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Messages posted since 08/28/2014

Topic: Digital vs 35mm for an indie project?

Author: Harvey Shapiro Posted: 07/22/09 02:14 AM

I'm preparing to shoot a small feature using digital tech., but after some consideration, I thought I might go with the 35mm and avoid the whole transfer hassel. Anyhow, I thought it might be interresting to hear how others feel about the differences of Digital vs 35mm. So anybody who has a thought on the subject, please shed some wisdom on why YOU would prefer one over the other. MORE alternative points of view the better; I'm not completely sold on either one at this point and I need a good reason to choose one way or the other. Any help would be appreciated.

Author: Paula Smith Posted: 07/22/09 07:50 AM

First question is, what's your budget? If you have a ton of money then you have a choice. If not, then your question is "what kind of digital camera can I afford?"

For me, I would prefer shooting with the top-of-the-line digital for a variety of reasons.

Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 07/22/09 11:09 AM

I would shoot on digital. I made a short and used the sony dvx 100 and when it was projected many people thought it was film.

One warning though is that some people tend to overshoot when they use a digital camera because it's "free" to do more takes. Treat the work as if you are shooting on film.

Author: Paula Smith Posted: 07/22/09 11:38 AM

LOL - Heather - "treat it like it was film." So true. My first classes in film making were on 16mm film. Because of the cost every shot was planned again and again. You rehearsed before you even hit the button. Once you got the shot you stopped the film.

Digital was a different story. Why bother to stop the camera? Until it came time to edit and you had footage you had to edit out - what a pain.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 07/22/09 11:47 AM

I've shot all my shorts on digital and it's amazing. Shot the last one with the Panasonic HVX-200 (I think that's the model #?) with the P2 cards - easy workflow. Plus, we rented 35mm lenses and put them on the front of it. That gave it a nice depth of field (like film cameras). It looked amazing. Why do the cost and hassle of film for an indie short?

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 07/22/09 11:48 AM

Oh - you're shooting a feature. Still - I love digital with the 35mm lenses.

Author: Paula Smith Posted: 07/22/09 01:05 PM

Here's a link on 35mm vs. digital. 'Course this is a very high end camera.

Author: Walter Winton Posted: 07/22/09 01:54 PM

A lot of Hollywood directors still like 35 because its "look" still can't be recreated digitally, even with lenses and filters.

But 35 is MUCH more expensive. And the expense continues throughout production and post-production. Here's the path 35 mm takes from the camera to the screen:

1. Developed at a cost-per-foot. 2. Telecined into a digital format for the AVID editing software to use. 3. The digital file is edited and the key numbers are sent back to the transfer house. 4. Using the editor's cut, the original negative is scanned again at higher resolution to create a Digital Intermediate (DI). 5. The DI is then used for color correction. VFX, which have also been converted to digital files, are then dropped in. 6. The DI is "filmed out" back onto 35mm for distribution purposes.

As you can see, most of the post-production process works with digital files. Each one of those steps requires significant money. Why not just use digital from the beginning?

Author: Ron Brassfield Posted: 07/22/09 09:43 PM

Wonderful advice from all. I've not made my first no-budget movie, yet, but it becomes a tempting fantasy, at least, after writing and then playing supplicant to people whose job it is to say "no." Check out the Hi-Def DV camera I've been lusting after for the past few months, the Canon AH-X1, or its successor, the Canon AH-X1s.

Author: Harvey Shapiro Posted: 07/23/09 10:33 PM

Thanks Ron. I will look into those cameras as well.

Author: Ron Brassfield Posted: 07/25/09 03:24 PM

Here's an extensive online review of it from an indie filmmaker's perspective. Mind you, it does use Mini DV tapes, so it won't be as handy from a workflow perspective. I'm talking gorgeous, I'm talking features, and I'm talking price when I say I lust after that camera.

This page shows off the custom presets:

CNET's video review:

Some footage vids: