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Jaron Berman

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  1. Congratulations, sounds like you got a big bump in funding for your project! Zodiac was on Thompson Viper cameras - At the time very difficult systems to use, and much smaller 2/3" sensors than what you're easily able to get today. The cadence of motion was likely due to the CCD chips - global shutter. Aside from the Komodo I'm not sure which RED's have global shutters? There are a lot of characteristics of the "viper look" that the cinematographer and director leaned-into on that picture, partly because the monitoring was much more rudimentary and on-set viewing was very green/flat, so people who used them at the time often spent so much time looking at the flat picture it became a "style." The cinematographer and director on Zodiac were both legends, so putting gear aside - what you're seeing on screen is mostly their talent and very little of it has anything to do with the camera system. That they were able to make such a good looking movie with that camera is a testament to their talent - where most DP's at the time would thumb their noses at "video" cameras like the viper. Whether you're using a DSLR or a RED, getting a "cinematic look" is doable - just test test test. Play with the tools, try to find the limits. Understand as much about your project's finish as you possibly can and budget realistically not aspirationally. RED has been incredibly good at marketing to people outside the industry so it's often the only camera brand anyone knows about when they know nothing about cinema cameras. Even within the RED product line, some cameras make great pictures and others are absolute trash - and with no other brand have I personally found it so difficult to find objective information. Owners tend to be religious about the brand as a whole and non-owners tend to want nothing to do with RED, telling nothing but horror stories. With RED the experience is often entirely dependent on how much support you have by techs. It's a limitation most other systems (aside from Phantom) do not have. Hopefully the crew you've found is super well-versed in every possible detail about their camera and hopefully they have spares - both keys to success. In this day and age, almost ALL cameras are incredibly good. You can easily buy a system outright for about $1500 that would outperform the Viper camera from 2007 with more latitude and reliability. Some DSLRs could easily outperform the viper. So the key isn't the camera - it's using it the way YOU choose to use it. In that same era, Miami Vice also shot on Viper, Crank 2 shot on prosumer Handicams - and used the medium in non-traditional ways - but made visual choices. Both those projects were theatrical releases and both got knocked for looking "uncinematic" - so what does that word even mean? Take some time to play with whatever system you're going to use for your project and understand exactly what it can and cannot do - find where the image breaks and don't listen to hype or marketing because those situations are not your specific situation. Create the language of your film. There are SO many traps in the online filmmaking community of what you SHOULD be doing - shooting specific cameras, specific lenses, specific mounts (all of them usually expensive), as if there is a RIGHT way to do things. Find what works for you - by testing and playing. Seriously - schedule a fun test shoot and build repoire with your crew while learning hands-on. You may see things that the online community never mentioned or thought about.
  2. I feel your pain and then some. With caveats. In 2014 I sent a set of Leica Summilux-R's. In 2015 I sent an FD to complete the set. About 1 month ago, the final lens in my set was delivered. The rehousing work is stunning, beautiful and the set is without peer. However, it took almost 6 years. In the process of rehousing this set, I learned the harsh reality of rehousing - no matter who you choose to do the work, it's CUSTOM and slow and about the fastest jobs are 2+ years. TLS/P&S/Van Diemen - nobody will tell you but it's all 2+ years, and there will be delays and lack of information and you will be bumped down the list when a friend/bigger dp/bigger name needs work before you. That's how this works. I hate it, but it's the reality. We can be upset about our investments, nickle-and-dime, yell on the phone - but when someone with a bottomless wallet and household name comes in and says, "hey can you do me a favor and work on my set of lenses - I need them ASAP" - what do you think happens? Our place in line stays the same and they get added to the top. Happens at all the custom shops. Rehousing is a hobby. Vintage lenses are a hobby. That's the ONLY mentality you can have because it's how things are. I learned that in year 2. I was planning on using my leicas for a project and the deadline came and went and I used other lenses. We can complain about all the business and money lost but until the glass was finished and in hand, I'd be foolish to pretend to count on them for professional use. Christopher was always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad. He's a man in his 70's who seems to want to walk away from the business when it's in good hands. And along the way he lost his engineer and other techs. And a pandemic hit. And it's increasingly difficult to find people who can actually do this work - which is why we have such few and expensive choices for this type of lens work. If I found a local shop that could do the work they do I would have used that shop. I understand that my "place of zen" is only possible because I now have all my lenses in my hands, completed. And I was ANGRY at times for the lack of information, the lies about progress, the endless timeframe, the same story over and over for YEARS. But honestly, screaming and suing isn't going to get the end result we want - excellent work on our lenses at reasonable prices. I had to keep reminding myself of that - escalating wouldn't help anything. Was I willing to torpedo my project to feel like a boss and scream and make them rush to finish? Everyone in the world is into vintage lenses, rehousings, update work - and there are really only 3 places to go. All of them take years. Van Diemen may be the smallest and slowest. Until more people work their way up the engineering chain and start getting into esoteric lens work, this is how things are.
  3. I did this for the "portrait" shots on a History Channel show last year. And the setup had to be portable so the solution I came up with (sadly I have no pictures of it) - Lazy susan bearing attached to 2 x wood pieces the size of the lazy susan (10" I think - bigger is better). We bolted a 12" baby nail-on plate to the lower plate facing up and drilled a hole in the upper plate so it passes through. Then we bolted through the top plate (offset to one side) a 5/8" carriage bolt. Gobo head and short boom-arm off this to hold the light. It's important to counterbalance the arm - the lazy susan bearing is meant to work in compression (hence hanging it from the bottom plate) - it won't rotate smoothly if it isn't evenly balanced. We made a goalpost rig on site to hang this beast and it spun very smoothly. If your light is light enough you can baby pin into the base of a cheap video pan/tilt head (manfrotto 501 style) and rig a short boom to the tripod plate BALANCED. Make sure to safety the hell out of it.
  4. This is digging deep in the skull and I could be wrong, but I believe in the move from B&W television to color, the frequency of video in the US was changed to eliminate artifacts from the color encoding process. For some reason color encoding didn't tie well to the electrical line frequency in tube TVs, which in B&W was 60.00hz. Up to that point B&W TV and Film were both tied to 60.000hz line frequency motors (or generators in the case of TV). I don't know enough about the process to know where that .06hz disappears to in color land. 59.94/2.5 = 23.976 i.e "24p" in video speak 60.0/2.5 = 24 or "filmout 24fps" in video speak
  5. coroplast - its a signage material available everywhere very cheaply. different thicknesses - 4mm, 6mm, 10mm (which is crazy thick) and different colors. If you get it make sure to also buy the coro cutter - makes things way faster.
  6. Price Update - $3000 flat. I also found and will include the FS5 Handgrip -> Arri Rosette adapter (useful if you're mounting to gimbals or handgrip extensions).
  7. Excellent-- condition Sony FS5 MK2 personally used only. It is USED not collected/stared at, and I live in NYC so it does not come with the original box (who stores boxes in NY?). 140 hr - yes 140, it's barely used. This is the MK2 version with RAW output enabled and the new color science. The monitor has a couple of scuffs that mean it's not perfect. The body has some scuffs if you look hard. 100% functional, 98% cosmetically perfect. Includes: Camera body Grip Monitor Unit Handle Unit Original battery Original Charger Smallrig Top Plate Remote Control I'm not looking to haggle so pricing is firm and very competitive. USA only, buyer pays shipping and insurance. Payment via Chase Quickpay or Paypal only unless local NYC. Sale is final, "as-is" (used). Pricing is motivated to sell to someone who knows what this is and what a deal I'm offering. If you're serious I will pull it from storage and snap photos but please be respectful of my time (selling gear is not my primary occupation) - if you're window shopping you can google what an FS5II looks like. $3200
  8. Depending on the strength of the laser and the pattern the laser is tracing, it will kill the sensor very quickly. Especially slow scans of short lines (narrow fans) or what they call "hot beams" which are just dots of full-strength laser where it turns on in one spot, turns off, moves and turns back on again in another spot. We did a follow doc in clubs, often no control over lasers and toasted a few C300. When you get "scanned" it looks like a hair, editors start kicking back to the AC's for hair or dust on the sensor. But it's not recoverable, it's a burn on some part of the sensor assembly. A lot of clubs use 1w or greater lasers (even some up to 5-10w indoors which is insane if they're scanning the crowd) - which will set fire to dark paper if held in one position. So yes, David's advice is sound - don't let it hit the lens! (Also consider what it will do to your eyes if you get scanned).
  9. I own Van Diemen Leica R rehousing, they're gorgeous. Yes, the iris is up front which makes clip-on matte boxes not a real option. I don't recall where, but I heard about their wire form drive system and went down the rabbit hole researching and finding their patent. It's a pretty simple and ingenious system and very simple [for a lens tech] to keep it tuned. I was smitten by how clever it was, so I went for it - there were other companies at the time doing the R's, though not as many as there are now. Currently I have 3 of my 4 lenses, going on year 3 with them. Van Diemen is not known for speed - I knew this going in - but keep it in mind that rehousing is basically a passion project when it comes to timeframes. As for original speed panchro glass vs. the re-released Panchro Classics - I love vintage lenses, yet I find myself far more attracted to the Panchro Classics than the rehoused originals. The originals tend to be in pretty bad shape in rental fleets or personal collections, so maybe I haven't seen any truly great sets. But the coatings of original panchros you find for sale now are generally in terrible shape - so the image you're seeing is a lot dreamier than the glass was capable of new. And every time I've used originals whether "naked" or rehoused I've found myself wishing they were a little...something else. The Classics on the other hand are stunning. And they're widely available. I bought a couple of original speed panchros with an eye to get them "TLS'd" until I worked with the classics. Immediately sold the originals - the Classics hit the sweet spot for me, they just look right. Lenses are insanely subjective, but I personally find something about the Panchro Classic image that I like more than both Superspeeds and S4s - two very different lenses, not to mention the originals. A little dirty, a little modern, super smooth.
  10. There's a big difference between wireless control and wireless dmx. A couple cautions - grab a spectrum analyzer and test whatever transceivers you're planning on using. ADJ / almost all of the chinese WDMX systems use insanely dirty transmitters that will blow-out any 2.4ghz gear you have. That may not be a problem - or it may be. A lot of current wireless follow focus use 2.4, some coms, some audio gear (even if the frequencies are TV-band, the telemetry may be 2.4). Basically just know exactly what frequencies you're stepping on before you start causing issues. Wireless Dmx is generally done to eliminate cable runs. However, aside from the GOOD (city theatrical, lumen) systems, it's generally adding a point of failure to a relatively bulletproof system. If you can run the dmx cables, do it. Inevitably, when you can least afford a hickup it'll happen. You bump a light level and the wireless focus jumps. oops. If your goal is to run some lights from your pocket there are so so so many ways to do that while playing nice with all the other rf in the space. Essentially every lighting board company has a remote app, there's luminair (decent for low channel counts), etc.. But when you start digging into skypanels, 12ch ain't gonna be enough. Martin, Hog, MA, Chamsys - all real lighting systems that have wireless apps to run them. Luminair uses the app as the lighting system, BUT the complexity of your "node" (the device that converts ethernet to dmx) is just as much as any other system and ultimately laminar isn't very powerful or fast to use. Personally I use chamsys, LOVE it and find it incredibly flexible. If you can find a cheap touchscreen windows tablet, wifi router and node - you're in business. For nodes - the chauvet netx is the best value there is and has a lot of features you don't need yet but will quickly grow into. That setup (win laptop, wifi, node) can run 8x universes of lighting - 4096 channels - or split into a lot of other configurations. Chauvet used to be a joke in lighting, cheap crap. That was as recently as 3yr ago, but a lot has changed and they're a real mfg now, their upper line is really good stuff. Regardless of the control system you'll use, I'd recommend buying a good node and wifi router, then you can play with every manufacturer's software and decide which works for you. I don't personally use any wireless dmx, I always run/have the cables run. You have to run power to them anyways, not a big deal to run signal as well. Plus - skypanels, nodes, any artnet device (dmx over cat5) can use cheap cat5 cable in long runs. Networked lighting is insanely powerful.
  11. You absolutely can, I haven't done it in a long while but I used to power it off the unregulated "12v" output on my steadicam all the time. The cams were all serviced and modern so the internal voltage regulators were plenty good to deal with slightly (1.5v) more voltage than normal. But because SR2 batteries are actually 14.4v - and modern bricks are technically 14.4v too, you're in luck and it should work. Just know that unregulated lithium bricks can be over 17v hot off charge, so I believe its prudent to not put that much out immediately unless you know the specs of the voltage regulator in your personal camera (SR2's were all over the place in what electronics were inside from service). But like all film cams, the initial roll-up of the motor is the largest current demand so as long as your battery can keep up with that initial spike, it'll power just fine. Most modern lithiums can handle well over 15A bursts/10A continuous which is plenty for much bigger cams than the little SR2. The old trick was - if you know your batteries are always going to come off charge at 17v then add two diodes to drop the voltage to 15.5v which was safe. I can't recall exactly what diodes/wiring but it's really easy to google.
  12. I assumed (incorrectly) that all water-based fluids are more or less the same. I was using Froggy's Beamsplitter in a Blizzard Arena Hazer for the majority of a show and found it to perform similarly to DF50 using DF50 Fluid. The hazer itself has significantly more output than the DF50 but the overall effect is about the same density and minimal movement with noticeably less hang time. Production replaced that fluid with Froggy's Faze Haze when our barrel ran out and didn't let me know they swapped types. So we ran the hazer exactly the same time (about 5 minutes on full power) but ended up completely fogging-out the stage. Running the hazer much lower and through big fans helped distribute more evenly but the Faze Haze juice was just way too dense and showed far too much movement. I haven't tested other fluids from their line but having seen that big of a difference between two of their haze products I'd definitely reach out to Froggys and ask which they recommend for the effect you're after, as they have so many juices tailored specifically for so many machines. If you're looking into machines, it's worth demoing the Blizzard Arena Hazer btw - the specs look inflated but they aren't - it's a tiny little beast of a hazer. It's so inexpensive, I got it to use alongside a pair of DF50's and ended up using only that and sending the DF's back.
  13. What's the end goal? Trying to reuse glass you own? Comfort of specific zoom ratios? Need for servo zoom? And "getting hands on" - to buy or rent or in hopes of owning and renting to others? There are legit uses for B4 adapters - the Sony F55 has a build-up kit that lets you benefit from that camera's latitude and color while using box lenses. Great solution for that purpose. But handheld w/ B4 21x - the optical quality just isn't anything special to necessitate the compromises. A buddy of mine used super 16 zooms on the F55 natively, center-crop mode, in order to have a 10:1 zoom on a Movi Pro for a couple months of car work. Clever compact solution, worked great for that purpose - but they still strapped a FIZ onto it. He would do it differently next time (with a S35 zoom and larger gimbal). Having used every flavor and iteration of doc-style lens on S35 cams, I can tell you I hate the B4 adapters. They seem like nice compromises to get massive zoom range in a small package, BUT the tradeoffs are generally not worth it. The HDx35 etc style adapters came out before the Cabrio or CN-E zooms were widely available, so they were filling a market niche of doc shooters suddenly using S35 sensors and pulling their own focus. Cabrio and CN-E are actually nice looking lenses (I prefer the look of the Canon). They mount natively, and if you need the servo it's there. They also interface with microforce, C-motion etc without external motors which does help keep things streamlined.
  14. PV Hollywood used to have some as part of their "New Filmmakers Grant." I don't believe they still rent them but relatively recently they would give them away as part of that program. Worth calling and asking - super friendly people.
  15. I'd say it's more the rule now than the exception. When the C300 came out originally, it moved from interviews into doc coverage very quickly when people saw how much better the image was. But I know a number of very good doc shooters who got fired in that first round because they were out of focus, dutch, and not "getting it." It's a very different way of shooting when the zoom ratios simply don't exist for the format the way they did for b4/s16. It's a lot more physical - moving your feet to get the closeup vs. snapping-in, always checking horizon because of the poor viewfinder/lcd systems generally involved. You may also start finding producers who have been in the industry short enough to only know the dslr "mostly out of focus except by accident" look - and ask you to shoot like that. Much like asking a steadi op to make it "more floaty." :) But no, it's definitely not the future - it's here and even old hat by now. I haven't seen a B4 camera in probably 5yrs except in live situations. The real problem is lensing because pulling your own focus needs different lenses than cinema 300-degree pulls and different than dslr autofocus lens 30 degree pulls. Canon 17-120 and Fujinon 19-90 are pretty much standard in the doc/reality world because of the range, ease of pull and optical quality. F55 w/ 17-120 is a nicely balanced setup BTW and w/ the LCD (not the EVF) it's very usable for pulling your own focus.
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