Posted by Davide DB
on 27 September 2017 - 06:16 AM
I'm starting to experiment with a GH4.
Right now I'm just interested in a 1080p output but a lot of doubts and questions arises...
On several articles and posts on the net I read that converting from 4K to 1080 results in a far "better" image and colors. IIRC I even read that I could get a 1080 4:2:2 clips from a 4K 4:2:0 clips. Mumble Mumble...
Could you elaborate on this and share your current workflow?
If I'm not interested in crop i could create a 1080p project and throw 4K clips at it.
I could create a 4K project, eventually take advantage of some crop and finally export everything at 1080p.
I made some test with the two above scenarios and frankly I couldn't find substantial differences between the two. I use Edius so I have no transcoding. I just edit directly the original 4K clips as usual. Of course the 4K project is slower than the 1080p one.
Posted by Davide DB
on 01 September 2017 - 02:03 PM
As discussed dozen of times continuos AF underwater is really like a Unicorn. Everybody talk about it but nobody saw it. Maybe DPAF will change things but a video camera with a decent sensor size and a reliable AF simply does not exist.
Actually for WA shots I don't see the problem in 99% of use cases:
#1 stay hyperfocal.
#2 use AFL button
#3 use center point focus and avoid multipoint focus
I never missed a shot except when I crashed my dome on a coral getting a huge scratch on it.
Posted by Davide DB
on 01 September 2017 - 09:46 AM
Hummm 24mm it's really too narrow. With a flat port it's even narrow. I see it as a very specific tool.
It a shame that Sony chose that infamous shape for its real action cam fdr x3000.
I had the opportunity to use it and it's the best one. Optical stabilization and amazing image quality.
Unfortunately no uw housing and no way to have a display in a useful way.
Professional 400Mbit ALL-I intraframe codec for 10bit 4K 4:2:2
Open Gate High Resolution Anamorphic Mode (4992 x 3744)
Hybrid Log Gamma with view assist feature for HDR shooting
New and improved autofocus engine for video
Performance optimisations and bug fixes
What we are witnessing is a boost to the concentration and verticalization of media companies. Murdock is the owner of Sky, the largest European satellite broadcaster. He was already distributing NGC, History and Discovery channels in Europe. Now he bought NGC so another piece of the puzzle is set.
I guess we have two phenomenons at the same time.
As Peter pointed out we are moving towards mediocrity and unless viewing figures fall down it's an unstoppable process. If you think about it it's simple to explain. I'm fifty and I grew up with BBC documentaries enjoyed in a completely different manner: Sir Attenborough commenting on Japanese macaque for one square hour but he was aired once a week! Nowadays a cable/satellite channel broadcasts 24hx7. No way to fill such time interval with quality contents. So they are forced to buy and produce a lot of low budget documentaries shows to fill their TV schedule. In the resulting hodge-podge, quality content has less appeal and probably less revenues.
At the same time, the old "documentary" category has gone trough an "hybridisation process" with other genres like reality shows, talents, mockumentaries... The result is in front of us. The same applies to other formats as well but while we stay within fiction, results are not so devastating.
Favored by summer vacations and some spare free time I had the time to write down some thoughts from the couch. I don't know if it's the right place to post my ranting. even if I will not write about gear I'm going to write about video after all.
When I subscribed to Sky, the largest European satellite broadcaster I couldn't wait to see their nature channels. After few months I realized that only few shows were worth watching. But I never paid particular attention at it. Well, until few days ago, when I saw the Discovery Shark Week. A shark kermesse aired by Discovery Channel every year. By chance at the same time I saw the short documentary Gombessa IV Genesis. Wetpixel wrote a small news about it here.
Basically it is a short documentary based on Arte amazing long format Le mystère Mérou re-edited with sharks as main subject. Gombessa IV expedition is just finished and I could even follow them on their Youtube V-log.
Let me start off by saying that while I'm passionate about diving and underwater filming I'm able rarely to follow marine documentaries aired by Discovery, NGC, History, etc... I find them mostly targeted to casual public or the average Joe who don't know nothing about diving or marine biology. Let me be really clear, nothing wrong on this. Informing lay people with the most suitable language is the main task of science journalism. Actually seeing these shows (I think show is the proper term, not documentary) some doubt arises.
How much oversimplification can we afford in the name of accessibility?
How many fake infos can we afford in the name of a wider public audience and spectacularization?
In other words, where is the balance between audience and correct information?
Some example: several documentaries shows of the Discovery Shark Week were shoot at the Bahamas. Some of them at the famous Shark beach. Why the hell every two minutes do they have to remember me that the diver or the camera operator is risking his life doing this or that? They are in the same place where every year thousand of apprentice divers party with the sharks bringing back home their pretty photos and family video! Internet is flooded of these videos. Music, editing, dialogues, everything rotates around shark diving dangerousness. Even when the diver is in the cage we clearly see that video operator is outside and everything is fake as Disneyland. At the end of the show my mother and my little son thinks sharks are dangerous.
Therefore other questions arise. Shark week official declared goal is to show how amazing this endangered creatures are... but after 45 minutes spent remarking how dangerous are those activities are we sure that the usual sentence at the end of the show filled with "amazing... endangered... protect..." is enough to put across the message on shark preservation?
Frankly speaking it's just a boilerplate on a format focused on maximizing the audience. Three shows were focused on shark attacks. I'm done with sharks and surfers. Please. Basically in one week only one show documentary was worth to watch: Blue Serengeti.
We know, to attract shark we need baits. All of the shows were doing indiscriminate use of shark feeding or chumming. I'm a practical guy so I will not do a crusade against it but how is possible that in a documentary show there is no mention about opinions or disclaimers on this controversial practice?
I'm not fighting against this show. I'm using it as an recent example of what I don't like in nearly all shows about nature aired via satellite or cable: The most dangerous creatures of ... (fill dots with an ecosystem of your choice), Spiders vs Snakes and so on... On shipwreck dives is no joke either! I still remember watching History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives touching wood. Bottom line is that it doesn't worth without someone who risk his life (actually, most of the times someone who acts like risking his life).
To summarize, IMHO I find there is a more general "format" problem on USA productions. It doesn't depends on documentary filmmaker and operators involved. They are professionals who sell their images later tailored on their needs by production companies or they directly produce what the market asks for. USA productions prefer a format that is kind of an hybrid between a reality show and a documentary. When did all of this started?
IMO French productions I cited above are on another league. I'm not speaking about money involved but the plot, storytelling in itself. Breathtaking images and events still depicted in a very realistic fashion. I participated to some documentation and exploration projects and reality on the ground corresponds on what I see on them. Scientific facts and message to the audience plays always a main role and everything revolves around them. In some respects the viewer is considered an adult person fully capable to understand what's going on. Things seem easy because they are good at them but emphasis is rarely given on character's ego or risks involved. From a storytelling perspective these documentaries mix the old David Attenborough BBC understatement with the superman challenges of Yves Cousteau. Sad to say that French are the only one in Europe to put money on these productions devoted to the sea. Maybe something else form BBC. On the shipwreck topic I could cite U455 the lost submarine. Again a French director with an international production.
Maybe it's just me. I'm European and I feel these kind of storytelling more inline with my way of thinking. Yet speaking about fiction, USA storytelling doesn't seem to suffer from these problems. Its language is universal and it spreaded across the world. Maybe when we speak about documentary there is a cultural gap to reduce after all.
If there is one thing I have noticed, those who shoot really good UW video do not share what camera they use, how they get stable footage, they don't tell people if they use red filter or not. People ask questions in their Youtube/Vimeo page, the videographers do not response to question and only thanks for compliments.
Well, your question brings to the table several aspects...
Unless the title contains magic words like test, review, etc.. as user I tend to avoid asking techie details.
As video producer I do not define myself an artist or a videomaker but I'm frustrated when people write "nice, which camera settings did you use?". I tried to put inside my video an idea, maybe a message. I believe that my video are nothing special but are mine. I would believe that they express my personal point of view and they have nothing to do with the gear I used. Yes I'm naive and I would believe that I could have made my piece with anything. There are countless video about a dive, a trip, a wreck but that video contains my perception of it.
I never confused the tool and the goal. Gear is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
Nevertheless sometime I would ask which gear they used but I'm shy to ask Asking Howard hall which camera used, in some way is like saying "ok with that camera I can do the same".
I played around with this years ago with a laminated checker for stills. I was basically trying to work out how deep I could shoot with available light in The Red Sea. The problem seems to be that our brains, or maybe optic nerves, do a bit of colour correction when we are underwater so you then have to adjust for this in post when you are out of the water. It's a really interesting excercise though and I learnt a lot from doing it.
How deep then?
Weeks ago I found this seven years old Thistlegorm video. I know nothing about camera, setup, etc...
Question of personal taste, of course, but I find its colors amazing. AFAIK it should be shot with ambient light with red filter (except interiors) and the resulting palette/light gives him a very particular atmosphere IMHO. From its pastel colors I could think of a Canon camera or a old Sony video-camera. Who know. Maybe the author will read this.
So with a proper filter and light, at 30m it's possible get good result.
I have a pair of (old) Luna-8 CRI. Maybe 6000 lumen or less. Before of these I had a pair of FIX 5000 lumen.
I was satisfied with my FIX except for lumne output. I mostly do tech dives with older camera and more (light) is better. Nowadays I thing that 6000 lumen is the bare minimum.
Despite of light power I love my Keldan. I cannot say that in water the light is different but I realize that since I use them my video colors are nearly ok out of the camera. I mean that I spend less time in post to get colors right (err, actually colors I like).
Now with newer camera you can easily work at ISO 1600 and beyond while on my camera ISO 1000 is the highest I can afford.
I agree that on shallow waters you need very high power lights. I find deeper shots quite easy because you have just to manage light output and nothing else. On shallows shot it's very tricky to get good color rendering.