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Shooting Varicam tomorrow - need urgent answers


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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 02:46 PM

On a very short notice I'm shooting a VariCam job tomorrow and need to get some quick answers.

1. We're shooting quite a bit at 50fps and I need to know if I can do that progressively? I know most video cameras have a nasty habit of halving the resolution and going interlaced the minute you want to record something else than 25fps.

2. If so, is the camera progressive at all speeds?

3. The touted "Cine Gamma" setting is supposed to give more film-like results. Is this at all true or just the
usual shenanigans the camera makers try to sell us? I don't want more contrast (I can always add that in post) - is this simply one of those "let's-boost-the-contrast-and-make-it-look-like-bleach-bypass-to-sell-it-more-as-
a-film-look"-trick?

4. Is this camera 720P or 1080P?

5. I've heard I can't actually get the camera to playback the slow motion stuff unless I have some kind of
motion video card (that we don't have on set). That's fine. I just need to know what speeds CAN I watch back on the day without this device?

Thanks for your help.
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#2 David Cox

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:00 PM

Hi
Here's some answers to some of your questions...

The varicam records progessive at all frame rates. To get at the "off speed" stuff in post, your post company will either need to have post kit that can take the varicam footage directly, or will need to copy the footage through a converter (which is basically a disk drive that records the output of the camera, then plays it back as 1080p at the speed you shot at). Pre-warn your post company because the latter processes can be a little time consuming and they'll need to hire in the converter if they don't have one.

The varicam shoots 720 60P internally. Its outputs are upressed to 1080p. Whats your destination? If its anything other than cinema, don't worry about this. The image quality is excellent (working on a car commercial shot with one right now). If you are delivering to cinema then yes, you're theoretically a little short on res.

We've completed a number of projects with the varicam, and they've all looked very good.

Good luck!

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:01 PM

NOTES ARE IN CAPS.

1. We're shooting quite a bit at 50fps and I need to know if I can do that progressively? I know most video cameras have a nasty habit of halving the resolution and going interlaced the minute you want to record something else than 25fps.

2. If so, is the camera progressive at all speeds?

THE CAMERA IS 60P AT ALL TIMES. IT FLAGS FRAMES FOR SHOOTING AT SLOWER SPEEDS, MEANING THAT THEY ARE STEP-PRINTED ONTO THE 60P TIMELINE AND CAN BE REMOVED IN POST IF YOU WISH TO ALTER THE TEMPORAL RELATIONSHIP. iN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU SET THE CAMERA TO 24P, IT WILL LAY DOWN THE 24P AS A 3:2 ACROSS THE 60P AND PLAY BACK SO THAT ONE SECOND OF RECORDED TIME WILL EQUAL ONE SECOND OF REAL TIME. IF YOU SHOOT AT 6 FRAMES THEN EACH FRAME WILL BE PRINTED 10 TIMES ON THE 60P AND WILL HAVE A STROBING EFFECT BUT EVENTS WILL STILL PLAYBACK IN REAL TIME. IN POST YOU CAN REMOVE THE EXTRA REPEATED FRAMES AND CREATE FAST TIMELAPSE MOTION. SAME GOES FOR TURNING 50P OR WHATEVER INTO SLOW MOTION. THE CAMERA ALWAYS PLAYS BACK IN ITS NATIVE 60P SO EVENTS ALWAYS PLAYBACK IN REALTIME IN THE CAMERA. YOU CAN TURN THEM INTO SLOW MOTION IN POST BY INSERTING THE 50P INTO A 25P (I'M GUESSING THAT THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT) TIMELINE, SO THAT EVENTS NOW TAKE TWICE AS LONG TO PLAY OUT. MAKE SENSE?


3. The touted "Cine Gamma" setting is supposed to give more film-like results. Is this at all true or just the
usual shenanigans the camera makers try to sell us? I don't want more contrast (I can always add that in post) - is this simply one of those "let's-boost-the-contrast-and-make-it-look-like-bleach-bypass-to-sell-it-more-as-
a-film-look"-trick?

THE CINE GAMMA IS QUITE NICE AND A GREAT STEPPING OFF POINT IN MY BOOK. ONE HOPES THAT YOUR CAMERA WILL COME WITH A "GOODMAN GUIDE" WHICH IS AN EXCELLENT TEXT ON THE USE OF THE CAMERA AND WHAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF IT. THE CINE MODE WILL INCREASE YOUR DYNAMIC RANGE, FOR STARTERS.

4. Is this camera 720P or 1080P?

720P


5. I've heard I can't actually get the camera to playback the slow motion stuff unless I have some kind of
motion video card (that we don't have on set). That's fine. I just need to know what speeds CAN I watch back on the day without this device?

SEE ABOVE. BASICALLY, SHOOT AT ANY SPEED YOU WANT BUT IT WILL ALWAYS PLAY BACK IN REAL TIME. IT WILL JUST APPEAR STEP- OR SKIP- PRINTED.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:21 PM

Thanks, guys.

It's a music video for TV, so no need for any high resolution anyway - I just wanted to know. I am using the Pro35 adapter also.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 05:45 PM

Hi,

I have used both the Varicam and Pro35 previously, if you want I can drop by... would gladly do so just to say hi.

Overcranking and undercranking is stress-free.

Phil
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#6 Jake Kerber

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 06:10 PM

The Cine Gamma is a nice option and one I always use, but note that you have to choose (within the cine gamma mode) either FILM REC or VIDEO REC. FILM REC is less contrasty and geared towards projects destined for a tape to film transfer. The VIDEO REC mode is for projects finishing on tape and produces higher contrast images.

Also, upon reading your post, I remembered David Mullen posting about his experiences using the Varicam with the PRO35 adapter for a music video shot in London. Here's a link to the thread:

http://www.cinematog...&hl=music video

-Jake Kerber
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#7 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 06:38 PM

The Cine Gamma is a nice option and one I always use, but note that you have to choose (within the cine gamma mode) either FILM REC or VIDEO REC. FILM REC is less contrasty and geared towards projects destined for a tape to film transfer. The VIDEO REC mode is for projects finishing on tape and produces higher contrast images.


Thanks, Jake.

But should I understand it that as even the FILM REC mode ADD'S contrast, albeit to a lesser degree? Because as I said, I want to shoot as low contrast as possible - I can always add that in the Da Vinci color corrector.


Hi,

I have used both the Varicam and Pro35 previously, if you want I can drop by... would gladly do so just to say hi.

Overcranking and undercranking is stress-free.

Phil


You're welcome, Phil. We're at the Jamm club in Brixton all bloody day.
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#8 Brian Wells

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 09:17 PM

The menu's in that camera are real deep -- can't you get it setup somewhere? FILM REC is less contrasty than VIDEO REC, but VIDEO REC can be setup to look very close to FILM REC. It's just that FILM REC pre-defaults certain settings from being able to be manipulated. One DP I know prefers VIDEO REC because he gets less contrast and more dynamic range from it than the defaults in FILM REC. It really all depends on how it is setup. I personally have not shot with the VariCam, ever. My comments are based on (what I remember from) a three day workshop on the VariCam I attended last year.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 10:07 PM

You'll see as soon as you switch to it -- FILM REC mode is rather low-contrast actually, not higher in contrast. You can tweak it of course.
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#10 Elhanan Matos

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 12:08 AM

"I know most video cameras have a nasty habit of halving the resolution and going interlaced the minute you want to record something else than 25fps."


I'm DIT'ing a pilot right now, we have two F900's, and will be using an F900 for our slow motion. What I am doing is setting the camera to record at 60i (59.94) and then in post we will be using a Teranex and a Smoke to convert that 60i to 60p.
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#11 monster vs robot

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 12:14 AM

New Guy Question:Regarding the FILM REC or VIDEO REC in the CINE GAMMA SEL The Goodman Guide states, " FILM REC produces images that have less contrast when viewed on an evaluation monitor. However, the actual contrast of the final image can only be properly judged after the image is output to film and a print is made of the negative. Cinematographers may prefer the look of FILM REC because it provides a wide tonal range from the shadows to the highlights. VIDEO REC provides what you see is what you get results when the image is viewed on an HD evaluation monitor."
SO, Am I to understand that the benefit of shooting FILM REC when you are NOT going to a film out, is that you get good tonal range and with the intention of color correction in Post? Also, In what situations would you say this is the most useful as it sems you could run the risk of having to explain why it looks a little flat to a Producer.
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:43 AM

Also, In what situations would you say this is the most useful as it sems you could run the risk of having to explain why it looks a little flat to a Producer.


Wow, I used to complain about this ten years ago. I always liked lifting the black level a smidge when shooting because I knew I could drop it back down later if necessary. The advantage being I would pick up more detail in the darker part of the picture and then I could chopse later whether I needed to lose the additional detail or not by how much the black level was crushed when editing. Just as you say, it's risky making the image flatter looking because the producer will usually freak out.

This might sound sneaky but maybe setting the on set monitor slightly contrasty will result in the producer and you being in sync as to when the picture is "right".
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