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Mixing 16mm and 35mm stocks

Film stock 16mm 35mm

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#1 Steven Holloway

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 01:15 PM

Hello,

 

I am preparing to shoot a project where I what to use both 16mm and 35mm stocks.  The plan is to shoot the CS to MS sized shots in16mm (7203) and the wider angle shots in 35mm. I am looking for advice about which 35mm stock to use that will best match the 16mm 7203 in grain, contrast and color.   Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

 

Steven Holloway

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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 01:44 PM

Honestly, 35mm works so much better in the CU/MS because it's a lot easier to get nice shallow depth of field. It's harder to get that with 16mm unless you resort to longer lenses and keep them all the way open. Big wide landscape shots, depth of field really isn't a consideration because no matter what the format, you'll probably be set to infinity focus and stop down.

 

If you're going to do a digital finish, I wouldn't worry so much about stock matching color wise. So then it's really only down to the grain structure, of which 500 doesn't look even remotely close. So even though 500 has more grain, it's a different looking grain structure then 50D. 

 

Honestly, if it were my film, I'd shoot one format or the other. However, the other way you can do it is to use one format for one scene and another for a different scene to set the mood of the particular scene. I've seen this used before in a few films and it worked really well. This way, the audience doesn't really catch onto the trick because it can be distracting to change formats in the same scene. It's not such a big deal with larger frame systems like going from 35mm to 65mm, but when you're dealing with a super small image like S16, it's a bit more noticeable. 


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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 04:43 PM

Hello,
 
I am preparing to shoot a project where I what to use both 16mm and 35mm stocks.  The plan is to shoot the CS to MS sized shots in16mm (7203) and the wider angle shots in 35mm. I am looking for advice about which 35mm stock to use that will best match the 16mm 7203 in grain, contrast and color.   Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  Thank you.
 
Steven Holloway
steven@shfilms.com 


I would just use the same stock, so 5203 in 35mm. Color and contrast will match, but obviously the grain will be different because the 16mm negative is so much smaller. If you want the grain to match as well, then you might as well shoot it all on 16mm.
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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 October 2015 - 06:08 PM

I'm curious as to why you want to shoot different gauges for certain shots...all of which will most likely be in the same scene and create a noticeable difference in picture.  While it may work thematically, I'd stick with one format to make it easier and just try to manipulate the image from there.  Something like using softer lenses for the close-ups & mediums shots with a push-process, and sharper glass with normal processing for wide-shots.  Or if you're finishing digitally, you could scan the wide-shots at 4K and the CU/MS at 2K.


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#5 Steven Holloway

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 02:42 PM

Thanks everyone for your great suggestions and information!  Very helpful!

 

Whenever I shoot 16mm I'm always a bit disappointed with the wide shots and the noticeable lack of detail.  The hope is that with the 35mm would solve that problem.  I'm thinking, what if I used the same 03 stock (16mm and 35mm) and pushed the 35mm a stop to two?

 

Steven Holloway

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www.shfilms.com


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 04:42 PM

"City of God" and "The Constant Gardener" did just that, shoot their wides on 35mm (MOS) and the rest on Super-16.  I think it's a good idea if you can afford it -- I've seen some Super-16 blow-ups in theaters and the close-ups always look plenty sharp, it's the wides where you miss some of the resolution of 35mm.

 

I'd just use a faster stock for the 35mm, not push it for grain since that also raises the contrast, base fog level, and shifts the colors and blacks.  Or just shoot normally on the same stock and add 16mm grain to the 35mm image in the D.I.

 

You can make the 35mm look a little more like the Super-16 by stopping down for more depth of field and perhaps using a softer lens like a zoom.


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#7 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 10:23 PM

pretty cool idea please share your work when your done. I am pretty curious to see how it turns out. 


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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 01:26 AM

Just playing devil's advocate - wouldn't using a grainier stock or a softer lens take away the sharpness you were looking for by shooting 35mm for the wides in the first place?

Totally agree about lacking the extra sharpness in the wides on smaller formats, btw.
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 04:46 AM

Can be a budget thing, you can shoot more Super 16, so allowing a higher shooting ratio for performances. Or, a lower profile on locations


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 10:36 AM

Just playing devil's advocate - wouldn't using a grainier stock or a softer lens take away the sharpness you were looking for by shooting 35mm for the wides in the first place?

Totally agree about lacking the extra sharpness in the wides on smaller formats, btw.

 

Just depends on how much of a difference you want to create, since 35mm has almost 4X the surface area over 16mm, I think even with a softer lens and a grainier stock, it is still going to be sharper and less grainy than the 16mm.  I've seen wide shots in some Super-16 movies that look like they are out-of-focus compared to the coverage due to the lack of resolution.  On the other hand, "Moonrise Kingdom" had plenty of wide shots in Super-16 that looked great.

 

I'd probably live with Super-16 for everything... but if there were some super wide establishing shot, it may be a good idea to shoot that in 35mm if it doesn't hurt your budget.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 01:15 PM

Hey David, could the problem with wide shots on S16 be directly attributed to the glass? 

 

I think 'Moonrise Kingdom' used Xtera with modern 35mm Zeiss superspeeds and as you pointed out, it didn't have many problems with the wide shots. I also didn't see very many problems with 'Hurt Locker' or 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' either. 


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 01:49 PM

Could just be that modern D.I.'s using scanned Super-16 (especially with Vision-3 stocks) have gotten better...


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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 01:14 AM

Interesting article on the use of 16mm for "Suffragette":

http://www.definitio...264mhm85691o4zu


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#14 Jeff L'Heureux

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 02:40 AM

Quoted in

 

Interesting article on the use of 16mm for "Suffragette":

http://www.definitio...264mhm85691o4zu

Quoted in that article:

 

“On 16mm because they (the lenses) are so sharp, they look very good. So it was a small camera with a small zoom that we could hand hold forever. You don’t need a lot of things to shoot with it and I told the camera operators on the second unit and they didn’t believe me until they tried it for themselves. They had forgotten how easy it was to shoot on film and it affected your attitude to film making."

 

I can definitely attest to their statement.  I was ecstatic about the portability and ergonomics of shooting on the 416 on my most recent feature.  It's perfectly designed to rest on the shoulder for handheld, and is probably one of the lightest, quietest film cameras out there.  I had complete freedom of movement, no cables, and a single battery lasted an entire day of shooting for me as long as I turned off the camera during long pauses.  To further remove cables, we mic'd up the actors wirelessly too so no boom mics getting in the way.  It allowed us to work all over Paris in extremely tight environments such as the metro, cramped tourist trams, and even the stairwell of the Eiffel Tower.

 

When I have some completed footage, I'll post some of what we were able to do with this camera on a very modest budget, but I can't sing its praises enough.  It's a keeper.

 

QK8mE5T.jpg


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#15 Steven Holloway

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 09:56 PM

Thank you everyone for contributing to this discussion.  Your ideas and comments have been very helpful.  

 

In my research, I came across this Kodak test using a variety of stocks and film formats:   Although I though the overall video looked a bit soft, it gave me a rough idea what to expect when mixing the two formats.

 

My plan is run some tests using your suggestions. Thank you Satsuki for your suggestion not to push the 35mm stock to get more grain, that it was going to shift the color and contrast.  I'm also going to try zooming into the 35mm in post and see what happens.  I will post the results.

 

No matter what, I still plan to shoot at least the last scene in the film in 35mm which is a super wide shot.

 

Thanks again!

 

Steven Holloway

Laurel, Maryland

www.shfilms.com


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#16 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 12:04 AM

Thank you Satsuki for your suggestion not to push the 35mm stock to get more grain, that it was going to shift the color and contrast.


That was David Mullen, not me :)
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