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#1 Ryan Rigley

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 06:32 PM

I am a film student that was selected to be the D.P. for our semester long film project. the film must be 5-7min long, and has to be shot in either 16 or super-16mm film. We can either rent our camera or use the school cameras(old eclair's). I have worked with video a lot, and I have worked on a couple of sets that used film cams as P.A's / Boom Op's... if anyone has any hints or tips for me before i start this project (I.E. good cheap rental cams, good lighting rigs...) please let me know.
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#2 Toby L Edwards

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 06:58 PM

Is this your first time shooting Film?
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#3 Ryan Rigley

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 07:18 PM

yes it is, im a film virgin


Is this your first time shooting Film?


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#4 John Carreon

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 07:24 PM

Art Direction is HUGE!!!

Don't make the mistake of having two guys sit at a table in a white room with one hanging picture and a random fern poking up in the background. It's hard to make that visually appealing. There's gotta be locations around the school or classmates houses that are more visually romantic and free to use.

A shiny new ARRI 416 camera would be fun to play with but I think any extra money floating around would be best spent on lights if you need them. Shooting with only 2 rickety old 1k's from the school's equipment room can be frustrating.

Also, after lighting...before shooting, if you have a decent SLR camera take a few shots and check out the image...it won't be exactly what you're gonna see on film but the ratios are...and that single image can be easier to focus on then a crazy set with people running around.

Good luck and have fun...it can be hard to shoot with film when you get out of school.

John
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#5 Mike Lary

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 09:11 PM

If the Eclair's are in good condition, you might as well use them and pump that rental money into other areas like light rental, art direction, and hiring local actors.

To avoid being overwhelmed on set, do as much preproduction as you can. Do lighting tests, make sure your camera is working properly (do scratch tests on the mags), and take time to get used to the light meter you'll be using.

Be involved in choosing locations. Convince the Art Director and Director that finding interesting locations will save time and money and lend production value to the project.

When looking for locations, avoid white walls and low ceilings, both of which can make lighting difficult. Avoid huge windows unless you want your key light to be daylight.

Keep your setups simple. Things will go wrong no matter how prepared you are.
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#6 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 03:10 AM

I learned a lot by getting a used 35mm still camera on ebay and shooting a ton of film. It's cheap and with 1 hour processing you can do a lot of experiments & get almost instant feedback. It's the same basic skills that you'll need for movie film - using a light meter to get your exposure right, using filters to color balance, etc. You can try different film speeds to see how different ISO affects the grain of your shots.

If you can, I'd also try to get some of those school cameras and shoot a few rolls of test footage.

Good luck - it sounds like fun!
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#7 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 04:44 AM

Make sure you understand, how light meter works and what exactly it shows.
I'm not kidding.
A lot of first-time film projects in uni where way underexposed because DPs couldn't figure out what exactly does this thing with white hemisphere shows.
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#8 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 05:27 AM

what is the story about?
some strorys needs for a full truck loeded some others needs nothing.
go for something simple but well done.
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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:17 AM

What fun!

A big part of what you'll be developing is inter-personal skills and working smoothly in a group. You'll have to find your own style. Be confident but not cocky. Complement other's work without being a kiss ass.

I'm sure you'll have a full team with different members responsible for different aspects like art direction, costumes, casting... work closely but not forcefully with everyone; give each person a chance to do their thing but make sure their working together and on the same page. The director or a producer in the project will probably know to do that but be aware of everything going on. Maybe sit in on meetings you might not normally be part of just so you know what's coming.

On the technical side, I would 2nd what's already been said; spend more money on lighting and more time on art direction (not always more money). Remember that what really puts the light on the film is the lens. There are plenty of good cameras out there, but unlike most video productions, you have to carefully choose a lens that's right for the scene.

Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress!
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#10 Ryan Rigley

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 05:28 PM

Ok,
the story is not official yet, but tentitively it is this:

it is a beautiful sunny summer day in a safe bright 1950's neighborhood. A young milkman is happily strolling his morning delivery route when he catches a glimpse of his rival milkman on his route from accross the street, they meet eyes and the war begins. Events ensue where the milkmen battle it out to get the majority of houses on the street their milk. later they have to team up to fight the home refrigeter unit and the plastic store bought gallons of milk they are keeping chilled.

as i said before, the story is not a final draft, but it gives me enough of an idea about what i will be shooting, a lot of outdoor sunny pristine environments. I have also learned that i know have a choice as to which camera i will be shooting on; i can either: rent a camera package from a rental house, or get my choise of either a CP-16 camera, an ecair ACL, or an eclair NPR from my school. All the cameras are in good shape, but the CP-16s look the newest.

Any ideas on which camera I should pick?


Also, since the shoot will be outside, i will have to choose a film with a lower ISO rating right? everyone in my group is pushing to buy the Kodak Vision 3 film, but i am saying that with the amount of light that will be cast (i will be filming in L.A. so there is no overcast to soften the sun) we will not be able to unleash the quality of V3, so we might as well go for a cheaper stock and save some cash. is this a valid point, or am i just full of sh@$?

What fun!

A big part of what you'll be developing is inter-personal skills and working smoothly in a group. You'll have to find your own style. Be confident but not cocky. Complement other's work without being a kiss ass.

I'm sure you'll have a full team with different members responsible for different aspects like art direction, costumes, casting... work closely but not forcefully with everyone; give each person a chance to do their thing but make sure their working together and on the same page. The director or a producer in the project will probably know to do that but be aware of everything going on. Maybe sit in on meetings you might not normally be part of just so you know what's coming.

On the technical side, I would 2nd what's already been said; spend more money on lighting and more time on art direction (not always more money). Remember that what really puts the light on the film is the lens. There are plenty of good cameras out there, but unlike most video productions, you have to carefully choose a lens that's right for the scene.

Good luck, and keep us updated on your progress!


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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:29 PM

Vision3 is presently only available in 500T AFAIK.

If you are shooting outdoors then it will be quite a fast film and you may have to use neutral density filters to knock things down.

500T will also be more grainy than slower film even in vision3.

If you do choose to shoot on tungsten film you will need to use a filter in daylight of course.

I'd be inclined to use a slower film. If its all outdoors you could well get away with shooting on 50d, which is a very slow daylight balanced film that will be very fine grained. Theres also 250d for when you are losing the light in the evening, also daylight balanced but faster.

If you are shooting indoors then its obviously another matter!

love

Freya
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#12 David Rakoczy

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:53 PM

Rush Order the book FILM LIGHTING by Malkiewicz.
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

Best go for the slower film stocks, aviod the 500T unless you need the speed.

Regarding the cameras, it depends if you're shooting sync sound, but the ACL and NPRs were regarded as production cameras and the CP 16R as a news camera. However, all things being equal with older cameras I'd tend to go for the quietest if shooting sound and the only way you can really test this is by running some unused old stock through the cameras.
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#14 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 01:45 AM

Vision3 is not the best choice for outdoor - especially if it is really sunny. Even with ND filters it can be too much light in the sun. The results will look very grainy. Also Vision3 is Tungsten balanced film so in sunlight you should have orange color balance filters on your lenses.

If you can, go to the location with a light meter, get a reading and see what speed film you would need in order to have your f-stop around 11 (or whatever stop you prefer for your lenses). This is kinda decent average setting so that will tell you roughly what speed film will give you the most flexibility. If you set your meter to 500 speed film and take a reading in the bright sun, it will likely be off the charts! You can show this info to your partners who want Vision3 film and explain to them that 500 is not the best speed for bright sun.

Edited by Jason Hinkle, 07 February 2009 - 01:50 AM.

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#15 Will Montgomery

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 11:50 AM

They are probably saying "use Vision 3" because they think it's the latest thing and therefore must be the best. They don't understand the ASA issue.

Seems like there are two ways to go with this. On one end would be something that makes it look "older" perhaps even like a reversal film. But from what you are describing I think you need to go for almost over saturated, brilliant colors; making it seem like the idealized version of 50's americana transforming into the confrontation. So I'd suggest testing both Kodak Vision2 50D and Fuji Vivid 160T (with a 80b filter). The Fuij may give you those almost "unnatural" colors that could look very interesting.

Another perhaps too obvious thing to try would be to start with a b&w reversal and purposefully scratch it up to start... showing the happy milkman doing his route, then switch to vivid color when he spies the other milkman. Almost go to a Tarentino/Kill Bill/Hong Kong zoom thing at that point. But it might be just fine staying with Vision2 50D through the whole thing and rely less on stock gimmicks and more on pacing and editing.

Are you finishing in film or transferring to video?
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#16 Serge Teulon

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:19 PM

Hey Ryan,

As well as the book that David recommended, I would also add "The Negative" by Ansel Adams.

If you've shot with digital then the primary functions are exactly the same.

When you first shoot with film you might feel vulnerable because you are not really sure of what is going to come out.
Because of that, you might have a tendency to walk around taking readings of anything that is lit and not lit.
I would definitely advise you to not be a slave to your meter.
Light your scene first and then get your readings.

From the numbers you will start to get a visual idea in your mind of how things are balanced.

As already mentioned, take a digital camera, set it to 1/50 shutter and snap some photos.
You can use that as a safe and relatively near reference to how things will turn out.

Good Luck!

Edited by Serge Teulon, 09 February 2009 - 02:21 PM.

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#17 Rob Vogt

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:51 PM

They are probably saying "use Vision 3" because they think it's the latest thing and therefore must be the best. They don't understand the ASA issue.

Seems like there are two ways to go with this. On one end would be something that makes it look "older" perhaps even like a reversal film. But from what you are describing I think you need to go for almost over saturated, brilliant colors; making it seem like the idealized version of 50's americana transforming into the confrontation. So I'd suggest testing both Kodak Vision2 50D and Fuji Vivid 160T (with a 80b filter). The Fuij may give you those almost "unnatural" colors that could look very interesting.

Another perhaps too obvious thing to try would be to start with a b&w reversal and purposefully scratch it up to start... showing the happy milkman doing his route, then switch to vivid color when he spies the other milkman. Almost go to a Tarentino/Kill Bill/Hong Kong zoom thing at that point. But it might be just fine staying with Vision2 50D through the whole thing and rely less on stock gimmicks and more on pacing and editing.

Are you finishing in film or transferring to video?

80b is a blue filter if you are recommending this with tungsten balanced film for daylight it will turn out 2x blue, you want an 85 filter. Also the 80b cuts 2 stops of light. The 85 filter only cuts 2/3 of a stop. I'm surprised no one's recommended 200T w/ an 85 filter, that will give you a nicer look than 250D because the 85 filter will also block out the UV rays and make your colors more vibrant and an ASA of 130.
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:55 PM

Order now FILM LIGHTING by Malkiewicz.
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#19 Will Montgomery

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:16 AM

80b is a blue filter if you are recommending this with tungsten balanced film for daylight it will turn out 2x blue, you want an 85 filter. Also the 80b cuts 2 stops of light. The 85 filter only cuts 2/3 of a stop. I'm surprised no one's recommended 200T w/ an 85 filter, that will give you a nicer look than 250D because the 85 filter will also block out the UV rays and make your colors more vibrant and an ASA of 130.

That was a test. :rolleyes:
Sorry, thinking about another shoot while typing. Of course 85 filter.
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#20 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:40 AM

Regarding camera choice I'd run some film through each one, shoot test charts and check the noise levels and registration. With any older machinery the outward appearance is not always a good indication of what's going on inside. The most beat up looking one may work the best. Test. If you're shooting outside noise shouldn't be an issue with any of these cameras unless there is something wrong.

I don't think the stock choice should be too complicated. Chose a film that's going to be appropriate for shooting exteriors in LA. The slow daylight stocks or a slow tungsten stock corrected for daylight would probably be best. But again, why not get a small amount of each stock you're considering and shoot some tests at your location? Then you'll get all the information you need. If you have enough money on this project to go out and rent cameras you certainly have enough for a few 100' rolls of film to test with.

One other thing that should be obvious: as long as you get the exposure pretty close and can frame well, the quality of the story and acting are going to be what make the film watchable, not whether you are using Vision 2 or 3. I've been shooting Vision 1 stocks lately because they were so cheap (short ends), and the footage looked great.

Good luck and remember to have fun,

Bruce Taylor
www.Indi35.com
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