P+S Technik advice needed (ASAP!) 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 11th, 2002, 09:58 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
P+S Technik advice needed (ASAP!)

I've got a shoot on Saturday (1 day low-budget commercial) we're using the 35mm adapter on. (With Zeiss SS primes 18-85 and 100macro).

Here's my urgent question for those of you with any experience using the adapter. It's a broad one:

What important things to I need to know about how to use this adapter (technically speaking)? I know that's broad, but I'm renting from out of state, so I'm not going to be able to sit down with anyone who can show me what I'm doing...

Before anyone complains that the question is too open-ended, I'll give an example or two of the kind of suggestions I'm hoping for...

a) Do I put the XL1s on full manual mode? 0 gain? AE shift?
(I know some of these may be user-preferences even when using the adapter, but if there's anything specific that any setting needs to be on, I need to know about it...

b) How should I (or how would you recommend if that's a better way of saying it) set the shutter speed and iris? I'm assuming I can just set shutter speed to 60 (this is assuming I'm fully manual mode), but what about iris? Since I've got aperture control on the lenses, does iris setting on camera even do anything?

Etc., Etc... Please, anything you've got by way of advice will be appreciated!

Matt Pope
Matt Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2002, 11:21 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
check out this thread

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1801&highlight=technik

You might want to email Justin Chin directly...he's the local expert on this device, but I haven't seen him snooping around here lately. Click on his profile, and his email is listed there. Good luck with your shoot.

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2002, 11:24 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
Thanks... I've actually been through that thread a number of times, but it mainly discusses the look, various lense options, etc... I'm really hoping someone will have some advice on settings, etc. Thanks for the suggestion though...
Matt Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2002, 11:37 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Posts: 1,189
I'd still reccomend that you pop justin an email (he's a very helpful fellow), as he knows the technik better than anyone...there aren't a lot of us around here that have actually used one..and he owns his ( i think). Anyway good luck again.

Barry
Barry Goyette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2002, 12:47 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Bethel, VT
Posts: 824
Need info on P&S

I responded to your email, but I thought I'd post this here just in case.

Hey Matt,
Well I hope I can help. In fact, I was asked by ZGC to speak at the DV Expo in LA next week but schedule won't permit. Fortunately I'm in between directing voice sessions, so I've got a few minutes to give you some in depth words.

a) Do I put the XL1s on full manual mode?


Asolutely


_ 0 gain?_ AE shift?

Again, absolutely (in my opinion, and I think P&Ss).

<<(I know some of these may be user-preferences even when using the adapter,
but if there's anything specific that any setting needs to be on, I need to
know about it...>>

Make sure you're shooting in Frame mode other wise you just get realy nice looking video. In order to get that Mini 35 look that falls in the netherworld between 16mm...35mm...film and video, you need the DOF, angle of view of the adaptor, the frame mode and soft feel of the XL1, and good lighting technique



<<b) How should I (or how would you recommend if that's a better way of saying
it) set the shutter speed and iris?_ I'm assuming I can just set shutter
speed to 60 (this is assuming I'm fully manual mode), but what about iris?
Since I've got aperture control on the lenses, does iris setting on camera
even do anything?>>


Exactly...you're basically overiding the entire XL1 optics system. You want the shutter speed at 60. Here are the basic things to be aware of and wary of:

In my experience and I think in the few others that are working regularly (own) with this system, even though P&S says you're safe without spinning the glass (turning on the motor) as long as you're working at T-stop of 5.6 and under ALWAYS try and shoot with your Zeiss Primes wide open. Most definitely with longer focal lengths. Use the secondary iris control on the back of the adaptor to control the light. What this does is guarantee that you're getting the most light and image onto the ground glass which minimizes (ideally eliminates) any of the "grain" that it can impart. Of course there may be times when you need the increased DOF from stopping down the lens itself, but fortunately, most of the time the shallow DOF is one of the things that makes this system so film like.

I would tend to run the motor on everything to be safe (and you'll find that the motor takes very little power and you can probably shoot for 2 days with a standard XL1 battery on it. A good example is a shoot I did a couple of weeks ago. It was a sports spot shot on a locker room set. We lit it with over head balanced Flos for effect and 5 soft boxes and a few fresnels (intentionally even and well lit). I felt comfortabel shooting without the motor under those conditions, but upon looking at the footage afterwards I realized that in some scenes I could see some grain (you most often see it in a camera move or a moce by an actor when as the scene changes, the grain pattern stays constant). This didn't ruin anything. I was the only one to really discern it and it happens quickly BUT, it taught me to be overly cautious. Also that may have been as much a result of the Nikons vs the Cine Primes.

Caveat...there are times when spinning the glass (running the motor) can be an issue. On certain shots (I've found outdoors so far) against an evening sky for instance, or a field of even color: you can actually see a spinning disk from the rotating ground glass of the adaptor. It is centered in the frame and you don't want to go there. Like most issues with the grain, or in this case the spinning effect from losing the grain, they tend to be more of an issue when using longer focal lengths (50mm - 85mm in your set of Zeiss), and when you're stopped down on the lens. So keep the lens open, light well, monitor your shots well. Read below about the viewfinder and field monitor stuff.

Now here's the real thing if you're used to shooting in video and not film. The standard VF that comes with the XL1 is not good enough to pull the kind of accurate focus that this quality of glass delivers. The hot system is the XL1, with the B&W Ikegami VF (pretty big bucks, but for the $4k it cost for that and my Nikon primes, I'm working in a whole other world). If you are using the standard Canon VF, make sure you have a good field monitor and someone with eyes to make sure you're pulling the focus, especially on close ups with the 85mm (which is such a great image with the Zeiss wide open). Also get the Putora focus chart from ZGC (around $75) and use it to check focus on all those critical shots..remember this is Prime World...no ability to zoom in, get your critical focus and reframe.

I worked with the Zeiss SS and the Cooke Ultras on a couple of shoots. At half the price, the Zeiss are still great, and speed is what this baby needs (no cine zooms...the field of view is wide enough and they're not fast enough..you'll see noticeable vignetting). As an investment, I bought the Nikon adator and a set of the fastest manual Nikon primes available. We (ZGC folks and I) think that optically, they're probably deliver as good an image as the cine primes, but there's the compromise of not being able to use a follow focus setup and there can be some "breathing" in pulling a rack focus, and because f-stop and t-stop aren't equal even the 1.2 to 1.8 Nikons I'm using are slower than the Ultras and SS. Still for $2500 versus $25,000 it's nice to own a system that rivals super 16mm and shoots on mini DV.

Light like film in order to get the "film look", always look down and do a "motor on...rolling tape" before each take to make sure you don't forget to spin the glass, keep the Prime lenses fully open, shoot in Frame and fully manual wih everything else set flat, use the Putora chart, pull good focus.

Now for the good news...the look is great, and the compromises are there but well worth it to get this kind of image on mini DV and the ability to shoot to your hearts content and check every shot on set/location.

Good luck,
Jim
Jim Giberti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 11th, 2002, 05:27 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
Thanks Jim,
This is just the kind of stuff I was looking for. Your suggestions brought up a few quick follow-up questions (doesn't that always happen!).

1) "Always keep the motor running." Aren't there 2 levels, like Low and High? If so, do you recommend always using high?

2) "Use the Putora focus chart." Not that that's a bad idea, but it makes me wonder about the reliability of the adapter setup when it comes to measuring focal distances. Do you tape off your distances or do you just focus visually? Is it even reliable enough to focus this way?

I've unfortunately only got the color VF, but I've got a 9" Sony 8010 I'll be using as a reference. Obviously for shots where I'm pulling focus I'll have to go by my marks, but if I check them with the monitor beforehand and have someone watching the monitor as I shoot, I'm hoping I'll be okay.

3) Do you light with a meter to set your exposures? If so, how do you rate the setup? I got an email from Justin Chin saying he rated the setup at about 80 asa, which is the lowest number I've seen, but I don't doubt he knows what he's talking about. If I do try to set exposures using a meter, the purpose would be for continuity between shots. However, I'm assuming I'll have to keep the relay lens iris wide open at all times to not mess up the "calculations" here.

But I like the thought of being able to shoot wide open on the lens for dof, then stop off the relay iris if I need to lower my light levels. In your opinion, would it be better to do it this way in order to keep the lens wide open at all times, and just have to use the monitor (and my memory) to make sure my shots are matching?

4) One final question that might come back to embarrass me... What exactly is the difference between a rack focus and pulling focus? I've always sort of used them fairly interchangeably... Is there something I need to know so that I don't come across as an idiot in the future?!


Thanks a ton for the help!

Matt Pope
(btw, for anyone else who might be following this thread, I'll make sure and post a wrap-up of my experiences after the shoot!)
Matt Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 12th, 2002, 07:52 AM   #7
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
If I recall correctly I think Justin shot in interlaced with the mini35,
not frame mode.... I'm about 99% sure on that. Don't know why
(probably resolution)
__________________

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 20th, 2002, 10:21 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: New York
Posts: 319
I agree with everything he said, except about shooting in frame mode.


That was a really great post and explanation.

Shoot in frame only if you know what you are doing with the footage afterward. If it's going to a real post house, try to avoid using Frame mode, just change the shutter setting and light properly.
John Threat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21st, 2002, 06:27 PM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Matt:

In response to one of your questions, "pulling focus" just means focusing the lens, whereas "rack focus" usually refers to making a deliberate pull between two distinct planes of focus, often to draw attention an element of the frame (such as a foreground element). Director Richard Rush claims he invented the term "rack focus", borrowing the concept from the rackover Mitchell cameras that were in use until the early 70's. The cameras were non-reflex, meaning that the viewfinder was offset from the actual lens similarly to a point-and-shoot still camera, but you could rack the viewfinder over to look through the lens during rehersals.

As far as the best way to achieve focus with this setup, I strongly recommend to you and all users of the Mini 35 that you use an experienced camera assistant. It's no joke pulling focus wide open with 35mm optics, especially any lens longer than 35-40mm. If you are working as the DP and operating the camera, you've got a lot of things on your mind and nailing focus should really be someone else's job. This may seem alien if you come from a video background, but once you start working with 35mm format lenses you've crossed over into a whole new set of challenges!

One more thing about shooting wide open--the lenses you are likely to be working with are not optimized for a fully open aperture and will generate a slightly softer image. The best results are usually 1.5-2 stops closed down from full open. The added depth of field is not radical, you'll still be very pleased with the results. And it will help a lot with focus, especially with long lenses.

Good luck!
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2002, 08:17 AM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
Thanks for all the advice guys... I thought I'd give an update on my experiences now that I've had a chance to check out all the footage and begin editing.

1) The image quality is obviously great like everyone says. I shot in 4:3 frame mode. The feedback I seemed to get was that the lens adapter doesn't change much in the frame vs. interlaced debate, so if you prefer one without the adapter, use it with the adapter. Since this production (a commercial) warranted a slightly more "cinematic" look, and since I was doing all the post in-house, I decided to do it in frame mode.

2) I shot with Zeiss SS primes (18-85 T1.3) and a 100mm macro. The macro wasn't as fast as the other lenses, and coupled with the adapter, the 100mm shots needed lots of light. But our shoot was outside on a nice overcast day, and our gaffer did a nice job, so we never really had a problem with getting enough light. In fact, my only real complaint with the adapter was the ground glass. Maybe it was just the specific adapter we had, but there's absolutely no way we could have shot anything without the motor on high. (Huge "spots" on the glass). We tried to shoot everything wide open, but some of our shots (particularly close-ups) we had to stop down on the relay iris.

I was under the impression that the relay iris would not cause problems seeing the ground glass, but I was wrong. There are a number of shots we stopped down on the relay iris where I feel like the spinning glass is pretty noticeable. No one else has commented on it yet, but once you notice it (or are looking for it), it's pretty bad. This was with the lens wide open and the relay iris at maybe 4 or above.

3) One other image problem. Maybe I was just doing something wrong, but every time we switched lenses we had to reset our white balance. I'm assuming this has something to do with the camera not "recognizing" the lenses we were using, but it was really a pain as many times we'd be changing lenses between every shot. I don't know if just turning the camera off would have caused the same problem because we primarily only turned the camera off to change lenses.

4) Our external monitor (13" Sony) was sort of tough to judge consistency on. I often got a different look (exposure-wise) through the viewfinder than what I was seeing on the monitor. I've noticed this before without the lens adapter at times though, so it might just be a camera thing.

5) Again, I don't know if this was just the adapter we were using, but the way the tripod plate was sitting, I couldn't fit anything larger than the smallest Canon battery onto the adapter for the motor power. And since we only had one of the small batteries, by half way through the day we had to start charging the battery in between each setup, and making sure the motor was off between shots. Of course this led to one or two ruined shots where we had forgotten to turn the motor back on...

6) Finally, and this probably isn't adapter related, but I'll through it in there anyway, but we had some weird trouble when we were doing dolly shots (using a Fisher 10). Almost every time we tried a dolly shot, we would get pretty bad flicker in the picture. We noticed it first on the monitor, and thought maybe it was a power surge coming through the BNC, but it was happening in the viewfinder without the monitor connected as well. We also thought it might have been static electricity build-up of some sort, but with rubber dolly wheels, that didn't seem likely either. Anyway, it let to a number of scrapped shots or dolly shots that had to be turned into static shots. Has anyone ever heard of this happening before or know what the cause may have been?

Overall I had a great experience with it and would recommend it to anyone needing an inexpensive but more professional look than anything else you can get shy of HD. It may sound like I'm only pointing out the negatives, but that's because overall it lived up to all expectations with regard to picture quality, etc. If you've ever used film lenses before, then you know what to expect from the depth of field, clarity, etc., that these lenses offer, and they do exactly what they're supposed to with this setup. In fact, it's got me tossing around the idea of buying one of them for myself... anybody think I could get any renters off this board if I did?! (for a discounted rate of course! :))

Thanks again for everybody's advice. Let me know if there's any questions I can try to answer...

Matt Pope
Matt Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2002, 04:33 PM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Matt:

Thanks for posting all that information. I've been considering the Mini 35 for a shoot this spring but fearing that spinning vortex effect.

I'm baffled by the interference in the picture from the dolly. Considering that it is a non-electronic system (unlike a Panther, say), it's hard to imagine where that would have come from. Although the vision of an XL1 on a Fisher 10 is sort of wild--that's a lot of dolly for a little camera! What head were you using?

You described a 13" Sony monitor--did you mean a 14" broadcast version? If so, I would definitely trust that over the viewfinder, especially the color viewfinder. Assuming you have set up the monitor to bars and it was properly shielded from ambient daylight with a hood, that is the picture you will see in your edit suite.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2002, 05:08 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
Charles,
Sorry - mispost on the monitor - it was a 14".

As far as the spinning glass - out of about 35 shots, it was noticeable in 2 or 3. And those (in hindsight) were all stopped down at least slightly. My mistake was not checking thoroughly based on a misperception that stopping down the relay iris would not effect how noticable the glass was. The shots were also all against relatively smooth, solid lighter toned color shots. (ie - caucasian face ECU and white dinner plate).

If you're careful with it, though, I don't think it'd be a problem. Just don't ever plan on being able to use it with the motor off (I'm assuming you won't care about the onboard mic either).

As far as the dolly, it did look a little funny, but not too bad when it was all put together. When we added on the lens adapter, 100mm macro, 4x4 matte box, focus wheels, etc., the whole thing didn't look too bad. In fact, the funniest thing is actually looking at the camera body in perportion to the lenses and adapter!

Oh, and it was a Panorama tripod set that came with the adapter, not sure what model, but I wasn't a big fan. The head was a 100mm ball, so I just put a 100mm adapter on the Fisher and it worked fine. In hindsight I wish I would have just 501 head - for my money it sure feels alot smoother (especially in tilts) than the Panorama did...
Matt Pope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 29th, 2002, 07:46 PM   #13
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I would love to see some pictures of the footage you shot with
this setup! Any chance of that happening?

Thanks on all of the information!
__________________

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 January 10th, 2003, 09:16 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 126
Pulling Focus

How accurate is pulling focus with the Mini35? I found that, using the mount on the Mini35, it's not accurate.

We'd measure the shot, but it still looked soft. Unfortunately, we didn't have a nice B&W viewfinder nor a 14" Sony monitor.
__________________
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. - Albert Einstein

http://advaloreminternational.com
Victor Muh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: ATL
Posts: 83
Re: Pulling Focus

<<<-- Originally posted by Victor Muh : How accurate is pulling focus with the Mini35? I found that, using the mount on the Mini35, it's not accurate. We'd measure the shot, but it still looked soft. Unfortunately, we didn't have a nice B&W viewfinder nor a 14" Sony monitor. -->>>

We didn't have too much trouble with it. But we were using the Sony for focus (the color viewfinder's obviously pretty worthless). Unfortunately, I never did try to measure any shots (I had planned on it, but then ended up needing to shoot quicker than we had hoped). We just visually setup each mark on a shot, pencil-ed it in and pulled according to the pencil marks.

I do wish I would have measured off a few though, just to see how accurate the rig was...
Matt Pope 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 11:38 AM.


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