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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 12:36 AM   #46
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Ow ow ow
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 01:35 AM   #47
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Hah!

I said armature when I meant amateur. I fixed in the original post.

*Chris, when is that spellchecker going to be finished?*

See what happens when you're in a rush!

It was a long day for me, and will be a long night - almost done. I'm gathering all my stuff for a shoot. Just me and every stick of equipment I have - another reason to have those extra hands on set.

Tomorrow it'll be me (grip, focus puller, AC, best boy); the DP; a director, the screenwriter and a couple of actors.

Thank goodness this is only a test shoot.
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 03:09 AM   #48
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You know, I thought I knew quite a bit, then I come on here and find out I'm like a retarded mutant camera-gimp. . .
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 09:12 AM   #49
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. . . is that like a teenage mutant ninja-turtle?!

It's all good, Josh, there are parts of this forum that deal with topics that make realize I'm a rank armature--er, sorry, amateur. Like the computer/web/technical side of things. But I guess that's why we are all here, to try to fill in the gaps!

p.s. Justin, thanks for pointing out that we can edit our posts after the fact, that never occurred to me. I wrote that big old spiel in a hurry and didn't proofread it, so it was cool to go back and make some some little fixes. Good luck on your test shoot!
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 12:28 PM   #50
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But I'm really rank. . .like you can smell the stench from like two houses down.
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 12:55 PM   #51
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Don't feel bad, Josh. Charles and Justin have just given us a peek at the world of professional cinematography. Like most complex professional endeavors, the interior reality of film/video production is choked with far more specialties, collaborations and rituals (as process safeguards) than are visible to us outsiders. We see the final product and imagine that we might be able to reproduce that result with a decent prosumer camera, a concept and some time. Then we wonder why our results don't "look like film". Well, gee, we *only* skipped (Charles') steps 3-15!
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Old June 3rd, 2002, 01:54 PM   #52
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Yes, but it still doesn't fit in with my plan of taking over the world with a DV camera and one-man crew.
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Old June 4th, 2002, 04:54 AM   #53
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stop...my brain is full

Wow, that was an education.

A few questions come to mind now that I know what a follow focus is.
I am assuming that you will need a good TFT for the focus puller? Any suggestions for a good, sharp TFT. My Varizoom is good but it's not the sharpest display out there I imagine, also the colors seem to be off some. Any Suggestions?

Also, any "affordable" follow focus set-ups available for the XL1. I've seen some out there on 16mm sites that go for well over 2 grand a pop! That's pricey territory.

Last question. Since I probably cannot afford a follow focus just yet, is upgrading to the black and white viewfinder for the XL1 worthwhile. Do you get a sharper/truer image than on the color viewfinder?

Gracias-

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Old June 4th, 2002, 11:43 AM   #54
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Ford,
Regarding the b&w viewfinder...

Yes, it is far sharper and easier to use for critical focus than the XL1s' standard color lcd. Whether or not it's worth the investment is something only you can decide. I use the color viewfinder for casual outdoor shooting and the b&w for staged shooting.
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Old June 4th, 2002, 12:12 PM   #55
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Josh, yeah, I gave up on single handedly taking over the world with a DV cam a while ago. It's nice to work with talented and dedicated crew.

When pulling focus, you generally look at your focus dial and the subject(s) you're trying to focus on. On the white dial you mark your focus points relating to the actors marks with a grease pencil.

Watching a TFT monitor would be only good to check focus, but not to find focus. It's much easier to focus with specific marks. You don't need a TFT. Plus, when you do a dolly shot you can move the dial (being able to see the distance between 1st dolly (start) and 2nd dolly (stop) in relation to the position of the dolly. When the dolly is halfway to its second mark than you should be around half way between your marks on the dial.

When actors move around and the camera is on a jib and or on a dolly things can get complicated. A puller will be going back and forth on the dial. As Charles pointed out it's very "Zen" because good pullers will compensate for actor changes by knowing where to put the dial because they have already reference marks on the dial.

Here's a pic from a shoot I had yesterday.

http://www.monsterrocket.com/mini35/onset.jpg

The white disc by the lens is the focus system and is geared to the gears on the lens.

The "cord" extending from the dial is the "whip" that Charles mentioned. That allows the puller to rotate the dial without interfering with the camera as it moves.

Ken, and I'm nowhere near the pro that Charles is. Charles, I saw your appearance on the Scrubs teaser! Very goofy! I've got to see this weeks show to see where THAT fits in... well, almost anything goes on Scrubs.
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Old June 4th, 2002, 01:49 PM   #56
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How does a focus puller "mark" his settings, tape, china marker, are there tabs on the lense for this? I know you measure with a measuring tape, and tape marks on the ground for the talent etc, but what about onboard. Am just wondering how it all comes together?

thx-

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Old June 4th, 2002, 02:19 PM   #57
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Usually the 1st AC marks his dial with an erasable marker or a sharpie depending on preference--the former can be easily wiped off, but that can be the problem (the sharpie comes off with Pantone or similar alcohol-based product). Sometimes they pull off the lens, and will use tiny triangles made out of tape to mark the lens directly.

What's interesting to watch is the type of shot where the actor is far away walking towards camera, shot on a long focal length. Here it is very difficult for the assistant to judge distance, so he/she will have their second assistant put tape marks along the way and mark the lens at those points--the 2nd assistant then walks parallel with with the actor (out of frame, of course) and calls out over a walkie as each mark is passed. It's up to the 1st AC to successfully dial in the correct speed between marks so that the inbetween focus is consistent.

Pulling focus is a skill learned after much, much practice. I have had the pleasure and honor of working with 20-year veterans of the craft, and have witnessed some truly astonishing focus pulls.

Actually, there are some unsung heroes in the camera world who are able to do just this AND operate the camera themselves--these are the cameramen for NFL films, who work from the sidelines with impossibly long lenses on 16mm handheld rigs, and manage to perfectly frame slow motion footage of a football coming straight at the camera, with the stitches as crisp and sharp as can be the whole way. I'm not even a football fan but I have watched when I come across their work on TV because I'm in awe of what they can pull off (so to speak).

Justin, baby! Checked out your still, looks cool--but no B&W viewfinder?! Must be brutal trying to judge focus with the 35mm system!
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Old June 4th, 2002, 03:21 PM   #58
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Charles, it comes down to B&W viewfinder and a dedicated "grip" van. Right now the budget doesn't work for both. As much as l'd like to have my cake and eat it to...

I due time I guess.

I have had good success with focus from the VF though.
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 09:56 PM   #59
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Any experiences with Cavision's follow focus?

Does anyone have a Cavision follow focus?
(http://www.cavision.com/follow_focusing.htm)

I'm thinking about buying one. Thanks!
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Old May 21st, 2003, 05:47 PM   #60
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Follow Focus

OK Folks here's the deal. I am currently shooting with a Canon XL1s. I would love to find an inexpensive Matte Box, rods and a follow focus assembly that doesn't cost the same as the camera itself. I see there are a number of them available but at a premium. Any suggestions?
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