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Red One Limitations


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#1 David Mun

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:46 AM

Hi Everyone,

I just finished shooting a feature with the Red camera last week and about to shoot another one next week. Let me give you a back-story about the last shoot.

We shot the entire movie day exteriors in the woods, so lighting was never an issue and using the cameras native color temp was easy. The only thing I really worried about was highlights being blown out and the shadows being WAY underexposed and I didn’t want to have the image turn out bad from boosting it in post and getting weird noise.

That being said, it didn’t look bad, from what I can tell, when I was in the blue to light blue (false color mode). I worried about the reds from hot sun hitting leaves or branches and eventually let them get close to clipping or just let it go. All in all it looked okay, from looking at a laptop and not a properly calibrated monitor.

On occasion I had these really weird flare like or vertical halos around the actors, from either props or just themselves moving around in frame. I only noticed that when I was wide open on the lens and know it wasn’t a flare hitting the lens because I checked for them and it wasn’t sunny enough to make a hard kick. Is that an IR issue? I have the hot mirror filters but didn’t use it since it only happened twice. Unfortunately I didn’t check in the computer after it was offloaded to see if it was from the viewing system on the camera.

The next movie I’m shooting, will involve lighting and I haven’t used the tungsten settings on the camera yet. I am also shooting night exteriors (scripted) but plan on doing day for night since we don’t have big enough lights to light the jungle. I did a day for night test too and wasn’t too shabby.

So this is my curiosity and in need of advice from you all.

Do you shoot with grey cards (like you would with film) or a sheet of white paper for white balancing the camera or not worry and fix it in post?

What are my limitations and how far have you guys pushed the camera for looks? It seems to me that you can go real far with this thing and take advantage of allowing it to stretch to its maximum.

I’m going to be in extreme humid and rainy conditions. The rain I know the camera can handle since on the last shoot it rained about a third of the production. I made a little rain cover for the camera and worked quite well. The humidity is a bigger concern. Has anyone experienced this? I plan on bringing a mini blow dryer just incase I need to dry out the insides if needed.

Sorry if this was real long and thanks for the read.

Dave
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

Grey scales only make sense if someone is going to time the dailies. If they are straight conversions from RAW to video, then the metadata will provide the look you saw on the set monitor (in theory.)

I never used the white balance feature, I usually picked a color temp that created the look I wanted. For example, a 3700K setting would make 3200K lighting look a bit warmer. A 6400K setting would make 5600K lighting warmer. If you have some green to get rid of, like under store fluorescents, you can adjust the color, add magenta, to correct it in the metadata, though CC Magenta filters may do a better job.

Remember that the camera is naturally daylight balance, so tungsten is a correction that involves boosting the blue channel. If you have enough light for a mild blue filter in tungsten lighting, it will help, though the new color science in the latest build has helped with the blue noise problem.

As far as pushing the camera, personally, I wouldn't recommend it unless it is an emergency. The camera needs a decent exposure, especially in tungsten lighting.
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#3 Oli Soravia

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 05:24 PM

It is wise to avoid too much humidity, coldness (below O-Celsius) and also heat. The cam is also very sensitive to dust, there`s a problem to protect the whole body because of its blower. On my last feature I had some problems with the cam because of its temperature steadiness. Initially I also had some concerns about the limitations of the cameras exposure curve, and I was really surprised (after checking the material with scratch on a 2K digi-projection screen) that the noise in the blacks is not a problem, even if there is some, you can grade it easily to look good. With the highlights you have to be a bit more careful, if you do a DI and go for a masterneg, they work well washed out or overexposed, if you go for a tv or DVD version, they can look like a bad videoshot. So it could be advisible to do two different DI`s. Regarding the metadata, I can only say, I never worked with them. I keep my lighting color temperature around 5000K and avoid going below. It can also be helpful to do your own exposure tests (generally the material looks better a bit underexposed -1/2) to find the look you are going for, and because all REDS I `ve tested reacted differently. And 320 ASA is - as far as I concern - not realistic. It`s more around 120-200ASA, but this should only be important regarding your lighting list. I would forget the metadata and try to learn how raw reacts. I did two entire features with RED, timed them to 4K DIs and printed them to masternegs. And they look great. Good luck.
OLI
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#4 Mike Thorn

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:43 PM

I wrote a reply this afternoon, but apparently my computer ate it. ++1 operator error.

On occasion I had these really weird flare like or vertical halos around the actors, from either props or just themselves moving around in frame. I only noticed that when I was wide open on the lens and know it wasn’t a flare hitting the lens because I checked for them and it wasn’t sunny enough to make a hard kick. Is that an IR issue? I have the hot mirror filters but didn’t use it since it only happened twice.

It's a monitor issue. It's not going to disk. I've even seen it on bright interiors.

I'll guarantee you'll see a remarkable difference in optical clarity for sunny exteriors if you use a hot mirror. I'll never do an exterior shoot without one. Rosco and Formatt are the best.

I’m going to be in extreme humid and rainy conditions. The rain I know the camera can handle since on the last shoot it rained about a third of the production. I made a little rain cover for the camera and worked quite well. The humidity is a bigger concern. Has anyone experienced this? I plan on bringing a mini blow dryer just incase I need to dry out the insides if needed.

I think you have to treat these cameras like crew people in their own right. They each have different personalities. Oli's camera didn't like extremes. Most of the cameras I've worked with didn't mind the heat or the cold. On my last feature we spent an hour inside a walk-in freezer below 32 degrees. Camera loved it. A couple features before that, we spent three weeks doing exteriors in the August heat of Texas (high 80's to 90's, humidity the same) and we never had a problem with the camera. I kept a small fan on it when I could, which wasn't often, but the camera didn't complain. Flexible ice packs wouldn't be a bad idea, but I've not tried it myself yet.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 12:28 AM

Flexible ice packs wouldn't be a bad idea, but I've not tried it myself yet.


I don't know, I would be concerned about condensation.
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#6 Mike Thorn

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 10:34 AM

I don't know, I would be concerned about condensation.

Wrapped in a thin towel, maybe?
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#7 Mike Thorn

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 10:47 AM

I don't know, I would be concerned about condensation.

Wrapped in a thin towel, maybe?
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 01:33 PM

Wrapping the Red in anything is usually a bad idea. Unlike film cameras, the heat problem with electronics is the heat they generate inside, not heat absorbed from outside. Shade and air flow are what you want for that. Any kind of cover merely acts as insulation, keeping the camera's heat in.

A small quiet fan blowing on the camera is ideal. It's also the solution to condensation. That's how frost-free freezers work, a small fan keeps the air moving so water doesn't condense out and freeze.





-- J.S.
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 09:19 PM

A small quiet fan blowing on the camera is ideal. It's also the solution to condensation. That's how frost-free freezers work, a small fan keeps the air moving so water doesn't condense out and freeze.

-- J.S.

Actually, that’s not quite right. In a frost-free freezer, while ever the door is closed, a small fan blows the air over a chiller plate normally hidden behind the back panel. Because the plate is colder than everything else in the freezer, any water in the air tends to preferentially condense on it as frost.

Once every 24 hours (usually), a timer switches the fan and fridge compressor off for a few minutes. At the same time an electric heater element comes on and melts the accumulated frost on the chiller plate. The water drains down to a evaporator dish under the fridge, where it will normally evaporate over the course of the next 24 hour period.

Occasionally people get concerned about smoke and/or a smell of burning coming from their freezer. That’s often caused by food falling through the air circulation slot onto the heater element. (Frozen peas are notorious for this, as well as blocking the drain tube and causing a mysterious ice buildup at the bottom of the compartment).

Anyway, if the RED is the coldest thing in the room, all the moisture in the air is likely to wind up condensing on it!
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#10 Mike Thorn

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 09:59 PM

Wrapping the Red in anything is usually a bad idea. Unlike film cameras, the heat problem with electronics is the heat they generate inside, not heat absorbed from outside. Shade and air flow are what you want for that. Any kind of cover merely acts as insulation, keeping the camera's heat in.

You're right of course - and just to clarify, I didn't mean wrapping the camera itself in a towel. In my experience, the freezer packs don't condensate all that much, and I would probably wedge them under the top rails where they would have the most surface contact with the body without getting near exposed body ports.

Ideally, a heatsink mounted to the top of the camera would probably wick away the most heat. I suppose there's already a large one inside near the fans.
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 12:26 PM

The water drains down to a evaporator dish under the fridge, where it will normally evaporate over the course of the next 24 hour period.


Well, I'll have to check this out. In the old days, I remember having a fridge with a pan underneath that had to be emptied from time to time. Nice little weekend project -- find the fridge instructions and look for the water pan. See what you've got me into..... ;-)






-- J.S.
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#12 Keith Walters

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 08:07 PM

Well, I'll have to check this out. In the old days, I remember having a fridge with a pan underneath that had to be emptied from time to time. Nice little weekend project -- find the fridge instructions and look for the water pan. See what you've got me into..... ;-)
-- J.S.

You would normally only have to empty the pan if the fridge is in a closed-up area with high humidity. Modern fridges have the freon condenser coils on the back (the things that get hot) covered over, and another small fan directs the warm air from them over the evaporator pan. If that fan stops working (not uncommon) you will get water leaking onto the floor.

Another cause is the freezer door not sealing properly, with the result that the freezer tries to de-humidify all the air in the room! You should feel a warm draught coming from under the front of the fridge when the compressor motor is running.
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#13 Von Thomas

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:50 AM

Do you shoot with grey cards (like you would with film) or a sheet of white paper for white balancing the camera or not worry and fix it in post?

Dave


To some of you guys I'm relatively new to motion, but I have over ten years working with digital files in still photography. While you can shoot both (still and motion) without the use of a gray card, the time saved, with the color neutrality dialed in, in an instant is not worth the fuss if you don't shoot one. It's way to easy to take time to do this. Now it's not the normal workflow for film, but this is digital, and digital is different. I can have your clips going to post without color cast, all day long. Every editor I've worked with only has praises and smiles on their faces. Now I'm not talking about making a color look decision, just getting to "0". Color neutral, meaning skins tones look right, the scene looks right, now where you go from there is your creative decision, your touch, but this time, you start from what looks normal.

Gray Card, absolutely, its a digital photographers best friend. Every professional (advertising, fashion, catalog, editorial) digital shoot done by professional capture firms use this daily, if not, they would spend more time, and money in post. This has been the norm from day one in digital still. RED is a digital still camera, that shoots motion.

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Edited by Von Thomas, 12 July 2009 - 12:53 AM.

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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:28 AM

Gray Card, absolutely, its a digital photographers best friend.


Do you just use 18% gray, or do you use a gray scale? The picture looks to have black, gray, and white patches on the top of the card.




-- J.S.
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#15 Von Thomas

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:39 AM

Do you just use 18% gray, or do you use a gray scale? The picture looks to have black, gray, and white patches on the top of the card.




-- J.S.

That is a QP Card. They manufacture them to be identical, so you are consistently working with the same value. I also use a DSC Labs gray scale, thing is I only need gray, never use anything else (but the white and black are useful reference), and if you check my site, http://digitaltechnyc.com, every shot for every client was done that way. In the 8Bit RGB workflow the middle gray should be 127, 127, 127, I know I have a neutral image. Also white would be 247 to 250, I know I'm not clipping, black 15 to 30, I still have detail.
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:36 PM

In the 8Bit RGB workflow the middle gray should be 127, 127, 127, I know I have a neutral image. Also white would be 247 to 250, I know I'm not clipping, black 15 to 30, I still have detail.


Thanks -- So getting the middle right is plenty good enough for dailies. The high end seems to track very well, but the toe at 15 to 30 might bend noticeably. If blue is high, that could look natural, as daylight shadows generally get blue fill from the sky. What are the typical RGB values in the blacks?



-- J.S.
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