A few months back I had a very unique opportunity to be the FIRST DP in the world to shoot a music video with Redrock Micro’s brand new M3 cinema lens adapter. This video just happened to be for the one and only Jace Hall. You may remember Jace from his World of Warcraft tribute video (http://www.johnnyderango.com/jace-hall-world-of-war-craft-music-video-director-of-photography-johnny-derango.htm) we did last year. That video has gone on to get over 5 million hits on YouTube alone!
I know, that’s not what you want to hear about right now, you are here to hear about the M3! Does it surpass its predecessors? Does it look amazing? Do we really even need another adapter system with the whole HDSLR revolution happening?
Well, here are my thoughts based on my first use along with a link to a completed version of the video.
Jace Hall’s “Street Fighter” shot by Johnny Derango Director of Photography
Several weeks ago IGN’s Jace Hall and producing partner Todd Roy approached me about shooting Jace’s new Capcom – Street Fighter video. I met Jace and Todd when I photographed the World of Warcraft video “I Play WoW” for them back in February. WoW went viral on YouTube and as of the writing of this article, has gained over 5 million views.
We had photographed “I Play WoW”on the Redrock M2 Encore and the Director and Producer loved the way that it looked. So when it came time to shoot the Street Fighter video the M2 Encore seemed like the logical choice. While prepping we had also tossed around the idea of using my canon 5D mark II HDSLR package but Jace and Todd were set on using the M2 Encore.
I contacted Redrock and with luck and timing, we were able to secure a prerelease of the newM3 cinema lens adapter. Some may ask, why would you choose to use an adapter over the 5D MKII HDSLR? Well, for me, the choice was simple: I like having all of the features that a real high end video camera provides. While the 5D may be a tremendous tool, my HPX-170 teamed with the new M3 provided me with the features I needed to ensure my success. The M3 plus HPX170 has functions the 5D does not provide, including color bars, zebra stripes, wave form monitor, vector scope: tools I consider critical in helping me to determine exposure. The camera/adapter combo also delivers integrated high quality audio and easy methods for plugging in external monitors.
Director of Photography Johnny Derango on set (red shirt)
So, how did it go? Well, I can safely say that the Redrock Micro M3 adapter is the single BEST adapter system I have ever used!
M3 lens adapter in profile
Redrock has made some pretty incredible changes in this incarnation of its 35mm adapter. The first thing I noticed was that Redrock has moved the flip module and achromat inside of the adapter so it’s now a single unit. While this may not sound earth shattering, I quickly realized that with a unibody construction the adapter can now be set up easily and in less than 5 minutes. Gone is the aligning parts and tightening down allen screws. Instead what you now do is thread one PL type mount onto the lens of your video camera, back the adapter up to the lens and twist. Your camera is now ready to set back focus. Just as before you zoom in until the frame is clear of the internal elements and focus on the ground glass. When you finish, tape down the zoom and focus rings and away you go. Not more fidgeting and fussing with temperamental parts.
Steadi-cam operator Scotty Bowman
The internal optical elements on this system are now also enormous. This allows the adapter to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of only ¼ stop. You are no longer limited by the light loss on your adapter. Now it’s only the ISO of your camera that really matters.
While this alone would be enough to sell me on the system, Redrock did not stop there. The battery compartment is now located in a soft rubber flap on the side of the adapter. Accessing the batteries here is a breeze. The batteries are once again rechargeable AA”s, believe me, you’ll be thankful for this! Located along side the battery compartment is a small SD card-sized slot that can be opened to blow dust that may collect out of the adapter. They have also added mounting holes to the bottom of the adapter which makes it much easier to balance out when you add a large lens, or matte box.
All in all I can say using the M3 on Jace Hall’s “Street Fighter” video was an incredible experience. The footage looks amazing, I never had trouble getting the exposures I needed and the setup was a breeze. If you are looking for a way to get an image that rivals that of a HDSLR but retain the features you love and need, I can’t think of a better solution that Redrock’s new M3 adapter. In my opinion, there is no other adapter on the market that can touch the M3!
"Street Fighter" crew hard at work.
Cast & Crew (1st AC Colby Festner, Alicia Marie, Steadi-cam Scotty Bowman)