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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

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Multiple Canon C300 (and C300PL) in our Shop for New England’s big unveiling Thursday night!

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 events@rule.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 [850], 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

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Back from InfoComm!

It’s nice to be back in Massachusetts following the heat of Orlando at this year’s InfoComm Show.  The show was great and provided opportunities for learning new skills from other industry professionals, exposure to the cutting edge of what technologies are available now in AV installation and continuing positive relationships with manufacturers. This year’s show focused on a few things that we at Rule Boston Camera already do well.  There was talk about the move in our industry away from providing products and towards providing services.  We go into most of our jobs assuming that all of your perspective installers can get you the same equipment that we can.  What sets us apart needs to be our attention to detail and the ongoing relationship that we have in providing not only the gear you want but the “Engineering Services” you need. The product category that seemed to have some buzz behind it this year was digital signage.  I agree with many of the presenters at the show, that in the next year to three years, who is using digital signage, and how they are using it will change dramatically.  New products at a wide range of vertical markets and price points can meet this need.  It is our goal at Rule to ride this wave since we already started surfing it!  We will take what we have learned from our clients who are already running digital signage and from those running bulletin boards on their PEG stations in order to offer a full range of products along with our engineering expertise to find the right solution for each customer’s need. Each year at this show, I learn more and more of what else is out there.  I am looking forward to implementing much of what I saw and to returning next year to learn more of what I have not even thought of yet. Ian Tosh Director of Engineering Services

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Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2011

It’s my favorite season again- Film Fest Time! Rule Boston Camera supports a number of film festivals in New England, one of them being the Martha’s Vineyard Film Fest, which was held from last Thursday to this past Sunday and was in one word — AWESOME.  It was extremely well organized and the most enjoyable one I’ve been to yet.  I was privileged to watch (3) films during my stay – “How to Die in Oregon”, addressing Doctor-assisted suicide, “I Am” by Director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty) exploring the world’s greatest minds with deep questions and personal revelations, and “We Still Live Here,” about the Wampanoag Indian’s reviving their ancient language and making it a part of everyday life after over 100 years of silence.  Most films had Q&A afterward, which, to me, is one of the props of the FF’s — being able to hear insight on editing, shooting challenges, etc.  It was fun to see lots of people with Rule Boston Camera hats walking around, and much thanks to Molly Purves, who made my stay (and everyone else’s) comfortable and easy.  Free (good) catered food with the movies, so if you are thinking of going to this fest in the future, you are literally looking at a $16 ferry ticket, hotel and movie tickets. A fairly cheap weekend, if you ask me and well-worth the trip.  Next year should be interesting, as Martha’s Vineyard has expressed a desire to build a facility strictly for films.  Personally, I hope they keep the 12 couches in back of whatever they build because that may be the greatest decision to date. If you want to look at more, follow me on Twitter @michelle_brooks and @ruleboscam and see my opinion of the films this weekend. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales Representative

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The Alexa – Out of the Box and Into It’s First Local Feature!

Our very own Alexa was the star of a film shooting locally, in New Bedford, MA, this Winter.  “Fairhaven” is a comic drama that tells the story of three childhood friends reuniting in their home town of Fairhaven, MA.  Written and Directed by Tom O’Brien who fell in love with the Massachusetts seaport town and was inspired to set the project there.  The film is being shot by DP Peter Simonite and features stars such as Mad Men’s, Rich Sommer, Six Feet Under’s, Chris Messina and Deadwood’s Sarah Paulson.
We missed our Alexa dearly and we were eager to hear what our friends at Fairhaven thought of the camera.  General Manager Brian Malcolm and myself ventured down to Westport, MA to meet the cast and crew on location at Lee’s Market for some grocery store interior shots.  On the way, Brian spotted 4 Red-Tailed Hawks and one male Cardinal.  I tried to play the bird game too but my bird-like findings turned out to be trash bags trapped in branches or bushels of leaves.  (You’ve won this round, Malcolm!)
When we arrived on the set, we were warmly welcomed by an excited cast and crew.  Everyone raved about the Alexa with its superior image quality and high sensitivity in low light.  The Alexa is rated at ISO 800 but we learned that they were able to get exposures of up to 1600 ISO.  Phrases like “This camera will change the industry forever” and ” I never want to work with another camera again” were echoing around us as the crew testified to the camera’s cinematic abilities and ease-of-use.
We really enjoyed watching the Fairhaven team in action, and we’re looking forward to the film’s release!
For more information about the Fairhaven movie visit their website at www.fairhaventhemovie.com.
For more information on the Alexa, call or email answers@rule.com.
Nick Giannino, Rental Agent
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Sony PMW-F3: Back to Back Events

Yesterday, we here at Rule Boston Camera were graced with the presence of Sony’s new Super35-style HD camera, the PMW-F3. We hosted our own event about the camera as part of our weekly Learning Lab Series, and then the New England chapter of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) held their own meeting about the camera and its technology here in the evening. Sony was kind enough to bring a prototype of the F3 as well as an SXRD 4K projector to show off their new tech. Each event had its own personal flair, but both offered interesting insights into Sony’s new large-sensor offering. I recommend reading Mike Sutton’s blog post for a more complete and more technical feature description, but I’ll highlight some of the important parts that were featured during Wednesday’s presentations. The morning Learning Lab event was led by Sony’s Peter Crithary, who took us through the functions of the camera and showed us some truly breathtaking short-form pieces shot by people at USC and Stargate Films. Right off the bat, I have to say the footage looks beautiful. Even with 35Mbit/sec XDCAM EX internal recording, the images hold up well to color grading and compositing. When the camera is attached to an external recording device, though, like an AJA KiPro, Convergent Design’s NanoFlash, or Sony’s own HDCAM SR deck, the imager on this thing really shines. No noise, great depth of field, impressive dynamic range—it has it all. Don’t forget that your lenses can make all the difference in the world! And with the appropriate adaptors, the F3 can use a variety of prime or zoom lenses that are large enough to cover the super35 imager. Peter’s presentation gave us a ton of information on what the camera can do and how it can be applied to the typical, or sometimes not-so-typical, workflow. Not only does it make pretty pictures, it also gives you functionality to boot. For the absolute highest-possible recording quality, he recommended recording to the internal SxS slots for an off-line version, while simultaneously taking advantage of the 4:4:4 Dual-Link SDI output (with a firmware upgrade, available soon) to an HDCAM SR deck for your on-line edit. Both versions will be in perfect sync and the workflow is totally seamless. You can also take advantage of the additional SD/HD switchable SDI port to run an on-set monitor for your client without the need for headache-inducing distribution amplifiers. You can even apply the Look Up Table (LUT) settings you plan to use in post-production color grading in the camera itself, allowing the DP and the client to see it in its (almost) final form—without affecting your 4:4:4 master. Amazing! This is far more than many people will actually take advantage of, but the scalability here is definitely notable. He also highlighted features like 3D Link, where you can connect two F3’s and with one cable, can control both simultaneously for perfectly-synced 3D shooting.  Check out Peter’s Learning Lab session in its entirety on vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/channels/rulelearninglabseries. While Peter’s presentation was a little more practical, aimed at the average user, Hugo Gaggioni took the reigns at the evening’s SMPTE event and spoke more on the technology behind the F3. He took us all the way back to the 70’s and 80’s when CCD imagers were first developed and discussed the transition to new CMOS technologies up to and including future 4K sensors along with the new Super35mm chip in the F3 itself. While not necessarily for the layman, his presentation was packed with fascinating information on how we got to be where we are now—and how the new chips coming out of Sony’s new manufacturing plant are changing the way we shoot HD, 3D and 4K. The people in attendance even got a sneak peek at some of the new technology Sony will be unveiling this year—very exciting stuff! The Sony F3 often seems to come up in conversations about the Panasonic AF100 and Canon’s line of DSLR’s. While the size of the sensor on each of these suggests they are all in the same class, this is hardly the case. Each one is designed to fit a certain set of needs and a certain budget. The F3 is in a slightly different price range than the offerings from Canon and Panasonic, but again, the functionality and feature set far outstrip its competition. On the flip side, however, at $16,000 list price, it is much cheaper than both the Red One and Arri Alexa, another set of cameras the F3 is bound to be compared to. What you must do is really evaluate the needs of your shoot and decide which of these cameras best suits your demands and budget. We were assured that the camera is on schedule to ship in February. We’re all excited about what this camera can do, and I hope you are, too! Peter Brunet, Engineering Technician

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New Sony HD Camcorder – PMW500!

I had a chance to see the new Sony Camcorder – PMW500, here at Rule Boston Camera, recently. It is full size 3×2/3″ CCD (not CMOS) camcorder recording on the SxS cards (2 slots) using XDCAM HD 4:2:2, 50Mb/s codec. The pick up section is identical to the high-end PDW F800 — it can record in XDCAM (UDF) and XDCAM EX (FAT) modes and file formats. The software available now – XDCAM Clip Browser EX and XDCAM Transfer Tool work with the files, but Sony promises a new XDCAM Browser, incorporating functionality of both, into one application. The camera looks and feels good. It bridges the XDCAM (Disc) and XDCAM EX (SxS card) worlds, and promises high quality for SxS recording. It will probably appeal to EX1R/3 users asking for better quality picture. For XDCAM-on-disc recording users, it is a cheaper alternative, but they have to embrace the world of proper data back up and file management. The LCD screen is very good quality, power consumption is 29W, which is not bad either. Recording times are long depending on the SxS card size. The price puts it above PMW350 and under PDW700/F800. Zbigniew Twarog, Chief Engineer

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Hot off the presses from IBC 2010

AJA Announces Ki Pro Mini, Portable File-Based Recorder at IBC 2010

kipromini

Miniature 10-bit 4:2:2 flash disk recorder mounts easily on digital cameras and accessories

Amsterdam, Netherlands, IBC Conference Stand 7.F11 (September 10, 2010)–AJA Video Systems brought production and post one step closer together today with the introduction of Ki Pro Mini, a smaller, lighter version of its breakthrough portable tapeless recorder that captures to the Apple ProRes 422 codec directly from camera. The highly portable Ki Pro Mini flash disk recorder mounts easily to digital cameras and accessories, enabling it to fit unobtrusively in small spaces for on-set capture of 10-bit 4:2:2 files that are immediately ready for editing. Ki Pro Mini offers a small form factor, support for SDI & HDMI cameras and key features including:

  • 10-bit full-raster recording to Apple ProRes 422 SD and HD formats (including HQ, LT and Proxy)
  • Recording of SD/HD files from digital video cameras to Compact Flash (CF) cards
  • Mac OS X friendly media and native QuickTime files–no log-and-capture required
  • Professional video connectivity through SD/HD SDI and HDMI I/O
  • 2 channels of balanced XLR audio with switch selectable line/mic levels
  • 8 channels of embedded digital audio over SDI and HDMI
  • Flexible control options including familiar front panel and web browser interfaces
  • Optional Ki Pro Mini Mounting Plates that attach to hot shoes, battery plates and virtually any other accessory bracket
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum construction that delivers light weight and maximum ruggedness

Ki Pro Mini supports a streamlined Apple file-based production-to-post workflow, recording native Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto CF cards, which are formatted as HFS+ volumes that are instantly connected to a Mac computer via off-the-shelf CF card readers. “Anywhere a camera can go, Ki Pro Mini can follow,” said AJA President Nick Rashby. “It’s smaller than some battery packs and mounts to virtually everything. We designed Ki Pro Mini for any sized production that needs seamless 10-bit file-based acquisition– it’s about extreme portability and going from lens to post in a flash.” Ki Pro Mini is planned for availability in October and US MSRP is $1995. For a complete set of features and technical specifications, please visit www.aja.com. About AJA Video Systems, Inc. Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and Desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post- production markets. With headquarters in Grass Valley, California, AJA maintains an extensive sales channel of dealers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website www.aja.com.

Sony Professional strengthens XDCAM line-up

with PMW-500
 and XDCAM Station

Sep 10, 2010 pmw500 New 2/3-inch XDCAM HD422 memory shoulder camcorder and XDCAM Professional Media Station reinforces commitment to choice and innovation

IBC, Amsterdam, 10th September 2010 – Sony Professional today announced the latest additions to its hugely popular XDCAM HD422 line-up. The new products, which re-emphasise Sony’s continued commitment to the thousands of XDCAM users around the world, include a new XDCAM HD422 memory camcorder – the 
PMW-500.

The PMW-500 combines the exceptional picture quality of the PDW-700 with the operational flexibility of recording onto solid state SxS memory card. The PMW-500 is equipped with three 2/3” Power HAD FX CCD image sensors and can record both 1080 and 720 HD pictures at 50 Mb/s. It is ideal for broadcasters, rental companies and freelancers looking for a versatile memory based camcorder. Major broadcasters, including RTL TVI in Belgium and WDR in Germany are amongst the first to already have placed large orders ahead of product 
ex-factory.

“The PMW-500 represents the next step in the evolution of the XDCAM product range,” said Richard Brooking, of Sony Professional. “Since 2003, XDCAM has become an industry standard with over 150,000 units sold worldwide. Customers have been requesting an XDCAM HD422 memory camcorder for some time to sit alongside the phenomenally popular PDW-700 Professional Disc camcorder. So we are very happy to be launching the PMW-500 at IBC.” The PMW-500 has two slots for recording onto SxS Memory Card*. First introduced to the XDCAM EX range in 2007, SxS memory card provides an extremely high level of reliability and fast access to recorded data, both critical in demanding professional operations. At IBC, Sony is also adding a new higher capacity 64GB (SBS-64G1A) card which can record 2 hours of material at HD422 50Mbps MXF mode, or more than 4 hours of material and has an increased transfer speed of 1.2Gbps (SBS-32G1A & SBS-64G1A). The PMW-500 ex-factory will be within October 2010.

Other key features of the PMW-500 camcorder include:

  • XDCAM HD422 codec for exceptional picture quality at low data rate.
  • Switchable between MXF and MP4 for recording in XDCAM HD422, XDCAM HD and XDCAM EX modes.
  • Option to record MPEG IMX and DVCAM material allowing users to migrate to HD at their own pace.
  • Interoperability with major NLE systems enabling smooth workflow migration.
  • Lower power consumption for extended record time during shooting.
  • Four channels of uncompressed 48 kHz digital audio.

Another major introduction at IBC is XDCAM Station, a family of professional media recorders that bridge the worlds of SxS Memory card and Professional Disc. There will be three models in the line-up:

  • XDS-1000 – featuring an SxS Memory card slot and internal HDD storage
  • XDS-PD1000 – featuring an SxS Memory card slot, a Professional Disc drive and internal HDD storage
  • XDS-PD2000 – featuring an SxS Memory card slot, a Professional Disc drive and internal SSD storage

Depending upon the model chosen, customers can copy material from SxS memory card or Professional Disc onto the Hard Disc or Solid State storage within the XDCAM Station. The material can then be accessed for non linear editing or can be replayed under slow motion control. SDI input and output and network capability allows the device to function as an MXF gateway linking XDCAM media, baseband video and networked operation. The Professional Disc based models will also be able to record and read Sony’s new higher capacity 128GB Quad Layer Professional Discs, PFD128QLW. “These are extremely flexible devices offering yet more creative options for XDCAM users,” explained Richard Brooking. “We see applications within broadcast centres where customers can use XDCAM Station as an ingest gateway for their SxS memory card and Professional Disc media, and also on location for live applications and material sharing between camera operators and production staff.” The XDS-1000 will be available from March 2011, with the XDS-PD1000 and PD2000 available in summer 2011 along with PFD128QLW. *Recommended media for PMW-500 and XDCAM Station series are: SxS PRO: SBP-32, SBP-16, SBP-8 SxS-1: SBS-64G1A, SBS-32G1A, SBS-32G1 (**only SBS-32G1 needs firmware upgrade in the memory media itself.)

AJA Introduces Hi5-3D Mini-Converter For Stereo 3D Monitoring

September 10, 2010

3G/HD-SDI to HDMI 1.4a and SDI converter enables simple 3D playback on monitors and projectors

Amsterdam, Netherlands, IBC Conference Stand 7.F11 (September 10, 2010)–AJA Video Systems, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, announced the availability of Hi5-3D, a new mini-converter that combines dual 3G SDI inputs into various multiplexed 3D formats for output on true 3D HDMI 1.4a and SDI to enable simple, flexible stereoscopic viewing on 3D monitors and projection systems. The Hi5-3D’s true HDMI 1.4a output supports EDID transactions that automatically configure 2D/3D functions according to the HDMI monitor’s capabilities. Input SDI 2 is frame-synchronized to input SDI 1 in 3D modes and SDI input audio is embedded in both the HDMI and SDI outputs. Hi5-3D also supports 2-channel RCA audio output with user control of channel selection, along with AJA’s Mini-Config application for user configuration and firmware download. Other key features include:

  • Side-by-side, top-bottom and frame-packing modes
  • Complete H and V image flip control in any combination
  • Easy user control via dipswitch or USB
  • Support for both 2D and 3D inputs

“3D has brought a new level of complexity to post-production workflows, and our goal is to help simplify that,” said AJA President Nick Rashby. “The Hi5-3D converter automatically combines SDI input into stereo output and enables video pros to quickly and easily view 3D on a monitor or projector without making major changes to the workflows they already have in place.” Hi5-3D is available In October, and US MSRP is $495. For a complete set of features and technical specifications, please visit www.aja.com.

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24 Hour Film Race – Boston Winners Announced

The concept of the 24 Hour Film Race is pretty insane.  Late on a Friday night, you’re e-mailed a theme (with a surprise element tossed in),  and you then have approximately 24 hours to write, shoot and edit a final 4-minute piece.  Insane, right?  Challenging, right?  An adrenaline-pumping blast, right?  Yes, yes and yes.  What’s cool about this particular film race is that winners in Boston, for example, go on to compete against winning filmmakers in other cities across the country and in Canada.  The final winners (1 through 20) receive cash and other prizes.  As a result of this cross-country competition, both films and filmmakers get some substantial exposure. Boston’s winners were announced this week, with congratulations going to 1st Prize winner ”I ♥ U” by Neoscape and other runners-up listed in order below: 1)  ”Moving On” by Castparty Productions 2)  “Double Edged Sword” by Mango 3)  ”P.H.O.N.E. 300K” by Electric Shark Dog 4)  ”Pallino” by Bait & Tackle To watch the winning films, go to http://www.filmracing.com/.  It’s not too late to register for film races in Portland (Oregon) and Toronto. Screenings (leading to more winners) will take place in Denver and Seattle.  Winners have also been announced in Chicago, Miami and Minneapolis (in addition to Boston). Lisa D’Angelo Director of Outreach