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Why I miss Santo.


John Adolfi

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Actually, there is a way to make super-8 look like 16mm. Just commit to making the actors faces take up the same amount of image area on the super-8 frame that it takes up on 16mm. Not percentage wise, I'm talking about the same physical area.

 

Of course this will limit the variety of shots somewhat...

 

 

maybe I'm missing something but I'm suprised that no one has point out that this statement makes no sense what so ever.

 

Or did I not get the memo about mandatory actor's faces size requirement for current film and video formats? Did it come from the ASC, DGA or SAG? Probably the latter.

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Compromises are made all the time on every production ever made. What I find flawed in what you are saying is you are discounting the power of audio and how when blended with the picture it many times makes the sloppiest or poorly framed shots, work.

 

The compromise you speak of is more about the kind of film you make. I wouldn't make a car chase film on super-8, (but I would make a people chase film), nor would I make a film that requires explosions or very expensive locations, sets, or wardrobes. But a film like Clerks could work on Super-8, provided the dialogue was exceptionally recorded.

 

Blair Witch was a hit because of the sound.

 

'the kind of film you make' - you may have a point, personally I do like filmmakers who know when to use close up and when to use a wide. Though i certainly have no intention of making a car chase film personally, though maybe I will get work on one, when i'm finaly employable again after my shoulder heals - i can imagine it maybe quite fun or perhaps not.

 

However remember varying the size of a person within the frame was pioneerd by the German Expressionists and continued upon by latter silent directors like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock, these fimmakers could make masterpieces without sound. They were emotional minipulators at the very best.

 

The practical difficulty even if you do subsribe to your strategy is that television drama (often shot on 16mm) already seems to over-use frame-filling close-ups (much to the complaint of people on this forum) so if you wish to push that further in the pursuit of quality for super 8 you will litterally be forced to shoot people's eye balls or mouth or nose or ear. It could make interesting viewing. However I'm sure thats not what you had in mind.

 

I certainly don't agree that Clerks could have been shot under that method - the best shots of that film is when its played out on a wide with the characters wasting like so many loafs of bread or milk.

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In many cases (perhaps not yours Paul) its a sign that the folks in question have no aesthetic goals beyond making something that looks like what they see in the theater or on TV. Naturally, that's a professional goal and can't be thought of as a well defined and personal aesthetic. Those folks will never be satisfied with 8mm, because they will always be fighting against what super 8 is best at.

 

 

Na, not my way either. I like super 8 for what it is. Grainy images have a certain vulnerability, at least for me, which makes them very poetic. That's what I like mostly about them. I wouldn't like to use it when it doesn't make sense. I tend to think of 16 mm so that when my first projects come out right, I can go to the "next grade", which will 16; so only after I have proven something. Which doesn't mean I will never go back to s8 if I like. Maybe I should change that way of thinking though. I think you and Rachel have a good point with when you want something ..etc..

 

Paul

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maybe I'm missing something but I'm suprised that no one has point out that this statement makes no sense what so ever.

 

No, it makes perfect sense. The size of the actual grains are the same in both 16mm and 8mm. 8mm is half the area of 16mm and each frame packs 1/4 of the amount of grain that 16mm does, but the stock itself is the same; the ratio of grains per suare centimeter is the same in both formats. This comment, then, is a light-hearted jest at the base of the issue which separates the two formats. Of course if you shot a close-up in 8mm with the face occupying the same grain-area, you would only see 1/4 of the face as opposed to all of it like you would in 16mm. No one would shoot a movie this way, therefore we conclude the comment was said with sarcasm.

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I tend to think of 16 mm so that when my first projects come out right, I can go to the "next grade", which will 16; so only after I have proven something. Which doesn't mean I will never go back to s8 if I like.

 

 

I've shot on HD, super 16, R16, etc and I keep coming back to super 8. The poetic feel of the image you mention is too compelling to stay away from. But, if you have only shot super 8 I empathize with the hunger to see what other formats are capable of. Good luck!

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I know some art collectors; some prefer big wall-sized paintings that really stand out and dominate a room; others prefer miniature prints, merely the size of a piece of paper, that provide a domestic comment in a corner or along a hallway. Others collect postage stamps, which are some sort of ultimate in miniature art - every detail is at the limits of our capacity to see. Is one format better than the other? For what end?

 

Why should small formats try to compete with large formats? By nature, 35mm is classic, Super 8 is impressionistic. Work the formats for their strengths.

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I agree with all of you that accept super8 for its limitations and exploit them for a certain look that super 8 affords. But like the reaction Santos got for bringing up this subject once before it continues to prevade. "leave super8 alone", the say. "It's looked like that all these years and there's no use to use the latest primes or negative film or a 10 bit digital transfer to harddrive or matter of fact a tripod." Perhaps I'm overstating things but I realize this method of using super8 is not very popular but not very welcome. I wish Santos would come back and fight for truth, justice and the unpopular evolution of super8.

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But like the reaction Santos got for bringing up this subject once before it continues to prevade. "leave super8 alone", the say. "It's looked like that all these years and there's no use to use the latest primes or negative film or a 10 bit digital transfer to harddrive or matter of fact a tripod." Perhaps I'm overstating things but I realize this method of using super8 is not very popular but not very welcome. I wish Santos would come back and fight for truth, justice and the unpopular evolution of super8.

 

Just to be clear though, some of us who are suggesting that we should embrace the characteristics of Super 8 and love it for what it is do use the best cameras and lenses, shoot on new stocks, pay top $ for digibeta, HD, or hard trive telecine, and do professional post porduction for video and audio using Protools, After Effects, FCP, Avid, etc. Again, santo's chest beating, as if these methods formed some kind of revoultion for super 8, was nothing more than posing or maybe just brash excitment.

 

Using basic professional techniques provides the greatest control over the final product and I for one desire that control; but there is nothing note worthy, revoultionary or even interesting about that, its just the way to do things if you want control.

 

On the other hand, saying that super 8 "can look as good as 16" is a phrase that in my mind misses the point and can only be used by people who don't really understand that there is a range of available possiblities of both formats, but that the range of 16mm is significantly broader. Its no victory to shoot super 8 and have viewers think they are looking at poorly shot 16.

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was santo really booted from this forum?

you can still enjoy him writing articles in Schmalfilm.

youll recognize the stuff when you read it its a continuation of the awkward stuff he posted here.

all non-verified stuff as usual.

hes taken a step up in his view i guess.

 

anyway, his and many of the posters here and on the shoot8 and other forums real problem is that he/they/u dont really shoot film.

 

for a real filmmaker! on whatever level the thing is to have a fairly ok cam with some manual controils.

from there it is up to you.

 

for the time being the only professionally made real s8 made recently that springs to mind is Alex`Beta film.

that took some effort an knowledge to make - all on K40.

 

filmmaking relies on the filmmaker - gear selection is secondary personal preferrences.

 

and none of you guys yet ever spotted that severe optical vignetting on schneider glas?.....

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No, it makes perfect sense. The size of the actual grains are the same in both 16mm and 8mm. 8mm is half the area of 16mm and each frame packs 1/4 of the amount of grain that 16mm does, but the stock itself is the same; the ratio of grains per suare centimeter is the same in both formats. This comment, then, is a light-hearted jest at the base of the issue which separates the two formats. Of course if you shot a close-up in 8mm with the face occupying the same grain-area, you would only see 1/4 of the face as opposed to all of it like you would in 16mm. No one would shoot a movie this way, therefore we conclude the comment was said with sarcasm.

 

If I give a more in depth explanation than I did in my previous explanation, it may become a bit more obvious that I wasn't being sarcastic. The TV show "Friends", shot on 16mm, many many times had to use wider shots because there usually were 3 people in the scene or more. There really aren't that many individual close-ups beause many scenes are ensemble scenes and there was a decent amount of movement as well in the show.

 

Actual features rely on the background to help augment the storyline, especially when shot on 16mm or 35mm. The point I was making is that most of the time the bigger formats PURPOSELY show more frame area because they spent bucks lighting, staging, propping, and background extra-ing a wider area of filming.

 

So I'm not suggesting shooting eyeballs, I'm suggesting that in Super-8 the background would be minimized by a substantial amount simply because the location may be "stolen" or the budget is too small to really make it conform to the message of the story. It becomes possible to show more of the actor in the Super-8 shot simply because that's about all the filmmaker has control over.

 

As for Clerks, I was suggesting that that film could have been shot in black and white Super-8 because black and white seems to hold up than color when it is blown up. SMPTE video automatically gains 50 lines of resolution when one only uses black and white, I'm therefore assuming that black and white film stocks would blow up better than their color counterparts.

 

The new PLUS-X and Tri-X in super-8 nowadays is astoundingly good and could easily be bumped up and still look good, so in black and white, one could shoot super-8 a bit more as if it were 16mm.

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Clerks would be hideous in super 8, sorry. Clerks is a clean, well done film. Super 8 would have certainly reduced it to amateur status. No detail on the boombox belting out berzerker that's for sure. And the cat's crap on the counter...would have had no detail.

 

Agreed - get out there and shoot some film and stop global whining about super 8, It really is boring on here.

 

By the way, anybody NOT buying 750GB hard drives these days really ought to consider themselves a past generation...

 

Now, get out there and shoot. Or at least continue more interesting threads!

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Clerks would be hideous in super 8, sorry. Clerks is a clean, well done film. Super 8 would have certainly reduced it to amateur status. No detail on the boombox belting out berzerker that's for sure. And the cat's crap on the counter...would have had no detail.

 

I'll second that.

But A few clip on lights, particularly at the counter to put some detail in the cigerette shelf shadow, would have helped.

& maybe TXR instead of DXN.

Definitely no S8.

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If I give a more in depth explanation than I did in my previous explanation, it may become a bit more obvious that I wasn't being sarcastic. The TV show "Friends", shot on 16mm, many many times had to use wider shots because there usually were 3 people in the scene or more. There really aren't that many individual close-ups beause many scenes are ensemble scenes and there was a decent amount of movement as well in the show.

 

The example of 'Friends' is slightly devious because its actually both typical and an exception. Firstly the majority of 16mm television is drama, not comedy - 'Friends' was one of the few studio based sitcoms to be shot on film and not video - otherwise its typicaly a sitcom shooting on wides with multiple camera, to an almost theatrical effect - infact you'll be pushed to find a close-up or extreme close-up in it. 'Scrubs' shoots on 16mm too but is not entirely studio based and its far more visualy orientated so the frame size is varied from one extreme to the other.

 

'Friends' is quite typical of the comedy style to keep it wide, which allows the actors space to breath and perform - situation is much more important, not emotion or emphasise, like with a TV drama which I find tend to over do close-ups and extreme CUs. I was watching a DVD of Steve Barron's Merlin recently, he's an excellent visual director, but i did find so many extreme close-ups were discounceting and claustraphobic. So Clerks is actualy shrude and 'playing it safe' by shooting it extensively on wides, its a character, situation based comedy after all.

 

To be honest I think I'd have to see it before I could believe it Alessandro, but in the end it would be very inpracticle to shoot Clerks on super 8 consider it has so many long dialouge takes - with 16mm you have plenty of quiet sync sound cameras with 400ft magazines to choose from. Also if you are going to put yourself through the stress and extra cost of lighting and posting Plus X reversal film, why not do it on super 16, it wouldn't be that much more expensive and the plus X could look amazing - close to normal 35mm black and white.

 

I guess I need to see some evidence, before i could believe it.

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The example of 'Friends' is slightly devious because its actually both typical and an exception. Firstly the majority of 16mm television is drama, not comedy - 'Friends' was one of the few studio based sitcoms to be shot on film and not video - otherwise its typicaly a sitcom shooting on wides with multiple camera, to an almost theatrical effect - infact you'll be pushed to find a close-up or extreme close-up in it. 'Scrubs' shoots on 16mm too but is not entirely studio based and its far more visualy orientated so the frame size is varied from one extreme to the other.

 

'Friends' is quite typical of the comedy style to keep it wide, which allows the actors space to breath and perform - situation is much more important, not emotion or emphasise, like with a TV drama which I find tend to over do close-ups and extreme CUs. I was watching a DVD of Steve Barron's Merlin recently, he's an excellent visual director, but i did find so many extreme close-ups were discounceting and claustraphobic. So Clerks is actualy shrude and 'playing it safe' by shooting it extensively on wides, its a character, situation based comedy after all.

 

To be honest I think I'd have to see it before I could believe it Alessandro, but in the end it would be very inpracticle to shoot Clerks on super 8 consider it has so many long dialouge takes - with 16mm you have plenty of quiet sync sound cameras with 400ft magazines to choose from. Also if you are going to put yourself through the stress and extra cost of lighting and posting Plus X reversal film, why not do it on super 16, it wouldn't be that much more expensive and the plus X could look amazing - close to normal 35mm black and white.

 

I guess I need to see some evidence, before i could believe it.

 

 

The example of "friends" does point out that the larger format productions to tend to not use close-ups and instead spend the money on the actor ensembles and the surrounding environment so they are sharing film space and in essence those heads are quite small on that 16mm frame of film.

 

If one wanted to do a low budget version of "friends" with their friends (haha), they would simply shoot less of the background and more of the friends, and the look would be acceptable. As for clerks, Black and White resolves better than color. I've seen black and white transferred to video and projected at the Egyptian Theatre and when the exposures were correct the super-8 to video films looked terrific.

 

Nowadays it's risky to make a black and white film with the hope of selling it but the super-8 black and white stocks are probably the best bet for having nobody question what format the film was shot in.

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The example of "friends" does point out that the larger format productions to tend to not use close-ups and instead spend the money on the actor ensembles and the surrounding environment so they are sharing film space and in essence those heads are quite small on that 16mm frame of film.

 

Its got nothing to do with the shooting format, its got everything to do with multi-cam comdey; which are conventionally shot a bit wider. Its a convention, don't take it to be something it isn't.

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The example of "friends" does point out that the larger format productions to tend to not use close-ups and instead spend the money on the actor ensembles and the surrounding environment so they are sharing film space and in essence those heads are quite small on that 16mm frame of film.

 

No it doesn't, 'Friends' is definatly an exception, if you watch any other large format production, like Boston Legal, NYPD, Smallville - all of which are shot on 35mm you'll see that the framing is far tighter - more Extreme CUs/normal CUs - than a comedy like Friends or any other studio based sitcom. Its to do with trying to achieve emotional intensity and mood rather than trying to show off of the size and quality of a production.

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No it doesn't, 'Friends' is definatly an exception, if you watch any other large format production, like Boston Legal, NYPD, Smallville - all of which are shot on 35mm you'll see that the framing is far tighter - more Extreme CUs/normal CUs - than a comedy like Friends or any other studio based sitcom. Its to do with trying to achieve emotional intensity and mood rather than trying to show off of the size and quality of a production.

 

The point is Friend's is an example of a show that does use the 16mm frame in a way that if a show like it were shot in super-8 one could actually begin to approximate the actual size of the faces when compared to a show like "Friends".

 

 

Super-8 Plus-X rated at 100 ASA now rather than 40, is of such high quality that when properly shot and transferred it will look like 16mm black and white shot in the late 80's early 90's.

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The point is Friend's is an example of a show that does use the 16mm frame in a way that if a show like it were shot in super-8 one could actually begin to approximate the actual size of the faces when compared to a show like "Friends".

Super-8 Plus-X rated at 100 ASA now rather than 40, is of such high quality that when properly shot and transferred it will look like 16mm black and white shot in the late 80's early 90's.

 

IMDb claims that it's a 35mm show.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0108778/technical

 

Since the 'stars' were getting paid $1,000,000/episode in the latter seasons, 16mm would be false economy.

 

As everyone else is pointing out comedy is usually done in wide shots so that body language and reactions can be seen. So shoting a comedy in closeups for S8 will push it toward being a drama, and a bland one at that.

 

As for 'Clerks', I don't believe any lights were used in the store. Just the existing florescents.

Which rules out using Plus-X, even in 16mm negative or 100EI PXR which didn't exist then.

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IMDb claims that it's a 35mm show.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0108778/technical

 

Since the 'stars' were getting paid $1,000,000/episode in the latter seasons, 16mm would be false economy.

 

As everyone else is pointing out comedy is usually done in wide shots so that body language and reactions can be seen. So shoting a comedy in closeups for S8 will push it toward being a drama, and a bland one at that.

 

As for 'Clerks', I don't believe any lights were used in the store. Just the existing florescents.

Which rules out using Plus-X, even in 16mm negative or 100EI PXR which didn't exist then.

 

 

Friends was an ensemble comedy, most of the times there was a group of performers, which made the framing even wider, so the facial sizes could be equaled in Super-8 without it being a super close-up.

 

Friends started in 16mm. I don't know if it stayed in 16mm throughout it's entire run.

 

As for Clerks, rigging some lighting would not necessarily have been the end of the world since it was the primary location for the entire movie. It's not like they were using 10 different stores requiring 10 different lighting set-ups.

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The only reason most TV comedies are "WIDE" is because the comedy lies in the situation. You show environment to express the situation. This is also why we don't watch "Friends" for the way it is shot. Its economy of style is to enable actions unhindered. Ensemble or single actor has really little to do with the style of coverage. Hence Buster Keaton all by himself surrounded by his environment. Comedy ensues...

 

Of course, I am now realising this has all been covered.....so...why did I post? :lol:

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The only reason most TV comedies are "WIDE" is because the comedy lies in the situation. You show environment to express the situation. This is also why we don't watch "Friends" for the way it is shot. Its economy of style is to enable actions unhindered. Ensemble or single actor has really little to do with the style of coverage. Hence Buster Keaton all by himself surrounded by his environment. Comedy ensues...

 

Of course, I am now realising this has all been covered.....so...why did I post? :D

 

Because once again the point I make is not addressed. If one has to spend money on the set and the background and the wardrobe and the actors and on on on, they won't be shooting super-8. If they were shooting on super-8 the background would be minimized and the actor or actors would be maximized.

 

Of course, I am now realizing this has all been covered.....so...why did I post? :D

 

There is an acceptable compromise between the wideness of high budget comedy shows and the closer proximity required if the same comedy concept were to be done low budget.

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