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 – email@example.com
Many people question the wisdom of buying an ACE over a Sachtler FSB4, so I thought I would hopefully put some of those questions to rest. The Sachtler line is well known for their FSB4 and FSB6 tripods, which are the go-to tripods for smaller and standard camcorders. These tripods fit cameras anywhere from the Canon XF-105 to the PMW EX3. FSB4 holds 8.8 lbs, weighs 10.7 lbs, and also has 5 steps of counter balance and 3 grades of drag but also contains a spring loaded counter balance, which the ACE has, but as far as the actual “fluid drag system” the ACE has its own patented name for its fluid drag, which does not allow for a technical comparison between it and the Sachtler FSB4, because there are no numbers to compare or info on how the heads are made exactly, that is Sachtler patented information. The Ace, which was introduced last year, also holds 8.8 lbs, weighs 9.7 lbs., and its price point of $535 makes getting a professional tripod more do-able for those on a budget. It features 5 steps of counter balance and 3 grades of drag. The biggest difference between the two? The ACE’s head is made of plastic (glass fiber composite) , while the Sachtler FSB4 is aluminum. They are similar in weight, hold capacity, height, and style. You’ll feel the drag function more smoothly in the FSB4 than the ACE. The latest update is that the ACE now is being offered with carbon fiber legs, in telescopic proportions. That mean 10.2″ min height, no spreader, and only 5.1 lbs. for the legs. These legs will also be available for tripods such as the FSB 4. The Carbon Fiber version will run somewhere around the price of the aluminum Sachtler, which is $899. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales – firstname.lastname@example.org
Two New Camera Models Fill Out a Well-Rounded Cinema EOS Line-up with High-End 4K and Entry-Level HD Camera Solutions Canon issued a press release this morning. The full text of the press release can be found here. Here is a quick bullet list of highlights from the release: Canon EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera Estimated list price of $30,000. Available October 2012 C500 is Canon’s high-end professional 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) cinema camera capable of originating uncompressed RAW output for external recording C500 and C500 PL cameras output 4K resolution to external recorders as a 10-bit uncompressed RAW data stream as well as output quad full-HD (3840 x 2160), 2K (2048 x 1080), full HD (1920 x 1080), and other imaging options. When shooting in 2K, the C500 and C500 PL cameras employ a 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal format from one to 60 frames-per-second (fps) For high-speed shooting and slow motion capture the cameras can be set to a 10-bit YCrCb 4:2:2 mode, and can output 4K or 2K video up to 120 fps. Simultaneously record a 50 Mbps Full HD video file in-camera to the user’s choice of one or two CF cards. Canon EOS C100 Digital Video Camera Estimated list price of $7,999. Available November 2012 Compact, affordable entry-level model delivering full 1920×1080 HD video AVCHD codec -24Mbps in full HD 1920 x 1080 and 4:2:0 color space Records to dual SD cards EF mount ONLY 85% of the size of the EOS C300 Super 35mm 16:9 CMOS ISO range of from 320 to 20,000 includes a push auto iris function, one-shot auto focus (or full manual focus and exposure control), a multi-angle 3.5-inch LCD control panel, a high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), built-in ND filters, dual XLR inputs, locking HDMI output. We look forward to talking in more detail about these two new cameras and will no doubt be featuring a future Learning Lab as soon as demo units become available. Tom Talbot Director of Technology
Those who braved the spontaneous monsoon and made their way to the Yawkey Theater at WGBH in Boston on Wednesday, August 1st, were treated to an inspiring, funny and informative discussion with Alex Buono, the Director of Photography for Saturday Night Live’s Film Unit. The event was sponsored by FRONTLINE, Rule Boston Camera and Canon, and guests were wined and dined and encouraged to see, touch and shoot with the new C300 camera, which has been unbelievably popular since its release earlier this year. Buono uses the C300 in addition to several other Canon cameras for his work, including the 5D Mark II, 7D and the XF305. He shared some of his experiences on set and delved into how and why Canon’s cameras allow him to accomplish things he never could before in less time than ever, plus dropped tips and tricks throughout his presentation for people looking to get into DSLR or cine-style shooting. Naturally, I can’t cover everything here, but I’ll highlight some of the most interesting tidbits.
Buono started shooting for the SNL Film Unit back in 1999, when they were still shooting on film. That was a challenge, he said, because their typical shooting schedule goes like this: the writers deliver the script on Wednesday, they prep on Thursday, shoot on Friday and edit and air the final product on Saturday. Those turnaround times were brutal with film, but with new tapeless workflows, especially with the MXF MPEG-2 format the C300 shoots, they don’t have to bog themselves down with film processing or telecine, or even the painful rendering times that other video workflows might require. Canon’s cameras made it onto Saturday Night Live’s broadcasts in 2009, when Buono used the then-new 5D Mark II to shoot the opening sequence for the show. It was a bold step and a big undertaking, but he was impressed by the unprecedented light sensitivity, the ability to shoot in tiny spaces with a much smaller crew, and of course, the picture quality and shallow depth of field that he had struggled to achieve since leaving his film cameras on the shelf years before. After the success of that shoot, they adopted DSLRs into their workflow and have now added the C300 to their arsenal, which is Buono’s favorite tool yet. I was excited to see how Buono uses these cameras in his work every week and some of the additional equipment he has been particularly fond of. He spoke highly of a number of third-party accessories, including the “Target Shooter” and “The Event,” which are two different shoulder rigs from Zacuto and Red Rock Micro, respectively. He also never leaves home without his Zacuto Z-Finder Pro. Buono also showed off some seriously useful smartphone apps he relies on for location shooting, like Sunseeker and Helios for tracking movement of the sun. Most impressively, he showed us how to do “virtual location scouting” with Google Earth. Using their 3D building models and the time of day feature, he could track the movement of the sun throughout the day, plan out all of his framing, plus get contact information for buildings he wanted access to—all within the Google Earth application. Buono spent a good portion of his presentation talking about the technical specifications of the C300, but emphasized an important point (and my favorite tip from the evening): filmmaking is not a science project. In an industry where it’s easy to get caught up in numbers, feature lists and marketing jargon, it’s important to remember that these cameras are filmmaking tools that help us achieve our visions as storytellers. And the introduction of more affordable equipment and the resulting leveling of the playing field has allowed people to focus less on how much money and effort it takes to get a good picture and more on the things that really matter—good writing and good performances. That being said, he went into a detailed discussion about how the C300 captures and records color information, how capturing two green channels on the sensor dramatically improves low-light capability and how the form factor has significantly improved their flexibility while shooting, both with shoulder/handheld setups and in Steadicam applications. He also emphasized how great it is to be able to shoot a scene with Andy Samberg in the middle of Times Square without swarms of tourists taking any notice at all. Shooting incognito is a luxury few crews with SNL’s level of exposure enjoy. I was also pleased to hear him talk about the importance of color grading with tools like Apple Color, Final Cut Pro, Tiffen DFX or Magic Bullet. He also emphasized how critical good sound is, and recommended that everybody use a decent microphone (like the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro) and record to something other than a DSLR—be it in-camera on the C300 or with external recorder (like the Zoom H4N). Shooting at 24 frames per second instead of 30 or 60 and using a 180-degree shutter (1/50th of a second on a DSLR) was also his recommendation as the single most important (and probably easiest) step for achieving a cinematic look with your video. There was plenty more that Alex Buono had to say about his experiences shooting commercial parodies, skits and other videos for SNL, as well as his impressions of the new Canon C300, but there was simply too much great information to cover here. He’s been traveling all around the country giving these kinds of presentations, so if you’re lucky, he may be making his way to a city near you and you can hear more about what he has to say. You can also follow him on Twitter at @alexbuono or go to alexbuonoreel.com to see more of his work. Peter Brunet, Engineering Technician, email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was about to shoot a music video for a friend who is in a local Boston rock band called Nervous. We threw ideas around for a while, but we ended up with a pretty simple concept of a girl bumming around her house and eventually going on a bike ride. Not very complex, but who cares, it’s a music video! Our friend Marianne who would play the girl, had recently gotten into a bike accident. She had a busted up hand with a brace on it, and her eyeball had a few broken blood vessels in it. I felt these physical attributes would make the content weirder, and so I decided to accentuate them. For the opening shot, which is a close up of Marianne’s face, we used the Litepanels Ringlite Mini to make her eyes look even more bizarre. Specs of red in the white of her eye, and a ring of white in the pupil. It looked mad cool. I would even go as far as to say it looked dope.
The original intent of using the Ringlite was to gain a certain effect for all of the interior apartment scenes. I wanted it to look a bit like “Grey Gardens” and a bit like Fiona Apple’s video for “Criminal”. Both of these pieces use some type of camera mounted light. “Grey Gardens” being a doc with many dimly lit interiors, does it for necessity.
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 email@example.com, or any of our sales reps for more information. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
I was shooting recently with the FS100UK with the kit 18-200 lens, a Litepanel mini plus, a Sennheiser wireless receiver, and a Shotgun microphone in a poorly lit ‘”run & gun scenario”. The stock “handle” was not up to the task of supporting all of these accessories and required quite a few black hair elastics just to keep things from bouncing around. When I got back and reviewed the condition of our FS-100 handles in rentals, I said, ‘There has to be some better way of handling this’. With locking screws stripped and parts on back order from Sony, a simple repair was not the best solution. Enter Caleb Crosby of Shot Grip with his Wood & Aluminum handles for the FS100. (http://shootingmachine.net/) I immediately took a liking to the handles, and worked quickly to outfit our rental cameras with this accessory (featured in our showroom). Why worry about the plastic breaking again when we could replace it with something that provided a better end-user experience, more functionality, and more mounting options — not to mention a pretty sweet look too! We took advantage of Shot Grip’s stub clamps to re-mount the stock microphone, and a few others stub clamps for lighting accessories and a wireless transmitter. The package was complete! Caleb came by recently and we chatted about development of a new product he unveiled at NAB. Caleb will be getting us some more handles from craftsmen in a shop just north of us in Maine. I’m so grateful for such an easy and elegant solution to this problem. Adam Van Voorhis, Equipment Manager email@example.com
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:
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
Sony Service Center
Sony Electronics Inc. 2706 Media Center Dr.
Ste.13 LosAngeles, CA 90065
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
Each year that I attend NAB I usually end up having two or three words that sum up the most popular or most discussed trends at the show. This year I would have to say Thunderbolt and 4K were the buzzword winners. It was also interesting to see companies suddenly dive into market segments that used to be “reserved”. Blackmagic Design is suddenly a camera manufacturer and Canon is suddenly a production monitor company. Go Pro offers WiFi and high speed goes handheld with the TS3Cine. was everywhere this year. The AJA Ki Pro QUAD, Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, and of course drives of all sorts. There was even a 30 meter optical Thunderbolt cable from Sumitomo. The term “4K Capable” means that external 4K recorders can be attached to such cameras as the Canon EOS C500 and 1D C, Sony FS700, F65 and others. Canon showed a prototype of a 4K production monitor that looked remarkable. LED lighting is now ready for production use. Notably absent this year – 3D! Fujinon showed a lightweight 19mm-90mm PL cine zoom lens with a detachable servo drive unit Angenieux also showed a Servo unit compatible with thei lightweight Optimo line : Optimo 45-120, Optimo 28-76, Optimo 15-40 for Film and Digital cinema, Optimo DP 16-42 and Optimo DP 30-80 for Digital Cinema.
Sony has recently announced that their AWSG500E Anycast Station Live Content Producer will be discontinued. For many years the Anycast has been a “go to” portable video switcher, audio mixer, PTZ camera controller & more in a self-contained, briefcase sized package. Many of our customers over the years have used it and continue to rely on it for day-to-day use in events, public access, education, houses of worship, and a whole range of productions. For most of our customers, once they have used the Anycast they continue to use and rely on it. Normally, our instinct is to jump right into the latest and greatest technology, especially when we receive news of a discontinuation. I am not saying that there are not alternative replacements on the market right now but I will say that the form factor and capability of the Sony Anycast are not easily matched. If you have used and enjoyed the Sony Anycast and/or if you have established environments that already rely on the Anycast then it is not too late to purchase one. Our sales team can still quote and sell you an Anycast including any optional boards needed. Please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to request a quote before it is too late! Sony has a excellent track record for servicing and supporting products long after they have ceased to exist as a sales product. Our Rental Department owns many of these systems and we are not planning on removing them from rotation anytime soon. I hope this helps! Tom Talbot – Director of Technology
For some time now, Rule Boston Camera has been working hard to become the leader in New England of shared storage, digital asset management and archiving. As the industry moves away from tape and into file-based media, safely and intelligently storing your digital video files has become increasingly important. Our goal in this “Smart Storage Initiative” is to provide the best possible solutions for each customer’s needs—from the one-man-band all the way up to the enterprise-level customer. Naturally, a significant part of this initiative is education and not just for our customers. Recently, we have been putting our vendors’ shared storage products through rigorous testing to see which products fit perfectly with which workflows. No single product, be it from Avid, Facilis, SNS or Apple/Promise, is right for every need or for every customer. We’re doing speed tests, checking compatibility with third-party software, figuring out how you can use each one in collaborative workflows (and more) in order to find how each shared storage product shines and in which areas. The end result: when you tell us about your business and your needs, we will be able to confidently recommend a product that will be a perfect fit for you and your workflow as well as your budget. While shared storage products like Apple XSAN/Promise V-Trak, Facilis Terrablock, Avid ISIS and SNS EVO are a significant part of the puzzle, we also provide solutions for digital asset management and archiving with products like CatDV from SquareBox and the Cache-A line of products among others. Don’t need or can’t afford a large shared storage system or LTO-5 backups? We can recommend the right storage and backup solutions to fit exactly what you need and want with products from Promise, LaCie, G-Tech and more. The industry is constantly changing and as a result it can be difficult to navigate which is why we’re always on the lookout to find the best solutions out there to match your specific needs. Peter Brunet, Engineering Technician, email@example.com
It’s not breaking news that we have been waiting for a viable model of the much-lauded TS3cine to walk in our door. For the past 18 months, we have been working closely with the engineers at Fastec Imaging to develop an affordable, portable, DSLR-esque, high-speed camera. The wish list for the camera has been daunting: a stand-alone camera that will go anywhere and provide 720 HD resolution up to 720 fps, internal processing and storage capability, EF and PL mounts, a large high-resolution color LCD viewfinder while being lightweight and portable, and, finally, with the no-nonsense feel of a DSLR. The TS3 has been a challenge in the making, and we have been along for the ride (virtually on the edge of our seats) waiting for the first unit to arrive. Matt Kearney at Fastec arrives today with the camera (with fmount). We’ll post some photos later today and updates as they develop. In the meantime, join us for Wednesday’s, January 11th Learning Lab at 10am. Tom Talbot will have the TS3Cine prototype and provide an overview of the camera’s capabilities. Brian Malcolm, General Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming off of our hugely successful Pub Night here at Rule Boston Camera last Thursday night, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and pass along my initial observations of the Canon C300 and C300PL cameras.
MODULAR DESIGN & ERGONOMICS
When I first got to handle the C300 in November, I did not know if a modular design would be better than a single integrated design. The first thing that comes to mind is that the bits and pieces, or modules as I have been calling them, could easily get misplaced if you were spending too much time setting up and breaking down “stuff” for any given shot. I have started to reconsider this opinion thinking that different users and different productions might configure the camera to satisfy the shooting style rather than to satisfy the shot. That said, I tried adding some modules onto the camera and throwing it into a camera bag to see how much stuff could be left on without much fuss. It is a bit tall rather than long (depending on the lens) but with a simple tripod plate screwed onto the camera I found that I could move from tripod to handheld to and then to camera bag just by removing the LCD module.
We will have to look into camera bag options that are a bit more “bowling ball bag” shaped…
I know that we will see lots of 3rd party accessories shortly so stay tuned!
In its most stripped down state, you simply pop in a Canon 955 battery, side grip and a lens and you can shoot using the small EVF and no microphone.
From there you can attach the LCD module which also gives you 2 XLR connections and media playback controls. There is a shotgun mic holder on this module as well. The module connects via two 20 pin limo connectors that appear to be totally unique. These connectors provide signals for the LCD and controls as well as to the XLR mic/line audio inputs. This is a small 1/8th mini mic connector on the camera body as well but I suspect that may be limited in quality.
Additionally Canon provides a handle which can be used with or without the LCD module.
Very simply, when you purchase or rent the Canon C300 you have to commit to either the EF lens mount version, called the C300, OR you have to commit to the PL lens mount version called the C300PL. Canon deliberated this for quite some time before concluding that a super-accurate and mechanically sound lens mount was more important and beneficial to the user than in interchangeable adapter solution. I agree with this when you consider that sacrificing tight design for flexibility and a broader audience may reduce the camera’s performance.
Factoids on paper sometimes appear more powerful and important than they actually are. Since 100 is a larger number than 35, 100 must be “better”, right? Of course, the word “better” has no context and is very misleading. This was often first sentence in a much more in-depth video signal compression discussion (but I digress). The Canon 4K imager does a fantastic job delivering a full 1920×1080 resolution for the Red and Blue components and actually delivers 2 channels of 1920×1080 Green in such a way to minimize moire and retain a super sampled luminance signal. This full 4:4:4 signal is offered to the signal processing engine. Ultimately from there the signal is fed to both the HDSDI and HDMI outputs as well as to the compression engine packaged as 8-bit. In-camera recording to CF cards is up to 50Mbits/sec 4:2:2 wrapped in MXF. Some people are concerned that 8-bit is not as good a 10-bit and, in a vacuum, this is true. Most of the current in-camera recorders out there encode an 8-bit signal of some type. Some external records can be setup to record a 10bit signal but it depends on the CODEC. While demoing the C300 to a large group at WGBH the other day it was wisely pointed out that HDCAM is also an 8-bit recording format and HDCAM is the delivery format of choice for what we see every day for PBS broadcasting. Like most things, you be the judge of what is objectionable and what is water cooler speculation.
I will devote a future blog entry to the C300 menu structure but I can say that the interface was very intuitive and familiar. The menu can be superimposed on the EVF, the LCD or the external outputs. In the case of the external connectors you do not get all superimposed info such as WFM, VECT or some other items. There is also a very handy rear display below the EVF that gives you access to ISO/Gain, White Balance, and shutter angle. I found this to be the place where I would quickly choose the Function button and toggle between and change these core settings.
I would like to thank all of those who joined us for Canon’s C300 event last night. It was very well attended with a record 150 guests at our popular Pub Night series. It was great to see a crowd of seasoned professionals eager to learn about the exciting new cinema camera offered by Canon. As always, the night began with an excellent selection of pizza and beer, but the floor was quickly handed over to Canon’s Larry Thorpe, an industry veteran who is one of the masterminds behind the development of the C300. He was, by far, the best candidate to give the presentation. He led the audience through many exciting specifications on the camera including its new Super 35mm sensor designed from the ground up with its native 850 iso sensitivity. For a great list of specs on the camera you can visit Canon’s EOS web page. Larry also showed various Canon-funded projects that were commissioned to highlight the range and resolution of the new camera. The projects clearly show that the C300 promises to be a very important cinematic tool for filmmakers. We had four C300s on display (two with EF mounts and two with PL mounts) with one set-up to record Larry’s presentation. Afterward, all hands were on the demo C300 models which were configured in various handheld and studio setups. It was a great opportunity for everyone to push buttons, prod accessories, focus lenses and ask questions. Although the cameras will be returning to Canon, we expect to have another unit in-house soon for those of you who may have missed the event. We are actively working with Canon to finalize a dealership agreement for the C300 which would place us in a newly-formed Canon group titled “Professional Production System Dealers”. The group was formed not only to support the C300 but also to reinforce Canon’s commitment to produce future cinema cameras and lenses. I am very excited about our developing relationship with Canon and all that it promises to bring to our clients. I will, of course, keep you posted. We should have pricing and delivery info by January 17th. If you are thinking about purchasing a C300 please consider talking to us first. We are here to support you. Brian Malcolm, General Manager, email@example.com
At tonight’s Pub Night, we’ll be introducing an exciting new Electronic Viewfinder made by TV Logic and distributed by Alphatron that will be available at NAB 2012. You can see the basic specs below, and more information will be released monthly. EVF 035W-3G Electronic Viewfinder, available Spring 2012. Made by TV Logic and distributed by Alphatron. Stats: 3.5” Display 960×640 HD-SDI loop through HDMI in/out 1080P Headphone Jack Focus Assist Each month between now and then we will release updates with new product features. TV Logic and Alphatron came up with the idea for the new EVF at last year’s NAB and have spent this year working together to develop and fine-tune it. Rene van der Reiden of Alphatron describes the relationship between Alphatron and TV Logic as, “a good combination with many factors, so this combination hopefully will be very successful in the time to come.” We encourage you to ask us questions about this new product! We’ll channel them to Alphatron in order to get answers and to let them know what kind of feedback we’re hearing from our customers about the product so far. The EVF035W-3G Viewfinder will not be available through TV Logic or Alphatron online. The product will only be available through product resellers. The list of resellers has not been announced yet, but Rule Boston Camera is one of them, and we look forward to answering your questions and telling you more about the viewfinder. The EVF will list for a price of $1,395 which is also Minimum Advertised Price. As a company that has had good experiences with TV Logic products in the past, we agree with Rene’s statement that, ‘what is important is how they handle problems and how they support you. We have been working with them for the last 4 years and have an excellent relationship not only business to business, but person to person. Here, we are very excited because we know a little more than everyone else does and it will be a brilliant product, I’m sure. It’s [a company to customer] win-win.’ -Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org If you have further questions, please contact either our Sales Team here at Rule Boston Camera or myself at 617-277-2200 or email us at RuleSales@rule.com.
Picture this… I am sitting in a staff meeting and I see, through the glass door, a cart with 4 cardboard boxes from Fed Ex roll by headed my way. I know that I am expecting a delivery of 4 Canon C300 cameras for our Special January Pub Night with Larry Thorpe. For those of you not aware, Larry is Senior Director of Professional Engineering and Solutions at Canon. He will be presenting an overview of the C300 followed by Q&A. By the way, if you are interested in joining us, it goes from 6-8pm. and you can RSVP to email@example.com Just like a kid on Christmas day, I rush to open these boxes. I was fortunate to be invited by Canon to attend their grand unveiling in Hollywood on Nov. 3rd so I already had my hands on the camera but I knew that today, I would be able to spend some real time tinkering with these and in quantity! We received two EF mount and two PL. We will be showing them in various configurations – from bare bones DSLR-like handheld configs to fully built-up studio style cinema rigs with Optimo zoom cinema lenses. Very shortly I will follow this up with a more detailed blog about my observations, but in summary, the C300 is a winner for sure! It is elegant, logical, sturdy and tight. Its modular design does not feel like you are taking apart a child’s toy and the more I played with it the more I understood that a lot of consideration was given to each module. The pistol grip side handle has a 4 pin electronic connector cable that plugs in before you set your angle for mounting. The mount itself is a very sturdy metal thread which gives you confidence in its reliability. The menu and controls are straightforward in intuitive. You have options to label in ISO or Gain, Shutter in Degrees or fractions, White balance presets displayed in iconic sun or light bulb form or in kelvin (K) The base sensitivity is shown at , for use when utilizing Canon Log, and as most of you have already heard it goes up to an astounding 20,000 ISO! This of course doesn’t mean that you should always shoot this way nor does it mean that there is no amplifier noise but when the judgement of “acceptable” is yours to make for some shots, its is nice to know you’ve got it when you need it. The EF mount with one of our 24-70 EF lenses looked great and of course an Optimo on the PL version looks stunning. – Tom Talbot Director of Technology