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Ultra 16mm Feature


John  Bradley

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Can anyone tell me if any feature film has been shot in Ultra 16mm. I plan on shooting a full feature in the first week of October.

 

I plan on having Bernie from Super16inc make the conversion on my 16 SR 2. Ultra 16mm is much less monies than converting to Super16. Last price I seen for the super conversion was around $6000, then you have to buy the lenses, and then convert the magazines, which isn't cheap either, so now I'm looking around $10,000 for the conversion. For $1200 I get converted to U16mm and have the ground glass brighten by Bernie.

 

For the ground glass I'll just use tape for my safe lines.

 

Does anyone know where I can buy decent 16mm short ends or unused film.

 

I would appreciate any input.

 

Thanks,

 

John S. Bradley

Windjammer Films

Cinematographer

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Is that right 10K for a conversion?

 

Anyway, I bought some film from Fuji a few months back that was at a discount. I believe it was slightly older and I have yet to see the results. Transfer costs again, so I can't comment on the quality yet. It might be worth giving them a call. Also, I believe Kodak offers student discounts if you're a student.

 

Good luck,

Tom

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You really should rent a S16mm camera or just buy one if you are going to use it more than once, which you likely won't. They rent for nothing these days. A perfect condition Aaton Prod just sold for $5000 total, SR3's are going in the same price range.

 

There is no 16mm short-end source.

 

Why go to all the enormous trouble to shoot a movie, which you will spend the next two to three years of your life dealing with, and use a format that will be nothing but trouble?

 

Call your state's Kodak rep and make a deal. Buying film is like buying a used car.

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Can anyone tell me if any feature film has been shot in Ultra 16mm. I plan on shooting a full feature in the first week of October.

 

I plan on having Bernie from Super16inc make the conversion on my 16 SR 2. Ultra 16mm is much less monies than converting to Super16. Last price I seen for the super conversion was around $6000, then you have to buy the lenses, and then convert the magazines, which isn't cheap either, so now I'm looking around $10,000 for the conversion. For $1200 I get converted to U16mm and have the ground glass brighten by Bernie.

 

For the ground glass I'll just use tape for my safe lines.

 

Does anyone know where I can buy decent 16mm short ends or unused film.

 

I would appreciate any input.

 

Thanks,

 

John S. Bradley

Windjammer Films

Cinematographer

 

I've been looking to see if any features have been made as well, the format is so new they're hard to find. There's 2 advertised on vimeo: "American cheese" and "Rockabilly High School" which i'm sure everyone here already knows about. Someone else was here on the boards awhile back said they where trying to make a feature as well. Frank Demarco who's done alot of well known pictures (Pi, Mad men) might have one flying around since he came up with the idea in the first place, although he's a cinematographer not much a director.

 

As for recans they used to be easy to find, rawstock.com used to be the best place before the guy retired (Well he took a better job is what really happened). Ebay believe it or not from time to time sells fairly fresh film left over from other peoples shoots.

 

I'm working with a director now who's also been asking me about the Ultra16 format so i've been looking into it as much as possible. As you probably already know there is alot of Super16 cinematographers who absolutley hate the idea of this format. In their defense Super16 is still higher resolution for 16:9. However, interestingly enough when super16 is cropped to 1.85 it almost takes up just as much Negative as Ultra16! Which is roughly 6.23mm x 11.8mm, Super16 gets a little more but it still stays within the 6mm x 11mm guidelines. I think if you use slow speed/ fine grain film, some quality glass and a good transfer it would come out fantastic (Although some on here would argue this same point if you stuck with R16).

 

Love it or hate it more and more labs are opening up to this format. Anyway, I wish you luck.

 

-Phil

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  • 5 months later...

I've been reading up about ultra 16mm. I've read so much hype else where I wanted to clear the air a bit. And from what I've read on this forum, all the pro's hate ultra 16mm. Pointless.

 

Is it that big of a difference that S16 has only a 3% larger area? as read here

 

I've read a lot people say no its not as good as Super 16mm, but is it really that big of a difference?

To compare apples to apples we're using a Arri SR1, one is converted to Super16 one is converted to Ultra16. Same glass. Which would you rather shoot a feature with and why?

The feature hopes to blow up to 35mm for wide release but realistically will release digitally 1080 16:9.

 

If I'm shooting sub 100k films, couldn't it be a revolutionary boost? I'm thinking of buying a rig in order to rent out myself + camera as a cinematography package. I could get a Super16 Eclair for like a grand more, I guess it's probably more prudent to go Super16 in that case.

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There is really only one reason to use Ultra 16mm instead of Super-16 -- if you already own a 16mm camera and want to spend the money to convert it. All it really does is make pre-Super-16 era cameras widescreen.

 

Otherwise, with all of the Super-16 cameras available to rent or buy, why bother with Ultra-16?

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Well the fact remains the camera's professionally converted to U16 are 1/2 or more than than the price of S16mm cameras. For film makers who want to start somewhere, and have something presentable it maybe a good place to begin.

 

I know David in your previous posts you've stated that you've never owned a camera you've always used rentals. Rentals are great and I'd prefer to use them but it's not always feasible.

 

Say you need to use the camera for 1 - 2 days to shoot a short or TV spot for a friend, the project is not going to be insured. I maybe out of luck in that situation.

I'm not sure if there exists an alternative, which is why I posted here. To collect as much information as possible.

Is there a way to insure yourself or yourself as a production company? Something like annual coverage, for all projects this person or company undertakes? That way I don't require a particular project's insurance coverage to allow me to rent a camera.

 

If there is no solution I'm more than out of luck. I'm out of the money, reel footage, connections, experience, et al. which I could have earned from that Music Video/TV Spot/Short I had to pass up. If that means I have to buy an $800 camera to have as backup for these sorts of projects where rental is not an option. Why, would I pass that up?

 

Are there other snafu's when using Ultra 16? Is it easy to transfer to 35mm, or like the Digital transfer are there only certain places which are capable?

 

Peter.

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Are there other snafu's when using Ultra 16? Is it easy to transfer to 35mm, or like the Digital transfer are there only certain places which are capable?

Ultra-16 would be a transfer-only format. I've never heard of any blow-ups to 35mm from Ultra-16 because the frame goes into the sprockets, something that the few remaining facilities would have a problem with.

 

On the transfer side, very few Spirits (perhaps only one...Cinelicous) can handle Ultra-16. They require special modifications that wouldn't make economic sense for most transfer houses to do. However, machines that can "see" the sprocket holes of 16mm could handle it... I think that includes Millennium machines. You'd have to check with the specific transfer house you want to use and check.

 

I have a Scoopic that Bernie modified to U16 and I only get the full U16 frame if I use Cinelicious...no local transfer places can handle it in Dallas. You get one side a little wider but not the other.

 

David is right, if you have a camera like a Scoopic and have a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, might as well. Otherwise, the industry infrastructure is much more setup for Super 16 and with cameras prices falling like a stone I'd look out for that.

 

An ultra 16 camera may be half the cost, but what does that mean? $800? You could find a Super 16 Arri for $2000 or so? $1200 more is about the cost of 15 minutes of film, processing and transfer so what the heck? Save up. You'll have a camera that will produce images that can be transferred anywhere and get a larger negative to boot.

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Thank you Will for the enlightening information. I had no idea ultra 16 was a transfer only format! It makes sense now that you've said it. Super 16mm is the way I've wanted to go. Film is a niche process enough without having to limit the scope down to ostensibly 1 to a handful of labs who you can possibly talk to.

 

I certainly appreciate you helping me clear up a few of the tech details on the transfer and ultimate use restrictions of U16.

 

All the best,

Peter

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Hi Peter,

I run Cinelicious and know quite a bit about the Ultra 16mm format. I agree with most of what everyone said here. Super 16mm is overall a better, more ubiquitous format to shoot a feature on. Ultra 16mm is great for converting R16mm cameras to a 1.85 image but is still less overall resolution that S16mm. And like David said with all the available S16mm gear on the market... if I was going to shoot a feature it would be Super 16mm hands down as most older R16mm cameras would be a nightmare as a reliable A-Cam on a feature. To me where Ultra 16mm shines is for MOS B-Cam music videos / fashion / skate films. We recently set DP Max Goldman and Director James Franco up with one of our Ultra 16mm Scoopics (and a super 8mm camera) and they shot some beautiful stuff for a 7 For All Mankind Jeans campaign. Here are some clips and a blurb on that:

 

http://cinelicious.tv/work/7-for-all-mankind

 

For technical reference the top video of Lily Donaldson starts mostly S16mm bolex (cleaner borders) the Super 8mm has the perf in the center of frame, and last shot of the model on the beach with is Ultra 16mm. These were all from 2K "overscans".

 

One thing to clarify is that when calling Ultra 16mm a "transfer only" format what that means is you could not do an optical blow-up to 35mm... something that doesn't happen too frequently these days. But you most certainly could do a 2K or 4K DI scan and record back out to 35mm film for a theatrical release.

 

Have fun!

 

-Paul

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pardon me Paul or anyone with experience in U16.

Would the 2k or 4k DI scan of u16 recorded back out to 35 look better than an optical blow up of R16?

 

Secondly, can one project U16 in a digital theater from a scan? I read that 50% of US screens are digital projectors now but I don't know how they work or if that's even accurate.

Edited by Trevor McClung
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Would the 2k or 4k DI scan of u16 recorded back out to 35 look better than an optical blow up of R16?

Too many variables on the scan/output side to say for sure but it would certainly cost MUCH MUCH more than an optical blow up.

 

Secondly, can one project U16 in a digital theater from a scan? I read that 50% of US screens are digital projectors now but I don't know how they work or if that's even accurate.

Once the film has been scanned it's just like working with any digital file; so any digital projector would be fine with it as long as you provide it in the correct digital format for the specific projector.

 

There are still plenty of art house theaters that have 16mm projectors... a couple great ones here in Dallas. You just have to ask around. But on the practical side you'd be better off digital now since those same houses have digital projectors as well.

 

If you think your project would be distributed then it becomes the distributor's problem and they'll figure it out for you.

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  • 12 years later...

So, to resurrect this old thread: are there any feature films that have been specifically shot in the ultra 16mm format? Could not find anything specifically on Shotonwhat website for example.

Thanks

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Can't answer that for a Pat but since you resurrected this thread I'm wondering about U16 modding my Beaulieu R16 Quartz! I think Bjorn could still do it!

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