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Zahi Farah

Weird question inside.

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Hi,

 

I was watching "Tarkovsky in Nostalgia" by Donatella Baglivo and noticed some sort of a lens attached to Tarkovsky's neck... just a lens he used to look through from time to time, it had what appeared to be normal lens markings on it...

 

So I was wondering, what is that? I mean, what's it for? Distance measurement? Light meter? I tried taking a screenshot of it but Apple doesn't let you use the screenshot function when the "dvd player is active". Sigh.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Zahi.

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Most likely he's got a director's viewfinder. This tool allows you to simulate any variety of vocal lengths and aspect ratios with a single piece of glass. This way, a director can figure out the shot he/she wants: height, focal length, etc. It's a very handy tool, because it frees up the director from having to use the camera itself to figure out the shot he/she wants (as we've all dealt with on low-budge productions). I've long wanted to get one myself, but the 200-300 price tag has been a pretty big stumbling block.

 

BR

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x-mas is around the corner ;)

I have a director v/f, a small one. I keep it in my bag so I can "show" directors on set or on location what I'm thinking if they're so inclined. I don't necessarily need it or use it all the time, but quite useful for location scouts for me to get an idea.

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Most likely he's got a director's viewfinder. This tool allows you to simulate any variety of vocal lengths and aspect ratios with a single piece of glass. This way, a director can figure out the shot he/she wants: height, focal length, etc. It's a very handy tool, because it frees up the director from having to use the camera itself to figure out the shot he/she wants (as we've all dealt with on low-budge productions). I've long wanted to get one myself, but the 200-300 price tag has been a pretty big stumbling block.

 

BR

 

Cool! Sounds like a good investment. I wonder where I can get one from? I live in the UK.

 

Thanks !

Edited by Zahi Farah

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Can't remember what old TV show I saw it on, but it seems like I remember seeing that spoofed, a director wannbe (maybe Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies?)carried a large telescope around his neck.

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Yeah sounds like a directors viewfinder alright. There are two types though, one that is totally integrated and allows you to simulate different focal lengths and their FOV, and then the type that you mount the actual camera lenses to. Given that you said Tarkovsky's had "normal lens markings on it" it may have been an actual camera lens attached to this type of finder.

 

It's basically just a lens mount, ground-glass, mirror, and pentaprism like you would find in a still SLR. The viewfinders on the actual motion picture cameras are much more complex optically but do the same thing in the end. You can see some pictures of one here: http://www.filmcamerakit.com/html/viewfinders.htm Near the top of the page is the type that is mated to an actual lens (different ones for different mounts) and lower down on the page is the "simulation" type described earlier. Let us know which type you think you saw.

 

When I have got 35mm camera packages before it's been easy to get them to throw in the lens-mated type of viewfinder with the kit. Very, very handy.

 

On a side note: I always thought it would be handy to have a video-assist in the directors finder so you could show the DOP and operator different moves you wanted etc. It seems Alfonso Cuarón did it for Children of Men. In the featurette he is seen using what appears to be a compact miniDV camera with a basic DOF adapter and lens mount to do just that. Nifty idea.

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The best idea, I think, and what I use, is a Canon 7D. The sensor is close to S35 so it matches close to focal numbers. You can mark your zoom with pen/tape to match your lens kit focal lengths for 16mm or more exact matches for 35mm. Switch to video mode or take a pic to show to your DP. Nothing more simple and depending on what kind of film you are working on, you might be able to use it to grab a shot or Broll something in an emergency.

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The best idea, I think, and what I use, is a Canon 7D. The sensor is close to S35 so it matches close to focal numbers. You can mark your zoom with pen/tape to match your lens kit focal lengths for 16mm or more exact matches for 35mm. Switch to video mode or take a pic to show to your DP. Nothing more simple and depending on what kind of film you are working on, you might be able to use it to grab a shot or Broll something in an emergency.

 

Does the 7D have any capability to put any kind of framing marks on the image? It would be a drawback if you couldn't frame for 2.39:1 or something, but I suppose you could just mask off the LCD. Also doesn't the 7D use a smaller area of the sensor for video rather than stills (because that would be an issue) or am I wrong about this?

 

Of course all of this is really only needed if you are doing complex moving shots. If you are using a lens-mated viewfinder you can simply mark you position and set up the camera where you were standing. Because it's an identical lens it's easy to setup the camera for the exact same shot by just putting the lens in the exact same spot.

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you might be able to use it to grab a shot or Broll something in an emergency.

 

I know this is done on some big network TV shows shooting 35mm. But they always stand out to me like a sore thumb. DSLR really doesn't match well with 35mm despite the similar characteristics.

 

I've only ever seen this on TV shows. Has anyone seen it in something projected theatrically? I imagine it might be nauseating when seen on the big screen. Then again maybe there is a way to match it better.

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