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Old February 1st, 2006, 01:25 PM   #1
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HD100 Filmout: My Two Cents

Mods, this is kinda long so I figured I throw it in a new thread. Feel free to lop it off it's that's not cool.
________________________________________

As an aside, what follows are the words of a guy who's only film experience has been short films originated on super 16mm film. I'm not yet versed enough to speak in knees and coring so bear with me:

Off top I agree with Mike that the footage was not as impressive as I'd expected. For starters, the main goal of the cinematographer, documentarian Andrew Young (great sense of humour this guy), ran somewhat counter to what my personal aspirations were in viewing footage to evaluate the camera. Coupled with the fact that he pretty much jerry-rigged his own wide-angle lens adapter on one of the first cameras off the lineup, you get the idea.

Shooting mostly with an extremely wide 35mm lense, the Safari footage looked a bit "dull" with colors that I'd best describe as "only going so far", desaturated greens and browns and yellows that lent a very flat, neutral image. Again, this was not a problem for Andrew Young as it was his intent and as such I'd have to say he accomplished what he was after (Mike had a great suggestion here about boosting the chroma on image acquisition in the field and desaturating in post, the reverse of Mr. Young's method here). Andrew also shot his footage at 30p because there was no way to edit 24p HDV footage when he went out. He then forced the footage to 23.98 after he'd made all his edits, lending an appealing 1/4 second motion decrease that was fine for a non-dialogue piece. Because he shot in some ridiculously wild conditions, Mr. Young rode the zebras for exposure so there were places in the print where clipping could be seen where image was just gobbelled to white. Overall, there was still a very video look to the HDV transferred to film Safari imagery. Some of this couold be attributed to a default sharpening function on the camera Mr. Young said he'd advise anyone to turn off in the future.

As Mike mentioned, the closeups Andrew shot with a few diopters were EXQUISITE in the blow-up. Matter of fact, just about all of the long lense photography here, faces etc., faired much better, as is to be expected with video acquisition. Also, the wide angle stuff where most of the imagery was kept to the foreground faired better than "expanse" shots as well, variances in depth seemed to aide the image just as greatly as focal lenght.

THE REAL TREAT was Charles Papert of HDVinfo.net stopping by with a film transfer of his Mini35 tests with the JVC! Actually, let me rephrase that, Andrew Young, the filmmaker from above, is a member of the DuArt family (his grandpa founded the place) and so before coming out he took the Mini35 tests we've all seen on the net, downloaded the raw files and commenced a filmout on his own whim. This was the first time Papert had seen the piece on film. How awesome a guy is Andrew Young folks?

Now THIS STUFF looked GREAT! The image from the net of the woman standing before the bed of flowers was fine, and an OTS scene of a couple in conversation was even better, the grain of the print combining with the focus falloff behind to really sell the image. Most impressive however was quick shot of the camera sat in a patch of lawn on a 100mm lense. The AC racks from fore to back to foreground etc. and the behavior of the image was so purely filmic I nearly wet my pants. It was the best color imaging of the camera and the most cinematic framing of the evening, basically a glamour shot that showed what this thing can do albeit under the forgiving circumstances of perfect light, shooting the warm tones of fresh chlorophyl and on the lovely glass of a 100mm prime lense (and all color corrected by Andrew Young at DuArt). There was a night exterior immediately following this that was somewhat underwhelming though, again, Charles Papert had no intention of transferring these things and for the night shot would definitely have done things differently (imho).

The best thing about the Mini35 stuff was that it gave the best example of THIS camera's approximation of a "film look." From a motion standpoint, 24 p is 24p and the JVC nailed that portion of the exam. From a color standpoint, it was neither the Canon's pallete nor Panasonics, something in between that's "natural" in the vain of Panasonic's color rendering though not nearly as robust as the Panasonic. Basically, it seemed like a Fuji to Panasonics Kodak, every bit as valid an imaging emulsion/chipset. You could certainly make a film with this camera, though I'd think the mini-35 is ESSENTIAL TO THAT!

*****Quick note, every piece of footage mentioned above was shot with the CineLike Function on. And just about everything projected was projected on both film and video EXCEPT the Mini35 demo which I REALLY wanted to see projected digitally :(*****

There was one last piece Andrew showed that had the JVC side by side with the $30,000 Standard Def Panasonic SDX900. The JVC held it's own against the $30,000 dollar cream of the standard def crop. It was Mr. Young's opinion that had his detail setting been figured out the JVC may have edged ahead (I preferred the soft quality of the SDX900 here).

That said, the best thing about this was it showed that perhaps resolution isn't as big a notion in film transfer as we like to think. Bob Diaz over on DVXUser put the SDX900's resolution at about 408 lines; even if the HVX comes in at 540 (which I don't beleieve at all), that's more than adequate and sedcondary to other aspects of the imaging as was suggested here.

Sucks that I'm leaving LA in 24 hours for a year road trip around the country. As a starving director type guy, I could get used to these screenings. The food was delicious :)
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Old February 1st, 2006, 03:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Jenkins
It was Mr. Young's opinion that had his detail setting been figured out the JVC may have edged ahead (I preferred the soft quality of the SDX900 here).

That said, the best thing about this was it showed that perhaps resolution isn't as big a notion in film transfer as we like to think.

Good report! However, I think your conclusion is a bit backwards. The higher a camera's resolution (higher MTF of lens and CCD) the less need there is for any edge sharpening. So I read Mr. Young comments as -- he would have liked to reduce DETAIL not to make the image have less resolution, but have the image have minimum (perhaps none) edge enhancement.

For more about this topic -- read through the thread starting with my post in the HVX200 FORUM about calculating the resolution of thePanasonic CCDs.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
Good report! However, I think your conclusion is a bit backwards. The higher a camera's resolution (higher MTF of lens and CCD) the less need there is for any edge sharpening. So I read Mr. Young comments as -- he would have liked to reduce DETAIL not to make the image have less resolution, but have the image have minimum (perhaps none) edge enhancement.
No Steve, we're on the same page. I ran track in high school: The JVC would have "edged" ahead, as in a photo finish if Mr. Young had set the detail as he spoke in the screening (reduced) :)

Regards resolution, I meant that completely in regards the SDX holding up to the JVC, as a case for the recent HVX resolution hubbub being a bit overblown.

I try not to get into the specs of these things because I'm way out of my league there. Thanks for the heads up
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Old February 1st, 2006, 04:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Jenkins
From a motion standpoint, 24 p is 24p and the JVC nailed that portion of the exam. From a color standpoint, it was neither the Canon's pallete nor Panasonics, something in between that's "natural" in the vain of Panasonic's color rendering though not nearly as robust as the Panasonic. Basically, it seemed like a Fuji to Panasonics Kodak, every bit as valid an imaging emulsion/chipset. )
Having just had a chance to shoot the HD100 in some vivid color situations I was impressed with what was fairly unimpressed with the first couple of days testing and tweaking the camera - the color!.
Definitely it's own look...more vibrant than the XL and more like the Panasonic in that regard but definitely it's own flavor, and I like it a lot.
IO need to spend some time dialing a good scene for skin tones, but on balance the detail and color are right there with the best I've seen (I also shot 30p but mostly because of the action invloved but also so I could edit it immediately)
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 10:49 AM   #5
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JVC color in film out

I was at the DGA screening and thought the footage was outstanding. The JVC jumped back to the top of my list and the fact that there are some half dozen HD lenses coming for it means even better visuals can be had. The lens that comes with the camera is probabaly worth less than 2 grand. The wide angle they had on display lists for 12 grand - better glass means even better images and this will never be an option with the HVX.

I do agree the colors were TERRIBLE! I completely blame the colorist at DuArt or whoever supervised the corrections and not JVC in any way.

If you saw the slideshow Andrew showed to set up the filmout, the shot of his FCP system showed footage on the timelime and monitor that was rich with vivid greens you would expect from a show done in a rainforest environment - nothing like the filmout. Some old school colorists believe video has to be desaturated and then warmed up to look like film - it looked more like a 70's doc. Even Charles Papert's footage, which I have tested on my system has rich, full colors, great skin tones and vibrant greens from all the foilage. It had the same treatment as Andrew's footage - brown and dull. I've shot with the JVC and it produces great colors. I would expect far better results from one of the local LA facilities like EFilm, Company 3 or Laser Pacific.

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Old February 2nd, 2006, 11:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lance Bachelder
I do agree the colors were TERRIBLE! I completely blame the colorist at DuArt or whoever supervised the corrections and not JVC in any way.
Hi Lance,

A humbling comment to say the least, but I am not thrilled with the results either. Two reasons for it. 1) I was going for a more muted look overall and that obviously didn't work for some people and 2) we normally do additional color corrections in the print after a filmout. We did not in this case and really should have.

When we do filmouts we typically shoot out test scenes to make sure that we're getting the right translation for the client and the material. Since I was the client in this case I am accountable. But for me it's a work in progress. I will try a different approach on my next output.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 12:02 AM   #7
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Andrew, I actually liked the muted colors in your footage because I thought it fit the location. The shots that should have color (like the macro of the frogs, etc) had color. The expedition footage with the color level you used helped to show that this was not a trip to wonderland but rather a brutal excursion into this not so friendly place.

To some extent it's subjective but for a first film out with that camera you did a great job. Some have said they loved the color of the 35mm adaptor footage better. I actually thought it was way to saturated and the yellow in the plants just didn't work for me.

So there ya have it, like all things in life. Some like it, some don't ;)
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 12:11 AM   #8
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Sorry Andrew

I just re-read my comments - not very tactful. My reaction was really against those who thought it was the JVC that shot these muted colors by default. I'm certain an answer print or 2 would have solved the issue for you. I just really wanted to see the lush greens of the rainforest and didn't see them.

A recent digital example is the feature "End of the Spear" which was shot in the Panamanian rain forest with HDCAM SR - beautiful colors - but obviously this whole thing is subjective.

Your honest presentaion of the JVC and courageous footage was great fun!

Thanks for taking the time!

Lance
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Holtermann
Andrew, I actually liked the muted colors in your footage because I thought it fit the location. The shots that should have color (like the macro of the frogs, etc) had color. The expedition footage with the color level you used helped to show that this was not a trip to wonderland but rather a brutal excursion into this not so friendly place.
Well, at least one person got what I was trying to do with the material! I agree, however, that I was not the best approach for what people wanted to see - which is what the camera is really capable of. So for that I have a new shoot coming up and promise to push the colors a lot more - and deal with the detail issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Bachelder
I just re-read my comments - not very tactful...
Don't sweat it Lance. I appreciate hearing unfiltered opinions.

I realize that many are unfamiliar with the breadth and look of our work. Some recent Indie filmouts that were well received include "Transamerica," "Coffee and Cigarettes," "Protocols of Zion," "My Architect," "'Til Freedom Come," Bowling for Columbine," and "Watermarks."

We always credit the cost of tests towards the job to encourage testing and to make sure we're all happy with the look. If you ever were to bring your work here I would personally make sure the results were the best your material could deliver.
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