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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #1
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DIY Indie Ultra Macro

Happy St. Patty's Day Guys and Gals,

Like a lot of you, I'm itching to get my hands on a mini35mm adapter (specifically the Letus Extreme). In the mean time, I have created what I like to call the "Indie Ultra Macro" for use with any digital camcorder (and in my case, specifically, the XH A1).

I've created a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve this cool 'effect'.

If I were to describe it's effect in one simple sentence it would be this:

The Indie ultra macro will give you the super-close up effect as seen in CSI.

It's cheap, it's simple and it's pretty effective.

Have a look:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/116424...e_ultra_macro/

Let me know if you guys want to see it in higher quality!

I'll post some screenshots of the effect later tonight.

Thanks,

John
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:44 AM   #2
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I like the low-tech approach. Does it work as a fullscreen effect too, or are you limited to having the keyhole effect to make it work?
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Old March 18th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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Fullscreen, maybe

Hey John, thanks for commenting.

Upon further testing, I found that I could pull a standard DV NTSC 720x480 frame from the center of the area of focus and eliminate the barrel distortion / vignette.

However, this decreases it's quality from HD to DV.

Then again, I guess I could blow up the image in HD rez and see what happens.

I'll continue to do more tests and we'll see where it goes from there!

Also, I am pulling some stills from the source footage so you guys can have a look at it in high-rez. Some of the footage is pretty impressive, considering how cheap it was to create and how little time I spent on lighting, camera work, etc!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 11:22 AM   #4
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Full rez Images

Ok here are some full resolution images pulled from the source.

I'm currently on a Mac, so I exported them from the source Quicktime clips created in FCP (AppleHDV 1080i60 Big Integer) using Quicktime Pro.

I believe this was all shot using the PanaLook preset, as well.

Now I will describe what each images is (some are self-explanatory, but I'll label them anyway)

1. My fingertip 2. Metric Ruler 3.Tip of my Blowerbrush 4. Small computer screws 5. My thumb cuticle 6. Penny - Year 7. Penny DOF bottom 8. Penny DOF top 9. Dime 10. Spiral Bound Notebook paper (Blank) 11. Spiral Bound Notebook with LoftonFilms written in ink.

[]

Well, what do you guys think? Not bad for a cheap effect, eh?

I'm going to try cropping a clip to DV NTSC resolution to eliminate the barrel distortion and see how it looks...
Attached Thumbnails
DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss1.jpg   DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss2.jpg  

DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss3.jpg   DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss4.jpg  

DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss5.jpg   DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss6.jpg  

DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss7.jpg   DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss8.jpg  

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Old March 18th, 2008, 11:26 AM   #5
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And the rest

Here are the rest, 9-11.
Attached Thumbnails
DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss9.jpg   DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss10.jpg  

DIY Indie Ultra Macro-ss11.jpg  
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Old March 18th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #6
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HDV to DV

Check out the footage when I downconvert it from HDV 1920x1080 to DV 720x480. I then cropped the HD image to the appropriate, on-screen area.

*Moved to Sample Footage Section*

http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=117266

Last edited by John Lofton IV; March 18th, 2008 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Moved to Video Sample Section
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #7
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Fantastic! I am definitely going to give this a go with my A1. Thanks for sharing such a great idea.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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Hey

No problem, John.

Just be sure that your 35mm lens is secure, and that it won't touch your cameras glass!! I can't stress this enough...
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Old March 26th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #9
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I managed to get a lens exactly the same as yours on ebay for 99p ($2) so hopefully I'll be able to try this technique sometime soon. I'm also going to shell out for some cheap diopters to experiment with too. I'll post the results when I have them. :)
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Old March 27th, 2008, 01:11 AM   #10
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Hey

That's great news, John! Let me know when you've got some footage to show.

I've been busy since this last video. I've created a second set of shots using a second lens ( Mamiya 50mm f1.4 ). Plus, this time I used creative lighting. I'll have a video posted sometime soon.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 01:41 AM   #11
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wouldn't something like this do the same job?

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/...up-lenses.html

you can pick them up on ebay for around $50


.... on doing some more reading there is a quality loss using these close-up lenses (I'm not sure how much) but I then came across reversing rings

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/...ing-rings.html

which enables me to mount the lens backwards - I'm wondering if this would make it too far away from the camera lens?
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Last edited by Paul Mailath; March 27th, 2008 at 01:56 AM. Reason: research
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Old March 27th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #12
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Interesting

Hi Paul, thanks for the interesting links! The lens reversing rings are new to me.

As far as the magnification filters go, I'm not sure they are able to capture quite as close of an image as the rig I have set up. I would have to do some more research and possibly some tests to verify my guess.

Also, barrel distortion around the edge is a big issue. Barrel distortion and Vignetting are the two reasons most people would say that this footage 'suffers' or is 'unuseable' in a standard sense. However, I've found a workaround. Just crop a 720x480 DV rectangle out of the middle of the 1920x1080 HDV frame! Viola, your footage is now useable.

Using a lens with minimal barrel distortion ( lens specific, must research each individual lens for this ) is key. For my next test (which I will be uploading today ) I've used a Mamiya 50mm prime at f1.4. It has EXCELLENT clarity and minimal distortion. I think you will be impressed by what I have put together.

Thanks again, Paul.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lofton IV View Post
As far as the magnification filters go, I'm not sure they are able to capture quite as close of an image as the rig I have set up.
you were right - but they're not bad for the money - I got a set off ebay for $50 which included a +1, +2, +4 and a macro lens which screw onto the end of my XH-A1 - you can use them individually or stack them.

http://www.vimeo.com/945906

the focus isn't as good as I'd have liked - It's more a factor of my eyesight than the add on lenses - time for a large HD monitor I think
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:42 AM   #14
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I finally found some time to try this out over the festive season. I bought the lens ages ago off ebay for less than a quid, but then I just never got round to finding a bit of styrofoam to try it out!

Anyway, finally realised that my cheap lens hood for the HV30 was a pretty good SLR lens adapter if used with *exactly* the right amount of camera tape! ;)

So here's some test footage with the even-more-budget-macro! HV30 Indie Macro Test Footage on Vimeo

I think it turned out pretty well, and I'm definitely going to be using this technique as part of my next short film project. Now all I need is a Letus and I'm set! :)
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