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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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Fully-Equipped Services: Monitor Calibrations, Custom Training, Shared Storage and More

You may only know us as a production equipment rental house. What you may not know is that we are a fully-equipped and knowledgable service house, too. Whether you are looking for monitor calibrations, custom training sessions, consultation, equipment maintenance, or shared storage check-ups and improvements, we’ve got your back! All services are available on an a la carte basis, however, we also offer one of the best-valued service programs in the industry today. Rule+ enables you to access all of our services whenever you need them.

What is Rule+ and What are the Benefits?

 

Rule+, our customized pre-paid service spending program, is built to provide the highest level of assurance to agencies, in-house and external production companies, owner-operators, and post-production houses. Available in four service levels — Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum — Ruleensures that you are able to extract the maximum value from your gear with minimum hassle.  Not only does each service level enable you to use any of your pre-paid credit against any of our services at a generous discount, we also throw-in many value-added incentives such as periodic check-ups, priority tech support, FREE monitor calibrations, rental credits, and FREE local delivery for our Platinum clients.

“EXPERT HELP FOR CONSISTENT OUTPUT!”

Who uses Rule+? 

Every organization, large or small, can take advantage of Rule+ benefits as any of our plans can be customized to suit any company size. Our current clients include leading advertising agencies, leading local and ivy league academic institutions, and in-house agencies with global brand organizations, as well as Boston’s premiere sports teams.

Justin Peterson, Director, Digital Content Production at the Boston Celtics explains:

“Expert help for consistent output! As we grew and began mixing and matching cameras and monitors, we noticed inconsistencies. Some monitors ran red, while others ran blue. Our Sony ENG and Canon C-line cameras didn’t mesh well. Rule+ allowed us to get expert help in painting our cameras, and properly calibrating our monitors for consistency. We no longer question who’s monitor is the right color. Rule+ was an easy way for us to ensure we had the necessary resources included in our budget so we could focus on our job; producing high quality content”. 

 

Contact us today to see which Rule+ plan best suits your needs!

Dan Gruenpeter, Business Development Manager
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ARRI Announces New Lightweight Matte Box LMB-4×5

At long last ARRI weds the popular LMB-25 with the studio functionality of the MB-19 in the new LMB 4×5. 

No longer must we double up on studio and lightweight boxes on the same job as the 4×5 can fill both roles.   

The swing away and tilt module is my favorite new option!  

Click here to watch ARRI’s cool CGI video that visually explains the whole system:

Adam Van Voorhis, Equipment Manager,

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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.

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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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First-time clients get 30% off your first rental during the month of September!

CONTENT CREATORS! Going back to work just got more exciting during the month of September. We are offering all first-time clients a 30% rental discount on your first rental during the month of September.

Whatever your project, we’re here to help. Our Rental Agents are here to gear you up with just the right audio, video, lighting and editing equipment for your most critical projects.

If you’re one of our regular customers, we’ve got something special for you, too.

Reach out to Rule Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com.

BtWHomePage

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Sound Advice Tour Recap

The Sound Advice Tour ended its tour in Boston MA and I was lucky enough to go and check it out. Being an audio guy I was really curious how he was going to explain and teach us things about audio for video. In the class there were way more video people than audio people, with all different levels of experience. He first started by showing us clips of different movies he has done and showed us how much the audio impacts the movie as a whole and the slightest sound can change the whole setting. I was really impressed with how much work is really done for a feature length film and by the end you can end up with over hundreds of tracks for foley, music and sound effects. Once we got more into the lecture he talked about how to record foley and what types of microphones to use in certain situations. For example if you are using a Sennheiser MKH 8060 out in the field to record your audio and you need to do ADR in the studio then you should use the exact same microphone in the studio so it has the same characteristics. He showed us a cool technique that when using an omni-directional microphone with a group of people walking and talking in circles around the microphone it creates a cool effect to where it seems like there are way more people in the setting than there actually is. This really blew my mind away, “DOPE”. We did talk a lot about equalization and cleaning up your audio in post. Cleaning up your audio really makes the voice stand out and removing unwanted noise in the background can really make a difference. The thing I was most excited about was learning how to get rid of that unwanted noise that comes from having a microphone on a boom pole. I always kind of knew how to get rid of it but the way he showed us really blew my mind and really helped me out for my future projects. If you don’t have the software called RX4 by iZotope and you are doing audio for videos then I highly recommend you get this. This software’s algorithm is highly advanced and can do just about anything from de-noising, to a simple EQ clean up and even de-reverbing! “WHAT?!?!” Yeah this software can really do it all and will make your films stand out from the rest of them. I went home and bought it that same day because I was so amazed by it. We also learned the three aspects of music that can really help your film because you do not want some horror type music in an epic fight scene it just doesn’t make sense. First you have your rhythm, your fight or flight. Second is melody, the thematic recall. Third you have the harmony, the emotional core of music. Most of the time there are two of these happening at a given time. Another good tip for everyone out there bad foley is better than no foley even if it is recorded on your iPhone still use it, it will help you out in the end. But remember mix it low and give it some EQ because those couple of steps are better heard low than not being there at all. After the whole class I learned a lot and recommend anyone check out Mark Edward Lewis’s class if you get a chance he really explains everything in depth and he really engages the audience. -Scott Pierce, Quality Control Technician, pierce@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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Production LEDs in a New Light with Zylight’s F8

UPDATE ON 5/12/14:  Since my original post below, I’ve learned that the F8’s bellows are actually made from silicone which should last significantly longer than rubber and that a redesigned yoke was already shown at NAB.  Zylight’s on the ball! We’ve all heard about the merits of LED lighting (low power draw, low heat, no bulb changing, etc.), but for the reality of production work, there were always major trade-offs. The throw of an LED light was useless unless you were right up on the talent, their color rendition was poor and their tell-tale multi-shadows were garbage.  LEDs were rightly relegated to being just an easy fill option or kick light.  Even their flicker free qualities were limited by their low output which is not what you need for high frame rate shooting.  Despite a larger power draw and the heat, you were always better off using tungsten or HMI. Zylight’s F8, though, finally spoils us. This is a focusable fresnel LED fixture (70° flood and 16° spot) that is lightweight, can be powered for over an hour with a standard camera battery, and has the equivalent throw of a traditional 650w tungsten head. I had to break out a light meter to see the proof in lux for myself.  Not to be overlooked is the distinct, single shadow you get from this instrument. You can order the F8 as 5600K or 3200K.

Admittedly, the F8 is a little pricey at $2,400.00 but remember that tungsten replacement bulbs aren’t cheap and neither is your electric bill if you have a studio.  The fact that you can just slap a dionic on the back and you’re good to go anywhere is amazing.  Save yourself from that heavy sack pack of stingers and dimmers.  I appreciate the retracting bellows design that squeezes this unit down to just a few inches thick.  The bellows are rubber, though, so there is the concern of hardening and cracks over time.  The yoke definitely needs a redesign.  Rosettes are for tripods and handles, not lights.  Having two separate rosette mounts to deal with every time you need to make adjustments is annoying.  Flicker free dimming from 0-100% from a small knob in the back or through DMX is a nice feature.  Zylight is very proud of their “Zylink” wireless control control capability but in practice, I could take or leave that feature.  I noticed a USB 3.0 port behind the fresnel lens so who knows what else is to come through firmware.  All things considered, the F8 is already a staple in our lighting inventory here at Rule and once you try it, you’ll be asking for it again and again.

– Jason Potz, Engineering, j.potz@rule.com

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CANON U.S.A. ADDS TWO NEW CAMERAS TO THE CINEMA EOS SYSTEM: THE EOS C500 4K DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERA AND THE EOS C100 DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA

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

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A Note for our Existing Sony Anycast Owners…

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 rulesales@rule.com 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