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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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Your Guide to Shared Storage Solutions

We understand our customers need to focus on creative content while simultaneously sharing, safeguarding, and coordinating volumes of original media. We apply expert knowledge and decades of experience in all aspects of media creation to help you build, maintain, and refine key tools and methods for your business and your craft.  See our guide below for the types of solutions and clientele who benefit from Shared Storage and Media Asset Management.

Are you looking for Shared Storage and Media Asset Management Solutions?

In mid-2018, Rule Boston Camera saw interesting opportunities in the Boston and New England market and decided to reshape our product range for shared storage solution and media asset management. By consolidating brands and streamlining our offerings, we were able to work collaboratively with manufacturers such as EditShare, Facilis, ProMAX, Quantum and Avid and their shared storage solution products, as well as Sony, CatDV and Axle along with their media asset management products. This allowed us to offer the best integrated solutions — enabling clients of any size to acquire, modify, distribute, repurpose and deliver their digital media assets efficiently and effectively.

Who are the clients and what are the industries that would benefit from Shared Storage/MAM solutions?

One of the great things about what we do is that we get to interact with a broad spectrum of content producers, from one-man shops to global conglomerates. What we’ve learned over the past decade is that, to one degree or another, all of our clients can benefit from some type of shared storage solution. Read on for sample case studies from some recent installations.

Company A – Large National Health Insurance Company:

As part of their in-house production strategy, they built-out 3 edit suites and a related server room. To complement this set up, we sold and installed a Facilis TerraBlock 24EX/16 – 128TB as their primary tier and Facilis TX16 TerraBlock Capacity Expansion – 128TB. We also supplied a 10GbE switch through Facilis enabling them to take advantage of 10GbE speeds along with a Middle Atlantic 4431 server rack to house the server. Additionally, they requested editing/post-production software which included Adobe, AE Scripts, Telestream, Red Giant, and Video Copilot. We also provided ancillary edit/post-production products such as TVLogic monitors, Genelec Speakers, Mackie Distributors, AJA 4K IO’s and Wacom Tablets, rounding out a turn-key experience for the client.

Company B – Local Premier Post-Production House:

One of our oldest clients presented us with a brief for 72TB of storage, upgrade to 10GbE speeds for 5 users and a reliable MAM program. We consulted with several of our shared storage partners, who in turn presented their solutions, with the client finally settling comfortably with an EditShare shared storage and MAM solution. We spec’d and installed an EditShare XStream EFS 200-72TB solution that included server, 5 seats of EditShare Flow MAM, 2 x File Ingests and 25 Ark Tape licenses. Additionally, we spec’d and installed a Netgear NG-XS728T 10GbE switch as well as 5 x ATTO ThunderLink NT 2102 10GbE with RJ45 adaptors for their users for 10GbE speeds.

Company C – Global Advertising Agency:

Another longtime client of ours, a large advertising agency, was looking to refresh their post-production department consisting of 4 edit suites and a new server room. The brief was clear, they required completely new future-proof technical capabilities, for which we needed to supply, integrate and install all the equipment  on an accelerated schedule. On the shared storage side, we worked with Facilis and spec’d an integrated solution that included a Facilis TerraBlock 24D – 192TB as the primary server that included 5 seats of their proprietary Fast Tracker MAM, a Facilis LTO7 LTFS Backup 2U 24-Slot Autoloader Kit dual tape drive, Archiware P5 Archive edition archiving/backup software, mLogic mTape LTO7 direct attached LTO data tape drive, Imagine PreRoll Post software, OWC 24TB 6-Drive HDD Storage, Middle Atlantic 3731 server rack, power solutions and a 10GbE RJ45 switch for high-speed connections. For edit/post-production equipment, we spec’d and installed (1 per suite) Apple iMac 27” 4K 10-core computers,  Flanders Scientific DM240 monitors, Flanders Scientific AM420 monitors, Tangent Element Bundle panels, JBL speakers, Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K IO’s, and, for software, we supplied and installed Adobe Creative Cloud, Maxon Cinema 4D, and DaVinci Resolve.

Who is the best contact to discuss my Shared Storage and Media Asset Management needs?

Whether you need to create, share, or store your digital assets, we are here to integrate and scale any solution to fit the needs of your business and your budget.

Our team is happy to help by starting with an assessment of your Shared Storage and Media Asset Management needs. Please contact us by email at sales@rule.com or by phone at 800-rule-com to get the conversation started.

-Dan Gruenpeter, Business Development Manager

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Calibrating Our Monitors, And Yours, Too

We just finished calibrating and updating the firmware on all of our Sony OLED monitors in the rental inventory — specifically the PVM-A170s and A250.

In addition to having a refreshed calibration sticker, they are all on the new 2.0 firmware which adds a few things, most notably the False Color and  Sync-Free split screen. This means you can run signal into SDI1 and SDI2 and split screen them. In the past, this required the camera’s to be genlocked which is no longer needed (and very cool). Click here for a video with all the new features.  

We recommend calibrating your monitors every 6 months. While we calibrate our own monitors regularly, we also help customers by making on-site visits to calibrate monitors at ad agencies, for DITs and editors, and for all other color-grading professionals. As part of this service, we generate calibration LUTS for televisions and more consumer displays, in addition to ICC profiles for computer monitors.

Interested in learning more? Give me a shout by email or phone at 800-rule-com.

Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

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Canon Introduces New Firmware Upgrade for C300 + C300 MKII

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-38-52-am

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 sales@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

Canon EOS C300 EF 24-70 Kit

Canon EOS C300 with Dual Pixel CMOS AF Feature Upgrade

Canon EOS C300 MK II 

-Grace Deacon, Engineer, deacon@rule.com

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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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Fun New Features Come with the Latest Panasonic GH4 v2.2 Update

Though I’ve already written about how head-over-heels I am for Panasonic’s overly affordable GH4, I thought I’d take some time to check in with the little wonder, and discuss some of the fun new features Panasonic has included! Earlier this spring, Panasonic released firmware version 2.2, and with it a slew of updates aimed squarely at the most fastidious gear nerds. The Lumix series of cameras have long been championed by a loud minority – people hacking cameras, doing everything they could to squeeze the best possible image out of these cheap mirrorless cameras. With the GH4, that community has grown impressively. A subset of the micro four thirds folks, however, is that of the anamorphic shooters. For years people have been attaching old anamorphic projector lenses to adapters, rigging up double focus systems, and putting themselves through production hell – chasing that anamorphic image. Panasonic has once again listened to their user base, and with their new release has enabled true 4:3 anamorphic recording for 2x lenses. Not something you see very often in price ranges below $40,000! Below is a great lens test from vimeo user Sittipong Kongtong, comparing the lowly GH4 with the RED Dragon. https://vimeo.com/127348773 Here’s another great interview with Panasonic from NAB, conducted by www.nofilmschool.com – giving a bit more insight into how it all works – as well as discussion on the upcoming firmware update that will allow true V-Log recording! V-Log will be coming straight from the Varicam 35, which is a surprising addition to a camera at such a low price point. For comparison, it’s not until the C100 level of camera that Canon offers a log profile. Panasonic continues to answer niche shooters’ prayers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=110&v=rzaVp7cSaf4 I will be hosting a Showroom Demo on the new firmware, as well as some color correction techniques for the GH4 on June 10th from 12:00pm-1:00pm here at Rule Boston Camera. Be sure to swing by! -Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

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The Panasonic GH4: An Analysis (Part 2 of 2)

In my last post, I talked all about the versatility of the GH4, and how it can bring some pro features to a semi-pro audience — as well as some pro features to some budget-conscious professionals! In this piece, I’ll be talking a little bit more about some of the higher-end applications of the GH4, as well as its partner in crime – the YAGH interface. (Catchy name, right?) The YAGH interface unit, or “the bottom thing” as most folks around here are calling it, adds some really fantastic usability to the system. Firstly, it provides HD-SDI connectivity. To my knowledge, there is no other DSLR on the market that currently sports HD-SDI, unless you get into Blackmagic Cinema Camera territory (Yes, I realize the GH4 isn’t technically a DSLR, nor are the BMCCs – but work with me here). This is a big deal. Not only do we get HD-SDI, but we are given 4 HD-SDI ports. The photo above shows how when paired with something like an AJA Ki Pro Quad, we can record 10bit 422 HQ Prores 4K footage. That’s some serious codec right there. The quad also mounts nicely to the rear on rods, allowing for easy powering with an Anton Bauer d-tap. Add a top handle, and I could see someone shooting with this for very long periods for indie cinema, documentary, or commercial applications. In addition to HD-SDI, we are also given 2 XLR inputs and a full-sized HDMI output – still capable of outputting 4K 10bit. With the added XLR, HD-DI, and 4pin DC power – this is all of a sudden a real, professional camera. There are, however, some drawbacks to this unit. First and foremost, most people will be surprised to find out that once the YAGH unit is installed, all your power must come from an external source. For the setup, I like to hang a Wooden Camera Anton Bauer gold mount rod unit to the rear, pulling off the d-tap and into the 4pin XLR. This isn’t that bad, but it’s to be noted. All those nice new Panasonic badged batteries you got for the camera? Yeah, those aren’t gonna work with the YAGH. The only other real problem I’ve found with the YAGH unit is simply misinformation. One DOES NOT NEED the YAGH unit to output 4K via HDMI into something like an Atomos Shogun. What the YAGH does give you is a full-sized HDMI, proper HD-SDI connections, XLR, audio levels on nice easy-to-see LEDS, and a way to power the camera with a big Anton Bauer battery. Professional users will see these things not as detriments, but as huge improvements. Users who require a slimmer profile, and easier rig, will find themselves opting out of the YAGH unit. Each situation will require some foresight into exactly what you will need – but Panasonic has given us the choice, and that’s saying a lot more than any other camera in this market. Now, with all that being said – this brings me to the next situation people are speaking at length about: External recording with the GH4. While the option to output such high spec codecs is phenomenal, one must again consider their application in what you’re really shooting. In my personal tests, I’ve found the native 4K 100Mbps internal recording to be nothing short of amazing. It hits that beautiful sweet spot between compression and high bit rates — it gives just enough to allow for some flexibility in color grades, but compresses enough to give you 40 minutes of 4K video per 32GB card. I was getting around half an hour per 64GB card recording prores on my Blackmagic Pocket Cam. There’s really something to be said about smart compression. There has always been the cry for uncompressed, but not nearly a loud enough cry for BETTER compression. This video, shot by vimeo user Emeric, displays just how pretty this camera can be! He lists the lenses as very common Panasonic and Olympus glass, recorded internally and graded in film convert. Take a look and see if you’d be kicking yourself for not recording to a Shogun! (I wouldn’t.) Lastly, I want to quickly touch on one more aspect of the camera that I believe needs to be spoken about a bit more. The versatility of the MFT mount. The small flange distance allows us to adapt this mount to most anything — though an optimal Canon EF adapter is still slightly difficult. With the introduction of speed boosters, we are seeing some really amazing things happen. Nikon mount Zeiss glass being adapted and reduced, gaining a stop with no optical quality loss. It’s very exciting! Our GH4 has gone out the door a handful of times loaded up with Zeiss Superspeeds and even some Cooke Glass. I feel that in a rental situation, this camera is allowing people the budgetary option of scaling back the camera body, perhaps down from a 1DC or c300, and scaling up that savings into some absolutely exceptional glass. Here’s a photo of the GH4 fitted with the new Leica Summicron-C 35mm. These lenses are smaller than Cookes, and fit very nicely onto the Hotrod MFT to PL adapter. The instance of lower-cost cameras introducing professional codec options and video features, like peaking, zebra, HD-SDI, xlr, etc., are allowing low-budget shooters to experiment with something that will surely improve your image — the glass in front of the sensor. It is in this that I find the GH4 to be a big deal, giving you options for a high-end studio shoot with an Optimo zoom, feeding a director’s monitor; or in your backpack with a pancake lens, for quick shooting while on vacation. The GH4, as well as the YAGH unit, Hotrod PL adapter, and a whole host of lenses are all here at Rule Boston Camera for rental – and we also offer the GH4 and YAGH for purchase, if you’re so inclined. Happy shooting! -Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@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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The Ever-Evolving F55 and F5

The F55 and F5 are really something.  Just when you think you know them, there’s another update!  For over a year now, the F55 and F5 have been steadily making their way on a pre-planned firmware path that continuously adds to what these cameras can do.  No other camera has gestated outside of the factory as long as these have.  Version 3.0 was going to finish the cameras but then 4.0 was announced and the cameras just keep giving!  The number of codecs (XAVC, MPEG50, SR, RAW and now ProRes and DNxHD!), frame rates (up to 180 internal and 240 on R5), and mount options (PL, F, B4, EF, etc.) make the F55 and F5 the most versatile cameras on the market.  It’s that flexibility, however, that can make them a little tricky to learn at first. Version 3.0 has been out for a little while so we’ve had some time to suss it out. We invite you to another F55/F5 demo in our Showroom on Wednesday, March 26th at 12PM to learn more. 3.0 Stand-Out Features: Apply, route, and record a variety of LUTs, e.g., shoot RAW and simultaneously record S-log with or without a LUT baked in on SxS.  You can even use Sony’s free software, Raw Viewer, to create your own 1D LUTs to load into the camera. 2K Center Scan mode is not to be overlooked.  Normally, you’re always using the full Super 35 4K CMOS sensor regardless of what resolution you want to shoot.  Windowing in on the sensor, though, allows the ability to use Super 16mm lenses which offers more choices for look, cost, and weight.  This is a great feature that got a lot of people’s attention. The new color space option, S-Gamut3/S-Log3 offers a more filmic curve that allows more detail in shadows and the application of standard LUTS, not necessarily made by Sony.  S-log 2 allows more information in the highlights, i.e., you can overexpose slightly with 2 and underexpose slightly with 3.

The side panel is now fully functional with quick access to the features you need and word is that 4.0 will even bring the full camera menu there.
-Jason Potz, Engineering, j.potz@rule.com
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“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Let me ask a silly but timely question:  Pretend you were a race car driver in NASCAR. You were in the middle of a race, flying around the track at 190 MPH, and a message popped up on your dashboard that told you that new firmware for your fuel system was available and ready to install, would you click OK?

Historically, meaning as little as a few years ago, editing and post production suites were built and deployed as a completely designed system not unlike a race car.  Under it’s branded and packaged “system” exterior, it was made up of components that, when described individually, were familiar to us.  It had one or many CPUs, operating system, memory, storage and I/O and several specific software applications, waveform/vector scopes and video source/record decks.  In addition, you would certainly have accurate monitoring of audio and video signals, ideally, in an acoustically-treated suite with appropriate lighting and wall color that would not confuse or deceive your visual cortex.

This turnkey package was very tight, in large part because the bits and pieces worked only in a small but specific “compatibility matrix”.  As a result, it was always understood and firmly communicated that you NEVER update software in the middle of a production, you disable Auto-Update (to satisfy the previous requirement) and that you work with and depend upon capable experts before and during planned upgrades. Upgrades, in truth, need to be considered full re-designs in the sense that there is a delicate inter-dependency between all components and interrupting this “matrix” will have a series of consequences, and unless your name is Neo, you may not even realize that the matrix exists! (Sorry, had to throw that in there.) Consequences come in many sizes and shapes.  Some, you may never even notice or feel and some may only effect you if a second or third seemingly unrelated event interacts with the dormant first consequence.  If the majority of customers work only on a stand-alone computer with the most common of add-on devices, then the lowest common denominator challenges or conflicts get addressed and corrected early, often during beta test cycles. Companies like Apple and others have also done a great job intentionally or unintentionally inducing Pavlovian Conditioning with frequent and ever-improving app updates that have taught us that Updates = Good.  Many of us treat these update requests like a new message from a friend, a gift or a present that randomly appears and, best of all, is free!  Why wouldn’t you do it?  Often it corrects and patches flaws and security risks that we didn’t even know existed (until the update told us).  After all, who doesn’t want to keep up with the latest and greatest? But beware, the editing and graphics ecosystem that you have built, however streamlined it appears, is more fragile and requires more planning than a typical computer or smart phone.  Major operating system updates – like Apple Mavericks 10.9 – change a multitude of things, for reasons that have nothing to do with you or your business. Here is an example advisory for some high speed, external media readers that came out upon the release of Apple Mavericks: WARNING Qio E3 is not currently compatible with OS X 10.8.5 and 10.9 (Mavericks). Sonnet is working on a fix for this issue. Qio E3 is compatible with OS X 10.8.0 through 10.8.4 when using Qio E3 software v1.2.1c and later. Until a new driver is ready (1.2.2), do not upgrade your computer’s OS to 10.8.5 or 10.9.” Personally, I do not blame 3rd party board and hardware manufacturers for this.  A computer is a complex beast, designed for many markets and many uses.  In our high performance, time sensitive, video production world, we depend on our computers to connect with dozens of speciality devices.  Somehow, we have collectively come to expect that all parties involved have been handed a rule book that defines accurately and immediately, all use cases and all code corrections.  In truth, companies like Apple are famous for not providing detailed information about code or methodology changes that may break or change the way pieces or components behave.  There is limited access for developers to beta OS releases and it is next to impossible for a hardware company to run structured quality control tests on all possible configurations. So, in summary, I offer a few polite words of caution: • DO NOT be tempted to hit that Upgrade, Update or Download button without first KNOWING why you need it and what it might affect. • PLAN for upgrades with production and business calendars in mind.

• SCHEDULE downtime and testing as part of the upgrade.

• BACKUP the current system before an upgrade.

• TEST all of the devices and software after the upgrade.

Thanks for listening.  I hope it helps. Tom Talbot, t.talbot@rule.com