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My first experience with 16mm


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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 06:24 PM

Comments on pics from my first ever film shoot? story below

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I got my film back from PWNY for 'Sleep' on tuesday, and after months of fretting over shutter problems and exposure problems I thought I might have, I get the footage back to find it looks miles better than I had hoped. Not a single shot had a mistake on it. Exposure always hit the mark, though I figured the one stop under for night scenes would be a little darker and the 2 2/3 stops over for the final scene was less bright than I thought it would be (a testament to how great the vision2 stock is)

The colors are gorgeous. I would have never got images this good, even on the best HD camera with lots of grading. I would have needed to do much more light control and planned a less extreme look if it were HD.

In the end it was a very positive experience. The only downside was the wait. I don't think I will offer to be scheduled late for a better price again. The few cents per foot I saved weren't worth the months of agony. The worst problem I had with the film was a hair in the gate on one take. Amazingly the hair fits about 3 pixels below the 1.85 matte, so I am safe there. It was hard to check the gate with a 10:1 zoom on the front most of the time, and it was my first time checking the gate. After enough checks and seeing nothing, you start to wonder if you really know what your looking for, but I guess I just kept my changing bag clean enough.

I have started to sync the audio, which was another leap for me, having never needed to slow and pitch correct audio, or create a 24p timeline from 30fps video. All those were very simple to figure out though (I figured it out before searches on the premeire's help found the method.)

I am very, very interested in hearing feedback from those who are much more advanced than I. Once I have a rough cut I will be asking to send DVDs out to certain people for their critique, and I will have a compressed version online for others to critique (DVDs and shipping is expensive)

Above I have some screengrabs from the film. I would love any feedback you guys have to offer me. THese are ungraded except the wide shot on hillside. I shot that scene without correction, and plan to correct it in the final supervised HD transfer. This was a one-light so I graded it in premiere to approximate what I want it to look like.



Info:
Telecine: one-light to DVCAM
Pictures: JPEG medium compression, native resolution, ungraded
Film: 7217 Kodak Vision2 200T (short ends)
Lens: 15-150 Angienuex (cp mount version, without dogleg); 6mm angie prime
Camera: CP-16r
Locations: Anchorage, Alaska: midtown and hillside, interiors
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#2 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 06:44 PM

Framing on that third hot is REALY cool! Looks pretty damn good I must say!

Comments on pics from my first ever film shoot? story below

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image


I got my film back from PWNY for 'Sleep' on tuesday, and after months of fretting over shutter problems and exposure problems I thought I might have, I get the footage back to find it looks miles better than I had hoped. Not a single shot had a mistake on it. Exposure always hit the mark, though I figured the one stop under for night scenes would be a little darker and the 2 2/3 stops over for the final scene was less bright than I thought it would be (a testament to how great the vision2 stock is)

The colors are gorgeous. I would have never got images this good, even on the best HD camera with lots of grading. I would have needed to do much more light control and planned a less extreme look if it were HD.

In the end it was a very positive experience. The only downside was the wait. I don't think I will offer to be scheduled late for a better price again. The few cents per foot I saved weren't worth the months of agony. The worst problem I had with the film was a hair in the gate on one take. Amazingly the hair fits about 3 pixels below the 1.85 matte, so I am safe there. It was hard to check the gate with a 10:1 zoom on the front most of the time, and it was my first time checking the gate. After enough checks and seeing nothing, you start to wonder if you really know what your looking for, but I guess I just kept my changing bag clean enough.

I have started to sync the audio, which was another leap for me, having never needed to slow and pitch correct audio, or create a 24p timeline from 30fps video. All those were very simple to figure out though (I figured it out before searches on the premeire's help found the method.)

I am very, very interested in hearing feedback from those who are much more advanced than I. Once I have a rough cut I will be asking to send DVDs out to certain people for their critique, and I will have a compressed version online for others to critique (DVDs and shipping is expensive)

Above I have some screengrabs from the film. I would love any feedback you guys have to offer me. THese are ungraded except the wide shot on hillside. I shot that scene without correction, and plan to correct it in the final supervised HD transfer. This was a one-light so I graded it in premiere to approximate what I want it to look like.



Info:
Telecine: one-light to DVCAM
Pictures: JPEG medium compression, native resolution, ungraded
Film: 7217 Kodak Vision2 200T (short ends)
Lens: 15-150 Angienuex (cp mount version, without dogleg); 6mm angie prime
Camera: CP-16r
Locations: Anchorage, Alaska: midtown and hillside, interiors


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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 07:08 PM

Beatiful, totally beautiful, especially the 3rd and 6th stills, I take my hat off for you. ;)
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#4 Jon Kukla

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 07:31 PM

Congrats on your first 16mm venture. Just thought I'd pass this along to hopefully avoid any future hairs on your part - checking the gate is often much easier with a zoom. Set the iris wide open, the zoom to the tightest length, the focus to infinity, and phase the shutter. The lens itself should act as a magnifying glass in front of the gate.
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#5 Olex Kalynychenko

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 03:14 AM

I congratulate you.
But, i will be glad to hell a few my idea.

1. I don't know, possible, you had idea a shoot at "natural light " style.
But, this is not " cinema " style picture.
This is more " life" style video picture.
I not see additional lighters and light devices.

Yes, of course, the some single pictures can not show of all footages.

2. I prefer use a few type of films, for outdoors and indoors.
200 T film a some high speed film for outdoors shooting, need 50..100 ASA.
But, can be use.
From other side. for indoors, i prefer a high speed, 320 ASA.
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:43 PM

Congrats on your first 16mm venture. Just thought I'd pass this along to hopefully avoid any future hairs on your part - checking the gate is often much easier with a zoom. Set the iris wide open, the zoom to the tightest length, the focus to infinity, and phase the shutter. The lens itself should act as a magnifying glass in front of the gate.


Thanks for the tip. I went with pulling the lens off manually, or if I had finnished up a mag, I would pull the presure plate back and look at the gate with a light. It was something I had not considered too much prior to shooting. I just thought 'check the gate' and didn't imagine it would leave me on set feeling uneasy as to wheather I was doing it right. I need to re-read some of my books and find every possible technique to do this properly before my next film short.


I congratulate you.
But, i will be glad to hell a few my idea.

1. I don't know, possible, you had idea a shoot at "natural light " style.
But, this is not " cinema " style picture.
This is more " life" style video picture.
I not see additional lighters and light devices.

Yes, of course, the some single pictures can not show of all footages.

2. I prefer use a few type of films, for outdoors and indoors.
200 T film a some high speed film for outdoors shooting, need 50..100 ASA.
But, can be use.
From other side. for indoors, i prefer a high speed, 320 ASA.


Yes I was going for a more naturalistic lighting approach for the outdoor scenes. Sometimes 'film lighting' is just too much for me. Even the inside scenes I tried not to go too extreme, its not that kind of story. As for the stock selection, I really didn't have much to go off of to make a good decision on stock. I viewed sample clips and found 200T to have the contrast I wanted. I felt like I should use one stock, so next time I shoot I have a wealth of knowledge of how 200T responds (since I had it all, uncorrected daylight, corrected daylight, hicon scenes, lo con, very VERY lowkey scenes etc.) I felt one stock would be more benefitial to my education.

The whole point of this project was my desire to shoot film. I had never done it, and I considered getting a little film and shooting, but in the end I decided I can learn more by doing it in a narative setting than trying to shoot random clips.

I love all the comments, I would be eager to hear more. Don't worry about being to critical.
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:48 PM

Well, I think it looks very nice. I recall from you prior posts that you did use supplemental lighting, and I see evidence of this, although you probably had a limited lighting package from the looks of it (not criticizing, I have the same problem). Very nice composition, although I don't care much for the shot through the rungs of the stairs or for both of the couch shots (they both look underexposed on my monitor screen).

Regards,

~Karl Borowski

P.S. Look forward to seeing a video transfer of the finished film. Visually at least, it appears very interesting.
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#8 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 11:21 PM

You might consider next time a transfer direct to hard drive as a Uncompressed 720X486 Interlaced Quicktime file ( a digibeta file}or a DVCPro 50 file which is a progressive file format. Either will give you better color (4:2:2) and more apparent dynamic range. With the cost of a 320 GIG Firewire Drive drifting toward $120USD you will save the cost of having, borrowing, renting a tape deck. I know people recommend using a camera with firewire out to capture a Xfer tape but you really don't get the detail and benefit.of a good xfer on to a good high end capture system. While Xfer to DVcam looks good the format itself does not have a lot of bandwidth and goes to hell if you step on the files once or twice.

Other then that suggestion you seem to be on your way to a good start.

Remember todays film stocks are very low contrast and you may have to add contrast by adding a strong light souce. If the lighting is to flat colors go muddy and the film appears more grainy then it really is, and also less sharp- Frame six shows this as opposed to frame five which has more snap.
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 12:00 AM

Thanks for the insight Karl and Andy. There are scenes that I look at and wish I had more contrast. In shooting I guess a tendancy is to go for the safest option. Frame six is supposed to be a night scene. I underexposed a stop and lit with 1/2 CTB. In post it looks more like night if I bring it down further, but I wish I had added more contrast in the lighting (also more art direction on the location, our original location fell through.) That shot is just a quick reverse shot. The first shot of the main charecter does have more contrast in lighting.

As for the underexposure on couch frames, the JPEG compressor on my computer tends to darken the images, not really sure how to fix that. Also a subtle hair light I had on frame 5 wasn't as strong as I had hoped.

Light package was 2 arri 650 open face w chimeras, 2 arri 150 fressnel, 2 totas and an omni and a small grip package. Not much crew or time.

As for the format, I really was looking for ease and cost, not quality. I plan to transfer on a spirit to D5HD from this offline cut, so thats when quality matters. The lab offered me a reduced rate on a DVCPRO-50, but in Anchorage it was hard to find a deck that could play them. Hard drive was complicated and costly. My best option was DVCAM, since I got the deck for free. I did have it transfered at 30fps, so I am cutting on a true 24p file, and my playback renders the 3:2:2:3 pulldown in realtime. When I do the HD transfer, I will have the tape transfered uncompressed to hard drive, and keep the tape as a master (no D5HD decks within 1000 miles of here...)

Any other suggestions? I will learn the most from these kinds of comments.
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#10 Matt Pacini

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:26 PM

Looks good.
One thing though, I would have used some bounce in the outdoor scene.
Just a piece of $6.00 foamcore would have helped tremendously, and you can always add contrast in post, but it's harder to regain detail in the shadows, once you've shot with the shadows this dark.
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:05 AM

Yeah, fill is your friend. Another comment. It's kind of hard to judge this from selected stills, but from what I've seen so far, there isn't nearly enough nudity or violence to make this film into a big box office hit :rolleyes:
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#12 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:15 PM

Hahaha, yeah well it could have done with more nudity. Even though its not that sort of movie, we could call it intermission and play a little jingle jangle song in the background. As for violence, yeah not much. The guy behind her is a stalker and still...not much violence. I guess I was trying for a slow thriller, hitchcock esque suspense, and marlin brando level acting....I really should have remade 'Cruel Intentions 2'. Oh well, screw the box office.

As for the fill, thats downside of a skeleton crew. We had all 3 grips working on moving a set peice during that shot, so we had nobody to hold the bounce card (of which we had many). I did use a little fill in the following shots, though I was limited in how much was passable, since this first shot has none.

By the way, all the reason for me relentlessly trying to pitch Alaska as a shooting destination is in frame 2. I love that location and it was found in 20 minutes of driving around my town.
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#13 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:28 PM

Handsome work. Shame you don't need to borrow my Steenbeck to cut it. Film rules, OK!
What really makes you look like a pro is holding the clapstick open with your hand around the hinge so the editor knows it's MOS. If you just shoot a closed slate, he looks for a clap to sync up, and starts scrabbling round on the floor when he can't find it! Aah for mag film and chinagraph pencils...
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#14 David Sweetman

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:56 PM

Nice work, can't wait to see it in motion. Did you burn the 1.85 mask into the image in telecine or put it in with premiere? Interested in the workflow because I'll be shooting a few 4:3 projects soon as well, and I'm debating whether to crop to widescreen or just leave it 4:3 (after having seen Godard's Notre Musique). Since this is a one-light are you planning on doing a supervised transfer of selected takes later?
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#15 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:07 PM

Thanks david and mark. The letterbox was put in in post (actually its a layer I toggle on and off while cutting). I framed for 1.85, but transfered fullscreen so I could see everything. Even if I transfer the HD cut in 16x9 (cropping the top and bottom, rather than pillar boxing) I will still have 21 pixels of give up or down to reframe to 1.85 nothing big, but it can fix an actor who was slouching for a 3 second reaction moment.

As for the slate...we had issues. All of my crew had little production experience, and no film experience. I had to teach them all to slate (and I don't even know all the standard procedures) so its not quite pro slating, but since I am also the editor its easy. I know when we were MOS or not without looking at the slate.

Thanks for the comments. DVDs will be out to get a full review from everyone here, but I really value the feedback. If anyone has other comments I would love to hear them.
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