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Revolution Lens & Miniatures

Published : 24th October 2003


I'm shooting a commercial next week with the Revolution Lens system, which will be the first time I've used it. To those who have experience with it, is there any disadvantage to using the lenses that come with it ? Would it be better to get a separate set of primes ? It has a PL mount. With it's own lenses, would it be possible to attach a clip-on matte box ?

Here's the main question though. We're shooting a miniature set of a large junkyard. This will be full of toy cars, the Matchbox / Hot Wheels size, about 1/60th scale as far as I can guess. The director wants it to be slightly unreal, these cars will no way pass for the real thing. Anyway, in all other respects it should look as realistic as possible. The set will be about 30' x 20' and we'll be slowly tracking along the side of it and ending on a small building. Nothing on the set will be moving, only the camera. I had been planning to over crank it, and while looking up the archives, came across a formula posted by Wade Ramsey. Basically the square root of the scale of the model is multiplied by 24 and this gives you your theoretical shooting speed. If I apply it to 1/60th scale, I get a square root around 7.75 and end up at 186 fps. Not going to happen with the Arri 3 I'll be shooting on.

Any suggestions at what speed to shoot this? It's primarily a cinema commercial so post production trickery should be at a minimum. The shot should take about 25 seconds to track the length of the model set. I had thought of shooting at 48 fps for smoothness, and doubling the speed of the dolly. Would there be a benefit to shooting with a 90 degree shutter or 45 degree shutter ?

Just thinking now, I may have to persuade the director to shorten the length of the move, to prevent strobing.

Thanks for any advice,

Larry Manly
DP
Ireland



>Nothing on the set will be moving, only the camera. I had been >planning to over crank it

There's no reason to over crank a shot of a static miniature, since nothing's moving in-frame that needs to be given a sense of mass & scale (like water flowing or an explosion or dust flying up, etc.). In fact, often this sort of thing is done with a (very smooth & slow-moving) motion control camera UNDER-cranking in order to allow the lens to be stopped down to increase depth-of-field.

David Mullen
Cinematographer / L.A.



I LOVE the revolution system!

I have used both the mini-PL primes which come with the package as well as using my own Cookes on the revolution...I think the mini-PLs are pretty good, I did notice a bit of lower contrast on the 9.8mm mini-PL, but overall they seemed to match, at least as well as the telecine displayed.

Sounds like you are doing a film finish...does that mean direct printing or a telecine session which is eventually scanned back to film?

Cheers,
Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.
http://www.barklage.com



David,

>There's no reason to over crank a shot of a static miniature, since >nothing's moving in-frame that needs to be given a sense of mass & >scale

I agree....to some degree, but I've had situations where I find I can shoot static action with only camera moves quite a bit more graceful if I over crank...40 fps is a favourite speed for me, just enough to take the edge off, give it a bit of grace and stay within a safe frame-rate, it really helps the camera operating.

I believe this will also even out any small dolly dilemmas...seems to work pretty good. Of course you have to sit down with the script clerk and try to explain the 66% time-shift.

Always a great way to screw up a too short crew lunch!

Cheers,
Jeff Barklage, s.o.c.



Formulas are great...provided you use them to answer the right questions

As David has pointed out, if there is no movement within the scene (other than your camera movement) there is no reason to over crank. What you WILL have to do, however, is build up a fat enough stop so that the depth of field looks realistic.

Think of it this way :

If you are a 5 feet from a car then usually the whole scene including the car can be in focus. That means that if your car is 1/60th scale, you would have to hold focus from 1 inch on (since 1 inch is 5 feet at 1/60th scale. This is just a mathematically easy example, you will have to do the math yourself based on what is in your scene. Depending on what the camera move is, you may well want to use motion control to move the camera so you can work at slow enough exposures to get you the depth of field that you need.

Re : the revolution :

One advantage of the small diameter lenses that come with it is the ability to get closer to the "ground" of your junkyard.

Mark H. Weingartner
Lighting and VFX for Motion Pictures



Mark Weingartner wrote :

>Depending on what the camera move is, you may well want to use >motion control to move the camera so you can work at slow enough >exposures to get you the depth of field that you need.

Everything Mark said AND think about scaling your move to a believable travel distance in the frame count. Imagine your grip crew running at full chat for 240 feet in 30 seconds. That's a mere 4 foot move at the 1/60th scale.

Should I mention nodal?

>Re: the revolution :
>One advantage of the small diameter lenses that come with it is the >ability to get closer to the "ground" of your junkyard


You tell 'em Mark!

Eric Swenson
VizFxDp On-Set Super

http://www.rbfx.com