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Old August 19th, 2012, 02:26 AM   #16
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

There seems to be a debate thrown up online following this:

ProVideo Coalition.com: Stunning Good Looks by Art Adams
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Old August 19th, 2012, 04:32 AM   #17
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

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Why is it taking so long??
Part 3 is here:

Revenge of Great Camera Shootout 2012: Pixel Peepers
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Old August 19th, 2012, 12:16 PM   #18
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

After watching part 3 I have concluded I need to sell my house and cars and buy an Arri Alexa!
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Old August 19th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #19
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

The issue is that while you can directly and repeatably measure most aspects of a cameras performance, because the process of creating images that are pleasing to the viewer almost always involves an image that is distorted from actuality, those tests and measurements often don't tell the full story.
For example some cameras can be said to give a better rendition of skin tones than others. Often this may be because the camera produces a redder image than true to life which may make people look healthier and thus more pleasing to look at. How do you measure the look a camera produces? An individual or panel of people can rate such looks, but the score they give will depend on personal preferences, trends and fashion. Film making is an art form, cameras are like brushes, perhaps the finest camel hair brush will be the best for one painting while a decorators brush may be better for a different work of art.
If removing the optical anti-aliase filter makes the picture sharper (which is likely) and that's the look you like, then yes it might be a worth while modification to do.

What the shoot out shows is that measurements and tests only tell one small part of the story. Equally important is how you use your available tools and the importance of the crew and operator. For me it shows that from the technical point of view, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen camera is important as this will allow you to work around them to get the very best result.
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Old August 20th, 2012, 01:13 PM   #20
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

I liked it better when all cameras sucked equally and cinematography was still important.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 06:12 AM   #21
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

[quote=Alister Chapman;1749104]The issue is that while you can directly and repeatably measure most aspects of a cameras performance, because the process of creating images that are pleasing to the viewer almost always involves an image that is distorted from actuality, those tests and measurements often don't tell the full story.
For example some cameras can be said to give a better rendition of skin tones than others. Often this may be because the camera produces a redder image than true to life which may make people look healthier and thus more pleasing to look at. How do you measure the look a camera produces? An individual or panel of people can rate such looks, but the score they give will depend on personal preferences, trends and fashion. Film making is an art form, cameras are like brushes, perhaps the finest camel hair brush will be the best for one painting while a decorators brush may be better for a different work of art.
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If removing the optical anti-aliase filter makes the picture sharper (which is likely) and that's the look you like, then yes it might be a worth while modification to do.
My point wasn't on the validity or not of removing the OLPF it was on the fact that because there was no controlled trial of shots with & without the filter & a mixture of over-enthusiasm & wishful thinking whipped up such a frenzy on the Internet that even just yesterday I saw someone posting categorically that the only way to get a sharp image out of the 5D3 is to remove the OLPF. When eventually some comparative trials were done it was clearly seen that there was no discernible difference whatsoever in the video resolution with or without the OLPF.

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What the shoot out shows is that measurements and tests only tell one small part of the story. Equally important is how you use your available tools and the importance of the crew and operator. For me it shows that from the technical point of view, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen camera is important as this will allow you to work around them to get the very best result.
Unfortunately the way the shoot-out was structured this is not the message that is being taken away & this is well articulated in the posts by Art Adams.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 02:37 PM   #22
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

I swear, if you cut out every time someone said some variation of "It's not the camera, it's the person behind it" or "We're all about story. The picture is just a creative way to get there" and "we're all about learning and discovering", or "you can get a great image out of any one of these" the thing would be ten minutes long.

There's a whole lot of people in this game who don't believe any of that for a second. Not really (although they'd say 'it's the person behind the camera' referring to themselves). Bring a 7D along to something they'd be all "Er, I hope you moire!" *snort* "Tamron? Can you get those with food stamps? I thought this was a real production".
Perhaps it's my confirmation bias, but they seem in somewhat higher numbers than the warm old chaps in the video. I have a certain morbid curiosity as to what sort of test show you'd get with a room full of them instead. A new twist on the 'real world' test.

(ed. this post is supposed to be somewhat snarkily light hearted, but may not get that across. With a twist of bitterness sure, but light all the same)
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Old August 24th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #23
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

With any camera test, it doesn't matter how you do it, how careful you are, someone will always be unhappy with the results and as a result question the tests validity.

It is sad that some web sites have chosen to twist and manipulate the results of this test to suit their aims (mainly self promotion through sensationalism). But the test methodology was clearly explained, nothing was hidden and the results speak for themselves and the comments given are just that, comments.

I was at the London screening and I saw a steady increases in image quality that was almost directly proportionate to the cost of the cameras. Yes the iPhone etc did do surprisingly well and it has made me more mindful of the fact that I have an OK video camera in my pocket most of the time, but I think anyone serious about video production will realise that while the shootout did show how close all these different cameras can be made to look, there is still a big difference between the high and low end of the market.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #24
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

I was really impressed with the Alexa. The F65 looked good, except for the weird blue highlight thing. The EPIC looked somehow dark or smoky. It's hard to describe.

At the low end, the iPhone didn't really rate, and the GH2 looked overly sharp and video-like to me. The 7D fared poorly. I would have liked to have seen it with the new VAF filter or a 5D3 or 5D2/VAF, rather than a straight, old firmware 7D. Hey, if the GH2 gets hacks, the Canon DSLRs should show their non-aliasing tricks, right? :)

The FS100, C300, and F3 all fared well, IMO. Definitely a step up from the bottom three. Nice, pro results.

But the Alexa continues to impress me. Everything seemed "just right" with it.

And, yes, one can tell a great story with any of these cams. Then again, telling a great story and also having stunning images requires a healthy camera budget.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #25
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
If removing the optical anti-aliase filter makes the picture sharper (which is likely) and that's the look you like, then yes it might be a worth while modification to do.
Something which can't be said too often is how aliasing can affect downstream compression. Aliases may not be too objectionable on raw camera footage, and may not be too much of a problem in post work (likely to be in codecs with quite high bitrates), but can really cause issues with such as broadcast codecs.

That's why simply looking at "normal" pictures to make a full judgement is not enough. It's quite possible for two cameras to give similar results on straightforward viewing, but for one to fall apart in the broadcast chain whilst another stand up far better. Hence the importance of getting someone who knows what they're doing to make scientific assessments with proper test inputs that are desgned to show up potential problems.

And operator ability and sheer camera quality should be seen as two totally separate matters. It's not enough to take the best camera and say "now I can make a great film!". But for any given operator, script, etc a better camera is only likely to make it better, subject to suitability in terms of size etc.

If you want to realistically compare cameras, they need to be compared on a level playing field. If you want to compare cameramen for lighting ability etc it makes sense to give them all the same equipment. You test one variable at a time.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 08:54 PM   #26
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

As a GH2 owner, I was pleased with the fact that the camera got such a nice review from the 'Revenge' part of the test, where people relit the scene to make the most of their camera. From what I've 'heard' in the posts from people who were there as well as in the online videos, the little GH2 did quite well, at least until people found out which camera was which and re-ordered some of their choices. And I was not suprised at the second part(the 3rd video) where each camera shot the scene with the same lighting and the GH2, even with post-grading, couldn't handle the scene in the way the more expensive cameras did.

The reason why I bought mine was because it apparently was not as susceptible to moire as the more expensive Canons were (at the time) and it could record for more than 30 min.s w/o overheating. (I shoot live theater that often lasts 1-2 hours). It does have a reputation for being sharp, from other tests as well and being as you can always 'soften' in post, I find that a nice thing:-)

The moire issue doesn't really change much with the hacks from what I've seen, except perhaps if you are shooting a field of waving wheat stalks or a wide shot of ocean waves and foam. The hack might have been helpful for grading but for a scene like that I don't think it effected moire or aliasing much at all-still it is nice to know it is availlable.

In the end, Zacuto's 'Revenge' did something really nice. It pointed out, as far as I'm concerned, that skill and knowledge of your gear count for a lot. If I was offered to DP a well-funded feature, I wouldn't grab my GH2 but given that someone as experienced as Francis Ford Coppola thought the GH2 looked great, it is a kick-in-the-ass reminder that if my footage doesn't look so good, it probably means I've got some skills to hone...
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Old August 24th, 2012, 11:06 PM   #27
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

I personally thought the GH2 out of all the budget minded cameras was the best. I could not pick out aliasing, it handled highlights better than those within it's price ranges, and I couldn't pick out in the blind test any of the oversharpening that I could pick out from the AF100 from the Camera Shootout 2011.

I do question the process of the F65 in relying on third parties on certain aspects of processing. Produced a good image nonetheless, but I do question the transparency of what processing has been done to the F65's image before it got graded.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 06:50 AM   #28
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

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From what I've 'heard' in the posts from people who were there as well as in the online videos, the little GH2 did quite well, .......

The reason why I bought mine was because it apparently was not as susceptible to moire as the more expensive Canons were (at the time) ......
The GH2 and AF100 do suffer quite badly from aliasing - but how they differ from the DSLRs of the time is that the aliases are purely monochrome, not multi-coloured - this is easy to see from comparative charts, as well as real world experience.

On straightforward viewing, this makes them subjectively better. But following on from what I said earlier, the downside is that monochrome aliasing is just as bad at upsetting downstream coders. Your pictures may look in the same league as those from a dearer camera when intercut in the edit suite - but certain shots stand out like a sore thumb if you watch at home. That's the nasty, insidious side to aliasing. And it's a negative side to cameras that such as the Zacuto tests don't even seem aware of.

Think of aliasing like bacteria - two foods may taste equally good, but one may give you food poisoning, the other won't!

As far as the GH2 goes, it seems to be a question of whether you see a pot half full or half empty. I would be the last to dispute it represents extremely good value for what it costs - that is not the same as trying to hope it challenges an Alexa in absolute terms.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 08:11 AM   #29
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

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I liked it better when all cameras sucked equally and cinematography was still important.
Love that one, Dylan! :)

The tests just go to show that today we have an extremely wide choice of cameras & lenses at widely varying price points, that are all capable tools and will deliver outstanding results when used in the right hands.

If Francis Ford Coppola likes the video footage produced by a GH2, it is no reason for owners of Alexa, Red, C300 or F65 cameras to suddenly be up in arms! I think it was quite funny to hide the names of the cameras until after everyone had made their final choices.

It just goes to show how really everything boils down to personal taste, or the tastes of your targeted audience...and often the bulk of our audience is Mr & Mrs average who couldn't give two hoots which camera or how many expensive tools were employed, or how much equipment was used to light the subject. Steve hinted to this in saying: "The scary part is that so many viewers thought the supermarket lighting was attractive!"

As Steve Weiss also mentioned "...The message of the film is not which camera is best, it’s about possibilities. It’s all about honing your talent on whatever camera you have."
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Old August 25th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #30
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Re: Zacuto Shootout 2012

After all I said above, I forgot to say what a great job Colt Seman and Johnny Zeller did, which was first on my list originally. I had seen a comment earlier referring to 'GH2 fanboys' to which I took some umbrage, however the poster went on to talk about the mistaken focus on the hack as opposed to kudos for the DPs, and I totally agree on that point.
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