Low Budget Music Video
Published : 7th February 2005
Hello everyone, this is my first message.
I love this cinematography community! I am just out of college and have a video production company. Me and my great crew have been shooting low budget music videos on DVCAM and have been trusted with a small budget of around $10,000.00 by a talented group to shoot their first video on film. Problem, Super16mm or 35?
It's to be shown on BET, and I was wondering if it is possible to enhance the contrast and color of the processed footage as easily in post as it is with DVCAM in Final Cut Pro and After Effects? It will be a two day shoot.
The shooting condition will be exterior, clear, early to mid-day, strong colors in playground setting. A friend recommended I try out the Aaton Minima S16.
I wonder if the quality will be sharp with a Kodak 50D stock, and is it possible to have a finished product that is similar in contrast, color, and resolution as some of the big budget videos?
The music is Hip Hop, and they're looking for style similar to Hype Williams, Dave Meyers, Nick Quested.
Thanks to everyone for any advice!
New Jersey, USA
class="style9">> Super16mm or 35?
Super 16. That way stock is a lot cheaper … There is no reason to shoot on 35mm for what you want to do.
In your case you should save the money and shoot S16mm especially considering that you can use 7245 which is an extremely sharp and low grain stock.
class="style9">>if it is possible to enhance the contrast and color of the processed >footage as easily in post as it is with DVCAM in Final Cut Pro and After >Effects?
I don't see why not.
Your footage will ultimately end-up on some form of video support for editing anyway. However if you can afford it, you can do a lot more elaborate adjustments in the film to tape transfer. Since it is unlikely you would have the budget to do an deeply involved shot by shot color timing, you could establish a look that you like for the first few scenes, or a few general looks for a few different set-ups, and then transfer all the footage like that. Sort of an optimised best light transfer. Then you can always tweak and finalize in FC or wherever you do your final edit.
class="style9">>A friend recommended I try out the Aaton Minima S16.
Why? Unless your looking for a very small camera, are you?
The nice thing about film is that, to a certain extent, a camera is a camera is a camera. While the Minima is, I am sure, an excellent camera you should get the most affordable camera that does what you need technically.
A well maintained ten-fifteen years old SRII or Aaton LTR/XTR can be had rather inexpensively compared to the brand new trendy Minima and will produce images of identical quality. I have done clips only a few years back with a 25 years old Éclair NPR and it does the job fine. Not to mention that if I am not mistaken the Minima works only with 200' loads.
Spend more on good lenses that is what makes a difference.
Daniel Villeneuve, c.s.c.
Directeur-Photo/Director of Photography
demo à / at : http://pages.infinit.net/davil
class="style9">>Not to mention that if I am not mistaken the Minima works only with 200' >loads.
Which cost more.
Spend the money on good lenses and a good (Sprit) transfer.
Note that you should haggle on price, no one pays list. Transfer to Digibeta and DV simultaneously. You might want to edit at 24 fps, though it's not necessary if it's only for video release.
class="style9">>the Aaton Minima S16. I wonder if the quality will be sharp with a Kodak >50D stock.
There's a Justin Timberlake shot with A-minima's and it looks fantastic.
You can letterbox in transfer, perhaps find a post house w/ a Spirit. Be meticulous with your lighting, get an experienced gaffer and plan /discuss options/look desired. To shoot 7245 indoors you will have to roast the talent. 7246 and 7218 will give you exceptional results, and so will a good transfer.
The alternative is renting an affordable older 35mm camera, maybe a crystal Arri 2C w/ PL mount, and use sharp modern lenses. You can use 5245, 46, 18. Plan your shoot and rehearse the band well. If they've never done this before practice a lot before rolling.
Then there's always the low budget available daylight/bounce board shoot.
Good luck and have fun.
John F. Babl
class="style9">> Problem, Super16mm or 35?
With $10,000, it would be hard to get a Hype Williams 'look' without a lot of strings pulled for the locations, cars, jewels, etc.
And even if you have the locations, etc., you're still going to need to light them. All the lights in the world with 16mm will still fall short of the Hype 'look'.
IF you're shooting with a minimum of locations that would not need hours of lighting, go with 35mm. Try to get a 3-perf or 2-perf camera.
Otherwise super 16mm would be the place to go. If you're looking to do any of that small shutter effect that is one of Hype's trademarks, there are only two 16mm cameras that can do this : the Arri SR3 (45 degrees) or the Eclair NPR (10 degrees?). But, it's unlikely that you'll find any modern lenses to go with the NPR, so you're left with the SR3.
If you don't need to change the shutter, I would recommend the Aaton minima
>>[A friend recommended I try out the Aaton Minima S16.]
>>Why? Unless your looking for a very small camera, are you?
Here's where I beg to differ: music videos can go on for over 20 hours sometimes, and require as many as 25 setups or more during that time - some elaborate, others not.
I sincerely believe that the ease of use of that camera along with the lightness can greatly increase the number of setups a day.
With an onboard monitor, for example, the director can easily get a 'butcher's look' of the next setup very quickly.
Getting the camera off and on the dolly, switching to steadicam/handheld and back, etc.
Now, perhaps on a full union shoot the speed of experienced AC's and grips may make this point negligible, but on a $10K music video ... ?
Also, today's generation of new directors have usually (although not always) come from a background of video, usually having cut their teeth on an XL-1 or PD-150 (or sometimes a Bolex). A large degree of their creativity comes from the fact that they feel they can put that camera anywhere and experiment with various angles, etc.
The Minima allows for that kind of creativity. And the 200' loads have neve been a hindrance. It takes about 30 seconds to reload - longer, if it's your first time.
Or maybe I'm just biased.
If you're looking to do any of that small shutter effect that is one of Hype's trademarks, there are only two 16mm cameras that can do this....
Just a note-Armanda Costanza Inc. in Nashville has an XTR Prod with the eleven position shutter.
>>Problem, Super16mm or 35?
Super 16, on your budget.
>>It's to be shown on BET. And I was wondering if it is possible to >enhance the contrast and color of the processed footage as easily in >post as it is with DVCAM in Final Cut Pro and After Effects?
Yes. Easier. Get a good telecine, like a Spirit.
>>It will be a two day shoot. The shooting condition will be exterior, clear, >early to mid-day, strong colors in playground setting.
How much lighting/grip equipment will you have, and how big a crew will you have to work it? 7245 might be a little contrasty. I think I'd opt for something faster and with lower contrast so you can make the image work with minimal tweaking on set. You can add all the color and contrast you want later. 7218 or 7229 would be good options, especially with a narrow shutter angle.
>>A friend recommended I try out the Aaton Minima S16. I wonder if the >quality will be sharp with a Kodak 50D stock.
Depends on the lens, the lab and the telecine. I had to do a one-man-band shoot with the A-Minima a while back and I didn't find it a fast camera. A professional camera assistant would have been able to reload it a lot faster but I found it temperamental. The 200' loads don't last THAT long, and if you want to get all of that footage you'd better load and unload in a changing tent to make sure you have that first and last 10-15 feet.
Besides, once you put a zoom and follow focus rig on the A-Minima you might as well bump up to an SR. It's very fast to reload and your viewfinder will be orientable.
>>And is it possible to have a finished product that is similar in contrast, >color, and resolution as some of the big budget videos?
Yes. Use good lenses, a good film stock, a good lab, a good telecine, and overexpose a little for a thick negative.
Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"