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Alexa with Hawk lenses. UGH

What Plate to use?

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#1 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:32 PM

Hey;
I'm doing a movie starting next week with an Alexa, using the full sized Hawk lenses. DP wants to use these lense on the steadicam....... We've been through it a lot already so I have agreed.
Should I just use a long silding base plate between the camera and my plate to find a good balance point, or is there a camera plate on the market that can be recommended besides Baer-Bel's plate, which will take too long to ship.
Thanks for any and all suggestions.
Jamie
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#2 MarkKaravite

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:41 AM

Attached File  Hawk_435.jpg   136.51KB   340 downloadsAttached File  Hawk_Rig.jpg   121.03KB   325 downloads

Jamie,

I feel your pain brother. Last winter, I got a last minute call for a Jennifer Hudson music video in Chicago. I arrived the afternoon before the first shoot day to find out we were using the Hawks with a 435.

I built the camera with the Arri baseplate as you are considering, and the combined weight of the camera + baseplate + lens was brutal. I ended up rigging a dogbone on the end of a 15mm rod coming out of my XCS baseplate. The AC looked at me cross-eyed and before he could say that's no good, I told him that this was the only way I was going to fly this pig, so please say it's OK. Maybe that was a bit rude, but it was midnight :-).

You are going to need a baseplate for the Alexa to balance the lens. I think the 135mm weighed about 24lbs. There are other options in the states for baseplates. I know Sal Gonzalez (former machnist at Otto) 310-259-7348 makes one, and I believe Greg Bubb at XCS does as well. Both can be there in a day.

Here's the bigger problem. The front elements on those lenses move about 1" in and out as you pull focus. I was doing 4 minute takes with a 135mm (that the Director unfortunately fell in love with after we did the 1st shot with it) and as you move in, the lens goes forward and you fight the tilt going down, and vice versa when you move back, tilt goes up.

This was a complete nightmare, and there is a lot more leeway on a music video than a feature. I can't imagine doing precise work with that lens going in and out. You'll end up gripping the post so tight to fight the tilt that I'm afraid all precision will go out the door.

I'd bring it up to the DP while you might have a chance to avoid this syndrome, but you want to go to him with a fix to the problem.

So what are your options?
- Arri's new anamorphic lenses: guessing that's a $$ issue if they're using the Hawks, but worth a try.
- Panavised Alexa with Panavision anamorphic lenses (Primo or G series or both): probably too late unless you're a Panavison show.
- Assuming you're 2:40, shoot Steadicam shots Super 35 with spherical lenses instead of the Hawks. I don't think this is a huge drop in optical performance because the Hawk's frankly don't look that good. A small Steadicam spherical lens package is your least expensive option. Maybe add a streak filter to give the look of anamorphic flares.

Sorry to be a bummer, but I know you're going to be handcuffed by the lens movement. There's no way an experienced operator can feel good about their moves with all that weight distribution going on every time your AC changes focus.

I've attached a couple pictures of the rig I ended up with.

Good luck,
Mark
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#3 Mark Baluk

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:40 AM

Attached File  Hawk_435.jpg   136.51KB   340 downloadsAttached File  Hawk_Rig.jpg   121.03KB   325 downloads
Sorry to be a bummer, but I know you're going to be handcuffed by the lens movement. There's no way an experienced operator can feel good about their moves with all that weight distribution going on every time your AC changes focus.


I suppose this is a time a motorized stage could come in handy? I'm not sure how much the weight is being distributed... but just a thought. Would require some small co-ordination though.

Either way, let's hope you don't need to shoot on the 135!

Edited by Mark Baluk, 13 December 2012 - 01:40 AM.

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#4 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:24 AM

I suppose this is a time a motorized stage could come in handy?

Grin.. ;)

oh yeah!
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#5 thomas-english

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:57 AM

Why are there no V-Lites? I love the idea of providing lens support using a dogbone like this. Very Smart.

I think your only solution is the force the DoP to have a go on Steadicam as the lens changes focus lengh and explaing to him its going to be impossible for drama and if Steadicam is going to work you need the 50, 75 and 110 V-Lites (I think its those options).

Jamie, remember when it all goes wrong nobody is going to remember how many times you warned them all the rumour mill will say is "That Steadicam Operator messed up or didn't have the right kit". If you try to do the impossible THE ONLY person that looks bad is you. I've heard it a hundred times about other Steadicam operators being crap and messing up jobs but on closer enquiry its an issue like this that was forced on the operator.

If I was in your situation right now I would insist on the V-Lites or walk away from the job. Incidentally you can get extended Steadicam dovetails from XCS or Film-Stuff.
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#6 Benjamin Treplin

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:58 AM

Alexa Studio or Plus?

I'd recommend Alexa Plate from Sal Gonzalez at Cinematic Precision.
It fits both cameras (Alexa Plus with BP-adapter and Matthias Biber's small Alexa adapter).

I use it with the XCS dovetail. Very convenient with front or back heavy setups.
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#7 MarkKaravite

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

I forgot to mention more attractive lens support options than my midnight dog bone fix.

You could use the lightweight rods off the front of the Alexa to provide lens support. The mount on the Hawks probably is designed to line up with studio rods, but something could be rigged.

Also, check this forum for lightweight rods that mount into the XCS dovetail plate (someone help me remember who made these). That would be ideal for lens support for anamorphic lenses.

Benjamin makes a good point about Sal's Alexa plate working on all Alexa models. The one I bought last year from Optical Support is very rigid and light, but I don't believe it works on the Alexa Studio, so I'll end up buying Sal's as well if I ever have to fly the Studio.

Good luck,
Mark
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#8 Benjamin Treplin

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:05 PM

The lightweight 19mm rods where made by Peter Hoare. Works perfect as lens support.
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#9 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

Cinewidgets makes lightweight aluminum 15mm rods.
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#10 MarkKaravite

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:32 PM

Harley bracket by Hocus Products:

http://www.hocusprod...3d37c71b0e73b6f

Thanks Benjamin.
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#11 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

Element Technica makes some long lightweight 15mm rods
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#12 WillArnot

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:22 AM

Here is a look at the 80mm V-lite Anamorphic. Using these lenses on a commercial next week, so don't have direct experience yet. But they balance up just like a Cooke S4 or similar.
Best to you Jaime.
Attached File  80mmV-lite.JPG   105.55KB   136 downloads
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#13 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

Ahhh Will you are just trying to make me jealous......

Hope you and the family are well too.

Jamie
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