Saturday, January 20, 2007

Conversations with Chance Volume I

Here's some of an email conversation with Chance Shirley over at Crewless. (Image courtesy Suicide Girls.)

Chance: Video and film both have their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, you have to look at your budget and script and personal preferences and decide what's best for the project. So far, I've been making genre movies that I want to look kind of like a traditional 80s or 70s B-movie, and I own and am comfortable with a 16mm camera, so I go for Super 16. And I even write the scripts with Super 16 in mind.

Drew: Did you look at the Panasonic HVX200 camera when doing tests against super 16mm?

Chance: Yeah, it looks pretty sharp, but it's not film. The more I look at even higher-end HD (Varicam and Sony's AltaVista), the less I like it. I'm just a nerd that way, I guess.

Drew: To me, 16mm hasn't been nearly as helpful to the image as 35mm.

Chance: Sure. But I like a rawer, grainier look. And it's easier to pull focus on 16mm...

Drew: That's why I'm excited about shooting 2-perf...

Chance: Yes, yes, yes. THAT'S what I'm talking about. I heard Arri's going to add a 2-perf option to their 235 camera.

Drew: ... as soon as we can get our hands on cameras with 1000' magazines...

Chance: Even on 400' magazines, you should get 10 minutes to a roll shooting 2-perf... is that right? If you're shooting lean, 10 minutes of film goes a long way.

Drew: The thing which drives me nuts is having to tell the actors we have to stop to change mags. So don't get me started about what its like to shoot short ends!

Chance: Even disregarding the time issue, short ends can come out a little wonky sometimes. It seems like factory fresh stock is more consistent, as far as color and grain go.

Drew: I'm kinda into Fuji stock...

Chance: Kodak's a little sharper, but Fuji is significantly cheaper. I vote Fuji.

Drew: [W]ould you be shooting 500 ISO stuff?

Chance: For interiors, at least. Might go down to 250 ISO for outside/daytime.

Drew: I've been kinda interested in shooting daylight in tungsten...

Chance: I've never really got "golden" out of daylight stock and tungsten lights -- more "orangen." But playing with the color is half the fun.

Drew: ... [Y]ou [would] have to shift the color balance in post to get the colors to switch from orange to golden. We managed to do that in Millennium Crisis by using the wrong color balance on the DVX100. It looked kinda nice. I wonder if a bronze-color filter would do the trick?

Chance: I'm pretty sure somebody makes a general "warming" filter for that sort of thing, though I'm not sure what they'd call it.

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