URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

The place for questions about shooting with Blackmagic Cameras.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

Sebastian Kaz

  • Posts: 161
  • Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 2:17 pm
  • Location: Newcastle, Australia

URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostMon Sep 28, 2015 7:06 am

I just received my URSA viewfinder (after a day of ordering it, impressively quick!) and I hooked it up to power just to see how it works and how it looks.

I haven't got anything that outputs SDI yet, but I turned on the focusing chart and was intrigued...

How do you focus your EVF for your eyes?
Do you focus it as if you were looking long or near?

One thing I noticed is when I focused my Alphatron, it made my other eyes very exhausted and would seem to defocus the other eye for a couple of hours.
Offline

Sebastian Kaz

  • Posts: 161
  • Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 2:17 pm
  • Location: Newcastle, Australia

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Oct 01, 2015 11:48 pm

Anyone?

And what eye cushion works best with it? (Looking at you John Brawley :P)
Offline

Paul Kapp

  • Posts: 605
  • Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:43 am

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 12:24 am

Never used an eye cushion but it would probably help.
Looking through an EVF for any length of time is tiring, but is a very good way of nailing focus, exposure and framing.
For cinematic purposes, I imagine using the EVF and peaking and false colour/zebras to set exposure, marking the dial on a follow focus and then shooting.

For long shoots, I would be using the fold out LCD as well or an additional one on top like the Video Assist.
This is where a B4 zoom comes in to it's own.
Offline

John Brawley

  • Posts: 1961
  • Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:57 am
  • Location: Chicago Illinois

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 3:33 am

Ideally with a viewfinder, you want your eye to be relaxed and focused for distance.

So with BOTH eyes open, pull up the chart.

Do this in a darker environment as it will be easier to keep both eyes open.

Try to find a way to do this in a space that isn't your lounge room and lets you look off a little into the distance.

With your un-dominant eye (the one not looking through the EVF) try to focus on the distance.

Then while doing that, turn the diopter to adjust the focus on the evf. You should find a spot that you can peripherally see the image sharpen in your dominant eye that's looking through the EVF.

The idea here is to have your eyes relaxed and focused in the distance and to then adjust your diopter in the evf to suit that state.

It's a good idea to mark this off as it's easy to accidentally adjust.

Now you will find over the course of a day, even when its set correctly, your eyes will fatigue and this setting can change.

If you're finding that you're getting tired, you should also try to practice operating with both eyes open. Many people close their non-dominant eye when looking through a viewfinder.

By doing this you're not overexercising one eye while closing one off all together. At the end of the day, it's like you've given one eye a work out and one the day off, and normally they're used to working out together, so you can get headaches and blurred vision as your brain tries to make sense of one exhausted eye and one that's been doing nothing.

The other plus of being able to operate with both eyes open is you can watch what's happening outside the frame. You'll find it's easier to walk around in hand held, or watch for a que that happens offscreen. You can also give your boom swinger the evil eye when they're coming into shot or signal you're about to change something. It's amazing what you communicate with one eye and eyebrow :-)

It's easier to have them both open in darker environments. In bright environs this can be more difficult because of the difference between what's inside the EVF and the thermonuclear outside world. I sometimes open and close during a take when it's super bright. You want to keep your non-dominant eye exercised.

Some people wear an eye patch too which helps.

With regards to eyepiece chamois, they are great. A lot of the time the rubber can cause a kind of seal when you're eye is stuck there a lot and it then heats up and fogs the optics inside the EVF and you get this sweaty eye feeling which isn't very comfortable.

Importantly, it also helps to greatly reduce the chances of Conjunctivitis (AKA Pink eye) a highly communicable eye disease...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunctivitis

So....

Focus on the distance, try to match both eyes, set the diopter and adjust a little as you need to through the day. Try to operate with both eyes open and you're half way there...

ImageHiding by John Brawley

ImageJB Does RED_A301165.jpg by John Brawley
John Brawley
Cinematographer
Atlanta
Georgia
Offline

Sebastian Kaz

  • Posts: 161
  • Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 2:17 pm
  • Location: Newcastle, Australia

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 3:51 am

Oh awesome! That's exactly what I was trying to figure out! Thank you!

My problem was that my eye was expecting it to be close to my face, so I focused it as if it was 10cm away, not far off in the distance.

What brand of chamois will work best? I recall reading someone put a generic tear shaped chamois on and it didn't fit perfectly/it was a little loose.
Offline

John Brawley

  • Posts: 1961
  • Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:57 am
  • Location: Chicago Illinois

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 4:41 am

Yeah they have made their own size. I'm hoping people like blue star will
Make one specifically but I've been using the Arri Alexa ones without too much issue.

JB
John Brawley
Cinematographer
Atlanta
Georgia
Offline
User avatar

rick.lang

  • Posts: 9558
  • Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm
  • Location: Victoria BC Canada

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 6:33 pm

Marco Solorio has a picture of the eyepiece pad he uses but he admits it's nor a perfect fit. One River Media.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
Offline

Tristan Pemberton

  • Posts: 732
  • Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:07 am

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Oct 02, 2015 11:14 pm

John Brawley wrote:If you're finding that you're getting tired, you should also try to practice operating with both eyes open. Many people close their non-dominant eye when looking through a viewfinder.

I ditto this, especially when shooting documentary hand held.

Getting used to shooting with both eyes open is also practical from a safety POV - either standing, walking or on transport. You can keep a subject you are following in frame, and be aware of your surroundings at the same time - it's amazing what the brain is capable with enough practice, or if needed. This has saved my butt on more than one occasion such as avoiding running into something, or stepping on something you shouldn't step on, or falling out of a vehicle... or boat!

For example, I was standing, leaning over the bow of a 15' dingy moving about 20 knots with a pod of dolphins in shot as they were leading us into a remote island in PNG. It was an incredibly special moment - and image that encapsulated the whole theme of the film right in front of me. I was using both hands to operate. The shot on the dolphins was quite tight at that moment, and I had no sense of the horizon line in frame. Suddenly another dinghy cut across our bow, so the skipper had to veer coarse sharply to avoid collision. I saw the other boat first and shifted my weight in anticipation. If I didn't have that non-dominant eye open, I most likely would have ended up in the water. Gear and all.
Director
Australia
www.flywirefilms.com
Offline

Scott Stacy

  • Posts: 926
  • Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:02 pm
  • Location: Kansas City

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostSat Oct 03, 2015 1:12 am

Is this the Bluestar eye cushion you're talking about, John? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1 ... shion.html

Tested out the VF on my BMCC ... the VF is really very nice and easy on the eyes. The focusing chart is VERY slick. I was not able to make the aspect ratio guides appear. Perhaps, this function does not work on the BMCC. However, I did not mess with it for too long, as I had to hold the darn thing. Overall, crafted nicely. John's focusing tutorial noted above is very helpful. Thanks, John.
Scott Stacy, C.S.I.
scott@hppictures.com
Windows 10 version 1803 Build 11/12/18
i7 6950x
2-Titan X
Decklink Pro 4K
Areca 1883 48TB RAID6
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Jan 05, 2017 3:48 am

I just got my URSA viewfinder. I can't turn the diopter adjustment. The ring is super tight, and I'm not a weakling. Is there a trick to adjusting it?

Adam
Offline
User avatar

rick.lang

  • Posts: 9558
  • Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm
  • Location: Victoria BC Canada

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Jan 05, 2017 6:41 pm

Adam, it's firm so that it won't turn while you have the eye cup and cushion on the eye piece. That said, it still manages to rotate on me inadvertently when moving my rig or adjusting my lens with my zoom control. If it's frozen in place, perhaps BMD Support may have a suggestion.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Jan 05, 2017 7:16 pm

Thanks Rick. I'm bringing it back to B&H for replacement. Neither my roommate or I could turn the ring without going at maximum force. I didn't want to break it. I also couldn't update the software. the computer wouldn't recognize the viewfinder. Just to be sure, I switched the cable to the camera, and it connected without issue. I'll update this when I get the new one.

Adam
Offline
User avatar

rick.lang

  • Posts: 9558
  • Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm
  • Location: Victoria BC Canada

URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Jan 05, 2017 9:53 pm

Bummer, Adam. It's a great bit of kit. After removing the eye cup, I might have tried to place the diopter over some ice to chill it significantly while holding the BMVF to keep the rest of it warm. Or use some other technique to add heat to it while chilling the eyepiece area. The combination of expansion of the main body of the BMVF while contracting the diopter adjustment ring just might free the bond you've got there.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Jan 06, 2017 7:54 pm

Hi Rick,

Luckily, I live just outside of NYC, so I went over to B&H. they replaced it immediately. The diopter on the new one works perfectly, tight and smooth, and it works for my eyes. :) I also mentioned that I could not update the viewfinder to 4.2 because the computer didn't recognize it, even though it recognized the camera.

I ended up finding another mini-USB, and that cable worked for both the camera and the viewfinder. I threw the bad cable away. It was quite old anyway.

Adam
Offline
User avatar

rick.lang

  • Posts: 9558
  • Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm
  • Location: Victoria BC Canada

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Jan 06, 2017 9:02 pm

Thanks for the update. With easy access to B&H Photo, I can understand you must have to fight many temptations that could cause you to be unable to put food on the table. Thankfully I'm far away from NYC! As it is, I'm finding balancing the books last year and this year feels a lot like walking the plank on a pirate ship! Of course there's an easy cure, but you know how compelling lens p o r n can be.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Jan 06, 2017 10:50 pm

LOL! Very true, Rick!
Offline

Denny Smith

  • Posts: 9487
  • Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:19 pm
  • Location: USA, Northern Calif.

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostSat Jan 07, 2017 1:02 am

Also Adam, replace those Mini and micro HDMI cables every year, you do not want a cable failure during an update! HDMI cables are very prone to breaking quite unexpectedly, and I always have a spare on hand.
Glad you go your EVF sorted.

And yes Rick, lens poooorn... is very catching! :mrgreen:
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostWed Jan 10, 2018 9:42 pm

I've noticed that as I'm shooting, my diopter adjustment keeps moving. I turn it back, and after 10 mins of shooting, I have to adjust it back. the ring just seems to move too easily. Anything I can do to lock it in?

Adam
Offline

Denny Smith

  • Posts: 9487
  • Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:19 pm
  • Location: USA, Northern Calif.

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostThu Jan 11, 2018 4:41 am

A little gafer’s tape should do the trick.
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
Offline

Adam Silver

  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: URSA Viewfinder focusing practices

PostFri Jan 12, 2018 4:32 am

I will give that a try! Thanks Denny!

Adam

Return to Cinematography

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Abehjha Kibuuka, Lawrence Arnold and 14 guests