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Phantom Flex 4K

shooting high speed 4K

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#1 Nils Valkenborgh

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:41 PM

Hi all,

 

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a music video that would be shot entirely on the latest iteration of vision research's high speed camera range, the flex 4K. The director and d.o.p wanted to use steadicam for speed ramping shots and slight movements during the 1000fps shots.

 

First impressions, it balanced really nicely, felt a little lighter than your average Alexa and most important, it has a flat base. because I didn't have access to cable in order to power the camera straight from my rig, I put a battery on the back. This brings me to one of the main concerns when shooting with this camera, the power consumption is HUGE, but one can expect that from a camera with these specs. The batteries I used were 172Wh Heavy Duty Swit batteries which performed rather well. The lenses were Cookes S4i's and we put a transvideo titan HD on the back so the weight was pretty manageable.

 

The image straight out of the camera has a rather saturated and highly contrasted look but I was assured by the rental company that when shooting RAW there'd be a lot of extra image information to play around with in post. The camera has two different kind of recording modes, R/S mode and Loop mode. R/S allows for the classic way of recording (camera only starts recording when the start/stop button's pushed) up to 125fps. Anything above that will require the camera to be rebooted in Loop-mode, which takes about as long as booting up an Alexa so really no complaints there. Once in Loop-mode, the camera still has to be activated to record, but does so in a loop of about 5 seconds to the internal RAM disc. After the start/stop is pressed again, only the last 5 seconds are saved and can be cut to size to be saved to the cinemag, in order to reduce filesize.

 

To make a long story short, shooting with this camera is as easy as shooting on an Alexa. If you'd have a commercial or film that requires a lot of high speed, using this camera for the regular speed shots as well just makes sense.

 

Here's the final result 

 

Needless to say shooting this was a lot of fun and definitely worthwhile using the Flex 4K. About 50% of the shots were done by me and only half of those include real visible camera movements.

 

The studio we used was the BFC Fxbox and the camerapackage came from BFC Rental. For those who're interested, go and visit http://www.bfcrental.com/ They specialize in high speed and rare special interest optics. Customer service is their number one priority. I'm not affiliated with this company in any way but dealing with them has always been very pleasant.


Edited by Nils Valkenborgh, 20 July 2014 - 01:41 PM.

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#2 Alessandro Ugo

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 03:36 PM

Hey Nils,

 

thank you for your explanation. 

 

I never had so far the privilege to shoot with a Phantom (unless you count a camera expo where I tried it...), but it must have been a great experience. 

 

Just a question, does it have a wireless system of control? If not, since it records only the last 5 seconds, how did you manage to operate and straight away press the button? This is my main concern for when I'll be shooting on a FS700 slowmo this weekend.

 

By the way, the music video is outstanding ;-)


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#3 Nils Valkenborgh

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:55 PM

Hi Alessandro,

It didn' t come with the standard phantom wireless control so I had to be very aware of the timeframe and my director always very loudly and repeatedly yelled "CUT" which was rather helpful as well. If I'm not mistaken, the fs700 has Lanc control or the same kind of start/stop control the F5/F55 has, and cables for those are available (depending on which focus unit you use I guess). We did have a focus unit with an RS cable for star/stop control, but it malfunctioned on set so we resorted to the old-school method of pressing the big red button by hand.

Good Luck with shooting high speed, you will have a lot of fun, I garantuee it!

Greetings

Nils
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#4 Alessandro Ugo

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 05:31 AM

Hi Nils,

 

yes the Lanc control is a great solution but it looks like we won't have it on set  :angry:

 

I found this video that shows it installed on the fs700 on a drone. Worked pretty well!

 

 

It looks like I'll have to go old school too, I've run some tests and it takes around half second to press the button. Hopefully the director will be as good as yours.

 

Did you use pre or post trigger?


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