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Author Topic: zacuto 2011 test #1  (Read 14526 times)
fredjeang
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« on: June 18, 2011, 02:47:34 PM »
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here: http://zacuto.com/
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Alex MacPherson
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 12:53:34 AM »
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"...only cameras from the pro lines were used..."   Roll Eyes

Nikon D7000 ?  Huh

I am surprised how well the 7D performed.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 09:45:02 AM »
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I'd wondered what had happened to the D3s, perhaps only cameras that could do 1080 were considered.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2011, 11:11:02 AM »
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Ive had some pretty negative feedback in another place on this one !

Im interested in the FS100 and AF100

I thought their highlight tests seemed misconceived

Trying to pull back clipped highlights rather than exposing for the highs and pulling the mids up

Im also disbeleiving of the dynamic range tests, As they dont account for colour abberations in the high end or noise in the low

Hopefully these cameras (F3 AF100) dont look that terrible when used properly

 
S
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fredjeang
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2011, 12:01:27 PM »
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Ive had some pretty negative feedback in another place on this one !

Im interested in the FS100 and AF100

I thought their highlight tests seemed misconceived

Trying to pull back clipped highlights rather than exposing for the highs and pulling the mids up

Im also disbeleiving of the dynamic range tests, As they dont account for colour abberations in the high end or noise in the low

Hopefully these cameras (F3 AF100) dont look that terrible when used properly

 
S
Yes,

I'm sort of cautious about those tests. Any kind of tests made in this spirit.

To be honest I was expecting something else.

Those testings can give a based info but a camera model always has strenghs and wicknesses and in the end a good operator knows to deal with the characteristics of his-her tools so...IMO to take with a safe distance.
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feppe
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2011, 01:35:24 PM »
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Assuming you are serious in your critique, the guys who frequent these Zacuto shorts are heavy lifters in movie world, some with literally decades of cutting-edge movie production with Hollywood budgets.

I haven't seen this new video, yet, but the Emmy-winning 2010 version included incredible talent, including Shane Hurlbut (cinematographer for Terminator: Salvation) and Stephen Goldblatt (cinematographer for many movies from Lethal Weapon to Julie & Julia). These guys know what they're doing, and they have the box office clout and awards to show for it. It was the series which convinced me that video DSLRs are a viable motion platform, and was part of the reason why I was so excited about the AG-AF100.

What I'm saying is that I would be shocked if there was a fundamental flaw in their methodology, and especially on critique from internet heroes with two-three years experience in motion, all of that with DSLRs - not necessarily directed at anyone in this thread as I don't know your backgrounds. Not saying it's possible that they did something wrong; perhaps they don't fully appreciate the nuances and differences of digital capture and post since most of the guys in the 2010 shorts had worked with film before.

Thanks for the heads up, Fred, I'll check the video out!
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bcooter
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2011, 02:12:35 PM »
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Assuming you are serious in your critique, the guys who frequent these Zacuto shorts are heavy lifters in movie world, some with literally decades of cutting-edge movie production with Hollywood budgets.



I think this Zacuto series is the best testing I've seen, but in all honesty all of this goes out the window once real production starts.

If your a film guy, you shoot film, if your shooting episodic TV or a film with a lot of effects of 3d it's probably digital video, but be clear, there is not probably 4 dp's or camera operators living that don't have a 5d/7d in their backpack and every production it comes out, film or video.

It's the same with stills.  You read all the time on these forums somebody will say I'd never shoot with anything less than my 200 mpx, Mamdog 98, with a zeicomed lens, then they get the gig and shoot it all with a 5d2 because  the client, AD or someone says it's not real enough or looks flat footed.

We've just started a large production and did the first day of style testing shot with the RED and the 5d.  The RED images, though superior in a technical view of static and well, just not real looking because the camera weighs more than a corolla and you just can't move it around that fast without a back brace.  The 5d stuff looks real, fresh and cool (or is that kewl?).

This is the way it's always been.  It's not horses for courses, it's what looks more modern and sells.   All the testing in the world doesn't change that.

IMO

BC
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2011, 02:19:05 PM »
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Edit (I cross posted with BC, this is a response to Feppe)


While not all of their methodologies are entirely clear I think the 'heavy lifter of the cine world' is a poor defence of their skills

I wager that many members of this board will have far more years experience of digital image capture than them and especially more experience at taking an image from choosing initial exposure through to final optimised output

S





« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 02:20:48 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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bcooter
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2011, 02:32:27 PM »
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I agree with Morgan.

The problem with film guys is 1.  They rarely own their own expensive cameras  and 2.  They're stuck in a slow flat footed film world.

I hire film crews all the time and the older guys that use cranes, dollies, etc. just roll their eyes if you grab a camera and start shooting, though the stuff with cranes and dollies might have a place, most of the time it just looks slow and overthought.

Motion imagery is difficult to make it look good and make it look believeable and doing what was done with a 45lb film camera is not the way the world is going.

Don't get me wrong, I find the Canon 5d/7d a nightmare when it comes to post production and color and tone.  It shifts, it moves, it's never that stable, but it's also an affordable alternative and if you drop it in the water or off the hood of a car, who gives a shit cause it cost 1/100th of a Cooke Lens.

Anyway, film guys are film guys, still guys use to be still guys, but they are closer than ever to doing the same job.

I can promise you that.

IMO

BC

P.S.   I do not know Mr. Shane H. but I can tell you from what I've seen if I was an actor on set I'd go balistic also.  You have to let the talent work, you have to be ready you have to be adaptable and this is not about technique, it's about catching the moment . . . that believable moment.

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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2011, 02:45:57 PM »
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My experiece is the old guy by the crane is the one who knows how to get something usable from the trendy ideas of the younger DP - but thats a different topic

Those craft people are awesome !

I am very much looking to move on from my DSLRs and get a Fs100, AF100 or if I have to an F3

In these tests they looked to have less mojo than the DSLRs

ie Technically they blow the highlights in a horrible manner (so it would seem)

My theory that being 800 base they are 'hot' like my D3 (and D1 certainly was)

And that if exposed less and manipulated in the low mid tones they would have performed better

Now, Im in the dark, I cant test these cams my self and dont trust the methodologies of those who have the access to test

Which is frustrating for all, especially as I have the cash burning a hole in my pocket !

Mr Cooter you know your exposure and post processing well, have a watch on my behalf and what do you think ?

A) the AF, F3 have no mojo
B) they were just horribly blown in the tests ?


S

« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 02:50:50 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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feppe
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2011, 03:17:47 PM »
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That was a good watch.

As to BC's comments, I think you're coming from a different perspective. I don't know many of the guys in the episode, but given Zacuto's background they are probably from feature film and episodic TV background - ie. high production values, big crews, very strict minimum IQ requirements (although don't get me started on reality TV).

And as a film geek I'm all for it - there's a place for multi-minute Steadicam shots like in Children of Men or Atonement, but I'll take thought-out and planned tripod or dolly or crane shots 99% of the time over winging it with Steadicam or handheld in movies. It's the difference between shotgunning it in a fashion shoot over planning every detail in a landscape shot; there's a place for everything.

Ive had some pretty negative feedback in another place on this one !

Im interested in the FS100 and AF100

I thought their highlight tests seemed misconceived

Trying to pull back clipped highlights rather than exposing for the highs and pulling the mids up

People on that "another place" didn't really watch the video, or understand what they were testing. As said in the first minutes of the episode, they were not out to show how each camera looks when they are at their best. They specifically went to extremes to show how they perform at their worst.

The DR scene was exposed identically between the two scenes: each camera had their own setting, but they didn't change the exposure when switching scenes. This shows the workable DR of a camera. It was essentially the same test as the light bulb test from last year, but now they did it in two separate scenes. I was surprised just how bad the DSLRs and AF-100 performed.

In a real world shooting scenario they would change exposure, and not light the scene to overexpose the window of course.

Quote
Im also disbeleiving of the dynamic range tests, As they dont account for colour abberations in the high end or noise in the low

This was addressed in the video, where many commentators lamented the yellow shift of AF-100 and F3 in the highlights, and discussed the noise and lack of detail in shadows.

While not all of their methodologies are entirely clear I think the 'heavy lifter of the cine world' is a poor defence of their skills

I'm aware that reproducible and falsifiable research is frowned upon here, but would you rather listen to someone with decades of experience in lighting, shooting and post-processing films or TV, aided by an army of professionals, or some random guy on the internet who's experience with cinematography is limited to drooling over Cooke MTF charts?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:26:40 PM by feppe » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2011, 03:32:59 PM »
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The people I listen to on manipulation of digital images are people like Mr Cooter who I know have years working with digital at a high level and creating beautiful results

I understand that these (testers) people are experienced with film, and also digital TV stuff (which tends AFAIK to have a way higher bandwidth the F35 for instance and I guess more headroom)

No one has more than two years of shooting 'narrow band' large sensor digital motion because its only two years old.

IMO the closest experience is shooting early non raw digi stills cams like the D1

Now you can test a camera in a challenging situation, one with wide DR or low light levels

But how you set it will affect the results

Say for example the film cameras had been on F22 for the dark tests they would not have performed too well

I think we have similar (or rather the opposite) here where the 800 ISO base cameras were not stopped down enough

While their methodology is not clear, I guess that testing different cameras with different base ISOs is subjject to interpreation of the exposure to choose and the post route taken

Would you agree with my opinion that when shooting baked jpg on a stills camera that it is best to expose for the highs and pull up the mids or expose for the mids and try to rescue the highs when presented with a wide DR situation?

S


« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:34:31 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2011, 03:40:10 PM »
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If their methodology was to just leave the cameras on the best lowlight setting and then take them to a brighter place that is a strange methodology indeed

I understand that tuning the fill to optimise a camera was not in the test and reasonably so because in the real world you cant always tune the fill

I dont really care about the test, Im just looking to evaluate the mid range cameras before buying .. or not

but there are not many other sources of informaton out there right now

S

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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2011, 03:43:39 PM »
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Zacuto's test is a huge work. In fact, I can't think about any testings in stills or motion that has been pushed so far, the test itself is serious.
But we shouldn't take out of the context because then, there are a lot of parameters.

The imagery always evolves culturally. Sometimes, technology allows it like I think it is the case. The paths are not statics. We are getting used to another dynamic and imagery and the cranes and rails and 50 trucks to get a decent lightning are numbered.
DSLRs video have created a revolution because they are drawing a language, a new language and kids have already adopted it. Everything is going lighter, more freedom, more dynamic, less "perfect", fresh
our culture wants that.
I don't think it will go backwards.

Almodovar films with film, but they actually used a 5D2 for a scene because it was the only camera that could fit in the space to get the angle he wanted. A girl who worked with him told me the story the other day.

Back to Zacuto, the blowing highlights of the Pana and 5D2 does not seem normal to me, at least not at that point. Actually, they mention it in the movie that in the end, every camera is a world in itself and in real work, you get use of what and how to do. It's exactly like a Horse, it has personality and you learn to deal with it and in the end, conducting it where you want.

So those testing are informatives but give a GH2 or a 7D to a super director and nobody would think if it was a 200000 camera.

Cooter pointed an important thing, the cine directors are not camera operators. They don't give a damn about things that are resolved by a team and don't own their cameras. This test would have been (maybe) much perfect if an experienced operator on each model presented setted the camera, they tried to do it but I don't think they reached that point. At least it is the sensation I have.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 04:02:07 PM by fredjeang » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2011, 03:48:37 PM »
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If their methodology was to just leave the cameras on the best lowlight setting and then take them to a brighter place that is a strange methodology indeed

Not so strange for the purposes they were using it. They wanted to show what the real-world dynamic range is for each camera, to complement the rather dull hole test they had at the beginning of the video. For that it is entirely valid approach as far as I can tell, although subjective. The hole test and the accompanying DR charts were the (mostly) objective test.

Would you agree with my opinion that when shooting baked jpg on a stills camera that it is best to expose for the highs and pull up the mids or expose for the mids and try to rescue the highs when presented with a wide DR situation?

Yes, but for the third time, that was not the purpose of the Zacuto test.

Valid criticism on the ISO 800 you mentioned, but that's briefly discussed in the video as well. Would like to hear some more on that.

Back to Zacuto, the blowing highlights of the Pana and 5D2 does not seem normal to me, at least not at that point. Actually, they mention it in the movie that in the end, every camera is a world in itself and in real work, you get use of what and how to do. It's exactly like a Horse, it has personality and you learn to deal with it and in the end, conducting it where you want.

So those testing are informatives but give a GH2 or a 7D to a super director and nobody would think if it was a 200000 camera.

Yes, this was a surprising conclusion to a technical clip. I'm sure they purposefully left that at the end of the episode to highlight the importance of a solid script and great talent and crew.

Careful lighting would show the branches in the bright background just fine on every single camera in the test, and noise-free shadows in the dark scene, but that was not the purpose of the test.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:57:14 PM by feppe » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2011, 03:55:46 PM »
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Well its strange to me

If I wanted to do a DR test I would have just photographed a single wide DR scene

As for the other DR test - the technical spotty thing It was useful but as one of the comentators to the film said there was not a close examination of the spots so while the darks may have read we did not get to see the S/N ratio (ie how noisy the darks were)

Because the top end was in whole stop steps we did not get to see roll off of the highs either

To me the 5d looked better (than the AF/F3) in the wide DR situation because while it clipped earlyier than the F3 and AF it did so in a visually appealing manner

To me a smooth clipping is the key to 'mojo' - it is what film is famous for and something I see on my 5d2 (motion and my hassy and D3 for stills)

It is also technically important because when one can let the highs bleed out one can keep noise from out of the shadows

S
 


« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:57:38 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2011, 04:06:56 PM »
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Here is another "test" of the FS100 http://www.vimeo.com/groups/fs100/videos/25438776

Which is guess is similar to the F3 or AF100 or somewhere in the middle

One again the operator seems to simply be over exposing, or maybe the 5d is just 'better'

I think many film people are just tuned to a different way of exposging/choosing Fstop

S
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bcooter
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2011, 04:13:54 PM »
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I think film directors are secretly closet still photographers.

I know the hardest thing as a still photographer moving to motion is to say "f&^%k" the technique, get the shot, get the emotion.

I mean I love the Cohen Bros and they are great dialog directors, (though they also spend $200,000,000) for a project, but in a way their atmosphere imagery reminds me of a still guy.

It's like did you see the majestic mountains, hold it, I'll do a slow pan, then dissolve and now did you see it?   Good cause I'll show it from another angle and maybe do a helicopter shot so you see it even wider.

OK, now you got it, we're in the mountains.

_____________________________________________

Now that's the movie world, let's go to our world.

Let's face it 99% of everything everyone shoots in commerce is going on the web and that's a different medium.  I'm not saying to hand hold everything, but slow dolly, pan the room shots get damn boring on a small screen.

The new world is fast, the new world grabs attention now, the new world is 2 minutes long.

I'm not advocating jerky, non professional production, but I'm also saying that the world of the web is Run Lola Run, not Gone With The Wind.

I love the RED, it shoots great, it weighs a ton, it takes a week to start and I use it every project, but I know for a fact that the imagery the client's like best comes from small cameras because it's less staged more believable.

The best RED imagery I've seen is from Southland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdVX9IsbTD8

because it's real, it's fast, I believe I'm there and it tells a great story.  Everytime I see a background shot of this production there is a RED, but there is also a 5d.

IMO

BC


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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2011, 04:30:32 PM »
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I think film directors are secretly closet still photographers.

Lol, could very well be.

Quote
I mean I love the Cohen Bros and they are great dialog directors, (though they also spend $200,000,000) for a project, but in a way their atmosphere imagery reminds me of a still guy.

It's like did you see the majestic mountains, hold it, I'll do a slow pan, then dissolve and now did you see it?   Good cause I'll show it from another angle and maybe do a helicopter shot so you see it even wider.

OK, now you got it, we're in the mountains.

Well, that's exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. Coen brothers shoot two-hour films at 24 fps for screens the size of a barn. You shoot two-minute stories at 30 (?) fps for 24 inch screens. If you shoot fast pans or non-Steadicam handheld shots on 24 fps and project on a big screen, they look jerky, and are jarring and tiring for the audience who has to look at that footage for 90+ minutes. There were reports of people getting nauseated when watching Blair Witch Project in theaters. Entirely different mediums.

I'm sure there will be more Run Lola Runs and Cloverfields, but by and large those will remain anomalies, and such techniques will remain special effects rather than a filming style. If 48 fps as advocated by some, and discussed here before, takes off it would greatly improve the look of fast(er) pans and cuts. I'm not so sure I want my movies to be fully MTV-ied, though.
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bcooter
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2011, 04:38:07 PM »
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Lol, could very well be.

Well, that's exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. Coen brothers shoot two-hour films at 24 fps for screens the size of a barn. You shoot two-minute stories at 30 (?) fps for 24 inch screens. If you shoot fast pans or non-Steadicam handheld shots on 24 fps and project on a big screen, they look jerky, and are jarring and tiring for the audience who has to look at that footage for 90+ minutes. There were reports of people getting nauseated when watching Blair Witch Project in theaters. Entirely different mediums.

I'm sure there will be more Run Lola Runs and Cloverfields, but by and large those will remain anomalies, and such techniques will remain special effects rather than a filming style. If 48 fps as advocated by some, and discussed here before, takes off it would greatly improve the look of fast(er) pans and cuts. I'm not so sure I want my movies to be fully MTV-ied, though.

Not everything needs to be jerky or "mtv"  (wow that's a 1986 term)  but the ONLY reasons clients show product or service in any form of photography is for the believability.

I know, I know, every still photographer wants to "paint" an image to make it sureal, but how many clients are buying that?  What they want is for someone to drink a beer and walk out of the room with the hot chick and make YOU the beer buyer believe it's possible.

Maybe it's just the mood I'm in, but I'm tired of twenty two lights and camera angles that take 21 minutes to find.  I'm bored with let's do a few run throughs to make sure we don't drop a line.

I dig fast, I dig pretty, I dig cool but most of all I dig believable.

If the imagery doesn't motivate me to believe I want it then they might as well just draw the ad or the spot.

Digitally we're drawing it anyway  . . . most of the time.



IMO

BC
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