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What choices to make in Super 16 project?


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 12:12 PM

I noticed that there is a similar post from yesterday but I'd like to ask for help with some specific
questions.

I've shot 16 mm before with a 16 BL and an SRII. For this project, the director would like to shoot
Super 16 mm with an Arri and video tap.

Will an SRII take a video tap? Anybody
have strong feelings on pushing for an SRIII or non-Arri camera (and why?)

The rental house (not a school project) has an SRIII for $425.00/day, an SRII HS, 10-150 F.P.S.
manual variable shutter, that can do Super 16 for $325.00/day and a non Super 16 SRII for $250.00/
day.

It seems to me that the $75.00 difference between the last two options is not that big of a
hurdle in order to do Super 16. Are there other big factors in the cost of shooting Super 16?

We'll need lenses. Zooming during shots is something we can do without if that makes a difference.
Of course we're on a budget but this is a place to consider prioritizing spending (lenses vs. limos.)

Here is what is available:

16 mm.

PRIME LENSES

Minimum Focus RENTAL
RATE

6mm Century *(PL mount) T 1.9 1' 80.00
Century 4.2 Adapter * (Works only with Century 6mm) 30.00
12mm Zeiss * T 1.3 8" 60.00
16mm Zeiss * T 1.3 10" 60.00
18mm Zeiss * T 1.4 10" 50.00
25mm Zeiss (PL Mount)* T 1.3 10" 65.00
25mm Zeiss * T 1.3 10" 60.00
25mm Zeiss * T 1.4 10" 50.00
35mm Zeiss * T 1.4 10" 50.00
50mm Zeiss * T 1.4 2'4" 50.00
85mm Zeiss * T 1.4 3' 50.00
(Covers Super 16 format)
Zeiss Super Speeds Set (9.5, 12, 16, 25) T 1.3 220.00
Zeiss Super Speeds Set*(9.5, 12, 16, 25) Super 16 PL Mount T 1.3 250.00


35 mm. lenses for Super 16:


(18, 25, 35, 50, 65*, 85)
T 1.3
$390.00
(*Superspeed sets without the 65mm lens )
$ 320.00


16 mm

Century Double Aspheric 40.00
Century Fisheye Adapter 40.00
Aspheron 40.00
Century Precision Snorkel T 5.6 350.00
Mesmerizer 100.00

ZOOM LENSES

Minimum Focus
RENTAL
RATE
8-64mm Canon* T 2.4
1'2"
$160.00
11-165mm Canon* T 2.5
$110.00
12-120mm Zeiss* T 2.4
5'
$110.00
25-250 Angenieux HR* T 3.7
5'7"
$275.00
25-250 Angenieux HP* T 3.9
6'
15-150 Angenieux* T 2.5
5'
* (Covers Super 16 format)

This project is intended for festivals and is a short. Perhaps a print will be made someday but first
it will be posted on an NLE and then onto DVD and I guess tape (HDCAM?) for digital projection at
festivals.

Yes, choosing aspect ratio is an artistic choice but if the director wants to crop and go wider, do you have
any opinions? It seems to me that doing that would use less of the negative but then again would still
be more (or would it?) than cropping on regular 16. I get a bit confused there. This project is set
in cafes and apartments, not any big desert landscape shots, so without reading the script, and knowing
that it aims for festival screens and probably televisions, toward what aspect ratio would you tend?

I'm considering shooting Kodak 7201 50 ASA for Day exteriors and pondering 7212 100 ASA
Tungsten (said on Kodak's website to be sharpest color neg.) vs. 7218 500 ASA Tungsten.

I like to use realistic looking light levels. With 7201, I could get a 2.8 with 20 footcandles, whereas
with 7212 at 100 ASA it would take 100 footcandles (really brighter than your average night
interior cafe booth) to get a 2.8

If 7212 is indeed the sharpest Kodak color negative, what are the considerations/concerns in using
a less sharp color neg.? We won't have big lights but certainly enough to get 100 footcandles so I'm
asking more in terms of the look of the two stocks. I'll ask to do tests but not counting on it and haven't
used these stocks before.


Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 02:47 PM

Why aren't you considering 200T (7217) if you think that 100T is too slow and 500T is too grainy?

The only downside to Super-16 is that you can't make a contact-printed 16mm print with an optical soundtrack on it. Otherwise, there's no reason to not shoot Super-16 unless all you want is a 4x3 image. The negative is 1.68 : 1 full aperture and you'd probably compose in most cases for either cropping (slightly) to 1.78 for a transfer to 16x9 full-frame video, probably HD. Or transfer to 16x9 but compose with slightly more cropping to 1.85 for 35mm projection.

Unless you mean that the director wants to compose for cropping to the 2.35 35mm anamorphic aspect ratio (actually 2.39..., sometimes called 2.40).

In terms of lenses, a few primes and zooms will vignette on Super-16 so just ask the rental houses which ones to avoid. Otherwise, you'd commonly get about five or six primes and one zoom for most projects. The old Zeiss Super-Speeds made for 16mm are fine (they just get soft below an f/2.0.) -- I think it's the 9.5mm Zeiss Super-Speed that will vignette slightly in Super-16; there may be an Optex 8mm or something that would suffice instead.

I'd consider using the slow-speed stock outdoors, 200T indoors (or 250D if they are HMI-lit daylight interiors), and a little 500T for low-light interiors and night exteriors. Otherwise, try to use 200T as much as you can, if you are trying to minimize grain in interiors. If you don't mind the grain texture, 500T 7218 is fine for all the interiors.
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#3 John Carreon

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 03:43 PM

If money isn't an issue then definitely get the SRIII and some nice 35mm lenses to pop on there...

However, I think both other cameras will work for you if you need it.

Worst case scenario is that you use the non-super SRII and then just frame in camera for whatever aspect ratio that you are going for.

You said you might get a print made? Is this just for personal viewing? Because I think (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) that's it's relatively difficult to find 16mm projectors...besides at Film Schools...I don't think they're that common...

Also, to save a little cash figure out what lenses you are gonna need...I've had shoots where the primes have sat in the box because we ended up using the zoom the whole time...a waste of money if you can figure it out beforehand...

And now, I am going to Hijack this thread for a moment:

Mr. Mullen, I too have read about the Kodak 7212 100T being the sharpest film stock. If you had a choice to shoot exteriors with either 7201 or 7212 what would your choice be and why? I know there are a lot of mitigating factors that come into play...but is there a significant difference in the look between the two?

Thanks,

John
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 04:49 PM

The old Zeiss Super-Speeds made for 16mm are fine (they just get soft below an f/2.0.)


David,

The last Super 16 project I shot with a set of Zeiss Super Speed Mk1 primes, where we had to open them up to f 1.3, they were really soft. I thought we had gotten a bad set of Super Speeds. Is this a common problem with those lenses? Are the Mk1's all soft wider than f 2.0? If that is so, I need to apologize to the place we got the lenses from, I thought they just had lenses that were out of whack. A set of Cooke Primes we used the next day, opened up to f 2.0, with the same camera, were much sharper than the Zeiss glass.

If you could clarify, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
-Tim
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 09:11 PM

Well, "too soft" is a little like "too spicy", a matter of taste -- but yes, T/1.4 on an old Zeiss Super-Speed is soft.

Nicely soft or unusably soft, that's your call.

I don't think the '12 stock is that visibly sharper than the other stocks like '01; it's pretty subtle. Which you use just depends on how you like to work.

I generally prefer daylight stocks in order to avoid using an 85 filter, but I've done some projects using '12 outdoors with the 85 and it looks great. '01 would look slightly "cleaner" (less grainy) by being slower, that's all. But maybe '12 would cut better with a movie using a lot of '18 indoors than '01 would.
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#6 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 10:19 PM

Why aren't you considering 200T (7217) if you think that 100T is too slow and 500T is too grainy?

The only downside to Super-16 is that you can't make a contact-printed 16mm print with an optical soundtrack on it. Otherwise, there's no reason to not shoot Super-16 unless all you want is a 4x3 image. The negative is 1.68 : 1 full aperture and you'd probably compose in most cases for either cropping (slightly) to 1.78 for a transfer to 16x9 full-frame video, probably HD. Or transfer to 16x9 but compose with slightly more cropping to 1.85 for 35mm projection.

Unless you mean that the director wants to compose for cropping to the 2.35 35mm anamorphic aspect ratio (actually 2.39..., sometimes called 2.40).

In terms of lenses, a few primes and zooms will vignette on Super-16 so just ask the rental houses which ones to avoid. Otherwise, you'd commonly get about five or six primes and one zoom for most projects. The old Zeiss Super-Speeds made for 16mm are fine (they just get soft below an f/2.0.) -- I think it's the 9.5mm Zeiss Super-Speed that will vignette slightly in Super-16; there may be an Optex 8mm or something that would suffice instead.

I'd consider using the slow-speed stock outdoors, 200T indoors (or 250D if they are HMI-lit daylight interiors), and a little 500T for low-light interiors and night exteriors. Otherwise, try to use 200T as much as you can, if you are trying to minimize grain in interiors. If you don't mind the grain texture, 500T 7218 is fine for all the interiors.


"Why aren't you considering 200T (7217) if you think that 100T is too slow and 500T is too grainy?"

It's not that I think that; I suspect that but I don't know. I understand that at some point what's
too grainy may be a matter of opinion but in general, getting a good exposure and not
pushing anything, is 500T much grainier than 100T? I believe that faster stocks are usually
going to be grainier but my impression is that newer technologies and manufacturing of stocks have
changed that somewhat. For example, I'm going to price stock and am wondering if maybe 500T
might be more expensive if it can give greater speed without five times more grain than 100T.


The director is saying that he may want prints for projection at festivals. Does "The only downside
to Super-16 is that you can't make a contact-printed 16mm print with an optical soundtrack on it."
mean that there's an alternative to contact printing or that no matter what an optical soundtrack is
out? I've heard about magnetic soundtracks? What about them? Are they a historical item or still
used? What are the options for shooting Super 16 and
making a print(s) for projection? Is it going to require some compromise of the soundtrack?


I wanted to ask about the aspect ratios because I'm simply ignorant here but I think that 1.78
will be ideal! Just to know though, what if we composed for 1.78
and then some producer with a bag of money
says please, please let me blow up your film. Since it had not been composed for 1.85, I can
imagine that making it into that might make some head room tighter but it sounds fairly close.
Have people encountered this and made out okay?

The guy at the rental house, whom I know somewhat and have had some good conversations
with him, recommended the 35 mm lens package, saying that it's extremely popular for
people shooting Super 16 but of course budget is always an issue and if you say that the
old Zeiss Super Speeds are good then I think that I'll go in that direction and ask him what
he can put together for us (and maybe save some money and buy more film.)

When you say slow speed for outdoors, you're saying the 50D 7201? I think so
but just want check.

The 7217 is a great suggestion. The interiors will be Tungsten at night and that would give me
a T2 at 25 footcandles which would be cool with me (if I have the lenses that get to a 2; some are
2.8s.) If we do anything in the street at night, then I'll go with the 500T.

As always, thank you so much for your help!
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#7 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 10:25 PM

I have been transferring super-16 to 1.85:1. I always thought this was using the full negative, but is it really just cropping my image?
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#8 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 10:33 PM

If money isn't an issue then definitely get the SRIII and some nice 35mm lenses to pop on there...

However, I think both other cameras will work for you if you need it.

Worst case scenario is that you use the non-super SRII and then just frame in camera for whatever aspect ratio that you are going for.

You said you might get a print made? Is this just for personal viewing? Because I think (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) that's it's relatively difficult to find 16mm projectors...besides at Film Schools...I don't think they're that common...

Also, to save a little cash figure out what lenses you are gonna need...I've had shoots where the primes have sat in the box because we ended up using the zoom the whole time...a waste of money if you can figure it out beforehand...

And now, I am going to Hijack this thread for a moment:

Mr. Mullen, I too have read about the Kodak 7212 100T being the sharpest film stock. If you had a choice to shoot exteriors with either 7201 or 7212 what would your choice be and why? I know there are a lot of mitigating factors that come into play...but is there a significant difference in the look between the two?

Thanks,

John


A lot of good suggestions, thank you!

I don't have a lot of festival experience so I've been inquiring about prints based on the
director's comments but that's a good point about projectors. I'll have to look into it.

Yes, planning can definitely save money and I like to plan carefully. When you had
shoots when you used the zoom all the time, was it because you were zooming or
because you needed to save time and used it as a variable prime rather than change
lenses in which case did you sacrifice image quality that would have been obtained if
you had used the primes?

Edited by Jim Feldspar, 03 April 2007 - 10:36 PM.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 11:06 PM

Most people transfer Super-16 to 16x9 video (standar def or HD) full-frame, which means cropping 1.68 full camera aperture to 1.78, but if these are just video dailies, they may ask that they be transferred with a 1.85 hard matte to match the theatrical framing. But it doesn't matter because they will later be re-transferring the negative.

If the transfer is to be used as a master later for video release, it would make more sense to transfer to 16x9 HD full-frame and make a separate 1.85 letterboxed version from that, plus a 4x3 pan-and-scan version.

The only time these days that the whole 1.68 Super-16 negative is used is usually when doing an optical printer blow-up to 35mm, in which case you end up with a 1.68 hard matted image inside the 35mm 1.37 Academy frame. But this usually gets cropped during projection to 1.85 using a projector mask, unless it gets shown with a 1.66 mask, which would cause the edges of the hard-matte on the film print to become visible.

The director is saying that he may want prints for projection at festivals. Does "The only downside
to Super-16 is that you can't make a contact-printed 16mm print with an optical soundtrack on it."
mean that there's an alternative to contact printing or that no matter what an optical soundtrack is
out? I've heard about magnetic soundtracks? What about them? Are they a historical item or still
used? What are the options for shooting Super 16 and
making a print(s) for projection? Is it going to require some compromise of the soundtrack?
I wanted to ask about the aspect ratios because I'm simply ignorant here but I think that 1.78
will be ideal! Just to know though, what if we composed for 1.78
and then some producer with a bag of money
says please, please let me blow up your film. Since it had not been composed for 1.85, I can
imagine that making it into that might make some head room tighter but it sounds fairly close.
Have people encountered this and made out okay?

When you say slow speed for outdoors, you're saying the 50D 7201? I think so
but just want check.


The Super-16 format uses the right edge of the single-perf film where the soundtrack would normally go on a 16mm print, so it is not a projection format, though a lab will often have a 16mm projector with the gate filed out to show Super-16 answer prints. But the print will be silent.

You could make an optical printer reduction to regular 16mm with a hard matte, but considering that 16mm print sound is lousy and 16mm projection is become more rare at festivals, your options for film festival projection are usually either through a blow-up to 35mm, or digital projection, ideally in HD. More and more people shoot Super-16, transfer to 16x9 HD (1.78), and digitally project a color-corrected HD version which could also be used, if necessary, for a film-out to 35mm, which would probably then be projected with a 1.85 hard matte. So either compose for 1.85 and let it have slightly more headroom in 1.78, or compose for 1.78 and have it look a little too tight in 1.85 (it would probably be safer to compose for 1.85.)

Either 50D or 100T is fine-grained for day exterior work.
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#10 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 11:20 PM

Most people transfer Super-16 to 16x9 video (standar def or HD) full-frame, which means cropping 1.68 full camera aperture to 1.78, but if these are just video dailies, they may ask that they be transferred with a 1.85 hard matte to match the theatrical framing. But it doesn't matter because they will later be re-transferring the negative.

If the transfer is to be used as a master later for video release, it would make more sense to transfer to 16x9 HD full-frame and make a separate 1.85 letterboxed version from that, plus a 4x3 pan-and-scan version.

The only time these days that the whole 1.68 Super-16 negative is used is usually when doing an optical printer blow-up to 35mm, in which case you end up with a 1.68 hard matted image inside the 35mm 1.37 Academy frame. But this usually gets cropped during projection to 1.85 using a projector mask, unless it gets shown with a 1.66 mask, which would cause the edges of the hard-matte on the film print to become visible.
The Super-16 format uses the right edge of the single-perf film where the soundtrack would normally go on a 16mm print, so it is not a projection format, though a lab will often have a 16mm projector with the gate filed out to show Super-16 answer prints. But the print will be silent.

You could make an optical printer reduction to regular 16mm with a hard matte, but considering that 16mm print sound is lousy and 16mm projection is become more rare at festivals, your options for film festival projection are usually either through a blow-up to 35mm, or digital projection, ideally in HD. More and more people shoot Super-16, transfer to 16x9 HD (1.78), and digitally project a color-corrected HD version which could also be used, if necessary, for a film-out to 35mm, which would probably then be projected with a 1.85 hard matte. So either compose for 1.85 and let it have slightly more headroom in 1.78, or compose for 1.78 and have it look a little too tight in 1.85 (it would probably be safer to compose for 1.85.)

Either 50D or 100T is fine-grained for day exterior work.


That answers a lot of questions. Considering the lesser quality of 16 mm sound and the increasing rarity
of 16 mm projection, it seems that we could save money by not making prints and projecting
digitally...and if somebody likes it and wants to pay for the blow-up to 35 mm then great!

Laying out the 1.85 or 1.78 options like that really clarifies things. I think that I would definitely play it
safe and compose for 1.85 but maybe a little tighter up top than usual (I tend to like that anyway.)
That would protect 1.85 and maybe take the edge off the extra headroom in 1.78.

After editing in Final Cut Pro, we can print to tape for digital projection. Is it HDCAM that is used
at festivals for digital projection? I'm sure that i'll be researching this and double checking with any
given festival for its requirements.

Thanks so much!
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#11 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 11:47 PM

Quick question about the use of 35mm lenses with the Arri SRIII: what are the pros versus cons for using 35mm Zeisss Super Speeds, as opposed to 16mm Zeiss Super Speeds?
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 09:40 PM

I have been transferring super-16 to 1.85:1. I always thought this was using the full negative, but is it really just cropping my image?


What groundglass markings have you been using? That should tell you.

Take a look at the videotap image from Matt Workman's recent post:

screenshot3.jpeg

The outer rectangle is the gate aperture, 1.68:1. The inner rectangles (with the rounded corners) are the aspect ratios you can frame within that. From the outside in; 1.85:1, 1.78:1, and 4:3.

You'll notice that the framelines in this groundglass leave a little room for projector aperture and/or TV safe action area. In reality you can transfer a little "bigger" than what's indicated here, but 1.85:1 still crops the full 1.68:1 image on the top and bottom.

Quick question about the use of 35mm lenses with the Arri SRIII: what are the pros versus cons for using 35mm Zeisss Super Speeds, as opposed to 16mm Zeiss Super Speeds?


You get some longer focal lengths in the 35mm set. I've augmented 16 sets with a couple longer lenses pulled from the 35 set. It's nice to have the 35mm also, since the 16 set jumps from 25mm to 50mm. The 35 set doesn't go below 18mm.

The only problem I've had on occasion is the 35mm set sticking in the mount sometimes. Might have just been those lenses and that camera.
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#13 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:54 AM

Thanks Michael. That totally makes sense. There definitely is a big jump with 16mm. I guess I hadn't really thought about what that meant. It was something I just accepted. Thanks for pointing out the 35mm advantage.
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