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3/23 - Minecraft at PAX East

4/7 - Minecraft with Creatabot 

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Complete list of shooting set up and gear
Saturday, 12 January 2013 14:53
We have received a few requests to share our shooting set up, so I put together this information dump.  Feel free to ask us any questions via Twitter or Tumblr.

The 2PP workstation

This is our cluttered work station in the office. Turning around from this view you would see a heap of bags, boxes, and sound blankets in the corner.

Cameras

Panasonic AF-100P w/Convergent Design Nano Flash recorder
Lexar Pro 128 Gb 133x SDXC (camera)
Lexar Pro 64 GB 1000x CF (nanoflash)

We upgraded to this from the Panasonic HPX-170 for the larger image sensor and variable lens mounts. We tried using the 170 with a 35mm adaptor but the rig was too unwieldy. Soon we’re adding the external nano flash recorder to have 4:2:2 color sampling and less compression. What that means is that when the camera shoots to the SD card it compresses the footage to make it fit. That results in image noise. The nano flash records an uncompressed video stream from the cameras SDI video output to super fast compact flash cards, with roughly 4x the information density. This results in a cleaner, more accurate image that holds up better to post production and is acceptable for most international broadcast standards.

Lenses

Nikon lens 100mm f2.8
Nikon lens 28mm f2.8
Nikon lens 50mm f1.4
Canon FD 50mm f1.8

These are some older lenses of ours we’re trying to phase out. Any f stop over 2 is just a little too slow for most natural conditions in the studio, and even the faster 50mm lenses have been eclipsed by newer ones we’re using in terms of speed and image quality.

For a quick explanation of f stop, the lower the number the less light you need in the environment to get a shot. So lenses with really low numbers are great for a dark studio with very little natural light. As the numbers get higher you need to introduce more light into the scene for the camera to see anything, which means we have to be outside or setting up lights in the studio.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f4-5.8

This lens came with the camera, and we wrote it off at first because of how slow the f stop is. It does have a very powerful zoom, but it’s likely we’ll be replacing it with the faster Olympus lens below.

Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0
Olympus Zuiko Auto-S  50mm f1.2

This Olympus zoom is super wide at 12mm, and at 60mm it can get in close enough to cover most situations that take place in the studio. It’s a little slow, but it is practically impossible to find a lens with a powerful zoom that is also fast and not ridiculously expensive.

The 50mm is a great prime lens, an older model from a used shop that has a nice dreamy look. The Voigtlander listed below may take its place due to better image reproduction, but it’s nice to have two similar primes in case we want them on both cameras.

Voigtlander NOKTON 50mm f/1.1 LENS
Voigtlander NOKTON 25mm f/0.95 LENS
Voigtlander NOKTON 17mm f/0.95

The 25mm lens here is somewhat legendary and it’s made us fall in love with the brand. Super super fast, bright lenses with great depth of field and sturdy construction. These lenses will be the primary workhorse for the series.

Gear

Steadicam Merlin Arm Vest Kit

Something we picked up recently to help with traveling shots. Takes a lot of practice but the results are worth it. It’s likely you won't be seeing shots from this for a few episodes while we learn how to operate it.

Oben ACM-2400L monopod
Manfrotto 501HDV head w 546B 2-Stage aluminum tripod

None of our lenses with the exception of the Panasonic Lumix have shake reduction, so any trembles can come through very clearly.  As many of you have pointed out to us.  The Oben monopod helps in tight spaces and has great mobility, while the Manfrotto is heavier and more stable for smooth panning motion.

Lowel Tota 300w Key light
Arri 150w Fresnel accent light

Just some basic lights for set up interviews. We try not to set spaces up too much, but in an interview setting it helps to just have some light to bring people out of the background.

Sound

VDB medium boom pole
Tascam HDP2 - stereo portable recorder
PortaBrace AR-HDP2 - case for Tascam recorder
Roland R44 - 4 channel portable recorder(24bit 96khz)

The Tascam is a great industry standard field recorder, but it eats batteries like crazy and should just be plugged in as often as possible. We recently picked up the Roland R44 because it allows recording of four separate channels instead of just the two on the Tascam. It’s also way cuter then the Tascam.

AKG AKSE300BCK93 Blue Line Series Microphone Kit
Sennheiser MKH416 P48 - Short Shotgun

These have been the go to mics we’ve been using since the Penny-Arcade shooting. The Sennheiser has a tight focus and better range, while the AKGs sound great up close. We’re currently looking into possible alternatives, but all the ambient noise in the Double Fine studio makes audio capture difficult in general.  The AKGs live on the cameras at this point, but using sound captured on the camera is a worse case scenario. Most of the sound we use comes from the Sennheiser on the boom or the wireless mics below.

Lectrosonics - wireless receiver - UCR411A
Lectrosonics - wireless transmitter - UM400A
Sonotrim Lav - microphone

After avoiding wireless mics for the longest time we broke down and got these during the Minecraft project. “Affordable” wireless kits are more or less useless for serious recording, often times having problems with interference and short ranges. These Lectrosonics kits have never had interference issues and can pick someone up from the other side of the studio. If you ever find yourself thinking about getting a wireless mic setup, best to save up for something good. It’s worth the investment.

Computers

27-inch Apple iMac
3.4 GHz Core i7
32 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB
256 GB internal SSD
1 TB internal Sata Disk

Apple Thunderbolt Display

17-inch MacBook Pro
2.5 GHz Core i7
16GB 1333 MHz DDR3
AMD Radeon HD 6770M 1024 MB
256 Gb internal SSD

These are Apple computers, nothing much to say. A solid state drive and tons of ram ensures that programs run great. Our editing software can render footage and produce an export 3-4 times faster than our previous setup. If that doesn't seem like much, imagine exporting something like the first episode of DFA would have taken 4-5 hours, now it takes 45 minutes to an hour. And you can do other stuff while the CPU churns through footage, instead of just having it lock up and crash.

Promise Pegasus R6 12TB Thunderbolt Raid (RAID 6)
Drobo Pro 16TB Raid (BeyondRAID)

1080p HD footage comes out to be something like 80 minutes for 64gb of storage, so a days worth of footage from two cameras starts to add up fast. We use the Drobo for backing up and storing footage, while the Pegasus is built for speed so we use that to edit footage. When setting up any Raid drive you lose a little space, which makes the Pegasus more like 10TB and the Drobo more like 12TB. Drobo uses a special format for redundancy called BeyondRAID. The Pegasus uses RAID 6.

Software

Final Cut Studio 7
Final Cut Pro X
Screenflow
Motion
Compressor
Photoshop
Adobe After Effects

We’ve always worked with Final Cut and Final Cut has always worked with us. We were hesitant to make the leap to FCPX, but we’re warming up to it as Apple addresses many of the problems the software launched with. It helps to have a faster system to run it on as well, it’s definitely something that was built for newer machines. During the course of the Double Fine project you’ll start to see us switching over to X, and we’ll share our experiences with it on the boards.