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Jon Fauer, ASC
Sept 2014
Double Issue 62-63
Art, Technique and Technology in Motion Picture Production Worldwide
Assembling AMIRA
Sony New “Minima” PXW-FS7
Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 11
Leica Still Moving Pictures
S. Schenk and W. Trauninger of ARRI
AJA’s Nick Rashby and CION
ZEISS E-Mount Lenses
What’s Cooking in Anamorphic?
ARRI/ZEISS MA Framegrabs
New Angénieux 30-72 Anamorphic
Optimo Style and Servo Style
Fujinon 25-300 Cabrio
Lucy and the Tiffen Filter Factory
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory
Preston Light Ranger 2
Aaton Cantar-X3
Codex Vault 3.0
Odyssey 7Q
Vocas at 25
Kino Flo
IB/E Optics
FDTimes Issue 62-63 Contents
Art, Technique and Technology
Film and Digital Times is the guide to technique and technology,
tools and how-tos for Cinematographers, Photographers, Directors,
Producers, Studio Chieftains, Camera Assistants, Camera Operators, Grips, Gaffers, Crews, Rental Houses, and Manufacturers.
It’s written, edited, and published by Jon Fauer, ASC, an awardwinning Cinematographer and Director. He is the author of 14
bestselling books—over 120,000 in print—famous for their userfriendly way of explaining things. With inside-the-industry “secretsof the-pros” information, Film and Digital Times is delivered to you
by subscription or invitation, online or on paper. We don’t take ads
and are supported by readers and sponsors.
Webmaster: Jon Stout. Contributing authors and editors: Stephan
Schenk, Walter Trauninger, Markus Dürr, Frieder Hochheim, Seth
Emmons, Danys Bruyère, Sarah Priestnall, Jacques Lipkau-Goyard,
Juan Martinez, David Leitner, Peter Crithary, Marc ShipmanMueller, Brett Gillespie, Chuck Lee, Tobias Brandstetter, Les Zellan,
Stephanie Hueter, Howard Preston, Karen Raz, Nick Rashby, Kavon
Elhami, Marc Dando, Brad Wilson, Jacques Delacoux, Larry Barton,
Stijn van der Veken, Tom Erisman, Richard Crudo, James Chressanthis, Danys Bruyère. Contributing photographers: Richard Crudo,
ASC, James Chressanthis, ASC, GSC, Jacques Lipkau-Goyard,
Jon Fauer, ASC, Jon Johnson, John Holmes, Haruyo Yakoto, Evan
Davies, Nico Marchand.
© 2014 Film and Digital Times, Inc. by Jon Fauer
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Barnack Cine Camera 1912......................................................................... 3
Still Moving Pictures by Richard Crudo, ASC...............................................4-5
Still Moving Pictures by James Chressanthis, ASC, GSC..............................6-7
Bob Caniglia Discusses DaVinci Resolve 11..............................................8-10
Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner.................................................................. 11
ARRI AMIRA Factory Tour........................................................................... 12
Stephan Schenk on ARRI, ALEXA, AMIRA, “Avengers” and .....................13-16
Stephan Schenk (cont’d)............................................................................. 14
Walter Trauninger on Assembling AMIRA................................................17-20
Markus Dürr, AMIRA Product Manager........................................................ 21
Assembling AMIRA, Tour of the Factory..................................................22-31
ProRes UHD for AMIRA............................................................................... 32
ALEXA Updates, ARRI Alexa 3.2K ProRes for UHD........................................ 33
Aaton-Digital Cantar-X3, Transvideo 5” StarliteHD....................................... 34
Sony Dreams of Cameras........................................................................... 35
Sony Minima Vérité PXW-FS7................................................................36-44
Manfrotto Light Table................................................................................. 44
ZEISS Touit APS-C Lenses.......................................................................... 45
ZEISS Compact Zoom Servo....................................................................... 45
ZEISS Loxia Full Frame Lenses..............................................................46-47
Stijn Van der Veken with ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphics......................48-49
What’s Cooking in Anamorphic?................................................................. 50
Also Cooking at TSF................................................................................... 51
Angénieux Anamorphic Zooms.................................................................... 52
Angénieux Style Spherical Zooms............................................................... 53
Nick Rashby, President of AJA - Cover Story...........................................54-57
AJA CION.................................................................................................. 58
Codex Vault 3.0......................................................................................... 59
4K ProRes for TV, 4K ProRes for TV............................................................ 59
Howard Preston and the Light Ranger 2.................................................60-61
Fujinon 25-300 Servo Unit.......................................................................... 62
Schneider Cabrio Wide Angle...................................................................... 63
Leica Summilux-C Filters............................................................................ 63
Odyssey7/7Q Updates................................................................................ 64
Vocas 25th Year Anniversary, E-Mount Adapter, FS700 Rigs........................ 65
Litepanels ASTRA 1x1................................................................................ 66
SHAPE ISEE, FFPRO................................................................................... 66
Matthews Slider......................................................................................... 67
CineTape................................................................................................... 67
Thierry Arbogast, AFC with F65 on Luc Besson’s Lucy ...........................68-70
Lucy and the Tiffen Factory, Fortunato and the Filter Factory....................71-75
ARRI LDE-1 & WCU-4................................................................................ 76
Cinetech Italiana Albatross......................................................................... 76
cmotion..................................................................................................... 77
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory...............................................................78-81
Gates 35mm Housings............................................................................... 82
Kino Flo..................................................................................................... 82
Wooden Camera........................................................................................ 83
LockCircle................................................................................................. 83
Terre di Cinema 2014...........................................................................84-85
Cartoni IBC - Cinec Shopping List............................................................... 86
Schulz Camerasupport GmbH..................................................................... 87
DENZHEAD, DENZ Anamorphic Finder......................................................... 88
Schneider Xenon FF Primes........................................................................ 88
Canacast connects iPads............................................................................ 89
IB/E Optics................................................................................................ 89
Sony FS700R + Vocas + Alphatron + Odyssey 7Q ................................90-91
Congo Films in Lima................................................................................... 92
Top35 Brazil.............................................................................................. 92
Camalot and Tom Erisman, NSC................................................................. 93
Cover: Nick Rashby, President of AJA and Jon Thorn, Senior
Product Manager of AJA. Photo by Evan Davies.
Barnack Cine Camera 1912
1912-13: Oskar Barnack’s
35mm motion picture
1914: Oskar
Barnack’s Liliput
prototype, the
What if Ernst Leitz had indulged the dreams of Oskar Barnack, who really wanted to become a cameraman? In 1912, Barnack built a 35mm motion picture camera, shown at left.
In that same year, August Arnold and Robert Richter had just become teenagers; they would found Arnold & Richter in 1917 and
build their first film camera, the Kinarri 35, years later, in 1924.
What were Oskar Barnack and Ernst Leitz thinking? And why
was this motion picture camera never developed?
1912: Emil Mechau’s
35mm motion picture
Thanks to Leica
Camera’s Markus
Limberger, Holger
Thurm, Boris Bender,
and CW Sonderoptic’s
Gerhard Baier in their
intrepid handling of
Barnack’s priceless
cine camera for this
photo. Thanks to
Lars Netopil for his
wonderful book of
Leica prototypes and
expert advice, and to
Rolfe Fricke, Heinz
Richter, and LHSAInternational Leica
The story really began with Emil Mechau, who built a projector
in 1910 that eliminated flicker and jitter by means of a ring of
mirrors instead of the traditional intermittent movement. (Incidentally, by 1934, more than 500 of these projectors were installed
in movie theaters, and because of their extremely gentle film handling, were later used for flying spot film-to-video.)
In 1911, Mechau persuaded Barnack to join him in Wetzlar. Ernst
Leitz II explained, “Besides his tasks in the field of microscopy,
Barnack developed a cinematographic camera which he used for
photographing a great number of local events at Wetzlar. Since
electric exposure meters were as yet unknown, he built for himself a small hand camera for cine film enabling him to make a few
trial exposures before the actual cinematographic exposure. This
was the prototype of the Leica camera.”1 Note that the exposure
test camera was not the same as the prototype Leica format UrLeica camera.
In 1924, Ernst Leitz approved production of Barnack’s Leica format 24x36mm still camera. His famous words, “I hereby decide:
let’s risk it,” was pretty risky at the time, although there is some
speculation that the meeting had dragged on for hours and Mr.
Leitz was impatient to go to lunch.
The prototype “Liliput” camera, as Barnack called it, would later
be referred to as the “Ur-Leica.” But why was Barnack’s Ur-Leica
developed and why did his motion picture camera remained a
one-off model, never to be developed? It is now on display in the
lobby of Leica Camera’s new headquarters in Wetzlar.
Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of Leica and a former history
professor, thinks it was a matter of economics at a time of massive
inflation. Mechau’s projector was extremely expensive. In 1911,
the famous Bell & Howell 2709 was introduced: hand-cranked,
cast aluminum, 4-lens turret with rackover for focus and viewing.
It would be another hundred years for Leica Camera to get back
into 35mm motion picture equipments with their Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C lenses—and more products to come.
Visit Leica/CW Sonderoptic at IBC 11.D21 and Cinec 3-C14/01.
Ernst Leitz II 1975 speech to the Leica Historical Society,
Viewfinder Vol. 8, No. 4, pp 22-23.
1914: On location in Bad Ems with Barnack’s cine camera.
Still Moving Pictures by Richard Crudo, ASC
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Still Moving Pictures (cont’d)
by Richard Crudo, ASC
These photos represent an adventure in street photography. Most
of the time what we do as cinematographers is micro-managed
and so carefully structured that I find it invigorating to just go out
on my own and shoot with no rules. It’s great fun to snap whatever
catches your attention, even without putting the camera’s viewfinder to your eye. It’s about firing from the hip sometimes and
hoping for a happy accident.
The pictures here were taken with a Leica Monochrom in early July
at New York’s Coney Island. On the 4th, the legendary Nathan’s held
a hotdog eating contest that was attended by a huge crowd. The
weather was very ominous that day, featuring a low-hanging, pure
white cloud cover; it actually rained a little at one point. In postprocessing the photos, I pumped in some contrast to give them
some pop, basically trying to pull a bit of character from the skies
because they were so flat.
On clear days the Monochrom really showed its stuff. For anything
shot in some sort of sunlight condition, I used a 25 Red filter in
front of the 35mm Summicron lens. The results were superb and
immediately put me in mind of the same combination I used to
employ with Tri-X negative. On the cloudy days there was no filtration. I rated the sensor at 400 ISO for everything here and it
performed beautifully. In so many ways it really did feature that
“Leica touch.”
The Wonder Wheel is a big Ferris wheel that has been where it
sits for what seems like forever. I’ve always been impressed by its
intricate structure, not to mention that it seems like such an anach-
ronism. When you get up close to it, you can see just how it was
built with all the rivets, welds and joints in plain view. It’s really a
magnificent piece of work.
I grew up near Coney Island in Sheepshead Bay, the next community over. As a young guy in high school, making movies wasn’t
something I imagined I could do for a living—that was what people
in California did. But I was always drawn to the midways, rides and
amusements and took thousands of black and white 35mm stills
while I lived there. Though most of the places I shot back then are
gone, a walk through Coney Island today still feels like a dip into
history. The derelict buildings and abandoned attractions are all so
very moody. I also have a huge number of Kodachrome slides that I
took during those same years. Amazingly, none of them have faded.
More than anything, these pictures are emotionally resonant. I had
relatives all over the neighborhood. I’ve lived in California for 23
years but I still recall dozens of specific days and nights around the
old haunts. It’s funny how the whole environment just comes rushing back. The sights, the sounds, the smells. There always seems to
be some kind of summertime connection at work because as kids
that’s when we all used to run wild on the beaches. Returning after
a long absence and taking these photos was much more moving to
me than I anticipated. I want to do it again soon.
Credits for Richard Crudo, ASC as cinematographer include: Justified, Brooklyn Rules, American Buffalo, American Pie.
Richard is currently President of the American Society of Cinematographers, a position he also held from 2003-2005, and again from
2013 to the present.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Still Moving Pictures by James Chressanthis, ASC, GSC
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Still Moving Pictures (cont’d)
by James Chressanthis, ASC, GSC
I took a Leica Monochrom to Greece for three weeks and I didn’t
want to give it up. I had the 35 and 50 mm Leica Summicron
lenses and used the 35 almost exclusively. For street photography
I like shooting wide angle.
The Monochrom feels like a classic Leica camera body, very discreet, innocuous. People seeing you on the street are not threatened. It has the same range finder system as the classic Leicas.
It was very easy to use. The digital interface was very quick. The
latitude of the camera is fantastic. It captures highlights very well.
The resolution is astonishing. It’s like having a Hasselblad in a
35mm format. The blow-ups of these images and the detail are
astonishing. It was a pleasure to shoot. The Acropolis steps photo
was just a grabbed shot. You really do have a momentous sense
of people making a pilgrimage. And being of Greek ancestry, it’s
emotionally important.
We were there on a big fat Greek family reunion: nine GreekAmerican family members visiting our relatives in Greece: aunt,
uncle, a cousin, a niece and nephew, a second cousin and my wife
and daughter. We were showing Greece to the younger kids for
the first time. They were meeting their relatives in our ancestral
villages in the Peloponnesus. The village of my Mother’s family is
in a place called Lynistaina, in Southwestern Greece on the mainland, in an isolated extremely mountainous area. This village is
interesting because the temple of Apollo Epicurios, a miniature
Parthenon, sits way up on top of the mountain. Iktinus, the architect of the Parthenon in Athens designed this temple.
The portrait of my daughter Zoe taken was near my father’s an-
cestral village in Northern Arcadia, a little mountain place called
Livartzi near Kalavryta. It was outside the churchyard, with beautiful late afternoon light. Zoe is an artist, art student, animator
and young filmmaker as well. We were checking out the graveyard and many of our ancestors’ names were on the stones. Many
of them lived to be 90, 95, 100. She turned and I said, “ Hold it
there and just look at me.” And then a few moments later, I took
that next shot of her back with the forest glinting behind. Both
were at 320 ISO. The reverse shot is at f/2.0.
For me, these were “moving pictures.” The Acropolis steps catches
a moment, of people moving upward. Zoe in the village of our
ancestors is emotionally moving. Two takes on the meaning of
“moving.” This whole trip was an emotional one, a homecoming,
a personal pilgrimage into our own ancestry.
I’d like to mention something else that is moving. Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC and I are both new members of the Greek
Society of Cinematographers. Greece is recovering economically
but even during the depths of the economic and social crisis and
Greek cinematographers were also suffering yet they had the
wherewithal and fortitude to create this new Greek cinematography society. They told me they modeled it on the ethos and ethics
of the American Society of Cinematographers. Phedon just won
the BSC Award for Nebraska the other night so we want to trumpet that and the newly formed GSC.
Credits for James Chressanthis, ASC, GSC as Director of Photography include Four Minutes, Urban Legend, Life With Judy Garland, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, as Cinematographer and
Director of Ghost Whisperer, and as Director of No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Bob Caniglia Discusses DaVinci Resolve 11
This collaborative workflow is useful when it’s on the same network in one facility?
Yes. It is a unique feature to have both color grading and editing
in the same timeline with that kind of sharing.
For you, what’s the most interesting feature of Resolve 11?
I think that the collaborative workflow is something that will develop going forward in some of the larger facilities. That will get
a lot of play.
Give us a practical example. Let’s say you’re in the grading
room with the director and DP and they want to make an editorial change.
So, they tell the editor, who’s in another room, to do it, while they
can continue grading. The editor will log in and make the adjustment, and then it’ll pop up on the main colorist’s system. It’ll
say, “Changes waiting, do you want to accept them, review them,
etc.?” And the colorist can review the changes and then accept
them. Then, they can continue grading.
Why wouldn’t the colorist just make the change?
I met with Bob Caniglia, Blackmagic Design Senior Regional Manager for Eastern North America, in New York last week to discuss
DaVinci Resolve 11 and other new Blackmagic products.
JON FAUER: How did you get started at Blackmagic?
BOB CANIGLIA: I worked in New York at Broadway Video and
in Los Angeles at 525, doing commercials. Then I worked for
DaVinci for 5 years. They were based in Florida. I lived in New
Jersey and handled the east. Then, Blackmagic bought DaVinci
in 2009. So, on Friday, I was the youngest guy in sales at DaVinci
and on Monday, I was the oldest guy at Blackmagic, so it was a
long weekend.
Tell us, what’s new and exciting about DaVinci Resolve 11?
Resolve 11 has a lot of new improvements. The biggest one is on
the editing side. We opened up a lot more editing tools to make it
a complete, end-to-end program. And some of the editing tools
help us to be more interactive with the other non-linear editors.
So the more tools we add, the easier it is to do imports from Apple
or Avid or Adobe. The “round-tripping” gets better.
On the other side, we have people who are using the editing tools
and the color grading and staying in the same program, which
can also be beneficial.
On the color grading side, we now have a new collaborative workflow where multiple people can be working on the same timeline
at the same time: the same media, same timeline. A good implementation of this would be where you’re doing the color grading
and the producer or director or whoever’s sitting in the back says,
“Well, I think we should change this shot.”
Now, often times, colorists don’t want to play with the edit. Their
job is to do the color. So this way, you can actually have the editor
log into the same session and make the change. It will then show
up in the master session, you can accept the change, and then
there it is, all fixed. This way, you’re both working at the same
time, and you can actually have a third person collaborate.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Because I know a lot of colorists who wouldn’t want to touch an
edit. If I were the editor, I don’t think I would want somebody else
changing my cut.
And while they’re doing that, maybe an assistant is simultaneously de-squeezing anamorphic dailies or logging shots?
That’s the beauty of it. You also have the ability to create different
versions so multiple people can work together. Often in the past,
we had to wait for the project to be finished before we could actually do that, whereas now we can actually start some of that work.
It speeds up post-production.
Let’s describe another example. I’m shooting in New York, and
the real grading is being done in the LA but maybe the editor is in
Boston. How do you connect all these people?
We’ve had that for a long time: remote grading. You could have
one or two systems that have the same material, with a colorist in
one city and the client in the other. Via an Ethernet connection,
they can basically do the color correction that way. It would be
as if the colorist was in the room but you’re really looking at the
monitor. So that ability is there too.
What kind of editing can you do on Resolve 11?
To be honest, you can do almost anything with the exception of
multi-cam. There’s drag and drop, three-point editing, and sliding. I was amazed by how intuitive it was. It’ll sort of guess what
you need, what tool. You don’t actually have to keep clicking different tools. You hardly realize, but it changes the type of tool
based on the gesture you’re using.
It has audio editing, and you can do ramps. It has lots of timelines,
and it can flatten them out when you go into the color mode. You
can also make the timeline expand in the color mode, if you want
to go back and forth that way.
Is it more Avid-like or Final Cut or...
One of the things we did was informal polling of editors.
We asked editors what they liked and what else they would like to
see. We did that with different editors, using different NLEs. We
Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 11 (cont’d)
DaVinci Resolve 11 in Edit Page Mode with 3 monitors
and control panels. Photos courtesy Blackmagic Design.
were trying to put in the features that they liked currently and
ones that they were hoping for. So far, we’ve had a good reception
to it because there are, I think, over 140 new features in Resolve
11, not all of which I can recite.
What’s new in grading?
In grading, the tracker has been significantly improved. In the past,
when you were tracking something that went off screen, it had difficulty tracking off screen. But now, it actually does track off screen,
and it’s really easy to just adjust. The dynamic tracker, which was
always very good, has gotten even better. As a matter-of-fact, we
were showing it today (at the Blackmagic Day in New York), and it
got a round of applause based on the new functionality.
ACES support has been improved for the different file formats.
We’re always adding new updates to the different file formats.
Whether it’s ALEXA, RED, Canon, Sony, or others, those are always being added as features. There is a new grouping feature that
allows you to actually group several shots and play them down in
context so you can check grades to make sure that they match the
way that you want and in story order.
I just ran into a colorist who finished grading a film in Resolve 10.
When he saw the new grouping function, he said, “Wow, I wish
that was in there when I was doing it. That’s the feature I most
wanted.” The thing that we’ve been trying to explain from the beginning is that when Blackmagic bought DaVinci, this product
was just getting re-started in our eyes. We really wanted to change
the user interface. We wanted to make sure that it’s now growing
at the rate our owner (Grant Petty) expected.
What other grading tools are new? Metadata?
There’s more of an ability to save looks. There’s just better naming.
With the new ARRI AMIRA, you can can create a look or a
LUT in camera or you can create it in Resolve and then import
it into the AMIRA camera.
Resolve has had a 3D LUT builder for some time and, as a matterof-fact, we were talking frequently about the ability to create our
own color spaces. You can create your own palettes and LUTs that
you can transport between cameras and grading suites. Even if you
shoot Raw, when you’re on set, it’s tough to look at Raw images all
day and think that you’re getting what you really want to get. The
need to put in LUTs like that is definitely something that has been
there before, but it’s a great implementation with a new camera.
What about metadata?
In the Resolve media pool, you can go in and sort by the metadata and even add metadata. Our cameras have the ability to add
metadata. That was one of the reasons why we wanted to create
an acquisition device, a camera. We wanted to have metadata that
would carry throughout the process.
Resolve allows you to go in and add more because if you think of
Resolve as an end-to-end tool—if you’re doing dailies with it—
you could add comments in metadata like “That was a good shot,”
or “That was a good scene,” and the editor could pick up those
comments. In the grading session, if they ask, “Are you sure this
is the right shot?” you look it up in the notes to see whether it
was a good or bad take. So metadata has become more and more
Any suggestions on optimum performance for Resolve 11
with the latest Mac Pro? Specifically, how would you play back
Arriraw without it stuttering?
Usually it’s the storage itself that contributes to stuttering playback.
One of the things you can do is use the cache. There’s a new Automatic Render Caching feature. Especially if you have a lot of
grades on top, you can build up a cache. You can also play a proxy
to get real–time playback..
It’s a combination of the system, the GPUs and the storage that
contribute. The storage should be RAID.
Even back in the old DaVinci days when we sold $500, 000 turnkey systems, we didn’t sell storage. People would ask us what storage to use. Storage has a lot to do with playback as well as the
processing power and the amount of RAM you have.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 11 (cont’d)
This has never been possible before?
Not really, no. There’s been collaborative editing but not with a
finishing tool attached to it.
If I were home working on everything myself, I don’t know how
excited I would be about the new collaborative feature. But, as you
get into larger facilities, I think it’ll be welcome.
What’s the difference between Resolve 11 Lite and regular Resolve 11?
Resolve 11 automatic color match with color chart. Photo: BMD
Tell me about automatic color match with a color chart.
I used to work on a lot of commercials and I know that often
the DP or director who shot the product shot is not in the final
grading. So, you didn’t really know what color the package really was. Of course, the producer’s helpful nephew happens to be
there, but he’s color blind and says, “Oh, it looked brown to me.”
That doesn’t do you any good. Even if you had that product in the
grading room, the lighting may be completely different than what
the lighting was on set. So, by doing a chip chart or a color chart,
that would really help a lot of people.
Do the new Blackmagic URSA camera and Resolve 11 have it?
Yes. Resolve 11 has the ability to read the chart. It works with any
camera, as long as you shoot the color chart. Resolve will automatically balance the images.
Take us through a hypothetical scenario. We’re shooting a feature, and we’re bringing it to a facility that has Resolve 11 with
the collaborative workflow. Take us through a day in the life
from the moment the data card comes in. Let’s say it’s a Codex
Data Transfer Drive.
Right. They’ll transfer the data to their server. From then on, anybody with authorization can access that material. Next, an assistant or data wrangler creates the project and calls it, for example,
“Our Film.”
They will start editing. At some point the colorist will log into
that project and start grading some of the shots so that the editor
and director can see what they are intended to look like. The edit
is finished, and we’re going to open up the project today and do
final grading. As we said before, changes can be made to shots or
sequences. The edit changes can be done by the editor rather than
the colorist or an assistant. So you get the right person doing the
right job without having to wait for someone else to be finished.
So, you don’t have to wait for an edit to start grading? You can
actually catch up and stay ahead of the game.
Exactly. Sometimes, looks are created on the front end for dailies,
so there’s no reason to wait. If I were the colorist, I wouldn’t want
the editor messing with my color. It’s better if they can to do it
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
There are several differences between the Full version and Lite.
There are features that are not available in Lite. A good example
would be if you were to start a project in the Full version. You
saved it and then one day you realize you don’t have your dongle—you could open up the project in Resolve 11 Lite and even
do a lot of the changes. The editing’s all in there. Features not in
Lite are noise reduction, stereoscopic 3D, and image stabilization.
You can’t use multiple GPUs for processing, it’s only limited to
one. But if you’re on a laptop, that’s probably not a worry. The
point is, if I make changes on the Lite version, I can save it and
then go open it back up in the full version, all that’s there. If I had
done some noise reduction in the Full version and open up the
project, the noise reduction will still be done. I couldn’t adjust it
in the Lite version, but at least it is still there.
So, it is actually pretty interactive. DPs and directors can take a
shot at doing a grade on something and then they can send the
metadata to the colorist, and the colorist can get an idea of what
he was thinking.
It does give the colorist an idea, a better reference, than saying,
“Well, I was hoping it would be sort of, like…” and they start describing some film that they know instead of saying, “Well, this is
what I was hoping for”.
Or like the old days when we would send you a black and white
Polaroid with little circles and arrows and say “Make this darker blue.”
Yes, it does help. I know some DPs who said that it gives them
a better idea of what they can do so that they know how to light
better. Resolve Live, which we introduced last year, has the ability
to take camera output into Resolve, do a grade, and send it back
in a live mode so that you can actually adjust the lighting and see
it being adjusted on set. This can be very helpful for green screen.
Colorists also will benefit because they can actually contribute on
set by saying, “If you did this, we’d get a better result.” I think that
kind of interaction will start to occur more and more. Resolve
Live and some of our other tools will help.
Are you also involved with the Blackmagic Cintel Film
The Cintel Film Scanner is still in its infancy. But, yes, the interface is Resolve-based, if you will. It will have familiar tools. There’s
a three-wheel color correction interface that looks similar. One of
the things that we have done is to have a team that works on the
interfaces of our products—not so much to make them all similar
but just to make the functionality familiar. That team has done the
new updates to Resolve’s interface, also seen in the ATEM switchers, and now the Cintel, when that releases.
Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner
If I were a film preservationist, a member of
the International Federation of Film Archives
(FIAF), on the board of a Film Institute, Film
Library, Film School, Cinemathèque, Academy,
Museum or any other place where millions of
archival feet of film are stored, the first stop at
IBC would be Blackmagic Design to sign up for
the affordable Cintel Film Scanner.
AT NAB 2014, Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty
said, “There’s more than 100 years of 4K content
locked up in 35mm film, stored in vaults around
the world. 35mm film is natively 4K, and our
new Cintel Film Scanner will unlock millions of
hours of 4K material.”
Blackmagic’s new Cintel scans 35mm negative
and positive film to 4K digital files in real time.
It connects via Thunderbolt 2 to a Mac up to 30
meters away, with a fast data rate of 20 Gb/s.
Cintel includes electronic image stabilization
and grain reduction. A 16mm gate is available
as an accessory. It will be ready later this year for
around $29,995.
The sleek wall-hanging style is reminiscent of
Bang & Olafson, the MoMA permanent collection, or a Northern European set designer’s latest addition to 007’s flat, where James is sipping
shaken, not stirred, Martinis while digitizing his
entire collection of Bond films to 4K.
The Cintel Film Scanner uses very bright RGB LED illumination,
which runs cool to protect the film from heat and color fading. Cintel’s diffusing sphere technology helps with dust-busting and scratchremoval.
The Cintel film scanner will come with scanner control software for
Mac, image stabilization and grain reduction, and everything necessary to transfer 35mm or 16mm films to Ultra HD or HD files.
Scanned files can be opened with DaVinci Resolve for further color,
restoration, and mastering work.
Blackmagic at IBC: 7.H20
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
ARRI AMIRA Factory Tour
the jungles of South America, and he’s only taking an AMIRA.
Not even a backup. “No room in my backpack for a back-up,” he
said. This is the first 35mm sensor digital documentary camera
that Buddy Squires, ASC has bought. He’s off shooting in some
sketchy places with it by now, no doubt.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to visit ARRI in Munich and
get a tour of the AMIRA manufacturing facility. What follows
is a lengthy report: a day in the life of building AMIRAs. Colleagues have asked, “Is it a replacement for ALEXA?” “Is it a baby
ALEXA?” and “How soon can I get one?”
I don’t think it’s either a replacement or a baby. AMIRA is a documentary style camera. It is going to re-open an entire market to
ARRI that they once had with the 35-2C for news films, followed
by the 16S and 16SR for documentaries, magazine shows, corporate films and news.
A new software upgrade for the ARRI AMIRA camera will allow
it to record ProRes UHD files, satisfying the current UHD/4K
requirements of some productions and offering future-proof archiving possibilities for all.
To remain fair to all and editorially balanced, I normally try to remain National Geographically neutral. (The National Geographic
Manual of Style, when I shot docs for them, insisted that scripts
and narration be devoid of adjectives, superlatives and speculation. Just the facts. Avoid opinion. Resist ratings. Nat Geo is not
Guide Michelin. But here goes: this is the most interesting documentary camera since the Arriflex 16SR.
AMIRA is very sophisticated. Built-in 3D LUTs will be a big draw.
It’s very rugged. I was talking to a Dutch cameraman heading to
Another factor in AMIRA’s favor is its brand name and reputation for reliability. Good, solid, German engineering: looks good,
works well. Carries, shoots, leaves.
ARRI AMIRA began delivery in April 2014. It has the same 35mm
sensor as ALEXA, uses CFast 2.0 media cards, and enjoys an ergonomic design for long days and nights on a camera operator’s
shoulder. Like its 16SR ancestor, AMIRA is ready to roll right out
of a camera bag. It can run to 200 fps. Although AMIRA was designed for docs, news, corporate films, TV drama and independent
films, it will inevitably be found on all kinds of other productions.
TV productions often do not have the luxury of spending time
working on a look in post. AMIRA comes with a number of 3D
LUTs that can be applied on set during the shoot. You can build
your own 3D LUTs in-camera or with third-party grading systems and then load these LUTs into the camera during prep. You
can even modify the LUTs in-camera while filming.
ARRI has again chosen to work with Codex as a workflow partner
for AMIRA. Codex developed a CFast 2.0 reader, sold exclusively
by ARRI, and also an adaptor for Codex Vault for transferring
CFast 2.0 cards.
There are 3 camera configurations to choose from: Basic, Advanced and Premium. You then add a lens mount, battery mount
and bottom plate. The camera is then built in Munich to your
specifications at a prodigious rate. Any configuration can be upgraded by buying the appropriate license on the ARRI website.
Basic AMIRA includes: HD 1080i and 1080p, 0.75-100 fps,
ProRes 422 and 422 LT recording in Rec 709, three looks, adjustable in-camera image controls for knee, gamma and saturation,
peaking for focus control, zebra and false color for exposure control. Base price: $39,999.
AMIRA Advanced includes the basic package plus: 100-200 fps,
ProRes 422 HQ recording, Log C, unlimited Look functions, import Looks, and ASC CDL in-camera grading. Dynamic autotracking white balance, Wi-Fi remote control, Bluetooth audio
monitoring and pre-record function will be available with upcoming Software Update Package 1.1.
AMIRA Premium includes the Advanced package plus: 2K (2048
x 1152) and ProRes 4444 recording; importing custom 3D LUTs.
Buddy Squires, ASC and AMIRA
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Stephan Schenk on ARRI, ALEXA, AMIRA, “Avengers” and...
Stephan Schenk,
Managing Director
ARRI Cine Technik,
responsible for
the Business Unit
Camera Systems
((Sales, Product
Workflow and
JON FAUER: IBC 2014 will be the 5th anniversary of ALEXA’s
2009 prototype debut in Amsterdam. It was like the premiere
of a film or opening night on Broadway. The ARRI booth had
a working ALEXA sensor in a display case shaped like a telephone booth and three prototype models in a packed conference room at RAI. ALEXAs began delivery in June 2010. It’s
been quite a success story.
STEPHAN SCHENK: We really appreciate the great feedback we
got from all around the world and are very happy that ALEXA
has become almost the de facto standard in high-end TV drama,
commercials and feature films. If you look at the US box office at
the end of July 2014, you will find 9 of the current top 15 features
had ALEXA as their A-camera: 3 of the others were animated, 2
were shot on film, and 1 was with another digital camera.
Of course, there is no direct link between the camera’s performance and the box office. But if you look at the cinematographers
of these features who chose to work with ALEXA it does say
something. Nevertheless, we are not resting on our laurels. We are
in a constant dialog with professionals world-wide and get a lot
of advice on where to improve and how to take changing production methods into account. ALEXA’s flexible architecture makes
it possible to continually improve the camera with updates. That
way we can provide major new features to keep ALEXA up to date
and our customers and users happy.
You talked about the success in feature films, but when ALEXA
was introduced, it seemed that the intention was TV and commercials, and not necessarily features. What changed?
We announced 3 models, and the first one certainly was aimed at
TV drama and commercials. ALEXA is the camera of choice for
TV drama, especially in the US and Europe. But I think the whole
industry’s very willing to experiment. Our customers decide what
camera and what lens they need for their particular project, and
when they think the equipment suits their needs, they use it no
matter how a manufacturer intended it. From the start, they used
ALEXA for features as well. But certainly, the later models of the
ALEXA range are aimed at feature film productions.
Whom do you consider to be responsible for the breakthrough
in feature films?
There was not a single person or show, but a number of milestones. Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous was the first major feature. Anna Foerster was the cinematographer, and Marc Weigert
the VFX Supervisor, and they started the journey.
The real breakthrough came when Roger Deakins expressed his
opinion after using ALEXA on In Time, saying how much he enjoyed using it. Since then he has captured all his features on ALEXA, including Skyfall, which I, and many others, think is the
best Bond ever. I definitely should also mention Bob Richardson
and Rob Legato who paved the way when they won the Oscar for
Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects on Hugo.
The next year it was Life Of Pi with the Oscar for Best Cinematography going to Claudio Miranda and Best Visual Effects to
Bill Westenhofer. This year, an Oscar went to Emmanuel Lubezki
for Gravity along with an Oscar for VFX for Tim Webber and
his team. Again, it’s not the camera, but it’s the cinematographer
and the creatives who get the awards. We are certainly proud and
thankful that they all used ALEXA.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Stephan Schenk (cont’d)
In terms of box office, the biggest ALEXA success was certainly
Avengers, which is still the third-biggest box-office hit of all times.
Here you also find 3 features captured with ALEXA amongst the
top 10. Iron Man 3 is number six. Skyfall is number nine. But I do
not want to create the impression that we only look at Hollywood.
Cinematographers all around the world are relying on ALEXA,
and we value all their contributions and support to keep ALEXA
As they say in Hollywood, this camera has legs.
STEPHAN SCHENK: Yes, we wanted to make sure that ALEXA
has a long product cycle. This is good for our customers, who can
safely invest and get a long return on their investment. This is also
good for us, as it allows us to continuously refine the camera.
So we designed the camera in a way that we can easily upgrade
hardware and software, and our product policy is geared towards
continuity rather than constant product replacement. When
more and more people started shooting Arriraw, for instance, we
could have just made a new camera and left it at that. But in parallel to the introduction of the ALEXA XT cameras, which provide
120 fps uncompressed Arriraw in-camera, we also made a new
affordable side cover available so customers can upgrade their existing ALEXAs.
We also constantly work on Software Update Packages, which you
can install most of them free of charge. We just made Software
Update Package 10 available with some really useful features like
ProRes 4444 XQ. I can confirm that SUP 11 is already in the making—again with some substantial new features especially for the
ALEXA XT range.
Rental houses and owner-operators appreciate the value of their
ALEXA investment with over 4 years of usage. The camera keeps
running and running and is used no matter whether the application is a Music video or a $250 million VFX-heavy blockbuster,
no matter whether the deliverable is HD, 2K, UHD, 4K or IMAX.
4K and Consumer Electronics
Here comes the 4K topic. I think you also had some opinions
on the economics of home televisions.
A lot of marketing is done these days to sell more TV sets following a substantial decline after all of us had equipped our living
rooms with flat screens. In order to sell more TVs, 3D was pushed
heavily, and now its 4K, or UHD as it rather should be called for
the TV industry.
To make it very clear, ARRI never was and still is not against 4K or
UHD, although some people might have that impression. We just
want it for the right reasons. We feel that there is too much hype
and marketing and too little education on what is real and doable.
Certainly, there are benefits to higher spatial resolution but this is
only one aspect of getting a better image. Better dynamic range,
better colors, higher frame rates, and a number of other factors
also come into the equation. They all interact. For instance, higher resolution in motion needs higher frame rates. What is great
for sports live coverage is not necessarily great for a feature film or
a TV drama. At ARRI, we aim to improve and to deliver the best
overall image quality.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
What about the future in lenses? Will there be other formats?
What are you pushing next?
That’s a very good question. 2013 has been another record year
for Ultra Primes, Master Primes and our Alura zooms. The question is how many more PL-mount cameras will be introduced,
and how many more of those cameras are additional cameras?
Will the current PL-mount cameras stay on the shelf or will they
be used for other applications? And if a new kid comes on the
block, what lenses will it use?
Most of the new cameras support PL mount, so all those cameras
need PL-mount lenses. They have a common size. People want
to have a standard wherever they go in the world. If they are in
the middle of a shoot and need an additional 12mm or 180mm
lens on their project, they want to be sure that they can rent it.
This is what they get with UPs and MPs and increasingly with the
Alura zooms as well. I think we will still see continued sales of
PL-mount lenses.
It would be tough if somebody decided to create a new format
for mainstream applications. But we are always open to new requirements. For example, we have developed the new Ultra Wide
Zoom 9.5-18 for the requirements of sensors that need an extended image circle like the ALEXA Open Gate mode. The new UWZ
is the first rectilinear zoom lens with little to no image distortion
and uniform high performance from the image center up to the
corners in a never-before-seen image quality.
What do you think about the trend of cinematographers using
vintage lenses? Is this here to stay?
I think it will depend on the application. There will be features
where they are relevant and others where they are not. If you look
at Gravity or Life of Pi, those films preferred the look and performance of the Master Primes. Many cinematographers value the
ability to shoot wide open at T1.3 with available light only and
very few aberrations. But if you shoot a romantic period movie,
you might prefer vintage lenses to give it a special look in certain scenes. Different styles, different lenses and more choices are
great for all the creative people of our industry.
Speaking of style, what’s your feeling about anamorphic? Is
that going to be as big as I think it will be?
Yes, I definitely think it will because shooting anamorphic is one
of the best ways to give your film that special cinematic look. If
you look at the current films in the theatres, anamorphic is already big today. Actually, our Product Manager Marc ShipmanMueller and you predicted that there would be an anamorphic era
coming, since historically, there was always a rise in anamorphic
after every wave of 3D. The question now is, since anamorphic
always disappeared after a while, is it here to stay? Or is it another
wave and it’s going away?
I’m not sure if it ever went away.
True, but from what I learned it was rather cyclical in the past
and also different in each region. Actually, when I started at ARRI
five years ago, I was discussing the different lens types and asked,
“Who is shooting with anamorphic lenses?” I was told that anamorphic is especially big in India. On my next trip to India, I
Stephan Schenk (cont’d)
visited our customers there and spoke with Tarun at Anand Cine
Service about it. I asked, “Tarun, I heard India is an anamorphic
country.” But he said that this was gone and that there were hardly any anamorphic shows. But now we see it’s back more or less
everywhere. I believe it’s here to stay this time on a broader regional basis and we have defined an anamorphic set of lenses that
will contribute to that. When we started the question was, what
defines anamorphic? The immediate answer often was, “It’s the
flares and the special look.” But which flare? Which special look?
We did intensive tests. Marc Shipman-Mueller, Product Manager for these lenses before Thorsten Meywald took over, went all
around the world. And you, as well, right?
Yes, that was in October 2007. Marc was doing research on
anamorphics. Beginning January 2007, he had been compiling
a catalog of anamorphic characteristics, viewing anamorphic
films, and talking to DPs. Marc picked me up in Berlin. He put
me in his car and drove me to Jena and then to Oberkochen
for a three-day anamorphic captive-audience lens discussion
road-trip. All we talked about was anamorphic.
Rental Houses
Which big rental houses have the MA lenses now?
In North America, ARRI Rental, Camtec, Keslow, Radiant Images
and Trudell were first. But they have been ordered right from the
start. in Asia and Europe as well. They are shooting anamorphic
even in countries you wouldn’t expect, like Taiwan or the Philippines. They have ordered the Master Anamorphics because they
want to have the latest and best lens technology to position themselves in a future-proof competitive position. And more orders
have been coming in after the extremely positive feedback from the
first projects. Some bigger feature projects are scheduled, and commercials like the new Ford car campaign are already using them.
Speaking of rental houses, is the rental market changing for
you? Or the way you perceive rental houses around the world.
Is the role of the rental house changing? Are more individuals
buying the cameras or is it still rental houses that are supplying them?
That was the beginning of the Master Anamorphic lenses. From
discussions with you and many DPs, it was clear that people were
talking about a certain look. But when we started talking about
flares, you couldn’t nail them down to a single flare or two or
three or four. The only thing they all had in common was that
they loved the oval out-of-focus highlights, and the shallow depth
of field that separates background from foreground.
I think the biggest trend here is that rental houses are merging
to be able to keep up with the investments needed for equipment
and the converging needs of the different applications. In the film
days there were a certain number of rental houses who supported
the big feature film projects and who could afford the necessary
equipment. It was a dedicated approach to this part of the industry. People knew each other for a long, long time. It was kind of
a small family.
This was incorporated in the design, which was done by our partners from ZEISS. But lacking consensus on a definitive flare and
knowing how powerful post tools are these days, we did not favor one particular flare. We believe that you have to start with a
good and uniform optical performance over the entire lens range.
VFX is getting more and more important. Breathing, distortion,
mumps and other characteristics of classic anamorphic lenses
sometimes are wanted but in many cases result in a lot of costly
work in post. But, the signature look with depth of field and focus
fall-of is something that you ideally have from the start.
Now in the digital age, the same cameras that are used on a feature
film are used for many other applications as well. Consequently
there are many former video rental houses that were not into the
feature film market before but are now more and more capable
of supporting these needs, too. Also, more individuals are able
to buy cameras. More cinematographers and assistants are buying cameras and subrenting or consigning them to rental houses
when they are not using them between their jobs. Nevertheless,
the role of the rental houses remains very important.
What people who used the Master Anamorphics love is their
beautiful, unique anamorphic look with almost no distortion,
mumps or other optical aberrations. It is so much tougher to
work around distortion and flares than to intentionally add them
in post. With the Master Anamorphic lens series, we have a set of
anamorphics that give cinematographers more freedom to compose the image: where to compose the main object in the 2.39:1
frame and whether to shoot wide open at T1.9 or stop down in a
more classical way to T5.6. But again, it’s all about choice. All the
different anamorphic lenses will coexist.
Is it price-driven?
Yes and no. Of course, anamorphic lenses require a bigger budget. But what is a big budget feature that can afford Master Anamorphics? If we’re talking about a three, four, five million Euro
budget, it’s rather small for the U.S. For the rest of the world, that’s
a great budget, and they use these lenses. If you look at the difference in comparison to the total budget of a project, then the
budget for the camera equipment is very, very small. The more
important question is, “What look do I want to achieve, and in
particular, how cinematic do I want my images to look?”
Can small rental houses compete? Or will they be gobbled up?
Again the answer is yes and no. Is there a chance for BMW to survive against General Motors and Volkswagen? I believe yes. BMW
is having one record year after another, and they are much smaller than GM and VW. I believe there is room for these particular
high-quality brands that may be smaller as companies but deliver
better products and services for their customer. It’s all about positioning and knowing what your customer wants. But neither
BMW nor ARRI nor a rental company can sell their products or
services to everyone who wants a car, a camera or equipment for a
project. Price-wise you can’t, because you cannot make a BMW or
an ARRI camera for the price point of all competitors. It’s just not
the same animal. The same applies to rental houses, you will get
a certain level of service only with professional high-end rental
houses. This is not a question of size alone.
What about your market in Asia? Is it growing most rapidly?
Yes, it definitely is. We just moved into bigger offices in Hong
Kong and Beijing as both were not suitable anymore for the growing number of employees and services. We have been doing a lot
business already for a long time in Japan, China and Singapore/
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Stephan Schenk (cont’d)
The biggest growth currently is in China. I just returned from a
trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. The speed and aggressiveness there is very high, and they are also looking for the latest
equipment. They were among the first to order and use Master
Anamorphics, they shoot Arriraw on ALEXA XT, work with the
WCU-4, have ordered our new Studio Matte Box SMB-1, and
were also among the first ordering and receiving AMIRAs. But
other countries in Asia are also getting more and more important.
Was there a specific market you had in mind with the AMIRA?
Cinematographers, who were using ALEXA, have often told us,
“We would like to have, for particular shows and applications,
something that is a bit more suitable for handheld, with less
weight and a bit smaller, but please keep both the image and the
build quality.” We received a lot of feedback for such a camera
from other more TV-oriented markets, where a large sensor look
is requested more and more. Before AMIRA, the right camera
was not available for these kinds of mostly-single operator or
handheld style applications.
We also were looking back at our history, and I am sure you will
recall that about until the 1980s ARRI’s film cameras were used
by many cinematographers for doc-style projects like magazine
shows, reality, documentaries, corporate, etc. With AMIRA, we
again want to give cinematographers a tool that suits their needs
in these applications.
AMIRA reminds me of the Arriflex 16SR or 416 for the digital
age. A truly comfortable, ergonomic, handholdable documentary-style camera.
Exactly. You just have to watch out that you don’t drop the word
“style,” because then it becomes a documentary camera only, and
as we just discussed, there are many more applications for this
camera. Also, documentary is often confused with ENG. AMIRA
certainly is not aimed at the pure “news gathering” market, which
in my opinion, will remain dominated by 2/3 inch camcorders—
because in this application you very often need more depth of
field. However, as I said before, our customers find out what they
need no matter what manufacturers tell them and what they aim
at with a certain camera.
AMIRA is intended to be used for various production types and
we already received wonderful feedback from cinematographers
like Susan Gibson who was shooting for the BBC National History Unit. AMIRA is the first 35mm digital sensor camera that
Buddy Squires, the famous documentary cinematographer, purchased. Also, NFL Films just decided to use AMIRA for their renowned coverage. There are reality shows using it. When we were
at Camerimage, Sean Bobbitt, the DP of 12 Years a Slave, who
also has a documentary background, tried it, and he said, “For the
next feature, I will definitely need AMIRA on the show for handheld work.” Certainly AMIRA will be used as a B or C camera on
features and TV dramas where ALEXA is the A-camera. Johann
Perry used AMIRA for the new Vodafone campaign and loved
the 200 fps capability and also the AMIRA Look creator.
With all these different applications in mind, documentary-style
was the term we came to.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Talking about weight, some say that AMIRA should have been
even more lightweight.
We also wanted it to be as light as possible. But weight on one
side and reliability and durability on the other side are a tradeoff most of the time. When we sat down and debated weight vs
durability, we always opted for durability. The same applied for
performance. To give you some examples, would our customers
want software updates or a new camera whenever a major upgrade could be done? Would they want the 200 fps AMIRA gives
them in full image quality or in cropped mode? Would they want
the body ARRI-like or in plastic? Would they want the sensor
and electronics sealed or can we cool the sensor by blowing the
outside air over it?
The answer to all these questions is AMIRA as we offer it today.
This is also based on the feedback of DPs we spoke to during the
design phase. Our customers want reliable ARRI quality. What
should not be forgotten is that it’s not only about the weight but
also about the balance on the shoulder that is important. If you
have a zoom in the front and then need to add a counter weight
in the back, you are better off with a camera that is well-balanced
in the first place and also has the right weight for a smooth pan.
Having seen AMIRA yourself, what do you think we should do
differently or additionally or less?
Now I’m in the hot seat. AMIRA is extremely comfortable, ergonomic, stylish. There’s little that I find lacking. What about
a 4:3 sensor for anamorphic? You’re going to hate that idea…
That would make it more expensive and given that the main target markets are for TV, we did not include this feature. The same
applies for Arriraw.
How much could you save by having a carbon fiber body for the
really serious documentarians who are handholding all day?
I would have to ask one of our engineers, but I guess it’s maybe
about a kilo maximum, depending on how many parts of the camera you make in carbon fiber and also what type of carbon fiber.
Certainly, it’s an interesting technology, but it’s also more expensive.
Is cooling different on AMIRA and ALEXA?
With both ALEXA and AMIRA, the electronics are sealed and
the sensor has a Peltier element behind it to maintain constant
temperature. We don’t cool the sensor by sucking the air over it.
ALEXA has pipes that transport the heat to the radiator in the
back which cools the sensor and the electronics. With the AMIRA, there are no heat pipes, but a thermal core to cool them, similar to the way the latest Mac Pro is using it.
Looks like you are happy with the feedback on AMIRA?
Indeed, we received a lot of great feedback on AMIRA already.
There will always be a certain scene where another camera may
be better suited, but that was and is true for ALEXA, too. If you
look at sets today, you will find ALEXAs used as A and B camera.
But on top there are C300s or even GoPros mounted around a
car rig. There are Phantoms for high-speed. Cameras find their
applications, and now that AMIRA has been in the field for only a
few months, we can already see that cinematographer all around
the world are finding many applications for AMIRA and love the
outstanding images they get out of it.
Walter Trauninger on Assembling AMIRA
Walter Trauninger,
Managing Director
ARRI Cine Technik,
responsible for
the Business Unit
Camera Systems
(R&D, Production
and Supply Chain)
JON FAUER: Walter, this may be the fourth time you’ve given
me a tour of camera assembly. And every time the technology
has taken giant leaps.
WALTER TRAUNINGER: We experienced a big technology
change when we went into production of ALEXA cameras in June
2010. Before that time, we produced about 30 film cameras per
month, and then we had to change to producing 200 ALEXAs
per month. That meant re-engineering the manufacturing process from the ground up. Luckily, we have really good people who
took on the challenge. Christian Hartl, our Head of Camera Assembly, and his whole team did a fantastic job. Now ALEXA assembly is running very smoothly and we are facing the next task,
how to add AMIRA into the mix. The business environment for
the whole company has also gotten more challenging as the market is becoming more dynamic. More competitors are appearing
on the market with more low-cost products. Our goal is to optimize and reduce the time it takes to get from the first product idea
to the first customer shipment. Our product cycles are still relatively long because our business model is to produce cameras that
our customers will be able to use for more than four or five years.
The time to market is important for us. We are working to improve the process we did with ALEXA for future cameras. At the
same time, we also have to take care not to lose sight of the values
that are expected from ARRI products—reliability, robustness,
ease of use. Those qualities are expected, but they also expect our
products to become more affordable.
Who are “they?”
Producers, rental houses, owner/operators and sometimes people
who compare data sheets more than the overall image quality.
What about image quality?
We have always said that it is the overall image quality that is important, not just one parameter. Image quality begins with the
design of our sensors: starting from the D-20 to the ALEXA and
now to the AMIRA. Each is another generation of a similar sensor principle. The sensor is our unique design and has led to some
great looking images, and I think our customers appreciate this
obsession with image quality that we have.
How do you explain why the life cycle of ALEXA has been so
great in this era of Moore’s Law?
I think there are two reasons. First of all, a professional motion
picture camera is not a consumer product, but an investment.
Different rules apply. For rental houses, the ultimate utilization
they can get out of the equipment is more important than flashy
features or a cool marketing campaign. And second, we design
our products so they can last and have long product cycles. For
ALEXA, we are going to announce new features at IBC. Demand
remains high. At the beginning of the year we got more orders
for ALEXAs than in the same period last year. The ALEXA XT is
more in demand than the Classic.
Are more people buying new XTs or are they upgrading their
existing cameras?
Both, but we are actually selling more new ALEXA XT cameras
than upgrades. Some are upgrading their Classic ALEXAs, some
are selling them, but a surprising number of rental houses are
keeping their Classics and buying new ALEXA XTs as well. Another good indicator of a product’s value is the price for a used
cameras, which has stayed stable and high for ALEXA cameras.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Walter Trauninger (cont’d)
How many ALEXAs are out there, approximately?
Well over four thousand.
What’s your expectation for AMIRA? Is it going to be as much?
At least as much, I think.
That’s quite a success story. Can we go back to the beginning of
the Walter Trauninger story? You worked on the Arriflex 765?
The Walter story—okay. It goes back to ‘86 when I was asked to
join a small, new company, ARRI Austria in Vienna. It was 100%
owned by ARRI. Seven of us started there. Some came from the
Eumig camera company. I was one of the mechanical design engineers. My task was to calculate and design the movement of a new
65 mm film camera, the Arriflex 765.
The 765 ended up being manufactured in very low numbers for
our rentals. It’s still used for specialty projects or when a high
speed 65 mm shot is needed, as it goes up to 100 fps. Ultimately,
the 765 won a Technical Oscar.
Do you think the small numbers of 765 cameras was because
Kodak improved their film stocks?
Kodak improved film emulsions and invented T-grain. It’s ironic
that this pushed 35 mm cameras, started a renaissance of 16 mm
cameras, but this did not help 65 mm cameras. Of course, 35mm
was always the cinema-style format. We finished that project after
four years—1986 to 1990. Parallel to that, ARRI Austria started to
develop accessories. I was the project manager of the first ARRI
lens control system. Then we developed the Arrihead, which was
introduced in 1988 in Brighton. That was my first trade show with
ARRI, presenting the Arrihead.
Wasn’t the Arriflex 765 the first camera where the movement
was separated from the spinning mirror shutter?
Yes, and it was synchronized electronically. But our main task was
to get a very short transport angle. The combination of a big mirror of 200 mm, with the new movement, 100 fps, and the mass of
65mm film was a challenge. We needed new methods like finite
element calculation, which was introduced at that time. In a finite element calculation, you break the complex geometry of a
film camera movement into small, finite parts. This allows you to
reduce the complexity and calculate the results of any change in
design pretty accurately. That was a new concept that we implemented at ARRI. We also introduced CAD at ARRI Austria in
1986. That was very early computing. We had to work in shifts,
because the computer systems were so expensive.
At the beginning we had three shifts, then two shifts. Three or
four years later, everybody had their own personal computer. But
it was revolutionary at that time.
After the 765, we designed accessories and then the Arriflex 435.
I was the Project Manager and also calculated the movement for
the 435, which is very similar to the 765. The 435 was designed
and tested for 180 fps, but we released it as a 150 fps camera. That
gave us some headroom and ensured that it would work in all
environments, cold, hot, humid, you name it.
Wasn’t there a model that was supposed to go faster?
Yes, and that is a tragic story. In 2007 we were working on a new
435 that could go 250 fps. We even had a functioning prototype—
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Above: 11 years earlier at ARRI, different camera, shorter haircut. Walter
Trauninger with Arricam LT.
Opposite: Stephan Schenk and Walter Trauninger on the top floor of
ARRI, overlooking Munich
you should have heard it at 250 fps, it sounded great. But then
towards the end of 2008 the market for film cameras disappeared.
With a heavy heart, we stopped this development and started on
the ALEXA instead. But we were able to save some of the work
from the 435 HS: the ALEXA user interface was originally developed by Marc Shipman-Mueller for the 435 HS, and the ALEXA Studio viewfinder was based on the newly developed 435
HS viewfinder. So, in a very real sense, the ALEXA does have film
camera DNA.
The Arriflex 435 camera was a great success.
In 1993 I took over as Head of Development here in Munich and
Vienna, and together with both teams we developed the 435. The
435 was the first project I did as the Head Of Development, and it
did pretty well in the market.
When was the 435 first delivered?
We delivered the first cameras at the end of 1995. In 1997 we
started co-development with Moviecam and Fritz Gabriel Bauer,
and we created the Arricam.
Your job was Project Manager?
Yes. And also co-designer. The concept came from Gabriel. It was
a combination, to take the best of both worlds. Moviecam and
ARRI. I would say it had the electronics, drive system and robustness of ARRI, with the general layout, mechanical concept and
user interface of the Moviecams.
After the Arricam we designed the Arriflex 235 and the 416. I
was Head Of Development. The Project Manager was Klemens
Kehrer. The Product Manager was Marc Shipman-Mueller. Marc
had been working for ARRI in the US for a while, but getting
more and more involved with our camera development. From the
Walter Trauninger (cont’d)
US, he had helped on the 435 and designed the user interface of
the Arricam. In 2001 he moved back to Germany and became the
Product Manager for all cameras, lenses and accessories.
turing technique we are using, it is advantageous to have the individual workstations as close to each other as possible.
In 2003 I took over as the Head of the Camera Business Unit, and
I was in charge of manufacturing and camera, service and quality
control. In the meantime I have been with ARRI more than 28
years. So, for more than half of my life I have been working here.
The AMIRA family requires somewhat less effort in assembly, but
the testing process is more intensive because there’s more functionality—we have more complex audio in there and other functions that we do not have in ALEXA.
I’ve known you for that whole time then. Tell me about AMIRA
camera manufacturing techniques.
Since I became responsible for production, we’ve changed a lot.
I think you wrote about some of that in your ALEXA article a
couple of years ago.
AMIRA is very similar to the ALEXA with one additional requirement. We assemble each one to order. Normally, ALEXAs
are built “anonymously”—in a standard configuration, put in the
warehouse and then delivered. But with the AMIRA we have so
many different configurations, different mounts. Therefore we
have to assemble it to order, when we know which camera is
needed in which configuration for a certain date, and we put it together with the accessories. This required an additional assembly
line and a slightly different process.
How many AMIRAs are you building per month?
We are now looking at about 250 cameras per month, a mix of
ALEXAs and AMIRAs. Because of the way we have structured
the production line, we are very flexible regarding how many of
each we manufacture.
Did you have to find more space in this building on Tuerkenstrasse for building the AMIRA?
We have enough space. Also, with the one-piece flow manufac-
Are the manufacturing techniques different?
The ALEXA Studios have optical finders. Is this the future or
have we turned the corner for electronic viewfinders?
The electronic displays are getting better. And you want to see
what the sensor sees. An optical viewfinder doesn’t always show
you what the sensor really sees.
Are legendary DPs, who said they will always want an optical
finder, starting to change their minds?
Some are and some are not. We have a product for each. Those
that want the optical viewfinder have their ALEXA Studio cameras and they will still use their Studios with optical viewfinders.
It’s what they grew up with, what they’re used to, and they’re making good films.
From your position in development, where do you see the future for our end of the business going for cinematography in
terms of cameras, lenses, sensors, acquisition—all that?
We just want to maintain and expand the position we have in the
market: the knowledge of application, of our customers and of
our customers’ business models. We are not planning a change of
direction. We have a very good position in the high-end market.
We’d like to improve products for workflow and as you might say,
to become more of a one-stop shop.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Walter Trauninger (cont’d)
There are a lot of discussions about data formats, output formats,
and which recording devices to use. Our team here is in close
contact with our customers. I think that is one of the advantages
of ARRI. We are still listening to our customers. It’s difficult to say
which products will be coming next. It depends on technology
and it’s not only about hardware anymore.
The consumer electronics world is changing rapidly. Is the
high-end a little more secure?
We can never say if something is secure, but certainly a four year
product cycle for ALEXA that is still going strong indicates a certain stability.
Film cameras would often work for more than 10 years. Sometimes they lasted the entire lifetime of the DP. What is the life
cycle of an ALEXA digital camera?
The ALEXA will probably exceed five years. What’s important to
us is that our products have a long product cycle.
Why is that?
Because it is our job to ensure that our customers can make a
living with our products. And you can only do that if you have
a reliable product that lasts for a long time. With the ALEXA we
achieved that through an open technology and hardware platform that can be easily upgraded with new hardware and software. Since we delivered the first ALEXA, we have consistently
improved the camera’s functionality, sometimes with major new
features like ProRes 2K or ProRes 4444 XQ.
You said that a core value of ARRI is understanding.
It’s the close contact with our customers and knowledge about the
demands of what they do. We have two kinds of customers. First
we have the working professional, the cinematographer, director,
operator, assistant and DIT. They want to make the best image
possible with the least amount of fuss. The other is the company
who buys the cameras and rents them. We are taking care of both
groups. The rental house needs a very reliable, robust camera,
which can be used for nearly every application. The camera operator or DP wants a product they can rely on in the desert, in
the snow, the cold or wherever. We know about all these different
applications and how to handle them.
I also want to add another point about ARRI—our employees are
very loyal to us, and we are very loyal to them. During the financial crisis in 2009, we did not lay off anyone in production. That
helped our employees, but it also helped us, since we were able to
maintain all that know-how of our employees.
That was 2009. How far into ALEXA were you?
Development was at full-speed. We had to reduce labor hours at
the beginning of 2009 and by springtime some of the departments
that used to make film cameras were still on short labor hours.
And soon after, we immediately ramped it up into overtime.
IBC 2009 was toward the end of the financial crisis. That was
pretty scary.
Yes, having such a major technology change in the middle of a
global financial crisis was scary. But once we started to deliver
ALEXAs, things looked up for us. We started delivering the first
40 cameras in June 2010, and then we really ramped things up.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
In the very beginning it seemed almost as if ALEXA was a tentative step, like walking in a digital outer-space. The first step
was in TV and commercials, but not for high-end features, because it seemed that ARRI didn’t want to hurt their hold on
analog film cameras for high-end features. And then, all of
the sudden, it was as if someone had turned a switch and the
next thing you knew, ALEXAs were on all the high-end movies.
What changed?
I think the cinematographers were the first to recognize that we
provided a tool very similar to film, in its use and in its image
quality. They could use it like a film camera. I think that was the
first comment of Anna Foerster when she shot “Anonymous.” It
felt like a film camera. I think it took a while until the studios
recognized it.
Also the switch from two-third inch to a 35mm image sensor was
a big advantage for us. Starting with the ALEXA Studio, our sensor aspect ratio of 4:3 for anamorphic gave us a boost. You know,
the ALEXA is still the only camera with a tall sensor, which works
best for anamorphic lenses.
What was the reason for the switch from two-thirds inch to
35mm for TV?
I think it’s the look. They wanted to get better images with less
depth of field for television shows.
How many product managers are there now?
We have five product managers now. Since 2001, when Marc
Shipman-Mueller was the only Product Manager, we have added
a greater number of more complex products, and this would have
been too much for a single person. So with a growing portfolio,
we have grown our Product Management department.
Marc Shipman-Mueller remains the Product Manager for highend cameras like ALEXA. Markus Dürr is Product Manager for
AMIRA, Thorsten Meywald for lenses, Hendrik Voss for wireless
or electronic control systems, and Philip Vischer for Professional
Camera Accessories (PCA) Mechanical. In addition, we have
started a whole new department called Digital Workflow Solutions, headed by Henning Rädlein. They are essentially in-house
workflow consultants that have been of tremendous value to us
and to our customers.
In closing?
I think I would like to underline that ARRI kept their employees
from the film-camera era, and it paid off because we did not lose
this experience and knowledge. When you visit, you will find that
many of the same people who were building the analog cameras
are now building the digital ones.
Ergonomics and user interfaces are important. The camera has
to tell you if something is wrong, especially if you can’t see it. Our
film cameras were good at alerting you to potential problems because with motion picture film, you sometimes didn’t see the dailies until days later. Now you see it on the monitor, but you don’t
see everything. There’s still great value in the camera that tells you
if something is wrong, so you don’t have a repetition of the same
problem when you go to your next location.
In both the film and digital ages, nobody likes a re-shoot.
Markus Dürr, AMIRA Product Manager
Since AMIRA is a next-generation camera, coming 5 years after ALEXA was introduced, is the software more sophisticated?
It’s not that the ALEXA would fall behind, for that matter, because
the ALEXA still offers what we feel is the best image quality you
can get in the industry. So, ALEXA by no means has less image
quality. AMIRA just has different tools to let you modify the image in-camera. I don’t see that as a problem for ALEXA because
we see the applications of ALEXA as different from the AMIRA.
Markus Dürr, AMIRA Product Manager (above), was kind enough
to give me an Advanced AMIRA Lesson. Before joining ARRI,
Markus worked as Product Manager at Avid Technology, after
working as a cinematographer for many years and shooting a lot of
documentaries. These were excellent credentials for someone deeply
involved in the development of AMIRA.
JON FAUER: One of the most interesting features of the AMIRA is the 3D LUT Look capability. Can you explain it?
MARKUS DÜRR: The 3D LUT-based Look functionality in the
AMIRA allows you to access the color processing of the camera
in a very sophisticated way. It really goes to the heart of the color
processing in the camera. This is great if you want to define or
trim the Look of your program in advance or during shooting,
as you have more creative control of the final outcome of your
production. This way, you may also save some money in post.
With a 3D LUT based AMIRA Look (.AML file), you have a lot
of access points to modify how the image looks (color, contrast,
brightness, saturation, hue, etc). For the user, that offers several
things. First, you can import 3D LUTs from grading tools (like
AMIRA Color Tool or DaVinci Resolve) into the AMIRA Premium and use them for your own Log C to Rec.709 conversion.
The other part of the story, which is probably even more exciting, is that you have the whole look functionality where you can
go to a grading suite, create your look with the typical ASC CDL
parameters, save them as an AMIRA look file, load that in the
camera and once loaded in the camera, you can apply that to the
Log C file as a meta-data, or you can also bake it into the Rec.709.
For the AMIRA, you’re very often shooting alone or with a small
crew. It’s very helpful to do these kind of things quickly in-camera: for example, modify and bake the look into Rec.709. With the
ALEXA, you’re probably working with a bigger crew and under
different circumstances.
Are most people going to shoot Rec.709 with AMIRA?
I don’t think so, but you certainly can do that. What we envision,
as an ideal kind of scenario, is that pretty much everybody would
shoot in Log C, with a Rec.709 or other look predefined and applied to the monitor and viewfinder outputs. The look is stored in
the recorded metadata, where it can be used in post production.
This is a non-destructive decision because you can fully change
your mind later about how the footage looks.
So, the editing system can take the Log C and read the 3D LUT
metadata of the applied look as it was originally seen in the camera by the camera person, and it can automatically display the
footage in Rec.709 in the editing suite, with no action or attention
required anywhere for the conversion. It’s seamless and simple: in
reality, you shoot Log C, but you never see it, and you only view
Rec.709 or your individual look. Once you would go into grading,
you have the full Log C range available though.
We’re going pretty much in that direction, but we are not yet
there. We also see that in the documentary style shooting world, if
there is not an extreme time or budget pressure, people appreciate
shooting in Log-C because they like the opportunity to modify
the images more than they would for Rec.709. Nevertheless, there
are productions that prefer recording directly in Rec.709 out of
traditional workflow considerations or to avoid losing control
once the project goes to post. With AMIRA, you can easily travel
both paths in an equally effective way.
On top of that, you can also modify the looks for whatever ASC
CDL parameter, you can trim and change them in the camera.
You also have other tools available such as Video look parameters
like gamma, knee, black gamma, saturation and so on. Or you
can do a vector based secondary color correction if you want to
reduce a certain color. You can do all that in-camera while you’re
on set or on location. You don’t need a grading station or cart.
You can do all that with the little screen in the camera.
AMIRA’s 3D LUT look ability offers opportunities that, so far, have
not been possible with any other camera. Customer feedback tells
us that many users see a lot of opportunity in that functionality.
These Look Files are possible because the AMIRA has more
processing power?
Yes. AMIRA has more processing: the color pipeline and LUT
conversion is based on a extended processing pipeline.
These are your “grading suite in the viewfinder” controls. To create your
own AMIRA Look within the camera, duplicate the default Rec.709 or
any other Look, and save it with a new name. Next, using a monitor
attached to AMIRA’s HD-SDI output, adjust the ASC CDL parameters
and/or the Video Look parameters. For a more comfortable way of creating or modifying AMIRA Looks, use the free AMIRA Color Tool.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Assembling AMIRA
At 10 am every Wednesday, R&D, Camera Assembly, CQM, Supply Chain, Purchasing, Parts and Service teams meet to discuss progress
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
AMIRA Sensor Bonding and Clean-Room
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
AMIRA Factory Tour (cont’d)
Siegfried Wetscheck, head of Sensor Bonding and Clean Room Assembly, shows how sensors arrive as round wafers in air tight gel packs
The individual sensors are cut from the wafers
The cover glass is mounted into its carrier
Cover glass is cleaned
The sensor, covered with plastic, is mounted to electronics board
Heat sink on the rear side of sensor
Mounting sensor assembly to the internal spine and boards
One-piece flow manufacturing: each assembly technician adds
something to the camera as it passes all the workstations.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
AMIRA Factory Tour (cont’d)
Christian Hartl, head of Camera Assembly
AMIRA is built from over 1000 components in these bins (above). Many
of these parts are crafted at ARRI on the latest CNC machines (below).
Andreas Weeber (above) member of the assembly team, whom many
remember from his stint at ARRI service and ARRI/CSC in New York.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
AMIRA Factory Tour (cont’d)
ALEXAs (above) continue to be in high demand and are built in the same facility as AMIRA (below)
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Matters of Life (of AMIRA) and Depth
You can order your AMIRA with the following mounts: PL-LDS, B4 or EF. The PL and B4 mounts have a 12-pin Hirose connector to provide power and
data connection (rec start/stop, iris control, user button) to the servo of the lens. For B4 mount lenses, you can use the AMIRA B4 mount, the ARRI B4
to PL adapter or 3rd party adapters with approximately 2,5x magnification.
Just like familiar film cameras: stainless steel shims set the flange focal
depth of the lens mount
If you’re wondering what the factory uses to check flange focal depth of
the lens mount, it’s a DENZ FDC Flange Depth Controller
Correct Flange focal depth (52.00 mm) is confirmed when the red bar
lines up equally between the green bars on a monitor that is connected
to the output of the camera.
The FDC’s calibrated hand wheel ring will display “0” when the
measurement is correct. It’s calibrated in increments of .01 mm and
corresponds to the thickness of shims to be added or subtracted.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
AMIRA Factory Tour (cont’d)
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Electronic Viewfinder
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Testing AMIRA
Ensuring proverbial ARRI reliability: Sebastian Lange (middle), head of Central Quality Management and some of his team.
(AMIRA Product Manager Markus Dürr is on the right, hugging his baby.)
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
AMIRAs Ready to Go
Guido Felber from the
assembly team with a
cart full of shiny, new
AMIRAs on their way to
the shipping department.
As Walter Trauninger said, these
are not “anonymous cameras”—
every camera is built to the
customer’s specific configuration.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
ProRes UHD for AMIRA
Kevin and David Couliau shooting a
promo video with French Olympic
boxing champion Brahim Asloum
using PhotoCineRent AMIRA. Photo
by PhotoCineRent.
Any documentarians dragging their feet on the way to the AMIRA
shop will doubtlessly hit the ARRI speed-dial button when they
hear this. If their only hesitation, up to now, was caused by the
ominous hyphenate “future-proof,” that anxiety is now assuaged.
to living room, from deal to distribution, or simply want to archive in UHD for future-proofability and potential future profit,
AMIRA now offers an easy upgrade that requires no additional
processes in postproduction.
Wildlife cinematographer Sophie Darlington recently wrote, “I
think many wildlife production companies will be waiting for a
4K version to satisfy the pixel pickers.” Yes, Sophie, this upgrade
may be for you and them.
For major feature films, an up-sample to 4K can be carried out
after visual effects and other postproduction tasks have been completed at 2K resolution. For certain fast-paced AMIRA productions, however, there may not be the time or resources for such
processes in post, which is why 4K or UHD directly in-camera
has been requested.
A new software upgrade for ARRI’s documentary-style AMIRA
camera will allow it to record ProRes UHD files, satisfying current
UHD/4K requirements and offering future-proof headache relief.
An increasing number of producers, studios and companies have
considered safeguarding the longevity of their programs by ensuring that they will be suitable for UHD transmission, viewing,
streaming or downloading. The old mantra of “we’ll just do the remake when the next standard rears its head” is no longer credible.
(Remember how long it took stations and studios to move from
standard 16mm to Super 16mm, long after every new camera in
the world was already fitted with a S16 gate?)
For productions that need to generate UHD deliverables, AMIRA
will now offer the ability to record all ProRes codecs in Ultra High
Definition 3840 x 2160 resolution directly onto the in-camera
CFast 2.0 cards, at up to 60 fps. This feature, available for purchase
through a software license (and a sensor calibration for existing
AMIRA cameras), comes in response to feedback from AMIRA
customers, some of whom have been grilled about UHD/4K deliverables by clients. It is made possible by the camera’s image
quality, processing power and reprogrammable system architecture (FPGA).
Whether a production is pursuing UHD production from lens
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
AMIRA’s UHD uses the same efficient 1.2x up-sample filter that
ALEXA’s Open Gate mode employs to UpRez the same sensor
pixels for 4K distribution. In the AMIRA, this up-sample to UHD
happens in- camera, and in real time.
Outputting UHD broadens the distribution options. The 14+ stop
dynamic range remains unaltered, as does the colorimetry, contrast, style and look. By making the sensor’s high-quality image
data compatible with higher spatial resolution formats, the UHD
upgrade addresses concerns in certain regions and productions
about a 4K future, allowing AMIRA to be used on any project, no
matter what deliverables are required.
Markus Dürr, ARRI AMIRA Product Manager, said, “Feedback
on AMIRA from all over the world has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is clear that the camera is already a great success, as it
is being used on an amazing variety of challenging productions.
Already acclaimed for its phenomenal image quality, ease of use
and versatility, the new ProRes UHD output will take these benefits even further, adding value for customers in areas like China,
where 4K is a major focus of industry attention.”
ARRI at IBC: 11.F21 and at Cinec: 3-C01
ALEXA Updates
ARRI ALEXA Software Update 10
Additional SUP 10 Features
ALEXA cameras get support for Apple ProRes 4444 XQ, the highest-quality version of ProRes to date, in the new Software Update
Packet SUP 10, which should be available by IBC.
Support for Sony SxS Pro+ Memory Cards
ALEXAs can record ProRes or DNxHD to 64 GB and 128 GB
SxS PRO+ memory cards in ALEXA Classic, XT and XR cameras.
Marc Shipman-Mueller, ARRI’s Product Manager for Camera Systems, explained, “ProRes 4444 XQ has a higher target data rate
(500 Mb/s) than ProRes 4444 (330 Mb/s).”
180º Image Rotation
180º image rotation is especially helpful for Steadicam operators
when they flip their rig upside down for shooting in low mode.
Henning Rädlein, ARRI’s Head of Digital Workflow, said, “ProRes
4444 XQ is a good choice for high-end mastering and archiving.
It offers 12-bit RGB encoding with a low compression ratio of
1:4.5 and maintains the tonal range of Log C, while providing the
speed, ease of use and familiarity of ProRes.”
180º image rotation is also good when using the new ARRI Ultra
Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5 - 18 (which has an inverted image).
Final Cut Pro version 10.1.2, DaVinci Resolve 11 and Colorfront
Exd 2014 and OSD 2014 support ProRes 4444 XQ now. ARRI
ALEXA XT cameras and ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR
Module will gain ProRes 4444 XQ capability with ARRI’s Software Update Packet SUP 10. ALEXA XR/XT cameras will support ProRes 4444 XQ in both HD and 2K resolutions.
ProRes Review
ProRes 4444 XQ is the highest-quality version of ProRes with a
very high data rate. ProRes 4444 XQ preserves dynamic range
several times greater than Rec 709. Like standard ProRes 4444,
this version supports up to 12 bits per image channel.
ProRes 4444 is a high-quality version of ProRes. It features fullresolution, mastering-quality 4:4:4 RGB color with a lower data
rate than uncompressed 4:4:4 HD.
ProRes 422 HQ is a higher data rate version of ProRes 422 that
preserves visual quality at the same high level as ProRes 4444,
but with 4:2:2 color subsampling. Supports full-width, 4:2:2
video 10-bit, and is visually lossless through many generations.
ProRes 422 is A high-quality codec offering nearly all the benefits of ProRes 422 HQ, but at 66% lower data rate for better
multistream, real-time editing performance.
ProRes Recording in ALEXA XT cameras with SUP 10
(and Classic cameras with XR module)
Sensor Recording Format
Mode Format Setting
ProRes 2K
ProRes 2K
Output Reso- Color
Data Rate
@ 29.976
fps in Mbit/s
1920 x 1080 10 bit YCbCr 147
422 HQ
1920 x 1080 10 bit YCbCr 220
1920 x 1080 12 bit RGB
4444 XQ
1920 x 1080 12 bit RGB
When enabled, the image is rotated 180º in the EVF, REC OUT
and MON OUT. A metadata flag is set in Arriraw and ProRes
files. The recorded image is not rotated, but can easily be rotated
in almost all post software. Arriraw Converter or Codex software
can automatically rotate the image based on the metadata flag.
Short List of SUP 10.0 Features
• Apple ProRes 4444 XQ
• Support for SONY SxS PRO+ cards
• 180º Image Rotation
• Open Gate for ALEXA XT M
• Arriraw 4:3 Cropped (96 fps)
• Fast regular/high speed switching
• User interface improvements
ARRI Alexa 3.2K ProRes for UHD
ARRI Alexa cameras will soon be able to record 3.2K ProRes for
seamless up-rez to UHD/4K in post. ProRes 3.2K for Alexa cameras will be available in a software update (presumably SUP 11)
scheduled early next year. ProRes 3.2K allows a similar up-sampling in post to UHD as Arriraw Open Gate does to 4K.
For TV productions working in UHD, Alexa XT cameras and
Classic cameras with an XR Module will be able to record ProRes
3.2K. The data rates will be well below uncompressed Arriraw
(ProRes 4444 3.2K is expected to be around 700 Mbit/s, which is
1/3 of Arriraw Open Gate’s 2.17 Gbit/s).
The ARRI Amira upgrade announced last week offers ProRes
UHD recording in-camera and in real time to CFast 2.0 cards up
to 60 fps. This in-camera up-rez is possible because Amira has a
powerful processor. Amira’s UHD uses the same 1.2x up-sample
filter that Alexa’s Open Gate mode employs to up-rez in post for
4K distribution.
2048 x 1152 10 bit YCbCr 168
422 HQ
2048 x 1152 10 bit YCbCr 251
Alexa ProRes 3.2K is a 16:9 format. Image diagonal is 29.74 — so
almost all 35mm cine lenses will cover. Where do the extra pixels
come from? The Alexa HD image area is 2880 x 1620. The additional width comes from the 5% extra surround view area of the
sensor, which is also used in Open Gate.
2048 x 1152 12 bit RGB
Numbers, Facts and Figures
4444 XQ
2048 x 1152 12 bit RGB
2048 x 1536 10 bit YCbCr 223
• Alexa ProRes 3.2K is 3168 x 1720
• Amira UHD is 3200 x 1800
• UHD is 3820 x 2160
• Arriraw Open Gate is 3.4K
• ProRes 3.2K for Alexa XR and XT cameras will be available in
ProRes 422, 422 HQ, 4444 and 4444 XQ
422 HQ
2048 x 1536 10 bit YCbCr 335
2048 x 1536 12 bit RGB
4444 XQ
2048 x 1536 12 bit RGB
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Aaton-Digital Cantar-X3
The eagerly-awaited, new Aaton-Digital 24-track Cantar-X3
digital audio recorder will premiere at IBC 2014. Ergonomics
have been improved, with extended linear faders, smooth rotary knobs and silent switches.
The microphone preamps have improved filtering and reduced
noise. Optional Audinate Dante digital audio networking is
available. The user interface has a new display-based menu, designed by sister company Transvideo.
Cantar-X3’s housing is water and dust-proof, machined from
avionics aluminium and coated with a durable mil-spec finish. Run-time is exceptionally long, making it well-suited for
exterior location work. Wireless receivers, external drives, additional mixers can be connected to the Cantar X3 via standard
audio and computer connectors.
Peter Schneider, VP of Gotham Audio, was enthusiastic. “I like
the forward thinking, incredibly elegant design and pristine audio quality. Jacques Delacoux has married the best traditions of
Aaton with the advanced display technologies of Transvideo.
The Cantar-X3 shows levels and data on a pristine and bright
monitor. This is important because we are often required to record more tracks simultaneously than our ears can monitor. So
we now have to monitor with our eyes as well.
Transvideo 5” StarliteHD
StarliteHD is a 5” OLED onboard mini-monitor/field monitor
that can also record H.264 video, get framegrabs, and generate a
PDF with metadata from ARRI and SONY cameras for each take.
With cameras getting smaller, Transvideo has reduced the size of
this 5” HD OLED monitor to about the size of a smartphone. It
weighs only 190 grams. Despite the small dimenstions, StarliteHD is a high-end 3G-SDI field monitor. Built-in tools include a
high-resolution waveform monitor and a precision vectorscope.
The new user interface relies on a modern touch-screen panel and
frees you from incomprehensible and endlessly tiered menus.
StarliteHD is currently shipping worldwide. Accessories will include
several battery holders (already available), a sun shade, eyepiecestyle magnifying loupe, and a cover with magnetic fasteners.
Transvideo StarlightHD 5”
OLED Monitor with loupe/
viewfinder attachment
“This is the only production recorder I know of that is capable
of recording so many tracks. And it does so in a portable package that is as comfortable carried over your shoulder as it is
working on a sound cart.”
Aaton-Digital /Transvideo: IBC 11.F31
Cinec: 3-A25/01
Cantar with AatonDigital 5” OLED
Monitor (Aaton
version of Transvideo
StarlightHD Monitor
Wireless Starlite, CineMultiTrack, IBC
A wireless version, StarliteHD-RF should be ready in the first
quarter of 2015. It is based on the 5” OLED StarliteHD monitor
and shares the same features and accessories.
Transvideo will also introduce CineMultiTrack, a new distance
measurement system to track several objects on stage and provide
precise distance measurements.
Aaton-Digital/Transvideo CEO Jacques Delacoux will preside
over the IBC booth, as usual. Also sharing: Film and Digital
Times editor Jon Fauer, along with representatives from Steadicam and Artemis and their respective rigs. Happy hour every day,
except Sunday, which is party day. IBC booth 11.F31.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Sony Dreams of Cameras
Sony a6000 APS-C mirrorless still
camera with E-mount.
Sony Vérité: new PXW-FS7
4K Super 35mm XDCAM
camcorder with E-mount
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a marvelous documentary about Jiro
Ono, the 89-year-old sushi master and owner of the second most
difficult restaurant in the world to snag a reservation: Sukiyabashi
Jiro. President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
got in for dinner on April 23 at this Michelin three-star restaurant
in Tokyo, considered by many to be one of the best sushi restaurants in the world.
Sukiyabashi Jiro happens to be just one short block away from the
Sony Building in Ginza, where I got my first immersion course in
the virtues of Sony E-mounts on still camera last November. This
versatile mount began life on Sony APS-C mirrorless NEX still
cameras, which became wildly popular because of their superb
images and rapidly growing inventory of interchangeable, high
quality, compact, and lightweight lenses. NEX was later renamed
“α.” But then a funny thing happened on the way to the sushi
bar. The E-mount was large enough to encompass the larger fullframe 24x36mm format, and was next seen on the incredibly advanced Sony α7, α7R, and α7S mirrorless cameras.
In the documentary, Jiro says, “I would see ideas in dreams. My
mind was bursting with ideas. I would wake up in the middle of
the night. In dreams I would have visions of sushi.”
Meanwhile, the engineers at Sony’s Atsugi and Shinagawa labs,
and back in Park Ridge, NJ, were having dreams of a different sort.
Juan Martinez, Sony Senior Product Manager, always seemed to
dream of ergonomics, something that has been occasionally elusive. Juan often talked wistfully about the Aaton a-minima, his favorite camera. He and his colleagues spoke to many DPs, asked for
opinions, and gathered research. And why was Tatsuro Kurachi,
Director of Product Marketing and Management, always discussing the short flange focal depth (18 mm) still camera α-mount?
The fascinating product of those dreams, a convergence of mirrorless stills and video, showed up, of course, the day before we
were about to go to press. Here, on the following few pages, is
a hasty report on a tiny, lightweight, ergonomic, shoulder-resting, cinema vérité style, 4K motion picture camera with a Super
35mm sensor and an E-mount.
The Sony Park Ridge
team who dream of
Sony FS7 Dream Team, L-R:
Chiyoko Yannette, Senior Marketing
Juan Martinez, Senior Product
Tatsuro Kurachi, Director of Product
Marketing and Management.
(Tatsuro also dreams of lenses.)
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Sony Vérité PXW-FS7
The camera is modular. The basic body weighs a mere 1.9 kg (4.2 lb).
FS7 is about as long as your outstretched hand: 197 x 135 x 140 mm
(7.76 x 5.31 x 5.51 in)
The E-mount has an 18 mm flange focal depth. Sensor is Super 35mm.
Hurray! Standard Hirth tooth rosette for handgrip on camera right side
Audio connectors hug the camera right side forward of heat vents
12-volt on-board BP batteries slide into the rear compartment
Bottom View: 1x 3/8-16 and 2x 1/4-20 threads. Careful: not stainless,
but entire plate removes with 4 screws. Adjustable shoulder pad.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Top View: Handle removes with 4x 1/4-20 screws (Imperial hex heads).
There are 6x 1/4-20 and 2x 3/8-16 stainless mounting threads. Multipin connector at rear is for Raw output to Bob. Connector in middle feeds
to Multi Interface hot shoe in handle (power, wireless audio input, etc).
Sony Minima - Sony Vérité - FS7 (cont’d)
Good cameras have always been goddesses, so let’s call the FS7 by one of its more romantic nicknames: Sony Vérité or Sony Minima.
It’s about the size of a 16mm format Aaton a-minima, but a lot lighter. It’s as unobtrusive as a classic cinema vérité 16mm camera, but
has a Super 35mm 4K sensor. It is really comfortable—the culmination of years of Handicams yearning to sit on your shoulder. Let’s
“build” the camera. It takes less than 5 minutes. You can carry the entire camera package, complete with lenses, media, and accessories,
in a lightweight padded backpack. Since the handle, handgrip, and eyepiece are bigger than the body itself, you probably packed them
1. Attach a lens onto the E-mount.
4. For comfortable operating on a tripod or dolly, swing the viewfinder
arm and bracket back towrds the rear of the camera. The entire monitor/
viewfinder swivels back as well.
Fear not that the LCD monitor/viewfinder is almost as big as the camera.
Wooden Dented Vocal Technica Piffl Camera Accessory Machinists
are already dreaming of ways to attach your OLED viewfinders, and
even better, the miniscule but beautiful external 2.5 Megapixel OLED
viewfinder of the Sony RX100 Mk II still camera.
2. Attach the handgrip extension to the rosette on the
camera right side. Plug the cable into the REMOTE
socket. The handgrip is attached to the extension, but
I can already hear woodworkers sanding and shaping
rare walnut and olive wooden handgrips, which
inevitably will be removable.
3. Adjust the handgrip extension in or out,
and angle the handgrip for comfort. Adjust
the shoulder pad. Attach the monitor and
snap on the viewfinder hood. Plug in the
monitor cable.
5. The viewfinder
flips up to view the
3.5-inch (8.8 cm)
1.56 Megapixel LCD
monitor directly
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Sony FS7: The BoB
IRND Filter wheel:
1/4 (ND.6 - 2 stops)
1/16 (ND1.2 - 4 stops)
1/64 (ND1.8 - 6 stops)
PL to E-mount adapter
forward-back buttons
When you want Raw recording, V-mount batteries, Genlock,
Timecode, Ref Out, 4-pin XLR DC out, 4-pin Hirose DC Out,
Raw Recording, Raw Output, or hardware ProRes encoding—
clip on the optional BoB (officially CAEX7 Extension Unit). To
use the BoB, remove the small onboard BP battery. The Bob slides
into the battery compartment and lowers to make contact with
the 144 pin connector on top. Two thumbscrews secure it.
Main Power
On-Off Switch
The BoB
2x XQD Memory
Card Slots
The BoB contains hardware and circuit boards to handle Raw and
ProRes encoding. Raw data is passed from the sensor, through the
144-pin connector, into the BoB’s processors, then either output
via BNC as 12-bit linear RAW for external recording or encoded
as ProRes and then sent back to be recorded onto the internal
XQD cards. The modular arrangement is thoughtful and BoB
helps balance with batteries and bigger lenses.
WiFi module
Focus Tape
REMOTE control plug for handgrip
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Handgrip Rosette
Sony FS7 (cont’d)
The body and chassis is made of magnesium. Body only weighs
less than 1.9 kg. (4.2 lb), 2.9 kg (6.4 lb) with eyecup, LCD monitor,
BP-U30 battery, and XQD memory card.
Juan Martinez, at left, describes the FS7 as a long form cinema
vérité camera, optimized for documentary style. The body is
small, light, stylish—designed as a “rig-less, cage-less camera.” It
is weather and spray resistant. Cooling is quiet and Mac-Pro-like
(central chimney, components in separate sealed compartment.)
Juan Martinez with
FS7 camcorder
FS7 records various Long GoP codecs as well as intra frame, from
HD, 2K to UHD and 4K. There’s a 4-position clear-ND filter
wheel. The BoB breakout box has timecode, genlock, Raw processing and 12-bit linear output, and hardware ProRes encoding.
The E-mount is stainless steel. A new 28-135 mm servo zoom will
be offered as the kit lens a month or two after launch. It’s made in
Sony’s new Kohda optics factory.
A GPS receiver, with antenna in the handle, provides location
metadata on MXF.
The Sony Vérité PXW-FS7 will be introduced in September at
IBC and worldwide. It ships in October. I’m guessing the entire
package will cost about the same as a first class round-trip ANA
or JAL ticket to IBC from Tokyo to Amsterdam.
FS7 Smart Handgrip
Assign 4:
enlarge EFV image
RELEASE to loosen handgrip lock,
letting you rotate it to a comfortable
Assign Dial:
Iris Control
Zoom Rocker
Assign 6:
Push Auto Iris
Button 5:
User Menu
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
(for Menu
Sony FS7 (cont’d)
FS7 uses economical Sony XQD Memory Cards, available in 32 and 64
GB capacities, and comes with a USB 3.0 card reader.
A 64 GB Cards costs around $299 online, and a 32 GB is $199. XQD S
series has a data transfer speed of 180 MB/s.
There are 2 XQD Memory slots behind the hinged camera door
12-volt BP30, BP60 and BP60T onboard batteries. “T” has a power tap.
To install, battery slides straight in, then push down to engage contacts.
BP battery inside FS7 battery compartment
Above and below: rear view of BoB with Sony V-Mount and Li-Ion
Battery. Gold Mount is also available.
Sony UWPD digital wireless system. Unique power and signal
connectivity to FS7 via MI (Multi Interface) shoe.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Sony E-Mount Lenses
Sony FS7 with high-end E-mount lenses
Back row, L-R:
70-200 f/4
24-70 f/4
135 f/2.8 STF
18-105 f/4
Front row, L-R:
55 f/1.8
24 f/1.8
35 f/2.8
10-18 f/4
22 Sony E-Mount lenses have already been launched. 5 or more new
ones are planned every year.
There are currently 5 E-mount full frame and 17 APS-C lenses for a
total of 22 E-mount lenses.
The entire line of Sony E-Mount and Alpha Mount lenses consists of
more than 58 lenses, including converters (below).
Up to 10 35mm full-frame E-mount lenses are planned by end of 2014,
and 15 lenses by the end of 2015.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Sony E-Mount Adapters
Lenses with a flange focal depth greater than 18mm will fit on an
E-mount camera by using an adaptor. E is also known as NEX.
Adapters are supplied by MTF, Vocas, P+S Technik, Denz, Wooden
Camera, Metabones, 16x9 inc, IB/E Optics, Fotodiox, Novoflex, etc.
PL to E-Mount Adapters are made by MTF, Vocas, 16x9 inc, etc.
ZEISS CP.2 Compact Primes and CZ.2 Compact Zooms have an
E-mount available.
Note that the E-mount is not as robust as a traditional motion picture
style PL mount. Use a lens support when mounting heavy lenses.
Lens Mounts and their Flange Focal Distances
Sony E mount 18.00 mm
Sony FZ mount 19.00 mm
Micro Four Thirds MFT 20.00 mm
Samsung NX25.5 mm
Leica M mount 27.80 mm
Konica AR40.70 mm
Canon FD mount 42.00 mm
Minolta MD43.50 mm
Canon EF mount 44.00 mm
Sigma SA mount 44.00 mm
Sony Alpha mount 44.5 mm
Pentax K mount 45.46 mm
Contax/Yashica45.5 mm
Olympus OM mount 46.0 mm
Nikon F-mount46.50 mm
Pentax K mount 45.46 mm
Leica R mount 47.00 mm
Arri PL52 mm
Panavision PV 57.15 mm
Sony FS7 with MTF PL to E-mount adapter and Cooke miniS4/i 25 mm above, 135 mm below
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Sony PXW-FS7 Preliminary Specs
Note: These may not be final specs—details could change
Weight body only
Approx 1.8 kg (body)
Weight combined
Approx. 2.9 kg (with eyecup,LCD monitor, BP-U30 battery, XQD memory card)
Dimensions (L x W x H) body only
197 x 135 x 140 mm (7.76 x 5.31 x 5.51 in)
Power Requirements
DC 12 V
Power Consumption
~ 24 W recording, with LCD monitor on
Battery Operating Time (w monitor)
~ 3 hrs with BP-U90 battery
~ 2 hrs with BP-U60 battery
~ 1 hr with BP-U30 battery
Recording Formats (partial list)
XAVC-I, XAVC-L, MPEG 2, MPEG HD422, Raw and ProRes with BoB Add-On
XAVC Intra
XAVC-I mode: QFHD 59.94P CBG, maximum bit rate 600 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-I mode: QFHD 23.98P CBG, maximum bit rate 240 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-I mode: HD 59.94P CBG, maximum bit rate 222 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-I mode: HD 23.98P CBG, maximum bit rate 89 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-L QFHD 59.94P/50P VBR, maximum bit rate 150 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-L QFHD 29.9P/23.98P/25P VBR, maximum bit rate 100 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC
XAVC-L HD 50 VBR, maximum bit rate 50 Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVCXAVC Intra
XAVC 4K 422, XAVC QF 422, 4K Raw 12-bit linear with BoB
Lens Mount
E-mount, 18 mm flange depth
Super 35mm CMOS (25.5 x 13.5 mm, 17x9)
Color Gamuts
S-Gamut or S-Gamut3.Cine
Maximum Resolution
3840 x 2160 — 4096×2160 (with future update)
Built-in IRND Optical Filters
OFF: Clear, 1: 1/4 (ND.6 - 2 stops) , 2: 1/16 (ND1.2 - 4 stops) , 3: 1/64 (ND1.8 - 6 stops)
Sensitivity (and Range)
Nominal: ISO 2000 (ISO 2000 - 16,000
Dynamic Range
14 stops
Shutter and Speed
Progressive Scan: 1/3 - 1/9,000 sec
Frame Rates common to most formats
XAVC-I 3840x2160: 59.94P, 50P, 29.97P, 23.98P, 25P
Slow & Quick Motion Function
XAVC-I 3840x2160 4:2:2 10-bit 1-60fps
XAVC-L 3840x2160 4:2:0 8-bit 1-60fps
XAVC-L 1920x1080 4:2:2 10-bit 1-120fps
XAVC-I 1920x1080 4:2:2 10-bit 1-180fps
White Balance
Preset, Memory A, Memory B, ATW
Gamma Curve
STD, HG, User, S-Log3
Audio Input
2x XLR 3-pin line/mic/mic +48 V selectable
SDI Output
BNC(x2), switchable 3G-SDI/HD-SDI
USB device, mini-B (x1)
Headphone Output
Stereo mini jack
Speaker Output
Monaural, 50mW
Remote control for handgrip
Stereo mini-jack (Φ 2.5 mm)
HDMI Output
Type A 4-pin
HD to UHD 422, 10bit 1~ 30fps (420 8-bits at 60fps as per HDMI specs)
LCD Monitor
8.8cm (3.5 inch) Approx. 1.56 Megapixels
Built-in Microphone
Omni-directional monoral electret condenser microphone
XQD Card slots (x2)
Some Examples of Record Times
XAVC-I mode QFHD 23.98P when using QD-S64E (64GB): ~ 35 minutes
XAVC-I mode HD 23.98P when using QD-S64E (64GB): ~ 95 minutes
Supplied Accessories
Viewfinder eyepiece with eyecup, Wireless remote commander, USB WiFi module, AC
Adapter, BP-U30 battery, Battery charger, manuals, etc.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Sony PXW-FS7 Ergonomics
Tatsuro Kurachi, Sony Director of Product Marketing and Management, demonstrates the handheld ergonomics of the FS7 at Sony’s Headquarters in
New York. Tatsuro also dreams of lenses, because the Sony E-mount opens a world of possibilities in both APS-C and full frame 24x36 formats.
Manfrotto Light Table
The many tabletop shots of the Sony FS7 system and many
other products in this issue were arranged on Manfrotto’s
Still Life Table (model 220). This is easily the best tabletop
setup I’ve ever used: elegant, quick to assemble, easily adjustable. It certainly beats the set of saw horses, C-stands, 2x4s
on highboys, and jury-rigging commonly seen in studios.
Manfrotto’s Light Table comes in two parts. The aluminum
tubes and connectors fit in an easily portable case. The 122 x
200 cm (48” x 79”) plexi surface is 1/8” thick, glossy on one
side and matte finish (sand-blasted) on the other. I like the
matte surface facing up to avoid reflections, but you have to
be slightly more careful not to scratch or scuff it. The glossy
side is good for those close-up cosmetic, perfume and food
product shots.
For lighting, I used five Manfrotto 1x1 Spectra Bi-Color
LED panels: 1 behind the sweep, 2 attached to Variable Friction Magic Arms (#244N) below the tabletop, and 2 units
on stands on either side of the table, softened with Lee 216
diffusion. Bi-Color LEDs are helpful. Instead of fighting the
daylight coming into our studio or messing with gels, it was
easy to dial in a suitable blend.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
ZEISS Touit APS-C Lenses
ZEISS Compact Zoom Servo
ZEISS Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lenses cover Standard 35mm
18x24mm through 24x36mm formats, and come with an
Interchangeable Mount System: PL, EF, F, MFT, and E.
ZEISS Compact
Zoom CZ.2 Family:
15-30 T2.9
28-80 T2.9
70-200 T2.9
ZEISS Touit lenses for APS-C mirrorless interchangeable-lens
cameras (MILC) from Sony and Fujifilm. The Sony E-mount
has a flange focal depth of 18 mm. The Fujifilm X-mount has a
depth of 17.7 mm.
ZEISS Touit lenses were introduced a little over a year ago—in
June 2013. They combine compact size with outstanding optical
and mechanical performance, and are fully compatibility with
all Sony NEX and Fujifilm X camera functions (including autofocus).The lens barrels are made of rugged metal, the manual
focus barrel has a grippy, tactile ring, and iris has 9 blades.
Vist ZEISS at IBC: 11.F50;
at Photokina, Hall 2.2, Stands: B015 C018, B013 C014
and Cinec: 3-E02
ZEISS will introduce a new servo unit for their Compact Zoom
lenses. It will provide zoom and iris control and optional focus control. The servo will be a snap-on module that fits all 3
zooms of the CZ.2 family without needing any tools. The optional focus module will attach with to the main servo unit.
The ZEISS Compact Zoom Servo Unit will be compatible with
standard broadcast and lens control systems. Sales are expected
to begin around April 2015.
Early prototype
model of CZ.2
Servo unit shown
at NAB 2014
Touit 2.8/12 E-mount
Touit 2.8/12 X-mount
Touit 1.8/32 E-mount
Touit 1.8/32 X-mount
Touit 2.8/50 X-mount
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
ZEISS Loxia Full Frame Lenses
ZEISS Loxia 2/35 (35 mm f/2) and Loxia 2/50 (50 mm f/2) lenses
take off at IBC and Photokina in the first flight of a new ZEISS
family of manual focus lenses for E-mount full frame cameras.
These full-frame cameras are the 24x36mm Sony Mirrorless
Digital Alphas: a7 (24.3 MP, ISO 100-to-25,600), a7R (36.4 MP
without OPLF, ISO 100-to-25600) and a7S (12.2 MP, ISO 100-to409,600, 4K video).
The new ZEISS Loxias are optimized for digital sensors and electronic viewfinders. They have mechanical apertures with stops
that both click and can be de-clicked. Continuous iris settings
will bring joy to everyone shooting video. Loxia lens apertures
work in manual, automatic or aperture priority modes.
“Ever since the Sony Alpha 7/7r/7s helped compact system cameras break through to full frame, there has been a growing desire
for a digital manual focus experience. The Loxia 2/35 and Loxia
2/50 are the first members of a new family of manual focus lenses
for the E-mount full frame,” said Christophe Casenave, Product
Manager at ZEISS Camera Lenses.
The ZEISS Loxia 2/35 and ZEISS Loxia 2/50 lenses have an electronic EXIF lens data interface. When you begin to focus the lens,
the camera can be set to instantly activate its viewfinder magnifier
The Loxia 2/35 optical design is based on a Biogon and has 9 lens
elements in 6 groups. Minimum object distance is 0.3 m (11.8 in).
The Loxia 2/50 is based on a Planar and has 6 lens elements in 4
groups. MOD is 0.37 m (14.6 in).
The Loxia lens family intentionally avoids autofocus. This keeps
them compact. They exhibit high resolution across the entire image field and beautiful bokehs.
ZEISS also paid particular attention to mechanical quality: the focus barrel’s rotation of approximately 180 degrees is very smooth.
Front filter diameter is M52 (52 mm filter thread) across the entire lens family. Lens barrels are made of metal and special weather sealing at the lens mounts prevent spray from entering between
the camera and the lens.
The Loxia 2/50 will be available worldwide around October 2014
and the Loxia 2/35 around the end of the Q4 2014. Approximate,
suggested retail prices: Loxia 2/35 around EUR 965.55 (US$
1,299.00) and Loxia 2/50 around EUR 713.45 (US$ 949.00).
What do Loxia lenses mean for cinematographers?
Three things:
1. Yes, they will fit nicely on the new Sony E-mount Vérité camera. Even though the Sony FS7 is Super 35mm format, the 35 mm
Loxia is still a 35 mm, and the 50 mm is still a 50.
2. What do ZEISS and Sony and a few others know that we don’t?
I think full frame still 24x36mm format lenses will become ever
more prevalent for motion picture production.
3. The E-mount has a flange focal depth of 18 mm. This short
distance enables lenses to be smaller. Therefore, in the future, it
would be wise for cameras to have neutral mounts that can accommodate almost any lens mount via an interchangeable camera
mount system (as originally proposed long ago by Alfred Piffl of
P+S Technik).
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
ZEISS Loxia Full Format Lenses (cont’d)
Loxia 2/35 Specs
Focal length35 mm
Aperture range f/2 – f/22
Lens elements / Groups 9 / 6
Focusing range 0.3 m (11.81”) – infinity
Free working distance 0.23 m (9.06”)– infinity
Angular field of view* 63.02° / 54.06° / 37.57°
Diameter of image field 43 mm (1.69”)
Coverage at MOD* 210.2 mm x 139.4 mm (8.28” x 5.49”)
Image ratio (MOD) 1 : 5.8
Focus ring rotation 180°
Filter threadM52 x 0.75
Diameter max.62.1 mm (2.44”)
Diameter of focusing ring 62.1 mm (2.44”)
Length (without lens cap) 59.2 mm (2.33”)
Length (with lens cap) 66 mm (2.6”)
Weight340 g (0.75 lbs)
Camera mountE-mount
Loxia 2/50 Specs
Focal length50 mm
Aperture rangef/2 – f/22
Lens elements / Groups 6 / 4
Focusing range 0.45 m (17.72”) – infinity
Free working distance 0.37 m (14.57”) – infinity
Angular field of view* 46,78° / 39,38° / 26,70°
Diameter of image field 43 mm (1.69”)
Coverage at MOD* 255.1 mm x 168.3 mm
Image ratio (MOD) 1 : 6,9
Focus ring rotation 180 °
Filter threadM52 x 0,75
Diameter max.62.1 mm (2.44”)
Diameter of focusing ring 62.1 mm (2.44”)
Length (without lens cap) 59.2 mm (2.33”)
Length (with lens cap) 66.2 mm (2.60”)
Weight 320 g (0.71lbs)
Camera mountE-mount
* Field of View and Coverage at MOD for 24 x 36 mm format
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphics
60 mm Master Anamorphic, T 2 +2/3, 1/2 Tiffen Black Satin, ISO 800, WB 4300
60 mm Master Anamorphic, T2 +2/3,1/2 Black Satin, ISO 800, WB 5600
50 mm Master Anamorphic, T 2 +2/3, ND.3, ISO 800, WB 5600
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Stijn Van der Veken with Master Anamorphics
Alles Voor Lena (The Sum of Histories)
Production company: Caviar Belgium
Producer: Frank Van Passel
Director: Lukas Bossuyt
DP: Stijn Van der Veken, ASC, SBC
Technical info:
ARRI / ZEISS Master Anamorphic lenses
Cooke S2 spherical lenses rehoused by True
Lens Services (TLS) UK
Codex Action Cam on Codex RAW
Lucky Camera Brussels - rental company
The year is 2040. Professor Viktor (Koen De Graeve) discovers a
way to send emails back in time. Using the Casimir effect (quantum field theory in which the space between micro-objects can
attract each other) he tries to fight for his beloved Lena. But the
past isn’t easy to manipulate and every small intervention can
have far-reaching consequences to the present—something that
Viktor soon discovers. The Sum of Histories is a love story with a
touch of sci-fi. Cinematographer Stijn Van der Veken, ASC, SBC
explained his creative choices.
“The story happens 35% in the present and 65% in the future
(2040). The Director wanted a light, romantic, “vintage” feel for
the present ,which brought me to use old Cooke S2 lenses because
of their warm, slightly soft and imperfect performance. We have a
set rehoused by True Lens Services in England.
“For the future scenes we went for a set of ARRI/ZEISS Master
Anamorphic lenses. They have a fabulous bokeh, a unique look—
smoother than Master Prime lenses, and still an amazing and
powerful image all the way open to T1.9. We have a set of six MA
lenses, from 35 to 100 mm.
“A lot of people consider anamorphics mainly for artifacts. For
me, shooting a movie is an artistic opportunity to use lenses in all
conditions. We did a night shoot in a park, under difficult con-
ditions, available night light, no practicals. I call it lighting with
milligrams. Many lenses cannot handle these extreme, low light,
contrasty conditions. However, like Master Primes, the Master
Anamorphics maintained quality all the way to T1.9. As I said
before, Master Anamorphics are smoother, a little gentler on faces
than Master Primes. On MCU or CU shots, I’ll soften them a little
with Tiffen ½ Black Satin diffusion—which Kees van Oostrum,
ASC recommended to me.
“I am a big fan of anamorphic, especially because of the way the
focus falls off—which is the narrative aspect of the lenses. Their
best performance for me in terms of storytelling for the main
characters is situated between 3 and 6 feet, depending on the lens.
“A lot of people try to create their look in grading, but I rather
set my look on the set. I don’t like to put looks in grading—for
me, that seems too artificial. I achieve the look with lenses and
Stijn is shooting Arriraw on ARRI ALEXA. They have one LUT:
the same one is used on set, for viewing and editing. This LUT
then becomes the starting point for grading. It’s a custom LUT
derived from the ARRI Low Con LUT with the same saturation,
and. as Stijn calls it, “a bit more bite.”
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
What’s Cooking in Anamorphic?
The first sets of Cooke Anamorphics were delivered to TSF and
Movietech, and then Clairmont, Keslow, Camtec, Cineverse, Camera
House, and ARRI Rentals.
Above Left: Clairmont Camera’s Cooke Anamorphic product shot
by Jon Johnson, General Manager of Clairmont Camera Vancouver.
Above Right: Andy Kierans with Cooke Anamorphic 32mm at Clairmont Camera Vancouver. Photo by Jon Johnson.
Above left: Cooke Anamorphic 75 mm on location near Budapest on Lazarus. Equipment from
ARRI Rentals. In addition to a set of Cooke Anamorphics, Bojan Bazelli, ASC is also using a set
of Arri/Zeiss Master Anamorphics. Director: Nic
Mathieu. Camera Assistant: John Holmes.
Above: Amy Vincent, ASC is using Cooke Anamorphic Primes from Keslow Camera on her latest feature film, Sinister 2. Photo by Danny Saldana, Keslow Camera.
Left: Matthew Libatique, ASC is using Cooke Anamorphics from CamTec on “Straight Outta Compton.” Matty said, “The Cooke anamorphics are a
welcome addition to the world of anamorphic
lenses providing sharp yet subtle imaging. They
blend well with older lenses when aberration is too
severe.” Kavon Elhami added, “I really like how
these lenses react to light coming at them from an
angle. They exhibit some of the characteristics of
our vintage lenses, but with more sharpness and
less distortion in the corners. Matty was looking
for a strong interesting look especially in some of
the smaller interiors where he’s working.”
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Also Cooking at TSF
Antoine Roch, AFC, DP
Mathieu De Montgrand, 1st AC
on “Un homme idéal” with
Cooke 50mm Anamoprhic and
ALEXA supplied by TSF
Danys Bruyère, Deputy Managing Director of TSF, writes: “This was
the first feature to be shot entirely on Cooke Anamorphic lenses. Start
date was May 22, 2014. Un homme idéal was directed by Yann Gozlan,
produced by 24/25 Films, cinematography by Antoine Roch, AFC.”
I would work the lenses to get them to flare when we wanted them to,
yet everything remained predictable. We love to shoot anamorphic,
as much for its qualities as its flaws. It really helps bring out the best
of the digital cameras.
Antoine Roch discussed the Cooke Anamorphics with Danys. He
said, “I really liked the velvety feel of the anamorphics; they have
everything we like about the S4 Cookes. Like vintage anamorphics,
we get fine anamorphic distortions all around the image, pulling us
into the center. The Cookes are very easy to focus by eye, you really
feel it when it all comes together.
“The Cookes were not as ‘dry’ as other lenses I’ve used before; they
have a wonderful round feel to them. What I really missed on this
thriller with a lot of inserts was a nice extreme close focus lens, between 50 mm and 75 mm. Maybe a 65 mm could fill that gap beautifully. We really put the lens set through its paces, using them in a
multitude of shooting situations, day, night, interior, exterior, rain,
sun, even into a splash bag—and the lenses performed beautifully all
the time, with nice oval bokehs.”
“The 40mm was our favorite lens of the film, without any noticeable
distortion on the outer edges. We would actually look for flares, and
John Morisson, Steadicam Operator.
Photos by Haruyo Yakoto
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Angénieux Anamorphic Zooms
New Angénieux Anamorphic 30-72
Angénieux Optimo 30-72 mm T4 2S Series Zoom
Zoom Ratio: 2.4X
Horizontal Focal Length: 30 - 72 mm
Aperture: f/3.6 - T4
MOD: 2 ft 2 in / 0.65 m
Image Coverage: 4 perf. scope+: 28.8 mm diagonal
Weight (approx.): 5.3 lbs - 2.4 kg
Length: 227 mm
Front Diameter: 114 mm
Internal Focus
Field of view for 35 mm 4 perf. (22 x 18.6 mm)
Focal Length:
30 mm 72 mm
Horizontal angular field of view: 72.5°
Vertical angular field of view:
FOV at MOD at focal min
FOV at MOD at focal max
593 x 244
246 x107
Angénieux Anamorphic 56-152 (Shipping Now)
Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic 56-152 mm T4 2S Series Zoom
Zoom ratio: 2.7x
Horizontal focal length: 56-152 mm
Aperture: T4
MOD: 2’1” / 0.63 m
Weight (approx): 4.8 lb / 2. 2 kg
Focus: 320˚ rotation, 50 marks, interchangeable feet or meters
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Length: 210 mm / 8.3 “ (actual size is the width of this page)
Front diameter: 114 mm / 4.5”
Image coverage: 28.8 mm diagonal (18.6 x 22 mm)
Anamorphic squeeze: 2x horizontal squeeze
Format: 35mm “4 perf.” scope
Mounts: PL mount, PV mount available on request
Angénieux Style Spherical Zooms
16-40 T2.8 Optimo Style
Angénieux Servo Unit (ASU)
• Image diagonal: 31.4 mm
Front diameter: 114 mm
• Weight: 4.2 lb / 1.92 kg
Length 186 mm
• MOD:
2’ / 0.6 m
• PL mount. PV, Nikon, Canon mount optional
Optional Servo Unit (ASU) for Angénieux Optimo Style 16-40 and Optimo
Style 30-76 zoom lenses.
30-76 T2.8 Optimo Style
• 3 integrated motors for zoom, focus and iris
• Compatible with broadcast and cinema remote handles and controls
• Focus/iris/zoom control with various wired and wireless devices
• Generates metadata based on Cooke /i protocol
• PL Mount i/Cooke interface on request
• Lightweight and compact: weighs 1.5 lb /0.7 kg
• Weight with Optimo Style Zoom: 5.7 lb / 2.62 kg
• Optimo Lightweight Series Zooms can also be provided with ASU:
Optimo 15-40, 28-76 and 45-120
Example of Cinema Style Setup
with Preston Wireless System
• Image diagonal: 31.4 mm
Front diameter: 114 mm
• Weight: 4.2 lb / 1.92 kg
Length 186 mm
• MOD:
2’ / 0.6 m
• PL mount. PV, Nikon, Canon mount optional
A - ASU B - Protocol Adapter(Preston PPA)
C - Zoom Control D - WIreless Hand Unit E - Additional Hand Unit
— RS 232 --- Wireless
25-250 T3.5 Optimo Style
• Image diagonal: 31.4 mm
• Weight: 16 lb / 7.3 kg • MOD: 4’ / 1.22 m
• Integrated filter holder
Front diameter: 136 mm
Length: 377.4 mm
Max Aperture: T3.5, no ramping
/i technology metadata
Optional Front protective glass
Focus scales in feet or meters
PL mount. PV, Canon EF or Nikon mount optional
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Nick Rashby, President of AJA - Cover Story
What were you— the cinematographer, director?
It depended on the project. I remember there was one time when
I was actually the slasher in a movie. We were doing cheap squibs
on a big jacket I was wearing with a hockey mask, and the detective in the epic was shooting me. The squibs were going off, I had a
machete, and we were in the director’s backyard. He was screaming at me to go up to his brand new moped, which was supposed
to be the getaway vehicle for the hero, and start chopping it with
my machete. And, so, of course, I did. Then, he was screaming to
throw it in the pool, so I picked it up and (big dramatic moment)
threw it in the pool. It sunk to the bottom, and the oil floated to
the top of their beautiful swimming pool. He yelled, “Cut!” and
we turned around and his Dad was standing right there, enraged,
watching the whole thing. That’s the one I remember most.
Did you go to film school?
Nick Rashby was a cameraman and camera assistant long before he
became President of AJA. He grabbed a CION and we went racing
through the Paramount lot during Cine Gear (above and on cover).
Nick graciously shared his views with FDTimes about AJA, CION,
the industry, camera design and where we’re heading.
JON FAUER: Nick, please tell me about your background and
how it relates to what you’re doing now? Where did you grow
up, and what did you do?
My family has always been involved in the film industry. My
Mom was on the legal side of things, and my Dad was a long-time
editor and cinematographer in New York. In the early 1970s, she
was working on a movie called “Fritz the Cat,” and then the production moved to Los Angeles. She had the opportunity to move
the family, and so we did. Later, she remarried to my step-dad
who is a special effects producer. When I was about 15, I started
working with him doing odd jobs around the set. It was mostly
stop-motion and in-camera effects. I kept working that way, besides making my own little films with friends. I really just loved
filmmaking, and it was definitely my passion and what I wanted
to do. With the family history, it seemed like a good path to take.
Where did you live in New York? I didn’t realize you were originally from New York.
Yes, I was born in Manhattan, and we lived in Washington
Heights. We moved when I was three-and-a-half, so I don’t remember much about that time except throwing up all over the
airplane on the ride out to California.
Where did you live in LA?
We lived in Sherman Oaks, in the Valley. Then, as an adult, I
moved to San Francisco.
Tell me a little bit about doing films as a kid, because that’s
what we did as well.
Living in LA in that era, I had friends whose parents were also in
the film industry. It wasn’t hard to find people who were similarly
excited about film, so we ran around making little Super 8 movies
in people’s backyards, like slasher films and in-camera laser bolts
and things like that for our little sci-fi epics. We cut the films on
a little Super 8 splicer and projected them in somebody’s room.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Because I wanted to be a filmmaker and was already working on
B-movies with my Stepdad in various capacities, I made the decision that going to film school wouldn’t be so productive. Onthe-job education would be much better than going to school. In
hindsight, I might have made a different decision, but at the time,
it made a lot of sense. I just kept working and never stopped.
Do you remember how you got your first “real” paying job?
Well, certainly, nepotism helped. For a couple of years, when I
was in my late teens, my Stepdad was an in-house effects supervisor at Roger Corman’s Studio in Venice. We had a little space
there and worked on tons of stuff together. We made all kinds of
terrible, awful, wonderful films that were just really fun to work
on at that age.
Corman’s Studio was like a film school for many in Hollywood.
Absolutely. The first 35 camera I touched for a paying gig was
a Mitchell Standard, with a parallax viewfinder. You know, the
rack-over Mitchell Standard. That’s what we used to shoot most of
our effects stuff on because it was so highly pin-registered. When
you’re working with ancient equipment on a tight budget, you
have to be smart about the way you work, paying attention to the
cost of film, and the cost of production.
Your comment about nepotism is funny. Tony Richmond,
ASC, BSC, has quite a few sons in the business. Tony’s great
line is, “Nepotism is fine as long as you keep it in the family.”
Perfect. I had a double, even triple, dose of it. I remember in the
1970s as a small kid going with my Mom to her office, which was
the most prestigious entertainment law firm in Hollywood. They
represented George Lucas and many of the “Star Wars” people,
so it was interesting just being in that environment as a kid. My
Dad was a cinematographer at that point, and my Stepdad was
involved with special effects. So, I felt pretty well-rounded by the
time I became an adult.
Where did you go when you “graduated” from Corman Studios?
I moved up to San Francisco. I fell in love. She lived there, so I
moved up and absolutely lost all of my contacts. I was on a good
track to be a regularly employed Camera Assistant at that point
and had worked with many different kinds of cameras. I worked
with a DP who really liked me and wanted to keep me working.
But, I just lost all my contacts. It was a time in the late 1980s when
Nick Rashby, President of AJA (cont’d)
production was at a standstill in the Bay Area, and I ended up
getting into equipment sales of cameras and video gear just to pay
the rent. I found that I was actually pretty good at it, which led to
a career path that was unexpected.
What company was that?
It’s called Adolph Gasser.
Yes, a very well-known, respected company.
I worked there for probably seven years. I ended up running the
video rental side of things, and that was a great place to work.
Then, I moved on to another place called Steadi Systems. There
were a number of resellers around the Bay Area where I worked
over the course of 15 years.
In early 2000, I moved back to LA for a couple of years and worked
at Runway, which was an Avid rental company, where I was the
VP of sales. Then, I moved back to San Francisco and heard about
AJA, and here I am.
So how long have you been at AJA?
This month is my 11th year, and it’s a 21-year-old company.
What did you begin doing when you first started at AJA?
I was actually hired to be a sales person for the desktop video
products. The KONA and Io were relatively new and really taking
off. I made John Abt, the owner, crazy by constantly asking him to
hire me, and I just kept pestering him. He later told me that I did
such a good job of harassing him that I must be a decent sales guy.
I had learned about AJA by getting my hands on the KONA cards
my customers in the Bay Area were ordering. AJA was a small
company at that point. We were about 25 people. I got involved at
a very fun time since the company was really taking off.
What year was that?
It was the year the Io shipped, so that was 2003.
Tell us a little about the history of the company, which is quite
Yes. It was founded by John Abt and his wife Darlene. He and
Darlene both had experience in television, and they actually met
at a TV station in Sacramento, where they both worked as master control engineers. John was one of the engineering leads at
Grass Valley Group. He was the lead engineer on several important projects; their digital switchers. He had an idea for making
small, affordable, very purpose-built small converters. The first
ones were parallel-to-serial and serial-to-parallel converters for
D2 machines. They had a small office with a desk and a soldering
iron. She kept the books and called Fed Ex, and they crafted the
company together.
John had his first sale in Los Angeles when he met a sales guy who
took him around. It just kept growing and growing. Our current
French distributor tells me a story that gives you an idea about
the history of the company. Early on, he was at NAB and AJA had
a little table in the back of one of the halls. It was just John Abt
and a table of mini-converters. The French gentleman looked at
the converters and said, “Wow, these are really cool. I’d like to sell
these in France.” John looked at him and said, “We can’t do that
because we don’t know how to ship overseas.”
So, Darlene went back to the hotel that night, and they figured
out how to actually do the paperwork to ship to France. They
came back the next day, and AJA was now an international company. After that, they just started hiring people in a very organic
growth. They outgrew their first office space and moved to the
office where I met them. We took over the next couple of suites
and then filled up that building. Then we took the suite across the
street and ended up filling up that building. About six years ago,
we realized we needed to do something different. We were just
cramming people into every nook and cranny as we were growing. We ended up building a mini-campus. We’re in two buildings that were built to our specifications, and it’s been wonderful
relocating to here.
John and Darlene are still directly involved and the sole owners of
the company. It’s very much a personal company. Everyone who
works here feels personally invested. Not to be clichéd, but it really is a family atmosphere. People who work here tend to stay for
a long time. It’s a really nice place to work, a very healthy company, and still run by the people who started it.
What is John Abt’s position now?
And you are?
So who does what?
I do everything that he doesn’t want to do. John is very involved
in engineering, which is his passion, and certainly he makes the
broad strategic moves of the company. I’m really responsible for
the day-to-day operations, which include product management,
sales, marketing, manufacturing, and all of the other functions of
the company.
Why is there so much activity in this place called Grass Valley,
with AJA as well as many other high tech companies?
It’s really from the Grass Valley Group. It hit its peak in the 1980s
and was probably getting close to about 2,000 people, which for
our small community is pretty substantial. They were really the
big broadcast company of the day making very sophisticated
switchers, which they still do.
Why did they settle there?
We’re actually next door to the Litton Building, where AJA had
its first office. In 1924, Charles Litton designed and built the first
practical glass blowing lathe, which revolutionized the vacuum
tube industry, and then moved his company to Grass Valley in
the late 1940’s. The original Grass Valley Group actually spun out
from this group. The area was kind of an early Silicon Valley, and
became a center and incubator for high tech companies, entrepreneurs and inventors.
The people who worked at these companies loved this area. Later,
other companies in the film and video manufacturing industry
spawned from Grass Valley Group: Telestream, Nvision, Ensemble, and a number of others.
AJA has grown to become a huge, worldwide company. What
do you enjoy doing the most?
It was expressed to me early on in my tenure here: we just want to
do business in the manner that we want to be treated. Everything
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Nick Rashby, President of AJA (cont’d)
the company with the idea. Jon Thorn and I spent a fair amount
of time convincing the rest of the company that it was something
we could do.
Making a camera is not trivial, but we just felt that we had so
many ingredients to make something really special. It started a
years-long process of coming up with the CION.
Was it a tough sell to the other people in the company?
Yes, initially, we pretty much hit a brick wall. People looked at us
like we were crazy. It’s really Jon Thorn’s vision, but I immediately
got behind it. He is a camera person, like me, so between the two
of us, we just had this immediate passion for creating a camera.
We thought we had an idea that would fit a niche, and we could
make the camera that we always wanted. We always admired the
16mm cameras from ARRI, the 16SR, 16SR-2, and the 16SR-3.
We thought if we could just make an updated digital version of
that, it would be very exciting.
that we do has a long-term focus. We build products that, hopefully, will last a long time, and we support them that way. We have
long relationships with our channel, our partners, and our technology vendors. We don’t want to be a fly-by-night company. We
don’t want to make decisions, even if it has short-term gain, that
will have a negative impact over a longer period of time.
Since we’re privately owned, we can decide what success is. We
can decide how to measure success in terms of dollars and time.
We are able to stay focused on the things that matter to us, such
as trying to build things that people want to buy and being a company with whom people want to keep doing business. We have a
very straightforward way of looking at our company, our business, and where we fit into the broader market.
Now, let’s shift gears and start talking about the CION camera.
You introduced it at NAB, we played with it at Cine Gear, and
now it winds up on our cover. I was interested because it seems
to be born from the passion of our two filmmaker-cinematographer cover models: you and Jon Thorn. When did you first
start thinking about the CION as a company?
Jon is our very brilliant product manager. He’s been responsible
for a number of our most interesting products, including the Ki
Pro, which was the first ProRes-based disc recorder. It was designed to be used with cameras to create a seamless lens-to-post
workflow. We rolled out the Io HD, which was the first hardware
device to hardware encode ProRes for Final Cut Pro, around 2006.
Jon Thorn was listening to people, and they were saying, “Oh, if it
only had a battery, and if it only did this, and if it could did that.”
That inspired the Ki Pro. When we rolled out the Ki Pro, it was a
big success, and everyone was riding high with another great moment for the company.
Shortly after, Jon called me into his lab where he had a Ki Pro and
a little box camera he had found. He said, “You know, if we just
took these two things and married them up, we could have a little
ProRes camera.” Just the simplicity of the idea was so exciting.
Jon Thorn and I were very enamored with the idea and thought
it would be something very special. This was about four or five
years ago. We started approaching John Abt and other people in
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
We didn’t want to try to reinvent the wheel, but, as one of our
marketing people said, we wanted to make it more beautiful. That
was really the decision behind it. We were trying to make something that people who knew cameras, and used for their livelihood, would see and immediately relate to. It’s not a funny little
shape. It’s not something weird that you have to adapt to make fit
the way that you want to work. You can just look at it and think,
“Aha, that’s a professional camera. I know what that is.” I think we
were fairly successful with that.
Definitely, it has a good ergonomic design. It doesn’t need a rig
or a cage just to use it. It’s a cageless camera.
Yes, it’s really the culmination of the best of what AJA can do. It
definitely pushed us, in terms of our design abilities, as we took
everything that we learned from Ki Pro and Ki Pro Quad in doing
4K and ProRes. Getting into the world of sensors, lenses, focal
lengths, and even different materials was interesting. The CION
even has leather and wood on it. It pushes the boundaries so
much for us, and that’s exhilarating.
It’s one of the few cameras that has a Thunderbolt port?
Yes, there are only a few other cameras that have Thunderbolt.
I think what makes CION unique is that we can transfer Raw
over the Thunderbolt in real time. We can move 4K or UltraHD
Raw over the Thunderbolt. It also has SDI, where we can get high
frame rate 4K. The simplicity of Thunderbolt enables us to move
Raw data efficiently.
Apple ProRes is one of AJA’s specialties, and weren’t you one of
the first to embrace it for the motion picture world?
We were the first to encode it on a device that Apple didn’t make.
This is a rhetorical question. What is the great appeal to everybody for ProRes?
It’s the simplicity of the workflow and the quality of the imagery.
For the quality of the imagery, the rasters that you can record with
it, and the color spaces, it’s relatively light in terms of data usage.
Because it’s QuickTime and because it was embraced by Apple
and other companies industry-wide, it’s a very elegant workflow
that doesn’t require a lot of post-processing or transcoding. That’s
the great appeal.
Certainly on the camera side, ARRI did wonderful work establish-
Nick Rashby, President of AJA (cont’d)
ing the codec. We’d like to think on a more modest scale; the Ki
Pro definitely got people to embrace it as an acquisition medium.
I really think the success of the ALEXA certainly helped establish ProRes at all levels of production. That being said, I remember years ago seeing a very interesting camera that Ikegami had
done, with a dockable back that recorded DNx to removable hard
drives. It was sort of a bit too soon for something that revolutionary.
It’s almost becoming a universal standard.
Yes. We’re of the mindset that the more ProRes, the better.
Getting back to the CION camera, can you tell us anything that
has changed since the last time we talked about it in June?
We’re very close to putting out a few more specifications on it.
We’re definitely on track to deliver before the summer is over.
It’s in its very last phases of development now. We’re at the point
where we’re lovingly tweaking the imagery from the sensor, and
it’s looking beautiful. Everyone is extremely pleased with it. We
don’t want to put something out that essentially makes the buyer
a beta-tester. We want something that we feel is as good as we can
possibly make it, which takes a little time. The phase that we’re in
is not just squashing bugs but making sure that the images are just
absolutely beautiful. There are also some exciting developments
with third parties. There’s a company called MTF that has made
an interchangeable lens mount for the CION…
Mike Tappa’s company in England.
Yes. They’ve made Canon EF, Nikon, and B4 adapters for it.
There’s a wider range of lenses available. Other companies also
have plans to make similar things. We’re very close to shipping
the first CION units.
A few months have passed since Cine Gear. Do you have a
sense, at this point, who your customers are?
Fortunately, I think it’s going to be a pretty broad segment. We
have a very powerful workflow for live sports production because
we can get 120 frames of Ultra HD or 4K out of it and ingest that
in real time to our TruZoom system, which is a live replay system.
We can ingest 4K at very high frame rates and perform HD region
of interest scaling in real time. We’ve actually had the CION and
the TruZoom at several large sporting events, including the Major
League Baseball All-Star game and others. So, that’s an interesting
segment for us beyond film and television production, where I
think there’s also a lot of interest. We’ve had interest from episodics, features, and independent productions. I think it’s going to be
quite broad as to where it shows up.
I think a big plus is that we can record not just HD and 2K, but
Ultra HD and 4K in different flavors of ProRes or output very
high frame-rate 4K Raw. If 4K is on your radar or it’s something
that you’re going to need, this is a camera to consider.
In your world, where do you see 4K coming? When is it really
going to hit mainstream? Is it sooner or later? Do producers
care about being future-proofing?
I think it depends on what type of production you’re doing.
Big sports events seem to be an area where 4K is a huge need—
whether they’re doing scaling or an HD region of interest from
4K frames, which we can support with our tools. That seems to be
an interesting workflow for sports broadcasters. Even by territory,
in Asia, and in South Korea, in particular, seem to be areas where
they’re just charging towards Ultra HD delivery. In the next six
months to a year, there will be tons of 4K live broadcast happening. Then, we can go to episodic television production. Movie
production and certainly 4K is what people want to future-proof
themselves in and have that material archived in the best possible
light. I think Jon Thorn positioned it to me early on in an interesting way. Ultra HD at home is the first time you get the same
experience as in the movie theater, in terms of image quality.
There’s not a lot of content right now for Ultra HD television, but
that’s changing quickly. Netflix and other providers are starting
to pump stuff out in Ultra HD. It’s right around the corner. So,
I think the majority of productions these days are looking to acquire in 4K for that reason.
How is 4K at home equal to a theater?
Just in terms of resolution. Visually, you get something that’s close
to what you’re going to see at the movies. If comparing to a 4K
digital theater, you’re going to have pretty much the same experience at home.
How are they broadcasting in Asia?
There are a number of different groups that have started Ultra
HD satellite broadcasts. There’s a lot of streaming at Ultra HD
resolution. Right now, they’re defining a lot of the workflow. I was
involved in conversations when I was in Japan and Korea in May
seeing the infrastructure that they’re building; they’re definitely
creating these workflows with the smartest 4K tools that are out
That’s probably going to be a big topic at IBC.
I think so. I think it was a pretty big topic at NAB. For the next
few cycles of trade shows, it’s just going to be the dominant topic.
Did you have to redo parts of your factory? To build a camera,
you probably needed clean rooms and sensor-handling areas?
Yes, we did. We have everything that’s needed to do it right. The
next time you’re up here, I’ll show you all that.
I look forward to a tour of the plant.
We’re even outgrowing our relatively new buildings, so it’s a good
problem to have.
How about a summary, or a wrap-up statement?
I would probably reiterate what I said before. AJA just wants to
continue to make unique tools that fulfill a need and that are reliable. We just want to stay true to the things that matter to the
company, such as liking our customers, wanting to help them,
and providing them with tools that they can rely on and make
interesting projects with. We want them to keep coming back for
more and more over the years. That’s something that’s unwavering to us. We value quality and treating people the way that we
think is the best way to treat them. The CION camera is just a
transformative moment for us. It’s being designed and built by incredible people who are passionate and talented. When it goes out
the door, it’s going to be a pretty exciting moment and definitely
will open up a new road for us, one that at first might have seemed
odd for AJA to do. But really, it’s the evolution and the culmination of what we do best.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
CION Specs
Karen Raz on the Paramount Lot with AJA CION
• Sensor: 4K APS-C sized CMOS 22.5 x 11.9 mm
• Electronic global shutter
• 12-stops dynamic range
• Recording Formats and Resolutions: Apple ProRes
4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes
422, ProRes 422 (LT) and Apple ProRes (Proxy);
4K (4096x2160), Ultra HD (3840x2160), 2K
(2048x1080), HD (1920x1080).
• 2K and HD are hardware scaled from full 4K
sensor with retention of field-of-view.
• Media: AJA Pak256 and PAK512 solid state
drives formatable both in camera and remotely
• Transfer via Thunderbolt or USB3 with AJA Pak
• 10-bit and 12-bit workflow from HD to 4K
• RAW Support: Output AJA Raw via 3G-SDI up to
4K 120 fps or via Thunderbolt up to 4K 30 fps
• PL lens mount
• Optical Low Pass Filter and IR cut filter
• Flange Focal Depth / Back Focus adjustment
• Lightweight magnesium alloy chassis
• Built-in confidence monitor, standard controls and
• Cheese plates on top and bottom of chassis for
easy mounting of accessories
• All CION accessory connection points use open
standards, including 15mm rods, 1/4-20, 3/8-16
threaded holes, and M6 Hirth-tooth rosettes
• User interface via operator side panel display,
control knob and buttons or via LAN connection
using a web-browser; no software installation
• 4x 3G-SDI/HD-SDI outputs (4K/Ultra HD/2K/HD)
• 2x 3G/HD-SDI monitor outputs with overlay
• 1x HDMI output offering support for 4K and Ultra
HD or scaled 2K/HD
• 1x HDMI output for 2K/HD
• 2x mic/line/48v XLR analog audio inputs
• 2x LANC control ports
• 1x LTC input connector, 1x reference connector
• 1x USB connector
• 1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
• 1x Mini TRS headphone jack
• 1x 4-pin XLR power connector
• 1x input connector for 3rd-party battery plates
• 1x output power connector
• 1x Thunderbolt connector
Prices and Availability
CION US price: $8,995. AJA recording media
Pak256 $695 (256GB) and Pak512 $1295 (512GB).
AJA Pak Dock $395. Third party mounts are available for EF, B4 and F-mount lens systems. IBC Booth 7.F11
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Codex Vault 3.0
4K ProRes for TV
Codex Vault
S showing its
Media Ports
For television production, most shows are now shot directly to
Apple ProRes at HD resolution in the camera. This has been
perfectly acceptable for most broadcast networks, but recent demands for higher resolution are increasing.
by Sarah Priestnall
Codex Vault 3.0 is the latest software from Codex Digital. Vault
S and Vault XL are the hardware platforms. Vault has been used
recently on features such as Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1
and 2, Fast and Furious 7, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent,
The Fault In Our Stars, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Codex Vault supports ARRI ALEXA, Sony F65, F55/ F5, Canon
C500 and RED DRAGON. Multi-output GPU-based processing
(with Codex Review) can create dailies in all formats required for
review, post production, archiving and VFX, at speeds far greater
than real time—with or without LUTs, burn-ins and metadata.
For color, you have choices: collaborate using real-time, nondestructive, primary grading tools to generate CDL data that is
tied to each shot and is carried forward to the next stage of post
production, or use LUTs that you’ve already created and add CDL
data from the set.
Vault 3.0 on Apple Mac Pro and MacBook Pro
Now, Codex’s Vault 3.0 is available in various configurations and
on various hardware devices. All the features we know and love in
the Codex Vault hardware are now available as software for existing Macs with Transfer Stations to download the data.
Vault S
This is the familiar, modular, rugged self-contained post-production lab in a box with the coolest DIT-cart (above). Super-fast
processing and transfer times. Portable and ready to go on-set or
near-set. Easily customized to a particular style and specific project. Codex’s high capacity 8TB Transfer Drives provide a reliable
method to transport valuable data from location to post.
Vault XL
This version of the familiar Codex Vault is now available in a
rack-mount network-attached configuration. It will be useful for
near-set data management or in post facilities. Vault XL is set up
with network storage for fast access to files, simple configuration,
and easy administration. Like the Vault S, it uses the Codex Virtual File System to create any files you need on demand whenever
you need them.
Certain producers—Netflix and Amazon, for example­—are now
asking for 4K or UHD, and this trend is only going to continue.
Therefore, shooting at the highest resolution possible is desirable
both for current distribution and for future-proofing.
Whatever the camera—ARRI ALEXA, Sony F55, RED EPIC,
Canon C500, etc—Codex recommends shooting RAW at the
highest possible resolution and then producing 4K ProRes dailies with which to finish the show. This provides the best of both
worlds: the RAW files are immediately written to LTO tape, providing a future-proof archive, and 4K ProRes files are available for
Episodic television production generally has the tightest deadlines and now demands quality that is similar to that of a feature
film. Codex Vault can provide the same simple and reliable workflow for television as it does for feature films and commercials.
For example, on television shows over the last few years, the ARRI
ALEXA camera has become a popular choice. Productions can
shoot Arriraw to Codex Capture Drives and these are loaded into
Vault. With Arriraw files, the high quality debayer and slight uprezzing provided by Codex’s RAW processing engine mean that a
4K finish is possible and the final image will look great.
With dailies and deliverable requirements in mind, a work template can be set up in advance so that when a drive is loaded (Codex Capture Drive, Sony AXSM card or REDMAG), archiving
and dailies can be done in a semi-automated manner. The camera
original “negative” would immediately be archived to dual LTO
tapes. At the same time as the tapes are being written, Log C
ProRes 4444 files in 4K resolution are generated—these will be
used for the final conform and color grading. Codex is already
supporting the new ProRes 4444 XQ format, providing 12-bit
RGB encoding with a low compression ratio. If editorial is using
Avid, DNxHD 115 dailies can be generated at the same time (at
up to 60 fps with a burn-in, input LUT, CDL and output LUT).
Other formats such as H.264 for viewing copies or DPX files for
VFX can also be generated at the same time.
This way of working is simple, secure, and meets the needs of today’s TV productions—high quality origination, immediate archiving of the camera original files, fast generation of dailies, and
reliability of equipment in all kinds of conditions.
IBC 11.C71
Cinec 3-C14/02
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Howard Preston and the Light Ranger 2
commonplace challenges of pulling focus. The new generation of
digital cameras are very sharp, and very fast lenses have made the
need for an accurate focusing tool much more acute now than
was the case in 1991, when the first Light Ranger was introduced.
I’m a big believer in the art of the focus puller—achieving an “organic,” non-mechanical look to the focus pull. Unlike the original
Light Ranger which was primarily designed for autofocus operation, the LR2 needed to provide for both manual and autofocus
operation. The big question for me was imagining a new way for
focusing information to be shown to the focus puller. The information had to be chosen so that the focus puller wouldn’t have to
constantly look between the focus knob setting, the monitor, and
the actors on the set.
To eliminate the need to precisely steer the Light Ranger 2, the
ranging hardware needed to measure multiple areas across the
frame simultaneously. Because the LR2 would frequently be used
to focus on the faces of the players, non-laser based ranging hardware would be very important to eliminate any issue with eye safety.
Howard Preston’s Light Ranger 2 was introduced at Cine Gear and
was the cover story of the FDTimes June 2014 Edition. LR2 is a
camera assistant’s new BFF from Preston Cinema Systems. It outlines zones of focus on a monitor and intuitively guides your focus
pulling in the correct direction. We spoke with Howard recently, as
he was preparing LR2 units for IBC and Cinec.
JON FAUER: How did you get the idea for the Light Ranger 2?
HOWARD PRESTON: The Light Range 2 came about from
melding together a number of elements: my experience with the
original Light Ranger, thoughts about how its mission should be
changed, and finally some emerging technology which made its
realization possible.
The motivation for the Light Ranger 2 evolved out of my experience with the first Light Ranger. That device tended to be used in
quite specialized applications: a lot of sports, some car shots, even
a Lear Jet taking off at night. It would typically go out just for a
specific shot rather than being used for an entire show. One of the
memorable exceptions was Conrad Hall’s use of it throughout the
film “Without Limits”.
I thought its successor should be smaller, simpler, and less complex; something that could be used routinely to address the more
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Late last year I found a hardware system to accomplish the ranging function with LEDs, and with that in hand, all of the other
pieces of the puzzle fell into place very quickly.
When was the first kernel of the idea?
Finding the hardware late last year made the entire project coalesce together nicely; the range, the angle of view, the number of
detection zones and all of the possible methods for realizing the
goals that I described earlier….all that got distilled down to the
final configuration in a matter of a few weeks.
Are you serious?
Yes, it was unbelievably fast. By March it was clear we had a product and even more miraculously, by June we could demonstrate
the product publically at Cine Gear.
Tell me how the autofocus evolved.
Implementing the autofocus function was really secondary. I
thought we’d be lucky to have the firmware done to demonstrate
the manual focusing graphics by Cine Gear. But almost every
focus puller who saw the early demonstrations said something
along the lines of, “This is great, but put in autofocus too, because
it’s just killing us when we have to do a tight close up wide open!”
Preston Light Ranger 2 (cont’d)
Left and right: Light Ranger 2 with bracket that
attaches to lens support rods. More stable than sitting
on top of your mattebox, which can vibrate or shake.
Opposite: Howard Preston with Hand Unit 3,
Light Ranger 2 and video monitor showing focus
graphic overlay.
Opposite page, bottom: LR2 Sensor Unit
• Size: 3” x 5” x 1.5”
• Weight: 550 g
• Power: 10-32 VDC
• Mount: ¼-20 thread
• Connects to serial port of MDR3.
• Uses MDR3 wireless link to Video Overlay Module
So we pulled that off too, and finished the autofocus in time for
Cine Gear.
Can you address how the whole paradigm of how focus has
changed the way assistants are working?
There seem to be two different ways focus pullers work. There
are the Hollywood A-level focus pullers who can sit on an apple
box and pull focus all day just by looking at the position of the
players on the set, where their feet are placed, how they’re leaning. They’re becoming a rare breed and even these assistants, who
are just amazing, are meeting their match when they have to pull
focus with some of the new super sharp lenses, wide open at T1.4.
sion, the cameras with larger format sensors will have shallower
depth of field. So focus tends to be more critical with the larger
sensor imagers than with conventional 35mm size sensors.
Lower performance lenses, rehoused vintage lenses, and lenses
whose coatings have been removed can present equally difficult
focusing problems on 35mm 16:9 or 4:3 sensors, simply because
their lower contrast and sharpness makes judging focus on a
monitor more difficult. The image doesn’t tend to snap into focus,
and peaking doesn’t offer much help.
What’s your impression of where this is going to take the industry and what’s going to happen next?
The second way of working is to pull focus off a monitor. This
can really be problematic, since the monitors available on the set
seldom show the same amount of detail as a 4k projector; what
might look sharp on the set could easily be soft on the big screen.
Even with a large monitor, you still can’t tell whether the plane of
focus is in front of or behind the subject.
The LR2 will bring some important new capabilities to our business. Like anything new, it’s sometimes hard to guess how it will
evolve as more focus pullers work with it and offer their suggestions. I expect that we will be learning a lot about optimizing its
user interface; tuning the graphics so they provide sufficient information for the focus puller but not so much to be distracting.
Hence the graphics overlay…
As I mentioned earlier, the goal for the LR2 is to enable the focus
puller to execute focus pulls consistent with the choreography of
the actors; we want him/her to be able to process both the movements on set as well as the depth information. That’s the challenge.
Since we had to display depth information, I chose to use graphics
that overlaid the monitor image. This choice would be a natural
extension for assistants who already work off of the monitor. For
these assistants, I expect the LR2 will be used routinely.
For those who don’t focus off a monitor, using the LR2 requires
a change in working methods, and these focus pullers might well
reserve its use for situations with critical focusing requirements.
You might want to mention, as we’re moving to larger format
sensors—full frame 24 x 36, anamorphic, maybe 65mm—­that
focus becomes more critical as well.
There are a lot of factors to consider when talking about the depth
of field. The DOF of cameras depends on the circle of confusion,
angle of view, T-stop, subject distance, etc. Roughly speaking,
when you have cameras with different size image sensors fitted
with lenses with the same angle of view, f-stop, circle of confu-
It seems that the dream of Japanese manufacturers is to provide some kind of autofocus the way they have on still cameras.
But it seems that in our end of the business, motion pictures,
that’s difficult?
When you see a professional motion picture, you’re seeing it
through a lens, focused by an artist, and it looks absolutely organic. When you’re looking at home movies you see and feel the presence of this machine, sometimes good, sometimes not so good,
always indifferent. I think focus pullers will always be essential.
Preston Cinema will be at Cinec: 3-C31
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Fujinon 25-300 Servo Unit
The new Fujinon 25-300 T3.5 (ZK12x25 ) introduced at NAB is
now being delivered.
Camalot, PhotoCineRent, HetRAAM, and Michael
Stöger Filmgeräteverleih have taken delivery, or are
expecting this lens in Europe.
In the US, Cineverse, Clairmont,
Nemenz, Keslow, Sim, Imagecraft
and others have taken delivery,
with Bertone Visuals and Duclos
getting delivery probably as this
ink dries.
Working models of the 25-300
optional drive unit will be presented at IBC and should be available shortly after.
I doubt whether many camera operators will go handheld with this long
zoom lens using its servo-style zoom
rocker as they do with the other popular
Cabrio lenses. However, the onboard servo
drive unit will be helpful for quick and smooth zooms or reframing when you don’t have an external zoom control plugged in.
“Although bigger and more boxy, this optional drive for the 25300 has all the advantages and features of the other three Cabrio
lens drives,” said Chuck Lee, Fujinon Technology Manager.
You can use Preston, cmotion, or Fujinon hard wire zoom and
focus controls. And you can use focus-iris-zoom wireless controls from all the major manufacturers. No cables are needed with
ALEXA or Sony F55/F5 for data or power. Lens metadata is supplied through the Cabrio’s 20-pin serial connector or the contacts
in the lens mount (hot shoe).
The Fujinon 25-300 self-calibrates quickly when powered up. Another reason one might consider the optional drive unit is that it
eliminates the need for external, rod-mounted motors, which may
take extra time to line up, or might slip if not tightened properly.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
When you do want
to use traditional filmstyle lens motors, the drive
unit comes off quickly. It is easy to
put back on again and it self calibrates.
There are now four Fujinon Cabrio zoom lenses:
14-35 T2.9, 19-90 T2.9, 85-300 T2.9 and the new 25-300 T3.5.
Fujifilm and Fujinon will be at IBC: 11.C20
Focal Length: 25-300. Official Fujinon Model ZK12x25
Mount: 35mm PL Mount
Zoom Ratio: 12x
Aperture: T3.5 from 25-273 mm
T3.85 at 300 mm
Iris Blades: curved 9-bladed iris
Focus Rotation: 280°, Zoom Rotation: 120°
Front Diameter: 136 mm
Length: 401 mm / 15.78”
Weight: approx 8.4 kg / 18.48 lb
Close focus (from Image Plane): 1.2 m / 3’11” - also Macro Mode
Schneider WA for Cabrio
Leica Summilux-C Filters
Otto Nemenz
Otto Nemenz owns more Leica Summilux-C Cine lenses than
anyone else on Earth. It must break his heart every time a set
comes back from location with new scratches or dings on their
front elements. Stunts, sand, salt, studio stuff...
“Why don’t we fit these lenses with screw-in front protective filters?” Otto probably asked. “The Summilux-C primes all have 92
mm internal threads in front. No still photographer would dream
of going out without front protective clear filters on their lenses.”
But 92 mm is an odd-ball size, and now both Schneider Optics
and Tiffen will offer front filters for Summilux-C lenses. These
new, low-profile 92 mm threaded filters screw into the 92 mm ID
threads of the Summilux-C lenses and fit flush with the 95 mm
OD barrel, so existing clamp-on matteboxes and donuts will fit.
They do not stack and are thinner to avoid vignetting.
The clear optical flat can remain on the front of each Summilux in
your set all the time to protect the very expensive front element.
Effect and IRND filters will also be available.
Schneider Optics has a wide angle adapter for the Fujinon Cabrio
19-90 and 14-35 zoom lenses. The clamp-on adapter increases
the field of view, making it approximately 30% wider, with minimal distortion. It is not a zoom-through adapter, and the lens
must be set to macro focus (Cabrio lenses have a button to go
into macro mode.) It attaches with a clamp-on quick-release, and
comes with a soft pouch.
The front and rear surfaces of the Schneider filters are coated with
magnesium fluoride AR. Tiffen filters are coated with Tiffen Digital HT Titanium Coating (Mil Spec for durability MIL-C-48497).
Cheap insurance and a lot less expensive than replacing the front
element of a Leica Summilux-C.
Schneider Digital Cinema Wide Angle 114mm Adapter: List
price $1,995.00, Available September 2014.
Photo above courtesy of Tiffen.
Below: Otto Nemenz International.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Odyssey7/7Q Updates
by Mitch Gross
Convergent Design has been steadily updating its line of Odyssey monitor/recorders. The Odyssey7 began shipping this summer, joining big brother Odyssey7Q. Both devices share the same
7.7” OLED screens, advanced monitoring function and SSD file
storage. But the Odyssey7 is limited to HD video while the Odyssey7Q can also monitor and record 4K, several cameras’ Raw
outputs, as well as up to four HD signals simultaneously using its
Multi-Stream mode. New features are being added on a regular
basis as Convergent Design has issued Odyssey7 and 7Q firmware
updates in July, August and September. New features include:
4K Apple ProRes 422(HQ) recording on the Odyssey7Q
Cameras immediately supported, or soon to be supported, include Sony F55, Vision Research Phantom Flex 4K, AJA CION,
Blackmagic Design URSA, Panasonic GH4 and the Sony A7s.
Note that some of these cameras may need signal converters to
connect to the dual 3G or quad HD-SDI inputs on the Odyssey7Q. Also supported or soon supported via purchase or rental
of a record option is 4K Raw conversion to 4K Apple ProRes
422(HQ) for the Sony FS700 and Canon C500.
LOG to REC709 support
Numerous cameras can output a LOG signal to get the most dynamic range out of the sensor in a video form, but some (such as
the F55) will not allow us to view a “normalized” Rec709 image
if the LOG image is being recorded. The Odyssey7 and 7Q have
built-in Rec709 LUTs for ARRI ALEXA (Log-C), Canon C100/
C300/C500 (C-Log), Sony F3/F35 (S-Log), Sony FS700/F65 (S64
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Log2), and Sony F5/F55 (S-Log2, S-Log3). The Odyssey monitor/
recorders can apply the LUT to their OLED screens, their exposure tools and their HD outputs while leaving their internal recordings as clean LOG form. The Odyssey7Q has the added benefit of turning 4K video signals into LUT-ed HD video outputs to
other monitors on set. It also functions as a 4K exposure meter,
with waveform, histogram and false color modes.
Apple ProRes 422(HQ) up to 1080/59.94p via SDI
A number of new cameras can output 1080p at 50fps or 59.94fps,
but there are very few options for recording these signals. The Odyssey7 is an affordable device for recording this format. With the
FS700 Record Option, the Odyssey7Q can accept 4K Raw from
the camera and convert it to high quality HD in Apple ProRes
422(HQ) at up to 59.94p.
Canon C500 4K “half RAW” up to 120 fps
With the Canon Record Option, the Odyssey7Q can capture the
C500’s 4K HRAW format at 100 fps or 120 fps. Canon achieves
these frame rates by line-skipping the sensor’s full 4096x2160
resolution to 4096x1080 and then interpolating.
POV RAW Record Option on the Odyssey7Q
Convergent Design has added a new record option for sale or
daily rental for recording the Raw output of POV cameras from
Indiecam and IO Industries. These signals are available in 2K,
HD, 12-bit, 10-bit and up to 120p.
IBC booth: 10.A24
Vocas 25th Year Anniversary
Vocas celebrates their 25th anniversary this year at their IBC
booth in hall 11, stand E34. There will be new products and prototypes, new AJA CION accessories, 19 mm universal lens support, Sony Alpha A7 compact bracket, ARRI AMIRA adapter
plate and a new Follow Focus with integrated wooden palm support. AJA CION accessories include a 15mm front rail support
with quick release plate (VCT-14) option, rear bracket with VCT14 connection and optional 15mm rails, and a top cheese plate
with handgrip and 15mm viewfinder bracket. The ARRI AMIRA
adapter plate connects to the dovetail of the camera and provides
the AMIRA with a flat base.
IBC booth 11.E34.
PL to Sony E-Mount Adapter
Vocas Sony E-mount to PL
Adapter wtih 15mm support
and Pro Rail support 15mm.
Shown here: Cooke miniS4/i on
a Sony a6000 camera.
Vocas FS700 Rigs
Vocas has rigs for comfortable configuration of Sony’s FS700 camera with full tripod-to-shoulder
rig for camera, EVF, mattebox, and AXS-R5 4K RAW Recorder or set Convergent Design Odyssey
7Q Recorder/Monitor, EVF, and Vocas wooden handgrip.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Litepanels ASTRA 1x1
SHΛPE has new improvements for
their ISEE I (pronounced “I See
One”) stabilizer: 1. You can now
adjust the center of gravity for
precise balancing.
2. New ¼-20 threads have been
added as mounting points and
to mount accessories.
3. ISEE will now rest on a flat
surface in an upright position. As Shape Co-Owner
Charles Vallieres said, “It feels like
a trophy.” Yes, indeed—imagine holding
an Academy Award Oscar statuette that is
really a 2-axis gimbal brushless stabilizer
for GoPro, iPhone or smartphone.
Litepanels’ new ASTRA 1x1 Bi-Color was introduced during a preCine Gear Expo luncheon on June 6 at Lucy’s El Adobe Cafe, famous watering hole for Paramount and Raleigh Studio crews, Governor Jerry Brown before he was Governor, and Linda Ronstadt.
ASTRA 1x1 Bi-Color is Litepanels’ new top-of-the-line, 1 sq. ft.
flat panel LED. Light output is 4 times brighter than the original
Litepanels 1x1, with a longer throw and wider area of illumination.
ASTRA 1X1 Bi-Color Specifications
• Color Temperature: Adjustable Tungsten-Daylight
• Size: 17.7 x 16.3 x 5.3” / 45 x 41.3 x 13.4cm
• Weight: 7 lb. / 3.2g
• Power: 13-24V DC / 100-240VAC
• Maximum Power Draw: 110W
• Power Supply: 24V DC via included AC Adapter
• DMX via RJ45 with optional Communications Module
• Full spectrum soft light, visually accurate color temperature
• AC or DC power options
• Smooth dimming from 100% to 0, no noticeable color shift
• Flicker-free performance at any frame rate or shutter angle
• Current and thermal management for long LED life
• Custom curved yoke design
• Removable TVMP connector for flexible mounting options
• Yoke mounted power supply and optional battery plates
• Wide, unobstructed tilt range
• Dual integrated cable guides
• Two alternate ¼-20 mounting points
• Optional communications module allows the brightness,
color temperature, and cooling mode to be controlled via
DMX512 protocol (Additional module options under development)
• Optional yoke-mounted Gold Mount or V-Mount battery
• Field replaceable fan module and external power supply
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
• 2-axis motion stabilization
• 2 axis gimbal
• Button to tilt up and tilt down
• Position with famous, patented, red
SHΛPE push button
• Works with standard LP E6 batteries
• Preset calibrations: no need to recalibrate or download calibration software
SHΛPE will be at IBC booth 11F.61. SHΛPE FFPRO
SHΛPE’s Follow Focus Pro
can be configured for single
knob (left) or double (left and
right side) operation. It snaps
onto 15mm rods, and comes
in a choice of one or twospeed handwheels.
• 0.8 mm pitch, 28 teeth gear
• 0.8 mm pitch, 43 teeth gear
• Adjustable end stops
• Removable marking disk
Right Knob Assembly (FFPROEXT)
“plugs” into the main unit with
an aluminum extension rod. The
assembly is then secured with
4mm hex screws.
Matthews Slider
CineTape from Cinematography Electronics gets a logo on the
side of its sensor assembly horns. This universally-used, industry-standard distance measurement tool is seen in the production stills of most motion picture productions. Now there’ll be a
name with the face. And speaking of a name, Cinematographer
Electronics President Larry Barton will be at the IBC booths of
Cooke, Transvideo, and CaSu. He will also be at his Cinec Cinematography Electronics booth 3-A56
Matthews designed a simple, sturdy and lightweight slider that
sits on top of a tripod or dolly. “It’s the open construction that
makes our new slider stand out,” explains Robert Kulesh, Vice
President of Sales and Marketing for MSE. “MSE designed it to be
both camera operator and grip-friendly. As long as it is kept clean,
it is virtually maintenance free. And it is totally field adjustable
with few basic tools.”
CineTape on Luc
Besson’s Lucy Photo:
Jessica Forde
© Universal Pictures
MatthewsSLIDER can work upside-down for low-angle shots.
It can support more than one carriage at a time for A-camera and
B-camera shots. It has positive lock at 90 degrees when in use on
most dollies. Each carriage can support up to 175 lb (80 kg)—but
bracing of track is recommended for heavy payloads. The proprietary wheels with ABEC5 stainless bearings and ceramic balls
make MatthewsSLIDER very fast and extremely quiet.
MatthewsSLIDER comes in four basic sizes: 29”, 35”, 45” and 70”
(74cm, 89cm, 114cm, and 178cm).
Bob Kulesh added, “We can also custom any slider to the user’s
specifications. It can be fashioned in increments of 4.75” (12 cm)
between cross members up to 12 feet (266 cm).”
Fully factory-assembled, MatthewsSLIDER will accept any gear
head/fluid head/camera combination. The package includes a
Mitchell swivel base and Mitchell carriage, as well as Mitchell 2”
risers, plate, slim locking handle, a set of leveling legs, and extras.
Additional accessories are also available from MSE.
Matthews Studio Equipment will show their MatthewsSLIDER
at IBC in Hall 11, Row G, booth 71. 11.G71.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Thierry Arbogast, AFC with F65 on Luc Besson’s Lucy
Isn’t the F65 heavy for Steadicam?
Not really. The F65 looks a little bigger than other cameras—especially bigger than the RED, which is very small. But if we compare weights, the F65 is not very heavy. (11 lb / 5 kg.) The Sony’s
body is made of something lightweight (magnesium). It looks big,
but it’s completely lightweight. Unfortunately, the F65 looks like
a cheap camera. If we compared the styling of the F65 to other
cameras, the others look much better. But in our tests, we and our
colorists found that the images on the F65 had the best picture,
the best color space for this film.
What was the look or the style for this film?
We spoke about the style of the movie during pre-production.
Luc told me he wanted something like “Inception.” He told me
he wanted something close to that look and we decided with the
assistance of some reference photos with the art department. Especially in Taipei, the look was very colorful, very shiny.
Did you soften the image with filters or shoot clean?
Thierry Arbogast, AFC (above) is an award–winning French cinematographer. His work with director Luc Besson began in 1989 with La
Femme Nikita. Their most recent collaboration, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, opened this summer. Luc Besson’s parents were Club
Med scuba instructors. His first big success was The Big Blue (1988)
about free diving. He founded EuropaCorp in 2000, built the Cité du
Cinema stages and post facilities in Saint-Denis, and worked on more
than 50 films as writer, director and producer.
JON FAUER: What cameras were you using on Lucy?
THIERRY ARBOGAST: We shot most of the film with two Sony
F65 cameras, from the rental house Next Shot. We chose them
after doing many tests with all the major brands. After screening
the results in a theater, our favorite camera for the look of this
film was the F65—especially for its color space.
Did you shoot it in 4K?
Yes, we shot in 4K. I think there will be selected screenings in 4K.
But probably 90% of the film release will be projected in 2K.
Tell me about the lenses that you used on the show.
We shot with the Cooke S4/i primes. The Cooke S4 is my favorite
prime lens. We had the complete set (12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 27,
32, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75, 100, 135, 150, 180 mm). And we had two
zooms. The 18-80 ARRI/Fujinon and an Angenieux Optimo 24290. I like this Optimo zoom; I think it is one of the best. The
18-80 is a very good zoom for Luc because he likes to operate the
camera with a short lens but he sometimes wants to zoom during
the shot. The 24-290 was for long lens shots, but we didn’t use it
that much. Just sometimes.
Were you shooting with both F65 cameras at the same time?
No, we never used them simultaneously. We had two cameras because Luc likes to have the second camera ready to go any time.
The main camera, operated by Luc, usually had the 18-80 zoom.
But the second camera was always on the side ready to go with a
Cooke S4. For example, we might be shooting with the “A” camera
and then Luc would ask for a Steadicam shot. But, of course, he’d
supervise the Steadicam shot.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Just clean. Luc always works with a clean picture. Always. No diffusion, no filters.
You and he are not afraid of 4K for faces?
No, we always try to find something sharp, with high definition,
and we are not afraid of 4K.
What about anamorphic?
I love anamorphic lenses, but Luc has not wanted to work with
anamorphic lenses for quite some time. When we did “Fifth Element,” Digital Domain asked for it to be shot in spherical, Super 35mm. Since then, Luc has worked with spherical lenses. He
came back to anamorphic lenses only for Malavita (The Family)
with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. He was thinking it
would probably be the last movie that he was going to make using
motion picture film. He asked me if I agreed to shoot in anamorphic. And I said, “Wonderful, I love anamorphic lenses.” We used
the Panavision anamorphic G-Series lenses, Primo Close Focus,
and some anamorphic zooms.
But for this movie, “Lucy,” he preferred to shoot in spherical because it would be easier with effects, and also there would be a
lot of close focus. Also with the F65, it would be bad to shoot in
anamorphic because the sensor is not tall enough.
Because it’s 16x9 and the sensor height is less than 18 mm?
Yes, it will crop. So we tested spherical lenses with the F65. We
liked the Cooke S4 set. They are very good lenses, very sharp, very
beautiful. But they are not too “crispy,” you know? I think it’s good
for digital to be not too sharp…not too hard or harsh.
How did you light your lead actress, Scarlett Johansson?
She’s a beautiful woman. We used ring lights on the camera all the
time. Because I wanted to have very good highlights in the eyes. I
wanted her to be as beautiful as possible. I used the ring light a lot
of times, with a dimmer. The dimmer was controlled wirelessly.
When the camera moved, I could dial the brightness of the ring
light up and down.
Is it wireless? Do you do it by remote control?
Yes, exactly. For example, if I do a travelling shot with Scarlett,
and if at some point we go in front of a mirror or glass, I can go
Thierry Arbogast, AFC with F65 on Lucy (cont’d)
For exteriors, did you use HMI lights?
Not so much. We used a lot of natural light. We had a chase sequence in Paris that was very sunny, with very natural light. Afterwards, we matched it with the car and the actors on stage. So
the big chase was in the real location, with the car moving; but
inside the car, we matched everything on the stage with the actors
because we didn’t want to have the actors doing this chase in the
streets of Paris.
What lights did you use on the stage to match?
HMI to recreate daylight. We put a circular track around the car
and used an HMI—probably 12K—to recreate the sun. This HMI
sun was on the track so we could move it around the car to have
the feeling that the car was turning.
Where did you do post production and grading?
Photo: Jessica Forde
© Universal Pictures
down or turn if off if there is a reflection of the ring light in the
glass. Also, if the actress comes close to the lens, I can go down
or I can go up if she goes a little further away. The ring light was
attached to the zoom lens. And also on the Steadicam with the
Cooke S4 lens.
Really? You had a ring light on the Steadicam?
Exactly, but we built a special ring light for the Steadicam. The
ring light was in daylight, but we had some filters that we put in
front to go warmer and to go to tungsten. I asked my gaffer to
make one with different LEDs. Warm and tungsten and daylight.
But it was not possible to do it so quickly. So we only had one in
daylight and we used gels to warm it. But next time if I have to do
a movie with a ring light again, I’m going to try to build one with
two different LED colors: tungsten and daylight so we can mix
them together and chose the perfect color that we want.
Let’s talk about the lighting in general.
On this movie we used all the latest technology in lighting, LED,
and so on. In Taipei, I used some ARRI LED units that can go red,
yellow, blue, every color. You can turn the button and it goes to
any color you want. I used that for the Taipei shots with Scarlett
in a taxi.
When we had a close-up of her at night in the taxi, or in the street,
there were a lot of different color signs outside. Taipei has many
huge color signs everywhere in the street. So we put some LEDs
near the lens and I changed the color to red, blue, green. It was
very nice. We also used these lights in the nightclub scene. It’s a
flashback. The look of the movie is quite colorful.
What key lights did you use for your big setups?
I used big 18K lights in the stage. We had a lot of sets on stage
and I recreated daylight for the hotel scene. We had a lot of scenes
in the big hotel and we created a lot of daylight—big sources of
light from outside. We used a lot of blue screen also. Actually, the
majority of the movie was shot on the stage. After shooting the
real locations, we matched them on the stage. In Taipei, we shot
in some real locations—including some bad restaurants and some
crappy locations—but they are very beautiful in the movie.
At the Digital Factory ( in the Cité du Cinema. On Lustre. Luc always wants to do the grading in France.
Since his very first movie, he has done the grading in France.
When you were shooting, did you have a DIT to set the looks?
Yes, I have a DIT on the set all the time to check the exposure and
to be sure that there are no technical problems. And also I have a
Data Manager to take care of the back end.
Do you operate the camera or one of the cameras?
Luc does the camera operating himself. Always. From the beginning, from his first movie, he was always behind the camera himself. Luc usually works with only one camera. If there are some action scenes, sometimes he uses the second camera for something
very special, but not usually. If there is a second camera, I take it.
But because we had the Steadicam 75% of the time, it was standing by, ready to go, already configured.
You used an ALEXA and an Epic for some shots?
Yes. For the car chase in Paris, as background plates. We needed
to match the chase with the actors later in the studio. We shot
the chase during the middle of August. Paris is completely empty
during August. It’s the best time to do a chase. But the chase was
supposed to be with the actors and the actress and they were not
available at this time. Scarlett came to Taipei in September. So we
filmed the chase elements without the actors. We mounted six
RED cameras on a camera car: one in front, one behind, two on
the sides, one tight, one wide. At every point, we needed to match
the actors. We had this camera car do the chase along the rue du
Rivoli in Paris. At the time, it was very difficult to find six F65s in
Paris. It was easier to find six RED cameras in Paris. That’s the reason why we shot with the RED in 4K, which was very comfortable.
If the RED cameras were for the car chase, then what were the
ALEXAs for?
ALEXA was also used from time to time because it was easier to
find for occasional extra camera shots. I love the ALEXA too. We
also did some shots with the Canon 5D. We used the 5D for some
very small, very quick shots. But when you have an action scene,
quickly cut, it’s not a big deal to match everything together. There
are some shots that are just two seconds long.
Do you have any comments on what improvements you’d like
for the next camera?
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Thierry Arbogast, AFC with F65 on Lucy (cont’d)
If I have some suggestions for the F65, it would be a bigger 4:3
sensor for anamorphic lenses (18 x 24 mm). Not a 16:9 sensor.
The bigger the sensor, the happier I am. At minimum, an anamorphic lens should cover it (without cropping).
came out 3 years ago, but this camera was not very popular until
now. Two years ago, nobody wanted to use it. From the beginning, Sony said why not use the F65, make some tests, try it. Few
people knew about it before.
On this show, what aspect ratio was it? 2.35:1?
I think also in the beginning people were afraid of 4K and maybe now it’s more accepted in France?
Yes. We shot 2.35:1, spherical, Super 35mm. But for the next movie, if I want to use anamorphic lenses, I would be happy to have
the quality of the F65 with a bigger sensor that captures the full
4:3 anamorphic squeezed frame (23.76 x 17.82 mm).
What do you think is the mystique of anamorphic?
Because of the style of anamorphic, because of the depth of field
anamorphic lens, and especially the quality. We don’t always need
to be so realistic and anamorphic offers something that may be
a little more poetic in style. A lot of us love anamorphic lenses,
especially in digital because it blocks the digital style. I choose
ARRI ALEXA for anamorphic because it’s the only camera that
has a digital sensor that covers the full anamorphic lens. The new
RED DRAGON camera has a sensor that is bigger—it crops a
little less – but it still crops. But the F65 crops too much when we
use anamorphic lenses.
How would you describe the color space of the F65?
I made tests—almost ten different shots, two shots outside, three
shots in stage, two shots in the real location. We tested three
different cameras and then we worked on the grading. First we
graded the images to make the cameras’ picture as similar as possible in the DI. When we adjusted the three cameras almost all
the same, Luc came to the screening and said that he liked the F65
best for the color and look of the film we were about to make. For
the look of “Lucy,” we felt the F65 was the best for the skin tones
and for the colors of the film. Also, the person doing the grading
told me that with the F65 it’s very easy to find the natural color.
Was this the first digital film for Luc Besson?
Yes. It was the first digital film for him. The first one that he directed. But not the first one that he produced.
Whose idea was it to shoot Lucy in digital as opposed to film?
It was an evolution. A while ago I asked Luc if he wanted to shoot
in digital and he said, “No, I want to shoot in 35mm.” But we did
some tests back then with the F35 and the Panavision Genesis.
Also at night, in the Place de la Concorde. I used the two cameras
together, F35 and Genesis for a few shots. Because he didn’t want
to use cherry pickers with HMI lights at night. He wanted to catch
the natural light from the street lights in the Place de la Concorde.
So we started in digital with Luc on this movie. On Malavita, we
did some night scenes with ALEXA. And for Lucy he said, “OK, I
agree to shoot in digital.” When he saw the test, he approved the
Sony F65. It’s nice because digital is getting technically better and
better. I am not sure—but maybe Luc will go back to film for his
next movie. It’s not impossible, you know? But for this movie, he
agreed to shoot in digital.
It’s interesting that you chose the F65. I know a couple of rental
houses in Paris bought F65s and they really couldn’t rent them
for a while. And then all of the sudden you started using them
and now everybody wants to shoot F65.
I know the F65 was not very popular a few years ago. The F65
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
I don’t think so. The RED was already in 4K, you know? The RED
was very popular. So I don’t think that’s the reason. I think the
reason that the camera was not popular is it’s a little ugly. It looks
a little cheap. And it’s a little too big. So people stayed away from a
big camera. It’s a big camera. Much bigger than the others.
The film business is almost like the fashion business. If the
camera’s not stylish, they’re not going to use it. It’s like fashion.
Yes, exactly. Not fashionable. Sony has to think about that. The
Genesis was very ugly too. The ALEXA and the RED have the
best designs at the moment for sure. The ARRI D-21 was not very
On the set, you’re watching the same monitor as the DIT and
then you say make it darker, lighter and so on?
Yes. I have a Sony OLED monitor that I like very much. I advise
the DIT on the exposure because sometimes I want it to be much
darker or sometimes I don’t care to be overexposed in some part
of the picture. I might say, “No, no, you can go up in the picture”
or “You can go down.” I love digital cameras now because you
have the complete picture on the set. You don’t have to wait for
the lab to process the film and screen the film dailies the next day.
It’s very comfortable to have the picture on the set and to know is
exactly where you go.
No more scary telephone calls in the middle of the night from
the lab. And the F65 is definitely as good as film?
Maybe better. Especially now that we’re screening in 4K. The F65
has an 8K sensor.
How did you get started in film? Did you go to film school?
No, I never went to film school. When I was a child, I wanted to
make movies and be a DP. When I was about 12, I had a Super
8mm camera and I would make films by myself. And at one point,
when I was 17 years old, I began working with a DP as a First Assistant on some very small, cheap movies in 16mm. I worked my
way up. After eight years as an assistant, I began working as a DP.
Is there anything else you would like to add about “Lucy?”
I think we made a very nice movie with Luc. I think the picture
looks good in the trailer And I am sure it’s going to be a good film.
I have a feeling that the movie is going to be a big success. It’s just
my feeling.
Also, I just want to say that Luc’s films are always very beautiful.
Because it’s Luc’s style. It’s something that we work on together.
He helped me a lot to make this picture so good. It’s a collaboration. Luc has a very good style.
Our first film together was La Femme Nikita. In 1990. It’s a long
time ago. And we have worked together ever since. I have shot all
his films since Nikita. The Professional, The Fifth Element… I’m
very happy to work with him all the time.
Lucy and the Filter Factory
Steve Tiffen, President of The Tiffen Company (above left) recently
led a tour of the company’s headquarters on Long Island for Lucy
Liu and Ron Fortunato, ASC. This was the first time I’d heard of
an actress actually taking an interest in how filters are made. Both
Lucy and Ron were kind enough to share the experiences of their
trip to the Tiffen Filter Factory in Hauppauge, New York..
Comments on working with Ron?
Ron is an artist. He was able to think outside the box and take my
ideas and manifest them into moving images. I was incredibly
blessed and lucky to work with him for my first foray directing
in television. He met with me during week and weekends to go
through my shot list & answer all of my questions…not an easy
sacrifice when you are working 10 months out of the year!
JON FAUER: Filters and actresses—how do they work together?
LUCY LIU: Direct light can often times be unflattering and harsh.
Filters help diffuse the light and soften the look and are also incredible tools to help create mood and accent the environment of
a scene.
You’re multi-talented—actress, director, photographer. Where
did these interests originate?
I love art and film is moving art. The two go hand in hand!
JON FAUER: What were your impressions of the Tiffen Filter
Factory visit?
As a child, I was always curious about how things were built. This
visit to Tiffen was fascinating. I learned things that I would have
never completely understood had I not gone to the factory in person. Tiffen is also involved in many different aspects of film making outside of making filters: lighting, Steadicams, and other current technologies. Being there was inspiring and sparked many
new ideas for future directing projects.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Fortunato and the Filter Factory
JON FAUER: Maybe the title of this article will be “Fortunato
and the Filter Factory,” sort of like “Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory.” But a little background—tell me about the project
you’re doing now with Lucy Liu.
RON FORTUNATO: It’s called “Elementary.” It’s a modern day
Sherlock Holmes based in New York City. One of the big twists
is that the Watson character is a female played by Lucy Liu. They
meet because she’s his appointed drug counselor. He has a drug
problem. He’s sobering up. She was a surgeon who had an incident where she had to leave medicine. They hit it off because she
becomes very fascinated with what he does. He becomes fascinated with her, but not as a love interest They become partners in
crime-solving. The studio is CBS. We’re in our third season. Tom
Houghton, ASC is now the the alternating DP with me.
You’re shooting on a stage and on location?
We’re based at Silvercup East. We shoot four days in the studio
and then four days on location. That varies slightly. Sometimes
it’s three in, five out. The writers are very aware of that. For me, it’s
a wonderful job, because to be half in and half out is perfect. You
get your studio time, but you’re not stuck in there permanently
and the walls don’t start to cave in on you. We shoot almost exclusively in the five boroughs. Occasionally, we go to Westchester
and once we went to New Jersey.
Can you describe the look, the style of the show?
It’s not extremely stylized. It’s realism based or naturalism based.
We tend to gravitate, when we can, towards wider-angle lenses
but nothing extreme. It’s very character and story driven. What’s
really wonderful about the show from a cinematographer’s point
of view is that they like wide shots and medium wide shots. It’s
not all close-ups. This is great for the cinematographer and for the
directors because you can play things in medium wide and wide
shots, and they don’t cut it like crazy. It’s not a choppy show. In
three years of shooting it, I’ve never gotten a call from the studio
saying we need more close-ups, which is really liberating.
The look is quite feature-like.
Yes. It’s lit like a feature, very naturalistic. There are no shafts of
light coming in with smoke or anything like that. The sets have
been built with that in mind. The precinct, for example, is basically fluorescent lit, but we take liberties on that. When it’s a daylight
scene, I’ll use soft window light a lot and turn the fluorescents
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
off. In the brownstone my process is very natural source oriented.
What do you think changed the minds of the producers to say
“Okay, let’s accept wide shots?”
I did it that way from the beginning. And I hope it’s a trend that’s
happening. Also, I think people are a little tired of quick cutting.
It’s run its course. It doesn’t necessarily help storytelling; sometimes it becomes a distraction. The other thing that I think is a
huge factor is that people are now watching TV on 40 to 50 inch
flat-panel screens. The close-ups you did for 4:3 TV sometimes
would almost be grotesque on a 50-inch screen.
I think it also coincides with how trends come and go. I think
the quick cutting thing has been around for 15 years at least. I
think it’s run its course. If you look at a lot of other shows that are
very innovative and popular like “True Detective” or “Masters Of
Sex,” they’re not cutting like crazy either. I don’t think it’s just us.
I think it’s a very welcome and pleasant trend.
Yes, and about time. Tell me about the equipment, cameras,
lenses, lights.
It’s the ARRI ALEXA, rented from ARRI/CSC. Basically, we keep
the ALEXA up to date based on whatever software is new. I’m not
a huge technician. But I love the newest ALEXA. We use a Canon
C300 for inserts and some second unit work. It cuts in very well.
Canon EOS 5D occasionally for those moments when you can’t
get any other camera in there. We buried one when someone was
digging something up and put it in a box and the person digging
with his hands revealed himself.
But 99 percent of the show is on the ALEXA. We use two of them.
We use mostly zoom lenses: Angénieux Optimos. That’s about it.
We shoot in Log C, recording ProRes 444 to 64GB SxS cards. The
key Loader handles the SxS cards, and sends the “exposed” SxS
cards directly to Deluxe. I’m very fortunate because I usually get
to go to the timing session. The timer, Tony D’Amore, does his
take on it, which is based on three years of working with each
other. Then I go in and look at it at Deluxe in real time. Tony in
L.A. and I’m in New York; he’s on speaker phone, we talk, and we
make final corrections.
You’re shooting 2K or HD or what?
We’re shooting HD. Onto the ALEXA’s internal SxS cards. We’re
not shooting RAW. And we’re not shooting 4K. That may change
eventually, but right now we’re really happy with it.
Tiffen Filter Factory Tour (cont’d)
Steve Tiffen and Lucy Liu
How do you set the look and how do you get your exposure? Do
you use a light meter or a monitor?
I use a Sony BVM 24” monitor. We use a slightly modified Rec.709
LUT. I have a waveform and, I don’t mind saying it again, I’m not
very technical. But I learned how to use the waveform. I use it in
a very basic way. I just make sure the exposure is in there. At the
beginning of every day, I take out my light meter just to ensure it’s
all OK. I’ll look at the exposure, and I do it by eye on the monitor.
The reason I use the light meter once a day is just to make sure
that everything is plugged in right and that the cameras and lens
are calibrated correctly. Every once in a while you catch something. You might think you’re at a T4, but then you realize the lens
is not calibrated and you’re really at a T2.8. So I double check with
the light meters.
Are you rating the camera at 800 ISO?
I rate it at 800. Originally everyone said you have to shoot at 800
and if you don’t shoot at 800, you lose latitude and things like that. I
started experimenting this year with going down to 400 ISO sometimes. When I need to have a little less depth of field or something.
I think it looks great. I do push to 1600 ISO occasionally. I prefer
to adjust the shutter. So sometimes I go to a 220 or a 270 shutter.
When you have a really dark scene at night, what would you
When I’m outside at night, and I need a little more exposure, I’ll
go to a 220 degree shutter. If I have to, I’ll go to the 270. I rarely
go to 360 because it goes blurry. I’ll go to 360 if it’s a lock-off and
I need it. I’m starting to play with the ISO more. I’m doing it very
gracefully and carefully. I am really looking and comparing. I’m
going to see if it’s OK outside at 100 and use less ND. We use the
IRND filters all the time. They’re absolutely necessary. I learned
that the hard way. One time, we had three cameras, and somehow
the filters got mislabeled. So, a regular ND went on the third camera, and you really saw the difference. You saw a maroon tinge on
someone’s blue jacket. You really need the IRND filters. There’s no
discussion about that.
Since this conversation is leading up to your Tiffen factory
visit, I trust these are Tiffen IRNDs?
Yup. Everything’s Tiffen. Last month we visited Tiffen. Lucy Liu
stars on the show—and she also directed one episode which went
really well. One day, Sandie Stern (Key Accounts Executive) and
some people from Tiffen were visiting us on the set. I introduced
them to Lucy and Sandie said, “Would you like to come visit?”
Lucy was actually very interested. It took a few months before we
actually pulled it together. We waited until our break and went
out to the Tiffen factory on Long Island one weekday.
Why would a movie star be interested in visiting a filter factory?
Lucy is someone who is totally interested in learning about everything to do with filmmaking. We had talked a little bit about how
I use filters. Tiffen had made custom for me: Digital Diffusions
with some grades of Glimmerglass, as well as varying grades of
Digital Diffusion with the number one Glimmerglass. I had all
these filters that I ended up calling L.L. filters, named after Lucy
Liu and she got curious. She’s just a very curious person. When
we were there, she was as interested in everything as I was, for
sure. It was also fascinating to see Tiffen’s other product lines like
the Lowel Lights. We talked about different makeup lights that we
might be able to add. Lucy is just a person who seizes opportunities.
I think that she’s going to say that she likes seeing how things are
made. It’s always interesting to go behind the scenes and see how
it’s all done. I was fascinated because I honestly had no idea what
it was going to be like. The one extreme would be guys without
shirts stirring buckets of glass. And the other extreme could have
been white lab coats and people with glasses on. It was somewhere in between. No one had their shirts off, but it was definitely
old school meets new school. There was some very computerized
stuff, for example, laser etching on the filters was really cool. And
then there were some drills and mechanical, big, monstrous machines that cut the filters.
Was this your first time at Tiffen as well?
Yes, they’ve been asking me for years, and we’ve never been able
to put it together. I’ve had a close relationship with Tiffen and I’ve
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Tiffen Filter Factory Tour (cont’d)
used their filters for 30 years. About 15 years ago, I started working
with Sidney Lumet. We used the early Sony F900 HD cameras. I
was kind of horrified at shooting HD. But Sidney wanted to shoot
HD. So I called up Tiffen right away. I said, “Listen, I’m shooting
HD. It looks really crisp and crass and harsh. Do you have any suggestions?” And they did, right away. They had Black Diffusion FX
and Gold Diffusion FX filters that I used on “100 Centre Street.”
They really helped. When I did “Gossip Girl” I didn’t want it to
look heavily diffused, but I needed some diffusion, since it had a
very glamorous glass. And the Tiffen people cut right to the chase.
They said, “We have Glimmerglass filters that we just invented and
you might like them.” I tried them and they were perfect because
they added a little bit of mood, but not as much as a Promist. I
used those for three or four years. I’m still using them on “Elementary,” but I’m also using a lot of different filters. I’m using Pearlescents. Black Glimmerglass, Black Pearlescents, Soft/FX—I use a
myriad of filters. It’s really dependent on the scene. We very rarely
go clean. The only time I go clean is if we have a huge backlit situation where there’s a big sky, a white sky or huge windows inside.
I would say maybe less than one percent of the time we don’t use
filters. We always have something on the lens.
There’s a trend lately to use vintage, antique lenses…
You have to use something. Otherwise, it’s just too clean. And it’s
only going to get worse with 4K. With 4K, instead of a number 1
grade of filter, we’ll be using a number 2. We’re just going to step
up to a greater degree of filtration. 4K’s great for post-production,
but it’s a Pandora’s Box for the cinematographers and for the cast.
It’s just so damn sharp. So, I predict we’ll be designing combo
filters, like Pearlescent plus Digital Diffusion, because the trick
is going be to soften it without it making look like it’s softened.
Nobody wants it to look like a Mitchell D.
If you’re using so many filters, do they give you even more control of the look, with a greater degree of repeatability, and still
take the edge off digital? Or are you using vintage lenses?
No, but the only thing I like about the old lenses is they’re not
quite as sharp. I think that’s why this trend has happened. But the
reality is, you need zooms on TV. It’s almost impossible to work
without zooms on TV. All of the new zooms are sharp. I guess
you could investigate digging out old zooms, but I don’t know.
To me it’s not the way to go. If I were doing a movie on digital, I
might consider doing it all on a set of ZEISS Standard primes that
I own and are pretty old. I would then find a zoom that matches.
I always used filters with film. But since I started digital, they’re
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
On “Elementary,” were you using a specific filter with Lucy or
does it depend on the scene?
It depends on the scene, but I do use something called the Tiffen
Satin. The Satin is kind of based on what we did as a custom filter,
which was the Digital Diffusion and Glimmerglass together. The
Satins are what I use on Lucy, and they’re beautiful. They soften really well without looking soft, so it’s only when you’re looking at the
monitor and you pull it out and go. “Oh wow, I see the effect.” But
when you have it in, no one’s going to ask what you have in there.
Whenever we’re shooting Lucy’s close-ups, the ACs always ask me
if I want the Satin. All of these Tiffen filters mix very well. The
great thing about them is they’re all subtle. You can mix pretty
much all the filters I’ve mentioned, and I think you can mix within
a scene within a show. Sometimes we’ll have a shot toward the
windows, and I’ll use a very light grade of filter or no filter. Then
I’ll turn around and I’ll go, “Oh this looks too clean.” That’s when
we stick the filter in there. Everything mixes very well. I think it’s
just the more you use them, the more you make the right call. You
can tell if the scene is a good thing for Black Glimmer. Or for plain
Glimmer. That is wonderful thing about HD, as everyone knows.
I’m stating the obvious, but you see it right there on the monitor.
So, testing a filter doesn’t get any easier than just looking.
That was going to be my next question. Do you test in advance
of the season or do you just do it on the fly?
When the show started, I did pretty extensive tests with the actors.
Obviously, the women are more important. So, I did lighting and
filter tests with Lucy. Now I do it as I go. If Tiffen were to come
and say, “Listen, we have this crazy new filter and we’d like you to
try it,” and if it’s something that’s so out of the ordinary from what
I normally use, I would test it beforehand. But I find that the best
way to test it is on the set with the actors, so I pick my moments.
If we’re waiting on one actor or if I have a few minutes, that would
be a good moment to test. The other day I did it in the precinct
setup. We were waiting, I was all lit, we stuck the new filters in,
and we saw the difference. I made my decision based on that.
Who is your main contact at Tiffen?
It’s pretty much Sandie Stern. I would feel comfortable with calling anybody there, but Sandie seems to be the one I call most. She
sets me up with everything.
You knew Nat Tiffen, Steve’s father, early in your career? He
was always great with us fledglings. If Nat gave you a Tiffen hat,
it felt like you had made it in the big time.
Tiffen Filter Factory Tour (cont’d)
They are the greatest company. They are so service-oriented, and
they get it. In this digital age, a lot of companies aren’t used to
helping DPs. Companies like Tiffen, ARRI and Panavision really
cater to us. They understand we have certain needs and questions.
A lot of the digital companies, I won’t mention any names, don’t
really understand that.
Tiffen totally gets it. You get great customer service, and you get
someone on the phone, and you can talk. I’ll never forget when
I did that thing with Sidney Lumet 15 years ago. They just were
right on it, and they were really interested. I did test those filters very extensively. They really helped me on that show because
digital was tough back then.
Does that mean any DP on a show can call somebody at Tiffen
and they’ll actually make a custom filter for you?
Yes, I think they would. A lot of these custom filters have gone
into production now. I now have Glimmerglass/ND combos. You
know how, when you stack two filters, sometimes you get that
double image? At one point I asked them if we could make some
combos so that I wouldn’t have to use two filters. Tiffen did that,
and they’ve been great.
And without giving away trade secrets, how heavy is the filtration you use on a close-up?
Oh, I don’t have any trade secrets. (Jon’s note: Tiffen does, however.
There’s a secret room no visitors have ever entered, where the “secret
sauces” are concocted. The more technical name is Tiffen ColorCore
lamination technology. It provides complete control over filter color and density, and assures consistent results. In fact, in 2000, the
Academy presented Nat Tiffen with a Sci-Tech Award for consistency in filter quality.)
I use Glimmerglass 1 and 2. I use 2 more than a 1. For the Pearlescents, I use the same kind of thing. I use the second one up, or the
third one up. I never go too heavy. I never use the Glimmerglass
5 or anything like that. It’s the same with the Pearlescents. On the
Satin filters, I use up to a 2. I think I’ve used the 3 possibly. I don’t
want to see a filter, so I usually use the lower end.
Digital cameras require going heavier than with film, which
usually meant fractional filters, right?
Yes. I think you have to. Filters are used in conjunction with lighting. If you have an actress and you see textures on the skin that
you don’t want to see, a filter is not going to make it go away, unless you use the number 5 or something, which no one wants to
do. So, it has to be done in conjunction with lighting. You have to
be smart about that, and if you want, say, a very moody shot of
an actress and you’re worried about skin texture, you may want
to front light her while keeping the exposure very low. But, if you
have harsh light and it’s raking in from the side, and you’re seeing
skin texture, no filter is going to take that away. To take it away,
it would be such a heavy filter that it would look bad. So, lighting
and filters go hand in hand.
Tell us a little bit about what you’re using for lights and your
style of lighting.
My lighting is a combination of hard and soft light, but mostly
soft. We use just about everything. We’re gravitating, as is everyone else in the world, towards more and more LEDs. I use Litepanels a lot for eye lights. We’re starting to use LED Fresnels more
often. In the studio it’s mostly tungsten with some LEDs.
Getting back to your working with Lucy and filters, does she
talk to you about how she would like it to look? Do the makeup
people get involved?
Well, everybody looks. Lucy trusts me, and the thing about
shooting something that’s realistic is you’re in adverse conditions
sometimes. If there are rooms that are top lit, she’s aware of it,
and we talk. I will show the makeup people. It’s all a combination
of lighting, makeup, filters, and so one. Sometimes, the reality of
the situation dictates how the scene has to be lit. We’re always in
touch. She’s very conscious of everything going on, which is why
I love working with her. When she directed, it was great because
she’s very aware of filmmaking and what’s going on. She did a lot
of observing before she directed, and I had a great time shooting
her episode.
How do you do dailies?
Dailies are streamed from this thing called DAX. The dailies are
based on a LUT that I’ve set up. I check the dailies, but I feel like
I’ve seen the dailies when I’m watching the scene on the monitor
because that’s what we’re getting and what we’re going to get. The
dailies aren’t like what they were when we shot film, and it’s very
good because it takes a level of stress off of the day.
You don’t get any 3:00 AM calls from Joey V. telling you that
something is wrong.
No, I haven’t had one of those in a long time and boy, I don’t miss
that. That’s one thing I don’t miss about film.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Cinetech Italiana Albatross
Lens Data Encoder LDE-1
ARRI’s new Lens Data Encoder LDE-1 provides metadata for
lenses that don’t have LDS metadata built in. The position of the
lens ring to which it is attached is encoded. This can be useful not
only with lenses lacking LDS, but also when using a manual follow focus unit or non-ARRI wireless lens control system.
The LDE-1 plugs into an ALEXA Plus or Studio (or a UMC-4).
WCU-4 Sofware Update Package 2.0
Software Update Packet (SUP) 2.0 for the WCU-4 simplifies lens
programming. The WCU-4 hand unit now offers a lens programming interface on its large LCD screen, so a lens scale can be
programmed wirelessly in less than a minute, with no additional
equipment besides the WCU-4, UMC-4 or ALEXA Plus Module
and lens motors. The resulting lens file is stored on an SD card,
which can be taken out and reused elsewhere.
Additional features of WCU-4 SUP 2.0 include support for the
ENG Motor Controller EMC-1 and focus tracking with the
UMC-4, as well as minor bug fixes and improvements in response
to customer feedback. The software update is free of charge and
will be available beginning November 2014.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Cinetech Italiana has been located near Cinecittà Studios for over
25 years. Their dollies are designed by founder and CEO Armando
Grottesi, who has a background in mechanical engineering and
40 years of experience in the film equipment manufacturing
business. Cinetech Dollies are stable, versatile, extremely smooth
and provide precise arm movement even with heavy camera loads.
Cinetech uses the latest technology in their dolly construction
with the highest quality materials in fabricating the components.
Cinetech Italiana’s new Albatross Dolly, the result of years of hard
work, is finally ready to be presented at Cinec 2014 in Munich.
Stylish Italian design, steady and reliable arm movement,
extremely responsive valve system, sturdy arm—this new dolly
will be an asset for rental houses or grips who want to provide
their own equipment package.
Cinetech sells dollies to the customer and rents upon request. Here’s
a partial list of some of the many rental houses worldwide who
own Cinetech dollies: ARRI (Germany), Cinecittà Studios (Italy),
Panalight (Italy), Cinesyl (France), China Film Group (Beijing),
Bogdan i Brigada (Russia), X-Ray (Russia), X-Ray (Russia),
Gamma Engineering (UAE & Lebanon), Movie People (Italy),
Harrison & Watkins (New Zealand), Proaction Media Services
(Dubai), Camaras & Luces (Argentina), Musitelli (Uruguay).
Cinetech will be at Cinec in booth 3-B27.
Albatross Specs
Min length
Min width
Min height
Max height
38” / 96 cm
20.4” / 62 cm
16.5” / 35 cm
46” / 116 cm
131 lb / 60 kg
300 lb / 147 kg
new cvolution camin 3M: smaller footprint
The new cvolution camin 3M is cmotion’s new 3-axis motor driver. It’s
packed into a sleek new housing 35% lighter than the cvolution camin
4M, yet is capable of controlling up to 6 lens motors.
The camin 3M communicates seamlessly with multiple cvolution
controllers, and is compatible with ARRI, Hedén and cforce motors.
The calibration button triggers auto calibration for all connected motors.
In addition, you can also use the cvolution hand unit for individual motor
calibration, quick check or manual calibration of photo, snorkel or even
damaged lenses. To maintain a sleek profile, the 45° angle connectors
are optimized to be used with right angle cables.
czoom redesigned
The cmotion zoom controller—czoom—has been redesigned.
With its new interchangeable mounting hardware, you can still
easily attach the new czoom onto any existing cvolution hand unit.
But now, you can also mount the czoom on standard rods, fluid
head pan-bars, hand grips, or any popular stabilizing systems
including Steadicam and MoVI. This redesign lets you position
and use the czoom for precise control over any motorized axis.
compact LCS gets new prices and new features
compact LCS is cmotion’s low cost lens control system offering daisy-chain
control of 1, 2 or 3 lens motors.
Cost reductions in manufacturing now enable the compact LCS to be even more
affordable. New features for the compact LCS will be revealed at IBC, making a
visit to the cmotion booth definitely worth the trip.
visit cmotion at IBC: 11.G42
and cmotion at cinec: 3-C11/02
cworld iris control on iPhone
cworld is cmotion’s WLAN (WiFi) system for creating, editing and displaying live lens data on cmotion control units and web-enabled smart devices.
When connected to a cvolution camin (motor driver), cworld can connect multiple devices to access lens and distance information, firmware
updates, and user guides. For example, it is now possible for DPs, DITs and ACs to see and adjust the lens aperture setting with their own smart
phone or tablet.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory
Kings Langley, home of Ronford-Baker, is a
short 5-minute ride from Leavesden Warner
Bros Studios, former home of Harry Potter
and his films.
Ronford-Baker, as every muggle and wizard
knows, is the maker of motion picture tripods, heads, sliders, and grip equipment.
Jeff Lawrence, at right, with an Atlas 40 fluid
head, has been with the company since the
beginning, and is the Managing Director.
The company was founded in 1966 by Harry
Baker and Ron Ford. The original workshop
was in a drafty farm building.
The company moved to their current, modern facility in 2012, and I was invited for a
tour of the factory a few months ago.
The Ronford brand name is like a universal
call for a specific piece of equipment, “Get
me the Ronfords please.”
Every grip in the world knows that means
a Ronford-Baker Heavy Duty Tripod with
Mitchell top plate. A standard in the industry. It weighs 22 lb and with legs spread, adjusts from 3’ to 5’6”.
There’s no confusion about Baby Legs. “Get
me the Baby Ronfords please.” Height adjusts from 1’8” to 3’. “Ronfords” are made of
rugged, anodized aluminum. The locking levers are legendary. They lock firmly and are
resistant to the sand, salt, spray, and dirt to
which they are routinely subjected. The Ronford Standard and Baby Heavy Duty Tripods
at right were being packed for shipment to
AbelCine in NY.
Jeff said, “We make support equipment for
the movies—everything from the floor up:
track, dollies, spreaders, tripods, fluid heads,
accessories, grip, specialized tools, one-offs
and bespoke parts. Bespoke is a big part of
our business, and often becomes part of the
line. Most of our products are hand-finished.
Our fluid heads are built from solid blocks
of aluminum instead of being cast. They are
very durable.”
In the foreground, left, is the popular Atlas 7 multi-axis fluid head It’s a thoroughly
modern version of the venerable “Ronford
F7” which has been on sets for more than 40
Ronford-Baker will exhibit at IBC in the
Dedo Weigert booth 11.E31, and at Cinec
booth 3-E15.
Ryan Glater, in photo bottom right, manages
the office and is getting ready to launch the
new website in September:
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory (cont’d)
New Atlas 7 half-gimbal
Fluid Head for selfbalanced control of
cameras up to 60 kg,
upright or underslung.
Modular construction,
also available in 3 axis.
Weight (2 axis): 14.5 kg.
New Atlas 40 Fluid
Head: 7 pan and
tilt fluid settings
with zero positions
at either end of the
scale. Tilt range
+ – 90 degrees;
Weight: 9 kg.
Billet bazooka
with 20”-40”
crankable riser
Three-way leveler
Ronford-Baker Slider has
adjustable magnetic stops,
comes in lengths from
19” to 96”
Adjustable Mitchell
Base Hi-hat
Tiltable Hi-hat has a
Mitchell base with 4
keyways, adjusts to 90°
Standard and Large Quick-Release (Euro-style) Plates and Bases
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory (cont’d)
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Tour of Ronford-Baker Factory (cont’d)
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Gates 35mm Housings
Kino Flo
Gates Underwater
Housing for ARRI
Celeb 400Q DMX LED
softlight yoke-mounted
from a studio grid
Kino Flo’s new Celeb 400Q DMX LED reminds me of a self-powered 4x4 216 frame. Imagine a soft source almost as large (24” x
23”), that saves time, space and power by not having to set up a
“book light” 2.5K HMI PAR bouncing into a beadboard angled
against a 216 frame, with solids top and bottom, 2 floppies on the
sides, a bunch of sandbags, and...
Gates Underwater
Housing for Sony
The Celeb 400 Q LED joins the Kino Flo Celeb 400 and Celeb 200
family. The DMX Celeb 400Q softlight produces a soft, flattering
key or fill source with the equivalent light output of a 1,500 Watt
tungsten softlight, but uses only about 1.8 Amps.
In our continuing quest to take off the “hard edge” and tame the
moving digital image, we’re turning to softer sources. The Celeb
400Q, at 24 x 23 inches (61 x 58 cm) provides a large, soft, easily
handled source that is flattering to faces and doesn’t wash out the
Gates Underwater
Housing for Canon
Like all Kino Flo Celebs, the 400Q DMX LED comes with DMX
and onboard controls: dial-in 2700K - 5500K with presets to store
settings and 100-0% dimming that doesn’t shift color. Celeb 400Q
operates anywhere in the world on 100 - 240 VAC, or a 24 VDC
battery. It comes with removable honeycomb grid and gel frame.
It’s available with yoke mount or Pole-Op.
Gates Underwater
Housing for RED Epic
Gates Underwater Products now has an underwater housing for
ARRI ALEXA—joining their Sony F55/F5, Canon C300/500, and
RED Epic DRAGON housings.
Gates 35mm digital cine camera housings are waterproof to 450
feet (137 m), have simple fingertip controls, adjustable weight
system for buoyancy and balance trim, lots of accessories including HD-SDI surface feed, remote follow focus, tripod mount,
diver comm, adjustable handgrips, and monitor housings. Gates
Seal Check II verifies housing integrity before entering the water.
There are 2 Gates ALEXA housings: ALEXA XT housing and the
ALEXA XT PLUS housing.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
By way of comparison, the Celeb 400 DMX LED measures 45” x
14” (114.5 cm x 36 cm)—similar in size to the Kino Flo 4ft 4Bank.
The Celeb 200 DMX LED is 24” x 14” (61 cm x 35.5 cm)—similar
in size and light output as the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 201. at IBC: 11.E33
Cinec: 3-D20
at Photokina in Dedo Weigert booth: Hall 4.1 Stand: G013 H012
Celeb 400Q DMX LED hanging
as a top light—great for tabletop and product shots
Wooden Camera
The Director’s Monitor Cage from Wooden Camera adjusts to accept almost any mini-monitor. Battery mounting bracket included for attaching V-Mount plates, Gold Mount plates, and wireless
receivers. Lanyard included for easy carrying on set. Hole on top
and bottom for setting onto a C-stand. MSRP $299. Available in
Wooden Camera’s Universal Lens Support (19mm/15mm Studio) supports heavy lenses when using 19mm or 15mm studio
rods. Convertible between both studio rod standards. Unlock
the thumbscrew to move from centered 19mm support to
15mm studio offset. Lens rests in “U” shaped cradle.
Wooden Camera is at IBC 11.E71
Cinematographer and inventor Dante Cecchin is like the Italian
Ron Dexter, Denny Clairmont or Joe Dunton: he never met a
camera or lens he couldn’t immediately improve. After only one
night shooting with the 4K Sony a7S and Panasonic GH4, Dante
designed this BirdCage System: a modular cage that includes
his popular mini/micro HDMI to full-size HDMI connector. It
weighs a mere 51 grams (1.79 oz). E-mount to PL, Panavision, F,
and EF adapters can be integrated into the BirdCage System.
PrimeCircle XM
Dante’s PrimeCircle XM (manual focus and manual aperture)
cinema lenses are finally ready for delivery. They have smooth
focus barrels and carefully calibrated focus scales. The XM Series
comes in 9 focal lengths from 15 to 135 mm: 15/2.8; 21/2.8;
25/2.0; 28/2.0; 35/1.4; 50/1.4; 85/1.4; 100 Macro/2.0; 135/2.0.
The new design has a red aperture ring. Dante explains, “This
is to improve the visual ergonomics during the production field:
red represents aperture control, which is a different job than
focusing.” The lenses are originally ZEISS still lenses, which
Dante buys, strips, rebarrels and calibrates in his optical lab on
the shores of Lake Como.
IBC: 11.G35 Cinec: 3-B02
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Terre di Cinema 2014
by Jacques Lipkau-Goyard
While visiting Sicily, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Man is
born with a talent he has meant to use and finds his greatest happiness in using it.” This must be true, since 36 students attended
the 4th edition of Terre Di Cinema International Cinematography
Meetings in Forza d’Agrò, Sicily.
Forza d’Agrò is a beautiful medieval hilltop town between the
Peloritani Mountains and Mount Etna, famed for its volcano, a
few miles north of beautiful Taormina, whose unique appeal and
timeless beauty has been consecrated in the pages of Goethe’s
“Italian Journey.”
They flew in from Uruguay (Escuela de Cine de Uruguay), Belgium (Narafi-Luca School of Arts) the UK (London Film School),
Rome (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Scuola Nazionale di Cinema), Russia (St. Petersburg State University of Film
and TV), Germany (Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen HFF
“Konrad Wolf ”), Spain (Barcelona’s Estudio de Cine) and Israel
(Tel Aviv University - Film & TV Department).
This yearly showcase about excellence in Cinematography was
conducted from June 22nd to July 6th. The theme is the art and
technique of motion picture photography, covering topics from
lighting to optics, camera gear to high-end support technologies
like the Steadicam. Terre di Cinema was helmed by its creator and
Artistic Director Vincenzo Condorelli AIC, with the official support of the Sicily Film Commission, Italy’s Ministry of Cultural
Affairs, AIC (Associazione Italiana Autori Fotografia Cinematografica—the Italian Society of Cinematographers), and the Centro
Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy’s national film school.
Vincenzo Condorelli is a Sicilian native with an MA in film from
the London Film School, member of AIC, and former recipient of
the prestigious U.K. Kodak Student Commercial Award. Now based
between Rome and London, he works as a cinematographer from
Europe to China, Africa, India, Brazil, the Middle East and South
America, shooting motion pictures, commercials and television.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
The Festival’s main activities took place in the monumental 16th
century Monastery of St. Augustine, using the picturesque colonnade for evening screenings with 100 seats. During the day,
lectures and master classes were held in different facilities and a
modern conference room, while technical workshops and training took place in other areas of the structure.
The event is made by Cinematographers to celebrate Cinematographers worldwide, offering top quality screenings, lectures, classes, technical workshops and film gear demos. This year’s technical partners were ARRI Italia, Avid, Canon-Tav, Cartoni, K5600,
Panalight, Panatronics-Zeiss, Sony and Tiffen.
Cartoni, Italy’s historical Professional Camera Support brand, was
the main technical partner of Terre di Cinema, and played a major
role during the week dedicated to workshops. They hosted The
Tiffen International “Bronze” Steadicam Workshop. Danny Hallett flew in from Tiffen UK to instruct a selection of 11 students
with the help of Cartoni’s staff. The intensive workshop was enriched by Terre di Cinema’s guest of honor, Garrett Brown, ASC,
the legendary inventor of the Steadicam and Academy Sci-Tech
Award winner. Garrett supervised the student’s training and held
a final master class. He told FDTimes “I was gratified how far
and fast Danny Hallett brought his Steadicam workshop students
along. I helped out on ‘test day’ and gave my ‘moving camera’ talk
and suddenly the week was over. A good experience…”
Garrett said “Terre di Cinema was very well done. I was impressed
by Vincenzo’s vision and the students’ commitment. Serious and
professional, but conducted with improvisatory panache and a
pleasingly casual, very Italian degree of intensity. Ellen and I enjoyed every minute—particularly the dinners!”
And about food, Garrett said, “Vincenzo took us all out the first
night to dinner at “Il Cenacolo” in Forza D’Agrò, and the food
was superb. The next day we shamelessly hung around, hoping
to return, but he brought us to a different restaurant each night,
starting with the trattoria “Anni 60,” and they were all terrific. That
Terre di Cinema 2014 (cont’d)
little town must be a culinary phenomenon. We learned later that
people come from miles around to dine ‘on the mountain.’”
The other workshops focused on digital workflow and the role of
the DIT—with extensive testing of the cameras provided by the
technical partners: ARRI ALEXA M (Arri Italia), Sony F5 (Sony
Europe), Canon C500 equipped with an Odyssey 7Q Raw recorder and OLED Monitor for 4K shooting and storage (Tav). The
lenses at the students’ disposal were Canon Cinema EOS (Tav),
the ZEISS CP.2 Primes (Milan-based Panatronics, Italy’s exclusive
for Carl Zeiss), the Angenieux Optimo Zoom lenses (Cartoni)
and a set of ARRI-ZEISS Superspeed PL primes (Panalight).
All camera fluid heads, tripods, accessories and equipment were
supplied by Cartoni: Master MK II, Jibo, Smart Head and Pilot
and Zephyr Steadicam Rigs from Tiffen UK.
The lights came from K5600 Lighting and the grip equipment
came from Cinematografica Light Service, a Sicily based cinema
rental service.
A novelty this year was a special two day exhibit in Taormina for
the Sicilian DPs, operators, film and television industry members,
sponsored by the technical partners to show their latest gear. The
Showcase was organized in partnership with the Premio Nastri
d’Argento (Silver Ribbon film Awards). Garrett Brown ASC, was
the special guest of the award ceremony held at the Ancient Greek
Theatre of Taormina.
Brown was asked to hand off the Silver Ribbon award for best
Cinematography. Garret said, “it would go to Daniele Ciprì for his
work on Salvo and his silver-haired self had been pointed out to
me at an earlier press conference; but at the instant of the hand-off
on stage, amid a flood of Italian prompting from host Laura Delli
Colli, that person remained seated in the front row and another
shaggier, dark haired gent appeared beside me with his hands out
for the award and the crowd began to laugh, so I gave it to him,
and shook his hand, and all was well.”
While cinematography and editing students were busy with the
technical workshops, the directing students attended an intensive
story development seminar accompanied by an acting workshop
with 8 professional actors from different cities in Italy, who ultimately featured in the short films shot during the second week
of the CineCampus. CineCampus is an original, fully-immersive
campus reserved for participating students from the international
Film Schools.
The first week of the CineCampus was dedicated to technical
workshops and master classes held by the Cinematographers
in competition for the 2014 New Cinematographers Award –
dedicated to Europe’s rising talents in Cinematography: Michele
D’Attanasio, AIC, Gergely Poharnok, HSC, Tudor Mircea, RSC,
Jeanne Lapoirie, AFC, Olympia Mytilinaiou, GSC. Special guests
were Cinematographers Luciano Tovoli, AIC, ASC, who’s also
honorary Chairman of Terre di Cinema, Nigel Walters, BSC,
president of IMAGO, the European Federation of Cinematographers, and Daniele Nannuzzi, President of the AIC.
The students formed 13 small units (Director, Cinematographer,
AD, AC) and each crew shot a 3-minute short film (preproduction, production, postproduction) following strict rules: 10 hours
shifts, cut in camera, 5 shots max, no sync sound—to focus on
camera work ability. The non-stop editing and post took place at
Garrett Brown, ASC and Vicenzo Condorelli, AIC
the CineCampus Lab with Avid Media Composer 7 suites supplied by AVID Italia.
At the Terre di Cinema 2014 closing gala soirée, the 13 shorts
were screened to the public. In the following months the short
films will be presented in several international festivals, starting
with the 30th Edition of the Brest European Short Films Festival
in November.
The student’s jury appointed the 2014 New Cinematographers
Award to Greek Cinematographer Olympia Mytilinaiou, GSC for
her remarkable work on the feature film Miss Violence, winner
of a Silver Lion at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival.
K5600 Lighting awarded the winner with a Kit Combo Evolution
including 2 new HMIs: one Alpha 200W and one Joker bug 200W
with accessories.
The Festival had a variety of screenings divided into categories.
Masters of Light was a tribute to great cinematographers and
camera operators who have left an important mark in the history
of cinema.
Focus On: a retrospect dedicated to a single country in the world
cinema panorama—Serbia was the 2014 selection.
Italian New Waves: a selection of the most interesting debuts of
the Italian scene of the last season.
The [email protected]: a selection of the best short films
from the 2013 edition of the prestigious Brest European Short
Films Festival.
Cinecampus Corti: the short films shot during the past editions
of the Terre di Cinema.
For more in-depth info on the Festival master classes, participants, videos, screenings and updates on Terre Di Cinema – Festival And International Meetings On Cinematography:
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Cartoni IBC - Cinec Shopping List
Master Mk II
E-REM 25
Cartoni’s E-REM 25 remote
control head handles cameras up
to 25 kg.
E-REM 25 can be mounted on
tripods, bazookas, pedestals, or
under-slung from cranes. It uses
simple, modular electronics and
MASTER MK II keeps any
camera weighing 2 kg to 30 kg
(66 lb) in a weightless, neutrally
buoyant position at any tilt angle
+/- 90°. It has continuous counterbalance and continuous drag.
A variety of operator controls are
available for E-REM 25: joystick,
hand-wheels, and fluid pan bar
(with optional zoom and focus
on the console).
Recommended for most 35mm
digital cameras. Comes with a flat
Mitchell base that can be converted to a 150 mm bowl with an
adapter. Quick-release attaches
directly to camera bridge plates. Master Mk II weighs 8.5 kg
(18.7 lb). IBC: 11.E30 Cinec: 3-D02
E-REM 25 carries up to 25 kg (55
lb) and weighs 14 kg (30.8 lb).
BazOoka Column
Cartoni’s new BazOoka
Column saves precious
time on set and on
The Bazooka extension
has a crank-able unit that
mounts to the existing
Bazooka column, adding
extra height and elevation flexibility.
Cartoni’s new SMART
STOP ENG tripod has
a 100 mm bowl and an
innovative 2-stag rapid
extension that can be
operated by a single
locking lever. Weighing
only 2.9 kg it is perfect
for news and documentaries.
The extension uses a
precision worm-gear to
adjust the column up or
down 10 inches (25 cm).
With this new crankable
column, small adjustments in height don’t
require swapping entire
bazooka sections.
a new accessory for cameras and tripod heads that
has two threads (¼” and
⅜”) for many accessories like an
LED light, monitor, viewfinder,
CineTape, etc.
Two CANDY BAR versions are
available: one with rosette attachments for SMART Pro and
FOCUS HD, and another for ENG Heads such as the CARTONI
LASER, GAMMA and DELTA. Of course, they can also be used
on other heads from other manufacturers as well.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Schulz Camerasupport GmbH
Clockwise from top:
giga, mini, milli, micro
“Dark and stormy night” are words in a script that can engender a
sinking feeling for a camera crew, especially if they are bouncing
around in spray-soaked boat, riding on a camera car, or shooting
“Pirates Episode 26.” Constant wiping with cloths, blowing with
Dust-Off, or blasting with air tanks and nozzles are usually no
match for constant droplets of water in front of the lens.
Ivo Ambrozic, who runs Schulz Camera Support, has an entire
line of patented Sprayoff rain deflectors. Their glass discs spin at
high speed to shed rain, snow, spray and even mud on one model.
The advantages of the Sprayoff micro, milli and mini can be summarized as follows:
• All of them fit within a specific matte box, and only take up
the space of the front filter holder.
• All are lightweight (Sprayoff micro 500 grams, milli 850
grams, mini 980 grams).
• All can be powered by the camera’s 24V accessory connector,
or 12V by using the Speedbox. The power consumption is no
more than for a regularly-used onboard monitor (Sprayoff
micro 0.3 amps, mini 0.8 amps, milli 0.7 amps).
• Easy and very fast setup by sliding the Sprayoff in, powering it
up, and turning it on. “Plug ’n play.”
• Large optical width to cover wide-angle lenses (disc diameters:
Sprayoff micro 118 mm, milli 144 mm, mini 169 mm).
Visit Schulz/Sprayoff at Cinec: 3-A61
Sprayoff micro
Weight: approx. 0.500 kg Disc diameter: 118 mm
Disc speed: approx. 3.800 rpm Power supply: 24 V or 12 V
The Micro is easy to handle and is quick to set up. It is designed to be
used within an existing matte box, such as ARRI LMB-5, LMB-25 or
Sprayoff milli
Weight: approx. 0,85kg Disc diameter: 144 mm
Disc speed: approx. 4,500 rpm Power supply: 24 V
The Sprayoff Milli is intended for rain and snow. Designed to be used in
the following matteboxes: ARRI LMB-15, 25, MB-18; Bright Tangerine
Misfit, Viv, or Strummer DNA.
Sprayoff mini
Weight: approx. 1.0 kg Disc diameter: 169 mm
Disc speed: approx. 3,500 rpm Power supply: 24 V
The Sprayoff Mini is intended for rain and snow. Designed to be used
in the following matteboxes: ARRI LMB -4, MB-14; Bright Tangerine
Strummer DNA 6”, Blacklight; and Panavision MBPC
Sprayoff giga
Weight: approx. 1.6 kg Disc diameter: 218 mm
Disc speed: approx. 3,000 rpm Power supply: 24 V
The Sprayoff Giga is a mud-deflector and has been specially designed
to be able to handle more difficult assignments. It is intended to be used
with the ARRI MB-14 mattebox only.
The Sprayoff giga has to be attached to the swing-away mattebox
bracket. Then all the filter trays and donuts, as necessary, can be slid
into its dovetail on the rear side.
Due to its higher power consumption (peak of more than 5 amps/24V,
and continuous current of 1.5 amps/24V) it should be powered with a
24V external source.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
DENZ Anamorphic Finder
Anyone shooting anamorphic will want one of these. The DENZ
Anamorphic Viewfinder OIC 35-A is an optical finder with
groundglass and squeeze/desqueeze lever. It’s a new product
in the DENZ viewfinder line. It switch back and forth between
spherical and anamorphic viewing. The ground glass holder has
been adopted from the OIC 35 and uses all previous Arriflex 435
ground glasses available on the market.
Features: adjustable eyepiece (+/-3 diopter); removable eyecup;
and comes with PL or Panavision mount.
Schneider Xenon FF Primes
The motor-driven DENZHEAD rolls cameras 180° around their
optical axis. This is especially helpful when shooting Dutch angles, because you can keep the optical axis pointing at the center
of the scene, and it won’t drift sideways while rolling.
In combination with a Sachtler Touch & Go Plate mounted on the
bottom (a variety of mounting threads are available), the Denzhead qucikly provides a third axis on top of a tripod.
An important goal for Denz during the design process was to
make the Denzhead compatible with any lens motor available
(ARRI, Preston, Heden, cmotion etc.) to minimize one’s investment. Of course, the characteristics of the UI, control, speed,
torque, etc. are determined by these third-party manufacturers’
motors and controls. This version of the Denzhead also allows
you to revert to full manual control by means of a flexible shaft.
Technical data. Width: 297 mm, height : 114 mm, depth: 125 mm,
weight: 3.75 kg (w/o motor and control unit), payload: 10 kg.
Präzisionsentwicklung DENZ Fertigungs GmbH, Otto-HahnStr. 12-14, D-85521 Ottobrunn/Munich, Tel.: 089 62 98 66 0
IBC: 11.C88 88
Cinec: 3-C12
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Schneider added 18, 25 and 100 mm lenses to its 35, 50 and 75
mm Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon FF (Full Frame) set.
They cover the full frame 45 mm image circle of cameras like
the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800s, and, of course, digital
motion picture cameras including RED DRAGON, Canon
C100/C300/C500, Arri ALEXA, Sony F5/F55.
The lenses come with interchangeable Nikon F, Canon EF
bayonet, and PL mounts. The lenses have identical external
dimensions and barrel positions. The circular aperture has 14
blades. The focus barrel rotates 300° and focus and iris scales are
readable on both sides. IBC: 11.A41
Cinec: 3-C23
Canacast connects iPads
IB/E Optics
Many FDTimes readers have asked for more information on
adapters for the often bewildering number of new camera and
lens permutations. “How do I put my favorite Leica M lenses on
a Sony a7?” “What about PL lenses on EOS cameras?” And so on.
IB/E Optics has an ever-growing family of mechanical and optical
adapters. Located in Freyung, in southeastern Bavaria, Klaus Eckerl’s company is famous for optical design, manufacturing, testing, and development for the cine and industrial worlds.
IB/E Optics recently completed the HandeVision IBELUX 40 mm
f/.085 lens—one of the fastest in the world for APS-C format mirrorless cameras in E-mount, X-mount, EF-M, and MFT.
IBC: 11.D21
Cinec: 3-A01/02
Here’s an elegant and easy way to get live video from your cameras directly to iPads around the set. Lentequip has a new combination: Canacast hardware and Canacast App.
Lentequip introduces a compact system that can transmit up to
two HD camera signals via WiFi to up to 20 iPads. You don’t need
a degree in computer sciences or be a video engineer. Simply plug
the Canacast hardware into an AC outlet or use the hot-swappable
battery inputs. Individual iPad users join the network and launch
the Canacast App. The software will automatically find your iPad
and display two thumbnails of the camera images. From there,
select one or both of the cameras to be displayed on your tablet.
Portrait and landscape orientation on the iPad are supported.
A frame grab feature is also available. Any frame can be captured and automatically inserted into your iPad pictures folder.
No more pilgrimages to video village for script supervisor references, director or camera crew notes. The Canacast inputs can be
configured to be used with Lentequip’s Canatrans White Space
Transmitter and Tandem receiver, with hard-wired inputs, or a
combination of both. The range of the broadcast is that of a typical WiFi network, but can be increased with the additional Airport Extreme 802.11AC repeaters. Delay of the displayed images
is on the order of a couple of frames.
IB/E lens adapters include: Leica R to NEX
(E-mount), Nikon to E-mount, Nikon to Sony FZ,
PL to EOS, PL to E-mount, and many more.
Canon EF to Sony FZ
(F3, F5, F55) mount
wiht built-in dial to
control the electronic
On-set security has often been mentioned as an area of concern
with any Wifi broadcast. The Canacast system can be administered with passwords to allow only legitimate viewers to log in.
These passwords can be updated as required.
The Canacast App is available on iTunes. One camera can be
viewed free for seven days at which time a subscription fee will
apply. The Canacast App will be demonstrated at Cinec in Munich in hall 3 booth A09 from September 21-23, two booths
down from FDTimes. Cinec: 3.A09.
The PLx2 is an optical extender (doubler—e.g. your 100 mm lens
becomes a 200 mm. Image circle is expanded to 32mm).
PLx1.4 is an optical extender that increases the focal length 1.4x (a
100 mm lens becomes the equivalent of a 140 mm. Image circle is
expanded to 34.5 mm).
The Universal Mount System for both these optical extenders protects
your investment by fitting almost any mount: PL, EF, E, FZ, MFT.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Sony FS700R + Vocas + Alphatron + Odyssey 7Q
A very happily handheld David Leitner
For his third annual talk on the ergonomics of hand-held cameras at
June’s Cine Gear Expo in LA, DP David Leitner decided to assemble
a light, large-sensor rig that would feel as familiar and friendly as
his Aaton LTR of yesteryear. With support from Juan Martinez at
Sony, André Kan at Vocas, René Bijleveld at Alphatron, Richard
Schleuning at Zeiss, and Mitch Gross at Convergent Design, he feels
he more than succeeded.
by David Leitner
I had an upcoming shoot in Jamaica. New York artist Dorothea
Rockburne was installing her latest painting, 41 feet tall, at the
U.S. Embassy in Kingston. I had been filming this painting since
its inception five years ago. On this shoot I had no assistant. It was
a perfect field test for ergonomics and practicality.
lowered the camera’s height. I mounted the FS700R handgrip to
the 15mm rods using a Vocas bracket and adapter. Due to superb
build quality all-around, the resulting assembly felt entirely rigid,
as if a single piece.
If you say I built an ENG rig, you wouldn’t be wrong, but I’m from
cinéma vérité filmmaking. To me, hand-held means the camera’s
balance — pitch axis — is controlled with one hand. To steady the
roll axis, I made an adjustable head stabilizer that screws into the
top of the FS700R—as shown in the following photo.
Having shot 4K for over a year, I was unwilling to settle for less.
Art is about texture, and 4K captures texture as never before.
But 4K can mean high cost, weight, and greater media demands,
which translate to money and time, both in production and post.
Especially in documentary.
Happily, a flock of helpful products has arrived. Hours of shooting on the shoulder favors a longish, low-slung, compact 4K camera. That would be Sony’s FS700R. To position its weight over the
shoulder, I used a Vocas base plate and shoulder pad designed for
Sony’s F55/F5, with front and rear 15mm rods.
Next, using Alphatron’s ENG bracket (with excellent mic shock
mount), I attached an Alphatron viewfinder to the front of a Vocas
Cage Kit top handle, which
in turn I attached directly to
the F55/5 base plate using a
clever Vocas adaptation of
ARRI’s rosette. The Vocas
rosette system — this is key
— allowed me to tilt the
Cage Kit brackets forward
to a 60º angle instead of
the conventional vertical.
This shifted the viewfinder
forward and lowered it to a
more comfortable position.
At the same time it made
the camera rear-heavy
with regard to the handle,
better for carrying, and
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Since the F700R’s weight is centered on the shoulder, and the
shoulder pad is soft, a Sony VCT-14 Quick Release is necessary
for tripod attachment.
My main lens was the FS700R’s 18-200mm servo zoom, 11x, incredibly compact. While the servo drive isn’t perfect, it proved
OK for slow, controlled zooms operated from the FS700 handgrip.
Contrast-based autofocus and image stabilization work well too.
But the genius of this lens lies elsewhere. Exploiting autofocus,
I elected to zoom manually most of the time. In this mode, the
servo adds useful drag, akin to an old Chrosziel zoom dampening
ring. Rediscovering the joys of manual zooming, just like the days
of 16mm, I felt “at one” with a camera for the first time in years!
For sit-downs and low-light situations — in keeping with “small is
better” — I used a set of E-mount Zeiss Touit primes: 12mm f/2.8
Distagon, 32fmm f/1.8 Planar, and 50mm f/2.8 Makro Planar,
sometimes together with a Tiffen 4x4 Black Satin 1/2 in a Vocas
MB-215 compact matte box. To protect the diminutive Touits, I
found a new use for soft beer koozies. I did cheat once or twice
with a considerably heavier E-mount Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9 CZ.2
Compact Zoom on a tripod. The rig held up admirably.
The other success story from this rig was use of a single ultra-thin
3G-SDI cable to capture the FS700R’s 4K RAW signal to Convergent Design’s paperback-thin monitor/recorder. By transcoding
FS700R Vocas + Alphatron + Odyssey 7Q (cont’d)
Vocas Cage Kit
top handle
Alphatron EVF-035W3G Viewfinder and
ENG Bracket with mic
shock mount
head stabilizer
Convergent Design
Odyssey 7Q with dual
256GB SSDs
Vocas monitor
short support
with Noga arm for
15mm rods
FS700 handgrip
attached to Vocas
bracket with
Vocas FS700
and 66mm
Handgrip Extender
Design 18-in.
3G-SDI cable
Vocas Cage Kit
side brackets
Sony VCT-14 Quick-Release
Tripod Adapter
Sony L-Series
batteries for FS700,
Odyssey 7Q, and
Alphatron viewfinder
Build your own: Sony FS700R with Vocas FS700 base-plate adapter, Not shown: Vocas MB-215 matte box, Sennheiser 416 with short XLR
Base Plate for Sony PMW-5 & F55 with front & rear 15mm rods,
and VCT-14 V-lock plate for Sony Quick-Release.
cable, LANC extension cable for Sony handgrip, HDMI cable for Alphatron
viewfinder, and Shure earbuds for audio monitoring.
the 12-bit 4K RAW signal directly to HD in the form of 10-bit
4:2:2 ProRes HQ, Odyssey 7Q married the best of both worlds:
striking 4K-originated detail and ProRes HQ ease-of-use. No debayering required, although I did choose to output S-Log2 for later grading in DaVinci Resolve 11. As a precaution, I also recorded
simultaneous AVCHD to internal SD cards (never needed).
each. Courtesy of Alphatron, I swapped the stock +8.5 diopter
viewfinder lens for a +10.5 diopter lens which provided relaxed
focal-length viewing to nix eye fatigue. As monitor, Odyssey 7Q
on rear rods proved ideal for tripod interviews. When shooting
hand-held, producers love to watch it as I move around; they
don’t have to hold anything. The camera subject, of course, can’t
see anything. When I wanted to turn Odyssey’s display off however, a single tap on the touch-screen hid everything. Brilliant.
S-Log2 proved to be an asset to the look of my documentary
images, where uncontrolled and marginal lighting are the rule.
Another advantage, given typically high shooting ratios, was bestowed by the pair of 256GB SSDs in Odyssey 7Q’s slots, each
offering 2+ hours of ProRes HQ. Over the course of a day, I never
came close to filling them.
FS700, Odyssey 7Q, and Alphatron are power misers, and my
Sony L-series 7.2 V batteries delivered several hours of use with
A few new techniques resulted from this rig. When hand-holding, I got good at guiding and controlling autofocus. When on tripod, I left the FS700’s flip-up LCD on x8.0 expanded focus while
I watched picture on Odyssey 7Q. No more focus errors due to a
fidgety interview subject. In sum, it was one of the best-balanced
large-sensor hand-held cameras I’ve used, and I’ve used most.
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
Congo Films in Lima
Top35 Brazil
Congo Films is opening in Lima, Peru. The inaugural celebration
will be Oct. 23, 5-10 PM at their facility: Jr. Juan Soto Bermeo 406,
Surco, Lima, Peru. The festivities will include demos of new equipment, Peruvian food and Pisco drinks. Dedo Weigert, founder of
Dedolight, and David Pringle, founder of Luminys (SoftSun and
Lightning Strikes) will conduct master classes.
Congo Films has a substantial rental inventory of high-end equipment. Cameras include: Alexa XT, Amira, RED Epic Dragon, Sony
F55/F5, and Phantom.
Lenses: Master and Ultra Primes, Zeiss Super Speeds, Cooke 5/i and
S4/i, Hawk V-Lite and Vantage One T/1.0, Optimo zooms, Canon
K-35, Prominar and Bausch & Lomb Vintage primes.
Lighting and Grip: ARRI Max, PAR and Fresnel, Dedolight, SoftSun, Lightining Strikes, K5600, Kinoflo, Mole Richardson, Russian
Arm, Flight Head, Tyler, Technocrane ST-30, cranes, dollies, trucks,
and generators.
Lima is Congo Films’ 5th location. They already have rental facilities in Bogota and Cartagena (Colombia), Santiago (Chile) and
Panama (Caribbean).
See their excellent demo film online:
First Cooke Anamorphic Lenses delivered in South America: (l-r) Jeffrey
Reyes, ZGC Director of Sales, Americas; Les Zellan, Chairman of Cooke
Optics, Flavio Cunha, head of Top35 Brazil.
Top35 grew out of the need for a modern and up-to-date rental
facility for the growing market in Brazil. Flavio Cunha has been
working in the Brazilian film market since 1989 as a First Camera
Assistant. In January 2013, he and some friends founded Top35
to provide the latest equipment and accessories.
The need for reliable equipment to meet the demands of industry technicians became the goal of Top35. Their purchase of the
best high-end equipment available included: Alexa XT, Alexa M,
Amira and their latest acquisition, Cooke Anamorphic/i (currently unique in Latin America). as well as accessories from the
major manufacturers.
With extensive experience on major commercial productions
and advertizing campaigns in Brazil, Flavio Cunha has a thorough understanding of this market. Flavio still works as a Camera Assistant and provides technical support.
Sept 2014 • Issues 62-63
Camalot and Tom Erisman, NSC
Production stills from
Gooische Vrouwen
Tom Erisman, NSC
with Deen van Liempd
(1st AC, focus puller)
Photo: Pief Weyman
Gooische Vrouwen is one of the top-grossing films in the Netherlands, earning €15 million, which is good for a country of just
16 million people. Tom Erisman, NSC was the cinematographer.
Camalot supplied the equipment: Sony F55 with AXS raw recorder as main camera, Cooke S4/i lenses.
Tom Erisman
with Will
Discussing his work, Tom said, “I’m a good friend of Camalot because they are so precise in their work. They know everything about
digital cameras. They buy new cameras and they always seem to get
the latest equipment fast and first. They’re up to date. If I have a
problem I can always go there even if I’m not shooting. We’re good
clients and we’re good friends. That’s a good combination.
Photo: Pief
“My whole history is about film. For me, it’s still quite new to
film in digital, although I have been shooting a lot of digital films
lately. But, I still feel and think like I’m working in film. In the
‘old days’ you could create a look very easily with the film: I could
define it by shooting on Kodak or Fuji, or 250 ASA, or 500 and
I could light it low in the curve so no one could spoil it in post.
“The look has to determined by the subject. On Gooische Vrouwen, it was kind of feel-good movie, about the everyday lives of
four women friends living in het Gooi (the Dutch equivalent of
Beverly Hills). It’s about their lives in this neighborhood and
about their everyday worries. I wanted it to look normal, with
natural colors and good skin tones.
“To be honest, I didn’t set out to be a cinematographer. When I got
out of school I was a piano tuner. And I worked as a fashion photographer’s assistant, not in the cinema. One day, we showed up
on a film set. And I really loved it. I stayed on, helped, and I did
some assisting on the production. Then they asked me to stay on
and work as a production assistant. Next, I worked in lighting and
became a gaffer for nine years. After that I said, ‘I must become a
cameraman.’ That’s quite difficult because if everybody knew you
as a gaffer, it’s hard to get a job immediately. But some people gave
me a chance, and now I think I’ve done more than 30 films.”
Tom Erisman and
Dirk Nijland (grip)
Photo: Pief
Issues 62-63 • Sept 2014
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City ________________________________________________
State or Province ______________________________________
Country _____________________________________________
Zip or Postal Code______________________________________
Phone ______________________________________________
Executive Producers
Associate Producers
Rental Houses
Media Partners
Sponsors and Educational Partners
Associate Producers
Rental Houses
Weiden Berlin Prague Paris
Media and Production Partners
Sponsors and Educational Partners
Titans of the Industry
FUJIFILM North America Corporation
Optical Devices Division
Executive Producers
10.01.13 |
Pantone 283
C50 M10
creative digital effects v2.0
Associate Producers, Rental Houses, Media and Production Partners on previous page
final identity
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