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"Calibre"


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#1 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:21 AM

I've just finished shooting the short film "Calibre" on the Sony Ex-1 (two of them actualy). The script is a pastiche of 80's/90's action movies, with a few large (for a short) action sequnces. Because the budget was tight and i felt we needed two cameras to complete the shoot on schedule and to cover our larger action/stunt scenes i suggested we shoot with two EX-1's in its HQ 1080/25P setting. During the action stuff some footage was shot at 50Fps in the HQ720/25P setting. Both cameras recorded to 16Gb sxs cards which the loader treated as digital film, downloaded to a mac laptop and then backed up to two external hard drives.
We didnt use any 35mm adaptors, partly for budget reasons but mainly because i really wanted to see what the camera could do with the inbuilt Lens. I switched off the matrix and most of the internal processing settings on the camera and set the gamma to cine gamma 3.
We shot at 3200 K throughout the week long shoot, using Smoque 1 filters and ND's for filtration. Almost all the interior sets were smoked except one.
For my tastes the images the camera gave were on a par with the Sony 750, except that i felt the EX-1 didnt hold as much detail in the shadows and wasnt quite as fast as a 750 (I'd usually rate the 750 at 640asa for interiors/night exteriors but i was rating the Ex1 at 500asa). The camera itself is very small - too small - for someone like myself used to film and high end Hd gear, but by adding an astro monitor to each camera for the operators to operate from, and a small arri LFD follow focus we made them work for our purposes.
I've attached some reference stills and some behind the scenes stills. the ref stills were taken on my canon 40D, shot at the same stop/asa and shutter speed as the EX-1's. They images are almost identical to the EX-1 footage except to say the EX-1 footage is a little lower in contrast then these stills.

Because almost all of the script was night interior/exterior i used an entirely tungsten package. Most of the film was shot at T2.8 with skin tones usually being underexposed by 1 1/2 - 2 stops. The colours im using are a mixture of Lee Lagoon blue 172 and Lee Yellow 101. my key light was usually either a 5K bounced into a claycoat ultrabounce from the floor or a toplight from some 4x4 kinflos. Backgrounds were usually lit up with a 20K fresnel and a pair of 10K's.

When I have footage I'll post a link.
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#2 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:25 AM

And the BTS photos.
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:32 AM

Those pics look good. It is interesting, because most footage I have seen shot with these cameras is very flat, uninteresting and unlit looking. I have been toying with one and still cannot get past the fact that it is HDV, a compression scheme I loath. However this camera' scheme seems to be a lot better than any other HVD compression that I have seen so far. Also, I find the picture it takes extremely sharp pictures, in an obvious HD way, did you use any image softener/ mist other than smoque filters?

Good job.
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:16 PM

Hi Stephen i do find it very hard to judge frame grabs my only comment on the pics is the "romantic " ? dining scene just going on what you have posted think i would have used the candles to justify a bit of warmth on the actors faces ? John
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:07 PM

Hi Stephen i do find it very hard to judge frame grabs my only comment on the pics is the "romantic " ? dining scene just going on what you have posted think i would have used the candles to justify a bit of warmth on the actors faces ? John


Hi Saul,
Just the Smoque 1 and smoke for diffusion. As i mentioned these are not frame grabs but ref stills from my canon. When i have actual footage i'll post a link.

Hi John,
When we push in for coverage on the actress it gets a bit more romantic:) - like this.....
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:31 PM

Like that Stephen nice .
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#7 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:35 PM

Like that Stephen nice .


Thanks John. 10K with Lagoon Blue for the background and her backlight. Parcan with full CTO bounced off a claycoat for the keylight, and another parcan with 101 yellow skipped off the ground near her feet on the same side as the key.
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#8 John Holland

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:45 PM

You really know what you are doing apart from "nice" just well great work .
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:56 PM

Really nice work Stephen, thanks for sharing the stills. As always, very bold choices with the color palette. Is the globe in the fluorescent practical in pic #3 just a daylight tube or gelled tungsten?

Also, could you tell us a bit about pulling focus with the EX-1, specifically did you're ACs have any problems with the manual focus ring? Were you able to get the kind of DoF you wanted out the 1/2" chip? Also, it looks like you were trying to get the look completely in camera, but given that you shot in cine gamma mode, are you planning on doing specific color grading to the images beyond just matching shots?

Thanks!

* One more question: when you bounced that gelled parcan near the actress's feet, what effect did that have? I can't really see any uplight in her close-up so I guess it was just some slight fill light?

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 14 April 2008 - 02:58 PM.

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#10 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:05 PM

Really nice work Stephen, thanks for sharing the stills. As always, very bold choices with the color palette. Is the globe in the fluorescent practical in pic #3 just a daylight tube or gelled tungsten?

Also, could you tell us a bit about pulling focus with the EX-1, specifically did you're ACs have any problems with the manual focus ring? Were you able to get the kind of DoF you wanted out the 1/2" chip? Also, it looks like you were trying to get the look completely in camera, but given that you shot in cine gamma mode, are you planning on doing specific color grading to the images beyond just matching shots?

Thanks!

* One more question: when you bounced that gelled parcan near the actress's feet, what effect did that have? I can't really see any uplight in her close-up so I guess it was just some slight fill light?


Hi Satsuki,
The tube is gelled with lee Lagoon blue

Pulling focus was fine because i had some great focus pullers. They had Arri LW follo focus's workign off of 15mm rods. They did have to rescale the lenses and understandably checked a lot of critical marks by eye but on the whole it was fine. We werent working handheld or off steadicam though just long lens's off the dolly

I got everything i wanted in camera with the exception of the contrast i would have liked. The images were a little low in contrats so ill crush that a bit in the final grade but not too much.
S
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#11 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:06 PM

The bounced par can with 101 yellow was just to add a little of the yellow to her key light and it helped add a small amount of fill from the key side.
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#12 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:11 PM

Wow, super fast reply! Thanks a lot, Stephen. Can't wait to see the final product.
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#13 Matt Workman

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:54 PM

Hey,

You shoot the best looking short films. :lol: Look forward to seeing the footage.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse about soft lighting, or whatever but on the BTS picture I have a question, maybe for your gaffer:

How would you compare a 5k bounced into ultrabounce, making a 8x8 sized source it looks like and a 5k/9fay pushed through grid. Assuming the size is the same. Is it a logistics choice? To me it seems like the bounce is "softer" more natural than pushing through grid, but I'm always hesitant to make big bounces.

I just watched a BTS on No Country for Old Men and in the opening bank scene you can see a big mess of bright fabric in the corner of the room. I'm assuming he is bouncing a 6k HMI or something like you are. Is the messy/crumply nature adding a randomness to the light that is a more natural then a flat stretched out 8x8?

I know this is subjective, I'm just asking your thought/philosophy on the matter. Not trying to say which way is better or worse.

Also, given that you had a limited budget how did you afford a chapman dolly? I'm trying harder to get Fischer11's and sliders on my projects these days but the cost usually costs me an extra grip etc. Is it a big priority for you?

Thanks,

Matt
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#14 Ed Moore

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 05:14 AM

Hi Stephen,

You said you shot at T2.8 - does the EX1 lens have T-stops, then? Or did you calculate them in tests?

Cheers,

Ed
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#15 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 05:36 AM

Hi Matt,

The 5K bounced ito the claycoat gives a softer light then a 9 light pushed through a gridcloth IMO.
The Grip package (chapman hybrid, slateboard dolly,3ft slider, o'connor and atlas fluid heads etc) is pretty standard on the gigs i do - it was quite funny seeing such a tiny camera on a dolly/head of that size! Personaly i wouldnt do a job if i didnt have a fischer or a chapman - too much of a compromise on the camera moves otherwise. Of course you need to have a good dolly grip to make it all work for you.

Ed,

The EX-1 does have T-stops on its lens.
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#16 Hemant Tavathia

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:38 PM

I've just finished shooting the short film "Calibre" on the Sony Ex-1 (two of them actualy). The script is a pastiche of 80's/90's action movies, with a few large (for a short) action sequnces. Because the budget was tight and i felt we needed two cameras to complete the shoot on schedule and to cover our larger action/stunt scenes i suggested we shoot with two EX-1's in its HQ 1080/25P setting. During the action stuff some footage was shot at 50Fps in the HQ720/25P setting. Both cameras recorded to 16Gb sxs cards which the loader treated as digital film, downloaded to a mac laptop and then backed up to two external hard drives.
We didnt use any 35mm adaptors, partly for budget reasons but mainly because i really wanted to see what the camera could do with the inbuilt Lens. I switched off the matrix and most of the internal processing settings on the camera and set the gamma to cine gamma 3.
We shot at 3200 K throughout the week long shoot, using Smoque 1 filters and ND's for filtration. Almost all the interior sets were smoked except one.
For my tastes the images the camera gave were on a par with the Sony 750, except that i felt the EX-1 didnt hold as much detail in the shadows and wasnt quite as fast as a 750 (I'd usually rate the 750 at 640asa for interiors/night exteriors but i was rating the Ex1 at 500asa). The camera itself is very small - too small - for someone like myself used to film and high end Hd gear, but by adding an astro monitor to each camera for the operators to operate from, and a small arri LFD follow focus we made them work for our purposes.
I've attached some reference stills and some behind the scenes stills. the ref stills were taken on my canon 40D, shot at the same stop/asa and shutter speed as the EX-1's. They images are almost identical to the EX-1 footage except to say the EX-1 footage is a little lower in contrast then these stills.

Because almost all of the script was night interior/exterior i used an entirely tungsten package. Most of the film was shot at T2.8 with skin tones usually being underexposed by 1 1/2 - 2 stops. The colours im using are a mixture of Lee Lagoon blue 172 and Lee Yellow 101. my key light was usually either a 5K bounced into a claycoat ultrabounce from the floor or a toplight from some 4x4 kinflos. Backgrounds were usually lit up with a 20K fresnel and a pair of 10K's.

When I have footage I'll post a link.


Hey Stephen,
thanks for the post. I also checked out your website which was pretty cool. I have one question and please explain to me in as much detail as possible, how do you calculate the ASA of a digital camera. For example, if I was renting an HVX from a rental shop, how would i go about calculating its ASA.
Thanks.
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#17 Michael Nash

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:24 PM

Hey Stephen,
thanks for the post. I also checked out your website which was pretty cool. I have one question and please explain to me in as much detail as possible, how do you calculate the ASA of a digital camera. For example, if I was renting an HVX from a rental shop, how would i go about calculating its ASA.
Thanks.



http://www.mldvideo.com/News+Resources/Rat...'s+ASA.html

It's also been discussed many many times here on the forums.
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#18 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 04:05 AM

http://www.mldvideo.com/News+Resources/Rat...'s+ASA.html

It's also been discussed many many times here on the forums.


I'd second what michael said - I'd also add that when i "rate" a video camera i do so to help me achieve a look that i feel is appropriate to the project im on, So that rating might change from job to job or even within the same job depending on the scene. Sort of like changing the asa on a dslr.
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#19 Freya Black

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 03:03 PM

Those pics look good. It is interesting, because most footage I have seen shot with these cameras is very flat, uninteresting and unlit looking. I have been toying with one and still cannot get past the fact that it is HDV, a compression scheme I loath. However this camera' scheme seems to be a lot better than any other HVD compression that I have seen so far. Also, I find the picture it takes extremely sharp pictures, in an obvious HD way, did you use any image softener/ mist other than smoque filters?

Good job.


As far as I know the EX1 is not actually HDV, although it can output a HDV compatible stream via firewire and it might be possible to put it into some HDV type mode. (not sure about the latter)

It is Mpeg2 based however but can record at up to 35Mbps and also has uncompressed audio, which is obviously a massive plus over HDV. Of course if it is Mpeg2 you really hate then you are still going to have the same issues.

I'm actually more scared of the Mpeg4 codec used in Panasonics replacement for the DVX100B but then again I'm even more scared of the cost of memory cards and at least it uses ordinary ones instead of P2 or whatever it is the Sony EX1 takes.

I don't think the manufacturers are going to let us have nicer codecs on ordinary memory cards so we may have to get used to the idea but at least the bitrates are climbing.

love

Freya
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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 03:32 PM

And the BTS photos.


I hope this doesn't scare you Stephen, but I really, really like the lighting in these shots.

I even love your behined the scenes stills ironically!
...and especially like the second BTS photo. The mix of green blue and yellow is just right and I like the composition with the line of green tiles up one side and the carefully positioned ketchup and salt shaker (or I guess it could be sugar or cocaine depending on the budget) on the other side. I like the way you don't notice the military looking hat on the table at first but then you spot it and suddenly realise that maybe there is more to all this than meets the eye! It's great. Lots of magic there!

For the romantic picture. I like the line of lights that seems to come from her eye into the distance and the complimentary blue flares on the other side too. It's like a technical diagram that shows when someone is looking at something.

Magical stuff!
Now I really want to play with some coloured Gels! :)

love

Freya
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