Monthly Archives:

November 2015


Pretty Great Weekends.

November 30, 2015

Just to fuck it up I’m using a photo that was actually taken on a Wednesday but represents how weekend looks like to me.

Every weekend I kind of space out. It’s been the time when I forget that I’m a million miles away from home and I actually feel home. I don’t feel lost, I don’t feel sad, I actually feel hungry and enjoy going out for food. I enjoy going out overall, and feel pretty good coming home exhausted. I now have days when I don’t speak any Portuguese at all – it used to be the other way around, almost avoiding English at any cost – which makes me realize how my English sucks and I feel like getting better at it as the part of me that it represents, instead of hiding it as something that I makes me uncomfortable.

I’m able to forget my phone and all social media. I forget to post stuff even when I do have stuff to post. Less and less digital, I guess I’m more into reality than ever. Someone asked me the other day “do you think your life is better now than it was an year ago?” and that sent me off in a time travel experience. Last year I was missing home like crazy. Missing home is pretty crazy by itself. It’s not something that comes and goes, it’s a constant feeling, actually it’s a constant absence. Absence of the people, places and everything you know, absence of feeling comfortable not only on the outside, but especially with yourself. The weather year is definitely colder than last year – so far – but I’m much more comfortable with it. I guess I have enough to keep me warm inside and out.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying life’s easy now – I slipped on the ice and fell off the bike today! -, but we do have pretty great weekends.


Sunny Fall Days.

November 29, 2015

They’re pretty much like an endless sunset, from 7am to 4pm, then the actual sunset lasts for 5 minutes and that’s it. But they have proven themselves more than ideal for lens tests and enjoyable bike rides (in spite of the cold).

SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x-50 + Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 + Canon 5D3


Anamorphic on a Budget – Rapido Clamps

November 29, 2015

I struggled for a while trying to come up with a solution for mounting baby anamorphics. Thankfully, Rapido Technology showed up and solved my issue. Here’s a quick video about their clamps for anamorphic adapters!


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You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Tito Ferradans in for what I expect to be a short video about something other than lenses but almost as much as important! Around July I was able to get this little guy – Iscomorphot 8/1.5x fixed focus – for a reasonable price off ebay and it had been stored away in my closet since then for a few reasons. Number one – I didn’t have a clamp for it. Being a baby anamorphic, getting one of Redstan’s clamps was the only way I could think to mount it onto a taking lens. Bad part, they’re sold out since I got my baby Möller, about two years ago. So I just kept the lens in there, waiting for divine inspiration to come up with a cheap and effective solution that I could share in a video with you. Fortunately, I didn’t have to spend too much of my mind on it, since recently (late September!) we started seeing posts from one Jim Chang about his new clamps, named Rapido Technology.

I had never heard of him before, neither of the brand, but it seemed reasonable. After a few short conversations I headed to his website and got a little lost. He pointed me to the correct page where I could find a clamp for my baby Isco and I made the purchase. Right then and there he told me I forgot to add the inner part of the clamp to the order, to which the Isco would fit. At first I was kind of confused, since I thought I had already got two rings, so what could be missing? I added the missing part to the cart and I have to admit, it only made perfect sense once the thing arrived at my apartment – with a very short shipping time, I might add.

This is the Rapido clamp: you have this outer ring, which has the three small screws and a 67mm thread that attaches to your taking lens. Then, inside there’s this golden ring which fits snuggly inside the outer part of the clamp and, screwed into it, there’s a ring threaded specifically to your anamorphic lens. In my case, it’s a tiny hole in the middle, for the Iscomorphot, but Jim collected quite a wide range of anamorphics over time and offers clamps for anything I tried looking for and all the lenses I previously owned. You just have to tighten the screws when alignment is right.

So, here’s how the Rapido clamps can be useful for almost any serious anamorphic shooter out there. You probably have more than one lens, which implies either more than one clamp or switching clamps every time. With the Rapido adapter, you can have just one outer 67mm ring with the screws and simply replace the gold-inner ring, attached to your other anamorphics. The outer ring also has a tiny white mark which you can use to sync alignment without even checking flares once you set it for the first time: just make a tiny mark using a pencil on the gold ring, and voilá! Replacing and aligning the lens is just like the name of the clamps, “Rapido”, which in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese means “fast”.

My only issue with the whole enterprise would be with the website, which is kind of messy and confusing, but having Jim always available on facebook to reply to any questions and actively participating on the anamorphic groups was a great incentive to pull the trigger on this product and I don’t regret it. The other option is still Redstan, but getting replies from him is a bit hard once in a while, plus his price tag is way higher than Rapido’s $39 + inner ring, ranging between $5 and $15 bucks.

That was it for this week. I got a ton of other videos in the making, about all of SLR Magic’s anamorphics and some more, so bear with me! Subscribe to be notified about upcoming videos and head on to the blog for the written review of the clamp and much more. If you have any questions about this product, don’t hesitate and shoot them away, either in the comments below or facebook! See you next week, Tito Ferradans out!


Until Dawn.

November 24, 2015

As a fan of the horror genre, Until Dawn caught my eye months before it was actually released. One thing most horror games have in common though is the fact that they aren’t actually scary – I speak from a PC gamer perspective, where you can find plenty of shooters and survival horrors that are based on jump scares and methodically dealing with your opponents. The last – and also the first – horror game that really scared me – and also hooked me on the genre – was Silent Hill 2, which is still my go-to title about “how scary games should be done”, and I played that in 2005.

Since then I tried almost every major title that came out, never finding one that actually made me worry for the sake of my character. When I first read about Until Dawn, the key piece of information that caught my eye was the developer, Supermassive Games, the studio that just a few months back had released The Order: 1886, a huge let down in terms of linear gameplay and no consequences or options for the player to affect the outcome of the story, but an unmatched visual quality. The Order and Until Dawn had this in common, they both looked great, so I decided to go through and buy the game.

After just a few minutes in I was already immersed and really enjoying the experience. To some extent, it felt a little like Heavy Rain, with all the choices, but less like Heavy Rain in the sense that you don’t have to execute EVERY SINGLE action the character is doing. There are a lot of cutscenes, but the lighting, camera placement and performances work so well together that you just lay back and watch, but never fully relaxed since at any point a fast timed decision might jump at you. About the characters, there’s little left to imagination and filling in gaps for low-poly geometry. The characters were modeled based on the likeness of the actors that play them – plus a ton of motion capture – which works like watching a very stylized mix of live action and animation movie.

I know I keep saying “movie” and “watching” while at the same time I bashed The Order for lack of interactivity so let’s make this part clear. Until Dawn is filled with choices. Path choices, conversations, hard decisions and “hold your breath and don’t move a muscle” moments, which affect directly the outcome of the game in the long run and, most of the times, also what is just about to happen. There are jump scares, of course, but more than that, this game kept me on the edge of my seat even when I knew nothing would happen right away.

The plot revolves around eight friends that end up trapped in a huge mansion at the top of a mountain during a snow storm. They were there the year before and that developed into tragic events – it’s the playable prologue of the game, to set the mood and introduce the characters. You get to control them all individually as the night progresses, sometimes in simultaneous events since they scatter around the mountain in different tasks or end up separated by unexpected events. The beginning feels strongly like a teen slasher movie of the cheapest kind but fully self-aware of that, which is what makes it great and fun, since you kind of know the stereotypes, how they should behave and what will happen soon enough, so the game reels you in with this little sense of security about the genre just to hit you back with something else when less expect. I stopped playing a few times just because I was too afraid I would kill the characters by making stupid choices. That had never happened before in a game for me.

You know when you’re watching a slasher flick and people make THE STUPIDEST decisions? Well, playing this game, I made several stupid decisions on my own, and I started to empathize with the characters and understand those moments. Sure, you want them to survive, but at the same time, I tried doing everything I could to make them help each other and that didn’t turn out so great many many times. When I got to the final scene, I could try to save some more people, but I was so worried that I would get everyone killed in the process that I ended up just blasting ahead and saving less characters the first chance I got.

Until Dawn made me realize that even though I knew what I was doing was stupid ahead of time I still didn’t change my plan and opted for a safer route. At some point I was chasing a kidnapper that took one of my characters in the woods and I had several choices of safer paths, but I kept going for the fastest/riskier ones because I NEEDED to try as hard as I could to catch up with that monster and rescue my girlfriend, even though the chances of getting hurt in the process increased dramatically. Another thing that amazed me was that you got choices and, once in a while, it’s best to not do anything and let them time out, because that is also a choice. This ended up getting me an ally at a critical point and it really made me feel a little safer while exploring some haunted ruins.

The game has clearly two main parts that blend well together and it doesn’t feel like “part one is over, now let’s move on to this other totally unrelated plot”. Part two sets roots during the first part, and it definitely does kick up a notch in terms of scary and worrisome bits. Being unable to load from previous saves also puts a lot more stress in how much you’re messing up those characters, since one bad decision can cripple you for something that will jump at you later on, and, wow, that happened a few times and I literally screamed at the game because I understood those were consequences of my own actions. I was also surprised by some unexpected events along the game, and that is not something that usually happens, since most horror movies are quite predictable, so lots of points for that!

By the time I got to the end and the credits started rolling, the first thought that came to mind was “I really gotta play this over again and change some of my decisions to see if I can make it through keeping everyone alive”. For some cases I know exactly when I messed up and got someone killed. Other parts aren’t as clear and I’m not sure how the larger numbers will affect the later events in the story, so I might be saving someone from death at that point in order to get them dead just a little later. The main point is: you definitely feel like you can change the outcome of the story and some of the middle too. You can imagine what would’ve happened if you took a different path.

All in all, Until Dawn was one of the best horror games I ever played AND one of the most exciting horror films I’ve watched in a while. Achieving these two points is not usual and it definitely gives it a “must play” status. It was funny how, after it was released, the internet was going crazy about the game, calling it a sleeper hit and people demanding it to be a franchise. I would surely play whatever comes afterward, specially if they make it an anthology thing, with different characters and stories.


Anamorphic on a Budget – Rectilux Extreme Low Light Test!

November 22, 2015

I’ve been meaning to shoot this since I got the Rectilux, but only recently was able to get my hands on the 85mm f/1.2L II, so here it is, Halloween shot on full frame, high ISOs – it’s a bit grainy – and the shallowest depth of field, with every shot at f/1.2.


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Ever since I got the Rectilux I got people asking me how does it perform at fast apertures. I shot a few stills back when my sister was still around Vancouver, using Canon’s 50mm f/1.2L, and they turned out pretty good, but we kind of still had enough light around and it was a very ‘controlled’ environment, and I could take as many pictures as I wanted, my sister wouldn’t run away!

So I kept this idea around and, later on, I got the chance to grab Canon’s 85mm f/1.2L II, so I felt I already had the gear to face such challenge. Halloween was getting closer and it seemed it wouldn’t rain much that night. Rob mentioned the Parade of Lost Souls, which happens in East Vancouver, and that was supposed to gather a lot of people and different lighting scenarios. He also borrowed me his Edelkrone Pocket Rig and I strapped the 5D3 on top of it. Before going out I locked both lenses’ focus rings on infinity using electrical tape and set them to Manual Focus. It wouldn’t be nice fine-tuning everything in the middle of the street, especially the 85mm, which doesn’t have a mechanical focus ring. For safety and better handling I added a lens support to the rails of the pocket rig, and by this time the whole thing was already pretty heavy at over 4kg for a handheld rig.

I took it pre-assembled and just finished things, like alignment and triple checking the threads to make sure the Rectilux wouldn’t fall off during the shoot, when I got there. Using MagicLantern RAW video feature I set my recording window to a 4:3 aspect ratio, of 1478×1104 pixels. It was absolutely vignette free for the 85 and just faint dark edges when I used the 50mm, but the distortion, oh man! Just look at how the corners behave. This would be the most extreme use of this setup in terms of wideness (if that word even exists), resulting in a 2.66:1 aspect ratio after stretching the footage.

Everything was shot at locked f/1.2, ISO 2500 and 1/50th for shutter speed. While there I had my doubts if anything would be visible at all, and if the grain wouldn’t ruin it all. Turns out Halloween is a pretty good aesthetic excuse for grainy footage, so that was clear. The thing that impressed me the most was the ability to get sharp focus at f/1.2, with both Canon lenses. The Rectilux was fitted with a Kowa B&H inside and this test makes very clear the quality standards these two pieces of glass combined can achieve. I was gonna try to throw Canon’s 135mm f/2 into the mix, but none could be found in time, so the extremeness of the test remains, with nothing slower than f/1.2.

I was walking around the Parade and filming people, pulling focus on the fly without an external monitor, just with the 5D3’s screen, so you can say it’s sharp enough to see it with the naked eye in a tiny screen. The hardest part was swapping the taking lenses by myself on the street, so I ended up getting a few misaligned shots in there as some of you might’ve noticed.


Anamorphic on a Budget – Van Diemen Cine-Iscorama Conversion

November 15, 2015

After reviewing the Iscorama 36, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the Cine Conversion offered by Van Diemen, making an artillery shell out of amazing anamorphic glass.


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Bom dia, meus amigos anamórficos! That’s some portuguese right there, saying ‘hi there anamorphic friends’. I’m Tito Ferradans and in this episode I’m gonna talk about the rehousing offered by Van Diemen to Iscoramas 36, Pre36 and Cinegon. They just started making their Mark II version apparently fixing the major issues that exist in Mk I, which is the one I have here. I haven’t heard of anyone out there receiving the Mk II yet, though. No pictures even on their website, just a design. Van Diemen Broadcast is a British optics company that makes their own lenses but also provide several improvements over standard lenses through rehousing third-party glass with their own technology.

Since the first news about this mod came up, around July, 2011, there’s still very little information around the internet about it – mostly an article written by myself, that served as base for this video.

Real interest came up when filmmaker Andrew Wonder used his “Wonderscope” to shoot Undercity, a Vimeo Staff Pick (my bad, I’ve mixed information. Andrew Wonder did shoot Undercity and he does have a Wonderscope, but Undercity and the Wonderscope aren’t together). Seems it was only after his posts that Van Diemen decided to officially offer the conversion on their website, probably due to a large number of inquiries and people interested in purchasing the mod.

The first batch of people had to wait several MONTHS to get their lenses back, since I believe there was some prototyping still going on. Later on they got faster, and mine was done in just over 90 days – including shipping times to Brazil, which is a pain in the ass. The price for the Mk I conversion is £850 and it’s identical whether your Iscorama has a 36 or 30mm rear element. The Mk II is specific to each size, and costs – I have to say it – ridiculous £1950. I was barely able to convince myself to pay for the Mk I but definitely wouldn’t pay for Mk II simply because I can’t afford that much on a single lens and also because now we have several other single focus solutions out there, so pumping this much money into an Iscorama doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

THE most common questions is “is it worth the time and money?”, and it’s still a subjective question. My Iscorama was very beaten up and in terrible shape so, instead of hunting for a new one, I decided to tune up the one I already had. Christopher, at Van Diemen, specifies that not all Iscos are eligible for the conversion. If some of the inner workings are too compromised, they will be passed along to the upgraded version. He also contacted me about some damage to my glass, which I was already aware, but I appreciated the attention to every detail, making sure I was aware of everything.

Now, what does the mod do, EXACTLY?

As you’ve seen in the Iscorama 36 review, the lens’ body is made of plastic and it has a minimum focus of 2m. Rear thread is 49mm and you need some spacers to avoid hitting its rear glass onto the taking lens’ front glass. Goes as wide as 50mm on a full-frame sensor and has a simple button feature for alignment.

The Van Diemen conversion weighs 680g (220g lighter than an Iscorama 54, and still much smaller than the beast), because the housing is solid metal. The increased weight raises the problem of lens support, which wasn’t so well thought out for the Mk I conversion.

It has standard 0.8 pitch gears. At some point during assembly Christopher sends you an email confirming if focus engravings should be in feet or meters, and it focuses down to 1.1m (or 3′ 7″) without diopters (it twists a little over 360 degrees and that impresses me every time). Focus throw is 1cm long, making your life really hard if you want a follow focus that is able to spin from infinity to minimum focus.

Vignetting – Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

Vignetting – Helios 44-2

Rear threads are 58mm, and it does increase vignetting, barely clear at 58mm, on a Helios 44. This is my main issue with the conversion, since I still want those precious millimeters back. Aligning is still very simple, much like 1.33x adapters, where you have a rotating part with a small screw that locks the lens into position. Mine had the alignment buttons in really bad shape, so this new housing made aligning really simple. They’re also kind enough to include front and rear lens caps for safer transport.

There’s a recurring comparison between VD and a 54, but they are very different lenses. First of all, VD isn’t necessarily multi-coated, like most 54’s, it’s still a compact lens (not as small as the original 36 nor as big as the 54) so you still have the stealth factor for run-n-gun. Front thread is 72mm, which is a blessing for finding and using diopters, quite the opposite of the 95mm filter threads on the Isco 54.

The full metal body is nice too since many Iscoramas faced rough times since they left Isco’s factory, 30-40 years ago. Mine had its filter thread broken to small chunks of plastic and was held together by an empty UV ring. This, added to the almost-stuck alignment mechanism, and close-focus mod made sure that I could not EVER rent the lens as it was. VD’s conversion lets you rest assured that your Iscorama will work like any regular professional lens should work: without quirks and secrets.

Also, some other useful information not entirely related to the conversion: You should check in your country’s customs office if there’s a special form or procedure for items that are being sent out for servicing abroad and will return later. This will avoid paying extra taxes over the conversion costs. Plus Christopher is a really nice guy, who replies all messages and addresses every question you might have about the service. A good seller makes a hell of a difference for me.

A few bits of information regarding Mk II: it seems they fixed the vignetting issue by letting the rear element protrude out of the rehousing a little more this time. Also, the lens size doesn’t change during focus and the front element doesn’t rotate. My guess is this is the main reason for the increased cost when comparing both versions. Front thread has been enlarged to 77mm but rear is still 58mm. They also came up with some sort of solution for lens support, which is a good thing.

This is it for this week, I hope you enjoyed this “comparison” and the information about this mod, conversion, rehousing, whatever you wanna call it. Subscribe if you haven’t already, and head on to the blog for extra information, links and all that. Also, I need your help to make the channel better, spread the word about the videos, share them with people you think might be interested in the subject! Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week. Ferradans out.


Um Conto de Marinheiros.

November 12, 2015

No que parecia o começo do tempo de todos os tempos, dois barquinhos se conhecem na saída do cais. O dia é bonito, ensolarado, o mar é azul e sereno. Nossos dois barquinhos se preparam para suas jornadas, cada um com a tripulação ansiosa para desbravar correntes desconhecidas e passar por aventuras que seriam contadas e lembradas até o fim dos tempos.

Alguns meses depois da partida, o mar parecia mostrar um apreço especial por aquela dupla, os dois continuavam seguindo pelo mesmo caminho. Não como se um estivesse seguindo o outro, mas sim lado a lado, impulsionados pelas mesmas lufadas de vento. Os capitães começam a achar isso uma estranha coincidência e, numa manhã quieta, um dos barcos escuta uma cantoria vinda de não muito longe. Ao sair para o convés, vêem uma grande comemoração acontecendo na embarcação vizinha e são logo convidados a bordo. A essa altura do campeonato já sabem que não são piratas, e que estão à procura do mesmo tesouro, um tesouro que não tem exatamente forma física ou lugar, é como um sonho distante rumo ao qual ambos navegam.

Desafios surgem, monstros e tempestades, mapas são perdidos e novos são traçados, cada barco sustenta suas baixas e cura seus feridos. Léguas e léguas são percorridos e a tripulação percebe que, se lutam juntos, os problemas são divididos ao invés de duplicados. As recompensas, por sua vez, não são afetadas. Começa um longo processo de trocas. A princípio algumas cordas são jogadas de um barco para o outro por onde a tripulação pode passar, se arriscando sobre o mar que encara, veloz, lá de baixo.

Os capitães lideram seus marujos em muitas aventuras, acumulando experiência e riquezas, acumulando histórias tão inacreditáveis que até pescadores desconfiam. As cordas balançantes evoluem para nós mais firmes, pranchas e redes. Eles não querem arriscar perder ninguém no espaço entre si. Unidos tão fortemente, os dois barcos agora são uma fortaleza que percorre os mares por belos poentes e céus azuis. De quando em quando retornam ao porto, para encontrar amigos e familiares que acabaram ficando para trás na jornada.

Certa manhã, mais que inesperadamente, um brilho no horizonte chama a atenção de nossos intrépidos capitães e não é o Sol. Se as lendas forem verdadeiras, é o tesouro pelo qual eles tanto procuraram. Avaliando seus suprimentos e estado de espírito da tripulação, decidem que a chance de recompensa é maior que o risco. É uma jornada como nenhuma outra que eles fizeram até então. Serão meses, talvez anos, até que retornem ao porto, sonhando e construir sua própria vila à beira mar, em outra costa, em outro continente.

Nos preparativos, concluem que é possível que um deles vá na frente, mandando notícias e prevendo o que eles podem enfrentar. O que eles não contavam é que a jornada era árdua e apelava para aquilo que ele tinha de mais frágil, ao mesmo tempo que o mar era calmo e o Sol brilhava. O desafio não estava do lado de fora, mas sim por dentro. Nesses poucos meses que passaram sem pontes e cordas, algo começou a mudar. Era um risco daqueles tão fininhos que você nem leva em consideração, chama de poeira, esquece que existe. Mas a maré não esquece e continua a bater, incessante, dia após dia, até que o risco não é mais risco e sim uma falha, que cresce cada vez mais rápido.

A construção da vila é tão intensa e corrida que falta tempo e atenção para cuidar do problema. Vai passar, é fase. Mas não é, e não diminui nunca, só aumenta, até que você se dá conta que aquele furinho tá jogando cada vez mais água sob o convés, e que as pontes não cobrem mais a distância entre as duas embarcações porque cada uma delas acabou seguindo seu próprio caminho em meio a tantos caminhos agora possíveis. A distância é tanta que os problemas não são mais divididos, e sim combinados. A sensação é que um aumenta os problemas do outro, por mais que eles tentem combatê-los juntos. Não é intencional, claro, eles são mais espertos que isso, mas ambos os barcos estão naufragando e a melhor solução agora é que se separem, para que um não arraste o outro para o fundo.

Enquanto isso a tripulação tem espaço pra lutar contra seus próprios buracos e construir um outro barco, menor, sim, mais frágil, sim, mas novo e capaz de navegar por conta própria. Aqueles grandes navios estão fadados a afundar e não dá pra trazer a bordo todas as riquezas lá acumuladas. Algumas preciosidades vão afundar, mas não deixarão de existir, e sempre estarão lá naquele mesmo ponto do oceano, reluzindo e cintilando sob o véu azul das águas para quando chegar o tempo de ir buscá-las ou visitá-las.

I see an end to where I don’t love you like I can
Cause I’ve forgotten how it feels
To love someone or thing for real
Darling when you wake, remind me what we’ve done
That can’t be shared, or saved, or even sung