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Use of the RMB150 Remote Unit with the F900


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#1 Jonny Kerr

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 01:06 PM

I've recently finished working on a low-budget short in Scotland utilising two Sony F900's. The Director of Photography insisted on using the RMB150 remote unit on B camera at all times in order to match it to the A camera. We had no test time before the shoot, so many problems arose on set with the image control on these cameras. On occasion B camera would fail to hold it's settings after the remote unit had been unplugged. Sometimes it inexplicably changed gamma, knee and master black settings too. It would have been more straight forward to write the settings onto the memory stick from A camera and read them to the B camera, but for the fact that our B camera kept telling us of a 'File Format Error' on the card. The cameras came from different hire houses. Any ideas would be gratefully recevied!!!
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#2 DetroitDIT

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 09:07 AM

I've recently finished working on a low-budget short in Scotland utilising two Sony F900's. The Director of Photography insisted on using the RMB150 remote unit on B camera at all times in order to match it to the A camera. We had no test time before the shoot, so many problems arose on set with the image control on these cameras. On occasion B camera would fail to hold it's settings after the remote unit had been unplugged. Sometimes it inexplicably changed gamma, knee and master black settings too. It would have been more straight forward to write the settings onto the memory stick from A camera and read them to the B camera, but for the fact that our B camera kept telling us of a 'File Format Error' on the card. The cameras came from different hire houses. Any ideas would be gratefully recevied!!!


That sounds like a very frustrating shoot. The whole premise is flawed from the begining. First is the notion of trying to match the B camera to the A cam that way. There is an easier way to match two cameras. I had great success with this method on a feature I worked on last summer using two Cinealtas.
I brought the cameras together and matched them on the same white source taking care that the gamma curves were identical and black levels were matched perfectly. Then I saved the settings in the reference file on each camera. I also backed the settings up on a memory stick. On this shoot we only used preset white balance on both cameras and we corrected the lights if the white balance did not look right witch wasn't very often. For daylight we still used preset but corrected by changing to filter wheel D or A depending on the DP's wishes. If one camera woke up incorrectly I would simply recall it's reference file, Auto black balance and we were back in business. We only used a paintbox (RMB-150) on B cam when it was on a crane and needed to be rolled remotely. When I connected it to the camera I took great care to ensure that preset WB had been called and that the pedestal, gamma and knees were all in their detent settings. Another thing to remember is [/u]never[u] hot patch the RMB-150. Connecting or disconnecting the paintbox while the camera is on will throw it into fits.
The "format error" that you got when trying to save to the memory stick I've seen when using MS's that have the "Magic Gate" on them. For whatever reason these MS's need to be formatted on a PC then you can use them in the F900. Ask Sony why.
This is my first post let my know if I was helpful. DetroitDIT (Don't panic... it's only ones and zeros)
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#3 Jonny Kerr

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:43 PM

Thanks Heaps...

I really appreciate yer feedback! The shoot was all wrong from the get-go, but i'm only the assistant and have no place to tell the DOP how best to shoot the thing. (He's a film boy who never shot on HD before). Thank you for the tip on the whole 'Magic Gate' thing - that had the potential to melt my brain. I had three different B Cameras on that shoot and none of them would read the card from A Camera. They never looked remotely similar! Was really paranoid that it was purely down to software updates as the cameras were all roughly the same age (and potentially the same software updates). We had no test time to line the cameras up - had we had that (budget shite!) the whole shoot would have been a very different beast....
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#4 DetroitDIT

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:44 PM

Thanks Heaps...

I really appreciate yer feedback! The shoot was all wrong from the get-go, but i'm only the assistant and have no place to tell the DOP how best to shoot the thing. (He's a film boy who never shot on HD before). Thank you for the tip on the whole 'Magic Gate' thing - that had the potential to melt my brain. I had three different B Cameras on that shoot and none of them would read the card from A Camera. They never looked remotely similar! Was really paranoid that it was purely down to software updates as the cameras were all roughly the same age (and potentially the same software updates). We had no test time to line the cameras up - had we had that (budget shite!) the whole shoot would have been a very different beast....


Glad I could help. Tough position being an AC and then saddled with the responsabilities of trying to make two cameras work as well as AC duties they really needed a DIT too.
It never ceases to amaze me how production companies never have the time or budget to prep properly, but they ultimately end up spending more money and time waiting around with a whole film crew on the clock when problems like you described occur. I hear of this sort of thing happening often and I'm sure I'll hear a simalar story again. Glad you made it through.

Edited by DetroitDIT, 05 May 2006 - 05:51 PM.

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