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Just shot a TV pilot using F900


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#1 Nook Kim

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 03:51 PM

Hello Cinematography.com folks,

We've just finished shooting a 22 min. TV pilot, that we will be showing at festivals and pitching
to broadcasters in a hope to get picked up.

Anyway, it was my first time shooting with F900. I wanted to add the film gamma setting that I got
from the CVPfileeditor. However, the camera wouldn't read the memory stick that I had the data
on. I asked around, and people were telling me it probably had to do with the version of the camera.
I checked, in camera, how old the camera was, and it was manufactured in 2001, so five years old.
I've tried a couple different memory sticks as well, but that didn't help, either.
After trying all different things that I could think of, we've decided to shoot rather clean video and
fix everything in color correction. I really wanted to make a certain look in camera to begin with, but
the schedule didn't really allow us to do so.

We were shooting in 23.98Psf with 60 shutter speed to add a bit more film like look since the style of
the show was hand-held with fast pan, tilt, and zoom. Similar to the one appears on the TV show, The
Office.

I'm used to dealing with the menu settings in Panasonic cameras, like SDX-900 and Vari-Cam, which
I think are more straight forward, so easy to navigate. I found the menu setting of F900 a little bit
confusing although I found myself got used to it as the time went on.

Also, I've found the shoulder mount of the camera was really uncomfortable. I haven't really looked into
if there is any product to compensate that pain on my shoulder, but I thought Sony could do a better
job on making it better, like Panasonic cameras are.

Nevertheless, the image that we were seeing on set was really nice, and we all were satisfied with the
image. I must admit that some of the footage that we got looked really like film shot on 35mm.

I just can't wait to see what it's capable of when it comes down to color correction.



Nook Kim

Savannah, GA
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 04:14 PM

Also, I've found the shoulder mount of the camera was really uncomfortable. I haven't really looked into
if there is any product to compensate that pain on my shoulder, but I thought Sony could do a better
job on making it better, like Panasonic cameras are.

Nook Kim

Savannah, GA


Try a folded towel on your shoulder. It's more effective than any purpose-built pad I've seen.
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#3 Nook Kim

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:14 PM

Try a folded towel on your shoulder. It's more effective than any purpose-built pad I've seen.


Yes, Tim. That's what I had to do. Also, I had a waist belt to protect my back from 20 days of
shooting. However, it was still hurting my back after so much hours of consistant shooting.
I couldn't believe the specs that Sony has for the camera. It says the camera weighs only 17
pounds including the standard lens and a battery. It felt more like 40 plus. Also, when the camera
was on our jib (for the flash-backs and dream sequence, we shot with a jib-arm), it balanced about
57.5 pounds. Considering the tri-pod head that we had on the jib, I'm guessing the camera was
about 40 plus.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:55 PM

You could have manually inputted the menu settings if you couldn't download the memory stick.

If you think the F900 is heavy (it is) just be glad it wasn't the Panavised F900...

Can't wait to use the F900R instead.
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#5 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 08:06 PM

I share your pain. I used a Panavised F900 for Quinceanera and about 90% of that film was handheld by myself. I had a zoom, 901 back, and large block battery on the whole time...and a mattebox. I was dying after the shoot. All I used for a pad was some scrap duvetyne wrapped up and taped.
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#6 Nook Kim

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:51 PM

You could have manually inputted the menu settings if you couldn't download the memory stick.


That's exactly what I wanted to do and tried, but I couldn't find, in CvpFileEditor, the menu
settings for the film gamma setting that I had. Do you know, by chance, how to pull that
menu settings, David?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 09:33 PM

That's exactly what I wanted to do and tried, but I couldn't find, in CvpFileEditor, the menu
settings for the film gamma setting that I had. Do you know, by chance, how to pull that
menu settings, David?


Do you mean that you couldn't read the file or that the Gamma settings weren't listed?

I haven't had to read one of those memory sticks myself by I heard that the text could be displayed on a laptop.
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#8 Tim J Durham

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:31 AM

That's exactly what I wanted to do and tried, but I couldn't find, in CvpFileEditor, the menu
settings for the film gamma setting that I had. Do you know, by chance, how to pull that
menu settings, David?


Those adjustments can only be made in the engineering menus. You cannot set gammas and color matrix in the user menus unless you've mapped them there. You need to hold in the menu wheel while you power the camera up, then you will have access to ALL the menu settings. Be careful in there.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:44 AM

Those adjustments can only be made in the engineering menus. You cannot set gammas and color matrix in the user menus unless you've mapped them there. You need to hold in the menu wheel while you power the camera up, then you will have access to ALL the menu settings. Be careful in there.


GAMMA control isn't under the engineering menu, it's a basic feature of the PAINT menu. Under PAINT, you have:

Flare correction
Gamma
Black Gamma
Knee
White Clip
Detail
Level Depend function of Detail
Skin Detail
User Matrix
Multi Matrix
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#10 Nook Kim

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:03 PM

Do you mean that you couldn't read the file or that the Gamma settings weren't listed?

I haven't had to read one of those memory sticks myself by I heard that the text could be displayed on a laptop.


I was meaning that I couldn't see the text file that had the details of the specific gamma setting that
I had in the CvpFileEditor. Since I couldn't manage to load the data to the camera through a memory
stick, I wanted to get a hold of that text file so I could manually adjust the gamma setting in camera.

I still don't know how to get a hold of that text file, though.
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 08:25 PM

You could try looking on this site for some answers:
http://www.memorysti...n/ms/index.html

I know that there's a way of reading the text on a computer with a memory stick card reader, which I think is just in ASCII.
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#12 Nook Kim

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:37 PM

You could try looking on this site for some answers:
http://www.memorysti...n/ms/index.html

I know that there's a way of reading the text on a computer with a memory stick card reader, which I think is just in ASCII.


Thanks for your help, David. However, it doesn't seem that the web-site has the info that we need to figure out how to extract the text file out of the film gamma setting files. I will go ahead and start a new thread on that.
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#13 Tim J Durham

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:34 AM

GAMMA control isn't under the engineering menu, it's a basic feature of the PAINT menu. Under PAINT, you have:

Flare correction
Gamma
Black Gamma
Knee
White Clip
Detail
Level Depend function of Detail
Skin Detail
User Matrix
Multi Matrix


Oops. You're quite right. I had the wrong camera in mind. Not only that, even if I HAD been right, it wouldn't have answered the question. Sweet.
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#14 B. Schultz

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 02:46 PM

Nook,

I have found that the following process works the best when it comes to downloading and using custom gamma curves in the Sony F900/3

Use a blank memory stick, formatted in the camera and write the custom curve data to it from the CVP Editor program or use downloaded curves like from the Digital Praxis web site.

Put the stick in the camera and go to File/4 (F4) User Gamma. Read in the data from the memory card.
Now go to Paint/3 (P3) and scroll to "Table". You should be seeing the number 5 there which signifies your use of the ITU709 matrix. This is correct. However, you now need to highlight the 5 and push the rotary in and scroll to the next setting which will appear as "User". If you have only loaded one curve in, it will appear with it's name and the #1 to the left of it. If you have loaded in more, you need to scroll to this first line and push the rotary in again to scroll to any others. Once you have found your user curve, push the rotary in to recall it. You will now be able to see the curve working on the camera. To view it in even more detail, turn on the Test Saw (P3 - Test) and on your waveform you will see the shape of the gamma curve displayed. You can then easily switch back and forth between ITU709 and your custom curve to see the waveform display change & compare the two.

I put the custom curves I use in Scene File (P13) settings so I can easily switch to them when needed. This allows me to avoid ever having to use the DCC-On circuit. My presets are; Standard (no knee), #1 as Standard with knee on, #2 as Jeff Cree custom gamma curve, #3 as Digital Praxis Log709 custom gamma curve, #4 as #1 with slight warming in red matrix for the ladies. Your mileage will vary.

I know it's confusing, it's the last step on P3 that took me ages to discover.
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:08 PM

"-F900 -- 30 lbs (with the 6 - 27 zoom, lw matte box, low mode plate, 2 pro plates, 2 preston motors, sony quick release, miranda converter, hytron) the viewfinder was removed if I remember correctly
-901 back -- 3.5 lbs"

This was part of a post by Ron Baldwin on the Steadicam Forum. These numbers sound about right to me. If you remove some of his gack (Preston motors, plates...) and add some of the handheld gack (eyepiece, handles....), it balances out. Add a Pro35 and primes and you're getting up into the 40 pound range.
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#16 Tom Bays

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:16 PM

Can your read memory card info- test out?
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 08:06 PM

I thought ITU-709 was a color space set-up, not a gamma set-up. Normally you pick Gamma Table 5 preset in the Sony menu, but the ITU-709 color matrix preset is another item you can also select separately.
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#18 Nook Kim

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 06:11 PM

Thanks Schultz,

I will have to try that when I get back from my vacation. As I mentioned before, I find the camera's
menu quite confusing and difficult to navigate.

I had never thought of formatting the memory stick "in camera," which makes sense to me. Thanks
and I will update here later on.

Nook Kim

Can your read memory card info- test out?


I apologize for my ignorance, but what do you mean by "info- test out?"

Nook
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#19 Tom Bays

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 03:11 PM

Nook Kim
I apologize for my ignorance, but what do you mean by "info- test out?"


Test out is a video output on the camera. You can set it up to show what you want on a monitor. F-stop, Zebras and so on. I would think you can do that on this camera, though it really doesn't help with the problem I suppose.

It can be used to log time code.

I use it as a viewfinder output for a monitor that attches to the top of my camera.

The regular Monitor out doesn't let you see all the extra info.

Edited by Tom Bays, 21 August 2006 - 03:12 PM.

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#20 Nook Kim

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 04:43 PM

Test out is a video output on the camera. You can set it up to show what you want on a monitor. F-stop, Zebras and so on. I would think you can do that on this camera, though it really doesn't help with the problem I suppose.

It can be used to log time code.

I use it as a viewfinder output for a monitor that attches to the top of my camera.

The regular Monitor out doesn't let you see all the extra info.


That's a "good-to-know" thing. Thanks Tom.

Nook
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