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I need some suggestions: I came into some money


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#1 Hrishikesh Jha

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:04 PM

This has been planning out for a year now but finally the check is in my hand, I have 100k(USD). I am shooting my first feature(horror) and have already secured a local distributiin(in the state I am filming as incentive) which will recoup 60k as soon as I deliver my print. I am talking to every facet from development to festivals and distribution deals. Even if I make bare minimum I will have recouped the sum and started my career.

 

Now I am talking to a post sound guy and he is advising me to not shoot on 16mm film. Actually everyone from my DOP to editor is telling me I am wasting my funds when I can buy a blackmagic for 3k, But I am firm.

But my sound guy said:

 I don't know enough about cinematography or the look you're after to judge if you have a strong enough reason to shoot 16mm. All I can say is that you do need a strong reason not to shoot in digital because of all it's advantages. As mentioned, you could easily run into sound sync with 16mm.

 

Sound sync he emphasized a lot. The ADR will have to be done, we talked for an hour on this. He's in Macedonia and I am in Mumbai.  It can be done is what we have decided but can anyone here tell me about this: Shooting on 16mm and sync sound issues? And any other general-technical or otherwise-tidbits from your experience that will help me on location.

 

Thank you.


Edited by Hrishikesh Jha, 29 March 2017 - 11:06 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:39 PM

I think at 100K you'll be hurting budgetary wise with film, as you wont have too much of it and that can hurt performance. 

Film is great, but honestly, 100K for a feature is already hard enough-- and this isn't even getting into what distributors will require DCP wise.

 

You can buy a pocket package for 3K, though for something for a feature you're looking more like 10K if you get some lenses as well. It makes much more sense to rent, you could get a good deal on an Alexa Mini package for a feature in most markets (3k/wk maybe with lenses and everything you need) and wind up with a very filmic image.

 

this is all without knowing anything of the script, your level of talent, or that of the crew you want to bring on least of all the requirements on your production by the finance people.


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:40 AM

I mean the benefits of digital on a low budget shoot a pretty self evident... Instant dailies, good monitoring, shoot lots of takes without loosing money, simpler to use, less mistakes, smaller/lighter/cheaper cameras.

You can make a feature @ 10:1 ratio on Super 16, but the "Film" aspect will run you around $30k for a 3 week shoot and a cheap camera rental. So can you make your "feature" for $70k, that's really the question and the answer is probably yes. If you spend a great deal of time with the script, actors and crew ahead of time, pre-planning, going over the plan's and making your time on set very productive, it's possible.

Remember tho, out of that $70k, you gotta save at least $20k for post. So you're now down to $50k for actual production. Again, totally doable, if you make it with friends, family and non-professional actors. The question then remains, who is going to watch it? Or do you care? For me, I only care about who is going to watch what I make. I don't bother making something if I know there isn't an audience for what I'm making. Horror films have audiences, which is good, but how can you get your low-budget film into their faces, that's the trick and it requires a lot of money.

In terms of "technical" issues, there are none. Good sync sound 16mm cameras have no issues at all. So anyone who said there would be noise on set, is a loony bin. My 1980's vintage LTR makes around 20db. That's basically no noise at all and the cameras are all crystal locked these days, so no sync issues. The only thing with digital is that you can run a ref track to the camera, can't do that with film.

He may have been thinking of doing post on film? Maybe there was some confusion on his part?
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#4 Albion Hockney

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

This is a side point - I think for 100k you can shoot on 16mm Film - it will cost more and be a harder shoot with more sacrifice (IE you can't do many takes and you have to really have a solid plan - but if its the look you want and your DP is into it then it can work out. Make sure you are working with a DP who is confident in the choice though. You and Her/Him should really be on the same page. 

 

I wanted to say you sound like you don't have a ton of experience and this being your first feature project I would really recommend work with as many experienced more veteran crew as you can. IE I don't know why you have a sound person telling you not to shoot on 16mm that is a mute point and not an issue. this person sounds inexperienced. 

 

I would also suggest having a DP who is really on the same page again and if possible someone who has shot features before ....or make sure to have a producer or AD who has done this several times before ....people who you know have your back and you can listen/learn from.

 

best of luck!


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#5 Michael Rodin

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:23 AM

Actually everyone from my DOP to editor is telling me I am wasting my funds when I can buy a blackmagic for 3k, But I am firm.

It's not my business anyway, but... Is that DoP the same moron who told you fairy tales about "film look" being lost in DI?

 

Don't believe that nonsense about film giving problems in audio post either.

 

Once again, it's not my business, but why not let these amateurs go and replace them with a qualified crew.?

 

They're bitching and moaning about "problems with film" not because there are actually some problems - no, there are none, except for logistics sometimes, - but purely because they feel insecure working with film.

Take DoPs for example. It's much easier to produce a high quality natural looking image on film, and one can experiment  with lighting and color more freely, as it's void of limitations video has (highlight handling, colors saturating unnaturally, etc). As a DoP you can get a vastly better image with the same schedule and G&E crew when shooting 35/16mm.

But still now and then somebody calling himself a Director of Photography insists on digital, screaming

how film is obsolete and inferior. Why, you'd think:)? Well, it takes a bit of solid and sytematized knowledge to shoot film without relying on fortune. And they never bothered to learn. Why would they? They've never been interested in creating good imagery it seems. And they're too sneaky to admit they're not pros, they'd rather go bullshitting.


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#6 Michael Rodin

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:06 AM

The only thing with digital is that you can run a ref track to the camera, can't do that with film.

Well there's AatonCode and Arri SR SMPTE code for those who don't trust their clapper/loader :)


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 11:29 AM

or you get a CP16 and record audio on it lol


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#8 Ryq Peden

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:31 PM

A sound guy arguing about your cinematography tools is much lulz. I'd tell them I want the sound captured on wax.


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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 02:09 AM

Well there's AatonCode and Arri SR SMPTE code for those who don't trust their clapper/loader :)


Well I mean physical audio on the files recorded by the camera. Can't really do that with film anymore, now that mag striping isn't around anymore.

Honestly, IDK why nobody designed a laser that can flash digital audio onto the film negative. Even if it was 1 reference track, it would be pretty darn cool.
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#10 Michael Rodin

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 02:24 AM

They use an LED instead to flash TC. Which is more useful than ref audio.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:06 AM

They use an LED instead to flash TC. Which is more useful than ref audio.


True, but there is a lot of equipment that needs to be purchased to make that TC system work. I was told the TC is worthless these days as modern scanners don't read the code. More then one lab said don't bother with a TC camera as a consequence.
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#12 Michael Rodin

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:11 AM

You'd need a reader for an optical audio track as well. And TC is a more precise and faster way to sync.


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#13 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:52 AM

You'd need a reader for an optical audio track as well. And TC is a more precise and faster way to sync.


Pluraleyes is automatic tho... a reference track on camera means you sync instantly.
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#14 Michael Rodin

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:47 PM

It doesn't guarantee frame-to-frame sync. TC does and it's much more "instant".


Edited by Michael Rodin, 31 March 2017 - 12:47 PM.

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#15 aapo lettinen

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 06:06 PM

you can always shoot some segments of the movie in 16mm even if the rest is digital, you just have to find a way to motivate the changes and how the format changes suit the storytelling.

 

I am personally not a fan of the "low end" digital stuff like gh4 or Pocket Camera type gear for any short/indie/etc work. they are great as a second unit or C camera but you will be much happier with a bit higher quality semi pro camera, like the Ursa Mini Pro or FS7 or similar price range. something like 10 - 14k for the camera body + power + onboard monitors + viewfinders etc. and a basic lens and filter set for maybe 5k at least (plain or modified still lenses probably, zooms or primes. something which will cover the mid range and medium wide well enough) .tripod etc extra stuff can be bought used. 

I strongly recommend renting though if it is possible in any way, you will probably get better gear for main shooting days and can then cheap on with the additional days if you need lots of extra time for mini unit stuff. 

 

the real "problems" with film come into play when the nearest lab is far away and you want to get dailies in reasonable time, and when you have to worry about shipping and storing the film in bad conditions, especially if the climate is very warm and humid. shooting film is not automatically expensive or difficult or problematic in any way, it is that only if you would not know how to handle it and wouldn't have planned the project beforehand (which would also ruin a digital project very similarly ;)  )

 

Maybe shooting main days in digital and all the additional stuff like b-unit on film? you could probably get a rental deal on a good 16mm camera for a longer time for additional shots and then use a good quality digital camera for main shooting, ideally a light sensitive one so that you can manage with smaller lights which are easier and faster to handle and help to save money for other aspects of the production ^_^


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#16 Eric F Adams

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 06:36 PM


It can be done is what we have decided but can anyone here tell me about this: Shooting on 16mm and sync sound issues? And any other general-technical or otherwise-tidbits from your experience that will help me on location.

 

I shoot on an SR2 Super and I had zero sync issues.  


Edited by Eric F Adams, 31 March 2017 - 06:39 PM.

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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 05:47 AM

It can be done is what we have decided but can anyone here tell me about this: Shooting on 16mm and sync sound issues? And any other general-technical or otherwise-tidbits from your experience that will help me on location.

 

I shoot on an SR2 Super and I had zero sync issues.  

Perhaps what your sound man means is that he has sync problems with film.


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#18 Michael Rodin

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 05:48 AM

Soundguy's problem is being an amateur...


Edited by Michael Rodin, 01 April 2017 - 05:48 AM.

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#19 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 01:21 PM

IDK how a on-set sound guy knows anything about post production audio syncing? They're two completely different roles. 


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#20 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 04:35 PM

This sounds like a near-certain way to lose forty thousand dollars.


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