Display Preparation Demo
January 9, 2016 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Cinematographer Steve Yedlin (Looper, Star Wars Ep. VIII) has created "Display Preparation Demo," comparing 35mm film and Arri Alexa digital "prepped" with custom film-look algorithms (but doesn't reveal which is which).
After filmmaker Mario Carvalhal asked for a cypher, an email exchange ensued exploring the nature of psychological bias in the film vs. digital debate. (via)
posted by starman (10 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Even before digital formats became commercially viable, film and television were subject to various formats and aesthetic theories which were ultimately variations of the phi and beta phenomena of visual perception.

Collectively, certain scan and playback rates will seem natural, or unsettling to viewers, though individually, differences wildly abound, given how bright or dark the theater/viewing area may be (in fact, many retailers exploit such effects in attempting to sell televisions and monitors of varying color reproduction and/or display rate). During the course of a person's life, any number of accidents or just the natural aging of ocular muscles can affect minute details, yet the anecdotal notions of what's "warmer" or "real" end up shouting down the ability to trick the mind in regard to what are...well, still images, albeit unfolding in succession.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:06 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Digital has often looked "off" (for lack of a better term) to me, because it's just too shiny and has an overlit look.

In this example, both are very close. I surmise the one on the right with the dual screen is the digital, because it appears to have a greater dynamic range. These are so close, that it wouldn't make a difference in a film methinks.

I've seen some films shot on Red digital that I didn't realize were that method until the credits.

There is so much post-processing and intentional tones in films these days, that I supposed it doesn't make much difference....
posted by CrowGoat at 12:48 PM on January 9, 2016

He says they're shown in a "jumbled way" which I assume means that digital isn't always on one side. I think.
posted by jonathanhughes at 12:55 PM on January 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

The email exchange is a great read about the motivations here. This dude is straight-talking some serious truth about both film and digital.
posted by dogwalker at 1:04 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

The first clip looked like the digital; the second was film.
posted by zardoz at 2:14 PM on January 9, 2016

It would be nice if he would share his algorithms with the world.
posted by sutt at 4:08 PM on January 9, 2016

I enjoyed the demo video. I love listening to people talk about their work. Now I will attempt the email exchange.
posted by not that girl at 4:26 PM on January 9, 2016

I don't really know anything about film, but I found this fascinating. There was an image in each set which appeared clearer, I guess, sharper, more defined, but not by much, and only if I were really looking. But I've no idea which is which. That's cool though, the tech he's designed, because I liked the look of both.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:13 PM on January 9, 2016

Hehehe ...

I guess I cheated. I have a great oldish monitor I watched this on (IPS, natch). But the thing is, it's connected with VGA instead of DVI/HDMI ... and thus it's basically analog, with the distinctive banding which goes with that. That banding (what you see with a colour graident, the stepping if you will) is very distinctive between the film and the digital scenes.

But the guy has proved his point: nowadays, it's a choice, not a technical limitation.
posted by MacD at 6:22 PM on January 9, 2016

I'm kind of intrigued what that looks like.. any way you could take a photo of the screen?
posted by starman at 6:25 AM on January 10, 2016

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