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Best cheap extras for starter camera, best techniques to master

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I've picked up a GX80 and want to build some skills. But whenever I try to google for information on starting video I hit a wall of people trying to tell what camera to buy so they'll get Amazon affiliate revenue. I bought "How to make video that doesn't suck" but, frankly, the book sucks.

So this is what I've worked out from memories with conversations with people who - presented for correction and other advice

- I should shoot manual focus

- I should shoot with off-camera sound and synch with a clapperboard or even just a clap

- I should shoot in manual video mode with the shutter set so that it is open at least half the time? Or is it a minimum of half the time? The idea being to get frames to blur into each other

- If I have to alter exposure during a take I should use a variable ND

- Getting things right in camera matters more than for stills and I should shoot with a flat profile (Natural, NR and Sharpness pushed all the way down?)

- I should shoot in 4K then downsize later for the supersampling

- Try desperately hard to avoid mixing light

???

Questions

- Best way to hold the camera for manual focus? I was thinking of adding a shoulder brace 

- Best cheap lighting options?

- Anything else I should buy other than a variable ND? I was wondering about Tiffen Satins?

- I'm planning on keeping the 12-32mm kit zoom and adding a Panny 20mm and an Oly 45mm

- Books or websites with advice???

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

@jonpais

At this stage I'm just building basic skills. I'll look for appropriate targets for each skill. 

It might be worth adding that I'm in the NW UK - so low light levels and poor contrast are normall for me. Otoh, the light does tend to be soft...

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@meanwhile You must have some idea what it is that you want to shoot... sports? weddings? nature and wildlife? food? anyhow, it sounds like you're spending a lot of time reading... my advice would be to just go out and shoot... Be sure to pick up a white balance target and WB using the camera's custom white balance feature. Shutter speed isn't written in stone, but generally, you'll want to use 1/50th sec. if you're shooting 23.98 with the GX80. I would strongly advise hacking the camera for Cinelike D, it's a much nicer profile than Natural IMO. NR and Sharpening at -5 is a great idea on your camera with the lenses you'll be using. Unfortunately, if you plan on manually focusing, the lenses you're intending to use are far from ideal. You'd be better off picking up some inexpensive cine lenses from Samyang/Rokinon if you plan on using a follow focus. You can learn about inexpensive LED lights over at DSLR Video Shooter. com. 

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@jonpais You must have some idea what it is that you want to shoot... sports? weddings? nature and wildlife? food?

Honestly, no. I learn stuff for the sake of learning then see what happens.

anyhow, it sounds like you're spending a lot of time reading..

I wish. How can I? I can't find decent web resources and haven't found a decent book yet. All the above is a combination of what should be obvious to any competent stills shooter combined, as I said, with memories of a couple of conversations from years ago.

I would strongly advise hacking the camera for Cinelike D, it's a much nicer profile than Natural IMO. 

VERY useful - thanks!

 

Unfortunately, if you plan on manually focusing, the lenses you're intending to use are far from ideal. You'd be better off picking up some inexpensive cine lenses from Samyang/Rokinon if you plan on using a follow focus. 

That's the fly by wire focus?  I'm sure they'd work better, but compared to just buying a few filters and a shoulder gizmo, buying an extra set of lenses doesn't seem that inexpensive - I want the Panny and Oly lenses any way for stills, and each Samyang will cost me as much as the GX80 body. So I'll have to find a way of working around this.

I've an Takumar 55mm around. For a shorter fl, given this is just practice, I could use a CCTV lens???

Anyway - thanks for flagging that problem for me!

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4 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

One of these if you've got an M postcode.

 

gx85.jpg

"That's a vile accuracy"...

 

C-mount lenses look confusing and problematic...

I'll dumb down my focus all the way - shoot with back button focus on the AF lens and forget about anything fancy. Is that the best thing to do with AF lenses?

And I'll maybe try follow focus with a c-mount lens or my Takumar, then get the lenses jonpais suggested - or the Voightlanders ? - if I get interested enough.

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23 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

@jonpais You must have some idea what it is that you want to shoot... sports? weddings? nature and wildlife? food?

Honestly, no. I learn stuff for the sake of learning then see what happens.

anyhow, it sounds like you're spending a lot of time reading..

I wish. How can I? I can't find decent web resources and haven't found a decent book yet. All the above is a combination of what should be obvious to any competent stills shooter combined, as I said, with memories of a couple of conversations from years ago.

I would strongly advise hacking the camera for Cinelike D, it's a much nicer profile than Natural IMO. 

VERY useful - thanks!

 

Unfortunately, if you plan on manually focusing, the lenses you're intending to use are far from ideal. You'd be better off picking up some inexpensive cine lenses from Samyang/Rokinon if you plan on using a follow focus. 

That's the fly by wire focus?  I'm sure they'd work better, but compared to just buying a few filters and a shoulder gizmo, buying an extra set of lenses doesn't seem that inexpensive - I want the Panny and Oly lenses any way for stills, and each Samyang will cost me as much as the GX80 body. So I'll have to find a way of working around this.

I've an Takumar 55mm around. For a shorter fl, given this is just practice, I could use a CCTV lens???

Anyway - thanks for flagging that problem for me!

meanwhile, it sounds like you'd like some sort of crash course for video work. I'd recommend delving into Dave Dugdale's earlier posts and videos as he documented his learning process pretty extensively. I'd also recommend looking at Philipp Blooms stuff, specifically when it's related to a piece of equipment or camera you're using or plan to use. He typically gives very in-depth run throughs. 

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Back button AF is a good way to use AF with native auto focus lenses on the GX80. And your Takumar is a nice lens for manual focus. If you want to add to it, you can grab the 35mm f/3.5, if you're on a budget, or the f/2 if you have a little more to spend. Takumar lenses are beautiful for video work and help to soften the inherent digital look to consumer video cameras.

A simple focus lever will help to pull focus if you want to try rack focus shots. If you enjoy your Takumar lenses, you may want to consider getting a focal reducer to give your manual lenses a wider view and faster aperture, the Lens Turbo II is a great, inexpensive focal reducer.

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@Gregormannschaft

That's so useful - thanks. You guys have helped a lot - jonpais saved me from a lot of frustration trying to manually focus those fly by wire lenses!

4 minutes ago, mercer said:

Back button AF is a good way to use AF with native auto focus lenses on the GX80. And your Takumar is a nice lens for manual focus. If you want to add to it, you can grab the 35mm f/3.5, if you're on a budget, or the f/2 if you have a little more to spend. Takumar lenses are beautiful for video work and help to soften the inherent digital look to consumer video cameras.

A simple focus lever will help to pull focus if you want to try rack focus shots. If you enjoy your Takumar lenses, you may want to consider getting a focal reducer to give your manual lenses a wider view and faster aperture, the Lens Turbo II is a great, inexpensive focal reducer.

I thought the Metabones was the only tolerable focal reducer - again, that's really interesting. Especially as I love the Takumar look - that's one of the reasons I was thinking about the Tiffens, to get that from modern lenses without too much time in post.

I've got to say though "Lens Turbo II" sounds like some Shopping Channel product from the 80s. (It's *always* the 80s on the Shopping Channel...)

 

 

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Find a scene in a movie that you really like... and that is generally regarded as a legitimate cinematic achievement. 

I'd suggest a talkie scene from an earlier Kurosawa film.  When you really see how subtlety in angles, camera motion, and blocking work, it's a revelation.  

Break it down shot by shot. (Or maybe it's single shot!) Analyze the light, the motion, the focal lengths, the acting, the blocking...

...and recreate it with a small crew and cast.

I think emulation is a great way to quickly learn the techniques and craft.

All this nonsense about the technical nuances of modern hybrid cameras is not going to matter until you grasp the fundamentals.

hot tip: and when you master the fundementals, the camera and/or specific lens choice matters even less than "normal." --and it's very minimal to begin with.

Youre not going to be solid out of the gate, but failure is learning.

Also, once you start filming your scene, get off the Internet completely and concentrate on what you're trying to do.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

@Gregormannschaft

That's so useful - thanks. You guys have helped a lot - jonpais saved me from a lot of frustration trying to manually focus those fly by wire lenses!

I thought the Metabones was the only tolerable focal reducer - again, that's really interesting. Especially as I love the Takumar look - that's one of the reasons I was thinking about the Tiffens, to get that from modern lenses without too much time in post.

Metabones is kind of the gold standard but as a beginner the Lens Turbo is without question the way to go. They can be had for about $150 on eBay or BH Photo. I assume they're probably available through CVP as well, but I'm not a hundred percent sure about that.

Also check out vintagelensesforvideo.com to see a comparison between the Metabones and Lens Turbo II.

If you do get a Lens Turbo, make sure you get the second version. 

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23 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

Find a scene in a movie that you really like... and that is generally regarded as a legitimate cinematic achievement. 

Break it down shot by shot. Analyze the light, the motion, the lens choices, the focal lengths, the acting, the blocking...

...and recreate it with a small crew and cast.

 

That's a little ambitious for me right now, but thanks. I'll probably spend the next couple of months filming street scenes and my cat.

(If you like Kurosawa, you should try to see the opening episode of Kill La Kill - it's like Kurosawa speeded up three times. And the ghetto areas of the town a lot of the action takes place in look to me they used Stray Dog as a reference.)

18 minutes ago, mercer said:

Metabones is kind of the gold standard but as a beginner the Lens Turbo is without question the way to go. They can be had for about $150 on eBay or BH Photo. I assume they're probably available through CVP as well, but I'm not a hundred percent sure about that.

Also check out vintagelensesforvideo.com to see a comparison between the Metabones and Lens Turbo II.

On the subject of cheap but workable gear, is there a good alternative to the zacuto magnifiers? preferably something that still allows me to use the screens ability to tilt?

Although thinking about it -

1. I'd lose the touch screen

2. I'm in the NW UK, so problems with the sun will be bloody rare anyway..

Also, I don't normally suffer from GAS, but I'm so tempted by the f0.95 V'landers..

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47 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

That's a little ambitious for me right now, but thanks. I'll probably spend the next couple of months filming street scenes and my cat.

 

Sure, you can do that. If you want to be awesome at making cat videos. 

(Street scenes are hardly ever awesome)

If that's what you want, no problem. It's fine. 

If you really want to make films and movies however, TRUST ME: Do. Not. Wait.

Just go do it and try your hardest. Don't let ignorance about technical details slow you down. 

To hell with ignorance.  A little naïveté can be a blessing!

Never think you can't accomplish a scene or shot simply because you don't have the best "x" on the market.  Compelling stuff can be made with the "y" stuff you already have.

The simple ambition to go out and make real stuff will leap frog you over everyone else on the planet playing with their cameras rather than being filmmakers with their cameras. 

I don't know.  Maybe you just want to experiment with gear.  Most here are the same, including me.  All I can tell ya is that in filmmaking solutions follow creativity and not as often visa versa.

All that said, start with a cheap LUMIX M43 cam, a cheap Chinese speed-booster, and three cheap f2.8 manual prime lenses. 24mm, 50mm, 85mm.  --Outboard audio recorder with a decent boom mic (and operator), and a modest collection of Aputure LED lights.  That's more than enough and more powerful imaging equipment than most of the masters of cinema from the mid-20th century had at their disposal.

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41 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

I'm so tempted by the f0.95 V'landers..

They're okay.  I have the 25mm and the 45mm specifically for shooting a doc I'm working on.  Those are the two focal lengths I'm using for the whole film.

Basically I got 'em for the low-light capacity and shallow DOF during interviews.

Yes, they're better than an old f1.2 Canon and a speedbooster...but not by much.  In fact, I find the flaws of boosted old glass rather awesome, tbh. 

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32 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

Sure, you can do that. If you want to be awesome at making cat videos. 

(Street scenes are hardly ever awesome)

If that's what you want, no problem. It's fine. 

If you really want to make films and movies however, TRUST ME: Do. Not. Wait.

Just go do it and try your hardest. Don't let ignorance about technical details slow you down. 

To hell with ignorance.  A little naïveté can be a blessing!

 

Having gone from zero to shooting trade with professional models in a year, I completely disagree with this. The people who succeed at anything at a high level are the ones with the discipline as well as the imagination. You don't win the superbowl just by entering: you break down what you need to get good at into practice drills that let you focus on one skill as much as possible. You never fumble with the camera or for a technical answer in front of the talent because you've shot street scenes in every lighting condition. That's how you build credibility and get a bigger "crew" next time - by being amazing the first time.

And then you look for an area where you can do something better than everyone else in a way that means something to you and you practice that until it is perfect - and that's what style is built on.

...But most of all "100 PUSH UPS 100 SIT UPS 100 SQUATS 10KM RUN EVERY SINGLE DAY".

4 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

They're okay.  I have the 25mm and the 45mm specifically for shooting a doc I'm working on.  Those are the two focal lengths I'm using for the whole film.

Basically I got 'em for the low-light capacity and shallow DOF during interviews.

Yes, they're better than an old f1.2 Canon and a speedbooster...but not by much.  In fact, I find the flaws of boosted old glass rather awesome, tbh. 

Thanks - that does defuse the temptation...

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3 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

you need to get good at into practice drills that let you focus on one skill as much as possible. You never fumble with the camera or for a technical answer in front of the talent because you've shot street scenes in every lighting condition.

I don't disagree, but for a neophyte why not get out there and be creative first, let the solutions follow the ideas?  I did my time to learn the craft tech stuff back in the day.  Loved doing so.  But also had visual ideas, wondered what was the best way to do 'em, analyzed other stuff that was similar, then did the same.

BTW, these suggestions are all for folks that are doing it for themselves, not being paid.

You best have a clue if someone is giving you a check.  That's just being polite and a decent human being.  If you suck at something, don't take someone's money.

9 minutes ago, meanwhile said:

that does defuse the temptation...

On the other hand, they're really not THAT more expensive than impressive old glass and boosters...especially in the 25mm range -- They're smaller, and they do look really good stopped down @f2.

As you know, good glass is good glass.  You pay for it.  

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13 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

I don't disagree, but for a neophyte why not get out there and be creative first

Well, firstly you identified being creative with enlisting other people. Once again, you don't waste other people's time because you haven't developed skills yet. Wasting their time is how you lose credibility. Anything you can do alone to prepare first should be done alone.

Secondly, being creative within the above limit is fine - but, no you can't just be creative. Being creative uses neurons and sometimes you need to put 100% effort into mastering the technical skill. If you're not doing that some of the time, you're not pushing yourself enough.

Thirdly, real creativity is rare, even for people who are creative and a deep understanding of the technical part of what you do is an essential basis for it. Most people aren't being creative when they think they are. They're just goofing around creating something godawful and only. The Ikea Effect stands between them and committing suicide out of shame. (As evidence I quote 99% of the content of Model Mayhem and 99.9% of Kindle originals.) People playing around can do "creative" stuff 100% of the time; artists have to practice.

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For anyone finding this by google in the future -

DSLR Video Shooter

Very useful on lights as I think jonpai said, also ok on basic lighting technique and some other gear

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMmA0XxraDP7ZVbv4eY3Omg

(Note: Apurture seem to be very good on CRI. If not spelling)

Dugdale:

I found his website completely useless. There may be useful info on basic technique there, but if so it is buried in a hotchpotch of other stuff.

Focal length reducers:

Much less useful than I hoped. They reduce FL by 0.7 before the m43 35mm equivalence factor comes in. So a 50mm takumar becomes about a 70mm lquivalent ens, and you can forget finding lenses to use as real wide angles.

Additional lens option

At least one Oly m43 lens seems to have real manual focus - the Pro 12-40mm . True of the other pro lenses as well???

 

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