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Old August 25th, 2005, 01:42 AM   #1
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Homemade HD camera project

Hello guys.

My name is Josh, and I'm a novice when it comes to digital video. I don't have a whole lot of money, but want to make short films that are professional looking(without spending the money). I picked up a book called "Digital Movie Making" and from then on my technical awareness had completely changed. Do you mean I can shoot Digital Beta or even HD for less than half the cost? Right...I learned that once you got the basics of digital video technology , you can do anything.

Here's the point: About a month ago, I bought an old Ikegami ITC-350 tube camera for $60. It was used in television some years ago, and it has a very, very, very, expensive Canon lens on it. It didn't come with a viewfinder, battery, or tape deck. So far, I've bought the battery and it powers on, and the viewfinder will come soon. I would like to follow this forum in my experients to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get good video quality. I plan to route it to a D-VHS recorder on SD mode, buy a component to SDI converter, capture the video into my computer in post with an SDI card and render up 10 bit 4:2:2 uncompressed video, which is the same as say Digital Beta. What do you think?
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Old August 25th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #2
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I will wish you luck on your set up if you attempt it but to me it looks doubtful at best. It should work, and I don't doubt that, I seriously doubt the quality of the image it will produce.

Tubes were retired because CCD's (and not even really good ones at the time) were more accurate, allowed for more speed and control of things such as intergration time and actual pixels. So I would likely say a low end mini dv will pull off a better image than an old tube camera no matter how great the glass.

And on another note I'm pretty sure D-VHS (at least in HD mode) is mpeg2 transport stream that is interframe with a GOP structure meaning high motion it losses quality and it is more intended for transfer over firewire like hdv not sdi because this will force a hardware decompression in the deck to happen and just bloat your data.

I have used beta sp and digi beta and I have to say D-VHS quality might be their in terms of video but the durability is not and is definetly not designed for any type of feild work at all.

You really don't have to spend a lot to get good quality, just don't see your setup producing good quality at any reasonable price. Just my opinion, you could prove me wrong
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Old September 1st, 2005, 11:33 AM   #3
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I've hooked the camera directly into my televsion and gave it a go yesterday. Here are my pro's and con's about tube cameras.

Pros: Sharp and clear image and Great depth of field and focus(much better than any handheld consumer camera). Overall, good glass(suitable for film-like compositions).

Cons: Image retention(in certain lighting settings, especially bright, there is a trail of light that follows the image which can be annoying), white balance is off a little bit, low light is awful.

To top it off: Okay, I guess my crazy "HD" idea isn't going to work after all, the mystery of tube cameras has been revealed to me by painful experience of actually turning the camera on. You can get very sharp and detailed images from these things, but the the color and crispness of dv or even film isn't there. The image is a little bit brittle. But the good news is, I will shoot a short film with it eventually in the near future and I will post it on this site so interested readers can see what this "rebirthed" tube camera can do.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 11:25 PM   #4
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High quality images

Now, I've shot some video under good lighting conditions and hooked it directly into my computer. The image is sharp/clear/and colorful. I will post some of the stills from it later.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 09:40 PM   #5
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where's the stills baby!
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Old March 6th, 2006, 06:59 AM   #6
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I want to see stills too!

I have say, I have been thinking about buying an old 3-tube professional camera, but I'd certainly like to see what kind of picture it makes before that. Oh, cannot wait...
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Old March 6th, 2006, 12:33 PM   #7
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I helped a friend filming a short some months ago. We had the choice between a Panasonic DVX100 miniDV, and underdeveloped 35mm-adapter and an old analogue 3CCD Panasonic studio-cam (WV-F250E) with Canon optics.

We chose to not use the 35mm adapter. All shots inside where we had electricity available the WV-F250E was used using the DVX100as a recorder. They were hooked up using analog composite (we hade problems with the s-video cable). On all outside shots the DVX100 was used.

My conclusion is that even an old studio-cam gives a more cinematic look (short DOF, better colours) than a relatively expensive, modern 3CCD miniDV because of the bigger optics and CCDs. The only drawback is the lack of progressive scan on the studio-cam, a feature that the DVX100 had.

But, it's still a lot of work even with the WV-F250E to get a cinematic look compared to using a well built 35mm-adapter. The best recipe would probably be using the DVX100 or a HD-cam with a 35mm-adapter.
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