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BMCC & BMPCC vidicon Tube Simulation

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  • BMCC & BMPCC vidicon Tube Simulation

    Hey folks,

    a Video I DP'd and did grading & VFX on has just gone public. It was filmed using x2 Cinema Cams and x1 Pocket cam.

    The video was designed to authentically emulate the look of a British TV show called Top of the Pops - which was at its height of popularity in the 1970's - so its signature look and style is influenced by the Vidicon tube cameras they used to film it with. The show was vision mixed and was always a bit rough around the edges - which is something we tried to reproduce. In fact on the first take the Jib operator was operating too perfectly -so I asked him to go too high on the upward motion and then quickly bring it back down - as well as making his movements a bit more sloppy.

    In order to try and get a more TV look from the typically filmic Cinema Cameras - I set all the cameras to a 360 shutter and set the exposure so that the open faces of the lights were clipping.

    In Post the grade was quite complicated and I even adjusted each take from each camera to have a very slightly different level of registration errors - a detail which probably isnt noticable in the end, but I like to know its there.

    Another effect was to create a layer on top of the footage which extracted only pixels very close to or clipping and have them blur more temporally and have a slight echo with green tint - to reproduce the effect of an over saturated tube.

    The footage was finally interpolated to 50fps via simple frame blending. I tried using a more sophisticated method of interpolation but it produced too many artefacts.

    This was a fun project because it ended up requiring many late nights of research into the cameras and the production methods of the original show. It really was fascinating stuff and in the end I think we nailed it.

    Its amazing how much work goes into lowering the quality of the blackmagic footage - but having the latitude there at the beginning made it all possible.

    Several weeks of Pre Production, 2 days of Production, about 50 crew members and a couple of weeks of Post work.
    Tom Majerski
    Cinematographer / Photographer / CGI Artist / Filmmaker

  • #2
    Very impressive, Tom! Great work.


    • #3
      Damn....YOU NAILED THAT!
      Cameras: Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Pocket Camera (x2), Panasonic GH2 (x2), Sony RX100 ii, Canon 6D, Canon T2i,
      Mics: Sennheiser, AKG, Shure, Sanken, Audio-Technica, Audix
      Lights: Every Chinese clone you can imagine


      • #4
        Excellent work Tom. I was actually on Top of the Pops a couple of times with my brothers in the mid 90's. You captured the essence of it perfectly.
        Thanks for the node breakdown too :-)


        • #5
          hahaha, oh god. how I hate that old school look. but amazing job, I can't believe this is blackmagic camera footage!
          Vimeo profile
          VFX Showreel


          • #6
            Awesome though if you wanted to go more 70's some bleary pinks and red are in order

            Also, did you really have to go with a square aspect ratio?

            Wish there were more shots of the 70's girls--too much of the band, not enough facial reaction IMHO.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ashenwraith View Post

              Also, did you really have to go with a square aspect ratio?

              all the 70s top of the pops shows were shot in 4:3
              Tom Majerski
              Cinematographer / Photographer / CGI Artist / Filmmaker