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Canon Introduces New Firmware Upgrade for C300 + C300 MKII

Canon has announced a new firmware upgrade at NAB New York that is sure to please C300 shooters.  The main features for the Mark II are enabled audio recording in 2K crop mode and the ability to turn off the internal microphone.  The update brings an expanded Zebra range (5% to 100%) on the Mark II and shutter angle priority (keep your desired shutter angle as you change frame rates) on both the original C300 and the Mark II.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-38-52-am

The other updates coming with the firmware relate to Canon’s Cine Servo Zoom lenses in EF mount.  Auto and push iris are now available for Cine Servo EF 17-120mm and EF 50-1000mm, as well as the new 18-80mm that will be released shortly.  Dual Pixel autofocus will also be supported for the EF 17-120mm and 18-80mm on the Mark II and original cameras with dual pixel capability.  We currently do not carry these lenses (we have the 17-120mm available in PL mount only), but we will have an 18-80mm once it is released later this month.

Check out this video with Canon Technical Advisor, Brent Ramsey, for more information about the upgrade.  We’ll be updating the C300 Mark II EF Mount and PL Mount cameras in our rental inventory when the firmware is released on December 13th. Interested in buying the C300 Mark II? See links below and contact us at sales@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

Canon EOS C300 EF 24-70 Kit

Canon EOS C300 with Dual Pixel CMOS AF Feature Upgrade

Canon EOS C300 MK II 

-Grace Deacon, Engineer, deacon@rule.com

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The New AKIRA Firmware Update for the MōVI

Everyone loves a good firmware update and Freefly Systems did not disappoint with the newest Akira update. New features and incredible improvements make up the newest download. The MōVI camera stabilization system has already offered up amazing opportunities for filmmakers, and the gifts keep coming.

Movi-Firmware-Akira

 

HiPER STABILIZATION: This new feature (more of an improvement) is the shinning star of Akira, in my opinion. Stabilization performance of the MōVI has increased, resulting in images that are much more stable and stronger overall. Longer lenses, focus, iris, and zoom setups can now be achieved more easily with incredible results.

TIMELAPSE MODE: The possibilities seem endless when working with the MōVI and now, with Timelapse Mode, yet another door has opened. Creating your time-lapse moves with this new software is literally a dream come true, so GO OUT AND MAKE NEW IMAGES!

TARGET MODE: GPS position locking and follow mode! Oh, this is getting fun now! When working with the MIMIC, transmitter operators and DP’s can introduce a “chase cam” look — seamlessly.

14188506_10153690766587187_7986189164664326298_o

 

Improvements all around and new added features make up the Akira update. I didn’t even mention the new user interface for the mobile applications. Oh, and there are even more goodies to be found. Ok, enough reading! It’s time to put Akira to the test.

We sell and rent a variety of Freefly motion tools. Please contact us at answers@rule.com or 800-rule-com (800-785-3266) for more information.

Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MōVI Tech, law@rule.com

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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

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The Panasonic GH4: An Analysis (Part 2 of 2)

In my last post, I talked all about the versatility of the GH4, and how it can bring some pro features to a semi-pro audience — as well as some pro features to some budget-conscious professionals! In this piece, I’ll be talking a little bit more about some of the higher-end applications of the GH4, as well as its partner in crime – the YAGH interface. (Catchy name, right?) The YAGH interface unit, or “the bottom thing” as most folks around here are calling it, adds some really fantastic usability to the system. Firstly, it provides HD-SDI connectivity. To my knowledge, there is no other DSLR on the market that currently sports HD-SDI, unless you get into Blackmagic Cinema Camera territory (Yes, I realize the GH4 isn’t technically a DSLR, nor are the BMCCs – but work with me here). This is a big deal. Not only do we get HD-SDI, but we are given 4 HD-SDI ports. The photo above shows how when paired with something like an AJA Ki Pro Quad, we can record 10bit 422 HQ Prores 4K footage. That’s some serious codec right there. The quad also mounts nicely to the rear on rods, allowing for easy powering with an Anton Bauer d-tap. Add a top handle, and I could see someone shooting with this for very long periods for indie cinema, documentary, or commercial applications. In addition to HD-SDI, we are also given 2 XLR inputs and a full-sized HDMI output – still capable of outputting 4K 10bit. With the added XLR, HD-DI, and 4pin DC power – this is all of a sudden a real, professional camera. There are, however, some drawbacks to this unit. First and foremost, most people will be surprised to find out that once the YAGH unit is installed, all your power must come from an external source. For the setup, I like to hang a Wooden Camera Anton Bauer gold mount rod unit to the rear, pulling off the d-tap and into the 4pin XLR. This isn’t that bad, but it’s to be noted. All those nice new Panasonic badged batteries you got for the camera? Yeah, those aren’t gonna work with the YAGH. The only other real problem I’ve found with the YAGH unit is simply misinformation. One DOES NOT NEED the YAGH unit to output 4K via HDMI into something like an Atomos Shogun. What the YAGH does give you is a full-sized HDMI, proper HD-SDI connections, XLR, audio levels on nice easy-to-see LEDS, and a way to power the camera with a big Anton Bauer battery. Professional users will see these things not as detriments, but as huge improvements. Users who require a slimmer profile, and easier rig, will find themselves opting out of the YAGH unit. Each situation will require some foresight into exactly what you will need – but Panasonic has given us the choice, and that’s saying a lot more than any other camera in this market. Now, with all that being said – this brings me to the next situation people are speaking at length about: External recording with the GH4. While the option to output such high spec codecs is phenomenal, one must again consider their application in what you’re really shooting. In my personal tests, I’ve found the native 4K 100Mbps internal recording to be nothing short of amazing. It hits that beautiful sweet spot between compression and high bit rates — it gives just enough to allow for some flexibility in color grades, but compresses enough to give you 40 minutes of 4K video per 32GB card. I was getting around half an hour per 64GB card recording prores on my Blackmagic Pocket Cam. There’s really something to be said about smart compression. There has always been the cry for uncompressed, but not nearly a loud enough cry for BETTER compression. This video, shot by vimeo user Emeric, displays just how pretty this camera can be! He lists the lenses as very common Panasonic and Olympus glass, recorded internally and graded in film convert. Take a look and see if you’d be kicking yourself for not recording to a Shogun! (I wouldn’t.) Lastly, I want to quickly touch on one more aspect of the camera that I believe needs to be spoken about a bit more. The versatility of the MFT mount. The small flange distance allows us to adapt this mount to most anything — though an optimal Canon EF adapter is still slightly difficult. With the introduction of speed boosters, we are seeing some really amazing things happen. Nikon mount Zeiss glass being adapted and reduced, gaining a stop with no optical quality loss. It’s very exciting! Our GH4 has gone out the door a handful of times loaded up with Zeiss Superspeeds and even some Cooke Glass. I feel that in a rental situation, this camera is allowing people the budgetary option of scaling back the camera body, perhaps down from a 1DC or c300, and scaling up that savings into some absolutely exceptional glass. Here’s a photo of the GH4 fitted with the new Leica Summicron-C 35mm. These lenses are smaller than Cookes, and fit very nicely onto the Hotrod MFT to PL adapter. The instance of lower-cost cameras introducing professional codec options and video features, like peaking, zebra, HD-SDI, xlr, etc., are allowing low-budget shooters to experiment with something that will surely improve your image — the glass in front of the sensor. It is in this that I find the GH4 to be a big deal, giving you options for a high-end studio shoot with an Optimo zoom, feeding a director’s monitor; or in your backpack with a pancake lens, for quick shooting while on vacation. The GH4, as well as the YAGH unit, Hotrod PL adapter, and a whole host of lenses are all here at Rule Boston Camera for rental – and we also offer the GH4 and YAGH for purchase, if you’re so inclined. Happy shooting! -Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

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Up Close with Canon’s New Line of Cine Primes & Zooms

In July, Nick Giannino from our sales dept and myself were kindly invited down to Canon HQ in Long Island for an educational seminar. The aim was to talk about Canon’s new line of Cine primes and zooms. About half the seminar was conducted by Mitch Gross, formerly of Abel in New York. He asked what makes a great cinema lens as opposed to a great still lens? Good question – how about long focus pull range; large, glow-in-the-dark focus markings; 11 iris blades to produce subtle bokeh; warm skin tone glass; and ability to handle flares.  All these factors have been built into both the Cine EF-mount primes and the PL-mount zooms.

Nick and Andrew at Camp Canon
The second half of the seminar was conducted by Suny Behar. He conducts a week-long camera test every year for HBO. What camera test, you ask? Well, HBO is the only network that does this: they spend a week with six different cameras, from a Black Magic 4K to a Phantom Flex 4K, shooting footage under a variety of different lighting situations. This footage is then shown to HBO show runners and DPs who are in the process of making camera decisions for upcoming shows.  This year all the lenses used on all these camera tests were from the EF and PL-mount Canon Cine line. The lenses were chosen over Cookes, Optimos, Zeiss, etc.  HBO was very impressed. In fact, so impressed was David Franco, a DP on Game Of Thrones, he went out and bought the entire Canon Cine line. I heard he paid with golden blood-soaked coins. Lastly, Canon also showed off the new Cine 17-120mm ENG-style large-sensor zoom lens which will be shipping in September. The lens is designed to be a Cabrio-killer with a larger zoom range, better ergonomics and a price point $15K cheaper than the Fuji Cabrio 19-90mm. Lots of low-interest rate options are available for the C300, C500 and lens packages so ask Sales for details. We also have most of the Canon Cine line available in rentals so please call us for availability and pricing. Thanks for reading! – Andrew Barlow, Rental Coordinator, barlow@rule.com

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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
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“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Let me ask a silly but timely question:  Pretend you were a race car driver in NASCAR. You were in the middle of a race, flying around the track at 190 MPH, and a message popped up on your dashboard that told you that new firmware for your fuel system was available and ready to install, would you click OK?

Historically, meaning as little as a few years ago, editing and post production suites were built and deployed as a completely designed system not unlike a race car.  Under it’s branded and packaged “system” exterior, it was made up of components that, when described individually, were familiar to us.  It had one or many CPUs, operating system, memory, storage and I/O and several specific software applications, waveform/vector scopes and video source/record decks.  In addition, you would certainly have accurate monitoring of audio and video signals, ideally, in an acoustically-treated suite with appropriate lighting and wall color that would not confuse or deceive your visual cortex.

This turnkey package was very tight, in large part because the bits and pieces worked only in a small but specific “compatibility matrix”.  As a result, it was always understood and firmly communicated that you NEVER update software in the middle of a production, you disable Auto-Update (to satisfy the previous requirement) and that you work with and depend upon capable experts before and during planned upgrades. Upgrades, in truth, need to be considered full re-designs in the sense that there is a delicate inter-dependency between all components and interrupting this “matrix” will have a series of consequences, and unless your name is Neo, you may not even realize that the matrix exists! (Sorry, had to throw that in there.) Consequences come in many sizes and shapes.  Some, you may never even notice or feel and some may only effect you if a second or third seemingly unrelated event interacts with the dormant first consequence.  If the majority of customers work only on a stand-alone computer with the most common of add-on devices, then the lowest common denominator challenges or conflicts get addressed and corrected early, often during beta test cycles. Companies like Apple and others have also done a great job intentionally or unintentionally inducing Pavlovian Conditioning with frequent and ever-improving app updates that have taught us that Updates = Good.  Many of us treat these update requests like a new message from a friend, a gift or a present that randomly appears and, best of all, is free!  Why wouldn’t you do it?  Often it corrects and patches flaws and security risks that we didn’t even know existed (until the update told us).  After all, who doesn’t want to keep up with the latest and greatest? But beware, the editing and graphics ecosystem that you have built, however streamlined it appears, is more fragile and requires more planning than a typical computer or smart phone.  Major operating system updates – like Apple Mavericks 10.9 – change a multitude of things, for reasons that have nothing to do with you or your business. Here is an example advisory for some high speed, external media readers that came out upon the release of Apple Mavericks: WARNING Qio E3 is not currently compatible with OS X 10.8.5 and 10.9 (Mavericks). Sonnet is working on a fix for this issue. Qio E3 is compatible with OS X 10.8.0 through 10.8.4 when using Qio E3 software v1.2.1c and later. Until a new driver is ready (1.2.2), do not upgrade your computer’s OS to 10.8.5 or 10.9.” Personally, I do not blame 3rd party board and hardware manufacturers for this.  A computer is a complex beast, designed for many markets and many uses.  In our high performance, time sensitive, video production world, we depend on our computers to connect with dozens of speciality devices.  Somehow, we have collectively come to expect that all parties involved have been handed a rule book that defines accurately and immediately, all use cases and all code corrections.  In truth, companies like Apple are famous for not providing detailed information about code or methodology changes that may break or change the way pieces or components behave.  There is limited access for developers to beta OS releases and it is next to impossible for a hardware company to run structured quality control tests on all possible configurations. So, in summary, I offer a few polite words of caution: • DO NOT be tempted to hit that Upgrade, Update or Download button without first KNOWING why you need it and what it might affect. • PLAN for upgrades with production and business calendars in mind.

• SCHEDULE downtime and testing as part of the upgrade.

• BACKUP the current system before an upgrade.

• TEST all of the devices and software after the upgrade.

Thanks for listening.  I hope it helps. Tom Talbot, t.talbot@rule.com

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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

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Azden

The Azden brand goes along with Rode and Sennheiser, but they seem to have filled a gap that has been left open for awhile by the mainstream brands.  Juiced Link and Beachtek have both produced small sound mixers, that leave some to be desired, but Azden has housed their own in a more sophisticated, small box that operates in the same fashion, but gives the user more control over their levels, as well as includes a jack for headphones in addition to the dual XLR inputs, and the L and R channel level controls. Azden also covers a FMX 42/42a 4-channel portable mixer, which offers 4 XLR inputs and 2 XLR outputs plus a mini plug output, adjustable input level monitor level, and adds a 10-pin  and mini plug camera return. These sound mixers run from $400 for the smaller dual channel mixer to $840 for the larger 4 channel mixers. Another unique product is the Azden dual receiver/transmitter kit. Running at $750, this price is highly competitive with buying two Azden or Sennheiser kits at around $599 each.  This dual receiver allows you to mic two people and run separate channels into one receiver, rather than using two receivers and two transmitters. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales – brooks@rule.com

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New Firmware Upgrade for Sony HXR-NX70U

The Sony HXR-NX70U, released last June 2011 has a new firmware upgrade now available to end-users that offers:

• Selectable zoom speed for the rocker zoom

• Dual recording  (simultaneous recording) to both internal memory and SDHC card

• Additional frame rates of 1920×1080/30p and 1280×720/60p

• Expanded focus and histogram button are now assignable buttons.

• An added menu feature, “Last Scene Review” for playback on the camera.

• Face Detection Box on the video output can now be controlled by the Display On/Off button.

• The Display On/Off overlay the zebra and histogram display on the video output.

You can access the firmware upgrade here:

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/micro-nxcamsite/resource.downloads.bbsccms-assets-micro-nxcam-downloads-nxcamfirmwareupgrades

This upgrade is currently offered for free on the Sony website as a download when their camera is hooked up via USB, but if the user does not wish to upgrade via download, they can send the camera into Sony for a technician fee to have the upgrade done at Sony’s service facility, which for New England is located in Teaneck, New Jersey.

If you wish to do this, you can contact the Sony Support Center at 800-833-6817 Mon-Fri, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. ET, excluding Holidays.

These are your options for Sony Service via Sony:

Sony Service Center

Sony Electronics Inc.

123 W.Tryon Ave.

Teaneck, NJ 07666

Phone: 201-833-5300

E-mail: TeaneckService@am.sony.com

Sony Service Center

Sony Electronics Inc.
2706 Media Center Dr.

Ste.13
LosAngeles, CA 90065

Phone:323-352-5000

E-mail: LAService@am.sony.com

The Sony HXR-NX70U was announced a year ago in April 2011, and literally made a splash at last year’s NAB in Las Vegas when Sony had it sit in a shower to demonstrate it’s unique water-resistant design.  The “chiihuahua” camera is another in Sony’s Prosumer NXCAM line, all of which record onto SDHC cards with an AVCHD codec, and carry a list price range of $2K-6K, including the well-known HXR-NX5U, HXR-MC50U, and soon-to-be released palm-sized HXR-NX30U, which features a built in projector, will list for $2,500 and will be available June 2012.

Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales

brooks@rule.com