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NEOS adapter used in filming of Corpse Bride

The soon to be released movie "Corpse Bride" not only intrigued me with its lovable monster characters, but also with the photographic equipment that was used in the filming of it. Based on the 'Bride' Stripped Bare article, the film crew utilized a Canon 1D Mark II digital SLR camera to shoot the animation. But most surprising of all, they used Nikon SLR lenses, because they have almost 100k worth of lenses at their disposal.

The first question that came to mind was, "which adapter did they use?" I only knew about one, the Novoflex EOSNIK adapter, which I reviewed on this web site. So I am always interested to hear about other adapters out there. The article refers to a "NEOS adapter", which makes me wonder if it is the EOSNIK. It sure sounds the same, because they also had to set the focus and aperture manually.

Why not use a Nikon DSLR camera?

The second question that came to mind was, "why not use a Nikon camera, if they already had so many Nikon lenses?"

The 'Bride' Stripped Bare article also pointed out several tips and consideration if you ever decide to make your own stop-motion animation movie. The article suggested that you should ask these questions when picking a digital SLR camera:

  • Are images from a digital still camera consistent frame to frame?
  • Is the quality comparable to film?
  • Is the image quality stable under different thermal and humidity conditions?
  • Could a system be devised for previewing animations on set?
  • Could a system be devised to keep track of all the frames?
  • Could a live video tap be created for a digital still camera?

An example of why these questions might be important to you when making a stop-motion animation is that during the DSLR testing phase (the crew had Canon, Kodak, Nikon, and Sigma DSLR's for testing) the film crew found that the Nikon DSLR cameras were unsuitable for stop-motion animation. Here is the actual excerpt from the article:

"We originally selected the Nikon D2H because of the wireless ftp, the chip size, and the fact that we owned $90,000 of Nikon glass [lenses]," notes Watts. However, random noise was visible as pixilation in dark areas when the shots were played back as a movie. This pixilation effect was only visible in stop-motion photography, an application the Nikon hadn't been designed for.

Notable Hacks

The article mentioned several notable hacks the film crew made. One was installing a removable video camera on the viewfinder so that they can see what the scene looks like on-screen without taking an exposure. Although the article didn't clarify, I assume the video camera is attached to the viewfinder because there would be no other way of obtaining the life image. The following is the excerpt of the actual passage, you can interpret the hack yourself:

"Although some digital SLR cameras have "video out" ports, by its nature, no SLR shows any video until an exposure is made. A priority was to create a live tap so animators could see what they were doing. DP Kozachik, Watts and chief motion control technician Andy Bowman designed a rig that would allow a small video camera to be mounted on the back of the still camera body, but slide out of the way for fine focus adjustments."

Finally, they wrote their own software hacks by incorporating dcRAW into the production software. dcRAW is a powerful command-line raw conversion software that is free to download and use. This software has been featured elsewhere on this site and in the HDC book.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 5 Oct 2005 19:28:05 -0700

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Title: Novoflex Nikon Lens To Canon EOS Body Adapter
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Tracked: Wed, 5 Oct 2005 19:30:12 -0700

Title: RAW converter for linux
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: Now that I have a Linux server running (actually been running for a few years), I have been using Linux a lot! A few days ago, I shot some pictures for my web-site with my Canon EOS D30. Normally, I shoot in RAW mode for my fine art pictures and switch to low-res jpeg mode for my technical web pictu . . .
Tracked: Wed, 5 Oct 2005 19:30:59 -0700

Title: free RAW converter for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: Today, I stumbled upon Unidentified Flying Raw (UFRaw). UFRaw is an utility to read and manipulate raw images, using Dave Coffin's DCRaw algorithm. This utility can be used on its own or as a Gimp plug-in. Because DCRaw already works as a stand-alone converter, this utility might have limited use . . .
Tracked: Wed, 5 Oct 2005 19:31:55 -0700

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