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Old January 6th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Claire Buckley View Post
Brian I bet you've still got your old ACTT union card?
It's BECTU now and it took several years to get the thing and I had been trained by the BBC. Baring in mind that the industry was a closed shop, without one, your job opportunities were limited. So, I'm not one of the ITV ACTT old guard. I now regard the union card as insurance against non paying clients.

Unfortunately, there have numerous cases of people working for nothing on commissioned productions instead of producers employing people. Then these hopeful people being replaced by new people willing to do the same.

Secretaries are not to be underestimated and the job is often a way into the the system. However, that's very different to them being fully trained in the various craft skills (rather than a one day how to point a camera). I know many people who started out as secretaries and have worked their way up to be excellent producers, directors and other production careers.

The UK broadcasters used to allow staff to get training and attachments in various departments, so it was possible to change your career path (although not that easy in the more competitive areas). People don't always have straight career paths, but it's also unfair to use work experience students to replace either freelance or staff people.
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Old January 6th, 2011, 02:11 PM   #32
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Brian (and Gary) I'd be pleased to follow up on this discussion in the Open Discussion forum, but I don't think this is the correct thread to be doing so now, with apologies to Philip the OP.

:)
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Old January 6th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #33
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you end up with a camera that is typically only useable between f5.6 and f2.8, that's just a 3 stop range.
Spot on Alister, but I think a lot of people that might be scared by that would find that they could actually live with it when they realise that they have a 2 stop and 4 stop ND built into most cameras and also at least 1 stop of gain that'll be useable. This then gives you about 8 stops which I for one could live with if the other benefits (cost, size) were there.
BUT, of course, not saying that it's ideal or as good as a 2/3" sensor, just that the problem may not be as bad as it first seems.

As for the people being sued, it's well worth mentioning. I think a lot of people are beguiled by what their pictures look like on screen and that they don't think that problems won't crop up during edit and broadcast is just scary.

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Old January 6th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #34
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I agree and to get this thread back on track the HPX300/301 or 370/371 in the hands of someone who knows its 1/3" limitations is a superb camera for certain broadcast work.

The testing for the BBC is now done externally and there was nothing in the report that should have prevented it from being on the approved list.

The problem is being highlighted here though that there is a new generation of operatives who may not have the experience or knowledge to use it within its limitations.

The problem is that the new technology is hugely available and certain people are now going off and shooting on all sorts of low end camera's just to save production money and the mainstream broadcasters now have to be even more strict when approving certain camera's.

From my own perspective I only went from sound to camera when the technology has become lower priced but even though I have 30 years of 35mm and large format stills experience I have been through the V1, Z7 and S270 HDV stages and now have standardised on P2 as my main format with the HPX301 as my main camera for most production unless otherwise specified.

That said I now find myself having to compete with new media people who are non technical but who now demand a DSLR or a RED camera for lo/no paid jobs.

Being ex broadcast I respect lots of peoples needs and have now linked with a good friend to add a RED ONE M-X to my choice of kit as I have trusted my ex BBC tech guru and have not gone the DSLR route just for the fashion of it.

SO the HPX300/301 370/371 is a great camera and with broadcasters having less money fro production I would rather new users be allowed to use it under certain conditions with approval as the AVC intra codec is superb.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 03:23 AM   #35
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You'd be surprised how many people don't know that the optical quality begins to deteriorate after f5.6.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #36
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Have to agree with Steve that on a practical level the lens on the HPX301 with ND filters gives around 8 stops.

I tend to work as wide as possible anyway so whilst it doesn't have the depth of the HPX3700 for most jobs it is fine as the codec is the same on all the P2 cameras I use.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 09:36 AM   #37
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A little update; the BBC has now approved the XF300/305 for all productions, internal and independent. Cheeky little buggers.

BBC Approves Canon XF305 & XF300 for HD Production | PhotographyBLOG

Still no word on the HPX370. And definitely no love for my HPX500, 2/3" chips or not.
Anybody have any internal info regarding the 370? Have they even been tested?

My personal take on PBS' camera acceptance:
It may have been true in the recent past that 1/3" cams weren't acceptable for HD broadcast. But those were the days of low-res CCDs and HDV. Canon has proven that modern, full-rez 1/3" cams with a strong codec are good enough for broadcast. I can't see why the 370 couldn't be also.
And how will PBS respond to the new large sensor cameras, like the AF100? They only have one CMOS chip. Doesn't PBS require three? Methinks every camera should be tested on its own merits, not because they didn't follow a basic guideline.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen
Still no word on the HPX370. And definitely no love for my HPX500, 2/3" chips or not.
Anybody have any internal info regarding the 370? Have they even been tested?
The list of tested cameras is at BBC R&D White Paper WHP034 - Alan Roberts - so a 301 was tested quite soon after it came out. The fact it hasn't been approved up until now seems to indicate it never will be.

From what I gather, the Canon approval is seen as a one off and not likely to lead to any mass approval of 1/3" cameras. It should be seen more as a tribute to Canon and the way they've engineered out some of the optical issues through lens design (together with putting an approved codec onto Cf cards). I have heard some stories that it's unlikely they will be able to do the same optical tricks on an interchangeable lens camera.

It does seem to be mainly optical issues that are relevant here, the document for the XF305 on the list above says:
Quote:
......there was no perceptible loss of resolution through iris diffraction until the lens was stopped down to F/8, at which point significant resolution was being lost. Again, this is unusual for such a small image size.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #39
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Thanks for the BBC link, David.
What's surprising from the tests is how well the XF305 and EX1/3 cameras performed next to the high-end cameras. Specifically, the resolution tests, with the circular rings. The images from these small cameras looked a lot better than even the Varicams. I know they're native 720 cams, but still. Yeah, there's a lot more to a camera's image than resolution, but it's a good place to start.
I can also see how my HPX500 failed the BBC tests. Image wasn't too sharp. The HVX200 was way worse.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 07:11 AM   #40
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

Alistair, I've never heard of independent UK productions companies being sued for breach of contract for delivering masters that fail a tech review. I joined a company as head of post and until then they had many failed tech reviews, which resulted in either 'fines' (i.e. penalities that would affect the budget) or were simply told to put them right and/or reshoot the offending scenes. If this is true I imagine they more likely deliberately set out to defraud the BBC over equipment/crew costs. I also don't agree that the BBC techies can spot every type of codec error - they can't even tell finished DVcam bumped up to DigiBeta, but then very few can. The process usually invloves putting the master through a waveform analysis for illegal levels and at the same time a subjective picture quality analysis graded in 5 levels. I've seen some shocking things get through (not on my watch I'll have you know though)

The thing about broadcast recommendations is that they are aimed to catch those that are perhaps new or unused to regular professional delivery and also MPEG2 and now MPG4 transmission has serious issues with certain codecs, particularly at the severely compromised standards and bandwidth they've chosen (this is why Super 16mm is not accepted as HD, it is the random grain structure rather than resolution that is the problem for encoding). They don't care about the chip size per se (they certainly don't care about DOF), more that they know cameras in the 1/3" category are more likely to deliver shocking footage in the wrong hands. I seriously doubt that productions shot on the 300/370 and other shoulder mount cameras of this type by a professional cameraman, edited and post produced to the highest standards and delivered on a HDCam SR master would be rejected for broadcast, regardless of what their guidelines say. I know this to be true because it happens all the time.

The Canon XFs may be approved but it is unlikely anyone who is serious about high end picture standards, say on a Arts, History or Natural History prestige documentary with a proper budget would likely elect to use one, however good they are. I can imagine using the Panny 300/370 on these projects though more because of form factors. But the fact remains with budget you go with the best you can and that is usually standard 2/3" broadcast. Do not worry about the camera, worry about the subject and the final quality of the finished master. If you get commissioned they will give you the budget for this. If they buy your programme they have already decided to broadcast it and/or will help you to correct any defects.

Claire I have cut many many hours of reality type programming for broadcast and for my sins and I can say beyond doubt that I have yet to come across a technically good DV director (i.e. AP with camera) regardless of gender. It is because of cost only and they are doing good camera-people out of a job and short changing the public. It is not really their fault it is the comissioners and producers who don't care. These young people whose only qualification seems to have to be an Oxbridge degree (particularly at the BBC) don't get enough training. I know because it was part of my job to whip them into shape and it was a hopeless task given the time.

I'd like to say one final thing about Alan Roberts testing of cameras at the BBC. He is a brilliant engineer who probably tests new cameras more thoroughly than anyone I know of, using proper scientific methodolgy. But his tests are severe and he his not (I believe) an artist or cameraman. I would take issue with some of his filmlike settings because these are more subjective (and derived from a waveform attempt to emulate film which never works with video) and are best achieved by creative DPs and camerapeople. To take for one example, he rejected out of hand the Canon DSLR (5DMkII I believe), quite rightly in my view for serious artifacts and moire. However the BBC have comissioned at least 1 high profile drama, 'Coronation Street' (a biopic not the soap opera) where they approved the use of this camera and it was broadcast quite happily. And I have heard of it's use in quite a few other programmes too. As an aside the BBC have always felt that film should be telecined at a 1:1 gamma and this is simply wrong in my view because most every movie they show and most of the Amercican 35mm episodic shows they have shown follow the standard 1:33 (IIRC) gamma which makes them look nice and punchy. Witness the apalling quality of BBC 70's and 80's shows where 16mm was used for exteriors and videotape for interiors to see what I mean. This practice has continued into their use of digital for film replacement. The 1st series of the new Doctor Who (DigiBeta with HD lenses) looked very good I thought precisely because it was shot by a BSC DP not a BBC trained drama cameraman.

So back to topic, they are looking for 1st, good progammes and content that should and must be made to the best of professional standards, they are not pixel watchers. A good Online editor (and dubbing mixer) who is used to delivering HDCam SR masters for broadcast will and should catch any defects before you deliver too.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 01:39 PM   #41
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

In the recent posts here, Gary comes closest to the points I'm trying to focus on. Just to try to clarify:

1. Currently have an XL H1, and will need a shoulder mounted camera for upcoming projects.
2. Limited amount of money to invest in upgrading. The current price of a 370 is close to the limit.
3. Unfavorable comparison to a 2/3" camera is like concluding that a Honda Civic doesn't give as enjoyable a driving experience as a BMW 3 series
4. The issues of lawsuit/breach are moot, because I'd only be able to offer the finished product, and they could judge it on its merits. There's no contract.
5. I think the odds are so unfavorable with PBS, regardless of merit, that investing a huge amount with that one aim would be like betting your savings on lottery tickets.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 03:43 AM   #42
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

If I get a contract that gives me $1,500 a day for the next 12 months then I will be off to buy a 3700 or even a 3100 like a shot.

My local broadcaster is still on SD and pays less than $500 a day so they get a 301 as that is the level of camera that warrants their daily rate, even if they were on HD they would still get the same camera as investing in high end kit has to warrant high end rates these days. Interesting that they are training the journalists (secretaries) to use Z5's so that is the benchmark for their needs.

I have done lots of broadcast with the 3700 and the 301's as b-camera's, I have also done full shooting in HD with the 301 but if that is all they can afford then that is what they get, besides there are lots of instances where the EX ser camera's have been used and with the BBC acceptance of the new canon camera's the argument against 1/3" chips used properly in the right hands is a very weak one.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:01 PM   #43
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

Hi Gary

Just out of interest.. you say a 3700 or even a 3100.. why "or even a 3100"

Nothing confrontational sir.. just wondered why the "or even "

Thanks
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 03:13 AM   #44
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

Hi I really like the 3100 and it is the latest camera but as most of my work is drama and features if I got a really good contract I would have to consider the 3700 as I may need varicam operation.

I currently rent my 3700's and get a really good deal on them but I wonder if they will add varicam to the 3100 in time, or maybe we will see more at NAB?
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 04:35 AM   #45
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Re: 370 doesn't meet PBS requirements?

Ok thanks.. so you need the 50p/60p for slow mo.. or ramping in shot?
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