, and will certainly rise as costs go down.

What is the technique called with which everything is filmed in black & white, beside red which is normal? And how is this filmed (is it digitally made or is there any filter...)???--Simon

There is no filter that will make everything B&W and leave one colour. So it is done digitally these days, although it was possible to do the same thing optically before computers came along. Computers can quite easily be told to turn everything b&w except red, and then the area of red isolated manually where you want it.

Is the shift toward digital post-production and color grading affecting the color of lights on hollywood sets? Are more directors going for a more neutral look during shooting, to give them more room to experiment with color and exposure afterward?

I don't really know the answer to this, but it is a typical rumor that mostly comes from producers. "Just shoot it, we'll fix it later". It's depressing really, but fortunately those in post who know a thing or two, realize that the "look" is still created on the set and Post is there to enhance, contribute and help the original ideas. In the world of "fix it later", there are no original ideas and it is unlikely that anything interesting will happen in the "fix it later" stage as the same misguided, lazy and uncreative individuals will be in the Post Suite who were on the set in the first place.

This kind of mentality has lead some scientists to storing the genes of various animals so that after we have ruined this planet, they can use them on "the new one"(!). It seems the more that as more and more information becomes available, there are less and less people capable of making a decision. "Fix it later" is not a philosophy than makes any sense in any walk of life. "DO IT NOW!" as my Grandad used to say.

Animation Techniques
Bleach By-Pass
Blue Screen/Back Projection
Books to Read
Budget Considerations
Car Photography
Cider House Rules
Clubs etc
Digital - Scanning
Director/DP Relationship
Dp's - where to get them
Exposure Techniques
Exterior Shooting
Film versus Digi
Filming Monitors
Frame Rates and Digi
Framing Techniques

Future Outlook
Jobs in the Industry
Learning Film Technique
Lighting Issues
Multiple Cameras
Panic Room
Picture Quality
Pre-Production Testing
Production Designers
Slow Motion
Special Shot Techniques
Student / Career
Super 35 versus Anamorphic
The ;Look;
Timing/Grading Issues
Women's Issues