Robert Wilton

heavy grade - Helium .r3d & Sony Venice (internal XAVC)

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Hi all,

I'm a cinematographer put in the position of having to choose a camera for a feature by tomorrow, without any testing.

The project requires a heavy grade and I was wondering if I was stating the obvious by thinking that shooting 16-bit (linear/log?) 5:1 .r3d files is a better choice than opting for XAVC 10bit.

Knowing Sony quite well I think the Venice will hold up better with over/underexposure than the RED Helium, so will give a better image out of the box. And I know the XAVC codec is quite robust...

Does anyone have any experience working with either Venice (internal) footage vs RED Helium footage?

Thank you,

 

Rob Wilton

DoP | London

 

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This is more a question of what look you are going for. Personally, I prefer Alexa because it renders skin tones better than Red. It's also better in low light.

If I had to choose between Red and Venice I would go for Red because the Sony sensors are too clean for my taste and the images looks too "digital".

Any experienced colorist knows how to get the most out of the 3rd log file. 

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Thanks Amado. So in your experience the .r3d files have more flexibility than XAVC 10bit?

best

Rob

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I said I don't like the look of Sony and that I would go for Alexa.

You can shoot 16bit RAW with Sony Venice, and you can shoot with ProRes compression. No idea why you would go for XAVC. 

You should consult the post house prior to shoot a full feature. It's much more to consider than compression when you are into the choice of going for one camera or another. 

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Hi Amado,

you did say you didn't like Sony, but I was asking for a more objective viewpoint.

Shooting Alexa is not an option for me, neither is shooting 16bit RAW on the Venice. Shooting Prores on the Venice is for HD proxies only.

My post house is in India, and they don't speak English.

Thank you,

Rob

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With all the respect, choosing between RED, Alexa, Sony IS a personal matter. I would not go for Sony either because I personally don't like the images coming from the camera.

16 bit holds more information than 10 bit and most grading suites are optimized for eating r3d files. XAVC is a stranger for many, but it will probably not be an issue at all. 

Working with post house where nobody can speak the DOPs language sounds like a joke, but I guess you have your reason - or no choice. 

 

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Hi Nicolas,

Thanks for answering.

Indeed choosing between cameras is personal, but I was asking a simple question - which system offers more flexibilty - not asking which system looks better. When shooting I also prefer working with Alexa over RED cameras, but I do know that RED offers more shooting versatility. I can take a step back and have an objective viewpoint.

What do you think about the idea that .r3d files are 16 bit linear, which is comparable to 12bit log encoding used in Prores?

Thanks again,

best

Rob

ps yes working on an Indian feature is not always easy.
 

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16 bit is better than 12 bit, which is better than 10 bit. Technically.

Colorists are more familiar with RAW, 3rd, ProRes than XAVC. 

I have worked with XAVC and I hate it. But I know a guy that like it. Do you want an objective answer, go read a pixel tech review. This is personal because today all modern formats are technically good enough for everything, but some feels better and is a better starting point for whatever you want to achieve. 

Sit down with the director and post and make your camera choice based on everything else than the format.

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Hi Amada,

thanks for your answer, and your insights.

I was asking for a more objective viewpoint than just liking something or not. Maybe re-read my example when I talk about shooting with Alexa vs RED cameras.

You are right to point out there are a lot of other factors involved in making a decision about what camera to use. This is just another one. 

Rob

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Robert, you are asking if anyone have experience with the XAVC and R3D. I have, and I like R3D better. My system works faster with R3D, and it gives me access to the RAW data controls of the files. This might not be the answer you are looking for, but I don't know how to answer this question more objective.

You also ask if shooting R3D is a better choice than shooting XAVC. 16 bit and less compression is good but as Amanda states; what is a better choice boils down to what you prefer really but usually you want to have access to as much data as possible. 

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Thanks Thomas, for your answer.

What is it about the XAVC that you don't like?

R.

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Grading controls bites different on different footage. I'm used to how the image react when swinging the controls on the most common camera formats, and Sony feels strange. Just never liked working on it and the look of it. Not a very scientific answer I know.

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I'm astounded that a post house in India that's working on a feature, doesn't have one person who speaks English!

I've found that in many Indian companies, the proportion of English speakers is quite high, and most Indian people regard learning English as essential if you want to get ahead in business.

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Hi Robert,

I'm a Colorist from Mumbai, India.  I'm surprised to find you in this situation.

I've not tested Sony Venice yet but have worked with 8 bit XAVC files. Would prefer 16 bit r3d files over 10 bit XAVC.  Testing is the best way to judge though.

Mahak Gupta

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