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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old November 12th, 2007, 12:40 AM   #1
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DSC Charts

I watched some of Paolo Ciccone's videos lately and am wondering if there are any less expensive alternatives to DSC charts. I don't want to use that little thing in the manual, but 80 bucks for a chart feels like a gouge.

Btw, they're great videos. here's the one on back focus. http://www.2nd-unit.tv/
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Old November 14th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #2
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Cheaper versions would likely defeat the purpose of the charts: accuracy.

DSC charts are made to the highest standards possible and they have a very high rejection rate. This means that you are paying for accuracy and consistency. All brand new DSC charts will look EXACTLY the same... and I mean EXACTLY. If chart comes off the line and it isn't right they reject it.

I've visited DSC Labs on a few occasions and they generously donated various charts during the production of the ProHD DVD (which reminds me I need to return those!) The staff includes some of the nicest and most helpful people I've ever met in this industry.

The "Pièce de Resistance" in the DSC arsenal is of course the 28 colour Chroma DuMonde with cavity black and resolution trumpets (CDM28R.) Not only can you use it to precisely calibrate the matrix and gamma settings of multiple cameras, but the 4 skin patches of varying colour give a very good indication of how certain adjustments will affect your human subjects.

Be forewarned though that if you are using the chart to create a "DSC Calibrated" scene file you must set your vectorscope to 1.875X gain (or approximate 75% bars.) Not all vectorscopes have the ability to precisely define a gain value and we've seen some "DSC True color calibrated" scene files on dvinfo that may not have been calibrated with proper vectorscope gain and therefore render oversaturated images. The six primary colours on the charts are mid-saturated and therefore should not be as saturated as electronic colour bars when looking at the scope.


I just re-read your question and it seems your talking about backfocus charts.
If you are simply looking for a backfocus chart, then you can use the Fujinon supplied sieman's star or print a bigger one out from the internet.
However, I've used the Fiddleheads from DSC and they are brilliant, especially when you are in the field and don't have a HD monitor with you. They just seem to 'pop' into focus at the moment the BF is set correctly, even on the VF or LCD. I demonstrate the differences in the ProHD DVD.



One last note of praise: The DSC charts are sturdy (made from aircraft aluminum) and they have a trade-in program for when the chart reaches its expiry date.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 11:48 PM   #3
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Don't let price be an issue. You spend the money one time but you use the charts for years.

Moved from JVC Pro HD to General HD.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #4
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They do have an expiration date though, which is yearly...
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:50 AM   #5
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Incorrect. They do not have a yearly expiration date.

Their charts carry a recommended upgrade date which is about four or five years beyond the purchase date, and even then they have a buy-back program, kind of like a trade-in, so you don't have to buy replacements at full price.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Incorrect. They do not have a yearly expiration date.

Their charts carry a recommended upgrade date which is about four or five years beyond the purchase date, and even then they have a buy-back program, kind of like a trade-in, so you don't have to buy replacements at full price.
" EcoAlign is economical - the annual subscription fee is at least 50% lower than the regular purchase price.

EcoAlign charts are replaced annually and you get free chart recalibration if you feel that the chart has changed from being stuck in an x-ray machine or other unusaual reason - normally a $350.00 charge per calibration, but the client is responsible for the shipping"

This is from their website- seeing the recommended upgrade date is printed in bold on the front of the charts, for eg April 2008, a client sees you using the chart in August 2008 is going to automatically think your using an expired chart to calibrate his camera and this may not go down well.

I must say though i was not aware of the 4-5 years beyond sale upgrade. Thanks for the clarification.

Last edited by Stil Williams; November 15th, 2007 at 05:19 PM. Reason: added text.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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i certainly can't say it better than tim already did, but the build quality and quality control on DSC products is outstanding. best-of-breed. you definitely get what you pay for. it's hard to see on a web photo. you should try one of their smaller-sized Handy line of products, which are less expensive, if you're concerned about price. not sure if those charts fit your needs, but it's worth a look...the critical focus chart is great....
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