Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

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timbutt2

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Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 12:51 am

ARTICLE: https://www.polygon.com/platform/amp/20 ... matography

This article is fantastic and should be read by all cinematographers. It really shows that the film look is in how you process digital footage. I mean, lighting and lens choice is a huge factor as well, but in the end the digital cinema camera doesn't truly matter in terms of which makes the film look. Processing the image in post.

Hopefully some of the tools that Yedlin discusses can find their way into a program like DaVinci Resolve. Maybe he can personally work with Blackmagic Design to get some of these grain, halation, and film emulation tools into a future version.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 1:44 am

Thanks Tim
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 2:06 am

Thanks for the link.
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Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 4:02 am

Couldn’t get his link to Display Prep Demo to function on my iPad. Gate weave and halation are two of the four criteria that a film look share? Might be interesting phenomena but I never enjoyed a film because it had halation or gate weave. And those are so important that dynamic range and highlight roll off don’t even get an honorable mention?

Of course if you want traditional film processing to destroy the dynamic range and highlight roll off, it’s easy enough to do with chemistry, agitation, temperature, and time. But most times you want to see dynamic range and highlight roll off. The camera makes an immense difference how the sensor manages pools of electrons than a film negative’s responses to lights at the extreme.

My knowledge is vastly inferior than Steve’s but just like Steve, I can be convinced I’ve achieved something if I put enough effort into it. Lots of good points about film and digital mixing without most people noticing.

But that’s not to say the medium doesn’t matter and you can start with digital and end up with film every time. Nowadays if we start with film (to take advantage of its difference in dynamic range and highlight fall off) it can still be given a digital intermediate and edited in an NLE.

If I was a youngster in Steve’s film school, I’d either fail the year or be kicked out before I had the chance to fail.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 4:32 am

This is not new -- Yedlin's website has featured demonstrations for a few years now, on this and related subjects, including resolution.

rick.lang wrote:Of course if you want traditional film processing to destroy the dynamic range and highlight roll off,


To what extent halation, projector weave and grain make for the "cinematic experience" is I guess an open question. But he's referring to the preferences of cinephiles, meaning in this case obsessive filmgoers old enough to have had years' exposure to projected 16mm and 35mm film, which includes most working DPs. To what extent general audiences today prefer, or would prefer, these characteristics, nobody knows.

For the rest, I wouldn't wait for Steve Yedlin plugins. He's already said he's not going to do it, for a variety of reasons. And that it's more complicated than it sounds.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 6:19 am

Halation can be simulated to a pretty good degree in Resolve and FilmConvert Nitrate has a quite satisfying grain simulation if you need that (and don't publish on YT).
But who needs gate weave? That was always a sign of a worn-out print or an aging projector.

Apart from that, I agree that any decent digital camera of today can deliver a cinematic experience if you know what you are doing in post.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 6:37 am

rick.lang wrote:But that’s not to say the medium doesn’t matter and you can start with digital and end up with film every time.
From the article
If both cameras are of sufficiently high quality, they’re actually capturing the same visual data, regardless of whether they store that data as a film negative or as ones and zeroes.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 8:53 am

Right, he's arguing that modern acquisition formats are of high enough quality that they can simulate any film stock: he's very pointedly NOT saying it is not camera related, just that it is not related to ONE camera. This is a guy who shoots on Arris, Reds, and Venices for his camera tests.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 2:31 pm

Uli Plank wrote:But who needs gate weave? That was always a sign of a worn-out print or an aging projector.


The most unsettling characteristic of digital acquisition/projection, when it first became available in cinema, was the deadly locked stability of the shots. Film, by contrast, was alive, with movement and small unforeseen disturbances, even if gate weave wasn't obvious.

I can't prove it, but I believe these small stochastic variations keep people awake and alert. The preponderance of hand-held and shoulder mount camera work in the digital realm may not be coincidental.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 4:26 pm

You may check this workflow to emulate halation provided by Matthias Tomasi
https://liftgammagain.com/forum/index.p ... ost-130178 I'll be surprised if Steve Yedlin use the same.

And DRX example shared by Dominik Belancic here https://www.dropbox.com/s/ye03gu7qnv1fy ... n.rar?dl=0

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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 9:46 pm

Awesome, thanks for the link Dmitry!
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 10:38 pm

Paul Jonathan wrote:Awesome, thanks for the link Dmitry!


Yes, thank you, Dmitry. If you continue in the thread, there are some specific suggestions for how to implement in Resolve.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 10:45 pm

Bunk Timmer wrote:
rick.lang wrote:But that’s not to say the medium doesn’t matter and you can start with digital and end up with film every time.
From the article
If both cameras are of sufficiently high quality, they’re actually capturing the same visual data, regardless of whether they store that data as a film negative or as ones and zeroes.


Bunk it’s that claim that I dispute since film and sensors don’t gather the same information even if the light and the glass etc is the same. The medium is different and behaves differently. Molecules don’t quite behave the same as a photoelectric device. If he doesn’t agree, fine for him. This is why I’ll fail his film school.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 10:56 pm

Bunk Timmer wrote:From the article
If both cameras are of sufficiently high quality, they’re actually capturing the same visual data, regardless of whether they store that data as a film negative or as ones and zeroes.


Those are the words of the author of the article, not Steve Yedlin. I don't think Yedlin has or would say that. His view, as I understand it, is that cameras of "sufficient quality" all capture *enough* data. How it's manipulated in post determines whether anyone can tell the difference. And, in his view, no one, including trained professionals, can, when the footage is approached analytically.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostFri Feb 07, 2020 11:05 pm

John, thanks for pointing that out. Apologies to Steve and Bunk.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 12:56 am

Nice read. I wonder if it's really true that experienced people still don't know about halation. It's always one of the first things I notice about film.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 8:17 am

Halation and grain used to be classed as faults but now they are held up as unique and enhancing qualities......
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 10:21 am

John Griffin wrote:Halation and grain used to be classed as faults but now they are held up as unique and enhancing qualities......


And when you remove halation, grain, gate weave, specific film color and film softness, your footage starts to look like shoot on crappy 4K cellphone :)
Another example - 60fps is technically better, but for some reason 24 fps looks more pleasant to human eye. Perfect snapshot of reality don't means better looking image.

Halation adds life to overexposed dead white digital holes. It makes feeling that some details exists in overexposed areas but we can not see them only because light shines so bright.
Halation works as makeup for skintones. Not a real halo, but tiny amount of that magic yellow-orange tint layer spreads across medium and bright skin tones and makes skin look more "healthy"
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 10:58 am

Dmitry Shijan wrote:
John Griffin wrote:Halation and grain used to be classed as faults but now they are held up as unique and enhancing qualities......


And when you remove halation, grain, gate weave, specific film color and film softness, your footage starts to look like shoot on crappy 4K cellphone :)
Another example - 60fps is technically better, but for some reason 24 fps looks more pleasant to human eye. Perfect snapshot of reality don't means better looking image.

Halation adds life to overexposed dead white digital holes. It makes feeling that some details exists in overexposed areas but we can not see them only because light shines so bright.
Halation works as makeup for skintones. Not a real halo, but tiny amount of that magic yellow-orange tint layer spreads across medium and bright skin tones and makes skin look more "healthy"

Nostalgia (mostly).
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 12:21 pm

John Griffin wrote:Nostalgia (mostly).
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 1:59 pm

John Griffin wrote:Halation and grain used to be classed as faults but now they are held up as unique and enhancing qualities......


Measuring what could be considered imperfections says nothing about works best for storytelling. There's not much dispute that "better", as in more temporal or spacial resolution, can kill dramatic illusion.

It was purely accidental, but 24fps and the photo/chemical/mechnical imperfections of film seem to be involving in some way or another, at least for audiences which grew up on it. Personal experience suggests this isn't voodoo or a placebo effect. Proving it is another matter....
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 2:23 pm

I think there is a huge dispute over the claim that more resolution can kill dramatic illusion. Even before digital why were directors like Kubrick choosing bigger film formats such as 70mm ? Frame rate discussion preceded digital so that's a different topic IMO. I'm all for someone emulating the 'look' of film for a particular reason to support a story but when it's placed on a pedestal and seen as superior due to inherent flaws I'm not convinced - and I like the look of film.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 3:04 pm

I'd argue that the appeal of 70mm isn't actually increased resolution, but that aside, if you don't think high resolution can kill dramatic illusion, try an experiment relevant to this forum: shoot a low budget 4K movie, without much in the way of production design, costumes, hair or makeup, and see how much dramatic illusion you get.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 3:22 pm

John Paines wrote:I'd argue that the appeal of 70mm isn't actually increased resolution, but that aside, if you don't think high resolution can kill dramatic illusion, try an experiment relevant to this forum: shoot a low budget 4K movie, without much in the way of production design, costumes, hair or makeup, and see how much dramatic illusion you get.

What else is there to 70mm apart from increased resolution assuming everything else is equal like depth of focus? If you want to mask poor production design you will need to use something with much less resolution that even HD - maybe 8mm?
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 4:30 pm

I guess everything looked fake in Peter Jackson's high frame rate experiment (that's temporal resolution, after all) because he didn't have much money for hair and makeup?

35mm release prints tend to resolve 700-800 lines (on a good day) in actual theaters, and often less than that. I don't know what the figure is for 70mm, but it's likely to be well below 4K. There are other characteristics which may be in play-- grain structure, optics, etc., in the same way 16mm has different aesthetic qualities from 35mm.

Even forgetting that resolution differences often go unperceived -- see Yedlin's demonstrations -- it's a pity this question is being decided by equipment manufacturers and gear enthusiasts. More is not always better. That low-budget filmmakers, or would-be filmmakers, are even more possessed of this idea than the industry itself, which is perfectly happy with 2K, is even stranger. I need 8K for the no-budget movie I'll never make or I'm gonna die!
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSat Feb 08, 2020 10:39 pm

Well said, John!
When Jackson's Hobbits ran around in HFR, I even went to our state capital to have a look at it in a large theater.
After a few minutes, I got the impression to watch a bunch of actors on a stage behind a very clean glass window. Maybe that's why one calls a cinema a theater?

And don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSun Feb 09, 2020 7:36 am

I wasn't particularly interested in the frame rate debate but.....
Is 24fps what people are used to and nothing more? I venture if you play video games or watch sport and had to do it at 24fps it will be very 'unrealistic' and will future audiences who have been used to this media be less bothered? I'm not a fan of the Lord of the rings so to me it would be equally unimpressive watching it at 24 or 48fps.
Back to the topic - my main take from the resolution question is that the important place to have the highest resolution when using digital media is in the display. HD, SD etc all look a lot better on 4k screens where you loose the perception any pixels making up the image.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostSun Feb 09, 2020 7:30 pm

I relent that HFR for narrative cinema doesn't quite work. I was a huge fan for the last decade because I saw tests that impressed me for HFR 3D. However, none were for a full feature until The Hobbit. I liked The Hobbit HFR 3D fine enough, but there were story issues with the movie. I thought we could go further with hitting 60 or 120 fps. Then I finally saw the finished product of Gemini Man instead of dailies. I still love how great HFR 3D looks, but for narrative purposes it really draws attention to wooden acting and doesn't help a bad story.

My most important takeaway from the Steve Yedlin article is that the acquisition format doesn't truly matter when you have the dynamic range and image quality good enough to match film. From there you can emulate any film well enough to cut between the two and no one can truly tell the difference. That's pivotal because it means that the film vs digital argument can end. Now we can just use the tools at our disposal to tell stories...

And that's what truly matters in the end. Story! All the talk about "Full Frame" and 8K are meaningless. Now that I have the capability to make a product that looks very cinematic then my next priority is to tell a good story. On a technical level all I need is to get great glass and make sure the lighting tools I use are right to serve the story. Story... story... story...

Story matters most.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 1:08 am

This might be a wild theory, but what about some kind of induced hypnotization?

16 fps per second are the lower limit of the illusion of motion and what the pioneers tried to achieve when hand-cranking (it was just interrupted 2 to 3 times in the projector to reduce flicker.
16 Hz, interestingly, is also the lower limit of hearing pressure waves as a sound and the limit at which we perceive a series of impulses on the skin as constant pressure.

Now, 24 fps were introduced to get a 'reasonable' quality of sound when it was still recorded as analog patterns on the edge of the film. But what if they hit a sweet spot with that? It's known that you can induce certain brain wave patterns by external pulses of light. What if this kind of 'hypnotization' helps with the suspension of disbelief? Of course, you wouldn't like to be kind of seduced when playing a war game, so that is not the question here. I think this might need some serious research.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 2:02 am

Impossible to know here where science ends and pseudo-science picks up the slack, but there have been numerous studies in the past linking TV-watching to alpha wave production. And since digital is "projected TV", it wouldn't be surprising if the same thing is observed in theaters (and certainly at home, with streaming).

Projected film, by contrast, is associated with beta wave production. In effect, TV is putting to people asleep (with observed physiological changes, as well, which is bad news for children), and film is, at least comparatively, stimulating them.

How good this science is, I have no idea. Here's Quentin Tarantino, with no science at all, on the subject: "As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the death of cinema.... The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema.”
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 7:40 am

Uli Plank wrote:This might be a wild theory, but what about some kind of induced hypnotization?

16 fps per second are the lower limit of the illusion of motion and what the pioneers tried to achieve when hand-cranking (it was just interrupted 2 to 3 times in the projector to reduce flicker.
16 Hz, interestingly, is also the lower limit of hearing pressure waves as a sound and the limit at which we perceive a series of impulses on the skin as constant pressure.

Now, 24 fps were introduced to get a 'reasonable' quality of sound when it was still recorded as analog patterns on the edge of the film. But what if they hit a sweet spot with that? It's known that you can induce certain brain wave patterns by external pulses of light. What if this kind of 'hypnotization' helps with the suspension of disbelief? Of course, you wouldn't like to be kind of seduced when playing a war game, so that is not the question here. I think this might need some serious research.


I've read - I think it was a study on this topic - that in a cinema because of the dark room and the projection our eyes capabilities are sitting just between daylight and night vision and the 24fps motion helps to conceal our ability to grasp all the details we would normally see like facial micro expressions, textures and objects moving. So this helps to sell set design and acting not only as real, but larger than life.

Through higher frame rates we see the film more and more like we would see the reality and this makes our mind recognize the acting as fake, the set design as fake (like when textures have been painted only, or wooden set walls), and stunts as fake.

While HFR helps with games and AR, it seems not to support a movie which is passively consumed.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 8:00 am

For the life of me I can't see how low frame rates can cover up bad acting or vice versa. I fear there may be an idea with aspiring film makers that if they get the 'look' of the film right (or make it look like it was shot on film or cinematic or anamorphic etc) then the other aspects of the film that are not so good will be overlooked when all evidence from the history of film making would suggest quite the opposite.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 1:29 pm

John Griffin wrote:For the life of me I can't see how low frame rates can cover up bad acting or vice versa. I fear there may be an idea with aspiring film makers that if they get the 'look' of the film right (or make it look like it was shot on film or cinematic or anamorphic etc) then the other aspects of the film that are not so good will be overlooked when all evidence from the history of film making would suggest quite the opposite.


I never said it will cover up bad acting...
What I said was that higher frame rates change the way we see a movie and this leads to the impression of "fakeness".
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 1:59 pm

John Griffin wrote:For the life of me I can't see how low frame rates can cover up bad acting or vice versa..


A common trick, though unpracticed in American low budget cinema, is shooting wide, really wide, so that the defects of performances are less obvious. You can find this in the early work of some renowned Asian directors.

For bad and middling performances, high resolution and high frame rates are a disaster. Look at daytime 29.97fps soaps, if you don't believe me.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 2:34 pm

John Paines wrote:
John Griffin wrote:For the life of me I can't see how low frame rates can cover up bad acting or vice versa..


A common trick, though unpracticed in American low budget cinema, is shooting wide, really wide, so that the defects of performances are less obvious. You can find this in the early work of some renowned Asian directors.

For bad and middling performances, high resolution and high frame rates are a disaster. Look at daytime 29.97fps soaps, if you don't believe me.

So they would be improved by shooting them at 24fps?
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 2:42 pm

I'd use the word "mitigated", not "improved." When the acting is marginal, the difference between 24 an 30 fps is enormous. Reduce the resolution, and you'll do even better. Pure murk is the best thing when no one can act.

And it's not as if we have no history here to refer to. No-budget 16mm feature films, which would be insufferable at unforgiving high resolutions, made for careers in the 1990s. Try it today at 4K and 60fps, with digital projection, and see what happens.
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Re: Steve Yedlin Film Look Isn't Camera Related

PostMon Feb 10, 2020 4:34 pm

Very interesting. Narrative ‘film’ calls into question not only the number of Ks but also the codecs and the lenses and the filters deployed before the photons reach the sensors.

You have a lot of control in post, but they say getting it right in the camera will look the best. Think real flare versus flare effect. The flare effect can be well-controlled to suit the shot precisely but there’s magic in getting the real flare just right.

Filters in front of the lens for visual effects is one area in which I have not invested. Always been afraid of ruining the recorded image with the wrong filter whereas in post there’s no harm done playing with different options. But I know I could do better.
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