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Old September 16th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #1
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Does the camera affect the value of the movie?

Hi,

I was just wondering about this question... Does the camera affect the purchase or screening value of a movie? For example if you had produced a movie that you wanted to sell and the movie was shot on a JVC HD100 and the results that you got were great and the story in your film is also very good, would studios and theatres judge your film on the camera you used to shoot the film with? So using an HD100 for example would bring the value price of your project down as compared to using a Cinealta for example?

Or does that not matter at all and what counts is the quality of the film?

Thanks for the advice...
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Old September 16th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hamad Abdulla
Hi,

I was just wondering about this question... Does the camera affect the purchase or screening value of a movie? For example if you had produced a movie that you wanted to sell and the movie was shot on a JVC HD100 and the results that you got were great and the story in your film is also very good, would studios and theatres judge your film on the camera you used to shoot the film with? So using an HD100 for example would bring the value price of your project down as compared to using a Cinealta for example?

Or does that not matter at all and what counts is the quality of the film?

Thanks for the advice...
Content over camera. Sound over picture.

(Rodriguez shot El Mariachi without sound to save money. All sound was added, and he was able to have good quality sound without the mess of production recording problems. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (and most of these movies) were also shot MOS with the sound added. The point being, the sound needs as much attention, skill and experience as the picture.)

People won't go to see a boring movie that looks great.
People will walk out of a movie with bad/annoying sound way before they walk out of a movie with less than perfect picture.

The great film "Jackass" was shot on a PD150, GL-1, etc. but was picked up because of its brilliant content. In fact, "Jackass 2" is coming out.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0264263/technical

Another PD-150 film is "Open Water."
http://imdb.com/title/tt0374102/technical

Go to imdb.com and wordsearch PD-150 in technical for a long list of films. You get an idea of what sold. I pick the PD-150 since it's been out awhile and has had a chance to be used. Search also for XL-1

"Pieces of April" was shot on the PD-150 in PAL. It did very well and was very well reviewed. It starred Katie Holms:
http://imdb.com/title/tt0311648/technical
http://imdb.com/title/tt0311648/

The "Anniversay Party" was shot on a Sony DSR-500. As one commenter on imdb.com comments, it was better than Pearl Harbor. I saw this film in a theater, and it looked good, not like video generally.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0254099/technical
http://imdb.com/title/tt0254099/

Another film that did well was "28 days later," and it was shot with an xl-1.

To my mind, the only way to look at it is as a whole. Put together the look of the project, the budget, the kind of crew that will be used, the kind of shots that will be needed, the lighting that will be used, the time available, the needed dollies, tripods, rigs, etc. needed and if you can get what you need for the camera you are using. Also, consider the cinematographer and her experience with the camera.

Different cameras are capable in different scenarios. The 24p of the HD100 will go straight to film. The experience people have already had with scene settings gives a good place to start. However, if you are shooting in water a lot, I don't think the HD100 would be a good choice because of the size and other considerations. It would be much easier to put an FX1 or Z1U in an underwater case, and be a lot cheaper, or an HVX200... which is great for handheld, but has its own issues in other ways. I doubt that this example fits your case, but if you go through your script breakdown you will find many things that may influence the camera and style of shooting you need. If you are going to be stealing locations, the HD100 with a matte box might not be the most inconspicuous choice.

Also, keep in mind that many, many films use more than one camera and format for shooting. This is true when shooting either film and video. A processed PD-150 might be good for a drug scene, where the picture is processed and the camera had to be flying around will-nilly.

If the lighting is right and the camera is setup well I don't think the HD100 can be beat for anything anywhere near close to the price.

I bought the HD100 for two purposes: high quality 60p SD DVD video and a film-style short that will be transferred to 35mm film. For both of these I think the camera is perfect.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #3
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Here's some what an answer to your question...

Just screen a film for buyers...

We shot 96 1/2 % Cine Alta... 3% JVC and maybe a half of a percent the DVX... knowone came up and said wow I can't believe you didn't shoot the whole production 100% Cine Alta... only people on the crew new what was shot with what...

Tell a story with a good script...
Have good production values (lighting, sound, etc.)
Good acting... and if you can afford one actor with a name...

I think the bottom line if your movie is entertaining it'll sell...
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Old September 16th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker
(Rodriguez shot El Mariachi without sound to save money. All sound was added
El Mariachi was shot MOS because a) the camera didn't have synchronized sound capabilities (16mm Arriflex) and b) because the camera was too noisy to run a recorder at the same time. Yes, he saved money by borrowing the camera for free and basically adapting to what was available, a great skill to have as a indie. At the same time keep in mind that he recorded the lines immediately after shooting the scene, in this way the "actors" would have a fresh memory of the cadence and approximate pace used to say the lines while shooting.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
El Mariachi was shot MOS because a) the camera didn't have synchronized sound capabilities (16mm Arriflex) and b) because the camera was too noisy to run a recorder at the same time. Yes, he saved money by borrowing the camera for free and basically adapting to what was available, a great skill to have as a indie. At the same time keep in mind that he recorded the lines immediately after shooting the scene, in this way the "actors" would have a fresh memory of the cadence and approximate pace used to say the lines while shooting.
Since I never read his book nor otherwise know him, I don't know the details.

It does stand to mention that shooting quality sound with picture requires at least a sound operator, keeping the mic out of the shot (or rigging lavalier's, etc.) causes a lot of hassle and time, and action scenes are next to impossible to shoot with full sound anyway.

But the noisy camera adds to my point... that the technique, equipment, etc. has to be chosen to match the script, the budget, the ability of the crew and actors, etc.

Again, the reason most times for movies the equipment is rented, or if it is low cost and doesn't justify a rental, it is bought with the intention of immediately reselling.

People who own equipment need first to analyze what they will shoot and in what circumstances (and what they need for jobs they may be hired for) to may the best decision on equipment.

On this subject it seems a reasonable question is whether the sound recorded on tape or on the hard disk should be used at all, or if one is planning to transfer to film, should a secondary recorder recording wav files always be used.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #6
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Ultimately the content of a movie determines its value. Story and characters are the prime importance. The audience doesn't care about the camera as long as there are no obvious problems with the picture.

However, if there are picture quality problems (regardless which camera is used), then it can be a detriment if the audience gets pulled out of the story and starts noticing the filmmaking. I saw this happen with "28 Days Later" when audience members sighed "relief" when the picture quality switched from the XL1 to 35mm at the end. And with "Deep Water" I heard a comment that it "looked cheap, as if the filmmakers used a home video camera" (from a non-filmmaker). In both cases the picture quality brought attention to the filmmaking rather than the story itself.

This can also happen with high production values, too, if the filmmaker chooses to use a process or style that rubs the audience the wrong way. Two things I've heard criticism about lately -- the shaky, fake "handheld" look of some scripted TV shows, and the "bleach bypass" look where everything is high contrast and grainy ("Why does it look so drab and dark?")
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Old September 17th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #7
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I suspect the best way of putting this only if the medium you're using goes against the way you're trying to tell the story. "Lawrence of Arabia" would have to told differently if shoot on Mini DV as against 70mm.

They had to spend a substantial amount to sort out the sound on "El Mariachi".
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Old September 17th, 2006, 02:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
They had to spend a substantial amount to sort out the sound on "El Mariachi".
Yes, but this was all taken care of by the studio, Columbia, so it didn't cost the filmmaker anything. Also, I believe Rodriguez edited on 3/4" videotape and didn't have to pay for any film editing, a print, etc. from the $7000 he says it cost him to make the movie.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jack Walker
Yes, but this was all taken care of by the studio, Columbia, so it didn't cost the filmmaker anything. Also, I believe Rodriguez edited on 3/4" videotape and didn't have to pay for any film editing, a print, etc. from the $7000 he says it cost him to make the movie.
Yes, but the $7000 still isn't how much the film cost in reality. The studio invested in the film to complete it, that's part of the film's budget as much as the $7000. Great marketing though.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #10
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I always thought that the only question when thinking about what format to use was "what do you intend to do with it?".

For example a project I have in mind (pre supposing i can get funding) I'm considering shooting it on digibeta instead of HDV on my HD100, the only reason for that thought is (other than drop out) that digibeta will scale up to 35mm better than HDV.....or will it?. I'm really unsure on this subject.

If digibeta IS better is it SO much better than HDV to warrent spending the money on it over a perfectly good HDV camera that I already own?

I'd love to hear folks thoughts/experiences on the matter.

Andy.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
Yes, but the $7000 still isn't how much the film cost in reality. The studio invested in the film to complete it, that's part of the film's budget as much as the $7000. Great marketing though.
The studio put over a $1 mil into that picture fixing sound, images, etc... an old friend said you have to see the RR's 3/4 cut vs. the studio cut...

But what she said was what the studio saw... that this kid can do some great stuff with no money... I don't know if this is the truth or not... but I heard the studio was going to remake the film with Banderas (sorry if spelled wrong) but the buzz from the film was a better selling point than remaking the film...
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Old September 17th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Andy Graham
For example a project I have in mind (pre supposing i can get funding) I'm considering shooting it on digibeta instead of HDV on my HD100, the only reason for that thought is (other than drop out) that digibeta will scale up to 35mm better than HDV.....or will it?. I'm really unsure on this subject.
I'm not sure how it would, since Digibeta is a standard def format which doesn't natively support 24p acquisition (you'd need to pull it down). It's got a couple things going for it, namely a purely intra-frame coding scheme and slightly higher vertical color resolution (480 lines vs. 360 lines in 720p HDV), but it's still not HD.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jack Walker
Yes, but this was all taken care of by the studio, Columbia, so it didn't cost the filmmaker anything. Also, I believe Rodriguez edited on 3/4" videotape and didn't have to pay for any film editing, a print, etc. from the $7000 he says it cost him to make the movie.
We are not counting in this discussion that Rodriguez had a completely different target. His plan was to produce a movie for $7000, transfer it directly to video, as he did, and sell it to the Mexican market. In that he ended up with a finished product, the VHS tape, right on budget. Columbia then decided to sign him up. They then, later, decided to print it on 35mm etc etc. That was their responsibility and that also teaches us a lesson. Don't spend the $20,000 in doing a film print. Today we can do much better than VHS with DVD. If you have a full feature on DVD you have a marketable product. Sell it. If the distributor likes it, it's their task to make the prints and work the advertisement deal. That's is all part of the negotiations. You set a project, set a budget and make a movie using that budget. That's all the creative people have to be concerned about. At the end of the year, very likely, we will be able to burn HD DVDs. That's more than enough for your local theater projection and to evaluate if your product is worth a wider audience.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 05:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
I'm not sure how it would, since Digibeta is a standard def format which doesn't natively support 24p acquisition (you'd need to pull it down). It's got a couple things going for it, namely a purely intra-frame coding scheme and slightly higher vertical color resolution (480 lines vs. 360 lines in 720p HDV), but it's still not HD.
Being in a PAL country, you'd be shooting 25 frames per second. It would be best to check with facilities that have experience in transferring both formats to 35mm.

The DVW 970 will shoot progressive, but they're rare because the hire companies are holding onto their older Digibeta cameras and buying new HDCam kits instead.
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Old September 17th, 2006, 11:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Graham
I always thought that the only question when thinking about what format to use was "what do you intend to do with it?".

For example a project I have in mind (pre supposing i can get funding) I'm considering shooting it on digibeta instead of HDV on my HD100, the only reason for that thought is (other than drop out) that digibeta will scale up to 35mm better than HDV.....or will it?. I'm really unsure on this subject.

If digibeta IS better is it SO much better than HDV to warrent spending the money on it over a perfectly good HDV camera that I already own?

I'd love to hear folks thoughts/experiences on the matter.

Andy.
Let's review what is meant by "DigiBeta is better".

Have just seen a comparison of DigiBeta to HDV on 35mm, I can tell you they are close enough that other factors come into play.

1) The cameras - Most DigiBeta cameras are much better then the HDV offerings at the moment. They have larger CCDs and better lenses. The lens is a big factor. HDV cameras suffer from small CCDs and low quality lenses. The HD-100 and the Canon are interchangeable lens cameras but the choices are very limited. The Fujinon 13X for the HD-100 is lens of choice at the moment but that's between a choice of only two lenses! All in all, the pro HDV cameras make some nice images but are prone to overexposure blowouts.

2) The recording format - DigiBeta is a more robust recording format and if edited with a high quality codec, it will retain it's quality. HDV is high-def but can suffer from MPEG2 artifacts which limits your ability to do major adjustments to the image. Yes, you can convert HDV to other codecs but the original artifacts will remain unless some techinique is applied. In fact a film-out from HDV will be done from a higher quality HD codec, the film houses usually don't want to play with the HDV codec at all. You can edit in HDV but the film house will tell you what other codec they'll want you to render out to. The Panasonic HVX200 records to high quality DVCProHD but the camera suffers the drawbacks of other HDV cameras plus a few unique to the camera.

3) Costs - Shooting on DigiBeta is more expensive then HDV but you have higher quality equipment to choose from. Editing DigiBeta is more expensive but you retain the high quality you started with. HDV requires more careful shooting habits and a clear understanding of the edit options. You can get a great 35mm transfer from the HD-100 and I think better then DigiBeta if the shots are carefully done.

In the end what do you get from the two? Without a direct comparison the audience won't care and even if the comparison was in front of their faces they probably still wouldn't care. As the call goes - Quality subject first, technical excellence second.
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