Tag Archives: Canon

2017 HPA Engineering Excellence Award winners

The HPA has announced the winners of the 2017 Engineering Excellence Award. Colorfront, Dolby, SGO and Red Digital Cinema will be awarded this year’s honor, which recognizes “outstanding technical and creative ingenuity in media, content production, finishing, distribution and/or archiving.”

The awards will be presented November 16, 2017 at the 12th annual HPA Awards show in Los Angeles.

The winners of the 2017 HPA Engineering Excellence Award are:

Colorfront Engine
An automatically managed, ACES-compliant color pipeline that brings plug-and-play simplicity to complex production requirements, Colorfront Engine ensures image integrity from on-set to the finished product.

Dolby Vision Post Production Tools
Dolby Vision Post Production Tools integrate into existing color grading workflows for both cinema and home deliverable grading, preserving more of what the camera originally captured and limiting creative trade-offs.

SGO’s Mistika VR
Mistika VR is SGO’s latest development and is an affordable VR-focused solution with realtime stitching capabilities using SGO’s optical flow technology.

Red’s Weapon 8K Vista Vision
Weapon with the Dragon 8K VV sensor delivers stunning resolution and image quality, and at 35 megapixels, 8K offers 17x more resolution than HD and over 4x more than 4K.

In addition, honorable mentions will also be awarded to Canon USA for Critical Viewing Reference Displays and Eizo for the ColorEdge CG318-4K.

Joachim Zell, who chairs the committee for this award, said, “Entries for the Engineering Excellence Award were at one of the highest levels ever, on a par with last year’s record breaker, and we saw a variety of serious technologies. The HPA Engineering Excellence Award is meaningful to those who present, those who judge, and the industry. It sounds a bit cliché to say that we had a very tight outcome, and it was a really competitive field this year. Congratulations to the winners and to the nominees for another great year.”

The HPA Awards will also recognize excellence in 12 craft categories, covering color grading, editing, sound and visual effects, and Larry Chernoff will receive the 2017 HPA Lifetime Achievement award.

Canon intros C700 camera and two new UHD/4K monitors

Canon has introduced a line of new cinema cameras — the EOS C700, EOS C700 PL and EOS C700 GS PL. Featuring a completely new, customizable, modular design, Canon says the EOS C700 is suited for all types of pro workflows, from feature films to documentaries to episodic dramas. They also have two new reference displays, but more on that later.

The Canon EOS C700 and EOS C700 PL cameras feature a Super 35mm 4.5K sensor with wide dynamic range and can be used for productions requiring 4K UHD TV or 4K DCI cinema deliverables. The EOS C700 GS PL features a Super 35mm 4K sensor with a global shutter to enable the distortion-free capture of subjects moving at high speeds. In addition to supporting the earlier XF-AVC recording format, the cameras also support Apple ProRes.

The EOS C700 allows users to convert between EF mount and PL mounts, and between a standard CMOS image sensor and a global shutter CMOS image sensor at Canon service facilities. The EF lens mount provides compatibility with Canon’s lineup of over 70 interchangeable EF lenses as well as enabling use of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. The EOS C700 PL and EOS C700 GS PL allow use of industry-standard PL lenses and compatibility with Cooke /i metadata communication technology.

For those wanting to shoot and deliver High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, the EOS C700 and EOS C700 PL provide 15 stops of latitude, Canon’s proprietary Log Gammas (Canon Log3, Canon Log2 and Canon Log) and color science. Additionally, these cameras seamlessly integrate with Canon’s pro 4K displays (DP-V2420, DP-V2410 or DP-V1770) for on-set color management and review that conforms to SMPTE ST 2084 standards of HDR display.

Canon has called on Codex to provide a fully-integrated (no cables) recording and workflow option. The combination of the EOS C700 camera with the optional Codex CDX-36150 recorder allows for high-speed 4.5K RAW recording at up to 100fps, 4K RAW at up to 120fps, 4K ProRes at up to 60fps, 2K ProRes at up to 240fps and XF-AVC at up to 60fps.

The EOS C700, EOS C700 PL and EOS C700 GS PL are the company’s first Cinema EOS cameras to support anamorphic shooting by using a “de-squeeze” function for monitoring, making possible it possible to create images with the 2.39:1 aspect ratio typical of cinema productions. Furthermore, enabling full HD HFR recording at a maximum of 240fps (crop), the camera enables smooth playback, even when slowed down.

Along with the announcement of these cameras, there are new optional accessories: OLED 1920×1080 Electronic View Finder EVF-V70, Remote Operation Unit OU-700, Shoulder Support Unit SU-15, Shoulder Style Grip Unit SG-1 and B4 mount adapters MO-4E/MO-4P.

The EOS C700 and EOS C700 PL are currently expected to go on sale in December 2016, while the EOS C700 GS PL is expected to go on sale in January 2017. The EOS C700 and EOS C700 PL will have a list price of $35K and the EOS C700 GS PL will have a list price of $38K.

New On-Set Monitors
Also from Canon are two new pro 4K/UHD displays targeting content creators — the DP-V2420, a 24-inch high-luminance model targeting HDR footage, and the DP-V1710 4K, a 17-inch, 3840×2160 display suited for use on set, in broadcasting vans and in studios. Both displays feature a Canon-developed image-processing engine, proprietary backlight system and an IPS LCD panel that when combined deliver excellent color reproduction and high-resolution, high-contrast imaging performance.

The Canon DP-V2420 supports HDR standards and display methods increasingly used for next-gen video production, and provides high luminance and black luminance performance essential for screening HDR content. The DP-V2420 display qualifies as a Dolby Vision mastering monitor and complies with the ITU-R BT.2100-0 HDR standard, which specifies a peak luminance 1000 cd/m2 and a minimum luminance 0.005 cd/m2. Allowing for the review and confirmation of high-quality 4K images, the display’s expanded dynamic range increases color expression and the contrast between the light and dark areas of an image to achieve luminance expression close to that of the naked eye while also supporting the expression of natural colors and a sense of three-dimensionality.

The DP-V1710 4K/UHD is a 17-inch 3840×2160 resolution display, which can be used with the 19-inch rack mounts that are commonplace in broadcast studio sub control rooms and broadcasting vans. In addition to providing high-image-quality UHD resolution, the display features a compact body size that makes it useful for on set, carrying during on-location shooting or for use in broadcasting vans with limited space.

The DP-V2420 and DP-V1710 displays are scheduled to be available in November 2016 and February 2017 for list prices of $32,900 and $13,500, respectively.

Canon developing 8K DSLR, pro 8K display, more

Canon is working on a Cinema EOS System 8K camera and 8K reference display that will support the production of next-gen 8K video content, along with a still-image single-lens reflex camera equipped with a CMOS sensor featuring approximately 120 million effective pixels.

In addition, Canon has developed an APS-H-size (approx. 29.2×20.2 mm) CMOS sensor incorporating approximately 250 million pixels (19,580 x 12,600 pixels).

The Cinema EOS System 8K camera, which is being developed, will be equipped with a Canon Super 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensor that makes high-resolution 8,192×4,320 pixel (approximately 35.39 million effective pixels) imaging performance, at a frame rate up to 60fps with 13 stops of dynamic range and a wide color gamut. The camera features a compact body and an EF mount that offers compatibility with most of Canon’s interchangeable EF lens lineup.

Incorporating Canon image-processing technology, the ultra-high-resolution 8K reference display aims to achieve high brightness, high contrast (high dynamic range) and a wide color gamut. Additionally, with a pixel density exceeding 300 pixels per inch — a level approaching the limit of human — the display intends to make possible ultra-realistic imaging that can enable the reproduction of even subtle changes in light.

When installed in one of Canon’s prototype cameras, the newly developed sensor was reportedly able to capture images that enable the distinguishing of lettering on the side of an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 11 miles (18 km) from the shooting location. The new CMOS sensor achieves a signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, made possible through advancements such as circuit miniaturization and enhanced signal-processing technology. The sensor enables the capture of ultra-high-pixel-count video at a speed of up to five frames per second.

The company is also developing a still camera featuring a resolution of approximately 120 effective megapixels. The SLR camera will incorporate a Canon-developed high-pixel-density CMOS sensor within the current EOS camera series platform.  This will allow compatibility with most of the company’s interchangeable EF lens lineup. The camera will be capable of producing a three-dimensional texture, feel and presence of subjects. It will also provide resolutions more than sufficient for large-format printing and extensive cropping, while maintaining high image quality.

Atomos offering lightweight Ninja Assassin for 4K/UHD

Atomos, makers of the established and high-end Shogun, have added the Ninja Assassin to its product line. The Assassin records 4K UHD and 1080 60p and is a 10-bit 4:2:2 recording solution for Apple Final Cut X, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro workflows. Atomos describes it as a lightweight and affordable add-on to existing DSLR, mirrorless, video and cinema cameras. It’s available now.

The Ninja Assassin offers the screen size, screen resolution, advanced recording capability and scopes of the company’s premium Shogun model, but without the 12G/6G/3G-SDI connectivity, RAW recording functionality, in-built conversion, Genlock and balanced XLR audio connections. The main benefit — a 10 percent weight reduction to 430g and a $1,295 (US) price point, including soft case, SSD caddy and AC adaptor.

The Assassin targets 4K DSLM cameras such as the Sony a7S and a7R II, Canon XC10 and Panasonic GH4. The Ninja Assassin has HDMI focused audio/video connections and ships with a brand new red Armor Bumper for increased protection.

Key features include:
• Recording of more accurate, higher resolution colors (4:2:2, 10-bit) direct to visually lossless editing formats.
• No recording time limits.
• Professional shot setup on a calibrated high-resolution 7-inch monitor with more than 320 pixels per inch.
• Anamorphic de-squeeze — a good companion for Panasonic’s GH4 and affordable anamorphic lenses/adaptors.
• Easy to use pro monitoring tools, including focus peaking assist, 1:1 and 2:1 zoom with smooth image pan and scan, False Color (skin tones), Zebra and Waveform/Vectorscopes for in-depth image analysis.
• Pre-Roll cache recording up to 8 seconds of HD or 2 to 3 seconds of 4K.
• Video timelapse with up to 10 different sequences, speed ramp and scheduled start and end times over 24 hours.
• 3D LUTs allow creation of a specific signature look. The 50:50 split / LUT on / LUT off view allows users to compare effects and make creative decisions on the fly.
• Playback for instant review and editing on the fly with a choice of 10 tags in both record and playback mode.

Canon developing lightweight 4K projector for 2016

Canon is developing an LCOS projector that they say is capable of displaying video and still images at a resolution up to 4,096×2,400 pixels with 5,000 lumens of brightness. This level of definition surpasses the 4,096×2,160 pixel resolution of 4K digital cinema.

Thanks to ongoing advances in image quality and definition made possible by the introduction of a growing number of 4K production tools, Canon is using its proprietary optical technologies to make its entry into the 4K projector market in 2016.

Canon is developing the 4K projector as a new model within its REALiS series that achieves high brightness, ultra high-resolution and is also has a compact and lightweight body.

Equipped with three ultra-high-definition 4,096×2,400 pixel LCOS panels, the Canon 4K projector under development is being designed to support the projection of bright, HD content that “exceeds the resolution offered by 4K digital cinema.” While increases in brightness performance for projectors commonly requires larger lamps and cooling systems, resulting in increases in projector body size, Canon’s proprietary AISYS optical system hopes to deliver a 5,000 lumens performance while making significant reductions in body size and weight.

Additionally, the projector will feature a newly developed 4K wide-zoom lens capable of projecting large images from a short distance, as well as an optical focusing function that enables the projection of images on curved-surface screens.

Canon does want to remind people that since the product is currently under development, specs and availability might change.

‘Wolf Hall’ DP Gavin Finney: modern tech for a period drama

By Ellen Wixted

Based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall was adapted by the BBC in conjunction with PBS as a six-part series for television.  When the show first aired in the UK in January on BBC Two, the first episode attracted nearly six million viewers. In the US, the April premiere drew 4.4 million viewers on PBS and through streaming services.

Capturing the volatile mix of sex, politics and religion that defined Henry VIII’s Britain, Wolf Hall was directed by Peter Kosminsky and shot entirely on location by cinematographer Gavin Finney, BSC. The show stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn and Damien Lewis as Henry VIII.

I spoke with Finney about how he achieved the series’ distinctively fresh, contemporary look. The story of Henry VIII is familiar, but Mantel’s depiction of Thomas Cromwell is a significant departure from tradition. I asked Finney what the response to the series has been in the UK, and he was quick to note that while the historical events are well known to Brits, the show’s goal was to do justice to the novel — which is, at its heart, fiction. “Cromwell was the first plebeian power broker who wasn’t aristocracy or clergy,” Finney points out. “He was a mercenary, a lawyer and a banker.

Gavin Finney, behind the camera.

Gavin Finney, behind the camera.

In that time, especially, you had to be fleet of mind to stay alive. Typically, Thomas More is presented as a saint, but in Wolf Hall his darker side is portrayed, albeit with deep religious convictions. What’s great about Hilary’s writing is that no one comes through as an ogre or an angel.”

Documentary Immediacy Meets Historical Drama
Unlike most period dramas, which lavish visual attention on every surface, Finney notes that Kosminsky wanted the visual world of Wolf Hall to feel more like a documentary than a traditional drama. “For the people of the time, these weren’t historically important sites or fabulous costumes, they were the buildings they lived and worked in, and the clothes they wore.”

In the 16th Century, art played a key role in helping define the visual approach. “The witnesses to that time were the painters” points out Finney, noting that the team spent time in London looking not just at the Hans Holbein paintings that figure prominently in the story, but also at works by later painters from Caravaggio and Rembrandt to Vermeer and Gerard van Honthorst. “In that era, people are always painted by windows, and night scenes show how that world looked by candlelight. Peter staged the action so that interior shots are illuminated by natural looking light from the windows, and nighttime scenes are lit using candles.”

In part an aesthetic choice, the strategy had clear practical benefits as well. “Because we were shooting in some of the UK’s most important historical buildings — many of which Cromwell, Henry and Anne had walked through — we couldn’t just stick film lights in those rooms.” It also meant that the actors’ movements had to be carefully orchestrated in order to ensure they were illuminated, particularly in night scenes.

While accurate period detail was important, both Finney and Kosminski wanted that authenticity to be communicated without the visual grandstanding typically associated with period dramas. “We wanted the camera to be loose and fluid and reactive to the action, so the series had the immediacy of a documentary.” To that end, the team shot the entire series handheld — including most wide shots — to help place viewers in the action and give the show its unusual sense of intimacy.

The story is filmed almost entirely from Cromwell’s point of view. While true to the author’s intent, it also reinforces the show’s immediacy. “Almost all of the scenes in the show are witnessed from where Cromwell is standing,” explains Finney. “We don’t see Henry until nearly the end of the first episode, because Cromwell doesn’t meet him until then. Even though we had access to these amazing architectural spaces, we avoided using crane shots to move down through them because doing so wouldn’t make visual sense or be true to the novel.” The one exception — an aerial crane shot at Catherine of Aragon’s funeral — adds emotional impact in large part because it stands in stark contrast to the rest of the show.

Putting Digital To The Test
While Finney has extensive experience with both film and digital capture, Wolf Hall was Kosminski’s first foray into digital production. Two key requirements were that the camera had to be handheld, and the image quality — both in daylight and low light — had to be pristine.

The team spent weeks shooting test scenes with actors using a dizzying array of cameras and lenses. Cameras tested included the Red Epic and Dragon, the Arri Alexa and Amira, the Sony F55, the Canon C500, C300 and even the Canon 5D Mark III. They also tested multiple lens packages: the Cooke S4 series, Zeiss Master and Ultra Primes, Canon K-35s and Leica Summilux-C lenses. Shooting candlelight proved especially challenging with some of the camera and lens combinations — notably the Red cameras with Ultra Primes. The light from the candles reflected back onto the sensor and created a double image.

“We found the best combination was the Leica Summilux lenses on the Alexa,” says Finney. “Not only were they a kilo lighter — important given that I’d be carrying the weight for hours at a time on shoot days — but the lenses performed astonishingly well wide open. And the Leicas showed the least chromatic aberration of any we tested… even the Master Primes had some color fringing.”

The team shot ProRes 4444 Log C at 1920×1080 onto SxS cards on the camera. Files were then transcoded to Avid. LUTs were applied to dailies to convert them to REC 709, and a preliminary grade was applied using DaVinci Resolve so it was easier to visualize the end result.

“You have to test the full pipeline,” Finney insists. “Ansel Adams wrote in the 1950s that you can’t consider the film, camera and development processes separately. That’s still true today; you need to test your lens, camera and entire post pipeline before you can know what your image will look like.”

A Documentary-Style Shoot
Finney was responsible for filming all of the scenes in the series — literally. Shooting solo for 65 of the 85 filming days, Finney worked with a personal trainer in advance to prepare physically. Here again, approaching the shoot with a small, documentary-sized crew reaped big rewards. “The actors really responded to having such a small crew. They were able to walk into 500-year-old rooms that were dressed and lit the way they would have been at the time without the distraction of a large crew. There’s a scene in Episode 6 at Anne Boleyn’s trial — when [actress] Claire Foy entered the hall the first time, she gasped,” remembers Finney.

While replicating natural daylight through windows and using candles at night for most scenes, Finney used supplementary lighting for some shots. For night scenes, the team built reflective trays that contained 20 to 30 church candles, primarily so the lighting would be responsive to the actors’ movements. “Candles don’t flicker all the time,” explains Finney, “but the flames are very interactive when someone walks past. If you bring in extra light, you want it to behave the same way.” Finney also occasionally used Kino Flo LED lights, dimmed down to between 1.5% & 3% with diffusion filters and color gels.

Subtle Color On A Tight Schedule
Grading was done at Lipsync Post in London using FilmLight’s Baselight. Adam Inglis was the colorist. The grade for all six episodes took 13 days to complete, and both Finney and Kosminsky were present for the entire process. With such a tight schedule, it was imperative that the team collaborated effectively.

“Adam had a very sympathetic style, and really understood the very naturalistic, organic look Peter and I were trying to achieve. We didn’t want anything showy, and Adam was able to achieve fantastically subtle and precise effects very quickly and skillfully,” says Finney.

Reflecting On 4K
With a long and celebrated career to draw upon, I asked Finney about the changes he’s seen in the industry. “Obviously, it’s been a big transition from film to digital,” he says. “Film still has a place, but digital acquisition is now as good in terms of the dynamic range. For TV production, the transition to digital been massively positive; we can now use the same cameras and lenses as the biggest budget feature films, and we have a much greater ability to shape the picture in post than we did in the past. We couldn’t have shot Wolf Hall the way we did without the new cameras and lenses that are available.”

Gavin Finney

Gavin Finney

Finney began his career as a photographer, and he observed that if you want to know where cinematography is going, it’s smart look at the changes in still photography. “Still cameras have reached a point where you don’t need or want more megapixels; it just makes the images slower to process and move around… with more noise and less dynamic range,” he notes. “The public doesn’t benefit. The cameras I’m interested in are the ones that deliver greater dynamic range, less noise and more color depth.”

What does that mean for the push to 4K? Finney had strong opinions on the topic: “4K is great if you like sport, and it definitely matters for visual effects work, but super high resolutions aren’t necessarily great for drama, and I’m not convinced the public likes it either. I’ve never heard a critic wish for higher resolution, and the films that have recently won Academy Awards were all shot at 2K or 3.2K.” Finney notes that streaming services like Amazon and Netflix that are commissioning content are requiring 4K, but that his preference would be to spend the budget in other ways instead. “That said,” he concludes, “if I found a 4K camera that looked great, I’d use it.”

Cine Gear Expo showcases production, post solutions

By Mel Lambert

With its focus on sound and image acquisition, the annual Cine Gear Expo — now in its 20th year — offers attendees the opportunity to examine a wide cross section of systems targeted at the production and post communities, including capture, storage and delivery configurations that accommodate 4K and HDR workflows. Held last Friday and Saturday at the Paramount Studios complex in central Hollywood, a large number of companies showed off new innovations within Stages 31 and 32, in addition to outdoor booths located throughout the New York Street area. This year’s event reportedly attracted in excess of 12,000 attendees.

One highlight was a rare 70mm screening by Band Pro Film & Digital of Baraka, followed by a Q&A with producer Mark Magidson. Shot in 25 countries on six continents, the film includes a number of scenes that director Ron Fricke defines as “a guided meditation on humanity.” Originally released in 1992, Baraka was the first film in over 20 years to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format, and reportedly the first film ever to be restored and scanned at 8K resolution. “Last year we screened Samsara in 4K at Cine Gear,” reports Band Pro president/CEO Amnon Band. “The response was huge, and we wanted this year to be just as amazing. Baraka is a film that deserves to be projected and appreciated on the big screen.” (As critic Roger Ebert once commented: “If man sends another Voyager to the distant stars and it can carry only one film on board, that film might be Baraka.”)

Panavision Primo 70 lenses and the Red Weapon 8K.

Panavision Primo 70 lenses and the Red Weapon 8K.

Panavision/Light Iron showed test footage from director Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which was shot by Robert Richardson, ASC, in Ultra Panavision 70 and projected from 70mm anamorphic film at the Paramount Theater. The first production since Khartoum (1966) to be shot in Ultra Panavision 70, the anamorphic format is captured on 65mm negative stock to deliver an approximately 2.7:1 image that is described as “sharp but not clinical, with painterly bokeh and immersive depth.” Also shown in the Panavision/Light Iron booth was a demo of 8K footage shot on the RED Weapon 8K with Panavision Primo 70 lenses, PanaNet, a high-speed fiber network between Panavision locations for transferring media at up to 10GB per second; LightScan, a low-cost telecine solution that transfers ProRes UHD quality targeted at independent films, commercials and TV shows that prefer film optics; and Live Play 3, an iPad dailies app for Mac OS X.

Canon’s EOS C300 Mark II digital cinema camera.

Canon took the opportunity to showcase the new EOS C300 Mark II digital cinema camera. According to Joseph Bogacz, a Canon advisor on professional engineering and solutions, the Mk II is a completely new camera, and not derived from the original C300. “The Mk II offers more than 15 stops of dynamic range, with ISO from 160 to 102,400. We have also included 10-bit recording for 4K shoots, in addition to 10- or 12-bit HD/2K resolutions. The Mk II also offers internal 4K recording, for less complexity on a film or TV set.” The camera’s power system has also been beefed up to 14.4 volts, with Lemo connectors.

Also shown was the new portable DP-V2410 24-inch 4K reference monitor, which is designed for on-set use during 4K cinema and 4K/UHD TV/commercial productions. The monitor “delivers a consistent look throughout the entire workflow,” according to Jon Sagud, a professional marketing manager with Canon Imaging Technologies and Communications Group. “It connects via a single cable to the C300 MkII and also accepts HDMI sources.”

Gale Tattersall

The RGB LED backlight panel is rated at 400 NIT light levels with several built-in waveform displays, and can be powered from 24V supplies. It can also de-Bayer live 4K RAW video from EOS C500 and C300 Mark II cameras, and supports 4K ACES proxy (ACES 1.0) to maintain a desired “look” throughout a production-to-post workflow.

The company also hosted a panel discussion, “A First Look at the EOS C300 Mark II with Gale Tattersall,” during which the acclaimed director of photography presented his first impressions of the new camera, together with reactions from first AC Tony Gutierrez, second AC Zoe Van Brunt and Steadicam operator Ari Robbins, while shooting Trick Shot, the first short to be shot entirely with the new system. “I was immediately impressed by the C300 Mk II’s wide dynamic range and output quality,” Tattersall confided. “I could avoid white-level clipping and hold shadow detail; you can go beyond the 15-stop range if you want to. We were working with a 50-1,000 T5 Canon lens, which is a perfect all-round zoom. With Netflix and other studios specifying 4K resolution, the MkII’s on-board recording will definitely streamline our workflows.”

Probably best known for his work as DP on Fox’s House television series, Tattersall currently is working on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie series, using a competitive 4K camera. “When you have [series principals] Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin – ‘ladies in their seventies’ – wearing black against black backgrounds, dynamic range become a key factor! The Mk II offers outstanding performance down in the critical 15 IRE low-level range.”

During a panel discussion organized by Sony, cinematographer Rob Hardy, BSC, shared details of his work on director Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, using a F65 CineAlta digital camera. Because of his prior experience shooting 35mm film for commercials, “I wanted to retain the same operator workflow,” Hardy concedes. “During pre-production 4K tests [in the UK at Pinewood Studios] we compared the look of Red Dragon, Arri Alexa and Sony F65 cameras, with new and old glass [lenses]. I needed to capture in the camera what I was seeing on the set; skin tones became a key parameter across a range of interior and exterior lighting levels.

DP Rob Hardy during a panel discussion on using Sony CineAlta F65 camera to shoot Ex Machina.

DP Rob Hardy during a panel discussion on using Sony F65 CineAlta camera to shoot Ex Machina.

“We opted for Xtal Express anamorphic glass on the F65, a combination that offered everything I was looking for. The resultant images had the depth that I needed for the film; the F65 ‘read’ the glass perfectly for me at T2.8 or T2.3 apertures.” UK-based Joe Dunton Cameras supplied the Cooke Xtal (Crystal) Express anamorphic lenses, which are derived from vintage Cooke spherical lenses that, in the eighties, were rehoused and modified with anamorphic elements.

Turning to other booth displays at Cine Gear, Amimon demonstrated the Connex series of 5GHz wireless transmission units that are said to deliver full HD video quality with zero-latency transmission over distances up to 3,300 feet, which are targeted at feature films, documentaries, music videos and other production applications that need realtime control of a camera and drone. A built-in OSD provides telemetry information; commands can also be sent via Futaba S-Bus protocol to a drone’s gimbal; the unit supports simultaneous multicasting to four screens.

Audio Intervisual Design (AID) showed examples of recent post-production design and installation projects, including a multi-function dub stage and DI/color grading suite for Blumhouse Productions, which has enjoyed recent success with the Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious and Sinister franchises, in addition to Oscar success with Whiplash and Emmy success with HBO’s The Normal Heart. Also shown at the AID booth was an Avid S6 Console surface for Pro Tools and examples of IHSEusa’s extensive range of KVM switches and extenders, plus DVI splitters and converters.

GoPro demonstrated application of its free-of-charge GoPro Studio software that imports, trims and playbacks videos and timelapse photo sequences; edit templates offer music, edit points and slow-motion effects. Video playback speeds can also be changed for ultra-slow and fast motion using the built-in Flux app.

G-Tech's Aimee Davos with G-Drive ev ATC drives.

G-Tech’s Aimee Davos with G-Drive ev ATC drives.

G-Tech showed the new G-Drive ev ATC with either Thunderbolt or USB3 interfaces, designed to withstand life while on hostile locations. The ruggedized, watertight housing with tethered cable holds a removable hard drive and is available in various capacities. The ATC’s all-terrain case is compatible with the firm’s Evolution Series, with a durable 7,200 RPM drive that is said to leverage the speed of Thunderbolt while providing the flexibility of USB. A 1TB USB drive sells for $179 and $229 for a 1TB Thunderbolt model. Also shown was the RAID 8-Bay Thunderbolt 2 storage solution designed to support multi-stream compressed 4K workflows at transfer rates up to 1,350MB/s

London-based iDailies offers 35/16mm processing and 35 mm printing, together with telecine transfer and color grading; only two such film-processing facilities currently exist in the UK. “We are handling all of the processing for [Walt Disney Pictures’] new Star Wars: Episode 7–The Force Awakens, which is being shot entirely on film by director J. J. Abrams,” explains the firm’s senior colorist Dan Russell. Reportedly, the facility has processed every studio film shot in the UK since March 2013, including Spectre, Mission Impossible 5, Cinderella and Fury, together with The Imitation Game and Far From The Madding Crowd. It also supports the majority of film schools, to help “encourage and enable the next generation of filmmakers to discover the unique attributes of film origination.”

L-R: SNS's Steve McKenna with the John Diel.

L-R: SNS’s Steve McKenna with  John Diel.

Sound Devices showcased the PIX-E Series on-camera video monitors, which includes 1,920-by-1,080 five-inch and or 1,920-by-1,200 seven-inch LCDs, with integral monitoring tools, SDI and HDMI I/O, plus the ability to record 4K and Apple ProRes 4444 to mSATA-based SpeedDrives. PIX-E monitors feature compact, die-cast metal housings and Gorilla Glass 2. Also shown was the 12-input Model 688 production mixer with 16-track recorder, offering eight outputs plus digital mixing and routing and the MixAssist automatically drops the volume of inactive inputs and maintains consistent background levels.

Studio Network Solutions (SNS) showcased practical applications for ShareBrowser, a file/project/asset management interface for OS X and Windows, and which is included with every EVO shared-storage system. “ShareBrowser lets post users search, index, share, preview and verify all assets,” explained sales manager Steve McKenna. “More than a file manager, the app enables automatic project locking for Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, Avid Pro Tools and other editors, as well as Avid project and bin sharing, and allows search across all EVO storage as well as local, offline and other network disks.”

Cine Gear photos by Mel Lambert

 

‘Crocodile Gennadiy’ filmmakers tell story with C300, 5D cameras

Director Steve Hoover, producer Danny Yourd and DP John Pope used highly mobile cameras and lenses from Canon to document the struggle of pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko to operate a children’s rehabilitation center amidst civil unrest in eastern Ukraine.

For the documentary Crocodile Gennadiy, the team used two Canon EOS C300 Digital Cinema cameras, one Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera and multiple EF series lenses to capture cinematic, creative images while maintaining a low profile in dangerous areas.

The Pilgrim Home rehabilitation center run by Mokhnenko is dedicated to drug-addicted orphans rescued from the streets of the city of Mariupol. To capture the dark, confusing world inhabited by the film’s characters, the team did a lot of shooting at night, relying largely on available light — sometimes just moonlight — and the low-light sensitivity of the EOS C300 cameras. The lightweight and ergonomic camera also allowed the team to shoot for long hours and move quickly when necessary. With two XLR inputs for recording, the EOS C300 allowed the team to capture inputs from both a shotgun mic mounted on the camera and the recordist’s wireless transmitter. The recordist also captured audio on a separate CT card recorder. This combination allowed the team to cut time spent logging, loading and organizing in post by a month or more.

The team used the EOS 5D Mark III to pick up additional footage. Its physical similarity to conventional still cameras made it less conspicuous than the EOS C300 cameras, allowing the filmmakers to capture imagery even in places requiring a very low profile.

The EOS C300 and EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR can be used with any of the more than 103 interchangeable Canon EF series photographic lenses, and Hoover, Yourd and Pope used EF series lenses strategically to tell the story. The tilt-shift lenses enabled creative representation of certain people and locations; primes were used both for interviews and for following Mokhnenko around on his nightly rescue missions, and zooms were used for undercover work, shooting from a distance and landscape-type shots.

In post, the preparation and editing of footage was simplified by the EOS C300 camera’s use of the MXF file format, which in turn facilitated editing with Adobe Premiere without the need for transcoding. The filmmakers shot in Canon Log mode, which captures the full exposure latitude that the camera’s Super 35mm CMOS sensor is capable of. This capability enabled the team to achieve cinematic subtleties in color grading.

To rent or buy? That is the question

What best fits your studio’s needs is a personal choice.

By Fred Ruckel

When it comes to production, there is always a debate about whether to buy equipment or rent it. RuckSackNY has faced this dilemma many times over the years and recently we decided it was time to take the plunge — we are now investing in the gear we would often rent.

This decision was not taken lightly and didn’t happen overnight because our choice wasn’t a cheap one. For me, it all comes down to quality control and consistent shooting. Over the course of the year we shoot as many as 20 times, which might not seem like a lot to some, but for a little company like ours it means constantly hiring crews and equipment.

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‘Wedlock’ web series shot on Canon C300s

When director Ross Partridge and cinematographer Doug Emmett were in pre-production on their nine-episode web series Wedlock, they wanted a cinematic, shallow depth of field look.

They also knew they needed a camera package that was highly mobile and lightweight for stealthy shooting in practical locations. It also had to have great low-light capabilities in order to control the size of their lighting package and offer a broad choice of lenses. They decided on Canon EOS C300 digital cinema cameras and Cinema prime and zoom lenses.

“We didn’t want Wedlock to look like video,” says Emmett. “We needed a really high-quality image that looked as cinematic as possible. That’s what we got with the combination of our three Canon EOS C300 cameras and Canon cinema lenses.”

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Executive produced by the indie filmmakers The Duplass brothers, Wedlock is a comedy, which stars Mark Duplass and Jennifer Lafleur, about two Type-A friends who decide to give romance a try — with the help of a therapist, of course.

The show was self-funded. “We took the ball into our own hands to see if we could produce it and then sell it to content providers or distributors,” explains Partridge. “We can package it and sell it as a series and then create a whole other season if we wish to.”

The production schedule was hectic. Wedlock was shot in a private residence in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles over the course of four days. “In a world in which digital cameras are used heavily in TV production, the jump to the EOS C300 camera was very easy,” reports Emmett, who added that the camera’s form factor benefitted the DP since the budget necessitated working with a smaller crew.