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On the Road with Tyler Perry Part 2

 Roger & Jeff on Tyler Perry  

In part one of this article series I mentioned about my involvement as an HD Video Technician or DIT, (Digital Imaging Technician) as it is being called in the HD production community. I was hired by Jeff Christian of “Reel Shorts” to help with a Food Network series with Chef Tyler Florence in New York City. The picture by the way in part one was Myself with Jeff Christian, not the chef.
The production was shot “Film Style” with a Panasonic Varicam and an AJ-HDX-900 camcorder. Camera operational control was done with remote operating panels, or ROPs back in a video shading area. For reference color chart, a DSC Lab's Chroma DuMonde was used along with a Leader LV-5750 waveform vector scope. Video monitoring was done with a Panasonic Professional series LCD monitor and a broadcast BVM series CRT monitor with a down converter. 

While both cameras were set-up and matched in our shop using 3,200 k lighting, HMIs were used as key lights for this kitchen set. HMIs are more in the 5,600 k range, and with the use of internal 5,600k electronic color correction, the preset came close to correct white balance. This daylight color correction is similar to dialing in a 5,600k optical filter wheel without any loss of sensitivity that would either require increased noise from boosting gain, or reduction in depth of field, and softening up the HD image as well.

The chart was set-up and with the use of the ROP red and blue gain controls, both cameras matched perfectly on the Leader scope and color monitors. At this point, with the cameras matched, we began to look at the lighting on the set. We found that the color tint varied around the set. A quick check with a color temperature meter showed that the front and side HMIs differed in color temperature by 300k. Tony Gotta, the LD from LA, added gel on one of the lights, and with another ROP tweak, they matched perfectly. The back light was off by about 100k but was left alone for effect. 

At this point, a Tiffen soft effects filter was added to one camera and a warm soft effects to the other. With the DSC chart and Leader HD scope, the warm color was dialed out to reproduce the whites properly.

As with any production, genlocking and proper time code syncing is very important. In a previous article “ Time Code and Genlocking I wrote about the need for this, which is as important in HD as it was in SD productions. What you should be aware of is that some HD gears uses Tri-level Sync and some uses NTSC Black signal. The Varicam uses only the Tri-level sync, while with the AJ-HDX900 can use either. Hard wiring of Genlock Sync and Time Code is the simplest way, but plan out the cabling and additional hardware that may be needed.

For multiple cameras that can not be cabled, allowing cameras to be jam-synced in Free Run time of day mode works for a short period of time. Over time the time code will drift between cameras due to slightly different internal clock frequencies. With the use of camera mounted TC/Genlock boxes cameras can roll for long periods of time with very close Time Code. The Ambient Recording ACL 202CT and the Denecke SB-T time code / sync generator boxes are two popular units. Each one is battery powered and mounted on each camera. A short cable is used to jam sync the slaves to the master and will allow accurate time code for the better part of a day due to the very accurate internal clocks.

Needless to say, it was truly a blessing to get back in the field, and be able to assist Jeff Christian with his transition to HD production. He later mentioned another upcoming shoot with ESPNs World Poker Tour that will be done in HD. Sounds interesting.


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