Tuesday, 20 October, 2009

The new Canon 1D MkIV

Canon announced yet another HD capable DSLR - the 1DMkIV - pronounced one dee mark four.

The official Canon announcement is here...

Vincent Laforet who immortalised the Canon 5D MkII has done a sneak preview yet again. And written a stirring piece on the future of HD-DSLRs here

And the movie he shot is available in full HD glory at smugmug here

Meanwhile, fxguide.com reports that the 5DMkII will soon have 24fps and 25fps capability in the months to come. With the coming of the 7D that does 24 and 25fps, and now the 1DMkIV, that will also do 24 and 25 fps. Canon probably realised that there would be a drop in 5D MkII sales (which only does 30fps), hence this addition.

Vincent's view on HD-DSLRs is apt, and I too see this as a paradigm shift to cameras that shoot with little or no light. But it needs cinematographers who see shooting movies that way. Or, there could be a breed of new photographers turned cinematographers, and docu film-makers who will do things different.

HD-DSLR video also mean doing movies that need little or no colour grading after shooting. This
is also a big deal in these days of 'safety film' - meaning a medium with lots of latitude - which is what film is viewed as. Canon HD movies don't have that kind of latitude so you pretty much have to 'make do' with what you shoot.

But then, why doesn't Canon just make a proper movie camera that does HD video? Probably because Canon has a large stake in lens sales to HD video cameras, which they don't want affected. Or, maybe, Canon sees itself as a still camera company, a market that's much larger than the movie camera market.

Shooting great stills digitally (totally acceptable as film replacement) along with the occasional great HD video, is perceived more valuable than doing modest HD video with substandard or no still capability - where most HD cameras in this price range are at.

The days to come promise some interesting visual times.

Monday, 12 October, 2009

Canon 7D HD movie mode post-production

Some gleanings on the HD movie mode of the Canon 7D, from the user manual.

First, you can't zoom while the movie is being recorded. But you can zoom between takes, like you do any other movie camera. This isn't much of a problem for any classical movie makers who don't zoom while filming.

Second, you can't 'autofocus' while recording. But you can use autofocus and even face detect to help focus just before 'taking'.

And some figures for post on Canon 7D movies.

The Canon 7D records to HD movies (1080p or 720p) at frame rates that can be set to 24, 25 or 30. The real frame rates are...

23.976 fps with the camera set to 24
25 fps with the camera set to 25
29.97 fps with the camera set to 30
50 fps with the camera set to 50
59.94 fps with the camera set to 60

These odd numbers like 23.976, 29.97, and 59.94 are used to make the camera NTSC-friendly. If you're in the PAL world, this isn't a huge problem if you're using FCP. You can 'conform' 23.976 fps to 24 fps in Cinema Tools.

All these frame rates are progressive. The Canon 7D like most DSLRs that shoot HD movies, doesn't support interlaced.

Canon 7D HD movie data rates and disk space requirements are...

1920x1080 - at 24, 25 or 30
You can shoot 12 mins on a 4 Gb Card, 49 mins on a 16 Gb card,
Which is 330 MBytes/min, or 19.33 GBytes/hr,
A 1 TB drive will hold 50 hrs

1280x720 - at 50 or 60
You can shoot 12 mins on a 4 Gb Card, 49 mins on a 16 Gb card,
Which is 330 MBytes/min, or 19.33 GBytes/hr
A 1 TB drive will hold 50 hrs

640x480 - at 50 or 60
You can shoot 24 mins on a 4 Gb Card, 99 mins on a 16 Gb card,
Which is 165 MBytes/min, or 9.9 GBytes/hr
A 1 TB drive will hold 95 hrs

If you plan to edit these files in FCP you need to convert them to Apple ProRes. Apple ProRes comes in five flavours. Three of the top ones are ProRes, ProResHQ and ProRes 4444

When Canon HD movies are converted to ProRes, they take up space as follows...

ProRes - 1080p24 takes up 53 GB/hr
or 18 hrs per 1 TB drive
ProResHQ - 1080p24 takes up 79 GB/hr
or 12 hrs per 1 TB drive
ProRes4444 - 1080p24 takes up 119 GB/hr
or 8 hrs per 1 TB drive

ProRes - 720p50 takes up 55 GB/hr
or 17 hrs per 1 TB drive
ProResHQ - 1080p24 takes up 83 GB/hr
or 11 hrs per 1 TB drive
ProRes4444 - 1080p24 takes up 124 GB/hr
or 7 hrs per 1 TB drive

Note that converting Canon HD movies to ProRes won't make the quality better, They will be editable easily. And colour correction will be easier as well.

If you work on an Avid, you need to convert to DNxHD. In that case, Canon HD movies when converted to DNxHD will take up...

DNxHD 175x - 1080p24 takes up 49 GB/hr
or 19 hrs per 1 TB drive
DNxHD 115 - 1080p24 takes up 74 GB/hr
or 13 hrs per 1 TB drive

Here too, converting Canon HD movies to DNxHD won't make the quality better. But they will be editable easily. And colour correction will be easier as well.

Finally, Canon HD movies don't carry any timecode. So if you're converting to ProRes or DNxHD you need to work with these converts and treat them like your original media. There's no need to 'upgrade' to the original movies. Sort of like XDCamEx or HDV when imported into FCP via Log and Transfer.

In the coming weeks I'll be working on the post of a short film shot on a Canon 7D. So more gleanings on how to do a DSLR video post smoothly will emerge. Keep reading...

Wednesday, 7 October, 2009

Red Cameras in Mumbai and India

I did a search for the word 'India' in the Red User's forum to see who has Red cameras in India. From the results, here is a list...

Mobile: +91 9920022551
Mobile: +91 9892707347
Telephone: +91 22 226347524

They also have a post setup

Jehangir Chowdhury
+91 98210 60903

2 Red cameras and very fine block lenses
Jehangir is also a cinematographer of repute so he takes loving care of his gear. 
Very knowledgeable about how to shoot with Red.

Artechnix Production Studio - post services including edit and VFX.
Contact us at info@artechnix.com for more information and availability of the package.
Sandeep Dey

Prasad from RaviPrasad Unit.
94442- 83324

Tel: 044- 28340396,28341727,28341828

Pavan Kumar

Red One, PhantomHD (1052fps in 1080p) and SI2K availabe for rental.
Contact Nirav Shah (+91 9444990143) and G.Balaji (+91 9840224733).

Digital Cinema Designer / Evangelist
Ph: 91-9840224733
gtalk -gbalaji | Yahoo-smallbalaji | Skype-gbalaji1975 | Twitter - http://twitter.com/gopalbalaji


This is not a final list and I'm sure there are many more. I plan to append it as and when I hear of any more.
And, of course, if you need advice, guidance and a good plan for post or data management, archiving and backup do contact me.