Monthly Archives:

August 2015


When Timing Fucks Your Planning.

August 31, 2015

Here’s a little story about adapting my work to fit the rules.

About ten months ago I started to develop my demo reel, Hovering Lights. It started out as a found footage project, much like Cloverfield, Chronicle and such. Following that line, my original plan was to shoot it all 16:9, like a handycam and have all the overlays on the screen, which would be another thing I wanted to learn how to script. In the first presentation people said it was too outdated, looking like something from the 90s. At some point one of the instructors suggested that I made it all look like it was shot with a phone, and uploaded to Instagram. That idea clicked pretty well with my crazy-experimenting side and I decided to set that as a goal.

First things first, I needed to figure out Instagram’s limitations. Maximum length: 15 seconds. Video dimensions 640×640 px, square format, 29,97fps. So even my longest shots needed to fit in 15 seconds or less. That kind of solved the problem I was having trying to figure a way to make it all look continuous while hiding several cuts along the way. Getting adjusted to the square aspect ratio was the hardest part, and I started my Instagram account two or three days after that presentation. I posted daily: old photos, new photos, some assignments, tests and whatnot, building up my audience in the months before the reel was ready to go.

Of course, I shot it with the 5D3, raw, and got me some extra resolution to finish the project at 1080p Square – no way in hell I was going to have my final output down to 640 Square! – cropping information on the sides and adjusting my framing along the each shot by manually moving the crop around the original shots. It turned out nice, dynamic and still holding LOTS of information for post. Then I went forward working on the shots through the remainder of my program. In term 6 I hit a speedbump and went back home for a while, getting back to work on my final shot with class 3D112, kind of restarting my Term 6.

Following a schedule different from my original class, 3D112’s graduation won’t happen until September 18th, which should be the time I’d have the final sound for my project – there has been some more interesting developments on this part, though – so I had to wait before officially releasing it on Instagram. At some point I decided “you know what, fuck that, no matter how amazing this sound will be, it won’t be noticeable on a phone’s speakers”, so I started posting the first part last Sunday (August 23rd).

Second part went online on the 28th…

HOLY CRAP! WTF?! Did you see that???

A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on

And then, coolest thing ever – not to say otherwise -, on the 29th, Instagram decided “ehhh, fuck this square aspect ratio thing, you know?” and removed restrictions so anyone can post whatever pictures and videos taller or wider than the original 640px resolution. Boom, that was it. What’s the point of having square footage now? My single salvation is the fact that this is too recent and the majority of users is still posting square stuff. So today I uploaded the rest of the project – even more luckily, everything that was left to be uploaded should happen in a single straight sequence of posts, unlike the two first parts – and watched my followers count drop by EIGHT people not ten minutes after I was done. Seriously? But, ok, I’m fine with that. I already got seven new ones to fill in that hole.

I got lucky that the whole thing was already going on, but if that change regarding the aspect ratio had happened in the middle of my development process, man, I’d be pissed for weeks. What did I learn from this experience? If I ever adapt my work to fit something else’s rules, I better release it faster than 10 months, right? Hahaha!

This post links up with something else, but it’s an entirely different subject, so I’ll just stop here. Enjoy all the clips, and follow me, if you still don’t!


A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


A video posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


Anamorphic on a Budget – Isco-Optic 16:9 Video Attachment I

August 31, 2015

The Isco 16:9 Video Attachment is almost identical to an Iscorama 54, with a different stretch factor. It’s super hard to find and yields excellent results with razor sharp images. Special thanks to the amazing Gabi Akashi for helping me with the world tests!


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!


TCUITF Syndrome.

August 31, 2015

Yeah, it’s true, I suffer from the Too Close Until It’s Too Far syndrome, an uncommon photographic condition regarding longer focal lengths. While you’re testing the lens on your own, at home, it seems to bring everything up close but as soon as you go out to the world you realize people are too small and far away in your framing.

If I had to choose between shooting with a 20mm or a 200mm for my entire life, I’d pick the 200mm in a heartbeat. I LOVE telephoto lenses. That relates to a few things in my shooting style that I’m still working on, such as “I’m never comfortable taking pictures of random people”, I tend to think they noticed me and will be pissed about being on camera. Add on top of that the fact that I like observing the world from a distance, without being a part of what goes on around me regarding people I don’t know (like when I’m biking on my own, taking the bus or walking around town). This strengthens my bond with longer lenses.

I’ve always wanted a 300mm. The second lens I ever owned was Canon’s 75-300mm, the cheapest modern telephoto zoom around, I think. It had terrible image quality, no stabilization, it was way too dark (f/4-5.6) and it was SUPER FUN to shoot with. That was the moment I started to fall for these huge things. Afterwards I had the incredible 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Mk II, which I ended up selling when moving to Canada, not because I didn’t like it anymore, but because the money was more useful at that moment. And then I played low for shortly over a year, with my longest lens being the Tair 11A, which is 135mm. Then came the Contax Zeiss 135mm which is an absolute killer, and not long after that my long-awaited Tair 3 (300mm f/4.5) arrived in the mail.

I can literally spy the people living in the building across the street if I wanted to. This lens is humongous and every bit as amazing. When I started testing it out at home, I felt it was super long and that I could finally snap those nice golden hour decisive moments of random strangers just stopping my bike for a few seconds. Then I took it out for a ride and my syndrome came into play. Everything and everyone seemed super-far-away, small in the frame and not helping me with good compositions at all. I kept it cool and snapped some pictures of strangers anyway for the Tales of the Seawall series. Focusing is fun (I’m being sarcastic, the lens has marks for 100m before infinity plus the focus ring has almost 360 degrees of throw) and the setup can get quite heavy after a while if not handled properly, so I decided it is time to practice shooting through the viewfinder again, instead of relying so much on the LCD screen and digital magnification.

I took it out a few other times since that first day and it’s growing on me. I started to chase birds again and will soon start doing the same thing to people. I mean, if the birds won’t fly away, why the hell would a person 60+ feet away notice me? Besides, I can always crop in, if my resolution is high enough. For example, I was around 100ft away from the couple in the picture below. Turned out nice, right?

I’ll eventually be good enough to focus a seagull on the fly (pun intended), or maybe go into parks and use camouflage until my subjects come close enough!


Anamorphic on a Budget – Plans for the Future

August 31, 2015


UPDATE – OCTOBER 2016: It took me roughly a year, but I delivered everything I promised in this post and a lot more unexpected content. I guess I should be in politics, right?

I know, Sunday’s passed and I haven’t uploaded a video. I ran into some trouble and couldn’t finish it on time. I’m working to get it up early in the week and wanted to let you in about what I have planned for the upcoming experiments. I mentioned a few times that I’m running out of lenses and that is very true. This week I’m posting the review for the Isco 16:9 Video Attachment Mk I and that leaves me with the Foton-A left and a small focus through Iscomorphot.

I’m trying to get my hands on an SLR Magic Anamorphot (1.33x stretch for now), so I can compare it to all the other 1.33x attachments. Once I have it I’m also doing a shootout mixing ALL the 1.33x lenses to see if the difference between them is that easy to notice. I’m very likely teaming with with Matt Leaf for that so we don’t end up with a pointless test, but something that also has some content other than the test itself. If you have an SLR Magic Anamorphot around that you could send over for a week or two, please drop me a line!

Besides that, which depends on me getting the lens, I have a Helios 44 on the way, for a special Chop Shop on how to open it up and get an oval aperture inside. After that is done, I’m giving the lens away to one lucky random person. I wanted to do the same for the Pentacon 29mm (since I did it two years ago and I know it’s possible), but there are no cheap offers on eBay. Once that is out, I’m talking about the cool DogSchidtOptiks, their mods, the TRUMP and their optical attachments for longer and shorter focal lengths along with what’s the difference between using such thing instead of simply picking a 35 or 85mm. I don’t think it all will fit in a single video so I might have a few episodes on these.

Mythbusters strike again and I’ll test the theory of inverting the rear element of the smaller Century Optics anamorphic to see if it makes the lens any better. I also need to find a decent 3d-printing place nearby for that Panasonic front filter I think I mentioned earlier. If it works, I’m releasing the model/file free here so anyone who owns a Panny can print their own with no fees other than the printing itself.

Then I’ll also have an episode explaining diopters. It’s one of the most common misconceptions out there, how they work, why do they improve image quality and such. Once that one is out I can make another for variable-strength diopters, clarifying how the Rectilux, FM Lens, Rangefinder and Iscoramas work their black magic (black magic, see what I did there?).

As you can see, there’s still a lot of anamorphic subjects even though not having lenses around to test! I’m sorry for not being able to clearly define the order these videos will be released, but my shooting schedule is way too random. At some point I might have a great opportunity with a particular lens and I’ll have to postpone whatever I had planned to shoot that week. I know you all shoot your own stuff and can understand how that works, right?

Subscribe to check the episodes that are up already and so you’re notified as these other ones I mentioned are here too! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you soon!


Tales of the Seawall: About Wildly Unexpected Encounters.

August 30, 2015

I spent the week thinking of what to write, every day shooting down my ideas, not considering anything worthy of sitting down and mashing the keyboard. Ok, there’s that, there’s work, there’s Catan and there’s May. But now I’m here and I’m writing.

Yesterday I went for my daily seawall round when the weather cleared up a little in the morning. After one lap I thought “yeah, maybe it’ll be raining tomorrow, better go again, I’m not even tired”. After the second lap, “Hmm, the weather forecast is saying the entire week will be rainy and the WeatherCaster is crashed due to faulty updates… Three is the lucky number”. And then, midway through I came up on closed gates. Actually, I failed to describe how it felt like a massive storm had swept along the coast. The ground was covered with dead leaves, small sticks, large branches and at some points entire trees had fallen down. Even though it was a Saturday, there was almost no one there and the wind was killer. At some bits of the track I had to gear down almost to the point of stopping just to counter the wind and still move a few inches forward. After getting to the closed gate I turned around and found a park ranger informing people to return to the city because the entire park was closing down due to a windstorm warning issued to coastal areas. I ended up leaving through the most random route ever and had to fight uphills with my already tired legs until I could get home.

After that I felt great, though. I mean, if I can bike under these conditions, the winter can be conquered. I just need to sort out some technical issues such as waterproof clothing.

Today I went for an afternoon ride. It’s been little over a month since a small deer was seen wandering around downtown. It seemed to have taken refuge inside Stanley Park. I saw a few photos and news about it, and wondered how come I had never seen it on my 40+ laps while the little thing was living in there. Then today I had the pleasure of meeting him (or her). A random dude closed me off on the regular path and I had to drop to the asphalt in order not to crash. This caused me to switch my route a bit and get back to the seawall a few hundred meters ahead. As soon as I started moving again (after going down some steps carrying the bike) I saw something on the corner of my eye and turned. A few seconds later some more people noticed it and gathered around to take pictures. I never cursed so much for not having the camera on me at the moment. Tried my best with the phone and it turned out no better than OK, but OK is enough.

I stood there in its presence for quite a while, just watching it pick the little yellow flowers among the green grass. There were some kids around too, curious and a little scared at the same time, coming close and then moving back as the creature made any sign of acknowledging their presence. Eventually I realized that I had dropped my bike at some point and it should be there abandoned to its fate since I wasn’t around. The deer decided to take a tour through an overgrown patch and based on that I decided that I should get back to the bike and go about my way.

The fun thing in this whole encounter was how much it brightened my day. The sky was still as grey as it could be, and there were some rain drops here and there, but I was completely mesmerized by how unlikely that was to happen. I mean, what are the odds of having a deer in such small patch of trees, what are the odds of running into it, or the odds that it wouldn’t go away for this entire time or that something bad didn’t happen to it. Still going on the odds, how come it’s not afraid of people, or at least tolerates our presence so close without fleeing right away, and just chill there, doing its business of chewing small buds? Right?

It’s not everyday that I have this kind of philosophical wondering, this kind of thinking needs feeding and random events like these are amazing ways of doing so. Now I think I should go back to work since there are videos to shoot, plates to clean and fake plugins to develop. See you guys soon.

Tales of the Seawall: About Wildly Unexpected Encounters.

A photo posted by Tito Ferradans (@tferradans) on


Anamorphic Chop Shop – Panasonic LA7200 fix with +0.25 Diopter – Part 2

August 23, 2015

This video has the explanation of the question raised last week about a +0.25 diopter between the taking lens and the Panasonic LA7200.


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!

Hey guys, welcome back to our Anamorphic Chop Shop, I’m Tito Ferradans and in this episode we’re going back to what I presented last week, about Mark’s video on fixing the Panasonic’s issues with chromatic aberration around the edges, close focus and lowlight performance thanks to a +0.25 diopter. Once again, thanks to Rob Bannister at Creative Camera Rentals – my associate, look how fancy I’m getting! – and Gearhouse Camera Rentals for providing the gear for this video. Thank you all for the comments, some people did pretty good on the guessing and explanation!

Test Video with all specs revealed!

On the shots with the Contax Zeiss 28mm and the Canon 5D3, it’s pretty easy to spot when we have the diopter on because of the massive vignetting the additional rings create. Also, there’s some more spreading of the light around the source, like a haze, but no real improvement in quality. Maybe just a tiny bit. Without the diopter, the taking lens was focused at 1.3m, and then at 2m with the diopter, which means something changed in the system. On the 35mm the vignetting doesn’t appear so it’s a 50/50 change of guessing it right. I can’t tell the difference. We’re really pushing the Panny here at f/2.8 and full frame.

Now onto the 50D shots. The 17-40mm is a great lens and its entire zoom range is covered by the Panasonic. This adapter has a thing for modern wide angles. It pairs perfectly with the 16-35mm f/2.8L as well, and even at the widest end of the 24-70mm f/2.8L. Anyway, back to the test, for me it’s a guessing game. I can’t tell the difference between having the diopter and not having it on!

So, does the diopter affect low-light performance, edge quality and close focus, or is it just one more element in the system? Let’s try some math and see if the initial idea makes sense. First, we have our taking lens, that focus from let’s say, half a meter, to infinity. Then we have the Panasonic, focus fixed from 4m to infinity. The diopter is a +0.25, which means its infinity sits at 4m. Now if we put the diopter in front of our taking lens, we’re limiting its infinity to 4m. The Panasonic’s focus range STARTS at 4m, so this whole thing should only work well at infinity for the taking lens and a subject sitting 4m away from camera, at least, that’s what the math leads us to.

In a straight answer: does this diopter improve the Panasonic’s image quality if sitting between it and the taking lens? Nope!

Of course there are tolerances which allow rack focusing, f/4 improves sharpness overall, by reducing the circle of confusion, so the blurred areas are not that noticeable. Should you put the diopter in front of the Panny, that could bring you some advantage because the combination of the taking lens and the Panasonic is now subject to the diopter’s effect and your system’s infinity now sits at 4m.

Now, this was a more “scientific” video. Do you guys like this kind of subject? Do you hate math? Please comment below so I can work on more ideas! If you like anamorphics overall, then subscribe because this channel is for you! There are plenty of other videos here on this subject! Last but not least, head on to my blog for the full – FREE! – Anamorphic on a Budget guide. See you next week!


The Things We Play.

August 22, 2015

Actually, it should be “The Things I Play”. I’m always making adjustments or justifying the title in the first paragraph, it’s getting a little annoying and I’ll try doing it differently. Probably going with “MORE ACCURATE TITLES”, what do you say?

I tried to start writing today’s post super early – like mid-afternoon – and wouldn’t settle for any particular subject so I decided to play something for a while, waiting for ideas to come. Today’s pick was “The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter”. During the game it came to me how different my taste for games is nowadays, especially when compared to what I used to play right before coming to Vancouver. I’m not saying I don’t like the games I used to, I still like shooters – a lot! – but I’ve grown pickier about them. Good visuals aren’t enough to captivate me anymore, and decent story is a must, along with not-absolutely-linear levels/missions.

The last good shooter I played was FarCry 4, last year. It might be THE LAST shooter I played, actually. It does have astonishing visuals and a pretty decent story – very similar to FarCry 3, indeed, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. I think I’ve written about this before, how I used to love games that feel like movies and then realizing that games aren’t movies, hence they can share some similarities, but if the narrative is too narrow and the player’s actions and choices don’t affect it at all, what’s the difference between actually playing it or watching someone playing on youtube?

Based on that, I’ve gotten more interested in games that have a strong visual style – not necessarily in a realistic manner – such as Transistor or Limbo. I’ve played A LOT of indie games this year. More than all the years before summed up together. And I’m enjoying it, because they can be bold in ways traditional blockbuster games can’t. They can have ZERO EXPLANATION of how to play, no sort of hints that’ll make you lazier about making choices or figuring out puzzles, strong visual styles, LOTS of dialogue, many different ways of getting to the end, no end at all, tougher enemies, darker themes, real choices that affect how the main narrative will turn out, and so on.

A few days ago I was playing Life Is Strange. It doesn’t have amazing graphics but it’s so stylized that everything looks kind of dreamy. It doesn’t even have lipsync and has a ton of dialogue. The story itself is so compelling that you wanna keep going, exploring each corner of its world. It’s like a mash up of Donnie Darko, Butterfly Effect, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, vintage photography and teenage drama. I’ll probably get back to talking about this game soon, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s the kind of game that inspires you. I’m dying to see some real-life recreations of its universe, like a short movie, photos or something like that. It’s amazing, really.

I don’t know how to continue, since now I’m looking for Life Is Strange fan material. Enjoy the trailer above, and I’ll be back tomorrow with even less important matters!