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Old November 6th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #1
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JVC100 & 16mm film

Shot a trailer for an upcoming horror film this past weekend. It was my first extended use of the camera outdoors at night - here's some observations:

I used Paolo's TC3 setting as well as Tim's low-light recipe. It is extremely hard to focus in low light as the viewfinder just isn't large enough or detailed enough to really feel like you have the focus 'nailed'. Flip-out screen useless for this. Changing shutter speed and opening up the iris helped, but was still difficult. The focus assist helps, but by no means is perfect. Hopefully, more practice will improve this.

The IDX battery pack did a great job and lated the entire shoot w/o a problem.

The camera needs light - far more a standard def DV camera. Very similar to the lighting needs of 250 speed 16 mm film, both in terms of amount of light needed and overall quality. I felt the grain structure was very similar to fuji films, although with less overall grain.

Any additional gain (even 6db) used rendered the image unacceptable - much more so than a standard def DV camera. I have seen beautiful daylight images with this camera - it will be a challenge to achieve this at night, no doubt.

The more I use the camera, the more it reminds of 16 mm film. This is a fine testament to advances made, and the quality of the camera. Having been 'raised' on 16 mm film, it is amazing that a video camera can replicate the much more expensive to shoot film. But it needs to be thought of as a film camera. I kinda got used to DV cameras and probably got a little lax in my lighting techniques (I lit much of the last film I shot w/2 mag flashlights).... Back to reality. And my lighting kit.

john
evilgeniusentertainment.com
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Old November 6th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent
Shot a trailer for an upcoming horror film this past weekend. It was my first extended use of the camera outdoors at night - here's some observations:

I used Paolo's TC3 setting as well as Tim's low-light recipe. It is extremely hard to focus in low light as the viewfinder just isn't large enough or detailed enough to really feel like you have the focus 'nailed'. Flip-out screen useless for this. Changing shutter speed and opening up the iris helped, but was still difficult. The focus assist helps, but by no means is perfect. Hopefully, more practice will improve this.
Hi John,

All HD cameras require more light than today's SD cameras. A little trick I've used when shooting in low light is to flip the gain all the way up, set focus, turn gain back to normal, then roll tape. With the gain up to 12 or 18 db, focusing gets much easier. Just remember to turn it off before you roll tape!
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Old November 6th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #3
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I guess my concerns with doing it this way are two fold: One, would the focus stay true at the lower setting once set with the gain (cool if it does); and two, it tough for 'run and gun' type of style or handheld work.

But, again, this is similar to film. Might just have to blast light in the general area where the action takes place, then take it down in post. Night shooting is the toughest.... But we'll 'get 'r done'.

Thanks for the tip Carl - we'll be using it this weekend for sure!

john
evilgeniusentertainment.com
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Old November 6th, 2006, 09:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent
I guess my concerns with doing it this way are two fold: One, would the focus stay true at the lower setting once set with the gain (cool if it does); and two, it tough for 'run and gun' type of style or handheld work.

But, again, this is similar to film. Might just have to blast light in the general area where the action takes place, then take it down in post. Night shooting is the toughest.... But we'll 'get 'r done'.

Thanks for the tip Carl - we'll be using it this weekend for sure!

john
evilgeniusentertainment.com
John, I think it will work. Focus is optical/mechanical and gain is electronic, so the focus should be consistant regardless of gain.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 10:47 PM   #5
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Think of gain as putting a faster film in a camera. It doesn't affect your focus at all.
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