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					        DIGITAL   digital acquisition digital workflow
                  digital effects digital intermediates


Cinematography
vol. 1 no.1                                         march | april 2005




                                                    FILMSTREAM
                                                    DREAM ON
                                                    SILENCE
                                                    BECOMES YOU

                                                    PANAVISED
                                                    MADNESS




                                               PREMIERE
                                                 ISSUE!
                                   THE BACK
                                   ALLEYS OF

                             I
                             SN
                             IT
                             CY
4                editor’s view                                                                                         DIGITAL
                                                                                                                 Cinematography
cinematography

                                                                                                                                          volume 1, issue 1

                      THE OPENING SHOT                                                                                               editor       Cristina Clapp
                                                                                                                                                  310. 429. 8484
                                                                                                                                                  cclapp@cmpinformation.com
                      So this is Digital Cinematography, our new magazine. I hope you read, respond and,
                                                                                                                   managing editor                Katie Makal
                      most importantly, learn.                                                                   contributing editors             James Careless
                         Our idea was to make a magazine for the creative professionals involved in                                               Matt Hurwitz
                                                                                                                                                  Elina Shatkin
                      digital production and post. There are so many amazing developments in the                                                  Jon Silberg
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                                                                  Andrew Takeuchi
                      digital workflow ... cinematography, the digital intermediate (DI) process, film                                            An Tran
                      scanning and recording, digital effects, data management and film mastering. As                                             Alicia Zappier
                      a result of the imagination and ingenuity of these creative professionals, we’re
                                                                                                                       group publisher            Herb Schiff
                      seeing amazing projects. And we want to bring them to you.                                                                  310. 837. 6460
                                                                                                                                                  hschiff@cmpinformation.com
                         The plan is to keep you updated on all of the new concepts, experiments,
                                                                                                                 publishing manager               Heather O’Connor
                      products and projects through the magazine, our Web site (www.dcinematogra-                                                 212. 378. 0462
                                                                                                                                                  hoconnor@cmpinformation.com
                      phy.com) and our electronic newsletters. For a free subscription to the maga-
                                                                                                                      east coast sales            David J. Miller
                      zine and/or the e-newsletters, visit www.dcinematography.com/subscribe.                                                     212. 378. 0464
                                                                                                                                                  damiller@cmpinformation.com
                         But we really look to you, our readers, to help us develop and guide the mag-               west coast sales             Jeff Victor
                      azine. Tell us what you’re working on, what you’ve tried, what you’d like to read,                                          847. 367. 4073
                                                                                                                                                  jvictor@cmpinformation.com
                      what kinds of questions you’d like answered ... and we’ll do everything we can             midwest & canadian
                      to bring you that content.                                                                 sales/classified sales           Michael Valinsky
                                                                                                                                                  212. 378. 0408
                         Call or e-mail me any time with your ideas, news, suggestions and                                                        mvalinsky@cmpinformation.com
                      comments.                                                                                  international sales
                                                                                                                           manager                Gary Rhodes
                         And enjoy the first issue of Digital Cinematography. We certainly enjoy                                                  631. 274. 9530
                                                                                                                                                  sedorusa@optonline.net
                      bringing it to you.
                                                                                                                      national sales
                                                                        Cristina Clapp, Editorial Director         manager/director
                                                                                                                    of internet sales             Toby Sali
                                                                                                                                                  310. 396. 9554
                                                                                                                                                  tsali@cmpinformation.com

                                                                                                                   senior art director            Nicole Cobban

                      DIGITAL                                                                                           art directors             Gregory Gennaro,

                 Cinematography                                                           contents
                                                                                                                 production manager
                                                                                                                 assistant production
                                                                                                                            manager
                                                                                                                                                  Annmarie LaScala
                                                                                                                                                  Fred Vega

                                                                                                                                                  Ariel Steinberg

                    THE BACK
                                                                                  production                     circulation manager              Annette Gollop
                                                                      Behind the Camera on Project Green-                      CMP INFORMATION, INC.
                    ALLEYS OF                                         light, Protocols of Zion Produced with
                    SIN CITY
                            24                                                         6
                                                                      Panasonic AJ-SDX900, Bob Aschmann
                                                                      Goes Natural for The L Word, Viper
                                                                      FilmStream Goes to Iceland’s LazyTown
                                                                                                                       president/ceo
                                                                                                                    group publishing
                                                                                                                              director
                                                                                                                      vice president/
                                                                                                                            controller
                                                                                                                                                  Tony Keefe

                                                                                                                                                  Adam Goldstein

                                                                                                                                                  Doug Krainman

                                  FILMSTREAM                                  postproduction                      director of editorial,
                                                                                                                        marketing, and
                                  DREAM ON                            Company 3 Takes Constantine to DI, Post    creative development             Tony Savona
                                  SILENCE BECOMES YOU
                                  28                                               10
                                                                      Logic Preps Daniel Johnston, Why We
                                                                      Fight, PostWorks Enjoys Romance and
                                                                      Cigarettes, Autodesk Rebrands Discreet
                                                                                                                           director of
                                                                                                                           operations
                                                                                                                         published by
                                                                                                                   executive offices
                                                                                                                                                  Cristina Ernst
                                                                                                                                                  CMP Information, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                  460 Park Ave. S., 9th Fl.
                                                                                                                                                  New York NY 10016

                    CLIPSTER 2.0                                                     toolkit                                                      Tel: 212. 378. 0400
                                                                                                                                                  Fax: 212. 378. 2160
                    COMES TO                                          Sony DSR-400 and DSR-450WS Cam-
                                                                                                                              www.dcinematography.com
                    THE FORE 33                                       corders, Edifis Finaliser, Panasonic AJ-



                                            PANAVISED
                                            MADNESS
                                                                                   16
                                                                      SD965 VTR, JVC GY-HD100U ProHD
                                                                      Camcorder, Kodak Vision2 HD System,
                                                                      Doremi Labs Compressed HDTV Disk
                                                                      Recorders, SpectSoft RaveHD Xenon
                                                                                                                 Digital Cinematography is published bi-monthly by CMP
                                                                                                                 Information, Inc. 460 Park Avenue South, Ninth Floor New
                                                                                                                 York, NY 10016. Postmaster: send address changes and
                                                                                                                 inquires to Digital Cinematography. P.O. Box 564, Lin-
                                                                      System, Thomson Grass Valley Venom
                                                                                                                 denhurst, NY 11757-0564. Subscriptions: US: 1 yr. $52, 2
                                            34                                                                   yr. $94; Canada: 1 yr. $88, 2 yr. $166; Foreign: 1 yr. $102, 2
                                                                      FlashPak                                   yr. $194. Back issues are $6. Copyright 2005 CMP Informa-
                                                                                                                 tion, Inc. PRINTED IN THE USA.
                 march | april 2005                                             www.dcinematography.com
                    help        contents
6
cinematography
                 production

                      Behind the Camera on                                                                        ◗ shorts
                                                                                                                   CML Lighting
                      PROJECT GREENLIGHT                                                                           Book Available
                                                                                                                   The Cinematography
                                                                                                                   Mailing List (CML),
                                                                                                                   an online forum that allows cine-
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                                   matographers and crew to
                                                                                                                   exchange ideas about cinematog-
                                                                                                                   raphy, has released The CML
                                                                                                                   Lighting Book.
                                                                                                                      This book consists of edited
                                                                                                                   online conversations that took
                                                                                                                   place among DPs, gaffers, their
                                                                                                                   crew and equipment suppliers from
                                                                                                                   the period of January 2001 to
                                                                                                                   January 2005. The offering is
                                                                                                                   available as a download ($11.05)
                                                                                                                   and as a printed, bound
                                                                                                                   book ($25).


                                                                                                                   Fauer’s ARRICAM
                                                                                                                   2nd. Ed. Available
                                                                                                                   The second edition
                                                                                                                   of ARRICAM (book
                                                                                                                   and DVD) from
                      Cinematographer Tony Sacco, director
                                                                                                                   Cinematographer
                      of photography for Miramax Television’s
                                                                                                                   Jon Fauer, ASC, will
                      Project Greenlight, used Panasonic’s
                                                                                                                   be available this
                      AJ-SDX900 DVCPRO camcorder to
                                                                                                                   month. Fauer has
                      record the third season of the filmmak-
                                                                                                                   completely updated
                      ing contest and behind-the-scenes doc-
                                                                                                                   and revised the
                      umentary series, which debuted on Bra-
                                                                                                                   book to reflect cur-
                      vo in March. Sacco, who owns his own
                                                                                                                   rent trends, and the DVD is new
                      SDX900, shot the season’s nine one-
                                                                                                                   to this edition.
                      hour episodes in 24p.
                                                                                                                       The DVD features interviews with
                          Created by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck       and 16:9. I did further tests specific to
                                                                                                                   leading cinematographers on film
                      and Chris Moore, this season’s Project       reality television using mixed lighting
                                                                                                                   origination, digital intermediates,
                      Greenlight focuses on the making of          and low lighting to see how it would
                                                                                                                   scanning, color management and
                      Feast, a horror movie. First-time director   handle. Even I was surprised at how well
                                                                                                                   film recording. The DVD also
                      John Gulager helms the winning script,       it performed in low light—faster than Be-
                                                                                                                   includes 60 minutes of how-to tips
                      which was envisioned by first-time           ta and with very low noise in the gains.”
                                                                                                                   and techniques on camera prep,
                      screenwriters Patrick Melton and Mar-            Even with the run-and-gun style of
                                                                                                                   setup, loading, wireless lens con-
                      cus Dunstan. The novice filmmakers al-       Project Greenlight, Sacco wanted a look
                                                                                                                   trols, lens data systems, speed
                      so draw on the wisdom of master horror       that wasn’t typical video. “Shooting in the
                                                                                                                   ramps and more.
                      director Wes Craven, who produces the        progressive mode in combination with the
                                                                                                                       All proceeds from the sale of the
                      project.                                     cine-like gamma curve creates the look
                                                                                                                   book and DVD will be used to sup-
                          “For me to DP a show and visually        of film and is far superior to standard 60i
                                                                                                                   port the American Society of
                      make it stand out from the rest of the       video. In the unpredictable world of reality
                                                                                                                   Cinematographers Museum and
                      pack, 24p was the answer,” Sacco says.       filming, where you’re not able to paint
                                                                                                                   Education Center.
                      “I was able to test the camera for a         each scene and light everything, the
                      week, shooting at 24p, 30p and 60i, 4:3      SDX900 passes with flying colors.”




                 march | april 2005                                                                                          www.dcinematography.com
  help         contents

                                                                                                                                   clips                    7




                                                                                                                                                    DIGITAL
PROTOCOLS OF ZION




                                                                                                                                                    cinematography
Produced with Panasonic AJ-SDX900
The Protocols of Zion, an appraisal of con-
temporary anti-Semitism from veteran doc-
umentarian Marc Levi, was shot by Cine-
matographer Mark Benjamin with a
Panasonic AJ-SDX900 DVCPRO 24p
camera.
    Noting an upsurge of anti-Semitic senti-
ment in the United States and around the
world, Levin polls a range of people to ex-
plore the notion that Jews are “out for world
domination”—a theory propagated by The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a century-old
tract that, despite being discredited as a li-
belous forgery, is still widely available.
    Cinematographer Mark Benjamin explains,
“The SDX900 doesn’t have a ‘DigiBeta’ look,
which has come to be viewed as too clean,
too newsy, too real—in short, not cinematic
enough. The SDX900 has a softer edge, sim-
ilar to 16mm, as well as native 16:9 and 24p,
which gives the material a desirable temporal        For the Protocols offline, material was     elegant up-res to HD, either 24p or 30i, cap-
stutter.”                                        down-resed to DVCAM, which was dubbed           turing the aesthetic of what you’ve color-cor-
    Benjamin shot Protocols at 24p utilizing     via FireWire into Avid Xpress DV. For the on-   rected,” Benjamin says.
Cine Gamma and “a very reasonable setting        line, the editors had a DVCPRO50 deck play-         Benjamin notes that he used Panason-
that didn’t overcrank to look like enhanced      ing back into Avid Symphony, followed by the    ic’s AG-DVX100A Mini DV camcorder as a
video.” He used two lenses, a super-wide and     color-correct and an up-res to HD 30i.          second, “run-and-gun” camera on the Pro-
a 22:1 zoom.                                         “The camera makes a surprisingly strong,    tocols shoot.


    Bob Aschmann Goes                                                                            diffused light is the show’s format. The
    Natural for THE L WORD                                                                       L Word is shot in high definition with
   Cinematographer Bob Aschmann is the                                                           the Sony HDW-F900. Aschmann
   first one to admit he doesn’t watch much                                                      makes sure there’s always some kind of
   television, but he was excited about the                                                      diffusion on the lens, generally soft-
   prospect of shooting The L Word be-                                                           contrast filters or classic softs. “I always
   cause of the way the episodic drama                                                           have some type of diffusion on the
   treats issues of relationships and sexuali-                                                   camera because I’m shooting in HD. I
   ty. “I liked all the dramatic elements of                                                     actually feel like I don’t have to do much
   the show,” says Aschmann. “I thought it                                                       diffusion for the actors. I use diffusion
   was really dealing with some issues that       soft in Los Angeles. The sun never gets        on the lens whether I’m shooting a
   hadn’t been seen on TV.”                       as hard and crisp as it does here in Van-      close-up or not.”
       Although the show is shot in Vancou-       couver.” The happy side effect is the way          Aschmann also tries to maintain a
   ver, Aschmann takes care to emulate the        the light flatters the show’s primarily fe-    naturalistic feel when it comes to cam-
   look of sunny Southern California, which       male cast. Aschmann has taken the dif-         era movement. He thinks of the camera
   is one of the reasons why he plays his         fused lighting look and, in his words, “run    as a non-obtrusive observer and
   lights extremely soft. “Part of that was my    with it in other situations.”                  prefers not to move it unless it’s ab-
    observation that the light is always quite       Another reason for the prevalence of        solutely necessary.




www.dcinematography.com                                                                                                        march | april 2005
                    help          contents
8
cinematography
                 production                                                                                                                         clips
                     Viper FilmStream Goes to Iceland’s LAZYTOWN
                     Thomson Grass Valley’s Viper Film-
                     Stream digital cinematography cam-
                     era is being used to shoot LazyTown,
                     a children’s program that airs on
                     Nickelodeon Jr. and CBS. Mark Read
                     of production company Hypercube
  DIGITAL




                     (Boulder, Colo.) and Magnús Scheving
                     of LazyTown Studios (Reykjavík, Ice-
                     land) began collaborating in late
                     2003 to create a children’s show that
                     would blend puppets, live action and
                     CG backgrounds—and to devise an                CGI, compositing, editing, color correc-        sent to an Ultimatte HD system for
                     all-digital, data-centric workflow to          tion, finishing, music and sound compo-         keying and are stored on a 60TB SAN
                     make it happen.                                sition, recording and editing.                  for universal mastering. To record the
                        LazyTown’s data-heavy production                The pipeline is fed six days a week         Viper’s 4:4:4 RGB output, Read em-
                     and post workflow takes advantage of a         during production by Director of Pho-           ploys DVS CineControl, Drastic Tech-
                     custom-built tapeless universal produc-        tography Tomas Örn and his Grass Val-           nologies WVW series digital disk
                     tion environment that allows ideas and         ley Viper FilmStream camera. The digital        recorder and Baytech CineRAM. The
                     television episodes to evolve from con-        cinematography camera’s three 9.2-mil-          CG backgrounds are created by 12
                     cept to realization all under one roof, and    lion-pixel CCDs capture images at               artists using Alias Maya, Kaydara’s On-
                     the roof is located in Gardabær, Iceland.      1920x1080 resolution. In FilmStream             line virtual set software and Apple’s
                     Everything from the script to the finished     mode, Viper records unprocessed, un-            Shake. Editing is performed on Avid
                     product is produced within the studio          compressed video—RGB 4:4:4 10-bit               Adrenaline. Online editing and color
                     building, with offices and rooms for pro-      log data—to disk, allowing a completely         correction use Iridas SpeedGrade.
                     ducers, makeup, image data processing,         tapeless production and post process.           Once each episode is finalized, DPX
                                                                        Greenscreen images captured by the          files are recorded to a Sony SRW-5000
                                                                    Viper and its Zeiss DigiPrime lenses are        RGB VTR.

                  Dalsa to Open
                  Digital Cinema Center                             Shooting Multi-Cam HD for LIFE ON A STICK
                  Dalsa Corp.                                       FOX network’s Life on                                                matically from the way I
                  opens the doors                                   a Stick, which pre-                                                  was lighting in film.”
                  to the Dalsa                                      miered on March 24, is                                                   As a cinematogra-
                  Digital Cinema                                    a sitcom about the ad-                                               pher who has grown up
                  Center in                                         ventures of two friends                                              with film, Roberson
                  Woodland Hills,                                   just out of high school                                              tries to emulate its look
                  Calif., a suburb                                  who take jobs at a hot                                               as much as possible.
                  of Los Angeles, this month. The full-service      dog stand at the local                                               “I’ve gone into the
                  rental facility will feature Origin, Dalsa’s 4K   mall’s food court. Veteran cinematographer      F900 and tried to tweak it to where it will
                  digital motion picture camera. The center will    Jim Roberson shot most of this slice of         emulate film stock, so you’ve got detail in
                  also provide a full spectrum of digital cam-      Americana using four Sony HDW-F900              the blacks, crush the high end so it doesn’t
                  eras, accessories and services to meet the        CineAlta 24p high-def cameras.                  get totally away from you.
                  needs of production companies and directors           The advent of high-def production has           But for all of HD’s advantages, multi-
                  of photography for virtually any production.      had minimal impact on Roberson’s lighting       camera high-def shoots present some
                      To realize this goal, Dalsa acquired the      style. “When I started shooting sitcoms         unique challenges. “In the high-def world,
                  assets of Broadcast Plus, a video equip-          back in the ’90s, I basically stayed with my    everybody likes to think that everything is
                  ment and services provider in Los Angeles.        same lighting style,” he says, “only I would    constant, but the four cameras that we use
                  Bob DaSilva, owner and founder of Broad-          accommodate for four cameras.” When             are not all the same,” Roberson explains.
                  cast Plus, will serve as the general manager      Roberson went from film to HD, “I didn’t        “Temperature affects them. Whether they’ve
                  of the Dalsa Digital Cinema Center.               change anything in the way I lit. High def is   been bounced across the floor or on the
                      The center is currently planning a series     more sensitive to the high end and the low      street or by being moved from show to
                  of open houses and in-house seminars.             end, and you’ve got to be careful in the        show—all that affects them, and each
                                                                    mid-range, but I really haven’t changed dra-    camera will change a tiny bit.”


                 march | april 2005                                                                                                   www.dcinematography.com
                   help          contents
10
cinematography
                 post                                                                                                                                 clips
                     Company 3 Takes CONSTANTINE to DI
                    Company 3 colorist David Hussey provid-
                    ed digital intermediate services for Direc-
                    tor Francis Lawrence and the Warner
                    Bros. feature film Constantine. The proj-
                    ect marks the first feature film outing for
                    both Hussey and Lawrence, though the
  DIGITAL




                    pair have previously collaborated on nu-
                    merous music video projects that involved




                    digital intermediate work.                       to have the ability to make subtle color         look of the film evolved over time. It was
                         Lawrence was insistent on using the DI      changes and to use windows to affect dis-        helpful to have the luxury of time, to not
                    process to post his film. Citing his back-       crete areas of the image.”                       feel so rushed.”
                    ground in music videos, he said that the DI          Hussey explains the differences be-              This being his first experience with DI
                    environment offered him real-time interac-       tween timing three-minute videos and a           for a feature film, Hussey was con-
                    tivity and the ability to work directly with a   two-hour feature. “With a music video, you       cerned about how his work would trans-
                    colorist he was used to. “I’m used to having     scan through the film quickly and start          late when it was output to film. “Film is a
                    control over the color and contrast, and I       playing with your ideas. In a day or two, it’s   different medium—it’s a more organic
                    was nervous about having to work the old         done. With the movie, we had weeks to do         source—but I was very pleasantly sur-
                    fashioned way of color timing in a lab. DI       it. We could come up with different looks.       prised by the results. It was very close,
                    makes color timing seem archaic. I wanted        We could create different looks within           almost an exact match for the digital
                    to have control—control over the contrast,       scenes. We could see how they looked to-         projection. We didn’t have to change a
                    control to put color in the blacks. I wanted     gether. We could change our minds. The           thing. The translation was amazing.”



                                                          Post Logic Preps                                   PostWorks Assembles
                                                          DANIEL JOHNSTON                                    WHY WE FIGHT
                                                            Post Logic Studios provided digital in-          At PostWorks’ facility in SoHo and at its subsidiary,
                                                            termediate services for the documen-             Photomag Sound & Image in Midtown Manhattan,
                                                            tary The Devil and Daniel Johnston.              Director Eugene Jarecki oversaw finishing for his
                                                                The post and DI process for The Dev-         documentary Why We Fight. Work included sound
                                                          il and Daniel Johnston, a documentary              design and final audio mixing, 24p conform in Avid
                                                          portrait of musical artist/songwriter              DS Nitris, color correction in PostWorks’ digital in-
                                                          Daniel Johnston, required Post Logic to            termediate theater, titling in Nitris and mastering to
                                                          meld new footage and interviews shot on            HDCAM 1080i.
                                                          Super 16mm with archival footage shot                  “Why We Fight is a film that combines a lot of
                                                          on Super 8, VHS and DV.                            different types of elements. In a way, it’s a case
                                                               “This documentary has a huge vari-            study in the beauty of modern technology being
                                                          ety and richness of material,” says Jeff           able to bring together extremely disparate informa-
                  Feuerzeig, the film’s director. “We collected archived footage, including con-             tion so that storytelling can be informed by ele-
                  cert performances, and also had media coming in on Super 8 and other                       ments from a lot of different viewpoints and
                  home video formats. The only way to bring all of this together—plus our After              places,” Jarecki explains. “There are actually a lot
                  Effects graphics and files—was through the Post Logic Studios DI. We were                  of aesthetics involved in bringing the information
                  impressed by the facility’s toolset, which includes the Quantel iQ, and by the             to the screen; those aesthetics come down to real
                  company’s expertise in assembling the elements in the digital nonlinear                    decisions made in the post environment.”
                  space. Post Logic’s 2K scan of our Super 16 original was absolutely beauti-
                  ful, and our 35mm print, color-timed by Michael Underwood, looks great.”

                 march | april 2005                                                                                                     www.dcinematography.com
                                                             © Eastman Kodak Company, 2005. Kodak is a trademark.




FEEL IT.                 ONLY FILM SEES THE WAY YOU DO.
                     You see it. More importantly, you feel it.
                             It’s the difference 10 times more
                      resolution makes in portraying nuance




OR
                    and detail. And it’s the way film’s organ-
                      ic structure sees like the human eye—
                       not like a machine. So there’s nothing
                              between you and your audience.
                                   KODAK Motion Picture Film.



FORGET IT.
                           Make your story one to remember.
                                   www.kodak.com/go/motion.




FILM. THE DIFFERENCE.
                    help         contents
12               post                                                                                                                            clips
                                                                                                                       ◗ shorts
cinematography




                                                                                                                        IVC Upgrades its
                                                                                                                        Digital Vision Systems
                                                                                                                        IVC recently expanded its digital cin-
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                                        ema mastering and HD mastering
                                                                                                                        capablities with new and upgraded
                                                                                                                        systems from Digital Vision. IVC, a
                                                                                                                        division of Point.360, ordered Digital
                                                                                                                        Vision’s ASC3 ME Film Dirt and
                                                                                                                        Random Scratch Concealer with
                                                                                                                        Motion Estimation, upgraded its Dig-
                                                                                                                        ital Vision AGR4 ME Grain & Noise

                     PostWorks Enjoys                                                                                   Management System with Motion
                                                                                                                        Estimation and upgraded its Valhall
                                                                                                                        color correction system. The new
                     ROMANCE AND                                                                                        ASC3 ME, upgraded AGR4 ME and
                                                                                                                        upgraded Valhall will be installed at
                     CIGARETTES                                                                                         IVC’s facility in Burbank.
                                                                                                                            IVC has a large number of Digital
                     PostWorks in New York developed a new                                                              Vision DVNR systems in its facility.
                     post workflow for the production of Director                                                       The addition of the new systems al-
                     John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes.                                                            lows IVC to take advantage of the
                     “Our custom dailies workflow included di-                                                          processing power afforded by Mo-
                     rect-to-disk telecine transfer, as well as si-                                                     tion Estimation’s new restoration al-
                     multaneous HD and SD transfers,” explains        transfer for the first few days, then was han-    gorithms and filtering techniques.
                     Executive Producer Matthew Reedy. “The           dled by an assistant editor in one of Post-           IVC has been using the Valhall
                     process allowed the project’s editor, Ray        Works’ offline edit suites.                       color corrector for more than two
                     Hubley, rapid, ready access to audio-                “The HD transfers allowed the filmmak-        years. Improvements in the version 2
                     synched select takes in the Avid. It also        ers a chance to visualize a high-quality con-     upgrade include enhanced gamma
                     archived the same takes to 1080/24p HD           formed master for preview screenings with-        range, user-definable transfer func-
                     so that the final HD onlines could quickly be    out having to resort to doing a work print cut    tions (curves), selectable processing
                     assembled once the edit was locked.”             or a lower quality SD online,” Reedy says.        orders, an adjustable RGB legalizer,
                        To simultaneously transfer selected takes     “With the use of our media storage capabili-      invertible secondary vectors, addi-
                     from the 35mm, 2.40 scope negative               ties, we were able to store and make              tional layers (including a dedicated
                     source to 1080/24p HD and to standard            changes according to editorial decisions in a     vignette function layer) and true lay-
                     definition for use in Avid Symphony, Reedy,      fast and economical way with Avid DS Nitris       er handling.
                     Colorist Sam Daley and Editorial Assistant       HD system. We also held preview screen-               IVC chief engineer Wayne
                     Tim Hedden fine-tuned the workflow.              ings in our DI theater using our new Digital      Veitschegger says, “We are very im-
                        The Thomson Spirit DataCine was used          Projection IS8-2K projector and the D5-HD         pressed with the image quality pro-
                     with a da Vinci 2K color system to feed the      masters that we created.”                         vided by the new ME algorithms;
                     HD content to D5-HD via a Panasonic AJ-              “The end result of this workflow is really    they will allow us to work faster and
                     HD3700 deck while transferring the SD            a big deal when you think about being able        more efficiently, and the picture
                     content to DVCAM and to an Avid Unity            to automatically conform for each succes-         quality is outstanding. The new ver-
                     workspace.                                       sive screening,” adds PostWorks president         sion of the Valhall color corrector
                        Visual windows and Flex files were creat-     Billy Baldwin. “Nowadays, preview screen-         will help us as well; the multiple win-
                     ed using the Evertz KeyLog Tracker system        ings carry a lot of importance in the film-       dowing functions will be particularly
                     on the DVCAM- and Unity-transferred me-          making process. With all the editorial work       helpful. These upgrades will also al-
                     dia only.                                        taking place within our nonlinear environ-        low us to provide full bandwidth,
                        On the set, audio was recorded to DVD-        ment, we were able to automatically con-          real-time, 4:4:4 RGB image pro-
                     RAM discs using a Fostex PD-6 deck. In           form the latest changes for each preview          cessing to our clients. Until now, this
                     post, audio synch was achieved during film       screening.”                                       simply has not been possible in a
                                                                                                                        real-time process.”


                 march | april 2005                                                                                                www.dcinematography.com
                   help          contents
14               post                                                                                                                         clips
                 ◗ shorts
cinematography


                                                                Autodesk Rebrands Discreet
                                                                The results of Autodesk Inc.’s corpo-
                     Deluxe Rolls Out                           rate branding effort are in: Discreet is
                                                                getting a new name. Now known as
                     TCS’ Proof-of-Delivery                     Autodesk Media and Entertainment,
                     Notification                               the division’s focus remains on film,
                     Deluxe Labs has added 20/20 Deliv-         video, postproduction, gaming and re-
  DIGITAL




                     ery from TCS (TeleCommunication            lated media and entertainment mar-
                     Systems) to provide Proof-of-Delivery      kets. Autodesk notes that sales, sup-
                     to its clients. The service provides es-   port and product development teams
                     sential wireless data technology tools     will remain unchanged. Autodesk Me-
                     to confirm the delivery of film prints,    dia and Entertainment is headquar-
                     trailers and marketing materials to        tered in Montreal, where Discreet has
                     theaters throughout North America,         been based since Autodesk acquired
                     no matter what time of the day or          Discreet Logic in 1999.
                     night the deliveries occur.                    According to the company, the
                         Deluxe Labs works with film stu-       brand change signifies the incre-
                     dios as a global processor and distrib-    mental resources Autodesk Media
                     utor of film prints and related market-    and Entertainment will be utilizing
                     ing materials. TCS’ technology further     to better serve customers. Addi-
                     adds to Deluxe’s ability to track and      tionally, Autodesk Consulting is ex-
                     communicate the location and delivery      tending its organization by adding a
                     of client content anywhere along the       dedicated Media and Entertainment              selves to become a more closely aligned di-
                     distribution supply chain.                 practice.                                      vision of a billion-dollar-plus company. Au-
                         Deluxe scans barcodes on the               “The media and entertainment industries    todesk Media and Entertainment will not
                     movies and marketing materials, along      are at an inflection point, where creativity   only provide a broader and more strategic
                     with unique location barcodes at the-      and productivity must meet,” says Martin       presence for Autodesk, but a better plat-
                     aters, promptly confirming that the        Vann, vice president of Autodesk Media and     form for us to compete within our core mar-
                     items were delivered to the correct lo-    Entertainment. “By integrating and unifying    kets of film, television, gaming and design
                     cation. Real-time wireless updates en-     our brand with Autodesk, we position our-      visualization.”
                     able Deluxe to send e-mail confirma-
                     tions of delivery to customers within
                     minutes of completion.

                     iO Film Plans Expansion
                     Digital film finishing company iO
                     Film entered into a strategic and fi-
                     nancial partnership with Matt
                     Cooper, owner of duplication firm
                     Lightning Media, that allows iO
                     Film to relocate to a 30,000-
                     square-foot facility in Hollywood          Matchframe Goes to CHARM SCHOOL
                     this summer. Resources at the new          Director Randall Miller engaged Burbank’s Matchframe Digital Intermediate for Marilyn
                     site will triple the number of digital     Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School, which premiered at Sundance. With a
                     intermediate suites available to iO        cast that includes Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei and John Goodman, the film follows a
                     Film; the company is also making           widower who embarks on a journey to find a dying man’s lost love.
                     significant investments in hardware           The film is based on a 16mm short of the same name that Miller directed 16 years
                     and software. iO Film will operate a       ago while at AFI. Miller asked MDI to restore much of the 16mm film to serve as a key el-
                     49-seat digital and film projection        ement of the 35mm anamorphic version. “The 16mm negative was 16 years old,” notes
                     screening room at the new location,        MDI president Dave Waters, “and it was so warped in many places that it was impossible
                     with future hardware investments           for us to scan. We made a wet gate IP and scanned 2K files from the IP.”
                     set to include multiple 2K/4K DI              While the wet gate process removed much of the dirt and scratches from the original,
                     suites, additional ARRILASER film          there were still many sections where stains, dirt and hair were visible. MDI used various
                     recorders and increased storage            software tools along with FilmLight’s Baselight 2K DI color grading system to restore the
                     for scanning.                              16mm, digitally color grade and transform the 16mm to 35mm anamorphic output.


                 march | april 2005                                                                                              www.dcinematography.com
                  help        contents
16
cinematography
                 tools                                                                                            ◗SHOTOKU
                                                                                                                    BROADCAST
                                                                                                                    SYSTEMS
                                                                                                                      TP-80 PNEUMATIC
                                                                                                                      PEDESTAL
                                                                                                                      Shotoku Broadcast
                                                                                                                      Systems, a manu-
                                                                                                                      facturer of broad-
                                                                                                                      cast-quality camera
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                                      support equipment,
                                                                                                                      has extended its
                                                                                                                      suite of studio
                                                                                                                      pedestals with the
                                                                                                                      TP-80 pneumatic
                                                                                                                      pedestal, a bal-
                                                                                                                      anced, four-stage
                     SONY         DSR-400 AND DSR-450WS CAMCORDERS                                                    air pedestal with a
                        Sony’s new standard-definition DVCAM professional camcorders are engineered                   capacity of 230 lb.
                        around three 2/3-inch Power HAD EX CCD imaging sensors. The DSR-450WS is a                    The pedestal can be
                        widescreen model that can capture images in 60i at 24PsF, 25PsF (PAL model only) and          operated with al-
                        30PsF. The DSR-400 features a 4:3 version of the Power HAD EX CCD. The camcorders             most half the air
                        are capable of recording in DVCAM and DV formats, on small or large cassettes, with
                        i.LINK (IEEE 1394) digital interface connectivity. Up to 4.5 hours of footage can be
                        recorded on a single full-size cassette in DV mode, or three hours when recording in
                        DVCAM mode. The camcorders’ enhanced imaging performance is complemented by a
                        fold-out 2.5-inch color LCD monitor screen that allows users to frame and assess shots
                        with greater precision, even in full sunlight. Sony, www.sony.com/professional



                                                                        PANASONIC          AJ-SD965 VTR
                                                                          Panasonic’s AJ-SD965 is a
                                                                          DVCPRO50 studio VTR with built-in
                                                                          color LCD monitor. The AJ-SD965
                                                                          utilizes the DVCPRO XL cassette,
                                                                          allowing two hours of recording in
                                                                          4:2:2 DVCPRO50 (50Mb/s) with
                                                                          four-channel, 48kHz, 16-bit digital
                                                                          audio, and four hours of recording
                                                                          in 4:1:1 DVCPRO (25Mb/s) with two-
                                                                          channel digital audio. The VTR is se-
                                                                          lectable between 525 and 625 oper-
                                                                          ation. The compact, 4RU-size VTR
                   EDIFIS                                                 features playback of DVCPRO50,              pressure of existing
                      FINALISER                                           DVCPRO, DVCAM and DV format                 pneumatic ped-
                      Edifis’ Finaliser is a nonlinear color grading      recordings. Panasonic,                      estals, minimizing
                      and delivery system with integrated disk            www.panasonic.com/broadcast                 the effects of tem-
                      store for standard-definition and high-defi-                                                    perature change.
                      nition output. Finaliser is designed to take                                                    The TP-80 also has a
                      over the postproduction process after the                                                       built-in easy cable
                      edit is finished, providing the tools needed                                                    guard height adjust-
                      for high-end in-context color correction and                                                    ment mechanism.
                      production of multiple deliverables from a                                                      Maximum height is
                      universal master. The system, with its col-                                                     59 in., minimum is
                      orist’s control surface, supports up to 32 lay-                                                 19.7 in.
                      ers of video and effects, at either HD or SD                                                    Shotoku Broadcast
                      resolution, with no rendering.                                                                  Systems,
                      Edifis, www.edifis.us                                                                           www.shotoku.tv


                 march | april 2005                                                                               www.dcinematography.com
help      contents
                                                                                                                          tools           17




                                                                                                                                  DIGITAL
JVC   GY-HD100U
  The GY-HD100U is a cost-effective, full resolution




                                                                                                                                  cinematography
  ProHD progressive camcorder that utilizes three
  newly developed 1/3-inch CCD image sensors, each
  one featuring an array of 1280x720 pixels (approxi-
  mately 1 megapixel), with micro lenses. Eliminating
  the need for image scaling, its native resolution
  matches that of most HDTV displays. In addition, the
  GY-HD100U provides real-time playback in all major
  DTV formats, allowing easy conversion of recorded
  data to other formats without compromising the lev-
  el of quality.
    The GY-HD100U is ideal for documentary and news
  programs as well as electronic cinematography. The
  camcorder enables recordings to be transferred to
  16mm or 35mm film with full HD fidelity without
  frame rate conversion. Utilizing a user-selectable
  motion filter, this system is designed especially to
  provide smooth motion similar to that seen in mo-
  tion pictures (24p).                                                recorded in the MPEG-2 format with full broadcast reso-
    A variety of features on this camera makes the record-            lution and quality. In addition, the GY-HD100U can con-
  ing, editing and archiving process simple. It has a built-          nect directly to an external hard disk recording module,
  in ProHD recording system that records full high-defini-            allowing footage to be edited immediately and eliminat-
  tion images on inexpensive Mini DV cassettes. Data is               ing time-consuming transfers. JVC, http://pro.jvc.com




                                                                                                               www.quantel.com


 iQ
 the only DI business model
 that works and works
 pre-vis · assembly · color grading · trailers · deliverables
 ...all in a single, extraordinary system




 iQ delivers five revenue streams from one extraordinary DI machine.
 This incredible versatility is the reason that iQ uniquely makes money in DI,
 and is the reason why it’s the backbone of more DI businesses worldwide
 than any other system. Get the full picture now at www.quantel.com.

 iQ is DI™         Star Wars image courtesy of Lucas Digital
                 help      contents
18
cinematography   tools
                                                                                                            DOREMI LABS
                                                                                                             COMPRESSED HDTV DISK RECORDERS
                                                                                                             Doremi Labs will be showing its
                                                                                                             V1 line of HDTV disk recorders,
                                                                                                             including the V1-UHD for un-
                                                                                                             compressed HD video and V1-
                                                                                                             HD for compressed HD, at NAB.
                                                                                                             The V1-HD video disk recorder,
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                             which began shipping in Janu-
                                                                                                             ary, records HD-SDI and SDI
                                                                                                             video using JPEG2000 com-
                                                                                                             pression at up to 300Mb/s.
                                                                                                             JPEG2000 is particularly suited
                 KODAK        VISION2 HD SYSTEM                    and broader exposure latitude cou-        to HD video compression. It can
                   Kodak is now shipping its Super                 pled with the sharpness and fine          provide two hours of near-un-
                   16mm film system designed for cost-             grain imaging characteristics similar     compressed quality video on
                   effective production of content in              to the 500-speed Kodak Vision2            just one SCSI hard drive. The
                   either standard- or high-definition             5218/7218 Color Negative Film.            V1-HD may function as a drop-
                   television formats. The Vision2 HD                 In addition to mimicking the imag-     in replacement for any HD VTR
                   System combines Kodak's new                     ing characteristics of different emul-    and a playback device for pro-
                   Vision2 HD Color Scan Film 7299 with            sions, the system compensates for         jectors and displays. The V1-
                   Kodak's Vision2 HD Digital Processor            under- and over-exposure, as well as
                   image processing technology. The                for variations in color temperatures.
                   latter is a postproduction tool used               The system also provides creative
                   to adjust digital files of scanned film         control of the "look" throughout the
                   to emulate the imaging characteris-             workflow, from preproduction
                   tics of any current Kodak negative,             through postproduction. The post
                   including grain, contrast and colors.           facility specified by a filmmaker will
                       Cinematographers can choose to              be provided with a Kodak Vision2
                   rate the scan-only film for an E.I. of          HD Digital Processor.                     HD’s random access and sim-
                   either 500 or 320. The new film                 Kodak,                                    ple video clip and playlist


                 ◗ SPECTSOFT
                   offers an extended dynamic range                www.kodak.com/go/motion                   programming provide for effi-
                                                                                                             cient on-air and live event oper-
                                                                                                             ation. In a film or mastering en-
                                           RAVEHD XENON SYSTEM                                               vironment, the V1-HD becomes
                        SpectSoft’s RaveHD is a Linux-based hybrid digital disk drive recorder and           a multiformat recorder of SD
                        video editor for the film and graphics industries. It utilizes open standards and    and HD video. Optional func-
                        protocols to achieve a product that is elegant, easy to integrate and totally        tionality on the V1-HD includes
                        customizable. It features a data-agnostic core that allows it to work with to-       an independent record and play
                        day’s uncompressed SD and HD video as well as tomorrow’s high-data-rate              option and Dual Link HD-SDI.
                        video. The DDR offers hardware-accelerated up- and downconversion as                 The Dual Link HD-SDI option
                        well as I/O for SD, HD and Dual Link on a single board. The RaveHD Xenon             offers 4:4:4 2K resolution for
                        system features integrated RS-422 hardware that allows for both slave and            applications such as digital cin-
                        master control. RaveHD supports uncompressed SD (SMPTE 259M), HD                     ema, 3D video and super-
                        (SMPTE 292M) and 4:4:4 Dual Link HD (SMPTE 372M) for both capture                    widescreen (stereoscopic)
                        and playback in a single system and includes a standard file system in which         video. Its independent record
                        video exists as sequential frames. The media sits on a standard SGI XFS file         and play option is ideal for
                        system that allows access via standard file transport protocols such as NFS,         broadcast time delay and
                        Samba, FTP, RCP, SCP, HTTP, etc. Though RaveHD is natively frame-based,              sports slow-motion replay. In
                        it does offer some built-in tools for those working with QuickTime and will          sports applications, one chan-
                        soon support AVI. Other features include RP188 (embedded timecode), Vari-            nel can be set to record the live
                        Cam flagging support, real-time color correction and a programmable ca-              event, while the other is free to
                        dence engine (2:3, 3:2:3, 2:3:3:2). Priced at $25,000, the RaveHD Xenon              play back any part of the
                        system features 6TB of local storage in a SATA array configuration that is           recorded video in slow motion.
                        upgradable to 9.6TB. SpectSoft, www.spectsoft.com                                    Doremi Labs,
                                                                                                             www.doremilabs.com


           march | april 2005                                                                                        www.dcinematography.com
                  help        contents
20               tools                                                                                                   ◗
                                                                                                                             DAX
cinematography


                                                                                                                             SOLUTIONS
                                                                                                                              ROUGH CUT MANAGER
                                                                                                                              DAX Solutions, a
                                                                                                                              supplier of produc-
                                                                                                                              tion asset manage-
                                                                                                                              ment and creative
                                                                                                                              collaboration solu-
                                                                                                                              tions, will use its first
  DIGITAL




                                                                                                                              appearance at NAB
                                                                                                                              to introduce Rough
                                                                                                                              Cut Manager, which
                                                                                                                              allows users instant
                                                                                                                              viewing of media in-
                                                                                                                              cluding rough cuts,
                                                                                                                              trailers, promos,
                                                                                                                              screeners and com-
                   QUANTEL            EIGER FOR EQ AND IQ                                                                     mercials via the com-
                      Quantel’s EIGER (Effects, Imaging, Grading and Editing Release) is the latest toolset re-               pany’s Digital Asset
                      lease for eQ and iQ systems for post and digital intermediate workflows. EIGER’s com-                   Xchange (DAX) serv-
                      positing tools include new process tree ergonomics, motion-sensitive blur, layer blend                  ice. DAX is a secure,
                      modes and a mesh-based warper. EIGER also introduces Quantel’s UniKey system, a mul-                    Web-based content
                      tiformat, multi-color-space keying toolset. EIGER builds on the QColor DI grading system                exchange and asset
                      option for eQ and iQ, adding a new set of HSL-based tools and ergonomic enhancements.                   management solu-
                      Provisions for live pan and scan and output image masking simplify the process of multi-                tion developed to
                      format versioning. With EIGER, eQ and iQ can convert from HD to SD, apply a LUT, mask                   help film, television
                      the output image and perform on-the-fly pan and scan—totally live at full resolution and in
                      real time—without the need for proxies and with no new media created. EIGER is supplied
                      as standard on all new Quantel eQ and iQ systems and is available free to all eQ and iQ
                      customers with current QCare contracts. Quantel, www.quantel.com


                   THOMSON GRASS VALLEY
                      VENOM FLASHPAK
                      Thomson Grass Valley’s Venom FlashPak
                      solid-state recording system captures the
                      uncompressed output of the Viper Film-
                      Stream Digital Cinematography Camera
                      in a lightweight, compact, dockable and                                                                 and advertising pro-
                      rugged system. When shooting with the                                                                   ducers reduce costs
                      Viper in the uncompressed FilmStream                                                                    by sharing resources,
                      mode (RGB 4:4:4 10-bit log), each Venom                                                                 enhancing collabora-
                      system has a 10-minute capacity; shooting                                                               tion and speeding
                      in 4:2:2 HD extends the capacity to 18 min-                                                             distribution. Offering
                      utes. As a solid-state recorder, it has no        Venom FlashPak system also supports the               video-on-demand ac-
                      moving parts, making it durable and rugged        Grass Valley LDK 6000 mk II WorldCam                  cess to DVD-quality
                      for production work. The dockable Venom           camera. With the Venom FlashPak system                audio/video ele-
                      FlashPak system can output to a range of          and its 18-minute HD capacity, the LDK 600            ments and rich media
                      devices. Equipped with a Bluetooth inter-         mk II becomes a camcorder suitable for field          content, the system
                      face, the system allows a production assis-       production, including television episodic and         enables personnel to
                      tant to sit on a set and wirelessly create and    drama series and commercial work.                     upload, stage and
                      edit metadata to be recorded and perma-           Pricing for the Grass Valley Venom Flash-             collaborate on the
                      nently associated with the content. On a          Pak system starts at about $59,000. It is             creation and delivery
                      typical movie shoot there might be two or         scheduled to be available in July, in time for        of digital content.
                      three Venom FlashPak systems in use: one          the 2005 summer production schedules.                 DAX Solutions,
                      in the camera, one ready to replace it and        Thomson Grass Valley,                                 www.dax
                      one writing to the transport medium. The          www.thomsongrassvalley.com                            solutions.com


                 march | april 2005                                                                                      www.dcinematography.com
 help       contents
                                                                                                                                tools           21

                                                                                            ◗




                                                                                                                                        DIGITAL
                                                                                                IKEGAMI




                                                                                                                                        cinematography
                                                                                                 EDITCAM HD CAMCORDER
                                                                                                 Ikegami’s Editcam HD cam-
                                                                                                 corder uses the Avid DNxHD
                                                                                                 mastering codec to deliver HD
                                                                                                 resolution, full raster images
                                                                                                 (1920x1080) that can be edited
                                                                                                 on laptop and desktop systems
                                                                                                 in real time. Because DNxHD is
                                                                                                 an open system that can be li-
    BAND PRO                                                                                     censed for free, it ensures viabili-
      ZEISS DIGIPRIME 3.9MM DIGIWIDE T1.9                                                        ty of the camcorder into the fu-
      Band Pro announces the Zeiss DigiPrime 3.9mm DigiWide T1.9 lens,                           ture. Editcam HD employs a data
      which is expected to be the widest prime lens available for HD cinematog-                  rate of 140Mb/s to provide
      raphy when it is released in December. The DigiWide 3.9mm offers an ex-                    1080/60i, 1080/24p and
      tremely wide field of vision with unprecedented image clarity. Unlike wide-                720/60p recording and play-
      angle zooms, which tend to exhibit a great deal of barrel distortion at                    back using Ikegami’s FieldPak2
      their short end, the DigiWide 3.9mm was engineered to eliminate geomet-                    recording media. The DNxHD
      ric distortion. In 4:3 format, the lens’ angle of view is 98.2 degrees hori-               codec also supports 220Mb/s
      zontal, 81 degrees vertical and 111.8 degrees diagonal. In 16:9 format, the                for increased performance in the
      angle of view is 103.6 degrees horizontal, 70 degrees vertical and 111.8                   future. The FieldPak2 media disk
      degrees diagonal. Band Pro, www.bandpro.com                                                is now available in a 120GB ver-
                                                                                                 sion, which provides more than
                                                                                                 one hour of HD recording.
                                        SILICON COLOR               FINALTOUCH HD                Ikegami, www.ikegami.com
                                            Silicon Color’s FinalTouch HD is a real-time
                                            HD color correction and grading solution.
                                            The software features advanced controls
                                            for shadows, midtones, highlights, lift, gam-
                                            ma, gain, hue and saturation, integrated
                                            vectorscopes, waveform monitors, his-
                                            togram and multiple live grades. Other fea-
                                            tures include HSL controls with fall-off, hue
                                            auto-qualify, additive and subtractive (RG-
                                            BCMY) auto-qualify, hue curves, saturation
                                            curves, luminance curves, vignettes, track-
                                            ers and keyframes.
                                            Silicon Color, www.siliconcolor.com



   ERG VENTURES              HDM-EV85D MONITOR
     ERG’s HDM-EV85D 8.4-inch monitor is
     designed for Sony’s HVR-Z1U and
     HDR-FX1 HDV camcorders. The
     HDM-EV85D offers enhanced color,
     frame markers and a convenient
     memory preset function. Its HD ana-
     log input enables Sony’s HDV cam-
     corders to connect directly. The mon-
     itor will accept most popular video
     image formats, including 1080i,
     1080PsF and 720p. The HDM-EV85D
     power unit is compatible with the
     HDV camcorder’s 7.2V battery.
     ERG Ventures, www.erg-ventures.com


www.dcinematography.com                                              march | april 2005
help    contents




     THE BACK ALLEYS OF




 march | april 2005   www.dcinematography.com
 help           contents

                                                                                                                                   James Careless




 I IY
SNCT
Bringing a graphic novel to film: It’s an act of courage if you succeed, an
act of stupidity if you fail. Fortunately for directors Robert Rodriguez and
Frank Miller (who originated the graphic novel), the hard, stark look of
Sin City puts this film in the courage category, in no small part due to
                                                                                     ate that comic book look: The gun not only has to be in the right
                                                                                     place but also captured with the right angle and perspective. With HD
                                                                                    video, we were able to take the shots and then check them immediately
                                                                                   [on HD monitors]. We were able to get every image right.”
Rodriguez’ decision to shoot Sin City in high-definition video. And not                                             SIN CITY TECH
just any old high definition—Sin City was shot digitally with Sony’s              Sony’s HDC-F950 camera was the real “unseen angel” on the Sin City set.
HDC-F950 camera in 4:4:4—full bandwidth, uncompressed video—                     “What makes the HDC-F950 different from all other Sony HD cameras is its
on HDCAM SR videotape.                                                          ability to shoot and record uncompressed 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB digital 24p,” says Ya-
    This said, many of the benefits that HD video brought to the               su Mikami, Sony Electronics’ marketing manager for TV and motion picture
production aren’t obvious on screen. The reason: Like a good                   production. “To do this, we have linked the HDC-F950’s three CCDs with a fiber
special effect, much of what HD video gave to Sin City does not               optic transport system capable of moving up to 3GB of image data per second.
stand out and scream for attention. Instead, the increased reso-              This information is then stored on our HDCAM SR format videotape, whose
lution simply enhanced and reinforced the raw look that Ro-                  440Mb/s transfer rate is three times faster than standard HDCAM.
driguez and Miller were aiming for in their drive to bring the                  “Better yet, HDCAM SR’s higher capacity means that images as large as
Sin City graphic novels to life.                                           1920x1080 pixels can be recorded, rather than HDCAM’s 1440x1080,” Mika-
    “HD video really suited the way Robert wanted to shoot                 mi adds. “This allows you to capture the full 4:4:4 RGB HD data provided by
this film,” explains Sin City camera operator Jimmy Lindsey,              the camera head.”
who shot the film with Rodriguez. “When you’re shooting a                    Footage on HDCAM SR tapes was ingested using Sony’s SRW-5000 HD
graphic novel on film, every element has to faithfully re-cre-           digital videocassette recorder connected to a SpectSoft RaveHD DDR via a




www.dcinematography.com                                                                                                                       march | april 2005
                                                                                                                          help           contents
       I IY
      SNCT
       Dual Link SDI connection (consisting of two HD-SDI cables, each running
       1.485Gb/s), with an AJA Xena HD22A SDI card inside the RaveHD.
           “When you are shooting a film like Sin City, visual details are every-
       thing,” says Lindsey. “You need the kind of crisp and sharp details that the
       HDC-F950 captures.”
           The capture of crisp details was also enabled by Rodriguez’ lens choices. Op-
       tics for the HDC-F950 were supplied from Fujinon’s family of cine-style HD
       zoom lenses. Specifically, Rodriguez used the Fujinon E Series HAe5x6 (6-
       30mm) and HAe10x10 (10-100mm) zoom lenses. Fujinon’s E Series lenses are
       designed for distortion-free optics, minimal focus breathing and reduced
       chromatic aberration.
           “One of the reasons Rodriguez selected these lenses was to avoid the time
       lost from switching prime [fixed length] lenses for different shots,” says Dave
       Waddell, Fujinon’s marketing manager. “Meanwhile, the larger diameter of
       these lenses helps keep the f-stop value from falling off when you change the
       focal length. You need the highest resolution images possible when you’re
       dealing with effects, and the E Series gives you that.”
                                           ON THE SET
       In general, “Sin City was a two-camera show, with Robert and I both oper-
       ating wide and tight frames,” says Lindsey. “When only one camera
       worked, he usually did the actor-intensive stuff and I usually did the dolly
       and crane shots. Of course, when you are working with Robert Rodriguez,
       there are no rules. However, this doesn’t mean that we shot without plan-
       ning. Each angle was planned out by Robert and served a specific pur-
       pose for the edit.”
           To convincingly create Sin City’s gritty graphics and comic book-
       style visual effects, Rodriguez shot much of the film against green-
       screen. He then relied on the speed and immediacy of HD video
       not just to capture what was being staged in short order but also to
       allow for accurate blocking and continuity checks on the fly.
           As a result, Rodriguez specified that his HDC-F950s be
       equipped with LCD HD monitors rather than conventional film-
       style eyepieces. Having these monitors helped ensure accurate fo-
       cusing and framing, Lindsey says. “Had we used NTSC monitors,
       we would not have seen the same level of detail about lighting
       and focus that is provided on HD displays.”
           Using monitors also made it easier for Lindsey and his assistant                                   GREENSCREEN COMPOSITING
       to work together on complex shots. “We could both see clearly and             Again, the benefits of the HDC-F950’s 4:4:4 video capture are not necessarily
       in detail what was coming through the lens thanks to the moni-                apparent in what turned out to be a nearly monochromatic movie. The film-
       tor,” he says.“You just can’t do this when you’re using an eyepiece.”        makers sought the greater color depth afforded by the 4:4:4 format to aid the
           As mentioned earlier, HD video’s immediacy made instant                  extensive chroma keying process in this film, which relied heavily on green-
       playback possible, allowing for accurate shot lineups and conti-            screen compositing techniques.
       nuity checks. The ability to see what had just been shot also let               It is much easier for compositors to isolate and pull keys from Dual
       Rodriguez craft every sequence in Sin City deliberately and me-            Link (4:4:4) source footage than Single Link (4:2:2) because of the
       thodically, just as Sin City artist Frank Miller crafts the Sin City       greater proportion of chroma sampling in the encoding.
       graphic novels when he draws them.                                            Most digital video cameras convert captured video from the RGB col-
           One thing that wasn’t done on the set, however, was the               or format to YCbCr color format and also downsample the chroma por-
       rendering of Sin City’s video in stark black and white. “We              tions. Downsampling allows compression of the video signal and sepa-
       shot the movie in full color in order to provide Robert with             rates the luma signal (Y), which is perceptually (to the human eye) more
       maximum flexibility during post,” Lindsey says. “If the col-            important, from the chroma signal (Cb and Cr), perceptually less impor-
       or’s in the video, you can always take it out later. But the last      tant and therefore able to be represented at a lower resolution. (The human
       thing we wanted was to send him into post with black-and-              eye is more sensitive to brightness information than color—among colors,
       white footage, only for him to decide that he really wanted           by the way, our eyes are most sensitive to the color green. Engineers recog-
       some color in a specific sequence.”                                   nized this fact when devising video codecs by representing green more




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                                                                                                                         help           contents
      I IY
     SNCT

       prominently in video signals. Chroma keying with digital video is therefore of-                  cording to Jason Howard of SpectSoft, “The shots
       ten executed against a green screen.)                                                            would be rendered into linear 10-bit RGB DPX and
           The 4:1:1 encoding of DV and DVCPRO samples the chroma at 1/4 the                           transferred to the storage array connected to the Rave-
       luma. In other words, luminance is sampled for each pixel, while Cb and Cr                      HD system. From that point, [The Orphanage team]
       are sampled at every fourth pixel. In 4:2:2 video, such as DVCPRO50 and                         would use RaveHD to play back each clip to check it on
       Digital Betacam, the chroma is sampled at half the luma, which is acceptable                   a calibrated monitor in full RGB gamut. If it made the
       for viewing because of the human visual system’s greater sensitivity to lumi-                  grade, they would use the RaveHD box to print the
       nance detail. The 4:2:2 encoding is less suitable, however, for compositing                   frames back to tape [via an insert edit].”
       work; computer processors do not share the human eye’s preference for                            Canadian firm Hybride Technologies tackled 600 shots
       brightness over color. When chroma is represented at half the level of luma                  on “Hard Goodbye,” the first chapter in Sin City, and Santa
       information, adjacent pixels will share color information, making it diffi-                 Monica’s CaféFX provided 600 effects shots for the middle
       cult for compositors to get a clean key edge. In full bandwidth 4:4:4 en-                   story, “Big Fat Kill.”
       coding, all channels are sampled equally and may be selected during key-                        The team at CaféFX had the opportunity to display
       ing with much greater accuracy.                                                            their improvisational skills on the project. “We were basi-
                                       VISUAL EFFECTS                                             cally handed the footage and told, ‘Okay, create Sin City,’”
       The noir drama Sin City is divided into three chapters named for titles in the            says Visual Effects Producer Edward Irastorza. “The panels
       comic series. Rodriguez chose to allow three visual effects companies (The Or-            of the comic were our storyboards. In fact, the only refer-
       phanage, CaféFX and Hybride Technologies) to handle the effects in each                  ence we were given was a copy of the book.
                                                                                                    “To make it more challenging, as we were beginning our
                                                                                               work, Robert was on another shoot for a month and a half
                                                                                               and out of contact, so the feedback turnaround was difficult.
                                                                                               We just trusted our research and instincts. Thankfully, he
                                                                                              loved it.”
                                                                                                 Not only does Sin City the film emulate the panels and sto-
                                                                                             rylines of the novels, it emulates the original graphic style. “All
                                                                                             of the footage was filmed in color and needed to be changed to
                                                                                            black and white,” adds Irastorza. “And, by black and white, I
                                                                                            don’t mean grey, which is probably what you’re used to seeing
                                                                                           when watching a black-and-white movie. I mean either black or
                                                                                           white, with very little to no grey in between. The same went for
                                                                                          all of the environments we created—which is exactly how every-
                                                                                          thing is drawn in the novels—to essentially create a moving com-
                                                                                         ic. And, like the book, we added select splashes of color. All the
                                                                                         characters have eye color, Dwight’s shoes are red, and so forth. The
                                                                                        book was our guide.”
       chapter, with one chapter per facility. Rodriguez also allowed each                  Directors Rodriguez and Miller relied on DLP Cinema projectors to
       house to come up with its own techniques to bring Miller’s graphic              ensure rich and consistent color in the movie. The hyper-realistic black
       style to the screen.                                                            and white and desaturated color look of Sin City was achieved through
           The Orphanage’s visual effects and animation division com-                 the use of a DLP Cinema projector at EFILM, where the color-correction
       pleted nearly 600 visual effects shots for “That Yellow Bastard,”              process took place. The film was color-timed for both film and digital
       the third chapter in the film. Visual effects supervisor and                  projection. “With a one-to-one ratio between what is done and what is
       company partner Stu Maschwitz headed up The Orphanage                         projected, changes can be viewed immediately, rather than waiting for
       team. More than 70 visual effects artists completed the work,                days in the traditional photochemical, film-based process of color timing,”
       which included full digital environments, hard surface model-                says Rodriguez. “The DLP Cinema projector was key as both a valuable
       ing and animation, advanced compositing and CG snow and                     timesaver and creative tool in the digital workflow.”
       water effects.                                                                                          HD VIDEO AS A WAY OF LIFE
           “Sin City is hands down my favorite graphic novel series,”             With a film career stretching back to the 1991 short Bedhead, followed by hits
       says Maschwitz. “For me, there’s nothing cooler than having                such as the Spy Kids trilogy and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Robert Rodriguez is
       the chance to help Robert bring Frank Miller’s vision to the              no stranger to 35mm film. However, don’t expect him to move back to that medi-
       screen in all its black-and-white glory.”                                 um anytime soon, if ever.
           The Orphanage used a setup similar to the film’s pro-                     “HD video is perfect for Robert’s style of filmmaking: it keeps up with
       duction team for dailies, finals and to transfer clips from              his speed and precision,” explains Lindsey.“It’s great to see him knowing ex-
       RaveHD (with its AJA Xena HD22A SDI card) back to                       actly what’s being captured and being able to make changes on the fly as he
       HDCAM SR tape for delivery of shots to Rodriguez. Ac-                   sees fit. Frankly, I can’t imagine him shooting on film again.”




march | april 2005                                                                                                              www.dcinematography.com
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28                                           James Careless
cinematography
  DIGITAL




                 march | april 2005       www.dcinematography.com
     help          contents
                                                                                                                                                                       29




                                                                                                                                                               DIGITAL
                                              FILMSTREAM DREAM




                                                                                                                                                               cinematography
     SILENCE BECOMES YOU
     Would you shoot your studio’s first fea-         Shiva. Having read her script for Silence        lence Becomes You lent itself well to Film-
     ture film using a brand new digital cine-        Becomes You, and mindful that the film’s         Stream production. The reason is that Film-
     matography system—one that offers inter-         mansion setting would fit well with              Stream is not exactly portable. To be precise,
     esting visual and production possibilities       FilmStream’s mobility restrictions—              the Thomson Viper FilmStream digital cam-
     but also the risks associated with any new       currently the cameras are tethered to            eras were connected to S.two D.MAG DFR
     application? This was the dilemma that re-       large hard disk recorders that are not           digital film recorders via “umbilical” cables so
     cently confronted Stephanie Sinclaire,           easy to tote around—Shaw spoke with              that the camera operators didn’t have to carry
     founder of UK studio Dragonfly Films             MotionFX about choosing Silence Be-              the DFRs around the set. For field work, Sin-
     and co-producer of the 2000 Oscar finalist
     short film The Dance of Shiva.
                      WHY DIGITAL
     Sinclaire was about to start shooting Si-
     lence Becomes You, a film she had written,
     was producing and was going to direct,
     with actors Alicia Silverstone, Sienna Guil-
     lory and Joe Anderson. Silence Becomes
     You is the story of two reclusive sisters liv-
     ing in an isolated New England mansion
     who seduce a man for the sole purpose of
     getting them pregnant. Of course, the sis-
     ters’ tidy plan goes awry when love and
     lust come into play.
         At about the same time, UK post
     house MotionFX had teamed up with
     film consultancy Digital Praxis. Togeth-
     er, with a yet-to-be-determined film stu-
     dio, they planned to shoot a feature film
     using Thomson Viper cameras in Film-
     Stream mode. (Viper’s FilmStream
     mode captures full resolution, uncom-
     pressed video—RGB 4:4:4 10-bit log—
     and transfers it to a disk recorder using
     Dual Link HD-SDI. Additionally, its
     CCDs, which consist of 1920 horizontal
     pixels and 4320 vertical sub-pixels , al-        comes You to be the first FilmStream fea-        claire’s second unit mounted a DFR on a
     low the Viper to support a 2.37 Cine-            ture project. They then approached               wheeled cart.
     mascope aspect ratio without the need            Stephanie Sinclaire with the idea that               On the set, the scenes were shot using
     to use anamorphic lenses. In effect, what        MotionFX would co-produce.                       two Viper cameras equipped with spheri-
     the Viper gains by using sub-pixels is the           “I knew it was risky, but it was also fun    cal Zeiss DigiPrime lenses. Sometimes
     ability to support multiple aspect ratios        and exciting to shoot in a different kind        the two cameras shot simultaneously,
     using spherical lenses.) As the first-ever       of format,” Sinclaire says. “Besides, shoot-     providing two views of the same scene
     feature to be shot using Viper’s Film-           ing in uncompressed HD appealed to me            for easy editing later. At other times, the
     Stream mode, the film would demon-               because it provided a more film-like look        cameras were shared between the film’s
     strate the quality, portability and flexi-       than conventional video would.”                  first and second units, with the on-set
     bility of FilmStream HD video.                             SHOOTING IN FILMSTREAM:                production accomplished with a single
         As fate would have it, Digital Praxis                         THE PROCESS                     Viper.
     founder and CEO Steve Shaw had                   Since it takes place inside a mansion set with       The Viper A camera output was fed to
     worked with Sinclaire on The Dance of            very few second unit location sequences, Si-     a normal B&W viewfinder, an Astro


www.dcinematography.com                                                                                                                   march | april 2005
                 help         contents
30
cinematography


                 combined waveform monitor and a vec-
                 torscope. Meanwhile, the B camera feed was
                 sent to an AccuScene color viewfinder. “This
                 combination was used so that the A camera
                 provided accurate technical monitoring for
                 main shots and the B camera, with the Ac-
                 cuScene viewfinder, provided level clip
                 warnings and an image that was camera op-
  DIGITAL




                 erator-friendly,” says Shaw. A Sony 23-inch
                 flat-panel LCD monitor mounted on a
                 flight case, partnered with the Astro wave-
                 form monitor for level checking, was used
                 for on-set monitoring, “specifically for the
                 director and DP Arturo Smith,” adds Shaw.
                     For beauty shots, MotionFX developed        maid in a swimming pool—the team used a            ing post, these 60 frames per second can be
                 optical filters for the Viper cameras to bal-   Weinberger CineSpeed digital camera run-           slowed to 24fps, thus achieving a 2.5x slow
                 ance the color characteristics prior to cap-    ning at 500fps. Meanwhile, dance and               motion. Although there is some loss of res-
                 ture; since the filters reduced the camera’s    dream sequences were captured at 60fps on          olution in the slow-motion mode, since the
                 light sensitivity by about a stop, they were    the Vipers for 24fps playback. HD-DPM+             CCDs keep running on 1920 pixels hori-
                 used only for those instances “where light      image sensors provide Viper’s overcranking         zontally, the visible loss is small.
                 level wasn’t an issue,” Shaw notes.             support. One of FilmStream’s modes allows                      ON-SET IMPRESSIONS
                     A number of shots required high-speed       the camera to capture 1920 horizontal pix-         Cinematographer Jack Cardiff served as The
                 capture, which the production team ap-          els by 720 vertical lines at 60fps. To arrive at   Dance of Shiva’s DP. Given how successfully he
                 proached in two ways. For visual effects        the 720p standard, the FilmStream camera’s         and Sinclaire had collaborated on that project,
                 shots—including flames, water and a mer-        output switches to 1280x720 at 60fps. Dur-         Sinclaire was happy to hire Cardiff as visual
                   help          contents
32
cinematography


                   consultant for Silence Becomes You. In this role,   into our offline editing system in com-             the LTO2 archive tapes was done using
                   Jack Cardiff got a lot of hands-on experience       pressed HD form,” says Shaw. “The uncom-            10TB NAS disk systems,” says Shaw. “It
                   with the Viper/FilmStream digital process and       pressed FilmStream video was then backed            served as a buffer store that was connected
                   the ability to knowledgeably compare it to con-     up onto an Adic LTO2 tape archive jukebox           to the iQ using a Gigabit Ethernet net-
                   ventional 35mm cinematography.                      using S.two’s A.Dock backup system. The             work.” Meanwhile, visual effects shots were
                       So what’s his take on this form of digi-        D.mag media units were then available for           produced separately by MotionFX using
                   tal cinematography? “Presently, the film            re-use for the next day’s shooting.” The Adic       Digital Fusion, 5D Cyborg and Alias Maya
                   camera and lens do a superior job because           LTO2 generates two clone tapes, “with               3D, then dropped into the online iQ edit
  DIGITAL




                   we are fully aware of their capabilities and        checksum verification to ensure 100 percent         as needed. The final edit was done
                   flexibilities,” Cardiff replies, “and by using      accurate dupes of the original data,” he adds.      at Marino Studios in Carasco,
                   certain learned techniques, we are able to                           POSTPRODUCTION                     Italy, along with the insertion of a THX-
                   capture distortions and flaws that we use           In general, there were no major problems for        certified 7.1-channel surround sound au-
                   for our purposes to create various effects.         Sinclaire and company while shooting; post-         dio track.
                   In most cases, because the digital format is        production, however, was another matter. The                     CONCLUSIONS (TO DATE)
                   self-correcting, those effects must be creat-       problem had to do with setting up the proper        For Stephanie Sinclaire, shooting in Film-
                   ed in the editing room, which is now the            offline editorial workflow. The equipment           Stream has been a groundbreaking adventure.
                   digital lab. This eliminates some of the            spec, initially Apple Final Cut Pro, was later      Working in this uncompressed HD format
                   cinematographer’s ability to be sponta-             changed to Avid. According to Shaw, the prob-       provided Silence Becomes You with a level of vi-
                   neously creative.                                   lem with Avid offline systems is that, because      sual quality that wouldn’t be economically pos-
                       “Our little tricks on film took the indus-      they are SD-based, they are poor at 24fps op-       sible on 35mm. In a very real way, working dig-
                   try more than 100 years to develop; now the         eration and final EDLs are therefore not 100        itally has allowed her to do more with less.
                   challenge is to create those effects digitally,”    percent frame-accurate. Newer systems from              Has it been a scary experience? “I think
                   he adds. “Then and only then will we be able        Adobe and Apple, however, can ingest 24fps          there’s always something nerve-wracking
                   to develop our own new styles and tech-             HD material directly. The Avid kit was rejected     taking place on a film set, no matter what




                   niques using this digital format. Concur-           because of its 24fps timing issues, and Adobe       medium you’re shooting in,” Sinclaire
                   rently, we must remain aware of the fact that       then offered to supply a Premiere Pro system        replies. “Fortunately, the MotionFX people
                   presently every problem cannot be solved            in its place. Unfortunately, the editorial team     were always ready to help when problems
                   with a digital camera and lens or even in the       didn’t have the time to learn a new system          arose with the equipment.”
                   digital lab; at present, there still remain ef-     from scratch, so the team returned to the first         This said, Sinclaire is pleased with the re-
                   fects that you cannot yet get digitally, effects    choice of Final Cut Pro. There was a two-week       sults she’s achieved using FilmStream and
                   that are possible only using film.”                 delay in initiating offline while the various op-   the extra attention it has generated for Si-
                      On the upside, it was possible to pro-           tions were considered.                              lence Becomes You. “I won’t be surprised if
                   duce FilmStream dailies very easily for                 The actual post was done using an of-           the whole tech world turns out to see the
                   viewing via a JVC HD digital film projector.        fline-generated EDL loaded into a Quantel           film, to decide whether the risk we ran was
                   “The playback from the dailies was also fed         iQ DI editing server. “The extraction from          justified or not!”

                 march | april 2005                                                                                                     www.dcinematography.com
help             contents
                                                                                                                                          Elina Shatkin             33




                                                                                                                                                            DIGITAL
 Clipster 2.0 Comes to the Fore




                                                                                                                                                            cinematography
  At NAB 2005, German manufac-                                                                                         to real time while working at res-
  turer Digital Video Systems (DVS)                                                                                    olutions from 4K down to SD,”
  will release version 2.0 of Clipster,                                                                                says Spoer.
  a digital intermediate and HD re-                                                                                        In addition, Clipster records
  al-time online editing, conform-                                                                                     and plays out data in any for-
  ing and finishing system. Running                                                                                    mat, resolution, bit depth, color
  under Windows and Linux, Clip-                                                                                       space and file type in real time
  ster 2.0 is essentially a workstation                                                                                and without conversion—an
  designed to facilitate the digital                                                                                   important feature for mastering.
  intermediate process by combin-                                                                                      Clipster 2.0 also boasts a techni-
  ing software- and hardware-accel-                                                                                    cal interface that allows a wide
  erated real-time processing.                                                                                        range of third-party applications.
      The system stores video material in its na-    new features. “4K and 12-bit resolution are          Another new feature in version 2.0 is a real-
  tive resolution and format, allowing users to      features that are very important for digital         time 3D lookup table (LUT) that helps
  avoid time-consuming pre-conversion and            cinema,” he says. “With Clipster, clips of any       achieve a “film look” during grading. Plus,
  compression. Until recently, Clipster’s hard-      resolution, color space and bit depth can be         Clipster supports color management tools
  ware allowed resolutions up to 2K in 10-bit        mixed on a single timeline.”                         from Kodak and ARRI.
  RGB color space, but version 2.0 enhances              Clipster 2.0 can render primary and sec-             Since the product’s introduction two
  the system’s functionality, allowing users to      ondary color correction, pan and scan, crop-         years ago, the majority of Clipster systems in
  work with uncompressed video in 4K resolu-         ping, rotation, flip/flop and transitions in real    the U.S. have been installed in the greater Los
  tion and 12-bit color space.                       time.“The idea is for Clipster to do most or         Angeles area, according to Spoer. With the
      DVS president Peter Spoer is looking to        all of the processing that is required for the DI    release of Clipster 2.0, the company hopes to
     the future of content delivery with these       workflow at hardware-accelerated speeds up           reach post houses all across the country.




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                    help          contents
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cinematography
  DIGITAL




                      Panavised MADNESS
                       When Jan Kiesser, CSA, ASC, was tapped to shoot
                       the raucous musical Reefer Madness, the job of-
                                                                             being where it was when we shot, it would
                                                                             have been easier to shoot on film. We were
                                                                                                                               vectorscope and a waveform monitor—all
                                                                                                                               essential tools for a cinematographer work-
                       fered him a unique opportunity to explore new         encumbered by a tremendous number of ca-          ing in HD, Kiesser says.
                       ground. Based on the stage production of the          bles, and the logistics of having to work from         During shooting, cameras all had to be
                       same name, Reefer Madness, directed by Andy           an engineering station—especially with two        cabled to and from the central engineering
                       Fickman, is a campy, backhanded homage to the         and three cameras running at once—added           station where the Sony MSU control unit
                       ham-fisted anti-pot propaganda films of the           some difficulty to the shoot.” He adds that he    and the scopes and monitors were situated.
                       1930s. Alan Cumming, Steven Weber and Neve            is keeping a close watch on developments in       “When I had three cameras,” Kiesser recalls,
                       Campbell lead the large cast of this elaborate mu-    the more robust fiber optic cabling solutions,    “we were able to bring in a digital engineer-
                       sical comedy that features a significant number of    which might soon eliminate some of these          ing technician. I wish we’d had one for the
                       extravagant fantasy musical numbers. Kiesser          issues.                                           entire shoot, but the budget didn’t allow for
                       found the experience of lighting and shooting             The cinematographer essentially stuck         it. I had to do that work, along with my assis-
                       Reefer Madness—particularly the kinetic, colorful     with the provided setups for the cameras,         tant, Simon Jori, who was more experienced
                       musical segments—“an exciting artistic opportu-       preferring to affect the color traditionally by   in HD than I was at the time. Simon was a
                       nity that actually played nicely into my sensibili-   gelling the lights and to leave the fine-tuning   great asset. I leaned on him quite a bit.”
                       ties about cinematography.”                           of contrast to the postproduction phase.               Though the HD technology available to
                           On the technical front, Kiesser had also          During production, he says,“I really wanted       Kiesser did present him with the above-men-
                       never shot a feature-length show in HD be-            to concentrate on getting the most informa-       tioned cabling challenges, he also noticed a
                       fore, and he welcomed the chance to learn             tion on the tape. I kept the blacks down low,     strong advantage to working in the format.
                       about the format’s pros and cons. Showtime            but not crushed, and I tried to keep whites at    “Shooting with film,” he notes,“you have to
                       had previously mandated that all of its origi-        a level that would let me preserve as much        screen your work the next day, or even days
                       nal programming was to be produced in HD              information as possible.”                         later, to make sure you’re tracking okay and
                       rather than film, so it had been arranged that            Kiesser pre-lit sets the way he would for a   you’re not making mistakes and so you can
                       the production would make use of                      film shoot: he rated the camera at the nomi-      learn from what you’ve been doing. On this
                       “Panavised” Sony F900/2 cameras and Primo             nal ASA of 320 and used a traditional light       show, we could see the real thing as we were
                       zoom lenses from Panavision of Vancouver.             meter to set the instruments. Prior to actual-    shooting. So I’d say that on an HD show, a
                           Kiesser admits that HD might not have             ly shooting, he would then fine-tune his          cinematographer is likely to get a little more
                       been his first choice.“With the technology            lighting using the calibrated HD monitor, a       sleep at night.”




                 march | april 2005                                                                                                        www.dcinematography.com
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                                             Simulated screen shot from the restored masterpiece,
                                           “One from the Heart,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
                                                    ©2004 American Zoetrope All Rights Reserved

				
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