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Old June 19th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #1
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HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test

I'm recovering from a weekend shoot for a 48 Hour Film that will be showing at a Cinema this week. In the next week or two I should be able to post access to the final film for download, but I thought I would start giving you some insight on how things worked out with the combo.

We shot the entire film using the HV20, and Letus35a combo. I shot the HV20 inverted on the rig I posted earlier in this HV20 forum, to avoid time issues with flip the image. I actually have NeoHDV which will flip fine, but Director was using FCP, and since I didn't really know what might be entailed, I just used that rig.

We decided to shoot everything in Cine mode. I haven’t had an opportunity to review all the footage in the shoot, but in general, I think the Director's vision decision to use Cine mode paid off.

The following are comments excerpted with edit from some post production notes:

The camera operated well in terms of what we asked it to do, ie., relay the image from the ground glass, to the imager and on to tape. I didn’t see any blips there, and I want to see all footage, so I can analyze that more.

a. Shooting mode: Cine Mode.

I kept waffling back and forth before shooting on whether to use thismode or not. I had concerns about no post color correction that was just not feasible in the 48 hour format. I think the shoot demonstrated some strong points of the mode and only one of the scenes probably suffered from the lack of time to do some correction. The outdoor scenes appeared to have wider latitude, preserving detail in the shadow areas. I thought they came were great. The interior shots had bit of a flat feel to them, and I wondered post shooting if we would have had a better look by shooting the TV mode. I would be reviewing that before any future shoot. In the interior shots, Cinemode seemed to always push us down to 1/24 shutter speed. The scenes could have been lighted better, but that would have added issues to the look we were going for and times for set ups were a real issue.

b. Lack of overscan image view: Being the consumer camera it is, neither the viewfinder nor the makeshift monitor I had attached to top of camera was able to display to complete edge of frame actual frame. With a professional monitor, we would have seen it, but this is, after all, a consumer camera set up, and you would not expect users of this camera to have the best monitors. As a result, when some of issues arose with the Letus as discussed below, they were hidden, until we saw the captured footage after the fact. We lived with it, but it is something that needs to cleaned up in the future.

c. Controls- With the camera right side up, access to controls is alread bit confusing. When you access exposure adjustments with the toggle, you can select mike adjustments or exposure adjustment. When you turn everything upside down to get a right side up image, it becomes mor confusing. The toggle adjustment, when the camera is upside down, is the opposite of intuitive, so that creates a problem. I found myself upsetting my sound adjustment that had been set with a tone from the sound man, on occasion, because of the confusion

Letus 35a.: The Letus35a adapter produced some great images, but also has some issues. I cover the issues here:

a. Build: I am disappointed that the adapter does not appear to be designed with tight enough fittings to stand up to continuous shooting. I had problems that showed up in the end product that were associated with these Letus issues:

1. Screen alignment: There were instances in which the tube would turn slightly causing the edge of the screen to become part of the recorded image. I will be developing a method of locking that in a proper alignment to avoid that issue in the future.

2. Lens Mount: As the shoot progressed, The lens mount ring developed a couple of issues that I am still looking at to determine exactly what happened.. The day was very hot, and it could have just been expansion on the aluminum mount. First, the prime lenses stopped locking snuggly in to the mount. In fact the Nikkor 35mm F2 lens was very loose and when you adjusted focus, if you were not careful, you could spin it off the mount. I ended up using a piece of scotch tape to "shim" things. And where the lensmount joined to the Letus body, there is a danger of poor alignment. Because of the less than snug fit into the plastic receiver. Both of these issues need to be addressed with modification if the adapter stays on board. I will be look closer at that in weeks to come.

B. Extension tube needed?: I think it might be wise to add a spacer to allow a bit more latitude when zooming on the Letus image. I will be experimenting with that too. When you actually see the film, you will see some vignetting on the wides, as well as evidence of capturing the edge of the screen when I didn't zoom enough. These could be remedied in post with a crop or other editing adjustment, given time- a commodity in short supply in the 48 Hour film project.

This adapter will work fine with care in a controlled situation, but for a heavy production with quick moving scene setups and continuous lens changes, I believe a more robust adapter will be in order. Next in line to consider would be the Brevis.

Lighting: What limited lighting we did use, came from my fairly inexpensive Britek soft boxes. In most of the indoor shots, more attention could have been paid to lighting the set ups– especially since the Letus adapters needs a bit of light to give us depth of field control. In
most of the indoor shots, we were at the edge of exposure limitations. Cinemode was coming in at 24 fps, and I saw some evidence that it was providing a bit of strobing effect.

Steady Stick: I used a Steady Stick in some scenes, trying to give a steady cam feel. From my point of view, this rig is not intended to be a substitute for a steady cam rig. It is okay where the shooter has to make a step or two, but is best left with theshooter in a stationary stance. It provides a relative steady shot that way, for that floating camera
feel.

I will post a picture of the entire rig, later so you will get an idea of what we were doing.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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I cant wait to see some footage.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #3
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Absolutely, and the photo of the setup too! :)
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Old June 20th, 2007, 12:41 AM   #4
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Here is one of configurations I shot the camera in. The video screen is a simple SD DVD Player which has AV in. Focusing is a challenge, but I think we did pretty well with it. In some scenes, we used a flat panel HD TV to monitor. Used Beachtek XLR adapter. Mic is the Senheisser ME66, with the K6 power module. Sound man actually turned power off on mic, as his field mixer provided phantom power. I didn't even realize the mic could be used in that phantom power configuration.
Attached Thumbnails
HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06763.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06764.jpg  

HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06765.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06766.jpg  

HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06767.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-dsc06768.jpg  

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Old June 22nd, 2007, 12:58 PM   #5
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48 Hour Screening

Last night we went to 48Hour screening in SF. Very interesting. I was a bit disturbed that the 48 hour people did not have a better system of assuring that the films were shown cleanly. A lot of the films appeared to be shown in the wrong aspect ratio. I'd like to see them take better care in screening the material. Our film showed in the right aspect, but also demonstrated interlace issues, and the right last 1/20 of the frame showed smearing and tearing of some sort I had never seen before. Our director had edited and sent everything in a data file rendered out of FCP, which I don't use, so I don't know if it was our issue or theirs.

All in all, though, we were pleased with the audience response. Ours was a rather dramatic film, while most others had comedy tones. We were the 10th of twelve to play, and most of the preceding films were light and comedic. The audience seemed ready for another funny one, then you could tell they suddenly realized it was serious. In the end, it was well received I think, because in the after screening question and answer period, when our director introduced himself, there was a very nice sustained and appreciative applause, expecially from the other directors.

As far as the look we got from the HV20 paired with the Letus, I think it did come across well. Problem I had in watching it there, was that I had seen better renditions of the film on my computer screen, and so I was noticing defects in the screening wondering about that, and lost track of just enjoying the feel of the screening. A couple of the shots seemed darker than we output we saw on our previews, so I think this makes it clear we should have scoped the film. Again, I don't know how that is done in FCP, but I would have looked at it in Vegas. Of course, that all presumes that you have the time, which you don't in a 48 Hour competition.

I'm attaching some low rez grabs I got from an H264 pre color corrected version I had, with the permission of the director. Very shortly we will have different on line versions of the film for you to review to. When they are up, I will post a link.
Attached Thumbnails
HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-01.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-02.jpg  

HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-03.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-04.jpg  

HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-05.jpg   HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-06.jpg  

HV20, Letus25a and a 48 Hour Film- Real World Test-sequence-07.jpg  
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 01:20 PM   #6
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Wow, you did the 48 hour thing too? Your film looks very nice, based on those screenshots. I can't wait to see it. I went to the screening on Wednesday, and even though our film wasn't visually spectacular, it was great to see on the big screen, and the audience seemed to like it. Lighting is what killed us though, and I think it's what separated the professional-looking shorts from the Youtube-looking shorts. That, and sound issues.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 01:44 PM   #7
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Chris:

Yeah. We did takes some time lighting but should have pushed that a bit more inside, as we were using Letus. As I said in earlier post, we pushed the exposure edge. In post, it can be fixed, and in fact versions we will have up shortly will be fixed to some degree, but the original submission could not be color corrected because of the time constraints. We actually had to contend with a 2 1/2 travel time because we had to deliver from here.

Director was expecting to have films up today, but we got back a 3 a.m. last night, and I am not so sure it will be done.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 02:13 PM   #8
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YouTube Version of our 48 Hour Film

Okay, here is the YouTube version of our 48 hour film. I was proud to be associated with this film, and learned a lot from the Director, Jason his crew, the sound engineer Mike Smith. And the lead actor and Actresses were fantastic. When I get a higher resolution version I will post it. Note: Our genre was holiday film, jar of coins was the required prop. Required line was something like, "call me when you know something".

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s3hDShqe18
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 03:50 PM   #9
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Very interesting film. Nice to see that the HV20 can perform like this under the right situations. The only thing that kinda threw me off was the lighting in certain scenes, like when the girl was in the kitchen finding out her son had died. There were some other scenes too, but it might have just been the crappy youtube compression. Either way, very nice film!
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 04:26 PM   #10
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Miguel:

Yes, YouTube compression was a problem, but film really needed some brightening in post. We were at the edge of good exposure in some of the indoor scenes and we would love to have had some time in post to color correct.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:12 PM   #11
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nice

Wow - that was really good.

I've done the 48 the past 3 years - won my city last year - and even got the dreaded "Holiday Film" genre for the Fall Shootout last year. I know how hard it is to pull off a decent, coherent movie and you and your team ought to be proud.

Very creative way around the Holiday Film issue and I totally bought the actors and direction, even though I didn't think the aging of the actors worked.

But, that's not what you want to hear - the camera work was very nice. Good choice of angles, good use of DOF.
I'm excited to see that, because I'll be using my HV20 in August for the 48 this year.

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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:25 PM   #12
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Jason:

My first one, but this Director, and actors, had shot one in 2004 out here. Lots of fun, and lots of stress. Shot 630 a.m. till 2 :30 a.m. Sunday morn. Quite the experience. Would love to have had the three hours of travel time for the delivery for post work, but next time I may try direct to disk capture to speed up edits...

Thanks for kind comments, and I will pass it on to our Director.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:35 PM   #13
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Hey Chris - good job. I'm sure you all had your work cut out for you (there's no way I'd ever even attempt the 48 hour film thing.) How much light loss do you have with that adapter? Also there was a lot of vignetting. Is that a function of the adapter, or the lens(es) you were using?
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter J Alessandria View Post
Hey Chris - good job. I'm sure you all had your work cut out for you (there's no way I'd ever even attempt the 48 hour film thing.) How much light loss do you have with that adapter? Also there was a lot of vignetting. Is that a function of the adapter, or the lens(es) you were using?
Combination, of things I think, as follows:

1. I think the HV20 Letus 35a combo could stand a bit of an extension tube to give a little more zoom capability, cutting down vignetting. That is my next project on the combination- that, and securing the front lens assembly better, as well as the attachment of the achromat at the rear. I think that will help vignetting issues a lot.

2. There could have been scenes, in the rush of things, where I failed to get zoomed in as far as I could go.

3. The wider angle lens have a tendancy to vignette, any way, on all these adapters.

4. As you will note, the out door scenes in full sunlight seem not to affected by vignetting signifcantly. The indoor, lower light scenes reveal the vignetting more. What optical properties are involved there, I am not sure, but I tried to shoot everything around f4 to f 5.6, though we had no choice in darkest scenes to go wider open. Except for the failure to zoom far enough in, I am surmising that with the less latitude in digital imaging, vignetting that does not show up as much in a film camera, will be more pronounced in this circumstance.

5. The vignetting demonstrated in the crib scene near the beginning of film was shot with a Canon 24 mm f2.8 wide. I no matter what I have shot that lens with, I have seen vignetting. The restaurant kitchen scene at beginning was shot with Nikkor 35mm F 2.0 lens, if I recall right.

We did use softlights or available window light in indoor scenes scenes. Have to admit that in the "home" kitchen scene that went darker as actress collapsed in corner, was something that developed after we had set up camera, and we didn't reset exposure. I still think in our finished edit with color correction it will pull up okay. I tried it on a low res copy by doing a gradual brightness and contrast adjustment, and it seemed to work. We will see how it looks after the editors do the CC.

As far light loss, my experience is we are losing about a stop and a half.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 03:41 PM   #15
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Very impressive

Chris, I'm green with envy that you could work on a film like that.

So how did they project your final product ... HDTV digital projector? You mentioned interlace artifacts, did you pass raw m2ts to your director for editing?
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