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Brian Dilg

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About Brian Dilg

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    Cinematographer
  1. Brian Dilg

    XDCAM EX

    Sorry for the delay - have been crazy busy and long offline. The HVX-200 was part of the DuArt demo I saw, and to my eyes it was consistent with other tests I've seen: resolution and detail was very noticeably less than the EX1, but it has a bit of an edge in terms of color rendition, as would be expected. Having shot with the EX1 now for a few months, I can say that the color space is my main objection. I haven't done finishing work with any of the footage yet, but I'm hoping I can transcode into a 4:4:4 color space and tweak the colors to where I want them. Am also not wild about the look of the shutter - any movement very often feels stuttery, but I haven't been able to nail this down with thorough testing yet. The other thing I'd warn shooters about is that trusting your histogram in my experience leads to consistently overexposed images, but I need to re-read the manual in case there's something funky about the way Sony is using it that I just need to adjust to. I'm still experimenting with picture profile settings, but overall I'd have to say that between the lens and the gamma curve, the contrast is on the flat side, which to me is good news - the latitude is huge - but you can't walk out the door and shoot defaults and expect to love it. On a narrative, that's never going to be an issue, but on rapid fire doc shooting, I end shooting it flat, avoiding overexposure and tweaking the look in post. Long story short, I would never buy an HVX-200 over the EX1, and I don't know of anything that can touch what the EX1 can do for the money (today anyway), but I was vehemently against the nature of the chip and the upsampling in the HVX from the beginning. There just wasn't any other viable, affordable HD option in the past. And yes, the EX1 held up against the Red beautifully, which was surprising, but they're completely different animals. I couldn't shoot a verité doc with a Red One, as much as I wish I could. The footage that blew me away was the Sony F950, even over 35mm, so you still get what you pay for. - Brian
  2. Brian Dilg

    XDCAM EX

    After seeing the very thorough demo at DuArt NY a few weeks ago side by side with 35mm, Super 16, F900, HVX 200, and Red One printed to 35mm as well as via 4k digital projector and being more than impressed, we picked one up last week. Have been scrambling to get fluent on it before we head overseas on Thursday to continue shooting this feature doc across four countries. (let's hope I remember to switch the anti-flicker to 50 Hz!) Will have a thorough evaluation by the time I get back, but so far more pleased than I expected to be. Thoroughly puzzled by one critical aspect of picture quality which has me stumped as to which format to shoot: the camera can shoot in 1080 or 720 at 24p, 30p, or 60i, in either HQ (1920x1080) or SP (1440x1080 "thin raster") mode. What's disconcerting is that if the camera is connected straight to a 42" Sony Bravia 1080p LCD HDTV via the analog component output, the 30p and especially the 24p modes are horrendously jittery on any kind of movement. The camera pulls everything down to 60i internally (the Avid, and, I assume, FCP, throws away the pulldown if you import 24p clips into a 24p project), but while the native 60i modes scream "video!" and have the kind of jagged interlacing that just reaffirms your desire to gun down whoever thought of interlacing in the first place, the 24p mode has no interlacing artifacts, but movement is unbearably jittery. Importing the clips into the Avid and playing them directly off the DVI port into the same monitor via HDMI doesn't demonstrate any of that jitteriness, but the computer is outputting 1080p, not 1080i. But since ultimately most audiences will be seeing letterboxed 480i DVDs, I'm pretty damn sure the pulldown jitter is going to be there. It's so bad that I can't even consider the 24p mode viable, but I hate the 60i mode. Has anyone noticed a similar artifact on other 24p cameras - DVX, HVX, etc? This is pissing me off so much, tomorrow I'm pulling out my good old DVX-100 to compare it. I know it never looked this bad in terms of pulldown. Other than that, the control over the toe and shoulder, hue and saturation, the 1-60fps frame rates, time lapse, 1/2" chips instead of 1/3", working tapeless, the onboard monitor and pretty much everything else is damned amazing in a $6500 camera. If only the cards didn't cost $900 for 50 minutes of recording, plus another $70 per 50GB XDCAM disc if you - duh - actually want to save your media instead of throwing it away. But I'll take it to be able to keep the intimidation factor low on docs and shoot 1920x1080 at this price point... - Brian Dilg director/cinematographer
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