Operating High Definition
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Operation of f900 for theatrical release films.
The size of crew should be the same for a 35mm feature.
It is possible to operate a HD camera with a small crew for some shots. If focus pulling is required a focus puller is needed. Until significant advances are made to the viewfinder it is not possible for a camera operator to reliably pull focus by using a traditional video cameraman's technique.
Even on replay with a big HD monitor a shot can appear sharp when in fact, it may be very slightly soft when transferred to film. The back focus should be checked regularly
Initially a large HD monitor is vital until the DP gets a feel for the response of the camera. This took me months even with my extensive background in digital imaging- and there is much more to learn!
Cameras from Panavision have the benefit of their fast lenses. The Panavision camera is tailored toward a 35mm style of operation.
Tape to Tape grading must be performed by a operator with large screen experience.
Transfer to film is the final act for a theatrical release. Testing is the key here before you start shooting. A good transfer house should be able to match the colour and contrast of the original HDcam image. It is possible to make subtle changes in printing to further enhance the look that you are trying to achieve, but you have so much creativity in a HD online that you should have already had the look finalized.
Operation of f900 for TV Drama or Documentary
Using the progressive scan feature of the f900 enables a picture to be recorded in a filmic way, ie 24 or 25 or 30 pictures per second. This replicates the motion strobing that is characteristic with cine cameras.
So even when down converted to digibeta for transmission the pictures still have a filmic look. Also the picture has a higher resolution than a digibeta camera, but not full HD resolution, which can only (partly) be seen on HD transmissions in the USA, Australia or Japan, or if the program is converted to film for a theatrical release. A top notch digibeta crew could be expected to get an improved result using a f900. But if the project is to be transferred to film a focus puller should be employed along with a 14 or 20 inch HD monitor. A DP not experienced in large screen projects will need to be wary of camera vibration and generally smoothing out moves.
Shooting documentaries with this camera for theatrical release will be possible, with a change in shooting style to accommodate the uncertainty of the depth of field, due to the limited resolution of the current viewfinder.
A 40 minute tape lasts 48 minutes when shooting at 25fps. Shooting at 25P is considered to be a good compromise for multi standard broadcast programs originating in 50Hz countries.