>Thought you guys (and girls?) might like to know that we are presently in Vilnius, Lithuania and start principle photography on what looks to be the first 100% Viper FilmStream feature film - Silence Becomes You - this weekend.
>I say 100%, but we will also be shooting a number of scenes with the Cinespeed high speed HD camera too.
>The project is being supported by MotioFX of the UK, who are supplying the Viper cameras (2 of), along with S.Two disc recorders, etc.
>All post-production is also being done by MotionFX on their two iQ systems, using the fantastic critical screening room at Marina Studio for the DI process. It has a 2K digital projector and 7.1 THX audio capability. They will also mix the audio for the film.
>We went through a number of camera tests yesterday with the DoP, Arturo Smith, who has just fallen in love with the camera setup and operation. He's decided to shoot 2.35 widescreen too, which is a great trick only the Viper is presently capable of.
>One of the great things for the production is that we will screen dailies, via a small digital projector, on a daily basis. No delay at all. The offline is even beginning during the production phase, probably on the new Adobe Premier HD system, as we can capture the rushes in realtime during the dailies screening.
>I'll post a few shots from the camera test on the Digital Praxis website when I get a chance.
>What system are you dumping the data off of the S-Two DFR mags into every night? How many digital mags are you planning to have on set? Once you edit the final HD product, what will you do with the unused footage? How will you archive that data?
>David Mullen, ASC
>Once you edit the final HD product, what will you do with the unused footage? How will you archive that data?
Pretty simple, really... filmout to 35.
>We are backing up to LTO2 daily via the S.Two docking station, and are using 2 S.Two recorders on set, one for each Viper. We have a total of 10 mags for the S.Twos. Unused footage will stay on the LTO2 tapes as the final archive medium.
>Think that just about covers lt.
Digital Praxis Ltd.
>The Viper filmstream project is using the S.two A.DOCK archiving Docking station. The Docking station is connected to an ADIC Scalar24 automated data tape library. The data tape format chosen is LTO2 for a large number of very good reasons. The A.DOCK manages the automated creation of data tapes and database in an industry standard uncompressed format. Operation is a single button push which copies the multiple D.MAG Digital Film magazines to an large high speed internal cache, and from there out to the data tapes.
>The system performs verification and data tests through out the process. For this production we are sending the tapes to London from Lithuania where they will be restored using a standard LTO2 tape drive into the production server and checked (again!!), once verified in London the D.MAG is erased and returned to Production. The system has been designed from the outset for maximum robustness and reliability as testing and usage have proved. Quality is not a negotiable in a movie environment. The ability to deliver fully redundant uncompressed camera masters is yet another key facility that we can offer for the adoption of digital data capture.
>The conform will be done on Motion FX Quantel IQ and the on location offline on a new system which is being tried here for the first time, both these parts Steve Shaw will gladly fill you in on as time goes on.
>I recommend any CML'ers to check out LTO2 and LTO3 tape specs at www.lto.org. And then look at media costs. Below US$50 for 200GB uncompressed.
>I will be posting much more detailed information about the A.DOCK and the feature film production workflows on our web site at www.stwo-corp.com next week.
>We now have many hundreds of hours of Viper FilmStream productions under the belts of our users around the world, all with film based production crews. A couple of very high profile things have been done completely in FilmStream and uncompressed data capture using S.two D.MAG systems.
MotionFX of London have been at the forefront of developing the system and workflow for commercials and features and own three Viper Cameras and all the required S.two supporting equipment.
>Sorry this post turned into a longer one than expected.
>Best wishes all
>Studio Post Telecine wrote:
class="style6" >Pretty simple, really... filmout to 35.
Well, yes, if you happen to have a couple of hundred thousand dollars sitting around for that purpose. And a way to catalogue it all (you won't have any references back to original time codes, identifying codes, or anything else - just key numbers from the film out). And people to do that.
>Most projects I've been around don't.
IATSE Local 600
>Pretty simple, really... filmout to 35.
>How much are you willing to pay? $0.50/frame? D-5/HDCam/SR would be a better bet, IMHO.
SFD Vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA
class="style6" > Pretty simple, really... filmout to 35.
class="style6" > Right?
>I don't think anyone is filming-out all UNUSED material for a digital feature. I shot an HD feature last year where we shot 70 hours of material. That would be very expensive to film-out. Probably you would dump it all to computer tapes or maybe HDCAM-SR tapes for archiving.
> It's just then you have all the costs of recording to hard drives AND all the costs of recording to tape for the same material.
>David Mullen, ASC
>I think this approach is great for a fairly static shoot.
>The big problem is still a shoot where the camera is very mobile and locations change very quickly.
>Maybe a combination of the new Thomson RAM recorder with the S2 and tape backup will work.
>My own feeling is that it's all a bit cumbersome for a lot of shoots.
>That's not meant to be a knock, I'm really impressed with the workflow that S2 have come up with it's just it seems to be a little limiting for some jobs.
>Once you edit the final HD product, what will you do with the unused >footage? How will you archive that data?
>Really? All the B stuff? it's WAY cheaper just to shoot on film than to film out the unused footage.
>Dave Stump ASC
On Location - Vancouver
>Thought you guys (and girls?) might like to know that we are presently >in Vilnius, Lithuania and start principle photography on what looks to >be the first 100% Viper FilmStream feature film ...
>Red Riding Hood was completed 14 months ago shot 99% on two Vipers from Plus 8 Digital, and though not all of the 1200 plus blue screen composites are done yet, I think it still qualifies as the first all Viper feature. Yes? No?
>Dave Stump ASC
On Location - Vancouver
>This is the first FilmStream feature. 10bit LOG 4:4:4 throughout, an will be posted in LOG space too.
>All other film have been Linear, and most 4:2:2.
>That was why I qualified the title, although with a spelling mistake - which is normal for me.
>Well, yes, if you happen to have a couple of hundred thousand dollars >sitting around for that purpose. And a way to catalogue it all (you won't >have any references back to original time codes, identifying codes, or >anything else - just key numbers from the film out).
>On another list I posted a NY Times review of the Panasonic DVX 100A. The reviewer stated (twice) that this format can be easily transferred to film.
>The increase in the number of amateur filmmakers transferring their 24P projects to 35mm should easily bring the cost of transfers down. I can't wait.
IA 600 DP
>Did I hear correctly that an LTO tape was about $50 each -- how many minutes of 4:4:4 uncompressed HD footage does that hold? How many LTO tapes do you think you will use for the whole feature?
>David Mullen, ASC
>You get about 20 min per tape, which at under 50USD per tape is cheap. We have over 100 tapes on-set for under 5K USD total.
>While this is a great project, it's not a huge budget at all. By going this route we are making serious savings over 35mm, at a quality I know will be great from all the digital capture work we have already done, where I find the images superior to film, especially with dark scenes. And the better shadow handling of Viper over film is important for this project as it's real dark and moody film.
>And it's great fun to be doing something so bleeding edge! And I have to say that the support we are getting from the likes of Thomson, Quantel, Adobe, S.Two... is just amazing.
>You should have seen the editor's face when we told him it wasn't Avid, or FCP, but the new Adobe Premier Pro HD we wanted him to cut on! But we can play the HD rushes directly into the system during the dailies screen schedule, at 24fps with realtime compression. And the compression is amazing quality, even on the highest setting (lowest quality). Just hope he can work the keyboard. He's a great editor so we do have very high hopes. And as I get to fix any issues on-line, I guess the problem is mine, not his!
>I've posted a few pictures from the camera test day on the Digital Praxis website, and will attempt to add more as the project progresses.
>Steve Shaw writes:
>You get about 20 min per tape, which at under 50USD per tape is >cheap. We have over 100 tapes on-set for under 5K USD total.
>Are the drives small enough that you could put two of them into a camera magazine and just shoot directly onto two simultaneous tapes in real time? Or wouldn't the data recording rate be fast enough?
Marin County, CA
>Dan Drasin writes :
> Are the drives small enough that you could put two of them into a >camera magazine and just shoot directly onto two simultaneous tapes >in real time?
You're looking at a 19" rack system flight cased that is about 30" high.
>So I doubt it!
>The complete transfer kit, that I saw at Cinegear, consists of 2 of these cases.
>The LTO2 tapes and drive are small enough, but the data rates are not high enough.
>I think Geoff confused his reply with the S.Two disc recorders.
>Our Adic LTO2 tape jukebox is 19" rack mount, but only about 5" high and holds multiple tapes for its Jukebox operation. We just leave it archiving in the background, no problem.
>The beauty of the S.Two approach is that the on-set audio is also recorded fully sync'd to the DPX header files (from the audio recording system used), so the LTO2 tapes have all the necessary information for the on-line, all sync'd together.
>If I get a chance I work-y=up a full workflow description/diagram as this really is a simple operation.
Digital Praxis Ltd.
>Steve Shaw wrote:
> If I get a chance I work-y=up a full workflow description/diagram as this >really is a simple operation.
Simple for you, perhaps. But any production system that involves multiple 50 pound recorders, multiple cables, additional sound cables beyond what is required to connect the mics to the sound cart, master time code generators, a third recording system rack mounted in the truck with a backup system that must be 100% reliable, and reliable power to make all of these things work at the same time is NOT simple.
I didn't say it's bad, or that it can't work, but it's NOT "simple."
IATSE Local 600
>"Steve Shaw" wrote:
> on-set audio is also recorded fully sync'd to the DPX header
>how is the postpro workflow on that? How do you extract the audio from the DPX header an keep it in sync during postproduction? Do you use the TC from the header and name with that code the audio files for each frame?
>Same file name for Audio and DPX file?
ThatÂ´s one of the new parts in the chain, right?
>+++ Florian Rettich Medientechnik +++
Steve Shaw wrote :
>No multiple 50 pound recorders. Where did you get that from?
> From the last time I was around S.two equipment. They might not be 50 pounds, but they're not light - certainly not light enough to be held by someone during a shot. Or put in a backpack. And not small enough to fit
on a Peewee.
>And nothing is rack mounted in a truck as it's not necessary. We simply >have the archive system in one of the hotel rooms, along with the >dailies review projection. Can't do that with film.
>I wasn't comparing anything to film. I was comparing the current reality of disk based recording using S.two type devices to self contained camera systems such as HDCam, Varicam, and any film camera. And even the Genesis.
>By the way, I renew my call for a general ban on the use of the words "just" and "simply" anywhere on the CML.
>And as for reliable, as reliable as any film processing system I would >bet.
>Possibly. Unproven at the moment, although projects like the one you're involved with will go a long way towards proving this out.
>If we want to seperate them, for seperate post-production, both will hold >the same timecode, scene, take, etc., data. This is a very cool approach >to post-production, and a real cost saving too.
Perhaps. But I can't let go of the knowledge that S.two's history in terms of providing user controllable externally generated time code has been, in a word, bad. If that's finally changed, that's a good thing.
But it's still unproven.
>These posts are not intended to dampen your enthusiasm. I'm thankful that there are those out there on the "bleeding edge" who can help to try projects such as this in order to foster the use of new technology and new approaches. It has to start somewhere. But it **is** the "bleeding edge," and they call it that for a reason. I stand by what I said previously - it may be do-able, it may even be somewhat reliable (we don't know that yet), but it is NOT simple. Quite frankly, Steve, if it were you likely wouldn't be involved.
IATSE Local 600
>Mike Most writes :
> I didn't say it's bad, or that it can't work, but it's NOT "simple."
>This is the conclusion that my producer is rapidly coming to.
>I may be going back to 35mm because of the complexities involved inshooting HD at 4:4:4.
>This is specifically because of location shooting, cars, chases, helicopters, motorbikes and foul weather.
>Very few additional cables needed beyond normal video assist - if any at all.
>No multiple 50 pound recorders. Where did you get that from? No additional sound cables or timecode generator - its all run from the audio system as you would expect, with a single bnc to provide simultaneous audio with the images, but if you don't want to work that way and are happy with the separate image and audio approach of film, don't connect it!
>And nothing is rack mounted in a truck as it's not necessary. We simply have the archive system in one of the hotel rooms, along with the dailies review projection. Can't do that with film.
>And as for reliable, as reliable as any film processing system I would bet.
>No its not bad, and it is very simple, for me and anyone else. I await ram packs with a burning desire, but that will change only part of what we are doing. It works now, and easily.
>Keeping the audio and image in sync from the DPX file is as easy as keeping the file meta data and image in sync. As they are locked together, they stay together.
>If we want to separate them, for separate post-production, both will hold the same timecode, scene, take, etc., data. This is a very cool approach to post-production, and a real cost saving too.
>I do agree with some of the limitations you have listed, but as with the use of different film stocks, I would suggest the use of different cameras for different applications. We are obviously using the Cinespeed camera for high-speed, and I'd happily use HDCam for bike work, etc. Mixing the footage
isn't a problem, so long as you understand the shooting limitations, just like using different film stocks.
>Wildcat Flying have the helicopter stuff sorted with a Sony F950 and S.Two/SRW, and foul weather isn't a problem, although does have some specific requirements. We are shooting in snow in Lithuania!
>However, these issues will change again with ram packs, as I know you believe too. This project just couldn't wait for them though.
>What are you shooting 4:4:4 at the moment, and what issues is your producer up against?
>It's only through discussions like this that ideas get worked through, and new ideas thought-up. No problem at all with your comments.
>The S.Two recorders can be pack mounted in a back-pack, although I'm too weedy to run around like that! Not sure exactly how much weight they are, but I can carry one single handed when following the camera. Batteries are a different question, and a belt pack will work, but not for extended shooting.
>If you look at the images on the Digital Praxis website (Dark Communion shoot) you can see the rig we use to move them around. A John O'Quigley developed Peewee that has the batteries, charger, S.Two, monitor, etc., housed on it, and can be humped/wheeled around easily. The batteries on this Peewee (?) are good for about 3 hours shooting, and can be simultaneously charged when sound isn't an issue. Again, a John O'Quigley development. He's been the real brains behind making this stuff work on-location. It's this that makes what we are doing a little different from what other people have been able to do.
>However, as I said I do look forward to ram packs. That will change everything, making all these cameras capable of being self-contained as like HDCam, film, etc, but at full digital cinematography quality.
>As for S.Two, we have been working very closely with them, helping with their development process. Their system is working flawlessly at the present time, although they are developing yet more improvements for us, and other users. It's the best solution we have come across, especially as they have though about archive and backup too, for both images and audio. This is a great change to traditional workflow, as I said.
>As you say, this is a bleeding-edge project, aiming to prove a lot of this theory. Three days in to shooting and things are looking and going great! At the end we will know exactly how reliable, and how do-able, as you suggest!
>So, I do think its 'very' simple, but MotionFX have thought through this stuff a lot, and as they have a lot of location experience through sister company Motion Control Cameras (film historically) they have taken a well thought-out route to make everything work.
>I'm here to make the image workflow happen, from scene-to-screen, and being involved in the production for a project I will be responsible for post-production of is obviously a big help, and something I would suggest to all production companies looking to use digital cinematography to do. It will prevent a lot of unnecessary production problems, and make post as easy as possible.
>Can't decode your last sentence though???
>All the best,
Digital Praxis Ltd
>Steve Shaw writes :
> I do agree with some of the limitations you have listed, but as with the >use of different film stocks, I would suggest the use of different >cameras for different applications.
>I agree, it's just that for this particular project it would turn into an equipment nightmare, we'd end up carrying so much kit that we'd have more than most rental companies!
>The helicopter requirement is for mini choppers and there are none with HD at the moment.
> What are you shooting 4:4:4 at the moment, and what issues is your >producer up against?
>We're not is the short answer!
>We're prepping a $30M movie that will shoot in various countries and conditions.
>We looked at doing it Viper, wanted to in fact, but it just isn't going to work given the current state of the kit.
>The RAM recorders will make a lot of things more possible but the Exec is unwilling to go that bleeding edge. I can't say that I really blame him. The bonding company weren't amused either!
>It looks like it's the LT & 235 for most of it with Aaton XTR for flashback sequences.
>It's Steadicam with some mini-copter and some mounted on cars for chase sequences.
>We're prepping a $30M movie that will shoot in various countries and >conditions.
>It looks like it's the LT & 235 for most of it with Aaton XTR for flashback >sequences.
>Keep us posted...
>Nick Hoffman NYDP
>Steve Shaw wrote:
>However, as I said I do look forward to ram packs. That will change >everything, making all these cameras capable of being self-contained >as like HDCam, film, etc, but at full digital cinematography quality.
>I would amend that to say "affordable ram packs." That is not likely the first time around, especially in light of the fact that you'll have to carry at least 2 or 3 of them per camera (unlike a tape machine such as the SRW1, with which you change only the tape). If it is not economically advantageous to shoot on a digital system, there is little reason for a producer to do so, especially with the inevitable added complications (vs. the well known workflow for film).
>Note I did not say there is little reason for a cinematographer, who hopefully has considerations other than financial.
IATSE Local 600
>Just want to point out that the job of transferring data from one device to another isn't done until it has been _verified_, that is, read back and bit-by-bit compared to the original by software, or, looked at by someone all the way through to make sure there aren't any corrupted frames.
>Corruption doesn't happen very often, but it's always bad when it does. Also, data is not really stored safely unless it's stored on two separate pieces of physical media which are stored in separate locations.
>At an absolute minimum, copies need to be spot-checked. And properly labelled.
SFD Vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA
>As some of you know, we're expecting our first Viper/Stwo packages very soon, so all this is 100% on topic for us. From everyone's valuable input, we're putting together a unique work flow which we'll talk about shortly, once all the dots and i's have lined up (smirk)...
> transferring data from one device to another isn't done until it has >been_verified_, that is, read back and bit-by-bit compared to the >original by software, or, looked at by someone all the way through to >make sure there aren't any corrupted frames.
>Which software can do this task reliably?, especially considering the size of some of the files? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Groupe TSF, Paris
>Danys BRUYERE wrote:
>Which software can do this task reliably?
>What we're really talking about here is the storage, verification and backup of digital data. Nothing really new about that. What is "bleeding edge", then, is how that is now being applied to the digital cinema set.
>There's quite a long list of mature software for backup and verification of digital data, and the list has been around for quite a long time. "cpio", for example, is an old Unix backup program (which also became the name of a now classic film character). S.Two, I understand, runs a flavour of Linux, which, like OS X (based on FreeBSD) and 40 year old Unix, come with lot's of choices.
>While I'm sure cinema specific user friendly software will eventually appear, the easy solution for now is to take a Linux geek along on the shoot.
Admit One Pictures
>While I'm sure cinema specific user friendly software will eventually >appear, the easy solution for now is to take a Linux geek along on the >shoot.
>The S.Two A.Dock does a full verification of its data backup to LTO2, making their archive as close to 100% reliable as is possible. We don't need any form of geek on-set as this is a really easy process to manage (ask John O'Quigley who is managing this what his background is!). Each tape has a barcode so the archive system logs where data is stored, making management real easy.
>The short of it is that mobility is the only remaining small problem when using such digital cinematography systems, and I'm not using the HD tag as this is well beyond HD video (should this be on the 4:4:4 full resolution forum?).
>RAM packs can't come soon enough to provide full mobility, but in the present the system we are using is a serious match for any traditional film process, and the images are amazing. And while they will be expensive they are reusable, so cost can be spread over many features. Not so with tape. An unlike all tape at such resolutions and formats they are uncompressed.
>I'm not suggesting film is dead (we are also presently performing the DI on Warner Bros. feature 'Ramdom', as a super 35mm film project to be finalised 2.35) but the concept of digital cinematography is becoming a reality.
>I was also involved in discussions with the bonding company for this project (Silence Becomes You), and when they realised the ability to review data on-set meant there was potentially less chance for failure than with film they were happy with the risk.
>On a daily basis John is making duplicate safety copies of the image data, then being held in a safe store. The primary copy we will use for the on-line, with the offline being performed in parallel with the shoot as we can load the off-line system while reviewing the day's dailies.
>Hope this help the explanation a bit more. There is a lot to discuss, and I'm sure we have not though of everything so all input is welcome.
>As always, more than happy to answer any questions. There has been a lot of off-list discussion too.
>All the best,
>Steve Shaw wrote:
> We don't need any form of geek on-set as this is a really easy process >to manage
>You're there, aren't you?
>The short of it is that mobility is the only remaining small problem when >using such digital cinematography systems
>I'd call that a bit more than a small problem. It makes the approach impractical in many cases.
>but in the present the system we are using is a serious match for any >traditional film process, and the images are amazing. And while they >will be expensive they are reusable, so cost can be spread over many >features.
>Provided the usefulness of the technology lasts that long. You yourself are saying that there are problems with your current approach in terms of portability and cost. You also mention that ram packs are your ultimate answer. This only serves to illustrate one of the biggest problems I can see with recording on file based systems - the fact that someone, somewhere along the line, has to invest in the rather steep cost of acquiring those systems and production has to pay enough on a per project basis to warrant that investment. And the investment, inevitably, is going to have to pay off short term.
>Until things settle down and the dust clears a bit, anything that's done in this area has to, by definition, be deemed a bleeding edge project that is not being done under "normal" financial constraints, but more to test and hopefully advance the technology. Once again, it's nice that you and some others are involved in such projects. But it's not ready for prime time at this point - not even close. Not when you can shoot film, have none of the problems you mention, have a clearly defined and well supported and understood post path, and wind up spending less money in the process. Without a creative reason to do so, a "normal" project has no real reason to go the route you're taking.
IATSE Local 600
>Having a break from the family madness that is Christmas! Hope you're all enjoying the day as much as me!!!
>So, to the comments from Mike...
>As a creative, I'm not sure I'm qualified to be a geek stand-in! I do understand technology, but can't program worth a damn, and neither can John, so once again, no geeks on set! I'm also not on-set all the time as the technology is running itself, with a data monkey (new version of a clapper loader?) to manage the images. This John is performing, and he is no geek, believe me!
>This is a 100% profit based project - not a technology play-thing, and we are already planning the follow-on projects based on the success - so-far- of this approach. We will come away from this with both experience and profit!
>I am definitely not saying there are problems with what we are doing. There are areas that can be improved, but that does not make them problems. That goes for ram packs. They are not my ultimate answer, but will be a great addition to what we already have in operation.
>And based on the budget for this film, and the following ones in planning, cost isn't a problem. We are specifically working with the lower-end of the market (independent productions) where finances are not Hollywood sized!
>This is a normal production that has gone this 'technology' route as it was the only way to meet the budget requirements. There are any number of reasons why any production should look to go this route in preference to a more traditional one. Cost savings are top-most.
>Not ready for prime time? - Bah, Humbug!
>Proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Future cinematography will define the success, or not, of this approach.
>I often get asked if I support digital cinematography over film. My answer is that film works because it has over 100 years of experience behind it.
Imagine that we had been using digital cinematography for over 100 years, and some bright spark just invented film... what's the chance of it ever taking off?
>All I'm after is the best possible image, within budget, on-time, and without creative restriction.
Digital Praxis Ltd
>Steve Shaw wrote:
> So, to the comments from Mike...
>Steve, don't get me wrong - I'm very happy that you're out there doing this, helping to blaze trails for those that come after you. And I'm also very glad that a company was willing to go this route at this stage in the technology's development. That said...
> This is a normal production that has gone this 'technology' route as it >was the only way to meet the budget requirements.
>I still fail to see how this can be the case, unless you're getting a good deal of the gear and the post support for, shall we say, a serious "discount." Or perhaps I'm overestimating what I think all of this really costs - although I am familiar with the "going rates" for most of it. Could you comment on this, or is this information you would rather not disclose here? I'll understand if that's the case.
> All I'm after is the best possible image, within budget, on-time, and >without creative restriction.
>What is "best" is always redefined on a per project basis.
>"Best" can mean the best technical specs (in which case you'd have a hard time convincing me or just about anyone else here that the Viper images are superior to modern film stocks), best match of technology specifications to the required task (as in available light night exteriors in Collateral), or best match of that technology's look to the creative needs of the storytellers and the story being told. Oh yes, and the available budget.
IATSE Local 600