The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry

December 2010
ASC, Chemical Wedding Release Toland App
Chemical Wedding, in partnership with the ASC, has introduced the Toland ASC Digital Assistant for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Dolby Unveils LCD Reference Monitor
Dolby Laboratories, Inc., has released the PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor.
Zeiss Adds Lightweight Zoom
Optics specialist Carl Zeiss has introduced the Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2, which features interchangeable mounts — PL, EF and F — that allow the lens to be used with a wide range of cameras, from traditional cine cameras to HDSLR systems. The LWZ.2 covers the ANSI Super 35 image area.
Cartoni Introduces 3-D Lambda
Cartoni has released the Lambda Twin 3D Head, a professional, nodal pan-and-tilt support for both parallel and beam-splitter stereoscopic rigs.

ISee3D Offers Stereo View in One Lens
ISee3D, Inc., has released its single-lens 3-D technology. 
Vinten Bridges Vector, Vision Ranges
Vinten, a Vitec Group brand, has introduced the Vector 430 pan-and-tilt head. 
Panther Expands Dolly Line
Camera-support company Panther has introduced an updated Panther Classic Dolly and an all-new Tristar Dolly.
Straight Shoot’r Goes Mini
Straight Shoot’r Cranes, Inc. has introduced the Mini-Me three-axis jib arm.
Illumination Dynamics Opens North Carolina Camera Division
Illumination Dynamics has established a camera division at its North Carolina rental facility.
AJA Shrinks Ki Pro
AJA Video Systems has introduced the Ki Pro Mini, a smaller, lighter version of the company’s Ki Pro portable tapeless recorder, which captures to the Apple ProRes 422 codec directly from camera.
Red Giant Upgrades Colorista
Red Giant Software has introduced Magic Bullet Colorista II color-correction software, which brings the professional power of high-end color systems directly to the desktop. 
Synthetic Aperture Finesses Colors
Synthetic Aperture has introduced Color Finesse 3.0, the latest version of the company’s color-correction plug-in for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro.

CoreMelt Locks, Loads Editing Plug-in
CoreMelt has released the Lock & Load Express plug-in for videographers using DSLR cameras and working with Apple’s Final Cut Express.

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ASC, Chemical Wedding Release Toland App

Chemical Wedding, in partnership with the ASC, has introduced the Toland ASC Digital Assistant for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app takes portions of the American Cinematographer Manual and provides instant solutions to technical concerns. Integrated features include a comprehensive database of cameras and lenses; an exposure calculator covering camera speed, shutter angle and filter factor; a running time and footage calculator; a flicker-free warning indicator; a depth-of-field calculator with focus marks; an angle-of-view indicator; and full camera data logging, which can be exported and e-mailed.

The Toland ASC Digital Assistant is named after the late Gregg Toland, ASC, whose innovative lighting and camerawork on such films as Citizen Kane made him a legend among cinematographers. ASC President Michael Goi notes, “It is entirely appropriate to name this application in honor of Gregg Toland, one of cinema’s most groundbreaking artists.

“While researching the right tech company to partner with on this project, Chemical Wedding’s intelligent design of Helios and Artemis resonated with our members as having the kind of quality and craft people have come to associate with the ASC,” Goi continues. “With this venture, we are expanding the ASC’s outreach by creating tools that reflect how we work today.”

Fred Elmes, ASC played an important role in testing the Toland app and providing feedback to its developers. He notes, “Toland puts the AC Manual into your pocket. When a shot gets complicated and you need to make a quick change, it’s wonderful to pull out Toland and be certain you’re doing the right thing. Other programs do similar things, but Toland does it best because it’s all under one roof.”

“Rather than having to enter specific data to answer questions, Toland is designed to track your choices as you make them,” explains cinematographer Nic Sadler, the lead product designer for Chemical Wedding. “As you change the camera speed, you will instantly get feedback on how this affects running time and exposure. When you change lenses, you will see the depth-of-field and field-of-view update in real time. Toland then allows you to log all this information to build comprehensive camera reports.”

The Toland ASC Digital Assistant is available worldwide through iTunes. 

contact info:  
www.chemicalwedding.tv
Dolby Unveils LCD Reference Monitor

Dolby Laboratories, Inc., has released the PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor. The LCD-based display accurately reveals true black levels with exceptional dark detail and higher contrast across the entire color gamut.

The PRM-4200’s backlight consists of 1,500 RGB LED triads, with the light from each R, G and B element independently controlled frame-by-frame to create a full-color backlight image on the 42" LCD flat-panel display in real time. The combined LED backlight and LCD screen produce a final image with true blacks, exceptional dark detail, high dynamic range and a wide, accurate color gamut. Additionally, the monitor goes beyond 10 bits with support for emerging 12-bit formats. Other features include 1920x1080 pixel resolution with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a spacious, wide-angle viewing area of plus or minus 45 degrees.

The PRM-4200 features DCI/P3 color-gamut support, enabling color-critical grading without the use of a digital cinema projector. Support for 3-D LUTs allows the PRM-4200 to be calibrated to perfectly match digital screening environments and to emulate the response of film print stocks during the DI color-correction process; on the set, the PRM-4200 displays color looks and previsualization with 1-D and 3-D LUTs. The monitor’s ability to emulate any other display device allows all content preparation and quality evaluation to be done on one monitor.

An included external remote controller handles all of the PRM-4200’s functions, so no onscreen displays interfere with the image on the monitor. The remote gives users immediate, intuitive access to all features, functions and parameters via simple, easy-to-use menus, and it can be rack-mounted or used on a desktop.

contact info:  
www.dolby.com
Zeiss Adds Lightweight Zoom

Optics specialist Carl Zeiss has introduced the Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2, which features interchangeable mounts — PL, EF and F — that allow the lens to be used with a wide range of cameras, from traditional cine cameras to HDSLR systems. The LWZ.2 covers the ANSI Super 35 image area.

Weighing approximately 4½ pounds, the LWZ.2 is especially well suited to handheld and Steadicam work. The lens features radically shaped spherical glass surfaces with a very strong curvature, guaranteeing high optical performance. Large-diameter aspherical lens elements keep the lens light while reducing spherical aberrations and keeping the image free of distortion. Additionally, Zeiss’ multi-layer anti-reflex coating reduces flare and internal reflections, resulting in pleasing and gentle colors, high contrasts and deep blacks.
contact info:  
www.zeiss.com/cine
Cartoni Introduces 3-D Lambda

Cartoni has released the Lambda Twin 3D Head, a professional, nodal pan-and-tilt support for both parallel and beam-splitter stereoscopic rigs.

Designed to support full-size digital-camera rigs weighing up to 200 pounds, the Lambda Twin 3D Head features a “U” shaped swinging platform and a sliding base. The head can be fitted to a range of supports, including heavy-duty tripods, dollies, cranes and camera cars. Additionally, the Lambda Twin 3D can be inverted in an under-slung position for low-angle shots that position the 3-D rig at nearly ground level.

The Lambda Twin 3D employs a patented Cartoni fluid-drag control system, micro-metric sliding vertical plates and positive locks on all movements. Several rosettes and 3⁄8" threads are easily accessible in multiple locations on the head for attaching the pan bar, counterweights and other accessories.

contact info:  
www.cartoni.com
ISee3D Offers Stereo View in One Lens

ISee3D, Inc., has released its single-lens 3-D technology. The system removes the cumbersome equipment, calibration issues and complex post workflows presented by traditional two-lens 3-D systems, allowing users to capture 3-D digital motion pictures through one lens. The technology can scale across device sizes, meaning the optical switch can work within any device, including digital cameras and even cell phones.

“Most 3-D approaches have focused on improving existing post techniques,” says Dwight Romanica, CEO of ISee3D. “We’re bringing the advancement to the camera, not the computer. Our single-lens process streamlines the entire process and provides the most effective way to bring real-time 3-D to the present.”

The company’s single-lens system captures stereoscopic images by occluding in sequence the left and right portions of the lens, essentially moving the center of the lens. This shifting center then allows the capture of different perspectives through a single lens, and the separate perspectives can be fused together to create a stereoscopic image. Because both images are coming through one lens, the image pairs are always perfectly matched; vertical, horizontal or rotational misalignment are non-issues, and focus and zoom operations are no different than in 2-D shooting.

contact info:  
www.isee3d.com
Vinten Bridges Vector, Vision Ranges

Vinten, a Vitec Group brand, has introduced the Vector 430 pan-and-tilt head. Developed in collaboration with customers, the Vector 430 bridges the gap between Vinten’s Vision and Vector ranges, and is ideal for the growing number of applications that use both compact box lenses and large EFP barrel lenses.

The lightweight Vector 430 incorporates Vinten’s Perfect Balance Technology and smooth TF drag technology, and boasts an extremely large capacity range of 22-94.8 pounds, making it a perfect choice whether shooting in the studio or in the field. The head’s compact design also makes it simple to rig and transport.

The Vector 430 controls were ergonomically designed to ensure ease of use in any situation, whether in the studio or during an outside broadcast. The controls include a retractable counterbalance adjuster, backlit drag knobs and an illuminated LCD display for low-light situations. The base of the Vector 430 includes an integral Quickfix groove for fast and secure attachment. All of these features, combined with a Quickfit wedge adaptor, make the Vector 430 the perfect choice for busy multi-camera productions.

The Vector 430 is also available in a 430i configuration, featuring a high quality, highly accurate encoder output to meet demand for virtual- and augmented-reality applications in outside broadcast and studio environments. The 430i incorporates an Intelligence Module to provide precise, real-time digital electronic positioning of pan and tilt, enabling graphics to be placed perfectly onto the live environment. The 430i also includes a unique optional inclinometer feature developed to solve the challenge of platform movement.

contact info:  
Panther Expands Dolly Line

Camera-support company Panther has introduced an updated Panther Classic Dolly and an all-new Tristar Dolly.

The new Panther Classic Dolly boasts a patent-pending High-Low Turnstile; this innovative camera support gives users the freedom to employ low camera positions while maximizing the ergonomics for the operator. When changing the height of the camera, only one clamping needs to be opened, and the camera can be swiveled in each direction via the 80mm Euromount tube without any waste of time. Additionally, a new software package lets users quickly and easily store limit positions, and a new column measuring system with a magnetic switch replaces the rotary encoder and offers maximum reliability.

The Tristar Dolly builds on Panther’s decades of experience in designing and manufacturing electromechanical dolly systems. At the heart of the Tristar Dolly is a three-stage column, which gives the dolly a very low starting position, enabling camera movements that frame an actor at eye level from a seated to a standing position without any further conversion of the dolly; the column boasts a magnetic-switch measuring system for maximum reliability. Also, as with the Classic Dolly, the Tristar features a High-Low Turnstile, an electronic drive train and wheel system, and a software package for storing limit positions.

The Tristar’s platform system makes it possible to mount the platform at standard height or in low-mode position by simply turning it around. Three different steering modes — crab, steer front and steer rear — make it easy to maneuver the dolly; a single knob on the wheel arm adjusts the steering mode. Batteries and most of the accessories introduced for previous Panther dolly systems can be used with the Tristar.

contact info:  
www.panther.tv
Straight Shoot’r Goes Mini

Straight Shoot’r Cranes, Inc. has introduced the Mini-Me three-axis jib arm. The one-piece Mini-Me is a 7' version of the company’s 10' Straight Shoot’r.

Like the classic Straight Shoot’r three-axis jib, the Mini-Me offers cinematographers a unique Z-axis “slider” gliding camera mount in combination with a rock-solid jib arm with smooth three-axis camera movement capabilities. Unlike the classic jib arm, though, the Mini-Me can be used in tighter locations.

“I’m in constant touch with the cinematographers who use my equipment, and one of the most frequent [notes] they had was that they found the classic Straight Shoot’r to be too large at times,” says Andy Coradeschi, president of Straight Shoot’r Cranes. “I manufactured several smaller prototypes, and the 7-foot model was the one that cinematographers agreed best enabled them to benefit from the creative freedom and production efficiencies the Straight Shoot’r system offers, even while shooting in cramped quarters.”

Straight Shoot’r three-axis jib arms are available for rent through the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles and selected grip-rental houses across the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.

contact info:  
www.straightshootr.com
Illumination Dynamics Opens North Carolina Camera Division

Illumination Dynamics has established a camera division at its North Carolina rental facility. The camera division will complement Illumination Dynamics’ rental of lighting, grip, generators and power distribution to the entertainment, live-broadcast and special-event industries. The new department will be fully supported by parent company Arri CSC, and will start with an inventory that includes Arricam Lite and Arriflex 435, 235 and D-21 packages.

“This expansion is part of our continued commitment and support to the film community in North Carolina and the surrounding region,” says Jeff Pentek, Illumination Dynamics’ chief operating officer. Additionally, Rory Holder has joined Illumination Dynamics’ staff to provide both camera rental and prep-tech services. Holder has worked as a camera operator and has received extensive training from Arri CSC.
contact info:  
www.illuminationdynamics.com
AJA Shrinks Ki Pro

AJA Video Systems has introduced the Ki Pro Mini, a smaller, lighter version of the company’s Ki Pro portable tapeless recorder, which captures to the Apple ProRes 422 codec directly from camera. The highly portable Ki Pro Mini flash-disk recorder mounts easily to digital cameras and accessories, enabling it to fit unobtrusively in small spaces for on-set capture of 10-bit 4:2:2 files that are immediately ready for editing.

Supporting SD/HD SDI and HDMI I/O connectivity, the Ki Pro Mini offers full-raster recording to Compact Flash cards in Apple ProRes 422 SD and HD formats, including HQ, LT and Proxy; the native QuickTime files require no log and capture for editing in Final Cut Pro. Flexible control options include familiar front-panel and Web-browser interfaces, and optional Ki Pro Mini Mounting Plates attach to hot shoes, battery plates and virtually any other accessory bracket. Other features include two channels of balanced XLR audio with switch-selectable line/mic levels and eight channels of embedded digital audio over SDI and HDMI.

“Anywhere a camera can go, Ki Pro Mini can follow,” says AJA President Nick Rashby. “It’s smaller than some battery packs and mounts to virtually everything. We designed Ki Pro Mini for any sized production that needs seamless 10-bit file-based acquisition — it’s about extreme portability and going from lens to post in a flash.”

Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, the lightweight, rugged Ki Pro Mini sells for a recommended price of $1,995. 

contact info:  
www.aja.com
Red Giant Upgrades Colorista

Red Giant Software has introduced Magic Bullet Colorista II color-correction software, which brings the professional power of high-end color systems directly to the desktop. Colorista II’s easy-to-use interface is equally good for making quick adjustments on a deadline or finessing footage without limitations, all from within the user’s favorite editing applications.

“When I created Colorista three years ago, there was no such thing as professional color correction on the desktop,” says Stu Maschwitz, creative director at Red Giant Software. “Since then, some amazing color tools have become widely available. The problem is that they require you to change your workflow, learn a new application and draw a firm line between the editorial and finishing phases of your production. With Colorista II, my goal was simple: put every ounce of professional color-correction power right in your editing application of choice, so you don’t have to change a thing about your workflow to start using it.”

Colorista II features three-way color wheels for easy adjustment of shadows, midtones and highlights; a Pop control for adding or reducing visual clarity; two animate-able Power Masks; highlight recovery, which intelligently rebuilds blown-out highlight detail; and eight channels of Hue, Saturation and Luminance control across nine color ranges, which offer an intuitive, visual method of adjusting individual colors. Additionally, a keyer allows users to adjust the individual color or ranges of colors; intuitively create color keys with a direct sampling interface; and soften, choke or invert the matte, and use it in conjunction with Power Masks for ultimate control.

Colorista II is available for $299; current Colorista users can upgrade for $99.

contact info:  
www.redgiantsoftware.com
Synthetic Aperture Finesses Colors

Synthetic Aperture has introduced Color Finesse 3.0, the latest version of the company’s color-correction plug-in for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro.

Color Finesse 3.0 adds a 64-bit plug-in to support Adobe’s CS5 64-bit applications, in addition to supporting the 32-bit version; migrating to 64 bit significantly reduces the possibility of out-of-memory errors occurring during effects rendering. Version 3.0 also adds a native FxPlug-style plug-in to support Apple Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express and Motion; the plug-in enhances overall performance and reduces pixel format conversions.

Other new features include Auto Color and Auto Exposure buttons, which provide one-click access for beginning a creative color grade; Vibrance control, which refines control over image saturation; HSL curves, which let users control image saturation and lightness based on hue; a Highlight Recovery tool for recovering over-bright areas of the image; the ability to export color-correction settings as a 3-D LUT in a variety of formats, including Autodesk Lustre and Smoke, Academy LUT, Assimilate Scratch, Pogle, Truelight, Cine-tal and LUTher; preview displays, which automatically adjust to footage pixel aspect ratio, giving users a correctly formatted preview when working with anamorphic footage; an enhanced Vectorscope with zoom capability, making it easier to see detail when white- and black-balancing; and support for the Tangent Wave control surface.

Color Finesse 3.0 is compatible with both Intel- and PowerPC-based Mac systems running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. For Windows users, Color Finesse 3.0 is compatible with Windows XP, Vista 32/64 and Windows 7 32/64. Color Finesse 3.0 supports Adobe After Effects 7.0 and CS3 through CS5, Premiere Pro CS3 through CS5, Final Cut Pro 6 and 7, and Motion 4.0. The plug-in is available for $575; upgrades from prior versions of Color Finesse are available for $149.

contact info:  
www.synthetic-ap.com
CoreMelt Locks, Loads Editing Plug-in

CoreMelt has released the Lock & Load Express plug-in for videographers using DSLR cameras and working with Apple’s Final Cut Express.

Lock & Load Express harnesses much of the key functionality found in CoreMelt’s Lock & Load X software application — including image stabilization and rolling-shutter reduction — but in a simplified version. Roger Bolton, CoreMelt’s founder, notes, “Lock & Load Express addresses the everyday challenges facing videographers — especially event videographers that shoot on DSLR cameras — to give handheld footage a [steady] quality instantly without the need to set tracking points. Using the rolling shutter reduction functionality … helps lessen image distortions and lets digital content creators get on with the business of creating and meeting tight deadlines.”

The intuitive and easy-to-use Lock & Load Express boasts tremendous speed, a streamlined workflow and even background tracking, allowing users to work on their project while the software tracks. The plug-in runs on Mac OS X 10.5.4 or later in Final Cut Express 4.0 or later; it is available now for $79.

contact info:  
www.lockandloadexpress.com