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Agus Casse November 17th, 2003 01:45 PM

Homemade 35mm Adapter

Note from Chris Hurd: This is an edited, locked version of the original "Homemade 35mm" thread located here. It has been edited by removing off-topic posts, meta-data (such as "great job!" etc.), repeated questions, and so on. This should make your reading of the entire relevant technical discussion a bit easier. If you'd like to add to this discussion, or post a question which has not yet been asked, please do so at the original thread located here. Hope this helps -- CH

hello there, for all the "film look" fans... i have some news.. i have been experimenting for a while with a 50mm lens a homemade ground glass, a magnifying glass, and also a Dreamcast video game vibrator accesory...

It works pretty fine.. the image comes from the lens and create the proyection in the ground glass.. which vibrates at high speed.. reducing a lot the grain from the ground glass.. from there i use the magnifying glass to capture more the of the usable part of the projection (you always will get a round shaped bright light coming form the lens) from there i capure it with my cheap TRV18 ....

Open a new world to me in filming that will lead me to create a lot better video with a lot less money.

The optics are great.. as soon as i finish up the box i will post up the plans so anyone that want to give it a shoot could pass all the troubles that i found with no problem.

Agus Casse November 18th, 2003 09:22 AM

Ok, i have some shoots that i made with the adapter finished... it is all in testing stage at the moment.. but i can ensure you that with less than 30bucks you will get perfect 35mm quality DOF...


There is another test... it was shoot in the middle of the night with no aditional light....just a test.. the vigneting is caused because of the low quality ground glass...

Agus Casse November 19th, 2003 12:40 AM


i finish up the adapter.. you cant imagen how awesome optics and DOF i am getting now...

here is a pic of the adapter mounted...


The ground glass rotate at great speed inside so the grain disappear... i will post some footage as soon as i get it to the pc...

I dont the following tests...

focus pulldown, serious DOF density (background really blured), and some movements with the camera and the adapter... another thing is that you can still mount it in a stabilizer and move freely...

Agus Casse November 19th, 2003 05:53 PM

Some frames




I have to apologize for the quality of the grain.. but i had low light and the adapter makes you loose a lot of steps of light as well...

i will test it in outdoors soon, as soon as i solve some vibration problems and the optics aint that good now...

These shoots shows the example of shallow DOF like you see first blur, in focus, and blur in the background

Agus Casse November 19th, 2003 06:00 PM


There is another test the problem here is that tripod was moving a lot and there is some vibration ... i am still learing to shoot with the adapter.. but i think i will have to make some kind of support so i can tense all the system for now movement at all.

Agus Casse November 20th, 2003 05:59 PM

Yeah that is my dad, he helped me a lot in this project..

i have great news... i download the mini 35 manual, and i discovered that i was missing a part... the relay lens... now i am making a homemade version of it... also i work more on the ground glass....

Just for an advance.. it is all in the ground glass... the fake cd plastic loose a lot of light...

Agus Casse November 21st, 2003 01:42 AM


Ok, i solve the whole optics problem, now there is no vigneting at all.. i improve the ground glass, and change a little the design to reduce the noise and vibrations (need to build a metal skeleton to reduce them all to zero, the video shows vibrations from my hand adjusting the lens's focus) ...

Check this video i finish it as soon as i could finish the problems mentioned before.


Another Test with some color grading and "film look" filters


Brandt Wilson November 21st, 2003 10:19 AM


After a week, I've finally fixed my account so I can post again...

Congratulations on your accomplishment!! The images are gorgeous.

Is the grain in the image due to the ground glass grain or DV artifacting? If it is part of the ground glass, I can recommend a couple people who can improve the resolution of the grind.

How noisy is the oscillator? Have you thought of rubber mounting it to your housing to eliminate vibration? This might help when you focus your image. Essentially, wherever your motor or ground glass touches the frame, you would insert a bit of rubber to minimize vibration.

Anyway, keep us posted.

I'm sure we'd all love to see a schematic if you're in a sharing mood!


Agus Casse November 21st, 2003 01:24 PM

I think that the most simple the design of the adapter is, the better it will work, what i need now is make the metal skeleton to eliminate all vibration and to secure the 3 parts of the adapter, the lens, the box, and the relay lens.

I have been thinking a lot about postin the plans to build it, i think i will really soon, but i really want that the people remember that i build it first.

About the grain, my camera is a TRV18, if you know the model, you will know it is the cheapest DV camera around, when you got low light and your exposure is on max, you get always grain.

Agus Casse November 23rd, 2003 09:54 PM

Here are the pictures of maybe the last version of the adapter.


The image now is almost perfect, i rapidly reduce the vibrations, and make a metal support that connects to the tripod hole, also the whole adapter can be detached with no problems with no screws at all... check 35mm8_0003.jpg.

Check the phone cable attached to the battery box, i place it in the mic holder, if i need it to attach a light or another mic, i can detach it and put it in my pocket... it comes really on handy cause there you have the on/off switch, and you can remove some weight to the camera using a stabilizer

I will post a video sample soon. About the plans, i need to make the webpage, and take the pictures and explain how to build it.

Noah Posnick November 23rd, 2003 10:31 PM

This is great, but I am a little confused... Doing the cd rotate or not? If it doesn't what is the need for all of that? Also I'm glad to hear you will be putting a "how to" together. Rougly when do you think you'll have this up by? I'm only asking because i'm so eager to get started on my own.

Agus Casse November 24th, 2003 12:08 AM

Of course,

you need to rotate the cd so the grain will disappear. i will put in raw instructions how you could build the basic version of the adapter, while i start making the plans and taking some picture in how to build a better working version.

1.) Buy a 25 spindle CDR pack...

2.) Drill 2 holes (see the picture) from one you put your Camera lens and in the other you put your dv camera,

3.) Take a electric motor from a toy (those $ 0.99 stores are your best allies in this project) and put it in the center of the spindle, you need to drill another hole.

4.) Take one of the fake cds, those thar look like cristal glass, and from one side you take some 600 sandpaper, and carefully you start scratching one side of the fake cd... (this is your ground glass)

5.) Basically now you just put your pieces together, the lens, the cd spindle box, with the fake cd rotating inside thanks of the electric motor, and in the other side you dv camera.. you will notice that the lenses is making a projection in the groundglass, when you start rotating it, you will check that it is like a hologram floating in the air.. that is the what you got to film with the dv camera.

Paul Bettner November 24th, 2003 01:48 AM

Fantastic Agus, that looks like almost enough to start experimenting on my own.

A few questions:

What is the "relay lens" and where is it in your set up?

What is that piece that connects the film lens to the CDR spindle case. Is that the relay lens?

What did you use for the battery pack? Did that come from the toy also? What toy did you use? (im trying to determine what speed motor I need - i.e. how fast to spin the ground glass.)

What did you use to connect the pieces together? Epoxy?

Thank you SO much Agus, your project is really going to help me out. I can't wait to see your new video sample!


Agus Casse November 24th, 2003 01:57 AM

The relay lens is where you put your Dv camera,

The piece that conect the film lens to the CDR spindle case is just a plastic tube with the same diameter (i took it from a flash light in the latest model of the adapter, so i can turn it and remove it to change lenses), i use 2 AA, about the speed of the ground glass (the fake cd) it could be said that it should be like the shutter speed... you will get it as soon as you build yours, you the first step is to get the projection in the ground glass, then you can start experimenting a lot.

I use one of those plastic guns, the ones that you put silicone tubes and they get heated and liquified (i got lots of burns with it)

TIP: There is a center circle in the hard plastic of the spindle, use that to center the electric motor, that is esential, as well as when you will stick the ground glass, it has to be perfectly centered, or you will start getting vibrations that will screw your footage.

Agus Casse November 24th, 2003 02:01 AM

I recomend you to dowload the mini35 digital manual, there you will see the order of the pieces... my model is a homemade copy of that device... it works the same, but more basic, also remember that the fabrication of the ground glass is the hardest part, that will depend your quality of video and grain... i will for example make a glass version, cause the plastic from the cd loose a lot of light steps.

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