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Re: Varicam vs Cinealta

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Bruce Greene
Re: Varicam vs Cinealta
on Oct 27, 2009 at 4:29:01 am


I'll add one more opinion:)

A couple years ago I shot a test of both cameras with digi primes and made a filmout of each.

Each camera looked fabulous in the film print.

The f-900r had a very, very, very slight advantage in detail--but I'm not sure one can see it when the camera and/or subject are moving, even a little bit.

The HDcam compression is better than DVCpro HD. That said, DVCproHD on the Varicam is vastly improved when the VTR menu is set to "compression mode=dark". Then the difference is not so great.

The Varicam (H model), to me, has a better camera. The lower number of pixels actually helps the camera be more sensitive to light. When used in "FIlmRec" mode, the camera is very clean and not noisy. But for the very best image quality, use the lowest dynamic level setting that you can. I shoot at 200% unless I really need to go for lower contrast (depends on the scene).

For the picture that we shot the test for, we chose the Varicam. (hey, I own the thing:) The movie was distributed theatrically on film (600 screens) and was shot without the digi-primes as they were just too expensive.:( It made several million dollars in profit.

Last year I shot another movie with the Varicam and we recorded directly to hard drive using the AJA I/O box. This helps end my concerns about the DVCproHD codec, but to tell the truth, some scenes were shot on tape and it's really hard to see any difference (provided no extreme color corrections in post).

Overall, I just find it easier to control contrast with the Varicam and since I'm color correcting these projects in post, it's just tilts the advantage to that camera for me. This is partially because I don't like knee corrections as I feel I see the knee point in a not so good way, and it's easy to over knee and get a color shift in the highlights that I don't like.

Best of luck to you, and enjoy your shoot!

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA

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