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Old July 30th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #16
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Top Gear do not shoot using a 35mmm adaptor. All shot on Video. Just well, with excellent grading in post as well as the aforementioned filters. Mostly shot on digibeta.

Oh and obviously LOADS of post vignettes.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #17
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They also shoot interlaced and deinterlace in post. An utterly absurd decision given that they hire in their gear from Gearhouse Broadcast. The DVW-970 is a progressive scan Digibeta camera, so why they don't use that, or even HDCAM given the DVD's etc they release is anyones guess. Imagine being able to watch the Top Gear specials in high def Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.

The deinterlacing is the only thing I don't like about Top Gear. It creates some very obvious 'stair stepping' on many shots. Strangely I have heard that the BBC didn't like the native progressive scan on even the high end cameras such as the 750 HDCAM. Rather silly if you ask me since it is true progressive scan, whereas the methods the BBC use at the moment creates huge amounts of aliasing.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 01:50 PM   #18
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I've only been able to se the North Pole episode from...what some would consider an political incorrect way since bbc2 isn't available outside the UK, so my possibility to judge quality is after seeing an compressed 720p version..

The North pole episode is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen from the TG guys, of course partly because it's HD, but the entire episode is just stunning visually. The work flow of deinterlacing vs. actually shooting it all progressive seems a bit strange, but i'm sure they have their reasons...a mean look at the result, there are very very few programs that look so beautiful that TG does and certainly NONE of the other car shows out there look this good.

But I'm curious what format the use for shooting, some websites state HDcam-sr, some dvcprohd...anyone got an idea, apart from the smaller "mini"cameras obviously.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 01:58 PM   #19
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AFAIK it's all Digibeta. Though they have occasionally used high def cameras for specialist shots.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 09:45 PM   #20
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AFAIK it's all Digibeta. Though they have occasionally used high def cameras for specialist shots.
I know they mostly use digibeta, but for the HD broadcast I'll guess they shot the hole episode in some form of HD.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 03:39 AM   #21
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I wouldn't bank on it. They have a pretty established workflow, and I doubt they would have changed it to something new for such an ambitious and dangerous trip. The BBC have some very good up converting facilities (some don't realise that some of the recent Planet Earth was upconverted Digibeta for some of the really rare shots).

Of course I could be wrong.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:14 PM   #22
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Top Gear Polar Special in HD

I've read a few news blurbs stating the Top Gear Polar Special was sourced entirely in HD (HDCAM SR). Perhaps they are in the process of migrating to a HD workflow for the normal shows as well.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 08:50 PM   #23
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I've actually read both Hdcam SR and Dvcpro HD on various webpages, so I'm not shure about anything, except i doubt it's xdcam in any form.
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Old September 11th, 2007, 09:12 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
They also shoot interlaced and deinterlace in post. An utterly absurd decision given that they hire in their gear from Gearhouse Broadcast. The DVW-970 is a progressive scan Digibeta camera, so why they don't use that, or even HDCAM given the DVD's etc they release is anyones guess. Imagine being able to watch the Top Gear specials in high def Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.

The deinterlacing is the only thing I don't like about Top Gear. It creates some very obvious 'stair stepping' on many shots. Strangely I have heard that the BBC didn't like the native progressive scan on even the high end cameras such as the 750 HDCAM. Rather silly if you ask me since it is true progressive scan, whereas the methods the BBC use at the moment creates huge amounts of aliasing.
Interesting, I just had a conversation with a local DP who revealed that he really preferred the look of de-interlaced to progressive footage. Quite surprising to me, but there may be something to it. He wouldn't be first to say that he preferred a Magic Bullet de-interlaced look to similar treatments on progressive footage. May be time for some tests/experiments.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #25
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The reason for shooting progressive scan is for the motion characteristic. This is EXACTLY the same whether deinterlaced or progressive from the start. So in this regard the Top Gear guy you know must be seeing things. Like hifi enthusiasts that claim they get better quality sound if they situate the washing machine in a different part of the house.

Regarding the Polar Special, it has now c=been confirmed that it was shot on DVCProHD.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 09:49 PM   #26
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... and back to the topic at hand.

The distinct look - pretty darn sure they used a 35mm lens adapter, and have a slew of lenses to use. Oh, and a damn good DP on the job ;)

a) Their lenses are often very wide - like, the 35mm lens standard, I'd say 20mm-18mm! Pretty cool.

b) Their 35mm lenses allow for a shallow Depth of Field, so they can pull focus and direct the viewer's eye around the screen

c) High shutter speed

d) Vignette around the edges of the frame, again, offers that look

e) Colour treatment - bleach bypass effect.

So, how can WE average joes make this look? Use a decent camera - a Canon HV20 could pull this off with a 35mm adapter, and a nice set of lenses. I like the Brevis (www.cinevate.com) and tehn use Magic Bullet in post. And, then experiment! Voila. :D
So how could I mimic some of their look (if any at all) using my Sony HC7 HDV? I have some additional lenses for it and some basic filters, but love the cool look of their videos...

Does a "day for night" filter like this one produce any of those effects? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...er_Filter.html
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Old June 16th, 2008, 10:41 PM   #27
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John

The film look on a mDV/HDV videotape camera comes, IMO, mainly from a 35mm film adapter, not just lenses. Look at the Letus threads here at DVInfo for a lot more information, also search for more of Phil Bloom's valuable contributions on this site.

I built my own 35mm DOF adaptor as a prototype to test the effects (see the DIY section here) and now have a Letus Extreme and a set of very good lenses.

Video signals can be de-interlaced and re-interlaced in post, so the Progressive Image is really not that big of a deal, one way or anther. Neither is contrast, filtering, vignetting, all of that stuff is very easy now on computers.

It's the raw image itself - and that 35mm depth of focus that holds the viewer's eye and then directs the viewer's attention to a particular part of the frame - that's what spells movie-like production quality, along with very smooth pans, tilts, dollies and cranes (and of course aerials and Steadicams) - all of those things cost time or money or both. Not to mention lighting, which is a whole other subject in itself.

Sure, you can try and do it on a dime and a prayer, but that's one of the reasons why people get to make a living at this - they can simply make better images, using the right equipment. (notice I didn't say the most expensive equipment, just the right equipment for the job.)

Your HC7 is fine - the HV20 is also fine. Both will fit on a Letus Mini and take Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Lomo lenses that will, as a package, along with matte box/lens shade, follow focus and the rest, cost many many times more than the cost of the camcorder itself.

My kit, including a 15mm rod set, maybe 15 lenses with focus rings, a follow focus setup with short whip and speed crank, a Chrosziel matte box and some filters, cost well in excess of $5k. However, it took me maybe 12 years to build the kit up so each year, each month was reasonably affordable.

However, when your camcorder goes out of style and a better one comes along, you can just bolt it on the back of your 35mm lens rig and just keep right on shooting...

So I'd say:

a) 35mm mini DOF adaptor and rod set;

b) basic set of fast stills lenses and lens shades/matte box/french flag;

c) a field monitor of some kind (with component inputs) that's big and sharp enough to get things properly focused - and a hoodman to go on it so you can actually see the screen properly outdoors;

d) a decent tripod with a real fluid head (not a fluid-like head - check the Japanese Libecs out);

e) MPEG streamclip on your post end (it's free, Google it) to deinterlace your HC7 footage to progressive, and;

f) Magic Bullet Looks Suite or the Tiffen dfx package for your editing system for all the cool looks you could want.

and of course:

g) a decent mic system and at least a Beachtek mic pre to get decent audio into your camera - oh, I forgot - the HC7 doesn't have an 1/8" in, right. As you were, swap it out for an HC1, or go HV20/30 to get good audio, which makes a world of difference too.

Now with all this stuff you've accumulated, you'll need help on set, at least one other person whenever possible, especially in crowded areas with pickpockets around, to monitor the audio and keep an eye out for the gear and other production stuff that may be lying around.

HTH
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Chris
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Old August 16th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by John Helms View Post
So how could I mimic some of their look (if any at all) using my Sony HC7 HDV? I have some additional lenses for it and some basic filters, but love the cool look of their videos...

Does a "day for night" filter like this one produce any of those effects? Tiffen | 37mm Scene Maker Filter Kit | 372USMK1 | B&H Photo Video

John, Chris Leong's post above is a great guide to doing it properly, or at least a guide to the tools that will make certain processes easier.

But don't get too drawn in by the need for increasing amounts of increasingly professional gear, you can achieve great stuff with your HC7, a keen eye, and some imagination coupled with time and effort in post production on your PC/Mac.


Look here:

White Red Panic - SHORT FILM (HD) on Vimeo

A lovely filmic quality, no lens adaptor, no expensive matte boxes or steady cam shots, just careful scene selection, nice handling of light and some great post production colour fun on the computer.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #29
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They also shoot interlaced and deinterlace in post.
Doctor Who does the same thing, although I believe it is shot on SD for some reason (I think they said the effects work is cheaper and easier when using SD).

I think a lot of programs use the dienterlacing method instead of shootin progressive. Not sure why... although a guy I know at Avid said interlaced video is more "efficient" than progressive (whatever that means).
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Old August 20th, 2008, 12:04 AM   #30
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Doctor Who does the same thing, although I believe it is shot on SD for some reason (I think they said the effects work is cheaper and easier when using SD).

I think a lot of programs use the dienterlacing method instead of shootin progressive. Not sure why... although a guy I know at Avid said interlaced video is more "efficient" than progressive (whatever that means).

Doctor Who is shot on HDCAM with some stuff, explosions and the like on Varicam from season 3. Prior to that is was shot on SD unbelievably.
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