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RED or 16mm ?


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#1 Tom Law

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:33 AM

Hi guys,

In February i'm shooting a short thriller on a beach. Right now i'm trying to decide whether I should shoot on the Arriflex SR3 or the Red camera. I'm trying to weigh up the pros and cons of both mediums. One factor i'm taking into account is that there will be a child actress, which may require a lot more takes. Also I'm shooting in Feb on a beach, and the weather might be unpredictable.

But I do love film, and so I just don't know what will be more appreciated by the audience/film festivals. One more thing, does anyone know the cost difference of grading digital vs film?

Thanks!

Tom
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:36 AM

Which look does the story call for? Both the RED and Film have slightly different aesthetics, and you should try to pick the one which fits you best. That being said, I'd be a bit more inclined to the SR primarily because its more "battle tested" in less than ideal circumstances. As for cost differences, that all depends on many variables such as how much you shoot, what deals you can work out, how you decide to grade and what you need to eventually deliver one.
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#3 Tom Law

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:45 AM

Which look does the story call for? Both the RED and Film have slightly different aesthetics, and you should try to pick the one which fits you best. That being said, I'd be a bit more inclined to the SR primarily because its more "battle tested" in less than ideal circumstances. As for cost differences, that all depends on many variables such as how much you shoot, what deals you can work out, how you decide to grade and what you need to eventually deliver one.


Thats the problem really, the story could work on both mediums well. Film to me is a lot more romantic, it's the original cinema. But Red makes things a lot easier really, we can only afford 10 rolls of film, for a 10 minute film you see. I was hoping to get a couple of slow motion shots for the film.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:51 AM

In that case... then you should consider the RED, as you mention, there is the issue of the younger actor and the possibility to blow takes and hence cost you a lot more than you're expecting; though personally I'd probably try to do it on film still; that's not the safest bet.
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#5 Frank DiBugnara

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:58 AM

There are obviously a whole lot of factors here. Here's a few off the top of my head:

> If you are on a beach (I'm assuming day exterior) you can shoot a slow film stock which looks better on an HD transfer.

> How much resolution do you need? Are you ending up at 1080? If so you don't need 4K necessarily, although oversampling is always nice.

> Beaches during the day have lots of hot areas in the frame. Both sky and sand can blow out very quickly--a problem with Red at times. You asked about color correction---one thing that can kill you in post is dealing with a sky that renders white or sand that's completely clipped. You should be prepared for sky replacement.

> I can't say I absolutely love all the 16mm I have seen transferred to HD. A lot of it
looks great but you need a well-exposed negative and even then be ready for a little bit of sizzle that was not there during SD transfers.

> Since you are on a beach, you should be able to move the SR3 back enough to smash backgrounds if you are looking for shallow depth of field.

In terms of color correction, contrary to some belief, I think film can still take a much bigger beating in a low budget scenario and still look great--- it looks great out of the box.

Do you have the ability to pop off a few test shot in the shooting environment with the two formats ahead of time?
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:06 PM

You said you wanted some slo-mo. What kind of frame rate are you talking about?
Definitely talk to your post-production people and find out how and if they deal with Redcode.
10 rolls of film for a 10 minute film is about a 10:1 ratio which is not luxurious but possible if your director is good, the actors are good and well rehearsed and the film is well prepared.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 02:44 PM

Sometimes I'm reminded of the old saying "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" when it comes to film...
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#8 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:41 PM

It seems as if you already answered your own question as you don't have the budget for film. And when you say you only have enough for 10 rolls, does that include the processing and HD transfer as well?

If you can get over the 4k resolution, and I don't know anyone who needs it on a short, you may want to consider other options such as XDcam, etc. especially since you mentioned it wanting to be "easier." The RED workflow is anything but easy, not hard, rather more complex and variable.
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#9 Oliver Gläser

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:29 PM

Sometimes I'm reminded of the old saying "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" when it comes to film...



Although in fairness it is often where you put your money (production or post). Many people think shooting RED is cheaper, yet in a lot of the post workflow (filmouts) that I have seen, that isn't the case. Going a photochemical route to a 35mm blowup, for a short film may well be cheaper... especially if you know someone with film stock in there freezer (lots of people have 1000's of feet not being used), cameras are cheaper to rent and wont crash due to software issues! All this has to be taken into account i think. I don't know about down there, but in Vancouver, I can shoot, process and transfer to HD for a fraction of the cost of renting a red camera for one day. And I know its going to work!
It should be noted that I have a ton of Film in Freezers (no stock costs, and when I do have to buy, Kodak often gives me 2 for 1), I have my own cameras and lenses (Eclair Ultra 16mm NPR and Zeiss superspeeds), if I am shooting Black and White I can process my own film (custom built film processor) otherwise its between 12 and 15 cents (CAN) per foot for colour, and I scan the film myself to HD on my own 4:2:2 1920x1080 Super 16mm film scanner. But even if I had to pay for all of these services, I still think the cost would come out to less (depending on how much stock you shoot of course) than if you had to rent a RED, buy hard drives, and go a Film out route. Yes, I realize that I discuss an HD route with my example film, but a film route is also possible photochemically if you shoot on film.

... I am biased however... as I would sooner shoot super 8mm than RED or any HD format if given the choice (which I am most often not given by producers...).

my two cents.
Oliver
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:34 PM

Did you explain what prior experience you have had with each camera? Isn't sound going to kick you in the butt on this project? Waves crashing, seagulls and wind to interfere with your dialogue takes?
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#11 Glen Alexander

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:10 PM

Forget that RED 2.5k piece of junk, shoot good film stock at S16.
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#12 Joe Giambrone

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:55 PM

See for yourself how Red holds up at the beach:


View on Vimeo
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 09:42 PM

Sometimes I'm reminded of the old saying "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" when it comes to film...

It's a bit like: "I couldn't possibly use a film camera as the viewfinder flicker would drive me to distraction!"

Which just tells me that that particular person has never once looked through a reflex-shutter movie camera viewfinder, at least with the motor running...

And as far as I know, apart from RED's in-house projects, there has never been a single RED production that has actually made use of the "4K" output.

In fact in the early days most productions spent more time getting Redcode transcoded to a useable 2K Industry format than it would have taken to get an equivalent length of film developed and scanned :rolleyes:
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#14 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:45 AM

See for yourself how Red holds up at the beach:


View on Vimeo


There is some nice footage in there, but it looks to me like the exposure was set to make sure the splashes of water did not clip, and the result is the surfers look underexposed at times. With film, one could expose for the surfer and most likely the splashes of water would not blow out.
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#15 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:06 AM

There is some nice footage in there, but it looks to me like the exposure was set to make sure the splashes of water did not clip, and the result is the surfers look underexposed at times. With film, one could expose for the surfer and most likely the splashes of water would not blow out.


Hi Tom, maybe its my naivety and lack of caution speaking but when someone says they are planning to shoot a piece day exterior on a beach in the winter months, when the sun is low for the majority of the day, for me its a no-brainer go with 16mm all the way. If there is something 16mm film can do well its making the natural world look great.

This is providing you genuinely have the budget for the stock, developing and telecine. There are of course many good deals available on 16mm lenses and cameras which are not available on REDs or 35mm lenses.

10 rolls of film for a ten minute short really isn't that bad, in the days of the original Fuji Shorts competition you were given just 5 rolls of film for your ten minute film and some great, very acute little shorts came out of that regime.

Just tightly ration the stock and expect to burn it on the child and slow-motion.

I'm not bashing the red, in controlled situations it often looks great, but a beach on a low budget shoot is hardly a controlled situation.
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#16 David Rakoczy

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:54 AM

I agree with all the comments leaning towards Film (no surprise) but for me the question is even simpler:

If you have the option of shooting Film... why shoot anything else? ;)

... also, shooting on Film will be much faster.
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#17 Roberto Pirodda

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:22 PM

i never shoot via red camera but for what i see on internet, , the red looks like computer generated/videogame images. Also shoots by HDCAM or Panasonic look video and not film! i think that tons of K resolution can't rival versus well shot Super8.
Roberto
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#18 Chris Durham

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:35 PM

i never shoot via red camera but for what i see on internet, , the red looks like computer generated/videogame images.

To be fair, there are some really good Red images too. It really depends on the person shooting with it. Like anything, you really have to know the bounds you're working in. It's not incredibly forgiving.

Every time I talk to a director who wants to use Red I ask them to let me show them the numbers and how it makes sense to shoot S16 instead. Occasionaly you'll hear someone say "the producer's already told us we're using red." Very sad to hear and probably not a production I want to be a part of - not because of the Red, but because it's led by someone who is probably neither savvy nor open-minded enough to make the right decisions.

A 10:1 ratio is not bad at all if you're smart about how you shoot (you don't even have to be very smart about it, just kinda clever).
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#19 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:39 PM

Apparently, (and I have read this not so subtle hint by several people now) the answer to your question depends where you post it. If you post the question here on cine.com, very clearly, the answers will be: shoot film. However, if the question is posted on reduser, then . . . well, you understand.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 30 November 2009 - 01:40 PM.

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#20 Keneu Luca

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:40 PM

i never shoot via red camera but for what i see on internet, , the red looks like computer generated/videogame images. Also shoots by HDCAM or Panasonic look video and not film! i think that tons of K resolution can't rival versus well shot Super8.
Roberto


Researching RED and 16mm clips online isnt a bad idea, but keep in mind that the videos you find reflect the specific situations of those individual shoots. Lenses used, stocks used, settings, time of day, exposure etc all differ. So dont think that the examples you see are exactly what you will get.

Having said that, here is some 16mm beach stuff:




Edited by Keneu Luca, 30 November 2009 - 01:41 PM.

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