My name is Robert, currently heading into my graduate thesis film production, with a question about shooting two different cameras over one production.
During prep with the director, the idea of shooting 2 cameras came up as I was camera testing with a Canon c700 and the Canon Cine Primes, which I have decided to use as an A camera. As it stands, our budget won't allow for a second c700 to act as B camera, however we currently have an f55 w/ Ultra Primes reserved from the school's equipment house.
Having tested both cameras, I know that each camera possesses different characteristics and will not match right off the bat. That being said, does having a two-camera setup where the cameras are inherently different make sense given the differences in specs (color space, dynamic range, codex etc.)? Is it feasible given that it can be adjusted in the DI, and would it be possible to get the cameras close during production.
Because of the different characteristics and looks, I have toyed with the idea of using each camera situationally based on their given strengths, but in some cases I would need to have a B camera available to support the A camera.
I realize that I may be giving myself more work in the long run, and I'm sure there are things I am missing, but I would greatly appreciate any idea, advice and expertise on the topic.
If your only B-camera was something low end like a DSLR I would be a lot more concerned. Both camera's you've mentioned are high end and can delivered usable color and dynamic range, just in different ways.
Of course you can get it "close". But close is a relative term. Lot of it depends on how you're cutting between them. Are they used for opposite ends of a conversation? You'll find that more difficult to get right as opposed to something like using the F55 for all dialogue shots and the C700 for all action/landscape shots.
You could get a lot of use out of trying to match it yourself, posting results here, and getting detailed tips from the guys on here.
I think you'd be surprised by how similar most cameras CAN look when put through a good grade that aims to find a good compromise between the cams vs. trying to set and forget one and match the other to it. Meet in the middle, especially if you're able to build your LUTs from scratch with the creative constraint of differing camera systems in mind from the get-go. Shoot log charts (gamma and density makes a great set of charts) and play with the grade a bit to see where they overlap and where you start stretching things. But finding common ground between two high-end cameras isn't particularly difficult, should be no issue.
Using each mfg's rec709 LUT will make things seem impossible, they take radically different routes to make the "normal" image, but I assure you there's plenty of data there to get things really close. SLOG-3 and Canon LOG2 are almost identical up to middle gray, and Canon LOG2 is more similar to SLOG-2 in the highlights...so I personally would start with SLOG-3 on the Sony and stretch the highlights upward on the canon to match. That'll get you most of the way to matching curves.
I recommend shooting a test of both cameras, side by side. A color chart will help a lot when trying to get the cameras to match on a baseline level. However, the differences will start to show on the fringe areas of the image like highlight rolloff, shadow rolloff, etc.
The side by side test will allow you to develop a look for both cameras that will make them match. HOWEVER, you'll need to use those two specific camera bodies from the test on your actual production because you've tuned your LUT to those two specific cameras bodies.
If you're shooting LOG on both cameras, you should have little trouble matching them in the color correction suite, as both are very capable cameras. Problems in matching usually arise when one camera is significantly inferior to the other, such as shooting with a C700 and a 5D.
Shoot some test footage, and take a look at it in Resolve. Decide which camera you prefer, and then grade the other to match. Output your grade as .cube file and use that as your monitor LUT for that camera.
Pedantic side note.... DI stands for Digital Intermediate, which refers to color correcting scanned film. It's meaningless when you're working with digital cinema.
This implies that there is no consistency in look between cameras of the same type, which in turn implies a lack of quality control by the manufacturers. Seems unlikely.
I don't mean to argue, but I've had lots of cameras from the same manufacturer be inconsistent. The problem isn't quality control at the factory, but the maintenance and longevity of the cameras at the rental house.
I agree, fresh off the factory floor, cameras from the same manufacturers will be pretty close to consistent. However, it's a different story when using rentals. Rentals clock in hundreds of hours on the sensors in various lighting situations. These rental cameras are like cast iron skillets; one Alexa will degrade differently then the other Alexa on the shelf.
Case in point, I shot a feature in May with two Red Dragons. One sensor had a green shift. We accounted for it in prep and were able to keep our look consistent.
Yeah shoot LOG for sure.. make sure its Canon LOG2.. (not the original Canon C LOG . alot less room for tweaking.. not a very aggressive log curve .. more like Hyper Gamma on Sony.. (due to C300 only being 8 bit ).. LOG3 is sort of the goldilocks curve between the two.. but LOG2 will give you max tweaking.. and cine gamut
Then Slog3.cine on the f55.. both are very close to the old Kodak telecine CINEON .. and also Arri LogC.. so some sort of standardization beginning to appear .. pretty much based on the Cineon/Arri LogC dominance /known work flow..
Just be careful on the f55 to not record the LUT.. !! seems to be one of the main gotchas with f5/55 .. double check that or have someone who knows the camera set it up.. internal must be off.. or just quickly put gamma display on and check.. Slog should come up, not LUT.. middle right of display..
Whats that joke about RED.. every serial number is a different model camera..
Edited by Robin R Probyn, 23 August 2017 - 05:42 PM.
On a similar note, given the characteristic of each camera would it make sense to treat each camera like a different stock of film. Our film will mostly lean toward shooting in shadow, where I prefer the f55's range. With the c700, I like how it deals with highlights specifically for day exteriors. It came up in a conversation and I wondered if that seemed like a valid idea.