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Short film with Keying DV or HD?


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#1 Jacqueline Donaldson

Jacqueline Donaldson
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Posted 06 March 2006 - 02:24 AM

Hi guys,

I maybe about to embark on my first DPing job for someone other than myself and need some advice.

OK, It's a short film, lots of actors, like an ensemble cast, they all at some point become superheros we want shallow depth of field as we have problems with consistant locations etc...and also we'd like to use a blue screen to key the superheros, I'm not sure what the backgrounds are as the project is in the very early stages. So here is what I need to know.

The director wants to shoot on HD, he thinks the higher quality might make the project easier to sell to the TV market (ps. I live in Hong Kong). I suggest DV as I've heard even Prosumer HD cams have had alot of problems.

I'm not experienced with HD, but from what I've heard it's difficult to create shallow Depth of field, there are problems with keying because the compression causes the images to appear blocky.

What do you guys think? I guess they both have pros and cons, so I'd like to hear your view in view of my lack of experience.

Also Lighting maybe very limited as everyong involved wants to do this on no budget and our own equipment, so I think I'll probably use some chinese lanterns (easy to find here, it's China, kind a) , maybe some kind of key light and a reflector to fill and a small light on the cam for the eyes. Any suggestions of what kind of light I can put in my lanterns and run them off a regular source? And a key light that can be used in small spaces as locations in HK are usually cramped.

I'm sure I'll think of more later,

Thanks Jacqueline
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#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:29 PM

The larger the chip, the easier it is to reduce depth of field, so you're going to have an easier time with a 2/3" CCD camera like in a pro HD camera (F900, Varicam, etc.) than using a 1/3" CCD camera like a typical consumer DV one.

You can run even a bright 500w photoflood bulb (if necessary) in a Chinese Lantern as long as you are careful about not letting the hot bulb swing over and touch the paper (and turn it off between takes) and replacing the plastic bulb socket with a porcelain one (so it won't melt). You just need to figure out the amperage of your typical household circuit and watch how much power you plug into it (and remember that multiple wall outlets can share a circuit.)
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