Thread: Best Lens for 96-120FPS Monochrome Footage/Still capture-Wild Gorilla subject

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  1. #1 Best Lens for 96-120FPS Monochrome Footage/Still capture-Wild Gorilla subject 
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    I'm filming gorillas in the wild and will likely be doing some of it at 96-120FPS with a helium monochrome sensor.

    What prime and/or zoom lenses can maximize the resolution advantage of the windowed sensor both in video and stills format? I shoot nikon and have all of the main focal lengths but was wondering if there is a cinematic prime out there that will really make the black and white footage pop with contrast and resolution to take advantage of the footage from the windowed monochrome sensor at 96-120 FPS...

    The stills lenses I have are sharp enough obviously, and I'll likely be bringing the 19-90 and 85-300 Fujinons, but I'd like a cinematic quality lens that can take advantage of lens flare, depth of field, and invoke a "dreamy" or cinematic look to the gorillas as well as close-ups of chimpanzees. Thanks!
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    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    I really question the use of a Monochrome and the 96+ frame rate goal. What's the point? You have waaaay more post production flexibility with shooting color and the high frame rate is going to increase your compression and shorten your shutter duration . . . risking underexposure and a bunch of noise. What is driving the Monochrome decision? Seems a bit odd and limiting to go into a huge unknown with a very specialized camera. BTW, I own a Mono

    Any modern zoom lens will suit you fine and certainly won't make or break your ultimate production. In reading about your experience elsewhere on this forum with gear of this level . . . I would maybe spend some time getting some practical knowledge before packing your bags and jetting off into the mist ;-)
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    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    You might be thinking that using a Mono will make you the next Sam Jones. In his Off Camera series, he uses the Mono to focus the viewers attention to the guest's spoken words and personality - rather than distractions like the color of their clothes, make-up or complexion that day. He also has them dress in black and white to further extend this concept.

    I'm really not understanding how using a Mono in the deep forest on subjects that will tonally blend into their surroundings will work. You do understand that gorillas and deep jungle foliage are the same basic gray tone. It is the chromatic differences that will allow the visual isolation of them from background. You might want to go to the local Zoo with a rented Mono to test out your concepts before dumping a bunch of money into the project. Unless money is no object that is . . .
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  4. #4  
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    I have never shot monochrome. I have never shot red. I have never shot video of any serious quality whatsoever. I do have extensive stills experience in far flung places.

    99.9% of the users on this forum know more about how to use this type of camera than me. I know more about filming 5 feet in front of a 500lb wild silverback in a central African country than 99.9% of the users on here. That's it-and that's why I came here for advice which has been very helpful. These gorillas will likely be extinct in 10 years, they are our largest living relative and virtually nobody has heard of or seen them, and so I think they are an appropriate subject to stretch my comfort zone for financially and technically. The rainy season starts in March and lasts for 6 months which is why I'm racing up the learning curve for this trip so fast without getting the necessary experience first.

    Gorillas are all black, with the exception of their eyes which are strikingly amber to be truthful. However, greens of the jungle distract; there is no pretty blue sky to be had because it's either covered or overexposed relative to the gorillas. Everything else is dark, and I need light, hence the monochrome.

    Slow motion enhances their movements, which are subtle; in order to pick up on this I need focal length range. Windowing the sensor gets me closer without needing to haul heavy lenses through hours of jungle. I also can shoulder rig or possibly hand-hold such lenses and have more reach and maneuverability in dense forest where things are easy to trip on.

    The option of 120FPS also enhances stability in post, gives me increased range, and lengthens the footage that I can gain from 1 hour each day that you're allowed to spend with wild gorillas in Congo. The shoot is very limited, and so that is why I will try to film with two cameras at the same time to double my footage at two different focal lengths and frame/resolutions. I can turn that one hour into two, with a diversity of FPS and focal range footage. That's why the equipment is overkill relative to my technical abilities.

    Pulling stills will also be a priority and while the resolution is lowered at 6,5, and 4k, the shutter speed will be far more appropriate to playing, fighting, running, swinging, and eating gorillas than 1/48. You can't pull stills at that slow shutter. To increase the shutter speed for better stills acquisition, upping the FPS is a natural solution and under reduced resolution the advantage of the monochrome in overall resolution and noise levels at the same light levels should, all else be equal, be superior to grabbing stills from the same environment from a color camera.

    I do appreciate the replies and knowledge shared and in no way am I dismissive of people's thoughts, this isn't a soccer league where you get trophies for just showing up with shoddy effort and prep...I appreciate the criticism and pointing out of weaknesses in my approach. Thanks! Still looking for the right lens and/or color filters to apply to make the footage pop in a jungle scene. I appreciate all the feedback.
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    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    You really should start here:
    http://www.red.com/reducation

    Then rent some gear and get some experience with a local RED User. No amount of expensive gear or forum chat will replace practical knowledge acquired by experience with those in the business.

    To your Mono concept. If you look at your photo here:
    https://graysonfahrner.photoshelter....0002REWzKqmi7c

    You lighten the foliage, since it was shot in color, by selecting the Green band then adjusting it independently from the other colors. LightRoom made this real easy but so does any video color program as well. With Mono you have no color and one tone: Black
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    Grayson, I would be using the Cannon L series, I have seen Paul Nicklen uses I think the 70-200 or sometimes something bigger. The Monochrone definitly will give you another stop light and is beautiful how it looks. The color wont get you the same DR than a full Monochrome.

    Also dependes how close you are but Since its Jungle and hard enviorment I wouldnt go with PL Cinema lenses, some canon should do it, and they focus electronic controls for canon lenses. Also if you have to be light which I think you need to. I will also might take as option this lenses from RED that are really small and portable. https://global-dynamics-united.mysho...ollections/all
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    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodrigo Violante View Post
    The Monochrone definitly will give you another stop light
    What camera are we comparing here? And yeah, the Canon 70-200 with the 24-70 would do fine for this project
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    Senior Member John Marchant's Avatar
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    No vested interest here, as the OP isn't renting a Mono from me...

    Helium mono is dramatically better than monstro in low light. With respect, most people have not had the opportunity to test.
    While I appreciate that tonal separation on monochrome can be a challenge, the two most successful applications of the camera I've seen have been jungle animals and natural landscapes.

    Nikon lenses are the best you'll get for this work - we specifically recommend the Nikons for monochrome and IR work on our Helium and Dragon Monochromes.

    The only down side with Nikon is that establish camera ops find the manual focus rotation confusing to their muscle memory - you won't face that issue,
    I'd recommend taking good screw on colour filters to assist in popping the contrast - unlike on a colour camera you're not sacrificing IQ when you do this.

    One matter I do have an interest to declare in: I'd also recommend you pick up an IR spectrum or Full Spectrum OLPF for the helium to augment the tonal separation and low light opportunities.

    Happy to consult properly if the OP wants to contact me - my company has equipped and advised major wildlife productions with exactly these requirements and challenges.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Marchant View Post
    No vested interest here, as the OP isn't renting a Mono from me...

    Helium mono is dramatically better than monstro in low light. With respect, most people have not had the opportunity to test.
    While I appreciate that tonal separation on monochrome can be a challenge, the two most successful applications of the camera I've seen have been jungle animals and natural landscapes.

    Nikon lenses are the best you'll get for this work - we specifically recommend the Nikons for monochrome and IR work on our Helium and Dragon Monochromes.

    The only down side with Nikon is that establish camera ops find the manual focus rotation confusing to their muscle memory - you won't face that issue,
    I'd recommend taking good screw on colour filters to assist in popping the contrast - unlike on a colour camera you're not sacrificing IQ when you do this.

    One matter I do have an interest to declare in: I'd also recommend you pick up an IR spectrum or Full Spectrum OLPF for the helium to augment the tonal separation and low light opportunities.

    Happy to consult properly if the OP wants to contact me - my company has equipped and advised major wildlife productions with exactly these requirements and challenges.
    Sounds cool. What jungle / wildlife productions have been shot on Mono? Anything online we can see?
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Chad Lancaster's Avatar
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    Leica m lenses are stellar on helium monochrome. Even some other funky 3rd party M lenses have really cool character.
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