Short film shot with homemade 35mm lens adapter at DVinfo.net

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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:10 PM   #1
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Short film shot with homemade 35mm lens adapter

I shot this 24min short with a 35mm GG adapter. The movie is a dark comedy called "Snafu" and is a basically-no-budget student film involving mostly students from Tufts University. The adapter uses an optosigma 50mm 1500grit GG and canon FD lenses, I'd post pictures of the adapter but it is somewhere in storage now since I just moved. I built the adapter in January and shot this movie spring semester on all school owned equipment including the GL2 camera. I posted a few times in other threads about the details of the adapter including some modularity I added in. I could repost but for now I'll let you search if you want.

http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/snafu_wm9_full.wmv
(the first 2.5 min long take(s) is all wide angle 28mm so fast forward if you want to see some shallow DOF)

I used mainly a 28mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 and occasionally a 100mm f2.8. All canon FD lenses I got on ebay.

I did the cinematography, VFX and some editing. Let me know what you think.

Last edited by Noah Yuan-Vogel; July 11th, 2005 at 01:50 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #2
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171 MB is a little steep... any way to compress it down some more, then maybe post some full screen shots too?
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:21 PM   #3
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yea I know it is, if you want something easier there is also a 60MB one.

http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/snafu_wm9_small.wmv

Of course the smaller one is a choppy 15fps and lower res resulting in more apparent DOF and less detail, probably a lot harder to enjoy. I was gonna just stick with the big one till people complained since I prefer people seeing my work closer to its intended framerate and resolution :)
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #4
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ok as requested a few stills.

the dvd cover
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/snafu-dvd-cover.jpg

stills
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/still1.jpg
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/still2.jpg
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/still3.jpg
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/still4.jpg
http://ase.tufts.edu/turbo/noah/still5.jpg

if you want more about the project there are links to the blog, teaser and some press on my website http://noahyv.info

keep the responses coming!
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Old July 11th, 2005, 05:57 PM   #5
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Noah, congrats. You made a badass film. Great writing and pace. Muy bueno
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Old July 11th, 2005, 07:09 PM   #6
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Oh man that was awesome. You don't mind if I burn it to a DVD and show a few friends eh? Its almost like a Wes Anderson dark comedy. Both the cinematography and the animation (or maybe that's rotoscoping) are right on. The only thing I disliked was the wide shot in the kitchen where the two were masked/chroma key'd...but the concept of the scene and how they kept moving in and out of the flash back was awesome.

Some of that dialogue had me laughing outloud (which makes the other people in my house look at me funny because I'm wearing headphones). The priest seemed a little over the top acting wise, but I liked the way his character was written. Great work.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 10:16 PM   #7
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Noah,

Great job. I really liked the short. The look and feel was great, and your adapter works beautifully. The FX stuff was really cool too.

On the artistic side, the writing was what stood out to me. Very nice, properly convoluted and interesting. The direction was nice also. The acting was a bit thin at times, but mostly got the job done.

Anyway, nice job overall. Definitely one of the most entertaining things I've seen here.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #8
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You have some great shots, even in the darker areas - very nice adapter that can shoot in low light - congrats.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 09:45 AM   #9
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Very cool!

I can only assume you go to Tufts. Great school, and close to both Krispy Kreme and Anna's Taqueria. Yum. All my school is near to is the three worst Chinese restaurants known to mankind. I'm at work now so I can't check out the video but I definitely will when I get home since the stills look awesome. A good friend of mine is Production Director at the Daily, by the way.

I'm curious how you avoided a hot spot. Did you use a condenser or just shoot at open apertures? I live near Boston if you ever want to exchange notes on this stuff. Anyhow, nice work.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:31 AM   #10
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Yeah, I just graduated from Tufts a few months ago. I knew a few people who worked for the daily, but I suppose they all graduated this year, too. Actually for Trent's room in the movie we used the room of a good friend of ours who worked at the daily.

I used a $7 condenser I got on ebay to get rid of vignetting, although I found there was still some noticeable with longer lenses and with smaller apertures(possibly because my flange lens distance was slightly off?). I also found that at smaller apertures the static GG grain became very high contrast. The adapter design caused some loss of FOV for the lenses. All these factors in addition to light loss caused me to always shoot wide open and favor a 50mm f1.4 lens. However, since we often shot indoors in small spaces I was forced to use the 28mm f2.8 in quite a few situations. I now realize that I could probably have shot without the adapter for wide angle / deep DOF shots and still had it match with some help in post. I was concerned the GL2 lens by itself wouldnt match adapter footage because with the adapter, the canon FD lenses seemed to have certain qualities of softness and diffusion that I thoguht might not match the sharp GL2 lens. As a result only two very small greenscreen shots in the movie were shot without the adapter.

Nowadays I'm more interested in DIY uncompressed HD cameras. Although coming up with a simple oscillating GG adapter interests me as well.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:52 AM   #11
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After playing around with RAW mode on my new dSRL and seeing the new hacked DVX footage I'd probably agree that there's a future in home made hi-def cameras, but currently they seem to be a little more trouble than they're worth. (Although rockwell makes a 2/3'' CMOS sensor that resolves a full 1920X1080 for about $700, I think. Couple that with a c mount lens and it could be pretty sweet.) Hopefully a 10 bit aquisition format will be introduced in the not-too-distant-future which should solve the issues of dynamic range and posterization during color correction, but even high quality jpegs on my digital rebel seem to have squeezed more than 8 stops of dynamic range into an 8 bit camera, so a really good DSP and good color correction software could serve a similar purpose. Then again, I can't do exposure compensation at all outside of RAW mode (12 bit color) without image degredation, so what do I know?

Do you think this condenser would work, by the way: http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/l3136.html ?

Edit: Actually, this (52mm in size) is probably better:
http://www.anchoroptics.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=34

My knowledge regarding these things is next to nothing, but I'm going to try sticking it together with a 52mm glass filter and some microwax (there's actually a store in boston which sells microwax in bulk.) A small oscillating device would be great, though. How about the "rumble pack" from a Nintendo 64 controller as a starting point?
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Old July 18th, 2005, 06:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Yuan-Vogel
the canon FD lenses seemed to have certain qualities of softness and diffusion ...
I think diffusion is a feature of a static GG. I've experimented with a Beattie, an Optosigma and a wax glass. The Optosigma becomes very diffuse on out of focus areas, e.g. a bright window in the background will have a halo around it. I've noticed it in all the static Optosigma GG pictures I've seen. That feature did not seem to occur with the wax glass, not so sure about the Beattie (didn't properly test it). Anyway I don't like the effect, so I'm persevering with making a wax glass.

Regarding condensers, I got satisfactory results with two 50mm dia Optosigma PCX 120mm FL back to back between GG and cam (), image size >36x24mm, virtually zero distortion, a very small amount of aberration, a brighter image, and only very slight hotspot in certain light. 100mm FL might be better to get absolutely zero hotspot, but possibly worse on the distortion/aberration.

Great film by the way.

Cheers
Andy

Last edited by Andy Gordon; July 18th, 2005 at 07:13 PM.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #13
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oh yeah i realize it isnt the lenses but the GG

"with the adapter, the canon FD lenses seemed to have certain qualities of softness and diffusion"

There were things I did and didn't like about the diffusion, not my favorite look. It seemed to help a bit with futher lessening the harshness of highlights that would normally exist in a (high end) consumer camcorder like the GL-2, at least in out-of-focus areas. Wax/focusing screens do not have this, correct? What about coarser groundglass? The simplicity of static GG/wax seems great to me, the light loss from wax is very high (right?), and static GG doesnt seem appropriate for HD work due to grain. Anyone know if coarse gg (500 or even 300 grit) is brighter? is coarse GG with oscillation the best combo for a bright and grainless adapter?

regarding condensers, I havent seen much info about this, but are you saying a DCX or two PCX's is a better solution than one PCX? I always figured the plano-convex made sense in focusing a flat image, but what do i know about optics. Might a larger condenser have less aberration/distortion since those flaws tend to be most prevalent at the edge of the lens, since with a condenser larger than the image you wouldnt be using much near its edge?
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Old July 18th, 2005, 10:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Yuan-Vogel

Wax/focusing screens do not have this, correct? What about coarser groundglass? The simplicity of static GG/wax seems great to me, the light loss from wax is very high (right?)

regarding condensers, I havent seen much info about this, but are you saying a DCX or two PCX's is a better solution than one PCX?
With my test wax glass I didn't notice more light loss, and I believe Oscar's results show very little light loss with wax, hotspot might be more of a problem as you can get more transmission of light through the glass, which would show up a small back lens as a worse hotspot I believe (using a single foil thickness for the wax layer). My test wax glass had hideous grain, I'm going to try a different wax.

Condensers - I've experimented with a single 49mm FL aspheric, 1 or 2 80mm FL PCX, 1 or 2 120mm FL PCX, all 50mm dia as dictated by my adapter design. Longer focal length = less hotspot correction, less distortion/aberration. It's a trade off.

The 49mm FL had too much aberration. A single 80 or 120 wouldn't correct the hotspot. I found putting a 49 or 80 FL between the GG and lens caused edge blurring. Two condensers seem to cancel each other out in terms of distortion and further brighten the image at the same time. With the 80mm FL's this worked best - |)(. With the 120's |(). With the 120's this (|) had more distortion, but didn't notice edge blur (not able to check that with the test shots I took).

I think the best bet for 50mm dia is two 100 or 120 FL |(). Not sure what the influence of the diameter is though.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:48 AM   #15
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This is all great info -- solid numbers and simple explanations that even with my lack of math skills I can understand.

With my current setup -- Century Optics +7 macro --> GG --> 50mm Nikor lens -- I get very very little vignetting/hotspotting. Essentially the corners of my footage are "rounded" a little. I'm interested in getting rid of this, but til now the condensor idea seemed a bit over my head.

Where are you all getting your 50mm dia condensors? Knight Optical or ??

edit: OptoSigma, I see.

Thanks.

- jim
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