Film making and videography isn't all about big budget productions with expensive kit. Its great to take time out to see what stories you can tell and images you can capture in your local area. Luckily for me, I live in Surrey which is full of green spaces. My chosen location for today's adventure was Epsom Common, I used to and hope to continue fishing at the lake. Since being a kid I remember it being a beautiful place in the winter, so despite the recent flooding I made my way down!
Accompanied by the awesome Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber tripod and 055AH video head; my grip was sorted in a lightweight solution. I took my whole kit bag in case I wanted to record some foley audio or shoot on a range of lenses. I tried to stick to the Samyang Cine lenses I have (14mm, 35mm, 85mm), so I can test them out on a range of shoots. I also came across a 72mm variable ND filter that fits onto the Samyang 85mm, which means I can achieve T/1.5 and a beautiful bokeh in broad daylight.
As you may have previously read, I also installed some new picture styles on my camera from VisionColor, today I used Cinelook to see what the footage looks like out of camera, without grading. So far, without adjustment the picture was punchy with a good colour tone present, not flat and neutral like I previously used. It certainly has given the footage a baked in 'look' while recording which will definitely speed up the post-production process.
It was great being in the outdoors, I often spend way too much time on the computer and neglect our very green, rural backyard, which deserves to be appreciated, remembered and captured in moving image.
I've processed all of the footage now, using most of what I shot. It is simply put to music, in this case the serene 1:1 by Brian Eno, which was very fitting for the scene. I have applied no colour correction, grading or effects to the clips whatsoever, to demonstrate the cinematography at hand.
I will post the link up later!
I hope you like it, and please share around!!
Many of you intrepid videographers may have come across a unique range of VDSLR Cine lenses from Samyang (Rokinon/Walimex) depending on your region. Have you had thoughts to invest in one, or a whole range of them? Focusing on video, having electronic focusing and aperture is not essential for me, and in fact gives more control over the light entering the lens due to the de-clicked aperture. You can create smooth transitions between light and dark situations with ease by pulling the aperture.
As I've only just got the 5DmkIII and cine lenses, I thought it would be a good idea to test the kit out individually; producing a short video of the results.
I began on the Samyang 14mm T/3.1, an ultra-wide lens that does have barrel distortion if subjects or distinct lines move towards the sides of the frame. Operating the camera handheld on the MODA rig, I was not left much choice but to capture the video in 720p 50 frames per second, to eliminate obvious camera shake. This did work in my favor come later in the day when I was hanging out of a car boot filming!
To exaggerate the ultra-wide effect, getting close to the ground, walls or your subject will show how wide the image actually is, while offering exquisite sharpness throughout the depth of the image. Moving while operating an ultra-wide also gives a unique changing perspective to the viewer; one that is appealing due to it looking unnatural to our eyes - a great effect for establishing locations in film.
What I did notice was a very strong contrast, even when shooting in Neutral picture style (for a flatter image). This is causing issues in post due to burnt in detail in the highlights and shadows.. So I have adjusted the picture style to my needs by reducing all of the parameters to the lowest level.
Overall, I am ecstatic to finally get my hands on an ultra-wide as I had no way of achieving that perspective with my old kit.
My tips would be to keep the camera stable - use a tripod, shoulder rig or steadicam to operate the camera. This gives you better control and steady visuals that won't distract the viewer from the awesome visuals.
Judge your highlights and shadows correctly - this is a manual lens, so remember it is easy to stop down to F/6.5 or F/8.3 (uncommon electronic F stops) to expose the image perfectly. With this, always check your focus (use digital zoom!!). The worst thing ever would be to find an awesome flowing shot but it being slightly out of focus.
Experiment using the manual aperture, it will take some time to get used to!
Here is a draft edit that I chucked together from the test day -
On to the Samyang 35mm T/1.5
This is a beautiful lens. I've only worked with a 35mm F/1.8 for my little Nikon D5000, so as far as experience with 35mm that goes out the window.
What can I say... The 35mm focal distance works so well with the 5D's full frame sensor, and even at T/5.6 the image was sharp and had a beautiful bokeh. To the other end of the spectrum; I also shot at T/22 to achieve a silhouette effect of Glen and the Houses of Parliament in the background. At this small aperture you would expect loss of detail and softness, but the Samyang 35mm excelled.
Another fantastic benefit of this lens is its minimum focus distance (the minimum distance from the lens to the subject for it to be in focus). It is very small at only 30cm allowing you to get very close to the subject and still achieve pinpoint sharpness and shallow depth of field.
I was filming up in London with my friend Glen, the light was hard when we arrived with strong sunlight beaming through the rain clouds, so to retain good exposure throughout the frame I found myself shooting between T/4 and T/8, varying the ISO depending on the location. For demo purpoes, I also filmed Glen constructing and using the new CamSmart MODA Rig, in innovative new video and photography product aimed at all level of users to achieve exceptional visuals in a cost effective solution.
For this close up, intricate video the 35mm lens was perfect for both wide and close up shots, I get more and more impressed as time passes!
My tips for using the Samyang 35mm T/1.5 cine lens - get yourself some ND filters, or even better variable ND filters as this will reduce the light entering the lens without changing the aperture, shutter or ISO. If you have a lens that is very fast, like this model at T/1.5, to retain a shallow depth of field in a multitude of locations and light levels ND filters are crucial and should be in your kit bag.
Here is the rough edit of the 35mm film! -
Big shout out to Manfrotto for the 055CF tripod, video head and pro backpack, makes a world of difference to my old 055 aluminium model!
Good luck with your shooting, drop us a comment if you have any questions about using the lenses or kit, and be sure to like, follow and share!!
Urgh.. I hate not being able to make up my mind about what equipment to get, as it is so hard to tell without good experience and field testing, getting to know the kit before you buy it. I'm having this problem with the Samyang Cine Lenses. They look fantastic, well constructed lenses, fully manual in a range of focal lengths and de-clicked apertures from T1.5. This however is the question; would it be better to buy the Samyang Cine Lens kit, or a 24-70, 70-200 f2.8 IS (with the samyang 14mm and 85mm)???
I'm predominantly a videographer, but I enjoy having the flexibility of zoom lenses, especially for ENG style work, live event filming etc, and the fixed aperture and stabilization is key for video. So, a couple of fast zooms seems sensible to keep in the kit bag for everyday use.
However, what about for those sharp, cinematic, shallow depth of field shots that can only be achieved with a cine lens..
Any advice, please share! Ooh and check out the link below for a similar situation if you are stuck like me!
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