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Is it worth it?


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#1 VincentD.

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:58 PM

I'm looking into shooting 8mm film, and I was shocked to see what it will all add up to. After buying the film/processing/telecining its going to run me $131 for 7:30 worth of film! This is quite a lot of money, and doesn't include the shipping to send the film and/or receive it.

I'm still in highschool, yet I want to shoot on film. Mini DV looks like crap, and film is what all the greats learned and honed their craft on. I make about $85/week at my job, so 3 rolls of film (7:30 time) is going to cost me $131 after all is said and done. Is film really worth all this? Keep in mind I don't want to shoot Mini DV, I hate the look. Plus, I want to get used to film to eventually shoot on 16mm.

Does anybody know any places where I can compare prices for processing and telecining? Thanks.
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#2 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 07:46 PM

Curious where you got your quotes, but it sounds about right. A good site is www.onsuper8.org
You'll find links to more labs etc there. Things depend on where you are located.

Is it worth it? Yes.

Rick
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:01 PM

Hi,

Also it depends how you want to edit it. Telecine is the oft-overlooked cost of film if you want to edit it electronically.

Of course you can just splice your super-8 together - it'll make you think about your cuts if nothing else!

If you are able to get shortends, it can be almost as cheap to shoot 16 anyway.

Phil
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#4 VincentD.

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:06 PM

Well I would never really be able to show my film unless I edited it electronically because DVD will be my final product.

Unless you know of another way where I can work around all that?

Edited by VincentD., 05 April 2006 - 08:07 PM.

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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:09 PM

Well I would never really be able to show my film unless I edited it electronically because DVD will be my final product.

Unless you know of another way where I can work around all that?


Sure, buy a $3,000 dollar digital video camera and then your mini-dv cassettes will be a bargain. (just pointing out the irony).

One way to approach this foray into filmmaking is, what can you do for a thousand dollars? Can you make three short films for a grand? If yes, then the experience, knowledge and confidence you will gain will be well worth it.

Another approach to take, buy a super cheap digital video camera that has manual exposure control so you can practice both video and film production at the same time. Probably one of the best values was the TRV digital-8 series from Sony as various models sold for under $500.

I hate the touch screen however, which is what the latest TRV generation offers. Get the TRV cameras with actual buttons and dials for all the important features rather than having to sort through the menu or a touch screen. Although even the TRV models that have lots of buttons & dials still have plenty of menu options as well. Also, use the spotlight feature from the menu. What the manufacturers call "spotlight" actually mimics closely what a camera priced 6 times as much (the panasonic DVX-100 series) is normally set to.

Also, black and white reversal super-8 film and processing might save you some money versus negative film or color reversal, so mix in a black white project or two along with a color one.
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#6 Brant Collins

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:57 PM

64T film $17.50 B&H Photo
Process Walmart $4
Transfer from Movie stuff Sniper $20 per 50 ft rool(can not transfer neg film)

$40 per 2min

Learning to shoot fim....priceless
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#7 David Sweetman

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 10:26 PM

My advice would be to do all your basic learning on miniDV. That said, the fact that you desire to move to film is a good sign that you should move to film. When you do, the knowledge you gain will be invaluable to your advancement in filmmaking. MiniDV is a great learning format, obviously because you can shoot hours for pennies.

There are three motivations to move to film that are worth the cost:

1. It is the common filmmaking format of today. You will be learning some basic theories and dealing with some basic problems faced on a large-scale production.
2. People will pay attention. This is more true with 16mm or 35mm than with 8mm, but when you say you're shooting on film, people's eyes light up. Especially actors you may be trying to secure, who are looking for stuff for their reel. Plenty of films and shorts accepted into festivals are digital now, but film origination is definitely a plus.
3. The image. This is the reason you cited; you'll be able to get a really good-looking image that you just can't get with mini-dv.

If these all sound good to you, and you're willing to fork out the money, and you think your skill has progressed to the point where you're ready to make the switch, then my all means, make the switch.

Though that price quote sounds really high to me -- i don't know 8mm, but i've gotten 400' cans of 7218 for $100 each, thats 11 minutes of 16mm (i think direct from kodak they're like 130-150) ...did your price include processing/transfer?
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#8 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:19 AM

The cost rational is different than with video. You can obtain a video image for almost nothing, but what you have is basically a utilitarian recording. With film your getting tight, rich images... you can create all kinds of different looks before you even get to post. So when your paying for these lovely pictures, you try to make every shot count. I usually do batches of 16 carts for telecine, 40 minutes worth, and spend about $700 for the whole enchelada. I can hammer at least 2 decent bits out of that. Don't make the first time out your opus. If you can find an old working projector, shoot some B&W.. about $23 per cart afer processing.
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#9 Bryan Darling

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:32 AM

I would buy your film directly from Kodak. You can go to their website and look around at the films they have. You'll find the film cheaper there than buying it from a store or dealer. You can also mail in a check or money order along with your film order and they will send you the film. What state are you in? Processing is usually $12.50 to $13.50 depending on if you use black and white or color. I wouldn't pay more than that. Forde Labs in Seattle, WA is a good place to send your film. Sending your film to Moviestuff to transfer to Mini-DV is a great idea. The quality is great and so is the price, especially when you're beginning.

No doubt film is more expensive. However it's more about what medium you enjoy working with. I know a guy who loves video, especially old analog video, because it looks crappy. So it's more about what you enjoy and what feels right to you. If anything try it out and see. I really recommend the book Cinematography : Third Edition by Kris Malkiewicz, M. David Mullen. You can get it at Amazon.com. It's great for people just getting into film. I use it a lot when teaching and helping others.

Good Luck!
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:35 AM

Old Analog video isn't necessarily crappy.

Take a new digital camera (just make sure to lift the black level during acquistion) and hook it up to any analog format and you will be surprised at how good the image looks.
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#11 Brant Collins

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 10:09 AM

I have tried to push video as far as I can, At first it was 24p and color(fixed that with a 24p camera or in post) but it still did not look right. What I was missing was DOF. And to get a mini 35 adapter or anything like that is close to the cost of a good camera.
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#12 Jan Weis

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 10:26 AM

''Is it worth it?''

Buy a catridge of E64. Borrow an old super 8 camera.Shoot on a sunny day, then look at the stuff you've shot on a projector, the ask your self that question again.

B)

Edited by ozzball, 06 April 2006 - 10:27 AM.

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#13 VincentD.

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 02:04 PM

Thanks for all the replies!!

I guess in the end you guys talked me into this. 2 weeks worth of work is a lot for only a 3 minute film (2:1 ratio, thats low but I'll be rehearsing a lot) but I'm sure i'll be much rewarded for it!

Thanks again.
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#14 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 06:11 PM

telecine your work with a 24 camera.
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#15 steve hyde

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 07:11 PM

You may also be interested to know that you can have your reversal films transfered to miniDV here at a very good price:

http://www.tobincine...com/page29.html

I've not used this service myself, since I don't shoot much reversal, but I have seen the results and they are excellent.

Steve
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#16 Robert Hughes

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 02:48 PM

" 2 weeks of work into a 3 minute video... "

Ah, that brings up an important advantage of the film medium for students and newbies. With video, the per minute cost of rolling tape is practically zero, so the beginning shooter has no motivation to carefully plan his/her shooting schedule and invariably captures much more worthless video than necessary. With film, you can almost see the dollars rolling through the gate, so you need to make sure you aren't wasteful with your footage.

More care and planning at the shooting stage translate into less time wasted at the editing stage, as you don't have to review the multiple useless takes that would have been created in a careless "always-rolling" video shoot.

Also, 3 minutes is plenty of time to make an effective statement. A well crafted 3 minute presentation beats an overlong, sloppily edited 10 minute piece every time.
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#17 santo

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:08 PM

Excellent points.

Also, I will add this dose of reality to keep in mind when some Hollywood level idiot/on the take conman tells you that HD is cheaper or whatever REMEMBER THIS ANYBODY WHO HAS BEEN HD SNOWJOBBED:

Rodriguez and those other motherfu**ers have Bruce Willis on the payroll. They have a half-dozen other names on the payroll. They have a full crew, and full back up including craft and locations on the payroll. Shooting on HD or 16mm or even 35mm means poop to their production costs. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. Those movies cost 10's of millions. They only shoot HD because Sony is bankrolling it, and the next movie.

Welcome to reality. Film blows HD completely out of the water image-wise. And this has been proven a thousand times over.
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#18 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 11:31 PM

Another thing to consider about HD. Forget for a moment that HD cameras exist. Instead try to get involved in an HD workflow project that has already been shot and now will be edited and released. If you can get involved and make it through every HD post-production step painlessly, effortlessly and cost effectively, then consider an HD camera, but then only consider the actual HD camera model that was used to create the HD footage from the prior project that you were involved in.

The HD marketing gimmick that an HD investment starts first with the camera horrifies me and in my opinion constitutes a form of fraud. The HD camera purchase should the be LAST thing one buys, not the first.
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