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July 2006
Reel Stream Andromeda System
Reel Stream’s Andromeda System consists of a Pansonic AG-DVX100 modified to output an uncompressed 4:4:4 10-bit signal and the proprietary SculptorHD capture and transcoding software.
Media Distributors Online
Fujifilm’s new Eterna film stock line will be available in the U.S. exclusively through Media Distributors.
Fletcher Chicago Aquires Film Gear
One of the Midwest’s largest and oldest digital camera-rental facilities recently took in more than $1.5 million in high-end motion-picture film equipment.
FrameForge Studio 2
Testing the latest version of FrameForge 3D Studio 2
Panther’s New Headquarters and Foxy Advanced Crane System
Panther Dollies and Cranes has announced the opening of its North American headquarters at 801 S. Main St, Burbank, CA 91506. The announcement coincided with the introduction of the new Panther Foxy Advanced Crane System.
Arri 416 Super 16 Camera
Encouraging the resurgence of the Super 16 format, Arri has unveiled the Arriflex 416, a lightweight, modern Super 16 film camera with 35mm-style viewfinder and low sound level similar to that of the Arricam.

Arri/Ziess Ultra 16 Lenses
Coinciding with the release of the 416 Super 16 Camera, Arri and Carl Zeiss have introduced the new line of five Ultra 16 lenses — 6mm, 8mm, 9.5mm, 12mm and 14mm.
EL Soft FX Filter from Band Pro Online
The EL Soft FX Filter (electroluminant effect filter), developed by Band Pro and optimized for high-definition acquisition, provides the advantages of a traditional soft-effects filter with the added benefits of computerized adjustable control.
Camriser Vertical Camera Jib Online
The Camriser vertical camera jib from Roadrunner Productions can create the same sweeping moves and slow rise and falls a jib can in significantly less room.
Hang N Shoot from VFGadgets
VFGadgets Inc, a Canadian distribution and sales company dedicated to the introduction of innovative production equipment and technology solutions for the video and film industry, offers the Hang N Shoot MiniDV camera car-mount system, developed by FTS (Film & Television Services) in Israel.
Zeiss Sharp Max Universal Collimator Online
Carl Zeiss offers the Sharp Max Universal back-focus alignment device, ideal for standard-definition and high-definition B4 mount zoom and prime lenses.
Precision Ulti-Head Online
Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd, a leader in motion control technology and recipient of an Academy Award for Technical and Engineering Achievement, has added the Precision Ulti-Head to its line of motion control camera systems.
Sony HDV Online
For professional videographers looking to take the step from shooting standard definition to working in high definition, Sony offers the HVR-Z1U camcorder and HVR-M10U portable VTR.
Stabilized Heads from Service Vision Online
Service Vision System, SA offers a line of remote heads for varying production needs.
Digital Film Printer and Color Matching System from Cinevation Online
Cinevation, a member of 35Digital, offers the Cinevator Digital Film Printer and CMS32 Color Matching System which, when used in conjunction with the CPG35 Color Grading Projector, can significantly streamline the filmout process.
Dalsa Origin Online
Dalsa, an international high performance semiconductor and electronics company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital imaging products and solutions, in addition to providing wafer foundry services, has received a great deal of positive feedback as it continues to develop it Origin digital cinematography camera.
Rescue Tape Online
Harbor Products recently debuted Rescue Tape to the cinematography trade. Rescue Tape is a self-bonding silicone tape with no adhesive that bonds to itself when stretched and wrapped under tension, creating an air-tight, water-tight seal resistant to oils, fuels, acids, solvents, salt water, road salt, and UV rays.
Coptervision Reaches New Heights Online
Continuing to lead the pack in close-range aerial cinematography, Coptervision has incorporated the latest flight control technology into its fleet of unmanned helicopters.
FlashScan8 Online
With the continued popularity of the Super 8mm format, it is no surprise that MWA Nova GmbH has laid its cards on the table with the FlashScan 8 digital film scanner, designed for use with both super 8mm and regular 8mm film stock
Its a Monster! Online
Monster Lighting, a dedicated film lighting rentals and expendables company, offers the Monster Box 16K, high output, super-soft source to the cinematography trade.
Super Mini Vibration Isolator Online
Available for rental from Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment, Inc, the Super Mini Vibration Isolator can mount to any Chapman dolly or crane arm.
New Members of the ETERNA Family Online
Fujifilm has announced three new motion picture color negative films in its ETERNA line, ETERNA 400 (tungsten balanced), ETERNA 250 (tungsten balanced), and ETERNA 250D (daylight balanced).
Putting the FinalTouch on Color Correction Online
Silicon Color, Inc, a leading provider of high performance, highly scalable color correction systems and applications for the postproduction marketplace, offers its FinalTouch real-time professional color correction, finishing and effects system to the trade.

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Reel Stream Andromeda System

Just over a year ago, reports surfaced that two Purdue University graduates, Juan P. Pertierra and Jeremy Jacobs, had devised a way of modifying the Panasonic AG-DVX100 to bypass the camera’s tape mechanism and output a 4:4:4 10-bit uncompressed RGB signal. Like any digital-video camera, the DVX100 discards a great deal of information when it records to tape. By intercepting the camera’s signal before that data was jettisoned, Pertierra and Jacobs offered the tantalizing possibility that a MiniDV camera could output an image with more color depth than most hi-def cameras. Moreover, by offsetting the camera’s green layer by half a pixel, the system could output an image with an effective resolution of 1540x990 pixels.

Pertierra and Jacobs’ system, now known as the Reel Stream Andromeda Data Acquisition System, was released in January, and its retail price recently dropped to $2,500. What you get for that money is a warranty-voiding modification to your DVX100, of which the most visible result is a new USB 2.0 port in the side. This can feed into a Mac running the company’s proprietary software, SculptorHD, which is used to capture footage and transcode it into a variety of formats. Jacobs, Reel Stream’s chief operating officer, says he and Pertierra based their system on the DVX100 because they wanted to provide high-quality footage to as many people as possible, and they felt a very popular camera would be the best vehicle to do that. “It’s also a phenomenally engineered camera,” he adds.

To find out how the Andromeda worked, we decided to do a day of tests. Through Reel Stream, we were introduced to Matt Merkovich, a beta tester for the system who began working with it in mid-2005. A visual-effects artist and independent filmmaker, Merkovich brought to our tests not only his camera and PowerBook laptop, but also a year’s worth of experience with the whole workflow. We started the tests indoors under natural light and then switched to tungsten illumination. We shot several color charts, followed by medium shots and close-ups of our subject, actor Lee Perkins, and ended with an extremely high-contrast, sidelit shot. We then went outdoors, shooting first in harsh daylight, then at magic hour, and then after dark, including one test lit entirely with a single candle.

The camera’s signal goes out through the USB 2.0 port into the laptop, where it’s captured in SculptorHD. The user can define and apply look-up tables (LUTs) for both recording and monitoring. For our test, Merkovich recorded using the Viper look-up table, which can be downloaded from the Grass Valley Web site. “It covers the full range of the output of the analog-to-digital converter,” he noted.

Using that LUT yielded an image that looked somewhat washed out but had a lot of information in the shadows and highlights that could be used during color correction later. To compensate, Merkovich created a monitoring LUT by capturing a quick test, importing the resultant footage into Autodesk Combustion, setting a look and exporting the LUT. This LUT could then be imported into SculptorHD and toggled on or off as we recorded, so we could jump back and forth between the uncorrected and corrected versions of the shot on the fly, checking the image in two ways.

In developing Andromeda and SculptorHD, Jacobs and Pertierra relied heavily on user input. “Based on users’ comments, we’re issuing Sculptor updates about once a week,” says Jacobs. “We do everything we can to work with our users. When you call in, you can not only talk to Juan, our primary engineer, you can talk to the man physically modifying your camera. Our main phone line is also our tech-support line, and we’ve spent lots of late nights working through problems with people.”

We found the biggest drawback to the Andromeda system is that the footage is captured into a proprietary format that must be rendered before it can be used for editing or compositing. This can be an extremely slow process, depending on the computer’s speed. Using Merkovich’s Mac Mini to transcode our tests from Reel Stream’s native format to 1280x720 10-bit TIFFs, we could convert 75-80 frames per minute, but this would take much longer on a PowerBook or a slower desktop unit. (However, Reel Stream supports Macs with Intel processors, and that should help as Apple releases faster desktops.)

The system’s other disadvantage is that the camera has to be hardwired to a laptop to record, but that might be less of a problem for some projects than for others. “This does really well for what I’m doing: staged, controlled shooting, where I block everything and know all the setups,” says Merkovich, who is making a short film using the camera. “If you were going to do run-and-gun shooting, this camera would be horrible.”

Another Andromeda beta tester, Erick Shiele, used the camera to shoot a short film, Danger Tokyo. The movie is about a man who is advised by his accountant to shoot an action picture while he’s on vacation in Tokyo. For the action sequences, Schiele already had DV footage he’d shot during his own vacation in Japan, and he wanted his American sequences to look very different. Merkovich advised him to try the Andromeda, and Schiele used the camera for the short, for a trailer for another project, and for elements for motion-graphic titles.

Like Merkovich, Schiele works as a visual-effects artist, and he says that background helped him feel comfortable with the Andromeda. “We’re in the effects world, so we’re not so nervous about putting stuff on a hard drive,” Schiele notes. He admits, however, that this form of recording can be a hurdle for other filmmakers; on his own project, he immediately cloned all his files so there would always be a backup. (His wife took the copies off set for safekeeping.)

Certainly, with all the rendering and LUTs and direct-to-disk recording, working with the Andromeda is not for the technologically timid. The key is figuring out the workflow. Both Merkovich and Schiele work with proxies, though they have slightly different methods. Merkovich, who edits in Adobe Premiere Pro, creates low-res QuickTime movies of all his original files, naming them the same as the originals so they can be easily cross-referenced. He uses these low-res versions to edit. After he locks picture, he returns to the original files and re-renders the shots he actually used at higher resolution, naming the new renders the same as the low-res proxies. He then moves the low-res movies into a folder labeled “old” and puts the high-res copies into the folder where the low-res ones used to be. Because the files are named the same, when he opens Premiere, it sees the new QuickTimes as if they were the old ones, and all he has to do is re-render the project within Premiere. “You never have to re-conform; the transitions are all there. You don’t have to do any work other than press the render button.”

Schiele, who does his Andromeda post work on a Mac using primarily Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro, says he renders all his files as TIFFs and takes them into After Effects to break them into sections and label them. He then does his color correction, cropping and other adjustments, and makes both DV and HD versions of the shots. “I edit with the DV versions, and after I lock the edit, I can replace the footage and make an HD version.”

Upon reviewing the footage from our tests, our first reaction was that the camera’s wide shots and daylight exteriors looked harsh and video-like, not that different from standard DVX100 footage. We would like to conduct more refined tests to see if we can improve the response. However, we were surprised and pleased by Andromeda’s ability to handle low-light situations. Our candlelight shot in particular turned out beautifully, and although there was noise in the frame, it was relatively soft, almost like film grain. We actually found the look of the low-light material much more pleasing than what we’d seen from some lower-end hi-def cameras. In fact, we’ve discussed switching over to the Andromeda for any especially dark scenes on projects we’re shooting with one of those other cameras.

We found the most compelling reason to use the Andromeda system is its remarkable latitude. In our magic-hour shots, for example, we were very impressed at the range the camera managed to achieve, holding both the blue sky and the shadowy details in trees. “You almost have to go to film to get the exposure latitude you get here,” confirms Merkovich. “If someone is looking for beautiful imagery and has time to set up the shots, then I would absolutely recommend it.” Reel Stream’s own tests have shown an increase of about 1 stop in lowlight and 2 1⁄2 stops in highlight detail over the original DVX100.

For low-budget filmmakers, especially those who already have a DVX100, the Andromeda offers a relatively economical way to work at higher resolution and a much better color depth. Andromeda isn’t for all filmmakers or all projects, but it offers a lot of interesting possibilities and is well worth exploring.

by Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm

contact info:

(765) 807-2509

 
www.reel-stream.com
andromeda@reel-stream.com
Media Distributors

Fujifilm’s new Eterna film stock line will be available in the U.S. exclusively through Media Distributors, a leading independent supplier of film stock and videotape. The company will handle Eterna 16mm and 35mm film stock for use in television commercials, music videos and independent feature films.

The Eterna line incorporates Fujifilm’s proprietary “Super Nano” structured grain technology, producing an expanded latitude, allowing these films to render exceptional shadow detail. The Eterna line includes the following: Eterna 500T, a high-speed film with granularity similar to that of 250T films; Eterna 400T, a low-contrast film with rich blacks and smooth, natural skin tones; Eterna 250T, which offers a consistent gray balance over a broad range of exposure levels; and Eterna 250D, a high-speed daylight film for natural color reproduction on location, outdoors or in mixed lighting.

Founded in l998, Media Distributors supplies professional motion-picture stock, videotape, data media products and services, data storage and duplication and publishing equipment. It is an authorized dealer of every major manufacturer, including Sony, Fujifilm, Maxell, Quantum, Panasonic, Rimage, Primera, Pioneer and many others, to companies and individuals in the entertainment, advertising and broadcast industries, as well as to educational, corporate, ministries and governmental clients. Media Distributors offers packaged deals combining film stock and videotape, and also offers free restocking of unused film stock product.

Media Distributors is headquartered at 10960 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, California 91604.The company also maintains offices in New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

Online Online Exclusive

contact info:

(818) 980-9916

10960 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

 
www.mediadistributors.com
Fletcher Chicago Aquires Film Gear

For 20 years, Fletcher Chicago has been one of the industry’s most loyal supporters of digital image-capture technology, and it’s been their business — their family business — to promote high-definition (HD) production for several of those years. Therefore, it might seem odd to some that one of the Midwest’s largest and oldest digital camera-rental facilities recently took in more than $1.5 million in high-end motion-picture film equipment.

Getting into the film business is something we’ve considered for many, many years,” says Tom Fletcher, co-founder and vice president of Fletcher Chicago. “But you just can’t go out one day and buy a film camera and then say you’re in the film business.”

For the company’s staff, that day has been a long time coming. In July 1987, Tom and his father, Archie, founded Fletcher Chicago to service the Windy City’s film and television market; they sold and rented lighting, grip and sound equipment. After finding success with that, they expanded into digital-camera sales and rentals, specifically the Betacam SP and then Digital Betacam, customizing them in-house with matteboxes, follow-focus rigs and extended viewfinders. “One of the people I idolize is Denny Clairmont [of Clairmont Camera],” says Tom. “I’ve seen him modify his cameras without charging the customer a nickel more, because he’s giving the customer something he or she needs.”

Fletcher Chicago eventually began providing support to some of the larger productions that rolled through town, and that meant dealing with Chicago-connected cinematographers such as Steven Poster, ASC and Michael Goi, ASC. Tom says, “While working with and supporting those cinematographers, we developed really strong relationships with them, and one of the things they wanted was for us to enter into the film-camera marketplace.”

A step in that direction took place late in 2005, with the arrival of Stan Glapa as the new head of rentals. A 20-year veteran of the film industry, Glapa enjoyed long tenures at Victor Duncan and Schumacher Camera. Following his arrival at Fletcher Chicago, Illinois passed an expanded film and television tax-credit legislation, which offers a 20-percent credit on total Illinois production spending over the current 25-percent credit on production employee wages for Illinois residents alone. “The industry here is strong and getting stronger,” says Glapa.

Tom Fletcher is optimistic about the future of film production in the Midwest. “Things like [the tax credit] help the business,” he says. “A feature film not only brings in business for us, but also spurs other projects and brings talent back to the Midwest.”

Fletcher and Glapa assert that maintaining flexibility and focus were key elements in their search for film cameras. The company’s inaugural lineup included the Arricam Lite, the high-speed Arri 435 Xtreme, 535B, 35-3 and the Arri 235, as well as a full set of Zeiss Master Primes and Ultra Primes with LDS and Angenieux Optimo Zooms. Accessories include an array of ground glass and camera-support equipment.

Since the first wave of cameras, Fletcher has begun building an inventory of 16mm gear, taking in the Arri 16SR-3 and the new Arri 416 Plus, the latter of which should be available by the end of the year. “In our initial purchase of film equipment, we didn’t buy any 16mm gear because HD had taken a big chunk out of that market,” says Fletcher. “But I think we’re going to see 16mm take a big chunk of that market back. But HD is still a good medium; it has solved a lot of problems for people who couldn’t shoot film because it was cost-prohibitive.”

Fletcher Chicago plans to add more 35mm and 16mm resources while continuing to provide support to HD productions.

by Iain Stasukevich 

contact info:

(800) 635-3824 or (312) 932-2700

 
www.fletch.com
FrameForge Studio 2

Three years ago, I had a chance to work with a new previsualization program called FrameForge 3D Studio (see AC Oct. ’03), which I found to be an extraordinary tool. I recently had an opportunity to test out the latest version, FrameForge 3D Studio 2, and am pleased to report that Ken Schafer and his associates at Innovative Software, who listen carefully to users’ requests and demands, have created a fantastic update.

FrameForge 2 sports a refined interface that appears to represent the trends in GUIs today: metallic, modular and modern. The behind-the-interface controls have improved exponentially as well. Innovative Software has not only refined the user controls, but also integrated a basic intelligence in which the software waits to react to each user movement to decide what the user intends to do. This greatly simplifies the working relationship with the 3-D space in the program. Instead of having to continually rotate a 3-D object to the right angle to manipulate certain aspects, the program can detect what the user is trying to do and perform the right adjustments. It isn’t a foolproof system, but it works most of the time.

The program’s main adjustment function, the hinge controls, have been greatly improved with the integration of the Control Jack, which is a graphic representation of the X, Y and Z axes for each “hinge.” (For more on how FrameForge defines hinges, see our Oct. ’03 review.) This jack, though a bit baffling at first, simplifies the user’s interface with the various adjustments of each 3-D object and marks a vast improvement over the awkward, confusing disc system in the previous version. Once you understand how to work the Control Jack, it simplifies the positioning of actors’ joints immensely.

Another simplification within the standard camera view is that I can select an object and click a button to adjust the pose. Once in adjustment mode, I merely click on the joint I want to adjust, and the appropriate Control Jack appears. If I want to start with the neck and then proceed to the left shoulder, I don’t have to search through the pull-down menus to switch from one to the other; all I have to do is click the shoulder joint.

Version 2 has significantly expanded the palette of available actors from four per gender (Caucasian, Asian, African-American and “old person”) to 16 per gender (Caucasian, Asian, African-American and Middle Eastern, with variable ages). The program incorporates easy aging to modify adults between 20 and 60 years old. Taking it a step further, Version 2 allows the user to create facial expressions either manually or by using the Expression Builder, which features various levels of 12 emotions, from anger to surprise. The new “Look At” feature allows quick adjustment of eyes, head and shoulders without requiring the adjustment of each element. The actors are now rendered with Skeletal Mesh Deformation, which means they have no visible hinges and don’t “snap at the seams” in extreme positions. This makes for much more natural poses.

Another new timesaving feature is the Select Zoom framing option. By turning it on, clicking anywhere in the camera view and drawing a frame, you can automatically zoom to that focal length. I can zoom almost instantly into a desired composition by merely clicking and dragging the mouse to select the composition.

I was very happy to see that one of the upgrades is the selection of prime-lens sets. Instead of having a variable zoom, you can tell the program you’re shooting with Panavision Primos, Ultra Speeds and C-Series anamorphics and have the ability to input your favorite prime-lens set. With a preset prime collection, when you adjust the program’s camera zoom, it jumps automatically to the next prime, so there’s no chance of selecting anything between.

To make things even easier — if not more fun — FrameForge can work with any USB dual-joystick game controller. This might seem silly at first, but using the game pad is incredibly easy and speeds up the camera moves and frame snapping. Innovative Software actually sells its own game pad for use with FrameForge. I found using the pad a little awkward at first, but after a couple of minutes, I was flying through the 3-D world and posing actors like a pro. It’s a little weird to use the pad in regular mouse mode — I was far less adept at controlling the cursor with the game pad than I was with a traditional mouse — but I imagine this will improve with practice.

Finally, one of the coolest new features is TrueOptix Optically Accurate Depth of Field rendering. TrueOptix renders out extremely accurate depth of field based on the optical properties of the frame size, the selected lens’ specific circle of confusion, the plane of focus, and selected T-stop. For each frame, you can render the true depth of field by turning on TrueOptix and selecting the point of focus; the software takes over from there to render real-world-accurate depth of field. Why would you want to render depth of field in a storyboard? Because beyond being able to create more mood and narrative focus, a cinematographer can look at each frame of the storyboard and immediately determine problem areas. At any given moment of blocking for a specific composition, the cinematographer can quickly determine whether a focus split is possible, and, if so, what aperture is needed. A cinematographer can also look at the boards and realize he needs to light a location 2 stops brighter than originally planned in order to execute the blocking the director wants.

FrameForge 3D Studio 2 retails for $399, and Version 1 can be upgraded for $199.

by Jay Holben

contact info:

(877) 322-7733.

 
www.frameforgestudio.com
Panther’s New Headquarters and Foxy Advanced Crane System

Expanding on the proven performance of the Foxy Crane System, the Foxy Advanced considerably increases the payload while extending the remote version to an overall length of 43` and permitting the cameraman to glide as much as 24` above the ground.

Other features of the Foxy Advanced Crane System include double bracing, a flexible handle for easy operation, a patented transport solution for easy handling, a monitor holder, a brake for track wheels, a detachable platform board for special shots, a push bar, and practical weight transportation.

Panther’s product line also includes the electro-mechanical dolly systems Classic and Evolution, as well as the Galaxy Crane System and a wide range of production accessories including jib arms, track, risers, and other camera support equipment.

contact info:

(818) 841-3110

 
www.panther.us
info@panther.us
Arri 416 Super 16 Camera

Some of the highlights of the Arriflex 416 include variable speed from 1-75 fps, a mirror shutter adjustable from 45°-180°, a completely new lightweight ergonomic design, integrated electronic accessories, and compatibility with the same accessories and PL-mount lenses used by its 35mm siblings.

Touting fewer lens elements of higher quality and a shorter optical path, the 416’s viewfinder optics have been completely redesigned, resulting in significantly higher contrast, higher resolution and a brighter image. Furthermore, the viewfinder ergonomics are based on the Arriflex 235 viewfinder; the 416 viewfinder can be freely rotated, extended or flipped to the other camera side. Image orientation can be set automatically or manually, and medium or long eyepiece extensions can be used with no loss in image quality. Also, because the viewfinder is located higher above the lens mount, the 416 accepts large-diameter 35mm format primes, including the new Master Primes.

The 416’s new RGB Arriglow allows the user to choose any color frameline he likes, including gray. Also included is a video assist of the same image quality and features as the Arricam and 435 integrated video assists (IVS). Moreover, viewfinder and video assist are independent of each other, making for faster switches from handheld to Steadicam and eliminating the need for a 100-percent video top. Other features include two 12-volt accessory outputs, color bars, adjustable electronic image enhancement, manual white balance, ground fault warning and close integration into the camera body.

Both the 416 and its newly designed magazine feature a new sound insulation design that makes the system as quiet as an Arricam. Parts that create vibrations are mounted to an inner skeleton suspended by symmetrically positioned rubber insulators, and those insulators prevent any sound from radiating to the outer shell. The result is an operating sound level of less than 20dBA.

To power the 416, Arri has developed the smart lithium-ion onboard battery OBB-2, which can run up to five magazines while keeping camera and video assist in standby for more than two hours. With a built-in power gauge, the state of the OBB-2 can easily be determined, and communication between battery and camera allows the 416 to accurately display its current voltage, remaining capacity or how many more magazines the battery’s charge can run.

In comparison to the 16SR-3, the 416’s weight has been reduced 25 percent (when looking at a configuration including body, viewfinder, IVS and magazine). Further enhancing speed and low-profile operation, the magazine as well as the new onboard battery can be quickly removed with one hand, and the new front shape makes attaching lens accessories easier and faster. Also, lens motor electronics and a wireless radio can be integrated directly into the camera body, which is then called an Arriflex 416 Plus. Lastly, there is also a new split bridgeplate, allowing the camera to be removed from a zoom lens/tripod configuration in two quick steps: open the lens mount and split the bridgeplate, and the camera pops off.

contact info:
 
www.arri.com
Arri/Ziess Ultra 16 Lenses

With a widest stop of T1.3, all five Ultra 16 lenses cover the full Super 16 format and are fully compatible with the optical quality, color balance and ergonomics of the other Arri/Zeiss lenses, including the Ultra Primes, Master Primes, Variable Primes and Lightweight Zoom LWZ-1. In fact, the Ultra 16 lenses have been designed as an extension to the Ultra Primes and Master Primes in the wide end, with their size, focus and iris barrel position and 95mm front diameter all matching exactly. Other features include high contrast, high resolution, almost no chromatic aberration (color fringes) and a great resistance to flaring (thanks to Zeiss’s T* XP anti-reflex lens coating).

Also akin to the Master Primes, the Ultra 16 lenses feature large diameter aspherical and radically shaped spherical glass surfaces. While the aspherical glass surface located inside the 12mm and 14mm Ultra 16 lenses helps in reducing spherical aberration (the inability to focus all light rays from a point source onto a point on film), the aspherical front surface of the 6mm, 8mm and 9.5mm keeps the image free of geometrical distortions, so that straight lines stay straight from infinity to close focus.
contact info:  
www.arri.com
EL Soft FX Filter from Band Pro

The EL Soft FX Filter (electroluminant effect filter), developed by Band Pro and optimized for high-definition acquisition, provides the advantages of a traditional soft-effects filter with the added benefits of computerized adjustable control. By indicating desired positions on the handheld control menu, the filter can be applied vertically, horizontally or both simultaneously in various intensities, thereby approximating different grades of softening effects and yielding the appearance of improved skin tones, minimized facial hair, and fine lines. Such control can be crucial with today’s HD cameras and lenses that tend to accentuate wrinkles and blemishes.

Available in 4”, 4”x4”, 6”, 6”x6” and Panavision filter sizes, the 12V EL Soft FX Filter system provides a pin-point-sharp base image, excellent contrast and color retention, and degradation-free image enlargement. The EL Soft FX system is compatible with the Sony CineAlta and Thomson Viper cameras.
Online Online Exclusive

contact info:

(818) 841-9655

 
www.bandprodigital.com
Camriser Vertical Camera Jib

The Camriser vertical camera jib from Roadrunner Productions can create the same sweeping moves and slow rise and falls a jib can in significantly less room. Additionally, the Camriser touts the ability to go beyond the traditional jib to execute fast rises and falls and sudden, accurate stops. The Camriser can run on standard dolly track and can accommodate fluid heads, camera stabilizers, and even a jib itself.

Three bracket positions — high, medium, and low — are featured on the 360° rotating column, providing different base levels for the camera position. For added stability, weights can be added to posts on the Camriser’s base, a good measure when offsetting the camera. And when traveling with the Camriser, the column disconnects from the base, allowing the legs to fold.
Online Online Exclusive

contact info:

(970) 581-5016

Roadrunner Productions, Inc.

(970) 593-0518

 
www.roadrunnerproductions.tv
Hang N Shoot from VFGadgets

VFGadgets Inc, a Canadian distribution and sales company dedicated to the introduction of innovative production equipment and technology solutions for the video and film industry, offers the Hang N Shoot MiniDV camera car-mount system, developed by FTS (Film & Television Services) in Israel.

The lightweight (17.08 lbs, 7.75 kg) car mount is designed for use with MiniDV cameras such as the Panasonic AG-DVX100A or the Sony HVR-Z1U and is also ideal for still cameras. Furthermore, the unique design of the Hang N Shoot — which is crafted from anodized aircraft aluminum combined with a modified bicycle rack — enables a three-axis movement plus a 360° tilt of the ball head, allowing for a variety of camera angles from the same anchored position. Any vehicle surface (front hood, side doors or back trunk) can seat the Hang N Shoot, and setup time for any position is designed to take only minutes.

The Hang N Shoot system comes with monopod, adjustable ball head, sliding bracket, sliding bar, bridge, hanging rack, and an 8mm Allen key.

contact info:

 
www.vfgadgets.com
Zeiss Sharp Max Universal Collimator

Carl Zeiss offers the Sharp Max Universal back-focus alignment device, ideal for standard-definition and high-definition B4 mount zoom and prime lenses. Measuring 83.5mm in diameter by 280mm long and weighing only 2.2 lbs, the Sharp Max Universal is designed to be a part of every electronic camera package.

To adjust back focus with the Sharp Max Universal collimator, the unit is first held at the front of the shooting lens. Next, the focus scale is set to the infinity mark and the back-focus ring is adjusted for best visual resolution of the 72-sectored Siemens star image in the viewfinder or on the monitor. Finally, the back-focus ring is locked down and the Sharp Max is removed. The entire procedure can be completed in less than a minute.

Sporting a rugged housing of anodized aluminum, the Sharp Max Universal is constructed to match the quality of high-precision Zeiss camera lenses, and its athermal design features specially selected materials such as Invarstahl to avoid thermal expansion of critical components. Furthermore, a set of nine adapter rings ranging from 80mm to 130mm ensures that the collimator will work with nearly all B4-mount lenses.

Low-draw LEDs, adjustable according to user preference, illuminate the 72-sectored Siemens star, and the illumination switches off automatically after an operator-defined duration that can range from one to 10 minutes. The Sharp Max Universal draws its power from a standard internal 9V battery. Additionally, a rechargeable 9V NiCad battery and an external 12-volt DC power source can be used to operate the unit.

Carl Zeiss: www.zeiss.com; Band Pro, exclusive worldwide distributor of the Sharp Max Universal: www.bandpro.com.

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contact info:

Band Pro, exclusive worldwide distributor

 
www.bandpro.com
www.zeiss.com
Precision Ulti-Head

Mark Roberts Motion Control Ltd, a leader in motion control technology and recipient of an Academy Award for Technical and Engineering Achievement, has added the Precision Ulti-Head to its line of motion control camera systems.

Capable of being tripod or crane mounted, the Ulti-Head provides automated control over pan and tilt while maintaining accurate and repeatable movements. The Ulti-Head can be controlled remotely (from up to 100m) using hand wheels, joysticks, Mark Roberts’s Grip-Sticks, or keyboard and mouse in conjunction with the Flair software system. Flair allows any move to be pre-visualized both numerically and graphically, giving the user the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments before committing to the action run.

Other key features of the Ulti-Head include programmable focus, zoom, and iris changes, simple record and playback operations, nine integrated axes of motion, 15-35V battery operation, onboard camera control and sync circuitry, interfaces to a wide range of industry standard cameras, DC motors for superior speed and smoothness, built-in serial ports, and revolutionary miniature electronics that allow the board to be mounted within the head itself.

Capabilities of the Flair software include full data import and export, time-lapse photography, live-action control, full record and playback of any motion, stop-frame and moving-step animation, keyframe programming, input and output triggers, time code interface, repeat passes at any speed, and adjustable hand wheel gearing.

Other motion control rigs available from Marc Roberts include Cyclops, Milo, Juno, and Super Panther conversions.

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contact info:

 
www.mrmoco.com
info@mrmoco.com
Sony HDV

For professional videographers looking to take the step from shooting standard definition to working in high definition, Sony offers the HVR-Z1U camcorder and HVR-M10U portable VTR.

First, Sony’s professional HDV camcorder boasts three native 16x9 Super HAD CCDs, each with 1.04 million active pixels, and pixel offset technology achieves a system resolution of 1440x1080. On its way to the CCDs, light passes through the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 12x zoom lens (equivalent to a 32.5 to 390mm lens in 35mm) with Optical Image Stabilization. What’s more, a hyper-gain feature makes possible night shooting at less than 1 lux and, while shooting, a 3.5-inch Hybrid widescreen LCD doubles as viewfinder and playback monitor, with an expanded focus mode, center, safety and 4:3 markers, and overscan monitoring to show everything the user is capturing.

The HVR-Z1U provides CineFrame 24, 25 and 30-frame recording in HD and SD, as well as DVCam and DV format record/playback. When shooting in high definition, the camera can be switched between 1080/50i/60i recording, and for standard definition work, the 480p true progressive mode is available. Additionally, in standard definition, the camera can be set to record in either PAL or NTSC.

Other features include SMPTE time code with presets, two balanced XLR audio inputs with 48-volt phantom power and independent L/R audio level controls, a built-in stereo microphone, HD i.LINK downconversion for HD to SD workflow, and a number of creative controls to allow the user to manipulate gamma and color settings.

Measuring 7x2.9x8.6” and weighing only 3 lbs 15 oz, the HVR-M10U portable professional deck records and plays HDV in addition to DVCam and MiniDV tapes at all the same frame rates as the HVR-Z1U camcorder. An i.LINK IEEE 1394 interface allows input and output of audio and video in both HD and SD, and an analog component video output is also featured for HD and SD, as well as a Y/C and composite video input and output for SD. Also, the front of the deck features a 3.5-inch Hybrid LCD monitor.

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contact info:

 
www.sony.com/professional
Stabilized Heads from Service Vision

Service Vision System, SA offers a line of remote heads for varying production needs.

Service Vision System, SA offers a line of remote heads for varying production needs.
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Service Vision System, SA offers a line of remote heads for varying production needs.  
www.servicevisionsystem.com
Digital Film Printer and Color Matching System from Cinevation

Cinevation, a member of 35Digital, offers the Cinevator Digital Film Printer and CMS32 Color Matching System which, when used in conjunction with the CPG35 Color Grading Projector, can significantly streamline the filmout process.

Consisting of a portable PC with accessory software and a color sensor for measuring light reflected from the screen, the CMS35 enables users to accurately measure CIE color coordinates and luminance of known reference colors, and uses those measurements to calculate “best match” reference colors for the CGP35 Projector (the CMS35 can also be used to measure and characterize color capability of other digital and traditional 35mm film projection systems). The CMS35 can then be used to calibrate the CGP35 (or even several CGP35s) to the set of reference colors. In the end, this system allows users to maintain an optimum color balance in the projected image despite the changing characteristics of optical components and lamps over their lifetimes, and when used with the Cinevator printer, ensures that the CGP35 shows the same colors that will be printed back out to 35mm film.

The Cinevator is a digital film recorder and film printer that allows users to go directly from digital intermediate to 35mm print film — with sound and subtitles, if called for — in real time. Uncompressed 2K images can be received through Ethernet, Firewire or DVI, and SD and HD images are received through coaxial SDI inputs. Other features include real-time upsizing of video and low-resolution images; quick and easy film loading with automatic detection of loaded and remaining film length; an easy to use graphical user interface displayed on an LCD touch screen; a continuous self calibration process that runs during printing, ensuring consistent brightness and color balance; and an error tolerant, ergonomic and user-friendly design. Finally, the Cinevator supports all 35mm film stocks on both polyester and triacetate base from Agfa, Fuji and Kodak.

For more information, e-mail cinevation@35digital.com or visit www.35digital.com.

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contact info:

 
www.35digital.com
cinevation@35digital.com
Dalsa Origin

Dalsa, an international high performance semiconductor and electronics company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital imaging products and solutions, in addition to providing wafer foundry services, has received a great deal of positive feedback as it continues to develop it Origin digital cinematography camera.

First presented in 2003, the Dalsa Origin eschews any video camera roots in favor of the needs of moviemaking and moviemakers. At the heart of the Origin is its 35mm full-frame sensor, allowing the use of real 35mm PL mount cinema lenses with their inherent depth of field characteristics. The sensor itself is a high-resolution focal plane containing millions of high-performance photosites, each combining superior charge capacity and lower noise, resulting in 12 stops of exposure latitude, precise, stable color performance, and even the capacity to handle over/undercranks — the sensor having been designed to output up to 48 frames per second at full resolution and image quality.

Dalsa further praises the Origin as the first link in a data-centric 4K digital workflow that industry and technology leaders such as SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.) are embracing. Such a workflow can require considerably more bandwidth, storage, and processing power than is readily available for the 2K workflow used for the highest-quality digital productions. SGI has responded to this need with its InfiniteStorage high-performance digital infrastructure aimed at offering a unique shared-file system capability and providing interoperability to all popular operating systems for interfacing with leading software application providers.

As the industry evolves to support 16-bit linear data in a 4K digital workflow, Dalsa is committed to providing multiple output formats and reference designs for third-party hardware implementations of its L³ lossless compression algorithms. Output from the Origin can happen in 4K (4046x2048), Super 2K (2048x1080), or HD 2K (1920x1080), and the camera can either apply color processing internally or output raw image data, providing maximum flexibility in post.

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contact info:

(818) 884-7000

 
www.dalsa.com
dc@dalsa.com
Rescue Tape

Harbor Products recently debuted Rescue Tape to the cinematography trade. Rescue Tape is a self-bonding silicone tape with no adhesive that bonds to itself when stretched and wrapped under tension, creating an air-tight, water-tight seal resistant to oils, fuels, acids, solvents, salt water, road salt, and UV rays. Furthermore, Rescue Tape resists temperatures up to 500° F, and it can resist up to 8,000 volts per layer of tape.

Taking only minutes or even seconds to permanently fuse together and easily removable with a knife or scissors, the tape never gets gummy or sticky like electrical tape or duct tape, and it never leaves any residue when removed, keeping cables and connections clean. Furthermore, able to withstand up to 700 PSI, Rescue Tape can be used to repair a radiator hose on a vehicle, fuel lines, air hoses and water lines, and it can even be applied on wet, dirty or oily surfaces. Other possible uses for Rescue Tape include whipping the ends of rope, wrapping turnbuckles or shackles, forming an emergency o-ring or fan belt, wrapping tool handles, and neatening up lines and wire bundles in stowage.

Rescue Tape comes on rolls one-inch wide and 12-feet long and stretches to three times its original size. Available in red, black, white, clear, green, yellow and blue, Rescue Tape is currently available for purchase online for $24.95 for a two-roll package.

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contact info:

 
www.rescuetape.com
sales@rescuetape.com
Coptervision Reaches New Heights

Continuing to lead the pack in close-range aerial cinematography, Coptervision has incorporated the latest flight control technology into its fleet of unmanned helicopters. The CVG-A allows for repeatable, scalable, and controllable aerial shots, features that were previously unavailable with this type of aerial platform. With programmable safety features and more than 255 GPS waypoints available, flight plans can be preprogrammed, flown, repeated, and memorized as many times as necessary.

Building on Coptervision’s CVG unmanned helicopter, the CVG-A is 5 1/2’ in length with a six-foot blade span and weighs 20 lbs. The navigation and flight-control systems are programmed through a computerized Ground Control Station (GCS), which controls the helicopter via a microwave data-link that incorporates the latest digital modulation techniques. Furthermore, the GCS operator monitors all of the flight parameters such as vehicle health, engine RPM, latitude and longitude, altitude, velocity, course, and heading. The status of the helicopter’s flight parameters, amount of gas, RPM of the blades, helicopter position, and altimeter are all monitored with sensors through a spread spectrum transceiver, resulting in increased range and endurance for the CVG-A.

The CVG-A autonomous unmanned helicopter can be used with two different camera systems —the standard Coptervision 3-axis, gyro-stabilized camera system that carries 35mm, 16mm, and digital video cameras, or a more compact 3-axis, gyro-stabilized gimbal called Flexvision that carries smaller video cameras.

Other services available from Coptervision include Photovision — an unmanned helicopter and camera system with the capability of taking still photographs from ground level to 300’ in the air — and Rollvision — a dynamic, lightweight, 3-axis camera system that can be placed on cables, car mounts, tracking and rail systems, cranes and more and permits 360° rolls, pans, and tilts.


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contact info:  
www.coptervision.com
info@coptervision.com
FlashScan8

With the continued popularity of the Super 8mm format, it is no surprise that MWA Nova GmbH has laid its cards on the table with the FlashScan 8 digital film scanner, designed for use with both super 8mm and regular 8mm film stock

Meeting today’s standards for image quality, stability, and reliability, the FlashScan 8 features a high-precision servo system with non-intermittent film transport. The optical system is based on a high energy, multicolor LED array, which delivers a stable, long-life light source and exposes the film image to a high quality 3CCD camera head. Furthermore, the signal processing allows black, white, and gamma correction, as well as negative scanning.

Additional features of the FlashScan 8 include adaptive light control, variable speed (3-24 fps), bi-phase output for synchronization, modular design, integrated scratch reduction system, and an audio head, with optional features such as GUI-based color correction, data output, and Particle Transfer Cleaning Roller System. The FlashScan 8 is available as a 19” Rack Module or as a desktop model.

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contact info:
 
www.mwa-nova.de
info@mwa-nova.de
Its a Monster!

Monster Lighting, a dedicated film lighting rentals and expendables company, offers the Monster Box 16K, high output, super-soft source to the cinematography trade.

Measuring 4’x8’x15”, the Monster Box is lightweight, dimmable, and easily adjustable on a large 8’ bail. Additionally, the Monster Box comes fully constructed and ready to work, and with optional eggcrates and quick and easy repositioning, Monster Lighting hails its product as a timesaver that can even eliminate the need for individual light sources, frames, and flags.
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contact info:

(818) 261-5108


 
www.monsterlighting.com
Super Mini Vibration Isolator

Available for rental from Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment, Inc, the Super Mini Vibration Isolator can mount to any Chapman dolly or crane arm.

Measuring 15 1/ 2” x 14 3/ 4” x 29” and weighing only 50 lbs, the Vibration Isolator boasts water proof, heavy-duty construction and a load capacity of up to 140 lbs. What’s more, it features lock bars on both sides, allowing for quick and easy changes of lenses and magazines on the camera. Other features include 360° rotation and easy setup, and the Super Mini Vibration Isolator accepts the standard Mitchell mount.
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contact info:

(818) 764-6726

 
www.chapman-leonard.com
New Members of the ETERNA Family

Fujifilm has announced three new motion picture color negative films in its ETERNA line, ETERNA 400 (tungsten balanced), ETERNA 250 (tungsten balanced), and ETERNA 250D (daylight balanced).

Incorporating Fujifilm’s proprietary Super Nano-structured Σ (Sigma) Grain Technology, which produces expanded latitude with exceptional shadow detail, these new stocks join the family of products begun by ETERNA 500. All of the films in the ETERNA line are characterized by a subtle palette with restrained saturation and fine grain, and while they all meet the needs for traditional optical print production, they are ideally suited for digital intermediate postproduction.

Boasting the same palette throughout its four stocks, enabling seamless intercutting, the ETERNA line also features an optimized gradation balance, ensuring smooth, natural reproduction of skin tones and grays even when under- or overexposed. Additionally, Fujifilm praises the ETERNA family’s enhanced latitude, excellent sharpness (thanks to Super-Efficient DIR-Coupler Technology, which boosts interlayer effects), and enhanced telecine characteristics. In fact, Fujifilm claims ETERNA’s extended linear response and exceptional color balance minimize the need for color adjustment during telecine transfer, and the high volume of image data in the shadows facilitates digital processing.

Underlying the ETERNA line is Fujifilm’s newly-developed Super Nano-structured Σ Grain Technology, which controls the light-sensitive structure of the silver-halide grain to nanoscale, creating extremely fine grain. These grains feature a precise electron accumulator structure that efficiently concentrates photons into a relatively thick latent image. In turn, this thickness is engineered to minimize reflections, enhancing sharpness by minimizing light scatter. This technology makes it possible to reduce the volume of the photosensitive grain by approximately 1/3 compared to previous color negative films of the same speed.


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contact info:

(888) 424-3854

 
www.fujifilm.com
Putting the FinalTouch on Color Correction

Silicon Color, Inc, a leading provider of high performance, highly scalable color correction systems and applications for the postproduction marketplace, offers its FinalTouch real-time professional color correction, finishing and effects system to the trade.

Three systems are available in the FinalTouch line—FinalTouch SD, FinalTouch HD, and FinalTouch 2K — and all feature real-time performance in their respective markets, even when processing multiple layers of color correction and effects. Additionally, all three systems are optimized for the Power Mac G5 and are native OS X applications, and all three can work with either 8 bit or 10 bit data.

FinalTouch features an intuitive layered interface comprised of eight sections, or “rooms.” When the user first enters the FinalTouch application, the Set-Up Room appears, and from there, the project will move through the Primary In Room, the Secondary Room, the Primary Out Room, the Color Effects Room, the Geometry Room, the Still Store Room, and the Final Print Room. Each room can be accessed either via a three-buttoned mouse or a professional control surface such as Tangent or JL Cooper.

Throughout each of the FinalTouch systems, the image quality of the original content is preserved by working in 32-bit-per-channel, floating-point precision. FinalTouch SD and HD support a variety of codecs, including DVCPro, Blackmagic, and AJA, and FinalTouch 2K supports both DPX and Cineon files. Furthermore, all three systems can directly import and export Final Cut Pro XML, also using XML to re-link color corrected shots back into Final Cut.

Other features of FinalTouch include multiple live grades per shot; HSL secondary qualification; RGB-CMY auto qualifiers with additive and subtractive combination; an auto HSL qualifier with continuous drag and live preview; hue, saturation, and luminance curve controls; an integrated color vectorscope with zoom controls; a waveform monitor; dynamic vignettes; keyframes with smooth, linear, and constant interpolation; unlimited color effects; broadcast safe and IRE controls; full geometry controls; a storage bin for each layer/room; high-speed rendering of single, multiple, or all shots in the timeline; user defined preferences; custom 3D LUTs; shot linking, grade linking, grade copy and paste, and grade drag and drop; and support for up to 99 video and keyframe tracks.

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For more information, visit www.siliconcolor.com.  
www.siliconcolor.com