Quick Letus Rack Focus Example at DVinfo.net

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Old May 6th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #1
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Quick Letus Rack Focus Example

This is why I love using a 35mm adapter. I've been shooting my son's Little League games exclusively with the Letus.

In this example the focus goes from the pitcher to the batter, something I just couldn't achieve effectively using the A1 lens.

http://www.pinelakefilms.com/XHA1/letusbaseball.wmv

This is just a 5 second clip


EDIT: Here's another clip (no rack focus here) that demonstrates the advantage in isolating the player from the background. It really allows the viewer to filter out all the background distraction and just pay attention to the player:

http://www.pinelakefilms.com/XHA1/letusbaseball1.wmv
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Old May 6th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #2
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Pretty cool. Better keep an eye on the ball. Would be aweful for your camera to get hit by one.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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I was behind a wire fence :)
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Old May 6th, 2007, 10:51 AM   #4
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Are you shooting with a monitor? Or just eyeballing focus through the camera?
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Old May 6th, 2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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eyeballing for these games.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #6
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Nice. Making me think I want to get one of these Letus adapters and try it out...
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Old May 6th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #7
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what does your a1 look like with it on?
can you post a picture?
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Old May 6th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #8
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Hey Steven - your footage looks great. How hard is it to eyeball the focus on the built-in LCD? Based on the footage you've taken, is it possible to get reasonably accurate without an external monitor?

Thanks!

--Colin
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Old May 7th, 2007, 02:51 AM   #9
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in the second clip you posted, i heard a spinning noise (gears), is that your mic picking up the letus?

and by the way, which Nikon lens were you using on those shots?

thanks for posting - really digging that camera!!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #10
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I haven't listened to the audio because I won't be using it but you are probably hearing the sound of the motor. For any serious recording, you wouldn't want to be using the built in mic unless the ambient sound overwhelmed it, then it wouldn't be a problem.

I use two Nikon lenses to shoot the game, 50mm f1.8 and 100 f2.8 (this one I used for both posted examples).

Eyeballing focus using the peaking feature with the LCD is easiest with the 100mm because it has the shallowest depth of field and so it's easy to see the contrast between the focussed subject and the background. It's trickier with the 50mm and I also have a 28mm which can be a challenge sometimes.

For critical focussing and something a little more serious, I would not leave home without my 7" Marshall monitor.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #11
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Thanks for answering, Steven. Are you happy with your 7" Marshall? I've heard a lot of talk about how it's impossible to focus HD without a really good high resolution 2k monitor... does your Marshall do the job?

Thanks!

--Colin
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:45 AM   #12
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Steven:

Great shots! In the pitching shot, did you have a "stop" rigged to assure you did go past the focus point for the batter, or were you just depending on approximation (like half turn or something like that...).
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Levy View Post
Thanks for answering, Steven. Are you happy with your 7" Marshall? I've heard a lot of talk about how it's impossible to focus HD without a really good high resolution 2k monitor... does your Marshall do the job?

Thanks!

--Colin
Not true, it is quite easy to focus using the Marshall monitor. Anyway, you are going to see all kinds of claims by professionals looking at the 7" monitor and basically laughing at it because to them it could look like a toy.

I'm shooting stuff that will end up being viewed on an HD TV, not on a theater screen. I"m not worried about focus being off a fraction of a millimeter that would only be noticeable on an IMAX screen :)

You have to ask yourself what you intend for your footage. If you are planning on transferring it to 35mm eventually, then I wouldn't use a 35mm adapter because the softening you get using these devices is hugely pronounced on a theater screen. If you are planning on releasing your film on Blu-ray or HD-DVD, then there is some forgiveness in production mistakes or slight imperfections.

All too often, independent filmmakers and hobbyists get too wrapped up in the equipment and spend most of their time obsessing over how to pimp out the camera and looking cool while compromising the time that could be spent actually learning their craft. Some people have spent the last 5 years waiting to purchase something because they are so nervous about missing the next big thing if they commit to something current. It's sad and absurd at the same time.

The XHA1 has given people the opportunity to shoot footage only dreamed about a couple of years ago and at an affordable price to boot. The 35mm adapters that are available now have surpassed the mini35 (in my opinion) and are a fraction the cost. It's just mind boggling to me that I am able to shoot HD and, by using an adapter, approximate the look and feel of what I love the most: film. I don't care if others think it doesn't look exactly like film, to me it does and it's all subjective. I have friends that look at soap operas and then look at a film shot with 35mm in Cinemascope and they don't consciously recognize a huge difference. It's all just moving pictures to them.

My point is this: work with what you have. MAKE it work for you. You don't need expensive gear to shoot a movie, the camera itself is more than adequate for most independent needs (I'm talking about immediate accessories for the camera, exclusive of lighting and other production needs) and, if you need something more, rent it.
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Last edited by Steven Dempsey; May 7th, 2007 at 01:03 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Steven:

Great shots! In the pitching shot, did you have a "stop" rigged to assure you did go past the focus point for the batter, or were you just depending on approximation (like half turn or something like that...).
Thanks Chris. I'm doing all of this on feel and I've got it down pretty well. I just know to turn the focus ring by a certain amount to achieve focus in the foreground. It's not scientific but it works for me.

EDIT: and just to qualify what I"m doing. Consider that I get about 15 chances to do the same shot over and over so the first few maybe screwed up but I get it right pretty fast. I'm always watching the peaking on the LCD. When I'm setting up a relatively static shot, I'll use the magnifier also. That really helps.

Someone suggested setting the zoom and focus presets to what is needed for your adapter. This is a great tip and something I've only recently implemented. Before every change of shots, I engage both of these to make sure I have the proper zoom factor and focus.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 12:39 PM   #15
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Thanks so much, Steven! Your reply makes me feel more confident about this decision.

And you're right - I'm not making a movie for IMAX, I'm planning on distributing online. 720 x 1280, max. I'm so glad the Marshall works just fine for you.

What model do you have? There are a bunch of 7" Marshall monitors - how much did yours cost? I have a feeling it's still over my budget.

Anyway, I'm sorry to take over your thread. I hope you don't mind my questions.

--Colin
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