With a large turnout of nearly 200 people, I was really surprised that so many people wouldn’t have something better to do on a beautiful Melbourne Saturday afternoon.
But turn out they did ! We started with a quick introduction from Ross at Deluxe. Writer / Director of the test Kate Dennis explained her rationale and thinking behind wanting to explore this mode of shooting.
Then it was me. I wanted to explain the context and thinking from my perspective on these tests. Tests are kind of meaningless to everyone but those that are actually doing them in a way. I was hoping to really see what the latest digital cameras can do in a truly difficult lighting situation….available light at night.
Then I wondered about how film would fare in the same difficult lighting circumstances as well.
I’d seen the 35mm print down at deluxe, but their tiny cinema was dwarfed by Cinema 2 at ACMI. It only occurred to me as I was sitting down that I’d be seeing it and the DCP version for the first time with everyone else !
There was a really terrific q&a afterwards with both myself and Kate, but also editor Ben Joss, colorist Stanly Lopusanzki and Ross Mtichel from Deluxe.
Only 3 people were brave enough to say that they correctly picked all 6 formats.
From my rough estimation of the number of hands raised as to the audience award, the 35mm was the marginal favorite, followed almost equally by the Alexa and the RED MX.
It was really interesting to compare the DCP and the 35mm print as well. I wasn’t expecting to like the DCP as much as I did. It was also much more clear which material was film originated and which were digital.
I did also really like having the grain of the 35mm on the DCP. I think there’s a danger of having too clean an image once you combine digital projection with digital acquisition.
All in all, i felt like there really wasn’t much difference between the Alexa, the RED MX and the 35mm.
The film material seemed to have the most lively and naturalistic colour. The Alexa had the most to offer in terms of reach into the shadows while the RED seemed to have the most resolution. All three of those were my equal favorites without taking story and budget limitations into account.
Afterwards there was some great discussion round the ACMI bar about the virtues of each one. It was wonderful to see so much discussion, and it went on till after 6.
I’d love to hear from you if you went along. Please leave your feedback. It would be great to hear what you liked and didn’t like, and especially, how many you were able to pick !