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Old June 3rd, 2008, 07:30 PM   #1
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HPX500 Stills and compressed/DVCPROHD video

I just bought an amazing HPX500 package.

Check out some stills, video, etc. at my website:

http://harrisfilms.com

Cheers,
Nick Harris
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Old June 4th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #2
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Did you do any color-grading in post? Great stuff, nice color - especially impressed with the blue in the dog's eye. The lens is epsecially exciting to see; I've never been fond of Fujinon's lower-end glass but this one looks super. Good choice.

The Bogen head you chose is the best-bang-for-the-buck in large fluid heads on the market today; you can pay more for a Sachtler or other but you won't get a better head - perfect choice. Hopefully you got it as the 528XB package with the heavy-duty legs. In fact when I shot the demo footage for Panny last year I used the exact head.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 02:38 AM   #3
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Always good to see material posted, but as usual making any judgements on quality by viewing on a computer screen via an internet download is crazy!
Be interesting to know what you think about 1080 vs 720 on the HPX500, as when I tried one the difference was pretty bi in favour of 1080.
Enjoy!
Steve
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Old June 5th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #4
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No sir, no color grading was done at all; these images were merely slapped together on a time line and uploaded onto my server as soon as I could jack my new baby into the 1394 port!

I'm supremely happy with this lens. I'd been wrestling with the idea of buying the pro35 adapter... you know, will 2/3" give me enough DOF, will this zoom look videoish or compromise the theatricality of my shots in any way (thankfully after shooting with it the answer to those questions was YES, and a resounding NO to the last one)? But I decided I just can't stand the limitations that the adapters place on you (well, I've only worked with the redrock to be fair)... image softening, loss of exposure, and that annoying effect you have to battle when you're shooting into a light source (I've even seen that multiplexing crap from an overcast sky)!

Also, I think that too many people are just trying to get the tiniest sliver thin depth they can because it's a new toy, or tool, or whatever may have you, but it's not always necessary, in fact, rarely necessary. And I've been working with the 1/3" cameras for so long now that I consider myself a pro at squeezing out every last bit of shallow DOF from cameras generally considered to be deep focus performers. But I'm almost getting sick of seeing the overly soft focus hunting in the redrock/HVX videos. So... with that I decided that I upgraded to 2/3" for the native depth characteristics, the superior latitude and light sensitivity, and the ability to have all of that with a crisp image. With digiprimes just out of my reach I went for a high end cine zoom that maintains a T2 throughout the entire zoom range.

As for the tripod, I LOVE the 526 head, it's smooth as butter and I most definitely did invest in the 528XB legs... it's good to know I made the right choice! My only problem is I neglected to notice that my camera package did not come with a tripod quick release plate so I've got to figure out where the heck I can pick one up and fast.

For anyone who wants to see the test shots in full resolution you've got two choices at the moment (I'll try to have a H.264 compressed version at higher res sometime next week, but until then... ), you can save any of the stills on my site to your desktop and they are actually full res (my web template resizes at least on Firefox for general viewing, but the information is there if you download it or view the image independently).

Also, if you have time for a monster 777mb download, you can DL the DVCPROHD 720P file from my server at this link:

http://www.harrisfilms.com/videos/HPX500_clips.mov

Lastly, on my opinion of the HPX500 and it's 1080P performance... I'm quite pleased! I've been shooting 720P 24PN since I purchased the HVX200 when it came out because the card limitations when shooting with a pair of 8gb's didn't really make 1080P a viable shooting option. However, I'm shooting on four 32gb cards now, so that's become a possibility. I did about a third of my test shooting in 1080 24PA and I'm really happy with it. I would never shoot anything on the interlaced modes, but 1080 24PA is what I'll be doing all my narrative work on from now on. Don't cry 720P, I still need you for those sexy overcrank shots we all love so much!

Thanks for the input guys, I look forward to post more as I start running this puppy through the production circuit.

Nick Harris
Harrisfilms.com
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Old June 5th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #5
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I agree with you about 35mm adapters, Nick!

I think they've become the Flavor of the Month, and a lot of filmmakers are over-using them. It's one thing to use a very shallow depth of field when it's absolutely necessary for a shot (which isn't that often versus the dop you get from a 2/3" chip), and it's another thing to try to shout "Look, look! My little 1/3" camera can do everything the big boys can do!" Plus, as you say, those adapters can hurt the image in other ways....

Very nice footage, by the way. And thanks for not indulging in another Flavor of the Month effect, which is adding a vignette to the footage, and over-colorizing it in Magic Bullet, just because you can. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Glad to see I'm not the only one feeling a little oversaturated by soft images, revolt, revolt! Haha, I do feel that in the right hands, the DOF adapters are a gift to filmmakers, and I'm glad to have had my first chances to direct and shoot using prime lenses because of them...

Thank you very much for your compliments Ellis, and you are quite welcome about not touching the footage with magic bullet... although I must admit I can't say that my intestinal fortitude against coloring my footage would be as great, had I access to magic bullet ;) Also, my stupid mac that I cut on doesn't have the graphics power to run Apple Color just yet (a grave misconception I made when I purchased FCS2 for the main purpose of gaining color, haha!)

-Nick
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Old June 5th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #7
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Nick,

To your point about DOF being over-stressed in footage is absolutely the case; DOF like exposure, focal length and lighting should all be part of a balanced composition, not the overriding factor.

But, I have shot extensively on the 500 with the Pro35 and I feel naked if I don't use the adapter, and mainly for one very critical (and little known) feature: The Pro35 has it's own internal iris which does *not* affect DOF because of it's placement in the light path. So, when you run into situations where a wide-open aperture is too bright but you don't want to screw up color balance by using ND's (internal or external) or pulling down lens aperture which would affect DOF you simply close down the Pro35 iris and voila, adjusted exposure with zero DOF impact.

Unlike the 1/3" inch adapters the Pro35 loses very little light and the later models have an upgraded GG which is almost grainless AND, you can adjust the speed on the GG when you do ramping VFR (sometimes if the GG speed is wrong you'll see the GG grain when you over-crank).

The only downside is when using long/bright tele's such as a 400mm f/2.8 you need film-sized 19mm rails and appropriate lens support to pull it off, so it makes for a film-type rig setup, but the lens effects are stunning.

The 526 *should* have come with (2) QR plates; if it didn't even come with one then call the place you bought it from and get them!
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:20 PM   #8
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Wow, I was definitely unaware that there was an internal iris... very cool feature indeed. My question is, when shooting into a light source (IE windows in the background or an overcast sky), do you still have to deal with those multiple reflection issues I have dealt with when using the redrock?

But yeah, the tripod came with a QR plate, Just not the camera, you know the one I'm talking about? The one that goes over the shoulder pad so you can center the camera rather than using the threads on the front portion of the camera body.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #9
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Right, the camera does not come with the tripod plate, that's an extra accessory. Why these things don't automatically get included is beyond me.

With respect to added reflections on the Pro35: the nice thing about how it was designed is that you truly get the characteristics of the lens you're using. So for example if the lens has a lot of flare, ghosting or internal reflections naturally then that's what you get, but the adapter doesn't add more things on top of that. To be honest, I've never felt the RR to have been made very well; in that market Letus has proven themselves to be a far superior product.

In fact, hold onto your hats because Letus is coming out with the "Ultimate" version of the Extreme. It's a two-part adapter that will also mount to the 2/3" inch cams and will become the *only* competitive product to the Pro35. It should come in about 1/3 the cost of the Pro35. Keep watching the Letus site for info. From my understanding, the Ultimate will also have it's own internal iris giving it the same functionality as the Pro35.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 11:51 PM   #10
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Nick,

What's the exact model Fuji lens you used in your test reel, and it's pricepoint?
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:59 AM   #11
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It's the HAc15x7.3 compact cinema zoom. From B&H it was just over $29K
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Old July 10th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Thats one hell of a lens Nick! Would you say the Canon KJ20x5.8-KRS HDgc 20x 2/3" Lens lens (for 7k) is a decent choice for HD filming for HD broadcast television?
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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #13
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Hey Spike where did you saw this lens for 7K?
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Old July 15th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #14
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Got it.
It's actually a KJ20x8.5-KRS HDgc for 7k and not a 20x5.8.

Cheers,

Alex.
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