Blackmagic Camera Update 2.0

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Blackmagic Camera Software Update 2.0 is ready to download from their support page.

It covers Blackmagic URSA, Studio Camera 4K, Studio Camera, Pocket Cinema Camera, and Cinema Camera.

Blackmagic Camera Utility 2.0 includes:

Blackmagic URSA
Adds support for Apple ProRes 444 recording in 4K and HD

Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K
Performance improvements for optical fiber output

Blackmagic Studio Camera
Fixes an issue where the overlays settings are not remembered after turning off camera

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
Fixes an issue where dropped frames are occurring during ProRes LT and Proxy recording

Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Performance enhancements and improvements

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
No changes

Minimum system requirements for Mac OS X:

  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Thunderbolt port for UltraScope and Media Express when using Blackmagic Cinema
  • Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
  • A suitable USB 2.0 port
  • A suitable Thunderbolt port when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Before installing the software, Blackmagic recommends  running “Uninstall Camera Utility” first. Be sure that the camera is plugged into mains power before running the software update.

After loading the software on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF or MFT, there may be a slight flickering on the built-in LCD screen. This is normal. The flickering will go away after a few minutes of operation.

The Blackmagic Camera Installer package installs:

Blackmagic Camera Utility
Blackmagic Media Express
Blackmagic UltraScope
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

 

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FDTimes Issue 66 Almost Ready

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The next edition of Film and Digital Times is imminent. Sorry for delay. We’ve been under construction in a major office expansion. Choking in clouds of sheetrock dust. Real world construction is nothing like real world production. What deadline? But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully the presses will roll this weekend. Thanks for your patience.

Underwater Alexa 65 Hydroflex

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The HydroFlex ALEXA 65 has been underwater working on the VFX sequences of a major motion picture.

HydroFlex’s Pete Romano, ASC worked closely with ARRI Rental Group’s Neil Fanthom and John Duclos during the design phase of the underwater housing construction. Two housings and cameras worked flawlessly (no leaks :) during production.

To build the housings, Hydroflex didn’t have an actual camera on hand. They only had CAD and 2D drawings. They got a prototype camera in Los Angeles on November 11th for first fitting and electrical and buoyancy testing. Two days later, the housings were on their way to an underwater stage near London.

Heat was reduced by the use of a proprietary heat sink built into the housings’ design.

HydroFlex teamed with Nauticam underwater camera company to build a custom 250 mm diameter glass dome port designed around the A65 24, 28 and 35mm lenses. There was no vignetting, even with the 24 mm Prime 65.

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Alice Hobden, Camera Assistant, swimming the ALEXA 65 Remote AquaCam…”

 

 

 

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Sci-Tech Awards Announced

Congratulations to Leica and Tiffen. They will receive a Sci-Tech Awards from the Motion Picture Academy (aka Scientific and Technical Oscars) on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Here is the official AMPAS announcement:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 21 scientific and technical achievements represented by 58 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS (ACADEMY CERTIFICATES)

To Peter Braun for the concept and development of the MAT-Towercam Twin Peek, a portable, remote-controlled, telescoping column that smoothly positions a camera up to 24 feet vertically.

This small cross-section system from Mad About Technology can operate from above or below the camera, achieving nearly impossible shots with repeatable movements through openings no larger than the camera itself.

To Robert Nagle and Allan Padelford for The Biscuit Jr. self-propelled, high-performance, drivable camera and vehicle platform.

The Biscuit Jr.’s unique chassis and portable driver pod enables traveling photography from a greater range of camera positions than previously possible, while keeping actors safe and the rig out of frame.

To Harold Milligan, Steven Krycho and Reiner Doetzkies for the implementation engineering in the development of the Texas Instruments DLP Cinema digital projection technology.

Texas Instruments’ color-accurate, high-resolution, high-quality digital projection system has replaced most film-based projection systems in the theatrical environment.

To Cary Phillips, Nico Popravka, Philip Peterson and Colette Mullenhoff for the architecture, development and creation of the artist-driven interface of the ILM Shape Sculpting System.

This comprehensive system allows artists to quickly enhance and modify character animation and simulation performances. It has become a crucial part of ILM’s production workflow over the past decade.

To Tim Cotter, Roger van der Laan, Ken Pearce and Greg LaSalle for the innovative design and development of the MOVA Facial Performance Capture system.

The MOVA system provides a robust way to capture highly detailed, topologically consistent, animated meshes of a deforming object. This technology is fundamental to the facial pipeline at many visual effects companies. It allows artists to create character animation of extremely high quality.

To Dan Piponi, Kim Libreri and George Borshukov for their pioneering work in the development of Universal Capture at ESC Entertainment.

The Universal Capture system broke new ground in the creation of realistic human facial animation. This technology produced an animated, high-resolution, textured mesh driven by an actor’s performance.

To Marco Revelant for the original concepts and artistic vision, and to Alasdair Coull and Shane Cooper for the original architectural and engineering design, of the Barbershop hair grooming system at Weta Digital.

Barbershop’s unique architecture allows direct manipulation of full-density hair using an intuitive, interactive and procedural toolset, resulting in greatly enhanced productivity with finer-grained artistic control than is possible with other existing systems.

To Michael Sechrest for the modeling design and implementation, Chris King for the real-time interactive engineering, and Greg Croft for the user interface design and implementation of SpeedTree Cinema.

This software substantially improves an artist’s ability to create specifically designed trees and vegetation by combining a procedural building process with the flexibility of intuitive, direct manipulation of every detail.

To Scott Peterson, Jeff Budsberg and Jonathan Gibbs for the design and implementation of the DreamWorks Animation Foliage System.

This toolset has a hierarchical spline system, a core data format and an artist-driven modeling tool, which have been instrumental in creating art-directed vegetation in animated films for nearly two decades.

To Erwin Coumans for the development of the Bullet physics library, and to Nafees Bin Zafar and Stephen Marshall for the separate development of two large-scale destruction simulation systems based on Bullet.

These pioneering systems demonstrated that large numbers of constrained rigid bodies could be used to animate visually complex, believable destruction effects with minimal simulation time.

To Brice Criswell and Ron Fedkiw for the development of the ILM PhysBAM Destruction System.

This system incorporates innovative research on many algorithms that provide accurate methods for resolving contact, collision and stacking into a mature, robust and extensible production toolset. The PhysBAM Destruction System was one of the earliest toolsets capable of depicting large-scale destruction with a high degree of design control.

To Ben Cole for the design of the Kali Destruction System, to Eric Parker for the development of the Digital Molecular Matter toolkit, and to James O’Brien for his influential research on the finite element methods that served as a foundation for these tools.

The combined innovations in Kali and DMM provide artists with an intuitive, art-directable system for the creation of scalable and realistic fracture and deformation simulations. These tools established finite element methods as a new reference point for believable on-screen destruction.

To Magnus Wrenninge for leading the design and development of Field3D.

Field3D provides a flexible and open framework for storing and accessing voxel data efficiently. This allows interchange between previously incompatible modeling, simulation and rendering software.

To Robert Bridson for early conceptualization of sparse-tiled voxel data structures and their application to modeling and simulation.

Robert Bridson’s pioneering work on voxel data structures and its subsequent validation in fluid simulation tools have had a significant impact on the design of volumetric tools throughout the visual effects industry.

To Ken Museth, Peter Cucka and Mihai Alden for the creation of OpenVDB.

OpenVDB is a widely adopted, sparse hierarchical data structure that provides a fast and efficient mechanism for storing and manipulating voxels.

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING AWARDS (ACADEMY PLAQUES)

To lain Neil for the optical design, and to Andre de Winter for the mechanical design, of the Leica Summilux-C series of lenses.

Incorporating novel telecentric multi-element aspherical optics, these camera lenses have delivered unprecedented optical and mechanical performance.

To Brad Walker, D. Scott Dewald, Bill Werner, Greg Pettitt and Frank Poradish for their contributions furthering the design and refinement of the Texas Instruments DLP Cinema projection technology, whose high level of performance enabled color-accurate digital intermediate preview and motion picture theatrical presentation.

Working in conjunction with the film industry, Texas Instruments created a high-resolution, high-quality digital projection system that has replaced most film-based projection systems in the theatrical environment.

To Ichiro Tsutsui, Masahiro Take, Mitsuyasu Tamura and Mitsuru Asano for the development of the Sony BVM-E Series Professional OLED Master Monitor.

These precise, wide-gamut monitors allow creative image decisions to be made on set with confidence that the desired images can be accurately reproduced in post-production.

To John Frederick, Bob Myers, Karl Rasche and Tom Lianza for the development of the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Display.

This cost-effective display offered a stable, wide color gamut, allowing facility-wide adoption in feature animation and visual effects studios.

ACADEMY AWARD OF COMMENDATION (SPECIAL PLAQUE)

To Steven Tiffen, Jeff Cohen and Michael Fecik for their pioneering work in developing dye-based filters that reduce IR contamination when neutral density filters are used with digital cameras.

The Tiffen Company identified the problem and rapidly engineered a series of absorptive filters that ameliorated infrared artifacts with lenses of all focal lengths. These widely adopted filters allow cinematographers to work as they have done with film-based technology.

ACADEMY AWARD OF MERIT (OSCAR STATUETTE)

To Dr. Larry Hornbeck for the invention of digital micromirror technology as used in DLP Cinema projection.

The Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) is the core technology that has enabled Texas Instruments’ DLP Cinema projection to become the standard of the motion picture industry.

GORDON E. SAWYER AWARD (OSCAR STATUETTE)

David W. Gray — Given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.

In addition, veteran sound engineer and DolbyLaboratories executive David W. Gray will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Oscar statuette), presented “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.” Gray’s career has encompassed the design, refinement and implementation of groundbreaking cinema sound technologies, including stereo optical soundtracks, digital sound on film and most recently, Dolby Atmos. He has served for many years on the Academy’s Science and Technology Council and its Theater Standards Committee, among others, as well as chaired the audio study group of SMPTE’s pioneering DC28 technology committee, from which the first two SMPTE Digital Cinema standards were published.

“Our honorees represent an enormous range of technologies, from camera rigs to software systems, with names as colorful as ‘Biscuit Jr.,’ ‘Barbershop’ and ‘PhysBAM,’” said Richard Edlund, Academy Award-winning visual effects artist and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “They exemplify the phenomenal creativity of professionals in the scientific and technical community, and the invaluable contributions they make to what is arguably the most creative industry in the world.”

Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be included in the Oscar telecast.

Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2014 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.  The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

 

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EMITified AJA CION

IH7A9466-AJA-EMITAJA presented their new CION 35mm Digital Camera at the ASC last night, and is conducting hands-on demos in Hollywood today. The first CIONs are now in Paris and EMIT is busy accessorizing. Here are pictures of their Emitized/ Pagified / Chroszielized/Transvideoified/Ronfordized/Cookeified AJA CION.

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AJA CION Factory Tour

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I visited AJA headquarters in Grass Valley, CA recently for a tour of the factory where they build the new CION 35mm digital camera.

Here’s a free 12-page PDF about that factory visit. There’s also an in depth interview with AJA President Nick Rashby and CION Design Jon Thorn. This is a sneak peek preview and part of our next, upcoming issue:

Download free 3.6 MB PDF

Curved, Thin, 8K, and HDR at CES

IMG_1007-FDTimesCES 2015 was about flat panel TV displays. Almost every major player had an 8K prototype. They were very good. And yes indeed, you can see the difference. They will be not only in homes, but also in museums, medical schools, hospitals, graphic and automative design.  Sharp showed how you could read 3 point type on their 85″ set. 8K is coming faster than I expected, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics roadmap may not be a waypoint but a beacon.

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High Dynamic Range was a big topic, and the results were gorgeous in 4K and 8K. I believe the EBU was advocating HDR, and here are the results from the Asian manufacturers.

Thin was in. Sony and Panasonic showed 4K TV sets thinner than an iPhone.

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Curved TV monitors were everywhere. For unconvinced people like me, LG had the answer. You could remotely adjust their 84″ 4K prototype from flat to curved.

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EMMY for Sony Pres. Kazuo Hirai

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Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai (l) and former Senator Chris Dodd (r) at EMMY Awards

Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation, was awarded the EMMY Technology & Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award. He was introduced by Chris Dodd, former Senator, currently Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Mr. Hirai graciously accepted the awarded with a wry reflection on Sony’s recent hacking ordeal. He noted how the Christmas holidays can be a stressful time–but certainly not as bad as his.

He concluded, “And fundamental to continuing our legacy of innovation, creativity, and artistic expression is our conviction that freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association are the lifeblood of this industry and the work at Sony.”

EMMY for Sony Multi-Format Camera

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EMMY for Sony: Yoshida Yutaka and Hiroshi Kiriyama (l-r)

On January 8, Hiroshi Kiriyama accepted the Technology & Engineering EMMY for the Sony multi-format HD CCD camera. Mr. Kiriyama is General Manager of Sony’s Content Creation Professional Design Team, responsible for professional camera development, including the F55.

 

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Larry Thorpe EMMY

Canon Senior Fellow Larry Thorpe got the Charles F. Jenkins EMMY Lifetime Achievement Award on Jan 8. The award was a highlight of the 66th Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards ceremony in Las Vegas during CES.

Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO of Canon U.S.A. said, “Larry’s contributions to the overall advancement of broadcast, HD and now 4K image capture and technology have truly shaped the way in which we all view the world and the creative content that is produced. We are honored to continue to work with Larry as he guides not only Canon, but the industry toward incredible new horizons in resolution, distribution, color science and optics. His talent and intuitive insight are only exceeded by his good nature, strong heart and witty humor. He is a true asset to Canon and the entire imaging community.”

Larry said, “I have indeed had an extended and rich professional life that has seen some of the most exciting developments in video imaging. It is a particularly special privilege to have the final phase of my career coincide with the truly exciting rise of Canon as a major global player in high-end content creation.”

Larry Thorpe joined Canon U.S.A., Inc. in 2004 as National Marketing Executive for the Broadcast & Communications Division. He was promoted to Senior Fellow in 2012. He is an  industry guru and was at the forefront of digital cinema. He was at Sony for more than 20 years, pioneering HDTV and digital production in the broadcast and motion picture industries.  Larry worked at RCA’s Broadcast Division in Camden, NJ from 1966 to 1982, where he developed a range of color television cameras and telecine products.  He has 10 patents and published more than sixty papers on camera technology and HDTV imaging. He is a Life Fellow of  SMPTE. He is a graduate of the College of Technology in Dublin and began as a design engineer with the BBC in London.

In 1981, Larry won the David Sarnoff Award for his innovations in automatic studio color cameras.  He received the Montreux 2000 Gold Medal Award for Digital Cinematography, the NAB 2001 Television Engineering Achievement Award, the Society of Television Engineers (STE) 2001 award, and in 2004 the Broadcasting & Cable Technical Leadership Award.

Congratulations, Larry!

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Dariusz Wolski, ASC on AngenZooms

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Darius Wolski, ASC. Photo: Kerry Brown © 20th Century Fox

 

 

Dariusz Wolski, ASC attended film school in Lodz, Poland. Then he went to New York, tried to get a job, worked as a camera assistant and moved to L.A. where he started in music videos, commercials, and movies. His many credits include recently released “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” directed by Ridley Scott. He is currently working on “The Martian” in Budapest. 

2015 marks the 80th anniversary of Angénieux. To kick off the New Year, here’s an interview we did with Dariusz the other day. His comments on working with zooms are very interesting. This is  part of FDTimes’ work-in-progress “History of Angénieux” Booklet. (Last year’s version can be downloaded here — 12 MB PDF.)
JON FAUER: Tell me a little bit about your current job, “The Martian.”

DARIUS WOLSKI: It is directed by Ridley Scott. We describe it as Robinson Crusoe on Mars: an astronaut stranded on Mars  struggles to survive. It stars Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, and Matt Damon. It’s not Sci-Fi. The story is realistic. It’s very interesting; everything the astronaut does is quite feasible. We have consultants from NASA and they say, “You can’t do this; yes, you can do that.”  So our character grows potatoes on Mars and there are attempts to rescue him and so forth.

And you’re shooting this in 3-D?

It’s 3-D, yes.

What equipment are you using?

Panavision equipment and 3ality. Since my early 3-D days, we used RED cameras because of the size. Now we’re using RED Dragons. Our lenses are small Angenieux Optimo zoom lenses, so we don’t have to change lenses to change focal lengths. The biggest problem in 3D is changing lenses, because that takes forever. Basically we devised a system with lots of multiple cameras. This movie has four rigs. On “Exodus” we had five rigs. We have two wide rigs and two tight rigs. That’s why those little Angenieux Optimo zooms are basically indispensible. They are the best thing that could happen for us. We have 15-40 mm T2.6 Optimo zooms for the wide rigs and 28-76 mm T2.6 Optimos for the tight rigs. With that range, we don’t change lenses, which is great. We line up the shot and adjust the focal length.

On “Exodus” we actually went a little bit longer because it was just really a big landscape movie and so we also had a fifth rig that had another set of small Angenieux Optimo zoom: 45-120 T2.8. I was afraid to use longer lenses at first, but when you deal with big landscapes, they actually work pretty well.

Are the lenses in PL or PV mount?

There should be one universal mount for all cameras.

That would be nice. Hah!

And all electrical plugs worldwide should be the same.

Hmm. That may happen when there’s just one RAW format for all cameras.

It’ll never happen.

Back to lenses: on your regular movies, not 3-D, are you also using zooms more than primes? And especially on digital shows?

Not just in the digital world. Using a zoom is just simpler. Even in the film world, I use Optimo short zooms all the time. Why not have a zoom lens that is as small, or smaller, than many primes? Some people have to have a lot of big, heavy equipment, but for me it’s not necessary. When it comes to the quality of the Optimo lenses, they are wonderful.

Of course, you can debate that certain primes made your shot or gave it a look, but, as you know, everything is so sharp these days. Film stocks are sharp, the digital images are sharp, and as long as you treat these zooms well, they’re absolutely beautiful.

It’s surprising we don’t use zooms more often as “variable primes.”

There is a stigma that goes way back to the 1970s, when the earlier zoom lenses came. Some of them breathed, they were not that sharp, not that fast, and during a zoom, they could go out of focus. There were all those issues. It was a very complicated optical thing. Actually there were two stigmas—the first was technical, that the image was not good enough. The other was artistic. The idea of  zooming in and out made people think of television. But when you look at all the great movies, people used zooms. Billy Fraker and Vilmos Zsigmond used zooms in the ‘70s. That’s how it was.

Vilmos was talking with me about using zooms on “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” (1971).

Of course. And then there was this weird notion that you shouldn’t use them. But you can look at it both ways. For example, you can be on the roof of the building, following a car way down below, and zoom out to establish the scene, as Billy Friedken did in the “French Connection,” and many films.

You can make a statement out of it and make the zoom noticeable. Or you can just do it gently. If we watch various movies, most of us won’t even notice whether a zoom was used or not. Using a zoom has become a classic way of telling a story.

Right now you’re using zooms as variable primes?

Yes. Basically it’s a variable prime. But you can a zoom in and adjust the frame slightly during the shot. You can sneak in or out. It holds up, even in 3-D And it totally works.

Do you remember the first time you used an Angenieux zoom?

The first time was probably as a camera assistant, in the ‘80s. I remember putting them into blimps with all those little strips and gears. In those days, of course, using primes was beneficial: sharper, faster, smaller. But there were certain situations, like, when you went outside, where zooms were indispensable.

What about matching the two lenses on your 3-D rigs?

Well, that takes a little work. I don’t do that personally, but we have a great crew. We prepped at  Panavision in LA. And we are supported by Panavision here in Budapest. The reason I use Panavision is that I appreciate their vast network, with their excellent service. When it comes to making movies all over the world, I find that Panavision still has the best service system in the world. They’ll do anything for us. You go to England, you go to Budapest, you go to Australia, you go anywhere, and you’re talking to the same people.

Other rental houses can buy a bunch of cameras. But can they deliver? You can buy 10 cameras and be a rental house, but can you really service a big movie with a lot of equipment changes and additional stuff? That’s why, for me, Panavision is still the best place in the world.

Do you see continued interest in 3-D? What’s the next phase?

I think 3-D’s going to fade out. I initially had to learn how to deal with it, and I love it. Ridley Scott loves it because he enjoys shooting big movies and epics. I think what we do with 3-D is pretty seamless and good. But at the same time, you can show the same film in 2-D and 3-D. I don’t know how really advantageous it is in the end.

On this show, are you shooting full 6K?

No, it’s actually 5K. And the Angenieux zooms cover that image circle.

For you, what’s the difference between film and digital?

Lately we’re seeing a film reaction to the digital world. It’s like, “Oh, digital is not pure, so to be pure, we’re going to shoot film.” I’ve shot lots of film. It’s not like I’m some new  kid on the block; I’ve shot a lot of movies on film, and I love film. But everyone forgot about bad baths on Monday. And things could go wrong. Was it the camera? Was it the lab? Or was it Kodak? Was it the wrong batch? Everyone forgot about those details.

Remember green dailies? What happened? First, fire the cameraman. But then it was learned that some guy fell asleep at the lab. Everyone has forgotten about those stories.

And the dreaded phone call from the lab at three in the morning.

Yes. Racing to the lab early in the morning. Unfortunately, we are losing people with skills to run a film lab. Nobody who is 30 years old wants to be a lab technician any more; they’re all working on their computers, shooting movies on GoPros. Who’s going to be the guy in the lab at two in the morning making sure the temperature in the bath is okay?

Don’t get me get me started on the film vs digital world. I love those last purists who shoot film and they do such a heavy DI manipulation, you wonder where’s the film? Give me three printing lights like we used to do. Then let’s talk about film. It’s a sentimental notion.

What format will “The Martian” be released in?

Widescreen — 2.35:1

And you’re composing that way? Or leaving extra room for effects?

No. We compose the shot carefully. Ridley is quite precise about composition. He is a visual director.

Is there anything you’d like to add about Angenieux?

It’s a fantastic modern lens right now. I mean, their short zooms are revolutionary. If you have to make a low-budget film, you can take one camera, and you can take those two zooms, and you can shoot the entire film with two short zooms. You can hand-hold, you can use them as variable primes. They are practical. That’s how we do our big 3-D movies. But we are pretty much  shooting our whole film with two lenses. The bottom line is that’s pretty much all you need. Unless there’s an effects shot that needs a super long lens or super wide lens. And I think if you talk to every experienced director, that’s what they will tell you.

There’s no mystery to it. I mean, one director will go a little bit longer, some a little wider, but the bottom line is that’s how you tell the story. And those Angenieux zooms have all that range in one or two lenses.

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Three 3D rigs on “Exodus.” Photo copyright 20th Century Fox

 

 

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AJA CION Ships Today

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AJA CION 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD Production Camera Now Shipping

AJA Video Systems’ CION camera is now shipping worldwide. The cameras-to-go picture above is from a recent visit and an upcoming FDTimes article.

CION was designed by people who worked as cameramen. It is ergonomic and extremely lightweight. CION shoots  4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD. It records in-camera to the Apple ProRes family of codecs, including 12-bit ProRes 444, on economical AJA Pak SSD media up to 4K/60p.

CION also provides outputs for AJA Raw HFR at up to 4K/120p. AJA says that CION is the only 4K/UltraHD camera capable of capturing internally to 12-bit ProRes 444.

CION has multiple, simultaneous on-set monitoring outputs. You can choose a combination of 2 x 4K/UltraHD and 3 x 2K/HD or 8 x 2K/HD outputs.

A LAN connection and embedded webserver enables remote configuration and control, and you can set up and control or gang control multiple CION cameras via a standard web browser.

The body is made from a lightweight, strong magnesium alloy and has a contoured suede leather shoulder pad. CION is easy and comfortable to setup and operate.

Using AJA’s Pak Dock, CION SSD media can be downloaded queickly via Thunderbolt or USB3.
Third-party camera accessory manufacturers including Alphatron, MTF, Portabrace, Wooden Camera, Vocas, Zacuto, ARRI and  others have already built  accessories: viewfinders, lens mounts and cases.  Support for AJA Raw has been announced by Adobe and Colorfront. Third party lens mounts are available to let CION use almost any 35mm lens.

Specs

  • Sensor: 4K APS-C sized CMOS sensor with  electronic global shutter. Official spec is 12-stops of dynamic range, but having seen the camera, I would extend that to 13-14 stops.
  • Exposure index: 250, 320, 500 and 800.
  • Gamma: Disabled, Normal, Normal Expanded, Video and Expanded 1.
  • Recording Formats and Resolutions: Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and Apple ProRes (Proxy); 4K (4096×2160), UltraHD (3840×2160), 2K (2048×1080), HD (1920×1080). 2K and HD are hardware scaled from the full 4K sensor for high-quality over-sampled images and retention of field-of-view.
  • Media: Record to AJA Pak SSD media in 256GB and 512GB sizes. Transfer via Thunderbolt or USB3 with optional AJA Pak Dock; Complete 10-bit and 12-bit workflow from HD to 4K.
  • Raw Support: Output AJA Raw via 3G-SDI at up to 4K 120 fps or via Thunderbolt at up to 4K 30 fps.
  • Lens Mount: Industry standard PL mount, removable, with 3rd party mounts available for CanonEF/FD, Nikon F/G-Mount, Leica M, ARRI Bayonet, Panavision and B4 ENG lenses.

Connectors

  • 4 x 3G-SDI/HD-SDI outputs (4K/UltraHD/2K/HD)
  • 2 x 3G/HD-SDI monitor outputs with overlay support
  • 1 x HDMI output — support for 4K and UltraHD or scaled 2K/HD
  • 1 x HDMI output for 2K/HD
  • 2 x mic/line/48v XLR analog audio inputs
  • 2 x LANC control ports
  • 1 x LTC input connector
  • 1 x Reference connector
  • 1 x USB connector
  • 1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
  • 1 x Mini TRS headphone jack
  • 1 x 4-pin XLR power connector
  • 1 x input power connector for attaching third-party battery plates
  • 1 x P-TAP output power connector
  • 1x Thunderbolt connector

Design

• Cover Glass: Optical Low Pass Filter reduces unwanted moiré effects while still retaining  image detail. The infrared (IR) cut filter blocks unwanted light wavelengths.

• Back Focus Adjustment: The mechanical calibration of the flange focal depth (distance between lens and sensor) allows fine adjustments.

• Industrial design: Lightweight magnesium chassis, built-in confidence monitor, standard playback controls and connectors. Integrated “cheese plates” fitted to both the top and the bottom of the chassis provide easy mounting of accessories. All CION accessory connection points use open standards, including 15mm rods, 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes, and M6 Hirth-tooth rosettes.

• User interface: Via operator side panel display, control knob and buttons or via LAN connection using a web-browser; no software installation required.

Watch CION Technical Video, Images Reel, Features Video, and download Technical Notes here.

 

Pricing and Availability

  • CION is US MSRP $8,995.
  • AJA Pak SSD media is US MSRP of $695 (256GB) and $1295 (512GB).
  • AJA Pak Dock is US MSRP of $395
  • Many other AJA camera accessories.
  • To order, see this list of AJA CION resellers.
  • For additional CION information and a full list of features, visit www.aja.com

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Theo van de Sande, ASC on VariCam 35

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While I was visiting Panasonic and the VariCam 35 factory a couple of weeks ago, Theo van de Sande, ASC was shooting a TV Pilot with one of the first cameras. Here are his comments. A full report on the design and manufacturing of VariCam 35 will appear in FDTimes soon. 

JON FAUER: You just finished a TV pilot with one of the first Panasonic VariCam 35 cameras. How did this happen?

THEO VAN DE SANDE, ASC: Between features I have done many documentaries with my wife Michele Ohayon and continue to do them. During a documentary about autistic children we realized that 10 minutes maximum (one 400 ft roll of film loaded in the camera mag) was not good enough to capture the things we were after.

So, for our documentaries, we then switched to a digital HD format while I kept shooting my Features on film. That was a long time ago, around 2000.

The Sony 900 was the first HD camera we used, but I hated tape and switched immediately to one of the first Panasonic P2 cameras when they became available. I found that, although Panasonic was typically a TV company, with a TV-based camera, their cameras at that time could produce pretty good film-like images. That’s why a lot of independent filmmakers started to use the Panasonic camera. The later Panasonic cameras had also a Dynamic Range Stretcher (DRS) function and a very clean AVC-Intra100 compression codec.

Now I jump to now. When I got an offer to do an Amazon pilot with the request–not the request, but the condition–that I only could shoot with a camera 4K or higher–I thought, “Well, that’s ridiculous. So I cannot use the ARRI Alexa which I used lately a lot for my features and TV pilots.”

Couldn’t you up-rez the Alexa to 4K?

They only wanted 4K or more. At first I thought that was a little weird. But then I remembered how much the ASC Technology Committee, in the beginning of the digital revolution, had fought against remarks like “HD is good enough!”

We found that 35mm negative was at least comparable with 4K digital. And we were planning not to stop fighting until we would have a digital format that had at least as much resolution as 35mm negative, meaning 4K resolution.

And now I found myself almost complaining about this “4K or higher resolution” request. Of course, I know that resolution is not the only important factor in good quality image, but it is a start. So after some thought, I was happy with it.

Because the future of Digital Cinema and TV is all going to be 4K and UHD.

Soon the cost of a 4K TV will be almost the same as an HD TV.

Best Buy already sells 4K TVs for under $2000. So, I thought I needed to shoot with the Canon C500 or the Sony F55, Sony F65, or RED Epic Dragon, all systems I had used before. I decided to think about it for a day. That same day I happened to attend the Panasonic 4K demo at the ASC clubhouse. Panasonic showed us the completely new VariCam 4K and discussed how post-production on the set could mostly be dealt with from inside the camera. I played with the camera a little bit, looked at the images on a high quality monitor that was available. I tried out their new “native” low light setting of 5000 ISO, and said, “Wow–somehow this 5000 ISO rating has just given us something very special, with great quality, to use in extremely low light situations”.

The Panasonic reps said, “There is very little noise using this 5000ASA setting and is not comparable at all with the noise that you see when you beef up the gain of other cameras to 5000 ASA.”

I said, “I have to believe you.” But in my heart, I didn’t, because I thought surely somewhere you have to give up some quality for that amount of sensitivity.

The results on the 4K monitor that I saw–and later the demo reel–convinced me that the quality of the image was really very good. And then I thought that I could go wrong as long as the camera runs. And even if certain things were not 100 percent ready, I was going to use this camera because I have had good experiences on all the documentaries I did with Panasonic’s cameras.

And the camera?

This was my first experience with the VariCam 35 camera. I worked with it for seven days. I love the idea of shooting simultaneously in 4K and 2K or proxy inside the camera itself. Immediately, I worked with the 5000 ISO setting because one of our locations was a very dark bookstore in downtown LA. With all the setups we had to do there would not have been enough time to light had we gone a traditional route. Shooting at 5000 ISO was “crazy.” It’s a completely different ball game. Your eyes are not used to it and we cinematographers are not used to it. I had to adapt very quickly to this new, low light level. The producers, director, writer, and Amazon people who visited the set were blown away. It was a very dark location, and what they saw on the monitor looked great.

So, I just jumped into the deep water on my first day. I saw things show up on screen that I didn’t think would be possible. In the interior of the bookstore, a practical lamp of 100 watts at 20 yards away, or even the tally light, would “pollute” the set with extraneous illumination.

I also was confronted with a whole new situation that I did not know of, something called “shot noise”. Panasonic made me aware of it and I researched it a little bit. It’s about the very small amount of photons that hit the pixels. It’s like when you flip a coin 10 times; it’s not going to be five times heads and five times tails. It’s going to be 6-4, 2-8, 3-7, or so, which means irregular exposure, a certain “new” type of noise But if you flip the coin a million times, it’s 50 percent.

The last scene of the production was nighttime at Venice Beach. There was very little light. The shops were closed, but the arches of the buildings were still overexposed, lit by some small fixtures. The palm trees were silhouetted against night sky, and I lit a huge area with just one unit from 100 yards away. The bottoms of the palm trees were lit with the headlights of our camera truck.

Lighting by teamster…

I lit the foreground with two battery-powered LED lights, one daylight and one tungsten, and that’s it. A lot of things were mind-boggling. Of course, we have to control the light in the same way as we always did, only with another approach.

For the night shot at Venice Beach, what was your aperture? Were you wide open?

I had a set of Leica Summilux T1.4 prime lenses from Otto Nemenz, who also provided the cameras and accessories. Yes, I used them wide open, T1.4, 5000 ISO. This was a unique opportunity and we were the first ones to try it. Amazon was really very bold. Almost any other broadcast company or studio would not have let me just go with a camera that wasn’t even on the market yet.

The only thing that I found was–and they have to work on that—a minor detail where the ALEXA has an advantage. ALEXA is what I call a “stupid” camera. Why? Because, if you push the button on an ALEXA, if even a baby pushes the button –with the default Rec.709 setting–you still get a good image out of it. The RED is a different story. The Sony is a different story.

The only time that I had a little problem was during the first day exterior. I used the V-Log (VariCam), but the default Rec.709 setting was not really good. The highlights were too overexposed. We knew how much detail there was in V-Log 4K. The Rec.709 default setting didn’t translate that. It should be more adjusted to the original dynamic range of the V-Log. This was the only thing that gave me (for one day) a little bit more difficulty in working outside in daylight. I made my own “default” LUT.

Did you have a DIT?

Yes, we had a DIT.

I make a lot of frame grabs during the day. At the end of the day, I have sometimes 100 to 150 stills. Then I choose around 10 stills and send them by email to the director, the editor, the writer, the producer, and the post house so that everybody is on the same page and knows what kind of mood I am creating. That way I keep control over my image. It is of course not ideal but it gives you a 75% idea of the mood.

Like using Polaroids in the film days.

Completely the same. Although in film, you didn’t see dailies until the next day. I use the stills to show my look to other people. And to keep consistency. In post, one guy at night might do a color timing and create a different look/mood than the director and I worked on during the shoot. And the editor is viewing mostly very compressed images, and then the director gets used to that image. I want to give them, from the get-go, the correct image. That way I am not the bad guy when I arrive for the final color grading and wind up changing the image that they got used to during editing.

I put all the stills that I’ve taken during the film in the order of the story. I work on my color correction in Lightroom on a big cinema display. When I go to the Digital Intermediate session, I take that monitor with me and let the timer look at my corrected images on my monitor. I’m not going to put it on some one else’s never-never matching big monitor. It saves a lot of time during the DI session and gives you the opportunity to work more on manipulating the images. It’s a lot of work. But it is very gratifying.

In addition to 5000, were you shooting at the regular ISO?

Of course, most of the scenes were shot at 800 ISO. The internal ND filters were very helpful, because they are very consistent. I sometimes used Tiffen 1/8 Black Promists to “soften the digital sharpness.”

You mentioned the 3 data card slots.

This is, in my opinion, genius. These slots are very small. You treat the 4K slot as if it were the digital negative.” You don’t touch that data. You have the SUB recorder slots where you can do all your work.

(Editor’s notes: The VariCam35 is almost a Near-Set Cart in the Camera. It features Double Recording—you can record a clone simultaneously and you can also record lower-rez proxy files at the same time.

The two MAIN recorder slots record 4K/UHD/2K/HD with AVC-ULTRA codecs (HD ProRes will be added) onto expressP2 card and legacy P2 cards.

The two SUB Recorder slots record 2K/HD AVC-ULTRA and Proxy files onto microP2 cards.

There is a fifth card slot for an SD card. This is not for video recording; it is for file management, system settings and transferring 3D LUTs.)

2K/HD is plenty of resolution for editors who normally work on highly compressed AVID DNxHD36 images.

The SUB Recorder slot lets you put almost your entire project on one little microP2 card, and that’s in the camera. You can review scenes or get a letterbox proxy version of the image, and you can download it at the end of the day. It’s lower quality, but it is enough to see your shots and more or less to know the mood.

This SD card is like a video assist system living inside the camera and could in the future be another big game-changer for post-production and on-set viewing.

So, you’re recording to a high-res master and you are essentially cloning copies in different resolutions in camera, in real time. You don’t have to touch the 4K. You download it. By the way, downloading AVC-ULTRA goes fantastically fast.

The camera doesn’t have RAW yet. They are working with Codex. I hope it will not be too expensive. For the 30 super-big budget films that are made in America nowadays, it doesn’t matter. But for the smaller films, like the 5, 10, 15, million dollar films, it counts a lot.

Tell me more about the Summilux-C lenses.

We used the Leica Summilux-C primes from Otto Nemenz. And for zooms, we had Fujinons. I used a new Fujinon 25-300 mm and the 19-90 mm zooms. I also worked with the handheld Fujinon 15-45 mm zoom. These are all great lenses.

What about diffusion?

This pilot was about a 36-year-old ex-supermodel who comes out of rehab after 10 years and still thinks she’s a supermodel, but the world has changed. I had to have scenes where she had to look very beautiful. The camera already produces very good skin tones, but for the beauty scenes I sometimes used the Schneider 1/8 Classic Soft filters.

If you use two or more filters in front of the lens on a digital camera you can get double reflections much more often than with a film camera. The ND filter wheel in the VariCam 35 camera is very consistent and I didn’t have to work with a mixture of IRND and normal ND filters, which are rarely the same That’s a big deal to me. Consistency gives me confidence on the set.

How did you get to use these early cameras?

These weren’t prototype cameras. They were the first ones off the production line. The hardware was ready enough and I promised Panasonic that I was able to work with what was ready in the software. The 2K slot and 120 fps weren’t ready yet. I couldn’t use the VariCam 35 feature that lets you can separate the camera head from the body like an ALEXA-M. I had to use it as one piece. I trusted Panasonic. I had always been an early user of their new file-based cameras.

This has been a fascinating discussion. Thank you so much.

No problem. I’m happy to do this, because your work is phenomenal. I follow FDTimes all the time. Nobody else will go so deeply into a piece of equipment. And it helps us tremendously.

I’m very thankful for somebody who does the research so unbelievably detailed that I can make my conclusions beforehand just by reading your articles.

Thanks. Although this time, you’re the one who did the early research on the VariCam 35.

 

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Hawk V-Plus Vintage ’74 45-90 T2.9

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Hawk V-Plus Vintage ’74 Front Anamorphic 45-90 mm T2.9 Zoom 

1970s Style: Vintage Vantage Advantage 

Vantage introduced their new Hawk V-Plus Vintage ’74 Front Anamorphic 45-90 mm T 2.9 Zoom Lens at Camerimage.

It is one of the few front anamorphic zooms on the market — providing glorious oval bokehs and the ever-popular look of front anamorphic lenses, along with vintage low contrast, flares, aberrations, vintage coatings — all in a modern mechanical housing that works with the latest accessories, matteboxes, and lens controls.

The new Vintage ’74 zoom provides similar performance and the signature ‘70s look of the Hawk V-Lite Vintage’74 Anamorphic Primes. The set includes: 28, 35, 45, 55, 65, 80, 110, and 140 mm Primes, and the new 45-90 zoom.

The new Vintage ’74  45-90 is based on the V-Plus (black barrel) Front Anamorphic zoom. It has 22 optical elements with 32 glass-to-air surfaces. Every surface has been modified or recoated. For more information, check out Vantage’s new web site:  www.vantagefilm.com

Here is the current set of V-Lite Vintage ’74 front anamorphic primes and V-Plus Vintage ’74 zoom:

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Band Pro Expo Spaghetti Western

Amnon presenting Enzo with Frederick Remington's  "The Broncho Buster"

Amnon Band presenting Enzo Castellari with Frederick Remington’s “The Broncho Buster”

The theme at Band Pro’s 2014 Open House and Expo was “Spaghetti Westerns.” The food was Italian inspired. Yes, there was spaghetti. The models in the hay-strewn camera shooting gallery were garbed in Franco Nero ponchos and Italian Western outfits. The center of attention was wonderful Enzo G. Castellari, Director of Keoma, One Dollar Too Many, Seven Winchesters for a Massacre, Go Kill and Come Back, the original Inglorious Bastards, numerous spaghetti westerns, macaroni combat films, and inspiration and friend of Quentin Tarantino.

Enzo graciously signed autographs for a devoted following of admirers at the Band Pro Open House. Amnon Band presented Enzo with a famous Frederick Remington bronze “The Bronco Buster.” An original is in the White House. When Theodore Roosevelt was presented with the statue in 1898, he said, “There could have been no more appropriate gift…” Enzo Castellari said, “But this is in the White House. I am overwhelmed. It is magnificent.”

There were several product introductions at the Expo. Convergent Design showed their new Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorder.  What’s new is 4K/UHD video via HDMI and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) recording.

AJA had a working, pre-release CION 4K/UHD camera that shoots directly to internal ProRes 4444 and should be shipping soon.

Eva Paryzka had the first Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic 30-72 mm T4 2S zoom in the USA.

Thanks to Jacques Lipkau Goyard for introducing Enzo Castellari. Hollywood Reporter reported, “Veteran Italian director Enzo G. Castellari, one of the last of the original Spaghetti Western helmers still working…has a new project planned.” Quentin Tarantino and Franco Nero are expected to star.

An interview with Enzo Castellari at the USC screening of Keoma is coming soon. During the Q&A, Enzo explained how he truly embraced digital filmmaking, allowing him to edit immediately on set and have greater control. He also said he might cast Amnon Band, who he called “a real actor” in his upcoming film project. The nature of the part was not revealed.

Click on first thumbnail below to begin slideshow.

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Canon 7D Mk II and 70D on Broadway

Last week Mark Forman was invited to a Canon Press Event hosted by Broadway star Andrew Scott Rannells (“Girls,” “New Normal,” and as Elder Price in the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon.” He won a Grammy for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for the original Broadway Cast Recording. Other credits include “Jersey Boys” and “Hairspray.”)

The “Canon Bring It” crew supplied cameras to 20 members of the media. Mark was loaned two Canon EOS DSLRs: a 70D and the new 7D Mark II, along with a choice of lenses.

The event covered 3 stops: The Marchesa Showroom, a private backstage visit to the Broadway Play “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and luncheon at the Palace Hotel.

I found the Canon 7D Mark II was better at higher ISO shooting than the original Canon 7D. The video is less noisy at High ISO settings. The 7D Mark II is more like a 5D Mark III except that it uses an APS-C sensor. The dynamic range is essentially unchanged. I liked phase detect focusing which was very accurate in every condition and could also be used in video for less demanding scenes. I still prefer manual focus most of the time when shooting video. JPEGs had a pleasing color. There are two card slots — for CF and SD cards.

I also tried out briefly the Canon 70D which to me is a slightly less-featured 7D and is less environmentally sealed in a less costly body. Maybe a bargain.

Here are some shots from the day. Used with permission from the Canon Bring It Event® New York City.

 

 

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Denny and Otto

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Denny Clairmont and Otto Nemenz at the ARRI Alexa 65 Hollywood Launch.

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BSC Operators Night

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Gibson Hall, the London venue for Operators Night

by Nigel Walters, BSC – President of IMAGO and Vice President of BSC

Operators Night was originally instigated as an opportunity for BSC Cinematographers to celebrate the achievements and companionship of their creative team members. Operators are alive and kicking in the British film industry and this annual occasion is intended as a token of respect and gratitude by the Cinematographers for whom they have worked.

In recent times the event has become a final opportunity for Companies, Cinematographers and Operators to meet before the Christmas celebrations. The venue for 2014 was one of the finest Victorian banking halls in London. Now recognised as a fine banqueting venue, it comfortably seated 240 guests of the Society. However anyone ordering an extra bottle of wine would have needed to be a banker at the cost of £28.

As an indication of the importance of television, the BSC instigated its inaugural Best Cinematography in a Television Award which was duly won by a recently elected member of the Society Tony Miller BSC for his work on the film “Quirke”.

Angenieux Team with Bert Easey Award. Photo: Nigel Walters, BSC

It is interesting to reflect that the first recipient of the prestigious Bert Easey Award was given to the Chief engineer at Denham and Pinewood Studios, George Ashworth, in 1949 for perfecting a beam splitter camera which advanced the technique of the travelling matte process. Much can happen in 65 years.

The Award is still given to an individual or company who has made an outstanding contribution by means of endeavour and equipment. Not for the first time the Bert Easey Award has crossed the Chanel, the BSC Board selection going to Thales Angenieux for the development and production of high resolution lenses. It was received by their President and CEO Pierre Andurand. A previous French winner in 1997 was Jean Pierre Beauviala for his contribution to advancement of camera technology.

The Arri/BSC John Alcott Award was first given in 1986 following the tragic death of the great cinematographer. It is given to an individual who has contributed most towards perpetuating the original aims of the Society. The Award was given to the editor of the British Cinematographer magazine, Ronnie Prince. Under his ten year editorship the journal has grown in international stature, indirectly furthering the aims of the BSC. The Award was presented by Judith Evans (Petty), Head of Corporate Marketing and Russell Allen Director of Operations at Arri.

The Final Award, the ACO, BSC/ GBCT Operators Award for 2014 was voted by membership for Peter Taylor for his outstanding contribution to the success of “Gravity”. It was a fitting end to an evening when the toasts were both to the Operators and the Society.

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Sir Sydney Samuelson proudly showing his suspenders belonging to Richard Attenborough, with Sue Gibson BSC and Wolfgang Suschitzky BSC, born 1912. Sydney and Wolfgang have combined age of 191. Photo: Nigel Walters, BSC

 

 

 

 

 

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Alexa 65 Launch in Hollywood

2014-08-27-ALEXA-65fdtimesThere were gasps of wonder and OMG tweets at the ARRI Alexa 65 screening last night. It was a fitting Hollywood venue for the official worldwide launch of the camera. The 65mm digital camera’s 6K images were projected on a 4K projector in the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy. These were the very halls where it had been agreed a while ago that film would not be replaced by digital until it looked as good–or better. This was better.

I was in the second row. The images were gorgeous and rock-steady. The front rows were the place to be. It felt as if you could reach out and touch the immersive images. Behind me, collective jaws dropped. The audience included Hollywood Technorati, Sci-Tech committee members, cinematographers, and Josh Pines with quick-witted quips.

The evening was introduced by ARRI’s Managing Director Franz Kraus and ARRI’s new co-Managing Director, Jörg Pohlman,  and Martin Cayzer, Head of ARRI Rental. ARRI Rental’s Neil Fanthom presented the technical details, and then he and Dana Ross provided commentary on the demo screenings.

For complete details and specs, please download our free November edition. 

Two new Alexa 65 image formats that I had not seen before cropped up in Neil’s presentation: 1.78:1 and 1.5:1. I would guess that 1.78:1 is in response to 4K dramatic TV production.

And 1.5:1  is virtually VistaVision, a whisker away from 36×25 Leica format (full frame still). Alexa 65 1.5 is 35.6 x 23.8 mm (42.8 mm image diagonal, 4320 x 2880 resolution). This is interesting because if an Alexa 65 were fitted with a Leica M, Canon, Nikon or other still format mount, it would have access to more than 2 Million full frame still lenses out there.

You could almost feel the winds of change in the Linwood Dunn Theater. Here was RAW uncompressed 6K, the equivalent of Walden Pond, compressed through a pipeline the diameter of a straw, thanks to antiquated DCI specifications. If the committee doesn’t draw up new specs quickly, these stunning images will find new homes in new venues outside traditional movie theaters, streamed and downloaded at higher resolutions and bit rates.

Nevertheless, even at current standards, the experience of sitting in front of a giant screen and watching images from this exciting new camera was thrilling. The first cameras go out on productions in January. At least 30 cameras will be built for rental only.

Two of the demo shorts were sensational: scenes of Alpine scenery and portraits of people at the ARRI factory. These were real people, mostly without makeup. The beautiful, high resolution scenes were shot with ALEXA 65’s Hasselblad/Fujinon/IB-E Optics prime lenses, clean, no diffusion or filters. These gorgeous shots should dispel anyone’s hesitation to use 4K-6K for faces.

For slideshow, click on first image below:

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AbelCine 25th Anniversary NYC

AbelCine celebrated 25 years in New York. The place was packed. Seminars, raffles, auctions, demos, and discussions.

The major companies presented their equipment and latest developments. Canon’s new 7D Mk II, Panasonic’s latest VariCam 35, Sony F55 and FS7 and the latest E-mount lenses, ZEISS, Convergent Design, Phantom, and many more.

There were some notable first sightings. Jean-Marc Bouchut showed what I think is the first Angenieux 30-72 sS  Anamorphic Zoom in the USA. It was a working prototype, with deliveries anticipated in the coming months. Superb image, no geometric distortion even at the wide end.

Steve Weiss showed Zacuto’s new EVF: Gratical HD Micro-OLED EVF. Image is sharp, bright, and easy to focus. It’s a very well conceived finder that will be welcome on many cameras, including Canon Cinema EOS, Blackmagic URSA, and AJA CION.

There was a nice memory lane in the showroom with an early Aaton LTR and A-minima — along with many of the first users swapping tales and checking who had the lowest serial numbers.

Video by Mark Forman of 25th Anniversary Cake and Speech.

Food was fine and plentiful. How often do you get superb sliders at craft service? Drinks flowed faster than workflow. Colleagues reconnected faster than an HMI re-strike. Congratulations Pete and Rich Abel and all the AbelCine family, friends, and staff.

Photos below by Canon G7X, 3200 ISO, 1.0-inch, 20.2 MP CMOS sensor. Click on first image for slideshow.