If you’re wondering why I went from writing about Panasonic HVX200 to writing about Sony CineAlta, your budget is probably a couple of million short. Welcome to the club.
I won’t be able to afford a CineAlta-size production any time soon. Yet, when I look at CineAlta rigs, I see some of the same accessories that are needed for low-budget filmmaking.
Recently, I reviewed a number of accessories for HVX200 that could be used to create a “killer rig”. Apart from standard stuff like tripods and monitors, I paid special attention to matte boxes and filters for HVX200 as these are essential to create filmlike video.
First, let me go through CineAlta’s specs. Right now, Sony has branded CineAlta to two cameras: F900 and F950. They can shoot at the same 24 frames per second (24p) as film and have a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (1080p). F900 was notably used to shoot Star Wars, Episode II.
Revenge of the Sith was shot with more advanced HDW950 cameras which can record the full 1920×1080-pixel frame. When shooting in the 2.35:1 widescreen format (often referred to as “Panavision”) only about 800 of the 1080 vertical pixels are actually used.
Look at Lars von Trier’s rig for Dogville. I see a Steadycam of some sort. I see a shotgun mic mounted on the camera. I see a separate recorder tied to the shotgun mic (always a good idea to have backup). I can’t descern what the lens is but it comes with some kind of a matte box.
All of these are pretty standard stuff. Take it from the pros, you need just three things: 1) keep your shots steady; 2) more control over your image; 3) better, cleaner sound. That’s it. When you rent a rig, go for the basics first.