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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:00 AM   #16
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Yi Fong,

A major difference would be the quality of the glass in the lense, the angle of view, the focal lengths, and the internal process of shifting focus. (Motion picture lenses are designed to have no breathing of shift when racking focus.)

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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:03 AM   #17
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Raymond - The best lenses to use with the mini35 are the ones you can afford ;) But I recommend high speed fixed lenses, or if you want a cheaper route spend as much as you can afford on a single variable zoom lens, perhaps a 28mm to 80mm. As for brand, Cooke lenses are fast (meaning rated usually at f1.4 or f2) and don't show any "breathing" when pulling focus or "racking" as some people call it. Cooke lenses will also allow you to attach a follow focus unit like the one from Cinetech - but again if you want a cheaper option go for Nikor mount and buy f1.4 or f2 rated lenses off ebay for about $250 USD each on average which is what I did to build up my collection. Pulling focus is still possible and if you really need Cooke lenses then rent them for your purpose, at least with the Nikor option you can shoot your own stuff without renting with only a little compromise.

Michael Kopp - At the time of this writing there is a mini35 system with XL1s selling for $8000 USD on ebay. Depending on the version of the mini35 (A, B or C) this may very well be a really good buy.

To everyone else - I don't think anyone who has not shot with a mini35 system (or similar) and brought their work to broadcast or film/theatre should be giving advice on using homemade adapaters for projects. If you're looking at $100k as Kevin has suggested, I'm sorry but a $150 modified SLR camera and some lenses is not going to come close - sorry for the reality check.

Stop putting faith in projects or clips you see online - go out there and see for yourself. If the makers of Marla hadn't released the PDF file that went along with distributing their film most people would not even know what experiences and hassles they went through making the project. Their documentation also revealed that they edited their entire film UNCOMPRESSED to try and preserve DV quality. If all their hassles sound fun and exciting to you then by all means go out and build your own 35mm system. You will likely spend more money and time in post production then had you just shot it properly in production from the first place.

To add to what Rob says, shooting with ANY 35mm digital system JUST LIKE 35mm FILM is a pain in the ass. Working with shallow depths of fields is extremely difficult and your shooting style can no longer be "point and shoot". Simply adding a dolly to your mini35 system will require you to do endless takes while you learn to pull focus properly to what is acceptable footage for viewing later. Your lighting must be all that much more perfect because the mini35 system eats a couple stops of light and let's face it, without good lighting it will look like video anyway. In the end do what you're comfortable with, if you're young and have loads of spare time then by all means go guerilla and try some of this 35mm stuff out! You gotta learn sooner or later right? Just don't expect miracles or your film to look like "Marla" without a lot of hard (and long) work.

Rabi - I can't believe you are comparing a $150 mini35 to a $10,000 mini35 from footage you have only seen online at a 1/4 of the size it should be! I'm sorry but that is ridiculous. If you intend to keep your footage on the internet then you don't even need a 35mm system, just do fake Depth of Field in post. But if you want your work to screen at film festivals or for broadcast you might need to take a second look at the REAL quality of a homemade mini35.

Lastly I would say the "look" of Marla is ONLY 1/4 accomplished by the DOF offered by the homemade mini35. 1/2 of it was done in post (check out their PDF file with before and after shots and see if you can even get close to what they did in Photoshop). And the other 1/4 is the acting, story, music selection, great editing.. which overall does brings you probably one of the coolest films on the web!
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:49 AM   #18
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what if a device was made where the lne of sight was not moved and was stable. like i said i hope to build a device similar but more robust. i also will need to build about 4 of them. could someone explore more in depth about the problems with this setup. it is indeed possible to make the camera horizontilly unlike they're vertical version. also before most of jump to conclusions. Marla had i budget of $400. I'll have alot more then that.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 09:07 AM   #19
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Yes, and your larger budget would be more practically applied to shooting with a format that would require MUCH less hastle: 16mm film. You are trying to put a ton of effort into a very much more complicated thing than it's original simple process.

OR, you could just hire us with part of that budget to shoot it and take care of all this technical stuff for you. *grins*

No but seriously, you should research what it would cost you to shoot the film on 16mm as opposed to a very painstaking home-rigging adventure.

However, even if you still insisted on doing it with DV for some unknown reason; even if you made a device to keep it as one object you would still have the problem of the SLR lenses breathing, the focus screen artifacts laying over your footage, even operating such shallow focus on a low resolution camera... with an SLR lense focus ring (Not easy to use for motion pictures at all.. in some cases nearly impossible given the right situation).
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Old October 6th, 2004, 09:08 AM   #20
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Rabi, the look of Marla can be achieved in Photoshop, After Effects, Vegas... take your pick.

The only thing a mini35 system is going to do for you is get shallow depth of field when shooting with an open aperature.

Note that even if you shoot horizontally your image will be upside down in your viewfinder - hopefully with your four cameras and camera operators they are all use to that already ;)
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Old October 6th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #21
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Yes, we achieved a nice look with the Mini35 and XL1s on a music video we did a little while ago.

Everything in Vegas, minus the one cheesy visual effects shot. The director edited, did the effects, coloring, etc all by himself. In fact he did just about everything himself from the get go to finish.

Read the article and check out the videos.

I'm posting about it all here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=33047
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Old October 6th, 2004, 04:42 PM   #22
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It is true that images will be flipped upside down with a homemade set up, and there are plenty of ways to counter this. If someone had a close-to-no-budget (say $55,000) film they were about to shoot. I would recommend renting a mini 35 package over the construction of a mini 35.

Normally with no budget at all (meaning $15 to your name) any film you are shooting can take as long as you want to get principal photography done.

If you've acquired a budget, then you most likely have people who want their money back (within a reasonable amount of time).

Shooting with a homemade mini35 set up will produce many obstacles for the sake of shallow depth of field (of course shallow DOF can also be achieved in post with plug-ins like frischluft for After Effects).

When you rent a mini-35, your hassles will be reduced dramatically and things will run slicker than whale crap in an ice flow.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:14 PM   #23
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...I'm still trying to emphasize the fact the Marla's look is mostly attributed to their post production efforts rather than the homemade 35mm system itself...

Actually here are some GREAT examples of some wicked (in a good way) post production work by a writer/director I know living here in the Toronto area. Check out his film "This Moment" and "I boy" www.dimeworth.com/movies.htm.

Let me know what you guys think...
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:03 AM   #24
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above the bar

there exists a bar for look and feel that must be crossed for typical viewers to suspend disbelief and get lost in a story.

often video-like DOF video can do that, more often film-like DOF is what people have become used to. so you HAVE to pass a minimum level of 'look'.

technically we can argue for hours, but after you pass that bar, it's THE STORY, it's THE CHARACTERS.

Hey, I think Marla is awesome looking for what they did. But the most intersting parts of the movie are the DIALOG! Not the 'pretty' shots that look like someone had a Panavison rented and had no story.

The Streets said "Let's Puch Things Forward"... and whenever someone asks "what should I buy to achieve X look..." I answer, what's the objective of the film? Scene? What's the narative? What's...

Ok. This is a rant for an XL-2 forum. Maybe I'm just jealous because I don't won one. ;-)

Cheers.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 07:15 AM   #25
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I asked what people thought about the 2 films I pointed out with the link because surprisingly they were shot with single chip (that's right, 1 CCD) dv cameras! It just goes to show that post production plays a major role in a projects final look, not necessarily the DOF or what it was shot on. And as Michael has mentioned, really in the end the story & characters are what count.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #26
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I personally love shooting on the Mini35 because I think it removes the "final curse" from DV--wide shots don't resolve as well as film, so softening the background improves the look immeasurably. However, there are sacrifices to be made using this format, even with the slick and easy-to-use Mini35. let alone a homebuild that limits the camera's mobility. You need a LOT more light for your interiors; as mentioned here, focus is a bitch; and if the ultimate shallowness is needed you are precluded from using zooms (the best of them have a f2.8 minimum aperture, and most are slower than that).

I think for many DV filmmakers, shallow depth-of-field has become a flavor-of-the-month in the "how do I make video look like film" quest and is another convenient distraction from having to focus on the daunting task of learning good lighting, composition and shot design.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #27
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charles... what about the opposite of DOF? meaning like what orson welles wanted for citizen kane... pulling EVERYTHING in the frame into sharp focus. is that still hard today as it was in his day?
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #28
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Couldn't be easier--just shoot with your 1/3" DV camera! You'll get nearly everything in focus on a wide to medium length focal setting. Want more? Shoot with a 1/4" chip camera...

p.s. "depth of field" can be either shallow or deep, there is no "opposite".
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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:24 PM   #29
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Rabi, the look of Marla can be achieved in Photoshop, After Effects, Vegas... take your pick.

The only thing a mini35 system is going to do for you is get shallow depth of field when shooting with an open aperature.

Note that even if you shoot horizontally your image will be upside down in your viewfinder - hopefully with your four cameras and camera operators they are all use to that already ;)


Yes, yes, to Dennis you listen :)

I think what you are really responding to in Marla is the color and the way they brought it out much better than what you'll get in raw DV footage.

You don't need an adaptor for that (and an adaptor won't affect your color representation either). The Marla guys experimented and futzed around with their white balance to create different color effects during filming (I think they said they white balanced on a purple card for interiors and an orange card for exteriors) and then experimented with coloring the scenes in After Effects and Photoshop. You don't need a mini35 rig to do that.

It should also be pointed out that the DP of Marla was a fairly experienced guy with several shorts, commercials, and music videos to his credit, and was able to light the scenes very well with limited resources. Also, the guys that made it and did the post work are full-time graphic designers with a strong working knowledge of color, photoshop, and image manipulation. So that needs to be taken into account when viewing the finished product.

That being said, the color work they did on Marla should be repeatable by anyone with similar tools (DV camcorder, photoshop, after effects, big harddrives) and enough experimentation.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #30
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Actually if you watch the "Clips and Jokes from BTS" link in this thread, http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=33047 there are parts of it where you see the footage transform from that regular "DV look" to rich, saturated and amazing colored footage! - which I think is the point that Joshua, Holly Miller and I are trying to get across.

Hey, you don't need to listen to me or anyone - in the end do what you suits you best ;)

But if you really want to shoot with the XL2/mini35, my XL2 mini35 rig is ready to go and I am available for hire...
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