Film Production FAQ
- QUESTION: I have heard that my local cable company will do a commercial for $500, so why not go with them?
- ANSWER: Many cable customers have never seen a cable company’s commercials. We don’t believe in knocking our competitors, but this is one of those things that needs a little explaining on how the costs are kept to a minimum: The local cable company often has low-paid, inexperienced staff that shoot their commercials. This means the commercial often looks cheap. They are often so plain and boring, that they aren’t even on the radar of potential viewers! This means they are ineffective, and a waste of money. Because they look cheap and have no pizazz, the cable company commercials can be less effective than a $10 bumper sticker.
- QUESTION: Can you shoot both High Definition and Film?
- ANSWER: You can’t get any better than this – we shoot both HD and Film! This means we can even output to the new HD DVD or Sony’s Blu-Ray Disc technologies for future High Definition viewing! What does this mean for you? Everything – the future is here and it is HDTV. High Definition Televisions have been held back the past few years due to a lack of available ways to watch High Definition movies. Not many local broadcasters had the technology before, and there were no viable ways to view movies at home in High Definition, unless you had a cable station that had HD channels, which until recently, was hard to find. But that has all changed now – Blu-ray and HD DVD players are here, most local broadcasters and cable stations have made or are currently in the process of making the switch. Even DirecTV® and DishTVTM are offering more and more HDTV channels seemingly everyday.Don’t think you are interested in HD or Film originated footage? Try this on for size: when captured with HD and/or Film, the footage looks much better than normal video! We use both formats extensively and love the look and feel of HD and Film. Normal video just can not compare, which is why it’s going the way of the Dodo bird…
- QUESTION: What’s the difference between films?
- ANSWER: 35mm film has been around since the beginning of motion picture – over 100 years and it still looks great! “The Wizard of Oz”, “Indiana Jones”, and 2004’s award winning movie “The Aviator” were all shot on 35mm.Still want contrast and beauty? Don’t like the look of video, but can’t quite afford 35mm? Then 16mm will stand out as the apparent victor here. In a way, 16mm can be much easier to work with than 35mm. The cameras are often less heavy and more mobile. Per foot, an equivalent length 16mm load will last more than twice as long as a load of 35mm film. This means less magazine changes per day. Lastly, 16mm costs less per foot to buy and process.16mm was created as a way of bringing film to the masses. In 1923, the 16mm format was introduced by Kodak to allow affordable filmmaking. Many great films and television shows have been made with 16mm over the years, including “Clerks” and “El Mariachi”.As their names imply, 35mm is more than twice as wide as 16mm, which makes the total area of image recorded with every 16mm frame less than 1/4 the size of 35mm. What does this mean? Much less detail, but this is not necessarily always a bad thing!Super8 (sometimes called Super-8mm) is a different sort of beast. It’s become a popular trend on many commercial spots to use Super8 film to give the commercial a gritty look and feel. Why? Because people want their product to look good, but also want it to appeal to a different crowd. Super8 can usually be seen in commercial advertising for off-road motorcycles, skate-boards, and other extreme sports, as well as music videos, movies, and even television programs! Super8, because it is film, tends to record without the harsh tones that are often seen in video, but captures less than one-tenth the image of 35mm. Thus, the image has more noticeable grain.
- QUESTION: What is High Definition?
- ANSWER: High Definition, also called “Hi Def” or “HD” for short, is a new video format that provides over 5 times the resolution of Standard Television Technologies, as well as more vivid colors and a wider range of hues. High Definition can be used to shoot just about anything, because of the amount of pixels per picture frame: either the 1280×720 pixel standard, or the 1920×1080 pixel standard.High Definition is also a wider screen format than the older video technologies, where the width and height are a ratio of 1.77:1 (or 16×9). Standard Television has a ratio of 1.33:1, or 4:3. The wider screen format is much closer to the Hollywood 35mm projected formats of 1.85:1, or 2.35:1, which means you lose less picture when blowing your High Definition picture up to a 35mm theatrical release.High Definition has become a contender to the 100 year reign of film. A few of the big players in Hollywood have been adopting the use of High Definition over 35mm film – many new feature films, including “Superman Returns”, “Miami Vice”, both of George Lucas’s Episode II and Episode III of the “Star Wars” series, Robert Rodriguez’s “Once Upon A Time In Mexico”, and both “Spy Kids 2” and “Spy Kids 3”, as well as Rodriguez’s and Frank Miller’s combined efforts on “Sin City”, were all shot on the 1920×1080 High Definition standard.High Definition has what it takes, but it’s still not quite film. High Definition doesn’t quite get the Depth of Field that 35mm gets, nor does it get the latitude of the latest films coming from Kodak or Fuji. What’s latitude? It’s the amount of brightness and darkness a frame can pick up without getting blown out or losing the image to shadow. High Definition still can’t quite handle as much latitude as film.But not all of Hollywood is convinced of High Definition. Many different directors and producers prefer the much warmer feel of 35mm film over High Definition. It boils down to personal choice and weighing all of the options.
How about High Definition versus 16mm? The trade-offs are minimal, depending on the situation, High Definition may be the better choice – but it comes with knowing what you need. For daytime exteriors, 16mm is usually the better choice for many different applications, while for darker interiors, High Definition may be the wiser choice – but these choices should be weighed carefully.
Want to see the three formats side-by-side? Check out Robert Rodriguez’s Trilogy of “El Mariachi” (16mm), “Desparado” (35mm), and “Once Upon A Time In Mexico” (HD).
- QUESTION: Does Film cost more than Video?
- ANSWER: The answer is easy, Yes and No! Film often appears more expensive on paper because of the costs ‘per foot’ to shoot, while video seemingly costs less because many try to compare the price of video tape per minute to film ‘per foot’. The math is there, but it’s the wrong equation.It’s actually a lot less to shoot film than most would have you believe. By the time you add in the costs of an entire production, often people find out the two cost nearly the same. Even more importantly, film, in the hands of professionals, can quickly be adjusted so that the image could almost visually leap off the screen. Video, on the other hand, needs more time to try and create the same look and feel, and the end result is never quite the same.The two, visually, can’t be put side by side without someone seeing the rich look and warm feel of film. Plug in a DVD of your favorite Spielberg film, notice how it looks and feels? Now turn on any of the television soap operas. You should instantly see a big difference, even if it’s hard to describe. Video and Film are two very different recording mediums with two very different end results.
- QUESTION: Which is better, Film or Video?
- ANSWER: As the saying goes, “Use the right tool for the right job.” But for starters, take a look at our media section to get an idea of how things can look.The question “Which is better?” is always a hard one to answer. We suggest contacting us so we can help you decide. We are very knowledgeable in both video and film production and can help you make the perfect choice for your advertising and marketing campaigns.