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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old June 10th, 2012, 11:07 AM   #1
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F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Here are fourteen sketches I shot for last season's "Key & Peele". Shooting two to three completely different looks a day was a great test of the F3's capability and it handled everything extremely competently. S-log made all the difference.

https://vimeo.com/channels/311011
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Old June 10th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Just had a quick look through them and they look fantastic. Really top quality work and great variety of looks. Thanks for sharing the link.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

I've been watching the series and have enjoyed it. Thanks for posting the links. Great looking work.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Very nice work Charles! What did you record the S-log too?

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Old June 10th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Excellent work! It really shows what the F3 is capable of in the right hands.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Thanks guys. Nigel, we started off with KiProMini's but had issues with corrupted files so we switched to XDCAM disc recorders at the DIT station, which meant we were always tethered--not ideal for long Steadicam shots, of which there were a few--but we never lost a frame.

Incidentally this season we moved to Alexas, recording internally to ProRes422.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 12:19 AM   #7
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Thanks Charles, Probably the nicest work i've seen from this camera. Did you have any pressure to use an Alexa instead?
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Old June 11th, 2012, 01:28 AM   #8
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Leonard, if I had been offered an Alexa for first season, I most certainly would have taken it!

We shot the pilot on 1DMKIV's and I was able to pitch that we move up a notch from those when we went to series. While I'm happy with what we got on the F3, it's only gotten better since we advanced again this season, to the Alexa. Certainly it's is a more appropriate package physically for the demands of our production--the somewhat ragtag nature of building out an F3 was always a bit of a thorn in our side (no particularly good viewfinder, outboard recording etc).

The bottom line is that as always, it's largely what you put in front of the camera that counts--lighting, camera moves and of course content. We work hard on Key & Peele to wring as much production value as we can out of a basic cable budget (generous compared to indie productions, sure, but very modest compared to most network shows). We got decent results on the pilot with the DSLR's--one of the sketches in that Vimeo channel, "I Said Bitch", was amongst these--but it made my job a lot easier to have the power of the F3 imager with S-log on my side.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #9
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

These are beautifully shot Charles. Thanks for sharing!
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Old June 11th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #10
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Charles,
Terrific work. Exceptional lighting as well as blocking. laughed my as...... Off.
? Recorded to XD 422 50 LGOP. How was the grade in the 422 8 bit XD?
Any banding or other issues.?
Thanks in advance. Great work.
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Old June 11th, 2012, 11:37 PM   #11
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Oh yeah I didn't even notice that it was on XDCAM disk. Does that mean 8 bit? I thought that was a big no-no.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 08:06 AM   #12
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

I discussed this in a thread here months ago but I can't remember which one--oh well.

I only found out that XDCAM in all of it's flavors was 8 bit (had thought somehow that XDCAM EX was 8 bit and the "regular" XDCAM was 10 bit) halfway through the color correction of season 1. I was admittedly a bit shocked and asked the colorist if he had noticed anything that would have led him to think we were working in 8 bit. He was as surprised as I was. We had pushed and pulled the footage, tons of power windows, plenty of demanding situations and yet had not come up against any issues. This was all as the C300 was emerging and I had all but written off the camera because of the 8 bit recording; suffice to say became more open-minded from this experience!

While many have noted issues with recording s-log internally on the F3, apparently the more critical factor than the 8-bit recording is the 4:2:0 color space (vs 4:2:2 on standard XDCAM), or more likely a combination of the two. I feel like we "got away" with the 8 bit XDCAM and can't necessarily recommend it for all, but I never saw banding or artifacting and we certainly never got notes on it from the network.

We had a series of terrible experiences with outboard flash recorders on the show last year; we shot the 5-camera wraparounds on F800's and recorded internally to XDCAM disc as well as externally to a combination of KiProMini's, Pix240's and Cinedecks, and ALL THREE of the flash recorders lost footage at one point or another over the four day shoot, whereas the XDCAM was flawless. My bottom line is that while 10 bit is certainly preferable, it's more important to have actual footage to work with and I place reliability over all.

Fortunately, recording internally on the Alexa has so far proved to be a win-win. Hope I'm not jinxing myself with that one.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Thanks Charles,

I was under the impression that 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0 was largely irrelevant with regard to color grading, more important with respect to green screen. Interestingly I've heard recently that someone in my area had bad experiences using a C300 for green screen and blamed it on 8 bit - though I would have expected the C300 to be great for green screen due to to 4:2:2. Don't know details of the green screen issue though.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 10:11 PM   #14
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Since we regularly do color keys to isolate tones in the Davinci, I can only imagine that 4:2:2 would have to represent an advantage over 4:2:0 in that regard.

I will say this: the one area in which we had issues with the F3/XDCAM workflow was in green screens. I heard from the post super that they had to work extra hard to pull clean mattes (you can see this in the sketch entitled--ahem-- "Shot in the Dick", on the Vimeo channel). We haven't gotten to that stage this season but I feel confident it will go well as we switch over from our standard format ProRes422 to ProRes4444 for all green screen shots.
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Old June 30th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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Re: F3/S-log for Comedy Central

Charles I realize these are terrible manners, but I sent you an email.

Also, I believe that comedy central work seems very good.
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