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Transferring JVC GY-DV 100, 200 or 250 to film


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:54 PM

Hi there.

I was wondering if anybody has ever used any of JVC's GY series with the intent of transfering said footage to film?

I'm thinking of shooting a short, but wanted to hopefully make things easier on myself by shooting 720p with JVC's camera, then transferring the final edited footed to either a high grade 16mm or 35mm film.

Thanks much for any input.
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#2 George Ebersole

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:12 PM

To clarify, I'd like to shoot a ten minute film at 720p using JVCs GYHD250, though I'll certainly be happy with a 110. I'd like to shoot it at 24fps, edit it, then transfer it to either 16mm or 35 stock. Years back I used to camera ops for BETAcam SP shoots, and did some Hi-8 second unit stuff. I've been around Panavision, Arriflex (I own a 2C, but with no crystal sync motor, and refuse to spend anymore money on it) and Moviecam cameras, as well as Sony and Ikegamis, but this will be my own shoot, and am a little concerned that I'm stepping in the right direction.

Thanks much for any reply.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:31 PM

Film-outs aren't cheap. Do you really need a film print? If it's a short for entering in festivals, many accept digital submissions these days.

As for the camera, just realize that it's a prosumer video camera with a resolution of 720x1280. That comes closer to 16mm in terms of resolution on the big screen. It won't look like 35mm if that's your goal.

Otherwise, it's a decent camera and can produce images as nice as any other prosumer HD camera in its price range. It's all in how well you can control your imaging (in-camera and optically), and how well you light and shoot.
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#4 George Ebersole

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 10:23 PM

Thanks much for the reply. That was kind of my goal, and I thought some good anti-aliasing software would help render a nice film look. But your response only confirms my fears.

Of all the industrials, commercials and training vids I've worked on, every one except, for some early Beta-16 (16mm film digitially transferred to BETACAM as a tech demonstrator around 1989), has a distinct video flavor, even when the DP was trying to get a film feel. But I never forgot that Beta-16 footage I saw, and aside from the raster showing up during pans and tracking shots, it looked pretty good.

That was years ago, and I figured by now the kinks would have been worked out of it now. But you're telling me that this may not be the case....

I've heard what you said about the JVC and Canon; i.e. there's a reason they're $5,000 cameras, and not $30,000 studio cameras. But I guess the best way to find out is to shoot some test footage first.

Thanks for the reply. It was the answer I was dreading, but the kind of honest response I wanted.

Thanks again.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:06 PM

...I thought some good anti-aliasing software would help render a nice film look...

...aside from the raster showing up during pans and tracking shots, it looked pretty good


It sounds like you're thinking about interlaced video, at standard definition. There are plenty progressive-scan cameras that avoid these issues now. At HD resolution aliasing isn't so much of a problem, just an overall softness of resolution compared to 35mm film. Interlaced artifacts are gone altogether with cameras that shoot true 24P.

The chips and signal processing in these cameras has improved greatly since the Beta SP days. Dynamic range, gamma processing, color matrices and sensitivity are much better than they used to be and can more closely mimic many film-like qualities, although I won't say they look the same as film.

It's not impossible to shoot a good-looking, compelling short film on prosumer HD gear. People do it all the time, when they know how to use the gear. You just have to decide what your short film really demands. If it MUST look nearly indistinguishable from 35mm film when projected on a large theater screen, then you pretty much need a high-end camera with good lenses. If it only has to exist on DVD or the web, you can often get by with less expensive equipment, especially if you know how to use it well.
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#6 George Ebersole

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:24 PM

It sounds like you're thinking about interlaced video, at standard definition. There are plenty progressive-scan cameras that avoid these issues now. At HD resolution aliasing isn't so much of a problem, just an overall softness of resolution compared to 35mm film. Interlaced artifacts are gone altogether with cameras that shoot true 24P.

The chips and signal processing in these cameras has improved greatly since the Beta SP days. Dynamic range, gamma processing, color matrices and sensitivity are much better than they used to be and can more closely mimic many film-like qualities, although I won't say they look the same as film.

It's not impossible to shoot a good-looking, compelling short film on prosumer HD gear. People do it all the time, when they know how to use the gear. You just have to decide what your short film really demands. If it MUST look nearly indistinguishable from 35mm film when projected on a large theater screen, then you pretty much need a high-end camera with good lenses. If it only has to exist on DVD or the web, you can often get by with less expensive equipment, especially if you know how to use it well.

Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of. I guess I'm showing my age as well as my ignorance on HD format.

My project doesn't demand a film look, but it would be a bonus artisiticly. I've shot second unit stuff for bikini videos with an old Canon A-1, and construction industrials with an L-1, and although the old Hi-8 format wasn't BETACAM quality, it was good enough for cutaways, a pretty crisp compared to consumer stuff. I had it in my mind that a prosumer HD camera might be a couple cuts above Hi8 in comparison to BETACAM or 3/4". Everything I read about HD suggested there were still some minor issues with a film transfer, as you stated. But I wasn't sure, and I really wanted an expert opinion on it, which is why I came here.

Like I said, I really need to shoot some test footage to prepare myself. But your insight has been invaluable, and led me in the right direction.

I want to go the JVC route as opposed to either the Canon or SONY prosumer route, largely because of the higher definition. That and I think the bayonet mount is a major plus for different lenses. The higher definition coupled with that lens mount I think is far superior to Canon's EOS adaptor option for a prosumer camera project. I can't afford to rent the fancy movie lens mounts, but I can still give myself some leeway in terms of focal lengths.

Thanks again, Michael. I really do appreciate the feedback.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 04:21 PM

Yeah, you're showing your age... and mine. ;)

I had one of those Canon A1's, and had a similar experience to yours. But cameras have come a LONG way since the old High-8 days. Cameras and recording formats are leaps and bounds better now.

JVC isn't any "higher definition" than Canon or Sony though, unless you're comparing the JVC to standard def models. All the manufacturers make prosumer HD cameras that are comparable in quality, just with different characteristics. In addition to the JVC there's the Panasonic HVX200, Canon XL-H1/A1/G1, and several Sony models like the Z1U and now the EX1. Lots of good choices. Each of them handles 24p and compression in a slightly different way, but all yield good looking results.

Don't get confused with the lens mount issue though. There aren't that many lenses that will fit JVC's 1/3" mount ("bayonet" is a misleading term: http://www.cinematog...n...=30446&hl=), and alternate lenses from larger format cameras just become really long focal lengths on the 1/3" format (IF you can get the right adapter). All of the prosumer cameras have a pretty good useable zoom range, if anything you usually want to go a little wider which requires a wide-angle adapter on most cameras anyway.

FWIW, the JVC's stock lens is nice to use but optically not that great. Some of the fixed-lens cameras have better glass, but not the same manual control. The Sony EX1 is one of he first to have a fixed lens with full mechanical control.
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#8 George Ebersole

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 12:28 AM

That's very interesting, because I was thinking of going the Canon XL-H1 route. I've always liked Canon's optics, and figured their experience with lenses would go a long way with a prosumer camera. I wasn't too happy with the A-1 during the Hi-8 hey-day, but really fell in love with the L1 for what it delivered and what it was. I got some really good footage with that camera, and the EOS adaptor and ES mount allowed for some interesting second unit stuff. I have to admit, I wasn't too happy with the EOS wide angle lens, but that's another story.

Do you have an opinion on the Canon XL-H1? Have you used it?

Thanks for the head's up on the bayonet mount. Back in the day bayonet mount, where I worked at least, meant a specific thing; Arriflex, and I guess I had it in my head that I'd be renting and mounting 35mm Ari III lenses on a prosumer camera. Silly me.

Thanks again, Michael. This is extremely helpful to me.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 04:39 PM

Do you have an opinion on the Canon XL-H1? Have you used it?


Canon's prosumer HD cameras can turn out exceptional looking images, especially if you make good use of the extensive image control they offer. That said, I really can't stand Canon's ergonomics and interfaces and don't like using their cameras. But that's just my personal preference.

http://www.usa.canon...LH1/index.shtml
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:09 PM

"and alternate lenses from larger format cameras just become really long focal lengths on the 1/3" format (IF you can get the right adapter)."

Actually not true with the HD200. With the JVC pl mount adapter you get one to one ratios with 16mm lenses and 16mm depth of field and not to far off differences with 35mm lenses all while only loosing about a half stop. And with a quality lens I'd say the picture is second to none.
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:17 PM

True, the adapter & mount makes a difference. There are also adapters for 1/2" and 2/3" lenses, each with their own characteristics.
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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:24 PM

True, the adapter & mount makes a difference. There are also adapters for 1/2" and 2/3" lenses, each with their own characteristics.



But the the step up adapters do not offer changes in DoF characteristics, only the ability to use better quaility 2/3 lenses while magnifying the target size so offering that problem of changes in focal length as mentioned. The Pl mount is the best option for quality and cine-like look.
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 05:59 PM

The step up adapters also act as extenders, so not only is the field of view narrowed compared to the lens' original format, the focal length is increased slightly as well. Not always the best way to go for flexibility when shooting.

The PL adapter is unique, and an attractive option.
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#14 George Ebersole

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 10:09 PM

Incredible insight here. Thanks again, guys.
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