2001: A Space Odyssey

Cannes Journal: ‘2001’ in 70mm

'2001: A Space Odyssey'

Movie Rating:


What can be said about one of the most wondrous films ever made? How about that one hated it the first time he saw it? Screened on VHS on a 20″ Trinitron, the only thing I knew about ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was that the people behind ‘Star Wars’ were obsessed with it.

I’d learn later that the likes of Stuart Freeborn (Yoda creature builder), Colin Cantwell (original model/concept designer prior to McQuarrie) and Douglas Trumbull (photographic effects), as well as numerous other production and technical personnel, connected these works on fundamental levels. Still, the differences in scope and ambition on both films remains different, and my young brain couldn’t understand why the hell there were so many monkeys in the damn thing.

I’ve seen the film dozens of times since (including a screening timed to New Years, with the intermission hitting at 11:55pm on December 31, 2000), and many times on the 70mm print that was assembled in the 1990s. For the 50th anniversary, Warner Bros. is treating audiences to a so-called “unrestored” version that promises to bring audiences closer to the 1968 release. Thanks to the star power of Christopher Nolan, who paved the way with his ‘Dunkirk’ rollout, a circuit of 70mm projectors is ready to accommodate.

The premiere of this project took place at the luminous Debussy Theatre in Cannes, complete with black tie red carpet and plenty of hoopla. It’s a worthy celebration of the film (Kubrick was shunned by the festival), and the theater was packed with viewers eager for such an occasion.

For the more technically minded, however, the experience was both wonderful and frustrating. Nolan has a tendency to be evangelical about analog presentations, eschewing technical arguments in favor of notions of “emotion.” He has talked at length about how this is to be the closest to the original presentation as possible.

Of course, that’s not exactly the case. The print was struck, by Nolan’s own admission, from a negative made from a 1990s era interpositive. This then gets printed to an internegative, and that’s used to print (on contemporary stock) the new theatrical release. The print I saw had inherent flaws beyond the usual dust and blips, including a noticeable vertical scratch through some scenes. Audio dropouts occurred during reel changes, and the color density changed constantly, particularly during the front projection sequences in the Dawn of Man section.

Other sequences, particularly those in space, were sublime. Black levels were blissfully dark, with pinprick stars and the texture of the pod, ships or moonscape rendered stunningly. Above all, it embodied the scope of Kubrick’s work, meant as always to be seen on the biggest screen possible. From front row center at one of the world’s great cinemas, it was an unforgettable delight.

The sound in the room was particularly impressive, with the 6-track audio providing full spectrum immersion. The silences were something to behold. The anticipation of the audience watching in rapt attention as the coldness of space prevented any noise, only to have the whoosh and hum of the station return suddenly. ‘2001’ could still be considered a masterpiece even if you closed your eyes and simply listened to the whole thing, such is its craft.

I confirmed with Warner executives that the 4k HDR version assembled from scans of the original camera negative will come to retailer shelves this fall, and there will not be a theatrical run for that presentation. This is unfortunate; a newly struck print from these new scans could, if treated well, provide an even more representative version of the original presentation. The state of film archiving is always in flux, of course, but a newly struck 70mm print from this digital master would likely serve even more supremely the vision that Kubrick and his collaborators had (though, I’ll go on a limb, he’d be absolutely aghast at the decision to screen a compromised print in favor of the latest in laser projection, given his unyielding perfectionism and fascination with technology).

It’s unfortunate that the waters are being muddied again about the supposed divide between analog and digital regarding the emotional connection to cinema. Take a look at Sony’s work on the 4k DCP for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to see how such masterpieces can be treated with the utmost respect for the source while ensuring the immortality of their images.

Still, if this release gets the film out to more viewers who have only seen ‘2001’ at home, it’s already a success. This is a journey that should be taken by any cinephile as many times as possible. While one can certainly wish for a more technically literate audience unswayed by Nolan’s “unrestored” arguments that in some ways diminish the digital work that’s to be released, we can all agree that this is a motion picture well worth getting off the couch for, a marvel of moviemaking best experienced in the biggest cinema you can find near you.

This review is filed from the Cannes Film Festival, where Christopher Nolan premiered the new “unrestored” 70mm print of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This version of the film will receive an American theatrical re-release starting May 18th, 2018 in selected theaters.


  1. Movie Watcher

    I have only seen it once, on VHS on a small TV, probably about 20″ as well when I was about 12 or 13. I hated it and still think of it as the single-most boring movie I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of pointless, boring crap (Lost in Translation comes to mind…). I’m a huge Kubrick fan these days, but will admit an extreme reluctance to watch 2001 again. This year’s restoration and the odds of seeing it in 70mm or at least in 4K HDR on my 65″ OLED have me mighty curious.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      2001 needs to be watched as an adult. You might fall in love with it NOW, whereas you hated it as a child.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      It’s literally one of the best looking films of all time. This 1968 movie looks like it could have been filmed last year.

    • Bolo

      I have never seen ‘2010: The Year We Make Contact’. The idea of making a sequel to ‘2001’ struck me as really foolish, but I’ve heard it’s actually alright. Maybe I will finally watch it.

  2. Please people, if you haven’t seen this movie in years, revisit it. It’s truly among the finest examples of art in cinema there is. Yes it’s slow, yes some of it seems pointless at first viewing. But watching it again (and again and again) will reveal more things you never realized were there. I have wanted to watch this for months, but my HD DVD player crapped out and I’m holding out for the 4K version. Seeing this is making me even antsier for it’s release. There is a reason many people consider it the best sci-fi and arguably best movie of all time. I know not everyone will agree, but it really confuses me how they can’t. I saw this first on a 19″ TV on a crappy VCR in my preteen days, and admit parts were slow and a bit hard to sit through, but when the last quarter of the movie happened I realized why all of the rest before it was important. I was hooked!

  3. SteveB

    In the summer of 1968 I took an extra credit science class at the high school I was attending in Richfield MN before my senior year. The teacher suggested we all go see 2001: A Space Odyssey, so we took a school bus to the Cooper Cinerama Theatre in St. Louis Park to see it. The screen at the Cooper was 35 feet high with a 105-foot-wide curve, and was state of the art. 2001 became my favorite movie and has remained so all these years. I’m hoping the 70mm version that Christopher Nolan put together will come here (his 70mm Dunkirk showed at the IMAX Theatre at the MN Zoo, which is huge, not one of these small IMAX Theaters in some multiplexes.)
    But I understand how people can find it boring. Whenever I start watching it in our living room, my wife leaves the room.
    Still, if you can see it in 70mm on the largest screen possible with a great sound system, it is amazing.

  4. Barsoom Bob

    I’m going to carbon date myself with this one. Big screens ? I saw 2001 during it’s initial run at the Cinerama Theater in NYC. This was the home of the original, three strip, three projector Cinerama presentation with a huge screen that practically wrapped around you, It was a modest sized theater, but this screen had curve to spare.

    We will have to ask Professor Josh if this was actually a larger format ratio than our beloved 2.40 and 70mm or if it was just blown up super big.

    It was college time and there was mind expansion going on and as advertised, 2001 was the ultimate trip !
    All the things it got knocked for initially were actually perfect for that frame of mind. Beautifully done, it was an experience more than a regular narrative story. It was described at the time as a million dollar art house, experimental film but it resonated with my generation and influenced all of what came after. I earned myself an A+ in Freshman English the next year with a paper I wrote dissecting and explaining the movie.

    I was very lucky, I also got to see John Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix” and “How the West was Won” at the Cinerama. For my money,Grand Prix is still one of the best formula 1 racing movies ever made and that super immersive presentation was bone rattling and exhilarating. Those two movies were definitely in the three strip process as you could make out the seam line between the three panels if you looked for them.
    I don’t remember the seam lines in the 2001 presentation, I think they had some new lens that allowed them to fill the screen with only one projector. Any way it was an awesome experience and hugely inspirational to many people, some for the vision and technical achievements and some for the inspiration to a more evolved future iteration of our species.

    • How the West Was Won was photographed in genuine 3-camera Cinerama. 2001 and Grand Prix, however, were shot in single-camera 65mm (Super Panavision 70). As the three-camera process was phased out, Cinerama theaters transitioned to projecting these single-camera movies from special prints with an optical curvature applied. They were projected through one projector with a special lens to accommodate the curved screen. They should not have had seam lines. Both movies’ original aspect ratio was 2.20:1 in 65mm, but I’m not sure what ratio the Cinerama prints came to.

      • Barsoom Bob

        Thanks. It was 60 years ago, I thought I remembered the seam lines in Grand Prix. LOL

        Josh on another note, Denis Villeneuve is in Cannes and spoke on his Dune project. Apparently he thinks it is still going forward, he has completed his pass on the scripts, it is going to be done as two movies, but not filmed simultaneously.
        Frankly, I expected the studio to back out as this is a tricky thing to adapt and the lack of big financial success for Bladerunner 2049. They are financially hedging their bets by only green lighting one movie.
        I don’t know what your opinion of 2049 is but I think that was the best movie released last year, it was a stunning, thought provoking film that is arguably better than the original, which is saying quite a bit. If anybody can get under the skin of the book and translate it to the screen, I think he is the guy who can do it.

        • I loved Blade Runner 2049 but there is absolutely no way any studio is going to commit to two more big-budget sci-fi movies from Villeneuve after that one lost so much money. Villeneuve is dreaming if he thinks that project is really going to get a greenlight.

          • DarthGilman

            While it only grossed $90 million in the US, globally it grossed $260 million. With a $150 million budget (estimated) it probably lost just a little money (with the popular wisdom you have to gross double the budget to break even). However, Warner Bros knew that the original was not popular on its initial release. It only grossed about a third of its budget, but it had tremendous legs as a catalog title. So the movie will definitely turn a profit between home video and midnight screenings, etc. Plus Villenueve is a “hot” director and Hollywood doesn’t say “well you made one movie that only broke even, you’re doomed to indie films and television”. Remember that Spielberg had a not-so-great track record before Raiders. He’d made Sugarland Express (didn’t make money), Jaws (huge hit but massively over budget and over schedule and at the time people credited the editor more than the young director for its success), Close Encounters (huge hit but massively over budget and over schedule) and then 1941 (massively over budget, over schedule, and huge flop). So after 1941, gambling on Spielberg was a 50/50 proposition PLUS he historically had a hard time sticking to a budget and a schedule. But the rest is history. 2001 also only made about half of its budget on its initial run, but Kubrick got to continue making big, expensive movies with complete control. So given that Blade Runner 2049 was a tough sell for ANY director to take such a beloved film and try to do a sequel (look how savaged Prometheus was even with the original director), and they have to give him credit for making a successful (artistically) movie that basically broke even. And Dune is the one bet that Hollywood keeps wanting to make. They know it has the huge potential to be big. Plus, the one thing Warner is willing to do is to spread out material over multiple movies to make more money (see The Hobbit). To take a movie as vast and dense as Dune and squish and squander it all on a single movie would be throwing money away when Villeneuve has shown he is a competent filmmaker with difficult material that is vast in scope.

  5. Pedram

    I initially saw 2001 in my late teens because it was supposed to be this classic sci-fi masterpiece. I think I borrowed it from my library on VHS and watched it on a medium sized CRT television. I was not impressed. I found it slow, and the end was confusing. It had some nice visuals, which I’m sure were groundbreaking at the time, but not that impressive to me considering all the other (80s-90s) sci-fi I had seen up to then.

    Then I got a chance in my 30s to see it in 70mm at a TIFF screening. I thought I’d be really wowed and would finally appreciate it after seeing it in such glory. Nope. The screen wasn’t all that big (nowhere near 70mm IMAX), and while it was interesting for the first 3/4, it still lost me at the end. While walking out I heard a guy say to his friend “I still don’t get the ending but I love it”, which made me think “why??”. My guess is that many people love it because they feel like they should, and for fear of being looked down upon by other cinephiles. Even my friend that I saw it with (who is a big fan of it) couldn’t really explain why it was so good, and said it was more of an experience than a movie. While I agree with that, it still doesn’t make me like it as a film, let alone make me want to watch it again.

    To each their own I guess. I’m glad those who love it will get a chance to own the 4k version.

    • Bolo

      I think it is a thought-provoking film in the true sense of the term. Kubrick was one of the few filmmakers who could truly explore subject matter without feeling the need yet to deliver some obvious message, and yet his work doesn’t feel formless or unfocused. It’s a thematic movie about how man views progress; and cyclic nature of man defining his tools and then his tools defining him.

    • Barsoom Bob

      The movie is about the evolution of man. We are apes, we evolve. A spark of intelligence is gifted to us and we invent tools and evolve to the point of leaving our planet. as a species we are given a sign post that there is more intelligence to be found in the universe and we set out to find it. Hal is a stand in for God, infallible and telling us what to do, but what if something that is infallible makes a mistake and then in it’s fear of being rendered useless becomes paranoid and starts hurting us to protect it’s own existence. We have to disconnect from that and stand on our own to feet. So then we meet up again with the force in the universe that gifted us with the knowledge so far and they show us the wonders and possibilities of the universe. A new next step in our evolution is waiting to be born in the white room ( womb ). The newly born, enlightened version of us comes back to earth to spread the word. This works on a social level as a species but it also works on an individual level for a person taking the mind expanding trip and personally evolving a little bit.

      • genesim

        I had a reply this morning, but you kind of beat me to it because I never sent it.

        Kubrick hones it down pretty good too though. Though I have to say my only additional spin on it is the next evolution is not relying on computers for a greater intelligence. Man’s new dawn is a higher understanding.

        (from this morning)

        @moviewatcher interesting how you throw Lost in Translation into the mix which is another masterpiece. Most movies I dislike I don’t bother commenting on. I have seen both films about 20 times and that is no joke.

        @pedram. Is the issue ambiguous endings? I thought the ending was self evident, but if you must seek out …seek out Kubricks explanation. I choose to let Rogert Eberts review wash over you. Whatever the case I think the big clue is the computer sequence and the frustration that sets things in motion. These movies are to be experienced rather than taken for a literal connect the dots so easy….though again the explanation is there by the master.

        Your friend has it right. To get it, is to put down your expectations and see it again and again. Some art won’t grab someone whos mind is not ready. I was perplexed the first time….frustrated and critical the second…..in love the third….a fanatic by the fourth…and the rest is history. To each his own.

        Btw if you haven’t seen all of his films and studied a few docs as an adult you really aren’t going to appreciate this great artist.

    • Pedram

      Yeah I had heard the evolution theory before, but I still didn’t appreciate it as the masterpiece everyone else thinks it is.
      I guess it’s kind of like Blade Runner. I saw that around the same time as my first 2001 viewing (and more recently in 4k/Atmos) and didn’t particularly like it either (though I liked the sequel more), but those who love it seem to really love it.
      I guess I’ll have to keep these things in your replies in mind for my third viewing. Maybe when it comes out in 4k/Atmos – though probably not if Nolan has anything to say about it, haha.

    • Pedram

      Nice article. I tend to agree that sticking with an old format just for the sake of it might be a bit short sighted or overly nostalgic. If you like the look of film then fine, but keeping scratches and cigarette burns in there “just because” seems like maybe you don’t have the right priorities.
      Those things might give you a warm feeling inside, but they objectively make the image look worse.

    • That number, which is highly debatable, is the estimated resolution equivalent based on the original camera negative, assuming everything is under optimal conditions (fine-grained film stock, perfect lighting, tight focus, no movement). A projected release print of actual movie content will not come anywhere close to that. There will be successive drops in resolution at each stage of the post-production chain from OCN to IP, from IP to answer print, from answer print to IN, and from IN to release print. The perceivable resolution on a theater screen is further reduced by the optics of the theater projector and the physical movement of the film through the gate. What could theoretically be scanned off an individual frame will not all make it to your eye when the celluloid is run through a projector.

      SMTE measured resolvable detail from an IMAX 15/70 film print at below 4k. And that was IMAX.

      • genesim

        Sorry Josh I have to 1001 disagree with you. A pixel cannot be compared to an analog print in anyway shape or form. There is not one distinct color for every similar section of print. 4K is waaaay below what a 70mm negative detail is capable of producing.

        4K digital is simplistic and it reminds me of our debate about standard definition not having any advantage on bluray over DVD. Even if one ignores the obvious bitrate difference, the facts are that you cannot align SD ANALOG to HD as if they are interchangeable.

        As for optics reducing quality, there is an easy answer to that, sprocket less scanning which is being done all the time. You will find that masking of the print for standard scopes were done half hazard in projection theaters that even with some care, you are going to get a lot of picture that doesn’t sacrifice directors intent.

        Even with drops in resolution it is still far more than a digital approximation which is a small one at that.

        When you state the “perfect” lighting or focus etc, I think that is the very reason why details aren’t so readily interchanged to pixel count. A given area of an analog print has so many details that is basically spit out in digital in one patterned way it is actually comical to me how some have even described the limits of a 16 mm print. 4K is not even close to what a 35 mm negative can produce in quality, let alone a 70 mm print.

        Sorry just got to respectfully disagree there. Most experts put 35 mm at around 6K (which still makes me laugh for reasons I laid out above), and 70 mm print is around 12K.

        That isn’t even getting started on the analog multi-channel soundtrack that takes up even more room if done properly.

        • You are talking about what’s on the camera negative and I’m talking about what’s actually visible in theaters from a projected print. A release print is multiple generations removed from the negative, losing resolution and quality at each step. Judas said that he’d rather watch a 70mm print than 4k projection, because 70mm = 13k. Not the release print. No way. It doesn’t come even remotely close to that.

          Scanning the 65mm negative to high resolution digital and then downsampling for 4k projection will almost always produce better results than a celluloid release print. This has been tested and proven, and numerous fans who’d bought Quentin Tarantino’s Kool-Aid during the much-hyped 70mm release of The Hateful Eight grudgingly admitted that the 4k looked better.

          Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are analog fetishists. Nolan has stated that he loves to see scratches and reel change marks and dirt on a print because they remind him of watching movies when he was a kid. Tarantino cites the vague je ne sais quoi of celluloid giving him the warm and fuzzies. If those are the type of things you enjoy and make you feel nostalgic for a different era in filmmaking, fine, that’s a valid response, so long as you’re honest with yourself about what you’re getting out of it.

          But to claim that film projection still has a technical superiority over quality 4k digital projection… No, not in this day and age. That ship has not only sailed, it hit an iceberg and sank. Nolan premiered this heavily-promoted new 70mm print of 2001 in what is renowned as the finest movie theater in the world, and even in the very first screening the print was filled with scratches and dirt and color fluctuations – all of which are guaranteed to be fixed in the Ultra HD release later this year.

        • Here’s what film restorationist Robert Harris had to say yesterday:


          “Just chiming in, as I’m finding the entire 2001 situation getting a bit humorous. On one hand, newly struck 70mm prints will be hitting theaters, derived from problematic intermediate elements, as reported from Cannes, occasional color problems, light scratches, and positive and negative dirt. And those prints will have no more than 2k resolution, as shots range from fourth generation, at best, to sixth at worst.”

          And later in the same thread:

          “With all due respect to Mr. Nolan, he seems unaware of the state of the digital universe over the past decade. First, some facts. 65mm separation masters, recombined in the analogue realm, are incapable of recreating the look and textures of the original from which they were sourced. 70mm prints, derived via multiple generations of dupes (which are of superb quality today) cannot replicate the appearance of the original, but CAN still provide a superb projected image. Keep in mind that that human eye adapts to what it’s seeing, and once attuned to a quality dupe will take in a fully pleasurable experience.

          An 8k digital scan from a 65mm OCN, or sep masters (as needed), can FULLY replicate the appearance of an original 70mm print, at least when dealing with classic titles. A properly projected (especially, high speed, ie. 500 mb/s) 4k image, can replace the most beautiful 70mm print, albeit without scratches, dirt, bob & weave and cue marks. Properly produced restoration projects, inclusive of my own, go back to film, be it VVLA, 35/4 or 65mm, as archival polyester protection.

          As to 2001, a properly restored, properly produced, and properly projected 4k, high speed date transfer, will be able to better replicate the original 70mm appearance of the film than current dupe prints, short of one element, which hopefully will be better overcome in the near future. And that is absolute black. But currently, especially with a top of the line Christie or similar gear, we come very close. As to current 70mm prints, in general, it will be interesting to see through how many venues they survive, before them become problematic.

          Having worked with large format for about 35 years, my personal viewing would be a quality 4k presentation, which will be 70mm every time.”

  6. genesim

    “An 8k digital scan from a 65mm OCN, or sep masters (as needed), can FULLY replicate the appearance of an original 70mm print, at least when dealing with classic titles. A properly projected (especially, high speed, ie. 500 mb/s) 4k image, can replace the most beautiful 70mm print, albeit without scratches, dirt, bob & weave and cue marks.”

    With all do respect to this master, he seems to not understand the SCIENCE behind the chemical emulsion process that provides so many changes that to quantify it with a mere 500 mb/s is to actually disregard how small of detail we are actually talking about.

    I actually went through this kind of discussion with sound recently on an audio forum and I will go 1000 times that kind of detail for an analog print.

    There is no “fetish” when it comes to the detail of a 70mm negative, and a print while less quality is far above a digital approximation (no print process is exactly the same and to put them all together like monkeys in a barrel is amateur at best)..

    Robert Harris may be a film historian, a preservation elite…and frickin’ magician, but perhaps he needs to go back to the chemistry behind what we are actually talking about here.

    A 4K master is not going to “fully replicate” the original analog print and for him to use words like that is completely and utterly foolish.

    I see far too many “experts” throw science 101 completely out the window. It is like they have been on their computers so long that they forgot what chemical processing actually is.

    Go back to the film print and go look at it under an electron microscope and then we will talk about this so called “replication”.

    What the eye get used to has no bearing on reality. It is obvious that a lot of people have got “used to” horrible low bit rate youtube clips and call it “HD”, when in reality there aren’t even worth the simple VHS recorded feeds, that they stole the footage from.

    As for Nolan or Tarantino I don’t speak for them and not sure what they have to do with what I said.

    “Scanning the 65mm negative to high resolution digital and then downsampling for 4k projection will almost always produce better results than a celluloid release print. ”

    No it will produce a digital image that is a pleasing to some…not to others being approximation of the original analog material. A release print does have less quality than a negative, but this “better” is not only an opinion, but it is also apples and oranges.
    It is like comparing the recent Star Wars camera taking picture SScreen edition vs a scan. Some like me would say that it is more accurate to what the viewer saw because a camera replicates (in an obvious primitive way) of what a person SEES, vs a scan which replicates a…uh negative that was never projected to the masses of audiences to begin with.

    If Nolan did anything, he replicated what audience watched back in the day and what is wrong with that? No one can say what is “better”. It is simply another analog print. Me bets that Nolan was simply putting up a nice screening and honestly a 4K scan of the negative is artificial if you get down to brass tacks. Matter of fact, with every approximation it is actually causing more issues because it isn’t downsizing the image as a print does, but it actually makes up its own data…like I said on another sound argument, go look at any integration curve to understand the rounding issues that are brought forth with digital scanning.

    But getting back, the print is out of the scope of what I was discussing. When you or Robert says that a 4K scan replicates the original 70mm negative, I am going to call BS on that every single time. One can start with a chemistry book and study the properties of molecules measured in angstroms and then come back and tell me what a paltry millimeter measurement of a pixel represents.

    All this said, not trying to start a bad debate, but I think some people get just a tad overzealous with their digital fan gushing. It is like if one dude repeats it (and I don’t care who he is, he can’t change scientific facts) than it must be true!

    • You’re starting to sound like Terrence Howard ranting about how 1 times 1 doesn’t actually equal 1 in the special “universal math” he has invented.

      Film is not a magical substance capable of infinite resolution and clarity. That’s pure myth with no basis in science. Film can only hold as much detail as the size of the grain particles will allow. And what appears through an electron microscope has no bearing on what the human eye can actually see. In motion at 24 frames per second, those microscopic molecules (which are just grain at that size, not picture detail) will never make it to your eye, if your eye were even capable of resolving them, which it absolutely cannot.

      • genesim

        Do you think that the interaction of light on a real motion captured has a 4K limitation?

        That “grain” is essential information and yes that “grain” has a pattern that is part of the image.

        The microscope was for proving what I already know. There is more information on a 70 mm film negative than a 4K scan.

        That “grain particle” is a actually a molecule that is far smaller than a 4K scan can ROUND and APPROXIMATE.

        Either you get this concept or not. I am not calling film a “magical substance”, I am simply stating what it is. It is a shame that most of film geeks involved in publishing their papers have often not even passed the most simplistic science or math course, let alone notice the obvious correlation between physical properties of film processing itself.

        Some people need to pick their wording better before crapping all over directors like Nolan and Tarantino that actually are right when they are talking about the detail on an analog print that a 4K approximation doesn’t have.

        You can call it a “fetish”, but I think the true “fetish” is this idea that digital scanning can improve beyond its source. WONG

        • No one has suggested that a digital scan will improve its source (though digital restoration after scanning can repair scratches, dirt, and other physical damage). However, digital projection can certainly improve over the inherently flawed photochemical duplication chain necessary for film projection, during which release prints are, at best, four generations reduced in quality from the source (typically six generations or more).

          I know that you’re a long-time reader of this blog and I don’t mean to offend you, but many of the things you’re posting in this thread are straight-up pseudoscience, akin to self-proclaimed audiophiles who buy $7,000 power cords and claim to have dog ears that can discern sounds well beyond the range of human hearing.

          Even if the camera negative really contained sub-atomic levels of real picture detail (which it doesn’t, because grain particles can only get so small before they become noise), you neither have electron microscopes for eyes, nor will you be viewing the movie one static frame at a time. In motion at 24 frames per second, those molecules which change from frame to frame will never be discernible by a human being. Your eyes are physically limited to how much resolution they can perceive, and after 4k it’s mostly diminishing returns on even the largest cinema screens.

          Robert Harris recommends scanning 70mm at 8k and downsampling to a 4k workflow, because there are proven benefits to oversampling during scanning. For projection, 4k will best any analog release print. As I mentioned earlier, SMTE has measured 4k as having superior resolution to even IMAX film when projected (not the camera negative, but what a viewer can actually see in a theater).

          Will an 8k scan pick up literally every molecule on the film negative? No, but it WILL pick up any structure large enough for you to see. If you can’t see it, there is no point in duplicating it.

          Photochemical film may still have some benefits as a capture medium (as well as some disadvantages), but as a projection medium its time has come and gone. Any love for it is based only on nostalgia.

          Stanley Kubrick was obsessed with technology and would have enthusiastically embraced digital had he lived. He’d also have been aghast to learn that scratch-covered, dirt-ridden prints of his biggest movie were being used for this re-release.

          • genesim

            While I am debating this elsewhere, the human eyes are but one part of the puzzle when it comes to perception of an image that will be put together in summation in the human brain. This is not “pseudo science” this is absolute proven science.

            I don’t know what this has to do with a $7000 power cord but it is a fact that analog sources like a record has more information in the audible range of the human ear (it actually numbers in the billions) for example than even the best bluray parameters.

            A camera negative in the angstrom measurement level is not “noise” it is a chemical reaction based on a physical change brought on by the original source. What is data worth retrieving is another story.

            What is projected on a movie screen is outside of my discussion. I am stating like I stated on the other board, Robert Harris is wrong when he states that you can “fully replicate” a 70mm film negative with 4K resolution. While Robert isn’t as concerned with replicating a negative per his discussion, I am. I think that no (stone) molecule be left un-turned.

            I am all for “overscanning” than downsampling…of course I am also for scanning high then staying high even if it is supposedly beyond the scope of the human eye, because as I have debated elsewhere, we see more than with our eyes (electronic pulses based on light change, the effects of heat on hairs on our skin, the summation effect of a bunch of more accurate data vs less accurate data in smaller blocks…etc).

            Whether you agree with me or disagree with me, all I ask is that you understand my point.

            I think that 4K at 500/s is vastly underrating the detail of a 70mm negative. More importantly it takes away from the source material that directors that care about analog are trying to achieve.

            While Tarantino likes to abuse the tools, the Kubrick like finding of original lenses and what not, are a very cool thing. Kubrick without question would not be happy with the shortchange that digital limitation talk has brought on. Maybe when we get to 16K or something than I will shut up.

            Or…perhaps it will be when people stop spouting absolutes. If Robert Harris would have said the best replication yet…or even a close replication…well then I doubt I would have even commented. “Fully replicate”…I have to respectfully so…yeah right.

          • You’re trying to redirect the course of this discussion. The argument Judas started was that 70mm projection was supposedly superior to 4k projection, which you enthusiastically agreed with. Now you claim that you’re concerned with perfectly replicating the negative. A 70mm analog release print is significantly reduced in quality from the negative. An 8k scan of that negative, downsampled to 4k for projection, will reproduce more of the original negative’s quality than an analog release print can.

            THAT is the point I’ve been making here.

            I’m not even going to touch some of that voodoo science hoo-ha about “seeing” with the hairs on your skin.

  7. genesim

    By the way, you quote me anyplace where Tarantino thought the 4K scan was better. The 70mm film print had projection issues and turned out to be easier to switch over to 4K. What that has to do with “better” is an opinion. A 4K digital I am sure will have a nice clean artificial feel. For some that understand analog properties, yes even those scratches while marring the original image, still leave plenty of information left over that a squeaky clean digital print only smoothes over. I have these kind of discussions with CD and SACD lovers all the time. They think “smooth” means accurate. No, it means rounding…

  8. genesim

    One more thing. Silver Halide particles are ONE MILLIONTH OF A METER. A 4K pixel is measure in the hundredth place. Shall we move on to Kodachrome organic dye primers? Perhaps Mr. Harris comments from bluray.com can explain the obvious gap? The integration of digital is a simple math problem.

  9. genesim

    For some reason I can’t reply to the other thread???

    I wasn’t arguing Judas, I was stating what I felt.

    I believe an analog film print is more accurate than a 4K scan for many reasons. Number one is that it is a direct analog printing vs a digital recreation. That is my opinion. I also understand that just because something is squeaky clean doesn’t make it more accurate.

    Voodoo science? Really??? Ok, whatever you say. First time I heard science called voodoo in the same sentence. I will have to remember to challenge the professors on that. Here this…those neuron impulse from light sources..it is just mumbo jumbo! (sorry Josh, couldn’t help it).

    As for you saying I redirected, go back to my second sentence in my first reply to Judas. I said NEGATIVE, not print. What you stated is not accurate. I made it clear that my focus was the original negative reproduction and projected images was little to nothing part of my argument.

    • You’re right back to claiming that a multi-generation analog film print is “more accurate” than a digital scan straight from the OCN (which would be 8k for 70mm, not 4k – nobody said anything about scanning 70mm at 4k), which is demonstrably untrue and based on nothing other than a Luddite-like fear of “digital” as some unspeakable evil.

      Digital tools have advanced tremendously in recent years. There is no longer any reason to not use them.

  10. genesim

    Josh there is no reason to be rude to me.

    I have no fear of digital. To say this about me is childish.

    While you may think that the brain only paints images with eyes, respectfully take some science course if you doubt me. This is not being rude, it is just a fact. The jokes are not appreciated. I was merely making a point.

    All this hostile talk aside. The dismissing of the print discredits the original film makers and their intention, has anyone ever considered the possibility that the original artist made the negative with the film prints lessor quality in mind? If you think not, then does that stretch to every other artist that creates work knowing full well how it is going to be presented to the public?

    A film print has one key advantage over a digital one, it is made with a reaction from the photons of light from the original molecules that measure in the millions. A digital approximation once projected is a recreation at best and has no connection to the original source other than it being a mathematical algorithm that presents error , but actually introduces its own issues by creating faked resolution that were never part of the original image. A digital scan is a “cleaner” image, but not necessarily more accurate, and in the 4K region for 70 mm? YEAH OK

    What is “right” is a matter of opinion. I choose to side with the original artists and how they intended the audience to see their work.

    4K fully replicating a 70 mm film print is just so wrong I can only say you and Mr. Harris can believe what you want to believe.

    Far too often directors are disrespected and I think Tarantino and Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson know just a tad bit about the film process considering how successful they have been with their work and the obviously great gifted people they have worked with too.

    This idea that I think digital tools should never be used is assigning ideas that I never said. Again, it is unfair and personal. Would it be fair for me to say that you hate analog because you call Tarantino and Nolan a bunch of fetishist?


    “Presented by Warner Bros. 70mm print struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. This is a true photochemical film recreation. There are no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. The film will be introduced by the director Christopher Nolan and will be screened in the Debussy Theatre with a 15-minute intermission accurately reproducing the real-life experience of moviegoers when the film was released in the spring of 1968. Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and his co-producer, Jan Harlan, will also be in attendance.”

    Uh what is this mumbo jumbo about 4th generation??? Why do people repeat crap that isn’t true. It is obvious in this case that a special print was made, and what is wrong with that.

    “Which aspects did you focus on during the remastering of the copy?

    The original camera negative and soundtrack are held at the Warner Bros archive located at the studio in Burbank. The camera negative is in good condition for its age. There is some slight colour fading, which fortunately we can correct for in printing. The negative has shrunken slightly as it has lost moisture though the normal aging process. The shrinkage has caused the negative to warp slightly and cup in the centre. The negative is handled with great care as the shrinkage will also cause the film splices to come apart. The negative has been torn in four places. We decided to leave the torn frames intact and visible in the 70mm prints rather than insert a film dupe or digitally repaired section which would be of inferior quality to the original damaged section of negative. ”

    Looks like an artistic choice to guarantee that an unfettered original state is seen at least once.

    While you might like squeaky clean, you do realize that any repair is fake right? I for one love the warts and all approach from some studios. It doesn’t take away from the experience to me, it tells me that for the most part it is unscrewed with!

    Oh and for the record, Christopher Nolan came to get this print because he was working in the same lab for the 4K restoration of 2001. I for sure understand that it was a special screening and not meant for the audience such as yourself that cannot stand to see a blemish.

    Call me crazy, but the restored Night of the Living Dead as good as it looked, did have an artificial feel, while the extremely less quality of the Mills Creek version did have a ring of truth to it. I know I am in the minority, but something strikes me funny when I see words like (thousands of dirt instances were removed. Have you ever zoomed in on some of these renders? Look at the cloth closely? Digital only takes you so far. The quest for perfect has its sacrifices…but hey as long as it is squeaky clean!

    By the way, this is off subject, but is it true that there are fade out issues with the Vertigo restoration on bluray? I appreciate Harris work on Hitchcock material and his writing is enlightening to say the least. I used to have the signature Laserdisc and his audio commentary was very informative. Matter of fact it was horrifying listening to talk about the destroyed elements.

  11. genesim


    “A properly projected (especially, high speed, ie. 500 mb/s) 4k image, can replace the most beautiful 70mm print, albeit without scratches, dirt, bob & weave and cue marks. ”

    I don’t agree with this. Anyone that understands 4K projection knows that interpolation brings on that artificial look that I was speaking of.

    A film print (especially one fresh from the negative), while has those oh so awful blemishes (rolling eyes hard), is still projecting tons more detail. This is because even with a downgrade, you are still talking many many millions of molecular projections. A 4K render is not only in the measurement of thousandth…but it is also distorted by rounding!

    Are we really at a difference that the filled in scratches are in no way shape or form part of the original image? You know this, yet you think digital painting somehow makes it more accurate than the source? No, it just makes a more pleasing vision for SOME PEOPLE. Much like it is more pleasing for some to have grain digitally scrubbed out, or in the case of records all those “pops” or “ticks” removed that are a fraction of the billions (trillions actually if you have seen an electron microscope image) of bumps that are still present in the record. Yet there are SACD enthusiasts that swear by God above that 192 thousand samples equals billions in the listening range.

    You can flame away at me, because scientific evidence doesn’t seem to be very popular on these music and film boards.

    • Your argument is all over the place. In one post you say that you’re concerned with preserving the quality of the original negative down to the sub-atomic level. In the next post you say that dupe prints are great because the filmmakers didn’t want you to see everything on the negative anyway.

      You claim that it’s the utmost priority to respect the filmmakers intentions, and then also say that you’re fine with seeing scratches and dirt and other major errors that were absolutely never intended by the filmmakers. It’s difficult to have a conversation when you keep moving the goalposts in every response.

      In the case of 2001, those scratches and dirt don’t come from the camera negative. They’re a carryover from the IP produced in the late 1990s. Stanley Kubrick was a famous perfectionist and would be horrified to see his movie marred with scratches like this.

      “Uh what is this mumbo jumbo about 4th generation??? Why do people repeat crap that isn’t true. It is obvious in this case that a special print was made, and what is wrong with that.”

      Any theatrical release print is AT LEAST 4 generations removed from the camera negative. That’s how the process works. Prints are not copied straight from the negative. The negative would be destroyed from wear and tear if the distributor dug it out every time they wanted to make a new release print. The negative isn’t even color-timed anyway. The first step after the negative is an Interpositive, which is where color timing is performed. From there, after verifying the colors with an answer print, an Internegative is created for use as the replication master. Each one of these steps represents a progressive loss of detail and increase of grain from the step before.

      It has been confirmed that this new 70mm re-release of 2001 is sourced from an IP produced in the late 1990s. The Ultra HD release planned for later this year will be a new master scanned at 8k directly from the 65mm camera negative. This will capture more of the detail from the original photography than a release print can. This is a fact, proven by science.

      Honestly, I’m not trying to flame you here. But a lot of the claims you’re making about “science” are not actually science but just magical thinking justified by pseudoscience. Neither your eyes nor any other organ in your body is capable of seeing the individual molecules on a camera negative, especially not when viewed in motion at 24 frames per second. That is humanly impossible. An 8k scan is more than sufficient to replicate everything you can see. And downsampling that to 4k for projection is still better than any 70mm analog release print, which will be far more reduced in quality.

  12. genesim




    Quote from article

    “When and how did the idea to print a remastered 70 mm copy of 2001 come about?

    In the autumn of 2017, Chris was working on the 4K UHD home video re-masters of his film library, I was also working on the 4K UHD scans of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the same lab. I asked Chris if he would like to see a reel of print we had made in 1999 as part of a preservation project for the feature. After viewing the print reel, Chris approached WB to suggest creating new 70mm prints and recreating the original 1968 roadshow experience for the upcoming 50th Anniversary. We would always complete preservation work from the most original and highest resolution element, which is why we started our work from the original camera negative.”

    “Presented by Warner Bros. 70mm print struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. This is a true photochemical film recreation. There are no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. The film will be introduced by the director Christopher Nolan and will be screened in the Debussy Theatre with a 15-minute intermission accurately reproducing the real-life experience of moviegoers when the film was released in the spring of 1968. Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and his co-producer, Jan Harlan, will also be in attendance.”


    As for me supposedly moving the goal posts, no I am not.

    I will state what I have stated before, and I will keep it shorter so it is clearly understood.

    The original 70 mm negative has millions of molecular characteristics that are far beyond a 4K restoration. This detail is worth preserving better…perhaps even better than 8K. It certainly isn’t “fully replicated”.

    The prints that are made from the 70 mm negative are actually what the original director had in mind. The loss in quality may actually be closer to the original vision because the original artist made the work with those limitations knowing they were to be presented to the public.

    The preservation of either one through a strictly analog method is not a terrible thing if a digital backup is also utilized. I am not and have never said that digital preservation is bad. I am stating that one should always strive to be better and be open minded about improvements in the future. The original 70 mm negatives and answer prints have a lot to offer.

    And finally, I agree that dirt, scratches, and all that are not part of the original image. Neither is digital trickery to fix those errors. While how I feel will have no say so, I personally would prefer that people were not so heavy handed as to have everything completely fixed because it can and does change accuracy.

    And in final

    “Your argument is all over the place. In one post you say that you’re concerned with preserving the quality of the original negative down to the sub-atomic level. In the next post you say that dupe prints are great because the filmmakers didn’t want you to see everything on the negative anyway.”

    And why can’t both statements be true? I am concerned with preserving the quality of the original negative to the sub-atomic level. I also want to preserve the answer prints too in that same quality. ALL OF THEM. I understand that budgets prohibit this, but like that song says, I can dream can’t I?

    “You claim that it’s the utmost priority to respect the filmmakers intentions, and then also say that you’re fine with seeing scratches and dirt and other major errors that were absolutely never intended by the filmmakers. It’s difficult to have a conversation when you keep moving the goalposts in every response.”

    Again, why can’t both be true? I want to respect the filmmakers intentions. The intention was to have a specific presentation..a very specific presentation. That means that if removing those scratches takes away from the moments around that scratch, then the scratch should stay. In my world all before and afters would be preserved. An example. If a film negative only has a certain deepness of black possible, but yet digital can produce an even deeper black…it doesn’t matter. We cannot know what the director really intended, so the analog mediums limitation should stay.

    Does this mean that I lose my mind when I know scratches were removed or colors were changed, of course not, though I still would rather studios took a Vinegar Syndrome approach where blanket color correction and major major errors like cut films need to be put back together should be done on only a have to basis. That is just my opinion.

    I do appreciate your civilized discussion with me. I hope I have clarified a few things. In the end, it is all just opinion on what is acceptable.

    With Mr. Harris and him putting down Nolan for wanting to exhibit a film print as well as it could be humanly possible to do..that is another thing all together. I am for one very very grateful that I will have an opportunity to see an analog film print that as I understand is very close to the original negative. Even if not…hell even if it was the 90’s version…I am happy to see that too (because that too came from the original negative). It is still molecules on a physical copy that came from the photons of light directly projected from the original negative. Unlike digital, it was never reinterpreted by the brain of a computer that projects an approximation outside of the original intended way it was to be seen.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. The 4K bluray I will eventually own will be getting plenty of plays. But seriously, why not get the rock concert and the album at the same time? In this case, it doesn’t have to be a choice. Mr. Harris often gets to see the work before he digitally corrects it, why can’t the general public like myself get to see it too?

    Have you ever been in a situation where you look at the restorations of film and see the before and afters and thin,…the really f’d that up! I want the BEFORE!!! Well I have.

    And in final, the push for film makers to not even film in 70 mm is complete and utter BS. If I have a choice between what I have seen with the Alexa 65 (the Revenant) or 65 mm filming (The Master), I am going with the latter ever single time. The Alexa isn’t there yet, and it takes a crap ton of space and a crap ton of computer power. It doesn’t make any sense compared to chemicals which require virtually no electricity and if preserved correctly could last hundreds of years. With a quick digital scan, you can have your cake and eat it too.


      Yes, you are missing the part where it says that the new print is made from “new printing elements.” That’s a convoluted (and misleadingly worded) way of saying that they’ve struck a new Internegative from the 1999 Interpositve, which is the part that was derived from the camera negative.

      Release prints are NEVER struck directly from the camera negative. They cannot be. The camera negative doesn’t even have any color timing. The goal of any archivist is to preserve the camera negative with as little use as possible for as long as possible. Even IP’s are rarely created, because every time you strike a new one you put wear and tear on the negative.

  13. genesim

    p.s. Whether in motion or stagnate, I think you are far underestimating what human being can detect (not just “see” ) in their abilities, this is not “pseudoscience”. With better technology, there won’t be a need to choose. I think when we get to 16K or higher we will mathematically have it covered. I have never sat down and did the math, but I have generally accepted 6K being a magic number for 35mm and 4K for 16 mm. The recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4K shows improvement, and I didn’t think that was possible.

  14. genesim


    Robert Harris is now making claims that Ned Price is lying or that the interview from Cannes that I posted is completely fabricated.

    He has stated that there was no 90’s restoration and either print made was never from the original camera negative.

    I guess Ned Price who also restored A Clockwork Orange from the original negative is just fooling the world.

    This has gone into the land of the cuckoo.

    • I don’t see those comments from Harris.

      Robert Harris is very particular about use of the word “restoration.” These days, studio marketing typically describes any new film scan as a “restoration.” In Harris’ view, simply making a new copy is not a restoration. An actual restoration requires that damage to the film elements be repaired. This was not done in the 1990s. The fact that the IP these new prints are made from has visible scratches and dirt is evidence enough of that.

  15. genesim

    Bad wording on my part. The restorations I am referring to are the digital ones. A Clockwork Orange and 2001 currently.

    The current print from what I understood was newly made from the negative. The scratches were on the original negative and it was a choice by Ned from Warner not to fix them for the print (which I understand…otherwise it is back to digital trickery??).

    As for Harris, me and him went back and forth and I pointed out where the Cannes link had the interviews that stated that the print done was from the original negative.

    In that link I posted here Ned stated that the original negative had issues because of splices and different degradation.

    Harris claimed that was all a lie and they couldn’t have worked from the original negative. Actually Harris went a step further and claimed Ned never worked with the original Clockwork Orange negative either.

    They banned me from Home Theater Forum so if the thread is still there it can be read (though I did take a screen shot if it isn’t) While passionate like here I never put Harris down as a person and actually complemented him. I wish I could say the same from his side but he said I needed to open my eyes when watching movies and I was spreading propaganda by posting the interview.

    Regardless it is done now. I just happy to have tickets to an analog print and I would like to see evidence that it isn’t a newly struck print. It is no secret the original negative has damage….so print damage is not proof that it is the 90’s print. Also why would Nolan go to Warner just to make a copy of an already existing print? Why would Ned say they did another one after showing Nolan the 99 one?

    Also Ned did restoration on the 99 print because that was what I thought was used on the bluray. Nolan was showed the 99 print because he was working on his 4K scans while Ned was working on the 2001 4K bluray restoration (sorry to repeat).

    As for all this, I don’t want to be banned from here and I am shocked that I was completely kicked out without even a warning. All this is just trying to get solid answers on confusing information.

    He is one of their main writers there so that is probably it on why I got banned, but at the same time it was still a discussion that he was participating in. I looked up to the man, I really did. I regret the exchange, but in a lot of ways I am glad I know what I know now.

    So yeah I am licking some wounds just a little. That really hurts.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    By the way aren’t 70 mm prints almost always taken from original negatives?

    I for one have no problem with a print taken from 1999 if that is the case. A print from a print of the negative is still a good print. And also probably better than I have ever seen in analog.

    • Release prints are never made directly from the camera negative. Never. They cannot be. The negative is not color timed. This is the process:

      Camera negative -> Interpositive (color timing added) -> Internegative -> Release prints. Often other intermediate duplication steps occur as well before a print makes it to theaters.

      So, for this new theatrical release, this is what happened:

      OCN (1968) -> IP (1999) -> IN (new) -> release prints (new)

      No actual restoration work was done in 1999 or the scratches on the negative would have been repaired (by physical means at the time), which did not occur.

  16. genesim

    P.S. Again Ned seems to think that you can go back to negative. In the article and on youtube he has said that he always goes back to negative and he will again if technology gets better. Not saying I agree with that completely.

    • Yes, you can go back to the negative for a new digital scan, which is fairly common these days and is what is happening for the Ultra HD release. Scanning the negative one frame at a time should not put much wear on it. Using traditional analog means to strike a new Interpositive, however, puts a lot of strain on the negative and should not be done very often.

  17. genesim

    P.P.S. the quote says “NEW print elements from ORIGINAL negative”

    An internegative is not an original negative, there is only one original negative as far as I know.

    I wish I coukd talk to Ned personally and get to the bottom of this.

    • The quote in the marketing materials is incorrect. It has been confirmed by Warner Bros. that the new 70mm release prints are made from a new Internegative which was derived from the 1999 Interpositive. That 1999 Interpositive was the last thing to touch the camera negative.

  18. genesim

    Ok Josh I will take what you say as correct. If you have a link or anything official it is appreciated.

    Also from what has been said it looks like Nolan said it too.

    Still I want to see the print anyway. Should look great regardless even if not as good as it could or how it looked in 1969.

    I appreciate your patience.

    • Jason spoke to a Warner rep at Cannes. AVSForum reviewer Scott Wilkinson likewise spoke to a studio rep in L.A. and was given the same information.


      “Instead, the team used an interpositive that had been made directly from the original camera negative in 1999. Then, they created a new internegative from which the new final prints were made. The process was entirely photochemical—and analog.”

      I’m sure these 70mm prints will be a pleasurable viewing experience. I saw a 70mm screening during the re-release in the year 2001 and it looked great. Nevertheless, digital tools have come a long way since then and can now get us closer to the appearance of the original camera negative without the loss of quality inherent in the analog duplication process.

      I hope the print hasn’t taken too much of a beating before it makes it to your area. Reportedly, only 8 copies were struck this time and will be circulated throughout the country.

  19. genesim

    By the way, not to flog a dead horse…but wouldn’t both procedures laid out have 3 prints away from the master negative?

    I get that Harris wants it to only be one scan, and have the 4K (or 8K) be projected with interpolation, but if one is wanting to have a pure analog experience wouldn’t it stand to reason that Nolan’s way is the only way?

    There are two things at play here. Digital with mathematical interpolation to project on a screen….or lost quality with printing that is no different then any other previous analog projection except that the original negative has damage from aging when the 1999 IP was made.

    • The release print is at least a 4th generation element – the OCN being considered the first generation. That’s in a best case scenario, which is how this release of 2001 is being handled. In the heyday of film distribution, the typical release print that might play in a multiplex was usually about 6 or 7 generations from the negative.

      Yes, if you want to have a “pure analog experience,” Nolan’s way is the only way. What Harris is saying is that there’s no need or point to having a pure analog experience anymore.

      You are using the word “interpolation” incorrectly. Interpolation is what happens when a low resolution source is upconverted to a higher resolution display, such as watching a DVD on an HDTV or a 1080p Blu-ray on a 4k screen. The additional pixels are created artificially by copying parts of the original pixels around them. None of that is happening here. The 65mm negative is scanned at 8k, and then that 8k scan is downconverted to a 4k projection master. No interpolation occurs.

  20. genesim

    Ok I agree. My error was in not calling the first print a number. So 4 instead of 3.

    In both scenarios they are 4th generation…just like they always were from the first time a release print was made even back in 1968. So when I get people saying they refuse to go to the analog presentation because they don’t want to see “5th” generation prints…what the hell did they see all those other years??? I am sure most people didn’t get to see the 70 mm print let alone the fact that if they did, they likely saw the same amount of generations, and that includes what I feel is deceptive comments from Harris as if what Nolan has done is something new and so much worse. Age wear is another matter, and that is why Nolan states that this is close as we can get (in terms of analog), but the 1999 IP print made was directly from the negative.

    When I state interpolation, it is in regards to what happens once it is PROJECTED. When Harris states that a 4K projection is a thing of beauty, he must be aware that when a computer resizes to accommodate the 50 ft bigger screen, one of two things are happening, a multiplier is going on where there are repeated pixels that add more approximations, or there is simply a enlarging of the same pixel to a larger than normal parameter. This is what causes a duller look and IMHO cannot match a film print that has millions and millions more details per mm let alone an HDTV that has more tight control on the pixel quality. An average movie is around 300gb in the theator (I know from friends that work there). A 70 mm film print at 8K in even mediocre quality is in the terabytes. There is something seriously wrong with that picture. When you consider that a 4K bluray is about 100 gig at best, I don’t know what people are smoking when they say that an awesome quality film print (considering its age) is no worth seeing…perhaps for the last time.

    When an analog print is enlarged, it also has its own problems like color distortion and picture distortion and all that jazz, BUT that is where all those molecules can and do come into play. While we went round and round about what a person detects, I am for certain that if you take measurement source compared to enlargement, those decimal differences play a big factor.

    I know what I see with 4K projection, and I know what I have experience in the movie theater for over 40 years with film prints.

    The “low res” in this case is the 4K being blown up to a huge screen that is 50 ft tall.

    So interpolation may not be the right word, because I haven’t studied digital projection that deep, but I do know for a fact that lots of projected images are barely over consumer grade quality and it is blatantly obvious.

    While we can agree to disagree, I believe even a 4th generation analog print of 2001 will look better blown up in a theater than a 4K digital projection because there is just that much more detail to be had on the original print.

    At home on a 4K UHD bluray…yeah, not worth it. The restoration and all that should look good enough and if digital magic floats one boat even better.

    What I don’t get is the fact that 70 mm has been projected for what…50+ years, and now all of a sudden it is a bad thing when it takes at least 8K scans to supposedly get all the detail? Why would anyone in their right mind think that a blown up 4K digital image projection would retain color or detail better I will never know.

    This isn’t trying to be argumentative, all this is just to clarify my view. I have enjoyed the discussion and you have cleared up a few things for sure.

    If you insist that a 4K PROJECTION is just as good, fine. We can agree to disagree. Analog to me is the way to go if one wants to see the best of the best in the theater…for now. If I agree on one aspect, it is going to get better visually for digital. Not that I think movies are that great anymore. I am more of a classics man myself. But when you see Michael Bay filming in dual Imax, that is just huge and shows how cheap storage is getting. The problem…no one really cares about the movie theater anymore, and why would they? Digital projection looks like crap because of the file sizes that you could basically download in a couple of days.

    • When a 4k master is projected through a 4k projector, then 4k worth of pixels appear on the screen. No interpolation.

      I have a feeling that most (if not all) of the bad digital theatrical experiences you’ve had were 2k projectors, not 4k.

  21. genesim

    Here is a little math (I would put it with the last post, but I can’t edit).

    On a 75 inch screen the height is about 36 inches. There are 600 inches height on a 50 ft screen. So that is roughly a 17 times multiplier. Consider that a 4K pixel count is 60 pixels per inch for the 75 inch screen that leaves you with roughly .3 pixels for every INCH on the 50 ft screen. I absolutely know that human can see clusters of pixels of that size and the degradation that follows. I have seen digital projections that look like absolute crappola.

    So we are talking millionth (billionth?) of a micron to measure the Angstroms of photon light deflection. Blow that up to 50 ft, and you get my point about the obvious advantage in quality. With organic dye properties, that is a whole new can of wax too.

    Rips and tears…yeah that sucks, but compared to all the rest of the resolution, it really is a small fraction. I am not saying digital should not happen and I will be buying that 2001 4K bluray in a second, but I am also not fooling myself into believing that a 100 gig is even close to what you need for a full negative OR print restoration.

      • genesim

        I never claimed it was infinite, but the details of a 70mm print are without question more than 4K (and likely 8K as well). I tried my best to show you the calculations to just give you a small piece of it (and I could go so much further to quantify it). The silver halide particles are a countable reference that are affected by the analog world around us, and no that is not just grain. What is magnified are detailed footprints of that world. When you magnify a 4K pixel, you are enlarging what was approximating to begin with. We can agree to disagree. I enjoyed the discussion.

        I do know that I can’t wait to see the print! July cannot come quick enough. The experience is the ultimate judge.

        • Here’s how this has been disproven: SMTE did a test projecting resolution test patterns from a 4k projector, then printed the same test patterns onto IMAX 15/70 film stock and projected it onto the same screen with equivalent brightness. More detail was visible from the 4k projector. Film projection softened and blurred them.

          That was IMAX. The results get worse for smaller film gauge formats.

    • genesim

      I can’t see either of those links because I was banned. I explained that. Sorry (and for the record, it was complete and utter BS that it happened…all because Robert Harris threw a fit and basically called me an idiot and I said he was being rude for his comments).

      As for your example. Apples to oranges. You have to start with an analog source. Printing from digital, then back to analog is like the current LP’s on the market. Stupid to the nth degree. You want to hear what an analog record sounds like, you start with analog, and end with analog. There are billions of bumps on a record made from the original recording, while we can go round and round about what is considered noise in the frequency limitation of the record, there is no questions that there is a crap ton of information in that range as can be seen on an electron microscope.

      Going back to your example, of course the picture will be softened. It is the nature of projection. A “blurred” print does not mean less quality, it means it is the very characteristic of a chemical process.

      Here is an example. Say you program Pacman, and then you put it on a high rez screen…sure it will be clearer, but it will also be a jagged mess. This is because it is outside of the original lower rez display that it was designed for. Put that same code on an original arcade, and then you get a smooth Pacman as the original designer intended. Why, because they programmed for the interpolation (p.s. taking a pixel an enlarging it may not be a mathematical interpolation, but it is certainly a watered down quality that is the interpolation equivalent in the analog world).

      Analog isn’t designed for test patterns, that is not how it works. A analog picture is not going to be as distinct because it is not a computer rendered “perfect” display. It has all kinds of changes that make a sort of mozaic pictures that actually has the capacity to look better because it is a “footprint” and not a redraw. A chemical process will actually go beyond the top layer and try to mimic how thick the ink is, or how many microscopic little holes…etc. It isn’t as easy as this looks clearer than that. Again, it just doesn’t work that way.

      You see the biggest problem with your example is that a pixel perfect rendition is still not the “picture” that was used to make the print. It is like blaming the process instead of the medium. It is hard to explain and the best I can do is draw on examples.

      A while back we had a heated debate about putting video tape broadcast level on bluray. A perfect example of this is transferring VHS to DVD. In almost all cases in the industry it looks like complete and utter ass. This is not because VHS tapes are that bad (well some of them are, but that is aging and poor storage), it is because the encode rate is not sufficient even on 8.5 gig of a dual layer DVD. Put that out to a 25 to 30 gig file on a higher bit rate (with better video stabilizers), and you will see that there is a hell of a lot detail. The sound, is also another story compared to the craptastic MP3 quality of dolby digitial compared to the original analog sound but that is just going on…

      But people will still go…but DVD’s are just so clear! Yes and no. It is true they have the appearance of being clearer because there tends to be a connection with digital strait edges vs a more smoothing bleeding effect of a VHS tape. The biggest issue…people think that the separated computer approximation is right. Not necessarily. It is simply rounding everything for every moment and giving no possibility for one way or another. So if you have a green color and a red color bleeding into each other…the computer will round in the middle…or go green on one side and red on the other without forgiving anywhere down the line. The VHS tape…well the bleed is actually not just all right or all wrong..and while it may not look as pleasing to some that doesn’t make it less correct or not correct at all. It is like the film print…millions of characteristics and not all of them can be “grain”.

      Of course I am simplifying and I am not suggesting that VHS is “better”, I am just giving an example of how the new digital age eyes are assuming that clearer is better. No..it is just different.

      As the digital approximations go up and up and up…well it is like that integral curve. Sooner or later, you are going to get so close to that analog characteristic point, you won’t be able to tell the difference. That is what I hope for.

      I guess the final way I explain that test pattern. Take that 4K image and zoom in. Zoom zoom zoom…what do you get…a pixeled blur. Take that same Imax test patter…magnify magnify magnify….now tell me which looks blurrier the fastest. That is the true test. What is “clearer” or “pleasing” to the eye is not necessarily the truth. It is like doing well on an IQ test. Sure that measure “smart” to some…or does it just measure being good at IQ tests?

      You know a real world example I can truly think of. Take a look at Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 4K. Zoom in on those pictures. Isn’t it weird how 16mm supposedly only gives about 1.8K of information (if you drink the digital approximation Kool-aid), yet with every scan it seems to get a smoother look…and not a DNR look? Could it be that in approaching the limits of the 16 mm print we are actually seeing the true nature of what was actually captured? A perfect example of what I mean. That truck bottom has things that I never seen before.


      One day I will get better at explaining this. But rest assured, even if I don’t get all the terms right, I am not just full of it.

      • And we’re right back to analog magic pseudoscience here. I’m sorry, but it’s very hard for me to take any of this seriously. If the film print can’t even reproduce the detail in a digital source, it certainly can’t accurately reproduce microscopic molecules even smaller than that. Every successive generation of a film element loses detail and increases noise compared to the last. That is the inherent nature of all things analog.

        • genesim

          And we are back to quality being lost from one print to next. I never ever disagreed with that.

          You are aware that even the best DAC’s also lose quality right?

          To switch gears, I have used the example of PONG not being emulated properly. The folks that did the MAME project explained it to me one time. Analog circuitry is nearly impossible to get right because of complicated timing mechanisms of the discrete hardwired approach. It takes massive amounts of computer power to even come close. The idea is not too different from what I have laid out here. Do you doubt how vast analog circuitry is too?

          I tried my best to explain it, and the fundamental disconnect between us is this.

          You think that a print losing quality from one generation to the next is enough to wipe out the millions (billions??) of information that are already inherent in the original source that far outnumber the digital approximations. Even when going to print, that doesn’t change that you are down-grading from something that is literally a million times greater than what it being remade by the computer ADC process of a 4K scan.

          Even down to the source vibrations can change the accuracy of a print. You think this is pseudoscience? Try working with an atomic force microscope where literally the smallest movement can make data unreadable, much less accurate. You don’t think this can have an effect on an Imax print that has so much information that a one off experiment tells us absolutely nothing?

          I would like to know the conditions of that setup. Did they repeat it, was the person an expert in doing prints…I mean there has been what…a couple hundred 70 mm movies at best? Some of these idiots can’t even run the projectors right let alone me trusting them doing a real unprejudiced experiment.

          You don’t think that chemical emulsion process picks up nano particle differences? You think it is magic pseudoscience when I say that microscopic holes and uneven ink qualities of thickness and pigment color can have an effect on what is ultimately projected? How about the person that actually did the optical print. was it even in focus? I mean seriously, the differences on a test pattern are hard to see anyway, I want to know if they actually looked under a microscope or was some dude fiddling with his belly button in a non calibrated projector room.

          Scientific means that it is repeated and put into a journal. One guying or even a group of guys saying this is blurrier than another means nothing to me. I want actual data readings, not visual only. I have used calculations to back up my argument. Those pixel numbers are real and they get worse in quality with the projection blow up.

          If someone is saying that a 70 mm print doesn’t have the detail of a 4K digital scan, I think that person may very well need glasses. Despite everything I said and they are very real factors, I still would like to see the conditions of this so called proof.

          I realize that analog film has degradation. No one disputes that. But how much and how long, well apparently it is good enough for 2001 to get yet another scan. Obviously there is detail beyond what was before, and guess what, when 16K comes…they will find even more detail, because there is that much more detail to get.

          The sad thing is that the prints made are probably a whole lot closer to the truth, because that is the way Kubrick ultimately chose his public to see it. No one ever considers this concept. Though Nolan did, which is why he claimed to use some of Kubrick’s notes. He wasn’t the only one involved with the analog only tweaks.

          When you say that I am just giving you “pseudoscience” that just isn’t fair. It is like you are putting down everything I went to school for and every physics, chemistry, and mathematics (and yes film) class I ever took. That not only steps on my toes, but every professor that ever taught me. I certainly wasn’t asleep in those classes and I took my work very seriously. Sorry, not to take it to a personal level, but it is personal.

          Moving on, the facts are there, but I am afraid there are a great many so called experts that are forgetting the basics…or perhaps never knew them. When Harris has claimed that something is “fully replicated” he has no understanding of the fundamentals of analog work. I know, this is saying something for a person like me that has never transferred a film other than a hobby. But guess what, I don’t have to be hit by a bus to know that it hurts. You can learn through observation, and I know what the facts are. The people in industry that directed the films and spent countless hours editing their work and have chose to film analog may know just a LITTLE BIT MORE about the process. Spielberg is an example of this. That crazy dude has no doubt spent so much time in the lab, to throw a criticism at him would be literally talking crap on the guru of film. I certainly wouldn’t accuse his analog feelings as “fetish” of film. And THIS IS NOT AIMED AT YOU JOSH. This is aimed at the people that have put Nolan and other film makers down for choosing to work with what they like and feel comfortable with. When Paul Anderson says he likes to feel the film and be in touch with the process, I know exactly what he means, because that is where I am at with everyday of my chemical career. Others have claimed that Nolan is treating analog film as a “fetish”, and that too is not fair.

          Again if I am going to trust anyone, it is going to be someone that actually created the art and was successful at it, not some dude that came along and transferred it later. I have all the respect for Robert A. Harris work and when it comes to restorations, he is the guy that I would want working on the stuff (for the most part, because there are other great restoration technicians as well), but lets not get carried away here.

          He is not a film maker and those guys are idiot savants to say the least. As much as I like to debate, by the time me and Tarantino got done, he would have me babbling in a corner crying with his knowledge, and he wouldn’t be mad for schooling me.

          Hey like I said, lets agree to disagree, we could go around for eternity. I let you have last word (or not), but it is very very hard not to answer because I find the discussion fascinating. I really do. You have made me think about it in ways that I never tried to quantify before, and that is saying something as well.

          • OK, when your hyperbole hits the point where you’re saying that a 4th gen film print is “literally a million times greater” than an 8k scan, I think we’re about done here. There’s no point to dragging this out any further.

            Do you know who SMPTE are? That’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. I trust their findings over your rantings about nano-particles that can only be seen with an electron microscope. You do not have electron microscopes for eyes. You do not have waveform monitors for ears.

            I spent decades watching movies projected from film in theaters. I saw hundreds if not thousands of movies that way. I attended a number of impressive 70mm screenings, including 2001 during its re-release in the title year. More recently, I saw a lovely 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia.

            I have never had any theatrical experience that looked better than watching Samsara (a movie shot in 65mm) projected in 4k. None. The film’s director, a man who has worked extensively in 70mm and IMAX, was at the screening and said the same afterwards.

            You can cling to the words of Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, but everyone else has moved on. Even Steven Spielberg shot his last movie in digital.

  22. genesim

    Actually I was thinking, I got a better way of explaining it.

    I was going to respond last night, but figured I was getting on your nerves so erased it (I swear it). If you pixel representation on a 4K print, as you say it just enlarges the pixels (by the way, not exactly buying this. There are all kinds of digital scalers used in theaters and a lot of them are used at home too which is digital interpolation).

    On an Imax display, it is like a painting. The closer you get, the more you see details that just aren’t pleasing. This was because the original artist splashed on more paint, thinned it out in some places, and in summation..you are seeing it as it was never meant to be seen. You have to back up like they did (with their thumb out and one eye closed with tongue sticking out of side of mouth if you think of the stereotype ) and see it as a full picture.

    When you are processing Imax, it is like telling a skilled surgeon to draw stick fingers. You aren’t going to get a simple 2D image that digital computer are meant for. You cannot tell an analog film print to not draw the parts that muddy up the image so to speak (again like microscopic holes in the ink, different fluctuation in ink quality, different moments of light…vibrations on the table with the print occurred!!!).

    Digital, well it is like one poster accused me of. When I said it was “too perfect” they stated that I was like people that didn’t accept color film. No, not it at all. When I stated too perfect, I was referring to the fact that a digital image will often approximate colors that are not and will never be approximated on analog because it is down to the molecular level. What a computer will draw as the perfect black (which is another way of saying one shade for that pixel) an analog print will draw as kind of reddish black…kind of greenish black a million ways in that same space. So small, that a computer won’t even understand it. I know from being there in a pigment lab, I can order someone to draw my formula the way I want them to, or what the computer will believe it should be, but in the practical world..nope nature doesn’t work that way.

    I wish I could explain it shorter, I really wish I could. Josh I respect you, and I know we are both very stuck in our views, but from one analytical mind to another, I have been dying to have this conversation with you since the first time you challenged the broadcast video tape to bluray a couple of years back. I have only asked you to see what I am saying.

    I used to argue with an old vinyl dude till I was blue in the face. I used to say, no digital is perfect, it replicates…records suck…then I thought…wait a minute. Maybe it is the rigid way that digital is, that makes the record actually more valuable? When I heard a high rez Pet Sounds vs the original 2-fer Pet Sounds viny (which is the closest thing you will get to the master ) there was no comparison. NONE. Vinyl won hands down for reasons that only a wav form can try to quantify. What I heard was magic, and my hearing was perfect then. But what I know is true…in the listening range of a record there is absolutely more information and it isn’t cut up like a digital sample. It has billions (actually I think it is trillions) of nuances and that can be verified with an electron microscope. I peeve a lot of people off when I say this, but it is a scientific fact. A DSD sample rate is 2 million per second. I know this is hard to believe, but in doing even the most rudimentary math, that still isn’t enough. Add to that, there is sampling outside of the comfortable listening range…well it is like taking a sledge hammer to a nut cracker competition. Kind of overkill and will only smash the nutty goodness that you are trying to get.

    • genesim

      “OK, when your hyperbole hits the point where you’re saying that a 4th gen film print is “literally a million times greater” than an 8k scan, I think we’re about done here. There’s no point to dragging this out any further.

      Do you know who SMPTE are? That’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. I trust their findings over your rantings about nano-particles that can only be seen with an electron microscope. You do not have electron microscopes for eyes. You do not have waveform monitors for ears.

      “I spent decades watching movies projected from film in theaters. I saw hundreds if not thousands of movies that way. I attended a number of impressive 70mm screenings, including 2001 during its re-release in the title year. More recently, I saw a lovely 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia.

      I have never had any theatrical experience that looked better than watching Samsara (a movie shot in 65mm) projected in 4k. None. The film’s director, a man who has worked extensively in 70mm and IMAX, was at the screening and said the same afterwards.

      You can cling to the words of Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, but everyone else has moved on. Even Steven Spielberg shot his last movie in digital.”

      Josh, there is no reason to disrespect me just because I disagree with you. Furthermore I wish you would quote correctly.

      Quote from me:

      “Even when going to print, that doesn’t change that you are down-grading from something that is literally a million times greater than what it being remade by the computer ADC process of a 4K scan.”

      Now compare that to your first sentence? Could you see how anyone would be just a little annoyed by the misrepresentation? A 4th generation print is how it has always been. You act as if this is anything new. And again THAT IS WHAT THE DIRECTOR INTENDED.

      I am not clinging to Tarainto or Nolan, but I am “clinging” on the science behind it.

      The point about the microscope was to access what is there, not to look at it only that way. You act as if people’s OPINIONS including yours is a statement of fact. No wonder you don’t want to take scientific evidence seriously or how any study would be the truth not this “hyperbole” as you describe.

      What do you think I did for most of my adult life? You think I didn’t attend “hundreds if not thousands” of film that way? And yes I have also saw a few films projected in “4K” as well.

      As for “everyone has moved on”. No actually there are quite a few directors that not only shoot in analog, but prefer it.

      Oh yeah about some evidence. Here is a little article from Arri…you know a global supplier for motions picture and maker of the Alexa 65


      “By the way – the same goes for a digital camera with a 4k chip: There, a low pass filter
      (actually a deliberate defocussing) must take care of pushing down modulation at half of the
      sampling frequency (80 lp/mm) to 0, because otherwise aliasing artifacts would show up..
      Ultimately : neither a 4k scan nor a (3-chip) 4k camera sensor can really transfer resolution
      up to 4k.
      This is a not an easily digestible paradigm. IT BASICALLY MEANS THAT 4K DATA ONLY CONTAINS 4K INFORMATION IF THEY WERE CREATED PIXEL BY PIXEL ON A COMPUTER – without creating an optical
      image beforehand. ”

      Does this sound familiar? You know, because I basically said the same thing!

      “The resolution limit is not reached below a distance of 14 m. In other words, under these
      conditions more than 50% of the audience would see image detail up to the highest spatial
      frequency of the projector. ”

      If you read that article closer, it is .2 mm for the human eye. Now I am telling you this Josh, as someone that have been in a viscoelastic opthalmic formulation, I can absolutely verify this back to my original calculation. Furthermore, this is just a spit out number that has very little to do with summation perception going beyond the millions of sensors in the human eye which you don’t seem to think is important.

      Now lets look at the tale of the tape from this article. 16, 35, and 65 mm has detail as low as .006 mm for the smallest detail (pg 3).

      “According to the scanning theorem of Nyquist and Shannon the digital grid then has to be at
      least twice as fine, that is 0.012 mm / 2 = 0.006 mm. ”

      Using this he comes up with

      65 mm 52.48 mm × 23.01 mm 8746 × 3835 pixels (of course he does mention…”at least”…but I digress)

      Of course not only does that add up to 8K resolution, but then there is this:

      “Ultimately : neither a 4k scan nor a (3-chip) 4k camera sensor can really transfer resolution
      up to 4k. ”

      That doesn’t sound too good at all. So what is Mr. Harris and co. seeing if it just so much more clear.

      “In the 1970’s, Erich Heynacher from Zeiss provided the decisive proof that humans attach
      more value to coarse, contour-defining details than to fine details when evaluating an image. ”

      Sound familiar? Go back to my quotes above because I already said this. I am not trying to be an ass here, but great minds do really think alike. I did none of this kind of study until you brought it up. Again, you are arguing for preference over reality.

      I have been reading through some older SMTE articles and everything is agreeable to what is presented above. Why…because they cannot nix what the camera makers already know.

      If you find me a current article I will be happy to go through it, but 4K quite simply, is not enough, but worse yet, according to the facts, after the pass filters, it is NOT EVEN 4K!

      The SMPTE is working on the “better pixel” project because they are running into the problems that I have already laid out. As the pixel count goes higher and higher they are running into accuracy issues. Which is why maximizing MTF continues to be an issue.

      The issue I have is that the more and more we get a digital scrubbing on everything down to the pixel independence, are we moving farther and farther away from reality?

      Film makers like Tarantino, Anderson, and Nolan thinks so which is why they use the most simplistic tools to make their films while using digital like another tool, and not the only way for their work.

      Certain film preservation artists think they should dictate what an artist decides to use, or how they decide to distribute, and I think and who put them in charge? I say make some films from the ground up, and then we will talk. Other than that, you are just another aging fan who just happens to have more money and tools.

      While you have thrown out every single one of my examples that have illustrated the same thing, perhaps when having someone that shows exact data then you will take it more seriously.

      Essentially what was written out are facts that I already knew. Once you study the work on a molecular level (which I have), the rudimentary mathematical approximations are just going to enunciate what is obvious. It was apparent from even a 5 second response what I was dealing with, and the bullying from a great many people showed that it was more of a digital religion than actually caring about the facts of what is actually going on. This is quite prevalent in the messageboard world, and it is quite sad because we should be learning from one another instead of putting each other down.

      • When you go on and on about all these amazing nano molecules, you keep ignoring the fact that the molecules on a dupe print are different than the molecules on the source being copied. The more copies you make, the less faithful to the source they are. How do you reconcile that with your belief system?

        I ask this rhetorically, because of course your devotion to analog is well beyond the point of religious zealotry, and faith is blind to reason.

        • Chris B

          Holy shit this is one epic arguement. Might be an all-timer. I agree on The Hateful Eight example. Saw it in digital and it looked amazing…bring on the future!

          • genesim

            The reason it looked amazing as well as the Master etc…was because it was filmed 70 mm.

            In the article it states that despite the wrong headed idea that new film prints lose quality to a negative degree, the facts are that even on a 35 mm print it is actually beyond 4K because of the requirement of the pass filter that downgrades.

            This is not from me, this is from Arris that designed the digital Alexis HD cameras!

        • genesim

          The article is talking about prints.

          You obviously ignored it as well as my explanation.

          You obviousoy cannot reply to me without disrespecting me.

          This isn’t about ignoring the future. I know that “4K” projection of “4K” scanning does not beat analog 70 mm projection and all the experts agree with me.

          You have tried to expand it to 4K digital sourcework or negative only discussion and think that insulting me and misrepresenting proves anything.

          It doesn’t matter what evidence is put before you, you aren’t listening. I tried, I really did.

          Take care and no hard feelings on me end. I look forward to the future when we will see beyond 8K projection where it is downsampled to the limits of a 70mm film print…we aren’t there yet. Of course what will happen when someone pastes together two analog 70 mm film prints. Hmmm

          • genesim

            Josh one more thing. When you say that directors are moving away from analog, a stark contrast to that would be J.J. Abrams who made the most successful in the past couple of decades. With Star Wars IX in 70 mm around the corner…I see it only getting better.

            Dunkirk screened on more 70 mm film projectors then 70 mm did back in its heyday. That is a fact.

          • J.J. Abrams may shoot on film, but all of his movies go through a Digital Intermediate. In fact, Abrams shot portions of Star Trek into Darkness in IMAX and then had all that footage downgraded to a 2k DI. I’ve never heard him say one word against digital projection. He only shoots on film because he thinks it’s cool to be “retro.” If he’s the best you’ve got, you really need to re-evaluation your heroes of analog purity.

  23. Timcharger

    Josh, how much easier would it have been, instead of this argument, if you just watched the Last Jedi? You could have watched it a few times by now. Though for me, I’m not quite sure which I prefer reliving.

    • genesim


      According to IMDB the Force Awakens was printed to a 35 mm and then also blown up to Imax. Also the digital intermediate was 4K, not 2K.

      Regardless, it was filmed on 35 mm and while it was obvious that it was digitally processed (uh…because of special effects and all), the point was that however it ended up, it still started ANALOG.

      Cool and “retro”, no it is how the director likes to film. The LOST tv series was filmed analog obviously. I think his preference and other great directors should go without saying and it should always be their right despite the sick obsession of some critics to push out analog filming even when it makes no logical sense.

      The awesome look of the Force Awakens is obvious. Sorry you do not see the value.


      Actually I like the movie. I really do. I have watched it a couple of times and don’t see what the issue is. So shoot me.

      • I wasn’t talking about The Force Awakens. I was talking about Star Trek into Darkness. Regardless…

        You need to work on the consistency of your argument. Whether the DI is 2k or 4k, they’re both still that evil digital “approximation” you hate so much. All those wonderful molecules from the source negative were wiped out during the scan and never returned.

        Or do you believe that a film-out from digital is perfectly OK because the analog print will somehow magically restore those molecules?

  24. genesim

    p.s. lots of special effects were finished at 2K, and the low quality shows. My “heroes” that film analog are the majority of the history of Hollywood directors let alone the rest of the world. Is that supposed to hurt?

    I never claimed that all things are “analog pure”. I know full well that film is converted digitally. You think I have been living under a rock? I am arguing for the source, and whenever possible I like to see it PRINTED to film because of the obvious scientific advantages.

      • genesim

        It has never changed. I pointed this out to you.

        Here is a breakdown for review:

        I value analog source film making more than digital source filming because the quality of digital filming technology isn’t there yet.

        I value analog printing from negative on 70 mm and Imax because digital printing isn’t there yet (and until it surpasses 8K PRINTING which is down-sampled to higher than that value after filters, than it will never be). I tolerate 35 mm digital printing, but I also don’t think “4K” is enough.

        I value analog source film making and appreciate digital conversions for home use, but also feel the technology isn’t quite there yet or utiiized enough….for example 4K transfer of the 16 mm Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

        I do not drink the Kool-aid that a film printed from normal process is a bad thing…i.e. 4 steps takes away enough detail that makes it less than a “4K” (and I put that in parenthesis, because after filters it is NOT 4K).

        I also do not spread the propaganda that what Nolan did is any different than what happened with Kubrick’s film originally other than the film negative has aged.

        Where did I ever change my view? Instead of repeating the wrong headed information over and over and over again, why not actually try to understand what I am saying instead of personal attacking me and saying the mis-truth that I ever changed my stance?

        And before you repeat it again, I am well aware that detail is lost with every printing. And that loss comes from something that has way more detail (the negative) and is chemically processed and put onto a medium that still has way more detail even after the downgrade.

  25. genesim

    p.s You mention Samsara. That film was finished 8K. I am sure it looked great and if projected 8K, I would be arguing quite a bit less. Once you downgrade to 4K, you have lost information. I would think this goes without saying. No matter how it is spun, you seem to think having that information is not important. It reminds me of MP3 lovers saying that there is no difference between that file and a full uncompressed HD file. BULL

    • After 4k, there are rapidly diminishing returns to how much detail from a moving image the human visual system can see. But of course, you believe we see with our hair, so there’s really no point in arguing with you anymore.

      Regardless, 4k projection will retain more of the detail from the original camera negative than a 4th generation analog print will. This has been measured and proven.

      • genesim

        Agree to disagree, though you should apologize for this so called changing of my view. I never claimed you “SEE” with the hairs on your arms.

        My first request to you was for you to attempt to understand my side. Misstating my point of view is not even making an attempt.

        A human detects an image down to how they feel. Feelings, yes go to the very hairs on your arms, the memories in the human mind, …and a million other ways. You call this pseudo science, no it is a fact and to dismiss how the brain processes information is just not right.

        The problem with this merry go round discussion is the fact that you don’t respect my view (or science for that matter). In most everything I have argued, I have never stated what you should feel and what your opinion should be, and that you are some kind of religious freak for feeling that way. It should be a mutual respect, and despite you giving me ample opportunity to do so, I still am not feeling any disrespect toward you. You are stuck in your ways, and you have obviously not even tried to understand my points. You cannot accuse me of the same thing because I have actually used your examples and responded in kind. I AM DONE. Get your last word in. I double dog dare you. (just kidding to lighten this up, thx for the discussion)

        • First you say that analog film prints are vastly higher resolution than 4k, and that the amazing detail on them is visible by supernatural means beyond mere eyesight. Then when that argument fails, you shift to saying that what you’re really concerned about is preserving every micron of detail on the camera negative. When it’s pointed out to you that analog dupe prints are a pretty lousy method of preserving detail from the negative, you abandon that argument and say that the director didn’t want you to see all that detail anyway.

          As the argument goes around and around, you go back to asserting that 4th generation dupe prints are “literally a million times better” than an 8k scan projected at 4k, which is ludicrous. Why stop at a million? Why not say it’s a billion-trillion-kazillion times better? Because science!

          And then, after repeatedly insisting that even an 8k scan is woefully inadequate to reproduce even a fraction of the detail on a film negative, you shift gears again and seem to be perfectly fine with a movie that has a 4k Digital Intermediate, so long as it was scanned from film (at that terrible, piddly 4k) and then printed back to film afterwards. Do you not know how a Digital Intermediate works? If the scan was so insufficient (in your view) to capture all the detail on the negative, how do you think that detail is going to come back just by printing onto film stock?

          This argument is exhausting and I have other things to work on right now.

          • Through all of this, I have never argued against film as a capture medium for photography. Although digital has gotten to the point that it can meet or exceed film in most respects, and the vast majority of viewers cannot tell the difference anymore, film still has certain qualities (some of them actually technical imperfections) that may be desirable to some artists. I don’t begrudge any director for shooting on film if they want to.

            As an exhibition medium for theatrical projection, however, I have no more nostalgia for film. Digital has surpassed it in that regard, hands down.

            The current cinema exhibition market has many, many problems, but the switch to digital is not one of them.

          • genesim

            I asked you to come up with where I said anything that contradicts and you wait until after I say I am done after repeatedly responding, and you come back with this response?

            Here it goes.

            “First you say that analog film prints are vastly higher resolution than 4k, and that the amazing detail on them is visible by supernatural means beyond mere eyesight. ”

            You are only half right on this statement. Analog film prints are superior, but my focus was 70 mm film prints. 35 mm is around 6K, and 70 mm is around at least 8K (probably higher). That is PRINT, not negative. Negatives are actually more. My view has not changed on this matter.

            This mumbo jumbo you have added about supernatural is complete and utter BS. I explained how humans detect and I even showed you the article just sticking to eyes. You chose to ignore that.

            “Then when that argument fails, you shift to saying that what you’re really concerned about is preserving every micron of detail on the camera negative.”

            Actually it never failed. I used evidence to back up what I already knew. The “fail” happened in your head. And yes, I am still all about preserving every micron of detail in the negative and the finished film print. I made this clear before. You dismissed it and repeated the misinformation again. The truth is back in the posts and my view has not changed. You can misquote me a thousand times and it won’t change a thing.

            “When it’s pointed out to you that analog dupe prints are a pretty lousy method of preserving detail from the negative, you abandon that argument and say that the director didn’t want you to see all that detail anyway.”

            When did I ever say that? WHEN?? Not only do I disagree with you completely on this in regards to details on film prints, but I actually made the case that artists know the limitation of the film print and actually create negatives with that in mind. I never abandoned anything. Again, if you actually look at what was written I stated it several times. Do I revert to quoting myself at this point???

            “As the argument goes around and around, you go back to asserting that 4th generation dupe prints are “literally a million times better” than an 8k scan projected at 4k, which is ludicrous. Why stop at a million? Why not say it’s a billion-trillion-kazillion times better? Because science!”

            Actually I never said that. I said that the print is down-sampled from something that has a millions of times more quality. You are right on one thing. Since an electron microscope measure in a picometer, that would be TRILLIONTH of micro meters, than yes, we are talking that kind of detail…wouldn’t it stand to reason that a sample of that is going to be in the millions? By the way something you ignore, in the article it actually states than when the print is done properly, the loss is actually no more than the loss on any other print.

            You see, when you look at a vinyl record, it also is measured in the picometers. You think a silver halide particle is bigger than that?

            As for Kazillionth…uh I don’t know that measurement.

            “And then, after repeatedly insisting that even an 8k scan is woefully inadequate to reproduce even a fraction of the detail on a film negative, you shift gears again and seem to be perfectly fine with a movie that has a 4k Digital Intermediate, so long as it was scanned from film (at that terrible, piddly 4k) and then printed back to film afterwards.”

            Perfectly fine??? Uh no, don’t remember saying that either. I said “You mention Samsara. That film was finished 8K. I am sure it looked great and if projected 8K, I would be arguing quite a bit less. ”

            That isn’t “perfectly fine”. Of course the key words here are PROJECTED 8K. What is going on now is not even PROJECTED 4K, it is projected less than 4K because of filtering processes (and a whole lot more than that).

            I really wish you would stop putting words in my mouth that were never said.

            When you stated that J. J. Abrams had some kind of nostalgia for filming analog and it really wasn’t analog, I pointed out that what you call 2K was 4K and it was because of special effects added later. This didn’t mean that Abrams hated digital or loved analog, it was just a statement of fact that he was limited by special effects. You want to do this “aha” I got you crap, and it isn’t related to anything that I have said. My point remains that the films look better because they were filmed analog. Do I think they could look better if there were devoid of digital special effects (at least till they get better in quality) and printed analog only on 70 mm film…YES. 2001 still looks amazing, and that is something for a film as old as it is. You don’t think that has value, well we can agree to disagree.

            “Do you not know how a Digital Intermediate works? If the scan was so insufficient (in your view) to capture all the detail on the negative, how do you think that detail is going to come back just by printing onto film stock?”

            Again, you need to get my point of view correct. When a process is analog, and stays analog then more detail is printed. When you go from analog to digital and then back to analog, you have lost the detail chain. That doesn’t mean that no details from the source are carried through and it still can’t look good. The key factor here is that you have started with an incredible amount of detail and the “4K” approximation is still taking a sliver of something that has an incredible sample of the real life that was recorded. If you put my feet to the fire, the special effects in the Force Awakens look worse than even the most simple human movement, and that is because real life to this day looks better than digital. Put that same thing on 70 mm source and you get all the beauty that is the Master (I still drop my jaw on the early shots of Pheonix hanging off the ship).

            As for how a digital intermediate works, what is there to know? A scan happens to to turn the negative into a positive. It is at this point that not only is the approximations of the film print put on, but so can special effects that are layered in. I don’t claim to be an expert on this particular part, but the concept is not that hard to understand. Analog become digital…and then more digital not inherent to the original negative is also added in…and in the case of 70 mm…a much lower quality.

            “This argument is exhausting and I have other things to work on right now.”

            I am sure it is, which is why I tried to end it, but you insist on misquoting me and claiming that my argument has changed. Go back to the original quotes and you will see that my point never changed. It isn’t too hard. If you want to state mis-truths and not let me defend myself, I am sure that this will happen eventually. I would actually choose to let it lie.

            Notice in everything I have written, I haven’t picked on anything that you have said. Most everything I wrote is in defense of myself. I don’t like people calling me basically a liar, or that I have changed my story. It never happened.

            Look, believe what you want to believe. That is all I can say. You have pretty much mis-quoted and disregarded every point I have made. We disagree on the fundamentals. Digital photography is 6K at best and terribly inefficient take thousands of terrabytes for something that a simply analog rig can do at a fraction of the cost and no electronic power.

            You want to hold on to some kind of idea that 4K projected is enough to see all the things that a 70 mm film print can offer. I will not agree to that, and I have shown facts to back my case. 8K at the LEAST is what is needed, and not pseudo 8K, but real 8K not filtered and not down-sampled.

            You want to believe that 4K projection “fully replicates” believe that. I have never faulted you for that, but don’t be like Mr. Harris and proclaiming it like some fact of science, because that is simply not true. Mr. Harris has used his opinion and not used one shred of proof and that just isn’t right. When someone says to me that they trust their eyes an not science, I cannot take that seriously. Scientific is using instruments and data to back the case, not a fuzzy feeling in one’s head.

          • “Analog film prints are superior, but my focus was 70 mm film prints. 35 mm is around 6K, and 70 mm is around at least 8K (probably higher). That is PRINT, not negative. Negatives are actually more.”

            We are never going to get beyond this point, because claims like this are simply not true. That’s just all there is to it. Those numbers are not accurate. You’re repeating false information that has been disproven by actual testing and science. You want to believe it because it conforms to your worldview, which the real facts inconveniently don’t line up with. Aside from the analog fetishists like Nolan and Tarantino, people who actually work with film for a living know that it does not have infinite resolution, and that analog duplication is a terribly inefficient process that does a very poor job of preserving detail from the source. Other than those handful of holdouts, the vast majority of other filmmakers – including those who still favor film as a capture medium – have moved on and prefer digital distribution.

  26. genesim


    Do they prefer digital distribution or is the economic landscape? Digital distribution is easy and people have settled for less quality, that is why the files are often as little as 180 gb. This is not a secret. Bit rates suck for obvious reasons. IT IS MONEY. Also even in closed broadcast standards, the live feeds are horrendous.

    Of course people have also accepted Netflix low bit rate and MP3’s. Does this make it right? No it makes it popular.

    Btw, I really do hate the term “analog fetishists”. It is childish to the nth degree. Nolan, Tarantino, Allen, Aronosfky, Lynch (who is back and forth just like the other artists), and Anderson etc… are all film makers and are not “analog fetishists” anymore than what you accused me of. They have all have computer digital work and it is rare to find a director that has none of that. My feeling on this is the same. If it were true that I was just a “fetishists” then why would I go see any movies made today? Why would I have a bluray collection? Would it be fair to call you a digital fetishist??

    Look, let us call it what it is. The showplace metroplex cookie cutter way that movies are spit out on digital files is why it is popular, it isn’t a quality thing, and you know it. Computer generated graphics are where the explosion occurred and that was obviously the push. I think Star Wars Episode I changed everything. While it was there earlier on, the way it was accelerated is obvious. Does that mean it is the best way? No it means that it is different. I would argue for classic films with no computer graphics that use pure analog information. That is just my opinion, but I actually prefer those films more. The golden age of cinema had none of that, and the best films that were ever made also looked incredible being preserved on film, and digital in all its scanning technology has taken a long time to get even close. Does this mean that I don’t value digitial archiving. ABSOLUTELY NOT. I love digital archiving and only want it to get better.

    You asked me to quantify it, and I did. The film even when printed retains a crap ton of information. You want to call me basically an idiot and that I am not scientific, and yada yada for believing and demonstrating as I have. Ok believe that. I am not mad for it.

    Again, then lets agree to disagree. What is the point in just saying I am wrong for the sake of it? I get how you believe. You think that prints lose more quality than a scan does. You think digital has replaced analog and there is no going back (for the most part).

    I get that. And quite simply, I do not agree with it based on what I feel is very good evidence. You don’t think that is good enough evidence. Ok, again, agree to disagree.

    Notice with everything I said, I have still not disrespected you and claimed that you believe in magic or any other such nonsense. I could, believe me I could, but then that is not only unfair, it is disrespecting you as a person.

    Oh and in final, a question to consider in all of this. If you would think that 4K is good enough to scan a 35mm negative (which it isn’t), does that mean that you think a 70 mm film PRINT has less or more information? Think about this really hard. What in your opinion is enough resolution to scan a 70 mm film PRINT to retain all it has?

    I wonder why so many companies are doing 4K scans of film prints when there is no negative? Why don’t they just settle for 2K…or hell even less? I mean after all, as you say, there is so much less information, the film print must be practically worthless right?

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