The February edition of Definition has a special focus on studios. We speak with the man behind the new Shinfield Studios in Berkshire and find out how he found a gap in the market for streamers. We also learn about the growth plans of Netflix, Milk, Garden and Space. We also talk to the director behind the ITVX series Litvinenko, the dramatisation of the death of the famous Russian dissident starring David Tennant in the titular role
FEBRUARY 2023 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
GROWING YOUR BUSINESS INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS
House of cards A horror story that very nearly collapsed
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I t’s the February edition, which means awards season is upon us! The American Society of Cinematographers has announced outstanding achievement award nominees in feature film, documentary and television categories ahead of the 37th annual ASC Awards ceremony on 5 March. Before that, France hosts its César Awards on 24 February. Of course, there wouldn’t be any awards ceremonies without the studios that keep the industry ticking. We talk to the brains behind Shinfield Studios, an exciting development located just south of Reading, Berkshire. Our production features couldn’t be in starker contrast: one goes behind the scenes with Pope Francis; another concerns the dramatisation of Alexander Litvinenko’s tragic death. The third, House Red , had to feature real-life mob wives to get made! If you’re interested in events, check out our feature on BSC Expo – the film and TV production extravaganza returns to Battersea Park in London this month. Read our interview with the event organiser on page 26 to find out who will be showcasing at this must-attend show.
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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. Cover image © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
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PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck
3. FEBRUARY 2023
Industry 19 ASC NOMINATIONS REVEALED
Production 08 THE ITALIAN JOB
How a beleaguered horror set in Tuscany survived shooting
Cinematographers go head to head for the big prize, plus other industry headlines
38 FATHER NATURE
This film gets rare access to Pope Francis as he meets eco activists at the Vatican 62 ALEXANDER THE GREAT The chilling dramatisation of Alexander Litvinenko’s killing
26 WALK THE FLOOR
BSC Expo is back – we speak to the organiser of the Battersea Park event
44 WHERE STREAMS COME TRUE
Gear 57 FINDING THE
An interview with Nick Smith, MD of Shinfield Studios
68 GROWING PAINS
RIGHT BALANCE Tips on choosing monopods, tripods and heads
Experts give advice on how to boost the coffers without taking on debt
75 T HE FUTURE OF VFX
84 CHARGED UP
Industry luminaries share their thoughts on what’s ahead
Battery solutions to keep your kit going
Regulars 95 CAMERA LISTINGS
A look at the latest products
5. FEBRUARY 2023
THE LAST OF US ON THE COVER.
SPREAD THE NEWS HBO’s latest big-ticket Sunday night series depicts a fungal zombie apocalypse
THE LAST OF US Game changer ADAPTATIONS FINALLY CRACKED? M aking a video game adaptation for the big or small screen is always a risk, as many producers can attest. Even a heavyweight cast including when it debuted on Sunday 15 January. HBO’s adaptation of the hit Playstation game drew the channel’s second-biggest debut of the last 13 years – 4.7 million US viewers across the linear HBO channel and streamer HBO Max – behind only House of the Dragon . The drama, starring Pedro Pascal
the late Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper couldn’t save Super Mario Bros (1993) from being slated by critics and audiences alike. A similar fate awaited Mortal Kombat: Conquest when the fighting game franchise became a series. More recent examples of, shall we say, disappointing efforts include the science-fiction thriller Assassin’s Creed and Netflix’s Resident Evil . Although Sonic the Hedgehog went some way to reclaiming respectability for the video game adaptation, the eagerly awaited The Last of Us took things to a new level
and Bella Ramsey and set in a zombie- ravaged US, was adapted by the game’s creator Neil Druckmann and Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin. It’s been described in some quarters as ‘the best video game adaptation ever’, with five-star reviews aplenty. Sky Atlantic and Now are airing the series in the UK
07. FEBRUARY 2023
PRODUCTION. HOUSE RED
The Italian job
A movie of its own could be made about the filming of House Red. This horror, set in a Tuscan vineyard, was hexed from the start
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Candida Storey
HOUSE RED PRODUCTION.
SEEING THE LIGHT The embattled production faced difficulties from all angles, from funding and equipment going missing to threats of Mafia retribution
I f it wasn’t for bad luck, the team behind recent horror film House Red wouldn’t have had any luck at all. Initially, it was set to be a breeze. A beautiful Tuscan castello and vineyard; Tamer Hassan ( Layer Cake, The Business ), Clara Paget ( Fast & Furious 6 ) and Natasha Henstridge ( The Whole Nine Yards ); legendary DOP Douglas Milsome, with the late Darius Campbell Danesh as executive producer – the film, on the surface at least, couldn’t have looked much better. But things started to take a turn for the worse when the truck carrying all the crew’s equipment got stuck in Switzerland – the result of poor decision making by the driver. The situation was compounded just four days into what was supposed to be a 20-day shoot (later cut down to 16), when a call from producer Camilla Storey to Hassan almost brought House Red down.
“Camilla called and asked if I was sitting down,” recalls Hassan. “That can mean good or bad news. She then told me that a key investor had pulled out.” The British actor had asked several friends and contacts to work on the film, so he desperately wanted to make sure he didn’t let any of them down. Instead of panicking, Hassan was pragmatic. “These things happen, people let you down all the time,” he rationalises. “The problem was that we didn’t have a backup. So, I called in some favours from actors and people in the industry I have known for years and handed Camilla my credit card. Something had to be done, because we had a hardcore landlady who had said: ‘If you don’t pay me, I’m calling my Sardinian friends to come and sort you out!’” Hassan invested £200k of his own money, and the figure was matched
“We had a hardcore landlady who had said: ‘If you don’t pay me, I’m calling my Sardinian friends to come and sort you out’”
09. FEBRUARY 2023
PRODUCTION. HOUSE RED
HOLY TERROIR This slow-burning horror was filmed on location at a beautiful Tuscan vineyard and castello
like The Shining – a psychological film in which you don’t know what’s going on until right at the very end.” He settled on a vineyard in Seggiano – a Tuscan commune located about 100km south of Florence – as the setting for the movie. “My family had been there for a summer holiday, so my dad told me I had to check it out because it would make the perfect setting for a creepy horror film,” Greenop says. “I couldn’t afford to go, so I just looked it up and realised it would be a great place to shoot a
by Storey’s friend and property investor George Michael Georgiou. It was a far cry from Bitter Harvest , the Storey-produced film Hassan had just finished shooting with Terence Stamp. “That was a £30m film,” he says. “We had no runners on House Red , our line producer had to go on another job. I was delivering dialogue in character, then after a scene I’d run off and clean the car for the next scene. It was a labour of love.” PICTURE PERFECT House Red centres on a couple going on a summer vacation to Italy to rekindle their relationship. They travel to a remote vineyard to spend the summer grape- picking, but soon discover there is more to the terroir than meets the eye, as their time descends to a hellish spiral. Director Coz Greenop says he got the idea for House Red from his previous film, Dark Beacon . “I knew one of the things that had going for it was its location [La Corbière Lighthouse in Jersey],” he says. “I then had this idea to film a Sweeney Todd-style film on a vineyard. I started writing it and researching all the wines from the region, while looking back at Hammer Horrors and other slow-burning films, rather than the shock to your face or jump scare type. I wanted something
“I was delivering dialogue in character, then after a scene I’d run off and clean the car for the next scene. It was a labour of love”
ON WITH THE SHOW When a key investor pulled out, the team had to go ahead and shoot with a smaller budget
PRODUCTION. HOUSE RED
chance meeting with one of Hollywood’s finest living cinematographers. “We were looking for DOPs at the time and I went to a screening of Bitter Harvest ,” explains Greenop. “I recognised the DOP as Douglas Milsome ( Full Metal Jacket , Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ) – he worked on Stanley Kubrick’s films. I wanted to just walk over and sniff him or rub some Kubrick off him. I’d had a few glasses of wine by this point and I told him he was a hero of mine. I asked if I could give him my script so he could give me some notes on it, because any feedback would be amazing.” The next thing he knew, Greenop had unwittingly – and via Storey – secured Milsome’s services. “The next morning, he called me asking when I was looking to shoot the film,” says Greenop. “I told him August or September and he said, ‘Debbie wants me out of the house so I’ll do it, as long as you have a glass of wine with me at every dinner.’” AN OFFER THEY COULDN’T REFUSE Having scrabbled together the funds to finance the shoot, there was another major hurdle to clear. When filming began, Storey approached Greenop and Hassan after a visit from some locals. “One morning, Camilla approached me and Tamer and told us the Mafia
film. Whenever I’m doing things like this, I always think about my passions. I’m a massive oenophile, so it got me thinking about what I could do with the vineyard and wine that wasn’t vampire-esque. Red wine has these eerie, old-school, theological connotations.” When you’re working with a tight budget, it’s ambitious to expect big names to join the party. However, Greenop had a
“Camilla approached me and said the Mafia had shown up asking for €200k for us to shoot in this village”
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT A chance encounter with Doug Milsome resulted in him working as director of photography
HOUSE RED PRODUCTION.
had shown up asking for €200k for us to shoot in this village,” Greenop says. “Being a low-budget film, we of course didn’t have that kind of money to pay them off, so I said we should just find another place to shoot. Then, two men in suits approached us and began staring at Tamer. Pointing at him, they asked: ‘You are the playboy?’ Tamer looked at me and then it clicked. They were referring to his iconic role in the movie The Business . Tamer replied, ‘Yeah that’s me.’ All of a sudden the two men were all smiles and shook everyone’s hands. ‘Film as much as you want,’ they said. We even put their wives in the movie.” TECH TALK With one of the industry’s most esteemed cinematographers on the team, Greenop expected Milsome to insist on shooting on 35mm. “From the start, I made it clear that we are very independent, with a budget of under £500,000, and that we certainly can’t afford it,” insists the director. “He said: ‘That’s no problem, I get great deals at Provision and they all know me down there.’ I sent him a lot of references and movies that I loved – old horrors, as
THE COOKE LOOK An Arri Alexa was selected for the film, along with a set of Cooke S4/i Prime lenses
13. FEBRUARY 2023
HOUSE RED PRODUCTION.
well as Korean and Japanese ones. I had many conversations with Doug on how we could achieve those shots with the limited resources we had.” Greenop and Milsome chose an Arri Alexa along with Cooke S4/i Prime lenses, which he says were more than ideal for the job at hand. “I’ve never been a camera snob and it used to frustrate me when filmmakers would say we have to use certain lenses and this or that camera to shoot a movie,” he explains. “I certainly know from film school that some students will say they need a specific camera to tell the story. For me this is so ridiculous – if you’re a real storyteller, you can tell it on an iPhone. I shot my first film, Wandering Rose , on a Lumix GH2 stills camera. I had the firmware to up the bit rate and used a super-old Voigtlander World War II-era lens I acquired on eBay.” Every piece of kit used in House Red had to be shipped from the UK, which added to the delay. “We were in the middle of Tuscany and the closest place for camera hire was Milan,” says Greenop. “We had no cranes, no giant jibs. We had a Steadicam operator and what was then an 80-year-old Doug running around with a camera and a rig.” THE GREATEST FILM SCHOOL Greenop describes how working with the best people in the industry teaches a lot more than any formal education could. “Going to film school is like getting a degree in finger painting – it doesn’t help you become a filmmaker,” he says. “For
for Full Metal Jacket.” That was just one of Milsome’s several collaborations with the legendary Stanley Kubrick, first as camera operator for most of the seventies and eighties – and then cinematographer. ”But I told Doug that we’ll be getting these aerial shots sitting by the pool, drinking a glass of wine. He likes to be behind the lens – watching on a monitor isn’t really his thing.”
me, working with Doug is the greatest film school. We were there with Tamer Hassan and Natasha Henstridge in this castle in Tuscany. Doug says, ‘So what are we doing?’ I said we’ll set up here, do 50mm there etc. He asked why 50mm, as opposed to 25mm or 75mm? Immediately he was questioning me and my shot list. With Doug, every day it was about why I wanted to use certain lenses.” However, when the idea of drones was raised, Milsome was adamant. No. “He asked, ‘Why can’t we have a helicopter?’” recalls Greenop. “’I want to be up there shooting it.’ He told us a story on day one about shooting in a helicopter
SECURING ACCESS The crew had to tell the castello’s management they were shooting a love film in order to get permission to use the property
“Doug likes to be behind the lens – watching on a monitor isn’t really his thing”
MASTER OF PAIRINGS Director Coz Greenop had his lens selection repeatedly quizzed by veteran DOP Doug Milsome
15. FEBRUARY 2023
PRODUCTION. HOUSE RED
GRAPES OF WRATH The horror draws on the ecclesiastical associations of red wine
BAD FOR BUSINESS Due to the fact House Red is a small film, Storey was in dialogue with many different agents as well as a large studio to secure backing. “The studio wanted to make a TV show out of it,” she says. “Just as that was happening, the global pandemic started. We were messed around by several Hollywood big dogs and sales agents, which slowed the process down. At the start of 2022, we were approached by a distributor, but it all came to nothing. There are a lot of empty promises in this business.” However, Storey does single out Final Frame, a New York-based boutique post-production company, for special praise. “The company is very supportive of independent filmmakers, was hugely supportive of us, this project and me as an independent producer,” she beams. While independent filmmaking will always introduce challenges, it also affords a lot more autonomy. Even then, Hassan explains he and the crew ‘did tell a few white lies to the castello’ in order to get the film over the line. “They said, ’We don’t want any horror films made here,’ so I told them, ‘It’s not a horror film, it’s a love story,’” recalls Hassan. “We gave them a completely different script, which meant we had to shoot specific scenes really early in the “It’s why I always want to shoot on location – once you’re there, it doesn’t matter”
morning, before the management had woken up. This shoot couldn’t have been more guerrilla.” As Greenop declares: “It’s all part and parcel of being an indie filmmaker. Roll with the punches and make the best film you can with nothing. “It’s why I always want to shoot on location – once you’re there, it doesn’t matter. Tuscany is such a beautiful place, you’re just happy to be there. I was happy to be trapped on a vineyard, drinking red wine at lunch. If I was shooting in Croydon, I’d have taken the Tube home.” Storey is used to dealing with the trials and tribulations that come with independent filmmaking, but she doesn’t recall ever being so indebted to the team both in front of and behind the camera before. “Tamer and George rescued the film and my career with it,” she insists. “And I know that Darius was smiling down on us.” Watch House Red via Amazon Prime Video, Sky Store in the UK and Vudu in the US
A FINE VINTAGE Milsome lent an immense degree of experience and esteem to the production
Industry briefings The latest news, views and hot tips from the world of video production
ON THE BALL Unilumin, whose LED panels are used in Sky TV’s sport studio, has announced a new partnership with Pixotope
PIXOTOPE AND UNILUMIN PARTNER ON TURNKEY LED/XR SOLUTION FOR BROADCAST INDUSTRY
The companies will showcase their partnership at ISE, where Pixotope XR Edition will power a two-wall Unilumin LED volume XR stage with graphics and camera tracking capabilities.
Pixotope has partnered with LED volume manufacturer Unilumin to create purpose-built XR solutions especially for the broadcast industry. The partnership provides an advanced XR solution in a simple-to-deploy turnkey package, the companies said. Unilumin’s LED volumes have been used on The X Factor and Sky TV’s sport studio, featuring a high-tech, small-pixel “Pixotope’s technology removes much of the guesswork around XR”
design that preserves output quality in XR environments. Marcus Brodersen, Pixotope CEO, said the partnership enables the companies to achieve a mutual goal of making extended reality more accessible to the broadcast market. “By cross-leveraging our individual expertise, we can optimise and problem solve to make workflows more streamlined and efficient,” he added. Jaelyn Li, sales director at Unilumin Rental, said Pixotope is a ‘complementary partner’ because its XR Edition ‘removes much of the complexity and guesswork around XR, allowing users to tap into the creative potential it stages without expertise or bespoke solutions’.
19. FEBRUARY 2023
French film awards bans sex crime suspects The César Awards – France’s national film awards – has banned any nominee being investigated in connection with sex offences from this year’s ceremony, ‘out of respect for possible victims’. Announced 2 January, the ban also impacts people who have been convicted of acts of violence. The César Academy’s decision does not preclude actors, directors or producers subject to the ban from being nominated for or receiving awards. However, they won’t be invited to the ceremony and no speech will be given on their behalf if they win a gong. This means French actor Sofiane Bennacer will be barred from the ceremony, due to be held on 24 February in Paris. The 25-year-old, who had been shortlisted in the best newcomer category for his role in Forever Young , was dropped from the list of nominees in November 2022. The same day, he took to Instagram to deny the accusations against him. In 2020, the César Awards ceremony was thrown into turmoil after French-Polish director Roman Polanski won top awards, prompting walkouts from actors and protests outside the Salle Pleyel. Polanski’s film, An Officer and a Spy , won awards for best director, best costume and best adapted screenplay – controversial choices for the French film industry in the #MeToo era. Polanski, who did not attend the ceremony, pleaded guilty in the US to the statutory rape of Samantha Geimer when she was 13 years old in 1977. He fled the country before sentencing and has been a fugitive ever since.
ECOFLIX APPOINTS MIA AS CIO
Ecological streaming platform Ecoflix has named industry veteran Ray Mia as its chief innovation officer. The not-for-profit platform, privately funded and dedicated to the conservation of nature, provides filmmakers and viewers the opportunity to upload their own content relating to wildlife and the natural environment. In the newly created role, Mia will be charged with looking at the convergence between content, technology, commerce and communities through UX and UI. Earlier in his career, Mia was channel head of Richard Desmond-owned gaming
Reuters and the UN. He was also an award-winning UN TV producer and EVP of Universal Music Group, where he pioneered its immersive audio capabilities and launch strategy. Mia says Ecoflix, which recently celebrated its first birthday, welcomes user-generated content, new stories and innovative ways of telling them. “We want everything from super- sexy slow-motion drone footage over canyons and high-definition capture, to more diverse storytelling,” he said. “Not everyone has a Blue Planet budget. We are currently focusing on Ecoflix Originals, which are made more cost-effective by being the first streaming platform to advocate and support fully sustainable production techniques, using local content, producers and kit.” He added that Ecoflix is the first and only platform that donates 100% of its subscription fees to NGOs.
channel Xleague.tv. He later launched the low-latency livestreaming service Streamworks International – at one stage delivering live content for AP,
Sundance is back – with an Adobe record Sundance Film Festival is running from 19-29 January in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, with a record 67% of the 99 films that are set to premiere having used Adobe Premiere Pro or Frame.io Camera to Cloud. Movies that made use of the software suite include Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy , Palm Trees and Power Lines and I Didn’t See You There . “It’s truly an honour, and a bit humbling, for us to see their work come to life through our work,” said Paul Saccone, senior director of Adobe Pro Video Marketing.
MANDY WALKER, ASC, ACS ELVIS (WARNER BROS)
DARIUS KHONDJI, ASC, AFC BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS (NETFLIX)
ROGER DEAKINS, ASC, BSC EMPIRE OF LIGHT (SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES)
BARDO, ELVIS AND TOP GUN: MAVERICK RECEIVE NOMINATIONS FROM ASC
The DOPs behind Bardo , Elvis , The Batman , Empire of Light and Top Gun: Maverick have been nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in the feature film category. Darius Khondji has been shortlisted for his work on Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths , while Mandy Walker received a nomination in the theatrical film category for her work on Warner Bros’ Elvis , becoming the third woman ever nominated by the guild. Last year’s ASC feature film winner was sci-fi epic Dune from cinematographer Greig Fraser – who has landed a place on the shortlist this year for his work on DC Films’ The Batman . Claudio Miranda is in contention for his role on Top Gun: Maverick , while Roger Deakins completes the list with British romantic drama Empire of Light .
The 37th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards Gala will be held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles on 5 March.
GREIG FRASER, ACS, ASC THE BATMAN (WARNER BROS)
CLAUDIO MIRANDA, ASC TOP GUN: MAVERICK (PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
23. FEBRUARY 2023
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. MPB
It’s always tempting to buy the latest, shiniest kit, but newer does not necessarily mean better. Matt Barker, CEO of MPB, explains why RING OUT THE NEW, BRING IN THE USED
THE FILM AND TV industry is acutely aware that the delivery and general availability of some brand-new camera models has been seriously affected by ongoing issues with the global supply chain. As frustrating as this is for all concerned, it’s certainly led to more people buying more used cameras and lenses instead. However, while you’d be forgiven for thinking that the problems emanating from the South China Sea were the sole driver for acquiring pre-loved kit, Matt Barker – CEO and founder of MPB, the largest global platform for buying, selling and trading used photography and videography kit – says consumers’ eyes have simply opened to what was already a growing trend. “We’re proud to champion circularity,” he says. “A circular business model will always
be more sustainable than a linear model of manufacture, consumption and waste.” SUSTAINABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY When a camera operator – be that a videographer or photographer – is building their set-up, budget may well be the first consideration. Often, they’re able to afford a better camera or add a few more lenses, which improves the overall set-up while staying within an original budget. For those that can’t – or who decide against spending beyond what they can afford – Barker says it’s important to remember the durability of modern kit. “Camera equipment, in particular, is built to last for many years,” he explains. “Increasing numbers of people are realising that buying and selling used just makes sense. If properly checked, used camera kit offers the same performance as brand new – just at a fraction of the price.” It isn’t just about cost; sustainability is increasingly important to users. Buying, selling and trading used equipment is an easy way for photographers and videographers to make a greener choice – with MPB making that choice even easier, says Barker. “Our business model is 100% circular,” he adds. “Today, more than half of the electricity we use is renewable, and we aim to reach 100% by 2025. We’re targeting net zero carbon for our buildings by 2025, for our data centres by 2030 and for our courier services by 2035.” However, Barker says sustainability isn’t just about circularity. MPB takes inclusivity and diversity seriously, by supporting the training and development of its employees and promoting inclusive visual storytelling. “Ethics and trust are equally important – we provide excellent customer experience
and accurate pricing, and we make sure our data security is robust,” he says. “It’s important to be transparent about our sustainability performance, which is why we’re publishing all of our sustainability data at mpb.com/impact.” SAVINGS Interested consumers will want to see examples of potential savings. On average, used cameras and lenses from MPB cost a third less than new. “Many people also choose to trade in their existing set-ups, which helps reduce the cost even further,” continues Barker. “Some trade in their existing DSLR lenses, for example, to fund the purchase of a mirrorless camera without having to spend a single penny. The process is simple and completely free of charge, as MPB covers the cost of fully insured collection and delivery.” While MPB might not be the only company in this space, it’s certainly the most competitively priced. Its team of experts make sure of that by monitoring the wider camera market. “This is to make sure we offer accurate pricing for buyers
TRUST THE PROS All items on the MPB website have been approved by product specialists
MPB ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.
“If properly checked, used camera kit offers the same performance as brand new – just at a fraction of the price”
explains how the company gets plenty of positive feedback from the 400,000+ people using the platform. “Many say they prefer going with MPB instead of listing sites, for example, because we’re quicker, easier and more secure,” he continues. “Trust is also really important to us. Our award-winning support teams, based in Brighton, Brooklyn and Berlin, are available to ensure every user is happy with their experience at MPB. Our team of developers work hard to upgrade the platform, and we always welcome suggestions of ways we can improve the experience.” MPB is endeavouring to make it as quick and easy as possible for people to make the move from new to used.
and sellers. Whether you’re buying used, trading in or selling to MPB, you’re always getting a fair price”, asserts Barker. Although MPB is not a marketplace, it does buy directly from visual storytellers, and its product specialists will evaluate all items before reselling them. Every single one gets approved, so you need never question the quality. “Our dynamic pricing engine is data driven, providing the right price upfront,” Barker explains. “The value of kit is determined by its age, popularity, brand and condition.”
For even more peace of mind, there’s zero risk involved. MPB’s specialists check, grade and verify every camera and lens to make sure they’re all in good working order. “For each individual item, we include photos taken from every angle – we don’t use stock imagery – so you can see exactly what you’re getting,” says Barker. “Our five condition ratings make it easy to find the best-value camera for you, based on your cosmetic preferences. Then, your item will arrive in 100% plastic-free packaging.” Every used item also includes a free warranty, for extra peace of mind. BEST SELLERS Photographers tend to have a few lenses to fit a camera body, so optics often outsell bodies, according to Barker. “The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is usually popular, it’s regularly one of the first lenses people buy when they’re building a Canon DSLR set-up,” he adds. “But as you’d expect, we’re seeing increasing popularity in mirrorless cameras and lenses.” Barker says it’s not just about the benefits offered by the MPB platform. He
MOVING THROUGH THE GEAR Consider swapping out unused equipment for your dream kit
25. FEBRUARY 2023
INDUSTRY. BSC EXPO
PARKLIFE This year’s expo will be hosted at Evolution London in Battersea Park
BSC Expo returns to Battersea Park this month – and it’s going to be bigger than ever WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Richard Blanshard Walk the floor T he British Society of Cinematographers Expo has established itself as a key fixture in the film industry calendar. Having
started out on the sound stages of Elstree, the two-day show is now one of the most recognised events for the sector, drawing in a global audience. After moving to Pinewood Studios, then Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, then back to Pinewood in 2015, the event was a victim of its own success. Like anything that gains in popularity or harbours ambition, there came a point where it started to outgrow its surroundings. In 2016, the organisers decided to move the expo to its current home. “The studios were always popular, as they produced a very close environment where professionals could gather,” explains Rob Saunders, director at event organiser SCS Exhibitions. “However, as the studios’ schedules became busier, it became impossible to ensure that these
industry can meet and learn from some of the top cinematographers and masters of their professions.” For those unfamiliar with Evolution London, it’s a purpose-built events
spaces would be available each year. Therefore, an equally unique location was found in Battersea at Evolution London,” explains Saunders. “It’s a place where students and those that are new to the
BSC EXPO INDUSTRY.
MIX AND MINGLE As a huge industry get-together, BSC Expo is a key opportunity for networking
Key exhibitors Exhibitors at the expo include: Arri Rental, Panavision, Aputure, Leitz, AC Entertainment Technologies, LCA, Zeiss, Kodak, Fujifilm, Canon, Red, Grip Factory Munich, Prolight Direct, Lightbridge, Power Gems, Sony, Cooke, Blackmagic Design and Cirro Lite. A full list of companies is available at bscexpo.com/exhibitors-2023 Like most in-person events, BSC Expo experienced a bit of a hiatus – there was no 2021 edition thanks to the pandemic. In fact, Saunders says the BSC Expo was the last major event within the sector to take place before the global lockdowns – and also the first to physically return post-lockdown. He explains that the industry is a very social- and network-orientated venue in the heart of Battersea Park. Easily accessible by rail and road, it’s a convenient location to bring every level of the industry together. What will be familiar is an audience made up of all parts of the production process – camera, lighting, grips, DIT and post-production, together with manufacturers and rental houses. “Post-pandemic, we had around 6000 people attend the event in 2022 (there were 8500 attendees pre-pandemic) and we expect an increase on this number – although it’s always difficult to predict,” maintains Saunders. “What we certainly anticipate this year is to see many of our international visitors return.”
LISTEN AND LEARN An array of seminars and panels with industry leaders will be taking place throughout the event
HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE The event is also a chance to get to grips with the very latest in cinema equipment
27. FEBRUARY 2023
INDUSTRY. BSC EXPO
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Demonstrations and exhibits from all areas of the production process will be on show
Each year, BSC is blessed with exhibitors showcasing a wide range of products for visitors to try out and test. In this iteration, the event will introduce a larger selection of outdoor exhibits for the visitors to enjoy. “Our exhibitor list will once again represent an international array of manufacturers and suppliers,” says Saunders. “In addition to these, we have the highly anticipated BSC panels and seminars, where we will be hosting some of the most internationally renowned cinematographers. Every stand will offer exciting opportunities for visitors.” Unlike many other expos, BSC doesn’t have a specific theme each year. Instead, it prides itself as a celebration of all things cinematography, film and TV. “We know that certain subjects will be represented through the products and seminar sessions, such as green energy, sustainability, virtual production as well as inclusion and diversity within the industry,” confirms Saunders. “It’s a technology event where the latest kit can be seen and tested, and it’s a creative event where – through panel discussions and presentations – the challenges that affect the industry are discussed – and solutions shared.” Whether you want to try out the newest tech, see some seminars or simply get networking, Evolution London is the place to be, from 24-25 February. BSC Expo 2023 pre-registration is available at bscexpo.com
“The panels and seminars will be hosting some of the most globally renowned cinematographers”
one, and that the expo has always been very hands-on, offering the best of the best in equipment and services as well as the opportunity to meet associates, colleagues and peers in a social and relaxed environment. So, it works best as a physical rather than a hybrid event, unlike other shows which have transitioned to a fully hybrid setting.
“That said, there are certain elements – such as the BSC panel discussions – which will be broadcast online and through social media platforms, so that a wider audience can tune in and experience them,” he adds. “The seminars and technical content are always really popular, so this helps to share knowledge from the speakers to a global audience.”
BLEEDING EDGE Leading manufacturers, rental companies and service providers will be among the exhibitors
INDUSTRY. BSC PREVIEW
WHAT’S ON SHOW AT BSC 2023?
via either traditional V-Mount or Gold- Mount batteries. bebob.de/en CODEX AND PIX Stand 405 Codex and Pix will be presenting the comprehensive camera-to-cloud workflow and tool. Pix partners with Teradek to provide camera-to-cloud workflows with live video playback, integrating the Teradek Serv 4K capturing colour-accurate H.264/H.265 proxy files that upload directly to Pix for immediate review, and shared securely beyond the set. A Codex Compact Drive containing the Original Camera Files (OCF) from an Alexa Mini LF/35 is backed up to Codex Transfer Drive, applying High Density Encoding at the point of offload to significantly reduce the data size while retaining full original image quality and information. The Transfer Drive is moved to Codex Mediavault Edge, where further copies can be made – and once secure, the OCF is pushed up to Codex Cloud, giving all departments access to the OCF worldwide. Codex is an Emmy award-winning group that creates high- performance recording media, workflow tools and production solutions to support leading camera manufacturers and key creatives for feature, television and commercial production. Pix is an Academy award-winning production management platform, delivering industry-leading service for secure asset review and approval, with powerful collaboration throughout the end-to-end production pipeline process of media creation on a global scale. codex.online pix.online
POWERFUL Bebob’s B-Mounts are an industry favourite – catch them on the brand’s Stand 435
APUTURE Stand 117
provides reliable wireless camera and lens control in demanding situations on-set. The most recent additions to Arri’s Camera Stabiliser System range, Trinity 2 and Artemis 2, will be available for guests to demo. arri.com ARRI RENTAL Stand 418 Arri Rental is displaying its latest exclusive products. These include the brand-new Heroes lens collection, comprising Look primes that allow instant detuning and T.One primes that retain contrast at T1.0, as well as a new fleet of Monochrome cameras covering 65mm, full-frame and Super 35 formats. arrirental.com
Curious about the lights that Aputure has to offer? With its reputation as an up-and-coming LED manufacturer with thousands of fans around the world, it’s bound to spark the interest of industry professionals eventually. Stop by the booth if you would like to learn more. The Aputure Europe team will be there to bring you up to speed about its latest developments. It can tell you everything about the flagship models like the LS 600c Pro, LS 1200d Pro and Nova P600c, plus the yet to be released MC Pro. aputure.com ARRI Stand 323 Arri will be showcasing its latest camera and lighting products at this year’s BSC Expo. Included in this line-up will be the Arri Orbiter with its accessories such as the Orbiter Docking Ring and the new Orbiter Projection Optics 25° and 35°. The new Arri Alexa 35 and Alexa Mini LF cameras will be prominently positioned on the show floor along with the Arri Signature Prime and Signature Zoom lenses, which continue to offer state-of- the-art precision with an organic and emotional quality. Visit the booth and discover exactly how vintage filmmaking techniques such as dioptres can help you customise the look of Signature lenses. Arri’s Hi-5 ecosystem will also be on display, complete with new firmware update and features. In addition, the powerful radio performance of Arri’s swappable radio modules can be experienced with the Radio Interface Adapter RIA-1. This well-received system
BEBOB Stand 435
COOKE Stand 258
The market entry of Bebob’s B-Mount batteries has been a tremendous success. To meet the strong demand for high- performance power supply for even more applications, Bebob is now introducing various additions to its B-Mount portfolio at BSC Expo. Users of the Sony Venice 2, for example, will be pleased that they can now supply their favourite camera with persistent power via B-Mount – thanks to the new Coco Venice 2 battery plate. Rentals
Cooke will showcase the new Varotal/i FF 19-40mm wide zoom lens, which joins the 30-95mm medium and 85-215mm long zooms to complete the Varotal/i series, enabling Cooke to offer broad focal length coverage for the majority of production needs. All Varotal/i FF zooms deliver
will be delighted to see a new, highly efficient wall- mounted B-Mount charger. Amidst the broad variety of innovations are also adapters for lighting and options to power B-Mount equipment
INDUSTRY. BSC PREVIEW
WHAT’S ON SHOW AT BSC 2023? continued...
GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION/SYMPLY Stand 30 Global Distribution can talk you through acquisition, storage, workflow and archive solutions. From camera recording media and peripherals, to on-set collaborative storage, secure asset archiving and media sharing through the cloud, the company provides a service to more than 70 countries worldwide. globaldistribution.com GRIP FACTORY MUNICH Stand 145 Stop by to see a range of GFM- manufactured dollies, cranes, sliders, track and camera support equipment. gripfactory.com HAWK-WOODS Stand 413 Hawk-Woods shows off its newly released B-Lok batteries for Arri Alexa 35, mainly the BL-350, with ‘the biggest capacity in the industry’, multiple outputs and all the safety features, straight 26v with 20A output and drop resistance. It will also display its flagship floor battery, MXB-880, with dual voltage, multiple XLR outputs, drop resistance and only weighing 7.2kg. hawkwoods.com HOLDAN Stand 127 UK distributor Holdan will showcase its complete range of on-camera and cloud monitor/recorders and production monitors from Atomos, as well as the ultra-lightweight, high-performance Xeen Cine prime lenses by Samyang, including 8K and full-frame Xeen Meister optics. Also featured are Hollyland for a variety of audio solutions, Teradek
“Visitors will have an opportunity to explore an interactive virtual production stage”
the famed Cooke Look, offering natural, flattering skin tone and character, which enables cinematographers to preserve their creative intent when switching between primes and zooms. Cooke will also show its S8/i FF, the flagship Cooke prime lens series designed from the ground up for motion picture cameras. These optics are capable of achieving the highest resolution yet, while an advanced, all-spherical design produces an evolution of the iconic Cooke Look and beautiful bokeh. In addition, Cooke will have a selection of lenses from Panchro/i Classic, Macro/i and Anamorphic/i series available to view on request. cookeoptics.com CORE SWX Stand 110 The Apex 360 battery system is designed to answer the call for an onboard battery solution to increase runtimes for high- powered LED lighting. Apex packs offer a 367Wh lithium-ion V-Mount solution capable of outputting up to 24A continuously. With Apex, the production team can focus on video production rather than restricting light usage because of limiting onboard powering options. Plus with up to 24A load output, the user will enjoy a more ‘true’ runtime while operating the high-power LED lighting systems. Apex is offered in a 14.8v (#APX-360V) pack suitable for most lights as well as a higher voltage 29.6v variant (#APX-360HV). coreswx.com CVP The Mezzanine Floor CVP will once again inhabit the Mezzanine level of BSC Expo in 2023, bringing a full showcase of the latest production solutions, ably supported by the expert impartial advice of its many technical consultants, product specialists and engineers. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore an interactive virtual production stage designed to demonstrate the newest technology and creative solutions to appeal to a range of applications, budgets and specifications. The popular Lens Bar is back with a more extensive collection of new
and vintage glass for evaluation and comparison, with combinations of lenses and filters on a variety of cameras. The Monitor Wall returns to provide the perfect backdrop to view over 35 of the best monitors the industry currently has to offer – all displayed side by side. Also featured are the latest fully rigged cine-style cameras from leading manufacturers including Sony’s Venice 2, Rialto 2 and HDC F5500, Arri Alexa 35, Red’s V-Raptor XL and V-Raptor S35. With large-sensor, or large format, cinematography and broadcast workflows more closely aligning, CVP will present fibre channel solutions that allow broadcast and studio productions to integrate cine cameras into their workflows. Explore how to manage connectivity for multicamera shoots from one master controller, as well as individual configurations. CVP’s team of ProRepairs engineers are dedicated to restoring your equipment back to A1 condition. They will be on- site to demonstrate and discuss how to maintain your kit and provide advice and tips for keeping your set-up running smoothly, whatever it may be. cvp.com FUJIFILM Stand 121 Fujifilm will be presenting its premium range of Fujinon lenses as well as its latest mirrorless digital cameras. Pride of place on its stand will be the brand-new Fujinon HZK25-1000mm f/2.8-5.0 PL mount box lens, which boasts an unparalleled combination of magnification and telephoto reach for large cinema sensors. Also on the stand will be the full range of Premista series lenses, with their stunning optical performance to allow you to express your creativity without compromise when using a large format sensor. While on the stand, you must check out the industry-leading GFX 100S which has 102 megapixels and the latest fifth-generation X Series cameras, the X-H2S with its open gate 6.2K shooting and ultra-low rolling shutter – and the 8K-capable X-H2. Both will be displayed with the stunning MKX cine lenses to showcase how Fujifilm can offer the complete solution of camera and lens. fujifilm-x.com
FORMATT-HITECH ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE.
THROUGH THE LENS Formatt-Hitech has been a
leading manufacturer of motion picture and photography filters since it was formed. Today, it’s still a first choice for Hollywood cinematographers
CUTTING EDGE Formatt-Hitech filters have been used in some of the highest-profile blockbusters of the past few years
FORMATT-HITECH HAS manufactured filters for over a quarter of a century. A specialist in professional cinematography and photography filters, it prides itself on all of its equipment being made and hand- finished in the UK. The company’s forensic approach to the research and development of its filters was originally established by Reginald Morris – grandfather to the company founder – who for many years was chief physicist at Kodak. He helped develop what’s now known as the Kodak Wratten standard. Now, in 2023, this remains the worldwide standard in technical colour correction – a benchmark in all Formatt-Hitech filter production to this day. “DOPs can come to us to test filters and even request unique effects”
“We follow this tradition in making the most advanced photographic and cinematic filters on the market, with an excellent reputation for colour reproduction and build quality,” explains David Lutwyche, chief marketing officer at Formatt-Hitech. Unlike many manufacturers, Formatt- Hitech involves the end user when it comes to research and design. “We pride ourselves on working closely with industry partners, and often directly with cinematographers,” Lutwyche explains. “DOPs can come to Formatt-Hitech to test filters and even request unique effects.” This year, the company is looking to expand this service, with rental houses using the company’s ‘special combination kits’ – starting in Los Angeles and then eventually in the UK, too. An ever-popular option with cinematographers and camera operators, Formatt-Hitech is known in the cinema field for excellent performance. In recent years alone, it’s become the filter of choice for many of the world’s largest prestige
(for which Fraser was shortlisted for an American Society of Cinematographers award), Black Adam and Shazam 2 . Although the company has a number of filters to its name, it’s perhaps best known for Firecrest ND – which is available in a variety of sizes and densities. This allows the user to match diffusion across a range of cameras without calibration. “Firecrest was the first bonded ND filter, so the coating is contained within the glass before undergoing extensive polishing, giving it unrivalled optical flatness and resolution,” Lutwyche says. “We can also offer a service of filter matching for commercial clients, so you know that even if you have an accident, you can get a replacement which will match your previous filter exactly.”
projects, including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story , Solo: A Star Wars Story , Dune (for which cinematographer Greig Fraser won an Oscar), The Batman SPOILT FOR CHOICE The popular Firecrest Ultra Cine Superslim filters come in a range of densities for easy diffusion matching
33. FEBRUARY 2023
BSC PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
WHAT’S ON SHOW AT BSC 2023? continued...
lens design and unique character. Leitz Hugo primes, also delivering now, share their optical design with Leica’s iconic M photography lenses and feature compact, production-ready mechanics. The Leitz Zooms, 25-75mm and 55-125mm, offer a consistent T2.8 aperture and pair excellently with both sets of primes. And the new Leitz LPL Mount for Sony Venice with PL adapter is the metadata-enabled solution to quickly change formats. leitz.com MARSHALL Stand 219 Marshall leapt out of the gates in the new year with the release of a brand-new high-performance NDI|HX3 camera with up to UHD (4K) at 60fps. The CV730-ND3 camera utilises the brand-new NDI|HX3 codecs, which significantly improves NDI performance over network in all three categories; better lossless video quality, even lower latency and less bandwidth required. The CV730-ND3 achieves near full NDI (~250Mbps) delivery with less bandwidth required (~80Mbps) for NDI|HX3. Built around a 9.2-megapixel back-side illuminated Sony Exmor 1/1.8in sensor with 30x optical zoom range, it’s an elevated offering at the same affordable price point. CV730-ND3 greatly improves NDI|HX3 delivery over challenging IP networks while offering traditional outputs such as 12G SDI, HDMI, IP (HEVC) and USB 3.0. It’s fully compatible with the latest NDI 5.5 and an extensive suite of NDI|Tools are available. marshall-usa.com MO-SYS Stand TBC Visit Mo-Sys to learn about virtual production solutions, Academy virtual production training, camera tracking, robotics and remote production systems. The company has more than 20 years of industry experience in the conception, production and installation of full turnkey and bespoke solutions. mo-sys.com ROTOLIGHT Stand 440 As well as its award-winning Titan range that has been used by filmmakers including Stefan Lange, Denson Baker and Roy Wagner, Rotolight will be showcasing the new AEOS 2 and Neo 3 Pros, which have already received several awards –and the world’s first electronic Smartsoft Box. Rotolight Pros feature
numerous upgraded features including a brightness boost of up to 25%, Master of Light preset packs with up to 100+ built-in exclusive special effects, GEL and HSI presets from Emmy-winning filmmakers as well as four new special effects (SFX). Delivering a genuine revolution in lighting control, the technology from the diffusion in the Titan range has been built into the Rotolight Smartsoft Box. Saving filmmakers both time and money, users can electronically adjust diffusion, focus and spread without the need for gels and additional modifiers. rotolight.com raft of innovative LED light systems – Lightstation, Lightwall 20, Four Spot and Five Me Five. It says strong, high-quality lighting with a wireless total recall system mean operators can set and store light scenes, fading and light preset playlists. senna.hr VOCAS SYSTEMS Stand 18 Vocas Products will be showcasing its most popular accessories for cameras like the Sony Venice 2, FX9, FX6, Arri Alexa 35 and Red DSMC3 line. Also on the stand is co-exhibitor Casecart, which is showing off its revolutionary hard case and production cart in one. vocas.com ZEISS Stand 319 SENNA Stand 423 Among Senna’s new reveals is a Zeiss will display its extensive range of high-end cine lenses, including the highly anticipated wide-angle 15mm T1.8 lens which completes the 14-lens Supreme Prime set. Attendees will also be able to get hands-on with the Supreme Prime Radiance family – known for its stunning blue flare capability – as well as CZ.2 full-frame Cinema Zooms and CP.3 cinematography lenses. Furthermore, the company will be demonstrating its new solution for the compositing and match moving VFX workflows, the Zeiss Cincraft Mapper. Opening the door to an entirely new workflow ecosystem, the groundbreaking digital service quickly and easily provides frame-accurate shading and distortion data at the click of a button, completely removing the need to shoot and analyse lens grids. zeiss.com
with its wireless transmission workflow, Orca with premium bags for cameras and audio, as well as Kondor Blue’s cages and accessories. DIT and post solutions will also be present with Inovativ’s world-class mobile workstations, plus Sonnet’s Duomodo expansion system and Thunderbolt card readers. holdan.co.uk IDX Stand 358 IDX will be showcasing IPL Powerlink batteries and new charging solutions; D-Tap Advanced, X-Tap socket and stacked charging. idx-europe.co.uk LCA Stand 133 LCA is once again highlighting the latest innovative lights in film and broadcast with Litegear’s new Auroris V alongside its larger sibling the Auroris X – plus the full complement of Creamsource products, including the Vortex series. See how using CreamOS Framesync can open up new creative lighting techniques. And DoPchoice shows off its larger-than-life 8ft Doublehex Snapbag for large LED panels. lcauk.com LEITZ Stand 419 See Ernst Leitz Wetzlar’s newest Leitz Cine Lenses at BSC Expo. Leitz Elsie primes, delivering now, combine a gentle field curvature and fall-off with modern
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