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Author Topic: Combocams' dirty secrets  (Read 8359 times)
Nick Rains
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« on: June 22, 2009, 05:29:19 PM »
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I'd agree with all that Michael has said about using dSLRs for video, especially the handling, but I'd like to add in one aspect that was not mentioned. The 5D2 is amazing in low light.

 I just shot a very basic video about the 'making of' the cover image for my magazine, all available light at 3200ISO in the studio. I'm not sure if 'proper' videos can match this sort of performance, but I was impressed with the results ( the camera that is, not my video work :-)  )

You can see it here:

http://www.vimeo.com/5227335

You might also like to know that the photographic team featured, Denis Montalbetti and Gay Campbell, are regular contributors to the medium format forum here on LL as 'mcphoto'.

Production stills can be seen here:

http://www.betterdigitalonline.com/galleri...test/index.html

If you are interested, Denis is using a P65+ back on a Phase One camera, tethered to C1Pro.
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Nick Rains
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James R Russell
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 03:36:32 AM »
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I don't disagree with Michael's assessment, but I think it's important to keep in mind that all of these new motion tools, dslrs, camcorders, the red, even traditional cinema film cameras all have great pluses and some liabilities.

Of course the trick is using the right one for the right gig, or allowing those limitations to be a plus.

This is still an early cut to an ongoing project.

magic man cut

Keep in mind this is not the final cut, as it will go through rounds and rounds of revisions through the ad agency and our editorial staff, but this gives you some idea of how multiple cameras produce multiple effects.

The base of this was shot with a Nikon D700 at full FPS probably around 7 or 8.

Then some footage with shot with the Nikon d90, a small amount with the 5d2.

They all react different and shoot differently.

Peronsally I like the d90, even with it's limits because under low light it breaks up kind of cool and for this piece has a nice rough look.

The 5d2 is the true king of high iso and you gotta go crazy iso like 3000 to see any grain/noise in the footage when it's a motion piece.

The cool thing about the 5d2 is at any moment of break you just push the shutter and get a 22mpx still.

The D90, well, it's kind of the lost step child other than it's one tough little camera and is easier to focus as the Nikon Manual lenses (at least most of them) go about 90 degrees from close to infinity, where a lens like the Canon 35mm 1/4 seems to take about 400 degrees of spin to go close to far, which obviously plays hell with the follow focus rig.

Now my favorite, maybe cause I cut my teeth on stills is the d700 and the D3.  What I would give for a D3 with autofocus that shot 24fps in raw.

But, back to the 5d2.  It's so smooth and detailed that the look is a lot like 35mm cinema film, except it's even smoother and I gotta spend some time in post to muck it up.  It also works much better as a tripod camera.  For sound all of these devices can ha e an attached separate recording device with multiple channels and a good mike, or better a good sound man can make that part easy, or easier.

Next I will get my hands on a Red and try it out, if not for just the experience, though other than the ability to use PL's it's still a tripod camera that requires some pretty smart focus planning.

Regardless, a $900 d90 or a $40,000 red, we are going into a brave new world and for what would have cost many tens of thousands to produce some of the looks the 5d2 and the Nikons will get, would have taken twice the crew, twice the budget, and with heavy generators, twice the effort.

I also don't doubt that we will have motion cameras that will shoot high quality stills at the same time without having to break in between the clips to get a still.

 (See Steven Klein's Bruce Willis spread in the latest W all shot on the Red and way, way, way retouched, (maybe over retouched).

I don't doubt that soon we will have Canon and Nikons that shoot 2 to 4 k raw, probably a better shutter and a whole lot of other features.



JR
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 02:04:47 AM by James R Russell » Logged

Tim Lüdin
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 06:49:23 AM »
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James

you might give the scarlet FF a try when it will come out around january.
This will be the perfect combocam for you. Small, light, shooting real RAW able to attache every lens from PL, Canon, Nikon etc.
As a RED owner I love my RED but after playing with my 5D2 back up body I saw the future of foto/film.
RED saw it too, that's why they bring out the Epic and Scarlet with the FF chip late this year.

Now think 2 years ahead and you know where it is going.
It's the most interesting time for us cinematographers/photographers ever.

I'm looking forward to hear from your RED shooting day. Have fun, I know you will...

Tim

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James R Russell
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 12:14:49 PM »
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Quote from: Tim Lüdin
As a RED owner I love my RED but after playing with my 5D2 back up body I saw the future of foto/film.
RED saw it too, that's why they bring out the Epic and Scarlet with the FF chip late this year.


Red would have had my money a year ago if I didn't believe they had the medium format camera mindset of we'll announce it, change it, make it, wait for feedback and then make it again.

Maybe that's not the process, but after 21 professional still and 5 professional digital video cameras, my days of beta tester/software glitch finder/workaround guy are over.

My job is to produce imagery for clients so they can sell stuff and right now everybody wants to sell stuff.  

Nothing more, nothing less and until a camera company pays me what advertisers do, then I have to look at this from the customer viewpoint of it's got to be ready.

Don't get me wrong, I think RED's  thought process is revolutionary and if the whole line of cameras was out and running, I'd have one sitting next to me right now.

Actually if their new lightroom looking software was out I'd write the check.

Even Canon knows were into a different world where results matter.  

Since this thread is titled "dirty little secrets", the only real secret is to give a client more compelling imagery than they had before.



JR
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Tim Lüdin
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 05:36:05 PM »
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You are so right James about the beta testing thing.
I'm a RED beta tester for over 1.5 years now. It was a bumpy ride sometimes.
The cam ist still not perfect nor is the software. The new RC looks promising to say the least. Usualy I dont wanna beta test either. I just wanna shoot stills or moving pictures. The cams just have to work. RED was/is different. They listen every day, talk with us, learn from us. The cam gets better and better almost 2 years after the first release. Now think of .... you know who I mean. That's why RED beta testing isn't that bad after all.
It's almost fun.

It's the whole package that makes RED so special. If only the DMF companys would do it like RED, they could help change the
industry. Or at least stay in business.
The rope is getting tighter almost  every month for them.
The next generation sensors are around the corner and canon, RED and even nikon realized what the  customers want and where the game
is heading.

I wonder how long it will take till one company brings out the killer cam/combocam like your "old" contax with the fast lenses or like the old nikon
F-4  that was killer for about 10 years. So that nobody wants or needs to jump on the next train just to get some minor upgrades that sometimes never come. The next generation of cams could be the boiling point where most pros  stop to invest and take a longer break than in the last few years. I actualy hope so.

Happy shooting.
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James R Russell
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 06:03:56 PM »
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Tim,

I dig the thought of RED.

I mean some rich guy who rather than threw his money on some big boat in Monaco actually makes cameras for us.

How cool and I'm not really faulting them for the work in progress thing because I don't have a clue how hard it is to make something like that from scratch.

I just selfishly wish it was running on all cylinders . . . that it was ready to put on some sticks and get working, because I think we all know where this biz is going and it ain't only ink on paper.

JR


Quote from: Tim Lüdin
You are so right James about the beta testing thing.
I'm a RED beta tester for over 1.5 years now. It was a bumpy ride sometimes.
The cam ist still not perfect nor is the software. The new RC looks promising to say the least. Usualy I dont wanna beta test either. I just wanna shoot stills or moving pictures. The cams just have to work. RED was/is different. They listen every day, talk with us, learn from us. The cam gets better and better almost 2 years after the first release. Now think of .... you know who I mean. That's why RED beta testing isn't that bad after all.
It's almost fun.

It's the whole package that makes RED so special. If only the DMF companys would do it like RED, they could help change the
industry. Or at least stay in business.
The rope is getting tighter almost  every month for them.
The next generation sensors are around the corner and canon, RED and even nikon realized what the  customers want and where the game
is heading.

I wonder how long it will take till one company brings out the killer cam/combocam like your "old" contax with the fast lenses or like the old nikon
F-4  that was killer for about 10 years. So that nobody wants or needs to jump on the next train just to get some minor upgrades that sometimes never come. The next generation of cams could be the boiling point where most pros  stop to invest and take a longer break than in the last few years. I actualy hope so.

Happy shooting.
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Derryck
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 07:43:28 PM »
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Fantastic film James. Love the music and of course the cinematography.

Hoping to finally load up the new firmware today on the 5DII and wander the streets of Shanghai finding nice compositions to film.

Cheers, Derryck.
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Tim Lüdin
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 02:19:16 AM »
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Quote
that it was ready to put on some sticks and get working, because I think we all know where this biz is going and it ain't only ink on paper.

Yeah me too. It gives you that MF company feeling sometimes right?!
Announcing stuff 1 year ahead of delivery. It's funny, I dont get mad at RED. I would be with any other company. Because I
know RED will deliver. They always do. Usualy the stuff is even better than the original announcement.

But you are totaly right. Use whats here and is working today. By working I mean has a track record for about 2 years and is stable as hell.
The whole REDolution just brings out the dreamer and child in me. They inspire. I dont remember the last "gadget" company who did this to me.
Maybe Apple but that was a long time ago. Now you could call them Applesoft.

Tim
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RobertJ
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2009, 07:10:07 PM »
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Everything that RED has announced, including specs and screenshots, along with pictures posted in the forums by the founder of RED, are at least TWO generations old.  The founder of RED has said this himself.  The final system will be different from what is shown on the RED website and the forums.  Because of competition, they no longer post the specific progress they are making with the development, like they used to.  Now they just give general hints as to what has changed.  

It's not that they've announced something a long time ago, and then we have to wait for exactly what they announced (like in the Medium Format Digital world).  The entire RED system that's coming out is different from what was originally announced.  How different?  I have no idea.  But they also know that they have to eventually release something, and they can't keep tweaking forever.
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John Camp
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2009, 01:18:31 AM »
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I have no problem with combocams as they are now -- it's simply a feature I don't use. My potential problem with them is that the top-line DSLRs are already far too big -- almost as big and heavy as a Speed Graphic. I, too, believe that there's no free lunch: if cameras are generally made to do both functions, I fear they will grow even bigger and heavier. James Russell says that if there were a D3x with video, he'd have one; I say if there was a D3x the size of an F6, I'd have one. Or even better, the size of a Pentax K7 or a Leica M. My question is, why doesn't Nikon or Canon actually make a D3x/1DsIII optimized for video work, if people really want the visual effects and the audio capabilities? Or for that matter, why don't video camera makers put a D3x-level sensor in a dedicated video camera, so that the narrow depth of field is again available? We all act as if big files are killers, but we can now buy 16-gig cards at Best Buy...

And actually, my answers to those questions tend to be...that's what they WILL do. I suspect combo-cams may be a passing phase, and next up will be affordable 35mm-equivalent video cams. Why not? With a big pro film camera, with a fast power zoom, the lens will cost more than the sensor. Given the 5DII's market price, I suspect that the actual cost of the sensor must now be down in the hundreds of dollars, rather than thousands, and the same will be true of the D3x sensor in a year or so.

JC
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