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alternative to varicam/cinealta for short film?


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#1 Thatcher Kelley

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 04:40 PM

I couldn't find a specific forum thread on this topic, so I figured I would start my own.

I am shooting a short film in a few weeks. I plan to shoot on HD, but I don't like my options of varicam/cinealta...or the prosumer HD cameras. I am looking for a camera with better depth of field than these cameras. As far as my experience goes, the P+S teknic adapter looses a lot of light and adds grain. So I would like to avoid that.

There is a lot of talk about these cameras that are coming out in the future like the Red camera and silicon imaging, and others. But they won't be out for some time. I know that the Genesis has been shot on, and I hear that the Arri D20 has as well. But I don't know how avaliable either of these cameras are, and they may be beyond my price range.

I am looking to rent a full package for $3000/day at the most. Does anyone know of any options for this? Is the Genesis or D20 easy to get a hold of, and are they in the price range that I just mentioned?

Any help would be appreciated.

Also if anyone has had good experience with the P+S teknic adapter on the cinealta, please let me know. I have only used the one for the DVX100.

Thanks!

-Thatcher
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 06:03 PM

A 2/3" CCD camera has about 2 1/2 stops more equivalent depth of field than a 35mm camera, so if you shoot on T/1.6 HD lenses on a 2/3" CCD camera, you will be getting the depth of field equivalent of shooting 35mm at around a T/4, which is not bad, not too deep-focus.

If you want the effect of shooting 35mm at stops at or below a T/2.8, you need to be looking at the P&S Technik Pro-35 adaptor (not the Mini-35 adaptor used on DV cameras.)

Or a HD camera with a 35mm-sized sensor (Genesis, D20, Dalsa for now.)

Or shoot in 35mm.

The Panavision Genesis is about $3000/day but that doesn't include all the lenses and accessories. Probably the Arri D20 is in the same category, maybe less -- except that you also have to factor in that it doesn't have a built-on recorder like the Genesis does and you'll also be renting something like an HDCAM-SR deck.

Unless you're experienced with all of this new stuff and have deep pockets, I'd stick to a regular HD camera and use the fast HD lenses shot wide-open; barring that, use the Pro-35 adaptor and 35mm cine lenses.

Is 35mm out of the realm of possibility on your budget?

Remember that 35mm-style depth of field in the T/2.8 or below range means an experienced focus-puller.
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#3 Thatcher Kelley

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:45 PM

I have at most $3,000 for the camera budget, that means camera, stock, processing and telecine, and editing. I might have a budget for super 16. I don't have any practical experience lighting for film. I know my way around a light meter, but have no actual experience shooting with one.
do you know if 16mm can be telecined to an HD format? because My end product will probably be digital and the telecine might be my end product (for budget reasons)

So I am thinking HD might be a better option considering my budget.

how many stops do I lose if I shoot through the P+S Teknic pro35 on a cinealta, and since I would be using it with HD, how is the grain factor of the groundglass?
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#4 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:26 PM

I have at most $3,000 for the camera budget, that means camera, stock, processing and telecine, and editing. I might have a budget for super 16. I don't have any practical experience lighting for film. I know my way around a light meter, but have no actual experience shooting with one.
do you know if 16mm can be telecined to an HD format? because My end product will probably be digital and the telecine might be my end product (for budget reasons)

So I am thinking HD might be a better option considering my budget.


1) Since you say that your $3000/day actually covers editing, as well as camera, and tape / film stock / telecine etc. I'd imagine that in real dollars you only have a few hundred dollars a day to spend on a camera. That being the case I recommend using the HVX200 using the redrock adopter and nikon SLR primes. I just viewed the digibeta down conversion of two music videos a friend shot this way and the results were very credable. Specifically, the depth of field was very nice, and it delt with highlights in a manner that was pleasing.

you could also shoot on the SDX900 with a pro 35mm adopter for a standard def look that is also very respectable, or even prosumer 24p.

2) Of course 16mm can be telecined to HD. standard 16mm will need to be pillar boxed or cropped. Super 16 works better. Super 16 to HD is done all the time, specifically for TV.

3) No offense but if you have no experience lighting for film (or HD) step away from the camera and get yourself a DP who does, this goes for shooting film or HD. Being able to control your lighting is important and experience is essential. Each format has its own set of advantages and problems that it takes a lot of time, work, experimentation to lear to deal with.
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#5 Thatcher Kelley

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:13 PM

I said that I don't have experience DPing film. I have a good deal of experience lighting for SD, HD, 24p. That is why I am inclined to stick with HD rather than experiment with film. I have shot on the Varicam as well as the HVX200 and as conveinent as the DVCPRO-HD format is, I really don't like the video noise that it can produce in some situations. I also don't like the fact that color correction can make the image so ugly.

I also don't want to throw a 35 adapter onto the HVX because it is already not super light sensative and the F-Stops that you loose makes lighting very very difficult. the nikon lenses are also difficult to use. I used them on a dvx once and they are very difficult to pull focus because of the adjustment ratio.

I like shooting on the cinealta, but I do really want good depth of field. I might take Mr. Mullen's suggestion on using high speed cinelenses. I do worry about using the pro35 on the cinealta because of the F-stop loss, which I still don't know what it is. Also I don't want the image to be too soft, which the mini35 seems to do.

Can anyone educate me, or just post a link that talks about the pro35's effectiveness on the cinealta.

I do have free access to a high speed raid drive, and a G5 w/ final cut and avid composer, as well as a blackmagic HD card. So my budget of $3,000 only goes to camera, tape/film stock, and getting it to the computer. I have a good deal on digitizing HDCAM tapes too.

Dave, does the $3,000/day genesis package come with the recording device? Is it hard drives or HDCAM SR deck?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:26 PM

I think there is a one-stop loss with the Pro-35 adaptor.

The Genesis has a built-in HDCAM-SR recorder. You have to factor insurance into the equation if you are going to rent it, not to mention that you should hire a real DP, unless you're experienced with 10-bit "Panalog" 4:4:4 1080P recording, monitor LUT's, etc.
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