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Shooting in the Jungle


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#1 chrislockerman

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:14 PM

Hello All,
I will be heading down to the jungles of Brazil in a few months to shoot a low budget action/thriller and I am beginning to put together a potential list of HD packages to bring with me. I am looking for your professional insight and advice on the various cameras available. I am considering everything (from the good ol' HVX 200 workhorse, the Varicam, the Sony EX-3, the Cinealta 900 series, to even the Canon Mark 5DII etc etc.). Maneuverability (this will be the jungle and I will be racing around following the subjects and action - very difficult for a big rig), low light capability and recording formats/storage are my main concerns. Cost will be addressed later. Your thoughts and experience would be much appreciated. Thank you!
-Christian
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#2 Thomas James

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:30 PM

So are you outputting to Blu-Ray disc and or 35mm film?
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#3 chrislockerman

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:49 PM

So are you outputting to Blu-Ray disc and or 35mm film?

Definitely Blu-Ray and if all goes well, 35mm.
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#4 Thomas James

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 04:44 PM

If you want to retain the film look AND you want to be able to capture fast action consider the Varicam. With the Varicam you can idle the camera at 24 frames per second for that beloved film look but when the action gets intense you can rev up the camera to 30 frames per second or even 60 frames per second. All of this will be recorded in a 60 frame per second stream at 720p resolution which can be copied to Blu-Ray disc. If handled correctly the motion will neither speed up or slow down but the cadence may change. Of course all of this is seriously thinking outside of the box but who knows maybe you can be the next Doug Trumble.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 04:07 PM

I'd maybe go with the EX3 only because it's a smaller camera (smaller than a vari cam) with a bigger chip (bigger than HVX) so you get better hand hold-ability but better low light performance; kind of a happy medium.
It's got a lighter codec in it, so you get a bit more record time per g/b. Some might worry that the codec will break apart recording all that detail; but in my own experience on the EX1, you should be ok (test in a Forrest if you can).
I would bring the Canon just to shoot some awesome production stills ;)
Now that's just me and what I'm comforatable with. I would highly recommend going with a camera you know, as you'll have enough troubles in the jungle as is, so might as well go with the camera that 1) renders the look you want easiest, and 2) you know pretty well. Test 'em all out!
My 2c
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:05 PM

Sometimes I think there is a bit too much fuss about this. Any <$10k camera does the same thing basically. It's just personal taste in terms of controls etc and look that appeals to you. And most all Panasonic cameras from Varicam to HVX are noisy, and that noise shows its face very easily. I'm forced to use my varicam for night events for a client and it's always a struggle to deal with low exposure and instant noise unless the blacks are crushed and then you are stuck with less exposure. Sony's new EX entries are probably as good as it gets in the jungle and anywhere else for the price. I suggested the H1 Canon for a friend who shot this doc and he says it was better than he ever expected;

http://www.metamorph.....ETA HOME.html

You don't need a big camera as in size in the jungle nor want them. Any small prosumer camera will do more than you need. Canons are nice for 1/3", Sonys great for 1/2" and Panasonics noisy and most are simply uprezed SD chips so you give up something.
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#7 chrislockerman

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:10 PM

Thank you for all of the insight. And you all make great points. What do you guys think about the rolling shutter shearing of the Sonys? I know their CMOS sensors are 1/2", but if my verticals are comprised as I zip around the jungle, I may be more inclined to stick with Panasonic. I will be testing an EX-3 later this month, so I will certainly check that out, but I would be interested in your thoughts ahead of time. Thanks again!
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:30 PM

I finally saw my first EX1 Rolling shutter, while zoomed in about 80% or so doing 60 MPH along the highway, the street lights decisively bent.I haven't ever seen it under "normal" circumstances, e/g not zoomed in that far, and not shooting out the the side of the car.
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#9 Bob Hayes

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:02 PM

I have yet to use the EX1 or the Panasonic 170. I am thinking of buying one of these cameras and I am really on the fence. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I would be concerned with the EX1 regards to how it would deal with all the leaves and detail.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:16 PM

Yeah, that'd be a concern on my mind as well, though from my experience the camera holds up pretty well "in the wild," though the locations I've taken 'er are nowhere near what one would find in the jungle.
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#11 Serge Teulon

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 05:44 AM

Although it was in a studio situation I thought that the EX-3 was brilliant!
Really nice camera, for what it is, blows all the other prosumer cameras out of the water.

I would use this, not only but also because it's semi-shoulder.

I hear what you are saying Bob but I would be a bit more concerned with latitude. You only have to look at 'Che' to see how it can all go wrong in a jungle!

Edited by Serge Teulon, 28 April 2009 - 05:45 AM.

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#12 chrislockerman

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:59 PM

I haven't had a chance to see "Che" yet (I will be viewing it shortly)... how did it all go wrong in the jungle? And what, in your opinion, happened?
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#13 Peter Moretti

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 08:51 AM

I haven't had a chance to see "Che" yet (I will be viewing it shortly)... how did it all go wrong in the jungle? And what, in your opinion, happened?


"Che 2" was shot with very early releases of Reds. The highlights were decidely blown-out in many scenes. "Che 1" was shot with later builds and more experience and looked quite a bit better.
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#14 Tom Lowe

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:15 AM

I would seriously consider film. Digital cameras suck for forests and jungles.

Too bad the 5D2 cannot shoot 24p. :(
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#15 Steve Phillipps

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:37 PM

I would seriously consider film. Digital cameras suck for forests and jungles.

Too bad the 5D2 cannot shoot 24p. :(


Sony PDW700 is very good in low light, ultra quiet image.
Steve
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