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Kit List for an HD Feature


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#1 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:42 PM

Working on a HD feature in the upcoming months and we're slowly putting together our camera package, built around a Panavised Cine-Alta F-900 and an 8-72mm Primo Zoom. Bearing in mind we're on an incredibly tight budget (no money for primes!) , what accessories, standard or otherwise, would you usually request to have on an HD shoot?

Tripod wise, we may be willing to go for an all in one video - or is a better idea to go for separate head and legs (The f-900 isn't exactly a lightweight). Our list right now also has a briefcase dolly on it, but I'm not sure if it's the way to go. What would you recommend as the next step up, something with the flexibilty of say, a small Fisher, but without the expense? I'm all for the elemack spider myself...

PS. I know there was a post put up some time ago with each person's preferences for a HD kit list, but I'll be damned if I can find it. :blink:
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 10:40 PM

The 8-72mm lens is a good workhorse zoom, but it would be hard to do any steadicam work and in tight quarters (like inside of a car) the set-up would be too long. But I've shot entire features with just that zoom.

The F900 is a battery hog, especially with the HDSDI back, so get extra batteries.

You could get away with a medium-sized Sachtler video head even though it would be a bit flimsy. You're better off with a solid pair of legs and a good head like an O'Connor Ultimate and get a smaller video tripod for run & gun situations.

The big issue with shooting HD is monitoring. Obviously a big HD monitor is expensive, but fairly critical to know what you are getting. I shot a whole feature once with just a small 9" HD monitor, but in that case, I was trusting that things were going OK every day, sharpness-wise. Most people with a decent budget will rent three HD monitors -- a large 20" or 24" for normal shooting, a 9" HD CRT for portable situations, and an onboard 6" LCD or so. One could compromize and get a 14" HD CRT for normal situations and a small LCD monitor for times when you can't use the bigger monitor.
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#3 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 02:15 AM

You also may want to search for a similar thread we had a while back about sample HD equipment lists.


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:33 AM

Hi,

If you are on a tight budget, I don't understand why it would be better to take an F900 out of Panavision with one of their gigantic zooms, as opposed to just taking out a (smaller, lighter, easier) plain vanilla F900 with a decent ENG zoom.

Phil
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#5 Mike Brennan

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 11:03 AM

Hi,

If you are on a tight budget, I don't understand why it would be better to take an F900 out of Panavision with one of their gigantic zooms, as opposed to just taking out a (smaller, lighter, easier) plain vanilla F900 with a decent ENG zoom.

Phil


I agree with Phil, don't go with a Panavised f900, better still if you are tight find a owner operator who (should) give a good deal and greater attention to your shoot than a bigger company.

Sometimes a cheap deal from with TV rental facility is tempting but they usually know less about features than Panavision Arri or others with film kit...

In Europe the TV rental guys kick the kit out of the door as if it were going on a reality show, even though it is HD.

Basic List
HD camera with raincover
9 inch monitor
21x cinestyle lens. 7.5mm to 150mm
Tripod
Hi Hat
6 x batts
2 x chargers
Mattbox
Filters
Follow focus.
14inch crt .
Test chart.
Timecode transmitter
Bag of video cables.

Optional
HDSDI output on camera
HDSDI input on monitors
Wide zoom
19mm support
23 inch LCD monitor with HDSDI input
4 more batteries
Microforce zoom

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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 03:34 PM

The 8-72mm lens is a good workhorse zoom, but it would be hard to do any steadicam work and in tight quarters (like inside of a car) the set-up would be too long. But I've shot entire features with just that zoom.

Most people with a decent budget will rent three HD monitors -- a large 20" or 24" for normal shooting, a 9" HD CRT for portable situations, and an onboard 6" LCD or so. One could compromize and get a 14" HD CRT for normal situations and a small LCD monitor for times when you can't use the bigger monitor.

Another lens option would be the Canon 5.5-50. I just finished a feature with a Panavised F900 and we had this lens as well as the 8-72. It's a converted ENG lens that I'd never seen from Panavision before, but it's much lighter and shorter, and obviously has a Panavision mount, as well as larger focus, zoom, and iris rings.

A bit off the subject....I just dayplayed on a sitcom for CBS and the biggest monitor I saw on set was the 14", except for the quad split which was a 24" I believe. The DIT only had the 14". Of course all the 1st's had an onboard, but I was surprised that they didn't have a bigger monitor for the DIT. I guess this could be because we were out on the lot and not on the stage, so maybe that was the reason. I haven't done the show when they were on the stage, and I bet they probably have a bigger monitor there.
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#7 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 05:31 PM

Thanks for the help all, much appreciated and educational as always.

You also may want to search for a similar thread we had a while back about sample HD equipment lists.

Does anyone have a link to that post, I remember reading it, but can't find it anywhere in the HD category...

If you are on a tight budget, I don't understand why it would be better to take an F900 out of Panavision with one of their gigantic zooms, as opposed to just taking out a (smaller, lighter, easier) plain vanilla F900 with a decent ENG zoom.

Seeing as this film is intended for a 35mm blow up and being shot for the big screen, everyone on board feels it is critical to go with the finest glass available (for the money), namely one of the Primo Zooms. Unless I'm mistaken, there is not a zoom lens in the world which can come close enough to resolving a single pixel, although Panavision's range is without doubt the closest I'm sure. I must admit however, that this advice was taken from Paul Wheeler BSC, noteworthy cinematographer, writer, teacher (and former Head of Panavision's Digital Technology Department). :lol:

I agree with Phil, don't go with a Panavised f900, better still if you are tight find a owner operator who (should) give a good deal and greater attention to your shoot than a bigger company.

Between you and me, Panavision may be willing to give us an exceptional deal on this package as we are shooting in January, one of their quieter months. (They are also willing to throw us 5 days in a prep room and Panavision Greenford, where we can pick and mix equipment from the various departments at will!) If they do start to get arsy we will indoubtedly go to one of the smaller houses and probably opt for a Canon zoom.

The 8-72mm lens is a good workhorse zoom, but it would be hard to do any steadicam work and in tight quarters (like inside of a car) the set-up would be too long. But I've shot entire features with just that zoom.

I'm happy to say that we don't have any really close quarter work in the mix, although some steadicam shots may be on the cards, is the zoom set-up really that unmanageable for an operator? We may be able to budget for a couple of wider primes for a week or so, which could see us through I suppose? :huh:

Many thanks again for the information, advice and recommendations, but mostly for your time.
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#8 Robert Sanders

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:06 PM

While Panavision makes good glass. Both Canon and Fujinon also have comparable cinestyle lenses with resolving power as good as if not better than Panavision.

I recently went through the bidding process from several vendors in and around LA for an F900 cinestyle package. And Panavision was definitely on the high end. No doubt their service and meticulously maintained equipment is worth a premium, however their package price was almost 4x more expensive than some of the smaller houses.

I'd contact Jeff and HDCINEMA and get a quote from him. Great gear. Great team over there. And the Canon cinestyle zooms is fantastic glass.

The money saved is better spent on art department, talent, crew rates and, don't laugh, BETTER CATERING! The key to happy crew is through their stomach!
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:15 AM

I'm happy to say that we don't have any really close quarter work in the mix, although some steadicam shots may be on the cards, is the zoom set-up really that unmanageable for an operator? We may be able to budget for a couple of wider primes for a week or so, which could see us through I suppose? :huh:

The 8-72 Primo is very long. Even with primes the F900 is a long camera. With a zoom it's even longer. I really would look into that Panavised Canon 5.5-50 if I were you. The long end is still pretty long considering it's HD, and I forgot to mention that it's got a 2x extender built in, so you've got plenty of lens at the long end to work with. If you're not doing steadicam you can get away with the Primo, even though it's VERY front heavy to handhold, but if you are planning on doing steadicam you should have primes or the shorter zoom. Your steadicam operator will thank you for it, and your shots will be better because of it.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 07:01 AM

I would get the 5.5-50mm Canon as a BACK-UP for small spaces, but it looks sort of crappy next to the 8-72mm Primo zoom. The way the old Canon racks focus, the way lights look out-of-focus, etc. make the image look more video-ish. It was one of the first HD zooms ever built (Panavision bought it until they could build their zooms) and suffers in comparison to the later models. Plus it is an ENG design with tiny spaces in the distance markings and f-stop markings. It has a "video-ish" bokeh if you know what I mean...
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 09:22 AM

Hi,

> It has a "video-ish" bokeh if you know what I mean...

I know what you mean and I agree, but surely this would be one of the most overlookable things if you were on a tight budget.

Phil
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 04:50 PM

Plus it is an ENG design with tiny spaces in the distance markings and f-stop markings.

Good point. For longer lens steadicam work the 1st is basically relegated to guessing because of the bad distance markings on the lens. I felt my 1st over my shoulder trying to see the monitor quite a few times because of this. But again, this lens is MUCH better based on length and weight issues when talking about steadicam. I guess if you only have very few steadicam shots then this lens will suffice, but for a steadicam heavy film it would be a definate no-no.
I haven't seen any of the footage from the film I just finished with these two lenses, so as of now I can't compare image quality, although I would certainly defer to David about which lens looked better.
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#13 Mike Brennan

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 07:19 PM

Make sure you get at least a Sony Mark three camera that has cleaner blacks and revised filter wheel.

Better still is a mark 2/ with the 3 upgrade or a f900H as these models have different optical components in the camera that not create the horrible green flare when pointed at point sources.

The problem of Panavised HD kit for low budget work is not only do you need experienced video/HD guys in the crew, you also need experienced assistants with significant film backgound.




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