Piccadilly Furs

XDCAM EX1 and Letus Extreme test shoot.

Well I took the EX1 and Letus extreme, along with a few lenses and my Miller tripod on the good old tube into London.

I have NEVER taken public transport with gear before, impossible. But, today a new dawn. A new beginning, well not quite. For what I wanted to do today it made sense to get the underground.

It all went very well. Both the camera clean and with the adaptor looked awesome. Low light was no problem and all the pictures look fantastic. I had real problems with my rod mount, it became very loose, it looks like I had the wrong screw in one hole, so I took the Letus off and reattached it with no rod mount and support. Not ideal, but it worked and it got me through the rest of the shoot.

Shame I managed to break my extreme due to my complete clumsiness. I noticed a bit of dirt on the ground glass so I opened her up, removed the dirt but as I was putting it back together I slipped and knocked some bits which I shouldn’t have knocked. The end result being it doesn’t work anymore. With This could well be a real nightmare. My 6 day shoot across the UK starts on Saturday evening and I was due to take the extreme with me. Fortunately I emailed Hien at Letus and incredibly he raced to fed ex with a new Letus Extreme and managed to make the UK cutoff by one minute. If all goes well I could get in Saturday morning. If not then I will have to take my Brevis with me, which is fine but I don’t have a flip for it and there is no reverse image thingy in the EX1 like the JVC HD200 so it would mean bringing my Marshall and my idx batteries and my charger, so suddenly I am carrying loads more weight! That was not the plan! But, how amazing is Hien?! Talk about customer service above and beyond! What a star!

In the meantime I am editing together today’s footage into one of my nice little musical things.

View the film here.

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35 comments

  1. Never having used an “extreme” I Googled it from your description but I still don’t get the point of it. I assume from it’s description you can attach 35mm lenses to the front of this unit… why ?

  2. Amazing footage!!! Really good latitude and clean colors. Really nice shots of the people and nice steady pans. And Velvet Underground! Oh man!!! I just ordered the Letus Extreme and EX1 and these are exactly the kinda results I was hoping to get.

    Can you tell me how much post color correction and levels you did on these? Would be nice to know about your workflow.

  3. Hey Philip,

    Thanks for posting this video.
    It is realy showing the strength of the EX in capable hands.
    Did you crush the black’s in post or in camera ?

    Good luck on your 6 day shoot !!

  4. Thanks guys,

    Editing done on Final Cut Pro 6.02 in native XDCAM HD EX. I edit all the time in XDCAM HD and have no problems.

    All colour grading is done using Magic Bullet Looks, a new plug in for Final Cut Pro. It’s amazing.

    It was all shot with basic settings, no picture profiles and not had camera long enough to get the right look.

  5. Looks great! The timelpse and slow mo are wonderul. At last, a digital Bolex.
    You took a jib on the tube? Brave man.
    Thanks for doing this . . . encouraging me to spend money I dont have . . .

  6. Hello Philip,
    Loved the footage as usual…

    I have two questions about the lcd screen:
    is it large and sharp enough for critical
    focus if using a 35mm adapter (I have the
    SGPro Rev3) and how is it for gauging
    accurate colors?? or do we still need
    our on camera HD field monitors?

    Thanks for informing us!
    Lonnie

  7. Good work …but I still don’t get the idea of the 35mm adaptor ? I was always under the impression that to gain the extra definition from a prime lens you had to use it in place of a zoom lens but this kit only allows you to “add” a prime lens onto the front of your existing lens.
    I think you would be better shooting a short sequence with your extreme and the same without, this would give those watching a better example and impression of the extreme. The depth of quality is night and day between your EX1 and your previous Z1.

  8. It took a day of playing with my EX1 to realize the full horror of not having an archive to rely on with this type of kit, I have spent the last 20 years with tape and the thought of no back-up is very dangerous indeed. Hard drives in my opinion are not the answer so I decided to order the PDWU1 plus blank XDCAM discs, I would like your thoughts on archiving.

  9. Great stuff!!

    I was just about to place my order for the HVX200, not any more!
    WOW.

    What type and size of lens die you use?

    Greetings from Austin, TX 🙂

    Jay Galvan

  10. Hi phil.

    You really need to read up on 35mm adaptors to understand better.

    Its not about sharpness, its about creating a more organic less harsh video look and a true 35mm dof which is not even achievable with a 2/3rd inch camera like an f900.

    On the dvxuser there is a very good sticky on the forums there. My own shootout also goes into a fair bit of detail. Once you read up and understand more about sensor sizes and their dof properties you will understand better. A 35mm adaptor is using the ex1 to zoom in, focus and record the image that is projected onto the ground glass.

    I used a sigma 18mm f2 zeiss 50 and 85mm and also a nikon f2 105mm dc lens

  11. Philip,
    Thanks for getting back…
    And by the looks of your footage that was
    posted here, it’s pretty evident your focus
    was spot on…

    And as a heads up, your subsequent responses made
    by you to your blog are being labeled “anonymous”…

    Thanks again and cheers back to you!
    Lonnie

  12. I’m reading your blog and looking at your EX1 footage with interest Philip since I am a long way down Mitcorp’s delivery list.

    Just in passing a 2/3″ CCD is 9.7mm wide whereas a 35mm movie frame is around 22mm across – the bigger the image, the shallower the depth of field as you know but some might be amazed by the huge difference.

    All the best on your days on the road Philip.

  13. I am about to pick up an ex1 and I was going between the m2 and the brevis. But now your useing the letus, when you have the other two. So now I am realy not sure on which one to pick up. I have done the research on the other two, but what can you tell me about the letus?

  14. Love the Picadilly film. I’ve been shooting an HVX200 for 18 months but this looks like a new level especially in low light. I usually pack up rather than use the gain on the HVX when it gets dark – this definitely looks like the way forward. Next big job and it will be hello EX1.

  15. Nice footage. Definitely looks like the first real competitor against the HVX in this price range.

    Any chance you can post some of the footage with a less aggressive color correct? While it looks beautiful, it’s a little hard to judge the footage as it is.

  16. I don’t have an HVX200 so my basis for comparison is just what I’ve seen on a friend’s camera and online. This footage does look excellent, but it’s not straight out of the camera. It’s ex1, letus flip, a 35mm lens and some magic bullet filters. I recall seeing similar HVX200 footage given a similar combination.

    Can anyone articulate specifically where you see the differences?

    thanks.

  17. Loved the video until I read that you used magic bullet for CC. Can we get a video showing the raw video out of the camera without post effects? As a potential buyer of this camera I want to see what it can produce without post CC.

  18. Hey Man, where did you get this awesome music from. I love the autumn-film very much. I’m going to buy an adapter from letus myself for christmas. A great peace of filmmaking.

    Greetings from Germany,

    Wingis

  19. Footage looks fantastic. Great info on the Letus extreme too. I’ve never heard of this device before and it might come in handy some time for creating an even shallower depth of field. Correct me if I am wrong, but you did not use it in all your shots did you?
    Also, what SxS memory have you been using with you Ex1? I stumbled across a thread at xdcamforum.com under their recording medium section where it was hinted that the Ex1 might be able to use more than just Sony and Sandisk’s SxS cards. Have you been able to test any of the other Express cards on the market, ones not certified by Sony as SxS?

  20. sorry about the lack of replies. My blog has been down due to too much traffic. It’s all fixed now and it’s up and running fully again.

    Andrew: My choice is always Letus extreme or Brevis with the new, albeit untested flip option

    Ajit: I have yet to get any backup system working. I hope to backup to my professional xdcam discs using my f350 but not worked out how yet

    Daniel: Not used any follow focus. My lenses are mostly nikons. 35mm f1.4, 105 f2 dc. Zeiss f1.4 50mm, f1.4 85mm and t2 50mm macro. Sigma 18mm f1.8

    Geoff: If I get a chance I will post some non colour corrected footage. It all looks so bland next to this though!

    Moni: The ex1 is far sharper than the hvx and way better in low light.

    Aaron: As soon as I can I will

    Wingis: The Music is Velvet underground, Venus furs

    Osvaldo: I haven’t used my brevis yet with my ex1, am hoping to get a flip from cinevate soon…

    Toja: there are about 4 shots without the letus extreme. 3rd party cards are currently not useable but this will hopefully change very soon and will be good news for us all. 16gb cards for $300? yes please!

  21. Hi Phil, Your work is great and this has been a very helpful site/forum for prospective letus and ex buyers, thanks you! Can I ask if you have noticed any trouble with the vibration of the letus, I have heard it can be harsh enough to affect focus. Also, Have you been using a mattebox with the letus (If so what kind)?

    Thanks again,
    Rick

  22. We’ve got one on order for our Table Top studio. And we also use Cine Adapters for other commercial work … to great effect … but also with a lot of light loss using the P+S Technik Mini 35.

    See the attached photo (LINK) of our regular set-up. My concern, as the AC, is how can we use the Letus and support the heavy Cooke zoom, and get all of the power that we need?! We shoot toy commercials with kids and need the flexibility of a zoom lens. We want the Letus so we don’t have to use as much light. We need to light to a 5.6/8 split at least with the P+S Mini.

    http://images29.fotki.com/v1007/photos/4/43793/5316848/4IndieRentals-vi.jpg

    Thanks, Mako, Makofoto

  23. Again, because we’re shooting with kids, quickly, and are usually on a jib arm moving all over the place, I have to use a remote follow focus … there is not enough mass in the system to dampen my manual follow focus movements, and my Cine Tape ultra sonic measuring device helps keep everything nice and sharp, from the first take to the last. That’s why we need some of those extra power using accessories.

    Thanks again … Mako, Glendale, CA

  24. Mate. It is bloody good of you posting a BLOG like this. I’ve just picked up an XDCAM and there’s a delay of three months on the wide angle so I spoke to one of our Directors in Melbourne, Brett Moulton, who recommended the Letus. I used to shoot a lens adaptor on the old XL1. Watching your stuff, I’m hanging to bolt this on and use my Nikon lenses. I’m using a Chrosiel matt box at the moment (that’s seen better days) so obviously the two won’t mix. I’ve ordered a 35cm support rail system. And I use the same pod you do. So. Hopefully, it will all work out. But BAM! Great site. Great pictures. Great work.

  25. Just getting interested in video but I’ll be going mor for nature & wildlife.

    Nice footage but how did you manage to shoot around London, especially the underground, without getting arrested?

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