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Jaron Berman

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Everything posted by Jaron Berman

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. If the Canon C series aren't too big for what you're trying to do, they're remarkably weather resistant and offer many features over using a DSLR. We recently shot 3x days in a facility that trains pilots for rescues at sea, and they simulate hurricane winds and rotor wash with torrential downpour. Primary cameras were Canon C300 (mk1) with Canon EF-L glass because that combination is rainproof. I can vouch that without any additional exposure coverage on the cameras themselves (we did wrap the audio, timecode, video transmitters), they were great for 3x days of 12x hours in heavy rain and humidity. I have never personally dunked on, but the camera is built to survive immersion. I have actually shot in russian steam baths with those cameras as well where the crew all had to bow-out from the heat and humidity while the cameras and lenses chugged along just fine. Any time I need a camera system that's bulletproof - Canon C series. For your purposes, shooting it like a hasselblad w/o the monitor will make it look/feel like a dslr. But FYI the monitor system itself is ALSO water resistant.
  16. There are basically two styles of photography - shadow and reflective. A lot of product photography (cars, phones, jewelry, alcohol) is reflective. You can't cast a shadow on the face of a mirror, right? So how do you get it to have shape? With reflective photography, you're playing with the shapes of light that the object "sees." If the object "sees" your source directly, it'll reflect that source. Try bouncing your light around so your sources are completely hidden from the object and see where that gets you - then start playing with the shape of light on the bounce surfaces to "tune" the reflections. And see if you can find a book about tabletop photography - the scale of objects may be smaller or larger than what you're trying to do but the concepts are the same and you can scale the concepts.
  17. Brian is correct. Don't overthink the technicality or downplay the skill of people who do these things well. Ops who shoot handheld doc-style every day hours on end tend to be pretty good at shooting doc-style smoothly. Balance is key, practice is key. There is only one trick involved in this type of thing and everyone has touched on it one way or another. It doesn't look "confused" because your eye knows where to look. Between the operating and the editing, your eye is drawn where they want it to be drawn. That's the trick. Your brain will stabilize shots for your eyes when you WANT to focus on something. If you're following the ball and clearly the ball is the focus then you're not aware of how the edges of the frame are moving. If 90% of the frame is one guy and you can follow him as he and the camera move - you're not paying much attention to the nuance of how the frame edges are moving. Part of that is because you brain is concentrating on the info you've been given and part of it is that the editors have chosen EXACTLY what information to give you. There is a misconception that handheld is "sloppy." Doesn't have to be. Good operating and editing go a long way.
  18. There are basically two models of doc production (simplifying bit here) - distributed and non-distributed. Non-distributed is the passion model - you're making a doc because the subject matter is important for you to share. Often that means you've concepted it, shot it, directed it, edited it, mixed it, etc...and funded it (or fundraised it). Essentially you're working spec to shoot and finish it with the hopes it "goes somewhere." Distributed means someone wants a doc about a specific subject and has a budget to produce that doc. It may find a life different at the end - but from the get-go there's a client with and idea of what it is and who the audience is. That can mean theatrical distribution or TV/streaming. In general, because there is a budget and client, this model has more complete crewing from research to field to post. If your goal is to work as an editor in doc, then you're basically looking at this style of production and you can focus your efforts on finding companies that specialize in doc/reality. Yes, some spec docs do hire editors but I wouldn't plan on making a career of editing spec docs. Making a passion doc is absolutely a great thing to do, BUT unless you hit it out of the park it's probably not going to lead you to job after job doing what you're looking to do. You'll certainly learn a lot. That said, there is so much to learn by working FOR as many people as possible and paying attention to the ways they deal with various situations that may have nothing to do with technical skills. In the US, in terms of getting a relatively intro understanding of the top-to-bottom of doc production the best position to aim for is AP (associate producer). AP's in doc here tend to have a hand in every pot from the research phase to the field shoots to the post process. Most doc AP's I know develop very tight relationships with their EP's, Producers, DP's and Editors and, at times, will be trusted to do elements of all those roles. Especially once footage comes back - often AP's will help the producers string-out sequences for the editors. Editors aren't often on-set outside of the spec passion projects where they're producer/director/dp/audio/editor / / / / . They rely heavily on the notes from the field, transcriptions, and those string outs that the producers assembled in order to speed-up the process. If your goal is to work into offline editing, it's super important to pay attention to the process as it passes from stage to stage. Taking a wholistic approach, seeing how elements are acquired in the field, how the producers tell the story, how the sequences are built - and finished by the editors - helps understand what does and doesn't work. Even seeing a talented editor take a string out and turn it into a segment is important in learning the nuance of editing which is a lot more than simply knowing some software. AP isn't an entry-level position. But often doc companies are loyal to their people and will promote PA's that show good work ethic and attitude relatively quickly to AP positions. It's important to communicate your goals to the people you work for so they can help you get there. Best approach is to work for people WHILE making your own doc. You get to try everything and apply lessons learned.
  19. basically any moving head profile or spot. Varilite / MAC are nicknames and also models but like you said - it's a stage light. Philips Vair-Lite makes about a dozen units that would do that as do Martin in their Mac line. Basically all moving spots have color wheels and beam effect gobos built-in so creating that effect would be almost instant. Bigger/heavier/more expensive moving profiles will have a lot more features like controllable beam shutters (like the framing shutters on a leko) and also many more gobos. BUT for a simple effect like that, basically every entertainment moving spot is loaded with at least 6x interesting beam effect gobos. That appears to be the "pebbles" gobo in a Varilite. Wheel 2 (fixed non-rotating). See which VL's your local rental house has, know for sure anything past the VL2K has that gobo. BUT even other brands will have something similar - it's a super basic breakup gobo meant to be seen as beams in haze. Any dot/spot pattern will give that effect.
  20. Ursa mini is roughly the same size as FS7 body but heavier and less features. What are you trying to shoot/what specs do you need the camera head to have? It seems a bit backwards to start with a compact gimbal and buy a camera to fit it. FS5 is actually quite capable. It does have cine EI (s-log3 or ) but does not have onboard LUTS beyond a simple S-log to REC709 that's very neutral. It is not the same sensor as FS7 but is still a nice picture and if you're generating your LUTS it's quite easy to make one to match it closely to most cams out there. As a gimbal cam, it's very feature rich - we had one flying on a Ronin2 for a couple months on a cable, matched to FS7s and it cut quite well. FS5 is basically the A6300 sensor with more features. I have used the Ronin 1 not the M so I can't speak to the capabilities of the M. But I can tell you that the Ronin 2 is a quantum leap forward in terms of capability and reliability. You can't see the 2 next to the 1 and believe they're from the same company. The 2 doesn't lose calibration and essentially every complaint I ever had with DJI products has been addressed - the 2 is a proper bit of professional equipment. And it's payload is 35lb, has built-in extended arms. Point being - upgrade your stabilizer to fit more cameras instead of finding one camera to fit your stabilizer. Cameras are flavor of the day, support equipment tends to have more lifespan. And - you can't always dictate the camera on the project, sometimes producers/outside forces dictate for you.
  21. It'll be more trouble than it's worth. BUT you can replace the onboard pots with Bourns motorized pots and figure out a way to control those motors. That'll do what you want. BUT at that point, you'll have spent more time/energy than just finding DMX'able lights. Matthew is 100% correct. And almost all current LED lights use PWM dimming which is switching on/off incredibly rapidly at full power to the LED's themselves. Dimming" the power to them will dim the input power - which gets converted to a specific voltage of DC before the LED driver - meaning that you'll do nothing until you hit a point at which the driver doesn't have enough current, then it'll shut off. Keep you panels for floor work and get cheap panels to fly.
  22. Most sound peeps I work with have a wide variety for different situations. Countryman B6 for hiding in plain sight and because they don't sweat-out as easily as other mics. Sanken Cos11 I see more often than anything else for general usage, sounds very open and are known to "cut well with a boom" though most people I know are moving toward DPA 4060 series because they sound nicer. You still see tram TR-50 a fair amount - they're easy to use and they were the flavor of the day like 10yr ago so they're kicking around a lot of kits. I see them used as "beater" mics more often now and on car visors etc.
  23. Cheapest has to include ALL factors. A cheap light may be expensive to power, and that's including labor as well as cabling and electricity. A more expensive light rental (like the mole LED tener) may save a lot of time and energy (pun may as well be intended). Or a cheap light with tons of output may work if you can easily power it and place it. Not enough info in the OP. 1) What exactly is the overall goal? Lots of light is pretty vague... evenly from all directions like an arena? A shaft of light? A club-look? A glowing floor? Do you care what color the light is? Do you care about the quality of shadow(s)? 2) What is and how big is the space itself? Large space means different things to different people. If you have to hang your lights at 50' trim, a 1k mole is not very bright. How high are the ceilings? What's the widest frame? Do you care about seeing sources? 3) What access do you have to grip/mounting, lifts, etc? Renting a single huge source means nothing if you can't place it. Or if you can't cluster smaller sources, then that option is off the table. 4) What access do you have to power? House power / wall plug? Tie-in? Generator? 5) What access do you have to crew? Do they know what they're doing? If you have a gaffer that's comfortable tying-in, that's a big factor in 4) - but if you're saving money on crew you may need to pay more for lights or power. 6) How much time do you have to build your rig, including prep? Homemade solutions take time. 7) Are you recording sound? Some cheap lighting options are loud, as are some power options. But does it matter in your case?
  24. Things like monitors are very personal so my opinion is not going to line-up with everyones. Especially now that many people use monitors as their light meters - it's important to know what you are and are not seeing, what features are actually useful to you etc. A lot of monitors have "scopes" but few have actually usable scopes. For me, I like the picture on smallhd monitors but I can't stand the interface. Every product is wildly different, and the units that offer customizable layouts are always jumbled. I choose a lesser monitor just to be able to do simple things quickly. I found a liliput monitor, it's 5.5", 1080p, hd-sdi w/ loopthru and conversion, hdmi w/ loopthru and conversion, has USABLE scopes, false color, all the basic features including external power input (what the hell, smallhd?!??!?) or battery, and costs about $450 - Q5 I think? It's relatively color accurate, good for an onboard framing/scopes monitor. Super basic, but I've had it for a while now and punished it and still like it better than most of the other onboard monitors I've tried. It's not as nice as an odyssey, can't do LUTs internally or anything fun - but it's cheap and simple and lightweight.
  25. That’s a fair point. Full spot, a dedologht 150 is brighter than a 2k fresnel center beam. But obviously you’re not getting the spread. So like beam for like beam (comparing spread not shadow quality) in real world use I find the Hilio to be noticeably more output than a 400 hmi and about the same output as a 2k fresnel.
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