Panasonic Gh4

Jul 112014
How to Use Anamorphic Lenses With DSLRs

Using anamorphic lenses can be very easy or very difficult. Here is an article designed to shed light on some obstacles you might face when setting up an anamorphic system for your DSLR. [Note: I'm working on adding images and diagrams to this post, I hope to have them up soon] The Anamorphic Optical Chain The conventional setup goes like this: DSLR, then taking lens, then anamorphic lens, then diopter (optional). If you have a heavy anamorphic lens, you may want to use a lens clamp to clamp the anamorphic lens to your taking lens. Also, you may choose to support your anamorphic lens via a tripod collar or lens support system. Here are some diagrams of typical anamorphic setups: Attaching an Anamorphic Lens Directly to Your Taking Lens Some anamorphic lenses have rear thread diameters that make it easy to attach the lens directly to your taking lens. If [...]

Jun 282014
Choosing Anamorphic Lenses for DSLRs

If you read Part 1 of my guide, you will know that all the anamorphic talk in my posts is for anamorphic projection lenses, not $50,000 anamorphic primes used by Hollywood. This page focuses on lens mechanics, and how to choose a good anamorphic lens. There are three main variables when it comes to anamorphic lenses: focusing type, squeeze amount, and vignetting. Focus Through vs Dual Focus Anamorphic Lenses Strait through focusing lenses cost more. If you buy an anamorphic projection lens that can be focused through that means that you can set your taking lens to infinity and use the anamorphic lens to focus. This is a very attractive set up because it makes focusing very easy: basically you focus like you would normally focus only instead of using your regular lens for focusing you use the anamorphic attachment for focusing. Dual Focusing Anamorphic Lenses These are the most [...]

Jun 272014
Using Anamorphic Lenses for DSLR Video

I hope this will become a multipart series (hope I don’t get lazy). Basically shooting anamorphic video on a DSLR can be a hassle. But it is very rewarding. Here are the basics of anamorphic video: Anamorphic Lenses vs Regular Lenses Most people who shoot anamorphically on DSLRs use projection lenses. Anamorphic projector lenses were originally used for film projectors but lately DSLR shooters have snagged them up to use for DSLR videos. The good news is that anyone with a Canon, Nikon, Panasonic or GoPro can shoot anamorphic video. Hell, if you have an iPhone you can shoot anamorphic video! All you need is an anamorphic lens. Anamorphic Aspect Ratio An anamorphic lens uses internal lens elements that are shaped so that the aspect ratio ends up wider. Lots of people add black bars to the top and bottom of their footage, but this reduces the video’s resolution. By [...]

Jun 252014
Cheap Tripod vs $50 Tripod vs $150 Tripod

It was a cold winter afternoon. There I was, standing at the edge of a 200 foot pier on Lake Tahoe. The wind was killer at the lake. I’m guessing 30+ miles an hour. 200 feet into the lake, on the edge of the pier it was probably 40+ miles an hour. It was miserable and I didn’t know what I was doing.I managed to get down onto an area where boaters/kayakers and jet skiers get onto their aquatic vessel of choice. This vantage point meant I was closer to the water and that no railings would obstruct my views. All I remember from that day was how frustrating it was to use my cheap crappy tripod. The aluminum was cold. The feet were impossible to level, and the whole thing felt like it was going to fly into the lake. I was squatting throughout because I was afraid to [...]

Jun 162014
The Best Lenses for Video Under $600

Somewhere on this website, I think I have a post that discusses the best lenses for video. But that post is focused on cinematic lenses, that may be difficult/impractical to use (vintage glass, manual focus, nice bokeh, etc…). Here are a few lenses that I think are amazing for video, are affordable, and practical: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 or Canon 10-18mm STM If you are shooting on a crop sensor, you will want a lens that is under 24mm. 35mm and beyond can be too zoomed in, making it difficult to frame your subject. More often than not 50mm will be way too zoomed in. Phillip Bloom swears by the Tokina 11-16mm, and I certainly love mine. It allows me to get a nice range of wide shots while still maintaining a fast f/2.8 focal ratio. The build quality rocks, and it is a fun lens. The Canon 10-18mm is the [...]

Jun 052014
Canon 10-18mm STM vs Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm is the latest wide angle lens to hit the shelves. It is designed of APS-C sensors. It sports IS, STM focusing, and is priced under $300! Whats not to love? The Canon EF-S 10-18mm is Very Slow F/4.5-5.6 is very slow by today’s standards. If you dial this lens in at 18mm, you will only be able to shoot at f/5.6 (allowing in 4x less light than the Tokina 11-16 @ f/2.8). What this means is that your bokeh will suffer, your depth of field won’t be very shallow, and you will need to jack the ISO up of use longer exposures. Granted, people don’t really buy wide angle lenses for bokeh or shallow depth of fields. Even wide open the Canon is slow. F/4.5 lets in about 2.6x less light than the Tokina @ F/2.8. If you plan on shooting at night, or in low [...]

May 142014
10 Reasons Not to Buy The Panasonic GH4

This post is intended to be kind of silly. I ain’t trying to start no wars. Hell, I have a GH4 ad plastered at the top of my page! Anyway, in case you are afraid that you are getting caught up in the hype, this post is for you. My reasons for not buying a Panasonic GH4 are listed from best (mots logical) to worst (most worstest!). You Don’t Have Peripheral Equipment to Justify a GH4 There is no point in buying a bomb ass camera if you don’t have the equipment to make it look good. I guess if you intend to film your cat, or personal porn videos a GH4 by itself might be enough. But let’s pretend you want to shoot a short film or a documentary. In fact, maybe you want to shoot something more profound that generic test footage or Vimeo montages. If you are [...]

May 052014
10 Best Video DSLR Sites to Follow (Learn From)

I didn’t intend for there to be 10 sites on this list. But as coincidence would have it, there is a nice even 10 sites. Although there is no particular order, I would start at the top and work down. If you follow all these video DSLR sites, you will certainly learn something (or at the very least see some pretty footage :P). Vimeo ( Vimeo is basically a hipster/art version of Youtube. As annoying and self indulgent as Vimeo is, it does provide excellent content. A great way to become a better DSLR cinematographer/videographer/whatever, is to be engaged on Vimeo. Whether you are searching for the latest GH4 footage,  cinematography techniques, animation projects, Magic Lantern RAW workflows, or DIY Steadicam footage, Vimeo has all the video resources you need. And most of the people are willing to share their creative techniques. It is a recourse that helps me stay [...]

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