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class="Paragraph" Varicam vs Super 16 For Slo-Mo

class="Paragraph" Published : 13th June 2004

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Hey folks,

I've got a tennis spot coming up that is between Varicam and Super 16. It involves some 60fps stuff. From reading the archives I'm led to believe the Panasonic does true 60P, not line doubling, and would be fine for the slo-mo. Is this correct and how does this affect my shutter speed and apparent ASA?

The other question is how will this footage hold up for a freeze frame?

Marty Mullin
DP
Los Angeles


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Varicam does shoot true 60 fps progressive. Naturally, you need more light (in this case, less ND) when you increase the frame rate; the “ASA” remains constant.

Whether or not a frame captures is suitable depends on your specific requirements and is subjective.

Follow this link to see some samples I captured from Varicam material : ftp://hdleo:hdleo@ftp.ltpro.com

The frames were captured at 720p via a DeckLink HD into FCP and are not color corrected. Convert to 300 dpi and you will find the size rather small, but of excellent quality.

Good shooting!

Leo Ticheli
Director/Cinematographer
Birmingham/Atlanta


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Marty Mullin wrote :

>The other question is how will this footage hold up for a freeze frame?

What do you want to freeze? Start there. I have shot a *ton* of tennis on s 16 at the US open for some creative services types @ a cable network. I you are using pro level players hitting the ball at a pro level practice pace, 60 FPS may not be enough. I shot lots of 60, 72 and >100 fps material and the higher the speed the better especially if you want a freeze frame. With Varicam you can go for a narrower shutter angle which will crisp-up the 60 frames you do get but you still might find the frame that you wanted is missing because you weren't capturing enough frames/second.

If you take an SR 3 narrow the shutter and bump the frame rate to around 100 you'll be in a very happy range for a wide variety of action. You'd get a pretty decent freeze of a racquet making contact with the ball on a serve, leaving a cloud of ball fuzz in the air after the racquet/ ball exit frame for example.

The effective shutter angle on the Varicam will get much narrower than the SR 3 But you can shoot much higher frame rates with the SR which is often what the game is about with sports action.

Mark Smith
Oh Seven Films
143 Grand St
Jersey City, NJ 07302


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Mark Smith writes :

>The effective shutter angle on the Varicam will get much narrower than >the SR 3 But you can shoot much higher frame rates with the SR which >is often what the game is about with sports action.

One possible consideration might also be that film cameras have focal-plane shutters, which theoretically can distort the shapes of fast-moving objects -- whereas video cameras' electronic "shutters" won't.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


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Dan Drasin wrote :

>One possible consideration might also be that film cameras have focal->plane shutters, which theoretically can distort the shapes of fast-moving >objects -- whereas video cameras' electronic "shutters" won't.

In my experience with tennis the shape distortion caused by shutter has been negligible, and I have looked at many freeze frames. The basic issue with Varicam ( and I really like this camera) is that you are limited to 60 fps. By narrowing shutter angle you are actually losing temporal information and gaining the advantage of sharpening what information is left. With an SR 3 in this case not only can you sharpen temporal information by going to 45 degree shutter but you can also gather up to 1 1/2 times more slices of time (150fps) than the HD camera.

More = better.

I would be concerned that with the HD rig that when you went to look for your freeze frames the ones you want might not be there because the temporal sampling just isn't high enough.

If you have pro players in front of the game playing "their" game higher temporal sampling is where you want to go. A good amateur might have a 70 mph serve once and a while and there are quite a few pros that regularly serve above 125 and a couple that get to 150.

Mark Smith
Oh Seven Films
143 Grand St
Jersey City, NJ 07302


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Dan Drasin writes :

>...film cameras have focal-plane shutters, which theoretically can distort >the shapes of fast-moving objects...

Yeah. That's why our football footage shot at 120fps looks so freakishly weird.

Steve Richer
Camera tech
NFL Films