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Shooting on HD

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#1 Sebastian Geret

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 06:08 PM

Hello all...I`mgoing to shoot HD on a EFP with a transvideo LCD...
so what do I need to get a BNC/cinch composite signal into my sled...is it a seperate downconverter or a adapter cable? or depends it on the HD camera I`m using?
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#2 James Puli

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 08:42 PM


It does depend on which camera you are using and its a matter of speeking to the rental company and working out the best solution for you.

I know that the new HDV cameras have standard def out puts and for "real" full sized HD cameras I tend to ask for the Mirander down converter. Its small and does the trick pretty well.

Hope this helps

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#3 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 03:56 PM

To reiterate the points given above:

The HDV Cam does indeed allow for SD output, they have in-built downconvertors to allow you to view the image on an SD monitor. All the professional HD cameras, eg HDCAM you need the downconvertor for. As well as the Miranda, there's also the Evertz. The Miranda seems to be the favoured choice - I was looking one over yesterday. It fits onto the back of the camera onto the V-lock, and then the battery plate / battery goes onto the back of the downconvertor. It gives you plenty of BNC outputs to mess around with, and a good feed for your monitor.

Note if you are using the Sony HDV-Z1 HDV camera, video output is through one of the little fiddly S-Video terminals, on the side near the XLR mic ports. You need a cable and an adaptor or two to get to a BNC to get video to your sled. I did it with S-Vid to RCA cable, with an RCA-BNC adaptor on the end of it.
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#4 love my steady

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 04:07 PM


You can give signal to your monitor by using a small wide angle camera with good focusing and adjust it in to your view finder.

Hope that helps too B)
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#5 joe mcnally

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 04:37 PM

I dont think you are quite right on some of the details.
Sony 730 and 750 usually come with fitted SD output and SD SDI output so generally no external down converter required.
Sony Z1 composite SD is available via a 3 pole minijack that breaks out to 3 x RCA phono leads composite video and laest and right audio.
Joe McNally
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#6 Imran Naqvi

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 08:09 AM

My last two jobs have used a 750 on my EFP. Take the test out, plug straight into the sled, out pops a picture on my Blackbird LCD.
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#7 MarkKaravite


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Posted 05 June 2005 - 11:29 PM

I shoot a lot of HD, so I hope these tips are helpful:

1) As wisely stated before, work with the rental house to get you the right downconverter for the camera you are using. Either way, you need to convert from the cameras HD outuput (they are different with different cameras) to a NTSC signal for your sled. It's worth 1/2 a day to go to the rental house and test everything. Here are some common camera body / downconverter combinations:

Sony F900/3: The miranda is the best option for this body. Along with outputting SD, you can get safe action framelines, 16x9, or letterbox signal all out of one unit. Some of these units require that a brick battery be mounted to power them (I think the Everts is like this). Since you wont want to carry a brick on the camera, Anton Bauer makes a brick plate with a 4 pin adapter on it. This adapter replaces the battery, and allows you to power the camera from your sled, and still have accessory power as if a brick were on the camera. Handy adn cheap.

Panasonic Varicam: This camera outputs HD-SDI. AJA makes a small box that downconverts to SD. Make sure you have the correct cable to power the downconverter, you will want to mount it somewhere on the camera.

Sony F950 & HDC950: These are fiber cameras, so you'll have to deal with a cable. The good news is that your DIT can have a downconverter at his station, and send you a SD signal down the fiber cable.

2) Discuss the job with the DP ahead of time. Besides the normal questions, ask about monitoring and possible iris pulls. Some DIT's will inform the DP that they need an unweildy paintbox cable to perform these tasks. A better situation for the Steadicam Op is to have HD monitoring during lighting and rehearsals, and then monitor via Modulus for the shot. Remind them that they have been looking at poorly transmitted video tap images on film shoots for years, and have had great results. Attach a second lens motor for iris pulls. I use a BFD, and it works very well.

3) Talk to the assistant regarding lens support. Make sure they have lightweight rods and matte box. Some HD setups require an Arri sliding baseplate, and you don't want to carry that all day. Also, if using a video zoom, check which lens the shot requires. The HD wide angle zooms (both video and cine style) are smaller than the longer zooms, and the focal range is better suited for Steadicam.

4) HD cameras are power hungry. NiCads are useless. I fly a single Hytron 120, and get over 2 hours of use per battery. Lithium Ion batteries work well also, but avoid 50w, and get 90w like Dionics or Pag 95's. I did an HD job with 3 Dionics on board, and the rig balanced well, and had power to spare.

5) HD cameras (except HDV) are long and narrow. This translates into increased panning inertia. It takes more to get the camera panning, and more to stop it. You need to anticipate talent movements better, because there is a lag in reaction time for quick pans.

6) If you are shooting sync sound with a camcorder, find out how they plan on recording audio. Most producers will want primary audio on the original tapes. I have done wireless hops to the camera for audio recording, with the sound man recording a timecode DAT backup. There are brackets that video ENG guys use that mount to the anton bauer battery bracket. One trick is to mount the bracket backwards, so the wireless audio recievers are basically in the postion where the battery would have been. This balances the camera better, and keeps the receivers from bumping into your shoulder or the wall.

Flying HD cameras is getting better, but the inherent problem is that the camera body is not designed for production, so some problems are unavoidable. Vince Pace (who works with Jim Cameron) has made a very cool camera body. He took the optical block of a F950, and put it into a custom carbon fiber camera body. Also housed in the body are electronics for fiber optic cable output to the camera's main electronics, and a Prestion FIZ receiver with standard FIZ connectors. All this weighs in at around 25 lbs with a prime. Besides dealing with a lightweight fiber cable (no power in it), Vince has a brilliant designe for Steadicam, and HD in general.

Good luck,

Mark Karavite
Steadicam Owner / Operator
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#8 Sebastian Geret

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 07:57 AM

Thanks for all your tips guys...all went fine it was a sony 570 HD CAM...the test out is composite...the DOP used the SDI for lighting and then an LCD via transmitter... :) :rolleyes: :P
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#9 Bill Powers

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 02:29 PM


Could you please define the term DIT? 32 years in video and I've never heard the term.

Very informative post BTW.


Bill "Proving my Ignorance" Powers
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#10 Charles Papert

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 03:46 PM

Digital Imaging Technician. Relatively new term.
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#11 chris fawcett

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 04:46 PM

High TLA levels are endemic to the industry.
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