First Film w/ 35mm thx Bob Hart at DVinfo.net

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Old May 25th, 2007, 10:32 PM   #1
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First Film w/ 35mm thx Bob Hart

I don't post much in these things, but I will today.

I've been obsessively reading the threads about DIY 35mm adapters for a while now. I took the plunge and built a very simple spinning (cd) disc model. Used 2 binocular ends mounted face to face for my macro lens. Added a 50mm prime on the other end, Focused it on the disc and shot a film today, (my first ever).

I've never shot a film before. I've been shooting and editing video weekly for about 9 months. This was a 4:38 minute short for Memorial Day Services at church. The audio suffered due to 20 knot winds. The lighting constantly changed due to scattered clouds...

But what worked perfectly, was my spinner. Why? Because of this forum and in particular the in-depth contributions and nearly constant information uploaded by Bob Hart. Others have recieved credit for pioneering different designs, but Bob has contributed a whole library of information on techniques, things that work, things that don't.

Anyway, thanks Bob.

Joel
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Last edited by Joel Chappell; May 25th, 2007 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Forgot to upload my grabs...
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #2
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Joel.

Thank you for your kind comments.

In truth though, a lot of what I suggest has already been suggested or discovered by others who have been here and gone quiet or moved on.

Like the proverbial bad smell on a quiet night, I have hung around for a long time and picked up a bit of info which I attempt to pass on without corrupting it too much.

The joy of these things as you have discovered, is that you don't need to break the bank to achieve very pleasing enhancement to your projects. True, you do lose some apparent resolution but the aesthetic gains are mostly worth it.

You are doing surprisingly well with binocular optics, no apparent vignette or hotspot, no apparent distortion - good work.

I recall maybe incorrectly, that Agus Casse made his original for about US$20...and set this whole open source thing off.

He has been quiet a good long time now. It would be interesting to know how he has progressed in his own career aspirations since.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 26th, 2007 at 11:50 AM. Reason: error
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Old May 26th, 2007, 12:29 PM   #3
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Contributions

Bob,

I know that a lot of folks have worked on these things, and they post as they are working. But it's almost like as soon as they figure it out, they stop short of giving you the info that's needed to complete it.

It took me nearly 3 days of reading to get through the eternal thread "Homemade adapter" that Agus started. Though he is credited with kind of kick starting the spinner, at least at this forum, he certainly failed to follow through with most of his findings, repeatedly citing the ever elusive commercial model he planned to build.

If I wanted a commercial product there are many talented people on this thread that have polished their favorite designs and offer them for sale. I need the thrill of doing it myself, and seeing the results, no matter what it is, with or without imperfections, character or whatever.

I wish I had photos of all of the staff as I described what I would be using for the shoot, and then when they saw me load the CD blank and put the lid on the box. It was a 4 minute short and the shoot was less than 3 hours. Because I don't yet have field monitor, I was the only one that could see the footage. You should have seen the skeptical looks riddled with concern the whole day.

But then, when those film images came onto the big screen in post. The detail of the little girl's hair blowing in the wind, against a beautifully out of focus background. Just breathtaking. No more skeptics.

The information you posted, along with others, ensured the success of my first build. Perfect no. Beautiful yes. Thanks again for sharing so much info for so long.

One more thing. Of all of the different disc types, (CD blanks, ground glass, wax, etc.), what would you say is your favorite result? If you have summarized this somewhere on the forum, give me a clue and I'll look it up.

Joel
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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Joel.

Of all the favourite groundglass disks, my favourite was one which whilst not the sharpest, seemed to yield the most filmic aesthetic. It became marked and damaged during the course of my experiments and I never again got the process right.

I had initially dressed the disk by the pressed method with silicon carbide paper and an alternator bearing on a metal rod then subsequently reworked the disk against a glass sheet with 5 micron aluminium oxide in a water slurry.

I did only one clip with it, a simple one-shot shot with a cheap lens out of the discount bin at Cash Converter's hockshop.

This was with my original non-flip version and as you mention, there were looks of confoundment when I was viewing the LCD from in front and with my head twisted around.

I moved on to glass disks and a brief experiment with wax between glass.

The wax was by far the best but a flicker defect was uncontrollable in a large diameter disk.

The optical glass disks with a 5 micron aluminium oxide dressing and the briefest touch with a cerium oxide backpolish is where I have arrived. As an aesthetic, it falls somewhere between Dennis Woods CF2 and CF3 glass.

Glass is fragile but resists marking when being cleaned.

The plastic disk moved on to Ben Gurvich in Victoria who uses a project box adaptor version. He has done two shorts since with it so it lives on.

I tried clear DVD+R blanks but the material has now been toughened and does not dress to my satisfaction.

Wayne Kinney has used both glass and either acrylic or polycarbonate (not sure which) in his SGPro developments.

I have come to the conclusion that variation in the groundglass textures enables individual choices to be made as to the aesthetic. Dennis has taken this to the next level with his choices of groundglass which can be swapped in and out.

If you want to intercut with direct-to-camera video, you may find the very fine or backpolished groundglass which allows a little aerial image through to be best. For the most filmic results, then the choice is coarser texture which eliminates all aerial image pass-through at expense of more light loss.

P+S Technik have now stepped up to the plate with a new Mini35 called the "compact" which uses a new higher resolution groundglass.

I like to delude myself that the alternative experimentation and derived commercialised products has brought this about, because finally, even the professional level users come out in front.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 03:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
The plastic disk moved on to Ben Gurvich in Victoria who uses a project box adaptor version. He has done two shorts since with it so it lives on.
As far as helping other people out Bob is definately putting in OT on these forums and hopefully that is recognised by the gang.

For several reasons including motivation I have been MIA for some time, and thought id just check in today and see whats going on.

The GG Bob sent me is a very valuable piece of plastic. Just wish i had shot some more stuff with it.

Im a shooting something for someone in a few weeks and we've chosen a DSR shoulder mount 2/3 ccd for shallower DOF because we dont have time to screw around with an adaptor and i still only have a 50mm nikkor. Im gonna miss that adaptor on the day.

Cheers,
Ben Gurvich
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Old May 28th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #6
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The Video Itself

If anyone would like to see the finished video it is at link below.

It was shot on the fly. No rehearsal with only one day to edit. So it is rough, but it certainly demonstrates that the adapter can work, even on the cheap.

FYI. It was shot in HDV 1080i, then rendered to 24p, SD in post. Of course the version on the net is only a 256k stream, Windows Media Player.

Enjoy.

http://media16.cqservers.com/kbbc/letusnotforget.wmv

Joel
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Old May 28th, 2007, 12:08 PM   #7
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Joel

No flicker, no vignette that I could see. Maybe a slight hint of corner falloff which you may get if you are not using f1.8 lenses on an image size larger than 24mm wide.

Next step for you is to progress from the two-shot wides and start to practice the over the shoulders, close-ups and reverses with a 50mm or 85mm prime lens or those as fixed settings on a zoom lens and soften that background to direct the audience view on your subjects.

Fill that frame with a face with the 50mm or even go back to 35mm with the camera closer in if the lens will allow it. This really gives you some options to also get in close with the sound in adverse conditions. This is important for the work you are doing which relies on comprehendable dialogue.

Don't forget to match the viewpoint of the camera to the imaginary line of connection, the interaction between the eyes of two persons when working to people of uneven tallness.

If your HDV camera has a "peaking" function, select this on. Now that you can achieve shallow depth of field, you have to be more vigilent on the focus task.

Peaking enables you to sharply focus on your subject slghtly easier with the small LCD screens which are notorous for making it hard to see sharp focus areas.

If your adaptor is adjustable for backfocus, it is good to get the focus numbers on the lens barrel to match accurately sharp focus for the distance the numbers indicate. If the LCD viewfinder is hard to see outdoors, then the trusty backup tape measure will tell you what to do.

Enjoy.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 28th, 2007 at 12:10 PM. Reason: errors
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Old May 28th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #8
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New LCD

Thanks for the advice. I am a total amateur, and looking for every tip.

You are absolutely right about the focusing. It was near impossible in the sun with that tiny LCD and viewfinder.

Today I found an 8" LG Mini DVD player that has a flip function. Bestbuy had it for $160. Kind of expensive, but cheaper than a pro field monitor. The flip function will help, although it will still be backwards horizontally.

At any rate, I'm having a blast.

Joel
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #9
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Joel.

A lot of your setups are going to be fixed camera positions and stationary subjects until you get the hang of things and become more adventurous. Meanwhile, a large focus chart will be your best friend.

Download a file titled

focus_pattern.pdf

from here.

http://www.rondexter.com/focus_pattern.pdf


It is a Siemens pattern and best of all it is free.

You'll need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader to be able to open the file and print it.

It works by you adjusting the lens focus until the blurry section your see in centre of the chart becomes smallest and it is not so dependent on LCD screen resolution.

The chart is large enough that you can set one up some distance away yet it is still useful.

Print a bunch of these onto sheets of paper.

You'll need more than one because they will blow away in the wind, people will find them, think they are rubbish, screw them up into a ball and loft them into the nearest trash can, I promise you.

I use several of them when setting up a fixed camera with adaptor for a shot where I expect movement towards and away from the camera or having to pull focus between two or more subjects which will be reliably on their positions.

I then cut small wedge shapes out of masking tape and stick them on the lens focus ring to mark the positions and try to remember which is for what.

Don't forget to remove the focus charts before you actually do the take.

A poor example of master wide, etc., can be found here.

http://www.dvinfo.net/media/hart/grabmon4.JPG

I was confined by a narrow balcony and could not set up where I really wanted to and the eyelines are not good.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 28th, 2007 at 11:34 PM. Reason: error
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Old June 5th, 2007, 05:23 AM   #10
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Ill grab one of those too. Thanks Bob.
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