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35 feature on the cheap?


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#1 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:05 AM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever made a feature on 35mm, really really cheap? I mean I'm talking almost as cheap as Rodriguez did El Mariachi. Could one do it, if he or she was very careful and had not too much dialog in the film?

Kev
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:22 AM

Just out of curiosity, has anyone ever made a feature on 35mm, really really cheap? I mean I'm talking almost as cheap as Rodriguez did El Mariachi. Could one do it, if he or she was very careful and had not too much dialog in the film?

Kev


Hi,

If you don't pay anyone, use outdated film stock, make deals at the labs then I am sure you could have change from $50,000. If there is really not much dialog and a shooting ratio of 2:1 then it should be easy! LOL

Stephen
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#3 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:36 AM

So I guess someone could do it if that person got free filmstock manufacturer direct and a free camera to use for a almost no budget action film? I was just curious if anyone has ever attempted to do a 35mm feature that way.

Kev
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#4 Mark Allen

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 04:02 AM

I would research the movie "Primer" and listen to the commentary on the DVD and then figure you're doing it with 35mm instead of 16mm and make the appropriate calculative differences. He made his film for about as cheap as anyone could have shooting on 16mm.

Same method in 35mm would be more expensive.

I wouldn't recommend shooting 35mm unless someone hands you everything for free unless you have enough budget to bring the rest of the production value up to the specs of the capture format.
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#5 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 05:50 AM

I have given this very careful thought in the last couple of months and these are my ideas so far

Don't shoot 35mm unless you have free access to the camera kit - 16mm and S16mm will be much cheaper
Sound is going to be an issue - either you need or have a sync sound camera or you are going to spend weeks in FCP doing ADR
Get DVCAM transfers from the post house - so no dailies and no print
Distribute on DVD not a film print
Hold onto neg and hope a distribution deal will buy a film print and audio post

Following from that and using RR rules from El Mariachi (costumes, lunch, inserts, etc) - I reckon you could shoot a 90 min feature for £15000 - if you had the camera, used FUJI or old KODAK, got a reasonable deal on DEV and one light (@20 to 25p/ft), assuming you have months of free time and free access to FCP with a DVCAM deck, paid and fed no-one

I think with a small 35mm camera (2C etc) you could do some amazing location work - but it would be a case of in and out very very quickly - like made a case that carried the 2c fully loaded and ready to go - so you take your suitcase into (where ever) then open the case, take the camera out and press run (total 9 sec) - film for 2 min then out

My response will probablly generate a plethora of responses :ph34r:

Thanks

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#6 Scot McPhie

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:41 AM

I have given this very careful thought in the last couple of months and these are my ideas so far

Don't shoot 35mm unless you have free access to the camera kit - 16mm and S16mm will be much cheaper
Sound is going to be an issue - either you need or have a sync sound camera or you are going to spend weeks in FCP doing ADR
Get DVCAM transfers from the post house - so no dailies and no print
Distribute on DVD not a film print
Hold onto neg and hope a distribution deal will buy a film print and audio post

Following from that and using RR rules from El Mariachi (costumes, lunch, inserts, etc) - I reckon you could shoot a 90 min feature for £15000 - if you had the camera, used FUJI or old KODAK, got a reasonable deal on DEV and one light (@20 to 25p/ft), assuming you have months of free time and free access to FCP with a DVCAM deck, paid and fed no-one

I think with a small 35mm camera (2C etc) you could do some amazing location work - but it would be a case of in and out very very quickly - like made a case that carried the 2c fully loaded and ready to go - so you take your suitcase into (where ever) then open the case, take the camera out and press run (total 9 sec) - film for 2 min then out

My response will probablly generate a plethora of responses :ph34r:

Rolfe



I don't think kind of approach will yield high production values - why not use Super 16 - which is alot cheaper and can be blown up to 35 if needed. He's a thread that might be of interest too"

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=10714

Scot

Thanks

Edited by Scotness, 01 February 2006 - 06:42 AM.

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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 08:05 AM

I have given this very careful thought in the last couple of months and these are my ideas so far

Don't shoot 35mm unless you have free access to the camera kit -
Thanks

Rolfe


Hi Rolfe,

Thats why I bought my Ultracams! I think I will be back Uk in the next 12 months, so we should talk!

Stephen
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#8 chooser

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 10:51 AM

well ..... I am trying to doing it, 35mm, 40,000ft and counting, lots of dailogue, shot in two countries, small spooky drama actually. However as with P Jacksons first feature, it has taken a good 14 months plus of part time shooting. Can be done. Did an interview with Mr Jackson back in the end of the 80's, he had vision if not financial means at that time. Alison Maclean got absolutely hammered after Crush at the beginning of the 90's. Nikki Caro shot all her early shorts on a shoe string. All children to a degree of the early Geoff Murphy / Roger Donaldson / Sam Neil punk just do it attitude. Bruno Lawrence deserves a mention here as well. Lee Tamahori, Vincent Ward, Jane Campion (and many more) and a list of new comers, Taika Waititi and Toa Fraser to name a few, look them up on the web / IMDB.

Never ever let jaded technicians, engineers and money men say that it cannot be done. If you have the vision and drive and some god given talent you will come through in the end. Not, Never and will ever be easy. Easy is working in an office on salary for the rest of your life. Nothing wrong with that, if you can be happy with it, but if you are, then odds on you aren't reading this tonight, today, this morning ..............

Sorry for the rant.

ps: own cameras are a major plus
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#9 chooser

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:01 AM

BTW: has anyone seen Alison Macleans short Kitchen Sink. OK it's nearly 20years old, I think I saw it as a short, prior to a Film Festival Feature when I was in NZ as a kid, boy it was an absolute killer ...
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:38 AM

Generally the cheapest 35mm features I've ever heard of were made for around $50,000.

I know George Selinsky here has been making one for a few years now and I don't know what has been spent so far, maybe $20,000?

Let's say it were possible to shoot a feature on 50,000' of 35mm stock. My guess is that you could end up spending about $30,000 on stock, processing, and telecine costs, less when you factor in really cheap recan stock, cheap telecine transfers, etc. Maybe it's a 3-week feature and you can rent a 35mm camera package for about $3000/week, or $10,000 total let's say. So you start to get an idea of why it's hard to go below $50,000. But, hey, if you get a free camera and some free stock, maybe it would be more like a $30,000 feature or less.

On the other hand, there are no blow-up costs to get a 35mm print. If you shoot Super-16, it may cost $25,000 or more to make an optical printer blow-up.
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#11 Robert Edge

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 12:24 PM

Does anyone happen to know what it cost to make Coffee and Cigarettes (the ensemble, not just the original short) or Swimming to Cambodia? By cost, I mean basic production and post-production cost, ex fees paid to the creative team, lawyers, accountants, caterers, marketing people, etc.
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#12 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:08 PM

Why not do it in HD?

You can get the quality with DVCProHD or HDCAM and edit it on a G5 or Pentium4 PC. With a Varicam or CineAlta, you can definitely come close to a 35mm look. A LOT less hassle, especially if you're packaging for DVD.

I would consider buying a second hand Varicam for essentially close to what your film stock, processing and DI transfer costs would otherwise be... then take care not to drop it out of an airplane or a boat and sell it for what you bought it for after you're through shooting.

Use Craigslist for limitless supplies of free and slave labor.

Zero processing costs and nothing really other than time spent for post. You can also have all the dialog you want and shoot higher than 2:1. If you sell the film in a backroom deal at Sundance or Cannes you can then burn 35mm prints. LOL!
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#13 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:24 PM

Why not do it in HD?

You can get the quality with DVCProHD or HDCAM and edit it on a G5 or Pentium4 PC. With a Varicam or CineAlta, you can definitely come close to a 35mm look. A LOT less hassle, especially if you're packaging for DVD.

I would consider buying a second hand Varicam for essentially close to what your film stock, processing and DI transfer costs would otherwise be... then take care not to drop it out of an airplane or a boat and sell it for what you bought it for after you're through shooting.

Use Craigslist for limitless supplies of free and slave labor.

Zero processing costs and nothing really other than time spent for post. You can also have all the dialog you want and shoot higher than 2:1. If you sell the film in a backroom deal at Sundance or Cannes you can then burn 35mm prints. LOL!


Hi,

A few people prefer the look of film, many others think mini DV looks better than 35mm.

Stephen
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#14 Dan Goulder

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:19 PM

Does anyone happen to know what it cost to make Coffee and Cigarettes (the ensemble, not just the original short) or Swimming to Cambodia? By cost, I mean basic production and post-production cost, ex fees paid to the creative team, lawyers, accountants, caterers, marketing people, etc.

If you're trying to isolate the film production costs alone on Coffee and Cigarettes, it still may not have been that cheap to film, as I doubt the shooting ratio was very low. Even thought the setups appear simple, there was still a fair amount of coverage. Between the master shots and the closeups, they could easily have run up a minimum 9 or 10 to 1 ratio. The film itself was mastered in D5 HD. The stock, lab, and post-production costs probably did not come in under the six-figure mark. (If so, not by much.) That doesn't include the 35mm film out.
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#15 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for the insight guys. I would like to shoot on super 16 however, I don't have access to a camera. Can't rent one at this point not to mention that my local rental house I've had some bad experiences with. I do however have access to a 35mm camera and fujifilm wants to discuss my project with me, so that's why I asked. If I could get a free super 16 camera, then I'd go with that...hands down. By the way, I would not be making any prints...just direct to hard drive.


Kev

Oh yeah forgot to mention that I have my own final cut studio edit setup, so no worries there.

Kev
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#16 ReadyTeddy

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 04:58 PM

There is not a doubt in the world that only film looks quite as lovely as film. MiniDV or DVCAM, on the other hand, does not even come close to 35mm in any way that I have seen.

For an application going directly to hard drive, as Kev has stated, I doubt there would be any real advantage to shooting in film other than being able to say he's done so.

I have heard that Fuji does give away film to promising students. I also understand that Panavision has a program where they let students use one Panavision camera that they have floating around the country. I would suspect the demand exceeds the supply of one, however.

Where are you, Kev? East coast? West coast? Red state? Blue state? If you're not far from where I am, I could maybe help you. Drop me a line.
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#17 Mike Williamson

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:11 PM

I have heard that Fuji does give away film to promising students. I also understand that Panavision has a program where they let students use one Panavision camera that they have floating around the country.


I shot a feature on 35mm last year that received a generous grant from Fuji. We got a certain percentage of our stock free which may have been dependent upon how much we ordered. The upshot was that we got a fantastic price on fresh stock and there were no restrictions on what stocks we could or couldn't use, which allowed us to get Eterna 500T just after it had been released. I wasn't involved in the application process, but I believe it was a student program (our writer/director) and I think it was fairly informal. Try and contact Lisa Miller at Fuji, she's their student rep.

I've heard about theh Panavision grant as well, I believe that's out of California but I'm not positive. I've heard it's very schedule dependent and you can be sure that it's competitive, but hey, somebody's gotta win it...
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#18 Chien Huey

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:38 PM

According to the Panavision website, they have 4 Elaines (S16) and 2 GIIs (35) available. There is a small stipend that they charge for camera servicing between shows.

http://www.panavisio...amguidlines.pdf
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#19 Nate Downes

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 08:00 AM

What kind of 35mm? ASC? Techniscope? 3-perf? This can change the cost of production. Techniscope I've found comes out about the same price as 16mm, for example.

Where are you located? If you don't mind looping, I have some 16mm cams you could borrow.
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#20 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 03:44 PM

And it is deeply spooky!
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