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Production cost diff: 16 vs 35


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#1 Dan Stone

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 03:34 PM

Is there a typical rule-of-thumb that you share with your clients that would give a rough idea of price difference between shooting on 16mm vs 35mm?

Thanks!
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 03:54 PM

Is there a typical rule-of-thumb that you share with your clients that would give a rough idea of price difference between shooting on 16mm vs 35mm?

Thanks!


Hi,

The film stock & processing will cost about 4 times as much, using factory fresh stock for standard 4 perf. Other costs remain about the same. If you need a 35mm print of the project, it will often be cheaper to shoot 35mm 4 perf from the start.

I often shoot simple jobs using just 1 x 400' roll of 35mm film. I don't think there would be any saving shooting S16. In my case it would cost more as I own some cheap 35mm cameras. In that case the premiun for shooting 35mm over DigiBeta is only $1000.

Stephen
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 04:55 PM

I have found places where the proccessing and even telecine rates were aprox 1/2 the cost of 16 (I assume because they have a greater 35mm capacity than they do 16mm, this is colorlab, of which I have no working relationship, so I am reluctant to speak to their quality.) which means that per hour of footage you might pay comperable rates. Also it seems like 35mm equipment is more redily availible. In my small (and I mean really small) production community of Anchorage, AK there are two 35mm cameras, where only 1 S16 camera is availible (and that costs around 1100/day, plus they require their first AC be on set to operate at $450/day) 35mm is everywhere, and they only get rented out if a movie or other large project comes through. Sitcoms, commercials, student projects and tv shows are all shot in 16, so it seems like sometimes the gear is harder to come by.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 05:48 PM

The film stock & processing will cost about 4 times as much, using factory fresh stock for standard 4 perf.


That depends on how much footage you shoot, since processing is about the same price per foot for both formats. For small runs the 4x figure hold true; for longer projects like features the processing difference quickly offsets that.

But the total cost difference to the production depends on many more variables. I agree that sometimes short projects can be just as cheap if not cheaper to do on 35mm than 16.
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 06:32 PM

Don't overlook Murphy's 35mm rule #1...However much you think it's going to cost, it's going to end up costing more.
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 04:22 AM

That depends on how much footage you shoot, since processing is about the same price per foot for both formats. For small runs the 4x figure hold true; for longer projects like features the processing difference quickly offsets that.

But the total cost difference to the production depends on many more variables. I agree that sometimes short projects can be just as cheap if not cheaper to do on 35mm than 16.


Hi,

35 mm film has 16 frames per foot. 16mm film has 40 frames per foot. A 400' 35mm can of film costs more than a 400' 16mm roll. Thats how I come to 4 times the cost.

I don't understand how this changes for a feature unless you shoot 2 or 3 perf?

Telecine on a footage basis should be under half price for 35mm V 16mm. On a time basis it will be the same.

Stephen
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:57 AM

You also need to figure in that, due to the different rate of film travel (by a factor of almost 3), you'll tend to either have more short ends left over with 35mm, or you'll tend to roll more footage in order to shoot out the mags. Weight differences in stock will also affect your shipping rates. If you're using projected dailies, you're dealing with a different level of complexity (and expense) with the two formats, unless you happen to already own 35mm projection equipment.

One more issue, which may not be as great a factor as it once was, and also can depend on the location in which you're shooting, is the union factor. In some areas, rolling 35mm would put you under greater pressure to shoot with a union crew, even limiting use of non-SAG talent. As I said, this may be less of a factor than it used to be, although there may still be some resistance from SAG if you're attempting to work in 35mm under one of their low-budget contracts.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 12:00 AM

35 mm film has 16 frames per foot. 16mm film has 40 frames per foot. A 400' 35mm can of film costs more than a 400' 16mm roll. Thats how I come to 4 times the cost.

I don't understand how this changes for a feature unless you shoot 2 or 3 perf?



Because I didn't check my math :D

The price ratio stay the same, but the difference adds up the more you shoot. You were right.

The format savings makes a bigger difference to the bottom line of a feature than it does to the bottom line of a short project -- even though the price ratio for stock & process is the same.
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