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What On Earth To Get?

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Javier Calderon
What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 4, 2007 at 8:30:48 pm

I just found out that, in only having four memory slots in my G5, I apparently only have a PCI-33 G5, and not PCI-X G5. So this means that I can't get a Kona 3 or even an LS/H?

Okay . . . So . . . (and if the following question is out of the AJA jurisdiction, please let me know) . . . I'm getting ready to begin color correction on a feature film that was shot on DV. I just went to an Apple Color seminar that featured the Kona 3 card in combination with the JVC DT-V24L1D. I'm interested in seeing what the best way for me to do accurate (yet somewhat budget-minded) color correction is on 1) the present DV feature, but also, 2) future film and HD projects.

I know, of course, that I can configure my Dual 2Gig G5 to do this . . . but, being as I'm very new to proper color correction configurations, etc, I'm not sure what to get for this system in order to accomplish the task.

Any help on this would be most greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance for the help and support,
Javier Calderon


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Bob Zelin
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 4, 2007 at 11:06:00 pm

I'm getting ready to begin color correction on a feature film that was shot on DV. I just went to an Apple Color seminar that featured the Kona 3 card in combination with the JVC DT-V24L1D. I'm interested in seeing what the best way for me to do accurate (yet somewhat budget-minded) color correction is on 1) the present DV feature, but also, 2) future film and HD projects.


REPLY -
Javier - you know the answer. You saw it at the Apple Seminar. You need to SPEND MONEY. But you dont' have any money, yet you are going to color correct and edit a feature, and want to be rady to do HD projects, but you have NO MONEY TO SPEND. This is my suggestion. Do whatever jobs you can and earn some money. Then, get a new MAC, with an AJA Kona 3 or AJA I/O HD, with a bunch of modern disk drives, and the wonderful JVC DT-V24L1D. And a new VTR with RS422 control, and possibly HD-SDI output on it. And scopes, and a nice mixer, and good speakers. Javier - you can't be a cab driver in an old rusted out automobile - you have to go to the bank, get a car loan, and get a new (or slightly used) Ford Crowne Victoria to have a taxi cab. You can't be a house painter unless you have a van to drive your ladders and power sprayer to your job site. You can't open up a tiny restaurant without a stove, tables and chairs (and a sign, and some menus).

You know exactly what you need - you just listed the parts you need to do your job. There is no miracle. How can you do HD jobs, and color correct a feature with no money for equipment ? You can't.

When Spike Lee did his first feature, he begged and borrowed to get the MONEY to make this happen. When Robert Rodriguez made his first feature, he sold his blood (and I believe volunteered for some medical experiments) to get money.

The products you listed in your post are all excellent products. But no one is going to give them to you for free.

Bob Zelin


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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 4:17:31 am

Bob, who's saying I have "NO" money? Where in my post does it anywhere say that I have "no" money to spend? I'm saying I would like to find what the most cost effective manner is to do proper color correction. That's all. That's what was meant when I said I'm "budget-minded". I'm very well aware that proper color correction does indeed cost a lot of money. But I don't necessarily think that one has to spend $50-150K in order to do it properly. That's why I ask on this forum and others - for help. Since, admitedly, I need it.

And are you saying that unless you have a brand spanking new, super souped up intel based G5, you don't have the proper machine to even begin thinking about doing proper color correction?

Bob, I've been reading a lot of posts on this particular site, and, in responding to many of them, you seem to be a knowledgeable person - one who's insight many would benefit from. However, you seem to have taken my comments that I am on a budget and stretched them so horrendously out of proportion as to make one wonder where in my post you got this info from. I would appreciate your continued insight in this or any future post to be sure, but, in that the vast majority of your post covered things that I am more than well aware of (more than you know - I shall not bother to spell out the extent toward which a good portion of the past four and a half years that I've spent working on my present feature has involved sacrifices that rival ANY artists'; it's not the point of this thread), I am hard pressed to sift the "sweetness from the rind" in your post.

All the same, thanks for at least taking time enough to even respond.


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neildp
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 4, 2007 at 11:20:19 pm


According to the manual of my Kona LH card the minimum spec machine required is a G5 dual 1.8GHz with a PCI 66/64 slot so if your machine is PCI 33 then it falls below the minimum requirement as PCI-X slots are required.

Although slightly off the Kona track in terms of monitors, LCDs tend to have problems with slower refresh rates and the viewing angle is critical. You will find that if you view even slightly from the side the blacks will start to look blue. This means that if you were sitting with a client both looking at the same monitor you may well be seeing different colours depending on your viewing angle.

Having said that I have seen the JVC DT-V24L1D and have to say for an LCD monitor it fairly good. Much better than the Panasonic ones I have seen. It also shows interlaced as well as progressive which is important as you can sometimes get field order problems with DV footage that you wont see until you view on a CRT.

I would certainly avoid most cheaper LCD monitors for serious grading, unless your budget can stretch to something like the JVC DT-V24L1D.

On a budget I would look for a decent grade 2 or if your lucky and older grade 1 CRT monitor with at least a component input, you can usually get these 2nd hand for a reasonable amount. Whilst these will be fine for DV and SD work they are not HD capable.
For a budget HD CRT something like a JVC DT-V1710CG might be worth a look.

Hope that helps

Neil



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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 4:27:35 am

Wow. Is it possible? A response that actually simply answers the question? without assuming that the question is coming from someone who's trying to cut corners or get around spending some money? Whew! Thanks Neil . . . wasn't sure where I was there for a moment.

Okay . . . So Neil, you're feeling is pretty much that on this system, an old school CRT might be the best - if not only - bet for color correction? I shall begin looking into the JVC DT-V1710CG that you mentioned. Would any sort of added video card be needed with this particular monitor as well?

Thanks again for the response,
Javier


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Bob Zelin
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 12:52:49 pm

Javier -
if you are doing a STANDARD DEF job (from your DV masters), ANY CRT monitor will look better than the most expensive LCD monitor. The Panasonic BT-LH series is probably the best for displaying both SD and HD (standard def looks ok), but it is still not as good for Standard Def as someone's old Sony PVM series CRT monitor.

If you are on a "budget", you can get any old CRT monitor for standard def, and the inexpensive Dell 2407WFP for your hi def monitor (about $600 US). But neither of these are for "critical" color correction. The JVC DT series 24" LCD is an excellent choice for Hi Def work, as is the Panasonic BT-LH2600W, and both will look better than the Dell (for hi def work). But none of these expensive monitors will looks very good for your DV standard def job. A good quality used CRT will be best for this application - IF YOU ARE DOING COLOR CORRECTION (that is what you originally said - am I correct ?).

Bob Zelin


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walter biscardi
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:10:30 pm

[Bob Zelin] "if you are doing a STANDARD DEF job (from your DV masters), ANY CRT monitor will look better than the most expensive LCD monitor."

actually the new TV-Logic LCD's display Standard Def perfectly. That's the most impressive thing about those monitors to me. I'll have another one in the shop this week for a full test, but side by side with my PVM 20L5/1, the TV Logic was displaying SD exactly the same. VERY impressive.

Also, $8,000 so way out of the budget range for this project. But high quality SD on an LCD is finally a reality.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Arniepix
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 4:41:08 pm

[walter biscardi] "Also, $8,000 so way out of the budget range for this project. But high quality SD on an LCD is finally a reality."

Compared to the $12,000 or $14,000 that Sony's 24" CRT used to cost (plus another $2,000 or so for the SDI board), this is still a bargain. And the price of this & competing LCD monitors is more likely to drop over time than not.

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 1:49:23 pm

Thanks a bunch, Bob. Yes. I am doing color correction - or, rather, will be doing color correction in the next few weeks (after I finish audio post). The suggestions you made in terms of how to color correct SD I will look into. My original question was keeping in mind the fact that although the present project is on DV, I'm planning on doing the next feature on 16mm (or HD - but presently leaning toward 16) and I'm trying to see if I can get something that will not only work for cc on this project, but that I can use on future projects as well. I know that I'll have to augment my present setup somewhat to accomodate the new format, but I'm not sure If I'll have to COMPLETELY overhaul everything I have (i.e. getting a new quad or whatever will be the newest, biggest thing when I start work on that project). Afterall, great films (indie and otherwise) have been done on much less powerful machines than my "meager, old" dual 2 Gig G5 with the now antiquated PCI-33 slots.

Technology seems to have an almost overnight turnaround, but I'm not interested in being on the bleeding edge - heck . . . I don't even have to be on the cutting edge. I just want to have what would work on my system - and knowing that much more elaborate projects have been completed on much less powerful systems than I have, I'm certain that with some continued research (as well as help from forums like this) I should be able to setup my present system to work with future projects on film.

Anyway . . . enough stupid ranting. Thanks for the helpful post, Bob. I'll, again, look into the monitors you suggested, and probably be back here with a few more querries.

Javier



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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 2:39:06 pm

Okay, now Bob . . . re-reading your post (I can tend to be rather dull-witted. It takes me a few passes at reading something before I ingest everything it really means), I respectfully pose the following querry:

Seeing as I don't believe that I'll be working with DV (to this feature length extent anyway) ever again, I would rather have something that will work "well enough" if somewhat subpar for SD color correction yet pretty darn good for HD cc (which seems to be what you're suggesting the JVC DT-V24L1 or L1D would do), than to have something that will do pretty darn good cc work with SD, yet will be totally inapplicable for HD (your suggestion of a Sony PVM monitor, for example).

In other words, if I were to get only ONE monitor that would work for color correction on both the present DV project (which, again, will probably be the only DV project I will color correct) and on future 16mm and/or HD projects . . . then it seems the JVC DT-V24L1 or L1D would be it? Please correct me if I'm venturing toward a mistaken conclusion here.

And if I get the JVC DT-V24L1 or L1D . . . um . . . well . . . a question would then be . . . would I even be able to use it on my PCI-33 based G5?

Thank you all for the help so far. I feel I'm slowly getting a somewhat better handle on what for me is a very, very complicated and convoluted dynamic.

Javier Calderon



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neildp
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 10:54:01 pm

Javier I was just looking both Kona and BlackMagic cards and it seems none of them can be used with 33MhZ PCI slots

It fall below the minimum spec for Kona and the Blackmagic site states

"
In summary, none of the PowerMac G5's, with 33 MHz PCI slots, should be used with DeckLink cards at this time."


I am fairly sure that even if you found a card that would work it would not run HD on a 33Mhz bus anyway.

So you are pretty limited to something like a Canopus video converter which will give you firewire to SD video so you can run a monitor or look at Miranda, there are quite a few dv bridges available. Bear in mind you ideally want at least component or SDI.

I think the bottom line is that your G5 is simply not really up to HD grading. In all honesty I think that you would struggle running Color on your machine anyway as it only has a 128MB video card.

If you really cant stretch to a newer MAC then you are going to have to go SD for now and if that's the case then the monitoring option that will give you the best indication of color is CRT.

regards

Neil



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Arniepix
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 11:09:14 pm

Except that Color will only output to a video monitor via an internal capture card or an Io HD. And the Io HD is probably not compatible with Javier's system, either.

Short of finding a used Cinewave (HD & SD), or Aurora Igniter (SD only), the only real option is a new Mac.

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 11:27:21 pm

Well . . . Thank you much, Neil. This is quite valuable - although admittedly regrettable - information.



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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 5, 2007 at 11:45:41 pm

Thank you ALL of you for responding and taking the time to share your information w/me actually.

So what does this basically mean folks? (besides the obvious fact that I would have to get a new system if I want to do HD in the future) . . .

Does this mean that if I want to work w/16 on this system (which I'm not saying I WILL! Hold your horses, Bob! Don't pelt me w/another "don't be a cheap loser" tirade! lol) that I would only be able to view playback in SD - if at all?

I have this only as a final, concluding question to this thread since I'm now simply wondering how shoestring budget indies get made using 16 film on computers far less powerful than the G5 I have here. Did they (do they) get their shot film processed and sent back to them on some sort of non HD format (VHS/DV tape, etc) that their system can handle? If so, then they can work with it, but the footage simply won't have the best resolution . . .

am I getting this correct?

Again, I'll let this thread go after this remark, as I understand that now I'm DEFINITELY getting not only off the thread topic, but off the Kona FORUM topic! Any last responses/comments would be greatly appreciated, however.

For now I'll hunt around on the web as well to see if I can also find some further help on this particular query.

Thanks again, all
Javier Calderon



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David Roth Weiss
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 3:02:01 am

Javier,

Why sweat? Just get yourself a cheap used G5 with PCI-x slots and any Kona or BM card and move on. There's nothing says you have to buy a brand new octo-core Mac Pro.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY™

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Bob Zelin
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 3:33:11 am

I've got even a better answer for Javier, since he wanted to know how all these great movies were made without all of this "state of the art" equipment. There are COUNTLESS AVID Meridian systems - the standard in LA for cutting 35mm feature films - that owners can't give away. You could easily find a complete AVID Meridian based system, that has been used to cut major TV shows and major features for a VERY VERY low price. These systems will never do HD, but you asked for a great system, that was used to cut big things before all of this state of the art stuff came out - so here it is. And as others have suggested to you - there are lots of inexpensive Pinnacle CineWave cards out there - these were great, expensive products at one time. Have a ball Javier - you can get an older AVID, or just a CineWave card, and not spend too much money.

"But how will I do HD, how will I import Adobe CS3 graphics, how will I compress for the web" - then I start on my tirade again.

Bob Zelin


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Alan Okey
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 3:33:22 am

[JavierC] "I have this only as a final, concluding question to this thread since I'm now simply wondering how shoestring budget indies get made using 16 film on computers far less powerful than the G5 I have here. Did they (do they) get their shot film processed and sent back to them on some sort of non HD format (VHS/DV tape, etc) that their system can handle? If so, then they can work with it, but the footage simply won't have the best resolution . . . "

Javier,

Forgive me if I'm being presumptuous, but I think you're blurring the line between editing and finishing. Lots of great film-originated work has been edited on cheaper computers at offline resolutions and then finished on a higher end system.

Instead of trying to do everything on desktop systems, it may actually be more cost and time effective to do an offline SD edit / negative cut list and then finish the film using high-quality HD transfers or 2k DPX datacine scans in a high end finishing and/or color correction suite using tools like Smoke or Lustre/Scratch/da Vinci. Compared to what it costs to get a single film print made, money spent in a high-end online finishing suite is a relative bargain.

Even if the project will never go back out to film, there's a lot to be said for finishing at the highest possible quality/resolution and down-converting as a final step. Any compositor or colorist would much rather work with high resolution/high quality source footage to get the best possible result. This also has the benefit of allowing one to create a high quality master archive in case a film out is ever a possibility in the future.

You can certainly work with 2K material in Color, but it will bring even the best octo-core Mac Pro to its knees, and require a very large and fast storage system. Make sure to figure that into the overall cost.

Also realize that from the producer/director's standpoint, going the D.I.Y route may not end up being the most cost-effective solution, especially if time is of the essence. There's a significant amount of time and money that must be invested in order to finish a film on a desktop system. While it's certainly possible to end up with a very high quality product, it happens at a much slower pace than what is possible in a high-end finishing suite. The person paying the bills may decide that it's a better use of their time and money to spend the $$ in a high-end finishing suite and have the luxury of real time interactivity and near-instant gratification.

It's the old saying: Good, Fast, Cheap - pick two.

If saving time and money aren't of critical importance, and if learning the craft of color correction is your goal, then by all means, dive in!


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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 4:09:04 am

Alan wrote regarding the D.I.Y. route:

"While it's certainly possible to end up with a very high quality product, it happens at a much slower pace than what is possible in a high-end finishing suite."

Wo. I'll say. I've been one-man-band-ing my present feature and it's taken me probably at least twice as long as it would had I a team helping me. I have been absolutely defiant regarding all the obstacles that have happened in the way of its completion, but 1) I will hopefully be finished in a few (relatively) short months, and 2) I'm very much looking forward to taking all the knowledge I continue acquiring from helpful folks on forums just like this one and making the next project all the better (and smoother!) for it.

"If saving time and money aren't of critical importance, and if learning the craft of color correction is your goal, then by all means, dive in!"

Oh I'm diving alright. Swimming with sharks, to be sure, but slapping around in the water as best as I can all the same.

Thank you very much,
Javier Calderon



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neildp
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:05:13 am

Bobs suggestion of an old Avid system is quite a good idea especially for a long form project like a feature. The older systems are pretty much bullet proof. You could do a traditional offline online so would not need masses of storage. (about 50 secs/gig uncompressed) If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Symphony you get uncompressed SD editing and a half decent colour corrector (real time) thrown into the bargain.

In terms of the 16mm question just get your rushes telecinied to the best SD source you can, ideally digibeta. Again if you can do more than just a one light transfer and you will save yourself a load of grading and get a very good result from 16mm.

As a minimum Avid spec you want something can can digitise at 2:1 for the online side of things if a !:1 machine is too expensive. You wont really notice the difference between the two in terms of quality Symphony has the best grading tools.

Actually there is a complete Symphony system for sale on ebay currently for about $10k to give you an idea. (ends in a few hours so happy bidding) You could probably sell it again after the project and not lose too much on it. - Just a thought !






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Javier Calderon
Re: What On Earth To Get?
on Nov 6, 2007 at 1:06:11 pm

So 16 to Digibeta transfer, eh?

. . . things to consider for the future.

Thanks a bunch, Neil, Bob, and everyone.

For now I gotta get back to editing and finish this DV feature.



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