Camera contender for the P&R pick-ups & additional footage... 
Thursday, June 4, 2009, 06:56 PM
The Panasonic HPX-3700.

Sure, it's a big step down from the D-20 (or D-21 now), but that also means it's a big step down in money, too... And for this project, that can only be a good thing. But don't think for one second that the integrity of the film's cinematography will be compromised! The HPX-3700 is Panasonic's top of the range HD camcorder for cinema distribution. But one of the best parts about it is, it records to P2 cards, which, in layman's terms, is a very VERY good thing. No more HDCAM SR tapes. No more transfer costs. No more waiting to view the footage. Just bunged straight into one's NLE (editing software), and away ya go!

I've personally been working with Solid State media for a couple years now, and would never go back to the hassle-full life of tape again, so I'm pretty excited about the freedom such an option will give this project.

The only thing I don't like about the HPX-3700 is its tiny 2/3" sensor, resulting in a rather deep depth of field when compared to the Super 35mm sensors on the D-20, D-21, RED One, etc, but a B4 relay lens and a Letus Ultimate DOF adapter *could* solve that problem... IF it can stand up to my extreme scrutiny.

Also, it looks like we might be getting a new, up-and-coming Director of Photography, whose camera geekiness and pursuit for perfection are second to none... well, so long as you don't count me into the equation, that is. Am I going to tell you who it is? Not yet...

Fergle "Larry David" Gibson,
Writer & Director.

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A P&R related update, at long last!... 
Saturday, May 30, 2009, 01:39 AM
If any of you have been following me on Twitter, you'll know that I have been looking for people and / or companies to transfer the P&R HDCAM SR master tapes to hard-drive. This will allow me to gain a lot more control over the project, as it will severely reduce (if not totally eliminate) the need for me to rely on the services of others, which, in turn, will help keep down many of this production's future costs. Currently, I'm not able to even *view* the original rushes, only crappy standard-definition copies that I can't do much with, other than get pissed off at. I guess this serves me right for having P&R shot on the D-20 at 880mbit/s, 4:4:4, and on a format that can only be read by an £80,000 deck! But I wanted the best digital equivalent to celluloid, and I sure as hell got it.

Anyway... Having these tapes transferred to a solid-state medium, in their "native format", will be a big step towards the completion of this film, and will get the ball rolling towards the next objectives on the current to-do list.

The cheapest Post House I've found so far has quoted me at £1K, which, by many standards, is not actually a bad price at all... But still not something I can afford to splash out on at this present time. In the meantime, I will continue my journey into the night to find the cheapest deal I can, until I have exhausted every option I can think of.

Stay frosty,

Fergle "Larry David" Gibson,
Writer & Director.

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Canon 5D Mark II... 
Thursday, May 28, 2009, 06:41 PM
This isn't P&R related, so if you're not interested, move along.

Due to the recent hullabaloo over Canon's announcement to implement full-manual-control over the exposure on the 5D Mark II (whilst in video mode), as well as the now rumoured ability to shoot 24p, I thought I'd write a little article on why you shouldn't ditch your A-Cam for a 5D Mark II just yet...

* No 25p
* No variable frame-rates
* No ability to under / overcrank those non-existent frame-rates
* No manual audio controls
* Records to the h.264 codec
* Limited to 12 minutes per clip
* No HD-SDI out
* No XLR ports (though you *can* use BeachTek's new adapter) - But why the hell are you recording audio in-camera anyway?! Pfft... Amateurs.
* There's probably more.

Why a 5D Mark II makes the perfect B-Cam...

* Full manual control over iris, shutter speed and ISO
* The (rumoured) ability to shoot at 24p in a future firmware update - Nice if you're printing to 35mm film
* Full-frame 36x24mm sensor, allowing for razor thin depth-of-field
* Unsurpassable low-light performance
* Beautiful / accurate colour reproduction - None of this washed out "video" crap
* Interchangeable glass
* HUGE array of lenses available, in almost any flavour you can think of
* Small form factor
* Light-weight
* And need I say... Canon?

So now the question you should be asking yourself is, do you really need that 35mm adapter bolted onto the end of your A-Cam anymore?

To me (and I'm not speaking for anyone else here), it makes more sense to use the 5D Mark II for one's "beauty shots", and the bare body of one's primary camera for everything else, as until the "Swiss Army Knife" of cameras has been invented, we're stuck with using the right tool for the job.

OK, OK, RED are getting there... But you know what I mean!

Sure, you could just as well keep your 35mm adapter and SLR lenses, and use them along-side your 5D Mark II, but if you can sell them (you'll want to keep any EF lenses you own, though!) and put the money you've raised towards a more useful bit of equipment, say a better tripod, a better fluid head, jib, or dolly, then why not? But anyway - I'm just hypothesizing.

So will I be selling my EX1? No way! But will I be selling my 35mm adapter and F-Mount lenses? I don't know...

Here's hoping the 1Ds Mark IV will be a glorified 5D Mark II, including, but not necesarily limited to...

* A full-frame DSLR body
* 2 XLR ports
* 2 CF slots
* Variable frame-rates, from 1 to 60 (120 would be NICE, but probably asking for too much!)
* The ability to under / overcrank (using a physical knob)
* A selectable bit-rate between 50-100 mbit/s
* A lossless codec
* A 4:2:2 colour-space
* Full manual audio control
* Recording time limited to size of CF card(s)
* HD-SDI Out for capturing a RAW signal

... One can dream.

Lastly, let's not forget... The 5D Mark II is first and foremost a STILLS camera, and one HELL of a stills camera, at that! So remember that when you're next complaining about its lack of video control.

Fergle "Larry David" Gibson,
Writer & Director.

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Friday, April 24, 2009, 05:43 PM
OK, so I've recently joined Twitter... Not *entirely* sure why. But please feel free to "follow" me, ask me questions, tell me how much you love me, or how much you think I suck, and I'll do my best to reply!

I accept most major credit cards, including Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron, American Express & Solo... OK, ignore that part.

Follow me on Twitter.

EDIT: will now also take you to my Twitter page.

Fergle "Larry David" Gibson,
Writer & Director.

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Happy Birthday, Nigel Billing!... 
Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 01:05 PM
Just thought I'd wish my fellow Aprilite, Nigel, a happy 36th Birthday... May you get ploughed with alcohol and abused by a sea of ridiculously hot women. You always said you'd be in a wheel-chair by the time we get this film finished, and ya know what? You might be right!

THREE CHEERS for the ONLY on-screen Max Payne worth buying a ticket for! Hip, hip, HOORAY! You know the rest...

Fergle "Larry David" Gibson,
Writer & Director.

Click here to discuss.
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