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Old October 13th, 2005, 09:09 AM   #1
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A bunch of questions from a newbie

First a little background:
I'm an advertising Creative Director. I have a strong background in animation and computers, but only a little bit of hands on time with NLE, and almost none behind a motion camera. (Though I am a competent still photographer.)

My ambition is to be a filmmaker. I've been writing for a little over a year, and have gotten involved with a local producer. We're co-developing a couple of projects.

My desire is to put together a basic package so that I can be as self-contained as possible, only renting for specialty equipment as needed.

I think that I'm good to go on the editing side: PowerMac G5 (2Ghz x 2), 2.5 GB RAM, FCP HD and a boat-load of storage space.

As for acquisition, I'm strongly leaning towards the HD100. True 24P and no fixed lens are the selling points.

Okay, here goes, in no particular order (some of these are only slightly related to the camera itself:)

- I grabbed a bunch of the sample M2T files floating around. After converting them to Apple's Intermediate Codec, they're all 60 FPS with a 3:2 cadence. Is this normal? Does the camera record the 24P this way to both tape and (eventualy) HD.

I tried using Cinema Tools to remove the telecine, but all I ended-up with was a clip that ran very slowly. The built-in removal tool in FCP wouldn't recognize it as a file that it could manipulate. Anyone know what's going on?

- As I understand it, I'm going to need a tool like DVHCapture to get footage off of tape, and then use MPEG Streamclip to make files usable in FCP. Once HD recording is available I can skip the first step? Once LumiereHD supports the cam, I can skip both steps?

- What format should I convert clips to? Apple Intermediate or something else? Or not convert them at all?

- Forgeting all the other pros and cons of recording to tape vs HD, do they record the exact same image (compression, et.)

- Is the camera body available without the cheap Fujinon lens? I hate to pay for it when it will just go in the trash.

- Is the Mini-35 set and forget, or does it need tweaked with each lens change (assuming all lenses use the same mount) ?

- What are the three 35mm lenses I would need in my bag. As I understand it I need fairly "open" lenses because of the light the Mini-35 eats?

- Given my use (indie filmmaking) what would be the dissadvantages of using still 35mm lenses?

- What kind of tolerance is there between cameras? Can I do a two camera shoot, with the exact same settings and expect that they are going to essentially match in Post?

- If you could have only 4 lights (and associated accessories) in your truck, what would they be to cover the widest variety of situations?

Okay, I have lots more questions but I'll stop here for now! Thanks in advance for any answers.
Joseph H. Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 13th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
I think that I'm good to go on the editing side: PowerMac G5 (2Ghz x 2), 2.5 GB RAM, FCP HD and a boat-load of storage space.
Sounds good. You should make sure you get FCP Studio though since you will have the processing/graphics power to run Motion2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
- I grabbed a bunch of the sample M2T files floating around. After converting them to Apple's Intermediate Codec, they're all 60 FPS with a 3:2 cadence. Is this normal? Does the camera record the 24P this way to both tape and (eventualy) HD.
Yes this is normal. This is how the camera records 24P... within 720P60.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
I tried using Cinema Tools to remove the telecine, but all I ended-up with was a clip that ran very slowly. The built-in removal tool in FCP wouldn't recognize it as a file that it could manipulate. Anyone know what's going on?
Yes. The current version of Cinema Tools doesn't recognize the 2:3 pulldown pattern within 60P. It just tries to locate pulldown in 60i.
Apple should be updating their product soon, but there is no official word from them - just confirmation of support via JVC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
As I understand it, I'm going to need a tool like DVHCapture to get footage off of tape, and then use MPEG Streamclip to make files usable in FCP. Once HD recording is available I can skip the first step? Once LumiereHD supports the cam, I can skip both steps?
At the moment DVHSCap and HDVxDV seem to be the only solutions for digitizing any MPEG2 transport streams (720/576/480) from the HD100 at 24P, 60P, 25P or 50P (pulldown within 60P). If you shoot in 720P30, FCP5.0.2 will work just fine.
This clunky workflow will change when:
a) LumiereHD releases version 2.0 with full support of log/capture/pulldown removal of HDV 720P24.
b) Apple updates FCP5 to natively support HDV24P with pulldown removal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
What format should I convert clips to? Apple Intermediate or something else? Or not convert them at all?
I've been using Apple intermediate for quality (apparently lossless) or DVCPROHD for speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Forgeting all the other pros and cons of recording to tape vs HD, do they record the exact same image (compression, et.)
I assume you mean digitizing the live HD signal from the camera, instead of recording to tape and then digitizing. JVC claims "uncompressed" out of the analog outs, but it looks like the signal may already be in 4:2:0 colourspace - even though it is uncompressed analog. I've done a test using a Decklink HD and the method works well - and may be the only suitable way to use this camera for green screen work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Is the camera body available without the cheap Fujinon lens? I hate to pay for it when it will just go in the trash.
It is available, but unless you are planning to buy the 13x3.5, you might as well pay the extra $800 to have the stock lens for run & gun EFP use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Is the Mini-35 set and forget, or does it need tweaked with each lens change (assuming all lenses use the same mount) ?
Once back focus is set on the relay lens, and your PL lenses have been checked for backfocus and well maintained, you shouldn't have to worry about it any more than you would if you were using a 35mm camera.

[QUOTE=Joseph H. Moore]What are the three 35mm lenses I would need in my bag. As I understand it I need fairly "open" lenses because of the light the Mini-35 eats?
Well, you definitely want fast lenses, but all the same DOF/sharpness rules apply as with 35mm shooting. I recommend Zeiss Super Speed T1.3, but the sweet spot is still going to be T4. As for choosing just three primes, that is a subjective choice, but I would recommend 18mm, 35mm and a 85mm for most dramatic uses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Given my use (indie filmmaking) what would be the dissadvantages of using still 35mm lenses?
No gearing support for follow focus. Otherwise Canon and Nikon make good glass, but fast lenses are still expensive. I would recommend just renting PL mount cine lenses when you need them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
What kind of tolerance is there between cameras? Can I do a two camera shoot, with the exact same settings and expect that they are going to essentially match in Post?
In theory... YES. You should still manual WB each cam because sometimes (on all makes of cameras) preset WB values may not be calibrated exactly the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
If you could have only 4 lights (and associated accessories) in your truck, what would they be to cover the widest variety of situations?
Wow. Tough question. 4 lights for the widest variety of situations?
I assume these lights should each draw less than 20Amps so you can plug them into separate cicuits anywhere you may be.
In that case, I guess I would want to have 2 x 2000W Blondes, 1 x 650W Fresnel, 1 x 350W Fresnel for the 4 directional lights (with stands.) Then I would spend $100 and buy some 150W (#212) & 250W (#213) photo bulbs, some flood light bulb holders, and then go down to Chinatown and buy a bunch of paper lanterns ("Chinaballs"). I would also buy an AC box, a dimmer, plugs, cord and build a houshold dimmer (max 600W.) Another more advanced project would be to build a 220V to 120V dryer or stove tap breakout box.
Spend the remaining budget on AC extensions, foam core, CTO, CTB, straw, 216, and some various party gels and clothes pegs.
This setup would serve most "documentary" purposes and with some creative use - most dramtic purposes.
Tim Dashwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 13th, 2005, 04:33 PM   #3
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Tim,
Many thanks for tackling all of my questions in one fell swoop.

If you don't mind, a little further clarification:

- So is there anything I can use, today, to convert 60P to 24P? It appears to be a very simple, very consistent cadence. I'm worried that will get complicated if I edit at 60P and then need to conform it post-edit. Does that make sense? (Plus it's just a waste of storage space.) I guess it's a non-issue if LumiereHD is able to deliver ... but they're months behind schedule and I'm looking at a shoot this winter.

- When I asked about HD versus film recording, I didn't mean going component out, rather I meant using a (yet to be released) device like the Firestore. So, in that scenario ... does the cam record the same HDV stream via Firewire as it does to mini-dv tape?

- Lenses: They don't necessarily need to be primes. I'm just looking for the minimum number of 35mm lenses that will allow me to capture the majority of useful shots. (Again, for dramatic filmmaking, no other use.)

- Does anyone rent the lens-mounts for the Mini-35? In other words could I purchase it along with a standard Canon mount, but then rent a PL mount and film lenses as needed?

- Thanks for the opinion on the lights. That's very close to what I was thinking & others have opined. Just as a very rough ballpark, what should I spend on the lighting/grip package you described? Do you think the 2000's will be enough to emulate film lighting (brightness) on a medium sized location or set with the HD100?
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Old October 13th, 2005, 05:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
- So is there anything I can use, today, to convert 60P to 24P? It appears to be a very simple, very consistent cadence. I'm worried that will get complicated if I edit at 60P and then need to conform it post-edit. Does that make sense? (Plus it's just a waste of storage space.) I guess it's a non-issue if LumiereHD is able to deliver ... but they're months behind schedule and I'm looking at a shoot this winter.
In FCP 5.0.2 (and possibly 4.5HD), if you edit the 60P into a 24P sequence it automatically removes the pulldown frames. This is a clunky way to work because you need to render. The word over on Lumiere's forum is that a 2.0 beta will be released soon. It doesn't sound like they are very far off now - and besides they really need to release it quickly if they want to sell it before Apple comes up with integrated support. http://www.lumierehd.com/forums/showthread.php?t=436


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
When I asked about HD versus film recording, I didn't mean going component out, rather I meant using a (yet to be released) device like the Firestore. So, in that scenario ... does the cam record the same HDV stream via Firewire as it does to mini-dv tape?
As far as I know, the Firestore will record m2t files just like DVHSCap. However, considering JVC have branded the product for the HD100, it may have auto-pulldown removal capabilities. I can't find any info on this, so I'm just speculating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Lenses: They don't necessarily need to be primes. I'm just looking for the minimum number of 35mm lenses that will allow me to capture the majority of useful shots. (Again, for dramatic filmmaking, no other use.)
The three I suggested will give you wide without distortion, normal medium shots, and long close-ups. One really good zoom might suit you better, but it won't be as fast (T2.2 at best), it will be expensive, and it may breathe a little during focus pulls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Does anyone rent the lens-mounts for the Mini-35? In other words could I purchase it along with a standard Canon mount, but then rent a PL mount and film lenses as needed?
I depends. What city do you need to rent in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
Thanks for the opinion on the lights. That's very close to what I was thinking & others have opined. Just as a very rough ballpark, what should I spend on the lighting/grip package you described? Do you think the 2000's will be enough to emulate film lighting (brightness) on a medium sized location or set with the HD100?
Shop around and spend as little as possible. I suggested very common lights, so you might be able to find some old fixtures at a production company that's declared chapter 11!
2000W lights are basically the brightest lights you can use on standard household circuits. Bigger lights will need a genny or studio power, seaway, joy, etc.... sounds like you want to travel light.
The only other option might be 1200W HMI (daylight balanced) but then you would want square wave ballasts to shoot offspeed/variable shutter and that could get expensive.
Blondes are very common and are relatively cheap. 650W or 1KW Red Heads are as well, but I prefer fresnel lenses with my smaller lights to give me more control.
Tim Dashwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #5
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Great thread.

If you don't mind, can I throw in a few more noob questions?

Can the HD-100 do time-lapses?

Is there any way to get overcranked slo-mo shots without losing resolution?

I am a PC guy, and would rather not switch to Mac just for editing. Can I put together an editing system (dual-core Dell XPS Gen5?) with Premiere Pro, and edit my feature on it, then take an EDL to a post house for color correction, etc?
Tom Lowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2005, 01:10 PM   #6
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Not sure what you mean by "losing resolution." Because the camera is shooting progressive, there is no loss of spacial resolution, but you'll be fudging the temporal resolution when you add bogus frames in post.

I played around with some sample clips and halved the speed using FCP and got pretty nice results. Different NLE will differ in how well they do this.

You don't have much lattitude in camera, since 30 FPS is as high as you can go in HD, and that isn't much of a bump from 24 FPS.

(In the interest of full disclosure I don't have a camera, I'm basing this on specs and my experience with other's clips.)
Joseph H. Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2005, 04:41 AM   #7
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"Is there any way to get overcranked slo-mo shots without losing resolution?"
If you can get a capture going from the HD component outputs you get 60 full uncompressed frames per second. Thats a 100% quality 50% slo mo for 30fps or 40% slo mo for 24fps
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