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Should movie studios dictate what medium a film is shot on?


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#1 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 11:43 PM

I mentioned in one of my last posts that Marvel Studios is likely going to force all of it's future productions to shoot digitally on Codex. Sony also forced Len Wiseman and Paul Cameron, ASC to shoot on Red for Total Recall. So I ask this question, do you think studios should dictate what medium a film is shot on?
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#2 aapo lettinen

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 12:56 AM

It's mainly about workflow and distribution advantages.

 

It's all about money, and making more of it; artistry is supported ONLY if it adds to the commercial value.

Producers are usually thinking about the distribution/end customer, the movie is adjusted to fit to their 

taste and expectations. 

 

Good example is the 3D movie / post conversion nightmare, it is usually made mostly for marketing purposes, 

the artists may not have a choice to complain against it if they want the movie to be made because 3D still has huge marketing value....


Edited by aapo lettinen, 05 July 2013 - 12:58 AM.

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#3 aapo lettinen

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:14 AM

It's not only about making the film YOU want to be made, it's very much about making a film paying audience wants to watch

In the end, end customers pay most of the costs of filmmaking, so it's not possible to make a commercial movie without large audience. 

 

But if you, as the filmmaker, can convince the producers to use your medium of choice to make the movie more enjoyable for the audience (thus earning more money to the studio) , like in The Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, etc. ,

then it's win-win for all of you and better art-house popcorn slick for all of us  ;)


Edited by aapo lettinen, 05 July 2013 - 01:15 AM.

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#4 AndreaAltgayer

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 05:31 AM

The format you shoot on cannot possibly compensate for a weak script.


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#5 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:30 AM

The format you shoot on cannot possibly compensate for a weak script.

 

This is not true. Even the crappiest scripts can be made into a good film.

 

What is actually the case, unfortunately, is that good scripts can compensate for artless film making.

 

C


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#6 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:59 AM

 

This is not true. Even the crappiest scripts can be made into a good film.

C

 

Define good film... An eye-candy, VFX spectacle ride?

 

 

Most of the latest movies out there, for me are what i call  - "for one viewing only".

Less and less keepers.

 

 

I am recently into old B&W movies.
Being watching the old silent and "talkies" by Hitchkock.

Still amazed how that old pictures, done with inferior tech compared to now,

can be still entertaining. :)

 

 

Regards

 

Igor


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#7 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 09:11 AM

 

Define good film... An eye-candy, VFX spectacle ride?

 

This is just my point of view of course ...

 

A good film is firstly a film. For example, a good bicycle, despite being good, is not a good film.

 

A film might be inspired by a novel, or a bicycle or a red balloon, but if there's no emphasis on the film-making aspect it's not going to be a good film. It might just end up as, instead, a good story.

 

Now the reason I say a crappy script can be turned into a good film is because scripts are not fundamentally necessary. You can make a film without a script. You can make a film with one. The script doesn't guarantee anything other than the film can be said to have a good script (or good story if the script is so inclined). It doesn't determine whether the cinematic aspect of a film will be of any value. On the other hand it can. But it's not any guarantee. The guarantee are the film-makers, of which a good scriptwriter can certainly play a part.

 

The thing is that the simplest of scripts can be turned into the greatest of films. Indeed the simplest of ideas can be turned into the greatest of films. And so, in the hands of a good film-maker (I believe) even a crap script can be made into a good film, if with somewhat more difficulty.

 

This is not a proposition for eye-candy. Unless, of course, one thinks eye-candy is good film-making.

 

It's a proposition that a good film begins in the art of film-making, ie. as distinct from, for example, the art of making bicycles, or the art of writing scripts. To this one can then add whatever one likes, including crap scripts, or crap bicycles for that matter.

 

C


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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 10:46 AM

I'm often surprised by how many film industry workers fail to realize that whoever is paying the bills makes the decisions.  If XYZ Studio is financing a project and it's their film, well then they have every right to dictate what medium the film will be shot on.  They also have final say over the script, lead actors, and the final edit.

 

There are a small handful of directors that have a lot of clout and can almost write their own tickets.  But they are in the extreme minority.  Even James Cameron was fired off of Titanic by the studio.  He came back eventually and finished after agreeing to budget changes.

 

The idea that DOPs will dictate to studios what format a film will be shot on is ridiculous.

 

R,


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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:22 AM

The idea that DOPs will dictate to studios what format a film will be shot on is ridiculous.

 

 

They may make suggestions however or have the opportunity to make choices in this regard.

It depends on the situation.

 

They also have the choice to not take the work if they don't wish to do so.

 

Basically the studio has the right to decide, well, whatever they want about their movies, and the DOP's have the right to say "Nah! I'll take a raincheck on that one!"

 

All quite straightforward really.

 

Freya


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#10 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:42 PM

There is no other way around it. Those with their hands on the budget have more say than those with their hands on the focus ring.

 

I finance my own films so I have my hands on the budget (ie. I'm the producer/studio). But I also shoot my own films so I also have a say on how it's made. The difficulty, of course, is when I disagree with myself. I can end up firing myself because I don't have the money to do the film the way I want to do it. I can ask myself why I have the power to do this (to fire myself). My answer to myself would be that there's no other other way around it. I show myself my bank balance and ask myself: have you got a better idea? Fortunately I do. I come up with another way of making a film that fits the budget. I then rehire myself.

 

C


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#11 Matt Stevens

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:09 AM

I would kill to shoot my first feature (which is in the planning stage) on film, but it ain't happening. We just don't have the budget. So we will shoot on the Alexa or RED. In the end, the budget will dictate. The DP is an ALEX fan, but so far the RED is looking cheaper. Especially in Vietnam, where 75% of our film takes place. Such is life. 

 

Should I be lucky enough to make feature #1 and then be given the chance to do feature #2, it will be a combination of film and digital because I wrote it right into the script. Of course, I could be told to 'fake it in post' but hopefully that won't happen.

 

We have to remember that many directors are powerful enough to shoot what they want to shoot. The STAR TREK reboots were shot on film. The next STAR WARS will be shot on film. Many directors prefer it. But then again a number of big name directors have kissed film goodbye and are embracing digital capture. 


Edited by Matt Stevens, 27 August 2013 - 10:11 AM.

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#12 Nicolas Courdouan

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:43 AM

We have to remember that many directors are powerful enough to shoot what they want to shoot. The STAR TREK reboots were shot on film. The next STAR WARS will be shot on film. Many directors prefer it.

 

Sure, the biggest names out there can shoot whatever they want, but I wouldn't say they are "many" though. I'm not sure I'd even venture as far as saying that 5% of the directors working in Hollywood have that kind of power.


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#13 Matt Stevens

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:37 PM

I think that goes without saying. Are we at the point here where we have to explain in absolutely specific detail what we mean? Obviously most directors do what they are told. But there are plenty of directors who can choose their camera and capture format and many are choosing film (or could if they wanted to, but are opting for Alexa, etc.).

 

Kodak would be bankrupt if film was no longer an option. The only reason Kodak can survive at all is that films are still being shot on film. 


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#14 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:35 PM

Marc Webb, who has only directed two films now if you don't count the second Spider-Man film which he is shooting right now is shooting that film on FILM. When Len Wiseman and Paul Cameron wanted to shoot on film for Total Recall last year, Sony made them shoot digitally on Epic. Make sense?
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:28 PM

Two different issues, who makes the rules versus whether the people who make the rules always make sense.
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#16 George Ebersole

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:20 AM

 

This is not true. Even the crappiest scripts can be made into a good film.

 

What is actually the case, unfortunately, is that good scripts can compensate for artless film making.

 

C

 

You can make a decent looking film out of a crappy script, but you can't make a good film out of story short comings.  


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#17 Carl Looper

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:45 PM

 

You can make a decent looking film out of a crappy script, but you can't make a good film out of story short comings.  

 

Not only make a decent looking film but make a decent film, ie. on all levels. The script/story doesn't really tell you how to make the film. If the script is a problem then you interpret it that way - as a problem  - where you can then make the film in such a way that solves that problem. An easier way, of course, is just to rewrite the script/story.

 

C


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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:51 PM

The format you shoot on cannot possibly compensate for a weak script.

Maybe not but using film couldn't hurt!


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#19 George Ebersole

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:07 PM

 

Not only make a decent looking film but make a decent film, ie. on all levels. The script/story doesn't really tell you how to make the film. If the script is a problem then you interpret it that way - as a problem  - where you can then make the film in such a way that solves that problem. An easier way, of course, is just to rewrite the script/story.

 

C

 

I disagree entirely, unless the director can fill in story gaps with shots (or maybe entire scenes or sequences) that carry the narrative forward.  But that's not the forte of a DP, but of a director or screenwriter.

 

There's a lot of B-movies from A-scripts, but I know of few A-movies that succeed *EDIT* on EITHER writing or shots alone.  But maybe you can give some examples.


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#20 Carl Looper

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:30 AM

 

I disagree entirely, unless the director can fill in story gaps with shots (or maybe entire scenes or sequences) that carry the narrative forward.  But that's not the forte of a DP, but of a director or screenwriter.

 

There's a lot of B-movies from A-scripts, but I know of few A-movies that succeded on writing alone.  But maybe you can give some examples.

 

Yes, I'm talking about film-makers rather than DOPs. But otherwise we can say the director. However I would mean by director one that directed all aspects. Of course if they directed everything they could direct a rewrite of the script. So we're talking about a director who has decided to use an otherwise mediocre script for whatever reason. And that is an important point. Why choose a mediocre script if you had the choice? Because even a mediocre script can be turned into a great film.

 

Now there is a complication here. If the director creates a film, that differs from the intent of the script, in order to improve the result, they are, in a sense, altering the "script". In what way can we say the film was using a bad script if it has altered it into a good one? So lets just say the script/story refers to that which is written by a writer on sheets of paper. That which is essentially literary in origin.

 

If a film was just a story there would be no need to make a film. One could just publish the script/story and that would be that. Story told.

 

But that is not what happens. A filmmaker (or film making team) transforms a script/story from words on paper into an experience on the screen. It is in this act of transformation that a film has an opportunity to correct any problems in what the script is otherwise suggesting should be the film.

 

As to the question of A movies that succeeded on script alone, I don't know of any. I wasn't suggesting such happens. What I was suggesting is that an otherwise artless film can be improved by a good script. I wasn't suggesting it would be an ace film. But what I was also suggesting is that an ace film can be made from a crap script (or lets just say an otherwise mediocre artless script).

 

Examples.

 

Hmmm. Look at any number of films otherwise written by the same writer. And assume, for arguments sake, that the merits of each story were more or less the same (rather than suggesting they were crap or great). What we will see is that the films will vary greatly in terms of how they've interpreted the scripts.

 

I don't want to suggest Stephen King is a crap writer (on the contrary) but what of all the films based on a King story? Some are poop. Some are great. Some are brilliant. Is it the stories that varied in quality? To some extent they could be, but more the case is just how the film-makers went about transforming the stories into a film.

 

As for poop scripts that have made great films, I wouldn't want to say. Even if all poop stories were poop films I'd hold the the film-makers responsible for that.

 

C


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