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class="Paragraph" Intercut Varicam & SDX900

Published : 19th April 2004


Hi all,

We're right now planning some scenes for a low budget project, and want to use a number of camera angles for one scene (one primary and other cutaway shots). We've got a Varicam and don't think we'll be able to rent/buy two more for this project.

I'm considering the SDX900 and wondered if anyone had experience in intercutting this camera with the Varicam. How well do they match? There is a chance that this will be transferred to film for release, and thus the preceding discussion regarding uprezzing has been very interesting.

Thanks in advance,

Chris Cooke-Johnson
Director
Creative Junction Inc.
Barbados



Chris,

I just completed two weeks of tests and image creation using the Varicam and SDX900. You can match the cameras for color very closely using a DSC ChromaDuMonde Chart (light : daylight balance) and a vectorscope. That said, what you can not match is the richness and depth of color the Varicam produces. Akin to the differences between shooting 35mm and 16mm. 16mm looks fantastic until you see 35mm. Use the SDX900 for the tight/cutaway shots and it should be fine. Also if going to a film out - set V. RES to PROG and turn detail off completely. When you up res the image, add detail at that stage - better results.

By the way, in our testing we captured a dynamic range with the Varicam just shy of 11 stops. The SDX900 captured 9 stops.

Robert Goodman
Author
Goodman's Guide to the Panasonic SDX900 - available around NAB time.
Goodman's Guide to the Panasonic Varicam - available this summer.



>By the way, in our testing we captured a dynamic range with the Varicam >just shy of 11 stops. The SDX900 captured 9 stops.

Whooo!!!! .... haaaaa....!!!!

>just completed two weeks of tests and image creation using the Varicam >and SDX900.

I hope you were using the same lenses (HD) for the Varicam and SDX. To match colour etc. I would love to know about the sensitivity difference between the two cameras.

Jacques "SDX 900 owner/wildlife cameraman"Nortier



Jacques,

In our tests we did not use matched lenses - practical reasons - we were testing and creating images that are being used separately and wanted the imagery from the cameras to reflect what a typical user would see.

Chris could help himself by using matched lenses or at least lens from the same manufacturer so any lens coloration issues would be eliminated.

However, one camera is a standard-def camera and the other is a high-def camera. The color rendition is close but the standard-def camera produces a picture that doesn't have the same subtly of color. Seen by itself, the SDX900 produces amazing pictures for a standard-definition camera. Putting it side by side next to a Varicam reveals the value of high-def.

Robert Goodman
Author,
Philadelphia, PA.



However, one camera is a standard-def camera and the other is a high-def camera.

I know

I own an SDX 900 and wanted to know because I am preparing for a docco with a lot of night shoots (wildlife) so no lights or small Kino’s. I'm more interested in the sensitivity difference. If any.

Jacques Notier



>I'm considering the SDX900 and wondered if anyone had experience in >intercutting this camera with the Varicam. How well do they match?

If that were my project I'd just say no. If you're going out to film there's no point, there's going to be a noticeable difference any way you slice it. If it's going to tape...you might get away with it, but then what's the point of shooting in HD? Might as well just get two SDX-900's that will actually match.

I just hate the idea of dropping to a lesser format for coverage. It's a total compromise on the look. In the middle of a key scene you're suddenly looking at footage that doesn't match the previous shot. It's a -little- bit distracting. I'd rather find ways to make the coverage work with one camera.

Not that I really have an opinion or anything...

Years ago I was pulling focus on a 35mm low budget feature when a 16SR2 showed up one day. I asked what it was for, and was told it was "B" camera for the day. I still don't quite get what was going through their minds...

Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/



>However, one camera is a standard-def camera and the other is a high->def camera.

This, in fact, is the bottom line with even the best currently available consumer displays when viewing HD for TV.

Once you get sufficiently back from the consumer display screen, the much higher resolution of HD becomes close to meaningless. Fifteen feet back from a 50 inch screen, few people (and just about no civilians) would be able to consistently tell the difference between well shot SD and HD.

What's left is HD originated images' remarkable ability to display subtle secondary colors, and to differentiate between pastels which are almost but not quite identical. This is where the format shines.

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC



>Fifteen feet back from a 50 inch screen, few people (and just about no >civilians) would be able to consistently tell the difference between well >shot SD and HD.

Boy do I disagree with that!

Everybody who sat that far or further from my HDTV at the Super Bowl easily knew the difference when I changed the channel.

Chris Taylor
DGA/IA600
Santa Monica



Chris Cooke-Johnson writes :

>I'm considering the SDX900 and wondered if anyone had experience in >intercutting this camera with the Varicam.

Among other considerations, you might want to reserve the SD cameras for tighter shots and/or frame your HD camera a bit wider. You might also plan your action, lighting and coverage in a way that motivates the expected differences in color depth between the SD and HD cameras.

Of course, you'll want to run your SDX-900s in DVCPRO-50 mode.

Good luck... and let us know how it goes.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



>Fifteen feet back from a 50 inch screen, few people (and just about no >civilians) would be able to consistently tell the difference between well >shot SD and HD.

>Boy do I disagree with that! Everybody who sat that far or further from >my HDTV at the Super Bowl easily knew the difference when I changed >the channel.

Sorry, I should have clarified that a bit. What I said generally does not apply to live (sports) events, and certainly not when the same set is being switched back and forth with one feed 16:9 and one pillar boxed or stretched.

But I maintain that the same well shot 35mm feature or commercial dumped to both DigiBeta and HDCam in 16:9 format, and shown in component format on identically sized 16:9 quality sets side by side, would get just as many wrong responses a right ones from civilians to the question of which is the HD feed.

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC