Sunday, July 25, 2010

Focus Pull with iPhone 4 + EnCinema 35mm lens adapter + Owle Bubo

Focus Pull - iPhone 4 + EnCinema 35mm Lens Adapter + Owle Bubo from James Boyd on Vimeo.

• 85mm f/1.4 Zeiss Prime
• 50mm f/1.4 Zeiss Prime
• 24-70mm f/2.8L Canon 

Edited on FCP.  No color correction.  Shot in 30fps, then transcoded to 24fps ProRes 422.

JB's review: I had a blast shooting this video because everything was so new.  I used the "Almost DSLR" app on the phone to maintain exposure and focus, while pulling the lens to manipulate the shallow DOF.  It wasn't easy compared to the 5DMKII, but the challenge kept me going.  One thing to note: it was very difficult to keep the EnCinema lens adapter clean from dust.  As you can see in the video, there are several shots that have a massive dust dot in the center of the frame.  I can't see this when shooting, and was pretty bummed to find my cool footage shot at LACMA golden hour needed to be scrubbed or reshot.  Despite me cleaning the optics every set up, there seemed to be dust from the EnCinema interior that was corrupting the shots.  BUZZKILL, brother.  This film was only a test, so I left it in.  Hopefully, it's not too distracting.  When I have a week to kill, I'll scrub the remaining 2000 frames.  There were also some problems with the adapter lining up correctly (horizontally), and vignetting in the corners.  I left it all in there for the eye to behold.  If given the choice, I'd shoot with the Canon series.  But it was a fun day to shoot with the iPhone 4, and rack focus my ass off.

Yeah, there's an app for that...

< The sweet luv of the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 prime on the Encinema adapter +10 macros (x2), + Owle Bubo + iPhone 4.

Friday, July 23, 2010

iPhone 4 with EnCinema 35mm lens adapter

< The iPhone 4 with EnCinema 35mm lens adapter, Owle Bubo rig, and 24-70mm f/2/.8L lens.  Sick DOF!  Thanks to the guys at Vid-Atlantic.

< My 24-70mm L series lens on the iPhone 4 with EnCinema 35mm lens adapter, and Owle Bubo rig.  Attached to Redrock Micro DSLR clamp & Manfrotto 501 fluid head with sticks.

iPhone 4 + EnCinema 35mm lens adapter + Owle Bubo + "Almost DSLR" app + lazy dog model.
JB's review: I promise to post some video asap!  I was very happy with this set up right out of the box.  Very easy to attach to the Owle Bubo and align horizontally.  The shallow DOF is excellent for an iPhone.  I wouldn't bother to compare it to my beloved 5DMKII, but it ain't half bad either.  I attached my Canon 24-70mm L series glass, and rack focused around the back yard.  I recommend this system if you're curious about the possibilities of adding DOF to your iPhone video.  I can't quite understand why I love it so much when I own a 5DMKII, but it makes me happy to say, "Look what I can do with my iPhone..."  This is just the beginning.

I had to shop around to get the right +10 macro lens adapters.  Since you need two of them, I recommend the Digital Concepts macro lens set.  I found these very easily on Ebay for around $17, and they were a great choice (x2).  Don't buy the "Lensbaby" macro lens adapters, as they will not work on the Owle Bubo.

< The "Almost DSLR" app is integral, so you don't have to work upside down.  Very simple app.  Trust me, if I can put this system together in less than 20 minutes, you'll be able to set it up in no time. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

$500 one-shot music video shot with Canon 5D Mark II

Shot with the Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70mm L series lens, a doorway dolly, lots of cardboard, and plenty of creativity.  Co-directed by Joe Childress & Jonathan Combs.  Artist: Tim Halperin

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

DSLR bootcamp with Snehal Patel / Los Angeles

I highly recommend this class to anyone looking to understand the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR workflow.  It's a hands-on workshop, that is part classroom & part production.  You even film a scene on their green screen studio with an actor.  I happened to win the grand prize raffle at the end of the day: a Litepanel Mini ($249).

The Level 1 & 2 workshop is hosted by The Association in Santa Monica, and Snehal Patel from Fearless Productions is the instructor.

< Here's a picture of me sitting next to Geary McLeod, ASC & DP of "The Mentalist."  Nice guy & glad to help him out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In-camera audio solutions for iPhone 4

So you want to make mobile movies or post interviews directly to Youtube?  Good audio is crucial.  Let's say George Lucas is standing next to you, and he's dying to be a part of your blog.  You don't have the time to whip out the Zoom H4N and field mixer, but you do have time for the following:

1) Low End:
• Radio Shack hands-free tie-clip Omni directional lav mic ($26.49)
• Radio Shack 20' monaural earphone extension cord ($7.17)

JB's review: I had to go to two different RS stores, but I made it happen.  The sound quality isn't great, but it's not bad when speaking directly into the mic.  Like DIRECTLY into the mic.  It's an affordable, and low maintenance solution to get better than phone mic audio.  You can carry it in your pocket.

2) Mid-range:
Rode Mic ($149)
• 3.5 mm mic input adapter from

JB's review: Since the mic is mounted on the camera, it only covers about 5 feet.   Getting better, but check out the next section.

3) High end:
• XLR mic like the Rode NTG2, or wireless lav system like Sennheiser EW G3.
• 3 - 15' XLR cable
XLR to 3.5mm mic input from
RD-VXLR 3.5mm mini-jack to 3-pin XLR converter (for wireless lav)
• For some XLR mics, you must add low to high impedance transformer (see update below).

JB's review: This was by far the best option.  You can boom with the XLR mic, or go wireless with the Sennheiser mics.  It's still not a great solution for professional audio, but it will definitely solve your mobile audio needs for interview-type work.  Note: I tested this system with the older Sennheiser G2 system.

UPDATE (8-6-10): I emailed KVConnection regarding XLR mic specs, and this was their response:  "The output impedance should be at least 800 ohms or more for the iPhone to recognize that an external mic is plugged in. The mic should be battery powered if it requires power. We have tested all kinds of XLR mics and all have worked so far including condenser mics with an external phantom power supply connected inline."

To solve this low impedance conflict on the NTG-2 Rode mic, I ordered the Pearstone LMT100 low to high impedance transformer, and connected it to the 3.5mm mic input adapter from  Worked really well.

Special thanks to George Jones for kicking me the ka-nowledge.  From George's awesome research, I'm testing other solutions right now (including the Micport pro and the Shure SM58 mic), and will update when finished.  Also, a big shoutout to Jeff Geerling for blogging excellent audio solutions for the iPhone 4.

Update (9-11-10)
Below is an excellent option given to me by George Jones, who created a custom cable from  Follow the link to get the 15' XLR cable with a headphone jack input for playback and right-angle 3.5mm input (iPhone 4).  With this setup, you DO NOT need the Pearstone LMT 100 transformer for a low ohm mic like the Rode NTG-2.  

I also tested this system with the SHURE SM58 mic, and found the results to be pretty lame compared to the NTG-2.  The NTG-2 mic is def the way to go.

Just remember you're recording MONO sound, and 1280 x 720 30fps video with the iPhone 4 (that's true 30fps, not the 29.97 kind).  The iPhone 4 has a fixed f/2.8 aperture and a relatively large 3.85mm lens.  It has an automatic, variable shutter speed between 1/15 and 1/10000, and an auto ISO of around 80-1000.  The bitrate is about 10 mbps, and the audio is a low mono 66 kbps @ 44.1 kHz.  I haven't had the time to run this through my field mixer or Beachtek DXA-SLR.  Will update this soon.  If you have any other solutions, please let me know.

The OWLE BUBO iPhone camera rig with sun hood (I adapted a 7" Ikan hood) mounted on Redrock Micro DSLR baseplate, with 501 HDV fluid head, carbon fiber rods, plate, and Manfrotto tripod.

The Rocketfish iPhone 4 case available at Best Buy.  This was the best way to mount my iPhone 4 into the Owle Bubo.
Update (8-21-10): They now make this version in black.

• Filmmaker Dan McComb uses his iPhone 4 with his Zoom H4N.  See the set up HERE.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

iPhone 4 Rig with Owle Bubo

Owle Bubo iPhone rig

• iPhone 4

Rode mic

Audio adapter to connect mic to iPhone

iPhone 4 shock mount for mounting iPhone to egg

Egg Timer mount for 360 degree time lapse

Redrock Micro DSLR baseplate

Redrock Micro carbon fiber rods

Manfrotto 501 HDV fluid head

JB's review: When fully juiced up, this Owle Bubo rig ($120) becomes a lethal camera for mobile interviews.  The Rode mic mounts directly to the cold shoe, although this gets a bit top heavy.  In the upper picture, I especially like the iPhone shock mount on top of the egg timer for time lapse.  Lots of good fun coming in the next few weeks.

Very happy with the quality of the OB, although it's a little difficult to get the new iPhone 4 to mount inside.  Will be shopping for new cases, but in a pinch, a little gaffer's tape goes along way (even a rubber band would hold it in).  I highly recommend the Owle Bubo for making your iPhone footage steady, and upgrading the quality of the picture with the wide angle lens.  If you want good sound, make sure to add the 3.5mm audio adapter from KV connection ($18.43).

UPDATE: I had great success with the Rocketfish mobile iPhone 4 case fitting inside the Owle Bubo rig.  It is a red, silicone fitted case (Model #RF-WR1002).  You can't get them online, but can purchase them at Best Buy.  This model has been discontinued, so I plan to scoop up a few.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time Lapse: Marina in Waikiki

Time Lapse shot on Canon 5D Mark II from 25th floor of hotel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jane's Addiction @ The Roxy

I won tickets from the Jane's Addiction website to see their fan-appreciation show at The Roxy on Sunset.  My shaman, Perry, led me, and I partied with 400 of my closest friends. July 2nd, 2010.

Owle Bubo iPhone rig

• The Owle Bubo iPhone rig
( - $120)

JB's review: I really dig this thing.  It's heavy and sturdy, and the lens makes a big difference to the capture quality.  It helps keep shots from wobbling, but it is best when you mount it to a tripod or monopod on one of the 4 corners (1/4" female).

For better sound quality, I added the iPhone mic adapter ( to throw on a Rode mic attached to the cold shoe on top.

Right now, it only holds the 3GS, but with a quick case upgrade (iFrogz Luxe Lean), it can hold the iPhone 4.  I'll post more when my iPhone 4 arrives...

UPDATE: iPhone 4 arrived from China through Alaska today July 12th, 2010

IPhone Egg Timer 360 degree time lapse rig

This is an egg timer mount for 360 degree time lapse movies with your iPhone.

• iTimelapse app ($2.99)

• Camalapse egg timer ( - $25)

• Joby Gorillamobile tripod ( - $29)

• Contour Universal Mount adapter ($20)

JB's review:  Awesome stuff if you're interested in making 360 degree moving time lapses on the cheap.  I'm not mechanically-inclined enough to make my own egg timer mount, so I bought it from Camarush.  I plastered some gaffer's tape on the mount, and the iphone rests perfectly inside the Contour mount.  I might recommend a sturdier tripod, so your movie (and time) isn't wasted.  The egg has a hole in the bottom (1/4"f) that's perfect for a mount.  

The biggest problem is getting the iTimelapse movie off your iPhone and into your iPhoto.  To avoid the dreaded "green screen," the movie must be in either 24fps or 30fps, and at a low resolution like 640x480.  Then you can transfer into your CAMERA ROLL, to ultimately get to your iPhoto. Once on your hard drive, you can convert to the appropriate frame rate in quicktime.

Time lapse from my front porch using iTimelapse.