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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old July 14th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #1
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Nets on back of lens

Hi guys,

I am just starting a shoot next week for which I want to achieve a really smooth glamorous look and to this effect I'd like to try using nets behind the lens on the two XL-H1s we'll be using.

I was just hoping that some of you might have already tried this and might have some tips for me. My assistant got sent out earlier today to gather a whole bunch of tights in various deniers etc - she even got some from La Senza, which seem a bit of a shame to cut up... but oh well :)

So far I have discovered that the back of the lens itself is very difficult to attach to due to the electronic contacts. On a 2/3" B4 mount this is a lot easier - you can google for iRings for an easy approach. Instead I have successfully black-tacked a stretched out bit of 10 denier tights over the exposed front of the CCD block, just missing the electronic contacts. This seems to work pretty well, but the first set of tights I used produced a very smooth indeed - in fact, too strong - effect in the viewfinder. I've put off the rest of my experimenting until my lovely Panasonic 17" HD-SDI LCD monitors arrive tomorrow... but if anyone's had a go at this before, I would very much appreciate you sharing some of your experiences!

Warm regards,

Ed
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Old July 14th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #2
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Ed,
You must be reading my mind about a net behind the lens of the XLH1. I haven't tried it with the camera yet but we have one client who wants a net behind the lens for our 2/3 inch lenses. In the past I have found Fogal black stocking (very expensive and remember to buy the X Large size since it is the same price as the small) as the preference for a subtle enough effect. Not sure about 1/3 inch cameras though. I recently used a 1/4 black promist on the front as my alternative to a net behind the lens. Not the same look but a lot easier to put on the camera
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Old July 14th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #3
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I am very familiar with this procedure in film, but I dont think I have seen people do it much in video. Seems like a pretty risky procedure on these precise lenses, especially with a camera that has auto back focus adjustment.

At any rate it seems to me that you could achieve nearlly the same result with net or filter in front of the lens, or even a setting in the presets.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #4
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1/8 Black ProMist, or maybe a 1/4 - more than that, too much.

Putting a net on the back would be possible if you made a special slip-on ring and manually adjusted the back focus using a good monitor - but, it's such a small exit pupil I don't think it will work well...

Personally, having used them on film cameras, I don't think you're going to see a significant difference from the ProMists, which were developed to simulate that effect, even if it does work.. but who knows? Virgin ground, give it a try...

I used to cut a small hole in the center when I used them on prime lenses on a 35mm Eclair Camarette a zillion years ago.. that really had a nice look, especially in B&W, but I don't know how well it would work on a zoom, and 35 lenses are huge in comparison...
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Old July 15th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your posts. In this case, one of the cameras with which we're shooting doesn't have a matte box so there would be no way to put a Promist in front even if I had some around. Nets are cheaper :)

My tests so far with the big HD monitor look pretty good. Having come to the conclusion that it's basically impossible to evenly spread a net just in front of the CCD or just on the exit pupil on the lens, I've just spread a whole big bit of net right over the back of the H1 stock lens, stretched it tight with a rubber band, and then mounted the lens. The H1 bayonet mount is more than tight enough to hold the net in place, so you can then remove the rubber band. Obviously you have to re do this if you want to swop lenses.

The back focus on the H1 can obviously be adjusted in the menu, which I've done, but we are talking a very very very thin bit of fabric here.

The effect so far is pretty strong but I very much like it. As soon as you remove it the video harshness is incredibly apparent. I agree that the effect is very similiar to a black promist (probably about a grade 2 would be the same strength) but with filters in front of the lens I have to worry about switching to a lower grade for wide shots, which isn't a problem here.

Only catch so far is to watch out to keep aperture at about f/5.6 or wider or you can start to see the net itself.

I will post some stills and example footage here after the shoot, but I throughly recommend nicking someone's 10 denier black stockings and experimenting yourself.

Ed
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Old July 17th, 2006, 05:46 PM   #6
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What's the effect if you put the stocking in front of the lens? As a former fashion photographer, I used to do this all the time and with good results. You must have thougt of this, so I'm interested why you would chose the back of the lens. Plus the mount seems so delicate a precise back there, I'd be afraid of doing some damage.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 07:16 AM   #7
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If you put the net in front of the lens it actually is closer to being in focus than behind the lens. Also the flare characteristics of the lens change because of the net in the front. Like any other front filter. If the effect is too much on the back it is because you are using too heavy a stocking or it isn't stretched very tight or both
I always found it was better to be closer to wide open on the lens to avoid seeing the net in focus. Less depth of field at wide open
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