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3-perf, Super 35mm


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#1 Mark Henderson

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:11 PM

It seems many DPs are shooting Super 16mm instead of HD now due to cost comparisons and unhappiness with HD. Does there seem to be a growing demand for 3-perf, Super 35mm also? It has almost the exact dimensions of HD. 1:1.80 (vs.1:1.78)

Thanks, Mark
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:13 PM

3-perf 35mm is used almost exclusively for TV work that shoots in 35mm, for that very reason (and to save money.) It hasn't caught on as much for features (yet) because it would require a conversion step (optical printer or D.I.) to convert to 4-perf 35mm if you needed to make theatrical prints. But there have been some 3-perf features -- I shot one last year.
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#3 John-Erling Holmenes Fredriksen

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:25 PM

3-perf 35mm is used almost exclusively for TV work that shoots in 35mm, for that very reason (and to save money.) It hasn't caught on as much for features (yet) because it would require a conversion step (optical printer or D.I.) to convert to 4-perf 35mm if you needed to make theatrical prints. But there have been some 3-perf features -- I shot one last year.


One of the largest Norwegian feature productions last year (The Kautokeino Rebellion) was actually shot on 3 perf, but they were also shooting lots of extra scenes for later release as a TV-series, so I guess they had to make the most of their huge (in Norwegian standards) budget.
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:38 AM

But there have been some 3-perf features -- I shot one last year.

And I worked on one last year. I think the demand is there, but the cameras are hard to get because of TV. The feature I did was in the summer, so this was less of an issue.
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#5 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 03:02 AM

I did a 3-perf S35 project last year as well, and getting the camera while competing with TV was a major bitch, for a while it didn't look good until my great marketing rep somehow found one.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 12:03 PM

Martin Scorsese recently directed a concert doc. on the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theater in New York. They had something like 20 cameras rolling, all in 3-perf. Arri had to actually manufacture a few movements to fill the order.
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#7 Mark Henderson

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 09:42 PM

Besides 3-perf, my key point was SUPER 35MM (1:1.76) since this brings it to almost exactly HD format (1:1.78)and very close to 1:1.85 feature film format. Would this make it attractive to lower-budget feature film productions? I've talked to my transfer house and transferring it as 1:1.85 seems to be no problem.

Thanks, Mark
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:08 PM

Besides 3-perf, my key point was SUPER 35MM (1:1.76) since this brings it to almost exactly HD format (1:1.78)and very close to 1:1.85 feature film format. Would this make it attractive to lower-budget feature film productions?


The problem is the cost of filming it out to 35mm if a print is required. You may save 25% of your stock & processing costs by shooting 3-perf instead of 4-perf, so if you were going to spend $100,000 on stock & processing, now you're going to save $25,000 by shooting 3-perf.

Trouble is that if you have to do a $100,000 D.I. in order to finish the 3-perf movie to a 4-perf 35mm release print stage, you haven't really saved money by shooting in 3-perf, you've spent more money.

So 3-perf only makes sense either if a D.I. is inevitable (like to create a special look digitally or to convert spherical to anamorphic) or if you're not even sure you'll get a theatrical deal and will only go straight to DVD / television release. If you were a low-budget film that knew they needed a 35mm print to screen, it would make more sense to shoot 4-perf standard 35mm 1.85 (not Super-1.85), which is the simplest format for going straight to contact print with a soundtrack on it.

3-perf sort of ties a producer's hand into doing a D.I., unless it is definitely a straight-to-video project, which is why they are so leery of it when you bring it up.

Another problem with 3-perf is being able to screen projected print tests or film dailies on location away from a lab that can project 3-perf prints.
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#9 Phil Savoie

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:00 PM

I take on board what David says about 3 Perf and feature film.

For TV 3 perf is a very useful format and a one worth consideration. Most of the major TV series shooting 35 originate in 3 Perf. They are finishing 16x9 for tape delivery so its just the ticket. Much of my work is 16, 3 Perf allows me to afford to shoot 35. When transfered to HD it looks fantastic. The image quality is brilliant, I'm in love with 3 perf.
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 11:57 PM

May I take this oportunity to pump techniscope? I don't know if it is all that great a format. I just don't like feeling so lonely. 2 perf is coooooooool, man!
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#11 Zachary Vex

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 06:33 AM

You and me against the world. 8^)
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#12 Mark Henderson

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:06 PM

I take on board what David says about 3 Perf and feature film.

For TV 3 perf is a very useful format and a one worth consideration. Most of the major TV series shooting 35 originate in 3 Perf. They are finishing 16x9 for tape delivery so its just the ticket. Much of my work is 16, 3 Perf allows me to afford to shoot 35. When transfered to HD it looks fantastic. The image quality is brilliant, I'm in love with 3 perf.


What about the SUPER 35mm part?

Thanks, Mark
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:18 PM

What about the SUPER 35mm part?

Thanks, Mark


3-perf is always "Super", i.e. full aperture.
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#14 Stephen Williams

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 03:14 AM

3-perf is always "Super", i.e. full aperture.


Hi David,

Probably rather than always. 3 perf was first used to shoot TV series in 4x3, there was no advantage in recentering the lens, and with many older cameras its not practical.

With the latest factory delivered cameras then yes 3 perf would be "Super"

Stephen
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 12:10 PM

Hi David,

Probably rather than always. 3 perf was first used to shoot TV series in 4x3, there was no advantage in recentering the lens, and with many older cameras its not practical.


They still shot full aperture -- they just only transferred a 4x3 area. They didn't put a 4x3 gate into the 3-perf camera -- that's what I meant. 3-perf cameras always expose full aperture. I can't think of any reason to put a gate in that didn't expose the soundtrack area. In terms of centering the lens, yes, I can see them not bothering if only a 4x3 area was going to be transferred. But that must have changed quickly since the main reason TV shows shot 3-perf for 4x3 was not only to save money, but to protect for a future 16x9 transfer, so centering the lens would make sense.

I suppose it's possible that way back then in the early days of 3-perf, somebody took an old Arri-III with an Academy gate and modified it to 3-perf, so in that case, maybe the new gate didn't expose full aperture if the shutter or something didn't clear it. But that would be an exception.

But today, there is no reason differentiating between 3-perf and full aperture (Super-35). I've never heard of a 3-perf camera going out with an Academy-width gate.
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#16 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 12:36 PM

Well, if 3-perf cannot be optically transferred to a theatrical 4-perf release print, what about 4-perf full aperture? Does it also need to go through a DI before it can be transferred to a theatrical 4-perf release print? Does the extra image area of the full aperture invade the soundtrack area of the theatrical release print so as to make it impossible to optically transfer it?

Also, it would seem that if you shoot full aperture 4-perf so you obtain the greatest image size and record the most information on the negative, then have to shrink the image down to fit on the release print with the soundtrack, aren't you defeating the purpose of shooting full aperture in the first place. Am I missing something here?

Thanks,
-Tim
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#17 Patrick Neary

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 12:55 PM

With 4 perf full aperture you're just getting more stuff top and bottom, which can allow you to reframe up and down a bit, or have 2.35, 1.85 and 1.33 all struck from the same neg. You're only real choices for 2.35 theatrical are anamorphic or super-35, both of which certainly would get you more neg area than cropping academy 1.85, if that was even an option. Also remember that the super-35 2.35 print is anamorphic, not flat.
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#18 Michael Nash

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 01:09 PM

Well, if 3-perf cannot be optically transferred to a theatrical 4-perf release print, what about 4-perf full aperture? ...

Am I missing something here?


This might help:
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/35_mm_film

"Full Aperture" area includes the area used for the soundtrack on a print. "Academy aperture" leaves room on the side for the soundtrack.

Generally the only time you would shoot full aperture for a 35mm release print is when shooting 2.35:1/Super35, knowing that the image will be squeezed optically or digitally onto an anamorphic relase print. Otherwise it might be done for effects work where the extra resolution or ability to reframe is needed.
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 01:51 PM

There are labs that offer optical 3perf to 4perf printing without having to go through a Di to get a print.
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#20 Tim Carroll

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 03:25 PM

This might help:
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/35_mm_film

"Full Aperture" area includes the area used for the soundtrack on a print. "Academy aperture" leaves room on the side for the soundtrack.

Generally the only time you would shoot full aperture for a 35mm release print is when shooting 2.35:1/Super35, knowing that the image will be squeezed optically or digitally onto an anamorphic relase print. Otherwise it might be done for effects work where the extra resolution or ability to reframe is needed.


Michael,

Great article. Thanks for pointing me to it. Getting a better understanding now.

Thanks everyone,
-Tim
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