Recently we had the opportunity to work on a great project for the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board. A series of vignettes entitled “Apple Minutes”.

The best part for me was that it involved a solid three days of really fun tabletop work where I got to use both my trusted Red One MX and my newly acquired Epic-X. We knocked off around 48 setups in that period of time. It was a hoppin’ studio to say the least! We put the Red One on a Cammate 25′ remote head crane cut down to one section, which worked really quite well on tabletop stuff. My associate Art operated the crane with help from either Zack or Dave on the head controls.

The Epic-X was placed on a Cinetech Super Falcon II dolly as it would be used for most of the locked off or slight movement higher frame rate shots.

We lit the entire shoot with tungsten units. On our prep day we had trouble with flicker using the hmi’s that we had available to us. I understand the electronic ballasts that have a 300Hz setting work well for this sort of high frame rate stuff, and I intend to do a test day with a few of those units, but at this moment we did not have them available. So, we went with tungsten. Nothing smaller than 2K as they also created flicker at some framerate/shutter combos.

One of our guys shot some BTS video of our shoot, and my editor Dave Beard cut together a little video for your enjoyment.


This is not a test!

Please keep in mind that I never intended this to be a “test”. I really wanted to get a look at these two cameras side by side in as identical a situation as possible, just to give me information as I moved forward into a shoot where both cameras would be employed.

We had just finished working on a project and had all the gear out, so Art (an associate photographer at my studio and my most excellent gaffer on motion shoots) and I quickly devised a set that would suit our needs with the equipment we had at hand.

We hung a 5′ x 8′ painted canvas. Off to the left we rigged a 4′ x 4′ diffusion frame covered with a material called trans-lum. This is a very dense diffusion material we use a lot in our still work, and I have also become quite fond of it in my motion work. By its nature, one cannot see any sense of the size or shape of the light one places behind it. In other words it is so dense that the original source does not create a hot spot. This meant that we could place a 2K tungsten open face or a 200 Joker bug behind it (both of which we had available the moment) and the resulting quality of light would be identical. Also, as a frame of reference for all this we could place a strobe head behind it and have it be possible to shoot a still lit by strobe.

Our Methodology:

I wanted to see how the same scene looked lit by both tungsten balanced light and daylight balanced light with both the Red One MX and the Epic-X.

I also wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible. We started with the joker 200, and arranged the lighting using each other as stand ins and my Sekonic L-758 Cine meter and the built in Red camera exposure tools. Both cameras were rated at 800 ISO as recommended by Red.

For the tungsten scenes we changed the Kelvin setting in camera to the “tungsten” preset. For the daylight scenes we likewise changed the Kelvin setting in camera to the “daylight” preset. This ensured that these balances would carry forward as metadata into Red’s RAW processing software RedCine-X Pro.

We also placed a white balance card at the head of each scene so as to facilitate using the eyedropper tool in the Kelvin settings window in RedCine-X .In this way, each clip would be identically white balanced as a starting point for RAW processing.

We shot about 10 seconds of each variation on set at 24 FPS, 180˚ shutter f2.8 on a 100mm Red Pro Prime lens. The cameras were slid on and off an Arri dovetail mounted on a dolly, and marked to place the sensor plane as close as possible when changing cameras.

In RedCine-X I used the white card at the head of each clip to balance each clip using the eyedropper tool. I then pulled full resolution still frames from RedCine-X. I did a set using RedColor and RedGamma, and a set using RedColor2 and ReGamma2. These are gamma presets developed by Red and supplied standard in RedCine-X. Understand that there are many starting point options in RedCine-X in terms of presets. But again this was about seeing side by sides with as many variables eliminated as possible. In that regard no other manipulation of the files occurred in RedCine-X.

The files were brought into Adobe Photoshop with their embedded Adobe 1998 profile and saved as Jpegs for uploading with this article. Again, no further manipulation occurred in Photoshop. Keep in mind that this was not about making the files “look pretty” but just seeing side by sides with as many variables eliminated as possible.

I asked my cousin David Simone, a welder by trade to stop into the studio on his way home from work and we used his handsome face as a subject.

I also shot a still lit by electronic flash with my Hasselblad H2 equipped with a Phase One P45 back and a 50-100 mm Hasselblad lens as a point of reference. This still was processed in Phase’s Capture software with their “Film standard” profile and in keeping with the rest of the files no other manipulations occurred.

My Criticisms:

Basically, only that because I had a Joker 200 and a 2K tungsten open face at hand I had to use ND to keep the tungsten shots at the same stop as the daylight shots. I intend to repeat this in the future by using more carefully matched in output daylight and tungsten sources so as to yield the same shooting stops without the use of ND.

 

What do you see?

Flash, Hasselblad with P45

RedColor2 RedGamma2

RedColor RedGamma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see a pleasingly consistent reproduction across both daylight and tungsten Redcolor-RedGamma and Redcolor2-RedGamma2 with both cameras until the RedOne MX hits tungsten.

Then it seems the skin tone goes somewhat off from the “norm”.

I am interested in your comments/observations.

 

 

 



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