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Nicholas Jenkins

DigiBeta Cam Question (Doctor Who)

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Hello all, new to the site so this may be a repeat. Used the search engine and still haven't worked the kinks out. But I have a question.

 

To those of you who have watched the new Doctor Who series on the BBC or Sci-Fi, it has a brilliant look to it. It's shot on a DigiBeta Cam. What I want to know is, are there DigiBeta Cams that shoot at 24p or is this some type of post production effect their throwing on it? I know this may be something that you may not know unless you're on the set with them, but speculation is fine.

 

I'm using the DVX 100 and XL2, both shooting 24p, but of course not native and I'm REALLY impressed with what their doing with the DigiBeta Cams.

 

Thanks guys and gals :D

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I believe the latest series has been shot HD using Varicams.

 

The previous series was shot on DigiBeta. You can shoot progressive frames (25p) on DigiBeta using the DVW 970, but it wasn't used on Dr Who.

Edited by Brian Drysdale

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I believe the latest series has been shot HD using Varicams.

 

The previous series was shot on DigiBeta. You can shoot progressive frames (25p) on DigiBeta using the DVW 970, but it wasn't used on Dr Who.

 

Interesting. It's credited on imdb as using DigiBeta. Also read an article saying producers rejected HD... if it was shot on HD that would make allot of sense, but it just doesn't seem to jive with what I've read.

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The Christopher Eccleston Dr Who shows, were de-interlaced Digi-Beta (dvw-790) and the more recent season is HD

 

Ah. That would make sense as there were scenes late in the 1st season that looked "video". Haven't seen that in the 2nd season. Thanks.

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Hi,

 

Can't see why you're chasing it anyway - seems to suffer from having been lit from the BBC Book Of Lighting 1967 Edition, wherein it is written:

 

87c: v) Science fiction will be lit with bright party colours regardless of tone or content. Everyone will wear tinfoil.

 

Phil

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Hi,

 

Can't see why you're chasing it anyway - seems to suffer from having been lit from the BBC Book Of Lighting 1967 Edition, wherein it is written:

 

87c: v) Science fiction will be lit with bright party colours regardless of tone or content. Everyone will wear tinfoil.

 

Phil

 

I quite like it actually. I think it works well for the show. It feels allot like Farscape in allot of ways (though I think the work on Farscape was some of the best lighting and shooting on television).

 

And there's nobody wearing tinfoil except the Cybermen :P

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hi,

 

hate to be a pain but i think "Doctor Who" has a horrible look, the higlights are always (i guess on porpouse) blown out and the skintones have such an awful color...the Scottish series "Low Winter Sun" was shot in HD as well and has a great look.

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Dr Who is shot on Digibeta at 50i, using Digital Primo zooms. Some sort of deinterlacing and a 'film look' is done in post.

 

It's only Torchwood that has so far made the move to HD

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Dr Who is shot on Digibeta at 50i, using Digital Primo zooms. Some sort of deinterlacing and a 'film look' is done in post.

 

It's only Torchwood that has so far made the move to HD

 

Just checked with a friend who's going to be doing post production on Dr Who. They're still shooting this on DigiBeta. "Torchwood" has been shot on HD, originally on Varicam then HDCam. I knew there was much discussion and also testing of HD for Dr Who, especially for north American sales, hence my confusion.

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Dr Who looks loads better than "Torchwood". John Holland ,London.

 

One reason Torchwood looks so awful is because the fools left the shutter turned off, so it has that horrible smeary videoey look. Hopefully they'll correct that issue with the next series.

 

Looking at the recent Christmas edition of Dr Who, it looked a bit more like it was HD. Certainly looked slightly different to the last series.

 

Although there are some instances where they really should use film. Whoever convinced the BBC that shooting Robin Hood in bright patchy sunlit forests with a video camera should be strung up. Whenever the scenes were moved to the forest it looked like bad video. Compounded by the fact that the script was awful, the actors were awful, the costumes looked like they came from the local fancy dress store, the action was also rubbish, and the grandeur of the orchestrated musical score came across as if it had been overlayed onto someone's home video due to the whole shoddiness of the programme as a whole. Hopefully thats one series that won't be coming back.

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One reason Torchwood looks so awful is because the fools left the shutter turned off, so it has that horrible smeary videoey look.

 

I can say with a very high degree of certainty that this is not true.

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One reason Torchwood looks so awful is because the fools left the shutter turned off, so it has that horrible smeary videoey look. Hopefully they'll correct that issue with the next series.

 

Looking at the recent Christmas edition of Dr Who, it looked a bit more like it was HD. Certainly looked slightly different to the last series.

 

Although there are some instances where they really should use film. Whoever convinced the BBC that shooting Robin Hood in bright patchy sunlit forests with a video camera should be strung up.

Hi,

 

Can't see why you're chasing it anyway - seems to suffer from having been lit from the BBC Book Of Lighting 1967 Edition, wherein it is written:

87c: v) Science fiction will be lit with bright party colours regardless of tone or content. Everyone will wear tinfoil.

Phil

Dr Who looks loads better than "Torchwood". John Holland ,London.

 

http://www.cinematography.com/forum2004/in...showtopic=18049

 

I love how the Brits support each other. It really warms me up during the holidays. Weren't the kids in "Lord of the Flies" British?

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Ok Stuart i belive you , so why does it look so awful anytime there is a pan , a tracking shot or someone walking past the camera , its really bad! not an expert but makes me think this is not a good for HD camera , which ever one was used . John Holland , London.

 

Sorry crap typist , so should read , not a good advert for HD cameras . John Holland , London.

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It was shot on F750s except for the slo-mo stuff which is Varicam. I can tell you for sure the smearing wasn't there on set. I don't know much about the post production - it's possible that there is some BBC post process that has caused it.

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Thanks Stuart , well the Beeb need a serious kick up the arse, didnt they say will not shoot or broadcast anything shot in S16, seem they dont watch their own output . John Holland .

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hi,

 

hate to be a pain but i think "Doctor Who" has a horrible look, the higlights are always (i guess on porpouse) blown out and the skintones have such an awful color...the Scottish series "Low Winter Sun" was shot in HD as well and has a great look.

 

Not a pain, just personal preference. I like the look. It doesn't work for everything, but I think it's a good look that is kept consistent throughout the show.

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Thanks Stuart , well the Beeb need a serious kick up the arse, didnt they say will not shoot or broadcast anything shot in S16, seem they dont watch their own output . John Holland .

 

The weird thing is that Dr Who, which still shoots on Digi, uses s16 for it's slo-mo...

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I can say with a very high degree of certainty that this is not true.

 

 

i remember vividly i saw your name as "camera operator" in a Doctor Who behind the scenes documentary, therefore i guess you know a lot about the show. Any thoughts on why they dont shoot HD?

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i remember vividly i saw your name as "camera operator" in a Doctor Who behind the scenes documentary, therefore i guess you know a lot about the show. Any thoughts on why they dont shoot HD?

 

I used to shoot some of their 'behind the scenes' footage - that's how I eventually ended up operating on both Dr Who & Torchwood.

 

I'm afraid that I can't shed much light on their choice of format, except that I believe Ernie Vinzce prefers Digi-Beta to HD. Also, the BBC is a large corporation, and like most large companies it doesn't respond quickly to change. Dr Who is a huge cash cow for them, and they wouldn't want to jeopardise that. Torchwood went HD, probably to ease overseas sales, and to establish that it could be done. Now that it has, I wouldn't be surprised to see Dr Who change over, but it won't for season 3, because they're shooting Digi for that.

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I used to shoot some of their 'behind the scenes' footage - that's how I eventually ended up operating on both Dr Who & Torchwood.

 

I'm afraid that I can't shed much light on their choice of format, except that I believe Ernie Vinzce prefers Digi-Beta to HD. Also, the BBC is a large corporation, and like most large companies it doesn't respond quickly to change. Dr Who is a huge cash cow for them, and they wouldn't want to jeopardise that. Torchwood went HD, probably to ease overseas sales, and to establish that it could be done. Now that it has, I wouldn't be surprised to see Dr Who change over, but it won't for season 3, because they're shooting Digi for that.

 

Stuart,

 

Thanks for the helpful info :) It's a dream of mine to head to England to work on Doctor Who at some point. Pipe dream maybe, but once I finish up with my MFA I'll be applying everywhere.

 

The article that I read said that the production team had refined their practices with DigiBeta so well that they didn't want to throw a wrench into the system that was working so well for them. I can understand that.

 

My main question came from the fact that I've got people all over telling me that it doesn't make any difference to shoot your films at 24p because the average viewer can't tell the difference, or at the very least you can to a pull down in post. In reaction to the first statement, I shoot all of my work with the DVX or the XL2 which both use their own pull downs and are quite good. At the end of the semsester, one of the main comments I get is "how did you make it look so professional". I'd say it's 50% 24p and 50% lighting. The other statement (post pull down) is that I haven't seen a good pull down for post yet. What they're doing on Doctor Who looks fantastic if it's a post pull down. But since I'm in the states, I'm dealing with changing from 30i to 24p. I have yet to work with any PAL stuff so I can't be sure how different it looks raw.

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Stuart,

 

Thanks for the helpful info :) It's a dream of mine to head to England to work on Doctor Who at some point.

 

Be careful what you wish for - the pace on Dr Who is relentless. I've done dailies on it, God knows how the regular crew manage...

 

What they're doing on Doctor Who looks fantastic if it's a post pull down. But since I'm in the states, I'm dealing with changing from 30i to 24p. I have yet to work with any PAL stuff so I can't be sure how different it looks raw.

 

It's a lot simpler with PAL - 50i to 25p. As long as your software is good at Deinterlacing or field merging or whatever it's called these days...

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Any chance you can find out what the hell happened then? I can't think of any other way that awful look could have happened unless they purposefully added a motion blur filter. And that would seem a very odd thing to do. HD production at the BBC is quite entrenched with many newer dramas shooting on it. So I would have thought that it wouldn't be a problem.

 

Anything to do with the whole Panasonic/Sony thing?

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