Archive for the 'Gadgets' Category

01
Apr
17

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse Mount

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse mount “aka Lucille”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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04
Jul
16

Introducing Genevieve

Now it’s quite an unusual name Genevieve especially in the present day, I don’t think I have ever met one to be honest. I recall an old film about a car race back from Brighton and I happen to know Sainte Genevieve (Saint Geneviève de Loqueffret )is the patron saint of Paris. I didn’t know that she is said to have saved the city from Attila the Hun and an outbreak of ergot poisoning (very nasty) not to mention being appointed as the guardian of the “consecrated virgins of Paris” so the name has some interesting and amusing history but it is still very unusual.

So having said that, I would like to introduce you to the newest Genevieve in London, She hails from Belgium which is very nearly Paris in my book, so it will suffice as a introduction and she is most definitely without any doubt whatsoever UNUSUAL.

 

Now Genevieve is a big girl she is quite heavy, but tall with it and she is delightfully quiet so you can take her home to meet the folks and she won’t embarrass you, but none of that is what makes her unusual. She is unusual, because of her power and she has heaps of it, she puts a 1970’s female Soviet Block weightlifter to shame and without the steroids!

 

Ok, I’ve had my fun and before I put you off Genevive all together, I should point out that she is a truck, a 4 x 4 wheel drive truck and she carries with her a 100kva generator!

 

Yes, Genevieve is our shiny new Mitsubishi Canter generator truck and you won’t find another lady like her in London.

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So lets start with Geneviève’s body, as I said she is a Mitsubishi Canter truck so has constant four wheel drive, high ground clearance, locking hubs, heavy duty axles and off road tires in fact many councils use the Canter as a base for their snow ploughs so she is a tough go anywhere kind of girl. She weighs in at about 6.5 tones so she’s not exactly anorexic and requires a taco (no not as in like a burrito) as in a tachograph! But don’t let that put you off, we can always find a driver if required and a spark (electrician) for that matter.

 

One quick glance inside her shapely rear end reveals the mother of all generators producing 100 Kva at your demand for anything from charging your IPhone to bringing Frankenstein’s monster back to life. With more outlets than Costa Coffee you won’t be short of places to plug into whatever you are using in fact she has:

One each of 125 and 63 amp single phase outlets and a brace of 32 and 16 Amp ones too. If you are after 3 Phase then she is equipped with a power lock and a 125 amp socket. Ok so no USB port but you can plug your phone into the cigarette lighter like everyone else.

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A modest amount of storage is available for kit at the very back but if you need 100Kva then I don’t think this will be enough room for everything you are running still it’s better than a poke in the eye!

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But by far the most impressive thing about this lady is how quiet she is, I had Toby start her up for me yesterday and even with the rear service hatch wide open I swear she made less noise than a little Honda 2Kva generator and they are renowned for being quiet.

 

So if you like your women tall well built, adventurous, powerful and silent then Genevieve is the girl for you. Why not give us a call and arrange a date?

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The only improvement I would make is a huge set of bull bars and a winch but I’ve spent too long down under so ignore me, she is a perfect 10 as Kevin Bloody Wilson would say (those easily offended should not look up Kevin or his music)

16
Mar
16

KOTW Anton Bauer Cine Batteries

Anton Bauer Cine Batteries

Well I’ve been given easier tasks, “do a blog about the new Anton Bauer Cine batteries”. I’m not complaining about doing a blog, or for that matter the rather nice new batteries from the folks at Anton Bauer, but how am I meant to make a battery sound fresh and exciting eh?

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Batteries are one of those things that we need on almost every job but they are often the last thing you think of, sure your DOP often has a favourite camera and specific lens in mind when we get the list to quote on, but more often than not we get a line on the list saying something like “and batteries to suit” or “and 6 batteries”. I have a feeling that once the Cine batteries from Anton Bauer start to make an appearance on your jobs we will start to get specific requests for them.

 

So why would you want these over another battery system?

 

Well for a few reasons actually, firstly and I have to say it’s about time, the new Cine batteries have a large LCD display on each battery showing exactly what percentage of power is available, so a quick glance into the bag and you know exactly how much oomph you have left. I wish all batteries had this feature as I’ve lost count of the number of AA’s I’ve binned that probably had some life left in them or the amount of times I grab my go pro to find its flat because the Wi-Fi button got pressed in my bag and my “charged” spare is flat as a lizard drinking.

 

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This same display changes from percentage readout to remaining time readout in minutes and seconds once you connect it to something.

 

Now talking about connecting they come in either V mount or the Anton Bauer gold mount, we have opted for V Lock here. For ease of operation they also all sport a PowerTap connector to power auxiliary accessories like monitors etc.

 

The other advantage with these new batteries is the reduced footprint making these smaller than the normal offerings from Anton Bauer and hence ideally suited for Arri Alexa mini or the Dragon Weapon or for remote operation on stabilizer rigs, drones and so on.

 

I guess that battery safety is also a big thing at the moment, especially after a Christmas full of exploding hover boards eh. Well Anton Bauer has made some real efforts to make these batteries as safe as can be. They incorporate “fuse link” technology that protects surrounding cells from “catastrophic damage” should anything go wrong. Numerous sensors within the battery line ensure optimal battery performance. These sensors check temperature and over-current states.

 

So if you are in the market for 12 amps of serious 14.4 volt power in either 90 or 150 WH then look no further than the new Cine system from Anton Bauer and to find them. Well as with all the best new equipment you know where to find it, right here at Pixipixel.

 

Now one thing that really impresses me regarding these batteries is that they are backwards compatible, meaning that they will work with our (and your) existing Anton Bauer chargers. This is, in my book a demonstration of great customer service and support and I wish more companies would work like this.

 

Well that’s it folks, sorry I couldn’t make these batteries any more exciting for you, if you want excitement from a battery then put your tongue across the terminals but other than that just enjoy the fact that you don’t have to think about them too much.

Ok so to the all-important BCR. Well they gained points for that wonderfully useful display and their cool look but mostly for the compatibility with existing chargers so I think an 8/10 is a pretty good score especially for a BATTERY!

 

 

Specifications:

 

90WH

Watt Hour 90 WH

Size 11.86 x 9.75 x 10.19 cm

Weight 1.04 kgs

Voltage 14.4 volts

 

150WH

Watt Hour 150 WH

Size 11.86 x 9.75 x 10.72 cm

Weight 1.22 kg

Voltage 14.4 volts

03
Feb
16

KOTW Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5

KOTW-Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5

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Today I would like to share with you a very simple recipe for success.

 

Take one part Arri and one part Transvideo, combine and allow to simmer slowly over a low heat until something tasty appears. That’s it, easy peasy lemon squeezy eh!

 

Well that’s the exact recipe which has produced todays piece of kit, it’s a gourmet offering that should appeal to all and you wont be needing any cutlery for it either because you can use your fingers!

 

I think it must be getting on for dinner time, as I’m obsessing about food again, sorry if I am making you hungry!!

 

So the dish in question is a small monitor called the Starlite 5HD Arri and is very basically the same as Transvideo’s existing Starlite HD5 Monitor that has been very popular since its release, however now that Arri has joined Transvideo in the kitchen it’s got a few extra ingredients. That’s about the end of my culinary similes, I promise but this little screen really is something to feast your eyes on. (Groan …sorry!!!)

 

For those of you not familiar with the original HD5 monitor let me wet your appetite. Firstly and rather unsurprisingly it’s a High Definition 5 inch monitor screen, so it’s about the size of your smart phone but has an advantage over your phone because it never ever rings. It has numerous high-end features including waveform, vectorscope and histogram displays. Power is provided via a mini Lemo2 connector and it will accept DC voltages of anything from 5 – 44 volts. Inputs of HD-SDI and 3G are catered for and the whole unit weighs in at 190g so it won’t ruin you new years resolution to loose weight. (If in fact you are one of the few that are still sticking to your new years resolution???)

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Happily all these features are still available on the new “Arri” version but a healthy pinch of Arri all spice has been added sometime in the cooking process. It now acts as a control for your Alexa mini or Amira allowing for a much more user-friendly interface between you and the camera.

Transvideo say that it is:

“A new concept of human interface” and it “uses the power of the touch screen panel and rids the user of incomprehensible and endless tiered menus.”

The last time I saw an endless and incomprehensible menu was in a Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne (I ended up eating chicken feet of all things).

 

So that in itself is a great feature, particularly thinking of the Alexa mini and its remote operation possibilities on cranes etc etc…..

 

But wait that’s not everything! Do you have room for desert? I hope so, because the chefs from Arri and Transvideo have included one last sweet treat. Onboard H.264 recording for the days rushes to SD cards,  Now that’s tasty!

 

 

The whole thing is incased in a rugged aviation grade aluminum body so its nice and robust as you would expect from the master chefs who created it.

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Now as I seem to have gone down the food line on this one I will change from my normal BCR (Brucie coolness rating) and on this occasion award the Starlite HD5 Arri one Michelin star.

 

Bon appétit  folks

 

BB

14
Jan
16

KOTW-Teradek Bolt Pro 600

Teradek Bolt Pro 600

Ok so I’m old!!

Old enough to remember having to actually stand up and walk to the TV to change channels, my “remote controlled” toy truck had a cable running between it and the controller and I am told even I was kept on a lead for my first few years. So yes lots has changed since I was a lad, I’ve been let off the lead now and my toy truck is now a drone, however I’ve lost the control for the TV so I still have to get up to change channels and cant get Teletext anymore.

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What I am trying to get to is that things have changed a lot since those days and leads are becoming a thing of the past!

Ok, so yes I am telling porky pies again. One glance under my desk here or at home behind that TV proves that leads are certainly not in decline; in fact I think they are getting more of an issue than ever.

With this in mind any leads that can be removed is good thing in my book and this is where the Teradek Bolt 600 comes into play.

So what is this box of tricks then and how will it help me go cordless?

The Teradek Bolt Pro 600 is a pair of fairly uninteresting looking black boxes adorned with more aerials than an outback Ute and is used to transmit video cordlessly. Now speaking of those Utes down under, they have lots of large aerials because radio waves tend to get tired halfway across the Nullabor Plain and if you want to keep listening to Cold Chisel or conversing on your CB Radio then you need something big to pick up the weak signal, failing that you have to kick the v8 in the guts and head into town and that could be 100 miles away.

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(A brace of “Mongrel V8 Utes” doing an impression of the Bolt 600 at the Deniliquin Ute Muster one of Australia’s major cultural events for “Bogans”)*

 

Anyway I’m off on one again so back to the Bolt, it’s a HD-SDI Video transmitter / receiver set and allows for the transmission of video from a camera to a recording device or screen etc. It can do this in real time (<1 ms) and the really impressive bit is it can do this to a range of 600 ft (line of sight), hence the big aerials, much the same as the Aussie Ute big aerials = good transmission and reception.

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So this means that the camera operator is not “tied” to the monitor and hence has more freedom to shoot, and one less cable to trip over.

 

Ok so this is nothing new, Teradek has been producing kit like this for a while now and the 600 sits nicely between the Bolt Pro 300 and the pro 2000 units with an impressive increase in range over the 300.

 

Technically, the transmitter accepts HD-SDI input and the receiver outputs HD-SDI and USB 3.0 video and audio. A small OLED display and joystick control on the receiver allows for easy set up (less than 6 seconds I am told). As far as power is concerned there are numerous options but our camera department will take care of that side of things and get you the correct set up sorted depending on your application. Up to 4 receivers can be used with the one transmitter allowing for everyone to have a video feed, from the focus puller to the client.

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So this won’t exactly remove all the leads and cables from your life, in fact its really only going to remove one, but it’s a big one a BNC cable 600 ft long! Now that rates a half decent BCR of about 7/10 from me

 

Just for fun BNC stands for “Bayonet Neill-Concelman” after its inventers Paul Neill and Carl Concelman, it was originally designed for military use but has never been a “British Naval Connector” so feel free to correct people.

 

Cheers folks BB

* :www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/bogan

An uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status: “some bogans yelled at us from their cars,”  “my family are culinary bogans.”

11
Jan
16

KOTW Arri / Cforce mini lens motor, AMC 1 and WCU 4

Arri / Cforce mini lens motor, AMC 1 and WCU 4

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Ok ,so we are all familiar with the remote follow focus concept by now I would hope?

Basically a number of small electric motors controlled by a wireless transmitter attach to the side of the lens allowing for remote adjustment of focus, zoom and iris. This is a great system for remote operation (on a crane or drone etc) or just to have less people crowded round the camera. So what’s new and exciting about the latest version of this system, that we have just blown several grand on?

 

Well firstly being made in a collaboration between Arri and Cforce it’s going to work and perform beautifully as you would expect just like the older systems from this team, so why the investment?

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The new motors are smaller and lighter than the older style ones, they also have increased torque for larger lenses and impressive speed of operation. Each motor is equipped with twin LBUS connectors to allow for “daisy chaining” up to three units together.

 

Direct compatibility with the Mini Alexa hints at their intended purpose (remote operation) but they can be used “independently of the camera” on any system with the addition of the AMC 1 (brain).

 

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(The AMC 1 “brain” is required to use this system on cameras that are not directly compatible).

 

We hire these out as a kit including three motors, the AMC 1 brain and a WCU 4 wireless control unit to remotely operate everything, oh yes and leads, batteries etc etc.

 

I think I may as well tell you a bit about the WCU 4 controller while I have your attention as its quite a bit of kit in itself so two for the price of one on this blog, lucky you eh!!!.

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The WCU 4 is a compact three-axis lens and camera controller with an impressively lightweight of approximately 780g. Equipped with a backlit focus knob, a transflective 3” display and vibrating focus markers it’s easy to use in any lighting condition and full splash proofing allows for the UK’s damp climate.

Full personalization of its features is available and this can be saved to an SD card for future use.

 

We also have the license that enables full Alexa remote control via the WCU 4 giving you control over everything from frame rate to false colour settings and all without going near the camera.

 

I can’t help thinking I could rig this system up to my fishing rods for those rainy days and reel in from the shelter of my car, now that would be cool eh!!!. Trouble is I could buy an awful lot of fish for the cost of this system so perhaps it’s a non-starter.

 

This is a cool improvement on an already very cool system so I have to give it at least an 8/10 BCR and it deserves it too with all the new features and the reduction in size and weight too.

That’s All folks for now

BB

06
Jan
16

KOTW-Freefly Mimic

Freefly Mimic

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Now I am going to start this blog with the BCR (Brucie Coolness Rating) and I’m awarding this a 10/10.

 

That seems a lot for a carbon fiber pole with a couple of bike grips stuck on the end granted, but I have not seen a stick this clever since the last Harry potter movie or when Gandalf had a fight with the Balrog.

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Now to describe it as I just have, is somewhat mean as this “stick” has a bit more to it than is first apparent, much like Mr Potter’s wand or Gandalf’s staff. Now this may not be enchanted as such, but it certainly gives its holder some astonishing special powers!!!

Made by Freefly (the folks behind the movi stabilization system) the Mimic is essentially a remote gimbal controller, designed to be used wherever you choose to deploy the Movi rig itself.

It’s far more than just a very nice carbon fiber rod with bike grips, it has a small “brain” attached, that interprets any movement that you impart into the rod and transmits this to the Movie rig which then recreates the movement at the business end of things. It’s a more intuitive method of controlling the camera movement than a standard RC unit with joysticks etc. (even if it makes you look a little like a landlocked water-skier)

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With a working range of 1200ft, distance to the camera wont be an issue, you probably wont even have to get out of the car. We supply our Mimic complete with a 7 inch Samsung Galaxy tablet so you can see what the camera sees even if you can’t see the camera. This could be considered the world’s most advanced selfie stick I guess.

Using the Mimic does not limit the functions of the Movi rig at all, every mode offered by the movie can still be used with the Mimic and the whole thing communicates and operates in real time giving you no delay whatsoever between controller, gimbal and camera.

 

That’s about it, I’ve already done a blog about the movi rig so I won’t get too involved again with that, suffice to remind you that it’s an excellent camera stabilization system and now with the introduction of the Mimic it’s just got even more fantastic.

Cheers BB

 




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