The F3 operates a lot like it’s EX brethren. Most of the same menu functions and settings apply. For instance, the audio knobs are in a different place and I had to remind myself to stop looking the the “Internal / External” mic switch. It’s back to old-school plug in the mics you want to use. We were running with one wireless for the day and decided to send the feed to both channels 1 & 2 and keep channel 2 at -6dB as a safety. Same as an EX1 or 3 to set up. I put the Sennheiser EW100 at 0dB AF output and ran the transmitter at -20dB sensitivity. At the end of the day I wish I would have run the transmitter at -30dB – our last interview had a booming voice at times and I got a little close on channel 1 to the red…
Another thing we noticed, from a mechanical stand point, is our matte box from our EX3’s is just a bit small for the shade on the RED 18-50 to fit through… saw a little vignetting. We made the decision to just push through the vignetting at 20mm – it was real close – no biggy. I’m talking to the manufacturer about a backmount flange replacement to solve this. Just the kind of things you find as you are going through… The matte box opening is 100mm and the shade is 114… Oops – my bad.
I set up the camera with the RedRock rails and support base. The sliding plate makes balancing a breeze. I have these plates and receivers on all my cameras and tripods. Sachtler plate $85 – Manfrotto 357 plate system $49, additional plates $27 — Duh =) This system works great with our matte box and RedRock v2 follow focus. We put an ARRI focus ring on the EX3’s. It’s nice all the PL lenses have the proper .8 focus rings/gears built in.
The HUD in the monitor is very informative just like the EX1 and 3. I use the dual zebras and peaking a lot. The histogram is handy depending on wardrobe. Audio levels metering is so nice after spending time this year working with my 5D+Zoom – I can see the levels through the picture and never have to look away at the Zoom. As I said, the RED lens talks to the camera so the aperture, zoom and focus distance displays all work – Cool.
Coming into the home stretch… Using the F3 with the 17″ HD client monitor was great – both for composition and focus watch dogs… The hardest thing about transitioning from the EX1’s and 3’s and other ENG cameras to the shallow DoF rigs is the tendency to still just “wing it”. You can do that with an ENG rig in running and gunning mode but with a 5D or F3 or any of the shallow DoF cameras it’s a challenge. I often have to “retrain” the producers I am working with to not just say “grab the camera and lets go… Oh by the way, I need this shot to be really shallow and sexy” – while we run along side a person moving through a back-lit office setting… It’s back to basics: good blocking + good rehearsal = good focus.
Well, thanks for checking out another TD Blog. Looking forward to the next time,