Thursday, July 24, 2008

Depth of Field Demystified

Here is a pretty solid tutorial from D. Eric Franks at Videopia that goes over some of the principles and techniques of achieving a shallow depth of field. Definitely recommended viewing for beginners, and it still can't hurt if you're an expert either.

DoF Demystified from Videopia on Vimeo.

Canon XHA1: Green Screen - Footage

Well, we've seen some green screen work from the other cameras. Here is a bit of recent XHA1 keying work in the form of a music video.

Ace Mob Records "Boom" from Manu on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Canon XHA1: "Standing Firm"

And once again, Jack is here to help spread the word about people pushing hard to pursue their dreams.

In this case, we have another independent feature where the filmmakers are employing the Canon XHA1. It is called Standing Firm and it is worth taking a look, as their site and blog include some photos and information of their equipment and techniques.



Canon XHA1: "The Signal"

I thought, in relation to the XHA1 projects discussion, that I would mention The Signal, a feature that was shot, I believe, not with the Canon XHA1 but with the XLH1. However, the two cameras utilize extremely similar systems and the same chip, the primary difference being only the interchangeable lenses of the XLH1. In many forum discussions, people almost use the two cameras interchangeably...

The project has met with some notable recognition and is considered one of the success stories of the Canon prosumer line.



Indeed, in terms of narrative cinematic work, it may be the Canon prosumer line's high water mark in terms of cinematic feel, film look and effective storytelling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Canon XHA1: Sanda100 Steadycam Footage

For all the Glidecam vs. Steadicam discussion, here is a bit of footage of the Canon XHA1 with another competitor, the Sanda100.

Canon xh-a1 with steadycam Sanda100 in Turin, Italy. from Luca Ghione on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Canon HV20: 35mm Adapter Footage

And, as a follow-up to what people are achieving with the consumer-level HV30, here is a bit of footage from people combining the HV20 with 35mm adapters...

Even in the sub-$1000 camera market, users are achieving an impressively shallow depth of field (even with an el cheapo camera) when employing it in conjunction with an adapter.


Canon HV20 + Twoneil 35mm + 50mm Nikon Nikkor - DIY Test from Justin Durban on Vimeo.

DIY35mmPro from twoneil on Vimeo.

And here is a FORUM THREAD with pictures of his setup.



Canon HV20 + 35mm Adapter Test from Eric Wu on Vimeo.

Garden DOF adapter, hv20, 35mm from oliver walker on Vimeo.

And another, with some pretty heavy vignetting...

Canon HV20 test with DIY DOF adapter from juan badel on Vimeo.


Monday, July 14, 2008

35 mm Adapters: Lens Selection - Suggested Readings

For those who have and are learning how to use, or are in the market for, a 35 mm depth of field adapter... If you are not from a photography background, then you may need to take a bit of time to learn about precisely what lenses you will want to accompany your adapter (make sure you buy the proper lenses for your adapter mount of course).

Anyway, for those starting out, these are just a few links that will explain the differences between the various types of lens and what they will do for your perspective, depth of field and shot composition...



The WIDE ANGLE LENS by RomanZolin

LENS USES at Luminous-Landscape



USING DIFFERENT LENSES at All-Things-Photography

A PODCAST by Redrock on Lens Selection for their Adapters

And as for Forum Threads...


STICKY at about Lenses for your 35 mm Adapter

And here is ManualFocus, a good FORUM on Lenses...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Canon XHA1: Used with Glidecam 4000 + SmoothShooter - Footage (Part 1)

The majority of these clips are actually from one particular videographer, James Hooey, but I am including them as a collection because he has done a good job of documenting his learning curve with these pieces of equipment and producing a continues stream of video footage along the way.

The clip below is his first day with the SmoothShooter system, after some experience already with both the XHA1 and the Glidecam 4000. He does some tests such as running flat out to see how the system responds. He describes the experience of filming without a SmoothShooter to be somewhat hellish.

Kind of makes me think of the GlideCam systems a little bit like my Mach 3 razor. The handle (Glidecam) is almost free, but then you have to take out a mortgage for the razor blades (the SmoothShooter). Anyway, here is some footage.

Glidecam 4000/Smooth Shooter Tests from James Hooey on Vimeo.

And some more clips of the combination at work...

Night of Living Louder - Meet the Suspects from James Hooey on Vimeo.

Bowery's Lament - Underground 66 Music Video from James Hooey on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Steadicam Merlin: Tutorials and Instructional Links...

And here are some links for figuring out your Steadicam Merlin...

I'll begin with a link to a good TUTORIAL VIDEO by Shiv Kumar on setting the Merlin up for the Canon XHA1. The general principles will apply to other cameras.

Here is a BLOG POST by Steven Dempsey on his experience setting up his Merlin with the XHA1.

And here is a FORUM DISCUSSION on Steadicam Posture over at DVXuser.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Glidecam: Tutorials and Instructional Links

Well, the waters are deep in the Glidecam vs. Steadicam vs. X, Y and Z discussion, almost as deep as cameras, adapters and microphones... Except that (even to a worse degree than the adapter market) there are really not a lot of hard and fast answers.

Anyway, for those with a Glidecam and having trouble, or those considering the option of a Glidecam, here are few links on how-to, personal experiences, and so on.

Here is one man's experience with the GLIDECAM 2000 and the CANON XHA1. It includes videos of his stages of learning. And here are a few pointers from the DVXuser FORUM on the XHA1 with the Glidecam 4000.

A tutorial video on balancing it with the XL2:

How to balance a Canon XL2 on a glidecam

And I am generally not one to promote corporate sites, but this VIDEO from the Glidecam site goes over the balancing mechanisms to a degree.

Sony EX1: Used with the Glidecam 2000 - Footage

This particular piece of video was included in my lengthy post filled with footage of the Glidecam models, the Steadicam Merlin, and their combination with various cameras.

However, this clip warrants special note because of the interest users have been showing in the Sony EX1 and its rolling shutter.

Glidecam 2000 Test Footage from Andrew Gupta on Vimeo.

Here, we see the Sony EX1 employed with the Glidecam 2000, and according to the notes on the clip, no stabilization vest or arm, etc.

This struck me as a situation where EX1 users and those considering one would want to know how the shutter performs.

Undoubtedly, many who have or may buy cameras in the $3000-7000 range will contemplate using it with a stabilizer in the Glidecam 2000-4000 / Steadicam Merlin range. As well, given the front-heavy design of the EX1, it is good that some people are out there testing its ability to be counterbalanced effectively.

Just for the hell of it, here is a brief DVinfo FORUM DISCUSSION on the Glidecam and the EX1.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

HVX: Used in "Cloverfield"

Well, this isn't exactly breaking news in the film community for those who have been following such matters, but it is worthy of a post nonetheless - especially in the wake of my post on the Canon XHA1 being used in Crank 2 (if you think I'm playing favorites).

Indeed it is true, that much of the whacky hand-held stuff from Cloverfield was shot on the Panasonic HVX200.

Of course, it may not necessarily be the most glowing advertisment possible to use a camera to reincarnate the Blair Witch phenomenon, but then again, if it's good enough for J.J. Abrams...

Since this is hardly a JackCabbage exclusive, I will refer you to a few others who have covered the topic some time ago...





Stabilizer Battle: Glidecam 4000 vs. Steadicam Merlin - Forum Discussions

Below are just some collected discussions on the topic of these two stabilizer options. As usual, each has its proponents and detractors...



GLIDECAM 4000 on DVforums


And here is an HV30 FORUM DISCUSSION about the Merlin, the 4000, and a couple other competitors.

And last but not least, a BLOG POST by a fellow who loves the Steadicam Merlin for use with his XHA1 much more than his old Glidecam. That fellow is, of course, Steven Dempsey, one of the more well-reputed users of the XHA1.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Stabilizer Battle: Looking at the Glidecam, the Merlin and others - Footage

If you are starting up your own budget production house, and you've chosen your camera(s) and possibly your adapters, your tripods, and so on and so on...

You are going to at least want to give some thought to your apparatus for dynamic motion shots...

With that said, prospective buyers or renters tend to focus on a few brands in their search. Among the options are the various Glidecam models and the Steadicam Merlin. And further accessories are possible, for example, adding the Smoothshooter stabilizing vest to the Glidecam. Easy to spend a lot of money here...

And as usual, the proof is in the footage, so I've gathered up a few clips of these various alternatives being put to use.


The following is a clip of the Glidecam 2000 Pro being used with a Panasonic DVX100.

Glidecam 2000 + Sony HC7...

Glidecam 2000 pro test from ccproducciones on Vimeo.

And here is a clip by a person with 4 days experience with the Glidecam 2000. He speaks well of the product but insists that it takes a significant amount of time and practice to become competent with it - saying that the Glidecam is no quick fix for your shooting techniques.

Glidecam 2000 Test Footage from Andrew Gupta on Vimeo.


SONATINA from martin marzidovŇ°ek on Vimeo.

With the Canon XHA1...

Canon XHA1 Test1 from Edge Line Studios on Vimeo.

With the XL2...

Strung Out on Eriatarka from Kevin Johnson on Vimeo.


Glidecam and Smoothshooter with Canon XL2...

Glidecam 4000 + Smoothshooter + Canon XHA1...

Christi from ben on Vimeo.

Another Glidecam 4000 Test...

And last but not least... The Glidecam 4000 and Smoothshooter - with the Canon XHA1 and a Letus Extreme...


Steadicam Merlin - Driving "Bump Test"...

Steadicam Merlin - Bump Test from Marlo I.B. on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin with the Canon XHA1...

Steadicam Merlin with the HV30...

Canon HV30 & Steadicam Merlin: Walmart from Nate Long on Vimeo.

Canon HV30 & Steadicam Merlin: Target from Nate Long on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin with the HV20...

Boxers (Dogs) at Park from B C on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin and Canon HF10...

Steadicam Merlin and Canon HF10 demo from Paul Benbow on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin with the JVC-GR-D290U...

Steadicam Merlin with the Sony A1U...

Steadicam Merlin with the Sony HDR-SR10 (Running Alongside the Subject)...

HD - Dirtsurfer - Steadicam Merlin from Simon Watmore on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin with the Sony V1...

Premier essai du Steadicam Merlin from opop on Vimeo.

Steadicam Merlin with the Panasonic DVX...

Steadicam Footage from Mike Padilla on Vimeo.

More Steadicam Merlin footage...

Steadicam Merlin First Test from Michael Marygin on Vimeo.

And finally, here is a Steadicam Merlin Video Review...

Steadicam Merlin from Elliott Cost on Vimeo.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Canon HV30: 35mm Adapter Footage

Well, I don't spend a whole lot of time delving into the sub-$1,000 camera category. And it is slightly an odd situation when your adapter can cost more than your camera itself.

But the fact of the matter is that the Canon HV30 is making a bit of a name for itself as a reasonably useful camera.

So, I thought I would at least show a little bit of what people are getting done with this affordable little puppy.

HV30 and BREVIS 35

HV30 + Brevis35 - First Footage - HD from Matt E on Vimeo.

HV30 and RNG35

RNG35 and HV30 test footage from RNG35 on Vimeo.
With a Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens...

HV30 and RNG35 35mm adapter from RNG35 on Vimeo.

And this next one is just too cool...


Canon HV30 Twoneil 35mm Adapter Demon Face Test (VideoCopilot) from David Hays on Vimeo.

Canon XHA1: "Oversold" Independent Short

Again, in the vein of supporting independent filmmakers and not necessarily knowing all that much about what's going on or the final quality of the project, I thought I would mention another project I have come across in my travels. Indie filmmakers do need all the support they can get, as we know.

This project is of relevance in that it was shot entirely on the Canon XHA1. From what I can tell, there is not the apparent use of an adapter. Dynamic focus shots in the teaser / promo piece tend to be more of the "everything out of focus to everything in focus" rather than the rack focus variety. So I do believe we're seeing the stock lens at work most of the time (and they did achieve some moderately shallow depth in some shots by backing out and zooming in).

So anyway, here is the OFFICIAL SITE for OVERSOLD.

And below, you'll see embedded a promo piece on Vimeo.

Crissy Moran: Oversold from David Cowan on Vimeo.

Apparently the film stars a retired adult film actress and is biblically related. Let's wish them good fortune with this one. For everyone considering the virtues of these various cameras, they're doing us all a favor by putting their time and money where their mouth is and using the camera in a committed context.


A complete version of the film's trailer has since been completed. It can be viewed below.

Oversold: Crissy Moran, Stephen Zimpel, and Grant Henderson from David Cowan on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Canon XHA1: Stock Lens - Footage

Again, as a response to the interest in the topic, I am going to present specifically some clips that are done with the cameras and their stock lenses only. In this case, we're going to look at the Canon XHA1.

Many of the complaints about this camera are that people don't like the HDV codec, they don't like the compression, they don't like the color reproduction (especially out of the box) and some will say that this camera offers less latitude in post. Anyway, I've gathered up some clips done with the XHA1 stock lens and as always, I will let you be the final judge and jury.

I'm going to open up with two of my favorites...

Vin LeSoulier - Families in the Park from Vin LeSoulier on Vimeo.

Si Bheag Si Mhor - harp tune by Carolan played by Mark Harmer from Mark Harmer on Vimeo.

I think these two clips show some of what can be done with a bit of effort in the editing room and also knowing how to take advantage of the XHA1 despite its limitations and 1/3" chip.

Enjoy, as well, some additional XHA1 stock lens clips...

Ellwood Bluffs from Stephen Lewis on Vimeo.

And here is one by Steven Dempsey, another fellow who has shown a notable aptitude with this camera.

Monday - HD from Steven Dempsey on Vimeo.

Autumn from Sergey Stefanovich on Vimeo.

Canon XHA1: "Families in the Park"

In the further interests of comparing the cameras in question, I thought I would create a quick post for a new video (XHA1 stock lens) that shows some of what can be achieved with the XHA1 "out of the box."

It is called Families in the Park and it is by Vancouver cinematographer Vin LeSoulier.

Vin LeSoulier - Families in the Park from Vin LeSoulier on Vimeo.

I will follow shortly with a piece specifically on XHA1 stock lens footage.

HVX: 35 mm Adapter Footage

And in the interest of being comprehensive, we'll get a chance to look at what is being done with the Panasonic HVX in combination with 35 mm adapters. As always, my caveat: Don't judge a camera or adapter too harshly if those behind it are not using it to its full potential - but don't allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that a consumer handicam is amazing simply because Steven Spielberg or James Cameron can make magic with it.

And of course, you don't always know everything about the quality of lenses people are using with their adapters...


Letus Extreme Test (HVX200) from Blue Tree Productions on Vimeo.

Random Shots (HVX-200 / Letus Extreme) from Martijn van der Sanden on Vimeo.

Test Letus35 Extreme and HVX from Bewegtbildarbeiter on Vimeo.

Lensbaby 3GPL / Letus35extreme / HVX-200 from Studio Nine on Vimeo.


Redrock M2 Micro + HVX200 P2 + Fujinon (M42 mound) 85mm f/2.0 from Patrick Yegor on Vimeo.

RedRock Micro M2 Adapter - 38 Water Street from Michael Hurdle on Vimeo.


Homeless Portraits from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

The above is a Philip Bloom piece. I think I've hyped his stuff enough. Suffice it to say, he'll be doing the HVX and Brevis a service by putting his eye behind them.

Coney Island/Battery Park Spring 2007 Montage from Puffin Films on Vimeo.

"Sorry4" Madison from Puffin Films on Vimeo.


HVX / Firestore / P+S mini35 Adapter Test from Benjamin Tucker on Vimeo.

HVX: Stock Lens - Footage

There has been a significant amount of interest from the readers regarding what sort of footage can be achieved with the various cameras using the stock lens.

It is true that not everyone will be purchasing and using a depth of field adapter. Even if they intend to do so, it may be some time away financially and so the use of a camera with the stock lens will be a necessity, whether temporary or permanent.

That said, it is worth taking a look at what people are achieving with the cameras out of the box. No additional $2,000 plus on adapters and 35 mm lenses.

Again, don't necessarily blame the camera if someone fatally overexposes or underexposes a shot, but also don't necessarily credit the camera if someone has an amazing eye for composition either...

Here is a glimpse at some Panasonic HVX 200 footage. Stock lens.

SHE - Mike the Swan- Music Video from Grant Baldwin on Vimeo.


In the clip below, all shots not using a fisheye lens are with the stock lens. You should be able to detect the fisheye shots pretty easily.

Allston Session from RE1000 on Vimeo.

Day at the park from Jason McMurtrey on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canon XHA1: Independent Feature shot with the A1

In the vein of the CRANK 2 POST, though this may not be the same marketing windfall for the Canon HDV line, I thought I would mention another feature where the Canon XHA1 is being used as the primary camera. In this case, it is the Canon combined with a Brevis adapter.

The website for the feature, with a teaser, is online.

I will note that the teaser essentially includes no audio from principal photography, only scoring and sound effects, so I am not sure what the audio setup was, nor am I sure of the results that were obtained.

However, let it not be said that I did not support independent film and help spread the word.

There is a BLOG for THE DEAD OUTSIDE (IMDB profile) and here is the OFFICIAL SITE, which includes the teaser.

This FORUM POST is also noteworthy because it includes photos of their suped-up XHA1 and some indications of how you can accessorize.

And HERE is their Myspace.

Good luck guys.

Canon XHA1: 35 mm Adapter Footage

It also seemed like a good idea, in addition to the "Best of XHA1" post, to compile some clips of the XHA1 being employed with 35 mm adapters. In addition to serving as a bit of a comparison between adapters, it will also show what level can be achieved with the XHA1. Could it be worth buying the XHA1 and spending the savings (compared to the HVX or EX1) on your filmmaking kit?

And yes, of course you should note that the artistry and filmmaking choices of those behind the camera will be a greater factor in the quality of any footage than the differences between the competing adapters.


Here is a clip of the XHA1 and the Brevis 35:

XH-A1 + Brevis35 - First Footage - HD from Matt E on Vimeo.

Note that the videographer added the vignetting in post.


And here is the XHA1 working with the Letus Extreme.

Letus Extreme and Canon XHA1 - First tests from Kjewbee on Vimeo.

You gotta love that cat, even if you're a dog person.

The TAMAR - "A NEW DAY" VIDEO was also filmed with this combo.

Some more...

Story Telling using Canon XHA1 and Letus35 Extreme from Shiv Kumar on Vimeo.

And this one's for the dog people...

(Edit: The video was removed.)

And some XHA1 + Letus tests by a Japanese dude.

And this dude documented his process from opening the Letus box to having it up and running with his XHA1...

Letus Extreme out of the box from Kjewbee on Vimeo.


A music video shot with the XHA1 and the Redrock M2:

Music Video: Heaven In My Heart from Paul Zadie on Vimeo.

And Marlon Torres is back with BROOMMATE, courtesy of the XHA1 / M2 tandem.

And a dude's test of the same two pieces of gear...

And again...

RNG 35

And the XHA1 with the RNG 35 Adapter...

Canon XHA1 + RNG35 35mm adapter from RNG35 on Vimeo.


Test with 35mm adapter SGPro Rev.3 from Luca Ghione on Vimeo.


If you are interested in further dicussion on the topics of adapters in conjunction with the XHA1, here, for example, is a FORUM DISCUSSION on the XHA1 and a Letus / Brevis setup.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canon XHA1: The Primary Camera for Crank 2

Just when you thought I was ignoring the Canon XHA1 in the whole camera analysis, I thought I'd bring up a piece of (relatively recent) news. It is somewhat out of the ordinary, but word on the street is that Crank 2 (starring Jason Statham and Amy Smart) is being filmed primarily with the Canon XHA1 and its little brother, the sub-$1,000 Canon HF10.

Apparently this is because they are planning on having many, many cameras rolling at once for the action sequences and the XHA1 is known for providing great bang-for-the-buck. Well, even the serious Hollywood players are homing in on that value.

Below are a couple articles on the topic:



SONY EX1: Inside a Helicopter - Footage

Thanks to the BLOG OF STEVE CAHILL, the HD video community is being treated to a documentary / news-style piece on paramedics who operate out of a helicopter.

What does that mean?

That means we get to see how the Sony EX1 operates in a helicopter, and this is a relatively important piece of footage.

I was considering just revising the Sony EX1 Rolling Shutter Footage entry, but found this clip to deserve a post of its own because it represents the use of the EX1 and its rolling shutter in an extreme vibration environment, the very type of setting that will, if any, cause the shutter to show its warts.

So take a look at the STEVE CAHILL HELICOPTER CLIP and keep an eye out for rolling shutter artifacts, jellocam, and so on. For some, this clip may be what finally sells them once and for all on the virtues and versatility of the EX1. For others, it may be what ultimately confirms the limitations of the shutter (as extreme a filming environment as this may be).

As a side note, he uses the Letus Extreme to get a shallow depth of field for his interview pieces.

And to this we add more EX1 Chopper clips:



**Addendum: Unfortunately the clip "Playmate, Speedboat and Bono" by Brett Clements was deleted by the producer. It did, however, show some of the limitations associated with rolling shutter image capture.**

The above clip is nicely shot but includes a professional Bono lookalike who...looks very little like Bono. You could put a black suit and The Fly glasses on, I dunno, Snoop Dogg and get about the same resemblance.