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Benson Marks

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  1. The most common notation used to describe a format is: -The number of active horizontal lines per frame (say, 480 or 1080) -Followed by 'P' or 'I' (for progressive or interlace) -Followed by the number of scans per second (the frame rate or field rate) So, a format indicated as 720p/24 tells us that the frame has 720 horizontal lines, scanned at 24 progressive frames per second. As for which one is better to shoot on, there really isn't one that's better than the other. Some experts argue that 1080i is better because it has more lines of resolution. Why does that matter? As the number of lines goes up, so does the ability to record fine detail in an image, allowing for a sharper, clearer picture. However, other experts argue that 720p is better because 1080i uses interlace, but 720p uses progressive scan, which is considered better than interlace. The problems with interlace include, for starters, that you're seeing only half the lines at a time, which means lower resolution. Interlace creates various artifacts (flaws or irregularities in the image). One artifact is that diagonal lines in the scene can end up looking like jagged stair steps on TV. This is called aliasing. Another artifact called twitter happens when thin horizontal lines appear to vibrate or flicker as they move up or down in the frame. This is often visible in the text of a credit roll at the end of the movie. If you really want to know which one is better, do a comparison between the two formats if you can afford it and decide which format you like best. The question isn't 'Which one is better?' The question is 'Which one is better to you?'
  2. Wow. So wrong, Adam. Sure, directors have to worry about actors, but they're only a piece of the director's job compared to things like staying within the budget, making sure you're on schedule, having cutaways and reaction shots in case an actor doesn't act right, not breaking the 180 degree rule, and, of course, getting the shots. Directing is not simply casting everybody. Besides, a good movie is always about the script, never about the actors. Contrary to what you just said, for a movie to be dramatically effective, it must have a good story. For a movie to have a good story, you need a great script. Screw performances. You could hire Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Will Smith, Vittorio Storaro and all the greatest actors, producers, directors, cinematographers, and filmmakers alive and they wouldn't be able to do diddly if the script is awful. Take 'Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull' as a prime example of just that. On a different note, 'Napoleon Dynamite' didn't have the greatest directing, cinematography, or acting in the world, but it still became successful. Why do you think that is? Because of its storyline. Oh, you say it's plotless? Look again, the movie has its structure rooted in classical romantic comedy. Or take 'Toy Story.' I wonder what the future of children's animation would've been like had the storyline been terrible for that movie. As far as Sundance is concerned, let me be honest with you. Have you ever made a single must-see film that actually got loads of cash at the box office and was very well received by audiences everywhere?
  3. So? Who in the world has seen 'Songs From The Second Floor' anyhow? Let alone 'Stalker?' Almost no one. Let me also take the last two films I briefly joked about in my last post. 'Stranger Than Paradise' and 'Clerks,' both of which used extensive coverage and were more successful than any of those two movies you mentioned. Find me a movie that was successful (like 'Casablanca' or 'Pulp Fiction'), and maybe I'll believe you then. And let me be honest with you on your director thoughts. Who is this Tarkovsky guy anyway? Cause I've never heard of him before. Hitchcock or Kubrick probably made better movies than he ever did, whoever he was.
  4. I sure don't. Let me just give you a basic overview of what directing is, in my humble opinion, and as short as I possibly can. Let's assume you're about to direct a one-page scene and your budget permits a three-week shoot with 50,000 feet of film. To make a long story short, this allows you 20-25 minutes per shot. In these minutes, you rehearse and shoot the scene with a master shot, exposing 90 feet of film stock. You're on schedule and on budget, and if you're Jim Jarmusch working on Stranger Than Paradise, or Kevin Smith working on Clerks, you are done. Now let's think art (aka coverage) and get production value. You've scheduled 120 minutes and budgeted 550 feet of film and have only used 20-25 minutes and 90 feet. You now have 460 feet and almost 95-100 minutes left to create art with a selection of medium shots, close-ups, cutaways, over-the-shoulder shots, etc. If directing on a 6:1 shooting ratio, you could get the master shot six times (six takes). Or you could get the master shot with one take and use the remaining budgeted film to get five different shots (master and coverage) with one take each. Does that look like a casting session to you? Seriously, if Sundance actually believes that 90 percent of directing is casting, no wonder they've become such a joke. In fact, most of the film festivals and award nominations (including Oscar) have become a joke these days. The Reader is one of the best movies of 2008. Yeah, right.
  5. Film runs through the 35mm camera, and the projector, at a speed of 90 feet per minute (16mm film runs at a speed of 36 feet per minute). Therefore, your final 35mm movie, if its running time is 90 minutes, will be 8,100 feet long (90 feet/minute X 90 minutes). To determine the amount of film you will purchase to commence your shoot, multiply the first number of the shooting ratio (the ratio between [A] how many feet of unexposed film you purchase to start your shoot and the number of feet of film there is in your completed print) that you have budgeted for by the number of feet in your final print. For example, if budgeting for a 3:1 shooting ratio (three takes of a single shot or three shots of one take each to make a scene) on a 90-minute film (8,100 feet), you'd probably purchase 24,300 feet of film (8,100 feet X 3). Shooting ratios can vary greatly between productions but a typical shooting ratio for a production using film stock will be between 6:1 and 10:1, whereas a similar production using video is likely to be much higher.
  6. Yeah. I heard that somewhere too, but I can't remember where at the moment. I don't know if this adds to the topic or not, but I've also heard rumors that film is becoming extinct in the still industry. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is... That's quite a whammy!
  7. How about absolutely nothing? Really, I'd much rather leave "It's A Wonderful Life," "Where Eagles Dare," "Metropolis," and even "The Stranger" alone. Yes, I like Orson Welles (Who doesn't?), and I enjoy Frank Capra's work as well. But let's face it, we could all learn something from "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid," and that something is you gotta adjust to the times. This is the 21st century, after all.
  8. Confound it! How did I forget that? I might as well tell the guy what to do. Michael, if your budget is low, you can't really do such fancy shots without going over budget. That includes across-the-street shots like you were describing. I hate to tell you this, but if your budget is low, all you can do is just have the camera facing the actors and hope you have a good soundman who has good microphones. That's really all you can do. If your budget is larger, you can just simply do an ADR like Steve just said (It should cost about $2,000-$3,000 american). Hope this helps you, Michael.
  9. As far as I'm concerned after reading this thread, the only good commercials are the ones you see during the super bowl. ;)
  10. I second that. Just because movies are visual doesn't mean you should get lazy with sound. It was only about a year ago I heard someone say "I finally saw a digital film that I could hear." Just as bad music can ruin what could've been a great movie, so can bad sound. If you can't hear it, it's awful. It's even more important that you pay attention to sound if you're shooting a movie on digital video (or HD), because while the video quality may be good, the sound that comes from that camera stinks. Anyhow, I need to ask this. What is the budget for your film, Michael?
  11. As everyone has already said, they're different. Anamorphic 2.40 is basically where an image with a 2.40 aspect ratio is squeezed to half it's width, resulting in a 1.20 aspect ratio on the film frame. When the film is released in the theaters, the projectionists will use a special lens that will stretch the image back to the original 2.40 aspect ratio the film was intended for. The Super 35 process does not involve such lenses, but rather it involves framing the picture to fit the ratio of the screen. The top and bottom are matted out and removed from the picture completely, resulting in a rectangular picture. Super 35 movies are filmed using flat (or spherical) lenses, so like David was saying, you can frame it to any ratio you prefer. Just remember that if you're matting to 2.40, that the film should go through an anamorphic process before your film hits theaters (Of course, you may know that already).
  12. Well, on the bright side, once Bay ruins Nightmare, I'll probably start sleeping better! :D Sweet dreams Freddy!
  13. In response to Max's post, I'm not really surprised over the DI. Over here in the US, it seems that DI has pretty much taken over. Very few movies tend to be done photochemically these days. Then again, I could be wrong. DI aside, Friday The 13th just convinces me even further that Hollywood has almost no creativity whatsoever and now can only come up with remakes of other movies. What is Hollywood going to ruin after this? A Nightmare On Elm Street? Unless somebody points a gun to my head, you're gonna have a hard time picturing me investing in a ticket for this.
  14. Looking at the past, that statement seems to be getting rather old. About 9 or so years ago some kids decided to make a movie. It was shot with an RCA camcorder and was shot like a documentary, even though it wasn't a documentary. That movie was titled "The Blair Witch Project." It's been only 9 years since that movie came out, and look where we are today with digital. We now have HD, 4K, Digital Cinema Cameras (Like the Panasonic DVX-100), and now, the Panavision Genesis, and this is all in nearly a decade. If we continue to see more advancements in the next decade, film probably won't be the best for long. Besides that, with the economy in the shape it's in (and if "Benjamin Button" does very well), you're probably going to see more movies shot on digital video than we have in the past. Indeed, video is in a great position right now. As for your comment on the best movies being shot on film, the reason is because there wasn't any digital technology back then. I also looked up the number of celebrities that have shot their movies on digital video. Some are strong supporters, and others declare that it depends on the particular movie. The celebrities include Robert Altman (A Prairie Home Companion), Tim Burton (Corpse Bride), James Cameron (Aliens of the Deep, Ghosts of the Abyss, and, possibly for his next film, Avatar), Francis Ford Coppola (Youth Without Youth), David Fincher (Zodiac, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Mel Gibson (Apocalypto), Anthony Hopkins (Slipstream), Peter Jackson (Crossing The Line), Spike Lee (Bamboozled), Frank Miller (The Spirit), George Lucas (Star Wars Episodes II & III), Sidney Lumet (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead), David Lynch (Inland Empire), Greg Mottola (Superbad), Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, and Planet Terror), Ridley Scott (The Company), Martin Scorsese (Shine A Light), Steven Soderburgh (Che), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa), and The Wachowski Brothers (Speed Racer). Even if most of them say it depends on the movie, that's still a lot of movies I just listed. Also, if what I'm hearing is true and that "Avatar" is being shot with digital 3-D cameras, it makes me interested to see how Cameron will pull it off. Who knows what that movie could do?
  15. Yes, and I admire you too. But, with respect also, I wasn't pulling out Appeal to Authority. I was just simply replying to Georg Lamshoft's question on why "Benjamin Button" was shot digitally when it could've been shot on film. So, I was taking examples of movies that were shot digitally yet could've been shot on film. But since I'm involved in the argument, I think I'll have my say on this. I have to agree with Brian on this one, Karl. Digital also requires work. If it requires more knowledge and control over the tools, wouldn't that make it harder to work with than film? I also think digital can be money. Digital video requires a very expensive 35mm blow-up when it goes to the theaters. The same costly blow-ups that had to be used for 16mm are also needed for video. I've even heard that this blow-up could actually make a digital movie more expensive to make than a 35mm film (You'll probably need a distributor to pay for that costly transfer, and even that isn't simple, either).
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