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So you wanna be a filmmaker?

Which format do you think is best?

8mm0%[ 0 ]
Hi-80%[ 0 ]
Super 8mm filmstock0%[ 0 ]
Mini-DV52%[ 13 ]
Super 16mm filmstock12%[ 3 ]
Digital Betacam (DigiBeta)4%[ 1 ]
Hi-Def32%[ 8 ]

Total Votes : 25

Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:29pm

Post 1 of 31

Obi

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Here are five simple steps/rules in amateur filmmaking.

1) Dont shoot in MiniDV. The format is awful and looks disgusting. Super 16mm or Digi-Beta are hot contenders when compared to 35mm. Hi-Def can equal and even BETTER 35mm film stock (Due to 35mm photochemical inadequacies).

2) Don't get so obsessed by the 'film-look.' This uncovers your insecurities and attempts at fooling the audience into believing it's a real movie. Sit down and write a decent story with decent characters in decent settings. The audience don't discuss how the film looks, they will discuss how boring [insert character name here] was, or how the plot was hurriedly written.

3) Buy a Mini35 adapter for your camera. This basically enlarges the image passing through the lens to 35mm size and then back to the 3CCD's in your camera. It also includes focus rings and a matte box to reduce glare.

4) Light your movie! If you want to go extremely low budget, shoot outside. If you want to spend some cash here and there, then buy some industrial lamps and filters.

5) The beginner filmmaker will always choose a format which is most convenient, and almost always makes the wrong choice. If you plan to shoot on MiniDV, try to get DigiBeta. If you intend to shoot on DigiBeta, try to get Super 16mm. If you're aiming for Super 16mm, try 35mm. You get the picture (Ahahaha.... ahem).

Obi
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:36pm

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Simon K Jones

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Obi wrote:

1) Dont shoot in MiniDV. The format is awful and looks disgusting.
However, it is also cheap and available to just about everybody with a little bit of spare cash.

On the flipside, film can look just as 'awful and disgusting' in the hands of a poor cinematographer.

Although I'm sure everyone here would love to play with real film cameras of 24PHD digital cameras, it simply isn't practical for many people, especially those for whom filmmaking is a hobby. The phrase 'amateur' takes in a huge range of talent and intention.

A good DV camcorder with a quality lens, a decent cinematographer and a copy of DigiGrade can create incredible visuals. To disregard the format so categorically would seem to be either somewhat snobbish or the words of someone who doesn't know how to use the format to the best of its abilities.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:40pm

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Obi

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Yes, but what you have to understand is Mini-Dv is also used by people who want to mess around and film themselves crawling through a catflap, AND people who want to make movies. For people wanting the 'film-look' then Mini-Dv isn't the answer.

EDIT: Tarn, if you wish to be enlightened, go read 'The guerilla film-makers movie blueprint.' It's my bible.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:42pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yes, its versatility is one of its main strengths.

If you want the 'film look', then of course MiniDV isn't the answer. Film is the answer! But wasn't your 2nd tip that people shouldn't worry about the 'film look'? smile

Last edited Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:50pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:49pm

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Mellifluous

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I like MiniDV. It is a semi-pro format, it has excellent quality (especially when used with 3 charge couple device cameras (3CCD). Also, the tapes are great cos they're nice & compact.

It can look crappy, if you're just shooting everyday life. Sometimes it pixellates if you're swinging it round too fast, but in a good filmmaker's hands MiniDV can produce amazing results.

There's been plenty films shot on MiniDV - there was one called Sex & Lucia which has absolutely gorgeous photography. Also, Russian Ark was shot on MiniDV. And The Lady & The Duke.

The other formats are way too expensive for us anyway, but even if I could afford 35mm I think I would still go with DV because it's immediately available for review & editing etc
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 5:49pm

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Obi

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You win Tarn. I'm feeling pretty sick right now, so ignore inconsistancies. Anyways, I just think it would be more beneficial to learn to use other types of media as well as MiniDV and use whichever format is appropriate.

For people making their first amateur feature film, and wanting to sell it, then shoot on Super 16mm, etc etc etc.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 6:03pm

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scobbs

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Rating: +1

Give a person who doesn't know what they are doing a professional HD camera and you will surely get crappy shots.

But yet if you handed Speilberg a $200 Hi-8 camera, he could still give you amazing shots to work with.

The fact of the matter is, film makers should worry about some things more than others and what camera they use would be at the bottom of the list. In fact, here's the list:


Most important things to consider when making a film (in order)

1. Story
2. Story
3. Story
4. Acting
5. Good solid camera work
6. Sound
7. lighting
8. clean editing
9. color
10. locations
11. costumes
12. money
13. what you are going to have for lunch
14. will you're wife/girlfriend be annoyed about the amount of time spent on this film
15. What are you going to have for dinner
16. What kind of camera are you using
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 6:03pm

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X

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Another reason for using digital on your early films in cost and new actors. If you are using film you better make sure your actors are spot on! Digitial you have alot of leyway.

Anyway... I have to say that I would put those rules far down the list. I like the Robert Rodriguez steps of:

1. Watch your film in your head. Play it over and over.
2. Go film it.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 6:48pm

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MidnightJester

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Yay, I'm so happy. In a few days I'll get to be at film camp, where I'll be using good equipment, like 35mm cameras. Then at the end we get a DVD of the things we make. Hopefully I'll have something to show you guys when I'm back.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 7:50pm

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Aculag

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I really think that no matter what format you're filming on, it all goes down to if you know what you're doing with that format. If you film with MiniDV, more power to ya. You CAN get excellent results, dependent on what type of camera you use, and how you put it to use. If you just walk around filming your friends doing stupid matrix stunts, of course it's going to look like crap. But if you spend the time necessary during production and post and you actually know what you're doing, you can achieve some gorgeous results. And it all comes down to telling a good story anyway. If your story sucks, your movie is probably going to suck as well, no matter the quality of the film.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 8:42pm

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Coureur de Bois

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I kinda have a have a bad feeling regarding the use of real film formats in future movies. If you think about it, it is a very unforgiving format, the actual film is expensive the so is the camera and editing equiptment. Its difficult and tedious to edit. It just seems very primitive to me. I'm just waiting for a better format to come out, and one certainly will with time. Which is why I'm not takin the "Filmmaking" course at college next year but the "Video and Digital Arts." course. It just makes more sense to learn about something more futuristic than 100 year old technology. Thats just my thought, and I could be wrong. smile
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 8:52pm

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Mellifluous

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The format of the future is going to be HD. Not High Definition, but Hard Disk. They'll make hard disks small enough to integrate into camcorders & you'll be able to record hours of footage without constriction, & then link it directly to your PC instantly in one instant file transfer. I don't think DVD ram cameras are the future.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 10:07pm

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HandsomeScholars

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guys, guys, guys... dont you get it? The story is always first, without it you have nothing! I mean what would you rather prefer. Star Wars filmed with a 8mm and no tripod. or a movie called star wars in which nothing happened except a bunch of stormtroops and jedis fight unchoreographed, filmed with a film camera?


I rest my case cool
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 10:09pm

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HandsomeScholars

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holy crap i basically just said what Shon said, i need to read more of the posts, i just read hi list tard
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 10:11pm

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vaagel

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We use hard disk, Ikegami kameras at work We download the disk to Avid. Its a nice tool.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 10:36pm

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otteypm

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Mini DV is a great format, if used properly the cameras can give a perfectly acceptable picture, the cost is very low. Like other people have said films are about story

£50 for 20 hours of tape

35 and even 16mm film is way out of budget for most amatuer filmmakers

35mm about £500 for 10 mins worth of film

16mm about 270 for 10 mins worth

8mm £12 for 12 mins

off the top of my head Digibeta tapes are about £20 each (60mins)

So to have shot my last film on 35mm would have cost £24,000 in filmstock alone

A lot of amatuers have to shoot with whatever is available, and don't forget the MiniDV format covers a huge range in camera quality, from really poor £300 consumer units to £15000, pro cameras.

Keep making films whatever format you use, just be sure to improve with each projects you make.....


hugegrin
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 11:30pm

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cantaclaro

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Rating: +2

High Definition is the wave of the future...film is dying a slow painful death and I say good riddance...Film is awful, after the first time that you watch it it is dirty and just gets worse and worse as time goes on...MiniDV is a very good format for beginners and pros alike...why spend a crap load of money on film for your shoddy script just so you can shoot on film...who cares...film is the wave of the past...A suggestion: On the Spy Kids 2 DVD the directors commentary answers just about every qualm of film and tells the you the reasons why HD is the "new bag"...I am against film and film school for that matter...the only way to learn to make movies is to make them...So do your damn thing...

Canta unsure
Posted: Thu, 31st Jul 2003, 11:58pm

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Coldfuse

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But the thing is, dont big movie corps use Film still, as there main soruce of filming material? well anyway, out of it i think the only thing that can rule here in an amature film making website, would gotta be miniDV its cheap, realiable and i think u can get pretty good results, depending on lighting and so foruth, dark lighting the film isnt that great. so it gotta be miniDV, there small, and cheap they rule, they have opened filming to all!
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 12:26am

Post 19 of 31

anonymous

Just to clarify. I wasnt ridiculing MiniDV saying its an OVERALL disgusting format. In comparison to Super 16mm and DigiBeta it looks awful. MiniDV does have its merits, all of which have been pointed out by you guys (Cheapness etc).
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 12:27am

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Obi

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Aaaand, that was me, I just cleared my cookies.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 3:50am

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Coureur de Bois

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Wasn't "28 Days After" shot on miniDV? It didn't look that bad... well compared to Film, yeah, but still, it shows that miniDV, when used properly can produce good results.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 4:02am

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wdy

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Let's face it..many of us that do film within this community are in our high school years or even younger. Some of us have part time job and some of us don't have any sort of job, earning enough money to get a camera that is used for professional grade video like 35mm are way too expensive. Many of us at our age look toward MiniDV it can still be pricey, but it produces very decent quality footage for making films at our age. Ofcourse what we are doing right now isn't gonna be a box office hit, but with the minidv cameras and with what we have we can fill our portfolios with works we have done. What most of us are going through right now is enjoying the creation of movies and everyday learning more and more about making them. With all of our knowledge at a young age this can progress us into the future for us who want to progress into professional film making and career. For now lets stick with those minidv cameras and once we are like spielberg, let go spend some cash wink Remember there is alot more too filmmaking than the equipment, its your creative energy, ideas, cinematography and preperation put into making your works.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 4:04am

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Coureur de Bois

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Well said Woody biggrin
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 4:09am

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Hajiku_Flip

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Indeed, +1 biggrin
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 10:08am

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Simon K Jones

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I thought 28 Days Later was perhaps the ugliest movie I've seen. Strange artifcating all over the picture, horribly low res, vaseline smudges all over the frame. It actually gave me a headache watching it in the cinema.

MiniDV is great, but it isn't designed to be viewed on a big cinema screen.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 11:43am

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Obi

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Oh... Erm, Tarn. Maybe I haven't realised just how good MiniDV can be. I thought 28 Days Later was the pinnacle of the format.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 1:02pm

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HandsomeScholars

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exactly woody biggrin +1
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 6:01pm

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Klown

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Yeah, I totally agree....28 Days LAter definitely looked bad on the big screen.

Not terrible, but a big step down from most flicks. However, the story itself was good.

And music + sound effects were top notch. Loved the score.
Posted: Fri, 1st Aug 2003, 7:46pm

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ZukoVega

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JVC has recently come out with “World's First Consumer High-Definition Digital Video Camera”. So far all the reviews I’ve read on the new JVC GR-HD1 have been favorable. The camera offers amazing picture quality, is easy to use and records on standard MiniDV cassette. You can record in HD 16:9 at 720p, SD 16:9 at 480p, as well as DV 4:3 480i. The price is in the $2,500 - $3500 range, comparable to what you’d pay for a Canon GL2 or XL1s – Unlike the 3CCD Canon GL2 and XL1s the JVC has only 1CCD but “the HD1's video is noticeably sharper than a standard three-chip camera which record at typically 520 lines of resolution” … the down side to only 1CCD is a slight loss in color depth… Hopefully soon they will release a 3CCD high definition camera at the consumer level.
Posted: Sat, 2nd Aug 2003, 9:40am

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Madmanden

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Look, a few things.

1) The JVC HD camcoder is USELESS for filmmaking. It has one CCD and it's lacking when it comes to control. Stay clear.


2) "Dont shoot in MiniDV. The format is awful and looks disgusting."

True, to an extent. Use the format and the look to your advantage. Focus on the story (and sound!) and not so much on whether or not it looks like 35mm (it doesn't). Make a good story and take it from there. It's obvious that using the cheapest DV cam you can find, casting your 15 year old friends and just shooting is a BAD IDEA if you want something good.


3) "Don't get so obsessed by the 'film-look.'"

True. See 2)


4) "Buy a Mini35 adapter for your camera."

Lol yeah, amazing advice if you are a millionaire. The adaptor alone costs $8000+! Then comes all the other stuff you'll need (and 35mm lenses do not come cheap). Bleh, virtually useless for all practical purposes.


5) "Light your movie!"

Finally some sound advice.


5) "The beginner filmmaker will always choose a format which is most convenient, and almost always makes the wrong choice. If you plan to shoot on MiniDV, try to get DigiBeta. If you intend to shoot on DigiBeta, try to get Super 16mm. If you're aiming for Super 16mm, try 35mm. You get the picture (Ahahaha.... ahem)."

Yeah, and everybody's got a money growing tree in their backyard, right?


Don't believe everything you read guys. Use some common sense.

PS. Imagine having to shoot your first movie(s) on 35mm. Blowing thousands upon thousands of dollars on stock, lab, etc. etc. only to find out you made every mistake in the book and that your movie is no good. Now spend even more $$$$ on the next. That would suck.

PPS. Most good movies don't involve saber effects, cloning, horrible 3D and all that crap. If you want to be a filmmaker, stop focusing solely on (crappy) effects.
Posted: Sat, 2nd Aug 2003, 9:53am

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moebius

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MiniDV is a great format because it is relatively cheap, produces good quality video, and is very versatile. It only runs into problems when chromakeying is involved - I think MiniDV users have to be much more particular about lighting when it comes to blue/greenscreening due to the limitations of MiniDV (as opposed to the other higher-end formats).