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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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AJ-HD1400: Small Package, Big Output.

The Panasonic AJ-HD-1400 is an invaluable solution for HD production. The AJ-HD-1400 records at 100 Mbps with 4:2:2 color sampling and intra-frame compression in multiple U.S. and worldwide Formats.    The Multi-format HD/SD system records in 1080/59.94p, 1080/50i, 720/60p, 720/59.94p and 720/50p. The AJ-HD-1400 provides a new D-Sub 15-pin encoder remote control terminal. (component 1080/50i, 720/60p, 720/59.94p and 720/50p. This gives the AJ-HD-1400 data transmission capabilities that rival many studio recorders – something you wouldn’t expect in such a compact, affordable unit.          Operating on either AC or DC (12 V), the versatile AJ-HD-1400 is a great desktop or rack-mounted VTR for studio or EFP field use.    The recorder features HD-SDI digital input/output and IEEE 1394 input/output, a built-in up/down converter, and its compact design makes it a great space-saver for desktop use and/or in-studio editing.    The AJ-HD1400’s RS-422 9-pin remote interface allows assemble/insert editing similar to a studio recorder. Control from an external editing controller allows to the frame editing precision (with HD-SDI connection and using TC mode). This interface also makes the AJ-HD-1400 a good choice for high-end production in non-compression, nonlinear editing systems.    With Eight whopping Channels of Digital Audio, the AJ-HD-1400 offers superb 16-bit linear PCM sound quality, with eight embedded channels. The AJ-HD1400 uses HD-SDI for independent input/output and editing of all eight channels.    The AJ-HD-1400 is a Multi-format HD/SD system; it also converts from a VariCam 50p-recording (over 60p) source with native 720p/50 or PAL output.    The new Gamma Conversion function for Use with the AJ-HDC27H Varicam Cinema Production System, some of the functions offered in the earlier AJ-GBX27G HD Gamma Corrector are now built right into the AJ-HD1400, making it a simple, low-cost solution for producing cinema or film-like Video. There are two modes (TELECINE 5, TELECINE 6) for converting source materials recorded using the F.REC mode and gamma curve into video images with a film-like tone. There’s also a CINEON mode for converting data into a gamma curve suitable for film recording.    For those who don’t have capture cards this is the perfect solution, the AJ-HD-1400 can transfer DVCPRO compression data without quality loss to a PC or Mac based nonlinear editing system, for low-cost desktop HD editing, with the IEEE 1394 interface.    As an added bonus feature, you can preview your HD content from your timeline in Final Cut Pro, in real time, to an External SD or HD monitor via Firewire, SDI or HD-SDI through the AJ-HD-1400. A Great feature!    SD output is also possible. HD sources can be down- converted and output as either DVCPRO 50 or DV data. You can also...

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Panasonic HVX-200, Still Going Strong

Bridging the gap between standard definition, tape-based DV cameras and high-end HD solid-state cameras, the Panasonic AG-HVX200 was groundbreaking at the time of its introduction, and continues to be the perfect solution to filmmakers and videographers who desire a low cost, high quality HD camcorder. Quickly replacing some of the best DV camcorders such as the DVX-100b which boasted 24p frame rates, the HVX200 added to its versatility by recording multiple formats such as standard DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD, at a variety of frame rates. Standard def frame rates include: 480/60i, 480/24p, 480pA, 480/30p and high definition rates like: 1080/60i, 1080/24p, 1080/24pA, 1080/30p, 720p/12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, 36, 48, and 60fps. Moving Picture has helped countless clients find success with the HVX200 due to its ability to adapt into any shooting scenario. Perfect for reality television, or shoe-string documentary work, the HVX200 can produce stunning images, customized cinematic looks and budget-friendly time-lapse. Add a Redrock 35mm lens adaptor and the HVX200 becomes a very economical way to achieve film-like depth and beauty. The perfect primary camera for a DV shoot, or secondary camera for a high-end HD job, the HVX200 takes standard Panasonic DV batteries, fits all DV tripods and accessories, and can shoot to either DV tape (SD only) or solid-state P2 cards of any capacity. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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HD Workhorse: The Panasonic HDX-900

The Panasonic AJ-HDX900 (2/3” 3-CCD, 16:9, 1080i/720p, DVCPRO HD) has quickly become THE requested HD rental camera for digital cinematography, cable and television production in any format, sports and events, globetrotting documentarians and feature crews. The full size ENG-style body is a workhorse of the HD world, keeping the traditional physical appearance and button placement of the camera’s predecessors. Compatibility with all manufacturers 2/3” lenses for ENG, EFP and digital cinema production, the HDX900 is also a favorite for commercial and filmmakers who desire the look of standard 35mm lenses via pro35 adaptor. The HDX900 further blends the gap between the film and video world by offering a variety of recording options including 1080 at 59.94i, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p, 23.98pA and 720 at 59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p. The inclusion of three CineGamma modes to replicate the film look, and 4:2:2 color sampling make this camera the “Guy Friday” of HD cinematography. For those nervous about the emergence of solid state and hard drive based recording systems, the HDX900 records its HD data to standard DVCPRO cassette tapes. No slowdown to download cards and drives and no need to format your original! Moving Picture also can provide HD compatible accessories and monitors, but with a switchable HDSDI/SDI/Composite video out, you can integrate this high-end camera into your current shooting package with little additional cost. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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