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Digital Hollywood

In recent history, several of Hollywood’s most prominent directors have begun to favor digital cinematography.  For nearly a decade, Michael Mann has been at the forefront of this filmmaking revolution.  Mann, quoted as saying “the future is digital, without a doubt,” has favored digital video cameras such as the Viper FilmStream and Sony CineAlta HD in the production of his most recent films.  Mann shot around 50 percent of 2004’s “Collateral” in HD after considering the results of low light footage shot with high-end digital cameras.  With most of “Collateral” filmed at night, Mann turned to digital filmmaking for its ability to capture a broader and more detailed range of colors than 35mm technologies.                   When Mann returned to Florida to direct 2006 feature film “Miami Vice,” digital filmmaking continued as a cornerstone to his approach.  Roughly 75 percent of “Miami Vice” was filmed on Viper cameras with supplemental footage captured by Sony HDW-F950, Sony HDW-F900 cameras and 35mm film cameras.  Shooting on 35mm for less than five percent of the production, “Miami Vice” director of photography Dion Beebe explained that he and Mann “did not want to mimic a film look.”  Rather, as seen in Mann’s most recent attempt with “Public Enemies,” he sought to establish an image that relies on the uniqueness of the digital medium rather than attempting to emulate the celluloid aesthetic.  While digital cinematography’s evolution has allowed for its adoption by big time directors and name brand studios, it has equally become more available to independent and aspiring filmmakers.  With the introduction of digital behemoths such as the Red One and Phantom HD, indy filmmakers are now, more than ever before, finding opportunities to create technically spectacular films without a blockbuster budget. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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Saving Picture Profiles for Sony’s PMW-EX3

The Sony PMW EX-3 has been designed to shoot spectacular images right out of the box, using the preset default settings.  However, like all Cine Alta-branded Sony cameras, the EX-3 also comes with the ability to customize the final look of the recorded images through the manipulation of an extensive array of choices in recording formats, gamma curves and color matrix options. The EX-3 gives the shooter the ability to save directly in the camera’s memory up to 6 different “Picture Profiles”.  The adjustments for gamma, white balance offset, color matrix, detail, knee, black pedestal and black gamma are all selected and saved as a Picture Profile, which is accessed through a separate menu from the main menu. The main menu is used to choose all the other camera settings, including video format and frame rate, gain setup, audio input and output settings, viewfinder settings (markers, zebra etc.), video output options, and many others. For reference, here’s a link to the manual: http://www.movingpicture.com/downloads/pmw-ex3_ops_manual.pdf It is a simple procedure to save these camera settings, as well as a single Picture Profile, to a SxS card for quick camera setup for future use, or to setup another Sony EX-3. (Please keep in mind, that whenever transferring “looks” and gamma and color settings from one camera to another, the resulting images may vary.  That is why in critical situations, it is necessary to utilize a high quality test chart and instruments, such as a waveform monitor and vectorscope, especially when matching cameras on a multi-camera project.) Once you have finished selecting the various camera settings in the main menu and chosen a Picture Profile that you have created, simply open the main menu, choose the last option, “OTHERS” and then the second option, “CAMERA DATA”.  This is where you can save (“STORE”) the settings to a pre-loaded formatted SxS card, or load (“RECALL”) settings from a previously created SxS card. Since only one file can be created per SxS card, and the smallest of those cards (8GB) can cost hundreds of dollars each, one solution is to purchase the Hoodman SDHC SxS adapter card (approximately $100), which will allow you to use less expensive, high quality SDHC memory cards, and thereby economically create and save multiple set-up files for different shooting senarios. Finally, once your new settings are loaded in the camera, there are still many important options that need to be selected via the various manual controls and switches on the camera and lens itself. These include, shutter on/off, ND selection, white balance, gain, and auto or manual lens functions such as zoom, iris and focus.   Content provided by: Steve Ciffone First Assistant Camera http://www.ciffone.com...

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Moving Picture presents: the Sony PMW-EX3 CineAlta XDCAM EX SxS HD Camcorder

Sony has expanded on their XDCAM EX line with the PMW-EX3, a full-res HD (1920 x 1080p) camera that features an interchangeable lens, Genlock in, Timecode in/out, three 1/2” CMOS sensors and much more. Like it’s sister camera, the PMW-EX1, it records to SxS PRO flash memory cards. The EX3 is a great addition to the EX family of cameras, and the ability to change lenses, along with its other key features, makes it a better camera than most sub-$10,000 units on the market. This includes even Sony’s own XDCAM HD-line of cameras, many of which only feature 1440 x 1080 resolution and 1/2” sensors. But there are some drawbacks to the camera, most notably the ergonomics, which I’ll touch upon after the features. At the end of this review is a more full list of features. PARTIAL FEATURE LIST Image Quality: With full HD CMOS sensors (1920 x 1080), the image quality is beautiful. Like the EX1, there are many ways to control the image via the Picture Profile menu, which I’ll discuss in more detail shortly. Because there is less compression than, say, HDV, the image is much cleaner without as much noise commonly found in HDV footage. Multiple frame rates and HD shooting options include 1080p30/25/24, 1080i60/50, 720p60/30/25/24 (HQ mode). Plus the ability to shoot in HDV mode (SP; 1080i60/50). Picture Profiles: There are many options found in Picture Profiles, to control the overall image quality, including color, gamma, white balance, and more. Lens Options: The EX3 comes with a stock Fujinon 14x zoom lens, which is 1/2-inch type lens for 1/2” sensors. Because it’s built on an interchangeable lens system, the camera’s stock lens can be swapped out for a different and compatible 1/2” lens. Ensure that the new lens can support HD images, or there will be problems. A lens built for standard definition (SD) cameras will be obvious when mounted on the EX3 in HD mode. A 2/3” lens adaptor can be used to mount lenses found on cameras featuring 2/3” sensors. These lenses are very popular and used not only on high-end HD productions, but any project that can benefit from lenses that allow more depth of field options. Sound: There are two XLR ports to plug in a solid boom mic or wireless mic to record pristine sound in two-channel, 16-bit, linear PCM uncompressed audio at 48 kHz. There is also a built-in stereo mic, but we recommend using a boom, handheld or wireless microphone. Moving Picture has everything you’ll need to get great audio. LIKES/DISLIKES: There’s a lot to love with the EX3: the key features above make this a better camera in many ways...

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