A “Deep Dive” at AbelCine in Los Angeles

As part of KOAT’s original content series, I stopped into AbelCine in Los Angeles to have a look at their cinema sales and rental operation.  The always enthusiastic Andy Shipsides sat down for a talk about surviving in a service industry, and their possible future moves.

Christie projectors don’t come cheap, and I was pretty impressed that they offer their clients a calibrated viewing theatre, both for dailies and training purposes.  Abel has an idea about how things should be done, and if that means they have to design their own gear to meet that standard, then that’s what they do.  Hope you enjoy!

Cinefade Blows Them Away


One of the booth videos I featured at CineGear was from a company called CineFade (no relation  🙂 ) They are using mainly existing technology in a novel new way.  Their system allows you to modify depth of field, without changing focus or exposure.  Say what?  They have synced a FIZ unit to change aperture value (affecting DOF) while counteracting the respective change in exposure by simultaneously adding or subtracting neutral density value.  They do this by making a variable ND filter out of two polarizers.  The iris and the ND are mapped to each other over the length of the variability so there is no “stepping” or anything to give the change away.

Sony is doing the same thing on their FS5 and FS7ll cameras, but this is the first system I’ve seen that does it for any camera/lens combination and is designed for cinema use.  Remember the first time you saw a Dolly Zoom?  (There’s actually a pretty good one in Guardians of The Galaxy 2 when Peter realizes -SPOILERS- that Ego killed his Mother).  The effect on DOPs that are seeing the process for the first time is pretty profound.  Oliver from Cinefade put together a little film of their reactions at CineGear.  Fun to watch, and nothing makes you “get it” like watching the effect happen in real time.  Fair warning: strong language if that’s not your thing.

Check it out by clicking here.

Go Behind the Scenes of an Air-to-Air Shoot of a Boeing 787 | Fstoppers

Air Canada has to repaint its planes every ten years, so since they’re going to be doing it anyways, it makes sense to do a redesign at the same time.  And, once you do the redesign, you need new marketing materials.  Have a look as they use a Lear Jet outfitted with a RED camera to take some spectacular footage.  As the reviewer says, it almost looks CGI.

Source: Go Behind the Scenes of an Air-to-Air Shoot of a Boeing 787 | Fstoppers

Notes on Apple HEVC and HEIF from WWDC17

At the World Wide developer’s Conference, Apple detailed their plan to move to the h.265 High Efficiency Video Codec going forward with the release of their High Sierra OS for Mac.  Here’s a little background on what you can expect.  What was interesting to me is that it will encode depth details as metadata, and it can do 10bit.

Source: Notes on Apple HEVC and HEIF from WWDC17

Zaxcom recording wireless at work – JWSOUNDGROUP

I love flash mobs, I hope to witness one someday.  The cool thing about this one from a technical standpoint is the audio technology used.  The participants were mic-ed with 30 Zaxcom recorders and transmitter/recorders.  The interesting thing about Zaxcom units is that they can all be linked with an independent 2nd level radio network that communicates with them for control signals and synced timecode.  So while this might normally be a very hard job for the Post editor to line up all the participants before starting the mixing process, here, thanks to the Zaxnet, he simply lines up all 30 by common timecode and off he goes.  Slick.

Source: Zaxcom recording wireless at work – Equipment – JWSOUNDGROUP

Baking With The Gaffer

My travels recently took me to San Francisco.  Who lives in San Francisco?  The World’s most famous internet Gaffer, Mr. Luke Seerveld!  Luke has his own Grip & Lighting truck in the bay area, and offers tips on gaffing on his Youtube channel, “Meet The Gaffer“.

It’s full of excellent videos and is building quite a following.  He told me that he was stopped multiple times at CineGear by people going “Hey!  You’re that lighting guy!  You know….from Youtube!”  Well deserved recognition.  What I like about Luke’s videos are he’s a working Gaffer/Grip, and he takes the time to walk viewers through actual real life scenarios and lighting set-ups on location, explaining why he and the DOP lit things the way they did, what sources they used, etc.  When he’s not doing that, he features skills tips on everything from useful knots to how to properly coil heavy cable.

I called Luke up and asked if he would like to do a bit of cross promotion.  He readily agreed.  Rather than focus on lighting, we decided to head off on a bit of a tangent and talk to Luke as he baked a pie!  It’s a fun way to get to know Luke better as we talk about baking, gripping/gaffing, and life in general.  It’s a longer laid back feature, I really enjoyed shooting it, and I hope you enjoy it too.

On a side note, I just wanted to thank Luke for his time and excellent attitude.  What a great guy.  When I contacted him he was just so laid back, he agreed pretty much instantly to doing something, and he also “got” the idea of doing something a little off the beaten path and was in sync with the concept of the video.  He invited me into his home, introduced me to his family, and fed me lunch and beer.  What a legend!  Please remember to subscribe to both our channels.  As Jimmy Kimmel says, it’s free.