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High Definition Cinematography (3rd edition)


Author: Paul Wheeler

Publisher: Focal Press


Publish Date: April 20, 2009

ISBN-10: 240521617

Pages: 320

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

High Defi nition (HD) cinematography is a relatively new acquisition format which, I believe, is set to revolutionize much of the theatrical fi lm world and, perhaps, even more, of television. It has been around now for little more than 8 years compared with film, which has been with us for considerably more than 100 years. In some areas it can compare; in some others, currently, it struggles to achieve any kind of dominance. Film, with its utterly superb image capture capabilities, is surely an anachronism in a television environment and with more and more digital effects appearing in feature fi lms it is inevitable that, on occasion, there will be advantages in originating in the same image format as that which is to be used for the post-production.

HD picture quality can arguably be every bit as good as 35 mm fi lm in some ways, as I hope to prove in this book, yet the pre-cutting room costs will hopefully be lower than shooting 16 mm fi lm. Make no mistake about it, the drive to HD is fiscal, so let us Cinematographers be thankful that the picture quality, the range of cameras and lenses, and their ease of use is nearly always to our advantage. It’s not just the saving in fi lm stock and processing that is driving this engine. There is a huge value, especially to the distributors of feature films, to deliver the product to the screen without the cost of making and shipping release prints. Fortunately for Cinematographers there has been a contemporaneous advance in digital projection equipment and it is now possible to be very proud indeed of one’s work even if it has never left the digital domain.

I am a great believer that people from a visual world gain as much information from pictures as they might from words. Therefore I often produce the illustrations fi rst and then write the text to them; in this book there are some 165 illustrations. A top-of-the-range HD camera with the fi nest lenses and recording either in the HDCAM format or one of the recently available equal or superior formats is now my camera of choice – nearly always, not bad for a man whose grandfather joined the British Film Industry only 2 years after the Lumi è re brothers showed the fi rst on-fi lm moving picture in Regent Street, London. Grandfather was late by the way – his brother had joined 6 months earlier!

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