Archive for the 'Kit of the Day -KOTD' Category

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

 

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.

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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

11
Dec
15

Day 3 of Brucie Bloggers Christmas List

 

winter-penguin-clip-art-free-316624Day three!

This is more fun than trying to open one window in the advent calendar without spoiling tomorrow’s surprise of another Cadburys button aint it? What do you mean no?

This one is a great bit of kit and reminds me of War of The Worlds by HG Wells what do you think?

8          Progear 9420 Work light

Progear 9420 Work Light

I think I just fell for the look of this work light. I’m a typical bloke and love a good torch and this one almost fits into the torch category and besides I don’t have a work light that works anymore so it would be useful for BBQing at night, marking a landing site for my drone, rolling cigarettes in my tent at festivals, shadow puppet shows and so on, in fact anything except work!!!

progear worklight.jpg

 

Thank You Mr Wells  BB

Christmas_presents_2416800b

04
Nov
15

KOTD-Phaseone Xf Camera system and IQ3 series back.

Phaseone Xf Camera system and IQ3 series back.

Possibly the best thing to come out of Denmark since the Lego brick!

XF & IQ3

Ok Denmark doesn’t exactly make me think of great inventions but over the years they have had their moments, Lego, the dry cell battery, the loudspeaker, magnetic storage and somewhat less appealing but none the less important (if you need one,) the ostomy bag. But this list just grew with the latest offering from Phaseone and its so good it may challenge Lego as the Danes best yet!

As far as new bits of kit go this latest offering from Phaseone has to be amongst the most eagerly anticipated arrival we have had for quite some time.

I am very pleased to announce that it has landed here at Pixipixel and since its arrival has been almost continually out on hire.

Often, new equipment does not entirely live up to expectations but the XF body and new IQ3 350 back have proved to be every bit as good as the hype leading up to their launch claimed they would be.

We all know that Phaseone make fantastic equipment and they have been amongst the leaders in high-end medium format stills photography for quite some time now, but with the release of their new flagship model I feel that they have secured top slot in this area and the rest of the manufacturers now have a bit of catching up to do.

So what’s new and what’s worth getting excited about?

Well how about 80 MP resolution, 14 stops of dynamic range, perfect 16 bit colour and 60 min exposures to start with? If that doesn’t make you sit up and take notice then I give up.

Phaseone have packed in some rather nice features for the photographers amongst us this time and also seem to have taken a holistic approach to the whole workflow of stills shooting.

Released in conjunction with the new system is an upgrade to Capture One allowing for seamless control and customization of the new XF body and IQ 3 series backs from your computer. Using USB 3 tethering the images captured appear (fully rendered) instantly onto your laptop.

The XF body has undergone some changes too with the removal of “hard coded button and dial functionality” or to put it another way all the buttons and dials can be programmed separately to do your bidding. The grip has an all-new 1.6” transflective touch screen display that cleverly stays legible no matter what the ambient light is doing.

This touch screen interface is continued onto the rear of the new 3 series backs with a touch sensitive 3.2 “ retina display. Phaseone call this blending of touch screens and intuitive controls “One touch UI” and it is designed to make life easier for you (the photographer) Phaseone claims that the controls are so simple that you will feel at home within moments of getting started. One great example of this is a “one tap” to 100% image review (that’s a simple but fantastic idea)

XF2

Rapid and accurate auto focus is here and seems to work superbly all be it with only central auto focus points (remember that, holding down the shutter and re-composing)

Hyperfocal point focusing is offered with the ability to remember the sweet spot of your lenses and jump straight to them next time, This is an absolute boon to the landscape people amongst us or anyone who wants to get the absolute maximum depth of field and so on.

A re-designed light metering system (zone metering) has been incorporated and rather wonderfully it works even when using a waste level finder (something that hasn’t been offered before).

Full backwards compatibility for all Phaseone IQ backs is offered so don’t just ditch your IQ 250’s etc as they will still work on the XF.

xf3

I could go on and on but you can visit the Phaseone web site if you are just chasing tech specs, I’m here to make you want to hire it, and with a price tag of about 40 k euros then I don’t suppose many of us have any other option anyway, unless you want to sell both kidneys that is, if you do the Danes have a bag that may help.

Oh and as far as the Brucie coolness rating (BCR)goes this one is off the scale, it’s uber-cool, icebox, 12/10 etc. Yes I like it, yes I want one and no I shall never be able to afford one let alone be good enough to need one. Still it’s nice to dream isn’t it?

So pop in and have a look at Denmark’s greatest ever invention when you can and see why it puts Lego firmly into second place.

Sorry think we may have to make it Denmark’s 2nd best invention I just read something about the yeast for Carlsberg……..Cheers BB

Full backwards compatibility for all Phaseone IQ backs is offered so don’t just ditch your IQ 250’s etc as they will still work on the XF.

02
Nov
15

KOTW- Arri SkyPanel

Arri SkyPanel

“Come on, come on hurry up Harry come on.”

What a great song from the old punk rockers Sham 69 that is and how remarkably apt it has seemed for the last few weeks, well in my head anyway.

Ok so I may have been singing hurry up ARRI but it sounds the same to me.

I’ve been hanging for Arri to deliver our new stock of Sky Panel LED soft-lights and I’m delighted to announce that they have now landed here at Pixipixel.

skp2

Now before you tune out, yes they are another LED panel soft light, but this time they have had the Arri treatment so I have been intrigued to see what their take on a LED panel will be like and not surprisingly they have NOT disappointed me.

skypanel2

Arri say that the new SkyPanel delivers “unsurpassed power and quality” now the build quality is not in question as Arri make great kit and I have no reason to think that the SkyPanels will be anything other than beautifully manufactured.

However quality can be measured in many different ways and until this point I have had build quality in mind but we also need to think about the light quality (well you wouldn’t buy a Rolls Royce that didn’t drive just because it was well-built would you?) Well again the SkyPanel has all the quality you could wish for as far as light is concerned. The buzzwords here are even and uniform and that’s exactly what these lights produce. Designed as a soft light they live up to their brief, perfectly producing a pool of uniform beautifully soft light at whatever colour temperature you fancy from 2,800 k all the way up to 10,000 k (most LED panels can only go from 3,200 k to 5,600 k) Furthermore full plus and minus green, vivid colour selection and saturation adjustment are all easily changed to your liking by using the simple controls on the rear of the unit.

Light quality can be measured using various acronyms such as CRI, CQX or TLCI (if you use any of these then you will know what they mean if not then it doesn’t matter) and the SkyPanel gets top marks for all. In fact Arri say that the Sky Panel excels in precise colour temperature settings, natural rendition of skin tones and accurate colour reproduction all of which are important.

Size is important (don’t tell my other half but it is) and as we all know bigger = softer and that’s why Arri have made the “light aperture” as large as possible on all SkyPanels. Also the front diffuser can be simply swapped out to vary the amount of diffusion from heavy to light. Arri also say that they will roll out further accessories in the future so I would expect honeycomb grids and so on to become available in due course.

sp1

Now what does beautiful light produce? Beautiful shadows that’s what and the SkyPanel gives remarkable soft single shadows with no colour fringing or multiple edges and that’s just what the Doctor ordered from a soft light.

sp4

Power is not going to be a problem, with the SkyPanel banging out more lux for your bucks than a 2 kw tungsten soft light or a 6 kw tungsten space light this panel has enough oomph for most applications but importantly also performs wonderfully at lower light levels.

Another great feature, especially for us technologically challenged folk is the easy and intuitive user interface (controls to you and I) with just three knobs to control everything you won’t waste time trying to figure out how to make changes or adjustments. Having these controls permanently on the unit is a bonus along with a large clear display so you can see what you are doing but should you wish to hang the panels out of reach then full DMX or even LAN network based control is also catered for.

sp5

I also appreciate the built-in battery input that allows for industry standard batteries to power the SkyPanel thus allowing you to go walkabout without the need for generators or miles of lead. The S60 can be run at 50% of its total power when using batteries.

Lastly I should draw your attention to the remarkable slimness of these units. Measuring a mere 130mm in-depth they can be tucked up against a wall or squeezed into other tight positions but still produce an astounding amount of beautiful quality light, this would be impossible to recreate using conventional lighting fixtures.
L0.0007064_b

Overall I must say I am impressed with the SkyPanels, they seem to live up to the hype and I am sure you will like them too. My BCR is a firm 9/10 so why not give them a go, if you’re quick enough that is because they won’t be gathering any dust in our warehouse that’s for certain.

ARRI_SkyPanelLED-lighting_789_548_70_s

Now just to round off this blog as I started it by using some lyrics from Sham 69.

“We’re going down the pub” cheers BB.

skypanel t shirt

How splendid would I look down the pub in an XL one of these??????? :0)))

29
Oct
15

KOTD- Zylight F8-B UV Fresnel

Zylight F8-B UV Fresnel

zylight1

We have a nice new LED Fresnel addition to our inventory this week and it should appeal to a fairly eclectic mix of folks this time.

Uses include but are not limited to: counterfeit bank-note detection, scorpion surveillance, air conditioning maintenance, nail curing, body fluid detection, disco ducking, prostitute glamorization and night-time golf playing.

Oh yes and photography / cinematography too.

I would think that most of you would have guessed by now that I am talking about a UV or Black light fixture this time and you would be correct but you have never seen one like this before.

UV1

So I’ve seen CSI using UV lights to detect unsavory stains (think I’m old enough to remember Quincy doing much the same) also I look dodgy enough for shops to scan my cash and I’ve stood at the edge of enough discos, watching badly selected undergarments fluoresce through unexpectedly transparent outfits to be familiar with the obvious uses for UV lights. I have even been to Amsterdam and seen the “ladies” in the windows in their exceptionally bright white lingerie and I think this may be the optimum use for our new Zylight UV Fresnel.

Why would this be my optimum use? Well quite simply because the Zylight has enough throw that you could illuminate the Netherlands ladies of the night from across the canal (a much safer distance in my book).

All joking aside this really is an impressively different LED Fresnel and not only because it’s UV but let’s start with that anyway.

I didn’t realize that there is more than one type of UV light. However much like the difference between tungsten and daylight there is, but it’s all about the wavelength this time. Most UV or Black lights produce UV light ranging between 385-400nm, but what you really need is 365nm and that’s exactly what this Zylight gives you and nothing else. This means that 100% of the light emitted is what you want and nothing is wasted. We like that, as camera folks don’t we.

The beam produced by the F8 is highly adjustable and has a surprisingly long throw (up to 120ft), a bellows style arrangement allows for the light beam to be focused and its spread to be controlled from 16-70 degrees and I believe it’s the only light of its kind that allows for this. Furthermore it produces approximately four times the brightness of a traditional 400-watt Fresnel black light whilst only drawing about a quarter of the power so it’s not only Ultra Violet but its green too!

Being an LED fixture it runs silently with passive heat control and no fan to worry about, Has completely flicker free operation and is fully dimmable with no effect on its CRI and so on.

zylight3

Professional features come as standard such as, full DMX control, decent weather proofing to IP54 that will help with the soggy days ahead and a high contrast OLED display on the rear helps you know what’s going on.

However what I really really like about this light is its ability to quickly and simply pack down to only 4 inches thick and that makes transport and storage a doddle, as does its weight of only 4.3kg.

8923_F8_Model_Back2-200x200

Lastly being a LED and drawing only 100w max it is ideally suited for battery operation and this hasn’t escaped the folks at Zylight, a 4 pin XLR input allows any 14.5 volt battery to provide the power (this may cause a problem as we have 3 and 5 pin systems but no 4 pin ones having said that if you need we will look into getting one)

This is a very cool light in my book, granted it’s a bit specialist but its been really well made and Zylight have obviously put some serious effort into the design so I will reward them with a BCR of 9/10 (as normal with the arrival of free t-shirts in XL this can be increased to 11/10)

Cheers and happy “disco ducking” BB

Specifications 

Optical Dimension

8″ Round traditional Schott glass Fresnel lens [203mm]
Size 15″ x 12.6″ x 4.6″ [382mm x 319mm x 97mm]
Weight 9 lbs [4.3Kg] w/ Yoke
Power Requirement 10-20 VDC
Energy Consumption 100W max. [8.0A @ 14VDC]
Power Input Plug XLR 4-Pin
AC Power Supply 120 – 240V AC, 50/60Hz
Beam Angle 16°- 70°, Variable Spot-Flood
Method of Focus Rear knob. Continuously variable. No modifying lenses needed
Dimming 0-100% (13-100% using ZyLink Remote)
Cooling Passive/Silent
Operating Range  -20 – +40 C
Electrical Option  Worldwide AC power supply, 14.4VDC (8 AMP) battery powering
Wireless Channels 10, User Selectable
Assembly Materials Machined aluminum and high impact plastic
Calibration Factory
IP Rating 54
Variable Refresh Rate (PWM) 11.8 KHz
LED Life 50,000 hrs. min. (quantum dot powered)
Flicker Free up to 5,600 fps tested (Full brightness)
DMX Channels CH1- On/Off, CH2- Brightness (0-100%)

Wireless Frequency               2.45GHz

02
Oct
15

KOTW-Broncolor Beauty Box 65

Broncolor Beauty Box 65

bb65-3

A main stalwart of the fashion photography industry for many years has been the beauty dish, it has served us all well and helped create some wonderful images the world over but it has seen precious little in the way of improvement since its introduction. Yes we now have the choice between silver or white and the Mola arrived a few years ago if you want a beauty dish on steroids then it’s great but a little bulky but that’s all old news.

So when I was asked to quote on a “Beauty Box” the other day my first reaction was to snigger and if you say it with an Australian accent then it comes across as something quite vulgar. So once I had got over my schoolboy amusement I did a bit of research.

It turns out that our innovative friends at Broncolor have indeed made a Beauty Box and it looks pretty good, as you would expect from Broncolor.

I guess the easiest way to describe it is a cross between a beauty dish and a softbox but it goes a bit further than that.

So to give it its full name the Broncolor Beautybox 65 is essentially an octagon shaped soft box with a diameter of 65 cm. the inside is a “dull white” to prevent the classic double shadow often produced by beauty dishes.

bb65-1

It has a reversible internal counter reflector in white / gold and also a translucent white one. As with all beauty dishes this counter reflector blocks direct light from the head falling onto the subject and reflects it back into the parabolic inside face of the dish before it gets to do any “lighting” the result is a beautiful soft, wrap around light. The ability to switch the reflector from white to gold allows you to slightly warm the look and the translucent reflector allows for a portion of the light to fall directly onto the subject giving you the “best of both worlds.”

bb65-5

As you would expect a front diffuser is also provided to soften the output even more and Broncolor claim that with this on the output is very similar to an Octabox.

A fabric grid is available from Broncolor but we will need to save up for one I’m afraid.

So all in all this sounds like a new take on the beauty dish and as normal Broncolor seem to have really put some thought into it, creating an exciting new product in its own right rather than just making a collapsible version of what’s already on the market.

That brings me to the last aspect of this that I am yet to mention but that I feel will prove to be a real winner it’s the fact that it is collapsible and hence ideally suited for travel / transport. I have spent many an hour trying to encourage beauty dishes back to the right shape after some hires and they do seem to get a hammering during transport in particular if not treated with care. The Beautybox however will pack down to a small size and that will allow you to pack it easily and safely even for air travel.

I’m also very interested to see what Urs Recher (from Broncolor) does with it. If you don’t know of Urs yet then you need to look him up as he can do things with light that will make your mind boggle and he is a jolly nice chap too.

Well I wrote that about a week ago when I ordered it and it arrived this morning so I’ve had a quick play. My first impressions are good, it’s a well made quality product that fits together as precisely as an Ikea drawer unit (but much quicker) and packs down into its own bag without having to remove the rods, I like the look of the translucent counter reflector and am interested to see the effect this has in a nice portrait, so who’s going to be the first to try it?

Perhaps my new friends at Shoot Group who deserve a mention having liked one of my insane duck related ramblings.

@weareshoot #FF

Cheers

BB




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