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Here's the budget and project, what's the camera


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#1 Allen Kellogg

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:35 PM

We are currently about to begin a multi-picture packet for the year. We are looking at purchasing a camera to shoot them and be able to rent it out in the lulls. We're looking at spending 70-100K on the camera itself and rent the lens package for this go around. (Yes I know many of you want to buy lenses first but let's consider that not an option for now).
I have been going through forum after forum and I keep coming across the HPX3000 as well as the Red of course and the Sony F series. The projects vary from a romantic comedy to horror but the majority of the projects are horror. At least one of these will also get transferred to 35mm after all is said and done. That said...
What camera should we be looking at? Is there a camera I am not thinking of?
I'm leaning toward shooting with the HPX3000 with an Angenieux adapter. Thoughts?
Allen Kellogg
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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:48 PM

I was under-impressed with the Sony's last time I used them, finding the image too flat. Good for CGI work, but not dramatic enough for my taste. I have not used the HVX3000, but the HVX200 was decent. The RED is likely the best pick for that price point.
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#3 Allen Kellogg

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:56 PM

My only concern with the Red was the flow of post production. What I'm finding in my research is that it hasn't been a very easy process to get delievery items out to multiple distribution companies in the formats they need. If they get these post issues resolved I'd love to jump on the Red bandwagon. It seems like more of an experiment right now than a solution.
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#4 Nate Downes

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:31 AM

My only concern with the Red was the flow of post production. What I'm finding in my research is that it hasn't been a very easy process to get delievery items out to multiple distribution companies in the formats they need. If they get these post issues resolved I'd love to jump on the Red bandwagon. It seems like more of an experiment right now than a solution.
Allen Kellogg

No, it's not an easy process. Then again, the HD I've delt with all have had delivery issues of one sort or the other that cost more money than was saved over just shooting on film.

A $20k film camera w/ lenses would leave you more than enough leftover for tons of 35mm filmstock, processing and telecine, but then you'd lack the HD camera to rent afterwards. But then again, I'm the guy planning on shooting an entire feature for less than you're spending on the camera alone, on film.
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#5 Gus Sacks

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:30 AM

The HPX3000 is great. The Angenieux adapter I've heard negative things about, but I know the Pro-35 costs around 30k. Either way, the workflow is there, the quality is there, and I believe it'll be the state of the art at that price range for some time.

Edited by Gus Sacks, 28 May 2008 - 09:31 AM.

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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 01:07 PM

I have not used the HVX3000, but the HVX200 was decent.


HPX3000. Worlds apart from the HVX ;)

Don't bother with adapters with a 2/3" chip camera. Get good 2/3" HD lenses and you'll get the best images.
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#7 Allen Kellogg

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 03:58 PM

Okay. So no adapter on the 3000. The footage I've seen there does look great.

Over the past night I did some more reading up on the Red and the flow of post. As an editor I understand it and it really isn't that bad. I can see how some people shy away if they don't have a lot of experience with FCP or Avid. There are a lot of steps that can be hard on the eyes. I prefer Avid myself and though there is an additional hiccup in working with Red footage in Avid, I think that's where I'd go anyhow. That being said....
If we were in fact to go the Red route (which until today I have been poopooing all on heresay and none of my own research, now I think it sounds great actually) are the Red lenses any good? All I know is that they're cheap. I'm not a DP by any means and I can understand a ton of technical jargon, but lenses isn't my thing. Hopefully I'll know more after today after some heavy reading.

Edited by Allen Kellogg, 28 May 2008 - 04:00 PM.

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#8 Nate Downes

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:09 PM

I would recommend looking at the BNCR adaptor and a set of Canon K35 lenses for it. They are a good pairing, the K35's and RED.
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#9 Walter Graff

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:21 PM

I'd go with Sony or Panasonic tape formats. Both reliable, both have known post paths and no issues and both have prooven track records. And both make great pictures. You'll find more peopel wanting to rnt these camera later on for more areas of production than any other or the niche camera mentioned.
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:55 PM

... but the majority of the projects are horror.

OK, from that you can make your first simplification: Fuggedabout 2/3".

Storytelling is a process of controlled revelation. Especially in horror, you want to use DOF to control what you let the audience see. You can have good full resolution on the actors, and use DOF to help sell the cheesy low budget monster costume or whatever. That narrows your list down to the Red.

The post workflow thing boils down to going to the right facility. Talk to Plaster City and Digital Film Tree, they're the ones so far that get it. There may be more, and if you're not in the LA area it could be harder to find. The file based workflow is actually a major improvement over traditional tape post, so much so that we have a Viper based show using it, and loving it.

The Red lenses, btw, are rumored to be re-housed Sigma still camera glass. I'd go with your plan of renting the glass for a while, at least until the price bubble in good 35mm format lenses bursts.



-- J.S.
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#11 Allen Kellogg

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:36 PM

To be honest, the postflow is pretty worked out as far as I can tell so long as you have an Avid or FCP system on a powerful machine. S Mac would have to have an intel processor with FCP 6, a PC would have to have at least a duel core with an 8700 NVIDIA graphics card. I have the PC and Avid covered already so that helps make my choice as well. If all of what I've read and watched seen from an Avid technician, it should be pretty smooth sailing if you understand what you're doing, just a long render process. Thanks everyone for your input. Red it is and renting some good lenses for a while. I really appreciate everyone's input. It has seriously been like a full week of figuring this issue out between the Sonys the 3000 and to be honest I never thought we'd end up with the red as I had heard a lot of Post problems from people. To be honest (and I can't say it's from experience as I still haven't touched one yet) but I think for many they can't wrap their brains around what the post flow is and/or don't understand it. This leads to frustration to saying that it's worthless. This is only of course if the workflow goes as flawlessly as I understand it to from what I've read.
Thanks again everyone.
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#12 Gus Sacks

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:49 PM

I personally don't like the look 2/3" lenses give...

So I'd still recommend a lens adapter setup. Just a personal preference...
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#13 Michael Most

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:02 PM

The file based workflow is actually a major improvement over traditional tape post, so much so that we have a Viper based show using it, and loving it.


Isn't that Viper based show recording on HDCam SR tape? Or have they changed to a Codex or S.two?
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 02:43 PM

Isn't that Viper based show recording on HDCam SR tape? Or have they changed to a Codex or S.two?

I think they're still tape, I sent them an e-mail to ask.



-- J.S.

Edit: The answer is they're still SR, but on the F-23 camera now. They're considering non-tape options and other cameras for next time.
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#15 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:08 PM

To be honest, the postflow is pretty worked out as far as I can tell so long as you have an Avid or FCP system on a powerful machine. S Mac would have to have an intel processor with FCP 6, a PC would have to have at least a duel core with an 8700 NVIDIA graphics card. I have the PC and Avid covered already so that helps make my choice as well. If all of what I've read and watched seen from an Avid technician, it should be pretty smooth sailing if you understand what you're doing.



This is the big lie that starts many projects. Then you see the problems and realize you are in over your head.

Honestly as a post super I just can't recommend the Avid for tapeless work flow unless you are using something like Ikegami's tapeless system which was designed for the Avid. The computers you are using are part of the post formula but there is a lot more to it than that.
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#16 Nate Downes

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:17 PM

This is the big lie that starts many projects. Then you see the problems and realize you are in over your head.

Honestly as a post super I just can't recommend the Avid for tapeless work flow unless you are using something like Ikegami's tapeless system which was designed for the Avid. The computers you are using are part of the post formula but there is a lot more to it than that.

What always makes me snicker at this is that my main editor's CPU is a 50Mhz 68060.
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#17 Frank Barrera

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 01:25 PM

If you have a DP who you plan on working with you should ask their advice on this. If you don't have anyone you probably should get one. This is a unique opportunity to start a production from the ground up with all parties involved having a say early on. Regardless, if you decide not to hire a DP so early on (which would certainly be understandable) you definetly need to shoot some tests with all of these cameras. After all, you are about to spend $100K on it and you should be not just happy with the picture quality but also confident with the various post paths.

The truth is that any of these cameras would perform very well for your purposes. You just need to either do your own test and decide for yourself or hire a DP and have them help you decide.

By the way, I am available...


good luck.

f
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#18 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 03:23 PM

OK, from that you can make your first simplification: Fuggedabout 2/3".

Storytelling is a process of controlled revelation. Especially in horror, you want to use DOF to control what you let the audience see. You can have good full resolution on the actors, and use DOF to help sell the cheesy low budget monster costume or whatever. That narrows your list down to the Red.


Respectfully, I have to disagree. I have shot 3 horror features on 2/3" cameras and have had no problems with controlling DoF to suit the narrative. With fast lenses (such as Digi Primos - t1.9) you can achieve shallow DoF easily.

Of these three cameras, I would suggest the HPX3000. It's better than HDCAM, cheaper than the F23, and has none of the REDs ongoing development difficulties. Don't use an adapter, use good glass wide open (with a great AC, naturally)
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#19 Mitch Gross

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:42 PM

I would agree with Stuart. The HPX3000 is an amazing camera. Stick a good zoom on it like a Canon 11x4.7 and you're really all set. You could get a very complete camera package including glass for under $100K and still have generous room for important things like batteries, monitors, tripod, follow focus, etc. If you're interested we'd love to build a package with you and discuss the matter. If you wish to go with another camera we can discuss this as well.
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