ARRI’s new Orbiter ultra-bright, tunable and directional LED fixture
Today, during a live-streaming online presentation, ARRI introduced a number of new products as part of a powerful new “lighting platform.” The main product of the lighting system is Orbiter, which ARRI calls “a new LED…ultra-bright, tunable and directional LED fixture.” The company also calls Orbiter “the most technologically advanced luminaire ever produced for image capture and color fidelity. All systems in Orbiter are completely new and have been designed with versatility in mind.”
During the livestream ARRI demonstrated Orbiter’s new six-color light engine, which they say will deliver “a wide-color gamut and outstanding color rendition across all color temperatures along with industry-leading, smooth dimming from 100 to 0%.” The Orbiter also has changeable optics, which ARRI says “can transform into many different types of lampheads including projection (profile), open face and soft light.” Other features include a fast processor, ample memory, expanded connectivity, a built-in array of sensors and weatherproof housing
During the presentation, the ARRI executives covered additional aspects of the new lighting platform, including:
ARRI did not disclose pricing or availability during the presentation. For more, see the press release below or go to arri.com/orbiter
[[press release ]]
ARRI introduces Orbiter, the ultra-bright LED point source with a variety of optics
September 10, 2019; Munich – ARRI introduces Orbiter, a new LED luminaire that is poised to change the way the industry looks at digital lighting. An ultra-bright, tunable, and directional LED fixture, Orbiter is the most technologically advanced luminaire ever produced for image capture and color fidelity. All systems in Orbiter are completely new and have been designed with versatility in mind. Orbiter’s new six-color light engine delivers a wide-color gamut and outstanding color rendition across all color temperatures along with industry-leading, smooth dimming from 100 to 0%. With its changeable optics, Orbiter can transform into many different types of lampheads including projection (profile), open face, and soft light. Additional features, such as a fast processor, ample memory, expanded connectivity, a built-in array of sensors, and weatherproof housing, make Orbiter a formidable machine. Orbiter’s state-of-the-art technology and versatile design makes it an optimal lamphead for today and for the future, with endless possibilities for updates, configurations, and enhancements.
Changeable optics is the core innovation in Orbiter. With a wide variety of optics to choose from, Orbiter transforms into the perfect light for your application without sacrificing beam, output, or color quality. The Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) in Orbiter allows for optics with vastly different properties to be attached to the fixture. The high-output, directional beam of the open face optic is ideal for throwing light long distances. The high precision of the projection optics creates a perfect circle of light that can be shaped with cutters, focus, and gobos. The dome optic provides omnidirectional, soft light, great for illuminating large spaces, and a universal QLM adapter creates a direct mounting point for Orbiter-specific Chimera and DoPchoice products. With versatility built in, there is great potential for creating additional optics for different applications.
ARRI Spectra six-color LED light engine
Orbiter is an extremely bright and powerful, directional LED fixture with an output similar to that of the corresponding HMI systems. Its new high output, yet tunable, ARRI Spectra light engine can create hard shadows with defined edges.
Including a red, green, blue, amber, cyan, and lime LED, the ARRI Spectra six-color light engine translates into a wider color gamut, more accurate colors, and most importantly, higher color rendition across the entire CCT range. Skin tones look amazing and natural, and hues are precisely reproduced. Orbiter has a larger CCT range of 2,000 to 20,000 K with ultra-high color rendition across all color temperatures. Using a combination of three dimming techniques, Orbiter’s cutting-edge electronics provide smooth dimming down to zero without color changes or jumps.
LiOS – The new Lighting Operating System
Orbiter is able to take advantage of more than five years of software development for the SkyPanel. Its new software called LiOS (Lighting Operating System) includes all the innovative and groundbreaking features of the SkyPanel plus others, making Orbiter one of the most fully-featured luminaires on the market. LiOS’s eight-color modes include CCT, HSI, individual color, x/y coordinates, gel and source matching, lighting effects, and the new color sensor mode that measures ambient light and recreates it through Orbiter’s output. Other new features in LiOS include simplified DMX modes, performance-enhancing operational modes, over 240 slots for favorites to be stored, optics recognition, multi-language support, a custom boot screen, and many more still to come.
Removeable control panel
With a 4” full-color display, quick navigation buttons, and integrated sensors, the Orbiter control panel allows for easy use with a graphic user interface. Simplified menu structure and re-imagined user interfaces provide one-glance operational views and uncluttered screens. This intuitive design makes changing the color or finding a setting easier than ever before. In addition, the control panel is removable and can be used handheld with the aid of a 5 or 15 m (16.4 or 49.2 ft) control panel cable.
Including a full suite of input and output connectors, Orbiter is prepared for digital communication—today and tomorrow. Ethernet daisy chaining is now possible with two EtherCON ports supporting Art-Net 4, sACN, and TCP/IP. Two USB-A ports are used for LiOS updates and connection of third-party peripherals such as Wi-Fi USB dongles. LumenRadio’s CRMX solution is included, allowing for wireless DMX. Two 5-pin XLR DMX ports used for conventional DMX & RDM communication in and through, and a 3-pin XLR DC input for 48 V power station. An SD Card slot enables future expansion of the software. Finally, a USB-C port is available for computer communication and servicing.
Full suite of sensors
Included in Orbiter is a color sensor for measuring the ambient light, a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer for sensing the pan, tilt, roll, and heading of the fixture, heat sensors for keeping the LEDs and electronics at exactly the right temperature, and an ambient light sensor for automatically dimming the control panel display. All these sensors make for a better user experience and increased control over the fixture. Available data improve workflow also in postproduction and service.
Robust, weatherproof housing
The outer design of Orbiter meets the demands of heavy, daily usage. A new weatherproof housing enables outdoor application by using an aluminum cast body with bumpers made of reinforced plastic. The handle makes transport comfortable and allows for handheld operation due to perfect balance.
Large range of applications
Orbiter’s wide range of optics and features allows the fixture to be used in a great variety of applications without compromising quality. Markets such as film and television production, broadcast, theater and live entertainment, and even still photography are just some examples of environments where Orbiter excels. The fixture’s ability to throw light long distances with its open face or projection optics, while at the same time being able to serve as a soft light, brings the flexibility needed on today’s fast-paced film sets. Orbiter’s projection optic will enable broadcasters to have controlled, high-quality light in the studio, and with its battery power, Orbiter can easily be used on the move. The projection optic is the key feature for the theater and live entertainment market and Orbiter also exceeds expectations for continuous lighting in still photography. All in all, Orbiter’s software innovations and connectivity make it the ultimate companion for dynamic lighting setups.
For more information on Orbiter, please visit: www.arri.com/orbiter
The post ARRI Introduces New Versatile Cinema Lighting System appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Sigma has announced a new cinema lens lines: FF Classic Prime Line. It also announced the development of a PL-to-L adapter.
This new line of Sigma Cine Lens incorporates “more non-coated optical elements to achieve unrivaled expression,” says Sigma. So, they’re similar if not identical to Sigma’s FF High Speed Primes with different coatings. “It retains the high resolution capability…” and “offers a unique combination of low contrast and artistic flare/ghost in the image. Other features include:
The lens line will launch at the of 2019. Note for those filmmakers on a tight budget: Sigma says the lens line will only be “sold as a set of 10 primes.”
Additionally, SIGMA said it was developing of SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-31, a converter that allows PL mount lenses to be used on L-Mount cameras. What was notable about SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-31, is that the company says, “users can use PL mount cine lenses, which are widely used in the filmmaking industry, on the SIGMA fp and other L-Mount cameras.”
At press time, Sigma did not have a launch date or pricing for the new adapter
For more information, see the press releases below.
[[ press release ]]
State-of-the-art resolution meets the classic “look”.
SIGMA CINE LENS welcomes a new series “FF Classic Prime Line” to the lineup. With cutting-edge technology, SIGMA’s new “Classic Art Prime” offers unrivaled expression for artists.
The SIGMA Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of “FF Classic Prime Line” as a new series in
the SIGMA CINE LENS.
FF High Speed Prime Line has been offering the highest resolving power in its class, that is compatible
with 8K shooting with large format sensors, while achieving outstanding compact design. Based on
this product line, the FF Classic Prime Line incorporates more non-coated optical elements to achieve
unrivaled expression. It retains the high resolution capability that SIGMA CINE LENS is well known for,
and offers a unique combination of low contrast and artistic flare/ghost in the image. As with all other
lenses from the FF High Speed Prime Line, it creates beautiful bokeh effects to improve creativity.
FF Classic Prime Line has implemented newly developed coatings on the glass elements and offers
consistent T value across the lineup (14mm and 135mm at T3.2 and the rest of the lenses at T2.5). This
will greatly contribute to the effective workflow in postproduction. Furthermore, it is compatible with
the communication protocol of Cooke “/i Technology”, thus an ideal tool for shooting and editing with
the latest technology, such as VFX. A special coating is implemented on the front and rear elements so
that the lens durability is ensured as with all other cine lenses from SIGMA.
“Classic Art Prime” is a new solution from SIGMA that is required for the most advanced technology for
classical expression. The “look” that FF Classic Prime Line can offer will enable cinematographers to
explore new possibilities in movie creation.
Launch: End of 2019. Only sold as a set of 10 primes.
[[ press release ]]
PL-L Mount Converter
Development of SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-31 Announced
SIGMA Corporation (CEO: Kazuto Yamaki) is pleased to announce its development of SIGMA MOUNT
CONVERTER MC-31, a converter that allows PL mount lenses to be used on L-Mount cameras.
By using SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-31, users can use PL mount cine lenses, which are widely used
in the filmmaking industry, on the SIGMA fp and other L-Mount cameras.
A production version of this new product will be on display at IBC 2019, scheduled to take place in
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from September 13 to 17, 2019.
MC-31 has shim adjustments on two points of the mount. Adjustments can be made with a shim kit
(included) on the camera side of the mount, or a shim for ARRI digital cameras on the lens side.
With an aluminum-alloy body and strong brass mount and locking ring, MC-31 boasts excellent
It is also designed to be secured on the mount of the SIGMA fp with a screw thread, ensuring an even
more secure connection between the lens and the camera. This allows users to shoot steady without
the lens rattling even after the long-term use.
The removable tripod socket allows MC-31 to be attached to a tripod or other filmmaking accessories
such as a camera cage.
With the screw thread removed, the stopper of the locking ring is released. This makes it possible to use
MC-31 with a PL mount lens that requires tighter mounting than the MC-31’s specifications, allowing
the lens to lock securely in place on the converter.
The markings on the upper part of the converter are in the same luminous paint as the one used for
SIGMA CINE LENS, helping make it easier to replace or adjust a lens in the dark.
The post Sigma Announces New FF Classic Prime Cinema Lenses And Development Of PL-To-L Adapter appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Sony’s new PXW-FX9 6K Cinema Camcorder
Today, Sony announced the new flagship FX9 pro cinema camera, which will include a new 19 megapixel full-frame “Exmor R” sensor with 15+ stops of latitude (for wide dynamic range) and dual-base ISO. The target markets for the FX9 are freelance and wedding filmmakers, as well as those in film and video production. Sony said that it expects the main applications for the new camera to be promotion video as well as documentary and event filmmaking.
According to the company, the new model combines technology from three different Sony systems: From the digital cinema camera Venice line, the FX9 includes the expression power of full-frame, 15+ stops latitude, dual-base ISO and color science, and from the FS7 series, the FX9 uses its 4K 4:2:2 10-bit recording function, XAVC intra/long, its run-and-gun form factor, the electronic variable ND filter and its usability and expandability. The FX9 also employs the Alpha series auto-focus algorithm from the Alpha E-mount system digital cameras.
Sony says the “newly-developed 6K Full-Frame sensor offers wide dynamic range with high sensitivity, low noise and over 15 stops of latitude that can be recorded internally in” 4K 4:2:2 10bit.
Other new features on the pro-level camcorder include:
The new camera will be available in January 2020 in a few configurations: The PXW-FX9 (body-only) will be available for $10,998 or as a kit (PXW-FX9K with the with 28-35mm f/4 G OSS Lens) for $13,499. Sony’s XDCA-FX9 expansion unit will cost $2,498.
Sony today also introduced the PXW-Z750, which it calls “the world’s first 2/3-type shoulder camcorder to support 4K capture with a 3-chip CMOS sensor system.” It’s planned to be available in February 2020, with pricing to be determined.
Sony also introduced a new cinema lens series, which will have “traditional cinema lens operability” with Sony’s Alpha E-mount system. In effect, the new line will include autofocus in a lens with direct manual focus control. The new line will also have:
Sony said the FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G Cinema Lens, which will be a “full-frame wide angle zoom with advanced optical performance, operability and intelligent shooting fucntions,” will be the first lens in the product line. It will be available in the spring of 2020 for $5,500.
For more information, see the press releases below. Or visit pro.sony.
[[ press release ]]
Sony Launches FX9 4K Camera with Newly-Developed
Full-frame Sensor, Dual Base ISO and
Fast Hybrid Auto Focusx System
— Next generation camera offers greater flexibility to bring artistic vision to life —
SAN DIEGO, CA — SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 — At IBC 2019 in Amsterdam, Sony today unveiled the PXW-FX9, its first XDCAM camera featuring an advanced 6K² full-frame sensor and Fast Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) system. The new camera offers content creators greater creative freedom and flexibility to capture stunning images that truly resonate with audiences.
Building on the success of the PXW-FS7 and PXW-FS7M2, the FX9 uniquely combines high mobility with an advanced AF system, impressive bokeh and slow-motion capabilities thanks to its newly-developed sensor. The FX9 also inherits its color science and a Dual Base ISO from the VENICE digital motion picture camera, creating the ultimate tool of choice for documentaries, music videos, drama productions and event shooting.
The FX9 was designed in close collaboration with the creative community and is an example of Sony continuously evolving cameras to innovate for the customer and market needs. The FX9 benefits from the versatility, portability and performance expected of an FS7 series “Run & Gun” style camera, while also offering High Dynamic Range and full-frame shooting features.
“We are always listening to our customer’s voice, pushing to deliver innovation that allows them to realize their full artistic intention,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “With the new FX9, we are striking an attractive balance between agility and creative performance. We’ve combined the cinematic appeal of full-frame with advanced professional filmmaking capabilities in a package that’s extremely portable and backed by the extraordinary versatility of Sony E-mount.”
The newly-developed Exmor RTM sensor offers wide dynamic range with high sensitivity, low noise and over 15 stops of latitude that can be recorded internally in 4K³ 4:2:2 10bit. Oversampling of the full-frame 6K sensor’s readout allows professionals to create high-quality 4K footage with impressive bokeh effects through shallow depth of field, while wide-angle shooting opens new possibilities for content creators to express their creativity.
A dual base ISO of 800 and 4000 enables the image sensor’s characteristics to best capture scenes from broad daylight to the middle of the night. With S-CinetoneTM color science, the new sensor can also create soft and alluring facial tones. The camera can also capture content up to five times slow-motion with Full HD 120fps shooting played back at 24p.
The shallow depth of field available with a full-frame image sensor requires precise focus control, and the enhanced Fast Hybrid AF system, with customizable transition speeds and sensitivity settings, combines phase detection AF for fast, accurate subject tracking with contrast AF for exceptional focus accuracy. The dedicated 561-point phase-detection AF sensor covers approximately 94% in width and 96% in height of the imaging area, allowing consistently accurate, responsive tracking – even with fast-moving subjects while maintaining shallow depth of field.
Inspired by the high mobility “Run & Gun” style approach from the FS7 series of cameras, the FX9 offers content creators shooting flexibility thanks to a continuously variable Electronic Variable ND Filter. This enables instant exposure level changes depending on the filming environment, such as moving from an inside space to outdoors or while filming in changing natural light conditions.
Additionally, the FX9’s image stabilization metadata can be imported to Sony’s Catalyst Browse/Prepare⁴ software, to create incredibly stable visuals even in handheld mode. Sony is also working to encourage third-party non-linear editing tools to adopt this functionality.
“What narrative cinematographers, documentary filmmakers, music video directors and broadcasters have in common is a need for a flexible camera that allows them to tell unique stories, no matter the environment in which they operate. As a next-generation professional camera, the FX9 captures stunning visuals with the lifelike image quality available from a full-frame sensor, while adding the benefits of advanced auto focus features and customization. This makes it the ultimate creative tool for modern storytellers,” concludes Neal Manowitz.
The FX9 will be available towards the end of 2019 and on display at the Sony stand (A10, Hall 13) at IBC 2019 September 13th– 17th. For more information, please visit www.pro.sony/ibc.
A variety of additional content related to Sony’s cinema imaging products, including articles, videos and events, can be found at www.sonycine.com.
¹Initially supported recoding aspect is 16:9; 17:9 (active about 19M pixels) will be supported by future update.
²6K Oversampling; not capable of 6K recording.
³3840×2160 recording is initially supported; 4096×2160 recording will be supported by future update.
⁴Planned to be supported by Ver.2019.2 in December 2019.
A future update will be scheduled sequentially for summer 2020. Further details will be announced.
[[ press release ]]
Sony Unveils PXW-Z750 Flagship XDCAM Shoulder Camcorder,
with 4K 2/3-type 3-chip CMOS Sensor System with Global Shutter
Delivering Ultimate 4K Image Quality with High Sensitivity and Vivid Color Reproduction, Ideal for News and Live Production
PARAMUS, N.J. — September 13, 2019 — Sony today announced the PXW-Z750, the world’s first 2/3-type shoulder camcorder to support 4K capture with a 3-chip CMOS sensor system. The latest member of the XDCAM® family is optimized for news and production applications including pre-production for 4K/HDR sports broadcasts, magazine shows, unscripted television, and documentary filmmaking.
Sony’s premier 3-chip CMOS image sensor system is mounted on a wide band prism to ensure detailed imagery and vivid colors, along with 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR) acquisition with high sensitivity and low noise. Its 2/3-type sensor system delivers imagery with deep depth of field and enables quick focus operation. The 2/3-type sensors allow B4 mount lenses to be attached to the camcorder without adapters, thus maintaining high sensitivity and resolution.
The PXW-Z750 is also the first 2/3-type 3-chip camcorder equipped with global shutter technology for producing clear and crisp images while negating artifacts such as flashband and rolling shutter distortion. This makes the camera an ideal tool for use in uncontrolled lighting conditions, as well as for capturing quickly moving action associated with sports, live events, nature and wildlife production and impact media making.
The PXW-Z750’s HD images are created through 4K oversampling, resulting in clear images with minimal noise. As a result of industry demand and adoption, the camera supports HFR for HD, up to 120fps, to minimize blur and offer crisp slow-motion playback.
Maximized flexibility in HDR operation
The PXW-Z750 also features comprehensive HDR image creation capability. The camera supports S-Log3 / HLG and employs BT.2020 and BT.709 color spaces. Additionally, the camera accommodates Sony’s SR Live, and supports simultaneous recording of 4K HDR and HD HDR to meet various demands such as simulcasting.
“Our cutting-edge new PXW-Z750 flagship model expands Sony’s lineup by bringing the most transformational visual elements – including 4K, HDR and HFR – into a portable and ergonomic package,” said Theresa Alesso, pro division president, Sony Electronics. “In one camera, we’re meeting the demands of producers by delivering a robust 4K platform with a global shutter 4K image sensor. The camcorder can be further enhanced to create an even more comprehensive Sony’s solution when paired with our audio, media and wireless workflows.”
The PXW-Z750 incorporates encoding algorithms for optimizing HDR recording, as well for recording 4K sequences. The camera supports the newly introduced XAVC-L codec for long-GOP QFHD 10bit 4:2:2 at 200Mbps, allowing large volumes of recorded data that requires approximately 1/3 of the storage of XAVC-I Class 300*. XAVC-L does this while maintaining high quality, high resolution 4K imagery and wide dynamic range.
*600Mbps at 59.94p, 500Mbps at 50p
Another powerful feature is 12G-SDI support, which enables the output of 4K images (50p or 60p) over a single BNC cable, enhancing the flexibility of the camera.
Seamless integration with Sony’s hardware and services
The camera supports a range of complementary accessories and options to suit a user’s needs, preferences and budget, while offering expanded interoperability. Sony’s high-quality wireless audio solutions and shotgun mics, including the latest DWX series digital wireless microphone system; the new slot-in receiver, DWR-S03D, and bodypack transmitter, DWT-B30, are compatible with the camcorder. Advanced integration with the DWX series includes synchronized power on/off, control by menu settings or assignable buttons and audio information on the viewfinder
Paired with Sony’s newest durable SxS PRO X cards, the SBP-120F (120GB) and SBP-240F (240GB), ultra-fast transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps* are supported allowing the camera to capture high bit rate content. When the new cards are used in conjunction with the new reader/writer, SBAC-T40 equipped with Thunderbolt 3 interface, it permits the transfer of 240GB of video in approximately 3.5 minutes* creating a fast and reliable solution for shooting and offloading large volumes of content.
*Based on Sony’s internal testing. Transfer speeds vary and are dependent on host devices, the OS version or usage conditions.
The camcorder also supports 4K and HD B4 mount lenses, enabling use with a wide range of in-market and new lens solutions. B4 mount lenses offer a range of focal lengths tailored to suit the needs of virtually any production requirement. The PXW-Z750 also supports several viewfinder and battery solutions.
In addition to hardware integrations, the PXW-Z750 includes built-in wireless network features and supports XDCAM air, Sony’s cloud-based workflow service that offers streaming from the field, remote management and file transfer workflows.
The PXW-Z750 is planned to be available in February 2020, with pricing to be determined. For more information, please visit pro.sony.
[[ press release ]]
Sony Unveils Full-frame E-Mount Cinema Lens FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G,
Designed for High Optical Performance and Reliable Operability
— Lens offers greater flexibility for video content creation, with servo zoom and autofocus/autoexposure system —
SAN DIEGO, CA — SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 — At IBC 2019 in Amsterdam, Sony today introduced a new full-frame E-mount, 16-35mm lens (FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G) to accompany the newly announced FX9 full-frame camera. The lens offers high optical performance, reliable operability and intelligent shooting functions for cinematographers. It is compatible with the full range of Sony’s E-mount cameras – from Alpha interchangeable lens cameras to the VENICE digital cinema camera – bringing unprecedented creative flexibility for all content creators. Sony also announced their intention to expand the FE C Cinema Lens line-up going forward.
“The performance of our new E-mount Cinema Lens series offers filmmakers greater creative freedom and helps them concentrate on their artistic vision. Encompassing the full range of Sony E-mount cameras, our “One Mount” solution is the most powerful system designed for today and for the future,” comments Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics.
Lens for a new age of full-frame video shooting
The new lens is compatible with the intelligent shooting functions of E-mount. Paired with the new full-frame FX9 camera, it supports fast and accurate auto focus, making it possible to track quick-moving subjects while maintaining a shallow depth of field.
Stunning bokeh and corner-to-corner resolution
The two XA (Extreme Aspherical) elements with extreme surface precision of 0.01-micron, together with circular 11-blade apertures, deliver beautifully smooth bokeh in every frame. The two XA elements and three aspheric lenses are positioned in a way that effectively reduces field curvature, astigmatism and, in combination with two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glasses, reduces color distortion. Additionally, floating focus employs two focusing groups, providing outstanding resolution at every zoom position. Nano AR (Anti Reflection) coating drastically reduces flare and ghost phenomenon.
Excellent operability with three independent rings, remote control from the camera, and a detachable servo zoom
The new E-mount lens further offers accurate and precise operability thanks to three independent rings for focus, zoom and iris that content creators can manipulate to get the exact results they desire. The linear response Manual Focus (MF) feature provides direct adjustment for precise and repeatable manual focusing. The focus ring with a large rotation angle also includes a distance scale, which makes it possible to quickly and easily set the same focus position during scenes that need to be shot repeatedly.
The new range also supports a number of lens accessories to facilitate a variety of different shooting styles. The industry standard 0.8mm pitch gear on each lens ring provides the option to use follow focus and remote actuators. Equally, the widely-available 115mm diameter matte box and lens support can be used to aid accurate, responsive and precise operability. Additional functions include a de-clickable iris ring that prevents unintended iris change during shooting, the option to reverse the rotation direction of the zoom ring to be fitted with user’s preference and detachable servo zoom that provides smooth zooming expression.
The new 16-35mm (FE C 16-35mm T3.1 G) will be available in Spring 2020.
Previously, I posted about a common mistake that occurs when you use stock footage. I gave the example of inserting a slo-mo 24 fps stock clip into a montage of 30 fps footage. The sequence was natively 30 fps. (I’ve rounded 23.976 fps to 24 fps and 29.97 fps to 30 fps for clarity.)
It turns out that edit software is so obliging when it inserts clips that are the wrong frame rate into a timeline. The software automatically compensates for the difference in frame rates. In the above example, it repeats a frame every five frames. Sometimes you won’t see a problem, but other times you may notice the repetition of frames as an occasional stutter in the footage.
If the repeat happened every frame or every other frame, you might apply a speed change to the clip to overcome the problem. But a repeat every five frames? That doesn’t make the math easy.
Most editing applications have different ways of smoothing out frame rate differences. The simplest method is to blend two frames together to either add or remove a frame. A more sophisticated “Optical Flow” tries to calculate the direction that objects—represented by pixels—are traveling and then it creates “in-between” pixels based on that estimation.
Rather than using those methods to create new frames, think about using the frames you already have. Consider that, in this instance, the footage isn’t in real time. If the speed of the footage were changed slightly, would it be noticeable? Maybe not as noticeable as stuttering frames.
To achieve this change, tell the software to play back the footage so each frame of the stock footage is displayed only once. This isn’t done using the usual frame interpolation settings that you use when changing the speed of the clip.
Instead, you change what the software thinks the clip’s frame rate is. In Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, you right click on a clip in the bin and select “Clip Attributes.” Then change the “Video Frame Rate” pull-down selection so it matches your timeline frame rate.
In Adobe’s Premiere Pro, right click on the clip and select “Modify”, then “Interpret Footage…”. The Frame Rate adjustment is at the top of the window. The default is “Use Frame Rate from File:”. To reinterpret the footage, select “Assume this frame rate:” and then enter the sequence frame rate you’re using.
Once you’ve made this modification, the clip will play back without creating new “artificial” frames. The stutter will go away, and the slight speed change should be more than acceptable.
Obviously, this is a solution for clips that aren’t running in real time, but it’s an easy fix to a common problem when you use stock footage.
A recent beta release of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve introduced a boring detector. By detecting long shots in your sequence, it can help highlight all the yawn-inducing scenes in your project.
I imagine it would light up like crazy if you edited “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Rope” or “Birdman.” Maybe the next beta release will give us the exciting detector—lighting up whenever Jason Bourne is on the screen. Or the sad detector…
Like others, I’m having fun with this bold concept from Grant Petty at Blackmagic Design. For me, it’s not the tool but the marketing of it—mainly the name—that’s the problem. Defining a boring shot based on length is a myopic view of editing, as some of the examples above indicate.
You could simply call it a shot length detector. (“Boring,” I know.) Unfortunately, calling it a boring detector, while controversial, hides the tool’s usefulness.
Being able to determine longer shots might help, but there’s another part of this tool that gets ignored in all the fuss—detecting jump cuts. Jump cuts are user-defined, so you can set it to look for single frames, or two frames, or more. This is useful for longer timelines where at first glance you might not see where there are leftover frames, either from a mismarked edit point or from moving a clip without snapping to an edit point.
But I will take this analysis a step farther. What if the analysis tool could detect how many times a shot has been moved or trimmed or affected in some way? Call it the ignored detector. If a shot hasn’t been touched since it was first inserted into a sequence, maybe it has been forgotten or hasn’t received the amount of attention it may deserve. Was it ignored because you spent so much time finessing that drone shot?
Or maybe there are some quick global indicators that could quickly color all of the clips that are not playing at 100 percent speed. Or maybe everything less than 100 percent speed is blue, 100 percent is green and greater than 100 percent is red. The same thing could also indicate the positioning or scaling of shots.
Along the lines of checking for 100 percent scaling, how about a way to check which stock shots are “comps” and which aren’t? Yes, you can usually tell by the watermarks, but some stock accounts let you try out scenes without watermarks.
And since the software can find all the comp stock shots, how about having it create a simple text list of those shots? Then I can hand that off to whoever purchases the stock. Then they’ll be working off a list of the stock shots we actually used.
Analyzing for stock comps could be done by codec or file format evaluation. Mp4s could be a good indication of a stock comp. That could also lead to verifying full resolution shots versus proxies.
I could also imagine quick checks to make sure that various shots all have the same effects, like LUTs or color grades. As I consider this type of analysis, the ideas keep rolling.
I know I started writing this a bit tongue-in-cheek about the name of the boring detector. But the tool, not the name, is symbolic of the future—where edit tools are going.
Project deadlines are becoming shorter and shorter. As content needs to be posted more and more quickly, editors need all the help they can get to get the job done. A “shot length” detector might help an editor under pressure.
Contributing editor for HDVideoPro Daniel Brockett gives us a quick take on the Luxli Cello, a RGBAW 10-inch LED panel. As he notes in the video, the “AW” in the name stand for “amber white.” It also means that the “white LEDs in the panel are made up of two types of diodes…. combining the output of the two color temperatures results in very accurate white-color output,” says Brockett.
Check out the rest of the video for his take on the LED panel:
IBC 2019 is the end-of-the-year pro video/digital cinema convention held in Amsterdam.
Whenever we think we have the media cycle down for the announcements of new cameras and gear, it seems as if we get thrown for a loop. This year, the disruptor was IBC 2019. The convention takes place in Amsterdam and over the past few years, it felt as if IBC would have a few new announcements, but usually nothing earth-shattering. It’s strange, NAB in Las Vegas in the spring used to be the big announcement show, but over the past few years, companies seemed to stop placing as much importance on NAB attendance and new product announcements, and it shifted to Cine Gear, which takes place in the late summer in Hollywood. For 2019, IBC was where the action seemed to be with new product announcements.
We already published quite detailed stories on the two new camera announcements from IBC: the introductions of the Canon C500 MKII and the Sony PMW-FX9 digital cinema cameras, both hotly awaited follow-ups to already successful cameras, Canon’s C300 MKII and the C200 to an extent, and the FX9 updating and expanding upon Sony’s successful PMW-FS7 MKII and it’s still-in-the-lineup original FS7. The introduction of these cameras somewhat took me by surprise as they both reside in a sort of financial strata that many of us mistook for all but dead. Prior to the announcements of both of these cameras, key players like Canon’s C300 MKII, Sony’s FS7, the Panasonic EVA 1 and recently, the Panasonic Varicam LT had all dropped below $10,000 retail.
Higher-end digital cinema cameras like the RED camera line, the Arri Alexa, Alexa Mini and Amira, as well as last year’s Sony Venice, all sell for well over $25,000. As you can see, prior to IBC 2019, there was a definite “desert” of pro digital cinema cameras that sell between $10,000 and $20,000. The Canon C500 MKII, listing for $15,999, and the Sony PMW-FX9, listing for $10,999, have definitely changed up the marketplace once again. The lower end of the digital cinema market, with mirrorless cameras, still tops out with Panasonic’s S1H at a list price of $4,000.
As we’ve discussed before, the overall market for cameras is shrinking and has been for a while. Personally, I think the massive success of mirrorless cameras for pro video production, sometimes as an A camera but more often with the mirrorless serving as a gimbal, plant camera or in-car B camera, reflects this downward trend in the market. The consumer side of the camera business is making that market look dismal with very low sales, fewer and fewer new models introduced as that market moves to mostly mobile phones for photography and video. The introduction of the new Canon and Sony point to those two manufacturers still feeling that mid-level production is buying, and still needs, new camera technology, which is refreshingly optimistic.
Besides cameras, there were lots of other interesting gear announced at IBC 2019. Here’s a little point-by-point wrap-up of what I think made these announcements significant:
The most interesting audio announcement for me was the introduction of updated Sound Devices Mix Pre recorder/mixers. The originals hadn’t been on the market for that long and from what we’ve heard, have been a pretty big success as far as sales.
Sound Devices added a time code generator to all three models in the lineup (the originals could only read and distribute existing TC) and the addition of 32-bit float support for recordings. This new 32-bit feature essentially makes audio recording almost foolproof. You can record too low of a level sound and because of the incredible clarity and super-low noise floor, you can amplify and increase the volume by a huge degree with no appreciable noise penalty. If you record the signal too hot, likewise, there’s so much dynamic range the recording will often be perfect, even if recorded “too hot.” The new models are the Mix Pre 3 II, Mix Pre 6 II and Mix Pre 10 II.
One of the most interesting new lighting technologies that exhibited at IBC was the Carpetlight LED Fabric-Based Panels. These new LED lights are super lightweight and very flexible when compared to many other flat-panel flexible LED panels. These lights utilize conductive thread instead of wire to drive the bi-color LED bulbs, resulting in a flexible LED panel that’s lighter and much easier to mount than most existing flexible LED panels. While the Carpetlights aren’t inexpensive (U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but in Europe, the prices range from €1,799 to €14,900 depending on size), the prices do look competitive for pro-level panels when compared to Arri, LitePanels, etc.
Blackmagic Design announced the Video Assist 12G, a monitor/recorder that’s available in two sizes: 7 inch and 5 inch. The new Video Assists feature an all-metal design with a brighter 2,500 nit screen than the now-discontinued Video Assist models. The monitors record to either single (5 inch) or dual hot-swappable (7 inch) SD card slots in a variety of 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes or DNx formats, at frame rates of up to UHD in 60P. Blackmagic’s BRAW codec is also supported with the Canon C300 MkII and Panasonic EVA1.
The Video Assists record to SD cards, but it’s also possible to record direct to a USB SSD drive like the Samsung T5 over a USB-C connector. Since the older Video Assists were discontinued, this market for monitor recorders has pretty much ceded to the Atomos products, which are excellent, but it’s good to see healthy competition from Blackmagic for the same market.
There were, of course, dozens of other new products introduced with a lot of various grip and lighting products debuting, as well as some other new microphones, but overall, IBC 2019 seemed to feature a lot of new technology that continues on from Cine Gear. There was some discussion chatter flying around in the weeks leading up to IBC 2019 that Panasonic might debut a new camera and that Sony might introduce the long-awaited A7 SIII, but neither rumor turned out to have legs. Overall, attendance was decent and the number of new products introduced means that manufacturers are still bullish on the pro video and digital cinema markets, which is encouraging for all of us who are always looking for the best new tools to use in our work.
It seems green-screen shooting has only grown in popularity in 2019.
I spend probably an unhealthy amount of time reading production forums, discussion boards and social media group forums that focus on production and camera work. For me, it’s a useful way to get a sense of some of the current as well as coming trends.
Below, I describe some of the bigger trends and movements I’ve seen come about in 2019. Most have been evolving over the past year or two but have expanded into a movement in 2019. Some of these items will continue well into 2020 and beyond, and, of course, some may just peter out and die a slow death.
Here’s my take on what I’m seeing in production and camera work:
There’s always a heated debate when it comes to what qualifies a camera to be a digital-cinema camera. In many ways, the lines separating product types have blurred so much that most cameras on the market, even the one in your phone, can arguably be used to shoot digital-cinema or pro-level video. So where does this leave us in our discussion of the ever-shrinking digital-cinema camera?
This trend has continued to evolve and refine itself over the past couple of years as technology shrinks in size. I met Rich Reid, a National Geographic photographer, a few months ago. He casually took out his iPhone at a party we were both attending when the conversation turned to a documentary I’ve been shooting and a documentary that Rich finished eight years ago.
We were talking about how the gear that we as filmmakers use has been continually not only shrinking but also increasing in features, resolution and image quality.
To that point, as our conversation continued, Rich showed me some beautiful clips on his phone that he has been working on shooting for National Geographic and other clients. One of these clips resulted in Rich being nominated as a finalist for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
When I asked him if he was using Canon, Nikon or Sony these days, he told me that most of his still and video shooting is shot with his iPhone XR! (You can check out a little about Rich here: nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/experts/rich-reid.)
Needless to say, as a filmmaker and photographer, he produces work that can be considered digital-cinema quality with his cell phone, even if most of his content is consumed online.
There are other tools that have recently been introduced—like the GoPro Hero 7 Black with its ability to shoot 4K footage using its Hyper Smooth technology or the Osmo Pocket that has a true mechanical gimbal in a tiny package that can also shoot 4K 60p—that are continually redefining what a digital-cinema camera is.
Going up just a bit in size, newer models like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera, the Fujifilm XT-3 and the Canon EOS R are all capable of highly cinematic images at budget prices compared to cameras with the same or even fewer capabilities, from just a year or two ago.
Other than for Hollywood-style full-crewed productions, which will still require a certain size and weight camera for the foreseeable future, the trend is smaller, lighter, less expensive and more versatile digital-cinema cameras. Along these same lines, the hottest part of the market has gone from mid-level pro cameras, like the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 (BMD UMP G2), Sony FS7 MKII and Panasonic AU-EVA1, to smaller and less-expensive mirrorless cameras that can produce amazing results when combined with pro-level execution.
It’s official: M43, 1-inch and Super 35 imagers are almost dead. OK, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but I noticed this trend beginning at Cine Gear 2017. By last year, in mid-2018, it was clear that the full-frame digital cinema was becoming an industry juggernaut.
At Cine Gear 2019, it became crystal clear to me and to many others that full-frame cameras are now here to stay and are steadily gaining market share.
On the low end of the budget scale, you have the tremendous popularity of the FF Sony a7 variants. You have cameras like the Canon EOS R, which is also an FF camera but only while shooting stills; the 4K is a large crop on the sensor.
You also have holdouts like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and Panasonic GH5 and GH5S, which use the relatively tiny M43 imager, and the Fujifilm XT-3, Sony FS7 MKII and Canon C200/300MKII, Panasonic EVA 1 and VariCam lineup, which stubbornly hold out that S35/AP-C is still the way to go.
But most of those same companies are hedging their bets with full-frame cameras elsewhere in their lineups: Panasonic with the lower-end $4,000 2019 Cine Gear “Belle of the Ball” 6K capable S1H that’s hitting the market in the fall of this year, Canon with its C700 FF and Sony with the 6K VENICE.
Once you move out of the low- to mid-range cameras, though, like the VENICE, the most popular cameras on feature and episodic sets seem to be the RED Monstro and the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, as well as a few projects shooting with the Panavision DXL II full-frame camera. People seem fully convinced that the different field of view that a larger image circle provides is a desirable look for their work, and the popularity of it has taken off.
The other trend that obviously accompanies full-frame cameras is the advent of lots of new full-frame lenses hitting the market this year, almost too many to count.
Companies that used to only make still lenses have ventured into making cinema lenses. Sigma, Tokina, Angénieux, Zeiss, Leica with its new L-Mount FF glass, Canon with its new RF Mount as well as its new Sumire Primes. The list of new optics companies and new lineups of both FF primes and cine zooms just boggles the mind.
We are, without a doubt, now in the golden age of lens choices, and as you have probably heard, lenses with “character”…cough, cough…“optical defects” are very desired from lens rental sources.
The crystal-clear, clean, neutral lens look, when paired with the ultra-clean, characterless digital camera look that many higher-end cameras deliver, has given way to lenses with color tints, flares, chromatic aberration and all of the optical defects that we as users and lens engineers used to try to mitigate, which are now trending.
Everything old is new again.
In case you haven’t been following this trend, HDR, or high dynamic range settings on cameras and monitors, are now fully established as a legitimate, “normal” workflow, although there are some caveats.
The engineering standard that used to be the standard for television monitors was and is referred to as REC 709. It has very limited dynamic range and presents the images usually with brighter, more saturated colors and a good amount of contrast. REC 709, with the advent of shooting LOG footage becoming almost standard, is somewhat beginning to fade as the standard color space.
This is due to a variety of factors, but one largely driving the movement toward new color standards is the advent of LED monitors, tablet and computer screens and even phone screens that are capable of reproducing a much wider color gamut than a “normal” TV screen. If your audiences own devices that are capable of displaying a much wider color gamut with more dynamic range, it makes sense that you would ideally like to shoot and go through post using a color space that allows the end user to see more colors and more dynamic range.
A challenge with HDR has been that there are several of these color space standards out there and a good portion of the production community is fuzzy on the advantages and disadvantages of each standard.
My “A” camera is the Canon C200 that supports ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ). My guess is that many are not familiar with this standard, how it works and what it does, from production all of the way through exhibition. And while knowledge of and how to properly use HDR is growing, for now, I see a lot of people using it without any consistency in their post through exhibition workflow. What’s even more troubling is that I also see a lot of users using HDR technology incorrectly where they’re actually degrading the final image because they don’t grasp how the workflow actually works and what’s needed.
This is a tricky trend to call. But if you examine the still photography business and the digital music recording business, both of these sectors went through a resolution war quite a few years ago.
Still photography had its camera megapixel war, and digital music production gear had its bit-and-sample-rate war.
Both businesses seem to have mostly reached stasis where you don’t see many camera advertisements promoting that their camera has more megapixels on their sensor, and you don’t see many audio gear manufacturers touting anything past 24-bit and 192 KHz sample rates for recording. Because numbers above those numbers (it seems to be about 24 to 26 megapixels for the still cameras), in the real world, simply don’t matter for the vast amount of users.
For those who they do matter for, there will always be a small niche part of those businesses where you can buy cameras or digital backs with a lot more resolution if your work demands it or you can buy outboard gear with higher bit and sample rates for recording audio.
I’m convinced we’re almost at the same place with digital-cinema cameras. Almost all new pro and prosumer cameras now support at least a 4K imager (some even more) shooting to UHD and DCI 4K resolution. A lot of current cameras record 5.7K, 5.9K, 6K and even 8K footage, but I truly believe that the majority of users are beginning to wake up to the fact that resolution wars with camera technology are pointless and in many facets—post, media, storage, long-term storage, computing power necessary to edit it, noise levels of imagers in low light—higher resolution is actually counterproductive to creating better images.
Let’s hope that 8K is the end of the line for the resolution wars in digital cinema so that manufacturers can begin actually focusing on refining ergonomics and operational considerations and building more innovation into cameras instead of increasing raster size/resolution.
There are, no doubt, other trends and movements in cameras in 2019 that I simply don’t have the time and space to take a deep dive into. But these five trends seem to be the most significant to me.
As to looking forward to 2020, what new trends do you think we’ll continue to see in camera technology? I’ll check back in with a follow up to this article next year to see which of these trends have continued and which may be new to the game.
The term proxy gets thrown around a lot in this industry. For many, the term is a panacea for everything. “We’ll generate proxies during the shoot…”, “I’ll give you a drive with the proxies…” and “Can they just use the proxies?” are all commonly heard.
It appears people mistakenly think that when they say “I need proxies” they have requested a specific file format, including specifications like size, compression method, frame rate, etc.
It feels like when people ask for just “a QuickTime” deliverable. A QuickTime movie comes in different sizes, different frame rates and even different codecs. For example, I could deliver a QuickTime ProRes, a QuickTime DNxHD, a QuickTime with h.264 compression… the options go on and on. Telling me to create a QuickTime only tells me that the file name should end with “.mov”. (But don’t assume that all .mov files are QuickTimes—they aren’t.)
So my job is to translate “I need a QuickTime” into what the client really wants. It’s usually a pretty quick discussion. Sometimes, if I can’t get a complete answer I’ll deliver multiple options, just in case.
Although I might be reminded of QuickTimes when people talk about proxies, the situation really is different. Proxies are usually representations of camera originals—although there are use cases for proxies of finished shows.
Why is that different? For a couple of reasons. First, proxies are created near the beginning of the workflow, not as part of deliverables at the end. You need to create the right kind of proxies from the start or they might hold up the rest of the workflow.
Second, rather than creating one QuickTime, proxies based on camera originals entail creating multiple files, perhaps numbering in the hundreds. Once again, you need to get them right.
How to do you get them right? Well, you need to understand how they’re going to be used, so you can ask the right questions. That’s what I’ll talk about next time.
Earlier today, Sony announced an updated version of its flagship full-frame a-series mirrorless camera: The new a7 II still comes with the same 24-megapixel full-frame stacked mirrorless sensor and the same 20 frames-per-second (with AF and AE) burst mode using the electronic shutter. But Sony has increased speed and performance in other ways. For instance, the a7 II can now capture more frames per second, 10 fps, using the mechanical shutter. Sony also updated and enhanced its tracking features. There are pragmatic tweaks as well—it includes the new larger grip found on the a7R IV.
Sony also provided a number of wireless improvements: The a9 II now has a new robust ethernet port, which Sony says is ten times faster than the one found on the a9. It also supports 5GHz wireless LAN support.
The new Sony a9 II will be available in November for around $4,500. Currently, the a9 is available for around $3,500.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Sony Electronics Introduces the Alpha 9 II with Enhanced Connectivity and Workflow for Professional Sports Photographers and Photojournalists
New Alpha 9 II Combines Alpha 9’s Unrivaled Speed with New Functionality to Match the Needs of Professionals
SAN DIEGO — October 3, 2019 — Sony Electronics today announced Alpha 9 II (model ILCE-9M2). The latest model from Sony’s acclaimed line-up of α (Alpha) full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, the new model has been created to support working professionals in the fields of sports photography and photojournalism.
The new Alpha 9 II builds on the impressive legacy of the original Alpha 9, maintaining groundbreaking speed performance, including blackout-free continuous shooting[i] at up to 20 frames per second[ii] with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking at 60 calculations per second[iii]. Updates include significantly enhanced connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with mechanical shutter, and evolved AF performance with newly optimized algorithms, re-designed build to enhance durability and operability.
“The voice of our customers is absolutely critical to Sony – we are always listening,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “The Alpha 9 II is the direct result of our work with agency, sports and news photographers since the launch of the original Alpha 9. We have added connectivity and network capabilities that drastically improve the professional workflow, while also making enhancements to design, interface and processing power that complete the user experience. Complemented by our extremely versatile E-mount system – with 55 native lenses introduced at this point including super-telephoto 600mm and 400mm G Master series lenses – this new camera is a tool unlike any other for professionals, whether in the field or on the field.”
Raising the Bar for Built-in Connectivity in the Professional’s Workflow
The Alpha 9 II includes a built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal, enabling gigabit communication for high-speed, stable data transfer operations. Additionally, File Transfer over SSL or TLS encryption (FTPS) is supported for increased data security and PC remote (tether) shooting performance is improved, with decreased release time lag and reduced live view screen delay when using the ‘Remote Camera Tool’ desktop application[iv]. The speed of the camera’s built-in wireless LAN functionality has also been increased, adding a stable and fast 5 GHz (IEEE 802.11ac)[v] band, in addition to the 2.4 GHz provided in the Alpha 9. IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards are all supported.
Designed to improve the speed of news agencies’ workflow, the Alpha 9 II features a new Voice Memo function that allows spoken information to be attached to images in the form of voice memos that can be replayed when the images are reviewed. The voice data can also be included with images sent to an editor, giving them important information needed for effective editing. Alternatively, a field photographer can also use the ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ “Imaging Edge” application[vi] to transfer voice tags with the images to their mobile device and have the voice memos automatically[vii] converted to text and added to the JPEG images in the form of IPTC metadata[viii]. All of this can be done automatically or manually selected by the photographer.
By combining wireless voice/image transfer and automatic voice-to-text conversion with the ability to auto-transfer images with attached voice memos via FTP, it is possible to shoot and transfer the results to an FTP server without ever having to operate a smartphone. FTP settings within the app can also be sent to a camera via Bluetooth®, allowing for a faster workflow
The Platinum Standard for Speed and Auto Focus Performance
The new Alpha 9 II shares the same acclaimed 35mm full-frame stacked 24.2 MP[ix] Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with integral memory as the original Alpha 9, giving it the same unmatched speed performance and outstanding image quality. The new model can shoot continuously and completely silently[x] at 20 fps for up to 361 JPEG images[xi] or 239 compressed RAW images[xii], with no viewfinder blackout allowing the photographer to follow the subject and action with no interruption to the EVF during picture taking. For times when mechanical shutter is preferred or required, the new Alpha 9 II has been improved to shoot at up to 10 fps, about 2x the speed of the Alpha 9.
The camera is able to function while continuously calculating Auto Focus and Auto Exposure at up to 60 times per second, with newly optimized AF algorithms that provide notably enhanced AF precision and performance, ensuring that even the most erratic subject motion that is associated with sports are captured with high precision. Also useful for sporting events, the camera now offers an anti-flicker shooting[xiii] mode that automatically detects and adjusts for the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting to maximize image quality.
The advanced focusing system in the new Alpha 9 II is far beyond the capabilities of any professional camera. Comprised of 693 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the image area, as well as 425 contrast AF points, the Fast Hybrid Auto Focus system achieves extremely fast and accurate performance, ensuring all fast-moving subjects are accurately captured. Additional notable focusing capabilities include Real-time Eye AF with right eye / left eye selection, Real-time Eye AF for animal[xiv] augmented with a new algorithm, Real-Time Eye AF for movie[xv], Real-time Tracking[xvi], selectable focus frame color, Touch Pad focus point control while using the viewfinder and more. AF can also now continuously track even if continuous shooting is greater than F16[xvii], providing further accuracy for shots that require slower shutter speeds.
Refined Build and Operability
Pricing and Availability
The new Alpha 9 II will be available in November 2019 priced at approximately $4,500 US. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America
Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new lens and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony’s α – Alpha brand.
New content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery and the Sony Camera Channel on YouTube. For detailed product information, please visit:
[i] Electronic shutter mode. Display updating will be slower at slow shutter speeds
[ii] “Hi” continuous shooting mode. At of 1/125 sec. or higher. In AF-C mode the maximum continuous frame rate will depend on the shooting mode and lens used. A software update may be required for some lenses. Visit Sony’s support web page for lens compatibility information
[iii] At shutter speeds of 1/125 sec. or higher. The number of AF calculations will depend on the lens used
[iv] Version 2.0 or later required. For more information on the new application updates, please visit the ‘Remote Camera Tool’ website at
[v] Models sold in some countries/regions support IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) wireless LAN only. 5 GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions
[vi] Version 1.1 or later required. Ver.1.1 will be released in October 2019. For more information on the new application updates, please visit the ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ website at
[vii] Only available in regions where Google services are available. Voice Memo exceeding 50 seconds cannot be converted to text
[viii] “IPTC Metadata” is standards of metadata included in digital images formulated by IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council)
[ix] Approximately, effective
[x] Silent shooting is possible when Shutter Type is set to “Electronic” and Audio signals is set to “Off”
[xi] “Hi” continuous shooting mode, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests
[xii] “Hi” continuous shooting mode, compressed RAW, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests
[xiii] Only 100 Hz and 120 Hz flicker is detected. Continuous shooting speed may decrease. Flicker-free shooting is not available during electronic shutter, BULB exposure, or movie recording
[xiv] Stills only
[xv] This function does not track animal eyes
[xvi] “Tracking” in the menu
[xvii] When the camera [Aperture Drive in AF] is set to [Focus Priority], the aperture value can be set greater than F16. The continuous speed slows down.
The compatible lenses are [SEL200600G][SEL35F18F][SEL400F28GM][SEL600F40GM]
[xviii] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof
[xix] CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off
[xx] Sony internal tests with electronic front curtain shutter
The post Sony Increases Speed And Adds Features On Updated a9 II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera appeared first on HD Video Pro.
The freight elevator of doom that totally messed up the sound on our shoot.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to ensure that I’m always able to capture the best sound possible on projects that I’m producing for clients as well as when shooting on my own projects.
But the term “best sound” is a multi-purpose term that, when you break it down, can mean several different things to different users and stakeholders on a project. To me, as a producer, videographer, cinematographer or sound mixer, it means that sound is the single most important component of most video/digital cinema projects. Period. And often “best sound” means that I also need to ask myself if I’ve done everything in my power to ensure this.
Recording good sound generally encompasses a number of factors:
But before I dive into gear redundancy, let me tell you about a recent shoot I worked on.
I met with two producers who were shooting a pitch piece for Netflix for a docu-series. It was an interesting subject, and the clients needed to shoot interviews with various stand-up comics. One of the comics was also a producer on the project, and her interview needed to be the through-line, tying the entire story together, so she needed to shoot about three or four hours of in-depth interviews in a single day.
Being in development, the project had very little budget to work with, which meant that I couldn’t hire a professional sound mixer, which, of course, is my preference for most shoots. That meant I had to not only light and shoot the interview (with two cameras) by myself, but I was also responsible for sound.
Because this was a docu-series, we all knew how important the audio was for this interview as it would be the narration track for a lot of the episodes. Also, the clients didn’t want to record it in a VO booth, and they wanted a nice-looking interview to cut back to periodically.
As is typical with these types of projects, the logistics were all very last minute.
We talked about a location and looked at lots of online images. I had hoped to do a location scout with the producers to determine the locations they were considering, and I didn’t even mind not being paid for the scout day, in this case. In other words, I was willing to do it for free since one of the other producers was actually a friend who I worked with for several years at a production company, so we had a strong, already-established working relationship. And I wanted to help her and her co-producers out to get this project shot.
They booked a location in a loft in downtown Los Angeles. They sent me cell phone images of the location, which looked great for the look we were going for: An old loft, wood floors, brick wall, huge windows overlooking parts of downtown L.A.
I knew that I could make the location work visually, but I asked them about sound. A lot of old lofts in L.A. and NYC look great on camera but aren’t very quiet with traffic sound, air flight paths and other factors that conspire to compromise sound.
They reported that when they took a look at the loft space, it seemed to be fairly quiet, and they thought it would work. None of these lofts are sound stages, which are built as a room within a room, isolating sound elements. But at times, you can get away with shooting on location and recording decent sound.
I had really wanted to do a proper location scout to check out power, angle to the sun, listen to the room, etc., but unfortunately, that never happened. The shoot date was booked, and we proceeded. I arrived at the location and hauled all of our gear into the building’s loading dock.
As we rode the elevator up to the third floor of the building, the door opened and we began unloading all of my production gear into the hallway. The building supervisor walked over to the door of the loft, which was located just about 10 feet from the elevator.
As we unloaded, I was thinking that our loft seemed to be uncomfortably close to the elevator. Keep in mind: This was a freight elevator in a very old building. The kind with a roll-up door. The elevator was essentially a 12×16-foot steel cage.
As we piled the gear into the loft and I began setting it up, I was intently listening to the environment. I knew the location had wood floors, which all DPs love the look of, but sound mixers know that plaster walls paired with glass windows and wooden floors will usually equal a highly reverberant background with lots of nasty slap back and a harsh quality for voices.
I knew that the location would have all of this, and my plan B for mitigating some of this harsh sound was to spread out furniture pads on the wooden floor underneath where talent would be seated for their interviews.
I had brought a few spare furniture pads and C-stands so that if it was required, I could also set up a few gobos to flank the left and/or right sides of the frame by placing the furniture pads and C-stands just outside of frame.
Once I was all set up, I had shown the client and the other two producers on set the image on the client monitor, and they had signed off on the look and framing that I had created. We began the interview, and the first hour had gone well. We had to pause a few times for planes and helicopters to fly over, but, overall, the sound had been acceptable, and the interview was flowing.
As we took a brief break for me to switch CFast cards for camera, we began to shoot again. All of a sudden, we heard a LOUD boom. We had no idea what had caused the sound, but we assumed it was construction or someone in our building unloading something. We continued to roll. Boom! More loud noises.
I paused the interview and walked to the door of the loft. As I opened the door, I looked straight down the hallway that was across from the door. When we had unloaded from the elevator earlier that morning, there was a pair of metal double doors across from our loft that had been closed. They were now open. I walked out into the hallway and peered into the open doorway.
The room contained a full garment-manufacturing operation, with dozens of employees, rolling clothing hung on large racks. The sounds I had been hearing were the employees loading huge racks and bins of clothing and fabric into the freight elevator. The sounds weren’t constant but were randomly occurring about every three to eight minutes, continually interrupting our interview.
We paused dozens of times, trying to record interview reply after reply, sometimes capturing a whole paragraph in between all of the booming and crashing. We complained to the facility manager, but he told us that there was nothing he could do to mitigate the sounds.
It’s important to always, always, always do a location scout. While I hadn’t been there, the producers “took a look” but obviously hadn’t grilled the facility manager on what was actually going on outside of the location’s doors (a garment manufacturing plant and elevator shaft).
Also know that even when you have a plan B for known factors like the wooden floors and a reverberant location with hard surfaces, your plan B won’t do anything for mitigating factors beyond your control.
The most common issue in Los Angeles is air traffic: There are airports, large and small, everywhere in Southern California. In Manhattan, it’s more street traffic and sirens. In your location, it could be anything, but you need to be persistent and look, listen and do research.
Ask a LOT of questions to the location manager. Tell them that the microphones you’ll be using are sensitive and pick up everything, because they do. Also ask them what sound pollution could happen that could spoil the ability to record clean, clear sound.
So, my story of a recent shoot that turned into an audio disaster is obviously a cautionary tale. But what about gear? What do I carry in my audio kit as my plan B?
My two main boom mics are a short shotgun microphone—Audio-Technica AT875R—and a hypercardioid—the Audix SCX1 HC. While the hypercardioid usually works better for interiors and the short shotgun for exteriors, if either microphone stops functioning, each can pinch-hit for the other in most scenarios.
My main wired lavalier microphone over the past few years has been the tiny Countryman B6. It’s the smallest lavalier on the market, and it sounds great. But if it stops working—say the talent accidentally rips the microphone element off the cable or somehow the B6 malfunctions—I always bring at least one of our Tram TR50B lavaliers as a backup. The Tram is larger and bulkier and a bit more challenging to hide on talent than the Countryman, but it sounds good, and it’s very reliable.
We own one wireless lavalier, a Røde Video Wireless System. But as a backup, we also own three Tascam DR-10L recorders. The Tascams aren’t wireless like the Røde, but in a pinch, they can be placed on talent like a wireless lav and will record high-quality audio.
Our favorite headphones are a pair of industry-standard Sony MDR-7506s, which we’ve used forever. They sound good, are rugged and fold up small.
But in case those headphones ever stop working on a shoot, we also carry a pair of black Skullcandy in-ear earbuds that sound surprisingly good and are tiny and inexpensive.
It’s difficult to have enough financial resources to own two of everything in your kit but try to at least have backups for the items that are most likely to break or malfunction. We only have one boom pole microphone mount; we should probably buy a spare in case ours breaks. We have piles of spare high-quality XLR cables and dozens of Lithium-Ion batteries for all of our battery driven audio gear.
Have a plan B for your audio gear. Always. Keep the back items in your car trunk if you’ve driven to the shoot. Keep it in your sound case or bag if you’ve flown to your shoot.
Recording good sound is so incredibly important to the success of your project, it makes sense to make sure that you’re prepared for contingencies should your gear malfunction.
I’ve recently written about proxies and how at times they’re treated like a one-size-fits-all panacea. As capture resolutions keep increasing, file sizes grow, too. Proxies become a way to tackle the enormous amount of data that has to wend its way through the post-production workflow.
But simply asking to “create proxies” without care oftentimes ends up making more work or the proxies provided aren’t used and end up in the virtual trash can. When I say “without care,” I mean not providing enough information. Such as “Why?”
I’m not trying to be flippant here. If you ask for proxies, a valid way for the person creating them to make sure the proxies are useful is to ask you, “Why do you want them—what will they be used for?”
For example, let’s say that you need interview transcripts created and you ask for proxies. If the person creating them never asked you what you’d use them for, they might pick a preset that they use for proxies. So they render out a bunch of mp4s and send you a link to download them. No need to put them on a drive because they’re proxies, not original footage, and they’ve been compressed.
But you’re on the road and the WiFi isn’t great, so it takes a long time to download. Then you have to look at them to make sure you have all the right clips, including the last day’s reshoot because the audio wasn’t great.
Now you want to upload them to the service that creates the transcripts. As usual, the upload speed is even worse than the download was. As you watch the progress bar during the upload, it dawns on you that while the proxies are compressed, they’re also 1920×1080. You ask yourself if you really need to send HD movies to a transcription service. Do they even look at the video? And if they do, wouldn’t a 320×180 size file have worked just as well?
Maybe if a more detailed conversation happened before the proxies were created, you wouldn’t have had to wait so long on uploads and downloads.
But file size isn’t the only problem in this situation. File type should also be a concern. I’ll talk about that next time.
Nikon’s new NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens
Today, Nikon has introduced a unique, powerful and pricey prime lens: The new NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens, which will run photographers and filmmakers $7999 and will be available October 31, 2019.
According to the company, the new prime “is a one-of-a-kind lens that pays homage to the extraordinary optical legacy of the previous Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 lens.” Nikon also says that the previous prime, introduced in 1977, was renowned for “its ability to reproduce point light sources as point images.” The design of the new Z-series Noct lens “evolves with the most advanced optical technology for photographers and videographers, boasting an immense f/0.95 maximum aperture, staggering low light ability and enticing bokeh characteristics.” With such an exceptionally wide aperture of f/0.95, photographers and filmmakers should be able to produce rather unique images and video footage with very shallow depth-of-field.
The new 58mm f/0.95 is constructed with 17 elements in 10 groups, which Nikon claims ensure “a well-balanced lens that delivers incredibly sharp results.”
The new lens will also feature various coatings to minimize lens flair: its ARNEO coat “provides anti-reflection performance to combat incident light reaching the lens surface from a vertical direction….alongside the Nano Crystal Coat, which effectively reduces incident light from a diagonal direction. ”
Also, today, Nikon announced the new MB-N10 battery power pack, which is an optional accessory for both the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6, for $199 and will be available in November. The new battery pack enhances battery life and “adds an additional hand hold, providing photographers and videographers even more freedom and comfort when using the Z 7 and Z 6.”
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
A COVETED CLASSIC REBORN AS A MODERN MASTERPIECE:
NIKON RELEASES THE FASTEST NIKKOR LENS EVER CREATED, THE NIKKOR Z 58MM f/0.95 S NOCT
Nikon Also Announces the New MB-N10 Battery Pack: Enhances Battery Life and Adds Additional Grip for Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 Users
MELVILLE, NY (October 10, 2019 at 12:01 AM EDT) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the fastest NIKKOR lens ever made, the new NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens. The 58mm Noct is a one-of-a-kind lens that pays homage to the extraordinary optical legacy that the previous Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 lens established, while demonstrating the superiority and potential of the Nikon Z Mount. Created for the most discerning photographers, the new Noct lens is an exclusively manual focus prime lens with an incredible maximum aperture of f/0.95 for a truly dramatic depth of field and next-level low light performance.
The NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is in a class of its own, offering low light ability and extreme sharpness that excels in the hands of a capable creator. From stunning portraits to landscapes or astrophotography, all images are rendered beautifully thanks to its vast depth-of field control, seductive bokeh and superb point-image reproduction.
“This is why the Z mount was created. The Noct is a testament to Nikon’s commitment to optical innovation driven by more than a century of expertise,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “We promised a new dimension of optical performance for the Nikon Z series and NIKKOR Z lens lineup, and by announcing our fastest NIKKOR lens ever made, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, we are making this claim a reality.”
THE NEWEST ADDITION TO S-LINE OF NIKKOR Z LENSES
The NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct joins as the apex to the ever-expanding series of S-Line lenses, which also includes the recently announced NIKKOR Z 24mm f/1.8 S and NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S, all hailed for their sharpness and optical performance.
A LEGENDARY LENS REBORN
The original Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 was released in 1977, its name said to be derived from “Nocturne.” Made for nighttime photography, this lens became renowned for its ability to reproduce point light sources as point images. The design of the new Noct lens evolves with the most advanced optical technology for photographers and videographers, boasting an immense f/0.95 maximum aperture, staggering low light ability and enticing bokeh characteristics.
The NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct implores an extensive depth of field, producing elaborate bokeh and blur characteristics with good continuity for more compelling, three-dimensional imaging. Even when the distance between the subject and the background are insufficient, the new 58mm Noct lens can still capture sharp images with beautiful background blur due to the reproduction of an extremely sharp focus plane and vast shallow depth of field. Additionally, shooting point light sources at maximum aperture would normally produce sagittal coma flare. However, with the new Noct lens the causes of sagittal coma flare are eliminated across the entire frame with point light sources being reproduced as tack-sharp point images even at the peripheries, for clear and crisp night landscapes and astronomical shots.
A lens like the new NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is possible today because of the large Z mount, which allows for more light capture and faster data sharing between lens and camera, as well as improved flexibility for lens optics and design. The new Noct lens also boasts a large-diameter ground aspherical lens element crafted from the finest glass with outstanding surface accuracy, providing a higher refractive index that would otherwise be unobtainable. This pro-level lens is constructed with an optical formula consisting of 17 elements in 10 groups, ensuring a well-balanced lens that delivers incredibly sharp results.
Like the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens announced earlier this year, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens includes an ARNEO Coat, which provides anti-reflection performance to combat incident light reaching the lens surface from a vertical direction. Alongside the Nano Crystal Coat, which effectively reduces incident light from a diagonal direction, the new Noct lens can capture clear and sharp content with minimal ghosting and flare effects across a wide variety of backlit situations that are normally challenging. Additionally, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct includes a lens information panel allowing photographers and videographers to confirm aperture, focus distance and depth of field at a glance. Users will also enjoy the increased number of functions that can be assigned to the lens Fn button, matching the Fn1/Fn2 buttons on both the Z 7 and Z 6 cameras. Additionally, an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism is incorporated, providing stable aperture control even during continuous shooting. The fluorine coat of the new Noct lens acts as a dust, dirt and moisture repellent coating.
In addition to the refined and durable exterior design, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct offers excellent operability and a feeling of precision in hand. The focus ring enables accurate manual focusing, allowing for the appropriate amount of torque and a large rotation angle, even for the extremely shallow depth of field afforded at f/0.95. The new Noct lens also adopts a control ring, where functions like aperture setting, and exposure compensation can be assigned. Furthermore, the inside of the lens hood is felt-lined, delivering clear rendering by effectively preventing light reflection inside the hood.
THE NEW MB-N10 BATTERY PACK FOR THE NIKON Z 7 AND Z 6
The new MB-N10 battery power pack is an optional accessory for both the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6. The battery pack significantly enhances battery life and adds an additional hand hold, providing photographers and videographers even more freedom and comfort when using the Z 7 and Z 6. The battery pack is designed to hold two EN-EL15b batteries (sold separately), effectively increasing the number of shots possible and movie recording time by approximately 1.8X, based on CIPA standards. The MB-N10 offers the same weather sealing and modern design of the Z 7 and Z 6, plus it will support USB charging.
Price and Availability
The NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens will be available October 31, 2019 at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $7999.95* and will come with a special premium custom padded case (Trunk Case CT-101), in addition to the HN-38 Hood. The new MB-N10 battery power pack will be available in November 2019, for an SRP of $199.95*. For more information on the latest Nikon products, including the new NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens and MB-N10 battery power pack as well as the full Nikon Z mount system, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
All Nikon products include Nikon Inc. limited warranty. Images are for illustrative purposes only. All Nikon trademarks are trademarks of Nikon Corporation. Nikon Authorized Dealers set their own selling prices, which may vary. Nikon is not responsible for typographical errors.
The post Nikon Announces Unique NIKKOR Z 58mm F/0.95 S Noct Lens And Battery Pack appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Previously, I wrote about what can happen when someone asks for proxies without talking about what they’d be used for.
In my example, the proxies were to be used by a transcription service. The issue was file size. With all the uploading and downloading, very small files would have been helpful instead of the 1920×1080 mp4s provided.
However, there’s another issue to consider: timestamps. Transcripts usually have a timestamp at the start of a bite, change of thought or change of speakers. The times come from a counter that is started at the beginning of the file.
Transcripts that have timestamps that start at 0:00 can’t really match up with the original footage unless it also starts at timecode 00:00:00:00. If you’re working on only one clip, this might not be an issue. If you have several hours or days of interviews, it can be a real issue.
Although you could try to modify the timecode of the original clip so that it starts at 00:00:00:00, that can get messy as you move through the post-production workflow. It’s better if you try to keep all the metadata unchanged.
There are also ways to enter timecode at the transcription service. But if you have multiple clips, that’s a lot of work. An easier option is to use a transcription service that can sync transcripts to the timecode of the clip instead of just starting at 0:00.
In other words, the transcript of the start of a sound bite will use the actual footage timecode, like 13:25:14:00, as opposed to simply 0:00. That way you can easily track bites within your footage. Some editing applications even allow you to attach the transcripts to the clips in your bin.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is, if that’s what actually happens. But if you merely send “a proxy”—a generic, one-size-fits-all proxy—to the transcription service, there’s a good chance it won’t work. It won’t have timecode. Why? If the proxy maker created a typical mp4, it won’t have timecode.
Note: There is a way to get timecode into mp4s, but it’s not easy. Even then, it might not be supported by the transcription service.
But, if the proxies that are created are QuickTime movies (.mov), there’s a timecode track in the file that can be used. The QuickTime movies can even use the h.264 codec (like you would for an mp4) to reduce the file size.
By sending a QuickTime movie that has the timecode of the original footage embedded in it, you’ll be able to get transcripts with all the bites timestamped properly. No need to add a timestamp offset—it just happens.
All of the above is just another reason for people to ask a few questions when someone “needs proxies.” But what about proxies for actual editing? Next time.
Many users are looking for the ideal high quality, light and affordable tripod package for their mirrorless camera, like this Fujifilm XT-3.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been searching for a certain tripod package for a long time. Since the beginning of the DSLR revolution, I’ve been on the lookout for a smaller, lighter-weight but still smooth, fluid tripod head to go with my DSLRs or my mirrorless camera package.
Even when paired with some larger Canon lenses, the standard package still only tips the scales at around 3 to 5 pounds when shooting with the Fujifilm XT-3, one of the smallest and lightest-weight on the market.
Mounting it on our huge, heavy Sachtler/Miller in-house tripod combo isn’t always a good match, as the Sachtler/Miller package negates the benefits of our small-sized, lightweight XT-3.
The tripod we’ve been looking for would need most of the following:
In reviewing some new products that were shown at NAB 2019, I came across a press release for a new two-way fluid head that Italian manufacturer Gitzo was introducing to the market.
The Gitzo brand has always been well regarded by still photographers but not very well-known by video or digital-cinema shooters because they primarily make still ballheads that just aren’t well suited to video shooting.
I looked up some of the specifications of the GHF2W head, and they intrigued me:
If you aren’t familiar with what a Swiss Arca plate is, I recommend you acquaint yourself with this type of plate. Here’s why: Unlike still shooters, many video users mount our cameras on a variety of different devices each shoot.
For instance, with our Fujifilm XT-3, we use the camera on tripod, gimbal, slider and in a cage for a handheld rig. Each of these devices commonly comes with its own proprietary tripod plate. When switching the camera back and forth between devices, you may find yourself trying to hurry, laboriously switching out tripod plates to switch between devices to mount your camera on.
A few years ago, we switched all of our small gear, like DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, over to Swiss Arca tripod plates, simply to ensure universal fit on all of our devices. The good news is that the Gitzo GHFW2 head comes standard with its own rather wide Arca plate, but the tripod head will accept any Swiss Arca plate.
For all of our proprietary tripod heads and devices, it’s a simple matter to affix a Swiss Arca receiver to each, making it quick and easy to mount our Fujifilm XT-3 onto almost anything.
As far as the load capacity, 8.8 pounds sounded like plenty of capacity for our XT-3 with most of our lenses, other than perhaps our Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, which itself weighs 3.3 pounds. More on this later, but in my experience with gimbals and tripods, always take weight ratings with a v grain of salt. Few devices function at their best when they’re even remotely near their maximum weight capacity.
The Gitzo GHFW2 heads weigh 1.3 pounds, which sounded promising. I decided to ask Gitzo if it could set me up with a review copy of the new head and an appropriate set of CF legs for a long-term review, where I wouldn’t just review the package but actually put it to work on some client projects and real-world testing.
Gitzo sent me a GHFW2 head, along with a set of its GT2543L carbon-fiber tripod legs. I unpacked the head and legs, and immediately began playing with the controls and was struck by several first impressions: First, the build quality on both head and legs is excellent. Interestingly, the included Swiss Arca plate is larger and wider than the ones that I already had my camera set up with. The specs on the actual mounting part of the plate were standard, but overall, the Gitzo Swiss Arca plate had some overhang that could prove handy on some larger camera bodies.
Also, the Gitzo plate has a small, curved lever on the tie-down knob, allowing you to tighten and loosen the knob without tools, which can be handy in certain situations. The tripod handle affixes to the head using a standard, conically shaped, threaded tie-down knob, allowing you to determine the angle the handle connects to the head quickly.
One feature I really liked was that the Gitzo GHFW2 has both the pan-rotation and tilt-resistance knobs clustered together, the larger inner ring allowing you to set tilt resistance, the smaller outer ring allowing you to adjust panning resistance.
On our other tripod heads, these two knobs are typically placed in two different locations on the head, making adjusting one or the other less convenient since your hand needs to dart from one tie-down knob to the other.
The Gitzo arrangement shows that the designers were thinking of ways to streamline the operating process for camera ops—a nice touch.
One feature the Gitzo head lacked was a flat-base head, meaning that the only way to adjust leveling the head and camera is to individually adjust the height of each tripod leg until the head and camera are level.
To be fair, I’m not singling out the Gitzo on this; almost all sub-$1,000 tripod heads are flat base, too, but coming from decades of shooting with both 75mm and 100mm video ball heads where adjusting level takes just a couple of seconds, to go back to having to adjust the legs to level just feels backward.
Gitzo has also included a fluid counterbalance control on the GHFW2 head. This allows you to balance your camera and lens on the head even when the center of gravity is off-center, as it often will be depending on the size and length of the lens you have mounted to your camera. Basically, the counterbalance control allows you to perform smoother tilts.
Gitzo specifies that the counterbalance will balance on off-center loads of up to 5.5 pounds. There’s a catch to weight ratings, though: The head is rated to hold up to an 8.8-pound load but will only counterbalance to 5.5 pounds.
I found that in real-world shooting, my XT-3 with smaller and lighter lenses like my FUJINON XF 18-55mmF2.8-4.0 OIS, the counterbalance helped smooth out shots and made it so that if I left the tilt lock loose, the camera wouldn’t tip forward or backward on its own just from the weight.
However, conversely, if I mounted larger, heavier lenses, like my Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 IS II or my EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, they’d fall forward or backward if I neglected to tighten down the tilt tension.
Once again, my expectations here have been possibly clouded by decades of using heads like our Sachtler that allow up to 10 manually selected levels of spring counterbalance. Of course, our Sachtler head cost many times more than the Gitzo, but it would be nice if Gitzo had engineered in two or three counterbalance levels.
The counterbalance on the Gitzo head is fixed; you cannot lighten it or make it heavier than the preset. Depending on the total weight load you intend to use, the counterbalance could be effective and helpful, as I found it with the XT-3 body and the kit lens, but I wouldn’t encourage using long, large and heavy lenses on this head. Regardless of the total package weight, the head performs much better with a mirrorless camera with smaller and shorter-length lenses.
Overall, I found the motion characteristics of the head to be fairly smooth as long as I was well under its weight limits. I liked that the head features a counterbalance scale as well as a rotational scale for when you’re panning. These allow you to observe starting and stopping points when panning and tilting and trying to create repeatable moves.
Another feature I liked was that the entire Gitzo head and all of the metal fittings on the tripod are covered in Gitzo’s speckled “leopard-like” finish, which is covered with a nice, clear coat that makes handling the head and center column height adjustment easy, even when wet or when your hands are cold.
All edges have been cast and machined to be smooth. There are no sharp edges to cut you when adjusting the head.
I had a chance to use the Gitzo head and tripod in several client shoots, all in varying conditions, including covering a runner competing in a 100-mile ultramarathon through the Florida Keys, and the tripod and head performed admirably in the rain, the searing heat and wind the same day (it was Florida, after all!).
I also used the combo on a shoot gathering b-roll all day around a couple of southern California cities using various size and focal-length lenses.
Lastly, we used the combo on three different shoots at beaches, covering boat racing, where I often had the tripod legs buried in the sand and around saltwater all day each shoot. The Gitzo head and legs performed well in all of these situations, and the sand and salt washed off both the legs and head easily.
Besides being made of high-quality carbon fiber for weight savings and rigidity, the Gitzo GT2543L tripod also had nicely designed three-way leg locks, allowing you to position your camera lower to the ground quickly, but the center column of the tripod precluded being able to position the camera lower than about 18 inches off the ground.
The center column post has a metal hook at the bottom, allowing you to place your backpack or a sandbag as a stabilizing weight on the tripod.
Also worth mentioning are the Gitzo G-Lock legs, allowing you to rotate the lockdown collar just a fraction of an inch to extend or lock the legs, which saves time.
The Gitzo GHF2W head and GT2543L carbon legs met the criteria we set for our ideal mirrorless tripod in specs. The head is easily detachable and light, the legs have a 24-inch folded length, extending all of the way to 70.3 inches so it will easily fit in our luggage for traveling. The combo does have a true fluid head with counterbalance, although I wish it had some variable counterbalance settings.
The combo is capable of smooth pans and tilts, but only if your camera package is under the 5.5 pounds counterbalance rating. If you are over it but under the total head-weight limit of 8.8 pounds, it’s more difficult to obtain smooth pans and tilts.
The combo came in at just under our $1,200 budget, with a street price of $1,190. If you are looking for a solid tripod package and you have similar criteria, I would definitely consider the Gitzo GHF2W head and GT2543L legs as long as your total rig weight is under 5.5 pounds and your rig is well balanced.
The post Review: Gitzo GHF2W Head And GT2543L Carbon Fiber Legs appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Last week, filmmakers, producers, audio engineers and content creators flocked to the Javits Center in New York City to see new hardware, software, apps and services in the world of video, cinema and audio.
But it wasn’t just to attend one show—there were actually two shows taking place: The first was the NAB-NYC show, the smaller New York-based version put on by the National Association of Broadcasters of the larger Vegas-based show that takes place in the spring each year. Like the larger show in Vegas, it’s a hodge-podge of vendors, from broadcasters and streaming services to lighting and cine camera makers.
The other show was the annual AES show, which is put on by the Audio Engineers society, and focuses on audio, including microphones, audio interfaces, speakers, audio-editing systems and more.
Here are a few products that caught my eye from both shows:
Blackmagic Design: At the NAB-NYC show, the Australian digital cinema company and manufacturer had one of the largest booths and was demonstrating its DaVinci Resolve video-editing software. They also had two of their cinema cameras on display—the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and the latest version of the URSA Mini Pro, the G2.
Sound Devices: There were a number of audio companies at both shows, but most were at the AES show. Sound Devices has always been of particularly interest to cinematographers and movie makes, and they had three very intriguing updates to its MixPre line of audio recorders: At their small, but very busy booth, content creators could see the MixPre-10 II, MixPre-6 II and MixPre-3 II. What the new update means is that you can now record audio in “superior quality—all the way up to 32-bit float bit depth and a 192 kHz sample rate.” The company claims the new design provides “increased performance and an astounding 142 dB of dynamic range.”
Maxon Software: The maker of Cinema 4D software—3D modeling, animation and rendering software—had a nice crowd at their booth. As digital imaging and video continues to change, the interest in motion graphics, visual effects, visualization and 3D modeling continues to morph along with it, and Maxon is right there in the mix.
Lighting at NAB-NYC: Cinematographers and content creators continue to require more versatile lighting systems. Luckily, the industry continues to change. For instance, take BB&S Lighting, which was showing a number of impressive lighting systems at NAB-NYC, including the brand new Area 96 Color (left, the large red-colored light), which is twice as wide as its popular Area 48 Color (right, blue), which is their popular full-color LED panel light, which ranges from 10,000K to 2500K, with 13,000-lumen output and which draws 160 watts.
Another lighting company showing at NAB-NYC was Westcott. They had a few lighting systems on display as well, including its versatile Solix Bi-Color LED unit, designed for convenience and professional performance. According to the company, the LED has just a “single control dial with digital display is used to adjust color temperature and intensity to eliminate any guesswork.” It’s also adjustable 3200K tungsten to 5600K daylight and complements any environment.
Check in later this week as we report on the news from PhotoPlus Expo.
Today, Tamron introduced four new lenses, which are designed to work wiht Sony E-Mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. Three of the lenses—20mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2, 24mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 and 35mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2—are close focusing. The 20mm will be available in January 2020, but the other two primes will be available late November. All three will cost $349.
The fourth lens is a development announcement on a high-speed telephoto zoom lens, also for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD will be availability in the Spring 2020.
For more on all of these lenses, see links to the press releases below.
The post Tamron Announces Four Lenses Sony E-Mount Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Earlier today, Canon made several product announcements. The most significant for pro photographers and content creators was the news that Canon is developing an update to its flagship pro DSLR: The new model is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, which is the successor to the EOS-1D X Mark II, introduced in early 2016.
Because this is a development announcement, Canon couldn’t provide all the features and tech spcs for the new 1D X Mark III, but they did deliver a pretty impressive list of features.
Canon said the new flagship would have vastly superior performance to the previous version, shooting up to 16 frames per second (with AF/AE tracking) and a RAW max buffer that will be five times faster than the 1D X Mark II. Also, Canon said the new AF algorithms will be improved using artificial intelligence-like technologies. The camera will also have a wider dynamic range than its predecessor. Additionally, Canon said when using the optical viewfinder the camera will use a new autofocus sensor, with approximately 28 times the resolution in the center of the EOS-1D X Mark II.
Other features include:
Today, Canon also introduced two new lenses, the , Canon RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM Lens and the RF 85MM F1.2L USM DS
Here’s a short list of some of the features and specs on the Canon RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM zoom lens:
And here’s a short list of some of the features and specs on the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS:
There were no availability dates for the new EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR. For the two lenses, Canon said the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS lenses are scheduled to be available late November 2019 and December 2019, respectively, for an estimated retail price of $2,699 and $2,999 respectively.
For more information, click on the links to the press releases below:
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The new Olympus E-M5 Mark III
There are various features I could write about on the new OM-D E-M5 Mark III mirrorless camera, but one of the most intriguing aspects of this camera has more to do with industry competition and whether a brand follows the pack. I found it fascinating that Olympus continues to buck the trend that most other camera manufacturers embrace, which is making mirrorless cameras with full-frame sensors and large bodies.
In some ways, Olympus is smart to offer a very portable, travel-style camera to those photographers who might not need full frame or super-high resolution.
So, with this model, Olympus continued its tradition of keeping the camera body small, which extends to the lenses, since the E-M5 Mark III is based on a smaller Micro Four Thirds image sensors. In short, you can buy a much smaller telephoto lens than you’d have to with a camera with a full-frame sensor.
Plus, that Micro Four Thirds imaging sensor, is a 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor—one-third the megapixels you’d find on the new 61-megapixel Sony a7R IV. That’s a downside for some photographers. But others may not need 61 megapixels. And those with the E-M5 will find their hard drives filling up with files less quickly.
The E-M5 also has other important features, including:
But there’s more. The E-M5 Mark III is also weather-sealed as well as being dustproof and freezeproof, which can be an important factor for some photographers, particularly when traveling!
There are tradeoffs. The E-M5 Mark III controls can be a little too small for those with larger-sized hands. Or that 20-megapixel Live MOS image sensor may not be enough if your workflow includes extensively cropping your images.
Still, there will be some photographers who will find a lot of value in the new Olympus E-M5 Mark III, which sells for $1,199 (body only) or $1,799 (with the M.ZUIKO ED 14-150MM f4.0-5.6 II zoom kit lens).
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
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DJI’s new Mavic Mini
Today, DJI, a market leader in producing drones, introduces the new Mavic Mini, which is the company’s smallest and most lightweight drone, weighing just 249 grams or a little over half a pound. Because it’s a drone targeted for consumers, its lightweight form factor makes it much more likely to be a safe drone, according to experts, says DJI. The new model will cost $399 and will be available November 11.
The Mavic Mini includes a variety of photography and video features, including:
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Take To The Skies With Mavic Mini, DJI’s Lightest And Smallest Foldable Drone
The ultra-light Mavic Mini makes drone flight easier and safer than ever
October 30, 2019 – DJI, the global leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today opens a new frontier in drone possibilities with the DJI Mavic Mini, an ultra-light folding drone designed to be the everyday FlyCam. Weighing just 249 grams, Mavic Mini is portable, easy to fly, designed for safety and perfect for everyone who wants to experience the fun of flying.
Mavic Mini builds on the technological innovations in DJI’s renowned series of folding Mavic drones, from the original Mavic Pro through Mavic Air and Mavic 2, to pack professional-quality drone features into the lightest possible frame. That puts Mavic Mini in the safest drone category, which in many areas exempts it from regulations that apply to other, heavier drones. Drone pilots must always understand and follow local laws and regulations.
Mavic Mini’s high-grade camera captures compelling footage in high definition, and its new DJI Fly app’s suite of creative features seamlessly transforms photos and videos into professional-quality productions. Its enhanced, stable flight performance provides more opportunities to explore using one of the longest flight times for a drone of its size. Users can unleash their imagination with Mavic Mini’s exciting accessories, including a DIY Creative Kit and a 360° Propeller Guard for added safety.
“To design a drone as lightweight, compact yet capable as Mavic Mini was one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever tackled at DJI,” said Roger Luo, President, DJI. “Distilling top-of-the-line features into a palm-of-your-hand drone is the culmination of years of work, and we are ecstatic to bring a new class of drone to the DJI lineup. Mavic Mini’s long flight time, ultra-light weight and high-quality camera makes it DJI’s everyday drone – and most importantly, it’s easy to fly, no matter your experience level with drones.”
Portable and Safe
Mavic Mini is the smallest and lightest DJI drone ever made, and is the perfect creative tool for life’s daily adventures, whether seeing your everyday world from a new perspective or capturing incredible views of your getaways with friends and family. Mavic Mini incorporates DJI’s renowned safety technology, including geofencing to help drone pilots avoid restricted areas; AeroScope remote identification to help protect sensitive locations; built-in altitude limits; and automatic return to the launch point if the drone loses connection to the controller or reaches critically low battery level.
Mavic Mini is the first DJI drone to weigh below 250 grams, which aviation regulators around the world consider to be safest category for drone flight. In many countries, drones below 250 grams are considered safe enough that they can be used in new and exciting ways. Users should consult their country’s drone laws and regulations to learn more about what they can do there with Mavic Mini.
An Optimal Flight Experience
Created to be the drone for everyone, even those new to drones, Mavic Mini is simple to operate and fly using the dedicated remote controller. The ultra-light design and high-grade motors provide Mavic Mini with up to 30 minutes of flight time, giving users with more time to explore and capture content. A Wi-Fi transmission signal[] delivers stable control and an HD live feed for a clear, confident flying experience. GPS receivers and downward visual sensors detect the ground below Mavic Mini, enabling precise hovering, stable flying and accurate landing both indoors and out
Quality Content Captured with Ease
Mavic Mini offers pilots the ability to capture high-quality footage including 2.7K video at 30fps, 1080p at 60 frames per second, or 12-megapixel photographs using the 1/2.3-inch sensor. A three-axis motorized gimbal supports and stabilizes the camera, ensuring the footage is smooth and cinematic, making it perfect for sharing on social media.
Advanced Features Created to Inspire
The new DJI Fly app is intuitively designed, simplifying the flying and content capturing experience so that pilots of all skill levels can make the most of Mavic Mini. Dedicated tutorials are included to help new pilots learn about flying, and pre-set editing templates add a new level of creativity to the footage. New pilots can choose to fly in Position (P) mode for basic operation, more experienced pilots can unlock more capabilities in Sport (S) mode, and content creators can choose CineSmooth (C) mode to lengthen braking time for smoother shots and more cinematic footage. Pilots can also choose from several pre-programmed flight maneuvers known as QuickShots. Simply tap the desired mode and Mavic Mini will automatically create stunning, cinematic content:
Get Creative with New Accessories
Exciting and unique accessories allows pilots to get the most out of their Mavic Mini. Customers can choose from options including:
Price and Availability
Mavic Mini will be available for pre-order beginning October 30 at store.dji.com, flagship stores and authorized retailers and partners. Mavic Mini will come in two purchase options, the standard version which includes Mavic Mini, remote controller, one battery , extra propellers and all necessary tools and wires for $399 USD. Or the Mavic Mini Fly More Combo which includes all of the components from the standard version with the addition of the 360° Propeller Cage, Two-Way charging Hub, three batteries in total, three sets of extra propellers and a carrying case for the price of $499 USD. Mavic Mini will begin shipping on November 11. Accessories for Mavic Mini will be available for pre-order beginning October 30. For additional information on both Mavic Mini and its accessories, please visit: www.dji.com/mavic-mini
Detailed information on these accessories can be found here: www.dji.com/mavic-mini
 Mavic Mini Wi-Fi system has a maximum range of 4 km when unobstructed, free of interference, and FCC compliant. Maximum flight range specification is a proxy for radio link strength and resilience. Always fly your drone within visual line of sight unless otherwise permitted and check local laws and regulations in the region being operated.
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As I mentioned previously, there are lots of uses for proxies: dailies/client viewing, transcriptions and more. But they’re also used for editing. I’m an editor so proxies for post is what I care most about, and I’ve had both successes and failures with them.
There are several reasons to use proxies in editing. For example, when you don’t want to send out original footage. Maybe the amount of footage is such that somebody editing offsite won’t have the storage required.
Perhaps you’re spreading a project across multiple editors in different locations. Or you’re traveling and want to work on a laptop. Because the proxies are compressed copies of the original footage, storage requirements are reduced.
Another reason for not sending out the original footage is to protect it from misuse. You might use proxies compressed with watermarks and/or timecode burned in to minimize—or at least track—unauthorized usage.
In the above examples, the workflow starts with ingesting the proxies rather than the original footage. Then—after the edit sequence is “locked”—the original footage is linked to the clips in the sequence, replacing the proxies. For that to happen, there has to be a specific link between each camera-original file and its proxy.
To ensure that link, you must make sure proxy filenames are accurate and unique. Accurate, meaning they resemble the filenames of the original clips that they represent. Unique, in that you don’t have folders and folders of CAM01.mov files.
If the filenames aren’t accurate, you could have a mess when you go to finish. A “clip” in your sequence named Proxy_WilmaIntvw_01.mov won’t automatically link to the original clip if the original is named Interview_Wilma01.mov, let alone A002C001.mov. And if the clip names aren’t unique, CamA_008.mov in one folder might be confused with CamA_008 in another.
While I’m not a fan of renaming original footage, renaming might be necessary in order to relink the work. But the time to rename is before any editing starts.
Timecode becomes important particularly if you aren’t able to address unique filenames. If some of your clips were shot by a camera that starts timecode at 1:00:00:00 for every take, you could have multiple drone01.MOV clips that start at 1:00:00:00. To editing software, these clips appear to be identical.
In situations like this, relinking the original footage stops being an automatic process and moves into a tedious “one clip at a time” operation. Easy enough for a few clips, but if you have multiple days of shooting with multiple cameras, it can turn into a very long relinking job. And this all needs to happen before you can even start finishing.
Of course, you could change the timecode, especially if you want to transcode files to another codec. For example, you might have some h.264 files that you know won’t perform well during edit and that need to be converted to another format—like ProRes. During that process, you could also change the starting timecode to something other than zero.
But how can you ensure that the original footage relinks correctly? Test, test, test!
More on that next time.
Wireless video has become the latest must-have?
Not sure if you’ve felt that distant or perhaps not-so-distant call yet, the siren song of wireless video? What exactly do we mean when we say wireless video? It’s a somewhat amorphous term in the production world but generally, wireless video transmission is used by either:
A. Assistant Camera operators to pull focus, iris and/or zoom or DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) who’ll also monitor picture, tweaking the camera settings as the shoot progresses.
B. Directors, to see what the camera operator is shooting
Of course, there’s also video village, which if you’ve never been on a larger production set, you may not be familiar with the term. Video village is usually one or more video monitors that are set up and receiving the video feed from one or more cameras on multiple camera shoots. Depending on the production and the size of it, video village could just be the director and possibly producer, all the way up to good-sized video villages that may be occupied by a script supervisor, producers, writers, ad agency people on commercial shoots, along with clients and possibly the DP on larger shoots where the DP may not be operating a camera. Outdoors, video village is often placed under a pop-up tent and may have walls of curtains or Duvetyne to make the environment inside conducive to viewing the monitor(s) in ideal lighting.
This is all on the receiving end, but what about on the camera end—how do you send your video signal to the various people on set who may need or want to view what your camera is shooting? Just a few short years ago, wireless video systems were pretty costly and were really the exclusive domain of higher-budget Hollywood shoots. Since then, like every other form of technology, the costs for wireless video systems have steadily fallen while the quality and features have just as steadily climbed. Wireless video systems have become the cool thing to have on the many different types of sets.
Even on small documentary shoots, for instance, if you’re a camera operator working in close quarters with a sound mixer, it can actually improve the sound that the sound mixer is capturing. How does wireless video improve sound? It’s simple, if your boom operator has a small monitor they can view as they boom, they can carefully ride the frame line, placing the microphone as close to the edge of frame as possible, making sure using the monitor that they can see when their boom mic intrudes into the shot. The closer the mic can be located to talent, the better the signal to noise ratio, which can give you better sound.
Hair and makeup artists, production designers, wardrobe and countless others can all benefit from an occasional look at what the camera is seeing as well. But there isn’t usually room for the entire production team to hover around a monitor in video village. Now that we’ve established how wireless video can actually improve the end product on set as projects are shot, let’s take a look at:
I recently shot BTS footage on a series of commercials. I was shooting on closed sets where space was at a premium. As the camera operator, I was able to carve out a tiny space, underneath some grip gear on set to shoot BTS footage of the commercial being shot. Unfortunately, the space on set was so tight; there literally was no place for my producer to be on set, so she had to wait outside the set. I realized that it would be valuable if my producer could at least see the shots I was shooting on set to offer her feedback and notes and to give me direction on other potential shots she wanted me to shoot.
I did a lot of quick research for this article and realized that even for the lower-end option, I was looking at probably over $3,000 to get set up with a wireless transmitter, receiver, monitor, battery system for all, cases, cables, sun shades, etc. Unlike on some higher-end projects we shoot, I didn’t think the client for this project would be willing to pay additionally for wireless video. If you can’t bill out the wireless system as a line item, you aren’t paying it off and eventually gaining profit from renting it to your clients, it’s just an expense. Sure, if we were shooting the commercials themselves, the client would pay for things like wireless video systems because the spots have higher budgets. But for BTS coverage, based upon our experience, the client would probably not want to pay for wireless video.
It seemed that wireless would help my producer do a better job and would ensure that I was shooting all of the shots she wanted and would make the end product closer to the producer’s vision for the shots she wanted. After doing some digging, I discovered that an interesting product that was shown at IBC 2019 was finally shipping, the Accsoon WIT08 Cineeye. I immediately ordered it to try it out to see if it would solve my issue.
There were two things that made the Cineeye extremely interesting to me, the first being that it was inexpensive. Perhaps too inexpensive, I bought it from B&H Photo Video for a mere $219. The second thing was that the Cineeye has no receiver because it uses wireless internet video instead of HDMI or SDI output, which is plugged into a video monitor. To view the output of the Cineeye, you merely download an app to your phone or tablet; select the Wi-Fi signal that the Cineeye is transmitting and you have live video in the palm of your hand. Amazing. And the app is no slouch as it has lots of different viewing tools and options, and you can even download LUTs into it to view LUT corrected output.
I ordered the Cineeye after the first day shooting when I discovered it might be helpful on set. It arrived before the day two and three commercial shoots the following week. The packaging was nice, the unit came with a ¼” 20 female socket on the bottom that would provide easy mounting points. The unit came with a variety of cables to adapt full-sized, mini and micro HDMI output to the full-sized HDMI input on the unit. The internal battery on the unit is rated to last around 3 to 4 hours, but the good news is the unit can be used as it charges. I first ran the Accsoon Cineeye with the D-Tap from my V-Mount battery powering my camera, but on the next shoot, I instead mounted a small Lithium-Ion candy bar battery to the rear panel of the Cineeye to save space and stretch the run time for the unit to all day.
I happened to have an iPad laying around that I used to use with our drone but replaced it with a Crystal Sky Monitor for the drone, so I decided to turn the iPad into a dedicated client monitor. I even happened to have a Hoodman for it and a ¼” 20 mount so it could be mounted to a light stand, allowing the iPad to be used in direct sunlight with the sunshade.
I put the Cineeye to work over the next two days of the commercial shoot and then the following week on a live event with three cameras so the other two camera operators could see my shot to make sure their shots were significantly different and editable against my shot. I attached one of my inexpensive Anker batteries to the back of the iPad holder so that the iPad could also operate for long periods of time. On both shoots, the clients were happy and impressed that I was able to provide them with a wireless video feed, quickly and painlessly.
If you mostly work in higher-end production, wireless video has almost become a given. But for BTS, EPK and documentary shooting that I often work on with lower budgets and leaner resources and crews, wireless video often has remained out of reach as many of these types of clients actually need wireless video for their shoots but haven’t yet become conditioned to budgeting for wireless video transmission. This will evolve. Once clients have used wireless video, they’ll want it and will value it.
The Cineeye is far from perfect. It uses a decent amount of battery power to run. The app isn’t great yet, but it’s very functional and usable. The transmitter is one more thing you have to hang off of your camera rig and one more source that you need to power. When you turn your camera and the Cineeye off to save battery, you sometimes have to reboot the app to see the live feed again. The Cineeye only accepts HDMI video, not SDI, so luckily our A camera has both types of outputs, but this does mean one more cable on your rig as well.
The range of the Cineeye is limited, around a 300-foot line of sight, but considerably less if there are walls between you shooting and your viewing audience on their phones and/or tablets. Speaking of which, the Cineeye supports being viewed by up to three devices at once. The app is available for iPhones, iPads and Android, although from what we’ve read, the performance on Apple devices is better. The picture is surprisingly good, but the Cineeye only transmits video, not audio, so your viewers will be able to see what you’re shooting but won’t be able to hear what your camera is recording.
The way I look at it, it was a very handy, easy, simple and inexpensive way to dip my toes into the wireless video experience. If it begins to pay off, it could be time to invest in a higher-end, more capable system, but if it doesn’t pay off, it’s still one nicer feature/service we can offer with our day rate that can be incredibly helpful in certain situations. I suggest picking one up and trying the wireless video thing, if you never have. It’s quite handy.
Premiere Pro’s Auto Reframe Feature
Today, Adobe announced a slew of updates and upgrades to the apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud service, the company’s subscription based set of applications and services. There were several updates targeted at cinematographers, filmmakers and content creators, including updates to Premiere Pro, Audition and Premiere Rush. For each app, Adobe was looking to improve performance and stability. Adobe said the new version of the Creative Cloud would include “faster and more powerful products spanning multiple surfaces.”
The news was announced in conjunction with Adobe’s annual Adobe MAX conference, which will run from November 4 through 6, 2019. What’s intriguing to note is that Adobe has been working to add artificial-intelligence features into its apps and services. (Adobe Sensei is the company’s banding for artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.) The new features that include Adobe Sensei-like features include, “Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro, Object Selection in Photoshop, Auto Tone in Photoshop Camera and Live Brushes in Fresco, as the company continues to enable creatives to work faster and smarter than ever before.”
Auto Reframe and Enhancements to audio on Adobe Premiere Pro: One of the things video editors and content creators often need to create are new formats for existing videos. Which is we they need tools that streamline the creative process and empower them to deliver better stories faster. “The latest release of Adobe Premiere Pro (version 14.0) helps you do that with workflow refinements, performance improvements and new Auto Reframe,” say Adobe. What ‘s ice about the Auto Reframe tool, is that it “automates the process of reformatting video in Premiere Pro for square, vertical, cinematic 16×9 or custom aspect ratios.” It can also be applied to individual clips as an effect or to whole sequences. Adobe says that Adobe Sensei uses “AI and machine learning technologies to accelerate production workflows, automating manual tasks without sacrificing creative control.”
Additionally, Adobe has enhance Premiere Pro’s audio performance as well: Audio gain in Premiere Pro is now available up to +15dB, on par with Audition. For more, go here: https://theblog.adobe.com/streamline-video-editing-and-deliver-better-stories-faster/
What’s new on Adobe Audition: Adobe has just announced it has improved routing for multichannel effects. According to Adobe, this enhancement “could reduce hours of time setting up complicated track configurations for broadcast and immersive sound mixing to just a few clicks…. This new functionality in both Premiere Pro and Audition provides support for third-party audio effects to be queried for their channelization options, and route specific audio clip and track channels in and out of those effects.” For more, go here: https://theblog.adobe.com/sound-is-half-the-experience/
Sharing Adobe Premiere Rush on TikTok: Adobe has just announced that it is partnering with TikTok, a social media video app. So, now, users can use Premiere Rush, Adobe’s “all-in-one, cross-device video editing app” and then directly share that video to TikTok. For more, go here: https://www.adobe.com/products/premiere-rush.html
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Matthews Studio Equipment’s new rugged on-set Rock n’ Roller Wheel Sets
Matthews Studio Equipment has introduce a new accessory: Rock n’ Roller wheel sets. According to the company, Rock n’ Rollers quickly and simply slip on and are ready to “smoothly roll over rocks, power cables, cable crossovers, gravel, asphalt, uneven concrete, and soft grass.” The company says the new accessories were designed by request and input from DITs, Steadicam ops, video assistants, grips and gaffers.
The new Rock n’ Roller wheel set accessory includes:
The unit is available in 3 versions and pairs with the Monitor Stand II and Slider Stands, or with any stand with a 1” square tube leg. For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Rugged Movement On-Set With Matthews Rock n’ Roller Wheel Sets
Burbank, California – Matthews Studio Equipment, known for smart solutions that ease life on set, introduce new Rock n’ RollerTM Wheel Sets. Already becoming an essential addition to Matthews’ hallmark grip and lighting stands, Rock n’ Rollers quickly simply slip on, ready to smoothly roll over rocks, power cables, cable crossovers, gravel, asphalt, uneven concrete, and soft grass.
Designed by request and input from DITs, Steadicam ops, video assistants, grips and gaffers, these useful add-ons feature 3 foam semi-pneumatic tires, 3” wide by 8” diameter that won’t go flat and enhance stability. With 360-degree rotation, they maneuver in any direction yet can maintain a straight line when rolling across the set. The dependable, face locking pedal brake features an adjustable pad to ensure strength throughout the life of the wheel. A dual-lock mechanism, it secures both wheel rotation as well as caster swivel. The smartly engineered round top plate is a real foot-saver, keeping pointy corners out of the way when engaging and disengaging the brake. Plus, Matthews’ proprietary Spring Steel Sleeve attaches the wheels to the stand for a secure fit without damaging the legs’ sidewall.
Available in 3 versions to suit every situation, the Monitor Wheel Set pairs with the Monitor Stand II and Slider Stands. The Combo Wheel Set goes with Matthews Combo Stands or any stand with a 1” square tube leg—a real benefit for moving large lights like 18Ks. The Mombo Combo set is compatible with 1-½” square tube leg stands so it’s a workhorse when breaking down huge overheads whether moving the it only a couple of feet—or across the stage.
Rock n’ Rollers are available through Matthews Studio Equipment dealers. For more information visit www.msegrip.com
Over the past six months, it’s been a season of new camera releases, each more tempting than the last. The latest crop of mirrorless hybrids and digital cinema cameras present some compelling new features and innovations designed to make shooting more efficient and the output, to me, more impressive.
The past few months have seen several new cameras announced, but the ones that come to mind immediately as the most interesting are:
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K — $2,495
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H — $3,997
Sony PMW-FX9 — $10,998
Canon EOS C500 MKII — $15,999
Within such an enormous price range, what features make these cameras so interesting? Let’s review what makes the latest crop of cameras compelling:
One of the new cameras feature 6K sensors with 4K recording (the Sony PMW-FX9), while the other three cameras all feature native internal 6K recording.
Two of the cameras (the Blackmagic and the Canon) allow for internal RAW recording. The Sony and Panasonic will both allow external RAW recording, which, to me, is a non-starter. Once you’ve shot with internal RAW recording, shooting RAW externally seems like a step backward, but it’s nice that all four cameras at least have the option to shoot RAW period.
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K can interface with a Blackmagic external battery grip, which goes a long way to solving its too short internal single battery life. The Panasonic S1H can interface with the same optional Panasonic external audio interface that the GH5 and GH5S have utilized over the last few years.
Both of these lower dollar cameras pale in comparison with the Sony FX-9 and Canon C500 MKII when it comes to modularity. The Sony will interface with an accessory back that allows for various additional external interface functions, and the Canon C500 MKII has a whole new lineup of optional EVFs, camera backs and other accessories that will allow you to customize the cameras connections and interfaces to a degree that no other C Series camera has had before.
Some customers require certain bit rates and data rates. It’s fair to say that 8-bit video recording is now considered passé’, at least on pro digital cinema cameras, although 8-bit recording is still common with mirrorless cameras. All four of these cameras offer a minimum of 10-bit recording with some offering 12-bit recording and even 16-bit output. All four of these cameras offer data rates that are impressively robust and would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. As the recording media has improved, so too have digital cinema and mirrorless cameras ability to record in higher and higher data rate formats, including RAW, which records at up to 5.9K (5952 X 3140) at an astounding 2.1 Gbps, which requires the new CFexpress card format.
I ‘ve shot with two of these four new cameras, the Blackmagic and the Panasonic. Unfortunately, the Sony and the Canon aren’t yet available to review, but based upon previous experience with the Sony PMW-FS7 and FS7 MKII, the Canon EOS C100, 100 MKII, 300 MKI and MKII and that I own the C200, I can surmise at least roughly at how the Canon and Sony will perform. In my opinion, we’ve finally reached the point where any new cameras hitting the market will be better, but how many of us really need a better camera than this crop of technology?
A question I see being raised repeatedly on discussion boards and in digital cinema forums is the assertion that we’re basically already at the saturation point for new digital cinema technology in cameras. What do we mean when we say “saturation point”? In order to answer what a saturation point is, let’s take a look at what customers and clients are looking for when they hire you to shoot either footage for them as a production services provider or when they hire you as a production company to shepherd their project all of the way through the creative process, from idea to final product.
Now that the latest crop of cameras has hit the 6K barrier, perhaps it makes sense to take a look at what real clients in the real world are actually asking for.
In our personal experience over the past two or three years, the majority of clients in the markets we shoot and produce in predominantly are still requesting 1080 acquisition. Wait, aren’t we in the era of 4K video already though? Well, yes and no. What we’re hearing over and over again is that many of our client’s internal workflows for editing, monitoring, archiving and outputting are mostly still optimized for 1080.
4K is four times the size of 1080, creating a resolution profile that’s two times wider and two times higher than 1080 HD, thus giving a total screen resolution that’s a bit over 4 times larger overall. Some of these clients are fine shooting a project in 4K UHD, but the final output still needs to be 1080 for the majority of projects we’re hired for. About 35 to 40 percent of the time, the clients don’t specify which format and frame size they want to shoot in, and we often recommend shooting a project UHD (3840×2160) even if we’re going to edit the footage in a 1080 timeline. In this way, at least the client’s footage, if not the edit, will be somewhat “future-proofed” as they could always go back and re-edit the project in UHD resolution. About 20 percent of the time, clients specify and request that the project be entirely shot and delivered in UHD.
What conclusions can we draw from what our customers are telling us? Simple. The sum of all projects being shot in at least 4K and delivered in 4K is still quite a bit smaller than many in our industry would have projected just two years ago. If we look at where we are today with shooting and delivering 4K, does it make sense to be buying any camera based upon its ability to shoot and record in 6K resolution? What about 8K? That’s a question you have to ask yourself. We now know that with Bayer sensors and the DeBayering process, to obtain the optimal down-sampled UHD 4K footage, it helps if the sensor in the camera can shoot at a native 5.7k to 5.9K resolution since you lose resolution during DeBayering. If a 4K native sensor is used instead, the DeBayered image will be lower than UHD resolution and will always fall short of fulfilling the potential of a UHD specification. Of course, this is all resolution discussion and not image quality or image characteristic talk, which is a totally different set of criteria.
A lot of your decisions and my own decisions about when to buy a new camera and which camera to buy should center on the business case. Here’s an example. Right now, in 2019, in our market, which is centered in Los Angeles, mostly in the entertainment media, shooting EPK, BTS and documentary type footage mostly, with some occasional corporate work and event work thrown in for good measure, we’re able to charge clients a day rate for the camera package of around $450 to $650 per day, which includes the camera, media, batteries, charger, tripod and a zoom lens. We can add wireless video transmission and a monitor, better and longer length lenses and external recording to Prores HQ as options that take the base $450 rate to the upper rate of around $650.
Looking at our clients, their needs and preferences, our current C200 package fulfills most of their needs, most of the time, so we can surmise for the majority of our clients, our camera, or a similar one like it (Panasonic EVA 1, Canon C300 MKII, Sony FS7/MKII) would fill their needs nicely. A Canon C200 or any of the competitors would cost around $6,000 to $7,500 new for the camera body only. While I find that the two new digital cinema camera offerings, the Sony FX-9 and the Canon C500 MKII would be a delight to shoot with and either would offer superior features in some areas over our C200, I can say with some confidence that none of the features either camera would offer would motivate our clients to pay more than the current $450 to $650 per day for our camera package.
In extrapolating this financial strategy, I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t be worth it, from a business perspective, for us and our clients, to upgrade from our C200 to the FX-9 or the C500 MKII in the near future. This is not to say that the entire situation couldn’t change and evolve, but viewing the situation through a lens of today’s work with today’s clients with their current needs, we feel no immediate urge to sell off our year-and-half-old C200 to update to the latest and greatest successors.
If we were new to buying digital cinema cameras, we might find the new features offered by either to be very appealing and either could prove to be the right choice as our new first digital cinema camera. For quick turnaround day playing, the Sony FX-9 seems as if it will be a very worthy successor to Sony’s immensely popular FS7/FS7 MKII cameras. For higher budgeted, more involved projects that will be color corrected, graded and have longer production timelines, the internal RAW capability will make the C500 MKII appealing for a large population of users, clients and projects.
The real question is, what’s your business case for buying a new camera or for trading up from your current camera to the latest and greatest?
Sigma’s new 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens
Today, Sigma announces a new Art lens, the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens, which is the second newly-designed Art zoom from Sigma, which follows the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art zoom for mirrorless cameras. The new 24-70mm lens is a large-aperture standard zoom for full-frame mirrorless camera systems and is available as a Sony E-mount or L-mount lens.
The new Sigma zoom includes three aspheric lenses (to minimize axial chromatic aberration or sagittal coma aberrations), a super multi-layer coating and Sigma’s proprietary Nano Porous Coating. It also features a dust-and-splash-proof body, plus a zoom-lock mechanism for preventing the lens barrel from extending unexpectedly. The minimum focusing distance is about 7 inches at the wide-angle end. Other features include an 11-blade rounded diaphragm, a high-precision, rugged brass-bayonet mount and a lens hood with a lock.
Sigma says the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art will be available in L-mount and Sony E-mount versions in mid-November 2019, but at press time offered no pricing information.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Sigma Announces New 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Zoom Lens for Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras; Available in Sony E-mount and L-mount
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Lens
This second newly-designed Art zoom lens from Sigma is a large-aperture standard zoom for full-frame mirrorless camera systems and is available in Sony E-mount and L-mount. The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 offers best-in-class performance due to a sophisticated optical design that delivers high resolution throughout the entire zoom range. This new Art zoom lens from Sigma follows the debut of the lauded 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art zoom for mirrorless cameras.
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens exerts superiority in mirrorless camera-dedicated designs, resulting in a reduced lens size and weight while achieving uniformity and high resolution from the center to the periphery throughout the zoom range. Compatibility with the latest mirrorless camera bodies and functions assists in various photographic environments and meets the high demands of both professional and advanced amateur photographers.
Key features include:
The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art will be available in L-mount and Sony E-mount in mid-November 2019 through authorized US dealers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
More details are available at: http://www.sigma-global.com/en/lenses/cas/concept.
The post Sigma Introduces 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Lens For Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Previously, I talked about creating proxies to use for remote editing. The original footage remains in one location—not linked to the project—and only the proxies are used. I emphasized that you should make sure that the proxy files are created in such a way that they easily and faultlessly link up with the original footage. You can’t just assume that you did it right because if you didn’t, it may not be an easy fix.
Before you start any editing, it’s important to test to ensure everything will link. In addition, it might prevent you from having to take some of the drastic steps I mentioned last time, like changing filenames or timecode.
Testing is simply following the steps you’ll use to finish the project. Ingest your proxies into the edit software that will be used for the offline cut. Put all your proxy clips onto a timeline and then export that timeline via whatever method your finishing software requires: XML, project, etc.
Next, using another edit machine, import the sequence into your finishing software and relink to the original footage. Did the software find all the clips? And did it find the right clips?
Using another machine should accurately simulate what will happen when you finally relink the footage to the sequences. Moving to another machine ensures that all the links are “broken” to start with. But if you don’t have a second machine to simulate the workflow, try things like removing your original footage drive or renaming proxy folders and original footage folders and originals and then see if you can relink.
When you point to different folders, it might take a few steps to relink. Usually, the software finds all the clips in the selected folder and also in subfolders. I don’t consider a few steps like that a failure.
A failure is if you have to manually relink lots of files, one by one. A failure is if files link to the wrong clips. And a failure is if some clips can’t be linked at all. While doing this testing might seem tedious, it’s not as tedious as relinking files one at a time. Believe me.
If you’re using a specific application and have found a proxy workflow that tests well, don’t assume other applications will work just as well with that workflow. In my experience, two applications perform better than others in relinking footage:
But even with those applications, testing is still important.
I’m not through with proxies. Next time, I’ll talk about using them to reduce the performance requirements on your edit machine.
New Supreme Prime Radiance lenses from Zeiss
Today, Zeiss introduces the Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, a new set of seven high-end cinematography lenses. According to the company, the lenses “are based on the high-speed Zeiss Supreme Prime lens family with the benefit of the new T*blue coating, which offers a distinctive look and consistent flares without any compromises.” This line comprises the following seven focal lengths: 21mm T1.5, 25mm T1.5, 29mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5 and 100mm T1.5.
The new line also seems to be in keeping with cine lenses from other brands, including models announced from Canon and Sony, in which “optical qualities” like lens flare, previously seen as optical elements you didn’t want in your footage, are now promoted and marketed.
But according to the company, filmmakers are looking for such effects. In response to demand, the company says it is integrating “flares to ensure greater creative freedom with the lenses.” Zeiss also says it is creating tools that “would allow this effect to be achieved at any time and in a controlled manner.” According to Zeiss, it’s the T* blue coating that allows filmmakers to create flares in the right light without any loss “in contrast or transmission.”
As noted earlier, the new line comprises seven primes with focal lengths of between 21 and 100 millimeters. Each lens has a maximum aperture of T1.5, which Zeiss claims will make it “possible to capture subtle nuances, even in poor light.” Zeiss also says the lenses have a smooth depth of field and elegant bokeh, plus they have an image circle diameter of 46.3 millimeters, which means they can cover the current large-format cinematography sensors, including Sony Venice, ARRI Alexa LF and Mini LF and RED Monstro. The lenses also have a front diameter of 95 millimeters, and weigh around 3.3 lbs. on average.
Zeiss Supreme Prime Radiance lens set will hit the market in April, 2020. You can order the set now through March 31, 2020, but you have to buy all seven focal lengths. At press time, there was no pricing on the set.
For more, see the press release below or go to zeiss.com/cine/radiance
[[ press release ]]
ZEISS Unveils New High-End Cinematography Optics: ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Lenses
A Modern Lens, based on ZEISS Supreme Prime lenses, with Controlled Flares
– orders possible by 31st March 2020!
Oberkochen/Germany, 7 November 2019–ZEISS has unveiled the ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, an exclusive new set of seven high-end cinematography lenses. The lenses are based on the high-speed ZEISS Supreme Prime lens family with the benefit of the new T*blue coating, which offers a distinctive look and consistent flares without any compromises.
“The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses deliver stunning, consistent flares across all focal lengths that cinematographers can create at will,” says Christophe Casenave, Product Manager for Cinema Products at ZEISS. “The new lens family has been infused with ZEISS’s experience and passion for premium-quality cinematography lenses – combined with its aspiration to support filmmakers throughout the creative process,” says Casenave.
Controlled images that exude artistic flair
The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses are available as a set of seven focal lengths of between 21 and 100 millimeters, all with a maximum aperture of T1.5. This makes it possible to capture subtle nuances, even in poor light.
“When we spoke to filmmakers and industry experts, we took a close look at the appeal of flares and their unique impact on the atmosphere of a movie,” says Casenave. He describes how ZEISS is responding to users’ needs to integrate flares to ensure greater creative freedom with the lenses: “We didn’t just want to reproduce the effects, but to create tools that would allow this effect to be achieved at any time and in a controlled manner, and so the T* blue coating was born.” The new coating allows users to create flares in the right light without any losses in contrast or transmission – and in the high quality that customers have come to expect from ZEISS.
The versatility of the lenses can be used to create this visual look, which is due to the smooth depth of field and elegant bokeh, thus meeting users’ every artistic wish – from a blockbuster to a high-end commercial or a film d’auteur.
In addition to their flare behavior, the new lenses offer all the benefits of the ZEISS Supreme Primes. Thanks to their image circle diameter of 46.3 millimeters, they cover the current large- format cinematography sensors and are as such compatible with the latest camera models, such as the Sony Venice, ARRI Alexa LF, and Mini LF and RED Monstro. Moreover, they feature a front diameter of 95 millimeters with consistently positioned focus and aperture rings. They weigh around 1,500 grams on average.
The lenses are equipped with the ZEISS eXtended Data metadata technology launched in 2017, providing frame-by-frame data on lens vignetting and distortion in addition to the standard metadata provided using the Cooke /i technology1 protocol. This simplifies and speeds up workflows, particularly for VFX and Virtual Production.
The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses are available to order from announcement until March 31st, 2020. The seven focal lengths – 21 mm T1.5, 25 mm T1.5, 29 mm T1.5, 35 mm T1.5, 50 mm T1.5, 85 mm T1.5 and 100 mm T1.5 – are available exclusively as a set from ZEISS Cinema dealers. The lenses will be delivered from April 2020 after the end of the ordering period.
From November, 9th -16th ,2019, ZEISS will be unveiling its ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses for the first time before a large audience at the CAMERIMAGE International Film Festival in Toruń, Poland. The short film R&R by Rodrigo Prieto (DOP of movies like The Irishman, The Wolf of Wall Street and Brokeback Mountain) shot with ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, will also be shown at the festival. After CAMERIMAGE, ZEISS will be running a series of events at various rental houses around the world to give cinematographers the chance to try out the new lenses.
To find out more, please visit: www.zeiss.com/cine/radiance
1: /i is a registered trademark of Cooke Optics Limited used with permission.
Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop
Today, Apple unveiled its new line of 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, which replaces its current line of 15-inch MacBook Pros, the powerful and portable workstations you’ll most likely catch cinematographers and professional content creators carrying around with them. The new models, which will be available in two impressive, but pricey configurations, for $2,399 and $2,799, will go on sale later this week.
Physically speaking, the new laptops have merely gained an inch in size. But what will really entice filmmakers of all genres are the many new upgrades, features and capabilities inside the new MacBook Pro. It’s why this could be a very significant product introduction for Apple, one that might even be called a game changer for cinematographers and creatives of all sorts.
Here’s why: According to Apple, the new 16-inch MacBook Pros come with “an immersive 16-inch Retina display, a new Magic Keyboard, dramatically faster performance, an awesome sound system and new pro options in system memory, video memory and storage.” Those features and enhancements are all well and good, but during a two-hour meeting I attended in New York with Apple, a day before the official product launch of the new laptops, I got a chance to see exactly how the new mobile workstations performed in a number of scenarios, and how in many cases the laptops breezed through challenges and roadblocks that generally slow down most other laptops. (I’ll also be testing the laptop shortly to see how it performs.)
The 16-inch Retina display is the largest-ever Retina display on a Mac notebook, Apple says. It delivers “an immersive front-of-screen experience and the P3 wide color gamut delivers brilliant, true-to-life images and video.” It has a pixel resolution of 3072 x 1920, with a total of 5.9 million pixels. It also has a higher pixel density of 226 ppi than previous screens. Overall, I found it to be quite an impressive display, although I haven’t yet done all that much testing on it yet.
Apple has seemingly fixed its keyboard problem. No more butterfly keyboard design. Instead, this MacBook Pro includes a keyboard called the Magic keyboard, which was “inspired by the keyboard that comes with iMac Pro.” Apple is promoting it as a very comfortable and satisfying typing experience. Plus, they brought back a dedicated Escape key.
The laptops have other significant upgrades, including a 6-core and 8-core Intel processors: Apple says the MacBook Pros have the “latest 6-core Core i7 and 8-core Core i9 processors and feature Turbo Boost speeds of up to 5.0GHz, for performance that’s up to 2.1 times faster than the fastest quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro.” Another very intriguing development on this new line is that Apple says it overhauled the architecture of the laptop, providing a new thermal design, which cools MacBook Pro more effectively. Apple says the design allows the MacBook Pro to run with 12 watts more of power.
Other performance and storage specs include: an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics GPUs with GDDR6 memory deliver up to 2.1 times faster performance on standard configurations. It’s also available with 8GB VRAM. You also get a faster 2666MHz DDR4 memory, and is now configurable up to 64GB, for the first time.
In terms of storage, at 512GB and 1TB, the SSDs on standard configurations are “double the capacity of previous models, with a new 8TB SSD option—the largest SSD on any notebook.”
The new laptops come with a very impressive 6-speaker sound system that really cranks out the bass and mid-range tones when playing music. It’s hard to image that these woofers would sound as good in a laptop this thin. Plus, the 3 internal-microphone array that come with the MacBook Pro offer impressive quality with very little hiss (at least for the demos I attended)—in fact, Apple claims it’s 40 percent less hiss.
Not surprisingly, Apple tweaked its battery in order to better handle all the increases in hardware and software. Even so, Apple says it designed a new battery—a 100-watt-hour battery for 11 hours of battery life. Additionally, Apple says it “redesigned the adapter to deliver 9 more watts of power. However, the new 96W USB-C Power Adapter is the same size as the previous 87W adapter for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Yet despite all the changes on this new model, it’s still only 4.3 pounds and is only about .6 inches thick.
Filmmakers, videographers and cinematographers should be happy with the new system. Apple says “The new MacBook Pro lets video editors edit 11 multicam streams of 4K video simultaneously. And they’ll also enjoy smooth real-time playback of videos with complex color-grading effects applied.” That’s due to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics with 8GB of video memory. Also, Apple says that you can add more Amp Designer plug-ins when composing or playing music in the Logic Pro X14
Additionally, Apple provided more details today on its powerful workstation, the Apple Mac Pro, as well as its Pro Display XDR Monitor. For starters, Apple said both would be available this December, although no word yet on pricing.
Stay tuned for my additional tests on this new MacBook Pro, along with several “test” multimedia projects that I plan to try on this system.
Much like a modern-day Indiana Jones, join me as I dig through the relics and remnants of production laying around our office.
I’ve been doing some straightening and organizing around the office lately. Upon excavating several storage boxes that I haven’t looked through for quite a while, some of them it’s been even years since I have gone through them, I’ve discovered that I have quite a collection of miscellaneous bits and pieces that I had forgotten about. It kind of makes me wonder why I bought all of this stuff, what I used it for and why I’m no longer using it. More than just a random collection of junk, going through these crates revealed some memories of not only older gear, but older projects that were fun and interesting.
Once you’ve been in our business for a while, you realize how much of what we do centers on gear. It’s all gear, all of the time for many of us. Much of that gear is used for a short time, then it’s cast aside when your gear or configuration changes, often with the vague thought of, “Oh, I should put that on eBay or Craigslist,” but I find that for me, selling small, low dollar accessories is often an exercise in hassle and frustration. Especially when you factor in shipping and the accompanying trips to buy packaging, packaging it up, driving to UPS/FedEx/Post Office, time is so much more valuable than recouping a few bucks on something you bought a few years ago and no longer use, if it’s a relatively low dollar item. Hence I find myself with lots of these smaller things lying around, too valuable to throw in the recycling bin but not valuable enough to put the hours and efforts into an earnest sales drive.
Without further ado, here are a few candidates:
I bought this about four or five years ago when I bought our company’s first 4K capable camera, the Panasonic GH4. The GH4 had a super fragile Micro HDMI output jack. Unfortunately, here we are years later and our current mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm XT-3, is still using this infernal connector. Micro HDMI is so bad, so fragile, it’s like a joke of a connector, even for a consumer, much less for professional use. The Lockport was a plate that attached to the bottom of the GH4 and inserted a micro HDMI connector into the port, made a 45-degree turn and output a full-sized HDMI connection. It was great and worked well. It protected the super fragile micro HDMI connector on the camera and gave you a better, more robust full-sized HDMI “A” connection to hook up to your external recorder or monitor.
I recall I had the Lockport listed on Amazon, eBay and some boards and it wasn’t cheap, I think we paid around $150 for it, but even at half price, nobody was interested in it, so rather than give it away for free, we threw it in storage. Here it is, four years later and it’s still in storage. Anyone want to buy a Lockport for their GH-4?
Wow, I had no idea we still had this in storage! We sold off all of our Nikon cameras and lenses quite a few years ago, but this was small enough that it must have slipped through the cracks. It’s a quaint reminder of when Nikon, Canon and other camera manufacturers used to offer “high tech” infrared remote controls to release the camera shutter and take a picture. Today, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras almost exclusively use Smart Phone apps for camera remote control and monitoring. The amount of control that these apps have, via Bluetooth, is quite amazing in comparison to what was offered versus simple, primitive remote releases like this one. This remote even had this cute little woven fabric bag to carry it in, although it was so small that it was definitely easy to lose.
We were an early adopter of the DSLR that started the “DSLR Revolution,” the Canon EOS 5D MKII. At that time, we were mostly shooting with our Panasonic HVX-200 and HPX-170 P2 cameras. Both were HD capable but fixed lens with tiny 1/3-inch sensors. This meant they were extremely difficult to obtain any kind of shallow depth of field with. At the time, when we wanted shallower DOF and a better picture, we would rent 2/3-inch sensor cameras like the Sony F900 and the Panasonic first-generation Varicam. When the 5D MKII came out, we were kind of blown away, like everyone else, by the shallow depth of field and color science of the sensor. This was a wired shutter release that we also forgot to include when we sold the 5D MKII, just a few years ago. I’m sure we paid a good amount of money for it, but since we hardly used it, we had put it into storage. Imagine, a “WIRED” shutter release. Isn’t everything wireless in 2019?
Why did we not end up using this? Why did it end up in the assorted odds and ends boxes? As I recall, we bought this in an effort to build a usable shoulder-mounted rig a few years ago for our Canon EOS C100 and C300. As you know, neither of these cameras and even our present-day EOS C200 are very good shoulder-mounted cameras. But we seem to run into situations where we need to shoot with these cameras mounted on our shoulder. Mainly scenarios where more mobility and movement is needed than can be gained from just shooting from tripod, which you can get with the Canons by shooting handheld cradled, but shooting with the camera held out in front of your body, especially with bigger, heavier lenses, monitors, external recorders, wireless mic receivers and other “stuff” that must often be hung off of our cameras, shooting “cradled” soon turns into an exercise in cramped and fatigued muscles, so up onto the shoulder the camera must go.
Unfortunately, almost all popular digital cinema cameras these days are NOT designed to work very well shoulder mounted. If you think about, a large percentage of cameras that people shoot with today are really, really terrible on the shoulder. REDs, Arri Alexa Mini and Mini LF, all of the Canons, the Panasonic EVA-1, even the Sony FS7 is no joy to shoot shoulder mounted with, although it can be done. We bought this adapter to attach a handgrip to some 15mm rods that we were using for lens support, extension handles and other operations on the Franken rig we created to support our C100/C300. After using the rig on a couple of long shoulder-mounted shoots, we came to the realization that we needed a better balanced and constructed solution, so we upped our game and moved into the Zacuto VCT Pro Baseplate Shoulder Mount and built out a better shoulder-mounted rig from there. It’s still not perfect, but it’s leagues better than our first attempt, which this fitting was used to help construct.
I stumbled across this interesting looking, expensive silver keychain that I received from the producers of the Cosmos TV series. It’s pretty cool, the keychain itself is shaped like the “ship of the future” that Neil DeGrasse Tyson rides around the universe in in the series. I had some great times working on that project, and looking at this souvenir brings back fond memories. The problem with actually using it as a keychain was that it was too nice to use. It’s polished silver in a fancy, black-velvet-lined box, and if I actually used it as a keychain, it would become all scratched up and I’d probably eventually lose it. Usually, I have no problem using gear and it getting worn, but this was different, it was a thoughtful gift in recognition of my contribution to the series.
Thanks for going through this super exciting, one of a kind, adventure through the detritus of my time in production over the past few years. As they say, everything and everyone tells a story, sometimes it’s fun to reminisce and recall what you were doing in production when you look at something from that era.