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independent

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Posts posted by independent

  1. I appreciate the test. But it is somewhat exhibiting the lowest common denominator. They would all seem close if that's what you're aiming to do. 

    What would be neat is another test of the three cameras showing their strengths in challenging conditions. High contrast scene testing max dynamic range, low-light testing noise, a moving subject to test autofocus, etc. 

    But, appreciate the test nonetheless. 

     

  2. Really interesting lowlight video.

    I think we do need a bit more information about the video side, rather than the stills. We'll get it in the next few months.

    But the combination of features, the lowlight, weather-sealing, reliability, the 4K, and dual pixel autofocus make this offering pretty attractive, even if other cameras are superior is some categories. 

    As far as feature set/pricing, I think the Sony a6300 at $1K, the Sony A7RII at $3K, The Canon 1DX II at $6K, and the Canon C300 II at $15K are probably the most flexible, all-around video cameras at those price points. The mirrorless/DSLR cameras will require more investment to equip them for a real video shoot, e.g., monitoring, audio, rigging, etc. 

    The 1DC is great, but I think its more limited...at this point, I think the lack of slow-motion might limit some creative/commercial use, and the lack of continuous autofocus costs you flexibility (documentary work, tight shots, fast turnaround). In other words, the 1DC is a small camera with a high quality 4K video. 

    But the BM ursa mini 4.6K will likely give you a superior image at a similar price point (or perhaps even cheaper, after the monitor, audio, and rigging the 1DC will probably require). So if you want to shoot a movie the old fashioned way, and maximize image quality by investing in a higher production, then that 4.6K ursa will probably do really well on controlled tests. 

    Even after exhaustive tests, if the 1DC at ~$4K betters the 1DX at ~$6K in terms of absolute image quality overall, I'd still probably prefer the latter for the better features, because flexibility and usability is generally worth more than absolute image, within reason, in my experience. 

    I'd rather just get the shot. 

  3. Shots fired! But I would say in the independent filmmaking scene, a Director or DP should know his gear or equipment, both for aesthetics as well as technical reasons. Not unusual to see a Director op, let alone a DP. What you lack in funds, you make up in knowledge.

  4. Too risky for long form interviews and events, but for most other things why not roll out with two of these?

    You can just hand off the entire camera to  your DIT or assistant to offload the footage, swap the battery, and let it cool while you use the other body. 

    It's good to have a backup body anyways.

    You also have the option for 2 cam setups, or have one camera with a wide lens, another with a long. Or one on a gimbal, the other on sticks. Less setup. 

    I guess a half hour limit doesn't seem like a huge problem because I remember when I had my RED w/ handle and it would last only like 20 minutes anyways (battery and media). 

     

     

  5. Never used a 1DC, but I have read that some users avoid c-log because of banding issues, presumably due to the 8-bit codec, similar to the 8-bit Sony's that share the problem. Either way, there should be some reasonably flat picture profiles that would yield good results. 

  6. 4K 10-bit Prores - This is what the blackmagic ursa mini 4.6K is about. It's the only one that does that in the price range. It lacks the lowlight and autofocus, but those are specific features (some would say niche) for other cameras. It has a few bugs, but so does every new camera that pushes  boundaries. Some of you are looking for a perfect solution for features, performances, and price, and it doesn't exist. You demand it like some God-given right. "Why can't X, why can't Y" - because these are companies that operate in a market, as do we, in various segments, and these products also must obey the laws of physics. The Sony A6300 is a prime example of that. It's both brilliant and terrible, an incredible value and useless. But somebody is probably going to use it to make a movie, that will also probably be terrible but not because of its visuals.

  7.  

    Here is a good example of how to use this camera.

    Limit camera movement. Don't shoot handheld while running. No whip pans. It looks good.

     

    Also, regarding color science, skin tones etc... most of the videos have been graded with a desaturated and cool look. But this one looks fine, with just some adjustments in camera and post. The color and skin tones look pretty accurate to me.

     

  8. This looks like the best image you can get under 10K without buying into Red's ecosystem. This, coming from a former Red owner and operator - and I sold that once I saw how the very first blackmagic camera handled low-light noise. 

    The Rolling Shutter, oh so what. Hey look, I'd rather have a company that tries to do something really amazing and fall short, rather than a company that intentionally cripples cameras to sell you the next model 6 months later, or are trying to protect their tiered market strategies. 

    There is no false advertising or bait and switch. Because you technically didn't buy anything. It was a pre-order. And BM was upfront about the issue and now they're releasing the camera. They're actually pretty damn responsive without the attitude (RED). 

    Yeah there was a delay - like other small companies in any industry. That's what happens when a company is driven by innovation and don't have billion dollar resources. A world without RED and Blackmagic would be immensely damaging to the independent film community. They've changed the market for the better.

    The crazy sense of entitlement, construing this as some unethical business practice is hilarious. "I will never again buy a blackmagic product" - Ok, enjoy your hacked 5D or franken dslr, or whatever you shoot with. Because blackmagic doesn't owe you anything. If you sat in front of your computer hitting refresh for the past six months, you have every right to be angry. But not at blackmagic. You sad, sad little man.

    I hope everybody cancels their pre-orders, so please! Keep complaining. 

     

  9. This looks like a great camera to pick up B-Roll, cramped locations, run/gun, especially when you can't fit/get/get away with a focus puller.

    Or even a Director's viewfinder; the sensor size is close enough to all the other close-enough cinema 35mm. Great for DP, scouting locations too. 

    Some of you have ridiculous expectations. It's a $1K camera. Obviously it's going to involve compromises. Those drawbacks might not work for your project, but that's on you if you somehow expected a perfect camera for $1K. "How could it not have X, how could it not have Y" ... because these aren't professional cinema cameras. It's a consumer camera that has some pro features. Don't get it backwards. If it isn't your perfect camera out-of-box, and you're not willing to tinker with it or work around it's issues, then get one that does. 

    But the 4K quality, low-light and usable video autofocus will give it a place in the market. I certainly am looking to add it to my bag. There are only three other cameras who have all those features: Canon C300 ii ($16K), the upcoming Canon 1DXII ($6K), and the Sony A7Rii ($3K). 

    And those cameras have their own issues. It's valuable to talk about the limitations, no question. But the pissing and moaning? Lord. Nobody's forcing you to do anything. 

    There will probably be some talented folks who will shoot a feature film with just this, and it'll look great, because they'll know how to work around its limitations. Ever since the Canon 5K Mark II came out, there's been a terrific growth of indie filmmaking, because people are willing to manipulate these non-pro video machines to effectively tell stories.

    And big ups to people who actually shot with this...a lot of great, usable footage. Exciting. 

     

  10. Actually you could look at it the other way around...for 1K, you pretty much get the best of the video features of the A7R2, minus the stabilization. That being said, the A7RII seems to still best all around camera for the most complete set of features, on paper. 

  11. On February 29, 2016 at 1:50 AM, Axel said:

    Tarantino used film for The H8ful 8. 

     

    I saw it on 70mm here in NYC and was disappointed. Not because it was 70mm, but because the film was essentially a stage play. Like Reservoir dogs; most of the movie was in one location: the cabin. 70mm for a single interior location?

    Was it cinematic? Sure, in a specific retrospective way, or nostalgic, which is his general style anyways. But what did it accomplish? 

    Would it have been less cinematic had it been shot on 35mm or Alexa, Red? No, it still would have looked like a great cinema movie... and perhaps the smaller format would have been even more effective for the (small) story. 

    ROOM was shot by Danny Cohen on the Red, and it looked great, cinematic but also right for the story. I think the digital sensor allowed for a very clean capture with mostly natural light, practicals. The clean capture and dynamic range made the movie transparent and immersive. It also brought you into the room, to feel the space, or the lack of, and empathize with the characters. Cinematic, in the best way, and moving beyond what filmic can give us. 

    The point being: cinematic is a real term, which encompasses filmic, in fact successfully mimicked it, but is now capturing visuals that exceeds it. And that's exciting - to have a larger palatte, instead of being overly nostalgic about a great (but limited) medium. 

  12. On February 29, 2016 at 1:35 AM, squig said:

    I'm missing the point? :astonished:

    Firstly, "cinematic' has to be the dumbest word I've encountered on the filmmaking forums. The dictionary definition is: relating to the cinema, and: having qualities characteristic of films. In the 21st century an increasing number of films are shot digitally; not all those films look like they've been shot on film, some have been shot digitally and attempt to emulate the look of film, others have been shot digitally to deliberately look like video. Some films are shot on film with deep DOF, realistic color, and grain removed in post, and look like they've been shot digitally. So "Cinematic" doesn't have any real specific meaning, it's a misnomer. "Filmic" on the other hand does have meaning because "filmic" means something that looks like/emulates actual film stock. You can choose a camera that produces a "filmic" look to suit your story, or you can choose a camera that produces a "video" look, but if you're a director asking a cinematographer for a "cinematic" look, expect the cinematographer to shake his head and/or laugh.

    Cinematic isn't a misnomer at all. In all my posts, I make this distinction myself, between the terms cinematic and filmic, because cinematic today has moved beyond what film can achieve. And I don't believe "cinematic" it's a dumb word at all. In fact, it's an exciting, dynamic concept that is changing and evolving with technology and creative vision. Cinematic won't look the same 10 years from now. But it is useful as an idea and a term.

    Filmic, on the other hand, is a specific term within the broad idea of cinematic, and I believe the OP was referring to "filmic" when he said "cinematic," which for the most part, might have been fairly interchangeable from a visual standpoint until recently. But I think it was worth making that distinction in this thread, to distinguish those terms, because we're seeing further separation moving forward. 

    As an aside, there is another part of this conversation that involves a different point, on color science. I don't believe the "Sony color" is necessarily less "cinematic" than other camera's out-of-the-box colors, because on a technical level, those are decisions to be made in the production and post-production, and decisions regarding the aesthetic of the direction, story, genre. The point being, Sony's out-of-the-box colors can be appropriate for certain genres and story, which can be fairly "cinematic," a look that would be reasonably be consistent with theater-release features. It could also be manipulated for other genres, which could also look cinematic. The point being, Sony color isn't necessarily not "cinematic." 

    On February 29, 2016 at 1:35 AM, squig said:

     

    You wouldn't shoot The Walking Dead on a Red Epic because it would take a lot more time and cost a lot more money to get the deliberate lo-fi S16mm look right in post. If I was asked to shoot The Walking Dead digitally I'd shoot it with the Digital Bolex. You choose the camera that best tells the story you want to tell (within your budget), it's as simple as that.

    First of all, you're missing the point again. I said it's unlikely TWD chose16mm because it looked cinematic. Some poster had said the TWD wouldn't shoot on the Red Epic. Which may or may not be true, for whatever their reasons, but I doubt that their decision was made because they believe the Red Epic looks less cinematic than 16mm. 

  13. Yeah, but you're missing the point; are they choosing cameras based on what looks the most "cinematic" or what's right for the story, the production, etc.? 

    I'm not sure what the point about Walking Dead is - why wouldn't you shoot it on Red Epic? Would it be less "cinematic" than 16mm? It's one thing if they decide upon a certain aesthetic. But what's the likelihood that they all sat down and picked 16mm film because it looked the most "cinematic"? 

  14. 11 hours ago, Axel said:

     But this borders on the killer phrase It's not the camera, and Andrew doesn't like this kind of reasoning in his forum. He once said it's stating the obvious. I think he is right.

     I'm not demeaning the role of cameras or differences between them, just that certain cameras do not necessarily look more "cinematic" than others, for a variety of reasons that I had stated.

    10 hours ago, Ed David said:

    Cameras do matter. Deakins fought for the alexa on hail ceasar and the cohens insisted kodak film. Have you seen hail caesar? It looks amazing. The camera is as important as the lighting lenses color etc. A lot of top dps say the camera doesnt matter but of course it does or they would not be risking it all to shoot on film when digital is so much safer for a production.  How it renders motion and  sharpness and smoothness. The camera is really important. Everything is important.

    Agreed, everything is really important, including the camera, but not solely the camera. The issue is, what makes something cinematic? I haven't seen hail caesar, but Deakins was quoted as saying he didn't think shooting with an alexa or film would have made a difference. And that wasn't a glib comment - alexa dominates the industry because it looks filmic. And you might have loved it because you like that look, period. To you, it may reflect that golden age of film, which would also be appropriate for the period look of that film. Lots of reasons why film was a great choice - and why alexa would probably have been too (and the lighting, grading, movement, direction, production design, etc.). And on the other hand, Revenant would have looked less "cinematic" had it been shot on film, because our expectations of cinematic are changing, expanding, and evolving. So digital is increasing the scope of a cinematic look.

    10 hours ago, Ed David said:

    And yes deakins could say he would shoot on an iphone because that's baller to say.  But how many top DPs have "slummed" it on shoots with less-than-good cameras for major feature work?  Pretty much no one except Rodrigo Prieto who likes the Sony F55 for night exteriors.  Pretty much every other DP I can think of only shoots Alexa or Red.

    That's true, because the reality is that they are the highest quality digital cameras. They have more flexibility as well. They also are responsible for transforming the movie industry (Sony has some role here too) from film to digital, largely in part because they've been able to emulate the look of film. But that's not to say that other cheaper cameras can't look cinematic. For one, they've been making their way into feature films, including Hollywood blockbusters. For another, they're getting better with technology, which is why we're even having this conversation about these cheap, little cameras.

    "The camera matters" is indeed stating the obvious, but that's not the point here. The question "what makes things cinematic" I think is a more important and relevant question, because I don't think one look (nor one camera) is necessarily more "cinematic" than another. Today, even film isn't more cinematic than digital. 

  15. Lighting, grading, and lenses make a huge difference (often in that order). I think most cinematographers when surveyed cite lighting as the biggest factor in cinematography, rather than the camera. 

    As far as complaints about Sony color, a lot of Hollywood thrillers/horrors intentionally have that "Sony" look, graded more towards green and yellow. None of their skin tones look "rich" or "beautiful." David Fincher's films look pretty Sony. Even House of Cards looks Sony. And Fincher has shot a lot of RED, or exclusively RED for the past decade. Roger Deakins shot Prisoners, which is somewhat similar, and that was shot on the Alexa. 

    When I saw Lone Survivor, I honestly thought it was shot on Canon dslrs or C-series. It looked cheap, and way punchy, like Act of Valor, and I hated the look for the dark material/story...and it was shot on RED too.

    So if the color is an intentional decision, then Sony's colors may not necessarily be less cinematic. Sure, many people do like Canon's out-of-the-box color. Even if you're grading C-log, it certainly takes less effort if the punchy vibrant color is the look you're going for. But subject matters too. If we're talking doing as little as possible beyond image capture, then there are more cinematic cameras depending on the project. Romantic comedy? Canon would work. Thriller? Why not Sony.

    To be fair, motion cadence is harder to cover up. The dslrs/h brid cams struggle with this. I think smooth camera movements help alleviate the motion cadence issue. Slow-motion almost always has better motion cadence - and I think this is because it eliminates the micro jitters in real time that look video (unnatural). Aliasing is another. So soften the image a little (lenses or desharp) and limit shaky cam, and I think that would help motion cadence. Just a theory.

    But really, almost everything is a compromise, isn't it? Including the Alexa, which is price. You have to find what works for you or your project. But we all have our hierarchy of preferences. I sold my Red when I saw how noisy it was in low light... compared to the blackmagic cinema camera 2.5K, which looked a lot more cinematic at 1600 ISO. And blackmagic has a nice cinematic image, but if your focus puller isn't very good, maybe you're missing focus, hunting, or having to stop down. And then maybe that dual pixel Canon is nailing rack focusing and shallow depth of focus, is starting to look far more cinematic. And then, maybe your lighting budget is cut, and you have to shoot fast, in very low light. None of those will look more cinematic than the A7Sii in that context. 

    Lastly, "Cinematic" is a complex, fluid term with a lot of variables and different contexts, but when you say cinematic, you mean what's shown in movie theaters historically and culturally. Which has been film, until recently. Cinematic has evolved over the years. Black and white was cinematic until technicolor. Which looked cinematic until film color improved and improved. Until it peaked, then you have all these disruptive looks and fragmentation, 16mm in the 60s, grittier exploitation films in the 70s, home video's influence in the 90s, with blair witch project and paranormal activity. I think Alexa is popular for being that transition (digital emulation of film), but the reality is that film is no longer the capture medium. When it was revealed Skyfall was being shot in 35mm, nobody really noticed or cared. But with HDR, 3D and future technologies, and even more fragmentation, cinematic is changing. 

    And in the end, what's the point? Serve the story, in an appropriate (and hopefully creative) way. As great as the cinematography was for Revenant (reminiscent of the New World, also shot by Lubezki), it wasn't as fresh and exciting to me as the cinematography for Victoria. Shot on a C300 with a single lens.

    The best cinematic look is the result of the right tool, not the perfect one, and skills, experience, and hard work. And a good team. 

    I think that's a factor too. No camera can deliver cinema. Roger Deakins claims he could care less about the camera, he'd shoot on anything, he'd make an iPhone image look cinematic. And I believe him, because he's mastered lighting, framing, lensing, movement. He almost always works with good directors and postproduction teams too, which helps cohere all the elements of filmmaking.

     

     

  16.  

    Actually it's the autofocus / face tracking that's really the selling point. If it's good, you get more usable shots. At the end of the day, dynamic range, 10-bit color, 4K, all that stuff is wonderful, but if the shot isn't in focus, then those matter much less. 

    At the end of the day, for most formats, lighting, framing, focus, camera movement all matter much more to cinematography. Imho.

    Controllable and accurate autofocus will really open up creative possibilities and much more efficient shooting. Blocking matters less, actors are freed up from hitting marks, fewer takes due to missed shots, etc. Event, doc, sports video too. 

    What would be a great video would be AF comparison between the 1DX II, A7R II, and the C300 II, in less-controlled shooting conditions.

     

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