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Old January 30th, 2003, 03:12 PM   #1
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What are the reality show guys using?

When you're watching a reality show (excluding those shot in studios), what kind of lens are they generally using? Are they using autofocus, or pulling focus manually? I'm talking about unpredicatble situations, like the dating shows, Survivor type stuff, etc.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 08:03 PM   #2
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I saw a couple of GL1 or GL2s on American Idol last night. Most likely used in auto mode. However I think most shooters use manual mode though on their shoulderbricks.

Note: Not an American Idol fan, I just like watching Simon make people cry.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 09:03 PM   #3
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Trading Spaces uses GL's.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 12:43 AM   #4
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Steve, there was a bit of a debate recently whether Trading Spaces uses the GL camera as more than just a prop. However, many other shows use 3-chip miniDV's as "extra footage" cams.
It's a pretty good bet that the larger budget shows are using Digital Beta and are using manual focus.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 12:49 AM   #5
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It's a GL1 on Trading Spaces, and it is not a prop. All the video from the "Paige Cam" comes from that GL1. Maybe it depends on how you define "prop," but they are definitely using that GL1's video for broadcast. Hope this helps,
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Old January 31st, 2003, 02:01 AM   #6
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Chris, Ken has an interesting theory about the footage from the Paige Cam in this thread.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ight=paige+cam

Either way, it's a testament to the picture quality of miniDV cameras that people are using them in broadcast production. The Paige Cam is a bad example, since it's supposed to look different than the regular footage, but spotting PD150's, GL1's, VX2000's and occasionaly XL1s in multi-camera reality shoots is becoming an almost daily occurance.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 02:46 AM   #7
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So are these camera guys using manual focus just badasses, or do the shows' editors edit around the parts where the cameraman is critically focusing and the like?
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Old January 31st, 2003, 06:42 AM   #8
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I just read Ken's theory and it's an interesting take on it, but I don't think that's the case with the Paige cam on Trading Spaces and here's why: with the pace of that show, they don't have the time to stage that sort of thing. A lot of what we see is indeed directed and set up, i.e. not as spontaneous as they want it to appear, but they just don't have the time to re-shoot Paige's material.

I recall one shot in particular taken from the interior of the TS pickup (lorry for you Brits), from Paige of Laurie as Laurie drove to Home Depot or whereever. If it was re-shot by somebody else, they would have to go back and do that whole thing two times. On other occasions, Paige has lent her camera out to a homeowner overnight. Too much hassle to re-stage all this stuff when you have only about 36 hours to shoot it all in the first place. That's my take on it.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 10:25 AM   #9
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Josh:

Betacams use manual lenses (with servo zooms). Generally for this kind of work they would have wide-angle zooms which sacrifice a bit on the telephoto end but also have 1.7x or 2x magnifying elements that can be flipped in for special long lens situations. Yes, the operator is manually focusing like a "badass", and yes the editors are likely cutting around their snap-in critical focusing. Very occasionally you might see a shot that starts soft and blasts into focus, that would be the editor making a creative choice to use the focusing process!

A particularly skilled operator knows his/her lens well enough that they can estimate where to rotate the barrel even when they are at the wide end of the lens, so that when they zoom in they will be fairly accurate (and during the zoom they are constantly trimming the focus to eye.

I've known shooters who have done "The Real World". The hours are long, it's physically demanding (lots of running around and jockeying into position) and the cameras are big and heavy, especially compared to a GL2! but for those who dig it, it can be fun.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 11:55 AM   #10
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I have seen PD-150's on both Monster Garage and Modern Myths (I think that is the name) and I even saw a PD100a on Modern Myths the other night.
There is probably a lot of "prosumer" use on TV these days, especially when you look at the sheer number of new programs coming out with small budgets. The average American doesn't even own a TV that will display more than MAYBE 300 lines of resolution, so for a show to spend the money on cameras that will shoot significantly higher resolution than the GL, XL or PD cameras seems like a waste of budget when you are talking about digital editing where the generation loss is minimal.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 12:24 PM   #11
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Well, I'd like to make the manual 16x my main lens, but it's tough to critically focus really quickly with Johnny LCD, the soft color viewfinder.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 01:30 PM   #12
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rhett121. A full size camera has a lot more manual controls then a XL1, or PD150. In addition, when you Modulate video you do loose resolution so if you wont to broadcast 300 lines of resolution then your video must originate from a higher resolution, i.e. a high res. camera.

I Herd a testimony from one of the camera operators for “Life in the E.R ” saying how wonderful the PD-100a is for there show”. The footage resembles PD100a footage so I am guessing the 100a is a big part in that series.

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Old January 31st, 2003, 01:58 PM   #13
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Right you are Alex, but the PD, GL, XL, and such are capable of putting out around 500+ lines (or at least around 480 on the tape).

As far as the PD-100a, I think it is one of the best cameras I had seen in a while. I actually wanted one (as PD-150 backup) until they changed it to the PDX10, now I don't. If you have ever seen the Movie "Dancer in the Dark" the big warehouse dance scene was shot with a hundred (100) PD-100a's with 16:9 lens adapters and all the cameras were hooked together and sync'd to capture the scene from all these different angles at the same time. It's a pretty cool scene, and a real testament to the camera's quality, the scene "looks" good (I own the DVD).
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Old February 1st, 2003, 04:04 PM   #14
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I have not seen that move yet. It sounds like a good one.
I totally second your opinion. The PD100a is one of my favorite cameras. I use one, but its audio is not working on it any more so its only good for capturing just video.

Last night I was covering the opening night of a film that was shot up my way and a few of the other BIG stations were there as well. I got to see some of the footage they shot on a DSR-500 as they were editing it with the sweetest portable editing system. Man did the footage look nice, but when you see it aired it dose not look a lot better then what is shot a 1/3inch DV cam.

Alex
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