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Raphael Morris

90 minute 35mm feature for £10k?

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Thanks for the advice guys,

 

however I do want to shoot on 35mm and I do want to do it 2 perf (as long as it saves me money in the long run). To my way of thinking the film will market itself if it's good enough and there's always the option to pump more money into selling it as long as it's there done, looking good and entertaining to watch.

 

Bruce's advice to chase up the swedish guy won't work for me as i'm from London, UK, but it sounds like a great idea if i could find someone into that kind of thing over here in the UK.

 

I'm looking to rent a 2 perf camera with a decent set of lenses at max £1000 for a whole week.

 

I can already get ten 400 ft fuji reels at a total of £1000, which along with a camera, would already probably have maxed out my 2k budget for this short!!

 

Ideally I would wanna find a way to use the camera for free, which is a tough one to achieve but may be a possibility....

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You are crazy if you believe ROPE was produced for $50k! Watch the Film again.. especially the Behind the Scenes extra features.. it was INSANE what Hitchcock had going on.. all the walls and furniture were all on cables and tracks and were pulled out of the way and replaced as the monstrous LOOMING camera moved about.. see the Behind the Scenes portion.. very enlightening! VERY expensive! VERY difficult! VERY time consuming! They rehearsed for weeks just to get all the pieces moving at the proper times.. then shot. Little attention was paid to the actors.. it was all about his puppeteered, mechanical, transforming Set! I think the only thing he told them was 'Watch the cables as you walk'! What was actually happening on set was very very different from what you see on screen.

Edited by David Rakoczy

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however I do want to shoot on 35mm and I do want to do it 2 perf (as long as it saves me money in the long run). To my way of thinking the film will market itself if it's good enough and there's always the option to pump more money into selling it as long as it's there done, looking good and entertaining to watch.

 

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!

Edited by GeorgeSelinsky

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I have to be honest here... this sounds as if you're making the mistake many first timers make (including many people I know) with trying to blow everything of a small budget on a good camera, assuming it would look good.

 

Many people here have pointed out, HD is now a viable alternative. Heck, with an experienced DP a Sony PMW-EX1 will give you stunning results. For the money you're looking to spend, you could buy the damn camera and sell it on when you're done... Just a thought. No, it won't compare to 35mm, but we're thinking about 35mm that has been done "right". I saw The Wrestler the other day - they had a $6m budget and still went 16mm for, among other things, cost reasons... I also gotta say, the film looks amazing.

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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.

Edited by GeorgeSelinsky

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Beginning film makers are often seduced by the recording format. People will take me more seriously if I shoot my film on 35mm. Do yourself a favor and shoot on a format that fits your budget. Having actors work through their scenes one line at a time because you are shooting a short ends helps no one. 28 days was shot on small format HD.

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I know that Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" was shot for 5,000 USD, which would probably be around 3,350 GBP. That movie was shot in 35mm. I'd check it out to see how Hitchcock did it.

 

Robert Rodriguez shot his first movie "El Mariachi" for 7,500 USD, which would probably be around 5,020 GBP in your area. It was shot in 16mm.

 

I should note that both films are about 80 minutes long.

 

So yes, I think it's possible to make a 90-minute feature on film for 10000 GBP, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's very hard to pull off. With "El Mariachi," Robert Rodriguez rented a camera for a week, purchased some film and tape, paid for gas, got his friend to act, went across the border, bought some tacos, and shot the movie - he shot it for 5020 GBP (7500 USD). He didn't pay the lab. It wasn't edited. He had no music. It wasn't even 35mm. He didn't finish it.

 

As you can see, this route is difficult. In fact, I'd probably shoot a digital feature shot in one or two weeks with a three-chip Mini-DV camera and a five-to-eight person crew if I had 10000 GBP to make a movie.

 

That's all I can say about the 90-minute feature. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

 

 

This was a studio film, so even allowing for the inflation it's announced budget could depend on how the studio costs the film on their internal budgets. These could be rather like an in house BBC programme budget, a pretty meaningless figure in reality.

 

Hitchcock was an established studio director at this time doing an experiment with "The Robe", not a first time indie. He didn't repeat the exercise because he could see the limitations.

 

Needless to say, the final "El Mariachi" budget was a lot higher than the headline publicity figure that would be feature film indies keep quoting from the book.

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Absolutely Bob.

 

Absolutely Brian.

 

10k Mariachi?.. ya right!... and Rope was the Das Boot of it's time. Watch the camera track from the living room to the kitchen.. through the hallway.. you know you are on a crane but how the heck do you travel down the hallway?..

 

The walls and everything else were on tracks and cables.

 

In reality, the Set was the Star of that Picture.

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Rope cost an estimated 1 and 1/2 million dollars to make which was an expensive movie at the time, the sets had to be custom designed so walls could be moved out of the way, things like that. the production was difficult to pull off. The reason Hitchcock did this film was he wanted to experiment with telling a story in real time as though the audience were an unseen person in the room, so on that level, he succeeded magnificently. It is truly a remarkable piece of film making BUT it was not cheap to achieve this remarkable piece of cinema by a LONG shot!!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040746/business

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I would add that I know of a feature film in this low budget ball park that was made about 13 years ago. It was made on 16mm using a clockwork Bolex with a shooting ratio of (I believe) of 3 to 1. I expect they got a good deal from Colour Film services at the time and the lab also helped out with the sound mix.

 

http://www.filmireland.net/backissues/arti.../eliminator.htm

 

They also did some smart low cost marketing at the same time, which tends to be forgotten in the excitement of completing the film.

 

I wouldn't get too excited about shooting on 35mm, better spend the money on a good actor(s) if you don't currently have relatives or friends who fulfil that role.

Edited by Brian Drysdale

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And whatever you do, don't forget that even if you get people working for free they have to be fed.

If you have 20 people on the set to feed at 10 pounds each per day (2 meals, snacks and refreshments) thats 200 pounds per day just for that.

Than your runners and perhaps other personnel will need to be paid back for petrol or public transport - that's another one cost.

I think it is wise to heed the advice of the other posters and be realistic and not think just of the camera but really study all aspects and costs of what it is that you want to achieve.

You stated that "Rope" was made for $50K but I am sure that the actors salaries alone were more than that at the time.

Do not neglect the costs of sound both during and after the production.

Sound personnel often require much more than 1 mike on a boom.

Do not be discouraged by all this, just keep it real.

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Do not neglect the costs of sound both during and after the production.

Sound personnel often require much more than 1 mike on a boom.

Do not be discouraged by all this, just keep it real.

 

Also if you're renting (or even borrowing) a 35mm camera you'll need insurance cover and I believe the production insurance minimum rate in the UK is around £700.

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