The American Society of Cinematographers

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February 2012
Luma Pictures Moves into Larger Facility
Visual-effects house Luma Pictures has completed its move into a larger facility in Santa Monica, Calif.
Kodak Expands Vision3 Line
Eastman Kodak Company has introduced Vision3 50D color negative film 5203/7203, which integrates the company’s advanced Vision3 imaging technology into a fine-grained, daylight-balanced film.
Arri Adds 135mm to Master Prime Line
Based on feedback from cinematographers, operators and directors, Arri has introduced the 135mm Master Prime.
Cavision Introduces Mattebox, Viewing Glass
Cavision Enterprises Ltd. has introduced the MB3485S 3x3 Mattebox, which is ideal for DSLR, video and film cameras alike.
EasyFocus Makes Focus Easy
Building on his experience designing the Moviecam and, with Walter Trauninger, the Arricam camera lines, Fritz Gabriel Bauer has introduced the Moviecam EasyFocus system, a distance-measurement tool that combines a precise reader with a video display.
Panther Announces Wedge/Tilt Plate
Panther has introduced the Wedge/Tilt Plate, which boasts continuous adjustability from 0-90 degrees.
ToughGaff Holds Tape
ToughGaff is a gaffer- and camera-tape holder that sits solidly on the worker’s belt and allows him or her to quickly load and release the tape with only one hand. 
16x9 Distributes Movcam in U.S.
16x9, a longtime distributor of film and video production accessories, has signed an agreement with Movcam Tech to be the exclusive distributor of Movcam camera accessories in the United States.
P+S Technik Opens L.A. Base
P+S Technik has opened the P+S Technik Technical Base in Los Angeles.
Identity FX Expands 2-D, 3-D Services
Identity FX, Inc. has embraced the SGO Mistika 4K system and is unveiling a new category of comprehensive 2-D and stereoscopic 3-D production and post services. 
Image Systems Updates Nucoda, Phoenix
Image Systems has released Nucoda 2011.2, a 64-bit color-grading software application that delivers greatly increased performance, particularly when using memory-intensive tools such as the DVO image-processing toolset.
LightSpace CMS Adds Features
Light Illusion has released new features for its color-management system, LightSpace CMS. 

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Luma Pictures Moves into Larger Facility

Visual-effects house Luma Pictures has completed its move into a larger facility in Santa Monica, Calif. The new 16,000-square-foot space allows the company to expand its workload, services and creature comforts.

The custom-designed facility features a 100-plus-seat capacity for artists; a plush screening room, complete with an NEC 1200 C 2K stereo projector; and a new motion-capture stage, rigged with wall-mounted camera tracks to provide performance capture ability in-house.

“This has been a long-anticipated move and one that gives us more flexibility in how we work with high-profile, resource-intensive projects,” says Payam Shohadai, Luma’s executive visual-effects supervisor. “The new office provides our hardworking staff with an environment that is conducive to artistic inspiration and enables Luma to scale with our client’s needs and take on even higher caliber project work.

“Our core focus remains in full-length motion pictures, but recently we’ve had opportunities to delve deeper into the commercial world and provide shots on interesting varieties of work,” continues Shohadai. “The short format allows for a lot of fascinating creativity that Luma finds very attractive.”

contact info:  
www.lumapictures.com
Kodak Expands Vision3 Line

Eastman Kodak Company has introduced Vision3 50D color negative film 5203/7203, which integrates the company’s advanced Vision3 imaging technology into a fine-grained, daylight-balanced film.

5203/7203 is a low-speed negative optimized for capturing images in natural or simulated daylight conditions. The stock incorporates Vision3 technology advancements such as Dye Layering Technology and sub-micron imaging sensors, which deliver as much as two stops of additional overexposure latitude and better signal-to-noise performance, especially in over- and underexposure. The stock also offers improved color consistency with the ability to shoot challenging high-contrast exteriors and follow the action into bright highlights without loss of image discrimination.

“This addition to the Vision3 film portfolio is designed to give extraordinary creative latitude to cinematographers working in daylight conditions,” says ASC associate Kim Snyder, president of Entertainment Imaging and vice president of Eastman Kodak Company. “This new stock — the finest-grained negative on the market — offers a combination of unmatched resolution, reliability and proven archival capabilities.”

Cinematographer Blake Evans recently tested the new stock. He reports, “I wanted to stress-test the contrast capabilities of the new Kodak 50D stock, so we shot a few scenes in a high-contrast exterior situation that included bright whites and shadows. I exposed normally and followed the actors’ faces as they moved from the sun into the shadows. The negative was processed normally, and when I saw the footage as DVD dailies, I found the grain a tiny bit tighter in the dark toe of the shadows. That says a lot, considering the [Vision2 50D] 5201 emulsion was already a super-fine grain. This new 5203 stock dug deep into the shadows and maintained neutral colors, especially in the skin tones. There was no biasing of the whites in the bright highlights.”

5203/7203 also possesses all the necessary qualities that allow a color negative film to perform well in film recorders, including extremely fine grain, high resolution, excellent latent image keeping and reciprocity characteristics, and a low level of unwarranted crosstalk between the color channels. The ability to render finer-grain images in underexposed areas also produces cleaner film-to-digital transfers.

“We understand that digital cameras are improving, but the industry holds film as the benchmark by which they are all judged,” says Snyder. “This new emulsion is another example of Kodak’s dedication to filmmaking technology and ongoing innovation.”

contact info:  
www.kodak.com/go/motion
Arri Adds 135mm to Master Prime Line

Based on feedback from cinematographers, operators and directors, Arri has introduced the 135mm Master Prime. Fitting nicely between the 100mm and 150mm Master Primes, the 135mm makes an ideal portrait lens and brings the Master Prime set up 16 focal lengths.

Like all other Master Primes, the 135mm provides a high resolution, high-contrast image with very low flares and veiling glare; the lens offers a clean starting point from which the cinematographer can shape and sculpt the image to his or her content, be that through lighting, filters or digital manipulations during color corrections. The 135mm focal length is sufficiently telephoto to separate the subject from its surroundings, but not so telephoto that the perspective becomes flat; therefore, faces retain a pleasing three-dimensional quality. The widest aperture of T1.3 combined with the Master Primes’ ability to maintain their high image quality even wide open allows for an extremely shallow depth of field when desired. Additionally, to facilitate close-ups, the 135mm Master Prime has been designed with a close focus range of 37"; even at that close range, the 135mm maintains its high image quality.

In keeping with the rest of the Master Prime range, the 135mm has its iris and focus rings at the expected positions, making lens switching fast and easy. The front diameter also remains at the customary 114mm to allow the use of the same mattebox for almost all Master Primes.

contact info:  
www.arri.com
Cavision Introduces Mattebox, Viewing Glass

Cavision Enterprises Ltd. has introduced the MB3485S 3x3 Mattebox, which is ideal for DSLR, video and film cameras alike.

The MB3485S can be used as a clamp-on mattebox, or it can attach to the camera system by way of an 8mm or 15mm rods support system. Its small size and light weight make it ideal for use when mobility is required. Additionally, expandable top and side flags can be easily and quickly removed and reattached. A new, wider shade also enables the mattebox to be used with wider-angle lenses than previous 3x3 matteboxes allowed.

The MB3485S offers two filter stages, which accept 3"x3" filters. The rear stage allows for 270 degrees of rotation, making it ideal for use with polarizing filters. Cavision carries a large range of filters in the 3"x3" format as well as most other standard sizes.

Cavision has also introduced the OLF-37A density adjustable viewing filter, which features a nine-stop neutral density range, making it useful for both interior and exterior conditions. The OLF-37A can also be used to observe bright light sources, including the sun during a solar eclipse. It features a standard 37mm front thread, which allows for the attachment of additional filters.

The MB3485S (with expandable top and side flags) retails for $249, the MB3485B (without flags) retails for $119, and the OLF-37A retails for $69. All three products are available directly from Cavision or through Cavision’s worldwide dealer network.

contact info:  
www.cavision.com
EasyFocus Makes Focus Easy

Building on his experience designing the Moviecam and, with Walter Trauninger, the Arricam camera lines, Fritz Gabriel Bauer has introduced the Moviecam EasyFocus system, a distance-measurement tool that combines a precise reader with a video display.

EasyFocus is designed for focus pullers and is especially helpful on setups involving cranes and remote heads. The focus puller can use a mouse, pen or fingertip on the EasyFocus’ touch-screen monitor to direct the EasyFocus Reader to measure the distance between the camera’s film or sensor plane and an object visible in frame. The distance measurement can be shown using metric or imperial units. The system’s effective measuring range is from 6' to 400'.

The EasyFocus system features five operating modes. The Focus Mode offers the simplest way of using the EasyFocus system. The user places the cursor on a target and either clicks the left mouse button or touches the target on the touch-screen monitor; immediately, the measured distance will appear in a flag next to the target and in the Reader field on top of the user-interface window, and the lens motor will automatically shift the focus to the measured distance in the shortest possible time.

When the Ramping Mode is activated, the lens motor will shift the focus from one distance reading to another over a predetermined duration. The option of pre-setting the duration of the focus ramp (from 0.1 to 9.9 seconds) provides more sensitive control.

In Tracking Mode, the cursor follows the movement of a selected target, and the EasyFocus Reader will continue measuring and displaying the moving target’s changing distance while the lens motor adjusts the focus accordingly.

In Manual Mode, the EasyFocus Reader provides measuring distances, and the focus puller maintains control over all connected lens motors via a Cmotion Lens Control Unit. Additionally, focus can be pulled via a Focus Bar in the EasyFocus’ monitor.

Finally, the Mapping Mode allows the user to measure a set in order to create a topographic map. Small flags on the video image show the distances between targets and the camera. The user can then save the map image for later use.

contact info:  
www.easyfocus.at
Panther Announces Wedge/Tilt Plate

Panther has introduced the Wedge/Tilt Plate, which boasts continuous adjustability from 0-90 degrees.

The quickly adjustable Wedge/Tilt Plate weighs 3 pounds and can accept a payload of up to 65 pounds. It measures 9"x4"x2", has two locking levers, and attaches to tripod and camera plates via ¼" and 3⁄8" screws.
contact info:  
www.panther.tv
ToughGaff Holds Tape

ToughGaff is a gaffer- and camera-tape holder that sits solidly on the worker’s belt and allows him or her to quickly load and release the tape with only one hand. 

ToughGaff was the brainchild of Steadicam operator Nir Bar, who has a background in the grip and electric departments. “I clearly remember the day and the production when [the idea for ToughGaff] hit me,” says Bar. “[I was] wasting too much time and effort seeking my gaffer tape, or taking forever to untie it from its clumsy rope, or standing on a ladder, needing to secure myself with one hand and having only one other hand to get the tape out.

“Thousands of sketches were drawn, hundreds of materials were tested, many different shapes were suggested and tried until I came to the right prototype,” Bar continues. “I love to see any work getting done properly, focusing on what’s really important: having our tools work for us, and not the other way around.”

ToughGaff is made from high-quality materials and is available in 1" and 2" sizes, both of which are suitable for up to a 60-yard roll of tape. It features a stainless-steel spring, a special slot for attaching working gloves, and is waterproof. Additionally, ToughGaff comes with a one-year warranty.

contact info:  
www.toughgaff.com
16x9 Distributes Movcam in U.S.

16x9, a longtime distributor of film and video production accessories, has signed an agreement with Movcam Tech to be the exclusive distributor of Movcam camera accessories in the United States. Previously known for its camera-stabilizer systems, Movcam has recently expanded its offerings to include standard camera accessories, as well as accessories designed for specific camera systems, including the Sony PMW-F3 and Canon Cinema EOS C300.

“What first caught our eye with Movcam was the high quality of their products, which is why we’re proud to offer them with a two-year warranty,” says Jeff Giordano, vice president of 16x9. “As we have seen with their Sony F3 accessories, they are interested in creating new and innovative products, which is what 16x9 Inc. is always looking for.”

contact info:Movcam’s current offerings include universal products such as follow focuses and matteboxes. For the Sony F3, Movcam has developed a full package of accessories that can be built up into personalized configurations or used individually. These include base plates with 15mm rod support and an integrated shoulder pad, a top mount and handle to provide stability and more mounting points, and side handles for the creation of an accessible cage around the camera. 16x9 will be working closely with Movcam to design and develop even more quality products for the professional market.

contact info:  
www.16x9inc.com
www.movcam.com
P+S Technik Opens L.A. Base

P+S Technik has opened the P+S Technik Technical Base in Los Angeles. Located in Hollywood’s Television Center  at 6418 Santa Monica Blvd., the Technical Base will offer sales, service and support for North America. The center will serve as a single point of contact for customers, cinematographers, directors, technicians and partners. 

Alan Lasky and Michael Gamböck will oversee the operation of the Technical Base. Lasky, a specialist and technician for P+S Technik products, will run the office as an external consultant, helping customers, partners and end-users with technical and workflow issues.

This announcement follows the news that P+S Technik and reseller ZGC have decided to end their business partnership. However, ZGC will continue to offer service for Pro35, Mini35 and other P+S Technik optical products.

contact info:  
www.pstechnik.de
Identity FX Expands 2-D, 3-D Services

Identity FX, Inc. has embraced the SGO Mistika 4K system and is unveiling a new category of comprehensive 2-D and stereoscopic 3-D production and post services. With the newly installed Mistika 4K color grading and stereo 3-D system at the core of its service offerings, Identity FX delivers a combination of services that positions the studio to deliver camera-to-delivery 2-D and 3-D services to its client base.

Additionally, Identity FX now provides clients with enhanced on-set stereo solutions, including stereo dailies, real-time stereo previs and on-set compositing, while continuing to offer visual-effects and stereo supervision.

With an innovative technology platform built on the Mistika 4K, The Foundry’s Nuke and Imagineer Systems’ Mocha Pro, Identity FX offers a list of stereo-centric services that includes 2-D and 3-D visual effects, 2-D to 3-D conversion services, complete 2-D and 3-D DI finishing services up to 4K, native stereo previs, stereo native correction services, and on-set consultative and visual-effects supervisor services.

“The future of the 3-D market is largely dependent upon understanding the interface between evolving technologies and content creators,” says Identity FX stereoscopic and visual-effects producer Alison Savitch. “Identity’s goal is to bridge the gap between the complex post process and production. We all believe 3-D is here to stay whether in the theatrical, broadcast or emerging new media markets, and understand that to be successful we must understand the trans-media production model as well as what the right tools are for the task.”

contact info:  
www.identityfx.com
Image Systems Updates Nucoda, Phoenix

Image Systems has released Nucoda 2011.2, a 64-bit color-grading software application that delivers greatly increased performance, particularly when using memory-intensive tools such as the DVO image-processing toolset.

The Nucoda 2011.2 software includes a number of enhancements and refinements to the user interface as well as new features for the Precision grading panel. The introduction of a project storage feature speeds up project handling, and enhancements to the backup process give increased confidence to users.

There are also enhancements for file import and export, including support for Apple’s ProRes codec. In addition to existing support for importing ProRes, Nucoda allows users to export files in any ProRes resolution, which particularly benefits workflows utilizing the Arri Alexa camera and Final Cut Pro. Nucoda can now provide an end-to-end ProRes workflow without the need to encode on an intermediate workstation.

Users can now select any layer to create intermediate caches. New tools available directly from the Precision panel manage and replace cached material on the timeline when the original material has been changed or updated. The software’s stereo workflow includes greater control over the monitoring of tracks. New assignable left, right and mono tracks allow stereo compositing and flexible monitoring options to ensure the user only sees what he or she needs to.

Further enhancements include AAF export options and AAF audio support as well as support for Sapphire 6.0 and the new Sapphire Preset browser.

Complementing the release of Nucoda 2011.2, Image Systems has also released the 2011.2 version of its Phoenix restoration and archive solution. The release sees a move to 64-bit, which significantly improves speed and performance when restoring memory-intensive projects at 4K resolution.

Phoenix now delivers interlaced motion-estimation tools, which provide restoration and enhancement tools for any tape format. This allows users to fully correct and deliver projects of mixed film and tape media within a single timeline.

“Among all the features of the 2011.2 release, we are especially pleased to announce the integrated video-restoration toolset,” says Torbjörn Dyrvold, Phoenix and DVO product manager for Image Systems. “With this release, Image Systems’ Phoenix is now the only high-end restoration and mastering solution that provides both film and video restoration tools. The addition of the video tools also enables our customers to expand their services and bring new life to valuable content stored on tape.”

As in the latest Nucoda release, Phoenix 2011.2 users can now select any layer to create intermediate caches. Tools have been added to easily manage and replace cached material on the timeline when the original material has been changed or updated. A simplified effects selection, new review and scrubbing modes and improvements to the bookmark system allow users to work faster and smarter.

contact info:  
www.imagesystems.tv
LightSpace CMS Adds Features

Light Illusion has released new features for its color-management system, LightSpace CMS. 

LightSpace CMS provides fully integrated facility-wide color management regardless of the creative systems and displays in use for on-set, post and broadcast workflows. A single LightSpace CMS license can provide total facility-wide calibration capabilities, without the need for multiple systems or a floating license.

New developments for LightSpace CMS include advanced color-science manipulation tools aimed at greatly improving accurate color management with lower-cost color probes through the use of advanced Color Blend, Axis Blend and Smooth Filtering algorithms. Changes to the underlying Color Match engine further enhance end results, providing all users with more choice in terms of cost of calibration, achievable quality and accuracy for all color critical workflows.

“We develop all the Light Illusion color-management tools and services based on real-world experience, providing tools and capabilities directly applicable to industry requirements,” says Steve Shaw, CEO of Light Illusion. “The continued development of LightSpace CMS with the addition of advanced color-science tools provides enhanced calibration capabilities to all users for full display and film profiling, LUT conversion and manipulation, as well as automatic LUT generation for display matching and calibrated preview.”

LightSpace CMS is capable of visualizing film images on digital displays, as well as accurately matching different displays, allowing operators, colorists, supervisors, cinematographers and directors to be confident that a matched final look is presented at every point in the production and postproduction chain, saving time and effort and avoiding unexpected results by ensuring any image is accurately portrayed across a wide range of target environments and displays.

contact info:  
www.lightillusion.com