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Old January 9th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #16
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Personally, I'd go for lights and a camera dolly before even considering an adapter. In the end, they're going to have more overall visual story telling impact.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 11:45 AM   #17
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I have to disagree. The look I got with the adapter was inspiring. I'd been shooting for 20 years and my job had become just a pay check. But the look (and compliments) I got when we switched to the adapter really motivated me to step my skills up a notch. I'm hooked now and my job has become my fun hobby again.

I do agree that you can make a feature length film without an adapter (or vDSLR), there's a lot more to it than just the camera rig....that's for sure!
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Old January 9th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #18
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My initial response to the O.P's question was does he want to improve the image quality (NanoFlash) or degrade the image (DoF adapter). But that's not really very helpful.

IMHO I have yet to see a DoF adapter that gives a pleasing image on a big screen. Yes you can get super shallow DoF, but they trade that off against overall softness and grain. If your shooting a talking head then its reasonably easy to create a matte in the edit and drop the background out of focus without sacrificing foreground sharpness. I would rather go the DSLR route if I wanted shallow DoF, but they have another set of issues.

Small lateral camera moves will give the illusion of depth and almost convey a sense of 3D to a scene. I would spend the money on a dolly or small jib first.
There are lots of other things you can do to make your footage stand out or more filmic. Diffusion filters such as Pro Mists. Old fashioned tricks like vaseline on an optical flat to add blur to specific regions of the image. Graduated filters and vignettes. Many of these effects can now be added in post. Also the way you grade the final video has as big an effect on the final product as DoF. If you want to do a lot of messing around in post then you need the best quality recording that you can get and that's where the NanoFlash comes into it's own.

Having said all that there is so much you can do without lots of money. Borrow a wheelchair for dolly type moves, get some optical flats and vaseline, try stretching tights over the lens. Look at the grading tutorials on the RedGiant software site. Then when you have found the look you know you want spend the money on the tools that will make it easy to do.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:57 PM   #19
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I've just been watching "Hombre" on TV, no shallow DOF, just great use of framing and space.

If every indie is out there shooting with a 35mm adapter, you should be thinking about something different to standout from the crowd.

If you're planning to show your film on a big screen the Nanoflash, for small screen stuff you can live with the degraded 35mm adapter effect.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #20
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I agree. Adding movement to your shots is arguably just as important as the shallow DOF. But now we're talking about personal taste.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #21
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I suspect more important, camera movement has been used by generations of film makers from the days of silent cinema. Unfortunately, shallow DOF stands the risk of becoming, the zoom, smoked sets, shaky cam i.e. a fashion that's overused and the latest new thing until the next new thing. You can usually tell a period by the use of these devices and there often reaches a point when they're being used for no purpose than to be in with the fashion. You really have to question why you're using a technique and if it's the best way of doing a particular film or scene. The creative bit is coming up with something new or telling an old story in a way that's truly your own.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 03:57 PM   #22
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I've been discovering recently for myself how powerful even simple camera moves can be. Been kind of a revelation, so I'm with the dolly/jib group. I also agree that the shallow dof thing has taken on a disproportionate significance for a lot of people. Shallow dof can certainly help some shots, but it's become a bit of a fetish.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 05:32 PM   #23
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I have THE answer to this question...

...it depends.

It depends on a lot of other issues that have not been brought up by the OP. What sort of stuff will you be shooting? A 'feature' doesn't really answer the question by itself.
And what else do you have or will have available?

I totally agree that lights and a dolly are significantly more important that either of the two items under discussion. Steadicam? HMI's? kino's? Dolly? Perhaps all this is on hand already.

My thoughts are that an EX-3 would be a better choice, so that a real 35 adapter could be mounted directly and not thru a zoom lens. You can also get wider lenses and super tele lenses.

If I had to choose between letus, nano or some sort of camera mover; I'd choose the camera mover first. Dolly or steadicam or maybe crane. Far ahead of some trick lens.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #24
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Lots of good advice here. I too have been tempted to go either with the adapter or the Nanoflash but have decided to save up for a nanoflash and just work on ways to operate my ex1 with more precision and skill. I have a track, and a jib, and am working on a steadicam because I am really sold on the art of camera movement. With respect to camera movement I would highly recommend Hollywood camera works High end blocking and staging. I am studying it and trying diferent experiments every time I set up my gear. I think that it's going to make the difference between ok work and wow that was a great movie! That being said I am also trying to make my camera work, lighting, and blocking as invisible as possible so that I am not competing or distracting from the story but helping to tell it along with the writer/director. Here is the link to their site. Hollywood Camera Work - Film Directing, Film School, Camera Blocking, Cinematography
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:04 PM   #25
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Wow! great advice everyone I really appreciate it and am starting to see many of the things everyone has pointed out. Thanks again.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #26
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So I started doing some research and I know some of you mentioned dollies and stabilization systems in order to achieve movement with my shots and I was hoping some of you had some recommendations as to which brands are well known for these and or ones you have used personally.

I was looking at this steadicam: Steadicam | Pilot-AA Camera Stablization System | PILOT-AA | B&H

I think now my focused has changed to what additional tools (whatever they may be) will help me achieve great images.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #27
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As with most gear, if you can rent it first to see if it meets your needs you'll be a step closer to answering the question whether you need it.

There's a ton of information on forums about dollies etc. The dolly, steadicam forum here is very active. The Steadicam, from what I've read, takes a fair amount of practice and that explains why on some productions there's a dedicated operator.

You might try constructing one from a DIY project to see if it meets your needs, before spending four grand on one. There's oodles of instructions here:
How to Make steadicam - Instructables search Instructables

Yes, they are made out of pvc pipe and old monopods etc. But a $40 investment and a few hours of work could save 100 times that amount if you build one and decide it's not what you need. I built a dolly for $185 out of plywood and pvc. Looks like crap but it works. More importantly, the project taught me I don't need a floor dolly to move my tripod and camera on, I need something more compact with just a short run, like a slider. And I realized I don't want to haul all that crap around with me. At some point it's easier to rent a grip truck or ask for help from someone who has the stuff! Having explored my options by DIY-ing it first, I now know what I want in a professional product.

It might help, as Ed pointed out, if we knew what types of projects you do or want to do.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #28
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Very true Bob. Well at the moment I have been filming events during Art Basil and hopefully Artopia. My group and I are in the process of shooting a short film and would like to continue to do that and feature films as well. So I guess to answer your question I am doing some narrative work and some commercial work. Hope that helps.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 02:45 AM   #29
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Nanoflash will have only a very marginal affect on your image quality. You probably won't be able to see it most cases. A 35mm adapter despite the flaw of losing light allows you to make some very beautiful images that are completely different from what you can do without it.
If the choice is between those 2 I would choose an adapter.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 07:01 AM   #30
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there's a reason a steadicam or glidecam cost vastly more that $40. If you are interested in a steadicam rig, try to get access to a real one locally and try it out. It is a lot to master so expect it to be overwhelming at first.
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