by Olaf von Voss | 19th March 2016
You’ve got a shiny set of prime lenses or some of these massive zooms. Bravo! Now, let’s set these to work to your advantage. Let’s take a look at how to use focal lengths properly and then dive into the impact they can create for your audience. Understanding the concept of focal length in more detail than just knowing the numbers is essential when it comes to mastering the craft of filmmaking. Introduction to focal length The focal length of a given lens dictates what you’ll get from it in terms of the visual impact of the resulting imagery. Therefore, the choice should be well-founded. This post will not focus too much on giving a technical explanation of what is going on inside a lens, but about the impact that certain focal lengths will have on your audience and what filmmakers should keep in mind so that they can choose the “correct” focal length for their shots. A set of prime lenses. Samyang Cine DS 14mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm. What Focal Length does to the Image It’s really important to understand that different focal lengths will have very different effects on the overall aesthetics of captured images. As a simple rule of thumb, keep in mind that three effects are commonly considered most important: Depth of field Compression of space Three-dimensional feel of the resulting two-dimensional image When opting for a longer lens, an 85mm or 135mm for example, the depth of field will decrease—the focal plane that objects will appear in focus narrows. Of course, there’s another factor which affects the depth of field: a wide open iris will decrease the depth of field, whilst a nearly closed iris will increase it. A longer lens will also compress the space. That is to say that objects in the background will appear much bigger and closer than they actually are. This compression of space caused by a longer lens will also affect the three-dimensional feel. The resulting image will look somewhat flat. As you watch a two-dimensional screen, it is important to understand the impact that your choice of lens will have in terms of creating a three-dimensional look and feel to your footage. Different focal lengths and their impact on the resulting image. The examples above show the exact same framing (well, almost) on the foreground object—in this case, a lovely plushie—yet all six images differ greatly in terms of background compression, depth of field, and even distortion. For this series of stills, I moved the camera in with every lens used; the position of the plushie and the distance from the background remained the same throughout. Using the 135mm lens, the sensor plane of the camera was 155cm (61 inches) away from the object. When I put on the 14mm lens, the sensor plane was a mere 23cm (9 inches) from it. The dartboard in the background looks fairly massive when shot with a 135mm lens, making the resulting image look very two-dimensional—as if the plushie is located immediately in front of the board. Meanwhile, in the 14mm wide angle lens image, you can’t even see the dartboard—it is completely covered by the plushie (which looks slightly distorted itself). The background in general, however, looks further away and adds a feeling of more space to the scene. The same series of images but this time without moving in of the camera To further clarify the impact of focal length, the camera doesn’t move as the lenses are changed in the above examples. The effect that lens choice has on depth of field is clearly visible—while the background blurs away on the 135mm, the texture of the wall and the dartboard are almost in focus on the 35mm image. A Point to Note All of the images above were created using Samyang Cine DS glass. While that is not a bad thing, it certainly isn’t the benchmark either. You can quite clearly see the vignetting on the 14mm. Different lens manufacturers have different approaches and ideas on how to make decent lenses. They are shipped at different price points, produce different quality images, and often bring their own unique look to resulting footage. I guess that what I am trying to say is that there’s a fourth point to add to this article: look. In the end, though, every choice made in filmmaking comes down to budget, taste, or a combination of the two. Focal Length Conclusion So, there you have it! There is a very good reason for the existence of the many focal lengths out there; use them wisely. Throwing on a 35mm lens and moving the camera closer to your subject is not the same as using your 85mm lens, which is unfortunate if you’ve left your 85mm at home! There should always be a logical reason behind your lens choice for each particular shot. By being aware of the effects that your lens will have on the resulting imagery, you can set yourself up for success with the knowledge of which focal length will compliment your creative work at any given moment.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 12th May 2015
SlimRAW is a new app that lets you compress cinemaDNG files quickly and helps you save disk space. It works with Canon 5D mark III RAW footage as well as other RAW cameras like the Blackmagic cameras, Digital Bolex or Sony FS7. Remember the days when we shot RAW on the Canon 5D mark III? These days are not over and many people still use the Canon DSLR’s as RAW shooting machines with the Magic Lantern hack. We have an up to date guide on how to achieve this. SlimRAW takes a folder with cinemaDNG or regular DNG files and converts them in seconds. This saves you a ton of space. In our test the resulting files were reduced to 37.8% of the original size. We tested this with a 1 minute 5D mark III RAW sequence on a Mac Pro (quad) and it took 17 seconds to process. Workflow with 5D RAW: Shoot RAW with your camera. We created MLV files with our 5D mark III as per our tutorial. Convert the MLV files to cinemaDNG with the RAWmagic app (yes, the usable full version costs money) [UPDATE]: Apparently as of a few days ago, the newly updated RAWmagic app has lossless cinemaDNG output also. Choose the folder containing the cinemaDNG files as source and target folder. (This will overwrite the old files) We selected “overwrite” and “Premiere CC compatibility” and clicked “Start Job”. Imported the resulting cinemaDNG sequence in Premiere CC via the “Media Browser” tab. That’s it. Start editing and grading your losslessly compressed files natively. Since the firmware updates of the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras that now support losslessly compressed internal RAW recording, the app might not be so efficient for those cameras, but SlimRAW says that “slimRAW will generally achieve a bit better compression ratios since it is not limited by in-camera processing.”. The SlimRAW app costs $39 and is available here: www.slimraw.com Compress cinemaDNG with the following supported cameras: Digital Bolex D16 Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera (pre-firmware 2.1) Canon DSLR Magic Lantern raw (converted to CinemaDNG/DNG) Sony FS700/FS7 raw recorded through Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q/7Q+ Ikonoskop A-Cam dII Kinefinity KineMINI 4K, KineMAX 6K, KineRAW Indiecam indieGS2K and indiePOV (uncompressed 12-bit CinemaDNG video as exported by Indiecam Instant-RAW software) uncompressed DNG frame stacks from Fastec Imaging TS and HiSpec series cameras (10-bit in a 16-bit container and 8-bit) most other standard compliant uncompressed 8-, 12-, 14- or 16-bit CinemaDNG footage.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 18th September 2014
China based camera manufacturer Kinefinity is known for their very affordable RAW shooting cameras that were released earlier this year. Now they introduced a new codec that improves storage space by 3x. Kinefinity has created a lot of headlines for their very affordable 4K KineMINI camera and the 6K KineMAX that is to arrive next. We notice that Kinefinity is still working on improving the camera firmware and eco system around it. The introduction of their proprietary KineRAW codec and the continued improvement of the internal color matrix is just another step in making their cameras more accessible to filmmakers. Previously users could only record uncompressed DNG files in camera, the KineRAW codec promises a 3:1 compression without loss of quality. The new codec will be available soon. For more information check out their website: www.kinefinity.tv image via newsshooterRead more
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