Quality issues with the mini 35. . . at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Alternative Imaging Methods

Alternative Imaging Methods
DV Info Net is the birthplace of all 35mm adapters.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 10th, 2003, 07:56 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 414
Quality issues with the mini 35. . .

I recently watched a full length feature shot on the XL1 using the mini 35 and thought the image quality was horrible. Of course this could also be because the filmmaker had no idea what he was doing (which is always a possibility since I really don't know much about him). But are there certain considerations that need to be factored in when using the mini 35?? I am shooting a short film in Mexico this spring and I don't want to waste a bunch of money on this device if it's going to be really difficult to work with. I need something that will push me towards a film like dof but will be easy enough to work with on a grueling two week shoot. Basically the movie I watch was all grainy and it looked like, at points, there was a spinning circle of grain in the middle of the shot. I've never really seen anything like this before. . .
Kevin Dooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 09:33 AM   #2
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
The Mini35 is a great tool, but one has to understand the limitations and particulars of working with it. The most recent version has an oscillating ground glass which will help with the visible spinner issue.

As you suggested, Kevin, a poor filmmaker will not be able to take full advantage of his/her tools.

I had my apprehensions about the Mini35 based on early experiences, but it is now a mature product and capable of beautiful imagery.

As far as being difficult to work with, it's pretty simple to understand the concept. The much more sophisticated aspect is working with 35mm lenses and associated support. Working with primes is certainly slow if you are used to a zoom. Figuring which lens to put up and then possibly having to change it several times before everyone is satisfied will take time, plus consider that you can't just zoom in a little bit to adjust the frame, you have to move the whole camera. In addition, focus pulling especially at the wide-open apertures favored by shallow DoF zealots takes a LOT of skill--factor in extra takes for focus reasons.

My recommendation to Mini35 users is to use a skilled film-savvy AC who will be familiar with the front-end gear (lens, follow-focus, bridgeplates, matteboxes etc) as well as possessing advanced focusing skills.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 09:46 AM   #3
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I thought there were also zoom primes?
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 01:01 PM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Not by definition--a prime lens is a fixed focal length.

There are certainly zooms available (there's a picture of a 10 to 1 on that Seinfeld article here) but due to the weight and rental expense, I would consider them luxury items for low budget filmmaking.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 03:08 PM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 11
Keep in Mind

The mini 35 camera system with any of the compatible off the shelf camera's, like the PD-150 or XL1s is no longer a Video Camera nor is it a Film Camera.

It is a hybrid system, and should be treated as such. You do not light for Video rather you light for film, never use the GAIN on the camera as this will introduce grain into the image. If anything it is best to shoot with a -3db gain and throw more light at the shot.

Basically the front end of the camera system is a 35mm camera, the image being resolved on the ground glass is identical to 35mm, it is on the same plane as film would be in a film camera. It is then optically frozen, reduced in size, flipped and sent to the camera's CCD's to be recorded.

So light the shot for 35mm, not for video. This nonsense about losing 2 stops through the adapter as being unacceptable or a bad feature set of the camera system is wrong... There are no other systems on the planet that do what this thing does, we cannot expect the world here, but it is a great way to bridge the gap between now and when DV cameras become more capable of resolving a "filmic" feel to the images being recorded.

As for seeing the ground glass spinning in the center of the image, that would be the fault of the filmmaker not understanding the limitations of the camera system......

True when stopping down the aperature on the lens to T5.6 for higher you will begin to see the glass spinning, that is why there is an iris on the relay lens (on the XL1s model) to control light without impacting the dof or introducing the ground glass into the image.... if your shooting wide open on the lens and still see the ground glass, you need to throw more light at the shot.

Again I cannot stress this enough, it is not a video camera and it is not a film camera...... If your expecting the run and gun shoot from the hip ability of video your not gonna get it.... but it also does not take as long as setting up and lighting a film set either.

Honestly the complaint about seeing the ground glass is garbage it can be avoided, a better complaint might be that the 16x9 guides in the XL1s cannot be positioned at the top of the frame to allow for easier versioning for both letterboxed 16x9 and 4x3.

Or maybe that the system requires a minimum of 2 batteries, and it would be nice to run all components off a single 12volt, or that when using the Canon Monochrome viewfinder you have to use that stupid battery attachment that also routes the signal to the viewfinder from the camera body.

I apologize if I'm ticking anyone off but really the camera system does something nothing else will do and all it asks if that we understand it's capabilities and limitations and take those into account and it will treat us well.

PS. By the way I've played with the 400series of the mini 35 adapter (mind you only with the DVX100 attached) which vibrates the ground glass in an elliptical motion much in the same way the pro 35 does and it's much better than the 300 series adapter which spun the glass in a circle so that vortex of hell as some call it has been resolved making it even harder to make the ground glass present itself in the image.

Either way using either of the adapters for your production will increase the production value and make it look like a higher end finished piece. And remember your not stuck with what comes out of the camera you can greatly improve the look of your images by uncompressing the DV footage into Standard Definition 601 and doing a color correction, or take it a step further and uprez the footage to 2K, perform your color correction and then downconvert the finish to SD again the differences are dramtic.....

yes there is enough informaiton in a 4:1:1 SD video signal to do that with and it looks amazing.

Cheers everyone and happy shooting.
__________________
Craig VH
Craig Van Horne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 04:14 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 414
Thanks!

That is probably the fullest explanation of what this piece of equipment does and why/how to use it I've read. I wasn't really complaining about this piece of equipment, it's just that the only time I've seen any work off of it, it looked like crap. Now I know why.
Kevin Dooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 04:57 PM   #7
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 11
thanks for the kind response Kevin, your reaction to my post was the one I was looking for. I thank you for being an astute individual I wish you the best in your production endeavours.

Please feel free to respost and or contact me directly for further discussion on the mini 35 camera system.
__________________
Craig VH
Craig Van Horne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 05:04 PM   #8
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Please keep the discussions (as we are doing great in this thread!)
on the board. That way everybody learns and we create an
archive of knowledge that can be searched and browsed at
a later time. Then we all can gain from it! Thanks.
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 10th, 2003, 10:04 PM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Craig:

<<True when stopping down the aperature on the lens to T5.6 for higher you will begin to see the glass spinning, that is why there is an iris on the relay lens (on the XL1s model) to control light without impacting the dof or introducing the ground glass into the image....Honestly the complaint about seeing the ground glass is garbage it can be avoided>>

Yes and no. It is not always desirable to shoot wide open, regardless of how sexy that may seem. Sometimes the focus considerations are too daunting, as in the case of extremely long lense;, or sometimes deeper focus is an artistic choice for a given shot, such as two actors at different focal planes that need to be sharp.

In the 35mm world, there is not an obsession with shooting every shot at 1.8; why should there be when using these lenses on DV? On the Steadicam shot I did on "Intolerable Cruelty", a day exterior, Roger Deakins exposed at a T8/11 partly so that he could hold focus on a raking on shot on George Clooney and another actor (sorry to appear as if I am name-dropping here, my point is you don't have to take my word on it, but it's not a bad idea to take Deakins seriously--unbelievable cinematographer!) One could argue that you could just use standard lenses and save yourself the rental of the Mini35 if you intended to shoot above a 5.6, but it's really more about not having artistic choices eliminated while retaining a consistent look.

I checked out the 400 series Mini35 today and was delighted to see that the ground glass seemed all but invisible virtually throughout the exposure range of the taking lens.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2003, 12:01 AM   #10
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 11
Your right, there are situations in which less dof is desirable and preferable. My statement was made as a general rule of thumb, one could also use a shorter focal length to reduce dof as well.... though keeping in mind the idiosyncrasies of the mini 35 adapter stopping the lens down below 5.6 may not be possible...

I agree with you but we cannot compare the options available when shooting 35mm with those of the mini 35 system. We are much more limited with the mini 35 than with film for more reasons that just not being able to stop down the lens like we might chose to do with film to obtain the desired effect because we'll introduce the ground glass into the image.

Much in the same way that 1/3inch CCD's do not and will not have the same latitude as film we simply make some compromises. Again I stress that this isn’t a film camera and it’s not a video camera, we cannot compare to either directly only comment on the abilities and limitations of the system. Of which shooting wide open is preferable to obtain the best looking image possible, and in a case like the one you describe it may be best to use a shorter focal length and move the camera in.

But you are right, and we are somewhat limited with the system because we cannot do what you described as easily but then again the footage still looks a heck of a lot better than the XL1s with a standard video lens and gets us closer to the ‘Film Feel’ than otherwise available…..

I should also mention that I don’t believe this camera system is any kind of magic bullet, it does have a place, and can benefit many types of production but isn’t for everything.
__________________
Craig VH
Craig Van Horne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2003, 01:54 AM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Agreed. Thankfully the 400 series solves this particular issue. Now if they can figure out a way to get the XL1 to recognize it as a bona fide lens...
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2003, 07:12 AM   #12
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 11
bang on, recognize it as a lens or forget the camera bodies dependency on the lens entirely. and while we're at it....

Professional audio features on the next version of the camera, none of this consumer line level input using the XLR adapters.

Quite frankly I'm of the opinion that Canon is going to bring out a pretty impressive unit to replace the aging XL1s, I look at it this way, they've lost a lot of market share and now with Panasonic offering 24p and cinegamma in a sub-$10,000 dollar camera, JVC (albeit jumping the gun with their HDV high def camera) sub-$10,000 quasi high def camera there is a lot of pressure to come out of the gate screaming.

I think Canon is going to make the new unit pretty impressive, partly because unlike their competitors like Sony, Panasonic and as much as I hate to say it JVC. They don't have any cameras higher end than the XL1s so they can't screw their upper product line by including all the desired features into one camera.... 24p, some sort of cinegamma, maybe HD, pro audio, 16x9 chip or higher resolution 4x3 that's cropped?

who knows but I think if Canon wants to remain relevant moving forward they need to make a massive splash similar to their introduction of the XL1 back in the day..

Just some thought's I may just be rambling and still half asleep right now.... deadlines and long edit sessions suck..
__________________
Craig VH
Craig Van Horne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2003, 07:20 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 414
New Model

Is there an expected date to the new XL1(or 2 or whatever they'll call it)? Or is it pretty much under wraps until NAB? Honestly, a 24p XL1 with native 16x9 chips would answer all my concerns with that particular camera.
Kevin Dooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2003, 07:45 AM   #14
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 11
Kevin, myself and many others have been trying to get something outta Canon as to what to expect for the next version of the camera.

All I know is that they are planning a new version, no idea what they are going to call it. The word is that 3rd quarter next year would be the timeline but who really knows. I wouldn't be surprised to see something at NAB in April though, it seems to me that Canon has been quiet for a while none of their sales people seem to be available and the usual support they had given to the XL1(s) isn't there anymore... at least not from my perspective.

One way or another they need to do something, and it's a tough call for me.... I don't want them jumping the gun and releasing a camera that isn't ready, at the same time I'd like to see it or at least know what to expect.

But I've played with the new version of the Mini 35 adapter which is the only one that works with the Panasonic DVX100 and I think that ergonomically the XL1s is a nicer unit when used with the adapter, and because we can go straight to the CCD's and double the lines per millimeter on the chip it's still a great bet for getting a nice image.

But between the XL1s and the DVX100 the image's I think are going to be about the same, we double the lines per millimeter that the XL1s can resolve but the DVX100 starts out with a higher pixel count so even going through the leica lens on the camera I think we're going to end up at the same place as for image quality between the cameras. This doesn't factor in the 24p and cinegamma the DVX100 offers, which raise the bar in the asthetics department.

Point is I still think the XL1s is a good bet to go with for the Mini 35 system, but I'll tell you this. If Canon doesn't come out swinging I'm moving away from their product permanently, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that which I think Canon understands, thus my previous prophecy.
__________________
Craig VH
Craig Van Horne is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Alternative Imaging Methods

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:43 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network