Friday, November 10, 2006

David Stump, ASC and RED

There is a battle going on over whether film is still superior to digital acquisition. Well, in all honestly film is actually a lot better than today's most sophisticated digital cinema cameras. It's still better than the Viper Filmstream camera (Collateral, Miami Vice, Zodiac), still better than the Panavision Genesis (Fly Boys, Superman Returns, Click), still better than the ARRI D20 (some major commercial spots). How much better? That's a subjective judgment. Some say film still has more stops of latitude (12-15 stops as opposed to 9). Some say film still has much better resolution and color fidelity (4K versus 1080p).

But all that could change in a few months. The brilliant folks in Irvine, CA have been building the ultimate digital cinema camera, the RED ONE. We've mentioned it before. It's a 4.5K (like film) camera using a S35mm chip (like the Genesis) that records RAW (like todays D-SLR still cameras and the Viper). Team RED has displayed 4K footage to select audiences in Amsterdam, Warner Bros. and reservation holders at the DuArt Theater in LA. And everyone's been astonished with the quality of the footage. Peter Jackson and James Cameron are also reservation holders.

But it's when you get a quote like this, from David Stump, a member of the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) and also the chair of the Digital Camera subcommittee for the ASC, who is well regarded as a technical authority on all things film and digital:

"The RED Mysterium sensor has finally pushed digital acquisition past the timeless 35mm film barrier in resolution and clean color fidelity."

That's major.


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