[•] Frankenstein Video Rig

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A Frankenstein Video Rig consists of a mix of camera parts that are not from one specific manufacturer. Here is a Sony A7II mirrorless camera with the 28mm Canon FD lens adapted via a Metabones FD to E mount adaptor.

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On top for pro res video recording is the Atomos Ninja 2 recorder connected via HDMI cable. It is an excellent combination for video and stills and probably my favourite full frame mirrorless camera on the market.

The cage is by SmallRig and the add on is the SmallRig monitor mount that can fix the monitor in any fixed angle position.

Lightweight and very run and gun for video. Perfect for travel videography. Easy to add a couple of 15mm rods and follow focus if you wanted to expand the rig further.

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5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilisation otherwise known as IBIS is on this camera making it a perfect combo with legacy glass. Overall performance is amazing and if you want further information on the Sony A7II just go to the home page and click the Sony A7II link.

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Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Building a video rig on a budget and eliminating issues Part II

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Welcome to Part II

Testing the completed build. The important part to building a video rig is testing each component either for failure or preventing breakage. You must be able to trust your gear when running and gunning. Cold weather and metal can loosen and I’ve had top lights simply slide and jump out and fall to the ground and hot weather sweaty hands can easily drop a setup. That 1 metre off the ground can do some serious damage.

I don’t know if people realise but getting into video and camera work takes a huge amount of your time and add on top of that video editing . Many years ago all you had to worry about was battery life and recording time limits. Was fun watching 45 minutes go quickly in an interview hoping the last 5 minutes people would end a sentence so you could jump and and ask for a tape change. How good are SSD’s now videographers are so lucky.

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Many years ago all you had to do was put a tape into the camera and hit record and tweak the white balance, exposure and contrast in edit. Now the whole process is much more complex with more options in the way your footage looks and feels. LUTS known as Look Up Tables offer endless styles to your footage and can be put directly via the Atomos Assassin and can save time editing if shooting in a particular LUT. The other option is to shoot in a flat profile like S-Log for Sony or V-log for Panasonic that extends your editing leeway even further.

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Cable Management – Most cables i like have a 90 degree bend to decrease the likeliness of breaking the connection. If its a straight out cable you’ll find being careful wont cut it and using gear and a combination of fatigue will result in breaking something. Also zip ties or cable holders help reduce breakage. The GH4 and Sony camera are notorious for micro HDMI ports and break very easily it was a breath of fresh air when the GH5 came out with a standard HDMI port.

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Power Supply – FOTGA DP500III V-Lock V-Mount Battery Power Supply System Plate can be found on eBay or Amazon prices vary depending on extras like a dummy battery specific to your camera. Mine came with a Sony A series dummy battery and the GH4 one is still on it way. So this issue I had was limited battery on the Atomos Assassin and the chance to set up unlimited & uninterrupted power supply is very appealing. The battery is a V – Mount Power- U 95Wh/14.4V and There are a few other choices with more ranges 130Wh 150Wh 190Wh 260Wh and they extend battery time even further. For now the 95Wh suits my needs but never worry about battery life ever again with this setup.

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Vertical grips are from a previous camera rig setup salvaged from the Edelkrone Modula 5 which is discontinued I only wish the actual ends of the grips had 15mm fixings to reduce the weight further but they are very sturdy with the whole piece connected across the two 15mm rods. Both handles can be angled back and forth or point down depending on the way you shoot. Overall the rig is quite balanced. No rattle test was done and SmallRig will win many hearts in this category. Carbon fibre 15mm rods would even take the weight down a little further.

SmallRig shoulder pad is awesome there’s two types I preferred the straight off the back as this setup reminds me of using the Canon XL2 video camera but this setup is far more comfy and well made. Really nice soft padded and fabric you would find on camera bag straps. Very clever. Only thing is don’t expect to hold this setup onto your chest if you wanted that holding position. The aluminium is like a point even though there is some padding but maybe some talk to Smallrig they might come up with another version that collapses the back with a locking mechanism that goes flat and then returns to original position if putting the camera back on the shoulder.

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Only thing missing now is the follow focus to this setup. This is a bit of a stretch as the anamorphic focusing is at the very end of the lens. Using the SLR Rangefinder is another hurdle but hopefully the Fotga DP500III QR A/B Hard Stop Follow Focus works as it is possible to switch the wheel on both sides of the unit. Maybe a Part III will be added and include filters.

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The tripod I’m using is pushing the limit with weight so I can only recommend stepping up to something bigger like the Manfrotto Nitrotech N8 Video Head with 535 Carbon fiber tripod. but if you have to get a tripod its at the top of the list to not skimp as you want to be confident it wont tip over when working in the elements.

If this has helped give some insight into the joys of video camera work feel free to comment. If you have found a solution to this never ending problem give a shout out below in the comments.

 

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Building a video rig on a budget and eliminating issues

 

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The main goal of any video rig is definitely the budget. There are other challenges to mention but lets find out the issues of building such a rig.

So far I’ve been hit and miss but hopefully after you read this you’ll be pointed in the right direction for your own build.

Doing a test build helps prevent you going too far back to the drawing board. You can learn a lot from watching TV shows like American Chopper when you see them build a bike. In some ways it makes sense to do a test build in my case for a camera rig but if you get it too wrong would you punch through a wall like on American Chopper 😉

Starting with the Panasonic GH4 currently in my opinion the best 4K video camera/recorder for value. The problem is utilising the HDMI output with a recorder which will add to the cost. Lucky the prices of external recorders have come down a little and for me I was lucky to pick up a discontinued Atomos Assassin for $895 on the Christmas sales. (Previous Post is available for reading on Atomos Assassin)

Here are some of the hiccups I have found along the way. Cages.. Cages have become maybe my nemesis. Since hitting the scene the last few years SmallRig offer a range of cages but for every camera upgrade you will have to upgrade the cage to suit. In the test build I did start with a C- cage that SmallRig used to produce/manufacture but I found out the hard way it didn’t work. The problem was that the cage twisted with the added weight so it was shelved and replaced with the proper GH4 SmallRig cage. I do like this cage setup and as full coverage allows for rosettes and handle mount to both sides.

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The SmallRig handles are excellent I can’t fault them and they make a range that are fully CNC machined to a premium version with leather grips for added comfort. Some bolt on top of the cage for a permanent build and some use like I have with a clamp making it quick and easy for removal and great for packing up a kit for travel.

The Matte box on the end of a kit is the most difficult to choose. Bright Tangerine make the best that I’ve seen but the premium price will push many of us out but if you get the chance have a look at their selection online website they look amazing. After some more searching I stumbled on the JTZ DP30 Carbon Fiber model and its worth a look and prices are not insulting. Build quality is very good and they offer the swing away mechanism for lens changing in the way its constructed. There’s a few options and I wanted to future proof my build by choosing the “4×5.65” version or you could go with the “4×4” version to lower cost even further. I went with the wider filter as I didn’t want to be restricted with using wide angle lenses.

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The main reason I choose the JTZ matte box was the top handle as I have not seen any other matte box on offer that has an ergonomic edge over any other brand. I just see myself holding the rig more from the top.

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If you are wondering what the lens setup i’ll start with the Metabones FD to MFT mount adaptor then Canon FD 35mm concave lens and then the SLRMagic x50 Anamorphot adaptor and last add on the end the SLRMagic Rangefinder.

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Anyway for now the next step is power setup/management and to eliminate potential follow focus issues and find the right filters to install into the matte box.

This for me is a bit like building a motorcycle. Would you watch a TV show with cameramen building a camera rig in a garage all sweaty and covered in tattoos? Maybe.. Maybe not. lol

Prices as of Jan 2018

Panasonic GH4 Body: $1220
SmallRig GH4 cage: $115
SmallRig Handle: $118
SmallRig Rods: $19
JTZ DP30 Carbon Fiber 4×5.65″ Matte Box: $666

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Atomos Assassin with SmallRig Monitor Case

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Successful anamorphic video test with Panasonic GH4 and Canon FD with Anamorphot X50 adaptor. The colours are rich and vibrant and the added bonus of monitor mode in HDR with scene brightness range adjust is very cool.

Custom LUTs (Look Up Table) with Panasonic VLog is such a great feature in the Atomos menu it makes creating video footage a dream in the field. I’ve always said setup in the field is the best way to produce your content and if done correctly minimises the amount of work done in the edit suite.

As a side note I removed the red bumper cover supplied buy Atomos. It is great that they offer the cover but it was loose and fitting wasn’t as neat or professional looking. SmallRig do a great job and the mounting rail is just excellent. So many options with this cage design making the rig setup endless possibilities.

The Atomos Assassin improves video quality out of the camera via HDMI cable and offers 10-bit colour resolution, 4:2:2 colour accuracy and visually lossless ProRes video codec. Other features include No record time limit as you can record to SSD drive and extra bonus of Focus Assist and Exposure tools.

If there was any recommended tool for the videographer an external recorder/monitor is considered an important piece of kit.

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

 

 

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[•] Canon Canonflex & the R2000

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Introduced in the month of September 1960 (produced until 1962)

The Canonflex is Canon’s first SLR and was designed to compete with the Nikon F which was also released to the public in the same year. Like the Nikon F it has an interchangeable prism and a focal plane shutter to 1/1000. A Selenium meter clips to a front accessory shoe and is coupled to the shutter speed dial.
It featured interchangeable breech lock mount lenses, interchangeable finders.

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Canonflex R2000 was equipped with Canon 50mm f/1.8 Super-Canomatic R

 

Did you know the value of the Canonflex camera was $299 in 1961…Now equals $2,373.19 in 2016.

The top-class 35mm camera market gradually shifted from rangefinder cameras to single-lens reflex cameras. The major reason was that SLRs could handle close-ups, photomicrography, duplication work, and other applications without being constrained by the limits of rangefinder camera lenses. When Canon introduced the Canonflex, its first SLR, there were already eight SLR models on the market.

The Canonflex used a high-quality, breechlock lens mount. The lens flange ring was turned to lock the lens onto the camera flange’s bayonet lugs. The lens flange and camera flange did not rub against each other like today’s lens mounts.The camera used Super-Canomatic lenses which had a fast, fully-automatic diaphragm. A 130-degree winding trigger at the camera bottom enabled quick film advance. An external selenium exposure meter could also be attached.

My Camera’s Serial Number is Very Special:  Body sn # 59623
Lens sn # 68175

The Canonflex was Canon’s first foray into the SLR market, with a removable prism and clip-on exposure meter that coupled with the shutter speed dial. This model has a minimum shutter speed of 1/2000th.

Total production about 8,800 units; documented serial number range: 50646- 59281 (via IDCC

YouTube Video here:

 

So when I saw the R2000 for sale I made an enquiry and met a wonderful gentleman that has had this camera for many many years. I asked him why he was selling it and he told me that he was 70 years old and it was time to part with that Canonflex. For a part of me this made me sad because it is a reminder that we all can’t walk this life forever and there is a time that we must give up on things we love or have interests in. I don’t know how long I will have this camera for but hope that the next person that inherits my cameras looks after them and keeps the history alive.

So this camera is from the early 60’s and looking at the serial number would of been the last Canonflex made in the R2000 model. For a camera that is over 50 years old and the second model canon produced as the first Single Lens Reflex camera it also was a pinnacle piece of engineering history for canon. They managed to be one of the first few camera companies to have a shutter speed of 2000th second and helped move canon forward to become a successful competitor in the camera industry.

I recently found a second Canonflex online and wasn’t sure whether or not I should purchase it. My one has for a long time been out of use because the shutter winder is broken and when I did see another one available I thought maybe it could become a spare parts camera.

These camera’s are becoming rarer every year and I find that the Canonflex are the most special out of the canon line up because of the the Trigger-Action Winding Lever on the base of the camera.

The only faults are the missing Film Rewind Release Button but I can wind the film back by using a pen to release the locking pin and to the front left the covering is pealing a little. I have the option where I can either swap the part and just fix the best looking Canonflex.

Its a wait and see at this stage but the removable prism is in beautiful condition and so are the internals.

Note: One of the Canonflex in the collection is engraved on the winding trigger designating that it was once sold at a US Military Post Exchange.

Thankyou to the collector that sold me the R2000 Canonflex and know that it will be used and looked after in the years to come.

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

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[•] SLR Magic Anamorphot 2x 50 Anamorphic with SLR Rangefinder

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Video Here:

 

The SLR Magic Anamorphot 2x 50 is a anamorphic lens adapter designed for cinematography. Increases image resolution and detail by squashing / compressing the image horizontally by a factor of 2x to allow maximum utilisation of the cameras’ sensor, especially those of “full frame” dimensions.

Anamorphic lenses therefore require subsequent stretching, in post-production or at projection. Intended for use with shooting at 4:3, bringing the intended output to a standard 2.39:1 wide format with a higher resolution than simply letter-boxing the image in camera. The lens features an adjustable dioptre for “sweet spot” adjustment controls on focus, “near” and “far”.

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This SLR Magic anamorphic adapter also offers unique effects such as horizontal flare and streaks from light sources and ellipsoidal bokeh (great with the use of the optional +1.8 diopter), for cinematographers wanting a characteristic filmic look. Depth of field is also affected, as in practice when using an anamorphic lens a longer focal length is required in order to achieve the same angle of view. Therefore anamorphic lenses produce a shallower, more cinematic depth of field than a the same lens without the adapter.
This SLR Magic anamorphic adapter also offers unique effects such as horizontal flare and streaks from light sources and ellipsoidal bokeh, for cinematographers wanting a characteristic filmic look. Depth of field is also affected, as in practice when using an anamorphic lens a longer focal length is required in order to achieve the same angle of view. Therefore anamorphic lenses produce a shallower, more cinematic depth of field than a the same lens without the adapter.
The adapter has a 77mm front filter thread and a native 62mm rear thread. As such it is only suitable for lenses which have a front element size of 50mm or less. Limitations of close focusing is helped with the use of dioptres which further enhances image. resolution and sharpness on close / medium distance applications.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the additional weight of the Anamorphot adapter and extra strain placed on the taking lens the use of of lens support is essential at all times.

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Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

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[•] Why I bought a Panasonic GH4 instead of GH5 in 2017

For those who can’t decide on the GH5 or GH4. Here are some of my thoughts on the mighty GH4 and how far a $3000 budget can build a beta video kit with a SmallRig Cage to kick start your video making.

Can the GH4 go toe to toe with the GH5?

GH5 has alot of ironing out a few issues including Metabones and waiting for a firmware update. I hope GH5 users get a speedy fix on these issues.

Video here:

 

More information on the Panasonic GH4 main page link: https://pazrahn.wordpress.com/panasonic-gh4/

My Camera Gear Here:

Panasonic GH4:https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00I9GYG8O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00I9GYG8O&linkCode=am2&tag=pazrahn-20&linkId=876c663819d6e2b789f433b33fcfca37
Canon 5DMark III: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00SMNZ0P2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeA
Manfrotto 303sph Panoramic Head:https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0002NTTDE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0002NTTDE&linkCode=am2&tag=pazrahn-20&linkId=769cb9685e5fd26c37974d3532fb7666

 

Regards,

[•] p 🔺 z r 🔺 h n

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