Featuring an impressive film series and competition screenings followed by a smorgasbord of displayed equipment, this year’s Expo had it all — and the constant flow of attendees added to the event’s success. After receiving their credentials, visitors were guided though Stage 23 and 24 where they got their first look at some of today’s leading production equipment and technology. This led to New York Street where attendees could enjoy hands-on experience in an outdoor exhibits area. Additional stops included the Paramount Theater (the venue for a variety of manufacturer sessions on techniques and screen footage) and the Sherry Lansing Theater, where Kodak set up shop and invited accomplished cinematographers to give insights into their craft.
On the show floor, exhibiting companies and attendees alike seemed pleased with the introduction of new technology and the amount of quality equipment on display. “You need to fuel your mind with what’s possible in the future,” said Cinematographer Rodney Charters, ASC (They Die by Dawn). “Everybody’s represented here, and you get to touch and feel all the stuff that is either in existence or will be coming out in the next six months.” Cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC couldn’t agree more. “I always come every year because I need to lay my hands on all the latest equipment and cameras and camera support and ways to move and light,” he said. “You can find it [all] here.” Unfortunately, Bennett also learned some sad news at this year’s event: His good friend Bob Zupka, head of design at Schneider Filters, had just passed away. “[This is] a great tragedy for all of us because he was the guy you went to when you wanted special custom things made and he designed special filters for me over the years,” Bennett lamented. “I was very sorry to hear of his passing.”
While Cinematographer Richard Crudo, ASC (Dirty People) was impressed with all the work that was put into the Expo and its huge turnout, he’s also frustrated by all the new technology that continues to surface. “The stuff is changing so quickly and we have to stay on top of it,” he explained. “It’s hard to be impressed anymore because every week something new comes out and then a month later it’s obsolete. Every time out, you’re reinventing the wheel. There are no standards.” Cinematographer and Radiant Images Co-Founder Michael Mansouri reported that his company comes up with solutions based on the clients’ needs. “We try to be more collaborative with our directors and directors of photography,” said Mansouri. “We look at problems with post in mind. We show directors and directors of photography the difference between each camera in a visual way, not on a sheet of paper.” This has lead Radiant Images to create several products to highlight at the Expo, including the SI-2K Nano (a pocket-sized, cinema-quality POV camera used for the upcoming feature film End of Watch), a custom interchangeable lens mount, and a heavy-duty aluminum case for the GoPro camera.
PRG featured several of its LED lights, including OHM high-output LED lights that are color-turnable and ideal for lighting large areas that require a large volume of ambient top light. This is the company’s fourth year as a Cine Gear lighting sponsor, and it provided the lighting for Stage 24 and lighting/audio for the VIP party signage. “It’s a great partnership,” said PRG General Manager Brian Edwards. “This year the registered attendees are above last year, so this is great news. [The event is] growing [as it provides] well-qualified access to the studio folks. It’s a great show.”
Rick Maas of Mac Tech LED also values the benefits of participating in the yearly Cine Gear event. “This show in particular gives you a lot of exposure to the right people,” he said. Maas introduced three new lights from the company: the 2x8 Slim Line, 1x8 Slim Line and Ladder Light. “I think everybody understands that we are saving power, saving manpower, saving power distribution [as well as] air conditioning,” said Maas about the efficiencies of using LED lights. “We’re trying to build tools that the creative community likes [and that] are easier and more efficient to put in, so we’re not wasting a lot of dollars in the setup. We can put those dollars on the set in front of the camera to produce a better look.”
Canon showcased new products that were recently introduced at NAB, including the EOS C500 compact camera (with its new CMOS sensor that offers native HD, 2K and 4K output) and the EOS-1D C digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, which is compact and lightweight yet delivers high-end video performance at 4K (4096x2160 pixel) or full HD (1920x1080 pixel) resolution. “Cine Gear is so cinema-centric [that] we have all our new products here and we’re trying to expand our reach into the community,” said Laurence Thorpe, Canon’s senior director of professional engineering and solutions. Canon also showed two new compact cine zoom lenses (expected to be available at the year’s end), new prime lenses (expected to be available in September), and the 5D Mark III, which is now available with a new sensor, more sensitivity and less noise. “[The 5D is] just spinning out,” Thorpe reported.
FUJIFILM Optical Devices U.S.A., Inc. and its Fujinon division set up a little production village featuring the new 19–90 T2.9 Cabrio compact zoom. This PL-mount lens is lightweight and has a quick-removable zoom handgrip that is great for handheld shoots. And JVC revealed its new 4K camera and had a full line of monitors available for viewing. The GY-HMQ10 handheld camcorder is capable of capturing and recording real-time video at four times the resolution of full HD (3840x2160 images at 24p, 50p and 60p). According to Craig Yanagi, JVC’s manager of marketing and brand strategy, this 4K camcorder will deliver stunning cinema-quality recordings with a small form factor and is completely self-contained.
As this year’s Cine Gear Expo continued to amaze with an abundance of technological advances, attendees continually mingled and networked with the many manufacturers, professional filmmakers and industry peers to discuss the next wave of production.