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FAQ

I can never tell if these really are frequently asked questions, or even infrequently asked questions, .but here goes...

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Source of Hope
Born in the USA
Remember WENN
Caribbean Blues

Formats

Is HDV the right format for my production?

There really isn’t a ‘right format’ answer.  Is it appropriate?  Well, footage shot in HDV can look remarkably good, but you will be able to tell the difference between it and either film or ‘higher end’ HD formats.  One thing is certain, shooting on HDV will most likely cost less for tape stock and equipment than any other high definition format.

Can HDV be used to shoot Green Screen material?

HDV compression is designed to place more of an emphasis on picture sharpness rather than color resolution.  This means that material recorded in the HDV format will inherently not be as optimal for green screen matting as material recorded in an uncompressed format,
That said, I have done a number of green screen shoots in HDV with great success.  Proper lighting of both foreground and background aspects of the green screen, combined with a number of lighting tricks, have contributed to this success.
Would the green screen have been better in a different format? Perhaps.
Would the matting process have gone quicker and easier from an uncompressed original?  Undoubtedly.
Were the clients exceptionally pleased with the end result from HDV?  Absolutely!

 

Cards, Tape and Data

Are the SxS / SDHC card adapters a viable option?

Admittedly, SxS cards are the gold standard for data recording.  They are designed to maintain an 800 Mbps (100 MB) data transfer rate, which effectively allows you to offload an hour’s worth of full resolution 1920x1080 data in about 10 minutes!  But they are also expensive.

So, I went through the process of having the firmware updated on my EX1 so it could read the lower cost adapted SDHC cards, obtained some Hoodman cards, and to make a long story short, I’m a happy camper...

 

Lighting

The new cameras are really fast, right?

Chip sensitivity on the new cameras is high, but most HD cameras need more light than their standard definition counterparts.  To express it simply: Exposure is determined based on the amount of light landing on each pixel area of the chip.  Larger pixel areas mean more light ‘seen’ by each pixel, so less light needed, hence a ‘faster’ chip.  HD chips have more pixels in the same total chip area, so each individual pixel is smaller, so it (and hence the chip) needs more light.  Thus HD chips will intrinsically require more light than standard definition ones.
Interestingly enough, the pixel size/ chip speed dilema points out one of the main philosophical differences between the Sony and Canon HDV cameras as opposed to the Panasonic HVX200 series.  Both Sony and Canon opted to go with higherr pixel resolutions for a far sharper image, as opposed to Panasonic which uses a low resolution chip with larger pixels to give better low light performance while seriously sacrificing resolution at all light levels.

 

Bookings / Cancellations

 

What is the fee if a job is postponed?

Postponements and cancellations are handled the same way.

 

Rates

 

What is a normal day rate?

Day rates vary based on the kind of work being done, the overall budget of the project, and ongoing relationships with clients.  For work under a union contract, union rates and conditions apply.  These terms provide a good starting point for any negotiation.  That does not mean that an unrealistically underbid project will get a low rate quote. It does mean that we can work together to try to figure out a way to make everyone happy.

 

 

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