Jump to content


Photo

Question: to know before shooting with a film camera


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 John Kelver

John Kelver

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm

Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:08 AM

Hello, 

I'm planning to create my first feautre film, but the problem is that I have never shoot with a film camera, and I'm planning to use: ARRI 416 PLUS. I have so far read quite a lot of using different lenses, and also the manual for that film camera, but I expect there will come up more problems when I use the camera. So I have just three questions:

 

1: I want to have the aspect ratio: 1:37.1, do anyone know if this can be set during shooting, or is this set during post production.

 

2: If you shoot on 1.37.1 without it showing it during the camera shooting process, how would I know the composition of the shot, and how would I know how much of the image would be cut off?

 

3: The more open question, I would be really grateful if anyone could share some issues, or something good during the shooting process for an example mechanics, or electronics, etc.(only about the camera, not about things like: you cant determine the weather etc.)

THANKS IN ADVANCE!
 


Edited by John Kelver, 26 July 2017 - 06:09 AM.

  • 0


#2 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 204 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Moscow

Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:34 AM

You mean 1:1.37? 1:37.1 sounds extremely avantgarde :)

1. I doubt hard mattes have ever been used on S16. Just expose a S16 frame and crop the telecine transfers for editing and, later, scans in finishing.

2. You can use either a Regular-16 1:1.37 ground glass in the viewfinder, or an S16 one with a 1:1.33 safety zone if you can't get the former.

Important thing to add: with an R16 1,37 ground glass you'll be exposing closer to perfs as if you're shooting R16 on double-perforated film. While a 1,33 safety zone, of course, is right in the middle of an S16 frame.


Edited by Michael Rodin, 26 July 2017 - 06:46 AM.

  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19608 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 July 2017 - 07:27 AM

You always work backwards from your delivery formats. 35mm print? And if so, with a 1.37 image hard matted inside a 1.85 projection area? Or a true 1.37 Academy print and then limit projection to the few theaters that can show a movie in Academy with the proper lens so that 1.37 Academy fits on the screen? DCP? Again, 1.37 inside a 1.85 area?

Digital intermediate to create these deliverables?
  • 0

#4 Simon Wyss

Simon Wyss
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1337 posts
  • Other
  • Basel, Switzerland

Posted 26 July 2017 - 09:30 AM

You cannot have the aspect ratio of 1:1.37(5) because that pertains to the standard camera aperture only. The projection aspect is 1:1.333 or Four to Three. Projector apertures are Four to Three and a little smaller than the image area on the positive, one needs a margin to cope with inclined and or askew geometry in the theatres.

 

An advantage of the Four-to-Three aspect ratio is straightforward fit with small-gauge films. The regular 9.5mm, 16mm, and 8mm images are 4:3, too. Contrary to what many people say the Academy and the silent full frame formats are not forbidden. It is right to state that one has a rather difficult time today finding cinemas where they are correctly presented. But hey, some producers managed to revive 70mm projection!

 

All professional 4-perf. cameras can be fitted with image aperture plates or masks of 1.333 and an Academy ground glass.

 

In case you’re going a digital intermediate route you can even shoot full frame or Super 35. That way you can exploit the biggest possible area. It would lead to a given focal length to become a little shorter compared to Academy, in other words your normal focal length shifts to about 60 mm. On Super 35 you might encounter viewfinder limitations with certain cameras.


  • 0

#5 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 July 2017 - 09:34 AM

Hello, 

I'm planning to create my first feautre film, but the problem is that I have never shoot with a film camera, and I'm planning to use: ARRI 416 PLUS. I have so far read quite a lot of using different lenses, and also the manual for that film camera, but I expect there will come up more problems when I use the camera. So I have just three questions:

 

1: I want to have the aspect ratio: 1:37.1, do anyone know if this can be set during shooting, or is this set during post production.

 

2: If you shoot on 1.37.1 without it showing it during the camera shooting process, how would I know the composition of the shot, and how would I know how much of the image would be cut off?

 

3: The more open question, I would be really grateful if anyone could share some issues, or something good during the shooting process for an example mechanics, or electronics, etc.(only about the camera, not about things like: you cant determine the weather etc.)

THANKS IN ADVANCE!
 

 

you will have lots of problems with using film as a shooting medium if you haven't shot anything on film before. are you shooting by yourself or do you have a DP who is used to shoot on film and can handle the exposure, lighting etc. technical aspects? 

 

of course you CAN shoot your first film project as a feature lenght movie with unknown camera and learning on the fly to expose and handle film.... but that will waste lots of time and money and will lead to very uneven results in the end product in terms of technical quality and visual style. 

 

as for the 1.37 aspect ratio, if you are finishing digitally you won't need any modifications to the camera as long as you can have somewhat usable viewfinder markings for 1.37 ratio. the rental house will help you with this :)


  • 0

#6 John Kelver

John Kelver

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm

Posted 26 July 2017 - 10:55 AM

 

you will have lots of problems with using film as a shooting medium if you haven't shot anything on film before. are you shooting by yourself or do you have a DP who is used to shoot on film and can handle the exposure, lighting etc. technical aspects? 

 

of course you CAN shoot your first film project as a feature lenght movie with unknown camera and learning on the fly to expose and handle film.... but that will waste lots of time and money and will lead to very uneven results in the end product in terms of technical quality and visual style. 

 

as for the 1.37 aspect ratio, if you are finishing digitally you won't need any modifications to the camera as long as you can have somewhat usable viewfinder markings for 1.37 ratio. the rental house will help you with this :)

Why would I get uneven results? Could you please explain how I could prevent this, or please mention some sites where I can read, so that I hopefully can prevent it. However, I am pretty sure that I will accomplish my visual style, because I want to make long takes with no stop (5-10 min), then I want the actors to have very specific position relative to the camera. But I can agree that the technical style will perhaps prevent it a bit. 


  • 0

#7 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 204 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Moscow

Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:02 AM

Aapo, what kind of problems with film do you mean?

If a director is going to play both DoPs and ACs role on a feature, he's up for problems no matter what he shoots on. A director shouldn't be worrying about exposure and lighting anyway, as he's already super busy even on a student film set. Maybe it's easier to shoot digital by monitor if you're a director and don't know metering/sensitometery and other cinematography stuff but any kind of camera work done by a dir comes at the expense of directing, i.e. time spent with actors rehearsing. Which almost guarantees bad performances and an overall shitty movie, no matter film or digital. DoP, AC and other camera dept. professions exist for a reason.

For a competent DoP, it's actually easier to get a natural looking image (and then artistically alter it if needed) on film, except for extreme low light situations.


  • 0

#8 John Kelver

John Kelver

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm

Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:19 AM

Aapo, what kind of problems with film do you mean?

If a director is going to play both DoPs and ACs role on a feature, he's up for problems no matter what he shoots on. A director shouldn't be worrying about exposure and lighting anyway, as he's already super busy even on a student film set. Maybe it's easier to shoot digital by monitor if you're a director and don't know metering/sensitometery and other cinematography stuff but any kind of camera work done by a dir comes at the expense of directing, i.e. time spent with actors rehearsing. Which almost guarantees bad performances and an overall shitty movie, no matter film or digital. DoP, AC and other camera dept. professions exist for a reason.

For a competent DoP, it's actually easier to get a natural looking image (and then artistically alter it if needed) on film, except for extreme low light situations.

I know it is going to be hard, but there are great starting directors from the past who managed without it. And I have a very distinct style of lighting and shadowing, that I want to achieve, and I'm determined to do most of what I can on my own, and only will hire people who will perhaps hold up the light etc. But I have thought about those things you have said for 3 years now, and have everything planned. It is mostly the camera situations for an example, the thing with the AC, who adjusts the camera lens or 'pulling focus' to follow the action on set, which I need help on learning. Is this a hard matter, or can this be done by the director himslelf? And if not, why would it occur problems that would prevent me from doing it?


  • 0

#9 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 204 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Moscow

Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:28 AM

Hard is the wrong word, if you're going to do it "right" on a tight schedule on a feature (manage rehearsals, blocking, continuity, lighting, etc) it'll be a living hell filled with suffering and desperation till the very wrap  :) 

Pulling focus? I'd say it impossible to do if you're also directing. Hire a really good veteran 1AC and ask him to bring along a 2AC he's worked with.


  • 1

#10 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:40 AM

Aapo, what kind of problems with film do you mean?

mainly I meant film exposing and handling related stuff. the film part takes a lot longer to learn than just learning how to use a new camera model... for example how different emulsions respond to different amounts of over/under exposure and how this affects the grain structure, how you need to expose to get somewhat optimal density range to the negative to fit particular telecine's dynamic range to lower telecine costs, etc. , how to properly handle the unexposed and exposed film in dark, how to do tests...

there is nothing impossible there to learn in one day but it is not worth it to waste a full feature in the trial+error process I think and it is quite inefficient way to learn these things. I would really recommend having a Bolex or similar camera for starters and shooting couple of months with it to get hold on the process. the bolex can then be used for additional MOS footage in the final feature to save on rental costs :) 

 

video cameras are often more complicated menu-wise than film cameras but film cameras, being mechanical beasts, need some hands-on experience before shooting anything with them because there is so many things you have to ensure indirectly from the sound of the camera, feeling how the film is seated in the mag to ensure the loops etc are correct... with video you can always check if the take was recorded and exposed correctly or not, but with film you have no way to check, you just have to trust your experience and it is too late to correct anything when the film is back from the lab


  • 0

#11 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

I know it is going to be hard, but there are great starting directors from the past who managed without it. And I have a very distinct style of lighting and shadowing, that I want to achieve, and I'm determined to do most of what I can on my own, and only will hire people who will perhaps hold up the light etc. But I have thought about those things you have said for 3 years now, and have everything planned. It is mostly the camera situations for an example, the thing with the AC, who adjusts the camera lens or 'pulling focus' to follow the action on set, which I need help on learning. Is this a hard matter, or can this be done by the director himslelf? And if not, why would it occur problems that would prevent me from doing it?

I would say that holding focus during camera moves would take about 50 to 70% of your concentration and other camera operating like framing and composition would take most of the rest. maybe 10 or 15% at most could be saved for following the actor's emotions and finer details (actual directing) . so it is at least mandatory to let someone else focus for you.

I would also recommend someone else (the AC) to maintain the camera and load the magazines so that you can direct the actors between takes instead of concentrating on technical things. also let someone else do lighting on set, it wastes all your time with actors if you need to run back and forth moving lights and cables and stuff.

you can operate the camera if you want if you are experienced enough so that you can concentrate to the actors during takes and maintain the planned framing and composition almost automatically, but all-in-all a separate DP would be much better choice for the final movie than trying to do everything by yourself, it just takes too much time from the actors and the directing part will suffer if you try to wear too many hats on set. 

 

Of course if the movie is a learning process for you as a DP, then it might be useful to do more technical stuff on set. but the performances will not be as good as when you can fully concentrate on the directing part. and I think that the couple of months learning process with film shooting would still be absolutely mandatory. you could of course do a short film first with the 416 camera ( 2 to 4 shooting days) and decide after that if you are ready to shoot the feature by yourself or not. though the couple of months / half a year film learning period would be much more useful I think :)


  • 0

#12 John Kelver

John Kelver

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Director
  • Stockholm

Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:03 AM

I would say that holding focus during camera moves would take about 50 to 70% of your concentration and other camera operating like framing and composition would take most of the rest. maybe 10 or 15% at most could be saved for following the actor's emotions and finer details (actual directing) . so it is at least mandatory to let someone else focus for you.
I would also recommend someone else (the AC) to maintain the camera and load the magazines so that you can direct the actors between takes instead of concentrating on technical things. also let someone else do lighting on set, it wastes all your time with actors if you need to run back and forth moving lights and cables and stuff.
you can operate the camera if you want if you are experienced enough so that you can concentrate to the actors during takes and maintain the planned framing and composition almost automatically, but all-in-all a separate DP would be much better choice for the final movie than trying to do everything by yourself, it just takes too much time from the actors and the directing part will suffer if you try to wear too many hats on set. 
 
Of course if the movie is a learning process for you as a DP, then it might be useful to do more technical stuff on set. but the performances will not be as good as when you can fully concentrate on the directing part. and I think that the couple of months learning process with film shooting would still be absolutely mandatory. you could of course do a short film first with the 416 camera ( 2 to 4 shooting days) and decide after that if you are ready to shoot the feature by yourself or not. though the couple of months / half a year film learning period would be much more useful I think :)


Thank you for your suggestions. I have just two questions:
1: I'm planning to rehearse a lot with the actors before shooting with the film camera. If I do this thoroughly, would this perhaps enable me to focus more on the technical details at set?

2: Do you know how long it takes for a film lab to transfer a 10-20 min film take to digitally?
Thanks again! :)
  • 0

#13 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 27 July 2017 - 06:35 AM

Thank you for your suggestions. I have just two questions:
1: I'm planning to rehearse a lot with the actors before shooting with the film camera. If I do this thoroughly, would this perhaps enable me to focus more on the technical details at set?

2: Do you know how long it takes for a film lab to transfer a 10-20 min film take to digitally?
Thanks again! :)

 

rehearsing a lot will help of course but it also wastes rehearse time if you have to run back and forth to adjust everything and you can't concentrate on the performances. expecially lighting will take lot of time so you really should have a gaffer on set who can manage those things so that you can be near camera and actors most of the time. 

 

if the lab is running processes daily then it should take about one day for them to get you the video dailies from negative, with degotiating and shooting on matching hours (so that the day's materials can get to the same day's developing batch) a same day delivery might be possible.

 

you can ask your local lab in Stockholm, the former Stockholm Post Production (STOPP)  (don't remember their current name, I think it's Media Monks or similar. Ali Boriri ran the film lab the last time I checked and they do top quality work, you can ask a quote for a indie feature with X amount of 16mm negative per day, X amount total, with 1st light dailies transfer with keycode, and 2k scanning according to the edl for X minutes of finished film, for example 90 min lenght feature. it is also possible to do the final 2k or 4k scanning elsewhere and only order the developing and dailies transfer first) .

 

for a feature film you need to have good lab connections and very easy and fast and affordable transport route to the lab so you should use the local one instead of sending the film to another country. I am doing my current processing 2-4 times a year in Belgium at Dejonghe, they do great work but the shipping costs for a feature will be quite much if you want to ship the film every day. if you are shipping, say, 5 days materials at a time it could be effective to use a foreign lab but then your dailies will arrive only once a week so you will be more screwed if you did a mistake on set or there was a camera problem and you have to reshoot something (all the sets and locations may be unavailable after the week)


  • 0

#14 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 29 July 2017 - 06:47 AM

you can ask your local lab in Stockholm

 

this one: http://www.stopp.se/contact/stockholm/


  • 0


Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Abel Cine

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc