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Help with deciding on a camera

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jelena
Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 12:24:20 pm

Hi guys,

I am shooting a thesis soon (May) and we are having trouble deciding which camera to use. The look of the whole piece is supposed to be very "David la Chapelle", strong on color and lighting, very high fashion - since I work a lot in fashion photography on a side. But, we don't have a huge budget for the cam (about 4000) and we need something that will give us a great look, lot of information (since a lot of retouching will be involved and color correction). We were looking into few options, Arri SR2 and shoot it on super 16mm (which is risky and pricey - even though the thesis is not over 5 minutes), Panasonic Varicam (package about 1500$ a day) or Panasonic AJ-SDX900. Since all of these cameras are a whole different category, can anybody tell me budget wise, quality wise, just in general what would be our best bet (it is a 3 day shoot- hoepfully a weekend). Also, if you guys know any student-friendly rental houses, please contact me.

Thank you.



Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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john sharaf
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 4:18:37 pm

Jelena,

From what you describe, the best choice is the Varicam, both in terms of the creative and financial aspects. It very closely imitates film both with the speed (24p) and the cine-gamma settings, and the price of a one day rental (weekend) would most certainly be less than the cost of the film, procesing and telecine of 16mm.

You should know that the full price, "book" rate, which is closer to $1200-1300 is almost always discounted by 30%, especially for students and other cod customers, so the one-day weekend rental would be closer to $850! That doesn't seem like too much for a "thesis" project. I spent thousands on film and procesing, not to mention first trial and release print for my thesis film project at UCLA Film School back in the seventies!

Tell us where you live and perhaps some Varicam owner/operator nearby will cooperate with a loan, special deal or trade out.

Good luck,

JS


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 4:49:19 pm

I live in NYC and I study computer art at School of Visual Arts.

Thank you so much for your response :))

Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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Blub
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
by
on Feb 28, 2006 at 7:21:18 pm

The David la Chapelle look is mostly created in post. To my knowledge he shoots with film and there is no film, other than Ektachrome X, which has not been sold for about 20 years and for still use only which can come close the the look he produces.

Yes there is the lighting and the color and props/setting etc but that is not camera dependent.

I don't think I have seen anything he has done in video or motion film, his lighting is so harsh I cant imagine the subjects in such video or films move around too much, his lighting seems to depend so much on quick fall off of the lights highest value things would look even more ugly then they already look in stills.

Chris


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Ken Zukin
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 8:27:43 pm

Why not buy the Panasonic HVX200, if you can find one - $6K, and you own it! Or maybe the DVX100B, which is at you're price-point. It just seems like with a thesis, you shouldn't be required to shell out for a $70,000 tool to do the job.


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 9:58:26 pm

the thing is that we have an access to dv cameras and studio hd cameras (which we can't take out so that option is out), but the footage always comes out looking like crap even though you light it to the best of your possibility. Since we are trying to pitch this project to a band after it is done, we want it to look professional. Also, I am trying to make a piece that I can put on a reel and stand behind it completly.
The main thing that we will play with is retouching and color correction (think of cosmetic commercials) and some compositing. So we want to have the best quality footage possible to work with ( no dv pixelation, rotoing the pixels to make it look decent :)))) ).
Right now the concern is how would we go about capturing the footage from Varicam, Panasonic 900 seems to be the easiest to deal with since we have capture stations for dvcpro, but we need some insight on the quality of the image.




Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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Ken Zukin
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 10:06:04 pm

Understand what you are saying. Make sure your DVCPro capture stations are DVCPro50 capable.
Only the newest generation of Panasonic decks can handle the higher quality codec. I have that camera (SDX900) - it puts out a nice picture.


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 10:23:05 pm

yea, I have to check that. In worst case scenario I can capture it somewhere else.

Is the quality of the image nice on that cam?

Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 10:24:26 pm

Blaah ignore the question before :) I saw you answered it LOL

silly me LOL

Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Feb 28, 2006 at 10:04:46 pm

Concerning David La Chapelle we know his work is created mostly in post.His lighting varies, and we are not trying to rip him off on that , we are just going for the contrast, exaggeration of color, oversaturation. The challange will be to get that "fashion photography" feel across and lighting wise we are already pretty much set.
Like I said before, our only concern right now is what camera will give me the best quality possible and cause the least amount of trouble. Everything can be reworked in post, but we need a high res file to be able to work with. I know Varicam would be the best probably, but since I am so unfarmiliar with the workings of it, it also makes me most uncomfortable.

Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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tony salgado
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Mar 3, 2006 at 3:46:09 pm



Jelena,


You are overlooking a major factor in creating a look.

The image is all dependent on the lighting and the skill set of the DP and lighting crew.

You can shoot on 35mm, Varicam or mini dv and in everycase overlooking the lighting gear and experience of the crew will always result in less than stellar results.

Shooting digital, analog or digital toliet paper is always dependent on three items lighting,lighting and lighting.



Tony Salgado


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Jelena
Re: Help with deciding on a camera
on Mar 11, 2006 at 12:55:18 am

we already have lighting decided, the gear and the crew. We were just looking at cameras as independant factors, of which one will give the best resolution and the best quality of image.


Jelena

http://www.jelenavukosav.com


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