Low Cost Filmmaking Setup at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
Topics about HD production.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 7th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 155
Low Cost Filmmaking Setup

Resolution of the Canon H1 camera is superb, so I wrote this primarely with H1 in mind. For good artistic image quality we need a 35 mm adapter, good relay and 35 mm lenses, the Wafian HDD recorder, etc. This setup is naturally applicable to the other low cost HD cameras too.


The Wafian recorder is expensive, so is the P+S 35 adapter and cine lenses.


1. 35 mm adapter. How about using the Redrock Micro 35? What is the quality? What is the website address? Are there any other low cost adapters that are of good quality? How do they compare when it comes to light loss, resolution, vibrations, reliability, warranty, etc.? What kind of relay lens would you use? How good is it?

2. 35 mm lenses. Cine-style 35 mm lenses are expensive. SLR lenses have short focusing movement and SLR zooms may breathe too much, but are inexpensive. Is there a follow focus unit that allows accurate follow focus with this type of lenses? Does not Dan D? from the Alternative Imaging methods make some sort of low cost FF unit? How good is it? How much does it cost? How does it work with 35 mm SLR lenses? Are auto or manual focus lenses more suitable? Why?

3. Wafian HDD recorder is too expensive, so is building your own computer equivalent, because you need Prospect HD for HDSDI support, which with AJA card costs something like $5K. I think that it would be less expensive to record uncompressed to RAID drive and then have the same computer compress the footage with Aspect HD, which handles 1440x1080 resolution and is 8 bit, same as the HDSDI output of H1, which is 10 bit, but two bits are set to zero. Aspect HD is about $500 I think. The same computer could be used for production and postproduction, if budget is tight. What components would such computer need? How much would they cost? The computer would need a monitor, but the same monitor would also serve as the production monitor. How would you power such a setup in the field? Could it work off of batteries? What HDSDI converter would be used with other cameras than the Canon, which has the converter built in? How about using a computer with uncompressed component input. Would Aspect HD compress this on the fly?


This setup would work with other cameras too, not just H1, and would be great for slow motion for instance with the JVC HD-100 camera, which has 720-60p uncompressed output that can be converted to HDSDI. HVX-200 also has 720p, up to 60p component output, I think, and the Cineform codec is of higher bit rate and quality than DVCPRO HD. Canon XL-H1 can be shot at 1080-60i and converted to 1080-60p for slow motion.


This will be the budget indie filmmaker's equivalent of a pro setup that would cost couple hundred thousand dollars. The pro setup would be more efficient, would need less light, etc. The problem is that I don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars for a $100K camera, another $100K for a set of lenses, etc. Would you rent the pro setup or would you rather have your own low cost version that I'm describing here and which would cost about as much as renting the pro version for one film production?


There are no prime lenses for the Canon, except 35 mm lenses can be used with an adapter. This is great for telephoto. Can some low cost high definition industrial lenses get converted somewhere for use with H1 and HD-100?
Petr Marusek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2006, 06:46 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
This is exactly the type of approach I am taking. I have a PC with a Black magic deckilink HD card for capture. In retrospect I wish I had gone the AJA route and had the ability to convert from HDSDI directly to Cineform via Prospect, maybe one day cineform will bring out a capture utility for the decklink cards?

I intend to carry out some test with 2/3 inch and 1/2 inch video lenses. In theory as you are using only the center part of the lens normal SD lenses may be acceptable for HD. While not giving the limited DOF of 35mm lenses these will have shallower DOF than the standard lens and as the magnification factor is no where near as great as great as 35mm you could use these without any type of GG adapter, just a simple lens mount adapter. The video lenses have to be mounted upside down on the XL-H1 so the zoom handle dosn't foul.

I dont know how good the redrock micro35 is in reality. (http://www.redrockmicro.com) But there is currently no direct relay lens version for the H1 so you have to use the existing lens. I suspect it is not going to be anywhere near as good as a mini35 as it is incredibly cheap, but I would love to be surprised! Of cours you could always build your own!

I am sure there are follow focus kits that could be adapted to 35mm lenses. One of the reasons for using 35mm lenses is to use prime lenses and not zooms because prime lenses are much simple to make well, and generaly have a lot less glass in them which results in fewer aberations and a sharper image.

The HD100U shoots 30p not 60p so you don't really get any real slow mo options. Only the HVX200 gives real slo-mo options, but only at 720p and not 1080.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2006, 07:20 AM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 155
The JVC does stream 720/60p only, nothing else, via uncompressed component output.

The solution to shallow DOF may be in using high definition industrial lenses. I don't know how much contrast they have, but lowering the contrast may be desirable for film. Edmund, or Edmunds?, Optical may cary these. Maybe someone could modify the mount. These are avialable even for 1/3" CCDs, I think, and some may be F1.4. I believe that Pentax makes them too, but there is also some known German label that produces these lenses in macro, which would be perfect for a relay lens.
Petr Marusek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2006, 11:13 PM   #4
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,761

There is somebody here that is doing a HDSDi direct to disk recorder, I will try to email you.

If you look around at some of my earliest posts, you will find a thread where some guy has found a relay lens adaptor for the XL1s to put his Canon SLR lens onto. SO such things are out there commercially. I think it was him that was reporting a much brighter image and normal field of view. If you look at my very first post, it was on this sort of subject.

A lot of the stuff you have mentioned are things we have been talking about in times past. One piece of advice, look at the links on MTF in the Red forum I posted. I think a relay lens will adversely effect MTF, but that this is minimised with the best match for your lens.


Wayne Morellini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2006, 01:34 AM   #5
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,761
I've spent nearly the last 3 hours looking for the site, but I can't find it. So I sent him an email asking him to contact you.

Wayne Morellini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10th, 2006, 10:12 AM   #6
Major Player
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. John's, NL, Canada
Posts: 416
Petr, email me when you get a chance. You can find it in my contact info.
Keith Wakeham is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:06 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network