Bloom in the desert
July 26, 2008 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Very nice High definition video from Phillip Bloom music is "28 Ghosts IV" by Nine Inch Nails. Deer Vegas music is Deer Stop" by Goldfrapp

lots more shorts at these links along with info about the 35mm adapters used to make these videos.
posted by hortense (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
goldfrap is a real band? i always thought it was a band made up by the writer of Hard Candy to serve as some quintessential stupid teenager/pedophile rock band.
posted by shmegegge at 12:08 AM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

The two examples that you link to feel soulless to me. There are a couple of pretty shots, sure, but all in all they both just seem so full of disdain for the people that were captured in the lens. I dunno, maybe I'm just grumpy on a lazy Sunday morning, but they left me feeling rather empty. Also the typography in the Death Valley link made me angry. I'm probably missing the point though...grumble.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 12:39 AM on July 27, 2008

I enjoyed the Death Valley video, hortense. I sensed no disdain for the people. The unmoving camera somehow helps communicate a strong sense of place.
posted by longsleeves at 1:13 AM on July 27, 2008

The Death Valley footage would have been more effective as an HD demo with better depth of field control. Not much point in displaying large parts of scenes out of focus in HD.
posted by paulsc at 1:46 AM on July 27, 2008

That is pretty amazing.

For those who aren't camera nerds, he is shooting this on digital, on a $5k HD camera, with a Letus Extreme, a lens adapter that lets you use a 35mm film lens. What this provides is a very shallow depth of focus that has been, until recently, extremely hard to do with video.

so the dramatic, narrow depth of field (ie, most things out of focus) was intentional. He's not showing off the HD part of the rig (which is impressive) but the lens and film like aspects that the adapter brings to the video world.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:05 AM on July 27, 2008

(and just double checking, it actually will work with standard 35mm still lens)
posted by mrzarquon at 2:10 AM on July 27, 2008

A $5k camera can't support shallow DoF? My D70 can do that. Why is this such an incredible feat at 24fps*?

*not snark; I actually would like to know.
posted by basicchannel at 2:30 AM on July 27, 2008

Nevermind. mrzarquon's link explains it.
posted by basicchannel at 2:32 AM on July 27, 2008

summary of mrzarquon's link: the adapter lets you use a 35mm lens to generate an image on a screen. the video camera then films that screen. presumably the screen is the size of 35mm film. that means that you get the depth of field of a full frame 35mm camera, along with the bokeh etc (the screen itself is contained within the adapter, and there's also a prism to keep images upright).

what the link doesn't really explain is why video "cheap" video cameras have much smaller depth of field than film (35mm format) cameras. the reason is related to the small size of the digital detectors, compared to 35mm film.

if you have used a camera (a film slr particularly) you know that you get more depth of field at wide apertures. you calso get more depth of field when the object is close (and a lot more when it is very close, like macro, when depth of field can be a nuisance rather than a cool effect). the physice/maths of depth of field is complex, because you can't make assumptions about the image being "at infinity" which is what simplifies most optics calculations. but if you work things through it turns out that the length scale for being "near" (remember that "near" subjects have a more pronounced (ie shallower) depth of field for a given aperture) is defined by the detector size.

a 35mm file negative has a diagonal size of 43mm. a 1/3 inch vide detector has a diagonal size of about 8mm. that's a factor of 5 difference. that means that to get the same depth of field (for the same aperture and effective focal length) in the video, the subject has to be 5 times closer. alternatively, for a fixed distance, the depth of field in the video is the same as you'd see if the subject was 5 times further away.

take the shot in the link above as an example. he's about 7m from the camera. and the lens is probably about 100m (using 35mm lens focal lengths) to get the cropped image (did it give values? - i can't remember, i'm just guessing from the image). with a good 35mm lens (wide aperture) you can get the subject in focus while blurring the background. and that's what the adapter gives you. without the adapter, however, you get the effective depth of field of as if you'd used a 35mm camera and the person was 35m away. there's no way you isolate someone nicely with depth of field when they are that far away, with that lens and aperture, and the plain video image shows exactly that - the wall behind is in focus.

this is the same problem that digital "point and shoot" cameras have (and, to a lesser extent, the popular dslr formats) and it's one reason why both canon and nikon now have large (the same as 35mm film negative) detectors in their top dslrs.

i have to say, though, that there's something a bit incestuous about this. searching on the web it seems like philip bloom (the person who made the videos) features very heavily in all the sites related to the adapter. not sure if he's just a a fan, or if there's some kind of commercial relationship.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 6:11 AM on July 27, 2008

not sure: I agree re: commercialism, however I still think the footage is really neat, and if it gets you a RED camera (video camera with a 35mm sensor) on the cheap, I probably wont complain.

Also lets my filmmaker friend justify buying more toys, and more importantly, his wife can now write off her SLR lenses as work related.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:32 AM on July 27, 2008

I really enjoyed both of these short films, from the title I only expected to see "scenery" shots, but was almost shocked to see tourists show up in Death Valley. I definitely did pick up on some disdain, maybe that wasn't intentional, maybe it only comes from inside me, either way it is reflect nicely in both of those films.

I do agree with monkey!knife!fight!, the typography in Death Valley made me very disappointed and angry.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 11:18 AM on July 27, 2008

"not sure this is a good idea": Not that it matters, but you have your depth-of-field scale backwards. A large depth of field means that more stuff is in focus.
posted by CaseyB at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2008

Wow - thx for this, I've been a camera (35mm) enthuisiast since high school - but am only now investigating a decent HD rig.

For those that don't know - Vimeo (the service hosting most of these) has a "channel" for HD video's with/without adapters, they encourage people to discuss the shot setup/camera configuration.

Now - for me the toss-up is tape or SD. Personally I like the idea of working just with digital files, even if I would have to decompress to edit.
posted by jkaczor at 1:21 PM on July 27, 2008

BTW Allison Goldfrapp is an actual person.
posted by hortense at 3:13 PM on July 27, 2008

CaseyB - you're right; i didn't have time to check when i wrote that. it's natural to want to use "more" when the effect is more pronounced, but - as you say - that is when the depth of field is smaller.
posted by not sure this is a good idea at 3:39 PM on July 27, 2008

jkaczor- if you are going to invest into a $1-2k lens adapter, seriously look at a panasonic dvx100 (480P capable 24p camera, records onto minidv) as your base model. You'd be looking at a 3-4K total investment in camera gear, but it would really be a versatile system (iraq in fragments was shot with one), for someone interested in going "film quality digital video."
posted by mrzarquon at 6:08 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

That Death Valley video would be a lot better if a screaming zombie woman jumped up in front of the camera. Right at the end, I think.

But with his fancy lens thing, she'd probably be too blurry.
posted by whatnotever at 6:42 PM on July 27, 2008

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