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Overcranked Varicam > 25P SD

Published : 9th October 2003


I'm looking at using a Varicam to shoot 60p slo-mo for a PAL music video. The rest of the footage will be shot in 25P DV.

I've read up on the FRC27 Frame Rate Converter, but I don't know if it's available anywhere yet (FWIW the director and editor of this show is in LA and whatever we do needs to be done reasonably close to him); furthermore it's unclear if I can get the 60p slowed down to 25p and downconverted to SDTV without a very circuitous route involving a 1080-line intermediate output through a UFC1800, etc. It also looks like the FRC is happy to output 24p, but 25p might be an issue. Anyone know? Or have pointers to an ops manual?

What are folks doing in the real world to take overcranked Varicam footage and slow it down? The FRC27? HDBoxx? FCP + KonaHD + After Effects? Anyone taken Varicam down to 25p who can cast some light?

We're also looking at Twixtor & FieldKit to time-stretch 60i SD, and shooting (gasp!) actual overcranked film. Wonders, it appears, may never cease.

Adam Wilt / Camera Guy / Menlo park CA USA



Adam,

Having just finished the HD online for a feature shot entirely with the 27V, I have a thing or two to add.

[Adam] I've read up on the FRC27 Frame Rate Converter, but I don't know if it's available anywhere yet (FWIW the director and editor of this show is in LA and whatever we do needs to be done reasonably close to him)…

[Lucas] The FRC27 is available in LA, but only at a few places. The only shops that I know of that have both an HD150 and an FRC27 for rental are Birns & Sawyer and Plus8…

[Adam] It also looks like the FRC is happy to output 24p, but 25p might be an issue. Anyone know? Or have pointers to an ops manual?…

[Lucas] What you are looking to do is not the forte of the FRC27. Remember, the FRC's mission in life is to convert Varicam footage shot *with* flagged frames. It digitizes the 59.94p footage and can output any one of a variety of SMPTE standards BASED ON the flagged frames, which is not what you're trying to do. You are shooting 60 temporal frames per second, and want to play all of those frames at a slower rate.

I honestly don't know if the HD150 will do this, but the way it is done on HDCAM is straightforward. Shoot at 1080/59.94i. Then put the deck in 1080/23.98p mode and play the tape. It will play, and it will be slow. If the HD150 can do the same thing, bob's your uncle. If not, then digitize the footage into any good high-end non-linear HD box, and convert it there. I do this a lot on Avid DS|HD and IFX Piranha, and I know that iQ and Fire can do this as well.

[Adam] furthermore it's unclear if I can get the 60p slowed down to 25p and downconverted to SDTV without a very circuitous route involving a 1080-line intermediate output through a UFC1800, etc…

[Lucas] This is dependent on how the HD150 works, and if you can do the same thing as HDCAM - play back a tape recorded at one format into another format. If so, then set the deck to playback at 50fps, and record to another deck at 60fps. That new tape can become your downconvert offline master…

[Adam] What are folks doing in the real world to take overcranked Varicam footage and slow it down? The FRC27? HDBoxx? FCP + KonaHD + After Effects? Anyone taken Varicam down to 25p who can cast some light?…

[Lucas] Again, this depends on whether you are shooting flagged frame footage, or shooting 60fps and wanting to play that back at a slowed down rate.

This seems confusing because, well, it is.

Lucas Wilson
Director - HD Post-Production
iO Film
Hollywood



Adam Wilt wrote :

>I'm looking at using a Varicam to shoot 60p slo-mo for a PAL music >video. The rest of the footage will be shot in 25P DV.

Crawford in Atlanta just got their FRC in last week. We were doing a 27V HD post and I thought I needed it to do a crank. It turned out we decided not to slow the 60fps down. I was in a tight time wise so I was unable to play with it. I would suggest that you call Ron Heidt, Senior HD editor. He can answer every question you may have. And he will have real world answers also.

Elliott Dunwody
Bright Blue Sky Productions
27v Media100 844/X



Adam Wilt wrote :

>We're also looking at Twixtor & FieldKit to time-stretch 60i SD, and >shooting (gasp!) actual overcranked film. Wonders, it appears, may >never cease.

Shoot film. Probably will look much better and in the end you have a choice of lots of different post houses and telecine facilities. 25/24 fps isn't a problem.

The Varicam is a clever idea, but in the end I think that all tape-based variable speed formats are doomed to fail, as they're not too versatile.

Jeff "better things are coming" Kreines



>The Varicam is a clever idea, but in the end I think that all tape-based >variable speed formats are doomed to fail, as they're not too versatile.

Give them time. Give them time.

I think it's a good idea, although 60fps isn't really fast enough to do the really cool stuff. Give me an HD system that can record 120fps and I'd be REALLY impressed.

I've been to two Panasonic demos and I still don't know what the cameras will do. Here's hoping the next demo will take place…

1/. In a dark room that's friendly to projectors...
2/. The will show more footage from cameras actually being shown other than old footage from cameras no longer made.

I don't remember seeing any slow motion footage, although I might have tuned out by the time the Varicam footage replaced the 480p uprezzed footage.

Art Adams, DP
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/



Just got off the phone with Jeff Merritt at Panasonic, and he gave the following info...

In addition to what I already wrote :

1) The FRC *can* do what you need it to. It will happily digitize 720/59.94p material, and then play it back at 25fps.

Keep in mind that this doubles your digitize time. You have to digitize it into the FRC, then play it back again from the FRC into whatever non-linear box you're using.

2) The HD150 cannot be set to play back tapes at a different frame rate.

3) The HD150 and FRC are available at 2 other locations in LA, and he gave me their names. But I was on my cell on the ride home through LA traffic, and don't remember their names. A little too much smoke a few years back destroyed the ole' short term memory, I'm afraid. Sigh.

He actually called me with the info as soon as he read the post, and encouraged me to call Panasonic with any and all questions about the HD150 and the FRC27. Now *that's* somebody who cares about his product.

Thanks Jeff!

Lucas Wilson
iO Film Hollywood



I have done several projects with the Varicam @ 25p SD or HD finish.

What you will need to do is record the overcranked material to the FRC hard drive and then replay it at 25p. I think the SDI downconverter is an optional board so you would either need to find an FRC with this option (and make sure it can handle PAL) or the other option is to use an external downconverter from the FRC's HD 25p output and then record this as 25p(sf) PAL DV. I've done this on one project where we looped through an HD-D5 deck to get the down conversion.

The other issue to keep in mind is that there will be no way of matching your DV time code to the camera original because of the different frame rates. From what you've described I don't imagine this will be an issue on the project you're doing.

Ben Allan ACS
Director of Photography



Art Adams wrote :

>I've been to two Panasonic demos and I still don't know what the >cameras will do.

Isn't that damn frustrating! Today free time is such a rarity. I get so fed up with any ill prepared demo where folks don't no their ass from a hole in the ground...

Tom McDonnell
DP
New Orleans, La



>Isn't that damn frustrating! Today free time is such a rarity. I get so fed >up with any ill prepared demo where folks don't know their <snip>

Panasonic really needs a Jeff Cree clone.

Urgently. Desperately.

Art Adams, DP



We're also looking at Twixtor & FieldKit to time-stretch 60i SD, and shooting (gasp!) actual overcranked film. Wonders, it appears, may never cease.

Jeff :

Other options for high quality retimed shots include :

"Kronos" from the foundry - a plug-in for Shake. Cyborg ( if a HD one can be found ) 5D plug-in for DS, Discreet, Jaleo.

Soon Speed Six will have the retimer from Cyborg avb for DS & High end Discreet as a plug-in, and The Foundry may port Kronos over to the same gang of likely suspects.

All these tools are a bit tricky to achieve best results, film shot at the proper speed is soooooo much better.

I have done the 60I è 25P trick with 900's - but was not happy with the results - they seemed soft when cut into the show - duhhhhhhh - using retimer was the best answer for us at the time, as Kronos was not avb then.

With the time & money we spent in post it would have saved the production $$ to have a high speed camera for the day.

Ta from the sunny northwest coast

Dermot Shane
Hd & film post, workflow, Vfx (X-camera guy)



>We're also looking at Twixtor & FieldKit to time-stretch 60i SD

I've been testing Twixtor and other plugins from Re: Vision, they do a whole range including deinterlace and blur at $98 each.

They seem to work really well, the only downsides that I can see are that they're not easy to use, or rather not intuitive and they are slow, very, very slow. But I guess I'm comparing the speed with Retimer which is a different level of cost completely.

I wasn't going to post about these yet, but what the hell…

First impressions www.revisionfx.com are well worth checking out.

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS

Director of Photography
EU based
www.cinematography.net



I used FRC for photography studio with Varicam, when a commercial film was photographed. It recorded on videotape also by FRC simultaneously with the tape by the side of a camera at the time of photography. It can see by 2X (in the case of 30P), or 2.5X (in the case of 24P) at the time of a check.

Moreover, if there is recorder HD130DC, an OKed part can be then recorded on videotape. However, they are 1080/59.94i or inclusion of 720/59.94P. In photography by Varicam, this system is likely to change standard in Japan.

Shuji Kurata (JSC)
Cinematographer/
http://www.geocities.co.jp/Hollywood-Miyuki/1053/