Digital
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2.Budgets & Breakdowns
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425$ PER MINUTE AND NO NEGATIVE?

The upside is the cost of production. You could literally shoot the whole thing on a couple hundred bucks of tape, edit it and have a finished video for what, couple thousand? Then take that finished video in what ever format you finish in (digital, Beta, hi 8) and hand it to a lab to turn into a print.

Beware. One of the medium prices quoted at a popular lab is 425$ per minute of running time for projects longer than 60 minutes. They will produce a negative and optical track. What you get back is a print and that's it bub. They keep the negative and the optical track and you have to pay extra to extract it from them, if that's even possible. What they will do is give you answer prints at whatever price they deem apropos for answer prints. Be careful.

Also be sure that it's what you want. I recently screened all formats transferred on this process at a lab and my feelings have not changed in the last 10 years. It looked very good, for video. The process they use for interlaced video writes on the negative in a "warbling" (sic) format, which eliminates the scan lines usually associated with video. I saw a number of formats transferred both from original, digital and beta.

      35mm - Looked the best.
      16mm - Grainy, but good.
      VHS - Had crummy smear lines, very grainy, some appeal.
      Beta - Better.
      Digital (all formats - miniDV, DV Cam & DVPro) - About the same as Beta.
      High Definition - Very good.
      Progressive - All video formats looked superior to interlaced

Truth is, none of the formats, even transferred from high definition look nearly as good as film and, for my purposes, the process looked too good; it did not look like video with scan lines and the video artifacts usually associated with same. 

So, for the no budget film there seems to be very little difference once it's transferred to film from a High 8 or a Digital format, unless of course you are using a high end camera and a prime lens. Even then you have to understand there is no real focus point in video, it's a nebulous writing code on tape, digital or analog. The High Definition stuff is much sharper than anything and may be just as sharp as film, but everything else suffers from the same focus problem. Believe me, go check it out at a lab first. On top of that if you want the scan lines or to degrade the image it will cost you an extra fee at most of the labs. Do it in editing and only bring what you have to the lab if that's the route you intend for your video.

The labs will all try to tell you to light your set in the lowest contrast possible even for digital cameras. They are right, video does not have the depth in the low light and highlights to retain an image, however, lighting this way takes a lot of time, and time on the set is money.  If you have the time and lighting to confine your project to waiting forever for lights, shoot film, screw the video bub.

The big advantage shooting consumer digital cameras over High 8 is the sound. All Video Tape sound sucks, Beta's about the best, but still sucks in comparison. If you can use a Nagra or buy a DatMan for $700 and slap it on the side of your high 8, you're set. But, for convenience, a 16 bit sampling in mono for dialogue is passable, and you can get a good mic and use it with the camera, or get a boom man, or use radio mics and dump the whole thing onto a nonlinear system and use what comes out as your track. Even better, rent a SMPTE DAT and dump all your sound from the camera tapes onto the SMPTE DAT as a back up, then use that as your prime and you will be able to rebuild any kind of original sound track from masters, including a dead sync Optical track for your 35mm prints.

If you have the ability, shoot 720p or 1080p or any progressive scan format you can.  Progressive shoots whole frames rather than interlacing two scans together, which is much more liable for degradation, especially in movement.  If you can shoot progressive, shoot it in 24p, the transfer to film is then 1 to 1 and is the best because that's the projected film rate.  If you are shooting HiDef (720p or 1080p) and you have an action shoot with a lot of camera movement - go test out the camera in that situation first.  HiDef does not like a lot of camera movement, many people try to compare it to film, it is not.  In HiDef you get a very staccato image, much more exaggerated than film and may not be suitable for your story.

1.Motivation
2.Budgets & Breakdowns
3.Producer Stuff
4.Editing & Actors
5.Festivals & Distributors
6.Clean Up
7.Dealing With Agents
8. Production Checklist
9.Digital
Proletariat Home


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LABS
PROCESS
35$
16$
NEG/SND/PRINT
Four Media (4MC)
Electron Beam
425 per min
180
Extra/Extra/Y
Sony High Definition
"
585
585
Y/N/Y
Cinergi
C CRT Film Recorder
600
600
Y/Y/Y
Swiss Effects
"
520
309
Y/Extra/Extra
Soho Digital
"
1200

Y/Neg./Y
Film Team
"
250
150
Y/Y/Y
Film Craft
Teledyne CTR 3
250
105
N/N/N
Ringer Video
Kinescope
185
80
Y/Y/Y