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Scarlet Rain (ULB horror) shooting with SI2k


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:05 PM

Just coming off of a very low budget feature and thought I'd share a few full size frame grabs. This was going to be a S16 show but the budget kept shrinking so they asked me to find a digital option, which is unfortunate. After spending a few weeks with a RED on a feature just before this, and not enjoying the issues I ran into or the fact that seemingly every indie now uses it and are starting to share a common "look", I thought the SI would be a better fitting camera for this one and wanted the FoV/DoF characteristics of a 2/3" anyway.

The SI2K was rented from Abel in NY with a Canon zoom and Optar/Arri primes mixed. I believe this is the first feature they rented out the SI on. Marcos Herrera, my AC, helped in getting it set up with some Arri hand grips so we could go hand-held and learned it's unique features before it showed up in rural WV where we were shooting. Abel was on top of things when we had questions and shipped out a few items very quickly when we needed them, and in less than 24 hours. (Thanks guys)

The SI proved far more reliable than the other guys. We didnt have one crash, one dropped frame or one bad boot (other than a battery-cable issue). We also used the new flash drives that Abel can provide which were 120gb each. I did have an issue with one drive not being recognized before shooting started so we just didnt use it. There was no DIT and Im far from being one but was able to back-up at night in my hotel room via my old laptop to two 1tb back-up drives. I had one shot with an issue but it was laptop or flash related I believe. Like I said, no DIT, but we didnt lose anything in the end.

The SI can do some interesting things that no one else can touch. It uses an 7" touch-screen to operate everything from and you just tap the screen in different places to activate certain features, along with having several buttons on the sides of your frame. The feature that drew me to it the most was the IRIDAS. You can just dial in whatever look you want and shoot it. It applies the nondestructive look file to the RAW data so post knows where you are going. This was a big deal on this one since I was forced into many DFN shots. You can also remove the sensor/lens mount and put that anywhere. I didnt get to use it on this really but it changes your options in a big way.

We shot in 2K mode and composed for 16:9. Handheld, while not as nice as an Aaton, was much easier to do than what I went through on the last feature with a RED (which I found almost impossible to handle). The SI was pretty light, esp. if you get someone to follow you with a block batt. It can also mirror/flip for monitor.

Images look more organic to me than any other digital I've seen so far. The SI seems to handle colors more like film. You record a full 2k 444 CineForm RAW image and files can be avi.'s or mov.'s. Editing requires buying CineForm but you are then able to do easy desktop 444 2k post work, with Adobe or Final Cut, as CineForm is much like ProRes. The SI seems to have more exposure range than the others too, but I wasnt able to judge that 100%. It also seemed as sensitive in low light or more so than some but I couldnt judge noise in the RAW that well without a bigger field monitor, which I didnt have, so I cant say more about that.

Unfortunately I dont have any frames from the shots themselves yet but these were grabbed during set-ups or walk-throughs. I feel like I have to say that we had two 1.2k HMI's to work with, a few small lights/bulbs, a lighting crew of one and often just a few minutes to set up.

These are compressed jpg's created in camera with the "save image" button. They were not graded in any way.

Scarlet_Rain_7_17_2009_26_Jul_2009_01_42_35.jpg
Both HMI's out in the yard. I set the look file up with some crushed blacks and balanced around 4k. There was a little fill in the room that could be pulled out but I kept pushing it out of the looks in most cases on these int. shots.

Scarlet_Rain_7_6_2009_12_Jul_2009_12_11_10.jpg
This was shot in daylight and the DFN look applied was done 100% in-camera. One HMI and some bounce.

Scarlet_Rain_7_15_2009_23_Jul_2009_10_02_55.jpg
Both HMI's outside a restaurant's window. One of the few daylight scenes we had, this one being late day. Look was set to warm things up a little and tweaked quickly for contrast. Hopefully Alex wont get upset that I caught his mouth in an odd position.

Scarlet_Rain_7_15_2009_23_Jul_2009_15_44_05.jpg
HMI's about 30ft from the car and a 10watt fluorescent bulb with gel laying on the shifter. I think a PA may have been blocking a little of the light to the right when I grabbed it.
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#2 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:17 PM

Scarlet_Rain_7_17_2009_25_Jul_2009_22_01_37.jpg
300w bulb from Lowes in the practical ceiling fixture in the room, and a daylight flour. bulb down a stairwell.

Scarlet_Rain_7_13_2009_21_Jul_2009_13_35_24.jpg
One HMI about 60ft. away, in the yard.

Scarlet_Rain_7_11_2009_18_Jul_2009_23_59_34.jpg
Same as the other car set-up at night but the look file wasnt tweaked exactly the same way since the shadows are showing a little more here.

I'll try to get some other grabs if anyone cares. I wish I could post some of the more exciting shots but forum admin may not appreciate those. I may at least be able to find some that dont involve car shots!
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#3 Richard Vialet

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:39 PM

Cool looking stuff for such little resources...

Congrats on being able to shoot on something other than the RED!

**Can you explain the "IRIDAS" a little more and the process of creating the look in camera? Is the looked used as metadata throughout the whole editorial process with the mov files but can be changed in Cineform when you want?

**Are there options for generating frame guides for composing in other aspect ratios in camera?
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#4 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:53 PM

Cool looking stuff for such little resources...

Congrats on being able to shoot on something other than the RED!

**Can you explain the "IRIDAS" a little more and the process of creating the look in camera? Is the looked used as metadata throughout the whole editorial process with the mov files but can be changed in Cineform when you want?

**Are there options for generating frame guides for composing in other aspect ratios in camera?


Thanks and yes, refreshing and hope the trend continues. And hopefully producers will again realize the value of film and get over this digital stuff altogether, for most feature work anyway.

IRIDAS Speedgrade is built in and allows you to tap the "set look" button which brings up little wheels and these let you adjust offset, gamma, color gain, etc. all by touch. There is another button within that screen that goes to a second control area and there you can play with contrast, tint, color balance, etc. I can't recall what else... still trying to recover from the schedule. Yes you can change it anytime but it is used during edit which helps so much. This editor hasn't worked with RAW yet and I asked him not to let anyone see it without a look applied.

Yes, you tap the bottom right of the screen and you see: No lines, 16:9, 1:85 or 2.4. Tap above right I think and you can see full screen without buttons or middle right to see your RAW. The very middle goes to zoom for focus checks. Left side does your exposure check, which is very useful when you start playing with looks, edge detection and histogram... Marcos knows better than I, I could be mistaken with where you tap.

Scarlet_Rain_7_15_2009_23_Jul_2009_17_00_41.jpg
Yet another car shot. One 1.2k and a silver board back onto him.
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#5 Richard Vialet

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:05 PM

* Sounds extremely straight foward! I would love to use the camera!

If it's possible i'd love to see some full day exterior stuff if you've got it!

Again...good job
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:40 PM

We didnt have one crash, one dropped frame or one bad boot


And guess what, it's the only production tool I know of that runs Windows.

Go figure.

P
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#7 Joe Giambrone

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 02:53 AM

When you say "organic" do you specifically mean the noise in the shadows looks more like film grain? These shots look more like film grain than the Red, but I'd have to see them running.

I'm not a fan of the Red One "look," and can usually spot it. But, the next generation sensors offer some promise.
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#8 Emmanuel Lariviere

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 10:16 PM

Good work, Vincent. Do you have any BTS pictures, so we can see your handheld and other camera rigs?
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#9 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 02:29 AM

When you say "organic" do you specifically mean the noise in the shadows looks more like film grain? These shots look more like film grain than the Red, but I'd have to see them running.

I'm not a fan of the Red One "look," and can usually spot it. But, the next generation sensors offer some promise.


It's a difficult thing to pin down but overall the SI's images just feel less plastic and sterile to me, for whatever reason. It's definitely not just the noise texture but a combination of many things.

New sensors will still be sterile and strict just with more pixels, as if more are needed.
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#10 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 02:46 AM

Good work, Vincent. Do you have any BTS pictures, so we can see your handheld and other camera rigs?


I will try to post some soon. The handheld rig was nothing more than two Arri handles. The SI has provisions for them to screw right into. We made a pad from a piece of rubber foam. Without the anton, it was very easy to hold. Like the red, this thing likes batteries so we ended up using a powerful block batt. 80% of the time, which would get us through most of the day. The issue when holding was the monitor and not having a good enough arm to put it in the best spot. If I use the SI again, that will need to be sorted out. The EVF wasn't that great so I stopped using it after the first day.

DSC_0316.JPG
Here is a look at the monitor when shooting.
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#11 Rob Vogt

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 08:28 PM

I was just talking with Marcos last Tues on his day off and he mentioned this project. He said he really enjoyed it and that he also prefers the SI 2k over the Red. These grabs look awesome. I didn't realize abel even had an SI 2k!
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:05 PM

Vince, great posts and thanks for the shout outs. We really agree that the SI-2K offers something special and are happy to support it along with our other cameras. Your stuff looks great.
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:28 AM

Okay, a bit of a crazy question this, but I assume the SI2K doesn't shoot sound at all?

Potentially I could shoot on this as I have a set of cooke primes in c-mount.
I need to key a LOT of footage and I undesrtand this camera setup can even display live keying so I could see how bad (or good) the keys were going.

I'm toying with the idea that I could reshoot whatever is too complicated to key on the SI-2K and shoot the less complicated shots on something else. (HVX/HPX/EX1 etc)

If theres any provision for sound that would be great, otherwise I might be creating more issues than solving.

love

Freya
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#14 Mitch Gross

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:12 PM

It can in fact record sound if you are using the full-sized camera setup or the Mini head tethered to the full-sized camera. But in practice I find that I would generally recommend shooting double system instead. I'm not a fan of their audio interface and it just means that many more cables hanging off the camera body.
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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:44 PM

It can in fact record sound if you are using the full-sized camera setup or the Mini head tethered to the full-sized camera. But in practice I find that I would generally recommend shooting double system instead. I'm not a fan of their audio interface and it just means that many more cables hanging off the camera body.


Thanks Mitch! :)

Cables not a prob for this as it's just studio green screen so not a load of running around.

I suspect this might not be the full system tho. It's a little thing connected to a macbook pro.
I have a usb sound interface and could add a mixer but no idea if the mac system would handle that.

love

Freya
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#16 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 04:31 PM

I was just talking with Marcos last Tues on his day off and he mentioned this project. He said he really enjoyed it and that he also prefers the SI 2k over the Red. These grabs look awesome. I didn't realize abel even had an SI 2k!


You must have talked to him before we got to one of the two the cat urine filled houses.

We both agreed early on that the SI was obviously not built by some start-up company. That P+S housing is a commercial quality design.

It does have some issues though that I assume will be worked out. The cabling set-up is a little fragile and more like what a computer would have on it to connect to monitor, etc., and my only big complaint, and this has to be fixed, is that your image on the monitor goes into what looks like an SD mode when you are recording.
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#17 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:28 AM

I was able to get a few more.

Scarletgrab4.jpg
Moving raindrop effect on face done with HMI in yard and water sprayed onto window. China ball inside with 200w bulb.
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#18 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:33 AM

scarletgrab3.jpg
HMI about 30ft away, no filtering and soft silver board onto her. A little motion blur is present as she was still walking. Set-up time avail.: 4 min.
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#19 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:41 AM

Scarletgrab5.jpg
This was part of a flashback type of scene. A 1/2 classic soft was used and some soft bounce from a white board. The kid entering frame is on a swing-set.
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#20 Rob Vogt

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 05:54 PM

You must have talked to him before we got to one of the two the cat urine filled houses.

We both agreed early on that the SI was obviously not built by some start-up company. That P+S housing is a commercial quality design.

It does have some issues though that I assume will be worked out. The cabling set-up is a little fragile and more like what a computer would have on it to connect to monitor, etc., and my only big complaint, and this has to be fixed, is that your image on the monitor goes into what looks like an SD mode when you are recording.


Yeah I was on a shoot with him a couple of weeks ago and he told me more about the shoot, and I told him about this thread. It seemed like a really interesting set. A couple of shoots ago with him we were on location in a crappy motel and in the room we found blood semen and marijuana... only one of which was set dressing.

These pics look really cool btw. Gotto love the water drops effect!
How's the workflow with this camera set up for you?
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