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Old January 7th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #1
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What is this up to his eye.

I was looking at this thread here on FirstShowing.net. Can anyone tell me what this guy in the picture has up to his eye. Thanks.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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Yes,

That's a director's finder. It's an eyepiece that allows a director to place a cinema lens on the other end. So you can get an idea for your shots in the scouting phase. Choosing a variety of prime lenses is a bit harder than just changing your zoom until you get the framing you want.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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He's using the actual lens he intends to use on the camera. Behind that is a ground glass, followed by an optical arrangement allowing him to focus on the gg.

Kind of overkill for general use.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karel Bata View Post
He's using the actual lens he intends to use on the camera. Behind that is a ground glass, followed by an optical arrangement allowing him to focus on the gg.

Kind of overkill for general use.
You do get a better feel for how the shot will look using the actual lens, rather than the traditional directors viewfinder. Unfortunately these only give you the angle of view, but even then the size of the image reduces as you increase the lens focal length, so that on a telephoto shot the image is quite small. Nor do you get a sense of the DOF.

I believe Kubrick first came up with the idea or at least pushed it forward.

These actual lens V/F are not that unusual and are just another small item on the rental package.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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We used to call these the smaller ones shifty scopes in the 80's and they never matched the lens on the camera most of the time so were a bit of a joke when the luvvie director turned up with one on set.

The old making a frame with the fingers was also a huge joke, the director should trust his camera op and relay what he wants from the shot as a matter of courtesy rather than try and visualise it on his own.

At least video assists came along and everyone could see the dim flickery image direct from the camera.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
We used to call these the smaller ones shifty scopes in the 80's and they never matched the lens on the camera most of the time so were a bit of a joke when the luvvie director turned up with one on set.

The old making a frame with the fingers was also a huge joke, the director should trust his camera op and relay what he wants from the shot as a matter of courtesy rather than try and visualise it on his own.

At least video assists came along and everyone could see the dim flickery image direct from the camera.
The old director V/F jobs are probably better on the recce, although there's something about looking at locations without cameras etc which allows you to become more open to ideas. Yes, the angle of view on these older V/Fs is more a rough idea rather than a precise arrangement.

They're handier with 35mm rigs than the 16mm or 2/3" camera rig, which you just use handheld to find your camera position.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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Probably the most interesting thing about director's finders is how they came to spawn a revolution which many here have been touched by.

There are a number of annoying things about finders that use the taking lens (as opposed to the smaller type that show a rough approximation of the image). Swapping lenses is slow, especially when it has to be removed from the camera. They are heavy and cumbersome, and only one person at a time can see the image. Having spent years in a 3-way huddle where director, DP and operator hand off the finder to each other ("here, look"), I've been doing some serious thinking about fixing this problem using a late model DSLR with outboard mods--but I digress.

Some years ago finders started to be outfitted with video taps that allowed the ground glass to be viewed by others, generally via a transmitter. These grew in size to include monitors and batteries etc. If you watch the behind-the-scenes of the steerage party scene from "Titanic" you can see James Cameron wielding one. Anyway, P+S Technik made a version of this that added a little handheld camcorder to the tap so you could record takes. At some point you can imagine the design team at P+S having an "aha" moment, when they realized that if you replaced that camera with a more "serious" one like an XL1 and then moved the groundglass around to eliminate the film grain, suddenly you were capturing images with 35mm depth of field. And thus the Mini35 was born, which of course spawned the current crop of adaptors like the Redrock Micro, Letus, Brevis etc.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 06:19 AM   #8
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  • The first video assist was used on Half a Sixpence in 1968 - though this was bolted on the side of the camera. Later several systems evolved which basically fell into two types: those that looked through lens via the mirrored side of the shutter (and thus would only 'see' when it was 'closed' to the film) and those that used a pellicle in the opticle path to the viewfinder. The latter were unpopular with the operator since it invloved some loss of viewfinder brightness.

    For a long time the primary video tap was a black and white phillips tube camera that used a ridiculous multicore cable forcing the video operator to be stationed close by. Panavison (which had not diversified into a full rental house back then) had their own similar system. Only when film cameras came with video taps built in with a composite video signal out did it become possible to transmit an image from camera to elsewhere. But for a long time wireless links were unreliable and you couldn't record a picure without a wired link to camera. The big innovations were 'flicker free processing' (which removed the shutter flicker) color chip cameras (tube color cameras were hopelessly insensitive) and then portable DV players.

    I was always under the impression that the 35mm dof adaptor was born right here in DV Info
    Homemade 35mm Adapter [Archive] courtesy of Agus Casse.
    It was the DvInfo pioneers here producing working prototypes that made the big companies see the potential and run with it.

    Does anyone know - did Agus make any money out of it?
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Old January 11th, 2009, 06:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karel Bata View Post
I was always under the impression that the 35mm dof adaptor was born right here in DV Info
Homemade 35mm Adapter [Archive] courtesy of Agus Casse.
It was the DvInfo pioneers here producing working prototypes that made the big companies see the potential and run with it.
Agus was the first to come up with a DIY/low cost adapter. I followed that thread for a long time. He was attempting to duplicate the functionality of the P&S that was unaffordable to many people. His efforts spawned a whole generation of lower cost commercially made adapters.

-gb-
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Old January 11th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
Agus was the first to come up with a DIY/low cost adapter. I followed that thread for a long time. He was attempting to duplicate the functionality of the P&S that was unaffordable to many people. His efforts spawned a whole generation of lower cost commercially made adapters.

-gb-
P+S introduced the Mini 35 in 1999 and won an award for it in 2000. The Pro35 came out in 2002/3.

They were advertising the Mini 35 in American Cinematographer Magazine at the latest during 2001 - I've just pulled out a copy having remembered seeing ads.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #11
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Also (somewhat off topic but in response to Karel's post), video assists were used as far back as the early 60's. Jerry Lewis is usually attributed with the invention.

Other than allowing the director to view the image from the camera, video assist made possible camera technology that didn't rely on the operator's eye having to be up to the eyepiece, such as Steadicam and remote heads like the Louma crane.

Back to the Mini35--I think I first used the system in early 2003, around the time of Agus' first post on his adaptor. A few months later I posted this article about a high-profile shoot we did with the system.

As large format sensor cameras continue to emerge at ever-lower price points, naturally the 35mm adaptor will fade off into history...
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