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Short Ends and Feature Footage


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#1 Gary Robinson

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:49 PM

Do you guys ever use short ends for feature film work? I've used it for some low budget commercials and other projects, but now that I'm thinking about my first feature, I'm wondering how I should budget for film stock. How many feet do you average shooting features?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:18 PM

We get that question all the time here.

If your script is written roughly in the page-per-minute rule, then for a 100 page script, that would be a 100 minute movie, so a 10:1 shooting ratio would mean buying roughly one 1000' roll of 35mm for every script page (I'm rounding off a 1000' roll to 10 minutes even though it's more than that.) So for a 100 minute movie / 100 page script = 100,000' of 35mm, which is a typical amount for a film made in the $650,000 to 1 million dollar budget range.

I've heard of features shot on a 5:1 ratio, so 50,000' of 35mm film for a 100 page script. I've never managed to shoot less than 72,000' though.

So I'd suggest starting with a 7:1 ratio as a ballpark.

I've shot features on buy-back film (unopened stock) and even recanned & short ends. Make sure they were snip-tested. If you are worried that they've aged a little, overexpose them to compensate. I've only occasionally been burned by some matching problems of aged stock or stock that was fogged. It's certain a valid way to make a really low-budget film but I'd do everything to try and make sure the stock is not coming from too many sources. Don't end up using seven different stocks from dozens of different productions. This is where getting a bulk amount of returned stock from one production could be a smarter plan.
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#3 Gary Robinson

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 07:53 PM

Thanks for the advice David. Nice work on the Duran Duran video. I also saw your DVX 100 vs. PD150 (I think it was) footage from a Promax DVD years ago and remember thinking how great it looked for a video shoot.
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