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First time shooting on Film, Seeking some advice


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#1 Ricky Cook

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:24 PM

Hey there,
So I am looking to get my hands dirty shooting a low budget short on 16mm. I have been doing my research for a while, and decided I wanted to take the cheapest route possible, as I want to see what I can do for a low price.
I have a Arri 16S with a cooke zoom, that I will be given on extended loan. The DP im borrowing it from is going to be on this shoot, to answer any questions I have about the camera, and baby sit me. (first time shooting on film)
I want to shoot in Black and white so far, but the script is up in the air, so It may change. That is what I know so far. Im really looking for some guidance from someone that has shot on 16mm. What should I take into account while putting this together?
Im looking at as if their where two lists, I have, I need.

I have:
Camera +lens (might look into some primes if its affordable)
I need:
Film Stock (any suggestions? I am torn with Reversal or Negative, but probably will be Neg.)
Telecine ( I have an old Eiki Projector, I’m fiddling with creating my own way of doing this to save, and id like it to be an HD transfer) or are there affordable ways to get a 1080p scan?

In terms of shooting and getting the footage into HD, is there anything else I am forgetting?

Thanks for taking the time to read,
Rick
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:30 PM

Batteries, tripod, ND filters if shooting outside on daylight stock, 85 and 85ND filters if shooting outside on tungsten stock, keep your eye against the eyepiece when shooting, changing bag or dark room to unload (if using daylight spools, do it quickly and in the shade at least... and make sure you have a take-up spool, make sure it's running emulsion out in the gate, ask your DP friend which direction that is with the Arri-S.)

There is no such thing as a cheap 16mm to HD transfer, and you can't do one with your own projector & a consumer HD video camera that would end up HD resolution other than in name only. This is just one area where you will have to bite bullet and find the best deal you can, or live with an SD transfer.

You write "process normal / prep for telecine" on the lab work order. Assuming you aren't pull or push processing.

HD is 16x9, regular 16mm is 1.37, 4x3 basically, so you have to tell them if you want to retain the full 16mm image in the transfer by pillorboxing 4x3 inside 16x9 HD.

Hey there,
So I am looking to get my hands dirty shooting a low budget short on 16mm. I have been doing my research for a while, and decided I wanted to take the cheapest route possible, as I want to see what I can do for a low price.
I have a Arri 16S with a cooke zoom, that I will be given on extended loan. The DP im borrowing it from is going to be on this shoot, to answer any questions I have about the camera, and baby sit me. (first time shooting on film)
I want to shoot in Black and white so far, but the script is up in the air, so It may change. That is what I know so far. Im really looking for some guidance from someone that has shot on 16mm. What should I take into account while putting this together?
Im looking at as if their where two lists, I have, I need.

I have:
Camera +lens (might look into some primes if its affordable)
I need:
Film Stock (any suggestions? I am torn with Reversal or Negative, but probably will be Neg.)
Telecine ( I have an old Eiki Projector, I’m fiddling with creating my own way of doing this to save, and id like it to be an HD transfer) or are there affordable ways to get a 1080p scan?

In terms of shooting and getting the footage into HD, is there anything else I am forgetting?

Thanks for taking the time to read,
Rick


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#3 Ricky Cook

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:45 PM

Batteries, tripod, ND filters if shooting outside on daylight stock, 85 and 85ND filters if shooting outside on tungsten stock, keep your eye against the eyepiece when shooting, changing bag or dark room to unload (if using daylight spools, do it quickly and in the shade at least... and make sure you have a take-up spool, make sure it's running emulsion out in the gate, ask your DP friend which direction that is with the Arri-S.)

There is no such thing as a cheap 16mm to HD transfer, and you can't do one with your own projector & a consumer HD video camera that would end up HD resolution other than in name only. This is just one area where you will have to bite bullet and find the best deal you can, or live with an SD transfer.

You write "process normal / prep for telecine" on the lab work order. Assuming you aren't pull or push processing.

HD is 16x9, regular 16mm is 1.37, 4x3 basically, so you have to tell them if you want to retain the full 16mm image in the transfer by pillorboxing 4x3 inside 16x9 HD.


I promised a virtual High five, so here it goes! (I high fived my monitor, luckily knowbody was around to see that)



I was told that he has all the batteries, and filters needed. Lets pray that is correct. I will be depending on him the first day, as this is uncharted territory for me. I will print this out though, so I have a reference. (my friend is from the Ukraine with a VERY heavy accent, It will make for a safety net when communication fails)
I am not surprised you recommended biting the bullet and getting a professional Telecine done. I will look into affordable prices. Possibly I can find one with student friendly rates. I want to save myself money, as it’s a personal project, yet I want the best quality for my buck.

I would love to shoot with super16 to avoid the footage being in 4:3, but I could moddify someone elses camera of course. And I think the camera take double perf, and I assume that wouldn't work anyway.

You have offered me advice on a few things today, David. Thanks again!
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#4 Raz Birger

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:05 PM

Hello Ricky.

First of all good luck with your little project (there is a thing about these little projects, however short they might be, they can still be quite big in terms of producing them).

I have shot 16mm film only once with a Super 16mm modified Krasnogorsk-3, using the Kodak Vision2 100T film stock. I shot both indoor and outdoor with this stock which might be quite slow for shooting indoor, however with some lighting you can get very good results. I used 3 x 500W Halogen projectors, these simple cheap ones you can find almost everywhere.
When shooting outdoor I stupidly forgot my ND Filter, but I would definitely recommend using it - on a sunny day without it even a slow rated 50ASA film (like Kodak Vision2 50D) requires the aperture to be set on f/16. I shot my footage without the 85 filter, the colour temperature was corrected during telecine and it turned out fine.

Using slow film stocks is the way to go if you are looking for best picture quality, specially if you are shooting regular 16mm and cropping to 16:9 - therefore using a smaller area on the negative, which means less resolution.
You said you wanted to shoot B&W, I did not forget about that. I really liked the Plus-X from Kodak, it was discontinued though. I think the Double-X is the only B&W stock available these days, which is a negative stock rated 200ASA if I remember correctly.

I would not recommend transferring off the wall. You will get much better results with a good SD telecine than with such a method. There are options for upressed SD to 1080p telecine services with some very pleasing results. I have seen some beautiful footage from both CineLab in Massachusetts (which is also a lab) and Cinelicious in Los Angeles (they also provide a true 1080p telecine).

Plan everything to the detail, rehears again and again before shooting. You cannot afford much mistakes under the limitations of low-budget film-making.

You are more than welcome to ask any other questions you may have.
Best Regards,
Raz Birger.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:28 PM

You generally use single-perf stock even in a regular 16mm camera, only a few special models require double-perf 16mm stock, which is now a special-order item.

if you want a 16x9 image, you could just crop the regular 16mm frame to 16x9 (1.78 : 1). I would shoot a framing chart at the head of the first roll to show the telecine operator how you want to crop the image.
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:19 PM

Using slow film stocks is the way to go if you are looking for best picture quality, specially if you are shooting regular 16mm and cropping to 16:9 - therefore using a smaller area on the negative, which means less resolution.
You said you wanted to shoot B&W, I did not forget about that. I really liked the Plus-X from Kodak, it was discontinued though. I think the Double-X is the only B&W stock available these days, which is a negative stock rated 200ASA if I remember correctly.


You are correct that this is the only stock in 35mm, however in 16mm there is also Tri-X reversal available.

There are some very cheap deals out there for SD telecine and I would go with one of those, however if you do decide to film from the projector for a very rough copy, then you really want reversal not neg, as it's much harder to pull that trick with neg film. The trouble is that reversal is harder to shoot as you need to get the exposure bang on.

Hope that helps a little.

love

Freya
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#7 Tim Carroll

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 09:19 AM

Hi Rick,

Everything said above is great.

You might also want to take a look at this web site:

Arri16S.com

It covers many aspects of shooting a film with the Arriflex 16S camera, including how to shoot 16:9 with the camera.

If you want to finish in black & white, unfortunately the film I always loved using for that was PlusX and it's no longer available. You can use DoubleX, but be aware of grain issues, as in it is VERY LARGE when blown up from 16mm. As David has recommended in the past, you might want to consider shooting in color and then desaturating the color in post. Using a slower stock like 100 or 200 can give good results.

Have a great shoot, and if you have specific questions about the Arriflex 16S, post back.

Best,
-Tim
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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:38 AM

ask the lab where you are processing for their rates for a best light transfer. It may be quite reasonable given you are already a customer.
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#9 Gary Lemson

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:55 AM

...The trouble is that reversal is harder to shoot as you need to get the exposure bang on.


Yup...just finished a test run on 7285, and there was one brief sequence where exposure was totally mis-read and underexposed. Overall, I was very pleased with the results.

Edited by Gary Lemson, 11 March 2011 - 08:58 AM.

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#10 Peter Ferguson

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 06:14 PM

Has anyone bought from ORWO North America? I just purchased a few rolls of UN54 to replace PlusX, and got a test roll of N74 to replace the DoubleX. I am eager to test it, apparently processing is the same as Kodak and any Kodak lab can do it...but again its new. So, anyone?
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#11 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:01 PM

Has anyone bought from ORWO North America? I just purchased a few rolls of UN54 to replace PlusX, and got a test roll of N74 to replace the DoubleX. I am eager to test it, apparently processing is the same as Kodak and any Kodak lab can do it...but again its new. So, anyone?


Hi George,

I have not used that film stock, but it sounds interesting. Plus X was my Fav. I would love to see some results when you get them of the UN54. I may be able to use my Black and White filters after all.

This makes me a little nervous though. I didn't know this was possible and am wondering what it does to the quality of the image.
"ORWO Instruction 4185 the UN 54 film can be processed as black and white reversal
film and be used to produce direct positives."

Thanks,
Tom
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#12 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:02 PM

"ORWO Instruction 4185 the UN 54 film can be processed as black and white reversal
film and be used to produce direct positives."
...
I didn't know this was possible and am wondering what it does to the quality of the image.


I think I have seen on a datasheet that Kodak lists times to process TXR as a negative. Processing a negative film as reversal can have mixed results, but in this case the maker has tested it both ways.
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#13 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 11:07 AM

I'm a Double-X negative fan. See the opening of that James Bond movie...Casino Royal (2006).

Just an old looking, grainy stock with lots of character. I feel like they are still selling from the batch they made in 1954.
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#14 Sean McHenry

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:51 PM

If you are more into experimentation and are doing this for the practice or for other experience, you can skip all the professional answers above but, you will not have professional results. I have had interesting results using a 1930s projector and an HD capable 24fps camera but, my projector is totally variable in speed and it allows me to match the shutter and frame speed of the video camera I am using. I simply shoot a smaller say 1' diagonal image onto a flat white board and set the video camera by trial and error. While this will be fine for an experimenter or for one to examine his shots and editing etc, it is in no way professional.

If you want to go a slightly more professional route, send your processed film to my friend in Canada Justin Lovell (see his site at frame discreet) where he will be happy to talk to you about doing a standard def one light pass of your film to a supplied MiniDV tape for about $20 (check his current rates as they may have gone up) per 100' 16mm roll. While you are never supposed to project negative film, his process can indeed do negative stocks and he has been very gentle with my little experimental bits and pieces. He can also do reversal 16mm as well as 8mm and Super8, plus he's a good guy to know.

IN the states a similar low budget deal can be found without the hassles of getting film in and out of Canada from the folks at MovieStuff.

Hope that gives you a lower budget alternative. I have had one short come in second in an international festival using Justin's transfers from 16mm negative Kodak 250D and several other gallery screening short experimental things shown locally, on MTV Italy and in various small festivals around the US so it does work and looks fairly clean. His site has many great examples of his process.

Best of luck,
Sean
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