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Digital goes back to the 70's - 1st impressions of Dog Schnit Optiks Flare Factory 58 lens and sample photos

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Dog Schidt Optiks Flare Factory 58 sample images

The Flare Factory 58 is modified lens by fellow British filmmaker Richard Gale, and a regular member of the EOSHD forum. A few weeks go Rich sent me one of the first of the lenses, a Flare Factory 58 (serial 004). Humorously branded Dog Schidt Optiks, Rich is modifying Helios 44-M 58mm F2.0 lenses making versions with a unique character which can be customised on order. They are hand assembled and modified in England.

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these looks great I want one!!

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My opinion this time: Pseudo-artsy-fartsy stuff, very short half-life. The eternal apple and telco advertising style. Can't stand it anymore. Some guitar, some look-how-we-sit-beneath-the-trees-with-beards-and-remember-the-sixties-whatever-vocals... Rule: If it's in the commercials, it's already dead.

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A lot of commercials are shot with the Alexa, or in 24p, and neither of those are dead. There's been a lot of shit paintings in the colour red but it didn't kill the colour. And so on...

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My opinion this time: Pseudo-artsy-fartsy stuff, very short half-life. The eternal apple and telco advertising style. Can't stand it anymore. Some guitar, some look-how-we-sit-beneath-the-trees-with-beards-and-remember-the-sixties-whatever-vocals... Rule: If it's in the commercials, it's already dead.

 

Thanks for the lovely write up Andrew.  We're looking forward to seeing you ragging the gradations with10bit colour on your bmcc, in moving picture.  The sunset shot is rather fetching.  makes me want a large glass of OJ!  

 

@ Wombi.

 

I understand your point.  There is such a thing as 'too much' and 'cliche'  But 99% of what you see in this style has been worked in post to give the look - especially in video/movies/commercials.  Even a layman can sense a digital post production workflow overlayed over something shot on super contrasty zeisses.  It's very hard to successfully mimmic analogue and physical lens flares and characteristics.  It gets even more exciting when you start to pull the footage around and start adding contrast back to the image shot on a flat/milky lens.  Raw will be the key to getting the most from these lenses, and hopefully soon we will all have access to raw movie capture.           

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the Alexas native files have that milky washed out look that has been embraced by TV commercials - just dont apply a LUT to it.

bingo!

 

So this lens approximates that look

 

Id like to try one on Nostaglic on the GH2 ! and on our Blackmagic

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Maybe I've been living in Germany too long without a TV. These commercials don't bother me in the slightest :) But I think I know what you mean. For me it is more to do with the content and insipid style than the art direction or lack of it!

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All of the things that I thought would be neat to do to a lens to make it more interesting, Rich went out and DID them (as well as a couple of things that I hadn't thought of). I got the one after Andrew's (serial # 005) and personally I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Any day now.

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Rich allowed me into his secret 'Dog Schidt lab' recently and I must say that the effort and and craftsmanship he has invested into each individual lens is incredible.

 

They are a perfect partner for anamorphic shooters who would like to bring back a more organic/filmic feel to their images, as well as allow stylised stills to be composed 'in camera' - without the need of heavy post processing.

 

The retro 'look' is everywhere, but these lenses actually take it back to good old 'in camera' capture, allowing happy accidents and unpredictable results that is more honest to conventional photography I think. When used as a taking lens for anamorphic, they can create enhanced flares that you would never expect possible, as well as mimic x2 bokeh blur on a 1.33x lens if you choose that option....amazing!

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Did you shoot any video andrew? Would love to see some footage with the same feel as these stills. Looking great for straight-out-of-camera shots.

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My opinion this time: Pseudo-artsy-fartsy stuff, very short half-life. The eternal apple and telco advertising style. Can't stand it anymore. Some guitar, some look-how-we-sit-beneath-the-trees-with-beards-and-remember-the-sixties-whatever-vocals... Rule: If it's in the commercials, it's already dead.

 

Everything goes in and out of fashion, but a creative tool is a still a creative tool, and can be used in a multitude of ways.

 

The washy twee look you mention, usually musically accompanied by a faux ingenue female mumbling a ukelele cover of an 80s pop tune and claims that a product is "real" or "authentic" is, as was pointed out here, usually just RAW or cinelog that's been left quite raw. It's also shallow marketing bollocks, will disappear quickly, and doesn't really change how the same tools could be put to good use in a genuinely creative way.

 

The aforementioned ads drive me fu***ng mad as well, but don't change the fact that this lens opens up some interesting possibilities...

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I don't mean to offend anyone. Just my personal opinion - exactly what jgharding expresses vividly. I connect that to the lenses in question because it's again a retro look. 70s wallpaper and all that. I personally don't want to focus on a special look anymore while capturing the images (well knowing that some things can't be done in post). Visual fashion has that mentioned ultra-short half-life, and I believe the look should be determined by the story. Being consequent that would mean a 70s look would require a story somehow connected to the 70s in the widest sense. Sounds probably narrow-minded - but I'm just somewhat tired of forced looks that convey this too obvious illusion of hand-made stuff, Lomography, coolness at any cost. My dream is to overcome that because I have the impression we're somewhat stuck in that club-snowboard-used-furniture-but-there's-also-a-tablet-fashion. Not sure if I can express really well what I mean; anyway, it's just what I personally believe, I'm not on a mission to make anybody believe the same. Or am I? No, not really, I hope. So my first post in this thread was truly impulsive because I just thought 'please, not again'. No offense.
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90% of Tv commercials are shot on Arri Alexa these days its become the camera of choise for TVC's

and more and more commercials are using this milky washed out Alexa look

Its not particularly 70's looking its actually very 'NOW. this look is in fashion and will be for a while to come.

I'm seeing it on commercials that don't have a 70's theme at all they just use this look.

So the FF58 brings this look to the masses!

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I think the appeal of such a modified lens is somewhat related to how we are capable of having a response to any emotion that seems to go beyond the limits of the vehicle of its expression. For instance, the voice that cracks because it is expressing emotions that go beyond the capacity of what the lungs and throat can bear, or the guitar that feedbacks because the emotion expressed goes beyond the limits of amplification, etc. Many of these limits have been overcome with digital technology, creating the potential for anodyne, sterile images. This is one way to throw a little analogue grime back in the mix... it gives the images an authentic, lived-in patina. I like it for the same reason I like antique chairs and pictures of ruins. Nostalgia? Not really. I just like anything touched by human hands that get a little "untouched" by time.

 

Having said all that, I am looking forward to some video samples of the various configurations. I own a pristine (unmodified) Helios 44-M and can attest to its overall awesomeness.

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I think the appeal of such a modified lens is somewhat related to how we are capable of having a response to any emotion that seems to go beyond the limits of the vehicle of its expression. For instance, the voice that cracks because it is expressing emotions that go beyond the capacity of what the lungs and throat can bear, or the guitar that feedbacks because the emotion expressed goes beyond the limits of amplification, etc. Many of these limits have been overcome with digital technology, creating the potential for anodyne, sterile images. This is one way to throw a little analogue grime back in the mix... it gives the images an authentic, lived-in patina. I like it for the same reason I like antique chairs and pictures of ruins. Nostalgia? Not really. I just like anything touched by human hands that get a little "untouched" by time.

 

Having said all that, I am looking forward to some video samples of the various configurations. I own a pristine (unmodified) Helios 44-M and can attest to its overall awesomeness.

 

you nailed it in one. "For instance, the voice that cracks because it is expressing emotions that go beyond the capacity of what the lungs and throat can bear". What a lovely analogy.  The limitations of the lens, and the potential for the image to be degraded in a baked in fashion where no amount of post processing can bring it back to how it would look if shot on a set of master primes or cookes certainly imparts a physical aesthetic largely beyond the control of the camera operator and post production guy.  I've not being able to take advantage of this personally (within video terms), but having a raw file with massive information to be pulled around, bring ing back the contrast lost optically by the lens creates a very tangible and physical feel.  

 

The standard Helios is an amazing lens.  One of the best.  And as said in our faq, we are degrading the results from this old benchmark lens, considered by most to be a go-to lens for nostalgic appearance.  

 

here is a direct comparison between a standard helios and a ff58:-

http://vimeo.com/62310544

 

And the new owner took this exact lens out on its first expedition last night, linked to a little kowa 8mm anamorphic lens:-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/_tee/8593794794/in/set-72157633099963600

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The flares in your comparison video are a good example of what I am talking about. It's as if the light source you are attempting to capture is of a nature beyond what the lens can accurately render.

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its always better to do as much as you can in camera

Im a big fan of burning a look into the image it always looks better then any post created tricks

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No such thing as "milky washed out Alexa look".  You have either improper grading or flashed blacks done as a choice for your look, if the final footage is milky or washed out.  Similarly, early RED films made the camera look very bad because of widespread colorist failure working with LOG origination.  You could say the same for the Genesis.

 

 

90% of Tv commercials are shot on Arri Alexa these days its become the camera of choise for TVC's

and more and more commercials are using this milky washed out Alexa look

Its not particularly 70's looking its actually very 'NOW. this look is in fashion and will be for a while to come.

I'm seeing it on commercials that don't have a 70's theme at all they just use this look.

So the FF58 brings this look to the masses!

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Thanks for posting that video richg101!  Which is which though?  I assume the first one shown is the Helios followed by FF58,  I really like how the second lens is capturing the light coming off the bulb but I also prefer the more colorful flares from the first lens (even though I find them more distracting).

 

mmills, that was quite some artsy fartsy Romanticism crap you're peddling ;-P but after getting through it I realized you're right and I completely agree.  Even though I always shoot for the cleanest footage I could get (and am not on board with that "flat look going to final" trend) I do like a nice flare and feel this is something hard enough to replicate in post that it's better done in camera.  I think all "artists" like to play with the limits of their trade and your observation of why we like this kinda of lens is spot on.  Furthermore the idea that these lenses convey a breaking point that is not only beautiful (rather then the all too common ugliness of a compression codec pushed too far) but also emotional has added much more potential in a "flare shot" for me.  So thanks! :D

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The Arri Alexa can shoot 'linear' (technically called Rec.709) which looks 'normal'. Or as LogC which looks 'milky and low contrast'.
 
LogC gives you more latitude. Which, depending on the calibre of the cinematographer, means, he can mess up the exposure and you fix it in post, or he can shoot amazingly and you can change the 'look' and better it in post.
 
On the set you can shoot LogC (milky) and yet monitor Rec709 (normal). So, many people get fooled into believing what's on the monitor is being recorded.
 
LogC need to be converted before you can see them normally.
 
This Milky low contrast  look has become very popular on TV.
 
The FF58 lens has a similar look to this - thats why I like it!
 
http://vimeo.com/13940259#

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Hi there,

 

This lens caught my attention, i get what some of view are trying to point at. But what seems cool to me with it is that it's a real vintage lens, so it's identity is not fake, and, it's hand-modified by someone who surely loves its lenses, and at some point decided that he could make them even even more "his". Sure we can argue that it's a fashion, we can talk about the alexa and milky look of commercials (which i enjoy by the way... too much sat and contrast was also a fashion and is also a way to hide that your picture is not so interresting). This lens is not made i think to be a professional tool, it has not been thought to be THE lens, it's something a guy thought that some of us might enjoy, and that's it. It's creative, i'd be absolutely unable to do the same (i actually also own an helios 44-2), so i'd like one of these.

 

My question (yes i do have a question, my opinion is worth nothing, i need advice actually ;)

I saw the different options available, and i was wondering which would be the most interesting to you guys ?

I'm thinking that i would go for the Fixed Aperture Circular F1.5 – Extreme Flare, Ultra Low Contrast. with orange or blue tint... after all why not get the extreme one. But i guess an other opinion is never lost, and if Andrew could give me his advice, i'd be grateful!

 

I shoot a 5DII both for video and stills by the way.

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Hey aelxcosy.

 

Re. the lens options.  Ultimately the quasi f1.5 'extreme' was originally conceived to work alongside the iscorama 36.  amber being specifically to work in unison with the single coated amber flare of the isco36.  The quasi f1.5 in non tinted, 'stupid' low contrast is really really milky.  it absorbs the natural hue from surroundling light sources and creates a cast matching the natural tones of the lighting.  using with an iscorama (which i feel is a little clinical when put up against a lovely little 8mm anamorphic) the quasi f1.5 makes the whole thing a lot more intergrated and unified 'as one' instead of looking like 2 lenses (a anamorphot and a taking lens) working together and each imparting their own look.

 

without an anamorphot the quasi f1.5 creates a Log type look, without the information being there to pull back in post.  so you have a baked in log/milky aesthetic.  boosting contrast/saturation 'in camera' while using a quasi f1.5 creates an interesting bastardised look.  the exact opposite of a contrasty lens used on a camera shooting log then bringing back contrast in post.  This creates a natural analogue / lo-fi feel which is created in the physical domain (with glass and light) rather than within the digital domain (with grading, overlays, and gamma adjustments).  The lack of information in the shadows is not rendered as noise, but instead a little bit of exposure that wouldnt normally be there on a more contrasty lens.

 

A variable standard aperture can be created into almost as low contrast as the quasi f1.5, and this is certainly the best option for someone who is a bit unsure.  The quasi f1.5 will need a variable ND filter on the front if you are the type of person who likes to maintain an optimum (base) iso and shutter speed of 1/50.  Though as Andrew Reid pointed out, over exposure is nice on this type of lens since it doesnt look quite as harsh as with a typical lens, and seems to make the aesthetic / flare properties more prominent.  

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I put in an email to get on the waiting list. I can't wait! I'm very impressed with the passion and style you are putting in to these lenses. Well done.

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For those that can't find it here are the lens options:

Here are the options to choose from:

  • Option 1 – 58mm Variable Aperture Circular f/2 – f/16
  • Option 2 – 58mm Fixed Aperture* Oval Bokeh (1.5x or 2x) f/2.8(f/3.5 @ 2x), f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 (approx)
  • Option 3 – 58mm Fixed Aperture* Triangle Bokeh f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 (approx)
  • Option 4 – 58mm Fixed Aperture Circular f/1.5 (approx) – Extreme Flare, Ultra Low Contrast

Any of the above options are available with any or all of these customizations:

  • Tinted Flares (red, green, blue, orange, purple)
  • Un-Tinted Flares
  • Contrast level (Low, Lower, Stupid) – the lower the contrast, the more prominent the tint
  • Glow (high, medium, low) – chromed aperture ring causes additional vibrant coloured artifacts
  • Element Cleaning Marks (high, medium, low) – subtle cleaning marks applied to any or all lens elements
  • Lens Mount – Canon EF, Sony E-Mount, M4/3, Sony Alpha/Minolta, Arri PL
  •  

 

 

 

I did not know the 1.5 was intended to use with the iscorama 36; I was planning on that one but now debating it.  

I'm also not sure I'd want the "stupid" low contrast, so is the 1.5 similar to choosing a variable aperture option with "stupid contrast levels" and "high glow"?

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