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The First Look at the Panasonic AG AF100…

Jan Crittenden-Livingston brought the working prototype of the AF100 to Rule yesterday! The first impression — it has a rather light body (2.5lbs), although it looks “stocky”. The handle can be removed and the right side grip can be removed, too, leaving a pretty simple cube. It came with a PL adaptor for Zeiss cine lens, rod attachment and Vocas mattebox. Quite a small package. The camera is easy to set and most menus will be familiar to Panasonic camera users. You have to get used to the lack of rocker switch for zoom on the grip and Start/Stop recording button being on the body.  It has a very nice camera picture, although Jan asked us not to judge it – it is a prototype. Perfect choice for P+S Technik DOF Adapter user? Possibly yes. Zbigniew Twarog, Chief Engineer

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Waiting for Panasonic AG-AF100 Camcorder…

We are waiting for new Panasonic camera – AG-AF100. It is is a new single-sensor camera with interchangeable lenses. It’s based on the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format, using a bayonet style lens mount with 10.6×18.8mm CMOS sensor. The body alone is priced around $5k. We expect to have it at the end of December, this year. We owned Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1 12.1 Megapixel Digital Camera before,  and we still own Lumix HotRod PL Adapter, which allows 35mm format PL mount cine lenses to be attached. We plan to use it with this camera. The camera records on 2 SD (SD/SDHC/SDXC) cards. Video is recorded in AVCHD format. Quite exciting product. We have scheduled AG-F100 product training with Jan Crittenden-Livingston (AG-F100 Product Manager) and Bernie Mitchell (Panasonic Consultant) on 11/22/2010. Zbigniew Twarog, Chief Engineer

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PluralEyes for Avid Media Composer

We’ve been watching with envy as the Internet has been buzzing about PluralEyes and its auto-syncing technology, which brings some exciting news for Avid users… PluralEyes is available to most of the major NLEs: Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Vegas and now Media Composer. The MC version is currently in beta and offered as a free download to encourage testing and, of course, feedback. This new version of PluralEyes uses AAF to move files between the two pieces of software. Here’s a step-by-step guide (as outlined on the Singular Software site): In Media Composer, create a sequence and add the clips to it. They can be positioned anywhere in the sequence, as long as all the clips from each recording device (camera, audio recorder) go on their own track. Export the sequence to AAF. Be sure to select all the tracks you want to sync first. Start PluralEyes. PluralEyes is a standalone application. In the PluralEyes main window, click the Open… button and choose the AAF file that you exported earlier. Choose any desired sync options (if you’re not sure, just leave them all unchecked) and press Sync. PluralEyes will create an output AAF file and will tell you where it is. In Media Composer, import that AAF file. The result will be a copy of the input sequence but with the clips moved around to be in sync. It’s nice to see such platform openness in third-party software like PluralEyes. Zbigniew Twarog, Chief Engineer

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The Arrival of the Alexa

The Alexa, the much-anticipated new digital cinema camera from ARRI, arrived last Monday in its factory-fresh box.  The Rule Boston Camera staff was obviously ecstatic to get their hands on the camera after various ARRI factory delays postponed its arrival.  Within its first few hours at our shop (Arri Unboxing), the Alexa was booked on its first rental — a week-long commercial job.  Our Alexa made its first public debut at the PBS Quality Workshop at WGBH on November 4th, where the camera was eagerly inspected by the many who attended. From a rental house perspective, the ARRI Alexa is a welcome tool in the transition from the ease and image quality of film-based acquisition to the current needs of digital cinema.  The camera will be an excellent choice for those looking for an alternative to both the RED and the numerous HDSLR systems currently being used in productions. We’ll be hosting an upcoming Learning Lab dedicated to the features of the new camera, but in the meantime call or drop by with questions or to catch a glimpse of the Alexa. Brian Malcolm, General Manager

Arri's Guenter Noesner provides an overview of the Alexa

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The First Forum Shoot

In past posts, I mentioned that this room at Harvard’s School of Public Health, is interesting because of its dual purpose. Well, on Friday we broke in the production part of the room. Here is the techno-geeky breakdown of the shoot: The goal was redundancy to prevent failure. Four BRC-H700 Cameras mounted on ceiling lifts that lower them down to eye level when needed. Each fed HDSDI into an AnyCast switcher. Two more sources from an EX3 stationed in the room to provide a human operator better equipped to grab audience questions, and a PC running a PowerPoint. The PC was converted through an Extron USP 507 to HDSDI and fed not only to the Anycast but also to two 40″ LCD screens in the room for audience viewing. Audio in from four wired lav mics in the room and one wireless hand held into a Shure mixer for processing then to the Anycast to combine with the video. Also 8 Clock Audio ceiling mics through a Nexia DSP to the AnyCast for audience questions. Music in from an iPod to open the show rounded out the audio scheme. Recording was done on six different devices. Two KiPros each taking a program feed from the AnyCast. Three camera backups to HVR-1500s, so that everything could be fixed in post. There is also an audio recording done to a Marantz MP3 recorder. This file was emailed directly after the event to have a transcript made. In addition to all of this, the unit that we are using to do a live encode for the web does its own recording, a Digital Rapids StreamZ HD. There is a future technology coming to the location as well. Using VYVX, we will be able to transmit full-quality HD to any network in the world. This system has a lot of complexity stuffed into a small space, but it all works very well. I look forward to seeing many more of these events in the future. Ian Tosh, Director of Engineering Services

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Production Outfitters: New G-Drives!

New to Productions Outfitters are the G-Technology G-Drives!  These light and portable drives come in a range of storage sizes and include a sleek silver design.  They are naturally rugged and  capable of faster transfer speeds and a range of connectivity. The G-drive mini has some added bonuses including 2 firewire 800 ports and no need for AC power.  You can just plug it right into your computer via the firewire cable.  We have them available right next to rentals, so if the need should arise you can pick one up right away! Gen Andrews, Production Outfitters Store

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The Forum Launches Today

In the last couple of weeks, the System Integration Team has been putting together the final pieces for the launch of the Harvard School of Public Health’s FORUM series.  The AV and lighting are now in place in the room that will be used BOTH as a conference room and production studio.   The production studio portion of the room is hosting its first event today, which will be (both) recorded and streamed live for a worldwide audience on the inter-web. The topic is: The Impact of the 2010 Elections on U.S. Healthcare Reform: Presented by The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health in Collaboration with ReutersTime: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST.  Watch at:  www.ForumHSPH.org Ian Tosh, Director of Engineering Services

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System Integration at Harvard is Up & Running

In mid-October, the System Integration Team installed the Panasonic 103″ monitor in the 10th floor conference room (which looks really great).  The monitor was hoisted by a crane up 10 floors through a window and then was stored in a closet while the construction part of the project was finished. Like everything in this installation, the monitor will serve two separate masters.  In the conference room it will take the place of a typical projector and be used to show presentations and video conference calls.  When the room is used in production mode, the monitor will serve as an adjustable background.  Any of the sources in the room can be fed to the monitor through an HDSDI router.  It might “host” a still for one of the Forum presentations or you might see a moving background from the Final Cut Pro laptop system — really, it could be anything! In a typical conference room set-up, we would have created this scenario with a rear projection screen.  In this case, there was no room behind the screen for a rear projection system, but the necessity to show it on camera, perhaps under lights, made it necessary to use this monitor. The monitor is a great showpiece for the room, and as they say “It really ties the room together.” Earlier last month, we received and installed the camera lifts that are now holding the 4 installed cameras in the ceiling.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  These lifts came from a company called Display Devices, and they were a pleasure to work with.  They customized the lifts per our specifications, and they delivered them on time. The builders and carpenters who installed them did a great job compensating for the weight of the cameras and tying everything into the ceiling in a way that looks great and works well! Now the cool part… What these lifts do is allow the camera to mount flush with the ceiling in the “up” position in order to keep them out of the way when the room is used as a conference room — yet they can still be used as a video conference camera.  In the “down” position, they arrive at about eye level so that they can be used in production mode without the high angle at which these cameras tend to me mounted. These lifts have the cameras inverted, but the same lifts can be used with the cameras mounted inside the box allowing them to completely disappear from the room until they are needed.  Very cool.  I’m  looking forward to working with these lifts again on future projects. Ian Tosh, Director of Engineering Services

Monitor Installation at Harvard
Putting the Monitor in Place
The Monitor in Place