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Does the Epic have no video playback at all?


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#1 Keith Walters

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 03:37 AM

I have to confess I haven't really paid much attention to the Epic, at least operation-wise. I've really only been interested in the results on the big screen.
(I did download the manual at one point but I don't know what I've done with that).

The RED One has 1080P "video assist" in-camera playback via HDMI, but I gather from a recent discussion on Reduser that the Epic has no playback capability whatsoever. Is that correct?

If so, it seems like a strange omission...
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#2 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:57 AM

I was messing around with it at SMPTE this year and I was wondering why I couldn't playback what I just recorded, perhaps there is no playback?

Either way I hated the touchscreen and it just had to go and crash on me.
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#3 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 05:59 AM

I just did a search and the word according to Jim...

Playback has not been enabled yet but is next on the list.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 08:16 AM

The phrase "good grief" comes to mind.
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:21 PM

Did D.W. Griffith have playback on the Pathe? Did Orson Welles have playback on the BNC? ;-)



-- J.S.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 03:08 PM

Of course. It's called "memory," deriving from "paying attention to what's happening in front of the camera."
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#7 Chris Millar

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 03:22 PM

And a huge dose of foresight too Posted Image
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#8 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 04:42 PM

Did D.W. Griffith have playback on the Pathe? Did Orson Welles have playback on the BNC? ;-)



-- J.S.


Although you are correct about this, John, you are forgetting that part of what makes digital "better" to most that tout that are things such as playback ability.
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#9 Keith Walters

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 06:37 PM

I just did a search and the word according to Jim...

Playback has not been enabled yet but is next on the list.


"Playback has not been enabled yet"
Meaning "no".

This was what I wasn't really clear on: Were they talking about not having high quality full 1080p like you get with the competition, or was there no playback AT ALL? Apparently none at all.

I was confused (probably like everybody else) because even the humble RED One has a "reduced spec" 1080p output which allows immediate playback and would be OK for "video assist" applications.

One disturbing thing was that nobody in the Reduser discussion seemed to understand what "video assist" is actually for.

In a film camera, all it was ever intended to provide, is a closed-circuit video image of the film camera viewfinder's groundglass, showing everything that has gone of the film, and a little bit more besides. Originally, there was no provision for recording either; it was intended more for crane mounted cameras. I believe Jerry Lewis actually invented the system, or sponsored its development at any rate!

Video assist with playback was never specifically intended for the benefit of the cinematographer, it was more so that actors and directors could see exactly what has occurred on-set, and exactly what has been captured on the film. With the advent of camera-mountable LCD monitors, focus pullers could also use it to keep track of where the camera is pointed (but not actually focussing with it, as many people seem to believe). With the advent of colour assists, lighting people could also use it to pick up colour imbalances caused by faulty lamps and so on.

Before video assist was available, framing/acting/etc mistakes would only get picked up a day or so later at the rushes screening. If a re-shoot was found to be necessary, apart from requiring sets to be reassembled, (or left in place), or returning to a particular location, the actors had to re-costumed and made up, all a generally expensive and time-consuming exercise.

Focus and exposure errors can still only be detected at a rushes screening, but just about everything else can be picked up with a simple black and white camera and VHS quality record/playback system, which was why video assist became an indispensable part of movie and commercial making in the space of just a few years. In fact, if you were shooting Super 16, the video assist package would often rent for more than the film camera body!

The trouble is, once the marketing people got into the act they began an "arms race" for better and better video assist quality, although nobody involved in actual production really asked for this.

In fact, most producers were perfectly fine with a flickery B&W image because:

A. They didn't really want "colour on the set", in case anxious clients and other non-technical people confused the video assist image with what the final product will look like.

B. Many people actually PREFER a bit of camera shutter flicker, since that tells them exactly when the film was running.

In the case of a HD video camera, it's really a case of "all or nothing". Either, you can view/playback a "rough" image, where there is no question that it is only for monitoring purposes, or you have to be able to playback something that closely approximates what the final image is going to look like.

In the case of the RED One, such purposes would have been better served by a simple NTSC monitoring output. As it is, the in-camera playback, although it was never intended to be anything other than a monitoring output is good enough to generate "client unease".

The major advantage of systems like the Genesis and F35 is that you can get instant playback of video which (if you have a competent crew at any rate) is going to be pretty close to the final product. With the Genesis, F35 and Alexa, the manufacturers have basically designed HDTV cameras that can also be used to shoot feature films, which is a correct reading of the market.
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#10 Keith Walters

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 06:42 PM

Did D.W. Griffith have playback on the Pathe? Did Orson Welles have playback on the BNC? ;-)
-- J.S.

If it was available, he would have!
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 02:08 PM

Yes, it was Jerry Lewis, who was both acting and directing. It was his idea, he asked if it could be done.

As for saving time and money, it's a two edged sword. It's expensive to have everybody sitting around on the clock watching playback instead of getting the next setup.



-- J.S.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:19 PM

I was recently in discussion with a rental house in London about their AF-100s, on the basis of researching a review of Blackmagic's new SSD recorders. They were serious in their desire to hook one up to an Epic.

Er, what?

P
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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 10:19 PM

I was recently in discussion with a rental house in London about their AF-100s, on the basis of researching a review of Blackmagic's new SSD recorders. They were serious in their desire to hook one up to an Epic.

Er, what?

P

I’m sure they intended to have in-camera playback from the start, but clearly they found that was harder than they expected.

At a guess, I would say that they’re holding off until they can offer at minimum, no-questions-asked broadcast quality 1080p, because they’re tired of their cameras getting sand kicked in their faces by what they see as less capable HD cameras, but which do offer live, “ready-to-edit” footage.

Nevertheless, it’s slightly alarming how few people outside the Branch REDivian enclave were aware of this particular deficiency...
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#14 John Michael Trojan

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 09:43 AM

It has been rumored that one could use an outboard recorder for "quality" (full? - no) recordings from the epic's live tap. I'm sure this is what they are thinking - instant dailies. The latest update on the kipro can bring in some of the pertinent meta-data to facilitate the eventual conform. It is possible to do this with the MX as well, but the recording quality from the tap may not make it truely viable except for quick on-set editing when absolutely needed (check comps, slap cut, etc.)



I was recently in discussion with a rental house in London about their AF-100s, on the basis of researching a review of Blackmagic's new SSD recorders. They were serious in their desire to hook one up to an Epic.

Er, what?

P


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#15 Keith Walters

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 09:31 PM

It has been rumored that one could use an outboard recorder for "quality" (full? - no) recordings from the epic's live tap. I'm sure this is what they are thinking - instant dailies. The latest update on the kipro can bring in some of the pertinent meta-data to facilitate the eventual conform. It is possible to do this with the MX as well, but the recording quality from the tap may not make it truely viable except for quick on-set editing when absolutely needed (check comps, slap cut, etc.)

But that would be absolutely fine for checking actors' dialogue, facial expressions, whether any blowflies crawled onto the porterhouse when no-one was looking and so on :) . Which is all that video assist was ever intended for. A simple NTSC quality output is all that would be required, and would not be mistaken for the final product. That's what I meant; it has to be either something that clearly shows what happened, but would never be mistaken for the end product, or it has to actually be the end product. There is no room for middle ground.
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#16 John Michael Trojan

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:22 AM

[quote name='Keith Walters' timestamp='1314412313' post='356976']
But that would be absolutely fine for checking actors' dialogue, facial expressions, etc...


middle ground is simply the time between now and what's next. the innovation that allows for decent playback goes to a lot of other great places that indeed make our lives easier (particularly in regards to data through-put); and I am not one to stifle innovation because of ignorance. The earlier we educate on the capabilities and purposes of the latest and greatest the easier the next job will be.

e.g. Being a posty, I'm still working on ensuring the correct monitor LUT info is passed on efficiently and timely to the facility for dailies purposes. It's been a while to get the non-technical side of crews (producers and coordinators organizing and passing on information rather than camera dept directly...) to understand the importance of the LUT information, let alone what it does; but things are catching up and this has become trivial, as it should be. Consequently our clients are happier when they walk in the room and get that sense of relief that the image is consistent to what they saw on the day, if not better than what they were expecting. It is a great way to kick off the post process - with confidence and excitement to focus on the creative rather than issues, even if there are some.
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#17 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:32 PM

As soon as the Epic can do playback it will be ready to be released...oh, wait...

Regarding the Jerry Lewis playback claims...it appears the issue isn't black and white. Lewis claims to have invented video assist in 1956, but there was already a patent from 1947, and the name on the patent was Adolph H. Rosenthal, not Jerry Lewis. Lewis may not have been intentionally dishonest, but he didn't technically invent video assist.
Here's an article about it: CNet
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