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Documentaries on 16mm


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#21 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:10 AM

Most productions are made near major cities in countries with airports and until 2014, there were labs in the very cities and towns people would either shoot or edit in. Getting quick turn around was irrelevant, same day dailies were the norm. Yes the very few productions made each year that are so far out in the wild, you must carry your film the entire production, are actually rare.

Do you really think the cost of production is lower today then it was in the past? I work with someone who shot documentaries on film from 1968 through 1985 and he has showed me his budgets and if you account for inflation, they are a minuscule amount compared to whats spent on todays productions. So cost savings? Bullshit... total crap. More like executives can take a larger chunk of the pie and buy another jet.

Ohh and Im sure quite a few of those dps who have high end digital are kicking themselves in the ass when they have to upgrade every two years instead of pulling out the XTR from 1998 that to this day works flawlessly and will forever. While youre playing a technology game with everyone else, those of us who understand we cant win, will keep using film, for better or worse. My logic is that we have no reason to play the same game as everyone else. Its stupid in the long run and doesnt make what you do anything different then the next guy.
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#22 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 05:24 AM

Most productions are made near major cities in countries with airports and until 2014, there were labs in the very cities and towns people would either shoot or edit in. Getting quick turn around was irrelevant, same day dailies were the norm. Yes the very few productions made each year that are so far out in the wild, you must carry your film the entire production, are actually rare.

Do you really think the cost of production is lower today then it was in the past? I work with someone who shot documentaries on film from 1968 through 1985 and he has showed me his budgets and if you account for inflation, they are a minuscule amount compared to whats spent on todays productions. So cost savings? Bullshit... total crap. More like executives can take a larger chunk of the pie and buy another jet.

Ohh and Im sure quite a few of those dps who have high end digital are kicking themselves in the ass when they have to upgrade every two years instead of pulling out the XTR from 1998 that to this day works flawlessly and will forever. While youre playing a technology game with everyone else, those of us who understand we cant win, will keep using film, for better or worse. My logic is that we have no reason to play the same game as everyone else. Its stupid in the long run and doesnt make what you do anything different then the next guy.

 

 

I was referring to documentaries made world wide.. not just in the US.. for doc,s you didn't ever have dailies .. that not a doc necessity ..

 

Yes way cheaper when you compare the costs for the actual capture.. in the 80,s 400ft of film, with processing was about £50..in the 80,s !!!  cost of excess baggage flighting with 90 rolls .. huge.. carting around fragile rushes for weeks on end.. Nio backup.. sorry but I dont think you have ever shot a real  broadcast doc.. doc DP,s very rarely even work in the country they live.. you are traveling all over the world..its alot easier with cards and HHD.. no ones getting a bigger chunk.. Doc budgets are plummeting ..except for Nat history that sells like ice cubes in hell.. really if it was the same cost or cheaper everyone would still be shooting on 16mm..

 

No one is kicking themselves in the arse.. they are making a fortune with their digital cameras.. they take only a year to pay off or less these days..if I bought an Aaton it would be the door stop not the f5..  again sorry but your world is on the fringes.. different rules apply.. owning an Aaton or SR is going to get you zero work in the real broadcast /corp world.. in narrative maybe if you are Barry Ackroyd.. but not in doc,s/corp. .. 

 

I know the love of film and all that is your thing.. and in your indie under the radar , everyone mucks in market.. its obviously  work able. .. but in the horrible modern world as a freelance DP doc/ corp world it isn't..it simply isn't finically viable if you want anything like a decent lifestyle .. I get ZERO requests for film cameras.. as with everyone I know.. it doesn't happen.. if you make your own films then all power to you.. you have the choice.. freelance you dont..

 

Edit for spelling 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 14 January 2018 - 05:30 AM.

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#23 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:53 AM

Super 16 isn't currently accepted as an acquisition format for broadcast HD television,documentaries (it's defined as SD), which are usually commissioned productions, with a number of broadcasters involved in co-funding the higher end productions that might possibly be shot on film.  

  .


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#24 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:55 AM

Super 16 isn't currently accepted as an acquisition format for broadcast HD television,documentaries (it's defined as SD), which are usually commissioned productions, with a number of broadcasters involved in co-funding the higher end productions that might possibly be shot on film.  

  .

So this no longer applies?

https://www.director...-on-hd-channels


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#25 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 07:43 AM

35mm is the only HD & UHD film format listed on P8 of the BBC's 2017 specifications.

 

http://dpp-assets.s3...ardsBBCFile.pdf


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#26 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:31 AM

XTR from 1998 that to this day works flawlessly and will forever

 

No, it won't. Trust me. Every piece of mechanical engineering breaks down over time. There is no such things as an eternal machine. 

 

and everyone talks about how great film preservation is: While I agree it will last longer than digital files, the reality is - even celluloid film has an expiration date. Last I heard, the shelf-life of film, when kept in a secure facility that is climate controlled - is around 100 years. But just like every other piece of organic material, it WILL break down, become brittle, colors fade, yellow, etc. So what happens then? You are stuck doing the same thing as digital files: finding a way to keep preserving the content. The biggest issue here is that since the content is already mastered on an analog format, any attempt at future preservation WILL degrade quality. You could always scan to another film print, but that will degrade quality as well. With any analog source, there is only so many copies you can make.

And so while digital does have to be more carefully managed in terms of storage, its often stored as a lossless digital format - you can keep making copies as long as you want - 1,000 years from now it'll look as good as it did day 1. In 1,000 years, that film print will either be dust, or have gone through at least 3 or 4 transfers - taking a marked reduction in quality.

 

Which brings me to everyone griping about digital preservation: It's not as dire as many want to paint it. Yes, you will have to keep several backup copies of digital files, and you will have to transfer them to newer technologies as they become available. The reality is though, by the time you take into account the storage requirements to keep film prints good for as long as possible, the work required to transfer digital files seems rather small to me. Film prints require massive warehouses, where climate control is prime - and you better hope nothing happens to that film print, like a fire or some other form of vandalism or natural disaster - which has happened in the past. 

 

The bottom line is: People give WAY more stock to film preservation than they should. We haven't yet fully seen just how long film can last. I can tell you that film prints from 100 years ago, even if they are capable of being played back without breaking - will show marked signs of organic decay. So film is not the eternal storage format many want to make it out to be. There is no such thing.

 

I'm not saying that film is worse than digital for storage, I'm just saying that it is FAR from perfect, and will also face its own set of challenges. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 14 January 2018 - 10:36 AM.

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#27 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:16 AM

Ohh and Im sure quite a few of those dps who have high end digital are kicking themselves in the ass when they have to upgrade every two years instead of pulling out the XTR from 1998 that to this day works flawlessly and will forever. 

Do you really believe that it's the DP who get to make the decision what the Doc will be shot on? I shot docs all over the world for the BBC, Nat Geo, and Discovery. Production always specified the format. If there was ever any discussion about shooting film, I certainly wasn't involved in it.

 

As Robin says, if you're a doco cameraman who only owns a 16mm camera, you will not work. No-one in the broadcast documentary world is remotely interested in shooting on film. I'm sure there are hobbyists and people working in niche markets for whom the process is as important as the finished product, but they are a tiny minority these days.


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#28 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:48 AM

I wouldn't use digital for preservation arguments, currently it doesn't hold up that well, even in it's short life to date, it's also unlikely to be transferred endlessly for a 1000 years, I suspect they may come up with a passive method, but technology does become obsolete and reading the data becomes more difficult with time, as happened with the BBC Domesday Project, which required a lot of effort after just 25 years.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13367398      


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#29 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 12:18 PM

I wouldn't use digital for preservation arguments, currently it doesn't hold up that well, even in it's short life to date, it's also unlikely to be transferred endlessly for a 1000 years, I suspect they may come up with a passive method, but technology does become obsolete and reading the data becomes more difficult with time, as happened with the BBC Domesday Project, which required a lot of effort after just 25 years.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13367398      

 

Okay, but then would you presume to suggest that film is a perfect storage medium? How so? Just because a single copy of the film can last a long time (100 years or so), how does that make it a perfect storage format? It's still subject to the availability of equipment to play it back (does anyone even make film projectors any longer?), it still suffers from what all organic things suffer from: decay and degradation. It's still an analog format, meaning that once that film print expires (only an idiot will assume a film print will last forever) - you need to find a way to transfer it to something else, which WILL result in a degradation of quality, which is going to happen with any analog format.

 

A lot of the film prints we have archived from the early days of film are gone now - they either degraded, where burned up in fires, or etc. How many 'original' films from the early 1900's are still around to be watched?

 

I'm not saying digital is better - I'm saying film isn't perfect for storage. Many on the pro-film side would have you believe that a film print will last a million years, and will always be right there - ready to be played back. It's a false hope. Film is subject to the same issues digital is, just on a longer time scale.

 

Feel free to disagree, but that doesn't change fact - film is far from a perfect archival format. Just because something lasts 100 years vs 10 years, does not make it perfect - it just makes it a little better. Film prints STILL have to face the reality of what is going to happen when they fall apart from organic decay, or rely on the availability of a film projector to play it back.

 

We need to develop a NEW way for long-term storage. Film is not a long-term storage option, its simply a 'longer' term option. And given the way digital technology has increased, I would suggest it'll probably come in the form of digital technology. 

And using Domesday Project is a bad example: It's old technology. I'm not arguing that 25 year old video technology was any good for preservation. As technology increases, these incompatibility issues will disappear. I think digital storage is at a point now where a lot of it is software based - which is good.

 

Back in the days of old video technology - it was mostly all hardware based - which caused problems. Now, as long as you can keep the 1's and 0's intact, software should be able to playback any format.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 14 January 2018 - 12:27 PM.

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#30 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:08 PM

The difference with film is that you can work out how to show it just by looking at it- it's a strip of images you can see. In 10,000 years (if it's survived, as you say) it'll be accessible even if that civilisation has forgotten what film is.

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#31 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

I think the theoretical life span of b&w separations on polyester stock is 500 years (100 years for acetate stock).  Nothing is perfect of course... As Mark says, the main advantage is that you can look at a strip of film and see the image, there is no decoding technology needed.

 

The age of a technology is not equal to its value -- newer technologies are not necessarily superior to older ones.  How much has a hammer changed in a 1000 years?  Or the wheel?  In art, is a sculpture carved in stone less "archival" than one of plastic made from a mold? Newer painting technologies were not necessarily more archival than older ones.

 

I mean, when you go to get a haircut do you insist that electric sheers be used because scissors are "old" technology and therefore must be inferior?


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#32 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:33 PM

The golden records on the Voyager space probes are probably the most likely long term recordings.

 

https://space.stacke...remain-playable


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#33 Pavan Deep

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 05:08 PM

It is interesting that Super 16 as listed on Page 8 of the BBC's 2017 specifications is not considered to be HD or UHD no matter what processing or transfer systems used. So does this mean that all the hype in 2013 that Uk’s broadcasters will accept programmes originated on Super 16mm film for broadcast on high definition channel was wrong?
Pav 
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#34 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:07 PM

 

And using Domesday Project is a bad example: It's old technology. I'm not arguing that 25 year old video technology was any good for preservation. As technology increases, these incompatibility issues will disappear. I think digital storage is at a point now where a lot of it is software based - which is good.

 

Back in the days of old video technology - it was mostly all hardware based - which caused problems. Now, as long as you can keep the 1's and 0's intact, software should be able to playback any format.

 

Given how various systems don't speak to each other,  together with commercial protection and how earlier versions of software may not work with later operating systems, that would seem to be more of a hope rather than what has happened to date.


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#35 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:50 PM

Well its not a major worry in the Broadcast TV world.. there is not but being made that should be kept over night.. or even made in the first place..  there is only so much future generations need to know about baking cakes,stupid families with large bottoms.. or making fun of poor /ugly/disabled people... 


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#36 Prashantt Rai

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 03:44 AM

Well I am making an epic documentary on S-16. no one seems to be talking about it  :rolleyes: 

 

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#37 Mark Dunn

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 05:27 AM

It is interesting that Super 16 as listed on Page 8 of the BBC's 2017 specifications is not considered to be HD or UHD no matter what processing or transfer systems used. So does this mean that all the hype in 2013 that Uk’s broadcasters will accept programmes originated on Super 16mm film for broadcast on high definition channel was wrong?
Pav 

I think it means that a programme can still be commissioned on S16 but it won't be billed as HD even on an HD channel.

That said, archive is obviously an exception. Scans from originals can be extraordinary now. But the spec does say that archive shouldn't be over 25% of a show, or even in extended sequences.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 15 January 2018 - 05:27 AM.

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#38 Pavan Deep

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:21 AM

Does he BBC still have a dedicated HD channel? I am not sure but I think BBC HD doesn't exist anymore as it seems that both BBC1 and BBC 2 get transmitted as SD and HD simultaneously, I believe all the SD content is up-scaled. 

 

Pa


Edited by Pavan Deep, 15 January 2018 - 06:22 AM.

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#39 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 07:37 AM

Well I am making an epic documentary on S-16. no one seems to be talking about it  :rolleyes:

 

The BBC and other broadcasters are probably talking about commissioned programs, rather acquired ones, for the former you would have to discuss shooting on anything other than the usual acquisition formats with the broadcaster. They used to shoot the Deadliest Catch on HDV because the cameras were being wreaked. but they had a post workflow which wasn't the usual prosumer one. There are also tier levels of HD cameras.  

 

From what I gather the BBC shoots everything on HD these days, it's the transmission that either SD or HD.


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#40 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:21 PM

I was watching Tokyo Ga and was wondering if that was shot on 16mm I have a feeling it was 35mm 

 

I am always interested in any film shot on REGULAR 16mm and some of the best regular 16mm work is from Fassbinder - World on a Wire and Berlin Alexanderplatz 

i believe Fox and Friends and ...HERR R AMOK and RIO DAS MORTES.. 

Baal and one more which escapes me 

 

I wonder if Jean Rollin shot in 16mm?


Edited by Rudy Velez Jr, 15 January 2018 - 12:23 PM.

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