Book Excerpt: “Cinema Raw”

Andrew was asked to provide his thoughts on shooting digital vs. film and raw vs. compressed for Cinema Raw, a book on digital cinematography. The full book is available to purchase here, but a long excerpt can be found on the publisher’s website:

When you’re shooting with a compressed format, such as with the Canon 5D, Andrew Cochrane of Guillermo Del Toro’s studio Mirada explains, you’re getting about five stops of usable latitude:

So your exposure needs to be right—you can’t miss it by a stop. In the H.264 compression color space—and it’s pretty heavily compressed—you don’t want to change your image very much in post. You want to use filters. You want to nail your stop and you want to nail your look, you want to set your white balance. You want to look at your LCD and have it be at 90 percent final image—if not 95 percent—because that’s how much wiggle room you have in post before the image just goes to hell.

Fundamentally, there are two camps of filmmaking, Cochrane explains:

There’s film and there’s digital. Film’s all about the shadows. Digital’s all about the highlights. The reason a lot of people have had trouble transitioning to digital is because the mentality is 180 degrees from film—you’re protecting your shadows, when you should be protecting your highlights in digital.

Read more here.