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What Does Everybody Else Think?


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#1 Chris D Walker

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 09:34 AM

A little more than a month ago I posted in the Standard Def forum asking whether shooting in DVC PRO 50 for an independent film in Cornwall was a good idea. Over the course of weeks I've read replies that liked the plan, while others have suggested shooting in an HD format or Super16.

For those who haven't read that particular post I, along with a dozen others, will be hoping to raise a 'budget' of £15,000-£20,000 so that we can shoot a feature-length film next year that will ultimately end on DVD. The film itself is not that ambitious so we think it can be done for that price.

I am now writing to ask who here would shoot DVC PRO 50, who would shoot HD, and who would shoot Super16? Our original reason for wanting to shoot DVC PRO 50 was that there was fair trade between cost and quality while looking near filmic (I have since learned that segments of BBC's 'Rome' were shot on the Panasonic SDX 900). HD doesn't have a clear distinction but we don't want to shoot on HDV or AVCHD (the Sony PMW-EX3 recording to disk via an HD-SDI was an interesting prospect, however). Shooting Super16 would be great but it has been said that the cost of lab and telecine may be too much if we want money for other things such as actors, lighting equipment etc. Are they any other possibilities that I may be forgetting?

Lastly, to those in the UK, does anyone know of rental houses near or in Cornwall that offers any of what we need to make the film? I've done research into it but I'm weary that I may have missed something.

As always, thanks for all replies.
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#2 Thomas James

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 02:40 PM

I really do not know why anyone would not want to shoot in high definition. Perhaps it is because the United Kingdom has not yet universally accepted high definition technology. Even if that is the case the BBC certainly exports its movies in high definition to other countries where high definition is more accepted. Last night I was watching a "A Room with a View" produced by the
BBC and delivered in high definition for the American Markets. I also own "Pride and Prejudice" and "2001 a Space Odyssee" in high definition which is also a British movie.
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#3 Mike Nichols

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 10:22 PM

A little more than a month ago I posted in the Standard Def forum asking whether shooting in DVC PRO 50 for an independent film in Cornwall was a good idea. Over the course of weeks I've read replies that liked the plan, while others have suggested shooting in an HD format or Super16.

For those who haven't read that particular post I, along with a dozen others, will be hoping to raise a 'budget' of £15,000-£20,000 so that we can shoot a feature-length film next year that will ultimately end on DVD. The film itself is not that ambitious so we think it can be done for that price.

I am now writing to ask who here would shoot DVC PRO 50, who would shoot HD, and who would shoot Super16? Our original reason for wanting to shoot DVC PRO 50 was that there was fair trade between cost and quality while looking near filmic (I have since learned that segments of BBC's 'Rome' were shot on the Panasonic SDX 900). HD doesn't have a clear distinction but we don't want to shoot on HDV or AVCHD (the Sony PMW-EX3 recording to disk via an HD-SDI was an interesting prospect, however). Shooting Super16 would be great but it has been said that the cost of lab and telecine may be too much if we want money for other things such as actors, lighting equipment etc. Are they any other possibilities that I may be forgetting?

Lastly, to those in the UK, does anyone know of rental houses near or in Cornwall that offers any of what we need to make the film? I've done research into it but I'm weary that I may have missed something.

As always, thanks for all replies.


In the world of Standard Definition, DVC PRO 50 kicks butt. Was it 4:2:2 uncompressed SD or Digibeta? No, but it was darn close and gave you 4:2:2 colorspace for a fraction of the price in both decks, workflow and acquisition. EX3 out HD-SDI is nice, but tethered becomes impractical. It sounds nice in theory, but in application is a pain. Truth be told, the EX3 is a GREAT camera. Full raster 1080, interchangeable lens system and beautifully compact. The equation gets more interesting when you mount a Pro 35 adaptor on the ACM-21 EX - 2/3" adaptor. I wouldn't be surprised to see a slew of indie films see this as an option on HD features in the near future.
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#4 Phil Connolly

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:36 AM

Hi,

Personally I would shoot HD using something along the lines of an EX1/EX3 or a HPX500. These cameras have similar rental prices to DVCpro50 kit, but result in better images. I've just finished shooting a micro budget feature (10,000UKP) on the EX1 and the results were excellent generally better most of the SD stuff I've shot on Digi-Beta in the past. The internal 35mbs compression on the EX1/EX3 does look very good - leagues ahead of HDV. The HDX900 is worth checking out its a proper broadcast HD camera and it might be in your budget if you get a good deal.


As good as DVCpro50 kit is, I think its been overshadowed by the new generation of affordable HD stuff. Also DVCpro50 never took off in the UK in a huge way and not as many hire companies carry it - so you would have less choice in who you hire from.

I think on your budget super 16 may be too expensive, its doable but would not leave much money left for everything else. Production design, makeup, costume and lighting are just as important in the final quality of the image as shooting format. Personally I'd choose HD, and spend more money on lights, locations etc... I don't regret that decision on the EX1 feature I just wrapped, we kept the camera costs low and had good locations and the right lighting - super16 would have killed us. Also on a micro budget feature, the money gets spent very quickly on boring things like food and travel expenses - even with a modest size cast and crew.

I may be called a heathen but for some projects I prefer the look of HD. Super 16 can look far too grainy for my tastes, especially if your using faster stocks. And on low budget films you often need to use faster stocks because you can't afford enough lights to work with 50/100ASA film stock.

One approach you could try is rather then renting you could buy the camera and then sell it at the end of the production. In some cases its cheaper, doable with cameras like the Ex1/Ex3 their resale value is pretty good.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:46 PM

Definitively buy if you're going with an EX1/3. The cost of rental would be more than purchase for most films. The Avg cost for those 2 cams (10g+7G) is 8500, so that's, 34 days of renting if you rented just the camera.
Of course, personally I'd keep it, because, well, you can make money off of it if you wanted to.
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Aerial Filmworks

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The Slider

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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