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Frank Barrera

The transition continues...

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Something to keep in mind is that digital camera manufacturers are employing every PR trick in the book to hype their product.

 

If a movie or show uses a digital camera to film something on a TV screen, the PR release will make it look like the whole show/movie was shot with that one camera.

 

This year has been a sad, sad year in the history of network television with the quality of cinematography taking a big nose dive in my opinion.

 

There are DPs on this board opining that the Genesis is better than film and it's ludicrous. I understand that they think they're helping their future job prospects by saying publicly that their bosses are far-seeing geniuses (or perhaps they're just in denial ;) ) but really...

 

I found this board trying to figure out why Law and Order: CI looks so bad this year, to the point where I lost most of my enjoyment of the show. I'm still not sure if it's because it's really well-shot Genesis images or really awful film (shot by the same DP).

 

CSI Miami is now looking like a soap opera and the difference is night and day.

 

One of the few shows that don't disappoint is The Mentalist that is shot on film and looks entirely magical (which I guess is appropriate! ;) )

 

I guess we're lucky it started shooting before the networks went after SAG by downgrading their shows to video.

 

That's what happened for the most part. The Digital manufacturers and their Amen Corner in the press will tell you that shows are shooting on video because it's cheaper and there's no difference in quality, but the difference is quite huge (at least assuming you bothered to hire a good DP!)

 

That said, the Genesis is, for my money, the least bad of the video systems. It is leaps and bounds better than the pallid RED and is the only digital system that can provide images that won't make you run away screaming from your screen if you enjoy good cinematography.

 

That said, it's still not up to snuff if you care about quality images (which I realize most executives couldn't care less about - hence the continual pressure to shoot on the latest "hip" camera they read about in the trades).

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That said, the Genesis is, for my money, the least bad of the video systems.

 

Have you looked at the very similar Sony F-35 or the new Arri Alexa?

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I'm not sure if the Genesis (or the nearly identical F35) is the only viable option for digital cinematography, well experienced DPs who know the limits of their equipment can create nice, somehow "cinematic" images even from 2/3"-HD-cams. But that's not the point, they make lots of money with the big TV-productions and I think given all the effort put into writing, production design and cinematography of these shows the cinematographers have to be able to use proper equipment. I repeat myself: I don't see any point in shooting a >>1Mio$-episode with anything less than 35mm. Does anybody really thinks that any of these shows can only survive with cost-cuttings enabled by digital aquisition or any cent saved ever reaches any artist? "House" or "Castle" looks much better and "cinematic" than all Genesis/D-21/RED-shot series I'm aware of. I only see "House" in PAL-resolution, but the moment I see a contrasty scene of Mr. Lauries' unshaved face with crispness, smooth rendition, perfect skin-tones and depth I know that it's still 35mm - not HD. Once I told my family what they have to pay attention to, even they noticed the difference easily! The very popular German TV-seres "Tatort" once switched to Betacam (or Digibeta?) and audience members (many of them are >50 years old women who have no clue about cinematography!) complained about it so they had to switch back to S16. They tried to switch to RED (for no obvious reason) recently but they had to stop their plans because the workflow was too complicated... Makes me wonder who pushes digital again and again and again... Is it really the artists?

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On the upside, there isn't any UK stuff being shot on 35 to go to video anyway.

 

Wait, hang on, that's not an upside.

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Law and Order is Genesis, Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent are F35. House is also being shot on the Canon 5dM2. The F35 and the Genesis are really different cameras as well. The Genesis has Panalog, the colors are not manipulative, the native ASA is 400 while the F35 has more HD-SDI outs on the camera, has a completely customizable paintbox (which is a positive and a negative), has a more complex locking mechanism for the deck, can ramp has a native ASA of 500, its weighs slightly less (although when outfitted with the 19mm rods that evens out with the 17mm PV rods). The only show in NY still being shot on 35 is 30 Rock I believe.

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The only show in NY still being shot on 35 is 30 Rock I believe.

 

 

Mmmm...No, that's wrong. 'FRINGE' shoots in Queens on a regular basis. 'How To Make It In America' is also 35mm and shot in NYC. There are new shows still coming down the pipline that are scheduled to be shot on film. Have alot of shows switched? Yes. Will they all? Doubt it.

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House is also being shot on the Canon 5dM2.

 

Wasn't that more a one-episode stunt, not a permanent change? We use 5D2's here and there, but for special shots, never as the full time "A" camera.

 

Genesis and F-35 use the same chip, and therefore the same vertical stripe color array pattern. The rest is different.

 

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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Mmmm...No, that's wrong. 'FRINGE' shoots in Queens on a regular basis. 'How To Make It In America' is also 35mm and shot in NYC. There are new shows still coming down the pipline that are scheduled to be shot on film. Have alot of shows switched? Yes. Will they all? Doubt it.

 

Fringe for the most part moved to Toronto as of this season. Boardwalk Empire, on the other hand, also shot on film for the most part(although my friend said they're also using the EPIC for some stuff).

Edited by Rob Vogt

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In fact, excuse me while I belt down some hard liquor to deal with that extra bit of bad news for the day.

 

 

 

 

Dear God, this has got to be the funniest thing I've ever seen you post Karl! I'm literally crying laughing right now. I hope your having a better day, if it helps you just made mine! :lol:

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Joe, glad you were amused, but that was one of those jokes that was so funny, it was true. :mellow:

 

 

I'm kind of embarassed how hard I cut into Frank and Satsuke almost a year ago. At the time I was working long hours for a job that was exploiting me for labor and utility money, so I apologize for the harshness of my words then.

 

So, hey, guys, hope you've gotten past what I said. I had no idea I came off on you that hard.

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Most shows shoot 32,000 in the first 3 days!

 

The average drama today exposes about 10,000 feet a day for 8 days. Many episodes will hit 100,000 feet or more. That's what happens when you have two cameras rolling on almost every setup, and, shall we say, slightly less experienced directors than we used to have.

 

I do recall the days when we used to shoot for 7 days, expose about 40,000 feet total, and print about 2/3 of that. And that was on 4 perf. And we seemed to get just as much coverage as we often do today. Funny how that works...

 

I once cut an episode of a reality show that had a 120 to 1 shooting ratio. Most directors would benefit greatly from some time spent in the edit seat.

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Joe, glad you were amused, but that was one of those jokes that was so funny, it was true. :mellow:

 

 

I'm kind of embarassed how hard I cut into Frank and Satsuke almost a year ago. At the time I was working long hours for a job that was exploiting me for labor and utility money, so I apologize for the harshness of my words then.

 

So, hey, guys, hope you've gotten past what I said. I had no idea I came off on you that hard.

 

Karl,

 

I just want to say that I really appreciate and respect you for this very stand-up post.

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