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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Unfinished Thoughts on Film Vs. Digital **UPDATE**

Okay, you know what? I really need to stop with the video-extensive posts - they're really making Scarblog laggy and sluggish. But, the videos are necessary for this write-up, weighing in on a longtime debate among filmmakers and producers: film vs. digital.

Now, granted, I really have no authority to even really weigh in on this subject myself, as I have never actually had the experience of working with motion picture film at all; the only physical media I've ever worked with in the past was videotape. So, I really can't speak from any kind of experience this time around, and my opinions on the matter are strictly and purely observation, so I really can't be taken to task for something I'm not an expert on.

Still, this has become a really interesting debate. Living now in this digital age, advances in technology sure have made things a lot easier for all of us, haven't they? As far as movie making goes, digital has certainly made the whole production process a breeze: imagine, just shoot something with a fancy-dancy camera, import your footage into a computer, do all of your editing and other little post-production technicals with software, export your final product, and boom, you're done! Isn't that just wonderful! Yeah! Well. . . . Sure, that sounds like an ideal production process, but, could this be too good of a thing? After all, filmmaking is certainly an artform unto it's own, but is it possible that these advances in technology may actually be causing the art to suffer? Is something being lost in the switch from physical, 35mm film to digital media?

I think Quentin Tarantino (tidbit trivia: he's from my hometown) can perhaps sum this all up better than I can as he mentions his preference of film in this interview:

As I mentioned above, I really am no authority or expert on this subject as I've never actually worked with 35mm film (or physical analog film in general), but as I said, even I can make observations of my own, and I have to say, even I can certain tell a difference. Sure, the right kind of digital media certainly can give you a wonderful picture with a lot of sharpness and detail - particularly HD - but there's something that digital can't seem to capture as well as film could: tone. Rather than go into a lot of technical mumble-jumble you don't want to read anyway, here's another video I found that notes the comparisons between actual motion picture film and digital very well:

Even with a treatment to make digital look like film, there's still an obvious difference that you can see. Film seems to capture a certain kind of color and contrast better than digital can capture - even if you try to fix it in post. After I left videotape behind and went to digital, my first stint with digital was standard definition (SD), but since I was using an inexpensive commercial digital camera (and I only had Movie Maker to work with for editing), the results were always middling: muted colors (blues and pinks in particular) were always a headache, but everything had to be lit just right because of the camera's poor exposure. Too little light resulted in a dark, fuzzy, out of focus picture; too much light resulted in a washed-out picture reminiscent of nuclear winter.
Too little or too much lighting can make for some rather unsatisfactory results for your overall shot.

That all changed when I got Adobe Premiere and an HD camera. Since my HD camera has the ability to adjust its exposure, that made lighting a shot much easier, not to mention it picks up colors and detail so much better than my previous camera. TECHNICOLOR DREAMS was my first true HD production, and I've been shooting in HD and editing in Adobe Premiere ever since. Still, there was something about the digital look that wasn't entirely satisfying to me, so I began to play around with the effects to try and enhance the footage I was looking at; by adjusting the brightness and contrast, increasing the color saturation, adding just a hint of grain, and rendering at 24 frames per second (digital is 29.97), I'm able to try to, at least, recreate the look of film. But it's still not quite the same.
Editing TECHNICOLOR DREAMS, my first true HD production.

I've often said that older shows that were shot on 35mm film look remarkably better than shows that are shot digitally today. Take a look at this screencap from a 1970 episode of HOGAN'S HEROES on DVD:
The picture is sharp, the colors are rich, and the contrast is strong.

Now, if we really want to talk about bright, rich, vivid colors, we need look no further than H.R. PUFNSTUF:

Unfortunately, afterwards, Sid & Marty Krofft looked for any way to cut costs (at $54,000 an episode budget, it cost upward of $1,000,000 to produce H.R. PUFNSTUF), and film was one of their first casualties - the rest of their shows were shot on videotape (which was still primitive in the 70s), and they suffered as seen here in on THE BUGALOOS.

Much of what you see uploaded to YouTube has been recorded digitally, in some way or form. Depending on the cameras that are used, and how the videos themselves have been edited, processed and even compressed, they can look pretty good, but still lacking. However, other film enthusiasts out there have taken to YouTube to show the world just how remarkable film can still look today, such as this:

This one is a personal favorite of mine, not only does it still look remarkable compressed down to 720p, but some of this guy's shots actually look like something from a real Hollywood movie:

UPDATE August 49, 2016
I happened to stumble onto this wonderful video essay about the film vs. digital debate, as told by filmmaker Toby Kearton, and I have to say, he puts this into such a wonderful and insightful perspective, that I really shouldn't have even bothered writing up this whole post; I could have just as easily linked to the video and said I agree with what he says. Check it out:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Commercial Parody - Glasses

I realized it's not that I need to do commercial parodies, it's that I need to do more of them! But, here's a new, full version of Easter Egg's glasses commercial parody.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The End of Boomsday

To explain this to non-locals, Boomsday is a holiday we have in Knoxville that's also something of a tourist attraction as well: every year on the Sunday before Labor Day, we bid a much-needed farewell to summer with a big celebration that consists of several festivities including live music, family activities, and of course the coup de grace: fireworks. Think of it as an encore of the Fourth of July, but in the beginning of September. It's always a fun holiday to experience - providing the weather is cooperative - and because it's a local/regional holiday, that makes it all the more special for us.

However, yesterday, the city announced that 2015 will be the last year for Boomsday. Why is that? Well, Charlie Brown may not like to hear this, but as it turns out, it costs a lot of money to organize Boomsday every year (last year, the fireworks alone cost $250,000) . . . and at the same time, the city loses a lot of money from the holiday as well. There's been a number of different factors at play, ranging from a lack of corporate sponsors due to the recession, to local restaurants and hotels not receiving enough business from out-of-town tourists; in short, because there's no more money to be made off the holiday, the city has decided to end it after this year.

Boomsday holiday artwork c. 2010

Steve has expressed his love of Boomsday before, but after hearing about its demise, he is less than happy about it, as seen in yet another live meltdown while reporting the news:

My apologies for copying Ken Levine, but this is a repost from last year.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Artwork 2016

Since it's #FriendshipFriday, here's Steve and Bethany having some last minute summer fun in the sun, doing a song I've been wanting them to cover for years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Day I Trolled Facebook

Why do I feel like I'll actually look like this in another thirty years?
This isn't the first time that political commentator Joe Scarborough was trending on Facebook - in fact, it's only been within the last couple of years or so that he was trending again, and a friend of mine got excited at first because he thought I was trending . . . not so. And I think a couple of other friends have brought this up other times he was trending.

What's interesting, too, is that someone once brought the point up to me in the past that the fact that there's such similarities in our names would probably produce quite a bit of confusion, and I do, actually, see the point - I can remember over ten years ago being confused about the whole controversy over who was Anna Nicole Smith's baby daddy, because one of them was supposedly Howard Stern. No, not that Howard Stern. Howard K. Stern. Or, whoever it was.

Still, Joe Scarborough does trend on Facebook from time to time, seems like just since I've been on Facebook, this is probably the fourth or so time that he has; this time, it's because Donald Trump is accusing him of having an affair with the co-host of his show, or some crap like that, I don't know, Trump rants and raves about so many insignificant things, who can keep track with all of it? But the fact is, Joe Scarborough was trending again, so this time, I decided to have a little fun with the situation, by posting this comment on any post that was trending the subject:

Imagine my surprise, though, that such a comment garnered so much attention from other people I don't even know . . . it was crazy! As you can see, that one comment above had gotten nearly 400 likes at the time I print-screened it, but now it's almost to 500 since last night! Not only that, but some of the replies I've gotten from people have been absolutely hilarious; here's some of the responses that I've particularly gotten a kick out of reading:
Am I on the lam? I don't know. You tell me.

Some of the replies I loved so much that I had to reply to some of them myself:
Yes, it is very comforting to know that I don't suck.

I really have to say this whole experience actually has been so much fun; the response from people had me laughing throughout the whole day. Hard to believe that just one comment ended up generating such a reaction from part of the public like this. Now, if I could only ever get this much response whenever I actually do something worthwhile on YouTube.

I'd like to thank Joe Scarborough for letting me be a temporary new-found celebrity for a day; I look forward to the next time he trends.