AJA V2Digital Mihai Malaimare - Classic Cameras - Winning Time

Cinematographer Mihai Malaimare, responsible for the series ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’, used the AJA V2Digital analog to HD/SD-SDI digital video converter to integrate classic cameras into the digital workflows required for his latest production.

The nostalgic look and imperfections produced with classic analog cameras remain a major draw for film and serial fiction makers. While the imaging capabilities of modern digital cinema cameras are ideal for capturing 4K/UltraHD HDR video, some cinematographers opt for classic VHS-C camcorders to create a highly stylized look, establish a time period or tone, or enhance visual storytelling.

Cinematographer Mihai Malaimare (ASC) first devised a process to integrate classic cameras into an all-digital workflow for the 2017 crime drama November Criminals. Capturing the film’s opening sequence with a VHS-C camera presented a number of challenges; although the sequence was shot analog, the footage had to be digitally recorded for the dailies and seamlessly integrated into the production workflow. In addition, a video feed of the analog footage had to be sent to the on-set monitors so that the director and crew members could review it live. Using a single cable hidden in the back of the camcorder, Malaimare routed the VHS-C signal to an AJA V2Digital analog-to-HD/SD-SDI V2Digital digital video converter. Once the camera output was converted from analog to digital, the signal was recorded in 1080 24p and routed to a transmitter and the director’s monitor for live viewing on set. The voltage capabilities of the V2Digital allowed the team to power the converter with a battery with enough power for half the day.

For the HBO sports drama Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Malaimare and cinematographer Todd Banhazl (ASC) leveraged a similar production workflow to transport audiences back to the 1980s. With the V2Digital converter repeating as key equipment in the workflow, they shot with analog Ikegami cameras using vintage lenses, and Panavision provided boxes compatible with modern accessories such as remote focus. For sequences shot with analog cameras, Malaimare and Banhazl recorded interlaced video to double the perceived frame rate without using additional bandwidth. “Although modern lenses offer superior visual quality, the imperfections you get from filming with older cameras offer such a distinct look you just can’t recreate with all the modern technology in the world,” Malaimare himself stresses.

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By • 2 Feb, 2024
• Section: Catchment, Study