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What camera to use - F23, Genesis, Varicam, Viper, Red etc?


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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 06:30 PM

Hi.

I've been forced due to budget reason to deliver a "glossy, American 35mm look" for a girl band, but to do it on HD since 1/3 of the budget is having to be spent on glam squad (the stylist makes more money than the director on this job, but since she's "in" with the band, they have no choice but to use her). That's the reality with female artists these days - glam gets all the money, production none.

Production co. is wanting to go Varicam with Pro 35 adapter, but I'm not sure that's right for this. I think it doesn't have resolution enough for true beauty - I'd rather have tons of snap and filter it down and use smoke, then having to degrade an already low rez image.

So that doesn't leave me many options. F23? According to rental house is so new it's got tons of problems. Same goes for Red - they won't even send one out without a tech.

Genesis? Panavision are not the best with music videos, but maybe it's worth the push?

D20 - one just doesn't hear about it anymore. Why isn't it out on jobs - what's wrong?

Basically, I need it to look as close to 35mm as possible, still be cheap and manageable and be able to do slight slo-mo (50-60fps would be nice). Suggestions, options?
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#2 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 06:45 PM

I haven't used it on set, but I've seen the results in post, and I've got to say that I'm really impressed with the F23 in terms of color reproduction and dynamic range. It's got a very clean, low-noise (though not entirely noise-free) image.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:49 PM

What is it about 35mm that they like? If it's the DOF, then you need to look at the single chip/large chip cameras: Genesis, D-20, Dalsa, and Red. Since your rental house sends the Red out with their tech, I'd talk to that person and see what the issues are, and what it would be like having that tech on set. On a low budget, having that person around could be a plus.




-- J.S.
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#4 chuck colburn

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:03 PM

Are you sure that you want to work on a shoot where the stylist gets paid more then the director?
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#5 Mike Williamson

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:04 PM

From what I've seen, the Arri D20 comes closest to the look of film of any of the cameras you mention. While at AFI, we had a seminar where Curtis Clark, ASC came in (along with folks from TDI and Arri) and shot with a D20, then the footage was filmed out. We saw it later at TDI and it looked great, lots of latitude and a more filmic feel than the footage that I've seen come out of the Genesis. I should mention it basically has two different curves that are rated at 100 ASA and 320 ASA respectively, we using the 100 ASA curve (log F mode perhaps?) so that worth thinking about. It also has an S35mm size sensor which is probably going to be a benefit for a music video, if shallow DOF is an issue. I personally prefer the texture of the image if that makes sense.

I have not seen anything from the Red camera or the F23, Claudio Miranda's tests seemed to indicate that the F23 was more production ready at this point. There have been some nice things shot with the Viper, I thought "Zodiac" looked very filmic, so perhaps that's an indication of what's possible with that camera. If you go 2/3", the obvious choice seems to be Zeiss Digiprimes.

Good luck, Adam, let us know how it goes.
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#6 Mike Williamson

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:07 PM

My guess is that relative unavailability of the D20 is the main reason that we haven't heard much from it lately. The lack of variety in available ASA settings doesn't do much to recommend it either, but my impression is that Arri wants all the bugs worked out before they release widely, sort of an opposite approach to what Red has done.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:21 PM

I would look at the F23 over the Genesis for variable frame rates. It seems to be designed specifically for the commercial (and therefore music video) market. The Varicam can look great but its 720 is a tad softer than 1080 in most cases. But putting a @#$@#! lens adapter on it is contradictory to the "clean, 35mm" look the client wants. Use Good HD primes on a 2/3" camera, or go with a 35-sized sensor.

I have much less experience with the Arri and Dalsa (other than seeing demo footage), so I can't really comment on them.

Of course budget, post and rental availability will inevitably narrow your search for you...
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#8 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:49 PM

Yet to debut on TV, "Cashmere Mafia" shoots on the Genesis. Not "Glam" exactly, but it's "chick TV" starring four women, none of them in their 20's, if you know what I mean. The pilot looked great with Peter Deming shooting.
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:50 AM

Thanks.

There are two F23's in town, so let's see if we can get one of those on set perhaps. The D20 would be another nice option, but I doubt it'll be available.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:38 PM

Thanks.

There are two F23's in town, so let's see if we can get one of those on set perhaps.


Don't underestimate the learning curve for the assistant/DIT (not so much for the DP/operator). It's a whole new camera, and takes time to learn all the controls & menus. etc.
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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:57 PM

Hi.

I've been forced due to budget reason to deliver a "glossy, American 35mm look" for a girl band, but to do it on HD since 1/3 of the budget is having to be spent on glam squad (the stylist makes more money than the director on this job, but since she's "in" with the band, they have no choice but to use her). That's the reality with female artists these days - glam gets all the money, production none.

Production co. is wanting to go Varicam with Pro 35 adapter, but I'm not sure that's right for this. I think it doesn't have resolution enough for true beauty - I'd rather have tons of snap and filter it down and use smoke, then having to degrade an already low rez image.

So that doesn't leave me many options. F23? According to rental house is so new it's got tons of problems. Same goes for Red - they won't even send one out without a tech.

Genesis? Panavision are not the best with music videos, but maybe it's worth the push?

D20 - one just doesn't hear about it anymore. Why isn't it out on jobs - what's wrong?

Basically, I need it to look as close to 35mm as possible, still be cheap and manageable and be able to do slight slo-mo (50-60fps would be nice). Suggestions, options?


Would Super16 be genuinely out of the question? I mean if you could shoot at say 100ASA or something crazy? What about 3 perf, maybe you could try and cut a deal with Fuji too?

It doesn't seem a great situation to be in, like being given a large slab of pork and some eggs and being asked to make a really great vegetarian meal.

I completely love video and do all kinds of wonderful strange video things with my cameras but I wouldn't want to have to try and make them look like film. :( I havn't seen much of these new fangled H.D. cameras tho.

love

Freya
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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 03:05 PM

From what I've seen, the Arri D20 comes closest to the look of film of any of the cameras you mention. While at AFI, we had a seminar where Curtis Clark, ASC came in (along with folks from TDI and Arri) and shot with a D20, then the footage was filmed out.


Isn't it partly possible that it looked really filmic because there was a film out involved?
I guess seeing as music video's are only about 3 minutes long, maybe it would be possible to do a film out on a small budget, I don't know!

Maybe it would be worth getting in touch with Arri and asking about the D20 tho. I mean if it's not out there much at the moment, then maybe you could cut a really good deal with them get it cheap and make it happen. *shrug*

love

Freya
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#13 Timo Klages

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 03:10 PM

Maybe it would be worth getting in touch with Arri and asking about the D20 tho. I mean if it's not out there much at the moment, then maybe you could cut a really good deal with them get it cheap and make it happen. *shrug*


that´s not such a bad idea at all!
i have used the D20 some time ago at my university and liked it very much. but i am not sure if you can do more than 30fps with the current sofware version. so, if you want to go for slowmotion effects done in camera, the D20 is perhaps not your first choice.
but hopefully i am going to shoot a part of a music video on a D20 (the green/blue screen part with the band) in february. the look you can get from this camera is really nice imo, but it´s not looking like film (well, perhaps it is, when you print it out...).

greets,
timo
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#14 Mike Williamson

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:07 PM

Isn't it partly possible that it looked really filmic because there was a film out involved?


I've seen material from the D20, Genesis and the F900 where I was able to see it before and after the filmout. I'm judging it against footage from those cameras, so it's not so much the filmout process that I'm referring to.

With the D20 footage, we were lucky enough to see it in the DI suite at TDI, so at that point we were looking at video projection. We later saw a film print and it was very, very close to what we saw projected in the DI suite.
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#15 John Brawley

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:09 PM

that´s not such a bad idea at all!
i have used the D20 some time ago at my university and liked it very much. but i am not sure if you can do more than 30fps with the current sofware version. so, i


The camera can do more than 30FPS. I think the problem was with the SRW1 deck (depending on which quality setting you were using).



JB
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#16 Freya Black

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:26 PM

I've seen material from the D20, Genesis and the F900 where I was able to see it before and after the filmout. I'm judging it against footage from those cameras, so it's not so much the filmout process that I'm referring to.

With the D20 footage, we were lucky enough to see it in the DI suite at TDI, so at that point we were looking at video projection. We later saw a film print and it was very, very close to what we saw projected in the DI suite.


Fair enough then! :)
It seems like theres a bit of a consensus for the D20 then, or at least all the D20 fans are coming out of the woodwork! ;)

love

Freya
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#17 Mike Williamson

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:49 PM

It's a nice camera in a lot of respects, it's got an optical viewfinder which is cool, but it's got problems like everything else. Apparently at some point there were problems with the CMOS sensor changing sensitivity (and probably noise level) with temperature changes, which may be a weakness inherent in CMOS technology, I don't know. It's less of an issue with still cameras, so I'm not sure whether there have been any problems like that with Canon/Nikon DSLR's or if anyone's noticed it.

My preference seems to be for CMOS cameras over CCD cameras, but I'm not sure if that's because of some property of the sensors themselves or perhaps I just like Arri's camera better than Sony/Panavision's models. My guess is that I like the texture of the images produced by CMOS chips, my favorite digital images so far have been from Canon still cameras. I'm curious to get my hands on a Red camera, I'm looking into it for a short film I'm shooting next month.
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#18 Mike Williamson

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:52 PM

Good luck with the video, Adam. Keep us posted on how things work out and what your feelings are on the F23 or whatever you end up using, I'm sure you'll manage to pull off something that looks great.
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#19 Joakim Sandstrom

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:17 PM

If you want video that look like film, use a cmos camera! (and 35mm lenses and sensor). Cmos highlights looks much more 'filmic'. CCDs are more futuristic looking ( collateral ) but cmos is more organic or whatever it is. Even the sony ex-1 looks more like "35mm" than the F23 if you ask me. D20 and RED will give you this.

Edited by Joakim Sandstrom, 16 January 2008 - 11:20 PM.

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#20 Michael Nash

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 02:52 AM

If you want video that look like film, use a cmos camera! (and 35mm lenses and sensor). Cmos highlights looks much more 'filmic'. CCDs are more futuristic looking ( collateral ) but cmos is more organic or whatever it is. Even the sony ex-1 looks more like "35mm" than the F23 if you ask me. D20 and RED will give you this.


That's hardly a "given." Both technologies can produce clipped -- or graceful -- highlights. It's not inherent to the kind of sensor; it's more the camera, how you set it up, and of course how you shoot it.
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