Jump to content
Chuck Hartsell

Varicam for feature?

Recommended Posts

I wonder if some of you would comment on whether you think the Varicam would or would not be a good choice, and why, for shooting a feature to eventually be transferred to a 35 film print. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if some of you would comment on whether you think the Varicam would or would not be a good choice, and why, for shooting a feature to eventually be transferred to a 35 film print. Thanks.

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of the Varicam extended definition picture. In side by side comparisons I've seen with 1080I, it resembles a side by side comparison of 16mm vs. 35mm. I might consider using it as a tool for speed changes, similar to the way one brings in an Arri or Panastar for that special circumstance, but for principle photography, I wouldn't personally do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone has their own opinions on such things. Having just finished (yesterday) my third feature on the Varicam, I can tell you that I like it very much. The colorimetry as well as the camera's deeper color space over the F900 lends it a very pleasing, filmlike image to my taste. I also find it significantly far more DP friendly a camera compared to the F900, with an exception for the new F900R.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a Varicam Feature this year with the Pro35. Its a good camera... but in hindsight I wish I had gone with the Viper and shot less cameras. Viper I feel is a superior camera. None the less if you can't afford a viper, Varicam is great camera and slow motion is its greatest feature. The one thing that I don't like its cine gamma which of course you can turn off. I just don't like that clipping hard edge look. But Panasonic markets it in a way that it was made for film outs. You can manipulated gamma curves in post and next time i will opt to use that route. The Varicam due to its resolution is not great for anamorphic prints... so 2:35. I believe you end up with the vertical resolution at 540 lines projected back on a wide screen. Something like that. Not sure on the exact number. But you will really notice it on the big screen. It would probably look like crap, never got the chance to run test tho... I wouldn't recommend shooting Pro35 if your looking for a high contrast image either.

Edited by Chayse Irvin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are going to film out to 35mm, I'd only go F900. I just think if you have a choice, might as well choose the one with better resolution. I'll take resolution over color sampling when filming out. You should arrange a screening for comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all the 720p Panasonic Varicam is not extended definition but full blown fast action high definition that rivals 1080p. If you are shooting action films you can shoot in 720p at 60 frames per second and convert to 24p for film out. Then you can distribute in HD-DVD in full 720p60 quality for that awesome high frame rate progressive capture something that 1080p24 is incapable of doing. However if you are doing a slow motion drama maybe the 1080p24 format would be the better choice for finer detail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From tests that I've done, I find it very hard to see a difference in picture detail between the f-900 and the varicam. It would seem like 1080>720 but there's more to it than that. On a full color motion picture shot at 1/48th second shutter speed it will be very hard to see a difference between the two cameras that would be more visable on a black and white resolution chart.

 

 

So it's my opinion that the difference in picture detail is trivial, you should test to see if you agree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are going to film out to 35mm, I'd only go F900. I just think if you have a choice, might as well choose the one with better resolution. I'll take resolution over color sampling when filming out. You should arrange a screening for comparison.

 

i have to agree with eric here.

 

if you can record uncompressed (which is recommendable for 35mm filmrecording and theatrical release), the 1920x1080 compared to 1280x1080 are simply put 2MP vs 1MP... simply half the resolution.

 

colorsampling is at 10bit when uncompressed or HDCAM SR and at 8bit when HDCAM or DVCPRO HD. so the better colorresolution is a myth - i can clearly say that as i also own and run a colorcorrection here and can clearly say, that hdcam and dvcpro hd 100 are both not tooo good when it comes to colorgrading.

 

It has a reason that so many a-budget produce on 1080p (superman, flyboys, sin city, once upon a time in mexico, star wars, collateral, miami vice, apocalypto and so on...) and so few on 720p (i honestly dont know a single a-budget produced on 720p).

 

On the other hand, i agree that the 27 varicam is more ergonomic than the old 900. But the 750 and its brother the 900r are not less ergnomic.

 

The main advantage of varicam, 60p can only be used for slowmotions when releasing for cinema/projection, and there you can also shot 60i 1920x540 with 1080 cams.

 

OTOH - there are cool 16mm movies and boring 35mm films, so the image quality isn´t all, as we all know. but you _will_ have only half the resoultion when using varicam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are shooting an action movie for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray Disc release the extra 60p temporal resolution of the Panasonic Varicam would be an advantage over the low temporal resolution of 24p. The Panasonic Varicam is the digital equivalent of the Showscan format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own a Varicam H model and did a film out before(from an F) ,

I love my camera and bought it instead of an F900, it is a matter of taste and feel ?

My rule is: for TV release : defiantly Varicam ,that 1080 sharpness will make it look like video again.

Projection release: go with F900/3,viper,Red or? film.

Like I said: it?s an individual thing

For me a Varicam is super 16?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For me a Varicam is super 16?

 

I agree...

 

I love the color and look one can get with the Varicam, but resolution always looks like Super16mm on both HD and SD/DVD (never seen a blowup from Varicam). 1080P can look close to 35mm resolution in filmout and downconvert, but Sony's color is different from Panasonic's. I won't say better or worse (especially since both can be modified), but Sony always appears a little more saturated and electronic, while Panasonic looks more film-like (totally subjective on my part).

 

I wouldn't crop a 720P image to 2.35:1 unless you could really live with the softness. For 1.85:1 or 16:9 it can look pretty good though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally, I'm not a fan of the Varicam extended definition picture. In side by side comparisons I've seen with 1080I, it resembles a side by side comparison of 16mm vs. 35mm.

Was 1080i the 16mm? Because 720p has more temporal resolution than 1080i and also looks sharper, not to mention interlaced is useless for anything but news!

 

I did a Varicam Feature this year with the Pro35. Its a good camera... but in hindsight I wish I had gone with the Viper and shot less cameras. The Varicam due to its resolution is not great for anamorphic prints... so 2:35. I believe you end up with the vertical resolution at 540 lines projected back on a wide screen. Something like that. Not sure on the exact number. But you will really notice it on the big screen. It would probably look like crap, never got the chance to run test tho... I wouldn't recommend shooting Pro35 if your looking for a high contrast image either.

 

I wouldn't crop a 720P image to 2.35:1 unless you could really live with the softness. For 1.85:1 or 16:9 it can look pretty good though.

 

What about shooting real anamorphic? There are new 1.33x anamorphics on the market right? That would get you real 2.35:1 instead of cropping the Varicam. It would give you an equivalent of 1702x720. Not bad at all. Theoretically it?s more than George Lucas got cropping the F900 for Star Wars where he ended up with 1440x612.

Edited by Adam Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I worked on a movie a few years ago that cropped to 2.35 from the Varicam. I've only seen the trailer online, so I can't say how it turned out. Check it out here: http://www.soldierofgod.net/trailer.html

I'm not sure if it's on DVD or not, but it might be worth checking out for reference.

 

Just saw Soldier of God on DVD. The cinematography is very good and the images are just gorgeous. Very good color and tonal range. This is the 1st feature I see that was shot with the Varicam. I like the colors way better than the F900 for what I have seen in this movie, although it's noticeably softer. Not really a bad thing at all, at least not for DVD. But I can imagine it must have looked really soft on the big screen. Probably too soft. Maybe they used some sort of filtration to soften the image?

You said you worked on it. Do you have any ideas of what kind of budget they had to work with? It looks really good and it doesn't really feel like a low budget film.

Edited by Adam Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised that no one mentioned anything about the art, rather simply the tools. I wish I could say that one is better than the other but I've seen dozens of projects on both, and shot dozens myself on vboth and it was the person behind the camera that made them shine, not the tool. Hence why all the confusion where one says the color is better and one says it is not, and another says one looks sharper and one says not. Technically 1080 will give you an ever so slightly sharper picture but outside of that, the qualities of these cameras are the talent involved with shooting, editing/color grading, and transfer. You could do a great film out on a Varicam, but you'd also have to have a great looking product and the right people doing the film out as far as my experience goes. We did some tests not long ago using two different places (to be unnamed) to see th difference in the film out work quality. We took both to the same theater for projection. It was the same material given to both places, shot on the same camera. And sure enough both pieces had a different quality to them, one being noticeably softer. It was combinations of the people who did the transfer and the equipment they used. I'd say look less into which hammer is better and more into which company offers a better blueprint and talent to make that blueprint come to life for your final product than ask a question about two formats that on the right day will have no difference between them .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just saw Soldier of God on DVD. The cinematography is very good and the images are just gorgeous. Very good color and tonal range. This is the 1st feature I see that was shot with the Varicam. I like the colors way better than the F900 for what I have seen in this movie, although it's noticeably softer. Not really a bad thing at all, at least not for DVD. But I can imagine it must have looked really soft on the big screen. Probably too soft. Maybe they used some sort of filtration to soften the image?

You said you worked on it. Do you have any ideas of what kind of budget they had to work with? It looks really good and it doesn't really feel like a low budget film.

Well, I'm glad it doesn't look low budget, but it was. I'm not sure what the budget was, but I would guess that it was under $1,000,000. IMDB says it was 3 million, but I seriously doubt that's true.

As for filtration....if I remember correctly, I think we shot clean, but we did use the Pro35, so that could be what you're seeing.

Thanks for pointing out that it's out on DVD. It's on my Netflix list now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I'm glad it doesn't look low budget, but it was. I'm not sure what the budget was, but I would guess that it was under $1,000,000. IMDB says it was 3 million, but I seriously doubt that's true.

As for filtration....if I remember correctly, I think we shot clean, but we did use the Pro35, so that could be what you're seeing.

Thanks for pointing out that it's out on DVD. It's on my Netflix list now.

 

Aha, so you used the Pro35? That may be why it looks soft. But for DVD it?s actually very pleasing, very filmic. Did you see it on the big screen? Did it look too soft?

Was the Pro35 used for all the shoot, even for the landscape/panorama shots? How about lenses? Was it shot with Zeiss Super Speeds?

Really nice job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe "Borat" was shot on the Varicam, with some consumer DV (obviously) mixed in.

Yes, rented from Abel. Perhaps not the most shining example of cinematic technique, but certainly the most popular Varicam feature ever.

 

There is an excellent concert film entitled "Lighting in a Bottle," which documents a tremendous Blues concert held at Radio City Music Hall a couple of years ago that was shot with I believe eleven Varicams with some additional backstage footage shot on DVX100s. ll put together through Abel and I think the finished product looks pretty great. A terrific concert as well for anyone who enjoys the Blues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aha, so you used the Pro35? That may be why it looks soft. But for DVD it?s actually very pleasing, very filmic. Did you see it on the big screen? Did it look too soft?

Was the Pro35 used for all the shoot, even for the landscape/panorama shots? How about lenses? Was it shot with Zeiss Super Speeds?

Really nice job.

No, I didn't see it on the big screen.

The Pro35 was used throughout as far as I know and we used Super Speeds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact of the matter is that 1080p is not real high definition because it only resolves 30 frames per second. 720p is the only true high definition format because it resolves the full 60 frames per second. 24p simply is not high definition and it never will be high definition because it cannot resolve fast motion. Film buffs may love 24p but it cannot be called high definition. Of course this is from a strictly engineering point of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What on earth are you drivelling on about?

 

Phil

 

He's confusing "temporal resolution" with pixel resolution.

 

I wouldn't worry because 60P is not going to catch on for narrative fiction work, not for a long time. It has the same motion characteristics as 60i (60 motion samples per second). Not very popular with filmmakers.

 

Truth is that most 720P work is shot at 24P -- it's only recorded to 60P with redundant frames. On the set of "Big Love" some HBO EPK people were there with Varicams and I asked them what rate they were shooting at -- "24P" they said.

 

Shooting motion at 60P/720 and 60i/1080 will be reserved for live sporting events, etc. I doubt that narrative work will switch over to it for the smoother motion, even though it may be interesting for an action movie. Our brains associate the lower, strobier 24P-to-30P range with "movies" and higher, smoother rates with "video".

 

720P is only about a 1MP frame, versus 1080P which is more like a 2MP frame -- twice the pixel resolution.

 

Besides, 60P will probably soon be an option for some 1080 cameras.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
720P is only about a 1MP frame, versus 1080P which is more like a 2MP frame -- twice the pixel resolution.

 

 

 

Sort of. If you are making this statment based on CCD imager alone it sounds good, but it's the chain of how that image is processed and recorded that decides what it ends up being to your eye, so in the big picture, it is incorrect to say that one seems to be twice the other. There is one phrase that one must always rememeber with HD and that is that "everything is relative". That phrase is what should be used with the previous poster who spouted off all sorts of claims about what "real" HD is. To any qualified engineer, his statments would have no right or wrong because HD is all about being relative. As for the 1MP to 2MP thought, If it really was a 2 to 1 ratio, you'd see it clearly, but it is not, hence why you don't. Like anything involved with video, there are always ways around having to make a strait path. It's one reason why we don't have to record full color, we don't need to as our eye can do with only limited amounts of color compared to contrast.. Contrast is one of hte tricks that helps make you think a picture is higher in definition. Hense why just by themselves, todays LCDS and plasmas seem better, they are higher in contrast which is about 67% of what makes you think a picture looks sharper. And with designing cameras there are always ways around a strait path too including convincing you that something is sharper. One way is to start with as much info as you can, process it and end up with a fair amount of what you started with. The other is to start out with less but end up closer to what you started with. Of course the third is to do nothing to the picture and end up with everything, then you can decide what to do with it later. Sony choose the first path starting out with a more robust target area and processing it in a way that gives you a percentage of what you started with. Part of that is based on the recording system that was modified to become what is now HDCAM. Panasonic started out with a target that didn't "see" as well but with a much more efficient path through DSP to format giving you closer to what they started with. So while Sony has better spacial information, it's more motion that movies are made of so when you take what both manufatuers did and look at the results, they are more closer than more different because of the methods they used to make the signal what it ends up being on tape from imager through how it's processed to format. That's the great thing about video, you can do all sorts of things that make greater efficiency, while still offering a reasonable result. Pixel shift is an example of that. But in the end regardless, it's all relative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sort of. If you are making this statment based on CCD imager alone it sounds good, but it's the chain of how that image is processed and recorded that decides what it ends up being to your eye, so in the big picture, it is incorrect to say that one seems to be twice the other. There is one phrase that one must always rememeber with HD and that is that "everything is relative". That phrase is what should be used with the previous poster who spouted off all sorts of claims about what "real" HD is. To any qualified engineer, his statments would have no right or wrong because HD is all about being relative. As for the 1MP to 2MP thought, If it really was a 2 to 1 ratio, you'd see it clearly, but it is not, hence why you don't.

 

Sure, I understand that real world issues narrow this gap, but Thomas was arguing for the "superior" resolution of 60P/720 over 24P/1080.

 

I'm not saying that 720P isn't "real" high definition or that it only looks half as good as 1080P, just that simply running a 720P camera at 60P doesn't mean it is a much higher definition camera than 1080P running at 24P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • G-Force Grips



    Glidecam



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Paralinx LLC



    Wooden Camera



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Tai Audio



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Ritter Battery



    Just Cinema Gear



    Visual Products



    FJS International



    CineLab



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Metropolis Post



    Abel Cine



    Serious Gear


×
×
  • Create New...