FIVE – Old Glass

On the run up to starting filming (Details of the project to come soon)I was looking at buying some new lens so I can get the footage I’m after. The plan is to shoot using my Canon 700D. Despite being considered as an entry/enthusiast level camera and it not being a full frame DSLR it can still hold its own in terms of capturing professional level footage. Generally speaking for a film project I would usually use a 50mm lens. I like the “nifty fifty” for all the reasons everyone else does, the image quality looks beautiful and it can produce some awesome stylish “bokeh“.

For this project however I would at least like to have a telephoto, that way I can get closer to subjects (Like birds and rabbits etc.) without actually having to get closer. Which brought me to another issue to do with budget.

A cheap telephoto lens from a lesser known brand can start at around £50. These vary from preset lens such as the Opteka 500mm or a 500mm mirrored lens.


A Opteka 500mm-1000mm Mirror lens Approx £70+ (Image from Amazon)


A Opreka Preset 500mm Lens Approx £70+ (Image from Amazon)




Both seem impressive. Both seem to offer a lot for the money. But with a miniscule budget, that amount of money could be a bad investment if it turns out to be no good. Official Canon Lens were not an option either, generally starting in the late hundreds of pounds for a cheap alternative and well into the thousands for the higher speced L series of telephoto Lens.

A Canon EF 28-300mm L series Lens. Starting at around £1300. (Image from Amazon)

A Canon EF 28-300mm L series Lens. Starting at around £1300. (Image from Amazon)

This got me thinking of what I already owned, what I could afford and what I could make. The only telephoto lens I own (technically my dads) is from an old Zenit SLR Camera (also technically my dads). The Zenit EM cameras were 35mm and made in the USSR. They use a 42mm mount for the Lens which means that out of the box, the telephoto Lens and my camera aren’t compatible.

Optomax 70-210mm Telephoto lens

Optomax 70-210mm Telephoto lens

Zenit EM 35mm

Exact same Camera as the one I have, with a 44mm Lens Attached (which I also have access to). Image from

Obviously it was out of the question to use the Zenit to film with, for a start it has no film function. But one of the positives to old Glass (Glass is photography slang for a Lens)compared to new Glass is it is relatively cheap. A strong positive for me is that I already had a lens that would go to a respectable 210mm and it had a rather nice macro function. I also know the lens is almost mint condition too as my dad kept the original box, lens caps and pouch. It also had the instruction booklet. So to cut a long story short and for a minimal spend of £6.99 and a slither of sticky tape (to trick the sensor), I found an adapter which means I can use the Telephoto. Obviously I have to do aperture, ISO and focus manually as the lens doesn’t have any auto compatible functions. But in the end its well worth it.


Test Shot – Mushroom in the Garden


Test Shot – Up close from far away


Test Shot – Macro Test

This is a Video Test with no post correction. With this, I wrap this entry up. Until Next Time.


FOUR – A Productive Day

Today has altogether been quite productive. I got feedback on my two main ideas for my Final Major Project production. The first of my ideas is to make a non bias Brexit Documentary that partly focuses on the if some people regret what they voted for during the EU Referendum. The second idea is to make an Experimental film with the themes of travel and interpretation.

Although neither were accepted with wide open arms, I did get enough feedback to develop the ideas a little further. For the Brexit Documentary I would;

  • Need to Identify people who would be willing to talk about their vote on camera
  • Need to identify a Unique Selling Point

For the Experimental Film I would;

  • Need to make a demo to show how the concept works as many people didn’t quite get it
  • Identify if it would be repetitive of not

As with all ideas, they are never perfect straight away and all need developing. This especially is true with experimental films because although I know how it will work, it is nearly impossible to show other people how it would work solely based on a brief outline.

With much to think about, until next time.


I’m going to open this one by firstly saying what I originally intended to write about, which was the struggles I had around coming up with a more original and less used title than “Warrior”. It would have said how titles aren’t particularly my forte and usually I’d leave them to the third or fourth draft. However, due to a series of recent reality checks I am forced to write an article of a different nature.

Unfortunately, I have been forced to not only rewrite my entire script. I am very much inclined to completely scrap the idea and start again. This down to two key reasons. The first, money.

For the film I had intended to have a budget of around £500. This would go towards casts and crew travel expenses and a few props I did not already own. The locations for the most part would be covered by using my own house, it being a relatively large house it is quite versatile in being multiple locations in one.  As I began the costing process I found that the original budget would be tight to work with at best. Using a simple formula based on a cast and crew of ten people at £10 per person and a shoot lasting 5-7 days, I would need £500-£700 in expenses alone. Plus around £100 for props and set materials and around £50-£100 to cover my own expenses (fuel, food etc.). I have always found it ill-advised and borderline irresponsible to NOT having a “when that thing goes wrong pot” too. This would be another £50-£100. Altogether, this comes to between £700 – £1000 minimum budget. Twice what I had planned for. Ever the optimist I was still ready to go ahead with the film idea until another realisation dawned on me.

What about all the other things I needed to pay for outside the film such as Car Tax and MOT, phone bills, internet bills and all the other costs involved with being an adult. Hope wavering at this point, the final blow came in the form of those dreaded “unexpected bills”. With a costly near £100 vet bill for the now deceased menace we lovingly called Stan Oleg Rasputin Hamster (Rest in Piece) I finally caved and accepted that the film in its current conceptualised form, would simply not be feasible. So I begrudgingly began to mercilessly chop parts out, play with the structure, remove none essential characters and have less ambitious props and costumes until it was closer to something I could afford. Then came the next nail of a reason.  Controllable factors.

Fictional Films rely on a lot to be good. I am relying on this project in order to pass my degree with a good grade. In my experience, fictional films just have too many variables that can go wrong. This is a project on a near iron clad deadline, deadlines that don’t really accommodate for worse case. Simply put, if any parts of it fail (an actor drops out at the last moment, locations fall through, the weather stops the show, crew members don’t show up)I run the risk of failing.

On reflection fictional film has been my weakest area over the last 3 years at university too. Mainly for the previously mentioned last-minute issues explained above. This in mind I have put together two separate ideas that focus on my stronger areas which were Factual Production, Client Based Brief and Experimental Film.

For my next post I intend to go over these ideas in more detail.

Until next time.


TWO – The Big Idea

The idea for my final major project is to make a 20-minute crime thriller that plays with the super hero genre too.

The film follows the story of a young man, named Sabastian, who has everything taken away from him during his home is robbed. His fiancé is slain; he is left for dead and is the only witness to the crime.

During his recovery, he is introduced to two men. The first is a Detective named William Carver, the man in charge of the investigation. Unfortunately, due to the lack of evidence or witness’s Carver’s visit is to tell Sabastian that without any new information that the case will be closed. The second visitor is a Priest. The Priest offers Sabastian a justice that the law cannot. He tells him that if he is willing to become a warrior of god, then he will give him his revenge.

Initially, Sabastian dismisses him. However, when Det. Carver tells him that the case is closed due to lack of evidence he contacts the Priest.

Sabastian turns himself into a warrior and takes on a guise of a vigilante hero. He gets his revenge and then proceeds to bring ‘Justice’ to the streets. Meanwhile, Carver is now tasked to track down this masked vigilante.

Eventually, Carver tracks Sabastian down. Passed the point of redemption, Sabastian is unwillingly killed by the Detective.

So, that’s the basic plot. The film however may be done in several ways.

As it stands at the moment, it’s all told from Carvers point of view. However, it could be that to tell the story in a linear way it may be too long for 20 minutes. With that in mind I may do it as a series of flash backs based on a debriefing from carver to a Chief Detective or may even film it like the film Rashomon (1950) Directed by Akira Kurosawa.


Rashomon Poster courtesy of Google Images


If I went down this root the story could be told in a multitude of ways as people’s points of views would differ.

With much to consider, I will end this post here.

Until next time.