Okay, I’ll begin how I’ll end this post:
D16? I’m sold.
I’ve had the camera since April, yet I’ve only shot trivialities (mostly low light): fruit on a table; a buddy drinking a beer; my cats – lots of cat shots; my toddler wreaking havoc pretty much anywhere there’s space to discover, assess, and rip apart in a hummingbird’s blink; and my wife’s vociferous proteststo put down the camera and block the lil’ demon’s pathway of destruction:
Recently, the D16 had an opportunity to earn its keep (and the money I forked over for her) for the band Sin City (www.TheSinCItyLP.com) . Below are 2 versions of the promo video:
short intro version:
Longer version for Miss Sacramento Pageant:
It’s not the foremost representation of the D16’s capabilities, but considering the circumstances of this shoot, I was HIGHLY impressed with the D16.This was run n’ gun shoot. You know that old nano-budget love story:
- Get called on a Friday
- Deadline is the day after shoot – whu?
- Ideas emailed as well as possible locations (no permits, just shoot and hide)
- Location availability collapse
- Ideas change.
Finally, a rehearsal studio was acquired day of shoot, but for 2 hours; the policy for shooting a video was, well, we didn’t ask. Less then 2 hours – out! There was a problem though. We thought all the rehearsal studio lights would be working:
An anvil dropped – SURPRISE! None of them worked.
I was sweating, I mean “used car salesman” kinda sweating. I pulled out my Panasonic Gh4 with my Voigtlander 17.5mm F0.95 lens (my low light backup), and jacked the camera to 1600 ISO… however, before I pressed “click” on my GH4, something reared me back to the D16. Call it Celestial Intervention, or plain bullheadedness since I just spent a ton of bones on a camera that’s collecting dust, whatever it was, glad I switched to the D16. Due to the low light situation, I shot the promos at 400 ISO, Tungsten color mode, WIDE open (F1.8 on my Switar 10mm and F0.95-1.2 on my Angenieux 25mm), and monitored with a SmallHD DP4. Since the only lights we had were a 40-watt ECO bulb, my IPAD, and multicolored LED lights (half of them were broken), another anvil dropped. Mixed temperature lighting shelling you at all sides? Not a dream situation. I felt defeated. Then, the “edit” happened.
I cut the promo in Premiere (RAW DNG’s), exported an XML to grade in Davinci Resolve (RAW all the way, baby!), Cineform Filmscan codec ouput (on a PC, so no Pores), and back to Premiere for delivery. Since it was a lowlight (yep, stating it again), I had to boost the mids and highlights quite a bit, which made it very very grainy. I used Neat Video OFX plugin within Resolve – and it cleaned up beautifully! It almost looks like I had a 3 light set-up. I do feel I crushed the blacks a bit much, a tad too much saturation, and I probably could have boosted the mids a bit more and added some sharpening, but the turnaround was so quick, I had to grade without experimenting. Examples below:
When I saw this image, the sun popped over the horizon for me. I was relieved. Also, I recorded sound via D16 too, really clean sound; however some sound had to be ADR due to lines flubbed (you can tell the differences, but we did our best). Biggest lessons here?
- Bring lights.
- D16 isn’t a low light camera, but within reason, she performs beautifully
- No DSLR can touch D16 color tonalities
- Don’t faint over what you see in the Monitor
- D16 forum and community ROCKS!
- Neat video Plugin is your friend.
- Trust RAW, RAW is your friend.
After this experience, I promise you, there will be many, many, more adventures with this tiny Sherman-tank-of-a-camera.
Okay, I’ll end how I began this post:
D16? I’m sold.