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Eclair ACL Super 16mm and 35mm
Personally, I think Super 16mm is great for shorts and low budget movies as
long as you don't blow up to 35mm. It seems to me, that even a soft shot on
Super 16mm blown up looks horrific on 35mm and I remember seeing several in
Leaving Las Vegas. There's also not much deatil in that movie as it was
mostly shot at night and in shadow. Never saw a 35mm print at the theatre
I recently saw a low budget indie flick called 'Urban Ghost Story' here in
the UK that was shot on Super 16mm and released theatrically. However,
they'd used the bleach by-pass effect and it looked truly AWFUL. As if they
were shooting with filmstock from the 1970s. Perhaps that's what they
intended, but it just made a cheap film look even cheaper. Just taught me
that Super 16mm is superb as long as you don't try and tamper with it.
I just finished a super 16mm short and I did my utmost to keep it as filmic
as possible. I used Fuji 250D because it's very, very colourful (and just
slightly grainy) whereas Kodak looks far to clinical for my tastes.
I used very long zooms to keep the depth as shallow as possible, therby
emulating 35mm. The telecine looks fantastic! I used a mixture of
Angenieux and Nikon zooms and a couple of Kinoptic primes. (The difference
between them is academic and no viewer could spot it.)
However, now I'm working on a feature I'm considering shooting 35mm for
several reasons. Firstly, because it's such a beautiful medium. No matter
what you point it at has INSTANT production value. Secondly because I've
found it's cheaper to buy up old stock and recans than it is to buy Super
16mm. Anyone who can afford to shoot on 35mm can afford new stock (except
me) so you'd be surprised at how much perfectly good, bargain 35mm stock is
out there. Finally, and strangely of all, the equipment will actually work
out cheaper than Super 16mm. I'm currently rebuilding a Cameflex with my
engineer which will be totally silenced for sync sound. It's a very
lightweight and flexible camera that you can pick up for cheap and I'm going
to use all the Nikon and Angenieux zooms I own, with a couple of wide
I could never see the point of the zoom versus prime debate, because I've
never found a casual viewer yet who could spot the difference, (nor cares).
Not that I'd ever say this to a DP of course.
Ignorance is bliss you know...
By the way, off subject again, but while we're in the mood, has anyone seen
the trailer for the latest Star Wars epic? By all accounts, it looks
dreadful. Apparantly the video artifacts are all apparant and it looks flat
and lifeless. Maybe that was just the print. Trailers are hardly known for
their exceptional image quality.
Subject: Digest for EclairACL@topica.com, issue 92
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 03:38:49 -0800
-- Topica Digest --
Re: Merry Christmas!
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 09:36:40 -0800
From: "Warren" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Eclair ACL Merry Christmas!
All things other things being equal, I'd happily shoot an entire feature on
35mm using 5279 and use a nice Zeiss zoom lens. If I were shooting S16, I
wouldn't go any faster than 7277 and I'd absolutely use primes. Now, on
S16, I'd aim for a 2 - 2.8 split, where on 35mm I'd shoot for around a T4,
(I hate soft focus shots) so maybe the difference in the amount one would
have to generate is minimal, but it's faster to use less light and a zoom
than it is to change primes and have to light more.
There's a quality difference too, of course. 35mm will look better than
due to the size of the image on the negative (less grain on 35mm) and the
shallower depth of field helps the image 'pop' in my opinion.
Somebody mentioned that the cost of S16 becomes an advantage when you shoot
8:1 or more, but I think I'd guess it's more like 12:1 or more when you
consider the time and quality elements as well.
That being said, if you're shooting something that low budget that you're
opting for S16mm over 35mm, regular 16mm isn't a bad choice, because you
project it on 16mm (and save the blow up costs) and if you never get past
the video edit (which is very likely) you've saved even more.
Happy Holidays from Sunny LA!
Warren Yeager, SOC
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2001 11:17 AM
Subject: RE: Eclair ACL Merry Christmas!
> Hi, Ray
> Merry Christmas from me also, to everyone out there. I enjoy reading the
> postings, even if I don't post much. Actually, I'm a bit old fashioned
> maybe, but I think that the regular 16mm format is best for 16mm
> I think if you want Super 16, why bother with the hassle, just shoot
> By the time you're done paying for all the extra expense of dealing with
> Super 16, you've already gone beyond the 35mm budget. And you get so
> better results with the 35mm. 16mm if great for documentary style
> where as an independent you don't have the money to shoot 50:1 ratios,
> PS: I have a set of Angenenieux primes for my ACL. Do you think they're
> sharper than the 12-120mm Angenieux, or is it splitting hairs?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2001 4:23 PM
> To: EclairACL@topica.com
> Subject: Eclair ACL Merry Christmas!
> Hi All,
> Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
> Ray the List Mum
End of EclairACL@topica.com digest, issue 92
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