View Full Version : Shooting progressive in documentary enviroment..

02-29-2004, 04:32 PM
Have just purchased a DVX100 AE (PAL) and will be shooting a documentary involving a lot of travel, interviews etc, much of this being in developing countries (India, Bangladesh etc).

Whilst I'm very keen for a stylized "film-look", I'm concerned about shooting 25P progressive in enviroments where I'll have little or no control of the light. I'm pretty well-read on the theory behind shooting cine-look in progressive, but have noticed that it is said that images can still look terrible without real, movie-like control of lighting etc.

Should I give up and stick with 60i? I really don't want to....

The final product will be both screened on TV and output to film for festivals etc. Any ideas, feedback, comments on this would be greatly appreciated. I'm frantically test - shooting at the moment but haven't much time!!

J.R. Hudson
02-29-2004, 04:36 PM
Documentarys in the past have been shot on 16mm and have looked wonderful.

03-01-2004, 09:39 AM
I'm always cautious about saying "well, this was shot in 16mm so the DVX can do the same thing," because it's often not true. in this case, it's fairly close. the light sensitivity of the DVX in 24p (though not even close to as good as a PD-150 in 60i) is still better than shooting 16mm. Of course, low light 16mm looks grainy as hell, while the DVX has video noise PLUS much more noticeable strobing.

I think what John was mainly referring to is the fact that documentarians (especially verite guys like pennebaker, wiseman, drew, leacock, maysles, etc.) would shoot 16mm, hand-held in the field in tough situations, but they would do it with on-camera or portable lights, etc.

I know on-camera lights bite it big time, but it's still better than the crap you end up with in low-light, especially when shooting 24P. And you'd be surprised how few people actually care that you're shining a light around--if they're ok with the invasiveness of a camera, adding a light to the situation usually isn't a big deal.

03-02-2004, 07:01 AM
Thanks for the replies guys, really appreciate. I've decided to elaborate on this a bit - pls see my other post - thanks again.

03-02-2004, 07:03 AM
Moderator - you can take this down now if you want, I've kind of gone over it all again in my new post..

04-21-2004, 11:57 AM
Hi Mr Lewis,
Besides the low light issue, I wonder how you have resolved the strobbing you get while shooting 25P. I just bought myself the panni100ae and am still getting to terms with the strobbing. So, in that sense, it may not make much sense t shoot 25P if you want a television or festival release.

05-01-2004, 10:13 AM
Don't be afraid of shooting in progressive. I am currently logging over 27 hours of doc footage I shot this Feb. I bought a light kit to set for the various locations (some places would not let me set up-that I when I wish I had a on camera light) the final outcome, esp. for festivals will be worth it. Good luck

06-06-2004, 11:56 AM
I'm shooting a doc in 30p, and I really like the look of it. Main problem is having to manually adjust the iris, which is a pain when shooting guerilla-style.

06-07-2004, 04:29 PM
I'm currently shooting a doc in 24pa and I would say... Don't do it unless you properly light all of your interviews and b-roll. I bring a 4-piece light kit, audio package, stands, etc to every shoot. 9-times out of 10, the set-up and break-down takes longer than the interview, but it's well worth it. I made an attempt to do a run-and-gun in January with no lighting in 24pa and it wasn't worth it.

Even if you're using natural outdoor light on a sunny day, you're going to want silks, bounce cards or reflectors to rid of glares and shadows. I picture my DVX100 as a film camera and not video. If you're going for unobtrusive doc-style, you might consider 60i and create the film look in post.

Just my $0.02

06-08-2004, 06:30 PM
I've got a Lowe light kit (very small and very efficient), as well as a super reflector kit, but have yet to use them. Available light in daytime, even in rain and snow, has been perfectly adequate at 30p. Even night shooting in places like bars and campfires looks good, even moody. Am I missing something? Is 24p that much more difficult that 30p?

05-14-2005, 07:20 AM
Ive been shooting this documentry series for tv using PD-170. I had 3 piece lightning kit with small whitecards and all the accessories, but sometimes i didnt had a chance to light properly and just made adjusments with the avilable light. the PD handeled the avialble light preaty well in indoors i must say...

Now i started shooting a doc with the DVX 100a and the problem i enounter is not with the 24p (which is nice in my opinion) but with the GAMMA settings avilable. a portion of the movie is only avialbe light and i find it difficult to decided which GAMMA setting to use because in each lightning condition it reacts totaly diffrent (indoors and outdoors for instance).

I find it most annoying when shooting with flouracent light or any other low-contracst situation indoors becuase in one hand I can achive a very good and contrasty image inspite the lowcontrast light which is avialbe (that is using the cinema-like-V option), but the same mode cant handle the hotspots created from the flouracent hitting the wall. its burned out totaly and i cant even think of shooting the practicle itself , which is even more disturbing . its seems that the Cinema-like-v Gamma mode has to much harsh curve on the highlilghts and i find my self restricted to shooting only the low-contrast areas on the location, avoiding any highlight.

I thought about switching to the normal Cinema-Like mode which has much more latitude and is less contrasty but i realy dont like this look and probably will have to make it more contrasty in post..... any suggestions?

Nadav Hekselman.

Erik Olson
05-14-2005, 08:49 AM
We shot 30p on our trek to Belize last summer and I really like the way it lends itself to slow motion when the need arises. The 30 fps progressive mode takes the video edge off, and also kills the 24p(a) lag - making it better suited to "reality" and news acquisition.

We did switch to setting 6 for the one reenactment we shot of a poacher versus ranger in the mangroves. Though I didn't frame enough angles to make the sequence work the way I wanted, the 24pa definitely made that scene stand out as a narrative rather than a news segment.

We are also shooting bumps and wraparounds in 24pa with all the cine settings on.


05-17-2005, 12:04 AM
we have over 50 hours of B-roll and interviews shot in 24pa. It looks good...but if we could do it again we would have done 24P or 30P. Most of our main interviews were shot with all natural lighting...they look the best.