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Shooting food with VARICAM


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#1 GARY LEO MILLER

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 10:00 PM

Shooting some "southwestern" style soup and salads soon. Does anyone have experience shooting food with the varicam? if so what are the best settings for rendering food colors?

advice is much appreciated!
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#2 GARY LEO MILLER

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 10:53 PM

anyone with experience shooting food in HD?
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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 11:32 PM

anyone with experience shooting food in HD?


I think you'll need to ask a more specific question. It seems to me that your question requires an entire course in using the Varicam. Perhaps you can find a qualified person to set up the camera for you...

If you have a more specific quesiton I'd be happy to try and contribute an answer. Maybe you could start by saying what you do know about using the Varicam?

-bruce
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#4 John Ealer

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 10:18 AM

Don't think there's a magic bullet with the Varicam (or any other camera) for food - you just need to adjust camera settings to your taste.

Goodman's Guide to the Varicam is a good place to start with a good core group of settings. Of course, you might also want to consider having things like a color enhancing filter handy, should the need arise.

J
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#5 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 10:55 AM

Gary,

You need to use your real name on this forum, punk!

You also need to be more specific in the questions you ask. :-)
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#6 GARY LEO MILLER

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 10:46 PM

I would like to take pictures of fried chicken and yogurt with the VARICAM. Does anyone know of a good recipe with all of the many settings for a low contrast, minimal noise, low fat image. Not too heavy on the saturation..... Yes Chad, I am serious...
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#7 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:24 AM

At the risk of sounding dismissive about the question (which is not my intent), it's the setting that looks best to you and your client. I have shot food and sometimes it's plate the food, light it, shoot it and move on. Still other times, it's plate it, light it, change the food, tweak the camera, tweak the camera some more, change the lighting, change the food again, and repeat for two days until everyone is happy. A lot of what will make the food look good is in the hands of the food stylist (if you'll have one). Another contributer might be your DIT (again, if you'll have one). There's also the times when you need to shoot the food as neutral as you can because it's all going to be dialed in during the final color correction to make that apple the right color of red. So the point is no one setting will service all food.

Take your example of soup and salad. What color is the soup? Is it black bean soup or butternut squash? One will be a deep brown to black and the other an orange-yellow. Those might well be the colors you'll want to focus on so that they stand out in the image. What plates or setting is the food in? The surrounding colors will effect your food's color as well. And there's the ever present question of how much time you have to tweak or not to tweak your image.

Your best protection, if you don't have the luxury of time on set, is to find out what the food will look like and what it'll be placed on and run a few test prior to shooting. If it's a tortilla soup, you might want to pump up the red-orange in the camera's matrix and pump up the greens for the salad. This will take some knowledge of the camera's menus and operation but it will be time well spent.
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#8 GARY LEO MILLER

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 07:59 AM

Thanks Eric, thats helpful info. I realize thaty there is no real right or wrong and most of it is subjective. I guess I was looking for setting(s) that would be neutral and simply just a clean image to start with so that I may have better control of colors in post IF need be.
I'm sure I will figure it out.
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#9 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 01:00 PM

I'm sure you will figure it out Gary. If you haven't already had a chance, you might want to visit the Panasonic's website. There's a series of scene files created early on in the development of the camera. I would suggest "Vivid" and "Eyeball" as a start and then modify to taste from there. Don't forget that you'll still need to change any setting to suit your shoot like, 50MB/25MB or 16:9/4:3, etc. Good luck.

http://www.panasonic...cene_select.asp
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#10 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 09 August 2007 - 03:52 PM

Opps. I just realized that you're shooting with the Varicam and not the SDX900 (different thread). I think the comments still apply. Here are some baseline settings from Peter Gray for both the Varicam H and F.

Baseline settings:
http://www.jkor.com/.../filmlookH.html
http://www.jkor.com/.../filmlookF.html
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#11 Bruce Greene

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Posted 10 August 2007 - 04:44 PM

Thanks Eric, thats helpful info. I realize thaty there is no real right or wrong and most of it is subjective. I guess I was looking for setting(s) that would be neutral and simply just a clean image to start with so that I may have better control of colors in post IF need be.
I'm sure I will figure it out.


OK, so you're just looking for neutral/clean, will adjust in post...

#1 Get Goodman's Guide to the Varicam if you don't have it.

I would try these settings:

In Gamma menu: Cinegamma select=Film Rec, dynamic level = 200%, master gamma = .48
In the knee menu make sure manual knee is on.
In the camera menu make sure high color is off. If master detail is set to on, then set master detail to -2 for a start (in the ROP menu)
Set color correction and matrix to off.
Set master gain to 0 or -3

This should give you a pleasing, if slightly low contrast look that you can punch up in post. If you need a little less contrast, change the master gamma to .45. If you need a little more punch try setting the black stretch to -2 (it's in the low or med or high menus that correspond to the position of the gain switch on the side of the camera)

Also, I would set the compression setting in the VTR menu to "dark" to prevent ugly compression blocks in the deeper shadows.

Also note that this setting uses the "FilmRec" mode and therefore the knee point/slope settings will not effect the image..

Hope this is a good starting point. Personally I would advise against just downloading a look or settings from the internet as many that I've seen appear to me to be kind of poor choices for this camera. And I'm sure they would say the same about my choices I guess :blink:

Best of luck,
Bruce
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