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Everything posted by GeorgeSelinsky

  1. Thanks to Dave, Tyler, and Satsuki for the wonderful replies, and sorry for the delayed gratitude! Dave I'm glad to see you're still a major motive force on this awesome website! You've all given me a lot to think about so I'm going to be shooting some tests and will see how things go.
  2. Greetings to all, It's been a number of years since I've visited this forum, and it's been about that long since I've been directly involved in film production... I've had a bit of a Rip Van Winkle experience. Back when I was shooting, HD cameras were still in the five figure range and 35mm was still the workhorse, most theaters showed film prints. Just the other day I acquired a Nikon D3300 DSLR from Best Buy. Today I tested it in 24p mode and my goodness, what a shocker. If someone else had shown me the footage I shot and told me they shot it on 35 I would have believed it! Granted, I watched it on a 4K monitor and not on a 30 ft screen, but this is surely a major milestone (I know, people must be wondering where I was all this time, lol). Anyway, I've always been a film nut and I had a particular like of the look of the VNF Ektachromes as well as Double X 5222. I want to try to get that look on my DSLR. I know that I can just plug and play until I get what I feel is the right look, but I'm curious if anyone has any helpful points of departure that might get me there quicker, e.g. what sort of gamma, color curves, etc. one would need to do to get that look? I do have some scraps of 7251 and 5222 sitting in my freezer, so I could just shoot a color chart and greyscale and get it processed, then scan it and have it as a reference. But I'm wondering if there's a shortcut anyone might suggest to get me in the ballpark faster, e.g. some color/contrast characteristics they might be able to throw out off the bat. I'm going to probably do this in Final Cut Pro. Thanks in advance for all advice!
  3. Greetings to all Super 8 enthusiasts! For those interested in some Super 8 sound cartridges I have 3 for sale here that were always kept frozen.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Sound-Super-8-rolls-Kodachrome-always-frozen-/221979312795?hash=item33aeff829b:g:m~gAAOSw5IJWgF-K If nobody bids against you all 3 are yours for $7.70 plus shipping (regular or expedited). Bear in mind that there is no more color Kodachrome processing that I am aware of, only black and white negative processing - see listing for more details.
  4. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who offered their advice, and Dominic - than you very much for the detailed answers! There's nothing like a lab guy to tell you how to do a negative cut, because if you do it wrong they're the ones that have to deal with it :ph34r: Yes I have Bill, these are actually one and the same negative cutter. I did speak to Stan, he and I worked out the numbers and he pretty much told me that it's probably not worth the savings in my specific case to have him do the cut. I wanted to ask, does anyone have any splicer they can recommend? I've heard Hamman mentioned here, any others? Also, any advice on how to make sure the splicer is properly aligned? I imagine that I just have to do a test splice and see that the holes line up right. Final question, there's a lot of talk about dust and dirt with negative matching, but how is it that for many years people have been doing negative matching for their contact and optical prints without any problems and now with telecine everyone's worried about dust and dirt? Are telecines more sensitive? I just don't seem to understand why this suddenly is a more pronounced issue. Thanks again to everyone...
  5. Hi all, and sorry for being absent here for a while. I wanted to thank everyone for their helpful advice, especially Dominic. I would hire you in a heartbeat Simon, but the situation dictates that I am going to have to hire myself for this job and learn how to do this craft (something that will not be useful any longer, nonetheless). The last negative cutter quote I got for pulling and database verification came out to over $12,500, which isn't worth the savings. A gentleman at Bono labs (where I want to get my transfer done) who used to be a negative cutter initially said it was a bad idea to do the splicing because the dust from handling the film gets so bad that the film ends up having to be either re-washed or cleaned electronically (the former risking that splices will come apart, the latter is $200-300/hr labor). Here is the advice he kindly gave me: Search ebay for splicers. Pedal splicers are the best but are hard to find and weigh 300 lbs. Make sure you have 3 feet between each splice to avoid dust (48 frames, 2 seconds). That will bump my program time to a little over 4 hours, but its still quite a savings over having 16 1/2 hours of footage transferred. Keep humidity at 50% in the room to minimize dust. Do not let the film touch the counter. Pad the counter with something soft that does not produce dust. Use moviola rewinds with breaks to avoid having the film touch the counter. Handle the film with gloves. Make sure the synchronizer is clean. I was advised that color negative is super sensitive to scratches and even touching the emulsion is sufficient to scratch it. Also, once dust hits the film, it will not come out. Scary stuff. Currently I'm trying to see what the best hot splicer would be for the job, and where to get reliable equipment (I heard that cement splicers can make bad cuts). If anyone has any additional tips that might be of assistance (or point me in the right direction), I would be very grateful for your assistance. You're helping me save thousands of bucks. Thanks, - George.
  6. Indeed it seems that times have changed... I've basically figured out that if I trim the negative flash to flash, I can save over 50% on transfer time. I spoke to one neg cutter and I realized that it just isn't worth getting the flash to flash done professionally when you count the cost of doing it. For my film, I priced it out to being $15 grand. That's how much they used to charge to match a 1000-1500 cuts feature (mine is at 2200). This leads me to the only other solution - do the flash to flash pull myself. Yeah, it's a lot of time I know, but the cost savings is worth it. Has anyone any pointers on how to do it? Any recommended hot splicer models? Film management techniques? I'd appreciate any advice. So far the web seems to be sparse on the subject. Thank you very much in advance!
  7. Lol, yeah I wouldn't be surprised David :) Btw, what do people do these days who shoot on film? Do they just get the uncorrected dailies and then go back to the uncut flats for the final transfer and go by keycode and autoconform? I was told that without cut rolls you have to allow twice if not three times the amount of time it would take with cut rolls. Any advice here? Thanks, - George.
  8. Hi all! I've been in hybrenation from the film world for a while and I've reemerged to find less labs. Seems like film is not doing much better than the stock market, lol. I've got a feature and I'm trying to get a flash-to-flash pull done so I can minimize the expense on my HD transfer. I'm very reluctant to take my negative out of NYC, I've got 78 flats of 35mm and I can't afford to think of anything getting lost on fedex. A quick Google search and a few phone calls revealed to me that NYC's big negative cutters, Noelle Penraat, N&D films, are no longer in existence. I only found one guy so far who does it, and it'd be nice to have more than one choice. I'm also contemplating doing this myself possibly, to save money. Anyone has any helpful advice on what kind of hot splicer to use, and how many weeks this might take for a 2 hour show? I've got about 2000 total edits, with the flash to flash I'm imagining that aught to be less. Thanks, - George.
  9. I also want to add that the practical reasons for shooting 35 are not so much there anymore. Back when I was in filmschool a lot of people still did the classic A/B roll negative cut and contact prints. Nowadays so many people go DI, that's become a standard budget item for a lot of productions. Filmouts have become cheaper, too. The line between HD and film is much more blurred. One of the biggest problems you're always going to have in a film is a finishing format, and HD is really great for that. You don't have to worry about making prints anymore (not to mention telecine$$$), not unless you're going through proper theatrical distribution. If you're going to go the "four wall" route you can just rent a nice HD projector. This wasn't an option back when I was starting out, which is why I was such a 35 advocate. HD was new and very expensive back then.
  10. There is no such thing as "make the movie and they will come". Marketing is absolutely necessary - even word of mouth marketing requires an effort and expenditure on your behalf. You can't just stick up a website, pass out some fliers, and hope everything will be okay. If you want to shoot 35mm on a first time feature, go ahead - it's certainly doable. But don't be surprised if the budget goes from 10K pounds to 20 and more, because you're going to realize you need more film than you planned. I've read countless postings about people who want to shoot a feature 4:1, 2:1, and even 1:1. I've never seen it done successfully (as in bigtime successful film), because those people are too worried about the bottom line and not the most important thing - telling a good story and doing what it takes to get the job done. My suggestion, start with whatever you've got, and prepare to raise more money. Keep in mind it is actually not easy to raise money once you've started shooting. You'd think it's easier because the investors can see some footage. But when we did this, we ran into a situation where people were saying "Oh great, looks like you guys are doing well - show it to us when its finished". In many ways showing an incomplete product is worse than showing a script and a short trailer. True, others have been able to raise completion money, but in my experience this is mostly from distributors. At that point the filmmaker has little leverage and they're usually faced with a sour deal. Whatever you do, take a careful look at your situation, and honestly ask yourself if you'd be happier shooting in HD rather than stretching every cent to shoot on 35mm. If your film came out good and you shot it on HD, you're going to get places without question. Nobody's going to look at it and say "ah, it's a good film but if you'd shot it on 2 perf it'd be oh so much better". On the other end, if you busted the bank to shoot 35 and you ended up with something not as strong as you believed it would be, you're out a lot more money and that can be very frustrating (especially if you knew you had poorer results because you shot such a low ratio). There have been some amazing films shot on HD that look just fine. I just saw the Russian production of "Master and Margarita" that was shot on HD. It was fantastic, and not for a minute did I care it wasn't shot on 35. Anyway, don't let me discourage you, but do take the time to do a careful and thorough SWOT analysis before going forward with such a decision. Good luck!
  11. Shooting 35mm for very little money is possible, and I've done it. But if this is going to be a first time feature, you'd better not do it and think you're going to get a good result, at least not for 10K pounds. Now that you have HD available, there's a real format that you can shoot inexpensively and have it look comparable to film (10 years ago when people were comparing mini DV to film I was laughing). Sure, you could scrimp and save, and yes, I LOVE 35mm (especially B&W 35mm, yumm). But if I had to do a no-budget feature all over again, I wouldn't stretch to shoot 35mm - it's simply not worth it imho. The only real advantage you have from a practical point with 35mm is that you can get away with riskier lighting. That's about it. Everything else is more complicated, esp. when it comes to making sure things are in focus, trying to steal shots on the subway, etc (yes, I've taken my IIc on the NY subway system post 911 - and gotten away with it). The most important thing is that in 99% of cases you're not going to get a positive print, you're going to end up on video. Now, do you want to pay the money for an HD transfer from your 35mm negative, or have everything sitting happily on your FCP timeline and being able to do a simple dump to tape for a film festival (or say, you want to rent a screen at a theater and show your movie with an HD projector)? Film is great, there's STILL nothing like it, and yes it is VERY addictive I must admit. But from a practical perspective if you're out to tell a story, the technology has gotten so good that you can really do amazing things you couldn't just 10 years ago without having to stretch every dime. Put the money into the production and into advertising/promotion after your feature is done. Believe me, you'll need it badly. Remember, there's no trophy out there for "cheapest short end 35mm production".
  12. I've always thought about just cutting the negative flash-to-flash and tape splicing it together. That's a good way to save $$$, all they gotta do is roll the shots then. You're not in danger of getting in trouble if you change your mind. To rent a tape splicer and rewind table is fairly inexpensive I think.
  13. Thank you Walter. I've already seen these brokerages online, I was interested in a more "behind the scenes" view on this, i.e. how the negotiations process goes, perhaps a recommendation that someone might have, etc. There's tons of advice how to deal with other vendors but few if any on E&O companies that I've been able to see. From what I understand this can be a very tough hurtle to climb.
  14. Hello all, I'm shopping for a good deal on an E&O insurance policy for a feature film's distribution. Of all the things I've had to look for, this is probably one of the hardest and most secretive areas that I've come across. Can anyone offer any tips on finding the lowest cost E&O insurance policy that a distributor will find acceptable? Are there certain policy standards that a distributor will insist upon (i.e. a certain deductible, etc)? Any assistance in this area is welcome, I have searched and found precious little on this important subject anywhere. Thank you in advance!
  15. That's what makes me tick as well.
  16. Law school is good, you'll have a good back-up career and you can whip up all the legal paperwork yourself. Also, you'll be a good negotiator I imagine. Keep in mind if you plan on making feature films, you're going to have to figure out how to deal with employment gaps. For a feature you're probably going to have to drop out of the workforce for at least a year. If you can deal with that and survive, even if you get paid less for a while, that's good. If you find success in films coming your way, then you can consider going into film "fulltime", although again, it's not an easy business. It's the same thing as running your own business - it can go well, or it can leave you hungry. If uncertainty is something you're cool with, then you'll do fine. If stability is important, then you're better off making some short films every now and then, as a hobby. There's nothing wrong with that, just realize you're not going to make a feature while working fulltime at another job. But if there's one thing I can advise, don't go into film just like that, with no career backup of any kind, and betting the farm on it. It's simply too risky, and many young kids from film school (or from the street) get burned that way. It sounds to me like you simply need to do some soul searching, and that's certainly alright. It's sort of like being in love, you have to experience the relationship and see where it takes you in order to be sure about it. Make several short films, it's cheap and fun. Then see what happens. If you find you really love it and can't keep away from it, arrange your life in such a way that you'll have a hot meal and get to do what you love the most. Figure out a way to get the money coming in solid, and you'll be able to get the best of all worlds.
  17. This is so normal, because a lot of things are happening - money is at stake, etc. You just have to grab the bull by the horns and do it. By the time you start rolling, the excitement will probably keep you going, and the next thing you'll likely be nervous about is wrapping it all up before you lose the lights or the location. Just think POSITIVE, project that positivity, joke with your actors and crew, tackle problems with zeal, and lead the show with CONFIDENCE no matter what. If you do that, you'll be fine. The hardest thing after that will be falling asleep and not getting enough of it the next day. Filmshoots are hard, intense periods of work. That's the way it is - it's not a 9 to 5'er, it's a 5 to 9'er (as in 5 am to 9 pm). You just go by entropy and the excitement of making a film. There's nothing like it in my view, it's really an exhilarating feeling. Even when stuff hits the fan, it's a fun thing to come up with a solution that works, because this is where creativity becomes critical. Enjoy it and don't sweat it. We all get nervous, and then we all have a great time in the end.
  18. Greetings to all, Has anyone ever considered sponsoring a film via issuing bonds and commercial paper? Everyone seems to always sponsor films via equity, but something with a fixed rate of return might be an option some might wish to consider (and certainly better than an adjustable rate credit card for the filmmaker!) Given the instability of the stock market, a bond/paper issue could be enticing for some investors to consider at this point in time. Granted, film is a very high risk venture, so it would stand to reason that any such bond/paper issue would have to be marketed along those lines. I was curious, has anyone explored such a legal route? I mean, obviously we're talking an over the counter approach, not going through an underwriter. Would only a Series 7 licensed broker be able to solicit such a bond to an investor? I know, lawyer question, but maybe there's a finance nut like me out here :) Thanks in advance for any suggestions and opinions...
  19. I don't discount the value of a good filmschool education of course (myself being a BFA grad), but many filmmakers think that just having your creative chops together is all you need. It's just the start. Without the people skills and business acumen, you're toast - unless you are very lucky to find someone who will take care of you here. I think the best approach for a college education is BFA film, then do an MBA grad. And this is not just for working in Hollywood, this is perhaps even more important for an independent filmmaker who wants to run a lean and mean production operation.
  20. P.S. just wanted to sum up my overall advice above, I realize I got a bit too wordy there: * Practice and get your chops together, just like any musician would. Absolute must. Without being committed to this don't even bother. * Network, network, network. Make lots of friends. Everyone you meet will have some lead that will help you make your first film. Become a people person. If you're not a people person, you will suffer. * Gain leadership skills. You are a director, you must lead the show - or someone will lead it for you. * Get used to the idea of being hungry. Forget about doing it for money. * Learn how to handle money and understand you are running a business when making a film. Even if others are running it with you, if you're ignorant here you won't get respect and you can become a victim of fraud. Put together budgets, balance sheets, and income statements for your short films. Collect even the silliest receipts. * Make sure one of your good friends is a lawyer who can put a quick LLC agreement for you and help with contracts. Understand that film has a lot of legal exposure, things like "releases" and "clearances" are as vital as having filmstock in the camera. * Plan your life carefully for the long term (not just for the next YEAR, but the next 10 YEARS), have a solid backup job, have medical coverage, and make sure you regularly fund your retirement account. Recommended reading that is not craft related: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie "Complete MBA for Dummies" "The Art of Negotiating" by Gerard Neirenberg
  21. Adding my 2 c's The correct answer to the original question is that there is really no "better way" to break into directing. It's whatever way accomplishes your goals and is best suited to your individual situation. You have to ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to end up. If you are shooting for Hollywood, you will be someone's employee. Nothing wrong with that, you can make some very good money there. But you're going to be doing work TO ORDER. Someone is going to tell you how to make a film, and you will listen. If you eventually become very successful, and you have a great attorney, they'll give you final cut. But that takes a lot of effort working in that system. If you want to make an independent film, you will have some more flexibility. But only some more, because in the end, anyone who gives you money is a business partner. If their opinion isn't allowed, they are not going to deal with you. If you work with an indie producer, you should choose someone who supports your vision and won't get in your way. My advice - if you really want to be a successful director, aside from doing what every director should do (make a number of short films, watch lots of films, read about directors, etc), and writer should do (do lots of reading, write short scripts, get your work critiqued) - go get an MBA. You will be surprised how many business school concepts apply to filmmaking. Aside from acquiring good management skills, finance skills, marketing skills, etc., you'll have a great degree that will get you a good job if you decide film is not for you in the end. Unlike with an independent first time film, you'll be able to take out a loan to pay your tuition and will be able to return your money on that loan relatively quickly. To top it off, you'll also make some well to do friends who might be your future investors, and offer you some valuable help in pushing your film. Sounds a bit crazy at first, but believe me - it's not a bad idea from a practical side. Another option, do real estate, or be a part of a family owned business. Other than that, you're going to have a real tough time while "breaking in". Most independent filmmakers don't live off their films. It's not an easy life, my friend. Decide wisely, and hedge your bets. Being a "successful director" isn't something that happens in a year or even five years. As my film teacher Michel Negroponte wisely said "You shouldn't be looking at your life in years, but in decades". Time has proven to me how right he was. Good luck! If you want to succeed, and you've got your s together, you will.
  22. Lack of solid leadership and confidence is often what causes it to happen. Another is when you simply have a powerful ego working next to you. You have to sort of work out guidelines, what is and what isn't acceptable to you. When you feel the line is being crossed too much, you have to let them know. The worst thing you can do is stomach it and let it happen, the more that happens the bigger the problem gets. Confront properly, but actively. Be sure to mix in some praise for the guy or gal's vision and enthusiasm for the project. And if they walk, good for that too. You may have a scheduling issue now, but better deal with that than an ego collision. Those things can torpedo badly. I realize I have a strong personality, which is why I decided that I can't be a cinematographer unless it's for my own project. I'm just being honest to my personality there. Other people want to be DP's but have a frustrated director inside of them. They either have to "explore these feelings" and get them out of their system, or understand there is one group of rules when you're doing one job, another when you're doing another. Business is business. If someone signs up to be a DP, they realize that there is a chain of command. If they can't follow that, then there's always another hungry person with a good reel ready to take their place.
  23. Hello all, I was going to do a shoot for a Russian crew in San Francisco and in Washington DC, but I had another assignment come in that I had to take instead. There are a few good people that want to make a documentary video of Russians abroad, and they need to get some footage here in America. They're looking for a camera operator who can film with them for one or two days in San Francisco (Aug 30, Sept 1, Sept 2). They're also looking for a camera operator in Washington D.C. for September 3-4. They have a PAL Sony HD camera, but you will need to provide a tripod, a lav for interviews, and lights. Please let me know if you're interested. It is a paid gig. You can email me with resume at GSelinsky@yahoo.com. Thanks, - George.
  24. Hello to all, I've been looking for a fuse for my Bolex ESM motor. It's a 2 amp fuse, which is 20 mm tall, and 5 mm wide at the contact point. The motor runs on 12 vdc. To me, this is like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are no serial numbers for fuses. Back in the old days there was an old smart guy with an electronics store who could find me any fuse I needed. Now the longhairded dudes in the radio shack that replaced him are scratching their heads (and no offense, I am also longhaired ;) It seems its impossible to find a decent walk in electronics parts store in the NY metro area these days. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
  25. Here's my listing for a Sigma CSG 300 Color Sync Generator: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...em=220261533005 The item is listed at no reserve, with a seven day guarantee, could be a really good deal if you're interested...
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