Was reading a Slashdot thread on the first “consumer” HD camcorder and came across this interesting comment (something of a rarity for Slashdot :>)
I shoot 16mm film alot for work. I get a good Fiju color negative for about $35 per 400 foot role. 400 feet = 12 minutes. So seeing as the minimum time requirement for a feature length film is 90 minutes we can start to figure out the average cost of a small film. Let’s be generous and only say they are shooting 10:1 ratio (10 takes for every one you use). That means we need to shoot 900 minutes of film. Now 900 minutes divides by 12 minutes (1 role) gives us 75 roles of folm to complete the movie. Now let’s multiply the roles by $35 ot costs us per role and you end up with $2,625. This is not including developing, negative cutting or AB rolling. Let take the 900 minutes we need and let’s see how much miniDV tapes will cose. I get them 3 for $10 at the local drug store. Each is 60 minutes, but at full DV I really only get 30 minutes out of them. So 900 minutes divide by 10 minutes per tape gives us 30 tapes we need to get. Now they come in packs of 3 so let’s divide by 3 again and we get 10. So 10 packs x $10 = $100 I believe you can see just in the cost to shoot DV(at $100) is far cheaper than film (at $2,625)
This is interesting because it means amateur film makers can shoot on a media with the same quality as feature film makers. The reason a lot of student film people use 16mm is the cost. Not all feature films are shot on 35mm, which is roughly what HD give you, some are shot on 70mm. But just this morning I heard a movie review on TV for Real Cancun and they mentioned it was shot on HD and “looked really good”. High praise from a film critic.