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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old April 25th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #1
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Crank 2

Hi Gang,

Did anyone happen to see it in the theater?

What were your thoughts on the look, how did our beloved camera do on the big screen?

Thanks,

Tom
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Old April 26th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #2
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I've seen the trailer on a 50" plasma and it looked great. They came up with a very interesting look that works with what they're doing. I'd like to see it on the big screen just to see what it looks like, but I've seen XH A1 footage theatrically before, so I know it holds up pretty well. I don't think I could sit through all of this film, having seen the first one: Jason S. survives impossible stunts and beatings and stabbings and shootings and does a lot of chase scenes and wipes out the bad guys and makes it with some (hopefully) nude chicks. However, dumb as it may be, the film will make a hell of a lot of money and thus could be revolutionary--a typical Hollywood teenage action movie shot on the cheap with cheap cameras that makes money. That will lead to more HDV-shot films, I think, and more people putting more little cameras in places no big camera could possibly go.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #3
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Hi Bill,

Thanks for the reply, I just saw the film.

You're right on all fronts:

1. It looked very sharp, although the colors were a little too muted for me (although that could have been a "look" that they wanted).

2. There were some folks that shared your feelings and left the theater.

3. I too hope it makes a ton of money so that more opportunities open up for all of us.

4. On the big screen, you could see the difference between the little cameras and the XHA1.

5. They used a "stuttering" effect too often that made it very hard to watch at times.

Again, thanks for the reply (I am a fan of your posts).

Regards,

Tom

tom@tomchaney.com
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Old April 28th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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I also saw Crank: High Voltage in the theater. I have to say, I was pretty damn impressed with the look of the film. It was super sharp with virtually no video noise to speak of. And there is almost no shallow depth of field in the film. They threw caution to the wind and had everything in focus! In short, I was blown away with the XH A1 film transfer. It was truly inspiring to see what is possible with an HDV camera.

From articles I have read, the filmmakers have stated that they went with a radical look in camera. I'd give a pinkie finger for that "look." It's almost impossible to guess what they did in camera and what they did in post, so the only way to know is for Brandon Trost (cinematographer) to spill the beans, which he'll probably never do, because a magician never reveals his tricks, right? I'm gonna go cry....
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Old April 28th, 2009, 05:14 PM   #5
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Did they actually record via HDV or did they actually capture uncompressed? I saw the picture that someone posted and it didn't look like they were capturing uncompressed, I'm just surprised how well HDV has held up with all the effects and CC that it would have gone through.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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I've been looking around for info on what how they set up the camera.
There's probably someone out there who could reverse engineer the 'look'. The only quotes I've seen from the film maker is that they use -3db, and they like the high shutter speed, probably for the stutter look, and that they don't like to color correct in post and prefer to set up the look in the camera.

The one question I would want to know is do they use 24F,30F, or 60i, or a combo.
From what I understand if you use 24F with a high shutter speed you'll get the staccato effect as seen in the fight scenes in the movie Gladiator.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 04:04 AM   #7
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Yes, Bill, when you increase the shutter speed, you get the staccato effect, like in Gladiator. It doesn't matter if you are in 24F, 30F, or 60i fast shutter speeds will give you the choppy look. It also reduces how much light is coming into the camera, so you almost have to do it in bright, daylight situations, where there is enough light.

Conversely, when you choose slow shutter speeds, you will get the blurry, seemingly slow motion effect, like was done several times in Slumdog Millionaire.

But from what I saw from Crank: High Voltage, it looked like they had the sharpness cranked (sorry for the pun) in camera, as every pore and nuance of detail was apparent in a lot of shots. The color looked pretty neutral, so I wouldn't say they did much there. They probably chose one of the cinegamma settings and the blacks looked pretty crushed, so they might have pressed them in camera, as well. But this is all speculation.

But shooting everything at -3db will go a long way to ensuring as noise-free an image as possible.

I'm surprised this information hasn't been procured by someone. Let's hold the filmmakers of Crank: High Voltage hostage and give them noogies till they tell us the presets they used.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #8
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I just watched it at the Arclight, which prides itself in projecting a great picture. Sat very close, and was not amazed by what I saw.

There was considerable digital noise especially in the blacks, and the highlights were blown-out in many shots. I didn't care for the lack of saturation, but I imagine that's a result of fast shutter and the filmmakers' intentions.

I didn't look awful, but in all honesty, I think Canon's XH's can look better than this.

Sorry to be kind of a downer.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 05:15 AM   #9
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When asked in HD Video Pro if he created the look in the camera's menu, Brandon Trost replied:

"I kept it very simple...I always zero everything out and shoot with the cine gamma setting and the cine matrix setting. That's pretty much the only thing I touch because I know I'll be doing color correction later. Something we did on this film was crank up the sharpness or detail setting."

Tom
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Old April 29th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #10
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I've seen a ton of "films" shot on "film" that were very noisy myself. Some were kind of distracting. Noise is noise whether it's film or digital. Contrary to what some folks keep preaching...film noise is not necessarily more pleasing to the eye...especially when it gets distracting. With that said..I couldn't see or didn't notice any noise in this film (nothing distracting a least). The only real problems I had was the high shutter speed...which almost gave me a headache. But after the first ten minutes you get used to it. The movie looked excellent...and I was completely shocked. I knew the trailer going in was nice looking..but to watch the full feature (as dumb and stupid as the story was) knowing it was shot on a A1 suprised me on how good it looked.

The director purposely blew out the highlights and had deep depth of field. he knew what he was doing because this is the look he wanted. And guess what....it worked. We fight here and there to try so hard to look like film with our rules and recommendations...but these directors just did the total opposite of what we do....and it works. I hope this makes a lot of folks breath easier on how to put together their compositions. I'm frankly tired of hearing that ...that's too sharp...that's the wrong shutter speed...it will never hold up on the big screen...etc...etc. When I first seen the HV20 onthe big screen a year and a half ago (In a George Clooney trailer), though it was only for a few seconds, it made me think that most folks don't know what they were talking about. Then this comes out.... Ha...all I have to say is.."start getting used to breaking some more rules."


Oh...and there are those on the other end of the spectrum who would always say.."as long as you have a good story....it doesn't matter what kind of camera you shoot on..etc." Well...the story here....SUCKED!! But it was fun. How do you explain that? LOL.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 10:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. Thompson View Post
I've seen a ton of "films" shot on "film" that were very noisy myself. Some were kind of distracting. Noise is noise whether it's film or digital. Contrary to what some folks keep preaching...film noise is not necessarily more pleasing to the eye...especially when it gets distracting. With that said..I couldn't see or didn't notice any noise in this film (nothing distracting a least). The only real problems I had was the high shutter speed...which almost gave me a headache. But after the first ten minutes you get used to it. The movie looked excellent...and I was completely shocked. I knew the trailer going in was nice looking..but to watch the full feature (as dumb and stupid as the story was) knowing it was shot on a A1 suprised me on how good it looked.

The director purposely blew out the highlights and had deep depth of field. he knew what he was doing because this is the look he wanted. And guess what....it worked. We fight here and there to try so hard to look like film with our rules and recommendations...but these directors just did the total opposite of what we do....and it works. I hope this makes a lot of folks breath easier on how to put together their compositions. I'm frankly tired of hearing that ...that's too sharp...that's the wrong shutter speed...it will never hold up on the big screen...etc...etc. When I first seen the HV20 onthe big screen a year and a half ago (In a George Clooney trailer), though it was only for a few seconds, it made me think that most folks don't know what they were talking about. Then this comes out.... Ha...all I have to say is.."start getting used to breaking some more rules."


Oh...and there are those on the other end of the spectrum who would always say.."as long as you have a good story....it doesn't matter what kind of camera you shoot on..etc." Well...the story here....SUCKED!! But it was fun. How do you explain that? LOL.
I aggree. I thought it looked amazing. I don't understand what the other guy is talking about????
This decided a few things for me. I am looking forward to the DVD release to find out more info on post. I think I will be picking up one of these cams due to how good this movie looked.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 07:26 PM   #12
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Sitting very close to the screen, he's seeing te film grain. Also, print runs can vary and some prints are not as good as others. We have a new AMC theater in KC that's all digital, no film projectors at all--they get releases in on small hard drives and use Sony 4K projectors. You won't see any grain there.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:28 AM   #13
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I knew they cranked up the sharpness setting! I just knew it! Thanks Tom for finding that quote. It doesn't give the exact preset settings he used, but it tells us lot.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Sitting very close to the screen, he's seeing te film grain. Also, print runs can vary and some prints are not as good as others. We have a new AMC theater in KC that's all digital, no film projectors at all--they get releases in on small hard drives and use Sony 4K projectors. You won't see any grain there.
Bill what I saw was considerable amounts of mosquito noise, which does not look like film grain.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #15
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Interesting. I guess now I'm going to have to go buy a ticket to check it out. I was hoping to avoid that.:)
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