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D800 video shoot for Nikon, fully graded.


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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:22 PM

This is a film Nikon asked me to shoot to show the capabilities of the D800 in different shooting scenarios as a professional DP. The film was shot almost entirely on the D800, with just a few shots on the D4. Mainly using the Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8, but also a few shots on the 105mm Macro (for the close ups of the eyes).

The film was lit and professionally graded and edited in Los Angeles. Didn't have very much light with me, so it was challenging at times, but a good representation of what the average amateur or semi-professional shooter might have with him in terms of equipment etc. I mainly used 1/100th degree shutter, as it improves almost all video without becoming visibly narrow and "shuttery". All in all, the camera is very good in video mode and easy to use. Access to the only three things that are important when shooting video; shutter, ISO and F-stop was easily reached through dedicated buttons, rather than being hidden in some deep crap menu like on most other cameras. Very little rolling shutter, no visible artifacts and a decent exposure latitude. Not as good as a Red or an Arri Alexa, but for a DSLR it's pretty impressive.

As with all digital cinematography, you need to protect your highlights at all costs. Do not fall into the trap of "ISO-ing" up to compensate for not having any lighting like 99% of the clips on YouTube do. That will burn backgrounds/highlights into unrecoverable oblivion and look shit. Sometimes this means having no information in the blacks, as is the case when the grandfather teaches his grandson to drive in first scene, but that's the price you pay. Here I've sacrificed detail in the blacks to protect the highlights on their faces and on the car when I didn't have enough fill light available. Not doing that would have burned their faces and looked even worse. It's a tradeoff, but thats the single most important mistake people do in video.

The night stuff does look a little underexposed here, especially the girl with the lantern, but did not on professional grade HD monitor. The compression has added a bit more contrast to it. I suggest you look at it in darkness and in highest quality.

My tip to the professional shooter: this was shot on the factory settings (which were far too saturated), but I'd suggest if you are going to grade afterwards, you should turn detail off, turn down the contrast to minimum (it's easily added in grading if you want it back) and get the saturation down (also easily put back in later). On top of this, I'd add a Tiffen UltraCon or LowCon filter just to bring the latitude a little bit more inline with professional gear and you'd have a pretty wicked and capable video camera setup, almost indistinguishable from a professional rig.

All in all an impressive DSLR and an all round endorsement for the D800. For the price, it's a very capable camera.

D800 video test
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:28 PM

Alias Aliasing is pretty arse, though. Like the 5D2, not really that obvious except on certain subjects, but...
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#3 Anthony Kennedy

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:25 PM

Thanks for the video. Some beautiful footage. I have a D7000 for photo use, but I might consider trying to do some video work with it.
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:27 AM

This was VERY interesting. I really liked the stuff with the guy and the oil can A LOT. I'm assuming that had been graded a fair bit, but all the same, it had character and a real cinematic feel to it. :) BIG like for this. After that I really liked the night time stuff including girl with lantern which is definitely a bit too dark but was still working for me.

Absolutely hated the opening shot tho. To me it looked like very nasty video. Like a really high res version of a movie shot on a PD-150 or something. I've been trying to work out what it is about it that I don't like because lately I'm finding there is a lot of video where I just feel "that's ghastly" but can't entirely articulate why. This is a problem for me as firstly I want to know why I like or dislike something and secondly because otherwise it's just a bit like saying "That sucks" and not being able to explain. So I watched this video a lot.

The biggest problem I had with the opening scene seemed to largely revolve around the guy in the background. His skintones don't look at all good but theres also something about the way the black he is wearing interacts with his surroundings. I watched the whole video a lot and ironically I've decided that what looks really ghastly and video-y and horrible is the out of focus stuff. I don't like any of the out of focus stuff in these scenes. It looks fringey in a nasty way. The scene I like best and thought looks most cinematic is the one with the deepest depth of field. Looks awesome. Bright sunlight and the shallow focus is looking bad to my eyes tho. The nighttime stuff gets away with it more.

I find this really ironic, as this is a dslr and I know that DSLR types are often convined that the shallower the focus, the more "cinematic" it looks and this video seems to say the opposite.

It is nice to see a different video look from the usual! :)

love

Freya
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:10 PM

We'll, we had long debates about the grade etc, but in the end we all agreed that each scene should and could be graded differently as it was going to be used in a montage-type of thing for Nikon. This film was not meant to be cut together like this. I personally think the grade in the desert is a bit too extreme, but I like the grade on the beach with some cool hues pushed into the blacks and low's. Might not be everyones cup of tea, but we've all seen the warm, yellow California sunset grade before. But that's not the point of the film per se - the point of the films is that you can take footage on the D800 and push it pretty hard in whatever direction you want. For the price, a great little camera.
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:52 PM

I like the grade in the desert a lot, it is a little OTT but it still really works I think. Maybe if it was toned down a little. I think the deep DOF really works well too in those shots. Love it!

The opening shots are my least favourite. Not keen but I like the nighttime stuff also.

love

Freya
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#7 Carl Weston

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:51 AM

It's a good thing the only people that notice aliasing are other dp's!
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#8 charles g clark

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 07:14 PM

Hi Adam

Was this shot straight to card or captured off hdmi?

Great footage

Charles
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#9 Samuel Laseke

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:36 AM

This is great Adam! The fact that this footage came from a now sub $3k HDSLR is amazing. The Dynamic Range and ability to Grade the footage is why I decided I am ordering a D800 over the 5DMK3. Also it is true that nobody but my wife and other DP's notice aliasing for the most part. This image is still better than most people see on Netflix. Great Job!
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