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Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI

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Michael Shelton
Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI
on Apr 22, 2008 at 10:08:42 pm

Hello all,

It's been many months since my first posts regarding the HPX-500 and the workflow built around the P2 and I wanted to take a moment to update what has probably become a thoroughly covered topic by now-shooting features on the 500.

I attend NAB every year to scope out new toys (my "day job" is as a cg/vfx supervisor) and 2007 was unique for me because I had a film to direct and so the hunt was on for not only a camera but a complete pipeline.

The camera just made it to market and we were one of the first to use it for a feature and I can say after six months of post (lot's of vfx) I am one day away from holding my SR Master.

My first postings regarding this camera dealt mostly with what our production experience was; which turned out to be smooth the whole way. We shot 1080i except for a few off speed scenes and captured to a macbook pro with a cardbus adapter. The film was cut in FCP Studio 2. Never once did we lose a single take or have any data issues even through post. We used a Nucoda system for our DI so we converted our QT's to Dpx files, again without issue.

Throughout our post process the complements on how this film looks never stopped,I fortunately had a very talented DP who learned the ins and outs of using the 500 and his praise of the camera mirrored my own. We stuck it on a techocrane,stedicam, shot hand held-you name it and the image is fantastic. Much of our film was shot in low lighting (horror film-go figure) and we had great detail in the blacks.

I would use this camera again, the P2 workflow alone was very convenient and solid. I'm aware that not everyone's experience is the same and I've certainly heard horror stories about P2 data loss or using the tethered hard drives but we really did our best to keep on top of everything.

Feel free to email me with questions, or if you've shot with this camera and what your experience was like.

There is a screening of the film this coming weekend at the Fangoria Horror Convention being held at the L.A. Convention Center Saturday at 6 p.m. This is not meant to be a plug for the film-I'm leaving the title out for that reason, but if you are in town, happen to be going to the convention Saturday feel free to pop in for a few minutes and watch the footage-if you are thinking of using the camera to shoot it may be worthwhile. I'll post footage on my website in a few weeks as well with a link for anyone interested.

Happy shooting!

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Nate Stephens
Re: Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI
on Apr 22, 2008 at 11:47:49 pm

Michael, Great story, I am days away from placing my order....

What lens did you use,,,, or was it all a 35 adapter kit ???

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Michael Shelton
Re: Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI
on Apr 24, 2008 at 2:02:03 am

Hey Nate-

We had a set of Digi-Primes and various cinema style lenses that fit onto the camera, no adapter (like the redrock micro) needed. I don't remember exactly what we used, it's been awhile since we wrapped photography.

It's a great camera, you'll be happy.

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Jim Blokland
Re: Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI
on Apr 23, 2008 at 2:09:26 am

Hey Michael:

Congrats on your film. We're just about to head into DI for a feature shot on the HVX200 -- like you, cut on FCS and output via dpx files for the grade. My question is what means (software etc.) did you use to get the dpx sequences out of FCS? Were you able to preserve the 'super-white' values? So far in my research, I've found that only GlueTools can get these values out of FCP, and at that it's a bit of a work-around for this feature.

I'd love to hear about your DI process.

Best, JIM.

Dual 2.7 G5
3.5 GB RAM
Radeon X800 XT
Kona 2 / K-Box
Seritek 1.5 TB RAID

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Michael Shelton
Re: Feature shot on HPX-500 just finished DI
on Apr 23, 2008 at 6:56:43 am

Awesome Jim-Congrats to you-great feeling isn't it? Here's how we did this,with a little help from our post house. We actually used the FCP Uncompressed 4:2:2 and output the reels individually and our post house did the conversion. I output visual effects shots as Dpx files out of Shake and Nuke and sent low rez to editorial with frame counters on the shots to generate EDL's which were sent to the post house. This saved a step for us; not having to cut in and re-output an entire reel and redeliver for a handful of shots.

On the next feature however I'm keeping it all frame based, coming from film this is how I love to work. The toughest thing about Quicktime is I run a mixed OS facility with OSX,XP and Linux and good luck getting anything but the most basic QT codecs to show up on all three. We ran into this with the ProHd codec that you need FCP Studio 2 or you get the dreaded white screen. Plus staying 24 keeps vfx happy as our 3d apps don't recognize 23.98 and that can cause sync issues.

I haven't used the Glue app but am familiar with it-saw it at NAB a few years ago and thought it was brilliant. If you don't want to use that and you have access to something like Shake you can input your QT and output DPX. I've found Shake's implementation of Quicktime to be really solid (After Effects can cause color shifting with certain codecs).

As for our whites and blacks, we were very balanced and didn't do anything specific to protect them.

Hope this helps, let us know how it looks!



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