Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zacuto Z-FINDER KILLER!!! at half the price!

I custom made this viewfinder after using the hoodman loupe on my 5d Mark II. I found that it was very uncomfortable and hard to keep in focus. Then I tried the z-finder from zacuto at abelcine. it does have a great feeling and the optics are great. problem is it is out of stock all over town, not to mention price point. what was great about it was the eyecup and the 3x magnification. since i'm a do it yourself type of person, i decided to go out and try to make one on my own. i went to calumet and found this amazing 3x loupe. to my surprise it was exactly the same image as the zacuto. actually i thought that optics were better! and at $160 more than half the price. since i had already placed velcro around my LCD from the hoodman all i had to do was place the fuzzy side around the edges of this unit. it fit perfectly. the glass is german engineered rodenstock. but the design of this loupe was even more interesting.

as you can see when you pull off the top half what's left on the camera becomes a sunshade! it clicks on tightly when its on and easily comes off when you dont need it. brilliant. so all i did was go and buy i used eyecup from an old JVC camera ($15) that fit perfectly on the unit. total cost $175. the square unit is too big for the camera so i might actually create a connection piece for it that will retrofit the part that connects to the camera.

highly recommended if you want to great option from the zacuto!

Hot Rod CSH with 5d MK2

I just purchased a new rig from Abelcine called the HOT ROD CSH. It is fantastic. As you can see from the post below, I had previously used the cavision rig,but that was just so awkward. also it's so massive and bulky didn't lend itself well to run and gun.

this rig is fantastic and allows you to focus while being handheld. that's almost the most important thing with these cameras. extremely portable. here's the part i didn't learn until the cavison. build quality is very important. this unit is priced at 695 but it is machined well and was custom fit for DSLRs so the ergonomics are right. You can also turn the handles upside down and gives you a more eng style. ofcourse there are other rigs at this price. i had seriously considered the redrock THE EVENT but i found out that the dslr plate doesn't allow you to change the battery without removing it. i also looks at the gorilla kits from zacuto, found those things really awkward and unbalanced with a heavy lens and as everyone knows overpriced. this unit fits nicely on the tripod using my same quick release. this system will allow you to later attach a chest pod or a shoulder mount or follow focus, matte box if you want.

here's a video i used with this rig

rainy days in brooklyn / 5Dmk2 w hot rod csh from Diane Paragas on Vimeo.

music from jon brion. little person from synecdoche new york. shot on 5d mark II. brooklyn bridge park, dumbo brooklyn.

never ending rain in the city. used it as an opportunity to test timelapse using intervalometer as well as my new rig in the park near my place....

open shot was time lapse using intervalometer. kept shutter open for 1 second.

lens: 24-70mm f/2.8L (my favorite)

here is the website

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Web series shot on CANON 5dmk2

I directed this series of videos for American Airlines new website called The project is a social networking site developed by Burrell Ad Agency out of Chicago, Juxt Interative and American Airlines targeted at the African American traveller. Nelson George, my frequent collaborator, friend, co-director and co-producer for our upcoming feature documentary (STAY TUNED), is the host and editor of the site. We shot the entire series on the Canon 5d Mark II. The first videos were shot in Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Miami, LA and Jamaica. We will be continuing to travel to more destinations through next year...

And for you tech nerds like myself out there, my kit includes Cavision shoulder mount, Beachtek dxa-5d, sennheiser g3 wireless mics, sennheiser ME66, lenses are 24-70mm/2.8L, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 70-200mm/2.8, lensbaby composer (for artsy shots), hoodman loupe which i outfitted with velcro, litepanel micro, manfrotto 190cx 501hdv head, Lowepro Slingshot 200a.
Normally I shoot with a DP but because of the quick turnaround and sometimes run and gun style of the videos, I chose to shoot myself. This kit is amazingly portable and since my lenses are fast and low light, I was able to use available light 90% of the time. I do believe these DSLR hybrid systems are going to revolutionize our industry. I literally could carry all of my gear through the airport in a tiny backpack.

I have to say, having shot with all of the prosumer HD cameras from HVX200, EX3 and EX1 this camera blows them away in terms of image.

One downside is the audio options. I used the Beachktek DXA-5d which is specially outfitted for this camera and allows you to disable the AGC as well as attach pro mics. Since you can only monitor what goes into the beachtek and not what goes into the camera itself, you have no way of knowing what you are actually recording. I like the way it is designed but the connector has already given out. Very disappointed. I think I am moving to a two system with either the Tascam DR-100 or the ZOOM.

More later...

check it out.