12 Jul 2013

Preparing to shoot RAW

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Preparing to Shoot Big Preparing to Shoot Big

Index

Peter J. Haas outlines how to go about planning a shoot that utilizes RAW image capture, including a file size comparison between DSLR formats and CinemaDNG , a discussion of shooting ratios and how this translates into storage requirements for a secure post-production environment

The early months of 2013 were filled with the announcement that the new future of cinema had arrived in the form of RAW cinema cameras. While shooting RAW isn’t exactly a new concept, the onslaught of new affordable RAW camera equipment is.

The major contenders in this field are the newly hacked Canon 5D, a line of cameras from Black Magic and Digital Bolex’s D16. All of these cameras have the ability to shoot RAW formats and cost under $5,000 USD. The field quickly expands to include RED and IKONOSKOP if you consider a jump to the sub $15,000 range, which you might if you are running a studio or production company as these costs are on par with the cost of the still loved and much missed Digi-Beta cameras.

The arrival of this technology is going to rapidly change the industry for both larger studios and smaller independent productions. All you have to do is watch a demo and see the amazing image quality of these cameras to understand why so many filmmakers are excited. Everything about the image is beautiful: the low-light performance, the dynamic range, the magical film-like texture and grain.

If the speed at which DSLRs were adopted as HD cameras taught us anything, it is that RAW camera technology will unquestionably be absorbed into the market and very quickly because it fits the two most important criteria: they’re cheap, and they produce amazing images.

While everyone is basking in the brilliance of the image quality, the lesser-had discussion revolves around the immense storage requirements for these RAW formats and how exactly these files are going to be handled both on set and in post production.

In this article we’re going to outline how to go about planning a shoot that utilizes RAW cinema; beginning with a file size comparison between two popular DSLR formats and CinemaDNG (the most popular RAW format). With this information we’ll discuss shooting ratios and how this translates into storage requirements for a secure post-production environment.

Before we begin, a note to the highly detailed technology brethren amongst us, I want to say this: I’m not a math-whiz, and a majority of these numbers are rounded for the sake of simplicity and clarity, but they do realistically represent the data we are dealing with and have served me well in the past.



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