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Old December 25th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #1
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z-1 setup +letus35 fe


i just got my letus35 fe i read the artical abuot how to set up a dvx100b with it

try it on my last music video and it work great

on my next music video i am going to shoot with z-1 on hdv and i wonder did anyone has tips for setup the camera?
it's a pal version
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Old December 25th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #2
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My personal preferences would be :-

Select SLR prime lens types f1.8 or wider lenses. Avoid using zooms unless you want a zoom movement for creative reasons. Select apertures in range f1.8 to f3.5.

f4 starts to get a bit tricky in certain lighting conditions with some lenses and groundglass artifacts becoming evident on plain bright backgrounds such as painted walls and sky.

Try to shoot against a darker, or contrasted textured out-of-focus background which does not have many large bright areas in it.

Be careful though to choose a background which does not compete with your subject for audience attention.

Sunlight from behind the camera in early to mid morning or mid to late afternoon seems to be best.

Select shutter speed of 1/50th sec.

Use 0db video gain where possible. The FX1/Z1P has a good gain system though.

You can creatively use the manual aperture and +9db gain along with ND optical filters or pieces of gel on front of the SLR lens for a nice grain effect, but be prepared to lose some resolution.

Use camcorder ND selection to keep camcorder aperture as close to f5.6 - f6.3 as you can. Wider is okay.

A tighter aperture will interact with SLR lens aperture sometimes to provoke groundglass artifacts.

With a very tight camcorder aperture you might also get a diffraction artifact which is unrelated to the LETUS35 but it is something I have not yet observed with the FX1/Z1P.

In low lighting conditions, you will need to light as if your camera is performing like daylight film of 80ASA to 100ASA.

More light is better because the camera image will go softer if you don't have enough.

Set your camcorder relay focus manually, then secure the focus ring with a thin strip of gaffer tape with an end folded over so you can remove it quickly.

Use short periods of the autofocus to reset the relay focus or manually refocus, if you move the zoom in or out for composition purposes.

Do not leave autofocus switched on as it will try to track your manual focus of the SLR lens onto the groundglass if the camera gets pointed at a uniformly bright and coloured area like sky or a plain wall.

In this circumstance, autofocus generally crashes to the closest object, usually pieces of dust on the dioptre lens or condenser and will not recover on its own when the camera is again aimed on subject. Manual focus then has to be used to reset.

You can try setting more sharpness. I usually leave mine on 11.

Set automatic exposure responses to slow. If the camera overides your manual settings, the shift will be slow and not as apparent.

Select optical steadyshot to off.

You will need to re-learn how to interpret your zebra pattern for groundglass imaging. The groundglass image permits your camera to tolerate a little more highlight over-exposure but not too much.

You might be able to afford to shoot through the adaptor for an appearance which would be one stop brighter than your normal habits direct-to-camera. Too bright though and you will lose some resolution

This becomes a personal preference style and mood thing and you need to experiment to see which suits you best.

If I am short of time, my personal practice is to flick the camera side switch between auto and manual to see what it auto thinks is best, then in manual use the aperture by eye to go one stop under for background if my subject is otherwise adequately lit. It is very difficult to use the LCD or viewfinder for best exposure outdoors.

You might bring the colour saturation setting up a little more but I don't bother with this myself.

If you like the Sony cinegamma, use it.

I suggest you do not use the 25P setting. You can de-interlace in post if you like but you can't put removed interlace back without resolution loss.

Use the peaking and focus assist features on your camera. You will especially need them if you are not viewing through a large monitor screen.

HDV is going to show shortcomings of any groundglass image more than the DVX100 did. Finely detailed backgrounds with the wide lenses are not going to look so nice unless you set up close to your subject and make the backgrounds soft.

A 50mm prime lens wll probably be your best friend, best on tripod, 28mm or wider for hand-helds, 85mm for your portrait style close-ups, tripod only. A 105m is nice but a bit long on a 24mm wide GG frame.

If your 85mm is a motorised lens with a short throw focus ring, tape a satay stick by the centre with double sided tape across the ring for smoother focus pulls and be sure your focus puller didn't get drunk the night before.

Handheld shots with an 85mm lens are almost uncontrollable. You could try optical steadyshot but you run the risk of intermittant smears of groundglass artifact as the steadyshot tracks the subject.

Use the underscan view on your camera viewfinder or LCD screen to make sure you do not pick up any frame edges on the groundglass.

If you are using Nikon lenses, you will be better off with Quyen's Nikon-only mount rather than the standard dual-purpose reversable Nikon-Canon mount.

For the 28mm or wider lenses to work best, you have to adjust the backfocus of the Nikon SLR lenses by moving the reversable mount forwards about 1mm in the front of the Letus35 housing. Then the mount becomes loose and unstable as it is no longer resting against a rear shoulder inside the housing.

Backfocus for the Canon lenses which fit the dual purpose reversable mount is believed to be correct.

If your LETUS35 motor fails to start because of flat batteries and you have not got replacements handy, you can get two or three more short runs if you point the lens directly down to the ground, switch on the LETUS35 motor, resume the shooting position and run the camera.

To use groundglass adaptors to best effect, you really need to go out with one, flatten a few batteries practicing and expermenting so that you become intuitive and have developed the look you want and can reproduce it instantly.

Your creative efforts will be hamstrung if you have to be constantly on guard against using the camera controls for focus and zoom because of lack of practice.

I am not an industry professional or optical engineer, so trust your own best judgements first and listen to opinions and advice of others. You are probably a more accomplished practitioner than I am.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 26th, 2006 at 03:30 AM.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 12:04 AM   #3
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i amyzed of the detailed post

thanks bob i will shoure let you know how it turn out

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Old December 26th, 2006, 03:16 AM   #4
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Here's a link to a short clip of shadow footage I did recently on a local film project.


The resolution of this clip is fairly poor due to mpeg compression.

It was shot with a home-made AGUS35 with Nikon lenses on a PAL HVRZ1P in similar summer lighting conditions to those you can expect on your patch.

Lens apertures were set at f2.8.

My AGUS35 behaves similarly to the LETUS35 except for method of moving groundglass.

My exposures were manual and I attempted to get a bit of shadow detail by going over on exposure slightly. Zebras were on 70% and I allowed sky and highlights to burn out slightly. In normal direct-to-camera imaging this would not look too good. Groundglass imaging is helpful in this circumstance.

I understand an experienced DP/camera op with a JVC HD100/Mini35 used for shadow footage set zebras at 65% and allowed sky and upper surfaces of objects to go over to preserve best exposure on the subject.

I also got my hands on this camera for a while so it was interesting to compare how the two systems worked.

The Sony worked best on ND1 with light management by the camera manual iris.

The JVC worked best with ND2 with light management by the Mini35 relay iris. Too tight a setting on the relay iris provoked what appeared to be diffraction artifacts as a moire pattern.

It seems the Mini35 is a better performer in terms of passing light through to the camera.

The production camera was using film.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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Regarding the satay stick, you need to poke the satay stick through the tape and out through the tape again so two tape ends hang down and stick onto the round lens ring. I used the double sided tape because it was nearby and strong not to tear. Gaffer tape would be just as good.

(The things one does when one is both lazy and in a hurry.)
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Old December 27th, 2006, 01:23 PM   #6
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thank's for all the info

did you shoot HDV?
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Old December 27th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #7
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I shot using HDV, captured separately using HD link with "Prefs" set to "keep M2T file"; "25P"; "de-interlace all sources"; "no rate change".

You have to be vigilent on the last one. My computer is a no-name and not Adobe-approved.

The rate change alters between separate capture sessions or boot ups.

I imported the Cineform clips into PP2 with project setting "Cineform, 1050 x 1420, 25P".
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