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Nicholas Jenkins

DigiBeta Cam Question (Doctor Who)

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Anything to do with the whole Panasonic/Sony thing?

 

Torchwood stopped using Varicam (except for slo-mo) after a couple of weeks of shooting, and switched to sony F750s. There were issues with the Varicam. So, all of the series was shot with Sonys.

 

As to the smearing, I don't know. To be honest, I haven't noticed it.

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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?

 

They were British till the most recent film adaptation of 'Lord of the Flies' turned them American.

 

I love how the Yanks rewrite the rest of the worlds literature, that really warms me up during the holidays! ;)

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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.

 

 

That sounds like an apology of some sort for somebody being behind the times by shooting digital beta. There were video cameras being made in the early to mid 90's that still run rings around some newer cameras that now are relying on video compression to achieve what appears to be a better "look". Somebody once told me that digital betacam, and even betacam sp, when viewed in component format directly to a decent television monitor just looks spectacular.

 

The biggest change in the last 10 years, besides the advent of HD, is how far prices have dropped. One can spend a lot lot less than 10 years ago and get pretty darn good quality, but people assume the quality has jumped in some type of inverse relationship to the dropping of cost. If one can get nearly equal quality in a $10,000 dollar camera as to a $50,000 dollar camera from 10 years, that is a huge advance in technological breakthroughs whether or not the newer camera is actually better in quality.

 

That blurring and smearing that is visible when watching the television show may happen in the broadcast stage during the various compression schemes the video is put through. The older formats such as Digi beta and betacam sp, and 35mm have less "tricks" up their sleeve in their orgination format so they are easier to move forward with, however, they still can be end up being smeary if there is too much compression later on the broadcast chain.

 

Until uncompressed HD can actually be broadcast as uncompressed or nearly uncompressed there will be enough reasons to keep using good quality Digi betacam cameras. And finally, the industry needs to QUIT MAKING NEW HD FORMATS and just perfect the ones that already exist, AND THEN the shows still using existing technology may switch.

 

Look at what happened with the betacam sp and digital betacam formats, Betacam SX came out, but I don't think it made a big splash nor took that much business away from the existing Betacam formats.

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They were British till the most recent film adaptation of 'Lord of the Flies' turned them American.

 

I love how the Yanks rewrite the rest of the worlds literature, that really warms me up during the holidays! ;)

 

There's an americanized version of the book?

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That blurring and smearing that is visible when watching the television show may happen in the broadcast stage during the various compression schemes the video is put through.

 

So why is Torchwood the only production that suffers from it? The only other similar effect that I have seen is when something is shot interlaced and then deinterlaced using a blend fields option. That, and having the shutter switch on the camera off when shooting progressive scan.

 

The blurring won't be caused by the compression in the broadcast, otherwise all progressive output from the BBC would suffer, which it doesn't.

 

Torchwood is supposed to be one of their flagship programmes, so the fact that this artefact exists is incredibly sloppy on their part.

 

In earlier parts of the series there were shots that looked correct, and it was mainly the shots inside Torchwood HQ that had the smearing problem.

 

I know Stuart worked on the programme, but I have come across even experienced BBC guys that don't know that you should enable a 1/50th shutter manually when shooting with a camera in progressive scan. I constantly find it incredible how much mystique there is out there shooting progressive even amongst supposedly incredibly experienced people.

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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...

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...

 

Wow, just halves it then. That should be much easier. All of the pull downs that I've used here (which aren't many) are nearly worthless. The in camera pull downs that the DVX100 and the XL2 do are pretty good but still not quite the quality that I'm looking for.

 

I think the main thing is I want a GOOD job when I'm done here. Teaching would be great, but I'd like to work in the field for a couple years if possible before I do that. Doctor Who would be fun because it's a show I watch. Pretty much all tv is pretty relentless from what I've heard. Had a friend who shot for the Wire and said something very similar about it.

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Hi,

 

I love the way you think you're just going to drop in and work on Doctor Who for a while as a fill-in job between engagements! Crap and dismal as it is, it's about the best we have in the UK and it'd be a career-making advancement for most people. And you're just going to try out on it! As freaking if.

 

Phil

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Look at what happened with the betacam sp and digital betacam formats, Betacam SX came out, but I don't think it made a big splash nor took that much business away from the existing Betacam formats.

 

Beta SX is actually an ENG format, specifically designed for news gathering in mind. Used in tandem with the NLEs developed for it, it allowed 4xSpeed Capture and Output, a real advantage in a news enviroment. It also allowed for much easier backward capabilities with Beta SP, meaning broadcasters didnt neccesarily have to completely replace their infrastucture. In australia up until this year it was used by all but one of the major broadcasters(the seven network, who use a mixture of DVCPro and DVCPro 50) for their news production.

Edited by Matthew Parnell

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Hi,

 

I love the way you think you're just going to drop in and work on Doctor Who for a while as a fill-in job between engagements! Crap and dismal as it is, it's about the best we have in the UK and it'd be a career-making advancement for most people. And you're just going to try out on it! As freaking if.

 

Phil

 

Dude. Bitter? I think you'll notice I said "Dream" earlier. Is that the general attitude around here "You have no chance so don't try!"? Jeez. A howdy do to you too.

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Phil Rhodes, you're really mean, go home and die! :angry:

 

I say you try it, sure it'll be a hard one, just show 'em what you can do and keep trying, march in there with a gun if you have to.

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Phil Rhodes, you're really mean, go home and die! :angry:

 

I say you try it, sure it'll be a hard one, just show 'em what you can do and keep trying, march in there with a gun if you have to.

 

Thanks. Luckily I don't own a gun, :P We'll see I'll be applying everywhere for both RW Experience and teaching positions, so who knows what will happen. But it's one of those little goals of mine.

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The world is mean. I merely report the world. Don't shoot the messenger.

 

Phil

 

We all know about the world, Phil. This forum is a bit of a relax-zone for everyone, don't crap it up.

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