The Digital Film Camera
HDTV (High Definition)
The Digital Film Camera - Take a look at our latest HD shoot in South Africa "The Promised Land"
High definition is the closest digital format to film we have at the moment.
The format delivers 1125 by 1920 pixels per line (active pixels 1080 vertical by 1920 horizontal. That's about 2.2 mil pixels!) it is CIF (common image format) this means when you digitise your footage the pixels match the computer pixels perfectly.
Before you shoot you will have to make the frame rate decision, the camera is able to shoot at 24P, 25P 30P 50i and 60i. This means 24P is almost the same as shooting 24-frames/sec films so motion judder will visually look the same. This is the same for 25P. 30P is a better progressive rate for shooting in 60Hz environments. 50i is 25 fps interlaced (same as PAL) and 60i is 30fps (same as NTSC). 24P is designed to match digital to film transferring.
Highlight handling is not as dynamic as film, but it is possible to achieve about 5 stops.
This enables filmmakers to shoot on digital, have instant play back and make more precise decisions on location.
The stock costs will be significantly cheaper than film stock when comparing to 35mm. The HDTV tape format is the same as Digital Betacam or SP in that it is a half-inch metal particle tape. When shooting 60i the tape duration will be +- 40 min on a 40 min tape. When shooting 24P duration will be 50 min.
The advantages of HDCAM is that it's a world wide distribution format. One of the major advantages of HDTV is the fact that you are future proofing your Post Production with a longer shelf life than SDTV format.
Things to be aware of !
At this time there are few HDTV postposition houses. There is no doubt that there will be more in the next 2 to 5 years. Lens quality is important, there are various zooms and primes available made by Canon and Fujinon. We have looked at the Fujinon primes and they are beautiful "Pin Sharp & very fast T1.5". It is possible to use film lenses with the correct adaptors, great care must be taken and please shoot tests. When shooting in 50Hz environments (PAL countries) and filming 60i or Vice Versa ,look out for "beat". Use the shutter to match the Hz.
The HDTV cameras is 16:9 (1:177) only
You want to shoot a drama for television and distribution is for PAL countries. You need to decide whether you want a Film look (progressive judder) or if you want a video look (smooth interlaced). If you shoot 25P for television or 50i the resolution will be identical but the motion will be different.
You transfer your 25P or 50i to PAL Digital Betacam so that you are able to do an off-line with the editor you have been working with in the past. Once you have done your off-line you will need to decide on your on-line. It is possible to digitise your footage directly into a non-linear edit suite using the SONY HDW F-500 HD VTR.
When you shoot 25 PsF or 50i the HDW F-500 with a HKDV 501a board the VTR will down convert to 625/50i PAL and output in SDI form. If you shoot 60i or 30 PsF (DF) then the signal will come out in NTSC 525/60i SDI.
You can then either on-line using your transferred Digital Betacam (for standard definition transmission) or go to on-line with your HD tapes at an HD facility.
The format is not unlike film in that it's an acquisition format and needs to be transferred for final transmission or transferred to 35mm film for Cinema Release.
You can do a tape based grade which is real time. There are several ways of grading, please consult your Post Production Facility.
Your audio will be the same procedure as it has always been on film or video.
There are numerous ways to shoot and edit HD for film HD, PAL or NTSC.
Visuals Group Technical Department.