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b&w full length feature


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#1 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:52 PM

I'm in the beginning stages of preparing a full length film. I have shot b&w still photography for most of
my life, so I'm familiar with lighting, exposure, etc. At this time I'm trying to make sense of all the
equipment posiblities.

-The film will be b&w.
-Expenses will be out of my own pocket (at least for the forseeable future), so I am looking for the most
bang for the buck.
-I'm located in Gainesville, FL, so there aren't many opportunities to rent equipment.
-Time is no concern, money is...

At first it seemed that shooting on MiniDV, and when complete looking for financial backing to transfer to
35mm would be the way to go... but now I'm not so sure.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

bob k.
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#2 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 03:31 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb here...

Don't shoot it on MiniDV if you expect to put it on 35mm film. Is the filmout for theatrical presentation? If you're going to put MiniDV on a 40' screen it's not going to look very good, especially in b&w.

I have my own prejudices, I know, but I think the most effective (and also often the cheapest!) way to get a final image on 35mm film is to start with 35mm film. Then you can distribute in any format; from projected 35mm print on down, and you always have an image that's up to the task.

Keep costs down by shooting color negative short ends, .05 to .10 a foot. Buy a cheap 35mm camera (you can pick up a crystal sync Russian Konvas outfit for 1 to 2k). Print to b&w stock for your print, take the color out in telecine for the digital version.

I have a customer that rented a motor for his Konvas to shoot his feature. He had shot digital before and couldn't get any interest from distributors (DVD, not theatrical) because it was not originated on 35mm. So he had a turret type Russian Konvas and shot the next feature on it using short ends.

Give the 35mm route a think, it might make sense in the end.

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#3 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 04:12 PM

Keep costs down by shooting color negative short ends, .05 to .10 a foot. Buy a cheap 35mm camera (you can pick up a crystal sync Russian Konvas outfit for 1 to 2k). Print to b&w stock for your print, take the color out in telecine for the digital version.


Bruce, could you explain this a little more? I understand about the camera, but I'm not sure what you mean about shooting color and print to b&w stock.

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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 04:17 PM

I'm in the beginning stages of preparing a full length film. I have shot b&w still photography for most of
my life, so I'm familiar with lighting, exposure, etc. At this time I'm trying to make sense of all the
equipment posiblities.

-The film will be b&w.
-Expenses will be out of my own pocket (at least for the forseeable future), so I am looking for the most
bang for the buck.
-I'm located in Gainesville, FL, so there aren't many opportunities to rent equipment.
-Time is no concern, money is...

At first it seemed that shooting on MiniDV, and when complete looking for financial backing to transfer to
35mm would be the way to go... but now I'm not so sure.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

bob k.


You are going to go from shooting stills to shooting an entire feature film? Not a good idea at all. Without even a short film under your belt you don't have the producing background required to complete such a large under taking. And believe me a feature film is a HUGE under taking.

What do you know about blocking, scene coverage, and editing?

I would strongly suggest that you shoot 2-3 short films first, and complete them in the manner that you plan to complete your feature film. This process will at least give you some grounding in the skill set you will need to make a feature film.

As for shooting format, 35mm is still the king that is true. Trying to shoot dialogue scenes with short ends is a suicide mission, you need to use 1000' re-cans, that will give you an 11 minute load. Even using re-cans and a beg, borrow, and steal approach, you won't complete a 35mm feature for under $100, 000.00.

The Konvas is a great cheap 35mm camera I have owned several. The number one problem with using it for feature work is the noise, it is not a blimped camera and no matter how you try to wrap it you will not kill the noise. Also the maximum load size for a Konvas is 400', still too short for dialogue scenes.

Also, the Konvas is not pin registered, an unsteady gate will quickly get your film tagged as "low budget" and that won't be good.

A better option is an old BL3 that can be rented cheap, takes a 1000' load, runs quiet, and is pin registered.

R,
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#5 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 04:47 PM

BL3?
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:00 PM

BL3?


Like I said, shoot some short films, you've got a pretty huge learning curve to over come ;)

And there is no way any one could type enough info on this forum to get you over that hump.

R,
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#7 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:25 PM

I realize I have a lot to learn. I'm in no rush. And doing shorts is part of the strategy to understanding
editing, lighting, sound, etc. I have lots of shooting/testing to do. I have several books on the movie making process to at least give me
an idea of the strategy required. Right now I'm trying to get a handle on the camera that will get me to my goal.

I'm askiing for ideas so I can begin this process.

Perhaps knowing what BL3 means would be a start :D
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#8 Ian Cooper

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 06:17 PM

...Perhaps knowing what BL3 means would be a start :D



Arriflex BL3

I'm sure a bit of googling will find more info than that link, but it at least includes a piccy of what people are talking about! ;)
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#9 Ian Cooper

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 06:21 PM

...I'm not sure what you mean about shooting color and print to b&w stock.




Shoot on colour neg film - as it's more readily available than B&W short ends. When it comes to finishing, rather than get a print made on colour stock, the print is made on B&W film - thereby giving a B&W final print ready for projection.
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#10 Ian Cooper

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 06:24 PM

One final thought, before splashing out on 35mm for your 'practice' shorts etc, consider 16mm as being a slightly cheaper option whilst essentially being the same in terms of lighting, control, equipment etc.
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 11:41 AM

Hello Robert,

I lean in favor of Richard's suggestion. Shoot some shorts, at least, in a really cheap format like DV. The learning curve of general production (a couple dozen categories of knowledge and experience) is way, way higher than the jump from DV to 35mm (one category).
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#12 Simon Wyss

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:09 PM

Bob, if you had the kindness to state something of a budget figure everybody else here will be able to tell you much more than what is possible and pleasing now. You can give a fantasy number like 26K (USD 26,000). Nobody will object. I personally suggest that you start your project in a cinema studying black-and-white pictures. Sit closer to the screen and imagine that it's the viewfinder image what you're seeing.
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#13 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 03:28 PM

I've been doing a lot of research (unbelievable how much info is out there), and I've decided to go with MiniDV. My eyes lit up when I saw how inexpensive some of the super-8 and 16mm cameras were, but the development and transfer to tape is too expensive for me. MiniDV seems a very reasonable compromise. And hey, if it's good enough for 28 Days Later...

This won't be a lavish production. My oldest step-daughter is in drama, so I have access to actors, makeup, etc. This is very 'indie', so I'll cut corners as much as possible. My biggest concern (for now!) was the camera.

As I said, I have a lot shooting to do to understand this new format, editing, sound... the list goes on.

I appreciate everyone's help.
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#14 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 03:40 PM

You''ll definitely need a MiniDV cam that has a mic input. I like my Canon XL2 since it has two XLR, phantom power, mic inputs, can roll 2-16bit audio tracks and takes the 14X manual lens. You can pick them up cheap since people are still moving over to HD. As with all video equipment, caveat emptor when shopping Ebay and the like.
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#15 Robert Kamarowski

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 05:26 PM

Paul,

That's one of the cameras I've been looking at. I take it you're happy with the output?
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#16 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:03 PM

Yea. It's been a good camera. It has standard definition (720X480) plus an in-between 16:9 ratio of 960X480. I haven't found out if that 960X480 image can play on a 720 and 1080, HD monitor. Maybe someone, here, can tell us how well it displays on HD TVs.
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