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Friday, 05 February 2010 16:38

Latest Innovative Production Tools

Written by  Debra Kaufman
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Film and TV productions have gone digital, HD, 3D stereoscopic and mobile. And manufacturers have been innovating to keep the pace, providing new tools for cinematographers, grips and everyone else on the production team to be on top of their game.

Element Technica's new Quasar Stereographic 3D rig on a Chapman G3 crane at the Dave Matthews Band concertFilm and TV productions have gone digital, HD, 3D stereoscopic and mobile. And manufacturers have been innovating to keep the pace, providing new tools for cinematographers, grips and everyone else on the production team to be on top of their game. P3 Update now brings you just a few examples of the most innovative gear that has debuted in recent months.

Canon U.S.A. Inc. introduced the KJ22ex7.6B, the latest in its second-generation line of cost-effective HDgc portable HD lenses for the newest, most cost-effective HD camcorders. The HDgc lenses — which encompass the 2/3-inch, ½-inch and 1/3-inch HD image-format sizes –– work with new HD camcorders from all manufacturers. Canon’s new KJ22ex7.6B is the second in the 2/3-inch family of lenses. Designed as a multi-purpose telephoto lens, the KJ22ex7.6B encompasses a wide range of focal lengths and provides a wide angle of almost 65 degrees in the 16:9 HD image format. Other design optimizations include large-diameter aspherical lens elements for better control of comatic aberration, geometric distortion and corner resolution. And due to customer feedback, Canon did a total redesign of the digital drive unit to optimize both the ergonomic aspects and the performance of the digital electronic control of the zoom, iris and focus.

Canon introduced a mid-range DSLR with the EOS 7D digital SLR camera, featuring fast 8-fps continuous shooting, 18-megapixel resolution and full-HD video recording with variable frame rates and manual exposure control. Marketed as the “ultimate step-up” camera for serious photographers or a second camera for professionals in the field, the EOS 7D offers a new 19-point autofocus system; a Canon iFCL metering system for intelligent focus, color and luminance; and a new Intelligent Viewfinder. Other features include Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors that enable the EOS 7D’s 14-bit A/D data conversion and its ability to freeze fast-motion in high resolution with 8-fps continuous shooting up to 126 large JPEGS using a UDMA CF card. With a range of ISO speed settings from 100 to 6,400 (expandable to 12,800), the EOS 7D offers HD video capture at 1920x1080 resolution with selectable frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p.
Canon U.S.A.
1-800-321-HDTV (4388)

At IBC, Element Technica introduced the Quasar 3D rig, a full-sized 3D camera platform. The Quasar is camera and lens agnostic and can be configured either as a beam-splitter or side-by-side camera system. It features integrated high-torque motors and electronics, and a wired/wireless-remote hand unit to control interocularity and convergence. The Quasar, which also features an ARRI-standard bridge plate, was used on the Dave Matthews Band concert film Larger Than Life in 3D.

In 2010, Element Technica will debut smaller 3D rigs: the Pulsar, sized at 60 percent of the Quasar and aimed for use with mid-sized cameras; and the Neutron, which will be small enough for handheld and Steadicam configurations. Both of these rigs will include integrated electronics/motors, adjustable/removable mirror boxes, and the ability to convert from beam-splitter to side-by-side configurations more quickly than with the Quasar.
Element Technica

Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC using the Gamma & Density 3cP System on the set of State of Play
Gamma & Density Co. announced a new version of its 3cP cinematographer’s data-management and color-correction program. The 3cP/ST is aimed at users of Canon 5D Mark II and 7D digital SLR cameras. The 3cP/ST offers a range of tools that include data management, color correction, file generation and communication with postproduction, making it a set of tools for the first day of production through to the final product. Other features include media backup and validation using checksums, color correction and previewing, and dailies and final-footage generation.
Gamma & Density Co.

Gekko Technology is offering Kelvin TILE, a mix of six LEDs for a high-quality, broad-spectrum white light developed for film and video applications. This professional lighting unit was specifically made for the dynamic requirements of film/video shoots and, unlike with many lighting products, color temperature remains consistent throughout the range of intensity variation. A soft-light companion to the focusable Gekko kedo, the Kelvin TILE provides control over color temperature from 2,200 to 6,500 K with presets at 3,000 and 5,500 K. Measured at 1 meter distance, the Kelvin TILE delivers up to 419 Lux at 5,500 K, or 273 Lux at 3,000 K with a power consumption of only 85 W.

Kelvin TILE offers the option of an industry-standard v-mount for battery-powered operation as well as the optional paintbox, a remote system that allows lighting parameters to be saved, recalled and cloned.
Available for sale at:
Production Resource Group (PRG) in Los Angeles
1-818-252 2600

HotCam in New York

In November 2009, Holophone began shipping its PortaMic 5.1 and PortaMic Pro surround-sound microphones. Designed for both audio and video applications, the PortaMic 5.1 is a 5.1-channel professional-grade surround-sound microphone that is compact and low profiled. Powered by one 9V battery, the PortaMic 5.1 captures discrete and instantaneous 5.1 channel audio with an onboard Dolby PLII encoder. The microphone is compatible with Dolby Pro Logic II consumer decoders, and the audio can be decoded back to 5.1 channels in post using SurCode or any Dolby PLII decoder. Holophone also signed a deal with Minnetonka Audio to sell that company’s SurCode for Dolby Pro Logic II software bundled with the PortaMic and H4 SuperMINI products, making it easy to decode the encoded content created with these units.

IDX System Technology introduced IDX REDEFINED, its first battery system for the RED One camera. The system includes IDX’s ELITE Smart Battery mode, which quickly activates protocol data. With IDX REDEFINED, ELITE offers users a choice between using the battery in a standard configuration or the SB mode for tighter integration with the RED One system. Existing ELITE batteries are also compatible with the RED camera.

Also new is a battery v-mount plate specific for the RED One camera, which IDX designed in partnership with Element Technica. Model EL-BAPIDXA enables operators to view “live” battery-life data by percentage in the RED ONE viewfinder. Other features of the 136Wh high-capacity v-mount battery system include IDX twin-power cartridge construction and multiple safety-and-protection features, and an exchange of dying batteries for new power cartridge pairs into the original housing can be done in less than 30 seconds. Users have the option of the high-performance quad charger VL-4S or dual charger/AC adaptor VL-2SPLUS.
IDX System Technology

Matthews Studio Equipment
(MSE) just added the MAXine — for studio and location use –– to its MAX the Menace arm line. The MAX series of lighting stands carries the lighting fixtures “up and out,” away from the main, rear-supporting column without a rear-protruding arm. Manufactured from aluminum, MAXine weighs only 13.5 pounds (6 kilograms) and comes with its own carrying bag. With its quick and easy setup and small 28-inch/70-centimeter footprint, MAXine is designed to get a top, key or backlight onto the subject where the placement of lighting equipment is restricted by the POV. MAXine also offers a patent-pending triangle shape, ideal for corner placements. With no rear-protruding tubes, MAXine can be placed almost flush against a wall, out of view and out of the way.

MAXine extends to a full-horizontal length of 78 inches/198 centimeters at a height of 82 inches/208centimeters with a maximum load of 10 pounds/4.5 kilograms.  MAXine also reaches a maximum height of 12 feet 10 inches (393 centimeters) and can operate 16 inches/40 centimeters below the horizontal. If the lighting source is ballast driven, in many cases the weight of the ballast when hung from the center column is sufficient for counterbalance. MSE recommends a 3:1 weight ratio of counterbalance to fixture weights.
Matthews Studio Equipment
1-800-CE-STAND or 1-818-843-6715

Sony Electronics unveiled its next generation of HDCAM SR production technology, including the new SRW-9000 HDCAM SR camcorder, the planned delivery of a new SR memory solid-state media, and the more cost-effective BCT-SR series tape pricing. Sony also announced an optional upgrade path for the SRW-9000 to a 35mm imager and PL mount to increase the camcorder’s flexibility and “future proof” the camera.

To meet the demand for selectable video-bit rates, multiple frame rates, greater format flexibility and workflow optimization, Sony delivers up to 1080/60P and 50P recording at an 880Mb/s data rate, with a next-generation file transfer and storage technology. Sony also announced SR Lite, its latest HDCAM SR compression. A 220Mbps data-rate codec based on the open MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile), SR Lite will be supported as an MXF-wrapped file to ensure picture quality and enable almost-real-time exchange over a GB Ethernet connection. For future HDCAM SR products, Sony will make three transfer rates available: 880Mbps, 440Mbps and 220Mbps.

Sony also announced the next version of its SRW-5800/2 recorder. Expected to be available in summer 2010, the new deck will support MXF file transfers and the 220Mbps data rate as well as the ability to record and playback 4:4:4 content at 2X real time. Sony will also offer a hardware upgrade path for existing SRW-5800 owners. The new SR solid-state memory cards will deliver transfer rates of more than 5Gbp/s and storage capacity of up to 1TB. Also on tap are an upgrade to SR memory for the existing SRW-9000 camcorder and a memory adapter for the F35 and F23. And beginning in January 2010, Sony will offer a 25-percent cost reduction on the BCT40-SR small-shell HDCAM SR cassettes with other cost savings on the BCT6SR and BCT33SR models.
For more information on the SRW-9000:

For national service and support in the U.S.:

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