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Old July 17th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #1
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7 camera XDCAM HD Shoot on Wed, need some pointers on gamma and knee

Well, the subject says it all. Before I get a chance to buy my own 350, I got the call to shoot a concert (arena show) on Wed. Turns out XDCAM HD is perfect for the budget level and expectations (1/3" HDV not quite enough, not enough post budget for HDCAM)

So I'll have a DIT on the shoot, but I'd like some ballpark numbers on where I can put my black gamma, gamma, knee, and detail. My criteria:

1-Since it's a concert with a lot of black in the frame, I'd like to lift the blacks a little so I have some detail in there in post to selectively crush out.

2-I'd like a depressed "Cinegamma" for the mids. Out of the curves available, which is the one that makes things look a teensy darker?

3-Knee. I want to retain detail (like everybody else), but more importantly, when things do blow out, I'd like them graceful as possible. I usually keep knee pretty low to do this (80-ish). What about this cam? I get the idea going with knee is better than DCC.

4-Detail. I like to keep it low, but not missing altogether. Simon, I know you like to shoot without but that's a little far for me. Maybe -60?

Thanks to any and all that chime in. Since I'm shooting tomorrow on another job entirely (bad timing), I'm unable to prep the cameras at the rental house and will be pressed for time to come up with a look I like on day of show!
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Old July 17th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #2
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Nate,

I have a couple set-ups on memory stick. I can send them to you to load in as a starting point. You'll have to buy a memory stick that has NO MORE THAN 128MB capacity. Silly, a new camera that can't accept larger flash memory size than that. I bought a 1GB card and it didn't like it. Took it back and got a 128 like the manual says and voila!

-gb-
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Old July 17th, 2006, 02:43 PM   #3
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Yeah, if anybody has any laying around on their comp, my public iDisk folder is nweaver. Deposit there, please :-)
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:19 PM   #4
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Nate-

Some settings I've found to be useful are for me:

upping the Detail Level +5
adding a bit of Saturation +20 or so
knee point 95.6
slope 1
SD Detail HI
Dropping master black & black gamma
(however you might want to keep those at 0)

I switch between Cine1 and 4 often depending on what I'm shooting.

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ps you need another shooter w/cam?
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Old July 20th, 2006, 02:36 PM   #5
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Gamma 4 will give you the deep blacks, Gamma 3 is a little more natural.
Detail only goes down to -60 and up to plus 150. Leave it at 0 or you may want to up it just a little if you need to get a better match with a typical HDCAM setup.
I like to have the knee at between 90 and 95 and I bring the clipping down from 108 to 105.
Wouldn't push up the sat too much, if anything it's slightly oversaturated at the default.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
upping the Detail Level +5
Ouch! <shudders at the thought> This should be made a crime.

As Alister said, Gamma 4 gives the deepest blacks. I found it to have a similar look to the standard gamma, but with more natural highlight roll-off. If you want maximum range, use Cine 2. If you do, leave that knee and knee slope where it is. The Cinegammas have their own roll-off so the knee should only really be touched if you know what you are doing. It won't have the same effect as if you were using the adjustment on a standard gamma and you could end up with all sorts of issues. Cine2 rolls off before 100ire anyway. The rest go up to around 108/109.

It does bug me slightly that the XDCAM HD cameras don't have a test SAW signal.

Really though, if you want the optimum look or black level it needs to be set up properly with charts. There isn't really any one single setting that can be recommended because we all have our own ideas of what makes a nicer picture.

I'd say that leaving it in default detail (even if personally I think it is still too harsh), and using Cinegamma 4, and you shouldn't go too far wrong. There is a Highsat colour matrix if you want a bit more punch.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #7
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Well guys, thanks for responding, but it was a bit too late :-)

At about 1am Wed the night before the shoot, I went though and made some of my own basic settings:

1-Cine gamma 3 (the most gentle of the mid depressing gammas, I thought)

2-Knee of 80, slope of I don't remember. I just wanted the blowouts to be smooth and graceful. They were, but who knows if they were because if this setting.

3-Detail I left alone. Default seems to be in a decent place...but could be lower for certain things.

4-Black gamma of 40, which lifted the blacks a little bit like I wanted.

Looking at last nights footage after I got home (at 1am again!), it looks like I did what I wanted. There's a little detail still picked up in the dark corners of the frame(s), and when the crazy concert lights blew everything out, it still all looks very good.

Ingesting 12.5 hours of stuff into FCP now. Here's a grab and some pics:

http://homepage.mac.com/nweaver/XDCA...ncert%20Shoot/
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7 camera XDCAM HD Shoot on Wed, need some pointers on gamma and knee-c0001.jpg  
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Old July 20th, 2006, 07:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham
...and using Cinegamma 4, and you shouldn't go too far wrong. There is a Highsat colour matrix if you want a bit more punch.
That has become my favorite combo so far. Cinegamma 4 with HISAT called up in the preset matrix. I also like to give a bump to low key sat to around +40. I tested it in some indoor natural lighting and it does bring out the color a bit like I want.

Like you said though, we all have our own idea of what makes a pretty picture.

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Old July 22nd, 2006, 03:52 PM   #9
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looks like a cool gig Nate.

How did the operators of the F330's get on with the viewfinder???
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 12:03 AM   #10
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We only had one 330, and I didn't hear/get his opinion on it.

I know my opinion on it though. Having not seen the two different finders side by side until Wednesday, my previous opinion was that the 330's finder wasn't all that bad.

My opinion has now changed :-)
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #11
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Nate,
you have any issues syncing the timecode to all the cameras
mixing the 330 in with the rest of the 350s?
rob
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:00 PM   #12
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We tried jamming one of the cameras to the house sync and timecode from the mobile recording truck, but it wasn't taking. We later found out that that box wasn't supplying the correct tri-level sync needed.

I told the guys (the ACs, I mean) to stop worrying about it because syncing cameras, even 7, is about a 5 minute job for me in FCP. I'm absolutely sure they spent about 5 times as much time trying to get the TC jam to work as it took me to sync all 7 cams with wildly varying TC.

The 330 had identical paint menu settings as the 350s, so there was no issue there. The operator on the 330 had trouble with focus however, and I blame that solely on the viewfinder.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 11:52 PM   #13
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Sure, but I am surprised the 330 camera guy could not double
check from the LCD on the camera.

What is the best "JamSync" device with VTR control with
the XDCAM?

If I added some 330Ls with a 350, being that the 330 shares the
TC in/out input, what happens when 3 or more 330s are used
and wanted to be in TC sync?
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Old October 11th, 2006, 12:01 AM   #14
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The LCD on either camera is difficult to focus from. It's not that it's low-res, it's more that it's no comparison to the CRT finder on the 350.

In a 350/330 sync scenario, you could have the 350 be a master clock and the 330s just slave to it.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 08:38 PM   #15
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What if you had (5) 330Ls and wanted to sync them all
together? I see the 330L shares the TC IN with the TC OUT
in the same input... Any tips on this are appreciated....

PS - Great photos from your concert shoot. What's next, you
going to be doing Madona's music videos....?
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