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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old June 9th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #1
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Achieving a Cinematic Look with FX7

Hello all,

I'm seriously considering getting an FX7. One thing it lacks is 24p, and I've heard the Cinegamma setting it offers is basically useless. I've considered buying the V1U - it offers 24p, but right now, my budget can't stretch that far.

My primary use for the camera willl be documentary work, event videography, nature work and maybe the odd wedding.

What's the best way to achieve a cinematic 'look' without 24p? Shoot at 1080i and then export to 720p - 24 in Sony Vegas?
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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:28 AM   #2
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Steve,

Rent or borrow a V1 if you wish and see if you can produce the results you are after. If so, then my heartfelt advice would be to save up for longer. If it's going to be a while between buying cameras, then you might as well make sure that what you buy now is a good one.

As for the "film look", there are plenty of discussion threads for that one.

Andrew
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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:39 AM   #3
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The best way to achieve a cinematic look is to light, compose and move your cam like the movie guys do. It has very little to do with frame rate.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 02:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
The best way to achieve a cinematic look is to light, compose and move your cam like the movie guys do. It has very little to do with frame rate.
well said!!!!

i'm really tired of editing 25p (pal land) from clients who 'wanna look like film'. it doesn't, it looks crappy on pans, and pretty unnatural on screen.....
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Old June 10th, 2009, 04:31 AM   #5
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A 24p look can be achieved by post-processing 1080i, but to do it well takes lot of processing time and involves a learning curve. You might start by reading the information here: dv2Film - Film Look from video

There are faster ways, but they generally look crappy.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
The best way to achieve a cinematic look is to light, compose and move your cam like the movie guys do. It has very little to do with frame rate.
Exactly. It doesn't matter to me what the frame rate is. I'm looking to achieve a smooth, film-like look that removes the glassy, bright, 'TV' appearance of 1080i. Now I realize that some of that problem can be removed by simply deinterlacing in the processing/rendering
stage. But I also realize that a bit more than that needs to be done to achieve a really smooth look.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
The best way to achieve a cinematic look is to light, compose and move your cam like the movie guys do. It has very little to do with frame rate.
Exactly. It doesn't matter to me what the frame rate is. I'm looking to achieve a smooth, film-like look that removes the glassy, bright, 'TV' appearance of 1080i. Now I realize that some of that problem can be removed by simply deinterlacing in the processing/rendering
stage. But I also realize that a bit more than that needs to be done to achieve a really smooth look.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 02:54 AM   #8
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Take the class from Philip Bloom? (F-Stop Academy)

Funny that the authors didn't care to give the trailer a strong 'film look', but it's probably a good resource nevertheless (I didn't check it out).

Gamma curve, color desaturation & grading, depth of field, picture softness... Oh and yes, frame rate too maybe if you will.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #9
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My FX-7 does not do progressive and i dont miss it,my hv30 does 25p and 50i and IMO interlaced is far better,i think you need to go up to the hd pro cams for progressive to work in the video world,obviously only tripod work will be of any accceptence but in the semi + consumer world its not for me but each to their own.
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Old June 13th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #10
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there seems to be a sort of obsession among some videographers in trying to get video to look like film....

it doesn't and never will, true, with exceptional (and very highly priced) hd cameras, and sophisticated post you can get a stunning looking product, but no matter what you do, it will never equate to serious film. (it's easy enough to mimic 8mm with any nle, and basic 16mm with a decent camera and more sophisticated nle - just look at magic bullet), but to get anywhere approaching film quality is a pipe dream.

why do you think professional still shoot ads, music clips, features, etc,. on film?

give up trying to attain something thats impossible and be thankful that we now have amazing cameras and nle's that can manipulate your images to the limits of your imagination....

and if you truly want a film look, then bloody well shoot film!
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Old June 14th, 2009, 04:39 AM   #11
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Somebody should tell Sony, Panavision, and all those who have been using CineAlta equipment and the like, that they haven't been doing 'serious film' and tell them to get real instead. Anybody could call George Lucas, Frank Miller, or Bryan Singer maybe? ;-)

The videographers or apprentice directors/DoP want to learn and push their limits within available (modest) budget, give them respect and a chance to pursue their ambitions or dreams.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #12
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I think both of you are right. It isn't a matter of one being *better* than the other -- they're *different.* And to be honest, the films from the directors mentioned above -- shot on video -- don't look much like traditional film, either.

It's all about what look services your story best. While there are things you can do to make one look more like the other, you'll never make them look the same. And they shouldn't. IMHO.

Last edited by Adam Gold; June 14th, 2009 at 07:50 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #13
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i never meant to imply that shooting high-end video was anything other than 'video', as opposed to film. as i wrote, you can get a pretty spectacular product, but it isn't 'film'.

and to quote myself again -

"give up trying to attain something thats impossible and be thankful that we now have amazing cameras and nle's that can manipulate your images to the limits of your imagination...."

i should have added 'budget'.

i'm all for would be cinematographers cutting their teeth with video - but those that move on soon realise the difference between video and film, and use whichever medium best suits their vision / budget....
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Old June 14th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #14
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I have read that the real difference between film and video is "motion cadence" in each frame. And it is the cadence of how each individual frame is compiled in video that makes the motion stuttering more obvious and not really film like.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #15
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The "real" difference is (are) a lot of things, big & small that add up to what gives "film" its look(s). I ad these quotes and parentheses, not because I am punctuation happy but because it occurs to me that as you read DP's articles, they will select different film stocks for different "looks". And one of the most famous bits of 'DP'ing was Gregg Tolands' work on Citizen Kane where he developed special lenses to achieve deep focus... no shallow DOF there. In short, there seems to be no consensus on "film looks" even amongst DPs.

Video and film are different and they look different, you can fake video to look kind of like film with 35mm adapters, Magic Bullet, (and yes, frame rate) etc. But I don't think there is one real "key" element.

Learning about lighting, creating frames with strong fore- mid- and background elements, good camera movements, using focal length for more than just convenient camera placement, etc., etc. ... all these things are what we DO have control over. Pouring effort into that will get you a long way towards your film look goals. My 2 cents...
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