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Old July 16th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #1
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Help me build an indie filmmaking kit

I'm looking to put together a flexible "indie" shooting package - the post side of the equation is already taken care of - just acquisition, in the neighborhood of $25k.

This will be for feature-length narrative work with a lot of VFX.

Here's what I'm thinking:

CAMERA:
HD250U (no lens)
My logic here (vs the 200) is that as much aquisition as possible will be done via SDI stratight to a laptop, even on location (SDI can be tethered a long way) thus bypassing HDV artifacts.

LENS ADAPTER:
HZ-CA13U
I know that there are cheaper options that allow true 35mm depth of field, but I'm thinking that this is the way to go for two reasons:
1) I won't have the extra cost and size of the kit lens that would only be used as a relay anyhow.
2) Only lose less than half a stop of light.

LENSES:
???
I really need advice here. What three 16mm lenses should I own? (oddballs can always be rented as needed.)

POWER:
Anton Bauer - TITAN-70 On-Camera AC Power/Charger
Anton Bauer - DIONIC-90 Lithium-Ion Battery

LIGHTING:
???
What are the basic lights I should own to cover the widest variety of situations, or the most common set-ups ? (again, I can supplment with rentals as needed.)

SUPPORT:
???
Tripod? Plate? Rails? What am I going to need to reasonably support this rig (adapter and lenses) in a variety of hand-held and other stabilized scenarios.

GRIP/MISC.
???
Besides miles of extension cords ;-) What are the little odd and ends that need to be in the truck?

Any opinions/help would be greatly appreciated. Most of my experience is in post - I'm not a shooter - so I know just enough to be dangerous.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #2
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Re: What 3 lenses to get, I'm no 16mm shooter but going by what I tend to stick on my still camera and doing some math, I'd say a wide in the 5-6mm range, a standard zoom in the 10-25ish range, and a 35mm tele. Someone who actually does this stuff can feel free to tell me how much of an idiot I am.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
I'm looking to put together a flexible "indie" shooting package - the post side of the equation is already taken care of - just acquisition, in the neighborhood of $25k.

This will be for feature-length narrative work with a lot of VFX.

Here's what I'm thinking:

CAMERA:
HD250U (no lens)
My logic here (vs the 200) is that as much aquisition as possible will be done via SDI stratight to a laptop, even on location (SDI can be tethered a long way) thus bypassing HDV artifacts.

LENS ADAPTER:
HZ-CA13U
I know that there are cheaper options that allow true 35mm depth of field, but I'm thinking that this is the way to go for two reasons:
1) I won't have the extra cost and size of the kit lens that would only be used as a relay anyhow.
2) Only lose less than half a stop of light.

LENSES:
???
I really need advice here. What three 16mm lenses should I own? (oddballs can always be rented as needed.)

POWER:
Anton Bauer - TITAN-70 On-Camera AC Power/Charger
Anton Bauer - DIONIC-90 Lithium-Ion Battery

LIGHTING:
???
What are the basic lights I should own to cover the widest variety of situations, or the most common set-ups ? (again, I can supplment with rentals as needed.)

SUPPORT:
???
Tripod? Plate? Rails? What am I going to need to reasonably support this rig (adapter and lenses) in a variety of hand-held and other stabilized scenarios.

GRIP/MISC.
???
Besides miles of extension cords ;-) What are the little odd and ends that need to be in the truck?

Any opinions/help would be greatly appreciated. Most of my experience is in post - I'm not a shooter - so I know just enough to be dangerous.
Joe.... You're going to have to rethink some things.
The first thing that caught my eye was the HD-SDI to a laptop. Unfortunately, not likely.

Second thing which caught my eye was your 25K budget. May be too low for what you're after. Your camera/lens adapter/lens alone may eat up your budget. Don't forget your monitor!

Lights... For a sound stage or portable kit (for documentary type work)?

Misc stuff eats up $$$ too. Bounce cards, stands, cables, mic booms, audio stuff.
The question may be better served with "what is absolutely essential"?

S.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
The first thing that caught my eye was the HD-SDI to a laptop. Unfortunately, not likely.
AJA's ioHD does this nicely, actually. I also have a Quad-core tower that's up to the task already assuming I work-out a wheeled cabinet to make it mobile.

Monitors are also not an issue. I've got a 30", several 23", not to mention the screen on the 17" laptop. While they're not broadcast reference grade (all Apple products) they should do quite nicely to ensure focus, no? (I plan to shoot as "flat" as possible and do all grading in post.)

I'm hoping I can find used 16mm lens.

I know I can get the camera, adapter and battery for just shy of $13k, so that leaves $12k to fill in the rest. I don't have to own every single thing, I just want to make as complete a kit as I can so that I have ample time to play/learn and not always be on a rental clock. I know I'm going to have to make a lot of compromises, I'm just looking for some fatherly advice on where to put the money. What do I really NEED? Good stuff for reasonable prices?
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
AJA's ioHD does this nicely, actually. I also have a Quad-core tower that's up to the task already assuming I work-out a wheeled cabinet to make it mobile.
To what codec?
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:15 PM   #6
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ProRes 422 HQ. Could go uncompressed to the MacPro for composites, but I doubt that will be necessary.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
ProRes 422 HQ. Could go uncompressed to the MacPro for composites, but I doubt that will be necessary.
What kind of throughput do you get to your hard drive on the laptop? Uncompressed 720p is 885 Mb per second.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:32 PM   #8
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No, no, sorry for the confusion. Uncompressed would be to the MacPro (a tower, the laptop is a MacBook Pro.) The tower has a four drive RAID.

But honestly, I doubt it's gonna be necessary. I think if I acquire the 4:2:2 feed right from the camera without touching HDV then ProRes will be more than clean enough.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
No, no, sorry for the confusion. Uncompressed would be to the MacPro (a tower, the laptop is a MacBook Pro.) The tower has a four drive RAID.

But honestly, I doubt it's gonna be necessary. I think if I acquire the 4:2:2 feed right from the camera without touching HDV then ProRes will be more than clean enough.
ProRes. I'll have to check that out. I use the Xena card (LHe) HD-SDI. I'm sure you'd find (as most of us have) that the MPEG compression of the HD250 is very clean even for compositing. You may want to bypass your laptop scenario in favor of the DTE solution. You'll find that it's much faster and don't forget, you can uncompress the MPEG to 422 uncompressed on your timeline.

As for cinema lens' you can find alot on ebay but don't overlook the 13x lens. You get alot of range out of that lens with good light handling for ENG scenario. PL mount lens' will be specific to your needs. Sort of pisses me off they didn't stick with the C-mount for the adapter which would bring alot of 16mm len's back from the dead.

For lights, are you looking for studio mount stuff or portable? Generator driven?
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Old July 16th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #10
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I'm sure I'll get into spots where I'll have to use HDV, but in general I'll be avoiding it as much as possible. The work we're going to be doing will entail pretty much every shot being touched in post, and as such it's the loss of color resolution that is the most problematic.

As for the 13x lens ... I'd love the convenience of a zoom, but my fear is that it would be impractical to get the kind of shallow DOF that "hollywood" style narative filmmaking demands. (i.e. having to put the camera in the next room to get the bkg out of focus!)

I've seriously considered the Brevis because I could use the still Canon and Nikor lenses I already have. Tim's report on the HZ-CA13U makes it seem mighty tempting, though.

As for the lights, they need to be portable. They need to be as "all-purpose" as possible.

To further clarify the situation, while there will be plenty of location shooting, we're not talking run-and-gun stuff. We're typically looking at prep-time, setting-up shots with the similar care as we would in the studio. There will be a "video village" and either direct access to AC, or a generator truck. I've only got one client ... me.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #11
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Joseph, While I don't know my ass from my elbow compared to just about anyone else here, I do read a lot. And from what I understand, the HZ-CA13U was not necessarily built just to gain a shallow DOF. I believe its main idea was to open the door to using a much broader library of lenses on the HD***s. In fact, If shallow DOF is really your main goal here, you might end up disappointed. Again, I'm not saying this from experience. More, from what I've read (and I only made it past third grade). Check out this thread before you pull the trigger - start reading from the fifth post down: http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.ph...light=HZ-CA13U

I just got the Brevis, for the same reasons you have. It's great, got here in two days, easy to use, 100%. Hope this helps

*edit* and if you go after a shallow DOF by zooming-in from the other side of the street, (even with the 13x apparently) then you're gonna introduce aberration problems. Maybe this wouldn't be so much of a problem to some, but if you're planning to go through the trouble of capturing uncompressed, then you're into detail - even subtle aberrations might be a problem for you.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 10:49 PM   #12
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Hi Joseph I see your building a nice package here. I like your camera gear and I think the lens adapter is very good for that camera. Have not used it my self but I have read about and it sounds like just THE thing. It will give you the depth of field...

Now Lenses: it will be difficult, they are expensive but in my opinion you will need to have a 18mm or a 24mm, you must have a 50mm (comes closest to he human eye. And Alfred Hitscock only used 50mm lenses or so I read) and maybe a 85mm. or a 105mm.

I have Nikon lenses that I use with my M2 adapter. I have 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and a 85mm.

Try ebay you will maybe find some 16mm lenses there or even google it. But they are expensive. I wonder if it is possible to get a lens mount converter for the HZ- CA13U Adapter. From the PL-mount to a Nikon-mount? Then you could just use your Nikons.

Lighting: Personally I would go with the Lowel lights Caselite 4 (Fluoresent) at least the Daylight kit. They are flexible sturdy and just good. They are not so expensive You will need at lest 2 kits or more.
http://www.lowel.com/kits/caselite4.html

Now I would also get a Dedolight kit. (The 4 light-kit with accessories ) it is good for spotting and effects and stuff. They are a little expensive but they are just so GOOD And they are dimmable.

If you have need for some bigger lights, like maybe a 1200 - 2500 HMI Fresnel (Arri have some good ones but they cost alot) But I always rent those lights. These Lights are relay good if you need to light up a large space.

Support:
Manfrotto is fine, but Vinten is better. Those tripods are very good to work with.
http://www.vinten.com/

For handheld grips I use MultiRig. (500 $) http://dvmultirig.com/store/index.html It works for me and my big and long M2-adapter setup.
But then again you have so many grips out there. You can also go all the way and get a Glidecam smooth shooter (2000 $)
http://glidecam.com/product-smooth-shooter.php

For a Track dolly, a good company called "Glide Shot Industries" they have some nice dollys that you can use with a standard 50mm pipe.
http://www.glideshot.com/catalog/def...a779a7974512ac
I would go with the GS5000 Professional Full Size Track Dolly (900 $)

For grip /Misc:
Clamps, stands, Light filters. Black flags, Sandbags. Apple-boxes, frames for reflective material, reflectors. gaffer tape, and more and more.
Here you can see a list of a standard grip-truck. It is a company in Iceland so the homepage is in Icelandic but the list is mostly in English. http://www.twilight.is/T%E6kjabill%20BL934.htm

I hope this will help you some. I too was only in Post. until 5 years ago, so I know how it is.
We Post. men ;-) have to stick to gather. I think the best cameraman or DP'S are the ones how have some Post-production experience.
keep us posted. and good luck with your indie filmmaking kit.

PS: The best thing you can do if your planing to gear-up like this is to go to a IBC expo. It is fun!

Sorry for my spelling, not so good.
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the viking from Iceland

Last edited by Eirikur Ingi Bodvarsson; July 17th, 2007 at 08:07 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2007, 07:22 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice, all.

The hardest decision is going to be between lens adapters.

I do plan on "splurging" on a really good tripod, like a Vinten. For a lot of other rigs, I'm going to try the plans from the "Killer Camera Rigs That You Can Build" e-book.

So 18, 24 and 50mm are a good solid compliment for 35mm ... what would be the equivalents at 16mm ?
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Old July 17th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eirikur Ingi Bodvarsson View Post
Now Lenses: it will be difficult, they are expensive but in my opinion you will need to have a 18mm or a 24mm, you must have a 50mm (comes closest to he human eye. And Alfred Hitscock only used 50mm lenses or so I read) and maybe a 85mm. or a 105mm.

I have Nikon lenses that I use with my M2 adapter. I have 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and a 85mm.
I think you're forgetting that he's using a 16mm adaptor. Those lenses will be too long. Also, I'm not sure how anamorphic shooting alters the field of view characteristics of a lens, but for non-anamorphic shooting they might even be a titch too long for that too. 35mm cine format is smaller than SLR format, it's even smaller than 1.6 crop DSLRs, so you've got to adjust focal lengths downward to get equivalent fields of view. 1.85 matted 35mm is about 21mm x 11.35mm

I also disagree that 50mm comes "close to the human eye." It's close to what your eye can perceive at any one instant, but in a real scene your eye moves around it to get a picture of the entire scene. As a result 50mm feels a bit cramped compared to a person's actual field of view.

50mm is about a 25 degree angle of view in 35mm cine format and about 45 degrees in SLR format. Without moving your head you tend to scan a 90 degree field of view, which works out to about a 12mm lens (22mm in SLR format). I'm not saying you're required to go that wide, I'm just saying that that's closer to what the human eye actually sees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore
So 18, 24 and 50mm are a good solid compliment for 35mm ... what would be the equivalents at 16mm ?
Divide by 2 to get the equivalent in 16mm format. 50mm becomes 25, etc. Divide by about 3.4 to go from SLR format to 16mm.
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Old July 17th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #15
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35mm frame with a 50mm does not match a human's field of view, true, but it *does* match the general distortion properties of our eye's lens. i.e. perspective, foreshortening, etc., look the most natural. Wide angle lenses exagerate this, and telephotos compress it.
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