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Mark Kenfield

Red One MX or Sony F5 for greenscreen?

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Hi guys,

 

I have a fantasy film coming up that we'll be shooting entirely on stage, that will involve a fair amount of digital set extension (forests, mountains, shining dome structures) and background replacement via greenscreen (or bluescreen, haven't confirmed whether it'll be green or blue yet) and a pretty vibrant colour palette.

 

Our two options for camera are the Red One MX and Sony F5 (without a raw recorder, so 1080p 4:4:4 only).

 

I'll be lighting with tungsten almost exclusively (the lighting grid is mainly 5k fresnels and 2k soft lights), so I'm a little weary about the impact that will have on the shadows with the Red (most of the scenes will be pretty low-key).

 

However with the F5 we'd only get 10-bit 1080p 4:4:4 as apposed to 4K Redcode raw with the Red One.

 

So I'm wondering what people's leanings would be camera-wise?

 

I'd also really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions people have for using atmospherics (mainly haze) with greenscreen components? We really need haze for atmosphere - but we probably need clean keys more. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on the matter.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

 

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Interesting question. The really big problem with the Red One MX is that it has the ergonomics of a cast iron cinder block and that it eats electricity. However these are much more non-issues on a stage. Thus I think the big questions revolve around whether you need 4K for the finish (might open a few more doors at the moment) and which of the cameras has the easiest workflow for you. If you are going to work at 1080p then it might be more work to downsample to 1080p than to shoot in that mode in the first place. You could shoot in the quad HD mode on the MX perhaps which would make downsampling to 1080p a lot easier and faster. This all depends a bit on what your setup is like however. It's become a lot easier to edit Redcode in real time on say Adobe Premiere these days. The MX is an old camera and so obviously the workflow has become a lot easier as computers have become faster.

 

The other big issue is whether you prefer the look of the MX or the F5 as they look a bit different but that will be a personal preference thing obviously.

 

Freya

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Nearly forgot. The tungsten vs daylight issue is much diminished with the MX sensor and newer colour sciences etc.

Obviously daylight tends to be less noisy on most video cameras. It's something that is a bit of the nature of the beast.

No idea how the Sony F5 holds up in that regard.

 

Most of the fuss around this issue was in relation to the original Red One sensor which had especially serious issues in tungsten.

 

Freya

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Cheers Freya, good points. Glad to hear the tungsten issue is reduced on MX.

 

Because we're on stage, size/weight/power aren't really a big deal. Post workflow is obviously the main issue, so I'll be meeting with my VFX sup soon to talk over what would suit his needs best - I was also concerned that if we have to transcode all of the RedCode to 1080p 4:4:4 for post work anyway, that shooting 1080p 4:4:4 in the first place may make more sense for our limited resources.

 

The 'look' is certainly different between the cameras, MX is more detailed and resolute, but the Sony's a little creamier and the highlights rolloff nicer. But again, on stage I'm not so worried about this - I can contain my highlights within the Red's dynamic range, so we won't have to deal with any real compromises there.

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Alistair Chapman presents a pretty strong case for the F55 for greenscreen work in this very informative clip.

 

I did some tests with Epic Dragon / Alexa / F55 all superb for green screen. We were shooting tungsten 400 ISO 5 to 1 compression on a Epic, Arri raw.

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I appreciate the suggestions guys, and agree we'd better off with an F65, Epic Dragon, Alexa or F55... but I'm afraid it's either Red One MX, raw-less F5 or bust for this project.

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Lens choice is going to be as important as camera, if not more so. The more clinical, less dimensional and very even performance of Leica is definitely a plus in this situation. Having virtually no chromatic effects even wide open is going to help ensure a precise edge between your subject and screen.

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