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  1. #5941  
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hastings View Post
    I'll let David chime in on the cost for film - but it would seem that the cost per minute for Digital is near zero since the media is reusable and the only true sunk cost per minute would be the cost of electricity to charge the battery (pennies). That further complicates the issue with digital since you can shoot more and longer takes without additional media costs.
    Agree with what's been said, but I'll note that with digital, you pay for storage and transfer costs (hard drives, laptop), and potentially the hire of a DIT. On a film shoot, you often have a clapper loader (2nd AC/film loader). Furthermore, you tend to shoot more in digital than on film. This stuff matters on low budget shoots more than on big, as Michael points out.

    I myself haven't seen an "all-in" number per minute for film vs. digital. This is partially because there are a lot choices you make in post that influence it, such as quality of scan and who does it for you.
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  2. #5942  
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    Feb 2012
    Here is where I show my ignorance and lack of knowledge.

    Recently, when testing out some improvised internal filters on an Ursa Mini 4.6K there was some very noticeable masking flare from the 35mm f1.4 Nikon lens originating from outside of the actual image area the sensor sees.

    The Nikons are full-frame stills lenses so see things the camera sensor does not see directly. Because there was moving dappled shade involved, the flare was very apparent as it came and went.

    A DoP friend mentioned what was a commonplace technique of custom matte frames for individual prime lenses. To be honest, the idea never entered my head but I now recall seeing one in a behind-the-scenes promotional documentary about a major feature film. Except for the widest field-of-view, they would be little use with zoom lenses.

    I have forgotten the exact name for these things. I thought I would try the idea and have cut and tested pieces of Weetie packet cardboard which I will use as templates for cutting more permanent material.

    So far, even though they are outside of the image area seen by the 4.6K sensor, the histogram does change when a matte frame is in place so something is going on, hopefully for the better.
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  3. #5943  
    Hi David, I'm wondering the effect of a grid/eggcrate on larger frames... do you find they work well in place of flags when controlling spill/spread? I've also always wondered what the spread/angle of something like 1/2 grid through a frame is?
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  4. #5944  
    Thanks for the replies everyone. So it sounds like approximately $100 per minute for 35mm. I was honestly expecting it to be higher. I assume that includes scanning etc?
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  5. #5945  
    Senior Member Jacques Mersereau's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Happy Summer 2021 Solstice!

    I am interested in replacing a variety of tungsten lighting instruments here at the University of Michigan Video Studio with LED equivalents.
    Our studio does a variety of work, yet much of it entails staging original musical performances for the camera.
    Controlling light is very important to keep it off our large upstage projection screen.

    NOTE: Most of our fresnels and par cans we use for color washes, so color changing LEDs are what we are looking for.

    Here is a list of aging tungsten instruments we currently have - what might you suggest?

    Lowel Rifa 88 (1000W soft box)

    Desisti 2K Fresnel

    Desisti 1K Fresnel

    Par 64

    Source 4 750w Ellipsoidal

    Kino Flo 4x4 bank

    Our current lights have done yeoman's service for 20 years!
    With the cost increase of LEDs, one thing we want are instruments built to last and to be serviced if needed.

    Thanks in advance!
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  6. #5946  
    Sorry, I've been shooting for six months on a series so haven't checked in here....

    I haven't done the cost breakdown in a long time but it's hard to say that film isn't more expensive than digital to shoot because of the costs of stock, processing, and scanning to get to a similar place in post. Of course, shooting ratio is a major factor but unfortunately most directors today are so used to shooting digital that when they shoot film again, they don't do fewer takes or anything. I did dozens of 35mm features with a budget for 100,000' of stock (so roughly a 10:1 ratio for a final movie that was 10,000') but the last few crept up to 200,000' and I think I'd have a hard time keeping a director below that today.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
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  7. #5947  
    Soft eggcrates can come in different degrees of spread/focus... They reduce spill to the sides but in a graduated fashion that sort of focuses the soft light into the center, whereas a large flag only affects the subject when it starts to cross into the area between the flag and the soft box. For this reason, I have to think about whether to use those grids on soft lights because if an actor misses their mark, they might be darker because of their position relative to the grid. Sometimes it's better to just use flags or skirts around the sides instead. For example, if you have an overhead Litemat 8 (about 4x4) for a soft top light effect and you put a snap grid on it, then the actor is only getting most of the soft light when they are directly under it and it falls off quickly around the edges. But of you put a skirt around it instead, then the walls might be just as darkened as the grid would create but as the actor stands near the overhead soft box, they are lit by it even if they are near the edge instead of the center.

    So eggcrates, etc. are just a different way of controlling spill compared to a flag, they aren't a substitute for flagging, it's just a different effect on the soft light. You need the option of doing either or both sometimes.

    The way to learn about this is to simply stand where the actor is and look at the soft light and move forward and back a bit and see how the grid or flagging is cutting the light.
    David Mullen, ASC
    Los Angeles
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  8. #5948  
    Hi David,

    Thanks again as always for being available and quite descriptive in your answers. A few questions for you:

    1) I have a movie that has a number of scenes in a living room with large windows looking out to a night exterior in the woods/lake. Obviously there is a worry of constantly seeing reflections in the glass. Have you experienced this scenario in the past? Weíre there certain lighting decisions you made in pre-production to yourself and/or with art department in order to hide lights (LED behind black foam core on the ceiling) or other decisions besides only using practical lighting?

    2) Attached to this is shooting during daytime, from outside, looking into an interior of windows. How do you deal with the reflections of the sky and bright objects reflected on to the glass when trying to see inside? It seems that polarizers really donít help much in this scenario in my experience. It seems to be the same for me when shooting through car windows. Are there scenarios when polarizers will help more? Is all you can do, use lights/bounces to boost the interior lighting to come closer to outside? Thatís all Iíve had luck with besides a medium shot when I can put blacks outside the window to take away the reflection altogether. When shooting a driving shot specifically, is the only way to do a process trailer and rig blacks overhead?... thereís no way to decrease the brightness of the reflection besides stopping down and bringing a light in, right?

    Thank you again for taking the time.

    - d
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