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Old April 27th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #1
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16 mm or HD?

What is best? Shoot on 16mm or this cam? This cam, I suppose?
I'm not talking about shooting 16mm for an artistic reason, if you want to do that, of course, but purely based on quality and budget...?
What's your opinion?
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Old April 27th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #2
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Without a doubt, HD. And, depending how you're showing it, even DV in 24p. Take a gander at the behind-the-scenes featurette for The Shield: Season 3 DVD entitled "Breaking Episode 315." It was shot with a DVX 100. On my TV it looked like 16 mm film.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 09:15 AM   #3
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What's your method of distribution?

How do you plan to edit and distribute? If you plan to edit digitally, you should go for HD. If you have any effects shots or intense color correction you want to do, I'd go with HD as well. However, my friend just shot something in 16mm with Fuji's new stock and apparently you can overexpose by 4 stops (4 stops!) without losing highlight detail. With the DVX, and presumably the HDX, even correct exposures may lose highlight detail unless you light things very carefully. Dynamic range is still an issue for video.

Also, the HDX will give you a much deeper depth of focus. You can use an adapter like the mini35 to fix this, but you may lose resolution and you also lose the (big) advantage of a very light weight.

Based on budget, the HDX should be much cheaper than 16mm and a lot easier to work with in post. However, quality is another matter. Both should have resolution good enough for projection on the big screen, and more than good enough for DVD, but the dynamic range and depth of focus of the HDX will style have a video-like aesthetic. With the money you save on stock and post-processing, however, you can probably buy enough lights to make up for this.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #4
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I don't see any cost savings right now when you consider the equipment you will need to edit and store the HD footage, not to mention the cost of the camera. The footage is unlikely to look "better" than Super 16 either. The way technology moves though, who knows, maybe editing HD footage will become as inexpensive and easy as MiniDV is right now. I'm especially excited about the possibility of an inexpensive Super 16 telecine using Panasonic's standard. That looks very promising to me, but it's going to take a few years for the technology to catch up.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #5
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If one would wonder, I myself ain't having a new project or something which I am doubting for choosing equipment, I just asked myself this question and thought it would be interesting to post and learn and read. Maybe for others as well.
But please, let the opionions keep coming, it's interesting to hear!
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Old April 27th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro
Without a doubt, HD. And, depending how you're showing it, even DV in 24p. Take a gander at the behind-the-scenes featurette for The Shield: Season 3 DVD entitled "Breaking Episode 315." It was shot with a DVX 100. On my TV it looked like 16 mm film.
without a doubt HD you say...i say no way. firstly the HDX is not available for another 6 months at least so no one knows how good or bad it'll be. no one knows how good or bad the images will look. even when its released late this year it'll still take a number of months to figure out the camera ie: best settings for certain looks, editing, how it handles highlights etc etc.

i can almost guarantee a super 16 image with good optics in front of the film will out perform the HDX. film handles highlights much better than video. all the features i've worked on as a loader or AC have all used Arri SR3's & none of the producers have even considered any of the prosumer/low end pro cameras for feature work. to put it simply, if you have the budget, the knowledge & have used film before it is definetely a better choice when it comes to image quality for feature work.

but since you've asked the question on this board, i can only assume you don't have a huge budget therefore a video camera will be more suited to you ie: the DVX100, XL2, Z1, etc & the HDX when its released if you can wait 6 months or so. these cameras will still produce good results if you can't afford film & frankly most self/private/indie films usually dont have that type of money for film stock/processing/telecine unless you can make a deal or get funding.

also consider renting a camera. i've said this many times before but renting definetely makes sense, especially if you only need the camera for a feature. almost all feature films rent their cameras.

all the advice i'm giving you is just basic common sense really...
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Old April 27th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #7
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Well put James.

As far as budget, I think that once your pipeline is set up with the P2 system, your per-minute cost for storage is far below that of film.

Quality-wise, film is film and digital is digital. They do look different (although I admit I have been fooled by certain projects). That's a subjective choice.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #8
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"based on quality and budget "

the HVX200 quality is a unknown. 1/3" chips do not give you the quality of 2/3" chips ... the chip set is still under development ...anyone thinking this camera is going to equal the Varicam is going to be disappointed ...

budget? is this a one time project ? or a camera you will use on many projects ?
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Old April 27th, 2005, 10:37 AM   #9
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If you can afford it, I would have to echo the super16 route as well. With a qualified, and complete crew you will be able to move much faster than shooting video, because film lights faster and easier, and is so much more forgiving than video, when it comes to ratios, and highlights. Audio is also uncoupled from the camera, so it is less of a hassle. You also get the benefit of a colorist and correction on a real telecine (video originated footage also benifits greatly from a telecine session, and should be given consideration as part of a video "film" workflow), and your footage is bullet proof for the future, meaning you can output it to virtually any format in existence, or yet to be devised. These, and other benefits already described are the strong points of film. The drawback is cost. Also, your project is likely to be taken much more seriously if it originates on film, all other things being equal. Film is still the main medium of filmakers, in general. Video is gaining acceptance, for instance, Nancy Shriver ASC's performance at Sundance with a DVX originated project.

(don't get me wrong... I'm very excited about the HVX)
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Old April 27th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Well put James.

As far as budget, I think that once your pipeline is set up with the P2 system, your per-minute cost for storage is far below that of film.

Quality-wise, film is film and digital is digital. They do look different (although I admit I have been fooled by certain projects). That's a subjective choice.
thanks Charles....

i think this thread is under the alias of "film vs digital" really... & I don't think we want another one of those debates because we all know that film is better! j/k :)

one thing I can't seem to understand is people commonly compare cameras against one another or capturing formats (film/digital) but we rarely hear on forums people comparing optics which is probably more important than what captures behind it....

i'd actually like to hear more about the lens on the HVX.. maybe that should be my next topic...
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Old April 27th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Darren
but since you've asked the question on this board, i can only assume you don't have a huge budget therefore a video camera will be more suited to you ie: the DVX100, XL2, Z1, etc & the HDX when its released if you can wait 6 months or so. these cameras will still produce good results if you can't afford film & frankly most self/private/indie films usually dont have that type of money for film stock/processing/telecine unless you can make a deal or get funding.
As I stated before in this thread, I don't have the need (or budget, for that matter) to use one of them, I'm just a student who's learning with his XL1s, but I just asked this question out of curiousity, to hear what people's opinions are about this.
And they are very informative, by the way :-)!
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Old April 27th, 2005, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Brunner
If you can afford it, I would have to echo the super16 route as well. With a qualified, and complete crew you will be able to move much faster than shooting video, because film lights faster and easier, and is so much more forgiving than video, when it comes to ratios, and highlights. Audio is also uncoupled from the camera, so it is less of a hassle.
In what way is lighting for film faster than for video? Can you provide details please.

Is this a general concensus that shooting film is faster than video?
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Old April 27th, 2005, 12:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Wilie
In what way is lighting for film faster than for video? Can you provide details please.

Is this a general concensus that shooting film is faster than video?
Yes, because if you shoot with film, your dynamic range is bigger. If you expose a stop or two to many or less, you still are going to have enough details. Of course which celluloid you use depends too, but at video, if you overexpose, you immeditaly loose all your details.
Your highlights.
So if you want to lit for video, you really really have to lit perfect almost to get a very good picture. With film, if your lighting is good, but not perfect, it's still going to look very okay, because your dynamic range is bigger and it's much more 'forgiving' in contrast to video.
As far as I know anything about it.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #14
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In my experience, shooting film is faster than shooting video. The setups are faster in terms of lighting, because the lattitude is greater. (There is more 'forgiveness' in film lattitude)

The film workflow tends to be faster, because there is less "Lets look at the tape" time. And yes, I've worked on 35mm film with a video tap for review. Because there tends to be fewer takes, the setups move faster.

On an HD shoot, there is an enormous ammount of 'adjusting the exposure levels' that is done on set. Essentially, the post part of filmmaking flow has been moved to the set.

Basically, in my experience, because film is more expensive, it requires more discipline on the set. This creates a faster workflow.

But I would expect someone like Charles, to excercise the same discipline on a video set, that he uses on a film set.

Just my personal experience on narrative films.

Run and gun ENG or Doc work is probably a wash. You get what you can get when it happens. The benefit of tape in documentary and newsgathering is the low cost, immediate turnaround and high footage rate.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 12:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Brunner
If you can afford it, I would have to echo the super16 route as well. With a qualified, and complete crew you will be able to move much faster than shooting video, because film lights faster and easier, and is so much more forgiving than video, when it comes to ratios, and highlights. Audio is also uncoupled from the camera, so it is less of a hassle. You also get the benefit of a colorist and correction on a real telecine (video originated footage also benifits greatly from a telecine session, and should be given consideration as part of a video "film" workflow), and your footage is bullet proof for the future, meaning you can output it to virtually any format in existence, or yet to be devised. These, and other benefits already described are the strong points of film. The drawback is cost. Also, your project is likely to be taken much more seriously if it originates on film, all other things being equal. Film is still the main medium of filmakers, in general. Video is gaining acceptance, for instance, Nancy Shriver ASC's performance at Sundance with a DVX originated project.

(don't get me wrong... I'm very excited about the HVX)
I agree with you on all your points but 1 Jason. Digital is way quicker to light and set up than film. On any digital feature's behind the scenes or what ever directors that have used both film and digital mediums are always saying how the production went so fast because digital is so fast to light and they go so many more set ups a day and blah blah blah. Unless your trying to make every shot look artistically different in it's lighting, digital is way quicker to light than film.

the highlights and ratios thing is true though but that doesn't make the process quicker
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