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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old April 5th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #16
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I'll try to get some up late tonight or tomorrow.
Eric James
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Old April 5th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #17
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Hi Chris
Have a Matteblox, a Formatt and a Chrosziel.
Here's my two cents.
The Matteblox and Formatts both screw into the lens.
The Matteblox will take the rectangular end of my anamorphic adaptor
Both are light.
I use them for different purposes (actually, for different cameras - I have 35mm, S16 and DVXs)
The Chrosziel is part of a 15mm rod system that doesn't hang off the end of the lens. I have a follow focus mechanism also mounted here.
This is ideal for controlled situations off a tripod or jib where one can get multiple takes, have rehearsals, etc.

The Formatt I find is more useful for lighter rigs, e.g. on a car mount, etc., where the follow focus isn't required - but I can't use it with my anamorphic adaptor.

So if I use my anamorphic adaptor I'm more or less stuck with the Matteblox. Not that it's any worse than the others. On a Steadicam/Magiqcam, it's the lightest (and therefore the best) one to use. The long flag is especially useful here, since my Magiqcam shots are usually performed in varied and variable lighting conditions.

The Matteblox doesn't have a rotating filter holder so if you're using a polarizer you'd be in trouble (for instance when shooting into the front seat of a car through the windscreen). Well, you can rotate it first, then stick/velchro it down, I guess. Haven't tried it myself. Prefer to do the adjusting looking through the lens.

Cost wise, it's Formatt, Matteblox, Chrosziel, in that order. The first two are cheaper by a long shot. I bought all three online for way less than shop price. Just waited around until one came up on ebay or my local bulletin boards that was too good to pass by.

I don't have the DVX Chrosziel, BTW, the one that needs a $150 shave of the anamorphic lens "hood" to work, just a regular 4x4 one I have off my flim cameras. Seems to work just fine. I guess that the 4x5.65" Panavision filters would work better with 16:9 but that's a whole can of worms I don't want to get into until someone else pays for me to buy it.

Actually, the lens hood off my DVX works fine, and the 72mm filters are cheaper than the 4x's to boot.

So mainly I shoot with that, or the Matteblox if I'm using the 16:9.

Get this: if I'm out shooting by myself, 98% of the time it's the standard lens shade, camera hand held, maybe a light tripod. Camera mic mostly, headphones maybe (5-15% of the time). I have a Cinebag that has the Matteblox, a short shotgun mic, headphones, filters, etc., etc, and really, I have to admit that most of it just sits in the bag, which sits in my truck while I have the camera out in a light bag, and am shooting with it.

What I HAVE to have:

Camera (DVX)
Stills type shoulder camera bag containing:
My custom checklist card that I made up for setups & white bal
Lens blower (small can)
Piece of well washed (auto store) chamois leather (to wrap/clean camera)
Raincoat for camera (I use the generic Portabrace one, always carry it)
Camera mounted, rechargeable 8" mini fluoro tube (home depot) lamp
Matteblox (if shooting 16:9)
Light tripod with sling (Bogen 501/3221, maybe)

That's about it.

The big rigs are usually there to impress higher playing clients. (Don't forget, the bigger the camera rig, the more the camera crew to set up and operate that rig, and the bigger the budget.

This part of the budget isn't always visible on screen, so here's my rule of thumb: if I can just shoot it with the standard kit, auto focus, auto iris, and not be the wiser, then that's all I use, no matter who's watching.

If the camera rises or moves, then I add equipment. If the focus racks in a complex manner, I add more equipment. If I see lens flare and I don't want it, I add a shade. (BTW, usually that shade is a half or full flag off a C stand, and not attached to the camera at all)

And so on.

Put the money where you can see it, is what I say.

Learn to use one piece of gear at a time so you're really good at using it, before moving on to the next.

Expand your gear collection as you need to use it. For me, I like to plant a little investment seed in buying core gear, then work the gear and have it support itself (i.e. pay for its own maintenance, etc) then have it grow and expand and beget little gear...

Over the years you'll have probably everything there is to get anyway, one way or another, but there will be a difference, and it's a big one:

it's about the boys, not the boys.

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Old April 6th, 2005, 11:49 PM   #18
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350 dollars for a cheap piece of cloth and velcro and we're actually grateful. This is why Titanic cost as much as a space mission.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 11:57 PM   #19
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You know, you're right.

I didn't pay anything like $350 for mine. And wouldn't.

They're just asking for someone else to come along and out-compete them, or, just make one themselves.

Just like Burt Rutan, puts a man (an older private pilot, who, incidentally, wouldn't even make the NASA induction program) and a ship that burns environmentally friendly fuel into space on the budget of half one of the Titan's rocket booster guidance systems...

This is the country for commerical competition.
This is definitely the forum for home grown innovation.
Anybody handy with an industrial sewing machine?

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Old April 7th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #20
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I no longer have my digi cam so I couldn't take any new ones(got stolen)

I'll try to borrow a cam to take some better pics of the mattebox. This was the ONLY photo I could find, sorry about the outoffocus-ness.

Hope this helps.
Eric James
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Old April 7th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #21
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Is that an LCD hood on there as well?

What are you using for that?
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Old April 7th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #22
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It's a Hoodman H400 and it's by far the best extra piece I've purchased. It really helps even in dark areas where you wouldn't normally think. It just helps with framing because it's keeps everything separate from the real world. Very much like an eyepeice viewfinder does. Oh yea and it's cheap too.

My 2 c,
Eric James

p.s. it's not me in the above pic, but my appentice who is learning his very first things on an HD camera (Lucky Him)
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Old April 8th, 2005, 02:49 AM   #23
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Hi Eric,

I will firmly second your findings with the hoodman, I have been using one for my Z1 & will never turn back !

I have made one more addition to the LCD, I went out and purchased a 5 ($5-10) magnifier (the kind designed for game handhelds - ie Gameboy Advance SP).

I then made minor modifications to this (at 5 each I can afford to!) by filing down the supports (a few mms only) so that it sits securely with a couple of elastic bands.

It makes a perfect v/f 'diop', fitting snuggly within the hoodman and adding little weight, making the rear v/f pretty much redundant !

This particular magnifier came from "Gamester" (Starter Pack), the link below shows it pretty clearly..

But I am sure most any GBA SP magnifier can be adapted to do just as good a job. It really does improve the feel of the LCD, somehow adding 'depth' and helping to verify focus without any need for squinting. Plus if you're using any kind of shoulder mount it acts to relieve eye strain when the LCD is close up.

(Thanks to the XL2 designers for my inspiration for this!)

All this for less than $10 - talk about bang for buck !
Play to Learn,
Learn to Earn,
Earn to Play...

Dave - Broader Pictures
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