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Days of Heaven look with no DI but minor efx work


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#1 gustavius smith

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:34 PM

I have been inspired by the cinematography of Days of Heaven and also by David Mullen's theory in Akeelah and the Bee to shoot a low budget feature in 35 anamporphic to enhance the film's presence.

I do not have the budget for a DI or HDCAM-SR. The situations in this movie are similar to Days of Heaven (the main actors work outdoors from sunrise to sunset) except we are on a 100 mile long island in the Bahamas ( with a population of less than 10,000) and not a cornfield.

As producer/writer the scenes that are bothering me include a a wide shot of six silos in an open field and an effects shot involving an insect crawling on an infant's face.

The six silos are gray concrete. I want to paint them into bright tropical colors. The wide shots of the silos happen in five scenes, not more than two minutes long. The infant scene is less than a minute.

Couldn't I just scan those scenes, do the required post work, then reprint them to 35anamorphic print. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Gustavius Smith
NY NY
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 02:24 AM

It would be a typical effect -- you'd scan your 35mm anamorphic negative, hopefully at 4K, probably then downrezzing to 2K, the efx company would do the work in 2K, and the results would be recorded back out to a 35mm anamorphic internegative to be cut into your final film's conformed negative for printing.

It's just like in the old days when you'd make an optical printer effect and cut the final efx shot (delivered as an internegative) back into the final cut negative, and then print.

Effects shots are delivered as negative so they can be cut with the rest of the live-action negative.

I can't answer though how you will pay for these effects...
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#3 gustavius smith

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 07:16 AM

It would be a typical effect -- you'd scan your 35mm anamorphic negative, hopefully at 4K, probably then downrezzing to 2K, the efx company would do the work in 2K, and the results would be recorded back out to a 35mm anamorphic internegative to be cut into your final film's conformed negative for printing.

It's just like in the old days when you'd make an optical printer effect and cut the final efx shot (delivered as an internegative) back into the final cut negative, and then print.

Effects shots are delivered as negative so they can be cut with the rest of the live-action negative.

I can't answer though how you will pay for these effects...


Makes sense, thanks. I hope this does not turn out to be more expensive than painting the six silos (yikes!) and using a dummy for the infant.

Edited by gustavius smith, 11 October 2006 - 07:17 AM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 11:14 AM

If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it... I'd guess several thousand dollars for each effect. It's not just the scanning and film recording, it's the efx person's time and equipment, so it depends on if you can get the work done for free and just pay for the scanning and film recording, and that alone may still run you a couple of thousand, so if there is a cheaper way, I'd do it, or change the script.

It would be cheaper if the final result only had to live on standard-def video, for example -- then you'd be scanning at a lower rez, doing the work at a lower rez, and never transferring it back to film. Next cost level would be if it only had to be done in HD rez and never scanned back to film.
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 04:26 PM

Why don't you just bribe them with some money...oh...just forget what I said.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 11 October 2006 - 04:28 PM.

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#6 gustavius smith

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 08:51 PM

If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it... I'd guess several thousand dollars for each effect. It's not just the scanning and film recording, it's the efx person's time and equipment, so it depends on if you can get the work done for free and just pay for the scanning and film recording, and that alone may still run you a couple of thousand, so if there is a cheaper way, I'd do it, or change the script.

It would be cheaper if the final result only had to live on standard-def video, for example -- then you'd be scanning at a lower rez, doing the work at a lower rez, and never transferring it back to film. Next cost level would be if it only had to be done in HD rez and never scanned back to film.


Thanks David for your response. When I went to see Akeelah and the Bee in New York on a Saturday afternoon a while back they printed out tickets for that movie with Vince Vaghn and Jennifer Anniston then refused to reprint our tickets to Akeelah and the Bee, we were like hell no, we want our money to go to this film at the time we felt they did it on purpose. Who knows? I didn't know you were the DP. I enjoyed the film. It was refreshing like Baddass by Van Pebbles Jr.

Anyway my question, if your original format is 35 4 perf anamorphic would you feel a one light DVCam from the negative for daillies is good enough to judge the image structure?

Gustavius Smith
NY NY
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#7 gustavius smith

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 11:08 PM

I just read an AC 2004 article on the subject. I am going to get film daillies and depend on DVCAM for the offline only not image structure judgements.

Gustavius Smith
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 11:23 PM

Most of us have had to put up with standard def video dailies for a decade or so, even though it is not ideal. On three of my four features shot in 35mm anamorphic, we had DVD dailies for example.

Ideally, you'd at least get a few rolls printed and projected early on to check for problems and get a sense of how the image looks in all areas, contrast, color, sharpness, etc. For tests like that where you print some of the footage, ask the lab to print entire camera rolls ("print all"), not circled takes, so that the negative rolls are not cut up into printing rolls.
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#9 gustavius smith

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:16 AM

Most of us have had to put up with standard def video dailies for a decade or so, even though it is not ideal. On three of my four features shot in 35mm anamorphic, we had DVD dailies for example.

Ideally, you'd at least get a few rolls printed and projected early on to check for problems and get a sense of how the image looks in all areas, contrast, color, sharpness, etc. For tests like that where you print some of the footage, ask the lab to print entire camera rolls ("print all"), not circled takes, so that the negative rolls are not cut up into printing rolls.


Thanks.

Gustavius Smith
NYNY
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