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HD Cinematography Book


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#1 Matt Graff

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:25 PM

Hello,

I have been shooting film for years now and I have a job that I am going to shoot a VariCam and I have never shot on one before. I am looking for a book that will be a good guide to the HD world that I will encounter, any ideas? I found a couple of books but they are all over 2 years old and I am affraid that it would be out dated.

I would love your help with this.

Matt
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:32 PM

I found a couple of books but they are all over 2 years old and I am affraid that it would be out dated.


And, how old is the Varicam? ;)

This is a good one:
http://www.amazon.co...3889610?ie=UTF8
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:43 PM

Also this book (Goodman's Guide to the Varicam):
http://catalog2.pana...el=VARICAM-BOOK

It's probably too pricey to buy, but I've been able to borrow it from the rental house sometimes.
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#4 Matt Graff

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:57 AM

And, how old is the Varicam? ;)

This is a good one:
http://www.amazon.co...3889610?ie=UTF8



Yeah I know that its been around for a bit but this review was written about that book 2 years ago and he was complaining that the info was outdated back then.

--Quote--
This book almost exclusively discusses the Sony F900 (now superceeded). The author is employed by Panavision and, at the time of writing, has no experience with other cameras.
Particularly when post-production fx are required, one of the most important aspects of any electronic aquisition format is the compression ratio it employs. So I found it somewhat disturbing that this issue was entirely ignored except when critisizing the Viper for having to have a hard-disk recorder because it can't compress the image (and yet the F900 is 4:2:2 with high compression).
However, the author did mention Star Wars II as an example of the quality of the Panavised camera, yet this production employed a hard-disk recorder because of the problems caused by HDCAM compression.
I think the book shouldn't have such a general title when the contents are dominated by something so specific and reads like a sales brochure.
--end quote--



I was just looking for a book that was fresh, I will try out that one that David suggested.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 08:55 AM

--Quote--
This book almost exclusively discusses the Sony F900 (now superceeded). The author is employed by Panavision and, at the time of writing, has no experience with other cameras.

[/quote]

The F900 is still out there, although the book is basic, it does introduce you to HD cameras (the F900 in more detail than the others). However, although you could get going on a shoot with the information, it doesn't go into the depth you'd get attending some of the HD workshops. Unfortunately, any book on this subject tends to get out of date very quickly.

On the Varicam check out: http://jkor.com/pete...lesVaricam.html
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#6 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:11 PM

I think you should hire a DIT so that he does all the hard job manipulating menus etc. and so you can be free for lighting and framing, but hey, I'm cool here's a link to the english version manual and a few setup files I've uploaded for you on my web space, courtesy of camera-forum.fr, neat site you can got to if you understand french - I never tried the english version of the site, though it may work, don't know.

Mind that the varicam seems to have a quite soft image compared to sony 750 and 900 series, as well as desaturated colors. I never worked with a varicam, it's what I've "heard" here and there.

http://l.andrieux.free.fr/varicam/
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:19 PM

I might be writing or updating the old ASC Video Manual -- anything special you'd like to see covered regarding digital cinematography? Remember this is more of a manual than a textbook.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:25 PM

I was just looking for a book that was fresh, I will try out that one that David suggested.


By all means, read whatever you can get your hands on. The fact of the matter though is that HD and/or video shooting is all pretty much based on the same technology and principles. Things like black level, gamma, gain, knee functions, etc. work the same way in almost all cameras. But of course there does come a point where the particular model or manufacturer will organize controls a little differently, at which point you just have to get some hands-on time with the camera.

I think the best thing for you would be to get familiar with what the camera can do, probably through consultation with your rental house. Then, hire an AC or DIT who's familiar with the camera to assist with the finer technical points (programming looks and so) so that you can concentrate on DP'ing. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be directly involved in crafting those looks, but if you're a film guy without much HD/video experience you could definitely benefit from some technical assistance, at least at first.
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#9 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:32 PM

Exactly; Things you can ask your DIT are, for instance :

- The way things are displayed in the view finder

- If you are used to video cameras (Digibeta or whatever) have the menus you want in the user menu so that the functions you like to change by yourself (gain values for instance or whatever) are easily reached on the set ;

After your rental house has told you what kind of parameters you can change , ask your DIT to have these menus avaiable as well and him/her can then find the good values that give the look you are looking for, that you control and set with him/her, with the HD monitor and waveform monitor. If you are not used to reading a waveform monitor, he/she should help you handling this as well, either explaining or controlling this for you.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:34 PM

Mind that the varicam seems to have a quite soft image compared to sony 750 and 900 series, as well as desaturated colors. I never worked with a varicam, it's what I've "heard" here and there.


I don't know that I'd call the Varicam "desaturated," just more natural and not as cartoonishly oversaturated as Sony wants to go. Sony really pumps the warm colors; Panasonic is more even across the hues. But all this can be modified both in camera and in post, with both companies.

BTW I think that studentfilmmaker's link was a typo; I'm sure you meant "Varicam" not "Arricam." ;)
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#11 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:37 PM

BTW I think that studentfilmmaker's link was a typo; I'm sure you meant "Varicam" not "Arricam." ;)


Thanks, Michael, I surfed to fast on SF... Deleted that wrong link... ;)

And as to compare color saturation upon varicam vs sony HDCams, Well, you reckon Sony is more saturated... I said I didn't work with a varicam, but I have sony setups for matching to varicam, so if they are not wrong, it defenetly looks less saturated.

But, I tell you what, I think you're right mentionning sony are too saturated, but I really found the Varicam setup very low for what is about saturation. I'd like to work in the beetween... And you're right also saying that all this is in the "postproduction bandwith" !
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#12 Matt Graff

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 02:54 PM

I thank you all so much for your tips, I am very excited about this shoot and I will hire a DIT so I can stick to what I am good at and I will watch him handle the menus and see if I can pick it up.

Thank you again!
Matt Graff
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#13 Matt Graff

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 03:15 PM

Also this book (Goodman's Guide to the Varicam):
http://catalog2.pana...el=VARICAM-BOOK

It's probably too pricey to buy, but I've been able to borrow it from the rental house sometimes.



I am going to get this book as well just to read it and know what the camera is capeable of, and I was able to find it at ( http://www.abelcine....?...at=0&page=1 ) for a few bucks cheaper.

Matt Graff
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