GROUPTEST: AUDIO RECORDERS Professional-quality sound from affordable devices
Final Cut Pro makes 360 editing easy for beginners LOSEYOUR VR-GINITY!
How the DSLR could be the ideal tool for you NOTDEAD YET!
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UHD ISTHE NEWSTANDARD
PLUS Drone zone: Light from above Tested: Lenses, lights, VR camera, tripods and more Wildlife: Filming big cats in the UK! Business help: Advice from the experts
Sony’s RX0 takes on GoPro and YI ACTION STATIONS
NIFTY FIFTIES Standard primes to suit all budgets
OPINION by Adam Duckworth
FROM THE EDITOR
EXCUSE ME, I HAVE GAS
It feels good to be working on an issue with ‘Spring’ in the title, and we’ve already attended our first trade show of the year, in the form of the excellent BSC Expo, so it feels as though we’re rattling through the new year already! I always enjoy the buzz these events create, and the chance to hear first hand about everything that’s going on. As always, there’s plenty of new gear for us to take a look at, with reviews in this issue including cameras such as Canon’s latest XF405 4K UHD camcorder, boasting a 1.0-type CMOS sensor and 15x zoom. We’ve also got an eclectic selection of premium, budget and vintage 50mm lenses from the likes of Sigma, Samyang, Zeiss and Nikon, action cams from GoPro, Sony and YI and a group test of pro-spec audio recorders. On the feature front we’re profiling George Motz, whose love of the great American hamburger led him to produce an iconic film and to found a truly innovative food film festival in New York, while Richard Seymour tells us about his amazing exploits with a drone at dusk, that followed and illuminated a road racing cyclist. We’re also taking a look at the rental market and asking whether it’s possible to make cash from that gear that you might only be using on an irregular basis. Lots to catch up on then and I hope you enjoy the read!
They call it GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome. The urge to buy the latest kit that you persuade yourself will transform your films. And actually, as most of us admit, it gives us a bit of a thrill to actually own. I know, because I have a bad case of GAS. The BSC Expo in London is a honeypot to a gearhead. With everything from helicopters to film from, truck-mounted extendable camera booms, massive drones, 8K full-frame cameras and anamorphic lenses, it’s a wonderful shop window for the very best our industry can make. Fine if you’re a big-time DoP looking for something new for your next blockbuster. But for a typical filmmaker, spending the sort of money on a camera and set of lenses that would buy a very nice house is just not on the cards. It’s easy to get a little disheartened knowing the latest kit is way out of reach. Which is why putting together this issue’s Buying Guide is a real antidote to mega-priced kit. For £3500, you can buy a complete kit with a full-frame mirrorless camera outputting to 4K to a monitor/recorder. With a lens, mic, tripod, LED light, 500GB SSD card, stabiliser and a bag to keep it in. And it’s all new and all top brand names. Buy used and you could do it for even less. And edit it in free DaVinci Resolve software. That’s a stunning set-up you could use to get you working professionally at a very high level. And best of all, having limited kit means you can focus on what’s really important, which is telling a compelling story. Using one camera and lens means you often work harder to really figure out what’s important to the viewer. The new filmmaking minimalism, you might say. I still won’t be going on my next shoot without three cameras, lots of lenses and mics, motorised gimbal, jib, drone and action camera though. And probably spend more time setting up and breaking down kit than anything else. That’s GAS for you.
TERRY HOPE, EDITOR
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SPRING 2018 The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
6 NEWS AND VIEWS All the news fromBSC Expo, including no less than seven of the big players unveiling supersize cameras and lenses, while we also report on the UK arrival of the Kinefinity Terra 4K Raw camera and Fuji’s most cinema-friendly camera yet.
FEATURES 20 THE CULT OF RED
It might be top of many people’s wishlist, but does the reality of using the pricey American camera live up to the hype? 28 HERE COMES HDR The advance of High Dynamic Range technology is rapidly changing the landscape of TV filmproduction, and emphasising the need for high-quality cameras and optics. 35 CASE STUDY: BURGER KING Somemay see it as simple fast food, but GeorgeMotz has made the humble burger the subject of an iconic filmand has also founded a spectacularly successful food film festival. 38 CASE STUDY: ON THE TRAIL OF THE WILDCAT Jason Henwood and KatieWardle love the Scottishwildcat and set up a passion project to highlight this elusive creature.
ACADEMY 45 UPGRADING A CLASSIC
Larry Jordan takes a look at what the latest version of Final Cut Pro X offers and walks through its 360 and VR potential.
51 ASK THE EXPERTS Topics covered this time around include vintage lenses for filmmaking, external monitors and use of traditional filters. 54 RENTAL COMES OF AGE Traditional rental houses can enable aminimumkit policy but it’s also possible tomake income by hiring out your own surplus gear. 56 MOVING PORTRAITS The latest artwork unveiled by The National Portrait Gallery features the Radio 4 Today presenters and it’s been produced as a video rather than a collection of conventional pictures on the wall. 58 ARE DSLRs STILL RELEVANT? Ambushed bymirrorless cameras and Super 35 cinema cams, the DSLRmight appear, to some, to be on its way out, but it still has the potential to cut it for moviemaking.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
62 TWO LAUNCHES AND A DEMISE Two big new year launches fromDJI and Yuneec galvanise themarket, while GoPro has decided to cease production of itsmuch vaunted Karma drone 64 NIGHT RIDER Looking to produce a personal filmwith an eye- catching and original edge, Richard Seymour decided to follow a day in the life of a top cyclist, the twist being a night section lit fromoverhead by a drone
GEAR 70 PANASONIC GH5S
Panasonic’s GH5 has proved itself a big hit with filmmakers while still shooting great stills, but the new S-version of the camera is dedicated to themoving image and has no pretensions to be a hybrid. 76 CANON XF405 vs SONY Z90 Both Canon and Sony have revealed Super 35-size 4K compact camcorders with the very latest in high-tech features, but is there anything to choose between the twomodels? 82 WHICH 50 IS REALLY NIFTY? With loads of different versions and amyriad of price points, which is the best standard prime for filmmakers to go for? 94 MINI MARVELS We test out three action cams fromSony, GoPro and YI, each of which can really put you in the thick of it for a unique viewpoint. 100 GROUP TEST: AUDIO RECORDERS Capturing great sound on set is amust, so you need a good audio recorder. AdamGarstone runs the rule over five strong contenders. 106 MINI TESTS Tons of new bits of gear, froma slider to amixpad, tested for you. 116 BUYERS’ GUIDE: COMPLETE KITS If you’re looking to get into filmmaking for the first time, what specialist gear do you need? Here’s our pick at three price points.
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The ProMoviemaker Gear of the Year Awardwinners were honoured at the prestigious London BSC Expo for pro filmmakers Awards collected at BSC T he winners of the first annual ProMoviemaker Gear of the Year Awards were honoured and received their trophies from In the Lighting Innovation category, readers voted the British-made Rotolight Anova Pro as a worthy winner. A favourite of filmmakers all over the world, it is very portable yet big enough to be useful as a soft light on location. Rotolight boss Rod Gammons was elated at the accolade: “We are very humbled to receive this award.
Japan’s Yasumasa Shina were on hand to pick up the Launch of the Year award. Successfullymaking the transition frommanufacturer of high-end lenses for stills photography to top-quality cinema lensesmaker, Sigma walked away with the Zoomcategory for the 18-35mmT2.0 lens. The awardwas collected by Sigma’s Paul Reynolds who said: “Serious filmmakers are really accepting our lenses now for all sorts of big projects.” And in the prime lens category, the revolutionary Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mmCine-Tilt T2.1 took the honours, with Svenja Stosic collecting the trophy. There are lots of accessories that make a professional filmer’s job easier. And lots were honoured. Italian photo giant Manfrotto picked up two awards, for the tried-and-testedManfrotto 546GB Twin MS tripod kit and theManfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack Bumblebee-230. Manfrotto’s video specialist Paul Hill hauled away the trophies. Dirk De Bont and NicoMarchand from Shape were on hand to collect the award for the firm’s Composite Rigwhich scooped the award for best video rig. The famous Pelican brand took our award for bags and cases with the Peli 1535 Air. And Rick Rogers picked up awards for Best External Hard Drive, the G-Technology G-RAIDwith Thunderbolt 3, and Best Memory Card, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 300MB/s SDXC 128GB. The rest of the awards were collected at February’s BVE Show at London’s Excel.
editor Terry Hope at the prestigious BSC Expo show at London’s Battersea Park. The awards were voted for by thousands of readers of ProMoviemaker magazine in lots of different categories such as the best cinema cameras and lenses tomics, tripods, lighting, bags andmore. Of course some of the top categories are for cameras, and here Canon scooped two major awards. The first was for the latest version of the camera that revolutionised filmmaking for somany people, the EOS 5D. TheMark IV versionwon the accolade for best DSLR, packing a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor that shoots DCI 4K footage internally. And in the Rental category, it was another well-proven camera that took the award– the Canon EOS C300Mark II, honoured for its rugged reliability and Dual Pixel AF system. Canon UK’s Neil Conroy said: “I’ve been involvedwith the EOS 5D since the launch of theMark II and it has been a great camera that really has changed the industry. It’s great for Canon to be honoured by ProMoviemaker magazine readers.”
It’s wonderful to see our British-made products get such universal approval.” The award for best light panel went to Rosco’s Silk 210 soft light, a high-quality light fixture that outputs wonderfully soft and flattering light ideal for interviews. It was picked up by Rosco’s Lauren Proud. And still with lighting, the best Fresnel light awardwent to the Litepanels Sola 6+ Daylight Fresnel. Jetting in fromCalifornia to collect it was Litepanel’s Pat Grosswendt. “This is a real honour andwe are thankful to readers of ProMoviemaker magazine for this award,” he said. “It will take pride of place in our headquarters in California.” The world of cinema lenses has been shaken up hugely in recent years, and Japanese lens giant Fujifilmreallymade a huge impact with the release of its lightweight and affordableMK range – perfect for those dipping their toe into filmmaking. Hence European Fujifilm Cinema bossMarc Horner and Fujifilm
“It’s wonderful to see our British-made products get such universal approval”
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CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Accepting awards from editor Terry Hope: Canon’s Neil Conroy; Schneider- Kreuznach’s Svenja Stosic; Shape’s Dirk De Bont and Nico Marchand; Rotolight’s Rod Gammons; Sigma’s Paul Reynolds; Peli’s Ross Carter, Rosco’s Lauren Proud and Manfrotto’s Paul Hill.
CROWDS FLOOD TO BSC EXPO
The BSC Expo is firmly established as one of Europe’s top shows for filmmaking professionals and targets the world of TV and film production as well as independent filmmakers. Held at the Battersea Evolution show space in Battersea Park, the show is organised by the British Society of Cinematographers and has lots of cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories on show from the biggest names in the business like ARRI, Panavision, RED, Canon, Fujifilm, Sigma and Atomos. And there are lots of workshops from top industry figures like Rodney Charters who is famous for TV show 24 and WilliamWages who unveiled his new feature film The Forgiven .
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The Supersize Seven! SIZE DOES MATTER The message that Bigger is Better was loud and clear at the BSC show
T hemarch to bigger size sensors with lenses tomatch continued at the BSC Expowith seven companies revealing supersize equipment –many with eye-watering prices. Aimed at directors of photography for feature films, the newkit fromRED, Sony, ARRI, Panavision, Cooke, Fujifilm and Tokinamay be out of reach formost independent filmmakers. But lots of the technology will end up trickling down. RED gave itsWEAPON8K camera a first public outing in the UK, complete with its new 35.4-megapixel MONSTRO sensor that measures 40.96x21.6mm, which is wider but shorter than traditional full- frame. With a claimed 17 stops of dynamic range, the camera costs £85,000/$79,500 but you need to add around £30,000/$30,000 for accessories tomake it into a useable camera. RED says they are already selling in good numbers. The camera was shownwith a 40mm Cooke S7/i Full Frame Plus lens – big enough to cover the new larger sensors. And the REDMONSTRO sensor is also in a brand-newPanavision camera, the MillenniumDXL2 8K. It is based on the two-year-old DXL but with the new sensor
“But lots of the technology will end up trickling down”
each other and the images are combined for the end result. The LF records in 4.5K– the first camera fromARRI to record in true 4K or higher – and the sensor ismarginally larger than full-frame at 36.7x24.54mm. And like the Sony Venice, the sensor can be used in three different configurations. As it essentially uses a pair of eight-year-old Alev-III sensors, the ISO range is limited to 160-3200. It comes with the LPL lensmount, which has been optimised for the larger sensor sizes, features wider diameter than normal PL lenses and takes ARRI Signature Prime optics. To take into account the increase in use of oversized sensors, Tokina revealed its newVista cinema lenses. The fast T1.5 primes are available in 18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mmand 85mm focal lengths and there is a 16-28mmT3 zoom. Fujifilmshowed an interesting solution tomounting its cinema lenses onto supersize sensors, the OptMag. This allows many PL-mount lenses for Super35 sensors to bemounted onto large-format sensor cameras. There is a 1.7xmagnification and a loss of around a stop of light, but it allows lots of current glass to be used on the latest wonder cameras.
which is said to increase dynamic range by a stop to 16 and the native ISO to 1600. It shoots in 16-bit formassive file sizes and is compatible with the Panavision 2x anamorphic lenses. It’s so expensive, the camera will be a rental-only option. Sony, which recently revealed its own supersize camera, Venice, showed the final versionwhichwill go on sale this month. Some last-minute changes see the adoption of a Dual Base ISOmode, which means it has two base ISO settings of 500 and 2500. The camera will now come ready to shoot in 24x35mm full-frame standard andwith an eight-step optical ND filter system. It will shoot 4K in 16-bit Raw and have 15 stops of exposure latitude. A firmware upgrade, scheduled for August, will bring 6K resolution. ARRI revealed its big new camera, the ALEXA LFwhich uses two sensors next to
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
Kinefinity comes to theUK 4K TERRA CAMERA UNVEILED The modular Kinefinity Terra 4K Raw camera is to be officially imported into the UK for the first time, complete with full service and rental options thanks to distributor ProAV, which unveiled the camera at BSC Expo. The Chinese-made camera, which looks like a mini version of a RED, is high on spec but low on price – certainly compared with the American-made rival. A camera kit complete with batteries, screen, side handle and 500GB SSDmedia card will cost £5076/$7056. The camera has a high-speed 4K CMOS image sensor with Dual Native ISO of 800-3200, like the latest Panasonic EVA1 and GH5S and Sony’s full-frame Venice. It can record 4K+ as 4096x2800 Raw files or Apple ProRes internally to a 7mm SSD card. Kinefinity claims there are 14 stops of dynamic range. It’s also very fast, with 100fps shooting at full DCI 4K while cropping to 2K wide it can work up to 240fps. It also shoots in Log, you can upload customLUTs and there is also a 4K “I shot ProRes and the footage is beautiful. People say it looks ARRI-like”
touchscreen but the key menus are easy to access and it’s easy to set presets.” The camera is all-manual, with no autofocus. And the test version Bloom used didn’t feature Raw. “I shot ProRes and the footage is beautiful,” he said. “People say it looks ARRI-like which is the pinnacle. The sensor size is slightly smaller than Super35 with a 1.85x crop instead of 1.6x so you have to take that into account. I have the EF Enhancer mount which is like a speedbooster and gives me a 1.3x crop and another stop of sensitivity. “The only unknown is how reliable it is. I’ve not shot it enough to say. Now ProAV will have trained engineers in the UK and that peace of mind will be the clincher for many. That makes this camera a real contender and it’s priced so well.” www.proav.co.uk
4:3 Anamorphic mode. The Kinefinity has its own lens mount, to which you buy and attach additional lens adapters such as PL/i, Sony E, Canon EF and even a Canon one with a built-in variable ND filter. It takes V-mount batteries and comes with a five-inchmonitor. Well-known DOP and camera reviewer Philip Bloomhas been testing the camera and is impressed. “It does somuch for the price. It has good ISO performance up to 20,000 and is fast to operate,” he said. “You can change your frame rates and resolution within a second using presets, without any rebooting, and no other camera I’ve used can do it that fast. “There is professional audio handling with good preamps and changeable lens mounts which is a big deal. “It’s under 1kg for the body which is smaller than a RED. I wish it had a
The beautifully-made range of LockCircle camera accessories will finally be available in the UK thanks toMTF Services, which was showing off the latest kit at the show. Stars of the line-up are the modular camera cage kits for mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH5 and Sony A7 series. Using high-quality aluminiumplates and superlight titaniumbolts to hold them together, they feature clamps to stop HDMI cables frombeing pulled out and different options for handles or 15mm rods. LockCircle is unique as it has a special system for Sony A7 cameras called the Birdcage Pro-S, which allows the popular MI hotshoe to still be used for Sony’s wireless mic receiver. We’ll be testing it in the next issue. www.mtfservices.com LockCircle loveliness!
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
MANFROTTO GOES WOODEN! Tripod giant Manfrotto has joined forces with sister company Wooden Camera to build a range of sturdy but minimalist camera rigs for mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Available in three sizes, the Manfrotto Camera Cages offer access to the camera’s right side-grip and to the battery. The modular design means the cages can be built up to suit different cameras. They also feature a reversible top handle that can either be repositioned over the lens area or converted into a side handle. The handle mount features a cold shoe and 15mm tube clamp.
STOCK SHAKE -UP
There are lots of ¼in attachment holes to connect accessories, as well as Manfrotto’s own⅜ anti- rotation fitment as used on many of the firm’s tripods. There’s also a smart HDMI cable clamp and the small and medium cages have an integrated lens adapter that supports Wooden Camera and Metabones adapters. The large version has height-adjustable rod clamps for positioning 15mm rods at the correct distance to the centre of the lens. Packages start at £290/$299. www.manfrotto.co.uk
Just £20 or $28 a month will buy you access to 4K resolution 30-second clips to use in your own films fromnew stock agency stock30.com. The company says the current 4K stock market is overpriced, anti-competitive and is full of over-staged footage. Stock30.com says it has authentic-looking clips and is willing to film specific footage for future inclusion in the library at the request of its members. The new start-up is also looking for contributors and, unlike the way other libraries do things, will pay them as freelance camera operators. www.stock30.com
Want the super-brightness of the latest SmallHD on-camera monitor but looking for somethingmore portable than the seven-inchmodel? SmallHD’s new 502 Bright has a 1000nits screen in a compact five-inch design, making it a perfect match for smaller cameras or gimbals. The 502Bright has 1080p resolution and is based on the technology of the 702 Bright but in a smaller size. There are still full-sized SDI and HDMI inputs and pass-through outputs. It weighs just 268g/9.4oz and uses a machined aluminium chassis with a bonded-on glass screen protector. It uses one or two LP-E6 batteries but you can get a D-Tap power adapter. SmallHD is offering it as a kit with a mounting arm and D-Tap LP-E6 power adapter with cable for £1315/ $1299. www.smallhd.com Smaller size is a Bright idea
Zoom’s novel audio solution
dedicated volume control and built-in limiter and auto level control to avoid clipping. A sound marker function outputs quick tone to make syncing audio and video easy and the sound is recorded to micro SD and SDHC cards. It runs on two AAA batteries but a mains adapter is available. As the F1 is a standalone recorder, it can record audio internally to its card while also outputting the same audio to the camera so you have an instant backup. The F1-LP kit costs $199 while the F1-SP is $249. No UK prices have yet been announced. www.zoom.co.jp
Zoom has revealed what could be the ultimate audio accessory for DSLR and mirrorless camera users; the compact F1 Field Recorder which can be used as an on-person recorder with a lavmic or on-camera with a shotgunmic. The F1-SP kit comes with a shotgun mic while the F1-LP has a lavalier mic but you can buy different modules, such as a stereo shotgun mic, capsule mics or XLR adapters. The F1 is a two-channel audio recorder that supports up to 24-bit/96kHz audio in WAV or a variety of MP3 formats. There’s a stereo ⅛in mic/line-in mini phone jack connector, a stereo⅛in phone/line-output jack with
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FUJIFILM X-H1 Fujimirrorless targets indy filmmakers The new X-H1 and
matching pair of cine zooms show Fujifilm is really getting serious about movies F ujifilm is the latest manufacturer to produce a mirrorless camera targeting independent filmmakers with its new X-H1, and is also launching its current MK cinema zoom lenses in an X-mount to match. The MKX 18-55mmT2.9 and MKX 50-135mmT2.9 cinema lenses will go on sale in May but the X-H1 hits the shops on 1 March. The X-H1 has a newly-designed body that features five-axis in-body image video spec that Fuji has improved over the current XT-2 flagship mirrorless camera, with a big increase in quality and resolution. The X-T2 records 4K at 30p in 100Mbps and can only output an uncompressed 4K signal in 8-bit 4:2:2 F-log to an external recorder. The new X-H1 can shoot DCI 4K at 4096×2160 to an internal SDmemory card at up to 200Mbps in F-log. The bit rate can be set at 50, 100 or 200Mbps in 4K or DCI 4K. The X-H1 can also shoot in full 1080 HD at 120p for slow-motion footage, and there is a 400% dynamic range option to give 12 stops of range. The X-H1 is the first camera in the X Series to include Fujifilm’s new Eterna film simulation mode. This gives a cinematic film look, with understated colours and rich shadow tones. The camera also comes with a higher- quality internal microphone for 24 bit/48 kHz audio recording, with time codes. The heart of the camera is the same APS-C size X-Trans CMOS sensor with 24.3 million pixels and no low-pass filter, which already features on the X-Pro2 and X-T2. But the dust-resistant and water- resistant body has been beefed up for pro stabilisation – a first for Fujifilm’s X-series of cameras. But it’s in the
“The X-H1 can shoot DCI 4K at up to 200Mbps”
use, using thicker magnesium alloy. It’s also been strengthened around the lens mount for larger cine-style lenses. The viewfinder has a 3.69-million dot resolution with a display time lag of just 0.005 seconds and a frame rate of 100 frames per second. The three- inch rear screen is now a touchscreen and does not fully articulate, but tilts in three directions. That’s of limited use to filmmakers as one of those is when the camera is used in portrait orientation. For stills use, the camera has lots of modifications from the X-T2 such as a new grip, refined shutter button, larger control buttons, quieter mechanical shutter and a dedicated AF-ON button on the back of the camera. There’s a new flicker reduction mode for sport photography and the phase-detection autofocus has been improved. One issue with using the camera for video is that there is no headphone socket, and the only way to get a headphone socket is to buy the additional battery grip. This adds two more batteries, which increases shooting time significantly – using the grip, the maximum period for shooting movies in 4K is around 30 minutes. The grip also adds more control buttons, and for stills shooters improves performance for burst shots and reduces the interval between shots, shutter time lag, and EVF blackout.
ABOVE AND RIGHT The X-H1 is the Fuji camera filmmakers have been waiting for. Cine zooms now come in X-mount.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
This revolutionarymulti-function headset is ideal for VR fans andworks on Apple devices
I f you’re a video blogger, love 3D and VR or just want some amazing noise-cancelling headphones, the revolutionary Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset delivers. The over-the-ear hook earbuds are a 3D binaural recording system that uses two microphones, one on each of the earbuds, to record in stereo. The result is that audio is recorded that sounds like three-dimensional surround sound when listened to with any normal stereo headphones.
listen to music while still hearing what’s going on around you. The Ambeo also comes with an app with its own graphic equaliser so you can fine-tune the sound even more. And there’s an additional microphone to make telephone calls. One lucky Pro Moviemaker reader will win their own Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset, worth £260/$299. All you have to do is answer the question below. Good luck!
The Ambeo Smart Headset needs no batteries as it plugs into the lightning connector on suitable Apple devices, which is unusual for noise-cancelling headphones that usually need to have a battery. The Ambeo has a vocal-range enhancement feature that helps if you have trouble hearing people in noisy places. Put the headphones on and enable the Transparent Hearing – Amplify Level mode which boosts voices. And conversely, the Transparent Hearing mode lets you
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Entries must be received by 11.59pm, 1 May 2018 and the winner will be notified by email within seven days. The winner will be chosen at random from all the correct entries. This competition is open to worldwide residents, aged 18 and over only. Employees of Bright Publishing and the prize provider and their immediate families and agents may not enter. The prize must be taken as offered with no alternative. Entries not in accordance with these rules will be disqualified; by entering, competitors will be deemed to have agreed to be bound by these rules. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liabilitywill attach to Bright Publishing. For the full terms and conditions, visit: www. bright-publishing.com/terms/termsconditions.html. WIN A SENNHEISER AMBEO SMART HEADSET Question: What’s the name of the connector the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset uses to connect to Apple devices? Visit www.sennheiser.com to find out more about the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset. Enter via our website at: www.promoviemaker.net
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Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE explains why he’s made a £1 million commitment to support diversity in the UK short film industry THIS MUCH... I KNOW
D espite somuch discussion about the whole issue of diversity in all walks of life, it’s still unusual to come across anyone prepared to back it up with a genuine commitment to do something that’s practically positive. However, philanthropist and executive filmproducer Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE has bucked the trend and put his money where his mouth is by announcing that he’s committing the sumof £1 million/$1.4 million towards the production of new short films that promote diversity and
“At themoment the barriers to entry to our industry usually revolve around opportunity poverty. I don’t like that or the lack of social mobility it creates ”
inclusion throughout the UK film industry. In particular, he’s looking to promote upcoming talent, and already has a long track record of encouraging the younger generation of filmmakers to find their feet. So, what is behind this grand gesture, and why does Professor Allesch-Taylor consider that it’s so necessary at this time to be making this kind of commitment? And, in particular, what is he hoping will ultimately come out of the exercise? We caught up with him to find out more, in his own words.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
Short films needmonetisation I’ve been involved inmaking films for over ten years and have always felt a little frustrated that there hasn’t been a straightforward way tomonetise short films. This seems crazy, bearing inmind the number of platforms out there and the need for content. I’mhappy to play a role in risking capital to create a sustainable model for short form filmmakers; invariably those starting out and who need the most financial support. Filmmaking is a commercial success Overall the film industry over the last few years has had an excellent time: it’s been one of the largest contributors to the UK’s GDP growth for three years running. However, there is little evidence of this success filtering through to new and young filmmakers. Funding for short filmprojects is notoriously hard to secure, partly because they are always positioned as philanthropy. On the flip side, however, there is usually a hugely impressive collaborative approach to getting these short films made. I don’t want to change any of that teamwork and sense of achievement in getting short films completed. I am, however, attempting to push everyone involved in the industry to thinkmore about sustainability. Barriers to entry are too high Outside of a commercial context it’s crystal clear that there is not the diversity that reflects our broad society today throughout the industry, nor is it prevalent in the storytelling that’s going on. However, the key criterion for me is still the need to produce quality compelling entertainment and not default into the tired format of patronising ‘infomercials’ about social injustice. I’m looking for filmmakers to have more of a commercial sense and for distributors to start to take some risks in getting these often terrific pieces of work out there. At the moment the barriers to entry to our industry are horrible and usually revolve around opportunity poverty. I don’t like that or the lack of social mobility it creates.
I’d lovemore comedy shorts! In terms of the films I would like to see, I have no preconceived ideas but I’mhoping that we’ll be able to propel the careers of the people involved forward. Essentially, if it’s a hobby to you or a soapbox then, respectfully, it’s not for us. Personally, I would love to see a fewmore comedy ideas come our way: they’re only about 0.5%of what we’re seeing now. The grants we’re offering are simple and they’re usually worth what’s being asked for. We’re not here, however, to dent the spirit of short filmmaking, put producers out of work or hold back the collaborative team effort. Instead we’re usually the final money that makes something possible. We’re looking to give support to those who have put a film together and are struggling to get over the line. That’s usually a function of themnot being ‘connected’ enough or invariably not living in London. It’s a social mobility issue and it’s great to play a role in helping people who have proven themselves to be determined to get over the line. entrepreneurial approaches – not to be mistaken with business building – to solve some challenging problems in some of the poorest andmost deprived parts of the world, and I hope we can make a positive contribution in terms of the sustainability of the short form film industry in the UK. Obviously we hate saying no and sometimes we say no and get truly humbling responses that reaffirmour belief inmankind: however, sometimes we get ranted at, and that’s another story… Changes are overdue There needs to be a more direct and better relationship between new filmmakers and distribution platforms. I don’t see sustainability being a hot topic around Government grants, Creative England Entry level filmmaking was broken I was attracted to supporting filmmakers because it was fun, but stayed with it because I felt it was broken at the entry level. I have successfully used
and the BFI monies. These organisations have not led to a stronger commercial education for recipients during their decades of spending, nor provided a solution to the challenges facing new and young filmmakers so prevalent today. Frankly, by not pushing a more commercial approach and by not adequately engaging the UK film industry and broader distribution platforms as a whole, they have harmed filmmakers while failing a significant and implicit part of their respective mandates. I really wonder what their role is moving forward. We’re off to a flying start I hope over the next few years we will be able to create a bridge between filmmakers and distributors and that whatever strategy we come up with is sustainable. It’s a big ask, but nothing will be done if interested parties just follow the same historic failed processes. I also hope we will help a really significant number of young and new filmmakers deliver their vision and drive their careers forward. Although we only announced our initiative a fewweeks ago we’ve already said yes to around twenty projects so far. We’ll measure the success and impact of our initiative over the next three years, and if it’s worthwhile we’ll do it again. ABOVE The poster for one of the award-winning films that Stefan has helped to fund, Flyspy. BELOW Jason Flemyng and Blake Ritson in another of Stefan’s films, Bricks. More information https://twitter.com/stefanmeansbiz Expressions of interest from filmmakers should be sent to Charles Kay with Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPRING 2018 PRO MOVIEMAKER
ABOVE Like all RED cameras, the Raven is modular and is built like a military-grade weapon. It's all part of the brand's huge appeal.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
It’s the top of many people’s wish lists but does the reality of using the pricey American camera live up to the hype? WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH W hen thousands of ProMoviemaker readers voted for their cinema camera of the year in SPECIFICATIONS Price: £15,000/$15,000 kit with
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens Sensor Size: 23.0x10.8mm, 8.8Megapixel REDDragon, 4608x2160 effective pixels Codecs: Raw, ProRes, DNxHD Maximumframe rates: 120fps at 4.5K and 4K; 150fps at 4K 2.4:1 (4096×1728) and 3K Full Format (3072×1620); 200fps at 3K 2.4:1 (3072×1296); 240fps at 2K Full Format (2048×1080); 300 fps at 2K 2.4:1 (2048×864) ISO range: 800-3200 Dynamic Range: 16.5 stops LensMount: EF Stabilisation: None Filters: None Screen: 11.93/4.7in touchscreen Audio: Integrated dual channel with integratedmic, mic input Output: 3G-SDI, HDMI, SMPTE timecode, HANCmetadata, 24- bit 48kHz audio Storage: REDMini-Mag Weight: 1.59kg/3.5lb for brain withmedia bay and lensmount
our recent awards, it wasn’t a hot new Canon, Panasonic or Sony camera that came out on top, despite thembeing the bestsellers in the market. It was a camera that has been on sale for two years, was delivered late then briefly removed from the general market and is now available through certain Apple stores, bundled with a Sigma DSLR lens. But that camera has the magic brand name RED on it, and it clearly tops the dreamwishlist of lots of filmmakers. RED has a similarly fanatical fanboy base to that enjoyed by Apple. Youmight not get punters lining up outside a RED dealer on the day of launch, but the passion around the brand is something other manufacturers can only dreamof. But does the reality live up to the hype? Can you justify splashing out the price of a decent car on a camera set-up? What about the time and expertise needed to process the files, and the huge memory and computing power needed? We investigate what it’s really like to use the RED Raven and ask if it’s a sensible buy or more of a rental option for special occasions.
SPRING 2018 PRO MOVIEMAKER
THE REALITY OF RED Is the legendary cinema camera a sensible buy for your business?
It’s shooting Raw that RED became famous for and it means you are actually recording what the sensor sees rather than using the camera to compress it and bake in lots of settings that are then hard to change effectively. You make all your decisions about the footage afterwards, in post. But it does add an extra layer in post-production with those very large Raw files. Just as when many serious stills photographers made the leap from shooting JPEGs to shooting Raw a decade ago, there is a small learning curve but the increase in quality is immense. With a Raw file, you can set things like white-balance and tint precisely after recording, rather than trying to guess and struggling to change things afterwards as in normal footage. You can change colour balance, use a colour picker to set white-balance, change sharpness, use curves and really push the highlight and shadow details. Other cameras can now shoot Raw, like the BlackMagic Ursa Mini Pro, Canon C200, and Sony FS7 or FS5 – although both of these need extra expense on firmware or hardware to unlock the capability, plus the added complication of an external recorder. Processing these files can be a pain, too, especially for Sony as there is no dedicated Raw conversion software. RED has this nailed. There are two free downloads, one is Redcine-X Pro Raw converter and the other is a plug-in for Final Cut Pro X. You open your files in Redcine-X Pro, and make all the changes you want. It’s intuitive and easy to use, a total joy and a game changer if you’ve never experienced the control it gives you. If you have already used these files in FCPX, when you go to your Alternatively, you can open the files in FCPX, then change the most-used Raw settings like white-balance via a pop-up window. It adds hardly any extra time to normal editing but increases the quality of files hugely. For use inAdobe Premier or other NLE, you open the files in Redcine-X Pro, make changes then export them for use. It’s not quite as streamlined, but hardly a chore. And the difference it can make is huge. project they are automatically updated with the new settings
And to be fair, if you were going to take a camera into a war zone, chances are you’d choose a RED. The camera looks and feels like it’s hewn from a solid block of aluminium, with an all-metal construction that is designed to take the knocks and last for years. Even the RED-branded memory cards, the Mini-Mags, are all-metal. No flimsy plastic here. Where RED does get closer to Apple again is in its blatantly premiumpricing. Just as many Apple haters say there are much better-spec phones than the iPhone and laptops than the MacBook Pro at significantly lower price points, many people are prepared to pay the premium for the superior design and useablilty. In the case of RED, it’s more than just looks, a cool interface and brand kudos as the cameras deliver in certain ways that no others can. And that’s why they can justify the very high prices.
While RED and Apple now seem like relatively well-matched bedfellows in terms of high brand profile, the closest synergy between two companies is actually RED and sunglasses giant Oakley. Both are masters of pioneering the latest technology, thenmarketing it hard with lots of cool adverts, product placement with influencers andmade-up branding like the trademarked Unobtanium, Plutonite, Virgin Serilium, Polaris Ellipsoid and Thermonuclear Protection. These are all components of Oakley sunglasses or motorcycle handlebar grips, Oakley’s first product. It may, therefore, come as no surprise that RED’s similarly strangely-namedMysterium X, Redray Redcode, Redsight, Redgun, Epic, Dragon andMonstro trademarks all come from the man who was the driving force and genius at Oakley, its founder Jim Jannard. After selling Oakley to Italian fashion giant Luxottica, California- based Jannard used his mega payday to create the ultimate digital moviemaking cameras. His mission was to use the Raw output from the new crop of large-sensor digital SLR cameras and invent a way of using them to record video – along with all the high quality and ultimate flexibility that 4K Raw recording allows. Right from the start back in 2005, there was lots of hype about this amazing new sort of camera, and when the first units hit the shelves in 2007, the filmmaking world was turned on its head overnight. Some say RED invented large- sensor modern digital filmmaking, and there is a certain truth to that. They certainly mastered the art of creating a desirable product that was totally different to its rivals, in terms of its modular build, military-style rugged construction and nomenclature that all creates a mystique around the brand. The memory cards are called Mini-Mags, a connector unit is the Jetpack and there are also products called the Switchblade, Redvolt and Bomb. The logo on the side is a stylised skull. And if there was any doubt as to RED’s military obsession, refurbished products are sold with the official label ‘Battle Tested’.
BELOWAND BOTTOM A Canon lens and a huge battery pack means you're ready for a long shoot. The buttons are simple and obvious.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
has now been discontinued in favour of the complete RED Raven kit. This comes with the brain, 4.7in monitor, outrigger handle, I/O V-lock expander to plug in one of the two included V-lock batteries, a 120GBMini-Magmemory card and G-Technology card reader plus a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens, all in a custom case. This adds up to £15,000/$15,000 andmeans you can start shooting right away. Some pro dealers offer the brain and accessories so you can build up a bespoke kit, but it costs a lot more. It’s also not really the end of the expense, certainly as far as memory goes. RED only uses its ownMini- Mag SSDs, and they are pricey. Shooting at full 4.5K resolution at 120fps, the included 120GB card could be full in around 14minutes, so the reality is you’ll need a lot more memory. A single 480GB card, big enough for roughly an hour of filming, is £1850/$1890. A pack of four 480GBMini-Mags, complete with case, costs £7032/$6900. Ouch. You’ve also got to figure in the cost of storing the footage for use andmaking a backup. With two hours of footage filling a 1TB hard drive, you need to be seriously invested in hard drive storage. If you use your working drive as a Raid to give an instant mirrored backup to your footage, then you need 2TB. Plus another 1TB as an actual backup, plus potentially the same again in Library space when editing in Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premier. So realistically, you need 4TB of storage drives for a two-hour shoot.
Prices can be scary The new full-frame Monstro 8K VV camera will cost roughly £85,000/ $79,500 when it goes on sale soon. So the RED Raven, which costs a far more reasonable £9564/$8950 despite being a cropped-sensor 4.5K camera, makes the brand suddenly look muchmore affordable to the independent filmmaker. It’s the entry-level way of attracting people to the brand and the family of RED. And the idea is once you’re hooked, you’ll upgrade to the more expensive cameras like the Epic-W8K at £31,518/$29,500 for the ‘brain’ only. And there lies the rub. The ‘brain’ does not make a useable camera. It’s the box that has the sensor in it and some electronic circuits. Nothing to mount a lens to, nothing tomount a battery to, nothing to record onto, no viewfinder to control anything or see what you’re filming. Nothing. Luckily, RED offers package kits so you can build up your camera to suit your individual needs, from run- and-gun to studio, gimbal or true cinema camera. But of course that hugely affects the price, and the cost of many of the accessories reflects you’re buying into a super-premium brand. There are no cheap SD card options to record onto, for example, and you’re stuck with RED’s own kit. The RED Raven 4.5K has a non- removable Canon EF lens mount and is available with a basic package to turn it into a useable camera, but the price then ramps up. We tested the RED Raven Base I/O package, with a Base I/O V-lock expander to allow the use of V-lock batteries, but that
These working drives need to be pretty speedy, too, as does your computer to process them. You won’t be getting away with cheapo no- name hard drives bought off eBay and a creaky old laptop as they just won’t have the power and speed to handle it. So as you can see, the cost of the camera is just the start - and the reason why the majority stick to renting REDs and the accessories that come with it. Stripped downmeans no ND or XLR Another issue for users coming from other brands is that the RED does not have built-in ND filters or XLR audio inputs – often staple benefits of professional cameras. There is a built-in tiny mic for a scratch track and only a standard 3.5mmmic jack, so you could fudge it by a DSLRmic or an XLR to mic jack connector to use a single professional mic. But the ideal way is to replace the I/O V-lock expander with the Redvolt expander which has two XLR audio inputs. And it costs £4176/$3950 for the privilege. To control light via ND filters, you either need to buy a variable ND
ABOVE Twin fans on top of the housing keep the camera cool. The unique memory card slots into the side.
LEFT The tilting screen is bright and easy to use, but does not articulate. So sometimes you'll need an external monitor.
PRO MOVIEMAKER SPRING 2018
mic and headphone inputs. The card reader unit is securely bolted to the side and the Mini-Mag slots in securely. And a small handle bolts to the top plate, to help youmove the camera around. The handle is a bit short, though. It’s a minor gripe, as the RED is a joy to use because it’s one well-designed camera, rather than feeling like a camera with a load of bolt-on bits. The only niggle is that the screen can be a bit tough to see in bright sunlight and it tilts but does not fully articulate. If you want to see what you’re filming while stood to the side of the camera, you do need an external monitor. And if you want to rig it up for shoulder use, you either need an external EVF or you can buy a relatively cheap connector cable that allows you to move the screen from its position on top of the camera to somewhere more suitable. But of course you need some rigging to hold it in place. RED sells its own connector units tomove the screen around at typically RED- style prices. The reality is that this really is a cinema camera, not best suited for shoulder-mounted run-and-gun use. It can be rigged up and used that way, but the RED comes into its own as a high-quality cinema camera. You can tell that by the controls. Where many cameras have dozens of buttons and switches on the outside, so ENG-type users can simply flick a switch to change ISO ratings and dial in ND, the RED has just two user-assignable buttons as well as the Rec-On buttons. There’s none of the useful buttons like Push AF for a
filter, a set of ND screw-in filters in different strengths or a proper mattebox with slots for real cinema ND filters. So anything from a couple of hundred notes to a couple of grand or more, depending on how pro you want your set-up to be. So far, so not-so-good in terms of the actual cost of owning and running a RED. But let’s not forget, it’s the price that helps make RED such an aspirational bit of kit and keeps it out of the hands of the less well-heeled filmmaker. For many, owning a RED is a badge of honour that you’ve made it as a successful filmmaker, something that RED owners often use tomarket their services to clued-up clients. The lack of an ND filter option is the only real bugbear of using the Raven which is a beautifully-built unit that fits together with incredibly well thought-out components that RED’s rivals would do well to learn from. Many cinema cameras look like a tangled web of cables and bits of hardware bolted on. Cables to an external monitor hanging off the side, wires to hard drive recorders, cables linking an external grip, cables tomicrophones and to battery packs. All the bits bolted onto the camera with a menagerie of swivel joints, coldshoe mounts and Meccano-style rigs. By contrast, the RED is a model of sleek design and simplicity. The screen bolts directly to the top of the camera, with Allen key bolts holding it firmly in place while a hidden connector transfers the electronic data. Same for the expander unit with all the usual HDMI, SDI, power,
“Formany, owning a RED is a badge of honour that you’ve made it as filmmaker”
quick way tomake the lens focus on something, for example. You control everything via the touchscreen. Touchscreen is a joy This is where it’s obvious the interface has been designed by Californians who demand easy- to-use devices that just work, rather thanmenus designed by some faceless software engineer. Everything is very simple, with a row of major controls running along the very top of the screen. These are frame rate, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, resolution, compression and general menu. Just click on each of these very obvious andmost- used settings, and click on what you want. It’s simple, easy to use and you can see all your settings at once.
ABOVE The large touchscreen is the only way to change settings but everything is logical and easy to understand.
If you’re seriously thinking about dropping lots of cash on an expensive camera like a RED, then you’d want to spend more time testing it than a typical try-out at a dealer's can give you. That’s where renting can make a lot of GET YOUR HANDS ON A RED
sense, as it’s like an extended test and you can shoot things you’re comfortable with. Our camera, batteries and lens came courtesy of Hireacamera in London, which is a cost-effective way of getting your hands on some seriously expensive kit. As a try-out before a potential buy, it makes sense. Or you could just rent the camera for specific jobs as needed. Either way, every serious filmmaker should try to have a test with a RED to experience a very different sort of camera. www.hireacamera.com
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