That's genius!! You can, on this occasion keep a hold of your webcam I do love the fact you have fitted it to a rail mount, I say you build a shoulder rig for this! Extra points for rigging it up haha!
Now I loved the image quality on this, for me it looked very filmic, granted its not terribly sharp but much sharper and better looking than I remember from EOS M footage. I guess that is down to a decently sharp lens which works wonders on the Canons. I was half thinking this was shot on a Sony of some kind but the skin tones and colours were just too good Had you said this was an EOS M from the start I wouldn't have believed you, there appears to be no aliasing and moire from what I can see, perhaps YouTube's compression is hiding some of that. Great job!
Now for my reveal and I am really surprised to have won the vote for image quality! When I saw some of the entries I was sure I wasn't going to get anywhere near the top. Not that I was aiming to win, this after all was just a bit of fun! Now I will be honest, I nearly didn't enter. I saw the post on the blog and immediately took interest. I thought over it for a few days and done some research on what could be had for the £200 budget. Andrew- as a side note I did manage to find a large sensor, interchangeable lens 4K camera and nearly went down that route!
At the time of Andrew announcing the competition it was peak wedding season for me (my full time job as a wedding and events filmmaker) and that had to take priority. When I checked back a few weeks later on the closing date for entries it was literally a week away! I took the plunge and bought something cheap in order to take part, paid for express shipping and bought a lens adapter via Amazon Prime.
And here she is in all her glory!
£69 body only from MPB photographic in the UK, and probably the ropiest one they had! It was pretty manky, didn't come with a body cap (omg that exposed sensor!! 😮) and the SD card door doesn't close properly but I was determined to make this work.
The lenses I used were two m42 vintage lenses I had lying around, first up a Pentacon 50mm f1.8 which I actually use in my professional work from time to time - its surprisingly good! For some longer shots I used a Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f3.5 with the aperture blades stuck wide open - again surprisingly good considering the aperture doesn't function and it has been sitting in a bag without any caps on for years.
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice in the above photo there is a Speedbooster attached. This is where I hold my hands up to a little bit of cheating! I bought a Gobe dumb adapter from Amazon as mentioned but knew that for some shots I had in mind the 100mm equivalent FOV I would have would be bit too tight. So for a handful of shots I did run with this - this potentially aided in producing slightly sharper results in some shots. I also used an SLR Magic Variable ND, again not the cheapest of filters! So feel free to disqualify me for this technical infringement!
Before shooting my sequence I done a few test shots in the garden the reviewed the footage on the computer. I knew the AVCHD codec would be a potential struggle but didnt realise how bad it was until looking back on these test shots - the footage was already falling apart before my eyes! 17 Mbps is a long way off the solid looking 100+ Mbps i'm used to off my GH5! Not to mention how much moire I saw in the footage!
Despite this, I found the 720p mode better with it's Motion JPEG codec so considered using this in my film. I shot with the "Nostalgic" setting with Contrast and Sharpness all the way down. For me this looked to have slightly better dynamic range and better roll off between tones than the "Smooth" setting, although the over all colour wasn't as nice.
So, on one of the hottest days of the year I went into my home town and done some people watching. The little GH1 was a fair challenge to use as one might expect with how lucky we are with modern cameras these days. No focus peaking, no zebras, low resolution screen and viewfinder. Despite this, I relied heavily on the histogram to check my highlights, made sure not to film anything with too much motion which would exploit the weaknesses in the codec. I also threw in some 720p shots and upscaled them in the final edit.
My biggest mistake was not taking my proper video monopod out to film, instead relying on handheld or a basic photography monopod. It wasn't until I went out for some golden hour footage I took along a proper tripod. Good old Warp Stabiliser came in handy!
The edit was a quick couple of hours piecing together the best shots, no real story part from the obvious changing of time and I graded using one of James Miller's DeLUTs as a starting point, tweaking to my own taste.
For me this was a refreshing challenge. Normally I opt to do some photography or go a bike ride to escape from my normal work but this was a cheeky day out filming to keep my creativity going at the height of working season. Filmmaking should always be about the fun and not about the expensive gear and with that I think I will arm myself with the little GH1 and see what we can come up with in the future.
I will be writing a more in depth blog post on my own website so when that is done I will link that back to here.
Finally I just want to say well done to PannySVHS for winning the best cinematography, I love the home video feel about this! Thank you to Andrew for coming up with this challenge and getting this little community together to create. Looking forward to more like this soon!