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Best SD solution for broadcast commercial


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#1 Alexis Hanawalt

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 02:00 AM

I'm directing a couple local commercial spots budgeted for about $15,000 each. I'm looking for a sharp hi-res image with nice cinematic depth of field - and I'm presently considering shooting on Digi-Beta. Does anyone have any recommendations as to whether this is my best solution...? All the new HDV cameras are tempting... but with post compositing work in store for these spots, I'm concerned about compression.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 03:47 AM

Hi,

The most obvious choice for "cinematic" shooting on digital betacam is the new DVW-970, which does progressive scan. Marry that with a Pro35, assuming you have the light, and you have the shallow depth of field option with the sharpness and low compression of digibeta.

I agree that it's probably worth avoiding HDV for composite-heavy work, although you may find that the very slight diffusion of the Pro35 is also not ideal.

Phil
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 09:15 AM

Hi,

The most obvious choice for "cinematic" shooting on digital betacam is the new DVW-970, which does progressive scan. Marry that with a Pro35, assuming you have the light, and you have the shallow depth of field option with the sharpness and low compression of digibeta.

I agree that it's probably worth avoiding HDV for composite-heavy work, although you may find that the very slight diffusion of the Pro35 is also not ideal.

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Also check out the Panasonic SDX900. I would bet you can rent it quite a bit cheaper than the brand-new DVW-970 and it also has 4:2:2 in DVC-pro50 mode, shoots in 24p, 24pA, and 30p.

Plus, there is now a pretty widely distributed set of menu settings for attempting to get the "film look". As far as depth of field goes, if you rent a nice, fast HD lens you shouldn't need to use the Pro35 adapter, but test it for yourself.

I've been able to get very shallow depth of field as long as you can shoot close to wide open and put some distance between camera/subject/background.
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#4 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 11:28 AM

It depends on what you're shooting but don't discount the DVX100. Read about my experience with it on a commercial last week here:
http://www.cinematog...?showtopic=8074
It was a $15k national spot.

I've spent about 32 days shooting a documentary with the SDX900 and it too is a great camera, but that will take a big chunck out of that budget, especially if you go the Pro35 & 35mm lensses route. If you think you're going to do more than minor color correction then the SDX is the way to go due to it's increased color sampling over the DVX.

Edited by Eric Steelberg, 02 August 2005 - 11:29 AM.

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#5 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 02:47 PM

If you decide DV/DVCAM is appropriate for your project, you may also wish to consider Sony's new 2/3" 3-CCD 16:9 DSR-450WSL camcorder. The DSR-450WSL (which includes a 16:9/4:3 switchable hi-res B&W CRT viewfinder, built-in color LCD and Firewire) is priced about halfway between a SDX-900 configured with 16:9/4:3 VF (built-in LCD & FW not available) -- and a DVX-100a. I just bought a DSR-450WSL and it's a very nice cam.

The DSR-450WSL's standard 2/3" lens mount can directly attach broadcast SD & HD cine lenses. The NTSC version of the DSR-450WSL can shoot 24p or 24pA (including with a 1/48 sec shutter), 30p and 60i (the PAL version shoots 25p & 50i), and has selectable film gammas, detail levels, color matrix, slow shutter & timelapse modes, and similar "tweakability" compared to much more expensive cams. DSR-450WSL and DVX-100a both record at 25 megabits/sec. Of course, as everyone knows, the DVX-100a can deliver a _lot_ of bang for the buck for a 1/3" 3-CCD DV cam.

But if you have the budget, the SDX-900 and the new progressive-capable DigiBeta cam are the current top-of-the-line "film-look" SD cams. Their 50 megabits/sec. recordings produces quality you can see on the screen, especially if your production involves lots of post-production effects.

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 02 August 2005 - 02:54 PM.

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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 04:12 PM

Hi,

Digibeta is actually more like 90mbps.

Not sure if this makes any real difference - it uses a fundamentally different kind of compression.

Phil
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#7 Alexis Hanawalt

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 05:59 PM

Hmm. Lot's of good information....

It looks like right now I'm choosing between Digi-Beta and DVCPRO - DVW-700WS vs. AJ-SDX900. I'm having trouble believing that the compression on DVCPRO is comparable to Digi-Beta. I'm working with DVCAM on someone's project, which doesn't look all that much better than DV - and I was under the impression DVCAM and DVPRO were different brandings for the same thing. They shot on a 1/3" chip though, and the SDX is 2/3"...
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:08 PM

Hi,

> I'm having trouble believing that the compression on DVCPRO is comparable to
> Digi-Beta.

You're right, if you're talking about DVCPRO-25, which is fundamentally the same as DVCAM.

> I'm working with DVCAM on someone's project, which doesn't look all that much
> better than DV

It doesn't look any better than DV - it's exactly the same picture information, just recorded slightly more reliably (not that you'd ever notice) - and generally, attached to a much better camera, which is the difference you're actually seeing.

> - and I was under the impression DVCAM and DVPRO were different brandings for the
> same thing.

DVCPRO-25 has some minor differences, particularly in the colour subsampling, from DVCAM and miniDV. However, the SDX-900 and other devices will record DVCPRO-50, which is a 4:2:2 format with twice the data rate of normal DVCPRO, and thus twice the data rate of DVCPRO-25. For completeness, a further format, DVCPRO-100, exists which is used for recording HD. DVCPRO-50 is generally assumed to be comparable with digibeta.

> They shot on a 1/3" chip though, and the SDX is 2/3"...

Practically all 16:9 broadcast cameras are 2/3". 1/3" makes it a firmly domestic camera and this will affect the picture much more than the recording format. You probably weren't even seeing good DVCAM. Good DVCAM, such as that shot by a DSR-570, can be quite hard to tell from digibeta from the camera original tape - it just doesn't take postproduction manipulation as well.

Phil
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#9 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:42 PM

Digibeta is actually more like 90mbps. Not sure if this makes any real difference - it uses a fundamentally different kind of compression.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks Phil: I actually knew that once, but my mind slipped a cog. :)

(And yes, DVCPRO-50 and DigiBeta shot on 2/3" 3-CCD cams can both look really, really good. I bet the new 24p/25p DigiBeta cam is sweet.)

- Peter

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 02 August 2005 - 06:43 PM.

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#10 Alexis Hanawalt

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:58 PM

Thank you Phil - THAT was what I needed to know!
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