Archive for the 'New Gear' Category

29
Aug
17

GF Primo Dolly

Pixipixel are going up in the world!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

11
May
17

Cineo Quantum C80

Cineo Quantum C80

So as we all know if you can find the end of a rainbow then you should find a pot of gold but have any of you ever wondered what’s at the start of the rainbow? I think I may have the answer (well for modern rainbows anyway).

 

It’s got to be the all-new Cineo Quantum C80 Led light panel. Cineo describe it as “the ultimate creative lighting tool” and who am I to argue. From the outside it looks like a large version of the HS units by Cineo with the normal black and red styling. It’s manufactured using lashings of extruded aluminum that make it robust enough for our industry (just like its predecessors have proven to be) yet keeps its weight down to under 23 Kg. This is impressive when you consider its size (60 x 120 cm / 24 x 48”).

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Delivering an impressive 50,000 Lumens of “beautiful, easily controllable, full-gamut light” the C80 packs a powerful punch of 800 watts at maximum power but it’s the controllability that makes it really shine.

 

Four independent knobs on the rear of the unit give you complete control over all the C80’s features, let me take you through them one knob at a time.

 

Master. This one controls the dimming, 0-100 % as you would expect but set to correlate exactly to camera stops so 50% would be one less stop and so on, that’s a very nice feature in my mind.

 

White. This knob allows for accurate CCT adjustment as on many of Cineo’s other panels and allows for fast, precise setting of any desired colour temperature.

 

Colour. (And here is where the rainbow reference came from) This allows you to add saturated colour to the output with control over the hue being displayed on the control panel.

 

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Blend. (Nope nothing to do with coffee sorry) Controls how much saturated colour is added to the white light, adjustable anywhere from full colour to full white.

 

If knobs aren’t your thing then all the above can be controlled using DMX cables or even wireless DMX with the built-in Lumen Radio feature.

 

With the C80 the same colour shading can be achieved regardless of CCT. Hence plus 2 Green added to 3200k CCT will look the same as plus 2 Green added to 5600K CCT, provided that the camera is correctly white balanced. (We could call this Cineo’s law and physics students will have to learn it for years to come, bless them)

 

Now for the technical bit, Cineo have developed Phosphor-converted saturated colour LED’s that work with the same phosphor recipes as their white LED’s. This means that they combine well to produce a natural looking spectrum featuring cineos deep-red colour rendering (that’s as red as a pom on Bondi beach). Furthermore as all the LED’s use the exact same colour dye so they all carry the exact same thermal stability.  I think this means that everything gets old at the same time hence the light remains accurate throughout its life.

 

Oh completely flicker free, and silent operation also feature as we have come to expect from Cineo.

 

A solid 10 / 10 for my Brucie coolness rating I think this time!! I’m a fan of Cineo products and they have delivered another great addition to the range hence Pixipixel are getting them in.

 

The one slight downside is we don’t actually have them yet, but they are on order so watch this space.

However if you would like to take a look, why not join us for our free lighting workshop on the 16th of this month at Rida East Studios. The QC80 will be making an appearance along with cinematographer extraordinaire Adam Suschitzky BSC give us a call to reserve a space.

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13
Apr
17

ProLights Lumipix Batten

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

 

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

ProLights LUMIPIX16H LED Batten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cheers all BB

 

01
Apr
17

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse Mount

Go Pro Zombie Apocalypse mount “aka Lucille”

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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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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

arri-master-grips-iris

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.




Pixipixel Ltd

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

Nearest Overground: Hoxton
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