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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old August 10th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #1
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Best Filmic settings on the A1

We've been shooting a feature length documentary about an eclectic small town in Southwest Wisconsin called VIROQUA... using the Sony HVR-A1.

We've attempted to select settings, lighting, shadows, magic hour color, subjects and story lines to maximize film-like capture. Of course, we are most proud of the actual story this funky town and it's "tribe" have to tell.

Regarding camera settings/configuration, we primarily use the following...

Wide angle lens, VCL-HG0737Y
UV filter
1/30 second shutter speed... to my eye this adds a subtle filmic quality
Exposure often set manually one notch above the automatic stop
Liberal use of Zoom, with selective focus on the subject to minimize DOF, blur the background
XLR audio - often w/ wireless lavaliere mic
Sharpness one notch below default (set to 7)
Cinagamma 2
Cinaframe OFF
Blackstretch ON
White balance - OUTDOORS

I assume we will convert to 24p in post with Magic Bullet or Nattress.com's product.

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 02:21 PM   #2
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I believe most dramatic film-like qualities will come in post. Color manipulation and correction, for example, is a huge one. Also, image softening is another huge factor, which can be done in various ways - if you don't want to process this in post, you can try the Tiffen Soft FX series, Black Pro Mist series, or similar. Personally, I would leave Cinegamma off and color correct in post. Graduated ND filters are good for high contrast images like sunsets, I hear.

If you can, get a 35mm adaptor as well for shallow DOF.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 02:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Macasaet
We've been shooting a feature length documentary
1/30 second shutter speed... to my eye this adds a subtle filmic quality
i suspect that gives you some type of quasi-progressive quality. if you are using magic bullet - which presumably does some type of de-interlacing - you probably wont need this.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:56 PM   #4
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Don't forget to:

1. Get some shallow depth of field in there (pull the camera back and go to the end of the lens/zoom all the way in; iris up all the way).

2. Go for some more contrasting lighting--look at similar movies to what you want.

3. If you can (on other cameras, it's easier), get the shutter as close to 1/48 as possible, but 1/50 or 1/60 is okay.

4. Watch movies and see how camera movements are handled vs. TV.

Then add the 24p filters.

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Old September 8th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #5
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I'll throw my $.02 in as well for the A1u

1. Listen to what Heath Said
2. Shoot with Cinegamma 1
3. Shoot 60 frames/second
4. Use ND filters to get the aperture as large as possible
5. If using tripod, zoom in to blur background
6. Use blackstretch
7. Set "Setup" to 0%
8. Use 24 frame filter in Post
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Old September 8th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #6
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Dave,

Excellent points!

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Old September 8th, 2006, 01:25 PM   #7
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I appreciate the advice.

Just received my smokin' new Duel core Power Mac with 4-Tb's hard-drive space.

And most significantly... the stories, symbolism, myth, and emotion just keep unfolding before us during filming. What a ride.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #8
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Tony,

Is it a Power Mac or the new Mac Pro? The PMs, before they retired, were dual-core and VERY fast (even now, with the Mac Pros out). I have a Power Mac G5 Quad and it's ready to edit my feature film!

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Old September 11th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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Heath... pardon me... Right, The Mac Pro. I have Apple dyslexia it seems, lol.
Best of luck on your film.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 02:25 AM   #10
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use the photo mode..you wil get close to super 16mm filmlook without using software in post.
try it on hdtv..you can see the huge diffrence.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 09:45 AM   #11
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What is Photo Mode?
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Old September 14th, 2006, 01:01 AM   #12
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And how would you actually record in photo mode?
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