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#1 Colm Whelan

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 11:09 PM

just lining up a short film at the moment and have no real experience on hd. wondering if anyone has any abc ideas about what camera to use and what camera is best for different settings. know its a vague question but is there any real difference in the panasonic and sony versions and what are they on a basic level. all help appreciated
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:23 AM

If you're talking about whether to rent a Panasonic Varicam or a Sony F900, both common pro HD cameras on the rental market, the main technical difference is that the Varicam is a 1280 x 720 pixel image recorded to DVCPRO-HD, and the Sony F900 is a 1920 x 1080 pixel image going to HDCAM.

Both do 24P (or 25P if that's what you need in Ireland.) The Varicam can do 50P or 60P for slow-motion, whereas the Sony F900 can only go as high as 30P in progressive-scan, otherwise you have to shoot in 50i or 60i mode and convert to 50P or 60P in post for a slow-motion effect.

Picture-wise, you'll find fans of both cameras, the 720P vs. 1080P issue is not a big deal in most cases. For projection on a large theater screen, you may prefer the detail of the 1080P image but you really should check it out yourself. Some people prefer the contrast and color of the Panasonic.
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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:03 AM

If you're talking about whether to rent a Panasonic Varicam or a Sony F900, both common pro HD cameras on the rental market, the main technical difference is that the Varicam is a 1280 x 720 pixel image recorded to DVCPRO-HD, and the Sony F900 is a 1920 x 1080 pixel image going to HDCAM.

Both do 24P (or 25P if that's what you need in Ireland.) The Varicam can do 50P or 60P for slow-motion, whereas the Sony F900 can only go as high as 30P in progressive-scan, otherwise you have to shoot in 50i or 60i mode and convert to 50P or 60P in post for a slow-motion effect.

Picture-wise, you'll find fans of both cameras, the 720P vs. 1080P issue is not a big deal in most cases. For projection on a large theater screen, you may prefer the detail of the 1080P image but you really should check it out yourself. Some people prefer the contrast and color of the Panasonic.


Just to add to what David said, the DVCProHD (panasonic) format can be captured via firewire and edited in it's orginal format on common firewire drives using Final Cut Pro. Just like mini-dv, but you'll need to rent a 1200a or 1400 DVCPro tape deck.

The HDcam format pretty much requires that you downconvert to edit and recapture the HD for an online session.

I guess what I'm saying is that the post costs for DVCProHD may be less if you want the final product in HD.

And a personal disclosure: I own a Varicam. Camera wise, I like the Varicam camera more than the f-900 sony, but the sony HDcam format looks slightly better than the Panasonic DVCproHD format.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:47 AM

That brings up a good question...

I have a friend that is going to shoot some portion of a movie on the F900... plus some film material. Now I suggested that the film material be transferred to HDCAM so that all the tapes are the same format for editing, but the question is, if they rent an HDCAM deck for the editing room, how do they digitize the footage? They'd like the possibility of editing in HD to create a preview cut for HD projection.

I assume you'd need some sort of HD video card in the computer and a BNC (HD-SDI) connector added??? Not sure what to tell them that the editor is going to need to be able to use the HDCAM tapes if he wants to edit in hi-def, not using SD downconversion tapes.
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#5 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 02:13 AM

Unless you use Sony's XPRI system, you will have to capture uncompressed via the HDCAM's SDI output. If they made the codec available even less people would buy the XPRI.

Here is a link:

<a href="http://www.hdforindies.com/2005/01/apples-...or-fcp-5-at-nab" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.hdforindies.com/2005/01/apples-...or-fcp-5-at-nab</a>

and here is a quote from it:

HDCAM is already supported via HD-SDI using third party products like BlackMagic's DeckLink HD line, AJA's Kona2, and Pinnacle's Cinewave.

HDCAM isn't supported at the native codec level like DV, HDV, and DVCPRO HD. Part of the reason for no native HDCAM codec support is because HDCAM is Sony's format, and Sony has a native codec HDCAM editor called XPri, and they don't want to share their toys with anyone else. If XPri weren't unique in it's HDCAM native codec support, it would have less of a reason to exist.
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#6 Timo Klages

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 11:33 AM

That brings up a good question...

I have a friend that is going to shoot some portion of a movie on the F900... plus some film material. Now I suggested that the film material be transferred to HDCAM so that all the tapes are the same format for editing, but the question is, if they rent an HDCAM deck for the editing room, how do they digitize the footage? They'd like the possibility of editing in HD to create a preview cut for HD projection.

I assume you'd need some sort of HD video card in the computer and a BNC (HD-SDI) connector added??? Not sure what to tell them that the editor is going to need to be able to use the HDCAM tapes if he wants to edit in hi-def, not using SD downconversion tapes.


that shouldn´t be a problem at all. if you have an avid adrenalin with the dncxel board, you can capture via hd-sdi (BNC connector) to the avid, using the DNxHD codec (DNxHD 220 or 180, depending on 60Hz or 50Hz). i just read an article about the latest movie directed by Ben Affleck (gone baby gone) (link here: http://www.studiodai...ssue/8704.html).
so editing with the DNxHD codec seems to be very nice to have HD preview possibilities. and later on you can make an online finishing on whatever system you like (*fire or whatsoever)...

no SD downconvert needs to be done (although you can make a downconvert on the fly with the avid).

hope that helps a little bit.

greets,
timo
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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 07:18 PM

I have a friend that is going to shoot some portion of a movie on the F900... plus some film material. Now I suggested that the film material be transferred to HDCAM so that all the tapes are the same format for editing, but the question is, if they rent an HDCAM deck for the editing room, how do they digitize the footage? They'd like the possibility of editing in HD to create a preview cut for HD projection.

Rather than trying to run a rental HDCam deck in the offline room, and risking the camera original tapes, the traditional TV way of doing this is to have a facility vendor hold the HDCam's and make dubs for offline. Since this is both film and tape, it would be better to use one of the big traditional houses that has telecine. DVCPro HD is the usual format for Avid shows. The newer way to go is to have them deliver on firewire 800 drives for FCP. 100 Mbits/sec and 8 bits deep can be plenty good enough for screening cuts.



-- J.S.
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#8 Colm Whelan

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 12:14 AM

so is it fair to say that both cameras have their pros and cons. at the end of the day if the post is left out of the equation it basically comes down to lighting, framing and talent. I am leaning towards the 1080p as it is mostly going to be projected. am I right in saying thought that it will all have to be pulled down and edited before being restored to hd.
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#9 Colm Whelan

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 12:17 AM

one other question. on either camera is a 35mm lens adaptor and prime lenses required or have people achieved good results with camera settings. looking for that shallow focus and drop off look
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 12:24 AM

35mm adaptors make more sense on a 1/3" CCD camera. On a 2/3" CCD camera, you have a similar depth of field to 16mm film. Technically, it is 2.5 stops more depth of field, i.e. once you match distance and field of view by using a shorter focal length on a 2/3" camera rather than a 35mm camera, you'd have to stop down the 35mm camera's lens by 2.5 stops to match the depth of field on the shorter lens on the 2/3" camera.

So if you shoot at T/2.0 on a 2/3" CCD camera, it's like shooting at T/4-5.6 split in 35mm, which is not the end of the world. Even better if you can shoot on some T/1.6 lenses, wide-open, in 2/3" CCD HD. And then you won't have all the problems of using 35mm lenses on an adaptor.
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#11 Colm Whelan

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 05:09 PM

35mm adaptors make more sense on a 1/3" CCD camera. On a 2/3" CCD camera, you have a similar depth of field to 16mm film. Technically, it is 2.5 stops more depth of field, i.e. once you match distance and field of view by using a shorter focal length on a 2/3" camera rather than a 35mm camera, you'd have to stop down the 35mm camera's lens by 2.5 stops to match the depth of field on the shorter lens on the 2/3" camera.

So if you shoot at T/2.0 on a 2/3" CCD camera, it's like shooting at T/4-5.6 split in 35mm, which is not the end of the world. Even better if you can shoot on some T/1.6 lenses, wide-open, in 2/3" CCD HD. And then you won't have all the problems of using 35mm lenses on an adaptor.

Thanks David thats great info. as it turns out budget is screwing us and it now looks likely I will be shooting on a 750. guess that will be more of a struggle. any ideas on what sort of lens list I should be looking at. everyone says get prime lenses and an adaptor but will they actually have a big effect on the 750 or are they the only option to get a proper film look or judging by what you are saying are they the only option

Edited by Colm Whelan, 10 November 2007 - 05:10 PM.

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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:25 PM

Thanks David thats great info. as it turns out budget is screwing us and it now looks likely I will be shooting on a 750. guess that will be more of a struggle. any ideas on what sort of lens list I should be looking at. everyone says get prime lenses and an adaptor but will they actually have a big effect on the 750 or are they the only option to get a proper film look or judging by what you are saying are they the only option


I think the Sony HDW-750 has 2/3" CCD's just like an F900, so you can use fast HD lenses on it to reduce depth of field. The 750P does 25P, which is important if you want a film look.
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