What is the name of the one lens eyepiece that director's hang around their necks? at DVinfo.net

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Old February 27th, 2002, 10:18 AM   #1
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What is the name of the one lens eyepiece that director's hang around their necks?

Hi.

What is the name of the one lens eyepiece that director's hang around their necks?

Is it truly useful? Thanks.

Gilbert
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Old February 27th, 2002, 12:08 PM   #2
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I thought they were called viewfinders, but thats as far as I know.
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Old February 27th, 2002, 02:52 PM   #3
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They are generally referred to as director's finders, or just a finder. (Viewfinder is specific to the viewing optics on the actual camera).

They can be excellent for pre-production, to help visualize and block a scene before filming. On set, they can be used to determine camera position and approximate lens size as they have specific focal lengths marked off on the barrel. However, if one is using a zoom on the camera as is generally the case with video, it is easy enough to alter the focal length as desired when the camera is placed, so it is not as often used on a video shoot.

The more sophisticated version of a finder uses the actual prime (non-zoom) lens that will be ultimately placed on the camera, and shows the image as it will appear in the camera viewfinder, using a ground glass with the frame markings. The director's finders that hang around the neck do not use a ground glass and thus just show an approximate image size. As a comparison, think of the image that one sees through an SLR still camera vs the viewfinder of a little point and shoot.

The utility of this sort of finder, which is much heavier and bulkier by the way, is that it shows an exact framing and depth of field as it will be photographed. Thus the camera placement can be precisely determined and marked ahead of time. If, for instance, I am lining up a shot looking through a car windshield that will ultimately involve using a hood mount, I will first use the finder and then the grips will measure the distance from the focal plane on the finder to the windshield, the height from the hood and so forth so that when they build the mount the camera can be just dropped into place (it's time consuming to move the mount after it has been built and secured).

The director's finders do have dialable aspect ratios, usually from 1:33 to 2:35 , multiple sets of focal length markings including 35mm, 16mm and 1" and 2/3" video formats (haven't ever seen them for 1/2", 1/3" or 1/4" which would include DV).

They generally range from $300 to $800. One good source of a nice mini-size finder is at www.cavasion.com.

Are they helpful for video production? Since the cameras are so portable to begin with, it may be just as useful to use the camera as a "finder" itself. Certainly worth looking into however.
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Old February 27th, 2002, 03:18 PM   #4
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Thanks

Thank you!

Gilbert
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Old February 27th, 2002, 03:31 PM   #5
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cavision.com

FYI...
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Old February 27th, 2002, 09:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the correction!
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Old March 1st, 2002, 02:13 PM   #7
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My thoughts have decieved me again - Sorry for leading any one up the wrong path, these finder things can get a bit confusing after a while.
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 09:54 AM   #8
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I thought they were also called "Directors viewfinder" .. .oh well...
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Old March 2nd, 2002, 11:51 AM   #9
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Well, you guys made me nervous so I peeked at a few sites that sell them--as it turns out, I was pretty accurate in saying that they are generally referred to as "finders" or "director's finders", but once or twice they were referred to as "director's viewfinder".

I'm used to hearing them called "finders" on set, if that makes any difference!

The other type that I mentioned that mounts the actual prime lens is often about 18" long; if for instance a 25mm is being considered, the call will go out to the camera assistants as "25 on a finder, please!" or sometimes "25 on a stick!"

If you are still considering one of these Gilbert, I would recommend you get one that allows you to dial the aspect ratio (1:33, 1:85 etc) rather than relying on drop-in masks to achieve this. The masks are really fiddly and easy to loose.

Here's a page that compares some of the available models, from the Cadillac to the Hyundai (not that the Hyundai's are that bad anymore!)

http://www.birnsandsawyer.com/cdva-directorsfinders.htm
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