There are few things that are more satisfying than doing a lot with a little. As Moore’s law pushes us forward, there always seems to be that one buzz thing that really defines the mood of the moment.
Thanks to these advances, these pieces of tech are ones that have been moved from unobtainium for most to much more accessible to the masses. Ten years ago it was Timelapse, then gimbal, drones, 4K, VR, FPV and I would argue that next on the horizon is Anamorphic.
Anamorphic lenses have traditionally cost big bucks and are hard to get a hold of. But now companies like Atlas, Sirui, and others have begun to offer much more affordable options.
I’ve always loved putting these budget options to the test to see how close they can get to their much more expensive counterparts. Things like pushing the FX3 towards the Alexa Mini look not only yield an interesting result but can provide a lot of value when the shoot doesn’t call for a big-budget approach.
The first test was taking it on a travel piece to the desert mountains of Utah for an episodic with my friend Alex. The setup was just an EVF eyepiece and mic and that’s it.
The image quality results were quite stunning and exactly what I was looking for to bring more character to the piece, without straying too far into an unintelligible aesthetic. The only major issue I encountered was many of the shots required stabilization because the build was not balanced. Warp stabilization in post took care of it, but it’s not something I’d do again.
After seeing what the adapter could do I was ready to really commit to it for a much bigger task.
Weeks later we were in Italy for a film featuring a vintage Nissan Le Mans R390 GT1 car. We had a test track for ourselves and Guilia Quadrafolgio available as our chase car. Normally with a small budget, we wouldn’t even think of trying to do car-to-car- but by borrowing a number of things from our Alexa Mini build, we decided to give it a shot with the Tilta Hydra Alien, Movi Pro, Teradek, and Nucleus.
Beyond safety and something detaching from the camera car, we also were wondering if the Moment would spin its alignment lock with the forces we were about to throw at it. But amazingly it didn’t budge the whole time.
We got the setup to over 130mph on the straights and amazingly (with careful rigging) we did pretty well in the corners as well. Mixing the track footage with a lit garage scene and scenic talent footage yielded a wonderful result that Nissan themselves even shared.
The next shoot with it would be a very different subject matter, but another fantastic way to see what this setup could do.
For this much more human-focused, gastronomic film, shot in Denmark, we rigged up the camera in a more traditional documentary style and since Copenhagen is so beautiful, really tried to let a lot of the scenery breathe.
I had thought because of all of the midday shots the sun could be a problem monitoring, so I had rigged up the EVF to the LCD…but we ended up not needing it at all.
By this time as well it was more comfortable for Oli, the DP to pull focus on his own, rather than wirelessly, and by the third time around, I felt that we really were starting to nail what the Moment was all about.
Each of these film’s looks is completely defined by the Moment. Having shot so much with just the Zeiss themselves, the adapter gives a whole different dimension to the image. For me, it provides the perfect amount of distortion and flare, without getting too wild and makes it so perfect for these types of run-and-gun films that still require a special look to them.
If money were no object tackling these films with an Alexa Mini and Kowa EVO 2x setup would be the first thought, but at a fraction of that budget, the FX3 + Moment delivers image quality that I would argue 95% of people won’t be able to tell a discernible difference in.
The Adapter has become an essential piece of kit for me and I’m thrilled to let it continue to define the look of these films.