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"Better" Setup?


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#1 Gus Sacks

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 05:55 PM

Hey all,

I'll be shooting an HD feature, with principal photography starting in about a month.

For a little while I've been flirting with going with an HDX900 package offered by a rental house in the city that consists of:

HDX900
Pro-35
Zeiss MK3 Supers (5 lens set)
OnBoard and Field Monitor
and follow focus, sticks, etc.

and for the run of the show the price for said gear is around 10k.

Production's very cool with that, and so am I, for the look it would give, and, frankly, because it records on tape - I'd prefer not to do the P2 process for 21 days...

But I'm wondering... would it be a good idea to try and find a similar setup with a 900r? Or possibly look into DigiPrimes instead? Or, hell, try and get my hands on a Red One?

The 720p is good, of course, but considering how quickly the game is playing, 1080p is offered in certain cameras (HPX2000, said Red One, the EX-1 (which I dont like very much)... and will be offered in more soon.

So, yeah, just throwing it out there.

Thanks.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 06:15 PM

I'd tend not to go with the Pro 35 if you're going for a theatrical release.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 06:29 PM

To make the most of 720P I'd lose the adapter and shoot with good HD primes or zooms.

The HPX records 1080P off the same 720-line chips as the HDX, so you'd have to test for yourself how much difference that makes. The HPX2000 offers the new AVC-Intra codec though, which will be superior to DVCPROHD.

Post is a big issue, so don't dismiss P2 as being too cumbersome for a feature. Look at the hard costs of transferring all those DVCPRO tapes. All the more reason to compare complete budgets, all the way through post, when making a format decision. You can't just substitute line items.

In addition to the Sony 900R I'd look at the Panasonic HPX-3000.
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#4 Walter Graff

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 06:30 PM

You'll do real well with the set up you have. You will not gain much of anyhting with 1080 so stick to what have and you'll do great.
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#5 Gus Sacks

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 07:01 PM

To make the most of 720P I'd lose the adapter and shoot with good HD primes or zooms.

The HPX records 1080P off the same 720-line chips as the HDX, so you'd have to test for yourself how much difference that makes. The HPX2000 offers the new AVC-Intra codec though, which will be superior to DVCPROHD.

Post is a big issue, so don't dismiss P2 as being too cumbersome for a feature. Look at the hard costs of transferring all those DVCPRO tapes. All the more reason to compare complete budgets, all the way through post, when making a format decision. You can't just substitute line items.

In addition to the Sony 900R I'd look at the Panasonic HPX-3000.


Hey Michael,

I don't think we're looking to do a DI and print back to film, so technically couldn't the DVCPRO (HD) tapes be captured right into the editing suite and done all the way to a HDCAM transfer?

Or, color me wrong, I'd like to know.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 10:42 PM

Hey Michael,

I don't think we're looking to do a DI and print back to film, so technically couldn't the DVCPRO (HD) tapes be captured right into the editing suite and done all the way to a HDCAM transfer?

Or, color me wrong, I'd like to know.


Yes, but you still need a DVCPROHD deck to play the footage into the computer. Factor in the cost of deck rental for however much time it takes to transfer an entire feature's worth of tapes (unless your production already owns or has free access to the deck). I guess technically, you can playback through the HDX camera as a deck, but that's a little cumbersome for an entire feature. Also factor in the price of tape stock.

P2 goes straight to the harddrives (which you're going to need anyway), usually using a laptop computer -- which production may already own -- as an interface. No tape costs, just rental on the P2 cards.

Printing to film or HDCAM (or any other format) has nothing to do with it. It's all going to be cut and graded ("DI'd") digitally, so whatever method gets the footage into the computer at the best quality and best price point is all that really matters. For example, P2 allows a better codec (AVC-I) than DVCPROHD, with no tape stock or deck rental.

But I'm not suggesting either scenario is "better," just pointing out the differences when you tally up the complete budget.
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#7 Gus Sacks

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 11:07 PM

Yes, but you still need a DVCPROHD deck to play the footage into the computer. Factor in the cost of deck rental for however much time it takes to transfer an entire feature's worth of tapes (unless your production already owns or has free access to the deck). I guess technically, you can playback through the HDX camera as a deck, but that's a little cumbersome for an entire feature. Also factor in the price of tape stock.

P2 goes straight to the harddrives (which you're going to need anyway), usually using a laptop computer -- which production may already own -- as an interface. No tape costs, just rental on the P2 cards.

Printing to film or HDCAM (or any other format) has nothing to do with it. It's all going to be cut and graded ("DI'd") digitally, so whatever method gets the footage into the computer at the best quality and best price point is all that really matters. For example, P2 allows a better codec (AVC-I) than DVCPROHD, with no tape stock or deck rental.

But I'm not suggesting either scenario is "better," just pointing out the differences when you tally up the complete budget.


Yeah, I getcha. I P2 tech on the side... But I think they're planning on having access to a deck for free. I'm not sure how, but they've made mention of it. I emailed the Line Producer on this account, and also about the cost of the tape stock (which I believe they budgeted 2k for) versus how possibly getting a better P2 package for said money (like using Digi Primes, possibly) would be money better spent.

Things to think about. I appreciate it.
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#8 Gus Sacks

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 01:05 PM

Just to add, we ended up going with the HPX3000, Pro35 adapter and Zeiss SS.

I've got to say, I've been incredibly happy with the camera and I believe I'm doing some of the best shooting of my life thusfar, and the setup's really been showing that off; I feel, at least :)

Thanks.
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Glidecam

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rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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