Greetings on Saturday.
First, let say to everyone who is dropping in here to check out what's going on. Don't get discouraged or intimidated by the length of some of the posts. There's really good material in them. Also, hang in there if things start to sound a little technical. Get through it and consider the overall point of the post.
For instance, Coolscan has a long post here, but it's really good and informative and he even double spaces things out so you can catch your breath. Kudos to you, Coolscan.
On the other hand, I will resist or remind everybody not to allow anyone's opinion to discourage you from looking at these tests. Despite Coolscan (or someone else) finding fault with how the test was conducted, there are still things to learn from them.
I think we have to be careful that we do have fun here. I realize that most people here are consumers...those who enjoy the final product media, not those who create it. And this is not a production industry website. Therefore, I think it wise that those of us who are from, or have some connection to the production industry must be careful not to live in the weeds. This is not my website, but I wanted to start this thread to discuss things that are interesting, informative, and fun for everybody interested in movies...and specifically the part about photographing them.
My perspective is about cinematography...where the camera is only
another tool. The art and craft of the cinematographer (DP) in shaping light and shadow and telling a story with a visual device defines cinematography...and that is what is important to me in this thread. I don't care which camera is which. If we get to the point where this becomes too great a discussion that lives in the realm of the engineering of cameras, then that needs to move to another thread (maybe camcorders). In discussing cinematography here, I will strive to keep my communication on a level that is not overwhelming and remains enjoyable.
As you can tell, I am wholeheartedly in support of the prinicipal stated behind the the Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout
video; that results are a lot more about cinematography than engineering. In watching Part 1, I downgraded a couple of cameras unfairly on the first pass due to a specific bit of lighting by the DP I didn't like. I had to go back and view again to be fair. Despite the "faults" that Coolscan points out in the testing protocol that may well be true, I can see useful things in these tests. And I have more commentary on the lighting used than the cameras!
I will be talking about that, too, which I hope that everyone will chime in on and enjoy more than engineering discussions about cameras.
Tests like this are only going to be useful to DPs to get a basic idea. Nobody is going to take on a show or purchase a camera without first shooting their own tests.
For that reason, I take the tests with a grain of salt, learn what I can, and have fun discussing. I do not have a horse in the race. I don't care what camera is considered best with regards to engineering. Budgets as they are, though, may well mean I can't use the "best." (more on that in another post).
I judge on the merits of the photographic quality I see in the movies and TV shows. When I see something with specific qualities I like, I eventually
research what camera was used. But first, I spend significant time watching/studying. My wife has been watching the series Downton Abbey
. I've not sat down to take it up, but when passing through the room I have often been highly impressed with the cinematography. Last night I had finally watched so much that I like, I looked up what camera it's done with. That is also the impression I got when I saw Oblivion
. I think both look fabulous. Different cameras used.
I regard that approach a pretty good test. Don't pick a camera that you like, then go looking for shows done with it...to like. You will end up being an advocate for the camera for the wrong reasons. When you see things that really catch your eye and you've seen enough to really be impressed, then
look up what camera(s) they were done with. Keep a tally of these and include the characteristics you saw that you liked and see what stacks up. That way is far more meaningful than crunching numbers.
Okay, my next post will be my specific impressions from Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout.