SI2K in Western Australia. - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old August 20th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #16
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As far as audio goes, if you are using the built-in line inputs, first turn off the FBWA using the short-cut in the /SI folder on the desktop, and then on the reboot, go into the control panel (again, using the short-cut in the /SI folder), and make sure your windows mixer settings are correct. The main system audio should be turned all the way up, the Aux Line audio should be turned all the way up in both the playback and recording sections.

For the Sound Devices USB Pre, you have to install the drivers, which are not installed by default on the SI-2K's XPe image. Warning that this might be a little difficult, since installing items on XPe is not quite the same as a normal XP install, i.e., because it is a custom build of XP, there can often be many standard DLL's and .sys files missing from the /System32 directory that we don't install because they are not needed for standard SiliconDVR functions. So even if you install the drivers, the device still might not work without manually copying over these missing DLL's and .sys files.

So just wanted to give you that head's up before you nuke your XPe image . . . :)

BTW, if you do damage the XPe image, the USB Linux flash stick will enable you to very quickly re-flash the system to a system restore point.

Thanks,

Jason
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Old August 20th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #17
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Jason.


Thanks again for your inputs.

Steve, the owner is also getting in contact with the P+S Technik side of your operation who sold him the system and getting some more info. So if between us all, we are doubling your workload, please accept my apologies in advance.

It did not enter my feeble brain to even go into control panel to look for audio settings. I must learn to put aside the shock and awe reaction and be less fraught about taking a tour of the system, with appropriate care of course. It just takes a bit of getting used to, looking at a camera and yet treating it as the computer it essentially is.

We will probably try to keep our lives simple and stick with the analog Mix-Pre for audio to-camera and use the Sound Devices recorder for double-system if we want things to be more elaborate.

Curiosity -- You mentioned Linux. Is the system operating "XPe" under Linux? I was wondering why there are no Windows "flicks" on boot up like I see on the network at my workplace or on my home computer.

Another question you might be able to answer for me - Is there a likelyhood of a central repository on-line for "look-up" files individual users develop for specific film stock emulations?

Four stocks spring to mind, Agfa Gevacolor XT320, 80s Fuji neg and Kodak reversals 7241 and 7252.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 20th, 2008 at 10:56 AM. Reason: error
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Old August 21st, 2008, 11:17 PM   #18
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We do have a .Look library online in our support section.

If you want me to post some .Looks that you have made that you would like to distribute, I can do that. Also we could maybe make a provision for posting links to .Looks on our forum.

Thanks,

Jason
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Old August 21st, 2008, 11:36 PM   #19
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Jason.


Thank you again for prompt information. I shall go take the tour of the look files.



FOOTNOTE:

The link posted gets munted by the automatic link feature and recevies an extra http on front of the address, I think maybe because you have a fullstop before the words as in .look

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 21st, 2008 at 11:40 PM. Reason: added text.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 10:26 PM   #20
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Bob,

Jason has probably answered your questions but

1. The XLR audio inputs are analog line level only
2. Have used the SI-2K audio for several commercials & short films without issue. - the A/D converters may not be as good as a stand alone multi-track audio recorder but they are up there with other video cameras - and uncompressed 16bit, 48KHz will be far better than any HDV audio.
3. The Sound Devices 442 (& Mix Pre) output analog signals.

any other questions - just ask (although I'm still learning the ins & outs of this system as well)
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Old August 24th, 2008, 02:29 AM   #21
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Rohan.


Thanks for your added information.

The touch screen? Is this permanently calibrated and reliable as an image reference? There is probably a note in the manual somewhere. I just have not found it yet.

One trick I use with the Z1 is to adjust the LCD brightness with the colour bars switched on until the little gray bar in the bottom righthand corner is just visible, then eyematch by the "look" the iris setting when time is precious.

I find the Z1 eyepiece viewfinder causes me to shoot hot so prefer the LCD with a hood on it and wear close-up glasses if I hook the battery on my shoulder for steadying up a bit. I also do a sort of spot-metering with the Z1 by zooming in and switching to auto for a moment to see just how different my manual settings are, then zooming back. That can be a bit of a trap because of the variation in lens aperture through the zoom.

When Steve was using the spot-metering function in the SI2K, he tended to shoot hot by about one stop. My personal preference when shooting video is to go darker if in doubt. ("If you blunder shoot under".).

With MiniDV or HDV, there is not a lot of wriggle room if you shoot under. I understand the SI2K is a lot more forgiving of under-exposure. Is this valid for the SI2K in your opinion?

We are jumping straight into the deep end for five days next week shooting a short feature, so want to get it as right as we can beforehand. One of the shots will be a man falling down through a ceiling in slow-mo.

So if you have any real-world useful hints about maintaining exposure levels on the fly, these would be greatly appreciated.

For sound, - to be on the safe side we may split channels from the Mix-Pre to the SI2K and to another camera set on MiniDV for sound or to a DAT recorder.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 24th, 2008 at 02:34 AM. Reason: error
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Old August 24th, 2008, 09:51 PM   #22
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The touchscreen is like all small LCD monitors for critical judging of colour & exposure - don't rely on it, use it as a rough guide. Although once you get your eye in with the camera, exposure can be done like any other video camera - until you change the look.

When you say Steve overexposed, do you mean that the RAW footage was over or was it the footage with the look applied that looked over? I have found that both the spot meter and the false colour meter work very well at exposing the RAW shots correctly.

A lot of the looks that come with SI-2K are based on a higher asa setting and so raise the apparent brightness of the shot, making properly exposed shots look over. Not a problem so long as you know - if you want to use those looks, expose down (or ideally colour correct your digital negative in post to match the look you want) or build your own looks based on the Default look which relates to the RAW exposure.

This camera has so much more wiggle room/latitude that a couple of stops either way wont kill you, all the info can be recovered in post (my first shoot with the SI-2K was greenscreen, two days after I first unpacked it. Looked good on the monitor - wrongly set up - I was at least two stops under maybe three but in post there was more than enough info to pull a good key and the subjects still looked good.)

Good luck with your short feature & if you need second unit - I'm happy to travel ;-)
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Old August 25th, 2008, 06:26 AM   #23
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Rohan.


Thank you again for your advice.

I ran into that same subject while doing some more reading, - look files "adding" to the apparent exposure level, so I now know this to be an illusion and not a painful loss of good image.

I was aware you can drag stuff up out of the blacks because the suit stitching, pattern and shadows in wrinkles were all visible in the second camera footage shot last week. I was not aware it also worked the other way (within reason).

Second unit? This one is a no-low budget so would not be affordable ex-Canberra. A number of people here swap help on each other's projects. This is one such. However thank you for your consideration in this.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #24
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While there is quite a bit of over-expsoure room, keep an eye on the histogram and false-color meter, as you will see when you're actually clipping highlights. This can be dangerous territory. One f-stop is not bad, but more than that, and you can run into issues.

The LCD monitor is not color-calibrated, it's an "okay" reference, but not something i would do super-critical judgement with. Again, that is why we have so many exposure tools for the RAW image coming in, so that you don't have to guess from the monitor whether the exposure is correct. You can look at the exposure tools and know where you're landing with the exposure in the digital negative.

Thanks,

Jason
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Old August 25th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #25
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Jason.


Thanks again for your advice.

Old dogs sometimes take a few kicks up the date before they learn new tricks. The histogram looked fine as I recall it. The over-exposure was in the facial highlights and in light of the available latitude probably more of an impression than reality on my part.

I shall play with the images some more and see what happens.

All these displays and aids all beat the hell out of the stressing after film goes off to the lab. "Now was that battery in that light meter flat?" " Did it really work properly?" Did I really reset the aperture after opening it up wide so that I could see better for critical focus before rolling?"

(Mind you, I do miss film in a sort of traitorous feeling selling out sort of way.).
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Old August 25th, 2008, 05:05 PM   #26
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Gee Bob,

I thought that with the boom in the west that the streets of Perth were paved with gold.
(actually I was over there last week so I know that's not quite true)

I agree with your sentiments about film but I'd say there is a good chance that I'll never load another mag again - cost & ease of use are going to win out.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #27
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QUOTE: "I thought that with the boom in the west that the streets of Perth were paved with gold."

They were, but the streeties dug the pavement up, hocked it and bought drugs, or the eastern states emigres took it home and paid off their mortgages.

Those of us mere mortals on fixed or restricted earnings are not in happy concert with the wellspring of WA being sucked dry and the northern mining towns being sucked even drier without infrastructure being put back. Local pricing is being pushed up unsustainably.

There is a redneck sentiment of the secessionist and xenophobic kind that WA is being stripped, that a new Brisbane line exists.

The think is that the resources on the western and northern sides of it are to be exhausted as rapidly as possible whilst Australia still hangs onto sovereignty. Afterwards, our several northern neighbours can be yielded what little is left when the push southward starts and the nation decides to shed less useful body parts or so the story goes.

I think a lot of other more pressing emergent circumstances will prevail before that scenario would ever get off the ground. With climate change and pandemic disease being two contenders, wars over living space and resources will become an unaffordable luxury.

Anyway, off the politic and back on topic. We will be exercising the SI2K on Thursday for sound. Hopefully another lens mount will also have arrived, which will enable some local S16 lenses to be tested.

Have you worked the full SI2K hand-held with the P+S long front arms, existing electronic side-finder and shoulder support yet? I would be interested to know how that went if you have done.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 01:27 AM   #28
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Sorry to butt in. Does anyone else have the P&S OLED viewfinder?

We have one and it's a thing of great joy and frustration. We cannot get it to reset or lock any changes we make to the setup. I go through the reset procedure and for a few seconds the image looks gorgeous and then it goes back to whatever state it was in when someone fiddled with it i.e. horrid.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 04:09 AM   #29
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Bob


Steve's camera has an electronic eyepiece which sits on a sliding lockable mount on the left side front of the camera when it is assembled. Is this the "OLED" viewfinder you refer to?

He is absolutely rapt with it. Unfortunately for me, I am left-eye dominant, left-handed and shortsighted, so I don't have a prayer with it. It's the big touch screen, black and white and the red marks for me.

I have not found any setup notes for the viewfinder, but my document copies are as yet incomplete.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 05:08 AM   #30
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That's the one.
We do have documentation. The three buttons on the back are a bit fiddly to use I find but probably that's just a matter of us getting used to it. If only I could the changes I'm making to the settings to stick.
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