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Alex Birrell

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Everything posted by Alex Birrell

  1. Thanks for all these thoughts guys! We're going with Super 16. Seems like too much of a chance to miss out on and Kodak and Panavision have been amazing in helping us out.
  2. Thanks for all these answers guys! And the OLD MAN AND A GUN reference was great. It has that vibe I can only describe as early 80s 35mm when DPs seemed to be experimenting with just how little light they could get away with with new faster stocks. Closing in on a decision soon I hope! As for the Super 8 stuff in the film - we would jump to some overscanned shots showing the negatives perf etc. at a couple of short moments in the film but the rest of the 8mm footage will actually be viewed on a practical projector in the scene. Our night interiors are plentiful and I think Super 16 could work out great considering the smaller spaces and I'm playing with the idea of 35mm for our limited night exteriors which only take up a small portion of the film.
  3. Thanks for the reply Karim. I was thinking that a 2.39 crop wouldn't make any difference to resolution if the 1.66 negative area was 4K scanned and then matted .
  4. Thanks Tyler, they're great references - CAROL in particular is a favourite. I was thinking exactly the same thing about Kodak and the potential for publicity as well as the great look. I'd like to go with a very dark but contrasty look. Most of the film is night interior in a small cabin. For our night exteriors I'd really like them to look very motivated by practicals (electric torches, road flares etc.) and falling off into blackness. I was thinking that film might actual help by holding the highlights of the hot sources and also falling to black easier. The sort of look the attached TWIN PEAKS still is what I'm after.
  5. Hi guys! I'm going to be directing a low budget feature early next year and we are currently at the point of receiving equipment quotes. We are in the position to have been offered the Arri 416 with Ultra 16s and the Alexa Mini with Xtal Express anamorphics. The 16mm equipment is being offered for considerably less than the Alexa kit to the extent that the difference would pay for all the film stock fresh from Kodak. We could manage the processing and scan by moving different things around in the budget. I know you guys can't answer the question for me but I'm looking for discussion, experience and opinions about whether you would choose one over the other. The film is a thriller featuring a character who is obsessed with analogue technology and uses a Super8 camera. Part of the story involves him accidentally capturing a murderer on film. Shooting on film kind of fits the brief of the story and if we were able to afford 35mm I wouldn't hesitate. But 16 isn't 35 - I am concerned about too much grain, especially as we have a lot of night scenes. At the same time, my references and inspiration for this film are mostly from the 70s and 80s and the look is often plenty grainy. I'm also looking for the Scope ratio so we would be cropping the Super 16 image. I know 16 is really in fashion right now but a lot of shoots are emphasising the rough, degraded quality. It'd like to get it as sharp as possible retaining all the beautiful of well exposed film grain and colour. We have a short schedule so lots of takes won't happen with either film or digital and I don't need monitors everywhere or playback. It'd be great to hear thoughts and opinions to help me decide. Also, if we want to shoot an 8mm projector running 24 fps shot footage at 24 fps will we be in sync so no flicker?
  6. I got into laserdisc when I was a teenager literally just before DVD came out. I loved it at the time for the special features you couldn't get any other way. Compared to VHS, laserdisc looked great. When DVD first came out they would often share a master with a laserdisc and the laser always looked better. The first DVDs seemed to look so "jagged" and the digital compression was very noticeable on CRT TVs. The last laserdisc I ever bought was a Japanese import of SCREAM 3 (so it would have been about 2000) and it look much better than the DVD. As Bruce said, once anamorphic video transfers became standard and HD masters became a thing then DVD really came into its own.
  7. Hello! Can anyone tell me definitively the crop factor when using 2x anamorphic lenses on the Red Epic W 8k Helium in 8k 6:5 mode? I've seen lots of answers for similar questions on this forum but mostly for the 6k Red Epic prior to the new sensor or talking about the VV Red Weapon 8k so I'm getting a bit confused! Thanks!
  8. Hi guys, Thanks for all the answers! After a lot of research and consultation in seems we're going to have to shoot digital after all. Panavision Vancouver were really helpful but made it clear that their film cameras were in storage and it would take a lot of money to get them out, serviced and ready for shooting. Keslow had a couple of camera options available but no 2 perf anymore. EVERYONE commented how much it could risky to ship the film back and forth to Montreal despite MELS there being very helpful and immediately coming back with a quote. For this production it just seems too risky - we won't be able to reshoot anything if negative gets ruined/fogged/lost etc. Would have been great but such a shame! Looks like Alexa with anamorphic so not too shabby at all but I was really looking forward to the 35mm experience!
  9. You can't easily find out the UK list price now without getting in touch with Kodak directly but back in 2012 the Kodak catalogue price in the UK was a little cheaper than the US one - not sure about the Canadian one. It sometimes works out that way. I've looked at the digital options and I've been really surprised how much more hire companies in the US and Canada charge for the Alexa Mini compared to the UK too.
  10. We get a lot more recans and short ends - a lot of these "re-cans" are actually completely untouched and are left over from the bigger US productions being filmed in the UK. I've compared these prices with a similar supplier in L.A and the UK prices come out cheaper.
  11. Thanks for the replies, looks like MELS would be the best option then. Wish I could find a way to get negative from the UK to Canada safely though - it's so much cheaper at home and easier to find a deal - even with the good exchange rate!
  12. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone had any advice for shooting and processing 35mm in Vancouver, BC. I know there are no local labs anymore but it seems like cameras won't be a problem with Panavision and Keslow in the city. In terms of processing and scanning it looks like either MELS in Montreal or Fotokem in Los Angeles would be the nearest options. Does anyone have any experience with lower end productions with either or both labs? This is for a low budget short film project (but with enough budget for film - I'm more concerned with how the film will be treated and how much of a customised experience it will be - I've had terrible best light rushes riddled with dust on a previous low budget project because of lack of interest of the lab and had to get everything retransferred!) Also, can anyone fill me in on safe practices for shipping exposed but unprocessed negative and/or recommend a good shipping company for it? Many thanks!
  13. Lack of contrast, digital grading leading to predominance of orange and blue, lack of red and pink skin tones and almost universal orange skin tones and lack of contrast between colours created by different colour temperature lighting are things that I really notice about contemporary cinematography since the digital revolution. My favourite decade for films is the 80s - on a lot of films from this period, you see tungsten, daylight and fluorescent all existing as very separate, artful elements within a frame - so often now it seems like the foreground, background, backlight and fill are all the same colour (often orange - this colour seems to be so fashionable for exterior nights but it just makes me think of available light footage from TV news reports). I think the higher ISOs in films now also lead to so much "overall" lighting - kind of like seeing vintage EPK interviews showing film sets with everything looking flatly lit vs seeing it nice and contrasty in the finished film.
  14. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone knew the minimum close focus distance of the Todd-AO 24mm square front anamorphic. I am coming up short of information everywhere. Also, does anyone know what kind of matte box would be needed for a lens like this and finally if there are any diopters and/or split diopters that could be used with it. Thanks!
  15. Very nice and incredibly knowledgeable lady. She did some amazing lighting workshops with me and fellow students at the London Film School and it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from her.
  16. Very nervous about this. BLADE RUNNER is unbelievably beautiful and it's look in completely 80s, uncorrected fluorescents, neon, natural randomly occurring anamorphic flares, the lack of exposure latitude in 100asa stock. As someone born the year before BLADE RUNNER was made I see it as a time capsule of ideas, thoughts and looks of that era and not as a futuristic sci-fi film. It can't possible look "the same" and maybe it shouldn't be trying to but in that case maybe it just shouldn't be, after all it's not many years until 2019 and that world of the original film certainly hasn't happened. Maybe it would be more interesting to have an original film imagining the future from the perspective of 2015 - just a thought.
  17. Keith, 2.39 might have emerged at random but it shouts "cinema" to so many and seeing as most people experience films at home with 16:9 screens they can very much tell the difference between 1.85 and 2.39. For the man on the street sometimes just adding a 2.39 letterbox to badly filmed footage makes it seem more professional. That's not a good thing but it's true. I for one love the scope aspect ratio and always can't help but smiling when I see the cinema curtains pull back fully from exit door to exit door after the trailers end. As for anamorphic being an answer to a question no-one asked, I have grown up with a love for 2x anamorphic lenses that I could never even explain until I was a teenager and began to discover filmmaking technically. Even as I child I knew I loved the flares, the barrel distortion and the odd 3D feeling the format gives to shallow focus shots. I really do wish that people would except that we have two great standard aspect ratios and concentrate more on what they are putting in that rectangle.
  18. Also, if I remember rightly, the vast majority of Touch of Evil was shot with an 18mm lens which was apparently a brand new focal length at the time.
  19. Psycho (the 1960 original) is supposed to have all been shot with a 50mm Super Baltar lens as Hitchcock believed it was the closest approximation to human vision (in the days before Super 35). The thing that is important though is camera placement which in Psycho is always perfect and very dynamic. It makes the human vision argument a bit sketchy as the camera is usually in places impossible to represent a human viewpoint.
  20. It looks like an inclining prism for shooting low angle with anamorphic lenses but I couldn't be sure.
  21. As Bill said cinema is not a math problem and nor is it a simple off shoot of painting or still photography. It is its own medium and in narrative cinema the visuals have to be linked to the requirements of story and character point of view not "merely" compositional value to be examined as captured stills. Also I think it is very useful that cinema now has 2 main aspect ratios. 1.85 or 2.39 - great. I couldn't tell you about the amount of film students I have known who want to spend hours debating different shapes and cut offs and weird things with frame shape and size but don't seem to have any idea what they want to make a film about.
  22. See what you mean John (and believe me, I would never read the Mail, I just happened to see the photos). If this picture were from Skyfall instead of Spectre however, it would have to be a deleted scene as there was never a Ben Wishaw on a bridge scene or a scene that needed Q in casual clothes.
  23. Just thought I'd share this article as there has been a lot of talk about the new Bond film "Spectre" being shot on 35mm. No-one was more happy about this news than me but it seems from this article that the film will actually also use the Alexa. In these newspaper stills of Ben Wishaw on location in London you can't see the camera behind the matte box but you can recognise the Alexa viewfinder. Looks like it'll use the Alexa for at least some scenes: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2954592/Ben-Whishaw-gazes-Vauxhall-Bridge-filming-latest-James-Bond-film-London.html
  24. I wouldn't really say I had any scientific approach to it. Scope ratio just "feels" right to me and always did as a film viewer since I was a kid. I am also find it much easier to compose with the wider rectangular frame than with 1.85. I guess I have a big preference for width of frame and distance - I tend to prefer wide angle lenses too even for shots that would most commonly be made with longer. I do remember my very first 16mm exercise when I started film school and we had to shoot for a 1.33:1 ratio and I have to say that I hated it, all that extra height and that square looking frame just seemed completely wrong. I think it all just comes down to a matter of preference, I don't believe that certain subjects are more suited to certain ratios. A great scope film could be made in a small house or vice versa.
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