Archive for the 'New Gear' Category

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.

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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.

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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

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10
Jan
17

Litegear LiteTile 8×8 LED

Welcome to the new year everyone, we hope you had a great Christmas and a relaxing break and are now ready and waiting for the next twelve months of fun and games.

Now the new year seems to have brought with it a bit of a cold snap so with your best interests in mind as always we would like tell you about one of our Christmas presents to ourselves, a rather fetching blanket.

Yes we know that blankets tend to encourage you to stay in bed normally but not this one, in fact this one is definitely worth getting up for.

The brand new Litegear LiteTile is something rather special and we had our first play with it yesterday and we’re very impressed. We already have a good range of LED lights from Litegear and they are proving to be popular with you folks but this one is bigger and better than anything we’ve seen so far.

Imagine a flexible blanket of Bi colour LED’s that’s 8 foot square and what that would allow you to do. Now stop daydreaming because it’s here now waiting for you to enjoy.

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I have to admit that personally I’d like to take it home and use it as a blanket on my 12 year olds bed, I cant help thinking that waking her up in the morning would be easier if I could make her whole bed light up at the flick of a switch!

To get a bit technical for a moment the LiteTile 8×8 actually consists of four 2×8 foot panels that can be configured to form a number of shapes, Velcro covered edges allow for each panel to attach to its neighbor or for that matter anything else that has a Velcro fastener on it. Also equipped with eyelets to allow for attachment to grip or butterfly frames as required.

Being made of hi-grade engineered textile the LiteTile is flexible enough to be configured round curves, folded, scrunched up and so on making them a truly versatile product.

As far as light is concerned the LiteTile is equipped with new CineMitter LED’s which boast a CRI and TLCI* rating of 95+ along and a extended colour temperature range of 2600K – 6000K. All new DMX enabled dimmers are supplied giving full local control of dimming and colour temperature or allowing for connection to a control desk.

Everyone will want to know what the maximum output is so for the record the LiteTile gives out a very useable and impressive 20384 lumens (that’s bright to you and me)

When it comes to powering, it’s not much more difficult than plugging in your electric blanket, granted it uses 16 amp leads but we have plenty of jumpers if you need to use a 13amp domestic outlet. Each of the 4 2ft by 8 ft panels has its own power supply so they can be used independently and we will shortly take delivery of a single power supply to run all four units together. A V-lock battery option is muted in the future and no doubt we will get one as soon as it’s available but this may be a while before it hits the market. The individual panels each have a header lead of 7ft or 2.1m in length, giving you plenty of scope to position the supply out of sight.

So if you’re in the market for a large flexible soft light then this could be what you are looking for and now you know who has it you’re really running out of excuses.

Litegear also make a 4 foot version but as you can fold the 8 foot in half and keep using it I don’t think we will rush to get the smaller one, bigger is better anyway.

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The all important BCR (Brucie coolness rating) for this has got to be at least an 11 out of 10, its portable, powerful and versatile all of which are great attributes, but its also very cool and I rather like it. I can’t help but wonder what LED’s will turn up next, anyone got any suggestions?

You could take it to Glastonbury this year just to make finding your tent easier.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

TLCI means “Television Lighting Consistency Index” it’s calculated using a spectroradiometer and is a measurement of a luminaires spectral power distribution in the context of television. The results can be checked against the table below. Hopefully you all feel as enlightened and excited by this as we do.

 

 

85 – 100 errors are so small that a colourist would not consider correcting them
75 – 85 a colourist would probably want to correct the colour performance, but could  easily get an acceptable result
50 – 75 a colourist would certainly want to correct the errors, and could probably  achieve an acceptable result, but it would take significant time to get there
25 – 50 the colour rendering is poor, and a good colourist would be needed to improve  it, but the results would not be to broadcast standard
0 – 25 the colour rendering is bad, and a colourist would struggle for a long time to  improve it, and even then the results may not be acceptable for broadcast

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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?

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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.

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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.

 

 

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Small size and a beautiful mover

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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

 

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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)

13
May
16

KOTW-Arrimax 12/18 kW High Speed Ballast.

Arrimax 12/18 kW High Speed Ballast

 

So lets face it no matter how much I try to make this sound exciting it not going to be.

This is a fabulous bit of kit but it’s never going to score highly in the wow factor despite it’s cost and weight, I would say that its most popular feature is going to be the wheels!

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I guess in the interest of spicing things up a little I should look into what a ballast actually is. Now although probably heavy enough this is definitely not the sort of ballast used to keep a boat the right way up or a balloon on the ground it’s something else entirely.

 

Put very simply, (to suit me) a ballast is an electronic device designed to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit. It automatically allows for a higher current at start up (striking) to allow for an arc to form between the electrodes in your bulb but then immediately limits that current to an optimum level, thus allowing for the bulb to produce the desired level of luminance whilst retaining its rated lifespan. Interestingly without a ballast a thing called a “negative differential resistance artifact” would cause the current in the bulb to very quickly “RISE TO DESTRUCTIVE LEVELS” and BANG. You get the idea, no more bulb, no more light.

 

So despite my obvious temptation to blow things up I guess that a ballast is a fairly important bit of kit, unless of course your dad owns Osram. So what’s so special about this one then? other than the wheels that is.

 

Well its what’s known as a high-speed ballast and no that’s got nothing to do with the wheels, for a start they would be alloys and have low profile tyres on them if this was some kind of racing machine. No high speed refers to the ability of the ballast to produce a virtually constant output over the entire AC cycle, allowing for flicker free operation and in turn filming at higher frame rates without a problem.

 

Ok so I bet you are itching to know how this is done, well it’s all about the shape of waves. A normal AC power supply has a nice curvy wave pattern, if you care to look at it on your oscilloscope (what do you mean you don’t have an oscilloscope, call yourself a photographer but don’t have an oscilloscope for goodness sake!) it looks something like this.

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Now, a normal “magnetic” ballast does a pretty good job in smoothing this out but if we look at the image below you can see that the light output fluctuates or flickers.

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That flicker plays havoc when we are shooting at high frame rates so is not ideal.

 

A high-speed ballast like the Arri 12/18 kW squares off the wave pattern and in turn produces a far more constant light output see below.

 

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Clever Stuff eh??

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With this consistent output high frame rate filming becomes possible without issue. Arri says that frame rates up to 3000 fps are possible when using multiple sources due to the ability to use up to 1200Hz lamp operation. With a single source the new 1000Hz ballasts are fine for lighting at frame rates of 1000 fps and in many cases even faster.

 

Happily for us this square wave format should increases the life of the bulb by around 20% and you will be pleased to know it can also increase the light output by 6-8% so it is hip to be square after all.

 

Now with every up side it seems a down side must follow and surprise surprise this is no exception. The issue with square waves (other than being useless to surf) is noise. The square waves can cause the globe and igniter to buzz, the head becomes a resonating chamber and the noise, now amplified is projected out of the front of the light (because it has a big hole at the front) straight towards the set. This is not an issue unless you are recording sound and then it’s a nuisance to say the least. But an answer is at hand and it involves cutting corners!

 

By using a special circuit in the ballast the corners of the square waves can be “rounded off” this prevents the buzz and keeps the sound guys happy. This does have an effect on the Hz that you can run at unfortunately but the Arri unit still can put out a very respectful 50-60Hz for low noise environments.

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So that was exciting wasn’t it I hope we are all now fully trained as far as waving is concerned and I would expect to see a marked increase in oscilloscope sales in the near future.

 

But back to the ballast in question I’ve had a bit of a look at its technical specifications and it has a couple of nice features beyond its wave changing trickery, how about cold striking and hot re striking and dimming from 100 -50% of power, oh and did I mention wheels?

 

This ballast also features DMX remote dimming capabilities (that’s fairly self explanatory) and an Active Line Filter for Power Factor Correction (a what for what?). from what I can understand about this it results in a more efficient power use and also assures a consistent colour output despite dimming or mains voltage fluctuations.

 

Full safety protection for over heating, short circuit and over voltage issues is built into the circuitry making for worry free operation. ABS and a drivers side airbag are not included however so be careful when pushing it around.

 

Well, I got through that without too much brain ache and I hope you did too?  Ballasts are never going to rock your world, but without them we would be in the dark (literally) so I am glad people like Arri are putting so much effort into making them better. I am hesitant to give a BCR Brucie coolness rating as its not going to score high enough on the cool side of things so on this occasion I will use my special BCR Ballast Capability Rating and award a 10 out of 10 to this beast.

 

Oh and it weighs about 49kg so if you have an assistant to punish let us know and we will take the wheels off!!!!

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Cheers BB

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




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