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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 June 11th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #1
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Dynamic Range

Hello,

This camera has really cought my attention, mainly due to its workflow and 11 stop dynamic range.

After using my DSLR, video cameras are looking quite limited.

To those who use or have used this camera, how does this larger dynamic range affect your shooting compared to when you are using a "video" camera with the normal 5-6 stop range?

For example shooting outdoors, can you include more background highlights before needing to stop down?

I just watched the new interview posted on the SI site.

I noticed some bright highlitghts in the left corner.

How would these highlights have looked if this was shot with an XDCAM HD?

Just trying to get a real world take on using this large dynamic range.

Thanks
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Old June 11th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #2
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Well, it depends . . . on what I've seen here with some PDW-F350's I've gotten to use, I would up the fill light on Chef Beau so that it would approximately look the same . . . of course then I'd probably have to use some scrim to keep his white outfit from going nuclear . . . but you see the point.

Extended dynamic range comes in useful when you can't control the circumstances. Remember that a TV screen still only has the contrast ratio of 6 or 7 f-stops, so in the end, you have to compress the contrast range of your footage if you want it to look "nice" on TV. As I noted before, in that interview, a "normal" TV camera might have issues with keeping the white outfit of Chef Beau from blowing out while keeping detail behind him in the window due to extra fill-lighting. I could still get the ending image to look approximately the same, but it would take some more work.

Also again, we have far better compression, and there's no pixel-shifting or sub-sampling going on like XDCAM-HD with it's 1440x1080 sized imager.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 08:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Rodriguez View Post
Remember that a TV screen still only has the contrast ratio of 6 or 7 f-stops, so in the end, you have to compress the contrast range of your footage if you want it to look "nice" on TV.
But, I am correct to think that it is still better to capture all of the range with your imaging device and compress than only capture what the display device can show?

For example, which image would show the best on a 7 stop television:

1) image shot with a 10 stop sensor, then compressed to fit the television.

2) image shot with a 7 stop sensor, no compression needed

When you mention televisions, are you speaking of newer HD plasma ect... or CRT televisions?

Thanks.

This camera is so intriguing to me. Shooting without many limits is something one must get used to!
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Old June 11th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #4
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IMO the SI highlights have a natural look compared to regular video, like they are hot (245-250ish in photoshop) and not totally blown (255 in photoshop).
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Old June 21st, 2007, 02:10 AM   #5
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This is a color correction test of a shot taken with the SI-2K.
Here you can see what you can get, in small scale.
This was done totally gerrilla. Natural light situations, i was just testing the art and wardrobe elements and their reaction in the camera.

I`m very surprised with the result, i`ve seen this shots on a Barco 2k projector compared with some HDV and 35mm footage, and it looks amazing
Attached Thumbnails
Dynamic Range-corrected-copy.jpg  
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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:45 AM   #6
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Thats a great looking shot!
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:30 AM   #7
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Hi Sergio,

From that shot, did you figure out your Cineon conversion issues we were discussing in the CineForm forum?

It looks like you did.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 09:35 AM   #8
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Thanks for your example.

Any comments about the display medium?

Most likely anything I would shoot with the SI camera would be shown on a television instead of a movie screen.

Would the dynamic range be wasted?
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Old June 21st, 2007, 10:51 PM   #9
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Yes Jason, you and David, show me the light.


Tim:
Dont think you re going to waste any Dynamic Range, I shot a Short film in december using a prototype sensor, it wasnt even 2k yet, so we shoot it at 1080p. We delivered the short in SD for film festivals selections and today preciselly we had the chance of looking the material in filmout simulation and it looked really great in both situations.

Dinamic Range gives you the possibility of manipulate the image in post, you have the chance to separate the colors and light of an image just like film. The more dinamic range you have the better, it doesnt matter your output. The idea is to have the flexibility of molding the footage and make it look the way you want and obtain the best results possible in different deliverables.

The shots i reviewed today were previously color corrected, in many of them i pushed to hard the contrast so at first sight there was no information left in the blacks, we readjusted the gamma and we could obtain a lot of detail we were very surprised with the response of the shots.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 12:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for your reply Sergio.

In your experience with the SI imager, how do the images compare to other cameras you have used?

For instance any HD or SD video cameras?

Do you find you have to compensate less for your surroundings using the SI compared to other cameras?

Sort of the freedom to point it at almost any background and get a useable image.

Thanks
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 01:25 AM   #11
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Well i`ve used almost all of the DV and HDV prosumer cameras for many years and in different kind of situations. I`ve shot many commercials and short films in 35mm and 16mm working in productiona and in postproduction.

Right know im making my firs feature film, when we started we thought of shooting in HD because of the flexibility and control it gives you in budget controled projects, at first i thought of using a cinealta fw900 but the DCT compression and the option of carrying arround an SR deck for full 10bits color precission didnt seem practical for my production needs.

Then I found out about the SI project, and it was very interesting. I dont loose time and compromise quality capturing footage from tapes, i can manipulate the image directly on set and in our case we will have the editor uploading shots with an animatic reference directly in to de timeline so our daylies (sort of speak) can be seen in context, and with the real image, so if i detect an issue in the shot i can correct it that same day when i have all these things ready for that precise scene, because re-takes always are very dificult and expensive in my case the story is located in the 40`s so going back to location is almost impossible.

All the benefits im achieving right know are in therms of workflow, and i`ve been getting pretty good shots from the camera as well.

In Mexico the film crew is very conservative, they know how to operate almost every film camera you gave them, but most of them are affraid of using digital cameras, in our case the touch screen made it very easy for them to get used to, and they loved the focus tool.

In therms of camera balance, i`ve been working just with the sensor, and custom made rigs and camera bodies, so you cant relly on them. But i`ve used some PS techiques tweaked Arris and they are marvelous. So im confident that the full DVR will be the best choice.

I`ve been limited with the mini because i dont have the battery plate so all the exterior shots i`ve done have to be done with the AC power, but im waiting for it to do some exterior tests in open field.

The major advantage i`ve seen in the SI is the software updates, they change a lot the way the camera operates, and it gives you the joy of making the tool adjust to your needs and not you adjusting to the tool. The product is constantly evolving, thats something I didnt notice with any camera.

In therms of image quality I compared some shots taken with the Sony (i dont remember if it was the zd1 or the other one) because I intended to use a 10camera sequence for an accion scene, but i`ve seen today how it looks like on the big screen compared with the SI shots, and im planning to go in a different direction.

I`ve tested the Phantom v10 and Phanto 65 as well, the image quality is pretty good as well, but we loose a lot of time trascoding the RAW data, so I preferred the workflow advantage of the SI2K.

Thats some of my experience so far with the camera.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 09:31 AM   #12
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Thank you for your input
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