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Film quality

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William Mims
Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 12:04:46 pm

I purchased the EX3 for the express reason of making feature films for theater film distribution. I am further encouraged that I made the right choice with the recent release of Public Enemies. Can anyone give me feedback on the best settings to achieve the 'film look'. I recently read that 30P and -3db gave the most film like quality.

Mims


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Craig Seeman
Re: Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 4:18:12 pm

It's like asking what's the best pizza. Everyone will name something different.

Better to ask what they like in their filmlook settings and why.

Film itself has many looks/stocks etc.



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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 4:48:41 pm

A lot of people are ripping Mann's choice of shooting HD instead of film pretty hard. Going to be a while until digital is widely accepted by the "sit on the internet and hurl insults" crowd.

Cf


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David Jones
Re: Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 6:31:59 pm

The Most recent American Cinematographer magazine's cover article is Public Enemies. It talks about the use of the Sony F23 & EX1.

No real details on the settings they used on the EX1, but they do talk about why they went with digital: they didn't want what we call a "period" look, they wanted a more realistic look like what you get with digital.

Check it out here http://www.theasc.com/magazine_dynamic/July2009/PublicEnemies/page1.php

Dave J


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Steve Wargo
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:09:59 am

[Clint Fleckenstein] ""sit on the internet and hurl insults" crowd."

Keyboard commandos. What a joke. They're all movie "watchers". Hell, my dead grandma was a movie "watcher" and look where she's at.

I have seen about a million crappy movies shot on film and nobody ever bitched because they were shot on film.

Michael Mann happens to like a deep depth of field so he chooses to shoot HD because the lenses allow him to produce the image that he wants to produce. It's not like he chose HD to save money and ended up with a deep dof because of it. Myself, I'm think that way too many director and shooters have discovered and now overuse shallow dof to the point that it all looks the same, same, same, same, same. Shallow dof should be used sparingly, not on every flippin shot in a movie. If every shot is like that, it's not special anymore. It becomes the same old thing. GAG ME.


Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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William Mims
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 2:07:53 pm

When I started this thread it was based on decades of 'Hollywood' experience in film, and later in the nineties, trying to get video to look more like film. It never worked. It was not about d.o.f., it was about how video captures light. For example, shooting a street lamp at night was a dead give away that it was video, not film. In those days major distributors would have nothing to do with a video shot feature. Snobs or just the fact the technology was just not there yet, I don't know. My original question in this thread was about how to set the EX3's settings so that when the finished project is transferred to film for projection in a theater it looks normal. (Normal meaning the audience does not know the difference)
Those settings involve three-two pull down, how the blacks look in the background, etc. I do not have time, nor living in Wisconsin instead of L.A. am I able to shoot tests, run to the film lab and screen the results to see if I've got it right. Since Public Enemies was shot in Wisconsin, I hope I run across info on what settings they used so that inter-cutting EX1 with the rest of their footage was seamless. I think this forum is made up of shooters, editors, producers and therefore has a collective mass of knowledge. For that reason, your input is valuable. You know what works and what doesn't.
The media outlets today are amazing. Not like the eighties when I tried to 'break into' Hollywood. Now you can sell your project to a huge number of outlets. The stuff I have seen on Sundance Channel for example, would never have sold in the past. There is a monster that Hollywood can no longer feed with their bloated film production costs, now with equipment like the EX3 and others, we can get our ideas out there to be seen.
What am I saying? I'm saying dust off that script you wrote and start shooting! You just may surprise yourself with what you can do with that idea in the back of your head that you thought would make a good movie. Guess what? It will, so do it. In the meantime let's share info anywhere we can find it so we build a set of rules on all the settings needed to insure those fat snobs in major studios can't see the difference between our video and their $150K Arri 35mm film camera's product.
Shakesphere said: The play is the thing... That means it's not the equipment you use, it's the story you tell that is important to your audience.

Mims


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Craig Seeman
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 3:25:01 pm

I'm glad you posted the term "film look" as means to you. That's critical. The problem with "film look" is that it means different things to different people.

24fps
progressive frames
film grain
shallow depth of field
latitude
gamma curve
color processing and/or development
characteristics unique to specific stocks
detail

and I'm sure there are many more. One's creative control or desire to mimic certain aspects are truly "personal."

[William Mims] "For example, shooting a street lamp at night was a dead give away that it was video, not film"

This is where more description would help. It can be latitude, gamma, how CCD (or CMOS) handles it vs film as a gathering method . . . or all the above and more. The very content and shooting technique may move one to one solution or another.

Examples
Video does not have the latitude film has. Sometimes creative use of gamma or knee on how the light rolls off can "fake" it a bit though.
CCD might show "streaks" on such bright light source.
CMOS might show rolling shutter on very fast pans or rough hand held work although wouldn't show the streaks CCD might have.





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Michael Palmer
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 3:41:56 pm

If I where going to make a film with my EX3 I would want a good DoF adapter system with good lens and I would want to record beyond the 35 Mbps that the EX3 is limited to. I would beg, borrow or steal the Convergent Design Nano Flash recorder. This will insure that you are getting the absolute best image quality possible from this EX camera. Even if you only use the 100 Mbps you will see a huge difference in image quality. The Nano ships recording up to 220 Mbps all i-frame and a little bird told me it won't be long before it records even higher (300) or possibly uncompressed. The only worry I have with the EX camera is if I had a scene with flashing lights and I would want the new XD Cam 800 for the 3 CCD sensors for those scenes.

I totally agree these cameras have empowered more people to create there thoughts.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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William Mims
Re: Film quality
on Jul 18, 2009 at 4:34:16 am

Thanks Michael for the heads up on the nano flash. Sounds like it is a good investment for shooting a feature with EX3s. Have noticed that as I get back up to speed with Ex3 to Vegas vs. a Sony/Grass Valley edit bay ('97) that my Transcend cards in MxR expresscards transfer to the tower but my Sony SxS cards will not via Clip browser...Haven't figured that one out yet. Sony needs to do some serious price slashing on their cards.

Mims


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Michael Palmer
Re: Film quality
on Jul 18, 2009 at 2:18:48 pm

I'm on a Mac system and there is a driver needed just to read the SxS cards. Did you ever load the SxS driver?

http://www.sony.co.uk/biz/view/ShowProduct.action?product=PMW-EX1&site=biz_...

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Jay Gladwell
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 2:06:01 pm


"A lot of people are ripping Mann's choice of shooting HD instead of film..."


One can't help but wonder, of those doing the ripping, how many of them have made major motion pictures?

I'm in total agreement with Steve's comments. There was a time, not too long ago, when directors and DPs did everything in their power to extend the depth of field in their pictures.





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Michael Slowe
Re: Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 9:06:49 pm

I have just been working with a feature film unit in London doing the 'making of' film. I was using an EX1 but the main film was shot on an EX3 but with 35 mm lenses through a device known as Movie Tube. As many will know Movie Tube comes in various guises, some with a spinning ground glass screen, others with the screen static. The footage I've seen so far looks great and is film like in that the hard video edge is softened. I suspect that any feature unit using the EX 3 will use devices like these to give the much sought after 'film look'.

Michael Slowe


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Will Griffith
Re: Film quality
on Jul 16, 2009 at 9:41:35 pm

>>I recently read that 30P and -3db gave the most film like quality.

I'm not sure what either one of those has with "film like quality".

FIlm can be shot at 30, but most are used to the 24fps look, so If that
is what you are going for then HQ 24p is what you want to shoot with.

-3db is just how much video noise you see. Increasing the sensitivity brightens
the picture but ads more noise. This can actually be a little reminiscent of 16mm film,
but not sure what you are getting at here. -3db is good to use no matter what you are
shooting and will provide a cleaner picture.

The adapters are a whole other discussion which you can find about 50 million sites and
message boards on to research.

Make sure and experiment with the many Picture Profiles floating around the internet.
There are some with some film-like gamma settings which have a nice look to them.


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Filip Dobosz
Re: Film quality
on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:02:00 pm

There is a great set of settings that I got in the BBC Whitepaper here http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/142/862819#862819 . There is a set of "film like" setting they recommend. I have been using them, sometimes changing the gamma setting and shifting the black level here and there. I don't know how they would look as a transfer to a film print.


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Brent Dunn
Re: Film quality
on Jul 20, 2009 at 2:15:48 am

If possible I would do a pre-shoot on a few test scenes, run them through whatever post / colorizing you plan. Shoot these same scenes with the different settings you plan on using to see which works best for your production look.

I used to be a musician and was at the beginning of the digital recording studio's switching from Tape. They used to always compare the "warm sound" of tape vs digital.

The technology is now going to be indifferent to the past in reference to the "film look." What matters is the viewing public. They won't be able to tell the difference even though us "techno-files" can.

When in a recording studio, the worst thing I heard was "fix it in the mix." It comes down to "crap in - crap out." It's all about the story line with the technology being used as a tool to project that story.

So, do some test shoots, find your look, and use great lighting, great scripts, great actor's, great directing, camera, sound, editing, etc.

Good luck, can't wait to see it.

Brent Dunn
Creative Director
DunnRight Video.com


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William Mims
Re: Film quality
on Jul 21, 2009 at 12:06:42 pm

Hey Guys this just in:
I ran across a blog that lists the settings on the EX 3 for that "film look" I started asking with this thread. You all have made some important input about the subject but this is what I really wanted to know:
Check out- marvelsfilm.wordpress.com/.../marvels-ex1-and-ex3-profile-settings-for-filmic-look/ -
In this article he states the amount of tests he did to find the right settings. I am a big fan of "24" on Fox, I know that it is shot with Sony cameras but it looks like Panavision to me. The other half of the game is of course, lighting.


Mims


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Bengt-Goran Bengtsson
Re: Film quality
on Aug 10, 2009 at 7:49:10 pm

Hello William and all others.
When reading this thread a thought came into my mind about why video did not work as a replacement for film 10 years ago: I think the worst thing was the smear. (The smear is the "light beam" going up and down from a bright light in the old video.) The very best ccd´s and now in the EX1/3 cmos sensor has "no" smear. Now the picture is more "film" like in that way that it is clear and every part of the picture is undependant or the rest.
just a thught...
/BG Bengtsson


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rick reyna
Re: Film quality
on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:40:31 pm

Hi world my name is rick reyna iam the director of the new movie the 'rally' that was all shot on the sony ex3 wow it was that or the red iam glad we went with the ex3 you can see the movie trailer at therallymovie.com I can answer any #uestions you might have thanks all


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rick reyna
Re: Film quality
on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:53:46 pm

Hi world my name is rick reyna iam the director of the new movie the \'rally\' that was all shot on the sony ex3 wow it was that or the red iam glad we went with the ex3 you can see the movie trailer at therallymovie.com I can answer any #uestions you might have thanks all


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