CAMERA LENS FILTERS
Camera lens filters still have many uses in digital photography, and should be an important part of any photographer's camera bag. These can include polarizing filters to reduce glare and improve saturation, or simple UV/haze filters to provide extra protection for the front of your lens. This article aims to familiarize one with these and other filter options that cannot be reproduced using digital editing techniques. Common problems/disadvantages and filter sizes are discussed towards the end.
CAMERA LENS FILTERS ،
High Definition Digital Cinema
On a budget -- kind of
In 2002, I jumped into low budget feature filmmaking with a small movie I shot "run-and-gun" style on a Canon XL1s. We used almost nothing but natural light and, because of the actors' time constraints, shot the entire 83-minute feature in just 12 days. The truth is, it looked fairly awful -- nowhere near what people expect from a feature film.
Two years later, InDigEnt gave us "November," a psychological thriller starring Cortney Cox ("Friends"). It was shot on DV tape with Panasonic's DVX100 and won DP, Nancy Schreiber, the Cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The DVX was great leap forward in terms of getting that "film look" from a relatively inexpensive video camera. It still suffered from 480 lines of vertical resolution, but it was capable of shooting at 24 frames per second (the same as film) and featured something Panasonic called "Cinegamma," which made the look of the video much more film-like.
In the spring of 2005, I was ready to remake my "masterpiece" with a bigger budget, bigger production values (lights, dollies, jibs, etc...) a better script, and a DVX100. Then, Panasonic announced their new camera at NAB, the HVX200 -- a High Definition successor to the DVX.
The HVX200 is a generous blend of Panasonic's $70,000 "Varicam" and their $3,995 DVX100b. The camera uses 1/3-inch CCDs, has a fixed lens, and has the same basic form factor and layout as the DVX (though bulkier). But like the Varicam, the HVX shoots in High Definition -- both 720p and 1080i (the Varicam only shoots 720p) -- in Panasonic's industry-standard High Definition DVCProHD codec, giving you a better color space (4:2:2 vs. DV's 4:1:1 or HDV's 4:2:0) and less compression. It also gives you (and this was the kicker for me) variable frame rates, allowing you to shoot true fast-/slow-motion, from 12fps (frames-per-second) to 60fps. (Note: The camera has already been hacked to shoot variable frame rates from 2fps to 60fps in 2fps increments. As this solution is a hack, it is not supported or recommended by Panasonic.)
High Definition Digital Cinema ،
Anton/Bauer Introduces Battery Mount for Sony PMW-EX3
Dionic 90 and Hytron 50 Batteries Will Increase Camera Running Time
Anton/Bauer introduced the QR-EX3 on-camera Gold Mount for Sony’s PMW-EX3 XDCAM HD EX camcorder, which it says will improve the camera’s balance and extend its run times by allowing it to be used with the company’s Dionic 90 and Hytron 50 batteries. (A/B’s QR-EX1 mount is already available for the Sony PMW-EX1.)
Battery Mount for Sony PMW-EX3 ،
Retrofitting CompactFlash Recording on the Camera
The declining price of CompactFlash storage components and sleek new product designs saw the advent at this year’s NAB of several camera-mounted tapeless recording units not possible even three years ago.
These new units are designed to work with a variety of tape- and disc-based cameras, such as the shoulder-mounted Canon XL H1 and G1; JVC GY-HD250U; Panasonic AJ-2700 VariCam and GP-US932; and Sony HVR-Z1U, F900 and XDCAM HD, and XDCAM EX. They’re also being used for POV camera systems like the Iconix HR-1 and Panasonic’s GP-US932 CCD camera head.
They’re small (lightweight) and reliable, consume low power, and save considerable time during production by allowing direct data file capture from today’s HD-SDI output. This ensures the highest quality because you’re bypassing compression on tape and gets footage into the edit system faster so you can begin working sooner. An added benefit for those with tape-based cameras is that you can still record to videotape (if the camera has a tape drive) for backup.
One such product was the Flash Xstream Data Recorder (XDR) from Convergent Design, which records HD-SDI 1080i/p and 720p video into a very high-quality MPEG-2 stream at bit rates up to 100 Mbps 4:2:2 (long-GOP) and 160 Mbps 4:2:2 (I-frame) in full-raster (1920x1080). Uncompressed 4-channel embedded or 2-channel analog audio is also captured with the video into an MXF file stored on the Compact Flash cards. Additional processing options include image flip, 24p pulldown removal, redundant recording (RAID1), time-lapse recording and ASI I/O (as an optional firmware upgrade). Cost is $5,000.
A 32 GB CompactFlash card (about $150), coupled with the four card slots on Flash XDR, enables up to 142 minutes of 100 Mbps recording time. In addition, the solid-state storage cards are hot-swappable for continuous recording. After recording, the CF cards can be loaded into multiple readers which can be daisy-chained together on a single FireWire 800 bus for download into an NLE at 3X to 6X real-time.
Another was Fast Forward Video’s Elite HD, a camera-mounted digital video recorder and player that supports the JPEG 2000 (J2K) compression codec while recording HD-SDI video signals as digital files. The Elite HD allows the direct recording of high-quality video from the camera’s HD-SDI output. The Elite HD accepts an incoming HD-SDI video signal with up to eight channels of embedded audio and records at data rates up to 100 Mbps with virtually no loss in signal quality, according to the company. Video is stored to a 2.5-inch SATA drive, which provides up to 10 times more storage than the camera’s recorder itself. Once data is recorded, the compact unit can be detached from the camcorder and connected directly to a nonlinear editing system via USB cable.
At NAB, JVC showed a prototype, camera-mounted, combination hard disk/solid-state media recorder, the MR-HD200, which Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) solid-state memory cards. The data writing speed of the (Class 6) SDHC cards is either 19.7Mbps (720p) or 25Mbps (1080i) at 48 Mbps.
While the MR-HD200 is designed to attach permanently to JVC’s ProHD cameras, it features a removable module that utilizes SDHC memory cards. A single 16GB SDHC memory card can store 1.6 hours of HD in the 720p mode, and about 1.2 hours in the 1080i mode. JVC said that with SDHC format, users get significantly more capacity at a cost per minute; one that’s similar to Betacam SP videotape.
Serving as a hybrid recorder, the MR-HD200 also has a built-in hard disk drive for longer recording times—up to 10 hours. Files are recorded in an editing-friendly native format (.MOV) so that postproduction can begin without file conversion, transcoding or re-wrapping.