Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gettin' Me Some Learnin'

I've been reading this book: "The DV Rebel's Guide" on production and post production.

The guy who wrote it, Stu Maschwitz is one of the founders of the Orphanage.

Things I've learned:
1. When shooting DV (of any format) it doesn't really matter inherently whether you're shooting green or bluescreen. Because the colors are all compressed by the camera anyway, it doesn't matter how much happier the chip was to see green rather than red or blue. What's more important is the color of the eyes and clothes of the people you're shooting.
This is the first time I've ever heard such advice.
However, I'm believing it.
Indeed, my experience would actually bear this out. This image of "Eve" from my movie Apostasy (rule #1, do not name a movie something which only half your cast can pronounce and only one or two know the meaning of. Lesson learned. Ahem) was shot on a paper blue screen and compositing it was a painless experience. No - not just because it's a nekkid woman neither. Get yer mind outta the gutter, boy.
We shot that movie on Canon and Sony DV cameras. Indeed, the Canon we used is now the "booth monitor" camera at Theatresource.
In any case...

2. Shoot the HVX200 in 720 24pn mode. (This is at least the advice for us.)

3. (This is just my personal inference but) Shoot 16:9, crop to 1.85:1 for the DVD full-frame safety. But the real version of our next movie is going to be 2.35:1 (which is apparently actually 2.40:1, but understanding that is a bit beyond me) so we'll put marks on the monitors for that aspect ratio. But because we're shooting HD we can do a pan and scan in AfterEffects to make the SD 1.33:1 pan-and-scan master.

3. The "fit to comp width" command in After Effects is shift+opt+cmd+H (Mac) or shift+alt+cntl+H (PC).

4. Stu likes CineGamma D, with the option of CineGamma V if you're having trouble with blown out images. I don't remember which one we tend to use but I feel like we're pretty good about keeping highlights under control when we have a little "bloom" in the high end. So yeah, I do like to shoot with a wide dynamic range. Lights blasting right down the barrel of the camera. Get over it.
Ahem. Matrix NONE and detail turned all the way down.

Also, from the message board:
  • Shooting a normal exposure and blowing out in post is advantageous in a number of ways.
  1. It gives you the option to change your mind later.
  2. It will let you tint the footage without revealing that you're missing detail in the highs.
  3. It lets you control the nature of the roll-off into blowing-out, i.e. design your own "shoulder" with Curves.
  4. It will facilitate transfer to film, where having extra highlight detail means mapping that detail up into the natural shoulder of the print stock.

And I'm thinking about getting a pair of lenses: Canon 50mm and 85mm. They're a lot less expensive than Nikon. Anybody got a reason for me to do otherwise? Tell me!


Anonymous said...


That was all in a complete other language, as far as I am concerned . . . all I understood was "nekkid woman" and then I just went zop!

I must be a real idiot . . .

Andrew Bellware said...

If this were easy I wouldn't need a picture of a naked woman to help me remember it. In fact, if it weren't for the existence of the concept of naked women, I'd never do anything!
Why do you think they invented Bikini Calculus? http://www.howtodogirls.com/