It might be more on dolly shots that you might have that problem. I don't know too much about the different tracking methods + systems out there myself, but from what I've seen/heard... if the system does mechanical tracking (i.e. the angles between all the parts), it has to assume that the parts aren't bending. If the parts are bending then the tracking info will be off. (*I'm not 100% sure if this is true. Just the explanation that I heard.)I haven't heard of the bending problem. The jibs will most likely be from mo-sys or General Lift.
There are some other tracking systems and they have their own limitations.
2- You can also run into some greenscreen problems and limitations... where 95% of the shots have to be re-keyed. You have to deal with things like hair, reflections, motion blur, etc. etc. If you look at Lazytown, the stuff with high motion doesn't key 100% perfectly.
If you want to add shadows, then you'll have to key things in post of course. So for this type of work it can really pay off to have a VFX supervisor in pre-production (before props are made) and to do camera tests.
3- While this type of work has some shortcomings (and I am a little jaded because you can spend a lot of time fixing keys), there's also some advantages to shooting virtual sets.
- You get to shoot in a controlled studio environment.
- The sets can look really nice if you have good artists.
TV shows like Lazytown and feature films like 300 look pretty nifty.
To pull this on topic a little more, I'm curious as to your opinion on virtual sets.
Do you feel that they are creatively less/more interesting?
As a DP, I'm not so interested in spending a lot of time shooting people against a greenscreen -- it's not really why I became a DP. As a filmgoer, heavy CGI movies like "300" or "Sin City" fascinate me because I have a graphic arts background in painting and drawing, but unless I decide to get into the post side of efx work creating these backgrounds myself, I see virtual reality movies as being more fun for the post guys than for the DP. I like being on location and using and manipulating natural light, or lighting sets to feel natural. I like environments.
I've been shooting a feature (Super-35 3-perf Arricam) for the past five weeks out in New Jersey, with two weeks to go, so I've been out of the loop on the RED developments other than what I've seen here. The footage looks fantastic, best digital cinematography I've seen except for the similar Dalsa footage I've seen, so I'm excited to get a chance to shoot with the RED camera.
I would say though, spending some time in a D.I. suite playing with my Super-35 images, that 35mm can look gorgeous -- what I've seen of the RED so far looks more like DSLR photography to me than the gentle 35mm Fuji Eterna negative I've been shooting for the past month; the RED stuff is very clean and sharp, vivid, which I love... but I'm also hoping to see some footage with a more romantic quality, less technical, more evocative.
But the clarity of the RED images excites me -- I would love to use it for a widescreen landscape movie in the style of the CinemaScope westerns or Cinerama travelogues with big sharp wide images on the big screen. Or conversely, a "Collateral" urban nightscape movie shot in ultra low light levels.
I'll be compositing live through the Orad system and Ultimatte chromakeyers. We'll be able (I believe) to tweak the Ultimatte before we record the scene, then watch it live, to hopefully make sure we don't have keying problems.
This Orad virtual system is very sophisticated -- virtual shadows are added to the virtual objects (based on the real lighting). These virtual shadows then also fall on and bend on the real objects and people. It's pretty amazing. It's all live so we can be confident that it has worked before moving to the next scene.
I'm hoping I can keep some of the fun for the DP (and me), even on my greenscreen set-up. It would just be less time on location and with a smaller crew and less (or no) cast. For example, if a movie was set in Las Vegas NM, a small crew would go there to shoot all the movie's exteriors. This small crew would also shoot real background plates, to in effect insert the cast into New Mexico from the comfort of the studio in Florida.
Although the time and fun of being on location would be significantly shortened, there might be other advantages for the DP. For example, it would probably be impractical for the DP to take his wife and/or family to most location shoots. But with my plan, re-creating the location in my Florida studio, maybe the DP's family could come along for a vacation on the beach.
On the movie I'm shooting right now in New Jersey, I did a night exterior shot on Fuji Eterna 500T pushed one-stop (and rated at 640 ASA) with the new T/1.3 Zeiss Master Primes, shot wide-open. It was lit with just four 1K PAR's on a 40' Condor (plus I added a mercury-vapor practical to the abandoned diner we found), and those had scrims in them to get the level down to a T/1.3 so that I could capture the ambient streetlighting and glow in the horizon. This is a digital snapshot taken with my Nikon of the set-up:
Now of course the 35mm version is a little grainier, but it also has more detail due to the wide dynamic range of Fuji Eterna. But it's an example of where a camera like the RED would come in handy -- I probably could have done the same shot on the RED with the normal T/2 lenses I was carrying, maybe even had lit to an even lower level and get more exposure from the real streetlamps.
Man, that still certainly looks interesting David! Do let us know (when you can) what movie that is...
You're right, this should be RED territory. At ISO 1600 what would RED look like. I'm hopeful that RED can pull off the romantic images you mentioned also. It's not ever going to look just like film, but it's sure going to allow for a lot of experimentation and instant feedback.
How do you like the Master Primes ? Obviously they are sharp and well corrected... but do they have a personality ? Any issues besides size and cost ?
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