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DVX-100's film look still alive?

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Tom Laughlin
DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:40:16 pm

Hey, sorry to bother everyone here, but back when the DVX-100 came out, their was, as I remember, such a great look and feel to the 24p look to this camera. I've used and rented other cameras in the past, but I look back at past projects that I shot with the DVX-100, and it seems to me that, that camera had some sort of pure magic to it, the look, it just looked a lot more like 'film' as I remembered.

Maybe now years later, as more cameras come out and are able to shoot in the 24p mode, whether true 24fps, or 24p, or whatever, I feel like that the DVX had a film look that I've not seen since, the newer cameras definitely shoot better and shoot cleaner, but does anyone out their agree, and if so, what is the state of the film-look at large? The HVX has a good film look, and I know a ton of people are going to reply and talk about how you light it, where you are shooting, how and etc, etc, but above all the technical lighting aspects of it, the camera right out of the box, shot great imagery.

Discussions or comments?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCS3/Sony EX-3/Mac Intel


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:26:17 pm

Ya know, as much as I love (and still use) the DVX100, I am a big fan of it's newest incarnation - the HMC150. Basically the same camera and HD and it shoots to SD cards instead of tape. It feels nearly identical, but with a better lens and more advanced pro features. I really like the latest crop of Canon DSLRs, too. On the other hand, if you have a DVX-100 or are planning on picking up a used one, you can't go wrong. I'd go with the 100B, though.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:44:11 pm

Yea, I think that in alot of ways, this film look developed by Panasonic does have that tinkle to it that makes anything you shoot have that film look, in which when people talk in terms of the film looks of other cameras, the one I'm using now for work, the Sony EX-3, when shooting in film mode, or in the 24fps, with settings speced out for film, it just doesn't quite look like the "look", you know? Especially where you have so many filmmakers still shooting films and going to DVD, if its going to DVD, then why not still use the DVX? I think that in terms of acquisition for the big screen, the DVX-users have had to battle out the best way to blow this video up, but as we are seeing now in theatres, more and more films are bring shot digitally on the RED or on other platforms that are non-film-looking. So, the audiences' trained eyes are now becoming more and more aware as well as forgicing of this, and with the wealth of film grain filters and editing tools, anything can be done in post to make video look more like film. Do you know of anyone still using the DVX for feature films these days, or has this dog been run over for good? How does the HMC truly compare, image-quality-wise the the DVX, and will this DVX film look return to the ring, in terms of future cameras?


Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCS3/Sony EX-3/Mac Intel


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:54:16 pm

Tom, I hear about TONS of indie stuff made with it - they still make it and it's used as much as the Canon XL2 or Sony EX1 - they're reliable and . I use it for tons of projects around town, but I'm getting the new Canon t2i DSLR here pretty soon so I may have to squelch that: I've used footage from the 5D and 7D and it just doesn't compare with anything out there right now in that price range. I'll keep my DVX100 around though. ;)

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Gabriel Wiener
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:50:02 am

Hey guys, I was just browsing online in an attempt to find pricing ranges for purchasing a DVX. I am a film student at Temple University in Philadelphia and my friends and I had used the DVX consistently over the last year or two for school and other work and had been really impressed with the look that it had. Recently, I personally, have started noticing that certain student filmmakers and a lot of regular people have grown fixated with the concept of HD, and even further with the RED, just because of the technological notion that is attached to it. If its shot in HD it looks good to this generation. In fact, I have been using the Sony Z1U and V1U lately and really love the footage I've gotten from those but in the hunt for purchasing a camera of my own, I can't think anything else but the DVX, it seems to have that "look" and it is also very familiar to me and has great manual functions. But is it going to last in terms of quality and price? Any feedback would be much appreciated


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Apr 28, 2010 at 1:49:40 am

Put it this way: I used to shoot on film. I love film. To me, it is far better than anything out there, BUT it's expensive and time-consuming.

When the RED came along, I was excited - a camera that shoots a series of single frames (high res ones, too) and you can eliminate half the work flow! No more film processing, transferring to digital, etc. Now, you go straight to digital and...oh wait, most theaters don't support digital - they still want a 35mm print. Almost there. If you're going straight to video, get the best image you can. Shoot HD, but if you're a student or on a limited budget, I'd get a DVX-100B (or C) or a tapeless format like the HMC-150 (or a DSLR if you want to go that route).

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Apr 30, 2010 at 3:06:12 pm

So what does standard def 16x9 shot by the DVX compare to the HMC's standard def 16x9? Identical?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Apr 30, 2010 at 4:38:22 pm

Okay now is where you get into non-square pixels a bit. The DVX does an SD version of 16x9 where it stretches the frame to mimic widescreen 16x9 (still 720x480 with irregular pixels to mimic 16x9). The HMC shoots full resolution 16x9 (1920x1080). The HMC is much better for widescreen and HD than the DVX-100. Remember, though: HD is still kinda catch-phrasey. Cable is still SD and satellite is still heavily compressed HD. Regular broadcast is still the standard at full-res HD. If you want, spend the $ on an HMC-150 and you are covered and it's tapeless. If you want to save a little, get the DVX-100 and get cozy with a tape workflow. I love the DVX-100, but I also love the HMC-150. If I wasn't already using DSLR video, I'd have an HMC-150.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Apr 30, 2010 at 9:41:51 pm

Have you seen side by side comparisons to the look? Can you tell the difference, and how?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Bill Moede
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on May 20, 2010 at 12:00:35 am

I'm shooting an independent feature film right now with my DVX100. I also have a Canon XL2 but I like the "film" look of the DVX better. To me, the DVX100 has better contrast latitude and I'm guessing this has a lot to do with the CCD and associated electronics. I've shot with the XL2 in bright daylight and sometimes get some strange looking video, where the DVX100 seems to handle 'high noon" sunlight better.



Bill Moede
Replay Media Productions
Appleton / Green Bay Wisconsin


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on May 20, 2010 at 3:00:48 pm

So, I mean, if I'm understanding you, you're saying that the DVX "film look" looks better? I'm referring to this film look versus let's say other cameras as well, like the HMC-150 or the HVX-200, which i'm sure you've seen or have shot with as well, so does the DVX, for you, give you a better film look, than these other HD cameras? I kind of see better film look, you? (And these are SD camera too!) The other thing I think about is most people are getting indie feature straight to DVD, so the whole 1080p thing, to me is great if your ultimate output is a BlueRay or a theatrical release - right? DVX shot features still look great on regular DVDs.

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Bill Moede
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on May 20, 2010 at 4:05:51 pm

Well, I'm trying to stay away from calling it a "film" look, rather a "cinema look" But, to my eyes the DVX100A and B do much better job at this look, with both the color, shadow detail and contrast latitude. The XL2 also looks a bit too sharp sometimes. I've shot similar scenes with both my DVX 100, Canon GL2 and Canon XL2, and I always see better detail in the shadows and highlights compared to the XL2 where these details are either gone to complete black or are blown out. I still love my XL2s and those Canon lenses for a lot of work, but when I'm shooting a narrative "films" I prefer the look of the DVX100.

At this point my only distribution is SD DVDs or the web so from a business point of view, gearing up for HD will be a year of so off for me yet.

For the current film I'm working on, we tested some lower end HDV cameras, which we would need to down convert to SD anyway, and it was quite clear that SD with a great lens looks a lot better than HD (HDV) with a consumer - prosumer type lens.

The guy working down hall in the the next office from me is shooting with the HVX-200 and the images I have seen from that camera have much of the same qualities of the DVX100 but with HD resolution.


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 28, 2010 at 8:17:20 pm

So, if I want to shoot a feature film with the DVX-100, do I use the Squeeze mode or letterbox to shoot it? And when I capture the video, what is the native resolution I can max out on in terms of resolution, 853x480? Can you up-res it, what are the indoe filmmakers using the DVX-100 doing to achieve the 16x9 film look for SD DVDs?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Bill Moede
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 28, 2010 at 8:43:54 pm

I'm not sure what your max resolution would be. Anything I need to shoot 16x9 I shoot with the anamorphic lens adapter. I'm capturing with the FCP standard DV codec, anamorphic.

I've been outputting some projects at 720P using compressor and that looks pretty good.




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Alf Hanna
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 29, 2010 at 5:26:40 am

I am going to jump in but preface my comment by saying I've not shot with the DVX-100, but do have the HMC-150 and a Canon T2i. I would say that the film look of DOF of the Canon has made me carry it far more lately than the 150, which is a great camera. They are two very different tools, but depending on what you mean when you say to shoot a 'feature' I would say that I would seriously consider the Canon for shoots that don't require long takes, and hassle with the voice syncing using a high quality field recorder with mixer (I use the Mixpre and Zoom, but if I was doing a real feature, I'd be using something better).

That being said, the 150 gives superb results, but you need to work around the DOF issues, like getting the background further away, using telephoto more, etc. I'm still struggling with the razor sharp edge of HD and find that the Canon, while having the ability to give me crisp HD, also can defocus without turning into the mush I've seen with the 5.

I really dislike the lack of XLR in on the Canon, and the general ergonomics of it stink compared to my 150, but the trade off for DOF is worth it. And it's pretty cheap! It's making me rethink a lot of my shooting with the 150, which should make me a better shooter in the end.

Alf


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Tom Laughlin
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 29, 2010 at 4:39:46 pm

Is there a cinema DVX package that controls this? Have you seen the DVX short film "Broken"? I've seen people trick out their DVX-100's with french flags, matte-bozes, follow-focus, and anamorphic lenses, would you say that based on that era and now, that that is a once over-kill for what camera do out of the box? I shoot with the Sony EX-3, and as far as making it look like film, I've got no clue where to start? What frame-rate and settings should I use when I shoot, and what filters would you suggest? Any specific filters from Red Giant? Any web video example links or anyone using the 35mm lense adaptors for the DVX or for the EX-3?

Tom Laughlin
Producer/Editor
Salt Lake City, UT
FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel


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Bill Moede
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 29, 2010 at 5:27:40 pm

I use the anamorphic adapter as it's the best way to get quality 16x9 from the DVX-100. Other than that my camera is stock, no other add on stuff.


As for looking like film... I don't use that term, I prefer to get a "cinema look". Technically; 24p, and a gamma curve that will give you more shadow detail, and less noise in the blacks. And, know the limitations of the DV / video format that you shoot. With DV you only have a 4-5 stop range of exposure. Many times that means lights and / or scrims when you are shooting outdoors to bring up the light level on actors or reduce bright background levels. Or you need to limit your shot angles away from bright sky and other backgrounds. Indoors you may need to put some light in the shadows, with DV don't let anything fall off to 100% black, you will see noise sparkles.

Once you have the tech stuff out of the way, light like a movie, shoot like a movie; cranes, dolly instead of zoom. Use only a few focal length settings, then move the camera to frame.





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Alf Hanna
Re: DVX-100's film look still alive?
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:51:49 am

I have rails and a matte w/french flags for my 150. There is follow focus if you want to spend the $$. I haven't yet. I just haven't needed it. I'd probably spend it for my T2i first though. It needs it (G). A depressing lack of ability to do follow focus on the DSLRs. I can easily make do with my 150 without the extra cost.

Tom is right, I'd say, in that there are techniques that aide the 'film' look, rather than just equipment. Find the best of both worlds and you will achieve your 'look'. But it might be better to just upscale your costs and get something that does it *out of the box*.

Not long ago, I looked at Noah Radner's independent video production of Formosa, shot with the Panasonic SDX-900. I asked Noah offline if he would use that camera again if he shot it today, as the production looks very 'filmic'. He said he would probably shoot it on a Canon 5 if he did it again. That about says it all to me.

You might be interested in reviewing his article
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/kadner_noah/formosa.php
given your interest in it. Maybe he will weigh in.

As to your question about Magic Bullets etc. that's an issue that just depends on your editing suite. For example, MB doesn't fully support Vegas for all it's effects. You would be better off using After Affects if you wanted some of their 'looks'.

Alf


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