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Shooting a feature with the Panasonic GH2 and LOMO anamorphic lenses

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Roberto,

Congrats on what seems to be a very promising and exciting project!

I am currently writing the script of what would be my first full-length feature film and would be interested to know if you've been as happy with the GH2s as with the LOMOs.

I own a few OCT-18 (non-anamorphic) LOMOs that I like a lot + a hacked GH2 but I'm wondering if going the RAW route with the BMCC would not be a necessary upgrade to do all the pre and post-shooting work justice.

What do you think?

 

Cheers,

Hey. Thanks.

 

I'm extremely happy with the LOMOS and see them as a lifelong investment. Very happy with the GH2 also, I am still shooting with it, but like you, I am also keeping an eye on how the BMCC is developing. It's very impressive, particularly with regard to the dynamic range it offers. If it offered a way to shoot to a 4x3 sensor, which would yield a more cinemascope-like format, I'd jump on it. The RAW route looks like a storage and process intensive workflow for a feature, but I haven't studied it too much.

 

I think having a set of pristine non-anamorphic LOMOs is fantastic, especially for shooting a feature. Love to have a set myself, but finding a good set takes time, right?

 

I suggest keeping your GH2, and keeping tabs on the BMCC while you write. Don't buy any camera until you are ready to go for pre-production. Even then, test it first--all the way through your workflow.

 

Good luck with your project!! At the end of the day, it's the script that matters most, then casting, directing... and eventually cameras and lenses.

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Thanks for your answer and advice, Roberto.

 

My plan: like you said, work on the script, pre-prod, etc. and follow BMCC and DigitalBolex d16 development.

The latter offers 4x3 sensor if I'm not mistaking (on top of being sexy)? I'd be interested to hear your opinion on this project.

 

Now, regarding LOMOs and anamorphic: I understand anamorphic is a whole family of lenses that are made to shoot those beautiful large landscape-like pictures and have a different flare than non-anamorphic. But, flare aside and ease of use + budget in mind, would the end result be that different than if shot with regular non-anamorphic lenses and crop/add black bands in post? (probably sounds heretic ;-).

 

A last question: your steadycam 75mm shots of that lovely actress in Lyon are absolutely beautiful! I was just wondering how difficult it has been to get stable shots with the equivalent of an approx. 140mm lens?

 

Thanks again for sharing,

 

Pask

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this article disappointed me.  some of the ADR sounds bad, especially the protagonist's.  some framing looks awkward, like where the cam is placed.  I guess a set of LOMO's like these could've been fortunate for a better production & acting.  but I do like the acting from the guy in the office giving him advice.  I would like to see an article on some indie boys doing their best with a Frasier lens.  I would so love to rock a Frasier lens than to worry about anamorphic!   nowadays just getting proper acting is so dodged indie kats are only focusing on technicality.  nobody ever talks about acting around here anyways...

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this article disappointed me. some of the ADR sounds bad, especially the protagonist's. some framing looks awkward, like where the cam is placed. I guess a set of LOMO's like these could've been fortunate for a better production & acting. but I do like the acting from the guy in the office giving him advice. I would like to see an article on some indie boys doing their best with a Frasier lens. I would so love to rock a Frasier lens than to worry about anamorphic! nowadays just getting proper acting is so dodged indie kats are only focusing on technicality. nobody ever talks about acting around here anyways...


There is no ADR, as ADR is usually a process after picture editing is locked. We are editing the film now, and this is a working trailer. It is also, as the article's title clearly states, about a very specific type of anamorphic lens, which I find provides a magically slight distortion to reality. A Frazier (correct spelling) lens allows the foreground and background to be in focus, and is great for wildlife shots.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frazier_lens

Anamorphic and Frazier are very different animals. This is also not an article about acting, and having seen all the footage of this film, I find the acting to be very good, very natural and real. I see the written story coming to life through the characters. Other professionals in this business, one with two academy awards, feels the same way. His name will be in the final credits.

Something else should be said here.

Most filmmakers I know salute any filmmaker who goes through what it takes to get a feature film in the can. Whether it was shot on an Alexa or an iPhone. For anybody else reading this, if you have a passionate dream to tell a story in moving pictures and sound, GO FOR IT!! Know the difference between constructive, well informed, and useful criticism, and destructive, sour criticism, which should be ignored. Brush it off and move on.

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Thanks for your answer and advice, Roberto.

 

My plan: like you said, work on the script, pre-prod, etc. and follow BMCC and DigitalBolex d16 development.

The latter offers 4x3 sensor if I'm not mistaking (on top of being sexy)? I'd be interested to hear your opinion on this project.

 

Now, regarding LOMOs and anamorphic: I understand anamorphic is a whole family of lenses that are made to shoot those beautiful large landscape-like pictures and have a different flare than non-anamorphic. But, flare aside and ease of use + budget in mind, would the end result be that different than if shot with regular non-anamorphic lenses and crop/add black bands in post? (probably sounds heretic ;-).

 

A last question: your steadycam 75mm shots of that lovely actress in Lyon are absolutely beautiful! I was just wondering how difficult it has been to get stable shots with the equivalent of an approx. 140mm lens?

 

Thanks again for sharing,

 

Pask

 

Pask,

 

Two short answers. Yes, there's a difference with anamorphics. Have a look at Andrew's guide. I'm not saying it's BETTER than spherical lenses, but it is different. Let what you feel for the character of a lens be your guide.

 

Steadicam with a lens "larger" than 75 or 80mm would be extremely difficult.

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All, thank you for all your overwhelming support, observations, and questions. My producer has reminded me (several times now) that I need to put my undivided focus back on editing. We have an aggressive schedule to meet.

 

Best to you all!!!

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A Frazier (correct spelling) lens allows the foreground and background to be in focus, and is great for wildlife shots.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frazier_lens

 

seinfeld zeinfeld frazier frasier anamorphberg etc.. all the same thing. =P      Frazier lens being good just for wildlife!?  Are you kidding?  the Frazier lens changed the industry in Hollywood.  I don't think you know exactly what the Frazier lens has done or even grasp set design benefits.  

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which should be ignored.

 

just ignore it then.  you don't need to defend anything.  that's why this forum is fun.   if people ignored what critics said and just went on to see a film anyway then there wouldn't be a need for critics...

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... nobody ever talks about acting around here anyways...

 

Go start talking about camera and lighting in a discussion on an actor board and see how fast you're shown the door for being off-topic and unwelcome.  You do it thrice here with your tangent about some specialized lens, not to mention ADR, that has nothing to do with anything going on here and/or irrespective of the reality of this project and where it is in the process of completion (ie. not completed).  Trying to force a confluence of other subjects is both presumptuous and selfish.  This is a shooter's board for technical discussions.   This is an image-centric article about an anamorphic film in post-production.  Maybe you should start a blog or something, maybe, and get this stuff off your chest in a more appropriate venue?

 

Anyway, on topic, so the interface between lens and camera wasn't tested is what you're saying.   You're taking it on faith that it's both free of human error (pretty unique feat, regardless of pedigree) and also manufactured with the forethought that it just might be used with very, very rare anamorphic lenses that functionally depend upon a correct and precise up-vector, ignoring the skew in the raw imagery that had to come from somewhere other than the camera (a reasonable assumption, though it should also be eliminated from causation)?  

 

Forgive me from being too analytical but solving these kinds of problems based on the number of places error can be introduced (here we have two cameras, two adapters and multiple lenses, nominally) is just kinda what I do and I have a hard time turning it off.  I come from a background where if I didn't figure out the problem it was likely never going to be fixed.  There aren't that many factors here so isolating the problem is really easily and quickly done, but to do it you have to get over any notion that any one of the pieces involved could not possibly be behaving in a way that's inconsistent with your expectations.

 

"Professional" equipment is as likely, if not more likely (by virtue of being one-off or low volume) to malfunction or have some kind of issue.  You quickly learn this the more you're exposed to it.

 

edit: Regardless of all that, I do applaud any filmmaker who goes for it.  I don't think even close to half of them lucky enough to start their film, as an independent, see it through to getting it in-the-can.  Fewer still begin post production and even fewer still make it through editorial to arrive at a completed film.  Keep at it.  Every step is a reward in and of itself and fuel to keep pushing forward.

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This looks pretty cool! Nice one for shooting it all on GH2s, kudos. I'll be sure to watch the finished picture when it's out and about.

 

On the subject of things that are discussed on this particular forum...

 

I found the anamorphic not-quite straight right-skew leaning distracting at 38s, 49s, 1:00s, 1:15s (round the dinner table). Either the camera or lens aren't straight i'd guess, but I'm sure you can skew the image back in after effects easily with a bit of scale up.

 

The guy at 1:47 talking about the contract comes across as a good actor! There's not a lot of the lead yet in the trailer though, I'd like to see more of him delivering lines in your final trailer, as the current trailer is too vague to make me wanna watch it if I saw it in cinema or online not on a specific interest forum.

 

Change that bloody font please ;)

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Do I see a tip of the hat to CONTACT at 2:07?

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Go start talking about camera and lighting in a discussion on an actor board and see how fast you're shown the door for being off-topic and unwelcome.  You do it thrice here with your tangent about some specialized lens, not to mention ADR, that has nothing to do with anything going on here and/or irrespective of the reality of this project and where it is in the process of completion (ie. not completed).  Trying to force a confluence of other subjects is both presumptuous and selfish.  This is a shooter's board for technical discussions.   This is an image-centric article about an anamorphic film in post-production.  Maybe you should start a blog or something, maybe, and get this stuff off your chest in a more appropriate venue?

 

I totally agree with you on this. There's a place for separate discussion of all the elements important to filmmaking. If I see anyone trying to derail a discussion about some technical aspects of film production on here with their boringly obvious and uninformative 'content is king' mantras I will be, to quote Tarantino, shutting their butts down.

 

The analogy you used about the actor board was perfect. One wouldn't interrupt a discussion about acting technique with something completely irrelevant about CMOS sensors so why do we see it happen so often in reverse on camera forums?

 

"Hey Daniel Day Lewis your acting is pretty useless without a lens!! How about we talk about what's really important!!?? Canon or Nikon glass?"

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If I see anyone trying to derail a discussion about some technical aspects of film production on here with their boringly obvious and uninformative 'content is king' mantras I will be, to quote Tarantino, shutting their butts down.

 

This here's Sheriff Reid's blog, folks, and his reputation for being a serious shooter is well earned. Tip of the hat, Sheriff. And to you, deputy Rhoades.

 

"Hey Daniel Day Lewis your acting is pretty useless without a lens!! How about we talk about what's really important!!?? Canon or Nikon glass?"

 

THAT just caused a large laugh to roll out across the high Nevada desert. Can never have too much humor on a camera tech blog. Or on a high desert plain for that matter. Also makes the Sheriff metaphor work. Anyway... back on topic...

 

On the road back from Sundance. Must return to editing. Will respond more when I'm back in the home studio. My curiosity about the 1 degree of vertical slant on two particular shots in the trailer is growing. It's an easy enough fix, but was the camera just not quite level, or is it something else? Will carefully check other shots when I'm back. I may shoot a test pattern too. I'm not a test-pattern kind of guy, but they have their place and I'm open to find out. As Burnet pointed out, there are a lot of variables, so I appreciate the community help.

 

Meanwhile, my producer is obliged to keep me on edit and on schedule, but I will get back to the discussion as soon and as often as I can. Hopefully in a day or two.

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Somehow I already hit my quota for "likes" but I so like the above two posts.

 

Anyhoo, yeah, those couple shots won't be hard to correct so that nobody ever knows in the final.  If/when you go back to the issue remember the fact of it only being a few shots is critical to whittling down the source and isolating possible variables involved.  Was it only shots using a certain lens(es)?  Were they all from a specific camera?  Were adapters ever swapped between cameras?

 

That last question, it may or may not be related, but over in the discussions regarding that new Metabones "Speed Booster" a fairly serious looking stills photographer puts it through its paces in spite of having a standing policy that he not review adapters.  He has a section in his article where he describes as little as 20micron discrepancies between how an adapter sits relative to the surface of the imaging sensor and possible adverse effects on the optical characteristics of the final image.  Tolerances for keeping the sensor and the lens mount co-planar are very high but adapter manufacturers can't be as exact because they would need pre-existing knowledge of a specific camera's alignment set by the manufacturer.  If I recall, from the article, wider angle lenses produce increasingly pronounced effects at the edge of frame.

 

Could be totally unrelated but I'd never read that before, that sensor alignment wasn't specific to a model but the individual camera.

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Could be totally unrelated but I'd never read that before, that sensor alignment wasn't specific to a model but the individual camera.

 

Compact view cameras allow for shimming of their digital back to achieve the optimum sensor position. In massive produced DSLRs the tolerances are close enough and can be masked by micro-adjust. But I have seen cases on friends equipment where one end of the sensor was off by a fraction and he could never get anything in focus on that side. The camera went back to service and the service report read -- "shimmed sensor".

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ok, fine, sorry, I surrender, everybody...GH2 anamorphic 4 life!  nothing else matters.

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ok, fine, sorry, I surrender, everybody...GH2 anamorphic 4 life!  nothing else matters.

 

Okay, gotta like your humor. Maybe that's a patch we have in common...

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Congratulations! Its great to hear about another indie film maker accomplishing his film, mostly these days its just all about looking up spec sheets and tests, glad to see some people are actually shooting something ;)

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Congratulations! Its great to hear about another indie film maker accomplishing his film, mostly these days its just all about looking up spec sheets and tests, glad to see some people are actually shooting something ;)

 

Right on. Thanks!

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This looks pretty cool! Nice one for shooting it all on GH2s, kudos. I'll be sure to watch the finished picture when it's out and about.

 

Thanks. It is, after all, the final picture that matters.

 

Change that bloody font please ;)

 

Yep, I know. Changed it for the feature edit a while back... good thing about a working trailer is seeing what actually works and what doesn't over time.

 

For the record, I am a font fanatic. Made my kids watch the documentary "Helvetica." They haven't seen the world the same since--especially road signs.

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Do I see a tip of the hat to CONTACT at 2:07?

 

I like the analogy, and I see where you're coming from (an otherworldly meeting on the beach) but no, didn't have Contact in mind there. Now, if the waves were rolling backwards, as they do in Contact, it would be closer to being an homage. Actually, that could be interesting. Anybody want to roto the characters to make that happen?? ;-)

 

I think Contact is, btw, a good film on several levels.

 

The steadicam (pull) shot where the daughter runs through the house and up the stairs and finally reaches up and pulls the glass mirror medicine cabinet open, as if the ENTIRE SHOT had been done inside the mirror, was amazing. Nobody else in the theater noticed that but a filmmaker buddy and I nearly fell out of our chairs. It was sublime.

 

So was the sound design by Randy Thom. He inspired me to write sound into the storytelling for Mandorla.

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Compact view cameras allow for shimming of their digital back to achieve the optimum sensor position. In massive produced DSLRs the tolerances are close enough and can be masked by micro-adjust. But I have seen cases on friends equipment where one end of the sensor was off by a fraction and he could never get anything in focus on that side. The camera went back to service and the service report read -- "shimmed sensor".

 

Fascinating. I didn't think that a sensor could be out of alignment. But it is part of the chain and therefore a suspect. Maybe not one of the "usual suspects" though, but something to consider. Thanks for the post.

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Thanks. It is, after all, the final picture that matter.

 

 

Yep, I know. Changed it for the feature edit a while back... good thing about a working trailer is seeing what actually works and what doesn't.

 

For the record, I am a font fanatic. Made my kids watch the documentary "Helvetica." They haven't seen the world the same since--especially road signs.

 

/cheer

 

This is comforting to hear, someone else with a font fetish.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone upload an otherwise well-crafted film only to have some standard MS font for their titles that may or may not be properly antialiased.  I just don't get it.  If someone's gonna go with an OS stock font at least make it Impact, lol, you can still do a lot with that.

 

There are so many great sites out there and have been since at least the late 1990s with all kinds of great, free fonts in 31^n flavors.  You could spend hours and hours browsing and downloading from just one of the better sites.  "acidcool" used to be my go-to for browsing.

 

I don't think anyone's ever posted a video here with that default Vegas blue screen and cheesy white font preset like a lot of people still seem to do on youtube.  That's the worst.

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