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Mark Kenfield

'Breathing Wild' S16mm Short Stills

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Hey fellas,

We just locked picture on a short I shot in December called 'Breathing Wild'. We shot the whole thing on Vision 3 7207, 250D stock. I'm pretty delighted with the results. It's beautiful stock, and I have to say, the simplicity of shooting film again was an a real pleasure.

It was my first time shooting film in eight years, but since my workflow hasn't really changed (I still light with my meter) there was surprisingly little difference to my usual digital shoots. What I found particularly interesting, was how much easier shooting film was (compared to digital) primarily thanks to Vision 3 having such incredible latitude in the highlights.

Camera package was an Aaton XTR, paired with Zeiss 16mm Superspeeds, and a Zeiss 11-110mm zoom (which breathes like an asthmatic doing athletics!).

 

We scanned the negative in 2k 12-bit .dpx on a Goldeneye II.

 

A big shout out to Werner Winkleman at Neglab in Sydney for his pristine processing, and to Malcolm at Cameraquip here in Melbourne for doing such a stellar job with the scans.

Here are a few grabs:

ba3KvF9.jpg

qUooSRs.jpg

N40AZdX.jpg

fGWMi7g.jpg

HZYzS5f.jpg

jcw1Vom.jpg

q3ZdKlK.jpg

Y7wz62f.jpg

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Great work Mark!

Would be interesting to know the technical things. How did you rate the stock? (I remember seeing tighter grain on '07 overexposed 1 1/2 stops, but we scanned in 2K on an Arriscan and it's a subjective thing...) How hot did you let your backlights read? How underexposed did you feel you could have shadows on faces before they lost texture and needed more fill?

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Thanks Michael :)

We very much wanted the grain to be a part of the texture of the film, so I rated the stock normally at 250 ASA to get all of that S16mmly goodness. To help keep things feeling real, in the interiors my backlight was coming in at key and my fill was at 2-stops under.

 

For the car interiors and backlit exteriors I simply split my exposure down the middle (which worked a treat, so I think I'll do that more often on digital shoots from now on).

 

With Vision 3 I'd say you're pretty sweet up to 3, maybe 3.5 stops under, but I probably wouldn't dip under that.

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That's quite a thin negative! It's got to have huge amounts of highlight detail in it. In the DI you can often use power windows to completely bring the BG window views down to normal brightness range, for a very realistic look. They're gonna be on the linear part of film's curve so they'll have normal contrast.

 

Did you use smoke or lens diffusion indoors?

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Stuff looks good, it does need a good DI, it's very contrasty right now which makes it look more noisy then I think it really is. But if that's the look your after, go for it.

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Mark. I really enjoyed those screen grabs. The grain is part of the texture that I enjoy. It fits what I anticipate as the emotional tone...I hope I get to see it...

 

If the Zeiss breathing was objectionable, is there no-one in Melbourne with a Cooke...?

Edited by Gregg MacPherson

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That's quite a thin negative! It's got to have huge amounts of highlight detail in it. In the DI you can often use power windows to completely bring the BG window views down to normal brightness range, for a very realistic look. They're gonna be on the linear part of film's curve so they'll have normal contrast.

 

Did you use smoke or lens diffusion indoors?

 

I think a lot of that comes from the Cineon conversion, if you dial in the contrast by hand it's much gentler. But 'gentle' wasn't the look I was going for :)

 

I didn't want to risk any extra softening with the small negative, so I stayed my hand my usual diffusion box. Just had a hazer for the interiors.

 

Stuff looks good, it does need a good DI, it's very contrasty right now which makes it look more noisy then I think it really is. But if that's the look your after, go for it.

 

Thanks Tye, bringing out the grain was very much what we were after.

 

Looks lovely Mark! Keep up the great work.

 

Cheers Sat!

 

Mark. I really enjoyed those screen grabs. The grain is part of the texture that I enjoy. It fits what I anticipate as the emotional tone...I hope I get to see it...

 

If the Zeiss breathing was objectionable, is there no-one in Melbourne with a Cooke...?

 

There's everything you could want in Melbourne, including the Ultra16s and the Cooke SK4s... we just didn't have the money for any of that unfortunately.

 

I had 5000' of stock (about 2 hours worth), which I thought would be fine for a short film. But the script was 28 pages long, so our ratio was pretty brutal. Shot the whole thing with basically a 3:1 ratio - that was the roughest part of it. We were having to shoot out each angle shot for shot. The poor actors never got to run any significant chunks of the scene.

 

Thankfully our Director heeded my words and knew exactly what he needed. So we were able to get it all.

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Beautifully shot! :)

 

Thanks Miguel!

 

Stills look nice, do you have any samples in motion?

 

Can you post a show reel? I'd love to see some of those scenes in motion. :)

 

The film's just started festival submissions, so I don't know if I'll be able to show anything yet. But I'll ask the producers if I can release a little footage on the down-low.

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Looking good, film makes such a huge difference, dare I say it adds production value too?!

Absolutely! I keep saying this to people, but film really makes your movie look like... well a movie! :D

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These are absolutely fantastic, Mark. Superb work. I love how you didn't have to do a lot of post work for these. This might be 'only' 16mm, but they look better than anything digital - and also some 35mm imagery I've seen. Obviously the capture medium is not the whole story, but if you don't know that, you shouldn't be on this forum!

It's footage like this which makes me shake my head when TV shows choose digital over film. What are they thinking? I love the RED (I'd love to own one) and there are lots of other nice digital cameras, no question about that. But film looks better. It's not complicated.

 

BTW I'd love to see a full resolution frame. I've seen quite a few 2K 16mm frames, and even pushed 7219 looks really good. I recently finished season 1 of Sex and the City. Damn it looks good. Sort of like what you're showing here, but toned down a bit.

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From what I gathered, film on most shows is like 300 K more, which is probably a good excuse for most producers to go "we won't bother with that", and 16mm sure isn't right for everything, I like it but it's still very raw and gritty, too soft imo, works well for some things, but 35mm is where it's at in terms of density, resolution, etc. Truth is, if you really really want to shoot film, then you'll probably find a way to make it happen.

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I'd say, if you care about the image, you'll find a way to shoot it on negative film.

 

And 16mm isn't necesarrily grainy or gritty. Overexposed Vision 3 stocks look very clean on the big screen. 7203 shot with high MTF lenses like Ultra16s has insane resolution and clarity/microcontrast.

Edited by Michael Rodin

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Well this is nice. I was up at 4am on Saturday for a long drive to set, and woke to up to a text that we'd won the best cinematography award at the Sydney Indie Film Festival.

XmJZrH4.jpg

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