CINE GEAR IS GO ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LA’S FAVOURITE SHOW
JUNE 2022 DEFINITIONMAGAZINE.COM
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From novices to veterans, countless production openings await. We explain how you can make a beeline for opportunity Fully focused
Getting juiced up on the latest battery tech
HISTORY LESSON TIME-TRAVELLING DOP ULA PONTIKOS ON RUSSIAN DOLL
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T he more observant among you will notice there’s a change at the helm of Definition . Chelsea Fearnley, who’d been expertly running the magazine for nearly two years, hung up her deputy- editing boots last month, and I’d like to thank her for all her considerable efforts. This means, for the foreseeable future, you’ve got me for company. I have every intention of making my tenure as enjoyable as possible – for both of us, of course. My editorial background is in photo titles, but I dabbled in automotive during the early noughties, too. I like most round- ball sports, loathe lateness and have an unhealthy obsession with the correct use of a possessive apostrophe. This sounds like a lonely hearts column. But what about you? Any magazine thrives on input not only from the industry it serves (and based on my first few weeks, what a great industry this is!), but also the people who read it. My job is to put together a title that informs, entertains, encourages and advises every month. Your job is to tell me whether I’m doing that right. Use the email address in the panel below to get in touch and let me know how I’m doing. Enjoy the issue.
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Cover image Man vs Bee | © Netflix. All Rights Reserved.
3. JUNE 2022
Industry 15 CINE GEAR IS GO
As shows get back to normal, we speak to Cine Gear’s Vika Safrigina about what’s in store at this year’s event. Plus, highlights from BSC Expo and NAB Show There’s never been a better time to get into – or move up in – the UK production industry. ScreenSkills’ Kaye Elliott explains how and why
43 FULLY FOCUSED
Production 06 HISTORY LESSON
How Season 2 of Netflix’s comedy-drama Russian Doll gave DOP Ula Pontikos the perfect chance to step back in time
28 W ORKING IN ZERO G
As tough working conditions go, zero gravity is up there. But DOP AJ Bleyer was on cloud nine…
33 IMPOSTOR SYNDROME DOP Michelle Lawler on how simplicity helps tell a complex tale in The Dropout 49 FOR THE LOVE OF FILM Want to create the look of film
while recording digitally? Cinelab has all the answers
57 F ULL META JACKET
Metadata recording offers multiple workflow benefits, but capturing and transferring it? Well, that’s another matter
Gear 63 P OWER SURGE
ON THE COVER
R owan Atkinson as Trevor from Netflix’s upcoming Man vs Bee . Production took place over 12 weeks last summer, primarily at Bovingdon Airfield. Post was carried out by Goldcrest, sound by Jumbuck and VFX by Framestore. Much of the comedy series was shot on Arri Alexa Mini LF with Zeiss Supremes, but the team used an Insta360 Pro 2 – and six fisheye lenses – for the bee’s POV. Available on Netflix from June 24.
The latest battery tech from key power players revealed
68 CANON EOS R5 C
On paper, this 8K camera looks great. Is it too good to be true?
Regulars 79 CAMERA LISTINGS
Compare key kit specification highlights here
5. JUNE 2022
PRODUCTION. RUSSIAN DOLL
RUSSIAN DOLL PRODUCTION.
The illusion of time
Season 2 turned Russian Doll on its head, in every sense. Not least Ula Pontikos’ cinematography, which offers a stunning visual trip through history
WORDS. Lee Renwick IMAGES. Netflix
W hen Russian Doll hit screens in 2019, it did so in spectacular fashion. Whip-smart dialogue, engaging performances, an enigmatic narrative – the series had it all. It ended, so it seemed, with a closing of the loop; a rare happily ever after, in today’s climate of shows whose seasons can stretch into double figures. But what we saw was not an end to anything more than a single chapter. One pandemic later, it’s back to offer even more fun, new poignant questions
and some delightfully nostalgic, time- hopping aesthetics. Ula Pontikos is now behind the lens, filling the space left by Chris Teague. She brings with her a distinct eye and deep appreciation for the themes at play. VINTAGE CHIC “I was a massive fan of Season 1,” Pontikos enthuses. “I finally read the script for Season 2 and thought it was rather fabulous. I knew immediately that it would be important to keep elements of the original look, to avoid alienating the audience. They were being thrown an entirely different reality with the time-travel element. “The party was an obvious reference point. We chose the same lenses Chris used on Season 1, for our present-day timeline. There was a saturation within the grade, which we kept. Finally, we ensured both seasons shared a certain style of framing and composition.” With an exciting opportunity to step out of the modern era, it wasn’t long before the show’s look began to shift, though. Between Nadia and Alan, we’re taken to the forties, sixties and eighties, as the characters attempt to unpick family histories and heal generational scars.
07. JUNE 2022
PRODUCTION. RUSSIAN DOLL
MINDS BEHIND THE SCREEN The show was co-created by Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne (above right) – the latter stars as the show’s protagonist, Nadia
“Our lighting approach was completely distinct for all of the time periods,” Pontikos explains. “Modern cinematography is built around a mostly LED world, meaning lots of softness. Distinguishing between that and the historic timelines was really important. Plus, the story takes you down many roads. I wanted viewers to be able to follow the narrative and decade changes, just by looking.” Without a mammoth budget, using historic fixtures was out of the question. Instead, Pontikos opted for emulation, led
“For the sixties sequences, I sought a lot of inspiration from Gordon Parks’ photographs”
“Many of our references were very low-budget features, and film speed was still very slow, so crews would often just punch in a single strong source. Anything surrounding the action quickly fell away to darkness, and we were trying to follow a similar philosophy. Through such high contrast, we could ensure that a number of historically inaccurate details weren’t seen. “For the sixties sequences, I sought a lot of inspiration from Gordon Parks’ photographs,” Pontikos continues. “We debated how popularised Fluorescents would have been by that point, before going with a much warmer Tungsten style of lighting. “As we got to the forties, we wanted to replicate the two-strip Technicolor film you would have seen at the time. There’s a distinctive pink and green tinge to it, and some grain within the grade.” Did you know? Although it has not yet been renewed by Netflix, Natasha Lyonne has stated that Russian Doll was originally pitched as a tripartite production
by colourist Greg Fisher’s LUTs, which she describes as a ‘guiding compass’. “The look was inspired by many Hollywood films of the 20th century – The Long Goodbye , Midnight Cowboy , Mean Streets . We leaned into a much cooler temperature, to emulate Fluorescents. There was a lot of cyan present.
LOST IN TIME Capturing a sense of history demanded vintage lenses, to diffuse the crispness of modern technology
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PRODUCTION. RUSSIAN DOLL
Did you know? Among masses of inspiration for the series, Lyonne’s reading list included the philosophical physics of Carlo Rovelli
beautiful. I found those through strange serendipity. Arri Rental, who did an incredible job on the production, were going to ship some all the way from the UK. The night before, I was speaking with [cinematographer] Ed Lachman, and he told me he owns a set. I tested them and just fell in love. “We also used Cooke Varotal zooms through the different timelines. They hadn’t been rehoused, so my focus puller hated them,” she laughs, “but the crew were so professional and skilful.” Never one to carry personal preference into a shoot, the Sony Venice was chosen with the unique requirements of Russian Doll in mind, as the DOP explains. “We needed a camera equipped to maintain the saturated look of the first season. I also wanted something that could shoot well in low light. We were often working quickly and much of the lighting package was selected to create high contrast – the Venice was the best fit for the project. I like to deconstruct my choices and start fresh every time.”
TUNNEL VISION Shooting the iconic scenery of the New York subway required interesting sets and shooting techniques
LOOKING GLASS As ever, Pontikos’ choice of kit shaped the cinematography. Leitz Summilux-C lenses used by Teague were revisited, and sharpened by the impressive Sony Venice’s 6K capabilities. “There were limitations on how low we could take the resolution elsewhere,”
Pontikos states. “But we did drop it down to 4K for everything historical. The lenses we chose for those eras also took a little more crispness out of the image. “For New York, we shot on Bausch and Lomb Super Baltars, from the sixties. The Budapest section required an even older set from the thirties, which were
“We also used Cooke Varotal zooms through the different timelines. They hadn’t been rehoused, so my focus puller hated them”
Production Fact File
FILMING Principal photography for Season 2 was completed in just eight weeks
FAMILY HISTORY True to her character,
Lyonne’s own grandparents were Holocaust survivors
RESOLUTION Modern scenes were shot at 6K, but historic sequences were dropped to 4K
ACCEPTABLE IN THE EIGHTIES Sharlto Copley (above left) plays Chez – one of the many time-hopping challenges Nadia must deal with
PRODUCTION. RUSSIAN DOLL
A VISUAL LANGUAGE Along with the use of vintage lenses to curate a period style, costume designer Jenn Rogien stressed the importance of clothing to add to the narrative and viewer experience – Nadia’s signature look carries clues to her character and family history
RUSSIAN DOLL PRODUCTION.
THINGS GET WEIRD As a show that surprises on all fronts, atypical lighting moments were thrown in among stylised historical accuracy. “The subway sections required a huge LED wall,” Pontikos recalls. “Filming on the New York subway is uncontrollable. We could have rented sections of trains, but wanted to do more than that would allow. There are shots outside the carriages, trains going through the tunnels, characters walking on tracks and a lot of important story beats – all with different looks. We split the shoot over a few days on a stage, building a massive lighting set-up and placing trains on pneumatic suspensions. “The DMT sequence was one of my favourites,” she continues. “We went four storeys underground, to shoot in a bunker nobody had ever filmed in before. Getting lights down was challenging, so you had to know exactly what you wanted to do ahead of time. We synced a lot of Asteras
RETURNING FACES Alan (top) is plunged into yet more strangeness, while Nadia’s mother Lenora (above) has deeper focus
and Arri Skypanels into a flashing sequence. Our Steadicam operator was excellent, and really added to the sense of wooziness. “In another sequence, we had to emulate trains crashing, with Nadia and Alan flying from the impact. We rigged
lights on dollies, so we could dim them up as they moved. There were many shots like that, which hopefully look effortless, but required a lot of pre-planning. These very precise tricks got finessed in VFX, but it all started with physical elements,” Pontikos concludes. While another season of Russian Doll is yet to receive the green light, fans will be hopeful. If and when it comes, we’re sure to be taken in an altogether new direction. With any luck, Pontikos will remain one of a few beloved constants. Watch Russian Doll on Netflix now
“Filming on the New York subway is uncontrollable. We could have rented sections of trains, but wanted to do more than that would allow”
13. JUNE 2022
CINE GEAR PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
Back to the future
We’re midway through the key shows in the calendar. Have things returned to normal? And what have you been missing? Find out here
WORDS. Samara Husbands and Roger Payne
I t’s time to talk about acronyms once more – and that can only be great news. NAB, BSC, IBC… the industry is buzzing around the return of shows and all the good they bring. At the time of writing, NAB, MPTS and BSC Expo have been ticked off the list – Team Definition has the aching calves and worn shoe leather to prove it – with Cine Gear,
prod kit and ask probing questions. Sure, we’ve changed the way we’ve worked to overcome challenges, but there’s something reassuringly familiar about walking halls and paying over the odds for refreshments. Turn the page for a fascinating, behind-the-scenes insight into June’s Cine Gear, with a review of highlights from NAB and BSC Expo.
Euro Cine and IBC still to come. There is no better time to take stock of what’s happened and look forward to what’s coming next. There’s a buoyant mood at the shows. We’ve all spent too long pretending that talking on Zoom is a viable replacement for face-to-face meetings, (sanitised) handshakes, being able to
THE IT CROWD The Definition team has been relishing the opportunity to meet with industry insiders and get a feel for what may be ahead in production, tech and broadcast
15. JUNE 2022
INDUSTRY. CINE GEAR PREVIEW
Cine Gear Expo defied the odds and gave a welcome glimpse of normality in 2021. But now, in 2022, the show promises to be back to its best LA gets into Gear A fter a tentative restart in September last year, Cine Gear Expo looks set to return with a bang on 9-12 June 2022. An extra day has been added by popular demand, the exhibitor list continues to grow, and in its new home at the LA Convention Center, it’s sure to prove popular with those working in Hollywood and beyond. Definition spoke to Vika Safrigina, VP marketing for Cine Gear’s PR agency Lewis Communications, to discuss what’s in store at this world-famous event – founded by Julianne Grosso and Karl Kresser.
Convention Center, which is new for a lot of people attending. Julianne is expecting a similar attendance to 2019 and the show is already at the same number of exhibitors, with more still signing up. D: The two years when the show didn’t happen must have been a worrying time. Did the team ever question whether we’d see Cine Gear again? VS: There was never any doubt whether things would get back to normal; the question was, when? That was what everyone was asking. The show was more or less planned before the lockdown, so it was about holding off on investment until it restarted. Julianne had the challenge of making sure everyone was engaged, to ensure relationships and conversations were maintained. She decided to create some sessions online, pulling together elements that would normally take place at the show. Cine Gear On Air was a whole series of Zoom sessions with different subjects and guests. This kept conversations going, sustained engagement and made sure the show’s name was out
DEFINITION: Vika, although there was a Cine Gear Expo last September, is June’s event going to revert to what people would consider to be more normal? VIKA SAFRIGINA: Yes, at least in size, attendance and exhibitors. The show in September was a step to getting back to normality – it was smaller, but a beacon of light, giving people the belief that we were moving forward. It was one of the first live events that people actually attended, giving them the opportunity to catch up with exhibitors and friends they hadn’t seen in a while. It was definitely different, feeling more like a social gathering than a show. Now, there have already been several large shows, so people feel more comfortable. We will be at the LA “We’re expecting similar attendance to 2019 and are already at the same number of exhibitors”
Look out for: Core SWX
639Wh NiMH pack was built for demanding situations, as it’s capable of sustaining up to 20A draw on both 14v and 28v outputs simultaneously (40A total). The Helix Max series are dual-voltage on-board battery packs that come in 98Wh and 147Wh capacities, available in V-Mount, 3-Stud and the new Arri B-Mount platform. These integrate seamlessly into your battery fleet and can be used as either 14v or 28v battery packs. coreswx.com
To future-proof customers for the range of high-voltage cameras coming this year, Core SWX will be displaying the award-winning Maverick mobile power station and Helix Max battery packs. The Maverick is the next-generation, all-encompassing block battery system for cinema and lighting applications. The
CINE GEAR PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
Look out for: Schneider- Kreuznach
Just in time for Cine Gear Expo, Schneider-Kreuznach presents the ISCO4all – the world’s first lens set for anamorphic and spherical storytelling. ISCO4all groups three spherical cine primes with an anamorphic front adapter. The Iscorama 54 CU -1.5x adapter is considered a true classic among anamorphic film fans. While its vintage look remained the same, the modern version shows upgrades such as reduced closed focus distance of 1.4m, clarity improvement and 0.8 gear ring. The three compact ISCOspherical A+ cine prime lenses complement the set, with focal lengths of 43, 58 and 85mm and a 2.4 T stop. They are a Schneider-Kreuznach version of Dulens Mini Primes and made to match the Iscorama style. That is why the lenses are provided with an ISCOspherical amber coating. Selected accessories complete the full set. schneiderkreuznach.com
HISTORIC Cine Gear Expo was founded in 1996, and has been a focal point of the industry, with this event expecting more than 350 exhibitors and 16,000 attendees
“Companies are now paying attention to what each show offers and what the return will be”
differently about engagement, whether it’s with end users or B2B. Covid-19 forced us into different ways of engaging and communicating – I think some of this will remain. Engagement is smaller, for example, but much more focused on a product or process. Companies are looking to find more ways to have a captive audience. The era of large trade shows is at an end – huge conferences where everyone went and hoped for the best because of the volume of visitors. Companies are now paying attention to what each show offers and what the return will be.
see is that people are hungry for in-person contact and interaction. They want to be able to meet, talk and walk around. D: What about the industry itself – how do you think Covid-19 has changed it? VS: It’s growing, both from a production and corporate perspective. The biggest and most obvious development is remote production. That evolution over the past two years wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Covid-19. Remote working is going to stay. Marketing funding allocation has also evolved – companies are thinking
there. This online element will continue and the show will be producing segments through the year. It’s important for people who cannot be there in person, but also for us to do things between shows in LA and Atlanta. D: You recently attended the NAB and BSC expos – did you notice any obvious changes as a result of the pandemic? VS: Short of having to prove vaccination status, I think it’s back to normal. At NAB, some exhibitors had a booth policy to wear a mask, but in LA County the mask mandate has been lifted. The difference I
17. JUNE 2022
CINE GEAR PREVIEW INDUSTRY.
Look out for: Vocas
The Netherlands-based camera accessories manufacturer is on a mission to provide high-quality, innovative and ergonomic accessories for film and video pros, producing both universal and dedicated accessories. Cine Gear Expo will be the first major exhibition of the year for Vocas, using it to showcase a range of new accessories, including the Level marker – a clever tool that helps you correctly align your camera’s horizon – alongside add-ons for the Sony Venice 2 and Red V-Raptor, among others. On top of that, its booth will also boast the complete line-up of
accessories for the Sony FX6, PXW-FX9 and Red Komodo. vocas.com
TRY FOR YOURSELF There’s no better opportunity for getting to grips with the latest technologies and techniques
Similarly, R&D departments were locked down, which gave them more time to focus on projects. Covid-19 forced people to sit at their desks. That’s going to result in a technology boom, at least in certain sectors. D: Given those comments, how do you feel Cine Gear is positioned to move forward? VS: It’s in the box seat. This is why plans are in place to continue with the Atlanta show, which was just picking up momentum when Covid-19 hit. People loved the idea of having a show
there, because it’s turning into another Hollywood. There are also plans to make it happen in New York. This has been done in the past, but now the production scene has changed there as well. There is plenty going on, with a lot of studios and stages opening up. D: Finally, for those people who haven’t attended Cine Gear before, tell us what they can expect – how would you describe it? VS: Cine Gear is the event I look forward to the most, because it has a unique vibe and DNA. There is no other show where you have so many production professionals in the same room at the same time – even people who are working come after their shift. For companies that exhibit, it gives unprecedented access to high-quality feedback on their products and services. But let’s not forget the educational and festival aspects. Brand-new premier seminars and masterclasses are being added all the time – Blackmagic, Zeiss and Arri conduct multiple sessions each day, Manhattan Beach Studios is doing one. There’s going to be a masterclass by Adorama, not to mention the student film competition. The festival side is certainly going to expand going forward, possibly as soon as next year. Julianne is looking to attract a completely different group of people from a production side; film buyers, executive producers, production companies. Cine Gear will no longer just be a production and gear show. cinegearexpo.com
Look out for: Tokina Cinema
The show is a great chance to get hands-on with Tokina Cinema’s line of Vista prime lenses, including the just-launched 180mm T1.9 telephoto, 21mm T1.5 and 29mm T1.5. Vista Primes have garnered considerable attention recently after being used on major shows for Apple TV+, Amazon, Netflix and the BBC. Designed to cover Vistavision-sized sensors, the lenses perfectly complement the latest generation of cinema cameras like the Arri Alexa Mini LF, Red V-Raptor and Sony Venice 2. David Rom, DOP for hit series Ted Lasso , said: “I loved the Tokina Vistas, absolutely loved them. The Vista primes do something special when you throw a light down them.” tokinacinemausa.com
19. JUNE 2022
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE. SANDSTORM FILMS
IS IT A BOT? IS IT A CRANE? No, it’s a TechnoDolly – here to revolutionise your production workflow. We speak to Sandstorm Films about what makes this unique kit so special
“SOME PEOPLE THINK it’s a camera crane, others a motion control robot, which makes them scared to use it. Truth is, it sits beautifully between the two – a 15ft camera crane that is fully repeatable.” Sandstorm Films’ Tom Ward is discussing a TechnoDolly, and as you’d soon discover were you to hire it, this is a unique piece of kit. “Anything done with the crane by hand (or in the software as keyframes) can be repeated – instantly – anywhere in the world, on any TechnoDolly. Whether that’s a simple crane move, handheld or importing from CGI, it does it all.” Ward believes it’s the single most versatile piece of equipment in the film industry. It may look like a Supertechno crane, but it’s much more than that, improving the production experience beyond belief. “Like any bespoke kit that isn’t on-set every day, it takes some getting used to operating. Hence, we always bring two operators to work in the grip team with it, and ensure the
experience is as straightforward as possible,” he continues. NO MORE DESK-BASED PROGRAMMING To smooth the production process, the Sandstorm team put together a series of ‘How to TechnoDolly’ videos, which you can find on the website (sandstormfilms. com/technodolly-hire). Broken down for different film crew members, each short provides crucial information to help users understand what’s possible with the unit. It’s no plot spoiler to say that the scope is vast. “For a director, the TechnoDolly brings the impossible into reality without slowing the shoot down,” explains Ward. “While DOPs can create visual effects shots with your main unit in full control of the rig. Normal motion control robots need programming at a desk. This doesn’t – so it keeps consistency and flow on-set, with the same team in the same roles. The TechnoDolly operator only gets involved for the repeat shots if needed.” The fully programmed functionality of the TechnoDolly is really simple: select a series of keyframes to ascertain camera position and focus, then a playback time, and the rig is ready to go. Keyframes can be added to, adjusted or deleted at any point, or overridden for manual control when required. Automation is best for advertising applications where products are static. For those working with actors, manual control allows more flexibility but,
TRAILBLAZER Sandstorm offers further studio and kit hire
crucially, retains repeatability. The camera is managed through a series of moves, which can be made again and again. Even more control is afforded by the fact that the rig can be completely disengaged from the motors and positioned precisely where you want. Each position may be keyframed, so you could always go back. As Ward testifies, TechnoDolly is making waves on set, with 50% of bookings used away from the Sandstorm studio by other crews. “When someone has a TechnoDolly once, they keep coming back,” he confirms. No surprise, then, that a 25ft version is in the works for 2023.
DOUBLE TAKE Two operators are always on hand
SHOW HIGHLIGHTS INDUSTRY.
Didn’t make it to NAB Show or BSC Expo? Don’t worry, key highlights from major exhibitors are all here Show and tell
Aputure A specialist in cinematic LED lighting solutions, Aputure used NAB and BSC to introduce the latest addition to its Light Storm range – the LS 600c Pro. This multifaceted unit takes the colour versatility from Aputure’s Nova soft light panels and incorporates it into the company’s first ever single-source, hard light RGBWW LED fixture. Specs are impressive, with 17,480 lux at 3m and 600W output. Over 300 gel presets are incorporated, with a CCT range extending from 2300 to 10,000K. Built lighting effects, multiple user presets, Bluetooth connectivity to the Sidus Link app, Bowens mount compatibility and flicker reduction are on offer, along with dual battery options: V-Mount or Gold Mount. The unit is even dust and water resistant, so it’s ready for the rough stuff! aputure.com
Roe Visual Roe has clearly enjoyed getting back to shows, attending BSC and having a large, bustling booth at NAB. Key products included Black Pearl BP2V2 and Black Marble BM4 panels, alongside the newer Opal and Graphite offerings introduced earlier this year. Opal is for both indoor and outdoor applications and comes in two panel sizes – 300x300mm and
300x600mm – to give flexible design options and reduce customisation costs. Graphite is designed for indoor use only and has a feature set targeting the rental market and beyond. It’s lightweight – less than 17kg per sq m – and quick to instal, thanks to magnet-assisted assembly and a smart-lock system that each claim to reduce set-up time by up to 40%. “Graphite fills the gap for the growing demand for an efficient indoor LED display, possessing all the features required in the rental market and more. Panel design focuses on fast and efficient installation, while providing excellent visual performance,” according to Grace Kuo, sales director at Roe Visual. roevisual.com
21. JUNE 2022
INDUSTRY. SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
Creamsource Attendees had the chance to get up close and personal with the Vortex lighting series – tech used on several Hollywood productions, including Black Panther , Dune , Mulan , American Assassin , Thor: Ragnarok and Stranger Things . Illuminating the NAB Central Hall, Creamsource showcased two impressive LED fixtures – the high-powered flagship
660W Vortex8 and 325W Vortex4. Each employs the same user interface, revered by lighting artists for its modern design and ease of use. It eliminates the steep learning curves and downtime associated with rigging and programming multiple lights at once, and works in tandem for maximum synchronisation. creamsource.com
Blackmagic Shows notwithstanding, it’s already been a busy year for Blackmagic, with a flurry of announcements showgoers were keen to get the low-down on. The latest update to DaVinci Resolve takes top billing by virtue of its cloud collaboration capabilities. Version 18 allows multiple people to work simultaneously on the same project, regardless of location. Users tap into the Blackmagic Cloud to collaborate, while the new Blackmagic Proxy Generator automatically creates proxies linked to camera originals for a faster editing workflow. A beta of Version 18 is available for download from the website, with the updated software giving users fresh Resolve FX tools, time-saving features for editors and more. Alongside this reworked software, Blackmagic also showcased its new family of high-performance network storage solutions. Blackmagic Cloud Store, Cloud Store Mini and Cloud Pod have been created to share large media files between multiple users for editing, colour correction, audio post and VFX work. Finally, HyperDeck Shuttle HD is a recorder and player designed for desktop use. It can be a master recorder or clip player, with the large search dial making it easy to find the required clip. ProRes, DNx and H.264 files in NTSC, PAL, 720p and 1080p video formats are all supported. blackmagicdesign.com
Seagate NAB gave customers with data
but taking it closer to the source (the edge). Seagate achieves this by providing a suite of services, including Lyve Cloud, Lyve Mobile and Lyve Managed Migration, alongside hardware solutions all running its Cortx open-source software. seagate.com
headaches the ideal opportunity to get live demonstrations of Seagate’s Lyve edge-to-cloud mass storage system. The company has a range of solutions that make data handling more efficient, by working with existing cloud storage,
SHOW HIGHLIGHTS INDUSTRY.
Mark Roberts Motion Control MRMC demonstrated its impressive and innovative camera robotics technology
and integrated broadcast solutions. Included in the display was Polymotion Chat (automated subject tracking) and several robotic camera heads. A collaboration with Vū used MRMC’s Bolt X cinebot motion control rig – chosen for unrivalled speed and reach – in a joint demo that left people in awe. The standout feature had to be the immersive virtual production experience. In NAB’s Central Lobby, attendees got the chance to capture a video of themselves moving through a futuristic cityscape in VR. Participants were gifted a link to the video for social media sharing. The additional exhibit brought together robotics, camera automation and subject- tracking software solutions for studios, sports and broadcast markets. mrmoco.com
BB&S BB&S showed off the feature-rich Compact Fresnel Bicolour, with a curved-glass 90mm lens that ensures even field distribution and flawless shadow rendering. With a draw of just 38W and output of over 2400 lumens, it is the smallest-footprint fresnel on the market. Lightweight and compact, it can be taken anywhere as a key, fill or backlight. This Compact Fresnel Bicolour light slots neatly into the Compact Beamlight LED family, and will prove useful since it’s compatible with many other BB&S products. bbslighting.com
Marshall If PTZ cameras get you hot under
The CV568/368 (global) and CV566/366 (rolling) feature the latest sensor tech and HD resolution up to 1080p. All allow tri-level sync, for seamless transitions and minimal delay. Both are compatible with the just-announced CV-PT-Head, a pan/tilt for Marshall’s miniature cams. Completing the launches are a line-up of broadcast monitors: the V-702W sits top of the pile with 12G compatibility and dual seven-inch LCDs. marshall-usa.com
the collar, you’ll have made a beeline for Marshall’s NAB booth, where the company unveiled its latest model: the CV730-BHN. The 4K robotic device uses a nine-megapixel Sony sensor, 30x optical zoom and features Full NDI/NDI-HX3/IP (HEVC), as well as traditional outputs like 12G/3G-SDI, HDMI and USB 3.0. For those thinking more POV than PTZ, Marshall also displayed global and rolling shutter cameras with genlock.
23. JUNE 2022
INDUSTRY. SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
SmallHD If optimal colour precision on-set or in the editing suite is paramount, SmallHD’s new OLED 27 is sure to appeal. The 27in monitor offers true 10-bit colour at a 4K resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. It also has
there’s a hot-swappable dual Gold or V– Mount battery plate. Power comes via an XLR input, plus there are two 2-pin power outputs and a further four 12G-SDI and single HDMI 2.0 inputs and outputs. Vision monitors, meanwhile, are designed for field use and come in two sizes – 17 and 24in. Both are 4K HDR, 10-bit colour devices. The 17in model offers 3840x2160 pixels, with 4096x2160 pixels on the 24in version. All monitors use SmallHD’s PageOS 4 operating system, but an updated version was showcased at NAB. This includes new functionality such as Multi-View and EL Zone, a false-colour system based on stops of exposure. PageOS 5 will be available as a free upgrade, but no firm date has been set for its release. smallhd.com
a contrast ratio greater than 1,000,000:1 and brightness up to 550 nits. While you’re more likely to be staring at the front of the OLED 27, the back is just as important, with a range of mounting and connectivity options. A dovetail mounting rail supports batteries and other accessories, while
Teradek NAB proved a rich hunting ground for fans of Teradek kit, with the company unveiling a swathe of exciting developments – including Spark 4K, a wireless video system, and Wave, a five-in-one smart streaming monitor. Standout products include Serv 4K and MDR.S. Serv 4K enhances workflow with local and external stakeholders by streaming content at every stage of the production process in glorious 4K HDR. When working on-set, up to four camera feeds can be streamed to 20 devices via the free Vuer app. Off-set content can be streamed to computers, Apple TVs, smartphones and tablets, while in post, real-time collaboration can take place using the Core cloud-based stream management system. In all cases, streams are protected with military- grade, 256-bit, end-to-end encryption. Collaborators can communicate using
built-in voice chat and messaging tools. MDR.S, meanwhile, is the latest addition to the company’s RT system and is incredibly small – half the size of the current MDR.X – weighing just 68g and measuring 58x24x42mm. The unit features three ports: a power port that
supports up to 28v, a camera control port, and a motor port to daisy chain up to three motors, for a cleaner build. teradek.com
Wooden Camera Accessory specialist Wooden Camera announced the Ultra QR articulating monitor mount, designed to securely attach production monitors to a C-stand or 15mm male baby pin. The Ultra QR can support monitors weighing up to 20kg and features an integrated Arca-Swiss dovetail clamp. Once the monitor is on the stand, the mount allows it to be articulated, maintaining friction – but without loosening the handle. Movements include up and down, side to side panning and rotation from landscape to portrait. Connection to the monitor itself is done via VESA fitments or the Arca-Swiss dovetail clamp with select SmallHD monitors. woodencamera.com
SHOW HIGHLIGHTS INDUSTRY.
Zeiss Flexing its considerable cine-optic muscles, Zeiss presented the latest addition to its Supreme family: the 15mm T1.8. It took centre stage as the brand completed its 14-piece Supreme Prime series, which now runs from 15mm to 200mm. Upholding the company’s reputation for outstanding quality, light weight and versatility, the lens provides a wide view for Super 35 and full-frame cameras. It’s available for pre-order, with delivery expected in June.
Attendees also experienced the Supreme Prime Radiance family, known for stunning blue flares, while Zeiss also used the show to premiere a brand-new VFX studio software solution. CinCraft Mapper is a digital service that quickly and easily provides frame-accurate lens distortion and shading data. Mapper is the first service in the CinCraft ecosystem for the digital application of lens looks into compositing and matchmoving workflows. zeiss.com
Brompton illuminated NAB Show with its LED video processors made for virtual production, broadcast and live events. The LED-walled booth (powered by Tessera SX40 and S8 processors) showed how its tech unlocks unprecedented visual performance from LED panels. The manufacturer demonstrated its Frame Remapping feature – an industry-first component that enables each camera to see and capture a unique virtual background with the correct perspective, and allows two cameras to shoot a virtual background and green screen simultaneously. Further displays of Tessera exhibited live colour grading on the LED wall, Dynamic Calibration for previously unattainable brightness and colour saturation on LED panels – and ShutterSync. This lets users tune the LED refresh to the camera (not the other way around) for the first time, giving control back to the DOP. bromptontech.com
Sumolight Sumolight showed off its newest member of the family – Sumomax – which offers the same distinctive hexagonal form factor of its stablemate, Sumospace+. Born from request by LDs, gaffers and cinematographers for even more power, Sumolight’s engineers worked their socks off to create the stunning 1800-15,000K, full-spectrum, 700W powerhouse. Wanting to inspire creative lighting, Sumolight made the high-lumen LED streamlined and compact, so it can be transported easily. At NAB, the company emphasised the unit’s versatility, thanks to ‘swoptic’ module interchangeable optics, which allow beams to be narrowed or widened between 20° and 120°. The light accepts an array of shaping tools, transforming it from space light to soft light or high-intensity feature. sumolight.com
See you in 2023! BSC EXPO March/April date TBC NAB SHOW 16-19 April
27. JUNE 2022
PRODUCTION. ZERO GRAVITY
ZERO GRAVITY PRODUCTION.
The list of directors to film in aeroplane-simulated zero gravity is shorter than the facilitating flight path itself. On an innovative commercial shoot, AJ Bleyer took the Red Monstro and added his name in unforgettable fashion
WORDS. Lee Renwick IMAGES. Advent Films
A converted aircraft rockets into the sky and then, at the hands of skilled pilots and having reached its peak, begins a controlled plummet. Suddenly, those on board are weightless – floating as if in outer space. There’s not enough speed to force passengers backwards. There’s no wind resistance to provide a sense of direction. As far as the body can tell, Earth’s gravity lever has been momentarily disengaged. To mark the momentous coming together of esports organisation Team Liquid and cryptocurrency giant Coinbase, AJ Bleyer threw himself and his crew head first into what happened to be a lifelong dream. The director and executive producer offered his expertise, not just during flight, but in the smooth operation of the entire shoot. “Team Liquid is one of the biggest names in gaming and Coinbase is huge in crypto. Having signed a partnership, the two required a larger-than-life announcement. It was a real first-time crossover for these industries,” Bleyer explains. “When they called and told me the idea to film in zero gravity, my brain broke. Let me explain, I’m a huge science guy – a total nerd. Being handed this opportunity was a level-ten fantasy.” The concept was rather simple. The clients wanted to show a handful of
A SOARING SET-UP The Red Monstro proved a capable beast, especially paired with a Fujinon Premista lens well-known gaming figures having a normal conversation on a plane, then all of a sudden cut to them floating. “Just like magic,” one performer quipped. For the crew, that meant shooting half on a set, and half in the air on the parabolic flight. “As a producer, you learn anything can be put together with enough research. You discover it’s possible to work with cheetahs or snow leopards, and that one’s good with kids, but the other has a better work ethic,” Bleyer jests. “But setting up a zero-gravity shoot went beyond anything I’d ever done before.” As one can imagine, this particular type of flight is not easy to come by. You won’t find a suitable aircraft in any old hangar, nor a capable pilot – and that’s without even touching upon FAA clearance and popular demand. “We found a company called Zero-G that possesses a giant, modified Boeing 727. They provide this experience to
29. JUNE 2022
ZERO GRAVITY PRODUCTION.
HIGH-TECH, LOW PROFILE Working off the advice of a camera operator from Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, Bleyer made sure to employ a small enough system that would handle well
But of course there were a handful of unexpected turns once in the air. “During the first take, my own legs got in the way,” the director laughs. “One person was holding on to my back, to secure me in place and control the camera movement, but my legs started floating right up into frame. There was no way I could push them down! “Our props were carefully considered. Things like water droplets behave in a unique way, but some solid items can read as slow motion rather than zero gravity. When you throw something, you’re used to arcing it because you expect it to go up and down. But in this case, we learned very quickly that if you do that, they fly way too fast in a straight line.” All in all, Bleyer’s chance to live out his dream was even more unforgettable than he imagined. As for the final visuals... they say more than words ever could. “I’ve seen zero gravity before, in videos of astronauts, Apollo 13 and an OK Go music video we studied a lot, but it all goes out the window when you’re suddenly suspended. There’s nothing touching your body, which is a very simple description of such an odd feeling. “I have an overwhelming abundance of gratitude for Team Liquid and Coinbase. I’m having the time of my life. I didn’t go to film school or even have dreams of being a director – I just spent my entire high school and college years making videos with friends because it was fun. If you spend that much time doing something, you’ll get proficient. When I realised clients would put money behind this creative process, I knew I’d be doing it forever,” Bleyer concludes. “Filmmaking has given me some incredible experiences, but this was the best of all.”
“I’ve seen zero gravity in videos of astronauts, Apollo 13 and an OK Go music video, but it all goes out the window when you’re suddenly suspended”
HEAVY LIFTING After as much preparation as the situation allowed, a few optimistic vomit warnings and some moments energising his crew out of mass panic, Bleyer had lift-off. More than ever, the filmmaker’s tools were of utmost importance. So the Red Monstro was called into action, paired with a set of Fujinon Premista zooms. “One of the first calls I made, when the idea was pitched to me, was to a camera operator from Apollo 13 ,” says Bleyer. “He gave me interesting advice regarding the system: keep it as tiny as possible. When you’re floating, you want easy handling; same when you’re ascending again. In those moments, you’re at 1.8x Earth’s normal gravity and don’t want a shoulder rig! We built the camera with two big side handles to grab onto, manoeuvre and set down easily. “I wanted beautiful and cinematic visuals, and for me, Red is the best system out there. The Monstro has this incredible 8K capability. With limited time in these parabolas, I could capture a wide frame and a close-up at the same time. All we’d have to do was crop in later, which was possible thanks to all that resolution. “Not only did I know Reds would work in these conditions – there are Red cameras on the International Space Station – but I also knew they were capable of high frame rate, for slow motion,” Bleyer effuses. “They could not have performed any better.”
people all over the world, so you can only really work with them when they happen to be in your city. I reached out, learned they were going to be in Southern California soon, and we secured them,” he recalls. “To prep, the best approach was one day on the ground, with everyone present for a full rehearsal. Then, the following day, we’d fly up and do this thing. We knew each weightless fall would only last 27 seconds, and we’d need five seconds to set up every shot because you have to lie down between arcs. Those were our windows to capture footage, which would be extremely tricky. “During rehearsal, the Zero-G team were timing us and running through the motions. As a director, I’m always into rehearsing and planning. Only on that day, we simply had to say: ‘We’ve done what we can, let’s see how this goes.’”
TAKING OFF AJ Bleyer surveys the Zero-G Boeing 727
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