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Camera "mojo" - where does it come from?


kye
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8 minutes ago, Geoff CB said:

Alright, for me it's low rolling shutter (motion) combined with great color (which comes down to taste a lot of the time). Saturation depends on the camera and project. Really do not care that much about sharpness as long as it's above 1080p.

Many thanks. Could you, please, stay a little bit more and briefly comment me to recently posted footage that I equally like from two different cameras that are so often here confronted... What to like or not, what could be better or not, at what point in footage it is obvious. I'll be very greatfull to learn opinion of you or anybody else to whom it is not too hard to write in English...

 

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8 minutes ago, anonim said:

Many thanks. Could you, please, stay a little bit more and briefly comment me to recently posted footage that I equally like from two different cameras that are so often here confronted... What to like or not, what could be better or not, at what point in footage it is obvious. I'll be very greatfull to learn opinion of you or anybody else to whom it is not too hard to write in English...

 

But here's the thing, almost every camera nowadays can get you there if you have a good story and incredible content. That video would be impressive even if it was shot with a GH2. You can get a great image out of almost every camera nowadays, it's just what you will sacrifice for your shooting style. I gave up the skin tone of the NX1 for the better rolling shutter, DR, and full frame of the A7r II. Because with how much I shoot handheld dealing with the NX1 RS was not worth it.

Edit: Believe it or not, because of your wording I thought the above video was shot on a A7 series. Didn't know until I read description that it was a Canon.

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6 minutes ago, anonim said:

 

 

I've got no idea about why this looks good (hence this thread), but one thing I noticed was that the shots with the water dripping into peoples hands and into the river was with a very short shutter speed - something way shorter than a 180 degree shutter.  I mention this because the 180 shutter is meant to help something be cinematic, but this does despite it.  Interesting.

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I'm not sure how such a personally subjective term as "Mojo" can reasonably be expected to be attributed to a piece of hardware.

There are finished images you like and there are finished images you don't and I'm fairly confident that the the least significant consistent part of the whole process will have been the camera.

Skilled people find the right ingredients for that whole process by making sure ALL of it is complimentary. The capturing device does not exist in a vacuum so in and of itself it can't really be considered to have whatever passes for Mojo. 

The Beatles had Mojo aplenty but they also had Ringo on drums remember so its always about the sum of the parts.

Everything in front of the capturing device from the lens type, focal length, aperture, lighting and, lest we forget, what the whole thing is actually pointed at makes the final image have Mojo.

And as I said earlier, ALL of that comes from the internal circuits of the creator NOT from the internal circuits of the capturing device.

Trying to define which particular camera is going to offer instant Mojo (when it is merely an interchangeable part of the whole) isn't, in my opinion, isn't anywhere near a definitive process.

If you buy any camera on that basis then I'd definitely say it was a case of buyer beware.

Or Caveat Emptor as we say in English contract law.

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24 minutes ago, Geoff CB said:

But here's the thing, almost every camera nowadays can get you there if you have a good story and incredible content. That video would be impressive even if it was shot with a GH2. You can get a great image out of almost every camera nowadays...

I totally agree, but I constantly meet claims about superior image quality of this or that modern camera. All I wish is that someone who see that first example of Canon is more suggestive or better or "cinematic" explain me why... Or contrary, if somebody think that second example is such. I'll put third also, from Fuji, that also impress me. To sum up: what negatively impressed me at this forum, is quantity of passion for this or that camera model or manufacturer - it goes to the level of rude hostility - but, when somebody ask for concrete explanation in concrete examples to show in vivo that distinctive quality, there's no nothing, no word... I simply want to learn no matter how much I already know... or not know.

 

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18 minutes ago, kye said:

I've got no idea about why this looks good...

Do you find that second footage is not so good? Why if it is so, in which aspects first surpass second and where it is visible?

(Of course, there's no necessity to answer, especially if, as I supposed from your question about Ebrahim Sadaawi, verbal expressing in English is not your native.)

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9 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

The most salient point about Ringo (especially in the context of this analogy) is that he was the best drummer FOR The Beatles even if there are some who maintain he wasn't the best drummer IN The Beatles ;)

 

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11 minutes ago, anonim said:

Do you find that second footage is not so good? Why if it is so, in which aspects first surpass second and where it is visible?

(Of course, there's no necessity to answer, especially if, as I supposed from your question about Ebrahim Sadaawi, verbal expressing in English is not your native.)

I think you might be confusing me with Anonim who made the comment about Ebrahim Sadaawi!

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58 minutes ago, anonim said:

I've tried in thread about GH5s to explain what I distinctly like in some footage of this camera and, I think, one picture from Canon by DaveAltizer. But my English is very awkward and I hardly could succeed.

What would be of great help to me, maybe to someone else also, and regarding terms such as "mojo" or "cinematic", is: if there is some unassailable agreement between really competent DP's about that what are (approximаtely) image qualities to search for in standard theater movie, it will be so nice to fixed them (approximаtely) in the words and show in paralel favorite examples.

What ratio of sharpness and smoothness prefer any of us? What level of contrast and why? What is pleasant degree of saturation? Etc. It will be so great, I think, not to hide our knowledge and taste behind in-general words/therms/phrases, and help each other with favorite results and comments of reasons for our individual estimating.

I've been wanting to answer your question for a while now (from other threads/posts)... every chance I get its sorely interrupted with things happening around me.

I feel that you want someone to either define characteristics so that you can understand image quality better or you want to debunk the myth behind image quality altogether (good luck with the second one)

The problem with this is.... you are asking questions that can not be answered properly, especially in words.

What I find pretty, you might not find pretty.... what I love, you might not love, what I like to eat, you might hate to eat, etc... etc...

And, how many words can you really use to explain to me why you love your wife and kids? You can write books and books on the reasons of why you love your wife and kids, and I still would not be able to understand, simply because I don't love your wife and kids (btw... this is a joke!)

However, there can be a general concensus of what looks nice.... like the Mona Lisa, the starry night, venus de milo...

Remember, in the other thread, you said that you can't trust me in that nobody wants to see wrinkles... it was a generality.... you're a student of psychology (an assumption as you said you wrote articles for Psych)... whats it say in Social Psych. about Romantic Attraction? Other than familiarity and proximity... Age is a factor no? Youth is more attractive than Age Old.... and nothing shows age more than wrinkles... nobody wants to see wrinkles... why else are there make-up and anti-wrinkle creams?

You have to be your own barometer in judging what you like.... and not like... if you like sharp, detailed over saturated pictures.... then you like that or not... don't let the rest tell you otherwise.

For me, I have a barometer of my own... I know what I like... but it comes from years of watching movies.... and its not just the recent oscar winning movies like you mentioned the Revenant, etc. But years prior.... and sometimes you can tell what doesn't fit that schema, you know.... you watch those movies and then you film something with a VHS camcorder and then you compare footage and its not really comparable....

Here is a good example, but I doubt you will be able to experience it... the Hobbit was released in theatres in both regular 24p and 48p - I saw them both and I really really hated the 48p version. It was hyper-real and made the costumes, props and make-up look fake. So, if I had to go as far to say that even though both were made for cinema... the 24p is the more standard format and the more cinematic version of the 2 different versions.

 

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Just now, kye said:

I think you might be confusing me with Anonim who made the comment about Ebrahim Sadaawi!

Oh, no, I'm not confusing you, it was San - for me it is just more interesting and symphatic to further write about mr Sadaawi than simply ES! (Power of habit - joy of playing with words :)

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1 hour ago, mkabi said:

I've been wanting to answer your question for a while now... every chance I get its sorely interrupted with things happening around me.

I feel that you want someone to either define characteristics so that you can understand image quality better or you want to debunk the myth behind image quality altogether (good luck with the second one)

The problem with this is.... you are asking a questions that can not be answered properly, especially in words.

What I find pretty, you might not find pretty.... what I love, you might not love, what I like to eat, you might hate to eat, etc... etc...

And, how many words can you really use to explain to me why you love your wife and kids? You can write books and books on the reasons of why you love your wife and kids, and I still would not be able to understand, simply because I don't love your wife and kids (btw... this is a joke!)

However, there can be a general concensus of what looks nice.... like the Mona Lisa, the starry night, venus de milo...

Remember, in the other thread, you said that you can't trust me in that nobody wants to see wrinkles... it was a generality.... you're a student of psychology (an assumption as you said you wrote articles for Psych)... whats it say in Social Psych. about Romantic Attraction? Other than familiarity and proximity... Age is a factor no? Youth is more attractive than Age Old.... and nothing shows age more than wrinkles... nobody wants to see wrinkles... why else are there make-up and anti-wrinkle creams?

You have to be your own barometer in judging what you like.... and not like... if you like sharp, detailed over saturated pictures.... then you like that or not... don't let the rest tell you otherwise.

For me, I have a barometer of my own... I know what I like... but it comes from years of watching movies.... and its not just the recent oscar winning movies like you mentioned the Revenant, etc. But years prior.... and sometimes you can tell what doesn't fit that schema, you know.... you watch those movies and then you film something with a VHS camcorder and then you compare footage and its not really comparable....

Here is a good example, but I doubt you will be able to experience it... the Hobbit was released in theatres in both regular 24p and 48p - I saw them both and I really really hated the 48p version. It was hyper-real and made the costumes, props and make-up look fake. So, if I had to go as far to say that even though both were made for cinema... the 24p is the more standard format and the more cinematic version of the 2 different versions.

 

(Actually, I have 2 dr disertation from Psychology, 2 from Philosophy and one from the History of Art - as about 20 novels, 15 grouped in Collected works :) - but it doesn't matter, only was funny to mention as answer to your presumption. Even it is not important that I made documentaries, now I'm finishing preparation for one short film, negotiate about one long...)

Mostly of what you wrote is consensual between-all-agree theory and correct - it is even impossible not to be correct in such general claims.

My interest from you is simply human and here is located in these your word:

"For me, I have a barometer of my own... I know what I like..."

That's all - just show me and briefly explain (if you have a time and will, if you see any sense in it) or compare what and why you like something in this respected field.

It isn't too hard or impossible to explain what is so special in above presented Fuji footage that not exists in Panasonic's - or contrary?

If we can't explain anything, even that facts that we feel so vehemently-personal distinctive as Panasonic vs Fuji - it seems to me that we behave or live superficially. I could risk and copy-paste what I like or dislike about some visual materials... :)

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1 hour ago, Robert Collins said:

Well I think the very definition of 'Mojo' is 'something' based on very little 'information' at all.

hence Kyes current thread.  just look at the post yesterday about the 1dxii vs 1dc.  or before that newcomer Dave Altizer noticing the 1dc. these posts happen repeatedly  about the 3 or 4 cameras mentioned far more than any other since the beginning of eoshd. (other forums as well)  I read one thread about a very knowledgeable dp debating ridding himsdelf of his 16 bit raw shooting  sony F55 for the ancient F35 because of the image it produces.

   what is this "something" that folks consistently and repeatedly notice and comment on in regards to the image produced by a very select group of digital cameras?   

one idea: two of the most talked about cams have charge coupled device sensors, which is the type of sensor used to scan/digitize the film in a lot of the shows/movies  we've watched.   

 

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Camera mojo in the simplest terms....

  • The "colour science" implemented by the camera technicians in some cameras make it look more "attractive" then "standard" out of the box. So Fuji vs Sony for instance. 
  • The codec and bit rate implementation creates more visible and usable data (10 bit ProRes vs 8 bit, low bit rate AVCHD). 
  • The sensor size and lens combination (Alexa 65 with anamorphic lens vs RX10 with built-in lens)
  • The dynamic range for smoothness rolloff between shadows and highlights (Ursa Mini 4.6k vs Canon DSLR in standard profile). 
  • Shutter angle or shutter speed combined with frame rate (24p at 1/48 = "filmic motion"). 
  • Rolling or global shutter (shutter skew or no skew is the main benefit)
  • All the above combined I believe is something the internet calls "motion cadence" (Digital Bolex vs GoPro). 

While all the above can have a dramatic effect between cameras - remember that the real mojo comes from you. Your composition. Your lighting. Your camera movement. Your grading. Your skill as an artist. Having all these personal attributes will make most cameras that you shoot with... look like the bollocks. 

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I believe in camera specific mojo, but I am sure it is more than just the camera... it’s lighting, lens choice and placement, color science, subject matter, and obviously the pre through post production elements.

So yeah... probably most cameras could have mojo within the right circumstances but some cameras seem to offer it more often. 

In my opinion some of the cameras with mojo, in no particular order, are... Canon 1DC, Hacked Panasonic GH1/GH2, Panasonic LX100, Sony a7s, Canon 5D Mark III with ML Raw, Nikon D750, the anamorphic from the GH4/GH5... especially in 1080p, anything Leica or Fuji for stills... and some video, BMMC and BMPCC/BMMCC in ProRes or Raw, the Canon Cine Cameras... I’m sure there are others.

There are filmmakers that believe and strive to obtain an organic, thick, filmic and cinematic image and we believe that some cameras are easier to get there and then there are other filmmakers that question the quantifiable aspect of those statements... as if everything in life is quantifiable...

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Out of likes, but great write up, and would be hard to add anything to your reply.

But I am pretty sure any of the more talented people could take a iphone and make it look damn near as good as a Cine camera with time. These big movie studios have pretty much everything going for them. Nearly endless talent at every turn. It would be Hard to screw up stuff unless the script or the budget just sucks.

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18 minutes ago, Oliver Daniel said:

Camera mojo in the simplest terms....

  • The "colour science" implemented by the camera technicians in some cameras make it look more "attractive" then "standard" out of the box. So Fuji vs Sony for instance. 
  • The codec and bit rate implementation creates more visible and usable data (10 bit ProRes vs 8 bit, low bit rate AVCHD). 
  • The sensor size and lens combination (Alexa 65 with anamorphic lens vs RX10 with built-in lens)
  • The dynamic range for smoothness rolloff between shadows and highlights (Ursa Mini 4.6k vs Canon DSLR in standard profile). 
  • Shutter angle or shutter speed combined with frame rate (24p at 1/48 = "filmic motion"). 
  • Rolling or global shutter (shutter skew or no skew is the main benefit)
  • All the above combined I believe is something the internet calls "motion cadence" (Digital Bolex vs GoPro). 

While all the above can have a dramatic effect between cameras - remember that the real mojo comes from you. Your composition. Your lighting. Your camera movement. Your grading. Your skill as an artist. Having all these personal attributes will make most cameras that you shoot with... look like the bollocks. 

So great... concise and involving many aspects that could be controlled. Just one question - and I know answer might not be easy or possible: play of what most important aspects or variables makes "color science" (and what do you see in quoted Fuji vs Sony regarding that "play")?

15 minutes ago, mercer said:

I believe in camera specific mojo, but I am sure it is more than just the camera... it’s lighting, lens choice and placement, color science, subject matter, and obviously the pre through post production elements.

So yeah... probably most cameras could have mojo within the right circumstances but some cameras seem to offer it more often. 

In my opinion some of the cameras with mojo, in no particular order, are... Canon 1DC, Hacked Panasonic GH1/GH2, Panasonic LX100, Sony a7s, Canon 5D Mark III with ML Raw, Nikon D750, the anamorphic from the GH4/GH5... especially in 1080p, anything Leica or Fuji for stills... and some video, BMMC and BMPCC/BMMCC in ProRes or Raw, the Canon Cine Cameras... I’m sure there are others.

There are filmmakers that believe and strive to obtain an organic, thick, filmic and cinematic image and we believe that some cameras are easier to get there and then there are other filmmakers that question the quantifiable aspect of those statements... as if everything in life is quantifiable...

Thanks - and as above, just one question for clarification: what do you think, how is achieved that impression of thickness (not technically but as color quality)? In other words - when you look at footage that has that quality more - what is its origin if there's not any chemical structure as in pigments or emulations, because it is projected 2dimensional image? Relations between saturated area, or better gradation in front and back plan or anything else or some sum of what?

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8 minutes ago, anonim said:

So great... concise and involving many aspects that could be controlled. Just one question - and I know answer might not be easy or possible: play of what most important aspects or variables makes "color science" (and what do you see in quoted Fuji vs Sony regarding that "play")?

A color science discussion will send us through another wormhole.

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Just now, mercer said:

A color science discussion will send us through another wormhole.

Thanks - and as above, just one question for clarification: what do you think, how is achieved that impression of thickness (not technically but as color quality)? In other words - when you look at footage that has that quality more - what is its origin if there's not any chemical structure as in pigments or emulations, because it is projected 2dimensional image? Relations between saturated area, or better gradation in front and back plan or anything else or some sum of what?

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