November 22, 2017 at 10:48AM

20

No Producers. Seriously...?!

Hi Guys,

I am writer-director living in Pune, India. I have been developing a short film for a year now. On my previous posts, I mentioned that I want to shoot a short film on 16mm and 35mm film formats at 48fps.

I believe, I have solved hyper-real issues produced by 48fps with few simple modification with camera.

Before that, for two years I was looking for a budget for 90 to 120 minutes film. After the meeting with producers I felt like I should start small.

So, by keeping in mind the budget wrote this small 'Detective' story for the sake of experimenting at smaller level. But, now I am hearing the same argument of shooting a film on Digital. People are telling me the same things again. They said 'story and whole idea is interesting', but they get insecure when I mention shooting on film.

I planned it really tightly. Restructured the script in order to reduce the budget. I am trying create an accessible workflow in case anyone who want to shoot on film will find the information useful. I even gave producers 'International Distributors' list, thanks to 'Nofilmschool.com'. Budgeted it under 10,000 USD without any discount given by anyone. Trust me I can do it under the 1,000 USD on Digital. But, it won't feel the same.

Are we really near that point that we do not want to experiment with film formats and just going with Digital only because it's cheap? Don't get me wrong. I love 'Arri Alexa'.

It takes max. 15,000 USD to make a high quality short film in 'Film School' in India at 24fps on Digital, according to one producer/director. Why can't we do it on film with 10,000 USD?!

Seriously, is there 'No Producer', in India or abroad who wants to shoot any film on film?!

19 Comments

Properly shot, digital footage can do almost everything film can do, and a lot more. Just being able to shoot digital at 1600 or 3200 ISO with minimal grain means that you can shoot with 1/4 of the amount of lighting that film would need. This cuts the cost of your lighting package and makes it possible to run lights from consumer power grids. It also makes transport, setup, and breakdown a lot faster.

Being able to instantly review a take on digital is another huge advantage over film.

Why pay 2 or 3 times as much to shoot film if the real benefit in the final product is hard to justify ?

November 22, 2017 at 1:07PM

5
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32727

Hey Sir, I get your point. But, the texture of film Negative and Positive is unique, even though it can't reach higher ISOs. It is little expensive but technically film is superior.

For example, 'Avatar (2009)' was a brilliant film, shot in 1080p resolution. But now as the 4k blu-rays are coming up, they can't show Avatar in 4k. Even if they upscale it. But take an example of 'Lawrence of Arabia (1962)' was re scanned in 8k. Remastered in 4k. Or 'The old dark house (1932)' was restored using 4k scans. IMAX can go up to 18K.

Also, digital cameras, even if they have 4k resolution can't handle dynamic range during daylight. Actors faces look blown. Every company has a different color reproduction even if you are shooting RAW.

Also, rolling shutter is a huge problem when you shoot at 48fps, even at 24fps. Because you are adding another 24 frames in 48fps. So, it becomes sensitive. That's why 'The Hobbit' failed in it's 48fps approach.

Yes, there is an advantage to Digital cameras. They are small, compact. You can shoot as much as you want.

But, film teaches you discipline and you plan accurately. And write your script again and again till you get it right, because you know there is money running.

I might shoot 10 short films Digitally in the budget of 1 short film shot on film. But, that won't create any impact. But, instead that 1 film that can create impact which is equal to 10 films.

November 24, 2017 at 9:35AM, Edited November 24, 9:35AM

0
Reply

The Hobbit Failed because of Rolling Shutter caused by Shooting At 48fps? Um, no, no it did not. Also, resolution isn't everything. James Cameron shot the original Avatar in 2k because it would be shown in theatres (that at the time mainly were equipped with 2k projectors). Consider your release medium and shoot for that. Shooting for an audience 50 years from now is a pretty odd reason to shoot on film.

And the whole thing about faces being blown out in daylight because of poor dynamic range - Expose correctly and your actors faces won't be blown out. If you want more shadow and highlight detail, shoot on the RED Epic / Weapon which both have dynamic range superior to analog film (or the Arri Alexa, Sony F55, or any other camera with dynamic range equal to or better than film).

In 2017, if your movie doesn't look good - It's not because you shot on digital instead of film.

November 24, 2017 at 5:29PM, Edited November 24, 5:30PM

5
Reply
avatar
Tobias N
1097

I'm not saying The Hobbit failed because of 48fps. I'm saying 48fps failed The Hobbit. Go on YouTube, watch rolling shutter vs global/mechanical shutter video comparisons. Shoot for yourself to test the theory.

I'm repeating myself here again. I love Arri Alexa. But, this particular project needs film. 16mm and 35mm.

And I am not shooting for an audience 50 years from now. I was just stating the up-scaling of digital resolution and maximum resolution of film.

I know that Digital Cameras are lovely at night. And if the problem of rolling shutter is fixed, I will be the first one to buy or rent Digital camera like Alexa for my project.

Imagine, if Dunkirk, The Dark Knight Trilogy and The Hateful Eight was shot in new with Red Monstro 8K VV or Alexa 65 (65mm). Can you still get the same result visually? Can I still get the same texture?

Also, watch this video featuring Geoff Boyle about resolution of Film and Digital -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkBbOU8Cwhg

'I'm NOT Bad Mouthing Digital.' I'm just saying it's not right for my project. But, I'm being forced only because film is little expensive.

November 25, 2017 at 6:45AM

2
Reply

I completely agree with Tobias... I think the primary reason that producers tell you no is not because you want to shoot on film, but because you don't have a sound reason to do so. None of the things you claim are true... and shooting on film will make your project less flexible.

Think about this... why are almost noone shooting film anymore? Heck... even Deakins will shoot digital and he does so because it fits the project he's working on best.

November 25, 2017 at 4:43AM

5
Reply
avatar
Torben Greve
Cinematographer
760

I get your point man. But, imagine if it was 2007 instead of 2017. Can we be still having the same debate? Film and Digital were in perfect balance till 2012. But, then everything changed.

I want experiment with Film and Digital both. But for this one project, I need film and the analog cameras for it's visual and technical aesthetics.

Why do you think Nolan shoot with 65mm or Paul Thomas Anderson uses 35mm format or even Darren Aronofsky uses Super 16mm. Won't it will cheaper for them to shoot Alexa or Red 8k cameras.

I know that film will make my life little more hell than it already is. I know that I can get 6 hours of footage with multiple cameras with Digital and with film I can only get say 1 hour of footage for 15 minute short. I'm NOT Bad Mouthing Digital, but I can't get the same thing visually with Digital.

I might even get paid for first time for writing and directing, if I shoot with digital. But, for that visual medium it's worth sacrificing my money.

Seriously, watch this video featuring Geoff Boyle about resolution of Film and Digital - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkBbOU8Cwhg

And who doesn't love Roger Deakins man. Film or Digital. The guy is genius.

November 25, 2017 at 7:04AM

0
Reply

If you shoot RED, Sony F55 or even some of the Blackmagic Cameras you can use global shutter to practically eliminate any rolling shutter effect. Let's remember that rolling / rotary shutter was a thing in the film world too and not just digital.

"I'm NOT Bad Mouthing Digital, but I can't get the same thing visually with Digital."
Then you're doing something wrong. I don't mean to come across as rude, but you really shouldn't blame producers for not wanting to spend their money on you 'experimenting with film'.

November 25, 2017 at 11:51AM, Edited November 25, 11:53AM

3
Reply
avatar
Tobias N
1097

Yes. But global shutter angles are limited up to 180 to max 200 degree open shutter. If I want more open shutter, then I can't retool it to my specifications. Shutter might hit the gate. I did talk with the technicians. Rental companies are not letting me do it. So, I have to use a in-built system which film have. A mechanical movement.

Because, if I somehow remove the global shutter i.e. mechanical shutter from RED, Sony F55 or the Blackmagic Cameras, then it will be the same as rolling shutter effect.

I was also thinking about using new Canon C-series 4k camera which have global shutter. But, it's the same thing.

Don't you think I thought about it before I went to the producers. I just want have a choice of choosing film and digital. Even new iPhone.

But, for 48fps you need mechanical shutter in order to get solid-state movement. And somehow film cameras are the only one right now that can satisfy that technical requirement.

I am not choosing film out of some nostalgia.

November 25, 2017 at 11:43PM

0
Reply

You're budgeting a 100 minute film shot on 16mm or 35mm at 48fps at under $10,000?

You need to go back and crunch those numbers, buddy.

November 25, 2017 at 6:12PM

3
Reply
Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer
1301

No. 15 minute short film. Max. 60 minute footage.

November 25, 2017 at 11:28PM

0
Reply

You do realize that film and development costs alone for that in 35mm would still be roughly $15,000, right? 16mm would be better, but that doesn't include camera rental or any of the myriad of film production costs involved with shooting celluloid. Why would a producer fund any of that when they can just fund an easy digital rental for roughly the same effect and none of the nightmares that come with new filmmakers working with film?

You're acting like your's is a reasonable request but it's anything but. Everyone here has told you the same. Your little experimental project would likely not garner money from producers regardless, because those things don't make money, but adding ridiculous technical additions that you clearly barely understand isn't making the situation any better. Buy a cheap digital camera and show you can make good content with no budget and then talk to producers. As of now, you're just saying, "Hey I have this great idea and no reason for you to think it would work out in any way for you, give me a lot of money." Not what any producers are looking for.

If you're serious about your vision, get serious and realistic about your productions.

November 26, 2017 at 4:53AM, Edited November 26, 4:54AM

2
Reply
Jacob Floyd
Writer / Videographer
1301

That's why I'm using both 16mm and 35mm formats. I actually need max. 40 minutes of footage for 15min short film. That's why I said max. 60 minutes even if I need few extra reels.

But, thank you for your concern.

November 26, 2017 at 6:20AM

0
Reply

Hold on, are you wondering why you can't find a producer in general, or why you can't find someone who's willing to fund your film?

Honestly, if it's the latter, there's a good reason. You haven't been able to convince any of us that film is absolutely 100% necessary for this project, so it doesn't really surprise me that you haven't be able to convince someone to shell out $10K.

Maybe you need to refine your pitch and show potential producers the value that shooting on film will bring to your project. What positive benefits will this approach have for the producers? Put yourself in their shoes. One tip I'd give, stop framing it as "experimenting with film," because nobody in their right mind will spend money to help you "experiment." I sure wouldn't.

Or, take a lot of the other sensible advice in this thread and realize that wanting to shoot on film is great and all, but it doesn't matter if it stops you from getting the project made. A finished film shot digitally is going to be far more valuable for your career than a film that was never finished because you weren't willing to compromise.

So the real question here is this. What's more important to you... shooting on film, or getting your project finished?

And hey, there are countless ways to mimic the aesthetic of film with a properly shot digital file. Honestly, some of the time I can't even tell the difference when digital footage is processed properly, and I've always thought I had a good eye for that stuff.

November 26, 2017 at 11:54AM

2
Reply
avatar
Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4344

Aditya,

Sounds like you just want to experiment with 35mm and 16mm film in 48fps. That too after making some camera modifications. This is a technical goal. To some, it may feel like you are asking for money so that you can just have fun with it. That's why you wont find any movie producers, whether in India or abroad. Seriously.

If I were you, I would focus on a good story and script, a brilliant DP, talented cast, sound and lighting equipment rentals, makeup, production design, wardrobe, interesting locations and a solid plan for post production.

Film vs digital argument is dead. Digital is the reason why filmmaking has been democratized. We can talk about aesthetics till the cows come home. A properly lit scene with good production design / location will look great even with an iPhone camera. I'll say this. It's not the camera or the medium. When it comes to what is captured, it's your cinematographer's talent that makes the difference.

Sorry to burst your bubble but you didn't convince anyone.

November 26, 2017 at 3:50PM, Edited November 26, 4:40PM

4
Reply
avatar
Rajesh Naroth
Filmmaker
311

I feel like this post is a blast from the past, 2007 maybe 2006.

If you can't get funding for the film but can if shot digitally, don't be stubborn, accept it and shoot it on digital and do it right or else you'll never get your film made and that's far worse. Some kid is out there right now doing what you love, getting their story made and learning more than you using an iPhone and all the more power to them. I love reading Roger Deakins talk about this stuff too, it seems to boil down to him saying "get the story down with any camera you have".

Not sure what you're talking about not being able to shoot a video outside either... I think you have some more to learn about in that aspect too.

November 27, 2017 at 12:13PM

2
Reply
Ryan Bennett
DP/Director/SoundMixer/Writer
22

If its good enough for Deakins I have a feeling its good enough for you ...Its good enough for anyone. Just add grain.

November 29, 2017 at 10:18AM, Edited November 29, 10:18AM

3
Reply
avatar
heinrich weber
jack of all trades
106

The audience doesn't give a rats ass what you shoot your film on. They just want to be entertained.

November 30, 2017 at 10:58PM, Edited November 30, 10:59PM

2
Reply
avatar
Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1037

Dude, have you ever shot on film? I bet these producers have.

Shooting on film was hard, when you had crew and equipment in tip top shape. Nowadays, that almost everyone is unused to shot on film, it's harder. Also I figure that your 10k budget is using a green or free crew. Your not thinking that you'll need a loader, that a 2nd AC and a 1st are even more necessary than in digital. That without you knowing it they can screw your film (load a negative the wrong way, have some sort of dust ruin your film and etc).

If everything goes smoothly in the shooting side, you'll still have to contend with laboratory. I bet that few are left in India (count yoursefl lucky! there's no professional development laboratory in my continent anymore - I'm in south america), that can do it, and a short film is not high on their priority. You can have little, to no access to their development process and it can go wrong (believe me, it can!). And they'll just refund your film, not your shoot.

On top of it, your not convincing anyone in here that your project should be shot in film, I can completely understand your producers. Because film, without any digital backup is an expensive and unforgiving medium. There's a reason why today you have so much more being done in digital; because it is easier, more forgiving and practical. So I understand your frustration, and willingness to try things in a different way. But having shot things on film, I can say to you, I'd never shoot on film again without a f**** load of cash to minimize the hassle and risks.

And that's the reasoning with the producers you've been speaking with. You're green, excited about things that you (probably) don't understand, and they only see a HUGE risk, with little to none chance of paying of.

I bet you can either shoot your project in digital, and then shoot the next one on film; or write a project for digital, shoot it, then when you have some "street cred" shoot it in film.

Good luck!

December 1, 2017 at 9:31AM

1
Reply
avatar
Marco Carlucci
Director
8

wow .. interesting read. First I want to say, this is not meant to be mean spirited or rude...BUT ..... Aditya, wake up and get a clue. You have no idea what you are doing, at all. Look around you and learn, as much as you can. Until you do, you will not have any success, and sadly that will be the case for more than just filmmaking.

December 1, 2017 at 5:18PM, Edited December 1, 5:18PM

3
Reply

Your Comment