$95/day less 25%
$50/day less 25%
$95/day less 25%
$50/day less 25%
Making cool shit is fun. And I wish I got to do it more often. So, when my friend and director, Joan Cassin, asked me if I’d be interested in working on a passion project / mini doc, I said, “Hell yes.”
There was no money. Getting it scheduled was hard, but finally the night came — we were going to grab what equipment we could afford, beg, borrow, or steal, and try to make something happen. The plan was to get together with a local chef, Daniel Gursha, who has a passion for cooking locally and seasonally, and make a little film poem.
Our package was in some ways incredibly bare bones but also incredibly fortunate — we had an ALEXA Mini, some Leica R’s, some Quasar battery operated tubes, and few pick ups from Rule — The DMG Lumiere Mini Mix, a Laowa Macro Probe Lens, a Cineo Remote Phosphor LED, and an EasyRig. That’s the fortunate part. The bare bones part was that we had almost no support and only one person, the super helpful Sarah Secunda, to help move stuff around.
First up we wanted to knock the Laowa macro stuff out of the way. The Laowa was a delight to use–although not the easiest in terms of execution. Wide open it’s at a healthy T14, which may not scare some people, but as a proud member of the litemat/titan tube/neg fill for 90% of situations generation, I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d get there. Especially when not in a studio.
A lot of probe lenses will open to a 5.6 or 8, but it’s a little bit of a gotcha. Usually there is a tremendous amount of chromatic aberration and general funk to the lens at the aperture. Not to mention that at these focal distances you just need a lot of depth of field to be able to tell what the hell you’re looking at. By starting with a T14, the Laowa basically says, we need this much light to start to look good. Deal with it.
One other complicating factor was we needed to be overcranked. For me, on a macro photography scale, things just look a little better slowed down. They do this when shooting miniature sets for films. You can barely notice but it helps you parse what you’re seeing more easily and feels like a more natural scale of movement.
I went to 48fps, with a 220 degree shutter–which is kind of my go to set up if we aren’t sure if the footage will be retimed. The 220 degree shutter allows for a more normal motion blur if you retime to 24fps, without making the overcranked stuff look like a blurry mess. The Laowa comes with a ring of LED lights around the lens, but I wouldn’t recommend using it if you can avoid it. The solution to not having enough light was to just rip all the diffusion off and walk lights close to the lens. When you are at deeper stops you can really start painting with lights. At wide open and 1600 iso, the slightest change in light can really mess up your scene, but at T14/16, you can have a light at 100% intensity and next to the subject and really feel it in a different way. It’s fun. If I can, even on fast lenses–say a 2.0 at 800 iso, I’ll often try and keep a .6 in front of the lens just so you can be a little more liberal with how you splash around the photons.
The next hurdle we had to cross was camera movement. We didn’t have a dolly, or slider, or a grip, or anything. Also, it bears mentioning that this was one of the most unfriendly locations for this kind of work. The counters were small and up against the wall. On an impulse I had grabbed my daughters super small pink skateboard and brought it to the shoot. In order to get the lens level with the cutting board we brought over a lower table from the kitchen, put the skateboard on that with a small cutting board on top, and then rested the camera on that. Rickety, but it worked–being overcranked helped us tremendously in smoothing things out.
Here you can see it in execution. Macro close ups are great, but moving ones are bananas.
After we finished up the tabletop portion we switched to getting a little footage of the chef in action. Fire is an element to our story and we needed to capture him grilling some vegetables and meat. We took off the Laowa, put on the Leica R’s, and I strapped into the EasyRig.
For the grilling scene I really wanted to splash color everywhere. I wanted a warm, welcoming light coming from the direction of the house, and also a strange cold color coming from the outside world. We only had one RGB light, the DMG Lumiere, so I set that to the Rosco Jade gel preset, and stuck it way out in the yard, as high on a c-stand as it would go. For the warm welcoming light, I took the Cineo with a chimera on it, and taped full CTO inside the softbox. The Cineo is a great light–it renders tungsten or daylight beautifully, but essentially you are relegated to 3200 or 5600 depending on the panels you have, which these days feels like a real limitation.
This scene was fun to shoot–I wish I had spent a little more time getting some eyelight in there, but I’ll definitely remember next time. I think as an operator or a DP I always have a checklist playing over and over in my head. Just going over framing, exposure, contrast, and colors again and again — and I’m always finding small things to add to the list. This time was a reminder not to forget eyelight. I haven’t used the Rs much but liked them very much–wide open they feel very soft with nice fall off, even at a 2.8. Next time I may try a little deeper stop for more resolving power.
All in all it was a long but really rewarding night. Thanks to Director Joan Cassin for bringing me on to shoot, the invaluable help of Sarah Secunda, the awesome BTS photos of Danny Ebersole, and the delicious food of Chef Daniel Gursha.
– Matthew Dorris, DP, @filouza
UPDATE: The Sony PXW-FX9 is now available to Rent! This blog post was written before its arrival, but we’re no less excited! Please, read on to learn why and reach out to Rentals to book by email or phone (800-rule-com).
Today, I wanna talk about the newly announced Sony FX9, a camera I couldn’t be more excited for… But before I do that, we need to talk about some history.
The Year: 2014. Latvia has just adopted the Euro, Birdman and Whiplash have made Jazz drumming the official soundtrack of the year, and Dr. Dre became a billionaire after selling some headphones to Apple.
It was a time of transition in our industry, and Sony decided to make a big move in the cinema camera market. At this point, Sony’s lineup was based mostly around the F55 and F5, twin cameras that spanned the $15-25K market. We tend to see large manufacturers borrowing technology from their higher-end cameras and spinning it off into lower tier models, and in 2014 Sony swung for the fences. They borrowed the sensor from their popular F5 cinema camera, stuck it in a cheaper, shoulder-friendly model — and released the PXW-FS7.
People. Freaked. Out.
The FS7 went head-on against Canon’s massively popular C300, and the mid-tier cinema market changed. The FS7 was popular for a host of reasons, but the one that stuck out most and really set it apart was the form factor. Sony decided that, sometimes, it’s nice to put a camera on your shoulder. Borrowing designs from Super-16 Aatons, not to mention a carbon copy of their hand grip, the FS7 was unlike any other camera – because it looked most like a camera. The best part was the price point – coming in around $8K, compared to Canon’s C300 that sold closer to $15K.
The FS7 was updated a few years later with the FS7 II. The model was exactly the same, specs-wise, but had the addition of the FS5’s Variable ND filter system. Sony also created a new locking E-Mount to deal with the hefty lenses shooters were pairing with the camera. The mirrorless, small flange distance E mount lent itself well to adapting — and the smart cropping modes for the 4K sensor meant that you could use pretty much any lens you could get your hands on.
The FS7 was, at the time, a powerhouse of specs. Full DCI 4K up to 60fps, HD up to 180fps – a RAW back for 12bit RAW up to 240fps at HD. The camera was scalable, somewhat modular, and fit on pretty much anyone’s shoulder out of the box – no need for third party shoulder pads and accessories.
The interesting piece of this story is that even in today’s camera landscape, the FS7 II is still an extremely capable camera at its price point. It’s still more powerful than the C300II, having no issues with crop and high frame rates, and is in line with great color options in Slog3. So, what could they improve on?
That brings us to today, the Fall of 2019 — 5 years since the FS7’s release. The industry has been waiting patiently for a true update to the FS7, and an FS7 III had been rumored for years. In September, Sony announced the PXW-FX9 – something much more than a small update to the line, and, in fact, a whole new model with something very different to bring to the table, all while keeping what worked with the FS7 in mind.
Just as the original FS7 borrowed some DNA from it’s older brothers, the FX9 is no different. Sony’s new flagship VENICE camera has made some serious waves in the industry, offering not only an amazing full frame 6K image — but a new color science that has DP’s second guessing their ARRI and RED cameras. This is a huge step for Sony. As a colorist, I hear the “it’s an ok camera but it has that Sony video look” quite a bit — a claim I find entirely foolish. The offering of a true wide gamut and log gamma mean that the camera looks however you want it to — and if it looks too “video-y,” then you’re doing it wrong. That point aside, the VENICE is beautiful. The new color, paired with the full-frame look, is something to behold.
And that’s where the FX9 comes from, borrowing the new color science and sporting a brand new 6K imager. Now, that doesn’t mean it can record full 6K like it’s older sibling (currently), but what it does mean is that it creates a wonderfully deep image from the 6K to 4K debayer. If you know anything about sensors, you know that you don’t necessarily want to shoot the native resolution of a CMOS sensor – ideally you want a larger resolution to debayer a better image from. This is how the original C300 made its HD image look so nice, even though it had a 4K sensor. The C300II uses a similar 4K sensor to shoot 4K, and it really doesn’t shine as brightly as it should for that reason.
The FX9 has an entirely new body, and while it’s price point is somewhat higher than the original FS7 – I think the extra costs have been put in the right places. It’s more rugged, built tougher, and looks amazing. Using the same media as the FS7, XQD (now called CFexpress and being widely adopted by plenty of other manufacturers) means one doesn’t have to worry about corrupt cards and all the problems that come with CFast2.0 — a media format I’d describe as straight garbage.
The FX9 still has the option for an external RAW back, just like the original XDCA unit, but this time it’s pushing out 16Bit RAW.
Preorders are available now, with it due to ship in December 2019. We’re pretty confident that this camera is going to be THE camera for mid-tier cinema uses. Commercial, doc, streaming, even TV – all in that glorious full frame field of view. Look for an update once ours arrive!
-Alex Enman, Engineer
CALLING ALL STUDENTS! Join Rule Boston Camera for our Spring Semester Internship starting in January and ending in April for 2 days a week of high-level training and hands-on access to the latest film and video equipment and technology. You’ll learn the basics from our team in the Quality Control Department with exposure to the in’s and out’s of Rentals and Engineering along with demos of the latest and most popular gear from our tech team.
Camera shake and vibration are quickly becoming a thing of the past. From car rigs to crane shots, movement is getting smoother and easier. The Killshock from Kessler is a great addition to our inventory and a nice option if you are not on a Flowcine Black Arm budget.
Endless mounting points for the Killshock make for easy rigging in any situation. Payloads can range from all sizes/builds with a quick swap of the Shock Modules. Mounting a gimbal is a very nice option, adding more stability and head control. The Killshock makes for a great addition to dolly work by adding that next level of vibration cancellation.
Watch the BTS footage here.
Quick set-ups make for better production! The Killshock is a great tool to have at your disposal for your next production.
-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech
The best just got better! Rent the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom lens at 25% off all-month-long!
The Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom Lens, with new optical and mechanical design, delivers unparalleled optical performance and mechanical reliability.
Features include improved optical and mechanical design, no ramping, minimal breathing, superior optical characteristics, 321 degree focus ring with over 70 marks, and top carry handle. Click here to read Alex Enman’s blog post on this “multi-format monster”.
Go bright and save with 25% off either or both of the DMG Lumière LED’s — SL1 + Mini Mix — during the month of May!
The rugged housing for both the SL1 + Mini Mix have multiple mounting points for the lights’ simple-to-use controller. The AC power supply and battery plate can be controlled remotely via wired or wireless DMX or by using the MyMix app for your mobile phone.
Both lights are color-changing and outfitted with a library of Rosco gels for use in multiple applications, whether in the studio or on location.
Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for details + to book either or both LED’s.
Follow us on our social media channels for the latest products, events, and news!
Our Facilis TerraBlock rental system has just come back from a long term rental and our clients were so thrilled with the capabilities and performance that they decided to buy their own permanent system. We just completed that installation for them, and it’s been gratifying to see them leverage this system for added efficiency AND creativity.
Way back in 1992, we were the first rental house in the country to rent mobile computer-based edit systems and it’s something we’ve excelled in ever since. Over the past few years, as workflows have gotten more complicated and collaboration in Post has become more prevalent, we’ve found that small shared storage systems (this one is 48TB) have become more and more necessary.
The TerraBlock shared storage system is perfect for smaller workgroups that are built to grow. Editors, colorists, and producers will be much more efficient, with their media and projects easy to access, share, and find. Safety is heightened also, as it becomes so much easier to back up the media since it is not spread out across multiple workstations.
Rent this shared storage system if you’re temporarily scaling up for a larger project and you’re looking to give your post team a flexible, secure and efficient environment for the media.
Didn’t your mother always tell you to share?
-John Rule, President
As a BIG THANK YOU TO OUR CUSTOMERS this Holiday Season, we’re offering a 2 for 2 Special! Rent anything in our inventory, based on availability, from Monday, December 17th to Wednesday, January 2nd and pay a 2-day rate! Thats right! You’ll get a 2-week rental at a 2-day rate during the last 2 weeks of December! It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new in Rentals — like the Sony VENICE, the Heden YMER Follow Focus, one of our many new lenses, like the Zeiss Supreme Primes, Atlas Orion Anamorphic Primes, ARRI Ultra Primes, LOMO Standard Speed Primes, or accessories like the Small HD 503 5″ Monitor, Bright Tangerine Revolvr Atom Lightweight Follow Focus, Atomos Shogun Inferno 4K Solid State Video Recorder, MYT Works Large Camera Slider, or the Quasar Rainbow Tubes, Litegear LiteMat+ Plus 4 LED Kit, and more! Click here for a look at the 2 for 2 Holiday Flyer!
A QUICK REMINDER TO PLEASE PLAN AHEAD! Rule Boston Camera will be closed for the holidays on December 24, 25, 26 plus December 31 and January 1.
The holidays are a great time to express our gratitude! THANK YOU for being such an important part of the Rule Boston Camera family. We appreciate your business. Wishing you all the best this holiday season and into the new year.
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 Bolt, Teradek Serv Pro Video Server, and Zhiyun Tech Crane-2 Gimbal Stabilizer (to name a few).
Canon has announced a new firmware upgrade at NAB New York that is sure to please C300 shooters. The main features for the Mark II are enabled audio recording in 2K crop mode and the ability to turn off the internal microphone. The update brings an expanded Zebra range (5% to 100%) on the Mark II and shutter angle priority (keep your desired shutter angle as you change frame rates) on both the original C300 and the Mark II.
The other updates coming with the firmware relate to Canon’s Cine Servo Zoom lenses in EF mount. Auto and push iris are now available for Cine Servo EF 17-120mm and EF 50-1000mm, as well as the new 18-80mm that will be released shortly. Dual Pixel autofocus will also be supported for the EF 17-120mm and 18-80mm on the Mark II and original cameras with dual pixel capability. We currently do not carry these lenses (we have the 17-120mm available in PL mount only), but we will have an 18-80mm once it is released later this month.
Check out this video with Canon Technical Advisor, Brent Ramsey, for more information about the upgrade. We’ll be updating the C300 Mark II EF Mount and PL Mount cameras in our rental inventory when the firmware is released on December 13th. Interested in buying the C300 Mark II? See links below and contact us at email@example.com or 800-rule-com.
-Grace Deacon, Engineer, firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a lot to be said for a good camcorder-styled camera — a format that, in recent years, hasn’t been given the love and attention I feel it deserves. While not the most exciting camera, more often than not (and especially for event and corporate shooters) — it is by far the most practical. The market was given a glimpse of the future late last year, with Panasonic’s release of the DVX 200. The camera provided a Micro Four Thirds imager, with a camcorder-styled body and attached zoom lens. The idea being that run-and-gun shooters needn’t compromise on depth of field any longer. By using the larger sensor, shooters could finally get images that rivaled those of their DSLR counterparts in the sub-$5,000 market. It’s a need that won’t be going away any time soon, either — producers and content creators have come to enjoy the shallow depth of field “look” that one gets from large imagers (the Canon 5D Mark II is probably to blame). But, rigging these small cameras with external recorders, audio interfaces, shoulder mounts, top handles, and shotgun mics was never the end-all, be-all answer shooters needed (although the DVX 200 delivered on these issues). Enter the Sony PXW-Z150, Sony’s newest offering in the PXW line, sitting happily alongside the popular FS5. At a little over three grand, this camera packs a punch. Its imager is slightly smaller than that of the DVX 200, but compared to the ⅓” and even ⅔” sensors of the prior generation of camcorders, the Z150’s 1” sensor adds just enough depth-of-field options to feel very versatile. In addition to its sensor, the Z150 has a few more tricks up its sleeve to bring it in line with its fancier, smaller counterparts. Sony has built the foundation of the camera’s acquisition on the now tried-and-true XAVC-L codec. While it’s not as dense as the FS7’s XAVC-I, it’s a huge improvement from the price-comparative a7SII (XAVC-S). The Z150 records a UHD 4K image internally, using the same SDXC cards as the FS5. It also has the ability to overcrank to 120fps in HD formats. Slowmo seems to be the new battleground for this market, and it’s great to see that Sony has matched the challenge. Perhaps the most interesting feature, for a humble colorist to appreciate, is its ability to record 10 bit HD. Traditionally, any camera under $10,000 recorded 8 bit images internally. To see a camera like this recording a nice and dense 10 bit image is a huge improvement. This camera has far more in common with an FS7 than an EX1. After that, the features meet all the new standards easily — built-in ND filter, a powerful autofocus and full auto mode, and XLR inputs. Run-and-gun shooters will feel right at home with the familiar Sony layout, and even though they’ve simplified the menus — I don’t find myself wanting anything extra. A common criticism of Sony’s latest camera lines is how complicated their menu structures are, so to see things paired down a bit in this camera is a welcome addition. It’s slightly disappointing that the Z150 doesn’t include any LOG gammas, but the normal picture profiles fill any creative gaps you may have. I don’t foresee many people shooting LOG on a camcorder, but with 10 bit, my question is ‘why not’? I would love to use the Z150 as a B camera to an FS7. Those are small potatoes, though, and I find myself very satisfied shooting with the Z150. For folks who are comfortable with the EX1 or NX cameras, this is, most likely, the 4K upgrade you’ve been waiting for. We are currently selling and renting the PXW-Z150, please contact us at email@example.com or 800-rule-com (800-785-3266) for more information! Alex Enman, Engineer, firstname.lastname@example.org