Jump to content


Photo

HD theatrical features on the upsurge


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19765 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 29 March 2007 - 11:19 PM

I've heard that "Grindhouse" was shot with the Panavision Genesis, as was "Reign Over Me" and "The Lookout", so I guess all three features will end up in release around the same time, along with the Viper-shot "Zodiac" if it's still in theaters. That's a pretty big increase in digitally-shot features in theaters at one time, although to some exent, that's the luck of the draw in terms of when movies get released.

But it suggests after some stability where only a small percentage of movies were being shot digitally and getting released, the percentage has risen a little, partly because I think more and more studio-type midrange projects feel comfortable using the Genesis camera.

It's also a sign of change that fewer reviewers are noticing that these movies are being shot digitally. This reinforces my belief that by the time the technology has improved to the point where a large percentage of people will feel comfortable shooting digitally, few people are going to notice the switchover.

However, now that I've been able to work on some D.I.s involving scanned 35mm, the quality is so high, the look is so good, that it's actually harder to understand the motivation to shoot digitally if one can afford to do either. I know that the Genesis allowed some really low-light photography in Manhatten at night, but it's a little on the noisy side so I'm not sure that a similar look couldn't have been achieved with faster Master Prime lenses and pushed 500T stock. I'm looking forward to seeing "The Lookout" to see if they found any unique advantages to using the Genesis.

I did sneak into a theater to see some of "Reign Over Me" and then sneak into the next theater to see some of "Zodiak" again, both 35mm scope prints, and I'd say that the Genesis "look" is a little closer to a conventional 35mm film look than the Viper's, mainly due to the depth of field difference. Of course, "Zodiak" is a period movie with a manipulated look to the colors. Sharpness-wise, the two movies looked similar. Noise-wise, "Zodiak" was a little less noisy ("Reign Over Me" was more inconsistent, most scenes were really noise-free but some night stuff was noisy and a couple of shots were more video-ish than anything in "Zodiak".)

But it's hard not to agree with Harris Savide's conclusion after shooting "Zodiak" that there wasn't any particular shooting advantages or picture improvements to using digital and most of the advantages were for the post people. Although I think "Zodiak" may be the best-photographed digital movie to date.

I suspect as digital's quality keeps improving, it's going to be a toss-up as to whether they use the high-end digital or 35mm film and more confusion in the marketplace as to what was shot digitally and what was shot on film. It's not like the intro of Cinerama or 65mm where a viewer saw this obvious leap in picture quality; it's more like the intro of Eastmancolor where it took some years for the quality to be comparable to 3-strip but at more convenient speed levels and with better latitude. We're going to see a lot more variable picture quality over the next decade until the technology starts to mature and stabilize again.
  • 0

#2 Justin Hayward

Justin Hayward
  • Sustaining Members
  • 928 posts
  • Director
  • Chicago, IL.

Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:27 AM

But it's hard not to agree with Harris Savide's conclusion after shooting "Zodiak" that there wasn't any particular shooting advantages or picture improvements to using digital and most of the advantages were for the post people. Although I think "Zodiak" may be the best-photographed digital movie to date.


This is what Claudio Miranda said in that article posted here about the viper's workflow...

"David loves the workflow of the Viper. He likes seeing what he gets. He asked me once, ?Don?t you sleep better knowing it?s all good, all in the can, with no scratches??
http://www.studiodai...nique/7847.html

I understand his point, but in the four years I've been shooting commercials, one feature, and a bunch of shorts(which may not be enough shooting for me to be an efficient judge), I can only remember one lab and maybe a couple AC mistakes that were unfixable without digitally removing the dust and dirt.
  • 0

#3 Sam Wells

Sam Wells
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1751 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:44 AM

"Workflow" is becoming the tail that wags the dog.....

-Sam
  • 0

#4 Lance Flores

Lance Flores
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 124 posts
  • Producer
  • San Antonio/Dallas/Detroit

Posted 08 April 2007 - 06:54 PM

"Workflow" is becoming the tail that wags the dog.....

-Sam


Doesn't wag the dog . . . just an important consideration in the production process.
  • 0

#5 Andy_Alderslade

Andy_Alderslade
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1055 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London, UK

Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:03 AM

I suspect as digital's quality keeps improving, it's going to be a toss-up as to whether they use the high-end digital or 35mm film and more confusion in the marketplace as to what was shot digitally and what was shot on film.



When seeing Narrative films on the big screen digitally I tend to often forget what they are shot on for much of the movie, however I tend to find about halfway through the movie - there will be what i call that 'ugly moment of videoilzation' where the tell-tell signs of video's weaknesses rear their ugly heads.

In 'Me, You and Everyone We Know' it was when outside, with lots of burnt out car reflections, in 'the Buisness' despite being shot in harsh spanish daylight, it was in a badly lit scene in an airport.

However I think most people don't know what its shot on, but they may complain that overal things may seem a bit softer and the colours are a bit mushier - lots of friends (non film friends) complained the look of the last two Star Wars films were considerably inferior to the originals.

So currently that would be my ownly compaint about HD shot features - that a featrue shot on 35mm film like 'The Empire Strikes Back' is extra-ordinary cinematography, were HD is always trying to be a decent film copy.
Its not yet able to create the same striking images 35mm has produced. The last two Alfonso Curan films (Potter with Michael Seresin and Children with Luzbeski) were so naturalistic photography-wise though in very different ways, and they felt very much 'extra-ordinary.' Could digital technology capture such images, which are so harsh, rough and naturlistic without losing a perception of quality? - I personaly don't think so.

So yes HD is good now, but perhaps only in situations were the photorgaphy is required to be more pedestrian - as in it doesn't have to push bourdaries, or work under severe conditions.

Of course this only applies for HD for theatrical release - HD on the little screen is a whole other issue.

Just my opinion,
Andy
  • 0

#6 Evangelos Achillopoulos

Evangelos Achillopoulos
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Digital Image Technician

Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:22 AM

I totally agree with David. The period that we live is a turning point to the cinematography and thinks will happen as David is describing.

It?s nice to see history and see who it fits to now days?
  • 0

#7 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:04 AM

I've heard that "Grindhouse" was shot with the Panavision Genesis...


Only Rodriguez' portion. "Death Proof" and the trailers (I believe) were shot on film.

However, now that I've been able to work on some D.I.s involving scanned 35mm, the quality is so high, the look is so good, that it's actually harder to understand the motivation to shoot digitally if one can afford to do either.


Agreed, although in certain cases, there are some extenuating circumstances that favor one or the other. For instance, in the case of Robert Rodriguez, you're talking about a director who likes doing his own cinematography. However, he's not a highly experienced cinematographer, so the immediacy of video feedback is what allows him to have some confidence that what he's exposing is what is actually wants. In fact, he's said in numerous interviews that he believes that with film, it's something of a guessing game. Well, for him, it probably is, even if it isn't for an experienced film shooter. Whatever other reasons there might be for him to shoot digitally, at least as far as I can see, pale by comparison to that one. And then there's the motivation of visual effects needs. In the case of green or blue screen work - and I say this with my visual effects supervisor's hat on - a digitally shot element is far better for matte extractions than film in almost every way, provided it's of a sufficiently high resolution and free of any compression/chroma subsampling artifacts (i.e., it's not HDCam, or any 4:2:2 subsampled recording system). This is the case primarily because the digital element has no grain, which is one of the primary inhibiting factors to clean matte work when working with film. As evidence of this, I offer "Sin City" - in which every hair on everyone's head was retained without noise in almost every matte, even when that hair was blonde and windblown - and "Star Wars Ep. 3," which for all of its weaknesses as a movie, had compositing work that was generally as close to flawless as anything we've seen. Both of these pictures were shot with Sony F950's (4:4:4 camera), and recorded on HDCam SR, thus fulfilling my "requirements."

But it's hard not to agree with Harris Savide's conclusion after shooting "Zodiak" that there wasn't any particular shooting advantages or picture improvements to using digital and most of the advantages were for the post people.



I was just happy to hear someone finally say it.
  • 0

#8 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 09 April 2007 - 04:24 PM

digital or photochemical shooting, handdrawn or computerbased animation - none is a reason or excuse for a good or bad movie, sucess or flop.

there is plenty of excellent and bad photography, digital and photochemical.
there are plenty of A, B and C-Budget, digital and photochemical.
there are blockbusters and flops, digital and photochemical.

its about talent, marketing, story, production luck, acting etc.
which type of camera, stock or technical aspects are meanwhile not the main factors anymore, compared to those important aspects which define a good movie, when you use upperclass gear.

i will always prefer an ace on digital vs. a mildy-talented shooter who insists to shoot 35mm, and vice versa. its the musician, not the instrument, which makes the music.

The level of quality we have today even with setups for ~100.000$, be it film or digital, is pretty amazing, DI and colorcorrection have reached levels which sounded like dreams 15 years ago.

what i really learned to appreciate, however, over the recent 5 years are 2 fundamental changes: the advantages of shooting digital from the point of view of the producer & that the possibilities in CC and DI meanwhile have become extremly powerful - moviemaking as it is today, has become much more a painterly art than a photographic art.
  • 0

#9 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:09 PM

what i really learned to appreciate, however, over the recent 5 years are 2 fundamental changes: the advantages of shooting digital from the point of view of the producer...


What would those be, other than financial?
  • 0

#10 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:30 PM

What would those be, other than financial?


the list is to long to name all the points. i will list some few examples.

-higher security of production
--you can run to several VTR/DDR instead to one negative. that reduces risk considerably, allows real backups

-higher control over what is shot on set
-- due to the "what you see is what you get", once cruicial problems (are you certain we got the shot?, problems with stock, people moving light w/o commuication etc) show up at once instead after dailies.

-longer runtime, especially for any kind of special photography
-- 40-50 min on tape, virtually infinite when cabled or DDR are highly welcome for any kind of production, but especially important for underwater/aerial/any kind of intervalometer etc.

-really silent cameras
-- many shots can be done closer, soundsynced, unblimped etc

-synced digital audio on same medium

-live
-- especially for events (superstar concerts, really expensive danceshows etc) where one needed a) multiple cameras and b) had tons of reload issues digital is a blessing. also no longer the decision do we aim @theatrical release or @live broadcast, now one can have both with the same cameras.

-new workflow if needed or wanted, which can be much faster or focus artistic work w/o travel or splitting up tasks etc
--good examples are shows who use CC on set (battlestar galactica comes to mind, the dop does CC while shooting)
--online preedit is running while shooting, same day.
--producing witj several units in different locations allows faster collaboration due to no longer needed scans & the possibility to electronical transfer on&offlines even with crews in remote locations

-ultra compact. ultra lightweight HD-cameras with remote heads.
-- shots at more extreme perspectives & angles, longer cranes, speedier motioncontrols, less requirements to integrate hiding points in the set etc.

-less steps to administrate in post
-- alone getting rid of the whole overhead for handling dailies is a blessing, everyone who already had a runner from the lab involved in a carcrash with the original neg in the car knows how much stressreduction we are talking here.

-massive amount of stocks can be transported
-- i am personally still amazed by the fact that it is now possible to have 20 hours++ in one suitcase which the AC takes onto the plane as cabin luggage.

better measurement of final result on set
-- blue/greenscreen lightning is not what it was in 90ties anymore, luckily so much easier for lightning & camera with a decent vector/wave directly monitoring the clean master.

the list could go on like that for many sides, regarding almost any department.

btw - from a financial perspective, digital can be cheaper, but often it isnt, film is often cheaper, especially for shortform.

i don´t know the prices for genesis/hdcam/d20 in LA, but here in germany the packages are typically quite a bit more expensive than an actual photochemical arri-package. also dont forget training cost for the staff.
  • 0

#11 Michael Most

Michael Most
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 765 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 April 2007 - 09:26 PM

the list is to long to name all the points. i will list some few examples.


You make some good points.

I can't help but notice, however, that practically every one is about convenience. None are about image quality or image capture latitude, nor are they about the quality of the final product. But then again, you did say this was from a producer's point of view, and from that perspective, as I said, you make some good points.
  • 0

#12 Dan Goulder

Dan Goulder
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1259 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 09 April 2007 - 10:12 PM

Ironically, as HDV begins to migrate to the consumer market, more and more people will be associating even high-end electronic capture with...home video. Film festivals and indie distributors are now being so bombarded with digitally-produced content that projects shot on film are gaining renewed "cache".
  • 0

#13 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 09 April 2007 - 10:42 PM

You make some good points.

thanks, some of them i had to learn pretty painfully and/or expensive :)

I can't help but notice, however, that practically every one is about convenience. None are about image quality or image capture latitude, nor are they about the quality of the final product.

i have the position that the audience has to decide, and as much as i hate it to admit, the audience is hard to predict and will most often prefer spectactular images over images of higher quality.

with few exceptions, i personally really dislike the use of low-fi cameras (8mm, DV24/25p) or low-fi stock, but i do realize that, especially here in germany, you can have position 1 on the charts with DV-out-to-film. i think this is a bad sideeffect, and i strongly dislike this "everything goes".

but when it comes to higher-end digital, HDCAM and above, and higher-end film, i have the position
- best camera depends very much on the visual style the film is aiming for
- it doesn´t matter that much if you use sony HDCAM (sr) camcorder, viper, genesis or good 35mm as, sadly, in most situations, the cinema -itself- and the release prints have become the weakest points of quality meanwhile, with any of the listed cameras. its a little bit like with the audio - i have overheared discussion if neumann $3000 or horch $5000 microphones would be better "sounding", at the end of the day it will be listened by 90% of the audience through dolbyd, mp3 or below...
- image -impact- and image -quality- are valued different by people who make movies and by people who only watch movies, we see so much more in -any- movie as the usual audience does, and even for us its already tough to differentiate
- having a -really- good colorist and a -really- good lightning and a -really- good dop and outstanding hair&makeup, is more important than to have the fanciest ueber-camera, be it digital or photochemical. heck, even the lenses are more important meanwhile as most high-end cameras easily show their flawns..

i have experienced the following situation twice: colorist and anti-digital dop bet that he would easily find film and find digital.
the colorist had the 35mm 2k scans degrained and added the scanned grain onto the digital 1080p source, additionally he used shots with quite closed iris from the 35mm scans and fully opened iris ~200mm close-up shots for the the digital shots... both dops guessed wrong (i would also have been fooled by the grain, if i wouldn´t have know the trick). so the discussion is mainly academic meanwhile.

still, there are several shooting situations, where i would use film when i just can book one camera- flexible overcranking is one of the top reasons.

however, i have to admit that film, which was ~90% of all topbudget shots for us here from late 80ies to 2001, meanwhile is at ~25-30%, and i suppose, that if RED fullfills (we have 2 on order), the amount of digital shots will become absolutly dominant in our production/co-production/rental business.


But then again, you did say this was from a producer's point of view, and from that perspective, as I said, you make some good points.

i think the main reasons to use digital instead of film are ergonomics, flexibility and production - not image quality.

image quality with digital aquisition is easily good enough for blockbustermovies as well for your niche-arthouse-film, who says different denies reality.

BUT none of the actual digital high-end cameras is really better (and i have seen almost any digital camera besides the phantom 65 on 2k or 4k first-generation or 35mm out) than 35mm in terms of image quality, maybe at par, but not better. the digital cams have advantages, but so do the 35mm, and to be really clear, the differences are meanwhile basicly not worth all the discussions which do go on.

the important point is, we have excellent tools, be it digital or photochemical, and there is no reason to complain, and we can make outstanding movies with both technologies.

what is sad to see is that there are many uneducated people on both sides of the fence.
young indies buying a fully geared HVX200 @~12.000$ for their shortform instead of spending that budget for used 35mm with great glass or renting the oldschool 35mm package for even less money and then reducing lightning and crew to skeleton are as naive, as experienced DOPs who complain about details like shadowcontrast levels or saturation of skintones of fully digital produced movies which spendt -months- in top-end colorcorrection and had any luminance&color handtuned to the wishes of dop/director.
  • 0

#14 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 10 April 2007 - 12:35 AM

Ironically, as HDV begins to migrate to the consumer market, more and more people will be associating even high-end electronic capture with...home video. Film festivals and indie distributors are now being so bombarded with digitally-produced content that projects shot on film are gaining renewed "cache".


hmmm... i suppose your are speculating or do you have any figures to back that up?

because my experience over the years tells me different, as audience, festivals, distributors and broadcasters are getting more and more used to digital production.

some examples.
broadcasters
bbc (and other european broadcasters) banned 16mm film for their HD-distribution..
(i am strongly against this btw, i would like to ask anyone to consider joining petitions like
http://www.dff-dk.dk...e52.aspx?NID=65
)

festivals
i didn´t have any problems anymore sending HDCAM & SR masters to berlinale and the other usual suspects in the festival world, who required filmout even 2 years ago, they now all seem to have some decent 2k christie and at least a j-h3 in their pipelines. in fact, i don´t now any mayor european festival who requires filmout, but i knew dozens 4 years ago.

distributors
while we had lots of discussion when selling 1080->film in the early years (2001-3), this berlinale not a single distributor or producer i was doing biz with at the filmmarket questioned the decision to produce digital, which might be influenced additionally by the fact, that in 2006 several #1 hits in the german cinemamarket were intentionally produced digital (some btw really subpar). additionally, several thousands of cinemascreens have been converted to digital in 2006, i think carmike being the most prominent in the usa.

general & audience
in professional still photography (where the transition started earlier and moves faster) i saw the opposite - many agencies who -strictly- required film 5 years ago now require digital only.

and i don´t have the impression that the "general public" still values film as better, at least only very few consumers still buy filmbasing still or moving-cameras while the market for digital cams is skyrocketing.
  • 0

#15 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 10 April 2007 - 01:02 AM

[quote name='jan von krogh' date='Apr 9 2007, 05:30 PM' post='165986']
-higher security of production
--you can run to several VTR/DDR instead to one negative. that reduces risk considerably, allows real backups
[/quote]
How often do you hear about film needing a backup?

[quote name='jan von krogh' date='Apr 9 2007, 05:30 PM' post='165986']
-really silent cameras
-- many shots can be done closer, soundsynced, unblimped etc
[/quote]
I'm SURE you're not talking about the f900. It sounds like a freight train with those fans on. Much louder than a film camera, as are a few professional HD cameras.

[quote name='jan von krogh' date='Apr 9 2007, 05:30 PM' post='165986']
-ultra compact. ultra lightweight HD-cameras with remote heads.
[/quote]
I thought you were talking about professional cameras? All of the professional HD cameras I know of are heavier on average than 35mm cameras.

[quote name='jan von krogh' date='Apr 9 2007, 05:30 PM' post='165986']
-- shots at more extreme perspectives & angles, longer cranes, speedier motioncontrols, less requirements to integrate hiding points in the set etc.
[/quote]
Huh? I think you must be confused. I sure am. Hiding what? Why would a cameras format dictate how long a crane can be?
[/quote]

Many of the other things you mentioned I can't argue with.
  • 0

#16 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 10 April 2007 - 03:42 PM

How often do you hear about film needing a backup?

always when it is too late.

I'm SURE you're not talking about the f900. It sounds like a freight train with those fans on. Much louder than a film camera, as are a few professional HD cameras.

i suppose you are talking about the ancient f900 models, I/II/II, which are no longer manufactured, not the actual 900R, correct?
as you are certainly aware, there are many noiseless and silent hdcameras, including the actual sony 900R and 750.

the discountinued 99-05 f900 series indeed had a fan which genetrated approx ~22db iirc when the camera was heated up (it wasn´t running when the camera wasn´t heated), so can we please leave the polemic out of this thread as freight trains seem to be a slight little bit louder.

I thought you were talking about professional cameras? All of the professional HD cameras I know of are heavier on average than 35mm cameras.

it seems there are several hdcameras you dont know.. let us just name 2 examples of igekami, one interlaced, one progressive, one seperated, one boxtype.

lets start with the ultracompact hdl20, which, btw is completly noiseless and was introduced iirc 4 or 5 years ago.

weight of the camerahead is 250 grams.
1.6 x 2.1 x 2.8 inch dimensions
http://ikegami.com/i...2/hdl20_s1s.jpg
http://ikegami.com/b...era_frame1.html

a typical example of the design approach with seperated ch and ccu.

the other style of ultracompacts, box-cams, would be represented by the hdl40 in the case of ikegami.
http://ikegami.com/b...era_frame1.html. (1800g) or in case of sony, quite more popular but lesser imagequality, it would be the
http://bssc.sel.sony...n...19&id=80176 (1300g)

there are many others competeting cameras, and their main use is documentary, sports, special photography or when one has to hide the cameras.

Huh? I think you must be confused. I sure am. Hiding what?

hiding cameras as well as microphones can be cruicial.
not only for investigative documentaries, but often also if you want to hide from the audience in the set or given location.

Why would a cameras format dictate how long a crane can be?

weight is often the limiting factor of the maximun extension you can use a crane, especially on lightcranes, especially with leight heads - and there are plenty of scenarios where you don´t have the time or space to use teknocrane or similar stronger built stuff.

Many of the other things you mentioned I can't argue with.

thank you, and please lets not derail this thread in one of the really pointless digital vs. photochemical discussions, i have stated precisely that i am no one from the digital aquisition is better than all camp, mentioning several scenarios in which i would prefer film, as well for creative or budget-basing reasons - but after 5 years of also producing digital i suppose i know which advantages and disadvantages both system inherently have.
  • 0

#17 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 10 April 2007 - 04:33 PM

You've mentioned a lot of cameras that I've never heard of. Not that I know everything, but I do work in the industry on many types of productions. I've used HD extensively, and I talk about it with other people in the business a lot. I could be wrong, but it seems that I would have heard of them if anyone was using them on a regular basis (at least in Los Angeles, and on the types of jobs I do). I haven't done live TV in a long time, so maybe this is the disconnect. Actually, after looking at the pictures you attached it seems that that is exactly the disconnect. But when it comes to HD: network television, commercials, and features, the cameras that are used most often (in my experience) are the F900/3 and the Varicam (mainly the F900). Coming up fast is the Genesis. I've only heard about the 900R being used a little and I've never used it myself. Maybe that will be changing soon.
So it seems the kinds of projects we're talking about are completely different, which is why I disagree with those points you made. Nothing is universally right for every project of course.
I had no intention of comparing film to digital. But in my opinion there are still many things about HD cameras that need to improve. With the cameras I use on a regular basis, weight is a big concern. It's mainly a big concern because I do steadicam, and the HD cameras I regularly use are getting heavier, not lighter. The Genesis has been coined the "Genocide" by many steadicam operators because of the weight and power consumption issues. And the F900/3 is a beast when you add the fiber box on the back, a cine zoom, and a Preston. It's as heavy as a BL! But the next option down is something like a hvx-200, which is too light and doesn't have a way to wirelessly pull focus, iris, and zoom, which is a whole different issue.
OK, I'm off on a bit of a tangent, but hopefully these cameras will continue to improve, not just with image quality, but with size and weight as well.
  • 0

#18 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 10 April 2007 - 05:29 PM

But when it comes to HD: network television, commercials, and features, the cameras that are used most often (in my experience) are the F900/3 and the Varicam (mainly the F900). Coming up fast is the Genesis. I've only heard about the 900R being used a little and I've never used it myself. Maybe that will be changing soon.

i suppose so, here in germany the boom started much later, so it seems we luckily see much more of the "newer" gear, sometimes starting later can be of advantage.

I had no intention of comparing film to digital. But in my opinion there are still many things about HD cameras that need to improve.

i fully agree. there are some HDcameras which have a sweet spot and are fine to use on many projects, but all have typical shortcomings. varicam is nice for 60p, but offers bad resolution for 35mm filmout. sony 750/900 dont go beyond 30p, but have the resolution. the genesis has a 35mm sensor, but is imho to bulky to be used as one/two person camcorder or for handheldstyle. viper in raw doesn´t have the ideal monitoring, D20 lacks a appropriate recorind for its resolution and has "only" an optical viewfinder, which sometimes is better, sometimes is worse etc....etc...lets hope red delivers.

With the cameras I use on a regular basis, weight is a big concern. It's mainly a big concern because I do steadicam, and the HD cameras I regularly use are getting heavier, not lighter.

i really recommend that you look at the 900R - its ~ half the weight of the 900, uses ~30% less power and has lots of the things built in, for which you would need additional gear on a 900/II, like downconverter, hd-sdi etc. same is valid for the 750, which many people use in europe for cinematic productions.

The Genesis has been coined the "Genocide" by many steadicam operators because of the weight and power consumption issues.

lol!
the nickname has officially arrived in berlin now :)

And the F900/3 is a beast when you add the fiber box on the back, a cine zoom, and a Preston. It's as heavy as a BL! But the next option down is something like a hvx-200, which is too light and doesn't have a way to wirelessly pull focus, iris, and zoom, which is a whole different issue.

i can feel your pain ... really, check out the 900r asap if you are doing steady. its nicely in the middle between 200 and 900/3 when it comes to weight and much less bulky than its precessor.
all steadycams operators i talked to within the last 3 years have switched away from 900/3 to 900R and/or 750. 750 sadly isnt an option in the usa, as it does 25/50 or 29/60. here in germany we do many cinematic shootings @25, but i suppose that this rarely or never the case in the usa.

Edited by jan von krogh, 10 April 2007 - 05:32 PM.

  • 0

#19 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2660 posts
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Los Angeles

Posted 11 April 2007 - 05:48 PM

i really recommend that you look at the 900R - its ~ half the weight of the 900, uses ~30% less power and has lots of the things built in, for which you would need additional gear on a 900/II, like downconverter, hd-sdi etc. same is valid for the 750, which many people use in europe for cinematic productions.

i can feel your pain ... really, check out the 900r asap if you are doing steady. its nicely in the middle between 200 and 900/3 when it comes to weight and much less bulky than its precessor.
all steadycams operators i talked to within the last 3 years have switched away from 900/3 to 900R and/or 750. 750 sadly isnt an option in the usa, as it does 25/50 or 29/60. here in germany we do many cinematic shootings @25, but i suppose that this rarely or never the case in the usa.

Ah, if only I could choose! I'm told what camera I'll be using, I'm not generally asked. But I may attempt to suggest the 900R if the opportunity arises.
I think the reason so many people are still using the 900/III as opposed to the 900R is because the rental houses have tons of them, and I'm sure they're much cheaper to rent than the newer cameras such as the 900R. Also, I think once a show starts on a certain camera they tend to continue to use the same camera throughout the run of the show. Change has the tendency to scare some producers I think, and they prefer to stick with what they know.
I'll certainly look out for the 900R. It sounds like they've made some good changes.
  • 0


Abel Cine

CineLab

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

CineLab

The Slider

Glidecam

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Paralinx LLC