No downconverter with Varicam
Posted 05 August 2004 - 07:10 PM
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions about the best way to deal with this? I'm planning on calling the producer next week a couple days before the shoot to encourage him to get a down converter if he hasn't already, but beyond that I don't have any way to ensure that there is a down converter on the job.
Posted 05 August 2004 - 08:31 PM
if not, and you're getting full rate, why not just find a rental company on your own and rent it personally, then
include it with your invoice.
or...if it's a smaller budget shoot that just doesn't have the money and the cable going down the post is an
issue, attach the monitor onto the camera and look off it there.
or you can shoot blind. i've had to do this once on an arri 3 gig with fried video tap. we we're wide the entire night,
and the footage turned out great.
Posted 05 August 2004 - 09:25 PM
Call the producer tomorrow.
Tell them a downconverter is a NECESSARY piece of equipment in order to get the job done right.
If it's a cost factor, just tell them it will cost them less for the down converter then they spend on Starbucks coffee for the office staff every morning. Ask them to just skip a day on the Starbucks so you can have the equipment necessary to give the director and band what they want. Then say "sorry to inconvenience you." No just kidding leave that part out.
Even if this is an ultra low budget video, if they want the proper shots, they need to get the proper equipment.
I wouldn't do any doohickey rigging of a monitor to your sled or such. That'll just set a bad example and they'll want to do that on all their shoots.
Obviously be professional about it, but be firm. If it's a case of a down converter isn't available, tell them they need to call around and subrent it from another video dealer.
Otherwise, if they are THAT cheap, I'm sure the job will be a nightmare anyway and not worth your time. Once they call around and find out that EVERY operator will tell them the same thing, they'll get the downconverter.
Posted 06 August 2004 - 12:12 AM
Michael hit it on the head. Call the Producer (in this case he may not deserve the capital "P") and tell him one more time. If you show up and there is no down converter politely remind him of the conversation, ask for your fee and then leave!
I just spent some time as an "A" camera Op with the Varicam. We had no extension eye-piece (I'm not sure they even make one for the Panasonic) so I used an Astro to operate with when on wheels. At times I found it liberating to not have my face buried into and eye-piece, but at other times it drove me nuts. I had a dolly move with a drastic pan in direct sun light and for complicated reasons, I could not move my body too much (I would have hit a tree - hard to explain the geography on this one). Very hard to see the image on an LCD. Obviously it worked or I would have found another way, but it made me think of all the Steadicam guys who swear by LCDs. Once again, I thought they were all crazy (sorry folks). Brad, stick to your guns - get the tools you need to do the job.
Posted 06 August 2004 - 01:03 AM
Posted 06 August 2004 - 01:04 AM
Thanks for the responses guys
Posted 06 August 2004 - 01:15 AM
That's probably very good advice in most situations Alec, but it's not something I want to do on this one, and the reason is simple. This is a director I used to work with regularly until he stopped directing for a while. Obviously, that was a bummer for me because I got less work because of it. But now he's signed with a new company and it looks like he's going to be working a lot, and to be quite honest, I want and NEED the work. He's a great guy and a good director, and just basically someone I'd like to continue to work with. Also, the producer has been nothing but friendly, so I don't really want to alienate myself to someone who I may have the opportunity to work with a lot. I'm just trying to give myself an easy fix if a problem should arrive. As you know, part of being a good operator is being able to anticipate things before they happen, and that includes problems. This isn't actually a problem yet, and I don't think it will be in the end. Just trying to cover all the bases, you know....
Michael hit it on the head. Call the Producer (in this case he may not deserve the capital "P") and tell him one more time. If you show up and there is no down converter politelyfor the re remind him of the conversation, ask for your fee and then leave!
Posted 06 August 2004 - 03:16 AM
Posted 06 August 2004 - 10:31 AM
Posted 06 August 2004 - 10:59 AM
I have used the Astro monitors on my rig, in full Cambodian sunlight, yes, it´s not ideal but you can work with it.
Angle it is such a way that it does not reflect the sky and turn the brighness on max.
The cable issue: in my opinion manageble. Many operators are rather anal about this but it is something you can really work with. Not 100% happy of course, but I would not make this a big issue.
Demanding a downconverter: in the feature I worked on the DIT (digital image technician) was shading constantly so we always had direct SDI output. You cannot shade properly via a downconverter. Maybe not nessecary in your case. So we had to use the stiff HD-SDI cables.
Another operator had a little black and white camera attached to the viewfinder. Not elegant but it worked.
Convertors have problems too, like delay and they sometimes behave very strange with fast moving subjects or cameramoves. (sawtooth scanning, jagged edges)
Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand
Posted 06 August 2004 - 11:18 AM
Yes, you have the right attitude. I don't think I'd rent an item on my own though if it were something that I felt Production should provide as part of the camera package. It sets a bad precedence - what is next, we have to rent the 100% video top?
Yes, an eyepiece tap can work in a pinch. I used one on my first HD job because it was before onboard down-converters were available. Held it on with tape and rubber bands. Ugly as sin, but it worked.
Don't forget to have them get an NTSC monitor too! Easy to overlook, but you need a composite NTSC monitor to receive a signal from your tuner. Of course they will want you to be umbilicaled via BNC for them to get an HD image, which is no big deal on the Panasonic as it has SDI built in. Rob, you can uses any 75ohm BNC cable for this. I have done it repeatedly with a very thin Mogami jumper cable from the camera to my vest then barreled into a standard BNC. As for shading, we disconnect that before we go, so I only have the one cable (but the look for the shot is already set). Engineer is happy; I am happy. The thin cable will not hurt your operating, but it will drive you nuts having to remember to release it after you dock! I'd still make sure they have the NTSC field monitor though incase it becomes very problematic to be tethered for a shot (if they want to see it in HD, they can check playback).
Lastly, Brad, you mentioned that it was a music video so this won't apply, but while on the subject of HD. Don't forget that the audio is now on the camera. Hopefully they have a DAT as well, but often they want sound on the camera too. Make sure they have wireless mics.
Posted 06 August 2004 - 11:52 AM
I can add more to this list as well, like... a posh trailer for you, so you can go somewhere comfortable to nap or whatever, company car and wine and cheese if you like.
Seriously though, if there is anything I'm missing let me know.. I'll be happy to put it on there..
Posted 06 August 2004 - 07:48 PM
Lately I feel like I'd rather be strung up on a rack than talk to a producer about money or equipment. I've been hearing this statement too much lately...."Well, I talked to (insert another operators name here) and he/she said they'd do it for less."
Posted 07 August 2004 - 05:04 AM
in the feature I worked on the DIT (digital image technician) was shading constantly so we always had direct SDI output. u cannot shade properly with a downconverter
what does shading mean........ sorry for maybe being a bit stupid
Posted 07 August 2004 - 05:22 AM
Job "Trying to help out" Scholtze