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my Super8mm feature


Scott Di Lalla
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Hey Guys,

 

I've finally finished my feature, "I Am Zozo" shot entirely on Kodak's Vision3 Negative 200T 7213 - Super8mm.

 

I also wanted to say thanks again, to this community, for answering some questions I had while I was going through a handful of test shots last year.

 

Here is a small clip of the film:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFIpSq2_iOA

 

 

Story:

 

http://www.iamzozomovie.com . I Am ZoZo is about five young people who play with a Ouija board and attract the attention of the malevolent Ouija demon ZoZo. The film is based on widely reported real experiences with this ancient and malevolent spirit that attaches itself to people exclusively through Ouija boards. Shot last Halloween on location on San Juan Island, WA, I Am ZoZo was shot entirely on Super8mm film.

 

Cheers!

 

Scott

Edited by Scott Di Lalla
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Well done, Scott! I am absolutely gung-ho to see this. When and how may I? Do you have any behind the scenes video of your shoot? I'd love to see some actual filming, what your camera setups were like, etc.

 

What was your budget?

 

How many days of principle photography?

 

Where did you process the film?

 

Transfer the film?

 

Did you edit on Final Cut or with Adobe Premiere Pro?

 

Was your Canon's gate widened, or did you you simply for 1.85:1?

 

I could go on and on with questions.

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Matt,

 

I appreciate your kind words and I will do my best to answer all your questions.

 

 

Budget - This is always a tough one to answer accurately because of differed pay, but I can give you an idea of what it will cost to shoot on Super8 film. One 2 1/2min S8 cartridge (50ft) is around $25 - process cost was $25 - and an HD digital transfer was yet another $25. So, you would have to figure every 50ft of film, from soup to nuts, is $75.

 

How many days of principle photography? Fourteen straight days and then a total of 4 days for pick-up shots. However, because I was shooting on film I took my actors and rehearsed every scene with them for two weeks. I felt, in theory, this would limit the amount of retakes I would have to do. It worked!

 

Where did you process the film? We processed the film at Alpha Cine. We shot the film in Seattle, so not only was it convenient for us, they're just a great company, especially when it comes to handling S8. http://www.alphacine.com

 

Transfer the film? We had our film transferred at Lightpress, also in Seattle. http://lightpress.tv They were great in so many ways. They are also one, in only a few companies, that will scan S8 to HD. Each frame is scanned individually to give you a true 2k file. Other companies may say they do an HD transfer, but it might be only an HD "up-res", not a full scan.

 

Did you edit on Final Cut or with Adobe Premiere Pro? Final cut pro.

 

Was your Canon's gate widened, or did you you simply for 1.85:1? No, I looked into it, but decided not to widen the gate. I thought for that little bit more of room on my frame it wasn't worth the risk of having light leak in, and it certainly wasn't worth the price. Shot it normally and cropped in post.

 

 

Hope this helped Matt. I will be happy to answer more question, so please ask away.

 

 

Cheers!

 

Scott

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Scott, thanks for that information. I'm curious how many cartridges you shot and what the running time of your film is.

 

$25 seems high for processing and also for purchase. That should be about $20 per here in NY (less for reversal stocks).

 

Lightpress is awesome. I used them for my 1080p scan of Miscommunications, a short film I shot on Kodak 500t (plus a single roll of 100D for a few exterior shots). I had also thought about widening the gate to my Nikon R10, but decided not to in the end and stuck with the 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

 

Composing for 1.85:1 without guidelines must have been difficult.

 

Another super8 feature, SLEEP ALWAYS, used the Canon 1014 XL-S. People love that camera.

 

I hope you will create a killer behind the scenes look at the film and how it was shot. You must have made a custom blimp for your cameras so I'd love to know how you did it and how well you felt it worked. Man, I just want to pick your brain!

 

Thanks for the information. I ask not just because I am curious, but due to my love of the format and desire to shoot a feature, at least partially, with Super8.

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We shot 18,00ft (360 cartridges) of film. The length of the movie was 90min.

 

You're right, I may have quoted you a bit high, $20 seems about right. All the companies worked with us too, so I think they gave us some breaks here and there. It was great to see people still side with the underdog.

 

In regard to the shooting part, I had a lot of things really thought out. I wanted to shoot the entire film hand held so I made my own shoulder mounted camera rig for my camera. I didn't want the shaky look like Blair Witch - I wanted more of a "run and gun" documentary feel. Although I was aware that the frame would be cropped, I didn't have to worry too much because it was moving most of the time. If I could go back and do some things over I definitely would have put more time in creating my blimp. My blimp was only a few old winter jacket sleeves placed over the camera. Unfortunately, all my tests were done without any film loaded in the camera, so it seemed almost completely quite. I remember during day one of the shoot the camera was considerably louder with film in it. Naturally! Just something I'd completely overlooked. I added a thick towel to my custom design and went forward with the shoot. It actually silenced the camera about 80%, but that wasn't enough. So, we had a ton of work done in post. They did a great job getting rid of the camera sound. It's not perfect, but I feel it matches the gritty feel of the film. I will be interested in what blimp ideas you come up with. Oh, we also had the cameras crystal synced.

 

Yes, we have so much behind the scenes footage. Also, for now, we have a ton of photos on our I Am ZOZO facebook page that you can check out. http://www.facebook.com/scott.dilalla#!/iamzozo

 

Good luck with your project! In the future, if you ever need to get in touch with me with some more question you can always email at oneworldceo@yahoo.com

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360 cartridges, that equals somewhere around 20 grand for film costs (purchase, develop, transfer). Using Canon 5D MNK2's would've been cheaper, by a longshot, so why not go that way?

 

Did you ever consider going the digital route?

 

Personally, I think shooting a Halloween based demon movie on super8 is pure brilliance. It also takes serious balls. B)

 

Did you have a negative or positive created from your final cut? Or are you staying all digital for projection so far?

 

I have my DP buddy looking into how difficult it would be to make a custom blimp for the Nikon R10. I think we'll also need to find one of the wide angle lens adapters for it to increase our options on shots.

 

The Film Group is located one state over from me, so it will be easy to just drive on over and drop the camera of when it's time to have it crystal synced. Were we to do this, we'd also buy a B camera, likely the Canon 1014 XL-S. The Nikon would be for tripod shot and the Canon for handheld (easier to make a rig for it).

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Well, yes, it is a bit pricey, but when you really break down the cost between digital and small gauge film, they are actually not that far off. When you take into account the digital camera and the equipment you need to get the most out of it, things start to add up. Also, it is trickier to light digital. You would have to spend more time figuring ways out to limit the clippings of your lights and shadows. The latitude that film (negative) has is unparalleled. That all said, film is still more expensive, but it is very much in range.

 

Yes, I was only considering digital, initially, but I was also searching for ways on how to get a unique look out of digital. I spent a month researching and studying different ways on how to make digital not only look like film, but ways on how I can give it a sense of texture as well. There came a point I just sat back and asked myself if I want it to look like film so bad, why not just shoot in film. Then I thought, ok, what is the cheapest way to shoot with film? Naturally, it would be to use the smallest gauge available. After I switched gears, a whole new world became apparent to me. I began turning up everything super8, until I saw some mind blowing examples of what super8 could look like and discovered that was the look I was searching for all along.

 

We are staying in digital at the moment.

 

The 1014xl-s is an amazing camera.

 

Oh, let me know what blimp ideas you guys come up with. Ideally, the lens should be encased as well. Most of the noise slips through the lens.

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I'm meeting the DP who wants to collaborate with me tomorrow evening at the Crown Heights Film festival (we have a short film playing there) and we will be discussing the 8mm thing.

 

The idea of blimping the camera and doing it right is a daunting task. Making anything from scratch requires skill and patience.

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You really did pay an extra premium for your film. Kodak sells the 7213 for 15.60 per cart, less in bulk. Processing is usually 17 or 18 per cart, less in bulk. HD transfer is also cheaper than you quoted. Where did you purchase your film? Did you buy in bulk? I commend you for making the film on Super 8, I plan to do the same. The trailer looks great, bravo. I just wanted to let it be known that super 8 DOES NOT cost as much as you paid, especially for a feature. I am not trying to pick on you, no way. Support you. I can't wait to see the whole thing.

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Chris, to be honest I will have to talk with my producer to get the exact amount. As stated above, I wasn't exactly sure, but at the same time I wanted to give everyone an idea of what it might cost. However, I do think it's important to get the exact amount on here in case someone is interested in shooting on super8. That said, give me a day or two and I will get the exact numbers for the film cost, processing, and the HD transfer. Sorry about that.

 

We bought our film directly from Kodak and because we bought it in bulk, they gave us a nice break. Thanks to Kodak's rep, Chris Russo (who is no longer there), for being such a champion.

 

 

And once again, thanks for the kind words and support.

 

 

Will have a price update soon.

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Ok, I got the numbers from my shoot:

 

Film Stock Pricing:

Kodak Super8mm film 50ft roll - $15.40 (student pricing can often be negotiated, try requesting test rolls for free)

 

Lab Processing:

Alpha Cine - $13 per 50ft roll

Prep - $8 per run

 

HD Transfer:

Lightpress

Approx $0.75 per foot

Plus file capture time $125 per hour @ 1:1

Plus $0.50 per GB storage

Plus Hard drive (provided by us)

HD SR archiving $100 approx. per tape (optional)

 

 

Keep in mind that all these prices are negotiable, so do your best to chip away at it.

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There's no reason to reinvent the wheel and the trouble won't get as good a result anyway.

http://www.customupholsteryproducts.com/html/sound_barneys.html

 

He has templates for several Super 8 cameras and this route will save you money and time later on. You will have enough other issues to deal with using S8 for a feature without messing with a homemade barney.

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Scott, I missed out on your internet interview. I got the notice too late to listen in from the beginning, but caught the last 5 minutes.

 

The pricing on stock and development is a good deal. The processing is certainly better than what I pay for 200t or 500t processing here in NYC at Pac-Lab.

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Congratulations on making your film on Super 8, I'd love to see it. Where and how can I see it?

 

I think I've missed something did you say you used 360 cartridiges? Isn't that a lot? Like 15 hours - that's a very high shooting ratio. If this is right why did you have such a high shooting ratio? I am doing the budget of a feature to be shot on Super 8, the finished film will be 65 -70 minutes long and I have worked out that 80 cartridges [which is about 3 hours 30 minutes] would be more than enough.

 

P

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Congratulations on making your film on Super 8, I'd love to see it. Where and how can I see it?

 

I think I've missed something did you say you used 360 cartridiges? Isn't that a lot? Like 15 hours - that's a very high shooting ratio. If this is right why did you have such a high shooting ratio? I am doing the budget of a feature to be shot on Super 8, the finished film will be 65 -70 minutes long and I have worked out that 80 cartridges [which is about 3 hours 30 minutes] would be more than enough.

 

P

 

You are underestimating. No doubt.

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There's no reason to reinvent the wheel and the trouble won't get as good a result anyway.

http://www.customupholsteryproducts.com/html/sound_barneys.html

 

He has templates for several Super 8 cameras and this route will save you money and time later on. You will have enough other issues to deal with using S8 for a feature without messing with a homemade barney.

 

 

Yes..bought that and used it the entire shoot, plus two winter jackets sleeves and a thick towel..still not enough.

 

Pav-Deep - you are definitely underestimating - I did at first. With super8 you have to take in consideration that there will be times that the cartridge is faulty, you need to get a scene right or you just want some insurance because you don't have it in your budget to do a lot of pick-up shots. My shots were planned out to the T, and for some reason I had to use a bit more than planned.

 

Matt - I think those shows are archived, but thanks for listening anyway.

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Yes..bought that and used it the entire shoot, plus two winter jackets sleeves and a thick towel..still not enough.

 

Pav-Deep - you are definitely underestimating - I did at first. With super8 you have to take in consideration that there will be times that the cartridge is faulty, you need to get a scene right or you just want some insurance because you don't have it in your budget to do a lot of pick-up shots. My shots were planned out to the T, and for some reason I had to use a bit more than planned.

 

Matt - I think those shows are archived, but thanks for listening anyway.

 

If the sound Blarney didn't work, how did you deal with the sound issues?

 

I've been planning on shooting a Super8 feature for a few months now, so will be looking to pick your brain more later if you don't mind.

 

Do you have a link for your archived interview? I'd like to listen to the interview.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
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Hey Guys,

 

I've finally finished my feature, "I Am Zozo" shot entirely on Kodak's Vision3 Negative 200T 7213 - Super8mm.

 

I also wanted to say thanks again, to this community, for answering some questions I had while I was going through a handful of test shots last year.

 

Here is a small clip of the film:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFIpSq2_iOA

 

 

Story:

 

http://www.iamzozomovie.com . I Am ZoZo is about five young people who play with a Ouija board and attract the attention of the malevolent Ouija demon ZoZo. The film is based on widely reported real experiences with this ancient and malevolent spirit that attaches itself to people exclusively through Ouija boards. Shot last Halloween on location on San Juan Island, WA, I Am ZoZo was shot entirely on Super8mm film.

 

Cheers!

 

Scott

To be honest, it looks like any other low budget indy trailer.

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