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British TV movie series "Sharpe's Rifles"


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 11:51 PM

Has anyone on this forum ever worked on any of the Sharpe films? If so, do you know whether the series was shot on 16 or super 16mm film? It looks pretty grainy, so I'm guessing regular 16. I kind of like the look of the series, and am wondering how it was done.
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 09:48 PM

I think you refer to the Rifleman Sharpe's series for ITV from 1993 onwards, do you?
("Sharpe's Rifles" was only the first film made and one of the novels)

Originally Normal 16, later Super 16 but with 1:1.33 telecine, then full telecine for 2006. The new "Sharpe's Peril" will be broadcast later this year on ITV1, still starring Sean Bean. Cameras were Aaton XTRprod (brand-new in the 1993!).
No info on filmstocks used throughout the 15 years - I would assume Eastmancolor, then EXR, finally Vision2.

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#3 George Ebersole

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 02:56 AM

Thanks Michael. Yeah, I meant the entire series.

When it aired here in the U.S. on PBS it was presented in letterbox format for the first two installments, and had a real sharp image. Then the later episodes seem to be shot in full screen and on a different stock. The 16mm stock seemed to add something to the series.

When Sharpe's challenge came out, shot on 35mm, I almost wanted to see it in 16 again. The actors have aged some, and the stock they used really caught every detail of their faces. Sean Bean looks younger in the video footage shot for the featurette than he does in the actual movie.

Thanks for the still. I'm assuming that's from one of the original films, and not the upcoming release. :)

Edited by George Ebersole, 20 June 2008 - 02:57 AM.

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#4 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 05:04 AM

I agree that I actually like good 16mm shot tv drama as well of a television screen release. There is something... immediate about the aesthetics that makes you connect to the story more closely than with 35mm, which gets very rapidly... "glossy".

For me, it might also the association with 16mm documentaries shown on tv that give Sharpe's such a historic "authenticty" in the visual experience. I think the format and the story are well married in this case. Nice to hear that PBS is broadcasting it. I would actually love to see them now... maybe ITV will be forthcoming with tie-in reruns for the upcoming one.

Thanks for the still. I'm assuming that's from one of the original films, and not the upcoming release. :)


You'right :) . I fear the Sony TR-series Hi 8 Traveller camcorder gives the good'old 1990s away :D . Ah, where are the times when you could shoot featurettes on Hi 8 and get away with it?! ;)

Cheers,

-Michael
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 05:56 AM

I would actually love to see them now... maybe ITV will be forthcoming with tie-in reruns for the upcoming one.


UK History has been showing it regularly. It must be one of their mainstays. together with "The world at War".
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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 06:52 AM

Oh, thanks for the tip!
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#7 George Ebersole

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 11:41 PM

I agree that I actually like good 16mm shot tv drama as well of a television screen release. There is something... immediate about the aesthetics that makes you connect to the story more closely than with 35mm, which gets very rapidly... "glossy".

For me, it might also the association with 16mm documentaries shown on tv that give Sharpe's such a historic "authenticty" in the visual experience. I think the format and the story are well married in this case. Nice to hear that PBS is broadcasting it. I would actually love to see them now... maybe ITV will be forthcoming with tie-in reruns for the upcoming one.



You'right :) . I fear the Sony TR-series Hi 8 Traveller camcorder gives the good'old 1990s away :D . Ah, where are the times when you could shoot featurettes on Hi 8 and get away with it?! ;)

Cheers,

-Michael

I definately concur on the stock. 16 gave it a rustic look. Almost like the crew actually went back in time to shoot it. I liked Sharpe's Challenge for what it was, but it seemed a little removed from the original films because it was shot on a fast 35.

PBS aired them approximately the same time they were being aired on your guys' side of the Atlantic, but I think the U.S. release was delayed by several months (maybe a year... not sure) from when you saw them. The good side is that they're available on DVD, but would you believe that the U.S. VHS release is said to look better than the current DVD? :(

Next paycheque I'm hoping to splurge on some Region 2 discs from you neck of the woods :)

An old friend of mine (a still photographer turned videographer) invested in a bunch of Hi-8 equipment. He used to mount his Sony TR on their mini steady-cam and run across the local gym with it. :D
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#8 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 09:55 AM

The good side is that they're available on DVD, but would you believe that the U.S. VHS release is said to look better than the current DVD? :(
Next paycheque I'm hoping to splurge on some Region 2 discs from you neck of the woods :)


Hmm, worrying to hear that. I wonder what their source material for the DVD master was, then? Is there any difference in the runtime between Region 1 & 2. If so, then I guess that could mean that they used old PBS masters while the UK version was a new telecine from the original negatives rather then the broadcasting tapes. :huh:

An old friend of mine (a still photographer turned videographer) invested in a bunch of Hi-8 equipment. He used to mount his Sony TR on their mini steady-cam and run across the local gym with it. :D


:D . Maybe he should have combined his skill with is idea and make a fitness video: "The Steadicam Workout - get fit and look like Garrett Brown in just 14 days!"
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#9 George Ebersole

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 02:43 PM

Amazon UK shows a runtime of 101 minutes, verse Amazon in the U.S. which has it listed as 100 minutes. I thought it might be due to the whole 24fps for North America verse 25fps European standard, but a whole minute seems awfully long.

My guess is that you could be right about BFS Entertainment (the company who owns the North American distribution rights) using the old PBS PAL-to-NTSC tape transfer. Some of the episodes look okay. Others not so much. It's hard to say. I'll know once I get my hands on a Region-2 disc.

All I know is that in the "Sharpe's Challenge" featurette they showed a clip from "Sharpe's Waterloo", and that footage looked pretty sharp (pun intended :)).
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#10 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:50 PM

25fps vs. 24fps is actually a 4% difference, so 1 minute over 100 mins duration is most likely nothing but an inaccuracy.
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