quinta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2009

Fazer Cinema "Baratinho"

Em jeito de resposta ao recente mega-êxito do YouTube "Ataque de Panico", um filme que tem sido divulgado como tendo custado apenas $300 a fazer, Alexander Ibrahim (um realizador/director de fotografia) comentou que a realidade é bem diferente:

I’m a director & director of photography (DP)

Crew costs money. Lots of money.

Cast and directorial cost lots and lots and lots of money. A single star actor or director might earn more than an entire crew.

When you see things like this that “claim” to cost just $500 (or $300 depending on who you read) they are discounting all labor. If you paid everyone involved according to federal minimum wage laws the budgets would balloon.

Of course these are not minimum wage jobs. Most of them are union crafts. The main point of most unions is to protect crews from being worked to death, which is the natural tendency of any producer. I’ve been on non-union shoots where the crew was asked to work 24 hour days several days in a row. (they ‘revolted’ and good for them.)

Minimum crew for a 35mm camera (or a RED or the like) runs $2000 per day at union minimum wages. (That’s a DP/Operator and a first assistant) Then even for a very small film you need a sound recorder, and a couple of lighting people.

I usually keep a camer crew of three, I’ll DP/Operate, then I have a 1st assistant (to pull focus- i.e. to keep the lens focused on the correct subject as the camera and subject move- something most autofocus systems are incapable of.) and a 2nd assistant. On paper the 2nd reloads the camera, helps the 1st move the camera and does the slate and camera logs. (In reality the 1st and 2nd split the work however suits them.)

Then there is the director, the first assistant director- who is essential for a multiday shoot or really anything with a critical schedule. If there is a script (which neither of the films linked here have) a script supervisor a dialog coach. There is a 2nd Assistant director who handles background actors…. it goes on and on if you’ve ever watched the credits for a film you know what I mean.

I assure you they aren’t hiring people “just because” all of them have jobs that are fairly essential.

Also, remember the rates I quoted above are the union minimum wages. If you start hiring the best available crew you can spend a lot more.

Of course its all small potatoes compared to the salaries of celebrity actors, directors and producers.

Then there is the gear. The stuff you need to make an impressive picture on YouTube is far different than what you need to hold an audiences attention on a theater screen for 2 hours plus – or even to hold their attention on the LCD in your living room. Of course the most expensive camera gear is a tiny fraction of a big budget film. A RED camera with accessories and Cooke S5i or ARRI Master Prime lenses and a couple of zooms will run about a quarter million USD to purchase. It costs about $1500-2000 per day to rent such cameras, so they are usually rented.

Lighting gear is expensive too. I won’t get into details there, but for a week long independent SF film I just shot we spent about $4500 on rented lighting gear. That’s about 14 lights, stands and a pile of grip gear. Included there is a dolly and track, plus delivery & pickup. That’s an incredibly small package. It wasn’t quite enough for my picture and it would be entirely, jokingly inadequate for a serious feature.

Another project I recently shot, with an entirely volunteer crew, was budgeted near $30,000 for about 35 pages of shooting principally on a starship command center. That cost was entirely for rental of gear and warehouse space, and materials for set construction. We shot for about 6 days.

Have a look at http://www.starshippolaris.com

My rough guess at a crew&directorial cost, if we had paid the various union minimum wages, for the entire week would be about $60,000, cast would run another $30,000. The show is about half shot out, we have a green screen and two location shoots coming up.

Movie making is Expen$ive

Serve certamente para pôr as coisas em perspectiva... :)

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