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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #1
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handheld?

**I just posted this in the Letus forum by accident. I really meant to place it in the Alternative Imagine Methods area. Feel free to delete the original posting under the Letus forum**

I've recently become very interested in putting together a 35mm adaptor + HV20 kit for wedding work but I notice that most of the footage I've been seeing is shot from tripods. I understand the reason for this, but was wondering how feasible it is to shoot either the Letus Extreme or the Brevis handheld or shoulder mounted. I was thinking of shooting this type of setup with a 50mm Nikon lens, or I could go with a 35mm lens if you guys think the 50mm would be too hard to pull focus on while in full run & gun mode.
Someone tell me I'm crazy and talk me out of it.

Also, can I attach a shoulder pad to the Cinevate rails or Indie rails? Does someone make a "quick release" shoulder pad so I can easily go from shoulder mounted back to tripod and back again if the need arises?

I have a million other questions, but I'll start with these.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #2
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It will be harder to pull with the 35 than the 50. If I was going to try to pull focus without an external monitor I would want an 85/1.4 or 135/2. With wide angles it's not posible to pull critical focus with the on camera LCD, it's hard enough to do with an external HD monitor. There just aren't enough pixels to see when you're in focus. You'll get close, but then you'll rack back an forth and see no difference.

If you're ok with getting a lot of soft footage, you might be fine. Or if your idea of 'sharp' is flexible, you might be fine.

I don't expect you to believe me until you try it yourself. Your next step of dis-belief wil be when you ask if an external SD monitor will work.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by E.J. Sadler View Post
It will be harder to pull with the 35 than the 50. If I was going to try to pull focus without an external monitor I would want an 85/1.4 or 135/2.
Good to know.

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If you're ok with getting a lot of soft footage, you might be fine. Or if your idea of 'sharp' is flexible, you might be fine.
Well I guess in an event videographer's world, a shot with the proper content but slightly soft focus would be ok, but I'd rather have sharp footage if possible.

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I don't expect you to believe me until you try it yourself.
Why are you so sure? I find this to be an odd statement.

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Your next step of dis-belief wil be when you ask if an external SD monitor will work.
Actually I was wanting to go with no external monitor other than the on camera LCD to keep my kit as light as possible. I'm guessing this isn't such a good idea.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #4
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Using a groundglass device on the HV20 handheld will be difficult and awkward but not impossible.

I would tend not to rely on a single camera. It is too easy to make a simple mistake like not checking to see if the groundglass is switched on or the relay focus has not moved. I obsess on this a bit as you read on.

Set the backfocus of the SLR prime lens exactly right and then practice-practice-practice with fixed focus marks on the SLR lens barrel and estimating lens-to-subject distance, using a Siemens chart to check after each estimation.

You do not rely upon this but use it to be reassured the camcorder LCD picture is sharp.

It is a far from perfect method but can become intuitive and reasonably accurate up to three metres. You would use your LCD but the estimation practice may enable you to know if what you see in the LCD is not truthful.

I would tend to use only the 50mm or the 85mm when the second cam for parallel coverage is an option. The 85mm will be a real handful to hold steady. A brace or monopod might be needed. This will limit agile portability. If you get the rubber foot hung up on the trail of the bridal gown, it will not be pretty.

The lighting conditions in a church or function centre will present a challenge. Your lenses will likely have to be f1.4.

The autofocus Nikon 85mm f1.8 can be a sweet sharp lens. The focus ring throw is very short but is a light touch.

With practice, holding the camera at waist height and operating the autofocus Nikon 85mm lens focus, not with traditional finger grip and wrist turn but with hand palm pivoting on top of the adaptor body and fingertips on the focus ring somewhat like hands on a steering wheel, quick corrections and sharp focus are possible on the run. Because the focus throw is so small, your fingertip does not have to leave the focus ring so you can find the sharp point quickly by memory of the finger position.

It will take a lot of practice to become intuitive with it.

When operating the camera in this position, fatigue sets in fairly quickly.

I would recommend you have a second camera to shoot complete direct-to-camera coverage and use the groundglass device for the close-ups, the ring, "you may kiss the bride", mama's teary eyes, signing register, etc..

As these are the money shots, you may want to get normal direct-to-camera coverage of them as well which means having a second camera op.

A bridge from camera baseplate to the 35mm relay device is very desirable but adds bulk and weight.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 7th, 2007 at 09:56 PM. Reason: error
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post

Why are you so sure? I find this to be an odd statement.

I've had this discussion quite a few times before and most people just refuse to believe they can't focus 35mm DOF on HD with the camera's LCD. Then they don't believe you can't focus with an external SD. Then the last stage of denial is not believing that an external 7" HD monitor isn't enough for critical focus in the 28mm and under range.

You eventually realize that critical focus requires a monitor with lots of pixels, or a monitor with focus assist like the Panasonic or the Nebtek.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
Using a groundglass device on the HV20 handheld will be difficult and awkward but not impossible.

Set the backfocus of the SLR prime lens exactly right and then practice-practice-practice with fixed focus marks on the SLR lens barrel and estimating lens-to-subject distance, using a Siemens chart to check after each estimation.
Well if you do it the old fashioned way then yes, you can 'use' the on camera LCD, but you're not going to be seeing it in the LCD, especially not the HV20's.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #7
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All handheld with a Sony Z1 and AGUS35, shot in "jump in take the shot and get out of the way of the production camera conditions", pretty close to the wedding vid environment I think. This is not about perfection but doing the best one can, quickly, in a bad situation and that is what this post is about. Camera LCDs are dreadful, no argument there but still useful as a sighting and compositional device.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu46tmYmRY0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXBjmXkwec8

The cameraman in the second clip was operating exactly the same way with the JVC HD100/Mini35-400 with a Nikon autofocus f1.8 85mm geared to a Chroszeil follow focus with lever. He nailed the focus no problem. For some fixed setups, the monitor was used as a re-assurance.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 7th, 2007 at 09:24 PM. Reason: getting links
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:14 PM   #8
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Bruce Alen has a great example of how the LCD just doesn't have the resolution to see critical focus -

http://www.boacinema.com/projects/lcd_monitor/
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
Using a groundglass device on the HV20 handheld will be difficult and awkward but not impossible.
Ok. This is encouraging.

Quote:
I would tend not to rely on a single camera. It is too easy to make a simple mistake...
The 35mm adaptor cam would be the third camera in our coverage and is there more of less just roaming and playing. It's tasked with the job of getting cool little shots the others just can't.

Quote:
Set the backfocus of the SLR prime lens exactly right and then practice-practice-practice with fixed focus marks on the SLR lens barrel and estimating lens-to-subject distance, using a Siemens chart to check after each estimation.
Since I glazed over while reading this paragraph, I think I have a pretty large learing curve ahead of me. A what chart? Why do I suddenly feel like this is a bad idea?

Quote:
The lighting conditions in a church or function centre will present a challenge. Your lenses will likely have to be f1.4.
The autofocus Nikon 85mm f.8 can be a sweet sharp lens. The focus ring throw is very short but is a light touch.
90% of the good shots we get aren't even in the ceremony anyway, so I may not even run the adapter cam in the ceremony anyway. I was thinking of using it primarialy before and after the ceremony, mostly outside if I can.
Nikon makes an f.8?? I never knew such a thing existed. How much does that puppy cost?

Quote:
With practice, holding the camera at waist height and operating the autofocus Nikon 85mm lens focus, not with traditional finger grip and wrist turn but with hand palm pivoting on top of the adaptor body and fingertips on the focus ring somewhat like hands on a steering wheel, quick corrections and sharp focus are possible on the run.
Oh crap. I think I glazed over again... not good.

Quote:
It will take a lot of practice to become intuitive with it.
Realy? You made it sound so easy. Be right back, I'm gonna go get drunk.

All joking aside, thanks for the tips. I'll take all the advice anyone cares to toss my way.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #10
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Those are perfect examples of why I said -

'If you're ok with getting a lot of soft footage, you might be fine. Or if your idea of 'sharp' is flexible, you might be fine.'

Those samples also look like they were shot with significant DOF.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #11
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Ethan.

The "f.8" is a typo. It should read f1.8. Sorry about that.

Focus chart. - This one -

http://www.rondexter.com/focus_pattern.pdf


Outdoors - will permit more sensible aperture settings like f3.8 - f4. An aperture no tighter than f5.6 otherwise you risk getting groundglass artifacts which are provoked furthur by high overhead sun-behind and four-eighths cloud cover.

Outdoors you have the option if with no monitor of setting aperture fully wide, finding the sharpest focus as best you can on your intended subject, then tightening the aperture to f4 or whatever you choose and deepening the depth-of-field and hopfully bringing your subject into sharper focus if your focus is off.


E. J. Sadler.

Exactly. Agile portable and groundglass relay without the ability to monitor critical focus do not co-exist happily. The lenses in those environments were wide-open and were as sharp as they were going to get. The focus on the 85mm two-shot was definitely off as you correctly observe.

( I also was not wearing my close-up glasses so was relying on known focus positions on the lens by feel. Camera operation by the braille method - not really recommended. It is an old Nikkor manual f1.4 with long movement. )

An aperture of f4 would have been more realistic but lighting conditions and the light loss through my appliance did not permit it.

However, with a bit of lost footage, with practice, you can get the shots you want. Just cover with another camera as well which is what Ethan intends so anything good out of the groundglass relay is a bonus, not mission critical.

Last edited by Bob Hart; November 7th, 2007 at 10:34 PM. Reason: added text
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Old November 8th, 2007, 02:06 PM   #12
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Beware, HV20 sensor is off axis, so you have to zoom more in to the ground glass (or make some off axis adapter like me). This will turn HV20 sensitivity down because more zoom means less light and 50 would be rather like 60-65mm. Another problem of monitoring thru LCD of HV20 is even if you mount your camera upside down to record footage correctly on tape preview on LCD stays upside down. You have to use outside monitor and hook it up to a HV20 AV out to have correct picture, or make some nasty mods. HV20 with 35 adapter is very not handy package because only way you can hold it is with your hand under it ( everywhere that you get it is some knob or 35mm switch off or focus knob...) and belive me this is heavy. Focusing with HV20 LCD with all lenses is purely intuitive. Alot of practice needs to give you some good enough results. It is good enough specialy if your end product is SD DVD and its exellent choice for 3rd cam only for juicy stuff. Another thing, HV20 in low light and with 35 adapter is no good for HD final if you want grainless picture. Brevis will probably give you very good results. Dennis now has flip adapter so all this will be much easier.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #13
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Beware, HV20 sensor is off axis, so you have to zoom more in to the ground glass...
...This will turn HV20 sensitivity down because more zoom means less light and 50 would be rather like 60-65mm.
Once again, this is something I didn't know. I love these forums.

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Another problem of monitoring thru LCD of HV20 is even if you mount your camera upside down to record footage correctly on tape preview on LCD stays upside down.
I'm looking at the Letus Extreme or the Brevis with the Flip module, so this wont be a problem.

Quote:
HV20 with 35 adapter is very not handy package because only way you can hold it is with your hand under it ( everywhere that you get it is some knob or 35mm switch off or focus knob...) and belive me this is heavy.
Again, you just can't beat the advice of someone with real world experience. I appreciate all the advice and pearls of wisdom that have been give thus far. It really helps a 35mm novice like me understand more fully what's involved in this (possible) investment other than just the monitary cost.
I'm sure this discussion is helping many people other than myself get a better grasp of the situation before we plunk down some cash.
Thanks to all who have given advice thus far and thanks in advance for future advice.
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