Posts Tagged ‘dynamic range’

mad-max-fury-road_set-photo-21

Making of Mad Max, Fury Road

filmmaking

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The Digital Bolex is released, and this will intrigue some for its characteristics.  The RAW global shutter gives a distinctive look, and a lot of leeway for post changes.  I think the saturation was pushed past the breaking point below, but it shows how much color info is captured.

Drawback is that it has less dynamic range than the BMCs, or of course the Alexa and Red Dragons.  This means clipped highlights more of the time.  Mitigating clipped highlights on a real movie set is still needed, important, and often not done.

I’ll need to update my camera introduction guide when more footage comes out of the Bolex.

“The camera retails for $3299 for 256GB hard drive, or $3599 for a 500GB hard drive.”

Also note the built in XLR audio connectors.

 

phfx_DragonClippedHighlightRollOffTest

Plus a fun makeup job.

Red Dragon changes the game and makes digital much more film like at the extremes — where brights clip.  Now 16+ stops of dynamic range are captured, making the brights roll off much more convincingly than most digital systems in use today.

Thread from cinematographer Phil Holland.

phfx_DragonHighlightRetentionTest

Bad digital highlight clipping looks like the stone sidewalk at the bottom right here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Perhaps a more obvious example would be to just clip the levels from one of Phil Holland’s Dragon still frames (cropped area):

Red Dragon SensorA002_C021_10036V.0000201--crop

What most other sensors would captureA002_C021_10036V.0000201--crop--WITH CLIPPING

PS

One of the main problems with sensors clipping is that the three color channels do not clip equally, depending on the color of the light.  So you may get green channel or red channel clipping, but not the others.   This leads to ugly color shifts on faces in very bright hard highlights, such as noir styled lighting (Battlestar Galactica, anyone?).  High-contrast situations such as bright sunlight hitting actors’ faces, or bright sun through windows coming into a room, as well as through car windows and dense forests, can be torturous.  Also color gels and tungsten lighting are ways that the color shifts and can cause peaking on one channel but not the others.

Here is where a sensor like the Dragon is preferred, as it will not botch the image the way lesser sensors would perform.  This is more like film which naturally looks smoother as it flares to white.  In terms of really competing with film and even outperforming it, the Dragon is a milestone achievement (despite the claims of manufacturers and hardcore fanboys).

Another extreme dynamic range test of the new sensor.  Some exposure and grading choices that I wouldn’t have made but the camera is holding detail even in the extremes.

 

This looks pretty damn good, the promise made 6 years ago now realized.

 

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by Joe Giambrone

 

(Article is from May 2013, and newer camera models release constantly. The principles remain the same.)

So you’re confused by all the choices, and you don’t know what they really all entail?  Differences in cameras may not seem all that important, until you look carefully, as audiences tend to do when the image is thirty feet tall.

A Little How-To

Note: Images were grabbed from the net to illustrate the points in the text.  Don’t’ take them as the end-all.  As any cinematographer who cashes checks will likely say: “Test.”

Section One: People With Bucks

Okay film, glorious 35mm Kodak or Fuji filmstock.  Here’s why:

Inception used 35mm + 65mm Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219 INCEPTION

Promised Land used 35mm Fuji Super F-64D 8522, Eterna Vivid 250D 8546, Eterna Vivid 500T 8547promised-land06

The Wrestler used 16 mm Kodak Vision2 200T 7217, Vision3 500T 7219 the-wrestler-3

All-time favorite film stock
35 mm, Eastman EXR 500T 5298Eyes-Wide-Shut-1999-BluRay-720p

Rolling film is expensive, and sometimes the directing style dictates lots of footage, always running improvisation.  Digital can be more amenable to that situation.

Dynamic range is important for capturing smoothly rolled off highlights, before they overexpose to pure white.  This single factor is perhaps the most crucial ingredient for achieving a digital camera look that mimics real film.  Kodak Vision 3 is rated at 13 stops according to the company.  Every F stop of dynamic range doubles the amount of light captured.  Thus, a digital camera with more dynamic range requires a lot more data storage as well as a sensor that is capable of capturing such high contrast of light in the first place.

A unique characteristic of film is the grain structure in the crystals, which comprise the image.  This grain also helps soften the areas of pure whiteness that occur when a part of a negative is blown out to overexposure.  Grain adds a subtle texture to the frames as they flow by at 24 frames per second, which is often lacking in digital footage.  Grain is sometimes mimicked to make digital footage look more like film, but it seldom achieves the total look of actual film, which responds uniquely to light that hits the various layers of emulsion.  Grain can also be too heavy in the case of low-light or underexposed film.  For low-light night shooting, a digital camera with a more sensitive sensor may make more sense.

Film grain also changes depending upon the size of the negative, as an 8mm image blown up to the same size as a 35mm image would show magnified grains.  A happy medium is 16mm, with 4 times the resolution of 8mm.  Well shot 16mm film provides a medium level of grain to the image consistent with crime and grindhouse horror cinema.  For example, The Walking Dead series has been captured on 16mm Kodak film (7219).

Click and zoom in to see the grain BDDefinitionWalkingDead-1-1080

Top-Tier Digital Cinema Cameras

These can be rented by the day, week or longer.

(more…)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1cpuJ2wn7sM

Relates back to this post.  Rather than either of these, I would prefer the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which has the ultimate price to performance ratio with better dynamic range than the current Reds in my opinion.

The original BMCC does imagery like this:

Gallery of user videos.

timeless@2x2