Monthly Archives:

October 2015


“If bad things happen on good TV

October 25, 2015

They could make a movie out of you an me”.

This has been definitely a crazy week, full of unexpected surprises and events that will bounce back in the future. Actually, not just this week, but October in its entirety. I’ve been trying to sit down and write something for several days and everything sort of vanishes when I sit down and start typing. Since the subject of this post isn’t clearly defined yet, I’ll proceed with the more “real world” events and try to dive into their metaphysical meaning later on.

Starting with “I’ve-lived-for-two-weeks-in-a-living-room-of-someone-I-barely-knew” and that quickly escalated into “you-know-what?-the-four-of-us-should-find-a-place-to-live-together”. So we (Bruno, Nati, Ariana and I) are looking for three-bedroom apartments and houses that aren’t so far from work/college and that won’t break our finances, which usually leads to scouting craigslist and biking around nearby neighborhoods hunting for rent signs.

Speaking of biking, I’ve mentioned the new bike before, but I’m really pushing it to new levels. Wednesday I biked back from the airport, after leaving May for her trip home. Monday I was finishing the most addictive book I’ve read in months (Ready Player One), when I found out one of the fictional characters’ (Art3mis) home was here in Vancouver. The book had the full address so I just threw that in Google Maps and headed out to North (West?) Vancouver. It was one hell of a hillish ride and I wasn’t all that sure if I was gonna be able to make it back on my own legs. It didn’t rain, but I was soaking wet by the time I got home.

I also spent some time shooting a bunch of reviews and anamorphic videos for my Youtube channel using Rob’s gear (FlareFactory, TRUMP, Iscorama and other pretty toys). I really gotta put some effort into spreading the word about this content. I know I’m a little lazy regarding that, kind of waiting to be picked up by a major website… I’ll work on that later.

Last Sunday Matt sent me a message asking if I would be interested in shooting some stuff with him this Friday. What kind of person would I be to say no? Specially craving a set like I was… So this Friday I met him and his friend Corey around 11am at the studio and we spent the next twelve hours shooting a LOT of stuff with Hedley. I’m officially adicted to their latest single, Hello, which is also where the quote for this post’s title comes from. It’s nearly impossible to describe how it feels to be on a set where everyone is great.

Now seems one of those times when a bunch of things start happening at the same time and being organized is key to get as many of these as I can. After Effects is up and motion graphics is coming back to the limelight. Time to master all those expressions and try to learn some Python and Russian on the side. I’m saying this here to kind of encourage myself towards it.

Besides all that, I spent some time putting together all the documents I need for Langara and my new study permit. I think I got everything I need, now is just a matter of time until everything is sorted out. Classes start in January, so I have a very clear mark in my timeline of when my free time is gonna become sparser and sparser.

For today I woke up super early and super bored, so I went biking as usual. The big difference this time is since we’re getting into Fall Land, the sun rises around 7h30, so it was dark when I left home and I got to watch the sunrise along the seawall. Pretty neat view, I’ll tell ya. Sadly I didn’t have my camera on me this time. Maybe tomorrow?


Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 02 – TRUMP System

October 25, 2015

The second video about the custom made lenses by DogSchidt Optiks is about the TRUMP 58. A customizing dream with endless possibilities of different looks by changing bits and pieces quickly on set, while also built to last, with high quality materials and an amazing feel.

Thanks a lot to Rob Bannister for providing me with the lenses for these videos.


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!

Tito Ferradans here, picking up from where we left off last week, continuing about the DSO stuff. Again a reminder, if you like these, rent them from us at Creative Camera Rentals. Ok, I’ll hold off on the advertising, but, you know, these videos don’t pay my bills, they don’t pay even for my bus passes, so if you want to support this channel somehow, this is one way of doing it!

On the last video we talked about the FlareFactory58, DSO’s debut product. After that they decided to let people go crazy with customizing options. Came the TRUMP, a larger lens, still all built around the Helios 44, so it’s a 58mm focal length, but a lot sturdier than the default Helios, something much more in the lines of real production ready gear than the FlareFactories. While building your FF58, you pick your things and you’re done, your lens is that and will always be like that. With the TRUMP you’re able to change things on the fly. You can take out the rear elements as a single block, the optical module, and replace with a different one, with different tints or contrast, or artifacts. Removing the optical module gives you full access to the aperture disc. If we had 5 options of apertures for the FF58, I’m not even gonna bother counting the ones available for the TRUMP – and I hear there are even more being developed! Seriously, there are no limits to how crazy you can go with this.

Now you have a “core” body and front optics, and the possibility of swapping apertures and optical module. You also get the option of changing the mounts without a hitch. This one has a Nikon mount, and I’ve adapted it to EF, but we can also take out this entire back part, put on a PL mount and throw it on a RED camera, or Alexa, or whatever you dream about! Focus has the same measurements as the Helios, and it already comes geared for follow focus. The one issue I find about it is not having any distance marks for focus. Front thread is 86mm, and I’ll tell you now, it’s hard to get a decent vari-ND that big, so you’ll probably stick with an 86-82mm step down, no risk of vignetting.

About the lens construction, this thing is solid. If you drop it on a tiled floor, I think there’s more risk of damaging the tiles than the lens. It has this massive “hood”, which is also how you control your regular aperture blades, by simply rotating it. The values are shown on the outer ring. I’m still not fully accustomed to it and end up closing the iris when I just mean to pull focus, since the “aperture ring” is now massive. I know you’re probably thinking this is too big and bulky and “what’s the point of it, since it blocks light and flares?”, well, if you’re not thinking that, I surely was, until I was shown their 38 and 88 optical attachments, but I’m not gonna get ahead of myself and talk about them, because that’s for another video.

The advantages of the TRUMP over a regular Helios, besides all the housing and build quality is that it becomes a reliable lens. You might not be able to always hit the same note with your regular Helios, but with this, as soon as you get the gist of it, you can make it flare when you want, you can control the amount of flaring, hell, you can even choose the color of the damn flare! Being able to quickly swap the tint and aperture modules so quickly won my heart because I’m down for custom, and I’m down for simplicity. The only obstacle you might find about this is the price tag, at £1050 for the lens.

Besides all that crazy stuff I just mentioned, if you have an original Iscorama 36 or pre36 (not the Van Diemen version, which is too big thanks to the alignment lock), it does fit perfectly inside the body of the TRUMP. Setting alignment is a little tricky, but can be done, and the focus ring of the Iscorama sticks out just the perfect amount. The inner small thread, once you unscrew the removable part of the hood, with the aperture numbers, is 52mm threaded.

This video isn’t nearly enough to explain the endless combinations and different looks you can achieve with a single TRUMP and several different optical modules and aperture discs, but that will have to do, because I can’t translate it any better than that! Subscribe to the channel for upcoming anamorphic content, check my blog for tons of extra material and also check Creative Camera Rentals to check what interests you! I’m Tito Ferradans and I’ll see you next week.


Anamorphic on a Budget – DSO Ep 01 – FlareFactory58

October 18, 2015

On the tenth episode of the reviews, I’m starting a series of videos about the custom made lenses by DogSchidt Optiks. This one is about the FlareFactory58, a turbo version of the Helios 44, with even more character and a ton of possible modifications.


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!

Long time no see, my anamorphic friends! Tito Ferradans reporting in for the first of a series of videos about Dog Schidt Optiks. I was one of the first people to order a FlareFactory, once they were announced, in early 2013, and – fortunately for me – my friend and associate Rob Bannister is obsessed with DSO lenses so I could take them for a spin. If you like what you see in these videos and you wanna try it out for yourself, all our gear is for rent at Creative Camera Rentals. We’re located in Vancouver, but also starting to consider shipping out to the States and beyond.

If you liked my last video, about modding the Helios 44, you’ll probably like the FlareFactory58, which is a more extreme version (that’s putting it lightly) of the aperture mod.

Why are these lenses in an anamorphic review, if they’re not anamorphic? Well, they were originally meant to enhance the anamorphic look and add even more character to the footage shot with 1.33x squeeze adapters. The cornerstone for DSO lenses is the Helios 44. Starting with the FlareFactory, Richard and James worked their way into tweaking the original Helios 44 lens, adding a ton of optional custom mods. You can choose how contrasty you want it, choose the color it’ll flare, aperture shape and size, mount (EF, PL or Nikon), artifacts and damage, and the outside finish. All of these have several options underneath – like the tint, you can pick from Red, Green, Blue, Magenta, Cyan, Amber, Bronze, Gold, Purple or not-tinted at all – which amounts to 28350 possibilities of different lenses (yes, I did the math, three mount types, five different apertures, three contrast options, ten tints, seven different artifacts combinations and 9 outside finishes). Picking one from thirty thousand options, I have to say there’s a huge chance that your lens is yours alone and no one in the world has something identical, which leads to unique visuals – and yes, I mean UNIQUE.

They also offer an optimized version to be used with Iscoramas, which has the focus locked on the best position to render the Isco’s images onto the sensor, and a tubing in front that brings the back of the Iscorama as close as possible to the front of the FlareFactory, ensuring no vignetting and no measurable light loss which are usually a consequence of adapters and step rings’ constraints. You can also add focus gears and make it as pretty as this one here! The front filter thread has also been increased, from 49mm to 55mm.

The advantages of using a FlareFactory in combination with an anamorphic or without any anamorphic at all is the look that you get. Using oval apertures (either 1.5x, 2x or 3x!!!) gives you beautiful oval bokeh minus the limitations of close focusing that is usually associated with anamorphics. No need for diopters, triple checking focus or any of the quirks we develop shooting with adapters or projection lenses. Shooting with a FlareFactory is simple, straightforward and the results won’t let you down. If you combine them with a flare filter, you’re golden for an anamorfake look at a fraction of the cost of shooting real anamorphic and even less worrying about the post-processing workflow.

I’ve been trying to figure out any sort of drawbacks and the only one I can think of is when you compare the price of a regular Helios 44 to the FlareFactory – but that totally takes out of the equation all the modding and fine tuning done by the guys at DSO, so it kind of defeats the purpose of the comparison. You can order yours at, for £265 in PL mount or £180 in EF mount. I always imagine them going like “everything everyone loves in the Helios 44 is kind of an artifact, originally undesired. Hmm… what if we get these artifacts and make them stronger, easier to achieve, like really pushing the look? And what if we let people choose how they want their lenses? Jeez, dude, imagine the amount of work that would be…”. I guess it paid off, since they’re sold out of EF mounts while fulfilling back orders.

The one I’m gonna use for these tests is an Amber tinted FlareFactory with a 2x oval aperture and a lower contrast level. I can’t say about the artifacts, Rob’s the one who picked them. While I shot the tests there was this dreamy feel that I couldn’t quite shake off, no matter what I tried. I guess I just missed the simplicity of shooting like this.

Well, this was it for this episode. We’re now diving deeper into faking the anamorphic look, or anamorfake, as I’m starting to call it. Next up is the TRUMP, and then DSO’s Optical Attachments and who knows, maybe some more. If you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the perfect moment for that. You can also check a shitload of extra content at my blog and rent all these amazing lenses at Creative Camera Rentals. Tito Ferradans signing out.


Post-Apoc Rant.

October 16, 2015

Fallout 4 is just around the corner and I was talking to a friend about Last of Us when I stopped to think about how the post-apocalyptic genre is way overused nowadays.

Yeah, it seems we do have a thing for going into “simpler” times, when survival is the most important element. In the past ten years we had an absurd amount of movies (The Road, The Book of Eli, Mad Max, 28 Days Later, Oblivion, Terminator Salvation – not to delve into the zombie flood), TV shows (Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, The Last Man on Earth, Revolution, The 100), games (The Last of Us, Fallout – 3, New Vegas and 4 -, Wasteland 2, Crysis 2, Metro 2033, Rage, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Tom Clancy’s The Division, Left 4 Dead and all the zombie games – it’s a genre on its own), books and comics (I’ll not list these because it’s getting boring already). As a 26 year-old dude, most of my teenage years and early 20s were immersed in this reality, which means I do like the genre and that’s one of the main reasons I’m writing. If I randomly come across something post-apoc online, I’ll most certainly take some time to see if it brings anything new into the genre or if it’s just repeating what is already out there.

Now that it’s clear I love the setting comes the time to point out some of the main problems. When we get back to the basics – I mean survival – things become pretty intense, because it’s always life or death, but also they can become very shallow by simplifying character development down to the point where every decision is based on the “will I live longer?” question. Since most post-apocalyptic universes are based on the here-and-now it’s easy to fall on the trap of no medium or long term plans. Relationships are only relevant as they are fundamental to survival, which ends up depriving us of deeper characters and bonds while resulting in a large number of badasses.

Even larger is the number of “quests to save the world”, to restore how things were, to cure an infection/virus/plague, fix society. In Fallout 2 you leave your village looking for a G.E.C.K (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) which, of course, is not something that exists, as you discover while the game advances, Terminator has Skynet as the villain, Revolution’s world can get power back at any moment, . One of the most interesting things I got from watching The Walking Dead is to see how the group goes from having lots of hope in finding a cure to accepting this new world as something that will last. Last of Us does the reverse way, from no hope at all to an almost certainty of a cure and having this kind of transition is great for character development and character development is most definitely what makes a few of the titles listed above stand out from the rest. That or massive interactivity towards the world like the Fallout series.

I’m loosing track of what I’m saying here so, I just wish we stopped setting anything in post-apocalyptic worlds just because it’s cool.

This post started with some great potential and then I killed it, just to see how does a post-apocalyptic post looks. Now that I bashed the genre check my graduation work, a post-apoc webseries pilot mixing up most of the good titles above and a little bit of Brazilian politics.


Anamorphic Chop Shop – Anamorfaking the Helios 44

October 11, 2015

Anamorfake your Helios 44 by opening it up and using an oval aperture. Anamorphic bokeh made easy and with very little cost! All steps explained and links provided at the blog.


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!

Tito Ferradans here for a shorter than expected Anamorphic Chop Shop episode. I expected this whole thing to be a little more complicated. Thankfully I was wrong. Cutting to the chase, in this episode I’m gonna show you how to open up the Helios 44-2 in a non-destructive way and use your own aperture discs. Before I start on the procedure itself, this technique was first shown as a vimeo video by Amir Safari, in late 2012. I messaged him about it and we talked a lot, he explained me how to open up the lens and even sent me some of his spare aperture discs through the mail since I couldn’t make mine anywhere in Brazil. Amir is still doing aperture modifications to some other lenses and if you like what you see here, you should definitely check his Train Station test video – you can find the link in the blog post.

First thing you should do is print out your aperture. I have links for 2x ovals and different iris values (f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 and f/8), you can just download them and get them laser cut. Here in Vancouver I just went to Laser Cutter Cafe and that costed me less than CAD$10. You can also design your own aperture blades, as crazy as you want them, feel free, be creative. Another option is to use transparent sheets of plastic and color them using markers. Just a hint of how crazy things can get.

UPDATE – OCTOBER 2016: I’m selling aperture discs for this mod on a small scale on eBay, so if you’re looking to get some for a decent price, check out the listing!

Next step is opening up the lens. The first time I did this mod, I came through the front and had a ton of extra work and even messed up the focus helicoid. Ended up damaging the blades and having a stuck iris. If you open it from the back, you’ll have to put a little strength once but then it’ll be as easy as attaching filters. I’m using a lens wrench (less than $15) just to make life easier. You can see there are two different slots for the wrench, you need to pick the outermost one, which is liked to this thicker piece.

So, twist the wrench anti-clockwise (I always get this wrong) and remove the rear optics. Now you’re looking at the iris mechanism. Just drop your selected aperture there and close it up again. One issue you might face is getting alignment right, which can be a little tricky. In my case, I did a tiny mark on the side of the lens that’s facing up, and then using a toothpick I aligned the oval with that mark and then closed the lens back.

And that’s it! We’re finished! Here are just a few shots to prove my point. Combine this with a flare filter and you have a complete anamorfake look, with close focus, single focus, lightweight, pretty ovals, sharp image and the Helios 44-2’s pretty flares.

I hope you guys enjoyed this video, subscribe to the channel for more content, check my blog for some extra information regarding this mod and other anamorphic matters. Also, if you know of anyone who’d be interested in this modification, send the video their way. I’m trying to constantly upload new stuff, but your help spreading the word is a huge boost for my morale along the bleak fall and winter months I have ahead! Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you soon! Ferradans out.



October 10, 2015

It was about time I switched to a better bike. I think I wrote a few lines here and there about how much the old one was slowing me down. It wasn’t anything specific, it was the whole thing. Too heavy, too small and – this was a good part – too cheap. I fell a number of times from it, or absolutely lost control without falling – while hugging a fence or a sign and last Sunday was just like that, except the crankset bit nicely into my leg – now I have what looks like a large cat scratch on my right calf – and I snapped the front brakes. This was just coming out of the garage. I went back up, cleaned the cuts and came back down for the most thrilling seawall ride of my life: no brakes!

Monday morning, first thing I did was go out and get the brakes fixed while looking for a new bike. The ride itself towards the bike shop was a rollercoaster filled with moments when I thought just the rear brakes wouldn’t be enough to stop me if I needed, so I rode all the way there at half speed and pressing the remaining brakes all the way – not saying it helped much. I got there in one piece and the guy said he had one last Fuji Track Classic left, with end-of-summer discount. He fixed my brakes in three minutes and told me to come back in an hour, to test the new bike.

With an hour to kill, I went towards Jericho Beach. It was an incredibly sunny day and after exploring some trails here and there I just laid back and roasted a little under the Sun. Felt great.

Back to the shop, the new bike was like a dream. Less than half the weight of the old one, singlespeed, working brakes, beautiful, really. Now I had the issue of having two bikes to bring home. Of course I took the new one back first. I still had VIFF screenings that evening so the plan was to catch a bus from home, get to the old bike, take it to the theatre with me and then home.

The only problem is I thought I was going to a movie theatre one kilometer away and with less than half an hour to the doors’ opening I realized the theatre was actually TEN kilometers away. Now THAT was a proper send-off for the old bike. I swear I never thought I could go so fast with it. Google said I would take 25 minutes on the ride, I did it in fifteen. Lucky for me there weren’t a whole lot of uphills. By the time I locked the bike onto a rack I was soaking wet – and no, it wasn’t from rain. I was still radiating heat for good twenty minutes after that.

As the cherry on top of such day, the movie was amazing (La Isla Minima, or Marshland, mentioned in the previous post).

Oh, the title is the name of the new bike, this beauty here.


VIFF is Over.

October 10, 2015

Ok, it was over yesterday evening and now I can sit down and write a little. Since it started, on September 24th, I’ve watched seventeen movies – not all of them part of the festival (4 regular Hollywood flicks). The main connection between the 13 I saw from the Festival’s schedule is they don’t follow standard Hollywood plots, timing, style and all that. Some of them blew me away while I was still in the theatre, others just a few days later, and some I’m still processing and thinking about. An amazing thing that resulted from watching this many films in such a short time is that I really got into thinking about film theory, history and language, stuff that it was kind of stored away since the beginning of my journey towards my film degree.

Ok, enough of random talking and into some of my favorites.

1 – Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta? – Brazil)

Of course the first one had to be from Brazil. It pictures an almost palpable reality, with characters that any brazilian can relate to. I felt like I knew real people to match all of the characters on screen. It starts out playful and fun and then it takes a turn towards tension that isn’t the “horror, life or death” kind, but more of a social thriller, with conflicting classes clashing in every scene, dialogue – or lack of dialogue at all. It’s hard to explain what it really is about for anyone who doesn’t know well how things work in Brazil. It’s a film that packs a punch and I’m really proud of it – even though I have no real link with it except the fact that I’m also Brazilian.

2 – Victoria (Victoria – Germany)

I didn’t read the entire synopsis for this one before watching, it won me at the very first line: “shot in a single take”. As a cinematographer, that alone was enough to justify it, but I wasn’t expecting much, specially because it starts really light and “silly” for the main characters are young and playful. Not cutting even once for its almost two hours and twenty minutes already gets you on the edge of the seat simply because you have no clue of what might be going on in different environments – and yes, you have plenty of reason to worry about what’s going on someplace else. IMDB synopsis spoils the main plot twist which was a hell of a surprise for us (May and I). The thing about continuous shots is they get harder each passing second since new things are happening and there’s so much that can go wrong. Hm, you know what? That kind of sums up the movie way too well. It’s the kind of film that as soon as it’s over, you just wanna watch it again. Oh, and the FIRST name in the end credits is the cinematographer’s – Sturla Brandth Grøvlen. Not the cast, not the director or producers, the cinematographer and yes, he deserved it.

3 – Marshland (La Isla Minima – Spain)

It’s like a spanish take on True Detective, without the excessive talking, and delivered from start to finish in under two hours. It has an amazing visual style, set in the 80’s, shortly after Franco’s dictatorship is over. We follow the investigation led by two detectives with very different styles of handling the missing persons’s case they’re working. It’s a movie that requires your full attention or you’re gonna miss out on some important details. It lacks Hollywood’s obvious style of handling crime movies, which is a great positive point. This one is also already on piratebay, if you feel like downloading stuff, though it’s totally worth of watching in the theatre.

4 – Anomalisa

I found out about this screening by chance, during one of the most empty movies I watched. It was not even noon yet, and the guy introducing the movie mentioned that a Charlie Kaufman single screening had been added to the VIFF list. I sent May a message and bought the tickets right after that movie, we knew it was gonna be full and we weren’t wrong. Shortly before watching it May told me this was a Kickstarter funded film, with Dan Harmon (from Community) as one of the Executive Producers. The movie is all stop motion and it has quite a unique look among all the animated movies I’ve seen before. It felt like watching an epiphany unfolding before my eyes for 90 minutes. Beautiful, crazy and unlike anything you watched so far. I’m not gonna spoil it, just watch it when it’s out!