Friday, March 25, 2011

What's All the Hub-bub, Bub?

A bitter man's opinion on the bitter DSLR shooters who are watching their world collapse:

It's amazing to me on how many recent test shots and camera reviews for the new Sony F3, Sony FS-100 and the Panasonic AF-100 where commenters are screaming that it's no better or worse than DSLR footage. They complain the codecs are lower quality, the chips are too small, that it doesn't look enough like... DSLR footage.

Seriously? Let's back up and take a look at what we get out of our DSLR cameras right now. I have to work around a serious number of issues that limit my options on pro shoots. I'll just breeze through them. Moire from line skipping which can not just look like a buzzing pattern but look like you spilled water color all over your shot. Pink and powder blue like a baby's room. You've got insane amounts of rolling shutter that show up bigtime. Now yes, they cost under $3k a camera, wonderful. But shooting in a professional situation with those cameras is hell. You need more support gear, everything needs dealt with differently in post which slows you down. Particularly the audio. Now I love Pluraleyes for syncing but I hate waiting 5 hours for it to batch match a ton of footage and hope that it gets them all right. I can have a rough cut in that time on many projects.

And I'll argue the point now about the codecs. You have a 50mbps codec in the 5D and a 35mbps codec in XDCAM. I'll take the XDCAM hands down every stinkin' time to work with in post. It grades better, keys better and doesn't need to be softened in the camera to avoid above said issues. Sony and Panny know how to make a camera, and they delivered what is great for their price points. They work like pro cameras and are priced great for what they provide. I will gladly pay the money in purchase and rental to not have to deal with DSLRs and wondering how they might burn you next. Red's going to get it's Scarlet lineup out soon enough as well. Right now the bottom is completely over saturated with shallow DOF milky shots that all have a very similar look and feel. There's not an enormous difference between the good and the bad because you can't push the cameras as many directions as you might want. Of course framing and the eye of the artist are key but when someone has to throw the background out in a wide because it might get messy, that's frustrating. That footage has a certain flavor to it that is unchangeable to an extent as well. I've graded tons and tons of it and while you can do some great things with the Canon footage, you just cannot quite escape its signature. That may be fine too. But its a choice.

You can argue many points against things you can't do with the Sony or Panny but it sure can't be they don't work in a production workflow well. To sum up my my little rant here, if you want to be a pro shooter (I'm not saying director, editor, etc) and you can work up into a a higher line of cameras that have less issues and even better, give you the chance to separate yourself with more of a true look and identity that is your own, why not? In this market, it only makes sense. Here's the point, there are literally dozens of options to choose from now and each has something unique to it. What's the project, goal, situation, budget? Okay. Now that you stopped and thought about that, what's the gear that should be used?

...end rant...

No comments: