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The Great Camera Shootout 2011: SCCE ~ Episode One

In the most scientific camera comparison to date, “The Great Camera Shootout 2011: a documentary of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation (SCCE)” premieres with Episode 1: “The Tipping Point.” The first episode of the 3-part web series examines three SCCE Tests: The Dynamic Range Test, The Under Exposure Test and The Over Exposure Test.

Robert Primes, ASC, designed and administered the full series of tests. “That’s right,” says Web Series Director Steve Weiss, “We didn’t want people to think that these tests were biased in any way. So Bob created the SCCE as an independent organization to conduct the testing.” Additionally, Bob Primes designed the tests with his own technicians and selected the cameras to be tested. “Our documentary is about the process that Bob took to design and conduct his tests,” says Producer Jens Bogehegen. "I don't think people understand the scope of this project which is the largest I've done in 29 years of production," says Weiss. "It was a 4 day shoot divided into two phases with 1 prep day for each shoot. Phase one had 128 crew members including specialists, 141 crew and specialists in phase two of shooting and a total of 772 people who were involved in one way or another including shooting, screenings & post process."

Last year’s Emmy Award winning series: The Great Camera Shootout 2010 “only focused on DSLRs, because they were new and no one really knew much about them,” says Steve Weiss, “But we received a lot of questions like ‘Why didn’t you include the RED?’ and the reason is because it was a DSLR test. This year, we have a different mission to test what we like to call cinema cameras –cameras you could potentially use to shoot a feature or short film.” The impressive 12-Camera line-up includes: 35mm Kodak 5213 & 5219 Film, Arri Alexa, RED ONE M-X, Weisscam HS-2, Phantom Flex, Sony F-35, Sony F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, Canon 1D Mark IV and Nikon D7000.

In addition to the SCCE tests, the web series features commentary from some of the top DPs in the industry, which was filmed at worldwide screening locations in Sydney, Amsterdam, New York, London, Las Vegas (NAB) and Hollywood “You’ll hear from indie filmmakers, event shooters, commercial DPs, directors and corporate filmmakers,” says Steve Weiss, “Although you are not watching these tests in a 2K theatrical setting, hearing such commentary from people in the ASC, BSC, ACS, CSC, NSC, ICG and the SOC, will help you evaluate the significance of these tests.”

This first episode of the series looks at the dynamic range and usable latitude of each camera. “We need to see how these cameras record real scenes,” says Jens Bogehegn. Thus, Bob Primes, ASC, designed an under-exposure scene and an over-exposure scene. In regards to methodology, the camera master had to set their camera to record the widest dynamic range and they were not allowed to change any settings between the two scenes. The combination of both of these scenes will show the usable dynamic range of each camera. “One interesting calculation that Jack Holm did was to see how each of the cameras distributed their dynamic range based on an Exposure Index rating of ISO 800,” says Weiss. “You can see how there is no standard as to how much highlight or lowlight latitude is recorded.”

The featured scenes are shot by Michael Bravin and lit by Matt Siegel and Nancy Schreiber, ASC. ***The featured tests include three scenes: a back-lit test chart shot by Michael Bravin, an under-exposure scene lit by Matt Siegel and an over-exposure scene lit by Nancy Schreiber, ASC. Come watch the first episode of the series, see the camera evaluations and comparisons, and hear what top DPs have to say about the SCCE tests and results. You don’t want to miss this!

Commentary in this Episode Features:
Academy Award Winner Russell Boyd ASC, ACS (Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World, Ghost Rider, Forever Young); Academy Award Nominee Don McAlpine ASC, ACS (Moulin Rouge, Patriot Games, X-Men Origins: Wolverine); Calvin Gardiner ACS; BAFTA TV Award Winner Nic Knowland, ASC (The Final Passage, Around the World in 80 Days); Emmy Award Nominee & ASC Nominee Gale Tattersall, ASC (House, Ghost Ship, Wild Orchid); Mykelti T. Williamson, Actor (Forrest Gump, 24, CSI: NY); Ken Glassing (CSI: Miami); Philip Bloom (Sophia’s People, Greenpeace: Voices of Change); Terry Hopkins (London Film School); Dan Chung, James Mathers (Digital Cinema Society), David Wexler (Broken, The Wind) and more.


The web series documentary features two different independent crews. The SCCE Crew: Administrator Robert Primes, ASC; Station Chiefs: Michael Bravin, Stephen Lighthill ASC, Nancy Schreiber ASC, Matt Siegel and Mike Curtis; Line Producer Josh Siegel. The Shootout 2011 Crew: Editor Karen Abad, Graphic Designer Chris Voelz, Producers: Daniel Skubal, Scott Lynch, Jens Bogehegn and Eric Kessler; Web Series Director Steve Weiss.

Additional SCCE Testing Methodologies:

All the manufactures were invited to be involved with the tests and provide a technician with their camera. In cases were the manufacturer declined to send a representative, Bob Primes assigned a camera master who was an expert with that particular camera to manage it as it rotated though all of the series of tests. Each test also had a station chief who kept the tests consistent across cameras.