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Old September 12th, 2005, 09:14 PM   #1
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CineAlta "A" Cam... HD100u "B" Cam Visual Compatibility?

Does anyone here know, or have a theory,
about how well, or how poorly,
a HD100u would intergrate visually with an F900
for the purpose of a 2 camera film shoot?

Assuming 35mm lens...

Anyone?
Thanks.


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Old September 12th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #2
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If you're not doing a film out, I'd say the HD100 is your best bet short of a Varicam. The default color/gamma of the HD100 is not a great match out of the box, but if you spend time trying to match before you shoot, and then are doing a tape-to-tape afterwards, you'll probably be ok.

Or put another way, I'm not sure what currently avail camera would do a better job for the money.

I'd recommend shooting tests though.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:02 PM   #3
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Whenever mixing cams like this, you MUST use the lower quality cam primarily for closeups, and the higher quality cam for wider shots. This seems counterintuitive to some I've suggested it to, but this minimizes the visual difference. I'm skeptical of using this setup for true intercut of similar shots, I think just the difference in lens quality will cause a visual difference even if you get the chroma etc set up to match pretty well.

For high quality work, this is tougher to pull off than it looks at first glance. Even mixing brands of cams sometimes causes color grading problems in post.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:53 PM   #4
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John, you're right.

I think in the end my answer was more like "you're going to see differences, period. Your colorist will spend extra time matching, and possibly curse you".

But I can't think of a better solution if you're trying to add a second camera and you just don't have the money for a second F900.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 01:45 AM   #5
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I have a sense that some filmmakers believe that having a second camera is worth spending all the time in post trying to match images (to varying degrees of success, as John points out). Outside of stunts and situations where time is absolutely critical, under these circumstances I would rather just shoot with a single camera, one setup at a time. Having spent way too much time working out complicated ways to accomodate two cameras for a given shot (ever seen two dollies chase each other around a dance floor like bumper cars? it can be quite a dance), sometimes it's an issue of false economy and visual compromise.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
...sometimes it's an issue of false economy and visual compromise.
Right. I'd never have one just because I had access to the camera. The shooting schedule (or lack of) would have to dictate it first.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 01:17 PM   #7
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Helpful Answers

Thanks for the insights.

I agree with the idea of close-ups for the inferior camera,
yet the arguments against its' use in general are valid.

I guess I am seduced by the cost-effectiveness of integrating,
and the creative pay-off:

*I get to capture reaction shots of characters in organic
or improvisational scenes where a one camera set-up
would only allow a master to catch both characters reactions.

*Ability to get pickups, establishing shots and other cutaways
with the HD100 beyond the scope of the formal CineAlta shoot-
a camera that let's you go out, guerilla-style, and steal shots
while your A unit is shooting dialogue.

Finally, the best upside of the HD100, from an indie producer standpoint,
is the option to bag the CineAlta entirely, and use less money to BUY
2 HD100's than RENT a single F900 for a 30 day shoot. While my camera is on order, every clip I has seen has confirmed the simple litmus test that transcends all the dozens of technical considerations... does it look enough like film? Yes.

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Old September 13th, 2005, 10:07 PM   #8
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Timothy:

You make three excellent points.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 11:50 PM   #9
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I'd spend time making sure the HD100's color was where the whole scene should be because you'd want to color correct toward the HD100 with your scenario.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 12:14 PM   #10
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I have to disagree wholeheartedly with the suggestion of buying two HD100's to make an indie film instead of renting one CineAlta or Varicam, this makes absolutely no sense at all to me, having been through exactly that process.
Yes, you'll end up owning two very nice low end HD cameras, but you'll also end up owning one big film that you've put your heart and soul into for two years, that you've got to live with for the rest of your life saying to yourself "..but I could have made that much better looking if only I hadn't been cheap and spent on a better camera". The quality of your film should come first if you believe in what you're doing, not what you might aquire out of the process.
There's nothing wrong with making a film with the HD100 or any other HDV cam if you can't afford anything else, I'm sure they're fine cameras, but if you've got a choice, go for the best quality you can afford.

Just my personal point of view that I feel strongly about,

Paul
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:32 AM   #11
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If there is money saved in purchasing those cameras over renting a Varicam/Cinealta package, it can hopefully be put up there on the screen in other ways. Not every film has to be visually stunning, and perhaps the portability of the smaller camera may allow for a brisker shooting schedule, or a more relaxed or flexible one, as there won't be the same concern to rent the camera for as short and continuous a period as possibe. Consider a film that needs to be shot in fits and spurts over a significant period of time, perhaps due to actor availability or financing or other reasons. Finally, support gear for the smaller camera can be lighter/smaller/cheaper as well (consider the cost differential in renting a jib that can carry a fully equipped F900 vs one designed for 5 lb cameras).

It's always worth fighting for the best looking photography, but there are many other factors that go into that goal than the image produced by the camera itself. And in the right hands, a small format camera may even look as good as a large format camera wielded by a mediocre shooter.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #12
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Yep, nothing like crap, but filmed with 3 CineAlta's for all I care, can't hold the attention of the viewers...
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Old September 15th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #13
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We did a shoot some time back using a CineAlta as the primary camera, and a Sony HDR-FX1W as a B camera.

Luckily, the intent of the FX1 was only to capture "reflection" angles (we were shooting greenscreen from behind characters that were going to be facing "windows" in the final comp). There would have been no way the HDV video would have held up in comparisson to the CineAlta capture.

The difference in quality was night and day.
About the only way we could have made it work (if the HDV was needed for anything other than placing a false reflection into CGI glass) would have been to degrade the CineAlta plates down to the level of the FX1, at which point it would have been better to rent a second FX1 than the CineAlta. :p

Again, for our particular use, things worked well, but attempting to match traditional shots from a 10 bit, 4:2:2, 1920 x 1080, 24p CineAlta to an HDV camera seems like a loosing (or, at best, wasteful) battle.

Good luck.
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