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Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!

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Shahriar Rahman
Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:13:20 pm

My colleague is shooting a low-to-mid-budget feature film with this camera in the coming months.

I have read some experiences in previous posts but would like to hear from people who have used it for narrative work. We are editing the footage using Final Cut Pro 6.

Please share any experiences (especially on the editing side) that you may have had!

Thanks
-shah


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Paul Ullah
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:21:36 pm

I've not used the HPX3000 but have shot lots of P2 and it's almost always been cut using FCP. The editor on the last project that I shot on P2 had just cut an XDCAM job and said that the P2 workflow was far better.

I've also been working on a P2 feature and the director had never used the format before. Being paranoid he used mirrored drives to store the P2 data and then imported the footage onto another drive for editing. This drive was also mirrored. It was a little paranoid but since there are no tapes or film reels to go back to it was slightly justified. I've done my research on the firestore and it seems to be a little unreliable I would always shoot cards where possible.

Final Cut Studio is great too for it's integration with Shake and Color is a great too too.

Given the choice of any non film format for a feature this is the way that I would go. HDcam is prone to tape drop out, Red is unreliable. P2 is the best in my opinion. And the 3000 seems like a great camera. I would just shoot some tests at 720 and 1080 and see which you prefer. 720 has it's merrits so I wouldn't dismiss it so quickly. It depends on the look that you are going for?



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Shahriar Rahman
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:34:20 pm

Thanx Paul! The mirrored-drive back-up solution sounds like a good idea, but if I may ask, how was this done on the shoot? Did you have a laptop on set (with P2 slot) and unloaded the footage onto an external? Or did you bring it into the studio at the end of the day and backed up using a desktop? We will appreciate it if you are specific.

Our grievance with the 3000 is the lack of variable frame-rates aka Varicam. However, does anyone know if Shake can slow the clips down convincingly with it's time-remapping tools?


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Noah Kadner
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:50:43 pm

If you want an in-depth look my HVX200 DVD goes over everything you'd need to know about tapeless workflow with FCP and would apply to the HPX. By no means foolproof but if you know what you're doing it's a very powerful workflow.

Noah

My FCP Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color. Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook
http://www.callboxlive.com



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Paul Ullah
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 14, 2008 at 12:17:58 am

I have used 2 different methods. On the feature we took a laptop with a pc slot and just plugged the cards directly into the slot in the side of the laptop. Copied the footage directly to the firewire drives. That way we could also play back footage.

What I usually do so that I don't have to carry extra kit arond is put a firewire 400 drive in my camera bag and transfer direct from the camera. That way I don't need to bring a laptop on the shoot with me. I like to travel light. Especially on corperate jobs where I don't have an assistant to help with bag carrying.

Shake's optical flow is great at creating slow mo and the advantage to doing it this way is that you're not going to loose light by shooting slo mo. I was having a conversation about optical flow today actually. It does create extra frames by analysing every pixel in your shot. Completely convincing. We were talking about shooting 60fps with a HVX200 in a 24p project and then slowing it down to create a 120fps slow mo. I'm going to do a test with this soon.

Paul

PS Where are you based? Where is the film being shot?



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Matthew Romanis
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 14, 2008 at 3:50:31 am

Hi Shahriar,
Is the HPX 300 you are getting enabled with the AVC Inta card? If so, are you going to shoot DVC Pro HD 100 codec or AVC Intra 100. This decision will have the greatest effect on your workflow.
The log and transfer application with in FCP will deal with HD 100 easily enough, if however you are going to shot AVC Intra 100, then FCP will need to convert those files to Pro Res 422 (choice of standard or HI-Res available here.) This is quite a slow process even on the new 8 core processor, let alone a dual core lap top. I have been rather bemused at how long this process takes at times.
It is a very good idea when you are saving the original P2 files to preview them before formatting the cards, either with FCP on the laptop or P2CMS (Panasonic software) to make sure the data is intact.
I had an experience earlier this year with the 32Gb cards getting very hot and transferring errors to the backup disk, luckily we picked up this before formatting the cards for further shooting. We let the cards cool down and had another look at the footage to make sure. If we weren't previewing on the day we would have had a major problem in post.
Re the variable frame rates, if it's so important, why are you not shooting Varicam, Red, or other's?



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Peter Corbett
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 14, 2008 at 10:18:01 am

I just shot two TVC's on the 3000 in AVC-Intra 100. I used Premiere Pro to edit the footage but I had to convert the clips to uncompressed AVI's first. I've heard about the slowness of converting in FCP, but in Windows it only took around 15 minutes to convert 40min of footage.

I must say the 10-bit 1920x1080 AVC100 footage looked extraordinary and if I could get over the clip management and backup issues, I would use this camera more often.

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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Matthew Romanis
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 14, 2008 at 11:01:12 am

Hi Peter,
Yeah, Premier can work with the MXF files in a better fashion than FCP, though we keep getting told this will be rectified soon.
Give me a call if you like to discuss archive solutions. We have bought an LTO3a to handle long term storage of the files generated. We have had much recent success in bringing back footage directly from the P2 files and from QT converted files. Media management we have found is a matter of being strict with logging and identifying files as they are shot then transferred. FCP's log and transfer is actually a rather nice way of dealing with this, all QT converted files and their logged info can be backtracked directly to the original P2 files.
We use a CALDIGIT 1000Gb mirrored drive on set for handling files generated.
I totally agree that the image quality at this level is great. We are really enjoying this camera on all levels with the work we are doing.
Matthew.



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Shahriar Rahman
Re: Shooting with HPX3000 and FCP - any comments welcome!
on Apr 24, 2008 at 2:17:34 am

Matthew, thanks for sharing your experience! We have been busy preparing for the feature I mentioned in the original post, so I was not able to reply to you earlier. To answer your question, the director will probably resort to Shake for any retiming effects as we are definitely set on the HPX3000 for the feature we are shooting next month.

We would like to talk to you further about your experience with the camera! Please email me directly at editor4yourfilm@yahoo.com


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Shahriar Rahman
Need Advisor with HPX3000 experience
on Apr 24, 2008 at 1:58:07 am

Paul, sorry for the late reply! I did not know you had asked a question until now.

We are shooting in the New York City area. The film will be shot using the HPX3000 and I will be editing it on FCP6.

We are looking for an advisor -- someone who has used this camera with FCP6 (preferably on a narrative) who could give us a few hours of his time to show us the entire workflow with the camera all the way to editing. If he has demo footage from the camera, we would love to see it!

We will compensate him for his time, albeit meagerly, as this is an independently-financed film.

Any reference will be greatly appreciated!


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