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Shoot on Film or Digital?


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#1 Simona Analte

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:16 PM

Hello,

I plan to apply for a Grant as an emerging filmmaker for a short film that I wish to shoot later this year.
I want to shoot this project on 16mm format. To note, my only experience with film is just a few 8mm shorts I did while back, though, I do not wish to use those projects for the grant application.
I am still in the need to shoot my "supporting material".

My question is, would it be more wise to shoot the supporting material on digital or on film format?
In terms of budget, digital would be more suitable but in terms of "the look" and the benefit of experience, film would be a better choice.

I am worried that I don' have enough film background experience to get approved to shoot my project on film.

Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

Thank you
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:33 PM

Always go with the "look", kid. Plan your shots, don't shoot excessive coverage, use low budget film shooting techniques like in camera editing, changing angles when an actor screws up, shooting MOS and using ADR,shoot cut aways for editing but get the look you want the audience to see. DON't compromise your artistic vision for few bucks B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 07 April 2011 - 11:37 PM.

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#3 Giorgi Chavez

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 03:42 AM

Always go with the "look", kid. Plan your shots, don't shoot excessive coverage, use low budget film shooting techniques like in camera editing, changing angles when an actor screws up, shooting MOS and using ADR,shoot cut aways for editing but get the look you want the audience to see. DON't compromise your artistic vision for few bucks B)


I would be leaning more towards digital for the sake of practicality. However, it is highly possible that shooting your project on film will set apart you project from others. 16mm possibly not so much but if you were to shoot something like Super 35 or shoot anamorphic it would immediately draw positive attention to your project and I am sure that many people would appreciate the choice to supporting material on film, including myself.
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 08:23 AM

I would be leaning more towards digital for the sake of practicality. However, it is highly possible that shooting your project on film will set apart you project from others. 16mm possibly not so much but if you were to shoot something like Super 35 or shoot anamorphic it would immediately draw positive attention to your project and I am sure that many people would appreciate the choice to supporting material on film, including myself.


Keep in mind if shooting anamorphic, you need more light, which can mean more equipment, which can mean more crew, which does mean more money. On the other hand, short ends and recans are very cheap. How much material do you want? do you have access to the cameras or will you be renting? All these things come into play and there is nothing that looks as good as anamorphic photography in my opinion.

There is nothing wrong with super 16, it can give you a look that is hard to tell apart from 35. It is far cheaper than 35 and shooting with spherical lenses will be easier for a first timer. Look at the past few Oscar winners all shot with Super 16. Some may complain about grain, which it can be, but doesn't have to. Shooting on a larger chip camera du jour will give you the sameness as every other dp wanna be, you'll blend in nicely. Call Kodak and Fuji and see what they will give you for free film. Call a lab and establish a relationship with them. As a new filmmaker, they want your future business. Shooting super 16 is very affordable compared to higher end digital. Film all the way.

Edited by Chris Burke, 08 April 2011 - 08:25 AM.

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#5 Simona Analte

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 07:46 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions.

Chris- to answer your question, this will be at most 2 minutes short. It's a dark, comedic commercial on milk. So I will be shooting most of the footage in a tight bathroom. So the less equipment I'll have, the better. In terms of light, I haven't figured exactly what I will be doing yet.
Also, I will be renting if I shoot either of the formats. If it's 16mm, I'll most likely to shoot on Aaton XTR and it's it's digital then it'll be Canon 5D.

Using short ends is definitely a good idea...
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#6 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 12:08 AM

Avoid yet another SLR (esp. the 5D) short like it's a virus. 16mm has a look all it's own and I might use it because it is not 35mm, and not anything else as well. Rent an F3 if you must go digital. Im using one now on a 35 day shoot and actually not minding it.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 01:24 AM

2 minutes? You might as well shoot 35 because 16mm is relatively expensive compared to 35mm short ends as is processing and printing or transfer, At a 20 to 1 shooting ratio, 90 ft per minute at 24 frames per second, you're looking at 3600 ft of film so at say even 15 cents a foot it'll cost you $540+shipping for short ends (you should be able to pick it up for closer to 5 cents a foot), processing for color film (no special processing) 16 cents a foot 576 bucks and transfer to SD 6 cents a foot for 216 bucks(HD at 12 cents a foot)for a total of $1332. Now I DOUBT you'll shoot a 20 to 1 ratio, it''s probably be closer to 10-15 to one at the most but always budget a bit high. You might be able to get the stock comped by Kodak or Fugi or at the very least get 400 ft or so sent out for free as "test" film if you ask for 2 complementary stocks say just off the top of my head 5201 and 5260 and a couple that matches from Fugi that's 1600 feet so you can eliminate the cost of stock and honestly, you might be able to negotiate the processing and transfer fees as well so the costs could be significantly less.

The camera fees can also be manipulated by when you rent it. IF you rent on a Friday, you will have to have it back by Monday so you get to shoot for 3 days on a 1 day rental. Most rental houses are pretty cool timewise especially with students say an Arri BL3 maybe 300 bucks a day, a Cooke 25-250 zoom maybe $150 and a tripod and fluid head maybe 160 bucks and a mattebox with a small set of filters maybe 100 bucks so maybe 700 bucks total in camera department with a couple of lights say a 4 light kit, maybe 100 bucks or IF you shoot outside in sunlight, bead board and reflectors.

Sound, you can go with a Fostex ($120) or a Nagra ($100)with a boom package (fishpole, cable, shotgun mic and blimp $100)add expendables, lunch, fuel, miscellaneous maybe a couple of hundred more now with student discounts you can cut that by at least 25% on all that minimum. That's basically what you're looking at for a tiny shoot with professional motion picture equipment.
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The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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