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Shooting on old stock - Well kept but worth the risk?


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#1 Peter Anderson

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 05:06 PM

My local rental house has some Vision 200T (7274) Going cheap but its around two years old (no older at least). Its been kept in cold storage but they have no short ends from the same batch to test. The film im shooting is low budget and im worried to take a risk on buying up stock that wont produce quality results but then i could snap up a bargain.

Whats the general opinion on shooting on old stock?
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#2 Matt Pacini

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 07:52 PM

My local rental house has some Vision 200T (7274) Going cheap but its around two years old (no older at least). Its been kept in cold storage but they have no short ends from the same batch to test. The film im shooting is low budget and im worried to take a risk on buying up stock that wont produce quality results but then i could snap up a bargain.

Whats the general opinion on shooting on old stock?


I've shot probably (20-25) 400 rolls of older stock.
Some of it was I think older than I was told by those who sold it to me.
Anyway, after having done this for a project, I'm wary of doing it again, because the look was all over the place.
Now, I bought different types of stock, from different sellers, so it was under far worse conditions than you're thinking of doing.
Ask them if you can take one roll and send it to a lab to be tested. Or buy one from them, whatever.
It's worth it.

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#3 James Baker

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 08:02 PM

im worried to take a risk on buying up stock that wont produce quality results but then i could snap up a bargain.


I think you've answered it yourself. A bargain is something that's a good value for the money. Something that might not produce what you expect of it and causes you worry is no bargain at all.

Personally I would never buy used stock. But then that's just me......
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:43 PM

If you're shooting family get togethers go for it, but if you're shooting something that will be released, it's rarely worth the risk unless it's from a reputable recan house and even then there's risk, just less of it.

Do you know any students? Maybe at least you can get a discount that way...
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#5 Peter Anderson

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 06:23 AM

If you're shooting family get togethers go for it, but if you're shooting something that will be released, it's rarely worth the risk unless it's from a reputable recan house and even then there's risk, just less of it.

Do you know any students? Maybe at least you can get a discount that way...


Im a student cinematographer and im searching out the stock for a student film - Im already getting a 50% discount on brand new stock and the old stock available is at 30% of cost price - Ive been told I should clip test the stock...what does this mean?
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:27 AM

Im a student cinematographer and im searching out the stock for a student film - Im already getting a 50% discount on brand new stock and the old stock available is at 30% of cost price - Ive been told I should clip test the stock...what does this mean?


Clip testing is when you take the film to the lab, they cut off a clip and then they process it and run tests to see how much the film has degraded. You usually get 3 numbers for the different colour layers of the film as they don't degrade in a consistent way. The higher the numbers the more the film has deteriorated. Usually the lab will tell you if it has failed the clip test or not, but you can see how much it has failed based on the numbers.

Theres been at least one person here who has used film that even failed a clip test and was able to pull back okay results in the telecine.

2 years old isn't that long ago I guess if it has really been cold stored (I've had a supplier lie to me about this in the past so you have to be careful). However I would say to you that if you can get the film for 50% off and factory fresh, then it realy isn't worth the extra 20% saving. The risk is too great for such a small saving. It's best to get film that is all from the same batch for the same project too. It's not as good to go mixing older and newer film together because it might be more noticable if you end up intercutting it. It would be better in that situation to cut it with a very different stock (say b&W or to desaturate where it is different) than to try and mix with the same stock where it might look like something has gone wrong.

Someone here gave really good advice when they said you could use it for home movies or something.
It really depends on what you are making. If you are shooting home movies. That's one thing. If you are making a music video, then the strange look might be part of the feel of the music video (you are more allowed to do weird stuff in music videos), if really depends on what you are doing and the risks involved.

If you really want to consider the stock. I would firstly make sure all the cans are factory sealed and are not re-cans or something (big difference) and I would haggle over the price a fair bit and see if you can get it down, and I would try and shoot a project that fits entirely on the old stock, as much as possible. Preferably something like a music video as opposed to something more conventional narrative.

Basically I'd say don't do it. Shoot nice fresh film now while you've got the opportunity. In your situation with a 50% discount, the reward isn't worth the risk.

love

Freya
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#7 Peter Anderson

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:45 AM

Thanks Freya,
I think ill take your advice and stick to brand new film. The project is a short film and my first attempt as a DoP on 16mm so whilst i would be able to afford a few more cans of old stock in the budget Id rather know that I have some kind of consistency in my results. Its just so damned tempting - 5 400ft factory sealed cans at £30 each! I might just snap them up and save them for a personal project rather than taking the risk on a graduation film.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 02:29 PM

Thanks Freya,
I think ill take your advice and stick to brand new film. The project is a short film and my first attempt as a DoP on 16mm so whilst i would be able to afford a few more cans of old stock in the budget Id rather know that I have some kind of consistency in my results. Its just so damned tempting - 5 400ft factory sealed cans at £30 each! I might just snap them up and save them for a personal project rather than taking the risk on a graduation film.


Hey good luck with your first film shoot! :)

Having just seen your location (hadn't noticed before) I say definitely don't risk it because you won't be attending the telecine and I'm not even sure that it isn't a best light transfer! I know people used to complain about the transfer there, however I think the telecine facilities got upgraded a couple of years back so maybe it will be nicer!

Don't risk it but maybe haggle over the price and grab it for another project! If you are really into being a cinematographer and this is your first film shoot then you will want to shoot more film right?

If they are selling the cans for £30 each then you could easily give them an offer for the lot I reckon.

Say £100 for all 5?
Make sure they are factory sealed tho!

Be confident, offer £100. If they refuse then be like "aw come on I'd be taking all 5 off your hands"!
If they still refuse then ask them what kind of offer they will take for the lot! ?

If you are scared about haggling and damaging your credibility, then I might be up for popping by and haggling for you as I don't have any and won't be scared! ;)

Now what I'm intrested in is how you have managed to get a 50% discount out of Kodak U.K. !!!

love

Freya
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#9 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 07:16 PM

Whats the general opinion on shooting on old stock?


If you can't afford to do it the right way with fresh film stock, how would you ever afford the reshoot if you gambled and lost?

Certain risks and cost-cutting measures are low risk or at least you can predict or manage the risk. Film emulsions vary from batch to batch even when fresh; thus we test the emulsions of fresh stock.

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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 04:40 AM

Hi,

In Switzerland I have often complained that stock I buy new from Fuji is the same batch no as they were sending me 4 years ago (F64D) & 18 months ago F250T. At times I think I must be the only person still shooting film here.

Film that fails the clip test can often be used without problems for a Telecine finish, however overexposing by 1 stop will help bring your image above the fog level of the film.

Stephen


If you can't afford to do it the right way with fresh film stock, how would you ever afford the reshoot if you gambled and lost?

Certain risks and cost-cutting measures are low risk or at least you can predict or manage the risk. Film emulsions vary from batch to batch even when fresh; thus we test the emulsions of fresh stock.

Robert Starling, SOC
Steadicam Owner Operator
Las Vegas


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#11 Peter Anderson

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 01:49 PM

Thanks for all the advice - I think ill snap up the stock for a another project but not take any unnecesary risks for my graduation film. I can easily manage with what we can afford in the budget but being a first time film shoot I was nervous of not getting enough coverage (currently we're looking at around 8 minutes of coverage to 1 minute of final film). I suppose Ill just have to plan, plan and plan some more.

Only 6 weeks till we shoot, wish me luck :)
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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 10:57 PM

My opinion is of the others above... I too have shot old stock, most of which was not kept very climate controlled. I bought 50 rolls of 16mm 400ft (don't remember number) Kodak Plus-x and Tri-x B&W stock at a yard sale for $5 dollars when I was a kid. I used it 10 years later to make 3 short films... the oldest stock (from the 70's) was gonzo, but I tested it first... The rest of the stock was from the 80's, muddy results, but hey, its practically free stock and its projectable! :rolleyes:

Good luck with your project, I'd not worry about the 2 year old stock...
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