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Advice with camera selection


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#1 Jay Oxley

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 03:15 PM

Hi,

I am shooting a short in July and I'm unsure as to go about choosing a camera to shot on. Obviously you chose the camera around what you're filming as opposed to just shooting on whatever you can get your hands on.

It is a sci-fi thriller and it is being shot within a small set we are having built. The director wants the film to possess a grainy look and so I thought about using 16mm.

We then realised very quickly that we could just not afford the stock, processing etc. Digital is our only option but I am having trouble figuring out how to go about choosing the correct camera.

Like I said, the director has asked for grainy/dirty footage. The easy option is to do it in post but I don't think it will look as convincing.

If anybody has any advice I'd really like some assistance.

Thanks,

Jay
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#2 carl spring

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 03:38 AM

digital has it's own grain. which can look nice, I got a canon 7D if you want, your more then welcome to borrow it. has a nice grain to it, dependant on how you use it(iso, edit sequence codec settings etc.)
post grain can look ok, dependant on what you use. color and shake have ok grains, controllable to an extent. may be worth a look.

peace out
Carl
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#3 carl spring

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 03:43 AM

ps. will do some tests later for you, so you can decide on the post grain.

looking at it, shake has the best out of the two i mentioned
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#4 carl spring

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 10:58 AM

grain in shake, can change size of grain, amount, density, type etc etc.
anything you want you got it
my demo is where i think 16mm would be roughly with the type of grain


View on Vimeo


peace out
Carl
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 11:51 AM

I would look into some of the 2/3" HD cameras, such as the veritable Panasonic Varicam, so as to get similar DoF to 16mm, if that's what you're going for. I would shy away from the 7D due to compression problems and if you'll be grading and doing FX shots well, I for one would want more information in my footage.
But without knowing where this project is destined to end up, how much money you have to work with, and what, if any Special effects are needed, we're all kinda shooting in the dark.
Another way to go, which is done quite often would be to look into a RED package. There's a lot of them out there in the wild, so to speak, and you can often get away with some good deals on it. Now, i'm not a big RED fan, but I'd take it over most other lower-end 35mm sized digital cameras, if only because you'll be using, one would hope, more film-centric accessories which'll make everyone's life easier. Plus, their REDCodeRAW, while pretty compressed, does offer a lot of grading possibilities.
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#6 carl spring

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 02:44 PM

Panasonic Varicam is sharper and cleaner but more costly. DOF isn't an issue as you can always add depth (harder to take it away). compression really isn't that bad on the canon 7D. i know some people have had issue with moire but not really an issue for most situations, alot nicer footage from it then alot of cameras i have used. i have a good fix for rolling shutter if that becomes a problem(same as other rolling shutter issues etc). although avoiding is the best way lol, A very flexible camera. would avoid RED due to the hassle of transcoding the file type. but how you use your footage in post will decide on quality
either way lots of choice out there with the right know how, everyone on here will provide the knowledge base and are always very helpful

peace out
Carl
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#7 Jay Oxley

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:26 PM

Panasonic Varicam is sharper and cleaner but more costly. DOF isn't an issue as you can always add depth (harder to take it away). compression really isn't that bad on the canon 7D. i know some people have had issue with moire but not really an issue for most situations, alot nicer footage from it then alot of cameras i have used. i have a good fix for rolling shutter if that becomes a problem(same as other rolling shutter issues etc). although avoiding is the best way lol, A very flexible camera. would avoid RED due to the hassle of transcoding the file type. but how you use your footage in post will decide on quality
either way lots of choice out there with the right know how, everyone on here will provide the knowledge base and are always very helpful

peace out
Carl


I ruled out the DSLR straight away as although it's the new rage I don't like the idea of having to shoot to H.264 with the 1K resolution being stretched up to 1920 X 1080. Canon really haven't done it for me with the DSLR video I'm afraid.

I have access to the RED one for no cost due to working in a rental house and I can also get the Panasonic HPX-171 with Letus extreme for no cost as well. I've still got a couple of months to decide but ideally like I said earlier I'd like to avoid having to put grain on in post. It all sounds very contradictory of me but unfortunately I'm being fairly picky as to what I shoot on.

Any other suggestions are more than welcome.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:57 PM

If you have a free RED, go free RED. It's a hell of a lot easier to work with than ANY DoF adapter nonsense. Footage might be a bit of a PITA to transcode; but I'm told that's getting better and better and you can use good glass in front of the lens.
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#9 Jay Oxley

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 02:45 AM

Well thanks for the info, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable enough to shoot on RED yet so I'll just see how things go.

Adrian, I'm doing my thesis paper on 'The reinvention of the dream sequence within science-fiction thriller' and I need to gather up primary resources, i.e. interviews.

Would you be so kind as to answers a few questions for me in a couple of months?

Thanks,

Jay
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#10 carl spring

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:40 AM

i agree, GO RED, 35 adapters aren't worth the effort and can leave some horrible outcomes
shoot a high iso, control with ND and get the grain in camera. but would be better to get the quality image and create your own in post (as you will be stuck with the noise once on the master)
everything step should lead to the quality of the output(dependant on what that is). Just make sure you use red to it's strengths. don't be frightened by red, embrace it. read the manuals on Red.com if you are unsure about interface etc. They are very straight forward. and as always people on here will answer questions for you.
good luck and avoid adapters when possible

peace out
Carl


ps. when you finish your showreel, we shall compare. really want to see the competitions work lol (i am very nervous about it all)
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#11 Jay Oxley

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:32 AM

Carl,

How is yours coming on? I'm working on stuff at the moment. Only got a couple more pieces to do then it should be finished. Should be looking at about 7-8 minutes overall.

Are you just putting everything in or are you being very meticulous about the footage you choose?

Jay
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#12 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:23 PM

I ruled out the DSLR straight away as although it's the new rage I don't like the idea of having to shoot to H.264 with the 1K resolution being stretched up to 1920 X 1080. Canon really haven't done it for me with the DSLR video I'm afraid.

I have access to the RED one for no cost due to working in a rental house and I can also get the Panasonic HPX-171 with Letus extreme for no cost as well. I've still got a couple of months to decide but ideally like I said earlier I'd like to avoid having to put grain on in post. It all sounds very contradictory of me but unfortunately I'm being fairly picky as to what I shoot on.

Any other suggestions are more than welcome.

I can't see how the 7D would be stretched to HD resolution considering the sensor size being APS-C. The 7D has its share of flaws but I don't consider stretched resolution to be one of them. I'd be much more wary of the suggested 4K resolution of the Red Camera considering the sensor size being roughly the same as the 7D's anyway. Where's all these extra pixels coming from?

Regardless of the proposed facts Red suggest, they are indubitably buggy and only having access to one of them could lead to problematic shoots. Weight would also be another factor in indie productions, as soon as the weight of the camera goes up, so does the required equipment that could have been significantly cheaper with a lighter camera. I also believe the Canon DSLRs have a lot of versatility in terms of effects and range of shooting, the ability to use tilt-shift lenses gives more creative control in itself, as well as many other tools that are at a fraction of the cost in comparison with most prosumer camcorders.

But if you do end up going with Red, from what I've read, it'll give a very clean grainless look to it, so I predict you'd have to add the grain in post. I'm sure it would look fine as long as it fits the context well.

Good luck on the project.
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#13 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:24 PM

*accident double post

Edited by Marcus Joseph, 21 April 2010 - 09:26 PM.

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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:40 PM

Cannon Line skips in order to record video. It barely resolve 720p.
Hence why it's hard to stretch to HD resolution, even if it records an HD image.

7D is a Stills camera which shoots video. Red, despite flaws is a Digital Cinema Camera. Just because something can do x or y, doesn't mean it should be used primarily for x or y. Hell, I could shoot "HD" video on a "flip" camera, doesn't mean it's appropriate.
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#15 casey tompkins

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:25 PM

Not to make matters more difficult in your camera decisions, but, you said your director wanted a grainy look. When it comes to low budget, I understand where you are coming from but noise generated on a digital camera is not comparable to film grain when it comes to achieving a particular look and overall feel in your images. Take it from Public Enemies... a period film that was clearly shot on digital that, at least for me, removed me from the story due to the digital look of the images. I am not sure about how adding "grain" in post will achieve the effect you and your director are looking for but I can assure you that shooting at a high ISO on a digital camera to get increased noise in place of true film grain will be counterproductive in achieving your desired look and feel.
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:33 PM

DOF isn't an issue as you can always add depth (harder to take it away).


That's interesting. How do you do it?




-- J.S.
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#17 carl spring

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 02:44 AM

That's interesting. How do you do it?




-- J.S.


i was referring to the sensor size and the ability to close the iris to give less shallow DOF, but if you wanted the ultra shallow DOF offered by larger sensors, on a smaller sensor, you would be required to zoom in.
I may be wrong, and apologies if that is the case, however this is my understanding as it stands.



Jay,
might be worth shooting on super8

with the amount of good footage i have, it's hard to be meticulous lol (really want to shoot something else before submission, but just don't have the time for the edit etc.)
not sure how long mine will be, i don't want longer then 10mins (as it will become boring). really hate being on the computer all the time. I wanna go shoot!


peace out
Carl
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#18 Mei Lewis

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 05:07 AM

Not to make matters more difficult in your camera decisions, but, you said your director wanted a grainy look. When it comes to low budget, I understand where you are coming from but noise generated on a digital camera is not comparable to film grain when it comes to achieving a particular look and overall feel in your images. Take it from Public Enemies... a period film that was clearly shot on digital that, at least for me, removed me from the story due to the digital look of the images. I am not sure about how adding "grain" in post will achieve the effect you and your director are looking for but I can assure you that shooting at a high ISO on a digital camera to get increased noise in place of true film grain will be counterproductive in achieving your desired look and feel.



Maybe he wants the digital noise look rather than the analog noise (grain) look?
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#19 Jay Oxley

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 05:09 AM

Not to make matters more difficult in your camera decisions, but, you said your director wanted a grainy look. When it comes to low budget, I understand where you are coming from but noise generated on a digital camera is not comparable to film grain when it comes to achieving a particular look and overall feel in your images. Take it from Public Enemies... a period film that was clearly shot on digital that, at least for me, removed me from the story due to the digital look of the images. I am not sure about how adding "grain" in post will achieve the effect you and your director are looking for but I can assure you that shooting at a high ISO on a digital camera to get increased noise in place of true film grain will be counterproductive in achieving your desired look and feel.


I totally agree with you on that one. I saw it at the Empire in Leicester Square in London and I just could not get into it unfortunately and I just felt like I was forcing myself to.

I spoke to the director again yesterday and explained that I had posted on here and how people were being helpful with their suggestions etc and then he re-phrased the 'grainy' look for more of a 'dirty' look. Now, I've thought about this and I'm not exactly sure what 'dirty' is as I think it can be judged on a case-to-case basis per film. Something like Saving Private Ryan has that dirty feel but could that be a combination of de-saturation and the grain of celluloid?

If I can't seem to resolve this problem then I shall try and convince him otherwise.
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#20 Jay Oxley

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 05:10 AM

Maybe he wants the digital noise look rather than the analog noise (grain) look?


Maybe, you're right, I shall check with the director later on today. Also how would you go about achieving that digital noise, which wouldn't prove a complete dilemma in colour grading?
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