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matching 2 Varicams

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Thomas Kaufman
matching 2 Varicams
on Mar 31, 2008 at 8:59:28 pm

Hi, everyone,

What is involved in matching two Varicams? Is there more to it than simply using the same scene file?

Likewise, what about matching 2 SDX 900's? Do the scene files do the trick, or is it more complicated?


Thomas Kaufman, DP
Washington, DC

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john sharaf
Re: matching 2 Varicams
on Mar 31, 2008 at 9:49:02 pm


While the concept of matching too like cameras with transportable setup card is enticing, it does not always give you the match that is possible when an engineer, a proper chart and monitoring (wf/v scope and master monitor). This is because , even though the cameras are digital and very stable, they may have different baseline setups. This is more of an issue with the Sony system which allows you to vary the "standard" setup more easily. The Panasonic retains "factory set" and this should be applied before you load in your stick with the setup data you want on all the cameras to match.

Essentially the matching by setup card is a nifty marketing ploy that came along when digital cameras came to market, to tout the inherent stability and predictability of this technology but there still is some job security for skilled engineers for clients that really care and are willing to spend what it takes. In addition there is also a distinction between setting the two(or more) cameras up on the bench as opposed to doing that and also painting the match in the field. These are subtleties of lighting and flare that can be adjusted for better match.

This is not to say that it is impossible to match two cameras by setting up to the memory card and white balancing on a proper chip chart, but this is both chancy and subject to the skill of a discriminating observer.


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Dylan Reeve
Re: matching 2 Varicams
on May 13, 2008 at 4:40:20 am

A bit late to the party on this - but we recently shot a series with two Varicams running identical scene file and setup, and regardless one was significantly greener than the other. As the overall tonal range is the same however, it is a very simple colour correction.

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