$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
SHOUT OUT TO ALL OUR AWESOME CUSTOMERS! As a year-end THANK YOU, we’re offering a special 2-week for 2-day rate to our valued customers!
From December 16th to January 3rd, rent anything in Rule Boston Camera’s rental inventory (based on availability), and pay a 2-day rate!
DON’T FORGET TO PLAN AHEAD! Rule Boston Camera will be closed for the holidays on December 25th, 26th, and January 1st.
We are grateful for the opportunity to support your creative process with gear, technical support, and services throughout the year!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for an amazing 2020!
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.
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.
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.
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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