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Old November 5th, 2003, 07:30 PM   #1
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Any further thoughts about DV to Film?

Here is my take for this fellow's questions. Further suggestions are welcome.

"blow to 35mm film" - Do you mean, blow to 35mm motion film? Each transfer lab has there own guidelines. Some work with NTSC interlaced, others prefer PAL interlaced or PAL progressive. Experts claim that de-interlacing PAL footage is best, or shooting in progressive - film look article in DV Magazine (http://www.dv.com/features/features_...02/jackman1202) etc. All these transfer labs state that a cam with higher resolution will reflect a righer resolution transfer. (garbage in, garbage out) So, for highest results, you want to use a cam with higher resolution. However, your budget is $1500 US. This won't buy you a Sony digiBETA cam. I would look at the Panasonic PV-DV953 (NV-MX5000). However, the newer NV-GS100 has slightly better picture quality. So if you want to get used to some Japanese menus, I'd suggest the NV-GS100. But you should go PAL and shoot in Frame Mode and 16:9 mode for best results. So I suggest the PAL NX-MX500A http://www.cameraaction.com.au. Consider improving the audio with a cam also. This means an XLR adaptor (Beachtek, Glenbox), a good mic (Senn ME66 or a 60), a mixer and headphones. Also consider a monitor. A small Sony TV will do. Living in Brazil, your broadcast system is a 60 cycle PAL, in which you use NTSC cams. So if you buy a PAL cam, you won't be able to use it with your broadcast system. But this is okay, right? You just want to shoot something for film transfers. You will also need decent lighting with using a PAL cam in a 60 cycle electrical environment, so your PAL cam won't get flickering. If your transfer lab wants NTSC interlaced, get a NTSC cam (NV-GS100). Allan over on the MX Forum of www.dvinfo.net can get you one.
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Hi, Frank!

Sorry to bother you, but maybe you can guide me on plain info or on where to best put a mail to get some help. My quest is for a camera that is affordable and good quality enough to blow it to 35mm film.

Of course my first choice would be the Panasonic DVX100, my second being the DVC80. But my budget for this stage of my shooting puts me a bit lower: in the $1,500 region.

The Panasonic PV-DV953 seems to be a good bargain in that area, but the 1/6" CCDs worry me a little. Not too many people around doing serious professional work with this camera yet. And those would be the ones to ask from. Know any?

My questions would be:
  • To what Japan model the 953 belongs to?
  • What is better than the 953 in the MX6000, MX7000 and GS100? Or are they very much the same?
  • Which one of these models has a PAL version and which type it is?
Until this morning I was curious and probably interested in the MX7000/Black Mamba, but the price Supervideo is asking for it ($1900) is a bit high for a non-USA camera.

To complicate the matters further, I am buying this camera from Brazil, so I can't go to a shop and try the options. This is why I bothered you. Sorry.
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Old November 5th, 2003, 07:57 PM   #2
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Re: Any further thoughts about DV to Film?

<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : garbage in, garbage out -->>>

That really seems like the key. I read a lot of posts from people wanting to blow up DV to film. But I see numbers anywhere in the $15,000 to $30,000 range to do this for a full length movie. I wonder... how many people actually DO print their DV projects to film?

I understand how tight money can be when you're starting out, but it may be unrealistic to expect to do a 35mm print from a $1,500 camera. Of course it isn't impossible I suppose. But I'm just wondering... maybe it's best to start out with a more attainable goal and just make the best DV project that you can and save the film for later?

I was fortunate enough to work with DV on a 40' screen with a big DLP projector recently, and think that's also a viable alternative to film these days. But the reality was that everything tended to look a bit out of focus because 720x480 just isn't a lot of pixels to work with. I also saw "28 Days Later" on the big screen. And while I was impressed at what they were able to acheive with the XL-1, it wouldn't fool you into thinking it was done on film. And it was done at great expense in post, plus they used cameras and lenses that cost a lot more than $1,500. I think they had a $10 million budget.

If you're really determined to print to film then it's probably time to take out a loan and get the best possible camera. From what I've read, $3,000 would be the absolute bottom of this price range. Spending another $1,500 will be a drop in the bucket compared to the overall budget by the time you're finished.
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Old November 5th, 2003, 08:07 PM   #3
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I have not heard any releases from Panasonic on MX6000 and MX7000. Where did these numbers come from? Are they merely convenient numbers placed onto Japanese models by 'distributors'? And what happens when Panasonic officially releases an MX7000?
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Old November 5th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Re: Any further thoughts about DV to Film?

<<<-- Originally posted by Boyd Ostroff :
That really seems like the key. I read a lot of posts from people wanting to blow up DV to film. But I see numbers anywhere in the $15,000 to $30,000 range to do this for a full length movie. I wonder... how many people actually DO print their DV projects to film? -->>>

Maybe not that many people do that in the US, where salaries are quite high and just an NTSC video to film transfer will use the $30,000. But if you go PAL you can do your transfer for less than half that. I've seen some results a film lab in Buenos Aires and they were great. Same thing is probably going on in Europe.

<<<-- I understand how tight money can be when you're starting out, but it may be unrealistic to expect to do a 35mm print from a $1,500 camera. Of course it isn't impossible I suppose. But I'm just wondering... maybe it's best to start out with a more attainable goal and just make the best DV project that you can and save the film for later? -->>>

Once again, it all depends on many factors. Sometimes the goal can never be more attainable than that. It's that or ... that. The money you saved can only afford such a project. Would you not do it?

OK, I'll agree that perhaps a 1/6" CCD camera might be a bit more critical. But that's why all these questions should be asked and ways around it should be found.

You may not remember it, but until very recently 16mm was not considered a serious film medium. Until "Leaving Las Vegas" made it to the Oscar.

It's interesting to note that many of the routines you had to use with 16mm also apply when planning DV to film projects.

<<<-- I was fortunate enough to work with DV on a 40' screen with a big DLP projector recently, and think that's also a viable alternative to film these days. But the reality was that everything tended to look a bit out of focus because 720x480 just isn't a lot of pixels to work with. -->>>

Focus and image resolution is one of the problems you have to face in DV. Never use any optical adaptor in front of your DV lens, like wide angle, tele or 16:9 anamorphizer. You should also test every position of your lens with a chart, to see if your focus is good. If possible blow-up these results before shooting anything.

These are not concerns you read much about in DV Forums, and people insist on using 16:9 adaptors, which are critical for film blow-up, even if they are from Century or Optek.

You should also use low F stops, if possible always around two stops from the more open F your lens allows. High number F stops + wide angle film lengths sometimes mean a poor focus image.

<<<-- I also saw "28 Days Later" on the big screen. And while I was impressed at what they were able to acheive with the XL-1, it wouldn't fool you into thinking it was done on film. And it was done at great expense in post, plus they used cameras and lenses that cost a lot more than $1,500. I think they had a $10 million budget. -->>>

Well, in spite of the poor reviews and the awful previous "The beach", I may have to go see it to comment on that. But my guess is they might have lowered the quality on purpose to make it look bad.

On the other side I have seen plenty of documentaries that used video and looked quite good. As long as you do not use very wide shots and do not go into "border" situations, you can get away with most of it.

<<<--
If you're really determined to print to film then it's probably time to take out a loan and get the best possible camera. From what I've read, $3,000 would be the absolute bottom of this price range. Spending another $1,500 will be a drop in the bucket compared to the overall budget by the time you're finished. -->>>

Once again, you are talking from a reality where getting a bank loan might be easier.

Perhaps you will not agree with what I'm going to say now. But film content, particularly in US mainstream films, is quite poor nowadays. And maybe it's better the 10 million you mentioned above, spent on a mediocre film, are splitted in 250 x $40,000 films. Even if we get 20% or 30% good stories from that it might be worth it.

At the same time, don't think I am willing to sacrifice image or audio quality in order to do that. But I do think alternative production ways have to be found. Small DV cameras might be the way to finally democratize movies.


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Old November 5th, 2003, 11:14 PM   #5
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Any further thoughts about DV to Film?

Good food for thought Carlos!

<<<-- Originally posted by Carlos E. Martinez : Well, in spite of the poor reviews and the awful previous "The beach", I may have to go see it to comment on that. But my guess is they might have lowered the quality on purpose to make it look bad.

Oh I don't think so, in fact I think they worked hard to get as much quality as possible from the DV. Read the American Cinematographer article referenced elsewhere on this site. Much of it looked really, really good. But as I said, they used expensive lenses, matte boxes, grad filters and full lighting setups. I didn't read the bad reviews, and personally I really liked it.

In our recent "Il Trovatore" we projected DV on a 40' screen. I had a certain frustration, as mentioned, with the limited resoution available. But having said that, the big Barco projector made it look far better than I ever imagined it would. I got lots of compliments on the quality. You really didn't see any pixels, and the DLP process seems to actually diminish some of the artifacts I saw on the studio monitor. But my frustration is with the limits of the DV codec, completely independent of any camera or optics. A lot of what we projected was 3d animation rendered as 30p DV. Most of it looked quite good but you could see the telltale DV artifacts in areas of complex detail.

So there's no question that you CAN blow DV up to theatre size, and if you're careful it will look pretty good. But it has some real limits. And I guess the main thing that I'm questioning is the desire to put it on film, considering the cost.

But as long as you've considered all these things (and it sounds like you have), by all means go for it! Just try to view it in a business sense as well as artistically. Any budget decisions need to be made in the context of the overall project budget. This is something I constantly struggle with myself for our stage productions when I wear both the designer's and production manager's hats ;-)
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Old November 6th, 2003, 12:25 AM   #6
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Thanks for your e-mail. If I were you I would buy a PAL NV-MX500A - http://www.cameraaction.com.au or get one of the helpful fellow members here (dvinfo) to get you one from Malaysia. The black mamba is the black version of the NTSC NV-GS100 Allan at the dvinfo MX Forum can get you one. There is no PAL version of the GS100. The Vancouver transfer lab specializes in NTSC interlaced to 35mm motion film. A women who lives just a couple of blocks away used a NTSC PD100A and had it transfered to film. The Movie was called, The Fix, The Story of an addicted city. May I suggest http://www.bhphotovideo.com for a PV-DV953? They just might also carry the PAL version (NV-MX500) There is no MX6000, 7000 or 8000. There is only the MX5000 (PAL - MX500, North American - PV-DV953) Before that, there was a PAL cam called the NV-MX350, which replaced the MX3000 (PAL - MX300). I think the MX5/PV-DV953 is a very nice cam - better than my NV-MX300A ("A" for Australian model).
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Old November 6th, 2003, 05:01 AM   #7
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If you can advance the money to me, I can try my best to get you the MX500 for about SGD2000 with some freebies. Sony 60mins tapes are SGD5.00.

Personally, I don't think that the MX500 is a lot better than the MX350/300. Yes, image resolution is better on the 500, but the ergonomics and some other features are not as good as the 350/300.

Please be quick about the decision for the MX500, it is low in stocks and Panasonic is not producing more, as they are pushing the GS70 (?) which is the smallest 3CCD cam.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 05:20 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : Thanks for your e-mail. If I were you I would buy a PAL NV-MX500A - http://www.cameraaction.com.au or get one of the helpful fellow members here (dvinfo) to get you one from Malaysia. -->>>

Sounds like a very good suggestion.

In order to do that I need first to see if affordable PAL to NTSC transfer programs like Atlantis output a good quality product, as they claim. Has anyone here tried any program that does?

Yesterday I went to Panasonic UK and downloaded the pdf manual.

<<<--
The black mamba is the black version of the NTSC NV-GS100 Allan at the dvinfo MX Forum can get you one. There is no PAL version of the GS100.
-->>>

Yes. I've read you mentioning that. Apparently to be released early 2004.

That should be nice. The extra 100 lines should provide a better resolution for a blow up.

The Japanese menus should not be a problem, really, as the DV935/mx500 manual probably works on it too. Don't you think?

<<<--
The Vancouver transfer lab specializes in NTSC interlaced to 35mm motion film. A women who lives just a couple of blocks away used a NTSC PD100A and had it transfered to film. The Movie was called, The Fix, The Story of an addicted city.
-->>>

Can you get more info on what lab that is? It would be nice to interchange some mails with them and the person who did "The fix".

<<<--
May I suggest http://www.bhphotovideo.com for a PV-DV953? They just might also carry the PAL version (NV-MX500)
-->>>

B&H is my first option, even if lately there seem to be other places that are also reliable and have better prices. B&H do not seem to sell it yet but I may try to see if they will by mail.

<<<--
There is no MX6000, 7000 or 8000. There is only the MX5000 (PAL - MX500, North American - PV-DV953) Before that, there was a PAL cam called the NV-MX350, which replaced the MX3000 (PAL - MX300). I think the MX5/PV-DV953 is a very nice cam - better than my NV-MX300A ("A" for Australian model). -->>>

And what does this mean then?

http://www.supervideo.com/panason.htm



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Old November 6th, 2003, 06:20 AM   #9
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And what does this mean then? http://www.supervideo.com/panason.htm
E-mail chuckmeister@supervideo.com and ask him. He gave me an explaination once saying that this will confuse the crooks on e-bay. When I remember that link about the transfer lab, I'll post it here. But in the mean time, here's another one: http://www.swisseffects.ch
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Old November 8th, 2003, 10:27 PM   #10
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I highly recommend either the GS100 or the MX5000 to any small cam. I've been using the MX5000 over a year and I like this cam so much for excellent color reproduction. Until the 3CCD HDV cam comes out in the future, I'll just stick to the Panasonic. :)
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