Posts Tagged ‘#cinematography



11
Mar
16

KOTW-Red Weapon

Red Weapon

weapon1.jpg

I must admit to enjoying the names that Red gives to its cameras, we have had a few now, the One, the Scarlet, the Raven, the Rocket, the Epic and the Dragon to name a few, but today I want to talk about the Weapon.

 

I’ve been “googling” Red this morning, trying to find out some tech specs and so on about the Weapon and its made for some interesting reading. For example I had no idea that Red were founded by Jim Jannard, who formally founded Oakley (the sunglasses people). Now when you Google the Red Weapon all you can find is the announcement of the latest 8K version but more on that when our one arrives, for today I will waffle on about the 6K version that are sat here ready and waiting for you.

 

So 6K eh, seems like only yesterday that the buzz word was 2K it makes me wonder when its going to stop, I don’t know about you but I don’t think my eyes are 6K ready and my TV certainly isn’t. But I’m not criticizing this progress, far from it, the more the merrier as far as I am concerned but are we approaching a point where camera resolution is better than our own ability to see it? Perhaps someone more technically minded can answer that one.

 

So accepting that we NEED 6k is one thing, shooting it and handling the data this produces is quite another and this is where Red have gone and done it again with the superb Weapon.

 

As we have come to expect Red have produced yet another revolutionary camera with the Weapon and the 6K headline is really only a small part of the story.

weapon 2.jpg

 

The Weapon (of mass resolution) has more to offer than just the big bag of pixels, it’s got some other rather nice features that should make it a pleasure to use.

Firstly with all those extra pixels causing an increase in the amount of data produced red have re designed the media slot allowing for lightning fast write speeds of up to 300MB/s to Red mini mags. This is a necessity when you consider that the Weapon can shoot 6K motion and Stills at up to 100 FPS.

 

Whilst I am talking data how about 1D and 3D LUT output and simultaneous recording in both Redcode Raw and Apple Pro Res. With support for Avid-DNHR and Avid DNHD also soon to be available it think you could say Red has that side of things covered.

 

A new intelligent OLPF system (optical low pass filter) provides excellent rendition of tone and colour even in dim conditions and this helps to preserve colour quality across mid-tones, darks and shadows, Red have even introduced a cam lock feature making it easy to change OLPF units to customize footage. These OPLF units “communicate” directly to the “Brain” due to integrated circuitry within the Weapon itself. This built in circuitry also includes the interchangeable I/O expanders allowing for you to configure the system specifically for your purpose whilst avoiding those pesky leads.

Interchangeable lens mounts, lemo adaptors and expanders and built in stereo microphones all add to the flexibility of this camera and who wouldn’t want wireless connectivity to Android and IOS devices. Start stop buttons are also now integrated into both the top and outrigger handles, which makes sense.

 

Lastly the brain infrastructure has been re designed (I wish I could do the same with mine!!) to improve low light sensor performance and provide automatic black shade calibration.

 

Ok I will admit here that I had no idea what black shade calibration is, so if you are as much in the dark as me……..

Black Shade Calibration means:- The brain measures the pattern of fixed noise coming from the sensor and the subtracts it from all subsequent frames leaving only random noise behind, its like a map of the noise, now that’s so very clever isn’t it?

 

So that’s about all I am going to bore you with I think its probably best that you just come in and take our weapon away for the weekend to experience all the above for yourself. It is an amazing bit of kit and I know you won’t be disappointed. As far as coolness is concerned well it’s an 11/10 from me, this thing is as cool as a polar bears backside and has a great name to boot!

 

Cheers all BB (in need of a Red Weapon T-shirt I think!!!)

 

Tech specs are available on the Red website here.

Red Weapon Tech Spec

10
Mar
16

Congratulations Katy

Congratulations go out to Katy Milner for her triumph in the Inaugural Kodak High Falls Vision Award for her upcoming short film “Graffiti” to be shot in London this coming weekend.

As Kodak are giving you the film we are going to give you the lights have a fantastic shoot. Great to see one of our female clients doing so well particularly on international women’s day!  BB

I’m at it again, giving away Pixipixel’s kit for a good cause rather than money, it makes me popular with the customers rather more than with the bosses but sometimes it just has to be done. To be fair I have run this one past our top brass first and they were all for it on this rare occasion. Probably because it’s a film we are supporting, a REAL film!

katy.jpg

Let me give you some background information, our good friend and customer Katy Milner from Pure Gold Films has gone out and won herself an award, the 50th Anniversary Kodak Super 8 Film Award to be precise. Now wining the award for her wonderful script “Graffiti” is one thing and receiving a swage of 16mm film from Kodak as a prize is marvellous, however a script and some film stock don’t make a movie. You need some lights and a DOP and so on to make a movie and Katy didn’t win those.

 

Having secured the services or renowned DOP Fabio Calascibetta to shoot the film Katy came to us for some assistance with the lighting kit required and we were very pleased to be able to help. We love being involved in the movie industry and have our kit out on film shoots every day of the week but its rare these days for anyone to actually shoot on film so that’s what really sparked our interest.

 

Katy has directed numerous short films before but this is her first venture into the world of film and she states that the “beautiful quality of 16mm would make the film more cinematic and add richness to the look and feel” and we agree with her on that.

 

Now don’t let the title Graffiti put you off, it’s not about tagging walls Kilroy style or Banksy and his stencilled rats, it’s far deeper than that. I’ve been lucky enough to see the script and it’s great, touching on issues of bereavement, anger and the struggle of a single parent trying to reconnect with her teenage son. It also explores preconceived ideas on graffiti and its merit as an art form. I am looking forward to seeing the finished film very much and wish Katy good luck with the production.

 

The finished film will be entered into “as many festivals as possible” and of course will be greatly improved with the addition of a credit for Pixipixel.

 

So watch out for “Graffiti” by Katy Milner coming to a festival near you this summer if you get a chance give it a watch and let us know what you think, oh and be sure to vote for it as we want to see it win everything possible this year!

Cheers guys BB

BTL News

High Falls Film Festival

16
Feb
16

KOTW – Lightflo 8 x 4

KOTW             Lightflo 8 x 4

Flood-600x600.jpg

 

I’ve always liked tubes!

Not tubes as in “The Underground” I wouldn’t say I liked them, even if they are useful, I’m talking about tubes as in “Tubes of Smarties or Tubes of Jelly Tots”.

I’ve always been a frustrated inventor / model maker and for me a tube can end up having many uses. As a kid they made fantastic turrets or rockets and occasionally both at once, well why shouldn’t a castle blast off!

 

Unfortunately this “obsession” has followed me into adulthood and I still find a good tube hard to throw away, the trouble is that my other half has very similar likes so we have been known to suffer from tube induced disputes from time to time, it’s quite unreasonable  to want to store paint brushes in a perfectly good telescope if you ask me!

 

Now with my tubular penchant in mind todays KOTW is right up my street, I am going to pop some Mike Oldfield onto Sonos to get me into the mood.

 

HangingFlood-600x600a.jpg

Right so on with the kit in question. Today we are looking at the Lightflo 8×4 soft light.

 

So no prizes for guessing that’s it’s a softlight, that’s just too easy. What we have here is a Softlight flood containing eight fluorescent tubes. Can anyone guess how long the tubes are? Oh go on have a go!

 

Who said 4ft…….Wrong LOL they are 3.93701ft long or 1200mm. Yes I know that’s as near as damn it is to swearing but I’m in that kind of mood today.

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While I’m talking about the tubes (and this thing has more than the london underground)

They are all T5 Shatterproof ones, but please don’t take that as a challenge…………..

The Lightflo is split down the middle, effectively giving you two lights each with four tubes, cleverly the bottom half of the fixture can be pivoted allowing for some control of the spread of light.

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On the rear of the unit are controls to allow you to turn on and off and dim each set of four but the really clever bit is when you set this up using DMX to control it. The DMX will give you full control over each of the eight tubes turning them on and off and dimming individual tubes with ease.

 

This DMX control allows for some fun and games. Firstly by individually switching each tube you get eight stepped levels of illumination, but wait, how about putting different coloured tubes into the top and bottom bank for split colour illumination. Or even putting the tubes in alternately as this allows for control over the colour temperature of its output by tailoring the brightness level of each individual tube.

 

 

By installing blue or green tubes the Lightflo becomes the prefect light for Blue/green screen work and this is where it generally earns its keep.

Finally it is possible to install eight different coloured tubes for some serious disco fever!

The Lightflo is stackable too and can be used vertically as well as horizontally and is often grouped together to create a larger light source.

As far as output is concerned the Lightflo will kick out 30KLM for less than 500w of input power.

Now if you already know please don’t laugh at me, but I thought KLM was a Dutch airline Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (no wonder they use the acronym) but no it stands for Kilolumen so 30 KLM = 30,000 lumen. Bearing that in mind anyone fancy a guess at what KCD may stand for?

Ok so how about a BCR for the Lightflo, I think I’m going to give it a 7 / 10 as its an impressive unit, but I would like to see full control on the back not only via DMX. However having said that we hire out DMX stuff so perhaps bearing that in mind and why I am sat here I could up it a bit.

 

So as a Queenslander (banana bender) would say “she’s beaut* mate totally tubular dude” but to them EVERYTHING is tubular it’s because the sun has sent them all troppo* if you ask me.

Cheers everyone BB

Oh KCD = Kilocandela referring to candle power, may be of use if you play Scrabble.

lightflo dimensions.jpg

*Beaut. 1. Aussie abbreviation for something or someone who is beautiful.

*’Going Troppo‘ is an exclusively Australian slang term for ‘going crazy’.

03
Feb
16

KOTW Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5

KOTW-Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5

starliteHD5

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

StarliteHD5-ARRI_0.png

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

Transvideo say that it is:

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

Bon appétit  folks

 

BB

20
Jan
16

KOTW Alpha K5600 Space Beam

Alpha K5600 Space Beam

spacebeam.jpg

Ok this is a strange day for me, I am re blogging, something I haven’t done before so therefore this is a blog about a bit of kit we have already done a blog about before!

I say we have already done a blog but it was a long time ago in fact it was PB (Pre Brucie) so I guess its ok, anyway if Auntie Beeb can run repeats why cant we?

The kit in question today is the Space Beam accessory for the fabulous K5600 Alpha 2.5/4 k HMI. As I say, we covered it in our blog about the light itself back in June 2011 (I was still down under then) but with something this good a second blogging can’t hurt.

So firstly here is a link to our original blog:

K5600 Alpha

I shall start with a quick recap on the K5600 Alpha: As the K5600 suggests it’s a daylight light, HMI to be exact. It comes in various sizes up to 18K but today I am talking about the 4K version.

Now as this is going to be set up in the office shortly after I have finished this blog I am going to fit it with a 2.5k bulb in an attempt not to blind all the hard working bookers. This is a simple procedure as the G38 socket inside the head has a quick release latch so swapping from 4k to 2.5k is easy.

Now if you ever have to change a bulb on one of these lights you will soon see the “secret” inside. The reflector is the big secret with these lights, it’s made of composite quartz rather than the normal aluminum and as such is 15% brighter but also allows for the light to be angled straight down without cooking itself.

The light itself is the smallest 4K Fresnel on the market, it’s an open face unit with unique dual drop in lenses to convert it to a Fresnel (spot or flood). Very efficient venting helps it run remarkably cool for a HMI of this power.

Ok so the Alpha is a great light, compact, powerful and flexible (puts me in mind of an old girlfriend of mine, she ran surprisingly cold too!!!! lol )……….. But to get back to the point I’m meant to be telling you about its Space Beam attachment.

Well “space Beam” is a great name and puts me in mind of Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless but its got nothing to do with that, it’s a play on words as this attachment can convert the Alpha into a Space Light or a Beam Projector or a Follow Spot.

 

So it’s a three in one attachment really!!

Firstly if you use the clear (Not the Fresnel) lens in the alpha and then attach the Space Beam with its short rods, the black outsides and the Space Beam intensifier lens (plastic) on the front……..  you turn the whole thing into a Follow Spot sort of light.

k5600alpha2.jpg

Secondly, if you swap out the clear lens on the Alpha for the Fresnel Spot one then this effect becomes more Par like giving a tight 3-5 degree spot.

alpha3.jpg

The final use for this is as a space light, this entails changing the rods in the Space Beam for the longer ones and covering the entire thing in translucent fabric. Black out skirts are included incase you want to limit the angle at witch light comes out.

spacebeam1.jpg

 

Here is a link to a video explaining it with moving pictures.

Moving picture explanation

So the Space Beam attachment in layman’s terms is a cross between a soft box, a snoot and a spot I guess. What it definitely is however, is a very useful attachment for an already great light and on that basis I’m giving it a BCR of 7/10

 

Having said that holding the attachment in front of your face and looking out through its intensifier lens makes your face look really silly, so lets add a couple of points for that and make it a 9/10 just for fun.

 

Oh and just so you all know, you don’t need a speed ring to fit it onto the Alpha and that’s one less bit of kit for us all to worry about, so I’m happy with that being a tad forgetful myself.

 

Cheers folks BB

14
Jan
16

KOTW-Teradek Bolt Pro 600

Teradek Bolt Pro 600

Ok so I’m old!!

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

no remote.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Mongrel V8 Utes.jpg

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

 

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

teradek600.jpg

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

 

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

 

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

teradek2.jpg

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

 

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

 

Cheers folks BB

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

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

11
Jan
16

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

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

cforce.jpg

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

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

 

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

cforce2.jpg

 

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

 

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

 

cforce3.jpg

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

 

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

 

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

cforce4.jpg

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

That’s All folks for now

BB




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