Posts Tagged ‘gadgets

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

 

28
Mar
17

Profoto Air Sync & Air Remote

The Profoto Air Sync and Profoto Air Remote are basically the same as each other with both having 8 channels, 300 m range, 10 to 140 hours battery life transmit mode fast /slow, 30 hours battery life receive mode, 30 min auto power off, and integrated antenna.

The difference is that the Pro Air Sync will only trigger a flash i.e. just fire it like a sync lead but without the lead. Whereas the Pro Air Remote also lets you control the flash so you can change its power setting and modeling light function.

Just to slightly confuse you the Air Remote also comes in a TTL version for Canon and Nikon (TTL = Through the lens). This means that the remote will transmit TTL information to any Profoto flash with TTL Air Support and this will allow for fully automatic point-and-shoot shots. It can also be used in manual mode (without TTL) or Hybrid mode that allows for you to shoot first with TTL and then switch to Manual mode to make adjustments, and that’s good because TTL is often inaccurate.

All Profoto Air Remotes can be used with non Air equipped flash systems by using 2 units, one on camera and one connected to the sync socket of the flash, just like a pocket wizard system. However this will not allow for the control of flash power, modelling light, or TTL operation. It’s worth noting that you can mix Pro Air Sync and Pro Air Remote to achieve this.

Profoto equipment we have that supports Air and or AirTTL operation:

Profoto B1 Air & Air TTL

Profoto B2 Air & Air TTL

Profoto B3 Only the Air

Profoto B4 Only the Air

Profoto D1 Only the Air

Profoto 7A Neither is supported

Profoto 8A Only the Air

Profoto Acute 2  Neither is supported

Profoto Air Synch & Remote

 

Broncolor

 Broncolor used to be simple, they had a RFS (Radio frequency Sender) that controlled power and synced the flash and that was about it. It was a bit fiddly as you had to alter a “trimpot” underneath the unit to change channel and double check that the pack was on the same channel, also the packs (Grafit etc) had a weak aerial that was either missing, forgotten, or broken. The Scorro packs we stock now have this aerial built into the handle.

Broncolor also did a little gizmo called an IRX (Infra Red Sender), an infra red sync trigger that came in surprisingly useful from time to time, particularly in areas with radio restrictions.

Broncolor has now upgraded the RFS to the RFS 2. It operates like the Profoto Air Remote and controls the power & more on any RFS equipped Broncolor Flash, like a Broncolor Scorro for example. An additional RFS 2 Receiver can be used to trigger non Broncolor equipment by attaching to the sync port with a short cable.

The Broncolor RFS 2 has 40 channels compared to the Profoto Air’s 8. I would think this is an advantage once or twice every millennium.

Broncolor

Pocket Wizard

Pocket Wizards are a third party wireless sync trigger and either the Pocket Wizard 2 or Pocket Wizrd 3 system will trigger any flash from any camera provided you have the correct cables to connect.

Connect one pocket wizard on to the hot shoe of your camera (or connect it to the sync socket using a small lead) and attach another one onto the Flash (again connecting to the sync socket with a small lead). Check they are both on the same channel and away you go.

Easy, just be careful that the correct size leads are supplied for the flash.

Historically Profoto used the larger jack and Broncolour used the smaller one but they are both changing this around to keep us on our toes. Here at Pixipixel, we ensure you’re supplied with the correct cabling, even if it means providing both sets for your shoot.

Pocket wizards however also have a few tricks up their sleeves that you don’t find on the brand specific triggers from Broncoor and Profoto.

Firstly, the Pocket Wizard 3 units will automatically switch to transmit or receive depending on what they are being used for, a very clever feature. The Pocket wizard 2’s came as a transmitter, receiver, or a transceiver; they can do both but you need to select which.

The Pocket Wizards claim to have the longest range of 300m and that’s pretty impressive as I can’t even see a camera at that range.  But it gets better, you can also use pocket wizard units as “repeaters” i.e. you could put one at a half way point 300m from the camera (transmitter unit) and a further 300 metres away from the flash (receiving unit) thus extending the range to 600 metres and this can be extended even further.

Based on rough calculations it then follows that, with the circumference of the world being approximately 400 thousand metres it would take approximately 133,333 pocket wizards to transmit a sync signal the long way round the globe from camera to flash, and lots of AA batteries too.

Ok I know that’s silly but I had a customer who used to put flashes up at the top of huge sporting stadiums and the like and use this “Repeater” facility to trigger them from his seat in the stands so it can come in very useful.

The same guy also used to make use of another function available on pocket wizards and that is the ability to be powered via a USB port on the unit. This is great if you have to set up the pocket wizards say 24 hours before you are going to use them, this can happen more often than you would think. During my years living in Melbourne, for “Carols By Candlelight”, lights had to be set up in the rigging and subsequently could not be accessed for a day so the pocket wizards would go flat by the time the sing-song got going. Attaching an external power source via the USB allowed for them to be left on and not go flat.

The other great use for pocket wizards is the ability to use them to remotely trigger a camera rather than a flash. A special cord is required to do this and it’s called a Trigger cable; it comes in Canon or Nikon. Useful when the camera has a high viewpoint up on a boom, for example. Another scenario could be when shooting two cameras at the same time.

A few motor sports guys will have a camera on the opposite side of the track to themselves and trigger it at the same time as the camera they are holding this enables them to shoot both sides of the can and also get some heroic selfies. The test button has a two stage action just like the shutter release button on the camera, so a 1/2 press wakes the camera and starts auto focus and more. A full press will release the shutter.

And don’t forget you can attach one to a light meter for remote triggering of the flash during that initial setup stage. This is particularly useful if you are setting up and doing the pre light on your own.

Pocket Wizard do a range of TTL units specific to Canon or Nikon, but we do not stock these.

Sync Leads

Old school sync leads should not be forgotten. They are still a great way to trigger your flash from camera or light meter. They don’t run out of battery power, and they don’t interfere with the guy in the next studio. They are uncomplicated enough for your average photographer to understand.

In fact the only real problem with a sync lead is that they get trodden on and so get damaged quickly like an iPad lead.

We include sync leads with all flashes hired out to our clients, as they will save many a problem just by being there as a backup. I would hope that most photographers and good assistants would have a spare sync lead in their own kit.

As an aside if you ever want to test a sync lead just power up a flash and plug in the sync then “short out” the other end of the sync lead with a paperclip or your keys etc and if the synch is in good condition it will fire the flash, you won’t blow yourself up as the trigger circuit is separate from the flash circuit in modern flashes. Perhaps best not to do this if you can see “Balcar” written on the flash and you are stood in a puddle.

Synch2

Synch

Also don’t forget that most packs or mono blocks have a slave cell so in a multiple pack shoot often you only need one pair of triggers and then use the slave cell on the other packs to trigger them to fire. As light travels at the speed or er..light, the tiny delay is not likely to cause any problems unless some serious high speed or short flash duration stuff is going on.

Coolness rating of sub zero, ok that’s mean, but lets face it sync systems are never going to be exactly cool are they? In terms of usefulness then the pocket wizard system has to be a high scorer unless you are a die hard Profoto or Broncolor shooter. Now if Pocket wizard would just incorporate the TTL capability for both Nikon and Canon into the Pocket Wizard 3 then I would have to rate them as icebox cool.

 

cheers all

 

Written by Bruce Lindsay

20
Nov
15

KOTW – Linhof Technio Rapid Slide Changer

Linhof Technio Rapid Slide Changer

Been a long time since I laid my hands on a view camera, in fact not since I left college. Having said that they are still wonderful things and are still called for quite often.

We carry a rather nice Linhof 679 here should you ever need one and the boys and girls in the camera department (formally known as the digi department) are still buying kit to improve it. In fact we obtained a Technio Rapid Slide Changer for it, so that’s todays bit of kit.

Ok well for some of us the closest we get to using a view camera is bunging a tilt shift lens onto our Nikon or Canon DSLR and that’s fine but what about when you really want some serious mega pixels and need the flexibility that only a view camera can offer. Well that’s when you hire one I guess.

So our new gizmo from Linhof, as its name suggests allows for a rapid change from a focus screen to a digital back and visa versa and guess what, this is done by sliding.

linhof slider

The ability to quickly check the focus screen for composition etc and then simply slide it out-of-the-way and in doing so bring the digital back in line with the camera ready to capture the image is a tremendous bonus when using this sort of system. That’s exactly what this Slide Changer is for and it works beautifully as you would expect from Linhof.

Well that’s all very useful but the story doesn’t end with that. The Rapid changer can also be used to help capture images to be stitched together later to give a wider field of view.

RAPIDSLID

Depending on the digital back in use the slider will allow for two or three images to be captured with enough “overlap” ( I think that’s the technical term) to facilitate stitching them together.

That’s about all it does, but being made by Linhof it does it beautifully.

36614356

We only carry the adaptors to fit our PhaseOne backs I’m afraid so if you don’t have one of those yourself then we will just have to hire you one as well.

BCR- Giving it a 7/10 Brucie Coolness Rating as it’s a Linhof and I happen to like view cameras and odd stuff like that.

Now has anyone seen my Polaroid back?

Cheers BB

The Linhof system has many adaptors but we ONLY offer the PhaseOne plate.

linhofslidplate

23
Sep
15

Bonus KOTW -Sennheiser MKE-600 and K-Tek KE110 boom pole

Sennheiser MKE-600 K-Tek KE110 boom pole

SEN2

Today’s kit is a bit of a departure from the normal for me, it doesn’t light up, take photos, film movies or anything like that but it’s still relevant to many of you folks out there. Unless you are shooting a silent movie that is.

So my brief research into the world of microphones indicates that new ones arrive about as often as my train to London Bridge is on time, hence it’s been a long wait between offerings from Sennheiser.

So I guess the big question is, was it worth the wait?

Well judging by the buzz coming from the world of sound engineers (I was pleased with that pun) it certainly was.

The MKE-600 is a short shotgun microphone much like the classic ME_66 that has proved to be an industry favorite for nearly 20 years. The MKE-600 is shorter and slimmer and comes as a one-piece unit without the option for changing the capsule as on the 66. Happily however Sennheiser has retained the AA battery compartment to allow for on board power when phantom power is not available.

As far as audio quality is concerned the 600 has improved in all areas when compared to the 66 in fact its now so good it gives the hi-end MKH-60 a run for its money and at a fraction of the price. The main difference being the omission of a attenuator switch, instead Sennheiser have opted to fix the sensitivity and SPL somewhere between pad-in and pad-out specs giving an impressive fixed noise / SPL range of 15 dB and 132 dB.

Again in comparison to the 66 the 600 has very similar pattern charts, however the 600 has a slightly wider front pick up and a slightly more gradual transition between on and off-axis pick up. This makes it easier to cue between two people talking.

Our kit comes complete with a hotshoe fitting for easy attachment to any Dslr, a foam windjammer and a dead cat.

sennheiser2

Ok so it’s not actually a dead cat as that’s a rode specific term like dead kitten but you sound guys know what I mean. (A word of warning on this, never conduct a Google image search for dead cat without the word rode involved I am still disturbed by the result) Anyway pic of one is below and for the non-sound orientated folks amongst us it is used to reduce wind noise when recording outside.

lode dead cat

So as far as my Brucie coolness rating goes its got to be around 8 out of 10 as its got better performance and shrunk in size compared to its predecessor the ME-66

One last thing to mention is our all new boom pole the K-Tek 110 that is a perfect companion for the MKE-600 especially when vertically challenged sound engineers need to interview giraffes etc. the K-Tek 110 has a five section design and a length range from 79cm to 279 cm. An all aluminum design gives it an impressively lightweight of only 661g and it comes in its own protective tube for easy of transport.

Well “that’s all folks” as far as todays post is concerned anyway, cheers.

BB

Oh and for us photographers that may be wondering what SPL stands for it’s “Sound Pressure Level”. I think that’s similar to when my 11 year old tells me to turn Led Zep down in the car.

15
Mar
12

Now in Stock Canon C300 Available for Hire

We are really excited to have the new Canon C300 cinema camera in stock and available to hire from today. To hire, this impressive piece of equipment is priced at £200 (excl VAT) a day. Please take a look at our full price list here Digital Equipment Pricelist.

What we love about the new C300: It’s surprisingly compact in size and feels comfortable to hold using the removable padded handgrip or handle.  Our kit comes with x2 64GB CF cards with frame rates of 24p, 25p, 30p which can be adjusted in increments of 1fps to 60fps.  It handles low lighting situations incredibly well up to 20,000 ISO! Included is a good sized LCD monitor and control panel which rotates and accepts microphone XLR connections. Interchangeable EF lenses are available to hire with the camera, of course if you already have your own lenses then the C300 is all you need.
Features
  • 8.3MP Super 35mm CMOS sensor; Full HD
  • Interchangeable lens (EF mount)
  • Compact, modular, lightweight
  • 50Mbps MPEG-2 MXF to CF card
  • High sensitivity, low noise
  • Canon Log Gamma
  • 24.00p for movie production
  • Wi-Fi remote control
  • Seamless workflow integration



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