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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 May 12th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #1
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330 test... year long doc starts monday

Well, after countless hours of reading forms, testing 1/3 inch cameras and trying to figure out the best workflow within our budget and broadcast structure, we've decided to go with the Sony 330 and Fuji hd glass. What few tests we've had time to do all look pretty wonderful (Pat Mastelotto from King Crimson playing on his kit in his studio... wow!).

The project is a doc in and around TX which will take a year to shoot/ edit. We leave Monday at 7:am for the first few days.

If anyone has any tech advice or heads-ups regarding the 330, feel free to use this thread as a ref. I'll try and post any pros or cons as they arise.

Wish us luck!
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Old May 13th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Rall
Well, after countless hours of reading forms, testing 1/3 inch cameras and trying to figure out the best workflow within our budget and broadcast structure, we've decided to go with the Sony 330 and Fuji hd glass. What few tests we've had time to do all look pretty wonderful (Pat Mastelotto from King Crimson playing on his kit in his studio... wow!).

The project is a doc in and around TX which will take a year to shoot/ edit. We leave Monday at 7:am for the first few days.

If anyone has any tech advice or heads-ups regarding the 330, feel free to use this thread as a ref. I'll try and post any pros or cons as they arise.

Wish us luck!
Good luck---it would be great if you could keep us abreast of the experiences you have shooting---By the way, which Fuji hd lens are you using?
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Old May 13th, 2006, 11:48 AM   #3
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Great to see another Austinite here, Dutch -- hope to meet you soon,
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Old May 13th, 2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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David,

We went with the HSs18X5.5BRM-M38. Very happy so far. I miss having a 2x, but the loss of light combined with this camera would be unusable for the most part anyway without gain... which is harsh on this model.
And it's mainly about the cost under this project's budget. It's the most we could afford at this time for this show.
This camera will also act occasionally as a 3rd field cam in dvcam mode with 2 Ikys for a talk show my station produces. The field Iky's have similar Fuji lenses and if we mess with the Sony's colorimity, it should be easier to match.

So far, this camera is what I was dreaming of a few years ago. The 24p in 35bit and cine4 gamma has a kindof 70's film look that I love.


And Chris, I hope to meet you too.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:49 PM   #5
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We had a great week breaking in the camera in and around the hills west of Austin. The camera performed without any problems... the only thing to happen was that the 82mm lens protector shows up when at full wide... so, we'd take it off when indoors for interviews.

The 330 performed much better than I expected in low light (we were in a cavern used for wine barrels... getting shots of the owners of the vineyard checking the barrels for mold using a single handheld light from about 30 feet away... didn't have to flip the gain on to get a great, moody shot).

I would really recommend getting the little 7 inch Marshall monitor to check focus in the field. It works well for a 2 person crew.

From what I can so far, the footage looks wonderful. Later this week, I'll be checking it on a 60 inch plasma and let you all know how it goes.

Having shot waterfalls, wildlife, interviews, insects, etc at 35bit last week, I can see why Discovery is going to accept the 35bit footage. It has it's own look which in 60i I would describe as "glassy" (this is not a bad thing).

So far, the camera is holding up for a low budget, small crew doc in HD.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 10:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the update, Dutch. I hope you guys are shooting some production stills every once in awhile... as if, heh, you've got nothing else to do.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:20 PM   #7
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Sounds very interesting---keep the reports coming.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #8
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We went upstairs yesterday and checked some of the footage on a large HD screen used for tours of the Austin City Limits studio. I used the component out from the cam.

I brought my exec producer, production manager, the station's CEO and a friend up to take a look. They were all happy and impressed with the footage. "Looks like film," "WOW", and other unrepeatable phrases were exclaimed. The scenic shots of Big Bend at sunset got actual applause. This is the station's first HD production and it was a big deal to spend the money within our PBS budget.

The only negative shot was a two-person interview in which one subject (not speaking) was very slightly out of focus. We were shooting in a dark room with shutterless windows. DOF is a real issue with this camera. Not a problem... an issue. When downrezzed for SD broadcast, this shot won't be noticed. But for HD it will.

So again... get the little 7 inch monitor and have an assistant check your shots whenever possible. Just like HD is somewhere between SD and film, I think it might require a similar thought in regards to crew. Medium sized... meaning 2 to 5 people to do what maybe you could do with 1 to 3 on a dv shoot.

The blue-ray discs have been problem free and I love the thumbnail feature and the inability to record over your existing shots (not that I'd ever do that!).

The lens has been good to great.

The b&w viewfiner is fine for focus if you adjust the peaking. The LCD monitor has only really been good enough to use for timecode/ sound levels. The colors and contrast simply do not represent what is actually being recorded.

One other thing... get the heaviest tripod you can afford and can carry. Every little bump, windgust, etc is about 4 times more noticable than dv or beta.

Everything takes more time, but so far, the end results have been worth the effort.
For the price, I don't think I could be happier and more relieved with my decision to go/ wait for this camera.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #9
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Sounds great---Have you done any running and gunning yet---I mean more eng, or cinema verite style?
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Old June 14th, 2006, 09:57 AM   #10
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Not a lot. The project calles for slow, steady contemplative.
I did have two people have a discussion indoors walking towards camera... My grip booming while we both walked backwards and I tried to maintain focus.

The issue here is that I'd like to stay wide to get rid of as much handheld-look as possible, but the 1/2 inch lens isn't quite as wide as I'm used to.

It looks fine to cut back and forth to, but I wouldn't have the shot up for longer than 4-6 sec at a time.

But this is all my leaning curve more than it is the camera itself.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #11
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Do you know how wide your lens is in relation to a 2/3" lens, ie., is that 5.5mm at the wide and like 10mm or what? And, thanks for taking the time to make these reports.

I'm surprised you said depth of field was an issue--in context it seems you were talking about the fact that the depth is shallow under low light conditions. I would think it would be significantly wider than with 2/3" chip cameras under the same conditions. Maybe I misinterpreted that comment.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #12
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You can use 1.38 as the conversion factor from a 1/2" lens to the equivalent 2/3" lens field of view.

5.5 * 1.38 = 7.59

There is a good explanation of using 2/3" lenses on 1/2" cameras in this Canon PDF brochure about their HDgc lenses.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #13
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Thanks. So the 5.5 is about 8mm in my frame of reference. That's wide enough for most things. I'm accustomed to shooting with an 8.5-127, so it's a slight improvement, actually.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #14
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Side project. The Incurable

I've posted some stills of an indie feature I've been shooting on weekends, nights, etc over the summer.

http://www.theincurable.com

is the temp site with stills. I just adjusted the curves a bit in Photoshop. More grading later. Yes, there is some CA. If I waited for the perfect camera, I'd never get around to doing this.

23.9P. Cine 4. Hi and normal saturation depending on the light that day.

Should be finished with the rough edit in late November. So if anyone is in or around Austin and likes the idea of a no-budget (6K out of my pocket) version of Kieslowski or Sautet and would like to offer constructive critisim before I send off to festivals... I'd love to have some non-techie/ overall feedback at a screening. My wife makes great popcorn. Real butter. Let me know.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 09:37 PM   #15
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Anything Kieslowski-ish, I'm up for! But I don't live in Texas. Nice looking stills. When it's finished, consider sending us a screener next year at http://www.kansasfilm.com . Our festival is in September.
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