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best HD camera for night time CGI shot


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#1 Chris Clarkson

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:05 AM

Hi All you knowledgeable folk,

I am helping out on a low budget movie that requires some CGI work.
They are shooting on 35mm and scanning it to SR.
They need to shoot a railway station at night for some CGI work but because of budget constraints they want to shoot it on HD.
I am ruling out HDCAM due to its keying problems, but can you shed some light on what might be a good choice of camera to shoot this shot on.
I have been told that the money is tight, not sure what an Arri D21 with anciliary kit costs per day but I thought this may be a good choice?

What do you guys think?

Many thanks

Chris
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:03 PM

Hi All you knowledgeable folk,

I am helping out on a low budget movie that requires some CGI work.
They are shooting on 35mm and scanning it to SR.
They need to shoot a railway station at night for some CGI work but because of budget constraints they want to shoot it on HD.
I am ruling out HDCAM due to its keying problems, but can you shed some light on what might be a good choice of camera to shoot this shot on.
I have been told that the money is tight, not sure what an Arri D21 with anciliary kit costs per day but I thought this may be a good choice?

What do you guys think?

Many thanks

Chris


The ARRI D21 is one of the slowest cameras out there, sensitivity-wise, so unless you can light this place, or it's very bright, or you can undercrank, I'd get a more sensitive camera. The Sony F35 and Panavision Genesis are pretty good in low light.

What keying issues? Are you putting chroma key material in the shot? If they are simply painting out parts of the frame in post, or using it as a background plate, there isn't really a keying issue.

The Panasonic 3700 can send out 4:4:4 to an external recorder, but again, if there is no chroma keying, a 4:2:2 camera would probably be fine if the compression scheme that it uses is good. Even the F900 might be fine depending on what they are doing to the shot.

If they can't afford to shoot this shot in 35mm and transfer it to HDCAM-SR, then I wonder if they can afford any of the high-end cameras like the F35, Genesis, D21 + SRW1 deck -- they are all pretty expensive to rent.

A Red One may be more reasonable, or one of the 2/3" cameras.
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#3 Chris Clarkson

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:37 PM

The ARRI D21 is one of the slowest cameras out there, sensitivity-wise, so unless you can light this place, or it's very bright, or you can undercrank, I'd get a more sensitive camera. The Sony F35 and Panavision Genesis are pretty good in low light.

What keying issues? Are you putting chroma key material in the shot? If they are simply painting out parts of the frame in post, or using it as a background plate, there isn't really a keying issue.

The Panasonic 3700 can send out 4:4:4 to an external recorder, but again, if there is no chroma keying, a 4:2:2 camera would probably be fine if the compression scheme that it uses is good. Even the F900 might be fine depending on what they are doing to the shot.

If they can't afford to shoot this shot in 35mm and transfer it to HDCAM-SR, then I wonder if they can afford any of the high-end cameras like the F35, Genesis, D21 + SRW1 deck -- they are all pretty expensive to rent.

A Red One may be more reasonable, or one of the 2/3" cameras.


Hi david,

Thanks for your response. I think it is going to be adding and removing from the image with no green screen. Is the Panasonic camera DVC PRO HD or the Varicam?
I would love them to use the F35, I will look into cost and availability.
So, we should be ok using 4:2:2, but should I try and steer clear of 3:1:1 camera's?
As you can tell, camera's aren't my strong point :)

Many thanks

Chris
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:04 PM

Hi david,

Thanks for your response. I think it is going to be adding and removing from the image with no green screen. Is the Panasonic camera DVC PRO HD or the Varicam?
I would love them to use the F35, I will look into cost and availability.
So, we should be ok using 4:2:2, but should I try and steer clear of 3:1:1 camera's?
As you can tell, camera's aren't my strong point :)

Many thanks

Chris


I'm not sure, if there is no chroma key material in the shot, that a railway station at night will look that different at 3:1:1, 4:2:2. or 4:4:4. The main differences will be how clean and sharp the red and blue areas in the frame are. And the compression and bit depth issues (HDCAM being much more compressed than HDCAM-SR, and only 8-bit instead of 10-bit). There will be some optical "texture" around points of light associated with 2/3" 3-CCD prism block cameras too, particularly if you end up with an ENG zoom on the camera.

The Panasonic 3700 records to P2 cards in either DVCPRO-HD (8-bit 4:2:2) or the AVCIntra-100 format, which is 10-bit 4:2:2. Or can send 4:4:4 out to an external recorder. Of course, another option is the Sony F23 HDCAM-SR camera.
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#5 Chris Clarkson

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:10 AM

I'm not sure, if there is no chroma key material in the shot, that a railway station at night will look that different at 3:1:1, 4:2:2. or 4:4:4. The main differences will be how clean and sharp the red and blue areas in the frame are. And the compression and bit depth issues (HDCAM being much more compressed than HDCAM-SR, and only 8-bit instead of 10-bit). There will be some optical "texture" around points of light associated with 2/3" 3-CCD prism block cameras too, particularly if you end up with an ENG zoom on the camera.

The Panasonic 3700 records to P2 cards in either DVCPRO-HD (8-bit 4:2:2) or the AVCIntra-100 format, which is 10-bit 4:2:2. Or can send 4:4:4 out to an external recorder. Of course, another option is the Sony F23 HDCAM-SR camera.


Thanks David,

I will look into all these options.
Thanks for your advice :)
Regards

Chris
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