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Spagetti westerns, silent movies?!!


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:19 AM

I was watching a Doc. about spagetti westerns last night and was surprised to learn that most of them had been shot silent. I could tell that many were dubed but I didn't realize the extent to which the sound was recreated. This inspired me, which begs the question, why aren't more low budget filmmakes using this technique. The Italians, the Japanese and the Hong Kong filmakers all seem the excel in using techniques to make films as inexpensively as possible. The use of techniscope, in-camera editing and ADR all work to help keep the cost of making a film down, also taking a cue from Hitchcock, extensive story boarding (his films were always on time and on budget, Psycho is a lesson in lean filmmaking which he conceived of after hearing there was a company doing films for under a million dollars).

Learning from M. Night Shyamalan, by letting the "big" action take place in the mind of the audience rather than on screen (The alien invasion in Signs happens on TV, the train wreck in Unbreakable is never shown) and from Kevin Smith by using the resources you have availible (a technique learned from Clerks). I think for independent filmmakers, these techniques are invaluable. Other things to keep in mind for low budget films are keep it in the here and now (period peices cost money which is why My Favoite Year, which was actually based on an events dealing with Wyatt Earp rather than Errol Flynn although the charature of Allan Swan was based on Errol, was set in the 50's instead of at the turn of the century which would have made it too expensive to do) Keep the FX to a minimum (it's just too expensive to do GCI for 35). Keep the cast small (Lead charature and 1 or 2 other main charatures, everyone else day players or at the most a week), limit the script to 90 pages (the longer the script the more time and money it takes to film it but any shorter than an hour and a half and you risk not finding distribution) and use only original or royalty free music.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 12:39 PM

It's funny because I read about how Kubrick shot his early features silent and had to post dub the whole movie, which drove him overbudget in post, plus added many months of work.

Truth is that ADR costs, not to mention then hiring a dialogue editor to cut it into the movie, not to mention paying the actors to come back, outweigh the costs of renting a quiet sync-sound camera and an on-set sound recordist. Now if you do all of the post dubbing yourself, it may be cheaper if your actors come back for free, and then edit it yourself, but that takes TIME and you have to ask yourself if your time is worth anything.

And there is the meta issue of performance -- most actors hate having to recreate an emotional performance in post for ADR. Now a few people like John Boorman have advocated this, dubbing a whole movie, as a second chance to improve the performance in the relaxed environment of an ADR stage, but a lot of actors don't feel the same way.

You have to remember that at the height of the Italian MOS shooting approach, there were no lightweight quiet sync-sound cameras, and portable sound recording equipment was just starting to become used, plus the international cast and the international releases meant that some dubbing was inevitable anyway. As for the Hong Kong filmmakers, they mainly shoot action scenes MOS, but then, so does everyone if necessary. And they mix Mandarin and Cantonese speaking movie stars in the same production, so again, perhaps some dubbing is unavoidable anyway.

Nowadays it's not that hard to rent a sync-sound camera and get a DAT recorder, so it makes more sense to record dialogue on set than try and recreate it all in post, unless shooting in a noisy environment, and even then, it's a good idea to record a scratch track so that the actors can sync themselves easier to the image in the ADR session.
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:17 PM

Ya but Kubrick was a perfectionist to the point on manical obssesion so it doesn't surprise me that HIS films went over budget during his ADR sessions, though there is no denighing his genius. You may have a point about the lack of modern equipment having an influence on that style of filmmaking but that does not negate my assurtions and I would have to dissagree with you on some points, the need to bring back actors to costing more than shooting sync in the first place being one of them.

I think the freedom of not needing nearly as many takes would outwieght the cost of bring actors back for ADR particularly in a low budget film where your not going to be able to afford a star in the first place. When your shooting sound-sync your paying an entire crew to be there, where as when your recording ADR your paying the sound guy, a guy to run the visual playback (unless you do that yourself) and the actor, who's usually getting paided little or nothing anyway and that's it.

Also if you record rehersals and immediately after you've filmed while actors are still on set and the scene is still fresh in their minds, you can probably reduce your ADR to a minimum. If you plan for cuts where your expecting sound to drift during editing you can do even less ADR by shooting reaction shots to what's being said. And furthermore If you keep dialoge to an absolute minimum then sync becomes even less of an issue. These Italian Westerns films were BIG on action and small on dialog which is what gave them thier mystique and what GAVE Clint Eastwood a film career. This technique will be more difficult to do with certain kinds of films but would work great with film designed to take advantage of it.

It is true (being an actor myself I know this) that actors prefer do the scene while they're on set with the other actors to work off of but most times they will rise to the occassion if pressed and give you what you need that why cartoons like Shrek and Toy Story (Which are all ADR) work as films.

Yes, it's true sound sync camera are plenitful but for what it would cost to rent one for a week or two you could own a MOS camera like an Arri II or a Konvas w/ an assortment of lenses, a matbox and maybe even a sound blimp and sync motor.

The other thing is technology has also come into play. Sound removal filters make taking camera noise out much more viable than in years past. All this combined makes low budget films the perfect kind of film to shoot MOS. B)
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:45 PM

I think it's a really BAD idea but what do I know about filmmaking... you seem to be the expert here.

It's one of those things that if it were such a great way for indie feature filmmakers to save money, they'd all be doing it. But considering they aren't, that should tell you something. I'm just telling you the reasons why modern movies aren't shot all in MOS, but you can disbelieve me all you want, or think everyone is wrong and you're right.

My suggestion is for you to shoot a dialogue-heavy short film MOS, post-dub all of it, and decide for yourself before embarking on an entire feature that way (and just remember that the amount of work involved with increase dramatically with a longer project.)

A lot of low-budget films are still SAG shoots, and you have to pay actors to be there for an ADR session. And are you really not even going to record a scratch track on set? Actors will just stand there at a mic with a script in their hand and look at silent footage of their lips moving and try and guess when to talk? This isn't animation. Besides, how can you even cut the movie without having an audio track as a guide for making editing decisions? So you'll have to have a sound recordist there anyway and you'll have to sync your dailies -- the only difference is that by using an MOS camera, you'll have camera noise on all your tracks and have to replace all of that sound.

Sorry, but it sounds to me like you're looking for reasons to justify not buying a sync-sound camera, or renting a camera, and working backwards from the MOS camera you CAN afford, you are trying to justify shooting the movie in MOS and post-dubbing as if it were actually a better way to make the movie.

You also have to ask yourself if modern audiences in the U.S., for example, will accept an entirely post-dubbed live action movie with somewhat rubbery lip-sync. We accept it in foreign films and old Italian movies, but can find it disconcerting in a modern film shot in our own native language, unless the ADR is REALLY well-done.

It just sounds to me like you're going to be creating a lot of unnecessary work in post for your movie, which will only increase the time it takes to finish the project, and not necessarily result in a better project, and ultimately not be worth whatever you saved by buying an MOS camera.

But it seems like you're willing to take that chance regardless of any advice offered, so good luck to you.

And you say that for the cost of renting a sync-sound camera package you could own an MOS camera package. Let's say you're talking about a 3-week feature shoot with $15,000 to spend on renting an Arri-35BL or Panaflex GII package for that period, and instead you will spend that $15,000 on buying an MOS package with accessories. So the net result is that you've spent the same amount of money, but in the second scenario you have a lot more work in post-production to do. Is that an efficient use of a budget? Are you trying to make a movie efficiently or are you trying to be an equipment owner, because you'll have to figure out your priorities.
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#5 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:21 AM

in school i was dp for a 40 minute film shot "cinecitta" style, nearly all MOS. this wasn't exactly by preference, since we only had free access to an mos camera and because it was hard enough to get time from all the actors and secure the locations for even a few hours at a time (it was made with no money, obviously). there were two longish, important dialogue scenes that were shot with production sound and mos camera though.

i can say that there is a definite advantage in terms of set up time and shooting ratios, since you don't have to conceptualize/make concessions to your compositions/movements/blocking with the boom in mind, and you only have to get a good visual performance for a good take. and obviously there is no waiting for sound (no disrespect to audio professionals). also, if the shooting environment is chaotic and rushed, knowing that you can kinda "clean up" the performances/interactions in ADR is psychologically comforting to both the dir/dp/writer as well as the actors if they feel rushed. also, i feel like you end up being kinda liberated from the natural gravitation towards using close ups, since you're not solving any audio problems by getting tight enough to hide the boom when crunched for time. of course, these things don't apply really to productions where everyone is an experienced pro and there is ample time & resources. also, our characters/dialogue weren't very complex, which i'm sure helped hide the flaws in using all that ADR.

the drawbacks are obvious-- diminished performances and more work in post... though it's usually a lot more relaxed and it's usually a situation more condusive to detailed direction (without everyone standing around waiting), so it can be a plus for less experienced actors. and even though the scenes shot with production audio in my film seemed to clearly feature better performances to me, most viewers couldn't tell the difference.

whenever i see a leone film since then, it seems obvious to me that they benefitted from shooting MOS. his compositions seem more liberated (from the boom), remniscent of the visual flair of many later silent films, and the dependence on dialogue prevalent in most narrative cinema is byebye.

if anyone does shoot on film mos, i'd highly suggest bringing a cheap dv camera and simple short shotgun mic and just set it up somewhere safely off camera to pick up reference audio, hassle free. later when you do ADR, you can plop each line of dialogue on an ipod as separate tracks and have the actor listen to it on loop. i used this technique recently for ADR on a different non-MOS project and in my opinion it worked better than having the actors watch their performance, which can cause all kinda problems for synch and self-awareness if your actors aren't super experienced. especially if you like the original performance's dialogue-- they can just listen to it over and over and mimic the intensity, cadence and timing. for me the results were very good, and the sessions went pretty quick.

Edited by jaan, 14 June 2006 - 12:24 AM.

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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:01 AM

I've got a copy of the 1930 Cinematographic Manual, the first ASC bible. It's got a section titled "What They Use in Hollywood" full of pictures of all sorts of sound insulating camera booths, teepees, little wagons on wheels, large booths on tripods with cameras inside, horseblankets draped over cameras, early blimp designs (including a cutaway of a camera inside a blimp), etc.

There's a lot of food for thought in how the early sound movie makers were solving the camera noise problem. A little booth on wheels (sort of an enclosed western dolly) would be the absolute antithesis of hand held work but it would enable using an MOS camera in close to live mikes. The director would have to block scenes around the booth's limitations but the booth would be an alternative to extensive ADR.

There's also a photo of a "new device". The "device"? A geared tripod head with a Mole-Richardson logo on it! Another great photo is a shot of the inside of the Universal Studios sound blimp. I've seen photos shot from the sound stage floor of the outside of the blimp but never a photo of the inside with its mixing and monitoring equipment. I suspect the insides were considered pretty top secret at first - only the ASC brethren were allowed a peek at it.

If anyone's interested and I get a chance this weekend, I'll scan some of the photos and post them.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:18 AM

Come on David, give me a little credit. I would never try and shoot a HEAVILY Dialoged script MOS, that's what I said earlier ("This technique will be more difficult to do with certain kinds of films but would work great with film designed to take advantage of it." ). You have to write a film that works for this technique like the Spaggetti Westerns did.

As for paying actors for ADR The fact of the matter is, as you, yourself have stated in other posts, that there are a LOT on non-union films being shot, so SAG isn't nessesarily that much of a factor in many cases so yes you should pay them for ADR but the rates may not be as high as one might imagine.

I'm not trying to justify buying an MOS camera, I already own one, a Konvas 1m in almost mint condition, and am working on getting a Kinor 35 H or C (I don't care which as long as it's in great condition at a good price), as soon as I have the cash, so I'm not against sound sync cameras in the least but if it cost's 15 grand to rent a Panavision, screw it, the Kinor is good enough for me. My whole point is that I was positive I HAD to have a sound-sync camera to shoot anything of any inportance, but after seeing this Doc I realized some of my favorite films were shot MOS and as I said before, that gave me insipration and confidence to shoot MOS. Actually for 15 grand you can BUY a Arri BL package so why rent one? I've seen them go pretty regularly for 11 to 13 grand for older BL packages in good condition.

As for editing, that where Hitchcock's technique of extensive storyboards comes into play. If you don't vary too much from what you planned on paper you should ba able to edit from the storybords and use the best of the visual elements coupling them with the best of the audio preformances. Planning cuts to reaction shots would allow greater latitude in doing this. As for rubber liped syncs, there will be compromizes, and that was always one of the things that bothered me about the old Itialian fare, but it didn't stop me from watching these films and from what I can tell hasn't stopped younger audeinces from watching them as well, so I doubt if modern versions, providing they are compelling will l detour modern audences from watching them eather although, againg as with those old movies, I would keep dialoge to a minimum.

I'm not trying to say your wrong or I don't value your advice or that I'm some kind of expert, just that these films show MOS movies can and were made at considerable less cost than many American films produced at the time and that there are lessons for independent, low budget filmmakers that can be learned here. That's all. B)

If anyone's interested and I get a chance this weekend, I'll scan some of the photos and post them.


I would LOVE to see that! :)
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#8 dd3stp233

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 02:12 AM

Many low-budget European horror movies were also filmed silent especially the Itailian ones like Lucio Fulci's "Zombie". A more recent movie is "Six String Samurai" USA 1998 by director Lance Mungia. He shot about 1/4 of the movie non-sync with an Arri 2c. They had planned to do the whole movie non-sync but recieved additional financing and shot the rest sync.

Also there are programs out there that can push or pull an ADR loop into sync which can make it look a lot better then the old way of doing it.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 02:49 AM

"Non-union" production tends to mean non-IA, non-DGA. Almost all productions fall under SAG restrictions because almost all professional actors are in SAG.

As far as this whole "own versus rent" issue, we've discussed this before but it bears repeating: is your goal to get a movie made, shown, and distributed?

Because if you have a script that you're passionate about making into a movie, and some sort of money set aside to make that movie, then spending that money to buy equipment is not the most effective use of your money. The first rule of low-budget filmmaking is never spend money on something if you can get it for free. And short of that, spend as little as you can. Now if you already own equipment, that's another thing, but I don't recommend buying equipment as the first step in making a feature.

It's a different thing if you're buying equipment as a learning tool, something cheap to shoot with. Or conversely, you are an established professional with steady work coming and have a good sense as to what you can buy that will pay for itself within two years of work.

Now obviously if $10,000 to $15,000 is already too much money to spend on the camera package for a feature, you must be talking about a TINY budget. But generally a 35mm sync-sound package is over a $1000/day (half that is for the camera itself), and a week is usually a 3-day rental, so $3000/week minimum. But I'm talking about a full package of camera, mags, batteries, lenses, tripods, etc. You perhaps could buy an old 35mm sync-sound camera for $15,000, but normally you're not going to get a good set of lenses plus other accessories with it.

And I'm talking about a decent 35mm sync-sound camera and some good lenses with it. If you really want to go low-end, I'm sure you can dig up a rental on some really old 35mm camera equipment and lenses and get a deal for $1000/week on it, so $3000 total to make a 3-week feature. You aren't going to be able to buy a 35mm sync-sound camera and lenses for that.

Anyway, my point is that if you want to make a feature and have "x" dollars to make it with, use that money wisely -- don't just start buying everything. Budget out the production and see what you have left for the camera -- generally you can always rent something in the short term for less money and higher value than what you can afford to buy.

Too many people are more interested in "play acting" the part of a director and surrounding themselves with equipment rather than be serious about shooting and finishing a movie within a set time for a set budget. They spend thousands and thousands of dollars setting themselves up to shoot that movie, and then never actually make the movie, or dabble on it over weekends and spend even more money shooting half the movie and never finish it. In the end, they have a lot of crappy, cheap gear and a lot of debt but not a finished project. Or maybe it's finished five years later.

If you're really serious about actually making a single feature and getting it out to festivals and distributors, then forget about buying equipment and setting up some sort of production house -- and spend your money on actually making the movie, cutting it, finishing it. Focus on the movie itself and not on setting yourself up as a "filmmaker". Because worrying more about accumulating gear is merely a demonstration of one's ego rather than selflessly devoting yourself to the actual project and seeing it get made.
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 02:50 AM

Also there are programs out there that can push or pull an ADR loop into sync which can make it look a lot better then the old way of doing it.


I hadn't heard about those, got any links? B)
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 03:26 AM

"Non-union" production tends to mean non-IA, non-DGA. Almost all productions fall under SAG restrictions because almost all professional actors are in SAG.

As far as this whole "own versus rent" issue, we've discussed this before but it bears repeating: is your goal to get a movie made, shown, and distributed?

Because if you have a script that you're passionate about making into a movie, and some sort of money set aside to make that movie, then spending that money to buy equipment is not the most effective use of your money. The first rule of low-budget filmmaking is never spend money on something if you can get it for free. And short of that, spend as little as you can. Now if you already own equipment, that's another thing, but I don't recommend buying equipment as the first step in making a feature.

It's a different thing if you're buying equipment as a learning tool, something cheap to shoot with. Or conversely, you are an established professional with steady work coming and have a good sense as to what you can buy that will pay for itself within two years of work.

Now obviously if $10,000 to $15,000 is already too much money to spend on the camera package for a feature, you must be talking about a TINY budget. But generally a 35mm sync-sound package is over a $1000/day (half that is for the camera itself), and a week is usually a 3-day rental, so $3000/week minimum. But I'm talking about a full package of camera, mags, batteries, lenses, tripods, etc. You perhaps could buy an old 35mm sync-sound camera for $15,000, but normally you're not going to get a good set of lenses plus other accessories with it.

And I'm talking about a decent 35mm sync-sound camera and some good lenses with it. If you really want to go low-end, I'm sure you can dig up a rental on some really old 35mm camera equipment and lenses and get a deal for $1000/week on it, so $3000 total to make a 3-week feature. You aren't going to be able to buy a 35mm sync-sound camera and lenses for that.

Anyway, my point is that if you want to make a feature and have "x" dollars to make it with, use that money wisely -- don't just start buying everything. Budget out the production and see what you have left for the camera -- generally you can always rent something in the short term for less money and higher value than what you can afford to buy.

Too many people are more interested in "play acting" the part of a director and surrounding themselves with equipment rather than be serious about shooting and finishing a movie within a set time for a set budget. They spend thousands and thousands of dollars setting themselves up to shoot that movie, and then never actually make the movie, or dabble on it over weekends and spend even more money shooting half the movie and never finish it. In the end, they have a lot of crappy, cheap gear and a lot of debt but not a finished project. Or maybe it's finished five years later.

If you're really serious about actually making a single feature and getting it out to festivals and distributors, then forget about buying equipment and setting up some sort of production house -- and spend your money on actually making the movie, cutting it, finishing it. Focus on the movie itself and not on setting yourself up as a "filmmaker". Because worrying more about accumulating gear is merely a demonstration of one's ego rather than selflessly devoting yourself to the actual project and seeing it get made.


You've made some valid points, in my case however, there are no rental houses here so I'm sorta forced to own the equipment, but to me this is not a bad thing. It's not out of ego that I want to own my own camera but with an eye towards the future. If I planning on only making one film, perhaps it would be better to rent but I plan to do much more than that and for me renting just doesn't make sense. If lenses become a problem then owning the package and renting the lenses works better than wasteing money renting a full package.

But againg going back to the S.Wrns, they used techniscope which means the image quality was already lower than it normally would be, add to that the fact that they were using those old lenses (they were new then) and the image still wasn't all that bad, again the scenes and shots have to be designed to work with the equipment you have available. Cookes and Ziess may not be Panavision but they're still viable for feature work and many of those packages I spoke of have Ziess and Cookes lenses that go with them as well as batterie cables ect. Tripods go for 100 to 2000 for high end, new ones and heads go for around a grand or less. I've seen O'connor 100s go for 500 so again., I would own rether than rent. Also, I have seen Arri 2s w/ a crystal sync motor and a blimp go for 3 grand so I still would not rent even if I could find a package for a grand a week, I would buy, then if I end up shooting 5 weeks instead of 3, I'm still OK. Y

ou rent something the money's gone, you buy at the right price and you can sell it for what you have into it., so camera rental is free or keep it and do another film, the next one for free. Your going to spend the money one way or the other anyway, but until you get to the point where your films budget is over 2 mil, renting doesn't make sense, at least not in my book, besides once you own the equipment, the money can go towards production. If you already own most of what you need then the money goes for film, processing, costumes, in other words increased production value.
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#12 dd3stp233

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 05:23 AM

Guy Maddin also comes to mind, who has made some heavily stylized modern silent-type movies.

VocALign is one program, although it requires at least a scratch track to match the ADR to.
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 05:59 AM

David makes som good points. I can't tell you how many people (including myself when I thought I'd kick-start my career by buying an old Konvas) own gear that never gets used. If I had a penny for every film student/geek/guy that was just about to start his own indie-feature by buying cameras, I'd be minted by now.

As for sound; it never really gets right if you do it in post - roomtones, vibe, ambiences etc - the feeling isn't really there. It's worth doing stuff on set even though it takes a little more time. Same goes for sound effects - if you have a little time, try to get as many "real" sound effects as you can rather that rely to heavily on effects libraries.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:02 PM

until you get to the point where your films budget is over 2 mil, renting doesn't make sense,


That doesn't make any sense. I must have shot well over twenty 35mm features for under 1 mil dollars with rented equipment. I even shot a $100,000 feature in 35mm with rented equipment.

And I thought you were in Austin, TX -- I know there are Super-16 and HD cameras to rent there, and Dallas and Houston aren't THAT far away to rent a 35mm package from. So you drive to Dallas, pick up a package for three weeks, make your feature, return it.

Unless you're following the "I'm shooting my feature piecemeal over weekends" plan, which is another thing I don't recommend.
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#15 Hunter Sandison

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:42 PM

Let me preface by saying that I'm a simple A.C. and have never dealt with the financial aspects of filmmaking in any capacity. Every feature I've worked on was under 1 million and every single one used a rental house camera package. The nice thing about this situation is if you don't like the way a lens tapes out you can send it back for another. If a mag developes a jamming habit on set, have it replaced. The movie can march on unscathed with no delay. That being said what about buying a camera and then selling it after principal photography wraps. It seems to me that the value of the camera package would depreciate very little over the three or four weeks it takes to shoot your movie. Then you sell it for as close to the purchase price as possible and put that money towards post. Obviously, this is for very low budget movies only. You'd need to have that that initial money. Also it seems risky in that if the camera breaks you cannot continue shooting nor can you sell it for anything close to the price you bought it for. Would this work or have I overlooked something vital. No one seems to operate this way in L.A.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:54 PM

It's been done by some people... but if you're talking about a decent 35mm sync-sound package with a good set of lenses, that's a sizable outlay of cash for a low-budget production and most would opt to rent for less money up front and spend that cash rather than try and recoup some costs in post by reselling equipment. For most productions, it's a cash FLOW issue - cash back at the end of production doesn't help them get the movie in the can.

Plus there is the time factor -- most people don't make 35mm movies with their own money, they get investors, so often there is only a month or so between the investment and the start of shooting (in case the investors change their mind!) and it takes time to shop for a camera, get it serviced & tested, etc.

It strikes me that there is a simularity between dabbling in 35mm production with one's own money and having a serious drug habit...
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#17 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:54 PM

I even shot a $100,000 feature in 35mm with rented equipment.


Wow, thats quite an achievement, I assume you must have posted some descriptions about you did that before... what title can I search under?
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#18 Alex Haspel

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:58 PM

i am just helping with the postproduction of a student short i DoP'ed and we shot MOS because we had no sync sound compatible camera package availible (due to budget restraints of course).

there is only one actress in the whole 30minute movie, and 4 lines of monologe, but still it is an unbelievable pain in the youknowwhere to do all the other sound in post! even with access to the "sound ideas" - sound libary.

we totally underestimated the amount of time going into this, and so here we are now 2 days prior to the premiere and still working on the sound almost 24/7 ! paid proffessionals may be a bit faster than we are, but also a hell lot more expensive!


i'm with kubrick on this one, avoiding MOS shooting for sound movies.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:03 PM

Wow, thats quite an achievement, I assume you must have posted some descriptions about you did that before... what title can I search under?


It was called "The Last Big Thing", written, directed, and acted by someone named Dan Zukovic. Also starred Mark Ruffalo.

Basically more than half the budget went into shooting in 35mm (stock, processing, etc.) using some older stock that Kodak sold to us to get rid of. 3-week shoot, every crew person high and low was paid a flat $1000/week, so $3000 total per person (assuming they worked all three weeks.) It was shot in Lancaster, CA in the desert so there was so hotel expenses for the crew. But the budget did allow it to be finished to a 35mm print.

The camera was an Arri-BL3 with a set of Zeiss Super-Speeds and one Cooke zoom, from Otto Nemenz I think. The stocks were 5247 and 5296, just after they had been obsoleted by Kodak (I think this was 1998 or 1999.)

No generator -- I think I carried four 1200w HMI PAR's, some Kinos, and an assortment of small tungstens. Just a doorway dolly for camera moves.

I don't think it ever came out on DVD. It had a very small theatrical release.
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#20 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
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  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:19 PM

It was called "The Last Big Thing", written, directed, and acted by someone named Dan Zukovic. Also starred Mark Ruffalo.

Basically more than half the budget went into shooting in 35mm (stock, processing, etc.) using some older stock that Kodak sold to us to get rid of. 3-week shoot, every crew person high and low was paid a flat $1000/week, so $3000 total per person (assuming they worked all three weeks.) It was shot in Lancaster, CA in the desert so there was so hotel expenses for the crew. But the budget did allow it to be finished to a 35mm print.

The camera was an Arri-BL3 with a set of Zeiss Super-Speeds and one Cooke zoom, from Otto Nemenz I think. The stocks were 5247 and 5296, just after they had been obsoleted by Kodak (I think this was 1998 or 1999.)

No generator -- I think I carried four 1200w HMI PAR's, some Kinos, and an assortment of small tungstens. Just a doorway dolly for camera moves.

I don't think it ever came out on DVD. It had a very small theatrical release.


That's an incredible achievement, I wonder if something like that could be acheived in the UK.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Glidecam

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera