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Prepping Varicam Feature


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#1 Frank Barrera

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 01:14 PM

I will be the DP on a feature next month and the director wishes to use a stedicam for several day time ext. walk and talk scenes in NYC. I have only shot one feature with the Varicam before and we never used a stedicam on that one.

I would like to be able to have a somewhat intelligent conversation with the director about useing the Varicam with a stedicam rig. Answers to any or all of the following would be beautiful. As well as any other pertinent info.

How about useing the Fujinon zooms? Does the thing just become too much of a task to operate with the zoom? I assume you all would prefer something like a DigiPrime.

One of our issues is trying to get as shallow depth of field as possible. We plan on using long lenses. Whats' the longest focal legnth you guys feel comfortable working with?

What other issues should I be aware of?

Sorry for the ignorance but even dwarves start off small...


thanks
Frank Barrera
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#2 thomas-english

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 02:27 PM

the Fujinon zoom is fine, use it often.

get a clip on matt box.

make sure you have an onboard downconverter box

get some nice light batteries, don t make him struggle on Anton Bauers.

You ll have to decide with him on the day and in the shot how long a lens you can use.
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#3 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 08:54 AM

Frank,

I am nearing 50 days or more with Varicam on my rig, I have lots of great info for you, please feel free to call me direct.

In short:

the fuji zooms are fine, but if your going to film, do a test with primes. I love to zoom and have the controls for it.

Think about how you want to view the shot. Do you need to monitor in HD? If so, you must keep the camera cabled, not a huge problem with the right team. If you can sacrafice viewing in HD, there is always wireless video, and you know how that looks.

Consider using a video engineer, I have some great recomendations for this.

As mentioned, an onboard down converter is imperative, I own the AJA.

With regards to the length of the lense, this is dependent on many factors, the skill of the operator, wind conditions, the shot, etc, etc. You certainly can expect to get out on the lense a bit to compress, 25mm on a video lens should be comfy.

good luck, you will love that camera.

Jeff
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#4 thomas-english

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 06:32 PM

today I did another shoot on the varicam

They supplied an evertz box... I got worried because I did nt recognise it! Not all evertz downconverters are equal! there are old ones and new ones... ones that can work with the varicam and ones that can t ...!

something about not having a subcarrier on the signal....

this one did not...... work

Be sure the facilities company has used the downconverter on the camera before! and they are definately happy.....

So today I framed with one of the cutest camera assistants I ve had in ages holding the HD monitor on her shoulder walking alongside me. Very disorientating at first but I got the hang of it..... and kept wide
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#5 TJ Williams

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 11:54 PM

Sounds like the cinetechnics adapter to 35mm primes would be good as you could reduce depth of field without having to fly such a long lens!
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#6 thomas-english

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 03:59 AM

Is that the same as the P + S Techniks adaptor? or is it a new one? I can t seem to google it.
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#7 Victor M Macias

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 03:33 PM

I got a masters elite film rig and I'm gonna be flying a vericam out in Tahoe for two weeks in December. I have never used it and was wondering what I should be ready for? Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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#8 Nils Ruinet

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 04:10 PM

Hi Victor,
I suppose you mean the Panasonic DVCPRO HD Varicam camera.
It's a good camera, not too heavy compared to the sony HDCAM cameras.

As far as I know it only outputs an HD-SDI signal (720P format), no SD-SDI or composite output...
So you should make sure that they rent the right down-converter with it.
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#9 Victor M Macias

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 08:17 PM

Hi Victor,
I suppose you mean the Panasonic DVCPRO HD Varicam camera.
It's a good camera, not too heavy compared to the sony HDCAM cameras.

As far as I know it only outputs an HD-SDI signal (720P format), no SD-SDI or composite output...
So you should make sure that they rent the right down-converter with it.



Thank you Nils, I will make sure I get the proper converter
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#10 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:01 PM

get the AJA downconverter.

the varicam is not that heavy.. after all its a ENG camera, but with a matte box, rods, cine-tape, primes, etc it can get to be a long and/or heavy thing.

make sure you know what lenses they will be using and what other accessories they want to add on to it.. they may have you flying a prompter kit... its happened...
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#11 Ramon Engle

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:31 PM

Hi Victor. With the right accessories the Varicam is a pleasure to fly. Do your homework. The camera you use could have an integrated downconverter like the Evertz. I shoot 3 times a year for 4 to 6weeks at a time with a varicam from Bexel that has an integrated Evertz. It is a power hog compared to an AJA or Miranda. Not to mention that it is huge and is mounted on far end of the camera. If you end up with this down converter in the cold of Tahoe you'll need a butt load of sled batteries!
One of the real upsides to this camera is the ability to go lowmode internally. You can flip the image in camera, shorten your post, readjust you monitor and away you go. The Sony 900 allows for this but it requires an additional pc board that most rental houses will never purchase.
The B4 lens mount loosens over time. Lens motors contribute to the already poor design of the video camera B4 mount. Check this often. You'll see it on extreme rack focuses.
We just started shooting with the new H model. It uses a little less power and has less noise in the Blue channel.
I like what panasonic is doing.

Good luck.

Ramon Engle
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#12 bobgilles

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 04:47 AM

Don't forget the option for renting an HD LCD monitor for your rig, it is a real treat to operate with these new bright and crisp displays.
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#13 Brian W. Hall

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 12:32 AM

I've got a job this week where I will be flying a panasonic varicam. all my previous jobs have been with the Sony XDcam. This is my first time flying an HD camera. Are there a lot of differences? I have the Boland 8.4inch HD monitor so I'm assuming I wont have any problems there. My arm is a 3a, and I'm on a Mk-v lite sled. This may be a silly question but I just thought I'd post to see if there were any weird quirks about flying HD. thanks

Brian
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#14 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:32 AM

I've got a job this week where I will be flying a panasonic varicam. all my previous jobs have been with the Sony XDcam. This is my first time flying an HD camera. Are there a lot of differences? I have the Boland 8.4inch HD monitor so I'm assuming I wont have any problems there. My arm is a 3a, and I'm on a Mk-v lite sled. This may be a silly question but I just thought I'd post to see if there were any weird quirks about flying HD. thanks

Brian


Brian, lots of quirks, too many to list here, I suggest searching the sight , there should be a lot on this subject. For starters, have good batteries, very power hungry, Change the battery type in the camera menus. Have a downconverter handy, I wouldnt be to sure that HDSDI will run through your sled. You might just need to run better coax outside the rig. Overall, Varicam is a wonderfull camera, have fun.

Jeff
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#15 Anthony Graham

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:59 AM

Hi

Just to confirm the MK-V lite has HDSDI down the post capabilities!

Ant
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