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The 1st needed convincing, the grip wasn't sure, everyone else was sold


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#1 Keith Mottram

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 07:29 AM

So everyone circled round the camera, looking at it as if it was a circus freek, people started talking about LUT's and "its going to take ages to set this thing up" and "its going to be a steep learning curve, we should have had more prep" etc etc. The the DT (Matt from Arri) wired the camera up turned it on, showed the DP how to choose the temperature and then we were ready to turn over. It basically took five minutes for a full film crew to learn how to shoot with the D20 and that was basically that. There were no problems to be ascosiated with the camera. Everyone was happy- the agency watched perfect clean HD images with beautiful colour, DOF and obviously no grain, the director couldn't believe how simple it was and the DOP seemed to have no qualms with the experience. In summary it was exactly like any other commercial shoot, but with the benefits of instant hi-res images and rock solid performance. The time savings were considerable, we were constantly shooting (this commercial was all about children's performance) so no gate issues or constant mag changing were highly beneficial. From my point of view (I was fx supervisor and editor) all the benefits were incredible, I knew that there would be no movement- so no stabilisation issues, I could make sure that I was getting exactly what I needed- from the HD monitor and I was even editing on set with a feed into my Powerbook- this was especially useful as I could work out any editorial problems on set. Finally I'd like to ammend a previous post, the D20 can now shoot up to 60p (it's actually about 59.8 or something). We used this for some water shots and they look great. I'll post some hi res stills from the cut when I get agency aproval.

Keith
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 04:09 PM

Hi,

Why didn't they just hire people who knew what they were doing anyway?

Oh, I remember, because film people are better than video people... gnuh.

Phil
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#3 Mark Allen

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 06:07 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience.

So, it has variable rates - good news. It can go to slower speeds (8 fps, 12 fps, 22 fps) as well?

In shooting HD usually people have to spend a tad bit more time knocking down errant highlights. Did you have that experience with the D20?

How simple was the set up to feed your powerbook, where you taking a direct feed or a feed from a secondary tape recording source or recording in live while they shot?
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#4 John Allardice

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 06:47 PM

Hi,

Why didn't they just hire people who knew what they were doing anyway?

Oh, I remember, because film people are better than video people... gnuh.

Phil


...and don't you forget it !

J
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#5 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 10:06 PM

I'll post some hi res stills from the cut when I get agency aproval.

Keith

Where did you get the picture of the girl from? Photoshop says "1024 x 576 pixels".

I don't think that's a particularly good picture. Among other things I can see:

* Bayer colour artifacts in the hair
* Quantitization errors on the left cheek ("Posterization")
* Heavy detail correction along the jawline.

Or is this just the result of compressing it for transmission over the Internet?

To me it just looks like something I might have taken with my 3.1megapixel still camera. Which is perfectly acceptable for a still photo, but tends to look like crap once the subject starts to move.
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#6 Elhanan Matos

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 01:40 AM

Jim did you bother to look at the file size of that image? IT'S ONLY 70KB! I'm sorry to be so crass, but no poop theres going to be quantization errors.
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#7 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 04:42 AM

Jim did you bother to look at the file size of that image? IT'S ONLY 70KB! I'm sorry to be so crass, but no poop theres going to be quantization errors.

Well then what's the point of showing it to us? This is a bit like demonstrating CD sound quality over AM radio!

But the Bayer colour artifacts are not caused by that.
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#8 Keith Mottram

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:52 AM

Well then what's the point of showing it to us? This is a bit like demonstrating CD sound quality over AM radio!

But the Bayer colour artifacts are not caused by that.


This was from a dvcam downconvert you old nincompoop- why do you think i'd write "I'll post some hi res stills from the cut when I get agency aproval".

Yes you can shoot speeds down to 3fps I believe (but don't quote me).

"Why didn't they just hire people who knew what they were doing anyway? Oh, I remember, because film people are better than video people... gnuh." Yawn...Phil the reason we didn't hire video people is because we weren't deoing a video shoot. No lighting was changed on account of Chip rather than film, besides the crew consited of whoever the DP wanted on his camera team and as the DP has shot a number of features, I think he can choose whoever he wants. The camera does not operate like a video camera- it operates like a 435 so why would you want a 'video' crew whatever that means. As I said we made no concession due to format and lost no time to 'learning curves' or whatever.

The powerbook was conected from the downconversion out of the DVCAM deck which was also used as Video assist.

Keith
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 10:28 AM

Hi,

> As I said we made no concession due to format and lost no time to 'learning curves' or whatever.

Seems your grip and your first needed to learn their curves.

But isn't that the point? What's the purpose in using improved technology if it doesn't save you anything? The whole paradigm with this thing seems to be to make it as awkward, old-fashioned and backward as a film camera, for no better reason than ensuring the crew are employed. Pardon me if I don't bubble over with enthusiasm.

Phil
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#10 Mark Allen

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 10:53 AM

Pardon me if I don't bubble over with enthusiasm.


You should add that to your signature.

:) :) :)


By the way I thought adding the photo was a nice gesture and does have a puprose in that If you were to originate on film vs. DV and then even if you ran it down to a heavily compressed JPG - you can still see some difference of the origination.

I look forward to seeing some Hi Rez images. Also, consider picking a few detail points and cropping down a whole sequence to something like 200 by 200 in full rez for detail analysis :) Cause motion does matter. I can provide some temporary hosting space if necessary and you're so inclined.
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#11 John Allardice

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 10:58 AM

Hi,

> As I said we made no concession due to format and lost no time to 'learning curves' or whatever.

Seems your grip and your first needed to learn their curves.

But isn't that the point? What's the purpose in using improved technology if it doesn't save you anything? The whole paradigm with this thing seems to be to make it as awkward, old-fashioned and backward as a film camera, for no better reason than ensuring the crew are employed. Pardon me if I don't bubble over with enthusiasm.

Phil


In the case of commercials it is, and is always gonna be, a comfort factor for the agency and the client. The more they can see on the shoot,( and, of course, the more obviously they can see their money being spent) the happier they're gonna be, and if they can park themselves on a nice overstuffed leather couch near craft services at the side of the stage and watch a HD feed on a couple of 24" Dells or Apple Cinema displays, they're gonna feel more confident about the result. The more confident they feel, the more you can get away with creatively. Remember, most of the commercial business runs on fear, ( anyone here who's ever shot commercials will be nodding sagely by now) anything you can do to help alleviate that fear is a damn good thing.


J
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#12 Stephen Williams

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 11:28 AM

What's the purpose in using improved technology if it doesn't save you anything?

Phil


Hi,

Its new technology, it may or may not be improved technology, its an interesting alternative to film. Concord saved time, but that alone was not enough.

Just my 0.02p

Stephen
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#13 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 11:50 AM

In the case of commercials it is, and is always gonna be, a comfort factor for the agency and the client. The more they can see on the shoot,( and, of course, the more obviously they can see their money being spent) the happier they're gonna be, and if they can park themselves on a nice overstuffed leather couch near craft services at the side of the stage and watch a HD feed on a couple of 24" Dells or Apple Cinema displays, they're gonna feel more confident about the result. The more confident they feel, the more you can get away with creatively. Remember, most of the commercial business runs on fear, ( anyone here who's ever shot commercials will be nodding sagely by now) anything you can do to help alleviate that fear is a damn good thing.
J



I think it's the other way around. Every shoot I do I'm asked by the agency about HD and they always tell me they are not yet comfortable with it, especially the post side of things. They don't want to feel like they are using something which might not be as good as the format their competitors are using. When they have a good Dp and Director on a film shoot I really don't think they feel less confident about the result. Besides an HD image on set still wouldn't be the final result. It would still need grading thus becoming a hi-res video tap.

Agencies will almost always, except when forced by budget, do things they way they are comfortable with and know. HD is not yet providing them that comfort.
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#14 Keith Mottram

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:23 PM

I think it's the other way around. Every shoot I do I'm asked by the agency about HD and they always tell me they are not yet comfortable with it, especially the post side of things. They don't want to feel like they are using something which might not be as good as the format their competitors are using. When they have a good Dp and Director on a film shoot I really don't think they feel less confident about the result. Besides an HD image on set still wouldn't be the final result. It would still need grading thus becoming a hi-res video tap.

Agencies will almost always, except when forced by budget, do things they way they are comfortable with and know. HD is not yet providing them that comfort.


The D20 pacage saved us a negligable amount. We shot about 120 mins of footage, which when you factor in the fact that we recieved no real deals on equipment from Arri, we probably saved about a grand over shooting 35mm. This is a pointless amount of money on a commercial. The reason we shot on this format was because everyone from the director to the agency liked the look on the test footage. We deliberately didn't sell it to the agency as HD we sold it as Arri D20. The agency would never have let us shot on an F900 or any other HD camera. So the reason we chose it was because it made sense. The footage is completely incompareable to Cinealta, or in my opinion Viper. It has a rich look, it can be graded anyway you want, there is no gate movement and 'mag changing' is once every forty minutes (which when your shooting children is a massive bonus). I honestly believe people should stop thinking about this camera in comparison to HD- at the end of the day it is just recorded at HD in the same way you could transfer 35mm to HD (Like film you are getting a pixel for pixel downconversion of the original image). Phil you can bubble as much as you want- this camera was maybe not designed for your purposes (in case your confused the topic title wasn't meant to be taken as stone cold fact, besides I dont give a monkeys what a grip thinks of the camera and the first was very happy with it at the end of the shoot). But in the case of this commercial everyone concerned, in my opinion, are glad we shot on the D20 over 35mm. We are already booking it for another commercial. Ask yourself this would a company (or agency) really risk a £xxxxxx shoot to play with new technology.

Keith
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#15 Joseph White

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 01:58 PM

yeah commercials seem to be the one venue where saving money is rarely an actual concern. i've only shot a couple, but commercial dp friends of mine have their g/e crew pretty much empty the trucks when the clients roll in so that everyone feels like their money is being spent well. the best story i ever heard about client-involvement came from a friend in NYC shooting a sneaker commercial in 35mm anamorphic and the clients decided "ehhhhhh its too wide. can we change it?" and that they had to get into panavision on a sunday afternoon and swap out their glass/gg/etc upon their insistence. they ended up with a super 35mm package and basically told the dp that he had to frame for 1.33:1, 1.85:1, and 2.35:1 just to be safe. they ended up finishing in 2.35:1 after all. this is how much fear and discomfort runs that side.

and in terms of "video crews" most video crews that i know of here in LA are more ENG-style than anything - most crews i know that occasionally work in HD on commercial, music video, or feature production are the same people that shoot 35mm and super 16mm. and they all say working with 35mm is generally quicker and easier - not necessarily preferable - but less cabling, monitor calibration, dit-presence, etc.

cant wait to see the hi-res stuff - i like the thought process that went into designing this camera.
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#16 Mark Allen

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 02:42 PM

Keith - have you already or could you comment on what brought the choice for D20 vs. Genesis?
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 05:56 PM

Hi,

> Ask yourself this would a company (or agency) really risk a £xxxxxx shoot to play with new technology.

They just did.

> and in terms of "video crews" most video crews that i know of here in LA are more ENG-style

Is it possible that I'm the only person in the world who takes any other approach to shooting video? I don't think so, I'd be more in demand... and make no mistake that a D20 is video. They've just made it, as I say, as awkward and backward as a film camera to ensure that the right people get a happy glowy feeling about it. Insanity.

> most crews i know ... all say working with 35mm is generally quicker and easier

That's because they don't know what they're doing. For what it's worth, every video camera operator I know regards film as a pain in the arse. For similar reasons.

> less cabling, monitor calibration, dit-presence, etc.

How many times?

You don't have to have any extra cables.
You don't have to have calibrated monitors.
You don't have to have a DIT (ergo, if you do need one, what you actually need is a more competent DP)

The point is you can choose to have these things, but if you don't want them, don't have them, and don't whine about them! An HD package can be a camera, a lens and a battery, exactly the same as a 35mm package with the advantages of being smaller, lighter, gigantically cheaper and very much easier to use.

I would invite any member of a crew who's uncomfortable with HD to kindly get lost and be replaced by someone who knows what they're doing. You have no idea how insulting it is to - eh - every video camera operator in the world to hear people whine about HD. If you have a problem with it, you shouldn't BE there.

Phil
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#18 Jeremy Russell

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 06:16 PM

cables?

i directed a 35 shoot today and the only cable coming off that camera was for the video tap



Hi,

> Ask yourself this would a company (or agency) really risk a £xxxxxx shoot to play with new technology.

They just did.

> and in terms of "video crews" most video crews that i know of here in LA are more ENG-style

Is it possible that I'm the only person in the world who takes any other approach to shooting video? I don't think so, I'd be more in demand... and make no mistake that a D20 is video. They've just made it, as I say, as awkward and backward as a film camera to ensure that the right people get a happy glowy feeling about it. Insanity.

> most crews i know ... all say working with 35mm is generally quicker and easier

That's because they don't know what they're doing. For what it's worth, every video camera operator I know regards film as a pain in the arse. For similar reasons.

> less cabling, monitor calibration, dit-presence, etc.

How many times?

You don't have to have any extra cables.
You don't have to have calibrated monitors.
You don't have to have a DIT (ergo, if you do need one, what you actually need is a more competent DP)

The point is you can choose to have these things, but if you don't want them, don't have them, and don't whine about them! An HD package can be a camera, a lens and a battery, exactly the same as a 35mm package with the advantages of being smaller, lighter, gigantically cheaper and very much easier to use.





I would invite any member of a crew who's uncomfortable with HD to kindly get lost and be replaced by someone who knows what they're doing. You have no idea how insulting it is to - eh - every video camera operator in the world to hear people whine about HD. If you have a problem with it, you shouldn't BE there.

Phil


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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 08:12 PM

Hi,

Last drama I shot we had none... did dual system sound just for that convenience!

Phil
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#20 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 11:43 PM

Yawn...Phil the reason we didn't hire video people is because we weren't deoing a video shoot.

Keith

Er, no...you were actually "deoing" a video shoot.

Re-badging a video camera as a "Digital Camera" and/or mounting a video camera in a film camera's housing doesn't still make it anything more than a video camera, although that appears to be a common misconception.

My problem "sigh" is that if the bloody sensor and signal processing system of the D-20 (and all its other redoubtble stablemates), are so frickin' fantastic, why don't the manufacturers of the things correctly labelled "video cameras" use the same techniques?

There's nothing special about the sensors or the signal processing used, and if there was, I'd tend to think there would be far more money in selling better "video cameras" anyway. Why piss around with a lot of antediluvian film-fancying fuddy-duddies?

(And by the way, I'm a broadcast video engineer by trade, although I know my way around film cameras).
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