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35mm lens adapters cost thousands to buy, hundreds to build, degrade the objective technical quality of your video and make your camcorder an entire magnitude more difficult to use. And they won't make your video magically look like film. Nothing will.

On the other hand, by adding selective focusing options to small consumer camcorders, 35mm lens adapters have the potential to produce some absolutely gorgeous images. Do you need one? No. Do you want one? I know I do!

* 2009 Telly Award winner

- videopia.org
  • ricketts0 3 years ago
    Thanks for another great educational video!
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    Awesome episode DEF. A quick search on the P/S Technik website confirms there are several DP's (some in the guild) who must be completely stupid for buying into the hype as you have stated.

    zgc.com/​zgc.nsf/​c7a682995edb4e7585256b4d001ebd57/​05e390b07d0d843c85256dde00559169?OpenDocument
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  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Charlie! Heya!

    Can I assume that your professional recommendation is that we should all run out and buy a P/S Technik that starts at $22,500 (w/o the lens, of course) for our sub-$1,000 consumer camcorders?

    When are we going to shoot a Charlie v. Eric episode!
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    Letus Ultimate is supposed to outperform the P/S in terms of Bokeh and light loss. It is a measly $4500. Thats only a few clams more than that snazzy HD projector you have hooked up to the vibrating couch
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  • [ PIXEL VIKING ] plus 3 years ago
    This was great. I've received quite a few questions about 35mm adaptors and now I can just point people to this video - thanks a lot :)
  • marc 3 years ago
    funny that you say that because I was going to ask you about 35mm adapters today till I found this... :) If you come accross more educational videos like this let me know. Or better yet maybe there should be a posting on the HG10 Channel for just educational videos?
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    BTW - Film cameras do not come with lenses, mags, filmstock, batteries, videotaps, viewfinders(eyepieces), or tripod plates.

    The beauty of the adapters now is that they adapt all sorts of lenses (i.e. PL Mount, Nikon, Canon ect) and provide a variety of options for different budgets and tastes.

    Chances are, if your considering a depth of field adapter, your not concerned with the notion of add on accessories or increased production time.

    Anything visually worth while comes with a price. Until now, gear like this has never been accessible to the "common" man. If a shot looks good, it probably costs a lot of money to pull off.
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  • Greg Wallis 3 years ago
    I think too many people are buying in to 35mm adapters thinking that they're a pancea for poor technique and an immediate technical upgrade to their current camera. Undoubtedly there are benefits for the serious film maker, but I've yet to be convinced that they're really worth all the considerable expense and extended technical difficulties. Check out all the 35mm adapter videos on Vimeo and you'll see out of focus shots left, right, and centre — no, not clever DOF shots, simplys shots that are out of focus, becuase it's incredibly demanding to manually focus a 35mm lens using a consumer cam's LCD screen.

    (However, if anyone has a spare Letus that they want to give me, I'm OK with that :)
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Yea, and most of the videos are "test" videos. Is anyone producing anything with these things?!

    Rhetorical question. Yes, there are lots of great vids produced using these adapters, here for example:

    vimeo.com/​filmlook
  • Greg Wallis 3 years ago
    I already subscribe to that channel, and, yes, there are some good shorts being made, no question. However, I think most people would be better off perfecting their film making techniques before turning to a very imperfect solution to a low budget, and having overly high expectations of the equipment suddenly upping their level of production.

    And possibly the first step would be to upgrade to a better camera before bolting on a DOF solution, though I fully concede that more than impressive results are being had by some people with budget cameras, a Letus, and lots of skill.
  • I am currently oevr the moon with my setup. And I dont do tests. I make shorts. Including a t.v. pilot. By no means am I saying that my stuff looks like film, but years of practice and a miniscule budget are a gift form the gods. Please feel free to look at some of my stuff.
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    I did watch your stuff (and replied to your other comment below), but let me summarize here as well (because it's worth it): GORGEOUS.
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    Fundamentally, DOF adapters serve a need for video cameras with a fixed lens and that is simply to have control over focus. Because of the chip size, and even when physically moving the camera, DOF in fixed lens cameras is mediocre at best. As Eric suggests, changing the shot does help but it will NEVER achieve the same look as actually enlarging the film plane and using 35mm glass.

    Sure there will be people who buy this equipment to mask their bad techniques, but, there are tons of Final Cut Editors / Avid Editors / Red Camera Operators that are trying to "buy" their way into the industry because the cost of ownership has dropped.

    In qualified hands, a DOF adapter is a method of achieving a new approach to low budget storytelling.

    I agree with the LCD issue. If you read some of the threads in the REDUSER forum you will see that AC's are having issues with focus in 2K and 4K. So, in general, there is no forgiveness with new, high rez mediums.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Interesting - thanks for brining this into the discussion. As a professional, how do you feel about people trying to "buy" their way into the industry?

    At first glance (1) it makes me cranky, but then I think (2) it won't matter, because when you give a hack a million dollars worth of gear, he's still gonna be a hack and it'll show.
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    Eric, your show might be better if YOU were out of focus.

    (You know I'm kidding...I'm a DEF fan for life)
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  • Fresh Pixel Media plus 3 years ago
    hmm. Because this industry has no front door, I think putting down money for gear is just as big of a gamble as trying to get hired by having a film degree. Either way, it comes down to creative potential, and most importantly, attitude. I've seen so many people get opportunities only to shoot themselves in the foot for acting stupid when it really matters. Such is the case with persons who are not accustomed to the way a set operates. If you buy you way in, your likely to feel a false sense of empowerment and are at risk of "overbilling" yourself as something your not. (I.E. you cannot simply call yourself a camera operator just because you own the camera). Rest assured that your "big" break will easily turn into the worst experience of your life (possibly career suicide) because pretenders are identified and weeded out quickly.

    Everything is subjective and situational, but generally, the most knowledgeable, problem solving, courteous, humble, team players are the ones who keep working.

    So "buying in" is fine if your willing to face the firing squad (and hopefully survive)
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  • Dustin Uy 3 years ago
    hey... i miss this guy in djtv.. his segments are my favorite in djtv. glad to see more of him here. audio on the production needs work though.

    EDIT: oh this is D. eric franks video blog? nice.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Thanks man ... and nice ears! Yea, I took a step back on the audio on this one (embarrassed to admit: 60Hz ground loop!). Recovered in the "DIY Steadicam" segment, but you are exactly right: I am REALLY struggling with audio. In my garage (so a shotgun won't work). With the Sony HDR-SR7 (which compresses the audio coming in the mic jack). I've even treated about 40% of the space with acoustic foam, but I think I've reached limits to what I can do with the equipment I've got.
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  • Gabriel Naranjo 3 years ago
    Great introduction. I was watching this video by pixel viking –wich I loved –yesterday:
    vimeo.com/​1403211

    and was wondering how did he managed to get the look on that video.

    I checked online each of the devices and it was funny to learn that one of the lenses costs about the same as the camera and that the adapter cost almost double the 200mm lens and the camcorder . After shooting, the video was post-processed to look like film stock. The comment posted above about "people buying their way into film making" actually makes sense in this case: there is no way for pixel viking to get that level of photography without the rig he had at his disposal ( this is not meant to be derogatory, he does have a nice technique and composition)

    I do wonder – being only a filmmaking fan that worked sometime ago in postproduction – what is the final purpose of this techniques: is it only for fun ? do this techniques get used on the commercial world? The rig portrayed in the video above sure looks heavy and is certainly not cheap.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Yea, good questions and I think there are three things going on here:
    (1) beginners building/buying 35mm adapters without knowing what they are getting into
    (2) serious amateurs that have already mastered their camera and have good technique already and THEN they buy a 35mm adapter to enhance their already excellent video
    (3) Pros that know exactly what they are doing.

    Pixel Viking definitely looks like category (2). He has a $1,000 camera, $1,000 adapter and a pair of nice lenses to work with, so probably $3,000-$5,000 worth of gear. He shoots and fames very artistically, with the eye of a photographer.

    The Magic Bullet "looks" stuff is nice, but I think his shots look good without it. MBLooks is a nice shortcut to some cool effects, but (with a little effort and knowlege) you can do the same thing with the tools that come with your editing software - levels, color correction, etc.

    Our conversation about "buying into" the profession does not apply here. We mean someone (like a lawyer or stock broker) that quits their job or a bored rich kid that decides to become a "filmmaker" because it looks fun, so they drop $20,000 on gear and decide to make a movie. These people very very quickly learn it takes more than money!
  • Matt E plus 3 years ago
    A fantastic example is White Red Panic - vimeo.com/​1333375 - Shot with a HV20, no adapter and graded in Magic Bullet Looks. It's amazing!

    As for people buying into the industry, who really cares - of course they'll realise it takes more than gear ... just 'cause you drive a Ferrari doesn't make you Michael Shumacher but I'm sure it's a lot of fun anyway :)

    35mm adapters, Magic Bullet etc ... they're all just tools. Ultimately, it's about how you use the tools available not the tools themselves.

    As for my 35mm adapter ... you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands ;)
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  • Gabriel Naranjo 3 years ago
    As I said , I did not mean to diminish the work of pixel viking – he does know how to compose regardless of the equipment he used– I'm only saying that it does take a lot of money to get to that level: the study made in that video actually push the equipment to the limit: there is no way to get that look with a cheap consumer camera.

    I agree about the Magic Bullet look: I think that the video should work without it, the wheat looks over filtered in this case, it seems to loose some detail.

    12 years ago the level of cinematography portrayed in this movies was impossible at the consumer and amateur level, it is astounding how fast and far the medium has advanced.

    I'm new to vimeo, I'm hoping to find more shorts that actually use this exiting techniques to tell a meaningful story, which in the end I guess is the purpose of using this tools.
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  • RNG35 3 years ago
    You can all say what you want. I have not filmed without a 35mm adapter since the first time I tried one about a year ago. And I get a ton of comments about the footage too.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Please don't misunderstand me: I think quality 35mm lens adapters + a quality lens *when used appropriately* are great (as you already know). What I'm trying to communicate to people who DON'T already know, is that they aren't magical "Make My Video Look Like Film" devices - which is often how they are portrayed.
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  • Servando Barreiro 3 years ago
    check this..

    vimeo.com/​822096
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  • That's it!
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  • john marchan 3 years ago
    This is my first vid I saw of you - thank you! Please keep them coming, they're great.
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  • Tom Guilmette plus 3 years ago
    nice work. great animation to help illustrate how those crazy contraptions work. i am very happy with letus.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Thanks! And that footage you shot with the EX1+Letus is gorgeous. I can see why you are happy with the adapter!
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  • sevenevez 3 years ago
    good video. its all personal preference. when we show friends our videos or DVD's or people who arent into editing and the details we are interested in, they may simply say, "man, this looks good". But lighting, steadiness, 35mm dof, wide angles, Whatever, if the footage looks good in your artistic mind, has a good soundtrack and plotted out correctly. your goal will be complete. if someone had the money to buy ALL these things right away, would they really have the time to learn them correctly one by one? i dunno. I will get mine one day, and that day i cant wait to see the footage. nice video, enough rambling on my end
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  • Michael Dragnea 3 years ago
    Hi everyone.. brand new member here. I'm extremely new to the whole movie making field... im actually an architect who last week got bit by the film bug. Anyway, does anyone know the specs on the equipment (camera, lens) used in making these particular vidopia instructional videos? makes a good point of not needing a 35mm lens adapter in a case like an infinite white video, but i didn't see any reference to the equipment being used in this case.
  • Videopia 3 years ago
    Heya, Michael: All consumer equipment, less that $5K for everything from camera to computer. Camera is a Sony SR7, lots of lights, nothing else special.
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  • creative illusions 2 years ago
    Hi Eric - glad I found you over here. Really miss your 'Tech Know' stuff f on DJTV. Just wanted to give you an option for your audio issues that was mentioned further up in the thread. We have the identical setup in our garage/studio as you. On a whim, I decided to give a Rode NT3 mic a shot. We have it boomed just over the talent's head. We are 2 block from a set of train tracks. While recording we've had trains go by blowing their whistle, and it's imperceptible on the audio. 80 percent of our shooting is done in corporate conference rooms or offices, and 50 percent of the edit is pulling out ambient A/C noise and such with Audition. With the NT3, I can't even hear our garage's A/C unit that is 15 feet away outside the back wall, or the train whistle.
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Fantastic to hear that. I tried the NTG2 and it was a total failure, but I had been reading that maybe a hypercardiod was the right solution (I was looking at the Octavia). I think I've solved part of the problem with a unidirectional lav (even tried it on a boom) and it works fairly well (at least no echoes to speak of). Used a pals Sennheiser wireless lav the other day and it was wonderful. Anyhow, I'm at "good enough" now (for sub-$300 in audio gear), but I'll put the NTG3 on my short list.

    And thanks: there is no perfect mic, so the only real way to know is to find folks in nearly identical situations and give it a try yourself.
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  • Josh Schwerin 2 years ago
    Thank you very much for producing this great video. Being a photographer for years I was suspicious when a DP was trying to tell me how great these adapters are. After doing a lot of research and watching your video I invested in a polarizer and a soft focus filter instead for my video camera and get very similar results. Plus, I'm not strapped to a fixed focal length by using a 35mm lens (lets not forget I saved a ton of money as well). Again, I really appreciate your outstanding explanation. Keep up the great work, please!
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Thanks. And just to be clear, I'm not anti-35mm lens adapters. It's just that they aren't magical devices that will make up for poor fundamental technique. Right tool for the right job and all that. And just to be doubly clear: I have serious gear lust and if I had the money, a 35mm lens adapter would be somewhere on my list of things to get. (A new camcorder, a new secondary LCD and a new i7 core computer are higher on the list, however, so we are really talking about if I had $10,000 to spend on new gear before I got to the adapter...)
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  • I love my adapter. Fulls top. And I love making films. So I put them together and so far I am pretty pleased with the result. Its all a learning curve. Having a 35mm lens adapter may produce lots of dodgy "test" videos, but if the appreciaton for things like depth of field and lighting techniques is increased, then the field of work produced by our average joe is sure to increase as well
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Absolutely, I agree 100%.

    And might I add: you and I are using the same camera (more or less), but the difference is night and day. Right tool for the right job and all that and I am happy with the info I am communicating as clearly as possible, but... my goodness, your video is GORGEOUS! I am envious AND inspired!
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  • Chester Dapo 2 years ago
    Wait! so will it show upside down when you import it to your computer? or is it just the lcd?
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Upside down on computer too - trivial to correct in your editing software, so not really a concern.
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  • Will Fuqua 2 years ago
    I'm a photographer that uses Nikon cameras. I'm just hoping Nikon will produce a full frame digital camera with 1080p that has 30fps and 24fps. Then I'll be set. I can use my freakin 70-200mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, and 17-35mm 2.8. Maybe a D700s perhaps? If that happens, then it will be so much easier for me I think to shoot video. But hey, that's just me.
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Pretty sure Nikon dSLRs will shoot all sorts of nice 1080p video in the immediate future (as will Sony, Pentax, Olympus, et al).
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  • Will Fuqua 2 years ago
    Oh, stupid question, but can you simply saw off the front of a Canon HG20, removing the lens and then make it where a Nikkor lens can be attached?
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    I believe that is only a "potentially stupid" question!

    But seriously, the answer is "YES!" you could (theoretically) saw off the front and get it to work, more or less, but the lens is NOT designed for a 1/3" sensor (~9mm) and instead is for a 35mm imaging plane, so it wouldn't get the full DoF advantage.

    Not to mention that it would destroy the camcorder, which would no longer work at all anyhow, but as a thought experiment, it's interesting.

    So the real answer is "NO!" do not do this!
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  • Crooked Path Films plus 2 years ago
    Wow, what a party pooper, haha. I happen to love the look of the HVX200 + Redrock. But I don't ALWAYS use it. Does it make it look like film? That's a HIGHLY subjective question, many believe it does, many do not. No sense in arguing about that. I've seen 35mm that doesn't look like film. It depends on about 750 elements including lighting, post color grading, the negative handling and processing (for film), etc. Depth of field is just a little component. There's footage around here somewhere of what 35mm vs Lens adapted video vs the RED camera...etc....and it all look very good - but it was all run through a Davinci 4k in post to make it so. Does the adapter make the film look? Let's see....that's one visual trick number one out of 750 available....so i guess that's 1/750 yes?
  • Videopia 2 years ago
    Yes! Just one trick of many in a bag full-o-tricks for the modern cinematographer. Anyone that thinks that one trick is enough and perfect for every situation is a fool and anyone that does not take advantage of every trick available is also a fool: right trick for the right shot and all that!

    And thanks on the congrats.
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  • Crooked Path Films plus 2 years ago
    Congrats on the Telly! That's great.

    PS: Why can't I start any sentences with a capital?
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  • jef kas 2 years ago
    Yes, this should be a different thread - but it's a tad frustrating to hear talk about the value of an additional $2000 'tool in the box' when they are using $300 worth of sound gear. Your audience, who are generally not DPs, will object a lot more to cruddy sound than they will swoon to extra DOF.
    Long as I'm being slightly cranky, I'll note that perhaps the metric should not be "does this look like film?" but rather "does this improve the storytelling?" (And I'll agree that the 35mm adapter certainly can).
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  • RockySmokey 6 months ago
    You can stick a magnet on the LCD screen and it should flip the image back to normal, but you will still have to fix the image in post.
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  • Scottinva 2 months ago
    Might want to link to your "24p mode" video. Otherwise someone might think you are serious about it.
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  • Mark Richardson 22 days ago
    I went down the road of trying to build my own adapter... and it just wasn't worth the hassle of and expense of getting it to work good.

    Then I bought a DSLR and can get as much depth of field as I want.
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