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Features That Originate On 16mm

Published : 28th July 2004


Hello,

I am researching an upcoming project and was looking for features that were shot on 16mm to show the producers. I was wondering if any of you have any favourite 16mm-originated features or at least 16mm projects that you think looked great. Or even any websites that might have some more info. I know this sounds like an obvious question but I am finding it hard to get technical specs online on IMDBish sites. I am trying to pitch 16mm over DV and trying find examples that stand out visually for this.

Any help MUCH appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Alison Kelly
DP-LA



>I am researching an upcoming project and was looking for features that >were shot on 16mm to show the producers.

Hi,

If I remember correctly Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Clerks were originated on 16mm. More recently there was Joel Schumacher's Tigerland.

And there is 'About A Girl', shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm via digital intermediate, but I'll let Geoff tell you all about that one.

See ya

Ross McWhannell
DP. Leeds, UK



A really well known, much seen, excellently photographed example is Leaving Las Vegas - the Mike Figgis film shot by Declan Quinn in S16mm. There are others, possibly even the recent In America, also photographed by Declan Quinn, but I'm too tired to remember right now. Leaving Las Vegas I'm sure must have used the optical process for blow-up to 35mm. Also, the new Ernest Dickerson feature that Matti Libatique shot was done S16mm and then DI.

Good luck - you're going to need it if you ask me.

Ted Hayash
Los Angeles, CA



>I am researching an upcoming project and was looking for features that >were shot on 16mm to show the producers.

Many moons ago there was "Draughtsman's Contract" shot by Curtis Clark, more recently "Wonderland" by Michael Winterbottom which was all available light.

I shot a couple of days 2nd unit on it. Don't forget "28 Days Later" spent more on the grading than it would have cost if it been shot on film in the first place. Danny's last film was shot on 35mm. I know the editor who cut both films, if you want to talk to him at all let me know.

Also through colleagues know of one production that went through 28 Dvcamera's, and lost their insurance as they had so many claims going through.

All the best,

David Higgs
DOP
London,UK



Hi,

"Dog Soldiers" was shot on 16mm, but I didn't think it looked that good. (I thought it looked like it had been shot on 16mm, to be honest.)

Phil Rhodes
Video camera/edit
London



Call DFL in London and ask...

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net



One of the most incredible 35 mm releases that has been made from a Super 16 mm capture is the film "Conspiracy".

The IMDB details are here (sort of) :

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0266425/

BUT MOST of the Technical details are WRONG : First it was Super 16 mm and not 35 mm. It was done at Cinesite Hollywood and not London.

A very complete explanation and background on the shooting and Post Production can be found at :

http://hem.passagen.se/lmw/conspiracy5.html

The negative was scanned on a Spirit Telecine and then went through the Digital Intermediate (DI) route.

The director Frank Pierson is the President of the Motion Picture Academy. The film was nominated and won many awards from around the world.

To Alison Kelly : Since you live in LA contact the folks at Cinesite Hollywood for a screening. We screened the first reel in 35 mm for a SMPTE conference and everyone was absolutely amazed. And all this was before the latest film stocks. No way can these images be touched by DV or almost any Video capture format.

A DVD is out but does not show the possibilities for theatrical release.

Regards,

Bill Hogan



A very persuasive tool would be to contact your nearest Kodak Rep' and get hold of their latest (7218) demo reel - ideally the print - S16mm to 35mm blow-up, failing that I'm sure they hand out DVD’s & VHS's.

As for features shot 16mm and released 35mm the classic is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Super 16mm or standard?)

Other Super16mm originated films I can think of are, 'Ulees Gold' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120402/

and

'The Mother'  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0323298/

Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.



I think a fine example of recent S16 work can be seen in DP Tim Orr's work "Raising Victor Vargas".

Matthew S. Smith
NY



>I was wondering if any of you have any favourite 16mm-originated >features or at least 16mm projects that you think looked great. Or even >any websites that might have some more info.

There is an incomplete list of features shot on S16mm
film at :

http://www.abelcine.com/Resources/IndustryContacts/aaton16features.php

For what it's worth, Artisan thought "the Playaz Court" was shot on 35mm and almost didn't accept delivery of the S16mm negative, thinking it was the wrong negative.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
http://www.cinematography.net



I believe " Y Tu Mama Tambien" was shot handheld S-16.

Try to watch it if you get a chance.

John Babl



I think Kodak has a list of recent S16 features on their web site.

In the last year, off the top of my head, "Thirteen" -- "The Station Agent" -- "Casa de los Babys" parts of "City of God"

In 2002 "Monsoon Wedding"

Sam Wells



>I am trying to pitch 16mm over DV and trying find examples that stand >out visually for this.

I believe "The Daytrippers" (Greg Mottola, 1996) was shot on 16mm. Also,

I'm *almost* positive that "Tales from the Gimli Hospital"
(Guy Maddin, 1988) was done in 16mm.

Parts of "Living in Oblivion" was made in 16mm.

David Obuchowski
Brooklyn, NY



I am pretty sure that Leaving Las Vegas (Michael Figgis) was all Super 16

I could very well be wrong here but what was Amelie shot on?

Dennis Boni
DP/Steadicam owner op
IA 600



If I may, I don't think it's fair to include super 16mm features. Though it is technically different from 16mm, I think it is a different format than standard 16mm...

or am I totally misunderstanding the purpose of the original query, which I thought was strictly 16mm. if that's the case, disregard...

David Obuchowski
Brooklyn, NY



The original poster didn't specify. I think anything sixteen millimetres in width is fair...

For straight 16, yes the early Guy Maddin films including Archangel, which looked great.

I could cite some straight 16 > 35 experimental films but I don't know if they would help make Alison's case to a producer....

"My Beautiful Laundrette" was straight 16 I think, although that goes back awhile.

"Amelie" I'm sure was 35.

Sam Wells



Spinal Tap...and you can't bring up that film without evoking big laughs...That film would have been funny shot in S-8.

John Babl
Miami



Hello everyone,

I just wanted to thank you all for your excellent suggestions.

As usual, this list is an incredible resource.

Thanks so much,

Alison Kelly
DP-LA



Sam Wells wrote :

>in 2002 "Monsoon Wedding"

Shot last year, and to be released this year, Deck Dogz
(DP Denson Baker).

Cheers

Martin Heffels...
Filmmaker/DP/Editor/Certified Cable Tester
Sydney, Australia



>"Amelie" I'm sure was 35.

I think that "Amelie" was shot in super 35mm. and by a Digital Intermediate transferred to anamorphic.

Pol Turrents
DoP Spain, Barcelona



Alison Kelly writes :

>I was wondering if any of you have any favourite 16mm->originated >features or at least 16mm projects that you think looked great.

If you're trying to pitch a 16mm project, you should probably reference only *recent* films made in *Super-16*, which will tend to outshine most earlier efforts. For older works, black & white might look cleaner than color.

As for shooting a feature in good ole straight 16, note that you'll lose lots of negative area when your 35mm blowup goes to (or is projected at) 1:85. Almost no theatres will project at 1:33 anymore.

The recent French feature documentary TO HAVE AND TO BE (or is it TO BE AND TO HAVE?) was a very well done S16 project, in spite of the fact that it wasn't able to avail itself of the sharpest and least grainy stocks.

You might also consider shooting a test/demonstration scene in S16 as soon as Kodak's much-anticipated low- or medium-speed Vision2 stock appears. (Any year, now....

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Sam Wells writes :

>off the top of my head, "Thirteen" "The Station Agent"...


The Station Agent was 35mm. (Either that, or someone's been using spooky S16 stocks. Woooooooooo...)

Dan "who ya gonna call...?" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



I am pretty sure that A Mighty Wind is a blowup from super 16, but I have no idea whether optical or DI...

Mark Weingartner
LA



>The Station Agent was 35mm. (Either that, or someone's been using >spooky S16 stocks. Woooooooooo...)

Yet to see "The Station Agent" but the IMDB has it down as a S16 production. Last year I did a feature that was 90% S16 and 10% 35mm. We blew up optically at Atlab Sydney via a 35mm IN and the result was impressive. We used 45 and good sharp prime lenses and the S16 stands up surprisingly well to the 35mm. Super 16 is not the photographic compromise that it has been in the past.

IF you use BEST photographic practice and a GOOD lab using a 35 IN you will have a result that will run in any Multiplex proudly.

Due to optical blow up costs a digital intermediate is a real
possibility with fantastic results especially if you want to push the grade but you will be disappointed if you cut corners going down this path.

Many Thanks
Tom Gleeson
www.cinematography.net



>The Station Agent was 35mm. (Either that, or someone's been using >spooky S16 stocks. Woooooooooo...)

http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/news/gotItMadeSummaryP.shtml
Sam Wells



More "spookiness" then :

http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/newsletters/onFilm

/summer2003/makingDreamsP.shtmlb

Sam Wells



Dan Drasin writes :

>The Station Agent was 35mm. (Either that, or someone's been using >spooky S16 stocks. Woooooooooo...)

Being personally associated with some of the people behind The Station Agent and knowing some particulars of their post process and blowup, I can assure you that the film originated on Super-16. Imagine how embarrassing it would have been for Kodak when they invited the Producer and DP to speak on a panel discussing S-16 blowups if the film had originated in 35mm.

Let's also think back to some older S-16 works, such as Return of the Secaucus Seven and 84 Charlie Mopic. You can find a little film I shot called Cold Feet that originated on my Aaton Super-16 camera. And sometime late Spring or early Summer I'll have West Bank, Brooklyn coming out in the US (we're deciding now whether to go the DI route v. optical blowup).

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



If you go to http://www.digitalfilmlab.com and click on the productions-feature film link then you'll get a pretty long list.

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net



Dan Drasin wrote :

>As for shooting a feature in good ole straight 16, note that you'll lose lots >of negative area when your 35mm blowup goes to (or is projected at) >1:85. Almost no theatres will project at 1:33 anymore.

I just saw MY ARCHITECT-- an excellent, just-released feature documentary about architect Louis Kahn, directed by his son. They got around this problem by doing their 1:33 SD video filmout centred within the 1:85 image area (with common top and bottom). That accomplished two things: it guaranteed compatibility with current theatrical projection standards while maintaining the full 4x3 frame, and it reduced the projected size of the image so it didn't fall apart on really large screens.

They also put a very few 16x9 scenes in, but those were also reduced to the approximate total area of the 4x3 scenes (i.e., with some black all around). This worked very well and didn't call excessive attention to itself.

This approach seems better suited to a documentary than to a feature, but who knows? ... I guess it would depend on the nature of the film.

Most of MY ARCHITECT consisted either of archive footage or what looked like Digibeta, with a little bit of 16mm and Mini-DV thrown in. I saw Bob Zahn's name in the credits -- Bob, can you enlighten us about the acquisition formats?

The main documentary material was very well shot (sorry, I missed the DP's name), and the high-end digital video format held up extremely well. DuArt's filmout was about as good as it gets.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



Mitch Gross wrote:

>Let's also think back to some older S-16 works, such as Return of the >Secaucus Seven

Wasn't that regular 16? Lianna might have been S16...

Jeff Kreines



For My Architect, I shot the interview with Phillip Johnson in his Glass House in Super-16.

I'm positive "Secaucus Seven" was Super-16, as it was my first introduction to the format. The B&W segments of "Blair Witch" were some particularly poor regular 16mm. The doc "Theremin" was photographed in regular 16mm and when blown up to 1.66-framed 35mm, the 1.33 image was centred within (blowup magnification identical to S-16). The original "Woodstock" was photographed in regular 16mm on a small army of Eclair NPR cameras and blown up to anamorphic 35mm.

More recently, the doc "The War Room" was photographed in regular 16mm even though a S-16-capable Aaton was used because the filmmaker wanted to use the extended range of his old regular 16 Angenieux 10-150 zoom lens (cousin to our friend the 12-120). And "Clerks" was shot in standard 16mm with an old Arri SR, Double-X film and a small light kit for only $28,000, and that included a 16mm print.

Was "Stranger than Paradise" in 16 or Super-16? Can't recall. "Vanya on 42nd Street" is S-16 and it brought DP Declan Quinn to the attention of Mike Figgis, who hired him to shoot "Leaving Las Vegas" for him in Super-16. "Laws of Gravity" was photographed in S-16. There's plenty more beyond what I and others have already mentioned.

And here's one from the deep bowels of my brain: The view screens in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" were all accomplished with rear-projected 16mm. I know that the screens in "2001: A Space Odyssey" were also rear projected film, but I believe they were 35mm. Gotta love those hyphenates.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



"Stranger Than Paradise" was shot on 35mm, with an already-ancient BL3 or even BL2, and maybe two or three prime lenses. (NB even an 'obsolete' 35mm camera produces footage completely compatible with today's technology.)

The B&W stock was poorly stored, before and after shooting, due to the haphazardness of the production, and I think there was some inconsistency in the lab work, apparently resulting in some of the graininess.

All this I recall from an interview with DP Tom DiCillo in AC magazine or somewhere back in the 80s. Ironically DiCillo considered himself an actor, and really wanted to be a director (as he became), but got a lot of unwanted attention as a DP for this movie. We should all have such problems.

Alan Thatcher
DP
Chicago



Mitch Gross wrote :

> Was "Stranger than Paradise" in 16 or Super-16? Can't recall.

35mm. But a lot of it was shot on 4X neg, very grainy stock. Shot with a BL1 or 2.

Jeff Kreines



Dan Drasin wrote :

>The Station Agent was 35mm.

I stand corrected <gleep>, with thanks to y'all for jumping on my faux-pas.

Sometimes that happens when I enjoy a film enough to forget about how it was made. The truth is that I *remember* it as 35mm, which certainly speaks well for it.

Dan "egg on face, tail between legs, yip, yip, yip..." Drasin
Producer/DP/Occasional Moviegoer
Marin County, CA



Mitch Gross writes:

>For My Architect, I shot the interview with Phillip Johnson in his Glass >House in Super-16.

Do you have any idea what the post path was for the film as a whole? I saw a bit of video aliasing and edge enhancement in a lot of scenes. Some looked better than others (particularly in the highlights), and in some I was hard-pressed to tell exactly what the origination medium was.

Most of the primary footage looked like Digibeta, though much of it could have been S16 assembled on SD video (hence the video look). Do you have any further inside poop on it?

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



Dan Drasin writes :

>Do you have any further inside poop on it?

Sorry no. I did that shoot some five years ago and had completely forgotten about it until the film opened at the Film Forum and I happened upon the director being interviewed on Charlie Rose. I knew I recognized him but couldn't place the face until a clip containing some of my footage popped up.

Sheer luck really.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



³Blind Flight² shot by Ian Wilson BSC was shot on Super 16 with 35mm lenses and blown up via DI. (not sure if it has been released yet).

Mark Wiggins
DP/Operator/London
www.productionbase.co.uk/cv/scare