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Answerman - Why Did Anime Use 16mm Instead Of 35mm Film?


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WingKing



Joined: 27 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:41 pm Reply with quote
"35mm looked great -- it's roughly the analog equivalent of 1080p HD video."

I guess native 70mm (used to film movies like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia back in the day) must've been the analog equivalent of 4k, then. 70mm was already on the way out by the time I was old enough to enjoy movies, but it would explain why my cinephile older brother is always raving about it and how much he misses the enormous screens of theaters past.

Anyway, this was very interesting...I didn't know most anime was filmed at such low resolution. Is there a list anywhere of the TV anime that were actually done in native 35mm, even a partial one? A quick-n-dirty Google search brought up Bebop and Cardcaptor Sakura as frequent examples people talked about, but I didn't see a whole lot more information about it.
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Ouran High School Dropout



Joined: 28 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:57 pm Reply with quote
From Justin's article:

"However, in anime, its cost-cutting legacy lives on: these days, to cut budgets at the cost of image clarity, an anime will be produced at a lower resolution, and then scaled up to 1080p in post-production. Only high budget movies, OVAs and an occasional TV series (or parts of it) get produced in full 1080p. It's just like how 16mm and 35mm used to be."

How much lower resolution? 720p or worse? Though I can't imagine it being anything below 720p, based on the BDs I've watched.
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
From Justin's article:

"However, in anime, its cost-cutting legacy lives on: these days, to cut budgets at the cost of image clarity, an anime will be produced at a lower resolution, and then scaled up to 1080p in post-production. Only high budget movies, OVAs and an occasional TV series (or parts of it) get produced in full 1080p. It's just like how 16mm and 35mm used to be."

How much lower resolution? 720p or worse? Though I can't imagine it being anything below 720p, based on the BDs I've watched.


Yeah, that's around what I've heard. anywhere from 540 to the 800s for most TV shows. I'm sure someone can provide more exact numbers though
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Ouran High School Dropout



Joined: 28 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:04 pm Reply with quote
WingKing wrote:
"35mm looked great -- it's roughly the analog equivalent of 1080p HD video."

I guess native 70mm (used to film movies like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia back in the day) must've been the analog equivalent of 4k, then. 70mm was already on the way out by the time I was old enough to enjoy movies, but it would explain why my cinephile older brother is always raving about it and how much he misses the enormous screens of theaters past.

From what I know of 65mm photography (70mm for release prints; the extra 5mm was needed for magnetic soundtracks), 6K is likely closer to the mark, since each frame was 25% taller than 35mm (5 sprockets instead of 4) as well as much wider. (Used to be a projectionist back in the day.)
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maximilianjenus



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:44 pm Reply with quote
Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
From Justin's article:

"However, in anime, its cost-cutting legacy lives on: these days, to cut budgets at the cost of image clarity, an anime will be produced at a lower resolution, and then scaled up to 1080p in post-production. Only high budget movies, OVAs and an occasional TV series (or parts of it) get produced in full 1080p. It's just like how 16mm and 35mm used to be."

How much lower resolution? 720p or worse? Though I can't imagine it being anything below 720p, based on the BDs I've watched.



I keep on hearing 960p for all shows , witht he ocasional kyonai or what not being made in 1080p.
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Lord Starfish



Joined: 25 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:22 pm Reply with quote
I wouldn't say that the difference between 35mm and 16mm is quite comparable to the resolution-cuts of modern anime. Like, I know there were a few episodes in the Freeza-saga of Dragon Ball Z (starting somewhere during the battle with Ginyu and lasting up to the point where Piccolo joins the fight with Freeza) that were shot on 35mm film, and even on the DVDs, those particular episodes are significantly clearer-looking than the rest of the show. To say nothing of how pristine they looked in Kai, where even watching TV-recordings of it back in the day the difference was immediately apparent.

By comparison, a 720p production upscaled to 1080p and a native 1080p production really don't look that different from one another. I mean, most people don't even seem to realize that the show they're watching weren't animated at full HD, and I've gotten into several discussions about whether or something is or isn't an upscale in recent years.
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ParkerALx



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:28 pm Reply with quote
I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert here, but saying 35mm film is equivalent to 1080 digital video sounds wrong to me. Film doesn't have a fixed resolution. 35mm can definitely be scanned at a 4k resolution and produce spectacular results. The same can be said of 16mm prints, even. I've read that scanning those at 4k helps "resolve the grain" though I'm not entirely sure what that means.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:51 pm Reply with quote
WingKing wrote:
"35mm looked great -- it's roughly the analog equivalent of 1080p HD video."

I guess native 70mm (used to film movies like Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia back in the day) must've been the analog equivalent of 4k, then. 70mm was already on the way out by the time I was old enough to enjoy movies, but it would explain why my cinephile older brother is always raving about it and how much he misses the enormous screens of theaters past.
I've heard 4K has been around since the 80s, but I suppose it is possible some films from the 60s could be 4K.
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:56 pm Reply with quote
ParkerALx wrote:
I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert here, but saying 35mm film is equivalent to 1080 digital video sounds wrong to me. Film doesn't have a fixed resolution. 35mm can definitely be scanned at a 4k resolution and produce spectacular results. The same can be said of 16mm prints, even. I've read that scanning those at 4k helps "resolve the grain" though I'm not entirely sure what that means.

"roughly equivalent" in terms of image detail/density/effective resolution. You can scan a piece of film at 99999K if you want but you're not going to get any more detail out of it. "Resolving the grain" just means that the individual grains that make up the film image are each completely visible in 4K, which is pretty meaningless unless you're an archivist.
MarshalBanana wrote:
I've heard 4K has been around since the 80s, but I suppose it is possible some films from the 60s could be 4K.[/quote]
If you mean digital 4K, then that is not true at all. 4K resolution wasn't really possible until the early 2000s and wasn't being used for "real" content until the late 00's. If you mean "similar-to-4K high-resolution film-based formats" then that is true -- enhanced widescreen formats like Cinerama, ToddAO and similar (mostly 70mm) formats started popping up in the 60s.
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genkisakurachan



Joined: 28 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:19 pm Reply with quote
Full-HD production for TV anime seems to be on the rise as of late. Just this season I know Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, BanG Dream! and Marginal appeared to be made in full, as were Amanchu! and the second part of Shokugeki no Soma.
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Koshkacat



Joined: 15 Mar 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:39 pm Reply with quote
Saying 16 mm was just for hobbyists is a bit unfair to the medium, it was a workhorse for the News media, at home and especially at war, as the cameras and film were a lot easier to manage and move quickly, and could be mounted on airplanes quite easily.

Also many low budget movies have been shot on 16mm, and most animation even in the US, when not intended for theater projection, was shot on 16mm. Many directors got their start on 16mm...
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Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
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Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:23 pm Reply with quote
Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
How much lower resolution? 720p or worse? Though I can't imagine it being anything below 720p, based on the BDs I've watched.


It's hard to be certain, but it seems like it's somewhere between 720p and 1080p. Exact resolution varies depending on studio. People complaining that "1080p on that show is an upscale!" are technically correct, but since 720p on the same show is downscaled, it's kind of a non-issue.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:30 pm Reply with quote
The Walking Dead is shot on 16mm, and so are some scenes of American Horror Story, also last year's film "Jackie" with Natalie Portman was shot entirely on 16mm film (with select scenes in 8mm), along with parts of "Hidden Figures," 2015's "Steve Jobs," "Carol," and Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom." You can still buy it from Kodak if you wish to shoot on it. Plenty of classic horror films were shot in the format (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead), other recent films for artistic reasons (Black Swan was shot mostly on 16mm when Fuji was still producing motion picture film), and tons of TV shows (the first couple seasons of Buffy and Stargate SG-1). There's also another film student at my college that still shoots some of his shorts on 16mm.

I'm curious how most US cartoons were shot. I would guess it was also a mixture.

LordStarfish wrote:
I wouldn't say that the difference between 35mm and 16mm is quite comparable to the resolution-cuts of modern anime. Like, I know there were a few episodes in the Freeza-saga of Dragon Ball Z (starting somewhere during the battle with Ginyu and lasting up to the point where Piccolo joins the fight with Freeza) that were shot on 35mm film, and even on the DVDs, those particular episodes are significantly clearer-looking than the rest of the show. To say nothing of how pristine they looked in Kai, where even watching TV-recordings of it back in the day the difference was immediately apparent.


I had no idea any part of the DBZ TV series was shot on 35. I'll have to look for that next time I'm watching. It shouldn't be too obvious with FUNi's season sets, but I'm sure there's some noticeable difference.

Ranma 1/2 looks incredible on Blu-ray, and it was definitely shot on 16mm. It's very soft and grainy, but it's otherwise not a whole lot different from some 35mm anime in HD.
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Sparvid



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:48 am Reply with quote
Quote:
these days, to cut budgets at the cost of image clarity, an anime will be produced at a lower resolution, and then scaled up to 1080p in post-production. Only high budget movies, OVAs and an occasional TV series (or parts of it) get produced in full 1080p.

I get that the differences in price between 16mm and 35mm would quickly add up, but how much time and money do you save on not simply doing it in 1080p to begin with?
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partially



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
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Location: Oz
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:42 am Reply with quote
Sparvid wrote:
I get that the differences in price between 16mm and 35mm would quickly add up, but how much time and money do you save on not simply doing it in 1080p to begin with?


That is something I would also like to know the reasoning for? Given how cheap disk space is these days, there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to me to produce below 1080p, I don't even see a reason not to produce at 4K (apart from the fact for most anime it would look like pants). I would be amazed if the artists doing the digital drawings for anime are working at a resolution smaller than 1080p, it would be a pain to manipulate the image. So production wise there doesn't really seem to be a cost saving by going lower resolution. And if the artists were working in vector, resolution becomes a complete non-issue. Although aspects of anime aren't so suitable for vector so I could see why they wouldn't be.

Is it something to do with the colouring or post-production process?
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