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Shooting with EPIC


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#1 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:28 AM

Hello all

I will be shooting with the Epic in the next week or so and it will be my first time, I will have a chance to do a test next week but I was curious to find out any comments or feedback from people that have already use it.

Specifically, how it compares with the RED, which I have used quite a bit and also any opinions on the HDRx extended latitude feature; I'm curious about its applications and if it adds noise or any other weakness to the image.

thanks so much

Francisco
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:08 PM

If you followed my thread on "Big Sur" you probably heard all I have to say so far on the subject of the Epic, but in summary:

It's the same M-X sensor but allowing you to record 5K gets you more resolution and you can stay at 5K for slow-motion stuff, which is great. I think the better processor in the camera somehow gets a cleaner look from the sensor, smoother tonal gradations, but perhaps that's also because you can shoot with less compression -- I generally used 5:1. Anyway, the look is similar to the M-X image from the Red One, just better.

HDRx is a great tool but I don't think it's something to just use all the time, partly because it's like overcranking, you use up your SSD cards faster, and you can't use as low a level of compression. But for shots with hot windows or skies, it's great, especially if you don't have a lot of fast movement against the bright parts of the frame.

I think the camera is better-built than the Red One, seems more robust, less buggy, right out of the gate. I guess we can thank the "Spider-Man" crew for putting the camera through its paces and working out the beta issues.

Bottom line is that it takes great pictures.
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#3 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:28 AM

Thanks so much David!
I better get started reading your thread.
hope you are well

Francisco
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#4 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:36 PM

Finished the feature a few days ago.
Very impressed with the camera, specially when it comes to latitude. The way it reads into the shadow allows you to control the highlights quite well, almost without compromising one or the other.
Still kind of glitchy, just like the RED one and playback still not one of the features but overall, great camera. Did not loose one single frame.
I find that when it comes to exposing this chip, it has to be treated very delicately, like a super fast film stock, if you are not careful you will overexpose. I love the new LUT that comes with the Epic, a much more accurate and closer representation of your final image as it relates to where your exposure needs to be.

here is a link to some film grabs:

http://www.franciscobulgarelli.com/

under IB/Epic stills

Francisco
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#5 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:13 PM

Why do your Epic stills look underexposed? I noticed on a couple of the grabs that the brights in the corner were close to blowing out even while the detail on the man's face was still underexposed. I have never seen anything like that. Also, the grabs had a charcoal sort of haze over them.
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#6 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:33 AM

Mathew,

These are lower resolution jpg files so they dont show all the information in the native images.
As far as exposure, I opted to crush them further, make them darker and desaturate a bit, maybe that is the hue you are referring to.
Francisco
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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:12 PM

I find that when it comes to exposing this chip, it has to be treated very delicately, like a super fast film stock, if you are not careful you will overexpose.


Yes, think of it like a reversal stock. There's no room on top. None at all.




-- J.S.
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#8 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:37 PM

Well put John
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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 05:10 PM

Although I have never shot with the Red EPIC, i have shot with other digital cameras and they dont seem to expose as well with a light meter like reversal does. Reversal doesnt have any margin for error, like you two mentioned, but at least it seems to be consistent if you get spot on exposure. But why is it that digital doesnt seem to meter correctly, at least at the ISO ratings that manufacturers give it?
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 05:39 PM

But why is it that digital doesnt seem to meter correctly, at least at the ISO ratings that manufacturers give it?


The bad news is that ISO isn't really even defined for digital. So those claimed ISO's are "sorta looks like" and -- well -- bogus.

But the good news is -- who cares? You can see exactly what you're getting exposure wise on a good monitor in the tent. So, on test day, make the look you want on the monitor, then meter it and pick the ISO that it "sorta looks like" to you.




-- J.S.
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#11 James Brown

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 08:21 PM

I'm shooting a commercial on the epic tomorrow. We are shooting everything POV on a 14mm Lens.

I only had a few hours to test the camera but we did a basic daylight under / over test, Tungsten Under / over test, whip pans for rolling shutter and some HDR stuff.

After ingesting into the Baselight at FSM i was pretty happy with results. 5k FF or 5k 2:1 looked like we were getting way to much distortion from the Ultra Prime so we opted for 4k HD @ 5:1 compression.

We did all the tests @ 800ASA. This felt "right" for the Nighttime tungsten scene we tested but the Daylight test looked like it rendered less noise and better skin tones when it was @ 320ASA.

Rolling shutting on such a wide lens was as expected - Bad!
Baselight didn't like the HDR but the 4-5 Stops i put in pulled all the information back in the sky and i imagine will be quite useful in the future.

Overall i feel the skin tones render a little better then the REDMX but the highlights still just clip on the waveform quite harshly compared the 'roll off' with the Alexa.

These are my very short, brief experiences with the EPIC and wondering if this is what other DP's are thinking?
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#12 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 01:36 AM

Mathew,
The Epic is its own light meter, pretty much. I would not go by a meter but by the internal exposure features of the camera and by the waveform monitor, these are the tools that will allow you to discern your exposure. I use the light meter mainly to keep consistency in between set ups for each scene, If I decide that my overall key needs to be at a 2.8, the meter helps me to stay in that ball park when we are lighting. I find the false color feature very useful.
James, I found the camera extremely responsive in the shadow, and felt like I could always bring the exposure down to protect skies or highlights while preserving descent exposure in the shadow area.
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#13 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 06:18 AM

Looks quite different to what I can tell from the Red One images, did you find the highlights blew out easily or was there a bit more leeway in comparison to the Red One?

And did you use the HDR mode much, how did that look?
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