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Old March 15th, 2010, 07:20 PM   #46
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I am not a technical guy. I just like to shoot. I use the HPX170 regularly and have shot on occasion with the EX-1. I have got to say that I like the EX1's higher resolution but prefer the HPX170s so called organic look. The HPX 170s image just seems to have more color depth and richness. Now this is purely a subjective opinion so take it for what it is worth. For my needs, which is SD DVD production, the HPX is more than adequate.
I know David has stated in numerous posts going way back he does not have a high opinion of the HPX170 chipset nor the DVCPRO HD codec. His reasoning make sense to me when you put it in the context of what camera best suites your end product. For me the EX1 would not produce a superior product for the end format that I am producing.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Williams
I know David has stated in numerous posts going way back he does not have a high opinion of the HPX170 chipset nor the DVCPRO HD codec.
It may be more accurate to say that I feel both could be better..... I'm not actually saying either is "bad" - just that they could be better. (Certainly in resolution terms.) In the 300 Panasonic have moved on from both so it seems they might feel the same. I think you'll find I haven't given the codec of the EX a full endorsement either - I think it's fairly good, but could also be better - XDCAM 422 50Mbs.

What I do object to is the use of totally inaccurate technical arguments to "scientifically prove" that black is white.

Overall, yes, I do prefer the look of the EX to the HPX170 for reasons stated before. But I'll accept your opinions as to why you may prefer the opposite. (Though I wonder how much it may be down to line up. The first thing I'd recommend anyone to do with an EX is reduce the detail level - have you tried that?)
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Old March 18th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #48
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David,

I agree re: detail level. Besides reducing overall detail level, I like to raise the black and white detail limit to thin out the edges and overshoot. This is useful on every Sony camera I've owned, SD or HD, assuming it has the controls. Ditto level dependency(crispening, coring) to quiet the blacks.

I don't like the flesh tones in Cinema matrix setting on the EX1 without having to tweak matrix channels and multi-matrix. I like the High Sat matrix setting better for a quick out of the box look. Not having a separate memory card to store picture profiles is a pain--too often I get our EX1 back from rental and all data has been reset. Kind of expensive to keep an 8Gb SxS card dedicated to picture profiles.

The Panasonic out of the box matrix settings seem to produce more favorable flesh tones, IMO. However, Panasonic's matrix settings on 2/3" cameras do not conform to REC 709, they are actually biased towards Asian flesh tones and green deficient, so a Chroma Du Monde chart and HD vectorscope are needed for proper color points in secondaries and even green and cyan primaries.

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Old April 9th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #49
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I'm eager to see what canon brings to the tables to. EX1 and EX3 have had and have the throne for the last 2 years now. It would be about time for the competition to pick up their pace
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I'm also eager to see what the next-gen Canon can do. Personally, though, I've shot short films with the XH-a1, the HVX, and an EX1 and there's just something about the HVX picture that looks great.

granted, the EX1 is a far more crisp picture, but after seeing all three on a movie theater screen, at the moment i still prefer the look of the HVX.


The "next big under $10k camera" will likely be Scarlet, if RED ever actually puts it out.

the advent of HDSLR i think has slowed the game down in the indie-cam faceoff. Red's DSMC system will set both DSLR and Traditional shooting worlds on fire (shooting RAW is exciting)

But it ain't out yet. So who knows.

Heres my wish list for NAB this weekend:

-An HPX170 upgrade with full raster 1080.
-EX1/3 upgrade with real 4:2:2
-A canon that combines the sensor size of the 5D with the form factor of a traditional camcorder.
-Scarlet


Those are all dream machines to me. Sadly, so far it doesn't look like ANY of those will be at this years NAB.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #50
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Just to wrap this thread up - in the end I ended up buying the hpx 171. And I have two more questions regarding this topic (more or less): is there such a thing as a hpx171 guide book? I would also need some advice on scene file settings - is there such a place or a document or something?
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Old April 12th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #51
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Hi Sanjin:

Congratulations on your new purchase. You will definitely want to obtain the Barry Green book. Over here, it is usually included for free with the 170 on promotions but over in Europe, I think you can buy it from Amazon. This book contains everything you need to know about your 171.

Dan
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Old April 17th, 2010, 08:37 AM   #52
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Thanks Dan, will look into it!

Another question: I will be doing a video shortly and it's mostly gonna be shoot in low light. Anny suggestions about settings? I'm still not thoroughly acquainted with the camera...

Thanks!
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Old April 17th, 2010, 08:59 AM   #53
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Sanjin,

How low is low? No video camera operates in near total darkness. You can try upping the GAIN - a small switch on the left side of the camera and see if it is better.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #54
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The HPX171 at 3dB of gain is still cleaner than the HVX201 at 0dB of gain. At about 6dB of gain on the 171 makes the noise about equivalent to the HVX201 at 0dB. The HPX171 is rated nominally at ISO 500, which isn't bad. But like all small sensor video cameras, the more light, the better the image.

B-Press is the lowest noise out of all of the gammas. I have comparison pictures in the bottom 1/3 of this article Panasonic's HPX170

Dan
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:04 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by TingSern Wong View Post
How low is low?
Night club low or probably a bit lighter. I'm still gonna have lights but the scene will have to represent night. I'll probably darken the scene further in post....

@Dan

Nice article. I'll gladly reed through it.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 01:39 PM   #56
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Sanjin:

Just a bit of advice. I just DP'd a shoot that was a dramatic scene that took place in a hospital room at night.

Good looking night = well lit primary subject with skin tones exposed to at least 70 IRE, high-key style with a lot of contrast.
Lousy looking night = looking in the monitor and trying to record the scene with actual really low levels of light as you would see in a dark room at night (which is what typically inexperienced directors and camera people tend to do)

Underexposing any small sensor camera will result in mud. Muddy, murky and noisy images. You have the right idea. Shoot tests to verify your instincts but I like to expose at least the primary subject in the scene correctly, bring the overall ambient light level to brighter than you think looks good as "night", then take it into post and just drop the blacks, play with the gamma until it looks like night.

I can't convince these directors to trust my eye and experience and the editors eye and experience that this works. They just shoot it as "what you see is what you get". Then when they are in post or output for a screening that will be projected, they complain that the "image isn't bright enough", then they boost the levels, then it looks like crap. And I just have to tell them, "I told you so".

Night, in cinema, rarely equals truly dark. You need to see your subject, regardless. The only way to see your subject is to light them. Then you can decide how dark you want to make it in post. At least then, you have a clean signal and choices.

Good luck,

Dan
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Old April 18th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Sanjin:
And I just have to tell them, "I told you so".
Dan
Usually, yes, that's the way it ends. :)

I do agree with you on this topic.
What do you think are the common mistakes usually done when shooting like this? What is a dead give away that the scene wasn't shoot in low light (or at least not as low as portrayed) For example; I often see to bright highlights.
Must be hard to shoot like this with let's say a dslr which don't have zebra...
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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:06 PM   #58
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Well, light is light. In a "dark" room, light still behaves the same way that it does in a normally lit room, just at overall lower levels. You still have blacks, mids and highlights, you can still have hard light or soft light in a "dark' room. I guess for me, it all about testing and tweaking until it looks right. It does take experience, an eye and testing to get it right. Most people these days are too lazy and have too short attention spans to do film making the right way, which, to me, means testing and evolving the look that you want.

We, as filmmakers, used to do scratch tests, exposure tests, hair and makeup tests, wardrobe tests. These are often still done at the studio level, but are rarely done in the low/no budget world. Coincidentally, for the project I referred to above, we did do a lighting and wardrobe test. The director wanted a nurse character who is supposed to look surreal, to be dresses in all white, naturally. It took some education on my part to teach him about what a tea rinse is, and luckily, through shooting the wardrobe tests, he understood that all white is a bad thing for video. He ended up staying with the white uniform but had the wardrobe department fabricate her a much darker blue cloak that the actor wore over her uniform. The typical low budget team would have just showed up and tried to shoot it as is, with probably bad results. Yes, you could try to flag the heck out of the set but we had way too small of a set to have much room for flagging and we were shooting with two cameras to boot.

My advice would be to shoot tests and work with the director and editor and come up with a look and solution that everyone will be happy with. Not saying you have to shoot day for night and really light the heck out of the set, you don't. But you do need a certain ambient level and you should expose at least the face of your primary subject correctly in order to minimize the risk of the picture falling apart in post.

Are you the editor? If so, what software are you using? If you are using FCP and or Color, you would be amazed at how much you can push the DVCPRO HD codec, it has a lot more latitude that DV, HDV, AVCHD or H.264. A correctly exposed image is key though. The 170 and 200s look really murky when underexposed.

Dan
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Old April 19th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #59
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I see that there is more for me to learn on this matter. But for this shoot I will take your advice and shot at a lower ambient level. Maybe find some literature online for a quick education :)

Anyway, yes, I am the editor, the DP, and the director. I edit in MC 4 but never do CC in it - for that I use AE. I've shoot some low light scenes yesterday and did some quick grading and there really is a higher limit with a 100 Mbit codec than let's say a 25 or a 35 Mbit codec (what I've used mostly). But is it just me or is the HPX picture grainier than let's a Z1 or a FX1. I've also got HPX and 7D material side by side from a shoot and it's night and day comparing graininess...
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