Archive for the 'KOTM- Kit of the Month' Category

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.

drzuess.jpg

harleyq.jpg

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

sh9inning.jpg

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

15
Dec
16

Chroma Q Space Force

Let’s start this blog with a little question,

What has Britain’s Got Talent, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Welsh National Opera, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, Stereophonics, Michael Buble and The Eurovision Song Contest all got in common?

Some of you folks may have guessed it’s something to do with lighting and you would be correct, no prize however as with this being a blog about lighting it wasn’t really hard to work out, was it?

So yes all the above artists have recently used lights by Chroma Q to add some light to their performances

Chroma Q have been producing high quality lights since the mid 1990’s and launched into the LED market in 2004.  They have a good reputation for producing award winning premium LED lights for concerts and theatre productions, retail and leisure, museum installations, exhibitions and so on.

Today I want to draw your attention to the nicely named “Space Force” soft light.

This latest offering from Chroma Q is a rather nice take on the good old space lights but now in LED form.

It only seems like yesterday when the LED lights made their debut on to our photographic world but we are already getting so used to them and the many advantages they offer us in the production side of things. It’s hardly necessary to explain the cool running reliability of LED’s or the 100% dim-ability and full colour temperature adjustability from 2800 – 6500k, so I won’t, but suffice to say the all new Space Force from Chroma Q has all of this.

Space lights are designed to flood large areas with lots of lovely uniform soft light and to do this they often have to be quite powerful and hence tend to run rather hot.  Historically they also require diffusion, usually in the form of a softbox or lantern.  Also as they tend to be pointed straight down heat can be an issue, only some lights are able to do this without “cooking” themselves. Rather nicely the Space Force produces an output of up to 26,700 lumens roughly comparable to a standard 6k fixture and without any form of extra cooling required they won’t cook themselves even if pointed down and with no fan required they run (almost) silently.

Diffusion is built in as with most LED fixtures so you don’t need to add anything else (we do have an egg crate and a lantern available to fit if you need). In normal operation (without the egg crate) it will give you a 60-degree beam angle.

Best of all (well as far as our drivers are concerned) its only 8kg in weight, so it’s easy to handle for its size, our unit comes with a yoke for mounting but also has options available to hang or stack numerous lights together.

pic4

Full onboard controls are on the rear of the unit allowing for complete stand-alone operation and just in case you need it full DMX control is also catered for.

Other nice functions include a “focus” button that causes the unit to revert to a pre-set intensity for when you need to check your focus (ok I had to look this up as focusing a space light seemed a bit of an oxymoron), 2 useful memory functions are available allowing you to “store” the settings on the light for recalling later.

Don’t be fooled by the name Space force or the term Space light, yes this is a space light but its far more use than that and can be put on a stand and used horizontally as a lovely simple soft light. All of our units are fitted with a yoke to allow for this sort of operation.

pic5

So in summary this is a lightweight, cool running, quiet and yet very powerful space light all of which make it an attractive alternative to the regular units. With impressively high CRI figures (up to 97) and a fraction of the energy consumption of the non-LED equivalent light (331w at 230V) it’s sure to be a winner.

The Space Force has already won an award at the Cine Gear Expo Technical Awards coming in first place however, I bet they are hanging on my BCR score, so here it is, 8 out of 10, that’s one point for each side as it’s an octagon, it’s a polygon too but that’s something to do with a missing parrot so I won’t go there.

Oh and we have forty of them ready and waiting for you so don’t look any further than Pixipixel, no matter how big your lighting needs are.

22
Nov
16

KOTM – Matte Boxes

Matte Boxesmattbox

 

Hi, folks, today I want to talk about Matt Boxes and before I get started I must admit that they are something that falls right into a gap in my knowledge. Being a stills kind of guy I am used to using lens hoods to avoid lens flare and apart from using the correct one for the lens there really is nothing much to learn about them, however, as normal the moving image world is somewhat more complicated. Luckily I have an entire department of camera wizards to help me out so I thought it was about time I got myself educated in this important accessory.

 

So firstly a Matte box is used for much the same reason as a lens hood, and that is to stop unwanted light from hitting the front of the lens and causing issues such as lens flare, they differ from photographic lens hoods but essentially do the same job. Matte boxes tend to be more generic than lens hoods that are generally lens specific. This is an advantage as you only need to lug around one matte box for all the lenses on a job as opposed to carrying a different lens hood for each and every lens that may be used (I always seem to forget the lens hoods when I pack my equipment and then need to find room for them which is a pain as they are bulky, fragile and certainly not cheap for a plastic tube.

 

The first thing I notice is that matte boxes are not circular as lens hoods are but are oblong (my mission to revive the word oblong as it’s so much better than a rectangle). This is due to the matte box being a generic hood designed to fit a multitude of lenses as compared to a lens hood that can be manufactured to an exact field of view for the lens in question.

They also tend to have adjustable flaps on the front edge just like a set of barn doors on a light. These are known as French Flags or occasionally French Flaps (I prefer flaps as I think it’s an Australian expression). Now don’t start, French flaps is actually a bookbinding term originally and not rude at all. They allow for more flexibility to block light than the fixed form of a lens hood, this is necessary when the one box is to be used with many different lenses.

 

The other main difference between hoods and boxes is that matte boxes are designed to hold filters. Us stills guys tend to screw our filters directly onto the front of the lens and if we need more than one we stack them together sometimes causing vignetting, Cinematographic filters tend to be larger and square or oblong in shape allowing for multiple amounts to be used without this problem arising, they are inserted into slots or trays in the matte box itself.

 

Now we can separate matte boxes into a couple of types, clip on being ones that attach directly to the front of the lens and others that attach to a rod system. For those uninitiated in the cinematographic world, a rod system is literally two metal rods that attach under the camera and offer support for accessories such as batteries and of course matte boxes. The clip on matte boxes are light in weight and normally have fewer filter slots than the rail system equivalents that are generally larger and heavier. We need to use the rail system with these larger matte boxes due to their weight that lenses are not designed to support.

 

Now remember that rod systems come in two main diameters 15 and 19 mm and needless to say some matte boxes will fit on both but some will only fit on one or the other so this is something we need to check before selecting a particular unit.

 

Another thing to think about is how many filters you are going to need to use at any one time and ensure that the matte box you select has enough slots.

 

Various adaptor rings are available to fit between the front of the lens and the matte box or a flexible fabric alternative can be used, these are known humorously as nun’s knickers! (I could not possibly do a blog about matte boxes and not mention these).

For obvious reasons, the lighter smaller clip on units is recommended for hand-held work and the larger heavier ones for when the camera is on a tripod etc.

 

One thing I have learnt is that most matte boxes come with a set of mattes, these are thin black plates with various sized holes cut into them (letterbox style) and they can be fitted to the matte box to help adapt it to the particular lenses field of view, bigger hole for a wider angle and Visa-versa, this is so simple that I think it’s clever, as a firm believer of the KISS principle that is.

 

So that’s about it I will put a list together of what matte boxes we carry and how many and what size filters they can hold and so on for all our reference.

Clip On 15mm Rods 19mm rods Filter size Number of trays Other
Chrosziel MB 450

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 2
Arri LMB 25

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 ONLY HAS TOP FLAG
Arri LMB 15

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3
Arri LMB 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 2 OR 3 HAS STEP DOWN FRAME TO PV SIZE

GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES

Arri MB 29

 

YES NO NO 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 20

 

YES YES YES 5.65 x 5.65 1, 2, OR 3 GOOD FOR WIDER HD LENSES
Arri MB 19

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 OR 3 AND 138 MM CIRCULAR
Arri MB 18

 

YES YES YES 4 x 4 , 4 x 5.65 AND 4.5 ROUND 2, 3, or 4

 

AND 138 MM

Arri MB 16

 

NO YES NO 4 X 5.46 3
Arri MMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 MORE FOR STILLS
Arri SMB 2

 

NO YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
Arri SMB 1

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3
VIV 3 stage

 

YES YES YES 4 X 5.46 1, 2, OR 3

AND 138 MM

Missfit Clip on 3 stage

 

Backlight 6

 

YES NO NO 6 X 6 3 GOOD FOR WIDER LENSES
4 x 4 Van Dieman Mosquito

 

4 X 4 1 or 2
Bright Tangerine Atom

 

YES YES 4 X 5.46 2 GOOD FOR MOVI / RONIN, OUR LIGHTEST WEIGHT MATTE BOX

 

Now remember this pearl of wisdom I found online “While nobody will notice that you’ve used a matte box, the important thing is that nobody will notice that you didn’t use one but should have”, wise words indeed.

 

Now Matte boxes don’t really warrant a BCR collectively but I feel that French Flaps and Nuns knickers deserve some score in their own right so let’s rename the BCR from Brucie Coolness Rating to Brilliant Crude or Rude and give them 5 points each making the score a maximum 10.

 

Cheers guys merry shooting BB.

 

06
Oct
16

KOTM- Cambo Actus DB2 View Camera

Brucie Blogger is back with Kit of the Month!!

Actus DB eh so what do you think the DB stands for?

cambo actus.jpg

Well, I presume its “Digital Back” and nothing to do with “the canine’s orbs” as I first thought. Having said that the latter would also suffice as a good description, as this really is the DB’s when it comes to modern view camera offerings.

 

The Actus DB2 has evolved from Cambo’s Actus series of view cameras that are designed to be used in conjunction with mirror-less cameras and DSLR’s. The new DB2 can still be used with a DSLR on the back but as it is equipped to take a Phase one IQ3 100 mp back I don’t suppose we will see a DSLR attached very often. In fact,we are not going to rush out and buy an adaptor for DSLR’s unless one of you has a mega hire needing it and then perhaps we could have our arms twisted.

camboa2.jpg

Despite my vintage, I came into photography towards the end of the view camera era, I remember selling off the ones we had in Australia while they still had some decent value and recall being gutted as I wanted to play with one more myself.

Great quality tilt shift lenses by Canon and Nikon and have gone some way to replacing them but can only go so far, nothing can really compete with the ultimate image control that a good view camera can deliver.

 

So Cambo has been clever by coupling a modern take on the view camera with today’s megapixel top end digital backs and they seem to have done a lovely job of it too.

 

 

camboa3.jpg

Small size and a beautiful mover

 

 

 

 

mradams.jpg

Not exactly a compact Mr.Adams is it?

The first thing you notice about the DB2 is its size, far from sticking out like, well like the DB’s it’s rather diminutive, fitting nicely into the palm of your hand. It’s a far cry from the cameras used by Mr. Adams and his counterparts back in the day.

 

But don’t let its size fool you this really is a well-equipped camera featuring.

 

 

360 degrees of front swing

19 degrees of front tilt

27mm of rear shift vertical

40mm of rear shift horizontal

150 mm maximum extension with standard monorail

295mm with long monorail

445mm with macro monorail

Available in a range of colours so long as you want anodized black that is.

 

All very impressive but what does that mean for your photography, well the highlights are below.

 

View camera movements allow for selective sharpness / selective un-sharpness

Rear shift movements for stitching wider angle images.

Focal plane shifts to increase file size

Image centered landscape / portrait selection

Built in macro extension.

camboa4.jpg

So as a view camera you can see that the DB2 really is a great piece of equipment but when you couple it with one of our IQ3 100mp digital backs from Phaseone then it becomes a truly awesome camera system. You now have a medium format, full frame sensor view camera with a resolution of 100 mp (more if you start stitching frames together) coupled with all the versatility that you could ever need.

 

Now one thing I recall about using view cameras in the past was having to check my focus by using a loupe on the rear glass and that was a pain, to say the least. Well, I’m pleased to say that those days are well and truly gone. My very expensive loupe has retired, now only making an occasional appearance to aid in the removal of splinters and the like, thank goodness. Today we have it much easier, by using the live view mode on the IQ3 back and viewing at 100% we can get that focus absolutely perfect.

 

But if that’s not quite easy enough for you how about using the WIFI ability of the IQ3 to give you live view on your iPad making the most of its large screen. Shutter release and full control over the back can also be accessed via this WIFI system thus removing any risk of camera shake spoiling your results, so that’s the cable release gone from your kit bag too.

 

So calling all the photographers who need the versatility of a view camera and the resolution of a modern top end digital back we now have you covered, dust off your Sinar lenses or hire ours and GET SHIFTING.

 

10 out of 10 for the BCR this camera is lovely and with the IQ3 on the back and some sexy glass on the front it’s even lovelier, come in and give it a go and please don’t forget to show us your beautiful moves (and tilts too).

Cheers all BB

 

camboa5.jpg

 

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.

genevieve 1

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.

genevivepower.jpg

 

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!

genevieve load.jpg

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?

genevieve2

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)




Pixipixel Ltd

Office: 020 7739 3626
8am -18.30pm Monday to Friday

Nearest Overground: Hoxton
Follow Pixipixel on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 40,953 hits

%d bloggers like this: