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24p camera under 5k?

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David Ghast
24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 11:40:18 pm

Im looking to shoot with a stereoscopic setup and i have 10k to spend on two digital cameras and equipment needed to sync them. Im wanting to shoot the whole production in 24p (p as in true progressive, no in camera deinterlacing tricks) but i also need the capability to film a scene in slo-mo (think rap video slo-mo), can i achieve this in post with just 24p, or do i need to shoot in a higher framerate? What framerates do rap videos usually shoot in to get that effect? Does shooting interlaced help produce those smooth temporal effects?

That info would really help me out in finding a camera on my own, but i'll take any suggestions if you know of a camera that would fit my needs.


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Rick Wise
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 12:15:12 am

Lots of opportunities and lots of perils in your post. First off, have you shot stereo before? It's very, very tricky. (I've shot it once.) It takes a combination of software and hardware to get the two cameras at the correct distance apart and focused on the same subject. Using two cameras with zoom lenses is a recipe for near disaster because you have great trouble with the added complication of setting each one to the exact same focal length.

For 5K each, you are severely limited. Perhaps it would make much more sense to rent two cameras which take primes. That way you eliminate one obnoxious variable.

The only under 5K camera I would consider is the Sony HVR-Z5u, for about $4k each (but add costs for extra batteries, flash cards, flash card holders etc. -- cheapest to stay with tape for now; the camera can record either way. But it has a fixed, built-in zoom, so you are back to square one.)

Rent. Then you could go with two Sony Ex3s which can gen lock and use primes, saving you tons of time in post.

But first you need the rig to hold these cameras in exactly the right place.

Your desire to shoot slo-mo adds a further complication. I don't believe the Z5u does that, but the EX3 does. You will get a decidedly better looking slo-mo if you overcrank in-camera than if you slow down the footage in post. I'm not sure what is the max shooting rate for the Ex3 -- I think it's about 60 fps when shoot 24p. Then you can slow down more -- or less -- in post. Overcranking lets you capture more visual information to later manipulate.

Shooting interlaced is less likely to strobe than shooting 24p. For a rap video, strobing can be good.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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David Ghast
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 1:40:29 am

Awesome, thanks for the advice, but what exactly do you mean by strobing? Are you referring to the light levels jumping up and down slightly, like in an old movie camera?

Could you direct me to some resources, or tell me about what these special software/hardware setups i need to sync the cameras? Cant i just turn em both on, slate them, and sync em in post?

Is the stereo-rig too unwieldy to use with a handheld stabilizer? Will i need a steadycam to do this?



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Rick Wise
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 3:34:17 am

Strobing, or visual stutter, happens when the movement from frame A to frame B is too extreme and when projected or viewed the eye sees the move as a jump from position 1 to position 2. This has zero to do with light levels jumping up and down.

Your reply indicates you have no knowledge about what it takes to shoot 3-D. And I am no longer expert on the topic. I suggest you do a lot, and I mean a great lot. of research before you even consider taking this project on.

The stereo rig I used about 7 years ago weighed with cameras about 175 pounds, so totally out of the question for steadicam. Many improvements and changes have taken place since. You have got to get online and start digging for yourself. Posting here is just the tiny tip of your iceberg.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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David Ghast
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:29:22 am

Heh, fair enough, and no, im not an experienced DP, but i know enough to make things happen.



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john sharaf
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:36:08 am

Your desire to shoot 24p requires that the two cameras be genlocked to assure the pull down frames occur at exactly the same cadence on both cameras. This requires that the selected camera model has a gen;ock in connector and that you can supply both cameras sync from either an external sync generator or from the luminance channel (Y) of one of the cameras. For cameras in this price range you might have a problem, an to ignore this will result in disturbing motion artifacts that will appear blurry.

JS



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Todd Terry
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:43:02 am

Stereo cinematography is not for the faint of heart... or shallow of pockets, either.

One of my very favorite companies, P+S Technik, has a 3D rig which seems very cool, and works with a variety of cameras... also in handheld and Steadicam configurations....

http://zgc.com/webstore.nsf/vindex/pstech_3drig

Unfortunatey the rig itself (sans camera) comes in at about $30,000. I've never used or seen one, but I'm sure like every other piece of P+S Technik equipment it is flawlessly built and designed and worth every penny. There might be a rental market for these rigs, I don't know.

At any rate, if you decide to build some sort of rig to marry two small cameras together yourself, you must must must use cameras that can be genlocked together (which unfortunately is often not an available feature on smaller and less expensive cameras). It's not enough just to run both cameras, slate them, and sync up the left/right takes. The cameras must be "in phase" with each other... that is, their shutters taking the exact same 1/48th (or whatever) of a second with each frame. If the camera are not genlocked and synched with each other the resulting footage will have a very peculiar "wavering" when viewed stereoscopically.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Todd Terry
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:47:45 am

John and I were apparently writing similar posts at the same exact time... but just reiterates the fact that the cameras must be synched.

I remember seeing stereo footage years ago where the (film) camera shutters were ever-so-slightly out of sync... the results were very disturbing, practically migraine-inducing.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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john sharaf
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:54:31 am

Yeah Todd, great minds think alike! While I have never seen the 3D error you describe, that was exactly the physiology that I was imagining with "out of sync" cameras.

JS



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David Ghast
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 7:21:06 am

I appreciate the advice. I guess i'll put genlock on the top of my list of camera requirements.



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Rick Wise
Re: 24p camera under 5k?
on Feb 21, 2009 at 6:39:49 pm

The easiest and also most effective solution to your problem is first of all to locate a stereo rig at a rental house -- phone around. That house will either have or know where to get two matching cameras that take primes and can genlock. Then you need a video engineer -- you do NOT want to try to engineer this yourself, as you have very little experience and you will end up sinking the project in a hopeless mire. Again, the rental house may be able to help you.

With the help of these experts, you can then focus on what you need to do as the DP -- design shots (but read up on designing shots for stereo vision vs. mono -- a very different animal) and light in ways that best suit the story and the vision of your director.



Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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