GEN: Charles Papert's Genesis thread at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema

HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema
Various topics: HD, UHD (2K / 4K) Digital Cinema acquisition to distribution.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 13th, 2006, 11:14 AM   #1
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
GEN: Charles Papert's Genesis thread

Regarding the Genesis, I finally had the chance to spend a little time with it today on the set of "ER" where it was being tested against the standard Panflex. They were shooting interior and exterior scenes on both film and with the Genesis in "SQ" mode (440 mbs 4:4:4 HDCAM SR).

Watching some challenging scenes on the monitor, overall I felt the camera looked fantastic. At certain points in the exteriors there were 6-8 stops of latitude represented (interior and bright sun in the same frame) and while there was overexposure and clipping present in the white objects in sun (which could have been avoided given a slightly lesser exposure) the clipping looked pretty acceptable and did not show fringing or harsh edges. The colors were natural, the skin tones pleasing.

The overall contrast was increased over film as expected, so the balance of highlights for interiors would be adjusted accordingly if the camera was to become de riguer. Panavision is claiming 9 stops of latitude and I feel that this is not too far off, but one would still have to keep an eye on overexposure because unlike film you cannot pull details out of the clipped areas.

Physically, the camera is reasonably similar to a standard Panaflex, enough so to see the family resemblance. The "magazine" (tape drive) is hefty, about 13 lbs. The motor bulge on the right side of the Panaflex is replaced by the fans, which are engaged when the camera is not actually running. This means that the camera is a massive power hog, requiring a substantial amount of current when running or not.

The viewfinder is color, high resolution and easily configurable in various places (and is equipped with a eyepiece leveler). Along with giving plenty of focus information, it shows plenty of scan above and below the frame, and a bit on the sides, so it is comparable to an optical eyepiece in many ways. It does exhibit the strobing that is generally the case with 24p cameras (not just a function of the 24 fps mode) but one can probably get used to this.

Where the Genesis really falls down at the moment is when considered for handheld or especially Steadicam use; it weighs 8-10 lbs more than a similarly equipped 35mm camera and needs more power to operate, which translates into heavier batteries. For Steadicam this means upping the capacity of the batteries used, which also means adding weight. I didn't fly the rig but saw all that I needed to in the way that "ER" operator Terence Nightingall had to balance his rig to accomodate the Genesis--and he was unable to power it from his onboard Steadicam batteries (which are capable of powering any other type of standard camera, digital or film) and thus required an assistant to carry an outboard block battery with thick cable. It is possible to power the Genesis for Steadicam with integrated batteries, such as two Dionic 160's which Terence doesn't own at present. After three takes on set, Terence felt like he had been flying the rig all day. It's that heavy.

Bottom line--the Genesis is an obvious improvement over the previous generation of 2/3" cameras in many ways; it delivers a very nice image but it is a bit of a boat anchor in its current form factor and the next generation will assuredly improve on many of these factors.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2006, 02:18 PM   #2
MPS Digital Studios
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
Posts: 8,531
Charles,

Thanks for the insight! Very cool stuff!

heath
__________________
My Final Cut Pro X blog
Heath McKnight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
After three takes on set, Terence felt like he had been flying the rig all day. It's that heavy.
Heavier than a BL3 or 4 it sounds like? That stinks.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Somewhere between the two, I would estimate. Pretty much comparable to a Platinum.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2006, 12:50 AM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
I got to heft the handheld rig they had together at Cinegear, it was porky. I just guessed it would strip down to much less if needed though.

No matter. I'll not be using one soon, I imagine.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2006, 09:27 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
I'm currently working with Tom Ackerman, the DP from Scary Movie 4, on another film being shot with the Genesis.

As an FYI, it turns out that the opening sequence (the spoof of "Saw" with Shaq and Dr. Phil) was shot on 35mm as part of a reshoot after principal photography. I had no idea of this at the time, indicating that the 35mm and HD cut together quite well. I too agree that the Genesis delivers the most pleasing "filmlook" to date, but it is inescapably digital and thus certain things will render differently than film, as will RED, I feel it safe to assume. One of the holy grails of digital cinematography is to exactly duplicate the look of film, but the future probably lies in the gradual adoption of the digital "look"--we already see many younger viewers, quite a few of whom are represented in this forum, who PREFER the look of digital over film (grain, texture, weave etc. are starting to become dirty words for these souls).

Consider how mature digital photography is in relation to digital cinematography; the majority of pro photographers have switched to using digital cameras that produce images that are for all intents and purposes the equal of those shot on emulsion. However there are still plenty out there who feel that film still has an inescapable quality that digital has not yet matched. By this example, achieving the "holy grail" for digital cinematography may still be several generations of imagers away.

Incidentally, I will report that using the Genesis in a high end production process is a pretty formidable challenge--the required cabling, bracketry and accessories are still well in development and in an experimental phase. We are in contact with the folks who have done features with the film (including Superman and Apocalypto which is currently shooting) and there's a LOT to wade through, and many procedures and protocols to learn.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2006, 12:34 AM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
We did the makeup and wardrobe tests yesterday, my first full day with the G. and things are slowly falling into place. A few times the DP was able to give the 1st AC focus notes that I simply could not see in the viewfinder (we have one of the best 1st's in the business, Baird Steptoe, in that job capacity--his resume makes me look like a beginner!). We did some speed tests, trying out the 50 fps mode where the buffer writes out to tape in bursts (it's disconcerting to hear the tape drive stop and start). Then we shot some real high speed on the Arri 435. I wish I could say that switching over to the tried-and-true film technology was in any way unsatisfying but really--no dice! Maybe one day.

Tomorrow we'll have the body into Steadicam mode. I might even take some pictures.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com

Last edited by Rob Lohman; May 10th, 2006 at 05:06 AM. Reason: Cleaned it up a bit for this new thread
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2006, 05:11 AM   #8
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Charles: what resolution are you shooting at and in what file format does it
store that in?
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
We will be shooting in 4:4:4, in what is called HDCAMSR SQ. There is an HQ setting as well, which no-one has used yet; it is apparently such a minute difference that it's not worth the extra storage (I believe it is a compression setting). The onboard HDCAMSR deck which is configured like a film magazine, can be top or rear mounted, takes 40 minute tapes. I haven't had a conversation with the post supervisor yet about the workflow, but I will pass it on when possible.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 13th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
First day of shooting in the can. The camera worked pretty well, only a couple of glitches. One was that the image kept blacking out just when we were about to roll. Eventually we figured out that it was the 1st AD calling roll through her walkie, from 10 feet away...! The camera is indeed prone to interference, rather delicate.

Here are some pix of the Steadicam setup from the prep day:

http://web.mac.com/chupap/iWeb/Site/Genesis.html
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #11
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Thanks for the update. Strange that is has so much trouble from interference?

Any news on the post workflow yet, or is that for some other time? Interesting
to hear how easy (or not) that works.
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #12
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
I'll be hearing more about post down the road. The fact that this puppy records to tape makes the handling of data relatively familiar on our end (at least for those who have loaded tapes into Sony cameras before).

The interference issue is interesting, not quite sure why this camera is so sensitive. There's just a ton of data passing through the pipe or something. The solution is likely to be a Copperhead fiber optic cable that will deliver the signal back to the engineering station (and can accomodate downconverted video back to the camera plus audio, iris control etc). I hear that is much more impervious to RF and other demons.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #13
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
That sounds right. As long as you leave a fiber cable intact it should have no
problems with interference at all. Of course the devices on both ends still could.
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
hey, looky this old thread.

Well, two years later I've now done two features ("Balls of Fury" and the upcoming "Fired Up") plus a series ("Andy Barker, PI") and just finished a TV pilot with the Genesis.

We now have the SSR1 flash mags for the camera which make handheld and Steadicam much easier. Half the weight, size and power requirement of the SRW deck make it possible to configure the camera one-piece. Each mag holds 21 minutes at 4:4:4 and twice that at 4:2:2.

The camera is now well-proven and I expect to continue to use it regularly. The last issue for me is the monitoring cable but I have been evaluating an HD transmitter that should resolve that.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:03 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network