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Tuesday, 06 July 2010 20:57

Cine Gear Expo 2010

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This year’s Cine Gear Expo returned to the Paramount Studios lot and, as always, there was a wealth of information for attendees on the latest and greatest production and postproduction equipment and resources. While the Expo itself didn’t open until late Friday afternoon, there were plenty of activities the day before, beginning with a mini-film festival showcasing a selection of student films, indie shorts, features and documentaries.

As for the exhibits, more and more lighting vendors were showcasing LED technologies, clearly a growing field, while Garrett Brown, the Academy Award-winning inventor of the Steadicam, showed off his latest invention. Overall, the list of exhibitors remained consistent with past Expos with a healthy selection of vendors representing a variety of film and digital video cameras (with more emphasis on the latter), camera support gear, accessories, production resources and even a few film commissions. 

For us, of equal if not greater value than the Expo itself were the highly informative seminars and panels –– filmmakers could get even more in-depth info about everything from the newest film and digital camera developments, with presentations by Kodak and Fujifilm discussing the latest and greatest in their respective film stocks, plus the Society of Camera Operators’ Steadicam panel, a presentation on workflow for the RED ONE and Mysterium-X cameras, and lots more. cine_gear.jpg

We were particularly fascinated by the daylong symposium on 3D held on Friday, which featured panels on production, postproduction and theater exhibition. Here, one of the recurring themes was the importance of using 3D as a serious storytelling tool, rather than simply a gimmick to sell tickets. It was interesting to hear comments about recent 2D-to-3D conversions, contrasting the film Alice in Wonderland, apparently shot with the conversion in mind, to Clash of the Titans, which garnered a lot of negative press from its conversion, though Legend 3D President Barry Sandrew explained that the exceptionally brief lead time was a major contributing factor in the film’s quality lag.

CINEPARTS, a German-based company with a local office in Newport Beach, Calif., exhibited products for general and specialized cinematographic applications, ranging from configurable power supply solutions and accessories to customized product development and consulting services. “For [us], Cine Gear is quite successful,” said Cineparts representative Christoph F. Bruggaier. “We have a lot of customers and hopefully future customers. We have acquired some customization projects, more than we ever expected. It’s the second time we are here and the second time we are completely satisfied.”

Band Pro featured the Summilux-C Prime lenses from Leica. The superfast T1.4 lenses were displayed on a variety of PL mount cameras, including Sony’s SRW-9000PL and F35. In addition to the Leica primes, many other lenses were showcased, including the Fujinon Premier PL zooms, Focus Optics Ruby 14-24mm short zoom, Zeiss CP.2 Primes with EF mount and Zeiss DigiPrimes.

Alan Gordon Enterprises and Glidecam exhibited together to hold an “open house” at their facility (a half-block east of Paramount Studios) complete with equipment on display, free BBQ and a raffle to win a Glidecam HD-2000 system. And at the Expo, attendees got to try out three of the companies’ systems: the X-22, the X-22/X-45 Hybrid and the Gold Series/X-45 Hybrid. There was also the Decimator 2 Down Converter and an exclusive line of production bags, belts and pouches from ARRI.
The iconic Mole-Richardson proudly introduced the MoleLED lighting solution. Designed in collaboration with OSRAM Sylvania and their proprietary Phosphor Dome technology, the MoleLED provides tungsten and daylight white light that parallels both the spectral sensitivity curves of film and the visible spectrum. Kodak, Panavision, Technicolor and Shelly Johnson, ASC helped with multiple tests to verify the color viewed on set would translate to the color viewed in film dailies. This has proven to mix with any existing tungsten or daylight source.

A figure skater gliding on “ice” drew attendees to Snow Business, a company that specializes in winter effects for film, TV, advertisements and corporate and live events. With its trained production team, equipment, materials and systems, Snow Business can achieve effects that include falling and settled snow along with frost, ice, icicles, snowballs, snowmen and igloos, all while using eco-friendly products and new faster, easier-to-use delivery systems.

Lee Filters showcased their new range of LEE Urban Effect Filters, which create the look of sodium street lighting with either a tungsten or daylight source. The filters’ new colors have been specifically designed to re-create different types of urban lighting effects, from high- and low-pressure sodium to the general orange and mustard look associated with street lighting. The range of filters can also give a dirty, gritty urban feel to existing light sources that has previously been difficult to achieve. Production Resource Group (PRG), Cine Gear Expo Platinum Sponsor, presented the Gekko line of LED fixtures (kezia, karesslight, kelvin tile, kisslite, kicklite), as well as PRG’s proprietary products including the V676 lighting control console, the Mbox EXtreme v3 media server, the Bad Boy Spot Luminaire, as well as PRG distributed products, such as the ChamSys MagicQ control console, the RSC Light Lock and Barco’s NX6 6mm and Pixled’s F-11 11mm video screens.

ARRI showed the ALEXA camera, HD-IVS system for film cameras and LED lighting products. The company gave a presentation in the Paramount Theatre of ALEXA footage, which included a World Cup short film, as well as an Easy Rider homage shot on new KODAK VISION3 stock to show that you can get twice the temporal resolution and half the grain all for the same cost. Additionally, the career of ARRI’s recently retired President and CEO Volker Bahnemann was honored with a Cine Gear Lifetime Achievement Award. Mark Fisher of Marshall Electronics exhibited a few products geared for the company’s cinema division: the V-LCD84STX, an 8.4-inch high-resolution, super-transflective MD camera-top/portable monitor; V-LCD50-HDMI 5-inch small 800x480 camera-top/portable field monitor with HDMI; 3D-241-HDSDI full-resolution 24-inch 3D LCD monitor with HDSDI; and V-LCD651STX-HDMI 6.5-inch lightweight, high-resolution, super-transflective, portable field/camera-top monitor.

Pro8mm hosted a free hands-on Super 8 film shoot session called "Do a Shot with Pro8mm,” offering free film for the first 40 filmmakers who signed up. With tips from Pro8mm President and Super 8 film expert Phil Vigeant, the session included some basic training, one roll of Super 8 film, processing and scanning to HD, all delivered on a data DVD in Pro Res 422. The company also gave free T-shirts to all participants.


Turnkey HD exhibited its compact mobile studio that offers streamlined equipment, support and delivery systems with its customized Mercedes Benz Sprinter vehicle. It includes industrial shelving, lockers, a workstation and a grip and lighting package. Integrated pure sine wave electricity powers the digital workstation, and lighting and ventilation provide a comfortable, reliable and secure base for operations. The custom sprinters are equipped with a Sony EX3 HD camera package, Porta-Jib Traveller Arm, Panasonic 17-inch HD monitor, digital imaging kit and workstation, versatile grip and lighting package with new lighting technology, Honda EU6500 generator and an all‐purpose production kit.
Bob Fisher of Creative Communications Services Public Relations (CCSPR) interviewed Cinematographer John R. Leonetti, ASC about his newest film Piranha 3-D. Influenced by his father who worked as an electrician on The Wizard of Oz, Leonetti spent most of his adult life working in production, and he joined the union when he was 18. “Once I figured what lighting was all about, I wanted to be a cinematographer,” said Leonetti. To an audience that included several other ASC members, the DP gave superb insights into 3D, saying that since it’s a new medium, he found it important to do a lot of testing and collaborated with others that had 3D experience. “With the rise of the 3D wave that is in our business, it’s become a pretty good choice; it’s a tool,” he said. Leonetti also acknowledged Oculus3D Founder Lenny Lipton, who was in the Expo audience, as the contemporary guru of 3D, saying that Lipton wrote the book on 3D that is now being used by everyone.
P3 held a drawing for complimentary tickets to the L.A. County Fair and the Day at the Races. The winners are Producer Ann Carter, Founding Member of the Alliance of Special Effects & Pyrotechnic Operators, Inc. Tassilo Baur and Studio Manager of Vic Huber Photography, Inc. Keith Sherins.
Once again, kudos goes to Cine Gear’s Karl Kresser and Juliane Grosso for producing a tremendously valuable event for anyone involved in production. It was almost like attending a film school.

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