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Old September 16th, 2006, 12:29 AM   #1
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Question about "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

So I was watching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" earlier tonight and decided to go to IMDB for a bit more info on the show when I came across this tidbit of info:

"The pilot was created by three Hollywood writers with a long list of credits. The first two episodes only cost $200 to make and were all shot on digital camera. It was then shopped around to different networks and was picked up by FX."

Anyone have any information about this, perhaps what cameras they used and any info behind the shooting process of the first two episodes?

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0472954/trivia
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Old September 16th, 2006, 12:43 AM   #2
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I swear someone on this forum said it was a DVX100, or 100a. That his friend had borrowed it to shoot the show.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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Yep, definitely DVX. Pilot was shot for $200 using a DVX100 and edited at home by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton. The FX show was shot using DVX100a cameras for seasons 1 and 2.
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Old September 16th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #4
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Are they still using it? The show looks really nice for being on miniDV. It has this polish to it that I can't quite describe. . .how do they do that? It's not something so simple as lighting/composition/blah blah blah. . .some kind of color correction or post thing.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #5
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Josh, I read an article where the DP from that show said the key to making the DVX100 look so good was basically 1) warm cards 2) lighting the heck out of it, and 3) they upconvert to DigitBeta and edit/color process from there treating it like high-end video material.

Kinda makes sense; it's unbelievable how much sharper DV is with good light (and how flat & mushy it is without it).

That's a wicked show IMO. If I can relocate that source I'll post the link...

PS: Here's a link, looks like a press release from Panasonic after all:

http://www.digitalproducer.com/artic...e.jsp?id=45138
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Old September 20th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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So I was right about the color correction, then.

Warm cards are simply light blue cards (or various shades of blue?) to warm the white balance when you WB on them, right?

The problem I have with this is, in my experience, it tends to "orange up" the entire image. Sometimes it seems like it looks good at the time, then you look at it later, and everything just seems too orange/red.

Seems like you could get more precise control by either lighting with CTO/an orange gel, or playing with the menu controls on the DVX.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 05:54 PM   #7
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Yeah, it can "orange up" things but if you use a white card that is just tinted blue, like the actual product (www.warmcards.com) it can be barely noticeable but nice, like on "It's Always Sunny...".

Same thing as white balancing with CTB over the lens, as my assistant/grip always likes to do. Less work than CTO on the lights, IMO. But it's like anything, it's about subtlety and not "holy orange!"

I'm a fan of repeatable accuracy, so using a well-calibrated warm card to WB every time is one way to get that. Whenever I tweak the DVX in-camera settings I get carried away and get into trouble...
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Old September 20th, 2006, 06:58 PM   #8
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Just to ditto Benjamin's comments about the warm cards. I recently picked up the set and have been really pleased with the result. The first time I used them the client just loved the look of the footage.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #9
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How bout that. . .


I used to white balance on light blue jeans, etc., and I always thought I liked the way it looked 'til later.

Does anyone know what they do to it post, specifically? I know it's some high end stuff that I'd never have access to, but is there some corollary in the low-end (i.e. Vegas) world? Specific effects, I mean.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 08:03 AM   #10
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Why is this necessary? Is it because most imported TV sets are shipped set for D65 to make them look brighter? Today they seem to be adjustable in most cases. Would pictures be deemed "warm" enough if consumers set their displays to D50?
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Old September 21st, 2006, 09:17 AM   #11
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It's more likely that some cameras (or maybe the DVX in particular) tend to shoot a slightly "cool" (i.e. the entire color spectrum shifted more toward blue than red) picture when white balanced normally. I know the XL1s sometimes did.

Haven't I heard tales of people making their own warm cards with pleasurable results? How's that work?
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Old September 21st, 2006, 10:30 AM   #12
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From what I've read the Da Vinci is pretty precise for CC & enhancement. Plug-ins like Magic Bullet's Look Suite might be considered an affordable way to process your video image.

Funny you mention the XL1s, I always thought Canons tended toward oversaturated, orange-red colors. You are right that the stock DVX WB settings seem a bit cool.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 11:15 AM   #13
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SOMETIMES it does tend to make a very warm white balance. Other times I've white balanced to what looks white, and come out with a bluer tint. I think the presets for sure tend toward uber warmth.
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Old September 21st, 2006, 12:08 PM   #14
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The Da Vinci is somewhere around $800k. Its main strength is that everything it does is real-time. Primary CC, secondary CC, and power windows (masking color corrections to specific areas; limited to geometric shapes). Other systems (i.e. Lustre) offer spline-based windows and more advanced features, but they don't quite have the same performance as a Da Vinci.

On the low end, you might look at Magic Bullet since it can do interesting things. It doesn't get as detailed as a Da Vinci in that you can't do secondary color correction or power windows / masking. However, you can look at what other people are doing with Magic Bullet and they are getting some interesting results with it.

Warm cards:
Quote:
Is it because most imported TV sets are shipped set for D65 to make them look brighter?
Most CRTs have a white point much blue-er than D65... in Japan, the standard is D9300 (or 9300K, not sure). At the higher color temperature, reds will appear de-saturated. Some/many TVs will oversaturate the reds (and maybe adjust the hue) to compensate for this.

What you should also consider is that your eye has its own auto white balance of sorts... so your eyes will white balance to whatever the TV set does anyways. The warm card will still have a small effect (i.e. the colors changing appearance as mentioned above) and the monitor may not have a linear response, so there's some subtle effects there too.

In the camera, colors will tend to blow out towards white. So if that happens, then your eyes will balance to the TV's white point and the image will appear like it has a tint on it.

Some NLEs can't fix color temperature problems perfectly (i.e. FCP) so shooting with a warm card may burn that into the image (and you can't quite get the same results as if you had shot normal WB).

2- There are potentially better ways to add a tint to the image. i.e. the Magic Bullet tinting looks interesting (and uses different math).
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Old September 21st, 2006, 05:39 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info Glenn. For those of us who don't know, what is the difference between primary and secondary color correction?

Thanks,
Ben
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