Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Roadette's Theorem: 24p 16:9 24/7

No Black Mamba for me...I discovered that it doesn't shoot 24p and that's a deal breaker. I shoot with a Panasonic AGDVX-100 and it's the best mini-DV vid around. It's cine-gamma setting means the blacks are coal-black and the whites are snow-white, and everything else is rich and dense.

What I liked about the Black Mamba was its native 16:9 capability. I'm trying to get ready to be a shooter in the HD world, which as we all know, is coming fast.

I called Century Optics, a high end lens maker, and asked if they were ever going to come out with an anamorphic 16:9 lens for the Panny. Yes! they said. A mockup for NAB and in production in the late spring or summer.

So instead of getting a new camera, I'll stick with the tried and true 100 and pop the anamorphic lens on the end of it for the HD look. What this lens does is allow the camera to capture video in the 16:9 format...WITHOUT losing any resolution. In the camera, there's a switch that will record a 16:9 picture by blocking off the top and bottom and blowing up what remains to fill the frame. There's a big loss of rez...too much for a vid geek like me, people.

The lens won't give you HD resolution, but it gives you the right picture shape (as opposed to the 4:3 shape we're all used to). But sooner or later I'll have to give in and go for a true HD vidcam.

Sony has come out with two new HDV format vidcams. They compress the recording to mini-DV tape and then decompress it for editing. The two new cams are the HD-FX1 and its bigger brother, the Sony HVR-Z1U camcorder. Sadly, they don't have an adjustable frame rate, so no 24p. Me...I'm going to wait.

At December's DVExpo, the Panasonic rep in the booth said they would have a sub-$5k
HD camera so-o-o-o-o-o-n. So maybe I won't need that $1k anamorphic lens after all.

Maybe in March I can get on the road again!

I'm gettin' restless.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Black Mamba for the Dark Side

I have to have a Black Mamba2. I don't need another camera but I've just got to have this one. It's the next thing to a hi def camera without the hi cost. It comes from Japan (not available here in this incarnation). It's black. It's very cool and industrial looking. It's quite small. it comes with a crystal clear hard-plastic all-weather housing and a 9-hour battery belt. Oh, yeah, mama mamba, mumble over me!

It's time to cruise on the dark side. I've been shooting some kids' birthday parties....lovely, really. The most photogenic time is about 4 years old. The face is entirely individuated and looks appear that are subtle, strong, and wise. It hasn't leaned out like it will at 6 or 7 and starts to acquire a more adult form.

But enough sugar and beauty. Time for something degrading and gritty. I like Hollywood for that, after 11:00 pm through the early am hours, there's always something ugly going down.

Or I could motor up the 101 to Oxnard to the Wagon Wheel Motel. It looks like Disneyland from the freeway...a big wagon wheel (surprise!) in front, little one-story cottages with dark green shutters. But inside, oh, that's something else.

The WWM is where you go when you get out of jail to re-connect with your connection who got busted with you. Or if your wicked sister-in-law screamed at you to get the f--- out and take all your crap or you'll find it in front of the mobile home in the morning.

So you head for the WWM to hide out with all the other drifters, grifters, meth monsters, and pro and amateur sluts, pretty well mixed in with unsuspecting motorists who snap up the tourist bait and say, "Oh, how cute, let's stop for the night and head on in to L. A. in the morning."

Yeah, it's a good place to shoot dope and sex deals from the car window, with the added bonus of the occasional bust. My kinda deep night place.