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35mm Charity Film with Michael Palin


Uli Meyer
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Posted (edited)

Charity film for the Queen‘s Crescent Community Association, narrated by Sir Michael Palin. I volunteered to make this to give back to the community. Shot during winter months on 35mm 500T with available light only, no crew, just me and my Arriflex 235 and Arricam LT, mostly hand-held. I did have help from a sound recordist for the bits with Michael Palin. 
The biggest challenge shooting on film was to limit yourself to five or six angles for each event and stick to it, especially since there wasn't a fixed plan. I'm not a documentary filmmaker and making this I've learned to appreciate how difficult a genre it can be.

 

Edited by Uli Meyer
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  • Uli Meyer changed the title to 35mm Charity Film with Michael Palin

 Well done, Uli. It looks really good. I really enjoyed seeing a micro documentary shot on 35mm. Thanks for sharing that. It's very rare to see working class Black/Asian/immigrant neighborhoods of London. Those types of images make the world smaller and people more relateable.

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Loved it, great job! Great and important subject matter, delivered in a professional manner.

Only note I would give is that the graphics package didn't match the quality of the cinematography/content. It would be nice to have some sort of 3D rendering to make them more interesting and perhaps a background to remind people what they're watching, constantly reminding them when the graphics package comes up, what this place is called. So far I've heard it mentioned a few times, but only a big graphic at the tail. Also, for projects like this, I love having a bug in the bottom corner the entire time. Also as a minor technical note, the audio mix was balanced left for some reason. 

I've done so much documentary shooting on my Aaton 35III camera, brings back memories. Obviously, I prefer shooting 16 with this stuff because you can get 2 or 3 shots in one start/stop of the camera using a zoom lens and not worry so much about wasting a few frames as you re-frame your shot. With 35mm (especially with primes) your starting and stopping the camera a lot more and it can break the flow of shooting documentary, which kinda needs to be more fluid in a lot of ways. 

Anyway, great job and love the color you do as well. It always looks so natural. 

 

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Thank you Charles, James and Tyler for your kind words.

7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

It would be nice to have some sort of 3D rendering

Hi Tyler, I didn't design the graphics, the logo was given to me by the charity. A friend of mine surprised me by animating it 2D, as a contribution for free. A 3D rendering would have been nice but he film didn't cost the charity anything and it is as far as I could take it. Good idea about the bug, I might still add it.

7 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

With 35mm (especially with primes) your starting and stopping the camera a lot more and it can break the flow of shooting documentary, which kinda needs to be more fluid in a lot of ways. 

I worked mostly with a 25mm and a 85mm CP.3 and occassionally with the 15.5-45mm LWZ2. At each location I would find a good angle, shoot 5 seconds worth of frames and walk to the next angle, shoot another five seconds and move on. It was always tempting to shoot more and sometimes I did (I shot way too much of the older people's christmas lunch). The voice over script kept being revised but I knew roughly what I needed for each section and it was never more than a few shots.

 

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Yea even a nice colored background instead of going black during the titles, would be nice. 

Good you had somewhat of a script early on. That's critical I feel. 

Still, great job! 

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22 hours ago, charles pappas said:

(I made a small donation to the charity - probably too small, 10#, will increase.)

Thank you Charles! I’m sure it is much appreciated. 

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Nicely shot and cut and it said everything in the 4 mins. Good to see Michael Palin !  I think all his travelogues were done on 16. So I guess he would have been comfortable with you with Arri's 😀

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

Nicely shot and cut and it said everything in the 4 mins. Good to see Michael Palin !  I think all his travelogues were done on 16. So I guess he would have been comfortable with you with Arri's 😀

Yes, and he was great to meet. Such a nice man.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2022 at 9:52 AM, John Salim said:

35mm looks so much nicer and natural ( especially for human skin ) compared to what's shot on digital nowadays.
Nice job Uli !

John S 👍

I think you're right John. It would be interesting though to compare these kinds of  'informal'  documentary shots showing human faces,  when taken digitally and also with 35mm film (in the same project). I'm assuming Uli didn't use any or much additional lighting but maybe I'm wrong on that.  Also I think it's great how he has captured the expressions on faces simply by being extremely quick off the mark, and then moving to the next one after just a few seconds.  Maybe this kind of documentary filming is a bit more 'free' in that respect, with so much happening around the camera, needing similar attention. And I guess the 35mm film charging through does stop you lingering on one shot too much 😄

Edited by Doug Palmer
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5 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

 And I guess the 35mm film charging through does stop you lingering on one shot too much 😄

Nothing quite hones the senses and gets the pulse running like the sound of £££ going through a magazine!!

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

I'm assuming Uli didn't use any or much additional lighting but maybe I'm wrong on that. 

90% of the film was shot with no additional lighting. I did use one Aputure 600 for filming the sports bits in the dome. I just pointed it upwards into the white ceiling.

There are a couple of shots of a chef in a kitchen where the existing light was perfect. My favorite shots.

15 hours ago, Alex Anstey said:

Nothing quite hones the senses and gets the pulse running like the sound of £££ going through a magazine!!

Hahaha, yes, quite right. That's what I like about shooting film though. You've got to have a plan.

Edited by Uli Meyer
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