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Old September 13th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #1
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The Ago Old Question...

Alright,

I am a 3rd year film student, currently own an XL2 and Micro 35, and have a huge film to make in January.

My plan was to buy an Canon XHG1 and use that with my redrock 35mm adapter to shoot the film. However, recently I have been leaning towards super16mm on an arriflex SR2. My mind cannot stop jiggling the pros and cons of both formats and I want some help from rational minds on why I should really go with one or the other (note: I have shot a lot of 16mm before, so film is not new to me, however, I have little experience in HD but tonnes in DV)

HDV:

Pros:

Single System Sound (no seperate audio recording)

No Developing (what you get is what you shoot)

I already own most of the equip (will own XHG1 in november)

Much cheaper!

Longer recording times

Smaller apparatus (although with M2 attached, this is debatable)

Cons:

It's digital! (1080i resolution is not as good as super 16).

Canon's 24f system is new to me, and I am not sure about release and screening options due to it's compatabilitiy.

There is a tendency to "overshoot" on digital, leading to countless editing hours wasted.

My professer hates digital (misguided, I know, but he is the boss! We are allowed to shoot digi, but he disuades it).


Super 16mm

Pros:

It's Film!

Increased resolution

Better-quality lenses (Zeiss, Arri) available

many more inherent release options

Cons:

Super 16 is super expensive (developing, stock, cam rental, lens rental, video tap, etc).

Light metering and slating every shot.

Dual system audio (cam and DAT)

Super 16 is not a release format, so all people will most likely see it transferred to digital anyway unless I can afford a $5000 35mm print!


There you have it. I am looking for feedback, advice, people who have worked with Canon's HD cams and 35mm adapters and know about compatability between HDV and certain projecters.

Anyway, thanks!

Matt
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Old September 13th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #2
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You're looking at all the wrong parameters.
The projector has little to do with your choice. It's sits at the very end of the pipeline and conversion of digital to film or film to digital are commonplace today.

The pipelines (and their differences) that lead up to having a finished product matter a great deal more.

Ask yourself ...
What do you want to LEARN?
Realisticly ... what workflow do you expect to work in once you graduate?
Keep in mind the trends that you see in the market, and in markets that help indicate what the future holds for your industry (What has been happening in the world of still photography?)

If you expect to move into film based workflow, then you should go with film for your project to learn how to cope with the challenges and exploit the advantages of this medium.

If your intended career will be grounded in digital work, then go digital. Learn to NOT overshoot, learn to work within any perceived limitations and exploit the advantages to their fullest extent.

This is your chance to get dirty with hands-on work in the direction you expect to take after school ... it will be likely be one of the last times you have full control of a project for some time, no risk of being fired, no studio or client to answer to. Make this oportunity work for YOU.

Where is the industry growing?
Where will the opportunities be?
Where do YOU fit in to the industry opportunities?
What will you do now to prepare youself to take advantage of those opportunities?

The answers to these questions will affect your future far more than what pro/con column you place "It's film" or "It's digital".
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Old September 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #3
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Yes nick, this is the other aspect, however I decided to post purely a technical question. These other factors are ones I am dealing with internally. It is also impossible to guage where the undustry is headed. With innvoations like Genesis and RED, the feature film market might become entirely digital in the next 10-20 years. Anothe rpossibility is that the sheer number of film cameras and projecters, and the comfort level so many people feel with this format, might hold off digitals take over for several decades yet.

I still have another full year of film school, plus my own indie company and my freelance work as a cinematographer, so my oppertunities to experimenty in both digital and film are still quite open...

Just trying to figure out what is the pheasable medium for this particular film. There are some scenes which lens themselves to a film shoot (one room, controlled lighting, simple camera moves) and other scenes which take place in moving cars and crowded city streets which Digital lends itself to very well,.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Just trying to figure out what is the pheasable medium for this particular film. There are some scenes which lens themselves to a film shoot (one room, controlled lighting, simple camera moves) and other scenes which take place in moving cars and crowded city streets which Digital lends itself to very well,.
From what I can gather you have availability to all of this equipment for free, or money is no object.

I kinda understand your dilemma since you essentially have access to any gear you want. Whenever I start a project gear is always determined by two things,

Time
Budget

Time - Working digital is faster, what you see is what you get… bla bla bla

Budget – (usually the determining factor for me) taking the money you have and using the best gear that money can afford.

Since neither of those seem to be a problem the only thing left is style. How the film will look. Really know one on this board can pick for you, you already know pros and cons, your in film school, its all up to what the film calls for.

We can’t see the script or “vision” of this production. Where this film will be shot or who will act in it. Your artistic ability will be the final outcome of the video not what you shot it on.

I know I’m not really giving any technical advice but if it was me, I would go digital and save any money from film route for possible things like, professional colorist (or the pro gear to do it yourself) makeup artists, and professional faculties to do post audio mixs.

You know this, but making a film is not a one man band (it might get close) your tools are only as good as you use them, four eyes are better then two, and a tight pro crew can go farther than your money pocket.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Nayman
Yes nick, this is the other aspect, however I decided to post purely a technical question.
Fair enough.
I'm curious (since I've never shot on 16mm myself) how does the DOF performance of Super16 compare to an HD camera shooting through a 35mm adapter? My instinct would expect that you would have a more dramatic DOF effect with the HD cam through the adapter, since you're recording a 35mm image instead of the 16mm image, but maybe the lensing of a Super16 camera compensates for this?? Just curious.

I'm also curious about your examples, which seem reversed in my mind.
I would expect that a controlled room set would be good for shooting digital, since you can control the lighting to fit the camera's dynamic range and could capture at the highest quality through via the SDI output ... where-as the greater latitude in film would be nice to have for the outdoor shots and capturing digital via SDI would be more unwieldy.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #6
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Actually, shooting digital thru the mini35 is going to give a much shallower DOF, one reason I am leaning heavily towards it. 16mm has a nice DOF, but unless you are wide open, it can start to look like super8

I see what you mean nick. I just always like using film more when I can control the situation because it adds so many variables (hairs in the gate, slipped sprockets, mis-threaded film). So on a quiet interior where not much is changing and is less "dynamic" I feel more comfy using film.

Jacob:

I see what you are saying. Once again, I knwo the artistry is up to me, my dop, my set designer, etc... and money is still an issue. It will end up cheaper if I go digi, so I can spend more money on other production values. That was a huge incentive for digi HD.

Looking for anyone with experience with a film getting shunned or accepted due to medium shot on. (I know everyone is about to spout off about STORY and CHARACTERS being more important than format. I agree, but some people are shallow. Anyone met 16mm snobs?)

Anyhoo, just looking for more feedback and to start a discussion exactly like this!
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Old September 13th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #7
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If it were me, I would shoot on super16 and get a good transfer to hd and finish in the computer. Skip the film editing and multiple prints. You would get the beauty of the 16mm (especially if it's black and white :P ), with all of the tools and the power of non-linear editing and workflow, including HD output and projection. But as you said, 16 costs money..... I do think it's worth it though. Gorgeous format.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 06:46 AM   #8
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Thanks Joe,

If I were to shoot on super-16, I would be editing in HD and finishing on tape (then maybe getting a neg cut later if I can afford it and a blowup to 35).

It's true. Super-16 as a glorious, glossy look. Ever seen "Conspiracy" an HBO film about the Nazis? The long take style required super 16 and it is gorgeous.

However, I am starting to see some things shot in HD that I cannot distinguish from film.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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what you haven't mentioned is BUDGET?
so do we assume $$ isn't going to be a factor in your choice..

and down the line (career) you want to be a director? DP ? producer? etc

approx how many minutes is the project ?

if you shoot 16m are you going to have it transferred to HDV ? , HDcam? uncompressed to hard drive ? do you have a post workflow for 16mm in mind ?

"16mm has a nice DOF, but unless you are wide open, it can start to look like super8"

have you shot 16 and super 8 ? DoF is different ... if you shoot 10mm at F16 you might find they look alike - change focal length and use the F stop top control DoF ...

you can have shallow DoF in super8 !! use the longer end of the lens and open up F stop ...
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Old September 14th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #10
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Hey Don,

I am reffering to DOF in a fairly standard lens, IE 50mm (25mm on super 16)

As for my future aspirations, I hope to direct and shoot .I love both and would be happy with either. I love telling stories but also on helping others tell theirs visually. For this project I have a DOP, but we work closely (pretty much joined at hip) so I need to be in on all this, and we will split shooting.

The budget is between $4000-$6000 depending on funds (not including XHA1 purchase). I can put a lot more of that into added production value if I shoot HDV.

Finishing would not be on film as of yet, so 16 would need to be transferred to digi anywho (probably HDcam)
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