Welcome to The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 (RGCSO), a Zacuto/Kessler production in association with Filmworkers Club & Tribeca Flashpoint Academy.This year is different from past Zacuto/Kessler Great Camera Shootouts. The test, administered by Bruce Logan, ASC, shows two ways of looking at cameras–empirical and subjective, with a strong emphasis on subjective. The test was conducted in February 2012 at the Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago and the color grading was completed using the Baselight color grading system at Filmworkers Club also in Chicago. Some camera manufacturers opted to color grade at other facilities but used the Baselight system as well. Zacuto acted as the central organizing body for the project and documented the production and post-production processes.
Here’s how it went: Bruce created the original base lighting for the set and a specialist DP/DIT was brought to Chicago to assist with each camera. Each DP/DIT had an opportunity to add, dim or change the lighting so long as they didn’t change the overall key/fill lighting scheme that Bruce had created. They were allowed 90 minutes to light their scene and 90 minutes to color time it. Each of these DP’s selected were specialists with their preferred camera and understood how to highlight the strengths of their camera as well as downplay its weaknesses by using light, color profiles, grading or anything else in their tool kit to make their camera look as best as possible.
This test poses two questions:
The combination of these four skills is what creates a beautiful image. Not the camera!!! This will be covered in the final three-part documentary, The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012, premiering June 15th at Zacuto.com.
As in the past, Zacuto will also have 35 theatrical screenings of the test footage between April 16 – May 15 starting with the Zacuto/Kessler booth at NAB, AFI in Hollywood, Lucasfilm SkyWalker Ranch, New York, Chicago, Nashville, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, India, Australia, Japan and potentially other countries. See this page for more details and to sign up for the various screenings.
To enhance the web experience, each theatrical screening will be recorded so web viewers can hear the opinions given by the audience who screened the test footage in 2K P3 (enhanced color space), giving you the theatrical experience on the web. In contrast to previous Shootouts, viewers will watch the test blind, meaning that the footage from each camera will be labeled with a letter. Viewers will be asked to write down their favorite letters in the order they prefer. A discussion will ensue. The scenes will then be played again and Zacuto will reveal which camera is which, followed by more discussion.
The screening of our test footage will be shown as a 2K P3 DCP, as that is the de facto worldwide digital standard for theatrical distribution in 2012. Next year the statistics may be different and with more movies released in 4K it may be worthwhile to screen our shootout in 4K next year.
World Wide Statistics:
58.8% of worldwide theater screens 73,380 projected on film
41.2% of worldwide theater screens 51,620 projected digitally
33.2% of all worldwide theater screens 41,620 have 2k projectors installed
8% of all worldwide theater screens approx. 10,000 (broad estimate received from projection manufacturers) may have 4k projectors installed (of these 10,000 projectors the majority of the screenings are still projected in 2K mainly because Hollywood has not released them in 4K)
To keep the test fair and consistent, all of the footage in the test was kept in its RAW format and native resolution using the Baselight system. The very last step of the process was using the Baselight down sampler to render out a 2K TIFF sequence of the entire show. This was done so that the resolution down sampling would be the very last step before we created the final 2K P3 package. All of the information from the shoot and screening will be documented and unveiled during the RGCSO documentary starting June 15. Here are the cameras involved:
- Sony F65 — Sony Representatives
- ARRI Alexa — Rodney Charters, ASC
- RED Epic — Ryan Walters
- Sony FS100 — Den Lennie & Mick Jones
- Sony F3 w/slog — Nancy Schreiber, ASC
- Canon C300 — Polly Morgan
- Canon 7D with Technicolor settings — Michael Negrin, ASC
- Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked) — Jonny Zeller & Colt Seman
We expect that many people will say, “You didn’t include my camera.” We tried to include as many of the new cameras at varying price points as we could. Two DSLR cameras were included to give you a feel for that class of camera, but the whole point of the test was to show people which camera they use isn’t the most important thing. The rules are the same with any camera–pick one–learn how to master it–learn how to light for it–learn the artistic craft of lighting. Those are the components for making you a great DP/Cinematographer, not the camera. Much of the focus of this documentary is not on the cameras themselves but on the art and craft of lighting from the opinions of our selected DP’s- how they looked to films, photography and paintings to learn about lighting, as well as school for some. We think you will find the results astounding, informative and entertaining.