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Bob Cole
Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 16, 2007 at 4:15:01 pm

Has anybody here had experience with Redrock's DIY kit? The Redrock devices themselves aren't that expensive; I'm wondering about the actual expense of doing it yourself?

I'm using the Sony Z1 camera, in case that is relevant.

Thanks!

Bob C

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 16, 2007 at 7:47:03 pm

Bob, have you looked at the little Brevis35 unit? It is very inexpensive and the results I have seen from it seem pretty incredible, especially for the price. Also sometime in early 2008 they are releasing a "flip module" which will correctly reorient the picture... so you are not having to flip pix in post or mount cameras or monitors upside down on location, like you have to do with the Redrock and the other lower-priced lens converters.

I only personally know one person who has tried the Redrock DIY kit, and found it quite challenging. I think he is still probably tweaking on it trying to get everything just right (last I heard he was having some backfocus issues that he was struggling to resolve).

I personally think I would steer clear of a DIY kit... there are just so many variables and the work must be sooooo precise. Again, I'd give the Brevis35 a good hard look. Personally, I use the P+S Technik Mini35 with my Canon XLH1 (a great piece of equipment, the only downside is that the Mini35 is about the cost of a new Hyundai), but I also have a little Canon HV20 that I bought just as a crashcam and have been thinking of buying a Brevis35 for it.... I've seen great footage using that combination.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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clyde v
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 17, 2007 at 11:16:27 am

Hey guys, how about the Letus 35 Economy? No need for a separate flip module because image is already upright. Light loss (for the adapter alone) is .5 stop only. I'm thinking of buying one next month. Is it as good, if not better, than the Brevis 35. I haven't seen both because I don't know of anyone here (Manila, Philippines) who owns them. Thanks.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 17, 2007 at 2:06:13 pm

I only know of one guy who had a Letus35 and he was not happy with it at all. He bought it because it was so darn cheap, and found he got what he paid for.

He said it was very "homemade" and wasn't happy with its results, either. I never saw any of his footage, but I did see a few stills from it and they were indeed pretty poor.

I don't want to knock the company, maybe he just got a lemon... but in general I would steer clear of these very bottom-end converters and save up for one a bit farther up the food chain.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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FlowMotion
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 17, 2007 at 11:52:26 pm

I think he meant the Letus 35 Extreme, which is their most recent offering. I haven't seen it in person, but it's made out of machined aluminum and has built in flip, .5 stops of loss and goes for $1,200. DP Philip Bloom has indicated that it's the best he's used of the lower end converters (including the Brevis). The one thing that bothers me is the Letus website. There isn't a lot of information. The Cinevate site is great. It's got user forums that are a great resource.


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clyde v
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 18, 2007 at 5:28:07 am

I'm talking of the Letus 35 "ECONOMY." It's the lower priced version of the Letus35 Extreme. Looking at the comparison chart (at the Letus website), the only major differences I can see are the plastic construction of the economy (as compared to aluminum of the extreme) and the new condenser of the extreme. Does the new condenser offer much benefit to justify paying an additional of $300?


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Anthony Miles
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 19, 2007 at 6:07:21 am

For what it si worth, I used a letus Xl on an XLH1 and we cold see the grain pattern very noticeably on most of the shots which were exteriors, and it was most noticeable where there were light areas in the frame say above 65 IRE. Very disconcerting. I think their manufacturing may be quite inconsistent. Also, Quen was not very helpful and said that is just the way it is when asked if that was normal and if we could get it fixed or replaced once he finally responded to an email after 2 or 3 weeks. Beware. The shallow depth of field and bokeh in footage was extremely promising, but unusable in any work related projects because of the visible grain pattern. And yes the screen motor was on. I own a Brevis35 and have shot with the M2 as well and neither of them have this issue.

Take care,
Anthony Miles


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Dec 19, 2007 at 3:43:15 pm

Correction: Apparently I was not on the main Letus website before. I found it and it does have some good info and user forums as well, which is nice.


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Bob Cole
thanks and the value of DOF
on Dec 19, 2007 at 4:43:43 pm

I appreciate the info. There are other ways of achieving separation -- a big scrim between the subject and the background, for example. (I've tried it and I can tell you it isn't easy either!)

I think Steve W posted recently that DOF isn't the be-all and end-all. I have a feeling that these DOF devices are marketed heavily to indies doing narrative pieces, with the implication that because "Hollywood" features use shallow DOF, a Redrock will help your video be much better. I doubt it. I would imagine that a device which provides shallow DOF would probably make most indie features worse, not better -- because it's an added cost in time and money, and a distraction from the factors that really matter.

Most features (even fairly well-budgeted ones) are really bad. And I have NEVER seen a bad feature where DOF is the main problem: it's the story, the acting, the direction, the editing, and the lighting, and did I mention the story?

Thanks again. I'm still very intrigued by these devices, but with the low light sensitivity of my current camera, I don't think it's going to work that well for me. I think I'm going to keep waiting for my 2/3" camera for a moderate DOF.

Bob C

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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Aaron Pinto
Re: Redrock DIY kit
on Apr 19, 2008 at 7:17:34 pm

You must be referring to the old, old Letus35A. This was, in fact, a home-made adapter and was priced accordingly. The new Letus line is leaps and bounds beyond this adapter. The Extreme, and now the Ultimate, are at the top of the 35mm adapter game. Check out the sample footage on letusdirect.com



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