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The Great Camera Shootout 2011: SCCE ~ Episode Two

Episode 2, “Sensors & Sensitivity” of the three part series continues with tests covering sensitivity, resolution, compression and the relationship between them. These tests were designed and administered by Robert Primes ASC, director of the Single Chip Camera Evaluation (SCCE) and shown at 2K screenings around the world to indie filmmakers, event shooters, commercial DP’s, directors and corporate filmmakers alike. Their opinions on the footage are invaluable when it comes to understanding what all this data means in real world shooting situations.

To measure the sensitivity, the SCCE team used the Signal to Noise ratio of each camera to determine the threshold of acceptable noise. “Michael Bravin shot an opto-electronic conversion function or OECF chart,” says Steve Weiss, director. The chart uses twenty different grey patches that are analyzed by software to determine how the sensor converts the illumination into digital values.” A low light scene was lit by Stephen Lighthill, ASC to show how noise can affect a shot in the real world.

Matt Siegel was in charge of measuring the resolution of each camera by shooting a 3ft wide Siemen star chart. This chart is used to find the Spatial Frequency Response (SFR) of the sensor which shows the smallest details a camera can capture. The final test in episode two covers color compression and sub-sampling. Each camera was recorded, if possible, to an external recorder to capture the most uncompressed image possible, with the Wringer chart, the differences between on-board and off-board recordings are shown. “Some cameras can record in 4:4:4” explains producer Jens Bogehegn, “but other cameras compress the image by removing color data, this can be 4:2:2 or 4:2:0.” A Still Life scene was also shot by Steven Lighthill, ASC and Nancy Shreiber, ASC to show the real world implications when resolution and compression are pushed to their limits.

Come watch Episode 2: “Sensors & Sensitivity” and learn from some of the best in the business! We promise you won’t be disappointed.

The featured scenes in this episode are shot by Michael Bravin, Matt Siegel, Stephen Lighthill, ASC and Nancy Schreiber, ASC. The still life scene was designed by Rhonda Rolston.

Commentary: Jay Lee, Jack Cummings, Dan Freene, Daniel DeMoulin, Daren Finner, Nino Leitner, Jonathan Bregel, Jon Carr, Jan Crittenden: Product Manager-Panasonic, Bruce Logan, ASC, Cinematographer “Tron,” James Kallemeyn, Sam Shinn, Johnson Liv, Chris Cooke, Mark Steel, Dave Kittredge, Richard Crook, Ken Glassing: Cinematographer, “CSI-Miami,” Gale Tattersall, ASC, Cinematographer, “House,” Michael Lewis, Sebastian Tr, Mathew Medeiros, Paul Ream, Michael Watson, Peter James, ACS, ASC, DP “Driving Miss Daisy” & “Meet The Parents,” Robert Primes, ASC, Ryan Koo, David Johnson, Rodney Charters, ASC, Cinematographer “24,” and Robert Haddad.

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 manufactures 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.