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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:40 AM   #1
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help! mid-digital life crisis or towards a DV life using film...

Sorry for the big dump, but I need some "couch time" from fellow DVer's

I just had to sell my DVX100 and some accessories because of financial scam loss (another story altogether :(

I found a full kit $600 Optura Pi in mint condition, but the owner had second thoughts and bought it back from me, so I am without a camera for the first time in years.

I'm contemplating return to film - yes, as crazy as it sounds, I'm considering it.

Quick background. I feel in love with cameras via 35mm still photography as a kid - did extensive still photography through early 90's. This naturally lead to interest in movies. Worked in TV from 85-87. Went to film schools, shot a lot of super 8 shorts (around 10), shot 1 16mm short, never completed due to lack of funds, ran up huge debt. Quit filmmaking and photography and spent the next decade or so in IT career. Quit corporate IT in 2000, now work part-time and got back into it via this site and XL1. The low cost of production and easy/quality of post swayed me like many.

I've made several DV projects with XL1 but unhappy with all the filmlook recipes (I've tried them all). DVX100 is big step up from XL1 but now being forced to sell, I have to admit the truth.

I hate video. Video and it's quality have nothing do to with my passion in images. I'm inspired by paintings, photographs, films, music, books, but I have to admit, I've never seen anything shot on video that has inspired me aethestically.

Not to say it's not possible or that I've not enjoyed watching many projects shot on DV.

But my original love was film, still, then motion.

Of course, when I price film and telecine (I've even looked at home telecine), it's a little scary.

The JVC cam is just horrifying - lots of ugly pixels and true HD (Varicam) is more expensive that homegrown 16mm.

What I want is DV cam form factor, 16mm resolution, film latitude and color rendition and DV editing.

Since I've got back into filmmaking, I've discovered that I'm far more into experimental type pieces than traditional narratives, but I like rich imagery, something I'm not getting from DV.

Do I wait (for low cost 16:9 true HD cams)? Go 16mm and make a film every 5 years? Or buy a 35mm SLR and make experimental films with still images?

I realize there is not a right/wrong answer, but I'm interested in what others think...
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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:51 AM   #2
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You can always go for that B&H deal on the PV-DV852. The price is posted on the other Pana site. :-)

You just never know when you might need a miniDV cam. ;)

PV-DV852 price from B&H: $569

See thread here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=18002

The PV-DV953 has very good 16:9, and is also going cheap these days at B&H.

You mention a SLR. Why? Go for a good rangefinger like a Mamiya 6. Its 3 lenses are great, the 50mm is probably the best 50mm made, and the larger format will give you stunning resolution. Mind you, I get by with my FM2T, but wish for a Leica M7 or Bessa 2---and even more, the Mamiya 6.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 01:47 AM   #3
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If you like photography... and you have experience on that field, but you want to shoot using DV.. well, make yourself an Agus35 adapter, check out this thread...

that will solve your doubts, cause now you will shooting in dv using 35mm DOF, and you get the better quality than 16mm if you got a good camera.


http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=17195
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Old December 10th, 2003, 01:53 AM   #4
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Agus:

That's certainly a great idea and I'm very impressed with your ingenuity! I saw your threads earlier and I've looked at that solution, but it only captures a DV image at 720X480 - once you project that, it's going to be soft. However, I have had a look at the up-rezzingb in S-Spline pro today which is an intriguing product. But still, DV's exposure latitude is still pretty poor compared to film.

Using this solution with the DVX100A might be okay, but for the same money (excluding cost of film of course :) I can setup shoot 16mm, telecine with a Workprinter XP and a 5 Megapixel digital still camera and get better than HD resolution...
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Old December 10th, 2003, 02:12 AM   #5
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Dv cassetes cost ya like 3 bucks, film will cost you so much more, and you lost the change to make mistakes.

BTW I didnt get that last part, about making a film with a 5megapixels camera.

also, how is the blowup process made ? it is software based, or hardware ?
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Old December 10th, 2003, 10:04 AM   #6
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This is a tough area. Stephen, I'm in the same boat as you. I have a CP-16R and an Eclair ACL that I'm building and customizing. The two cameras together, with magazines, cost me less than my JVC DV-500U.

For a project I've been planning for about 15 years (no joke) I figured that it would cost about $10,000 in production content, paying some talent for their time, film, processing, telecine, and neg conformation.

I've seen packages out of boutique shops in LA that will process film for $.20/foot and telecine for $135/hour to minidv. That's $117.25 per 400' roll, or just over $10/min. For a 30-min short with a 5:1 shooting ratio, that comes out to $1600. Really not that bad.

You can see that most of the budget is in salaries, set construction and costume construction.

Super 8, last time I checked, can be done for about $12/50' cart, or $4.80/minute. For telecine, workprinters aren't hugely expensive, about $1300, and you can use them as long as you like, and resolution is only dependent on the camera you use. I suspect that the JVC HD camera might look rather good using this method, but I haven't tested it.

Hopefully this is some food for thought...I always like to see filmmakers get back into film when they see that it's closer to being affordable than they first thought.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 10:24 AM   #7
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Agus:

Info on the Workprinter XP

Brandt:

Glad to know others wrestle with this. Since it's been a while since I shot with extensively with film, I considering taking the funds I had for the Optura Pi and get a manual SLR instead. I've thought of some ways my next project could be shot with a still camera.

Any companies loading 35/16 motion picture stocks in still rolls?
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Old December 10th, 2003, 10:55 AM   #8
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However, I have had a look at the up-rezzingb in S-Spline pro today which is an intriguing product. But still, DV's exposure latitude is still pretty poor compared to film.

Stephen if you use any camcorder and expose for the highlights, deinterlace with Magic Bullet, color correct with 92 bit color corrector Color Finesse, export from AF as qucktime movie with Microcosm compressor and uprez with S-Spline Pro you will virtually come close in latitude as 35mm and definitely have the same resolution if not better. I tried it myself, using the demos though but having S-Spline, and have been very impressed with the image. The only problem is buying all the software which is the price of a camcorder and having the hard drive space to contain the huge dense frames, but it's not that bad, especially with microcosm.

Plus trying out Agus's homemade mini 35 design, I can sense video is at the brink of having the same quality as 35.

P.S. Agus I made my version of the Agus35 with 35mm film cans of all things. I can get the pics if someone has the space for them.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:12 AM   #9
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film reloads, workprinter and image expansion

Stephen,

Most pro photo suppliers can reload film. I'll talk to a couple resources I have out here in Portland. You'd just take a 100' roll and split it out...how long is a 35mm roll, about 6'?

Also, did Paul Cotto finally figure out the 5MP camera approach? I thought it was decided to be too cumbersome.

Peter,

How long did it take to render your project to convert from 720*480 to the other frame size you used, and what was the frame size? I've thought of this before, but only have the demo of s-spline, and it doesn't batch process.

I've also used neat image to create noise reduction profiles. It works well, but can over-soften the image if you're not careful.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:18 AM   #10
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Peter,

Go to this thread and ask for someone with web space to post your pictures. We want to see them!!!

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&pagenumber=17

Can't wait to see the pics and some video examples...

Clay
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:29 AM   #11
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Stephen,

You never mentioned 8 mm, either Standard (Regular / Double) 8 or Super 8. The new emulsions from Kodak mean that 8 mm looks like 16 mm used to look like - you have to grunge it up to look like people expect 8 mm to look.

Of course it is more expensive than DV, but it's the classic stuff for experimental work.

The cameras are DV camera sized (or microMV camera sized in the case of the smaller Standard 8 cameras), just like the Aaton Minima! You've got the latitude and variety of the latest films. You can use real B&W if you want. You can finish digitally. You can have the fun of using film.

Best,
Helen
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:42 AM   #12
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Helen:

Where's the info on the new Super 8 stocks? I was not aware Kodak had made new Super 8 films. Thanks for the tip.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:44 AM   #13
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Stephen also asked 'Any companies loading 35/16 motion picture stocks in still rolls?

Loading 35 mm MP stock into 35 mm still cassettes isn't a problem (about 5 ft for 36). The different perfs don't cause a problem in a still camera. Kodak will usually give you loaded cassettes of the film of your choice free if you ask nicely.

The problem comes when you try to get colour stock developed (B&W is generally OK with the exception of the new Kodak reversal films). MP film has an antistatic carbon coating (rem-jet) that still film doesn't have. If you put the film through a standard C-41 process the rem-jet will come off into the developer and get stuck in the emulsion. Bad news!

If you search the web you will find DIY C-41 work-arounds.

We get our test cassettes developed by whichever lab is going to process the movie, so it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. However, if you go to most MP labs with just a few still cassettes of MP film you could pay a lot to get them developed - and I mean a lot. They do not really want to do it. Dale labs used to do it regularly, and they sold MP film in still cassettes, but many people were unhappy with the quality.

Unless you really have to use MP film, stick with still film in still cameras - that's my suggestion. I used to use 500T a fair bit because there is no fast tungsten negative still film (Kodak, bless them, make excellent fast tungsten reversal still film, EPJ).

Best,
Helen
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:55 AM   #14
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Here's Kodak's front page for Super 8 products.

Other people make Super 8 from 35 mm (usually) and so a very wide range of emulsion is available. Standard 8 and Double Super 8 are also made from 16 mm film, either double perforated (on the way out) or unperforated (you can buy it from Kodak if you order enough and if they like your face).

Pro8mm

I could write a lot more, but this is a DV forum (and I want to go to lunch). Ask if you want more info.

Personally, I applaud Kodak for continuing to support Super 8, long after Fuji ditched Single8.

Best,
Helen
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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:33 PM   #15
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I want to make a quick correction, I meant 32bit color corrector color finesse.

Brandt, I've tried all rezs from 2k to 5000x3760. The rendering times of the Spline Pro is from 1 to 5 minutes per frame! 2k is acceptable but still a little cumbersome to play on a home computer, if it plays at all. I shot a closeup of a doll for 10 seconds using a sony trv 900. The rendering took something like an hour using 4k. It's a better option if you have time and not money. It all depends on the lab u're using for video to film transfer. Some labs say they perfer 4k, some say 2k. I think 2k is fine.
The trick of getting the video to have the same color rendition and latitude of film is to look at the histogram of the footage and extend the bandwidth and use the entire range for each color by using a 32bit color corrector (easily and so very accurately done with color finesse) and export the frame as quicktime with 16bit linear per color channel or trillions of colors (equal to 10bit log). You won't see the difference of 8bit color channel and 16bit because of the limitations of the computer monitor, but pros say it shows a big difference on the silver screen.
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