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16mm cost = HD?


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#1 Dan Stone

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 12:15 PM

I have hears several people say that a 16mm production costs as much as an HD production (in terms of equipment rental and so forth). Does anyone agree/disagree?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 12:31 PM

I have hears several people say that a 16mm production costs as much as an HD production (in terms of equipment rental and so forth). Does anyone agree/disagree?


Well, it really depends on what you are comparing it to. Shooting 16mm, transferring the neg to HD, editing HD, and ending up with an HDTV master? Ending up with a blow-up to 35mm neg AND then making an HDTV master off of the cut film? And what about shooting ratio? The more footage you tend to shoot, the more tape tends to work out to be cheaper than film.

So if you shoot in 16mm, have a low shooting ratio, blow-up optically to 35mm, it will probably be cheaper than shooting in HD and doing a laser recorder transfer to 35mm. But if you shoot a lot of 16mm, transfer it all to HD, it may be cheaper just to shoot in HD in the first place. But if you shoot a moderate amount of 16mm, transfer it to standard def, compared to shooting in HD and making downconversions to standard def, then the costs may start to be similar.

Basically the pro HD cameras are MUCH more expensive to rent than 16mm equipment, but of course, in 16mm you have stock and processing costs which are much higher per-minute than HD tape. So it depends on the length of the camera rental too versus the amount of footage you are shooting.

In other words, you just have to budget it out for a particular project.
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#3 Dan Stone

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 12:42 PM

Well, it really depends on what you are comparing it to. Shooting 16mm, transferring the neg to HD, editing HD, and ending up with an HDTV master? Ending up with a blow-up to 35mm neg AND then making an HDTV master off of the cut film? And what about shooting ratio? The more footage you tend to shoot, the more tape tends to work out to be cheaper than film.

So if you shoot in 16mm, have a low shooting ratio, blow-up optically to 35mm, it will probably be cheaper than shooting in HD and doing a laser recorder transfer to 35mm. But if you shoot a lot of 16mm, transfer it all to HD, it may be cheaper just to shoot in HD in the first place. But if you shoot a moderate amount of 16mm, transfer it to standard def, compared to shooting in HD and making downconversions to standard def, then the costs may start to be similar.

Basically the pro HD cameras are MUCH more expensive to rent than 16mm equipment, but of course, in 16mm you have stock and processing costs which are much higher per-minute than HD tape. So it depends on the length of the camera rental too versus the amount of footage you are shooting.

In other words, you just have to budget it out for a particular project.


Leave it to me to ask a stupid question.

Thanks very much for the info! All excellent points. I guess I'll just have to go through and price some things out.

Do you have a favorite place to purchase film online (Super 16) and for Telecine?

Thanks so much again for your input. I'm new to film and really want to get into it. People say that once you go film, you never go back.

Dan
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 12:56 PM

I have hears several people say that a 16mm production costs as much as an HD production (in terms of equipment rental and so forth). Does anyone agree/disagree?


Lots of variables that could tilt it either way:

Shooting ratio
Need for "film specific" techniques
Cost of "accomodating" limitations of video (e.g., controlling highlights)
Final display format(s)
Do you own equipment? Depreciation and mainenance costs of film vs. video equipment.
Rental terms available for the kit you intend to use.
Any "deal" on film, processing, and transfer? (e.g., student discount)
What "HD" are you comparing against? Quality and cost varies as you go from pro-sumer to very high end.
Future marketability of the production.

Many productions have opted for Super-16:

http://www.kodak.com/go/16mm

http://www.kodak.com...d=0.1.4.3&lc=en

http://www.lemac.com...TS/S16PATH.html

http://www.playbackm...hd_shooting.pdf

http://www.cinematec...rn_justice.html

http://www.moviemake.../06/cinema.html

http://www.hollywood...tent_id=1947854
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