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Which HD camera.


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#1 mo_adam71

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 09:37 PM

Am new and whilst going through the forums realized I posted my questeion on the wrong forum. So here goes again:
This question probably had been asked before but anyways, am hoping for an updated answers. What is the best HD camera to use which end result is super for TV broadcast and equally good enough to be blown up to 35mm for a theatrical release? There is no budget. Help is most appreciated. In the meantime, am doing more research in this web site. Thanks all.
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#2 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:20 PM

... This question probably had been asked before but anyways, am hoping for an updated answers. What is the best HD camera to use which end result is super for TV broadcast and equally good enough to be blown up to 35mm for a theatrical release? ...

There are several HD camera systems which cost well over $100,000 US; some cost quite a bit more, and some are available to rent. These are probably generally agreed to be among the most capable. Is this the sort of thing you're likley to be able to use, or something less expensive?

... There is no budget. ...

Meaning? (You have no money? Or: Money is no object/limit?) Sorry, I don't understand this part of your question, regrets.

... Help is most appreciated. In the meantime, am doing more research in this web site. Thanks all.

That sounds like a good idea. It will be easier to answer your question(s) if you could be more specific about your needs, budget, timeframe, location, experience level, your real name, and other details.
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#3 Brian Wells

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:45 PM

I have seen some real junk created with 100K cameras in inexperienced hands.
The "Secret" is finding a fantastic cinematographer with a fantastic crew.

The VariCam is really nice.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:25 PM

If the budget is limited, then you'll be limited to the best HD camera you can afford, not the best one possible.

Considering movies shot in DV can get released theatrically, you should just worry about using the best technology you can afford, and then using it well (i.e. lighting, production design, etc.)

In terms of HD released theatrically, all the current technologies have been used, and I'm sure the upcoming ones will be to. Probably the majority were shot on the Sony F900 HDCAM though, same with the majority of HD shot for television. The better technology than that is more expensive and therefore used less often.

Consumer HD is too new to know how much it will be used for TV or theatrical.
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#5 mo_adam71

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:38 PM

There are several HD camera systems which cost well over $100,000 US; some cost quite a bit more, and some are available to rent. These are probably generally agreed to be among the most capable. Is this the sort of thing you're likley to be able to use, or something less expensive?
Meaning? (You have no money? Or: Money is no object/limit?) Sorry, I don't understand this part of your question, regrets.
That sounds like a good idea. It will be easier to answer your question(s) if you could be more specific about your needs, budget, timeframe, location, experience level, your real name, and other details.


I admit, in my excitement at finally finding this site, I made the gravest mistake at asking a question without giving specifics.
Am currently in film acquisitions at a reputable independent film company way out in the far east. In its agenda, the company has started out co-producing feature films. This is my break, I reckon, and not wanting this golden opportunity to slip away, I have seriously started initial pre-production for a short film. At least, with a quality end product, I am able to show the management what I can offer with hopes of getting a full fledged feature film off the ground. Whatever it is, the short film will act not only a feather in the hat, but at least I am able to submit it to short film festivals. At the same time, a couple of friends work in TV stations whom I am able to submit it for consideration (the possibilities are endless, though this is way too cliche for me to say). That is the plus point working as an insider in the industry, there are people who are willing to help you out. Still, I am taking the responsibility of not relying at all on handouts, so I have managed to pool some funds to start on this short film odyssey, making sure that the actors and crew are paid (no I am not someone who expects people to work for free, no matter how ideal it is).
On the HD cam, therfore, I would need one that will ensure an end product that will be best for TV broadcast and if need be, will look great when blown up to 35mm for theatrical release (will most probably be done in Thailand). As an insider in the industry, I am able to find a sponsor from either the local Sony or Panasonic to loan a HD camera or alternatively I would have to rent from one of the production houses. Therefore, budget is not a problem though I wouldn't buy one for now. From my experience, the poeple at Sony and Panasonic are helpful and it helps that I am in the industry too. Thus is boils down to this, I would need to let them know what I specifically want without giving them the impression that I am just a one-off amateur who's as clueless as Cher Harowitz. At least with your help, it would make me look good, thus I would need help on any recommendations. Need a HD cam with external mic jack, manual exp, manual white bal, CCCDs, shootin locations: woods and indoors.

Many thanks in advance.
Rahmat Adam

Apologies. In addition, I will not be lensing the short film. Am paying an acquaintance who's promising but extensive experience at corporate videos. However he is able and is a pro pahotgorpaher who's still have gone for compettion all over the world. Am taking a chance with him and he's willing to take a leap too. Still, I don't to look like an amatuer in front of him. We all have big heads don't we?

Thanks again.
Rahmat Adam
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:40 PM

The most common choices are the Sony F900 (HDCAM) and the Panasonic Varicam (DVCPRO-HD).

The Sony is 1080P and the Varicam is 720P. The main advantage to the Varicam is that it does multiple frame rates, up to 60 fps. It is also 4:2:2 instead of 3:1:1, and has a little better exposure latitude, but honestly, I think the Varicam is a little overrated in that regard -- I think you can get similar quality with the F900, which also has the extra advantage of being higher in resolution (2 MP per frame instead of 1 MP), which can be a factor in a transfer to 35mm for projection. But for your project, the F900 or Varicam should work fine.

You should probably check with your post facilities which they have more experience with.

Is there a specific reason why it has to be HD versus Super-16, let's say?
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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:54 AM

The most common choices are the Sony F900 (HDCAM) and the Panasonic Varicam (DVCPRO-HD).

The Sony is 1080P and the Varicam is 720P. The main advantage to the Varicam is that it does multiple frame rates, up to 60 fps. It is also 4:2:2 instead of 3:1:1, and has a little better exposure latitude, but honestly, I think the Varicam is a little overrated in that regard -- I think you can get similar quality with the F900, which also has the extra advantage of being higher in resolution (2 MP per frame instead of 1 MP), which can be a factor in a transfer to 35mm for projection. But for your project, the F900 or Varicam should work fine.

You should probably check with your post facilities which they have more experience with.

Is there a specific reason why it has to be HD versus Super-16, let's say?



An overhauled XTR Prod with zoom lens will run you about 30K. I wouldn't even consider an overhauled F900, new they will run you about 100k. The Super 16 is perfect for the two reasons you listed. It worth thinking about.
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#8 mo_adam71

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:39 AM

Its basically tape vs film stock. I figure I get more leeway by using tapes without budget overruns. Also, wouldn't the Sony F900 be friendlier that a Super 16mm? However, were you guys thinking about Arri's super 16mm cameras. The rental for this camera is, I would expect, dearer. Anyway, with Sony, there might be a possiblity of getting it on loan (albeit sponsored loan) and is easier to rent from most television production companies who offer competitive rates. Any further thoughts on this is much appreciated.

Thanks again for all the comments.

R. Adam
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 08:20 AM

Hi,

> Also, wouldn't the Sony F900 be friendlier that a Super 16mm?

Not if you're not shooting it!

Seriously, it's difficult to deny the convenience factor with video, from the huge advantage of being able to see what you're shooting immediately from the very fast reloads - you can save one or two crew if you hire the right DP, so it can be cheaper too.

> However, were you guys thinking about Arri's super 16mm cameras. The rental for this camera is, I would
> expect, dearer.

An F900 outfit will probably cost slightly more to rent than the equivalent capability in 16mm, assuming a good, modern super-16 camera. However, once you take into account the cost of stock and processing, the HD route is enormously cheaper even if you have to get downconversions made to edit (this is why Varicam is popular as it's possible to buy a cheap Apple Mac edit system and avoid this cost.)

The only problem with renting HD from a TV company to do feature production is the availability of accessories, but if you're doing a feature on a shoestring budget then an ENG style outfit may be faster to use anyway.

Phil
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#10 mo_adam71

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 08:30 AM

Super informationa all. Thanks a bunch.
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#11 Jeremy

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 11:20 AM

I'd recommend Super 16mm. You mentioned shooting in the woods. If these are woods during the day, then film will give you a greater lattitude for exposure. HD is great in low light, but throw deep shadow versus bright highlights at it, and it suddenly doesn't look as good. Plus, I like to have my settings so that the comparable ASA would be approximately 320 ASA when shooting HD, so if you are shooting at night with HD and have similar settings programmed into the camera, you have to light for 320 ASA, but if you shoot 500 ASA film stock, you've got 2/3 of a stop more to play with and a greater lattitude in exposure, which could be significant on a budget. And the costs of shooting with the F900 or the Varicam would also be comparable to shooting Super 16mm for a short project.

Best of luck!
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 11:36 AM

And the costs of shooting with the F900 or the Varicam would also be comparable to shooting Super 16mm for a short project.


Depends on a number of factors, like does the HD need to be transferred to 35mm versus does the Super-16 need to be transferred to HD. If you need an HD master and don't need a film-out, then shooting HD will probably be cheaper.
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#13 Michael Maier

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 08:19 PM

You say no budget, so I would say Varicam and F900 are out of your league. I would do the short with a JVC HD100. It?s the only sub 10k full resolution HD camera in the market, it produces the most filmic 24p/25p image of all affordable HD cameras, it has a removable lens, shoulder format, a great DSP and is very affordable at $5,500. There are some shortcomings but that?s true for any piece of gear, including the F900.
It' quite new, so it may be hard to find at some smaller rental houses, but for that price you may be able to buy one for your project and sell after losing less money than it would have cost you to rent one, depending on the length of your shoot.
I would check it out.
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