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Advice needed on anamorphic with 3 perf 35mm film


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#1 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 10:54 AM

I'm going to be directing a film early 2014. I want to shoot anamorphic.

 

But to save on cost I know we'd need to shoot 3 perf film.

 

I know that you can use the Hawk 1.3x squeeze lenses with 3 perf film. But nowhere nearby has the lenses and so it would be costly to have them shipped from Berlin.

 

Also, I really like the look of the Panavision C Series lenses. Can 2x squeeze anamorphics be used with 3 perf film? I remember watching a Kodak video on youtube about the film 'Get Low' and at the bottom of the screen it said it was shot on 3 perf film and the director talked about using anamorphic lenses. I look it up on IMDB and it was shot on Pana lenses, but it doesn't seem to say anything about 3 perf film.

 

Any info on this would be a great help. Thanks.


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#2 Simon Wyss

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 11:57 AM

Why not Techniscope? 2-perf advance and spherical lenses might keep you well within budget. As long as you have enough light, low-speed negative stock will yield a decent quality, grain-wise. My dime


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 12:14 PM

If you use a 2x anamorphic lens on 3-perf it would be like using it on a 16x9 sensor, you'd end up with a 3.56 : 1 image unstretched that would have to be cropped to 2.40 : 1. And you'd have to get a special groundglass drawn for that framing.
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#4 David Cunningham

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 12:48 PM

I say if you want wide screen, go 2-perf.  You save on film, lenses, post work of unsqueeze, etc.  Really the only draw back I can think of is the reduced resolution and increased grain.  But, if you're talking about Vision3 films in the 50D, 250D, and 200T formats, it will be negligible.  The 500T stock might be a bit harder to deal with in 2-perf.  

 

Anyone know of someplace to rent a 2-perf techniscope setup for personal use in the Boston area?  Not a production, just cause I want to.  :)


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#5 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 01:23 PM

I'm looking at anamorphic for the flares as well as the wide screen.

 

I like the older anamorphic look. The Hawks are nice, but very clean and I've heard they show almost no flare. I know you can add their flare filter, but it's just not the same.

 

I've also heard Hawk is coming out with a new Vintage 74 anamorphic, but I can't find any info on them. If they worked with 3 perf film then it might be exactly what I'm looking for.


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 01:54 PM

The new anamorphic lenses are very flare proofed these days. Might make more sense to go with 2perf and blue streak filters... probably cheaper too and you can work at much wider F stops. Else I'd go 2 squeeze 4 perf. But that costs...


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#7 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:56 PM

If the classic anamorphic look is what you're going for then using 1.3x lenses isn't going to give you the results you want imho. If you can afford to shoot 3 perf then I'm sure with a bit of compromise here and there you could probably make a 4perf anamorphic package work for the same budget. Panavision are great about helping people out in that regard provided you're not trying to shoot when it's crazy busy with bigger anamorphic jobs, and provided you're willing to work with them on the package. As a dp I'd rather have an older body like a g2 and a handful of primes then a newer body with 1.3x lenses.
For what it's worth I've had a brief look at the vintage 74 lenses and while theyre nicer then the hawk c series they don't compare to the panavision c series. Or the e series/Primos/HS/g series/xtals etc. they're a nice option to have but for me Panavision is the only way to go when hooting anamorphic - they really know that format backwards and it shows, at least in my experience anyway.
I'm shooting a low budget feature next year that won't have more then 1.25 mil euros and were managing to make 4perf panavision anamorphic work so it is possible. Best of luck!
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#8 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:58 AM

I guess the best thing to do is work out a deal that makes everyone happy. The guy at Panavision that I spoke to seemed happy to work out a deal would would work with our budget.

 

I remember hearing that Jeff Nichols shot Shotgun Stories on 4 perf anamorphic. The films entire budget was 68k.

 

So if he can pull it off...there's no excuse for anybody!


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:33 AM

For years, 3-perf wasn't really an option -- I shot a 4-perf 35mm movie with a budget of $100,000 once.  You just have to shoot 25% less footage and your costs will be the same as shooting in 3-perf!


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#10 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 02:08 PM

Good point. And our budget is quite a bit more than that. So it should be possible.


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#11 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:41 PM

Okay, since I'm a first time director I don't know the ins and outs of these formats in terms of cost. So if any of you DoPs who have shot both Alexa and 3 Perf, 2 perf can help out that would be great.

 

My producer is now pushing Alexa as the main format for the film. I don't want to shoot any digital format. I've been there and have only nightmare stories about cameras over heating, losing files for no reason etc. I'm told Alexa is more stable but I've seen a number of big movies shot on it lately and felt like I was watching TV. Don't mean to offend anyone who likes the format. But right now I'd even shoot super 16mm rather than digital if I had to.

 

So the main issue is there is a 7 year old child in the film, a scene with a horse and the child later falls into water. This happens at dusk.

 

Child + animal + water + nightwork = worried producer

 

Is it just me or since there's been all this hype about digital working great in low light people seem to believe film can't handle the dark?

 

Anyway, since I'll be shooting in Ireland we have to take into account the fact that we have to ship the film to London to print and scan. So I'm being pushed towards Alexa because 'there's no money rolling through the camera'. And 'you'll only be able to shoot x amount of coverage...and will that be enough?' 'You have to wait a couple of days to see what you've got...it could come back out of focus or damaged by the lab'.

 

So I wonder how 3 perf and 2 perf holds up against the Alexa cost wise. I have heard some say that 2 perf is actually cheaper. I know there are alot of factors to be taken into account. We will do a DI. Will shooting film lessen the time needed in a DI?

 

I know camera wise an XL2 or Arricam LT will be half the rental cost of the Alexa. I know that I can get a great deal on Fuji Film stock because there's a company in the UK called Frame 24 who are selling off the last 2 million feet of Fuji film - at great prices - as cheap as Kodaks 16mm in fact.

 

But if you have shot 3 perf, or 2 perf did you find it was easy to do that cheaper than Alexa? Or did you have to lose alot to gain the chance to shoot film?


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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:47 PM

I've shot 3 perf, but never did a side-by side cost comparison. As a general rule, it will be similar in cost, but you'll have to sit down with the producer and go over all of the numbers. I also don't know the numbers for the UK. 2- perf will be the cheapest film option there is as it's 1/2 the stock so also 1/2 the development for the same amount of time as compared with 4-perf, and, generally you can get a better deal on a film camera rental, especially if they are not in demand.

 

Alexa won't matter in terms of the horse/water/dusk thing in the least really. In fact it may slow you down if you have to set up a video village and all the crap for it. In essence you have x time to capture the scene no matter what format you shoot on, and then the light is gone.

 

I will say, if you are the director, and you want to shoot film, then you need to sit down with your producer and inform them that you want to shoot film and you want them to do all they can to make this happen.

It may work, it may not work.

You also should be calling around labs and rental houses on your own to get your own numbers to go over with the producer.

 

 

Now, in terms of digital cameras-- the only one I would trust is an Alexa. But then again, dealing with all that data is neither easy nor cheap. Are they factoring in the costs for a DIT and LTO tape backups for your "free" footage?

Both films will have to hit a color correction/di stage the only difference really being you need to scan the film negative after development. But again, you'd have to get numbers from your post house as there really isn't "x" cost published. I've gotten some great deals and some not to great deals.


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#13 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:41 AM

I think a lot of these are questions you should really get your DP involved with because it boils down to taste and how you both like to work. Personally I'd take 2 perf or 3 perf over any digital camera for aesthetic and practical reasons, even if that meant shooting less takes. If you shoot film in Ireland you'll get a lab report the following morning from the uk for anything you've shot the previous day up until lunchtime. Something being out of focus or damaged by the lab is a risk you run on any film shoot regardless of where you shoot or what your budget is. Digital capture has its own disadvantages. In my experience shooting film or digital balances out cost wise more or less above a budget of a certain size provided you don't need to shoot dozens of takes for everything, so I'd always argue the merits of film if that's the aesthetic you want.

As one last bit of advice, from personal experience in Ireland, make sure when the producer is showing you costs for alexa that they are referring to alexa/codex not alexa/prores - there are quite a few Line producers over there that don't care about the difference. It makes a big difference to both quality and cost and that's when you'll start to see the film costs balancing with digital.
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#14 Joseph OMalley

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 05:27 AM

Have you had footage come back out of focus or damaged?

 

Yeah, I think there's quite a few producers here that couldn't care less what it looks like. I've heard it said quite a few times that because of the large file size the arri codex actually costs more to shoot than film. When you consider the deals that Panavision, Kodak and labs are willing to give you.

 

I've spoken to a few rental houses...none of them will give you a deal on Alexa. Full price or nothing.


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#15 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 07:58 AM

Over the course of my career yes I've had footage come back damaged and out of focus occasionally but in all honesty I've lost more footage on digital shoots in the last five years then on all of my film shoots combined. It's just a risk you have to take with film and you can insure against it by hiring a good focus puller and giving them the time they need to get the marks they need to get the shot you want. Damage at the labs happens - its not a common thing but it happens occasionally.
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