Frequently Asked Questions

 
Is there any delay in the camera running up to speed?

When using a high-speed film camera, there is a need to start the camera before the action in order that the camera can accelerate to its correct operating speed before the action takes place.

At high filming speeds this requires fine judgment to avoid wasting expensive film.The Phantom records continuously, storing the events of the previous few seconds of time in its memory. The camera is normally triggered after the action, and the memory then retains a recording of the action which took place during the period leading up to the triggering. *The shot can be copied to the computer for viewing and saving, the data remaining in memory until the camera is restarted or its power is turned off.

If the shot is unsatisfactory or unusable it can be repeated as necessary without any waste of expensive materials

In what format are the pictures presented to us?

When the data is copied from the camera's memory to the computer (a Windows PC) it can be viewed immediately and saved to the computer's hard disk drive.

The computer saves the shot in the proprietary .CIN file format. This format requires the appropriate Phantom software, which can be downloaded from the Photo-Sonics website. The software is compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 SP2 onwards and Windows XP Professional.

The .CIN files must be processed to convert them into a form suitable for use in the editing process. The preferred method is to convert each frame into a TIFF image. This processing is time-consuming and can cause a bottleneck. When there are large amounts of data to process, a second computer and an assistant are strongly recommended

The converted TIFF files, together with the original .CIN files, are copied to an external Firewire hard drive which is loaned to the production company.

How quickly can we see the results of a shot?

The take can be viewed immediately via the Phantom software. Playback via our Panasonic 8.4" HD Monitor is at 25fps showing production what the shot looks like in slo-motion.

Normally, before saving, the shot is edited to remove unwanted recorded material at the start and end of the shot. This reduces the time taken in saving the shot to the CineMags or to a hard drive via the computer.

Saving to CineMags takes seconds.

What software is needed to use the Phantom?

The computer is a PC running Windows (either Windows 2000 or Windows XP Pro). The regular Phantom kit includes a laptop computer.

The computer saves the shot in the proprietary .CIN file format. This format requires the appropriate Phantom software, which can be downloaded from the Photo-Sonics website. The software is compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 SP2 onwards and Windows XP Professional.

The original .CIN files, together with a set of TIFF files, are copied to an external Firewire hard drive which is loaned to the production company

Is the equipment affected by airport X-ray scanners?
No, the equipment and any stored data is in digital form and is as immune to airport security measures as any laptop computer.

However, this information may be of interest.

What restrictions are there on types of lighting?

As with any type of high speed camera there is a danger of flicker appearing, particularly with lower-power tungsten light sources.

Flicker occurs with an alternating current power supply because the power is effectively turned on and off fifty times per second. This effect is not normally visible but becomes noticeable at higher camera speeds.

Higher-power tungsten light sources give less flicker because the larger filament heats up and cools down less than a smaller, low-wattage filament. We recommend the use of 5kW tungsten lamps as a minimum.

When using flicker-free HMI lighting, the minimum recommendation is 4kW lamps.

Take care when low-power lights are likely to appear in shot: for example, photofloods used as practicals such as table- or desk-lamps.