Thread: New to Red Ranger Gemini - General Shooting Advice for a Feature

Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1 New to Red Ranger Gemini - General Shooting Advice for a Feature 
    Senior Member Ignacio Aguilar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    533
    I've shot plenty of Red cameras in the past (M, One & Epic MX, Dragon) but have been shooting Alexa for the last five years or so. Now I have an upcoming feature film and I'll be shooting with the Red Ranger Gemini and probably a full set (A + B) of Atlas Orion anamorphic lenses.

    I'll be conducting my own tests with the camera and lenses, but as a starting point, I'm looking for some general advice about the Gemini sensor and the new developments since I last shot Epic Dragon DSMC1 with the old image processing. I quite liked that camera. It was noisy but had great latitude and color with the skin-tone highlight OLPF. I used to rate it from 320 to 1000 ISO (well exposed images) and never felt it was too grainy. In fact I liked its texture.

    I'm looking for individual opinions, not a consensus because I already know this is not maths, but a highly subjective matter and what works for somebody may not work for everybody.

    About the sensor:

    I believe I should be generally rating it at 800 ISO in standard mode to get the best noise to latitude ratio (about the same stops above and below middle gray). I intend to stick to the Standard OLPF at all times to keep things easy on set.

    But my film takes place mostly at night and since I'll be shooting anamorphic, I'll be using the LL mode as well for several night exterior location work. From an early, non-scientific test I've seen that the LL mode has about 1 & 1/3 stop less highlight latitude than the standard mode. Is that correct? Because I keep reading that you get two stops more in the shadows at 3200 ISO LL as opposed to 800 ISO standard mode, and thus you lose two stops of highlight retention in LL mode.

    When I was still using Dragon I always noticed that 800 ISO on camera matched 400 ISO on my light meter. I've read that has been fixed with the IPP2 processing and new camera curves. How this affects LL mode and what's your preferred LL rating ISO for feature, theatrical work? I don't intend to go beyond 2000 ISO unless that prevents me to clip the highlights as easily. I also don't want to open the lenses further than a T3.2 unless I'm in a real exposure trouble and I should be able to reach that stop at about 1600 ISO.

    About the compression:

    I usually felt confortable using 5:1 compression ratios on Epic MX and Dragon. What's the trend for feature films with the Ranger Gemini? Apart from the LL mode, I also have a fair amount of greenscreen work at night. It used to help to keep that stuff clean and less compressed, so I'm thinking about a 3:1 compression for greenscreen and LL mode, and maybe 4:1 for daylight and well lit standard ISO mode.
    I should be recording proxies as well, just for reference for the directors & production, with the displayed curve burned into the prores files. Is 2K prores LT enough for that purpose or should I use a bit more of storage and go for a less compressed prores codec?

    About IPP2:

    Since this will be my first work with the IPP2, I'm looking for any valuable advice prior to shooting. I won't have the benefit of shooting some footage and play with it with the colorist before I start the feature, just what I can do by myself with Redcine-X or Davinci.
    My plan is to visualize on set a REC709 or 2020 space (no special on set LUTs for me) and I'm looking for a contrasty, dark image, with the softest highlight rollof and cleanest blacks. Are there any settings that would favour this for on-set visualization or shall I just rely on the benefits of RAW and let the colorist take care of the footage after the fact?

    About Black Shadings:

    I've been told that I should be performing two black shades, one for standard mode at 24 fps and another one for LL at about 24 fps. What's the typical operating temperature for this sensor so I can perform black shading and get the best results?

    Any other advice about the camera would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Ignacio Aguilar; 07-25-2020 at 03:56 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #2  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Switzerland, Lausanne
    Posts
    5,273
    On DSMC2, my 2cent advise is : don't blackshade to cold (my Monstro is standard at 46c). If you blackshade at 38c for example, the camera will went a lot to reach this temp and it's unecessary and the sound guy will be unhappy.

    Pat
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #3  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    252
    Hi Ignacio!

    Thanks for all the sample videos of lenses that Harmonica posts. Was just looking at one yesterday, actually.

    I'm not the most technical user, but I can at least share my experience with the Ranger Gemini.

    ISO: 800 in standard mode is definitely the more versatile. Very clean. Very rich looking images. I tend to prefer iso1600, but a friend of mine recently shot with the Ranger Gemini, and he was used to underexposing, and I feel he ended up with a little noise. iso1600 feels more natural to me, in particular when shooting in a room with windows to the outside, or if there are candles, lamps, or practicals in the shot. If I shoot 800, I am just going to lift it in post and roll off the highlights anyway, so iso1600 is a better starting base for me, personally. iso2000 begins to look a little too flat in the mids and highlights, and noise starts to become noticeable. iso3200 is surprisingly usable, but wouldn't plan on it. However, iso800 still has plenty in the highlights for most things, and I can see why others might like it for the richer tonality and cleaner shadows. Though I have been considering switching to 1280, for flexibility, but I still like the highlight roll off of iso1600, and I don't underexpose.

    Sensor temp: In Southern California, the Ranger body has been able to keep the Gemini sensor at 37degrees all day without bothering sound. However, I was in Palm Springs (Desert conditions) on a 40+ degrees afternoon, and the camera went to 44degrees, and because the target was 37, the fans did get a little noisy, but still nothing like DSMC1. I've not done tests to see what temp has the best signal to noise ratio.

    OLPF: There is very little difference between Standard and Highlight skin tone priority. However, I like the STHP filter better as a default look. Greens look more natural on the skin tone filter, and skin tone has some subtle improvements, though nothing immediately noticeable in a quick comparison. The greens were more noticeable. With the standard Olpf, the Gemini recorded trees and grass with a hint of cyan or a small amount of extra blue, which is very pretty, but the skin tone filter is green, and seems more accurate. But I just got the skin tone filter yesterday, and I can totally see the reason why so many prefer to stick with the Standard filter for simplicity and versatility. I'll be testing to see if the skin tone filter helps in incandescent light, where it may improve the blue channel under orange lighting conditions. But I have no idea how losing that extra stop of sensitivity might effect my work day, so Standard seems like the more versatile choice.

    Low Light Mode I prefer to avoid this mode. But it does come in handy. At night, there is always a practical light source in the frame at some point, and in those situations you can really feel the loss of dynamic range. So, if you are planning to use the feature a lot, then plan being able to light for it. You don't need a lot of light output, but you need much more control of the lighting. Run and gun in low light mode looks pretty rough, and if you are wanting "clean" look, definitely plan to have lighting control over the low lit scenes. It is pretty cool feature to have though. And it can save you and the production. In your testing, you will know pretty quickly when standard iso1600 is enough, and when LL 3200 is needed.

    Compression: 5:1 looks good, though if you get into low light situations and dealing with noise, go with a lower compression rate like 3:1. I feel that so many people hire the Gemini to do lowlight duties, and really no camera does "no light", and it can get people into situations. You however seem like you have a lot of professional experience working with less sensitive cameras, and should have no issues with lighting. The advantage of shooting with 5K, is that lower compression is still manageable.

    Proxies: Prores LT 2K is typically what I use, and it looks great... almost too good. I am considering going to prores proxy, and save a little more on hard drive/mag space.

    IPP2: Looks great as is, so no need for a special LUT on set for most things. Some feel it is too saturated, and will make a LUT that is the same thing, but 5% less saturated.
    - Highlight rolloff - I like a lot of highlight roll off, and I shoot as iso1600 with "very soft rolloff" selected.
    - Contrast - medium contrast is a nice compromise for dark rich shadows and smooth transition to highlight roll off. the low contrast setting looks a little flat. and the higher contrast setting is too harsh in the highlights for narrative work.
    - output monitoring, definitely have to make sure everything is set properly here. Also, the EVF port takes the Monitor SDI signal, so you only get one of those at a time.

    Black shading: I am still experimenting. I've not gone through a true Summer yet, so the sensor has been sitting at 37-38 degrees mostly. I've been hearing people say that helium works better at higher temps like 42-44, so I am considering doing a test, but the sensor is fairly light sensitive, and I haven't felt a pressing need for better noise performance yet. Although, I did shoot some low light slomo windowed in and that is where I felt things get much more crucial. Whereas on the Scarlet MX, I felt black shading was crucial for every scene.
    Last edited by James Sielaff; 07-25-2020 at 11:31 AM.
    Ranger Gemini
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4  
    Senior Member Ignacio Aguilar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    533
    Hello James,

    Thanks for your more than detailed reply. I also thank you for watching our videos!

    ISO: 800 in standard mode is definitely the more versatile. Very clean. Very rich looking images. I tend to prefer iso1600, but a friend of mine recently shot with the Ranger Gemini, and he was used to underexposing, and I feel he ended up with a little noise. iso1600 feels more natural to me, in particular when shooting in a room with windows to the outside, or if there are candles, lamps, or practicals in the shot. If I shoot 800, I am just going to lift it in post and roll off the highlights anyway, so iso1600 is a better starting base for me, personally. iso2000 begins to look a little too flat in the mids and highlights, and noise starts to become noticeable. iso3200 is surprisingly usable, but wouldn't plan on it. However, iso800 still has plenty in the highlights for most things, and I can see why others might like it for the richer tonality and cleaner shadows. Though I have been considering switching to 1280, for flexibility, but I still like the highlight roll off of iso1600, and I don't underexpose.
    You mean 1600 ISO but still in standard mode, right? I'm a little worried before I go out testing the camera that 1600 ISO in LL mode might be too shadow oriented in terms of latitude, and being used to slower cameras than Gemini, I still have to see by myself if 2500-3200 ISO in LL mode is really as clean as 800 in standard mode (I'm afraid that coming from a film stock background that's hard to believe).

    OLPF: There is very little difference between Standard and Highlight skin tone priority. However, I like the STHP filter better as a default look. Greens look more natural on the skin tone filter, and skin tone has some subtle improvements, though nothing immediately noticeable in a quick comparison. The greens were more noticeable. With the standard Olpf, the Gemini recorded trees and grass with a hint of cyan or a small amount of extra blue, which is very pretty, but the skin tone filter is green, and seems more accurate. But I just got the skin tone filter yesterday, and I can totally see the reason why so many prefer to stick with the Standard filter for simplicity and versatility. I'll be testing to see if the skin tone filter helps in incandescent light, where it may improve the blue channel under orange lighting conditions. But I have no idea how losing that extra stop of sensitivity might effect my work day, so Standard seems like the more versatile choice.
    I was in love with the DSMC1 Dragon and Skin-tone highlight OLPF combination. In many ways it reminded me of shooting film, exposing for the shadows and having a lot of highlight retention. But if Gemini standard OLPF at 800 ISO is good enough, I'd rather stick to it and avoid OLPF changes on location.

    Compression: 5:1 looks good, though if you get into low light situations and dealing with noise, go with a lower compression rate like 3:1. I feel that so many people hire the Gemini to do lowlight duties, and really no camera does "no light", and it can get people into situations. You however seem like you have a lot of professional experience working with less sensitive cameras, and should have no issues with lighting. The advantage of shooting with 5K, is that lower compression is still manageable.
    Yes, my plan is to use quite a lot of light because we are after a night "Amblin" look as a starting point, but also use the LL mode to stop down a little more the anamorphic lenses to get more depth of field. I'm also a firm believer that it's best to be in the stop range where they offer 90% of their performance, than dealing with softness and out-of-focus shots from wide-open anamorphics. That happens IMHO around T3.2 or T3.5 with the Atlas Orion anamorphics (optimum stop should be T4).

    Low Light Mode I prefer to avoid this mode. But it does come in handy. At night, there is always a practical light source in the frame at some point, and in those situations you can really feel the loss of dynamic range. So, if you are planning to use the feature a lot, then plan being able to light for it. You don't need a lot of light output, but you need much more control of the lighting. Run and gun in low light mode looks pretty rough, and if you are wanting "clean" look, definitely plan to have lighting control over the low lit scenes. It is pretty cool feature to have though. And it can save you and the production. In your testing, you will know pretty quickly when standard iso1600 is enough, and when LL 3200 is needed.
    Yeah that's my doubt, when I should go 1600 ISO in standard mode, or switching to LL 1600 or above. Even if I use LL mode, it will be used in a highly controlled manner, with carefully exposed highlights no further than 90-92 IRE.

    Have you tried the Skin-Tone highlight OLPF with the LL mode? I'm intrigued about it. In the one hand you may have more sensitivity with a softer highlight roll off, but on the other hand, it may look noisier.

    IPP2: Looks great as is, so no need for a special LUT on set for most things. Some feel it is too saturated, and will make a LUT that is the same thing, but 5% less saturated.
    - Highlight rolloff - I like a lot of highlight roll off, and I shoot as iso1600 with "very soft rolloff" selected.
    - Contrast - medium contrast is a nice compromise for dark rich shadows and smooth transition to highlight roll off. the low contrast setting looks a little flat. and the higher contrast setting is too harsh in the highlights for narrative work.
    - output monitoring, definitely have to make sure everything is set properly here. Also, the EVF port takes the Monitor SDI signal, so you only get one of those at a time.
    When I was using Dragon I was constantly adjusting curves on camera. So if this can still be done is great news for me.

    Black shading: I am still experimenting. I've not gone through a true Summer yet, so the sensor has been sitting at 37-38 degrees mostly. I've been hearing people say that helium works better at higher temps like 42-44, so I am considering doing a test, but the sensor is fairly light sensitive, and I haven't felt a pressing need for better noise performance yet. Although, I did shoot some low light slomo windowed in and that is where I felt things get much more crucial. Whereas on the Scarlet MX, I felt black shading was crucial for every scene.
    I think I've been told here in Spain that Gemini should be manually black shaded to 45 degrees or so (Dragon was 65 to 70). How often do you use BS? How many BS do you perform?

    Thanks again and have a nice day!
    Last edited by Ignacio Aguilar; 07-25-2020 at 04:11 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    252
    Quote Originally Posted by Ignacio Aguilar View Post
    You mean 1600 ISO but still in standard mode, right? I'm a little worried before I go out testing the camera that 1600 ISO in LL mode might be too shadow oriented in terms of latitude, and being used to slower cameras than Gemini, I still have to see by myself if 2500-3200 ISO in LL mode is really as clean as 800 in standard mode (I'm afraid that coming from a film stock background that's hard to believe).
    Yes, iso1600 in standard mode. It is plenty clean in good light.

    For LL mode, iso 3200LL is a good baseline. It shows clear advantages over the standard mode in lower light scenes. Standard mode is clean up to 1600 and usable up to 2500, but gets pretty weak at 3200, and so that can be a good time to switch over. I kind of like the look of iso4000LL, as it has the more rolled-off highlights, but things can get pretty noisy from 5000LL on up. Can really vary on the style of the shoot, but you mentioned "clean" and stopping down, etc, so I can only really say that iso3200LL is clean, with perceivably less dynamic range to standard mode.

    I was in love with the DSMC1 Dragon and Skin-tone highlight OLPF combination. In many ways it reminded me of shooting film, exposing for the shadows and having a lot of highlight retention. But if Gemini standard OLPF at 800 ISO is good enough, I'd rather stick to it and avoid OLPF changes on location.
    I never got to shoot on Dragon, but everything I've seen shot with that camera look gorgeous.

    Yes, my plan is to use quite a lot of light because we are after a night "Amblin" look as a starting point, but also use the LL mode to stop down a little more the anamorphic lenses to get more depth of field. I'm also a firm believer that it's best to be in the stop range where they offer 90% of their performance, than dealing with softness and out-of-focus shots from wide-open anamorphics. That happens IMHO around T3.2 or T3.5 with the Atlas Orion anamorphics (optimum stop should be T4).
    It really opens up some options having the extra speed. Allowing ambient light to work at night, or seeing the natural glow of the city night sky, rather lovely at times.

    Yeah that's my doubt, when I should go 1600 ISO in standard mode, or switching to LL 1600 or above. Even if I use LL mode, it will be used in a highly controlled manner, with carefully exposed highlights no further than 90-92 IRE.
    No reason to work with iso1600LL. Well, obviously that is a creative and personal decision, but iso's in standard mode are already very clean. iso1600 in standard mode is like iso800 on the Alexa, as far as noise goes. perhaps subtly more chroma noise.

    There may be some cool tricks to shooting iso1600LL or iso800LL, but the sensor is already so clean at iso800 in standard mode, I don't really see the point too often. Low Light iso3200LL is actually something that standard modes can't achieve. So, even if you lose some DR, it is pretty amazing working with LED lights on batteries getting a couple hours run time because they only need to be at 30% power... kind of a liberating option at times.

    Have you tried the Skin-Tone highlight OLPF with the LL mode? I'm intrigued about it. In the one hand you may have more sensitivity with a softer highlight roll off, but on the other hand, it may look noisier.
    That will be one of the first tests. I am particularly interested in seeing how STH might look with incandescent lighting. Will send you an R3D when I get that done.


    When I was using Dragon I was constantly adjusting curves on camera. So if this can still be done is great news for me.
    Sounds like you are getting it all in camera, that will make for some good looking proxies.



    I think I've been told here in Spain that Gemini should be manually black shaded to 45 degrees or so (Dragon was 65 to 70). How often do you use BS? How many BS do you perform?

    Thanks again and have a nice day!
    I was under the school of thought that cooler was cleaner, so I was happy to keep it below 40degrees, as there was absolutely no fan noise that bothered sound ever. Though recently reading about others getting cleaner results from 44degrees on Helium, has prompted me to do an additional round of testing.
    For general shoots I don't black shade but use previously stored calibrations. On something where I might shoot challenging scenes I'll get a black shade in for that specific setup. Black shading is so much faster on DSMC2/Ranger, and it can be easy enough to fit in throughout the day if you find yourself in a variety of situations/frame rates/modes/etc. ...even if you have those 8-10 page days.
    Ranger Gemini
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
    Greenscreen: Skip proxies and max out the bitrate for the r3d. Greenscreens can never get too clean. The graded LT 2k prores files are more than plenty for the editors. No need to waist more bitrate on proxies then that.

    If you liked dragon and a little bit of texture I would shoot with the panavision DXL2 IPP2 lut in camera and set ipp2 to medium/verysoft for contrast and rolloff and rate the camera 1600iso.
    Björn Benckert
    Creative Lead & Founder Syndicate Entertainment AB
    +46855524900 www.syndicate.se/axis
    VFX / Flame / Motion capture / Monstro
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #7  
    Senior Member Ignacio Aguilar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    533
    Quote Originally Posted by Björn Benckert View Post
    Greenscreen: Skip proxies and max out the bitrate for the r3d. Greenscreens can never get too clean. The graded LT 2k prores files are more than plenty for the editors. No need to waist more bitrate on proxies then that.

    If you liked dragon and a little bit of texture I would shoot with the panavision DXL2 IPP2 lut in camera and set ipp2 to medium/verysoft for contrast and rolloff and rate the camera 1600iso.
    So is there any difference in bitrate between shooting 2:1 R3D + the lightest prores and using the same compression without the dailies?

    Unfortunately, there's no chance to go to Panavision equipment for this show. I would kill to get the Super High Speeds anamorphics!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #8  
    Senior Member Ignacio Aguilar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    533
    Quote Originally Posted by James Sielaff View Post

    No reason to work with iso1600LL. Well, obviously that is a creative and personal decision, but iso's in standard mode are already very clean. iso1600 in standard mode is like iso800 on the Alexa, as far as noise goes. perhaps subtly more chroma noise.
    Thank you. If I can really have such a clean image as Alexa 800 ISO with the Gemini rated at 1600 ISO in standard mode, then I'll probably stick to that and leave LL mode for desperate situations, or when I have to open up the lenses a bit more than T2.8.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #9  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Switzerland, Lausanne
    Posts
    5,273
    Higher blackshade camera temp isn't going to give you noisier blacks. But low black shade temp will give you a much (or unworkable) higher fan noise.
    You better have a Blackshade made on DSMC2 at 46 for standard work and 48 that you use if the fan is really too lound (in some very hot and quiet room).

    If noise is your concern, you could use the LLO. But higher pixel count also gives you finer noise pattern. You should test the whole workflow to know wich noise level you rate as good. I often shot with Dragon Weapon LLO at 1600 iso and found it to be very clean. With the Jpeg2000 compression (not even talking about 2k downscaling) you even got a cleaner picture.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #10  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    252
    Ranger body is able to maintain lower temps with minimal or no fan noise.

    Normal sensor temps in moderate climates are around 37-38C.

    In the evening, sensor temps can be down at 32C.

    Takes quite a bit of external heat to push temps above 40C. and I was getting sensor temps of 44C in the desert just before sunset, with external weather feeling like an oven at around 100F, or higher. It is good to know that the Gemini sensor can take more 44-47C, if that is what DSMC2 is doing. RED does not officially recommend temps higher than 38C.

    RED support rep mentioned ~38C is the general "recommended" target temp, and it is what the camera comes set with.
    Last edited by James Sielaff; 07-30-2020 at 08:12 PM.
    Ranger Gemini
    Reply With Quote  
     

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts