Jump to content


Photo

Would this workflow work?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Jon Boguslaw

Jon Boguslaw
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Student

Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:43 PM

Ok, I've been saving up money for a while and am thinking about using it to shoot a feature length movie. I've got about $11,000 right now. Of course, I'd like to spend as little of it as possible. I know I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near a 35mm blow-up with that amount of cash, but if I shot regular 16mm B&W, I could buy 360 minutes worth of film for what would ultimately be a 90 minute film, spending about $7,000 for raw stock and processing with a best-light workprint. If I only shot 270 minutes I could get the price down to $5,000.

After I have that, how would I go about adding sound to that? I don't really plan on recording sound at the same time as the image. I know this is not easy, but I think it would be ultimately worthwhile since it would save money as well as allow more camera movement and not having to worry about sound as I'm shooting the film. What cheap methods are there for recording sound in post, and how would I add that to a film?

The cameras I'd be using wouldn't be of the best quality, and I'm not seeking to create a flawless looking movie, so would shooting reversal and editing the answer print (I think I'm using the proper terminology) be out of the question? It's going to be rough looking either way, would it be that much worse?

Either way, once I have the 16mm answer print, what are the options from there as far as the festival circuit and such is concerned?

Should I instead maybe have the film telecined and edit digitally?

Thanks in advance.
  • 0

#2 Toby L Edwards

Toby L Edwards
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:59 PM

This might help answer a few of your questions. It relates to micro budget 53mm features but the advise would still apply.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=11735

Toby
  • 0

#3 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2425 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 21 September 2007 - 01:52 PM

If you shot reversal, the real money saver would be in cutting the original, but at great risk of damage. Reversal is only really for personal work; making prints from it is more problematic than from negative, and the extra cost cancels out most of the savings. So, shoot neg, and cut the workprint. When you're done, the neg is matched to the workprint, and then a graded answer print is made.

I don't know the economics, but I reckon that digital editing would eat up all the money you saved on workprinting, and then some. Old 16mm editing kit is very cheap now- I recently got a Steenbeck, splicer and pic-sync for about £125 all in. That wouldn't buy much transfer time.

As to the sound, that depends on the sort of project it is. Trying to recreate lip-sync afterwards is a whole lot of work; you'd be better recording it at the time. Then it's transferred to magnetic film, synced to the picture, and you can cut it alongside the picture, along with music, effects and so on. It's very flexible. Up to answer print, I'm sure that would still be cheaper- or at least not much more. In any case, you only edit digitally- the neg still has to be matched to the edit, and a print made in the usual way. You're not Hollywood, paying thousands of pounds a minute for a digital intermediate. (The workprint you 'work' on, the answer print is colour graded. If that's okay, you then have release prints. Or, if the money's tight, you show the answer print). The answer print might also have your soundtrack (on magnetic stripe or optical).
  • 0

#4 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 21 September 2007 - 04:27 PM

Should I instead maybe have the film telecined and edit digitally?

Thanks in advance.



Rough calculations with a discount is around 2500 for stock (at 370 min or 33 400' rolls of 7231 or 7222) and figure around 3500 for process with Keycode transfer, you could do a clean tape and a burn-in tape on Dvcam maybe (tape stock is around 300.00) so you could be ready for a neg cut with a burn-in tape and flex files and cut list from FCP and also have a nice clean video copy to show.

-Rob-
  • 0

#5 Jon Boguslaw

Jon Boguslaw
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Student

Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:28 PM

The telecine sounds like it might be a good idea, but the main thing I'm worried about is adding sound later. I'd really like to dub most/all of it after having shot it. I know this would make it much much harder, but it would also (I think) make actually shooting the film much easier and I could just take a lot of time to finish it later. Of course I'd record wild sound during the film, but I wouldn't want to have to worry about sound levels/camera noise/etc.

Using a film workprint or telecine, how would I add the sound? I mean, I know how to drag a track into FCP, but would there be a way for me to add sound to the workprint after I have the scenes arranged?
  • 0

#6 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 22 September 2007 - 01:05 AM

Using a film workprint or telecine, how would I add the sound? I mean, I know how to drag a track into FCP, but would there be a way for me to add sound to the workprint after I have the scenes arranged?



Adding sound in post and re dubbing all dialogue will be much easier with a transfer, you can playback the footage in FCP and record on any digital recorder (a computer, CF recorder, DAT, etc.) and then do almost instant sync with picture. when finished you can then build your track and with minimal trouble translate the track made in FCP to a print in the future.


I love the workprint route I think cutting on a flatbed is more enjoyable and possibly more relevant artistically but I think you may get in over your head with a project like the one you are describing and then have troubles translating your workprint into a showable film. The computer / video route is safer and will facilitate your over dub much easier than a flatbed edit.

-Rob-
  • 0

#7 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2425 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 22 September 2007 - 04:25 AM

Have all your sound transferred to magnetic film-dialogue, music, effects and so on. You can then cut frame-by-frame alongside the picture- each different sound element stays on its own reel, in sync with the picture. Then mix all your different soundtracks down onto one reel of mag film ready for transfer to a print- or it can be shown in interlock on a double-head projector.
Staying with film keeps things more under your control. For my money, you're also still making a proper movie, rather than a video show. Spielberg still edits on film.
This info will help you. http://www.wrslabs.com/practices.html
  • 0

#8 Martin Yernazian

Martin Yernazian
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 430 posts
  • Director
  • San Francisco/Los Angeles CA USA

Posted 22 September 2007 - 02:27 PM

I would think, that you should compromise a little bit on the shooting and record sound right there on the spot anyway, it will give you, not only a point of reference, but more natural sound to the scene.
I was just commenting with a friend of mine, ( we are both producing an urban sci fi feature length in Argentina next year), how sound is so cheap on mid level production, because people re dub their entire picture in post and they take the natural element out of it.
Sound is as important to a film as it's image, my advice to you, don't go separate ways, most of the time, if not all the time, that end's up in a disaster.

Best

ps: if you are going to mention Rodriguez and "El Mariachi", that still is a wrong example, he recorded separate, yes, both he re did the scene in the same place, so the sound was in it's natural environment , plus Columbia put some major cash afterwards to fix it.
ps2: If I were you I will lower my shooting ratio, to 3:1 (270 min) that's pretty confi to shoot, just rehears for a whole month ( or more) before hand.
  • 0

#9 Jon Boguslaw

Jon Boguslaw
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Student

Posted 22 September 2007 - 03:28 PM

Oh, I understand all the "post-$7,000" stuff put into El Mariachi and stuff. If I were to dub the movie later, I would definitely record sound on location, just not necesarilly while shooting the film. Again, not sure on that whole thing.

If I were to record sound on location, and mostly have actors re-dub their lines when I have the clips arranged in FCP, would the audio from FCP be good enough to use as the sound-track? Again, I'm not asking for it to sound perfect, but, would it be listenable/decent/good enough?

Also, if I were to edit on a Steinbeck, could I simply get a reel-to-reel recorder that accepts the magnetic 16mm film with frame numbers on it that occasionally appears on ebay? Of course it would be much more difficult than the FCP thing, but I'm just looking at the different options right now.

One more thing, and this is for the future. I know I couldn't finance it now or soon, but what would a rough estimate for a 90 minute B&W 16mm ---> 35mm be?

Thanks again.

Edited by Jon Boguslaw, 22 September 2007 - 03:30 PM.

  • 0

#10 Kirk Anderson

Kirk Anderson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 220 posts
  • Other

Posted 22 September 2007 - 06:01 PM

Ok, i just shot a super16 sync sound 20 min short with a price tag of about $25,000 all inclusive. strictly my 2 cents.
1)shoot neg, no reason to shoot reversal, hitting stops sucks, over expose your neg.
2) what do you need a print for?! this is 2007 and cutting on a moviola or steenbeck, while nostalgic, is a waste of time, energy, and looses quality. Magnetic sound sucks and sounds like garbage, take advantage of technology. work smarter not harder.
3) spend the bulk of your cash on a good color corrected telecine. we used fotokem for about 9k, but there are cheaper houses out there.
4)record sound into an ADAT or a xl1 with. Shoot with a clapper religously and everything will sync up fine in post, when you have to sync it yourself for two months. (one of my major duties on the film). (bring beer)
5)and as for a camera, a piece of advice comes from Joesph McBride at SFSU film school. "find the kid with the most expensive/nicest camera and make him your best friend, he will work for free". if you can't find a friend use a Arri BL or NPR. SR's and aatons are great but out of your budget.
6) this is entirely possible. you can make a feature on 16mm for 11k. Use your head and work the hell out of your script with your actors. don't shoot until everyone knows everyline, every feeling, every emotion. Make them sick with anticipation. If you get anxious and shoot with crappy actors you have a crappy movie. Pre production is the most important step in my opinion.
love,
kirk
and before everyone flips out about me and the whole moviola thing, i did say this is all my own opinion.
  • 0

#11 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2425 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:10 AM

[quote name='Jon Boguslaw' date='Sep 22 2007, 09:28 PM' post='19502

Also, if I were to edit on a Steinbeck, could I simply get a reel-to-reel recorder that accepts the magnetic 16mm film with frame numbers on it that occasionally appears on ebay? Of course it would be much more difficult than the FCP thing, but I'm just looking at the different options right now.

Thanks again.
[/quote]

You don't record direct onto mag film. (That was done in the 50's but the machines were BIG. I don't think they ran off batteries). You record on reel-to-reel (most likely a Nagra) with a sync pulse from the camera, then transfer that onto mag film on a recorder which decodes the sync pulse. You then have a frame-by-frame match between sound and picture. I doubt it's much more difficult, just difficult in different ways.
I wonder if you're confusing synchronisers (which run picture and magnetic sound together in sync) with mag film recorders If you biy one of the latter, of course (I saw one go for £175 recently) you can do your own transfers, although professional transfer isn't that expensive.

>this is 2007 and cutting on a moviola or steenbeck, while nostalgic, is a waste of time, energy, and looses >quality. Magnetic sound sucks and sounds like garbage

I'd take issue with the assertion that magnetic sound 'sucks'. The running speed is very near the 7 1/2 ips of reel-to-reel. It may be 2007 but the technology which the industry used for 40 years hasn't suddenly got worse. For the price of a few reels of telecine you could buy all the sound kit second-hand. Spielberg doesn't cut on film for nostalgia. He does it because it works better.
  • 0

#12 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 23 September 2007 - 02:59 PM

1)shoot neg, no reason to shoot reversal, hitting stops sucks, over expose your neg.


Actually there may be a possible reason, in Jon's original post he says he plans to shoot Black and White, now as there hasn't been a new black and white negative developed in several decades, so there is an advantage to shooting a nice fine grain b/w reversal stock like Plus-X.

Of course if he goes the traditional photo-chemical route shooting reversal may quickly become a headache. But if he goes the telecine route and stays in the digital domain, he may benefit from shooting Plus-X, which is very elegant fine-grained stock.

Personally black and white negative is too grainy in 16mm.

Just my two pence!

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 23 September 2007 - 03:00 PM.

  • 0

#13 Jon Boguslaw

Jon Boguslaw
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Student

Posted 23 September 2007 - 06:23 PM

Thanks again to everyone for chiming in here. Based on what I've been reading I've pretty much established:

*There is no way I could get close to a 16mm release print with my current budget. This project is going to end up on tape after I'm done with it.
*It would probably be best for me if I got the footage telecined. As nice as it would be to edit on a flatbed, it really sounds like adding sound (and having a displayable copy after I'm done) would just be so much easier in FCP.

I think what I'm going to do is: rehearse a lot, get a crystal sync camera (not sure how yet), record sound onto mini-disc, try to get the shooting ratio down as much as possible, get it tele-cined and edit it. Based on the looks of it, I think I could probably do it with less than $11k, but I'll be ready if and when things go wrong.
  • 0

#14 Adam Thompson

Adam Thompson
  • Sustaining Members
  • 161 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 24 September 2007 - 01:21 AM

Just my opinion: I don't think you'd be happy with bw reversal in the end. I LOVE it for effect in many ways but for a whole feature, the comments about grain and hitting stops are something to consider. Exposing it can be tough. Negative is really easy in comparison and 500asa is almost hard to mess up even with small light kits. You'd likely save money in the long run by shooting neg. since you'd have less mistakes and a lot more to work with in the telecine. You can find it for 25 cents a foot usually. Try Fuji, it's a little cheaper.
  • 0

#15 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2425 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:08 AM

If you're not going to show on film, why bother to shoot on it? You can fake the film look in post. Make a film, or make a video show.
  • 0

#16 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:22 AM

If you're not going to show on film, why bother to shoot on it? You can fake the film look in post. Make a film, or make a video show.


You can't fake the look of film in post - at all! You can try to replicate its characteristics during production, certainly not in post, but it will always fall short as replication.

Perhaps thats why so much of the super 16 and 35mm film is shown on video be it off digibeta or HDCam, cue why almost every single drama show on US tv, and a percentage of nature filmmaking too.


Jon,

if your going to finish on tape then you can consider shooting black and white reversal again, and also shooting colour negative to convert to black and white. Maybe you can test 100' of each of these methods with also a black and white negative stock.

Best of Luck,
Andy
  • 0

#17 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19762 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:26 AM

If you're not going to show on film, why bother to shoot on it? You can fake the film look in post. Make a film, or make a video show.


The majority of commercials and high-end TV shows and theatrical features released later on DVD & cable are shot on film though seen by most people on video -- and you still see a difference. Even if you are going to show something with digital projection or on a DVD, there is a difference in look between shooting on 16mm versus a video camera. It's not as simple as "if it's shown in video, then just shoot it in video and make it look like film in post".

For me, the greater argument for shooting on video in this case is simply the cost factor, if the budget is so low and if you are inexperienced with film.

And you can argue if there is enough of a visual difference between 24P video and film in his particular case to warrant the increase in cost.

But I disagree with the notion that showing something digitally means that there is no reason to shoot on film anymore because it's just a "video show" at that point.
  • 0

#18 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2425 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 24 September 2007 - 01:21 PM

Perhaps I'm more of an editor than a lighting cameraman at heart, then. Cutting on film is more important to me.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies