Almost since video cameras appeared, budget indie filmmakers have been trying to find a way to make them work as a film substitute, to create film-looking footage affordably. Initially the results weren’t all that satisfying. As Steven Dempsey (“Disjecta” on DVXUser) puts it:
“For years, I found ways of extracting the “video look” from the footage I shot, preferring the look and feel of 24p instead of the classic 60i. There is just something magical about it that I cannot describe adequately. It’s not quite real but it is still believable. When I watch 60i footage, I am not at all transported to a different world, I am hyper aware of the reality it is recording. I finally found the cadence I was looking for when I bought my beloved DVX100a.
Being the perfectionist I am, I would watch my favorite movies and be all too aware of what was missing in my own shots. Cameras in the class of the DVX have very limited control of depth of field. There are all kinds of tricks you can employ to simulate narrow focus, like zooming in to blur out the background, using ND filters to force the iris open, etc., but I still wasn’t getting what I wanted. Zooming in tends to flatten the subject and it certainly distorts the subject’s relationship to his or her surroundings in terms of perspective.
I was astounded when I first saw footage shot with the mini35. I couldn’t believe the footage originated from a video camera. This unit was indeed a miracle and I had to have one. My enthusiasm fell flat when I found out the min35 cost three times the price of the DVX. The technology behind this adapter is fairly simple and I wondered why it had such a huge price tag.”
I know what he means. Once, a few years ago, I used a P+S Technik mini35 on my DVX100 and fell in love. It’s a magnificent piece of equipment, and it should be, at its price: approximately $11,000. It gave the footage the shallow 35mm-style depth of field that we’ve come to expect from a movie camera; in many ways it made the footage look much more like it’d been originated on 35mm. If someone would give me one for free I’d be thrilled to have it, but no way would I spend that kind of cash on an accessory for a $3,500 camcorder.