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80's slasher movie


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#1 Torarin Vik

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 05:39 PM

Hi, I am a new filmmaker trying to make a full lenght movie in the
slasher genre. I am trying to re-create the look of the 80's films like
The burning, April fools day, Halloween 4&5, sleepaway camp 2&3.

I have asked around on many filmforums, asked a lot of people
I know. I discussed this with my father, but no-one seems to know
what really give the movies this type of visual. Two things that I
myself have observed is that they often tend to use soft or fog filters
(sometimes with high-key lighting so that it creates a glow effect)
and a lot bluer light then where more modern films whould use a
lower color temperature. So I wonder what does create the look of
these movies, is it the old film, post-production, or processing of the film?
I am not sure what format to shoot on, but it will definatly be either 16mm
or 35mm film depends on how cheap I can get 35mm gear.

Thanks
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#2 Torarin Vik

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:14 PM

I don't know how to edit the last post so I'll just post this here.
Here is the typical 80's slasher look that Im trying to re-create.
By the way, sorry for my bad english.

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:35 PM

"torarin", you need to go to My Controls and edit your Display Name to a real first and last name (with a space in between them), as per the first rule listed on the registration page. Thanks.
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#4 Torarin Vik

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:41 PM

Oh, sorry. It's fixxed now.
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#5 Jim Keller

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:52 PM

I'm certainly no expert, but I've always felt that trends in color timing (and printing in general) are a huge part of what gives films a certain "quality" by decade. The same negative will give you very different looks based on how you print it...
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 07:09 PM

There was a certain graininess to some films (not all) due to the first high speed stocks to hit the market. And uncorrected HMI's were popular for night scenes, hence the very blue look.

A few were still using the Fog, Double Fog, or Low Con filters from the previous decade (like "The Terminator") but stopped after awhile because they made the grain of the new fast stocks more obvious. Most of "E.T." was shot on slow film (5247) but with a very light Double Fog filter. Smoke was just starting to get popular / overused in the 1980's.

Release printing through the dupe stocks of the day did tend to make prints a little on the harsh side, but it wasn't much worse than what we have today.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 10:19 PM

I remember quite a few of those slasher films (Halloween comes to mind especially) used wider lenses and got closer than you might on other films. It is an approach you might try out to see if you like.
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#8 Torarin Vik

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 04:41 AM

Thanks for answering I really appreciate it.
What is color timing and priting, is this in the processing stadium of the film?
Is this when you copy the negative to a positive?
Where can I read or learn about these techniques?

"Release printing through the dupe stocks"
What is this? And what are low con filters?

Im thinkin of getting a really wide lens, or maye a
anamorphic lens. It looks just fantastic in Halloween.

Sorry for asking all those silly question, but I guess I am
a rookie. Actually my father is a proffessional but he is a
film-hater(why I don't know) he only likes video and he
doesn't want to teach me anything.
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#9 Nate Downes

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 06:25 AM

Well, one trick I've used before is to shoot with V2 100T on Super16 and push process it one step. From there it is all on the printer, and yes, they can print it in that 80's harshness.

I did some tests trying to replicate the 70/80's slasher movie, and using the V2 stocks in a smaller format (16mm for a 35mm 80's look, Super8 for a 16mm 80's look) can come pretty close.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 12:18 PM

You need to read a basic book on cinematography, Toranin...

Color negative is processed into a negative image on a piece of film. It is then printed onto print stock, which creates a positive image (it's actually another form of "negative" stock but a negative picture of a negative image is a positive...) Unless you use a reversal (slide) film in there somewhere, film copying is always a neg to pos to neg to pos, etc. process. Every generation is the opposite of the following generation.

In order to make large numbers of prints for movie theaters (release prints), you need to make a duplicate negative (dupe negative, internegative, or I.N.) for printing from, because you don't want to wear out the original negative. So the original negative gets copied onto a positive duplication stock (interpositive or I.P.) and that positive is copied again onto the same duplication stock except now the new copy is a negative (positive to negative). That copy of the negative is used to make large numbers of prints.

Color "timing" or color "grading" is the process of color-correcting the positive image you make off of the negative, shot by shot, by controlling the values of separate red, green, and blue printer lights.

Low Con, Fog, etc. are glass camera filters that cause bright areas in the image to fog into the dark areas.

You also have to figure out your post path, what your final format will be, i.e. a 35mm print with sound? A HD tape?
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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:18 PM

Hi, I am a new filmmaker trying to make a full lenght movie in the
slasher genre. I am trying to re-create the look of the 80's films like
The burning, April fools day, Halloween 4&5, sleepaway camp 2&3.

I have asked around on many filmforums, asked a lot of people
I know. I discussed this with my father, but no-one seems to know
what really give the movies this type of visual. Two things that I
myself have observed is that they often tend to use soft or fog filters
(sometimes with high-key lighting so that it creates a glow effect)
and a lot bluer light then where more modern films whould use a
lower color temperature. So I wonder what does create the look of
these movies, is it the old film, post-production, or processing of the film?
I am not sure what format to shoot on, but it will definatly be either 16mm
or 35mm film depends on how cheap I can get 35mm gear.

Thanks

I'm not a big fan of slasher and/or horror flicks, but, technical aspects aside, you also need to have something to say in your film. Really succesful films, even B-grade slasher flicks, have some kind of message or underlying theme to them. Otherwise all you wind up shooting is a bunch of scenes strung together.

Make sure you have a solid script, and take David's advice about reading that cinematography book.
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#12 Torarin Vik

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:26 PM

I've read some part of an old film book, but It's really dated.
So Im waiting for "Film Production Technique: Creating the Accomplished Image",
hope it's the real deal.

Have some experience with color correction and low contrast filters just
didn't know those expressions :) The film will be scanned into
Avid, edited and then burned on DVD's, uploaded to the internet and maybe
run on the local film club.
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#13 Jim Keller

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:46 PM

I've read some part of an old film book, but It's really dated.
So Im waiting for "Film Production Technique: Creating the Accomplished Image",
hope it's the real deal.

Have some experience with color correction and low contrast filters just
didn't know those expressions :) The film will be scanned into
Avid, edited and then burned on DVD's, uploaded to the internet and maybe
run on the local film club.


The good news about editing on an Avid and finishing to DVD is that you'll have the opportunity to play with a lot of different filters to try different color corrections, contrast and gamma settings, etc., to see if you can get the effect you want, as long as you start with a clean, well-shot image.
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#14 Torarin Vik

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 10:49 AM

"Well, one trick I've used before is to shoot with V2 100T on Super16 and push process it one step. From there it is all on the printer, and yes, they can print it in that 80's harshness."

Found out what you meen by push process that is underexpose the footage and then
compensate by overprocessing the film right? So if you have an asa 100 film you
expose like it was a asa 200 and then push 1 stop in the processing?
Im sorry if I seem stupid by asking all these questions. But when you are talking about
the printing, do you meen the process of copying the negative to the positive?

Thanks for answers
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#15 Nate Downes

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 02:04 PM

"Well, one trick I've used before is to shoot with V2 100T on Super16 and push process it one step. From there it is all on the printer, and yes, they can print it in that 80's harshness."

Found out what you meen by push process that is underexpose the footage and then
compensate by overprocessing the film right? So if you have an asa 100 film you
expose like it was a asa 200 and then push 1 stop in the processing?
Im sorry if I seem stupid by asking all these questions. But when you are talking about
the printing, do you meen the process of copying the negative to the positive?

Thanks for answers

Right on both counts. By underexposing, you'll have larger grains, but by pushing it you will not prevent proper exposure, so you'll get that look. A lot of 80's movies were done just that way, because the filmstocks then were not fast enough for the look, so they push processed them. And yes,printing is the process of getting the negative to a positive.
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#16 Ira Ratner

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 05:32 PM

Vik, doing push-pull or pull-push for your first time on an important project is kind of risky without doing a bunch of testing first. I don't have a background in 16mm film yet when it comes to this, but I do have background with 35mm still film:

I may have a roll of 100ASA/ISO film loaded, but the lighting conditions require 400. What I would do is simply set my light meter to 400, then shoot as if I actually had 400 film in the camera--and then tell the lab to "push" it to 400.

This will give me a correctly exposed image, but with grain that isn't always desirable. (But in your case, it might be). The processing lab just adjusts the time the film sits in the developer (the chemical), and that's it. He'll let it sit in the developer longer to compensate for the less sensitive 100, now turning it into 400 film with that grain that isn't always wanted.

Edited by Ira Ratner, 10 July 2008 - 05:34 PM.

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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 05:53 PM

The lab doesn't care if the film stock is 100 ASA or 500 ASA, it all gets developed in the same ECN2 bath. Your instructions should be to tell them how many stops to push, not what ASA value to push to. ASA is meaningless in a lab processor.

If you are a beginner Torarin and are doing a video finish, my suggestion is to walk before you run and learn to shoot film normally processed before you mess around with special processing. You can get more grain just by using a faster film stock processed normally and you can play around with contrast in post digital color-correction.
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#18 Torarin Vik

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 06:54 PM

Ok so pushing a 100 asa to 400 asa in the processing
will only make the film look grainy, like a 400 asa film?
Why not buy 400 asa film isn't that cheaper?
Anyway if it gets to grainy in might end up looking like this


If think it probably is smart to keep the image clean while
shooting and processing, you can do a lot with the Tiffen
digital filter package.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 07:41 PM

You get more contrast when you push the film, and the image feels "dirtier", grittier, and the colors get a little funkier, which gives an aged look in some ways.
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#20 Frank Barrera

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 11:15 PM

aside from all the technical information provided above don't forget that the main thing that makes the look of an 80's slasher film is the hair. those ladies had some real nice hair doos. the hair spray must have been part of the art department budget on these films.
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