So, here’s what I am working on. This is a “work in progress” but I’m liking where it’s going. My aim is to create a truly useable kit for the F3 that will turn it into an ENG type camera. Now I’m not suggesting that the F3 is a good camera for news or that type of fast moving thing. But for documentaries it has a big place and the easier I can make it to use, the better. The rig is made up form all kinds of bits and pieces.
1: This is an old Canon J16x8x2 SD broadcast lens, which becomes a 20 to 320mm f4 zoom lens. It works OK, fine when wide but a little soft in the corners at the long end.
2: New metal body HDSDi Cineroid EVF attached with a custom bracket (5)
3: Genus GMB-P ENG camcorder adapter with 15mm bar support. This has the quick release wedge needed to work with the VCT-14 tripod plate.
4: My B4 to F3 adapter. Watch this space, in production very soon.
5: Custom made (by me) PMW-F3 ‘H” plate. This attaches to the two 1/4″ threads on the top of the camera body and gives you lots of 1/4″ threads along the entire length of both sides of the top of the F3. To this attaches a custom fully adjustable viewfinder mounting system.
6: Custom made shoulder mount. On production units this would be a little shorter, it’s a bit tall on the prototype. It features an adjustable soft shoulder pad and mounts for the cheese plate and VCT-14 adapter.
7: Genus cheese plate.
8: IDX V-Lock adapter plate. But you could also use an Anton Bauer plate.
9: DSM V-Lock battery (98Wh). Will run the rig for over 4 hours.
10: VCT-14 quick release plate.
The balance point for the rig is just slightly forward of the centre of the shoulder pad, so it’s really nice to handhold. A slightly bigger battery or a Convergent Design Gemini on the back would give near perfect balance.
So, what do you think, would you by this lot (excluding lens and EVF) as a kit? I’m looking to do a small run of kits, no idea of the price yet. More pictures below, click on the thumbnail for a high-res image.
Here’s a very exciting new product I was first given a sneak preview of at Cinegear in LA a couple of weeks ago, but now I have had a slightly longer look and a chance to take some pictures at Broadcast Asia. It comes from a new name to the market, Korean based Today 3D, but don’t let that worry you, I know some of the guys behind this and they know what they are doing. In addition many of the products coming out of Korea in recent years have been very good, like the NextoDI range of media backup devices. The device is a full wireless electronic follow focus designed primarily for 3D applications. There will be different models capable of driving up to 8 motors for full stereo focus, zoom, iris, interaxial and convergence control down to an entry level 2D wireless follow focus.
The hand controller is beautifully well built, machined out of a solid block of alloy and it feels reassuringly solid, if just a little heavy in your hand. On the right side there is a nice big, silky smooth focus control that sits nicely in your hand. On the face of the controller there is a slide control that would normally be used for the other functions such as convergence or most commonly interaxial. The unit is full programmable via a small joystick and menu system with a multicolour display giving you information about your focus distance, zoom position and interaxial etc. It runs off rechargeable Canon DSLR batteries which easy enough to get hold of wherever you may be. The final price has yet to be announced but I have been reassured that it will be extremely competitive, probably a lot less than a comparable C-Motion controller. It won’t initially come with motors but it has the industry standard motor interface so can be used with motors from Heden, Preston, M-One etc. It’s a great looking piece of kit that really feels built to last. I’m hoping to get hold of one for a full review and test drive in the near future. There are also some other interesting 3D products coming from Korea including some innovative transparent alignment charts! Watch this space.
Just a quick note to tell anyone interested in getting one of my Genus Hurricane 3D rigs, I am now selling them for £5,366.00 plus VAT. This includes a flight case. For more details please click here.
I shall be in LA with the Genus Hurricane Rig for Cinegear at the beginning of June. Then on June the 5th and 6th I am running a two day 3D workshop where you can gain full certified Hurricane Rig accreditation. The normal fee for the full two days is $500 USD however if you purchase a hurricane rig between now and then the course is free and you get the option to do the second day hurricane rig accreditation workshop again for free. If you just want to attend the first day and the intro to 3D workshop then you can attend for just $50. Make any purchases at Samy’s totalling $500 or more and the day is free. Lunch will be provided and it should be a lot of fun as well as an interesting insight into the world of S3D. See http://www.samys.com for more details.
The Genus Hurricane 3D rig, which I designed has picked up a Black Diamond Best of Show Award at NAB. I’m really amazed and flattered by this. We were presented with the award today, it really made my day… off for a celebration drink, so more later.
Just an update on the progress of my light weight, modular 3D mirror rig, the Genus Hurricane Rig. In many countries, including the USA and UK the rigs will be available through Manfrotto accredited dealers. To ensure the very highest quality of service and support I am assisting Genus and Manfrotto with a global dealer training programme. In most cases dealers will already have 3D knowledge, but in order to sell the rig they must attend one of our workshops and demonstrate a good understanding of 3D and the Hurricane Rig. The rig was on show on the Canon and Manfrotto booths at the recent BVE show in London where it attracted a large amount of interest. In the UK you will be able to order rigs directly from me via the hurricane-rig.com web site. The advantage of purchasing this way is that I will be able to ensure that the rig will meet your needs and provide after sales support and training if required.
I recently spent a few days in Singapore training the lecturers at Singapore Poly to use the Hurricane Rig. The polytechnic has purchased a rig as a teaching aid for stereoscopic 3D classes. They will be using it with an EX1R and EX3 as well as a convergent design Nano3D. This makes a really good light weight and low cost system. The Nano3D will output an anaglyph output so a conventional 2D monitor can be used on set to align the rig and for monitoring. This can be a big cost saver as 3D monitors are expensive items.
So here is my current set up. As you may know Genus are making the 3D rig that I designed, so I get to play with the latest Genus bits and pieces. This is my F3 with a pre-production universal riser and base plate. The base plate will fit most camcorders and incorporates mounts for a pair of 15mm rails. Up front I have a Genus Wide 4×4 matte box. I’m really pleased with this light weight matte box with added top flag, it is a good match for the Nikon DSLR lenses that I will be using and is much, much lighter than my old Petroff matte box. It fits lenses up to 105mm diameter so I will need a bigger matte box for many PL mount lenses (and bigger filters) perhaps I’ll get one of those nice TLS Raven Matte Boxes. For smaller lenses though the Genus 4×4 is really nice. Behind the matte box I have a Genus Superior follow focus. This is a silky smooth FF unit and on this lens it’s driving one of Genus’s clever flexible lens gears. This is a little bit like a hose clip, a thumb screw tightens it up so that it fastens snuggly around the lens. It will fit a much larger range of lenses than a traditional rigid lens gear. The lens in the pictures is a Tokina ATX-Pro 28-70mm parfocal zoom. This is a great lens, plenty sharp enough for HD video and it doesn’t telescope when you zoom. Breathing is minimal. To match the lens to the camera there is one of Mike Tappas (MTF) excellent Nikon to F3 adapters.
Underneath the lens I have a pair of hand grips from the Genus shoulder mount kit. The shoulder pad is right at the back behind the camera. For a little bit of extra convenience I have a Genus GAP adapter plate that allows me to use a quick release VCT-14 tripod plate.
The only thing left to sort is a loupe for the LCD screen. I’ve experimented with a Hoodman DSLR loupe that I have and this almost works. It doesn’t cover the full width of the LCD, but does allow me to use the LCD as a viewfinder when using this shoulder rig. I guess I need to get the Hoodman Hood Riser and Hood Strap to make the loupe fit the LCD correctly. I’ve read elsewhere that it does not fit the F3, but my experiments with the loupe alone suggests it will fit. Anyone else tried it yet? I’d rather go this route than getting a Cineroid viewfinder.
The tripod is a Manfrotto 509. This one of their new silky smooth “bridge” style heads. The 509 is a mid weight head with a pretty high payload capability, true fluid action and variable counter balance. I’m going do a separate write up on the tripod, it’s really rather good, especially considering the price!
My 3D rig will be available in many countries via Manfrotto from the 1st of March. Production has been in full swing for the last few weeks and we now have finished rigs in stock at the factory. In the UK rigs will be available from Manfrotto or from the Hurricane-Rig.com website (approx €6700 euros, £6000 GBP plus VAT, price TBC). In the USA select Manfrotto Dealers will be selling the rig for $7995 USD.
We are working on a range of add ons for the rig which include a motorisation kit that will add motorised Interaxial only, interaxial plus convergence as well as dual focus and zoom options. These will options will fit all Hurricane rigs so there is no need to wait for these options to become available. Pricing TBA, but it will be very competitive and you can pick and choose the modules that you need.
It is important to understand that no matter how much you slip and slide the clips from you cameras in the edit suite timeline to bring them into sync, if the images captured by the two cameras sensors are not in sync, you may have some big problems. Even if you press the record buttons on the cameras at exactly the same moment, they may not be running in sync. In the edit suite you can only adjust the sync by whole frames while the cameras may be running half a frame out and this can be impossible to correct in post production.
Remember that from the moment you turn a camera on it is capturing frames. When you press the record button the recording doesn’t start instantly, but at the start of the next full frame, so the synchronisation of the camera is dependant on when the camera was turned on and how long it takes to start working, not when you press the record button….. Unless you have Genlock, which overrides the cameras own internal clock and matches it to an external reference signal, forcing the camera to run in sync with the sync source which can be the second camera or a sync generator.
It is possible to shoot 3D with non-sync cameras, but any motion in the scene, or camera movement such as a pan may lead to strange stereoscopic effects including distortion of the 3D space, un wanted depth changes and moving objects appearing to float in front or behind where they should really be.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a non sync camera, just that it is less than ideal and it’s use will limit the kinds of shots you are able to do.
If you don’t have genlock a further option is to use a pair of Canon or Sony camcorders with LANC control. It is possible to get special LANC controllers such as LANC Shepherd or the controllers I have listed below:
These work with most camcorders that have a LANC port or AV/R port and provide good sync for periods of up to around 15 minutes at a time. To reset the sync the cameras must be powered off and back on. They work by synchronising the start up of both cameras and then measuring the sync error. The sync won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough for most 3D applications. However as there will always be slight variations in the master oscillators in the cameras, over time the sync will start to drift apart. The controller will tell you how far apart the sync is and when it becomes excessive you will need to re start the cameras to bring them back into sync, typically you get between 10 minutes and 20 minutes of useful synchronisation.
I have been asked to show how I mount my NanoFlash on my EX3 so below are a couple of pictures of the full rig with some details of some of the various items that I use.
1. This is my Petroff 4×4 matte box with bellows hood. I love the old fashioned style bellows lens shade as you can adjust it in and out very quickly to eliminate stray light. A french Flag can be added if desired, but I find in most cases that the bellows shade is fine. Stray light causes reflections both between filters and within the lens, this can reduce contrast in the image so a good lens hood is essential for getting the best pictures. The Matte Box has 2 rotating filter holders. I often use some very gentle blue or grey grads to help with bright skies.
2. The standard EX3 lens. This lens is a remarkably good lens. Keep it between F8 and F2.8 for best results. The sweet spot is F4. Never use the Iris at F16 or F11, your pictures will be soft due to diffraction limiting. This is not a lens fault but something that would happen with any lens and 1/2? sensors (it’s even worse with smaller sensors). The beauty of the standard EX lens is that it incorporates automatic chromatic aberration correction which means no nasty blue or purple fringes around areas of high contrast.
3. SxS Cards. Even though I was one of the first people to work out how to use low cost SD cards with the fabled Kennsington Adapter I still use SxS cards. The reason is simple: reliability. If you look around the forums you will find lots of people having issues with SD cards. For example a wedding videographer that lost a large part of a service he had shot. If he had used SxS then that just would not have happened. I am a professional and my reputation is vital. That reputation could easily be destroyed if I came back from a shoot with nothing but corrupt data because I had tried to cut corners.
4. Kata Camera Glove. Protects the camera from everyday knocks and bumps as well as unexpected rain or dust.
5. The Cheek Pad. I know many EX3 users don’t fit these. It looks flimsy, but in use it’s strong enough and it really helps to stop the cameras tendency to want to tilt to the left. It makes the camera much more stable and really is worth trying.
6. Convergent Design NanoFlash. This incredible little box allows me to record from the HDSDi output at upto 160Mb/s long Gop. At 100 Mb/s you can’t tell the compressed from the uncompressed. By shooting with this I can grade and color correct my footage, make dubs, go multi generation without seeing any drop in quality. It also means my footage is accepted for HD broadcast by the BBC and the majority of other HD broadcasters. The EX 35Mb footage is good, don’t get me wrong but the 100Mb is sweet. It uses inexpensive Compact Flash cards and by recording to both SxS and the Nano at the same time I can be sure that even if I were to get a card failure I have a backup.
7. IDX V-Lock batteries. One of these will run this rig for around 5 hours. I am also looking at getting some of the Swit EX batteries with the Power-Con/D-Tap out to run the EX and NanoFlash, but by putting the battery out behind the camera the overall balance of the rig is improved. In fact without this larger battery the matte box tends to make it very front heavy.
8. Quick release shoulder pad. This is a home brew affair that incorporates a shoulder pad the V-lock battery adapter and NanoFlash or Radio Mic mount. It can be removed without tools in seconds. Perhaps one day I will get some Zacuto rails or similar, but they are rather expensive and this setup works very well for me.
9. Sony ECM-680S. This is a nice Stereo/Mono switchable gun mic. It is great for capturing nice stereo ambience and effects sound. Flick the switch and it becomes a useful interview mic.
10. DM accessories EX3 reinforcement plate. This is a MUST HAVE item. It provides you with a much stronger tripod fixing with both 1/4? and 1/2? threads as well as a host of other threaded holes for various applications. It makes the camera feel so much more solid on a tripod. I really can’t recommend it enough. below this is a cheap, Indian made Matte Box rail kit. It works, but again I could really do with some Zacuto rails or similar.
11. Chamois leather viewfinder cover. Much nicer against your skin than hard rubber. Also absorbs sweat and moisture which helps prevent the viewfinder from fogging. Another option is a small sweat band.
Most Recent Posts
- Super Slow Motion 480fps Lightning.
- The Grand Canyon, shot with an FS700.
- Canon Launches new C100 AVCHD s35mm camcorder.
- Arizona Storm Shoot Update
- Convergent Design Gemini to Support 4K with the Canon C500.
- What not to pack!
- New Sony NEX-EA50EH shoulder mount 35mm camcorder. Power Zoom lens for FS100 and FS700
- SHort Film/Documentary Workshop in Arizona.
- A to Z Index
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- Alister’s Equipment Reviews A to Z.
- Alphatron EVF-035W Viewfinder Video Review.
- Atomos Samurai
- Camrade cb-single-iii camera bag.
- CamRade WS PMW F3 Rain Cover Review.
- Cineroid HDSDI EVF (EVF-4MSS) review.
- Juice Designs EX1R Baseplate.
- Manfrotto 509 Tripod Head
- NEX-FS700 In Depth Review.
- Review of the Sony PMW-200
- Sonnet QIO Review. Very, Very, Fast Offloads.
- Sonnet SDHC to SxS Camera Adapter.
- Sony FS100 and F3 Video Review
- Sony PVM-740 OLED monitor
- Tilta BS-TS03 Shoulder Mount Review
- Today3D FIZ controller. Focus, Zoom, Iris, Interaxial.
- Transvideo PMW-F3 replacement base assembly.
- Triad PL to E-Mount adapter.
- TVLogic WFM-056WP Monitor/Viewfinder
- Vinten 100 Tripod Review
- Shooting Tips
- Short Film Workshop
- Tech Notes.
- Training and Expeditions
- Ultimate Documentary Production Workshop
- Video Reviews
- Workshops and Training
- alisterchapman on 50 Megabits for the masses, the new Sony PMW-200.
- alisterchapman on The Grand Canyon, shot with an FS700.
- alisterchapman on Alphatron EVF-035W Video Review.
- alisterchapman on Uncompressed 240 fps possible with FS700 and Convergent Design Gemini. Tested!
- alisterchapman on Adaptimax Lens Mount Adapters for PMW-F3, Canon and Nikon.