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    Originally posted by ahalpert View Post

    Would that be the Alexa LF, Alexa Mini LF, or the Alexa 65? The 65 is only available to rent, not to purchase. As is everything from Panavision, if I'm not mistaken. And there are a half-dozen or so versions of the original Alexa, I think...
    I referenced Michael Ballhaus. He is now deceased. He shot on film.
    Mitch Gross
    Prolycht Lighting
    NYC

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      Originally posted by Mitch Gross View Post

      I referenced Michael Ballhaus. He is now deceased. He shot on film.
      No, I got that. But I meant that, applying the principle to today's technology, I'm not sure what it would even refer to. Even among film cameras, which I know far less about, they had different models for different purposes, each of which was the latest and greatest of its type
      www.VideoAbe.com

      "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

      Comment


        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post

        No, I got that. But I meant that, applying the principle to today's technology, I'm not sure what it would even refer to. Even among film cameras, which I know far less about, they had different models for different purposes, each of which was the latest and greatest of its type
        The thing that is hard to grasp for those who came up on digital was that a 50 year old film camera could produce exactly the same footage as the latest to roll off the assembly line. The differences were largely in ergonomics/weight, quietness, and eventually electronic features (for programming shutter pulls/speed ramps and the like). Sadly we got to such a great place with the last generation of film cameras before everything went to crap for five years with the early S35 sensor cameras.

        Charles Papert
        charlespapert.com

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          And to continue what Charles was saying, Michael Ballhaus owned pretty much at least one of everything ARRI, because they always JUST WORKED for him with sensible design and controls. And in the digital age it is much the same, as I can assure you that as the guy who used to sell 'em, many DPs purchased Alexas and often multiple models for whatever work they were doing. And then they didn't have to think about the things again because the cameras were incredibly consistent, straightforward to use and delivered pretty much what the DP wanted with minimal fuss.

          To bring this back around to lenses, wanna know why Roger Deakins likes the Master Primes so much? Because they're functionally invisible to him. He feels that they're like looking through a clear window, which means he can rely on his own eyes and his lighting to shape the image. And in the end I think that's the most sensible answer to 10 pages of posts on this topic: the best lens choice is the one that doesn't get in your way.
          Mitch Gross
          Prolycht Lighting
          NYC

          Comment


            Originally posted by CharlesPapert View Post

            The thing that is hard to grasp for those who came up on digital was that a 50 year old film camera could produce exactly the same footage as the latest to roll off the assembly line. The differences were largely in ergonomics/weight, quietness, and eventually electronic features (for programming shutter pulls/speed ramps and the like). Sadly we got to such a great place with the last generation of film cameras before everything went to crap for five years with the early S35 sensor cameras.
            I understand that the film stock was the key ingredient of the process and that it would be impossible to tell which camera had been used to film it. Therefore it seems less limiting to me to always shoot with the same film camera versus always shooting with the same digital camera. But even with film cameras, I know that there were large, full-studio rigs and there were small, lightweight cameras meant for shoulder-mounting. There were probably smaller full-studio rigs as well. And if you wanted a very high framerate, you might need a specialty camera
            www.VideoAbe.com

            "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

            Comment


              Originally posted by Mitch Gross View Post
              And to continue what Charles was saying, Michael Ballhaus owned pretty much at least one of everything ARRI, because they always JUST WORKED for him with sensible design and controls. And in the digital age it is much the same, as I can assure you that as the guy who used to sell 'em, many DPs purchased Alexas and often multiple models for whatever work they were doing.
              Right, but Deakins and Chivo used 2 or 3 different models of Alexa on each of the projects I mentioned, including the 65 which can't be purchased. It's totally plausible to me that they could own one model and rent that to production on top of what they bring in from a rental house. But I doubt they could own all the kit they use each time. Re: lenses, it seems much more feasible for them to supply the lens kit if they use Master Primes 80% of the time for 5+ years.

              To bring this back around to lenses, wanna know why Roger Deakins likes the Master Primes so much? Because they're functionally invisible to him. He feels that they're like looking through a clear window, which means he can rely on his own eyes and his lighting to shape the image.
              I disagree with the 'clear window' notion a bit, because I have numerous lenses that exhibit less glare or halos or whatever than my eyes do when looking into a blinding backlight. I could get a better idea of what the scene looked like by taking a picture of it and looking at the picture than by looking at it in person. Which is why I think there's something natural about flare/veiling flare. That's not to say that it's always desirable.

              Similarly, they say that "the camera adds 10 pounds." My Sony GM 24mm has a useful distortion profile (which I'm sure is not unique). It's quite square around the periphery and has modest pincushion distortion in the center. The result is that I can move in relatively close on a subject, and the distortion flatters them. (Especially compared to the barrel distortion common with wide angles, including every midrange zoom I've ever owned.) So, what is more like looking through a clear window - the lens that shows you reality as you felt it? Or a distortion-free lens that adds 10 pounds?

              And in the end I think that's the most sensible answer to 10 pages of posts on this topic: the best lens choice is the one that doesn't get in your way.
              I agree with that formulation. Deakins doesn't want to use a lens that will call attention to itself (with a strong flare) or create some ugliness that causes you to reframe or reblock (say, when your subject is close to camera at the corner of a wide-angle shot). That's why I use straightforward lenses. They never make me change my game plan.

              But there are many times when I'm shooting with such a lens and then encounter a specific shot where I wished I was on a dirtier or more idiosyncratic lens just for that shot. With enough time and/or support, I'd gladly swing lenses to make that happen.

              AF also complicates your statement because it can do amazing things for me down in the land of no-focus puller. But AF lenses are typically never as good for MF. Can't have it all
              www.VideoAbe.com

              "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

              Comment


                Originally posted by Mitch Gross View Post

                To bring this back around to lenses, wanna know why Roger Deakins likes the Master Primes so much? Because they're functionally invisible to him. He feels that they're like looking through a clear window, which means he can rely on his own eyes and his lighting to shape the image. And in the end I think that's the most sensible answer to 10 pages of posts on this topic: the best lens choice is the one that doesn't get in your way.
                I bet he doesn't own them...
                "There is nothing permanent except change."
                Heraclitus

                www.liamhall.net
                TWITTER: @WordsbyLiam
                INSTAGRAM: @picsbyliam

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                  Originally posted by Liam Hall View Post

                  I bet he doesn't own them...
                  When I worked with him, they were a specific handpicked set that lived at a rental house on permanent hold only for his use.
                  Charles Papert
                  charlespapert.com

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by CharlesPapert View Post

                    When I worked with him, they were a specific handpicked set that lived at a rental house on permanent hold only for his use.
                    When did you work with him? Does the rental house hold them for him owing to his prestige or does he need to pay for that? And i imagine he handpicked them to find the cream of the crop?
                    www.VideoAbe.com

                    "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

                    Comment


                      I don't know if this is relevant to any particular discussion point we're having in this thread, but I've just faced a little cine-lens selection crisis on the series I've just started, so I figure I'll share it anyway.

                      So I'm currently in Kuwait, having just started on an 8-episode Arabic period drama over here (as you do...). And the industry here is small, so gear availability and selection is pretty limited (our whole camera + lighting package is coming from a single supplier). And for lenses, I had three options to choose from, Master Primes, Ultra Primes and Mini S4s (given the pace of our schedule, I would probably have preferred zooms, but that's not an option here).

                      Now because this is a period drama (about the Souk al-Manakh crash - a really fascinating piece of history) and our budget for digital set extensions/street replacements etc. is limited; what I call "subtractive cinematography" is going to be pretty essential to framing this series up. That means using a lot of shallow depth of field, and longer lenses to frame-out or blur-out period-innappropriate elements (of which there are a lot here, as the series is set in 1980, and Kuwait has changed immensely since then).

                      This ruled out the Mini S4s (which are lenses I like very much) for their slower T/2.8 aperture, but left me with a conundrum chosing between the Masters and the Ultras.

                      The Master set was 18mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 135mm (the 25mm is currently in Germany being repaired), and the Ultras 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm. Now this is painful on multiple fronts. On the wide-angle end, an 18mm is a much more useful day-to-day lens to me than a 16mm, because the perspective distortion is significantly lower, so I can use an 18mm far more frequently. But in tight locations (and our whole series is being shot on practical locations) 18mm isn't always going to be wide-enough.

                      Then on the long-lens front, our director really likes extreme close-ups, and between that requirement, and the need to use long-lens for our wide-shots outdoors (to frame out period-inappropriate elements), the 135mm of the Master set would really come in handy.

                      Having T/1.3 on the Masters would also be really helpful for blurring out things we can't have the audience see, and for any low-light work (I have a 3-tonne lighting truck on this one, but it's an old-fashioned package, 4k/2.5k/1.8k HMIs, then a few tungsten heads, and flourescent Kinoflos - so I have a bit less control/speed than I would with LEDs). Also, with the expectation of doing so much work close to wide-open on the aperture, having the optical performance of the Masters would be another boon there too.

                      BUT... missing that 25mm is a massive issue. We tried to get them to sub-in a 24mm from the Ultra set, or even the 24mm from the Mini S4 set, but the supplier wouldn't budge. So ultimately, I had no choice but to settle on the Ultras instead.

                      Now Ultra Primes are fine, good-looking lens. But those compromises of a more limited-use wide-angle lens, and a more limited-range telephoto lens were a hard hit to take from a functional perspective.

                      That said, the tighter grouping of focal lengths with the Ultra set is helpful for us, for any cross-coverage we shoot with both cameras rolling (I have a Mini and a regular Alexa, and we only have the one lens set between them).

                      So there's all sorts of considerations that go into these decisions, and the answers are never necessarily clear cut - choosing the advantages of one set, might cost you something in another area.
                      DREAMSMITHS | SHOWREEL | INSTAGRAM
                      www.dreamsmiths.com.au

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post

                        When did you work with him? Does the rental house hold them for him owing to his prestige or does he need to pay for that? And i imagine he handpicked them to find the cream of the crop?
                        Between 2000 and 2007, on various movies. Rental house held for him (and I would imagine still does). And yes I believe handpicked.

                        I am sad that I have no good BTS stills from any of those projects. The only one I've ever seen was this from "In the Valley of Elah" where I'm mostly buried behind Charlize and I would guess, recovering from a very intense Steadicam shot pulling her through the doorway at high speed. At one point on that show Roger and I were side by side with duelling handheld Arricams--there's a pic I certainly wish I had!

                        image_129463.jpg
                        Last edited by CharlesPapert; 01-14-2022, 03:15 AM.
                        Charles Papert
                        charlespapert.com

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                          BTS pic is funny - I worked from 1998 to 2010 or something with two photographers in an office - I don’t think we have one frame which is actually a shame - constant phone fiddling is the other extreme and also a shame
                          http://www.sammorganmoore.com View my feature Film

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                            I'm very glad to say I have no BTS pictures from all the years I worked in rock-n-roll:-)
                            "There is nothing permanent except change."
                            Heraclitus

                            www.liamhall.net
                            TWITTER: @WordsbyLiam
                            INSTAGRAM: @picsbyliam

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                              even if you had the full shakin stevens going down its historically nice to have a record
                              http://www.sammorganmoore.com View my feature Film

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