When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: sunblock and vitamin water (first person to name the semi quote wins nothing!) Well it was VERY bright sunlight and I had just seen Star Trek (great), but it was time for my long planned shoot in Joshua Tree Park in California and it was VERY hot!
I have been hired by Panasonic to make them a nice little short to show at the European press launch of the GH1 on May 21st at Panasonic HQ. Originally I had hoped to do this filming in Hawaii, but I had so much on it was difficult, although I did manage to knock off a quick slow motion test during a sunset which you can see here. That was just knocked off quickly over an hour using nothing but the stock lens, no filters, no tripod, just a little gorillapod!
This was a far more ambitious shoot, I had the Genus Matte box and support rails. A set of very cool 4×4 filters courtesy of Carey Duffey of Tiffen/ South London Filters. Carey put together a pack perfect for filming in the desert. A .6 ND grad. a 1.2 IR ND, a 2.1 hot mirror ND (7 stops!), an antique suede and a polarizer. A really cracking set of filters.
But not only that, Illya Friedman of http://hotrodcameras.com/ (his new site launches on the 19th May) joined up with me with his brand new prototype PL mount adaptor for cinemas lenses so you can actually put them onto this little camera! Naughty man that he is, he actually stuck a chart in front of my lens and made me shoot it. He knows I don’t film charts!!
I knew the kit lens performed well but as this camera is seriously being considered by indie film makers. So, just how well would it perform with lenses that cost over $10,000 each!?
I had to use Illya’s old Matte Box as my Genus one couldn’t take the 95mm diameter (!) of these lenses!
Also along for the ride were Jake Carpenter who was documenting the shoot for me on my little Canon Vixia. Jehu Garcia of Jag35 came along too (I will have a special interview with him coming soon!) and David Aldrich who makes the $100 follow focus was there too! So it was a bit of team! We also bumped into Bui brothers at the end of the shoot too, they had a Canon 5dMk2.
I can’t post the finished edit until the 21st May after the press event, at the same time I will post the making of. In the meantime I wanted to share with you some screen grabs, some shot with the stock lens with full Genus set up and some with the PL lenses. We had Zeiss Ultra Primes, from 16mm to 85mm. They were all T1.9
Now the stock lens is great, it has incredible auto focus features including facial recognition and tracking which is completely silent, optical stabilisation and a nice range (35mm equivalent 28-240mm) although understandably for such a range and price it is quite slow at f4.
I was really happy with the shots we got, both with the stock lens and the PL lenses. Illya’s adaptor worked a treat , the only thing was focusing was much harder as the zoom in extender didn’t seem to work without the stock lens.
Have a look at some screen grabs from both:
When you put on full frame slr lenses from Canon or Nikon onto the Gh1 you get a 2x magnification factor as the four third sensor is about half the size of a full frame SLR sensor. But with the PL lenses you get about a 16-17% increase in focal length as movie 35mm size is much smaller than a full frame SLR 35mm.
The results were terrific with the PL lenses, beautiful bokeh and nice to have nice fast glass to get that shallow DOF, but, the stock lens did a great job. I probably shot about half and half and they cut great together, sometimes it’s hard to know which is which.
So here is a list of the kit that I had:
1 GH1 with stock lens
2 16gb Class 6 SDHC cards
1 Genus advanced adaptor bar support system which was necessary due to the stock lens getting longer when you zoomed, the whole plate move back and forth to accommodate it
5 Tiffen 4×4 filters as detailed above
1 miller solo carbon fibre solo ds20 tripod. perfect for this location, the ds10 would be perfect for the GH1 . Don’t get a stills tripod for this camera. You need a proper video tripod.
1 PL adaptor
5 Zeiss Ultra Primes
and LOTS of water.
On the 21st May there will be a blog post with the new short film on it and also the making of which should be a lot of fun. Don’t forget to come back then to check it out!
Thanks to Illya Friedman and Jehu Garcia for the stills.
Until I post my making of and of course the finished film next week, enjoy Jehu Garcia’s little behind the scenes film shot of the Jag35 $99 static DOF adaptor and his second video laughing at my misfortune!
EDIT: Finished film below!