Non-stabilized lens on a steadicam/glidecam/magiqcam? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 12th, 2006, 11:08 AM   #1
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Non-stabilized lens on a steadicam/glidecam/magiqcam?

Anyone ever used the Canon 16x manual, or any other manual-focus, non-optically stabilized lens on any kind of steadicam-like support? The reason I ask, is I bought a 16x manual lens for my XL1s, sold the original lens, and now I'm planning to buy the XL2 body without the lens, but I'm concerned that the lack of auto-focus and optical image stabilization might make my images less than par.

Should I just go for the full blown XL2 with 20x lens so I don't have this issue, or will it work ok without it?

Thanks
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Old August 12th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #2
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Hi Nick,

Actually non stabilized lense works better. I am using Fujinon s20x6.4brm-sd lense and jvc gy-dv5000 camera with my SmoothArm without issue. You can have a look at my video posted in this forum.

Fujinon s20x6.4brm-sd lense and jvc gy-dv5000 camera does not have any stabilizer built in.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...=31873&page=19

Regards
Leigh
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Old August 12th, 2006, 04:16 PM   #3
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I've seen your video Leigh, great work on the stabilizer too. How about the manual focus, has that ever been an issue for you? I mainly shoot weddings, so there's a lot of "run and gun" type shooting. I normally just use the cam mounted on my shoulder, but am looking into some sort of stabilizer, where I won't be able to use focus.

My guess would be set the iris about half open, and focus to infinity?
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Old August 12th, 2006, 08:39 PM   #4
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Nick,
Leigh is correct that it's generally preferable not to use OIS or EIS when shooting with a stabilizer.
Just as when shooting on a tripod, a camera's IS often confuses intentional moves as "wobble" and ends up lagging when panning or tilting.

The Steadicam (or other stabilizer)'s job is to stabilize the camera, therfore you dont' need furthur stabilization from within the camera.

However focusing is another kettle of fish.
You can't touch the lens during a shot or you will throw off the balance. You have to either use a (preferably wireless) remote control focusing system, these normally require a 2nd operator and are very expensive. - The cheapest 'good' one (for manual focus lenses), the BFD with a motor costs around $4k.
The other option is to relly on a camera's auto focus circuitry. And to be honest, that's normally the best option when shooting DV. The auto-focus on most cameras works pleanty well enoguh for most stabilizer work unless you are dooing specific focus like rack-focus pulls. You might want that 20x lens for this alone.
You can also set the iris tight and zoom wide to give you a dep DOF to get the focus "close enough" and not change it during the shots.

Also that 20x stock lens has zoom motors so you can put a zoom controller on the gimble and zoom while shooting too. Which is something else worth considering.

- Mikko

Last edited by Mikko Wilson; August 13th, 2006 at 09:02 AM.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:53 AM   #5
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Hi Nick,

Thanks ;-)

You really need manual focus if you can't afford remote control focusing system and follow focus operator. Auto focus means camera circuit decide which subject to focus, not you. You really needs to be in control, not some circuit. CCD camera does not have shallow depth of field except if you decide to use a 35 adaptor sorts of things. This is great and you don't need to worry about focus issue so much. What I did in the video I shown to you was set focus distance 2 meters away and focal length to be 6.4mm. I followed the dog distance around 2 meters. Due to 1/2 inch ccd, the focus range will make you shooting range quite comfortable and your subject will clearly in focus. if ccd is smaller, the depth of field will be longer.

20x lense will be great for your other use, but not in your stabilzer use. In your stabilzer use, normally you will set wide angle.

Hope it helps.

Regards
Leigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Weeks
I've seen your video Leigh, great work on the stabilizer too. How about the manual focus, has that ever been an issue for you? I mainly shoot weddings, so there's a lot of "run and gun" type shooting. I normally just use the cam mounted on my shoulder, but am looking into some sort of stabilizer, where I won't be able to use focus.

My guess would be set the iris about half open, and focus to infinity?
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Old August 13th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #6
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Hi Nick,

FYI, the lense I use is 20x lense.

Regards
Leigh
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Old August 13th, 2006, 03:00 PM   #7
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I agree with everything said so far. I would reiterate that when flying any 1/3" CCD camera, you will most likely be using a lens between 4mm-8mm. At those focal lengths with a typical lens-to-subject distance, pretty much everything is in focus. So, your manual lens will be fine in that situation. You will never fly it at anywhere near 20x zoom.

Now if you use a 35mm adapter (or shoot 35mm), the whole game changes. The lens will now typically be between 18, 25, or even 50mm on occasion. Depth of field is much shallower, and without a remote follow focus, you will have to maintain the same distance to your subject as you operate. It's not impossible, but it's more challenging and it also limits your creativity with camera moves.

I thought about getting a Glidecam V16/20 so that I could accomodate 35mm adapters (or even pick up some 16mm or 35mm student film shoots), but without additional heavy investment in wireless follow focus gear, I won't really be able to provide a full service. Most steadicam operators own their own focus gear. At the Glidecam/Magiqcam price range, the focus gear would cost way more than the rig.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #8
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Nick,

Good discussion.

One thing that you probably already know but some others might not is that you want to be shooting with a good amount of light so your depth of field will be large enough. The weddings I have done were usually in the low light area and I had to use my Sony VX-2100 to keep the picture clean.

Can you put on a wide angle lens for the stabilizer work then change to the longer lens for your other shots?

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Old August 27th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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I've thought about that, but I've got to be quick about changing lenses and mounting cameras because I can't miss more and 2 min or so during a wedding. It definitely won't be a problem if I have a 2 manned camera wedding. I'll most likely be using the XL2 on the stabilizer, and only on outdoor shots. For the indoor stuff I'll probably stick to shoulder mounted so I can get the 1.6 iris.

I don't forsee the outdoor shots being a problem, because I can easily go to an aperature of around 7 or 8 and still have a good picture. I see your point about the Sony, because I own a VX2100 also, it would really be great on those indoor shots. I might could get away with that if I hire a second guy to run the XL2 while I'm doing the stabilizer shots with the VX2100.

I just need to shell out the cash and get it over with. I'm sure after a few months of practice I'll be making my money back with a stabilizer anyway. :)
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