Jump to content


Photo

From DV to Film


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Colton Davie

Colton Davie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Studio City, CA

Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:22 AM

I have had quite a bit of experience working with a Canon XL1s MiniDV camera. I am looking forward to a possible upgrade in the future. I have been leaning towards an XL2 ever since it came out. I have always had the idea that film cameras were far too expensive for a beginning movie maker. However, I have read recently on this board that Super 8mm film cameras can be purchased for under $500 and I have also seen 16mm cameras for less than the price of an XL2. Of course, film stock is quite a bit more expensive than MiniDV tapes. So I was wondering, if I was to be creating narratives (as in stories, as opposed to documentaries or home videos) would it be worth it to perhaps move to 8mm or 16mm film?

I am a total newbie to film, so here are a few probably very simple questions:

I appreciate the aesthetic difference between video and film, the greater tonal range of film, the pleasing frame rate of 24 fps film, etc. However, does super 8mm film really produce a better image than, say, an XL2 when used properly? What about super 16?

If you would, could you possibly outline the pros and cons of 8mm, 16mm, and high quality DV?

Thank you for your time.
  • 0

#2 Erdwolf_TVL

Erdwolf_TVL
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:15 PM

I appreciate the aesthetic difference between video and film, the greater tonal range of film, the pleasing frame rate of 24 fps film, etc. However, does super 8mm film really produce a better image than, say, an XL2 when used properly? What about super 16?


Super 8 can be equated to anywhere between 1 and 2 megapixels depending on the film and shooting conditions.

Considering that DV is just short of 1 megapixels, 8mm should (in theory) have much sharper image. Grain, however, eats away a lot of the "resolution" of film. Video has virtually no grain.

On a TV screen, I prefer digital video over telecine. When projected side-by-side on any surface larger than the average "big screen" TV, however, I'd choose film.

16mm is a whole different ball game.
  • 0

#3 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2030 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 05 November 2005 - 12:46 AM

I have read recently on this board that Super 8mm film cameras can be purchased for under $500 and I have also seen 16mm cameras for less than the price of an XL2. Of course, film stock is quite a bit more expensive than MiniDV tapes.

I was in a similar situation a few years ago. After transfering some old Super 8 family footage I would always hear from people watching it how much "better" it looked than video; certainly more warm.

So I picked up a Super 8 camera for $60 on eBay and a shot some of the newer Vision negative stocks and had it transfered on a real telecine machine. It was really amazing. If you're used to the look of video, Super 8 is an entirely new look. I found that both miniDV and Super 8 can be combined in the same story for different effects. Letting the video camera run while I shot the Super 8 give me the ability to sync the sound in Final Cut Pro which ads another dimension.

I recently upgraded to 16mm and the footage I'm getting back is another level above Super 8... it really looks like footage from a prime time TV drama shot on film (well... the outdoor scenes at least).

Remember, shooting film requires a much different philosophy than video. In video you can leave it running all the time and hope to capture the perfect moment because tape is cheap (video editors hate having to sort through those hours of tapes though...) while in film, since its more expensive and generally much shorter runs, you have to think about the shot much more.

I would pick up a cheap Super 8 and try it out. Doing it will help you understand all the costs and benefits. Here are some quick estimates:

Camera: $75
Color Vision2 200T film: $18 (about 2 1/2 minutes of film @ 24fps)
Developing: $15
Transfer on decent Rank machine: $20

So somewhere around $60 per 2 1/2 minutes. Seems like each shot has to count huh?

Stil, I would try it once so you can see why so many people here are hooked.
  • 0

#4 Colton Davie

Colton Davie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Studio City, CA

Posted 05 November 2005 - 01:19 PM

Thanks alot for the info. So, Super8 is better than video and Super16 is even better than that. Great.

Transfer on decent Rank machine: $20

That is transfer to video for editing, right? Do you loose much quality when you transfer to video? (Like I said, I'm a newbie to film, so forgive me if I ask any dumb questions ;) )

Also, are there any specific cameras that you would recommend? What exactly should I look for? I would like something that has the option to do manual focus, aperture, etc. Finally, I notice that these are some fairly old cameras, will they mount on a tripod with a screw mount?
  • 0

#5 Colton Davie

Colton Davie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Studio City, CA

Posted 06 November 2005 - 12:08 AM

Also, are there any specific cameras that you would recommend? What exactly should I look for? I would like something that has the option to do manual focus, aperture, etc. Finally, I notice that these are some fairly old cameras, will they mount on a tripod with a screw mount?

Nevermind that part, I found a good thread in the Super8 forum that somewhat answers that.
  • 0

#6 Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 873 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Minneapolis

Posted 06 November 2005 - 12:41 AM

"So, Super8 is better than video and Super16 is even better than that. Great."

Too much of an oversimplification. That's like saying, "A screwdriver is better than an awl, and a vicegrips is even better". For What? Different tools are designed for different applications.

More correctly, Super8 is different from video and
Super16 is different still.
  • 0

#7 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2030 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 06 November 2005 - 01:59 AM

Do you loose much quality when you transfer to video? (Like I said, I'm a newbie to film, so forgive me if I ask any dumb questions ;) )

In a sense you lose quality because its a transfer, but the loss doesn't mean anything because it'll be as good as video can possibly be... Film has more resolution than standard definition video, and in the case of 16mm & 35mm much more than even high definition.

Many people use film to "future proof" their projects. 10 years from now when there's a Super HD format that is 4000x2500 pixels or something, you can just go back and re-telecine your film at the higher resolution.

Film is just another tool for a certain asthetic, one that will blow you away if you're used to DV cameras.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Opal

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Glidecam

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

CineTape

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera