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Published by Thanassis Rentzis

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Published by: Thanassis Rentzis on Sep 02, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Editor: Bob Pank
Whatstarted overa decade ago with the use ofdigital effects and offline infilm has grown into the much wideruse ofdigital technology to embrace thewhole scene-to-screen process. Formany,Avid’s Film Composerwas theirfirstencounterwith any form ofdigital film,and today itis commonplace fortheoffline decision-making process. Certainly the use ofequipmentlike Kodak’sCineon,Quantel’s Domino and laterDiscreet’s Inferno have transformed thewhole use ofeffects shots in motion pictures – even to the extentofchangingthe way pictures are made. Initially,only the effects shots were putthrough thefilm-digital-film processes. Now,thanks to furtherdevelopments in manyareas such as digital storage,scanning,processing and projection,wholefeatures are handled as Digital Intermediates to produce digital masters atfullfilm resolution.As the technology gaps are plugged events are moving rapidly so thatdigitalpictures and sound can carry all the way from scene to screen. This is alreadyhappening with a numberoffeature films,including StarWars Episode 2:Attackofthe Clones,shoton digital cameras and digital all the way through toprojection in digital,as well as traditional,cinemas. Famously,George Lucassaid atNAB 2001‘I will nevermake anotherfilm… on film again.’Clearly he isconvinced ofthe benefits ofall-digital production.The digital scene-to-screen path comprises three distinctareas:capture/shooting,postproduction and distribution/projection – otherwiseknow as Digital Cinema. Any partofthis process is interchangeable withthe celluloid medium,thus a film shoot,digital postand film distribution isincreasingly common. To a degree the choice depends on budgets,the required lookand the distribution/cinema networkthatis available.
The use ofdigital technology through the ‘film’chain is democratising the ‘film’features business and changing the art. Itis already possible to digitally shooton DVand edit‘filmsforvery low budgets and,with digital projection,thesecan be shown withoutevertouching actual film. Digital projection itselfopensthe doorto new possibilities forcinema operators to show a whole new swatheofdigital material including live events. Majorfeature productions are turningto Digital Intermediates and some are using HD cameras,ratherthan film,forshooting where the benefits include the immediacy and interactivity ofshootand review,to ensure a good take.Aftera century ofcelluloid the whole business is now changing. Quite rightly,the firstattempts atapplying digital technology involved atleastequalling thequality of35mm camera negative film. However,whatcameras record and thedetail thatis seen in cinemas are two differentthings – raising the question ofwhatis film quality? Digital projection has already shown the benefits ofdigitaltechniques and the whole digital film business is moving forward.To understand the achievements ofcelluloid film and the potential ofdigitalfilm,this section includes some detail aboutthe nature ofboth and theirscene-to-screen path. As digital technology offers viable alternatives and increasingadvantages overfilm,there is a crossoverand exchange ofterminology which isbestunderstood by having some knowledge ofboth areas. Here,the emphasisis on the ‘digital intermediate’or‘digital lab’process,ratherthan acquisitionand exhibition.

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