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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 10th, 2008, 02:46 AM   #16
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Hi Ethan,

Did you get a reply from Letus on the compatibility of the Extreme with the HV20? I've been looking at a Letus Mini to twin up with my HV20 but.....if what you are saying turns out to be true, then having the option to use the Extreme with both my XH-A1's or the HV20 would be great, and well worth the extra dollars for the extreme.

At the moment, I'm just "playing" with a DIY static adapter on my HV20. It's a total mind melt to use as, if you move left it goes right, if you move up it goes down, seeing as their is no flip to it. Then you throw in the tiny HV20 screen for focusing and you can REALLY have some fun!

You can modify your HV20 to get the correct flip and reverse but it involves stripping it to pieces. Need some brave pills first.

What I do like is, that it is really compact and easy to have slung over your shoulder, ready to grab at anytime. Because of the mind melt stuff above, hand held takes awhile to get used to, but I'm getting there.


WIth a bit of practice I'm starting to get more useable shots from it.

I'm not even pretending to be in the same league as the big guys. That said, it definetely does give a different feel to the video. I think we had every possible combination of weather on this day. Rain, hail, sleet, snow. You guys in the sun don't know how lucky you are!

You can also see how the HV20 struggles with low light on some of the indoor shots.

http://www.vimeo.com/866175

Last edited by Alastair Brown; April 10th, 2008 at 06:51 AM.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #17
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From what I can tell by reading on various message boards, the HV20 will work with the LEX, but it's not ideal and that's why Letus designed the Mini. Seems that you have to zoom into the ground glass a bit more than you want to with the HV20 thereby increasing your lowest f-stop from 1.8 to 2.6 and also increasing the effective mm rating of the lens.
Please understand that this is what I gather from reading on message boards and is not pulled from personal experience. I'll let you know in about 2 weeks what my findings are after I've gotten everything in the mail and had a little time to test.

Oh and for full disclosure here, I'll let you all know that the reason I went with the LEX when I did was that I got it and the rails second hand for a great price. I couldn't pass that up.

**EDIT**
Alastair,
Now come on man, that didn't look half as bad as you let on. I like the fact that you didn't do a shift focus every 5 seconds. I figure I'll way over use that early on.
What lenses are you using? I'm still trying to figure out what I want to buy mm wise. I have a 50mm coming and figure I'll learn on that, but what other ones do you have?
I'll gladly shoot in the sleet if I can do a castle wedding with owls, falcons, and dudes in kilts. My wife would kill for that.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #18
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Nikon 50mm 1.4 is what I am using. This also seems to be the weapon of choice for just about everybody as far as I can see. My wife has some other Nikon lenses. I haven't been brave enough to try hanging anything else onto the adpater yet. Having too much fun with the 50mm, and, there is the worry about putting any extra weight on the threads, as I'm not using any support rods.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #19
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It seems one advantage for using the Letus Mini with the HV20 instead of the LEX is that it's much lighter so you don't need to have rails support, making it truly more "run and gun." The LEX is more adaptable with a wider range of cameras but may be overkill for such a small camera like the HV20.

Alastair, it can definitely get frustrating trying to frame your footage with the footage upside down! I've done the flip hack on my HV20 and am now waiting for parts for my adapter ;)

I have a 28mm and a 50mm but I think I'll want longer lenses as it suits my shooting style better. I like staying in the background and getting closeups!
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Old April 11th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #20
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I ordered the Letus Mini for my HV30.

I also ordered a rail system because I'm a bit suspect of the rigidity of the whole setup without the rails. I also believe that it's recommended to have rails if you want to store the whole setup in a case assembled. The LEX would be a smarter choice for its flexibility and resale value but I think we should all buy for whatever we're going to use for the present time. I'm still using my DVX100 along with the HV30 and I really don't want to run n' gun with a 10lb DVX100+LEX+Rails+lens...

Now I need to buy a Canon 50mm 1.2 or 1.4..
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Old April 11th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #21
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I don't hear or read good things about the 50mm f1.2. Supposedly it's a little soft.
I got my LEX and rails in yesterday afternoon, forced open a Nikon Digital zoom (17-70 f-slow.slower) and slapped it on the adaptor just to get an idea of what it'll be like. My first impression is that it's heavier than I'd imagined. I know the weights are listed online, but once you get it in your hands you realize just how heavy it is. It seems solidly built and appears to be a fairly simple design which = fewer things to break.
I'll let you guys know about the setup when my stepup rings and 50mm lens arrive next week. I'll set it up with my FX7 and HV20 and report on the differences.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
I don't hear or read good things about the 50mm f1.2. Supposedly it's a little soft.
It's probably not so much that it's soft but that the DoF is so shallow that it's hard to get tack sharp focus. For most situations, you'd probably want to stop down the lens so that your focus will be better.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #23
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Any lens at the top or bottom of its fstop range will be soft. I know that the 1.2 50mm is supposed to be softer then the 1.4. For that reason I purchased the 1.4.

I haven't used my Brevis at a wedding yet, most of the time I'm on the glide cam and it's hard to switch the set up off and on. If only I had an extra camera! I do love my Brevis it's been great for shooting shorts and features.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 11:20 PM   #24
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Here's what Letus say re using an extreme with an HV20.

"You can use a step ring no problem. I use a set of two on my HV20 / Extreme. They are listed in this article:

http://support.letusdirect.com/?linkact=kb&i=15&c=C1

Light loss when using a step ring would be negligible if any. You are only adding a few millimeters of extra distance between the adapter and the camera."
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:05 AM   #25
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This weekend FedEx "delivered" my 50mm lens. Problem was, my wife and I were out of town shooting a wedding and when I get home, there was no package at the door. Sucks.

Yesterday I got my stepup rings in so I grabbed my wife's D70, popped off the lens, locked open the aperture (using a modified pen top) slapped it on my rig and went out into the back yard to do the "hey, I just got an adapter and will now shoot all the flowers around my house" bit.

Now I have to admit to all of you that I'm very very very tempted to make up a story about how I hated the adapter and that it wont ever work for weddings, blah blah blah. This would be to protect the secret weapon I now have at my disposal and the look associated with it, but I wont do that. I'll be nice and share.

I LOVE this thing, even with the crappy digital zoom lens on it that everyone says not to use. In 5 minutes of shooting in my yard, not knowing what the hell I was doing at god knows what f-stop and completely winging the whole deal I was able to get some beautiful shots.

Guys, get this, let it sink in, especially you younger fellas who don't know what video use to cost. I'm using a $800 HV20, a $270 Digital zoom lens, and a few vibrating pieces of glass and prism that cost me $1,200 and I'm getting shots that you couldn't have pulled out of a $50,000 camera 4 years ago. It's simply stunning.

I must say, to my surprise I really really enjoyed shooting using a zoom lens. I know everyone is all over the primes I'm sure for speed and sharpness indoors, but outside, I don't see a reason not to go with a slow zoom. It's not like you don't have the light. It frees you up a lot as far as your framing options. I might just stick with that lens when I'm outside. It's a 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 Nikon DX lens that came standard with the D70 if you want to know. I don't know a darn about optics, but I do know a good shot when I see one and I like what I saw yesterday. Anyone know why they say not to use these digital lenses?

One thing I know is wrong with my footage is that I'm not zoomed in enough to avoid some vignetting on the left of the frame. Anyone know if you can adjust the HV20 or the LEX so that you're more centered on the focusing screen or do you simply have to zoom in farther? I'm already pretty darn close to full zoom as it is. Is there a little trick I don't know yet? I'm working on posting my afternoon shoot if anyone is curious. It's the same ol fare as anyone who just got one of these new toys, flowers and shift focus out the wazzu, but I think it's pretty.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #26
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Hey Ethan, congrats on your LEX adapter! I'm jealous :)

Looking forward to see your footages with LEX. I'm considering to buy Letus Mini or Extreme also. Yay!
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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #27
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Hey Ethan, congrats on your LEX adapter! I'm jealous :)
Ian, trust me, you have nothing to be jealous about. It was seeing your stuff that made me go out and buy this thing. I'm not sure you need a LEX, your homebrew adapter footage looks great.

Quote:
Looking forward to see your footages with LEX. I'm considering to buy Letus Mini or Extreme also. Yay!
I have a very rough, repeat, very rough clip up on Vimeo. I slapped the adaptor together and ran out back to shoot anything and everything. I don't stop playing with the focus for longer than 3 seconds. If you really want to put yourself through it, you can have a look.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #28
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Very nice footage, Ethan!

I'm considering LEX or Mini maybe because I cant stand the flipped images for the run n gun shooting.

I just got a Vivitar lens (Nikon mount) 28-105mm f.2.8-3.8 and wondering if this is going to be vignetting when using the Letus.

Is your setup perfect for run n gun shooting? Is it less bulky? Any pics of your setup will be much appreciated! :)
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Old April 16th, 2008, 12:06 AM   #29
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From my very limited experience thus far with my setup, I'd say that as long as you zoom in on the gg far enough vignetting shouldn't be a problem. You'll lose some of your FOV this way, but if vignetting concerns you then that is how you'll overcome it. I happen to like a bit of vignetting so I've been tending to keep my zoom pretty close to the edges of the frame on the gg.

As far as run and gun shooting is concerned, I don't see why it's not possible with the LEX, rails and HV20 setup I have going right now. I've tried it off the rails a few times but I keep going back to the rails because the whole thing just feels more solid on them. I could be crazy, but it seems to me that I actually control the camera better when it's on the rails than when it's not. If you're running and gunning outdoors I still think a zoom will beat the crap out of a prime any day of the week due to the flexibility if affords.

The one problem I'm seeing right now is removing the battery from the HV20 is difficult due to where it sits on the plate. As it stands right now I'd have to take my rig partially apart to be able to access the underside of the camera to put on a fresh battery and this isn't something I want to be doing too much in the field. I'll see what I can come up with.

My Nikon 50mm lens mysteriously appeared today and I noticed right off the bat that you don't have to zoom into the gg nearly as far with it as I did the DX lens. Maybe this is one of the reasons people are against the DX lenses? I'm not really sure. I do think that I'll keep using that DX lens outdoors.

Inside, I'm not so sure the HV20 and 1.8 lens will cut it. If you're in a room with plenty of available sunlight you might be fine, but under 100 watt bulbs I'm having to punch in some gain. I've yet to mount my FX7 to the Letus to test it indoors. I'd imagine it's better inside but I won't know for sure till I give it a shot.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 12:54 AM   #30
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Hi Ethan,

Glad to hear you are enjoying the dof experience.

Any chance you can post a pic of your HV20 Lex and rail setup?
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