Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Suiting Up: Revisited

As a class project a couple years ago we created an "homage" to effects like Iron Man and Star Craft 2 where a mechanical suit is being assembled over a person. I recently reshot the footage with our school's Sony HXRNX5U and have retracked it. This is a simple key and track test as a proof that the track is of a workable quality. I left the 2x4s in that I step onto so that it wouldn't look like my feet were slipping when I step up.

This is all part of a larger, semester-long project. In its first iteration, it was a single shot with a single design. This time around I'm wanting to give the students some variety. Along with the shot posted here, I (we, really. Forde Oliver and I filmed it) shot 4 additional optional shots. My hope is that those that want a larger challenge will edit together a sequence that shows more assembly animations and more complex mechanical modeling.

Along with more shots, I'm wanting to do more designs. In its first version, Tom had done the sole concept art. This time around, I'm hoping to have 2 or 3 versions for students to choose from. Should they choose, I'll even consider allowing the mixing and matching of concepts for more variety in the final work.

Stu Maschwitz's DV Rebel's Guide is possibly the greatest book ever. Smooth segue, right? Well it might not be a smooth segue, but it does get me right into something I want to talk about; shooting video. I've read many blog posts and forums on how to shoot quality video, but nothing is as thorough and concise as Stu's book. The biggest revelation for me so far has been about how to access settings in Adobe Premier for bringing your over-bright whites back into the usable colour spectrum and rendering it out to retain all that needed information. After doing a slight colour correct to my footage I was able to put detail back into areas that were too flat either in their whites or blacks. Wonderful.

I'm going to come back to the camera for a moment... the Sony HXRNX5U is a good camera. Not great in my initial shooting, but very good. Certainly better than my consumer level Canon HV30. I just don't understand the movement towards CMOS over CCD based cameras. Rolling shutter alone is a big enough reason to never use them. Tracking footage with rolling shutter issues isn't an impossibility, but it does limit how crazy you can go with your camera motions. Even on slight moves, if you're zoomed in, it becomes more pronounced. Shaky hands plus zoomed lens equals jello effect. No good.

Now the fact that this Sony pro camera has 3 CMOS sensors has seemingly given it the ability to shoot better in low light and the colours themselves seem to really pop, however looking at the final footage in Fusion channel by channel reveals a very noisy blue channel. It could be due to the fact that we shot on greenscreen and the solid colour green was messing with the camera's ability to cleanly "capture" other channels, but it seems to be really bad. I'm going to have to bring the camera home to do further testing on more "natural" environments to see what the results are.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Matt,

    It might be worth while taking a look into Panasonic's "Live MOS" technology. Not 100% sure if it uses global or rolling shutters, or something completely different. But its supposed to sit somewhere in the middle having the image quality of CCD and the low power of CMOS.