Jump to content


Photo

cost of shooting on film on ultra low budget


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 giap vu

giap vu
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:39 PM

Hi everyone,
I have a feature in development with a budget from $75,000 to 90,000 and was wondering if on this budget one could shoot on 16mm or 35mm: raw stock, processing, and telecine? Thx in advance!

-Giap Vu
  • 0

#2 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 17 July 2009 - 01:02 PM

Depends on what you can negotiate with kodak/fuji/lab/post house. It'll all depend on that. You may be able to get processing down to .13/ft sometimes, or maybe since it's a longer project work it out with the telecine house to get dailies done and then later on a day in the suite for a scene to scene.
  • 0

#3 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11944 posts
  • Other

Posted 17 July 2009 - 03:01 PM

My feeling at that level is that if you choose to shoot film, you'll be robbing one department to pay another - your entire budget will go through the camera, leaving nothing for anyone else.

This is alarmingly common at all but the highest levels and produces a film that's effectively very high resolution, very high dynamic range dullness.

P
  • 0

#4 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:57 PM

This is alarmingly common at all but the highest levels and produces a film that's effectively very high resolution, very high dynamic range dullness.

P

Whaddya mean: "All but the highest levels"?!
Define "Highest Levels" :lol:
  • 0

#5 giap vu

giap vu
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:50 PM

My feeling at that level is that if you choose to shoot film, you'll be robbing one department to pay another - your entire budget will go through the camera, leaving nothing for anyone else.

This is alarmingly common at all but the highest levels and produces a film that's effectively very high resolution, very high dynamic range dullness.

P


I think I understand what you mean. The productions I've worked on with budgets from 150,000 (HD) or less, because of the budget, seem to suffer from robbing all key departments from unavailable investment. I see it now in the final product and it's depressing. So, I guess I'll - we'll have to go with the RED, which can get for free.
  • 0

#6 Bruce Taylor

Bruce Taylor
  • Sustaining Members
  • 482 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 18 July 2009 - 07:15 PM

I like film. If you want to shoot on film, I think it would be worth really checking it out. Go get the quotes from the labs and camera rental houses. You might be shocked at the deals that can be had that might make film possible. 35mm 2 and 3 perf change the game somewhat as well. 35mm recans and short ends are still plentiful and cust costs dramatically.

Just a thought.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com
  • 0

#7 giap vu

giap vu
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 July 2009 - 02:24 PM

I like film. If you want to shoot on film, I think it would be worth really checking it out. Go get the quotes from the labs and camera rental houses. You might be shocked at the deals that can be had that might make film possible. 35mm 2 and 3 perf change the game somewhat as well. 35mm recans and short ends are still plentiful and cust costs dramatically.

Just a thought.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com


thx for the info. i haven't given up yet so i'll do a little more investigating to try and make the 16 or 35 happen.
  • 0

#8 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 19 July 2009 - 03:33 PM

thx for the info. i haven't given up yet so i'll do a little more investigating to try and make the 16 or 35 happen.

Really you should look at the requirements of the feature itself first. A story driven film might be just fine with video based acquistion but a different movie might benefit from the look of film. A straightforward film without visual effects could be shot on film with an old school optical finish but a effects driven film might be much more economical shot on a RED where you're going to be going to a digital post regardless.

Professional film budgets have hundreds of line items, most of which are interdependent in one way or another. If I had a feature in mind that required a killer mature actress, was a straight forward story, and could get Meryl Streep to do the role (I can dream, can't I?) and work for scale on my $90,000 budget, I'd shoot the film on miniDV if that's the only way I could make the numbers work.
  • 0

#9 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 19 July 2009 - 04:49 PM

Really you should look at the requirements of the feature itself first. A story driven film might be just fine with video based acquistion but a different movie might benefit from the look of film. A straightforward film without visual effects could be shot on film with an old school optical finish but a effects driven film might be much more economical shot on a RED where you're going to be going to a digital post regardless.

Professional film budgets have hundreds of line items, most of which are interdependent in one way or another. If I had a feature in mind that required a killer mature actress, was a straight forward story, and could get Meryl Streep to do the role (I can dream, can't I?) and work for scale on my $90,000 budget, I'd shoot the film on miniDV if that's the only way I could make the numbers work.


Thumbs up that man!

YES!!

It really depends what the film is. I mean if the film is set in the present day and is basically a bunch of people talking with a lot of daylight exteriors then film could really be something that would add a lot of production value to the film! OTOH if it means not getting an important actor or actress to make it happen you might want to think twice.

On the other hand if your movie is some weird sci-fi thing then you don't want to be fighting the other things you need to shoot on film. It really depends on what you are up to and where the money needs to go.

love

Freya
  • 0

#10 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 19 July 2009 - 05:33 PM

My feeling at that level is that if you choose to shoot film, you'll be robbing one department to pay another

I agree completely with Phil.

(I just had to take the opportunity to say that - it doesn't happen very often ;) )
  • 0

#11 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 19 July 2009 - 06:41 PM

I agree completely with Phil.

(I just had to take the opportunity to say that - it doesn't happen very often ;) )


:)

I tend to agree with Phil very often but then we both live in the UK and the people who live elsewhere are often right too but they live somewhere completely different! :)

love

Freya
  • 0

#12 giap vu

giap vu
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:35 PM

Thumbs up that man!

YES!!

It really depends what the film is. I mean if the film is set in the present day and is basically a bunch of people talking with a lot of daylight exteriors then film could really be something that would add a lot of production value to the film! OTOH if it means not getting an important actor or actress to make it happen you might want to think twice.

On the other hand if your movie is some weird sci-fi thing then you don't want to be fighting the other things you need to shoot on film. It really depends on what you are up to and where the money needs to go.

love

Freya


hi,
I guess; contemporary, urban and gritty with a North by Northwest premise would best describe the setting, look, feel of this LA story. The actors are going to be unknowns (not for long hopefully). Also, ext. are going to play a major part but not exclusively. Thanks again for everyones help.
  • 0

#13 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:36 AM

hi,
I guess; contemporary, urban and gritty with a North by Northwest premise would best describe the setting, look, feel of this LA story. The actors are going to be unknowns (not for long hopefully). Also, ext. are going to play a major part but not exclusively. Thanks again for everyones help.


Ah!! I should have paid more attention. You are in L.A. which I guess could make daylight exteriors expensive! I don't know enough about that but I get the impression it is the exact opposite of New York and that it is an expensive hastle to shoot anywhere in L.A. Maybe I am wrong. One of the major advantages of being here in the UK is you can sort of just shoot anywhere as long as it isn't somewhere they can pretend you are a terrorist (yes I know, a bit far fetched but people like to do that kind of thing, it makes their lives more exciting and exercises their imaginations). Theres no film industry here, so you are either having fun with a camera, work for ITV/BBC etc or are a terrorist. If they think you work for the BBC you are allowed to do what you like even more! :)

If you can really get hold of a decent red setup for free however I think that could be an argument against shooting it on film. Having said that, watch out for the hidden costs of shooting on red, you need to work out your workflow and stuff. How much is post going to cost?

OTOH L.A. potentially means super cheap short ends and re-cans, not to mention the possibility of making deals on cheap processing and the cheap telecine over there.

One possibility might be to shoot all your exteriors on film and all your interiors on Red. They used to do that here in the old days (for TV ) when video cameras were too big to move out the studio. I've never heard of anyone shooting that specific combination either so it could even end up as a marketing angle for your film. You might have to be careful about it however. I've never seen it done except with older TV programs and you would need to avoid jarring jumps from one look to the other.

One thing I would recommend however, is that if you really have free access to the red, then shoot some tests on it first. What I would suggest is that you write a tiny little short. Something set in the same world as your film maybe. Be sure to make sure it only requires stuff you have free access to such as your apartment maybe, or your garden or whatever. Get hold of a few of the actors who will appear in your film, if they are people you are pals with, and just shoot a little thing for free with whatever kind of practicals you have and lighting you own. See how that works out. This isn't a waste of time because apart from the value of having tried out the camera and worked out the workflow, you should have something you could throw as a freebie onto the dvd. Doesn't have to be great, it's a test and an added extra.

Lastly, and this is a big one. No major actors? How are you going to market this film? It's a really important thing to consider. Is this for fun and art or is this something you want to try and sell or something? If it's more of a creative type thing, then I have to question perhaps both film or RED! It's an awful lot of money to spend on a creative project that may not have much commercial value. I know thats a hard thing to say but it's something to face up to. If you have a marketing angle that can work in spite of the no-name actors then that could work but its something you need to consider. There is a glut of stuff out there.

You need to make a spreadsheet up and swap out the numbers and see how they affect the bottom line. Would this film be cheaper to make if it was shot on neither RED or Film but maybe an ex1 or something? Will shooting daylight ext on re-cans/short ends make a big difference to the bottom line. Are the daylight ext complicated shots.

Honestly, if shooting on Red or even that cheap DV camera you own will free up money to allow you to hire some name actor/actress, then you should definitely consider it. You might even be able to get more than one such person just for a day here or a day there.

Theres a lot of questions because it is all so script dependant, probably a lot of what I'm saying may or may not be relevant. I'm just throwing things out there for you to think about

love

Freya
  • 0

#14 giap vu

giap vu
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 42 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 20 July 2009 - 04:19 PM

Ah!! I should have paid more attention. You are in L.A. which I guess could make daylight exteriors expensive! I don't know enough about that but I get the impression it is the exact opposite of New York and that it is an expensive hastle to shoot anywhere in L.A. Maybe I am wrong. One of the major advantages of being here in the UK is you can sort of just shoot anywhere as long as it isn't somewhere they can pretend you are a terrorist (yes I know, a bit far fetched but people like to do that kind of thing, it makes their lives more exciting and exercises their imaginations). Theres no film industry here, so you are either having fun with a camera, work for ITV/BBC etc or are a terrorist. If they think you work for the BBC you are allowed to do what you like even more! :)

If you can really get hold of a decent red setup for free however I think that could be an argument against shooting it on film. Having said that, watch out for the hidden costs of shooting on red, you need to work out your workflow and stuff. How much is post going to cost?

OTOH L.A. potentially means super cheap short ends and re-cans, not to mention the possibility of making deals on cheap processing and the cheap telecine over there.

One possibility might be to shoot all your exteriors on film and all your interiors on Red. They used to do that here in the old days (for TV ) when video cameras were too big to move out the studio. I've never heard of anyone shooting that specific combination either so it could even end up as a marketing angle for your film. You might have to be careful about it however. I've never seen it done except with older TV programs and you would need to avoid jarring jumps from one look to the other.

One thing I would recommend however, is that if you really have free access to the red, then shoot some tests on it first. What I would suggest is that you write a tiny little short. Something set in the same world as your film maybe. Be sure to make sure it only requires stuff you have free access to such as your apartment maybe, or your garden or whatever. Get hold of a few of the actors who will appear in your film, if they are people you are pals with, and just shoot a little thing for free with whatever kind of practicals you have and lighting you own. See how that works out. This isn't a waste of time because apart from the value of having tried out the camera and worked out the workflow, you should have something you could throw as a freebie onto the dvd. Doesn't have to be great, it's a test and an added extra.

Lastly, and this is a big one. No major actors? How are you going to market this film? It's a really important thing to consider. Is this for fun and art or is this something you want to try and sell or something? If it's more of a creative type thing, then I have to question perhaps both film or RED! It's an awful lot of money to spend on a creative project that may not have much commercial value. I know thats a hard thing to say but it's something to face up to. If you have a marketing angle that can work in spite of the no-name actors then that could work but its something you need to consider. There is a glut of stuff out there.

You need to make a spreadsheet up and swap out the numbers and see how they affect the bottom line. Would this film be cheaper to make if it was shot on neither RED or Film but maybe an ex1 or something? Will shooting daylight ext on re-cans/short ends make a big difference to the bottom line. Are the daylight ext complicated shots.

Honestly, if shooting on Red or even that cheap DV camera you own will free up money to allow you to hire some name actor/actress, then you should definitely consider it. You might even be able to get more than one such person just for a day here or a day there.

Theres a lot of questions because it is all so script dependant, probably a lot of what I'm saying may or may not be relevant. I'm just throwing things out there for you to think about

love

Freya


hi, thx again for this well thought out advice. the spread sheet sounds like the perfect tool to get more organized which interestingly enough I didn't think of. I have the prob of depending on my memory to keep me posted and on schedule which makes everything less efficient. Also, the RED int. film ext. sounds interesting also. Any opinions on this?

i've witnessed shooting on short ends a nightmare at times because of time consumption.

now, in order to get a fairly well-known actor - i use the term actor to be gender neutral - you're paying at least 5,000 a day - so most likely the budget has to go up, but i figure this can be considered later as we would only need the headliner for a day or two - for marketing purposes.

actually, in my experience, shooting in LA - especially in this economy - isn't so bad. permits seem to be less of a hassle and gorilla'n'it happens with much impunity.
  • 0

#15 michelle arakelian

michelle arakelian
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Other
  • Italy

Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:19 AM

Hi,
i don't know about the negative and processing costs in US but our lab in Italy has a agreement with Kodak to give good prices
for negative, processing and telecine to encourage filmmakers to shoot in film and not degital, our price for negative Kodak 5260 + processing and telecine
is 1,45€ per meter (for shooting 1 hour you need 1700 meter of negative), in Italy this is a very good price, i'm not sure
about L.A.
you can check our lab: www.movieandsound.it
regards
Michelle





Hi everyone,
I have a feature in development with a budget from $75,000 to 90,000 and was wondering if on this budget one could shoot on 16mm or 35mm: raw stock, processing, and telecine? Thx in advance!

-Giap Vu


  • 0

#16 Alex Lindblom

Alex Lindblom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 107 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 August 2009 - 09:30 AM

Hi Michelle do you have any similar deals on 16mm, and if so, what's the price?

Also do you offer any HD telecine (scans) or are you strictlly an SD house?
  • 0

#17 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

Jason Hinkle (RIP)
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 240 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Chicago, IL

Posted 28 August 2009 - 12:45 AM

Just another suggestion you could shoot on the Red and then do a film transfer of the edited movie at the very end.
  • 0


The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

CineLab

Opal

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

CineTape

Opal

Aerial Filmworks