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The Best Video Camera Revealed in Shootout [Video Cameras]
Back in June, we wrote about the surprising conclusions that seasoned filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola came to after viewing Zacuto's Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. The contest made many think again about video camera capabilities. Well, now the final piece to the documentary has been revealed, those same viewers might have to think AGAIN about thinking again. More »
Video_Cameras  Cameras  Gear  Great_camera_shootout  Zacuto  from google
august 2012 by nluken
Zacuto’s Revenge of Great Camera Shootout 2012 – part 1
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Zacuto presents its much anticipated Camera Shootout 2012. A both scientific and philosophic comparison between the most important up to date small and big digital film cameras.

If you’re serious about being a cinematographer you shouldn’t miss this series. It’s free to watch on Zacuto’s page.

Here’s part 1: LINK

Excerpt from the site:
We’ve got a lot to prove in Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. Some of it will surprise you, some of it will shock you, and some of it will change the way you work forever. Let’s make this clear: This is not the shootout you’re expecting.

Watch last year’s shootout series here.

Cameras used: Arri Alexa, Canon C300, Canon 7D, Panasonic GH2, Sony F3, Sony F65, iPhone 4S, RED Epic

So what letter was your favorite camera?
Have you written down your rankings?
Camera_Bodies  HDSLR  Review  Technology  The_Art  5d_mark  600d  arri_alexa  best_camera  Canon_EOS_5D_mk2  canon_eos_7d  cinematic  comparison  digital  f65  film  fs100  gh2  great_camera_shootout  iphone_4S  lowlight  Panasonic  Sony  t3i  versus  vs  Zacuto  from google
june 2012 by jonlang
How the GH2 and FS100 were setup for Revenge of the Zacuto Shootout
Above: GH2 on a heli rig

Today the first episode of Zacuto’s 2012 shootout is aired. (Update: it is now live – watch it here). This isn’t really a shootout in a technical sense rather a subjective and less scientific comparison whereby each camera is made to look as good as possible. Several leading cameras were used including the Alexa and Sony F65.

Zacuto have revealed in a technical document how each camera was setup, so we’ll take a look first at the GH2 and FS100 to see what settings were settled on for the shootout and who the people behind the cameras are.

The Panasonic GH2 was provided by Illya Friedman at Hot Rod Cameras. The GH2′s lighting set up and cinematography was carried out by Colt Seman and Jonny Zeller of Film Matters. Seemingly they did a pretty good job because many have mistaken the GH2 for the Epic in screenings so far. The Canon 7D, Sony F3 and Arri Alexa had ASC members on cinematography duties and in the test it will be interesting to see the differences in style not just between the cameras but between people.

Colt has been a long time GH2 user professionally and you can see one example of his projects here.

Above: Colt Seman (right), Illya Friedman (centre) and Johnny Rowan (left)

Here’s some of Film Matter’s work with the Red EPIC and GH2. The GH2 was chosen for the heli-rig (it is light!)

Click here to view the embedded video.

Above: GH2 shotgun rig(!!) from the Film Matters blog, with Hot Rod PL adapter.

On the GH2, Nick Driftwood’s Quantum B V9 patch settings were installed via Vitaliy Kiselev’s PTools hack. This gives you 150Mbit AVCHD in I-frame mode (similar to AVC Intra but only 8bit 4-2-0). The lens was a Fujinon 18-85, mainly at F2.8. ISO was set at 320 for every shot and white balance at 3800k. The  camera operated in Cinema 24p mode, ND6 and ND3 filters was used to achieve the optimal 1/50 shutter speed.

The FS100 lighting set up was by Mick Jones and Den Lennie. For some reason they had the ISO at 1600 on the camera rather than the base 0 gain of ISO 500. Seems a bit high! Possibly a mistake in the documentation? The shutter was at 180 degrees on this camera and again the same Fujinon lens was used.

The colourist for all cameras was Jimmy Cadenas and you can see some of his work here.

There’s no mention of what picture profiles were used on the cameras, and this is quite important since it is rather baked in when you don’t have a raw codec. You can see my preferred picture profiles for the GH2 here. (UPDATE: The FS100 was running G-Log thanks Toby)

I’m really looking forward to seeing the shootout later today.

Read the full technical document at Zacuto (PDF format)
Technology  Tests  fs100  gh2  revenge  shootout  test  zacuto  from google
june 2012 by lem0nayde
Audience reaction to Revenge Of The Great Camera Shootout puts GH2 in 3rd place behind Alexa and F65
The Revenge Of The Great Camera Shootout is Zacuto’s antidote to pixel peeping camera tests. It airs June 15th online, but preview showings have been taking part around the world. It aims to show how any camera from the very top (Alexa, Sony F65) down (to the iPhone) are viable filmmaking tools. Whilst I agree with Steve that creativity is overlooked too often and gear gets all the attention, I wouldn’t go quite as far as Steve in claiming the camera does not matter. The camera and lens – like lighting, like set design, like a location, like actors – has an aesthetic quality that goes into the production and heavily influences the mood of the film. I would use anamorphic lenses as my trademark style, because I feel that particular ‘brush stroke’ suits my kind of filmmaking, helping to create the moods I want. So yes, the camera matters in my view!

Here’s an interesting audience reaction to The Revenge Of The Great Camera Shootout…

In the shootout, the Arri Alexa was operated by “24″ director of photography Rodney Charters, ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300, and Panasonic GH2 (with Quantum v9B hack) and Canon 7D with CineStyle. All the footage was graded in post by each team.

This comes from the South Australian screening in 2012 of the new shootout.

Shot in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, cinematographer Bruce Logan ASC acted as administrator of the tests. A series of three identical shots with colour / lighting / dynamic range challenges was set up for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the opportunity to re-light the set under strict parameters to get the very best out of their cameras.

The scene was basically domestic indoor living room with people arriving for a relaxed meeting. A large window provided a test of dynamic range (buildings across the road). The same scene was repeated for each camera with the camera tracking closer to show skin tones of the two main actors (white female and black male). No one test set-up can do it all, and this one was intended to compare the cameras in an overall, big-scene evaluation. The screening was in several stages with a break for discussion in between. The audience needed to formally evaluate their preference, guess which cameras when the scenes were repeated without naming which camera was used. I won’t rank all of the cameras as I saw it (and it was a very subjective evaluation for all in the audience) but just make a couple of comments:

The Sony F65 and the Arri Alexa were, for me, in place 1 and 2 respectively.

The pleasant surprise was that place 3 was the hacked GH2. This generated much discussion and even some crusty old pro’s were very impressed by the GH2′s image quality.

RED Epic, C300, F3 and the FS100, for several reasons, were competent but did not overly impress me… or many others going by the general discussion. As someone else commented, it’s quite possible that the color grading was more responsible for this than the cameras per se. The C300 colors were poor (with a greenish cast) while the blacks on the RED Epic were crushed. The F3 and FS100 appeared somewhat “bland” for lack of a better term.

At the bottom was the Canon 7D (again several people expressed their disappointment)… and the iPhone. The color grading of the iPhone image “deserved a standing ovation” as one audience member put it. I agree. For what it was the image was decent (no one was laughing by the end of the show)… and I think better than the HDV I shot with for several years.

Technology is indeed leveling the playing field. All of the acquisition was acceptable and it was not an easy job trying to rank most of the cameras.

I was also interviewed after the screening and went on record as saying the hacked GH2 was bettered only by the F65 (lovely image) and the Arri Alexa. I stand by what I said.

You will be able to see the shootout for yourselves in a few weeks when the final public version is released on the web…but it won’t be quite the same experience as seeing it on a large screen.

After reports back from various people that I know that have seen it, the GH2 was done justice – and went beyond expectations in a way that made a certain very famous filmmaker pick it as his choice of image.

- HDVDiver at Wetpixel

EOSHD’s view

I have not yet seen the new Zacuto 2012 shootout (it airs online 15th June) but I use the FS100 and 5D Mark III now alongside by GH2. I have to say they all have their strengths and weakness and special purposes on a shoot, especially full frame. I prefer the full frame look when I am doing a close up portrait shot. I’m surprised the dated 7D was used in the shootout rather than the full frame 5D – to show what kind of creative purpose it has on a real set like in the shootout, what practical purpose it has and what the aesthetic of a full frame sensor gives to your movie.

Steve Weiss is critical of too much camera talk and traditional pixel peeping camera tests, but these are important for filmmakers and especially aspiring filmmakers on a low budget – who must buy a camera and stick with it. It makes sense to choose the right one based on the way the image looks for the price, as well as the feature set. In a way it is like consumer advice. It isn’t to be sniffed at as it saves people money and stops them from making costly mistakes when it comes to gear.

I prefer the GH2′s aesthetics for many things – it really is the great all rounder. I’ve given it the most attention on my blog because of that. But it needs good glass (like the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95) to shine. With a fast aperture you get the Super 35mm look. Stop down and it is like Super 16mm. The Lumix lenses are in my view a bit clinical and lifeless so I tend to avoid them.

The FS100 certainly has the best handling of the 3 (after you get used to the scatter dash button placement) and was a pleasant surprise in that regard. The FS100′s codec is also far better than expected, better than both the 5D Mark III’s new ALL-I codec and more gradable. It doesn’t fall apart easily despite being just 24Mbit in 24p mode. AVCHD is underrated – both the GH2 and FS100 hold up beautifully in post. It is also nice creatively on the FS100 to have 1080/60p for slow-mo and such incredible low light performance. On the downside the image does sometimes look a bit digital, it lacks an ALL-I (intra frame) mode for more cinematic motion and the noise grain on the GH2 is finer, more film like. Right now price wise it is a no contest, at between $600 and $800 the GH2 is the best value digital cinema camera in the world. It will be interesting to see what the 12bit raw for $3000 Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera will be like next month, though it has a smaller sensor than the GH2 and FS100 – so make sure you stock up on fast EF mount glass to maintain plenty of depth of field control and performance in low light.
Opinion  alexa  camera  dslr  f65  gh2  hack  revenge_of_the_great_camera_shootout  rodney_charters  shootout  steve_weiss  test  zacuto  from google
may 2012 by lem0nayde
NAB 2012 – What comes after LED? The Zacuto Plasma Light
Tweet this Article to Win a Sachtler ACE tripod!
Our sponsor B&H will give away a Sachtler ACE (video review) to a cinema5D reader. The winner will be picked among all people who tweeted one of our NAB 2012 articles.*

*This promotion will end after all our NAB 2012 videos have been posted. Multiple tweets of the same article and retweets will not count.

For your information: I recorded more videos at NAB than the ones you’re seeing on this news blog and I’m filtering the products I find useful and helpful. I test the products at the show so you will only find NAB videos of companies I find worthy to be supported here. That being said, here’s a product that really stood out. Let me tell you why:

The Zacuto Z-Light Plasmalight looks like it could be a true alternative to LED. Do we need an alternative to LED? Yes. While LED offers numerous advantages over conventional light fixtures and professional LED’s color rendition has reached an acceptable level there are still some issues that remain:
- LED is expensive
- LED isn’t perfectly soft
- barndoors will cast multishadows
- and LED usually hurts the actors eyes

It’s nice to see a technology that solves these problems and I hope the Z-light will really be “$500 cheaper than everything else”.

There’s another new soft light technology that was presented at NAB 2012:

PRG TruColor HS Remote Phosphor Lighting that is basically an LED panel that triggers a chemical reaction of some sort in an overlaying panel that can be interchanged for another color blend and outputs a whopping 4000 watt tungsten equivalent of light. That’s nice, but it’s also expensive at $3500. See a video about this technology by our friends from freshDV and nextwaveDV below.

Let’s hope these lights evolve quickly to give us the advantages of these fixtures at a price we can afford.
LED  Lighting  NAB_2012  affordable  cinema5d_news  exhibition  HDSLR  litepanel  Litepanels  NAB  news  plasma  plasmalight  show  z-light  Zacuto  zlight  from google
april 2012 by jonlang
Gear Details: How We Shot “Dasein: Art of Being” Documentary
Hey friends.  Erik the video guy here. We’ve had a bunch of YOUR questions come in about what gear/process/technique we used to make the Dasein docu-short we posted a couple days ago so I thought I’d chime in with a quick gear- and technique-specific follow up on how this film was made. 

First, Chase was the director on the project but wanted to remain focused simply on the overall look and feel. Plus, since he was in front of the camera most of the time, he specifically did NOT want to get sucked into all the details to get the look he wanted, so that put me squarely in the Director of Photography (DP) role, in charge of all the details he wanted to avoid. This worked out great – we collaborate really well in this capacity.

Since I knew heading to New York that we’d be working at all hours, around Chase’s crazy schedule and with no permits, no location assistance, and (in the best way) no solid plan on when and where we would be shooting, I made the call that one of our main objectives was to stay light and quick with our gear selection.

Given that an important part of this short film is about time–creating time in your life for creativity–Chase wanted the film shot in a way that arrested time visually…that is, he wanted it shot in slow motion. This was a part of the initial treatment he’d written for the piece. And while we originally discussed shooting with a RED One or Epic, I ultimately thought this might not mesh well with the “light/fast” motto I’d already decreed above. I wanted everything, minus the tripod and dolly, to fit in one bag – something I could manage by myself — in this case, one of our fav bags, the Lowepro Classified 250 shoulder bag. And it’s small…

So here’s what I lugged around:

Let’s start with the CAMERA/LENS SELECTION. Factoring that Chase wanted the high frame rate, that he’d not be shooting at all–only directing–, PLUS the limited budget he’d allocated to make this film happen (not enough to bring in a RED and a bunch of primes for a month), I made the call that I would simply use my own personal camera/lens gear. So I shot the piece with my Canon 7D. I’m good with a range of cameras, but the 7D made sense because it gave the film 60p slow motion that Chase required, plus it was small, very light, and since I own it personally, it was free. I also carried 3 of my own lenses; the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and an old Nikon manual 85mm f/1.8 with a Nikon-EOS adapter.  They’re nothing fancy, but I was sure they’d do the job. The Tamron is a great all-purpose lens and the vibration compensation is fantastic for shooting handheld.  Most of the footage was captured with that lens.  I used the Tokina the least, but was great when Chase wanted a dramatically wide shot, and the Nikon 85mm was for when we needed that extra bit of focal length and space compression.

AUDIO.  We captured Chase’s interviews with a Sennheiser Evolution G3 wireless lavalier set and a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder.  Pretty straight forward, not too exciting, so let’s move on to the really fun stuff…

CAMERA SUPPORT:  For this project we acquired two of my new favorite toys; the Zacuto EVF Pro and the Kessler Pocket Dolly.  These two products are brilliant on their own, but when their powers combine they create a silky smooth shooting experience.

The Zacuto EVF is an amazingly powerful LCD monitor packed into a compact and lightweight package.  It’s powered by the same battery that the Canon 5D/7D use and offers a plethora of helpful functions such as monochrome viewing (very helpful when you’re filming a documentary that will be black and white in the end), zebra stripes and false color for checking exposure, focus peaking assist (my personal favorite), frame lines, and a lot more.  The monitor works with or without a Z-Finder snapped onto it, and on the Pro and Flip models the Z-Finder mounting frame swings up to get out of your way when you don’t need it while keeping the Z-Finder close by so you can quickly snap it back into action.

The ultra portable Kessler Pocket Dolly was great for getting some much needed movement into our shots.  We got ours with the optional outrigger feet for shooting low to the ground, and the feet are adjustable so you can maintain a level dolly move on uneven surfaces.  The dolly also has various screw threads on the base so you can quickly secure it to a tripod.  It becomes a bit of a beast when it’s setup like that, but it breaks down pretty quickly when you need to move.  I’m always amazed at what a difference a little camera movement makes in video shots, even with just a little more than three feet of track.  I highly highly recommend it.

Like I said earlier, these two products make a great combination.  All of us on the CJ crew consider a dolly or some sort of moving camera support mandatory for capturing dynamic footage, and the addition of the Zacuto monitor is a great way to keep from having to lay down on the ground to see what you’re shooting from your worm’s eye view camera angle.

We cut the piece together using Apple Final Cut Pro. And we did all the color (B+W) grading in FCP as well.

So there ya go.  That was my setup, front to back. Hope you can dig into this stuff in more detail this weekend. And hopefully this post has showed you how–with some good artistic vision–a fairly minimalist video kit can produce dynamic results like this:
Gear  Guest_Post  How_To  Inspiration  Production  Videos  "behind_the_scenes"  "chase_jarvis"  black_and_white  bts  Canon  dasein  documentary  dSLR  evf  film  Filmmaking  hd  HDSLR  kessler  New_York  Nikon  nyc  pocket_dolly  Tech  video  zacuto  from google
september 2011 by dudgeon
Zacuto Stuff | Learning to See
If you ever need a RRS BH-40 to mate with a Zacuto Z-Finder Pro3, here is a great solution!
zacuto  really  right  stuff 
july 2011 by hua

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