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View Full Version : Best New Video Camera For "Film"?



SquidLips
09-07-2005, 11:52 PM
I have produced 7 films (all but one shot on 16mm and 35mm) and the last one was done on the panasonic HD Cams. It was my first experience with the format and though I know it is not replacing the film look I love so much...it really impressed me especially with the ability to crunch blacks and play with colors, etc. (you can check past posts on the film DUAL shot in April - trailer available as a low res quicktime file).

I have now considered buying a "prosumer" camera for future use for either a low budget film or maybe short, etc. My question is, what gives the most cinematic look in the video department? After seeing the capability of the higher end HD Cam I am wondering how close are the JVC or the like coming to these effects? Or, do most feel the DVX or XL2 are still giving the best look with Standard Def for a "movie like" experience? (I actually directed a horror feature recently with the DVX100A and it did look pretty good, some scenes almost dead on 16mm)

Since films like November and high end films like Sin City and Once Upon A Time In Mexico are opening doors for video acceptance, what would work best? I have two scripts and 50K to 75K for each and taking into account film cost, telecine, developing, etc. as much as I would like to shoot Super 16mm, maybe a 6K investment in the JVC or 5K investment in an XL2 would lend to getting a few done for my budget restrictions.

PS I am very versed in the business of filmmaking/production but am just learning about the finer technical details with cameras, etc.

Thanks!

mezelf27
09-08-2005, 03:19 AM
check these and judge for yourself...

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=50551

SquidLips
09-08-2005, 11:16 AM
Thanks for that. I am on dinosaur dial up so can not yet see the images but the discussion was interesting. I will download the images this evening.

If the images of this camera is even a step or two above the DVX100, I would be impressed.

nateweaver
09-08-2005, 11:30 AM
The image quality is 2 or 3 steps above, from a purely technical standpoint, but it doesn't by default lend a kind look to things like the DVX does. The DVX always renders things a little warm, but 90% of the time it's a nice thing and makes things pleasing. The JVC by default does NOT do that.

Tibby
09-08-2005, 11:35 AM
If I had to shoot a film with a video camera, assuming I would do a film out, and I wanted to keep it under 10,000 the JVC HD100 seems to be the only choice presently.

If I was doing the same thing and didn't mind shooting in SD I would get an Xl2, a lens adapter (M2 or G35) and some nikon primes.

Either will cost you around 6k when all is said and done.

Jaime Valles
09-08-2005, 11:40 AM
If you can wait until the HVX200 comes out this fall, that'll probably be the best bang for the buck in image quality.

Antoine_Fabi
09-08-2005, 12:03 PM
I am absolutely impressed by these extremely clean images.

mezelf27
09-08-2005, 12:15 PM
As nate did say: more then just a step or 2 steps above the DVX (and it should)...

SquidLips
09-09-2005, 02:32 AM
Is there a reason people are holding off for the Panasonic? Is the "chip" or the resolution a decidedly important factor? I guess what I intend to do is shoot a few films and just want them looking "good". I doubt they will ever get to a film out and will probably instead be direct to video/cable or for digital projection at festivals. But, I would be interested and willing to pay the extra $1500 or so more for the JVC (or Panasonic when it arrives) over, say an XL2 or DVX100, if the "look" is better.

It sounds like the DVX100 is getting a boost in the "film like" department even over the higher end cameras per Nate's comment above, and others.

Barry_Green
09-09-2005, 11:24 AM
People are holding out for the Panasonic because it delivers 1080/24p, it has variable frame rates, it has 50% more resolutoin and three times as much chroma resolution as the JVC, it uses the same DVCPRO-HD codec as found in the $70,000 VariCam, and the intangible is that it should basically be the beloved DVX with high-def resolution.

ballyhoo42
09-09-2005, 12:03 PM
So should I be totally bummed that I bought the DVX100a this July?

Barry_Green
09-09-2005, 12:22 PM
Of course not! The DVX100A is half the cost of these other cameras. They're in a totally different league, not even in direct competition with each other.

The HVX promises to be a breakthrough in many ways, just as the HD100 is. But those cameras cost around double what a DVX does.

SquidLips
09-09-2005, 01:45 PM
Barry this may over lap a bit from my other post, but.....

"People are holding out for the Panasonic because it delivers 1080/24p, it has variable frame rates, it has 50% more resolutoin and three times as much chroma resolution as the JVC, it uses the same DVCPRO-HD codec as found in the $70,000 VariCam, and the intangible is that it should basically be the beloved DVX with high-def resolution."

Are the variable frame rates aplicable to the 24P? In other words will it emulate either slow motion of speed up action (say for a fight scene)?

I assume the "chroma" advance is what gives the video it's "film look" correct?

Do either cameras have a variable shutter?

I think sometimes that people use these cameras for different things (documentaries, live events, feature films, etc) and those different needs may require different cameras. Since I only am interested in feature film use cameras I am trying to pin point the one most made for that (in the video field)

jdv
09-09-2005, 02:35 PM
Interesting question Squidlips... I too only need the new camera to do 'film.'

Barry, I know there many threads about the technical aspects of chroma/luma (4:4:4 v 4:0:0, etc), but what does it mean, practically, to the human eye?

The footage I've seen from the JVC so far seemed to have good color depth.... Thanks again...

stephenlnoe
09-09-2005, 03:01 PM
Here is a nice White Paper (http://www.avid.com/resources/whitepapers/dv_formats.pdf?marketID=2) put together by Avid that explains precisely how the color sample is taken.

@jdv-The color is great on the provided HD-100 clips. The issue of color sampling comes into play if you need to do color corrections.

Shaw
09-09-2005, 03:19 PM
Not Barry but I here are my thoughts :)

It isn't likely that the human eye will pick up the increase in chroma resolution. The real benefit comes from the ability to do clean SFX. Pulling keys from DV footage is a pain to say the least! You should also have more room to play around with the image information before you start to get banding and other artifacts. Basically, it gives you a much, much nicer image to work with in post.

Barry_Green
09-09-2005, 04:05 PM
Are the variable frame rates aplicable to the 24P? In other words will it emulate either slow motion of speed up action (say for a fight scene)?
Yes, that's exactly what they'll do.


I assume the "chroma" advance is what gives the video it's "film look" correct?
No, not necessarily. It's a lot of things, all together. It's the gamma settings, it's the processing in the DSP, it's all sorts of stuff. What the HVX offers is 4:2:2 color, which is twice the color sampling, per pixel, as either DV or HDV. More color sampling = better keying, fewer "jaggies", etc.


Do either cameras have a variable shutter?
Completely. Either camera can shoot almost any shutter speed from 1/24.0 to 1/250.0, in pretty much .1-second increments. They can also shoot at 1/500, 1/1000, and 1/2000, and also slow shutters, like 1/3 or 1/4. Exact details have not been announced about the HVX, but I'm betting heavily that it will retain similar functionality to the DVX.


I think sometimes that people use these cameras for different things (documentaries, live events, feature films, etc)
Most definitely they do!


and those different needs may require different cameras.
Most definitely they do! It is wise to identify your particular needs, and focus in on a camera that does what you want.


Since I only am interested in feature film use cameras I am trying to pin point the one most made for that (in the video field)
The key things necessary in a video camera, for "film" use, is a 24p frame rate. Other than that, other things that can play into it are image adjustability, selectable gamma, etc. A bigger sensor (like a 2/3" camera) that uses longer lenses can also help, by providing the capability to get a shallower depth-of-field look.

High Def is great if you're planning to transfer to film or project on a big screen; it's of little value if all you're planning on doing is releasing on DVD.

The DVX is fairly well regarded as providing the most filmlike look of any video camera available today for under $15,000. We anticipate (not confirmed, but anticipate) that the HVX will retain all the DVX's "mojo" but add the highest form of high-def recording, as well as double the color sampling, thus making it the ultimate indie filmmaker camera (other than an actual film camera, of course).

But the HVX isn't out yet. If you need to shoot on high-def right now, the HD100 would be the hands-down favorite (among "affordable" high-def cameras).

Barry_Green
09-09-2005, 04:08 PM
It isn't likely that the human eye will pick up the increase in chroma resolution.
Oh, I disagree there... most definitely I disagree. On any saturated primary color (like red or blue) the low chroma resolution of DV is extremely noticeable. Watch "November" in the theater, where they put her in a darkroom and lit her only with red light -- it looked like PixelVision. It looked like the whole scene was reconstructed using Lego blocks.

In a general multicolored scene, yes it's true that the human eye is less sensitive to chroma resolution. But in a fairly even, solid-colored scene you can easily see the effects of 4:1:1 or 4:2:0. 4:2:2 is vastly superior, and while it's not 4:4:4, it's close enough for almost all video purposes.

SquidLips
09-09-2005, 11:13 PM
Barry, that was very helpful. I realize sometimes it may be my questions that don't get me the best answer.

From what you say, it seems possible that the HVX may, for my needs, be a better camera in terms of a narrative feature look. But will the Panasonic take "longer" lens' or are you stuck with the lens it has? It seems in many cases of photography, the lens plays a big part of the look and if the interchangeable lens of the JVC allows this and the HVX doesn't. Particularly if an adaptor allows film camera lens. ....I may be hitting a stalemate in deciding lens variety vs. quality resolution.

When is the release date of the HVX? Or is it just "in the Fall"?

Thanks

Barry_Green
09-09-2005, 11:46 PM
The HD100 will have more lens options, hands down. The ability to interchange the lens, and the proposed lens adapters they've announced (and that will be developed by third parties) will give the HD100 a wide, wide variety of lenses that can be used. It remains to be seen how useful those lenses will be when shooting high-def; it may turn out that optional lenses are only really useful for standard def, we don't know that yet. But at the bare minimum the HD100 will have two lenses that will work for high-def.

The HVX's lens cannot be exchanged, but you can add a wide-angle or teleconverter to it. All you'd need would be a 1.6x teleconverter (such as is offered for the DVX) and the HVX would have a longer telephoto than the HD100's maximum telephoto. (of course, there may be offered teleconverters for the HD100 as well, which would shift the long-lens game back to the JVC).

Both cameras will be able to use the mini35 lens adapter. It's probable that less-expensive alternatives (like the G35 or Micro35) will also be developed for both cameras. The HD100 has the potential of a somewhat cleaner optical path to the CCDs, which may offset the HVX's higher resolution. That remains to be tested.

The HVX's release date has not been announced; Jan has said that they're projecting a release timeframe of "November/December".

sonisfear
09-10-2005, 03:07 AM
Wow the technical battle of the ages. Exciting isn't it.
My 2 cents/ experience so far is that HD is definatly generating business for me. I literally walk around with 8/10 single frame print outs from my DVX100 (in 30P) and then show a customers single frame print outs of from the HD100. the difference is beyond night and day. It literally looks like a digital still camera without any lights or tripod. Customers right away get it.

I am sorry to say that my beloved DVX100 is for sale after my last two weddings for the year. The more I get use to the HD100 the more DVX just feels so small and inadequate in my hands.

I am looking forward to the HVX though. If i generate enough business from up an coming wedding shows I wouldn't mind having both. The higher resolution in aux cam gives me more space to zoom in at post.

I had an interesting conversation in a store concerning the battle between the two cams (HVX vs HD100).

another customer was saying that he read on the internet that the HD100 was crap and that the HVX resolution was 1080p. I turned to them and said "do you date a girl based solely on her breasts?". (OK some of us do but not the point). There is more to a cam than just resolution. Pulled out my frame captures. First of all as you can see Resolution of 720p is at least a D cup. But have you noticed this macro feature. I room into the scratches on a penny on the counter. try it on I say, notice the stability and center of gravity with the shoulder mount form factor. Also notice the Studio Returns that allows you to use this cam in a broadcast environment. For you movies (I was talking to film students) isn't it nice to know that you could rent for a day a $15,000.00 lens and all that effect to your cam.

So if your holding out for only the cup size take into consideration that entire picture and various gigs instead of the one idea you think your going to use your cam for.

I swear I don't work for JVC :^)

mmm
09-10-2005, 04:58 AM
Looks like a HDV XL3 is going to hit the market too! Yet another option for us! Pray for decent manual focus!

joachim hoge
09-22-2005, 12:02 PM
Possible to post those 2 pictures?
Would be nice to see