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#1 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 02:57 AM

Hey everyone,

This Fall I more than likely will have the opportunity to DP a short film that will be shot in Super 16mm. Now, I have a fair amount of experience with lighting and cameras like RED, DSLRs, Panasonic, a little Alexa, etc., but I was wondering if any seasoned film DPs had any general tips or insights about shooting film for the first time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Matthew Greiner

ps. I posted this before in General Discussion and I think because it was in the wrong category I did not receive very many responses. Hopefully, now I will get more insight.
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#2 Chris Burke

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:26 PM

Hey everyone,

This Fall I more than likely will have the opportunity to DP a short film that will be shot in Super 16mm. Now, I have a fair amount of experience with lighting and cameras like RED, DSLRs, Panasonic, a little Alexa, etc., but I was wondering if any seasoned film DPs had any general tips or insights about shooting film for the first time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Matthew Greiner

ps. I posted this before in General Discussion and I think because it was in the wrong category I did not receive very many responses. Hopefully, now I will get more insight.



I'd recommend testing camera, lenses and stocks. Learn to use a light meter. Lots of the workflow is the same. The biggest difference is the lack of the instant feedback. That is why shooting some and seeing what is what first is a good thing. If you can do a test all the way through your workflow, that will shed a lot of light. I guess learning to expose film and how it reacts to light is the thing to learn before your shoot. Good thing is, the latest emulsions like 7219 and 7213 are incredible stocks. 7219 is virtually fool proof with tons of under and over exposure latitude. Lots to say and add, but just get out there and shoot some.
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#3 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

I'd recommend testing camera, lenses and stocks. Learn to use a light meter. Lots of the workflow is the same. The biggest difference is the lack of the instant feedback. That is why shooting some and seeing what is what first is a good thing. If you can do a test all the way through your workflow, that will shed a lot of light. I guess learning to expose film and how it reacts to light is the thing to learn before your shoot. Good thing is, the latest emulsions like 7219 and 7213 are incredible stocks. 7219 is virtually fool proof with tons of under and over exposure latitude. Lots to say and add, but just get out there and shoot some.


Thanks for the help Chris! Yesterday, I spoke to my Cinematography professor and he encouraged me to overexpose all of the interior/night scenes by a full stop if I can and then bring them back down in post in order to reduce grain so I'll probably do that. Do you know what a good standard ratio is in terms of how much film to have on hand vs. how many total minutes the projects aims to finish at? The short film is 6 pages long and will be no longer than 10 minutes on screen.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:16 PM

I'd probably go with more like 2/3rds of a stop; and then only if you're on 500T.

Normally you work out a ratio. Typical is something like 12:1, 12 min of film for each 1 finished minute.. if you're being luxurious. If you're really scrapping by; you can try to get down to the 7:1 or the 5:1 range... but it's not ideal..
If you're trying to save film; just rehearse before you roll; get it down, and then do it. Also don't ever do just 1 take; always go for 2 if possible, and remember to check the gate before moving on!
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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:19 PM

A good standard ratio for S16 is a 400 foot mag per page. 6 mags, you might want to get an even 2000' or 5 mags.
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#6 jackson defa

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:35 PM

Have Fun!! you're shooting film! It's always a magical experience. remember your latitude is much greater into the highlights... and somewhat more forgiving into the shadows as well. Since it's your first time just have fun and get your exposure right and you don't have anything to worry about other than that.
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:40 PM

A good colorist friend of mine always says more light. Get it where you like it then add 30% more (he would probably say double it.) But that comes from him having to deal with video & film shot with not enough light all day long. He can darken things easily without adding noise or grain, but if you try to lighten something that doesn't have enough light you'll be less happy with the results.

This is of course obvious, but something basic to keep in the back of your mind.
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#8 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 01:34 AM

I'd probably go with more like 2/3rds of a stop; and then only if you're on 500T.

Normally you work out a ratio. Typical is something like 12:1, 12 min of film for each 1 finished minute.. if you're being luxurious. If you're really scrapping by; you can try to get down to the 7:1 or the 5:1 range... but it's not ideal..
If you're trying to save film; just rehearse before you roll; get it down, and then do it. Also don't ever do just 1 take; always go for 2 if possible, and remember to check the gate before moving on!


Adrien,

Thanks for your response. I don't think 12:1 is feasible given the budget. The script is 6 pages (the run time will be 10 minutes max, likely less), but somewhat dense in scene direction and considerably light in dialogue. So, my theory is that we won't necessarily need as much film as a typical, more dialogue involved script. If it's not unreasonable, we were hoping to shoot 8:1 making sure to rehearse all shots thoroughly before rolling on anything. My director seems confident that his actors won't need a whole lot of takes to nail their performances. Does this sound realistic?

Thanks for the tip about checking the gate. I'm thinking of shooting 200T & 250D entirely and not 500T. About 70% of the script is daytime/evening exteriors while the other portion is interior. I'd like to avoid using a faster stock in order to keep as tight of a grain structure as possible if I can. Are you saying you'd recommend not overexposing at all if shooting at optimal exposure at a slower stock?
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#9 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 01:46 AM

Another question I have, if anybody with experience could chime in here, is how much more noticeable would grain be if the final print was cropped to a 2:4 or 1.85: 1 aspect ratio? Super 16mm is 1.66: 1. I know the the grain will be enlarged, but I'm wondering if it will be noticeable (esp. in larger projection) to the point where I should rule it out completely.
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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 06:57 AM

cropped and enlarged to 2.4, you are going to see grain. 1.85 not so much. Over expose at least by 2/3 a stop, always. You can take out lots of the grain in post and it can look quite good, just don't over do the process, it starts to look fake.
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:06 AM

8:1 is doable.
I personally only over expose 500T by 2/3 of a stop 200T -- the old 7217-- by about 1/2 a stop, and anything slower than 200T I rate as it's rated.
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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:08 AM

I forgot to add that during projection is about the only time a 500 speed film will show grain and even that can be mitigated. Most of the time, people will be watching your film on smaller screens where a faster stock won't matter. Shooting a 500 speed film will be a much better choice for interiors and night shots. I would shoot with a combo of 500T and 250D, you'll love it. If grain is really and issue, I would recommend shooting on 7213 for everything. It is a 2ooT stock that has lots of latitude, very tight grain and works very well with night shots. It goes into black/shadow very cleanly. Very modern and sexy looking with modern glass.
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#13 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:35 PM

I forgot to add that during projection is about the only time a 500 speed film will show grain and even that can be mitigated. Most of the time, people will be watching your film on smaller screens where a faster stock won't matter. Shooting a 500 speed film will be a much better choice for interiors and night shots. I would shoot with a combo of 500T and 250D, you'll love it. If grain is really and issue, I would recommend shooting on 7213 for everything. It is a 2ooT stock that has lots of latitude, very tight grain and works very well with night shots. It goes into black/shadow very cleanly. Very modern and sexy looking with modern glass.


Thanks Chris! The thing is that when it's all finished, the project will be shown on a large scale, theater projection system so grain is an issue. I know that afterward it will most likely be seen on the internet on Vimeo and Youtube, but its initial presentation will be large. So, I think I may do as you said and shoot 200T for the entirety of the shoot and simply use an 80A filter the exteriors. I spoke with my professor again today and he recommended doing so as well since the 200T is supposed to be a better stock overall than the 250D and having multiple stocks for such a minuscule amount of difference would complicate things unnecessarily.
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#14 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:38 PM

use an 85 or 85ND? for exterior not an 80a
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#15 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:35 PM

use an 85 or 85ND? for exterior not an 80a


Correct. I had my numbers mixed up.
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#16 Naum Doksevski

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:58 AM

Hi Matthew, nice to see this topic, because I m prepearing to shoot my final exam on super 16m.. some of the comments helped me lot.. Now i would like to ask you with which camera will you shoot (or maybe you already did). Im now looking for super 16m camera and want to be not so much expensive because i m doin' it without big budget :) Also for the others, if you have any advice about the camera, wuold be very grateful. Tnx.

Naum
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#17 Anthony Kennedy

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

Hi Matthew, nice to see this topic, because I m prepearing to shoot my final exam on super 16m.. some of the comments helped me lot.. Now i would like to ask you with which camera will you shoot (or maybe you already did). Im now looking for super 16m camera and want to be not so much expensive because i m doin' it without big budget :) Also for the others, if you have any advice about the camera, wuold be very grateful. Tnx.

Naum

The only s16mm camera I've used has been aaton xtr and it was an absolute delight. Especially if you plan on doing anything handheld. It actually feels like it is an extension of your body.

Listen to other's advice though, because I've only shot on bolex and digital other than my one aaton experience.
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#18 Chris Burke

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:41 PM

Look around for a rental house that is student friendly. I would say that Aatons usually rent for less than Arris. Also, since you are in Europe, look into Fuji, they have very cheap prices at the moment in Europe.
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#19 Paul Korver

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

I'm thinking of shooting 200T & 250D entirely and not 500T. About 70% of the script is daytime/evening exteriors while the other portion is interior. I'd like to avoid using a faster stock in order to keep as tight of a grain structure as possible if I can. Are you saying you'd recommend not overexposing at all if shooting at optimal exposure at a slower stock?


Matthew - we do high rez DI scanning and feature film tests with A LOT of S16mm from every stock imaginable and project on a 24' screen from Barco 4K projector so I am very familiar with film stocks, grain, emulsions etc.

First of all congrats on shooting film. Once you go Kodak you may never go back. Second I'd say shoot 250D outdoors up to and including dusk (most DPs we've worked with like the look of 250D over 200T in daylight-lit side-by-sides. You might even want to try the new-ish V3 50D 7203 for well lit exteriors for the finest grain possible. Inside at night... unless you can afford a pretty heavy lighting package I'd go 500T over 200T.


Another question I have, if anybody with experience could chime in here, is how much more noticeable would grain be if the final print was cropped to a 2:4 or 1.85: 1 aspect ratio? Super 16mm is 1.66: 1. I know the the grain will be enlarged, but I'm wondering if it will be noticeable (esp. in larger projection) to the point where I should rule it out completely.


The best way to maximize Super 16mm resolution and get to 2.40 would be to get a set of S16mm 1.33 or 1.5x anamorphics. They are rare and the Hawk version is very expensive (I think Panavision Hollywood has some non-hawks kicking around). We did a film last year called "From The Head" that was shot S16mm anamorphic with the set from Panny and it looked great.

If you're not going to go anamorphic and you're just working from a 2k scan from spherical lenses then the perceived graininess on screen depends on the native aspect ratio of the screen you're projecting on. If it's a 1.85 native screen then grain would be the same between 1.85 and 2.40 (just different cropping). If it's native 2.40 then then a 1.85 version would be perceived less grainy only because the picture would get smaller on the screen relative to the audience. Make sense?

-Paul
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#20 zachary sala

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

Always get your exposure from light meter never from videotap.
Have a final stage plan, HD scan or 35mm blow up and pricing choices to follow.

I helped a friend with his arri s16 shoot this last weekend and he had to yet to know the large amount of money to use the film correctly as many people think it might fit in a standard 16mm telecine.
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Visual Products

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