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Mixing small amount of 35mm with HD on low budget indie. Bad idea?


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#1 razerfish

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:17 PM

I'm planning on making a low budget indie feature later this year, shooting it on high def. I was toying with the idea of shooting a little on 35mm, unless that's something that will drive up the costs astronomically.

The story takes place almost exclusively at night, though the opening and closing scenes take place in day light. I'd say about 9 pages total are day light, the rest night time. And some of the day scenes are wide shots, which seems ideal for film.

So let's say I decided to shoot these 8 minutes or so of the entire film on 35mm. How would I blend it in with the high def? A D.I. Also, assuming an extremely disciplined shooting ratio, using ends and being as frugal as I can, what do you think the costs of using film for this small amount of the film's running time will cost me?

Is this a ludicrous idea to begin with, considering the micro budget of the feature?
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:27 PM

I'm planning on making a low budget indie feature later this year, shooting it on high def. I was toying with the idea of shooting a little on 35mm, unless that's something that will drive up the costs astronomically.

The story takes place almost exclusively at night, though the opening and closing scenes take place in day light. I'd say about 9 pages total are day light, the rest night time. And some of the day scenes are wide shots, which seems ideal for film.

So let's say I decided to shoot these 8 minutes or so of the entire film on 35mm. How would I blend it in with the high def? A D.I. Also, assuming an extremely disciplined shooting ratio, using ends and being as frugal as I can, what do you think the costs of using film for this small amount of the film's running time will cost me?

Is this a ludicrous idea to begin with, considering the micro budget of the feature?


Why not consider Super-16? Would have the film "look" and advantages, but not blow the HD away for sharpness.
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:28 PM

So let's say I decided to shoot these 8 minutes or so of the entire film on 35mm. How would I blend it in with the high def? A D.I.

It looks like you may have been inspired by "Collateral". So, you already know it's workable.
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#4 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:34 PM

Why not consider Super-16? Would have the film "look" and advantages, but not blow the HD away for sharpness.

Mixing the two formats may be more trouble in the end than the savings is worth. I agree. Take a serious look at super 16mm film. The advantages of film in high contrast, deep shadow night photography will be much more pleasing I'm sure.
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#5 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 11:17 PM

S16mm Vision 2 Kodak 500T (7229 or 7218), great stocks for outdoors. Or the Fuji Eterna 800T.

HD is going to be expensive as well, if you run it through a DI.
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#6 razerfish

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 11:38 PM

S16mm Vision 2 Kodak 500T (7229 or 7218), great stocks for outdoors. Or the Fuji Eterna 800T.

HD is going to be expensive as well, if you run it through a DI.


I'd have to run the high def material through a DI? I can't just run the film part through the D.I. and then cut it in with the high def. material which I'll be editing myself.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 12:37 AM

There are so many ways in which to incorporate the 35mm. You could telecine the 35mm to HD and intercut it with the HD material, then film the whole thing out to 35mm (but therefore lose some of the resolution of the 35mm.) You could do a D.I. with the 35mm at 4K or 2K and uprez the HD material to that level and create a 4K or 2K master. You could just film-out the HD to 35mm and cut it with the original 35mm footage (that will preserve the quality differences the most, but perhaps you'd rather be able to blend the looks more closely, which requires putting the 35mm through a D.I.)

As far as offline editing goes, you could just telecine transfer the 35mm to standard def and cut that with downconversions from the HD material, and then generate an EDL.

The biggest problem with shooting both 35mm and HD are the costs of renting two camera packages, unless one format will be shot at a different time than the other, so the packages aren't rented simultaneously.

If the majority of the project will be HD and you want it to look consistent, I'd just shoot everything in HD.
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#8 razerfish

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:22 AM

There are so many ways in which to incorporate the 35mm. You could telecine the 35mm to HD and intercut it with the HD material, then film the whole thing out to 35mm (but therefore lose some of the resolution of the 35mm.) You could do a D.I. with the 35mm at 4K or 2K and uprez the HD material to that level and create a 4K or 2K master. You could just film-out the HD to 35mm and cut it with the original 35mm footage (that will preserve the quality differences the most, but perhaps you'd rather be able to blend the looks more closely, which requires putting the 35mm through a D.I.)

As far as offline editing goes, you could just telecine transfer the 35mm to standard def and cut that with downconversions from the HD material, and then generate an EDL.

The biggest problem with shooting both 35mm and HD are the costs of renting two camera packages, unless one format will be shot at a different time than the other, so the packages aren't rented simultaneously.

If the majority of the project will be HD and you want it to look consistent, I'd just shoot everything in HD.


I think you're right. HD all the way.
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#9 Filip Plesha

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 08:19 AM

The advantages of film in high contrast, deep shadow night photography will be much more pleasing I'm sure.


High contrast? You can certainly transfer negative film at lower contrast than you can get with a video camera because it has more latitude, and that is what it's done most of the time as far as I can see on DVD and TV. It seems the trend is to transfer the film at lower contrast than a film print would be.
If it were only contrast that is in question, then it would be easy to increase the contrast of digital footage with a push of a button.

It's not contrast in general that is the advantage of film, but the ratio of shadow and highlights contrast.
Film has higher general shadow contrast (gamma) than digital images, while digital images have higher highlights gamma than film images (hence the nasty looking unnatural lighlights).
The thing with film is that the contrast constantly decreases from shadows to highlights (logarithmic image recording) with the exeption of the toe which quickly reduces shadow contrast at the bottom end of the curve, a nd is even further decrease at the top end of the curve by the shoulder of the curve, while in video the contrast is more or less constant (linear).
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#10 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:10 PM

I remember the final scene of 28 Days Later was shot on 35mm film, while the rest was on DV. There was a difference, but the contrast was intentional, however i don't remember it being as jarring as you may think.
If you have 90 minutes of nightime HD footage and then cut to daytime 35mm footage, the audience will realise that something is visually different--they just might not realise what. This is what was intended in 28 Days Later, going from long night scenes on DV to stark day scenes on 35mm. So maybe this is what you are intending? Just be aware, the format shift will psychological affect the audience, in a very subliminal way--maybe this could be an advantage. If you are trying to blend the two and make it invisible (i.e. minimal quality difference) then what is the point in shooting it in 35mm at all? Why not just shoot it all HD?
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#11 Filip Plesha

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 04:47 PM

I remember the final scene of 28 Days Later was shot on 35mm film, while the rest was on DV. There was a difference, but the contrast was intentional, however i don't remember it being as jarring as you may think.
If you have 90 minutes of nightime HD footage and then cut to daytime 35mm footage, the audience will realise that something is visually different--they just might not realise what. This is what was intended in 28 Days Later, going from long night scenes on DV to stark day scenes on 35mm. So maybe this is what you are intending? Just be aware, the format shift will psychological affect the audience, in a very subliminal way--maybe this could be an advantage. If you are trying to blend the two and make it invisible (i.e. minimal quality difference) then what is the point in shooting it in 35mm at all? Why not just shoot it all HD?


Was the 35mm footage printed optically or went through a DI?
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#12 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 12:12 PM

Was the 35mm footage printed optically or went through a DI?


I have no idea but i am assuming it went through a DI like the rest of the film.
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#13 Filip Plesha

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 12:18 PM

Then you can't judge the difference between video and film footage.
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#14 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 07:59 PM

Then you can't judge the difference between video and film footage.


uh, DI vs optical print is not the same as film vs video.
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