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Old July 27th, 2003, 01:38 PM   #1
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anamorphic adapter etc...

Hey guys... I'm very close to picking up a dvx100, I was on the panasonic site and they have listed a AG-LA7200G (anamorphic adapter)... Now it doesn't list price. But do I need It. Does the camera have a anamorphic 16:9 recording mode like the xl1s. Does the viewfinder have guidelines for 16:9 so you can transfer it to film later. I really don't have the money for a field monitor. I planning a b/w film. Can you dial down to view in b/w on the viewfinder? I 've been having trouble downloading the brochure, it's my CPU for sure.Do I need a matte box for this camera, or are there stackable lenes. (eg. black pro moist, uv, polarizer) Thanks a bunch in advance...
Neil
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Old July 27th, 2003, 03:11 PM   #2
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Re: anamorphic adapter etc...

<<<-- Originally posted by Neil Kissoon : Hey guys... I'm very close to picking up a dvx100, I was on the panasonic site and they have listed a AG-LA7200G (anamorphic adapter)... Now it doesn't list price. -->>>

Retail is $880, street price varies in the $700-$750 range.

<<<-- But do I need It -->>>

NEED? Need's a big word. Unless you're going for an up-rez to HD or a transfer to film, I'd say most people don't need it, and can get along okay with stretching in post. But the anamorphic adapter does make for better 16:9 than post-stretching.

<<<-- Does the camera have a anamorphic 16:9 recording mode like the xl1s. -->>>

No, but you can stretch the footage in post to be anamorphic, and the quality is much higher than any camera's in-camera 16:9 mode.

<<<-- Does the viewfinder have guidelines for 16:9 so you can transfer it to film later -->>>

It has a "letterbox" mode that puts black bars on the top and bottom, leaving a basically 16:9 image.

<<<-- I really don't have the money for a field monitor. -->>>

Then you don't want the anamorphic adapter. It is very tricky to achieve adequate focus, and if you don't have a high-quality external monitor, you'd be asking for trouble.

<<--- Do I need a matte box for this camera, or are there stackable lenes. (eg. black pro moist, uv, polarizer) Thanks a bunch in advance...
Neil -->>>

A matte box will make changing filters easier, but if you want to go the inexpensive route you could use 72mm screw-on filters. However, watch for vignetting at the wide end of the zoom scale.
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Old August 23rd, 2003, 02:43 PM   #3
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Barry (or anybody who wants to comment), per your responses on this post, I'd love your best guess/gut answer to the following scenario:

I begin shooting a doc at the end of next month (continuing off and on through next summer) that will eventually be transfered to film for the festival/AMPAS route. I'm paying obsessive detail to quality in my planning, purchasing, rentals, and grant writing (cost estimates), insofar as how it will look and sound in order to tell the story in as effective, and beautiful, way as I possibly can. BUT (darn those pesky little "buts"), until I have grants in hand (never a sure thing, though my topic holds solid promise, I'm told) I have to assume that I'll be a largely one person show on the road, apart from friends, family, and a film student I know. At least in the beginning. Which brings me to (sorry for being long-winded)...

DV Filmmaker says to use the anamorphic adapter (among their suggestions if they're doing the transfer), but given what you say about how hard it is to focus accurately in the field, I have serious reservations about adding to the complexity of what I'll be balancing on my own. Indoor interviews aren't my real concern... it's next summer, when I'll be treking around the mountains for a month, following and interviewing kids, doctors, etc. on hikes, "activities," campfires, etc. But if I forget going anamorphic (which your comments definitely lead me to believe is a good idea... it should really be all or nothing, right? Not the mountain footage shot one way, and the city footage shot another?) how bad is the footage (relatively) going to look a the end? Now, I've seen some pretty bad transfers at Academy doc screenings, and they made the cuts for consideration, so I understand that the story is paramount and the grain, lighting, audio, etc. are really secondary, but still.

You're FAR more experienced than I. In the above situation, would you shoot anamorphic with the DVX100, shoot 16x9 in the DVX100, or shoot 4x3 and crop/stretch, whatever later?

My brain hurts with all I've crammed in. And it definitely leaks.
Marcia
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Old August 24th, 2003, 11:53 AM   #4
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Since you're worried about the potential results, I'd say you might want to skip it. Not that it's that hard to use, but you don't need one more thing on your mind, and if you DO manage to miss the focus on some footage, it's just going to make you quite unhappy.

Here's a key question: are you going to be shooting progressive 24P? If so, I might point out that you can get FAR superior 16:9 footage from the DVX than from any other camera's in-camera 16:9 mode. Shoot in progressive-scan, on thin line detail, and then stretch the footage to be widescreen in post (using a high-quality resize algorithm, such as Vegas 4.0). In thin line detail mode, you'll end up with a picture with about 40% higher resolution than what you'd get from an XL1, GL2, or PD150 when those cameras are using 16:9 mode.

If you're going to be shooting in interlaced mode, the anamorphic adapter is simply going to provide a much higher resolution picture. The choice is yours. But also, keep in mind that American Cinematographer magazine tested the DVX blown up to film and proclaimed that you can make "very nice blowups" from the DVX100, and they did their test before the anamorphic adapter even existed, so it's not like you'll be dead in the water if you don't use it -- it's just that the footage can be even sharper if you do use it.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 12:28 PM   #5
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Marcia:

I would second Barry's opinion. Barry has tested this stuff extensively and I have looked at lot of his footage.

I chose not to get the anamorphic because of the focusing/field monitor issues. I may rethink when/if Century Optics releases their version, but I also tend to shoot one/two person crews, so simple is better.

Just remember that tons of blowups from a variety of lower quality DV sources have already been done, some with very good results.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 04:10 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. You're responses are a big help in sorting this stuff out. But I do have one additional question...

Barry, when you say,

"I might point out that you can get FAR superior 16:9 footage from the DVX than from any other camera's in-camera 16:9 mode. Shoot in progressive-scan, on thin line detail, and then stretch the footage to be widescreen in post (using a high-quality resize algorithm, such as Vegas 4.0). In thin line detail mode, you'll end up with a picture with about 40% higher resolution than what you'd get from an XL1, GL2, or PD150 when those cameras are using 16:9 mode."


are you recommending that if I don't go the anamorphic route that I shoot everything 4:3 and stretch it all to 16:9 widescreen in post, instead of using the DVX with its 16:9 crop/mask? (This, more than anything I've read confusing stuff about, insofar as opinions on which gives you a better picture, more pixels spead over a given area, etc.)

To answer your question, however, yes, I will be shooting 24p advanced. It's all I've ever shot since I got the cam. I love the look, though I've recently set up one of my scene files to the DVFilmmaker suggested settings, as opposed to the camera's default F6. Colors seem less rich on those recommended settings, though they're probably more "natural" or "true," though I have mixed feelings about that. I tend to like the richer look, but it obviously must have to do with the final product after transfer. In any event, if you could clarify as to which aspect ratio you are advocating I'd appreciate it. As I said, I've read so much contradictory advice on whether to crop or not in the DVX while shooting that I really am a bit uncertain as to what I actually understand at this point. One writer will say shoot with it cropped if and only if you're only going to film and film exclusively. But then I think, okay, I'm going to film, but what about if I then sell it down the line to be shown on TV at 4:3. Aren't I then forced to painstakingly pan and scan what the DVX cropped/masked off in order to deliver to their specs? (sigh)

Sorry to be long winded. Again. Just want to figure this stuff out up front, before I start one way and then wish I'd gone another.
Marcia
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Old August 24th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #7
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If you're not going to use the adapter, then I'd recommend turning on the "letterbox" mode. That way you'll have black bars for your composition guide, you'll be getting whatever benefit to the picture there may be from the easily-compressed black bars, and you can always stretch it in post for your widescreen version.
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Old August 24th, 2003, 10:15 PM   #8
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letter box mode built in the camera degrades the resolution, no?
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Old August 25th, 2003, 09:20 PM   #9
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How about getting a good wide angle adaptor then trimming in post to 16x9 using matting, pan and crop and streching (a la Vegas 4.0). I remember recently someone doing just that and getting excellent results. Don't use the in-camera 16x9 black bar stuff. You can easily create a 16x9 matte in just about any NLE.
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Old August 26th, 2003, 01:52 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Nick Medrano : letter box mode built in the camera degrades the resolution, no? -->>>

No. The resolution is the same, there's just less picture area. In-camera 16:9 mode, such as employed on the PD150 & GL2, degrades resolution because it digitally stretches the image. Letterbox mode does nothing to the image except crop the top and the bottom off. The remaining section is the same resolution as it would have been without the cropping.

Letterbox mode is just a convenience for framing, and a one-stop option (i.e., you don't have to add a black matte in post to every frame in your project, because you've already got one). Others will espouse the virtues of matting in post (and there is one major virtue: if you're doing something that involves raising the black level, it'll discolor your black bars too!) but for almost any other purpose, the letterbox mode just lets you frame the shot easier and more consistently.
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