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The Great Camera Shootout 2011: SCCE ~ Episode Three

The third and final episode of The Great Camera Shootout 2011 is finally here! On September 27th, 2011 The Great Camera Shootout 2011 was nominated for two Emmy awards (Midwest Chapter). One nomination was for Outstanding Achievement in Informational Programming and the other was for Zacuto Senior Editor Karen Abad’s, skillful editing work.

Episode 3, It’s Not So Black & White, completes the three part Great Camera Shootout 2011 series but also has an unexpected announcement that will leave you salivating for more! In this episode, the cameras are tested on motion artifacts, color and skin tone. The tests were administered by Robert Primes, ASC and conducted as an unbiased test through the SCCE (Single Chip Camera Evaluation). Some updates to certain cameras such as “S Log” on the Sony F3 and “CineStyle” for the Canon cameras were not available at the time of these tests.

The motion artifacts test is designed to study the camera’s ability to render motion as close to human eyesight as possible. Many cameras deal with rolling shutter issues because of their sensor design, processing power and price point. A motion controlled “drum test,” built by General Lift, was used to show vertical lines moving across the frame as well as the amount of skew generated by a camera’s sensor. Another test, designed by Clairmont Camera, uses a wheel spinning at 48 fps to show the differences between the ways these cameras render motion. A global shutter in a camera like the Phantom Flex will render the lines similar to the way your eye would see them. The rolling shutter in the 5D mkII shows much more bend and skew.

The color test was designed to show the subtle differences that are too difficult to quantify on a subjective chart or numbers scale. You could compare the process to a painter choosing colors from their palette. The opinions and descriptions of the viewers at the color calibrated screenings were invaluable while deciphering the results of this test.

Richard Crook says, “Every one of those cameras looked great…and they all provide different looks, and I guess it really just depends on the applications .”

Skin tones are a very important thing to consider when choosing a camera. The “Three Faces” test placed three actors with varying skin tones in the same lighting conditions and challenged the camera’s contrasts.

“A lot of cameras that had faults, like the 5D, still did look quite pleasing to the eye,” says Justin Raine.

After the screening, Raine went on to emphasize that the real difference between the cameras in this comparison was how much information they record and whether or not the cheaper cameras could hold up to substantial color correction in post.

Come watch and learn as this Emmy award nominated web series takes you on an informational adventure that explores which camera is the right fit for you!

Commentary: Rodney Charters, ASC, Chris Cooke, Solomon Rogers, Franc Biffone, Den Lennie, Kimball Carr, Jerry Hyman, Patrick Longman, Michael Hauer, Shawn Nelson, Ben Eckstein, Peter James, ACS, ASC, Bruce Logan, ASC, Jon Connor, Simon Sommerfeld, Dave Kittredge, Oliver Rush, Dan Rubottom, Justin Raine, Richard Crook, Chris Jones, Grigorij Richters, Karen L’Aiguille, Don McClpine, ACS, ASC, Mike Chenoweth, Neil Smith.

CAST & CREW 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 of the camera manufacturers were invited to be involved with the tests and provide a technician with their camera. In cases where 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.