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James Steven Beverly

Tired of hearing "Film is Dead?" Well So Are We!

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

For all intents and purposes, it is. And what's the big deal, James? Neither you nor I could afford to use it, process it or transfer it.

 

Filmmaking is still plenty expensive without film- celebrate that if you must.

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Speak for yourself. We budgeted for film so that's what we'll be shooting on. IF you're talking a "NO-budget" production, then yes, I would probably opt for a prosumer HD camera.......but not necessarily if I had enough to cover that particular cost.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

Speak for yourself. We budgeted for film so that's what we'll be shooting on. IF you're talking a "NO-budget" production, then yes, I would probably opt for a prosumer HD camera.......but not necessarily if I had enough to cover that particular cost.

Well you may have budgeted it but you're getting the money to shoot on it. So remains a fantasy unfulfilled.

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There are people still shooting Super 16, 16mm and Super 8, on a 35mm shoot you always needed to be careful when you had a lower budget. You need to ensure that shooting on film won't affect your on screen production values, such as art direction or the quality of your cast..

 

Certainly in the lower budget feature film range you will be questioned by funders why you want to shoot on film, but as the budget increases the film costs become a less significant factor with the rising above the line costs.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

There are people still shooting Super 16, 16mm and Super 8, on a 35mm shoot you always needed to be careful when you had a lower budget. You need to ensure that shooting on film won't affect your on screen production values, such as art direction or the quality of your cast..

 

Certainly in the lower budget feature film range you will be questioned by funders why you want to shoot on film, but as the budget increases the film costs become a less significant factor with the rising above the line costs.

 

Brian, you're not helping anyone in 2013 with your obvious advice. "Need to be careful when you have a lower budget". IS that so?

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You'd be surprised, but there are people wanting to shoot film regardless of not having money to feed the crew. That doesn't just apply now, but held true in the past, although the films did get made.

 

The careful was referring to the shooting ratio, award winning films have been made with extremely low 35mm shooting ratios.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

"Careful", you could write a book on that. Am I right, Brian?!

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I still don't get it! Why some feel the need to criticize film at every opportunity. I feel that this perpetual cynicism towards celluloid a bit tiresome. I don't think creative people should be overly critical about any of the tools which contribute to storytelling. I think filmmakers today are lucky as we have a choice, we can shoot film or digital.

 

Many fear film as being too expensive, which it is, but it doesn't always have to be and I don't think creative people should dismiss it because of it's costs. I do feel that these constraints can add to the creativity to ones storytelling techniques, I do believe that film is challenging and fun. Digital is perceived to be cheap but it's not always the case, in the scheme of things there are all sorts of costs in filmmaking which apply equally when working with film and digital.

 

As a filmmaker I more concerned with how I am going to tell my story and how that story will look and sound. choose film for a number of reasons, I believe it's the best way to tell visually stimulating stories. One can still buy film, cameras are much simpler to understand and with film you don't just point and shoot, I feel I care about every shot.

Pav

 

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"Careful", you could write a book on that. Am I right, Brian?!

It's called planning and pre-production, the lessons transfer straight over to digital.

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At that point you're relying on the crew also wanting to shoot on film and gain that experience regardless of the filmmaker not having the wherewithal to meet even their most basic needs.

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Brian, you're not helping anyone in 2013 with your obvious advice. "Need to be careful when you have a lower budget". IS that so?

I'm just curious, have you ever shot anything, shot a feature film? Have you ever looked for funding for a film or do you just shoot in the backyard, whatever, with your friends? If so, there's nothing wrong with that but you really can't understand the differences until you experience them. What I'm talking about is a film with a real budget, a low budget by Hollywood standards, but a real budget that requires qualified investors and entertainment lawyers. IF you're shooting a No-budget film, I would HIGHLY recommend you feed your cast and crew WELL. If you're not going to PAY them, the least you can do is FEED them. John Cassavetes used to make a big spaghetti dinner on his sets and mortgage his house to fund his films. That's dedication and he was truly an auteur. There are SEVERAL reasons why one would choose one's format and medium. I chose film on this particular project for it's image quality, because it will be shot in anamorphic to take advantage of the desert landscapes. Also it is often easier to get higher end talent to come on-board a project at a lower rate if they know they will be shot on film.

 

I would imagine you are a film student or at least a collage student, possibly even a high school student. I also get the distinct impression, you don't have a lot of experience as a film maker so it's understandable that you would be militant in your regard for the media you're most familiar with. I have shot on film, analog and digital. IF you have NO MONEY, digital is going to be your only resort. Your "budget" will consist of an HD camera rental (unless you own the camera), food for your people, recording materials, a few lights with gel (often times work lights) and maybe some make up, prop and costume items. Every once in a while you'll wrangle a wheelchair to use as a dolly or maybe build a dolly with some angle iron, skateboard wheels and plywood set on top of PVC tubing. Been there, done that. It works and you can shoot a video, a video you can even sell, like that, but once you get to a certain budget, you're choices open up and the media you use becomes more a matter of choice that of necessity. Railing against it is almost kinda absurd.

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Strange conversation. If film is better and not more expensive, we would see a lot more film being used.

 

Digital is significantly less expensive, even for pro budgets. And it is dying. Just the way it is for better or worse...

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Strange conversation. If film is better and not more expensive, we would see a lot more film being used.

 

Digital is significantly less expensive, even for pro budgets. And film is dying. Just the way it is for better or worse...

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However, if more expensive talent is willing to work on a production shot on film for a lower rate, that can balance out the figures. It's a case by case thing and funders are interested in names..

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Strange conversation. If film is better and not more expensive, we would see a lot more film being used.

 

Digital is significantly less expensive, even for pro budgets. And film is dying. Just the way it is for better or worse...

Not necessarily true. The rush to do everything CG didn't make ALL vfx better, and in a lot of cases made them worse, but it was the way things went even if it wasn't a good or beneficial thing (look at flicks from the late 90s that are hybrid model/CG shows and you'll see stuff that is often much better than what we've gotten in this century.)

 

With all the datawrangling and workflow management issues on a wholly digital shoot, I'm not surprised when half the folks I interview say that the film shows don't cost any more than the digital ones. And that's not only on giant budget shows. FRUITVALE STATION originated wholly on S16 too.

 

Sometimes I think 2K scanning was done to make film seem less wonderful by clipping out some of what made the image so dynamic and unique ... god knows, there are some movies where they shot miniatures but by the time they were scanned in and comped, the qualities that made the filmed model look great were lost, and the whole thing LOOKED like it was just mediocre CG (hanger shot in first X-MEN with MWD miniature comes to mind.)

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I wish fine gentlemen and ladies in Rochester start selling more affordable fine grained 16mm motion picture film, at least with that you could still attract young filmmakers to the format, not necessarily used to celluloid or enamored with "delicious" smell of chemicals. Even though there are all sorts of related costs to it, you could still brainwash some of them with all the talk about "the only true discipline" or "unique organic grain structure" and many will actually believe that. Just don't be frustrated if a lot of the youngsters will be making faces at you "Don't waste my time with that, I'd better focus on how to light the scene". Two very decent labs nearby actually raised developing costs last month again, haha. Thanks, but no thanks. Good luck with that, Agent K.

 

Oh yeah, about the ad.

"Tired of hearing "Kodak is desperate"? Well, that's kind of true".

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It's not just shooting film that is exciting. Physically cutting film has always been a huge part of the appeal for me too. I don't imagine there are all that many sculptors who do their work on the computer and then have a 3d printer carve the piece out afterward, at least not yet, and that's the process I would most closely relate cutting with.

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Strange conversation. If film is better and not more expensive, we would see a lot more film being used.

 

Digital is significantly less expensive, even for pro budgets. And it is dying. Just the way it is for better or worse...

It's all about distribution,. DIGITAL is NOT less expensive, it's more expensive. The latest, "camera that will make film extinct" costs 12 grand a day to rent then the workflow for digital is ridiculously expensive unless it's done on you're home PC. Where studios save a fortune is on distribution prints, BUT that comes at the price of image quality as you've probably seen in any multiplex you've ever been in. IF film production were "dying", the big boys woulda dumped motion picture film like it was a dead, overdosed crack whore in the trunk of the family car, but MOST big productions SHOOT FILM because the image is FAR superior to anything digital can muster. IF you're spending 1.5 to 200 million dollars on a movie, the cost of media is a footnote. The ONLY reasons to shoot video is the budget is under a quarter mil (and many people would STILL shoot film UNDER that figure, probably down to as little as 30 k using recans and long ends with limited takes) OR because the film will be heavily saturated with CGI for WHICH there seems to be a recent backlash against (The Evil Dead remake used ALL practical VFX among many others....because it LOOKED better). ALSO there's the talent element. Actors and actresses HAVE to look good on screen. Their face is their fortune. Film makes them look great. They also tend to assume that if you're willing to shoot them on film, given the expertise and training it takes to shoot film properly, they are working with professionals who know their jobs so the shoot will go more smoothly and trouble free. THEN there is also the tradition of a Hollywood production, which should never be discounted. These people grew up wanting to be the great stars the graced the silver screen and there is a potency in that. Never underestimate he power of movie magic.

Edited by James Steven Beverly
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I wish fine gentlemen and ladies in Rochester start selling more affordable fine grained 16mm motion picture film, at least with that you could still attract young filmmakers to the format, not necessarily used to celluloid or enamored with "delicious" smell of chemicals. Even though there are all sorts of related costs to it, you could still brainwash some of them with all the talk about "the only true discipline" or "unique organic grain structure" and many will actually believe that. Just don't be frustrated if a lot of the youngsters will be making faces at you "Don't waste my time with that, I'd better focus on how to light the scene". Two very decent labs nearby actually raised developing costs last month again, haha. Thanks, but no thanks. Good luck with that, Agent K.

 

Oh yeah, about the ad.

"Tired of hearing "Kodak is desperate"? Well, that's kind of true".

The only thing one needs to attract REAL film makers, young or old, is to simply show them the difference in image quality. If you actually CARE about your work you do, that's the only thing that matters "Agent K". (great monicker BTW :rolleyes:)

Edited by James Steven Beverly

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

The only thing one needs to attract REAL film makers, young or old, is to simply show them the difference in image quality. If you actually CARE about your work you do, that's the only thing that matters "Agent K". (great monicker BTW :rolleyes:)

My only issue that I feel you haven't address ,James, is value. I feel that motion picture filmstock is no longer a good value for most productions. Yes, it can be slightly more appealing in certain limited situations but for the most part it's horribly expensive, environmentally unsound and laborious in general.

 

Case in point, to shoot and watch a ten minute roll of film I have to:

A) Purchase the filmstock $60-140 on average depending on length, age, etc.

B] Drive 18 miles south of my home to the only film lab in Seattle (repeat trip to pick up), Gas $10

C) Process and transfer 400' is $212 plus sales tax in my neck of the woods.

 

Total= $300+ for 10 minutes of footage that is mostly crap because the actors are semi-awful craiglisters and the DP is incompetent and grossly underexposes half the roll.

 

With Digital, I have to

A) Turn the switch from OFF to ON

 

All that time, money, etc. to get that tiny edge that filmstock gets you these days is just not a good value.

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