Going nuts in the kitchen

 

Last week I shot a web series of quick kitchen tips/recipes for a production company in Lund who’s end client is a big food chain in Sweden.  I thought I’d share a few pictures and thoughts on the setup to explain how a situation that might not be ideal but will still produce a nice end product. During the course of 2 days we shot 14 tips and 4 promos.

CG_webFG2
Framegrab straight from camera, no color correction. (JPG Compressed for Web)
CG_web19
our kitchen with the big island

CG_web10

I came in late into the project and was not part of any pre production.  We were assigned a test kitchen belonging to the client.  It was a fairly small kitchen with a big island in the middle of the room.  Preferably we would have liked to be working in a bigger space with the talent farther from the background, to get some depth, but this was not an option since the island was not movable.  I even asked to have it un-screwed from the floor and removed but this was not possible. Another issue with the island was that it was a little low, height wise. In a few shots we ended up seeing a little bit of floor in the background, out of focus but still.
Also, times and budgets being what they are, this was a solo tech gig. Yes, sound, lighting, camera and focus, all mine. 🙂 I could have said no but I really wanted to work with this client and this was something I knew I could handle alone and have a lot of fun doing it. Working in a small crew really has its rewards as well as its drawbacks.

This project was shot on the Sony F3, with a Red 17-50/2,8 zoom and a 5″ Tv-logic monitor for a “view finder”.  We wanted to achieve as much depth as possible so I lit the set to shoot wide open at f2.8 (light to f8 with 3 stop ND on camera). Everything was shot handheld and lens was set to 32mm -35mm except for the close ups at 50mm.  The Red zooms is great in that it has a really nice near focus range allowing to get close in on an object.  Since there was to be no grading I painted in-camera for a finished look or as close I could get.  We decided on a flat, low con, clean look.    Everything was shot in 35Mbit XDCam EX codec.  There was a quick turn around on this project and all “tips” were delivered just a few days after shooting.

Sound was a straight forward setup with a DPA 4071 lav, carefully hidden under her clothing. The downside of doing sound by your self is not being able to change levels during a take since your busy pulling focus.

All in all it was a  pretty simple setup. 7 lights total.

1 key light, which consisted of a chimera frame with an open face 2K into it.  I didn’t want the harder light of the shiny bounce surface so I added a diffusion on the bounce side.

CG_web4
2K open face into bounce. Sony F3. TV-Logic monitor for VF. Black wrap as a hood.

 

CG_web1
Key light, Shiny bounce and a diffusion to lessen the punch.

 

For fill I put up 2 x 800w open face lights bouncing into the white walls left of the kitchen island.  This filled the background nicely and gave some fill for our talent.  I added a neg fill on the left which gave our talent more contrast on her left side.  On this picture you also see the 150W Dedo which acted as a spot light for some of the background items.

CG_web12

CG_web17
neg fill or flagging to give more contrast to her left side

CG_web3

 

Back lights consisted of a 300 with 216 and a 250w with diff. It can be a good idea when using hot lights to tape some black wrap to the ceiling above the light to reflect some of the heat.

 CG_web15

300W back light
CG_web14
250 Pro light with diff as back light

Then I wanted the light in the back to be on and tried to filter out some of the green and other ugly spectrums in there but lack of a full filter kit got me only so far.  It works and I got most of the green out with the filters in my kit.

CG_webFG1-ring
Kitchen fixture with attempt to filter out ugly colors.
CG_web18
filtration taped directly onto fluorescent tube.

As a last light I put our Arri Locaster in the corner behind the talent.  this added a little fill for background.

CG_web20
Arri Locaster

 

 

All that tungsten lights in that area you think… Yes it was pretty hot in that small kitchen but there was windows to open up to the fridgid air outside.  Cool lights would also have been an option but the lighting budget was for tungsten.

In retrospect it was a really fun shoot.  Great client and end-client.  Everybody pulling in the same direction and ready to help out wherever needed.  It would have been nice to have one more person in the tech dept., helping out with sound, lights and perhaps focus which was a challenge at times.  We could have opted to have more depth of field but the client likes the wide open look which de focused the background. The F3 is a great camera and looks just as great as it did before the F5/F55 came out and took over the market. 😉

Please not that all images are compressed for web.

End Client:  City Gross
Producer/Production company:  Anagram

FS700 vs F3 talking head

Today I shot a “talking head” comparison between the Sony NEX-FS700 and the Sony F3.  My interest is to see if the the FS700 will be a good B-cam for our F3 shoots, especially color/contrast wise.

First inital reaction is Yes.  Footage looks very good and looks easy enough to match to the F3.  All footage shot to a PIX240 in Prores 422HQ.  Both cameras are white balanced in the Key light.  Both read 3000K, but there is a distinct difference in the red wall.  Both cameras are shot in STANDARD out-of-the-box-setting. One camera comes very close to the actual color of the wall and that is…… the FS700.  The F3 has quite a bit more yellow in there.  Skin tones are more alike than the wall.   Shot on a Nikon 85mm, 1,4G lens  wide open using the Novoflex adapter. (The F3 might be at F1.8 since its a tad faster).  NOTE the the Novoflex adapter DOES NOT lock into the camera like for example Metabones does.  If you turn the lens too hard the adapter will come loose. It also does not allow for exact F-stops readings since the iris ring has a very short and unmarked throw.

Setup. 1 Key, neg fill, back light, and 3 lights on the back wall.

 

New side-by-side of FS700 and F3 without blockiness. Uncompressed Tiffs below.

 

Uncompressed  Ungraded TIFF files from Prores 422 HQ file. FS700

 

Uncompressed Ungraded TIFF files from Prores 422 HQ file. Sony F3

 

We also shot using Cinegammas and S-log (for the F3) and I’ll try and do a more complete comparison in the next couple of weeks.

One thing to watch out for.  Display information is passed out through the SDI port by default is seems, so watch out as ALL your information including Zebra, TC etc will be recorded onto your external recorder.  We had a monitor on the loop through AFTER our Pix240 and saw this, but if you use a AJA KiPro mini for example and don’t use an on-board monitor you could end up recording an image with all your OSD info…   I am sure there is an option to turn all CHAR OFF on SDI output, I didn’t play with this though.

 

Disclaimer: Another comparison for my own interest. No connection to Sony other than being a long time customer.

ProViewfinder kit part2

Ok so this will be a fairly short post. There must have been some misunderstanding along the way because the ProVFM kit from AbelCine will ONLY work with an NTSC setting in the camera if you intend to use the HDVF-20a. We shoot mainly 25p and a little 50i video. The unit is being shipped back to AbelCine for a full refund.

PRO VFM unit

A couple of quick thoughts though.

1. Such a nice unit, really well engineered, sleek, and easy to attach/install. In less than 2 minutes the unit was attached to the Berkey plate. Screws and Allen Wrench included in the kit.

2. I would have liked to see and HD-SDI input with a loop through to take advantage of the HD signal output through the camera. It now uses the VIDEO out to send a signal to the VF. NTSC only except with HDVFC35W.

3. It would have been a nice accessory cable to be able to tap power from the remote port of the camera (should be possible considering the VF only pulls 4W), thereby freeing up a power tap outlet.

Power cables running from "driver unit" to D-tap

I am so sorry to see this unit go back it is the one accessory that would have made a big difference I think. Hopefully Abel Cine Tech will make a PAL compatible version down the line.

Disclaimer: We payed full price for this unit. Abel Cine Tech have been most helpful in the return process including paying for international shipping costs.

Wireless sound on SonyF3

I realize there are tons of options on wireless audio, big, small, expensive, less expensive. On a small camera one might choose to have a small light weight system to minimize form factor and weight. Not to long ago we bought the Sony Digital wireless system (DWR-S01D) and today we got an external case, DWA-F01D for it. Most of the time this 2-channel receiver is housed in the slot of our PDW-700 but we also want to be able to put it in a mixer bag or on the back of our PMW-F3.

External case DWA-F01D on the back of the F3

The adapter/case has 2 XLR connectors for 2 channels analog audio. It can be powered by a Sony L series battery which is a great option in a sound audio bag. It also has a 4 pin Hirose connector and a consumer DC in power plug making it really versatile in power options. A BNC connector for AES-3 digital audio output as well as word clock for sync also in BNC is included on the side.

I stuck it on the back of the F3 and here are my first thoughts.

First thing: it is pretty big/wide. Sony makes a slimmer case, without the option of powering by battery, which might actually be a better solution for attaching it to a camera. But since we intend to use it in a mixer bag as well we chose the bigger case. Considering all the other stuff we have stuck on there it doesn’t feel all wrong. It is sitting on top on the battery just underneath the PIX240 and it is just as wide as that.

Sittin on top of the battery in the back

We power the unit through a 4 pin Hirose connector attached to our battery plate. Works great. In the picture below you can also see the AES/EBU output and Sync input. There is also a headphone out with a volume control.

Powered by 4 pin Hirose

;

On thing that was s little annoying was that the audio inputs (XLR connectors) were so close together I had to really work to fit 2 right angled XLR’s next to each other. I had to angle one to the side. I understand to fix this would have made the unit even wider but it was still annoying… 🙂

Tight fit for angled XLR connectors

This is something we’ll use when flying the F3 on a steadicam or moving about without being tethered.

F3 fed wirelessly from a sound mixer bag

So to summarize: if the receiver was going to be on the F3 all the time, I would get the slimmer adapter DWA-01D, but if you want a versatile case for stand alone use or in a mixer bag plus more power options this is the one to get. So great to get this system up and running on the F3 as well.

;

Disclosure: No one asked my/payed me to write this post. All opinions are my own. We payed full list price for this unit.

F3 Prep shot

Here is our F3 getting prepped for a shoot. I got to see some footage from the pilot shoot being graded the other day; WOW. It makes me happy every time. The footage really stands up when being pushed around in a DaVinci Resolve. Great retention in highlights and shadows. There were a couple of night scenes and it just looked great. Will try to post some footage if the producer agrees. Everything was shot in 10 bit DNxHD 220.

The amount of detail you can extract from the shadows in just mindblowing from a camera in this price range. I remember my first test and we couldn’t believe all the images we found “in there”

I really like this camera and we are looking forward to an S-log upgrade which will add even more goodness to this amazing little camera.

Our little F3

So a few months ago we got our Sony F3.  A small body camera with a big Super 35 CMOS sensor. It has a full 10 bit  422 HDSDI out as well as the option of going fully uncompressed 10 bit 444 with S-log. My tests and shoots so far has really got me excited and I expect great things from this little camera.

The once small body of the Sony PMW-F3 is not so small any longer. Once you start adding on all the additional gear onto it, the weight adds up quickly.
This weekend we flew it on a Steadicam rig and it weighed as much as an Xdcam rig

Right now on ours we have the shoulder rig from Tilta, follow focus and matte box.

On top we have a cheese plate from Berkey. it is great cause it adds tons of attachment points for different accessories. Berkey System  We bought ours directly from them but Abel in New York is a great option.

On the plate hangs a TV-Logic 5 inch monitor as well as the Pix240 external recorder.  The plate has 2 camera attachment points which makes the plate really fit securely onto the F3.  There is full access to all controls and button

 

On the back we have a special V-lock plate with 4 hirose power connectors which allows us to power all the gadgets. It also has a PAG powertap.  All ports deliver whatever the battery does in this case between 12V-15,5V.

 

 

 

 

One more thing we are waiting for is the Pro ViewFinder kit which will allow us to use a proper HD view finder. This will allow us to take i.e the HDVF-20A viewfinder from our XDCam 700 and use it on the F3.  Right now we are only using the 5inch monitor for framing and focus and outdoors this can be a challange, to this option will be really nice.

There will be lots more written on this blog about the F3. We also own 2 XDCam cameras but this camera opens up a whole new client base for us in a very exciting way. So stay tuned for more F3 posts… 🙂

 

20120203-103903.jpg

New kids show…?

This is the first day of a pilot shoot for a new kids show.  It will eventually involve a 3D figure who is a little girl’s best friend. The goal of the 3D is for it to be as realistic as possible, on par with feature film. A new challenge for me is shooting someone who doesn’t exist on set.  Brings new thoughts on framing… 🙂

Format for the pilot is Sony’s PMW-F3 with an on board  Pix240 recorder.  Everything is recorded in 10 bit DNxHD.

shooting kids show pilot