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metaphiston

'Light' - macro film shot on 600D

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This is my short film 'Light' I've been making over the last month using a Canon 600d with Pentax lenses.

 

http://vimeo.com/69428988

 

It's a short (90 second) simple story about a lighthouse getting through the night, and features lots of experiments in cinematography - all done on my kitchen table with reversed and macro lenses and a lot of ice!

 

We used a Canon 600D (with Pentax adapter for my lenses) for the film itself as the manual control on this camera, the full HD digital zoom ability and swivel screen made it very useful for those tiny close ups! The film is all shot "live" in 25 frames per second, it's not animated.

 

We used a Pentax-A 50mm f1.2 and a Sigma 24mm superwide II f2.8 mounted in reverse for super-close ups, and a Pentax-A 100mm f4 macro for the widest shots - none of which had an area bigger than, say, a post-it note - and some of the extreme close ups were over an area the size of a fingernail or smaller at around 2:1 to 4:1 scale. For the reversed lenses we used a Canon to Pentax adapter, then a Pentax reversing ring (52mm filter thread for both lenses), then the lens! Note, if you want to use a lens in reverse for close ups you need to use one with an aperture ring, which means most modern digital lenses won't give you any aperture control.

 

We needed a lot of light for shooting down to f16 at 1/50 at ISO 160 in extreme macro where you get several more stops of light falloff, and so we had a big hot 800W light. For some shots it was around a foot (30 cm) from the ice, causing severe melting problems! So we needed to be fast and accurate with focus to a millimetre level on a disintegrating, slippery set all of which was too small to position without completely ruining composition! Most of the time it was a fun challenge but was occasionally frustrating!

 

The ice variety was achieved by chipping it in different ways, letting it melt for different times, freezing larger volumes of water (mug sized) and smashing the ice with a hammer to get particularly clear stuff, or ice cube size to get the cloudier stuff. Some of it had a small amount of blue food colouring too.

 

We edited in Premiere Pro CS6 and After Effects CS6, where we added the lighthouse light and did a little colour correction.

 

The film was made for the Depict short film competition in the UK. I hope you like the film, happy to explain any techniques and looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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I love your macro shots...

 

You know, I just shot a piece with 600D using a lot of macro, and yes, if you get to 1:1, and then use 3X crop you have insane magnification, but controllable depth of field.

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Very true on the depth of field - that was useful. Also, with reversed lenses the focus isn't flat across the frame so the edges have poor image quality. With 3x full HD zoom you're getting the centre of that frame with much better corner sharpness, which is very useful - although the chromatic aberrations are multiplied too, which in some shots is pretty noticeable.

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