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SI-2K + Cinedeck Combo in the Field

So nobody’s actually used this combo in this capacity to my knowledge. So here are my brief thoughts followed by a few photos.

  1. It’s really portable. This rig is small. I’ve had lots of admiration for a professional setup as small 

  1. It’s wickedly stealth. I drew no more attention to myself beinga 6’+ westerner in Egypt than my dad did with the DSLR. In fact, in my hands, the SI, lens, and mattebox were smaller than the DSLR my dad was carrying. I was dismissed after casual observations by both law enforcement officials and normal passers-by.

  1. It’s stinkin’ fun to use. The SI feels like a gun in your hands. You can hold it like a pistol, in your palm, move it, twist it and it feels good all the time. I set the SI up on the tripod during an interview and just held the Cinedeck in my hands, playing with color while it was recording checking out different looks. I did some more coloring in the car between shoots. Massively fun to use and touch and watch while

  1. It’s ridiculously easy to use. This version has the Silicon Imaging DVR software on it, but I can say from experience that the Cindeck DDR software is just as easy to use, prettier, and packed with more goodies you can use, abuse and pre-vis before, during, and after a shoot.

  2. Cineform RAW and Cineform compressed 4:4:4 files. Whoa. Can you say spoiled? I can do so much with these files in post it’s amazing. The depth and latitude in color just blows me away. You can get this with RAW, and R3D files but I think that’s about it. It makes the quality of the other file/codec options look like mere plastic generics. Yes, I transcode my stuff to Cineform but I still don’t have nearly the room to work the color in post.

  1. It overheats like a beast. I talked with Cinedeck about this in the recent hours and we’re pretty sure it’s due to a fan issue of it kicking off when you hit ‘record’ (and probably 100+ degree weather). I poked around and found the SI preferences file that adjusts the fan speed. I’ll have a couple of those tips up later.

  2. It’s a little hard to see. Only in direct sunlight. I built a makeshift hood out of duct tape for the “in my bag on the street” moments. Ghetto, cheap and functional. The obvious fix is to connect a secondary small monitor (say the SmallHD?) to it as the external output. Mount that right behind your camera and you’re set.

Would I recommend this box? Absofrakinlutely. So while everyone pines away for Scarlet’s release, quit whining, rent a an SI-2K and Cinedeck from HD Camera Rentals (who provided my SI for the trip) and get addicted. They happen to be the only people supplying this combo right now as an FYI.

Most projects don’t have this kind of need- especially if they’re web-based. But if you’re looking at a doc film or projection of any sort, this might be worth looking at. I don’t have enough projects that justify this set up to own right now. But if I did own this setup, I’d shoot everything on it. I don’t have aliasing or rolling shutter issues, I can shoot 2K, I have a whole host of pre-vis options, the camera is the smallest form factor you can get, and well, you get the idea. This set up is easily worth it’s just south of $20K price tag- you can’t get more bang for the buck, much less any nicer of a set up in the industry with these features.

I’ll have more photos and thoughts as I continue using it.


©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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