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Movie Tube St Vs. S16mm film Vs. 35mm film


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#1 AvegaStudios

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 03:38 AM

This is a really gutsy topic to bring out (especially being a newbie) and I hope i don't become the town idiot for getting an obvious answer by the film heads here. But i'm starting my buisiness up and I need a great look to get my clientelle i'm limited to the 20 thousand's range. Cutting it short I need a great cost effective way to get good quality picture. Remember, I do music videos and commercials, and that's the type of use for the camera i will purchase.

1. I heard great things about the Movie Tube St. It's a new converter for Hd and Dv cameras (Sony Z1u, Hvx 200). It has a PL mounting for virtually any type of movie lens. And from what i hear, it has beautiful looks ( that surpass the mini 35's a little) as far as transition is concerned. It's about 13,500 US right now. I was thinking of getting this with an HVX 200. About 21,000 For both. And some P2 cards. With this there's virtually no more film or tapes (works like film but processing is on the spot to your comp or laptop while your filming with another card). A s16 like price without the hefty baggage of accessories and film purchase/developing/output to tape.

2. S16, Ahhh the gateway between earth and heaven. Great look to blow up to 35mm and enough resolution to blow out your computer when digitized right. It's great not toooo expensive but will certainly get the film look i'm looking for cuz DUH it's film. Now the thing is I will prolly spend alot on film purchase / processing. Is it worth it to go here? What type of camera would i use anyways? I've heard great things on the A-minima for starters trying to get the money to jump up to big boy cameras. What camera would I get for the budget I have though?

3. 35mm The upside? Everything. It's 35mm you can't go wrong. You have to be high to get bad looking picture. The downside? I'm gonna have to buy a camera used in world war 2's era for my budget. :) Not literally but you all know what I mean. I just don't think the dream camera is out there to buy with my budget. So unless anyone knows something i don't know about budgets for 35mm cameras, I think i'd be stuck with a old and rusty camera in my range.

Well there it is, 35mm, s16mm, and prolly the baddest budget Digital Video setup on the block. Think expenses initially and down the road and overall quality. LET THE DEBATE START......

Well it's a good conversation to spark and I hope there's a couple knuckleheads like me scratchin their head wondering where to start. This should help alotta people. Everyone Thanx for your input and time for this one.

Edited by AvegaStudios, 19 May 2006 - 03:42 AM.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 06:57 PM

I don't think it's so much a matter of debate, but rather of choices. And you left out a great many of them.

You mentioned a budget range for purchasing a camera, but seem to be leaving open the possibility of renting additional gear (such as 35mm lenses) on an as-needed basis. Nothing wrong with that, but then you have to ask yourself where do you want to draw the line between being a "producer" (who rents gear) and being an equipment vendor? That can be a gray area, but it's the first question you need to ask yourself as a businessperson before investing capital or competing against other production entities. It's also what determines what system will provide your best ROI.

You also need to choose what segment of the market you intend to compete in. Customers (like major ad agencies and record labels) who demand top-quality 35mm production won't be impressed because you own a whiz-bang HDV system. And likewise, customers who are only willing to pay a few thousand dollars per project won't be able to afford the best 35mm production.

Remember, I do music videos and commercials, and that's the type of use for the camera i will purchase.

Does that mean you already do them, or intend to do them? I don't mean that as a challenge, but as a legitimate business question. If you already produce these types of projects, then you should already have an idea of what your customers demand, what their satisfaction was, what your profit margin was like, and whether those are the kinds of customers you want (i.e. the business model you care to continue).

Getting back to gear, $20,000 doesn't go very far toward 16mm camera gear. You can get a basic setup for that, but there are always accessories, and "outside' costs of film stock, processing, transfer, and so on. I won't even mention lighting & grip, crew and so forth because those expenses will be there no matter what format you shoot with.

Most 35mm cameras, the Sony F-900, and the Panasonic Varicam aren't even approachable for purchase in the 20K range. But rental yes, so refer to question #1.

You left out some of the great Standard-Def video choices, such as Panasonic's SDX-900 (and SPX-800), and Sony's XDCAM system. And Sony's XDCAM HD. All those cameras are close to your price range.

Also don't forget that as a producer you really need to consider the ENTIRE workflow (camera through post) to determine what's going to be the most cost-effective. What post system do you intend to use? What format does that system require? What costs are associated with getting your acquisition format into your post format (i.e. telecine, extra decks and hardware)?

It's really tough to narrow down a camera choice until we know the answers to all these questions.
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#3 AvegaStudios

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 05:32 AM

Basically I know these other cameras exist but am stuck on the movie tube conversion for the simple fact of being able to use small dv type cameras for years to come using pl mounted film lenses. I just saw a music video for the hvx 200 and i was very impressed cuz this would prolly amaze the locals and teamed with a conversion I think it would work for me. Next I intend to do music videos and commercials for locals and medium range pricing. And maybe jump a little up to smaller food chains or any other chains. I'm not looking for huge agencies who demand me at this moment. No, rather I'm buying something of great quality to help me get into the larger medium cameras like the CineAltas, the Arri 35mm new cameras, etc, so i in a year or two i COULD go to them or even have a very nice reel to show off my skills. Lighting I will get into soon with a nice kit, so that's not in my budget i have put money aside for that. Crew i got good people that'll work under me. My post production work flow is NLE using Avid Media Composer on pc. Sorry if my question was somewhat misleading. Actually I wouldn't mind renting lenses i'm very open to it. And I'm not sure how much processing and transfering to tape would cost, for s16 or 35mm. (if you can estimate 1000' for me that would help out). So pretty much i'm looking for something to buy so that i can get the 5,000 or 10,000 dollar customers, heck even get the couple thousand dollar customers. This way I can cut out rental fees for a whole camera, it gets pretty costly and with the way i work, sometimes i'll scrap projects and do something over (somewhat of a perfectionist) because i can get picky. And everyone knows you can't do that from the get go renting exotic and expensive film cameras. But with my own camera that I actually own, i can break down barriers and middle men so to say, for the sake of getting the customers a good price for their projects but actually putting good money in my pocket too. Those cameras can get into the thousands per day with accessories and different lenses. These are all reasons why i also mentioned the hvx200. Cause I can use a couple p2 cards, crank the hvx to 24p 720i and have a hell of a picture with out ever using tapes again. I hoped that helped out a lil more.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:00 PM

It sounds like you're looking for an entry-level professional camera. I think the HVX fits that description.

But since your business model is a little speculative, it doesn't make sense to invest too heavily in equipment that you're not at least 80% certain you can pay off in a reasonable amount of time (two years is a common timeline to recover the cost of gear). Personally I wouldn't drop the coin for the movietube just yet, just get the camera to get you started. You can always rent adapters and lenses if a project demands it, and still have the larger portion of your capital intact. If you're renting 35mm lenses, then your movietube is sitting around collecting dust (and draining your reserve) while you go out and shoot those spontaneous pickups. Why not just rent the movietube at the same time? (and don't forget the follow-focus, bridgeplate, etc.).

I understand the notion that owning the gear "cuts down on rental costs," but the trade-off is you're really paying for a couple years worth of rentals all up front! Consider what other things you might be able to rent if you had the capital available, instead of tied up in gear: lighting, locations, props, and so on. It's fine to budget camera and lighting separately, but since it's all your capital to start with you might consider other ways to divide it up.

Since you want to be able to do reshoots at a moment's notice, it does make sense to have a basic package available to you. So I would suggest getting the camera and a decent tripod, a field monitor (you can't completely rely on the camera's LCD all the time), a basic lighting and grip kit, some basic audio gear, and your post setup (which you may already have). That way you've got all the gear to carry an image all the way through post, with the minimum investment. Once you get "rolling" (in the business sense) you can see what gear you're renting again and again, and have some hard numbers to project the savings gained by purchasing that gear.
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#5 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:49 AM

As a producer you need to own office equipment like computers, a fax machine, a printer and a telephone. That's the stuff you will be using daily.
For every shooting you will do different equipment kits will be needed and all of this can be rented.
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