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Genesis, Shutter Angles


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#1 Cody Cuellar

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 08:19 AM

Hey everyone,

I'm new to this forum, but I just have a few things that I'm really confused about with the Genesis. I've never personally used one or even seen one in production, but I noticed something really odd today. A while back when I first watched Apacalypto, I thought the look of it in terms of the motion of the footage looked a bit "off" for lack of better words. After reading up on it, I found it was shot on the Genesis. Something about it, especially certain scenes really stuck out to me as looking especially "video-like", although most people couldn't figure out what I was talking about.

Anyway, today I went to 2012, of which I watched a leaked clip on youtube and thought it looked terrible (the live action sequences, not the CGI). I figured it was just the streaming quality, so I went to see it at the theater, and it looked exactly as I had expected. Almost 100% of the live action footage just looked like video to me, and I pointed it out to my friend and said, "I bet you this was shot on Genesis, because it looks like other films I've seen shot on Genesis." Now I've been having a hard time lately at the theaters picking out what is shot on film and what is shot digitally (i.e. I completely thought Benjamin Button was film after seeing it before reading up on it). So I get home from 2012, look it up and sure enough it was Genesis. Now I need to see more films shot on Genesis to really make a good analysis, but is it the camera, or are the DPs of these films just choosing bad shutter angles, or could they possibly be doing this on purpose?? I doubt I'm the only one who noticed this, but it drove me NUTS in the theater, to the point where I just couldn't stop thinking about how awful I thought it looked (again, hardly anyone else noticed it though).

Second weird part was I watched the Panavision vs Film test on Panavision's website, and got all three wrong!! Which I still can't figure out because the Genesis handled highlights softer than the film that had a red abbaration around the edges of specular highlights, which I thought was a dead giveaway of the digital, but I guess I was wrong. Plus, I couldn't tell from the motion either so I'm assuming it was shot with a faster shutter speed (although I did see motion blur in pans, it just looked the same between the two cameras). How did that test throw me off but I can spot a Genesis at the movies so easily?

So what's going on here? Maybe I need to just watch more films shot on Genesis, and perhaps they aren't all like this. So am I crazy or are these particular films being shot like this on purpose, or is this just what all footage ends up looking like from Genesis?? Let me know your guys' thouhts!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 12:26 PM

There was a deliberate decision in "Apocalypto" to shoot some action scenes in the jungle with a 360 degree (i.e. no shutter) to get a lot of blur which is unique to digital (a film camera generally doesn't go beyond a 200 degree shutter.) It's not particularly a Genesis thing though, you see it in other digital features, it's just that the Genesis has been the most popular digital camera for big features in the past few years.

Now even at 180 degrees, an electronic shutter such as on the Genesis does create a slightly different look to the blur than a mechanical 180 degree shutter, but it's fairly subtle except in fast motion.

It's quite common to switch to a 270 degree shutter on a digital camera in lower light levels, it's less of a motion blur compromise compared to a 360 degree shutter, and it gets you another 1/2-stop of exposure.
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#3 Cody Cuellar

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:36 PM

It must just be I'm noticing this on features that just happen to be shot on Genesis, maybe the Genesis users just so happen to be using this longer shutter speed on purpose. I don't understand why they are doing it though, unless everyone thinks it looks cool. I shot a scene in a movie at 360ยบ on the HVX200 only because it was supposed to emulate a video the main character was watching, and it was going to be edited in the 24P timeline. This worked perfectly for what I wanted, but this look for the main scenes and action scenes looks awful to me.

Does this annoy anyone but me though?

All things aside, the Genesis vs 35mm test was pretty incredible.
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#4 David Grauberger

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:29 PM

Hi Cody,

I DEEPLY sympathize. I wish I knew more of what I'm thinking but I'm terribly interested in what your saying. I've nearly walked out of movies because I can't seem to engage in the story. The video look is too overt to me to engage. I did some research and most all movies I've had hard times with come back to the Genesis, F900, and the Viper. But even then I don't get it. Could it be the DP's shutter choices as people suggest? I've had problems viewing Miami Vice, Public Enemies, Date Night, Get Smart, Click, and 21. Its as if I'm standing on a film set with the actors reading their lines.

I am a huge fan of these directors and DP's but cannot understand why the presentation looks so video-like. I'm replying to this forum just vent or sympathize with the look of these films. As a DP myself I'd like to know what is going on with these cameras and why the picture looks so Soap Opera-esc.

Is it just the 360 degree shutter?
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