Our October issue deep dives into the world of virtual production, looking at the opportunities and challenges the technology brings, and what the future might hold. Productions in the spotlight include The Creator, Sex Education, Great Expectations and Songs of Earth, plus we sit down with viral VFX sensation Brandon B, get the lowdown on upcoming industry events and lots more.
VIRTUAL PRODUCTION EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON WHAT’S NOW & NEXT
SEX EDUCATION CREATING THE SHOW’S UNIQUE AESTHETIC
BRANDON B THE VIRAL VFX WHIZZ SHARES HIS SECRETS
OCTOBER 2023 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
Cinematographer Oren Soffer takes us behind the scenes on The Creator
Industry Trailblazers Game-Changing Gear Lighting Lessons Grading Great Expectations CV Stories News & Events
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EDITORIAL Editor in chief Nicola Foley firstname.lastname@example.org Staff writer Katie Kasperson Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Ben Gawne Junior sub editor Lori Hodson Editorial director Roger Payne email@example.com Contributors Martin Izzard, Sales director Sam Scott-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org 01223 499457 Sales manager Emma Stevens email@example.com 01223 499462 | +447376665779 DESIGN Design director Andy Jennings Senior designer Lucy Woolcomb Ad production Holly May PUBLISHING Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck Robert Shepherd ADVERTISING
T he Mandalorian in 2019 opened everyone’s eyes to what virtual production was capable of, and pretty much since then it’s been boom time on VP. But what are the limitations of this technology? What’s the learning curve like for new adopters? And how sustainable is it – really? As virtual production reaches maturity, we look at the lay of the land and consider what’s coming next with help from a round table of experts on page 32. Also in this issue, we go behind the scenes on The Creator, one of the most anticipated films of the year. Set in a war-ravaged future amid a battle between humans and AI (a conceit beginning to feel a teensy bit too close for comfort…?), this man versus machine masterpiece is poised to embed itself firmly in the sci-fi canon. We sit down with cinematographer Oren Soffer to discover the unique collaboration that went into making the magic on page 14. Other production stories in the spotlight include BBC/Hulu’s Great Expectations, plus Netflix’s Sex Education, which recently reached its climax with the release of its fourth and final series. With a hard-to-place transatlantic look and a nod to John Hughes teen-flick nostalgia, the show’s unique aesthetic has become its calling card. We hear from members of the production team to learn how it all came together on page 46. We also chat to social media VFX sensation Brandon B, get the lowdown on upcoming shows like NAB New York, and bring news of the latest and greatest gear in our Toolkit section. Enjoy the issue and see you next month!
Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press. Bright Publishing LTD Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, CB22 3HJ, UK
Editor in chief
MEDIA PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS OF
You’ve made a film – now what? Our guide to distribution has the answer 51 THE DEF GUIDE TO... This VFX rising star blends data and creativity to promote new projects 56 MEET BRANDON B 63 THE TRICKLE- DOWN EFFECT 64 SONGS OF EARTH The VFX industry is getting a raw deal, says RLYL’s Martin Izzard DDPTV talks disability, access and inclusion in the production industry 66 TRAILBLAZERS We find out more about this spellbinding Scandi documentary 69 CV STORIES We chat with Sadie Groom, founder of the Bubble Agency and Rise 70 TOOLKIT The top new gear releases you need to get on your radar Dissecting the uniquely indefinable look of the beloved teen drama 46 SEX EDUCATION
Our recap from last month’s exciting expo in Amsterdam 27 IBC REVIEW Get the lowdown on this essential industry summit in Georgia 24 CINE GEAR ATLANTA Find out what’s in store for the upcoming Big Apple edition of NAB 21 NAB NEW YORK We peer under the bonnet of the hotly tipped science-fiction feature 14 THE CREATOR Warner Bros UK expansion, the latest Unreal Engine release and lots more 07 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS
30 GRADING GREAT EXPECTATIONS
CHEAT colourist Toby Tomkins takes us through the process
32 ROUND TABLE
Virtual production pros consider the technology from all angles 42 ILLUMINATING DIVERSITY We look at how lighting is evolving to cater to diverse casts and stories
ON THE COVER
STREAM SMART REDEFINES THE IMAX EXPERIENCE A t last month’s IBC Show, SSIMWAVE revealed its latest project: Stream Smart, a technology that brings the IMAX experience to consumer devices.
adopted this technology, offering IMAX- enhanced videos as default. There are already thousands of Stream Smart-approved devices that provide high-resolution streaming and superior sound. When directors shoot with IMAX cameras, they hope their films will be viewed in IMAX theatres. Now, viewers can watch films like Tenet and Oppenheimer from the comfort of their homes without compromising on quality.
Available to VOD providers, Stream Smart adds a layer to existing video encoders, producing images that meet IMAX’s standards for quality and bit rate. Audiences can enjoy theatrical, IMAX- equivalent experiences on their own TVs. Providers like Disney+ have already
N ew York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has introduced a brand-new master’s degree in virtual production. The intensive one-year course, based at NYU’s Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Centre, promises to combine ‘technology, science and creativity to advance the art of storytelling.’ The Martin Scorsese Centre – a 45,000 sq ft facility based in Brooklyn’s Industry City – will include an LED volume stage designed by Lux Machina Consulting, plus two standard stages, two television studios and several broadcast control rooms. Students on the programme will enjoy hands-on training, providing them with real- world production experience and preparing them for the constantly evolving industry. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PILOTS VIRTUAL PRODUCTION DEGREE
The degree, opening in autumn 2024, will cover virtual production, technical direction, art direction and production design, as well as more practical topics like résumé and reel building.
Applications close on 15 December 2023. Visit nyu.edu to learn more.
SHORT TAKES 1. ITV announces new CTO ITV has named Simon Farnsworth as its new chief technology officer. Farnsworth will oversee the company’s tech strategy, including infrastructure, architecture, innovation and digital transformation. Assuming his new role in early 2024, Farnsworth joins ITV from News UK and, before that, Warner Bros Discovery. 2. Oppenheimer overtakes Bohemian Rhapsody Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has officially surpassed Bohemian Rhapsody in the box office, becoming the highest-grossing biopic of all time. Rami Malek – who claimed an Academy Award for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury – also appears in Oppenheimer , though it’s Cillian Murphy who may be crowned best actor at this year’s Oscars. As of 18 September, the atomic epic had earned over $912 million in global revenue. 3. WGA strike ends On Tuesday 26 September, after 146 days of striking, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reached a deal with Hollywood’s major studios and streaming services. WGA members voted to accept the three-year agreement, officially bringing the strike to an end as of midnight local time. The deal addresses writers' pay – including residuals earned from streaming – and AI.
STUDIO SILVERBACK INTRODUCES OPEN PLANET C reated by Studio Silverback in collaboration with EarthTime and announced at this year’s United General Assembly, Open Planet is a free digital library containing climate and nature footage. Accessible to everyone, the platform will launch early next year, as the need for environmental awareness continues to grow. Open Planet is aimed especially towards organisations, decision-makers, educators and content creators, all of whom can spark tangible change. The library will include a comprehensive collection of footage, including documentaries, short films and other factually accurate, well-produced content. An early version already exists, with over 3000 items in its expanding catalogue.
Take a look at openplanet.org
DRAWN TOGETHER Studio Ghibli – one of the production companies behind 2016’s The Red Turtle (right) – has been acquired by Nippon TV
B aselight – a FilmLight product – has released version 6.0, redefining the colour-grading experience for creative professionals. New features impact primary and facial colour correction, look development, curve processing, compositing, image sharpening and more. Plus, the system upgrade includes a new timeline – with improved visualising, editing, organising and listening functionality plus an updated gallery. X Grade, Face Track and Chromogen bring new capabilities to Baselight. X Grade reinvents primary colour correction, letting users make multiple corrections in a single layer without needing a key BASELIGHT 6.0 GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND
or matte. Designed by FilmLight’s image engineers, the Chromogen look-development tool addresses the intricacies of modern HDR data. Lastly, Face Track attaches a polygon mesh to each face, creating a perspective-aware correction
which can be copied and pasted to any instance of the same person. Baselight 6.0 also allows users to manipulate image sharpness, add lens flare and produce bokeh. The upgrade only works with FLOS 8.4 or later and macOS 11-13.
NIPPON TV ACQUIRES STUDIO GHIBLI F ounder of the acclaimed animation house Studio Ghibli, director Hayao Miyazaki has enjoyed a long, successful career, receiving global praise for feature films like Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro . As Miyazaki’s retirement looms nearer, Studio Ghibli seeks a new leader, guaranteeing its future and maintaining its world-leading position. Private broadcaster Nippon TV stepped in to acquire Studio Ghibli after Miyazaki’s son Goro refused the succession. Nippon promises to respect Ghibli’s creative autonomy, holding 42.3% of the studio’s voting rights. The broadcaster has been involved with Studio Ghibli since its inception in 1985, being the first to air Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on television. Miyazaki’s latest picture, The Boy and the Heron , was supposedly his last, but the director has gone back on his word, with ideas for future films in the works. It’s unclear whether Miyazaki will ever retire, but Studio Ghibli can rest assured that it’s in good hands.
WARNER BROS STUDIOS LEAVESDEN UNDERGOING MAJOR EXPANSION
W arner Bros Studios Leavesden (WBSL), home to the Harry Potter films, Barbie and House of the Dragon , announced a major expansion, adding 400,000 sq ft to its Hertfordshire lot. Set to be completed in 2027, this new development will reportedly add 4000 additional jobs to Britain’s film and TV industry. Only a short train ride from central London, WBSL attracts tourists from across the world with its Harry Potter studio tours. It’s also the British base for Hollywood’s Sunset Studios ( La La Land , Zoolander ) and a number of other US production houses. The WBSL expansion will add ten new sound stages, increasing existing production capacity by an estimated 50% and bringing an extra £200 million into the UK economy.
WORLD OF WONDER Warner Bros Studios Leavesden has hosted many illustrious productions – and is now expanding
EPIC GAMES RELEASES UNREAL ENGINE 5.3 E pic Games, creator of Fortnite and Rocket League, has released the latest version of Unreal Engine, its game engine targeted at developers. Unreal Engine 5.3 introduces a range of new features and improvements, giving developers and content creators more capabilities than ever before. The engine, while created for video game developers, is useful for filmmakers venturing into virtual production. The Cine Cam Rig Rail mimics real-world movement on a track or dolly, allowing users to rotate and focus images along a given path. VCam gives filmmakers the
ability to immediately review takes, simultaneously stream different outputs across team members and record at slower frame rates for normal playback. Version 5.3 introduces a range of experimental features, such as cinematic-quality volumetric
rendering for smoke and fire, orthographic rendering for architecture, a skeletal editor for animators and an update to Chaos Cloth for textile reproduction.
Unreal Engine 5.3 is available now from unrealengine.com
NEW OLPF Model!
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12 K Introducing the world’s most advanced digital film camera!
Record to Blackmagic RAW Blackmagic RAW makes cinema quality 12-bit, 80 megapixel images at up to 60 frames a reality! Constant quality encoding options adapt compression to match the detail of the scene. Constant bitrate gives you the best possible images at a consistent file size. You can record to two cards simultaneously so you can shoot high frame rate 12K or 8K on CFast or UHS‑II cards. Fast and Flexible Post Production Shooting RAW in 12K preserves the deepest control of detail, exposure and color during post. Best of all, Blackmagic RAW is designed to accelerate 12K for post production, so it’s as easy to work with as standard HD or Ultra HD files. Blackmagic RAW stores metadata, lens data, white balance, digital slate information and custom LUTs to ensure consistency of image on set and in post.
URSA Mini Pro 12K is a revolution in digital film with a 12,288 x 6480 Super 35 sensor built into the award winning URSA Mini body. The combination of 80 megapixels, new color science and the flexibility of Blackmagic RAW makes working with 12K a reality. URSA Mini Pro 12K features an interchangeable PL mount, built in ND filters, dual CFast and UHS-II SD card recorders, USB-C expansion port and more. Digital Film in Extreme Resolution URSA Mini Pro 12K gives you the benefits of shooting with film including amazing detail, wide dynamic range and rich, full RGB color. Incredible definition around objects makes it ideal for working with green screen and VFX including compositing live action and CGI. Super sampling at 12K means you get better color and resolution at 8K as well as smooth antialiased edges. Cinematic 12K Super 35 Sensor The URSA Mini Pro 12K sensor has a resolution of 12,288 x 6480, 14 stops of dynamic range and a native ISO of 800. Featuring equal amounts of red, green and blue pixels, the sensor is optimized for images at multiple resolutions. You can shoot 12K at 60 fps or use in-sensor scaling to allow 8K or 4K RAW at up to 120 fps without cropping or changing your field of view.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K
SRP is Exclusive of VAT. Camera shown with optional accessories and lens.
A puture has acquired Prolycht, expanding its portfolio to transform lighting technology for film and TV. Prolycht will become a key player in the Aputure family, combining its colour science and software algorithms with Aputure’s LED lighting. Aputure’s product offerings include studio lights, mini LEDs, modifiers and more. Prolycht on the other hand, is known for its Orion 675 FS and Orion 300 FS – full-spectrum spotlights with six-channel RGBACL LEDs. Prolycht’s Hyperlight colour engine ensures accurate skin tone reproduction at any colour temperature. APUTURE FAMILY EXPANDS
SMPTE 2023 Media Technology Summit
Taking place 16-19 October in Hollywood, this event brings together key players to learn, discover new technologies and connect with peers. Offerings include a keynote from Digital Domain’s Hanno Basse on generative AI and machine learning for the creation of digital humans and other VFX assets. Trieste Science+Fiction Festival Running 27 October to 3 November, this event celebrates its 23rd birthday this year, offering sci-fi fans a chance to immerse themselves in a world of fantasy fun. London Film Festival LFF begins on 4 October, with Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn kicking things off. The festival will also see the directorial returns of Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Martin Scorcese, Hayao Miyazaki, Sofia Coppola and Bradley Cooper, among many others. Banff Mountain Film Festival Running 28 October to 5 November, this esteemed event serves up stories of adventure and exploration from around the world. Expect screenings, talks, exhibitions and a festival marketplace. EnergaCAMERIMAGE From 11-18 November in Toruń, Poland, EnergaCAMERIMAGE is one of the world’s premier celebrations of cinematography and its creators. Awarding films for their visual, aesthetic and technical values, the event is a forum for the presentation and development of filmmaking.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the Prolycht team,” says Ian Xie (pictured), Aputure’s founder and CEO. “This union will enhance our competitive edge, particularly in the realms of colour science and with engineering breakthrough technology.” Prolycht customers will continue to enjoy specialised customer service, including warranty and repair support, through familiar Prolycht channels.
ARRI OPENS STUDIO NEW YORK B ased in New York City, ARRI’s latest studio provides a multi-purpose production facility to creatives in advertising, fashion, music, education and more. The studio houses ARRI Rental’s entire collection of professional camera and lighting equipment, as well as offering on-site support from its experienced staff. ARRI Studio New York is a top spot for corporate videos, interviews, music videos and more. Its curved LED wall includes image-based lighting design, bringing virtual production to visitors, ultimately lowering costs and reducing carbon footprint.
Customers can book the studio online at arri.com/arri-studio-new-york
PRODUCTION THE CREATOR
In hotly anticipated sci-fi The Creator, cinematographer Oren Soffer artfully incorporates natural aesthetics to construct an engaging AI-driven storyline. Collaborating with Grieg Fraser and utilising the camera expertise of director Gareth Edwards, the trio deftly demonstrate that three isn’t always a crowd TR I PL E WORDS Robert Shepherd
THE CREATOR PRODUCTION
I n the realm of speculative fiction, envisioning a future marked by conflict between humans and AI was an inevitable narrative, echoing contemporary concerns and aspirations tied to the technology’s growing influence and societal impact. Enter The Creator, the latest film from British director Gareth Edwards – and arguably the most eagerly awaited sci-fi film of the year. Starring John David Washington and Gemma Chan, it’s about a former special forces agent hunting down an AI-powered weapon to save humanity in a war-ravaged future. While Edwards is best known for directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and 2014’s Godzilla, he first gained acclaim with Monsters in 2010, where he wore multiple hats as writer, director, cinematographer and VFX artist.
The making of The Creator broke traditional norms by incorporating two cinematographers: Academy Award- winning Greig Fraser ( Dune ) and the prolific Oren Soffer, whose rich CV boasts works like Allswell and Fixation. Furthermore, the director’s dual role as both the creative vision behind the film and the camera operator added a distinctive and innovative dimension to the filmmaking process. “It was a very collaborative, and a very unique working practice for me,” Soffer explains. “We had two cinematographers: myself on set, and Grieg working remotely from London, plus a director who also operated the camera. Gareth was planning to operate the camera on this film – the same way he did on Monsters and parts of Rogue One. He and Grieg tested a bunch of different cameras, looking for the right combination of the image quality that we needed to support all the planned VFX but also giving Gareth a small, compact and lightweight camera that could be paired with a gimbal – in this case we used a DJI RS 2. Gareth likes to shoot extended takes, sometimes 30-40 minutes with the actors just exploring or reacting, being spontaneous and creating this playful environment where you can shoot 360° and move freely.” The film was shot on the Sony FX3 and 98% of it was captured on a
HYBRID ROLE Gareth Edwards’ unique director-cum-camera-operator position required a novel approach to photography
PRODUCTION THE CREATOR
A LONG TIME AGO The film made use of a vintage anamorphic lens, in homage to classics of the sci-fi genre
single Kowa 75mm, which is a vintage Japanese anamorphic lens. The crew also carried a 42mm Atlas Mercury prototype, which is slated for general release in the coming weeks. “We were very lucky – because of Greig’s relationship with Atlas, we got a prototype of the 42mm,” Soffer says. “It’s just a slightly wider-angle option to complement the 75mm. The vision, at its core, was to take the approach Gareth adopted making his first film, Monsters , which was made in a very small, guerrilla-filmmaking style with a limited crew. He was his own DOP on that film, shooting in available light with prosumer equipment to keep the footprint small.” The lens choice was made to complement that, and choosing a single focal length meant the cinematographers didn’t have to do lens swaps or rebalance the gimbal – processes that happen frequently when you introduce a large lens set. “The 75mm anamorphic was found, through testing, to be the perfect focal length,” Soffer explains. “That lens on the full-frame sensor of the FX3 is pretty close to replicating the perspective of the human eye, because it’s basically a neutral lens. It’s roughly the equivalent of a 40mm spherical lens, which is very close to replicating the depth perception of the human eye, so it’s the closest approximation to that in anamorphic.” With Edwards, Fraser and Soffer all children of the 70s and 80s, they agreed to invoke the look and feel of the classic science-fiction films of that period. “Movies like Alien , Blade Runner and the original Star Wars were shot in anamorphic in the 70s and 80s, so we thought, why don’t we shoot on an anamorphic lens from the 70s to help create that same look and feel? Those films were probably the biggest visual influence on The Creator .” LET THERE BE LIGHT Soffer says the team wanted the film to be as naturally lit as possible – so even when that couldn’t be achieved, they
WE WOULD LIGHT SCENES IN A WAY THAT WOULD ALLOW GARETH TO shoot in any direction ”
THE CREATOR PRODUCTION
“We would call her on comms and she’d come in to add light just off the camera angle. It became this dance between Gareth operating the camera, the actors and Nancie,” Soffer adds. “It was quite a sight to behold – and a really invigorating and unorthodox way to work.” VFX It will come as no surprise that The Creator is a VFX-heavy film – and the approach to this was also quite different to the norm. “It was reverse engineered to match the footage, not vice versa,” Soffer says. “Usually, VFX are developed in advance and then prescribed. We did the principal photography mostly ignoring what VFX would be added to the frame.” In parallel to that, Edwards, production designer James Clyne and the VFX team at ILM had a simple strategy: gather as much info as possible from each location and then design VFX to the plate footage. This alternate approach to the VFX also made financial sense. “You save a lot of money doing it that way, and that was part of Gareth’s pitch to the studio,” Soffer adds. “It ended up costing way less than doing it the traditional way on a film of this scale.” When it came to the philosophy behind the approach to VFX, Edwards has a metaphor. “When you are in pre- production, you put targets on the wall. In production, you’re throwing darts at the wall – but filmmaking is massively complex and that makes it hard to always hit the bullseye. Our approach was this: in production we are throwing our darts at a blank wall, and in post we go in and draw the targets around them.” No doubt the film hits the spot in more ways than one.
still wanted it to look and feel as if it was. “Basically, we wanted to be able to tell a prospective audience member that we didn’t use any lights at all – and for that to be believable,” Soffer adds. “Of course, we did end up using some lights but the approach was always starting from: ‘Can we light any given scene with just the available light at the location?’ That was always our starting point.” The film was shot in some 80 locations across Thailand, with Fraser (who was working remotely because the filming schedule overlapped with the making of Dune: Part Two ), overseeing the prep for a planned two week-long shoot at Pinewood Studios at the end of the shooting schedule. “In the initial recces, the goal was to find out what the sites offered with regards to natural light. Sometimes a location would just require us to turn off a few bulbs,” Soffer says. “Other times we would have to layer in some additional lighting. We used LED lighting – battery powered and small scale. We didn’t want any noticeable movie lights on the set
itself, as it would prevent Gareth from getting a 360° view. “The gaffer (Pithai Smithsuh) and I would light scenes in a way that would allow Gareth to shoot in any direction,” Soffer continues. “So, if he was turning in one direction, we would turn off some lights behind the camera and only use a light that favours that direction. However, if we saw Gareth spontaneously go in a different direction, we’d have our dimmer-board operator adjust the lighting in real time. Pithai and I were sat at a monitor and I was setting exposure on a dial handset that was adjusting a variable ND on the front of the camera. It meant that I could react live to what the camera was doing. So, if Gareth turned around, if we didn’t adjust lighting, we’d be flat because he’d be looking in the direction of the light that was now behind him. In that case we’d dim that light and turn on a different one.” Another key crew member was the best boy electric, Nancie Kang. She carried a small LED light on a boom pole and was ready to act when required.
Don’t sit on it, sell it
Discover the simple, safe and circular way to trade and get paid for kit
I n the world of cinematography, one thing’s certain: technology moves fast and staying ahead of the game is non-negotiable. But it’s about more than just flashy gadgets or owning the latest bit of kit; it’s a philosophy – bid farewell to the past and embrace the creative possibilities of the future. Nostalgia might steer you toward keeping your trusty old bicycle, but outdated models can’t beat the comfort, style and reliability of the new releases. So, you sell it and invest in something state of the art to keep up with the demands of modern life. That same principle applies to many things, especially when it comes to camera equipment. That’s because upgrading isn’t just about new gear, but investing in and enjoying better features and
crisper visuals – which contribute to an enhanced canvas for creativity. At the core of this journey lies MPB, the world’s largest platform in this domain. It purchases a wide array of digital equipment, right up to high-end video and cine gear. With a user base exceeding half a million individuals across the US, EU and UK, the company has firmly established itself as a reliable hub for buying, selling and trading used videography equipment. Every year, it recirculates more than 485,000 cameras, lenses and accessories – all of which come with a six-month warranty after being carefully inspected by the in-house product specialists. MPB prides itself on providing customers with a frictionless experience, offering hassle-free, swift and insured
THERE’S A STRONG FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY, following the principles of circularity ”
TRUST THE EXPERTS Everything sold by MPB has been checked over by its team of experienced technicians and comes with a warranty
doorstep pickup, with payments promptly credited to the seller’s bank account. Customers can also change their minds before receiving payment – and MPB will return all kit at no cost. The company’s support team in Brighton is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful throughout the seller’s journey. Experts carefully assess all the gear to give accurate valuations and are committed to being clear and transparent with pricing. If the condition of the camera kit doesn’t match the evaluation, they’ll simply adjust the price accordingly, keeping the seller notified throughout. The customer experience MPB is known for was cemented last year through a significant platform upgrade, notably improving overall usability and satisfaction. Take a glance at some of
the 19,000+ Trustpilot reviews, averaging an impressive 4.9 stars, for a snapshot of how highly regarded it has become. MPB is proud of its eco credentials, too. There’s a strong focus on sustainability, following the principles of circularity – keeping things in use, reducing waste and pollution, using renewable energy and regenerating natural systems. Choosing and selling used is a no- brainer, shrinking everybody’s carbon output and offering cost savings on kit. Make that change Selling camera gear has never been easier. Visit the website, provide details about the make, model, relevant accessories and estimated condition. After that, pack it up and relax as MPB’s
couriers collect. It’s a seamless journey, all completely free of charge and coming included with a warranty and support. For years, people have been capturing life’s moments in their neighbourhoods, all through a camera lens. Now, imagine these memories going way beyond the familiar surroundings. Selling that outdated camera gear could fund a journey to a new place – an exciting location where your camera kit uncovers hidden beauty and untold tales. Just remember: clinging to your old camera gear, much of which is nearly obsolete due to rapid tech changes, is an option. But why settle for second best when you can upgrade your kit – and your craft?
Start your upgrade journey today and get an instant quote by visiting mpb.com
NAB NY INDUSTRY
Experience, discover, learn and network at the NAB Show New York , which will welcome thousands of industry professionals through its doors this month LIVE FROM NEW YORK IMAGES NAB Show New York
H eld in the Javits Center in Manhattan’s Midtown, NAB Show New York is the National Association of Broadcasters’ premier East Coast event, where guests can connect (and reconnect) to discuss and demystify the latest tools and trends hitting the production industry. There’s plenty happening, with three days of talks, workshops and exhibitions from some of the biggest brands in the business. The show also offers a selection of curated programmes, including the Streaming Summit, DOP Creative Conference, Post-Production Conference NYC and Visual Storytelling Conference. Over 200 exhibitors will encompass dozens of product categories, from audio mastering and microphones to editing and animation. Attendees can filter this list by theme, name or location, planning their schedule as they see fit. Canon, HBO, Fujifilm, Warner Bros. Discovery and Panasonic are just some of the many organisations set to appear. AI-IFIED Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly one of this year’s biggest and boldest topics.
AN EAR TO THE GROUND The rate of change across M&E makes the NAB Show well worth a look for those in film production
Companies and studios are quickly seeing what AI can do – and wondering how they can best utilise it. NAB Show New York is offering a range of sessions – including the AI Creative Summit – which will cover the latest in AI tools and techniques. Hear from industry experts on topics like motion design, AI- generated assets, VR cameras and other aspects of video content creation. Plus, several exhibitors will be showcasing AI- driven products and services. FILM-FOCUSED Despite being hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters, this trade show has plenty of appeal for filmmakers and videographers. Here are some must- see sessions to mark on your schedule. Live broadcasters are looking to produce increasingly ‘cinematic’ content, borrowing both kit and craft from the moviemaking experts. The Cine+Live Lab is a two-day exploration of this crossover, featuring talks such as ‘colour accuracy: from on-set to post’ and ‘cinematic lighting: the cinematographer and gaffer relationship’. Be sure to register early for the HBO Camera Assessment Series, a
free off-site event held at Hudson Yards, where HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery explain how they will capture their upcoming productions. Other exciting events include ‘video for social impact: a film screening and conversation’, ‘the virtual production revolution: a real-time love affair’ and ‘American Cinema Editors present: filmmakers from Only Murders in the Building talk about the meticulous art of film editing’ – all at the Insight Theater. Finally, media guru Evan Shapiro will deliver the NAB Show New York keynote speech, revealing his latest insights on the global M&E ecosystem. At IBC 2023, Shapiro shared his thoughts on diversity, leadership, digital portfolios and how companies can survive this time of transformation. At NAB Show New York, we can expect even sharper observations. NAB Show New York, taking place 24-26 October, is co-located with the Audio Engineering Convention. To register or learn more, visit nabshow.com/newyork2023
Driving the future of wheeled robotics A hit at this year’s IBC, Motion Impossible’s AGITO GEN 2 advances camera control with exceptional UI and modernised mechanics A nnounced at IBC 2023, the AGITO GEN 2 is the latest modular dolly system from
Motion Impossible. Building on the technology of the AGITO GEN 1, GEN 2 adds exciting new functionality, such as Silent Steering, Ethernet control, more IO/ power distribution and extra intelligence capabilities. The GEN 2 is still as portable as GEN 1, giving filmmakers, broadcasters and other video professionals greater flexibility for creative expression and cost-effective logistics. Tech specs The AGITO GEN 2 consists of a Core and Master Controller, each with its own set of unique, forward-thinking features. The AGITO Core – a must-have for dynamic camera movement – includes Silent Steering, so production crews can capture motion without being distracted by background noise. It also has a redesigned I/O system with more ports than the GEN 1, providing users with convenient, tailored power options. The GEN 2 Master Controller features improved ergonomics for a better user experience. Operators can enjoy smoother, more intuitive controls, performing tricky manoeuvres and complicated shots on even the most challenging tracks. Both the AGITO Core and Master Controller are IP54 rated, certifying its dust and water resistance.
NEXT-GENERATION Motion Impossible is taking its AGITO modular dolly system to new levels, with fresh features and some enhanced capabilities
Plus, the Master Controller’s screen itself is larger than that of the GEN 1, providing operators with a friendlier, more coherent and clearer interface. A built-in Tower/Column rocker is included for precise vertical movement while simultaneously controlling the AGITO trajectory and speed. Added Ethernet control and vibrational haptic feedback make for an upgraded connectivity and experience. The AGITO GEN 2 is a truly future- focused system, bridging the gap between Motion Impossible’s existing and prospective products. The Core is backwards-compatible with drive-ends, attachments and accessories, like the AGITO Tower, Column and Risers. It also supports AGITO Sports, a dolly system designed specifically for live sporting events, AGITO MagTrax, a model which follows a discrete magnetic strip, and AGITO Trax, a dolly system for track/rail. In conjunction with Motion Impossible’s product portfolio, the AGITO GEN 2 simplifies the set-up process – an otherwise tedious task – and enables various inventive movements across a range of filmmaking scenarios.
Get on the list for first dibs on the AGITO GEN 2. The new system is now available for pre-order, with its official release in early 2024. Visit motion-impossible.com , email info@ motion-impossible.com or call 01454 501010 for more control – as users’ needs gradually grow, the GEN 2 will grow with them. AGITO GEN 1 customers have two options: add the AGITO GEN 2 Core and Master Controller to their existing system, or go for the full upgrade, replacing GEN 1 entirely. Either way, there’s no wrong answer. Evolution of a proven system Unveiled at IBC, the AGITO GEN 2 is already a fan favourite, having made a positive impression on the production industry at large. Its modularity has proven especially appealing, with users able to assemble and disassemble the system and customise it according to their circumstances. Motion Impossible is moving towards a new age of camera tracking and
INDUSTRY CINE GEAR ATLANTA
GET I NTO GEAR WORDS Katie Kasperson
Cine Gear Expo is coming to Atlanta, the industry’s southern hub. Don’t miss out on this triannual event C ine Gear Expo (CGE) is a celebration of filmmaking, combining creativity with
Atlanta has become a hotspot in US film, with Trilith Studios being the largest production facility in Georgia. Covering 700 acres, with a 400-acre backlot, Trilith has 24 sound stages, including one virtual production volume called Prysm. Trilith pays homage to UK origins, with a name referring to trilithon structures like Stonehenge. Originally opened in 2013 as Pinewood Atlanta Studios, Trilith has played host to blockbuster films like Marvel’s Black Panther, DC’s Black Adam and Disney’s latest Haunted Mansion movie. Known as the ‘Hollywood of the south’, Atlanta is also home to Town at Trilith, the studios’ residential counterpart. Down the road from the sound stages, the Town houses studio employees and others from the ‘creative class’, drawing in diverse buyers thanks to its small-town charm. SOUTHERN CHARM
technical expertise. Held in Trilith Studios in Fayetteville, Georgia, CGE Atlanta will see thousands of cinematographers, camera operators and other industry professionals converge to discuss and demonstrate the latest, greatest gear. CGE enjoys other annual events at Brooklyn’s Industry City and Hollywood’s Paramount Studios in March and June, respectively. CGE LA is the largest of the three, with last year’s expo welcoming more than 350 exhibitors. The LA event also organises the Film Series awards, which recognise outstanding talent in independent shorts, music videos, commercials and student films. CGE Atlanta will borrow Trilith Studios’ Stages 21 and 23, hosting a collection of exhibitors at booths both inside and out. Guests can get their hands on gear from over 50 brands and counting – from
aerial cameras, batteries and cables to mounts, monitors and light meters. Known for showcasing the creative art and technical craft of filmmaking, the Atlanta Expo promises to be a busy affair. Attendees can mingle with like- minded creatives, sharing tips, tricks and trade secrets – whether it’s how to light a scene or which rental services
CINE GEAR ATLANTA INDUSTRY
Anton/Bauer | S1603 Anton/Bauer has a track record of innovation, having introduced the first camera battery mounting system, viewfinder battery fuel gauge and the P-Tap. These achievements earned it an Emmy and Oscar for outstanding feats of engineering. Today, Anton/ Bauer leads the way in sustainability with the adoption of sodium battery technology – a safer and greener alternative to traditional batteries. Aputure | S1208 Determined to create professional- grade equipment at an affordable price, Aputure is one of the fastest- growing cine technology companies, designing and specialising in high- end LED lighting solutions. Aputure continues to develop for the ever- expanding needs of budding artists and established professionals alike, with offices in North America, South America, Europe and Asia serving its global consumer base. Astera | S1110 Astera specialises in battery-powered, remote-controlled lights for the film and entertainment industries. Its products are known for their high output, easy installation and intuitive control via AsteraApp or CRMX. At CGE ATL, discover the Astera AX1, a 40in soft light tube with individually controllable pixels, RGBW LEDs and high CRI. STANDS TO SEE
Creamsource | S1408 Creamsource designs gear that advances video production. The Creamsource line-up includes the versatile SpaceX, the ‘small but mighty’ Micro Colour and Micro Bender as well as the Vortex8 and Vortex4. Plus, its grip products offer even more options: the LNX mounting system for the Vortex series, Vortex8 Double and Triple Yoke and Micro Multi Yoke. production has inspired products to maximise efficiency and save time on set. Nanlux, a professional lighting brand, listens to the needs of its creative customers to push the envelope of what is possible. With nearly 30 years of experience, Nanlux makes its professional clients’ requests a reality through its Dyno, TK and Evoke product lines and its range of accessories. Nanlux | S1202 The evolution of 21st-century Sigma | S1604 The arrival of reasonably priced, high-performance digital cinema cameras has changed the standard, expanding the potential of movie production. Sigma’s cine lenses have the same outstanding optical performance as its Global Vision still lens line-up, delivering the highest quality while offering excellent value.
THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH Cine Gear Atlanta returns to Trilith Studios for its second edition, bringing cutting-edge cinema technology and big-name brands to the state of Georgia, US
to use. “Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, established industry veteran or technology enthusiast, this is an event that celebrates the passion and dedication of the cinematic community,” says Cine Gear Expo CEO Juliane Grosso. Last year’s show included events led by the International Cinematographers Guild as well as the American Society of Cinematographers. This year, on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October, they’ll be making another appearance, hosting dialogues and seminars open to all attendees. Plus, hear directly from Aputure, Canon and Lumix, Trilith Studios, Prysm Stages and the Georgia Production Partnership. To ring in another successful show, all attendees are invited to Friday night’s Southern Cine Soirée. Catch CGE Atlanta at Trilith Studios from 10am-6pm on Friday 6 October and 10am-5pm on Saturday 7 October. The two-day expo’s packed schedule continues to evolve – to stay up to date, visit cinegearexpo.com/atl-expo
IBC RECAP INDUSTRY
Another hot topic was IMAX – which made its first official appearance at IBC this year. Laying out a vision of bringing the power of IMAX to viewers at home, the company presented new flagship product Stream Smart, a cutting-edge streaming technology that delivers a super-premium quality to consumer electronic devices. At the IBC Innovation Awards, which recognise the transformative tech driving the industry forward, the BBC received a nod for its deployment of the world’s largest pop-up 5G network for King Charles’ coronation, while Warner Bros. picked up the international honour for excellence prize for its century of innovation across the M&E landscape. The inaugural changemaker award went to the Eurovision Song Contest – watched by 162m viewers this year – which won for its contribution to society and culture. As expected, AI was a hot potato; its applications and disruptive power debated vigorously throughout the show. Google DeepMind’s Dex Hunter-Torricke gave an upbeat verdict, predicting that the rollout of AI would initiate a new wave of human creativity, while others were more tempered, raising concerns over privacy and the spread of deepfakes. The ‘opportunities and limitations for AI’ panel considered a future with hyper-personalisation of content and immersive ‘choose your own adventure’ experiences coming to the fore, while a talk on generative AI looked at tools for boosting creativity and efficiency in M&E. Giving a tantalising glimpse of future innovations and a frank look at the challenges on the horizon, the industry has been left with plenty of food for thought after this year’s IBC. Don’t miss next year’s rendezvous, taking place 13-16 September 2024.
INNOVATION & INSPIRATION AT IBC
O ver 40,000 people made their way to the RAI in Amsterdam last month for the triumphant return of IBC. With 1250 stands, some 325 speakers and 13 exhibition halls to explore, there were new discoveries, exciting product launches and inspiring talks around every corner. The energy and sense of purpose around the event was palpable as industry leaders came together to share their latest news and network – with AI, 5G, VR/AR/XR, gaming, the cloud and the metaverse proving to be the topics on everybody’s lips. A big reveal was Sony’s BURANO – the latest addition to the CineAlta Nicola Foley reports on September’s IBC show at the RAI in Amsterdam
HOLLAND DAYS The Dutch capital played host to M&E movers and shakers last month
family – which was unveiled for the very first time at IBC. Featuring a full-frame image sensor, 8K recording capabilities and in-body image stabilisation, this lightweight, portable camera was among the most talked-about launches at the show. INFiLED’s Studio Series – a modular LED system designed for bespoke virtual production stages – also created a buzz, as did ARRI’s state-of-the-art SkyPanel X: a versatile open-face LED system with modular configurations.
Compact, lightweight and impressively capable, Fujifilm’s latest launch could be the cine camera you’ve been waiting for Charge of the light brigade
F ujifilm has launched a new camera – the GFX100 II. It’s the sixth model in the company’s large format GFX system, but the first to offer some serious movie-making credentials. And when we say serious, we mean it. This is not a stills camera with video features tacked on to appease the masses – the movie functionality has been re-thought from the ground up, making the GFX100 II a real contender for your next production. Central to moviemaking credentials is the newly developed 102-megapixel CMOS sensor. Measuring 43.8x32.9mm, it offers a 55mm diagonal to deliver a huge variety of optical options for ultimate production flexibility. Alongside
the native GF Mount lenses, PL, LPL and many other lenses can be used via adapter thanks to the camera’s shallow flange depth. Different aspect ratios can be selected in camera, including Premista, 35mm and anamorphic, the latter available with various in-camera de-squeeze monitoring options. In addition to the format flexibility, there’s a multitude of resolution options. To realise the full quality of the sensor, the GFX100 II allows 4K/60p 4:2:2 10- bit video to be captured internally at almost full sensor width (43.63mm), while 8K/30p and Full HD/120p are also possible. Irrespective of resolution, an improved readout speed from the sensor reduces rolling shutter, so any kind of footage can be recorded in confidence. A low sensitivity of ISO 100 can be used if ultimate quality is desired, while footage is recorded internally to a CFExpress card, externally to an SSD via the USB-C port, or to other devices via the full-sized HDMI port. Those opting to record externally to a compatible Atomos HDMI device can do so in 12-bit Apple ProRes Raw at up to 8K/29.97p, or in 12-bit Blackmagic Raw with Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDRs. Internal codecs are in plentiful supply, including three Apple ProRes options: HQ, 422 and LT. Apple ProRes 422 Proxy is also available for those seeking a more
Sensor type GFX 102-megapixel CMOS II HS Sensor size 43.8x32.9mm Processor X-Processor 5 Sensitivity ISO 100 to 12,800, extendable to 25,600 Exposure compensation +/-2 stops Bit rates 50-720Mbps Resolution 8K (17:9, 16:9, 2.76:1), 5.8K (2.35:1), 5.4K (17:9), 4.8K (3:2, 16:9, 1.38:1), DCI 4K (17:9), 4K (16:9), FullHD (17:9, 16:9) File formats MOV: Apple ProRes 422 HQ, 422, 422 LT, HEVC/H.265, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, AAC Compression All-Intra, Long GOP Viewfinder 9.44m-dot EVF with 1.0x magnification LCD monitor 3.2in three-way tilt touchscreen, 2.36m dots Connectivity HDMI Type A, USB-C, Ethernet, 3.5mm microphone, 3.5mm headphone Media Slot 1: CFexpress Type B; Slot 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Dimensions (wxhxd) 152.4x117.4x98.6mm Weight 1030g (with battery & EVF)
FULLY FEATURED GFX100 II’s moviemaking settings have been built from the ground up to cater for professional productions
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