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March 2011
Foundry Katana Online
Visual-effects-software developer The Foundry has unveiled Katana, an environment for preparing 3-D assets for rendering.
Doddle App Provides Production Database Online
Created by filmmaker Jim Robertson and software engineer Rich Kwiat, Doddle is an international, interactive, comprehensive smart-phone app and website that offers a continuously updated database of businesses and individuals in the entertainment industry. 
WaCru DSLR Cage Online
Digital media firm WaCru has introduced the WaCru DSLR Cage, an accessory support and stabilization platform designed for HD-capable digital SLR camera systems.
Universal Unveils Virtual Stage 1
Universal Studios has opened Universal Virtual Stage 1, a dedicated, pre-rigged, pre-calibrated, virtual-production environment with motion capture, camera tracking and related technologies for commercials, television and features. 
Panavision Opens Atlanta Rental Facility
Panavision has announced the opening of a new camera-rental facility located in west midtown Atlanta. The 10,000-square-foot facility is designed to accommodate a full-service camera-rental office with a wide array of digital and film cameras, including 35mm and 16mm, HD 35 and 2⁄3".
Campilots Takes Flight
Cinematographers Volker Tittel, BVK (pictured, left) and Holger Fleig, BVK (right) have introduced the Campilots remote-controlled multicopter camera-support system.
Porta-Jib Rolls Out Improved FlexTrak
After 10 years of success with its revolutionary FlexTrak, Porta-Jib has unveiled an improved version of the dolly track, which can be used for both straight runs and curves.
Steadicam Floats with Phantom
The Tiffen Company has introduced the Steadicam Phantom, a low-cost rig that performs like the company’s top-of-the-line Ultra2.
Element Technica Designs Atom Rig for Red
Element Technica, a provider of stereoscopic 3-D rigs for a broad range of cameras and applications, has introduced the Atom, a camera-specific 3-D beam-splitter rig designed for the Red Epic digital camera.
VF Gadgets Offers DSLR SwissCage Kit
VFGadgets has introduced the DSLR SwissCage Kit from Upgrade Innovations to securely support a whole camera and lens configuration for professionals using DSLRs in video production.
Anton/Bauer Powers Canon DSLRs
Anton/Bauer, a Vitec Group brand, has introduced Gold Mount and Elipz power solutions for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D DSLR cameras.
Hoodman Accessorizes DSLRs
Hoodman has added the HoodCrane universal, smart hot-shoe mount for LCD accessories.
Cel-Soft Analyzes 3-D Data
Cel-Soft has updated its Cel-Scope3D stereoscopic analyzer with an automatic logging option that generates a printable report of depth budget and depth plot for easy reference by cinematographers and stereographers during production and by editors during 3-D post.
S3D Plugs into Maya
S3D Technologies, LLC, a research and development company focused on creating solutions for stereoscopic 3-D productions, has introduced the S3D CGI Maya Plug-in.
SanDisk Enables Extreme CompactFlash Recording
SanDisk Corporation has announced the Extreme Pro CompactFlash card, which boasts 128GB of storage and up to 100MB per second write speeds.

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Foundry Katana

Visual-effects-software developer The Foundry has unveiled Katana, an environment for preparing 3-D assets for rendering. Katana allows artists to define and control look and lighting while maintaining performance with very large datasets, enabling facilities large and small to build highly scalable lighting pipelines without a large internal engineering effort. Katana operates non-destructively using a rule-based approach that allows modeling, look development, animation and lighting teams to work in parallel.

Originally developed in-house at Sony Pictures Imageworks to handle increasingly complex workflows on productions like Spider-Man and Superman Returns, the commercial development of Katana was taken on by The Foundry in November 2009 as part of a unique collaboration between the two companies. Performed in consultation with a broad range of users, The Foundry’s engineering effort ensures Katana becomes a flexible product that can ultimately integrate with any pipeline and any renderer in any facility. These consultations have now developed into much more in-depth collaborations with a number of key sites, including MPC and Digital Domain, who have been using Katana in alpha.

“We are excited to see Katana cutting its teeth outside the halls of Imageworks and becoming available for artists and facilities everywhere,” says Rob Bredow, chief technology officer at Sony Pictures Imageworks. “The Foundry is a tremendous partner, and by broadening the adoption of Katana and product support, a new generation of artists and productions can benefit from this innovative, production-proven technology.”

Online Online Exclusive
contact info:  
www.thefoundry.co.uk
Doddle App Provides Production Database

Created by filmmaker Jim Robertson and software engineer Rich Kwiat, Doddle is an international, interactive, comprehensive smart-phone app and website that offers a continuously updated database of businesses and individuals in the entertainment industry. Doddle benefits anyone in the entertainment business looking for vendors, crew, talent, locations, film offices and more, anywhere in the world. Doddle also allows users to create and share electronic call sheets, eliminating bulky printed production materials.

Online Online Exclusive
contact info:  
www.doddleme.com
WaCru DSLR Cage

Digital media firm WaCru has introduced the WaCru DSLR Cage, an accessory support and stabilization platform designed for HD-capable digital SLR camera systems.

Strong yet lightweight, the WaCru DSLR cage allows cinematographers to easily attach accessories such as audio recorders, wireless microphone receivers, shock mounts and on-camera lights via ¼" or 3/8" nuts and bolts. The WaCru DSLR Cage can be mounted on a tripod or monopod or used handheld.

Located in New York City, WaCru is the brand of filmmaker and technologist David A. Ludwig. “In searching for a device that would allow me to mount accessories to use with my DSLR, I found the marketplace filled with rigs that were too complicated, too expensive, or both,” he explains. “So, I designed my own. I have the top and bottom bars fabricated by a company in Michigan, and I get the foam grips from a supplier in Washington.”

Online Online Exclusive
contact info:  
www.wacru.com
Universal Unveils Virtual Stage 1

Universal Studios has opened Universal Virtual Stage 1, a dedicated, pre-rigged, pre-calibrated, virtual-production environment with motion capture, camera tracking and related technologies for commercials, television and features. The construction of UVS1 transformed Universal Studios’ 6,800-square-foot Sound Stage 36 into a self-contained facility with a 40'x80' greenscreen cyc, a suite of editing bays and production office space with a conference room. The stage is a versatile addition to the Studios’ production and post services for both internal and third-party productions.

With the calibrated and integrated system at UVS1, clients can walk onto the stage and begin shooting, avoiding weeks of setup. Thanks to UVS1’s attached production suite with 60 terabytes of high-speed online storage, shots can move immediately into editing for final shot selection and transfer to post. A director onstage can communicate with visual-effects artists next door to prepare and perfect CG assets; then the director can consult with editors on how the just-completed shots are cut into the scene. For client protection, the facility has strict standardized physical and content security procedures.

Universal began planning the UVS1 project about two years ago, while rebuilding the New York Street backlot. With the continuing trend of elaborate visual effects in moving-image entertainment, Dave Beanes and Jeff Berry — senior vice-president of Universal Studios Production Services and executive director of Universal Studios Virtual Effects & Production Services, respectively — noted that it can be cost-prohibitive for various productions to set up a virtual stage environment. “This stage has the ability to do previz, production and postproduction all under one roof, streamlining the creative process,” says Berry. “The stage is designed to be as turnkey as possible, from simple greenscreen work to complicated camera tracking and motion capture in real time.”

UVS1 is part of Universal’s environmental initiative, Green is Universal, which aims to drive sustainability throughout the company’s operations as well as across NBC Universal’s 40 on-air and online brands. The investment in UVS1 also speaks to Universal’s continuing support of production in the Los Angeles area.

contact info:  
www.filmmakersdestination.com
Panavision Opens Atlanta Rental Facility

Panavision has announced the opening of a new camera-rental facility located in west midtown Atlanta. The 10,000-square-foot facility is designed to accommodate a full-service camera-rental office with a wide array of digital and film cameras, including 35mm and 16mm, HD 35 and 2⁄3". The office will be managed locally by Panavision Atlanta’s general manager, Ann Somogye DeGuire.

“The service we provide to our customers is what makes us successful,” says John Schrimpf, Panavision’s vice president of U.S. Regional Operations. “With the growth of a regional market such as Atlanta, it only makes sense for Panavision to be there with a full-service facility. Our customers will have local access to the equipment and customer support that they have come to expect over the years.

“We applaud the State of Georgia for taking a progressive position providing significant financial incentives to filmmakers to attract business to the region,” Schrimpf continues. “Atlanta has become a very attractive place to shoot because of the variety of locations, its strong infrastructure and its excellent distribution system with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Both the state and city of Atlanta are totally behind building a lasting, ‘film friendly’ culture, and Panavision is pleased to be part of the team providing local customer support.”

The office is located at 1250 Menlo Drive, Suite A, Atlanta, Ga., 30318.

contact info:  
www.panavision.com
Campilots Takes Flight

Cinematographers Volker Tittel, BVK (pictured, left) and Holger Fleig, BVK (right) have introduced the Campilots remote-controlled multicopter camera-support system. Incorporating state-of-the-art image-stabilizing software, Campilots was quickly recognized with a 2010 Cinec Award, as well as an Innovation Award presented by the German government’s Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Campilots is available for feature, documentary and commercial productions. The system incorporates a Q4 Systems multicopter designed by Uwe Handlos and a lightweight remote head designed by Dieter Wurster, which accepts a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera. A two-person Campilots team, comprising the cam-pilot and camera operator, keeps the multicopter within visual range with a remote control; in the case of long-distance flights over the ground, the cam-pilot and operator follow the multicopter in a truck or, when shooting above water, in a speed boat. The camera itself is operated via an HF transmitter, and for monitoring, an HF signal is sent back from the camera to the operator. The system’s lightweight remote head can be panned 360 degrees and tilted 180 degrees.

The multicopter utilizes a lithium-ion polymer battery. Its rotors are nearly silent, and the engines are emission-free, allowing for indoor flights even in highly sensitive locations. The multicopter is able to fly at altitudes ranging from approximately 3' to 330' off the ground, and it can reach a maximum speed of approximately 31 mph. The maximum flight duration per take is 6 minutes. The system allows for low altitude shots over wind-sensitive terrain such as sand, water and snow without its rotor blades causing visible turbulence. Restrictions can occur in strong winds, rain and snowfall.

The Campilots multicopter boasts a ready-to-fly weight of less than 11 pounds, including the remote head and camera. The multicopter measures approximately 31" in diameter and 18" high. The Campilots team ensures a fast system setup, and special film liability insurance is provided with the Campilots service.

contact info:  
www.campilots.com
Porta-Jib Rolls Out Improved FlexTrak

After 10 years of success with its revolutionary FlexTrak, Porta-Jib has unveiled an improved version of the dolly track, which can be used for both straight runs and curves. The basic unit is 40', which can be looped back on itself to create one 17' run of parallel track; two pieces can also be laid parallel to create a 40' run. Each section can be rolled up into a compact, 2'-diameter bundle for easy transportation inside of any vehicle.

Each 40' section of the updated FlexTrak weighs 30 pounds, 10 pounds lighter than the previous version. While the original FlexTrak worked best at room temperature or above, the improved FlexTrak works well at cooler temperatures, and it retains little or no memory from being stored in a coiled position. These improvements are possible thanks to an improved construction incorporating steel-reinforced tubing, which has the integrity and strength to support a dolly and is processed for an ultra-smooth finish.

As with the original FlexTrak, setup is easy, with no joints to wedge. Additionally, a leveling kit enables FlexTrak to be used outdoors in unlevel environments; the channels of the leveling kit are lightweight and measure only 36" long, making them extremely portable.

FlexTrak is available for $450 per 40' piece. The system works best with the Losmandy Spider Dolly.

contact info:  
www.porta-jib.com
Steadicam Floats with Phantom

The Tiffen Company has introduced the Steadicam Phantom, a low-cost rig that performs like the company’s top-of-the-line Ultra2.

The basic Phantom system starts with a 29"-49" telescoping carbon-fiber post coupled to the Ultra2 stage (which features Tiffen’s patented +/- 20-degree tilt head) and terminates in a new solid base. Outfitted with the Ultra2 Gimbal, SD LCD 700 nit monitor and dual-battery mount for 12 and 24 volts (either V-Lock or Anton Bauer), the Phantom fills the need for a heavy duty, high performance, low-cost rig. Also included is the G-70 Iso-Elastic Stabilizer Arm, Ultra2 Vest, Docking and Balancing bracket, add-on weights and the Steadicam logo hard sled case with wheels. Options for the Phantom rig include Tiffen’s patented “go-to” motorized stage and a variety of monitors, including the 8.4", 1,400 nit HD UltraBrite2, plus batteries, chargers, cases, cables, vehicle mounts and more.

The Phantom is designed to be user-friendly, field-serviceable, tool-free, straightforward and versatile so the operator can quickly and easily configure the rig to the best advantage for each shot. Sled length, balance and inertia can all be quickly changed, and the rig can quickly be switched into low mode, all without tools or extra parts.

The Phantom basic package is available for $44,950.

contact info:  
www.tiffen.com
Element Technica Designs Atom Rig for Red

Element Technica, a provider of stereoscopic 3-D rigs for a broad range of cameras and applications, has introduced the Atom, a camera-specific 3-D beam-splitter rig designed for the Red Epic digital camera.

Designing the Atom specifically for the Epic has allowed for a streamlined rig with minimum size and weight. Although compact, the rig is still able to accommodate full-sized PL and PV prime lenses as well as smaller zooms like the Angenieux Optimo 16-42 or 30-80mm. Like other Technica 3-D rigs, the Atom provides full interocular and convergence control, and it also allows for recording of interocular, convergence and lens metadata.

The Atom is available in either aluminum or magnesium construction; the magnesium model shaves 5 pounds off the weight, weighing only 13 pounds on its own and approximately 36 pounds when rigged with a pair of Epics. The Atom Pro Kit, machined of magnesium and compatible with both aluminum and magnesium rigs, integrates multiplexing, sync and power conditioning electronics in the Atom to eliminate three external components from the rig. The Pro Kit includes a pair of Epic-specific 3-D modules to eliminate up to four cables per camera, and as many as 12 or more cables from the rig. The Pro electronics are housed in a distinctive shark’s fin design assembly on the rig.

The basic aluminum Atom 3-D rig system is available for $64,000.

contact info:  
www.technica3d.com
VF Gadgets Offers DSLR SwissCage Kit

VFGadgets has introduced the DSLR SwissCage Kit from Upgrade Innovations to securely support a whole camera and lens configuration for professionals using DSLRs in video production. The SwissCage Kit is designed to be equally useful in both extreme rigging and studio work.

The camera is firmly locked between the threaded bottom mount and the top hot shoe, eliminating the risk of twisting when using a follow focus. The unit is covered in 1⁄4"-20 and 3⁄8" threaded holes, 15mm rods are supported, and grip-arm friendly stud pickups also offer multiple-point mounting stability.

The DSLR SwissCage Kit has been designed around Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II, 7D and 1D Mark IV, and it will work with any DSLR that has a similar body shape. The SwissCage allows access to change media, adjust settings and replace batteries without having to remove the camera. Additional tall cage posts are also included to ensure that the SwissCage can be swapped between regular and battery-grip models. Machined from high-grade aluminum, the SwissCage weighs only 3 pounds.

contact info:  
www.vfgadgets.com
Anton/Bauer Powers Canon DSLRs

Anton/Bauer, a Vitec Group brand, has introduced Gold Mount and Elipz power solutions for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D DSLR cameras. These new power solutions run monitors, lights, transmitters and other accessories not possible with a standard OEM battery.

Utilizing the company’s Logic Series batteries, the Gold Mount solution has the ability to mount to most third-party support rigs, such as Redrock Micro, Zacuto and Cinevate, and offers a counterbalance to the rig. The Gold Mount solution can also be configured in a pouch pack, which can be worn on a belt for handheld production.

The Elipz solution is based on the Elipz battery system and provides the user the ability to power the camera and Elightz or Eledz. This can also be adapted to both a shoulder mount or pouch-pack configuration.

contact info:  
www.antonbauer.com
Hoodman Accessorizes DSLRs

Hoodman has added the HoodCrane universal, smart hot-shoe mount for LCD accessories. The HoodCrane is specifically designed for using Hoodman’s HoodLoupe 3.0 — an eyepiece designed for glare-free viewing of LCD screens — during DSLR video capture. A spring-release latch swings the HoodCrane up and allows it to pivot out of the way for shared LCD viewing or shooting stills. The top of the HoodCrane also features a cold-shoe mount.

HoodCrane is available with Hoodman’s Cinema Pro Kit, which includes HoodLoupe 3.0 and HoodMag, a magnifying video eyecup.
contact info:  
www.hoodmanusa.com
Cel-Soft Analyzes 3-D Data

Cel-Soft has updated its Cel-Scope3D stereoscopic analyzer with an automatic logging option that generates a printable report of depth budget and depth plot for easy reference by cinematographers and stereographers during production and by editors during 3-D post.

Cel-Scope3D is designed for use on set with live inputs as well as for reviewing and playing back 3-D media files during post. Available as a complete system or as Microsoft Windows-compatible software, it allows stereoscopic camera alignment to be performed quickly and confidently, ensuring accurate 3-D from the moment of capture. Footage and edits in a wide range of file formats can be viewed and accessed in real time. Disparities are analyzed and displayed as clear and intelligible graphics on 2-D or 3-D monitors. Anaglyph display, touch-screen control and auto-alarm are all supported.

Cel-Scope3D displays can be scaled and arranged as six or eight windows on one or two PC monitors and on a 3-D monitor. Left and right channels can be viewed simultaneously together with actual depth dynamics. Each display window can be set to show waveform, vectorscope and histogram graphics as well as differences in video parameters between each channel. Geometry issues can be identified easily using built-in real-time image manipulation. Quality-control tests can be performed on live stereoscopic video sources in any SD, HD or 2K format from industry standard capture cards or Firewire inputs, or alternatively from file playback.

contact info:  
www.cel-soft.com
S3D Plugs into Maya

S3D Technologies, LLC, a research and development company focused on creating solutions for stereoscopic 3-D productions, has introduced the S3D CGI Maya Plug-in. The plug-in allows for easy creation, management and control of a virtual stereoscopic camera rig within the Autodesk Maya environment.

Fast and efficient, the S3D CGI Maya Plug-in removes the guesswork often associated with setting up a stereo camera pair within a CGI environment. Completely integrated into the Maya user interface, the plug-in allows the animator to simply pick the point of convergence as well as the positive and negative parallax points in the scene; the plug-in then automatically sets the correct interaxial distance. These parameters are automatically updated over the course of the animated shot.

Where a project includes both CGI and live-action, the plug-in can import and export parameters to a real stereo camera rig to ensure accurate stereoscopic matching between the elements. The plug-in is also fully compatible with S3D Technologies’ S3D Calculator and takes into account all of the usual lens and camera variables as well as screen size and proposed viewer distance.

The S3D CGI Maya Plug-in is compatible with Maya 2009 and 2010 for Windows; the Mac version will be available soon.

contact info:  
www.s3dtechnologies.com
SanDisk Enables Extreme CompactFlash Recording

SanDisk Corporation has announced the Extreme Pro CompactFlash card, which boasts 128GB of storage and up to 100MB per second write speeds. With its Power Core controller and UDMA-7 interface, the card delivers the performance demanded by high-end DSLR cameras.

With a set of features optimized for professional photographers and videographers, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash card is ideally suited for imaging applications requiring Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, up to 50Mbps bit rate and 4:2:2 color sampling. The card’s combination of speed and storage lets photographers capture more frames when shooting in continuous-burst mode, and enables them to record high-quality Full HD videos. Additionally, SanDisk’s proprietary Power Core controller distributes data across the card more rapidly and efficiently, and the UDMA-7 interface allows for maximum data transfer between card and camera.

The 128GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash card is available for $1,499.99. 

contact info:  
www.sandisk.com