Tag Archives: Sony

postPerspective Impact Award winners from NAB 2017

In early April, postPerspective announced the debut of our Impact Awards, celebrating innovative products and technologies for the post production and production industries that will influence the way people work. Our inaugural awards honor the best new or upgraded gear shown at NAB 2017.

Now that the show is over, and our panel of post pro judges has had time to decompress, dig out and think about what impressed them, we are happy to announce our honorees.

And the winners of the postPerspective Impact Award from NAB 2017 are:

• Adobe — Creative Cloud Suite
• Avid — Media Composer | Cloud Remote
• Blackmagic Design — DaVinci Resolve 14
• Dell — UltraSharp 27 4K HDR Monitor
• HP — DreamColor Z31x Studio Display

“The postPerspective Impact Award celebrates companies that have listened to users’ wants and needs and then produced tools designed to make their working lives easier and projects better,” said Randi Altman, postPerspective’s founder and editor-in-chief. “And all of our winners certainly fall into that category.

“Our awards are special because they are voted on by people who will be potentially using these tools in their day-to-day workflows. It’s real-world users who have determined our winners, and that is the way it should be. We feel awards for products targeting pros should be voted on by pros.”

Obviously, there were many new technologies and products at NAB this year, and while only five won an Impact Award, our judges felt there were other tools that it was important to let people know about as well.

Displays for high-resolution workflows were of special interest to many of our judges. In addition to our winners, they pointed to Sony’s CLEDIS, Bravia and XBR displays; SmallHD’s Focus monitor; Eizo’s Color Edge monitors; and Flanders Scientific’s OLED 55-inch HDR display.

Other gear that caught our judges attention — AJA’s FS HDR with ColorFront; Telestream Wirecast with Cloud-Assist captioning; Avid Pro Tools with Dolby Atmos integration; IBM Watson for post production; Mettle’s 360 Degree/VR Depth plug-ins and Skybox Studio v2; G-Tech’s Thunderbolt 3 Shuttle XL; AJA’s KiPro Ultra Plus; and The Foundry’s Nuke 11 and Elara.

Stay tuned for future Impact Award winners in the coming months — voted on by users for users — from SIGGRAPH and IBC.

UHD Alliance’s Victor Matsuda: updates from NAB 2016

Victor Matsuda from the UHD Alliance was at NAB 2016. The Alliance was formed about 15 months ago as 4K UHD products began exploding into the market. The goal of the Alliance was to establish certifications for these new products and for content. All of this is to ensure a quality experience for consumers, who will ultimately drive 4K/UHD adoption throughout the market.

Watch our video with Matsuda to find out more.

Sony at NAB with new 4K OLED monitor, 4K, 8X Ultra HFR camera

At last year’s NAB, Sony introduced its first 4K OLED reference monitor for critical viewing — the BVM-X300. This year, Sony added a new monitor, the the PVM-X550, a 55-inch, OLED panel with 12-bit signal processing, perfect for client viewing. The Trimaster EL PVM-X550 supports HDR through various Electro-Optical Transfer Functions (EOTF), such as S-Log3, SMPTE ST.2084 and Hybrid Log-Gamma, covering applications for both cinematography and broadcast. The PVM-X550 is a quad-view OLED monitor, which allows customized individual display settings across four distinct views in HD. It is equipped with the same signal-processing engine as the BVM-X300, providing a 12-bit output signal for picture accuracy and consistency. It also supports industry standard color spaces including the wider ITU-R BT.2020 for Ultra High Definition.

HFR Camera
At NAB 2016, Sony displayed their newest camera system: the HDC-4800 combines 4K resolution with enhanced high frame rate capabilities, capturing up to 8X at 4K, and 16X in full HD. “This camera system can do a lot of everything — very high frame rate, very high resolution,” said Rob Willox, marketing manager for content creation, Sony Electronics.

I broke the second paragraph into two, and they are now: The HDC-4800 uses a new Super 35mm 4K CMOS sensor, supporting a wide color space (both BT.2020 and BT.709), and provides an industry standard PL lens mount, giving the system the capability of using the highest quality cinematic lenses for clear and crisp high resolution images.The new sensor brings the system into the cinematic family of RED and Alexa, making it well suited as a competitor to today’s modern, high end cinematic digital solutions.

An added feature of the HDC-4800 is how it’s specifically designed to integrate with Sony’s companion system, the Sony HDC-4300, a 2/3 inch image sensor 4k/HD camera. Using matching colorimetry and deep toolset camera adjustments, and with the ability to take advantage of existing build-up kits, remote control panels and master setup units, the two cameras can blend seamlessly.

Archive
Sony also showed the second generation of its Optical Disc Archive System, which adopts new, high-capacity optical media, rated with a 100 year shelf life with double the transfer rate and double the capacity of a single cartridge at 3.3 TB. The Generation 2 Optical Disc Archive System also adds an 8-channel optical drive unit, doubling the read/write speeds of the previous generation, helping to meet the data needs of real-time 4K production.

A glimpse at what Sony has in store for NAB

By Fergus Burnett

I visited Sony HQ in Manhattan for their pre-NAB Show press conference recently. In a board room with tiny muffins, mini bagels and a great view of New York, we sat pleasantly for a few hours to learn about the direction the company is taking in 2016.

Sony announced details for a slew of 4K-, HDR-capable broadcast cameras and workflow systems, all backwards compatible with standard HD to ease the professional and consumer transition to Ultra-HD.

As well as broadcast and motion picture, Sony’s Pro division has a finger in the corporate, healthcare, education and faith markets. They have been steadily pushing their new products and systems into universities, private companies, hospitals and every other kind of institution. Last year, they helped to fit out the very first 4K church.

I work as a DIT/dailies technician in the motion picture industry rather than broadcast, so many of these product announcements were outside my sphere of professional interest, but it was fascinating to gain an understanding of the immense scale and variety of markets that Sony is working in.

There were only a handful of new additions the CineAlta (pictured) line, firmware updates for the F5 and F55, and a new 4K recording module. These two cameras have really endured in popularity since their introduction in 2012.

The new AXS-R7 recording module (right) offers a few improvements over its predecessor the AXS-R5. It’s capable of full 4K up to 120fps and has a nifty 30-second cache capability, which is going to be really useful for shooting water droplets in slow motion. The AXS-R7 uses a new kind of high-speed media card that looks like a slightly smaller SxS — it’s called AXSM-S48. Sony is really on fire with these names!

A common and unfortunate problem when I am dealing with on-set dailies is sketchy card readers. This is something that ALL motion picture camera companies are guilty of producing. USB 3.0 is just not fast enough when copying huge chunks of critical camera data to multiple drives, and I’ve found the power connector on the current AXS card reader to be touchy on separate occasions with different readers, causing the card to eject in the midst of offloading. Though there are no details yet, I was assured that the AXSM-S48 reader would use a faster connection than USB 3.0. I certainly hope so; it’s a weak point in what is otherwise a fairly trouble-free camera ecosystem.

Looming at the top of the CineAlta lineup, the F65 is still Sony’s flagship camera for cinema production. Its specs were outrageous four years ago and still are, but it never became a common sight on film sets. The 8K resolution was mostly unnecessary even for top-tier productions. I inquired where Sony saw the F65 sitting among its competition, from Arri and Red, as well as their own F55 which has become a staple of TV drama.

Sony sees the F65 as their true cinema camera, ideally suited for projection on large screens. They admitted that while uptake of the camera was slow after its introduction, rentals have been increasing as more DPs gain experience with the camera, enjoying its low-light capabilities, color gamut and sheer physical bulk.

Sony manufactures a gigantic fleet of sensible, soberly named cameras for every conceivable purpose. They are very capable production tools, but it’s only a small part of Sony’s overall strategy.

With 4K HDR delivery fast becoming standard and expected, we are headed for a future world where pictures are more appealing than reality. From production to consumption, Sony could well be set to dominate that world. We already watch Sony-produced movies shot on Sony cameras playing on Sony screens, and we listen to Sony musicians on Sony stereos as we make our way to worship the God of sound and vision in a 4K church.

Enjoy NAB everyone!

AJA intros single-cable RovoCam UltraHD/HD compact camera

AJA has added a second camera to its line of acquisition products. RovoCam is a compact block camera for broadcast and pro A/V as well as industrial, security and corporate apps. It captures UltraHD and HD imagery using Sony optics with built-in 12x optical and up to 20x zoom with Sony Super Resolution Zoom.

RovoCam has an integrated HDBaseT interface supporting uncompressed video, power, stereo audio and RS-232 control over a single CAT 5e/6 cable running at lengths of up to 100 meters. Since it offers single-cable connectivity, this dramatically simplifies installation, camera set up and footprint requirements.

RovoCam is built around Sony’s 4K FCB-ER8300 Functional Camera Block featuring the back illuminated CMOS sensor technology and Sony image processing. The camera is encased in rugged and durable aluminum, and its small and light form factor allows simple mounting in a wide range of scenarios.

“There are a number of markets for RovoCam, from security, houses of worship to live events and stage rigging for concert capture and stadium applications,” explains AJA product manager Bryce Button. “Within the M&E space, the camera fits well and offers UltraHD/HD resolutions well suited for mocap capture, and camera B use within studio environments. It is not meant to be a primary narrative-type camera but is well suited for tight spaces and similar environments due to its compact size and all in one nature in terms of cabling.”

RovoRx-HDMI, the companion receiver unit, offers easy integration for RovoCam with an HDMI output, and all video/audio signals, power and control over HDBaseT. RovoCam is also compatible with select third-party receivers.

RovoCam will be available soon through AJA’s reseller network for a US MSRP of $2,495. RovoRX-HDMI will be available for a US MSRP of $495.

“Marrying our HDBaseT interface technology with Sony’s compact 4K camera delivers powerful camera acquisition with very simple single-cable setup and operation,” said Nick Rashby, president, AJA Video. “We’ve partnered closely with Sony for many years and RovoCam comes as the latest in a long line of collaborations with them.”

Here are some features of the RovoCam:
— HDBaseT interface supporting uncompressed video, stereo audio, control and power over a single CAT 5e/6 cable
— “4K” UltraHD and HD resolutions
— 1/2.3 type 8.9 megapixel back illuminated CMOS sensor
— Integrated zoom lens, 12x optical (20x with Super Resolution Zoom)
— Integrated image processor with extensive automatic and/or manual control
— Additional on-camera power and RS-232 connections for maximum flexibility
— Supports Sony VISCA camera control
— Stereo mic input suRovoRx-HDMIpporting PiP power
— Machined aluminum case with standard mounting options on each side
— Compatible with Sony’s SNCUNIHB/1 outdoor housing

Here are some features of the RovoRx-HDMI:
— HDBaseT receiver supporting video, stereo audio, control and power over a single CAT 5e/6 cable
— UltraHD and HD resolutions
— 1 x “4K” UltraHD/HD HDMI output
— 1 x RCA audio output
— 1 x USB for firmware updates and additional control
— 1 x RS-232 output

IBC 2015 Blog: Rainy days but impressive displays, solutions

By Robert Keske

While I noted in my first post that we were treated to beautiful weather in Amsterdam during the first days of IBC 2015, the weather on day four was not quite as nice… it was full of rain and thunderstorms, the latter of which was heard eerily through the RAI Exhibition Centre.

CLIPSTER

The next-gen Clipster

I spent day three exploring content delivery and automation platforms.

Rohde & Schwarz’s next-gen Clipster is finally here and is a standout — built on an entirely new hardware platform. It’s seamless, simplified, faster and looks to have a hardware and software future that will not require a forklift upgrade. 

Colorfront, also a leader in on-set dailies solutions, has hit the mark with its Transkoder product. The new HDR mathematical node is nothing less than impressive, which is nothing less than expected from Colorfront engineering.

Colorfront Transkoder

Colorfront Transkoder

UHD and HDR were also forefront at the show as the need for higher quality content continues to grow, and I spent day four examining these emerging display and delivery technologies. Both governments and corporate entities are leading the global community towards delivery of UHD to households starting in 2015, so I was especially interested in seeing how display and content providers would be raising the standards in display tech.

Sony, Samsung and Panasonic (our main image) all showcased impressive results to support UHD and HDR, and I’m looking forward to seeing what further developments and improvements the industry has to offer for both professional and consumer adoption.

Overall, while its seemed like a smaller show this year, I’ve been impressed by the quality of technology on display. IBC never fails to deliver a showcase of imagination and innovation and this year was no different.  

New York-based Robert Keske is CIO/CTO at Nice Shoes (@NiceShoesOnline).

‘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

 

Blog: ‘The Wound and The Gift’ showcases super slo-mo imagery

By Inna Shnayder

There is no denying that people love super slow-motion video. Not only does it allow us to visualize effects that the naked eye can’t see, but it also it adds another level of drama and intrigue to the content.

Unfortunately, the majority of equipment that can capture up to 240fps at high resolution will also capture all of the money out of our bank accounts. So how can we take advantage of the enhanced level of creativity that super-slow-motion offers? Sony. Specifically the NEX-FS700 camera.

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IBC Blog: The age of archives

By Tom Coughlin

With the flood of video content being created due to the ease and cost-effectiveness of digital video capture and production and the decreasing costs of storage, digital content saved for the long term will explode. Moving from today’s HD to 4K UHD and then to 8K UHD and at higher frame rates will require greater storage capacities and more sophisticated data management services.

During the IBC 2014 Oracle announced that it was acquiring Front Porch Digital (FPD). Front Porch Digital adds storage management features to Oracle that should complement current Oracle storage products. FPD has been using Oracle tape systems for some time in its largest archives. FPD was the champion and promoter of the AFX storage format that has been adopted as a SMPTE standard. This standard has become popular with many FPD customers Continue reading