Cinematography Mailing List - CML

HD Sync & Blown Out Flesh Tones


So I have a gig coming up and need to do 2 things that are out of my immediate area of expertise.

I know how I would approach this in film but in HDTV?

Here is the deal...

I believe we will shoot with the 900 Cinealta.

I need to sync to a monitor that will be the star of the shot. I am worried that will it may appear to be in sync, what I don't want is to have for example Frame X captured on the video camera but the monitor in the scene will display the one field from the previous frame and the field from the next frame. (Frame Y with the upper field plus Frame Z with the lower field) Does that make sense? I would be a single field out of sync. This is a Composite heavy project that I will shoot 30 Progressive. No room for imperfection.

Do I need to and how do I gen lock the camera to the source.

My next concern is a shot of a woman’s face. I wants to be blown out with a glowing silky white complexion. The director wants to see only blue eyes in a field of creamy white skin. We have all seen this look. I know how I would do this in film, as I am sure we all do, but what about HD Video. My fear is that once blown out all detail will be gone. I wont be able to follow this through the Post chain of custody so I am looking for any suggestions anyone might have.

Thank You in Advance Gentlemen (persons)

Scott Mumford soc
Director of Photography
Proud Member of the American Liberal Media

Scott Mumford wrote:

(many snips)

> shoot with the 900

> a monitor

> worried <...> yo be in sync

> I will shoot 30 Progressive.

> Do I need to and how do I gen lock the camera to the source.

Given what you are trying to do I would suggest to invest in an on-set engineer to ensure that it gets done right the first time.

A few points/questions :

Are you shooting an HD monitor or SD?

You say "30 Progressive". You probably mean 29.97 PsF. If you are shooting an HD monitor, make sure that the material it is displaying is shot and produced at 29.97PsF.

Is this a locked-off shot or will there be any motion? In theory, if you are shooting PsF and the monitor is displaying 59.94i it should work. In practice I would be concerned about a timing issue causing problems.

Genlock is an absolute must. In the "old days" we would genlock the film camera to the video source. I used to work for a company called Video Image/VIFX that had a division that specialized in this very thing. Anyhow, in your case, if both camera and playback are the same standard you would genlock both to the same reference. Not difficult at all.

If you are going to shoot an SD monitor your choices are narrower and the potential issues go greater. You should not shoot PsF with an interlaced display. You can only get away with this if the material on screen is devoid of significant motion. If it isn't you are bound to capture inter-field motion. A lot of this is tempered by the size of the video image on screen. If it is going to fill the HD frame you may have a problem.

The alternative is to use an LCD-based display to take advantage of the slower response time. When we started to use LCD's at VIFX a number of issues went away. Today, you can walk into any consumer electronics store in the US and choose from among a couple dozen good LCD-based TV's. You might want to use one of them for your shoot. This is not necessary if the playback material will be HD as you can use a standard Sony HD monitor genlocked to the same reference as the camera, as I mentioned above.

Again, find an engineer who understands the issues involved and it will be a very easy (and successful) shoot. The production (and post) of the material to be shown on the monitor is just as important as everything else.

Test, test, test. Ask the rental house to help you setup a test. There's nothing like going on-set knowing what will work and what will not.

Hope this helps.

Martin Euredjian
eCinema Systems, Inc.


For the look of your actor I think you need a combination of approaches. And they start where you would if you were shooting on film.

Get as close as you can to the look you want with lighting and casting.

If the wrong person is chosen for this shot, you are at an instant disadvantage. The next step is a combination of filters and/or nets, camera detail/enhancement settings and a controlled use of the F900 knee function. Get a good VC, which it sounds like you need for the other part of your challenge anyway. He can turn off the camera's Auto DCC and then adjust the knee for the right amount of near clipping and white crushing that will give the blown out creamy skin tone you're after. This may also be a rare opportunity to actually use the skin detail function of the 900.

I think the look you're describing isn't so much a blown out/no detail look but a look where the face is represented in a very narrow range of values.

As Martin said, get yourself a good engineer explain the look you want and test...

Randy Miller, DP in LA

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