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Saturday, December 29, 2012

100 Year Old Ultra Vintage Lens

Ok, so it only took me 2 years to get done ! Here is shooting on a really old Kodak lens for yet another unique look. This setup seems have a more muted color palette  which is cool. The lens also vignettes a LOT smiley. Very much a period look. What surprised me a bit was that the DoF wasn't as shallow as I was expecting. The lens starts at F4 and goes down to F128 ! That's something you don't see on modern glass. In fact focus was less critical than I expected.  I think the focal length is around 75 or 80mm which is a modest wide angle for what amounts to a 6cmX9cm or so negative. The lens itself appears to be a very simple 3 or 4 element design uncoated. 

Some extra details - I'm shooting the back of the camera on a ground glass I got on ebay. I had to cut it to fit the image area. I mounted the ground glass using velcro. This makes it easy to remove to clean the other side if I need to. What I will say is that shooting off the ground glass you are loosing some resolution. Some other tests I did with paper seemed to produce a sharper image. Maybe I need a thinner ground glass but the one I got was fairly cheap and got the job done. I did add noise to the images to break up the ground glass pattern. 

Last, to mount the camera I made a simple mount. I drilled 2 15mm holes 60mm OC into a block of 1"X3" maple. this let me use the camera's own 1/4-20 mount to mount it onto my wood block. A simple set up that works great. So I hope you enjoy this ultra vintage look because after this, its wet plates !

Have a great new year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Animoog... I have an excuse to get an iPad

Ok, we are all busy giving gifts this time of the year. Here is one I want as a fustrated musician who hasn't owned a keyboard in years. While I keep telling myself using an iPad as a TC slate is reason enough, its just not very exciting. This on the other hand is. Its available in the Apple App Store. Its Animoog and its probably the closest I'll get to ever having one. Hey its that time of the year when we can make one or two indulgences on ourselves !

H.265 for Xmas Anyone ?

Before I finish for a long holiday weekend I wanted to share a little present with everyone. Its a sample of the new h.265 encoding that coming soon to a device near you. Watch the youtube sample in 1080 and even with YT's h.264 playback the differences are clear. This codec improvement is what we need if 4K is going to become the norm for production and at least limited consumer delivery. H.265 is based off of h.264 so many h.264 capable devices like the iPad can handle it. This translates into better 1080 in fewer bits than h.264 currently does, or better image quality at the same  bit rate. Good news for net delivery of video from services like Netflix and Hulu

Have a great weekend whether or not you may be celebrating xmas. If not, how about just taking a nice break for the winter solstice and enjoying the company of people you like and care about.

New Site Look Is Live !

Here you go ! Almost done. Other pages are in a state of change over right now so you may see some of the old pages, but they will go away shortly.


Probably done ! if you find an old page still around let me know but I think I got all of them. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SSD Finally - My Update Experience

Ok, so I go weeks with barely making one post, today I get 3 in... thats how it goes sometimes !. With major projects done and delivered I had some time to do a few badly needed system upgrades. With a system disc that was getting flaky I decided to try a SSD. Ok, its freaking fast - 260mb/sec fast ! I know the specs on this drive claim in excess of 500mb/sec but I suspect that either thats compressed at roughly 2:1 or the SATA 3gb on the mac are simply topping out. I don't know. Either way its still a vast improvement over the spinning disc that was doing around 70mb/sec or nearly 4X faster. Yes the system boots very quickly and apps start very fast. I would not say though that they just launch instantly but without the normal heads thrashing back and forth it does dramatically speed up app start up times like Premiere Pro and After Effects.

I did a bare metal install and it took only about 5hrs. That includes installing 10.8.2, CS6 Master Collection, BCC, BorisFX RED, Particular, Magic Bullet Suite, and several other apps. A lot of that time was just to download the latest installers rather than using some older ones I already had locally. I was using DMG files for most of the installers. The longest part for sure was the copying of about 62gb of user files with migration assistant copying from the old HD to the new SSD. I'll also say I had thinned out a lot of junk the day before in places like SysHD/Library/Application Support and SysHD/Users/MyName/Library/Application Support and Prefs. Amazing how many little files where left along with some folders from older versions of CS installs with auto saves and renders. I dumped an easy 15-20gb doing this alone. After the install had gone ok further checking let me dump another 10gb of old dead files.

So far, so good. While I wish I could of sprang for a 512gb SSD, I went with a 256 instead. I'd have to say going any smaller probably isn't good. I have enough space left to handle various other temp installs that I do on a weekly basis of beta apps and still have a solid 100gb to dedicate to AE cache space. Oh, I still have one more HUGE install, OS X developer tools to get the iPhone emulator running and some of the diagnostic tools. Now if I can pull up my Apple developer log in ....

Installation Notes

First OCZ doesn't mention that they DO include a 3.5->2.5" adapter bracket with the drive so I bought a seperate one. Ok, fine, I'm out only $5 for that mistake. The OCZ bracket only has SIDE mounting holes for the 3.5 part. Its completely missing top holes. Guess which set of holes you need to mount into a Mac Pro Slide bracket ? yup the top ones ! I'm sure there is a proper Mac 3.5-->2.5 drive bracket adapter out there for cheap somewhere. My solution ? well I had a drive ( the original 750gb system drive actually ) mounted in the lower unused drive bay. I pulled that drive out and went to mount the SSD in. Guess what ? the SIDE holes don't match up to anything standard either ! I mean a serious WTF moment here. The solution ? double sided foam tape :(. I grabbed some and used it to tape the drive onto the bottom of the mac's optical bay drive mount so that the screw holes on the adapter would let me change out the SSD if I had to. It was easy enough and considering how small and light the SSD it I'm not worried it will ever come loose. So note to the wise - consider finding a Mac Pro drive sled compatible adapter bracket if you want to mount a SSD into one of the 4 slide in drive spots.

iRam - Replace my bad ram ! UPDATE 3

If you have a Mac you probably have iRam modules inside. Again I had a module fail. The dead 1G ones are on the shelf. You can see where the heatsink compound oozed out leading to chip failure.... under spec product. Now I have a dead 2gb module. I pulled the pair. I've sent a couple web form contacts to iRam, No response. I've called them, the operator doesn't answer and voice mail is full. Am I surprised at this ? In this day and age yes. Bad customer non-service isn't acceptable if you want to keep the lights on. I'm doing one last attempt at contact with NewEgg where I bought the modules if they will either replace them, or get me in contact with iRam to have it taken care of. Sure, lifetime warranty... good luck ever trying to use it ! right now iRam is in the internet hall of shame. Anyone else have a good or bad experience with them ?

UPDATE 1 : Newegg gave me an email to try + 800 number. I'll give them a day or two to try to respond... then call but I think either way they are going to not respond. 

UPDATE 2 : Two days after email, no response.

UPDATE 3 : Another week or so... no response. Newegg has also failed to respond to a follow up email. 

LightWorks Announces Linux Ver Going Into Beta

Lightworks has announced a beta of a LInux version of their FREE / cheap NLE. Very interesting news, but no OS X version yet. However this NLE is hard to ingore as for $60/year you get a wide around of pro codec support, hardware I/O, BCC and Boris RED support. The free version lacks a few things but its good enough for offline DV and consumer use. I may give it a try soon. Their announcement formally is : 

Before the end of the first quarter of 2013 we will be making the Linux version of Lightworks available as a Public Beta, the same as with the latest Windows Beta. A confirmed date will be announced once we finialise some more improvements. 

There is still a lot of work to be done primarily in finishing off the new licensing scheme which we will be trialling with the Linux Beta. If it proves successful, this same licensing will be rolled out to the Windows and Mac versions. More information will follow early next year as it becomes available.

Meanwhile I continue some last minute clean ups of this site's redesign which has been going well. I'm mostly getting ready to roll out the design across all the pages and then flip it over if it goes according to plan.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Updates In Progress

I've been working on doing an update on this site. Its been a significant undertaking to be sure. Most of its been centered on being able to make this site more compatible with mobile devices and in updating its underlying implementation for new technologies. If you noticed things here seem a little odd or broken... thats because of these updates that are going on. All will be good as I expect to roll out the new site sometime this week. Its entirely possible that you may see a mix of new and old pages as I make my way thru updating the site or catch some other oddity. For example it seems that some how all Vimeo embedded mov's are broken now. I don't think I've done anything to do that and it may be all on their end... or not. Thats just life in the code lane ! so if all goes according to plan I'll have this done sooner rather than later. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Moment Of Silence Today

In light of the mass shooting in CT today and the mass slashing in China, no official post today that I had been planning. I have been working on several projects including a redesign of this site I was ready to let folks have a peak at today. Instead I'm going to let that sit and probably roll it out over the weekend. If you see this site acting weird, its because of the update. I know some small changes have rippled onto the live site... however its really not that important. Instead let us consider our own good fortunes as many other people on 2 sides of the planet grieve for the horrors done today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Takumar 50 1.4 Tests & Review : Updated

pentax takumar ashi 50 1.4 1965


click for full size image

I keep turning up these really great lenses some how. Found again locally here, I turned up a classic Pentax Asahii Takumar 50 1.4 made sometime in 1966 based on lens markings. If you feed it some backlight it makes simply gorgeous lens flares as above. Yet it still has lots of sharpness and a cool diffused glow wide open. Its a great people shooting lens when you need that look which modern glass just isn't going to give you. Ok, you can get a (black) Pro Mist or Soft FX filteror any number of other diffusers onto your lens but its not the same look. If you want that classic vintage 60's look its as simple and easy as just USING a lens made in that period.

The shot below is the same location, one day later,  taken aimed slightly more to the left from the same spot.  Again plenty of sharpness from this old lens even fairly wide open. We are of course talking about the original 5K still images. In 1920X1080 video they of course  look great.  On the top image I did only some very minor adjustments in the raw settings to pull in the clouds in the sky. The rest of the image is how it came from the camera

winter snow pentax takumar 50 1.4 60D

click for full size image

pentax takumar asahi 50 1.4 1.8

One thing you may notice about a lot of Takumar lenses is the gold color of the front elements. That color does in fact effect the image. You can certainly balance it out with a custom WB setting, but for some types  of shooting consider it a fulltime 81A or B warming filter. Its nowhere near an 85 in terms of effect. If you look thru the optical viewfinder and then look up you can also see the warming effect. My guess is that at some point when most folks were shooting B&W this was somewhat like a yellow contrast boosting filter, but a bit more subtle. Probably for color they figured at least for prints you could easily enough print it out with filtration or just enjoy the warmer tones. What I did find is that shooting with the 60D in RAW, sometimes I did very much get that warm tone as above. Other times the camera picked up on the warmness and white balanced a bit cooler to compensate. I actually have back to back shots with minor lighting changes of the same thing where I can see the camera rebalance the RAW images. When looking through everything later, I can say I almost always preferred the warmer shots which had more character. So the color rendition of these lenses is not a bad thing unless you are trying to do the opposite of what this lens wants to give you ... in which case just change lenses ! 



click for full size image


In the portrait above of my wonderful partner Sharon the warm tones and flare made a cold winter day look far warmer in 1960 something that it looks like ! I did do a couple little changes to the image, mainly in taking down the saturation of the blue scarf a bit, pulling the highlights down in the RAW image and thats about it. I could certainly of used the image straight from the camera with equally nice results.

One more image. This one is actually stitched together from 3 verticals because I couldn't get enough space to shoot it horizontally. This puts the "original" at about 9K res. 

click for full size image


This is a lens made when a lens WAS a lens. Its all metal no fooling around with plastic. Its got some heft to it to be sure. It has smooth focusing all these years later as proof of its quality construction. Is there a down side ? yes the stupid backwards focus direction. This completely throws me as I've learned to know which way to turn a lens based on how it looks to get focus. Its not quite the end of the word since the look of this lens is so nice, but it is a big downside you'll just have to deal with for all its goodness. 


Overall this is a very nice lens with some very interesting characteristics that you will either love or hate. I probably depends far more on the image you want to create, the style, period, texture. The more vintage glass I get, at least primes anyway, I find they have tons more resolution than the film stocks of their day ever had. They still made nice sharp images on modern sensors never dreamed about 40 something years ago.

So someday I'm going to get all these 50mm lenses together for a shoot out. In particular I'd like to pair in a new 50mm or two and repeat the vintage lens shoot out with matched lenses. Meanwhile I keep my eyes open for other glass like this whenever it happens to turn up. Thoughts folks ?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

6:20AM EST Fri

Turn on ( no comments on the network plz ! ) FOX & Friends at 6:20am EST to see Chris Hibben and Cookie talking about the doc we shot a while back. It gets its broadcast premiere tonite ( fri ) across WI and it seems, well, is a big deal ! Check it out on FOX Green Bay 7:30PM, ABC Milwaukee ( don't have air time )

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

6D vs 5Dmk2 vs 5Dmk3 Moire and Aliasing Test From Mitch@Planet5D

First I want to say THANK YOU to Mitch for doing a nice simple shoot out and that got solid results. You can see for yourself, but the news is this : the 6D moire's and aliases about the same as the 5Dmk2. Sometimes its a little worse but with a slightly sharper picture and sometimes its better. The Mk3 does better,  but not by huge amounts. 

Again Canon thinks we're a bunch of dumb schmucks who'll pay anything for one of their video capable large sensor cameras that makes video images with out problems. HELLO ! we are not stupid. 

Here is my bet. Come Jan or Feb there will be a 70D based on all the clearance sales going on with the 60D. the 70D will basically be slightly better video but basically not acceptable when compared to the competition. I'd love to buy another canon camera... if it was right. The GH3 is interesting, but I don't think its quite got the dynamic range. However for the price, its shipping now, it does look very good it may be my next purchase. The BMD camera looks great... but that sensor is smaller than I'd like and many people would like. I may have one here to play with in the future.

Meanwhile I'm getting a lot of work at the moment which is great, but of course I'm making very little progress on editing those video reviews I shot a week or so ago and I have a couple new tasty lenses I want to share with every one. More news tomorrow about the doc I worked on Return To Pearl.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

BMD Releases V 9.0.4 of DaVinci Resolve

Another maintenance release of DaVinci Resolve with "general reliability and performance enhancements". Get It Here

Lens Flare ? Tell Me What This Lens is

Care to tell me what lens I have in front of the sensor ? Hint : its new to me, its a cult classic ! 

As much as I had thought I'd had a lens with interesting flares in the Meyer Optik 50 this one beats it, and its a FAR more well know name. Can't wait to try some daylight shots and video with it. 

I actually picked up a small pile of M42 mount vintage glass this weekend... this one and one other are the stand outs. The other being a very wide angle full frame lens with another name I've liked, Vivitar... made in this case by Kiron ! The other two are equally interesting and I can't wait to try them out - all 400mm of it !