Category Archives: Music

Aivascope PRO 1.5x Anamorphic Lens test, quick update

(vimeo)

OK, so it’s been awhile. It’s been a weird year of ups and downs and I just don’t even know where to begin.

So, let’s begin with the Aivascope Pro 1.5x single focus anamorphic adapter. After asking nicely, Valdas of Aivascope graciously lent me one of the test copies of his new lens. I was excited to give it a try and looking forward to shooting as much as I could with it. Well, first came the rainiest early summer I can ever remember. Then, I got sick. Really sick. I was in doctor’s offices and hospitals in and out most of the summer. Instead of having the lens for a month, I had it for 3 and only shot with it 2 days or so. Both were really tough in the heat and I really shouldn’t have been out shooting in my condition, but I had to do something with it. It was driving me crazy.

I did two days in Chinatown with a similar rig. On the first day I tried the Voightlander 40mm f/1.4 lens. I had everything rigged on the Ronin-S the best I could and it did a decent job. I had fun filming but I had several issues keeping the rig stable because of the weird design of the Aivascope Pro and lack of a place to support the lens. But the BIGGEST issue was that the Aivascope Pro does NOT like fast apertures at infinity. You get really bad blooming and CA in the highlights.

You can see how bad the highlights are. This is at f/1.4
Same lens, a bit later, at f/2

It looked fine at closer focus, though. I was unhappy with the stability of my rig as well, so I waited until I felt decent and the weather was good to try again. This time I decided to use the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 as the taking lens. I also got the dual handles from SmallRig for the Ronin-S. This combo fixed 100% of my issues from the first shoot. Everything was sharp, clean, and stable. The only downside is that at f/2.8 with this modern lens is that everything looks a bit sterile. I threw in a few shots from the first day so I could have a bit more bokeh in the edit.It flared about the same on pretty much every lens I tried with it, but some lights randomly make it flare, some don’t.

Unfortunately things didn’t go well after the second day shoot and I never got around to editing this until now. I kinda wish I shot more, but hey. I’m happy with what I have. It’s better than nothing.

My final thoughts on the Aivascope Pro are this: It’s clean, it’s heavy, and it does what it says it does. It is NOT an Iscorama replacement. It is a completely different lens altogether. My main issues with the lens are the weight and the lack of a good place for support on the lens itself. It’s almost as heavy as the Bolex 16/32 with the FVD-16A on it. The only place you can support the lens is on the rear thread clamp. I tried to work around this on my rig by putting my follow focus under the lens on the focus gear. That helped a lot on the Ronin.

Speaking of the Ronin-S, it did a fantastic job. I am very happy with it’s performance and heavy rigs. Just balance, calibrate, and it’s always ready to go.

If I could afford to keep it I would definitely do so. It’s an excellent tool with it’s own look and strengths. But I’ve had a Bolex 16/32 1.5x for over a year and I barely use it, so it just didn’t seem like a smart buy for now.

Tech specs:
Panasonic GH5
4K UHD 60fps 4K, CINE-D
Converted to 24fps
Sigma ART 30mm f/2.8 MFT lens
Voightlander 40mm f/1.4 Leica M mount
Aivascope PRO 1.5x Anamorphic
DJI Ronin-S gimbal
IKAN Live Air Wireless Follow Focus

Filmed in Yokohama Chinatown, Japan.
Music is: Pick Up the Phone by Equalibrum

JERHELL – KINGDOM HEARTS Music Video, Directed by JSD

My first real music video in awhile, and my first music video as JSD. Pretty excited to get it out there and the reception has been great!

Jerell wanted something quick and gritty, and he was thrilled with the result. After he told me what he wanted, I knew the perfect setting: Minato Mirai in Yokohama. We filmed half the video in Shinjuku and half at Minato Mirai. I had planned to try and film more in the Cosmo World amusement park, but they closed on days we needed to film and closed early the day we were there. It’s all good, as we got plenty of good footage regardless.

I filmed the video with a special setup using special settings on the GH5. I wanted ALL-I 60p 10-bit video, and my camera can only do that in 1080. Didn’t bother me, as I was going to use an anamorphic lens anyway. I used my Aivascope 1.75x anamorphic lens with the Focuser 8 diopter. Normally it’d be really difficult to use this setup at night, but I discovered that if I use my Voightlander 17.5mm f/0.95 lens in ETC Mode on the GH5, I can get much better images at even f/1.2 with the Aivascope. That lens loves small sensors.

I’m glad I got to help him out with his first real music video. I’ll be working with him and his crew more in the future. Next time we’ll take the quality up a notch. Looking forward to it!

Filming the Eupholks Live at the Basement Bar in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

I have know the singer of the band Eupholks, Koike, for a few years now. He asked me to film some of his live shows, so I decided to give it a shot. The first time I tried to do a 2 camera shoot by myself… and it didn’t go well. More people showed up than expected and my b-camera was blocked partially or fully for most of the show. So, I acquired some help for the next one and figured… why not do it in anamorphic?

At first I was going to try some kind of 2x/1.33 hybrid, with the wide shots being 1.33 and the close up being 2x. I don’t have a good single-focus setup for 2x yet, so I decided just to borrow an SLR Magic Anamorpot and do the full thing in 1.33.

SLR Magic Anamorphot on the Left, my unbranded 1.33x classic adapter on the right.

I couldn’t get anybody with a GH4 or GH5 to help me, so I decided to try using my Panasonic G7 along with my GH5. I set them to the same settings for video, color, and white balance. The G7 was on the Beholder DS2A with the Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 and the little 1.33x, and on the GH5 I had the Leica Nocticron 42.5mm 1.2 in ETC mode with the Anamorphot. I also got to try out theĀ  Video IS lock on the GH5 for the first time, which works very well once you learn how to use it.

Unfortunately, filming didn’t go off without a hitch. Jesse, who was helping me film, had the G7 on the gimbal in the back. I didn’t show him how to check if it was recording properly and he missed the first 5 minutes of the show. The G7 didn’t like the combo of low light and the anamorphic, and would hunt occasionally when the lighting was low.

Yeah, I decided to do the whole show in auto focus on both cameras. If I’m gonna experiment with weird setups, why not see how far you can push them? If I could have changed anything, I would have put the Near/Far ring of the Anamorphot on a follow focus. When the camera is barely close enough to get focus with the combo, the auto focus can give up sometimes.

Overall I think they came out good. I kinda like the slow creep into focus the Nocticron did for a few shots, and I think it fits the overall show anyway.

I am looking forward to doing more stuff with Eupholks and other bands. I would love to somehow do a 3-camera anamorphic shoot if I can find the right people and gear.

Anyway, check the videos above for the show!

Eupholks
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWvE_UroEu9Q7vzR0oMfI6A
tumblr: https://eupholks.tumblr.com/
bandcamp: https://eupholks.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eupholks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hiroyuki_koike_

Special thanks to Jesse for helping me shoot!
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