Archive for May, 2015

DLC MB-3 Matte Box added to GH4 system

Posted in Photojournalism, Reviews, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2015 by William Hooks
DSCN2168

One of the 2 included cowls is shown, interposed between lens and matte box to eliminate stray light

DSCN2178

Here 3 of the 4 provided flags are added to further eliminate stray light from the front of the rig

DSCN2179

The series-stacked filter holders are seen at the rear of the matte box; these are spring loaded, making for secure and easy use of glass or resin filters

DSCN2170 DSCN2171 This matte box is very inexpensive for its construction quality and feature set, lightweight, and flexible in use: the flags are optional as well as the light-protective cowls between the lens and box, and the filters can be rotated within their holders just as on my larger all-metal Benro matte box. I got mine for $140 at Samys Pasadena, CA.

I also configured a shoulder rig from additional components including an offset rail system, and can run the GH4 and one other item such as an on -camera LED light from P-taps on large Li ion batteries. I use a Switronix power cable to connect the camera.

This option provides additional power to run the camera where there’s no AC outlet available, and because the Switronix battery has USB out it’s convenient to run my Zoom H6 audio recorder from there.

One version of shoulder rig using JAG35V2 handles

One version of shoulder rig using JAG35V2 handles

Highly recommended - Switronix XP-L90S V mount battery

Highly recommended – Switronix XP-L90S V mount battery

Battery on rear V-plate attached to the rig via 15mm rods

Battery on rear V-plate attached to the rig via 15mm rods

Full cinema rig configuration with HDMI monitor, whip/follow focus, Zoom H6, AudioTechnica wireless lav system and rear brick battery with D -taps to camera, light, DAR or monitor

Full cinema rig configuration with HDMI monitor, whip/follow focus, Zoom H6, AudioTechnica wireless lav system and rear brick battery with D -taps to camera, light, DAR or monitor

DSCN2195

with 35mm T1.5 Rokinon EF cine lens

with 35mm T1.5 Rokinon EF cine lens

Advertisements

First event covered with Panasonic GH4: downtown Los Angeles/ protest at Nestle’ North American HQ

Posted in Captain's Personal Log with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by William Hooks
GH4 w 17mm f/1.7 Lumix-Summicron AF lens, Zoom H6 DAR and hypercardioid shotgun microphone; JAG 35 tripod baseplate, CF rods and top handle

GH4 w 15mm f/1.7 Lumix-Summicron AF lens, Zoom H6 DAR and hypercardioid shotgun microphone; JAG 35 tripod baseplate, CF rods and top handle

full cinema rig setup on tripod

full cinema rig setup on tripod

side view of cinema rig with GH4

side view of cinema rig with GH4

GH4, cage, part of JAG 35 top handle assembly

GH4, cage, part of JAG 35 top handle assembly

50mm f/1.4 EF with Metabones Speed Booster, 77mm VND filter on 58->77 adapter ring

50mm f/1.4 EF with Metabones Speed Booster, 77mm VND filter on 58->77 adapter ring

rear view of GH4 in cage with attachment points and follow focus visible

rear view of GH4 in cage with attachment points and follow focus visible

top view of assembled baseplate -rods- follow focus setup

top view of assembled baseplate -rods- follow focus setup

audio field gear centered around Zoom H6 digital audio recorder

audio field gear centered around Zoom H6 digital audio recorder

Shot using Cine-D profile at 4K UHD/30, Auto white balance,on a monopod with available light.

I find this setup to be fast and easy to use, stable, and highly functional. The H6 was used as the primary preamp for audio and I minimized the internal preamp of the GH4- excellent audio performance in a difficult noisy setting with adjacent traffic and due to crowds, electronic megaphones. Audio Technica headphones were added for monitoring.

The camera is within a custom cage, attached to JAG 35 components on its center cold shoe for secure carrying and linking to a monopod baseplate. This system is much more compact and lighter than a comparable rig using a DSLR, such as a 5D Mark III. It also allows optional use of a 5″ HDMI monitor, with a micro-HDMI port protector built into the cage.

After reintroducing some contrast in post, I was very satisfied with the files. Wish I still had that rental 12-35mm f/2.8 Lumix AF lens, zooms are so useful for events and other fast action.

First followup review of Panasonic GH4 DSLM camera

Posted in backpacking, Captain's Personal Log, Photography, Photojournalism, Reviews, Travel, ultralight techniques, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2015 by William Hooks

These are my observations after using the camera for a few weeks.

First, I found that operating the nonprotruding video actuation button was not optimal and ended up adding a $10 Vello 2 ft wired remote. This also allows use of very slow shutter speeds and facilitates macro imaging, and I use it for interviews so that I can stay where I’m interacting with the subject- the same as I already do with my H6 Zoom audio recorder.

With a 64GB U3 rated card I’m getting more than 80 minutes per clip at 4K resolution. No more interruptions to reset the camera for interviews…..

Second, after renting the 18-35mm f/1.8 EF Sigma I think this lens will be excellent for general use especially on a rig with follow focus, but too large and heavy for backpacking and [currently] doesn’t support AF; so I will most likely buy the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 eventually, and continue to rent this optic.

Third, I’ve settled on Custom settings for the main 3 dial positions= C1 for 4K DCI/24 ‘Cinematic’, C2 for 4K UHD/30 ‘Broadcast’, and C3-1/ C3-2/C3-3 for ‘highest quality ‘ 1080/60 moderate slow motion, ‘smoothest’ 1080/96 slow motion, and 1080/12 undercranked fast motion. NOTE: this camera allows 1080p in slow-motion 96 FPS whether in 30 or 24 cinema modes.

Fourth, as a walkaround lens I ‘m using the Pana/Zeiss Summicron 15mm f/1.7 – a tiny, ultralight lens simulating 30mm perspective in full frame terms. Sharp, easy to maintain relatively great DOF (nice for rapid event action), beautifully integrated with the camera’s capability, easy to carry long distances, and wide without distortion.

Fifth, the Metabones EF to MFT Speedbooster will be a keeper for me as I have 2 Canon FF lenses and it opens the entire Cine and still collection to the camera, as well as lenses from Rokinon /Zeiss/ Olympus/Voigtlander in particular. The ‘free’ additional stop from the adapter has been very welcome in keeping the ISO settings in the optimal range. I find that linking the baseplate/rail system onto the removable Metabones tripod mount provides the clearance I need for attaching the Rokinon 14mm T3.1 and 35mm T1.5 lenses, which have large front elements.

An added bonus is that as long as the adapter is attached, the camera sensor is completely shielded from damage while changing lenses.

Sixth, I’ve evolved a minirig for ENG and light EFP use consisting of an aluminum form-fitting cage, JAG 35 top handle/tripod base plate,carbon fiber 15mm rods, and RedRock Micro spuds/attachment points.

I will be using a $12 basic Nikon F to MFT adapter for AI-S Nikkors for the immediate future, and rent the F/G to MFT Speedbooster when needed.