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John Miguel King

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Everything posted by John Miguel King

  1. The A7s has very serious rolling shutter issues. It's even worst than the 5d. Bang a long lens (say an 80mm) and rock the camera ever so slightly. You'll see how jello everything turns. This affects banding, as it's just another symptom of the same disease. There's also the issue of Pulse Width Modulation being the de facto dimming approach with leds. Cheap dimmers work at such low frequencies that banding will happen regardless. In order to eliminate PWM as one of the causes the dimmer should be working at 1 khz or faster. Kinos, for example, work at 10 khz. The correct approach, if going led, would be using an RGB led matrix through an Arduino controller. This way you can create any color effect you wish whilst working at a very high frequency.
  2. Robyn, I wrote "all digital cameras with high dynamic range". I did not write "all digital cameras have high dynamic range". :P Very telling graph you've attached. As to rating one stop lower, this comes straight from the horse's mouth, aka, Sony itself. Here in London we've the Digital Motion Picture Centre. The dudes there know their cameras and will happily show you a variety of footage on their rec 2020 monitor. It is the closest to a life changing experience... as far as learning about exposure can change a life. All changes of ISO (which, as you point out, should be called EI) in a digital sensor are just tweaks in the gain. The sensor does not change. All one is doing is moving across a Dynamic Range to Highlight protection. Physics is to blame for this. The less light that is being reflected, the less saturation that is recorded. This is why, for clean and saturated shadows, which to me marks a good exposure, that extra stop makes a world of a difference. On the sgamut3, I agree 200%. There's this insistence on not using LUTs that I have found on some colourists. There's no way a lift-gamma-gain tweak can achieve the same skintones as a LUT. It's a very complex transform that Sony's engineers have sweated over to reach perfection. I find it bit on the stubborn side to insist on ignoring the implications of recording to such a huge colour gamut.
  3. Coming back to this after a while. Do not be too concerned about overexposing. As a rule of thumb rate all digital cameras with high dynamic range (14 stops is hdr) about a stop slower than nominal ISO. This is due to the way in which colour information is captured across the different stops. Imagine an inverted drop, with the thin side being shadows and the drop itself being the highlights. There will always be more colour in the highlights. It's the underexposing, trusting the nominal iso, that leads to noise and quasi-monochrome colour in the shadows. Basically the day rec 2020 becomes the norm, not that far off, a lot of films that have been underexposed will look pretty bad on these screens. Funny thing, this is how film has been exposed since the invention of the art form. It's called a "thick negative". As to clipping, clipping isn't bad nor ugly as long as it's happening where it should be happening. One needs dynamic contrast in pictures. If you've got the sun in frame, the sun must clip. There's no way around this fact.
  4. The best is Silverstack. Second best is YoyottaId. These two are the only ones maintaining a library with rich metadata and reporting capabilities. Silverstack has great, I repeat, great support. I've asked for implementations and seen them appear in the next release. If you spot an issue, they might even make a release the next day with a bug fix. It's also a great QC tool. YoyottaId ain't bad. But what with the absence of an actual user manual, I seriously can't be bothered to spend my days performing voodoo magic until I hit the right combination. Then there's, as mentioned, ShotPutPro. I find it a bit too much on the bare side. It does the copy just fine. So if this is the only thing you need, I see no reason not to use it. As for free there are great tools hiding in the terminal. Rsync is simply fantastic. It'll create a checksum if you ask for it. And it uses checksums even when you don't ask for it. I use it for cloning entire projects onto a safe server and/or LTO, or for copying other elements of a day's folder that do not require reporting, such as dailies, sound, ALE, grades, etc, etc. Another great little tool is iSFV. It doesn't do the copy, but it creates checksums for entire folders which are then simple to verify. It uses the CRC checksum. It's a smaller checksum, but it is enough indeed. I send it to edit assistants so they can easily compare the quality of the cloning they're doing in the cutting room. File size comparison won't show any errors at a byte level, so it's basically a waste of time. Likewise with doing two copies with two readers to two different destinations. As long as you are calculating the checksum off the source, then comparing that to the cloned copies you are basically fine, and can then move on to the actual DIT work.
  5. Over the last three years I did on average 16 - 20 weeks a year as DIT on features, dramas and commercials. Then something like 3 weeks a year as DOP. It's just impossible (for very good reasons, I think) to start off as DOP and make a living. It's maybe a notch easier for those coming straight off the top films schools. The reason: there are more experienced DOPs around that will deservedly take the well paid jobs. Honestly, nothing beats learning from the masters. Cinematography is a craft first and foremost. I see no reason why the progression to DP should be any different from that of becoming a master builder. x
  6. Magnificent glass with or without the flare elements. I worked with the standard version a couple of weeks ago. They come straight from awesomeness-Valhalla.
  7. Chris, there is a big difference between cheap LEDs and actual, branded, professional quality LEDs. The later have become standard issue in all productions, mostly in the higher end of the spectrum. I've seen them in big brand commercials, prestige BBC dramas and features that most definitely qualify as big budget in UK terms. I've seen them on location, on exteriors and on sound stages. I have yet to hear anything other than "this is amazing!" on such sets. Very often they aren't even replacing previous technologies. They allow for setups that are essentially impossible with any other technology. I don't know what you mean by "gamma correction", Aaron?. You mean colour correction? Gamma belongs to a totally different conversation. ;)
  8. LEDs are already quite important. The industry embraced Celeb Flos immediately, and luminaires such as Rosco litepads & litepanels have no real competition on multiple situations. Choosing, say, a 2 foot kino over a celeb 200 makes no sense at all. Kinos can't be dimmed, and changing colour requires gels and/or the switching of bulbs. The celeb has a similar CRI, is fully dmx controllable and way easier to shape and control. Likewise, a kit such as Rosco's gaffer kit litepads allows rigging a whole car interior running of one Anton Bauer dionic. ONE. Another great luminaire is the Rotolight. Whenever I'm on exteriors and I want to keep it light I order a couple of them. One dionic will last for half a day of filming, and the punch is pretty amazing. Plus colour temp can be dialed, even from a phone! Now, when it comes to big punchy luminaries, such as pars and fresnells, we're still a long way off. But for soft sources the change is happening now, and it's surprisingly fast.
  9. The 70's is a crucial period. And of everything in the 70's, from which there is so very much, I'd grab "The Deer Hunter". It was revolutionary in so many aspects. Douglas Slocombe's work on the three Indy Jones should be compulsory memorising. They're a hard light festival drawing from the golden age of cinema. I can never ever tire of them. Slocombe Slocombe Slocombe!
  10. Taking stills with a DSLR is and always will be the best way to learn the fundamentals of photography.
  11. I've seen a lot of Celeb Flo used just for that. ;) The celeb flo is awesome. Small, dimmable, dmx controllable, light, and with a wide choice of honeycombs. Great stuff.
  12. Look at the armchair on the first screengrab. That light can't be produced by just the lamps. There's a bit of hard light going on, plus a bit of blue coming from the side of the wall we can't see. Also, I think the walls would be darker if there was light only off the lamps. It looks too even and precise I think humbliestly.
  13. With a 17" macbook the transcoding is going to take, literally, weeks. Your best bet is switching to Premiere and using its Mercury Playback engine. Set the debayering on the R3D footage to 1/4 resolution and you'll be able to edit realtime with both sources (h264 & R3D) without the need to transcode either. Question: without "creating optimised media", can you get realtime payback on FCPX? All other solutions require a more advanced knowledge of post workflows, and failing to do the steps right can result in very painful mistakes down the chain.
  14. It could be a few things: - Black shading: have you done this? I think Sony calls it APR, though I'm not 100% certain. - If you're looking at the log, it tends to exaggerate things which then disappear once you increase the contrast - apply a LUT. Your screengrab looks log to me, so I'm more inclined to believe it's this. - Could it be underexposed? Again, if looking through a log picture, it's sometimes possible to go a bit under without noticing. - What's the "native" ISO on the FS7? There is no such thing as native, it's just a compromise between gain and highlight protection. Enjoy
  15. Commercials and fiction are quite separate here in LDN. I do mostly fiction, and commercials always strikes me as just a bit too serious plus me not really liking selling chilli chicken mcbites too many times. Then there's also spending weeks on location and never really managing to find the way not to walk through the hotel's bar on the way to the room! So, although brief and slightly deluded, when on the road it gets real supportive. Sort of like a Big Brother. Also, when I work as DIT the role changes a lot from one to the other. It's infinitely more creative and sleek in a long job, which maybe helps sway my preference.
  16. Apart from the rental cash, which admittedly won't be much and will only pay off in the long run, if it yours you can customise it. If you've a vehicle to roll it on and off, then your quality of life increases as there'll be less box lugging. Most steadicam ops I know have theirs and usually just roll it on and off their vans with their kit all ready to go. My DIT station is the same, I've a bespoke one at my agency which I build during prep so that I can either work off a van when exteriors, or just roll off and bring it into the stage. My point being, that if it saves time, then that also makes for a great investment. I don't know about the US, but here in the UK we're expected to give production thirty minutes either side of the working day for rig and de-rig. If you can do it faster... then that's time you're saving. :D
  17. Fiction is very much like this. Which is why I get like depressed after a few months of only commercials. :D
  18. Phil, it's really simple, honest. Without regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, how on earth is anybody supposed to stay awake and alert 12 hours a day, on their feet, carrying heavy boxes, whether rain, shine, blizzard or desert, 11 days a fortnight, over 4 months?. We are not penpushers. Our job is demanding both physically and mentally. Very bloody demanding. And, for some reason, it appeals to a very particular kind of person that just doesn't seem to take the whole aging thing too seriously and that seems to have a deep sense of wanderlust. You'd be surprised how fit and healthy cam crews tend to be in their fifties and sixties. And of course we like branded clothing. I like gore tex, and technical shoes, and merino underwear. Because if I'm not properly dressed to survive the weather under which I'm working, I'm of no use to my team. I become a liability instead of an asset and I'm letting my brothers and sisters down. We work with our minds, but we can only do this when our bodies survive the shoot. Still, there's all types in the crew. Like anywhere else. Nobody gives a damn how you look as long as: A. It's not reflective. B. You do your job. But yes, if the person in question doesn't do her/his bit to be capable of surviving, if they don't take the job seriously, why should the job take them seriously? Sure, I like my picture, and I like a nice haircut, and some cool sunglasses. Why not? It's taken a lot of sacrifice, a lot of ignoring calls for a "saner career" from the people I love most to get to where I am. So I do like very much to enjoy the very little success I have, even if it's delusional. If I was into normal, I'd have a regular life, a retirement plan and a monthly wage with some company benefits and perks. But I am just not into normal. I make movies because I could do nothing else with my life. And, after all, life happens only once. So I'll be damned if I don't allow my identity to wonder in any direction I feel like. Please don't make the mistake of confusing the contents with the continent. That's called judging a book by its cover. Peace.
  19. Guys, there's plenty of work going on if you eat some humble pie and start at the bottom like Jake has done. I know cos I'm "in" and I can assure the only "trick" is being the best you can at the role you're doing. The thing is that jobs are not advertised anywhere. I mean, who in their sane mind would jeopardise daily budgets above 100k by hiring somebody on the strength of an application through a jobs' website?. Honestly, anybody believing the great opportunity will appear on Mandy's needs some psychiatric evaluation urgently. It's either direct contact from the employer (focus puller calling loader, for example) or diary service/agent. One must earn the right, through hard bloody work and professionalism, to be part of the club. But, you know, it's not a club based on looks. It's a club based on never ever letting the team down. It's as simple and as difficult as this. Because, we actually take filmmaking seriously, and thanks to this UK crews are highly regarded worldwide. And, as I'm sure Jake must have realised by now, the club is made up a lovely bunch of freaks who're always there when you need them. We are family, godamnit. We've all been to hell and back, together. Strength and Honour! :P
  20. Another option is having and actually using the services of a skilled DIT. ;)
  21. Black Satin and Hollywood Black Magic seem to be all the rage in this time and day.
  22. No worries Simon. A book light is a big big thing though. I'd definitely go for softer sources through frames or pure and simple softboxes. They're simpler to rig and adjust. The quality of the light will be roughly the same and, most importantly, the reflection will be larger if you cut the distance between the object and the frames. I'm not sure, though, you'll enjoy moving bounces around or that it's a practical solution. You're shaping the object through its reflections, therefore you want to be able to control the intensity and size of these, which becomes very difficult unless they're independent sources. The ideal light for this would be an led softbox, as you can dim it without changing the ºK. It's also quite easy to shape the reflection by just cutting it out in blackwrap and clipping it to the softbox. Another thing you might want to look at is mixing hard a soft sources. Fresnells will help you add some extra shaping, whilst at the same time creating specular highlights to make the thing pop.
  23. Big soft sources and extra attention to where you are filming are the two most important things. If in an infinity cove, you might want to turn the shoot 180º. And by this I mean place the camera with the cove behind your back and rig a frame as the background. This way you retain control over what's in front of the object, which is what will be reflected on the surface. Large LED panels through 4x4 or 4x8 frames with lee 216 take very little space and are easy to adjust. They're great soft sources for such a situation. Just remember the reflections show everything, so you might want to think of what's above too.
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