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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #1
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Average amount filmed during a day?

I am DPing for a relatively new crew, and I was wondering what is the average amount of footage you all are getting during a typical 9-12 hour day. Right now we're only getting about an hour of footage recorded on an XL-2. Does that seem about right for a short dramatic film? Or should we be capturing a lot more footage during a 10 hr day? I normally shoot commercials so I'm not very familiar with long shoots.

The director thought that the production would last for 4 weekends (8 days) and we're currently on our 7th weekend and I believe we're about halfway through the script. I set out to shoot this probono for a few weekends, but as it drags out with no end in sight I can't really afford to continue at this rate.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:24 PM   #2
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Travis, is that your real name? what are the odds!

It's not about how much footage you film, but how much of the script you cover, in terms of the finished movie. Most short films reckon to shoot between 3-5 minutes a day - that is 3-5 minutes worth of the finished film (usually represented in terms of how many pages of the script you get through). It depends on your director that might mean anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour of raw footage, depending how muck coverage the director wants, how long the takes are, how much the actors improvise, how complex the camera coverage is.
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Last edited by Dylan Pank; April 6th, 2007 at 01:39 PM. Reason: typos
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:34 PM   #3
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Yes that's my real name, but I believe you have Binkle (pronounced bink-lee, sorta like Nestle) confused with Bickle which is I believe is the real last name of the character in TAXI Driver.

Anyway, I think they're averaging about 2-3 pages of the 60+ script. Perhaps the director just seriously mis-underestimated the time it would take to film his movie.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #4
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I don't work in the pro ranks, but my experience is that it's the number of setups in a day that measures how efficiently you're working - or how complex/simple your setups are. A second take might burn five minutes. A second setup might take... well, who knows!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #5
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Yes that's my real name, but I believe you have Binkle (pronounced bink-lee, sorta like Nestle) confused with Bickle which is I believe is the real last name of the character in TAXI Driver.

Anyway, I think they're averaging about 2-3 pages of the 60+ script. Perhaps the director just seriously mis-underestimated the time it would take to film his movie.
Ahh, but I think you're missing Dylan's own reference to his and yours last name, a play on Dank and Wrinkle, my favorite TV series about two detectives fighting messy unkempt people.

Travis, I shot www.thelifeguardmovie.com on 12 one-hour tapes and it definately took more than 12 days of shooting, so I think you're on the right track.

Personally my jaw would be in the dirt if someone expected me to be able to shoot a 60 page script in 8 days. And, if we were standing on a mound of dirt.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #6
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The 16mm indie feature rule of thumb (prior to DV or vast use of DV) was always 3-weeks. 18 days was basically the minimum that the average indie filmmaker would spend shooting something about 90pages long.

It's going to vary, obviously, based on number of factors including locations, actors etc, but it was pretty accurate in my opinion and getting 5 pages covered in one day can be really tough. But yeah, I think what you really want to be thinking about is how many pages you're covering in a day instead of how many hours of tape.

Shooting ratios can vary dramatically but those numbers dont necessarily indicate anything about how quickly you're getting through the shoot. I can tell you that you could shoot 11 minutes of film in a 12-hour day and possibly be doing well.

Oh, also, shooting 6-day weeks is going to be more efficient than shooting weekends. If I were shooting an indie feature on weekends, I'd expect to be working for months and months. again, somewhat depending on the kind of film.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 04:16 AM   #7
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I shot a short film I wrote/directed last year, over three weekends (6 days). It was a 30 page (albeit incorrectly formatted) script, that seems like it's going to end up being around 35 minutes finished. We had 9 hour or 4 hour days (depending on the day, working around someone's schedule) including meal breaks, covering about 5 pages on the longer days, and 2 or less on the shorter days. Had around an hour and a half of footage each day, due to multiple takes, multiple angles, etc.

The crew was me as director/DP, and a friend assisting as grip/PA/everything you could imagine, and his brother helped occasionally. Most of it was shot outdoors in available light, some indoors with nearly available light (maybe one light for ambience/bounce), and one day indoors where it was actually attempted to be lit decently. On all days, regardless of lighting, it was a struggle to get everything done in the time allotted to me.


I've always heard a feature is better to knock out in consecutive days (like the person who mentioned the 18-day shoot), rather than doing weekends for two years, the theory being that if you can get your buds to agree to bust their asses for that three week period, they can look forward to it being over and out of their lives afterward, whereas if it's weekends, it just seemlingly goes on and on and on for them. Plus, people get haircuts, grow beards, lose interest, get new jobs, etc.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 08:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Travis Binkle View Post
<snip...>
Anyway, I think they're averaging about 2-3 pages of the 60+ script. Perhaps the director just seriously mis-underestimated the time it would take to film his movie.
No, 2-3 pages a day is about normal for a feature film, and 60+ pages is pushing feature length.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:07 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for your input and answers. It has put my mind at ease a little bit about what we're covering during a day, but opened my eyes a little to the fact that this weekend only business can drag on and on, esp. with a 60+ page script.

Ben: I enjoyed "the lifeguard" a lot; loved the crane/jib shots, what did you use for them? what model?

Dylan: was the reference- Pank & Binkle : Dank and Wrinkle or Travis Binkle : Travis Bickle ala Taxi Driver? I'm at a loss as I've never heard of Dank & Winkle before.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Travis Binkle View Post
Thanks to all for your input and answers. It has put my mind at ease a little bit about what we're covering during a day, but opened my eyes a little to the fact that this weekend only business can drag on and on, esp. with a 60+ page script.

Ben: I enjoyed "the lifeguard" a lot; loved the crane/jib shots, what did you use for them? what model?

Dylan: was the reference- Pank & Binkle : Dank and Wrinkle or Travis Binkle : Travis Bickle ala Taxi Driver? I'm at a loss as I've never heard of Dank & Winkle before.
Glad you liked it Travis! The jib shots were done with a ProAm 14' video crane I bought off ebay for around $400. It works real well.

And the Dank & Wrinkle thing, was just a joke I typed in on a whim. When I get in my lame joke mood, It's best to ignore me :)
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #11
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I'd certainly never heard of any "Dank and Winkle".

I worked on a film with my wife, which is 8+ minutes long and it was shot in about 10 hours (one 8 hour day, plus a couple of hours for exteriors) but it was primarily in one location, two actors and a crew of 4. However every (interior) shot was lit and had sync dialogue sound so we did pretty good. In total we shot about 90 minutes of footage.

At that ratio, you could do you 60 minute film in four weeekend with longer days. It really depends, but to shoot a film that fast, you have to write a script designed to be shot that fast.

On the other hand, as a student I shot a 9 minute film in 8 days, averaging just over a minute a day, but we had loads of locations (including a bus), about a dozen in the cast (though many non speaking) night shoots, crane shots, a crew of over a dozen, etc. We shot about 3 hours of footage so averaged about 20 minutes of footage a day. We were one of the first to shoot on digital video, so that was considered extravagant - most of the 16mm projects were shooting about 5-10 minutes a day.
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Last edited by Dylan Pank; April 6th, 2007 at 03:47 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:56 PM   #12
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Like that "Tape" movie by Richard Linklater. . .two dudes in a room for two hours.

what's sucking up your time in ways that weren't predicted by your initial schedule?
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Old April 6th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #13
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Like that "Tape" movie by Richard Linklater. . .two dudes in a room for two hours.
Exactly. Roger Corman is alleged to have shot a movie (Either Bucket of Blood or the original Little Shop of Horrors) in two days for a bet. Which ever movie it was it went into theatres and probably knowing Corman turned a modest profit.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #14
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The fastest I've shot a feature in was 15 days. I did a number of 18-day features. The longest so far has been about 40 days. The average is around 25 days.

If you figure a 100-page / 100 minute feature (to make the math easier) then you'd be averaging 4 pages a day on a 25-day schedule.

If you're shooting a 10:1 ratio (typical for low-budget film shoots, but video shoots have higher ratios since they burn more footage) then 4 pages should be 4 minutes of final screen time, so 40 minutes of footage a day (roughly 4000' of 35mm stock). But since with video, you tend to not stop the camera as often and are less worried about waste, that can be doubled.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #15
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with a 60+page script to be finished in 8 days = should be shooting 8 pages a day !
if you're not then you end up where you are sitting now ...
in general from experience: when you work for free there is no pressure on producer/director to shoot X # of pages a day - they just add on more weekends ... note:i'm pretty sure ( i'd lay $$ on it) if the director was PAYING you would NOT be in your 7th weekend and only 1/2 way finished -

when i shoot for friends ( free) i always look at the production schedule - if it says X pages a day - i along with AD push for X pages - so towards end of day those 10 set up might get condensed down to 3 set ups ...

IMO... you worked 7 weekends ... if you are learning & have time then stick with it .. if you are leaning nothing and you have other things to do - sit out that weekend or tell them to find another DP .... or tell them to show you a schedule that is realistic that has a finish date ...
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