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1930's Film Noir 16mm Tri-X Reversal


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#1 Adam Ouellette

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 01:12 AM

Hello Everyone!

Just looking for some feedback on my 4 minute short. I'm currently a student at RIT in upstate NY, and this film was shot last year during my first 2 months of college. It was shot over the course of two weeks with all shoots taking place from 11pm to 4am when the diner we were filming at had low traffic. I edited the entire thing on a flat bed then had it scanned in at 1080 for web presentation. It was shot on about 10 100ft spools of Tri-X reversal using a Bolex H16. I was restricted on what I could use to light it being a freshman student, so the film you see was lit entirely using 4 650 moles. Take a moment and let me know what you think!


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(A few obvious things I'd like to point out about the film. It's set in the 1930's but there are various set dressing issues I am aware of. The diner would not allow us to remove the jukebox so we were stuck on that. Some of the times on the newspapers are incorrect. Every single piece of clothing in the film is either a replica or the real deal of something from the 30's or 40's EXCEPT the shoes the lead is wearing and the Heinz ketchup bottle. Some of the music is from the Film Up, a couple of the tracks are from the Aviator.)

Since this is my first real post on here guess I'll put a little bit about myself. I've been making films of some sort since I was about 7 and I'm dedicated to it 100%. I'm interested in learning as much as I can about filmmaking as an art and as a craft in every way possible. Cinematography is my main interest, but recently I've started working as an AC and as a loader and enjoy it a great deal. I've made sure to work on real sets as a Grip, Gaffer, AC and DP on top of being in school so I'm actually applying what I'm learning instead of stepping out of film school thinking I know whats going on and not actually understanding the way real sets work. Lastly, I'm not that much of a fan of digital and only shoot it when I have to because of cost issues or because of turn around time. That's me in a very small nutshell.

Looking forwards to hearing what people think of the film!
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#2 Curtis Alexander

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:58 PM

I made something similar for a film class a few years ago. So much fun to work with film; I think it's so important to do that given how things are going digital. I imagine it wasn't part of the requirement, but some sound would have been good. Given that you have a digital copy, someday it might be good experience to revisit your short and add in some sound. I should do that to mine as well--I have sound, but the canon scoopic makes a lot of noise and given I don't have any dialogue I could go back and re-do all the sound.
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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:31 PM

Very nice!

As someone who shoots and edits almost exclusively on film, it's looks like you had fun with this project. I notice that is an element that appears to be missing from a lot of student's work these days.

I liked the Silent Era feel you gave to the entire film. My favorite shots were the night exteriors (best contrast.) The scan was very nice, but at times the image was a bit unsteady and looked like it was due to more than just the splices running through machine. Was that transfer system pin-registered?

Anyway, nice job.
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#4 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:42 PM

The diner was a great setting for B&W. So many textures. And you found great ways to exploit the technical abilities of the camera, like using focal length and whatnot.

Drama seemed to lag when Jay went nuts, like it was an abrupt change in his state of mind rather than a progression into madness. Maybe the use of tight close-ups could have kept up the pace of the drama. The repeated use of newspapers seemed like an easy out for silent storytelling, but I admire the effort used to mock them up.

I did like the movie, and I think the decision to use 16mm reversal sets you apart from your contemporaries. Keep it up.
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#5 Adam Ouellette

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:38 PM

Thank you very much for the feedback everyone. Sorry for not responding sooner, I have been in Europe studying abroad and my post completely slipped my mind. I plan to be a regular on here in the future, I just need to stop forgetting about this place. Such a wonderful resource.

Curtis, I considered that and even tried it but something just felt wrong about it. I think in the end it will probably just stay silent. It feels better that way I think.

Bill, I don't think so. I believe it was done on this machine:
http://www.dft-film....s/spirit_2k.php
I had it transferred with www.scanyourfilm.com in 2k. When the image was jumping up and down, that actually had to do with the fact that the bolex I was shooting with needed a new spring and was on the verge of breaking. I was lucky enough that when I got back to the rental house the spring broke for the cager that was checking the camera in and I avoided all costs.

Steven, I completely agree. If I had more time for the film I would have added more to his ascension into insanity. I actually shot some more footage of that but the problem was that it was a requirement for my schools end of the quarter screenings to make sure the film was under 4 minutes long. Every 10 seconds over loses 10 points off the full 100 for the grade. I'd go back and edit that in, but the problem is that would require me to rescan it and mess with the original print, since that is the only master I've got I'm too squeamish to touch it. I'd feel awful if I ruined the film print, that would be so much work gone, as good as the 2K transfer looks I just love the way it looks on its original medium. The way it should look.

Thanks again for all the input and advice. I really do appreciate it!

Best Regards
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