One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo at DVinfo.net

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Old January 6th, 2007, 06:57 AM   #1
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One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo

Dear friends of the 35mm adapters,

I have just finished principal photography for a short film set in a small bar. I used the FX1 (Pal) with the SGPro Release 2.

The lightning was fairly low budget with a simple 500W Flood, a 300 W Video Light (semi flood ish), 3 60W Spots rigged on special little tripod mounts (very versatile & easy to move) as well as 7 regular 60W pearl bulbs (replacing the original 25W warm ligting in the bar). This was completed with a diffusor brolly and a standard reflector. I think this kind of equipment can be raised for most Indie Video shots.

Sachtler Fluid Tripod was used, the dolly was (intentionally) left in the car.

The SGPro / FX1 combo performed excellently and took the harsh conditions of field work without moaning. It was easy to focus on the ground glass of the SGPro when it was not switched on, afterwards focus (on the FX1) was left this way which worked fine. SGPro switched on the grain disappears and the images instantly look a lot more stunning. Focus assist (magnification) was used to then determine the correct focal point for the lenses used with the adapter.

My lens collection:
Canon FD 24mm F2.8 still photo lens
Canon FD 35mm F2.0 still photo lens
Canon FD 50mm F1.8 (backup) still photo lens
Schneider 75mm F2.0 Arriflex mount cine lens (adapted to FD mount by myself)
Canon FD 70 - 210 F4.0 backup lens

I missed the focal point slightly on some shots (eg."the polisher.jpg", see below), but nothing vastly out of focus. I also tried to stop down (f2.8 to f4 most of the time), as it increases contrast and image quality and looks more filmic. The lighting described above was sufficient to stop down.

Overall I am very happy with the performance of all of my equipment, but the FX1 / SGPro was truly a stunning couple. This is a big step for me as it is both the first time I used my entire equipment in one production as well as surpassed both my 16mm and previous video work in image quality.

I have posted some stills here (only flipped, some of them slightly cropped (no more than 10% magnification), no colour correction yet)

I would like to post some HDV compressed original footage (just short bits) but I don't have webspace in the moment. Maybe someone can advise on a suitable file server.

More stills and shots of the set to come.

I am very much looking forward to your thoughts. Constructive criticism is also very much appreciated.

all the best,
tom
Attached Thumbnails
One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-bar-kiss.jpg   One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-drama.jpg  

One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-killer.jpg   One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-what-look.jpg  

One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-romantic-barkeeper.jpg   One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-shot-.jpg  

One of the first short films with SGPro/FX1 combo-polisher.jpg  
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Old January 6th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #2
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Nice grabs Thomas. Good to see the SGpro used in a full production.

Regarding focusing the FX1, I recommend spinning the GG first, then focus the FX1 using the Focus assist (magnification) and peeking option. For me this is a safer bet that you are infact at the sharpest point.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 07:53 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot, Wayne.

Regarding your advice, spin with a lens on or without?

Yes, I used peaking. In fact it was more helpful with the SGPro on than it is without the adapter.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 08:23 AM   #4
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Hi,
Yes I should have said with the 35mm lens attached. I get itchy feet focusing on stationary GG first, I like to know that the focus is set to its sharpest.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #5
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Any online footage we can see?

Frames look awesome!
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Hingsberg
Any online footage we can see?

Frames look awesome!
Thanks a lot. I would like to post a few very short HDV compressed bits so the ones interested can get an impression of the real (moving) quality.

Anybody got a good free fileshare page to recommend?

The final movie may be available, though rather heavily compressed, through YouTube. But that's still under discussion.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #7
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rapidshare.com is a good choice.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #8
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Ok, here we go:

http://rapidshare.com/files/10995874...chter.M2V.html

File is 42 megs, 15 seconds, 1440*1080, HDV compressed. It may require renaming to .mpg . With my PC it worked fine with VLC, even as M2V.

This is very, very close to the stuff originally captured. Image degradation from second generation encoding is negligible. Just flipped and trimmed.

Please tell me what you think.
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Old January 9th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #9
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Was this SgPro or Sgpro r2? I have to say the grabs look a bit soft... Was backfocus correct? What sharpness settings did you use? Otherwise looks nice.

Steven
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Old January 9th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #10
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Steven, this was with the Rev2.

I like it, nice and clean and shows the bokeh well.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 01:16 AM   #11
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Steven, you are right. Sharpness is definitely an area I need to work on.

Sharpness was set to 11 on FX1 (I think thats pretty much default and in my experience the best shot). I like the sharpness on "kiss so close.jpg" and "what a look". They are, in my opinion, spot on. But on these shots I used my arri mount -> FD mount conversion, so Backfocus was correct.
The FD lens shots are not good enough yet, but I'll have to calibrate the backfocus on my unit -> lets see what comes out then.

I also was a the low end of lightning for the amount I stopped down (F2.8 - F4), and the FX1 isn't at its sharpest in low light.

A benefit is, that apart from the grain, you can hardly notice any artifacting ;-)

PS: And I used skin tone softening 2, maybe that had an effect as well.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #12
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Lens Breakdown

Thomas,

Thank you for posting this. Would you mind stating which lenses you used for what shots? Specifically the frame grabs.

Also, how did you like the Canon FD's you used. Ironically I'm looking at getting a set with the same f ratings and was curious if you ran in to any lighting issues using these where lenses with lower f ratings might have helped.

Thanks again,

Ryan
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Old January 10th, 2007, 11:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Richter
PS: And I used skin tone softening 2, maybe that had an effect as well.
When shooting with the FX1 and the SGPro, I did find that the skin tone softening did cut the sharpness a bit. I have no resolution charts to back that up, mind you -- just personal observation and preference.

What did you shoot in on the FX1? 60i, or any of the Cineframe modes? I found that some resolution is lost in the FX1's Cineframe modes, but not enough to make me dislike the images I make. And did you use any of the Cinegamma modes? It doesn't look like you did, but I was just curious.

All in all, looks good.

EDIT: Just finished downloading the actual footage, which looks excellent. The stills aren't as strong as seeing it in actual motion. Nice.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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I just wanted to point out as Robert has that you should not view stills from a production and expect photo shoot quality!

Remember first that the video is in motion, the shutter speed is ONLY 1/48th (or 1/50th for PAL, 1/60th for NTSC), and that the depth of field means objects in motion can peer in and out of the DOF range very easily.

I'm always weary of posting stills because they hardly ever reflect the actual quality of the product or in this case the video.

Good stuff otherwise!
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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #15
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Thanks a lot for the praise :-D

I think this post also told me a lesson to rely more on posting footage than on posting stills (good advice, Dennis). Its just that I love stills because I always compare them to the SD days and not to digital SLR footage. But to be honest, most cheap 6 mpixel digital photo cams would have problems to resolve this well with that amount of lighting (exagerating a little).

Robert, footage was shot with FX1 Pal, Cineframe (25p). Of course this does cost some verical resolution, but I have found quite a few members on this forum (and even Clint Eastwood) use this method to get usable cine feel.
Thanks for the hint, I will avoid skin tone softening in future.

Ryan, I am very happy with my lens collection. What I do is to zoom in as far as I can, so the 24mm is closer to 28, the 35 closer to 42 and so on. This has two advantages: the midlle of a sperical lens is always better than the rim AND you get more DOF.
It's true, I want more DOF to make it look more cinema. Hardly any hollywood DP would use the lens wide open the entire film, you rather would want it at F4 to F8. I zoom in and use F2.8 or 3.2 or 4 making the difference less noticable.
I found the FD 24mm F2.8 lens a good compromise. The 24mm F2 has virtually the same lens design (11 instead of 10 lenses in almost the same assembly). Just with the F2.8 the optical elements are a little smaller and they are sooo much easier to get. Get some lights from the money you save ;-)
Bar Kiss, Drama and polisher.jpg were shot with the 35mm, the rest shot with the 75mm. I'll post a 24mm shot later today.

All in all, I am not overly crazy about real resolution, I just want it to appear sharp, as for example the "what a look.jpg" definitely does.

All the best,

tom
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