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if you have to choose just one film stock....


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#1 Matteo Cocco

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:30 AM

Hello!
I´m starting the next week a 2weeks low budget feature in Prague and Berlin.
We will be shooting on s16mm, with Zeiss 1.3, mostly handheld.
The project will be very "guerrilla-filmaking", that means there will be a lot of improvisation.
There will be exteriors and interiors, both day and night, and the amount of each might change day after day. We will buying 20 rolls of film and i´m at the point of deciding which stock will perform better for all circumstances..... On a normal shooting I would take some daylight or low speed for day shooting and some high speed (eg. 500t) for night or low light situations.
The problem is that for such an indipendent way of shooting, I don´t feel safe ordering for example 10 rolls of 50d and 10 of 500t, beacause the shoot might end up just in night exteriors....(and i will have a few problems getting a t stop with 50d...!!!)

So what would be the best choice? ordering just 500t and probably working with heavy (really heavy!!) ND filtration on the lens...? or maybe order just 200t and maybe push one or two stops on night exteriors?

It would be nice to read your opinions!

(i will have a small lighting package, anyway nothing to use on night or day exteriors)
(the look of the movie should be quite clean, but a controlled amount of grain is acceptable)
(the final product will be on digi-beta, for further color correction after editing).

thanks for your help!
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#2 Mike Simpson

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:26 PM

So what would be the best choice? ordering just 500t and probably working with heavy (really heavy!!) ND filtration on the lens...? or maybe order just 200t and maybe push one or two stops on night exteriors?



500t has become pretty popular lately, and a number of large features have been shot exclusively on it. However, 7218 is noticeably more grainy than 5218, especially when you start pushing it. The difference in the amount of ND you would need for 200t to 500t isnt very drastic, it probably wouldnt add any more glass in front of the lens.

Im sure I wont be the first to say it, but this is something you really should test. Shooting at night without any lights sounds like something you should be as prepared for as possible.
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#3 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:47 PM

gigi, i think '19 would be the safest choice if the project turns out to be mostly interiors and nights (even '18 would do). But what if you end up ordering ALL '19 (or '18) and then the project becomes 99% ext. day?

I think that you should really have a serious talk with the director, the producer and the 1st A.D., and plan things properly. I understand the "guerrilla filmmaking" nature of the shoot, but since it's a low budget project, careful planning (hence knowing from the very beginning what, where and when you are going to shoot) is paramount.

And of course, if you could manage to run some tests, as Mike rightly said, it'd be a lot better: i don't mind 7218 grain at all, and 7219 is much better, but I know some people who do, and in the end it all depends on what you find right for the project.
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#4 Matteo Cocco

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 05:59 PM

...and what about the 500T EXPRESSION from Kodak? Do you think it´s a good stock? maybe a good choice to avoid high contrast in day scenes?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 06:05 PM

...and what about the 500T EXPRESSION from Kodak? Do you think it´s a good stock? maybe a good choice to avoid high contrast in day scenes?


It would be rather grainy for 16mm work.

I'd use the new 7219 500T. The only question is whether it really is that hard to carry a second stock. If you also carried a 200T stock like 7217 for your day work, for example, it's possible, if you ordered a little too much, to shoot a small interior night scene on it, so you don't have to exactly get the amounts right.
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 07:59 PM

...and what about the 500T EXPRESSION from Kodak? Do you think it´s a good stock? maybe a good choice to avoid high contrast in day scenes?




Check out Half Nelson. It was shot on the 500T Expression. Granted they probably had more money for the final grading than you might, I rather liked the look of it and the grain had a lot to do with that. David is dead on with his suggestion about having some 7217 around. In a pinch, it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. But most importantly, having a really well planned shoot is a must. If there is no way on god's green earth, you won't know what or where your shooting until you get there, then by all means use the 7218 or 7219. Don't be afraid of using Fuji either. I shot a short on the Eterna 250T in a wide variety of set ups and was very pleased.
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