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Help... desperate girl in need of some cinematography instruction!


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#1 Aubrey WIlton

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:26 PM

Hi Guys,

Hey everyone, here is the issue I am having. I am a college student who is taking a film production course and we have to shoot some film and I don't have the money to do it.

Here is what I want to do, something like this visually.



But I can't afford to shoot film, but I do have a digital camera.

Is there anyway I could use my digital camera and take single shots and string them to together and the film instructor not be the wiser?

I desperately need help with this, I simply don't have the money to buy film and pay to get it processed.

Any ideas, guys?

Aubrey
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:36 PM

If the course requires you shoot a film on film, then why would you try to pass off something shot digitally, and why would you sign up for a course that required that you shoot film if you can't afford to shoot film?

If it doesn't require that you shoot on film, then why shoot stills on your digital camera when so many digital cameras also shoot video?
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#3 Aubrey WIlton

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:55 PM

If the course requires you shoot a film on film, then why would you try to pass off something shot digitally, and why would you sign up for a course that required that you shoot film if you can't afford to shoot film?

If it doesn't require that you shoot on film, then why shoot stills on your digital camera when so many digital cameras also shoot video?


I know. I know. But I thought I could afford it. I thought that the 8mm film was cheap but I guess it isn't. We do have to shoot film. But I'm just saying would there be any way I could use a digital camera and have it look like this?

The description in the YouTube says it was shot still single frame.

Why couldn't I just do that with my digital camera? Right?

Thanks!

Aubrey
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:25 PM

Yes, people shoot time-lapse and stop motion all the time with digital still cameras. But you should not engage in fraud by trying to pass it off as film in order to meet an assignment, you need to be honest with your teacher.
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:59 AM

I know. I know. But I thought I could afford it. I thought that the 8mm film was cheap but I guess it isn't. We do have to shoot film. But I'm just saying would there be any way I could use a digital camera and have it look like this?

The description in the YouTube says it was shot still single frame.

Why couldn't I just do that with my digital camera? Right?

Thanks!

Aubrey


Well let's start with what do you consider "cheap"?
How long does your film have to be and what resources do you have available other than your digital camera?
There are ways to shoot a film cheaply using tricks from Asian, Italian and Russian cinema not to mention no budget American cult films from the 50s and 60s. There are cheap ways to get film processed, even ways film can be processed at home. The best way to do a film cheaply is to design your script and aesthetics around what you have available, what your limitations are and how carefully you plan your shoot and utilize your resources. IF, for example, you have one roll of film, you rehearse the HELL out of your talent and camera crew, you cut in camera, stopping the action and having your talent freeze while you move to a different shot say from a 2 shot to a close up then continue from where they left off. If your actors make a mistake, you go back one line, change angles and continue on with the scene. IF the scene is ruined by bad sound, you make sure you have room tone and have your actors loop the scene. I'm gonna assume you're shooting this silently as you planned on 8mm as your format, if so, that simplifies everything as all sound will be done in post. so all you have to worry about initially is what is in the frame. Storyboard every single shot and cut, stick fanatically to the shotlist and don't screw up. ANOTHER way you could actually use your video camera to save a LOAD of cash is to shoot your rehearsals on video then use the edited footage as a moving storyboard to find the best shots. IF you can get your locations for a few days and convince your talent to rehearse, you could actually shoot the video, cut it, add music and sound, and have a final cut that you then re-shoot the entire thing on film using only the shots used in your final video cut.

I actually have been experimenting with this technique using Barbie, Ken and G.I. Joe dolls on miniature sets set up on large 4x8 ft. tables I constructed which are much more reliable (and sometimes better actors) than unpaid collage drama students. I decided on the dolls because there are a MYRIAD of props and costumes available for them in the form of accessories dirt cheap at thrift shops, yard sales and one's family (I got most of my stuff from my nieces and nephews who out grew them), everything from straight razors and cinder blocks to 1/6 scale helicopters and tanks. A little paint over the pink plastic, detail work with a small paint brush and whala,instant realism.

There are also ultra realist looking sculpted replacement heads that can be had on ebay for 3 to 10 bucks many of which are current and bygone movie stars. So if say you want to see if say Leonardo DiCaprio (one of the heads I found on line) would look good in this role, well NOW ya can. :D There are also sights with instructions on how to modify heads and other body parts yourself as there is a surprisingly large community of people out there modifying these dolls for use in realist 1:6th scale dioramas and I'm talking museum quality here. Pretty much anything associated with these dolls props, clothing whatever can be found or created. I light the scenes the same way I would on any other set using much smaller, sometimes purpose made lights and pieces of actual gels I plan to use. I edit the footage, add music, sound effects and dialog. I have created animatics using this technique and the results are surprisingly good.

I started storyboardig the traditional way but even though I'm not a bad artist, many times the image was not quite what I had envisioned in my head and it was also time consuming especially if there were changes to be made. I had seen stunt people using toys to plan out gags they were going to attempt and thought that might work. I later read, people were shooting artist's wooden figures to storyboard but those were too damned expensive as was Frame Forge,a computer animation program for storyboarding. In your case, this technique might work on a lesser scale than I do, again pre-shooting your movie before you film it.

As for processing, There is a dirt cheap technique that uses ordinary coffee to process black and white film and gives one a sepia type of image. Again, if you have almost NO money as most collage students do, you might gear your film to that look and process the film yourself.

http://stevenclark.c...instant-coffee/

http://photo-utopia....-in-coffee.html

also check out this:
http://www.movielab.com/
http://www.releasing.net/rawstock/
http://www.tapesuper...m/16mm35mm.html
http://www.project-d.../suppliers.html
http://www.super-8mm.com/10.html
http://www.cinemaker.org/faq.html
http://www.super-8mm.net/5.html


Where there is a commitment and the will to see that commitment through, there is a way to make that commitment happen. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 10 April 2012 - 05:04 AM.

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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:45 AM

Aubrey, its times like this when you need to get entrepreneurial - something which is quite useful in this business. Anything in the rules against getting some sponsorship for this?
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#7 Aubrey WIlton

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:37 AM

Okay. Okay. I am getting more than a bit overwhelmed. But I simply can't shoot film. It's too expensive. I don't have the money.

I have my digital camera in front of me right now. It is a Canon A1100IS PowerShot. This camera takes far better photos than the scratchy blurry YouTube example I want to mimic.

Isn't there some type of process where I can simply do to make it junky like the YouTube video.

Thanks guys, I hope somebody can figure this out for me.

Aubrey
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#8 Brian Rose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:10 AM

I don't know where to begin.

Speaking as someone who was a film student, as well as an educator and now a working professional, what you're asking from us is how to engage in deceiving your professor, how to cut corners, cheat on an assignment and get a leg up on all your classmate who are fulfilling the assignment. All because you were unprepared and didn't have the damn sense to do some research or pick up the phone and talk to a bloody lab before you got yourself in this deep.

Your request is HIGHLY, HIGHLY unethical, and an offense for which you could automatically fail the class or even get expelled. It appalls me that you don't have the presence of mind or the integrity to realize just what it is you're trying to do. You're trying to forge an assignment! How is that any different from stealing from a paper, or making up fake results on a lab test, or reading crib notes on the bottom of your shoe? As a graduate assistant, I've busted kids for less than what you are trying to do...they had only failed to cite their work properly. You're trying to fabricate and misrepresent, which is the highest academic offense. People have lost careers over this kind of thing.

Honestly, if I were your professor, I'd flunk your a** right now, and you better hope to God they haven't heard of cinematography.com, or doesn't have the common sense to use Google, because they only have to search for your name, to find your post here, and then you'd be screwed, no? And more and more I wonder if Aubrey is even your real name, or if you've tried to cover your tracks assuming your professor might google. If so, it would have joined Cinematography under false pretenses which is an insult to us, and shows the depths of your guile. Either way, I don't have a lot of respect for you right now.

I mean, how couldn't you know what you were in for? It's there when you sign up for the course. They always lay out what is expected of the students. Did you not read the syllabus? And you only now bothered to figure out film is expensive? Well no poop Sherlock. I'd say you're about to learn a very valuable lesson in why you shouldn't procrastinate this kind of stuff.

And where's your ingenuity? Why don't you apply all this thought you've given to cheating into how to make a film on the budget you have? You can buy short ends. You can even get free stock from Kodak. I've done it all the time...they're more than glad to supply test film. Or set up a request for funds. Or talk to your professor. Or ask for help. Or pawn your bloody digital camera for film stock. You have SO MANY options, and yet you've cheated yourself and your classmates by going the lowest route: deception.

And even after you get advise from some of the best guys working today, even from a member of the holiest of holys, the ASC, you still just b*tch and moan about how you can't do it, and you're getting overwhelmed, and you just want to cheat.

Well shut the hell up already and figure out a way.

I'm sorry but your request really pisses me off. I, and all of us here, have worked our asses off to get where we are. I for one saved all my money for film gear and stock. No partying, no booze and coffee. Even then, there were times when my bank account dipped into double digits. When I won an ipod for a film I made, I sold it to buy film stock. I made two features and twice as many shorts in three years of school. All funded by myself. When I came up short, I wrote essays for contests to make more money. I worked throughout all of my holiday breaks even for more money. I worked my way through school so I could graduate without debt. And when I got laid off from my first production job, I worked two years as a freelancer before I found steady work again.

And here you are, unable to even complete a simple assignment without trying to cheat and cut corners, and asking us to help you do it. Well I won't do it. I'm really tempted to figure out what school you're at so I can inform your professor what you're up to. Because people like you are an insult to the craft and should be given the boot. You cheapen the school and the achievements of everyone who goes there and puts in honest labor.

You know what? Quit. Now. You have no business being in this profession. If this assignment is too much for you, there's no way in hell you'll make it in the real world where you've got to scrap for every paying gig. You're wasting your time and ours. Go find something else more suited to your ambitions and your work ethic, or lack thereof.

And do this board a favor and remove this insulting thread you started. And while you're at it, remove yourself from here until you are willing to act with the same sense of ethics and integrity that every other artisan on this board possesses.

(signed)

Brian R. Rose
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#9 Daniel Smith

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

I'm not very familiar with that model of camera, but there is software available allowing you to connect a laptop to an SLR (at least) and set it up to take pictures at predetermined intervals. A lot of people use it to produce time-lapse videos, which looks a bit like what is going in the video you posted.

As a fellow student, I'd suggest talking to your tutor so they are aware of the difficulties you are having, and if you do shoot digital, grade it and add effects to make it look more like film but be ready to justify every alteration you have made either in your presentation or report (or whatever is required at the end of the project - if anything) Turn the negatives into positives.
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#10 Aubrey WIlton

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:00 PM

WHATEVER.

Aubrey

I don't know where to begin.

Speaking as someone who was a film student, as well as an educator and now a working professional, what you're asking from us is how to engage in deceiving your professor, how to cut corners, cheat on an assignment and get a leg up on all your classmate who are fulfilling the assignment. All because you were unprepared and didn't have the damn sense to do some research or pick up the phone and talk to a bloody lab before you got yourself in this deep.

Your request is HIGHLY, HIGHLY unethical, and an offense for which you could automatically fail the class or even get expelled. It appalls me that you don't have the presence of mind or the integrity to realize just what it is you're trying to do. You're trying to forge an assignment! How is that any different from stealing from a paper, or making up fake results on a lab test, or reading crib notes on the bottom of your shoe? As a graduate assistant, I've busted kids for less than what you are trying to do...they had only failed to cite their work properly. You're trying to fabricate and misrepresent, which is the highest academic offense. People have lost careers over this kind of thing.

Honestly, if I were your professor, I'd flunk your a** right now, and you better hope to God they haven't heard of cinematography.com, or doesn't have the common sense to use Google, because they only have to search for your name, to find your post here, and then you'd be screwed, no? And more and more I wonder if Aubrey is even your real name, or if you've tried to cover your tracks assuming your professor might google. If so, it would have joined Cinematography under false pretenses which is an insult to us, and shows the depths of your guile. Either way, I don't have a lot of respect for you right now.

I mean, how couldn't you know what you were in for? It's there when you sign up for the course. They always lay out what is expected of the students. Did you not read the syllabus? And you only now bothered to figure out film is expensive? Well no poop Sherlock. I'd say you're about to learn a very valuable lesson in why you shouldn't procrastinate this kind of stuff.

And where's your ingenuity? Why don't you apply all this thought you've given to cheating into how to make a film on the budget you have? You can buy short ends. You can even get free stock from Kodak. I've done it all the time...they're more than glad to supply test film. Or set up a request for funds. Or talk to your professor. Or ask for help. Or pawn your bloody digital camera for film stock. You have SO MANY options, and yet you've cheated yourself and your classmates by going the lowest route: deception.

And even after you get advise from some of the best guys working today, even from a member of the holiest of holys, the ASC, you still just b*tch and moan about how you can't do it, and you're getting overwhelmed, and you just want to cheat.

Well shut the hell up already and figure out a way.

I'm sorry but your request really pisses me off. I, and all of us here, have worked our asses off to get where we are. I for one saved all my money for film gear and stock. No partying, no booze and coffee. Even then, there were times when my bank account dipped into double digits. When I won an ipod for a film I made, I sold it to buy film stock. I made two features and twice as many shorts in three years of school. All funded by myself. When I came up short, I wrote essays for contests to make more money. I worked throughout all of my holiday breaks even for more money. I worked my way through school so I could graduate without debt. And when I got laid off from my first production job, I worked two years as a freelancer before I found steady work again.

And here you are, unable to even complete a simple assignment without trying to cheat and cut corners, and asking us to help you do it. Well I won't do it. I'm really tempted to figure out what school you're at so I can inform your professor what you're up to. Because people like you are an insult to the craft and should be given the boot. You cheapen the school and the achievements of everyone who goes there and puts in honest labor.

You know what? Quit. Now. You have no business being in this profession. If this assignment is too much for you, there's no way in hell you'll make it in the real world where you've got to scrap for every paying gig. You're wasting your time and ours. Go find something else more suited to your ambitions and your work ethic, or lack thereof.

And do this board a favor and remove this insulting thread you started. And while you're at it, remove yourself from here until you are willing to act with the same sense of ethics and integrity that every other artisan on this board possesses.

(signed)

Brian R. Rose
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#11 Todd Fisher

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:31 PM

WHATEVER.

Aubrey


Aubrey,

I'm a long time lurker on these boards, but it was your post that got me to finally register. Simply so I could reply and hopefully set you straight.

Please go back to the YouTube video and really, really analyze it carefully. And read his comments on how he did it.



There is no way you are going to fake that. Ever. With any digital camera.

And it doesn't matter what camera, even if you were shooting with the RED!

First off the shooter is holding the shutter open ("like when it takes a picture") for between 2 and 4 seconds for each frame of film. That lets the slow speed color film absorb more light so it can see things it would NEVER see if it was simply shooting at 24fps at night. And the long exposure causes blur whenever there is movement within the frame.

Secondly the size of Super 8mm is small compared to other film stocks. So that means the organic grain will appear seemingly large when projected or transfered. It is a unique look that can't be faked.

I bet the top digital effects couldn't fake it, and even if they could it would simply be cheaper for them to shoot Super 8mm film in the first place.

And also look at the depth of field in the garage shot. It's almost infinite. That is a function of the lens and small gauge film used. To do that with a larger sensory DSLR you are going to have to stop down and use a longer exposure time to get an exposure.

And there are a ton of other considerations that make this impossible to "mimic" with a digital camera.

But here is the most telling one.

Tools aside, I honestly don't think you have it in you creatively.

Experimental films are made to affect an emotional response in the viewer, instead of telling a proper narrative.

In this case its a film about how society fools and cons people into slaving their life away... and only for a brief rest before they die and pass away.

It's a profoundly moving experimental film.

What do you have to say or share?

I don't think anybody is interested in seeing a film about trying to con others into doing your homework.

My suggestion is to take a more honest approach in your life and studies. And live life a little.

Then maybe you will something to share, and then the tools won't matter.

Sincerely,
Todd Fisher
1st AC and Camera Op.

Edited by Todd Fisher, 10 April 2012 - 12:33 PM.

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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

I wouldn't say it's impossible to get the long exposure effect on a video camera. some consumer camcorders can do it. However, I do suspect there may be a underestimation of the amount of time and effort involved in planning the visuals and then shooting them for a film like this. There's a lot of experimentation involved in creating the right effect.

It requires a fair bit of knowledge to pull off faking digital so that it actually looks like film, especially the 8mm. Even then it often looks like video made to look like film. I suspect you'd also need an up market 8mm camera that can do the long exposures, from memory most of these cameras just have fixed shutter speeds. So, even if you faked it digitally, chances are your teacher is going to ask you how you did it and what camera you used.
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#13 Daniel Smith

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:51 PM

I think you could probably achieve the prolonged shutter speeds in the time-lapse automation software I mentioned. You can set all of the parameters up in the software and let it roll. The real question is will the software communicate with your camera, or can you get hold of a camera that will.

I wouldn't attempt forging it though, it's not worth the risk. I think any tutor would or at least should understand if you don't have the money for the film, nor should you be obliged to sell what you have. I think it would be elitist of the school to only accept work shot on film but not provide the materials or equipment to do so. I can't emphasise the importance of talking to your tutor, they are there to help with problems like these, not to penalise you because you're not financially in a position to purchase the required materials.

Andy made a good point about looking for some kind of sponsorship, it's amazing how much companies are willing to help at times, it's worth looking into.
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#14 Brian Rose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:57 PM

I think you could probably achieve the prolonged shutter speeds in the time-lapse automation software I mentioned. You can set all of the parameters up in the software and let it roll. The real question is will the software communicate with your camera, or can you get hold of a camera that will.

I wouldn't attempt forging it though, it's not worth the risk. I think any tutor would or at least should understand if you don't have the money for the film, nor should you be obliged to sell what you have. I think it would be elitist of the school to only accept work shot on film but not provide the materials or equipment to do so. I can't emphasise the importance of talking to your tutor, they are there to help with problems like these, not to penalise you because you're not financially in a position to purchase the required materials.

Andy made a good point about looking for some kind of sponsorship, it's amazing how much companies are willing to help at times, it's worth looking into.


But unless I've missed something, shooting on film was a class requirement. That should be laid out when you sign up for the course in terms of financial responsibility outside of costs of tuition for the course, and certainly in the syllabus. If she wasn't going to be financially able to fulfill the requirements of the class, she shouldn't have signed up. Instead, she put off doing the research and when she realized she was in trouble, she comes to us for advice on how to cheat.

Frankly I hope she flunks. It'll be a valuable lesson.
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#15 Daniel Smith

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:17 PM

But unless I've missed something, shooting on film was a class requirement. That should be laid out when you sign up for the course in terms of financial responsibility outside of costs of tuition for the course, and certainly in the syllabus. If she wasn't going to be financially able to fulfill the requirements of the class, she shouldn't have signed up. Instead, she put off doing the research and when she realized she was in trouble, she comes to us for advice on how to cheat.

Frankly I hope she flunks. It'll be a valuable lesson.

But what if someone's financial circumstances changed throughout the duration of the course? It may be that the institution did not fully inform her of the financial requirements of the course to begin with. It would be unfair to fail someone on either basis. The only lesson I think she would be taught if the school were to fail her is that film is for rich people, which I'm sure neither of us would believe.
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#16 Travis Gray

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

But what if someone's financial circumstances changed throughout the duration of the course? It may be that the institution did not fully inform her of the financial requirements of the course to begin with. It would be unfair to fail someone on either basis. The only lesson I think she would be taught if the school were to fail her is that film is for rich people, which I'm sure neither of us would believe.



Every time I took a class in college that had a lab or some other requirement that needed outside materials the school didn't cover, it was made note of in the class description or at the very least, the first day of class, so you could still drop if needed.
Shame on the school if this wasn't mentioned, but I highly doubt that.

And I'm guessing the project goal is to learn how to work with film, and not just do a project and they just randomly chose film as the medium. So, cheating at the assignment is really just cheating yourself.
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#17 Daniel Smith

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Every time I took a class in college that had a lab or some other requirement that needed outside materials the school didn't cover, it was made note of in the class description or at the very least, the first day of class, so you could still drop if needed.
Shame on the school if this wasn't mentioned, but I highly doubt that.

And I'm guessing the project goal is to learn how to work with film, and not just do a project and they just randomly chose film as the medium. So, cheating at the assignment is really just cheating yourself.

I'm not aware of Aubrey's entire situation, so I won't judge. But I find it hard to believe her school has not encountered students with financial difficulties in the past, and if they have any regard for their students they should have support in place for her, not penalise or fail her.
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#18 Brian Rose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:39 PM

But what if someone's financial circumstances changed throughout the duration of the course? It may be that the institution did not fully inform her of the financial requirements of the course to begin with. It would be unfair to fail someone on either basis. The only lesson I think she would be taught if the school were to fail her is that film is for rich people, which I'm sure neither of us would believe.


But she said in her original posting that she thought super 8 was cheap but then realized it wasn't. She should've done the research.

And beside that, there are SO many options. Budget shouldn't be a barrier, but an opportunity. And there have been many great suggestions on how to fulfill the assignment and shoot on film. She hasn't asked for help on that. I had poor students in my class who couldn't afford things and I helped them by loaning my own gear. But they came to ME for help. But she is unwilling to consider our advice, or seek help to resolve her problem. Instead she has leaped straight to, "How can I cheat and shoot on digital and fool the professor into thinking it's film." Worse, she has asked us to help, because she can't even cheat on her own.

It is not because she can't afford film that I am upset. It is because her first impulse to solve her problem is to cheat on a class assignment, and for that alone she deserves to flunk.
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:43 PM

I'll just chime in once- as I taught 1 class. Yes, i'd've failed a student who cheated on the assignment and shot on video. I wouldn't do the same if a student came to me and said I can't afford this project, is there something else I can do. From there there's a world of options. The onus is on the student to be truthful to their professor and inform them of their difficulties instead of trying to skirt the requirements.

Further, as mentioned, you won't get digital to look like S8mm in any way that would fool someone who knows a thing or two about shooting and post FXs-- all those filters leave a bit to be desired for the " film look."
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#20 Brian Rose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:50 PM

I'll just chime in once- as I taught 1 class. Yes, i'd've failed a student who cheated on the assignment and shot on video. I wouldn't do the same if a student came to me and said I can't afford this project, is there something else I can do. From there there's a world of options. The onus is on the student to be truthful to their professor and inform them of their difficulties instead of trying to skirt the requirements.

Further, as mentioned, you won't get digital to look like S8mm in any way that would fool someone who knows a thing or two about shooting and post FXs-- all those filters leave a bit to be desired for the " film look."


Yes exactly. She needs to be honest with her professor. Because there is no way in HELL she'll fool them into thinking her digital is film. To do so would be more expensive than to shoot on film in the first place!

But sadly I doubt she has the conscience or character, given the best response she could muster to my reply was the sort of reply I'd expect from an eight grader, not a college student.
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Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

CineTape

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Glidecam

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Metropolis Post

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery