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Ivan Lebedev

Canon for theatrical release

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Hello Guy's, I've finished Moscow film school not so long time ago and going to start my first full length feature... Producers want to make it with photo camera (mark2 or mark4) and then put it on film for theatrical release... (It's ok) But director wants to have some slow motion shots there... and i assume that because of the resolution (50 fps - 1280*720), sharpness and grain there will be a difference between normal speed and high ( on mac it's ok but on big screen i guess not) So the question is: should i say them firmly that we can't do this or we can??

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Yes you can but it is like going onto a race track with a F1 car or a Ford Fiesta. 35mm being the F1 car and the Canon 5D MKII a Ford Fiesta. You must expect the results to be miles apart in all senses. Have you considered something in the middle? Possibly getting a quote on a RED camera? But again, if the budget is tight and you have to go with the 5D, please ensure you spend the money in a really good DP that is willing to be flexible and work with that camera. He is the one person in your crew that will get the best out of that camera and will inspire everyone around him. And trust me, if what you shoot is good nobody will care what you shot it on (audiences I mean)

Edited by Sam Martin

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I know that RED and others are good, but it's going to be shot on Majorca island with a tiny crew (feature but in documentary style:) and budget is really not so big... But i would like to try to realise at least is it going to be very bad or not so Or maybe anybody knows some place on island where it's possible to rent smth. more appropriate???

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So the question is: should i say them firmly that we can't do this or we can??

The only way to know for sure is to shoot a test and do a filmout. If there's no budget for a test, then I would tell them no. It's your responsibility as the DP to ensure the image quality of the film - who do you think the producers are going to blame if you shoot with the 5D without a test and the filmout looks bad? You've got to protect yourself when you're playing with other people's money, IMHO.

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i do not

test film from 5D to theater copy are made everyday and they look great.

recomending not to follow a new route because you didn't research enougth is also unprofessional for a DP.

if you don't have money you need to work more than just follow the safe and expensive way.

and to me red look like crap on the big screen.

give me one good exemple for the image a film shot in red and i'll change my mind

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This is the first time I've head someone say that the 5D looks better than a RED on a big screen. RED have had their problems and lots of new builds before maturing the One, but DSLR HD video currently does have it's limitations.

 

It looks like the new RED M X sensor should overcome most people's quibbles regarding the RED One images, the reports from hard nosed people that attended Saturday's RED Day in LA were very positive.

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i do not

test film from 5D to theater copy are made everyday and they look great.

recomending not to follow a new route because you didn't research enougth is also unprofessional for a DP.

Just in case I wasn't clear, I said that he should do a test first before committing to any camera/workflow that he's never used before. That is proper research IMHO; just asking whether it's ok on an internet forum is not enough.

 

Has a filmout from the 5D/7D/1D been done before, yes. But, the OP was asking very specific questions about whether overcranking and going down to 720P was "acceptable" for the big screen in terms of whether the noise and sharpness will match the 1080 footage. At that point, no one can tell him with any certainty because that is a very subjective opinion. Some DPs will say yes, others will say no.

 

Along the same lines, is it ok to push 5219 two stops and intercut it with process normal 5219? Again, some will say yes, others will say no. Neither is right or wrong, so long as each knows what results they will get beforehand. If they're just guessing and hoping, then they're both wrong.

 

That's why the OP needs to do his own test and make up his own mind after seeing the footage. If the producers won't or can't pay to do a filmout test, then it's my opinion that he should take a safe established route that he is familiar with instead of using the feature he's shooting as the test. That would probably be an ok approach on a music video, but on a feature? C'mon!

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I'd test out an EX1 or 3 for the slo mo. its a cheaper bet and would probably cut better than changing the quality on the 5D itself. I'd also agree that a test is necessary, as it would be for inter cutting any 2 different technologies on a big screen. Saying no to a project that wouldn't allow you to test for unknowns like this but would blame you if the images came out not as expected by the producers is not unprofessional.

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One major question is going to involve WHERE the overcranked shots come into the story. You can probably match the look of the footage outdoors on a sunny day by switching to a different camera fairly easy compared to what is possible when you are working at the edge of what 5dmk2 and 7D are capable of doing in low light.

 

Don't forget there are simple tricks to make things APPEAR overcranked too - tighten up the shutter angle and have the actors move slow, then speed up the action in post if you want.... get creative.

 

Working out your ENTIRE post production workflow is going to be essential to the production - there are issues regarding color space, frame rates, storage, backups, syncing sound and motion footage etc that are all budget related. KNowing who will do the blow up in advance and getting them fully on board is essential from the start.

 

I have seen footage from the canon 5D mk2 transferred to 35mm and projected on a big screen. Some of it looks great, other parts are still frustratingly cheap looking but I can tell you that the worst aliasing does get smoothed out slightly in the process. Preserving the dynamic range and keeping the blacks from being crushed is something you need to fully understand and test in order to get the full results from the camera.

 

FOCUS is your main challenge when the footage is blown up to a large screen. The monitors on board the camera, ANY monitors you chose to rent/buy/ employ are unable to show you the critical focus you need to see when recording, and the cameras are capable of so much more shallow DOF than you can judge... so be aware that you are not going to see if your movie is acceptably in focus until the blow-up is done. You are asking your 1st AC to do an impossible task, essentially - to keep the motion picture in focus at all times without ever having his choices and work reviewed by anyone along the way. If a big part of why you like the look of the vDSLRs is the shallow DOF look, keep in mind you get one look on a tiny computer screen and quite another on a cinema screen.

 

Also, the ability to have multiple monitors running for both the operator and the director to view is a huge challenge with these vDSLRs. Unless you have researched, tested and seen with your own eyes the difficulty involved you don't yet know what you are up against. I won't say it is impossible, but it is certainly difficult. HDMI is a bad system for running multiple monitors form. Is your director willing to trade off the ability to see his own monitor a lot of the time for the look he will get with these vDSLRs? Make sure he understands the limitations.

 

Yes, the canon vDSLRs show a lot of promise - but no, they are not built for this type of work and if you are mounting a production as large as you have to in order to make a feature length film you are wise to consider other options. Working with these cameras requires a different style of shooting to get the most advantages while avoiding the pitfalls. A fiction film that is scripted leaves many of these advantages unused... such as the stealth factor, for example.

 

Another difficult thing to realize until you do a test is how little you will want to hand hold these cameras without some serious efforts made towards stabilizing the image. When you see "shakey cam" on YouTube it is a lot less distracting than it becomes at ten meters tall....

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test film from 5D to theater copy are made everyday and they look great.

 

...really? is that true? I'd like a few references on that point. I'd like it to be true, but it's not what i hear. Even Jean in this thread says yes and no..

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as a filmout from the 5D/7D/1D been done before, yes. But, the OP was asking very specific questions about whether overcranking and going down to 720P was "acceptable" for the big screen in terms of whether the noise and sharpness will match the 1080 footage. At that point, no one can tell him with any certainty because that is a very subjective opinion. Some DPs will say yes, others will say no.

 

I can easily tell the difference between ABC/Disney's live 720P HD and CBS and NBC's live 1080i on my 58" Samsung plasma. The ABC footage just doesn't have the sharpness of CBS and NBC's.

 

I making the above judgment from off-the-air, no satellite or cable service's compression and/or bandwidth limiting between me and the image.

 

PS: The "City of Lakes" clips in the large screen Canon HD Theatre at NAB were jawdroppingly beautiful, I don't think that footage would suffer a 35mm filmout in the least.

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Film has very limited monitoring possibilities - you can see the frame but you cannot see the image recorded so exposure is not a certainty. However, its massive lattitude more than makes up for that, which is why it is the gold standard of production.

 

Digital usually has much more limited latitude, however, since you can see exactly what you're getting this largely compensates for the limited latitude.

 

The HDSLR's currently have limited latitude and limited monitoring. Sure you can check focus and exposure before you start rolling, but not during the shot, and isn't that the important stuff? What if you pan, or the subject moves?

 

It's hard to recover footage that isn't shot with the correct exposure or color temperature (Shane Hurlbut's blog on color correction wth the 5d), and the limited monitoring options mean that it can be tricky to set those.

 

It is certainly possible to create beautiful footage, but the cost is time. Ideally you need to play it back, preferably after it's downloaded, so you can see it at full rez to perfectly judge focus and exposure. This is time consuming.

 

My experience up to now is that these cameras are not suitable for fast paced production unless you're willing to accept a certain amount of 'lost' footage (to artifacts, image skew and missed focus and exposure) - however, they used them to shoot the season finale of House, so I could be wrong - I'm looking forward to seeing it.

 

When you do your test I would not only test the quality of the film out, but also the entire build of the camera in various configurations and how you will work with it on the day. Make sure you are comfortable physically working with the camera as well as with the footage. Read Shane's blog, he talks very openly about the mistakes he made and ways he found to overcome them and make the camera production ready.

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I am actually mildly shocked and surprised that Ivan, being in Russia, is not considering using the Kinor HD cameras. I have not used any of these cams, and therefore have no clue if there are any post pitfalls to this technology, but it is impressive on paper:

 

http://www.kinor.ru/en/products/camera/dchs/

 

http://www.kinor.ru/en/products/flashdvr/

 

Otherwise, I am with Satsuki: Test, test, test!

 

I was hoping not to have to point Russians to technology developed in their own country. ;)

Edited by Saul Rodgar

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I can easily tell the difference between ABC/Disney's live 720P HD and CBS and NBC's live 1080i on my 58" Samsung plasma. The ABC footage just doesn't have the sharpness of CBS and NBC's.

 

The difference is that you're watching on a 1080i display. The 1080i stuff runs straight, the 720p has to go through a downconversion to 540 lines in the TV set. On a native 720p display, it cuts the other way.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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The difference is that you're watching on a 1080i display. The 1080i stuff runs straight, the 720p has to go through a downconversion to 540 lines in the TV set. On a native 720p display, it cuts the other way.

Hi John,

Could you point me at a reference for this information? I know that your day job is why you know this sort of fact but I'd like to research the subject a bit.

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Take it easy guys, we are shooting with SI-2K now... B) And i am completely agree with Jean Dodge it's totally not suitable for large production, there is a huge difference between tiny onboard monitor and real cine screen, be sure i've seen it!!! All this magic about shallow DOF and so on is gone, you can see only harsh picture with lack of saturation and other stuff...

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