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3-pref, 2-pref 35mm, v. super 16mm


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#1 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 04:25 AM

i have read here that shooting 35mm 3-pref will save 25%, and 2-pref 50% on stock and processing over 4-pref. Is this accurate? Or is it false economy?

Currently we have budgeted for super16mm, as we are roughly 100,000 euro short of shooting standard 35mm. Our budget is approx 1.6m. I had quite happily resigned myself to shooting 16mm. There have been a number of fine looking films shoot on 16mm eg. The Station Agent, Vera Drake, This is England, Japon etc

But upon hearing about 2-pref and 3-pref, I wondered was it still possible to shoot 35mm albeit on 2-pref or 3-pref. Has anyone any experience shooting 2-pref or 3-pref? Why did you choose it? Why is it that so few films take this route? Or perhaps they do but i am unaware of it ?

The film will go through a D. I. We will be using The Post Republic in Berlin
http://www.post-republic.de

Is it reasonable to consider 3-pref or even 2-pref 35mm over super16mm?

Cost comparison? Quality comparison? Potential issues, obstacles? Format?

What about the cost of blow-up for projection?

I am the director and do not claim to be an expert on these technical areas. We currently do not have a DOP, but are in process of shortlisting.

Advice appreciated.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:02 AM

Yes the savings are real both in terms of stock/processing. I am not sure if they will save you money during the D.I. though.
The quality will be fantastic, and I'd recommend 3-perf if you can afford it as it's a well known work-flow (2-perf is still a bit new, and I'm not 100% sure all DI facilities can handle it; plus cameras for it are harder to come by).
3-perf 35 is a standard format and I think you'll find it'll lend a lot of value to the production though Super-16mm is also viable, if the story can handle the general increase in grain from the smaller format


my 2 cents.

Edited by Adrian Sierkowski, 11 August 2008 - 07:02 AM.

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#3 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:42 AM

Yes the savings are real both in terms of stock/processing. I am not sure if they will save you money during the D.I. though.
The quality will be fantastic, and I'd recommend 3-perf if you can afford it as it's a well known work-flow (2-perf is still a bit new, and I'm not 100% sure all DI facilities can handle it; plus cameras for it are harder to come by).
3-perf 35 is a standard format and I think you'll find it'll lend a lot of value to the production though Super-16mm is also viable, if the story can handle the general increase in grain from the smaller format


my 2 cents.

thx for your 2 cents..
ive since read that it?s rare that a lab would have a 3-perf projector, and the best way to see 3-perf dailies is on a location projector, which from what i understand is difficult to find.

2-pref do seem harder to come by, even though techniscope's been around since 60s
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Techniscope

I've found lots of info online about 3-pref and 2-pref, but would love to hear some first hand experiences. How much more expensive than shooting super 16 are they?
Seems most TV series shoot 3-pref..
I would love to be able to shoot 35mm, as this film tells its story through images, and has minimal dialogue with about 50/50 ext/int and will be shot this winter with overcast skies, although in saying that The Station Agent, Romper Stomper, Japon, and This is England all worked well on s16mm.

To give some sense of style here are 2 screen grabs.
From francis ford coppola's The Converstaion
conversation2.jpg
From Lynne Ramsey's Gasman
gasman_roadjpeg.jpg
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:57 AM

well 2 perf died out for a bit and is just now coming back, albeit slowly.
Costs will all depend on what deals you strike, no one that I know of really pays the same price for film stock or processing, ya know?
Have you looked into short ends to save money?

use kodaks film calculator:

http://motion.kodak....ction/index.htm


and you can then compare the total budgets of 3-perf and S16mm. . .if that makes sense. .. 400Ft of 35mm is 4 min 26 sec, but of 3-perf 35mm 5 min 55 seconds, and S16mm 11min 6 sec. You can see you get more run-time for the same amount of film on 16mm, but, 3 perf 35mm will have arguably "better," quality than S16mm. That being said, of course S16mm is a viable choice as a format, but it ain't 35, ya know? Whether you consider run time or cash 35mm will cost "more," in terms of footage and/or real costs. But you also get more for it.

Sorry if i'm not making much sense.
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 08:22 AM

Ger,

Contact The Production Depot in Bray and they'll be able to give you a good comparison quote for a 2 or 3 perf package. If you've budgeted acurately for a Super 16mm shoot then you should be within reach of a 2 perf shoot.
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#6 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 08:41 AM

Ger,

Contact The Production Depot in Bray and they'll be able to give you a good comparison quote for a 2 or 3 perf package. If you've budgeted acurately for a Super 16mm shoot then you should be within reach of a 2 perf shoot.


cheers stephen..
2-pref techniscope is best used as widescreen, sergio leone, american graffetti, THX 1138
http://www.abelcine....p...t&task=view
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Techniscope

Seems to have quite a few drawbacks but worth investigating.

Rather be in reach of 3-pref.

PS when last we spoke i was looking for a belgian DOP, that is no longer the case and now looking for irish.. we've already made a shortlist but we'll keep you in mind.
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:50 AM

cheers stephen..
2-pref techniscope is best used as widescreen, sergio leone, american graffetti, THX 1138
http://www.abelcine....p...t&task=view
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Techniscope

Seems to have quite a few drawbacks but worth investigating.

Rather be in reach of 3-pref.

PS when last we spoke i was looking for a belgian DOP, that is no longer the case and now looking for irish. we've already made a shortlist but we'll keep you in mind.


You are right, 2 perf is generally seen as an alternative for aquiring to finish with scope prints.
3 perf is probably a better choice for 1.85:1.

You were asking what the downside is for 3 perf over 4 perf and one of the major downsides is that it cannon be contact printed like 4 perf can.
This means prints have to be made with the rather large additional expense of either an optical printer or a D.I.
So when making prints 4 perf can often turn out cheaper.

I note that in your case you are already going through a D.I. anyway, in which case it seems like 3 perf could be a fairly straightforward choice if your budget can cover it.

3 perf is already very popular with high end tv shows that obviously do not need to make prints.

Hope that helps.

love

Freya
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:06 AM

thx for your 2 cents..
ive since read that it?s rare that a lab would have a 3-perf projector, and the best way to see 3-perf dailies is on a location projector, which from what i understand is difficult to find.


I also just want to point out that if you were planning on getting film based dailies then you may end up having the same kind of problem with Super 16. Super 16 is also not a projectable format although you could thread the dallies up in a conventional 16mm projector and see the images with a bit cut off the side.

There are Super 16mm projectors out there but they are rare.

love

Freya
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#9 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:17 AM

cheers stephen..
2-pref techniscope is best used as widescreen, sergio leone, american graffetti, THX 1138
http://www.abelcine....p...t&task=view
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Techniscope

Seems to have quite a few drawbacks but worth investigating.

Rather be in reach of 3-pref.

PS when last we spoke i was looking for a belgian DOP, that is no longer the case and now looking for irish.. we've already made a shortlist but we'll keep you in mind.


2 perf has come a long way since the days of technicsope. If you're shooting 2.35:1 with a DI and you're on a tight budget 2 perf is a great option, just as good as 3 perf in many ways. Steve McQueens "Hunger" is a recent example of a 2 perf project.
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#10 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:02 AM

2 perf has come a long way since the days of technicsope. If you're shooting 2.35:1 with a DI and you're on a tight budget 2 perf is a great option, just as good as 3 perf in many ways. Steve McQueens "Hunger" is a recent example of a 2 perf project.


Thanks for that. I had no idea hunger was shot on 2-pref.
http://www.wfml.co.u.....AT CANNES.pdf
I have not seen Hunger yet but this is very encouraging news.

the producers are finalizing the budget today for submission, and they're squeezing every penny to make super16mm work, so for 2-pref to be possible the extra expense will need to be minimal. (i think 3-pref will be beyond our scope)

Do you have to shoot 2:35:1 on 2-pref ?

I know 2-pref naturally suits this but I had been planning a standard 1:85:1.
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#11 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:22 AM

2 perf has come a long way since the days of technicsope. If you're shooting 2.35:1 with a DI and you're on a tight budget 2 perf is a great option, just as good as 3 perf in many ways. Steve McQueens "Hunger" is a recent example of a 2 perf project.


What's the current situation like with the availability of 2-perf movements now in Europe? Anybody know if Arri and Panavision are making it a viable option yet?
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#12 John Holland

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:38 AM

Yes both Arri and Panavision can offer 2 perf options .
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#13 Paul Bruening

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:48 AM

Everyone who provides answers to your questions is obliged to precede their answers with a list of "If-then" statements. However, everyone who has calculated the 2-perf issue based, in this order, upon: 1) tight budget, 2) requirement of 35mm image quality, 3) production convenience, and 4) going DI regardless of format, sees the obvious strengths and merits of 2-perf. It's not popular in the USA because it's an in-between technology. If you're broke, you shoot in something much cheaper than 35mm. If you're well financed, you shoot in the bigger 35mm formats like S35 or scope. If you've got more money than God, you shoot in IMAX.
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#14 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 12:35 PM

Yes both Arri and Panavision can offer 2 perf options .


Thanks John.

I've actually been looking around for an old MOS 2 perf camera, like an Arri or Cameflex to rent or borrow for a non-sync project next year.

Not much around, I know the Brighton Film school has a 2-perf Cameflex, but i'm not sure if they dry-hire it.
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#15 John Holland

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 12:42 PM

Andy knowing them if wasnt being used they would do a deal , they do like money , can but try .
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#16 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:14 PM

2 perf has come a long way since the days of technicsope. If you're shooting 2.35:1 with a DI and you're on a tight budget 2 perf is a great option, just as good as 3 perf in many ways. Steve McQueens "Hunger" is a recent example of a 2 perf project.


anyone know the budget on Hunger? the workflow? i know Dragon DI wales did the DI and Sean Bobbitt shot it (also shot winterbottom's Wonderland on super16mm in 1999)

2-pref seems to the new old kid on the block.. it had its glory days with leone, argenta, lucas et al, but Hunger testifies to its potential today..

I'm getting mildly excited by possibility of shooting 35mm on our budget but these days super16mm is pretty good too..

Will investigate it further, if possible love to try..
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#17 John Holland

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:37 PM

Apart from the cost element . Are you and your DP sure you can stage plot etc your actors using a 2.40 format ? Whats the end plan for this Cinema ? TV ? If its just going to be seen on the box shoot S16 . If you go the 2perf way please just for me who you dont know just watch every Leone movie before you start , he really is the only Director who used this system the way it should be .Good luck .
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#18 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 02:30 PM

Apart from the cost element . Are you and your DP sure you can stage plot etc your actors using a 2.40 format ? Whats the end plan for this Cinema ? TV ? If its just going to be seen on the box shoot S16 . If you go the 2perf way please just for me who you dont know just watch every Leone movie before you start , he really is the only Director who used this system the way it should be .Good luck .

Ive watched all of leone's films many times before John. And i agree staging the scenes in this format is challenging and i have to consider if it works for this film, the locations etc,, let alone the budget..
But I wouldn't agree that leone is the only director to use this format the way it should be.
His way worked wonderfully for his films, but there are other directors and other films that worked in their way.
Take just these 6 very different directors and films for eg.(not 2-pref but 2:35:1)
Dario Argenta "Suspiria"
Cristian Mungiu "4 months. 3weeks, 2 days"
David Fincher "Seven"
Carlos Reygadas "Silent Light"
Sam Peckinpah "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid"
Robert Altman "The Long Goodbye"

But no doubt shooting 2:35:1 needs to be right for the film.

I know 2-pref best suits this format but I it is meant to be possible to go 1:85:1

However i think in doing so you may negate the benefits of 2-pref 35mm over super16mm.

Therefore shoot 2-pref if want 2:35:1, otherwise stick with super16mm? (on budget)

Am i correct in this assumption?
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#19 Ger Leonard

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 05:02 PM

Spoken to my producer who says a full 35mm camera package will cost around 10k a week and that our camera budget is 25k... for a 6 weeks shoot.

Ok 2-pref uses have the stock of 4-pref but 35mm is 3 to 4 times more expensive than S16

My producers are doing some homework and the mathematics but anyone here know how much a 2-pref camera package would cost ?

Again i'm a director so excuse my lack of tech knowledge..

I reckon we can boast the camera budget to 50k (i would say that), but for between 25k to 50k, is shooting 2-pref possible ?
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#20 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 05:35 PM

Ger,
I did a small amount of steadicam work on Hunger and as far as i remember the budget was ballpark 1 - 1.5m, although please don't take that as gospel.

The best 2 perf movements are currently being made by Arri. The deal you get from your local Arri agent will vary depending on who the DP is and what kit you are asking for. Yes you could easily spend 10K a week on a 35mm package but you can also spend less (or a lot more).
Personally id rather shoot 35mm with a limited selection of lenses and toys then shoot S16mm for a theatrical release, it all depends on various factors. Best advice would be to get your preferred DP on board asap, and hold fire on making the format decision until after both you and he/her and your producers can talk to a rental company together about what it is you have to spend and how much you have to spend on it.
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