If you rent any camera for 100 consecutive days (or even with breaks inbetween, now and then), you're never paying full day rate price for the whole duration.
I would totally shoot on film. It's sadly a dying medium, but it's still around for a few more years, so take advantage of that.
It teaches you so many things, and you'll forever cherish the decision to shoot on film later in life.
Arri SR's are great, unless you shoot dialogue stuff, then you need something quiet (I know MovieCams for 35mm are quiet, no idea about 16mm). But you'll need an AC with it, as well as a clapper/loader kind of person.
Pros of shooting on film:
- That texture. It is different. (And yes, I've been shooting for the past few years almost exclusively on the Alexa).
- The colors are still unmatched.
- The organic grain is lovely.
- People are more likely to work cheaply/for free on your shoot if you shoot on film. Nostalgia is a strong seducer…
- It teaches you restraint as a director/dp. Shoot what is necessary, rehearse, don't just grab anything you come across. Your editor will love you for it.
- Filmfestivals are more likely to pay attention to your movie. That doesn't guarantee a spot on a fancy festival, but it'll at least be seen.
- The audience can feel a difference, even if they're unable to tell you why. The chemical reaction does something to the texture of the image that digital just cannot.
- It costs a bit more than digital tech. Not much, unless you shoot insane amounts of footage.
- Not knowing what you've gotten in the can. This can be exciting, and devastating.
- Not too many labs are still operational. You might have to drop off your footage a few days later/a few hundred miles off your path.
- You're restricted in terms of length of take to whatever magazine you're packing. But unless you're shooting Russian Ark, it's not really a concern.
- People here will bitch about it. But whatever..
- You'll have to properly think about your budget. Which forces you to have a better script. Which makes for a better movie. It CAN act as an amplifier to your skills. It can also mean tons of money down the drain.
Have fun shooting 16mm! I'm certainly jealous. My next short will be on 35 though..
I think of it as an exploitation of talent and people in somewhat dire situations. It perfectly exemplifies our current state of the economy, tons of folks fighting for a few scraps.
I've long ago decided to never take part in such a contest. And I urge everyone else to do the same. We're gutting our own fertile grounds for income and are only helping the brand make money.
As an observer/audience:
Watching Apocalypse Now for the first time. Such an unreal experience. Little did I know at that time that I'd end up in filmmaking, it just seemed unattainable at that time (I'm from a country with very little in terms of a film scene and come from a rather blue collar background).
Then again watching Tree of Life. The non-linear narrative (or absence of narrative) felt so freeing to me, paired with utterly fantastic images..
As a filmmaker:
The first directing gig I had. We shot over three nights in the summer in the southern Alps, big cranes, 35mm with the then newly released Vision3 stock. I dreamt up this project and was at the steering wheel seeing it unfold in front of my eyes with all these experienced heavyweights in all the departments pushing for my vision. It was an unreal experience and it launched my career (as tough as it still is).
And the last shoot I was on, just last week, when we recreated a fantastic light setup that would make Haneke and Ulrich Seidl more than proud. With the actors delivering on every single take and the first rough cut making eyes wet a little.
I love filmmaking, man...
"And never speak to actors, directors, or producers, only the guy above you in the chain."
This one is key. I usually don't hire the PA folks who hand out business cards ever again. It's bad etiquette and warrants a ban from set.
I drop off my drive (footage and EDL) at the post-house and then sit with my colorist in baselight or resolve..
Not sure that was helpful?