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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old July 18th, 2009, 04:57 AM   #1
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Fast Tracking with 700

Hi Folks

We recently shot Niall Mac former Super Bike champ for marketing/promo/training materials and, as a test to see what the XDCAM HD 700 422 footage would look like displayed on Hi Def display screens.

The shoot proved to be quite a challenge. I used only the 700 at 1080p 25 1/50 as I wanted to see what we could achieve, naturally this stuff is so much easier to capture with smaller, or cams dedicated to this type of work. On versions of the marketing materials, it will probably be cut with helmet cam footage and the like.

The actual film is still being worked on, but we put together a page of screen grabs and a movie demo which we will later update to hi res and hi def files.

http://www.studioscotland.com/Sony422_review.htm

Actually, there was a finale to the whole event but at this time I cannot tell/show you what happened until clearance is finalised… all I will say is – it’s a hand over the mouth job with the words… Oh Noooo!..... I’ll keep you posted.

PS: Just in case your thinking… no… the PDW-700 is still in one piece.


Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old July 20th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Good feature, but I could not get the clip to play on my Mac.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #3
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Thanks Alister, Sorry about that, not sure what the problem could be? Our Macs are kept off-line (important upgrades only) so I can’t check it on one just now.

Do you have a PC to try it on?, I see it working okay on a PC, I think they are just Flash movies; our web man is on holiday at the moment so I’m not much help.

Be interesting to hear your thoughts, particularly after your work on aircraft – I found focusing was pretty tough going at the long end of the lens as well as trying to keep accurate pace with the machine so that the motion did not ruin the shots. Viewing on a 24” HD monitor really shows the flaws.

I agree that a colour viewfinder would make things easier particularly when outdoor lighting changes and you have to make snap alterations.

Something I forgot to mention on the review was the need for a very good tripod because the one I was using did not make things easy, at least that’s my excuse for making a dogs dinner of some of the takes.


Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old July 21st, 2009, 01:55 AM   #4
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My first job over 20 years ago was working for BHP on motorsports programmes for the BBC. I've been filming cars, bikes and aircraft ever since. There is an art to tracking fast moving objects and even after 20 years of doing it on a regular basis I still get it wrong. HD is very unforgiving. I've just spent the last 2 weeks filming aircraft and airshows. Every thing form historic Bleriot monoplanes to Eurofighters. I was using various lenses including a Fujinon 42x16x2. For that lens we used an O'connor 2060 head on Ronford legs. You really need the biggest heaviest tripod you can get and then wind up the drag as high as you can get away with. Focusing with the colour C35W viewfinder is soooo much easier than with the HDVF-20A. We also used a Schwem Gyro stabilised lens to get tracking shots of aircraft from the back of a "Follow Me" Range Rover including running along parallel to the runway shooting the Vulcan landing. I am making a behind the scenes video of the last 2 weeks covering all aspects of the job including minicams, lens choice and lots of video clips.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 04:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
There is an art to tracking fast moving objects and even after 20 years of doing it on a regular basis I still get it wrong. HD is very unforgiving.
Not just unforgiving, a bloody nightmare sometimes! I've been doing a lot of rally coverage the last couple of years and in SD it was bad enough when the rain was caning it down trying to follow a WRC class rally car belting towards and past the camera. In HD it is sooo critical.

I can't imagine what it is like trying to follow a fighter jet with a really long telephoto lens!
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Old July 21st, 2009, 06:55 AM   #6
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Fast tracking work is not really a big part of our business so I have shied away from spending big bucks on a top quality tripod, though I must admit it would be nice to try one out. As for gyros, that would sure beat using my neck as a pivot.

Something I find interesting, last year I shot a fair bit of close up footage of jet airliners coming into Edinburgh Airport, frontal, rear, underneath and side shots at various focal lengths with the F350 at 25fps 1/50th and when doing a frame by frame check they are mainly devoid of motion blur on the actual aircraft – but when I compare the bike footage (I appreciate its moving faster at a given distance, camera has bigger chips etc etc) the PDW-700 appears to be a lot more unforgiving, I mean it really appears to show up focus and tracking error so much more.

I agree Simon – you get away with murder with SD, I did a promo for large scale model aircraft many years ago and they were a pig to track close up, would not like to shoot that with my set up with the 700.

I am now looking into fitting a follow focus because I am definitely coming across a lot more situations with this camera where focus needs adjustment and I am compensating by going wide, using less camera movements or restricted camera distance to subject dolly/crane shots.

Best: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old July 21st, 2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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Aircraft tend to be easier as they never get that close, normally!!! At the airshow the closest a flying aircraft gets is probably 200ft away. As a result your always playing between infinity and 200ft so only have to deal with tiny focus tweaks. Cars can be half a mile a way and then within 20 seconds be just 20ft away, much harder to do. I think the 700 is so unforgiving just because it is so damn sharp that any softness really shows up.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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I now have clearance to show what happened to former Super Bike champ Niall Mac and that shiny new Yam R1

http://www.studioscotland.com/Sony422_review.htm

Movie near bottom of page - Bonus Feature at the end of the movie… ouch!

Best: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 04:34 AM   #9
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Good stuff Stewart. How was the rider and bike afterwards?

Liked the look of your Designed For Destruction programme. Would like to see that some time!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 11:05 AM   #10
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Good stuff.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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Thanks guys – We did not get what we really wanted to do, but I have to say the whole exercise taught me a lesson using this camera. I am not sure if its just me, but I am sure there is much more motion blur using the 700 at 25/50fps as opposed to the F350 – I am definitely noticing a much less forgiving image if the camera does not track the subject with accuracy, and I don’t just mean fast moving things but even people walking about.

Granted, when you move up a pace in regard to image size and detail then clearly the image can show flaws in less than perfect camera work much more easily, I just didn’t expect it.

I am off to do some shutter speed tests tonight…

Simon: Niall Mac was okay, just a bit shaken, the bike however suffered badly and all I will say is you could fill your house wall to wall with Greggs Sausage rolls in regard to the repair bill.

Yes the submarine doc is still being worked on – trailer was shot with the F350 – hopefully we will get to complete it soon.

Best: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #12
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Hi Stewart,
I have become a proud owner of a Sony f350 and loving it.
Would you mind sharing your paint settings for this camera. What I'm enjoying is shooting back in DVCAM for a client, it looks good.

Also what lens are you using on the f350.
Thanks
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Old September 4th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #13
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Hi Simon –

Did you have a look at our F350 review?

http://www.studioscotland.com/SonyF350_review.htm

Everyone has differing needs and requirements and come from different schooling – For myself I used the Cinegamma 2 setting on the F350 while retaining all other factory settings (Cinegamma 4 has more of a “look” to it if you want something quick). I did not turn off detail or use less sharpening as others do because where I wanted a more organic look I will use softening filters that do the same job but have an effect on the light hitting the filter. Of course much depends on the job in hand and what screen size your project will be played back on.

Basically, my approach is to capture detail/information, and not to try and get a “look” in the camera, although I will use a range of glass filters. This is then graded in post as I see fit for the given project. Of course, correct exposure, correct lighting techniques working within the given dynamic range of the scene will all play a part in the ability to “experiment” with the look in post, without the footage breaking up or degrading.

As a former advertising photographer I always had to create the look in camera (pre-computers) with film stock choice, filters, effects and processing tricks. There was always a danger that while the art director loved the shot, the client did not like the look. So for me, being able to shoot for maximum detail and then mess about on the computer is very liberating, but it in no way means you can be sloppy with the fundamentals of exposure and lighting control.

Of course this is not economical if you are shooting for news or other such subjects where you desire a specific look in the camera with no need for extra post work. You can go to the Sony website and download scene files that you can play with.

Have a read at the review, it may answer many questions for you.

Hope that has been of some help Simon, the F350 is a very capable bit of kit…

Best: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old September 4th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #14
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Thanks Stewart,
Yes I have read your article on the 350 and it's great, thanks for that.
Also thanks for the other info.

Cheers
Simon
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Old September 13th, 2009, 02:01 AM   #15
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Simon, congrats on getting the F350. If you go back in this forum a few years (around November 2006), you'll see some screen grabs I posted using nothing but Cinegamma 4 and Low Key bumped up a bit. The other setting was 30P with 1/60 shutter. It's a quick and dirty gamma curve that holds onto the midtones and gives some nice contrast, yet rolls off the highlights sooner than the standard curve so you get a little more latitude in the image contrast.

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