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February 2008
Kodak Unveils Vision3
The Eastman Kodak Co. recently introduced the first product in a new generation of color motion-picture films, Kodak Vision3 500T 5219/7219.
B&M Space Light, Mac Tech
Product review: Utilizing compact filament HPL bulbs developed by Ushio specifically for ETC Source Four fixtures, B&M HPL fixtures pack the same efficient punch as the Source Four from the same 750-, 575- or 375-watt bulbs.
Pro8mm Offers Vision3
Within days of Kodak’s launch of Vision3 500T 5219, Pro8mm in Burbank made the stock available for Super 8 users, reformatting the 35mm negative film and loading it into convenient Super 8 cartridges.
Super 8 Goes Hi-Def
After researching the field for years, Pro8mm has ordered a hi-def film scanner for its Burbank facility. 
Litepanels Micro
In response to the popularity of the MiniPlus LED light, Litepanels has introduced the Micro, a lightweight, powerful camera light.
Hey Man, Nice Spots
Nice Spots, the developer and operator of the Web-hosted digital approval, archival and presentation system that offers a secure online environment to exchange any type of media from any platform, recently unveiled Nice Spots Version 2.0.
Gucci and Tribeca Team for Documentary Fund
The Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci have announced the launch of the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, offering finishing funds and post guidance to documentaries that promote social change and illuminate issues that are not covered in mainstream media.

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Kodak Unveils Vision3

The Eastman Kodak Co. recently introduced the first product in a new generation of color motion-picture films, Kodak Vision3 500T 5219/7219. The new stock’s capabilities were demonstrated for cinematographers and others at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas, where Kodak screened 35mm test footage shot by ASC President Daryn Okada and Super 16mm footage photographed by Tim Pike.

Filmed under a variety of lighting conditions cinematographers face on a daily basis, the tests supported Kodak’s claims of increased creative flexibility and efficiencies during both production and post, including digital-intermediate (DI) timing. “The new emulsion has a much wider range of latitude in the overexposed areas,” says Okada. “I found at least 2 more stops of range in the highlights, which enabled me to record more details. I got a rich range of colors and skin tones without saturation contamination. Also, there was an almost magical reduction in grain without affecting colors.”

In addition to recording greater detail in the highlights, the emulsion’s proprietary, advanced Dye Layering Technology (DLT) renders finer grain in underexposed areas and produces cleaner film-to-digital transfers. The reduced grain is particularly evident in the brightest highlights and darkest shadows, making 5219/7219 the optimal stock for extreme lighting situations. Its increased latitude and decreased grain gives cinematographers the ability to underexpose it without fearing an increase in noise; this means it can be rated at speeds even higher than the recommended ISO of 500.

Beyond incorporating DLT into the emulsion’s green- and red-sensitive layers, the Kodak team “made certain enhancements to the advanced technologies found in the Kodak Vision2 films, such as two electron sensitizers and triple-coated magenta and cyan layers,” according to Merrick Distant, Kodak’s Vision3 500T project manager. “We also replaced the advanced development accelerators in the most sensitive layers of the Vision2 film with new, advanced development accelerators and more efficient high-activity couplers in the red-sensitive sub-records. The new film also incorporates sub-micron imaging sensors. Initially developed for still photography, these sensors have the unique effect of providing increased discrimination as the light intensity increases with impressive image integrity.”

Okada took his test footage through a DI with LaserPacific’s senior colorist, Mike Sowa. The cinematographer notes, “This new film is very DI-friendly. I could isolate backgrounds and make them darker without introducing electronic noise. I chose to overexpose large parts of the frame in some shots, and it was transparent. That gave me a lot of freedom to fine-tune looks.”

Vision3 has been designed to intercut seamlessly with the Vision2 product line. “The differences between 5219 and 5218 are difficult to describe,” says Okada, “but I’d say 5219 has everything we like about 5218 and a little more punch and clarity of color.”

Considering Kodak’s dedication to innovation, Distant offers, “We believe the introduction of the Kodak Vision3 platform is a significant breakthrough, but we don’t intend to stop here. We will keep listening to our customers and raising the bar.”

contact info:  
www.kodak.com/go/vision3
B&M Space Light, Mac Tech

When I review equipment for AC, I rarely get to play with big guns — larger “toys” typically require more power, more physical space and more ancillary logistics, and therefore fall outside the scope of time and budget available for a review. Thanks to the generosity of Panavision and Chris Pines, Panavision’s Woodland Hills stage manager, I recently had the chance to spend a day at the company’s facility testing two new, large HPL fixtures from Bardwell & McAlister (B&M) Lighting: the Mac Tech HPL 6-Light Convertible and the 6-Light “skirtless” HPL Space Light.

Utilizing compact filament HPL bulbs developed by Ushio specifically for ETC Source Four fixtures, B&M HPL fixtures pack the same efficient punch as the Source Four from the same 750-, 575- or 375-watt bulbs. Made possible through a license with ETC, B&M’s use of HPL globes with lightweight, removable, parabolic reflectors also integrates the Source Four concept of interchangeable lenses for stipple, wide, medium, narrow and very narrow spot (VNS) focus. The lenses and reflectors are held in place with a simple tension ring and require no tools to change; it took me about two minutes to change out all six lenses on the Mac Tech fixture the first time. And because they use HPL compact filament bulbs, B&M fixtures use less electricity and generate less heat than the larger 1K Par 64 fixtures normally found in six- and nine-light fixtures.

The fixtures are well constructed and extremely robust. Both have Socapex connectors for easy connection to a dimmer system, and they also offer Socapex to Bates adapters for those working with constant power (or with non-Socapex distribution). Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to test the fixtures with a dimmer system. With the Bates connection on the Space Light, it’s either all on or all off; there is no individual control over the six globes, nor any power switch on the fixture.

The Mac Tech, however, features six individual switches that enable the user to turn on as many bulbs as desired. (I tried the Mac Tech with all five lens varieties but only worked with the Space Light with the stipple lenses, as any other configuration seemed far too specialized to include in this review — perhaps a beam of light from a “spaceship” above, with six VNS lenses?)

Comparing the two new fixtures, I was most intrigued by the skirtless Space Light, though I struggled to find a way to satisfactorily review one unit. Normally, I would use a number of space lights to create a single, large, soft, overhead source, so this felt a bit like trying to judge the performance of a new car engine by reviewing a single cylinder. I also couldn’t imagine working with a space light without a skirt — isn’t the whole idea to have a soft, shadowless source?

I developed a methodology for testing the Space Light on the fly. First, I elected to mount it horizontally rather than hang it from the grid. That way, I could move various distances from the fixture to measure the photometrics without needing a ladder or man-lift to raise and lower me.

Next, considering that most gaffers and cinematographers use space lights for the sides of the skirts rather than the bottom, I needed to find a way to measure the fixture’s beam angles to better determine how it might integrate with multiple skirtless space lights. To that end, I measured out 10' perpendicular to the fixture’s centerline and then walked along that line, parallel to the centerline of the beam, and took measurements with my Sekonic L508c with the dome ball attached and faced toward the light beam, not the light. (I devised this method when considering how I might measure output from a hanging space light during a shoot.)

I also measured more “classic” photometrics by walking straight down the centerline of the fixture. Here are both findings:

Reading a 10' perpendicular distance to the light’s centerline (see figure):
10' 55 fc
15' 100 fc
20' 97 fc
25' 73 fc
30' 65 fc

“Classic” photometrics:
10' 770 fc
12' 550 fc
14' 410 fc
16' 340 fc
18' 270 fc
20' 220 fc
22' 180 fc
24' 160 fc
26' 140 fc
28' 120 fc
30' 97 fc

At a distance of 16', I measured a beam angle (to 50 percent drop off in light) with an 18' diameter. At a height of 20', I measured a beam angle with a 23' diameter.

With six closely gathered stipple lenses, at a distance of 15' or more, the light softened more than I expected, and I had trouble differentiating multiple shadows unless I was looking directly at the “ground,” which in this instance was the cyc wall because the fixture was mounted horizontally. It certainly wasn’t a shadowless soft light, but the shadows weren’t nearly as offensive as I thought they would be. If you wanted a space-light feel in a low-ceiling stage, this might be an excellent solution.

There is no yoke, bail, junior socket or any other mounting option other than the typical three chains that link to a solid ring. Usually, for a skirted space light, this is sufficient because you’re usually working with them in a straight-down configuration. However, this fixture offers a bit more flexibility, and you could tilt and angle the light if it had a better mounting configuration. I could easily imagine using this fixture horizontally behind a TransLite or backdrop, or even at a 45 degree angle to frontlight a drop or cyc.

Working with the Mac Tech 6-Light was much more straightforward. It’s essentially a six-light Maxi-Brute with HPL bulbs and interchangeable lenses. (It also comes with a set of accessory arms that attach to the fixture to support a wire screen for diffusion or colored gels.) Because you’re changing out your beam spread with just glass lenses, it creates a lot less waste when you’re replacing globes. Given the low power consumption of the compact-filament HPL globes, Bardwell & McAlister touts this as a “green,” environmentally friendly fixture.

The unit is divided into two vertical banks of three lamps each; each bank has a bit of a panning range, left-to-right, locked with a single knob at the top of the fixture. This allowed me to focus the light spread with precision, something I certainly appreciate in a Maxi. A large leverage handle locks and unlocks the bail, and positive-lock teeth in the metal firmly secure it in whatever position you desire.

With 12 measurements in 2' increments from 8' to 30', five lens choices and up to six different lamp configurations, there was potential for 360 different photometric variations. Obviously, a comprehensive photometric session was beyond the scope of this review, so I elected to do three different lamp configurations — all six on, four on and two on — with the stipple and wide lenses only, then measure photometrics with medium, narrow and VNS lenses with all six bulbs on.

Here are the results:

Stipple lens:
All globes on 4 globes on 2 globes on
8' 1300 fc 890 fc 480 fc
10' 890 fc 630 fc 340 fc
12' 630 fc 410 fc 240 fc
14' 480 fc 310 fc 170 fc
16' 360 fc 240 fc 140 fc
18' 290 fc 220 fc 110 fc
20' 220 fc 190 fc 90 fc
22' 200 fc 160 fc 84 fc
24' 180 fc 140 fc 73 fc
26' 160 fc 120 fc 59 fc
28' 140 fc 100 fc 52 fc
30' 120 fc 84 fc 44 fc

Wide lens:
All globes on 4 globes on 2 globes on
8' 3600 fc 2300 fc 1300 fc
10' 2300 fc 1800 fc 1000 fc
12' 1800 fc 1200 fc 720 fc
14' 1300 fc 850 fc 510 fc
16' 1000 fc 630 fc 390 fc
18' 830 fc 550 fc 310 fc
20' 630 fc 440 fc 260 fc
22' 550 fc 360 fc 220 fc
24' 480 fc 310 fc 180 fc
26' 410 fc 270 fc 160 fc
28' 360 fc 240 fc 150 fc
30' 310 fc 220 fc 140 fc

All globes on:
Medium Narrow VNS
8' 7100 fc 15000 fc 16000 fc
10' 4700 fc 12000 fc 12000 fc
12' 3300 fc 8400 fc 8400 fc
14' 2500 fc 6600 fc 7600 fc
16' 900 fc 5000 fc 6200 fc
18' 1500 fc 3800 fc 5000 fc
20' 1200 fc 2900 fc 3800 fc
22' 1000 fc 2500 fc 3100 fc
24' 830 fc 2200 fc 2900 fc
26' 720 fc 1900 fc 2300 fc
28' 670 fc 1500 fc 2000 fc
30' 590 fc 1300 fc 1900 fc

Comparing these results to the Mole Richardson 6-Light Molepar, at 20' with wide 1K Par 64 globes, the Mole puts out 700 fc; the Mac Tech, with 575-watt HPL globes and wide lenses at the same distance, puts out 630 fc. It’s an impressive comparison at that distance and configuration.

However, when comparing the Molepar with VNS 1K Par 64 globes to the Mac Tech with HPL 575-watt globes and VNS lenses, at the same distance, the Mole puts out 6300 fc whereas the Mac Tech puts out only 3800 fc. I assume that with 750-watt HPL globes, the output would nearly match that of the Molepar with 1Ks, an impressive efficiency of light and power.

This system’s interchangeable lenses offer a great level of flexibility; I could quickly swap out stipples with mediums or integrate any combination thereof as the need arose. Nevertheless, I can see some problems. First, there are five lens bags for the Mac Tech. Each bag has six lenses in it, but you need a bag for each lens option available. That’s more to store, more to move and more to possibly break. Furthermore, the reflectors are really just placed over the lamp socket and held in place with the lens and tension ring; I can imagine these lenses taking quite a few spills on the ground over the life of any given Mac Tech fixture. They’re robust enough to take a number of rolls in the dirt, but will certainly age and degrade with continued use over time.

Still, it’s hard to be critical of these lights. Overall, their weight and heat were on par with those of other larger units, and both fixtures performed perfectly, delivering more punch and output than I expected.

contact info:  
www.bmlighting.com
Pro8mm Offers Vision3

Within days of Kodak’s launch of Vision3 500T 5219, Pro8mm in Burbank made the stock available for Super 8 users, reformatting the 35mm negative film and loading it into convenient Super 8 cartridges. The first in the new Vision3 series of color negative film, Pro8/19 offers filmmakers greater flexibility in exposure latitude with improved grain in the shadows. As part of the Kodak Vision family, Pro8/19 can be cut seamlessly with other Kodak stocks available from Pro8mm, including Pro8/18, reformatted from Vision2 500T 5218.

Pro8/19’s extended highlight latitude, a result of Kodak’s proprietary Dye Layering Technology, proves especially useful when shooting in available light, which is often the case with small-gauge photography. With improved detail in both highlights and shadows, Pro8/19 can easily handle the high contrast of natural environments.

Pro8/19 is available for $35 a roll, which includes processing. Pro8mm also offers value-priced, all-inclusive packages that include prep and clean as well as scanning to tape or hard drive.

contact info:

Pro8mm (818) 848-5522

 
www.pro8mm
Super 8 Goes Hi-Def

After researching the field for years, Pro8mm has ordered a hi-def film scanner for its Burbank facility. Manufactured by Cintel International Ltd., the Millennium II (MMII) scanner arrived in January. Pro8mm plans to start scanning projects on the MMII in March, after training the colorists and performing tests to ensure optimum results.

Featuring a custom MAX 8 gate as well as a custom regular 8 gate, the MMII will scan Super 8, regular 8, MAX 8, 16mm and Super 16mm footage. Unlike the CCD-reliant scanners employed by many post houses, the MMII utilizes CRT technology to produce a classic film look.

The MMII also boasts a unique servo system that can be adjusted for individual film reels, allowing Pro8mm to scan film that has shrunk or is otherwise damaged. This feature is particularly beneficial for customers interested in preserving 8mm archival material.

contact info:

Pro8mm (818) 848-5522 

 
www.pro8mm.com
Litepanels Micro

In response to the popularity of the MiniPlus LED light, Litepanels has introduced the Micro, a lightweight, powerful camera light. Harnessing Litepanels’ extremely efficient LED technology in an ultra-lightweight and very compact package, the Micro offers DV camcorder users luminous, soft, directional lighting with the same warmth and color quality expected of a Litepanels product.

Featuring an integrated on/off dimmer switch that is conveniently located at the top of its housing, the Micro provides instant dimming from 100 percent to 0 percent with minimal color shifting. The unit boasts consistent, flicker-free and heat-free output, and a flip-down filter holder for the included color and diffusion gels offers additional control.

Outfitted with an integrated hot shoe featuring an adjustable tilt
mechanism, the compact, low-profile Micro head is ideally suited for mounting on a MiniDV camera. Measuring 3.3"x3.3"x1.5" and weighing less than 4 ounces, the Micro can also be mounted on an extension arm or on the optional base plate for off-camera usage.

The Litepanels Micro produces 1.5 hours of continuous output from four standard or rechargeable AA batteries. Power can also be supplied through a 4-14V input jack located on the back of the unit. The 5600°K unit comes packaged with a 3200°K conversion filter as well as diffusion and ¼ warming filters.

contact info:

 
www.litepanels.com
Hey Man, Nice Spots

Nice Spots, the developer and operator of the Web-hosted digital approval, archival and presentation system that offers a secure online environment to exchange any type of media from any platform, recently unveiled Nice Spots Version 2.0.

Nice Spots was created by the New York-based postproduction and new-media company Nice Shoes as a solution to many of the problems its clients faced on a daily basis. Addressing those needs from the ground up, Nice Spots was introduced as a comprehensive collection of features that seamlessly enable collaboration, distribution, archiving, asset management and presentation on a global scale through its proprietary technology and intuitive user interface.

Supporting all file formats from any platform, the application can streamline operations for all industries seeking global connectivity and information sharing. Since its inception, Nice Spots has amassed a monthly user base of filmmakers, studios, major brands, ad agencies and creative directors in more than 80 countries. For filmmakers, Nice Spots proves especially useful as a means of viewing dailies and reviewing effects, offering geographically distant collaborators the chance to interact and provide feedback on the work at hand; accounts can be accessed at any time from any computer with Internet access.

In Version 2.0, Nice Spots’ in-house developers have added the ability to share content via video podcasting, QuickView e-mail links, custom online WebReels, or direct DVD output in NTSC or PAL formats. Additionally, the Reel Chat real-time collaborative tool allows several users to simultaneously view, comment on and annotate multiple video clips. The branding feature in Version 2.0 allows companies to customize the look of Nice Spots to match their brand or Web site.

The application has also updated its QuickView page to be compatible with the Apple iPhone, so that when an iPhone user clicks the QuickView link on the Nice Spots e-mail notification, a custom page is loaded that has the look, feel and functionality of an iPhone application.

Building on Version 1.0’s foundation, Nice Spots 2.0 continues to offer the ability to organize and catalog multiple projects, grab stills from moving images, comment on video frames, create storyboards, closely monitor and measure account activity, and distribute all file formats, including master- and broadcast-quality video.

contact info:

 

 
www.nicespots.com
Gucci and Tribeca Team for Documentary Fund

The Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci have announced the launch of the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, offering finishing funds and post guidance to documentaries that promote social change and illuminate issues that are not covered in mainstream media.

Administered by the Tribeca Film Institute, the fund will provide grants between $5,000 and $30,000 to at least three filmmakers this year. An open call for feature-length documentaries that are in production or post will commence Feb. 5; entries must be postmarked by April 11. Recipients will be selected by Tribeca Film Institute staff and by a final selection committee comprising notable talents in the field. Weight will be given to projects that best fulfill the mission of the program and have strong potential for international and U.S. distribution. 
contact info:  
www.tribecafilminstitute.org