Jump to content


If I Completely Screw Up


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 01 January 2006 - 05:21 PM

I'm planning a shoot on Super16 and DV.

I'm planning to transfer neg. to DV for editing for a direct-to-DVD release.

What I want to know is: If I load the camera right, get the picture in focus... if I do everything right and still manage to screw up...is it fixable? I am well aware that...absolute worst-case scenario...I could just use the DV footage. But I'd really like to use the film footage. So...

What can I do to avoid screwing up, by the way?
  • 0

#2 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:09 PM

I'm planning a shoot on Super16 and DV.

I'm planning to transfer neg. to DV for editing for a direct-to-DVD release.

What I want to know is: If I load the camera right, get the picture in focus... if I do everything right and still manage to screw up...is it fixable? I am well aware that...absolute worst-case scenario...I could just use the DV footage. But I'd really like to use the film footage. So...

What can I do to avoid screwing up, by the way?


Depends what you do to screw up if you are shooting neg and you get your meter readings off then they might be able to fix it in post, same with issues of colour temperature.

If you forget to take the lens cap off you could rewind the film in complete darkness and do the whole shoot again on the unexposed film.

If you expose your film to bright light probably not.

If you screw up badly enough then it can't be fixed. but then that is true of DV too really.

What exactly are you planning on screwing up anyway, or aren't you sure yet. What filmstock are you planiing to screw up on, What shooting conditions are you planning to screw up in? What camera are you screwing up on with which lenses? More information is needed before anyone can tell you how to screw up really badly I think.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya, 01 January 2006 - 06:10 PM.

  • 0

#3 david west

david west
  • Guests

Posted 01 January 2006 - 07:23 PM

?Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself?: FDR



not trying to be trite, but do a little and see how it goes...
  • 0

#4 Tim Carroll

Tim Carroll
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2165 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago, Illinois

Posted 01 January 2006 - 07:56 PM

Test, test, test. Then you will know what results come from what set-ups. Film is not some kind of dark science. It is what you probably learned to shoot with as a child with your first camera. Take your time, test the camera and the film stock you plan to use, and you should be fine. And you can really do alot with film in post.

Good luck,
-Tim
  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11941 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 January 2006 - 08:11 PM

Hi,

Fairly obviously, the problem with shooting film, especially on small scale stuff, is that it's very easy to screw it up in a way that you won't be able to detect until it's too late to redo it.

The only serious film I've ever shot came out uniformly soft. Nobody had any idea why. It wasn't focus because it was completely consistent through the whole thing. The camera's owner, the lab, the focus puller, the telecine suite all went "not our problem." Not a lot you can say to that. It's wrecked. End of story.

Which I hate to say is exactly what I feared would happen...

Phil
  • 0

#6 David Sweetman

David Sweetman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • Student

Posted 01 January 2006 - 08:16 PM

I bet your movie will suffer if you try to frame for both cameras, just to have the DV as a backup. Anyway the risk is half the fun! At least test a few hundred feet of film to see how to do it. It might be cheaper to get a print of the test and have it projected than to do the supervised telecine, because you really don't have to test the telecine. If you've only tested, say, 100-200 feet, you can probably convince them to do it free or at a discount. Once you've seen that you actually can get an image out of your camera, and once you've seen how the film reacts to light, you'll be way more confident on your shoot.
  • 0

#7 Robert Edge

Robert Edge
  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 January 2006 - 08:44 PM

John,

If you are comfortable using a manual still camera and a light meter, you have nothing to worry about.

If you aren't, filming in super 16 is going to be a very expensive way to learn some hard lessons, and trying to fix exposure errors later may or may not work, will cost you money and won't help your development as a photographer.

If you aren't comfortable with using a manual still camera, the way to avoid a screw-up, as you put it, is to get comfortable, before you go and spend a whole lot of money using film that runs at 24 frames a second instead of 1 frame a minute :)

When you get to the point of shooting motion picture film, one thing that might help is using a digital still camera, especially the histogram, to test exposure.

If you are going to shoot in a controlled and repeatable environment,
Tim's advice is good, although it involves the expenditure of time and money.

If you are not shooting in a repeatable environment, and are unsure about exposure, you can bracket your exposures, but again this costs time and cash.

From my point of view, the basic idea is that you are supposed to be in charge, not fate, and that shooting super 16 is likely to be an expensive and painful lesson if the exercise is a crap shoot.
  • 0

#8 Brian Wells

Brian Wells
  • Sustaining Members
  • 438 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 January 2006 - 09:10 PM

Can one of the more experienced members here talk about the virtues of exposure testing with a Polaroid?

http://www.rit.edu/~...t-polatest.html
  • 0

#9 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 01 January 2006 - 09:43 PM

Can one of the more experienced members here talk about the virtues of exposure testing with a Polaroid?

http://www.rit.edu/~...t-polatest.html



You're not going to find better technical info about it then Davidhazy's stuff. I've taken a couple classes with him (I go to RIT) and he's top-notch.

As for using polaroid on set, I don't think it's necessary most of the time. It's just a matter of trusting your meter first then trusting your eye. There are some times- like judging the evenness of a green screen or scenes of vast contrast range- where polaroid could help you assess the scene better. The thing is that polaroid has different latitude than negative stock, so even with it there's still interpretation to do.

I bet your movie will suffer if you try to frame for both cameras, just to have the DV as a backup. Anyway the risk is half the fun! At least test a few hundred feet of film to see how to do it. It might be cheaper to get a print of the test and have it projected than to do the supervised telecine, because you really don't have to test the telecine. If you've only tested, say, 100-200 feet, you can probably convince them to do it free or at a discount. Once you've seen that you actually can get an image out of your camera, and once you've seen how the film reacts to light, you'll be way more confident on your shoot.



Unfortunately, I really doubt he can get processing and a transfer done for free or even at a discount for small quantity. They still have to do the same amount of work for 100 feet as for 400 feet, the wait in-between is just shorter.
  • 0

#10 Tim Carroll

Tim Carroll
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2165 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago, Illinois

Posted 01 January 2006 - 09:59 PM

Hi,

Fairly obviously, the problem with shooting film, especially on small scale stuff, is that it's very easy to screw it up in a way that you won't be able to detect until it's too late to redo it.

The only serious film I've ever shot came out uniformly soft. Nobody had any idea why. It wasn't focus because it was completely consistent through the whole thing. The camera's owner, the lab, the focus puller, the telecine suite all went "not our problem." Not a lot you can say to that. It's wrecked. End of story.

Which I hate to say is exactly what I feared would happen...

Phil


Phil. we all know you're a videophile.

I can think of two reasons all your film came out soft. Depending on which camera you used, I would say that your Flange Focal Distance was off, or your viewfinder optics were off. With the FFD, no matter which lenses you put on the camera, and no matter how great things looked in the viewfinder, and even if you set focus by measuring tape, your footage would be as out of focus as your FFD was off. FFD a little bit off, exposed film a little soft, FFD alot off, exposed film alot soft.

If your viewfinder optics were off, again it would not matter what lens you put on the camera if you were focusing with the viewfinder. You would have gotten different results if you focused with a tape measure. But if you did your whole shoot using just the viewfinder to focus, and the viewfinder optics were off, then all your footage would be soft. And I am not talking about the diopter settings, I am talking about the optics that project the image on the ground glass or fiber optics screen.

That is why I told John to test. A simple camera test in pre-production would have revealed the problem you ran into, before thousands of feet of film had been exposed.

But you are right about one thing with video. If you are shooting with a properly calibrated production monitor on set, what you see in the monitor is what you are going to be getting on tape, if your tape transport is not a little out of adjustment and your heads aren't dirty.

-Tim Carroll
Filmophile B)
  • 0

#11 David Sweetman

David Sweetman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • Student

Posted 01 January 2006 - 10:09 PM

Unfortunately, I really doubt he can get processing and a transfer done for free or even at a discount for small quantity. They still have to do the same amount of work for 100 feet as for 400 feet, the wait in-between is just shorter.


Yeah, but you play the "dead-poor highschool student" card, with barely the budget to make the short, which you will of course bring to the same lab and pay for, along with your future projects. Sometimes they'll help you out. It's worth a try.
  • 0

#12 Robert Edge

Robert Edge
  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 January 2006 - 10:11 PM

Brian,

When I am using a large format 4x5 still camera, I use B&W Polaroid film to test composition, lighting and depth of field, and secondarily to confirm general exposure. I use B&W rather than colour because, in my experience, it does a better job, partly because it is less temperature sensitive. It is also less expensive.

It is important to explain the function of the polaroids. I use them for close shots when composition and apparent depth of field are really important. This works because I can place the sheet of Polaroid film in exactly the same place that a sheet of regular film will be when the final shot is taken. Typically, when I am doing this, I will spend an hour to three hours setting up the shot, I will take several polaroids and tinker after each one, and then I will shoot the final shot with film, bracketing aperture or exposure or both. The final shot, which can involve shooting anywhere from three to ten sheets of film, takes only a minute or two.

I have not used Polaroids for motion picture film and I doubt that I will. Their usefulness for large format photographers largely arises from the ability to place Polaroid sheets in the same plane as the film for the final shot. That can't be done with a motion picture camera.

For moving pictures, it seems to me that a digital camera, tied to a laptop if possible, is more useful, especially if one is using it in conjunction with a programme like Kodak Look Manager.

A caveat... You said that you wanted responses from experts. I don't claim to be that. I'm just a guy who has gone through a lot of Polaroids.

Cheers
  • 0

#13 Tim Carroll

Tim Carroll
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2165 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago, Illinois

Posted 01 January 2006 - 10:42 PM

Yeah, but you play the "dead-poor highschool student" card, with barely the budget to make the short, which you will of course bring to the same lab and pay for, along with your future projects. Sometimes they'll help you out. It's worth a try.


I have had good luck with lab/telecine houses giving me a break on test footage when they knew they were going to get the production job, even when the production job would only be a few thousand feet of 16mm. Talk to whatever house you plan on using and see if they will cut you a deal on test footage. Then shoot a hundred foot roll, a little footage with each lens you plan to use, and try some different light set ups, just five to ten feet of each should tell you enough.

Good luck,
-Tim
  • 0

#14 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 02 January 2006 - 04:21 AM

What exactly are you planning on screwing up anyway, or aren't you sure yet.

Not sure yet.

What filmstock are you planiing to screw up on,

Kodak 7248 or 7274, maybe a bit of both. Haven't decided what will work best.

What shooting conditions are you planning to screw up in?

Available light. About 50/50 Indoor/Outdoor.

What camera are you screwing up on with which lenses?

Arriflex SRIII, 11-110 Zeiss Zoom T2.2

I'm fairly comfortable using Mom's 35mm SLR with all the manual settings. Have taken some nice looking shots with this (at least the ones that have been developed look good, can't be sure of the rolls still sitting in a shoebox in the coat closet).

Perhaps I'm just leary as my last attempt at movie-making was a disaster and I will absolutely not show it to you.

The DV footage is meant to be from the perspective of a news camera. I hope to process it somehow to make it look like video transferred to film and then back to video (sort of like the VHS footage in Die Hard).

Oh, I'm planning to shoot for a 2.35:1 AR with both formats. On DV I would shoot in-camera 16:9 then crop to 2.35... On super16 I would have the footage transferred in 16:9 format and crop... either way allowing for artificial tilts in case my framing is a bit off. This will also allow a larger portion of the image to be kept in the POS P&S version a portion of the target audience will probably want.

...

Is there maybe some way to shoot super8 and get similar results. The only feature I've seen shot on super8 was some no-budget horror film I'll pretend to forget the title of to avoid offending the filmmakers, it was only cropped to 1.66 or 1.85 and it looked terrible.
  • 0

#15 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 02 January 2006 - 08:42 AM

Testing the camera is really good advice, I worked on a shoot once which was an overnight shoot in a castle.
They had built little sets and everything. they had costumes and arranged lighting. It was great.

Sadly they were shooting on a K3.
A day before the shoot a control came off the K3 and it was unusable, but it was ok because the guy had 2 of them. Except he hadn't tested the other camera, and the day of the shoot came and the camera kept jamming. I did offer the use of my camera but nobody took me up on it.

Turned out it wasn't just jamming, because nothing was on the film, not even soft images.

I should say that I was boming the mike and apparetly the sound was great. ;)

Anyway no film and a lot of people were not happy, although I was happy because I got to hang out in a castle all night and eat cookies and stuff with a bunch of people. I thought it was kind of like a camping holiday but other people were not so taken.

Anyway it would have been good to have tested all the cameras.

love

Freya
  • 0

#16 LondonFilmMan

LondonFilmMan
  • Guests

Posted 02 January 2006 - 08:56 AM

How does a high diver spin over so many times and land without breaking his neck...

Chance...or...

Check and test, Check and test, Check and test, Check and test...

How does a racing driver speed a 250 mph and more without crashing...

Chance...or...

Check and test, Check and test, Check and test, Check and test...

If you are asking, are you chancing...or...

Checking and testing, checking and testing, checking and testing, checking and testing...
  • 0

#17 Annie Wengenroth

Annie Wengenroth
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 653 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 02 January 2006 - 09:19 AM

Exactly.

I highly recommend testing the camera, lenses, and mags. Not only will it help you to know that everything's working the way it's supposed to, but it will give you practice too.
  • 0

#18 Andy Sparaco SOC

Andy Sparaco SOC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 203 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Chicago and most airline lounges

Posted 02 January 2006 - 09:33 AM

All of the suggestions have been good ones. Here is a simple but often overlooked one:

Get extra film cans so you can download the exposed portion of a mag if you feel there is a problem during the shoot.

Ask the lab for empty cans they should have plenty
  • 0

#19 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11941 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 January 2006 - 09:36 AM

Hi,

The problem with testing is that on a small scale production the costs of doing so can be near the costs of shooting the production, making it impossible to do it anyway.

And anyway, what the hell, I don't test a DVW-790 the day before taking it out. I expect equipment to be supplied in good order.

Phil
  • 0

#20 Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4708 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 02 January 2006 - 09:42 AM

And anyway, what the hell, I don't test a DVW-790 the day before taking it out. I expect equipment to be supplied in good order.

Phil


Hi,

I would never go out on a shoot without testing every pice of kit I had first! I mean every light, Stand, Cable, Monitor, Lens, Camera etc.

Stephen
  • 0


CineTape

Ritter Battery

Opal

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Technodolly

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc