Shooting "Old School" style at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 2nd, 2007, 11:06 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 261
Shooting "Old School" style

I am going to preface my question by saying I know the whole idea of this forum is to help people with their DIGITAL video needs. But I have learned so much from this you great people that I hope someone can help me with a little older technology.

Okay so nowadays in most film schools (including the film school I am attending) the teachers choose not to teach “old school” approaches to making films. There is no mention of celluloid or cutting by hand on something like a Moviola with analog audio tracks. I want to learn how to make a movie this way and it seems like the only way to learn is do buy all the equipment and doing it on my own. So I am wondering what kind of equipment should I buy?

I want to shoot on super 8mm (for budget reasons), cut on celluloid and do all my sound “old school” (I don’t know how to do sound “old school” at all). So some requirements for a CAMERA are..

1) I want to shoot at 24fps and a faster speed for slow motion,
2) Have a manual exposure
3) Have a 180 degree shutter and
4) Have it be super 8mm

EDITING
1) Play back at 24fps
2) Has to be super 8mm
3) And basically fairly easy to use

SOUND
1) It has to work and be pretty cheap

I have cut stuff on celluloid before but not much and it was a long time ago, so I am not a nooby at this stuff. I don’t want ANYTHING digital to come into the production, again, “Old School” style. If anyone can help out with any suggestion that would be GREAT.
Alan James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 01:33 AM   #2
American Society of Cinematographers
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 123
Super-8 isn't a good format if you want a final print with a soundtrack on it. There is no Super-8 print stock, so you'd be shooting color reversal stock instead of color negative and cutting the original for projection with splices. You'd have to somehow get it mag striped (I don't think there are companies anymore that do this for Super-8) to be able to even put sound on the final cut, and you'd have tape splices all over the original which would create bumps in the audio.

These days, if you want to make a sound Super-8 project, sync-sound with dialogue, music, sound effects, etc. you have to transfer the Super-8 to video and do the rest of the work in video (editing and sound editing, mixing, etc.)

If you want to learn "old school" and take something all the way to a projectable print with a soundtrack, you need to shoot in 16mm negative and edit workprint, etc.
__________________
David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles
David Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 09:28 AM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
David is of course exactly right. I own and shoot with several super 8 cams, and have cut and spliced plenty with the old school super 8 viewers... and it's really limiting. Satisfying, but limiting.

And truth be told, shooting the Super 8 Neg stock, telecine to video and editing THAT is much more akin to current movie practices... you just don't get a print stock.

Sixteen millimeter will allow you to go all the way back to razors/tape, and you can pick up the gear fairly cheap.

But I have to ask, what is it that you are striving for? The 'experience' of old school, the 'yeah, I've done that' bragging right? (I can't believe film schools don't at least spend a semester on this.) You can probably rent enough gear to gain that experience, without too much trouble, or expense.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 11:00 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 261
The reason I want to do this is to gain the experience, not just for bragging rights. Amongst my friends I am known as the guy that knows everything about movie making, but the truth is I have very little experience with celluloid.

My plan is to shoot two short film that somehow tie into each other (although I haven’t written them yet) and shoot one on celluloid with minimal digital equipment coming into the production until I telecine the final print. The other film will be the opposite. It will be shot digital on a green screen stage and EVERY shot will have a digital effect of some kind added, which I have done many times before. “Old School” meets “Ultra Modern”.

I mostly want to do it as an experiment. I’m planning on this not making any money so I can only speed a few hundred dollars setting up the “Old School” system whereas the digital system is all ready in place. Both will be shot at 24fps, both will be in widescreen, both will have sound, and I would like to be able to shoot parts of both in slow motion. Aside from that I don’t have many requirements, I just need it done cheap. I’m looking for recommendations of a SPECIFIC camera, editor, and sound recorder. I don’t need the best stuff I just need pretty good stuff and I can only spend a few hundred total on the celluloid system, including film stock. Thanx for the help.
Alan James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 11:14 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Okay, I hear you now.

I have two cameras that I really like for my Super 8 work. One is the Sankyo EM-60Xl It shoots at single frame (for animation) 18,24 and 36 (for a moderate slo-mo) Also has an EXCELLENT intervalometer built in. I love this camera so much I actually own two of them.

The other camera I use a lot is my ELMO 612s-xl. It's a 'sound' camera, although Kodak doesn't make Super8 Sound any longer... it's very quiet nonetheless for shooting double system sound. shoots single, 18 and 24, but no slo mo.

I picked up all of these for under fifty dollars each.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 04:37 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Just a follow up.

If you plan to shoot double system, then you'll either need a really quiet 'sound' version of a Super 8, or you'll have to plan on 'blimping' the silent version. My Sankyo is pretty quiet, even for a 'silent' camera, but if I were in close, I would definately hear it on an audio track. So plan on blimping a silent camera. You can do it with some judicious work with a matte knife and some high density foam.

The problem with actually "Cutting" together the final work print on super 8, is that the splice tape actually shows up in projection or telecine. Most brands cover two frames at least, so you'll have a very tiny flicker of focus on every cut if you're not carefull.

If you plan to go forward, I would recommend getting a good SUper 8 camera, a good LIGHT meter, and shooting negative stock. You'll have to make the adjustment in camera to the ASA on the meter, cause the old super 8 cartirdges won't be notched for the new negative stock. But when you get the DV tape back of the transfer, it will look much cleaner, and give you a lot better image to work with in the editing suite.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 06:04 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 261
HAHA I have no idea what you just said about the sound and what double system means (that’s why I’m doing this though). I have no knowledge of celluloid editing systems at all (other then how they work) so I don’t know what to get and what I will need. If its not to much to ask could you make me a list of cameras, editor, and sound recorders to look into that will do what I want and be inexpensive. I want to keep the “Old School” movie out of the digital arena as long as possible and if possible only transfer the final print. If I could I would like to maybe even get a super 8mm projector and some means of playing my sound back to screen the film and then, screen the digital on a digital projector.

Top of the line “Old School” Prosumer vs “Ultra Modern” Prosumer. Analog vs Digital. Celluloid vs DVTape. You get the idea. What will I need and please please be specific cause I don’t know much about older technology.

Thanx for all the help.
Alan James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 08:25 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan James
HAHA I have no idea what you just said about the sound and what double system means (that’s why I’m doing this though). I have no knowledge of celluloid editing systems at all (other then how they work) so I don’t know what to get and what I will need. ...
Just FYI - "double system" and "single system" relate to the way pictures and sound are recorded when shooting, whether you are shooting on videotape or shooting film. 'Single system" means you're recording the sound in the camera on the same media as you record picture - Super-8 Sound is single system as the sound is recorded on a magnetic stripe running down one side of the film alongside the pictures and DV video is usually the same, with the sound and picture being recorded together on the same tape. "Double System" means that you're recording the pictures in one device, either on film in a movie camera or on videotape in a camcorder, and at the same time recording the sound on a separate audio recorder, then picture and sound are married together in sync during postproduction. Film is almost always double-system - in the past there were a number of sound Super-8 cameras on the market and I think there were some single-system sound 16mm cameras made as well, marketed mainly for filming news coverage, but as film has fallen out of favour outside of theatrical features and network TV dramatic work and been replaced with videotape, the magnetically stripped filmstock the single-system cameras used has disappeared from the market. Video can be either single-system, recording sound in the camera on the same tape as the picture, or double-system, recording the sound on its own dedicated external recorder. The designers of video cameras have often seemed to treat sound as an afterthought and many cameras, even some pretty expensive professional ones, have had relatively marginal audio compared to purpose-built audio recorders. As a result, many workers consider double-system the way to go when the absolutely highest quality sound is desired. In reality it's a judgement call whether the benefit gained is going to be worth the additional cost and aggravation.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2007, 10:42 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Alan,

IF you are intent on shooting super 8 and double system sound, you'll need to do a WHOLE lot of research.

First of all, re-reading your posts, I can see you're up against a few problems.

FIRST: Super 8 shoots 4:3 format, UNLESS you can find an anamorphic adapter for the particular camera you wind up shooting with. Remember, just about any camera you find is going to be used/rebuilt from the 70's.

SECOND: You say you want to do this for a couple of hundred, including film stock. Not knowing what your production plan is, or what you hope to achieve in terms of a shooting ratio, realize at twenty four frames per second, you're only going to get a little less than three minutes out of each fifty foot cartridge. Depending on film stock and lab, figure anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars for film/processing. Call it ten dollars a minute. How long is your super 8 short? Five minutes? Multiply that by, say a three to one shooting ratio and you have fifteen minutes of film to shoot. You're up to about three hundred dollars in film stock right there. NOT counting purchasing your camera and editing gear.

THIRD: You keep speaking about NOT using digital, but you have to shoot double system sound, since I'm pretty sure single system Super 8 can't be had anymore. IF you don't want to take advantage of the great sounding digital recording devices out there, then you'll have to make do with a reel to reel. CHEAP super 8 cameras won't have crystal synch, some of them will have a synch port attached to the side for the old school cassette decks... but you'll have a harder time finding those than a Super 8 camera.

FOURTH: If you intend to PROJECT the film you shoot, you'll have to have the film STRIPED with the magnetic tape to lay your audio back down on it.


I'm not trying to disuade you from shooting super 8. I LOVE Super 8. I like to use it to teach kids the basics of FILM MAKING. This means framing, planning, using a meter, and yes, editing and splicing. But to marry synch sound to super 8, you are MUCH better off doing it inside an NLE. So if your're going to import the footage, may as well shoot NEGATIVE stock, (Which, after all is more 'old school' than shooting reversal) And simply import and edit the Digital telecine they send you, synching it with the audio you recorede on the nice mini-disc recorder your audio guy was using.

Start here for some basic info

http://www.super8aid.net/faq.html

http://www.kolumbus.fi/puistot/S8Manual.htm

Last edited by Richard Alvarez; February 3rd, 2007 at 11:19 PM.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 06:11 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
And Richard, even FINDING tape stock for a reel-to-reel audio recorder is going to be a headache. Quantegy (Ampex), one of the last manufacturers, just announced they're discontinuing production of all 1/4" audio tape next month.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!

Last edited by Steve House; February 4th, 2007 at 08:27 AM.
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 07:06 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida
Posts: 2,614
Even "Older School?"

I respect what you are trying to do and it is quite a challenge. But, how about going just a little “Older School” and make it MOS, without sound. That would challenge your movie making ability even more.

Making a short film that way will show your talent at writing, directing, shot composition, lighting, etc…. Whether you make it a drama, a comedy, or whatever, it will show off you skills. Maybe have some simple music playing in the background, without the need to synchronize it. You know, kind of like having the piano player in the old theaters.

Anyway, just a thought, and would give you much of the experience you are looking for at a much lower cost and a higher challenge level.

Good Luck---Mike
__________________
Chapter one, line one. The BH.
Mike Teutsch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 09:49 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Again, not trying to overwhelm you, but just trying to figure out how to meet your 'needs'... without knowing what EXACTLY your needs are.

IF it's to shoot a short on 'film'... then fire away. Super 8 will be great fun, and it's a good way to get a little of that 'film discipline' that is so sorely lacking in the DV age. When every minute is costing you somewhere in the neighborhood of ten dollars every time you pull the trigger... suddenly, 'planning the shot' and 'shooting the plan' becomes much more urgent.

While your depth of field won't be much different than shooting on Mini_DV (The image size is roughly the same, after all) You WILL get the experience of shooting with greater lattitude (depending on which stock you use), the wonderful quality of grain, and the chance to work with 'celluloid'.

Again, if what you want is to 'emulate' the work-flow of film, than really - shooting on negative stock, telecine to DV for editing IS the modern workflow. Sure, ultimately there's a negative comform and print out, but if you're cutting your 'film' together with your 'video' anyway, then you're not going to be doing a film-out.

As for working with/out sound. I shot a fifteen minute 'film noir' on super 8. It has a great sound track, a terrific voice-over (what would a film-noir be without it?) some great 'foley' effects and even a bit of ADR. (Looped in dialogue, which is TRULY old school). I recorded the sound WITH my DV camera as an 'audio deck' because it has such high quality and imported it into the system. Today's modern NLE's with waveform and timelines make for easy synching.

There IS a lot of satisfaction to be had from cutting the Super 8 together with a viewer and splicing tape.(Well MORE satisfying to work with 16 or 35mm.) It's a great experience, and proves exactly how NON-LINEAR cutting with film is. When the four or five different takes of a shot are litterally hanging from hooks next to you, and you pick them up and move them around in the 'space' of your editing station... suddenly the concept of trimming, splicing and editing becomes - quite literally - 'concrete. In fact, if you've ever actually CUT FILM, you'll understand why AVID has the workflow and terminology it does, and why it varies from the newer NLE's. (AVID was designed to cut and conform negative film stock, not 'move around digital bytes'. This mindset has it's advantages and disadvantages...too deep to go into here.)

And it's really fun to get a roll of film back from the lab, set up 'the projector', dim the lights, and 'roll film' to see what you've got. It's a real sensory experience all right. But maybe that's part of my age - fifty - and not so relevant to the 'younger digital' kids on the board.

I definately understand and ENCOURAGE your desire to work in the FILM WORKFLOW. I'm not certain you can get the WHOLE experience for under a couple of hundred dollars... is what I'm saying.

DO a search on Ebay. Pick up a nice camera for under fifty bucks. Pick up a viewer/editor and a projector. I THINK you can probably get it all for under two hundred. Better still, haunt your thrift stores and yard sales, or your RELATIVES garages and attics. Granpa might have a nice Bolex sitting in the back of the closet gathering dust, you never know.

Buy a roll of Ektachrome, and a roll of TRI-X. (Yeah, shoot some black and white, it's beautiful). Put the reels on and watch the lights flicker.

If you're NOT bitten by the bug, you can sell it all and be out the cost of the film - a cheap education.

Keep us posted.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 261
Richard, super 8mm is 16X9 not 4X3 that’s what makes it super. I BASICALLY know what to do I just wanted some outside opinions. I’m gunna ask a sound guy I know about my sound situation and sync them up by hand later. Ill get a clapper and clap the beginning of the shot and where I see it clap and where I hear it clap will be my sync point. I’ll also probably make 2 film noirs and see which is better. Ill defiantly be sure to keep you guys posted.
Alan James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 03:28 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida
Posts: 2,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan James
Richard, super 8mm is 16X9 not 4X3 that’s what makes it super. I BASICALLY know what to do I just wanted some outside opinions. I’m gunna ask a sound guy I know about my sound situation and sync them up by hand later. Ill get a clapper and clap the beginning of the shot and where I see it clap and where I hear it clap will be my sync point. I’ll also probably make 2 film noirs and see which is better. Ill defiantly be sure to keep you guys posted.

Don't think so! They made both dimentions larger but still the same ratio. Super 8mm is still has about a 50% larger image.


Standard 8mm: Aspect Ratio 1.36:1, dimensions 0.182 x 0.134 inches (4.6 x 3.4 mm)

Super 8mm film: Aspect Ratio 1.36:1, dimensions 0.215 x 0.158 inches (5.5 x 4 mm)

Mike
__________________
Chapter one, line one. The BH.
Mike Teutsch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Alan,

Super 8 is NOT 16:9, and depending on your telecine process, you may or may not get the whole frame.

Yes, of course you'll need to slate the takes. But you must understand, these cameras are THIRTY YEARS OLD. They are NOT CRYSTAL SYNCH motors. Their frame rate, WILL DRIFT... especially as batteries wear down.

But, since you basically know what to do already, I won't bore you with the details.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network