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Varicam AJ-HDC27H


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#1 Nicholas Wienset

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:38 PM

Hi, my name is Nicholas Wiesnet and I'm a cinematographer at Chapman University. I have a lot of experience with film but hardly any with HD . . . I know, strange right? Anyway, I'm shooting an independent in a month and we'll have handheld work - best accessories for stability? Any recommendations on zoom lenses (I'm going to use microforce)? Can the Varicam take 35mm lens adapters? What's your favorite if so? On board monitor recommended for handheld?

Any cautions about the camera? What has been your experience? How is the latitude? I'm planning on using grad NDs for several sunrise shots - even worth it? If I want exteriors to have a grainy textured feel, like with the 5229, do I just increase the gain? What tricks in camera have worked best for you?

I know these are a lot of questions, but I like hearing personal feedback and experiences rather than trudging through the manual.

Cheers, Nicholas
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 11:45 PM

Buy Godman's guide
http://www.abelcine....?...=356&page=1
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#3 Matt Irwin

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 06:39 PM

Hey Nicholas-

I agree with Bob-- get Goodman's guide. It will explain the Varicam in very straightforward terms and is good to fall back on in an emergency.

The 27H is a great camera with quite a bit of lattitude and a very pretty picture overall. All of your questions regarding the image would be best answered by doing your own tests with the camera as there is only so much one can gain from reading, though I can tell you what I know based on my own experience-- remember there are always 25 correct ways to do everything...


I tend to treat HD cams like a film stock while shooting narrative and leave all the small image tweaks for color grading- I'd recommend using FILM_REC mode and setup for widest possible latitude. With some testing you should be able to calibrate your eye and use a light meter, waveform, or both. If you have a DIT, then you have the extra backup of their knowledge and some paintbox control (but don't get too carried away- it burns time on set). I believe I rated the camera at 500 or 640 at night using film rec @ 0db. There is already a presence of noise at 0db, so test and see what you like in relation to '29.

If you can afford it, get two matching cine style zooms. I've used Canon's 4.5-52 and 7.5-138, both T2.1, and very sharp. Fujinon also makes several E series zooms which are faster and I hear are excellent. Then of course there are digiprimes and digizooms.... Whatever you get, having a wide zoom and a medium-long zoom will cover you for most situations.

Definitely carry a full selection of ND grads (SE and HE) and a POLA. You may never need/want them but they will save your butt in those times you may need to hold a hot sky and a dark bottom foreground etc, etc.

Yes, you can use a 35mm adapter. P+S Pro35 and Letus Ultimate w/ B4 relay are the only ones for 2/3" that come to mind.

For handheld, it's a fairly well balanced camera- it's ENG style afterall- though with a cine zoom it can get a bit front heavy so maybe think about some large batteries on the back to balance it out. Also look for a good set of grips that can keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle, unless you're the type that holds onto the mattebox....

As for on-board monitors, I like the 6" Astro w/ waveform because it's a convenient quick-reference monitor, with an accurate waveform. Panasonic 7" and 8" are beautiful, though according to an engineer I know and trust their built in waveforms are "not exactly true and correct."

good luck,
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#4 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:05 PM

Hi, my name is Nicholas Wiesnet and I'm a cinematographer at Chapman University. I have a lot of experience with film but hardly any with HD . . . I know, strange right? Anyway, I'm shooting an independent in a month and we'll have handheld work - best accessories for stability? Any recommendations on zoom lenses (I'm going to use microforce)? Can the Varicam take 35mm lens adapters? What's your favorite if so? On board monitor recommended for handheld?

Any cautions about the camera? What has been your experience? How is the latitude? I'm planning on using grad NDs for several sunrise shots - even worth it? If I want exteriors to have a grainy textured feel, like with the 5229, do I just increase the gain? What tricks in camera have worked best for you?

I know these are a lot of questions, but I like hearing personal feedback and experiences rather than trudging through the manual.

Cheers, Nicholas


Nicholas,

Yes, start with the goodman's guide. Absolutely allow yourself plenty of time to play with the camera for at least a few days before you begin the movie.

After you read the book, and play with the camera, you're welcome to email me with any questions.

Best of luck!

bruce

www.brucealangreene.com
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Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Opal