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Old June 3rd, 2004, 05:31 PM   #1
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director's viewfinder for 1/3" chip cams?

Does a diretor's viewfinder exist specifically for a 1/3" chip camera? If so, are they affordable?
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Old June 3rd, 2004, 09:25 PM   #2
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Josh,
I don't know, but I really doubt it. Even if it did exist why would you bother with it? It would seem to me to be just a poser's acccessory. You can just as easily use a real 1/3" camera to plan your shots. Most don't weigh much more than a scope! <g>
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Old June 3rd, 2004, 11:18 PM   #3
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Plus, considering the limited demand against the cost of manufacturing, they would probably cost more than most miniDV cameras.... You know what the video equipment industry works. :)
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Old June 4th, 2004, 12:26 AM   #4
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Ah yes. . .MOST cameras don't weigh much. MINE does. For planning my shots, it just seemed like it'd be easier to take a little piece of glass with me, and be able to tell what focal length I'd need to be at, make a few notes, and be on my way.
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Old June 4th, 2004, 01:36 AM   #5
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Josh,
Knowing what focal length you need will only be useful if your camera has a lens which is calibrated with figures which will match your viewfinder - maybe it is.
If not, then you will learn with experience how you are going to frame the shot. In the meantime, why not draw out a storyboard, since you're already making notes...

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Old June 4th, 2004, 01:42 AM   #6
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Indeed. Even if you can't draw well digital photography makes it easy to shoot your locations, edit and annotate the photos as needed and then print out the pre-production notes.

I have used this technique, particularly to plan blocking and camera positions (using stand-ins) and it's worked really well.
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Old June 4th, 2004, 08:25 AM   #7
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Josh, if you really want one, try Kish Optics.
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Old June 4th, 2004, 09:25 PM   #8
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Alright, thanks guys.
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Old June 4th, 2004, 09:54 PM   #9
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I guess my curiousity about the need for a director's finder in terms of noting focal lengths during a scout is this: if you are using a zoom lens on your DV camera, you'll just end up framing the scene with the zoom on the day anyway. I could see needing to determine if a wide-angle adaptor will be required (can I get this two shot with the camera backed up against the wall at my widest focal length?) or long-lens shots (to get a medium shot at the longest possible focal length available to me on the lens, where will the camera have to go?) but for the middle of the range, it's usually pretty easy to line it up when shooting. When using primes, it's a lot more helpful to use a finder, since you have to physically move the camera to get tighter or looser and you don't want to have to keep doing it.

I myself use a Minolta A1 digital still camera on scouts these days, with the lens barrel marked off in cine focal lengths. As Ken indicated, the photos are a great tool for storyboarding and communication with others; I love the capability to shoot MPEG movies so we can rough in camera moves. The A1 has been replaced by the 8 megapixel A2, thus it has dropped quite a bit in price and is a great tool (takes pretty good pix as well!) It's one of the few easily portable cameras that has a true mechanical zoom barrel which allows you to add your own focal length equivalents.
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Old June 5th, 2004, 01:17 AM   #10
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Charles, I use my A2 for the same thing. If you look at the short film I posted in the DV For The Masses section, I shot the whole thing (more or less) on the A2 first.

Sometimes I take photographs with it too.
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