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Short Film Project 16 mm or Super 16 ?


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#1 xtraview

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 11:19 AM

Hi
I'm a film student at NYU. I have made a few short films but never with the whole nine yards.
I would like to make 8-10 minutes short film with sync sound to submit in film festivals.

I have a few questions:

Roughly how much would be the cost difference between 16mm and Super16mm?

What are the main advantages with Super 16mm.. is the extra money worth it for my project?

What would be the shooting ratio I should shoot for -- 3 to 1 .......4 to 1?

Is there such thing as royalty free music for the film? If not, is it expensive to have someone
do the sound track for the film? If there was no sound track would that work... just the ambience/dialogues?

Thanks in advance,

RJ
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#2 drew_town

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 05:44 PM

I can answer some of your questions but not all. A 4:1 shooting ratio is certainly possible as long as you conform to a strict shooting habit. Watch the film "Primer" and observe the director's commentary as he talks about how he worked with a tight shooting ratio.

Music for a film can be anywhere between free to ridiculously expensive. I would research the cost of specific titles to get an idea of what the cost would be. "Stock" music is cheaper but often doesn't sound personalized to your piece because, well, it isn't. You don't have to have music but from my personal experience, you need a very solid film to operate without it, because often music works to reinforce thematics in a movie that might otherwise not work on their own.
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#3 Nathan Milford

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 06:34 PM

Super16, as a format, will not cost you any more than standard 16mm. It uses the same film and the lab will process it the same. The costs are the same. A Super16 camera is designed to expose a little more of the negative giving you a little more real estate to work with.

That said, renting a super 16 kit would cost you a bit more, but if you were going to get a proper/professional kit the camera would probably be an Arri SR3 or Aaton XTRprod which are switchable. You could get an Eclair NPR or ACL or even a CP16 which are generally found in standard 16 (but many people have upgraded thier to handle super 16).

If the camera you hire is strictly standard 16, then it's likely to be a relativly ancient camera and probably rent cheaper, if you can find somewhere that might rent it...

Look for between 10:1 and 20:1. The issue of film burn rate has been covered many times and I'm sure the forums search function will provide you with a wealth of information.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 09:53 PM

The shorts I have shot for school projects (I am a student at RIT in the film production program), about the lowest shooting ratio you can practically count on if you're shooting sync sound is in the realm of 10:1. My first foray into shooting and editing film with sync sound (sound was recorded on 1/4 inch tape and went to magstock for editing on flatbeds) was almost exactly 1 minute long finished and I shot a full 400 foot roll of film, so around 11 minutes of film. I wished I had been able to shoot more, but the class required you to shoot one roll of film, no more no less.

With this ratio, it would be very hard to get anything close to festival-worthy. If you want an 8-10 minute finished product, I think you should look to shoot perhaps 2 hours of footage. The complexity of the dialogue and the scene(s) in general will affect the ratio a lot, too. Don't forget you also have to account for the film burned on ends of rolls and on either end of takes.
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#5 scorsesebull

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 11:04 AM

I'm also a currently a student and I've worked on many short films who have done it many different ways. I've seen people shoot on 8:1 and have a finished product near festival worthy but the three out of four of the short films I have done required at least a 10:1 even 12:1 shooting ratios. The other film I did contained 4 solid minutes of screen time shot on a single 400' role (class requirement). It is possible. My advice to you (if you are directing) would be to rehearse the hell out of your actors. Maybe then you can get two good/solid takes, three for more complex camera moves or blocking/camera choreography, to work with in editing. I'd also plan on buying a bit more than you think you'll need because overnighting a role the night before you need it, not the best night of sleep you'll have (and it's much more expensive). Grab an extra roll, if anything it'll cost a bit mroe but you might get a few extra great takes with your actors toward the end of your shoot (if the extra roll isn't detrimentally needed just to finish the film). It's win win that way.

--Luke Kalteux
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#6 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 01:09 PM

OK... where to start

I have done things with crazy shooting ratios and really tight one to, even on digital, and let me telll you for experience that I preffer much more the tight ratios
One: you should start rejearsal even a month before the shoot ( do a theater technique) prepare them in a really tight way: 4 weeks should do it and if yo have more time with them ... well do a plan of meeting and rehearsing with them 2 to 3 times a week for 4 to 6 weeks
If is a short..... damn!!! your actors are going to be smoking they are going to trust you that you know what you are doing and also that would give you room to experiemnt more and try new things that you had in mind
you can even shoot the rehearsals with mini dv.... even with cheap 1 chip cam.... so then you got back home after work or before goinng to sleep and you examine much more..... you get within the story the characters and the perfomance......( after story, your most important thing)

For a format a would go with Super 16.... is a much more "cinematic format" and it will allow you to( if you have great DP) to get as close as 35 mm, check the Motorcycle Diaries..... They did it so can you.... but also you have movies like PI that shot on regular 16.... and they did great to.... again story is what matter then your perfomance then how you tell the story with the visuals and then music an so on... ( to me they all go toghether, if you loose one that will suck!)

Now going on music..... Bro you have TONS I mean TONS of great musicians so close to you all the time and we ignore them because we are in our little bubles....... they are call Street Musicians..... some of them suck ass.... but there is alot of talent out there .... go to fairs.... check in subways go to any park and you find people that will do it next to nothing.....



Remember a lot of people in this forum are spoiled by their employers or themselves, getting the best equipement out there ( Do get it personal admitted it happens to everybody)

YOu can get great glass, a good cheap HIgly modified Eclar NPR or an arriflex SR2 and go out there do your stuff... also great stock .... don't forget that.... and that will be it....
Good lights, good crew, and a director "that knows what he wants", especially that....( alot of directors today yestarday and always, prey to know this most of them don't have a clue, if from the get go the anwser the stupid questions and they follow the MAin concept then that's at least a guy that you can work with) once you have that man you are done ...

I hope that helps


Best
I hope that helps
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#7 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:08 AM

With this ratio, it would be very hard to get anything close to festival-worthy. If you want an 8-10 minute finished product, I think you should look to shoot perhaps 2 hours of footage...


At my old film school we had to shoot our graduation short films on 5 400' rolls of film, and many of the scripts grew to 15 pages long...

In the days of the Fuji short film competition the rules was the 10 minute films had to to be shot only on the 5 free roles of films they provided.... and some entries were excellent.

Plus this took place in PAL countries where you shoot at 25 fps and 400' only really runs for 10 1/2 minutes.

So shooting on a ratio of less than 5:1 is possilbe, and probably more didactic for a student - as its forcing you to make decisive decsions before you even walk on to the location. Sometimes the more you shoot the more dilluted the film becomes, but more imporrtantly you have to rise to the challenge and grow the courage to stand by the decisions made.

Shooting on a low ratio will no doubt throw up problems in the edit, but then again you learn a lot by finding solutions to those problems through creativity and lateral thinking. Plus when you find such a mistake you rarely make it again.

This is just my personal opinion but i feel that learning as much and as quickly as possible is more important to chasing glory at festivals. My opinion may also be influenced by the fact that I'm in europe where I have observed that young DOPs and filmmakers have to use low ratios to push up onto a higher format like 35mm on commercial work such as music videos and advertisiments.
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#8 Keneu Luca

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:42 AM

xtraview I sent you a PM.
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#9 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:21 AM

I can answer some of your questions but not all. A 4:1 shooting ratio is certainly possible as long as you conform to a strict shooting habit. Watch the film "Primer" and observe the director's commentary as he talks about how he worked with a tight shooting ratio.

Music for a film can be anywhere between free to ridiculously expensive. I would research the cost of specific titles to get an idea of what the cost would be. "Stock" music is cheaper but often doesn't sound personalized to your piece because, well, it isn't. You don't have to have music but from my personal experience, you need a very solid film to operate without it, because often music works to reinforce thematics in a movie that might otherwise not work on their own.



As far as a score is concerned. I recommend you contacting your music department. I found my composer at UTSA where he is getting his masters in Music Composition and he is a trained classical guitarist. Before I contacted him I made sure I had my homework done; storyboard, screenplay, breakdown of inserted music. These students have access to expensive and professional equipment for recording music. I did pay him a small fee but he was more than happy to help me out.
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#10 Sam Wells

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:50 AM

Shooting on a low ratio will no doubt throw up problems in the edit, but then again you learn a lot by finding solutions to those problems through creativity and lateral thinking. Plus when you find such a mistake you rarely make it again.


I agree completely.

Besides, if you're beginning you'll throw up problems in the edit anyway.

Shot on DV features with 40:1 ratios (and I'm not exaggerating) still have theses problems.

Learn to 'cut with the camera'

-Sam
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#11 J. Søren Viuf

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 05:32 AM

Yeah,

Last year I shot a film in the desert. We had 4 100' rolls, but the AC exposed one of them, thus leaving us with 300', and unable to procure any more. So, using 250' (plus 50' of rollout footage), the film ended up being nearly 6 minutes without titles. In other words, just shy of a 1:1 ratio.

This was accomplished with a very clear idea of what I wanted and doing only one take of everything. Everything cut together properly. I don't know if it is surprising or not, but this turned out to be the best film I have made, and I accredit it partially to the "one-take" mentality. Saves film, saves time, and forces the director to know very precisely what he wants. I think it keeps the vision focused.

Just pray you have a competent DP to help keep your vision focused. Hahaahhaahahah

JSV
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#12 paul negoescu

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 03:00 PM

i am also a stundent and for my 12 minutes short i had only 9 rolls film (9x120m) = aprox 40 mins. I shot takes with 2:1 and others with 4:1, but generally with 3:1. The film won the first and only festival it took part.
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#13 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 11:39 AM

Hey, I'm a film student as well from Singapore!

I can relate to the experience of having low shooting ratios due to limited budget or being forced to shoot on 1 to 2 rolls of film only. I did one recently which ended up with a running time of 3mins (without credits and titles), shooting only on 2 rolls.

Just like what most have already mentioned, it was the "one-take" mentality that forces everyone to be on their toes and at times it can get pretty stressful lol.

Myself being just a student filmmaker, I get nervous everytime my director teammate calls for a take and I must admit, I was biting my fingernails most of time thinking if I had hit the focus, framing, exposure, etc lol Even loading/unloading film can be an awkward situation too and strange magazine noises completely freaks the whole crew out LOL.
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#14 Riku Naskali

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:06 PM

I can relate to you guys, shooting 20:1 on a student film even sounds stupid. Maybe something like 5:1 would be ideal, but I've shot many films on around 2:1 ratio without problems. On the other hand, they weren't sync, I'm sure even the slating will increase film usage a lot.
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#15 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:24 PM

As I said before .... you don't need the incopentent 10:1 or 20:1 ratio... is a waste..
Again when I go to shoots in LA or in NY an I see this the first thing that I notice is that the director has no clue of what he wants... Honestly is a joke that some people waste so much film on a short film is just funny, again this people are spoiled wasting moneyon great gear for stupid or mediocre productions.
That's why you can see what a poor ratio of good films come out of the US every year...
If I have to recomend a 2 great films that shoot in a really low ratio and they rock! you should see
Swingers and Nine Queens, the last one had so many one takers that was scary for the crew ( I knew some of them).... but again the director knew EXACTLY what he want it....... That's all you need to know

Best Regards
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#16 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:54 PM

If you want an 8-10 minute finished product, I think you should look to shoot perhaps 2 hours of footage.


Let's not forget that this good man is on a student film budget. 2 Hours for an 8 to 10 minute film is EXTREME, especially when we're speaking in terms of shooting and processing 16mm.

The best way to keep costs down when shooting a short film on a tight budget is to do a lot of pre-production. A lot of rehearsals so you know your actors have their lines down to at least get you what you need, therefore requiring less takes.

I just cut my friend's 13 minute Sci Fi film, he only ran about 4 x 400' rolls of film during production and he managed to get some quality performances without doing multiple takes of most of the scenes.

So a little under 4:1 shooting ratio in this case was what we accomplished, which is something you should aim for, especially when you're on a student's budget.

:)

That's why you can see what a poor ratio of good films come out of the US every year...


Here here Martin.

This is off topic, but the movie industry has for the most part turned into a big budgeted B-Movie industry, not too different from the monster movie and Corman days of the 50's through 70's (just bigger budgets and special effects).

People just need to start recognizing where the dividing line is. There will always be a B-Movie audience and an "A-Movie" audience, it would just be nice if the B-Movie's weren't so dominant in the marketplace.
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#17 James Erd

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:28 PM

Get a changing bag or tent. You won't regret it. It will pay for itself before you even half way through production.

You'll get more usable footage on 100' & 200' daylight loads. If something jams in the camera you have a better chance of fixing it with out sacrificing your most recent takes. At the very least you can use the bag to remove the footage you just shot before start working in daylight.

I've never regretted bring along a changing bag, but I have regretted leaving it at home.
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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:03 PM

Even better, a changing tent would be ideal. They're much easier to use with ample room inside to handle the camera/mag and sensitive materials.
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#19 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:49 PM

:)
Here here Martin.

This is off topic, but the movie industry has for the most part turned into a big budgeted B-Movie industry, not too different from the monster movie and Corman days of the 50's through 70's (just bigger budgets and special effects).

People just need to start recognizing where the dividing line is. There will always be a B-Movie audience and an "A-Movie" audience, it would just be nice if the B-Movie's weren't so dominant in the marketplace.
[/quote]

But that Again is an excuse to continue with the trent of a big monster b movie paris hilton mtv crap sort of filmmaking, there is great line from a b movie that says " If you keep feeding the monster it will never die"
Now I'm not saying to stop making films.... o no, but at least agree to make more intelligent filmmaking,
I see tons of filmmakers today that have great problems even with continuety with theur projects, And I'm also talking or including those projects that come out in the theaters to... you see a movie today and one from the 80"s and there is a bigger difference than just aestherics! story my friend... alot movies today they just lacked....
an the only excuse that some of them present is that everything is been done.... that is Bull@#%!!!
If look into films done outside the USA with much smaller budgets they are far more superior into story and at least enjoyable... like for example the Motorcycle Diaries, they shoot it on Super 16 the crew ( during the trip) where 13 TOPS!!! the used their resources to the max... and the movie paid off greatly...

I will leave with this qoute " necessity is the mother of invention"

Best
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