Thursday, 10 November 2011

shutter speed test using Fader ND

I was extremely excited about the ND Fader, a variable neutral density fader that attaches to the front of the lens, because it offered an alternative using the iris or shutter speed to control the light / exposure. As we know shutter speed effects the blur or lack there of. Films have traditionally been shot at twice the frame rate, i.e. 1/48 sec if using 24 fps, giving a smooth look to the motion. This is what we are used to seeing and may seem like a natural look. Some movies and music videos, however, looking for a different look shoot at faster shutter speeds.

To achieve the desired shutter speed while maintaining a certain aperture speed (and iso) we use ND filters. Normally video cameras have these built in and film cameras use a matte box with slots for interchangeable filters. I don't yet have a matte box and am putting off getting one until I have to. So I have gone with the cheaper option - screw on nd filters. You can get various fixed ND filter i.e. 2,4,8 or you can get a variable ND fader that works like a circular polarizer - rotate to increase or decrease effect. 

I bought my ND Fader from and it isn't the genuine article from france but a cheap Chinese knock-off which is always a risky road to travel but also kinda adds to the excitement. So here I have done some very basic comparisons of video shot at 1/50th, 1/100th, and 1/500 of a second, (using an ND Fader to control the light).

The tests were done on a Canon 5D mk2 with a Canon 24-105mm L lens at f/4 and 25fps.

Note the difference in motion, colour temp, saturation, and flare from sun.


Monday, 7 November 2011

my complete shoulder rig for under NZD $1.4k

I have finally assembled my complete shoulder rig, which is more difficult than it seems if you are on a tight budget. My rig includes: Proaim Shoulder Rig, Fotga DP500 Follow Focus, Lilliput 5" HDMI Monitor, 2x batteries, 7" articulating arm.

I ordered the Proaim gear from (though I later discovered that the .com site is cheaper). The kit actually includes components to be configured as an off-set shoulder mount to be used with an LCD Viewfinder / Loupe but I prefer to operate with a monitor so I have gone a straight configuration. I was pleased to find the rig was easily adaptable and I had a number of options to choose from.

I ordered the Fotga Follow Focus and Lilliput 5" monitor from I found a seller by the name of Kennyzhu particularly helpful with my inquiries. I also ordered two batteries to power the monitor and an articulating arm and clamp to mount it with. The postage was free and there was no tax either.  The Proaim gear took about a week and a half the dhgate gear only a week.My initial impressions are good and very satisfied the considerable savings made.

Full assembled shoulder rig with follow focus, 5" monitor and rode video mic.


FOTGA DP500 Follow Focus. Nice all metal feel. Smooth action with very slight play. USD $145.72

One rubber lens belt included. (Additional belts available from USD $13.00)

Proaim sholder rig NZD$789.00 (including postage and tax)

Lilliput 5" HDMI &YPbPr monitor. 800x400 resolution. limited ratio options. Displays full screen but stretched image on record. Full screen correct aspect ratio playback. Goes blank for about 6 seconds before and after rec. USD $224.61

Rechargeable Lithium Battery 6600mAh + Charger. USD $42.75

7" Articulating arm plus clamp. USD $49.95

Counter weight

Riser, Tripod base plate, Camera base plate,

Extra parts that I am not using in this particular configuration.

Alternatively you could buy this Redrock Micro Kit from B&H for NZD $4531.00 (not including postage & packaging)

John Galt - the truth about 2k, 4k and the future of pixels