JSD labs: 2.0x Anamorphic Rig Tests


Finally getting around to doing some test shots and setups with my anamorphic stuff. I recently picked up an Elmoscope-II and a SLR Magic Rangefinder to make the filming process a bit easier. I had done some tests with my other lenses (they’re on instagram) so I wasn’t completely lost as to what to do. But I still ran into some challenges.

I originally filmed with a clamp and lens support on rails… but on the first day of shooting I had a few scary moments with the lens just… falling out of the tightened clamp. I NEVER had that happen with my Isco Ultra Star. I discovered my Sigma ST-21 tripod ring fits the Elmoscope PERFECTLY (like it was made for it) so I have been using that since. When on the tripod ring you can only use it with the rangefinder. I ordered a Redstan screw-on clamp made for this lens, because I have projects where I will need to dual focus.

Biggest issue when filming… Centering and vignetting.

Shooting on the Leica 42.5 proved difficult with the tripod ring.
Shooting on the Leica 42.5 proved difficult with the tripod ring.

The widest you can go on the Elmoscope is 85mm on a 35mm frame, which is what the Leica 42.5mm is on MFT. I tried to go with that, seeing that it had OIS and one of the best images you can get to start with. On the clamp it wasn’t so bad. But on the tripod collar the slightest movement will take it off center and give you a black corner. This is fine if you are cropping, but I haven’t decided if I want to crop any projects that I will be using this on. I like the super wide look. I also had issues with distortions that I didn’t have when the lens was on the clamp. No matter how tight I got everything down, I think there was still too much movement between the lens and camera. This could also have been triggered by the OIS, which is a problem I had with the iPhone 7 Plus and the anamorphic I was using. I want to try a camera with IBIS some time in the future to see if this cuts down on the warping. Until then, once I get my Redstan clamp, I will try it again.

Filmed with the Helios-44
Filmed with the Helios-44

I only shot with the Helios-44 at night, which is where I think it shines. You can tell the differences in the shots. The Helios just gives this amazing glow to everything. Unfortunately, that’s not what you always want. They obviously don’t match the other shots in the same area. Also, I’m not sure if this is just my copy, but my Helios-44 goes…beyond infinity? When I originally set it up on the rig I thought that something was wrong with the Rangefinder or Elmoscope. Set everything to infinity, and…. blurry. It was only when I was trying to dual focus it that I realized the focus ring doesn’t stop at infinity and infinity isn’t marked properly. Made it a pain to get right and sharp. I’m going to try and get another Helios-44 and see if it’s the same.

Another issue I had was the golden or white halo. Depending n the sun or light angle, it would fill all or half the corners. I know some people like it, but I don’t.

You can see the light vignetting on the bottom of the frame.
You can see the light vignetting on the bottom of the frame.

This was an issue I had on my Ultra Star too. A little too late, but Tito Ferradans over at Anamorphic on a Budget JUST released a video on how to fix this here: Kowa B&H Edge Blackening. I will definitely be doing this to my lenses.

Lastly, I am not 100% sold on the Rangefinder. I think it has it’s uses and benefits, but I can see why a lot of people don’t like the blue flares or dots this thing makes.

The blue is super strong and can clash with some scenes.
The blue is super strong and can clash with some scenes.

On the plus side, the Rangefinder performed very well as far as focusing. I was able to get very sharp images from 2.0 and up on the Leica and 2.8 and up on the Helios-44. I even put a 1x diopter on the front and it focused closer very well. I plan to try some stronger diopters when I get the chance. The ONLY negative aspect to focusing was how much I had to turn the damn thing on a follow-focus. But, I think with some better gearing (and maybe a better follow focus) that could be solved.

Overall, I think this setup has some potential. My goal is to work on it until I can get 100% cinema-clean images. That will take modifying the setup AND how I shoot. I may be uploading a ton of shorter tests until I am 100% happy with the results.

Can't beat that anamorphic bokeh.
Can’t beat that anamorphic bokeh.

I also want to thank Jesse from Ice Block for helping me out and being in the video. I had a hard time getting people to commit and be in my videos for some reason.

Post Chaos, the Media, America, and the World.

I never would shy away from my choices for President when asked. I may make a few remarks here and there, but I was never the “all in” type like some of my counterparts were. This was frustrating to some, but I did not have a candidate that I personally believed in. Does that mean that I voted 3rd party? No. I voted for the candidate that I thought would have the best chance on doing what is right in the long run. I have this thing called “common sense” and have the magical ability to do “research”. I’m also gifted with the ability to do things without letting my emotions take over my judgement. I am also a firm believer of thinking about 10 years from now. Not just tomorrow. My agenda is moving the best way forward for everyone. I mean this in every way. I believe if we work hard, we can stop the universe from ending a few hundred billion years from now if we wanted to. Let’s say I’m a big picture optimist and modern realist. It’s not fun, but it’s who I am.

I decided that I wanted no part of the last bit of the election. I wanted no stress, no hope, no lies, no lighting fast stats of possibilities. I wanted the answer. I wanted nothing more but the answer. In my 24 hours of no internet or news, I tried not to think of anything. I wanted to sleep that night. I wanted to eat food. I tried to relax and think of whatever else I could to keep my mind of the fact that I was pretty sure Trump had a good chance of winning. I was hoping for a surprise, but I am rarely surprised. It sucks.

I use to do consulting on social media and new media trends back when it was scary and confusing. Now it’s still confusing to most, but a lot of people have this weird confidence in it that I personally think is dangerous. Never have confidence in digital media trends. You can only make an educated guess. If you looked at the right places and pulled the mood from the general online population (those online or presented online) a Trump win was a very viable possibility.

I voted for Hillary. I voted in North Carolina via absentee ballot. But I personally know many people who did not vote. And if you want to blame anybody for anything, it’s them. If 70% of Eligible American Voters voted this election, there would be little to say after. But with the only voices we have now being the Loud, the Established, and the Persistent, you would have no clue what actual people think.

I never thought Bernie had a chance. It’s the only reason I never voted for him. People say that if it was Bernie instead of Hillary, Trump would have lost. I disagree. You forget how weird people are. I think it would have been just as close with just as many people not voting, just different people not voting. Hate and ignorance are weird. Bernie’s “Socialism” and Jewish heritage would have held him back just as much as Hillary’s “untrustworthyness” and emails. That and his presentation of ideas was way to close to Trump’s. I think some old-world liberals would have been jaded and put off by that.

But hey… America, right? Keeping the future on it’s toes since the colonies.  The true winner of this election was the instant gratification of misinformation. Everybody wants everything now. When something old-world clashes with the instantaneous technology culture of today, you’re bound to have a mess on your hands.

If you want to take solace in anything… outside of America, we’re all looking at you the same way. (except maybe Russia.) I have yet to meet anybody who likes Trump or thinks that America made the right choice. I mean, that can be dangerous too. I have family in America that voted for him, but I never talk to them. All my friends and acquaintances hate him. I could very well be in my own bubble and not know it. It’s scary.

But, against this generation’s instantaneous wishes, all we can do is wait for now. I’ll keep doing my part. I’ll keep hoping we can somehow stop the Universe from ending.

Going Dark

Starting at 18:00 JST (4:00 AM EST) I will remove myself from the internet for 24 hours. I can not stand this election anymore and have done all I can on my end. These next 24 hours are going to be some of the worst news reporting in history and I want no part of it. I just want the election to end. And if it is not over by 4:00 AM on the 9th of November, I may just delete all news apps and log out of all social media until it is. I am sick of it all. There is nothing more I can do.


Also, after all is said and done, I will be posting here regularly from now on. Fun!