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Suggestions/Opinions on a cheap ass offline method


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#1 Nick Mulder

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:57 AM

Hiya,

Has anyone considered shooting a scene simultaneously with film (16mm for instance) with a DV camera off to the side shooting the same scene - slating the top of the shot, but not only for sound sync but also that the DV version could be used for offline editing (EDL, neg cut etc...) later ?

yeh, there would be parallax errors but nothing unsurmountable for an 'average' (cheapo) shoot ... (I dont have a video split)

This way a whole film could be made without so much as the stock even having been developed yet, which youd probably do to check it didn't have any errors - but at least you wouldn't have to pay for a telecine yet ...

Why ? well, budget wise you might not have the cash for a transfer yet and you could potentially sell the film from the DV version ....and youd only have to transfer or blow-up exactly what was required - if you held the developing you could even specifically only develop what you needed ...

My experience is low with this kind of thing, so maybe I'm missing some vital point in the chain - but I'm keen to keep costs down as much as possible so they can be spent on production design, make-up, food etc...

I should also ask about where to read up on the DV time-code - film frame number stuff I'd need to know about for this to work

yes yes - no no ? Silly because of X, Y & Z reasons ? Great, why didn't we all think of that ! cheapness rocks! ??


any kind words of ridicule appreciated,
Nick
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:48 AM

The two main problems are:

1) what if your film was blank or a lens mount screwed up? I heard stories about this indie movie called "Keane" that had to be shot twice, the second time over a year later, because they somehow managed to shoot the whole movie in Super-16 with a backfocus problem that was never caught in video dailies, but was unusable for a blow-up to 35mm. So they filed an insurance claim I guess (although I'm sure the insurance company asked "why didn't you shoot & project tests in prep?") and reshot the movie in 35mm I believe.

2) matching film frames to video frames. Since they are both running freely of each other, there's no way for an EDL to match the negative. You'd basically have to telecine everything later and recut the movie by matching the video cut by eye, and generate a new EDL. So you haven't saved any money.

I've had these arguments with producers who wanted to tape the video tap image and forgo processing the film until later... I had to tell them that the video image was not the film image itself, unlike a video transfer.

And certainly showing a DV image shot next to the Super-16 camera is only going to convince distributors that you actually shot in DV, or that there are a lot of finishing funds needed that they aren't going to pay for. You have to remember that distributors don't really pay to finish a movie; they either buy it finished (preferred), or buy it unfinished, finish it, and take their costs out of what they were planning on paying you -- you're still paying. And they only feel inclined to do that if they smell a lot of money to be made, which is not the case for most indie films.

Don't be penny-wise, pound-foolish. Any movie is an expensive enterprise, too expensive to make a fundamental mistake that could cost you the whole movie. You have a minimal level of costs no matter what. You're better off either finding a really good deal on video dailies, or shooting the movie in 24P DV if that's all you can afford. In other words, if you can't afford to shoot film, you can't afford to shoot film -- and shooting film includes processing it and getting it into an editing stage minimum.
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#3 Nick Mulder

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 02:40 PM

1) what if your film was blank or a lens mount screwed up?

Yep, I thought of this one, should have mentioned it in the first post...

Well, I'm prepared to take the gamble as its only a short - perhaps a bit more background:

I have about 15,000' of stock (B+W plus-X reversal) left from 20,000' I bought for next to nothing - for about 5000' feet I have learned how to process it at home with predictable results, the processing aside from the time factor, costs me next to nothing, incidentally in that 5000' aside from some underwater housing learning experiences and timelapse shot mishaps I have yet to cock-up a shot for some technical reason (I know a hair in the gate doesn't differentiate the skill of an operator) - still, I'll have a good mull for a few more months, but at this stage I'm prepared to take on the risk... (famous last words)

2) matching film frames to video frames. Since they are both running freely of each other, there's no way for an EDL to match the negative. You'd basically have to telecine everything later and recut the movie by matching the video cut by eye, and generate a new EDL. So you haven't saved any money.


This is where I'm particularly interested - I am yet to work with editing/EDL's and wotnot, so am not sure of exactly how they work, I've got concepts but no particulars. I am willing to become a human EDL if thats what it takes... I have a synchronizer here and I imagine I could fashion a reasonably cleanish room at my workplace to do the 'dirty' work - I can figure out how I would go about getting it all to conform to the DV version but would like info on how exactly EDL's work with film - do they simply have all the reels lined up and synced which are then optically printed in turn via some form of automation that cant see someone clapping their hands in the frame ?

If thats the case think - Zero budget ... $$$ is replaced by 1: Risk 2: Time - perhaps out of pride and bragging rights "yeh, man I made this for $1000" - but also a little just because its how my life is working at the current time, it would be nice to have a film made totally under the local radar

I've had these arguments with producers who wanted to tape the video tap image and forgo processing the film until later... I had to tell them that the video image was not the film image itself, unlike a video transfer.

Mine would be even worse, it would have parallax offset and angle ...
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:20 PM

Use the DV camera for Wide shot coverage (just for information purposes only) and Live Audio mastering instead.

Rather than have your DV camera next to your main camera (and in the way), have the DV camera in the background, recording the actual master scene dialogue and getting a master shot of the set and everyone in it as well.

That master shot, although it won't be useable for the actual film, will reveal a lot about each take, as will how good the acting came out based on the audio and the immediate reaction after the shot. (although sometiems each take is called great to keep the energy high on the set) Your clapboard will make syncing your dailies easier as well.

Using a Video assist tap to record video and high quality sound is probably more useful, but you will find that the wide shot will help you with important data about your shoot. Everyone's demeanor immediately after the shot will be recorded on the video and many times that can clue you in as to what was good or not about a particular take, Plus you will actually have some terrific behind the scenes footage for your DVD extras as well.

If you really are in love with putting the DV camera next to the film camera, you might want to contact the gentleman from Australia who posts on here and posted his design in which he put a DV camera on top of the film camera, at least then you only have one pair of sticks to contend with.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:33 PM

yeh - I remember that cam .. a Mitchell with an XL2 video tap from Aranda

weird looking beast
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:12 PM

EDLs generally require Keykode of some sort or another, so that the negative cutter can quickly and accurately find the needed footage. If you're trying to avoid a TK, then I'm assuming that you are finishing on film. The problem, as stated, is that your DV is not capturing identical frames (or frame rate) to the film. So you have to do two things in this case - find matching frames between your film and video footage, and then do frame counts and conversions to figure out which frames of film should be your cut points. It's a lot of effort and is unlikely to actually work in practice. If you're just going to print the film and do a rough conform to the print, then it'll certainly be a load of trouble. But if you have any intentions of cutting the negative, I would HIGHLY advise you NOT to do so - they pay professionals a lot of money to do so with good reason. And a neg cutter is going to want a frame-accurate Keykode-based EDL.

My two cents.
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