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David Mullen ASC

Recent testing of the new M-X sensor

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Why more visible on some lights than others - no idea. I only know that when I first saw this on the RED, I thoroughly checked into it and was able to prove to myself and others that it was indeed a lens effect that we were seeing. As for other cameras and other sensors - never really checked into it.

 

Graeme

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Mysterium X vs. Mysterium RED shoot out – the results

 

We posted some tests comparing the RED M v. MX chips. We own two RED cameras, and held one of our cameras back and so we could do some comparative tests between the two sensors. Our tests are informal (no charts) and include several scenes of the M v MX shooting the same scenes. You can see the clips and some stills on our website site. http://www.shootwithred.com

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Mysterium X vs. Mysterium RED shoot out – the results

 

We posted some tests comparing the RED M v. MX chips. We own two RED cameras, and held one of our cameras back and so we could do some comparative tests between the two sensors. Our tests are informal (no charts) and include several scenes of the M v MX shooting the same scenes. You can see the clips and some stills on our website site. http://www.shootwithred.com

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Mysterium X vs. Mysterium RED shoot out – the results

 

We posted some tests comparing the RED M v. MX chips. We own two RED cameras, and held one of our cameras back and so we could do some comparative tests between the two sensors. Our tests are informal (no charts) and include several scenes of the M v MX shooting the same scenes. You can see the clips and some stills on our website site. http://www.shootwithred.com

 

"All of cameras now upgraded with Mysterium X sensor. NOW" Is that film speak for "All your base are belong to us?" :P

Edited by Saul Rodgar

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Mysterium X vs. Mysterium RED shoot out – the results

 

We posted some tests comparing the RED M v. MX chips. We own two RED cameras, and held one of our cameras back and so we could do some comparative tests between the two sensors. Our tests are informal (no charts) and include several scenes of the M v MX shooting the same scenes. You can see the clips and some stills on our website site. http://www.shootwithred.com

 

Seriously now, thanks for posting. At minute 1:51 of the comparison video, where the gentleman is sitting at the table, the top image (MX) is set to 3200 ASA while the bottom one is set at 800 ASA. The top image (MX) exhibits some weird halation like artifact at the top, directly above the man's head. Any idea why this is?

 

Otherwise, the MX image grabs look much cleaner noise-wise at higher ASA values.

Edited by Saul Rodgar

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At minute 1:51 of the comparison video, where the gentleman is sitting at the table, the top image (MX) is set to 3200 ASA while the bottom one is set at 800 ASA. The top image (MX) exhibits some weird halation like artifact at the top, directly above the man's head.

 

I looked at in in 720p mode on an ordinary Gateway FPD1810 computer monitor at home. Obviously they've raised the black level in timing to show us what's happening in the bottom end. Under those circumstances, the lower noise of the MX perhaps lets us see the quantization banding better. But that's throughout, maybe a little more visible around 1:51. There's no big clearly exceptional artifact right at that time -- at least on my computer.

 

We're kidding ourselves looking at such tests in little postage stamp windows on computers. They need to be seen in front projection on a big screen, preferably 4K.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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Lower sensor noise doesn't lead to quantization banding in the actual R3D data itself, but low noise can lindeed ead to such artifacts in 8bit highly compressed web videos.

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As I understand it, noise tends to hide the banding. With low noise, you see nice clear lines, like a topographical map. Noise randomizes pixels near the boundary, obscuring it. When it's done on purpose, it's called dithering.

 

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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As I understand it, noise tends to hide the banding. With low noise, you see nice clear lines, like a topographical map. Noise randomizes pixels near the boundary, obscuring it. When it's done on purpose, it's called dithering.

-- J.S.

 

Noise will effectively dither the signal and thus when going down to 8bit video, you won't see any banding - unless the compression compresses the life out of the image removing the noise, and back the banding comes. 8bit video needs noise or dither to actually "work".

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Noise

 

So what's the SNR of the codec, Graeme?

 

Bearing in mind that JPEG-2... oh, sorry, I mean, wavelets in general can have an enormously high SNR while still looking like absolute poop?

 

P

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I looked at in in 720p mode on an ordinary Gateway FPD1810 computer monitor at home. Obviously they've raised the black level in timing to show us what's happening in the bottom end. Under those circumstances, the lower noise of the MX perhaps lets us see the quantization banding better. But that's throughout, maybe a little more visible around 1:51. There's no big clearly exceptional artifact right at that time -- at least on my computer.

 

We're kidding ourselves looking at such tests in little postage stamp windows on computers. They need to be seen in front projection on a big screen, preferably 4K.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

 

I can make the uncompressed TIFF images available if folks want to see them. That may clear some (pun intended) of this up. Let me know. B

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I finished the Fox TV pilot "Ride Along" last week, a 14-day shoot. We shot something like 60 hours of footage for a 42 minute pilot, 97% of it on the M-X Red One, a couple of shots on the Sony EX3, maybe one shot on a Canon T2i is in the final cut, and there was an opening car chase sequence where the 2nd unit portion was shot with Genesis cameras, just because another Fox pilot had just wrapped and we could use their cameras and crews to shoot this day of second unit work. It was easier than trying to find another three Red cameras for that day, in addition to our own package – plus I didn’t have to figure out how they were going to download their data during the day since they were on the other side of Chicago from the main unit.

 

The M-X Red One cameras performed very well overall, very few bugs or other problems, in all sorts of weather.

 

The best thing, of course, was using the new M-X sensor with the new color science – I believe it’s a major improvement, eliminating most of its weaknesses compared to other digital cameras and surpassing the competition in other areas. I was able to routinely rate the camera at 1000 ASA for most interiors; this was a godsend because most of the show was shot on 24-290mm Ang. Optimos mostly at the extreme telephoto end. We often didn’t even cut the camera after we shot the wide shot, we kept zooming in tighter and tighter until we were grabbing tight coverage at 290mm on two cameras as actors crisscrossed the rooms. So focus-pulling was near impossible and the only help I could give the focus-pullers was as much stop as possible, hence the 1000 ASA indoors. Outside in daytime, I stuck to 500 ASA, usually working at T/16 – and believe me, there is not much depth of field at T/16 when you’re in a close-up at 290mm; the background is still a complete blur, but at least you have some wiggle room for the actors to move, focus-wise. But night exteriors were often shot at 1600 ASA, wide-open at T/2.8, and focusing was a nightmare.

 

I’ve just started to grade the material at Encore in their D.I. theater, a real treat for a TV show, and the colorist is amazed at the low noise of the 1000 ASA footage, even at 3200K balance.

 

Because of the shooting style, a lot of this shoot involved available light whenever possible, and what lighting I could do had to work for most of the coverage; I rarely was allowed the time to relight a close-up totally, not when we had to average 50 to 60 set-ups a day. Luckily, being a police drama, a natural look to the lighting was appropriate. I was also fortunate that our main actress, Jennifer Beals, looked great and didn’t much special lighting attention.

 

We had a couple of scenes on the streets under the elevated train tracks in Chicago (the “El”) and the contrast was very challenging – luckily the new M-X sensor handles that sort of situation very well. The TIFF frames I grabbed look very much like film scans, a very natural-looking contrast.

 

I had one scene where the rolling shutter was a bit of a problem – a night exterior outside a hospital with dozens and dozens of police cars in front. Chicago police cars use a rack of blue strobes on the roof; it never seemed to be much of an issue before, but this scene was shot at 1600 ASA, 270 degree shutter, because it was such a huge area to light, and the blue strobes were a major source of illumination. With so many going off at once, you could see these faint half-lit patterns on the white police cars, almost looking like the roll bar of a TV monitor. Anyway, there was no way to avoid using the strobes so I lived with the effect, figuring that once the scene was cut-up, it would almost be like those blue flares you get with anamorphic lenses, sort of a stylistic trick of the scene.

 

Because so many locations had sodium streetlamps or industrial fluorescents and metal halide fixtures, I ended up gelling almost every light I had with some amount of Plus Green, knowing I’d have to pull down some green in post overall. In camera, we turned down the Green Gain from 1.0 to 0.8 or 0.7 so that the monitor image wasn’t too green.

 

We rented the M-X cameras and lenses from Fletcher of Chicago, including their Cosmos cart which has RedCine-X and is set-up for back-ups to RAID and LTO. It can even generate dailies using a Red Rocket, but we were shooting so much material a day that our digital loader often worked an hour or two after wrap just doing back-ups. We sent a copy on a shuttle drive to Encore in Los Angeles; we got DVD dailies back a few days later. Encore is using a Red Rocket to transcode to 1080P; everything is being stored on their servers, including the R3D originals should we need to go back to them.

 

Maybe eventually I’ll be able to post some selective frames.

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I was able to routinely rate the camera at 1000 ASA for most interiors; this was a godsend because most of the show was shot on 24-290mm Ang. Optimos mostly at the extreme telephoto end. We often didn’t even cut the camera after we shot the wide shot, we kept zooming in tighter and tighter until we were grabbing tight coverage at 290mm on two cameras as actors crisscrossed the rooms. So focus-pulling was near impossible and the only help I could give the focus-pullers was as much stop as possible, hence the 1000 ASA indoors.

 

How in the world did people shoot this style in the past? Or is this some new world order?? I mean, what would you have done if you were shooting 290mm close up's on anamorphic film with a 500 ASA stock? Said, sorry but it's impossible...?

 

I'm really excited for the show, however, and thanks for the update.

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A one-stop push?

 

 

Obviously this has only been possible since the days of 500T film. I think tops you could get in the '60s with pushing and special printing was about 400-speed.

 

 

David, what T-stop IS wide-open on a 24-290mm lens? For budgetary reasons, I've never seen one ;-)

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Also in the older days you'd probably spend a lot more time in a studio than on a location... and even then, be pumping in a lot of light to get to a nice stop... Seems a lot of the budget that used to go to lighting has gone to other expenses, or better put "liabilities" on set.

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A one-stop push?

 

Sure, but I imagine 35mm anamorphic film is going to have a shallower dof than the Red due to film realistate alone... Whatever. Point is, a close up of someone almost a block away is tough.

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Obviously when I had the light level to stop down at 1000 ASA, on a film shoot, I would have either (1) added more light and stopped down; or (2) opened up the lens, or (3) pushed the film stock. Odds are mostly that the focus-pullers would have just had to deal with even less depth of field -- but being on film, only the operator would know if they were missing the focus except when it was obvious to all.

 

Now for night work shot wide-open at 1600 ASA, 270 degree shutter, obviously that's an example of me taking advantage of what the M-X camera can do in low-light. If this were a film shoot, I'd tell the director I had to switch to primes and limited him to 100mm at the longest probably, and shot at T/2.0 probably. And add a bit more light. It's sort of the Catch-22 that just because now you can put a 24-290mm on a camera and shoot at night with it at 290mm... doesn't mean it's a good idea. But once that zoom is up on a camera, it's hardly surprising that a director is going to take advantage of its range if that's his style.

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I’ve just started to grade the material .....

 

How long do you have? We delivered our last pilot early this morning, I guess Fox has a later deadline than most.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I finished the Fox TV pilot "Ride Along" last week, a 14-day shoot. We shot something like 60 hours of footage for a 42 minute pilot

 

....

 

most of the show was shot on 24-290mm Ang. Optimos mostly at the extreme telephoto end. We often didn’t even cut the camera after we shot the wide shot, we kept zooming in tighter and tighter until we were grabbing tight coverage at 290mm on two cameras as actors crisscrossed the rooms.

 

David, first off congrats on the show, it sounds huge and it sounds like FOX is backing it all the way.

 

Secondly, it kind of blows my mind that you ended up shooting that way with a 14 day schedule (which I believe is pretty long for a TV show) - it seems like there would be much more time! Was it planned that way from the start or did you fall into it? Was there just a huge amount of time needed for action and stunts leaving none for other scenes? Where you shooting multiple options and extra scenes to allow the pilot to be tailored to the test screenings?

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A 14-day schedule is long for a series already in production (I usually hear about 7-11 day schedules for most series), but not for a pilot. Pilots tend to be on longer schedules...something like 21 days is not unusual.

Edited by Kar Wai Ng

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A 14-day schedule is long for a series already in production (I usually hear about 7-11 day schedules for most series), but not for a pilot. Pilots tend to be on longer schedules...something like 21 days is not unusual.

 

Most one hour drama pilots shoot for anywhere between 11 and 14 days. Series episodes are usually 8 days, although some try to do it in 7, and second unit is often employed for some material. The only time a pilot would be given 21 days would be if it were being produced as a "back door" pilot, that could then be repackaged as a TV movie, with a longer running time than a typical one hour drama (probably more like a 90 minute piece). On very rare occasions, a hit series might be given a few extra days for a particularly large episode, but this usually only happens on established series, such as "Lost," and even then, it's rare.

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