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Looking for any advice regarding camera, codecs, and steadicams.


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#1 Evan Pierre

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 02:28 AM

Hey,
I have been asked to dp a very ambitious short film and have come up with a number of questions. Through discussion with the director we have come to the decision to shoot digitally, preferably HD. He wants to have a camera that has the ability to produce decent slow-motion and also have either interchangeable lenses or work with a 35mm lens adapter. Our shoot is very hectic in nature and involves a huge amount of locations and tons of setups for every day of shooting. Also we are planning to shoot most of the film on steadicam. As such I would like to find a camera that is smaller in size and uses a recording media that will allow for maximum shooting and minimum downtime/hassle. (tape?)

That is as far as we have come regarding choice in camera. I have begun researching for potential candidates but find myself overwhelmed by the absolute sea of options available. From my research both the JVC GY-HD110U and the Canon XL-H1 have begun to look attractive as far as size and cost go. (although they are a bit big...?)

One thing that the director and I have discussed and I am hoping I could get some clarification on is editing HD. We have both agreed that in the end our film is going to be mainly distributed via DVD's. As such we have been discussing whether shooting HD would really give us higher picture quality when in the end it will be authored to a DVD. I have been reading about different codecs and so far HDV is looking the best for our purposes. I will be editing on decently powerful Mac Pro in the latest version Final Cut Studio. Will I encounter any problems working with HDV? Is there a better codec and how does it compare?

As far as steadicams go the rig will probably need to be fairly compact as the nature of our shoot will be very run and gun with lots of "borrowed" shots. I was thinking about maybe going with the steadicam merlin but that would limit the weight of our camera to about 7.5 lbs. I also looked at the Glidecam 400, how does it perform without the vest? Any other suggestions?

Thank you so much for any suggestions or advice, I will add more questions as the project progresses.

Thank You!

- Evan Pierre

(I initially posted this in the HD section but decided to repost here after nobody replied)
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#2 Matt Rosen

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 11:33 AM

I also looked at the Glidecam 400, how does it perform without the vest?


Rather than dispersing the weight throughout the upper body, the entire weight of the rig is placed on your shoulders and wrist. I haven't had much luck with it.

If you are gonna use it, you really need to be in great shape and have gotten a lot of practice with it beforehand. Otherwise your arm will buckle, and the shot will be shaky anyway.
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#3 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:24 PM

I personally recommend Cineform Neo Scene (http://www.cineform....ts/NeoScene.htm) which ultimately converts all your HDV footage to an easy and fast-to-edit intermediate with lossless quality. This isn't an advertising pitch or anything, just honest advice from experience.

As far as cameras go I'd recommend the Sony HVR-V1U, http://pro.sony.com/...product-HVRV1U/, which shoots in progressive and delivers excellent imagery. It will also support any 35mm adapters you may use.

As far as camera stabilisation goes, the Steadicam Merlin w/ vest and/or Glidecam are both good choices. Just go for the one that suits your needs the best.

Edited by Marcus Johnston, 06 February 2009 - 09:25 PM.

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