Some pix of a high-end Mini35 setup at DVinfo.net

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Old May 25th, 2004, 09:29 PM   #1
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Some pix of a high-end Mini35 setup

Did a commercial in Miami last week with Shane Hurlbut, the DP who I worked with on the Seinfeld/American Express webfilms. This was a test spot, to be used with focus groups before a full-scale production was to be mounted, but it was still a pretty good sized job; the producers generally shoot these on DV with a standard setup, but Shane convinced them to go with the Mini35 since he (and I) love the look that we have dialed in since those Amex spots.

The pictures show the setup by the ocean while on the remote head; we were shooting an effect that simulated a blowhole in the rocks (actually a water cannon that shot a good size blast of spray all over the talent and camera!) We had everything wrapped in plastic for the shot but I snapped these after the plastic came off and before the camera was pulled. The mechanism at the front that looks like a round filter is the front element of a spray deflector, which spins quickly and allows water to hit the lens and be immediately whisked away, leaving no drops. We controlled focus and iris remotely, the motors and control box can be seen in the head-on picture.

The handheld mount in the fourth image is an Arri item used for their film cameras, quite flexible to configure and comfortable. The thing with all the buttons is a LANC remote that I've had for years, which the camera assistant could access more easily than the other trigger buttons (and indicates that the tape is rolling, since the display is on the operator side and thus inaccessible.

The site again is:

http://homepage.mac.com/chupap/Mini35/PhotoAlbum14.html
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Old May 26th, 2004, 05:52 AM   #2
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Are you sure there is an XL1 in there? I couldn't find any <g>

Thanks for the pictures! The handheld option is superb as is your
description of the "spray deflector". They have a neat little device
in Hollywood for everything eh.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:11 PM   #3
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Rob, dude, you have no idea. I've seen things trotted out on set that are so clever or so specifically designed for a single application...for a scene in a bowling alley we once used a rig built for "The Big Lebowski" that looked like an old fashioned lawnmower; you mounted the camera so that it skimmed along the ground and there was a bowling ball pinned to the front so that it could rotate, and you just pushed it down the lane to get that great shot of the camera chasing the ball.

Incidentally, if anyone is near enough to LA they must check out Cinegear in a few weeks at Universal Studios. This is THE film equipment expo, all of the toys in one place as well as all of the players. You can play with everything (ever want to operate a Technocrane, look through the eyepiece of a Panaflex, etc.?) and it's a lot of fun. Worth a flight out here if you can manage it (OK Rob, I know it's a bit far for you!)
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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #4
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Can I ask you guys a question? As an XL1s owner, I'm obviously not trying to incite a flame war (I know, that means I AM trying to incite one), but since many people feel the XL1s is outdated, and especially since now they have the mini35 adapter for the DVX100(a), how come people are still using the XL1s/mini35 setup instead of the DVX100(a)/mini35 setup? Does it not work as well with the DVX100 or something? I'm just curious.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:47 PM   #5
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Hey, Josh Bass, where you been man?

Here's my feelings about the XL1/DVX100 issue:

First of all, I think the DVX is a brilliant camera. Great packaging, features, there's a lot there for the money.

However, I maintain (as does the DP of the spots we've been doing) that the XL1s, as long as the tooth and out of the spotlight as it may be, STILL delivers the nicest skin tones of any camera in its class. Panasonics and Sonys tend towards the gray for my taste, especially in underexposure, whereas the Canon just seems less video and more natural. There's not question that the DVX is a sharper camera, particular if one is comparing the 24p mode to the Canon's Frame mode (due to the resolution loss); but higher resolution/sharpness is not necessarily a slamdunk if you are looking to emulate a filmlook.

Also, my feeling is that being able to route the image directly through the Mini35 and onto the sensor of the XL1s rather than through the additional optics of the DVX is the preferred way to go. I have never seen tests shot side-by-side so I can't quantify that, but it seems to me that whatever resolution increase is going to come about via the DVX will be weighed against the extra glass that is involved.

Finally, I'm not clear how one would handhold a Mini35/DVX setup, since you can't use the rear finder and the viewscreen could be awkward. Perhaps someone can chime in on that.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 02:48 PM   #6
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Ok. . .just curious. Thanks. I been around. . .I have a website. . .chugging along here in Bassville.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 03:28 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : ... They have a neat little device in Hollywood for everything eh. -->>>
Boy, is that an understatement! A month or so ago I was watching a crew film a scene for "The Weatherman" at our new Millenium Park ice rink. The main camera, a big ol' Panavision, was mounted on what could only be called a sled dolly. It was a full dolly platform with seats for the focus-puller and operator. But it was mounted on what appeared to be stainless steel, shock-absorbing skis. Who makes such a thing? Who stores it when it's not used? Who do you call to rent it? Who even thinks to call someone to rent it?! Mind-boggling.

BTW, the second camera was more my speed. It was a hand-held Arri operated by a fellow wearing a motorcycle helmet and ice skates. He was being pushed and pulled by another beefy-looking fellow wearing ice grippers on his boots.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 10:30 PM   #8
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Hey Charles great post!

2 questions for you:

1. You said that you controlled focus and iris remotely. Do you mean that you control iris imbetween shots? Not during, right? Sorry if a silly question.

2. Do you guys record onto tape? If so what kind? Or do you do firewire to a HD? And do you shoot frame mode?

I'm looking to use the image converter on an upcoming shoot, so trying to get all my specs straight.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 02:06 AM   #9
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Hi Jonathan:

1) Yes, inbetween shots as the sun was going in and out sporadically. We always try to put an iris and focus motor up for crane shots so that you don't have to bring the arm up and down to make adjustments. If a zoom is onboard we will add a zoom motor as well.

2) Yes, we recorded onto tape. By "what kind", if you mean what brand, I think we used Sony Premium for this shoot. I haven't been on one of these types of jobs that used a hard drive recorder yet. And yes, we shoot frame mode for the savings in post (and the client gets to see a "filmic" image at the time of shooting).
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Old May 27th, 2004, 09:02 AM   #10
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Thanks Charles.

I did mean what brand. I have been getting some artifacting on my tapes, and I am considering switching.

My brother lives in just outside of LA and I am trying to use my parents frequent flyer miles to get out there and go to the expo as well as some seminars. Unfortunately, I dont think it is going to happen...cant get tickets and I dont want to pay....oh well! Enjoy!
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Old May 28th, 2004, 05:33 AM   #11
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Thanks for the stories Charles & Ken! Always fun to read!!

Charles: stop teasing me! Argh. That would be the world if I could
fly out to LA for a couple of days / weeks and play around. Damnit.

Anyone/studio wanne fly me up? Pretty please? <g>
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Old June 26th, 2004, 11:34 PM   #12
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Frame Mode - saving in post?

Hello Charles. What did mean by "we shoot frame mode for the savings in post"? Does this have something to do with a conversion that would ordinarily be required?

The spinning glass is also used on ships and are known simply as clear views. We had a giant 2 ft diameter one on the boat I was assigned to in the Navy. It was air driven. It is really strange looking in heavy rain when the other windows, even with wipers, are a bit blurred from the rain and the clear view portals are constantly clean. That was a great idea to bring that to the photography industry. Neato!
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Old June 27th, 2004, 06:25 AM   #13
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James: I think he was referring to processing time in post since
the picture would've needed to be de-interlaced and probably
softened a bit to make it look a bit more like film. Which is what
the XL1S does when switched to frame mode, basically.
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