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First BestLight 16mm Film


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#1 grant mcphee

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 09:08 AM

Hi there,

I've just put together a little teaser/trailer from the rushes of my first properly graded 16mm film (as apposed to onelight/home processed/reversal and bits and bobs here and there).

It was shot on standard 16mm (Arriflex SR2 with Angie 5:1 and a K3).

The idea was to give the film a natural feel to it, in terms of lighting and camera movement. We didn't really bother with marking actor positions, and run-throughs were very limited. This is something I'm not really used to so was quite difficult for me. But, as we intended, the 'feel' of the film was more important than perfect composition.

To get the right feeling we really wanted to use film - it was a trade off because the high cost of film meant that the camera package was very limited and we couldn't get any decent lenses or follow focuses (which did create a bit of a focus problem, though it was also decided to mess about with focus so it's not too noticible where not intended).

I wanted to play around with different stocks to try and compliment the scenes, and develop and telecine them in different ways. I mostly over-exposed by a stop and pulled back in tk, though some scenes were 2 stops over. I tried pushing a couple of scenes (I was actually very happy with the results of that). And a few other ideas like opening and closing the K3 door to intentionallt fog the film. I also played about with film speeds over/under-cranking to try and highten some of the mood.

As I don't get to shoot on film very often I took the opportunity to play around as much as possible within the limits of not effecting the story.

The colour grading was a bit of an issue. Because I'm not a 'name' dop I felt that the lab didn't take the film as seriously as they maybe would if it were someone with more experience (it was a student film with a student discount). Quite a few of my instructions were ignored. It was a tricky situation as they had really gone above the call of duty in other areas I felt that I couldn't bring, what I thought were problems up (except for a couple of shots which were transfered in the wrong ratio). Because I mainly use film as an assistant I didn't feel I had enough confidence to tell the telecine operator that I didn't think it was how it should look. Especially as they are highly trained and are used to working with very experienced dops. They had managed to 'fix' a few shots I'd messed up I thought I would leave it. Though after getting some feedback from some DoPs I work with who are experienced in dealing with TK Ops I will definitely know to speak up next time. The big problem was that I could not attend the transfer and would really and will make as big an effort as possible to be there on the next one.

I'm pretty happy with it. It's not great but what I learned is far more rewarding for me than the end result. There are bits I'm not happy with, but I'll know for next time. It's odd, I was initially happy that there was a picture there in the first place, then I got a little greedy and was dissapointed by some stuff and would have liked it to work out more as I had it in my head.

It was transferred on a Spirit 2K. We used the new Eterna 500 and 250 t (1 stop over, 85b and 812) with the beach scene on Vivid 160 (2 stops over and no correction filters). The K3 footage was Kodak 18. I wanted a warm look and expected he 812 to give this, I also had 'warm eve effect/ etc on the boards/notes but they came back very cool so had to change this in avid. the kodak looked nice as it was. I would use Kodak again but would hesitate with Fuji.

Any feedback would be really appreciated as I'm still not exactly sure what I was doing. It was quite a big step up from an assistant to having to work everything out quickly in my head and with no-one to fall back on/get help from other than myself. I know particularly there were a few exposure issues and focus problems.

It can be downloaded as a rapidshare file here:

It is 50mb so should take about 2mins to download with a 4mb connection.
just click on the 'download free', unless you have a rapidshare account.

Thanks

http://rapidshare.co...disttrailer.AVI
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 04:06 PM

It looks really good for an unsupervised transfer. One of the shots, the girl running in the tunnel had a LOT of grain. Was that Eterna 500 pushed one stop? Other than that, the images are good looking, really. My fave shot was the grass billowing in the wind. I also liked the wall-projected reversal clips. But it is all consistently good looking. The exposure problems you mentioned, many (even trained) people won't notice them unless you tell them, so keep that in mind. It really boils down what you were going for. Unless it looks obvious mistake, sloppy or pain butt-ugly, which your footage doesn't, you can get away with a lot. That is one of the hardest parts, to stop projecting the I'm-not-great-yet attitude and just go with it and embrace it for what it is. Even experienced people deal with it more than you would think . . .

As far as you experiences with labs, that is usually the run of the mill unfortunately, until you pay the big bucks. But you DO have to have to put your foot down with the colorist when transfering. That is the benefit of being there, but sending him or her stills or clips of someone else's footage as example of what you are going for helps . . . The place I do my Spirit 2k work done at, Spy Post in San Francisco, will send me stills on email for me to sign off on if I can't attend. So that helps, but nothing like being there of course.

Good job!
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#3 grant mcphee

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 06:23 AM

Thanks for your comments saulie. Really appreciated!

The shot with the girl running. Yeh, I was really suprised when I saw that. Horribly grainy. I forgot that I used some of the old fuji 500d (it was given to me after a shoot I was an assistant on so, although fridge stored was quite old). I just used it to see how it would compare to the 500t (which was used in the other night scene -pushed one stop). I'll know not to use it again. It was in the camera already from a lowlight day scene so thought I could get away with it.

Grant
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