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Phil Rhodes

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Everything posted by Phil Rhodes

  1. Really it comes down to what you're interested in doing with it. What sort of clients do you see renting it and what do they want? From a purely theoretical point of view there are ways in which bigger sensors can become something of a zero sum game (I'll pontificate about that if you like, but you'll end up calling me a nerd). All else equal I'd get the Alexa 35. But all things are very rarely equal and it is very rarely a choice that simple.
  2. For that you want pneumatic wheels, and be careful about the cheap ones described as "pneumatic" which emphatically aren't. I find a YouTube search for "pneumatic wheel 150mm" turns up the sort of wheels used on scooters. Another option is the front wheels for wheelchairs, since the grey tyres are intended to avoid marking polished floors. They're available as spart parts. Often they have central bearings designed to accomodate 8mm shafts so it's easy enough to try different things. Various clamps and brackets are available for various types of tube. The commonest is around 50mm (two inch, give or take), which is more or less scaffolding tube, which is very common worldwide. Huge amounts of accessories are available. It might be a bit big and heavy, though. Aluminium is more expensive (though not ruinously if you just need a short length). You can also get a fair number of accessories for 32mm (inch and a quarter) or 38mm (inch and a half) tube. The way to do this is figure out what brackets you need, and buy tube to suit. If you're going to ride this thing holding a gimbal, great. If you actually want to mount a camera directly to it, be prepared for a lot of vibration with the sort of system you've outlined on most surfaces. If you want something you can drive along and get decent results, look at something like Motion Impossible's Agito, which has more in common with a very large, beefed-up RC car than a scooter. I haven't looked at it in detail, but similar things are discussed here.
  3. Interesting - thanks for the response. If that's something you'd be interested in talking about, I'll drop you a private message and perhaps we can get in touch more directly.
  4. Not to hijack the thread, but I see a lot of talk about homebrew scanners these days. Much of it is people cooking something up to get at old super-8 material that doesn't have much value, but I've heard about cintel 3s being refitted with HD cameras, as well as ground up designs. It's something I'd pondered writing about. Is there anyone in particular who's good to talk to about that sort of thing?
  5. Is it me, or is it not so much about the change in lighting anyone wants between a wide and a closeup, it's more about the fact that you can't create the lighting in the wide that you'd want for the closeup? You can't have enormous diffusion six inches from someone's earhole then shoot them full length, but if it were possible to create that closeup lighting for the wide, anyone would just do that and get everything they needed.
  6. Max, the fact that a lot of the people who're working on the good stuff are not actually all that amazing is one of those things that I think most of us realise after a few years. At the high end of almost anything, there's very often a lot of specialisation, and people working in professional silos. Often they're reasonably competent at exactly one thing and really quite laughably inept at anything else, and yes, sometimes that does actually cause real-world problems when something slightly unusual comes up and people are required to cooperate interdepartmentally. On big sets - when I've seen them - it's hard not to laugh at all the desperate stumbling around that happens if anything vaguely out of the ordinary should occur. People who work on small stuff often have much broader, if shallower, knowledge, and that can lead to people devising smart solutions to things which the high end would do a much harder way. Something which exacerbates this is that on bigger productions, it's seen as highly inappropriate to involve oneself in, make any comment on, or in any sense interact with the work of other departments, which can literally mean people sitting around watching things go wrong, aware of a straightforward solution, but unwilling to air it. And that's even without considering the involvement of unions, many of which actively seek to encourage and enforce that sort of separation, because, after all, it creates work for people. If this is leading you to the conclusion that working on short films is a lot more entertaining for you as an individual than working on huge shows, well, you've probably got a point. The only way anyone can ever get any sort of meaningful creative control over a huge international blockbuster is to be one of a group of people we know by a single name and can probably count on the fingers of one hand - Nolan, Cameron, Spielberg, etc., and finding oneself in that sort of position is dependent on many things, but inevitably involves a lot of luck. You can cite situations like Jurassic World, but the idea that people like Trevorrow have any sort of real creative authority on shows like that is mistaken. They're puppets on strings, dancing to the tune of executives in return for a big paycheck. With regard to Mark's comments on crewing, to some extent that can be laid at the door of a huge shortage of qualified people, and to some extent that is due to the likes of Netflix sucking up any even vaguely-qualified warm body. To another extent it's due to the recruitment process of the film industry, which can fairly be described as "brutally hostile." New entrants are faced with scowling, often openly-hostile incumbents who see newcomers as potential competition. Nobody is incentivised to train anyone and this has been the case for decades. For much of that time, the demand for crew in the UK was so vanishingly small that it barely mattered, but the problem is being thrown into sharp relief now the big streamers have turned up, post-pandemic, with a bulging folder of scripts to be produced. If this seems to paint a picture of an industry which isn't what most people think it is and which is rotten to its core by anyone's standards... well, yes. Welcome aboard, newbies! This is really about producers, but I think it says everything that needs to be said.
  7. Well yes, and that's where Adrian's comments apply, because both home and theatrical displays are can be inconsistent enough to spoil things. From memory, the appearance of the very dark frame from Dune looks, on my monitor, largely as it looked when projected, which is to say so dark it's genuinely hard to tell what's going on. I'd encourage anyone viewing it to click on the frames for a full-screen view so that they're not so small, and not so surrounded by the bright white of the forum background, but it's not great.
  8. I've posted a couple of times about the increasing tendency for things just to be dark, as opposed to contrasty. Below are a couple of comparisons from Dune and Chernobyl which seemed to rely on underexposure. Dune seemed generally well-lit, although Chernobyl looked scrappy, presumably deliberately so, though it's hard to tell the difference sometimes. I am not a big fan of this and I don't understand why people think it is an appropriate way to make things mysterious. It doesn't. it just makes things poorly-defined and hard to properly comprehend, to the point where we can't tell whether anything disturbing is happening or not, because we can't see the layout of the scene or anyone's expression. It's the visual equivalent of Tenet's terrible dialogue mix.
  9. I'm probably very late to realising this remaster happened, but one can hardly complain about the portraiture.
  10. Of course that's only about an hour's worth, tops. When I was working as a projectionist in the late 90s and early 2000s, they came in slightly shiny, brightly coloured, possily nylon plastic cases with a hinged lid and divided slots inside for up to (as I recall) six reels, or perhaps it was five. The grim prospect of movies that needed more than one case was not popular.
  11. Aha! Someone has actually done it! I had no idea that was even on the market. Do you happen to know when that became available? But yes, in general, I would like to see a shallower mount on the Ursa series. Whether that's some sort of bolt-on universal mount system, or just micro four-thirds, would be fine, although I think MFT is perhaps a little small and fragile. Maybe something larger would be better, although I would point out that JVC managed to fit a rotating filter wheel, IR filter and a super-35mm sensor behind MFT on the GY-LS300 camcorder, so it can be done. P
  12. What I'd really like to see is for Blackmagic to move the sensor on the Ursa Mini a lot, lot closer to the mount, so we could all have speed boosters on their cameras.
  13. Sounds to me like it's a bit of standard early-to-mid twentieth century advertising-speak, from a time where X worked as a generic claim to greatness and uniqueness without making any claim specific enough to fall to truth-in-advertising rules. After all, The X-Men first published in 1963, and I'm not sure that really meant much beyond being backronymed into the name of a lead character. The book (then film) The Strange World of Planet X would be another great example, from 1958, but it was sold as Cosmic Monsters in the USA, so only partial credit. There are probably other examples of X in this sort of context from around that time. Even DC was in on it.
  14. Well, there have been experiments around figuring out a way of doing the Kodachrome process in the modern age. In the end, it's just chemicals. (It's a shockingly complicated and intricate series of chemicals, but it's probably possible.)
  15. I think this is what people actually want out of film. The newest neg stocks (which, to be fair, aren't that new anymore) are sort of flat and gutless. This has the contrast, the deep shadows, the grain, while simultaneously benefiting from the nice warm highlight transitions. It looks like film. Whether that's actually a good idea or not in a world of h.264 compression is another matter, but I think this is what the people want.
  16. Daniel, have you ever written up an overview of your scanning setup? We've heard about it in pieces but it'd be good to get an idea what you're doing, as I think a lot of people are interested in doing something similar. It's probably never been easier to build scanners but clearly there are a lot of different approaches.
  17. Sure, fine, but in the end there are only so many arrangements of physics that actually create green LEDs. In the mainstream there's really two, types based around gallium phosphide, which are the rather feeble grassy-yellow-green variety used in indicator lights, and types based around gallium nitride, sometimes called "pure green". It's not as if some designer somewhere has the ability to use the some kind of super-deep-green LED because it doesn't exist, just as very deep blues didn't until fairly recently (and are still rare and expensive). Actual Xenon lights, at least of the type used in film projectors, are DC driven and don't flicker (otherwise they wouldn't work in film projectors). If we're talking about arc and discharge lights generically, a lot of scanners (certainly Spirit and Northlight) absolutely do use various types of short arc or metal halide light sources and presumably use flicker-free ballasts to avoid issues. Again, modern video projectors tend to use light sources of this approximate type and would suffer terribly if there were unsolvable flicker issues. And yes, that's the sort of light box I had in mind. It could be driven by an LED source, although the result might lack deep indigo. Presumably someone has actually done all the work on this and figured out whether film stock really does have a colour gamut larger than the one created by RGB LEDs. I haven't compared the output of either of the common green LEDs to the greens of film stocks and I'm speculating, but I wouldn't be too shocked if it presented a limitation.
  18. Trying to put the camera in sideways is an absolute nuisance, so I think what I'll likely do is put some (more) feet on what's the bottom surface in that shot, and rely on standing it up, with the handle on the front, to get at what's inside. Weird layout. No idea why they did it like that. It's almost more like a very, very deep and oversized briefcase, and they did make those in briefcase sort of formats, so maybe that's it. I notice a lot of similar cases use removable trays in the position that would be behind the camera in this case, making room for accessories, and I may look into doing something like that. The only problem is that you then need somewhere to put them when you take them out.
  19. Well, they use RGB plus white, or the colour quality would be horrible (and the colour quality on a skypanel isn't the best in the world anyway, but that's a topic for another day). The concern over the scanners using green LEDs for the green flash remains; is that what they're doing?
  20. If we're talking about CRI, we're talking about principally white light. Are they using white-emitting, phosphor-converted LEDs for these scanners, then filtering it green for the green flash?
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