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What are some more reasons people don't shoot 16mm for indie features?


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#1 Fhj Ais

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 01:57 AM

Arguably understandable to shoot digital over film nowadays for indie stuff,. but doesn't the aesthetics of film outweigh all the benefits that digital has?
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#2 Bruce Greene

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:55 AM

Arguably understandable to shoot digital over film nowadays for indie stuff,. but doesn't the aesthetics of film outweigh all the benefits that digital has?


For myself, I like the image quality of digital over 16mm for almost all projects. But sometimes I like digital more than 35mm film, but that's just me :P:)

Why do you like film more than quality digital capture? Especially, 16mm film...

Yes, I feel like causing trouble today on the forum :blink:
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#3 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 03:29 AM

Arguably understandable to shoot digital over film nowadays for indie stuff,. but doesn't the aesthetics of film outweigh all the benefits that digital has?


A lot of people feel the same way and do shoot 16mm for smaller films. Look at this year's Spirit Award noms for example: Black Swan, Blue Valentine (much of it was on 16mm), Everything Strange and New.

You have to define what an indie is to start drawing examples I guess. Everything Strange and New is the only "small indie" film listed above.

The Fighter was 2perf 35mm which can be a great money saver too.

The ease of low-end digital helps to flood the market with lots of one-timers, by the 1000's, so that clouds what's being done to some degree.

The price of film telecine hurts it for indies the most. Recent posts here expand on this. ;)

If a producer of a small film, let's say with a $125,000 budget this time, is presented with total digital camera rental rates of $9,000, and is also presented with a $19,000 rate to do the "same" with 16mm (including buying film and having it posted in HD), you can see why they want, or have to go with, the first option very often.

Some people care more about the absolutely unique 16mm film look/feeling and fight for it, but then others don't understand why you'd want something that isn't hyper clear/sharp. Hell, a lot of people now think you need IMAX style resolution just to play a movie via VOD on a laptop or at best, on Bluray, and maybe once at a festival with a crappy 480/720p projector. The reality of presentation seems to hold no weight with most and they are caught up in the "Keeping up with the Jones's" game.

By the way, how do you pronounce your name "Fhj"?
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 04:37 AM

but doesn't the aesthetics of film outweigh all the benefits that digital has




Well. Um. No.


P
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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 05:01 AM

but doesn't the aesthetics of film outweigh all the benefits that digital has?


Well, erm, yes.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 05:53 AM

Oh come on now.

The elephant standing in the corner is money. A Canon 5D with lenses costs $2000ish. 16mm costs $2000 a day.

P
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#7 K Borowski

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:12 AM

Sorry, Phil, but you're talking about +/-10% on any decent production budget. It's more of an issue on movies that don't have enough money for any production value anyway that see the real advantage of digital.


My last film project, labor was 15x the expense of rawstock, really. Yes, I'd still save that money using digital if I were renting, but I happen to own a pesky film camera that I just can not break, try as I might. . . ;)
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#8 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:32 AM

Oh come on now.

The elephant standing in the corner is money. A Canon 5D with lenses costs $2000ish. 16mm costs $2000 a day.

P


By that rationale the expensive restaurant meal I enjoyed the other week was a waste of money and I should have eaten McDonalds instead. In fact I should eat there every day, it would save me thousands.

This is a tired argument. Aesthetics is a matter of taste, each to their own. I just felt one glib response deserved another.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:50 AM

Dom: Phil isn't saying that,he's saying that he knows better and that EVERYONE ought eat McDonalds.

To me, this is like the argument that we should all concentrate our collective resources to curing world hunger before doing anything else at all. By that argument, we'll NEVER do anything else at all.



As far as the movie industry is concerned, I think we should concentrate on "curing" inflated salaries for actors (SAG is going to blackball me for saying this!) before worrying about ridding the industry of, as Tom Lowe would call it, "pesky chemical celluloid."

I mean, why hasn't movie projection embraced DVD yet? Haven't Panavision, Arri heard of 1080P? It's DIGITAL. No need for reloads, you can shoot for hours without stopping!

You don't even need to use primes or do closeups, cut anymore. It can all be done in-camera in one continuous shot with a zoom lens, steadicam, err you can make your own stabilization system scratch the steadicam and its overpriced equipment, and an HD camcorder.

Then you can archive it to DVD-R and color correct on your computer!
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#10 Robert Lewis

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 08:31 AM

Do we really need to chew this over again? Almost certainly all the same old arguments will appear yet again and little, if anything, will be said that is new. We could just settle for the fact that some prefer film and some prefer digital for whatever reason.
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 10:47 AM

Whether it's film or digital you are still going to be spending a *bleep* load of money on any indie feature project. We focus a lot on shooting formats here, but that's one line item. Actors, locations, music, post, etc are all going to add up to a nice chunk of change.

This is why no one from the other forum, who's name must never be spoken, who bought a particular camera (who's name I shall not mention). Have not seen the gates of Hollywood open for them yet. Owning a piece of gear ain't gonna help you too much sans a great script and quality performances to go along with it.

R,
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:21 AM

But not camera crew, right? :P



I hear there are assistants who can be snatched up for $50US (that's LESS than $50 CDN, now, right?) PER DAY.

Sounds like a real bargain for your next shoot!



I bet the last movie I worked on spent more money on CATERINGthan some of those to-not-be-named Indy projects. And it was considered low-budget.
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:28 AM

I bet the last movie I worked on spent more money on CATERINGthan some of those to-not-be-named Indy projects. And it was considered low-budget.


Well by Hollywood standards you say 30 million and that is considered to be "low budget." That always makes me laugh.

Every time the media mentions the King's Speech, they add, "and made for a tiny amount of money, just 15 million."

R,
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:52 AM

As far as the movie industry is concerned, I think we should concentrate on "curing" inflated salaries for actors (SAG is going to blackball me for saying this!)."


Actually the SAG rates for low/no budget films are quite reasonable. I make a lot more money per day as an Engineering Consultant than SAG actors get on low budget contracts.

Yes, A-list actors make one hell of a lot of money. It's my impression that most of them are pretty darn good actors, that's how they got noticed in the first place. The fact that their names alone are enough to put people in theater seats is valuable to producers.
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#15 K Borowski

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:44 PM

Well by Hollywood standards you say 30 million and that is considered to be "low budget." That always makes me laugh.

Every time the media mentions the King's Speech, they add, "and made for a tiny amount of money, just 15 million."

R,



IDK what the consensus is in IATSE organizations, but what I meant wwas under $5 million. Hell, waht does a television episode cost these days? Over $2 million for a show like CSI?




Hal: Maybe if the publicity departments didn't give the impression that actors write the scripts, do the stunts etc etc etc. and gave credit where it was due, that wouldn't be the case.

It isn't the actors per se, it's the $15 million that is spent TELLING AUDIENCES about "So and so's finest performance."


That being said, having watched a lot of "2-1/2 Men" lately, I can understand why Charlie Sheen keeps upping his rates: He's basically letting the writers do a pseudo-documentary of HIM. He's playing himself, more or less. . .
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 01:12 PM

The fact that their names alone are enough to put people in theater seats is valuable to producers.


You mean the masses don't come to see the work of the DOP?

R,
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#17 Hal Smith

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:53 AM

You mean the masses don't come to see the work of the DOP?


Roger Deakins might draw a few, he's usually part of the publicity for Coen Brother's films.
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#18 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 05:56 PM

Oh come on now.

The elephant standing in the corner is money. A Canon 5D with lenses costs $2000ish. 16mm costs $2000 a day.

P

Point made but in the interest of accuracy of today's market (mind you, in the US), 16mm can easily cost more like $685/day, including camera/film/process/scan, depending on days total. This is roughly for a 26 day shoot for 7:1 on 90min feature.

An outfitted 5D rental with low-budget prime set and ff, etc, is more like $5000 total.
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#19 K Borowski

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:18 PM

How much is the 5D to rent per day at 26 days? At 12,000 vs. 5,000 to have film isntead of all the DSLR issues (Is that fully scanned too? That is CHEAPER than I thought), I'll steal the 7,000 from another department and go with film every time. I'll used the money saved on using slow, older film to get the brighter light rentals to light to a usable T-stop.



How much does a fully tricked-out 16mm cost to own at this point?

Try to please make your comparisons fair. I can buy an Auricon for $200 on e-Bay. I can probably buy one of its successors with a S16 gate for Under $1000 now. I can modify said Auricon to Ultra 16 with a file in my basement. And, I'll sell the optical sound lightbulb on eBay and use the money to buy a quarter inch or DAT deck :-p


And there are plenty of ways to get S16 film at a discount now. They have it just sitting on shelves going bad, so they're practically giving some stocks away. But sorry, no discounts on Vision 3 7219 that doesn't look good in HD anyway.
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#20 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:41 PM

It comes out to more like $18k total, not 12k. Yes fully scanned to HD Prores. I've priced this exact scenario out very recently. Obviously you can take the scans to a much higher level but this price will get a good HD file to work with which is all an indie needs. If by some miracle you got movement later on, you could always go back and get a 2-3K of selects.

I'd never attempt a feature, with an actual schedule, with a typical ebay cam or, honestly, anything other than a later model Aaton (LTR54 +) or SR. Too many reliability issues otherwise, noise is a huge factor, quality of gate, mags, mount/lens possibilities, etc.. A cheap cam and unknown quality lenses will give more of a Super8 look (which might be ok for some?)

You can buy an older LTR S16 Aaton for $5000 easily then spend another few $100 getting it lubed, checked out... then add lenses, FF, etc. I have sadly seen prods go for $7-8000, which is my personal fav. 16mm cam that cost something like $50k new, not long ago at all.

But why do all that? Rent a package for $4000 total (one month rate) that will come with a few Zeiss or Optar primes, FF, box, and you are way ahead of the game.

You can get factory film for .20/foot, or less if you work hard. ;)
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