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'This' Look .. (Anamorphic)


martinmcgreal

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Evening guys,

Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera owner speaker here, looking to delve into the medium of anamorphic shooting, aswell as a potential switch to Canon’s 7D/5D line. Now, your probably curious as to why I’m deliberating such a switch, when some would deem it a step backwards .. I could spend three paragraphs deliberating exactly why, however I’ll keep it brief .. I’m looking for a camera that can deliver a more natural, clean soft image, deep in depth, and rich in colour, as apposed to the pocket, which - at least in my opinion - delivers an image that is more naturally sharper, clinical, flatter (in reference to depth, not colour space) and grainier (all be it this is subtle, and filmic). I appreciate such characteristics can be influenced or diluted with softer glass, filters or DI work, but I’d rather a camera that can deliver this look more naturally and effortlessly  Let me be clear too .. I’m not hear to slam the Pocket .. It produces a fabulous image .. I’m just merely in search for a ‘different’ image/look. (References below - by no means breathtaking material or examples - but you get the gist .. natural, soft, clean looking images, deep in depth etc.)

https://vimeo.com/71901747

https://vimeo.com/71912369

https://vimeo.com/89787652

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRIA-xlAYvk

The only two line of cameras on the market - in and around the pocket’s price range - that I believe can deliver ‘this’ look, are Panasonics GH line, and Canon’s 7D/5D line w/ Magic Latern. (Not a fan of Sony’s colour science .. ) Issue with the GH line is, despite how versatile they are, that ‘video-ish’ look still creeps through too often in my opinion, either with regards to its dynamic range, or motion .. 

I guess this leaves just Canon’s 7D/5D line w/ Magic Lantern .. I have to confess, the Canon’s, especially when paired with decent glass/anamorphic adaptors, and in the ‘correct’ hands, deliver ‘this’ look more consistently than anything else I’ve seen within the price range. The way the camera naturally renders everything in the frame so softly and full of depth, whilst delivering natural colours so richly in the process, really does scream ‘Alexa’ or ‘RED’ on occasions. The image just feels more alive and three dimensional than the Pocket’s image too. I guess the issue w/ moving to Canon is, the con’s of the ML workflow when compared to BM’s internal workflow, and the compatibility wth my current glass (Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Nikon, Sigma 50mm F 1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon, Metabones Speed Booster Nikon G). If needs be, of course I’m open to selling such glass, but ideally I’d rather avoid the inconvenience, especially given it’s decent glass too.

So, thoughts? Worth picking up a used 7D/5D and making the switch? (I may even keep the Pocket regardless, if possible)

Nb. I’ve spent a fair few weeks deliberating the switch, viewing hundreds of anamorphic material w/ either camera, and the Canons just deliver ‘that’ look far more consistently, effortlessly and accurately. Of course worth noting the fact I’m wanting to shoot anamorphic is playing a part here too, given Magic Lantern is more anamorphic friendly than the Pocket. 

It’s hard to discuss anamorphic adaptors etc. yet, until of course I’ve decided on a camera, since if I’m sticking with the Pocket, then I’m routing more in the 1.5x-1.8x range due to my dislike of 3:55:1 ..  Whereas with the Canon and Magic Lantern, 2x adaptors suddenly become an option .. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Consider the Samsung NX1. Ignoring all the crap about it being discontinued, it's a great camera and always will be. The color is pleasing, and the 4K provides lots of information to work with when craving an image. Add to that the recent support via FilmConvert, and I think it might have a lot of what you're looking for.

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@martinmcgreal I shot the first two crappy 7D tests you posted in your opening post. The cat video was waaaay back when raw video was not even working yet (was silent picture 'burst mode') - now the build for 7D is a lot more refined and it's image can still hold it's own next to the king 5DmkIII which is what I often shoot with now. Moire can be an issue with this camera though (as can the 50D etc) but you can get a VAF filter to eliminate moire effects. - if you can afford it (and sold on going the canon ML route), the 5DmkII or mkIII deliver the cleanest/ highest quality ML raw images.

Seems like you could pickup a great deal these days on a used 7D body - and also have a rugged stills camera that will always hold some value...if you ever wanted to resell (quite a safe bet that you would not loose very much money).

Magic Lantern is either something you will love or hate (workflow-wise) - it takes time to master and search through many forum posts on quirks and best practices...but it is worth the effort to the right kind of shooter. I wish they handed ML enabled canons out to film school students, as the discipline of conserving 'stock' and having to 'process' the images afterwards is comparable to the good old celluloid days...it can make shooting a more crafted and thought - through affair, rather than spunk a load of footage to wade through later.

As for lenses, s35 of the 7D enables you to shoot with quite a few anamorphic lenses without vignette issues, the test videos of mine that you linked to were shot using an iscomorphot 16/2x with an old 135mm f2.8 pentacon taking lens.

But I think nowadays the camera is far less important...most can deliver good/ great images. Non - modern (non MC) Lenses are almost always what impart the 'look' you mention.

In anamorphic, the taking lens often gives 90% of the 'look'...by reducing contrast and adding pleasant optical artefacts - not just adding crazy flares.

 I'd maybe keep the pocket camera and speedbooster (fantastic combination btw) and maybe look around for nice little 1.5x iscomorphot that will look very cute on your pocket camera, and gives you single focus!

(Yes, this is a shameless plug for my current lens for sale on ebay...but for your current camera and reference, it could be a great match for your pocket camera ) The third video reference you posted (Cosimo's lake video) was shot on this exact lens type. I'm only selling it as it has fairly restricted use on full frame...on crop sensor (s35 and smaller...it can really deliver some beautiful results).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Isco-Gottingen-Iscomorphot-8-1-5x-Anamorphic-Lens-Baby-Iscorama-/252575728612?hash=item3aceafc3e4:g:4rgAAOSwLF1X9Veo

 

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Thanks for the responses guys .. 

The 50D and NX1 are both good suggestions, and the rich/natural colour the latter produces really is stunning .. I've never shot with either, but from what I've seen online - not always the most conclusive material I know - both still have that video-ish look to them.. Now whether thats the dynamic range, picture profiles or the users contrasty grading, I'm not entirely sure; just my impressions. 

The 7D seems like the solid option, but I am tempted to go that extra buck for a used Mark ii - what do you guys think? I guess this entire decision depends on lenses too .. my current glass as listed in the opening post is a no-go w/ the 5D/7D right? 

@Hans Punk Thanks for the info. I am leaning towards keeping the Pocket, in addition to purchasing a camera which can achieve the above look for narrative work .. Sounds a little stupid, given the Pocket is more designed for narrative work than Canon's 5D/7D line, but hey-ho, personal taste and all that .. 

 

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I think the main difference between the 5Dmk2 and 50D is sensor size, image quality is very close (you can improve it by getting a aliasing filter)
For your lenses, Nikon glass on canon is good but you don't get aperture control I think (cannot try it as I don't own any nikon gear :s)

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Looking like a 7D then .. 

As for glass, my Nikon glass is compatible with the 7D through a Nikon to Canon adaptor, no? I just worry with such an adaptor - given I want to shoot anamorphic too - that all the glass starts to become a bit too stacked, and inconvenient .. 

Might be wise to start from scratch and purchase some used glass compatible without adaptors .. I hear great things about the Helios 44 58mm f2.0?

 

 

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3 hours ago, martinmcgreal said:

I hear great things about the Helios 44 58mm f2.0?

The Helios 44-2 is inexpensive and can deliver fantastic results.  The original Helios 44 is harder to find and more expensive, and can deliver amazing results.  

My GH4 + Helios 44 + B&H anamorphic delivers — in my inexperienced opinion — a very filmic look.  If you forward to 0:30 on my video you can see what this combo looks like straight out of the camera (keep in mind I am a complete novice and the footage reflects this, too).

I highly recommend either the Helios 44 or 44-2 as a great investment.

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1 hour ago, Bold said:

The Helios 44-2 is inexpensive and can deliver fantastic results.  The original Helios 44 is harder to find and more expensive, and can deliver amazing results.  

My GH4 + Helios 44 + B&H anamorphic delivers — in my inexperienced opinion — a very filmic look.  If you forward to 0:30 on my video you can see what this combo looks like straight out of the camera (keep in mind I am a complete novice and the footage reflects this, too).

I highly recommend either the Helios 44 or 44-2 as a great investment.

Is the Helios 44 a preset aperture design too ? Or just the 44-2 ? 

I know that the 44m is the same optically but with a clicked aperture. I have a 44-2 and two 44m the flares are a bit different between them (due to the differences in coating) but they seem to be identical in optical design. is the 44 the same ?

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The Helios I used in the video is just a plain 44 (not 44-2 or 44m) with a 13-blade clickless aperture.  I don't think there are major optical differences, but I don't know enough about them to say with certainty,  Soviet lenses are notorious for manufacture/design variations depending on year and factory of origin,  Early 44 versions have the gold coating, I believe the 44-2 and 44m all have purple coatings?  There is plenty of info out there on the Helios 44 line of lenses, maybe someone reading this knows of a URL that explains all the differences?  

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