DVX 100 reviewed in American Cinematographer! at DVinfo.net

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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 03:18 PM   #1
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DVX 100 reviewed in American Cinematographer!

American Cinematographer is a publication of American Society of Cinematogarphers (ASC). Their website is http://www.theasc.com
As many of you will recognise they are a society of the top cinematographers of the entire film industry.

Their monthly publication American Cinematographer featured an extensive test of the DVX 100 in their most reasont issue (April 2003).

I have recently gotten my DVX 100, and havent gotten to do any extensive testing yet, coming soon, but I was very happy to read the AC article on the camera.
The camera was tested by Jon Fauer, ASC.

Its a rather long article (spans 4 pages) so I am not going into details on it here, but I briefly want to convey some of the tests and results.

They set out to test the DVX 100 against Arriflex 16SR-3 (16mm) using Kodak 7218 and Arricam Studio (35mm) using Kodak 5218, each camera would film the same shots in the same light conditions, and after proper color correction etc (especially on part of the DVX-100) They made 35mm prints of the results.

"We were all amazed by how good the VDX100 footage looked. The images were very sharp - not quite as sharp as the 16mm 7218 (Kodak 16mm Vision2 Negative film), but still very crisp. Color was good. Exposure range was about the same as most video - about eight stops from shadows to highlights. On the Spirit (Telecine system) contrast of the 16mm 7218 could be stretched to about 11 stops, and the 35mm 5218 greater than 13 stops, especially in highlights. The DV footage was very clean, with very little noise or artifacts."

In the article it is also strongly recommended to use an anamorphic adapter if you want to shoot 1:1.66 (16/9) as the built in Widescreen function just eliminates the top and bottom of screen, thereby reduces the resolution.

There is a lot more to read in the article, so if you have the chance pick up a copy of the April issue of American Cinematographer.

The test is very postive, and clearly favours the DVX 100 as the camera to buy in this pricerange, although as should be obvious: No Videocamera can yet compare to film, especially not in this pricerange. The author also says he has recommended to the filmschool he is teaching at that they purchase the DVX-100.

The article refers to the NTSC version.
As for my own experience, I have had the camera for a little over a week now, but work has prevented me from doing too much testing yet, the little I have done so far has been as expected, which is quite a bit.

I will however do very comprehensive tests during the next week, and take the tape to the post production facility I usually use here in Norway, where my preferred editor has promised me to take a good look. I will especially test the camera for blue screen work, and also do extensive test of 25p mode versus normal 50i mode, as my editor suggest the later might be best suited when final product is to be video/tv (Suggesting that the film effect is better to add i post).

For the debate on the PAL version not having the 24p function, and therefor less suited for film work, my laboratory says that for 35mm work, its now more and more common to originate in 25 fps.

More to come...

Eirik Tyrihjel
Oslo, Norway.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:08 AM   #2
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I was just chatting to a camera assistant friend who tested the DVX1000 with Matty Libatique, who is a very successful young cinematographer (Requiem for a Dream, Tigerland, Josie and the Pussycats, the upcoming Phone Booth). They had some serious problems after an eight hour day of tests, finding that the cameras couldn't handle being left on for so long (the menus apparently "melted down", making various options unselctable, amongst other things). Matty was pretty unimpressed. I should point out that I had a good experience with the camera but not under the most trying conditions. Unlike the SR3 and Arricam, the plastic body and inexpensive components of the camera would be challenged under severe conditions for sure.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:53 AM   #3
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Uh, yes, you could say that Libatique is successful. He shoots dang near every other video on MTV. :-)

I've put my camera through some real, full days, and everything's worked out fine. But your comments about it being consumer are absolutely true, and I'm sure one day it will show it's roots.

I'm surprised the word was that he wasn't impressed. Everybody I've shown footage to (including working DPs and music vid higher-ups like producers and commisioners) has been very surprised when I reveal that what I showed them was DV.

It's no HD 24P, or 35mm, but it sure gives any format a run for the money if you're shooting for the small screen.

I get some side-by side comparisions with a Panavision 24P back in a week or two. I'll post grabs.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:57 AM   #4
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Looking forward to the tests! Did the magazine say which anamorphic adapter they used or if they used one at all?
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Old April 4th, 2003, 02:56 AM   #5
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Nate:

To clarify, I think that Matty's reaction to the camera was based on its apparent fragility and tempermental nature as he experienced it, not on the image quality. Even though I was pleased with the camera on on the short I shot with it, I'm sticking with my XL1s until I see what comes next (looking forward to NAB next week!)
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Old April 4th, 2003, 07:03 PM   #6
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Ah. I know I for one was bummed out by the build quality. I forgave it though when I compared images to my XL-1.

I highly suspect somebody will one-up Panasonic. Hope the DVX holds it's value if it happens!
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Old April 5th, 2003, 09:58 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert : I was just chatting to a camera assistant friend who tested the DVX1000 with Matty Libatique, who is a very successful young cinematographer (Requiem for a Dream, Tigerland, Josie and the Pussycats, the upcoming Phone Booth). They had some serious problems after an eight hour day of tests, finding that the cameras couldn't handle being left on for so long (the menus apparently "melted down", making various options unselctable, amongst other things). Matty was pretty unimpressed. I should point out that I had a good experience with the camera but not under the most trying conditions. Unlike the SR3 and Arricam, the plastic body and inexpensive components of the camera would be challenged under severe conditions for sure. -->>>
You forgot to mention pi...He has a good eye but not very technical...Also the camera is 2800 dollars now...If he's comparing it to a 435 then yes it is fragile...But the DVX is being used on alot of my former 16 mm jobs....And it's mainly DP's and colorists that can see a difference....I shoot for the public.
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Old April 5th, 2003, 03:00 PM   #8
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Surely Teo, you can appreciate that even if a camera can produce stunning pictures, if it is not built well enough to survive the rigors of standard production (i.e. being left on for 8 hours continuously) it is a liability for the cameraman.

Even the 435 had growing pains when it was first introduced. I remember plenty of suspicion and confusion surrounding it, particularly because no-one could figure out the menus compared to the simplicity of a 35-3. As the camera system matured and people got used to it, it became the industry standard it is today (guess which company owns the most 435's? Panavision...), but partly because it stands the test of time, in that while it is more complex electronically it can still withstand the elements and is reliable.

I was on a music video earlier this week that shot under truly horrendous conditions in the Imperial Sand Dunes about 4 hours out of LA. Night shoot, very high winds and sand flying everywhere. We had two 435's and an Arri 3. During reloads and lens changes you could practically see the sand flying into the movement, there was nothing that could be done. We had but one mag jam the whole night, and as far as I have heard the footage is all good. Meanwhile, the electronic dimmer board went down, the DAT machine for playback got screwed up, and there were a couple of guys documenting on DV cameras that were unprotected--I can only imagine the status of those cameras now.

The point I'm trying to make is that to be assimilated into the film world as a replacement for cellluloid, these cameras need to be robust. The XL1, with its magnesium alloy chassis (I think?) is pretty solid, mine has gotten through a lot. I wish there was a higher-end version of the Panasonic that was built more solidly, but I guess that in the next few days, we'll find out what's coming up at NAB!
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Old April 5th, 2003, 03:46 PM   #9
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Oh I agree with you 100%...I'm actually a gaffer here in Miami and I know what wind and salt does to gear.When I recieved mine it definitely looked a little fragile, no doubt. But my point was for the money with that technology they had to cut corners somewhere...I would prefer an xl2 when it's available, but we all know Canon is going to dump all their old stock first, and I couldn't wait that long. Hey Charles if you ever shoot in Miami please look me up...I have a long list of references of LA D.P.'s
I actually just had to turn down Daniel Pearl...But I get along with everyone else...wink...I think Satan would be easier to deal with...I'll Im you with an Email...Cheers
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