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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
HD recording with a Super35 CMOS Sensor.


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Old January 1st, 2011, 06:04 PM   #76
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Thanks for posting the video Yves!
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 05:13 AM   #77
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Anyone can make a camera look bad. Just because camera "A" has more latitude than camera "B" it doesn't mean that you can ignore exposure and expect the camera to just deal with it. Even film needs to be exposed correctly. This is why well shot tests are important. A badly shot test is meaningless. I could go out with any camera and make it look rubbish, what does that tell us?

Auto knee (DCC) is a cop out IMHO and only really of use if your also using auto iris. Like auto iris It can change mid shot, you have no idea of exactly what it's doing so setting accurate exposure is nigh on impossible. As you open up the iris the highlights compress more and more and the knee point lowers so with high overexposures you will also start to see compression in areas that are not or at least should not be overexposed.... and the kicker is that you can't tell how much your overexposed by because the auto knee is doing goodness knows what to your highlights. The first thing I do with any EX camera is turn the auto knee off. I believe the default on the F3 like an EX1 or EX3 is Auto Knee on.

I think this is going to be a re-occuring issue with the F3. We see a similar thing with any other camera with a "Film" or "Cine" gamma. Because it says "film", "film look" or "35mm sensor" on the tin people expect to pick it up and produce an instant beautiful movie that looks like hollywoods best. The reality is that as with any camera ultimately the quality of the end production comes down to the skill of the crew and the way they use the camera and the tools and functions it offers. For many people the F3 is going to be a very big step up from what they are used to. It is going to be harder to use than cameras they have used before, focus in particular will be a challenge compared to a typical small sensor camera. I think many people may end up frustrated and dissapointed by their results. However in the hands of a crew with the rights skills and knowledge of how to get the most from the camera I believe it will produce world class images.

Perhaps Yves has done us all, me included, a great favour by reminding us that just because you have a F3 in your hands it doesn't guarantee an automatic work of art. It will be difficult to use for run and gun shooting, as would a Red Epic, F35, NX-35, AF100 etc. If it's any consolation to Yves I much prefer his video over Phil Blooms Stardust video with it's radio active Christmas tree, try watching that on a big screen!
Maybe Yves you could do us a version with a directors commentary to explain the problems you encountered?
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:41 AM   #78
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I think both good and bad footage can actually be useful when reviewing footage...
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 02:01 PM   #79
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Alister, thanks for taking the time to address this. Healthy debates are constructive.

I will openly admit, working with the Hyper gammas on my PDW700 has never yielded results I was terribly impressed with, favoring standard gammas, this is of course a function of the type of work I do and of course personal preference. We used HG on Top Model in the studio and results were ok.

What is interesting is that everyone wanted to use CG on the F3 for exactly the reason you suggest, this is why camera tests are fun cause you can experiment. This is all done in the spirit of sharing knowledge.

Re: Camera Work
I did not just let the camera deal with it. Look have a go if you want. The sky that day was all cloud, there was no detail, it wasn't there so you are right it never had a chance. I can refer you to stills from the shoot that delivered the same results off a DSLR. Not sure what you are looking at but where things are over I'm only looking at 1/2 to a full f-stop max.

Look, I'm not going to debate the merits of DCC - its not like auto-iris.. you can switch it on or off, obviously disabled in CG mode but it has its place. Making sweeping statements like that is a bit ridiculous. I don't know you from a hole in the ground and neither you me. So if its ok with you, I'd rather keep the generalizations and personal innuendos for another time and I will do the same.

Perhaps before lumping me in a category of people who don't know what they are doing, I would just like to tell you that I wasn't a total moron who haphazardly picked up a camera and started making "internet films". That is not what we do nor the relationship we have with Sony.

The amateur look was something that seemed fun to take on and since we did it guerrilla style in two hot takes on the fly was fun. Its edgy and raw.. not perfect. That was the concept, not everyone's cup of tea. To be honest a few more takes could have got us something a bit more polished.. perhaps a sequence and again, that was not the plan.

I am happy to share, I'm obviously new to your group but I just want to make sure we are on the right foot because If its a slaughter about who is smarter I'm not keen but if its to genuinely promote and foster the growth of information and an evolution of the craft then I am.

FYI - Good and Bad is totally subjective, I don't call this bad footage, this is what the Band wanted.. it would be like saying their music is bad because you don't like it. A work of art is totally subjective but it doesn't need to be a Rembrandt and if that is all you can label as "art" then that is a shame.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 08:20 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yves Simard View Post
FYI - Good and Bad is totally subjective, I don't call this bad footage, this is what the Band wanted.. it would be like saying their music is bad because you don't like it. A work of art is totally subjective .........
All of that I would be in 100% agreement with ...... if this was a thread talking about music videos. But it's not. The thread started off more about "just how good technically is the F3, and what level can be achieved from it". Once you get material in that comes more under the category of "just happened to be shot with the F3" than "technical exercise to see just how good the F3 is in real life filming", I feel much of the point goes away.

That's not intending to be at all critical of your film as such - I fully accept all you say about it, such as the concept was INTENDED to be "edgy and raw.. not perfect". Nothing whatsoever wrong with that - but should it then really be in a thread more intended to aid technical assessments?

Really, this is an example of what's generally wrong with trying to judge a camera with "real-life" films. Viewers are left wondering if they are judging the camera, the photography, the script, the lighting, the intentions of the director, or what - it's just a case of too many variables.

Which comes on to the subject of controlled trials. Both test charts, and repeatable "real" sequences which can be identically repeated with differing cameras. Take most of the variables away - by making them constant - and you're left with any differences being solely down to the camera.

Maybe it's therefore a bit surprising that so far there don't seem to have been any publicly published shots of test charts - at least that I'm aware of - for either the F3 or the AF101? Anybody aware of such, or able to do such a thing?
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 08:30 PM   #81
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Once you get material in that comes more under the category of "just happened to be shot with the F3" than "technical exercise to see just how good the F3 is in real life filming", I feel much of the point goes away.

Thread title says "First F3 footage" you guys got a better thread for me to post these in just let me know. How about "More F3 footage"?.. lol :)
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 04:38 AM   #82
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Yves, I'm not getting at you nor questioning your abilities, but it has to be remembered that many people look to these forums for guidance and advice on how to improve their camera skills.

I am not a fan of auto controls. I believe that I can make better exposure judgements than the electronic circuits inside most cameras. Yes there are some occasions when they can be useful, but it is my opinion that on the whole a good camera operator can produce better and more consistent images by driving a camera manually than by using the auto functions. In addition I also believe that many people that read these boards have a very poor understanding of gamma curves, knee, detail correction, gain etc. That's why many of them come here, to learn more about this things.

I stand by my statement that DCC/Auto Knee can have a similar effect to Auto Iris. It is after all nothing more than auto gain for highlights. When it's on you have no control over it and the way it behaves. It will adjust the high light compression dynamically, mid shot if it feels necessary. Pan across a window or different parts of the sky and you will see the highlights change in brightness. Of course you can turn it on and off, but that is all the control you have.

I am surprised to hear that you use Hypergammas in a studio environment. Hypergammas will give a very flat looking picture straight from the camera. I would have thought that a standard gamma would give a more pleasing result under controlled lighting, but that's a discussion for another thread perhaps.

We don't have to agree on how to shoot a certain scene and many of the most enlightening discussions here on DV-Info have been quite hot debates over shooting methods. If you place a video in the public domain you must be prepared for both good and bad comments as not everyone will appreciate your style, as you say it's very subjective.

As David pointed out, you are the unfortunate victim of timing and circumstances. If your film had come out at any other time I doubt any comments would have been made, but it came in the middle of a raft of films tailored to show off the merits of the F3 from people that were loaned the cameras to demonstrate it's capabilities. Your stylised amateur look made your film stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 06:22 AM   #83
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Cheers Alister, thanks for your comments.

You are totally correct and yes all points well worth debating. Perhaps agree to disagree on some that's healthy debate.

One thing I can categorically clear up is that the camera was not given to us to demonstrate its abilities. We were given the camera to evaluate it and send feedback.

As I said earlier, there are plenty of videos out there that shows its potential, many are here in this thread. We were not breaking new ground, nor was that an issue, the members wanted to know what it was like to operate as-is, without tons of fancy lenses or external gear. Would it be an ok TV type camera? Could it replace our 700 fleet, given the right lenses, referring to the CMOS issues vs our CCDs. This of course being all very informal.

We are not test chart sort of people and Sony asked us specifically to not shoot any comparative tests and post them on-line as it was a pre-production camera. I am happy with that.

My theory, since I only had the band for an hour and got the camera for that avo. Weather was crap, lenses were borrowed, rain for the week, small window.. we run and gunned it. Which is why I opted for full standard settings no tweaking. Does a poor result (which is debatable and will leave that for a music video thread) deem the test a failure? Absolutely not. As I said this was not a camera test, its an evaluation, like a test drive of a car.

Our conclusion and what was passed to our members, initial thoughts were as I said... Viewfinder is sub-standard. Ergonomics is a bit rough. Function had its issues. Menu system identical to EXs Audio works fine, only two tracks of audio. Audio output is in a bad place.. outputs are RCA jacks? Who knows why. Mount and adapter is great. You can see more on my vimeo post and fb pics about our lens mounting tests at Panavision. Anyway I can go on and on. Very favorable on image - down on a few hardware bits. Sony told us that changes will be considered on future models. We are working on a full report that we will be posting.

Obviously this was not our only test. We did do other quality evaluations.

Look I can take criticism, as I said I don't disagree. It looks amateurish, which is on purpose but I was not fully satisfied with #1 the style #2 the look, as a DOP that is a bit disappointing. So taking a few risks and trying new things is pretty important. I am just checking because I know forums can be quite scathing to the anonymous.


Re: Top Model, that was a decision taken from tests, one of which I was only partially involved.

Re: DCC, yes of course you can sometimes see it, but in Reality TV, which I do a lot of.. its absolutely fine. Its not quite auto-focus or iris.. imho simply because it is much less obvious. As an operator, I bounce between on/off all day and quite a useful tool so you can see my apprehension when I hear someone not using it at all.. I presume we do different work. Perhaps you can start another thread and we can debate it there. Possibly convert me to a new way of working.

Re: Art vs Camera Tests - I didn't post my clip here, someone else did, like i said, its a bit useless without the back story if you are looking at the camera because more was learned from the failures than the wins (your best lessons are from your losses - An AllBlack coach once told me)

Cheers
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:50 AM   #84
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I thought I was doing you guys a favor by searching for new clips of the F3. If you guys would like me to stop - done.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 01:03 PM   #85
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Erik, in my mind this is why you make these things, to put them out in the open - someone simply made the suggestion that my clip was in the wrong forum or that we were having the wrong discussion.

You guys can do what you like, say what you like. I was just being courteous and offering up more info. Personally, I found this a good resource of F3 clips.

However this is not my forum and I appreciate I am just a guest. Not sure how it operate here,

Thanks Erik, its been a good debate.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 01:39 PM   #86
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DV-Info welcomes anyone and everyone. There's everyone on these boards from total novices to Hollywood DoP's. There's no membership as such. We hope that your visit will be more than just a passing one and that you will continue contribute to the many and varied discussions we have.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 08:30 PM   #87
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Yves that wasn't directed specifically to you. I was under the apparent false impression that everyone was just as excited as me to see new clips of the F3. I have been searching daily to see the latest clips and I will continue to do so. The one thing that will change is I won't be posting them all here to share with the others.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 03:28 PM   #88
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Just saw your video on Gamma Curves - very useful and thank you. You thinking of doing a more advanced follow up? I have never seen the different looks in a quad screen like that - could be useful on other setting modes.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #89
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I'm waiting to get some decent time with an F3 to go through all the different Gammas, detail settings and the matrix. They should be similar to the EX1/EX3. I might have to wait until I get my own as the units doing the rounds at the moment are pre-production and the settings may be different to the final units.

Glad you found it useful. I do want to explore the cinegammas and grading in more depth.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 01:58 AM   #90
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I had just never seen a quad screen like that, made the differences obvious. I have always either AB'd it or looked at each of them out of context. I reckon you could never tire of exploring gammas, so many people just twiddle knobs. Keep it up Alister, keen to see more.
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