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class="style8" Adjustments

>Published : 21st February 2005

>It never ceases to amaze me that when given the ability to adjust something that you couldn't adjust before that people will still find it easier to NOT adjust it and complain about it anyway.

>Turn on the Knee Sat.

>Turn on the DCC/Auto Knee (and if you turn it OFF then you MUST manually adjust it for EVERY single shot) otherwise don't complain about it when its just not working for you.

>Example: If you are sitting in your Garage and turn the radio on in your Car then set the Volume so that its comfortable, Then put the top down and do 75 Mph down the freeway and leave the Volume where it was last set you shouldn't complain to the manufacturer of the radio that you can't hear it.

>Hey I have an Idea...

>OK Gather around and listen closely...

>Test it first until you understand how it works and when to use it.

>I'll say it again Test it.!!!

>Hire someone that can prove to you that they know what they are doing to show you where to look and how to see what is being adjusted. Take a Workshop that will stretch and challenge what you already know. Learn how to use the adjustments to improve your abilities to do the work that is your profession. Have the guts to say "I'm not as familiar with that camera as I would like to be, May I recommend someone that is more familiar with it to do your job" How refreshing would that be? 3 things will happen

>1) You will gain tremendous respect from the person asking by proving to them that you care for the quality of your work enough to know your limits.

>2) It will motivate you to learn the gear so you are not turning down perfectly good job offers due to your lack of skill.

>3) Someone will reciprocate with a recommendation of you when you are ready.

>It doesn't matter what kind of camera you are using Viper, Sony, or fairycam… learn how it works before you complain that the volume is to low.

>B. Sean Fairburn
Producer Director DP
"Armor Clad Warriors"
Role Model Productions LLC
28019 Woodstock Ave
Castaic Ca 91384
www.seanfairburn.com


>BTW, one big thing . . .

>The Knee area, AFAIK, is NOT, I repeat, NOT gamma adjusted.

>At the knee point you are transitioning from an area of the response curve of the camera that is gamma adjusted to one that is linear. Whether this is a good thing or not you can decide, but frankly I hate the color transitions that happen at the knee point-you simply can't get smooth, clean highlights with knee adjustments like you can with custom gamma curves in the CvP file editor for the F900.

>Now, if the knee is gamma adjusted, then I humbly accept my correction, but I'm still wondering then why the gamma adjustments made with a smooth gamma curve in the CVP File editor look so much better in the over-exposed regions than when DCC or any knee adjustments are done.

>When done correctly there are no odd color shifts as the highlights are reached, creating a very similar effect to when film is overexposed.

>Jason Rodriguez
Post Production Artist
Virginia Beach, VA


class="style9">>3) things will happen......

>4) You will never again be called by the producer involved, in spite of your lighting, scene composition, artistic, and storytelling skills, or your knowledge of the production process, sensitivity to making the day work within the time and budget limits imposed, ability to attract and lead a loyal and skilled crew, and ability to forge a working relationship with the cast and producers based on trust and respect. In other words, your abilities as a cinematographer.

>Sean, I appreciate that you practice what you preach, but I'm still of the opinion that a cameraman is not an engineer. A smart cameraman, working with video (excuse me, "digital") equipment, has a trusted engineering type working with him or her to help achieve the artistic aims he or she aspires to should it become necessary to make electronic adjustments towards that aim.

>The tools of a cameraman do not and need not include a tweaker, unless he or she is so inclined.

>Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles


>Michael Most wrote :

class="style10">>A smart cameraman, working with video (excuse me, "digital") >equipment, has a trusted engineering type working with him or her to >help achieve the artistic aims he or she aspires to should it become >necessary to make electronic adjustments towards that aim.

class="style10">>The tools of a cameraman do not and need not include a tweaker, >unless he or she is so inclined.

>Really, that sort of tweaking needn't be done on-set or on-location. Raw data capture permits you to shoot as you'd shoot film, and defer all these decisions until later (though you can make them then and view them in the field and stick with them if you choose to, or change your mind later without penalty).

>Jeff "yes, I'm biased, I admit it" Kreines


>Sean Fairburn writes :

class="style10">>Have the guts to say "I'm not as familiar with that camera as I would like >to be, May I recommend someone that is more familiar with it to do your >job" How refreshing would that be?

>Say what?

class="style10">>3 things will happen : 1) You will gain tremendous respect from the >person asking by proving to them that you care for the quality of your >work enough to know your limits.

class="style10">>2) It will motivate you to learn the gear so you are not turning down >perfectly good job offers due to your lack of skill.

class="style10">>3) Someone will reciprocate with a recommendation of you when you >are ready.

>With all due respect, those are noble sentiments, unfortunately number three will not necessarily follow from #1 or #2. It might, but I wouldn't count on it.

>I would submit that being able to successfully extricate yourself from those situations where you are working beyond your limits is a more valuable skill. Nearly every DP I know has gotten in over his or her head at one time or another.

>Some of us still do.

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>…or change your mind later without penalty

>Jeff -

>If spending time and money in post is not considered a penalty you are right. Many of our clients consider time and money both as penalties, go figure.

>Michael Bravin
Chief Technology Officer
Band Pro Film & Digital


>Mike,

>Thanks for the comment and to clarify the instructions I gave were more for the person that calls themselves DIT's or engineer by any other name as well as Cinematographers and anyone that is in the camera crew that wants to know what is going on.

>There are no restrictions to gaining wisdom bot those shackles that we place upon ourselves if we do not continually work to become educated.

>Better to turn down the job than get fired for the same reason you are unqualified to perform the work.

>Learn the adjustments

>I have given countless detailed examples of how to test very specific things over the years since I made the First Post on CML HDTV. Very rarely does anyone post having tested the very things I have laid out for them. People still just want to take it out and shoot it and complain about it if it doesn't perform like they think it should.

>Learn the Adjustments

>The reason I and usually others don't give recipes is that it wont work in every situation any more than setting the volume once on the radio.

>Learn the Adjustments
Test the adjustments
Use the adjustments wisely

>B. Sean Fairburn
Producer Director DP


>Jeff Kreines wrote :

class="style10">>Raw data capture permits you to shoot as you'd shoot film, and defer all >these decisions until later.....

>I know you're biased, Jeff, but in the interests of accuracy, it should be pointed out that none of the Sony or Panasonic products that dominate the market have a raw data capture mode, and as far as I know, do not have one planned.

>Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles


>Michael Bravin wrote:

>>If spending time and money in post is not considered a penalty you are >right. Many of our clients consider time and money both as penalties, go >figure.

>Seems to me that it's a lot cheaper to do it in post where two or three people are being paid, than to do it on-set or on-location where an entire crew and cast are being paid.

>Minutes on-set could pay for hours of post.

>Go figure...

>Jeff "post-toasties, anyone?" Kreines


Michael Most wrote:

class="style10">>but I'm still of the opinion that a cameraman is not an engineer. A smart >cameraman, working with video (excuse me, "digital") equipment, has a >trusted engineering type working with him or her to help achieve the >artistic aims he or she aspires to

>That may be so on higher budgeted productions, but for the Indies out there, and to be marketable in that marketplace, it would help to have your own engineering skills, because frankly you can't afford so many overlapping positions on many shoots-and if you know how to do the adjustments yourself, well then hey, all the better.

>A great example is my market and the latest short film I'm working on. Virginia Beach is not considered a hot-bed of high-def production. I often have to twist people's arms around to get them to shoot on Hi-def rather than cheap video gear or standard def (or transfer 16mm to standard def). The reason that the producers for this last project are now going hi-def, and feeling safe to do so is because I know my way around the F900, and should problems arise on-set, even though I'm the director and not a designated video engineer, I can get us out of them.

Fortunately, there haven't been any "problems" (other than that disappearing menu item problem which did require the removal of some of the interior boards to move some dip-switches around on, again something that had I not been familiar with the camera and electronic equipment wouldn't have been fixed for the shoot), but again, it's nice to know that somebody can get you out of the mess, is intimately familiar with most of the menu settings (I haven't played around with the multi-matrix yet, but that's about it), and you don't have to pay extra for that person on top of the gear (which makes most people balk already). On this shoot it's been a raving success, and the exec producer has said that he'll try to get this package for every film he shoots hereafter, 16mm is dead for him.

>You can be a technically minded artist-people don't have to be pegged in their holes and stay put for the rest of their lives.

>Jason Rodriguez
Post Production Artists/Director
Virginia Beach, VA


>Michael Most wrote:

class="style10">>I know you're biased, Jeff, but in the interests of accuracy, it should be >pointed out that none of the Sony or Panasonic products that dominate >the market have a raw data capture mode, and as far as I know, do not >have one planned.

>That's okay with me...

>Jeff Kreines


>Jeff,

>I think he's saying that the equipment costs in post (depending on whether they are expensive SGI's or regular PC's or proprietary boxes) can quickly offset those crew costs if you're in there too long.

>Jason Rodriguez
Post Production Artist
Virginia Beach, VA


>Jason Rodriguez wrote:

class="style10">>That may be so on higher budgeted productions, but for the Indies out >there, and to be marketable in that marketplace, it would help to have >your own engineering skills

>Good point. We all work in our own little worlds, and mine happens to be exactly what you're referring to. Thanks for reminding me that there are others.

>Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles


>Mike Most observes :

class="style10">>The tools of a cameraman do not and need not include a tweaker, >unless he or she is so inclined.

>May I add my penny's worth...The scariest thing to see is a cameraman with a green screw driver!

>While I understand where Sean is coming from, I personally find it overwhelming to try and understand all the aspects of the engineered digital world.

>In the film world we should understand how film reacts to light and what our options are for pre manipulation and post manipulation of the our negative, but do I really need to know the entire process of photochemistry??

>While I should understand the inner workings of the film camera and shutter mechanisms, must I also be able tear down a camera and know the tolerances of pressure plate measurements??

>I can barely read a waveform or a scope, but I do understand the concept of the bow tie and back porch patterns but as a visual guy, I just don't feel the need to start tweaking my settings so much. If I have a kick ass monitor MAYBE I can come up with some cool looks ...otherwise I kind of like a good audio person. Record as normal and as clean as possible thereby allowing changes to be achieved in post.

>With the exception of front end filtration, sometimes less is more!

>Allen S. Facemire-DP/Director
SaltRun Productions,inc. Atlanta/Norcross, GA
www.saltrunproductions.com


class="style10">>but I'm still of the opinion that a cameraman is not an engineer.

>Amen. I keep trying to learn as much about the technical side as possible but I realize that I don't have the kind of head that a propeller attaches to easily. Besides, if I don't need to know how to do my gaffer's job if I hire someone who knows more about gaffing than I do, why bother with an engineering degree?

>At the same time I want to know enough about what's going on that I know what to ask for, and that I understand what the engineer is doing so that if they do something I don't want (eg. crushing the blacks) I can stop them before it's too late.

class="style10">>That may be so on higher budgeted productions, but for the Indies out >there, and to be marketable in that marketplace, it would help to have >your own engineering skills,

>Or at least enough engineering skills to understand why the camera is acting the way it is. I too work in a small market, mostly shooting industrials, and while we do have a lot of really talented DIT's up here I don't always have access to them.

>Not everyone makes a living on big budget features and episodics. It's nice to know enough to be dangerous.

Art Adams, DP [film|hidef|video]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/


>B. Sean Fairburn HD DP wrote :

class="style10">>Hire someone that can prove to you that they know what they are doing

>I'm available...

>Noel Sterrett
Admit One Pictures


class="style10">>Virginia Beach is not considered a hot-bed of high-def production

>Hot bed? Well, it is the home of the "sleeping prophet", Edgar Cayce

>"For forty-three years of his adult life, Edgar Cayce demonstrated the uncanny ability to put himself into some kind of self-induced sleep state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. This state of relaxation and meditation enabled him to place his mind in contact with all time and space. From this state he could respond to questions as diverse as, "What are the secrets of the universe?" to "How can I remove a wart?""

>(he also worked as a commercial photographer, strangely enough...)

>Tim Sassoon
SFD Vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA


>Jeff Kreines writes:

class="style10">>Seems to me that it's a lot cheaper to do it in post where two or three >people are being paid

>You're talking from a theatrical film workflow position (to which I'm entirely sympathetic). And you're building a machine which will intentionally differentiate from TV practice. Many here are crossing the line between EFP/broadcast and theatrical practices every day. No value judgements at all, but workflow has to exist within the context of the job at hand, and I don't think on a lot of these shoots that there's a loader/DIT in the budget, and no desire to keep a "negative".

>Tim Sassoon
SFD Vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA


>"You're talking from a theatrical film workflow position (to which I'm entirely sympathetic). And you're building a machine which will intentionally differentiate from TV practice. Many here are crossing the line between EFP/broadcast and theatrical practices every day. No value judgements at all, but workflow has to exist within the context of the job at hand, and I don't think on a lot of these shoots that there's a loader/DIT in the budget, and no desire to keep a "negative"."

>True enough.

>However, just because you can save a raw "digital negative" that doesn't mean you have to.

>You can just create your own LUT before the shoot (or choose an existing one and modify it as needed) and that's that. Monitor with it, dump to tape with it, and forget about RAW capture.

>Since you have the ability to tweak that LUT after shooting, you can deal with problems that crop up (especially true for documentary shoots) easily enough by changing the LUT post-shoot.

>Jeff "perhaps too many options?" Kreines


>Jeff Kreines wrote:

class="style10">>Jeff "perhaps too many options?" Kreines

>No, no, not too many options,

>It's time that we start RAW file capture, even if you're not going to use it's benefits, like Jeff said, just dump it to tape.

>Jason Rodriguez
Post Production Artist
Virginia Beach, VA


>Jason Rodriguez writes :

>you simply can't get smooth, clean highlights with knee adjustments >like you can with custom gamma curves in the CvP file editor for the >F900.

I have to agree with this.

>I've been really impressed this week using a F900/3 and CVP gamma curves.

>Now if we can just get rid of the compression in recording....

>Cheers

>Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net