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Is Medium Format Cinematography Changing into Mainstream?


You recognize the look. You’ve seen it in big-budget options. It’s the Christopher Nolan look. The Lawrence of Arabia on the massive display screen look. The form of picture you’ll be able to solely get in case you have the Hollywood price range to rehouse Hasselblad lenses. Or hire gear that may’t even be bought. Be it an IMAX digital camera for Dunkirk, the Panavision Panaflex 65 for The Hateful Eight, or the Arri Alexa 65 for something from Joker to Solo: A Star Wars Story, Medium Format Cinematography is a staple of bigger than life cinema. Till now, this larger-than-life picture has been out of attain for almost all of filmmakers. However with the discharge of latest moderately priced medium format cameras such because the Fujifilm GFX 100s, a brand new revolution is on the horizon.

Let’s Discuss About Body Sizes

To essentially perceive the significance of medium format cinematography, now we have to have a reference level. There’s a myriad of sensors and movie sizes on the market. For many years, the default commonplace for celluloid movie has been Super35. That is roughly round 24mm by 18mm or a vertical publicity of 135 photography-size movies. Which is mirrored within the APS-C Sensor. That’s the reason the Canon 7D was so fashionable firstly of the DSLR revolution. Second to the Canon 5D, that’s (not less than for some). 

Measurement Comparability – Movie and Digital Sensors. Picture Credit score: CineD

If we go smaller, we get the Super16 movie dimension: digitally mirrored within the Original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Digital Bolex. Roughly at 12.5mm by 7.4mm in dimension. Lastly, our bigger body sizes find yourself being VistaVision (the dimensions of 135 images movie, generally known as 35mm movie) and the full-frame digital sensor. The 36mm by 24mm, give or take a number of millimeters relying in your digital camera and most well-liked movie inventory. A sensor that all of us reference right now.

However What Does This All Imply for My Picture!?

Nice query! Every body takes up a particular area throughout the picture circle of a lens, and one lens can produce a number of aesthetics relying on the body dimension you select. This turns into extremely necessary in creating a visible model on your imagery. For instance, smaller frames are likely to create much less lens compression as you must use wider lenses to realize equal fields of view to bigger sensors.

That is the place medium format cinematography turns into such a incredible software for filmmakers. Initially, medium format movie was used on Mamiya, Hasselblad, and Rolleiflex cameras, to call a number of (there are a lot of extra). The width of this movie was so big they needed to measure it in centimeters as a substitute of millimeters. Sizes vary from 6×4.5 to six×7, making our body dimension 60mm by 70mm.

Check out Manuel Lübber’s comparability video between an Alex Mini LF and an Alexa 65 to actually perceive the distinction a medium format body could make.

These bigger body sizes dwarf the picture circle of each 35mm images and Super35 cinema lens available on the market, which is why Christopher Nolan used rehoused Hasselblad lenses for Dunkirk and Tenet, in addition to a number of customized lenses from Panavision. Medium format lenses are bigger and create a much bigger picture circle that covers these gigantic body sizes.

This has a novel impact in your recorded picture. Relying in your framing, your topic is separated not solely out of your background but additionally foreground. It creates a larger-than-life aesthetic that’s pricey to realize. Think about getting the intimacy of an 80mm lens, with the width of a 35mm lens!

Bigger Than Life: Medium Format for the Lots

Between 2014 and 2016, Leica, Pentax, and Hasselblad launched a number of medium format cameras that allowed you to shoot HD or 4k video, relying on the model. Whereas the video options had been lackluster upon launch, medium format video has been improved upon by later releases from Fujifilm. 

The Fujifilm GFX 100 was an unimaginable medium digital camera that supplied ProResRAW in 4K when partnered up with the Atomos Ninja V recorder. Now with the Fujifilm GFX 100s that was simply launched, that very same RAW output is on the market for beneath $10,000. Whereas that will appear steep, it’s a cut price when in comparison with the rental-only Arri Alexa 65. 

Fujifilm GFX100S and Atomos Ninja V. Medium Format Cinematography in ProRes RAW.
Fujifilm GFX100S and  Atomos Ninja V. Picture Credit score: Atomos

Whereas each the Hasselblad and Fujifilm cameras have a digital sensor at 53.4mm x 40mm and 43.9mm x 32.9mm respectively, it’s nowhere close to the dimensions of 65mm or IMAX. 

We Want a Greater Boat

How can we improve our picture dimension to have the ability to play with the rental-only crowd? That is the place the magic of velocity boosters utterly adjustments the sport. By pairing a Fujifilm GFX 100s with a Metabones 0.71x Hasselblad V to Fuji G Speedbooster, we’re in a position to get a stunning medium format body similar to an 80mm picture circle!

Hasselblad V to Fujifilm G mount CINE Speed Booster® ULTRA 0.71x. Medium Format Cinematography.
Hasselblad V to Fujifilm G mount CINE Pace Booster® ULTRA 0.71x. Picture Credit score: Metabones

Are Hasselblad V lenses too costly? Did you discover a bunch of Mamiya 645 lenses in your grandad’s attic? Concern not!

Kipon makes a 0.7x Mamiya 645 to Fuji GFX Speedbooster as nicely. The Media Division YouTube channel did an amazing breakdown on the Mamiya 645 lens lineup, which is a must-watch. 

A Greater But Cheaper Boat

Whereas the GFX 100s is an reasonably priced medium format digital camera, it’s nonetheless too costly for some micro-budget or no-budget filmmakers. However with the magic of velocity boosters, we will nonetheless obtain a bigger body even when utilizing full-frame cameras. 

By taking cameras such because the Sigma fp L, Canon R5, or the brand new Sony FX3, and mixing them with Kipon Speedboosters we will adapt Mamiya 645 lenses to E-mount, R-Mount, or L-Mount. This set-up would supply a comparable picture to a 56mm diagonal body, or roughly 46mm by 31mm! Consider this because the Super35 of Medium Format Cinematography.

The Future is Medium Format

Whereas all the above choices could not have the ergonomics or workflow of an Arri Alexa 65 or a Panaflex 65, they’re superb choices for filmmakers to realize an unattainable look. Ultimately, all of those cameras and lens combos are simply instruments. Some could not want or need the look of medium format body sizes, however it’s unimaginable to see that these instruments are lastly inside attain. What the DSRL revolution did for budget-conscious filmmakers, this new medium format evolution will as soon as once more change how we create our imagery. 

Guys, what do you suppose? Will you be utilizing these new instruments in your future tasks? What does a medium format picture imply to you?



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