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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 October 28th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #1
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Second cam?

I'm looking into the possibility of using Canon 7D in 1080p24 movie mode as second cam to SI-2K.

Have not done any real two-cam shoots yet, but my preliminary tests of Canon 7D movies (both day and night) are very encouraging.

What do you use as second camera to intercut SI-2K footage with?
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Old October 28th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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Hello Alex.

The guys who shot "Trespass" used a Sony PMW-EX1 as second "risk" cam on their home-made crane as alternative to the SI2K and it held up fairly well on the big screen. The difference could be observed however.

Here is the strange one. - On the editing computer, the initial "apparent" resolution from the EX1 seems sharper than the SI2K but on the other end with a near new theatrical video projector on a big screen, the SI2K footage appears sharper.

The EX1 footage appeared to have ringy edges when foliage and branches were outlined and those shots to be apparently a bit softer. The colour was also a bit muted.

There are probably ways to more closely meld the two. Whatever, it looks bloody marvellous to see stuff you have touched up on the big screen.

You may find the Canon as equally useful as a complimentary camera to the SI2K, especially when you want discreet and confined workspace utility independent of a cable and some more apparent dynamic range than the EX1.

Compared to the SI2K, you may observe the RGB waveform to appear as if it is soft clay shoved through a letterbox slot with flat tops and bottoms short of the full display range whereas the SI2K properly shot will fill the display range with peaks from top to bottom.

You are likely way ahead of me on these things but for me it is an intriguing novelty to watch this play out during grading sessions.

Last edited by Bob Hart; October 28th, 2009 at 10:24 PM. Reason: error
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Old October 29th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #3
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EX1 could never match SI-2K in its depth of field, and Sony looked extremely flat and very digital, so actually I sold it :)

Sharpness: I agree, and I even posted regarding that on this forum. It becomes apparent that shooting cityscapes with EX1 produces apparently sharper picture than SI-2K. However, after applying sharpening to SI-2K images in post, sharpness can be easily equalized to EX1 level at least. The explanation is that EX1, it seems, still has a lot of sharpening applied to the footage in-cam, although I was always dialing it down.

Canon 7D, however, produces nice three-dimensional, yet sharp image, thanks to its quality stock lens. And the depth of field, of course, can be controlled just like on SI-2K. Also I cannot see any visible motion or compression artifacts. (Rolling shutter of course will be present on fast moves as with any CMOS cam, including SI-2K.)
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 09:53 AM   #4
Silicon Imaging, Inc.
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Alex makes an important point - the SI-2K is a RAW camera. We don't do any sharpening, gamma or even Bayer processing in the camera. When you compare the SI footage with another camera, think about the quality level of the SI Bayer in that test. Full render or just preview quality? Even playback on our clip player is a very coarse algorithm. That is the point - you don't do the highest quality render until later in the workflow. Sharpening should be a post decision.

I know Slumdog had the SI cut with 35mm film and a Canon DSLR. Jason had posted a single scene cut list on CML.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #5
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Just saw test done a few days ago for an Israeli indie movie comparing the EX, SI, D7, D5
I usually dont like to report personall taste /opinion but the difference in results is staggering.
coming from a long career of compositing and manipulating video, I can advise that there would have to be considerable post production work done in order to match the SI to any of these (and still not satisfactory in my opinion) and this is why:

1.Rolling shutter in D5, D7 is very visible - you would have to actually ruin the SI footage in order to match the poor shutter performance in those cams -and these were daylight tests mind you! (or shoot only static plates with them)

2.color -since it's not RAW you are very limited in Color correction, and would again be forced to match the SI to the EX, D7, D5 and so on

3.Depth of field as all have mentioned above is very different, not to mention the inherit differences in using so many different lens sets - once again, heavy post work could fix this but its a lot of work..

4.have not seen film out from these cameras other then the SI, but I see no logical reason for their compression to hold up to SI's whose film out is truly amazing

all in all, i was very dissappointed with the rolling shutter effect, and even though their price tags are very tempting, i strongly advise testing them in depth before purchase..

best of luck
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Old November 14th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #6
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Yup, all this is true in theory.

In practice, Canon 7D does produce wonderful video that intercuts great w SI-2K.

Of course you have to acquire footage carefully, given camera limitations - which is true for any cam, including SI-2K...
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Old November 18th, 2009, 08:02 AM   #7
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I appreciate your impressions of the camera. I don't get a chance to do that level of multi-camera comparison and won't give blithe 'ours is better, trust me' statements to potential customers. I prefer it if they do the tests themselves but at least they should listen to other people beyond the vendors.
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