New Letus/ EX1 short “South Bank”

12
Jan
2008

I had planned on doing a specific story led short on Thursday, but I came down with the Winter vomiting virus called the Norovirus on Tuesday. The main symptom being you can do your best Linda Blair Exorcist impersonation and projectile vomit for England. Fortunately it doesn’t last for more than a couple of days and then it vanishes. Unfortunately it meant my shoot was down the pan.

So on Friday (still feeling pretty bloody ill but couldn’t face lying in bed another minute) I went down to Waterloo station did some of the filming that I had planned on doing the previous day then finished off by just knocking off just shots whilst walking along the South Bank from the London Eye to the Tate Modern.

The weather had cleared up thankfully so I was able to get some quite nice shots.

The lenses I used were my Sigma f1.8 20mm, 35mm Arrax f2.8 tilt shit, 50mm Zeiss T2 macro, 85mm Hartblei tilt shift and my 105mm Nikon f2 DC.

The new letus rods work super well and work especially well with the protec press shooter which I have mentioned in my previous blog. Giving me a lovely solid base for my tripod.

Most of it was shot at 720p 25 60fps, the rest 1080p25 and set to interval record. As always no external monitor was used for focsuing..the EX1 LCD really is VERY good. Making me incredibly mobile. One Camera, light bag with a few lenses, spare battery and cards and one light tripod! For once I was also not stopped by security asking if I had permission to film as everywhere I filmed normally it is a complete nightmare to do anything!

Music is Pyramid Song by Radiohead on the album Amnesiac available here.

Thanks again for Maxim at Aerialsfilm.com for his continuing generosity in hosting these large files for me.

Comments

  1. Dennis Kane says:

    Hi Phil
    Thank you for the large number of detailed photos of your rig. It helps me greatly in my planning. It is becoming to be a big event at my home when there is another wonderful Phil Bloom movie to see.
    Great stuff !

  2. Philip says:

    Cheers Dennis, appreciate it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Phil,

    this work is brilliant !

    regards,
    suta

  4. Ian Smith says:

    Phil, as with some earlier blog entries – some of your text is hidden by the overlaying photo’s when viewed in Internet Explorer (the most popular browser).

    I have added an attachment so you can see what I mean.

    Curious to know, as someone taking delivery in a few weeks time, as to how you deal with those “security” situations. I only hit it once when I was in a Hollywood shopping mall with my Canon EOS 1Ds still camera and had some little Hitler in policeman’s uniform telling me I wasn’t allowed to take photo’s with my “professional” camera and to move away. American friends later told me it was ridiculous and I should have argued the case.

    I had the same thing with the same camera at “The Hollywood Bowl” – camera confiscated on entry, while friends with their digital compacts had no problems and got some nice pics. Sometimes professional looking gear is a pain!

  5. Willem says:

    Extraordinary!

    Questions (if that’s not inappropriate) :

    1. The slight panning in the first shot at low fps : how did you do that!?
    2. Some parts are sometimes out of focus where it’s either a very strange lense or something you did in post?
    3. The pale look throughout the piece, did you do that in post or is the weather really like that in London?

    Thank you again for the great inspirational footage

    WIllem

  6. Tom T:Media says:

    Phil,
    Lovely pictures again! Like the colours you’ve added there.
    Did you have any luck getting edge-to-edge sharpness issues with the EX and Letus solved? Can’t tell from this short whether you’ve added a little softness in post or not here and there.

    We’re always having to wing it in Manchester when on location – seeking permissions to film is a fine old headache.
    We once had a shoot a New York street scene in an old, industrial part of the city – it turned silly trying to get permission, so we hired the NYPD car from Birmingham and our little convoy drove straight to the location, blocked the entrance to the street with a transit, the actors jumped out, we shot the scene, amused a passing police van and dissappeared!

    T

  7. Philip says:

    thanks ian. Will try and sort.

    I managed to get permission for waterloo. Bit of deal making with a friend!

    Edge to edge is so much easier when there is lots of light. Low light bit trickier. There is a slight spherical aberration at certain close focal lengths. You can easily work round it.

    I wasn’t hiding anything with the shift tilt! I just love the look!

  8. Eric says:

    Willem,
    My questions exactly! Phillip, when you get a chance please?

  9. Philip says:

    I had permission at Waterloo, I phoned a week ahead and used my connections to get me in, as well as a favour or a friend.

    The rest of the locations I just got lucky. Every other time I have filmed there it has been a case of being moved on within seconds. I guess the weather being so poor I wasn’t bothered.

    Most of it was shot at 720p so I could overcrank, the timelapse stuff was shot at 1080p which gave me the opportunity to do what I did in the first shot, which was zoom in on the edit and track across, giving the illusion of motion controlled camera.

  10. Michael Schrengohst says:

    Great work as usual!
    I like the shot of the guy in the Red Jacket
    sitting on the bench!

  11. Philip says:

    Ian, tweaked it a bit. But with no PC i cannot check. Is it better?

    That red guy eh? Talk about photogenic!

  12. Keith says:

    Great work as usual. I have a question. The rolling shutter that is appearing in the one segment. Is this something that can be seen on a monitor before recording or is this something that wouldn’t be discovered until you back in post on the Timeline of the NLE?

    It appears that you used a little vignette to try to mask it a bit. Was that the case?

  13. randyman says:

    Philip -

    Thanks so much for sharing your work; it’s really a master class. Your simulated motion tracking – I never would have guessed.

    I’ve been picking up Nikon glass to go with an upcoming Letus purchase; I’ll be using my Z1 until I can swing an EX-1, but boy, you have inspried and educated me. More power to you, and please keep sharing -

  14. Anonymous says:

    2. Some parts are sometimes out of focus where it’s either a very strange lense or something you did in post?
    3. The pale look throughout the piece, did you do that in post or is the weather really like that in London?

  15. Ian Smith says:

    Philip,

    Now fixed and MUCH better :). I’ve attached a screen shot so you can see for yourself. Thanks.

  16. Philip says:

    I used two shift tilt lenses which mess with perspective…and no London isn’t pale and lacking in Saturation. It’s colour grading!!

  17. Devin says:

    Phillip,
    This may be a stupid question, but how do you get so many different kinds of lenses to mount to the Letus? Do you use adaptors? They all mix together beautifully by the way.

  18. Philip says:

    they are all nikon f mount!

  19. Øyvind Stokkan says:

    Hey Phil. Love your work.

    Just wondering.. In a clip near the beginning (think it’s the sixth clip), you see a very obvious flickering of some backlit poster or something. Did you shoot this in 60fps overcrank? If so, the flickering appears because of 50hz lighting and 60fps. If you shot it in 50fps, it’s strange.. Do you have some experience with flickering images in 50fps?

    Cheers

  20. Very nice work! says:

    Hi Philip!

    I have to say that I´m really impressed what you have done with the EX1 and your 35mm lenses, it just looks great and I can´t stop watching all details in your films… puh!
    The reason I study your material in detail is that I´m on to buying an EX1 very soon. Your site made my mind determined of what to buy, that´s for sure!
    Have earlier been working with HDCAM + P S Technik Pro 35 but this is another price but with the same look!
    I´ll get one this afternoon ;-)

    Have a great creative day, I´ll be back!

    Best regards
    Lasse Gustavsson
    Mediapex Film & Television, Sweden

  21. Philip says:

    cheers guys. Yes I really should be shooting 50fps when there is artificial lighting, I was shooting 60fps.

  22. Curious says:

    There seems to be some vignetting with the edges on most of the shots darker than the rest of the frame (more noticeably on the left and right edges)- is this due to the Letus?

  23. Philip says:

    added in post

  24. Philip says:

    mostly! A couple I did on purpose as I needed that extra frame size…

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi Phil,
    fantastic work, truly wonderful, thanks a LOT!
    One question: what sharpness settings do you use on the camera?
    I find the normal sharpness setting on my FX1E to be way too high. It introduces noticeable, video-like artifacts, specially on high-contrast subjects. Was wondering whether the EX1 behaves similarly?
    On the FX1 anything above 0 seems to artificially sharpen the image, but a setting of 0 makes the picture too soft, even when viewed at SD.

  26. Carl Burke says:

    Hey Phil,

    Hope your doing well. The EX is looking like a great camera by all accounts and a hell of a lot less light hungry than the old HVX.
    I Love this short, best one yet I think (Im a sucker for Radiohead though so that may be biased). The tilt-shift shots are superb, I am tempted to buy a lensbaby which seems to give a similar effect. Really nice stuff though, did you use a polariser or any nd grads on these shots?

    Anyway great blog you have started here. Keep up the good work.

  27. Philip says:

    with the letus I have sharpness set to +3 without it about -1

    Good to hear from you Carl. I have a lens baby, but i much prefer the shift tilt lenses. No filters at all! I operated pretty fast on this way to stay ahead of the security guards!

  28. Atilio says:

    hi Phil,
    thanks again! I asked about the sharpness setting because I wasn’t sure what was causing the halos I was seeing. I am afraid that using such high sharpness settings is damaging your wonderful footage, making it more video-like. So you know what I mean, I collected and enlarged some screen grabs where the effect is most clearly visible (see attachment). You never see such halos on film! Even when they are not obvious, I think they do have a negative effect. That’s, of course, just my taste: I prefer an organic, more film-like look over apparent resolution, but nowadays HD is everything…
    On the FX1, anything but 0 (in a scale from 0 to 15, in which 11 is standard) means artificial sharpening. I guess that the EX follows the same logic, meaning that “zero” is the “recommended” amount of sharpening for the video to look “HD” enough, at the expense of artifacts and a more video-like look.
    I think your images are very beautiful as they are, but I was wondering whether with less sharpening the would be even better.
    Greetings,
    Atilio.

  29. Adrian Price says:

    Well Phil, I hope your happy! After watching that my visual cortex has disintegrated into a runny pool that is now making it’s way out my ear canals as I type! The medical bill is going to be horrendous…and you my cinematic fiend will have to pay!! Absolutely stunning stuff! Have been quietly observing since yr Piccadilly Furs Vid trying to get my head around the EX1′s potential…just to let yo know I think you may be taking unfair advantage of that little beastie.

    I think i actually said out loud “fu*# off!” when that first timelapse of the London Eye popped up. Inspiring, un-nerving and definitely creating a craving for a video tech fix like you wouldn’t believe.

    Thanks for putting so much time and effort into these and for sharing them Phil. I feel like I’m in a Cinematography Master Class most of the time. Right that’s enough smoke blowing…stop reading this Phil and get back to it!

  30. Philip says:

    Atillo, The next think i shoot I will try with sharpness set to 0. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Adrian. Cheers mate!

  31. Tico says:

    Phil, in addition to keeping sharpness settings always to a minimum, one thing I do often to avoid the kind of issue Atilio points out is to use a Tiffen Ultra Con 3 between the LEX and my HVX. It even helps to reduce the visible GG grain as well. Works for me. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    Keep up the good work!

  32. Joakim L says:

    This stuff is soo inspiring! Keep it up!

  33. Atilio says:

    Phil: you’re welcome! From my experience I can say that only after shooting over one hundred hours with my FX1 did I realize that I liked the sharpness turned way down MUCH better, oh boy, was I disappointed back then…

    Tico: how good is the “Tiffen Ultra Con 3″ filter? does it actually also increase the dynamic range as Tiffen claims? if that’s so, I am certainly getting one!

    Adrian: We’re all jealous here, that’s for sure!

    Joakim: Yes, truly inspiring, I agree!

  34. drazen says:

    Philip hi,

    Could you expalin a bit more the first incredible shot how it was done…you panned, you had low frames 2fps??, and then you zoomed in in post…correct or not? Amazing shots and superb short film btw…

  35. Philip says:

    Most of my stuff was shot 720p to get to overcrank 60fps. All the timelapse was shot 1080p. The settings were slow shutter 16 and 1 frame every two seconds This gave me the lovely motion blur.

    In the edit the timeline was 720p. When I put the timelpase onto the timeline final cut automatically resized it to around 70% or something as it was larger than the 720p. This gave me the ability to in the motions tape, zoom in to 100% reposition the image to the left then slowly track right in the motions tape again. Simple!

  36. Matthew Kern says:

    I really like this. The only thing is that it looks like you faked the DOf on some of the shots. Not to try to call you out on it or anything, because it still looks amazing. I guess I was just wondering if you did anything to it in post to make the DOF appear more shallow (like place a mask over it and ass some gaussian).

  37. Philip says:

    Matthew,

    I assume you are talking about the shift/ tilt lens shots. You can see the lens in the pictures above. It’s all optical, not done in post.

  38. Richard Clark says:

    Brilliant. You should really do more narrative work. I think a lot of people would be awed at what you could come up with.

    Cheers,

    Richard Clark

  39. Robert Rigby says:

    HI Philip, I really enjoy the tones color grades you used for these clips. As many people do here I also shoot with the ex1 but have not been able to get that nice of tones in post. In particular which bullet filters or looks are you using on these and with what adjustments. Obviously some nice vignetting. Any help is much appreciated.