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How does the Varicam handle blasting lights within the frame?


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#1 Ioana Vasile

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:01 AM

Hey,

I'm shooting a video where there will be lights placed behind the band directed toward the camera, and the fixtures will be in frame when they light up. The production is interested in shooting HD, on the varicam, and I'm aware that digital formats don't handle strong signals very well, and can result in flat blowouts and vertical smear if overexposed, but does anyone know how the Varicam in particular handles this type of situation, if it does a decent job of it? and if using film lenses would help the situation at all?
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#2 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:24 PM

A: Don't worry about it, the Vari-cam can handle it. If you look at my reel on my website, at 20 seconds or 47 seconds, the sunlight in the background was way off the waveform ... it's fine. I confess I don't really pay much attention to the knee function. You can get into that if you like, or you can tell the rental house what you want to do and they can set it.

B: Those lights will be on dimmers anyway, right??
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:33 PM

... and if using film lenses would help the situation at all?

Hard clipping is a function of the chips and electronics, not the lens. It'll be the same with any lens.



-- J.S.
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#4 Ioana Vasile

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 03:43 PM

Jon - Thanks! that is reassuring if we go that route, i'm still crossing my fingers for super 16, still not convinced that we'll get that same crushed black look that you see in music videos (ie. billy talent's devil in a midnight mass)...and yes, it will be all dimmer controlled, but i think to get the band lit bright enough, it will cause clipping where the lamps are...

J.S - right, the clipping is a function of the chip, but i was thinking using film lenses as opposed to the HD lens, might soften that effect around the edges of the lights, by having a smaller depth of field (not sure yet if that's true yet), and maybe just a softer/used coating than the hd lenses.

So you guys agree that vertical smear does not happen in the Varicam? i can live with clipping...
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 05:10 PM

J.S - right, the clipping is a function of the chip, but i was thinking using film lenses as opposed to the HD lens, might soften that effect around the edges of the lights, by having a smaller depth of field (not sure yet if that's true yet), and maybe just a softer/used coating than the hd lenses.


If you're talking about using a ground-glass type adapter to put 35mm lenses on the Varicam, then the groundglass will impart its own flare or veiling glare characteristics to the optics. Otherwise, highlight handling isn't really any different between film and HD lenses, at least not any more than it is between any two different lenses in the first place.

If you're concerned about highlights clipping with an abrupt edge (as compared to film), you can make sure the camera's detail settings are turned off, and/or experiment with mild lens diffusion.
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