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#1 Samuel Berger

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:18 PM

I'm interested in this subject. I always automatically assumed everybody was shooting 4K Raw 12-bit because that is how I shoot on the Ursa Mini 4K. But when Tyler posted he shot that Bailee Madison thing in XAVC iframe 410Mbps 4k with REC709 LUT, it got me thinking, "that's not Raw".

 

So I looked deeper into the C300 Mark II and saw that it's not 12-bit, either. So, something is wrong here.

 

A number of cameras are considered more professional than the  Ursa Mini Pro. But they don't even shoot 12 -bit Raw? So people must be shooting in a different digital format.

 

But why would they? Don't they care about 12-bit?

 

 


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:27 PM

I know tons of people who who take workflow over color specifications. As long as it's 10 bit I'm fine.


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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:55 PM

I'm interested in this subject. I always automatically assumed everybody was shooting 4K Raw 12-bit because that is how I shoot on the Ursa Mini 4K. But when Tyler posted he shot that Bailee Madison thing in XAVC iframe 410Mbps 4k with REC709 LUT, it got me thinking, "that's not Raw".

 

So I looked deeper into the C300 Mark II and saw that it's not 12-bit, either. So, something is wrong here.

 

A number of cameras are considered more professional than the  Ursa Mini Pro. But they don't even shoot 12 -bit Raw? So people must be shooting in a different digital format.

 

But why would they? Don't they care about 12-bit?

 

 

I've shot many features on the Alexa in ProRes4444.  I believe it's also 12 bit.  The difference to shooting RAW is very minimal.  And many Alexa users shoot this way.


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#4 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:08 PM

It depends. In editing, if the source material is anything other than RAW, it's transcoded to DNxHR 4:4:4 10-bit for edit. If it's RAW, I'll usually keep it that way.

As for capture, If I'm shooting with the GH4, it's always VLOG-L, recorded to DNxHR 10-bit 4:2:2. If I'm shooting with the Blackmagic Micro, it depends on what the end result is for: 95% of the time I'd choose raw, since I don't bother with ProRes and would have to transcode to DNx anyway. 

I never touch that highly compressed, consumer codec stuff like H264/H265/etc. If I get that, it's trans-coded to DNx on ingest. Most of those super-compressed formats tax my CPU way to much, and result in dropped frames or stutter on playback. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 14 April 2018 - 08:10 PM.

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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 10:45 PM

Most of the jobs I work on are shooting at 12 bit, but it really depends on the camera package. The Canon C300MKII is really only 10 bit, so that's the most it will do.
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#6 Samuel Berger

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 11:01 PM

Most of the jobs I work on are shooting at 12 bit, but it really depends on the camera package. The Canon C300MKII is really only 10 bit, so that's the most it will do.

 

I love the image from that camera. I actually like a lot of things better in the Ursa Mini Pro, but there's two things...

 

First, the Canon form factor is much more ergonomic for me. Second....well....I own an Ursa Mini 4K and I would feel like I'm buying the same thing again just for the EF mount and internal ND....So it's either the C300 Mark II or the C200.

I placed a bid on a C200. It's out of my hands now. If I win, I can finally stop obsessing over "which camera should I get".


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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 11:24 PM

Wish you could wait for the Pocket 4k! :(

Both the C200 and C300MKII are old designs, which are already outdated... so it's hard to buy as an "investment" sadly.

The UMP is an entirely different camera then the ursa mini 4k, they only share a few connectors... So I wouldn't say buying a UMP would be like buying the same camera.
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#8 Phil Connolly

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:37 AM

The choices you make in lighting, composition and art direction will still have a bigger impact then absolute best codec. Most decent codecs if shot carefully should look fine.

 

I shot a feature on an EX1 (thats 8bit 35mbs HD) years ago and I'm still happy with the way a lot of it looks and the things I'm not happy about the look stem from my lighting choices. 8 bit can look acceptable if you nail the lighting and look in camera to minimise grading. "Blue Ruin" did fine using the 8-bit 50mbs internal codec on the C300, although these days I'm glad we have easy access to 10 and 12 bit cameras. 

 

Its nice to have the best stuff, but good enough is also good enough. The choice of camera is only one of the many choices you make in a film production and only partially responsible for the final image. 

 

I'm shooting my next film on an FS7 because its what I have access too and its good. I won't be worrying that its been replaced by the FS7Mk2 or that I could go high end and rent an Arri or a Red. 


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#9 AJ Young

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Posted 21 April 2018 - 04:10 PM

My last four features I've shot had various formats, all of them dependent on the post-production budget, final deliverable, and expected exhibition. I'll do a quick breakdown:

  • Mandao of the Dead - 4K ProRes 422 - The producers are expecting the film to mainly be seen via streaming, so we agreed that we only need at least 10bit for wiggle room in the color grade and for a quality master "print". We're hoping to have a limited theatrical or festival run, so the bit depth will come in handy there. In terms of post-production, there isn't much happening in VFX. They haven't reached picture lock yet, but I'm expecting the color grade to go smoothly; we shot the film knowing we will have a limited color grade budget.
  • Noise and Color - R3D RAW at various compression ratios - The producers are expecting the film to have a good festival run and a limited theatrical run, with a final DVD/Blu-Ray release and streaming option. We agreed that the master "print" will need to be 4K 10 bit, but the film will have quite a few VFX shots as well as heavy color grading. I chose compression ratios based on scenes/shots that would either have a lot of work in the color grade (such as our Mad Max style day-for-night shots) or little to no work at all (like a simple interrogation scene). I chose higher compression ratios to save space on our limited hard drive budget.
  • Jesus, Bro! - 2K ProRes 422, XAVC - The producer was going to directly release to streaming, on Vimeo, released on DVD, and with no plan for theatrical release. We agreed that ProRes will work best with the work flow, saving the high speed shots for XAVC. We shot the film on the FS7 with the extension unit which allowed us to record ProRes internal at 2K. We shot some green screen shots in 4K XAVC for the added resolution, but 95% of the film was ProRes internal. The color grade was short and sweet, because we shot the film knowing we have a limited color grade budget.
  • The Watchman's Canoe - ARRI RAW and ProRes 4444 XQ - Because of a bold artistic decision by the director and myself, we needed as much information in the files as possible to handle the extreme look we were attempting. I intentionally underexposed the entire film by 3 stops and then fixed the exposure in the color grade. The idea was to have the camera behave even more like film with an incredible amount of highlight detail and almost no shadow detail (a lot of inspiration from Savides and Lipes). After doing tests, we agreed that ProRes 4x4 and RAW could handle the workload. We intended to have a 2K master "print"; the film has had a festival run and is now currently streaming.

A lot of format choice, in my experience, is dependent on what you're going to do with it and, most importantly, what the producers will want to do with it. In prep, for indie features, I ask the producers where the film will make most of its money/views. DVD/Blu-ray? Streaming? Probably don't need 12 bit, 4K, or RAW. Theatrical run? Now I'll start looking at higher bit depths and less compressed codecs before even talking about RAW.

 

The obvious post-production questions also determine what format I'll need to use. Heavy green screen work? Highest bit-depth possible, at least 4K resolution.

 

As I work backwards from exhibition to post-production, I eventually start to think of how the format will behave on set. If I'm shooting on a location where I don't have the time to balance the color temperature of all the natural light sources (IE doc style shooting), then shooting RAW will allow me to correct that more easily in post. Do I only have a limited amount of cards or time on set to download footage? Then maybe a more compressed codec will help.

 

Of course, artistic decisions in prep will also have to be taken into account, such as my Canoe example.

 

There's really no definitive format for all productions; some only need 8-bit H.264, others need uncompressed RAW. I think DP's should look at productions and, instead of thinking "What's the best codec?", should ask "What codec does the production need?"


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