First footage from the GT35pro adapter

By S Simmons. Filed in Editing, HV20, HV20 gear  |  
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Let me be the first to say that it’s probably a bit too much to expect for someone who is not a professional (or at least serious amateur) shooter to slap a 35mm depth of field adapter on to their consumer video camera and come away with footage that looks like seasoned pro. No tool is that good. My first two trips out with the GT35pro adapter on my Canon HV20 left me with a lot of bad footage. There was a lot of stuff that I just didn’t do right: bad focus, too much vignetting, seeing the edge of the vibrating ground glass holder … stuff like that. I was not going to post any footage from my first tests of the GT35pro adapter but I pulled out a few shots from here and there that aren’t too bad:


First GT35pro footage from Scott Simmons on Vimeo.

Thoughts and observations on the first footage:

This footage was captured with a Canon 50mm prime and two Canon zoom lenses. I was not using any kind of external microphone so the sound of the vibrating ground glass is probably a bit louder than it should be but it is audible, it’s not as loud in these Vimeo shots as I forgot to turn it on half of the time but it is there. It’s more noticeable than I thought it would be so it makes me wonder if others are as loud. There’s a touch of color correction on most of the clips (I can’t send out footage without a little color work .. just not gonna do it!) but I think you can certainly get a feel of the unique look that a 35mm adapter can give to your footage. I didn’t make very detailed notes on the exposure settings and camera controls though a lot of it was shot in Cinema Mode on the HV20 which, from my understanding, provides a flatter gamma so you have a little more latitude in color correction. This appeared to be the case against the clips I shot in a different mode. I sure wish the Canon 35mm camera lenses had a manual aperture ring.

There were a lot of things I learned in these first two outings gathering footage. It’s hard to hold the rig good and steady so a good tripod is a must. You would think I would have learned my lesson with Magic Bullet Steady. It’s also hard to nail focus on a little flip-out camera monitor. You have to get the HV20 focus right on the ground glass and the focus with the 35mm lens. And you really have to get used to shooting with the inverted image on that flip-out monitor. I am not yet used to it. If you take time to read the instructions you can shoot better footage. Some of the radial blurring that can be seen in the first shots of the dog were corrected after a bit more setup. There’s still a lot I don’t know about getting the right exposure on the HV20, f-stops and 35mm lenses in general. But you learn by doing so I’ll be shooting a lot more over the holiday. I really like some of what I am seeing with this adapter and I can’t wait to shoot more stuff. I think there will be great footage to come.

And did I mention it’s hard to nail focus on a little flip-out camera monitor?

4 comments to “First footage from the GT35pro adapter”

  1. Comment by Jeremy Schulz:

    For future testing: Would you consider a tripod shot with some decent depth staging and DOF, then turn on and off the vibration switch? I’d like to see the difference in grain/vignetting/etc. Thanks for posting!

  2. Comment by vade:

    These are *exactly* the issues I ran into with my custom DOF adaptor on my HV20. Your footage looks great though, for a first run. Mine was much shakier, and the rig is definitely awkward to hold hand held. I ended up having a small tripod as well as a small home made photographers monopod (the chain ones, that you put under your foot for extra control). What lens were you shooting with?

    As for the LCD flip out monitor, if you are feeling up for the task, you can unscrew the small panel where the LCD meets the body of the camcorder, and in there are two small dip switches that control the flip. You can pull them out and set them manually. I was doing this for a while, till I broke one and now my camera is perpetually inverted, great when using the adaptor, not so great when you want to use the camcorder sans adaptor… but it helps a lot when shooting.

    Anyway, have fun with the adaptor, it really opens up a whole new world of possibilities with the camcorder.. and honestly its made me want a Scarlet/DSLR that much more…

  3. Comment by editblog-admin:

    Jeremy, good suggestions on the test shots. Will definitely switch the vibration on and off. I can tell you that on some shots it’s really not noticeable but on others it is.

    Vade, I’ve mainly been using my 50mm f1.8. I’ve played with my 300mm zoom a bit too. The biggest issue I am seeing is that I can’t get very deep DOF. I try and set a smaller aperture on the lens by setting it on my Canon XTi, removing the lens and putting it on the DOF adapter but it doesn’t seem to help with a deeper DOF, only makes the footage darker overall. I’m also trying to better understand how the whole manual exposure trick on the HV20 works. Really wish that cam has a full-on manual mode! Of course this is early in my working with the GT35pro so I will be learning more and more as I work with it. I’m really liking a lot of the footage so far. Thanks for the info on the LCD flip. I’ve heard of that but haven’t tried it.

  4. Comment by Greg Tay:

    Hi Scott, for deeper depth of field, try using a wider lens like a 28mm. Your background will be less out of focus.