Posted on

Quasar LED Lighting Tools to Rent or Buy

Quasar: one of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance and having spectra with characteristically large redshifts, that are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe.

Unfortunately, we don’t have “the most luminous objects in the universe” in our inventory but we do have a fleet of Quasar Science products available to rent and buy. Quasar offers a wide variety of LED lighting tools and many of them can be found right here at Rule Boston Camera.

Low profile, self ballasted, dimmer compatible, energy efficient, 95+ CRI, flicker free, 25,000 hour lifetime, and much more are just a few of the many features in the Quasar line-up of products.

We encourage you to stop by the shop, and check out these lights for yourself. We’ve got a bunch of new fixtures on the horizon for both rentals and sales in addition to what’s already in our rental inventory (Crossfade LED Kit, Kino Quasar 4ft/4 Bank Fixture) and in our Production Outfitters Expendables Store.

Another resource is our IN THE SHOWROOM video on the A-LED and Q-LED Crossfade lighting tools. Click here to watch, and reach out with questions.

Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech

Posted on

Lighting Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? I Have Just the Light For You!

This is literally the most flexible light in the world of entertainment lighting! The Bi-Color Flexlite, released in April of this year by Aladdin USA, is a light everyone should be using on every shoot. When I say “literally” I mean the fixture can actually bend to fit the contour of a column or the ceiling of a car. The Bi-Color Flexlite is so light and malleable that you can tape it to a column or to the ceiling of a car without any other type of support. Crazy, right? But “literally” true. Need the light to be daylight balanced to boost the ambient daylight from the windshield of a car? No problem. Switching color temperature is a breeze with the turn of a dial! Use gaffers tape to tape the unit to the ceiling of a car or the inside of a windshield. And don’t worry about power availability — you can run it off a battery. As an LED, it will run for an hour on a 90wh battery or 2 hours on a 180Wh battery. The “flexibility” doesn’t stop there…the accessories available for this fixture can support any situation. Do you need a lightweight lantern in a limited power situation? Just strap on gold mounted batteries and set it up with the custom-built lantern. The lantern just pops open into shape when you remove it from the bag -– it can be set up in a matter of seconds. Don’t have a c-stand or maffer clamp? Hang the Bi-Color Flexlite in its lantern anywhere. The kit comes with a dual magnet mount so it can be mounted onto any metal surface. The kit is full of useful accessories in addition to the dual magnet mount. Included is a baby pin adapter to set it up directly on a stand. Additionally, there is a soft box with no support rods or speed rings – the soft box just affixes via Velcro directly to the back of the light. The front diffusion piece sits approximately 4″ above the Bi-Color Flexlite panel. This creates a beautiful, soft light. Have you been concerned about the green shift in LED lighting? Well, not any more! This light reads  like a dream on the CRI with even, white light – no valleys and no peaks. Check out this photometrics chart from the Aladdin website:

Aladin Bi Flex 50W
60cm/2ft 1m/3ft 2m/6ft 3m/9ft CRI
Daylight  6000K 4200lux 1600lux 450lux 210lux 98
BiColor    4200K 4600lux 1700lux 500lux 230lux 97
Tungsten 3000K 3400lux 1200lux 340lux 170lux 97

But wait, there’s more… I just can’t say enough great things about this fixture. The Bi-Color Flexlite is splash and rainproof too – they have conducted tests submerging the fixture in pools and an aquarium. BUT, do be careful, as the dimmer and power unit are not splash/rainproof and will need to be protected. This light can be used in so many different ways that I wouldn’t want to be on set without at least one of these. Thank you for reading, and, as always, do not hesitate to call me with any questions at 617-277-2200 (or 800-rule-com), or email me HighOutput@rule.com. I look forward to seeing all of you at my next Showroom Demo on Wednesday, September 30th from 12 to 1pm. RSVP: HighOutputEvents@Rule.com. -Alison Cupples, Lighting Specialist, HighOutput@Rule.com

Posted on

Fun New Features Come with the Latest Panasonic GH4 v2.2 Update

Though I’ve already written about how head-over-heels I am for Panasonic’s overly affordable GH4, I thought I’d take some time to check in with the little wonder, and discuss some of the fun new features Panasonic has included! Earlier this spring, Panasonic released firmware version 2.2, and with it a slew of updates aimed squarely at the most fastidious gear nerds. The Lumix series of cameras have long been championed by a loud minority – people hacking cameras, doing everything they could to squeeze the best possible image out of these cheap mirrorless cameras. With the GH4, that community has grown impressively. A subset of the micro four thirds folks, however, is that of the anamorphic shooters. For years people have been attaching old anamorphic projector lenses to adapters, rigging up double focus systems, and putting themselves through production hell – chasing that anamorphic image. Panasonic has once again listened to their user base, and with their new release has enabled true 4:3 anamorphic recording for 2x lenses. Not something you see very often in price ranges below $40,000! Below is a great lens test from vimeo user Sittipong Kongtong, comparing the lowly GH4 with the RED Dragon. https://vimeo.com/127348773 Here’s another great interview with Panasonic from NAB, conducted by www.nofilmschool.com – giving a bit more insight into how it all works – as well as discussion on the upcoming firmware update that will allow true V-Log recording! V-Log will be coming straight from the Varicam 35, which is a surprising addition to a camera at such a low price point. For comparison, it’s not until the C100 level of camera that Canon offers a log profile. Panasonic continues to answer niche shooters’ prayers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=110&v=rzaVp7cSaf4 I will be hosting a Showroom Demo on the new firmware, as well as some color correction techniques for the GH4 on June 10th from 12:00pm-1:00pm here at Rule Boston Camera. Be sure to swing by! -Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

Posted on

The Ever-Evolving F55 and F5

The F55 and F5 are really something.  Just when you think you know them, there’s another update!  For over a year now, the F55 and F5 have been steadily making their way on a pre-planned firmware path that continuously adds to what these cameras can do.  No other camera has gestated outside of the factory as long as these have.  Version 3.0 was going to finish the cameras but then 4.0 was announced and the cameras just keep giving!  The number of codecs (XAVC, MPEG50, SR, RAW and now ProRes and DNxHD!), frame rates (up to 180 internal and 240 on R5), and mount options (PL, F, B4, EF, etc.) make the F55 and F5 the most versatile cameras on the market.  It’s that flexibility, however, that can make them a little tricky to learn at first. Version 3.0 has been out for a little while so we’ve had some time to suss it out. We invite you to another F55/F5 demo in our Showroom on Wednesday, March 26th at 12PM to learn more. 3.0 Stand-Out Features: Apply, route, and record a variety of LUTs, e.g., shoot RAW and simultaneously record S-log with or without a LUT baked in on SxS.  You can even use Sony’s free software, Raw Viewer, to create your own 1D LUTs to load into the camera. 2K Center Scan mode is not to be overlooked.  Normally, you’re always using the full Super 35 4K CMOS sensor regardless of what resolution you want to shoot.  Windowing in on the sensor, though, allows the ability to use Super 16mm lenses which offers more choices for look, cost, and weight.  This is a great feature that got a lot of people’s attention. The new color space option, S-Gamut3/S-Log3 offers a more filmic curve that allows more detail in shadows and the application of standard LUTS, not necessarily made by Sony.  S-log 2 allows more information in the highlights, i.e., you can overexpose slightly with 2 and underexpose slightly with 3.

The side panel is now fully functional with quick access to the features you need and word is that 4.0 will even bring the full camera menu there.
-Jason Potz, Engineering, j.potz@rule.com
Posted on

Zacuto Recoil V2

With the influx of Canon C100 Ownership, the topic of handheld systems oftentimes comes up.  Clients are either used to shooting with an ENG style shoulder mount camera or DSLR’s and want to transfer the handheld shooting skills with either to a camera like the C100. Now the C100 is a great camera, but ergonomically normal a camera it is not.  Luckily, companies like Zacuto bring along great products to help make that transition much simpler and more cost-effective. The most recent rig to cross my path was the Zacuto Recoil V2, a product I had seen and specced for awhile but never got hands on with.  Set-up with the Recoil goes quickly and is pretty intuitive.  Where this rig gets it right is the grip relocator, which is worth the price of admission all on it’s own.  This may be the most cost-effective single piece to be used with rods that retains the same functionality of the camera on the market.  No longer are you using a dumb handle for the sake of handheld; you’ll get all the functionality of the hand grip just in a more logical place. You simply connect the 1/8” plug from your grip into the receiver and then run the 20”+ cable back up to the port on the camera and voila. Now for some bad. Well sort of bad. On Zacuto’s product page, they specifically address needing an EVF for this rig. Sad to say, there really isn’t a way around this…for a C100.  For a C300, however, the ability to articulate and move the EVF that comes with the camera makes a lot more sense and works well for this rig.  The same rule would apply with a C500. For the C100 ultimately, using an EVF with an articulating arm serves the trick as you can now create a more flexible and positional eyepiece. Secondly, I would recommend some longer rods to allow for more flexible adjustment of distance for the camera.  Ideally you want the weight to be on your shoulder for the best hand held support, and longer rods allow you to move the grip locator to a more comfortable position. The shoulder pad QRP system is handy as well and is pretty flexible in terms of placement.  It’s easily positioned and removable. One huge note to make with this rig: Be sure to use the Tripod TB-1 Adapter Plate that comes with the camera to work with the rig.  The only two points of contact on the rig are 3/8” and ¼ 20”; no safety pin.  So be sure that’s on the bottom before you start rigging. Another suggestion is the use of a Quick Release Plate System to create a fluid workflow from tripod work to shoulder supported, handheld work. I found the Kessler Kwik Release plate to pair well with the Zacuto set up. All in all, this is a great, cost-effective rig to get you started with some handheld work, with some limitations.  No one rig will solve every problem, but I see the Recoil V2 as being a really smart and sharp start to solving some workflow hurdles with Canon’s Cinema EOS Camera line. -Nick Giannino, Inside Sales, giannino@rule.com

Posted on

GoPro App v.2.0 is Now Available

We upgraded our GoPro Hero3 cameras to new firmware v.3.0 recently. I tested the cameras with new iOS GoPro application (v.2.0). It offers live preview now (while recording), which works quite well. The control of camera settings also works very well. The availability of web browsing is only available when switched to Internet access mode (not controlling the camera). New features do not always work, as promised, yet! Playback from camera, on iPad 3 works sporadically, sometimes stalling on “Loading images” screen. But when it works, it is spectacular! It makes the file transfer from card to iPad and further distributing it, very easy.

GoPro HERO3
These are the new application features: -View photos and play back videos -Copy photos and videos to a GoPro album on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch -Share the photos and videos copied to your device via email, text, Instagram™, Facebook® or other apps -Browse and delete files on the camera’s memory card Zbigniew Twarog, Chief Engineer, twarog@rule.com

Posted on

The Flexibility of Kata Camera Bags

Staying true to the Gemini ways, I have a hard time making decisions.  Just ask my husband when it’s time to pick a restaurant for dinner.   And when I do finally make a decision, I often change my mind immediately afterwards, otherwise, the dreaded indecision kicks in.  What does this have to do with camera bags, you ask?  Well I’ll tell you. I’d been searching for a bag that would fit my equipment needs.  My current bag is very limited on how it can be arranged or organized, and it doesn’t hold as much as I’d like it to, which is a problem for my ever-growing equipment inventory.  I have to dump and reorganize it constantly to accommodate whatever project or gig I’m doing, sometimes leaving equipment home that I’d like to bring.

The Bumblebee 220 PL
For the slightly compulsive organizer like me, the flexibility that Kata bags offer is a perfect fit.  They are very modular and customizable with interchangeable inserts, letting you arrange and rearrange to your heart’s content.  They are able to fit a wide range of camera bodies, lenses, and other accessories in a very compact and lightweight package, all while thoroughly protecting your gear and keeping it easily accessible while you’re on the go.  Some bags even have pockets for a laptop, and others have a place to attach a tripod. Kata bags are also easy to carry, whether you go with a backpack, sling, or rolling bag style.  When I’m on a shoot or traveling, I don’t like to be weighed down.  I’m a small person, so it doesn’t take much for equipment to get heavy.  I usually over-pack for everything (part of being indecisive… hey, I might need that lens I never shoot with!), so being able to take most or all of my gear easily is a great feature.  Perfect, indecision cured!  At least for the moment anyway. Overall, Kata is the solution you’re looking for if you need to carry a good amount of gear in as small of a package as possible.  They are lightweight but durable and protective.  Some of the products available include DSLR and camcorder bags, rain covers, and bags for tripods, lights, and more.  Kata is definitely a bag that can grow with you for a long time as your equipment upgrades and changes.

Heather Littlefield, Inside Sales Rep, littlefield@rule.com

Posted on

The Ultra-Flexible SYMPLA System from Manfrotto

Manfrotto recently released the Sympla rig, which they call the “system moving platform.”  The name is quite fitting considering how many different variations of this rig are available.  Let’s go over the separate pieces, which include: HDSLR Clamp-On Remote Control: There are two versions of this — one with iris, shutter, ISO and focus point control, and the other with just focus point control.  The first one mentioned attaches with a Manfrotto rosette to the side of a Manfrotto Tripod and acts as a 2nd arm to the tripod, putting together a studio setup environment for the camera. Sympla Variable Plate: This is a fancy name for a Manfrotto baseplate which is actually similar to any Manfrotto quick release on the market that uses a 501 tipod plate.  It will fit most Manfrotto video and photo tripod heads, making the mount interchangeable. Sympla Shoulder Pad: This actually is not padded, but many people think it is very comfortable despite that fact.  It leans on the shoulder and allows a weight to hook on the back with a 3/8″ screw. Sympla Adjustable Handles: These are not 15mm rod mounted. They are handles custom to the Sympla rig, so you won’t be able to move or interchange them with handles on any of your other rigs.  They go straight down and the angle is adjustable at the very top of the handle. Sympla Flexible Mattebox: This mattebox is perhaps the coolest of it’s kind and the coolest on the market!  It is called a universal mattebox, but it is universal in more ways than one. It has 4 “lengths” — lengths equaling from the camera on out.  This mattebox is made of a thick flexible rubber, which holds shape when you bend it and adjusts to the way the light falls without changing your entire setup.  The mattebox pushes in to become smaller or pulls out to become longer.  It does include step down rigs and what is called Nuns Knickers, or a Shade to go between the camera and the step down ring to ensure that no light gets in. Fig Rig: The Fig Rig is a steering wheel that goes around the camera.  The lens sits through the steering wheel to balance the weight, and the shoulder pad is turned upside down to lean against you instead of going over you. Lens Support: Lens support is a sloped piece that sits under the lens to support it.  This is actually a nice way of doing it, as you don’t have to screw anything in. That being said, it’s a nice way to focus your DSLR while it’s attached to a rig, or think of it as another way of putting a tripod in a studio-like setup.  The focus is accurate and not painfully slow.   I would recommend this if you’re looking to operate a little differently than what you are used to with more flexibility — especially when you are shoulder mounted. –Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, brooks@rule.com

Posted on

Bags named Petrol

A question I get a LOT working at Rule is, “How do you guys choose your bags?”  The answer is: carefully.  When a new line or an interesting item comes on the market, we either take it is as a demo, or we stock it and try it out.  If it’s good, we order more.  If it’s bad, we never order it again. With bags, a lot of us here shoot.  We have our preferences.  We also rely a lot on our client’s referrals for what they use and are happy with.  I’m focusing this blog on Petrol because it’s not a new line of bags, but they’ve made several new developments feature-wise that I appreciate, that other companies have not yet adapted. The first nice thing, is the inclusion of a line of LED lights on the inside of the bag.  Night shoots, especially in the fall go after 5PM a lot of the time.  Packing up is often done in the dark, even if shooting isn’t.  Being able to open up your bag and see where things go without holding a flashlight in the other hand is an immediate bonus. The other is that Petrol makes really nice lighting bags.  They’re not cheap.  But if you’re looking for a bag that is SIMPLE, with wheels, and not overdone, Petrol makes a good one similar to the size of the Arri 3-piece light kit, except in soft-case, hard-foam form.   They also make a C-Stand bag, which comes in handy because, let’s admit it, C-stands are usually tossed in the van or truck un-cased, and they are awkward to carry around while trying to carry other equipment. An interesting addition to the Petrol line is the Cambio bag.  Prognosis is still out on this. Petrol is trying to be creative by putting a pull-out tripod on a bag, excluding the need for a tripod.  This is something that might seem dinky at first, but if you’re traveling up a mountain and now need a tripod and you’ve got one, this might seem like the best idea ever.  In everyday situations though, it’s always better to plan out your shots AND your equipment. A customer favorite is the Deca-Lightweight Audio Bag and the Deca Eargonizer.  These are well-designed sound recorder bags.  I pair everyone who is using more than just a sound recorder with one of these bags.  For example, if you are using a pair of wireless lavs with a sound recorder or mixer, this bag just makes sense. It’s organized with clear material in the right places and balanced with pockets for EVERYTHING so that you’re not fumbling around trying to separate wires and cords. That is a quick summation! In another few weeks, we will be stocking the Petrol PC104, the PC302, the Decashell Cam Backpack and the PM805.  The Decashell Cam Backpack is of specific interest, as it looks like a normal day backpack, yet holds a lot of gear.  It is mostly black with only small labels, so it will not draw attention to the equipment if you are going overseas!  Also feel free to email rulesales@rule.com, or any of our sales reps for more information. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, brooks@rule.com

Posted on

Tripod FAQs

The Manfrotto 701HDV, MVT502AM Tripod System with Carrying Bag is an LW tripod system kit for camcorders or DSLRs up to 8.8 lb. This System combines the 701HDV Pro Fluid Head with the new MVT502AM tripod.

This system is the smallest folding length of any Manfrotto to date.

Specs:

  • closed length: 29.53 in
  • maximum height: 61.42 in
  • minimum height: 27.76 in
  • load capacity: 8.82 lbs
  • weight: 8.38 lbs

The 504HD, 546BK has an aluminum crown head with a built-in 75mm bowl. The tripod’s telescopic mid-level spreader holds the tripod together and its sturdy feet connect to the legs without any problem.

Specs:

  • Maximum Height: 65.94 in
  • Minimum Height: 17.32 in
  • Load Capacity: 19.84 lbs
  • Weight: 13.89 lbs

Sachtler-Ace: Well, what’s different about the Sachtler Ace? It’s the only tripod with its own webpage (www.sachtler-ace.com) and includes a thrilling demo reel with the tagline “You only get one shot so make it count.”  Sachtler broke the $500 price mark range with a tripod that was ergonomical as well as affordable for the student, independent filmmaker, etc.

It includes a 5+0 counterbalance, 90-75 degree tilt range, 8.8 payload range.

Specs:

  • Weights: 10 lbs.
  • Height min: 22.4”
  • Height max: 68.1”
  • Transport Length: 34.3”

Now, I’m going to list the main comments, questions, and concerns that I get all the time from customers about tripods.

  1. I need a light tripod.  I can’t carry a heavy one. Now, I am 5’2″ and weigh under 100 lbs.  I get it.  But, the fact is that while you don’t want to break yourself, if your camera needs a heavier tripod, you’ve got to figure out a way to manage it. For example, you might get a tripod bag with wheels (Kata makes a great one) or bring another person along to carry it.  Do not fail in this area to get a tripod made for a 5D when you have a heavier camera or a lighter camera loaded up with accessories.
  2. What is the tripod that folds up the smallest? Most tripods do not fold up smaller than 34” long.  That’s the norm. Now, folding up length is different than standing minimum height.  But to answer the question, as far as I know, the one that folds up the smallest for travel is the Manfrotto 701, 502MVK at 29.9” long. 
  3. What is the difference between the FSB4 and the Sachtler Ace? Two main differences. Made of different materials at different parts. Different heads.  The FSB4 Head is the FSB4, the Ace is the ACE head.  These are made of different materials.  The FSB Head is made of aluminum, whereas the ACE head is made of aluminum and the silver bar in the middle is well-machined plastic.  The arm is shorter on the ACE than the FSB4. Ace has 3 grades of drag, FSB4 has 5. This affects the “fluid” feeling.  FSB4 has leak-proof fluid damping and a 10-step counterbalance system. ACE works at -30 where FSB4 works at -40 degrees.  ACE weighs 8.7 lbs, FSB4 weighs 9.7.  Spreader on the FSB4 is sturdier than on the ACE.
  4. I want thick legs.  Can I get thick sturdier legs with my head? Rule of thumb, the thicker legs that you see on Sachtler Video 18 heads, etc. normally fit with 100mm ball heads, which are definitely more expensive than 75mm heads, ranging more in the 2K-10K and up range.  Some manufacturers like Manfrotto make the 546BK legs, which are slightly thicker, and are generally wider than Sachtler legs that go with 75mm bowl heads. But if you want the thick, heavy legs, you need to go up to 100mm bowl, because the legs must also balance with the head to really control pan/tilt correctly with your camera. 
  5. Can I get a 75mm to 100mm bowl adapter? Yes.  Manfrotto, Sachtler, and Vinten all make 75 to 100mm bowl adapters. Except the way they are worded, only Kessler really has it right in their name for it because you are in fact going down in size, from 100mm to 75mm.  You cannot make the bowl bigger, from 75mm to 100mm because a 100mm adapter does not fit in a 75mm hole.  Plus, a 100mm head on 75mm legs wouldn’t make sense because it wouldn’t be supported or balanced.  These adapters range in $32 for Manfrotto to $154 for Sachtler.
  6. Can I use a photo tripod with my camera to make my camera go sideways? If you want.  But don’t take your hand off it because it’s going down to the ground if your camera is over 6 lbs!

Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales

brooks@rule.com