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#1 gustavius smith

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 05:16 PM

My silent b&w short is inspired by Charles Bowers' "The Wild Roomer" (1927) or "He done his Best" 1925. The entire short will be shot inside in a closed studio.
Can I use a digital camera like the XL1? If so how will I get the desired results?
If film is the only option what type of film stock should I use?
What kind of lighting set up will be required?
Are there any special processing techniques that will have to be done?
Has anyone tried to do this before?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 07:24 PM

Hi,

I shot and treated a whole load of footage (and titles, graphics, et al) for a 1920s look for a production of the stage musical Singin' in the Rain. It's posted somewhere else on the forum, do a search. Briefly, I shot about a stop under to hold highlights as usual for drama on video, and recovered correct midtone exposure in post. I then applied a degree of flicker, jump and weave, vignetting, and a small amount of dirt and scratches. This was appropriate but not accurate; what I produced was much worse than a 1920s movie would have looked on first projection at the time, but it conjoured up the era effectively. It depends what you're trying to do; if you're trying to make something that's just evocative without having any need for it to be period accurate, you can do what you like.

Phil
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 08:09 PM

Obviously starting out by shooting in b&w film would go a long way towards that look without resorting to a lot of post digital tricks; you have a bigger hurdle to jump by shooting in video, particularly interlaced-scan video. But if the final product is only for the small screen, it may be possible to take 24P footage and process it digitally for more of a Silent Era look, but you'd have to shoot what's IN FRONT of the camera in that style as well. Even though later Silent Era movies were shot closer to 24 fps, using a lower frame rate like 16 fps (i.e. using a film camera) may help in creating that look.
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#4 Brian Wells

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 11:31 PM

One comment about motion:

If you happen to find access to a video camera with 30P (Canon XL2 or Panasonic DVX100) you could capture using a 1/15 shutter, double the clip speed in post, and have authentic 15 fps.

Of course, other elements would still need to be there for images to feel '1920's.'

Hope this helps.
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#5 gustavius smith

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 05:55 AM

One comment about motion:

If you happen to find access to a video camera with 30P (Canon XL2 or Panasonic DVX100) you could capture using a 1/15 shutter, double the clip speed in post, and have authentic 15 fps. 

Of course, other elements would still need to be there for images to feel '1920's.'

Hope this helps.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It does! Thanks to everybody that replied to my questions. I had to make a decision and I am going to use my DP's xli or rent an xl2. I realise that this is not an exact science and creativity and research is the key to making this happen on video.
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#6 gustavius smith

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 05:58 AM

Hi,

I shot and treated a whole load of footage (and titles, graphics, et al) for a 1920s look for a production of the stage musical Singin' in the Rain. It's posted somewhere else on the forum, do a search. Briefly, I shot about a stop under to hold highlights as usual for drama on video, and recovered correct midtone exposure in post. I then applied a degree of flicker, jump and weave, vignetting, and a small amount of dirt and scratches. This was appropriate but not accurate; what I produced was much worse than a 1920s movie would have looked on first projection at the time, but it conjoured up the era effectively. It depends what you're trying to do; if you're trying to make something that's just evocative without having any need for it to be period accurate, you can do what you like.

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you. I am still trying to find that post. Do you remember the heading. What do you think about the AgedFilm effect software? The maker claims to produce the same results as you created.
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#7 gustavius smith

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 06:06 AM

Obviously starting out by shooting in b&w film would go a long way towards that look without resorting to a lot of post digital tricks; you have a bigger hurdle to jump by shooting in video, particularly interlaced-scan video.  But if the final product is only for the small screen, it may be possible to take 24P footage and process it digitally for more of a Silent Era look, but you'd have to shoot what's IN FRONT of the camera in that style as well.  Even though later Silent Era movies were shot closer to 24 fps, using a lower frame rate like 16 fps (i.e. using a film camera) may help in creating that look.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Can you explain how interlaced-scan video presents a bigger hurdle? Alas I am going to have to resort to a lot of post digital tricks. I only want the cinematogpraphy to look like it was shot in the 1920's but the furniture, set, dress, and characters will be contemporary.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 06:53 AM

Hi,

> What do you think about the AgedFilm effect software?

I don't know anything about it, but I'm generally skeptical - most of this stuff does things you can easily replicate, much more flexibly, using inbuilt tools of the software.

Phil
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#9 Brian Wells

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:18 AM

I agree with Phil. There are no 'one button' effects that couldn't be done the same or better with the already included (i.e. - free) effects in an editing program. There are a few exceptions (anamorphic flares in Saphire or the power windows in Final Touch, for example), but 'old filmlook' is easily made with built-in effects or at the most, free plug-ins.
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#10 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 10:43 AM

Why not just buy a $20 Super8 cam and shoot on Tri-X? Would give the desired results without any need for digital effects.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 10:48 AM

Can you explain how interlaced-scan video presents a bigger hurdle?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Because it behaves in a way that is not remotely film-like. There is no film equivalent to the process. 60 images captured sequentially per second but each only containing alternate scan lines, usually with no shutter, then two images interlaced together to create a whole frame -- it looks nothing like 24 whole frames taken per second by a movie camera, with a shutter closed 50% of the time, creating gaps in the motion.

At least 24P video is a lot closer to that.

You've already got a big strike against creating an old movie look by shooting contemporary subjects, so don't compound that by shooting it with something so unlike film like interlaced-scan video is. Get a progressive-scan camera, and if not, one with frame mode.
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#12 gustavius smith

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 10:53 AM

Because it behaves in a way that is not remotely film-like. There is no film equivalent to the process.  60 images captured sequentially per second but each only containing alternate scan lines, usually with no shutter, then two images interlaced together to create a whole frame -- it looks nothing like 24 whole frames taken per second by a movie camera, with a shutter closed 50% of the time, creating gaps in the motion.

At least 24P video is a lot closer to that.

You've already got a big strike against creating an old movie look by shooting contemporary subjects, so don't compound that by shooting it with something so unlike film like interlaced-scan video is.  Get a progressive-scan camera, and if not, one with frame mode.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Okay! Thanks
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#13 gustavius smith

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:00 AM

Why not just buy a $20 Super8 cam and shoot on Tri-X?  Would give the desired results without any need for digital effects.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Because my Dp is charging a rate that inlcudes his camera and my post guy is a good friend who is doing the work for free. My budget for the film is 6000 it is no longer than ten minutes--won't the film and processing for a ten minute movie cost about that?
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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:04 AM

Hi,

More than that, almost certainly.

Phil
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#15 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:44 AM

$10 a roll and $10 to process, over $6000 would mean that you would be shooting 300 rolls, at 3 minutes apiece, so you'd be shooting at a ratio of 90:1, 90 minutes of shooting for every minute of final film.


Do you honestly believe that it will require a 90:1 shooting ratio?

If I were doing this, using that budget, I would shoot on a 10:1 ratio, costing me $200. $200 for a good quality camera, gets me $400. Buy a Workprinter Jr, costs me $1500. That is $1900 for all of the film, a camera, *and* my own telecine machine. Just use the XL1 to do the final digitizing of the film to the computer, a task it is well suited for. Leves me $4100 for production materials, talent, etc.
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#16 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:55 AM

Ya know, knowing the budget, I'd even boost things a bit and go 16mm.

1 1920's era Bell and Howell 16mm camera, $50 including a 25mm lens, ideal for the job.
20 rolls Plus-X B&W film, $25 per roll, so $500 in total.
Processing, $0.12/foot is pretty normal, so $240.00
Workprinter 16: $1895.00

We're up to $2685.00. Still less than half of your budget.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 12:09 PM

No need for printing, just telecine (unless he wants to make a workprint, beat it up, scratch it up, and then telecine that instead of the negative...)
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#18 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 12:12 PM

David, I'm talking about a home telecine machine, the Moviestuff Workprinter.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 12:20 PM

David, I'm talking about a home telecine machine, the Moviestuff Workprinter.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Looking at the site, it requires either that you shoot reversal or transfer a print. Actually, shooting b&w reversal might be a good idea, if that's what you meant by "Plus-X", although I might go for the grainier Tri-X then. Tri-X with some ProMist diffusion may give you a grainy halated look like some 1900 film stock, then use some software tricks to add pulsing, etc.
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#20 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 01:07 PM

I was originally going to put Tri-X, but I couldn't find a good price for it, but I assume it would be similar to Plus-X at the film emporium.
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