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Shift & Tilt Lenses...help!


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#1 Daniel Fiorito

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:19 PM

Hi everyone,

I'll be the 1st AC on a student short film starting Friday (for a week) that will be using ARRI shift & tilt lenses. I've never used these before and wanted to post on here to see if anyone had any advice or tips.

I've searched the ARRI website and saw their shift & tilt system (I'm assuming we'll be using this) but also saw they have shift lenses (with no tilt). I've got a production meeting tonight so I'll learn more about what gear we're using...so some of the mystery will be solved.

Related to this...they aren't willing to pay for a checkout. Should I tell them that I will not do a checkout unless I'm paid for my time or bite the bullet and do a checkout for free anyway? It really rubs me the wrong way when productions refuse to pay for a checkout because it can take a whole day, I'm a professional and deserve to be paid for my time, and it feels like they're taking advantage of me. Can some of you give me some advice on this or at least a reality check? I've definitely done checkouts before when they're not paid but I guess I feel like I'm done doing favors for a production that obviously doesn't know the right way to do business. :angry:

Thanks in advance for the responses!!
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#2 Christopher Arata

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 03:21 PM

I just used a set a couple months back, nothing to complicated. While unpaid prep days suck, I will still do it if there really is no budget. It would be worse to show up on set without a prep day & have something go wrong & then waste time with the whole "well if there was a prep day" argument, which, chances are will not go in your favor. Just my thoughts.

As for the lenses, the trickiest part is figuring out the matte box situation. Have some strips of duvetyn handy. Also mount the bellows first, then place the lens on the rig. I found that to be the easiest. Play around with them at the prep & all will be fine.

Edited by Christopher Arata, 27 May 2009 - 03:24 PM.

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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 07:15 PM

The Scheimpflug Rule is good to go over if you're not already familiar. It describes the relationship of lens, film, and plane of focus in a system where they are not all parallel.
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:46 PM

For the most part, the DP/ Operator will be adjusting/ setting focus as you really can only set each shot up through the Lens... it (the area designated) is either in focus... or not... pretty straight forward.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:18 PM

For the most part, the DP/ Operator will be adjusting/ setting focus as you really can only set each shot up through the Lens... it (the area designated) is either in focus... or not... pretty straight forward.


True, but twice I've had a DP ask for tilt-shifts and twice they have only known the most obvious of what they can achieve. It was helpful to know all about the subject (I shoot 4x5 and 8x10 with view cameras a lot) so I could show them what it can do quickly and simply. One of them ended up keeping the wider tilt-shift in our package because he liked the ability to get the illusion of infinite depth of field. Also some aspects, such as the depth of field becoming a wedge or cone shape, are not obvious from just fiddling with it.


It's not an insult or overstepping my job, it's good business. ;)

Edited by Chris Keth, 27 May 2009 - 09:20 PM.

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#6 Daniel Fiorito

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 12:32 AM

Thanks for the Wikipedia link Chris! Lots of formulas...it's about time my engineering degree came in handy!! :)
By the way, I checked out your website and noticed you took the AC workshops in Rockport, Maine. I took the same workshop the year after you, 2007. I've heard they're tweaking the classes every year and the workshops are getting better and better. I kind of wish I could go back every year just to catch up with people and hang around all those cameras in one place!

All the best,
Daniel
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