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Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2011

It’s my favorite season again- Film Fest Time! Rule Boston Camera supports a number of film festivals in New England, one of them being the Martha’s Vineyard Film Fest, which was held from last Thursday to this past Sunday and was in one word — AWESOME.  It was extremely well organized and the most enjoyable one I’ve been to yet.  I was privileged to watch (3) films during my stay – “How to Die in Oregon”, addressing Doctor-assisted suicide, “I Am” by Director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty) exploring the world’s greatest minds with deep questions and personal revelations, and “We Still Live Here,” about the Wampanoag Indian’s reviving their ancient language and making it a part of everyday life after over 100 years of silence.  Most films had Q&A afterward, which, to me, is one of the props of the FF’s — being able to hear insight on editing, shooting challenges, etc.  It was fun to see lots of people with Rule Boston Camera hats walking around, and much thanks to Molly Purves, who made my stay (and everyone else’s) comfortable and easy.  Free (good) catered food with the movies, so if you are thinking of going to this fest in the future, you are literally looking at a $16 ferry ticket, hotel and movie tickets. A fairly cheap weekend, if you ask me and well-worth the trip.  Next year should be interesting, as Martha’s Vineyard has expressed a desire to build a facility strictly for films.  Personally, I hope they keep the 12 couches in back of whatever they build because that may be the greatest decision to date. If you want to look at more, follow me on Twitter @michelle_brooks and @ruleboscam and see my opinion of the films this weekend. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales Representative

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Arri ALEXA 3.0 Software Update

Exciting news here at RBC is that Arri, keeping with their promise of delivering updates for ALEXA, have recently released version 3.0 which now allows video playback of the clips from the SxS media cards, audio recording via the 5 pin XLR stereo input and embedded in the HD-SDI outputs, and max 3200 ASA. Push the PLAY soft button on the camera side, and scroll through the clips to select one. Push the knob and your viewing your footage on all outputs. A future update will allow audio to play back as well, but for now this is another step in the right direction from Arri. With ALEXA’s multiple output and record options, 3.0 has made it easier to independently select each output/record path gamma setting. For example; record LogC to SxS cards while outputting Rec709 from HD-SDI outputs. All easily accessible from the lcd without going into the menu hierarchy. The Rec709 color processing has also been improved from last version. If you do choose to record LogC to SxS , Arri has made available a LUT generator (Look Up Table) on their website for downloading LUT’s and applying them to footage in post. The viewfinder has an optional Smooth mode which reduces flicker in the viewfinder at 30fps and under. A much more pleasant viewing experience but this will not be the same as all other outputs which will still have motion flicker in respect to frame rates. False Color Check can be activated in the viewfinder and/or the monitor output path. False Color Check is an exposure level guide using different colors to relay different exposure levels in your picture. This is helpful as it’s the only exposure guide in the camera. Where traditional video and HD cameras have Zebra settings or spot meters, ALEXA is based on setting an ASA and measuring for that sensitivity. A more traditional film method.

False Color Map (From ALEXA manual 3.0)
Metadata can be set via the lcd which includes production info like director, cinematographer, location, and user info that could include scene names,etc. The data is saved with the ProRes files making it available post. Single Frame Grab is a nice function that will store the current frame in the Rec Out path to the cameras SD card as 1920×1080 Jpeg, Tiff, or Dpx files. Thanks to Arri for keeping the updates coming and ALEXA evolving. The camera will continue to produce exceptional images with amazing latitude into the future. Dave Kudrowitz Senior Engineer