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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old August 10th, 2003, 04:53 PM   #1
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Please rank these in order of importance...

I've read through all the past filmlook posts, and I'm reading everything I can to help me make my camera purchase choice... I'd like to crystallize my process by ranking my criteria - please re-rank or comment as you see fit...

1. CCD size
2. Recording format (dvcam/pro/25:50)
3. true 16:9
4. 24P
5. Maybe lenses?

As I was going through my process, I realized I could get a 1/3" ccd camera with 24p recording dvcam but needing anamorphics for 16:9...

OR I could get a somewhat more expensive 2/3" ccd camera recording 4:2:2 and 16:9 but not 24P -
(BUT I COULD BUY THE PAL version and be close?)

It made sense to me that getting max information captured is slightly more important than the speed at which it is captured... please rerank and/or share your opinions...

alex
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Old August 10th, 2003, 07:46 PM   #2
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I'd say, lense, true 16:9, CCD size, 24p, then recording formats
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Old August 10th, 2003, 09:14 PM   #3
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If you have the means to purchase a high-end camera, then I would put the quality of the lens as #1. You can have all the other features on a camera, but if you put a "Give-a-Show-Projector" lens on that camera, it won't make any difference!

After that, I would think ccd-size. I know there are hundreds that know more about this than I do, but in theory, if the ccd is larger, then the DOF would be better . . . I think!

Good luck.
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Old August 10th, 2003, 10:30 PM   #4
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As far as film-look goes:

1. CCD Size
2. 24P
3. Lens
4. True 16:9
5: Format

True 16:9 is overrated I feel, since you can always use an ana adapter and film look is not determined by the final frame ratio.
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Old August 10th, 2003, 11:41 PM   #5
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thanks for the replies...

I figured maybe this was the DV community - wasn't sure if HD fit into that category? asked another way, which of these 'hypothetical and under 10 grand' cameras would you choose for a better film look:

CAMERA A --------------------- CAMERA B
1/3" CCD ------------------------ 1/2" CCD
anamorphic 16:9 --------------- True 16:9
dvcam ----------------------------- dvcpro
24P ------------------------------- PAL 25fps

I assume a lot of people will say they can't edit PAL, but I'm making it an option. Any more replies welcome and appreciated...

alex
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Old August 11th, 2003, 01:32 AM   #6
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whats the point of these hypothetical cams.. I mean not to be rude but the Digital Video industry is no where near the point where we can choose our gears in this fashion. There are only a handful of cameras out there given a price range.
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Old August 11th, 2003, 09:30 AM   #7
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Both of those cameras exist...

Both of those cameras exist in that price range and I'm trying to make my selection without the bias generally attached to a brand name or model. And to focus the discussion away from HD... no need to reply if you're not interested~

alex
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Old August 11th, 2003, 09:51 AM   #8
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Well looks like you're comparing the DVX100 to a ENG Pana cam. As far as film look goes, the DVX100 will beat the PAL DVCPRO cam. It being PAL also is another added hassel of either converting to 24fps for film or NTSC for TV. I'd take Camera A
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Old August 12th, 2003, 06:11 PM   #9
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Hi,

gotta respectfully disagree with Yang Wen on that one. If you are indeed comparing a DVX100 to an ENG cam - the ENG cam has gotta come out ahead almost across the board.

Bigger ccd's, true 16:9 and the ability to whack on a high grade lens on the front? No contest.

The only benefit I can see the DVX has over the other cam is the 24p progressive. 25 fps is close enough for government work and the progressive look can be got with Magic Bullet. The overall quality from the ENG cam with a broadcast lens will be vastly superior to anything you can get out of the prosumer DVX.

Remember he asked about a 'flim look' - not 'transferring to film'.

For me, image quality has to rank primo.

best,

DW
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Old August 12th, 2003, 07:38 PM   #10
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Hi, how many of you have any experience with the workflow of a filmout?

This is what first comes to my mind without giving it too much thought:
1. Lens(es)
2. Format/ codec/ color space
3. True 16:9 progressive capture
4. CCD size
5. Variable Frame Rate

24P is a FEATURE, not a necessity.

- don
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Old August 13th, 2003, 12:12 PM   #11
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A Moment of Insight!

I have been perusing this lively discussion objectively demure and then came across David Warrilow's post: OMG! Dave just clarified a dilemma that has been plagueing my mind for weeks. Dave, please elaborate on the differences and shortcomings between prosumer format which boasts 24p and progressive, and ENG with broadcast lenses and larger CCDs. I have been wanting to upgrade my camera but thought it best to keep in line with cameras that boast 24p and progressive options. From what I gather, you say that ENG cameras with larger CCDs are esthetically better to the eyes? Keep in mind that what matters most to me is rich colors and film style gamma, not 24p.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 06:52 PM   #12
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HI,

while certainly not an expert on the subject, it doesn't take too much sense to figure out that there is a significant difference in the engineering of an ENG camera to that of a consumer or prosumer camera like the DVX100.

In my mind the difference is limitations - primarily the lens, the ccd's and the flexibility of more advanced controls for tweaking the image. The DVX does have extensive controls, certainly far more than is available on run-of-the-mill prosumer cameras, (colour, gamma etc), but ENG cameras are designed for a different market - a professional market. The quality of the componentry is different. It's why you usually pay significantly more for them and why consumer/prosumer cameras are engineered with the limitations that they are. So their functionality and performance doesn't threaten sales of the more expensive units in the upper and more lucrative markets.

I have and still use prosumer cameras like the DVX, Pd-150 and Pdx-10 for various projects - they're great and tiny and fantastic value for money. I can't afford to play in the HeDef leagues yet so if I'm going for the best image I can afford on the DV format, I use nothing less than a DSR-500 with a good Canon lens. The difference in image quality is significant and certainly if 24p isn't that important to you (as it isn't to me) and you have the bucks, there's really no other way to go.

That's my opinion and what I find works best for what I do. Naturally there'll be a million others that disagree or have different needs. More power to them, it's all horses for courses.

best,

DW
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Old August 13th, 2003, 07:49 PM   #13
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Very well said David. I wholeheartedly agree.

Stack the AG-DVX100 up against a DSR500 series cam and a nice Canon lens and the difference is significantly noticeable. Make that a PAL DSR500 series cam, captured uncompressed and the difference is definitely night and day. I'm speaking from experience here, loved the look of that cam. Heck, even some of the older Ikegami and Sony BetaCam camcorders, when properly set up and output via component with a nice Canon Wide Zoom lens and an external remote CCU can put out better pix than the DVX100. Of course, the form factor is completely different than the DVX100,,, and there will always be some newer shooters who will think that smaller is better. Those that seek the best image and have seen the difference know better. Sure, there are those who think that the DVX100 is THE camera to use, however the newer Panasonic AJ-SDX900A is much more of a camera to me.

Not to disrespect the DVX100 by any means,,, it is a good camera for what it is, for real. But, there is a reason that those who can *will* use the larger-CCD cameras with much better glass.

- don
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Old August 14th, 2003, 12:35 AM   #14
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I'd have to concur with Donald. If you can get equipment with a larger CCD and a bettter lens, it's worth the cost. I saw a movie, "Charlotte Sometimes", that was shot with a DSR 500 and a PD 150.

The scenes shot with the DSR 500 looked just great. The scenes shot with the 150 showed some significant halos from the sharpening routine built-in to the camera. There were other quality issues associated with the smaller camera and it was decided that the rest of the film would be shot with the DSR 500. It just performed better than the 150.

The movie was transferred to film by Alpha Cine in Seattle with an Ari Laser. I don't know the specifics. All I know is what I saw, and that the movie looked darn good to the point where it certainly looked like film.

For details you can go to the website http://www.charlottesometimesthemovie.com/ and ask the director, Eric Byler, for technical info. Emulating his tecniques would, at the minimum, give you excellent results.

As for 24p, I consider it more of an effect than an essential part of the process. It became a filmmaking standard for economic, rather than aesthetic, reasons. With digital cinematography, a higher frame rate is not nearly as critical an issue and, in fact, helps to reduce some old problems.

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Old August 14th, 2003, 10:34 AM   #15
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Well I guess it all depends on how much post you're willing to do to get that "film look" in the television domain. Go watch The Anniversary Party, a digital film shot with the DSR500. Even transffered to film the image has a very video-ish look to it. It just goes to show how a larger CCD and better lens is not the equation for film-look. Film-look isn't just about a cleaner image. So it's obvious in theory, if you have a budget to take all of your 60i footage from an ENG cam and apply all the film-look tricks you've got on it(while still preserving the quality in your pipeline), then you could get a superior film-look image. However, for both cams, out of box, and shooting in the same controled studio, the DVX100 with its 24p and cine-gamma will give you a more convincing film look than any of the ENG cams w/o those features. Lets face it, the ENG cams with it's superior components are really designed for a totally different genre. The name ENG says it all. The only ENG-styled cam designed for film-look is the new Panasonic SDX900. Again, nothing new with this cam other than the 24p and cinegamma, which goes to show how important it is to have these features in-cam.
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