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


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Old December 9th, 2004, 01:07 AM   #1
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If you had the chance to make a feature, HD or Film

If you had the chance to make a feature, with all your knowledge accumulated from here, books, filmschools and other places.

Would you:

a) Shoot on HD and grade it to look like film

or

b) Shoot on film.

--the rules are youve gotta shoot it, run and gun style. No DOP except you.

I would choose A because I think it would be a shame to waste all the knowledge we've accumulated. Also i think its fun, and ultimately very satisfying to make video look like film, - in the end.
Also as i now know nothing really about film, id probably get a heaps better image from video anyway.

So what would you do?
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Old December 9th, 2004, 01:24 AM   #2
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Re: If you had the chance to make a feature, HD or Film

<<<-- Originally posted by Ben Gurvich :
i think its fun, and ultimately very satisfying to make vidoe look like film.-->>>

You have an odd definition of fun.

I'd choose to shoot on film. If it's good enough for every other director other than Lucas and Rodriguez and that show on UPN about people in a spaceship, it's good enough for me.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 05:50 AM   #3
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I'd shoot on HD since I've never shot with film and I know my way
around the video system. If it's good enough for RR and Lucas <g>
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Old December 9th, 2004, 07:43 AM   #4
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"Run and Gun" is the requirement?

Film. Hands down.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 08:29 AM   #5
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HD. I'd hire Charles Papert to operate and let him tell me which rig to use!
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Old December 9th, 2004, 09:07 AM   #6
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Imran,

The rules were "No DOP except you", and "Run and Gun".

I'd still go with film. Greater exposure lattitude, smaller gear, faster setup.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 09:45 AM   #7
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Hey the rules didn't say anything about a camera operator, only a DP.

Also my thinking would be for run and gun digital would always be better. Less lighting necessary and immediate visual feedback regarding what you're shooting. No waiting for dailies.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #8
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"Run and Gun" to me, means portable and fast set up. I've worked on both Film and HD sets on feature levels. HD requires more time to light, more equipment to monitor, more cables attached to the camera. (Were talking cinealta or viper here). At least, thats my experience.

"Run and Gun" means to me, you shoot fast and move on. Less time spent "reviewing takes"... which sucks up vast ammounts of time on an HD set. Essentially, it winds up moving post time INTO production time.

Again, just my experience. Perhaps Charles will jump in.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #9
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I've only worked on one HD set, and compared to the Film sets I've worked on, I thought it was lightning fast. Maybe it was just the production.

You're right about the moving post-time into production though, but I guess the reason would be that you have more freedom to shape a little more on set since you see it all right there. Tends to make you fix it all right there, which is good and bad.

Part of the run and gun scenario for beginner filmmakers, though, is not just speed, but also being comfortable that what you recorded is what you think you recorded. For the more seasoned this would be a no-brainer, but for those less experienced, comfort plays a big part in run & gun - otherwise one would be shooting so many takes 'for safety;' they'd never run but rather stay at a slow crawl. A seasoned film shooter would know rightaway and be ready to move on.

Oh and there's the stress factor - every frame whizzing by equals more $$ spent.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 02:00 PM   #10
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Yeah, Individual DP's have their own pace, that's for sure. And Directors can influence that as well.

As far as reviewing the footage, most film cams will come with a video tap, so you get to review the framing, action and a rough approximation of lighting right there. Check the gate before moving on, and trust the lab!
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Old December 9th, 2004, 05:21 PM   #11
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Richard, do you think some of that time spent for HD setup is recouped during takes, because for video you can keep rolling? I remember reading the American Cinematographer article on Michael Mann's Collateral and that was one of the benefits of shooting on HD for some of the scenes. I've also heard this from others who've worked with HD, and that in fact it was quite fast because of this.

Then again, what do I know. Interesting thread, for me, I would like to know more about the story and see what kind of feel we were going for other than just "run and gun" before I decided on which format.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 05:42 PM   #12
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They're formats that haven't by any means out done each other. Strengths and weaknessess on either side. Film vs HD is one of the most popular CIRCULAR arguments right now. You can't win, unless you choose one, based on thorough understanding of story and budget, and shoot your film.

Story dictates format, in this scenario. All in all though, I personally would want to shoot film. If what you're after is the film look, and all that's holding you back from choosing one over the other is just choosing, shoot film.

But then I'm currently hot to dabble in 16mm for the first time, so that's just me.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 06:15 PM   #13
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Again, a lot of the "pace" of a set is set by the Director and DP... all things being equal. I've seen Directors take forever to decide where to place the camera... show up without shots planned... spend and inordinate ammount of time looking at the videotap replay with the actors... just eats up time. Much can be said for having a "command attitude".

I've also seen engineers squander an hour, trying out different "cine settings" on the set, to get what they want, then readjusting the monitors...

Going back to the original topic of the thread, specifying "run and gun" I would have to say film is still the best choice. Grab an Arri 2c and shoot from the shoulder... Heck even Sodeburgh (sp?) liked to hand hold the pannavision.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 11:05 PM   #14
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HD--I shot film once and had a DP shoot film the second time and that's it. But I've never done high-end HD before, so I'd hire Jon Fordham to be my camera operator...

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Old December 9th, 2004, 11:53 PM   #15
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I'd shoot film as well. And I'd hire C Papert to hang out and whisper to me what to do.
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