New short film: A day at the races

We shot this short film with the modified 7D PL mount that you can read all about here.

It was shown for the first time at the LA HD-DSLR masterclass I took yesterday in Hollywood that was a great success. Two 4 hour classes one after the other. A lot of fun, killed my voice though!

Jeremy Thomas from Raw Works cut the short and colour graded it and did a great job on it. The crew was minimal about 4 of us in total.

It was shot using 3 lenses. Two Cooke S4s… 25mm and 100m and a PL modified Tokina 11-16mm for the big wide.

The filming was about 2 and a half hours very early morning at Hollywood Park then another couple of hours at Santa Anita race track. Sound was recorded separately using the Zoom H4n and a Rode shotgun boom. I also used a 6×6 Mattebox and some ND filters. .9 .6 and .2.

Music by Loscil

Song: Charlie

Album: Plume

Do check out the previous blog here for loads more info and behind the scenes photos!

[vimeo 9978341 640 360]



  1. Lovely Phil. You had some great sky boxes in there, just beautiful. That shot of the guy playing what I think was a Trumpet, if not someone will correct me, is just unreal. It almost looks fake the way he’s so separated from the background. Great shots and interview pieces all around, especially love the bit with the old gent talking about his debt. LOL.

  2. I will say philip, after watching this on that big screen with theater sound viewing it with my macbook pro is kinda of a let down. Beautiful work! How long will you have the PL mount 7D for or is this the only shoot you will use it for?

  3. Incredibly beautiful, the pl is definetly a way to go for a real and professional production. Thanks a lot for this piece Phillip!!

  4. I still can’t get over the light sensitivity of those sensors.
    The early morning shots and the ones in the stables are incredible.
    With my Letus it would have been impossible to do without bringing in tons of lights.

  5. Looks great!

    But can you tell us what we should be looking for? To be 100% honest, I can’t see any differences between these lenses and Canon lenses.

    I understand these lenses are “easier” to use (at least for someone who’s used to them), but is there really any other benefit?

  6. A really awesome film,every pictures tells a story, a good theme, good peoople, good editing. I love to see more and we see how important good lenses are. Never the less, you think you can get the same shots with an Eos550? of course with the same lenses?

  7. Another great film Phil! I’m on the fence between a 5DMKII or 7D and this film gets me leaning more to the 7D. Great low light shots, was it all available light? Impressive how good the 7D looks especially the ability to do 60fps.

    I had a last minute change in schedule so could not attend your class yesterday. I’m planning to be in LV for NAB next month, any possibility that you’ll have another class on the west coast around that time?

    Keep up your inspirational work.

  8. Truly Beautiful.

    I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you are a real inspiration to a great number of film makers out there! It would be a true honor to meet you someday

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Phillip and Jeremy,

    Beautiful work guys. What a great thing it is to do work that you love and it shows in the final product. Phillip, did you find any challenges in the weight distribution of the Cooke lenses given their obviously larger dimensions? Or were they not that much heavier than the Canon L series glass?



  10. Good piece. I like how it starts off slowly to give a taste of the atmosphere, followed by letting us meet the different beings that hang around the place. The ending was a little sudden for me, I might have expected to see something of the end of the day there, with the people gone again, and light fading.

    Nice titles, too, by the way.

  11. Maravilloso! Its indeed a wonderfull job. Inspiring. Its really cool to follow all your post because its the way to learn how, and at the same time, to enjoy lovely pieces like this one. Thanks.

  12. Loved the close-ups – beautiful. Lots of great shots: the dust from the guy raking the hay, reflection of the horse in the puddle, the black cat, trumpet man, the old betting dude … did you use noise reduction software like neat video at all ?

  13. Great work Phil, I was looking forward to seeing this one. One question, there seems to be a lot of noise in the opening shots, is that with compression or were you simply trying to push as far as you could in low light to test the lenses on the 7D? Maybe it’s just me but it seems noisier when compared to your other films.

    Would love to have been there to watch this on the big screen. Thanks for forging the way with these cameras.

  14. Wonderful Phil really wonderful. I really love these old glasses but the most important thing is the talent u have in the back of the camera. The movie has his own spirit and pulsation witch is achieved with the touching images, great background music and a right edit. Congratulation again.

  15. I really enjoyed it Jeremy did an awesome job in post, But it was a bit slow for me and kind of a bit too dark in some sections, I know it was sunrise and all but still…

    It didn’t have that Bloom-ness to it.

  16. Wow, stunning stuff. The close ups of people looks identical to film (with a little less saturation). Wides still looked great, but didn’t have me up and out of my seat like the close ups did.

  17. The trumpet blower shot is absolutely beautiful.

    Great work all around, I’m hoping that the Zeiss ZE Prime IIs really do cover the full 5D sensor with no vignetting, I’d really love to shoot with cinema lenses on the 5d.

  18. I can’t believe that’s the 7D, so beautiful. Outstanding grading work, was it MBL? I was skeptical when I first saw the 7D PL mount, thought the Canon lenses probably had a very similar quality. I guess I couldn’t be more wrong.

    Philip, earlier you mentioned you are doing the sharpening in post. Are you using the default FCP Sharpen tools? Are you also doing any denoising?


    1. L lenses to me appear to be a fair bit softer than other lenses (video), namely Zeiss, Nikon, and Leica. This is especially true when projected I’ve noticed. Though I have not seen how these PL lenses perform, but for 3x and WAY beyond the price of L glass, it’s no surprise they are much better performers.

  19. Great work Phil – beautiful images and fine interviews. You could have had a career in news work I reckon 😉

    What do you find the main advantages of using these PL lenses. Shane Hurlbut has written about the advantages of the best optics when it comes to retaining resolution for colour correction. Are you finding that with these Cookes? It certainly looks like it from the end result.

  20. This one is my favorite of yours so far…Something about those brief interviews. They are short but say so much about the subject. Stunning visuals.

  21. Very good film. It captures the atmosphere perfectly. A question if you please; I noticed on vimeo it’s a 1080p download. For the 60p 720p shots do you conform them in Cinema Tools to get 50% (like in your previous guide) then convert to prores 422 1080p?

  22. That was very nice (watched straight after District 9 – FOOK!). Liked the color grade-washing the horses and the trumpet player. Tidy edit too, liked the rhetoric, and the sound bites captured some of the personalities at the event.

  23. hi philip. i have a 5d with the 24-105mm kit lens, im finding the weight of the lens a bit of an issue when using the glidetrack 1m version)

    im a bit of a beginner when it comes to shooting video, and was thinking maybe i should sell the lens as i dont think its the best lens for video.

    i think id get 4-500 quid for it, its in great nick.

    then, i could buy a couple of second hand lenses but im not sure what to go for…

    i know i love shooting wide but they are so expensive.

    and i know i’ll be needing a fast lens as i love shooting in low light.

    i was also thinking about selling both the camera and the lens and going for a 7d, this would then leave me with about 6 or 700 quid for lenses.
    then maybe get a tokina 11-16mm and a canon 50mm 1.4 or a 1.8?

    then again, it feels like a waste going to a “lower grade” camera, even though the 7d is great.

    id really appreciate your thoughts on this.

    thanks in advance.

  24. Footage is awesome no one can beat Philip’s eye behind the monitor….. but for $150,000 lenses 🙁 ……. this can be easily and beautifully achieved on Ziess or Nikon lenses which are under $10,000…… I see no point in getting a PL mount and spending $140,000K extra 🙂

  25. Amazing job Phil , really impressed by the colours – was much grading done / what software ?

    Also noticed in some of the BTS shots you were using what looked like a Miller Compass Head tripod ( fluid gearing ) how did you find it??

    – Loved the last shot and Trumpet man shots wicked Dof + Colours.

    Cant wait to see whats next.3

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