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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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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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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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SL1 Mix + Mini Mix LED’s: High-Color Performance, Advanced Technology, Easy-to-Use

Durability, high-color performance, ease-of-use, advanced technology, and portability are all features that I look for when bringing new lights into our rental pool.  The SL1 Mix and the Mini Mix from DMG Lumiere provide all of the above, and make them a perfect fit for our rental clients.

Having the complete line-up of Rosco Gels at your fingertips is one of the many features of both the SL1 Mix and Mini Mix. While this isn’t new in the world of LED lighting, it’s nice to see these options integrated by many manufacturers.

Both fixtures can be powered by batteries, and this is, hands-down, my favorite feature. Production is a fast and furious business, so the ability to quickly power a fixture via battery is crucial!

Last but not least is the DMG Lumiere app that controls both of these units. Making your own colors, matching sources, dimming, and creating your own lighting libraries are just a few of the benefits that this app offers its users.

Both units are available to rent at Rule Boston Camera. Take either or both for a test run with our 25% discount in May. Click here to email rentals or call 800-rule-com.

-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics and MoVI Tech

 

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Stay Focussed with the Light Ranger 2

The demands on today’s focus puller are ever-increasing.  Extremely sharp, modern lenses, ultra-high resolution cameras and the expanding popularity of full-frame lensing and formats are challenging camera assistants everywhere.  In addition, productions are increasingly shot with higher page counts per day, leading to less or no rehearsal, more shots with wide-open lens apertures and generally adding more stress to the focus puller.

Enter Preston Cinema Systems’ Light Ranger 2.  It’s a device with LED sensors that tracks subjects’ distance; when coupled with a PCS HU3 handset and a MDR3 or MDR4 motor driver, it becomes a powerful tool for the focus puller.  The tracking data is relayed to a video interface which overlays sixteen vertical white boxes of the sensor over a live camera signal. This enables the user to remain looking at a monitor instead of splitting their attention between hand unit marks and live-video.

In Manual mode, these bars move up and down indicating whether an object inside the white box is closer to or farther away from camera and how much the user needs to move the lens and at what speed.  When an object is sharp, the box turns a reassuring green.  In Basic mode, the individual bars give an individual distance read-out as if sixteen laser-tape measures were atop the camera.  The most stunning feature of the Light Ranger 2 is Auto-Focus mode.  With a button-tap on the HU3 the LR2 will display a user adjustable (size and position) red box representing the subject to be kept in focus. Pushing another button on the hand unit, the focus will ‘park’ on the object and stay focussed independent of any camera movement; very helpful when subjects wipe the frame.

The Light Ranger 2 is available to rent here at Rule Boston Camera. Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com.  Join us for an overview of the LR2 on Thursday, March 21st from 12n-1pm. No RSVP’s needed. Click here to view the event on our website and here to view the event on our Facebook page.

-Tim Coughlan, Senior Engineer

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Highlights from 2018 Cine Gear Expo Atlanta

RBC’s Brian Malcolm and Dylan Law journeyed to Pinewood Atlanta Studios for the first Cine Gear Expo in Atlanta.  For gearheads like us who have checked-in at Cine Gear’s annual expo on the West Coast, this was a bit closer to home.

What do we love about both Cine Gear Expo events? You get access to a lot of manufacturers along with inside knowledge behind the latest camera and lighting equipment and accessories for film, video, and digital media makers. You also have lots of conversations with the makers — DP’s and AC’s who are or will be using the gear.  This combination, along with hands-on access and demos, goes a long way in determining what makes sense for our rental customers, and, eventually, what we will add to our rental inventory.

Below is a quick look at the gear and technology that made an impression. Click here to follow Rule Boston Camera on Instagram and check out Dylan’s Instagram takeover for #2018CineGearExpoATL.

Highlights from 2018 Cine Gear Expo Atlanta:

• The continuing synergism between the two VITEC companies, SmallHD and Teradek, who are hard at work developing new wireless monitor products. 

• The VITEC group via Teradek is also integrating RT Motion wireless focus into the line-up with a promising new wireless focus system.

Lindsey Optics has an awesome line of tray mounted close up filters which will become a “must have” for any rental house.

• LED tubes continue to crowd out all other lighting at trade shows. Quasar continues to dominate the offerings with price and quality, while the new Freestyle tubes from Kino Flo introduce a ballast-based RGB alternative. And, finally, Digital Sputnik seems about to release their very versatile RGB tube.

LiteGear is stepping up to the RGB world with their versatile new LiteMat Spectrum series.

Canon had their new mirrorless R camera, featuring a new line up of high quality RF lenses. It’s very likely that the RF mount will show up on future pro digital cinema cameras.

• Shout out to our pals at PC&E Atlanta for a tour of their rental facility and their awesome party.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to us at answers@rule.com. And follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Updated Rental Catalog with the Latest Equipment for Rent

Newly updated for April, the Rentals Catalog is now available for a quick look at the majority of equipment in our rental inventory. Download the catalog to search, check pricing (call us for multi-day rates!), or print. We’re constantly adding new gear like the Sigma FF High Speed Cinema Lenses (available in focal lengths of 20, 24, 35, 50 and 85 at a T1.5 and a 14 and 135 at a T2.0 – read Jeff’s blog post and watch his video), SmallHD 703 BoltTeradek Serv Pro Video Server, and Zhiyun Tech Crane-2 Gimbal Stabilizer (to name a few).

Click here to download a copy of the Rentals Catalog.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact rentals by email or phone (not everything we carry is listed). Multi-day rates are available!

 

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The Sigma FF High Speed Cine Primes Do Not Disappoint

I geek out as much as the next guy when it comes to lenses, so you could imagine my excitement when a set of Sigma FF High Speed Cine Primes rolled through our doors recently. I had heard very little about these lenses before seeing them in person and couldn’t wait to see what they could do. 

After my initial testing, I have to say they do not disappoint. 

This line of lenses is Sigma’s jump into the cinema world and it seems as though they have landed firmly on both feet. The full set includes focal lengths of 20, 24, 28, 35, 50 and 85 at a T1.5 and a 14 and 135 at a T2.0. 

At first glance, the lenses cosmetically look and feel a lot like ARRI Ultra Primes, dense but still compact. From one lens to the next, the Sigma Cine Primes are expertly constructed with silky smooth iris and focus rings, clear and precise markings and an electronic EF mount to transmit lens data to your camera. Although this set can be swapped out to PL mount, our set currently comes in EF only. 

Sigma really went all the way in on these lenses to make them look and feel like true high quality cinema glass. Iris markings are all evenly spaced and focus scales span nearly a 300 degree rotation. Focus pulls feel great with not too much resistance and just enough dampening for smooth starts and stops. If using a wireless FF on set, you will never have to move your motors around, as the distance between iris and focus gears never changes between lenses. This might seem like a small thing, but for AC’s it makes all the difference. 

Getting past the outer build quality and onto the optics, this is where things get even better. Full frame lenses in the cinema world are becoming more and more present as our camera’s sensors have been changing. With films being shot on cameras like the 5D MK4 and a7S2 all the way up to the RED Weapon 8K, these types of lenses are becoming necessary.

Having all of the qualities that one would hope for in a great cinema lens, this set performs extremely well. Very little lens breathing, check. Smooth focus fall off, check. Razor sharp at all stops, check. Good close focus, check. Pleasing bokeh, check. No noticeable chromatic aberration, check. With the exception of the two widest lenses, this set has almost no distortion and is tack sharp from corner to corner. The list goes on and on. For the price that these lenses go for, I would confidently call these the frontrunners.

If my stamp of approval means anything, these lenses certainly have it. Interested in renting the Sigma’s? Contact rentals@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

-Jeff Dickerson, Engineer, dickerson@rule.com