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Getting the best camera for documentary


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#1 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:09 PM

 I have been struggling with this for a long time.  Looking for a camera for the last shooting phase of my 9 year old run documentary

"Art Officially Favored"

 

What I want is the following:

 

I want to create highly cinematic scenes ( with the help of lighting of course be it natural or artificial) = quality

To be able to run and shoot for some guerrilla scenes= stable

Very little to no rolling shutter, specially useful in those guerilla moments

 

I love to handheld my cameras. I've been using a 5d mark 2 for a long time and I hate the rolling shutter ( plus the moire and anti-ailising)

but overall a "cute" camera to get plenty done. I want to step it up.

 

Interchangeable lenses: I would love to use any kind of glass. My father is a photo-technician. I have access to all kind of glass... from all kind of times.

(the dirtier the better) all kind of formats... we have had some really cool results with anything from the 1910's to the 60s.

 

Also I love in camera tricks.... low shutter speeds and different frame rates.... (where is the fun!?)

 

Sound: I have also the chance of a recorder... but why not getting something that is already part of the pack.

 

I'm intending on getting a Blackmagic  HyperDeck Shuttle if needed.

 

Some of my my choices are the following ( please forgive me if these might sound a bit to random)

 

BlackMagic Camera: I know... to new, to random.. yet isn't that the spirit of cinema. I know the price is 3k. I'm willing to put up the rest on 

the accessories...

 

Panasonic AG-AF100A: Looks good as a doc camera but I'm afraid of  rolling shutter and a camera that seems to be old tech.

 

Sony FS700: Don't trust Sony tech but that might be an old juju of mine. This seems like a workable camera.

Love the 4k possible upgrade. Like I said I feel this is the direction I want to go... where tech gets better (of course with limitations)

 

Sony FS100: Same as up there... not 4k though, not slow mo

 

Now to the crazy things

 

Red One: they are on sale, they are big and robust but 4.5k with a build fan base and plenty of parts and room to grow.

 

Ikonoskop A-Cam dii: this camera is weird, new... and so hot. I love this camera.... cons... price and their workflow. Can we make it happen... yes. But is it the best?
Love the idea of being able to use any Super 16mm glass.

 

My goal is to get a camera to finish this project but also to have a piece of gear that I could carry the edge to use in the next couple of projects.

 

I would appreciate any kind of help and constructive opinions.

 

 

Thanks Again.

 

 


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:24 PM

Micro 4/3rds mount BMD camera is probably what you'd want if you want glass options; but you'll have a long wait for that.

Red is outdated, Scarlet or Epic would be better but pricey and also have slightly interchangable mounts. Raw however, may well be overkill, depending on what you want to do with post.

AF can work with hyperdeck shuttle but in truth all CMOS systems without a global shutter will have rolling shutter in run and gun situations.

I've always liked Sony cameras a lot and they've never let me down. FS700 is interesting, especially with high-speed options. I'd not hold my breath on a 4K update for it, however. I see that as mostly hype. F5 and F55 are also interesting, but I dunno enough about them to recommend them. What's nice with the FS series is that you can use lens adapters to get to most glass.

Where it me,  I'd probably just pick up a Scarlet and go at present, or an FS700 (or an F3 if i could afford it). I'd forget about the older non PL glass (unless on FS) and have fun with filters and the looked over PL glass out there. That's if you need it, say, tomorrow.

If I could wait, I'd hold out for a BMDCC in MFT mount if only to simplify my workflow and record right to DNxHD or ProRes unless I really needed RAW. Downsample to HD and use whatever lenses my heart desired.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:44 AM

Red One: they are on sale, they are big and robust but 4.5k with a build fan base and plenty of parts and room to grow.

 

The Red One is no longer for sale and hasn't been so for quite a looooong time now.

Red only make the scarlet and EPIC now.

 

Freya


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#4 Gabriel Winebrenner

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:23 AM

Get the A-Cam. You will not regret it. I maybe biased, but I'm being totally serious here as well. You will have NO REGRETS w/ this decision. The new firmware is great btw: false color, no magenta, robust color to external monitor and internal viewfinder; now easy as pie to expose your image.

 

Gabe


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#5 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:57 PM

Dear Adrian. Thank you for your input. In regards of glass, there is plenty of lenses from large format cameras and medium format cameras that no one has really used. I've had great results... but that is when I'm experimenting. To shoot this film I do want something very flexible as if I was shooting super 16 with an LTR 54. But at the same time I do enjoy a prepared lighting scenario.

 

BMCC is a favorite, the same as the FS700 and the Ikonoskop ( yet I have issues with all them) but I think that is what I'm narrowing them down too.

 

Scarlet is an option as well (I've shot a film with it. Cool little camera)


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#6 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:59 PM

@Freya: many people are selling their red one's at an incredible low price also I know a few people that got a few red one on sale to then re sell them to people like who could not afford the kit at the time.

 

Maybe this is only happening in the US.


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:00 PM

My pleasure Martin.

For record I have a BMCC pre-order for an MFT; but lord only knows when that'll come to fruition. Of the 3 you've narrowed, I'd go FS700 honestly especially for the overcranking.


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#8 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:01 PM

Gabe I'm really interested in the Ikonoskop but the data management kills me. 80 gigs for 15 minutes??

 

also what are the things that you foresee that camera will have with new upgrades?


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#9 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:21 PM

Adrian what is the crop factor on the fs700?

 

also I love the BMCC... I saw a few out there... they are great cams... rolling shutter? I might be able to deal with it

 

but the Ikonoskop is top runner... the only thing is the price. I might be able to secure more funds or try to get sponsored by Ikonoskop itself.


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:33 PM

I'm not sure, as we don't normally work in crop-factors. That's much more of a stills thing, but the FS series has a Super-35mm sized sensor, akin to a RED or the 16x9 Alexas. If you want a stills comparison, it's about an APS-C so whatever the crop happens to be for that (5D to 7D for example) in stills.

In any case it's not nearly as hard to find wide lenses for an FS as it would be for, say, a GH2 or an AF100, or the BMD if that's what you're after. Hell i rarely want to go below an 18mm on S35 stuff.


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#11 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

now that we are going back on forth  any other camera suggestions?


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#12 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 04:06 PM

Gabriel... there is any other codec you could shoot with the camera?


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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:17 AM

@Freya: many people are selling their red one's at an incredible low price also I know a few people that got a few red one on sale to then re sell them to people like who could not afford the kit at the time.

 

Maybe this is only happening in the US.

 

You could be right about that. I get the impression that Red cameras are a lot rarer here in Europe, outside of rental houses. I guess because of the higher cost of importing everything.

 

Having said that it seemed like there were super cheap Red One cameras a few months ago when Red were selling off their old stock but prices have since gone back up a fair bit.

 

As to the scarlet. Watch out for fan noise on extended takes when shooting documentary style. It can get quite loud!

Some people prefer the older Red One in these contexts for that reason, but then the Red One is also quite a bulky thing.

 

Freya


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#14 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:21 AM

Dear Freya... I have discarted any Red camera... for that amount of data and that price I will go for the A-cam.... but still I'm very torn. I don't know what to get...


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#15 Gabriel Winebrenner

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:25 AM

Martin,

 

As of now, you can choose cards of 80gb 16min/160gb 32 minute capacity, so you can double your capacity w/ the 160gb. I'm sure it has been discussed perhaps of an eventual larger capacity drive, but I personally like the 80gb cards since they ironically make me think about a specific shot longer than I would if I had an unlimited amount of HD space.

 

I have basically up till' now, done my color grade w/ the c-dng files and then render to proreshq/rec709. I've thought about installing parallels on Mac OS X to convert to cineform, but haven't as of yet. Partly due to the fact that now that Ikonoskop has cleaned up the blacks in the metadata, everything now comes into DaVinci w/ solid blacks/no magenta or color casts. I have and still sometimes use Speedgrade to grade, but it seems more appropriate to always use a Macbeth chart before the grade/shot to auto W/B (as SG has the auto/Macbeth feature).  But to be honest, I haven't tried SG since the firmware upgrade in the A-Cam came out, so maybe all is good here now? Using DaVinci ACES is the go-to method for now. I did try Lightroom which is now seemingly corrected and would assume After Effects is too, since it is running off the same Adobe AE/PS/LR Raw Editor.

 

So as far as shooting w/ another codec out of the box, NO, strictly RAW C-DNG. But I wouldn't want to shoot any initial footage in a compressed codec anyways, so this suits me. But for those who need a very fast work-flow, I guess the other aforementioned cameras would be better for fast turn-a rounds.

 

My first camera was a 5dmkII. That was a horrible decision. Was nice for stills, but the CMOS/jelly effect was unfathomable for someone like myself. Also, the image seemed too digital. I find the same issues in the RED. Nice for an X-Men movie/special effects movie w/ a huge jib/tripod only and crew, ...not so nice for an organic analogue looking image that can shoot run-and-gun like a real film camera... I've seen some examples of footage from CMOS sensors that have global shutter (P+S Technik digital mag to Arriflex SR3/Alexa) and have thought the image was nice. But spending that kind of money, you might just be able to afford the Aaton CCD Delta Penelope. Personally, I prefer this ccd in the A-Cam. I wouldn't want to use the BMCC for anything handheld. The Sony seems like a good solution for ENG/corporate setting. I still wouldn't want to use it.

 

Build quality on the DII is amazing. It is quite heavy and is solid. Menus are reminiscent to a real film camera. FPS/Shutter Angle/expose your image/press record, that is all. Image is amazing as well. Actually, the DII is so amazing that, even ARRI Alexa and Red owner's know that they want to play w/ it and deep down inside wish they could have both. Personally, I wouldn't want the RED or Alexa. Go figure.


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#16 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

At last!!! a real response! Thank you! Techy questions sometimes lead to robot answers. Not here... but in other forums. I feel I'm dealing with machines not people... no wonder cinema has gone down an even eternal swage drain.

Thank you for the time to write such a detail opinion. 


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