With Guest Filmmaker, Director, Stefan Glidden
Larry Jordan: Hi. This is Larry Jordan. Welcome to another edition of HDFilmtools.com. Today we’re going to be looking at the Redrock Micro M2 Cinema Lens Adapter.
I’m here with my good friend, filmmaker Stefan Glidden, who’s gonna give us an overview of the product. Stefan, thanks for being with us. How long have you been using the Redrock adaptor?
Stefan Glidden: I’ve been using this for about a year now.
Larry Jordan: And what kind of shoots do you use it on?
Stefan Glidden: Well, I’m a director and I use this for my music videos. I use this on anything where I’m using studio lighting where I’m, you know, getting set up.
Larry Jordan: And what brought you to it? I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. What does it do?
Stefan Glidden: Well, I heard about it because I knew that I wanted my projects to look a lot better than they did. Video looked flat. I was using HVX or the Sonys for music videos. There was something missing, so I started investigating and I started looking up what the big issue was. Why can’t I get what I want out of just a video camera? And the thing that kept coming up was depth of field. That if I wanted the quality of image that I was going for, I needed to use 35mm lenses in front of the camera. And the product that I started hearing a lot about and started getting really great reviews was the M2.
So, I saw some clips on it. And for what it did, and the price, and just the ease of using it, I went with the M2 and there’s; I wouldn’t go any other way. It really makes the difference between, you know, people take a look at it and say, “Oh, you shot that on a video camera,” versus, “Jeez, that looks really, really good.”
Larry Jordan: Why can’t you get that depth of field out of a stationary video lens?
Stefan Glidden: Well, there’s a couple of factors involved with that, but probably the biggest one is the size of the chip in the video camera. Because the cost of making the chips are so expensive. A chip is much, much smaller than the size of a frame of 35mm film. And that’s the equivalent of shooting at an extremely high aperture. The higher your aperture, the more depth of field you have. The wider range of acceptable focus there’s gonna be.
And so when you’re shooting on such a small chip, it’s like you’re shooting at like an f/64. Everything’s gonna be in focus. So what the Redrock does is by letting you use 35mm lenses in front of your camera, you’re combining the focal length of the camera’s lens with the focal length of the 35mm lens, and the longer the focus length, the shorter the depth of field.
Larry Jordan: OK, we’ve got an HVX200 set up with the Redrock adaptor. Walk us through the pieces. Tell us what everything is.
Stefan Glidden: Well, from front to back, this here is just a Canon 35mm FD lens. This is what they used to use on Canon still cameras.
Larry Jordan: Sure.
Stefan Glidden: And you’ve got; this right here, this little ring, that’s the mount. And they come in different mounts. You can get a Canon. You can get Nikon. They have the Canon EOS for the newer lenses. All the way up to PL mounts.
Larry Jordan: Arriflex PL mounts.
Stefan Glidden: Yep. You can do Arriflex. I think Zeiss works on that. Panavison has its own propriety mount. But, yeah, you can do professional lenses on this thing and that makes a huge difference.
Larry Jordan: Wow. Great.
Stefan Glidden: And then this is the actual adaptor. In here is the Cinescreen, which the image is focused on. It houses the battery as well, because the screen spins. Otherwise you’d see the grain on it. So there’s a battery that keeps it at a constant speed. And then this piece right here, this doesn’t come with the regular kit. This is the MicroX, the flip adaptor.
The way the optics work is when the light comes in, it flips the image. And so if you don’t have this piece, your image is upside down. So you’d either need to have a camera that can flip or a monitor that can flip or some way that you can see the image.
Larry Jordan: Do it in post-production.
Stefan Glidden: Well, in post, yeah; but when you’re shooting…
Larry Jordan: You don’t want to be looking at it upside down.
Stefan Glidden: Yeah. You need to see it the right way. So, Redrock came out with this awesome tool. It’s the MicroX flip adaptor. And that takes that step out of post-production and it takes that step out of your shoot.
Larry Jordan: Very cool.
Stefan Glidden: Then we have the HD achromat, which is another sort of like magnifying lens that goes on the camera. And then some of the hard mount. And then the rest is the HVX. And with the original Redrock package it comes with the plate and the mount and then the rails to mount the Redrock on.
Larry Jordan: OK. So, tell me some of the things that I might need to be aware of when shooting with the Redrock adaptor.
Stefan Glidden: Well, the number one thing is the back focus. You need to make sure that your back focus is set properly. And that whoever’s operating the camera, whoever’s around the camera, doesn’t bump it. Because the slightest little nudge bumps it off and you’re gonna have blurry footage. So, you’ve got to make sure that you know where your back focus is and you’re not screwing with it.
Larry Jordan: Right, but if your back focus is off, it will be reflected if you have an external monitor, correct?
Stefan Glidden: Yeah. You can see. And that’s one of the big things is you need to use an external monitor in order to get focused but also to make sure that you’re getting what you want. Because you can see it in the little camera monitor, but it really pays to get something bigger.
Larry Jordan: And you have the Marshall?
Stefan Glidden: I have a Marshall 7-inch HD monitor.
Larry Jordan: Works well?
Stefan Glidden: Fantastic.
Larry Jordan: Great. Affordable?
Stefan Glidden: Well, kinda.
Larry Jordan: What about vignetting?
Stefan Glidden: Well, that’s another issue when you need to make sure that your zoom is set properly so that you’re not getting any of the shadows from the screen or any part of the Cinescreen.
And one really helpful thing is on the HVX, it has numbers. You know, it has a number value for your zoom and a number value for your focus. And it helps, like, for the MicroX my numbers were 1776, so it was easy to always remember. And right now I think it’s 8585. And so I just remember those numbers and I look at it and I go, “Yeah. I’m right. I know right where I am.”
Larry Jordan: Great. OK, so I understand you also have to watch out for a little bit of light loss through the adaptor.
Stefan Glidden: Um-hmm. You know, you’ve got all this machinery between your image and your camera, so you do lose some light. When you’re shooting inside you really need to have, unless you’re in direct sunlight, you’ve got to have some lighting.
Larry Jordan: That’s pretty normal for making a film anyway.
Stefan Glidden: Yeah. I mean, if you’re using a bigger camera, there’s also, if you’re shooting film you’re going to need more light, so really it makes your production value go up. But that also means you do need a bit more production and you’ve got to have light; you’ve got to do it a little bit more real.
Larry Jordan: Right. OK. We’re going to take a break and we’re going to come back with Part II where Stefan’s going to show us how to assemble, calibrate, and give us an example of what the Redrock can do.
Lawrence Jordan, A.C.E. is a pioneer in the field of creating dynamic media using a variety of digital tools. In 1991 he worked on the first long-format project in Hollywood to be edited digitally using the Avid Media Composer. After consulting with Macromedia and Apple on Final Cut Pro, in 1999 he created 2-pop – The Final Cut Pro & DV Information Site. He now runs JODADA, a digital media strategy and consulting firm and publishes Hollywood Reinvented The Network for Digital Filmmakers, and one of the first sites to webcast HD video as its primary content. He is currently writing a new book, Web Video Mojo You can reach him at: lj (at) jodada.com.
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