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Andrew Reid

5D Mark III raw versus Panasonic GH4

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yes ive seen it, amazing doc. he died in 2007?  :( i really liked shallow dof, but i started to notice that all my favorite directors-dp's shoot with extreme depth, and have very stylized compositions, almost everything in focus. as i said its my personal opinion, that the better you are the deeper your depth is, the more natural your light is, and the wider your lens becomes, then its all composition and meticulus work, 

and to bring things into context, you now have  a 4k camera, i bet gregg toland would have flipped with this tool in his hand..so much detail,to waste in blurry backgrounds and closeups.

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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

Hey Jonatan. Firstly, love the piece you shot. Was really beautifully executed. What you say about a focus on the technical area of filmmaking in this site, rather than the emotional aspect - you're correct. But I think you'll notice a common trend on many of the short vids we see as being very void of storyline, which doesn't push us as much as possible. I also agree with you Christina about the overuse of shooting wide open. 

 

I think there should be maybe an area of the site devoted to short screenplay writers partnering up with eager filmmakers to create some more compelling collaborations. Jonatan, was the video your concept or where you just the DOP.

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Kendy's style initialy is based on "gimmicks" shallow dof, framing low light, lo-fi mood, which are great because he compensates the lack of "high art" expensive cinema gear. (zeiss cinema lenses, arri cams,etc)

as he grows and (money rolls in) i think this will change.

 

Which brings me to the point of "filmic" quality. Shallow DOF is a gimmick, you direct the eyes of the audience to where you want them to look, and hide the (bad lighting, bad framing, cheap ugly backgrounds). The truly great DP&Director, keeps everything in focus, and you look at a moving "painting" where everything is balanced, and of course shoots wide, anamorphic being the ultimate, imo.

 

 

 

The above seems so tragically steeped in deep subjectivity that it's almost inflammatory. There was otherwise great discussion until this. All art, apparently, derives from a healthy dose of illusion and its crafting. There are various techniques. Simply.

 

Why elevate your private thoughts (or others) about what "truly great" directors do to the level of universal truth? Remember, if you are making (...art, especially) you are constructing (reality, specifically). Again, various techniques.

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By the way here's a few frames from Kendy's next film, doesn't look quite so 550D does it? :)

 

 

He is very talented, I have followed him on Twitter, let's see what he comes up with next....

It's also the same setup, although some shots look to be more 50mm but I guess that's because of the wide aspect ratio.

 

If anybody wants to grade like that on a nikon just PM me. Instagram is easy.

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It's not too hard to imagine that in a decade we'll all have access to numerous small DSLR cameras shooting over 4K with incredible low-light sensitivity, full frame, uncompressed internal flash card recording, 5 axis-stabilization, and over 15 stops of dynamic range.  And it'll be pretty cheap to boot.

 

A decade!!!! I can't wait that long!!!!

 

Seriously though, everything you've mentioned is pretty much already out there in affordable cameras. The GH4, the A7S, the BMPCC and the EM5 -  take the best of each and you're almost there. In terms of technology, there's no reason that camera can't exist at a decent price. The main obstacle is marketing. Hopefully Blackmagic and Panasonic have shaken things up enough to speed things up a bit.

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@ Christina : shallow DOF is a creative choice, just as deep focus is one.  There is no better or worse.  Both are legitimate options and part of the job of a DOP is to make the right choice for every shot.

 

Following your logic, you might as well argue that shooting everything with deep focus is testament to a lazy DOP who can't make up his mind where he wants the scene to go.  So he lets everything open to the viewer's interpretation.   That would be ludicrous of course.  

 

Shallow or deep focus should always be an artistic choice depending on the scene and what you want to say.  Exactly the same way we use lighting, reflectors, focal length, choose between handheld/steadicam/crane/dolly/tripod, ...  It is one of our tools AND skills as DOP's.  

 

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yes matt i do. no its not something that just came up in my mind, check the work of lazlo covacs and zsigmond vilmos two of the best DPs still around ,check the work of gregg toland, probably the best cinematographer ever, he is the contrary of shallow depth of field,  noted for his amazing ability to create extreme depth.(citizen cane)

it takes some extra talent to keep everything in focus,and keep it interesting, and no anamorphic is not just to preserve resolution, its an artistic choice, that needs alot of creative talent and expertise to pull through..you have a huge canvas and it needs to be perfect.

shallow dof, is a gimmick that we use to cover up our mistakes (me included) and make it look "cinematic", but wasnt covacs "easy rider" cinematic enough?

 

 

The examples you provide of cinematographers who use deep focus are good ones.  Nobody is saying they aren’t great.  And no-one is saying that deep focus is not a great look.  But to say a cinematographer who uses selective focus is not great because they use it is just strange.  I can’t see the basis of the argument.   There are plenty of selective focus shots in the godfather, among deep focus.  Typically selective focus for the closeups and mid shots and deep focus for the wide shots.   Do you think that the godfather has gimmicky cinematography?

 

What is wrong with the director or dp indicating where the viewer should look with focus?

How is it any different to lighting the scene with different intensities that may attract the eye, or compositional elements that direct the eye, or zoom shots that hone in on a particular element that the director deems relevant?

 

I take exception to the word gimmick.    It seems to come from a place of pomposity, as if you feel that shallow depth of field has somehow less artistic integrity.

If you were to say that you personally prefer deep focus I would have no quarrel, but you are making absolute statements that shallow focus is a gimmick used by non-great dps.

 

What definition of the word gimmick are you using?

Definitions I have found are:

 

"a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or trade."

 

Can the inherent characteristics of an optical system be considered a trick?   Apart from when the 5dii first came out, I can’t see it attracting attention in of itself.  A film shot with fast primes on a 5d3 might be more appealing to a client than a film shot on a camcorder, but I would argue it is because the image is more visually attractive, not because it is attention grabbing.

 

Wikipedia describes it:

 

" a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something "stand out" from its contemporaries."

 

Since everyone is doing shallow depth of field now, how is using it standing out from ones contemporaries.  In fact, one could suggest that deep focus achieves this definition more closely. didn’t citizen cane stand out for this reason.  Though I would never call deep focus it a gimmick.

 

Perhaps the word you mean is crutch or substitute.   That people use shallow depth of field as a crutch to make up for a lack of other things (although they may be unaware of what is lacking).   Probably in many cases with amateur film making this is true.  But it doesn’t follow that a great photographer should never use selective focus.

 

I happen to find that the varying focus through a scene can have a lot of beauty.  Let’s not forget that it isn’t a case of either f1.4 or f22.  There is a whole range in between.  Those that think f8 provides deep focus are mistaken.  Even the slightest of background blur is visible and has an effect on the dimensional quality of the image.  Even the easy rider example you gave had the background out of focus in certain shots.

 

I see depth of field as a parameter: too little can be detrimental in certain situations and too much can be detrimental in others.

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I don't think anyone in there right mind would shoot a sprawling desert landscape with razor thin DOF wide open. 

 

Oh but what wouldn't you find in YouTube these days. Do not underestimate the resourcefulness of hipsters and gadget nerds with cameras.  ;)

Haven't spotted a literal desert scene like that yet, but I have seen a mountain one. At least I think it was a blurred mountain range. Part of the foreground was blurred, too.

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By the way here's a few frames from Kendy's next film, doesn't look quite so 550D does it? :)

Stills from my upcoming shortfilm shot in Bangkok !

— Kendy Ty (@KendyTy)

Stills from my upcoming shortfilm shot in Bangkok !

— Kendy Ty (@KendyTy) April 30, 2014
">April 30, 2014 "> ">April 30, 2014

Nope, it doesn't look quite so 550D indeed.

But... I think that it's this film:

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I think the limits of Kendy's gear has allowed him to really focus and hone his style. There's a definite consistency to all his work in terms of style.

 

It's only one style though, remember that there's a broad range of looks that would need different gear. A wide angle shot of a city would be moire hell on a 550D.

 

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 is interesting. I picked a battered old one up today for 189 euros. It is actually quite sharp but not too 'perfect'. Goes well with my Iscorama 54 as it is quite stocky but wide, like the Iscorama 54, and the focus ring has quite a short throw. On the Nikon D7100 it looks great. On the BMCC speed booster on my GX7 in 1.28x crop (full sensor, for stills and 1080p) it gives a nice fall off from the centre in terms of vignette while never quite going completely dark in the corners. Nice little character. I can see myself using it. My favourite look of the moment though is still 5D raw + 50mm F1.2L. Unbeatable :)

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Julian is right on about the grade. The Bangkok film has some fine film grain added and quite a bit of work to bring the highlights down from super white and the blacks up, it's a nice look and again hides the shortcomings of the camera and the 'digital look' very well.

 

Don't forget the audio...

 

His sound work is amazing. It really adds texture and impact to the shots.

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Well maybe I should share something. I shot this video last august in london, my girlfriend acting and the rest of the cast just friends of friends, very light camera setup, shooting 5d3 h264, on samyang lenses. Used mostly natural lighting and just household lamps for the final scene. From idea to final video, little under two weeks. The budget was plane tickets for the director, the girl(friend) and myself. We shot for 2 days i think.

 

 

Nice film. I didn't fall in love with the images, but technically it looked professional and appropriate to the 'story', so I wasn't taken out of the drama - which carried me along right to the end. Cool. 

 

The singer sounds very very much like Matt Berninger from The National - I really thought it was him for a while.

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I think the limits of Kendy's gear has allowed him to really focus and hone his style. There's a definite consistency to all his work in terms of style.

 

This is something that I've been thinking about a lot while reading this thread.

 

It doesn't seem to come up often enough how important it is to get to know your camera/kit inside out. Personally I'd rather use a 'lesser' camera I'd had for 6 months or more (one I knew exactly how to get the best/what I wanted out of) than a 'better' camera I'd only had for a few months and wasn't so confident/intuitive with. 

 

Until very recently, you could even have gone so far as to say that because H264 cameras are relatively so close in video quality, the best one is the one you have used the most. That's how I feel after watching some of Kendy's films anyway.

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@ Christina : shallow DOF is a creative choice, just as deep focus is one.  There is no better or worse.  Both are legitimate options and part of the job of a DOP is to make the right choice for every shot.

 

Following your logic, you might as well argue that shooting everything with deep focus is testament to a lazy DOP who can't make up his mind where he wants the scene to go.  So he lets everything open to the viewer's interpretation.   That would be ludicrous of course.  

 

Shallow or deep focus should always be an artistic choice depending on the scene and what you want to say.  Exactly the same way we use lighting, reflectors, focal length, choose between handheld/steadicam/crane/dolly/tripod, ...  It is one of our tools AND skills as DOP's.  

 

Super shallow DOF like that being produced with a 5D and a f1.4 lens is a stylistic choice. The problem is that people with the 5D start shooting everything at f1.4. They give it no thought. Most films you see only use a super shallow DOF when stylistically required. Usually DOF is quite large.

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I think the limits of Kendy's gear has allowed him to really focus and hone his style. There's a definite consistency to all his work in terms of style.

 

It's only one style though, remember that there's a broad range of looks that would need different gear. A wide angle shot of a city would be moire hell on a 550D.

 

The Sigma 30mm F1.4 is interesting. I picked a battered old one up today for 189 euros. It is actually quite sharp but not too 'perfect'. Goes well with my Iscorama 54 as it is quite stocky but wide, like the Iscorama 54, and the focus ring has quite a short throw. On the Nikon D7100 it looks great. On the BMCC speed booster on my GX7 in 1.28x crop (full sensor, for stills and 1080p) it gives a nice fall off from the centre in terms of vignette while never quite going completely dark in the corners. Nice little character. I can see myself using it. My favourite look of the moment though is still 5D raw + 50mm F1.2L. Unbeatable :)

@Andrew, I see you mention GX7 quite often. As an owner of that camera, I would really love to see a mini shooting guide from you.

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This GH4 video has a lot of focus issues and a very weird grade, but it uses some "filmic" lenses (note the Sigma 30mm Andrew):

 

Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 (Shot Wide Open)
Panasonic 25mm 1.4
Sigma 30mm 1.4
Rokinon 85mm 1.4

 

No idea which shots are which:

 

 

Andrew I have a suggestion: how about starting a thread here - or a Vimeo group - for GH4 films shot with non-MFT glass? All the decent GH4 samples I've seen so far are mostly shot with Panasonic lenses.

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