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Ofri Margalit

shooting in cars with full frame

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Hey everyone,

I'm just starting out working on a pre production of a new shirt film, which all be shot in a car.

I was thinking shooting with a full frame camera because of how small the space is.

The thing is, right now in the market there are not a lot of cinema full frame cameras and the ones who do exist are a bit out of our budget.

Do anyone know if there is a good and possible way to make a super 35 camera - full frame? Or at least wider?

And also, if somebody have exprience shooting inside cars as well, I would love to hear from your experiences.

Thanks everyone

 

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Well, I can. But a lot of wide lenses have a bowing affect I would like to avoid, if you have a recommendation for a budget cine wide prime without bowing that will be great

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Any lens with an extreme wide angle field of view will exhibit distortion, unless it is rectilinear in design, regardless of the format you are shooting. There's really no difference between shooting FF with a 28mm and s35 with an 18mm in terms of distortion, assuming both lenses are of similar design.

I don't know whether you plan to be shooting only from inside the car, or if you will be using door  and hood mounts, but I would say that inside, you would probably be using focal lengths in the 18-28mm range on a s35 sensor, and perhaps longer if shooting from outside. This is not particularly wide, and any 'bending' of lines should be minimal.

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Hi Ofri!

I strongly recommend you to find a reference so you, the cinematographer and the director would have a common vision of what kind of "look" you are looking for. 

 

your budget is limited?? I would highly recommend you to think about your priorities. If I were you I would consider using Blackmagic design pocket cinema camera 4k, yes it has cropped sensor. But its size is very small so it's more comfortable for you to use it inside the car. also the Blackmagic design pocket cinema camera 4k is cheaper than other cameras. so you may spend more money on the lens. May be a zoom lens is suitable for you. may be you should consider using diopter and split diopter filters for closeup shots. 

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Full-frame isn’t going to solve any problem with needing wide-angle lenses, the distortions are the same if the field of view is the same and the distance from lens to subject is the same. A 24mm on a full-frame camera isn’t less distorted than an 18mm on a Super-35 camera,

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Thanks everyone, 

I think I thought it does matter, when I've heard Roger Deaking interview about 1917, there he said he liked shooting in the alexa mini LF - "I love the LF format, because you can shoot a close up on a 40, and it doesn't have the distorion of a 35 or 32."

So I'm a bit confused haha, can somoene explain what Roger means by that?

And also thanlks Abdul for the episode

 

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Rodger Deakin is probably using much more expensive lens than you and he may be comparing the same range  of LF lenses on both sensor sizes.

I recall using a Zeiss Contax 35mm focal length lens on a Super 16 Aaton camera and you could see very slight barrel distortion, while the 16mm/Super 16 T1.3 25mm Super Speed Distagon  showed no noticeable barrel distortion. 

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3 hours ago, Ofri Margalit said:

Thanks everyone, 

I think I thought it does matter, when I've heard Roger Deaking interview about 1917, there he said he liked shooting in the alexa mini LF - "I love the LF format, because you can shoot a close up on a 40, and it doesn't have the distorion of a 35 or 32."

So I'm a bit confused haha, can somoene explain what Roger means by that?

And also thanlks Abdul for the episode

 


you are welcome. 
 

to answer your question, I don't think that anyone here can explain what Roger means, but here is something you need to understand. No single camera is suitable for all motion pictures. 

 

The fact that Roger found that Alexa mini LF is suitable for the film "1917" doesn't mean that Alexa mini LF is suitable for all films. There are a lot of cameras out there. you got a lot of options, a lot of brands and a lot of sensor sizes. you and the DP need to find out what camera is suitable for your film.  it's your decision, not Deakin's

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3 hours ago, Ofri Margalit said:

So I'm a bit confused haha, can somoene explain what Roger means by that?

I suggest that you go ask the man himself at www.rogerdeakins.com! 🙂

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This could be a cheap alternative for you on a BMPCC4K. You can try comparing say a 25mm on the speed booster to an 18mm without the speed booster. Maybe it will give you the results you're looking for.

Edited by Justin Simpson

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This is a selfie I took with a 35mm on a full-frame and a 24mm on Super-35 frame (APS-C). The distortion is the same, the only difference between the two is how much my head is tilted forward between shots.

24_vs_35mm2.jpg

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Distortion is determined for the position of the lens and its distance to the subject. If you match field of view (and depth of field) between formats, you would not see a difference if you match distance.  The camera's "perspective" of a subject is determined by where it is relative to that subject. All the format is doing is cropping the size of the projected lens image.  So if you put an 18mm lens on a Super-35 camera and a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, the 18mm image is basically being cropped by the Super-35 format to the same view as the 24mm on the full-frame camera.

Think of it this way -- the wider-angle lens on the iPhone has a focal length of 4.25mm -- you'd use a 26mm lens on a full-frame camera to get the same view.  So if you think that an 18mm lens on a Super-35 camera is more distorted than a 24mm on a full-frame camera, a standard iPhone image must have a crazy fish-eye effect because, after all, it's only 4.25mm!

See:
http://www.yedlin.net/NerdyFilmTechStuff/MatchLensBlur.html

Here he matches Super-35 to IMAX!

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Here is a crude comparison I just did now -- the approx. 4mm on my iPhone to about 26mm on my full-frame camera's zoom. It's not perfect because I was handholding both cameras and it looks like my full-frame camera was an inch closer and a bit lower SO THEY DON'T MATCH EXACTLY.  But we're talking about distortion of a wide-angle shot, one 4mm and the other 26mm!

iphone_vs_26mm.jpg

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Here are some frames I shot a couple of years ago when this same question came up on a different forum.

First one was shot on an s35 sized sensor at 18mm, second on FF at 28mm, third on 6x7 medium format film at 50mm. The camera did not move between shots. DoF was matched as close as possible. The frames are near identical, although there is a slight difference in perspective in the third frame as the lens height on the MF camera was different.

 

E092F317-8FF2-4095-994D-10F0753D3F3E.jpeg

60361399-8B99-4585-BE71-394F22FA460E.jpeg

C9CEB109-0B40-43B0-BC2C-B234AAFD81C9.jpeg

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Thank you David and Stuart, your examples really made me understand!

 

8 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

Distortion is determined for the position of the lens and its distance to the subject. If you match field of view (and depth of field) between formats, you would not see a difference if you match distance. 

So only when I change my distance to the subject, then the distortion will change right? 
And as you say, to match frames between a full frame to S35, the only thing to do is changing the focal length, so what are the benefits of using a full frame sensor? 

Why movies like 1917 and the revenant chose larger sensors? Is it a different look?

I guess the only advantage for me, is if I'm shooting in a small space like a car, than a full frame sensor will give me the option to go wider in terms of frame size if I need to...

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I want to clarify that lens designs do produce variations in distortions, not everyone’s 50mm lens create exactly the same artifacts.

If you like the view and artifacts of a 50mm Helios lens shot wide-open at f/1.8, for example, on a full-frame camera, there’s no Super-35 equivalent to that — there is a 35mm Helios f2 lens for Super-35 but it would have to be almost an f1.0 lens to get the same effect.

Larger sensors generally, not always, allow more resolution with less noise, and since the lenses tend to be longer to get the same field, they tend to create less depth of field unless you stop down to compensate, so it is easier to get a wide-angle image with shallower focus in larger formats.
 

If you use a smaller format and want a wider view, you just use a shorter focal length.

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On 9/22/2020 at 6:32 AM, Abdul Rahman Jamous said:

The fact that Roger found that Alexa mini LF is suitable for the film "1917" doesn't mean that Alexa mini LF is suitable for all films. 

Why not, though? I mean, if you like that camera, why wouldn't you use it as much as possible? Sometimes it's obvious that you cannot use it (too big), or that you don't need to. But let me give you another example: there is not a single sitcom that would look worse if it were shot on 35mm instead of video. Do you need 35mm? No. But would it be suitable for every sitcom? Absolutely.

I don't know why but many photographers and DPs seem to have the wrong impression about what focal length does. Not that it matters to the craft but if the truth means saving people time and money, I think the truth should be pushed more.

BTW I have written a few songs over the past few years. I am not a musician and I don't really know what I'm doing. But at least I admit to the known unknowns, and even to the unknown unknowns.

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12 hours ago, Ofri Margalit said:


Why movies like 1917 and the revenant chose larger sensors? Is it a different look?

  • The Alexa LF is 4.5K compared to 3.5K for the regular Alexa.
  • You can get a shallower focus look at the same f-stop because the focal length is longer on average.
  • More resolution with larger sensors tend to give you less noise (or the same noise is magnified less) which either allows you to work at higher ISOs or gives you a bit more dynamic range in the shadows to work with.
  • There are full-frame lenses that have certain characteristics that someone might like, though they could be used on a Super 35 camera... on the other hand, if the artifacts that interest you are around the edges, those edges will be cropped out in the smaller format.
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It’s a bit odd to me that after 100 years of shooting movies inside cars on 35mm movie cameras, suddenly we need to shoot on a full-frame camera to avoid distortion... What about all the digital movies shot in the past 10 years, suddenly their car stuff all looks too distorted?

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7 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

It’s a bit odd to me that after 100 years of shooting movies inside cars on 35mm movie cameras, suddenly we need to shoot on a full-frame camera to avoid distortion... What about all the digital movies shot in the past 10 years, suddenly their car stuff all looks too distorted?

Obviously, people have this idea in their heads. They assume but they don't compare, they don't check, they don't confirm. If you have a larger sensor, VV or bigger, you just know, for sure, that your images are going to have more 'compression' and less 'distortion'. You just know it and when you see the images you are going to imagine it, whether it's there or not.

However, Einstein was wrong about quite a few things, including things that we don't realise. It happens to the best of us. I didn't know how far you could push film until a few years ago, when I read a magazine from 1985. 35 years ago someone demonstrated a useful technique and I didn't know about it until maybe 2015, give or take. And that was with older emulsions!

What other assumptions am I making about photography that are just flat out wrong? Maybe not that many, but I do want to find out anyway. (Almost all of the assumptions I made, as a teenager, about human needs and behaviour, were mostly wrong. So I know how it feels to be out of whack with reality!)

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