Archive for the 'Filming' Category

29
Aug
17

GF Primo Dolly

Pixipixel are going up in the world!

 

gf promo dolly.jpg

Yesterday I was attempting to hide from work in our camera arch here at Pixipixel Hoxton, when I was distracted by an air of excitement amongst our camera technicians. They were all gathered round something that to me looked like a cross between a NASA Luna rover and one of the Wacky Races cars so I feigned interest and joined the crowd. I’m glad I did because I got introduced to our new GFM Primo Dolly and very nice it is too.

 

My initial assessment stands; the Primo Dolly would not look out of place on an interstellar mission or racing against Dick Dastardly but having witnessed its built in ejector seat perhaps Mr Bond would be a more suitable user.

 

I’ve had a bit of a play and done some research and the GFM Primo is one very nice dolly indeed. With all the features you would expect from a top of the line cinematic dolly and a few extra surprises like its ejector seat, let me tell you a little about it.

 

I will start with steering, the Primo has 3 steering modes, front or rear wheel steering or crab (this is where all 4 wheels turn for sideways movement or turning on the spot etc.) I love crab steering and got used to it on telehandlers in Australia, let’s just say it makes doing doughnuts in a 12 tone forklift easy. To facilitate all these methods of steering a telescopic and inclining steering rod is provided and can be used in four different positions depending on the application. A fifth steering position from the center of the dolly is also available.

You can of course fit the skateboard wheels and then it will run along tracks making steering a tad redundant.

 

Equipped with a multi function turnstile and adapters to allow for a wide range of seating and camera positioning, for example it can handle two cameras and to operators at the same time, or I am told 4 seats, this could be useful come lunch time.

 

Rather nicely our GFM jibs will attach easily to the Primo making a perfect combination for those complex shots.

 

The platform is a solid affair and able to support even the most rotund of crew and has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese, some of these are plain and some threaded to allow for numerous options for mounting various adaptors, light stands, monitor mounts and so on.

 

We have also purchased the optional multifunctional low platform that opens up a swage of options from varying the platform height or increasing the platform size to attaching scaffold tubes for almost unlimited rigging options.

 

But the really good bit has to be the ejector seat, the whole center column is electro mechanical and telescopic giving an adjustable height range from 70cm, (27”) to 140cm (54”) and that’s with the crew and kit riding on it. Ok so it’s not really an ejector seat but it can go from bottom to top in 2.5 seconds if required.

This movement can be limited with start stop positions programmed in and adjustable ramp speeds (how fast or slow it comes to a stop, necessary if you don’t want to spill your coffee) Also these movements can be saved and repeated for CGI applications and so on.

 

As the movement is electro mechanical it does require batteries but GFM have thought this through well too, with a simple plug and play battery solution, the batteries literally just hook onto the side of the column and are ready to go, you could swap them over in the blink of the eye.

 

One final and rather nice feature is the remote control. All the center column functions are controlled by a hand held remote control unit (this comes with a hard wired option too just in case)

 

I will stop there as the technical details are best explained by GFM or one of our technicians, so if you have any questions please give us a call.

 

I have to admit I’m exceedingly impressed with the Primo, its one amazing bit of kit and I know you are going to love using it. My Brucie coolness rating is off the scale on this one at least an eleven out of ten in my book. Now if I could just drive it to work it would be perfect….

 

 

13
Apr
17

ProLights Lumipix Batten

Looking at lights like this makes me wonder if we will soon see the demise of the gel industry altogether. I must admit that I hope we don’t, having spent years learning about CTO, CTB and the ever-amusing oddball amber (162) and seedy pink (748) amongst the plethora of other coloured gels available. I guess we will all get used to dialing in a colour on the back of the lights rather than correcting them at the front with giant sweetie wrappers and no doubt it will be easier, cheaper, and more accurate this way. I can’t help feeling we are likely to lose something of the craft of lighting along the way.

 

Still, far be it for us to stand in the way of progress, so we are fully embracing the new LED technology and it’s minimal need for gel. A good example of this is the new Lumipix batten from ProLights. This is a 12 bank LED light batten with the ability to produce more than 16 million colours without having to use a single sheet of gel. And I thought there were only 7 colours, well that’s how the rainbow works isn’t it?

ProLights LUMIPIX16H LED Batten

Not only will the Lumipix display lots of pretty colours but it will allow you to do all sorts of combinations and effects with them. I feel that this has been designed with the stage in mind rather than the big (or small) screen. They would be perfect for concerts and that type of show with in-built microphones and adjustable sensitivity to allow for music mode where the lights will respond to music themselves. Also full Dmx control is available right down to the individual LED’s so you can change colours and make pretty patterns to your hearts content.

But before you tune out its not only rock bands that can use this, you image-makers may find them useful too. In our world we would think of them less as a disco light and more of an all-purpose flood or fill light.

ProLights LUMIPIX 12 x 3w RGB:FC LED Batten - A

Rather nicely they have a flicker-free operating frequency of 400HZ to allow for relatively high speed filming, and a LCD display user interface so you can play with the settings without having to put it through a complicated control desk.

IP33 protection and a maximum power consumption of 40W will keep the gaffers happy. You folks will also appreciate the minimal 3.2 kg weight and the robust aluminum body designed to disperse heat and also protect the lights.

Interestingly these battens are also capable of being “pixel mapped” This term describes how a bitmap or image can be displayed pixel by pixel on a series of lights thus creating a video screen of sorts. I presume this would be used for displaying simple moving patterns or images.

However, I can’t help thinking that this feature could be employed to make the ultimate big HD screen experience. As each unit has 12 x LED lights, I calculate that 158 ½ units side by side would do one line of a HD display and about 170 thousand units stacked up would complete it. What an impressive screen that would make, being 150metres wide, however, you may have to watch it from outer space. Anyway we don’t quite have enough of them for that and even with the minimal 40 w max power draw per unit it would still draw 6912000.00 watts in total that’s over 30 thousand amps.

As far as specifications go each unit has 12 tri colour High-efficiency CREE LEDs giving a LUX of 1360 @ 1m, the optics give a beam spread of 19 degrees. Several DMX selectable configurations are available (2,4,6,7,9,18 or36) for advanced or basic controlling. A tough aluminum body to aid with heat dispersal and a controllable fan for forced ventilation will prevent over-heating.

Each unit has twin brackets for hanging that can also be used for floor positioning.

A power output has also been built in to allow for up to 10 units to be joined together using the one 230-v supply (less distro required)

So all in all this is a very nicely thought through product with some great features and I will give it a 7 / 10 for my Brucie Coolness Rating, only slipping slightly because its too difficult to ride home with on my bike for parties.

 

Cheers all BB

 

01
Apr
17

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse Mount

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse mount “aka Lucille”

lucille1.png

So although I don’t believe any firm dates have been set yet, those in the know, seem to think that the inevitable zombie apocalypse is just round the corner. Now we here at Pixipixel know that you don’t just want to survive the undead onslaught but being creative types you will want some epic footage to use for bragging rights afterwards. With this in mind Pixipixel are pleased to announce that we now stock the all-new Go Pro Zombie mount.

Ok so bearing in mind that once a date has been set for the apocalypse this is going to get booked up pretty fast. It may be worth having a few practice runs beforehand, this will really help to improve your technique in both zombie slaying and image capturing, practice makes perfect as they say.

lucille2.jpg

So a little about this rugged mount from Slooflirpa mounts, makers of specialist camera mounting hardware. The mount itself is made of rugged, strong and easily wipe-cleanable aluminum. It has a pleasingly strong feel about it and gives plenty of opportunity to vary the angle of the go pro to capture “actual impact” video as they describe it or “combat action selphies”, I’ve found that when set to a mid position both can be achieved in the one frame, useful as zombies don’t seem to want to get up for a second take!

lucille3.jpg

The mount we have opted for is for a baseball bat (splatter bat) and is cleverly attached at the foot of the handle to protect the camera from over spray but not interfere with the bats operation in any way, the full range of offensive blows and defensive parries is possible without any compromise to your technique. The only difference is that all your efforts can now be recorded in mind-blowing 4K on the go pro.

Slooflirpa make a range of zombie mounts to fit all your favorite weapons of choice, from chain saws to firearms they have everything a serious zombie slayer / film-maker could hope for. We decided to go for the Baseball bat mount or “splatter bat” as they describe it for various reasons.

For the initiated in zombie warfare our choice is pretty obvious but for the rest of you who are less used to dispatching the undead or “deadening” them as I like to describe it let me explain our decision.

Firstly although a firearm may be a good option for picking off zombies at a distance they have the annoying habit of running out of ammunition and this leaves you with no option than to use it as a bat anyway and a baseball bat is much more natural thing to swing. Likewise a chainsaw although pleasingly effective can run out of fuel, chain bar oil or ever throw a chain leaving you in trouble. The baseball bat has for those reasons been the go to tool for many a famous zombie slayer for years. It won’t run out of ammunition, fuel or malfunction in the middle of a melee and does add a level of street cred or certain panache to your actions.

Lastly both guns and chain saws make a lot of noise and this has the effect of alerting any local zombies to come and join the party, not always what you want.

Negan and Lucille from the Walking Dead are a perfect example of how to get the most from this hickory, barbed wire combination whilst maintaining your composure, but he is not the first to delight in the baseball bat as a first choice as I’m sure you know. The Warriors back in 1979 liberated a few from the Baseball Furies to help them battle back to Coney island (ok so it’s not a zombie flick, I know!!)and even Dr Zeus penned a poem celebrating the merits of a big bat. Field of dreams had baseball bats, but I fell asleep so don’t know if it ever featured zombies, somehow I doubt it.

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Other famous baseball bat wielders include Jack Nicholson’s wife in The Shining who looks well at home with her Louisville Slugger and more recently we see some outstanding bat work in Suicide Squad in the hands of Harley Quinn. But to my mind Woody Harrelson really captures the humour that only a good old batting of a zombie can produce and he doesn’t even lose his hat in Zombieland.

woody.jpg

Now for the first hire of our latest must have camera mount I think we could throw in a pair of Pixipixel Zombie proof gloves so lets see who’s the quickest off the mark out of you lot.

The all-important Brucie coolness rating for our Splatter Bat is a solid 10 out of 10, it packs a hell of a punch yet feels good in the hand and has more street cred than a Shoreditch hipster on a fixie.

So if this is your kind of thing give us a call and ask for “Lucille”. PS any arrests due to carrying our Splatter Bat will not be accepted as an excuse for late returns and we reserve the right to charge a cleaning fee if returned with body parts still attached.

Cheers all BB

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16
Feb
17

Canon 1DX mark 2

canon-1dx-mkii_option-2_2

This is one blog that I’ve not been looking forward to writing. As a proud owner of a 1DX myself I am gutted that the Mk2 has even been produced to be honest. But as I can’t stop progress, I knew it would happen sooner or later. Inevitably, the Mk2 is better than the original as you would expect.

For those of you in the know, Canon name their cameras in the reverse order numerically so the lower the number the better the camera, hence the 1 series denotes this as Canons flagship model. If I am to be honest I believe the 1DX was a photojournalist’s camera, built to be used every day in whatever environment and whatever weather the operator found themselves in, from the touchline of a rugby match to the fence outside Buckingham Palace these cameras are built to work and to work hard.

We’ve received so many enquiries about the Mk2 that we couldn’t disappoint you any longer. I do love this about Pixipixel, we are a rapidly growing company but still listen to you folks, our customers, and respond to your requests, so keep on telling us what you want.

Anyway on with the blog (and remember this is hurting me more to write than it is for you to read). As I said above the 1DX mk 2 is the new Canon DSLR flagship, it may not have the resolution of some of its “lesser” siblings like the 5DS or 5DR but it has (almost) the ability to shoot in the dark and for me that’s more useful than massive files. I’m pleased to say, that although the pixel count has increased significantly (now 20.2mp) this miraculous ability to shoot using higher ISO’s in gloomy, dull or dark situations is as good as ever, in fact its better.

The Mk2 has improved video capabilities too now allowing for 4k 60p capture, making it a genuine option for you moving image folks. 120p can be achieved in full HD for your slow motion creativity and truly amazing AF tracking keeps the subject pin sharp. A new touch screen allows for easy accurate focus and this works seamlessly with all Canon EF lenses.

1dx-mkii_option1

If shooting faster than a Gatling gun is your bag then look no further, the Mk2 can shoot at 14 fps with full AF / AE tracking or up to 16 fps in live view. This is thanks to the new DIGIC 6+ processors and a new mirror drive system. If you use the latest Cfast 2.0 media then a burst of 170 uncompressed 14-bit RAW images can be captured almost before you knew you were trying.

I find it hard to believe that Canon could have improved the auto focus over the Mk1 but they have. Now with 61 selectable AF points (including 41 cross type and 5 dual cross type) and advanced A1 Servo AF III + and improved EOS intelligent tracking you really don’t have much of an excuse to miss that vital sharpness. Even when you choose to shoot at f8 all 61 points are at your disposal including 21 cross type sensors. She really is an impressive focusing beast. I could take my glasses off and still get everything sharp I reckon.

A built in GPS system with automatic time-zone updates is a neat inclusion (should you ever get lost or lose your watch) and lightning fast Superspeed USB 3.0 and Gigabit connectivity via Ethernet or the optional WFT-E8 WiFi adaptor caters to numerous workflow styles.

Brucie coolness rating has to be a well-deserved 10 out of 10 as you would expect from a Canon top of the line body, as much as the little green monster inside me wants to mark it down I really cant. Ok so I’m jealous because its better than my camera but you needn’t be because we got it in for you, yes YOU so pop in and let your inner paparazzi have some fun.

 

Many thanks BB

06
Feb
17

Arri Master Grips

“It’s all in the wrist,” well that’s what I’ve been told anyway.

Many years ago when I decided to learn to play the drums at school I was told it was all in the wrist, I never could get the hang of it but think that was more to do with having no rhythm so I gave up, then my mum told me it was all in the wrist when it comes to whisking so I brought myself a KitchenAid, in fact I’ve only found one pastime that my wrists seem to help with but we won’t go there in this blog.

Still, moving swiftly on from that I would like to tell you all about one new and exciting use for those wrists of yours, the all new Arri Master Grips.

For years the traditional style cine handgrips have helped firmly support and stabilise a camera on the operator’s shoulder and that’s about it. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has wished that I could turn the wheel on the grip to alter focus rather than having to let go with one hand to do so. Well it would seem the good folks at Arri have been thinking the same thing.

The latest addition to Arri’s ECS (Electronic Control System) are the rather trick Master Grips. They are available in four versions: Right side or Left side and with either a Thumb rocker for super smooth zooming or control wheel for iris and focus adjustment. Our setup allows for the left hand to switch between focus and iris control leaving the right hand to take care of zoom.

image003

We can see this simply as a merging of documentary and cine style equipment allowing for a best of both worlds setup. Particularly when using small cameras like the Alexa mini with its reduced level of user interface, solid cine style grips with documentary style controls are going to be a great improvement in ergonomics.

arri-master-grips-4

When I first looked at these grips it occurred to me that the camera operator would have to become a multi-tasking genius. Not only holding and aiming the camera but zooming, focusing, and adjusting the iris all by themselves, that although possible would be challenging I imagine. I’m happy to say that Arri are one step ahead of me with this. By using the Arri WCU4 controller any or all of the functions can be taken over by the 1st AC so nobody is out of a job just yet.

Built to Arri’s super high standards and based around the proven ergonomics of the much loved Arriflex handgrips the master grips are solid, rugged, and reliable even in harsh shooting environments. Controls are easy to reach yet protected from accidental triggering.

At the moment the Master Grips allow for full control of cine lenses including adjustable motor speed, zoom response and motor limits, they also allow for control of integrated servomotors on ENG and EF lenses.

Featuring easy set up using the integrated touch screens or physical buttons all controls are fully configurable with reassuring status readout on the controls themselves.

arri-master-grips-zoom

I must say the Master Grips are rather impressive.  Arri have done their homework well on these, incorporating everything you would expect and more into a great package, putting you firmly in control whether you are shooting as a single operator or part of a crew. The Master Grips are sure to become a must have addition to your kit list. I’m giving them a full 10 out of 10 for my Brucie Coolness Rating.

So if you want to get you hands on some give us a call at Pixipixel Hoxton and we can arrange for them to be on your next shoot.

Oh and just in case you are wondering what that other use for my wrists is, well fishing, obviously!

Many thanks

BB

arri-master-grips-iris

25
Jan
17

Wind Machines

Well I never for a moment realised how much was involved in a wind machine, or how hard it is to find any information regarding them and their use.

I will provide you all with a simple comparison between a range of the units that we hire. Anyway below is my take on the subject and the technical details.

I guess the most important thing that I have learned regarding wind machines is that it’s not all about power and the amount of air moved.

We need to think about wind machines in terms of spread and power, much like a light.

For example do you want your wind machine to blow the hair of just one model or are you trying to flutter a group? Obviously if you are just aiming at one model then a narrow channel of wind is great but if you are going for a group “blow” then a wider spread would be better.

Power is obvious, the harder it blows the more movement you will get in the subject but control is the key here, what you are looking for is the ability to vary the intensity of the wind from a gentle breeze to a full on hurricane and varying levels in between.

There are other factors to consider such as the method of control; use a DMX or a remote? The size, weight, and the amount of noise it makes during operation need to be thought about in relation to your project.

Also a rapid on or off “bump/gust” feature is useful. For example, in a film scene when a door is opened or closed, a rapid on/off feature would be useful.

And finally, the ability to disperse smoke, fog, fake snow, or dust (normally fullers earth) without destroying the machine is a bonus.

Personally I am a great enthusiast for waving a ½ poly board up and down for most “normal” looking movements in a models hair, its very basic but also very cheap and very effective for a one-off breeze of air. Having said that we are in the business of getting equipment out on hire so lets not recommend that too often and needless to say wind machines are far more consistent and precise and also don’t complain about having aching arms by lunchtime.

Detailed tech specs for our stocked units can be found at the end of this article.

The Bowens units are a “point and shoot”; they are neat and compact and have variable speed but do not allow for adjusting the spread of wind. The basic unit (now discontinued) has a corded remote and its two bigger brothers have wireless remotes.

The Reel EFX Turbo units both have an adjustable spread facility and a burst function, but no remote control.

The Mole Richardson is the big daddy of our range and has a bump function to rapidly increase the power and produce a blast above the set output. A DMX control and an “almost instant-off function” are standard features. It also has an integrated radial-vein collimator that narrows the spread of the wind but can be removed for a wider dispersal. This is the only unit we have that is actually recommended for the dispersal of dust. Exhaust fans from a plant hire store are great for this but are far less controllable.

1. Bowens Jet stream

Power Requirements 120V, 50/60 Hz, 2.5 Amps
Maximum Power 2,500 RPM, 940 CFM

 

1

2. Bowens Jetstream 250

Output at 1 m 8MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 315mm
Width 260mm
Height 260mm
Weight 9.6kg

2

3. Bowens Jetstream 350

Output at 1 m 7MPS
Max Power 240V
Control Cable Length Wireless Remote
Length 390mm
Width 365mm
Height 365mm
Weight 13.3kg

3

4. Reel EFX Turbo 2

Motor: Brushless, AC, Ball bearing

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Controls: Solid state speed control, one touch blast

Weight: 20lbs

Mounting: Floor stand with adjustable tilt and universal mount, C stand, Junior stand

Dimensions: 14″L x 19″W x 22″H

Peak Velocity: (Focused Beam): 20mph at 10ft

Focused Beam: 10 degrees (3.5foot diameter beam at 10ft)

Flood: 45 degrees (8ft beam at 10ft)

 

5

5. Reel EFX Turbo 4

 

Motor: 2 HP Baldor® Premium Efficient 3-Phase

Power: 110 – 125v/4 amp or 220v/2 amp (50 – 60) cycle.  RPM 3450  CFM 2000

Speed Control: Solid-state variable-frequency drive with active silent smart-switching & active power-factor correction

DMX Control: USITT-compliant DMX 512 w/5-pin XLR

Weight: 54 lbs

Mounting: steel floor stand with spud mount

Dimensions: 22″ x 24″

 

7

 

6. Mole Richardson

Construction Sheet, Tubular Steel, 3 Blade Fan, 15′ power cable

Removable 1-1/8″ yoke pin

Rating 110-240VAC or DC, 3.25 Amps, on-off toggle switch on housing side

6″ Rheostat fan speed control switch

Rectifier with capacitor for AC or DC operation

Dimensions Housing: 26.25″ Diameter x 20″ Long (66.6 x 50.8 cm)
  Weight 88 lbs (40 kg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

18
Jan
17

Source Four LED Series 2 Daylight HD

To some of us 1992 doesn’t sound all that long ago but then again I studied George Orwell’s 1984 in 1984 so I guess that makes me very nearly antique (I prefer retro I think). But 1992 is now 25 years ago believe it or not, those of us that can remember back that far may recall the debut of the Source Four ellipsoidal spotlight. It took the lighting world by storm offering 1000watt of power from a 575watt fixture and in doing so earned itself the best lighting product of the year award from Lighting Dimensions International. Over the past quarter of a century the Source Four lights have undergone various upgrades and improvements with the introduction of zoom and par options and so on, but we are now seeing a radical re design featuring LED technology and all the benefits that brings to the game.

So that brings me to the light that is happily sat beside my desk at the moment.

The Source Four LED series 2 Daylight HD, ok so not the most catchy of names but at least it tells you what you are getting. So it’s an LED equipped light with a daylight output and a Source Four Style.

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The advantages of LED lights are now all too familiar, dim ability, long life and cool running being the most notable attributes and this light is no exception.

In addition, the Daylight HD version that we carry operates completely flicker free so it’s perfect for those slow motion shots. Power and DMX (in and through) connections are incorporated allowing for daisy chaining of up to 10 units and a multitude of control options including console free master/slave mode.

Nicely not everything from the last 25 years has been changed. The series 2 lights feature the same size, look, optics and beam angles as conventional Source Four lights. This means that they use the same barrel so all existing accessories can be easily retro fitted.

This is a dedicated daylight light not a Bi colour and as such can deliver colour temperatures from 4000-6500K (daylight).

But the best bit, well in my opinion anyway, is that the cool running LED’s allow for some fun and games. A quick Google image search of the Batman symbol, a printer, and a pair of scissors is all you need to summon your very own caped crusader! Well to make a bat signal anyway, I did it about a week ago and am still waiting for his arrival. Seriously though the ability to insert a home made paper “gobo” without causing a fire opens up many possibilities some of which may even be useful.

Source Fours are available in black, silver, or white. Ours comes in black, naturally.

Source-Four-LED.jpg

For the Bat signal alone I would award this light a high Brucie Coolness Rating but the fact that it’s designed with its predecessors in mind thus allowing for the continued use of existing accessories has to be recognized so lets go with a 9 out of 10 BCR from me.

Now if they launch a BI colour version we are talking a solid 10.

 

 

 




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