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The ALEXA Mini Goes Full Frame with the LF

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a camera nerd — and if you’re a camera nerd, you’ve probably heard of this company called ARRI. They’re from Germany. They’ve been around for like, 100 years or so. Us camera nerds know that when ARRI announces a new camera, it’s a big deal. They make cameras that have an enormous impact on how our industry operates — and the new Alexa Mini LF is no different.

Full frame video has been increasing in popularity over the years — it’s hard to say where it started to pick up steam, but the Canon C700 Full Frame and RED Monstro Vista Vision are certainly the big cameras that hit the market first — followed closely by the Sony VENICE and ALEXA LF. We knew these cameras were coming, as lens manufacturers had been posturing for a full frame cinema option for years. 

When ARRI released the ALEXA LF, the baby brother of the large format ALEXA 65, we knew that full frame was an official part of cinema. While the ALEXA LF is a wonder of engineering, it is still packaged in the heavy and bulky ALEXA-style body. Great for large scale shoots and multiple operators, but not so great for the everyday indie or commercial setups. This is where the ALEXA Mini has found its footing, with its small scale lending itself well to gimbals, drones, and operators of every stature with its democratizing 5lb body.

Enter: The ALEXA Mini LF. The full frame, 4.5K capable, 5.7lb ALEXA. When going through the specs, one can find themselves wanting to use words like “full frame monster” and “game changer” — or other buzzword camera nerd affectations. There is no need. It’s an ARRI ALEXA Mini LF. Enough said.

The Mini LF can do all the things it’s family members can – but with some added resolutions. Below, a list of the various options for SUP 6.0:

 

The camera’s size has also remained mostly unchanged, with a few updates on body design to accommodate the newer Codex Media.

 

 

Speaking of media, ARRI has chosen to abandon the CFast format (thankfully) and has moved to the newer Codex Compact Drives. Some will say this media choice is expensive – and that’s because it is! Very much so. Coming in right around $2,400 bucks per 1TB card, they’re up there, but no more so than any other professional recording media. Have you met my friend, the RED Mini Mag? Or how about the Sony AXSM cards? Those run over $4,500 per TB!

ARRI is being aggressive with its promotion for this camera, same as the ALEXA LF — listing it’s dynamic range as higher than “any production camera.” A bold claim, but anyone who’s shot with these cameras can attest to its authenticity – these are the closest to film DR you’re going to get. 

ARRI has also chosen to remain with their Alev III sensor, assuring that the same ARRI Color Science that has won so many awards over the years is maintained at their higher resolutions. Other updates include higher usable sensitivity with lower noise, new internal ND filters, improved timecode and audio connectivity, two built-in microphones, and a brand spanking new Viewfinder – the MVF-2 HD OLED EVF. 

This new model has a 4” flip out monitor, and a newer flexible cable to cut down on wear and tear. The camera is packed full of small improvements which really proves that ARRI listens to their users and is always tweaking their designs to best serve their customers. It gives every camera they make a sense of true professionalism. 

The big draw, of course, is the full frame image. There’s something I’ve always loved about the field of view you get when shooting full frame — there’s just something about it. Perhaps it comes from years of taking still photos, or maybe my early career shooting with the 5D (MK II, so you know I’ve got that OG DSLR street cred. Where my AF100 folks at?) Regardless of why, the full frame immersion paired with the ARRI look is a match made in heaven. I very much look forward to seeing some of the amazing films and content produced with this camera — it’s a game changer, and a full frame monster.

Missed the ARRI ALEXA LF and Mini LF along with Signature Primes and accessories at our September Pub Night?  Click here for event photos.

– Alex Enman, Engineer

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Optical Support Jackal Rickshaw is the Perfect Tool

Ahhh… dreams do come true! The Jackal by Optical Support is the perfect tool for our clients and our local production market. From the easy travel case to the quick adjusting wheel base, the Jackal has it all and more.

Rickshaws have been on film sets for many years now and come in all shapes and sizes. We do a large amount of Flowcine Black Arm work at the shop, and the team at Optical Support jumped on the opportunity to help us combine both worlds.

We are very excited for our clients to take the Jackal for a spin. It’s ready for any Handheld, Easyrig, MoVI, Ronin, Steadicam, and Black Arm jobs you may have. And, if you rent the Jackal in September, you’ll get 25% off the regular rate. Click here to learn more or contact rentals@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech

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Roll into Fall with 25% Off the Jackal Portable Camera Rickshaw

Rent the Jackal Portable Camera Rickshaw at 25% off in September!

The Jackal rickshaw from Optical Support is a lightweight, portable camera rickshaw that’s perfect for gimbal, handheld and Steadicam use.

With a jockey wheel for precision tracking and two wheel fast mode, an extending axle for stability, adjustable footrests, camera accessory mount for mounting stabilizer systems, and a compact design that allows for quick packing into one handy case — you can rent it all-month-long at 25% off!

Click here for our Jackal product page and here for our fancy flyer! The Jackal rents for $225/day LESS 25% discount in September. Watch our video motion test with the Jackal below and read Dylan Law’s blog post on the Jackal here.

 

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Kessler Killshock Isolator System Keeps Motion in Check

Camera shake and vibration are quickly becoming a thing of the past. From car rigs to crane shots, movement is getting smoother and easier. The Killshock from Kessler is a great addition to our inventory and a nice option if you are not on a Flowcine Black Arm budget.

Endless mounting points for the Killshock make for easy rigging in any situation. Payloads can range from all sizes/builds with a quick swap of the Shock Modules. Mounting a gimbal is a very nice option, adding more stability and head control. The Killshock makes for a great addition to dolly work by adding that next level of vibration cancellation.

Watch the BTS footage here.

Quick set-ups make for better production! The Killshock is a great tool to have at your disposal for your next production.

-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech

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The New Feature-Rich Cinevate Horizen Sliders

You cannot reinvent the wheel, but Cinevate tried to do just that with the new Horizen Slider series. Cinevate states “We combined your feedback with our 13 years of manufacturing expertise to create our most intensively designed product, ever.”

At first I was skeptical because what can you really modify on a slider to make that much of a drastic change? I soon found out — a lot. The major feature that separates this slider from any other is the newly designed adjustable resistance control. This system actually runs off of a magnet which creates a completely silent, fluidic operation.

When first using the Horizen I noticed this right away. My biggest problem with sliders is adjusting the tension because you can never get it just right. The camera never seems to glide seamlessly unless you are controlling the slider with a motion controller, which can be easily integrated when using this slider. Since the resistance control is now magnetic, you will never have to deal with this problem again.

Besides being the best feeling slider I have used, the Horizen comes with a whole bunch of other awesome features. It natively supports both 100mm and 75mm ball heads. It also has multiple ways to mount it, whether it be on a tripod with its new center mount or with two stands on both sides. If you want to ditch the stands and go lightweight, there are quick-stow, all-terrain legs that come attached with it. This slider is also filled with a ton of mounting options for accessories like monitors.

With a payload of 100 pounds and the option of 3 or 5 feet, the Cinevate Horizen slider is ready for whatever your situation may call for. Click here for product details on the 3-foot slider and here for the 5-foot slider — both are available to rent. See what you think and let us know.

-Alex Lopez, Quality Control Technician

 

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STAY STEADY IN AUGUST with 25% Off Key Gimbal Stabilizers

Stay steady and capture great shots while in motion with our August Stabilization Special! Rent any or all of these gimbal stabilizers at 25% off:

 

FreeFly MōVI Pro 3-Axis Digital Stabilized Camera GimbalFreefly MōVI Pro
The MōVI Pro steadies cameras weighing up to 15 pounds. Hot swappable intelligent batteries power the MōVI Pro, camera, and all accessories to keep you shooting all day long.

 

DJI Ronin 2

The Ronin 2 is equipped to handle DSLRs to Alexa Mini’s without breaking a sweat. Its high torque motors support a wider range of cameras.

 

Zhiyun Tech Crane 3 LAB
Crane 3 LAB is integrated with wireless FHD image transmission, focus and zoom control, touch control and all-inclusive control panel.

 

 

Zhiyun Tech Crane 2
Crane 2 supports DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and camcorders weighing up to 7 pounds.

 

 

 

Manfrotto Fig Rig Manfrotto Fig Rig
The Fig Rig’s circular frame with crossbar mounts most mini DV cameras to produce smooth, steady traveling shots.

 

 

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for more details.
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LiteMat+ Plus 8: Large, Soft, and Light

LiteGear has taken a stronghold in our rental inventory and the LiteMat+ Plus 8 is a great new option for any job. LiteGear stands out with their low-profile design and incredibly soft and color-accurate light. Mounting their products is a dream come true for any DP/gaffer/grip. The LiteMat+ Plus 8 has all these features and packs a serious punch when it comes to output.

The form factor of this light makes for a great, large source and minimizes the amount of lights you may need for your setup. I had a chance to work with the +8 the other day and it was the perfect fixture for the job. It was as easy as putting on the SnapGrid and tossing the light up into the ceiling.

If you’re a fan of LiteGear or interested in trying a new light with a large source — this is the one!

Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech
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Meet the Extraordinary Zeiss Otus Lenses

What does the perfect lens look like? Is there even such a thing? We have a lot of philosophical lens conversations here at Rule. We’ve always had an affinity for vintage glass, and all the gritty imperfections that come with them. There are, however, plenty of shooting scenarios where a vintage look isn’t appropriate. Those modern, cutting edge, sharp-as-a-tack shoots. We’ve always had sharp glass, but the Zeiss Otus Primes (avail in 28mm, 55mm, 85mm) are a cut above.

As we work within the film and photography world when it comes to glass, there has always been a clear division between the two. Lenses that were very sharp, but not suited for on set use. Lenses that were geared and friendly for all our film accessories, but weren’t really that crisp — and if they could be both, they were pretty pricey. In this way, the Zeiss Otus series is a bridge between worlds. An expensive stills lens, and an affordable cine lens. Whichever way you decide to group them, the fact of the matter remains – this is extraordinary glass. 

The Zeiss Otus series was designed over a 3-year period, deep in the underground Zeiss bunker — somewhere, I assume, in the Alps. Zeiss made one thing clear upon announcing their new “affordable” lenses — they would not be compromising quality, in any regard. Did you know there are 6 elements in the construction of these lenses that are more valuable than gold? Vibranium unconfirmed. The body is a beautiful machined metal, and the overall feeling one has when shooting with them is a profound sense of modernity. These are the lenses of right now, and they’re great. 

Using these, I’ve found myself saying things like “Wow, the GH5 looks great!” “Wow, this FS7 looks great!” It took a second to realize that this lens is just a very nice addition to any camera. We can get into the weeds all day long about sensors, debayer patterns, relative sharpness, crispening — but at the end of the day, it comes down to the thing you put on the front of the camera. They are, on one hand, larger than every stills lens I’ve ever used or even heard of, which can be a bit of a bummer for compact shooters. They are no bigger than a Canon 24-70, though, and the weight trade-off is certainly warranted. Speed is also a consideration, as our 28mm, 55mm, and 85mm are all f1.4. While some lenses can achieve an f1.2, I find that to be an aperture I seldom use. I’ll trade a stop for the improved performance, no questions asked. 

In addition to freakish clarity, the Otus primes handle chromatic aberration with ease. Edges I found ringed with purple with my Canon L series glass were made pure and clean with the Otus. Even the edges of frame are well-defined and are not only very sharp, but match the sharpness of the entire frame. They are extremely reliable in their projected image, and certainly deliver on the promise Zeiss made — they’re the new standard. 

For me, I’m finding them to perform as a budget-friendly option to the Zeiss Supremes – and that’s an enormous credential to boast. So, if you’re looking for the Lens of The Future (or, perhaps, today), give rentals a call (or click here to email), and come check these things out!

– Alex Enman, Engineer

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Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July

Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July! Each month, we offer a special rental rate on equipment we think you’ll love. This month, we’re offering the Sony VENICE at 25% off the regular rate of $1,300.

The VENICE is equipped with a newly developed, full-frame image sensor, phenomenal color science, and a user-friendly design with clear and simple menu navigation. With the wide latitude and gamut recorded by the VENICE, freedom of expression is significantly expanded in grading and based on established workflow. Click here for product page and rental rate.

Contact RENTALS by email or phone at 800-rule-com for availability, details, and to book.

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Meet the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Multi-Format Monster

As dependable as ever, Angenieux has released another perfect lens. The Optimo Ultra 12x cine zoom is really the next bar to measure other zoom lenses against. This time, they’ve created a multi-format monster that can cover 3 sensor sizes — including the new and exciting Full-Frame format that is on track to be this year’s summer jam.

As the format can change, the zoom range also changes slightly in regards to which lens element you’ve chosen. The options are for standard Super 35, Ultra 35 — a format created for S35+ formats like ARRI Open Gate, Sony Venice 5.7K 16:9, 6K RED Dragon, 8K RED Helium — and Full-Frame/Vista Vision targeted at large format cameras like the ARRI ALEXA LF, RED Monstro, RED 8K Vista Vision, and Sony Venice Full-Frame 6K.

The zoom ranges break down into these groups, and you’ll see that change in speed as well:

  • S35 [31.6mm] 24-290mm T2.8
  • U35 [34.6mm] 26-320mm T3.1
  • FF/VV [46.3mm] 36-435mm T4.2

Tests below are from the Sony Venice at 5.7K 16:9, with the Ultra35 format.

26mm [note the vingette is only visible in the “look around” setting at 16:9, and is not recorded].

 

320mm

This flexibility in format is exactly what rental houses are looking for — a lens that you can depend on, and that can change to fit your format needs from job-to-job. Just let your Rental Agent know which camera you’re using, and we can make sure it matches up.

The build quality is exactly what’s to be expected from the Optimo line-up, which is a visually near-perfect parfocal zoom that is very pretty, very heavy, and very expensive. No, this lens won’t be the everyday shooter’s go-to, but commercial and episodic productions will certainly get use out of this artillery-style zoom. With the 12x range, this isn’t something that’s meant to be taken off the camera that often. It’s your “on sticks, workhorse zoom”, just like the previous 24-290 models.

What excited me most about this lens is the Ultra 35 option. Yes, S35 is the standard, and, yes, Full-Frame sure is the cool, new kid on the block; but so many cameras have odd, non-standard sensor sizes. Having a lens that works well, specifically for Venice 5.7K, RED Helium 8K, and ARRI Open Gate is pretty phenomenal. Of course, designing a lens just for these odd sizes would be insane, which is where the flexibility of the multi-format option saves the day. I don’t know what the future will hold for imager sizes, but I do know that this lens will probably fit them.

More good news: You can take this lens for a spin at a 25% off in June. Just contact Rentals for details.

– Alex Enman, Engineer