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I need a lot of 16mm film

Shawn S

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I am producing two 15 minute long films. They are probably about 12-14 minutes each when it?s all said and done but I figure it can't hurt to have a little more. We are students but we are very professional about how we work and what we produce. I am a student at Rockport College which is part of the Maine Film and Video Workshops.


The camera we will probably be using is the Panavision Elaine 16mm. Probably half of it will be on location in various locations and the other half in a soundstage. Probably two thirds of what I have will be in highly lit rooms or soundstage. The other third of it will be fairly dark sets. They will later be edited on Avid. I am just producing and editng these films. Someone else wrote them and is directing them, DP, gaff, sound, etc.


I went through some numbers and for the two films, saying they will be 15 minutes each, at a 4:1 shooting ratio I am looking at 4400 feet of 16mm film. I think I got that all right. That's saying that a 400 ft roll does about 11 minutes.


We will be shooting in late March and most of April. Then editing at the end of April and these will be shown in the beginning of May. For both of these films the goals are eventually the film festival circuit.


We are looking for some info on getting the film for free or at least maybe discounted for students. I know that people get film for free all the time. I am just trying to find out exactly how. There are 6 other films that are looking into being shot on film so if we could get a huge discount maybe for all of them together that would be helpful too. Or would it not matter about multiple order discounts?


I attend school in Maine but live in Rochester NY when not at school. That is the home of Kodak so I am going to see what I can find there and I should be home for a week before shooting so I can pick anything up in person. I am in the process of contacting some other people and companies too. If anyone has some helpful info for obtaining the film, it would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks very much,

-Shawn Swetsky


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Good luck on getting your free or discounted film. Perhaps the Maine Workshops have an arrangement with Kodak or Fuji. I know that Kodak regularly offers a substantial student discount to accredited film schools, something like 20%.


I think you are seriously under-budgeting your film stock needs. A 4:1 ratio is very, very small. I generally reccomend students budget a 10:1 ratio, or rule of thumb one 400' roll for every page of script. That would mean about 12,000' of film for your two 15 minute films. I've worked on literally hundreds of student films and taught and advised hundreds more students on their projects. 4:1 just isn't going to cut it.

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I've worked on literally hundreds of student films and taught and advised hundreds more students on their projects.  4:1 just isn't going to cut it.

And then they still deny it: "oh, well we'll rehearse a lot... I can do them in one take... the actors are very good, they don't need lots of takes..." Some people are just stubborn and need to learn for them selves.


I shot a short (live action) for an animator once and he thought his 3:1 was opulant! At that point you're essentially cutting in camera.

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Wow, I was told that if we were careful that 4:1 might cut it. I just finished some work on a non-school related 30 minute 16mm film that did do something like 7:1 ratio so I was wondering what my teacher was talking about with 4:1 being good for students. I will keep all that info in mind. Thanks for bringing that up.


The school has sponsors which Kodak is part of but through that deal they don't supply film for the student's own work. Only some here and there for in-class teaching and camera testing. It's really not much. Knowing that I need at least 4400 feet and probably closer to what you were saying at around double that, 20% discount is great but more would be awesome. It doesn't hurt to ask for it for free first, right.


I am producing but it was the writer/director's of these films that have ideas of doing it on film. That is just a lot of film and we have acess to some good DV equipment so I have to bring that up to them. But it would be real fun and an awesome experience to do it on 16mm.


Thanks for all your suggestions so far.


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