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S16 Release


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#1 siddharth diwan

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 07:04 AM

hi... I'm shooting a feature on S16 and going on DI and will print it to 35mm 1:2.35 as in India projection is only anamorphic 1:2.35 but what will happen if we dont go through the DI process and release it on the same format ...will the image will only be seen on half of the screen ...will it be distorted in someway...streched or something....please let me knw.

thanks
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 09:11 AM

Super-16 is not a release print format -- there's no place to put a soundtrack on a Super-16 print, and there are very few Super-16 projectors outside of a lab.

You'd blow it up to 35mm (1.85 or 2.35 anamorphic) digitally or with an optical printer.
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#3 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 11:31 AM

Super-16 is not a release print format -- there's no place to put a soundtrack on a Super-16 print, and there are very few Super-16 projectors outside of a lab.

You'd blow it up to 35mm (1.85 or 2.35 anamorphic) digitally or with an optical printer.


Does this mean that everybody who shoots Super 16 and makes prints tends to a
35 mm blow-up? It seems to me that shooting Super 16 is a great way to go and
make a good looking film while saving money (compared to a 35 mm production)
and you can show your Super 16 feature in several ways without a film print and thus
let a producer pick-up the cost of the blow-up or, if you don't get a distribution deal,
then you've saved a lot of money and still may have a decent film to show.


Would you say that people tend to shoot Super 16 more for better looking 16 mm
projects that are never intended for big screen projection (straight to DVD,television
shows, music videos) or more for lower budget feature films?

In a way, doesn't the cost of the blow-up counteract the initial savings except
somebody else
in this case is paying for the blow-up so the original producer was able to shoot in Super 16
what might otherwise have been unaffordable to have shot in 35 mm ?

Thanks.
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 02:00 PM

Shooting Super-16 and then blowing up to 35mm is still cheaper than shooting 35mm in the first place. People tend to argue this but if you run the numbers apples to apples then it is true. Check the archives here a few years back; I did a cost comparison. The numbers may be a bit out of date but the relative costs have not changed.
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#5 Joseph White

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 02:32 PM

yeah, even with di's getting cheaper, its still an expensive process regardless. i shot a super 16mm feature last december that has a small theatrical run slated for this fall and while we saved money on raw stock and processing, having to do a DI is costing a lot and almost made the two different formats side-by-side (super 16mm to 35mm versus shooting 35mm to finish 35mm) cost almost the same. its still definitely more to do 35mm, but not as much as it once was - seeing as how virtually nobody who shoots a film on 16mm does an optical blowup anymore.

super 16mm is a great format for independents and low-budget indies alike. and there are houses that will do a DI for well under $100k now - especially if you aren't doing tons of crazy effects and what not. i'm prepping a super 35mm feature now shooting 3-perf and doing a DI at IO in hollywood and the deal we're getting is insane - mostly because its a comedy and we're not doing lots of windows/tracking and extensive color work (i hope :).

if youre doing a direct-to-video movie, super 16mm is a great idea. also still popular for some tv movies as well. newer film stocks look great on 16mm (especially 7201 and 7217 - really fine grain and lots of detail), and if its only ever going to be on small-screen, you can get some really lovely stuff and save a lot of money.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 03:48 PM

Does this mean that everybody who shoots Super 16 and makes prints tends to a 35 mm blow-up?


No, they may be shooting for digital projection or home video release, etc. and never go to print. Super-16 transfers very well to 16x9 HD for example.

Yes, some (not all) of your cost savings will be eaten up by the blow-up process (optical being cheaper than digital) but it's partly a cash-flow issue in that you are spending less to go into production and spending a little more later to finish to 35mm, which may or may not even be necessary if you only end-up with a sale to home video.

But if you shoot in Super-16 and need a composite print (one with a soundtrack), it is more common to blow-up to 35mm than to optically reduce down to regular 16mm. Otherwise, the only contact prints you will be making from the Super-16 negative will be silent ones, to be projected at the lab with a projector with a Super-16 gate, for workprint, tests, answer prints, etc.

And while an optical printer blow-up will be a cheaper route to a 35mm print than a D.I., if you also end up needing an HD master for home video deliverables, you'd have both the costs of the optical printer blow-up and the costs of an HD transfer, which may end up making a D.I. the more efficient & cost effective (or at least competitive) method, since it covers both creating a 35mm version and a digital master.
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#7 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 09:47 PM

No, they may be shooting for digital projection or home video release, etc. and never go to print. Super-16 transfers very well to 16x9 HD for example.

Yes, some (not all) of your cost savings will be eaten up by the blow-up process (optical being cheaper than digital) but it's partly a cash-flow issue in that you are spending less to go into production and spending a little more later to finish to 35mm, which may or may not even be necessary if you only end-up with a sale to home video.

But if you shoot in Super-16 and need a composite print (one with a soundtrack), it is more common to blow-up to 35mm than to optically reduce down to regular 16mm. Otherwise, the only contact prints you will be making from the Super-16 negative will be silent ones, to be projected at the lab with a projector with a Super-16 gate, for workprint, tests, answer prints, etc.

And while an optical printer blow-up will be a cheaper route to a 35mm print than a D.I., if you also end up needing an HD master for home video deliverables, you'd have both the costs of the optical printer blow-up and the costs of an HD transfer, which may end up making a D.I. the more efficient & cost effective (or at least competitive) method, since it covers both creating a 35mm version and a digital master.



Fantastic! Thank you David and everybody. I feel like I just got a million dollars education in
your replies.
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#8 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 11:45 PM

No, they may be shooting for digital projection or home video release, etc. and never go to print. Super-16 transfers very well to 16x9 HD for example.


Thats what I do/will do. There is such a huge audance outside of the theatrical area...
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 03:46 AM

... you can show your Super 16 feature in several ways without a film print and thus let a producer pick-up the cost of the blow-up ...

Don't assume though that just because a studio wants to buy your film at Sundance or some other festival that they will automatically pick-up the cost of making a print. In my producing and financing class, we had a guest lecturer, Henry Rosenthal, who produced and financed a Super16 feature doc out of his own pocket ("The Devil and Daniel Johnston"), got a video version to Sundance, won some awards, and got interest from several studios including Sony Pictures Classics, who eventually bought and released the film. But Sony would not pay for the DI (there were Super16, Super8, and various video format originals to scan) because they basically had Henry over a barrel -- "you pay for the print, or we'll pass." Which he did -- pay, that is. So a filmmaker who gets really lucky like Robert Rodriguez and has the studio pay for everything is rare.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 10:50 AM

Even if the distributor pays finishing costs, they will just subtract their costs from what they offered to pay you for the project, so you're still the one paying for it.

And they will generally find finished movies more attractive to buy than ones that need more post work.
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