Friday, November 25, 2011

Stu and Not Stu

Stu Maschwitz is the dude who keeps the DSLR camera world honest when it comes to shooting movies. We even named a character after him in "Battle New York Day 2". He puts in a very well thought-out and researched post on using any of the various DSLR cameras in the "super 35" world.
A great, great deal of what we do here in the Pandora Machine is done because it's what Stu says to do. Essentially, I've built the world's smallest motion-picture production studio on the DVRebel's Guide.
We only do two things which go against Stu's teachings. Two. I think. It's just the two. Everything else is straight - up Stu.

  • The first thing we do is that we do not color - grade at the highest bit depth available. Why? Because we'll never ever finish a feature film that way. We simply don't have the processing time or machines available to do a 90-minute picture, and then because mistakes were invariably made, do it again, and then (oh, look) we made another freaking mistake so we have to render out the whole picture again

We have enough trouble with Final Cut Pro failing to render using Beauty Box and Magic Bullet Looks. Usually those problems can be lessened by reducing the rendering bit depth down to 8 bits. Maybe with the extra RAM and the heavier-duty video card we have now we can move up to 10 bits. But we ain't gonna move color-correction duties out to AfterEffects, we just don't have the time.

  • The second thing we do is to not really get too frustrated either way with an APS-C sized sensor on our cameras. Which is ironic because in the DV Rebel's Guide Stu suggests that you not get one of those crazy 35mm adapters to slap on a "normal" video camera (this was before the DSLR's really started to be available for movie-making). And back in the day we did use a Letus 35mm adapter. 

So it's a tad ironic now that we use the Panasonic GH-1 which has a smaller-than-APS-C sized sensor. It's not as small as one of the old video cameras (like the venerable HVX200) and it's actually a bit bigger than Super-16mm. But it ain't got the bokeh the bigger-sensor cameras have.
And it's true that I'm not that big on the limited depth-of-field. Citizen Kane is just alright with me. But for commercial purposes we haven't heard a peep from buyers or distributors about depth-of-field for years. Because this problem has been solved -- heck some of those Canon cameras have shallower depth-of-field than a regular old Panavision shooting Academy.
And that's interesting. If you want shallow, shoot shallow (and have a great time focusing there, champ. ;-) And if you want deep, you can go with deep. The buyers don't seem to care anymore.
The debonair Jeffrey Plunkett in Clonehunter. This is shot with an HVX200 with a Letus adapter and (probably) an 85mm Canon at f1.8.


Anonymous said...

Beauty Box, eh? Do elaborate.

Andrew Bellware said...

We used it all over Earthkiller because the white makeup would tend to crack. And that's all I've got to say about THAT! ;-)