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#1 Stephen Alexander Griebel

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 07:04 PM

I just finished a short on miniDV and although it was fun, it was too easy(not enough technicality to burn you if you don't get it right). Plus, I had to really operate on the footage in post to make it look more filmesque. Well, I'm converted...while Lynch is sold on DV, I'm plain tired of it. And seeing how cheap 16mm cameras on ebay are, I'm getting real excited about shooting my next film (well, my first "film" i guess). So, it's down to an H16 reflex, pentaflex or BEAULIEU R16 (as long as it's variable speed, I don't care-- i just want it on film).

1) What stock do you recommend? I'm shooting a period B&W anti-war short in the mountains and probably looking at a fast stock for more grain (reversal too?)... I will be shooting both indoors and out (only during the day for outside shots). I'm looking, honestly, for an inferior film. The reason old movies looked so much more appealing isn't just the lighting, it's that stock nowadays looks, well, too good (that dreamy aspect of film is gone). For this reason Kubrick tortured the film stock in Eyes Wide Shut to make it look worse, and made arguably the most beautiful color movie ever (I won't argue if you say Barry Lyndon or even ACO). Anyway, are there any places you can get old film? Any techniques in the lab that couldn't be done in post? It can't be all lighting, guys...

2) Since it's black and white, I shouldn't have to worry about filters, will I? Also, how much good are they now anyway, seeing how easy it is to color correct on the computer? As long as the image isn't too much over/under exposed, should I be fine working with contrast/saturation in post?

3) Being used to DV and hating (HATING) rack focusing and shallow DOF (except certain circumstances), how much more DOF are we talking, even for say, a 10mm lense? I'd like to try and keep deep focus for the most part, so would I have to over-light and bump the aperture up a few stops? How much more sensitive to light is film over DV?

I'm gonna read a few books on measuring light so I'll save you guys that discussion. What's a good, cheap light meter (100 bucks max)? Oh yeh, if you get a reflex camera do you really have to hold your eye over the cup to keep light from getting in? Jeez!

Edited by stephen griebel, 15 February 2006 - 07:05 PM.

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#2 Mike Rizos

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 08:51 PM

Hi, welcome to 16mm.

1) Check the Kodak website for film options. If you want reversal there is Tri-X, if negative Double-X. Both are about 200 speed. Also do a search for Filmotec, they are German and have a 400 negative available. If you want grain you can push all these, one or even two stops.

2) I think you need a few filters: ND, green, yellow, etc. They are mainly used for exposure control, to deepen the sky, and cut down reflections. Remember that the filter lets in it's own color, and cuts down it's coplimentary color. So a yellow flower with a yellow filter would result in almost white flower. Be careful as some filters have an affect on skintones.

3) The Bolex 10mm lens has great depth of field. Even at f2.8, depth of field is from 2.5 feet to infinity. The 26mm (so called normal lens) at f4 will be sharp from about 10 feet to infinity. At f16 from 2.5 feet to infinity.

4) I been using the Gossen Lunasix 3 for a while. It's very sensitive and accurate. It can be picked up for $20-40, but it needs battery conversion. I had mine done for $50. And yes you need to keep your eye in the viewfinder with those cameras or close the eyepiece shutter.

Because film has so many variables you should run tests to achieve the look you want.
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#3 jijhh

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:02 PM

just from experience shooting a lot of b&w reversal 16, an orange filters works wonders on your contrast and blacks. takes away some of the flat greyness that you might get if you're not working with the most professional lighting. i don't think i was ever disappointed with the final result of using one.
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#4 Stephen Alexander Griebel

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:04 PM

Thanks Mike! I'm starting to wonder whether it's even worth it to shoot on 16mm though. I can get a konvas 35mm on ebay for like $800 shipped, take it to get checked up, then just use short end 35mm film (.10/foot), no? Looking at the price for telecine Xfer between 16/35, there's very little difference. I know that it takes about 2.5X as much 35mm stock to film the same amount of time in 16mm, but is that the only difference in price? It seems strange that people would spend thousands of dollars to upgrade to super16, which is even more expensive for telecine/development than 35mm and far inferior in quality. I might be in the wrong section now, but it's not definite yet. Any thoughts, guys?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 12:08 AM

Telecine costs are about the same -- the costs are based more on the time needed, the type of telecine used, whether the session is supervised or unsupervised, one-light or scene-to-scene corrected, and what recorder is used.

The main thing is that the stock costs 4X more with 35mm.

35mm is definitely more expensive to shoot. The only mitigating factor, other than the improvement in quality, is that if you need a 35mm print, then you don't have to spend the money on a blow-up.
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#6 Rik Andino

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 03:28 AM

If you're very interested in shooting B&W
You might want to shoot tests with a photo camera.

You can often-times test out filter FXs and graininess of stocks just by shooting pictures...
If you're after a certain look...you could save money by narrowing it down through the use of stills.

Also
I recommend using 16mm if you're not accustomed to shooting film yet.
Yes while a 35mm might be more effective sometimes
But like David says it's definitely more expensive to shoot 35mm
And when you're starting out you want to shoot as much as possible and cheap as possible.

Before you shoot your short you might want to shoot some excercises first...
Learn a little bit more about exposure and how film's latitude work,
Also about focusing and other tiny aspects of film...that people never consider when shooting video.

You might want to start out shooting reversal because overall it can be cheaper than negative.
If you're just shooting exercises you don't always need to import them and edit on a computer...
Borrow a projector, there's nothing more exciting (for a filmmaker) than seeing film run through a projector
And view your exercises on a big screen or wall :)

Always rememeber not stress out too much--it's not nuerosugery
Shooting film is tedious work but it can be exciting.


Good Luck
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#7 Sam Wells

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 09:43 AM

2) Since it's black and white, I shouldn't have to worry about filters, will I? Also, how much good are they now anyway, seeing how easy it is to color correct on the computer? As long as the image isn't too much over/under exposed, should I be fine working with contrast/saturation in post?


Since it's B&W you'll have no color to color correct on the computer.

As for filters - someone suggest a good reference - is there something on the web - many basic photo books cover this.
anyway, color filters will absorb their color transmit the opposite - red darkens blue sky etc.

You can't just slap a filter on and expect an effect on contrast, it's totally dependent on the colors you're photographing... ( a colored filter and a grey sky in B&W does nothing - well it'll act as a neutral density..)

A relatively high contrast original like Tri-X reversal will give you little room to move "on the computer" - you can't add shadow detail that's not there -- you can work with contrast in post a bit with a less contrasty, normally processed negative (Plus X; Double X) but Tri-X can yield a good bold look for you..

I'd say try and get what you want on the film in the first place...

(We live in an age where I've seen people deliberately make bad exposures for stills so they can correct them in Photoshop :D

-Sam
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#8 Stephen Alexander Griebel

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:44 PM

I've become very reliant on "fix it in post" (as have too many nowadays) so I'd like to spend more time and thought (money too), 35mm definitely seems the way to go. It's looking like 5222 stock that I'll have pushed two stops so I can flare the few lights that will be present in frame. Plus, I want to learn heavy contrast produced pre-post. I know it's gonna be ultra-grainy (specially mit 5222, but I'm afraid to push anything less than ASA200, course there's always 500T to convert to B&W in post...) Since I'm intentionally going for forced development, should I rate the 5222 (200 ASA) to 1000 ASA and underexpose the scene two stops from what the light meter tells me (well, the middle of that scale anyway)?

I'm about to start Alton's Painting with Light. There are tons of extra books, I know-- any sugg's on some lit that's very technical? I'm trying to be learned in every aspect to get the best results.

Thanks guys, you're great!

Edited by stephen griebel, 16 February 2006 - 01:48 PM.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 02:29 PM

Well, 200 ASA pushed two stops would be 800 ASA, not 1000 ASA...

With color negative, I'd advise getting 1/3 to 2/3's of a stop excess density, so I often rate 500T at 320 ASA, or 640 ASA with a one-stop push. However, b&w doesn't necessarily behave the same way so you may want to stick to the rating Kodak gives rather than go for extra density. Shoot a simple test to find out.

However, an entirely opposite issue to consider is that highlights in b&w often look better if they are a little poppy, hot, when against darker backgrounds. Janusz Kaminski found this out when shooting "Schindler's List", that often skintones looked better if they were almost a stop overexposed rather than closer to middle gray. So while you may be rating the stock closer to normal, as recommended, you may want to overexpose certain highlights so that they render a lighter gray tone and pop more in the dark frame, especially in a low-key scene.

Generally you'd set your light meter to the ASA rating you want to give the stock with the push in mind, so perhaps 800 ASA for Double-X if you are going to push two-stops. You can further change your ASA rating to compensate for filter light loss (so if you stuck an ND.60 in the camera, for example, you'd set your meter rating back down from 800 ASA to 200 ASA.) Doing this saves having to calculate all the time the filter loss, push factor, etc.

However, in terms of lighting and exposing, if I wanted a face to be about a half-stop brighter in a shot, I'd just remember to adjust the f-stop for that effect rather than re-program my meter. For example, if I knew I was lighting the room to f/2.8, I'd light the face so that it read an f/2.8-f/4 split so that it would be a half-stop brighter than normal once I shot the scene at f/2.8.
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