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May not be able to afford dailies


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#1 Dillon Brown

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 07:43 PM

Hello all,

This summer my production team and I are going to be shooting a 20 minute short film shot over the course of 10 days at the end of June. We are still deciding between film/digital and I am really, really trying to get us to be able to shoot 35mm 3perf. Now, we have a great deal on film and telecine but we may not be able to afford dailies.

I am concerned that because we aren't seeing what we've shot until the final telecine at the end of the 10 days, this may come back to bite us in the ***. We have around 12,000 feet of film for a total of 3 hours. So about an 8:1 shooting ratio. If we have an experienced cinematographer and camera department, is this still a huge issue? I just have a good deal of hesitation about never seeing anything we have shot until the end of the shoot. Is it fairly inexpensive to get standard def. dailies or even a positive made every day just to be able to check on a projector? Are there still productions that shoot film without dailies?

We will be able to have a video tap, but as far as focus and exposure is concerned, I am a bit worried. Should I be? And if so, are there any options available for low-budget productions? The producers will definitely be concerned about this, and as such, perhaps going digital is the way to go, although film would do our film a great service. Thanks so much for any input, I really appreciate it!

- Dillon

Edited by Dillon Brown, 27 May 2010 - 07:45 PM.

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#2 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 08:40 PM

You should test the camera and lenses thoroughly before the shoot. And you should get some sort of confirmation (like dailies!) during the shoot to confirm that everything is okay. At the very least could you budget for SD dailies for a few hundred feet? Forget about printing it unless you have a 3 perf projector (extremely rare!) to look at it with.
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:25 PM

Test, test, test.

An experienced (film, not just HD) cinematographer would handle it better, of course. In addition to what Bruce said re. camera, mag, lens tests, I'd say your lab techs can also check your processed stock for (some major) problems - density / exposure, threading, etc.

Best-light telecine-transferring the tests is always encouraged. The tests should always be filmed with the same camera / lens package you are using to be helpful, and as close as possible to your start date to prevent any changes in the condition of the gear.

Using film necessitates proper handling, AC and loader with film experience, not just HD. For student productions that is sometimes a problem.

Do not give up on film!
Properly handled and exposed film can set your project apart from the get go in terms of a "look." Particularly now that everybody and their mothers are using HD for their projects. Nothing wrong with that, except most tend to look alike, very sharp and contrasty right off the bat, without too much, er, soul.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 27 May 2010 - 10:30 PM.

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#4 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:30 AM

We had this problem on a student production last summer.
20 minutes long film, 16mm, 6:1 ratio we had :) crazy fun. 2 takes max, 3 if we saved a take before.

So what we did, because of the budget (of course) - we telecined first roll from each camera (shot two cameras) and then telecined another couple rolls from a complex day (a lot of camera moves, lighting cues etc.)
The rest of the rushes we saw only when we went for a tech grade to HD, a week after the shoot has wrapped. That was fun. And scary.
Producer managed to get a free deal from one of the post houses, and they tech-graded all 12 rolls to HDCAM. Not the best solution regards quality, but at least this gave us an opportunity to shoot film.
But everything was ok. So if you trust your meter, eyes, the crew and the camera - should be ok. Or doable, at least.
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#5 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:47 AM

Here's my 2 cents.

Around every 4000' shot, I would send to your lab(I recommend Deluxe in LA, cheap(.08 per foot) and great) and then to your telecine lab and get an HD telecine(i really liked Cinelicious(and they have a Diamond Clear HD(uprez) that's pretty cheap) have them transfer it via hard drive and they'll ship it back to you. This way you will have some of your film processed and telecine'd completely, before the shoot is over and be able to see if everything is working.
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#6 Rob Vogt

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:08 AM

Think about it this way, most projects that are shot on weekends cant have dailies done anyway. As long as you do a steady test, test all the lenses (which you should do anyway). I was on a shoot a couple of months ago shot on 2 cameras (one 3 perf, one 4 perf) over 2 weekends, no dailies. It came out fine, but we took our time. We had an experienced DP and Gaffer. Where are you located, maybe I could free up my schedule for helping out on this project :rolleyes:
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:17 AM

I don't think I've ever had dailies...
If anything, though, perhaps you should look into getting circle takes output to something (DVD even!) just for some peace of mind if you're really worried about it.
In truth, though, if it's screwed on the day, even with dailies, you won't catch it till the day after at the earliest, so shoot, cover your bases, check your gate, move on, and when/if something is totally screwed up, coup with it.
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#8 Dillon Brown

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:36 AM

Think about it this way, most projects that are shot on weekends cant have dailies done anyway. As long as you do a steady test, test all the lenses (which you should do anyway). I was on a shoot a couple of months ago shot on 2 cameras (one 3 perf, one 4 perf) over 2 weekends, no dailies. It came out fine, but we took our time. We had an experienced DP and Gaffer. Where are you located, maybe I could free up my schedule for helping out on this project :rolleyes:


Thanks for all the really helpful responses guys, it gives me piece of mind to know that I am getting good advice!

And Rob, we are located near the USC campus in LA. The 90007 zipcode. I would be extremely, extremely appreciative if you could help us out with this project - my number is (213) 300-3665, and feel free to call me any time. Or send me a PM with your number and I can call you as well. We are still looking for a great cinematographer too! :)

Thanks everyone!
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 12:35 PM

Yes, it will come back to haunt you. This is a good reason to shoot digital. There are a lot of people who will say shoot film no matter what. This is your project. This is a student film. Most TV shows are shot on digital. It is the present and the future. You have to consider that you that the benefits of shooting digital in this situation far outweigh the cons.
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#10 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:47 PM

Great advice here, except for the shoot digital suggestion, of course! (just kidding, I am neutral on the film vs digital thing, though I personally prefer film for my projects)

I should have elaborated on the camera/lens tests, as Saul said, shoot film tests with the actual camera and lenses you'll be renting as close to your shooting date as possible. Have the tests developed and HD telecine'd before the shoot start date.

You're in LA, so you have great resources available, you may even be able to find a screening room with a 3 perf projector! You'll have no trouble finding an excellent DP in this town. I agree, Deluxe is great, and they are a short drive from USC. I also like Cinelicious.tv, and they are on the way back to 'SC from a trip to Deluxe. But it might be a lot easier to see if your lab rep (they have one specifically for students!) at Deluxe will give you a great deal on a few hundred feet of telecine every couple of days to confirm everything is going okay during the shoot. They are very helpful to students.

Good luck and have fun.
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