APRIL 2023 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
Seymour inside Hollywood royalty on light and sound EXCLUSIVE!
Breaking the mould Crafting a perfect episode of The Last of Us
Broadcast, media and entertainment event NAB celebrates 100 years
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I t’s not every day one gets to sit down for a face-to-face interview with Jane Seymour – but that’s exactly what’s on offer in our April edition. The lead actor and executive producer on hit series Harry Wild shares her expertise on natural light, including her very own technique, Jane’s igloo. It’s also an event-heavy issue, with a review of BSC Expo and a preview of NAB Show, which marks it’s 100th birthday when it returns to Las Vegas on 15-19 April. We have some heavy-hitting production features for you, too. The cinematographer behind BBC hit Happy Valley talks adopting a virtual set to simulate the Yorkshire landscape and save precious time for a key scene in the final episode. Meanwhile, his counterpart on The Last of Us reveals how he shot what critics are calling one of the best episodes of drama ever. And if you’re looking for tech talk, look no further than our round table of experts, who ruminate on all things virtual production.
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Cover image © Disney
3. APRIL 2023
07 ON THE COVER The Mandalorian is back for Season 3, exclusively on Disney+ 08 EXCLUSIVE! LIT FOR A QUEEN Hollywood royalty Jane Seymour gives us her insights on light, sound and running a tight ship when making Harry Wild 21 INDUSTRY BRIEFINGS Xplor partners up with Disguise – and other business news 28 NAB AT 100 What to see and do at the now century-old Las Vegas extravaganza 35 CANON GEAR REVIEW The EOS C500 Mark II has had a price cut, but does this 2019 cine camera hold up? 40 BREAKING THE MOULD The Last of Us has shocked and excited viewers – DOP Eben Bolter reveals all 51 MASTERING THE ILLUSION The art of virtual production, according to our round table of experts
END OF THE WORLD Gone are the days of mediocre video game adaptations. The Last of Us offered a retelling that pleased fans and critics
60 THE SKY’S THE LIMIT Drones, cranes or helicopters? We ask those in the know 67 ON CLOUD NINE Video editing is experiencing a revolution. Here’s why you should consider the cloud 74 NORTHERN FIGHTS Creating a gruesome scene with an LED volume in Happy Valley 81 SAMSUNG GEAR REVIEW A rugged wonder, the Samsung Portable
SSD T7 Shield now comes in a behemoth 4TB version 84 WELCOME TO LONDON The once-local BSC Expo is now a truly global affair. We give you the biggest news from Battersea Park 88 SENSORED Does size really matter when it comes to sensors? With help from equipment experts, we find out 95 CAMERA LISTINGS Some of the latest and best kit available to buy and rent
5. APRIL 2023
THE MANDALORIAN ON THE COVER.
THIS IS THE WAY Crank up the volume OUR BEHELMETED HERO IS FINALLY BACK
I t seems a like long time ago that Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian landed on Disney+. The first two seasons were met with excellent reviews, prompting demand for more. Noteworthy for its pioneering use of LED volume sets, the series has continued to push the envelope with innovative technology. However, the third instalment was a long time in the making. Development started circa April 2020, before being officially confirmed by Disney before Christmas of the same year. Filming started ten months late and the production wrapped just under a year ago. But the most important thing is that it’s here now – and Disney has done a good job keeping the plot secret. “The
journeys of the Mandalorian through the Star Wars galaxy continue,” the official synopsis reads. “Once a lone bounty hunter, Din Djarin has reunited with Grogu. Meanwhile, the New Republic struggles to lead the galaxy away from its dark history. The Mandalorian will cross paths with old allies and make new enemies as he and Grogu continue their journey together.” Make of that what you will, but what’s also exciting is a fourth series in development. Fans of the Star Wars franchise will be hoping it’s not too far, far away... Season 3 of The Mandalorian has now started streaming on Disney+
07. APRIL 2023
PRODUCTION. HARRY WILD
Lit for a queen Jane Seymour will reprise the title role in the hit Irish murder mystery series Harry Wild – but we shine a light on her unsung work behind the camera DEFINITION EXCLUSIVE!
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Various
HARRY WILD PRODUCTION.
09. APRIL 2023
PRODUCTION. HARRY WILD
BOXING CLEVER The crew of Harry Wild pull out every trick in the book in order to stretch their budget and time constraints further
W hen Acorn TV ordered the first series of Harry Wild in 2021, it may not have thought that the show would deliver the US streaming service its most successful premiere week viewership of any series in its history. No surprise, then, that Seasons 2 and 3 of the Irish murder mystery were swiftly ordered off the back of that success. Yet, while many readers may be unfamiliar with the name Harry Wild, they’ll almost certainly have heard of the lady who plays the eponymous character. Jane Seymour entered the cinematic lexicon for her central role as Solitaire, beautiful tarot reader in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die , also playing opposite the late Christopher Reeve as his love interest in cult classic Somewhere in Time (1980). Seymour has appeared in countless productions on the big and small screens in every decade since. She won a Primetime Emmy for her portrayal of Maria Callas in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988), and Golden Globes for East of Eden (1981) and her role as the title character in US TV series Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman , which ran from 1993-2001.
More recently, she appeared in the critically acclaimed Netflix dramedy, The Kominsky Method . While on the other side of the Atlantic, Seymour has been based in Ireland since autumn 2022. Filming at locations in and around Dublin, she is reprising her role as Harriet (Harry), a retired literature professor who discovers a passion for investigation after being mugged. IN THE DARK Seymour is an executive producer on the series, and for her – unlike many actors who take that credit as part of their contract – it’s certainly no vanity title. She uses her 50 years of filmmaking experience to help operatives get the best light and sound possible. “We’re working nine-hour shifts,” she explains. “We start in the dark and what we’re trying to do is get as much of the natural light as we can. When we’re outside, we’re racing against time – but when the light’s gone, we either go inside or find a way to make it work.” Seymour says she used her experience of working on Dr Quinn . “It was so dark you didn’t know where you were,” she says. “Roland ‘Ozzie’ Smith, our DOP, could still make it look like it was broad
daylight. So I know that when it’s dark, we can somehow figure it out.” The big challenge with lighting Seymour close up, she says, is to make her not look lit up, but at the same time have her reflect light. This is easily overcome, as she has developed her own lighting technique, affectionately and comically known in some quarters as ‘Jane’s igloo’. “Nobody else needs one because they’re under 30,” she jokes. “So, basically the minute you take the top light off me I don’t have bags under my eyes. If you have top light, my eyes become very baggy. So, I need no top light and I
“We’re working nine-hour shifts. We start in the dark, and when the light’s gone, we either go inside or find a way to make it work”
DAWN ’TIL DUSK The crew would shoot all day long in order to make the most of the natural light – then carry on!
PRODUCTION. HARRY WILD
need something straight at me. Mercifully, I can take a lot of light.” Seymour stands and positions herself as if she’s in character, placing her hands above and below her eyes to demonstrate. “I generally find myself doing this without even realising it, because I know having that light here and that dark above me is going to be OK – even if they didn’t light it, I would survive,” she says. “We figure out how it’s going to play for the different angles, if we can get it in time, getting through eight or nine pages a day. I’ve done so many films where I understand the light for me. I’m also an artist and like to do photography as well, so I understand what makes good and bad light for myself – what will and won’t work. I never have to ask, though. They figure it out, usually on the first day.” Actors are not supposed to look at the monitor after a shot, so how does she know it has worked? “I can look at the monitor, as I’m a producer – but I can just tell,” she adds. “I preface this by saying that when we start our day’s work, it’s the DOP Ciaran Kavanagh, director Rob Quinn, the script supervisor and the actors. Nobody else. Whether it’s interior or exterior, we figure out with the DOP what’s going to be the best angle for the camera and whether the camera can physically fit. But I have a habit now, and they laugh at me, because
SMOOTH OPERATORS Seymour says that the sound techs on Harry Wild are among the best she has ever worked with
HARRY WILD PRODUCTION.
“I understand what makes good and bad light for myself – what will and won’t work. But I never have to ask for it” and say: ‘Peripheral vision – where’s that plant? Where are you? Where is he, where’s that chair? Go away, come back and don’t look for the mark – find it with your peripheral vision. When you think you’re there, look down.’” I know where my light source is, even before they set the lights up.” EXECUTIVE DECISION As an exec, Seymour’s remit includes being ‘the person in the ring’ who can see close up how the actor opposite looks. She explains that this helps the cast and crew with continuity. “I can see if something like hair or costume is out of place,” she explains. “A lot of the young actors don’t know about lighting. They go to acting school and come out as good actors, but don’t always know where to stand. I’ll take them aside
Loved and other great actresses of their time, and they were always insistent on light – and would be quite bullish about it, refusing to shoot a scene unless the light was in a particular way,” she recalls. “I wondered why they were so stroppy about it and why they couldn’t just accept that the DOP has their vision. Now I’m older, I’m realising that they came from the era where lighting could take forever to mould around you – and they were protective because they were having to be glamorous before being suddenly written off – like most of us are. When actresses hit 40, it’s decided that you are past your sell-by date.” Then, of course, there’s sound. Having appeared in a number of big-budget films, Seymour has understandably worked with some of the best audio technicians out there. Still, she compliments the team on Harry Wild , describing it to be as good as any show that she’s ever worked on in the past.
Seymour also says that more should be done at acting school to help lighting technicians from the outset. “They never teach: ‘you’re here and the light source is there’,” she adds. “The person opposite moves and they’re in your light source. If they do that in the middle of a take, you just gently move your weight. That way you still have the light you need because it’s over the other person. The back of the other person’s head is being lit. We don’t have time to stop and start again. My 26-year-old co- star said he’s learnt much more working with me; he said the drama schools don’t teach the technical side of filmmaking.” LEADING LIGHTS Seymour started in the industry long enough ago to have worked with some of Hollywood’s Golden Age, which taught her plenty about filming techniques. “I always remember working with Olivia de Havilland on The Woman He
13. APRIL 2023
HARRY WILD PRODUCTION.
“We’re always lavalier-ed – and I barely remember doing any additional sound,” Seymour asserts. “Whatever I did was when a line was changed, or additional huffs and puffs or laughs. I am quite good at ADR. When I first went to the US at age 26, I worked for Universal – and it was so cheap that when you did ADR there, they never showed you a visual, so you had to do it from sound only. You would hear it and then repeat it. Because I had to do that so much, I got a reputation for being good at ADR. I’ve discovered I can put other words into my own mouth, too. It depends on whether my lips are too pursed or not.” She also reserves special praise for boom mic operators. “I do know back in the day it would be very irritating if the boom came in the shot and you’d just done a very emotional scene,” she recalls. “You wanted to kill the person. But I’ve held a boom and I know how hard the job is. I have great respect for anyone who works with a boom – especially if they are women as a lot of operators are female.” BLOCK FILMING To facilitate the production of back-to- back series, the producers decided on
“For a camera operator, block shooting can be a challenge. You want to maintain continuity of style from scene to scene within an episode”
block shooting the next two seasons of Harry Wild . “It’s purely economics,” Seymour explains. “The Gardaí (Irish police force) features prominently, so it would make no sense to keep going back and forth to shoot scenes with them. The same goes for shooting at my house. It means you’re over and done with when it comes to those locations.” However, that’s not to say that block shooting is always straightforward, as it can put a lot of pressure on continuity. “Because we shoot six episodes at the same time, I can’t change my hairstyle too much because of consistency,” she states. “In an ideal world, there might be more changes than that, but sometimes I’m doing up to three episodes a day in the same location.” Kavanagh agrees, describing how the challenges were driven by many factors.
The crew would have one session to shoot a single location for use in six episodes, and only had limited access to certain cast members. “There are so many locations on a series like this – often three or four a day – that it would be impossible to keep returning for each episode,” he says. “For a camera operator, block shooting can
ONE AND DONE Block shooting allows the crew to film a season’s worth of a recurring location all in one day – but it makes life hard for the continuity supervisor!
15. APRIL 2023
PRODUCTION. HARRY WILD
be a challenge as you want to make sure you maintain the continuity of shooting style from scene to scene within any specific episode. For example, if you shoot scene 35 from episode 5 on week one, when you come to shoot scene 36 five weeks later, you need to remind yourself how you ended the previous scene. Was I handheld? Were the actors in scene 35 looking left to right? Does that need to cut with a character in scene 36 who should look the opposite way? Was I using a specific colour on the light? And so on and so forth. Our continuity person, Sinéad Lillis, was a fantastic support helping to keep me on track.” ADDING COLOUR Kavanagh’s brief for Series 2 was to choose two LUTs – one for day and one for night. Otherwise it would have been too complicated to track multiple LUTs, with potential for confusion and errors from both the camera perspective and also in post-production. He explains how, working with experienced DIT Aislinn McDonald ( Vikings: Valhalla ), the team shot tests and decided on a slightly desaturated look – about -15% saturation.
“The shallow depth-of-field we work with is tough. Modern focus pullers work harder than some of us did pulling focus on film”
“On-set and through the shooting day, Aislinn would WhatsApp me images as she did a first pass for colour and quality control,” Kavanagh clarifies. “If I was happy, then that’s what was sent to post. If not, then some minor tweak in contrast might be added the off the material was sent to post at Screen Scene in Dublin. Having worked a lot in North America over the last few years, I consider this stage of colour grade very basic and a starting point.” Once the episodes were cut, Kavanagh made specific notes that he sent to the colourist before they started. “Often, I’ll remind myself of the early visual references that I researched and share those, then allow them to bring their experience to the table,” he says. “What’s important to me is that there is a continuity of look from episode to episode – and the audience are aided by composition, light and colour.” NOT-SO-LIGHT WORK For lighting, Kavanagh used LED lights mixed with HMI through windows, as well as LiteMats with 4x4 diffusion and an eggcrate grid during his block on Series 2. “We had a custom-built Obie light bicolour LED that can be mounted on-camera at any angle,” he continues. “In addition, we used Astera Titan Tubes
and Arri S60 Skypanels – plus the new Lightstar Airlite at night for ambient. It’s a very good tool, and less expensive than heliums.” In terms of camera, an Arri Alexa Mini LF was combined with Signature Primes for Series 1. Though Kavanagh wasn’t on that shoot, he continued with the same package because he says it gives the show a more filmic feel with greater definition – yet a shallower depth-of-field. “Our excellent focus puller David Boyle really helped tell the story with great focus choices,” he points out. “The shallow depth-of-field we work with in large format is a challenge, but also part of its beauty. Modern focus pullers are working harder than some of us did when pulling focus on film. Arri Signature Primes are beautiful and fantastically engineered. My only gripe is that there needs to be a larger choice of lenses, though I imagine they’ll come in time.” Kavanagh also implemented Tiffen Glimmerglass diffusion filters. “It’s a very interesting glass,” he continues. “There’s a slight dreaminess; it seems to help separate the character from the environment, but not enough to distract from the image. Also, unlike some diffusions, none of the artefacts in the glass show in flares or firelight. So, the Glimmerglass stayed on the camera throughout the shoot.” GOING DIGITAL Having been in the industry for so long, Seymour has seen technologies come and go. However, there are some advancements that have taken the pain out of shooting. “We no longer have to wait for rushes to find out whether they got it or not – so we don’t have to re-shoot,” she says. “Also, the fact we’re doing it digitally, we’re not worried about the cost of film. On Dr Quinn we used 16mm, but the DOP could make it look like 35mm.
EMERALD ISLE The mystery series is shot on location in the south-east of the Republic of Ireland, specifically in and around Wicklow, Bray and Dublin.
PRODUCTION. HARRY WILD
For me, the actor, it was a nightmare. To save money they’d buy short ends, and we used to have hair in the gate. All that has been taken out of the equation.” Seymour says she harbours ambitions to direct a film one day, but appreciates that juggling being the most important person behind the camera with being the main star can be a step too far. “I put everything into being on-set,” she declares. “I’m first to arrive and I don’t use my trailer. Instead, I use the time to read through lines with actors when we’re in make-up. I dress it up as wanting to practise, but in reality I like to help nervous actors who are struggling with the script. I’m first on-set and never complain – even when I broke a kneecap and was in a brace with crutches.” Don’t just take her word for it. Kavanagh says he has great respect for Seymour for what she offers on-set. “She brings great energy and positivity,” he adds. “For a camera operator, she’s an actor who understands where her key light is coming from and what I’m trying to achieve. She has a fantastic ability to play eyelines to close camera, and is always helping younger actors with set and camera craft. This level of awareness is rare and a positive technical lesson for up-and-coming actors. Also, she always knows her lines!”
HOMECOMING Irish actor Kevin J Ryan stars alongside Seymour as Harry’s Garda detective son, Charlie
Seymour bucks the trend for women over 40 when it comes to a career that’s continued unabated. She says that’s for two different reasons. She concedes that she had a ‘slower period’, but it all changed after another hit movie that brought her a younger audience: “I was in Wedding Crashers and that broke the mould. Suddenly, I became the go-to Milf. I didn’t know what that meant and was flattered by it until my children, appalled, said ‘Mum, no!’ I’ve played a bunch of cougars and now an older woman who happens to be a
detective. What’s fun about Harry Wild isn’t looking glam or anything. She’s very real though, by the same token.” The other reason? “This is where it gets interesting. I have noticed I am one of very few actresses who hasn’t had any surgery, Botox, fillers or any of the stuff that a lot of people do now starting from the time they’re 20,” Seymour says. “That means I can easily play an 85-year-old – like I did in a sitcom – or if the DOP knows what they’re doing, they can wipe a good ten or 15 years off my face.” Despite an IMDB entry most would envy, Seymour is modest. “I have been lucky,” she says. “I’ve played ingénues and love interests, leading ladies, evil characters. I’ve played real people like Marie Antoinette – in French and English – Wallis Simpson and Maria Callas. I’ve never been asked to play Jane Seymour, though!” Hollywood, take note. Watch Season 1 of Harry Wild on Acorn TV or Channel 5
VISUAL LANGUAGE Season 2 was shot on an Arri Alexa Mini LF with Arri Signature Primes, for a consistent look to match Season 1
“I can play an 85-year-old – or if the DOP knows what they’re doing, they can wipe ten or 15 years off my face”
Bristol-based VFX company makes move to increase project uptake in rapidly expanding market
Bristol VFX outfit, Primary Visual Effects, is expanding to a new studio space in the city’s Finzels Reach development. The new studio will be located in the heart of Bristol’s growing media hub, neighbouring Channel 4 and the BBC as well as many of the city’s independent production companies. It is being built with a high TPN security rating and
specialised for hybrid working. It will also feature a custom-built screening room for the demands of high-end clients. Gorilla Post Production recently opened its own new Bristol office downstairs. “The move will increase our ability to land even bigger projects and continue our mission to bring prestige VFX work to Bristol,” said Steve Hawken, co-director of Primary Visual Effects. “The city’s high-end film and TV scene is expanding rapidly and we are proud to be an accessible local provider for these productions.” Since launching in 2019, Primary has completed projects with Netflix, Amazon and Disney+. Recent projects include work on The Rig , The Book of Boba Fett , The Witcher and Fate: The Winx Saga .
SHOWTIME Primary works on VFX for the likes of The Rig (below)
21. APRIL 2023
PLAZAMEDIA SELECTS ALFALITE’S LED PANEL TECHNOLOGY
Birmingham Film & TV Market open for entries Submissions are open for the third edition of the Birmingham Film & TV Market (BFTM). The one-day, pitch-and- market event links emerging producers and filmmakers with executives from production companies in the UK. Limited to 50 filmmakers, each team receives one-to- one meetings with senior representatives from major film companies, platforms and broadcasters, including BBC, ITV, Paramount+ and others. In 2022, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine took recorded pitches from 20 of the cohort, with one receiving a script request as well as ongoing conversations. “We hope it will be the beginning of a meaningful relationship with Imagine and other LA-based production companies,” says BFTM co- founder Sophie Ivanova. “We want an international element to our market and have already begun talks with Screen Ireland and Series Mania in France.” The event will take place on 27 October 2023 within the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham.
GREEN INNOVATION Carbon footprint reduction is being designed into workflows via LED panelled studios for XR, AR and VR
Alfalite has supplied its Modularpix Pro VP XR panels with Orim technology to build a 12 sq m L-shaped LED wall in German sports TV producer Plazamedia’s new extended reality (XR) studio. The new Brixwork.studio, located in Agrob Medienpark, Ismaning near Munich, offers diverse application possibilities for innovative and sustainable productions with a unique combination of XR, AR and VR for film and production companies, broadcasters, advertising companies and events and creative agencies. One of Germany’s most innovative studios, Brixwork.studio seamlessly combines real set architecture with virtual worlds via a 24x5m LED wall that can be expanded into a 360° space through AR. Alfalite’s Modularpix Pro VP XR panels feature 1.9mm pixel pitch, optical parameters and cd/m2 brightness >1800 nits, providing outstanding viewing angle stability. Virtual production technology firm Mo-Sys oversaw the development and
implementation of the project, integrating Alfalite’s LED panels with its products Startracker, Cinematic XR Focus and bMR. “With Brixwork.studio, we are putting a big exclamation mark on the XR and green production fields,” explains Jens Friedrichs, chairman of the management board of Plazamedia. "We will be offering companies from all industries an impressive opportunity to stage their brands, projects, and topics sustainably. Plazamedia’s new XR LED studio aims to set standards for ’green production’, helping its clients reduce their carbon footprints.
Pixotope – software platform for end- to-end real-time virtual production solutions – has added two names serving the UK and Ireland regions while lending support to emerging virtual production markets. Clarke Uren is now regional sales manager, UK and Ireland, joining from Vitec, where he was channel sales manager EMEA. Kate Watson is joining as sales executive. Most recently, she was regional sales manager Oceania at Disguise. Pixotope bolsters sales team to serve emerging markets
“There’s been a large effort to establish a team dedicated to servicing customers in the UK and Ireland,” says David Cheng, VP of sales EMEA. “The appointments of Clarke and Kate represent the latest milestone for Pixotope. With Clarke’s extensive broadcast industry experience and Kate’s know-how of the virtual production industry,
their expertise will bring the magic of virtual production to anyone wanting it.” Uren and Watson take up their posts with instant effect.
FUTURE PROOF Innovative teaching on LEDs and virtual production aims to get more people into the industry
DISGUISE AND XPLOR WILL PARTNER FOR VIRTUAL PRODUCTION LEARNING
CINEMATOGRAPHER WOOD DIES AT 80 Oliver Wood, the English cinematographer behind the original Bourne trilogy, Die Hard 2 and Face/Off has passed away at the age of 80. His career spanned seven decades, in which he worked with directors such as John Woo and Paul Greengrass. Wood’s breakthrough came when he secured the role of DOP for 53 episodes of hit crime series Miami Vice from 1987-1989. Most recently, he collaborated with Daniel Espinosa on Morbius (2022). Wood, who moved to the US when he was 19, had a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Sabine, daughters Katharine and Fiona, and son Emerson.
In partnership with Xplor – an organisation aiming to bring research and innovation to entertainment technology and production – Disguise will accelerate virtual production learning in the UK. The companies are launching the first UK Virtual Production Accelerator programme, giving trainees hands-on experience with the latest real-time technologies and advanced LED volumes. Based at Xplor’s recently launched £7m Production Park facility in West Yorkshire, – featuring a 340 sq m virtual production volume and an XR studio with Roe Visual LED screens – the companies claim the programme is suited to students and industry professionals. “In just under three years, virtual production has changed from something only a few are experimenting with, to a global phenomenon allowing filmmakers to tell even more ambitious stories,” explains Bassett-Spiers named new Telestream CEO Telestream – known for its video quality monitoring and test and synchronisation solutions – has named Rhonda Bassett- Spiers CEO. She succeeds Dan Castles, who will retire and remain with the
“In just under three years, VP has become a global phenomenon” Over four days, participants will gain proficiency in volume control operations, virtual art department integration and practical shoot elements. Taught through a combination of online, classroom and on-set learning, Xplor’s training is delivered by Backstage Academy at the Production Park. Disguise chief experience officer, Alex Wills. “However, this growth in adoption has left a huge skills gap. After launching our Virtual Production Accelerator programme in the US – in partnership with Roe Visual – we hope to bring its focus on the practical to the Production Park for virtual production enthusiasts in the UK and Europe.”
boosting its position across the media supply chain. “Under Dan’s leadership and strategic foresight, he has grown Telestream to an industry-leading provider of automation tools and applications,” says Eli Weiss, managing partner of Genstar Capital, which acquired Telestream. “I want to thank Dan for his leadership since returning as CEO, guiding Telestream through its recent phase of accelerated growth while positioning the company for continued success moving forward.”
Bassett-Spiers was most recently president and CEO at iTradeNetwork, an end-to-end supply chain management and intelligence solution for the perishable food industry globally. President and chief operating officer Jon Wilson will remain in his current role, leading the company’s operations. Castles, the company’s founding CEO, returned in January 2020 from the board of directors to lead Telestream’s recent growth. During his most recent tenure, Telestream completed five acquisitions,
company in April 2023 to aid Bassett-Spiers’ transition into the role.
25. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. NAB PREVIEW
Broadcast, media and entertainment industry giant marks its centenary in Sin City
WORDS. Robert Shepherd IMAGES. Emma Stevens
N ot many of us get to mark our Show will do when it celebrates its centenary in a few weeks. One of the world’s longest-running trade shows, it started in 1923, the same year Cecil B DeMille’s biblical epic The Ten Commandments became a critical and commercial success. Since then, the event has grown exponentially and is about to open its doors to north of 1000 companies, including 140+ first-time exhibitors. Debut products, trailblazing technologies, interactive exhibits and live demonstrations will occupy more than 575,000 sq ft of space organised by distinct destinations throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North, Central and West Halls. 100th birthday in Las Vegas – but that’s exactly what the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
“Companies, large and small, are turning out en masse to exhibit at NAB Show, including more than a few that skipped last year’s,” ensures Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president and managing director of global connections and events. “Exhibit sales are already nearly 20% ahead of where we ended up in 2022. This is a testament to the power of trade shows to unite the industry, create connections and generate commerce. We are thrilled to see the momentum established at the 2022 event translating to healthy growth, excitement and what promises to be an incredible show of the latest, greatest tech from some of the most influential companies on the planet.” WORK THE FLOOR It goes without saying that the presence of so many people in one venue provides an excellent platform for networking with other professionals in the industry. However, the two-year hiatus imposed by Covid-19 has meant that in-person meetings hold more value than ever. What was once taken for granted is now seen as a boon. Paul Scurrell, senior vice president of product at video technology innovator Atomos, explains why it’s important to have a physical presence at such an august event. “The company has evolved from supplying stand-alone monitor-recorders
BRAND SPANKING NEW The show floor is a boundless sweet shop of industry big hitters showing their wares
to becoming a key player in the connected and collaborative environments that are driving video production today,” he says. “So, although the irony isn’t lost on me that we all still physically attend a giant trade show each year, we do find that there is a powerful element of ‘seeing is believing’ and a gratifying need for basic human interaction. We always love to listen and engage with our customers face to face wherever possible.” John Fuller, director of sales and marketing at Chimera Lighting, concurs. “It’s our market, primarily,” he explains. “We do a lot of our business in the US, and it’s a chance to see our customers and users in-person.” “We do find there is a powerful element of ‘seeing is believing’ and a gratifying need for basic human interaction”
NAB PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
TECH TALKS Attendees get the chance to learn from the best in the business, with a massive range of educational sessions, workshops and discussions covering every aspect of filmmaking, from cinematography and post-production to audio and SFX. Filmmakers may wish to drop in on cinematographer and photographer Philip Grossman, who discusses his insight into adventuring around the globe in a talk called ‘The Art of Adventuring: Shooting in Impossible Places’. Among his tips will be the best way to avoid getting in trouble with local authorities. There aren’t many topics hotter than virtual production right now. Addy Ghani, vice president of virtual production for Disguise, will appear
on a panel called ‘The Economic and Sustainable Wins of Virtual Production.’ “Virtual production is an emerging and promising toolset for storytellers. The technology has matured and is ready to harness,” he says. Moderator Erik Weaver, head of adaptive & virtual production at ETC, adds: “On-set virtual production provides an opportunity to look at global footprint, travel, costs and expenses that are very relevant in today’s community.” SEEING THE FUTURE NAB wouldn’t be NAB without the latest equipment on display. Exhibitors will showcase their latest products and services, giving attendees an opportunity to see them in action. You can test out new gear, compare different products
and get a better understanding of what is available in the market. Remember, what happens in Vegas… NAB Show 2023 takes place Saturday 15 to Wednesday 19 April at the Las Vegas Convention Center
NAB 2022 52,468 Total registered attendees
11,542 International attendees
155 Countries represented
BLAZING A TRAIL Companies pull out all the stops when displaying their tech at NAB Show
29. APRIL 2023
INDUSTRY. NAB PREVIEW
WHAT’S ON SHOW AT NAB 2023?
SERMON ON THE MOUNT Find out all there is to know about Creamsource’s LNX Mounting System for the Vortex Series at stand C7130
APUTURE Stand C5335
cloud production platform. “We have not forgotten how we made our name. Look out for awesome new ProRes Raw announcements,” says Paul Scurrell. atomos.com
Aputure will show its Infinibar – an adaptable RGBWW LED. These can be seamlessly stacked together without any space in-between. Cinematographers can adopt a variety of positions – inverted, triangle or hexagonal, among others – to create a large, clean light source. The pixel bars are available in 1ft, 2ft and 4ft. aputure.com
CLEAR-COM Stand C5507
Clear-Com will celebrate its 55th anniversary at the centennial NAB,
OUT OF THE BOX Aputure’s Infinibar LED kit can be stacked into a smoothly continuous lighting system
ATOMOS Stand C4135
High on the agenda this year will be Camera to Cloud (C2C) and remote live production powered by Cloud Studio. Atomos has had great C2C wins recently, with the Ralph Lauren fashion show and coverage of Sundance. By April, it will have rolled out a subscription-based “At Atomos, we have not forgotten how we made our name”
INDUSTRY. NAB PREVIEW
where it will display the award-winning IP-based Arcadia Central Station, as well as innovative features of the flagship Eclipse HX Digital Matrix Intercom System, including Dynam-EC real-time production software, IP-based V-Series IrisX user panels and industry-leading role-based workflows. clearcom.com CORE SWX Stand C5535 Core SWX, a specialist in batteries and charging solutions, will showcase flagship products like the Hypercore Neo and Helix Max line. Its equipment is compatible with Arri, Red, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Blackmagic and more. coreswx.com
PACKING HEAT Anton Bauer has evolved its power solutions with the VCLX NM2 (top left)
Voice prompting control with advanced speech recognition; Vinten’s lightweight Osprey Pedestals, designed to frame content with precision and deliver effortless freedom of movement; Anton Bauer’s next-generation block battery system, VCLX NM2; Litepanels’ Studio X LED Fresnels and Gemini 2x1 Hard ultra-bright RGBWW LED panels. videndum.com
– the only limit is the ability to lift the rig. See how to get creative with the enhanced lighting effects using Framesync on the Vortex Series. Framesync allows you to shoot multiple, differently lit scenes at once by setting up a group of synchronised lights, an individual light, or a sub-group of lights, running a sequence of pre-programmed changes. There is effectively no limit to the number of fixtures that can be synchronised at the same time. creamsource.com
CREAMSOURCE Stand C7130
SIGNIANT Stand W1713
The Creamsource Creamteam will be on hand at NAB to demonstrate its latest technologies, including Vortex8, Vortex4, SpaceX, LNX and CreamOS. Discover the LNX Mounting System for the Vortex Series. LNX simplifies rigging and cabling with a series of purpose-built clamps and pins, enabling crews to quickly assemble uniform/aligned arrays of Vortex fixtures with minimal gap between units with multiple latches and auto-locking features, ensuring the safety of operators and anyone under the rig. Connect as little as two units or a large array together “The Creamsource Creamteam will be on hand at NAB to demonstrate its latest technologies”
Discover a world of advanced transport technology over at the Signiant stand. The company will demonstrate new platform capabilities, including enhanced support for cloud-to-cloud operations, which help with the growing demand for aggregation and distribution workflows where both the source and destination are in the cloud. Users will also have the ability to search, preview and access media assets in disparate storage from within an Adobe panel. signiant.com
TWINNING The ever- reliable Gemini 2x1 Hard from Litepanels can be found at the Videndum stand
VIDENDUM Stand C5817
Videndum Production Solutions will be showcasing mobile power, lighting, prompting and robotic broadcast tech at its booth. Highlights include: Autoscript
CANON EOS C500 MARK II GEAR REVIEW.
PRICE £10,543/$10,999 SENSOR 20.8-megapixel full-frame CMOS, Digic DV7 FORMAT Cinema Raw Light 12-bit 2.1Gbps, XF-AVC 4:2:2 10-bit 810Mbps; 5952x3149 5.9K, 4096x2160 C4K, 3840x2160 4K, 2048x1080 2K, 1920x1080 FHD FRAME RATES 59.94/50/29.97/25/24/23.98p FAST FRAME RATES 60fps Cinema Raw Light and XF-AVC full-frame, 120fps in 2K ISO RANGE 160-25,600, expandable 100-102,400 DYNAMIC RANGE 15+ stops C-Log2 AUTOFOCUS Dual Pixel CMOS AF; one shot, continuous, face priority LENS MOUNT EF (User changeable to PL) FILTERS Up to 10-stop ND built-in SCREEN 109mm/4.3in LCD touchscreen, 2.76 million dots VIEWFINDER Add-on LM-V2 AUDIO 2x XLR inputs OUTPUT HDMI, 12G-SDI, Mini-B USB STORAGE 2x CFexpress, SD/SDHC slot DIMENSIONS (WXHXD)
CANON PASSES THE TEST OF TIME The proven C500 Mark II is now the brand’s full-frame flagship – and more affordable following a price cut
WORDS AND IMAGES. Adam Duckworth
C amera technology moves at an incredible pace, with new models hitting the market all the time, usually boasting all the latest innovations and a significant increase in price. Yet there’s one camera so advanced that even now – three years after launch – it has spec exceeding most on the market. Best of all, its price has just been cut massively to £10,543/$10,999 body only. That’s the Canon EOS C500 Mark II. We first tried it out in prototype form in 2020 and fell in love with almost everything – apart from the steep price of £16,999/$15,999. Back then, we said if you could stretch to it, it’s a camera the majority of filmmakers could harness and get better results than ever. Much of that is thanks to the convergence of all the latest tech packed into one body. We stand by that conclusion. But now that it’s more affordable, it’s become an incredible buy for independent filmmakers.
It still has fantastic low-light performance and shallow depth- of-field you can only get with a full-frame sensor, high-tech AF that really works, in-body image stabilisation and manageable Raw files you can record without an external unit – all in the body of a multi-purpose cinema camera. The C500 Mark II is a hybrid of Canon tech borrowed from the firm’s cine cam range at both the affordable and super-exotic ends of the market. It blends it all into a camera that’s not a jack-of-all- trades, but a master of them. It has the same 5.9K full-frame sensor as the C700 FF, which cost a whopping £31,490/$33,000 and recorded in 16-bit Raw, though was intended for multi-crew use. The C500 Mark II is designed for
EASY ACCESS All the main controls are on the left side of the body, complete with customisable function buttons and the twin CFexpress card slots
153x148x168mm/ 6.03x5.83x6.61in WEIGHT 1.75kg/3.9lb
“It’s not a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of them”
35. APRIL 2023
CANON EOS C500 MARK II GEAR REVIEW.
“For high-frame-rate recording, there is 50/60p in the full 5.9K with Cinema Raw Light”
a single operator and uses 12-bit Canon Raw Light, recording to a pair of CFexpress cards. It also offers 4K 4:2:2 10-bit XF-AVC, making it broadcast-ready with a richly detailed codec. The C500 Mark II is a do-all machine – you can strip it down for gimbals or drones, but also build it into a broadcast or cinematography rig with extension units. By bolting on the side grip, it makes it easy to handhold as well as providing more control buttons. Fasten the top handle and screen bracket and you have a perfectly serviceable camcorder. At the rear is a port where you can plug in one of the accessories, such as the EVF. This tiltable, 1.77m dot OLED viewfinder is solid, bright and has an adjustable dioptre wheel. In its place you can mount two different units. The slimline Extension Unit 1 EU-V1 offers Ethernet, an RS-422 socket and genlock/sync out options. The larger Extension Unit 2 EU-V2 has a V-Mount plate for bigger batteries, two XLR ports, a 12-pin lens terminal and 24v DC out to power other peripherals, turning the camera into a broadcast- and streaming-ready production unit. Even the standard 12G-SDI interface offers four times the speed of 3G-SDI, enabling 4K 50/60p output with a single cable, while HDMI output allows 4K 50/60p. The standard EF mount can be unbolted in seconds and replaced with an EF Cinema Lock mount, ideal for cine primes with a follow focus rig attached, or a PL mount
TIMELESS For a three-year-old model, video functionality is still competitive with current-day cameras
which supports the Cooke/i system to communicate lens data. But stick to Canon EF lenses and Dual Pixel CMOS technology uses on-sensor AF sites that cover 80% of the frame and track moving subjects well. You can touch the screen and set a focus point, and the camera will track the subject. Or by touching a different point on the screen, the camera will rack focus. The EOS C500 Mark II supports five-axis IBIS with a fixed sensor and advanced digital system. When a suitable lens is attached, focal length data is received and the IS system matched to the lens, which is then cleverly countered automatically in post. There is a slight crop of the image, though. However, the IBIS only works on XF-AVC and not when shooting Raw, because it’s a digital system rather than a stabilised sensor. With a tall body that echoes the rest of the Canon Cinema range below it, the C500 Mark II is a well- sorted machine offering built-in ND filters from two to ten stops, professional audio controls and a battery that works for a long time. All the functions can be accessed via a new on-screen display with all the complexities of a professional machine. You can change settings via a large thumb wheel on the left of the body or the joystick on the monitor – and it’s possible to alter certain controls through customisable buttons. There are waveforms, zebras and false colour warnings. For HDR shooting, it records in PQ/ HLG, and to maximise dynamic range for grading afterwards, you can select Canon Log 2 and 3.
Conclusion Canon’s EOS C500 Mark II might not be brand new, but uses the latest technology, has a modular style and that impressive 5.9K full-frame 35mm sensor. It gets 12-bit Cinema Raw Light or 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 XF-AVC to memory cards, boasts AF you can trust and in-body image stabilisation. It’s an all-time classic, but not perfect, as the menus could be simplified, the IBIS doesn’t work when shooting Raw and fastest frame rates are limited to 120fps with a sizeable crop. Unless you only shoot action sports, this isn’t a deal-breaker. Now it’s more affordable than ever, the C500 Mark II is good enough to shoot everything from corporate videos to films for the big streaming services. For high-frame-rate recording, there is 50/60p in the full 5.9K with Cinema Raw Light, which goes up to 120fps in 2K or HD – but there’s a crop and it’s manual focus only. The heart of the camera is that 5.9K sensor, and thanks to the Digic DV7 processor, you can record 5.9K Cinema Raw Light 12-bit or DCI 4K XF-AVC 10-bit 4:2:2. Using the camera in 4K XF-AVC, the sensor oversamples from the 5.9K signal, suppressing moiré and reducing noise for extremely high quality. It’s a time-proven codec that manages to create all the same characteristics of other famed Canon cinema cameras and produces incredible footage.
SUITS YOU This is an all-round gem – strip it down or build it into a broadcast-ready rig, it’s up to you
37. APRIL 2023
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. ATOMOS
FOLLOW THE CLOUD Collating, cutting, editing and packaging content at the Sundance Film Festival has been a laborious process over the years. But not any more
ON THE GO With film crews shooting all day long, Camera to Cloud lets the edit team get things in place simultaneously
filmmakers to network and potentially secure distribution deals for their films. In short, Sundance is a place where careers are made – the fulfilment of hopes and dreams all in one place. That means it’s a lot of work for those on the front line. ON THE NIGHT SHIFT Gathering footage during the day, then editing it all night for highlights packages to be distributed next day, isn’t an easy job.
“There is a lot of lead up to the festival,” explains Michael Bodie, executive producer for Sundance. “We are in the middle of a mountain town in the middle of the winter. But when Sundance hits, that’s tens of thousands of people that are flying into Park City. Traffic everywhere. Icy roads. And we are supposed to be everywhere throughout the day. That makes it really hard when we have these things like the Daily Recap, because our daily recap video, if you can believe it, is being shot and then put out into theatres the very next day.” The world turns, and the introduction of Atomos Cloud Studio with Frame.io to Sundance means the old process has been banished to the history books. Now, footage is delivered live throughout the day to the edit team, with next-day packages complete by end of play – negating the need for overnight work. MAKING TIME IN THE SUN “The biggest hurdle for us is time,” explains RJ Glass, lead video editor for the festival. “We had about a dozen camera teams in the field at any given time, and with them is a field producer. Every camera had an Atomos Ninja V on the top. The Ninja was critical because, without it, we can’t connect to Camera to Cloud. More than half a dozen
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL is one of the most prestigious in the world. Held annually in Park City, Utah, it has a reputation for showcasing original, thought-provoking films – often by up-and-coming directors. Many pictures that debut at Sundance go on to become critical darlings, with some even winning major awards. What’s more, the festival attracts industry professionals from around the world – from producers to distributors and buyers. This allows
LIVE TRANSMISSION The festival’s film crews uploaded over 100GB of proxy files straight to the edit suite via C2C
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