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ARRI go large – New Alexa 65 shoots 6.5K with a sensor about three times bigger than Super35

By site editor Dan Chung:

ALEXA 65

There had been rumours but today we got the confirmation. ARRI have built a super large sensor 6.5K version of the Alexa. The sensor is slightly larger than a 65mm 5-perf film frame and is comprised of three Alexa sensors that are arranged vertically and seamlessly stitched together.

The new rehoused Hassleblad lenses

The new rehoused Hassleblad lenses

The camera uses rehoused Hasselblad medium format lenses that cover the sensor and are of the highest quality. The lens mount is a larger PL type.

The giant Alexa 65 sensor

The giant Alexa 65 sensor

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The camera records in the ArriRAW codec to Codex XR drive cartridges as used by the current Alexa XT.

The body is similar in length and ergonomics to the original Alexa but has a wider body to accommodate the larger sensor.

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If you are itching to pull out your credit card and buy one – you can’t. For now at least this camera is only available as a rental from ARRI.

For the full scoop and lots of technical info its is well worth heading over to Jon Fauer’s Film & Digital Times.

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Posted on September 21st, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Arri Alexa | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shooting with the Sony PXW-FS7 – Jason Wingrove gives his first impressions

Guest post by Jason Wingrove:

Just this morning from Jason Wingrove on Vimeo.

What better way to assess a camera than the standard Wingrove ‘test chart ‘of a Sydney Ocean pool pre-dawn – with less than twenty minutes to get to know the new camera in your hand.  

In the scene you have artificial light that changes into low light, then a very contrasty sunrise. You’ve got humans in motion and lots of finely detailed water sand and waves (all good slow motion test fodder too) Completely unscientific I know – but a great quick test of how a camera is to use with minimal training, how it is in the hand, on the shoulder or on the deck. How it is using the EVF, or just the LCD and how the sensor handles blinding sun.

‘Just this morning’ is purely a string of shots I captured with Sony’s new PXW-FS7 camera.  As a Sony F5 owner I was a little worried this new camera might have just devalued my investment.  

What I’ve been looking for for some time is a great run-and-gun camera that I can use for some of my more narrative, documentary style work. I want a robust codec, great dynamic range, ergonomics, proper audio controls and XLR connections, slow motion with minimal compromise. On top of all that I want it to give me access to the full frame look – the one I fell in love with at the start of the DSLR revolution. The FS7 seems to provide all that and then some.  

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First impressions: 
It is a solid, compact design – no creaky flimsy plastic here. It has weight but is not too heavy. I reckons its heavier than an FS700 and with its compact EVF and a battery fitted it probably weighs the same as the bare body of a F5. It doesn’t matter what its made of, Sony have done a great job of making this camera feel up to the job.  

The rear of the camera showing the BP-U type battery slot

The rear of the camera showing the BP-U type battery slot

The EVF, its mounting system, optics and flexibility are all great. Battery life seemed typical of cameras like this – after keeping the camera on and shooting solidly for a couple of hours the BP-U60 battery (same as Sony’s EX1 and PMW200) showed 75% still remaining.

The FS7 control grip can be rotated to your desired position

The FS7 control grip can be rotated to your desired position

The grip remote control will suit most people, I never quite got comfortable with it but ergonomics is a very personal thing.  I’m sure once you get used to the grip the convenience of being able to access menus, start/stop and servo zoom (with the coming 28-135mm zoom or older 18-105 and 18-200 PZ lenses) will outweigh any comfort niggles.  The in built ND filter is something as an F5 owner I’ve come to rely on, the FS7’s system perhaps is even better.  A very solid control with three stages of ND rather than the F5’s two. 

During the test I largely used the camera in waist height mode, just using the LCD rather than with the VF loupe. Simply hanging the camera from the very comfy top handle and using the very convenient handle mounted run/stop button. 

Of course there is the usual overcomplicated Sony menu system, especially tricky to navigate when it comes to slow motion, ISO and white balance. That said anyone coming from the video world will be very much at home. Shooters with more of a film / DSLR / Alexa background.. well you have some reading up to do. Like most cams though I think that once you’ve had some time with the camera you can set it up just how you like – the menu can largely stay out of your way and you can concentrate on shooting.  

The FS7 with Sony's own 70-200mm lens

The FS7 fitted with Sony’s own 70-200mm lens

The FS7 is a camera to suit doco / run-and-gun or wedding work. It is built to be easy to travel with and you can pull it out of the box and be ready to shoot in minutes without any extra accessories. It’s a lot of camera for the money and will kick quite a few cameras to the kerb and steal their lunch money. That said this is one camera that I think you need to spend some time with before ordering, especially if your currently an F5/F55 owner. Beg, borrow or steal one and go spend some time with it before you sell what you currently have. Not because it might replace it but because it may compliment it – I’m looking at you F5/55 owners.

Lenses I used for the shoot are my personal ones – Dog Schidt Optics 2X Oval iris modded Contax 35mm, 50mm, 85mm. Canon tilt-shift 45mm and the always impressive Rokinon cine 14mm.  All mounted on a Metabones EF to E-mount Speedbooster for the full-frame field of view look. I shot mainly in 4K UHD at 50fps and 1080 HD at 150fps. S-Log3 was the only picture profile used.

Jason Wingrove is a Sydney based freelance Director & Cinematographer specialising in long form narrative TVC’s & high end corporate films. You can see more of his work on his website

Posted on September 20th, 2014 by admin | Category: Sony FS7 | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Nexto DI NSB25 Storage Bridge for robust field backup and playback – CFast, Red, Sony and AJA supported

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Nexto DI’s new NSB25 Storage Bridge is a robust option for making backup copies of media when on location without a laptop. It is also a playback device with a high quality 5” TFT-LCD 800 x 480 touchscreen that can be used to view most popular codecs.

Caddies are included for two standard 2.5” SATA drives which mount internally, and a third drive can be added via USB3. Memory card inputs are also modular and the unit will accept a wide range of codecs recorded on practically any kind of media. Red, AJA and Sony proprietary card formats as well as CFast are supported.

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32GB of data can be backed up onto three drives in about five minutes and the bridge can be powered by any 6-24V DC power source.

A kit including two memory modules is expected to retail for $2400, shipping in November this year. For more info head to the Nexto website.

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Posted on September 20th, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Storage | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Varavon Wirecam flies through the air for $7000

By contributor Clinton Harn:

Motorised remote control cable cams used to cost big money and were strictly limited to big movies, commercials and sports productions. Some budget limited shooters resorted to DIY solutions in the past with varying degrees of success. Now there are several lower cost commercial options that not only move the camera through the air, but also stabilise the camera by adding a brushless gimbal head to the setup.

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Korean maker Varavon, best known for its sliders and camera cages, have ventured into the cable cam market with their $7000 Wirecam Cam setup. Wirecam was first seen in prototype form a year ago at IBC but is now much closer to being a finished product. It is remote controllable and uses Varavon’s Birdy Cam brushless gimbal as a remote head. The results looked impressive. Check out the video to see it working.

As the prices come down and these setups make it onto the shelves of rental companies I can see this technology being used more in documentary and events shooting to get that one off shot.

The Wirecam is slated to be available from November at a cost of around $7000. You can see more details on the Varavon website.

Posted on September 20th, 2014 by Clinton Harn | Category: Brushless gimbals, Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 live show replay: Aladdin’s bendy and waterproof Flex Lite LED panel lights

By technical editor Matt Allard:

One of our favourite products at IBC this week were the flexible LED panels from Korean maker Aladdin. The Flex Lite panel is 25x25cm in size but unlike a conventional light fixture it is in the form of a thin mat. It is both flexible and waterproof and can be shaped around objects, rolled up or attached to surfaces by Velcro. It is perfectly suited to being hidden in a scene and is light enough that it can be carried almost everywhere.

The Flexlite can be easily rolled up

The Flexlite can be easily rolled up

The panel connects to a separate dimmer and power supply that can be run from either mains or battery power. The lights are available in either tungsten (3000K) or daylight (5600K) colours and have a high CRI of over 90. Each unit weight a mere 150g and there will be an optional soft box available soon that simply fits over the panel.

Our team at IBC liked the concept so much we awarded it Best news gathering innovation and Best lighting product in our Best of show awards.

You can find out more about Aladdin lighting products on their website.

The dimmer unit with the Flex Lite

The dimmer unit with the Flex Lite

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Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: IBC show, LED lights | Permalink | Comments (1)

IBC 2014 live show replay: Tiffen’s Carey Duffy talks about the need for diffusion on modern lenses

By technical editor Matt Allard:

On our Newsshooter/Teradek live show at IBC I had the chance to sit down with Carey Duffy of Tiffen to discuss the benefits of filtering modern lenses. He explained that many cinematographers choose to use diffusion filters to take ‘the edge’ off the look of their super sharp lenses. This can be extremely useful when shooting actors or doing interviews where the extreme detail of modern optics can be unflattering – showing up any imperfections in the skin.

New for this year’s IBC were a range of round screw in diffusion filters that fit mainly to stills lenses. The lower values of these are great for making the image look less ‘digital’, without being too ‘dreamy’.

Carey talks about a diffusion test done earlier this year with a Sony F55 and various filters. You can watch it below:

As more and more visual effects and filters are added during post production, I asked Carey why filters are still needed. His answer was simple – “The fastest place to render is in camera”. I have to agree and using filters certainly puts a degree of creative control back in the hands of the shooter.

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, Filters, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC live show replay: Robo Op? L’Aigle exoskeleton allows easy carrying of brushless gimbals

By site editor Dan Chung:

One of the stand out innovations at IBC this year was the mechanical exoskeleton from french manufacturer L’Aigle The contraption is essentially two iso-elastic stabilising arms strapped to your body and also your arms. The exoskeleton allows the large weights to be lifted with virtually no strain placed on the biceps. All the weight is transferred to the hips and legs via the vest.

Newsshooter team member Simon Glass tries out the Exoskeleton with a heay case

Newsshooter team member Simon Glass tries out the Exoskeleton to carry a heavy case

The exoskeleton allows operators of brushless gimbals to hold and move with their rigs for long periods without fatiguing. Another advantage is that the exoskeleton stabilises the vertical movement of the gimbal – reducing the effect of footfall on the rig when walking.

The downsides are that the exoskeleton has a limited range of movement (although it covers all the usual ways a gimbal would be held) and also adds width to your body – making it harder to get through doors.

These limitations are a small price to pay though if you are planning to spend long hours shooting with a gimbal. The version we saw is still a prototype and improvements will surely come.

The exoskeleton makes an interesting alternative to options like the Flowcine Serene/Easyrig combination where the rig is suspended from above the operator via a bar attached to a vest. It will be interesting to see which of these becomes the more favoured approach for gimbal operators in the future.

Projected price for the Exoskeleton is a reasonable 2000 Euros.

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Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Brushless gimbals, Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Budget brushless gimbal maker Came-TV shows 8000 model for heavier payloads

By contributor Clinton Harn:

Brushless gimbals just keep getting cheaper and cheaper. At IBC Chinese budget gimbal maker CAME-TV were showing a CAME 8000 which caters for heavier cameras, all the way up to a RED Epic mounted with a PL lens. The design is far more rounded and has fewer trailing cables and rods than their previous models. They were showing it with a BMCC and it appears to have a Lanc trigger on the handgrip.

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They also had the new CAME 7800 system for DSLR-sized cameras up to 2.5kg.

The CAME 8000 wasn’t working at the show but it should be available soon. You can pre-order it now for $1980 US from the Came-TV website.

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Clinton Harn | Category: Brushless gimbals, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

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