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Sean Cunningham

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Everything posted by Sean Cunningham

  1. It's hard. But to overcome that I'd say practice, practice, practice. Still, it's going to be very hard and whatever the project is, if you're a lone shooter, I would suggest that a "loose" style be compatible with the subject material, especially in terms of focus.
  2. You're still talking nothing but hypothetical. You've just said a bunch of stuff you learn from making-of books and television shows and assumptions about what the process is like. You're also conflating all types of productions with the public's assumption of how Hollywood movies are made, which is understandable if you've never actually done what you're talking about. And none of it addresses any of my concerns above. You don't have the experience to have the discussion you're trying to have. We're both anamorphic enthusiasts, true. That's where our similarities end. You're a lens enthusiast interested in making films. I've made films and am interested in some lenses.
  3. That facial AF stuff fascinates me, that it works at all. Sooner or later they'll get some kind of optical flow or motion vector calculations in there to help it maintain continuity if the subject turns their head briefly, so it doesn't just go searching around.
  4. I haven't been able to find out any information on what this was shot on yet, but I like it. Be warned, it's very NSFW and not for the easily offended: http://vimeo.com/89156779
  5. That's not really a "to each their own" case. Discounting what I said in favor of a single aesthetic at the expense of all others on a production says you've never been in that position, working with real actors, or under those kinds of pressures. You have the luxury of having that kind of naive position to take (edit: not being pejorative here). I have to think practically and make choices based on knowing everything is a compromise. So I'd want to be a principle on production that isn't going to constantly be saying "no, we can't do that," or always slowing down setups more than camera department will be blamed for anyway. I'm not going to impose something that will possibly incur more takes because there is now no flexibility with actors hitting marks. Not only would this be wasteful and fatigue inducing it will also potentially lead to animosity between talent and myself, and I don't want that. Not to mention, most narrative work is wider, not longer focal lengths. You've got it backwards. Dynamic movement and flexible blocking trumps preciousness in close-ups for most of the running length of a motion picture. edit: But even considering all that, on something like the GH2 a 50mm is the equivalent to shooting on an ~82mm lens in anamorphic 35mm terms. This adapter allows full fluency of cinematic focal lengths, barring super-telephoto. The key is to find the right taking lens to pair it with. The 24mm corresponds to ~40mm in anamorphic 35mm terms, the lens most of Django Unchained was shot on and, I believe, many of the signature shots in Rushmore.
  6. Premiere Pro. It was the first NLE I learned ('97-'98), having previous editing experience with 3/4" and BetaCam linear editing. It just works as I'd expect an editor to. When Adobe software was pretty crap on the Mac Platform during the first few years of OSX, and they ultimately dumped PPro for Mac, I switched to FCP up through about v4.5 or so but when Premiere came back to Mac I dumped FCP with no remorse. Generally, I only edit in it. It's titling is shit and an editor is a terrible tool for doing the kinds of things I use After Effects for.
  7. The 12-35 is likely only going to be useful at the very top end I'm afraid. If its design is anything like the LUMIX zoom I have, the 14-42mm, I can only use it from 25mm + which was surprising. Other lens designs have worked down to at least 20mm on the GH2 without vignette. I don't presently know anyone local with these lenses though. Folks I actually know are all Canon shooters and one fellow with a RED. I might be meeting up with some new folks soon but the lenses we've discussed have been mostly older manual lenses I think. You might try contacting Andrew Chan at SLR Magic (support@slrmagic.com) and see if they have reports from any of their testers on this lens. I know they don't recommend shooting with zooms, just as a rule. But as compact as these LUMIX lenses are maybe it squeaks in there.
  8. I stopped thinking full frame when I started shooting motion pictures ;)
  9. I didn't see anywhere but what is the compression ratio on this one? Is it the same as the generic MFT model Speed Booster?
  10. What were results with the diopters, or have you tried? On my Century Optics my F.Zuiko needs f/5.6 to really be good but I could get by in some cases with f/4 + Tokina. If I stacked a +1 as well as the Tokina I got a sharp image at f/1.8 if I was in an ECU situation, and the bokeh looked great, but I had to be in an ECU situation.
  11. Even if focusing only took twice as long the restrictions on blocking, lack of follow-focus. Nope. I couldn't actually burden real actors and a production with those kind of limitations. For experimental subjects I'm sure it's fine, that's just not my cup of Diet Dr. Pepper.
  12. There's lots of great footage to be found on the Bolex adapters. Dual focus is an instant deal-breaker for me though. I won't touch them, regardless of how great they might look for certain kinds of shots.
  13. Nahua, thanks. And my brother thanks you too! Yeah, they're crazy cute. I thought your Jupiter 9 footage looks pretty darn nice. Even though you were at f/4 (I think that's right) it seemed to have not quite so geometric a shape from the iris blades. Of course there's going to be caveats and limits. I don't need a solution to be perfect in every case just something I can work with to justify the effort. I was really happy most of the time at 24mm on my Century Optics but I do love it even more with the Anamorphot. Slapping the Tokina on the Century effectively reduced it to something that felt more in the 30mm range, on top of losing infinity. If this upcoming project would just officially book already I have my eye on either a BMPCC or BMCC upgrade, plus corresponding Speed Boosters. Even with that combination though, the factor of the 16:9 sensor means it's fairly easy to hit my target CU equivalency for a 75mm on anamorphic 35mm but matching the look of at least an f/2.8 stop on that lens is still a bit fiddly, but doable I think. @Froess yeah, it does really like to flare so that isn't going to be for everyone. As the specs started to be revealed for the Anamorphot I was constantly encouraged that it all seemed to be aligning with what I wanted to see but there's a lot of folks that don't like heavy flaring and they're preference is certainly just as valid. That music video shot on the Iscorama 54 has very little flare to it but there's no denying it's still beautiful and still exceedingly anamorphic in character. I'd certainly never turn down an opportunity at a similar lens simply because it's not flare crazy (though I wouldn't buy one at today's prices even if one was for sale and had the cash in my pocket). You might check out the Letus. Even their pro-flare coating doesn't seem to flare very strongly.
  14. Nahua and Edwin Lee have been shooting with it on 36mm sensors and with great results. Taking lens compatibility seems to be key to good results no matter the sensor size.
  15. I don't see why not. I've seen footage off the MFT version + Anamorphot, perhaps stuff shot by Vic Harris over on PV. What I'm still curious to see is the combination of Blackmagic + Speedbooster and the Anamorphot. Not so much for what that means for ultimate horizontal FOV, because that's more or less a wash between MFT and APS-C, but to get that vertical size up.
  16. Thanks! Yeah, I've been rather surprised there hasn't been as much useful test footage on the Letus. Before that music video you posted there was maybe one Letus video that sticks out in my head and, honestly, I can't recall if I'm remembering it because of the footage or because the girl in the video was a drop dead gorgeous girl-next-door type, hah-hah. It could just be that because of the price not as many people are using it right now and there's a lot of wait-and-see. That video was nice looking enough though they seemed to have added most of the optical flourish in post. Maybe it's going to be more rental-house customers than end users with that one. Letus likes to market themselves as indie-friendly and like another Redrock Micro but they price themselves more up-market. For me, yeah, all the test footage I see with a static camera, fixed focus and someone either just standing their looking into the lens or moving across a plane or in and out tells me nothing about whether I actually like what's going on here. At least when John Brawley shoots boring tests they're showing a lot of dynamics at play which gives you a better sense of how the lens behaves (or doesn't). I wanted to see something of that but I'm not in a situation currently to hire actors to just run through something so I shot the most readily available subjects in scenarios I had no control over (avoiding cats, lol).
  17. Here's my first compilation of test footage with the SLR Magic Anamorphot. Even before the lens arrived I knew this would be an upgrade in both performance and functionality coming from the Century Optics 16:9 adapter I'd been using for over a year now but I was anxious to see just how much. My favorite lens pairing on the Century Optics was my Nikkor 24mm f/2 which, on the GH2, became pleasantly wide instead of feeling more like a normal focal length. Some folks hate the distortion you get from non-rectilinear lenses once you start getting this short but I love it. It's a subtle curve that doesn't feel fisheye at all and the anamorphic glass + scope framing just accentuates this quality. Paired with the GH2 both adapters can go a bit wider, to about 18mm-20mm depending on the lens design, but this Nikkor is the widest prime I currently own. On the Century Optics if I needed infinity focus I also got soft, chromatic edges regardless of stop with the Nikkor. This isn't always an unattractive quality and more than once I've read reputable DPs giggle over their choice to shoot on some vintage set of anamorphics *because of* their soft, soft-edged, chromatic character. One man's lens with character is another man's junk lens. Anyway, if I didn't need infinity focus then slapping on my Tokina +.4 achromat provided good, sharpenened up footage mostly free of chromatic effects. The SLR Magic Anamorphot, on the other hand, doesn't need any extra help. It's sharper at f/2.8 on my Nikkor 24mm than the Century Optics at this stop with or without the Tokina doublet, doesn't go soft at the edges and doesn't go all chromatic either. Where I really felt the limits of the Century Optics adapter was anything above 24mm. For straight 16:9 shooting I loved the look of my F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 even though it's a bit soft and exhibits coma wide open because most of its faults are hidden from the GH2. To get soft but still *maybe* useful footage with the 50mm on the Century Optics I'd have to be at f/4 though I really needed to be more like f/5.6 which is decidedly not "bokehlicious". Stacking diopters let me open it up but with a serious restriction on range. With the SLR Magic Anamorphot I could happily shoot at f/2.8 on the 50mm thanks to its close-focus system which behaves like a built-in variable diopter. Speaking of, SLR Magic decided to also produce a new line of high quality achromats as a set (+1.3 and +.33). Where diopters are an absolute necessity with the Century Optics and LA 7200 adapters they're totally optional on the SLR Magic Anamorphot. They become more of an aesthetic choice for further enhancing bokeh in close-up photography, enhancing its stretched quality. SLR Magic rates the Anamorphot as sharp on lenses in the range I shot at as wide as f/2.8 though YMMV depending on the complexity of the lens design. Some lenses have been shown to perform even better than the ratings provided by SLR Magic. For the sake of this test footage I kept generally to the f/2.8 - f/4 range, which I anticipate will be my preferred spread of stops for shooting with the lens though for anything serious this will require a 1st AC to pull focus. A few daylight exteriors are likely shot at f/5.6 but I only went further stopped down, to f/8, on one comparison shot against the Century Optics adapter.
  18. Stuart, if you haven't seen it, Eyepatch Films came up with an interesting technique for decent stops and sharpness on the LA7200 with a smaller +.25 between the taking lens and the LA7200: ...it's very dependent on the right combination of pieces but as an option it might be something useful.
  19. I think this is another reason why I've done all my encoding previous to this on my Mac, because of x264. I've run the install on my Windows laptop but it doesn't just show up in apps like MPEG Streamclip or Premiere the same way it just works with OSX and x264Encoder and any application that can write Quicktime. If we could finally ditch pointless "broadcast" specs with analog baggage that would be a step in the right direction for one-world-one-gamma for anything not being projected in a theater. Someday maybe. Hopefully in my lifetime I'll get to see it. update: worked like a charm, many thanks. This will likely be my go-to for any future encoding on the Windows side. That weird deja vu feeling of "not again!" when I saw all my shadow detail crushed out yesterday is finally gone :)
  20. I'm going to give your preset a shot, JCS. I made the mistake in this thread of assuming things work the same on Mac and PC now. Not the first time I'm sure. I usually do my editing, grading and encoding on my Mac but for reasons of space and logistics I'm finishing up something I had to do on my PC laptop. I've done encoding of files rendered as DNxHD to h264 before, I think, and don't recall any issues but I likely shipped those files to my Mac. PC MPEG Streamclip is introducing a gamma shift which persists into the h264 version. I've only ever investigated the fixes for this for Mac and encoding Prores has been fairly trouble free on that side. Ugh.
  21. Film itself doesn't guarantee one ounce of cinematic appeal. Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation. That series was shot on film. I was convinced for the longest time it was shot on something like DigiBETA because, back in my early 20s, I was convinced that film couldn't possibly look so uninteresting. Likewise, the miniature effects on the show looked digital to me on account of how flat the lighting was and how overly-sharp, complete with aliasing, all the matte edges were. I may be wrong but it may have been shot on one of the horrid new low-contrast stocks that KODAK developed for the television market. Back when the show was on the air and I discussed how puzzled I was over why it looked so bad a co-worker put things into perspective for me. He said, "think of it this way: both Star Wars and The Love Boat were shot on the same stock with the same cameras."
  22. Yes, and consider CMOS doesn't predestine a fixed amount of skew (which is also present in film). Both the RED and Alexa are rolling shutter cameras but their chips have very close to film's level of skew in situations like this, though you can't shoot strobe lights with either any easier than you can a 5D. Watch any police procedural shot on them and you see partial frames containing the relatively slow flashing and panning of roof rack safety/warning lights. Even on a given camera, heat seems to be a major contributor to "jello" and skew, at least this was true on the 7D. I'm not a Sony fan, so seeing one of their cameras fall on its face nearly fills me with joy, but I wouldn't base my opinion of any camera on just one video, though, seriously, it's a consumer handycam. How good should it or could it realistically be? It's designed for wealthy suburbanites shooting birthday parties and school plays.
  23. Or Malick. Dynamic Range and un-cinematic movement is one giveaway for video but relative to deep depth of field the selection of lens is likely as important if not more so, and lens selection relative to composition. Kubrick shot huge chunks of his films as big masters where deep depth of field is a given. He's very objective. He doesn't constantly push in to close-ups on telephoto lenses compressing depth. He doesn't put you "into" his movies. He shoots a lot of linear moves framing action in medium wides, lots of medium shots, medium groupings of actors. And these are typically on fairly wide lenses, like Malick and he didn't shy away from distortion. Kubrick had fights with his cinematographers over what conventional thinking said was "too wide" or too wide for the kind of movement he wanted. He proved them wrong. And, a lot of his films could be mistaken for being "stopped down" when in fact they're quite wide open, at what might be considered ridiculous stops, but on a wide angle, focused some distance away from camera on sharp lenses you're still getting a lot in focus (ie. much of The Shining was shot between T1.3 - T2). This distortion of spatial relationships has a way of separating talent from their background in a different way that compressing depth, particularly when you add movement. And further when you use controlled movement, horizontally tracking or moving in Z along with talent. Stopped down at a 3/4 angle on a normal focal length is going to look like The Nightly News and that's not what Kubrick or Malick does. So, it's not a simple this-solves-that sort of thing, though everyone wants a magic bullet. What separates something looking like "video" and something that looks "cinematic" is the sum of many creative and technical choices.
  24. If you're worried about 4K and timecode then you likely aren't hinging any bets on an HDMI recorder. SDI is the pro interface.
  25. Ah, so just left a slight vertical squeeze. There's another thread here discussing the compression ratio on some Iscos being not quite as stated so that makes sense why it would work. A slight vertical squeeze is far more attractive than the opposite. Great stuff.
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