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Author Topic: About Red on set and other formats  (Read 6602 times)
fredjeang
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« on: January 28, 2012, 04:41:36 PM »
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Hi,

I'd like to ask some questions to the Red users.

Having started to operate the Alexa, I found to be an incredibly easy camera to understand-operate. The menu and button system is really what I'd like our photographic tools to be. Intuitive, simple, very inteligently designed. You need very little time to start to be familiar with the Arri. (it's way much easier than a GH2...)
But the Alexa for me at the moment is not accessible for costs (even in rental), and very specially in Arriraw config.
However, I could consider to rent Red one cameras.

So my first question is:

- are Red cameras also relatively easy to learn, intuitive to operate at first ?

Then I got another question concerning the "convergence" when a work has to be done wich involves stills and motions of the same subject and in wich consistency in the output look has to be acheived.
This question is not in the case that you would extract stills from the red files, but in the case that you would need to match the look of both Red motion and stills from other cameras.

- Would you recommend to try to match the stills according to the Red, or on the contrary the Red according to the stills? Maybe it doesn't matter at all and all paths lead to Rome, but maybe it does, and that's something i can't verify by myself because it needs experience working within the system. Both are raw files but what's the most easy to deal with? My logic would tell me to try to match the red output from the still files, but I'd like to have your experienced opinions on that.

and then,

- have you noticed if using MF or 35mm still cameras have an impact when it comes to do motion+still work? in other words, is there an advantage or a disadvantage to use one system better than another when it comes to integrates still cams into a motion set config? Thinking for ex about the DR as Red cameras have huge DR and considering everything done in contiunous light.

Thanks very much.

  


« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 05:23:01 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 09:50:53 PM »
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I can answer the first and last questions but have no experience with the second on the Red, but have done stills+video with other cameras (I must also mention that my experience is with Red One, and not Epic or Scarlet):

1. No, it is not as intuitive at first, but it's not impossible either.

2. Red RAW is not uncompressed RAW. The best is 3:1 compression. I'd shoot RAW stills (from a still camera) and then try to match that to the Red footage. If you are using a higher MP camera, you also have the option of panning and zooming if required. But try to match the sensor size and lens so DOF and sharpness match.

3. Good Still camera lenses have a certain look - and are designed to be sharp at full frames - which works perfectly for APS-C and 4/3. However, still lenses disappoint mostly in usability, especially in scenarios where one has to touch the lens (like in pulling focus). I'm used to the cinema lenses look and bokeh (for movies), and anything from a still lens seems odd - especially the crazy DOF characteristics of the 5DII, which I don't like. Here I can only venture an opinion, and suggest that if you are trying to aim a product at a certain audience, stick to the lenses the audience is used to - unless of course, you are aiming for something radical and artistic.

Why don't you take a look at the Sony F3? It gives you easy 8-bit workflow and 10-bit uncompressed workflow (unlike the Red which only gives you CRAZY workflow).

Hope this helps.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 03:54:45 AM »
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Thanks for the imput.

About Red, the thing is I'm familiar with it's workflow even if do not personaly own the camera. I've been given rough takes to be able to practise in post and now I got pretty much the procedures settled, in both Avid and Edius. They are different and the Avid is clearly the friendliest editor of both with Red files. So if I rent tomorrow I'm ready to cut.

Then, something I particularly like is the fact that the R3D files occupate a relatively reasonable amount of space, I'm saying this not in absolute but considering the high quality involved.

About the Sony F3, I've never operate this camera ever. However I've been working recently with footage shooted with the F3 and it's a straightforward-hassle-free process, specially in Edius. Now, they do not have the same flexibility in post than the Red raw footage. I suspect that the F3 is not an intuitive camera to operate at first, but I could be wrong. But then, going F3 is very much like going Alexa in a non raw config, but with cheaper rental costs.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 03:57:26 AM by fredjeang » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 01:33:24 AM »
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I would plan on spending a day with the Red camera to learn the menu system. It's a simple camera to operate once you've set it up. Basically, timebase, frame rate, shutter duration, iso, color temp, and video output settings.

Then it's just set the iris, and push the red button...

About you other concerns, I don't think you'll find the images from the Red to be as good as your DSLR stills. So I would shoot your stills on a still camera if possible.  The Red camera has some real difficulties with dark flesh tones.  There is a lot of posterization, and an unpleasant red cast in dark skin.  It's not usually too bad as the image moves (kind of covers it up), bu sometimes it's just plain ugly.

As for RAW, it's not to me, an advantage over shooting 10 bit log mode on some other cameras. You've got to render out of RAW at some point, and it can be a pain when digital effects and speed changes are done by a third party. RAW does save disk space, if that's an issue.

Good luck with your shooting!
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fredjeang
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 03:13:24 AM »
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I would plan on spending a day with the Red camera to learn the menu system. It's a simple camera to operate once you've set it up. Basically, timebase, frame rate, shutter duration, iso, color temp, and video output settings.

Then it's just set the iris, and push the red button...

About you other concerns, I don't think you'll find the images from the Red to be as good as your DSLR stills. So I would shoot your stills on a still camera if possible.  The Red camera has some real difficulties with dark flesh tones.  There is a lot of posterization, and an unpleasant red cast in dark skin.  It's not usually too bad as the image moves (kind of covers it up), bu sometimes it's just plain ugly.

As for RAW, it's not to me, an advantage over shooting 10 bit log mode on some other cameras. You've got to render out of RAW at some point, and it can be a pain when digital effects and speed changes are done by a third party. RAW does save disk space, if that's an issue.

Good luck with your shooting!

Thanks Bruce,

It's true that the Raw workflow isn't specially a drive saver if renders, it depends on the system used in the pipeline.

Edius obliges to a DPX workflow for ex, wich is a huge space consumer and cut in proxy. But in Avid it is a brise. In fact I can't picture an easier-cleaner workflow. All you do is importing the R3D files via AMA and start to cut. No rendering so no extra space needed. You color correct in Raw, as if you were using RCX but with a proper avid's panel similar to ACR. The only small downside is that the Raw datas generated in Avid aren't exportable back into RCX. it means that what's done in Avid as raw correction can not be stored and re-used in another application but Avid.
Don't know if they allowed this capability it in the latest version #6.

So in fact, I really don't get the utility to use a Da-Vinci to color correct from Media Composer with R3D because you got the power within the editor itself, without opening RCX at all nor Resolve.



Now, the Alexas files, not talking about Arriraw but the 444 output are huge. About 3 times bigger than the R3D depending on the content.

But, I'm very very enthousiastic with the P2 HD workflow (particularly straighforward within Avid). What I don't get to understand is how Panasonic did to put such a good quality in such reduced size files. There are very good indeed and friendly user. The space required is not big but the quality is there. The bitrate is about 100 mb/s 10 bit files 4:2:2. and that's very different than the GH2 wich would be from 24 to almost 200 mb/s but 8 bits 4:2:0.



The other concept I'm asking if it's not a reminicense of the old way (the film way) are those S-LOGs. What's the point if all digital material has to go in post? We are not in film-age anymore but that's there. IMO it complicates drastically the process and I'm not sure if we should handle with that for much longuer. I have the frustrating sensation that digital is yet slave of a way of doing things that was settled for a completly different support and in general our tools are only film-age-adapted when there is an infinite field of possibilities in front of us. We need more Steve Jobs (but not the Steve Jobs with QT though).


« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 04:23:48 PM by fredjeang » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 11:03:43 AM »
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The other concept I'm asking if it's not a reminicense of the old way (the film way) are those S-LOGs. What's the point if all digital material has to go in post? We are not in film-age anymore but that's there. IMO it complicates drastically the process and I'm not sure if we should handle with that for much longuer. I have the frustrating sensation that digital is yet slave of a way of doing things that was settled for a completly different support and in general our tools are only film-age-adapted when there is an infinite field of possibilities in front of us. We need more Steve Jobs (but not the Steve Jobs with QT though).

It's kind of like what Ansel said: "the on set camera and lighting work is the score, the post color grade is the performance" Cheesy

I shoot narrative films so this post stuff is really important to me. I assume your type of work might be different. But if you want to capture with a high dynamic range camera, you'll need post color grading, no way around that.

There's a nice little Panasonic camera with a 4/3 chip that doesn't work in log mode, but has the big chip "look" you might look into. And I think it's only about $5000. as long as you get the look in camera, then you'd be good to go.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 06:16:48 PM »
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But if you want to capture with a high dynamic range camera, you'll need post color grading, no way around that.

Exactly, and that's where I don't really understand why shouldn't the camera always record automatically (in factory) the widest possible DR instead of having to play with S-log? (with the possibility to disable it of course) so everything is graded in post anyway.
Don't you think that the electronic could simplify all that.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 06:28:48 PM by fredjeang » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 06:42:40 PM »
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Exactly, and that's where I don't really understand why shouldn't the camera always record automatically (in factory) the widest possible DR instead of having to play with S-log? (with the possibility to disable it of course) so everything is graded in post anyway.
Don't you think that the electronic could simplify all that.

Any large dynamic range capture will produce a very flat and low contrast image that will require grading.

If recorded in linear video gamma, the "meat" of the image will only use brightness levels from about 5 to 45%. Everything above that range will be highlight roll off.  So you'd be wasting much of your recording data on hard to discern white levels. By adding a lot of mid tone brightness to the recording, the "meat" now uses up to 70% brightness levels and is darkened by using a reverse gamma or log curve during grading so that you preserve a lot more image data where you need it. Hope this makes some sense.

There are some "cine like" menu set ups that can capture some extended dynamic range by simulating a film curve so that the image looks normal when viewing. But they are not the same as full range recording, and they are not available on the Red camera. I have never found them to be quite satisfactory but they are better than video standard range capture.
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ChristopherBarrett
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 06:53:40 AM »
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Fred...

I'm really not in love with the menu operation of the R1.  It's definitely a weak point of the system, but you can easily program the user keys to pull up important menu items.  I have mine set to ISO, White Balance, Shutter, Image Zoom and False Color Toggle.  This makes operating fairly sub-conscious.  The touchscreen on the Epic puts everything at your fingertips and is a huge leap forward in the evolution of menu operation.  Really love it.

You'll go nuts trying to grade Still images to match Red footage if your scene has any contrast in it.  The R3D's provide so much more dynamic range than any still format I've seen that you'll never be able to attain the same hilight detail without serious tone mapping.  You'l have an easier time getting the best look possible on your stills then adding contrast to the Red footage to match.  I suspect you're already familiar enough with R3D's to know this.

I've been thinking about your other question in regard to the "real" price of setting up an Epic and the associated costs.  That's really hard to answer.  The camera is so modular that it often confounds me.  There are so many different ways to build and operate it, that it's hard to tell you what you really need.

For example... something stupid like how do you want to power the camera?  I often run AC power so I never have to turn it off.  Then I have the RedVolts to use in the side handle if I need to run untethered (dolly or jib)...but those only last 20 minutes or so.  So I just ordered a V-Lock Battery back (third party) so that I can use the bricks from my Red One which will run my Epic for about 2 hours 20.  There are three different ways to do that and even then... you want V Mount of AB Mount?  OR...hell you could get the new RedVolt Quad module and just invest in RedVolts.... Argh... my head hurts.

Sometimes I run the camera with the LCD, sometimes with the Bomb EVF.  Do you need both?  Not really.. maybe.  I have the Canon mount and the PL mount and use both.  The Side Handle... do you need that?  Not really, you can totally operate without it... but no RedVolts then.  Do you want to use a MatteBox?  Mounting that Studio Standard or LWS 15 like all the DSLR setups?  I use ViewFactor's LWS Riser and the Arri MMB-1 for a lightweight config with a rotating stage.  But hell, you could just use screw-in filters and a lens hood.  It all comes down to personal choice... and there are so many choices to make.

Lately I have a new favorite setup!  Epic with Side Handle (and RedVolts for power), Bomb EVF (no lcd), Canon Mount (with adapted Leica R mount lenses) and a Gitzo Monopod.  This setup is so quick, light and allows for maximum flexibility.  Absolutely nothing like operating an R1... more like using a 'Blad.

Cheers from sunny Austin, Texas!

CB
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fredjeang
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 09:38:35 AM »
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Ahhh.... nice to know you in friendliest lattitudes. You deserve it. Austin Texas? Isn't it the Cooter's city?

Very usefull post on the Red system, thanks Chris.


About the DR you mentionned, yes I was in part aware of it with the canons files, but I wasn't that sure with MF as it's been  some time now since I haven't use them.
I thought that maybe the differences would be much less between modern backs and Red files  but your post makes it clear and answered my question.
As I know you're currently working with Phase backs, P65+ if my memory is correct, you have reliable datas-experience to compare and I think that the safiest way is indeed the one you describe here.


About costs, yeah, I'm doing numbers. Argh...Here in Spain the economical situation is really bad and even the high-end is affected. Banks don't give any more credits,
no need to say for photographers and indy filmakers...but despite that, I'm looking forward, do not contaminate myself with the general pessimism and bad vibes climat in the people.
I try to collect the widest possible information that helps me to make a plan for the middle term. Informative and practical infos in your repply on that aspect too, thanks again.


And those Cooke...

eh eh...In the vintage: http://kevincameras.com/gallery/v/movie_len/cooke/

(see the Movie lens section on the left menu, there are superb oportunities digging into it. http://kevincameras.com/gallery/v/movie_len/)

http://kevincameras.com/gallery/v/leica_r/    Resist...



Best regards and enjoy the Texan's Sun
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 11:28:40 AM by fredjeang » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 01:08:47 PM »
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Fred,

No, Cooter is in Dallas though today in Santa Monica and the other half of Cooter is in Europe on pre production.

Anyway, I like my RED's so I have to admit I have some bias.  Not that I get anything free from RED, heck I don't think anyone gets anything free from RED.

But with our RED ones (our Scarlet will be shipping in few days) I don't find them more intuitive than unintuitive.  Like someone mentioned, after about a day, you have a pretty good handle on how the camera works and how to work the sensor and menu settings.

Compared to most video cams I've worked in the past the Red One's are easy and stable, because cameras like the Canon and Sony High Def's were just a wrong hand grab or button push to a problem, so with the RED ones at least you set it with one basic metal knob and then it's set.

It's not hard, you can fine tune it with iso, flut, color, tone, saturation, white balance,  iso sensitivity, shutter, shutter angle, etc. etc. etc.

I'll let you know in a few days how the Scarlet works.

The beauty is since it's a raw file most of the settings can be changed in grading, so what you do to give a client an idea of how the imagery will look can be changed when it comes to post production.

Now a lot of people want the perfect file out of camera and if you calibrate your camera to your computer and software you can do it where you just place it in cinex and process out.

The beauty of Cinex is you can set multiple formats of files and process them at once.  The second benefit of cinex is with the RED rocket it's virtually real time or faster, depending on your video card, etc. etc.
___________________

Matching stills to cinema footage.  Everybody has their way, but I personally make those decisions based on the project.  If the project is weighted more to the still imagery, then it takes precedent, or vice versa.

Now, just like shooting a Nikon next to a Canon, or a medium format back, not every camera renders the same look so a RED won't exactly match a still camera, though since it's raw I've found it easier to match color with the stills, than I do the 5d2 or the Sony FS100.

Especially the Sony, I find that the most complicated camera to hit color on, but I use it the less of any camera so maybe I'm not that familiar with it.

I think color and tone of footage is one of the most difficult things to learn, because you can do to motion anything you can do with stills, but as you know you have to do it with different software suites that usually don't have the same interface as still processor suites.

Cinex is more like C-1 or Lightroom, but Cinex is not as full featured as Apple Color or Di-Vinci.

____________________

Quicktime.

The gamma issue is a mess, the fact that 75% of the market still cuts in FCP 5,6, or 7 makes quicktime a viable format.  I don't have a single client that doesn't assume a 422 prorezz file to be a master, so whether I think it's the best format or not, until the editorial world settles down I think QT will continue.

____________________

Costs

I probably know but don't want to add it up.  I guess it depends on what your shooting.

On the cheap a RED One or a Scarlet is not as expensive as a medium format back and camera and RED's lenses are a good price compared to a lot of PL mount lenses.

The best deal is the Zeiss Nikon Mount still lenses.   They're amazingly sharp and have a shorter throw (though accurate) and if you practice you can carry focus yourself, even on moving subjects.

I understand about the Economy.  Spain has been hit hard, but in the creative industries world wide, they've all been hit hard and I would imagine more than most other segments of the economy.

I also know it's a difficult decision to invest in a new area with no guarantees, but the way the industry is going I just didn't think we had much choice.  Either go forward or scramble for a segment of the industry that continues to be marginalized.  As a friend of mine says . . . this is the life we chose.

So, though we've shot video/motion in parallel to still production, to really go forward I wanted cameras the I could own, shot a raw file, we're in rental world wide and we're within a price range that wasn't insane.  I also wanted real military grade build quality, not plastic, so . . .the only cameras that fit we're the RED's and honestly I'm still pretty amazed that nobody has really met RED head on in competition.

I compare my RED one's to a Phase One back.  They may not be the prettiest, they may drop in price in a year or less, but I think they'll last forever (my phase backs have) and I'll probably use them for a lot of years.



IMO

BC


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fredjeang
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 02:17:01 PM »
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James,

Thanks very much for the imput. Highly appreciated too and informative as always.

 
Yes,

Red is surely the best system for me too. The Arri is a great camera, but it's built (included the buttons implementation)
mainly to be operated within a traditional movie team where each operators have their space arround.
Do I want that ? even regardless of budget, no.
It's expensive and the access to ArriRaw almost impossible.

Red is giving a lot, really a lot for the based price. I've been asking myself about it, but there is now any doubt for me.
Your posts confirm it, so does the Chris one.

On CineX, I agree. I love it. If it was just featured with a more sophisticated timeline and had keyframable effects and more sophisticated grading capabilities
I don't think you'd see me a lot on Avid or Edius, but unfortunatly we're not there yet.

The still and footage is the hardest. I need more practise on that, specially what Chris pointed that the Red DR is so wide that it can be an hassle
on certain circunstances. Things would be sooo easy if the same camera could deliver both in high res and that's it.
And as I only got R3D files that are rough takes on things I wasn't there to shoot stills, it's very difficult for me at that point to get experience on that. I'd need to own the camera
or rent regularly.


Oh, the QT stuff, I'm really, really, really x 10, pissed-of to be polite and I'm amazed how Apple has managed to hypnotize this industry with such a problematic codec.

But as you point, the bad news is that there is actually no real alternative to choose from. In fact there are but clients don't want them.


What I don't get about Zeiss lenses is why in Nikon mount?
I also like very much the output I've seen with the Red's lenses. Each time they were on my favorites. In the Chris testings for ex I loved the most the Red
lenses and the Cooke.


Spain is a mess, it is a mix between Greece and Italy. Even Recuenco admitted that almost most of his assignements are done out of Spain and if not he would work in a restaurant
and cook tapas.
The biggest problem we have now is that there is no more access to credit, unless under conditions that aren't suitable-fair.
So all the machinery is pretty much paralyzed.

But personaly, all that is really not affecting my enthousiasm and projects at all and carefully step away from the general depression.

Many thanks and best regards.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 03:52:21 PM by fredjeang » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 02:39:44 PM »
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Ziess compact primes in PL mount cost about $4000 each.

Ziess still camera lens are about half that price, and are the same lens with a different body. The Canon version has no iris ring, hence the idea of choosing the nikon version.

Of course focusing scale is far better on the cine version of the lens, but they are more expensive.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 02:45:28 PM »
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Ziess compact primes in PL mount cost about $4000 each.

Ziess still camera lens are about half that price, and are the same lens with a different body. The Canon version has no iris ring, hence the idea of choosing the nikon version.

Of course focusing scale is far better on the cine version of the lens, but they are more expensive.

Many thanks for this explaination Bruce.

Best regards.
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bcooter
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 03:45:07 AM »
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I first went with Zeiss Nikon mount lenses because we had a few older Nikon lenses that were very sharp and useable.  The 50 1.2 for example and an old 2.8 push pull 80 to 200 zoom we use a lot.

The Zeiss lenses track focus by the operator wonderfully.  They're smooth, solid and only a 1/4 a turn will track someone from across the street to a few feet in front of the lens.  With a PL mount lens it will take a full turn or more.  Also the Zeiss are very light weight which can put a RED ONE with a belt pack to about 8 lbs.

When it came to PL we went with RED's over Zeiss.  The price was good, the lenses were faster, though they are quite heavy, though also very sharp and have a great look.

My favorite lens is the zoom optimo, but a 2.2 is about $32,000 which makes that a rental decision.

IMO

BC
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 08:00:31 AM »
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Spain is a mess, it is a mix between Greece and Italy. Even Recuenco admitted that almost most of his assignements are done out of Spain and if not he would work in a restaurant
and cook tapas.
The biggest problem we have now is that there is no more access to credit, unless under conditions that aren't suitable-fair.
So all the machinery is pretty much paralyzed.

But personaly, all that is really not affecting my enthousiasm and projects at all and carefully step away from the general depression.

Many thanks and best regards.



Mess or not, there is something about the country that enchants, regardless of the economy. Yes, it also infuriates, but there are many cultural reasons for differences that extranjeros find difficult to either understand or accept. The magical thing is this: almost regardless of the problem, the minute the sun shines again and you sit at a pavement table at some bar somewhere, the world walks past, you forget your troubles and life looks good again. I sure as hell don't ever find that in the 'old' country...

Another thing; I used to wonder why you took this huge interest in motion. Now, after watching more tv than usual because the PS computer was dead(ish) I have concluded that the real deal is in documentaries, where if you have the skills, you can write your own theme, shoot it and see it on tv and feel it in the bank. Not a bad combination. The closest I found to that was calendars - but tv is so much wider in scope and with markets for the same product worldwide.

Go for it!

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 08:49:22 AM »
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Hi Rob,

Yeah, the spanish sun...

About motion, this is an old story. I use to be in paralell of fine-arts, in a cine school in Paris rive gauche (very close to fine arts school) and started to learn direction. As students, we shooted 16mm b&w for costs.
I loved it, the best I ever did but I had in mind an obsession to paint at that time. I've worked for some time in a production house that was doing corporate movies, mainly in the oil-petrol industry. It didn't interest me, I was doing it for money but you could learn. Motion lenguage is not that new for me. What's new is all the digital workflow and post-prod.
I'm learning those aspects because at the moment this is correct, but eventally I will leave all that to others and concentrate on directing.

The reasons of my return to it are simple: It's damn exciting, chalenging, difficult, collaborative, creative, expensive, narrative, wide, multilenguage, fun, frustrating, rewarding...etc...



Best regards.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 09:13:17 AM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 10:03:11 AM »
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Peter O'Toole?

Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 10:24:26 AM »
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... What I don't get about Zeiss lenses is why in Nikon mount?

Manual aperture. You can use Zeiss ZF's on an EOS camera with an adapter. I use my Zeiss ZF's on my D700, on my 5DII, and soon on my Scarlet. With an adapter, I can also use my CY Zeiss lenses on my 5DII and my Scarlet. Zeiss ZE lenses are supposed to work with Scarlet, but I am not sure if Red has all the ZE's programmed for Scarlet yet.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 10:28:16 AM »
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Peter O'Toole?

Rob C

Yes, a Lawrence's still.

ftbt, thanks for the tip.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 10:50:53 AM by fredjeang » Logged
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