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Phil Connolly

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Phil Connolly last won the day on June 12

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  1. Whats your budget? The ZF's are really nice glass but as still lenses difficult to focus pull. At the lowest budget range its worth looking at the Samyang VDSLR primes - they won't blow you away optically, but they behave more like cineprimes, and are easier to mesh with a follow focus. Next level up is something like the Xeen primes - for better build quality Next level up again Zeiss Compact Primes or Cannon CN-E primes - but these are more expesive - but they are great workhorse lenses and upto the rigours of profession production On film work the mechanics of a lens are at least (if not more) important then its optical performance or "look"
  2. Indeed it does, but it can be very expensive. You'd need quite a bit of it.
  3. SD looks pretty grungy these days. The DVX is only 4:3 - so you have to shoot in that format or crop to 16:9 which will make it more jaggies. Mini DV isn't a great tape format, its difficult to grade. The SDX would be a lot better, 16:9 vs 4:3, a proper 4:2:2 50mbs record format vs 4:1:1 25mbs - card vs tape. But its still SD, the jaggies come from the limits of 720 x 480 images not the compression. The main difference between the 25mbs to 50mbs DVCpro format was better colour sampling, 25mbs DV is only slighty softer then DV 50mbs due to compression If you want the gritty CCD panasonic looK - I would look at a DVCPro HD camera (still very cheap). Most of the early ones were 720p (an upconverted to 1080p internally) so you get a bit of that rougher texture but its sharper and more workable then SD. So maybe look at: HVX200 (its small) - basically the HD version of the DVX100 and shares a similar look. This would probably be a good doco option, its small, HD - but has the Panasonic DV type look. AJ-HDC27 (the first Varicam) - classic tape based 720p Hd camera HPX500 - cheaper 720p P2 card based 2/3" Camera Theres no quality different between tape and p2 cards. These days p2 is probably easier to work with then trying to keep a dvcpro tape deck working. Modern cameras of course will blow these guys away, but there is something about look of Panasonic CCD cameras if you crank the gain and embrace the look. Digi-Beta can give you that look as well. The DVW-970 progressive scan Digi-beta was impressive in its day and can now be found on ebay for pennies on the pound
  4. One lens is enough - I've done many many projects where we decided on a single focal length and worked within that - makes you think about your shots. I did a paid gig last weekend on a sub $2k Bm pocket 4K rig - I had 2 canon batts and used mains power indoors. You might say thats impossible but it got the job done. Affordable Fluid Heads appear on ebay - keep your eyes open Of course you can shoot cinematically without a slider. They are a pretty recent phenomenon, most films don't use sliders. Lots of other ways to move a camera or not move it. I wish you wouldn't keep throwing out these dogmatic statements about what you can and can't do, as if they were facts when they are not. To reiterate: Its possible to purchase a black magic 4K, an SD card, a power source and a lens for less then $2K, it might not be the best "use" of $2k but its more them possible to shoot content on that set up. It is possible to shoot films on servo controlled zoom lenses. Prior to the 5D the majority of affordable digital cameras were locked into using servo zooms, e.g ex1, Z1, Z5, PD150, PDX10, DVX100 etc... Many successful films were shot on these servo lensed cameras eg: "Inland Empire", "Once"(that one won an Oscar), "Super Size Me", "The Last Broadcast", (most of)"The Blair Which Project", "Dancer in the Dark", " Lost in La Mancha" - so again its possible to shoot films (that are good) on electronic lenses. Yes nice manual lenses are better, but you can't make blanket statements that other things impossible when they are not. Then the comment about the slider? Really? You can make completely cinematic films without moving the camera at all, check out the work of Patrick Kieller. In his case you wouldn't even need a fluid head because the cameras not moving. It seems this thread has derailed into a crazy argument. Its important to be open minded and non judgmental about others opinions. I've not attacked anyones suggestions for proposed kit. Only defend my own, which come from a place of offering honest opinion backed up by plenty of experience. I'm shocked by the level of dogma and the throwing around of "facts", about what can and can't be achieved and I wouldn't have suggested the BM4K if I didn't think it was a potentially a good idea. It might not be the right thing for the OP and thats cool. Other ideas are available. I'm also making suggestions based on not knowing anything about the OP and what he wants to do. He may be happy with a single camera body, 1 fixed focal length lens and thats it or wanting a more full kit. Its find to suggest kit and options - but to say you can't learn cinematography without a long list of stuff or very specific kit isn't true. There are many ways to embrace camera work and when your starting out you don't need to replicate a professional shoot but just find an approach that works for you. I guess the OP has probably run to the hills and I don't blame him. I think we should all just try and be a bit more open minded and respectful to each other. I'm not attacking anyones work or career and I don't think its cool for others to do so either.
  5. Ultimately camera choice is personal. There are so many ways you could approach ways to spend your budget. We all have hugely different approaches and way's we'd spend the money and there are so many approaches to film production and your priorities and needs will be your own. Most the cameras suggested are fine cameras and to be honest we are now in a place where there are many great budget options that you could consider. But when you get down to it its: Sega Vs Nintendo Playstation Vs Xbox Mac Vs PC Apple Vs Samsung Fender Vs Gibson (Gibson Obvs) Korg Vs Yamaha etc... You need to find what works for you. The best way to do that is actually try the cameras out your serious about. Maybe trying to borrow or hire a couple of cameras for your own test will give you a feel for what you like. Because each camera will have different image quality, ergonimics, menu's, etc... Somethings that might be a deal breaker for one person would be fine for another. Remember opinions are like arseholes, we've all got one. My suggestions were based on my own experiences, but that doesn't mean its right for you. Make a list of your priorities: What lenses do you want? DO you need a Tripod Do you want 4K Do you want RAW Do you want lights etc... What are you shooting? How much battery life do you need? Do you want a new camera? Is this going to be your main camera? For how long? Do you plan to upgrade? When etc... Then bust out excel and make some budgets - include everything you need remember storage and batts etc.. will add up...
  6. Yeah the wobble gets a bit distracting (e.g in front of the shutters). Tripod would help Daniel, never change
  7. I learn't to shoot on a Canon XL-1 with electronic kit lens. My focus pulling is just fine thanks. You can learn a great deal about cinematography without a manual lens. Traditional focus pulling is a an important discipline but its only one component of a giant topic. I don't know why your discussing using Stedicams, audio etc... the OP didn't ask for that. Just a camera recomendation thats under $2k, not to replicate a film school. I wouldn't be trying to do that on a $2k budget. I'm not disagreeing on the magic lantern front - that might be a great option. But don't tell me my proposal is useless for teaching cinematography. I'm not inexperienced in teaching cinematography beginning filmmakers. I have literally taught a couple of thousand people and made use of electronic kit lenses for a variety of classes. Manual lenses are of course better, but for lighting and composition workshops servo lenses are perfectly workable.
  8. I suggested the BM 4K - because it is in budget and its a really nice camera. $2k is tight and you would have to make extreme compromises to afford the BM. One approach is to get a cheaper camera and have more money for support gear and lenses The other option is to have a better camera and have less support gear/lenses. Nether approach is right/wrong/better. Personally I'd try and scrape enough for the BM, because that would future proof me in terms of needed upgrades and I could rent better lenses. It is possible to put together a sub $2k shooting package for the BM pocket, even with new gear: BM Pocket 1295, Libec Tripod 235, 2 x L6 Batts 122, Lumix 14-45 299, 128GB SD card 40 - all in for 1990. That would allow you to shoot images and learn. Downsides of course would be the electronic lens and 90 mins battery life and the SD card would be HD only. But the cameras future proof. It is possible to shoot content on this rig: Stuff like manual lenses, 10 hours of battery, field monitor, handheld rig, follow focus etc... are nice to have but on a 2K budget nah not needed. It depends on your priorities, a cheaper body is also a great option. I don't disagree that the OP should price up various options and find the best fit. But don't tell me you can make the BM work on some level under $2k or shoot on an electronic lens, its not ideal but you can do it. I'm presenting an option (that would work) not the absolute solution If it was me personally - I didn't buy a camera till I'd been shooting for 10 years...
  9. On any professional production - your main cost is cast and crew salaries, its more then half the budget. Personel, logistics, Kit hire and locations cost similar on both film and digital shoots. The cost of film vs digital only really has a significance on low to micro budget productions. So sub $1million would notice the cost benefit, above that it becomes moot. The cost of a film workflow on Mission Impossible, would be dwarfed by the catering. I do think location does play a factor e.g shooting far away from the lab. Cost would be an potential issue. But to be honest security and damage would be a bigger issue. Productions are nervous about shipping exposed film between countries. The last Star Wars (number 8?) didn't shoot 65mm because it couldn't be processed in Europe at the time. International travel does potentially risk x-rays etc.. For production teams that are used to getting dailies quickly, waiting on film to be sent away and getting dailies 3-4 days later would be nerve wracking and frustrating. I imagine most large productions wouldn't want to shoot film if they were more then 24 hours from a lab. Less about cost more about speed and security.
  10. Sure the crop factor can be an issue and its more of an issue if you already have a super 35 (ish) lens set that you'd like to use. But if you have no lenses and are building a set from scratch then there are some options in the 10 to 16mm bracket - much less then say 18 to 24mm. But its doable without a speedbooster - nothing at this price point is perfect. I've found 14mm to be wide enough for most situations on the pocket
  11. Of course and "better" is a subjective term - mostly related to the talent behind the camera. There are some amazing looking super 16 films, I think Brian Tufano's work on Adulthood (for instance) is great. But on technical grounds - if your going for a glossy "Hollywood" look the 16mm format could work against you. The next short I'm working on, in an ideal world, I'd shoot anamorphic 35mm - because I want that look. If I couldn't afford 35mm, I think I could get closer to that "look'" shooting digital vs 16mm. 16mm would be nice, but its a very different look. Maybe I could approximate it by shooting 50D, 1.3X Hawks, 4K scan with high end noise reduction etc... but I'd be jumping though a lot of hoops that would only take me so far. 16 mm does demand more precision and its a less forgiving format to work in. Its not always help for to say "well Black Swan was super 16 and it looks great" - it looks great because of Matt Libatique. I'm the external examiner for UK cinematography degree, they shoot both super 16 and digital for their short films. Of course these students have less experience then working professionals. But there is a clear difference between their digital results vs film - the digital looks objectively better. 16mm rewards a higher skill level. Same if you look at lots of British TV from the late 90's early 00's - Spooks, Hustle etc... Pretty grungy looking 16mm, not great. Now the beeb is shooting on the Alexa and similar shows look marginally better 🙂
  12. To jump in... I guess in the sense that super 16 isn't technically a great image, unless your very careful it risks being a bit grainy and low res. A mid range digital camera would vastly exceed it in resolution and close to match in latitude. Although the digital camera lacks the "film look" - a lot of (most) lay people when shown an A/B comparison of 16mm vs 4K digital on a big screen would state that the digital was better quality, due to the general flaws that are part of the super 16 look. So if you want to shoot 16mm it should be about embracing its "flaws" and texture. Buuut the OP was kind of hinting that he wanted to see if 16mm could be made to look like 35mm, e.g better then it is. If your trying to make 16mm take on the qualities of 35mm e.g sharper, less grain, less DOF, more resolution, better image stability - then those qualities could be easier achieved on a digital shoot. Its more budget friendly then film. I'd suspect the OP wants the quality of 35mm but has a 16mm budget - so digital isn't a daft option in that case. Even requiring post tweaking.
  13. no its an excellent camera in terms of picture quality (the best under $5k) - just the ergonomics and lack of flip screen make it awkward to use compared to a traditional "movie" camera. For instance if you want to shoot hand held its difficult without a cage or rig
  14. The BM4K does have its down sides - the screen is really sharp and large enough to pull focus, but can't be articulated so can make operating difficult. Its not amazing in bright sunlight (compared to a real viewfinder) but with a shade is possible to work. The nice thing about M4/3 is its quite cheap to adapt to fit other lenses - it gives you options. The sensor size is smaller then super 35, so you need to go a bit wider e.g 14mm vs an 18mm. Its still a large enough sensor to get selective DOF on faster lenses. Its only and issue if you want crazy shallow. I'm not saying a electronic kit lens is great, but is a workable tool when your on a tight budget. Particualy when your getting started and just want something to experiment with. Drama shoots benefit from lenses with repeatable focus stops. But for me it comes down to codec - I did a shoot mixing A7s and the BM (in prores) and there was just a lot more room to adjust the image. The Sony produced great images, but it didn't take much grading to break them. The BM is just better in that regard and its a proper log curve. Every time I've tied using a Log mode on an 8-bit camera the results have looked worse then just shooting rec 709 - because you don't have the information to manipulate the contrast enough. So if you want to shoot in a Log mode you have to get a camera that records at least a 10 bit file. Also I guess it depends on what you want to shoot, how and why. Also is this a shooting kit that you'd continue to expand and develop. Ultimately once you get into it it starts to get expensive. A nice tripod, lights, filters... slippery slope. Personally I rock a battered Canon 60D, with kit lens (yes I know its wrong). Its enough for location reccie's, experiments, the odd low budget paid gig, tests etc... but anything important I rent - allowing me to stay up to date with kit and not worry about a huge investment in gear that keeps growing. So the other option would be just spend $300-$500 for something you can experiment with and save your investment for a later date if and when you decide you really want to dig deeper into gear ownership
  15. Yeah wet grass might help - along with lots of cold fog, that would help cool the ground too. How are you chilling the fog? I've had pretty good results pumping it through a box of ice cubes.
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