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The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Gets the Job Done

Last weekend I filmed a little passion project. It was a music video, and I was operating as a one-man show. Since I was shooting solo, my goal was to have a camera that was both lightweight and compact without sacrificing quality. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K was a perfect fit with a 4/3 image sensor that captures 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K. With great Codecs — like ProRes and Blackmagic Raw — I was in for an easy post-production workflow. 

For this shoot, I was operating in a variety of locations, and I knew the camera had to be able to handle each one. The first location was a dark basement and another location was outdoors in daylight. My goal was to make sure I didn’t lose my shadows in the basement or my highlights in the sky while outdoors. With the BMPCC’s 13 stops of dynamic range and its dual ISO, I didn’t have any issues at all.

The 5-inch LCD touch screen that comes with the camera was perfect. I had mounted a SmallHD monitor to the camera, but I caught myself looking more at the camera’s screen than at the external monitor. It was big enough to get that sharp focus, which I really liked.

The one flaw I found with the camera was using it with an LP-E6 Battery. I use these batteries with my Canon DSLR, so I always have a bunch of them lying around. I couldn’t believe how fast I went through them while shooting. I was switching batteries about every half hour or so. Since I was in one location with a charge station it was not a concern for me. If your shoot happens to be less convenient to a power source, then you’ll be glad to know that this camera does come with a DTap Power Cable to draw power off your gold mount and V-mount batteries. Keep in mind that this adds weight to your camera set-up, but it saves you from the hassle of worrying about power.

One last great feature with the BMPCC is that you have some media options for recording. This camera has built-in SD and CFast card slots along with a USB-C port. The USB-C is great because you can record to an SSD through it, and you’ll get almost endless amounts of storage potential. 

Overall, I was glad I brought the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K along. It most definitely got the job done.

– Alex Lopez, QC Technician

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Analog Is Alive and Well with the ARRICAM ST

Despite popular belief, analog acquisition is alive and well in 2019.

The continual re-birth of photochemical filmmaking has given us at Rule the great joy of keeping our film cameras on hand for new generations to discover. After a long pause we are finally able to bring a new (to us) film camera into our offerings.

The ARRICAM ST (short for Studio) is the flagship culmination of ARRI’s long history in building beautiful motion picture cameras — with the ST combining features from the ARRI 535B and the Austrian Moviecam Compact into one elegant camera system. It is a whisper quiet film camera (under 20dB) with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a studio camera.

One of my favorite features of this particular ARRICAM ST is that it has a 3 perforation Super 35mm movement. This allows you to frame for 1.78, 1.85, and 2.39 while using 25% less film. Less film means longer takes on the same 400′ and 1000′ loads as well as a significant cost savings in processing, prep, and scanning of your film. While not as aggressive a savings as shooting 2 perf, 3 perf affords you more flexibility for choice of aspect ratio and still leaves you some wiggle room for reframing when shooting for a 2.39 aspect ratio.

My second favorite feature is the programmable speed control box on the side of the camera. By working in conjunction with the electronically controlled spinning mirror shutter, the speed control box can generate speed ramps from anywhere within 1-60fps at the push of a button. The ability to “slow time on a dime” is something incredibly special when imaged on film. Cue up your favorite Wes Anderson film for reference.

I’m admittedly quite personally biased to shooting film. While many will find good reasons to disagree, I feel that nothing quite matches the characteristic response of a spinning mirror exposing emulsion. Film after all has the built-in “film look” that many of us try to desperately mimic with every digital cinema camera that races down the track. Film negative has unparalleled highlight handling, smooth motion cadence, and fine organic texture. Film is even more forgiving to focus pulls.

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the guilty pleasure of shooting film, perhaps the ARRICAM ST can be the muse for your next project and your first photochemical romance.

-Adam Van Voorhis, Equipment Manager

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Rent the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom Lens at 25% Off in June

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.  

Angenieux’s Interchangeable Rear Optics technology allows for the lens to be switched between 3 modes of coverage: Super 35mm, Ultra 35mm, and, coming soon, Full Frame/VistaVision.

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”. 

Rent it for 25% off the regular rental rate of $695/day in June! Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for details, including multi-day rates.
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POSITION FILLED – Seeking Dynamic, Production-Savvy Rental Agent

This position has been filled. Thanks to all who applied!

Rule Boston Camera is looking for a dynamic, production-savvy person to join our rental team — perfect candidates should be comfortable talking with our clients about the latest cutting-edge cinematography equipment.

Our rental agents form long-term relationships with our clients who are actively producing some of the best content here in New England and around the world.

If production and camera technology are your passions, please send a resume and letter of interest to General Manager, Brian Malcolm – malcolm@rule.com.

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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

 

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New in Rentals: Compact Sigma Cine Prime Lenses

New in Rentals, the compact Sigma Cine primes with full frame coverage and high speed aperture ~ T1.5 (20, 24, 35, 50, 85mm) and T2.0 (14, 135mm) have arrived.

Excellent resolution and ready for 8K, the well-crafted cine design offers smooth focus with minimal distortion or breathing. The nine blade iris makes for a soft round bokeh. Now available in EF mount.

Contact Rentals for details: email or phone at 800-rule-com.

–Dave Kudrowitz, Senior Engineer

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Now Renting the RED EPIC-W Helium 8K

Now renting, the RED EPIC-W Helium 8K with these key features:

  • HELIUM 35.4 Megapixel CMOS
  • 8K 2.4:1 resolution up to 30 fps
  • 16.5+ stops of dynamic range
  • 275 MB/s data speeds
  • REDCODE RAW + Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR/HD

Click here for Rentals or call us at 800-rule-com for details.

Panasonic EVA1 Roadshow – Boston

Join Panasonic at Red Sky Studios for an exclusive look at the new AU-EVA1 cinema camera, coming this Fall to Rentals!

At this evening event, you’ll:

• Director/DP Elle Schneider will discuss shooting her short film, “Near To Superstition” with the EVA1

• Learn from key Panasonic Cinema Specialists + Technicians

• Get hands-on access to the EVA1

The compact and lightweight EVA1 is a 5.7K handheld cinema camera that contains Dual Native ISOs of 800/2,500, records footage to low-cost SD cards, and captures 14-stops of dynamic range. It’s tailor-made for a number of shooting applications, including narrative, documentary, music videos, live events, and more. See the event flyer here.

Click here to register with Panasonic. FREE with Limited Seating.  Reserve your spot today. We’ll see you there!

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Buy or Rent the GoPro HERO6

Stop by our GoPro display in Production Outfitters! We are selling (and renting) the all new GoPro HERO6 camera. 

Retailing for $499.99, the HERO6 Black is compatible with all GoPro mounting accessories.

This new addition to the GoPro family boasts real image stabilization and an all new GP1 processor. The Hero6 is capable of 240fps at 1080p image quality or 4k up to 60fps making it ideal for slow-mo action. Click here to watch #GoProHERO6 action. 

Contact us for more details: answers@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

–Haley Parizo, Sales Operations Manager

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The Angenieux EZ-1: Affordable and Flexible Cine Zoom

The Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm T2 Super35 zoom lens is one of a handful of lenses in the quickly expanding category of affordable cine-zooms. For a long time, cinema zooms were always two things: heavy and expensive. In the past year or so, we have seen manufacturers innovate and release a new group of lightweight cinema zooms. To name a few: Zeiss 21-100mm, Sigma 18-35mm / 50-100mm, Fujinon 18-55mm, and Canon 18-80mm. As a documentary and commercial shooter, it has been great to see this huge increase in choices at a reasonable price. I find myself taking the Angenieux on set because of its size, its flexibility, and its wide open performance.

First and foremost, the size, weight, and handling of this lens is superb. It is well-balanced and weighs in at just 4lbs. I shoot a lot of handheld and gimbal work so weight is always a factor. Having built-in focus, iris, and zoom gears is a big advantage in both keeping the lens streamlined and removing any extra weight from add-on 3rd party focus gears. The EZ-1 also features rubberized grips along the lens for better control when not using a follow focus. This lens is built with the operator in mind.

In the documentary world, staying flexible on set is a must. The ability to quickly go from PL to EF to E mount on set with no tools is a big deal. Pairing lenses and sensors is a big part of a cinematographer’s job these days — both from an aesthetics standpoint and a function standpoint. This lens is equally at home on a Sony a7S wedged inside a car as it is on a 35mm ARRI film camera on a dolly. In addition to the lens mount, you can also change the rear optical block to go from covering just Super35 to covering full frame/ VistaVision. 

There is a certain feeling imbued into lenses by each manufacturer. A subtle difference that doesn’t come across in technical specifications but is often talked about amongst cinematographers and is unique to that manufacturer. Angenieux’s reputation is one of the best in the industry. The EZ-1 fits in easily amongst its family members and delivers the same consistent colors and pleasing sharpness that one should expect from Angenieux.  

-Harvey Burrell, Guest Blogger and Co-founder of Windy Films