Jump to content


Abused Educational Film Look


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 23 August 2008 - 07:58 AM

I'm in the planning stages for a feature film to be shot on S16 with a digital post.

For the opening scene I wish to emulate the look of an abused educational film (the scene involves a 7-year-old boy being hit by a car after he chases a ball into the street).

From what I have seen of the various filters which claim to simulate film damage, I've found that none of them really achieve the look to my satisfaction. So the plan is to have a print made of the footage from this portion of the shoot having the lab underexpose the print by one stop and then push it in the developing to get extra grain. Then I plan to abuse said print as follows:

  • Run it through projector normally
  • Rewind through projector
  • Give the head a good sharp tug
  • Run through projector with feed reel lying on table, stationary
  • In above "experiment," takeup film in cardboard box with head held to box side with masking tape
  • Attempt to run film from same cardboard box, takeup on split reel
  • Remove split reel flanges
  • (Weather permitting) take roll out into yard and play monkey in the middle with family and girlfriends
  • Find the head of the tangled mess of film strewn about the yard
  • Prop open front door and drag film inside, across the walkway, threshold, floor, carpet, and anything else in the way, to projector
  • Run film through projector in this manner
  • Rewind unevenly by hand
  • Give the head a good sharp tug
  • Return print to lab for transfer

Sound is non-critical as this section contains no dialog-proper, just sounds of children playing, tires squealing and a thud as the camera cuts away to the shocked reactions

So, do you think this method will work to get the look I'm going for (specifically the underexpose/push process part)

I don't want to do a skip bleach/silver retention because I've never really cared for the look of it, and besides, grainy as they were, educational films that I remember seeing had color (I'm just barely old enough to remember when they switched from 16mm to VHS at my school)

Please note that I will properly expose the negative and have the same transferred directly as this sequence plays later in the film as a recurring nightmare of the lead character
  • 0

#2 Patrick Neary

Patrick Neary
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 873 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Portland, OR

Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:24 AM

the only thing I might add is to buy expired filmstock off ebay from a seller with lots of negative feedback! :)

that sounds like too much fun- but you might want to check the condition of the film at various stages so you don't completely demolish it!
  • 0

#3 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:39 AM

I think if you do all that you will completely wreck it. It's staggeringly, terrifyingly easy to visibly damage a film print. Just by rewinding it a few times and cinching it on the reel you'll give it a pretty good distressing.

P
  • 0

#4 Ira Ratner

Ira Ratner
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 558 posts
  • Other
  • Coral Springs, Florida

Posted 23 August 2008 - 11:40 AM

Isn't it a washed out look you want for something like this?
  • 0

#5 Steve Wallace

Steve Wallace
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts
  • Other
  • Burbank, CA

Posted 23 August 2008 - 03:05 PM

I remember all the colors being shifted too. Like all the prints turned red/magenta. I am of the age where I saw 16mm in elementary school and by middle/high school it was VHS as well.

I bought up a bunch and showed them at a movie night I hosted. It was a blast.
  • 0

#6 Michael Belanger

Michael Belanger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 66 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Long Beach, CA

Posted 23 August 2008 - 03:59 PM

I'd think aging it nicely unspooled in a cardboard box, in sunlight for a couple of weeks, turning ever so often (use a pitch fork if you must) would be a good start. Then several runs in reverse through the project. I've also heard of people winding film with various objects in contact with the film for scratches.
  • 0

#7 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1582 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 23 August 2008 - 04:02 PM

You could ask the color timer to time the print magenta to simulate a fade, I would not go as far as the above list of destruction but film prints are allot tougher than Phil asserts a mere tight rewind will not achieve the look of a distressed print. monkey in the middle might be too far ;)

-Rob-
  • 0

#8 Chris Burke

Chris Burke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1675 posts
  • Boston, MA

Posted 23 August 2008 - 06:53 PM

I have a 400' core of 7248 double perf that has been in my fridge forever, that I would gladly sell to you for cheap, really cheap. Thing is I have good feedback on ebay. LOL.

But seriously, the film is yours if you want it. The can has never been opened. You could pull it, push it, retime it or do what ever. I think that really old film shot normal and pushed might give you the look you want. I would leave the distressing up to the randomness of old stock rather than the afore mentioned physical method. You may also want to shoot some very old color Super 8 reversal. Modern 16 and even super 8 for that matter look too good for what you want. You can often find 7240 or kodachrome on sale online.
  • 0

#9 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3510 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 23 August 2008 - 07:04 PM

I think you'd want to have scratches on the print but not damage the perfs. In which case the the easiest thing to do is find a really lousy vintage projector and run the workprint through it half a dozen times. Don't use a nice projector like a Kodak Pageant or you won't get any scratches no matter how many times you run it! I would also unspool it by hand, toss it on a concrete floor and then respool it to get some dust and abrasions on it. Used to happen all the time in the editing room back in film school... Maybe some tape splices too, though you should tell the transfer facility in advance if you're going to do that.

Don't overlook washed out blacks as part of the look. I find old 16mm films seem to suffer more from this than visible grain, probably because the stocks they were using back then were so slow to begin. So maybe underexpose but don't push, just print up.
  • 0

#10 Tom Hepburn

Tom Hepburn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Other
  • Chicago-land

Posted 23 August 2008 - 07:19 PM

You know if you have a good editor or animator work on it and they're experience, they should be able to get the look you want. A lot of "cheese" comes from post production plugins trying to get the film look along with damage. You already have that film look so all you need are various types of damage, color shift, and perhaps a frame jitter or two. Also, you can tweak a little more or a little less. When damaging the film, you have to live with whatever damage that is applied. That would be my choice.

Tom
  • 0

#11 Patrick Neary

Patrick Neary
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 873 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Portland, OR

Posted 23 August 2008 - 08:01 PM

I did a promo for TCM quite a while back and we needed a similar effect (but in B&W) so we shot on 7222 and the telecine op actually had a piece of ratty old (blank) film they ran through so we could overlay scratches and dirt. it was a good compromise because we really had thought about spooling out and dragging the camera neg behind the car on the way to transfer.

also don't forget the importance of emulating the shooting and lighting style of those old films, that's half the fun. :)
  • 0

#12 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 23 August 2008 - 08:29 PM

The inspiration for this project actually came from a film they showed us in assembly when I was in second grade (1992) and I remember thinking at the time that it was strange that it was being shown on 16mm as my school had a video projector. Thinking back the film in question was probably made circa 1985. It's probably sitting in the basement of the Wilmington Public Library.

I remember the fellow running the assembly stopped the film halfway through and continued with his lecture on safety when crossing the street and the use of seatbelts. He assured us that the little boy in the film spent the night in the hospital and was alright, bit it's struck me as suspicious, more recently, that he never showed us the rest of the film (it couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 minutes)
  • 0

#13 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 23 August 2008 - 08:39 PM

Shooting expired stock doesn't really work as the scene has to look normal later in the film when it appears as a recurring nightmare. I have a friend who's head librarian, maybe he could find me a couple films from the mid-to-late '80s so I can get a better sense of what I'm going for.
  • 0

#14 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 August 2008 - 10:02 PM

When you've had your print made, I would put a few tape splices in it. In many projectors they will jump a bit, and they are accurate to that type of film that has been damaged and repaired.
  • 0

#15 Herb Montes

Herb Montes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 225 posts
  • Other
  • Gulf Coast of Texas

Posted 27 August 2008 - 12:49 PM

Having worked for a university film library I can tell you educational films suffer from many splices, scratch marks down the center of the frame, and even torn sprocket holes we would repair with tape. I have even seen film torn lengthwise which meant applying a long strip of splicing tape to keep the film intact.
  • 0

#16 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2030 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 27 August 2008 - 05:03 PM

Herb's splice idea is a must. With scotch tape too. Maybe some random hole punches as well.

Here's a thought: Super 8 these days looks like the 16mm of yesteryear... perhaps 200T in Super 8 with a work print made (somewhere in Germany does this) then run through the same processes described above.
  • 0

#17 John Lasher

John Lasher
  • Guests

Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:38 PM

I don't presently own a tape splicer, but I could write it into the post budget to rent one. I'd like to wreck the print without wrecking my projector.

(Blinky came from a bad home, with a history of abuse (someone even violently amputated most of his carrying handle), but after a good cleaning, he's back to running in top shape. I promised him those days of abuse were in the past, and that while I may use him to abuse film (for this effect), I would never abuse him.)
  • 0


The Slider

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Opal

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Opal

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab