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Old 10-25-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
NatalieOshea
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film vs digital: is one cheeper than the other?

I'm asking because I've heard of films still using film cameras to shoot their movies with digital filmmaking on the rise. Why? I'm just wondering if some filmmakers are resorting to using film cameras in an attempt to cut down on production costs.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:02 PM   #2
sfoster
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film has to be processed .. digital does not

this leads to … (drum roll) film being more expensive
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:15 PM   #3
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Some directors and producers still really love film and dislike digital. Quentin Tarantino even said so himself that he is thinking about retiring from the movie business cause everyone is converting to digital and it's not what he 'signed up for', as he put it. I think if he quits that's being too picky, as even us filmmakers on here, have to live with what we don't want to get a movie made. I mean that's like a dentist quitting his profession just because they use digital X-rays instead film..

I like digital better cause it's cheaper, and a lot more videographers and DPs know how to use it compared to film it seems. If I were already a successful filmmaker then I may try a shot at film for something different.

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Old 10-25-2014, 11:46 PM   #4
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At the higher end I don't think the differences are too significant in terms of budget. At the low end digital can be significantly cheaper, although I haven't priced out film costs recently...

Just a quick look at B&H prices puts 100' of 16mm Kodak color negative at ~$50. That's just under 3 minutes worth of footage - you'll probably end up with 2.5 minutes per roll of useable footage. For a 90 minute feature that's a minimum of $1800 if you shot a 1:1 ratio, which is pretty unrealistic. More realistically you'll probably need to shoot a 3:1 ratio (likely even more) so figure at least ~$5k in stock, although you might be able to get it a little cheaper if you buy larger rolls.

So now you need to process around 10,000 feet of film - cinelab's rate is .20/foot with telecine processing, so that's another $2k. HD Telecine will add another $2.2k to the price.

So you're probably looking at around $8 - 10k minimum for stock and processing shooting a 90 minute feature at a 3:1 ratio in 16mm - and you still need to rent a camera & lenses for the shoot.

On the digital side you could buy a blackmagic cinema camera for $2k (or even a pocket cam for $1k), add batteries and storage for another $1k or less, and then rent or buy lenses as needed. You'll have no real limitation on your shooting ratios, faster handling/changing of media, the ability to preview & analyze your lighting directly in real time, playback on set, etc - all things that can allow you to work faster and more efficiently, potentially reducing crew costs as well. So unless there's some really compelling reason to shoot film it probably doesn't make sense from a budgetary standpoint - you'd be far better off putting the difference into things like lighting.
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:31 AM   #5
richy
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Do you have netflix? If so, check out the entertaining documentary, Side By Side, if you haven't already. It might not answer your specific question, not nearly as well as IDOM and others have. But it's fascinating.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:16 AM   #6
NatalieOshea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
Some directors and producers still really love film and dislike digital. Quentin Tarantino even said so himself that he is thinking about retiring from the movie business cause everyone is converting to digital and it's not what he 'signed up for', as he put it. I think if he quits that's being too picky, as even us filmmakers on here, have to live with what we don't want to get a movie made. I mean that's like a dentist quitting his profession just because they use digital X-rays instead film..

I like digital better cause it's cheaper, and a lot more videographers and DPs know how to use it compared to film it seems. If I were already a successful filmmaker then I may try a shot at film for something different.
And you know what? I actually don't blame him, and here is why:

First, I'm not so certain i support Taratino's decision to retire from the filmmaking industry just because (almost) no one is using film anymore because that just sounds rather silly. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in my preference got film though.

This film that i really want to make now, it would mean the whole world to me if I could have it filmed on a Panavision Panaflex Platinum and a Millenium XL2, because I love the look of those cameras as well as the beautiful cinematography. Some of the movies I love were shot with Panavision cameras (Four Brothers, Coach Carter, Shadowboxer, Scream 4, Seven Pounds, just to name a few) and i love the picture too.

If i could have the experience of a Panavision, i would love it, and then i would move on to digital.
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by NatalieOshea View Post
This film that i really want to make now, it would mean the whole world to me if I could have it filmed on a Panavision Panaflex Platinum and a Millenium XL2, because I love the look of those cameras as well as the beautiful cinematography. Some of the movies I love were shot with Panavision cameras (Four Brothers, Coach Carter, Shadowboxer, Scream 4, Seven Pounds, just to name a few) and i love the picture too.
But those cameras don't have a "look". The film stock, processing, lenses and filtration used all contribute towards the overall visual aesthetic but the camera, all nostalgia aside, is just a mechanised box with a lens mount.

What is it that you like about the look of the Millennium XL2? How does it differ to the Arricam ST?

What those films have in common is not a brand of camera, but skilled cinematographers working with experienced crews and a healthy budget.

There are many compelling reasons - both technical and artistic - to shoot on film, but this is not one.
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Old 10-26-2014, 03:58 PM   #8
NatalieOshea
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Originally Posted by chilipie View Post
But those cameras don't have a "look". The film stock, processing, lenses and filtration used all contribute towards the overall visual aesthetic but the camera, all nostalgia aside, is just a mechanised box with a lens mount.

What is it that you like about the look of the Millennium XL2? How does it differ to the Arricam ST?

What those films have in common is not a brand of camera, but skilled cinematographers working with experienced crews and a healthy budget.

There are many compelling reasons - both technical and artistic - to shoot on film, but this is not one.
http://www.panavision.com/sites/defa...?itok=zYGaPnPG

Look at that. I like the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 and Platinum because when I look at pictures and videos of movie shoots, particularly Hollywood studio films, i used to always be fascinated by the way Hallowood (see what I did there?) would always use Panavision cameras.

To answer your other question i don't have that same fascintion with Arricam cameras, granted a few films i like were shot with them (Fruitvale Station, Law Abiding Citizen, Silver Linings Playbook, and Brooklyn's Finest, but then again that film was shot with Panavision and Arri cameras).

But with all that aside, that's just what i need to do, tell my cinematographer about the look i want and let them take care of the rest.
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Old 10-26-2014, 06:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NatalieOshea View Post
http://www.panavision.com/sites/defa...?itok=zYGaPnPG

Look at that. I like the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 and Platinum because when I look at pictures and videos of movie shoots, particularly Hollywood studio films, i used to always be fascinated by the way Hallowood (see what I did there?) would always use Panavision cameras.

To answer your other question i don't have that same fascintion with Arricam cameras, granted a few films i like were shot with them (Fruitvale Station, Law Abiding Citizen, Silver Linings Playbook, and Brooklyn's Finest, but then again that film was shot with Panavision and Arri cameras).

But with all that aside, that's just what i need to do, tell my cinematographer about the look i want and let them take care of the rest.
The only time you would use a Panavision camera over anything else would be if you wanted to use Panavision lenses.
The look of film comes from the stock, processing, lenses. And then the DI and grading. The look of film has absolutely 0 to do with the camera. You could put 5219 into an XL2, an Arri BL4, a Moveicam ST and an Aaton 35-3. Assuming you're using the same lenses, filtration, lighting and processing on all four rolls, you would be hard pressed to find a difference between them.
It's the film stocks that have different looks, not the cameras.

If you want to shoot film, that's great! I love shooting film. Have the discussion with your Cinematographer though. These days, many new DPs have been brought up lighting from a monitor, so you need someone who understands film and can get you the look you want.
As well, yourself as the Director needs to be aware of the differences in regards to the fact that you won't be seeing a final product on your monitor, and that you'll need to tailor your coverage and take count to your budget. Shooting on film doesn't necessarily require more rehearsals than digital, it's just that when shooting digital, the norm these days is to simply 'shoot the rehearsal' which won't work for film if you don't want to be wasting money on useless takes.
Also you need a camera crew who knows how to pull focus for film and load film for the camera(s) you want to use.

Last edited by jax_rox; 10-26-2014 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
Quentin Tarantino even said so himself that he is thinking about retiring from the movie business cause everyone is converting to digital and it's not what he 'signed up for', as he put it.
I watched that interview. His basis was that film is an illusion of 24 pictures being played in a second and digital takes away that illusion.... ..so I guess digital doesn't function in exactly the same way or something... All the proof I need that Tarantino is a moron (his movies suck ass, so I don't remember why I watched it)
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