Camera evaluations start

We are about to start a new round of camera evaluations using a new standardised system that will allow future tests of cameras in identical conditions.

The cameras included this time are:-

Arri Alexa Classic recording to both internal QT and external raw

Arri Alex Mini

Arri Alexa SXT recording to Codex

Arri Amira

BMD Ursa Min Pro

Canon C200

Canon C300-2 recording to both XF-AVC and external raw

Canon C700 recording to both XF-AVC and Codex

Panasonic Varicam LT recording both internally and external raw

Panasonic Pure recording to Codex

RED Weapon Helium

RED Scarlet

Sony FS7 recording internally and external raw

Sony F5

Sony F55

Sony F65

We had hoped to include the Panavision Millennium and Alexa 65 but the first is in the process of being updated and the second is just too busy in the limited quantities that are available. Both are scheduled to be included in further evaluations later this year.

The Nokia OXO will also be included partly in the “normal” tests and partly to live stream the tests for those who have nothing better to do than watch live streams of camera tests!!

Lights are from BB&S and the lens being used for all except the C200 is the Fuji 4.7 * 18 T2. We will be marking up the in-shot idents with the focal length used to produce an image size that matches “S35” with 50mm as the base focal length.

With a schedule of 4 cameras per day we will be much more relaxed than in previous evaluations and paying a lot more attention to detail.

All camera settings will be published with the results We will also transcode all the rushes into 16 bit EXR files in ACES using the manufacturers software wherever possible. If there is no manufacturers software we will use Resolve. I will also be using Prelight onset to grab frames from the monitoring output of the cameras as part of a very different test 🙂

Results will be published towards the end of July.

 

WTF! I’m in an alternative Universe

I must be in an alternative universe, I just can’t believe what I see and hear.

11 years ago I shot a movie digitally, it was shot in HD in true RGB and uncompressed. Each of the 3 sensors had 1920 * 4320 photo-sites that created 3 * 1920 * 1080 images. It was 10 bit log and 4:4:4  generating 447.45 GB per hour.

Now Netflix are specifying that they will only accept “4K” cameras but they’re not 4K,  they’re 2K * 2K in green and 2K * 1K in R&B they’re barely 3K and that gives you with Redcode 5:1 a grand total of 189.10GB per hour. It’s not a problem of Redcode, it’s just it was easy for me to get those figures, all the cameras they accept produce similar data rates.

Now I accept that technology moves on and compression get better but 4 times the resolution and less than half the data! no chance.

The issue is that people making decisions don’t understand what they’re deciding and are swayed by marketing.

The lunatics are truly running the asylum.

CookeTV on YouTube

I thought I’d plug CookeTV and the incredible interviews they have like the ones below 🙂

CookeopticsTV

Use Experienced Crew

Getting into the business

LED Lights

Simple lighting, don’t make it complicated

Resolution, who gives a flying F!

The Joys of running CML

This is now the 4th day I’ll be wasting bouncing from support desk to support desk.

It’s never “their problem” it’s always the other guys.

I am in the ludicrous situation of having to go to a public Internet facility to be able to log on to our list server.

My ISP Ziggo says it’s not their problem, it’s a problem with the sites SSL, so why does it only effect me and why only the lists, which are not SSL, and not the main site which is SSL?

Dudobi who run the listserver say it’s all fine.

NetworkSolutions who are the main system provider say it’s all fine.

So if everything if so fine why have our pages listed on Google dropped from 2,500 or more to 94?

Why can’t I get connected to the listserver from home?

Sometimes I just want to pop round and give them a smack, difficult when they’re in the US, UK and Netherlands.

I’ve just received notification from NLPost that they have a parcel for me from Ziggo, I expect it’s the new Modem that I don’t need but id their standard response, change the modem.

Short term it’ll cost a fortune to install fast commercial fibre and install servers here but long-term it may be the only way to keep my sanity!

Happy Films

Why is it in a time of great depression that most of the scripts I get for films made in and about Britain are so profoundly depressing?

I realise that they are an accurate slice of these people’s lives, they reflect current life in the North and Midlands of England.

But the audiences live those lives! they don’t need to see them coming back at them from a big screen.

In the 30’s during the great depression the most successful films were ones that took people out of their depressing and hard real lives and gave them some hope.

Maybe not even hope, maybe just a few hours escape.

Busby Berkeley, the Gold Diggers series and Foot-light Parade, just sheer indulgence and fun.

Producers, Directors, look around, the successful films in the UK are happy ones, Billy Elliott, The Full Monty, 4 Weddings, Bridget Jones.

Are they art? who gives a damn!

They entertain people and make money.

Please send me a happy script…

Do you care?

CML was set up for high-end pro’s and those who aspire to be in that class.
I’ve never worried about offending anyone else.

There are lots of places on the net for cinematographers who don’t care about or maybe just don’t recognise a high quality image.
I never wanted CML to be one of those places.

My recent experiences of working with post people whose whole approach to life was “that’ll do” “good enough” “nobody”ll notice” has caused me to stop and take stock.

I feel that CML has been drifting in that direction.

I realise the political and economic pressures that are on us, believe me!

That doesn’t remove from the fact that if we don’t stand up for image
quality nobody will we are “the guardians of the image” and painful though it might be at times we have to fight that fight.

Answer for yourself a few simple questions, in a world where data size
didn’t matter, where RAW recorders were tiny and cheap, where transfer times were zero, where processing power was vast WOULD YOU EVER SHOOT ANYTHING OTHER THAN RAW?

Of course you wouldn’t because deep down inside you know that compression damages your images.

Next question, bearing in mind the conditions listed above, given a choice
of a system that recorded equal amounts of RGB and one that recorded 50%G and 25%R&B and then guessed what was in the holes that that approach left behind would you ever use anything other than the full RGB system?

Of course you wouldn’t because you know that resolution and colour are
compromised by CFA systems.

Now, given that you would go the quality route every time, why are you being such chickenshits and compromising your images all the time?

The BBC

I’m sure that I’ll regret this and get a lot of grief but I think it’s time that someone stood up and said that the outpouring of support that the BBC appears to be getting in the run up to potential change is strangely enough totally from parties with vested interests. Mostly tired old labour luvvies who couldn’t get hired in the real world.

Once upon a time there was only one TV channel in the UK and it was the BBC, then there was a commercial station and in 1964, if you lived in the south, or 1967 for the whole country there was BBC2 and colour!

Much later, the early 80’s saw Ch4, which I shot the launch for, and then Ch5.

There still wasn’t much choice and the reasons for the existence of the BBC were very clear.

Sky, which started in 1984 after a few years of tests, changed everything, we now have hundreds of TV channels producing material for all interests.

Where groundbreaking original drama was the preserve of the BBC in the past we now look to HBO, Amazon and Netflix.

And of course there is the real growth and change, channels that function via the internet and don’t use “normal” transmission methods.

So, does the BBC have any reason for existence in the present conditions?

Well yes and no, there is absolutely no need for the huge amount of material it produces that can be got on many commercials channels to at least as high a standard or in many case much better. The days of the BBC as a bastion of quality are long gone, both technically and artistically.

I’m not going to list the programmes that are transmitted all day that should be on commercial stations because I will confuse those that are on the commercials channels and those that are on the BBC, Location Location Location, House in the Country, and so on.

We could close Radio 1, Radio 2 and BBC1 without any loss of quality programmes, OK there are a few BBC1 shows that I’d like to see survive but they could easily be moved to fill the holes made in the BBC2 schedule when you remove the stuff that shouldn’t be there.

The BBC should only be making programmes that nobody else would/will, they are not commercial, they don’t have to justify their existence to shareholders. Sometimes something like Strictly Ballroom will appear, it’s hugely popular but it’s also something that would not have been made elsewhere neither would Bake Off.

Do we need such a huge BBC web presence or is that strangling commercial startups at birth?

The BBC should certainly not be in the magazine publishing business.

Should people that make mind bogglingly stupid decisions like killing off the programme that is their most successful international sales platform be allowed to keep their jobs? And yes, Top Gear is a programme that the BBC should make, it’s safe from the pressures of the car companies and therefore should be able to make open and objective tests of cars.

It should have the freedom to offend a few people, that’s what allowed Monty Python to succeed.

And when it comes to offending people does the BBC have to be so absolutely PC? are a significant proportion of deaf people illiterate? if not why are repeats ruined for the majority of people with an overlay of a gurning madman waving their arms around, isn’t this what subtitles are for?

Also on the theme of PC, they are the BBC, that is the British BC, the presenters should reflect this and not the islington/Hampstead luvvies vision of equality. Lets look at percentages, in terms of presenters, aah what’s the point, I’ll just be called racist. Look at the 2011 census results for the country as a whole, not just London or other large cities, the people shown on the BBC are totally out of proportion to those figures. The BBC tries so hard to be PC that they screw over the majority of the population.

As for the people they employ and the money they are paid…

You could remove half of the staff and not notice the slightest difference, cull to a third of the present numbers and they may start to get more efficient.

Why on earth were they allowed to spend the billions on an ego project like the new broadcasting house in the heart of the most expensive area in London, what’s wrong with an industrial estate out near Heathrow. Ah no, that’ll be where a commercial enterprise that is knocking them out in terms of quality and originality is based.

I’m stopping now, I could compare shooting station idents for BBC2 and Sky but I’d start crying.

A new blog on CML

I’m setting up a new blog on CML that will feature news about camera and lens tests and will be home to my rants about things in cinematography that really wind me up!

Autofocus for an entire movie?

Another movie with Dominic Brunt and he agreed to me using the Canon C300-2 with stills lenses for the entire film.

Although I had an AC he spent a lot of his time watching me try to focus pull using a Samsung Tablet!

I wanted to do it myself just to see how difficult it was and what the major pitfalls were.

It was a hell of a learning experience but I’d do it again, maybe with a few small changes like taking my own router just for the camera WiFi, using frequency scanners more often and killing anyone who decided to use any form of wireless transmission without clearing it with the camera crew first!

The main lesson is that the newer a lens is the better it copes, well that’s a shock!

Seriously, in a lot of situations the lens just couldn’t focus fast enough, actors running at camera in very low light was a serious issue.

Anyway, lots more here… http://www.cinematography.net/Canon%20C300-2%20Digital%20Assisted%20Focus%20on%20a%20Movie%20%20.html

Lots of lens tests!

I’ve finally got around to finishing all the lens tests, I was kinda delayed by events last year! So here they all are…

Angeniuex Optimo 15 to 40

Arri Alura 15.5 to 45

Arri Master Primes

Arri Ultra Primes

Canon 15.5 to 47

Canon 17 to 120

TLS Cooke S3

Cooke S4 Mini

Cooke S4

Cooke 5i

Fuji Cabrio ZK

Hawk Vlite

Hawk Flare

Hawk 1.3 ana

Illumina Coated

Illumia Uncoated

Leica Summilux

Leica Summicron

Panavision Primo

Schneider Xenar

Zeiss CP2

Zeiss CZ2 15 to 30

If you want them all on the same page the go here

Lots of new camera tests in a month or so.