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I have a budget and people


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#1 Shobhit Dixit

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:18 AM

After going through this forum as much as I can, and actually seeing how wonderful people are in supporting each other, I decided to finally get my thoughts through. Please take sometime to read this post as I am in need of some good advice from all you talented plus experienced folks out there.

1) I have a budget of around 10,000 Max!! And that is pushing it but over the course of months I can gather that much funds. Here is the scenario

--> I need to buy a camera for a 60-80 minute film which deals about gangsters fighting against political system and themselves to survive and show that they are strong. Film will be shot TOTALLY indoors with freaky color look (somewhat like the matrix in some way, and I am talking about the colors). Ofcourse I dont think I can make that good an effect but basically my point being that I want a look that resembles graphic colors on screen. I have a budget of 3000-4000 dollars for the camera. I have looked around for camera's and for that budget there are some famous camera's out there :D. But I wanted someone to suggest a camera for this particular kind of look I'm looking for.

--> Next, any suggestion on where to buy one? Ebay, one of those online stores, etc? I live in NY city so if anyone has a suggestion of a particular store in NY where I can hunt for one would be great.

--> Editing software. I have Adobe Premiere Pro and have experience with photoshop. For anyone who has experience with these software tell me if they are good for editing the film?

--> Locations. Any suggestions how to get a corporate office sort of look in the film? Either via any cinematography skill or any social engineering ideas to get a good location.

--> Music. Anyone prepared to work for free for this project? Or some money to give in time to get the right kind of music. I was wondering if I could get some suggestions on that.

Sorry for being a little blunt and a total rookie but I am reading as much as I can to gather info as to how I can begin the process...thank you for spending ttime reading this post. Any suggestion and advise will be invaluable to my cause :)
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 10:59 AM

It always seems odd to me to spend 60% or more of your budget for a film buying the camera. Also, a 60-minute movie is fairly useless, unless you are making a documentary for an hour-long time slot. Otherwise, 60-minutes is too long for a short, by far, and too short for a feature.

The most efficient way to make the film is to do it all at once, like in two 6-day weeks. Then you could rent a camera for the two weeks that is much better than one you can afford to buy, or rent the same camera you were going to buy for MUCH less money. But this supposes you can shoot your movie all at once, not over weekends.

If you must buy, and borrowing isn't an option, I'd be considering the 24P DVX100B or Canon XL2, but it still seems odd to spend so much of your $10,000 budget just on the camera. But the first rule of indie filmmaking is generally never pay for what you can get for free.
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#3 Josh Bass

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:37 PM

Just curious. . .have you ever made anything before?

I would start with a short film (and the shorter, the better--this is just to get you into the whole workflow (planning, executing, post)). I don't know why a so many people want to just jump in and go right for the feature with no experience behind them. Ok, I understand why, but I don't understand how they think it's a good idea.
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#4 Ian Marks

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:45 PM

David Mullen makes several excellent points (as he usually does). You haven't indicated what your skill level is, or what experience you have in either the film or video world. In fact, you haven't indicated whether you intend to shoot on film or video, although you are referring to your project as a "film."

If you're shooting on film, if you look at the cost of obtaining film, processing, and transfer to video for editing (you've indicated that you plan to edit using Premiere, so a transfer from the camera original is indicated), and bearing in mind that you will need to shoot significantly more film than will actually end up in the final product, you'll see that the cost of shooting on film can quickly eclipse your $10K budget.

You've also described your story as taking place entirely indoors. I'm guessing that that means it contains a lot of dialogue (there aren't a lot of long-form movies that take place entirely indoors that don't have any dialogue). If you're shooting on film with a tight budget, shooting interior dialogue scenes presents its own set of problems. There are a few quiet-running 16mm sync cameras that you can find on the used market within the $3,000-$4,000 range you mention, so that's do-able, but you're going need some additional sound insulating material... and then of course microphones, cables, a sound recording device, and so on. All told you will probably exceed $4,000 when these are factored in.

If you're shooting on video, of course, everything can be much cheaper... but it takes considerable skill to overcome the "soap opera look" when shooting dramatic material on pro-sumer video (which is not say that shooting film is easy, but film seldom suffers from looking like video!).

You can, of course, make a film of any length you choose, but if you expect your production to have any commercial prospects, a 60-89 minute running length isn't going to cut it. If your script can be padded out to an hour and a half, that's better. Arguably, anything with a narrative that you stretch out to be 90 minutes can be called a "feature." Otherwise, make a short film. Keep it under 30 minutes (preferably, way under). Making a short or two - or three or four - before tackling a longer film can provide a wonderful learning experience. Whatever you choose to do, keep us updated.
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#5 Josh Bass

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:50 PM

But there've been movies around 80 minutes released in theaters (quite a few, too). Even the extremely short (68 minutes) November saw a few theaters.

I would say 80 minutes and up.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:58 PM

Some distributors contractually specify a running time for a feature to be no shorter than, let's say, 85 to 90 minutes.

But the longer anything is, the costs go up, the work gets harder, so I'd opt to shoot a short film first for practice, maybe something 10 to 15 minutes long, if not shorter (since it's just for practice.) Even just doing a five-minute short that goes through the whole chain of shooting through post would be a good learning experience and tell you where you are lacking.
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#7 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 07:50 PM

if your feature is 75-80 minutes long, you could always add on a long title sequence later to squeak it into the "qualifying" runtime of 85/90 minutes. it just better be compelling enough to keep people still for ten minutes. don't know for certain, but it seems to me like this is what mtv & the producers did for napolean dynamite after acquisition.
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#8 Josh Bass

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 07:53 PM

When run times are mentioned, does that include credits? Opening and closing credits?

I was just saying, I have seen quite a few reviews for movies that say something like "even at a breezy 82 minutes, this movie sucks ass" (but with more finesse than what I just wrote).

Edited by Josh Bass, 24 January 2006 - 07:54 PM.

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#9 Shobhit Dixit

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 08:57 PM

Hi,
Thank you all the kind words. I have been involved in making 10-15 video but I have never used an editing software...i just used to rewind the tape at the right moment and delete any unnecessary shots. I also have been involved in making sure the actors reherse really well before I shoot so that saved all those costs.

90minutes wont be a problem (specially with credits etc). the film will have lots and lots of dialogue. I have a crew of 10 people so far but it needs to be shot upto 25. I can increase the budget over the course of time as I'll be earning on the run because of my job.
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#10 John Carreon

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:50 AM

Prosumer Digital cameras are readily available...XL-2, HD-FX1, DVX100, so many people buy these and want to shoot stuff on them...if you can't find a up and coming DP (or student) willing to loan his services and equipment for free...or for a very nominal fee then you're not looking hard enough.

I just had a DV Feature that I shot recently released on DVD and we got almost everything for free or damn well close to it...the internet is the best tool an independent filmmaker has at his disposal.

Go to your local film schools and ask around, put up flyers, go to craigslist.com, you'll be able to find a camera, if not all your equipment, for free...

We shot a feature for 1/4 of what you're saying and somebody paid us money for it...find dedicated people willing to work and you can make anything happen...

Good luck...and really don't pay for anything that you can get for free...

John Carreon
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#11 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:45 AM

ssdd:

Below, the "+" sign, stands for ADDITION

"total rookie"
+ "...and actually seeing how wonderful people are in supporting each other"
+ "gather info as to how I can begin the process..."
+ "...Any suggestion and advise will be invaluable to my + cause :)"
+ "gangsters fighting against political system and themselves to survive and show that they are strong" + "60-80 minute film"
+ "Film will be shot TOTALLY indoors"
+ "Music. Anyone prepared to work for free for this project?"
+ "Or some money to give in time to get the right kind of music..."
+ "social engineering"

--------------------
= mmmmmm....
--------------------

ADVICE:

Take a film course. Prague is lovely in summer! Find a (very good) writer. You don't have to publish a book! But make a good plot and script (an engaging dialogue and a convincing story). Make a story board. Find your leading actors, think about profit/work share issues, and so on.

If by that point, you are hot! Why not rent a crew for a few days? Unless you are doing this because you want to learn how, then that is a different thing altogether.

Good luck!
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