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Everything posted by studiodc

  1. I own the SLR Magic vari-ND. I haven't owned a Heliopan, but compared to my Tiffen Fixed ND's, it's at least on par. I haven't (yet) noticed any colour shift either. It's a fantastic vari-ND, and well worth the money, in my non-scientific opinion.
  2. Dog Schidt Optiks FF58, with the FF38 and FF88 attachments, plain hood, and a metabones Speedbooster ultra + normal adapter, on M43, is how I'd start. That's a great start whether you shoot M43, Super35, or FF. For wide/ultra-wide, I'd probably go with any decent vintage 24mm and/or the SLR Magic 10mm, and for tele any of the fantastic C/Y longer lenses with a plain adapter would do nicely for S35 or smaller. I don't know teles for FF very well, 135 is about as long as I ever care to use in my own work, beyond that I'd rent.
  3. The best counterweight for any rig (and I'm not going to get into particulars here) is a solid V-mount battery and some kind of cheese plate and rail clamp to mount it to your rig. A cheap D-tap cable, a soldering iron and some heat-shrink, and a few radio shack plugs (and of course a converter if your rig is sensitive to voltages - most are not) and you have a huge battery that will keep your gear running for hours plus less weight up front (no batteries needed anymore except for the one in the back!) which gives you both a lighter overall setup, a longer battery time, and a more balanced rig in general. It's worth the few hundred it costs because you save it in diverse batteries and fewer charge rounds and less overall lost time on set. Also you only have one battery to change when power gets low rather than two, three, four (camera, EVF, recorder if you have one, lights, etc.).
  4. studiodc


    ​Well, some zooms have the remarkable qualities of both a non-rotating front element AND no length changes on focus OR zoom (internally focused, internally zoomed). I should note that as you've observed already, even non-push-pull zooms (those who zoom by turning a ring) can change length when they zoom. So be on the lookout for lenses which don't change length when focused OR zoomed and you'll have found an excellent candidate for a matte box with the least amount of compromises and frustration. Also, those with minimal length changes can sometimes be used, especially on the tele-end as you can just back them off the filter glass by the length they move, and use a sock or even gaff tape to block light off between the filter and the lens element.
  5. studiodc


    ​Push-pull lenses won't work well with a matte box and rails for a few reasons: 1. The length of the lens extends and retracts causing a shift in the matte box relative position and requiring a reset each time you change lengths. Also accidental fast zooming can break glass filters as the lens' forward extension can put significant pressure on them. 2. The lenses typically cannot be used with a follow focus because the twisting action of the focus can cause the zoom ring to slide and thus change shot framing. Also you can't put a follow on the zoom if you would want to. 3. Most push pull zooms will if swung around slightly or significantly change the zoom position over time. This is unsuitable for anything but dead level static shots. 4. The finger position required to control zoom is more difficult with rails in the way than with a ring and adding a follow focus to the mix only makes changing your focal length even more of a pain. These apply even if you treat the zoom as a series of primes "all-in-one" so to speak. In short, it can be done but in practice they are usually such a bundle of frustration for a cinematographer that it's not worth it.
  6. studiodc


    ++ What Cinegain said. I LOVE my 85mm Rokinon t/1.5. Fantastic glass, gorgeous look especially on a speedbooster. I have also ordered a DSO FF58, which I'm very excited about. The older Nikon, Contax/Yashica (Zeiss), and Minolta 50's are fantastic too. I'm a big speedbooster fan, so consider getting an EOS EF speedbooster, a Nikon F to EOS adapter, and you'll be set for both Nikon and Canon glass (as well as M42, C/Y, etc with proper adapters). That gives you 2 fields of view for each lens you buy, plus the option of an extra stop of light if you need it. Great combo, you can use some amazing glass and it won't break the bank.
  7. I do this with the Ninja Star all the time. Results are very good. The 4K 10-bit downscaled in-camera to ProRes 422 looks fantastic, grades surprisingly well (lifted shadows 3 stops and got still usable tone with a very film-grain-like noise structure, much like 16mm film). For me, since I deliver 1080p and 720p I see this as a major advantage and don't see a benefit to always shooting 4k in camera - I consider the resulting quality between in-camera 4K downscaled to 1080p in post and the 1080p downscale captured as 10-bit ProRes to be negligible, with an advantage to ProRes for workflow speed and latitude for grading later, and a slight advantage to in-camera for one less thing to carry on the rig and the possible option for reframing in post, but I pay for that in post render times and consider it a very very bad habit to shoot with the idea that you'll reframe later. So if you light properly or know how to work with available light well to begin with, and expose/balance properly to begin with (which you should be doing anyway) then you'll get fantastic and very pleasing results with the Ninja Star. I shoot nearly all of my client work with it now, it really does produce some gorgeous footage.
  8. I'll chip in and say Andy's advice on the G6 is pretty spot on for budget filmmaking - my only complaint at all about the G6 is the lack of clean HDMI out, but that hasn't stopped me (or Andy, or a bunch of other folks here) from making some really great product with it. It's also very lightweight, makes a great B-cam when you upgrade later on, and has a fantastic image compatible with the GH2/3/4 series. I use mine with a speedbooster all the time and yes, you can get some very nice DOF with it - it's a very slightly different aesthetic from full-frame glass but it's very similar to Super35 cinema (with the speedbooster) or Super16 cinema (without it) - so I seriously don't think you're losing out on anything! Really, any of these smaller-than-Super35 sensors can give you beautiful results with the right glass - I mean films have been shot on Super16 for decades and nobody complained about it not being "filmic" (hah!). It's not even a limitation - to many filmmakers it's an advantage - lighter weight gear, less expensive glass (in general, especially vintage), more options as more glass will cover the smaller sensor, etc. As for stills, there are of course better stills-only cameras out there, but I've also taken some quite nice shots with the G6 - it just tends to get noisier faster than the newest generation of sensors. Again, that hasn't stopped me from taking some really wonderful shots with it. The MFT family has some fantastic photo heritage by now, so I'd say to put your money in good glass and nice adapters and just upgrade bodies from time to time as you have money. The GM1/GX7 also take some fantastic footage and photos too, I'd say the video quality is on par with the G6 but the photo quality is slightly better. Whatever you do, I highly recommend the Speedboosters (or similar, quality, focal reducers) and vintage glass - Nikon glass focuses the "wrong" way so I recommend you either get all Nikon glass or not at all. Either way since you're on a serious budget my advices is to get a Canon (FD or EOS) speedbooster and adapt it to your glass - don't get the Nikon 'booster as that limits you - you can adapt a Nikon lens (or Contax-Yashica, or...) to a Canon mount but not the other way 'round. Also note that you can't adapt FD to EOS or vice versa - the mounts are too similar to be adapted but too different to be compatible. So make your commitment to which Canon line of lenses you're likely to have better access to - buying, renting, and borrowing included. With a quality Canon-Nikon adapter I've had no problems, but some people don't like to stack adapters, especially with heavy lenses, and I don't blame them. You have to decide if the cost of owning multiple dedicated adapters is worth it to avoid that, if you're faced with a slew of different mount lenses to play with. I can't speak for Sony mirrorless as I don't really use Sony gear, but I can definitely say that the advantages of mirrorless over DSLR for filmmaking (and photography) - for me - outweigh any perceptible "quality" differences, so I'd recommend any quality, well-reviewed mirrorless system (particularly with the focal reducers) over any DSLR, personally. Then just get out there and make films!
  9. Some friends shoot with the Edelkrone SliderPlus and love it. I like the fact that you get 2x the travel and it's a pretty useful dolly too, seriously considering getting one for my own work - which has a similar style of shooting it sounds like. They are not cheap, but for the convenience, weight, and multiple uses they may well be worth a place in your kit. I also have been personally considering the Varavon sliders, which are lightweight, have a motor option or a very simple counterweight -- uses a water bottle(!) so you don't need to carry the weight all the time. Very clever and expandable.
  10. studiodc


    Apologies, I referred to the Nikon 24/2.0 and meant the 1.4.
  11. studiodc


    Hey all... I'm looking for a fantastic walkabout stills/video lens in the ~35mm FF equiv. length (so either a 16-18mm or, for speedbooster a 24mm), FAST (f/1.8 native or faster, mostly for DOF, so don't count the Speedbooster in that factor), with a great manual focus feel. I have a Nikon speedbooster but the Nikon 24mm f/2.0, besides focusing in the wrong direction, is frighteningly expensive. I own the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 but that lens is HUGE. The weight isn't so much the problem as the sheer size - it's not subtle and it's not exactly a great "walkabout" lens. I'll be keeping it for cinema and rig use, but it's not really working for me as a day-carry lens. So, my current shortlist is: Voigtlander 17,5mm f/0.95 SLR Magic 17mm T/1.6 Rokinon 24mm T/1.5 Right now, despite the cost, the Voigtlander would be my pick solely for the sharpness at f/1.4+ for still photos, but the SLR Magic is tempting for video due to the low cost - although I've heard rumours of build quality being iffy. Owners of both lenses are invited to comment, please! The Rok/Samyang is interesting, but kind of large physically as well, and I'm not sure I'm sold on it's look for photos either. For cine use I have the Sigma anyway, so unless the $300 cost difference compared to the Voigt is really not worth it, I'd probably prefer the Voigt. I'd consider another speedbooster version for a good vintage lens, if the combined cost of the speedbooster and the lens are under $1k and the combo meets these specs. So, is there anything I'm missing out there in this length and speed that's a real gem of a lens, one that makes you want to go out and never take it off the camera? Thanks!
  12. The two shots at 1:27 and following look almost like a jib shot - how did you get those (and so smooth)?
  13. Did you take a drone with you on vacation or did you rent one there - and which one do you find satisfactory to fly that camera/lens combination? I really like those shots.
  14. Long time lurker, first post here. I bought the GH4 shooter's guide a couple days ago and it helped me seal the deal on the GH4. I've also got an Atomos Ninja Star handy for 1080p 10-bit 4:2:2 capture. So, the GH4 just arrived and I've been going through the guide in more detail, along with getting familiar with the camera, and I came across this statement: I was wondering, before I get into my own test shots, if the recommendations for Cinelike D/V settings are different when outputting to this recorder than they are in the guide for internal codec use? I'm particularly curious about the Flat profile and possibly flattening the curves even more - would there be any benefit to doing this with 10-bit colour? Just curious... I'm still waiting for the right HDMI cable to ship in so can't test it myself yet.
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