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


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Old November 16th, 2004, 05:45 PM   #46
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Nice Karel! Looking forward to it!
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Old November 17th, 2004, 08:54 AM   #47
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COOL Karel,

I can't wait to hear more about this. It is interesting stuff.
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Old November 17th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #48
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Hey, what a fantastic thread this is turning out to be, and it was all started by meeeeeeee. :D

Looking forward to the info Karel.
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Old November 20th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #49
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Richard,

You deserve a nice kiss from santa clause in Christmas!!!!!!!
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Old November 21st, 2004, 12:59 PM   #50
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Yay!! lol

Karel, youíre taking your time with this very exciting info "A couple of surprises..." Cummon, you can't leave us like this.

REPLY, REPLY, REPLY!!
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Old November 21st, 2004, 01:42 PM   #51
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Yep! Though don't forget that he's waiting for the BBC guy to let him know the info.

Simon
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Old November 21st, 2004, 03:25 PM   #52
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Sez he needs to check with him if he can reproduce the email grrrrr.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 06:21 AM   #53
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Sorry about delay.

I quoted someone without permission here the other day and the admininistrator deleted my post, so I didn't want that to happen again.

I've got permission now. Here's what he wrote:

Hi there, to further add to the information about Top Gear I work as a camera assistant on the show, and I think I safely say they do not use Beta Sp anymore, as they hire in a lot of their stuff from other companies.
They use Digibeta with SDI cards installed to do the filming of the cars outside along with a lot of different filters and lights.
They use sony HD 900s sometimes, but not with the progressive scan feature as I can assure you its not that great!
The stig laps/ and star in the car cameras are just normal digibetas, with pd150s filming inside the car to show the stig/ celebrities face. Then we stick mini single chip cams to the sides of cars which record to DVCam.
The slow motion stuff is done by cameras which they use for filming at wimbledon, or it could be 16mm running at high speed im not too sure about that though.
The main thing about getting the look of the show is that they film all week with experienced DOPs who spend ages lighting and setting up their shots.
But with most things a lot of time and money is spent on the show and this is what makes it look so good.
You can order some tickets from the website and go and watch if you like, they film the studio stuff and star in the car every wednesday, then it goes out the following week.
Look out for Christian Slater on the show next week!
Regards


Hope that helps!

(I bet this kicks off even more debate!)
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 12:06 PM   #54
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That's interesting that he mentioned SDI cards installed. I wonder if that means they are taking the raw uncompressed footage directly from the camera head?

Also interesting to hear about the HD900's and any problems with it's progressive scan mode.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 12:37 PM   #55
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These things are so subjective, and I doubt you'll ever get a definitive answer on questions like that.

I know the engineering dept of somewhere like the BBC will do tests so exhaustive it would drive the rest of us nuts, but when it comes to a 'quality' programme relying on the judgement and experienced eye of a seasoned DoP...

Still, as long as it looks good!


(Just my (relatively) untechnical 2p.)


I'll try asking about the SDI cards.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 01:22 PM   #56
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Thanks for the info Karel.

If I have the right idea, I think the SD cards are used to store information as to the set-up of the camera and they are used to customise the look of the picture.
I know that some of the HD cams (including the 900) have this feature.
I read something about the different looks that can be achieved. For example:
LWTís SMTV live has a kind of orange glow / warm look to their pictures and say another show may need a cleaner more natural look. The cards are used to store these settings.

I donít think they would be using 16mm for the slow motion. Looks like is going to be the stuff for Wimbledon.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 04:09 PM   #57
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No. The cameras have setup storage anyway.

The SDI cards that you can get for XDCAM allow footage to be taken straight off the camera heads with no compression at the full resolution of the CCD's (subject to SMPTE standards) and 4:2:2 colour space. I would imagine that if they are using add on SDI cards for the Digibetas that it is a similar thing.

... I just had a look around. If they are using the Sony Digibeta cameras they have an optional SDI board that just allows switchable SDI or composite output from the rear of the camera. I cannot find out if that model allows footage direct from the CCD's to be captured.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 03:25 PM   #58
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Sounds fascinating Simon, Iíve never encountered that before.

So what are these SDI cards? Whatís their capacity, how do they work?
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 04:02 PM   #59
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SDI is just an interface standard. It's used for Digibeta etc and there is a high def version as well, to connect the camera, or deck to a computer for uncompressed 4:2:2 10 bit footage transfer.
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Old November 25th, 2004, 08:53 AM   #60
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Hello everybody again.

Besides the image quality, the thing that most intrigues me is how they manage to make a show every week with such quality. I mean, in order to record and edit just a whole car test (ie: aston martin vs train) you will need much more than a week. I think (and i hope someone could tell us) that they shoot all summer and then when the session starts they have all the tests done except for the studio, the guests and the stig proofs. That could be the reason why the stig usually drives a different color car.

So this is a matter of how do they manage production.

Anyway i think they are the best outhere.

Bye!
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