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Old August 13th, 2007, 01:59 AM   #1
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XH-A1 w/ Brevis Good Enough for Filmout?

There is a small but still real possibility that the documentary project I'm working on will have some kind of theatrical release. (This caused me to totally upgrade the sound equipment.)

I am considering of shooting many of the interviews with an adapter since 1/3rd" chips and blurry backgrounds just don't seem to go together, even after opening up and zooming in.

But my fear is the video will lose too much resolution by adding an adapter. So after spending all this money time and effort getting the sound up to par for theatrical release, the adapter will now make the video a stumbling block.

I know that even SD material has been shown in theatres, but these are exceptions. So in all likelihood, does using an adapter take away too much resolution to realistically use the video for theatrical release?

BTW, I am contemplating a Brevis w/ Nikon 1.8 50mm and 85mm lenses, attached to either a XH-A1 (24F) or HV-20 (24P) and using the Cineform Neo HD codec.

THANKS MUCH.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 05:46 AM   #2
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Peter.

I think the only valid method to approach this is to shoot a short test, film it out, wear the cost but know exactly what you are going to get.

To distract viewers from inferior resolution, you may need to modify your shooting style to go closer on your interviewees than you might otherwise like and to avoid wide shots which contain fine textural detail, in other words, avoid shots where the audience becomes compelled to strain eyes trying to focus.

The recent Nikon f1.8 85mm AF is the sweetest lens and the sharpest onto a test chart. The f1.8 50mm is less satisfactory.

Dennis has three translucence option for his groundglasses. I think he calls them CF 1 2 and 3. The most translucent (lowest light loss) will also be the sharpest and may get you where you want to go. I get 862 TV lines on the "B" block of a Lemac chart with a backpolished home-made GG, so I expect the Brevis should do as well.

According to the notes on the back of the Lemac chart, 862 TV lines is about as good as video gets on that chart. The next block "A" is film res, so the final limiting factor may end up being your camera itself.

The most translucent groundglass may pass some aerial image so you would need to avoid brightly lit sharply defined objects in the soft background composition of your shot. Overlit white bark on tree branches is a definite for this artifact.

I would expect the most translucent option will also yield an image which will more easily intercut with your direct-to-camera footage.

Make sure you light sufficently to avoid video gain noise from the camera. This gain noise added to fine moving texture created by the GG may overwhelm the HDV codec with too much detail in individual frames and the codec will cope the only way it knows how, by shedding detail in favour of maintaining the frame rate.

Dennis might like to comment on his adaptor here to put right any wrong I have conveyed.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 13th, 2007 at 06:25 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old August 13th, 2007, 09:08 AM   #3
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If you can use Neo HD in direct to disk with Intensity (no HDV) this will be even better. XH-A1 24F Is not real progressive (if I can recall), it is half vertical resolution. Better shoot in interlace mode and deinterlace after. Brevis is sharp enough IMHO. ( I have Brevis and HV20 ) Bigger problem is how to get sharpness. You need good monitoring ( and shade if you shoot in outdoors) and follow focus. And I am also agree with Bob. Shoot tests to see if all its ok. You have to be shure in your workflow.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Igor Babic View Post
If you can use Neo HD in direct to disk with Intensity (no HDV) this will be even better.
Seconded. The Intensity Pro can capture 8-bit 4:2:2 via component with a desktop computer, and more expensive cards can capture 10-bit 4:4:4.

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Originally Posted by Igor Babic View Post
XH-A1 24F Is not real progressive (if I can recall), it is half vertical resolution. Better shoot in interlace mode and deinterlace after.
You are thinking another camera, such as the Sony A1U; it loses that much detail in its faux 24p. The 24F mode on the Canon XH A1 loses merely 10-20% of its vertical resolution and is better than even the best deinterlacing software.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 12:54 PM   #5
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If you can use Neo HD in direct to disk with Intensity (no HDV) this will be even better...
Right now I'm planning on using tape.

Intensity doesn't have a laptop version, which means I'd need to carry around a PCI Express laptop adapter or a small computer box. It is possible, it's just more money and complication being that everything is being shot on location, nothing in a studio. Most shots are indoors, but some will be outdoors and few following the person through their home.

Being tetherd to a box will also be a technical issue b/c the HDMI signal doesn't work well at long lengths. (I could go the the HDMI to SDI converter router, but that means even more $.) Sorry if it sounds like I'm whining, I'm actually really excited about working on this.

P.S. Even with all that said, I'm REALLY leaning towards using the HV-20.

Last edited by Peter Moretti; August 13th, 2007 at 02:05 PM.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #6
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HV 20 is poor in low light, it has static and blocky noise in it. It is also alot heavy to work with when you need all on manual, I mean unpractical. Auto White balance can slip in the middle of one take. We have seen this couple of times. For manual white balance you have to dig in to menus. If you have camera mounted upside/down joystic is reversed so you must get just to it. In this scenario picture on LCD stays upside down!(weird), but picture on external video out is OK. When you lock "exposure" and with all other stuff on your screen it is very hard to see what are you shooting. Audio is on 3.5mm stereo jack so you have to use some adapter box for XLRs. Battery holds only for an hour. Other than this It give you very good picture in good light condition, it is small and light (but heavy and almost unpractical with brevis rails, you can't shoot from your shoulder and is almost to heavy for handheld steadycam) Sensor in HV20 is not in center of camera filter thread so when you zoom in to brevis gg you loose alot of picture (if you use some DIY excenter you can avoid this). HDV is good enough or very good, way better done than sony and we still love to do things with this combo (Cheapest and sweetest HD combo).

Daniel, thanks for putting me on the right track. I was shooting couple of times with H1 so I have presumed that this is same thing. Sorry if I have mislead someone.

PS
Peter
Don't get me wrong I really love my HV20 but if you didn't use it don't go out and do some serious stuff without practice with it and knowing how to avoid problems.

Last edited by Igor Babic; August 14th, 2007 at 09:29 AM.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 09:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
...
The recent Nikon f1.8 85mm AF is the sweetest lens and the sharpest onto a test chart. The f1.8 50mm is less satisfactory.
...
Bob,

It seems to me that the best 50mm would be Zeiss's Planar T 50mm 1.4. It's resolution is outstanding, and bokeh is vey nice (I don't agree w/ Ken Rockwell's review).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ZF_Manual.html

But I favor Nikon's color rendition. I find Zeisses a little too natural and lacking a tad bit of warming. So the color won't match with a Nikon 85mm 1.8. While I might have to re-white balance when switching between Nikons, I'm sure I will have to re-WB when switching between Zeiss and Nikon.

All that said, Zeiss does make an 85mm 1.4.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Planar_T_.html

And their Planar T lens line is color matched. So if I went the entire Zeiss route, I wouldn't have to WB when changing lenses... and would be out considerably more $.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #8
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I a bit confused, isn't 35mm depth of field way more important than crisp resolution when considered a theatrical release?

Like to me, something can look professional if it has the correct, motion, colour grading (and lighting) and depth of field you'd expect from a professionally done project, even if the resolution is a bit soft. DVD's are definitely very low resolution and look fine.

But if something has video-like depth of field, no-matter how sharp it is, it's going to look home-video. I'd like to understand why this is a debatable question, when to me, its hands down that you go with an adaptor and sacrifice a bit of sharpness, vs no adaptor at all.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #9
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I think it's a matter of standards. You can't start out with soft footage and expect it to last over theatrical transfers, soft focusing of projectors, wear and tear and such. Especially with the high price of 35mm conversion, there's not much to be confused about. Sharpness is a legitimate concern.

Peter, just be sure to use good monitors on-set coming from the best output ports on the camera. 35mm adapters can produce very sharp footage, but only at the right settings, and after all my experience with them, I've learned they can be very fickle things.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 01:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Cowley View Post
I a bit confused, isn't 35mm depth of field way more important than crisp resolution when considered a theatrical release?

Like to me, something can look professional if it has the correct, motion, colour grading (and lighting) and depth of field you'd expect from a professionally done project, even if the resolution is a bit soft. DVD's are definitely very low resolution and look fine.

But if something has video-like depth of field, no-matter how sharp it is, it's going to look home-video. I'd like to understand why this is a debatable question, when to me, its hands down that you go with an adaptor and sacrifice a bit of sharpness, vs no adaptor at all.
I appreciate your comment, but believe it or not, I have to differ, LOL.

There was a whole movement in films when DP's and directors wanted more and more DOF, not less. There are shots in "The Grapes of Wrath" (I believe) where the DOF goes on to infinity. You see the talent in the foreground, the kitchen in behind and a kid in the bg playing with sled in the snow ALL in focus.

But there is no doubt that it's film. It actually looks way more filmic, IMHO, than some modern movies, e.g. "Dream Girls," shot in Super 35 but look like video because of the way they are lit and IDK what else.

That all being said, I'm willing to jump through quite a few hoops to use an adapter.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 08:29 AM   #11
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Peter.

Whether you stick with all-Nikon or mix and match the sharpest of Nikon and Zeiss, always - always -always, manually white-balance with each lens change.

This also may co-incidentally help the vigilence when somebody parks a red mustang just out of your shot or strolls in with a red tee-shirt and you get red bounce into your mixed daylight light source.

You can put salt in the stew but you can't take it out again.

Another thing to watch out for - I got caught with green spill from coastal vegetation which had a very bright green to it, amplified by ground bounce into the shrubbery from white sand. I could have balanced this out in post except I did a stupid thing. I used a white bounceboard onto my subjects.

When I tried to take out the green spill in post, I ended up with magenta highlights where my bounceboard lit the subjects. Think faded beetroot on cheekbones, eyebrows and chin and you get the picture.
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