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Mixing Paint: The Phantom Flex4K

As with all of their products, Vision Research has created yet another high frame rate monster. Shooting RAW or ProRes, the Flex4K can crank all the way up to 938fps at true 4K — and almost 2,000fps in HD. With all that power under the hood, the question now becomes: What are we going to shoot?! It took us a while to come up with a subject that would do the camera justice. Eventually, we had it all planned out – we were going to see if mixing some paint with a huge speaker would produce some cool results. (It did.) First, we knew we needed light. Lots of light. The mid-day sun was our best bet, so we set up outside. To hold our subject, we set up a basic wooden platform, making sure to keep a wide enough base to catch any paint shrapnel. We hooked our speaker up to a receiver, and fed it various tones from an iPhone — apparently, yes, there is an app for this. With our stage set, we then turned to camera settings. We decided that shooting the true 4K image would be best – 4096 x 2304 at 938fps. If we had chosen a standard UHD 4K recording, we could have shot even faster. For paint, we went with a water based children’s finger paint – in hopes that maybe we could salvage the speaker, and our clothing. The water based paint would also mix better – a latex paint would mix slower, but may have looked cool as colors intertwined more. We’ll give that one a shot next time. We decided to shoot to the ProRes codec, rather than RAW, once we saw the image the camera gave in the standard rec709 color space. The final video color has not been graded in any way, all the footage is straight off the camera. While the RAW files are wonderful, and fantastic for grading – it can become somewhat burdensome with ever shrinking hard drive space. We found the colors to be awesome in the 709 gamma, and very reminiscent of ARRI. There is also the option for LOG. For glass, we chose the Angenieux 25-250, partly to keep our gear out of paint’s way – but also to take advantage of the beautiful lens compression you get on the long end. The focal plane wasn’t too shallow at T4, but the added compression at 100mm and above really brought the image alive. After the shoot, I loaded the ProRes files into Premiere, and we were exporting soon thereafter. For such a high data rate, specialized camera, the workflow all around was relatively simple. Watch the final results:   The Phantom Flex4K is available to rent here at Rule – come check it out! -Alex Enman, Engineer,