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Theoretical Question: Cost of 90min 35mm Feature.


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#1 Ocean Zen

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:18 PM

I'm wondering. For a 90 minute film, on average how much (length) film would be shot?
And so how much would it cost in terms of film, processing, DI.
Say if the final format was a 2k DI at cinemas.

I know I would like to shoot 2.39 with anamorphic lenses, but I'm interested in the cost.
There will also be some fx shots lasting maybe a total of 15 ins out of the whole 90 mins.

There will also be multiple night and day shoots outdoors. Would film handle the night shoots better than a Arri or Red 4k digital camera? (I know there's a lot of talk about dynamic range so I imagine Digital suffers in the darker areas) I'm not trying to start a digital/ film debate -
I'm just interested in the costs and the feasibilty of each format for this specific feature film.
Thanks :)
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:42 PM

The answer to all of that, IMHO is it depends.
It depends on the type of film, depends on the look, the locations etc. Obviously a film which was indoor, in one room, in one shot, and everything was spoken would require less film than one such as, say, transformers (cut aways everywhere (i say that because i glanced at the dvd, but essentially a Jim Jarsumuch type film would be much cheaper to shoot than a Michael Bay Film in terms of stock).
For VFX, it also depends on how complicated they are, and how much time they take.
Same for your DI etc. . .
My handy-dandy spread sheet tells me about 60,000 for 35mm film on a 3:1 ratio, of course it over-estimates (24,300ft of film @50/c a foot), and that will change based on whether you're using short ends, or buying from kodak, or getting a deal here, etc. . .same as with your processing and everything else.

plus you havn't factored in the other costs like lenses and lights which are equally as important as the raw stock!

As for the dynamic range argument, again, it depends. Can film see deeper into the shadows? My own opinion is yes, but this isn't to suggest you don't light at night for film, ya know?
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#3 Ocean Zen

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:47 PM

The answer to all of that, IMHO is it depends.
It depends on the type of film, depends on the look, the locations etc. Obviously a film which was indoor, in one room, in one shot, and everything was spoken would require less film than one such as, say, transformers (cut aways everywhere (i say that because i glanced at the dvd, but essentially a Jim Jarsumuch type film would be much cheaper to shoot than a Michael Bay Film in terms of stock).
For VFX, it also depends on how complicated they are, and how much time they take.
Same for your DI etc. . .
My handy-dandy spread sheet tells me about 60,000 for 35mm film on a 3:1 ratio, of course it over-estimates (24,300ft of film @50/c a foot), and that will change based on whether you're using short ends, or buying from kodak, or getting a deal here, etc. . .same as with your processing and everything else.

plus you havn't factored in the other costs like lenses and lights which are equally as important as the raw stock!

As for the dynamic range argument, again, it depends. Can film see deeper into the shadows? My own opinion is yes, but this isn't to suggest you don't light at night for film, ya know?

Thanks for your answer. So is that $60,000 for 270mins of film? Also would that be 4 perf 35mm, because I would ideally like to shoot anamorphic?

Edited by Ocean Zen, 20 June 2008 - 03:47 PM.

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:49 PM

Yep approx 60G for 270min of film.
If you'd like, send me an e mail and I can send you my rough spreadsheet, it has approximations for S16mm/35mm (4 perf assumed) and 8mm on it.
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#5 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:54 PM

I'm wondering. For a 90 minute film, on average how much (length) film would be shot?
And so how much would it cost in terms of film, processing, DI.
Say if the final format was a 2k DI at cinemas.

I know I would like to shoot 2.39 with anamorphic lenses, but I'm interested in the cost.
There will also be some fx shots lasting maybe a total of 15 ins out of the whole 90 mins.

There will also be multiple night and day shoots outdoors. Would film handle the night shoots better than a Arri or Red 4k digital camera? (I know there's a lot of talk about dynamic range so I imagine Digital suffers in the darker areas) I'm not trying to start a digital/ film debate -
I'm just interested in the costs and the feasibilty of each format for this specific feature film.
Thanks :)

Depends on your DP.

Let's use me as your DP for a moment, as, well, I know myself as a DP and my shooting style (don't think on this too hard or your head will hurt).

For a 90 minute feature I'd be using about 40,000 feet of film. Now, I bargain hunt for film. Recans, short ends, the like. ok, so, I average, for 35mm, about $0.15/foot. So, the raw stock runs me $6k. I pull some favors with labs I know, and get processing at $0.10/foot. Ok, so get film + processing for $10,000.

Ok, now, for lenses. Anamorphic is nice, but they do tend to let in less light. Instead, I'd recommend what numerous other directors have done, and shoot on Super 35mm. That way you can use lower light spherical lenses, and keep the 2.39:1 ratio desired.

Film can handle the shadow details very nicely (I use that to good effect in many shoots).

A complete camera package, lenses, and such for, let's say a 2 week shoot, would run you about $3,000-$5,000 depending.

Now, I would not 4k scan anything in until after editing. Edit using inexpensive workprint/telecine for $500-$1000, conform the negative, THEN scan it all in to insert the FX shots. You scan in just those frames, then film-out from them, viola, you've likely spent $5000 just on that.

So, we're under $30,000 total cost. But that is with me as DP, as that is the only shooting style I am familiar with. YMMV with others, as we each work our own way.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:58 PM

Now I feel incredibly expensive! But, Mr. Downes illustrates quite well the whole "it depends," bit, because it does depend on a lot of factors beyond what kodak quotes when you call them.
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#7 Ocean Zen

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:00 PM

Depends on your DP.

Let's use me as your DP for a moment, as, well, I know myself as a DP and my shooting style (don't think on this too hard or your head will hurt).

For a 90 minute feature I'd be using about 40,000 feet of film. Now, I bargain hunt for film. Recans, short ends, the like. ok, so, I average, for 35mm, about $0.15/foot. So, the raw stock runs me $6k. I pull some favors with labs I know, and get processing at $0.10/foot. Ok, so get film + processing for $10,000.

Ok, now, for lenses. Anamorphic is nice, but they do tend to let in less light. Instead, I'd recommend what numerous other directors have done, and shoot on Super 35mm. That way you can use lower light spherical lenses, and keep the 2.39:1 ratio desired.

Film can handle the shadow details very nicely (I use that to good effect in many shoots).

A complete camera package, lenses, and such for, let's say a 2 week shoot, would run you about $3,000-$5,000 depending.

Now, I would not 4k scan anything in until after editing. Edit using inexpensive workprint/telecine for $500-$1000, conform the negative, THEN scan it all in to insert the FX shots. You scan in just those frames, then film-out from them, viola, you've likely spent $5000 just on that.

So, we're under $30,000 total cost. But that is with me as DP, as that is the only shooting style I am familiar with. YMMV with others, as we each work our own way.

Thanks very much for the replies.

Adrian I will send you an email as that doc sounds very interesting. If you want to keep it personal I understand but have you considered putting the spreadsheet up so everyone can download it?

With regards to the anamorphic lenses. I have written the script around the full moon, as I love the look of moon light in the woods/outdoors at night. I think I would be stubborn and choose to add more lights rather than go for spherical lenses.
Although, would it be blasphemous for me to even think about mixing super 35 for night and anamorphic 4 perf for day? (I can feel as I'm writing this there may be DPs turning in their graves.)

Thanks
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#8 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:04 PM

Now I feel incredibly expensive! But, Mr. Downes illustrates quite well the whole "it depends," bit, because it does depend on a lot of factors beyond what kodak quotes when you call them.

Exactly. I pride myself on being a bargain hunter, and having enough connections to cut deals. As someone once told me, only a fool pays retail price. Speak to the right person, say the key word, and you can get bargains. Think outside the box.

I put up a challenge and nobody's ever taken me up on it, that I'd make a feature film, ON film, for $5000. I still am saving up to prove this one.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

You could of course mix them, but the difference would be in the camera movements, one being 4 perf and 1 being 3 perf. . .you could always just leave the anamorphic behind and shoot 4 perf on the same camera with a spherical lens, and matte it in post to 2.39:1, but the problem would be the out of focus areas and the like and the grain would differ.
If it's just a shot of the moon, though, you can change your shutter angle and/or film speed to allow for more light to form an exposure (Koyaanisquatsi did it in 83! so it can be done, but this the work arounds you do will depends on the shot).

As for posting the spreadsheet, I'd love to, but I have no where to stick it, and I'm sure there are other spread sheets about, and palm applications (which won't run on my bloody windows mobile phone!)
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#10 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

Thanks very much for the replies.

Adrian I will send you an email as that doc sounds very interesting. If you want to keep it personal I understand but have you considered putting the spreadsheet up so everyone can download it?

With regards to the anamorphic lenses. I have written the script around the full moon, as I love the look of moon light in the woods/outdoors at night. I think I would be stubborn and choose to add more lights rather than go for spherical lenses.
Although, would it be blasphemous for me to even think about mixing super 35 for night and anamorphic 4 perf for day? (I can feel as I'm writing this there may be DPs turning in their graves.)

Thanks

Not at all, mix and match! Heck, I mix and match stocks, formats, even film size at my leisure. Do whatever works for you!
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:06 PM

Nate, what format film and can I shoot 35mm SLR al'la La Jetee!
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#12 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:06 PM

As for posting the spreadsheet, I'd love to, but I have no where to stick it, and I'm sure there are other spread sheets about, and palm applications (which won't run on my bloody windows mobile phone!)

I have web space you can store it on if you'd like.
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#13 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:08 PM

Nate, what format film and can I shoot 35mm SLR al'la La Jetee!

Super8 because I own 2 top-end Super8 cameras and 6 not-so-hot Super8 cameras.

My 16 and 35's are good, but my Super8's are the best performing of the bunch, have not let me down yet.
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:18 PM

Damn! I have my S16mm camera, but I don't think I could pull off a feature for 5K on her :/

drop me an e mail, either of you, for the spreadsheet. It overbudgets a bit, and is based on the labs/houses here in philadelphia, but you can play with it:

adrian.sierkowski (at) yahoo.com
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#15 Paul Bruening

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:21 PM

Hello Ocean,

I don't know anything about you, so, don't let me tell you what to do. You may, however, find some merit in producing a few shorts, at least, in DV or some other low cost medium. By the time you have a few under your belt, you'll be in a better place to justify the expenditure on a film feature as well as have the depth of experience to put together some sort of heart breaking, wallet crunching film budget. Most of us started small like this and crept up to where ever the heck we are now, at least knowledge-wise.
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#16 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:23 PM

Damn! I have my S16mm camera, but I don't think I could pull off a feature for 5K on her :/

drop me an e mail, either of you, for the spreadsheet. It overbudgets a bit, and is based on the labs/houses here in philadelphia, but you can play with it:

adrian.sierkowski (at) yahoo.com

It's about $4400 for the film + processing + telecine for it, but it is very doable. (need to hold yourself to a 3:1 ratio tho) A roll of Super8 runs from $10-$17, depending, and processing goes from $5-$15, again, depending. Telecine is about the same as for Super16 for negative, and reversal can be done for a lot less through places like Moviestuff or Tobin.

If I pushed myself, I could do it for $2000 using 80 rolls of E64T + walmart $5 processing.

And will do.
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#17 Nate Downes

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:25 PM

Hello Ocean,

I don't know anything about you, so, don't let me tell you what to do. You may, however, find some merit in producing a few shorts, at least, in DV or some other low cost medium. By the time you have a few under your belt, you'll be in a better place to justify the expenditure on a film feature as well as have the depth of experience to put together some sort of heart breaking, wallet crunching film budget. Most of us started small like this and crept up to where ever the heck we are now, at least knowledge-wise.

My arguement here is, DV can teach you bad habits, like shooting far more takes than needed, not learning exposure control, etc, which you will have to unlearn, and releard when you go to film. You learn fast when it's your $100 on the line with a roll of film.
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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:29 PM

I would agree in the middle that MiniDV is great for messing up, but does teach bad habits (such as, we'll just reshoot it if it's bad).
Now, shooting a whole feature film on 3 miniDV tapes. . .that could be a fun thing to go out and do! And it is important to have some training wheels when you start out. The first camera I exposed on was an RCA VHS camera, and then I went over to nikons before hitting the miniDV craze in film school (forced us to till we got the goo olde bolex) and I can say I learned the most on the film based formats because it was so damned expensive (in ratio to how much money I had then/now) that I damned sure wasn't going to mess it up!
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#19 Paul Bruening

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:55 PM

You know, Nate, I respect what you do and all of what you say. BUT, 3:1 is good only for crew and budgets. From a director's, editor's, producer's, and distributor's standpoint 10:1 shooting ration is about the minimum. 3:1 gives you "a take that can be cut in". 10:1 or higher gives you "a GOOD take that can be cut in". At 3:1 you can't hope to have a solidly and cleanly acted set of cut-able takes. Generally, it takes 10:1 and that's with competent, professional actors.

High shooting ratios make me grimace in budgeting. Getting into the editing booth and having only a pile of crap to cut is way, way, way worse.
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#20 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 04:10 PM

I'm with Paul on this. 3:1 is not workable if you want a good film. Even if you cover each scene in one shot that is very simple, it will still put an incredible strain on the crew and actors not to screw up and ruin the take. That is not a good working atmosphere, especially for actors.

I wouldn't do a feature for less than 10:1 and even that is not a lot. Cover a scene with a master and 2 closer shots on each actor only allows you to do each shot 3 times for instance. Especially if you have dialogue, you want to run the scene all the way through (even though you'll cut into it), because it helps the actors get into the flow of the scene and give you better performances.

If you really don't have the money for 35mm, shoot Super16. It will allow you a bigger shooting ratio and that will benefit your film more than a bigger format.
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