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Old April 26th, 2009, 07:35 AM   #1
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Best camera for green screen?

I'd like to rent a camera for green screen action and I'm wondering what the best option is without it being total over kill.
This would be for future reference, but I am also wondering: if I want to composite my green screen footage with HDV backdrops, which camera would be nice for keying, without making the HDV look too crappy or out of place in comparison?
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Old April 26th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #2
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JVC Pro HD

I would say one of JVC's Pro HD line of cameras would be best suited for HDV chroma keying applications. Native resolution chips combined with progressive instead of interlace scanning are all big positives when talking about chroma keying. Also the cameras offer the ability to pull a 4:2:2 uncompressed signal live from the camera allowing you to key without having to go through HDV compression.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #3
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I'll vote for HVX200, not as sharp and JVC but better codec and 422 color. Getting 422 from a JVC is hard, only the HD250 had SDI, getting 422 from component requires heavy lifting.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #4
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If you can take the uncompessed signal, then I would say the EX-1 or EX-3 would be great as well with a 1920x1080 frame size.

I heard greenscreen is where the RED camera really shines. I bet the upcoming Scarlet camera will be a godsend for greenscreen.

That being said, I get decent to great greenscreen footage with a Sony V1 from tape. A lot has to do with lighting, the quality of the screen, the amount of action in the shot, and post production.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:06 AM   #5
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There is no such thing as the best camera, just like there is no such thing as the best car, or most beautiful woman.

"I'd like to rent a camera for green screen action and I'm wondering what the best option is without it being total over kill"


How would we know any better than you what you can afford to rent, or what workflow you can support, or what total over kill would be?
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Old April 27th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #6
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Sorry guys, I forgot to mention that I own a Sony FX1. From your responses I gather that there are better prosumer cameras, but if you would suggest a prosumer camera at all then I can just make due with mine. For future reference the Red sounds great.
The reason I asked though, is because I am really only familiar with Prosumer cameras and only aware of cameras like the RED. I often hear people say "HDV is not acceptable for green screen" -so what is acceptable? Aren't there camera options between prosumer, and "the world’s finest optics"?
So I guess the Red is a bit overkill, and I wouldn't rent another prosumer camera even if it was better than mine.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #7
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My vote would be for the EX1 or EX3. Full 1920x1080 sensors and while the colour space may only be 4:2:0 if you shoot progressive there is little difference between 4:2:2 and 4:2:0. The larger image size also means you have more colour samples to work with than a 4:2:2 1280x720 camera. Even though the technique is often called chroma key the luma resolution is equally important as most keyers derive much of the fine key information from the luma channel. In many instances an EX will out key HDCAM which is 1440x1080 4:1:1.

As has been said the most important thing is how you light it. Well lit chroma key with a poor camera is likely to be better than poorly lit CSO with the best camera in the world.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
I often hear people say "HDV is not acceptable for green screen" -so what is acceptable?
HDV is much better for greenscreen than DV, simply because there is more detail. The best thing is uncompressed video, but capturing and working with uncompressed video is no easy task.

I typically do talking head type stuff with greenscreen and get perfect keys using a Sony V1 in progressive mode, the EEFX greenscreen, good diffuse light on the screen, good lighting including a backlight on the subject, and the Primatte keyer.

When I try things that have fast motion things get trickier.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #9
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Actually, HDV is pretty good for greenscreen, as it plays to the codec's strengths well - most of the image is identical frame to frame, and very often the camera is locked off. The 4:2:0 sampling is not ideal, but green is largely encoded into the luma signal, which helps a little.

If you're finishing HD it isn't ideal, but shooting HD for an SD finish, HDV is great.

I just shot my latest GS project (for BBC Interactive) on an EX-3 - keyed like a dream, considering it also has 4:2:0 colour.

If you can afford higher-end cameras, great (I've shot a lot of GS on the Red One, which you mentioned, and that's awesome but does come with it's own issues such as depth of field for GS). But HDV will be OK, and XDCam is perfectly fine - I shot a BAFTA-winning interactive drama that was entirely GS with CGI backgrounds a year or so ago, and that was shot on a Sony Z1 and V1!

Project title was "Bow Street Runner" for Channel 4 in the UK, if you want to see the results of a Z1 chromakey shoot - essentially the same as your FX-1, of course.

It was for web delivery, so unfortunately you can't see it at full rez, but it was finished at 720p and held up fine at the that size. at 1080p, you would have seen some issues, though...

HTH,
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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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Just to be devil's advocate for a minute, or extend things into 'the cheapest camera for green screen', Alex Lindsey has pointed out (and I'd concur) that the Canon HV20 is a crazy but cool green-screen camera if you can tame its focus/exposure and pull off its HDMI output and record straight to ProRes through an Intensity card.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-vix...tput-hv30.html

What you lose on the lens you gain in the codec. And it's insane for less than $1k.

And if you think that's mad, you could always expand that budget and get this:

'Good for glass'

or keep going...

'There is an HV20 in there somewhere'
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