Nikon D800 Lands a Supporting Role in 'Dexter'
After introducing the award-winning D800 to critical acclaim earlier this year, Nikon Inc. proudly announces that the multimedia HDSLR with groundbreaking cinema features has started to make a name for itself on Hollywood’s A-list. In addition to landing leading roles in upcoming major motion pictures, the Nikon D800 and NIKKOR optics have also been tapped by Showtime to help capture their hit television series Dexter.
Director of photography Jeffrey Jur, ASC is using the Nikon D800 extensively for Dexter, deploying it alongside powerhouse cinema cameras. For the current season, the D800 has served as the C and D bodies on main unit and main camera on second unit.
“This is an exciting time for all of Nikon,” said Sharon Henley, senior manager of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The D800 was built with the needs of these professionals in mind and we are truly humbled by the overwhelmingly positive reception the camera has received. This is a true testament to the capabilities of this camera and we’re looking forward to learning more about the new and interesting ways it is being used in the field.”
Thanks to the flexibility offered by the D800, the production crew for Dexter has been able to seamlessly integrate the camera with their current setup created to meet the challenges of presenting the audience with the stark contrast of scenes ranging from gritty darkness to the bright Miami sun. Custom rigging using the ARRI Pro series of HD-SLR accessories offers operators a familiar feel when shooting with the D800 and by creating a specific look for the cameras, post production has been able to simply drop footage in with minimal effort - a substantial time savings especially when using multiple cameras on one shoot.
“Our DP and I were sitting in the final color correction for season 7, episode 1 of Dexter and a scene comes up that neither of us remember shooting – it was a scene that our second unit shot with the D800,” said Eric Fletcher, SOC, camera operator. “It was seamless and totally indistinguishable from our main cameras’ first unit footage. It was a night exterior shot at a gas station, with deep blacks and the gas station lights in the frame. The D800 captured the full dynamic range of the scene and it looked amazing. Post production says at this point, they can’t tell the difference when a D800 shot comes up.”
NIKKOR Lenses and the D800 – A True Cinematic Experience
An unmistakable passion for NIKKOR lenses exists throughout the professional video production and filmmaking community. Similar to the devotion exhibited by Nikon still photographers, this community has long been drawn to the unique qualities of these lenses and the indistinguishable look they provide. With the arrival of the Nikon D800, these users can now combine the versatility of the NIKKOR family of lenses with an HD-SLR they were intended for, to unlock their true creative potential and experience the utmost flexibility on set.
“Our industry knows NIKKOR and there is such an appeal with the brand’s older glass,” added Fletcher. “The quality and look is awesome, and for a long time, many have developed custom mounts to be able to use these lenses on non F-mount bodies. When the D800 was announced, I couldn’t have been more thrilled or eager to get it on set as I would finally be able to pair all of my old glass with a DSLR boasting such high-level video performance. As a professional camera operator who happens to be a Nikon still shooter, the D800 is the camera I’ve been waiting a long time for.”
The Nikon D800 has a compact and lightweight form factor that’s preferable for a production environment, yet is packed with practical and functional features optimized for professional video applications. The D800 is ideal whether the user is a filmmaker on location or in the studio or a documentarian in the field who requires portability and the NIKKOR lens versatility and depth of field that only a HDSLR can offer. Offering Nikon’s highest resolution sensor yet, a 36.3-megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24mm) CMOS, filmmakers have countless options at their fingertips when it comes to shooting. The D800 offers full HD at 30/25/24p and HD 720 at 60/50/30p and records using the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format. The optimized CMOS sensor reads image data at astoundingly fast rates, which results in less instances of rolling shutter distortion. The high‑resolution sensor also enables incredible low-light video capability with minimal noise. Users are also able to have full manual control of exposure, and can also adjust the camera’s power aperture setting in live view for an accurate representation of the depth of field in a scene.
For professional and broadcast applications that call for outboard digital recorders or external monitors, users can stream an uncompressed full HD signal directly out of the camera via the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2). This output signal can be ported into a display or digital recording device or routed through a monitor and then to the recording device, eliminating the need for multiple connections. This image can also be simultaneously viewed on both the camera’s LCD and an external monitor, while eliminating on-screen camera status data for streaming purposes.