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Old April 11th, 2009, 01:22 AM   #1
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Major Hollywood Action Film "Crank High Voltage" Shot Entrely on HDV Tape !

Hi friends who shoot HDV on either Canon or Sony camcorders. Finally a major Hollywood action film has been shot entirely on HDV tape starring Jason Statham (The Transporter). In the sequal to "Crank," comes "Crank High Voltage." In this month's (April) American Cinematographer Magazine, on page 22, AC describes the production as an HDV Action Spectacular. I have been arguing for a couple of years now that the HDV format is a real and viable HD format. I have been laughed out of the room on more than one occassion for even suggesting it. Comments like, "It's a crippled format because it's 1440 instead of 1920," or "It's no good because it's too compressed," are the two comments I hear the most. The release print in cinemas now is 35 mm 1:85:1 from an original thick raster HD 1440 x 1080 @ 1.78:1 original. The Canon XH-A1 and HF 10 were used along with a Sony PMW-EX1. They used Canon's proprietary 24 F mode. Wow ! Could this become a trend ?
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Old April 11th, 2009, 11:20 AM   #2
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Moved out of Area 51 to Awake In The Dark -- this is not Area 51 material.

The next time someone mentions 1440 like that, just tell 'em that's the recorded resolution
of HDCAM, the single most widely accepted format in the world for HD broadcast masters.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Moved out of Area 51 to Awake In The Dark -- this is not Area 51 material.

The next time someone mentions 1440 like that, just tell 'em that's the recorded resolution
of HDCAM, the single most widely accepted format in the world for HD broadcast masters.
...Chris, I wasn't sure where to post this so I posted it Area 51. Regarding HDV resolution, you make a very good point.

Last edited by Mark Job; April 11th, 2009 at 08:25 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 02:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post
... shot entirely on HDV tape

... The Canon XH-A1 and HF 10 were used along with a Sony PMW-EX1.
Hi Mark.

That's certainly great news for HDV with the Canon cameras!

And great news for sub-$10k camcorders (which all three are).

However, the PMW-EX1 is not an HDV camera. It records to solid-state cards. It has 1/2 inch chips (1920 X 1080) and a higher bitrate than HDV. Do you know the percentages of how much was shot with the EX1 and how much with the Canons?
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Old April 12th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #5
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According to the HDVideo Pro article, the EX1 was only used for slow motion shots, most of the movie used XH-A1 and HF10.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #6
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Thanks, James.

This looks like a big validation for Canon's 24"f" mode. Well done, Canon.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #7
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read about this in american cinematographer, they used the XH-A1 and the canon HF10, HF10s retailing at $1000. They also used the sony ex-1 for high speed. They chose this because the cameras shot nice looking footage, but also because they are expendable at that big of a budget. Meaning, they can drop, throw, crash, etc. all the cameras that they need to. There is a pretty cool picture in AC of the DP jumping off of an overpass with an XH-A1 in hand, Jason Statham right behind. this is a different one with the HF10, but same idea. (Photos from Crank: High Voltage)

Also fun fact, they cranked the shutters of the cameras up to 1/1200. Think about the amount of light that they had to use.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #8
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Here's a production still. Recognize the camera?
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Old April 16th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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I suspect, if it's anything like Crank, the film has a high energy comic stripe look. HDV works in telling this story in this style, the film makers run with the large DOF etc. and don't pretend it's 35mm, but it has limitations for other story telling styles. Basically, there won't be a huge run to shoot high end films on HDV because there a better formats out there, which give a more subtle image quality.

Having said that, the EX1 and EX3 is being used as second camera on a number of TV productions and people use the tools that are required for particular jobs.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 11:09 PM   #10
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Went and saw Crank High Voltage today and must say the camera work and editing is INSANE. In a good way.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 01:25 AM   #11
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Went and saw Crank High Voltage today and must say the camera work and editing is INSANE. In a good way.
...Yes, but, how was the quality of the picture on the cinema screen ? Were the colors rich or anemic looking ? Were the images noisy or grainy looking ? Were the blacks black or slightly grey looking ? Did you notice any detail in the shadows ? Do tell.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:34 PM   #12
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I was too busy enjoying the s#%@ out of this movie to think about grain or detail in the shadows...looked great. See it.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #13
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Good colors

I haven't seen the movie itself yet, though I have seen the trailer a few times. The colors are rich and vibrant. Nothing about the colors seemed lacking at all, based on the trailer. The blacks also seemed to really be back, not washed out, gray, or grainy.

For me the footage only betrayed its HDV roots in the highlights. Bright areas seemed to clip to white rather suddenly, without any sort of a nice smooth falloff. Also the sky always seemed over exposed, like the sky typically is in video, where in film originated material the sky always seems not quite so bright, with more details visible in the clouds.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #14
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I saw the trailer for Crank in a digital theater a few months ago and thought it looked great. Especially considering right after the trailer, there was a commercial for a local news station that was filmed in the studio with gear that I would have to assume is a step up from an A1, and it was awful. The difference between the two was astounding.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #15
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I just netflixed this one on blu-ray. Wow! There was some jiggly CMOS issues here and there but for the most part I was stunned. Makes you realize Hollywood camera budgets don't need to be much. At all. A must rent if you're thinking of spending big bucks on a camera.
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