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  1. #61  
    I'm sorry this is long but I want to state the reasons why we did what we did.

    With all due respect and I mean that sincerely to both Jim and the RED community who I admire very much for both your enthusiasm and passion for the camera and craft, I did beg to get RED involved with the test long before the challenge started. I sent emails to both Jim and Ted explaining that they could pic their own DP or team to shoot and light the scene any way they wanted and that they would have complete control over their post production. I also explained that they could even take the footage and post process it where ever they wanted and then return it back to us and we would insert it into our show.

    The idea of this Shootout is to show two things: Do some empirical tests which show everyone in a controlled setting what every camera can do. The interesting part of this years challenge is to allow the selected DP's do a creative version of the same scene (light it the way they want as well as set the camera to their liking) which is more like what they would do if really shooting that scene in real life. So many of these tests just compare cameras and we look at numbers and data. This is nice but the real world does not work in numbers and data, your audience looks at how a scene looks on the screen, TV or the web with no care as to how it got there. The speed to which it can be lit and the speed in color timing, all of this relates back to budget and that unfortunately is a fact of filmmaking. To make it fair thats why each DP was given 90 minutes in to light and shoot and 90 minutes to color time.

    Getting back to my emails, with no response to the various emails I sent, we made posts on Reduser asking for suggestions of DP's to operate the EPIC, and several names were suggested and we followed up with all of them. Some were booked on jobs but Ryan Walters was mentioned several times and he was available so we invited him to participate and he agreed. I think he did an amazing job and he has written a document on how and what path he took to interpret the scene and also how he color timed it in the baselight. I believe he will be posting that soon.

    The passion on this website is incredible and I admire everyone for it but I will take one exception with a conclusion that has been made that 4K is here in 2012. In fact, the numbers do not pan that out in worldwide theaters today, see our shootout page for statistics on that. Most theater owners have already bought 2K projectors making it the defacto standard in 2012 but if that changes in 2013 or 2014 then we will do our shootout in 4K, 5K or 10K, whatever the reality that theatergoers are really going to be seeing in that day. But at that point there will be a whole new crop of cameras to compare and we will do that then. We thought long and hard on this and eventually the decision came very easily. We are screening Bruce's test in theaters all over the world and to be honest, it was hard to find theaters that had 2K projectors, yet 4K ones and that being the case, the decision was made for us. That's not to say that 4K acquisition does not have a whole host of benefits that I not need mention.

    To answer some: We stayed with the original R3D files until the last render which is what the DCP was made from. Bruce is going to post a more detailed description of the exact post process which he will post later today on your forum.

    This year is really different then past years of the Zacuto shootouts. Yes the theatrical screenings will show you our process, empirical tests and creative challenge of each DP and their camera. Yes the comments will be included in the 3 part documentary that will be released on the web June 15th but this years Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 web documentary will have a whole different feel then our previous shootouts with the test/challenge being more in the background. We all know that you can have the best camera in the world and if you don't know how to light for that camera, understand how to setup color profiles and color time for it, it's all moot. Worse, is the big unspoken hush hush word that none of us really talk much about on these forums, which is that it is really "talent" that will shine through on any camera. You will hear from leading industry DP's talking about who their mentors are, what cinematography means to them, where they learned to light and how they learned to light which is the key to this whole game. Who they admire, how they learned the craft by looking at paintings, photographs, watching films and for some film school. Their path to success and what they think today's path should be. I think you will be very surprised about what the most important things to these industry leaders are.

    Remember, I nor Zacuto had anything to do with the actual testing process besides helping in the initial concept and the blocking of scene. Bruce Logan ASC lit this challenge and controlled all of the testing aspects with his own camera department, and let me tell you, it is a challenge! Bruce Logan is a DP, special effects DP & colorist. Zacuto's sole involvement is documenting the entire process, Bruce's journey, interviewing all of the folks who were on set, at screenings, BTS and directing my 3 part documentary which I think you should find entertaining as well as educational. Or at least I hope so. ;-)

    My personal beliefs are that I could care less which cameras people choose as their favorites, that's not what my story is about. Just so people know, I've been a corporate/commercial/documentary director in production for 29 years (I've only been designing products for 6 years) and I don't believe cameras make filmmakers. Just to be clear in the past 29 years, I've used 35mm, 16mm film, betacam, digibeta, DVcam, Hi-8, HD cameras, point and shoots, whatever. I don't believe any camera is perfect for any one job and my DP of 25 years Jens Bogehegn picks the camera that works best for each projects situation and budget. In the making of this documentary we used Panasonic Varicam's for the interviews, we used EX3's, C300's in screenings, SI2K's & DSLR's for BTS.
    Steve Weiss
    Producer/Director, Zacuto films
    Co-Designer, Zacuto USA steve@zacuto.com
     

  2. #62  
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    Steve, the reason there is not much being said about "talent" being important is that that is universally known. This is not about whether a genius could make a groundbreaking film on a DSLR - film history is replete with answers regarding the possibility of that scenario. This is about the tools of the trade, so let's keep it about the camera - ditch as many variables as you can. Talent is infinitely variable.
     

  3. #63  
    I appreciate that Bill but that is not what I wanted my film to be about. I've done what you suggested for 4 years. I encourage others to do what you suggest but for my film, which is a documentary directed by me, it was not the angle I chose to take.
    Steve Weiss
    Producer/Director, Zacuto films
    Co-Designer, Zacuto USA steve@zacuto.com
     

  4. #64  
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve weiss View Post
    I'm sorry this is long but I want to state the reasons why we did what we did.

    With all due respect and I mean that sincerely to both Jim and the RED community who I admire very much for both your enthusiasm and passion for the camera and craft, I did beg to get RED involved with the test long before the challenge started. I sent emails to both Jim and Ted explaining that they could pic their own DP or team to shoot and light the scene any way they wanted and that they would have complete control over their post production. I also explained that they could even take the footage and post process it where ever they wanted and then return it back to us and we would insert it into our show.

    The idea of this Shootout is to show two things: Do some empirical tests which show everyone in a controlled setting what every camera can do. The interesting part of this years challenge is to allow the selected DP's do a creative version of the same scene (light it the way they want as well as set the camera to their liking) which is more like what they would do if really shooting that scene in real life. So many of these tests just compare cameras and we look at numbers and data. This is nice but the real world does not work in numbers and data, your audience looks at how a scene looks on the screen, TV or the web with no care as to how it got there. The speed to which it can be lit and the speed in color timing, all of this relates back to budget and that unfortunately is a fact of filmmaking. To make it fair thats why each DP was given 90 minutes in to light and shoot and 90 minutes to color time.

    Getting back to my emails, with no response to the various emails I sent, we made posts on Reduser asking for suggestions of DP's to operate the EPIC, and several names were suggested and we followed up with all of them. Some were booked on jobs but Ryan Walters was mentioned several times and he was available so we invited him to participate and he agreed. I think he did an amazing job and he has written a document on how and what path he took to interpret the scene and also how he color timed it in the baselight. I believe he will be posting that soon.

    The passion on this website is incredible and I admire everyone for it but I will take one exception with a conclusion that has been made that 4K is here in 2012. In fact, the numbers do not pan that out in worldwide theaters today, see our shootout page for statistics on that. Most theater owners have already bought 2K projectors making it the defacto standard in 2012 but if that changes in 2013 or 2014 then we will do our shootout in 4K, 5K or 10K, whatever the reality that theatergoers are really going to be seeing in that day. But at that point there will be a whole new crop of cameras to compare and we will do that then. We thought long and hard on this and eventually the decision came very easily. We are screening Bruce's test in theaters all over the world and to be honest, it was hard to find theaters that had 2K projectors, yet 4K ones and that being the case, the decision was made for us. That's not to say that 4K acquisition does not have a whole host of benefits that I not need mention.

    To answer some: We stayed with the original R3D files until the last render which is what the DCP was made from. Bruce is going to post a more detailed description of the exact post process which he will post later today on your forum.

    This year is really different then past years of the Zacuto shootouts. Yes the theatrical screenings will show you our process, empirical tests and creative challenge of each DP and their camera. Yes the comments will be included in the 3 part documentary that will be released on the web June 15th but this years Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 web documentary will have a whole different feel then our previous shootouts with the test/challenge being more in the background. We all know that you can have the best camera in the world and if you don't know how to light for that camera, understand how to setup color profiles and color time for it, it's all moot. Worse, is the big unspoken hush hush word that none of us really talk much about on these forums, which is that it is really "talent" that will shine through on any camera. You will hear from leading industry DP's talking about who their mentors are, what cinematography means to them, where they learned to light and how they learned to light which is the key to this whole game. Who they admire, how they learned the craft by looking at paintings, photographs, watching films and for some film school. Their path to success and what they think today's path should be. I think you will be very surprised about what the most important things to these industry leaders are.

    Remember, I nor Zacuto had anything to do with the actual testing process besides helping in the initial concept and the blocking of scene. Bruce Logan ASC lit this challenge and controlled all of the testing aspects with his own camera department, and let me tell you, it is a challenge! Bruce Logan is a DP, special effects DP & colorist. Zacuto's sole involvement is documenting the entire process, Bruce's journey, interviewing all of the folks who were on set, at screenings, BTS and directing my 3 part documentary which I think you should find entertaining as well as educational. Or at least I hope so. ;-)

    My personal beliefs are that I could care less which cameras people choose as their favorites, that's not what my story is about. Just so people know, I've been a corporate/commercial/documentary director in production for 29 years (I've only been designing products for 6 years) and I don't believe cameras make filmmakers. Just to be clear in the past 29 years, I've used 35mm, 16mm film, betacam, digibeta, DVcam, Hi-8, HD cameras, point and shoots, whatever. I don't believe any camera is perfect for any one job and my DP of 25 years Jens Bogehegn picks the camera that works best for each projects situation and budget. In the making of this documentary we used Panasonic Varicam's for the interviews, we used EX3's, C300's in screenings, SI2K's & DSLR's for BTS.

    Thanks Steve... Great reply.

    But I still stand by my opinion of showing the cameras full potential against other cameras full potential... 4k is the future of cinema moving forward.
    Down converting RED's 4k images to suite lessor 2k cameras is still not a fair test.

    At the end of the day, its your tests, your idea, your doco... and you can do what ever you want. :)

    ooooh and you are correct. cameras don't make filmmakers... As far as Im concerned Content is king but you do need a good tool to capture that content the way you had in mind.

    Thanks again. :)
    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television


    www.toia.com

    www.zoomfilmtv.com.au
     

  5. #65  
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    Sincerely: all the best with your documentary, Steve.
     

  6. #66  
    Bruce Logan game me this text of his process to post on your forum because he does not have a REDuser account

    All raw footage from the cameras was imported into the Baselight as the only color corrector which could accept all codecs natively. The conform, color correction, online editing, titling, scaling and rendering were done in one step in P3 colorspace in native resolution. As the majority of digital cinemas in the world run 2K Jpeg 2000 DCP, we decided to make this the standard for exhibition for this years test, meaning that the HD cameras were scaled up to 2K and the 5K, 4K and 3K cameras were oversampled down to 2K. The scaling engine in the Baselight has multiple algorithms and the best setting for each format was picked for resolution, contrast, noise, and lack of compression artifacts. All cameras were then output at 16bit Tiff image sequences in xyz colorspace and converted directly to DCP.

    Bruce Logan
    Steve Weiss
    Producer/Director, Zacuto films
    Co-Designer, Zacuto USA steve@zacuto.com
     

  7. #67  
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    Strange how quickly content loses its crown when it's in the hands of a dolt.
     

  8. #68  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Toia View Post
    Thanks Steve... Great reply.

    But I still stand by my opinion of showing the cameras full potential against other cameras full potential... 4k is the future of cinema moving forward.
    Down converting RED's 4k images to suite lessor 2k cameras is still not a fair test.

    At the end of the day, its your tests, your idea, your doco... and you can do what ever you want. :)

    ooooh and you are correct. cameras don't make filmmakers... As far as Im concerned Content is king but you do need a good tool to capture that content the way you had in mind.

    Thanks again. :)
    Mark, to you air and screen your work exclusively in 4K?
     

  9. #69  
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve weiss View Post
    I'm sorry this is long but I want to state the reasons why we did what we did.
    Well, these tests are always going to be acrimonious. No matter how well they are done, you will make some mistakes ... Or leave out some step or detail that someone feels is critical.

    This isn't a matter of fanboy feelings, it's business. If your test comes out and says that Epic is the clear winner, Sony, Arri and Canon users and resellers are going to have a fit of various sorts. So will users of those systems ... Because your opinion will cost them money.

    I think you hit on the key point: the real value of any camera system is the DP, operator and the camera and lighting crews.

    As a DP I advise people to rent the systems I prefer to shoot with, because if they want ME they want what I feel I can give the best results with, and what I am comfortable using.

    I purchased a Cinevate Durus follow focus. Why? Because my 1st AC likes it, and I want to keep her working with me. I could have gotten an ARRI or an O'Connor or whatever ... She likes the Cinevate ... since I like her work, that's what I got for her to use.

    I hired the artist, not the tool.

    The problem in our industry, especially on a lot of the "it pays the bills" sort of jobs is that producers aren't qualified to judge artists ... So they hire the gear. Even there they often hire based on bad information.

    It's increasingly rare that a client will come to me, ask my advice about how to tell their story ... And then ask me what tools are appropriate. When they do ask about camera, I always specify Red Epic because that is by far my favorite camera.

    I don't actually care if Alexa or F65 are better ... Because I don't like using them. I have worked with Alexa and F35, and I can turn in good work with them, but it feels uninspired and mechanical to me. I do like Canon cameras typically, but I have yet to use the C300 or even see the C500. Of course I also specify the Phantom ... But to me that is a special purpose tool.

    I'm excited about the Black Magic camera, and after I get one, I might recommend it to my budget challenged clients ...

    Those are my preferences, and they shouldn't mean a damn thing to anyone that isn't looking to hire me.

    In the end ... The whole thing sounds a bit like a bunch of renaissance artists getting together to argue about paint brushes. It doesn't matter how perfect and wonderful my brushes are ... I still can't paint worth a damn. I bet if you gave Michaelangelo a stick and some hair clippings to make his own brush he'd still outpaint almost anyone alive with the most modern wonderful brushes.

    We make images, not camera choices.
    Alexander Ibrahim
    Director & DP
    editing/color correction/compositing/effects
    http://www.alexanderibrahim.net
    http://www.zenera.com
     

  10. #70  
    Senior Member Mark Toia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve weiss View Post
    Bruce Logan game me this text of his process to post on your forum because he does not have a REDuser account

    All raw footage from the cameras was imported into the Baselight as the only color corrector which could accept all codecs natively. The conform, color correction, online editing, titling, scaling and rendering were done in one step in P3 colorspace in native resolution. As the majority of digital cinemas in the world run 2K Jpeg 2000 DCP, we decided to make this the standard for exhibition for this years test, meaning that the HD cameras were scaled up to 2K and the 5K, 4K and 3K cameras were oversampled down to 2K. The scaling engine in the Baselight has multiple algorithms and the best setting for each format was picked for resolution, contrast, noise, and lack of compression artifacts. All cameras were then output at 16bit Tiff image sequences in xyz colorspace and converted directly to DCP.

    Bruce Logan
    And here lie's the controversy...

    "meaning that the HD cameras were scaled up to 2K and the 5K, 4K and 3K cameras were oversampled down to 2K"

    Having to knoble a cameras 4k potential by pulling it back to a 2k cameras spec is what I don't think fair (SONY included). I have seen RED 4k projection against a 2k camera projection side by side... (both cameras using the same lens)
    And trust me. the phraze "Chalk and cheese" was used a lot in that theatre...

    Sorry Steve... I know I sound like a broken record. :) I completely understand that you have know bad intentions. :)


    PS. At this second, Im pulling a frame from my files and sending to an agency to run as a giant billboard and douple page spread in a magazine.
    Hence the benefits of using a camera of this nature...
    Mark Toia
    Director / DP / Founder of Zoom Film & Television


    www.toia.com

    www.zoomfilmtv.com.au
     

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