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Suicide Squad on 16mm


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#1 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 03:51 AM

So I just saw Suicide Squad in its 9th or so week of running and thought parts of the film could have really benefited from some added grime-like aesthetic.

 

If you've seen it, a lot of the interaction took place in a dark, rainy, deserted city. Shooting on 16mm instead of 35 could've given a little more creative punch to this block buster (maybe save a tiny bit of budget as well, although that'd depend on their take ratio).

 

I've seen major features like The Big Short switch between shooting methods (digtal-to-35) to establish various environments and eras, does anyone else feel even the big action flicks could benefit from that area of creativity?

 

Is there a reason that might be a horrible idea for those productions?

 

Thanks for any input.

 

 


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#2 Manu Delpech

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 04:57 AM

Come on. A 200 million DC/WB movie shot on super 16? Super 16 imo is great for indie features, or for specific situations, ie the first act in Steve Jobs, or to replicate the feeling of the 60s in Love & Mercy, that kind of thing, was also used a little in Jason Bourne although I didn't see it, but used as the main format on a big movie? Nah. Doug Liman (and Vasyanov, Suicide Squad's DP) shot The Wall for Amazon completely on super 16, but that's not a big budget, and it's basically a cat and mouse shootout between two snipers.

 

Unless you mean shooting parts of it on super 16, but that would be too jarring imo, the grain on super 16 is just so thick and intrusive, and its aesthetic is incredibly specific, that's why I think it's used so little overall. 2 perf is not that much more expensive and is something else. 


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#3 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 05:30 AM

Sorry I sort of implied only 16mm use for those dark city parts. But yeah not the entire feature. Clean 16mm doesn't look all that jarring to me. For example there's 16 shorts on Youtube that aren't necessarily done by masters but at the same time don't feature the amount of artifacts one would expect.

 


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:27 AM

I read that Tony Scott wanted to shoot "Man on Fire" in Super-16 but the studio wouldn't allow it. Probably the vfx supervisors on "Suicide Squad" would object too if these shots needed a lot of post manipulation to add or replace things.

You can make 35mm look pretty gritty and grainy if you wanted to.
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#5 Manu Delpech

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:52 AM

Not surprised, and yeah, ILM for example was really happy they shot on anamorphic 35mm for The Force Awakens as it allows them a lot of flexibility. I just feel super 16 is not sophisticated enough, it has a raw beauty to it, but it's too dirty for me.


Edited by Manu Delpech, 17 September 2016 - 09:53 AM.

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#6 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 11:03 AM

I remember reading the same about "The Fighter" - production barred 16mm, so they shot 2-perf. But we can also look to major releases of the past few years that went entirely with it: "Hurt Locker", "Black Swan", "The Wrestler", "Carol".
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#7 Manu Delpech

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 11:55 AM

Major releases, not "big" movies. 


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 11:36 PM

"Machine Gun Preacher", "Beasts of the Southern Wild", "Moonrise Kingdom", "Fruitvale Station", "Anthropoid".

Plus at least a dozen more movies that have a lot of 16mm scenes within a 35mm or digital framework. There are also another dozen or so completely 16mm films made in other countries and have made money.

16mm has a bad wrap because it's very noisy when using higher ISO stocks. In my opinion, the only way to make it look acceptable is to shoot at 50ISO, do a 4k scan of the original negative and tell the stupid distributor it was shot on 35mm and it's just grainy.
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#9 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 12:06 AM

United 93 also I believe.. apart from a look.. I think for United 93 and hurt locker it was also about space and ease of hand holding..and the much smaller  10-1 zooms you can put on the camera.. horses for courses.. I dont think either suffered visually.. or Carol with a very different "feel"..  

 

I read all the big car chase of Jason Bourne was shot digitally due to the SFX needed.. the second unit rebelled against film .. and also they wanted to see play back.. 

 

I shot some of the BTS.. of Jumper.. and it seems Doug Liman has his own little S16 camera and whips it out and does a few shots every now and then.. whether they got used or not is another story :)


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 19 September 2016 - 12:20 AM.

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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 04:02 AM

I'm not sure that s16 shot at ISO 50 would actually look that much more grainy than some kinds of 35.

 

Black Swan was largely 16, of course.

 

P


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#11 Manu Delpech

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 06:34 AM

It still doesn't have the definition of 35. Super 16 is really soft, in the best conditions, it can be crisper but still super soft compared to 2 perf 35mm.


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#12 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 09:48 AM

I had a S16 production that used 50D stock to shoot sunlit exteriors in Greece. The cameraman had to do some reshoots and used his own 35mm camera. It was an older Cameflex with vintage lenses. After seeing the results he regretted his decision. 


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#13 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 10:21 AM

Vintage lenses.. he could have tripled his rate and re shot the whole thing ..   :)


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:22 AM

United 93 also I believe..


United 93 was 35mm, with certain moments in 16mm.
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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:31 AM

It still doesn't have the definition of 35. Super 16 is really soft, in the best conditions, it can be crisper but still super soft compared to 2 perf 35mm.


Well sure, but "crispness" really does come from lensing and ISO. Again, if your shooting 500 ISO on 16mm, you're asking for softness. If you shoot 50 ISO, it looks much better and you CAN get crispness out of it. People just don't shoot that way, so it's hard/rare to give you an example of what that could look like.

I'm not sure that s16 shot at ISO 50 would actually look that much more grainy than some kinds of 35.


It doesn't... in fact, I've done quite a bit of 50 ISO testing recently and it looks great. When I have the time/money, I will transfer some of it so you guys can see. :)
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#16 Manu Delpech

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 12:55 PM

You can find great looking 50 ASA 16mm footage online, but it still doesn't compare to 2 perf 35mm. It's not even really a budgeting issue, 2 perf 35mm is barely more expensive. 


Edited by Manu Delpech, 19 September 2016 - 12:55 PM.

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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 01:35 PM

Yea, but again... the variables of what you see online are too great. The only way to do a real proper test is to do a real proper test. You can't really compare with random clips from multiple sources, not fully knowing the workflow that went behind them and of course, not having a calibrated high-quality display system.

Obviously 2 perf 35mm has less grain then 16mm for similar frame aspect ratio, but I was only commenting on 16mm's ability to look "crisp" because it CAN, especially with today's technology. I just feel people who shoot with it, aren't interested in that look.
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#18 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 02:38 PM

I agree with Tyler on this one... 50D can definitely look very crisp, but I'd take it one step further and say that so too can 250D or 200T with the right exposure, lenses, and scanning. Scanners and compression make a huge difference. 


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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 03:04 PM

Scanners make a much bigger difference on S16 then 35mm. Not very many scanners use the full imager on S16, so you're already "cropping" the digital side of things.

Plus, a lot of the older S16 movies, where blown up photochemically and finished on 35mm. There is actually a loss of "crispness" during that process as well.

I made a thread about the movie Anthropoid not looking very good, but most of that was due to the filmmakers not using much light and pushing the format to places it shouldn't be going. Plus it was finished in 2k, so it was a jagged/pixilated mess of digital disgustingness.

If you're gonna shoot 16mm and you want it to look good, you've gotta use modern glass and you've gotta light the crap out of it so you don't have to push the stock in post. You've then gotta scan it using a machine that uses the full imager and use a full 4k workflow from start to finish. Then you'll have "crispness" just like 35mm.
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#20 Mark Sperry

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:58 AM

Back to the OP, I've really enjoyed the last few years of seeing formats used almost completely for aesthetic reasons over cost.  There were all the films that Tyler mentioned shot on Super 16 (Moonrise Kingdom was drop-dead gorgeous on screen), and even on TV the Walking Dead  is still Super 16 (though I think the Cable TV compression makes it a little ugly and mushy), even as it's spinoff went digital.  Then on the other side of that we have Dunkirk coming in completely shot on 70mm and we had Tarantino resurrecting a basically obsolete format and distributing projectors for it.  There is some really cool stuff out there!  I might be in a minority here but I think I can see the difference in formats even when just viewing a good HD copy at home on my TV.  You can tell what parts of Batman were in 70mm, and Moonrise Kingdom doesn't devolve into mush, it looks great.  Digital is kind of the great leveler as far as formats go, which is kind of boring in comparison (I'm no film purist but I like it see it shot as much as possible).  


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