ARRI Rolls Out New Master Grips, Remote Head, Wireless Lighting System and More

ARRI has announced a number of new products at IBC.  I’m interested in the news that they have adopted the Lumen Radio standard for controlling their LED panels. With Kino-Flo also building Lumen wireless into their lights, I guess it’s “safe” now to invest in what the industry seems to have chosen as a de facto standard.  Check out my two video reports from CineGear on this.

One talks with Lumen Radio about their laptop control software:

The other talks with the company Cinelex, who are making fader/lighting control panels with a Lumen Radio built in:

Source: ARRI Rolls Out New Master Grips, Remote Head, Wireless Lighting System and More

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Sony’s VENICE Full Frame + S35 Camera | Film and Digital Times

UPDATE: Newsshooter has an interview discussing the camera

 

Well, Sony’s long teased Full Frame cinema camera has finally been revealed.  Jon Fauer had early access and has a 28 page report on it if you want to dive deep.

My first impressions?  Promising, but hampered.  It will ship with only limited capabilities.  Sony has teased this long enough that you would think it would be a little more fully baked on release.

The positive?  They have learned a few things.  The viewfinder uses a LEMO connector rather than their proprietary flat multipin, and the connector is mounted at a point that it won’t immediately snap off (it might get in the way of lens accessories though).  It has industry standard 12V and 24V power connections.  The lens mount is really interesting.  Flat to the sensor is a locking E-mount, but fitted overtop of that, is a really solid looking PL mount that can be removed with 6 screws.  The camera has 8 levels of ND filters built in, and they can be activated remotely.  The sensor itself is replaceable, in an attempt to future-proof.  The body is relatively compact, roughly the same size as a RED with a jack pack attached, but the Sony does get significantly bigger when you add the optional external RAW recorder.  They are rating it at 500 ISO, with the option to go up to 4000 ISO.  They say that it has a better signal to noise ratio than the F65.  They are also emphasizing new colour science over outright resolution.  It will eventually record 6K RAW, whereas the F65 was an 8K camera.

The negative?  It does not have a global shutter, but Sony says “jello vision” should not be a problem.  At this point, it only seems able to do 60 frames per second.  I think the biggest negative is the incomplete feature set at launch.  This used to be a problem with RED, but unfortunately Sony has adopted this “ship it and fix it later” approach.  Those firmware updates will be free, but like ARRI, they will be charging for licenses to enable higher end features.  In my opinion, the F65 (and even the F55, in terms of a “cinema” camera) never really took off.  RED and the Alexa 65 have a lead in the full frame market, and in the cinema market in general. To quote Top Gun:

“And let’s not bullshit Maverick. Your family name ain’t the best in the Navy. You need to be doing it better, and cleaner than the other guy. Now what is it with you?”

If Sony wants to break into the high end, they need to offer better technology and complete feature sets at a lower price.  This latest offering does not cut it.

Source: Sony’s VENICE Full Frame + S35 Camera | Film and Digital Times

Sony will launch the new CineAlta full frame 36x24mm camera on September 6 – sonyalpharumors

Two weeks out from finally seeing what Sony has in store for the cinema world. I had played devil’s advocate that they might reveal this as a curved sensor, but I don’t seriously think that’s going to happen, it would alienate them with too many rental houses in terms of lensing.  I will predict that it will be very good in low light, capable of very high frame rates, and continue with their history of offering a global shutter.  I’m curious to see how big its body will be, and where they price it.

Source: Sony will launch the new CineAlta full frame 36x24mm camera on September 6 – sonyalpharumors sonyalpharumors

Sony FS5 Firmware fix is ready with v4.02 – Newsshooter

“As a follow-up to recent communications regarding firmware issues for the PXW-FS5 (V.4.0) and PXW-Z150 (V.2.0), Sony has now released version 4.02 for the FS5 and version 2.02 for the Z150. These new versions address both the previously confirmed issues related to HDR in specific applications of HLG in HD shooting modes, and to audio sync.  The new versions are available for download, for the FS5 and the Z150.”

I’ve recently been thinking about what might be the best most cost effective studio camera set-up on the market for small HD mobiles.  I’m of the opinion that any camera in this scenario must have a power zoom parfocal lens with a reasonable range and no iris ramping, and has to have an HD-SDI connector (I hate HDMI).  However in this scenario, you’re likely going to be getting a Blackmagic ATEM box for distance runs and intercom, so it could only have HDMI output…if you had to…God I hate HDMI.

The 1/3″ sensor cameras with LANC controls and an external screen would be the most cost-effective ones, but not necessarily the best looking ones, and if there were to be any handheld use, I’d want something shoulder mountable.  If you needed to run them off battery, it’s possible.  Make sure you get a monitor that takes the same batteries as the camera.

2/3″ B4 mount camcorders, or B4 “mobile” cameras without a recorder section are the norm, but they are expensive, and their lenses are even more expensive.  If you want to do a CCU and fiber, be prepared to spend big money.

The Blackmagic studio cameras check off almost all the boxes, but they are not great in low light, and lens options using the M4/3 mount are not great.  Again, if you’re looking to do handheld, forget it.  Their incredible low price, 10″ viewfinder and fiber/intercom integration makes one want to overlook their lens limitations.  But at the end of the day, unless you’re adapting a B4 mount lens to them, they aren’t very practical, and if you do that, your costs again skyrocket.

The Blackmagic Ursa Mini is another interesting option.  Normally I would avoid large sensor cameras in this scenario because of the limitations in zoom lengths.  You could get it in EF mount and use Canon’s two parfocal S35 zooms with it.  They are pretty slow zooms though, and the Ursa again is not that great in low light.  They do have the option of using a B4 lens in HD, with its price limitation.  As I said, I’m only looking at a HD mobile, but the Ursa is one of the only cameras on the market with a 4K SDI output if you’re looking for that capability.

What I ended up settling on is a Sony FS5 with their newer 18-105mm lens.  It is parfocal, power zoom, F4 and has focus gearing built in (as well as autofocus).  It comes with a zoom handle that can be separated off the camera.  That zoom handle has function buttons that can be used to “punch-in” and scan the center of the sensor for an electronic doubling of focal length (in HD) with no loss of light gathering ability or perceived output quality (in HD).  Its real iris control and variable ND would help in uncontrolled lighting scenarios outside of the studio.  Something that was enabled with this latest firmware update is the ability to now use Sony’s RM-30BP with this set-up (I think, I haven’t actually had hands on time).

This would allow the operator behind the camera to have zoom, focus and most importantly iris control without having to reach up to the lens from the rear.  I think it even allows “stacking” of controllers.  Does this mean you could use it for focus/iris, and plug the zoom control that comes with the FS5 into it for zoom control?  Anyone?  You could rig the camera for handheld shoulder shooting reasonably easily by equipping it with aftermarket accessories like the ones shown in the picture at the top of this post.  The FS5 looks great, is excellent in low light, and will give that limited DOF look if thats what you’re going for.  A Blackmagic 7″ screen as a viewfinder, and an ATEM fiber box for long distance and intercom, and away we go.

Opinions?  Additions?  Something I missed?  Know of a cheap/good wired follow focus?  Feel free to comment…respectfully.

 

 

Source: Sony FS5 & Z150 Firmware fix is ready with v4.02 and v2.02 – Newsshooter

Apple TV with 4K UHD, 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision is coming – appleinsider

“Apple’s own firmware for the upcoming HomePod speaker has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving for enthusiasts, this time revealing that a next-generation Apple TV will boast support for 4K video, as well as high dynamic range in both 10-bit and Dolby Vision formats.”

In general, I try not to publish rumours on this site, but given this fellow’s track record, I’m confident in saying this is a sure thing.  Just need to know the date now.

A lot of people were hoping for 4K during the last round of improvements.  Apple generally doesn’t roll things out until they have a complete solution ready to go.  In this case:

  1. High Sierra and the next iOS are going to have h.265 authoring built in and hardware accelerated
  2. The people that might want 4K have had about 1.5 years to buy 4K televisions.  4K TV’s are at a point now where the option to have that resolution is at a “Well for another $200 I might as well future proof this major purchase” level.  Soon it won’t be an option on higher end units
  3. I suspect Apple now is comfortable that its data centers can handle the increased bit load that will be required.

Whether your local internet connection handle the load is another question.

Source: Apple TV with 4K UHD, 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision revealed by HomePod firmware

RED RAVEN available at Apple.com – ProVideo Coalition

So it would appear that Apple and RED have made a deal to exclusively sell the RED RAVEN camera only at Apple stores (I’m assuming only online).  A quick look at RED’s store site seems to back that up as it is not listed there.

  • As a side note, when you sort the cameras in the store by “Most Popular”, it lists the $50,000 S35 8K Helium first.  If “Most Popular” means most bought, Mr. Land’s company seems to be doing well

Interesting.  When I talked to Vincent Laforet at CineGear, he predicted that soon you would be able to buy a camera from RED at retailers like Best Buy.

I think he was talking something a little more consumer-ish, but still, surprisingly prescient.  When RED launched their cell phone device, I noted that they seemed to be having trouble keeping up with demand on the RAVEN.  Has that changed?  The Apple Store says “in stock”, and I have to believe that Apple has fairly stringent supply chain requirements in order for something to be listed in their store.  Maybe RED has solved their mass manufacturing hiccups?  If so, perhaps their cell phone device has a chance to fly.  As I said before, time will tell….

Source: Breaking News: RED RAVEN available at Apple.com by Adam Wilt – ProVideo Coalition

Reading The Tea Leaves

Curved At CineGear this year, I had a short discussion with Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses.  We both sort of agreed that the push to full frame cinema cameras was in some respects more about selling new sets of gear and lenses rather than any argument about quality.  We also sort of laughed about the extra burden placed on the poor focus pullers of the world with full frame depth of field!  You only need to look at the Super 35mm RED Weapon 8K Helium camera to know that the move isn’t required to achieve more surface area for photon gathering, or more resolution.  It’s very good in low light, and though RED has been pushing 4K for a decade now, it’s only recently that studios are finishing their films in 4K, so an 8K originating format should last us for a good long while.  You can make an argument about the art side of the equation and that there is a certain look that comes from shooting at 65mm or larger, and it’s a very valid argument, but I’d like to focus on the technical need aspects.  I argued to Matthew that curved sensors were going to lead to a revolution in lens design.  He wasn’t convinced.

90% of people upgrade their only camera every two years when they get a new phone.  Phone cameras have decimated the point & shoot market, leaving the higher end market as the only place where manufacturers can eek out a profit.  As I argued here, I feel that the manufacturer with the best technology (Sony) is going to win the bulk of the higher end market.  It will take a while to overcome the inertia of tradition and bias, but eventually, it will happen.  But what about the very high end: the medium format world?  Here, higher resolution has been the main incentive coaxing photographers to upgrade.  Like the DSLR market though, even that is reaching a point of diminishing returns.  The medium format world is a little different in that there are complete cameras, but there are also imaging backs that detach from the camera and lens assembly.  Sony has entered this world supplying what is arguably the best current sensor technology to Phase One.  But you know that they want to bring their own complete product to the fore.  How to differentiate themselves?  As with their A9 camera, by bringing technology to bear that no one else can: a curved sensor and line of lenses designed for it.  When all the light is being focused at the same distance, lenses should get smaller, vignetting issues and corner sharpness should improve, and since the photons have a “straight shot” at each sensor bucket, I would imagine light gathering ability and colour performance will improve.  And what type of sensor can best take advantage of these benefits?  Larger sensors.  Sony announced at NAB that a cinema camera with a full frame sensor is coming.  Will it too have a curved sensor and special lenses?  Will rental houses buy the camera if they have to buy yet another set of lenses after just equipping themselves for “flat sensor” full frame cameras?

Nikon

After hammering Nikon in my A9 article above about how they don’t have the technological chops to compete with Sony, there’s the possibility that they are about to make their great step in modernization by finally unveiling a serious mirrorless camera….with a full frame curved sensor.  Is Nikon about to abandon their legacy users in one great leap forward?  Maybe.  Again, a curved sensor would require all new lenses, meaning money for a struggling company.  Was I wrong in saying Nikon can’t keep up?  Maybe.  Did they design the rumoured sensor?  I don’t know, maybe they are sourcing it from another manufacturer.  Who?  Could it be……Sony?  A lot of conjecture with no actual facts, but interesting times ahead.

When George Lucas went digital for the prequels, he said something to the effect of, “Film is at the apex of its development, it will never get significantly better than it is now.  Digital will only get better.”  Prescient.  Pretty hard to make a cinema camera that uses curved film!  Having said that, “The Force Awakens” was shot on film.  Remember the art side of the equation?