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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #1
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Convergent design nanodrive for post work

I'm thinking of buying this is for post work and have a few questions!

Would this make any difference in rescuing overexposed areas like you can with film?

Would this give you better colour correction abilities?

Also a side question Im making a film and in one scene there are posters on the wall. How would I stand with copyright on this?

TIA

Mark
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #2
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Are the posters in a public place?

If yes then you have no problem, if in a private venue and the posters are original artwork etc. then you may have a problem. Generally posters are there to advertise, so in effect you are helping to spread the word.

Are you making a feature of them or they just a part of the scene?


Copyright laws are a mixed bag, I remember a couple of years ago the BBC did an interview in an art gallery with one of the artists, and one of the other artists sent a bill to the BBC because the interview was in front of his work. Needless to say he didn't get any payment, but I guess if had taken the matter further then he might have a case.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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Hi Vincent

I'm dressing a set and need some posters that are in the background of a teenagers bedroom. This is worrying as filming outside there are posters everywhere.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark David Williams View Post
I'm thinking of buying this is for post work and have a few questions!

Would this make any difference in rescuing overexposed areas like you can with film?

Would this give you better colour correction abilities?

Also a side question Im making a film and in one scene there are posters on the wall. How would I stand with copyright on this?

TIA

Mark
I don't have a nanoFlash myself, but I just can't stop looking at them. ;-)
When you say "for post work", I hope you mean that the nanoFlash will be used for shooting (aquisition) and that the output of the nanoFlash will help you in your post work. I don't think it would do much to help improve material already shot on some other codec like DV or HDV.

As for overexposure, if you've blown out your highlights (overexposed) then no magic codec or plugin can get them back. So no, it won't help recover detail in areas that are blown out. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if the signal is clipped like that, it's clipped.

And with the posters, I am not a lawyer, but I've always used the policy that if it's a minor element in the background and not prominent or the subject of the shot, then you might be okay. Pan past it if you can, make it out of focus, cross your fingers. ;-)
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Old August 14th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #5
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Hi Brooks

If you transfer overexposed film to DPX files you can still to a degree pull it back even though its now in the digital domain. I had wondered that by capturing this extra information it might be possible to a degree here too.

The only other advantage for me apart from greenscreen is colour correction. But how much better is the nanoflash for this?

I'm in two minds here to film with the nanoflash or use 16mm.

Thanks

Mark
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Old August 14th, 2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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I would not have thought that 16mm was an option. Even Super sixteen is now regarded as a no no for broadcast and the cost!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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Hi Brooks

If you transfer overexposed film to DPX files you can still to a degree pull it back even though its now in the digital domain. I had wondered that by capturing this extra information it might be possible to a degree here too.

Mark
This depends on what you mean by overexposed. If the picture information has gone then it doesn't matter whether you shot on film or video, once it's gone, it's gone and DPX or any other clever wizardry will never get it back. However if your talking about film or video that's been pushed to its very limits then there is certainly a strong argument that says film correctly transfered (expensive) to a 10 bit or higher digital intermediate should give smoother results after grading. However 16mm film when pushed hard does tend to be very grainy. A properly set up EX with the appropriate cinegamma or knee settings gives very close to 11 stops of lattitude which is very respectable and not a million miles of film stock. Good modern film stocks come in around 11 to 13 stops. The cinegammas roll of highlights quite pleasingly, not unlike film and as you can directly monitor the recorded image on set you can see precisely what you are getting.

The nanoflash is 8 bit so you only have the same number of bits to play with so no extra lattitude, however the reduced compression ratio and better colour sampling does help when grading, allowing you to push the grade a little harder.

IMHO the EX produces a vastly superior image to 16mm film. There is no weave, less grain, higher resolution and a better aspect ratio. The gap narrows between Super16 and the EX as the resolution is similar, so you have to decide whether you want a little extra lattitude (film) or less grain, no weave and sync sound (EX). Having seen my EX footage back to back with 2K, 4K and 35mm film all projected digitally via a Sony 4K projector I believe that it stands up remarkably well and can look stunning. I wouldn't trade my EX for a Super16 camera.

The nanoflash would certainly help, it should give a cleaner image with fewer compression artifacts to deal with when grading but it's not a night and day difference. One thing to consider is that an EX with a nanoflash meets the BBC's guidelines for HD broadcast (1/2" sensors with 50Mb/s 4:2:2 minimum) as well as Discovery, Nat Geo and the majority of other broadcasters, while 16mm or Super16 is not accepted by Discovery and Nat Geo for HD due to problems encoding the grain structure.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #8
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Hi Vincent

I'm dressing a set and need some posters that are in the background of a teenagers bedroom. This is worrying as filming outside there are posters everywhere.
I wouldn't have thought there would be any problem with this, just as there wouldn't be a problem if the Times newspaper was laying on a table in the shot.

I guess the restrictions would be if you were making a direct copy of the poster and then selling your work as a product. i.e. if you made a film about an artist work or the history of the poster and were showing detailed shots of the poster.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #9
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I have done some tests using an arri bl I transferred the negative using a ditto scanner to 10bit DPX files and I found that the resulting footage was streets ahead of the EX1

Colour information was recorded that was absent from the EX1's. I'm not a professional by any means but I loved the look latitude and colour correction of the transferred 16mm film and the looks I was able to apply to these files. I guess the nanodrive being 8bit will suffer in colour correction as opposed to 10 bit. Really I'd much rather the argument was for the EX1. Maybe I could hire a 10 bit recorder would that help? Though I imagine it would cost lots of money!

Thanks Vincent I've contacted the artist and asked for permission!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 02:34 PM   #10
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i am very surprised that you find standard 16 to be better than the EX. Is it that you feel the film to be technically better or aesthetically better?

Aesthetically I can understand, but by the time you've taken a 16x9 or other wide aspect crop out of a standard 16 frame your going to have pretty poor resolution. Thats one of the reasons why S16 was developed, it was felt that regular 16mm was below par even for SD TV.

Haven't seen a BL for years, that takes me back to when I first started making films about motorsports. I always remember the BL as the one we had was notorious for shredding film. It's registration pin would act like a hole punch. Big heavy beast too, esp. with the proper blimped mag.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 03:39 PM   #11
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Hi Alastair

Actually I use zeiss mark one superspeeds with an iscorama 54 anamorphic lens giving me a 2.1 film ratio even better to me than 1.66 or 1.85. The iscorama only loses a third of a stop.

Although you can only use the 25mm and 16mm as they have screws. Yes its a big beastie especially on your shoulder. I've shredded test film when learning to load the mags.

I've found for me aestheticly this is streets ahead and gives life and colour with little grain and overexposed footage can usually be rescued and grain can be for the most part taken out quite easily in AE. Although this doesnt look so good when the film is badly overexposed. But then the EX1 would just give you a white informationless picture.

I cant give an opinion on the technical side all I can say is I know what I thought looked better!

This is a test I did using the EX1 and the bl the footage is compressed but to me this shows a marked improvement over the EX1 especially in light and dark shadows and information captured.

16mm Kodak Vision 3 test. on Vimeo

Regards

Mark

Last edited by Mark David Williams; August 14th, 2009 at 03:47 PM. Reason: writing error
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:35 AM   #12
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Well were going to have to agree to disagree on this one as I really don't like the "look" of the footage in the vimeo clip. There is no shadow detail, blacks are totally crushed, the edges are very soft and distorted, it all looks under exposed and there's more grain than a Mid-West farm. The video shot of the guy by the car at the start has a different tonal range (easily adjusted) and what appears to be added noise so it's difficult to see what's really going on, but it has much more shadow information. You can see where the car tire's end and the shadow of the wheel arch starts, while the film clip the tire's and wheel arches are just total black blobs. You can also see far more compression artifacts and blocking on the film clip than the video clip, the reason why film is rarely used for HD TV.

That's my opinion, Some may disagree while others will disagree. As were talking aesthetics both will be right.. and wrong :). Perhaps that's the look you are trying to achieve, it certainly has a very retro look, like a 70's TV drama. At the end of the day it's your film so the most important thing is to go with the look that you feel best suits your project.

I'm sure that a few simple tweaks to the EX picture profiles could get a very similar look without the expense of telecine.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #13
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Hi Alastair

Personal taste? Yes I agree... To disagree. Have to disagree that vision 3 looks retro so maybe my colour correction is.

This was a test where the arri was deliberatly over and under exposed very badly to find out what was rescuable The EX1 was correctly exposed.

Anyway I dont want to defend either position. The most important thing is making this film I have a DP who wants to work either with the red or 16mm.

I want to upgrade the EX1 to achieve it. We are making a film and going for the look of a hollywood blockbuster as much as we can and thats what matters to achieve this look at low cost. If I can get a real film look with an EX1 then I'd be very very happy as this will save loads of money for all future productions.

TWO PLANS
I have the Letus extreme but would need the optimisation kit and backfocus as well as the nanodrive. That would cost me about £3300

Film costs for a 6 to 1 ratio would be about £2800. The EX1 route is still the best option as I would be able to use it for future productions.

I'd like to put aside my test and concentrate on what is the best option from the two above and forget my likes or dislikes regarding colour correction etc.

Last edited by Mark David Williams; August 15th, 2009 at 05:20 AM.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 06:03 AM   #14
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Hi Vincent Brooks

Just to update you. I got permission from the posters owner!

Thanks for your help

Best wishes

Mark
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Old August 15th, 2009, 06:09 AM   #15
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The only things the Letus (or other DoF adapter) will bring is shallower DoF and alternate lens options.

Before you splash out on anything you might want to look at this guide to grading for a blockbuster look, very enlightening.

Red Giant Software: Red Giant TV - Episode 22: Creating a Summer Blockbuster Film Look

Given that you can fake shallow DoF in post to some degree I'm still to be convinced by the DoF adapter route, I think it gets taken too far and they seem to add so many other issues such as drifting back focus, general softness plus soft edges and vignetting.

I would take Red over 16mm in an instant, I'de probably take digibeta over standard 16mm.
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