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Production Outfitters: Community Resource

Boston’s film community is a growing community, and there is no greater partner to that growth than Rule Boston Camera.  Inherent in the company is a drive and motivation to supply the film and video community with the latest and greatest — not only in cameras and support but with an eye on covering all of the bases of production equipment needs. Enter Production Outfitters, Rule Boston Camera’s resource for production and expendable needs.  At Production Outfitters–as a convenience to our customers–we strive to provide all of the little tools and supplies that might otherwise be overlooked. Ranging from gaff and camera tape to gels, Assistant Camera equipment, Hard Drives and memory cards for the latest digital cameras, Production Outfitters aims to be an expanding resource to our customers and to the ever-growing local industry. If you have any suggestions on what’s hot or new in the industry, call or email me and I’ll work to make these options available to you. Help us to help the Boston film community keep growing and shooting! Nick Giannino, Production Outfitters Store and Rental Agent giannino@rule.com.

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Cold Weather Supplies!

This time of year we carry some great expendables to help you in the cold and snowy weather. Two main items are “Setwear Cold Weather Gloves” and “Bag It” all weather bags. The Setwear gloves are built to keep you warm with Thinsulate C40 lining and a seamless index finger design for sensitivity. They are padded for comfort, but form fitting to eliminate snagging. The Bag It bags cover a variety of studio equipment such as taco carts, studio lamps, camera dollies and makeup tables in bad weather, protecting them from slush and snow. They are made of strong 6mm plastic and are very versatile. It’s a cost effective way to protect your valuable equipment. Stop in to Production Outfitters to see for yourself! Gen Andrews, Production Outfitters (and Rentals, too)

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Whiteout Wednesday!

The forecasters were all gloom-and-doom; the iso-bars were tightening; and the snow shovels were being sharpened (are you supposed to sharpen snow shovels?) – a storm was predicted for Wednesday and it was going to be a biggie. Would Rule Boston Camera stay open? Well, John Rule has many mailmen counted amongst his ancestors so there would be no question that we would definitely be open. But employees like myself who travel from thither and yon face the dilemma of how to get here. So I had the brilliant solution – never leave! With a sleeping bag under one arm and a blow-up mattress under another (I have fragile bones – like a bird), I settled down in the Learning Lab and hunkered down for the night. I can’t describe what happened that night but let’s just say the spirits of Brighton are restless… and loud (“I’m tryin’ to sleep here!”). I emerged the next morning, white and shaken, but ready to handle the phone calls and shovel some snow. Many of my co-workers also braved the elements and a certain survivor’s camaraderie emerged: we swapped tales of digging and scraping but were ready to take on whatever Mother Nature could throw our way and still do business. And then we had a big snowball fight. Winter do your worst!

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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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Summer 2010 Intern Video Project

The internship video project challenges our interns to creatively incorporate Rule Boston Camera into a short film or video. Each time, our interns rise to the challenge and create some memorable works of art. Check out the animated lights, origami, and yellow-obsessed car dwellers in the latest round of intern generated content. Lights from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo. Cranes from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo. Matt Jung, Quality Control/ Logistics Manager

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Philip Bloom DSLR Workshop @ Rule

Filmmaker / Blogger / Twitter fanatic Philip Bloom came to Rule Boston Camera courtesy of the Boston Final Cut User Group this weekend to hold a two-day workshop on DSLR filmmaking. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to listen in and talk with Philip. If you have followed his Tweets or his Blog you know that Mr. Bloom is very charismatic and witty. He made it clear that he was open for questions and didn’t want anyone to feel cheated by not getting the info they came for. After seeing several examples of his non-commercial work (understandably, he cannot show his commercial work), it was clear that the audience had not yet taken their voyage into DSLR filmmaking as deep as Philip had. His approach to shooting was very personal, and he has an affinity for the products he stands behind. Philip Bloom Workshop shot with iPhone 4 using Hipstamatic Float film and Helga Viking Lens. The focus for the workshop was mainly the Canon DSLR lineup (T2i, 7D, 5DMKII, 1DMKIV), and he made it very clear that Canon was ahead of the game in the Video-via-DSLR department. There were a few GH1 and Nikon users in the crowd, but, for the most part, it was a Canon user base. Philip was very opinionated about the lack of quality on the GH1 (out of the box) and the Sony NEX-5, and the new Sony NEX-VG10 (essentially the same as the NEX-5 but in handycam form factor). There was a lot of talk about codecs and low-light sensitivity which was rounded out with Philip expressing his preference for the Canon 5D Mark II over all the cameras currently on the market. As a 7D and 5D Mark II owner myself, I’ve found that 90% of my kit (lenses, AKS, etc.) was identical to what Philip was using as well. Philip’s preferred lenses are the 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II, the 24-70MM f/2.8L USM, the 70-200MM f/2.8L IS USM II, the 100MM Macro IS USM, 50mm f/1.2L, etc, etc. He suggested buying only L series lenses regardless of owning a T2i, 7D, or 5D MKII which I agree with 100%. This was based on build quality, chromatic and other aberration minimization and their full-frame coverage. For those of us who use Canon EF L series lenses, it was nice to hear Philip declare that the quality of these lenses are to resolve resolution much higher than any video camera lens can achieve, and he has had no issues with them. Some of the best lenses in the world are Canon still lenses. Full disclosure — Philip has several Nikon lenses, a Nikon D3s, Sony EX1, Panasonic GH1, as well as a variety of other cameras. A strong believer in the double sound system, Philip also keeps the Juiced Link 454 and a Beachtek DXA-5D in his kit for reference or shoots — which will fit the bill. His main concern with the single system method is not being able to monitor what the camera is recording and for his piece of mind he prefers an external recorder. Audio bit rate has a lot to do with this as well. His main point is to use what works best for you as long as you have AGC Defeat on the Beachtek or the Juiced Link. For Mics he prefers Sennheiser (as do I). Philip was a sound man back in the day, so it is a subject he is well-educated in with real-world practical experience. For external recorders he stated the Zoom H4 is horrible and it’s better to stick with a Tascam, Foxtex, Sound Devices or Marantz recorder with phantom power and ideally a backup power source. Philip took a portion of the workshop to cover post-production and workflow. His thoughts on it are fairly simple and concise and the defacto standard practice for most professionals. Use the Canon EOS Movie Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro and use its Time-of-Day timecode via log and transfer just like P2 or SxS. It’s the easiest way to get footage into your system. You can utilize Magic Bullet Grinder or Squared 5’s MPEG Streamclip if you want batch file copying. Philip prefers the FCP method as it adds Time-of-Day timecode onto your clips which is why most of us use it. A good portion of the workshop was on Time-lapse which featured various vignettes from around the world. Prague, Dubai, Miami, NYC, Bulgaria, etc. Most of these were done with the Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3. With this intervalometer you can adjust start / stop time, length of exposures and the timer can be set for any time from 1 sec. to 99 hrs, 59 min, 59 sec. You can achieve stunning time lapse if you allocate time to watch your camera. Overall, the point of the workshop was to focus on shooting and just getting out there and doing it. Philip’s suggestion to just buy a DSLR camera and stop worrying about what is coming out next was probably the best piece of advice heard at the workshop. Waiting and waiting will not make you any money or get your project off the ground. Technology does not replace talent and you can shoot a good movie regardless of what camera you use. However, having a great inexpensive camera like the 5D mark II or 7D will make your projects more interesting and attract viewers you might not get if shot with a noisy 1/4″ sensor. Philip mentioned he still uses his Sony EX1 and fairly often as it is ergonomically correct for video, and it’s a great camera. DSLR’s are not the one-all be-all solution for all situations. The proper tool for the job might be a 7D or a Varicam 2700. If you are a beginning filmmaker or if you have not yet taken the plunge, I would suggest taking Philip’s workshop when it rolls around again in the Fall. In the meantime, come check out our free Learning Labs held every Wednesday. If you are already in the mix and shooting, the workshop will be fairly redundant but would be worthwhile for networking, meeting new people, and talking with Philip in person. Mike Sutton, Senior Account Manager

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Rule Tech Expo is just around the corner

I am really looking forward to next week’s Rule Tech Expo.  To see a formal description go to http://www.rule.com/TechExpo For those of you that are not aware, Rule is hosting its first annual mini tradeshow along with several 1 hour presentations in our Learning Lab. Our entire office will be filled with several dozen “booths” featuring many of the manufacturers that we work with every day.  You will be able to see their latest offerings and ask lots of questions.  Additionally Rule’s sales and rental teams will be out in force with equipment set up for you to poke and prod as well. Many of the items that you may be interested in purchasing will be in stock for purchase at the show – just visit our Showroom or Production Outfitters areas during your visit if you are interested in carrying home a goody or two. This year presentations in the Learning Lab will include: Panasonic’s Michael Bergeron will be in to show and talk about their upcoming 3D camera along with professional 3d monitoring, switching and more! AJA and Gary Adcock will be in to discuss how the Kona3 can work in 3D and show some examples of 3D with Cineform. Cinematographer Brian Heller and and our own Tim Coughlan will be showing off our BRAND NEW Phantom HD Gold high speed camera. If you are worried that you didn’t RSVP in time, there is still time and we are happy to have you! We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday June 22nd from 5:00pm to 9:00pm at our facility in Brighton or on Thursday June 24th from 10:00am to 3:00pm in Manchester, NH. Tom Talbot Director of Technology

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Spring 2010 Internship Short Films & Videos

What do cats, secret agents, time lapse, Orson Welles, and the Charles River all have in common? They are all elements in the latest intern videos. Every semester Rule Boston Camera challenges our interns to produce a short film or video with just one catch — they must creatively incorporate Rule Boston Camera in some way into their final videos.  See them on vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/channels/InternAlley Matt Jung, Quality Control and Logistics Manager