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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
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Old December 27th, 2003, 11:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Posts: 2
What shoul I buy?

I'm thinking about buying a JVC HD10u or a DVX100, I see the advantage in high definition, but I think that here in Mexico there aren't many HD televisions.

To be more specific, I want to make independent movies, and the technology has developed greatly that I wander if I can really achieve a cinema-like look. I know that DVX100 resembles more a 16mm movie than a 35mm, but with the computer software maybe I can enhance the image to make it look, let's say, a Tarkovsky's style. I know, I know, I can't expect that quality and resolution with a digital camera, but I just need to know, if it's possible to get the same colors as in Stalker or The Mirror? Since I believe a lot of the power of his images comes from the color, and even if the resolution isn't the best it can still create the mood.

And if that kind of colors are possible in the DVX100, what is the best way to achieve them? Or should I really buy a HD? I heard that the JVC wasn't excellent with the colors.

I think I've read about gamma correction to make a scene appear in cold and warm tones, which I believe is becoming a common style in many american movies. But the colors in Tarkovsky I think he made them in the movie lab, and maybe some filters, does anyone know which? Can this be possible in digital postproduction?

I'll thank you for any advice,
Raul Quintanilla.
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Old December 27th, 2003, 11:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,508
Tarkovsky huh?

I'm a big fan - but DV lacks the ability to capture images the way you've seen them in Tarkovsky films. It would take 35mm (or maybe Super 16mm) only. Even true HD would not give you the rich grain you find Tarkovsky nor the unique color palettes as well.

The DVX100a would come closest in DV, but resolution and latitude issues are the biggest problems.

The HD10u is less appealing choice because despite the increase in resolution, the loss in color rendition, terrible latitude and poor manual controls as well as no 24p mode renders a very un filmlike image.

In DV land, the HD Varicam is probably the closest thing, but very expensive.

Color rendition is probably the DVX100's strong suit, especially the new A version, though other than www.adamwilt.com, not much testing has been done yet.

You might ocnsider shooting 16mm and transferring to digital or conversly, shoot DVX100a, uprez to HD, color correct in 16-bit color space (e.g. After Effects) and output to HD codec.
stephen v2
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Old December 28th, 2003, 12:07 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Posts: 2
Thanks for the info, I know I can't get the fine grain as in Tarkovsky. But I thought maybe the colors could be possible through digital postproduction, since they almost seem monochrome... but it isn't exactly a sepia filter.

I'll try to describe the look I wish I could give to my movies: for example, make the tones go down but still look real, enhance the texture of the objects, a warm claustrophobic look. Hmm another example could be Element of Crime of Lars von Trier, althought there's only one color. I don't want to give the impression that I used a filter, but that the objects themselves are toned down, gray, old and rotting.

That is actually an exageration of the look I prefer, the thing is that if I record without any filters or effects, in the outside or in a room, the colors seem so bright and fake, even when they are more acurrate. But seen through my eyes the objects seem more gloomy and dirty. If I record in a winter light I don't get that gray and desolate look. I think this has to do with knowing at what hour to shoot, which I'll have to learn as soon as I get my camera. But I just need to know if it is possible to get a mood through a digital camera, and not just imitate reality in a mechanical way. I haven't edited in a computer, that's why I need to ask if such effects are possible.

Maybe some one can tell me of digital movies that have made that work. If not then I'll have to get used to the digital medium and try to bend it as neccesary. Maybe I mistrust digital cameras a lot, since all I've seen has that Dogme look (which I believe works fine for Lars von Trier and others), but I haven't seen a style that feels moody and believable at the same time. To me it seems as if digital movies attract a lot of attention to the reality of filmmaking, as cinema-verité, and I can't ignore there is a cameraman making that shot, and therefore not submerge totally in the images. Although I think movies like The Idiots and Julien Donkey-Boy have learned to express themselves beautifully through that medium, it seems limited to what moods it can convey.

I hope someone can tell me once and for all what to expect from a DVX100. And sorry for my bad english.

Raul Quintanilla.
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Old December 28th, 2003, 01:13 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Frederick,MD
Posts: 61
Raul, I commend you on your excellent taste in film.

If you have in mind anything involving landscapes ( a huge part of Tarkovsky's films) I don't think dv is going to make you happy. It does much better with closeups.

You may want to check out the dvd of Personal Velocity. It's in 3 segments and each one has a different color palette. It was shot on minidv, and the dvd includes commentary by the DP and gaffer.

You may want to mention what kind of budget you have.
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