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Old August 14th, 2004, 01:30 AM   #1
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DV Cams at 48 Hour Film Festival

I just completed participating in the 48 Hour Film Festival (The 48 Hour Film Project) and the entries were all screened in a large 300+ seat theater using a quality digital projection off onto a 30 ft tall screen. Not sure of what master format.

This is very unscientific, but what was interesting is all the footage was "in-cam" - there's no time for color correction, film look, etc. Plus, everyone shot some out of doors on the same day, same time and other than reflectors, no other lighting was used. Filter use is unknown.

The cameras used included:

SDX-900, DVX100 & DVX100a, 4:3 and 16:9 mode, XL1-s 16:9 Frame, GL-1 & GL-2 4:3 60i, VX2000's, a couple of Sony 1/2" 60i models, various lower end miniDV's shooting at 4:3 & 16:9

On the big screen, the Panny's were major winners. Interestingly enough, the Panny's all got comments from filmmakers and audience members that they "looked almost like film".

The Panny progressive scan universally produced extremely pleasing images at 30ft - I had to look up the SDX-900 as at first I assumed it was a DVX100a with short DOF tricks. It looked no sharper than the DVX100s nor appeared to handle highlights or have more latitude than the DVX100s. I shot with a DVX100a 16:9 squeeze, thin mode and got a number of complements on image quality and "what did you shoot that with". Even full wide, though a little soft if you were looking, worked fine, even on detailed scenes.

The Sony 1/2" model (not sure which one) clearly looked much better than the VX2000 (lack of stairstepping, artifacts and better highlight handles).

The XL1-s looked okay - frame mode eliminated interlacing but suffered from softeness, especially on wides. Latitude seem a stop or two less than Panny's and Sony 1/2".

The VX2000 looked like a camcorder - nice, but suffered in daylight, looked better in dim indoor. As soft as XL1-s. GL2 looked pretty much the same, GL1 looked noticably worse - blown out highlights and soft.

Other cameras ranged from average camcorder to awful. Clearly video and audience responsed to them as such.

The two narrative films that won audience favorites was a DVX100a narrative drama, Sony 1/2" comedy & low-end miniDV mockumentary.

A DVD is supposed to circulate soon and I will post screen shots of the above if I get a chance.
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Old August 14th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hi Stephen,

Interesting read, thanks for sharing that.

I have played our short movie BitterSweet on a film festival in the USA. Our movie was shot on a PAL DVX100 in widescreen mode, and the final 25p video was converted to NTSC using Vegas. It was showed with 3 other short movies in one session. We were asked to do a Q&A for the audience afterwards, together with the filmmakers of another one (the filmmakers of the two other productions could not make it to the festival). Both crews were asked about the technical issues and we discovered that the other guys standing next to use, also used a DVX100 (NTSC). But they were not aware of the progressive cinema mode of the DVX100 and their footage looked like good interlaced video. They could not believe that we used the same camcorder, as our movie has a very nice filmlook. They told us that weren't aware of the filmlook possibilities of the DVX100. We got a lot of good comments about the look of our movie (and also won a award, but I think that has more got to do with the story, acting and music).

If you like check BitterSweet out at link mentioned below.

Peter Sieben
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Old August 14th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #3
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Peter:

I toyed around with getting a PAL model myself, but the extra cost here and there are times I needed speedy NTSC output. Hopefully, HD based cameras of the future with have NTSC/PAL/HD switch so you record at desired format/frame rate.

"Bittersweet" is wonderful - nice story, excellent cast, wonderful photography.
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Old August 14th, 2004, 01:43 PM   #4
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<<This is very unscientific, but what was interesting is all the footage was "in-cam" - there's no time for color correction, film look, etc. Plus, everyone shot some out of doors on the same day, same time and other than reflectors, no other lighting was used. Filter use is unknown.>>

Stephen, trying to understand this...are you saying that all of the films that competed only shot during the daylight hours, and that nobody did any color correction?

I guess my curiousity stems from the experiences I have had with the "Instant Films" festivals (www.instantfilms.tv), we have exactly the same time frame (one could say that it's effectively even less, because the directors don't receive the script from the writers until Saturday morning, thus they have less time to plan the shoot), and yet we have had many films that have plenty of post work done, ranging from green screen compositing to animation. I myself always fit in a certain amount of color correction, as do others.

As far as shooting, most of our films begin Saturday morning and continue into the wee hours of the night (aka Sunday morning!) and everyone uses lighting packages.

I'm always curious about the differences between the various 48-hour competitions, so thanks for the enlightenment.
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Old August 14th, 2004, 02:11 PM   #5
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Charles:

Sorry for the confusion - I meant the all the films had some daylight shots in them - some also were shot at night.

Only one or two looked like they had maybe a little bit of color correction (I did mine in camera via color temp adjust) - I ignored those when possible.

My quality comments were more about artifacts, resolution, frame rate, latitude - other than latitude, color correction tends to influence those less.

Here in Greensboro, most people are editing in their homes on basic setups - only a couple of teams worked out of producion house (the Sony 1/2" team edited on a Avid Symphony, had 3D effects etc. and probably some amount of color correction - however, it was nice video, but all the Pannys looked far more filmlike).
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Old August 14th, 2004, 03:53 PM   #6
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Gotcha!

Amazingly, few of our films are finished at post houses also, but yet some of the things that folks are doing at home these days...! The concept of "basic" home setup has certainly changed in recent years, hasn't it?

I myself have been using my dual 1gHz G4 for my own Instant Films (about to shoot my 10th next week!) and I always leave at least half an hour to lay in some basic tweaks to the color correction, but I am definitely picky about that sort of thing. I've shot 8 of 9 on the XL1s, with a brief diversion into the DVX last year; this upcoming one I'll be using the DVX and Mini35 setup in tandem, looking forward to the results, even as I worry about the extra time required in switching lenses. Luckily I have a great 1st AC on board to help cover that.
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Old August 15th, 2004, 07:55 PM   #7
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Hey Stephen, my parents live in Greensboro and I saw where ya'll got frontpage coverage in the News & Record. Way to go!
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Old August 15th, 2004, 09:49 PM   #8
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Yeah, the local coverage here rocked. Front page paper, lead TV new story, completely sold out shows
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