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Cine Lenses With DV

Published : 5th July 2004


Hello everybody,

I'm working on a short film in DV for blow up to 35 mm. I would like to know if there are any possibilities to put cine lenses in a DV camera? Or if there are any advantages with that?

The director wants low depth of field...Any tricks for this format?

Thanks

Pedro Cardeira



The film is low budget, small crew, travel and shoot kind of movie. Basically we have three or four cars and a caravan and we go from Lisbon to Morocco, always shooting and we finished in the Sahara desert. So here go my problems :

1/. 24p or 25p (Pal) for film out? I would like 24p because of the look. But it really improves the quality of the image for the film out? What problems do we get in editing in Final Cut Pro and the Arrilaser?

2/. If it goes with 24p, which camera? DVX100, DVX100A or SDX 900? The 2/3" CCD it's better because of resolution but the DVCPRO brings more problems in pos-production or is the same as DV or DVCam?

3/. I have many doubts about min35... The question of the grain makes me nervous. Do I real get better definition? And more film look colors? Or is just a question of depth of field?

4/. We going to shoot in 16:9. I heard about an anamorphic adapter for the DVX100 to use all the lines of the CCD. It makes almost as good as 2/3"? There are any of these adapters for the SDX900 or any other kind of camera?

5/. Anyone have experience shooting with this camera in the desert? What kind of problems can arrive with the equipment? And I like suggestions about exposure?

I'm also interesting to have some contacts in Morocco for lighting and grip equipment.

Thanks a lot for your answers...

Pedro Cardeira
Lisbon, Portugal



>1/. 24p or 25p (Pal) for film out? I would like 24p because of the look. >But it really improves the quality of the image for the film out? What >problems do we get in editing in Final Cut Pro and the Arrilaser?

I assume you mean 25P instead of 50i PAL when you say "25p (Pal)". There's not a major difference in look between 24P and 25P -- it does mean that when its projected at 24 fps, something shot at 25P will be slightly slowed down. On the other hand, you do get 100 more lines of resolution with 25P-to-50i PAL versus 24P-to-60i NTSC.

You want to work in true 24P or 25P in FCP. The question is whether you can deliver it that way to the film transfer people rather than reconvert it to 60i or 50i for recording to tape (which means they have to reconvert to true 24P or 25P.) I suppose you could take your hard drive over to the transfer
people. Or you could bump it up to 24P or 25P HD.

>2/. If it goes with 24p, which camera? DVX100, DVX100A or SDX 900?

The SDX900 is hands-down a much better camera - less depth of field with the bigger CCD's, true 16:9 without a bothersome anamorphic adaptor, ability to use great HD lenses like Zeiss Digi-Primes on the B4 mount, 4:2:2 instead of 4:1:1, etc. Practically speaking, the SDX900 looks twice the quality in my opinion. I've seen tests of both transferred to 35mm using an Arrilaser and the SDX900 blew the DVX100 out of the water.

>3/. I have many doubts about min35...The question of the grain makes >me nervous. Do I real get better definition? And more film look colors? >Or is just a question of depth of field?

You just get less depth of field. Definition would actually be worse than a good HD lens. And if you use a fast enough HD lens, you can get a shallow-enough focus on a 2/3" CCD.

>4/. We going to shoot in 16:9. I heard about an anamorphic adapter for >the DVX100 to use all the lines of the CCD. It makes almost as good as >2/3"? There are any of these adapters for the SDX900 or any other kind >of camera?

Why would the SDX900 need an anamorphic adaptor? It already has 16:9 CCD's. An anamorphic adaptor is an optical compromise that gains you PIXEL resolution at the cost of OPTICAL resolution. So I think the look is "smoother" rather than sharper.

The SDX900 is so much better I can't even see why you'd consider the DVX100 if you had a choice -- especially for a transfer to 35mm.

David Mullen ASC
Cinematographer / L.A.



If the SDX900 doesn't adapt to the mini35 your best resolution is going to be the following setup on a 24P DVX100(a) :

DVX100(a) with mini35 adapter and PL mount anamorphics (2.35 format).

By using true anamorphic 2.35 lenses (not the 16X9 anamorphic lenses) you DOUBLE the vertical resolution normally possible with the given camera. Keep the anamorphic squeeze on your footage so that it appears squeezed when you do your anamorphic film out print.

Now the bad news. While the mini35 rotates a piece of ground glass to help make the shallow DOF image, its still fairly effected by dust in the air. Also if this is a run and gun shoot you can expect to add 2 or 3 times as much shooting time to the schedule when dealing with such shallow DOF. Sounds like you may not even have time to measure for focus marks so its going to be a real pain but nothing that a film trained professional focus puller cant handle. I would recommend you put some money aside for a good one on your crew if you need to move fast or are dealing with one take/one chance situations.

Good luck.

Brett Erskine
Director of Photography
Premiere Visions
1761 W. La Palma Ave., Suite #302
Anaheim, CA 92801
www.CinematographerReels.com



OK Here we go

Use the SDX-900
Set the camera for anamorphic (it's a menu item)
Shoot DVC Pro 50
Set the VTR for 24 PA
Forget the P&S and rent yourself 1 or 2 Digiprimes

You will have no problem digitizing the tapes into FCP via Firewire, and you will have much better color sampling because DVC Pro 50 uses 422 sampling

Bring a Polarizer and some Lo Con filters, and be prepared to stack them.

Watch out for sand in the camera try to do your tape changes inside of a plastic bag.

Good Luck

Dave Satin
Video Engineer