Mini35 hand-held ergonomics at DVinfo.net

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Old November 1st, 2004, 03:50 PM   #1
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Mini35 hand-held ergonomics

Hi all,

I've not had first-hand experience with a Mini35, and living in Tasmania, the chances are slim that I'll be able to rent one... but putting that aside for the moment...

For those of you who have used one for real jobs, how do you go about using it for hand-held shots? From the photographs I've seen, the weight would be much further forward than a typical ENG/EFP camera such as I'm accustomed to.

Also, how do you handle the issue of a viewfinder?

It seems like a great unit to use with an external monitor if you're tripod-bound, but the work I'm planning to do has some stylistic requirements for hand-held, shoulder-mounted style shooting - and I'm wondering what the workarounds might be... I'd like to see if I'm going to be able to use this thing before I start making any serious enquiries as to how to hire one down here!

Ok, thanks for reading... :)
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Old November 1st, 2004, 04:00 PM   #2
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The last film I shot with it was entirely handheld. It is a little front heavy, but nothing too bad, and all we did was use the handgrips and use the rods as a shoulder mount. Not really very comfortable for long periods of time.

I'm sure you could attach it to a video shoulder mount, since it can attach to a tripod and use it that way.

The viewfinder was fine. If you use the XL2 or 1s then it's a fine fit for the viewfinder. Not sure how would do it with the DVX, probably the fold out screen.

But, yea, we shot the whole thing handheld and it was very versatile.

I don't have the ability to post on the web, but if you're interested I could email you a pic of us using it handheld.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 05:16 PM   #3
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I worked on a short film 'Pilgarlic' this summer, shot with the mini35/XL1s combo and I had to shoot the entire subway scene handheld.

Everything Josh mentioned is accurate, I would only add that you need to consider how difficult it is to maintain proper focus handheld. Especially if you are operating the camera and focus yourself (ie. without extrenal monitor and VF). This is even worse if your subjects are moving or you are required to dolly towards or away from the subject. It just gets really tiring quickly because of the ergomics.

Expect to sweat a bit and have a sore back the next day.

The film 'Pilgarlic' can now be seen on www.Triggerstreet.com if anyone is interested the shots.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 05:47 PM   #4
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I have done a ton of shooting with the mini35 handheld. One of the first things I did when I put together the system was to make a little shoulder pad for it. I didn't want to spend the cash on a real support system, so I just padded the base with some foam and it works awesome on my shoulder.

I personally think the color viewfinder on the xl-1s is good enough to pull accurate focus, but the black and white viewfinder sure does make it easier.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 05:53 PM   #5
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Yea, we had the black and white viewfinder and if you have a DP who's really good at focus that's a plus. Mine was able to pull focus on his own a lot, otherwise we just made sure we knew the blocking and the measurements.

It's these instances where a really good DP and really good 1st AD or focus puller can come in handy.

Otherwise, like Dennis said, it can get tiring very quickly.

Also, with the XL-2, because of how high the camera sits on your shoulder, you kind of have to look up into the viewfinder, which when you're walking, can get kind of crazy.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 06:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm not un-accustomed to having a heavy camera on my shoulder for long periods :D

My background is ENG/EFP for television, using mainly a Sony BVP90 with a BetcamSP back, so ergonomically that's what I'm accustomed to. I'm definitely used to handling my own iris/focusing duties on that machine, and I'm assuming the crossover to the Mini35 should be reasonably straightforward, although the shallower DOF will naturally take some getting used to.

Is there any scope to add a 3rd party B&W viewfinder, such as I've been used to on the ENG gear? This would be particulalry useful if I end up using a DVX rather than an XL.

I doubt I'll have a full crew-contingent for focus pulling and the like... this is a pretty small-ish enterprise at this point.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 08:49 PM   #7
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I find handheld with the Mini35 and the DVX100 to be completely unacceptable. You cannot place the unit on the shoulder if you intend to use the flip-out screen, so you end up holding 15 lbs in your hands in front of your body.

The easiest solution is to use an outboard LCD monitor for framing. I fly a 5.6" Nebtek off the rods, just to the left of the mattebox.

I am designing an interface for the FU1000 Canon B&W viewfinder and the DVX100, but that's a major project that I don't see making any more of at present.

As far as pulling focus on 35mm vs 2/3", I think it's a big difference but anything is possible. I always use an AC.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 12:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Papert :
I find handheld with the Mini35 and the DVX100 to be completely unacceptable. You cannot place the unit on the shoulder if you intend to use the flip-out screen, so you end up holding 15 lbs in your hands in front of your body.
That's precisely the type of scenario I was concerned about... The built-in LCD screen just looks like it'd be too far back for shoulder-mount operation.
Quote:
The easiest solution is to use an outboard LCD monitor for framing. I fly a 5.6" Nebtek off the rods, just to the left of the mattebox.
Sounds like a decent work-around... I'll have a look into it.
Quote:
I am designing an interface for the FU1000 Canon B&W viewfinder and the DVX100, but that's a major project that I don't see making any more of at present.
Yeah, that's understandable, although it sounds ideal with regards to what I'm accustomed to. Probably overkill if I'm renting though...
Quote:
As far as pulling focus on 35mm vs 2/3", I think it's a big difference but anything is possible. I always use an AC.
Again, I guess I'll have to "suck it and see" on that one...

I really appreciate the rapid assitance in here. Looks like a great forum!
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