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The best possible video look


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#1 robin pront

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 06:39 PM

I was thinkin on shooting my next short on super16 but I'll probably go with video anyway. I'm a director, not a cinematographer, so I have no idea which camera and lenses I should rent. My first thought is going for a digibeta, a pro35adaptator and some 35mm lenses. Good choice? I guess color grading in post will do its part but as far as video goes, this should come close to film?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 08:02 PM

I don't mean any offense, but this question is about as broad as asking "what kind of car should I buy?" There are dozens of variables for your situation.

I'm sure you're asking this for your own education, but the obvious answer is, "get a DP who knows how to shoot well." A good DP will help you weed through the variables and save you a lot of grief. Asking here is a start, but there are many, many variables particular to your own production that you'll have to work out one-on-one with your DP.

But as a matter of approach, start from both ends and work your way toward the middle. What's your finished poduct supposed to be, and what do you want it to look like? Then, how much money do you have to spend? Those two ends of the equation will narrow down your search.

If you don't want to shoot film, then your options are basically professional HD or SD, and then prosumer HD or SD. Dozens of choices right there. In the hands of a good DP at least, you tend to get the quality you pay for.

I'm going to get on my soapbax yet again though, and try to dispel this rumor that a 35mm adapter is necessary to get good quality images. These adapters are tool made for a specific purpose, which is to allow shallow depth of field on camera systems otherwise incapable of it -- namely 1/3" chip prosumer cameras. The tradeoff is that they eat light, soften the overall image, and add cumbersome mechanics/ergonomics to the physical rig. You handicap the performance of the camera for the sake of shallow depth of field. When you need it, they're great and can produce some lovely images. But if you don't really need it, they simply make your life difficult. Use the right tool for the job.

A professional 2/3" chip camera has essentially the same depth of field characterstics as super 16mm. So if super16 is adequate for your short film, you don't need an adapter on a digibeta or 2/3" HD camera to get similar optical characteristics. Get some good HD glass instead.

As for the "look," that's between you and your DP. There's no one right or wrong way to go about it, just realize that video has less room for manipulation in post than film does. So it's more important to get it right in camera. But again, your DP should know this.

Also consider the post production for your film. There are dozens of recording formats and digital compression schemes to deal with, so you'll have to work out what hardware and software issues you can deal with. These days, you might find it easier to rent a professional HD camera that records to solid state cards than it it may be to go the digibeta/deck route.
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#3 Daniel Smith

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:32 PM

If you have the ability to record HD-SDI:

HDX900, Pro35 and cooke primes along with the autoknee function (increasing the dynamic range, giving a more filmic look)

If not, HVX200, red rock and cooke primes.


I mean.. woah:

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 25 March 2008 - 04:34 PM.

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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:52 PM

Assuming you're not shooting on HD, a progressive frame camera will help. The DVW 970 is good, as is the Panasonic SDX900 or even the DRS450. Your DP can set up the camera for your production using the menus. You can use a wide aperture on your zoom or even Zeiss Digiprimes (using the money saved on renting the Pro 35 and 35mm primes) wide open to reduce the depth of field.

The 35mm adapters are only a part of a filmic look and I wouldn't get too excited by it. I suspect part of the effect is the pro mist filter effect of the ground glass.

I've seen a Pro 35 on a digi beta DVW790 and the progressive frame SDX900 with a 2/3" zoom looks more filmic.
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#5 robin pront

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:31 PM

I know it was a pretty vague question but I guess i'm just looking for a look that resembles super16 the most. I liked the look of Lonesome Jim, which was shot in video on a Panasonic. Thanks for your answers
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:59 PM

"Resembles super-16"?? Define "resembles." 2/3" chip gives the same depth of field as s16mm. SD with some serious post-work can look very "filmic." HD can give you a very smooth, rich image. Panasonic has some great gamma curve settings in their cameras, so there's rarely an issue with dynamic range. But, video is still always in danger of shouting "Video" at you, especially at wider focal lengths. Also, as good as HD is, it still doesn't quite have the "solidity" of film. A broad statement to be sure ...
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