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Alexa -> HDCAM SR TAPE


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#1 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 07:27 PM

I have a job coming up where the client want's to use the Alexa and record to HDcamSR (through SRW-1 deck). Totally fine, but they also want to record logC to the tape, which is still fine. They don't want to have to color correct in post. What do I do now? What exists to color logC on set, before it get's to the SR tape? LUTher box? I might be able to convince them to shoot 709 to tape, but they didn't seem to want to do that...

Don't even bring up shooting to SxS. That conversation has been had.

Thanks for the help,
Jamie
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:33 PM

Anyone who doesn't wanna CC in post is just asking for trouble IMHO. Why have CC on set when they can do it later, are they even saving anything, money wise? Or just making it harder for everyone involved?

Oh, do I love dealing with clients. Trying to save some $ later, they put US through hell on set. :ph34r:

Next thing you know, they'll want to have a final edit done finalized on set by the time production wraps. With score, VOs, fx, CC to boot. :rolleyes:

Sorry to rant. Good luck.
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#3 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 09:56 PM

Anything useful to add Saul?
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#4 Jordan Livingston

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:13 PM

I have a job coming up where the client want's to use the Alexa and record to HDcamSR (through SRW-1 deck). Totally fine, but they also want to record logC to the tape, which is still fine. They don't want to have to color correct in post. What do I do now? What exists to color logC on set, before it get's to the SR tape? LUTher box? I might be able to convince them to shoot 709 to tape, but they didn't seem to want to do that...

Don't even bring up shooting to SxS. That conversation has been had.

Thanks for the help,
Jamie


Hi Jamie,

First - your output to SR1 Deck (or Codex, or KiPro, or AJA Kona 3, etc.) is called the 'REC OUT' and it is always tied invariably to the color space / gamut setting you select (either Rec. 709 or Log-C).

There is also a 'MON OUT' which can independently be set to display Log-C or Rec.709 - however, this is NOT suitable for actual recording, as it will contain the camera settings overlay, and is also known to be a clipped output with less information than what the 'REC OUT' or the internal SxS cards are actually laying down.

You can set the 'MON OUT' for Rec. 709 and simply daisy chain off the onboard monitor, and through other on-set monitors. But you can't monitor the 'REC OUT' in anything other than Log-C, when you're recording in Log-C.

You could also use a LUTher box to create a LUT that is applied to the 'REC OUT' AFTER the record deck. Unless the post house is using a LUTher system as well, I think this is a very unnecessary. You could also use 3CP software to generate a LUT post-record deck, but unless you want the client to monitor from a computer monitor (i.e. Apple Cinema Display), you would need a substantial I/O rig to feed an SDI monitor; also probably unnecessary.

So what is my actual recommendation, assuming the aforementioned 'right' ways to do it are not in the budget or the cards? Get ready to cringe - but this is what I would do: simply re-calibrate your monitor. Crank up the saturation, crank up the contrast, and 'fake' a Rec. 709 look (do this by shooting a Rec. 709 color chart and measuring your results as accurately as possible, of course!). This solution is easy, free, and since you're recording the Log-C signal anyway, it won't have any real consequences (other than the client thinks the footage looks great on set!).

Just make sure the DP and the Director are both on board, so that they meter and judge accurately by the Log-C signal, and not by your out-of-whack monitor cheat. Hope this helps...

Best,

- Jordan

Jordan Livingston
Digital Imaging Technician
www.DIGILOID.com
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 10:35 PM

Anything useful to add Saul?


I dunno, maybe telling the DP (or you, if that is your role) to put his foot down and tell the clients to do what is appropriate, i.e cut corners elsewhere and book a CC post facility.

By the sound of what Jordan describes, the processes involved are either too cumbersome or pretty iffy to perform on set. Maybe there are other ways to do this, but why must the wheel be re-invented?

But hey, it is your gig. Do as you see fit.
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#6 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:42 PM

They don't want to have to color correct in post.


If they can afford to rent Alexa, and pay the extra costs associated with an SR tape workflow, they can afford an hour or two of color.
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:49 PM

I completely agree with all of your above posts. I've been pushing for it to be file-based. What I wanted to know if there was a way to accomplish the original topic. If not, let me know. If there is, please do the same.
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:11 AM

The only way I could see this being at all reasonable is if the whole job consists of only one setup. We've had people try to time everything on set, and the coverage never matches well enough to cut with. The dailies colorist at the post house always has to match the coverage to the master -- and cover the DP's tush. This is a sure fire way to look incompetent when people watch your dailies.





-- J.S.
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#9 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:41 AM

Hello Jamie,
i found this, hope it helps...
Using LUT Discussion on the Arri Website.

Here's what's in the manual for 2.0 firmware:
Log C (no matrix): Gamma according to Cineon specification.
Images are prepared for output to film material or DI-like
treatment (...) The use of external devices to apply a LUT, such as
TCube, is a must to get visually pleasing images on a
monitor.

Usage of LUT will be implemented in upcoming firmware releases.
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#10 Scott Dolan

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:27 AM

Hi Jamie,

I did a job a few weeks back on Alexa recording log-C 444 to SRW-1.
The deck we used had a LUT installed (I think it was a D-21 Rec709 LUT) that output an image very close to the Rec709 output on the Alexa.
This was not perfect but gave us another output to use for Client monitors etc. instead of daisy-chaining all across the universe, which helped as this particular shoot was 90% hand-held.

It wont be long before an Alexa Rec709 LUT is released for the SRW-1. I'm not exactly sure of the process for installing them onto the deck (something involving a Sony formatted memory stick into the side of the controller), but I know you can store up to four different LUT's on a SRW-1 device.
However this LUT-applied output is only possible when recording 444 SQ/HQ. So when you drop down to 422 for overcranking, you will only get the Log-C image.

Hope this helps.
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#11 Andrew Wahlquist

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:55 PM

I haven't heard of applying a LUT between the camera and the SR deck, I would imagine that the best way to do that is to output in Rec709 and leave LogC behind. Shooting in LogC is a great idea, of course, but really is meant for flexibility in post for color correction. If they want to shoot in LogC but need to convert their dailies for editorial, I just posted a blog about ways to do that with desktop software. Local Hero Blog

I would suggest, of course, that that the best way to go is to plan for a proper DI finish during your online. It's a lot more affordable these days than it has been in the past.

Andrew Wahlquist
Chief Technologist
http://www.localheropost.com
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#12 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 06:17 PM

Scott and Andrew,

Thank you for your replies. We ended up shooting 709 to tape. The DP used a Blue Vision (1 and 2) at times as a flare & low con filter. In direct sun, it did get a little too contrasty, but with light cloud cover, it looked just fine. I will post examples soon.

I did show the DP how I was able to ingest the footage, drop it onto the timeline in FCP and then send to color so he could grade the footage; on my laptop. He was very impressed. Hopefully we will eschew the SR tape in the future.
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