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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #16
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Maybe you could wait untill the RED cam comes up :-D
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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #17
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If you really want to go big with it, I'd go with a camera that is native 16:9...Meaning the XL2 or the HD100 (I would imagine the HVX too). I'd stay away from the DVX for that reason.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #18
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A couple points I haven't seen posted yet.

Many rental shops have a 3 day rental week. Therefore, a DVX would be $450 per week, an Varicam $1500. If Matthew was budgeting for a 5 day week, he would have budgeted approx. $750 for camera, which might bring him closer to a true HD camera. In the least, it closes the gap.

Make sure that you research your post shop for dumping down the HD footage to make sure the HD VTR isn't tied into an Inferno suite or something similar. That difference can cost several hundred dollars additional in the dupe cost. A shop that I've used in the past charges $500 per an hour vs $100 for DV dupes, because of the infrastructure built around the HD VTR.

Since you are using FCP, you might CONSIDER using Graeme Nattress' film tools. He has a tool called GNicer that will interpolate the footage back to 4:2:2, and another that will scale it up to 1440p. You can then crop it to 1920x1080p. Process intensive, and I'm not sure of the output, but it may be worth some tests if you can borrow a camera for a day. He offers free watermarked copies of these tools for evaluation.

Invest in lighting. A camera does not a great image make. A good camera will maximize a well lit scene, but it won't save a badly lit scene. I learned this the hard way.

Also, make sure that whatever camera you use provides you with immediate feedback, ie tapes you can review, or a DV output to record dupes from. I shot a project on Betacam five years ago, and it is mostly unusable because:
1. It was lit poorly and looks like bad industrial video.
2. I did not have immediate feedback to correct bad shots before wrapping.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #19
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earlier you mentioned that you'll be getting a good DP who'll be able to make the camera you choose work which a good DP will be able to do, but why not let the DP help you choose the camera?
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Old January 19th, 2006, 02:53 AM   #20
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Well I want to have some idea of which camera and format I'm going for before finding a DP as that is a big deal in finding which DP to hire... some only have experience with mini-DV... since I'm a newbie, I wouldn't want to get someone to shoot HD if they have only used the DVX-100... I think a good thing would be to bring someone with lots more experience to the table to help me out during the shoot.

But I think it's up to me to have some idea of which format I want before beginning the DP search.

I'm just doing pre pre production research. It's early in the game.

But that was a fair point, I just disagree.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:46 AM   #21
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Question --

Do you think it's better for a first time director to use a camera and technology that is "proven" as opposed to jumping on board with the new technology that might be better, however, might prove a hassle for a person with limited experience and money to throw at the problem?

In short -- Maybe using the DVX-100 series is best, because it will get the job done and all NLE editors work with it... there are lots of questions about HDV that I still don't know, the HVX-200 is still a mystery to me, HD as well.

Maybe the "best" choice is the one I know how to use.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #22
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To try to answer your question, in theory it shouldn't be a concern for a director, but then you are more of a producer/director/editor on this, so you should perhaps focus on your edit workflow when considering formats, as well as what you ultimately want to do with your film (i.e. distribution). For a project that will mostly be seen on the web and on DVD for the next couple of years, no reason why the DVX100 wouldn't serve you well (and the SDX900 will serve you fantastically). If you want to protect for the future, HD in one form or another might be worth the extra hassles now.

As far as hiring your DP, you are probably better off working with someone who has shot with more formats than miniDV under any circumstances, they will likely bring more to the table. Very few DP's have had much real production time with all of the various HD cameras out there since they just keep coming, but a good one who understands digital imaging will be able to shoot beautiful stuff with a camera virtually out of the box, as what counts more is what goes in front of the camera (lighting, composition, camera movement etc). So it's good to have an idea of what format you want to shoot in because of your post workflow, but realize that the best DP you can hire may well have a different idea on this and you could actually end up fighting against something that may ultimately benefit your project.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 10:44 PM   #23
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confused: HD % HDV?

"If you shoot HD, avoid HDV at all costs."


I'm confused. What is the difference between HD and HDV?


I've up on most of the cameras out there, but can someone tell me about DVC-Pro, both SD and HD? How is it compared to the high-end cameras like Beta SP, DigiBeta, Varicam, CineAlta, SDX 900, etc.

Just finished watching "Session 9," an indie that came out a few years ago. Looked like film, but having read about it being done on a low budget I wondered if it may have been HD. I did a search, and it was shot on the Sony CineAlta. Looked just like film.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:07 AM   #24
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My understanding is this.

HDV IS NOT HD. They just have the same pixel size.

So HD and HDV can be 720 or 1080, but HDV compresses the image to get it onto a mini-DV tape... the color isn't as good...

So it's a better image than normal mini-DV, but not as good as true HD.

Session 9 by Brad Anderson was shoot on HD. Looks really nice. Check out RR Once Upon a Time in Mexico for the best HD image I've seen to date on a movie...
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:49 AM   #25
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Shane's Stock Answer #34:

Many many people buy HDV cameras thinking that they are getting an HD camera. This is not the case, for HDV is not HD. It has the same dimensions of HD, 1440x1080i, but it is HIGHLY compressed MPEG-2, and suffers from bad artifacts when fast action is being filmed. Plus it has a 4:2:0 colorspace.

Is HDV an improvement over miniDV? No. It increases resolution and at the same time, increases compression, so, pixel for pixel you have worse quality, but you do have a lot more pixels. Resolution in itself does not = picture quality. You could blow up VHS to HD resolution, but the quality would be terrible, even though it has a high resolution.

HDV is NOT considered a pro format and is at best a high end home movie camera.

If you want to read up on HD, go to www.hdforindies.com.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #26
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HD is defined by the pixel count, not by the compression. It's more accurate to say that HDV is not HDCAM, or DCPROHD, but then again those aren't uncompressed 4:4:4 HD either, so perhaps they should be discredited as well.

I would argue that the resolution vs compression argument is a case-by-case basis--I think given many types of scenes HDV will be seen as an improvement over DV, much in the same way that DVD's are seen as an improvement over VHS. Certainly there are situations where the compression scheme may falter but given a much sharper image overall, it looks pretty good. As we are now regularly watching moving images on the web, on digital satellite and cable etc that receive even higher rates of compression than HDV and are thus receiving daily blasts of artifacting, I believe that it is becoming more acceptable in the tradeoff for increased resolution.

As far as what is a "pro" format or not--those days seem to be long gone, once the "pros" starting shooting features on Mini-DV 10 years ago. Perhaps once the features that are currently being shot on HDV make it to the big screen (and after one of them becomes a smash hit and/or has a great look), HDV will gain some credibility. "Session 9" was indeed a great win for HD (shot by a friend of mine and I did some Steadicam on it) but if you look at it closely you can see plenty of motion artifacting, probably due to the 1st generation F900 and the filmout technology available at the time.

Obviously it is a good idea to shoot on the best medium/least compression one can afford, but it's a better idea just to get out there and shoot--and don't take anyone's word (including mine) as gospel, do tests for yourself and again--hire a great DP and see what they have to say about it!
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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:24 PM   #27
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A lot of the stuff on cable is highly compressed, as the companies tend to store the video on video servers for playback. And it seems that people don't object to this.

You also have things that are transmitted over satellite and have even more compression artifacts... the Superbowl and other football games are really good examples of this.

This is for normal analog transmission.

2- In my opinion, that stuff about HDV having terrible motion artifacts is just FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). The bittrate is high enough that you don't get motion artifacts, although you still get mosquito noise and things like that. MPEG2 is a very efficient compression scheme, so HDV stands up well against DVCPRO HD.

But honestly, I think we're losing track of what's important here. Quit being gear sluts and shoot your movie already! At the end of the day, the technical stuff isn't very important (i.e. why there is heavy compression on broadcasted material, why Final Fantasy and Godzilla weren't very good movies even though they cost millions of dollars).
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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan

But honestly, I think we're losing track of what's important here. Quit being gear sluts and shoot your movie already! At the end of the day, the technical stuff isn't very important (i.e. why there is heavy compression on broadcasted material, why Final Fantasy and Godzilla weren't very good movies even though they cost millions of dollars).
Yes Yes Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old January 29th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #29
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Funny post, but isn't this whole forum based on the fact that the people who come to it are all "gear sluts".

I never lose the fact that I'm pretty sure what some filmmakers can do with VHS will rival what some can do with 35mm.

Yes, having all the cool toys ALONE won't get it done.

But, we are here to talk about the toys and learn what they can do.

And while I work on other things (like writing scripts, saving money) it's fun to discuss this topics.

I love being a slut, but I prefer the term "consumer whore".
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Old January 30th, 2006, 10:21 PM   #30
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Thank you/ ques.for Charles

Thank you one and all for the education on HD vs. HDV.

Charles: Session 9 was shot on a F900? Is this the camera also known as the Varicam? I read that the movie was shot on a CineAlta. Or is that and the F900 the same thing?
What has your DP friend done since then?
When you say "film out technology" is that the same as transferring tape to film for theatrical release?
Finally, when shooting a feature like this with an HD camera, what does the camera crew consist of? DP, operator, focus puller, and who else? Was a video tech/engineer on site to assist?

Although I am a big proponent of movies shot on HD, unfortunately from what I've read is that most distributors want to hear that an indie movie was shot on 35mm, unless there are "names" in front of the camera. But when one cannot get "names," then being shot on video instead of film can hinder a movie's chances for distribution, for the most part, with exceptions.
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