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Old December 16th, 2006, 07:29 AM   #1
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Music Video Link: HD100/M2/Nikons

www.katiemalia.com/justinhopkins_undressyoudown.mov

Artist: Justin Hopkins
Song: "Undress U Down"
Director: Joel Knoernschild
Executive Producer: Dave Brackenhoff
Director of Photography: Taylor Wigton
Prod Company: Collective Ent
Featuring Ashley Hartman

Original Capture: HD100/720p/24 HDV, stock fujinon lens, captured to MiniDV tape on camera. Nikon SLR lens (18/24/35/50/85mm)
Online Compression: h.264
--------------------------------------------

Hey there. I have spent ALOT of time late '05 and much of '06 with the HD100 and the M2 together and have a few projects (and ten thousand tests) under my belt and at this point, I feel pretty comfortable under just about any kind of shooting situation. The most exciting part is now being able to go with an SLR as wide as 18mm. It took almost a full year (since last november) to figure out how to get edge to edge image sharpness (not just GG sharpness) with primes below 50mm. It's all relative of course and it has always be possible to get away with shooting a wide lens, but I was never fully satisfied until october of this year. It's another story altogether if you opt for SD or the HVX simply because fewer pixels means fewer cops on the beat. So the JVC (and moreso with the Canon HD cams) you try stealing a peice of bubble gum and your off to prison. More pixels means that everything will be exposed and so I figured at the onset that if I was going to take on the challenge of shooting 1/3inch HD for narrative and attempt to get a 35mm film feel, then PURE 1280x720 scanning progessively 24 times per second, then the JVC was Mt Everest. The V1U was not here last year, and the Canon is 1440x1080 at 23.98 but it's interpolated progressive from the interlaced feilds, so the JVC HD100 was going to make things challenging but at the end of the day, far more rewarding. Bottom line was could I could combine the 4 main elements (camera, relay lens, cine adapter, 35mm lenses) that would create a solid, stable, reliable real world device, and if so, I would have a lethal weapon in my hands.

At present time, the productions are all wrapped and the directors/clients are happy. It appears as though I will start writing the Showreel Magazine article (novel) next month, but the final verdict has still not come in. The music video and 25min short film have only seen one edit pass and one color grade session. Upon completion of edit/grading (the 25min short has been sent to festivals this week on DVD) but if accepted in, and as per the music label requirements, we have to figure out the most effective way to uprez to 1080p from the exported files from Adobe PP2 and FCP 512 and master to HDCAM tape at 1080/23.98PsF. ANY SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME, we have some ideas...... Then there are the DigiBeta tapes, BetaSP, DVD's, and various web compression setups as well.

So looking at the tiny QT file is letting me off the hook big time. The true test comes when I find a way to get YOU guys, the every day person, network people, etc, to view the final image at most in a theatrical projection setting, and at the very least, to look and examine this stuff on HD monitors that are big enough that you don't feel duped. Suggestions are welcome here as well. I was thinking about getting native 1280x720 files that are at least 10 seconds in length for download so that you can make your own assessment at home? Native "frame grabs" are really not enough as you need to see the image in motion, right? When this happens in the next two months, either the game is over or not. If the image is something people think is good, then I need to not only write the article, but do some sort of DVD tutorial on EXACTLY what I have learned here. I can't wait to show the short film because that was the final project that wrapped last month and I had taken all my mistakes and learned from them. The shoot was super smooth and IMOP, it looks decent.

Something tells me that there will be a pretty big surge of small HD with 35mm adapters going out to festivals and the like moving forward, but the question remains would people go to a seminar or buy a reasonably priced DVD if it meant they walked away with the blueprint?

Either way, keep me posted on any thoughts, criticisms, suggestions, and I will do the same by way of larger sized files to critique, possible projected screenings, whatever. What I DO know is that the web is not a real location for anyone knowing the ACTUAL story as the compression is too heavy. And writing a Showreel peice is fine but those are just words. (netflix has it figured out i suppose) Nothing can replace seeing things in the correct fashion, so with that, take the h264 music video link with a grain of salt '-0

Thanks for taking the time to read this-happy holidays to all. Taylor
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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #2
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Hey, you've got a great look going on there. I've gotta run so I can't be too detailed, but the one thing I noticed is something that's in just about every music video, and that is where the musicians in the video (most noticeably the drummer) sometimes aren't synced with the soundtrack. It's something most people don't notice, just drummers like me. But other than that it looks great, I'm so glad someone made a video I can listen to instead of a hip-hop video where I have to turn off the sound. =D
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Old December 18th, 2006, 03:18 AM   #3
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Hi Taylor,

Beautiful picture ! It's one of the best M2 videos I've seen. Could you please give us some info about your lighting setup ? Which grading software ? You're right about compressed things on the web but let's face it : it's the most convenient way for people to discover movies... MP3's aren't of good quality either...

I would love to watch this video in 720P, I'm sure Chris could host this file...

Cheers,

Kristin
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Old December 18th, 2006, 04:38 AM   #4
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Lights/Grading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristin Stewart
Could you please give us some info about your lighting setup ? Which grading software ?
Hi Kristin- I have a couple minutes now, but will elaborate more in a couple days. I appreciate your kind words.

I rated the camera at 160ASA. Shooting stop on Nikons was T2.8 so the gaffer was doing alot of spot metering to make sure that we were clipping on the windows when needed. There was alot of, Day for Day, evening for day, Night for Day in the video, so the Grip Package required 1.2K HMI's as our primary force of light. We used a variety of 4 bank kino flo's all with daylight tubes to bring up ambient light levels so we could manage at least a 2.8 and turn off tubes accordingly. We had a few Arri 650 fresnels with anywhere from .5-1.5 CTB in front of them, as to match our HMI's, Kinos, and daylight that leaked in, depending on the time of day. The HMI's and Kino's all had 1/8th CTO that could be layered if needed, as well as some CTB and 216 always on standby. There were 12' frames with silk and black that were built to either diffuse or eliminate the sun altogether.

We had an Astro monitor that our DIT used to generate a LUT that would help the director see what the final look would be like, as we shot the video clean and flat (widest dynamic range possible) as the digital post realm is powerful indeed. The director was looking for a Sky Captain feel for the female in her bedroom. But the white are not clipped on her skin. The white clip was set to 108 and the zebras were at 100% so interestingly, all of her skin tone was retained when we examined in post.

(Grading is only one pass so far, so the final look is not set) FCP 5.1.2 on a macbook intel has been the primary tool for cutting and grading thus far for THIS project. The intel macbook is ridiculously fast so applying a look and watching it in native 720pHDV was odd. I have friend who have far more sophisticated methods of grading/color correcting, and they will likely do their own pass, but for the first round, I wanted to establish the general look that we had talked about early on in pre-production. So for the most part, I used the 3 way Color Corrector and RGB controls in FCP 512. FCP waveform and color correction slider was always up.

Gotta run for now, but if you step through the QT file online, and look at the single shot of the dad yelling at the girl, the first frame did not get rendered, so you can see what the "clean" image generally looks like. Stepping to the next frame, the look is applied. Hope I've answered some of you questions Kristen..... Thanks for taking the time. Taylor
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Old December 18th, 2006, 06:13 AM   #5
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Taylor, great stuff. I love the lighting. The video is top notched and I bet it looks spectacular in 720p. You probably liked that nice Taylor guitar shown :-)

I am definitely very interested in learning more about your tests. I know a lot of us have been anxiously awaiting for the results the past few months. I too am beginning to think about getting a 35mm device for the HD100 and would like learn how you were able to maximize the quality.

You're a great DP. Look forward to your article and hopefully your DVD.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 06:40 AM   #6
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Thanks Taylor for your kindness ! Do you think it's difficult to shoot at T2.8 ? Usually cine lenses are a little more closed to avoid follow focus problems, if light allows. But as the M2 eats a lot of light... Can't wait to see the shortfilm !

Kristin
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Old December 18th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #7
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hey Taylor

Great work! the whole clip really looks terrific, i specially like the close-ups of the singer, beautifull eye-light, plus the moment when the girl looks out of the window of her room, in the end.

I have an M2 and used it for the last 2 years with a Sony-PD150 and Nikon lenses. i will get a HD 200e theese days and im very interested in your M2 setup. did you use the fujinon lens with the M2 Achromat?

Thomas
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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristin Stewart
Do you think it's difficult to shoot at T2.8 ? .... But as the M2 eats a lot of light... Kristin
Definately difficult to shoot at a T/f2.8!!! This is what makes the whole concept of using these adapter so much more intensive then I think people realize because in an age of the dvx100 1/3rdinch CCD with essentially infintite DOF, suddenly using a 35mm adapter/lens means that your crew must grow in size. No longer can you be the director, DP, gaffer, sound guy, etc etc. And this is exactly what I think is great about the whole concept of 35mm lens adapters for indie and low budget films, as well as film schools, is that it is exactly like shooting 35mm film (sort of) and in that respect, a whole lot of collaboration and extreme diligence is required to pull off a reasonable looking project. So it opens up a whole new world of choices where one now has the option to choose a more run and gun style of shooting in a docco and improvisational way (1/3rdinch CCD), or perhaps a more dramatic style of storytelling (1/3rdinch CCD + 35mm lens adapters).

I think that given the direction that big budget features are moving toward is actually identical to where its been for years. So if the modern day theatrical film was shot on film or digital, my guess is that the majority of those films will be using a 35mm film gate or S35mm film sized electronic sensor. (2/3inch CCD's have more DOF, but a digiprime wide open at T1.6 = T2.8/4 split with lenses that are of equivalent feild of view). The Genesis and Viper are aleady making a very fast entrance onto large budget shoots, as most of you already know... Lars Von Trier is the exception to the rule I would think. So imop, using the 35mm adapters along with the additional crew and effort that is required is the best preparation for your future shooting larger budget projects.

As far as the M2 eating up alot of light: It's actually not really a factor of the adapter "eating up" light. It's more an issue that you really have to stop down your relay lens at least two stops to avoid lateral chromatic abberation. And it's great if you have a Nikon that opens up to f1.6, but the problem there is two fold. The lens portholes all the way open like that, as it is really designed to shoot at f4, and next, who can pull focus at that stop? A computer maybe. So your light loss with the M2 is a condition of the lenses that you are using which you really HAVE to stop down in order to get yourself in a realistic shooting environment. Interestingly, shooting at 160ASA at 24fps did not alter my lighting requirements nearly as I had thought it would. It's not 500ASA, but then again, you have to rob peter to pay paul sometimes, and so it goes if you want to use a 35mm adapter. Not that big of a deal from a lighting standpoint.

And yes, I do use the stock fujinon lens, and would do so if I was using the HD200/250 as well. I have tested relay lenses with the M2 and to date have not been all that please with the results. Not to say it's not possible, but I definately have yet to been proven otherwise. Hope I hit the questions..... and wow, I really appreciate the kind words from some of you that have posted. It really means alot and I sincerely take it to heart. Best, Taylor
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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #9
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Nice work and congratulations on the completion of the project.
Music videos showing the band playing the song is a tough gig, your photography and production design definitively took it up a notch.
Cheers,
Jon
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Old December 19th, 2006, 01:59 AM   #10
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Wow, thanks Taylor for all these details ! I really think you should build up a web page with your experience. Having a professional look over this new way of working (with 35mm adapters) is a real treasure and your explainations are very clear (I still have your post on CMLPro re:M2). I would definately buy a DVD tutorial (you can think about a video downloadable too, with a fee - more practical, and less investment for you IMO). Another thing which would be great on this DVD : lighting diagrams based on some of sets with their corresponding results (pictures).
Another idea : a part regarding color correction.

Maybe I'm dreaming, probably you don't have all this time as it's a lot of work, but their is certainly a need for this kind of tutorial/book/dvd ! It doesn't need to be specific to a adaptator's brand/software.

Thanks again for sharing your experience !
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Old December 19th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Wigton
It's more an issue that you really have to stop down your relay lens at least two stops to avoid lateral chromatic abberation.
I've seen CA when the Fujinon is at 1.4 and the Zoom is 40 or higher. Since I set my zoom to about 21mm with the M2 adapter I haven't observed CA even at 1.4.

Though I would agree with your overall approach - if you've got the light to put the Fuji at F4 you'll get to its sweet spot. I have rigged up my system differently than they show at RedRock. I'm still testing - but the looks are pretty good. Which achromat are you using? Let me know if you come up with "the blueprint" and what you're selling it for.

Good job on the video. Looking forward to seeing your short.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 02:43 PM   #12
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lighting

It really looks impressive Taylor and thanks for the info. I'm going to play the devi'ls advocate here though :-) if I may criticize... there is just one thing that bothers me (well there may be a couple) and that is the light on a boom behind the singer and the bass player (giving you a nice back light) that is clearly visible and then NOT in the next shot (wider) I think especially with the editing it is a glaring lighting continuity problem. I could see it moved out of frame and still giving you a nice back light ... BUT! I know how it goes...

cheers

miklos
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Old December 19th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #13
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Sweet!

I would definitely buy the dvd. That would help us less experienced guys out so much. Thanks for all the great info with your post. I wish more people would go into that kind of detail. For someone self teaching their way through the HD world like myself, posts like yours are a god-send.

The video looks great! and you were lucky enough to work with a talented band. Can't wait to see your other projects.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:08 AM   #14
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Miklos/Lateral Chromatic Abberation

Miklos- excellent eye! No one has noticed the "magically appearing light" even on HD displays. Not sure yet if we are going to paint in a light for the wide, or paint out the arm that booms across the top of the frame. On the day, we had some technical & talent issues that threw off the 1 day shoot and by the time we were shooting the wide of the band, we had to make a choice of either not shooting anything, or dealing with what we had and capturing SOMETHING to tape. So live and learn, but yup, I've had nightmares since we wrapped the shoot about losing the entire video because we didn't have time to shoot the band the way we wanted. At the end of the day, the QT online as well as what people have seen in HD of this first pass edit/cc, I feel like we will be ok. Again, good eye.

I think Joel mentioned something about shooting wide open on the fujinon stock lens... I :think: Joel you thought I was referring to Chromatic Abberation. I did not even know what "Lateral Chromatic Abberation" was until we were shooting the first JVC/M2 project. (A series of Lucky Brand Jeans Promos/spots of which one is online www.447productions.com). So shooting talent against a white cyc wide open on the fujinon with the M2 and a 50mm Nikon at f4 (and this occurs without the M2 as well) we realized that the top half of the frame was magenta and the bottom half was green (or vice versa, not sure). Long story short, we tested the JVC all the way up to the F950 with Digiprimes, and we found that the effect mentioned occurs wide open on every 3 CCD image cameras with the lens wide open. (Google it I suppose if you want to know more about Lateral CA-a bit complex) The difference with the HD100 is that JVC did not include a "White Shading" function which allows the DIT to eliminate this green/magenta effect, and the other cameras in the more expensive price range ALL have a "White Shading" function. I just got a phone call tonight and the HD200/250 have "White Shading" built into the cameras, so this strange issue should eventually be a thing of the past moving forward as people will likely demand the sub $5k HD cameras to include White Shading. Maybe not...

On a different note, I just did a blind test to see if I could send out a 720p24HDV FCP 512 timeline back out to the camera, and using print to tape, it worked! I re-imported what I laid out to tape and FCP 512 recognized the content as 1280x720, 23.98fps, square pixels. All audio was correct and exact as well. I knew 720p30 could do this but was not aware of 720p24 from the JVC. This is hugely significant b/c I have tested the Miranda HD-Bridge DEC+ with the HD100 at 24pHDV sending out from HD100's firewire port, and it DOES uprezz signal to 1080PsF 24 via HD SDI w/ Audio and Timecode from the Miranda into an HDCAM SR deck. Exactly what I've been trying to do without using 3rd party hardware for a long time! But maybe this has been a known fact for some time time now???
>>>>Miranda HD Bridge>>> www.miranda.com/product.php?i=336&l=1

If you do go to 447productions.com, everything in that linked space was shot with JVC, but only the Lucky Brand Jeans uses M2. I have different demos with different HD/HDV cameras and different frame rates, projects, and split screen of color corrected footage, but am trying to figure out a way to display what myself and others have worked on. As it pertains to post and color grading HDV, we have been tossing around the idea of a DVD with tutorials and proof showing what this format can/can not withstand. The stock footage demo on the 447 link was HD100 NAB demo, and is entirely untouched by any computer, but we have torn it up and have been chomping at the bit to get the the native split screen files out in the public to help dispell some rumor and give people some level of confidence in the HDV format, or perhaps even more then they already have. JVC has asked me to sell people DVD's with native files on them of footage I shot for them but this is a question of demand and a distribution channel.

If myself and some directors, clients, editors and talent gave authorization, what would be a price people would pay for a tutorial, and is it just 35mm adapters and JVC or is it HDV and some of the grading that is possible? Some of the post paths? Kristen mentioned lighting diagrams, which sounds interesting. DVinfo would get a percentage via a DVinfo online store. FYI: The "Narrative" demo was shot with the JVC GY5000 SD camera a few years ago for a three feature gig. Three 1/2"CCD's, Canon Lens. FWIW, Taylor
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 07:12 AM   #15
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Hey Taylor,

Great look you got there. I particularly like the lighting. Very well done. On that small acreen is doesn’t looks any different from 35mm originated material. I would love to see some 720p footage. It must look awesome.
I think a DVD tutorial is a great idea. With all you intend to cover, 35mm adapters, HD100 DIT, color grading and HDV, I think you could easily sell it for as much as a good Avid DVD tutorial.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Wigton
We had an Astro monitor that our DIT used to generate a LUT that would help the director see what the final look would be like, as we shot the video clean and flat (widest dynamic range possible) as the digital post realm is powerful indeed.

Do you really feel that’s the best way (the so called “digital negative” that most F900 DPs use) for the HD100 instead of getting the look in camera, since you are working in 4:2:0 and post image manipulation is risky?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Wigton
And yes, I do use the stock fujinon lens, and would do so if I was using the HD200/250 as well. I have tested relay lenses with the M2 and to date have not been all that please with the results. Not to say it's not possible, but I definately have yet to been proven otherwise.
What relay lenses have you used? Have you used the P+S one with the M2?
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