ALL THE GREAT NEW LAUNCHES INSIDE P14
September 2019 £4.99
HIGH POWER LED technology gets intense
REVIEWS Fujifilm GFX100 Atomos Shogun 7 REAL OR CG? WIN A CANON EOS C200 worth over £6490! See page 58 SIMBA VS THE SERENGETI
SIGGRAPH AND VIDCON SHOW REVIEWS | MIDSOMMAR MADNESS MORE WINNER STORIES | BEST LF GLASS | BATTERY MARKET POLARISES
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A vulture from the natural history series Serengeti…or is it?
D isney could have made the 2019 remake of The Lion King without the help of a dedicated filmmaking team, but it’s the fact they did use such a team (with their real and virtual tools of the trade) that is so inspiring. It’s easy to get jaundiced with VFX-heavy movies, but this collaboration bodes well for future VFX and non-VFX productions. However, VFX supervisors do hanker after experiencing the real thing. In this issue, that is represented by our story about the production of Serengeti , which is about a bunch of inhabitants from the plains of Tanzania. But even here the main characters are manipulated – this time by planted robotic players which illicit behaviour that might upset the purists. Are we affecting animal behaviour, or recording it? As virtual production pushes the barriers of fake realism, we have to start learning a new language and recognising new disciplines, like virtual scouts. These are people who work in a virtual location designing a set, but also blocking a shot with repositioned props and virtual cameras. Also: stuntvis, which is a type of techvis tailored to the planning of stunt work.
JULIAN MITCHELL EDITOR
Definition is published monthly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Definition is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Definition that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling, euros and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
SEPTEMBER 20 1 9 | DEF I N I T ION 03
SET- UP 06 TITLE SEQUENCE
A dame and a knight on Slough train station – from The Good Liar , out in November.
08 GAME OF THRONES RERUN
Enjoy a special showing of Season 8, episode 3 at IBC as it was always intended to be seen.
10 VIDCON SHOW REVIEW
With 75,000 attendees, this YouTube creator-inspired gear show is unstoppable.
14 IBC 2019 PREVIEW
Our selected preview gives you a head start in your gear lust journey in Amsterdam. DRAMA
22 THE LION KING
Huge success shows that people want to see the tech – you already knew the story, right?
How to manipulate wild animals without them knowing – drama to rival The Lion King .
A new horror genre from Ari Aster, scary but darkly funny. We have the shoot story. FEATURES
35 SIGGRAPH SHOW REPORT
For the first time, we adjust our all-seeing eye to the world-famous VFX love-in.
61 A HIGHER POWER
We look at LED technology’s attempt at replacing the high-wattage behemoths.
71 BATTERY POLARISATION
Battery markets are being polarised to become ultra smart or ultra cheap.
78 WHY THEY WON
This time we look at the reasons Motion Impossible won for Best Movement in our Tech Innovation Awards.
82 LF FOR LENSES
More techniques and examples of large format lenses flooding the market. 86 TALE OF TWO TOURNAMENTS The Henley Regatta and Wimbledon reinvented their broadcasts this year.
GEAR TESTS 92 ATOMOS SHOGUN 7 The new flagship from the
Atomos range ticks all the right boxes for high-end use.
94 FUJIFILM GFX100
Fujifilm’s wonderful medium format stills camera for video.
100 CAMERA LISTINGS
Our unique camera listings now offer kit essentials and recommended accessories.
SEPTEMBER 20 1 9 | DEF I N I T ION 05
A Dame and a Knight on a Slough train station platform; Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen get ready for a scene from The Good Liar with director Bill Condon, surrounded by Panavision cameras and lenses with support from Chapman/ Leonard UK. The two theatre and screen legends play a swindler (McKellen) and his mark (Mirren) – but nothing is as it seems. Cinematography by Tobias A Schliessler, Alexa Mini and G Series anamorphics from Panavision, aerials from Jeremy Braben at HFS, music by Carter Burwell; and the supervising colourist was Stefan Sonnenfeld. LIARS ON A TRAIN
06 DEF I N I T ION | SEPTEMBER 20 1 9
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
SEPTEMBER 20 1 9 | DEF I N I T ION 07
SET- UP | I BC SHOW NEWS
OUT OF THE DARKNESS IBC SHOW NEWS If you, like us, were disappointed with episode 3 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, you won’t want to miss a rerun of it at this year’s IBC in Amsterdam
WORDS JULI AN M ITCHELL / PICTURES HBO
S ometimes you’ve got to love those ‘powers that be’. Here’s a decision that will warm the cockles of many cinematographers’ hearts. IBC has decided to show, in its amazing immersive cinema, the whole of episode 3 from the final season of Game of Thrones as it was always meant to be seen. As you may well remember, this was the episode that got the cinematographer who shot it some very unwanted publicity. Cinematographer Fabian Wagner shot The Long Night episode – and walked into a storm of social media trolling, with fans complaining about the darkness on-screen. But this is the streaming world’s dirty little
secret: broadcasters restrict the data rates for huge shows, such as Game of Thrones , causing banding and compression noise in dark scenes. Of course, viewers blame the creator and find people like Wagner on social media to abuse them about it. But Wagner was philosophical when we spoke to him about it in our June issue: “I’m not someone who thinks he is above criticism. I’m happy to be criticised and happy to admit my mistakes. What’s been annoying about this complaint was that I had said in another interview that some people can’t tune their TVs properly, and probably watch things in the wrong environment and in the wrong conditions. Some people are just unaware of how you can enhance your viewing through your television. My emphasis was on ‘some’ people’, which obviously angered people.” He continues: “The way I shot it was a creative decision. It was something I was always sure and proud of. The way we did it enhances the episode. It’s a shame people became nasty and personal, but I think controversy and polarisation is a good thing. I consider cinematography an art form, and it can be controversial. We always said that it would be boring to see this army of the dead – we wanted to not see it.” To light the battle scene in The Long Night , Wagner used large banks of Arri SkyPanel softboxes. He explains: “I wanted
It was a creative decision to shoot the episode this way. It’s a shame people were nasty to control them from the floor, and because of the changeable weather, I had to come up with a rig that would allow me to fly those boxes as much as possible, but were able to be pulled down during windy conditions.” From Season 2, Game of Thrones had two units available permanently, but for Season 8 it changed: “That season, a single unit used three cameras. The director Miguel Sapochnik and I had started working together on the Hardhome episode in Season 5, and we work very well together. What we did was to carry it on by shooting four cameras on The Long Night , with me operating the fourth camera.” Watch The Long Night as Wagner envisioned it at IBC on 13 September at 4pm in the Auditorium Big Screen. Get there early as there will be a queue.
IMAGES Stills from Season 8, episode 3. See it as it was intended to be seen at IBC2019
08 DEF I N I T ION | SEPTEMBER 20 1 9
SET- UP | V I DCON SHOW REV I EW
CREATOR CRAZE YOUTUBER TECH The YouTube creator video market is a hotbed of innovation supported by smart, low-end technology
WORDS & PICTURES ROBERT TAK ATA
O nline video streaming has created megastars, though most people do not know who they are. A YouTube vlogger may have millions of followers and views, but still not be a household name. At VidCon – the Comic-Con for YouTube stars – the focus is on the famous, but none would be known without the tech that supports them. A decade ago, this hardware and software was for professionals – now it is being used in bedrooms and back yards. In just ten years, VidCon attendance has grown from 1,400 people in the basement ballroom of a hotel, to 75,000 tech providers, creators and fans filling the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California. Panels, workshops and discussions in the event’s ‘Creator Track’ include end- to-end production on a mobile phone, beginner-to-advanced tutorials on cameras, lighting and editing, tips on using Adobe Premiere Rush and Pro, a sponsored session from Blackmagic Design, and workshops on picture and sound editing, audio post, colour correction, motion graphics and streaming content. On the show floor – along with the superstar dogs, make-up companies and fans ogling their online idols – were dozens
of hardware and software manufacturers covering a wide range of production needs. Here’s our breakdown of old and new companies courting the VidCon generation. This year’s VidCon featured a separate, well-attended industry track, with major content companies talking about the next generation of content. VidCon started as a fan show, but its place as a top destination for media industry pros seems certain. GOPRO Not all contemporary content creators are streaming or posting video from their bedrooms. GoPro is promoting the Hero7 Black to the YouTuber market, which may cause a rise in the number of 24-hour challenge videos shot on a mountain bike path or ski slope. The latest upgrades to the Hero line are sure to appeal to sports enthusiasts and less adventurous content creators alike. The biggest advance is improved image stabilisation via the company’s ‘HyperSmooth’ technology. GoPro says that the new tech, eschewing optical stabilisation for an electronic option, rivals a gimbal. For those who take their vlogs to the streets, smoother video will eliminate complaints about handheld romps through the city or late-night car rides.
The addition of built-in live streaming capability, via a smartphone app, is also a big draw for this market. The camera can stream to Facebook Live right out of the box, as well as to platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Vimeo, using an RTMP URL. CREATOR KITS – B&H FOTO AND ELECTRONICS B&H – the popular photo, video and audio retailer – has been successful in changing with the times. The company went from a humble brick-and-mortar store in Tribeca, New York, to a Ninth Avenue superstore, to a website with thousands of products just a click away. Continuing to see the way the wind is blowing, B&H has put On the show floor were dozens of manufacturers covering a wide range of production needs
10 DEF I N I T ION | SEPTEMBER 20 1 9
IMAGES There were major product releases and some clever tech for the lone creator
monitor, a smartphone, DSLR or GoPro mount – or to the nearest iron fence with the magnet – this light is a solution for any level of vlogger, videographer or photographer. POST PRODUCTION Adobe has released a mobile version of its editing software with Adobe Premiere Rush for social media content creators. Video can be shot with the software’s built-in camera, and then cut and colour corrected; audio can be mixed, and motion graphics added on iOS or Android devices, or on a MacOS or Windows desktop system. Once finished, content can be uploaded directly to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or other social platforms from the app. Tips and tricks for vloggers are featured prominently on the Adobe website. A test drive of the app is free and can be upgraded with a monthly or annual paid subscription. Kinemaster is another mobile-based, high-powered post production app for YouTubers. The iOS or Android app can work with multiple layers of video and audio for editing, animation, effects, chromakey, and audio editing and mixing. A free version of the app offers basic functionality, though a watermark is attached to each video. The watermark can be removed and full access to premium content – such as additional effects and transitions – can be purchased with a monthly or annual subscription. STORAGE The least sexy yet most important aspect of all video production occurring in the vlogger space is storage. Digital assets have value, but storing a back catalogue on external drives is not an ideal asset management solution. EditShare is pitching its XStream EFS 200 shared storage system to the young producer market. Starting with a 24TB node, which is scalable to 360TB, the EFS 200 is an affordable and flexible option for creators shooting gigabyte upon gigabyte of video. As content creators expand from one-person home editors to multi- person crews, EditShare allows project collaboration, managerial applications for system administrators, and automated tasks for backup of precious media assets.
with a pair of waterproof and shock proof microphones worn like earbuds. The orientation of the mics mimics human hearing, and stereo playback puts the listener in the same sonic space as sounds were recorded, with elements coming from all sides. The mics come with a USB-Type A plug and can be connected to iOS or Android devices via an adapter. 3D audio can be captured with a variety of built-in and third party video and audio apps. ‘Portability’ is a buzzword for promoting products to the vlogging market. The Wireless GO microphone system from Rode is a very portable microphone transmitter and receiver, each about the size of a small pad of Post-it notes. The microphone unit can be clipped to clothing, or used as a belt pack for a lavalier mic or headset. The system transmits on the Series III 2.4Ghz digital spectrum, with 128-bit encryption and a maximum range of 70 metres. CAMERA SUPPORT AND LIGHTING Lume Cube offers two different versions of its ultra-portable LED light, the original Lume Cube and the new Lume Cube Air. Though less expensive than the earlier version, the Lume Cube Air is full of features and seems almost purpose-built for the online video creator community. The Air is tiny, at just over 1.5in square, and puts out 1000 lumens of 5600K daylight temperature illumination. The light can be mounted to a standard 1/4in tripod mount or with the built-in magnet. The accompanying iOS and Android app enables one or more lights to be controlled via Bluetooth. The Lume Cube Air is waterproof to depths of ten metres or 30ft. Since it can be attached to a computer
together ‘creator kits’ for a new generation of video and audio content creators. The range of options includes a DSLR vlogging kit; a mirrorless vlogging kit, including the Canon EOS 80D and the Sony Alpha a7 III respectively; and a mobile creator kit based around the smartphone, an item most content creators already own. B&H also offers a podcasting kit, featuring the RODECaster Pro audio production studio. Another even bigger retailer following its customers into the future is the US- based consumer electronics chain, Best Buy. At this year’s VidCon, the company partnered with Canon to promote a range of cameras and production equipment, and produced workshops featuring popular YouTubers. The company’s show booth was a production studio with a set for shooting, and a suite of post-production tools for editing and sharing content. AUDIO Sonic Presence offers a speciality microphone to those capturing video and/ or audio with smartphones. The VR15- USB Spatial Microphone records 3D audio
IMAGES Lume Cube portable LED lights above; the mobile app Kinemaster, right
12 DEF I N I T ION
SET- UP | PREV I EW: I BC SHOW IBC SHOW PREVIEW 2019 ONES TO WATCH Europe’s biggest event showcasing the latest gear in film is upon us once again. Here’s our exclusive show preview
STAND: MP6 BETWEEN HALL 7 & 8
New to IBC and on stand 12.E65, Anton/Bauer’s range of Titon lithium-ion batteries are a great choice for filmmakers on the move, powering a wide range of gear on set or out in the field. Titon batteries are available in V-Mount or Gold Mount and 90Wh and 150Wh models. They use Anton/Bauer’s mobile power technology, regardless of battery mounting or charge choice. With the on-board LCD or through your camera’s viewfinder, you will know exactly how much runtime remains, down to the minute. Titon smart technology considers and calculates everything being powered, even devices powered by the high-speed USB and P-Tap ports, leaving crews free to focus on the shoot. The batteries are lightweight, reliable and travel- safe. And high-quality cells in a tough and rugged case deliver consistent power to even the most demanding users in temperatures from -20°C to 60°C.
Sony’s IP Live Production showcase will include a range of IP, 4K/HD and HDR-capable products, from servers and XVS series switchers, to system cameras, including the HDC-5500 – the 2/3-inch 4K CMOS global shutter sensors system camera launched at NAB. Content creators are increasingly investing in solutions that provide them with the flexibility and creative tools needed to capture incredible images that engage their audiences. At IBC 2019, Sony will showcase its portfolio of solutions that support every step of the content creation workflow, including the globally recognised PXW-FS5M2, PXW-FS7M2 and PXW-Z280 camcorders. The CineAlta Venice, with its recently announced version 5.0 firmware and currently available version 4.0, will also be on display at IBC. Sony will be exhibiting at stand A10, Hall 13 at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.
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PREV I EW: I BC SHOW | SET- UP
GFM has worked hard to become one of the leading manufacturers of high-end camera support equipment, catering to the needs of the international production community. With great passion, GFM produces its products in its own factory based in Munich. This year, GFM returns to IBC to showcase its simple, yet elegant strap-bracing kit. On its booth (12. A37) you will see the GF-Multi Jib, GFM dollies, the popular GF-Slider System, shock absorbers and many more of its state-of-the-art products.
BLACKMAGIC DESIGN blackmagicdesign.com
Blackmagic Design will showcase the latest updates to its collection of digital film cameras on its booth (7.B45). This includes the new Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and the Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K, which offers 15 stops of dynamic range and can shoot at up to 300fps.
Visitors can also get hands-on with the DaVinci Resolve 16 and play around with new features, including a cut page designed for speed and fast turnaround work such as television commercials and news. This will be demonstrated on the main booth, but visitors can also register for free training at the Blackmagic training booth (5.B23). Blackmagic Design will be covering all aspects of the DaVinci Resolve 16, so the training sessions will be useful for novices and seasoned professionals alike. Registration begins at the start of each day on the main booth and is on a first come, first served basis.
Canon’s IBC booth (12. D60) will feature its latest broadcasting products, including the recently announced Sumire Prime cine lenses – the company’s first prime cine lenses with a PL mount – offering a delicate, velvety nuance when the aperture is wide open – subtly modifying the textural renderings of the human face close up. Visitors will also be able to get their hands on the UHDgc series of portable zoom 4K UHD broadcast lenses, the CJ18ex28B and CJ15ex8.5B; XA50 and XA40. As always, experts will be on hand to answer any questions about all the exciting products on show at the Canon booth. and highly compact 4K camcorders, the XA55/
Aspectra offers a varied range of professional camera accessories by combining distribution brands with a number of products developed in- house. Brands featured on its booth (12.B30) at IBC include Camgear, camRade, PAG and TVLogic. Camgear is in the business of creating high-quality fluid heads and tripod systems and Aspectra will be
showcasing its ‘hit series’ products, including the new Elite series with 3S-Fix Quick Lock tripods. For camRade, Aspectra will introduce new rain covers for Arri, Sony and JVC, and an innovative collection of versatile camera bags called travelMates. TVLogic, manufacturer of high-performance monitors, will be represented with a nice selection of its latest and best field production and multi-format monitors. PAG is the manufacturer of extremely safe broadcast battery ranges. Noteworthy is the new MPL50G Mini PAGlink battery and the introduction of 2A USB modules for PowerHubs (V-Mount and Gold Mount). Finally, two new robust (on-camera) LED lights from the Tristar brand will be showcased on the Aspectra booth.
SEPTEMBER 20 1 9 | DEF I N I T ION 15
SET- UP | PREV I EW: I BC SHOW
FilmLight will showcase its complete colour pipeline on stand 7.A45 – including Baselight One and Two, Baselight Editions for Avid, Nuke and Flame, Daylight and the new Blackboard Classic control panel.
FilmLight is also hosting a free two-day seminar – Colour On Stage – on 14 and 15 September in Room D201. Attendees can participate in demonstrations and discussions with creative professionals at the peak of their craft. To date, the programme highlights confirmed are: • Real-time collaboration on the world’s longest running drama, ITV Studios’ Coronation Street with colourist Stephen Edwards, finishing editor Tom Chittenden and head of post-production David Williams. • Looking to the future: creating colour for Netflix series Black Mirror , including interactive episode, Bandersnatch , with Technicolor’s Alex Gascoigne. • Bollywood: A World of Colour – CV Rao, technical general manager at Hyderabad’s Annapurna Studios, will discuss grading and colour in his local industry. • Joining forces: strengthening VFX and finishing with the BLG workflow – Mathieu Leclercq, head of post-production at Paris’s Mikros Image, joined by colourist Sébastien Mingam and VFX Supervisor Franck Lambertz. • Maintaining the DOP’s creative looks from set to post with French digital imaging technician Karine Feuillard – who worked on the latest Luc Besson film Anna – and FilmLight workflow specialist, Matthieu Straub. www.filmlight.ltd.uk/ibc2019colouronstage
Making its European debut at IBC on stand 12.E65, Litepanels’ new Gemini 1x1 Soft RGBWW panel is an all-in- one, cine-quality LED light that is easy to transport and quick to rig in the studio or on location. Just like its bigger counterpart, the Gemini 2x1, the new 1x1 is a full RGBWW soft panel, able to produce over 16 million colours in addition to true daylight, with full-spectrum colour adjustment in an incredibly versatile, easy-to-control package. Gemini 1x1 Soft is ideal for lighting talent with accurate colour rendition perfect for all skin tones, and users are able to match a broad range of ambient lighting conditions quickly and easily. Gemini 1x1 Soft also provides an extensive choice of control options, with intuitive on-board controls as well as remote control through wired, wireless DMX or Bluetooth. In an instant, users can switch the light from AC power to battery operation, and the small, lightweight power supply makes the LED fast and easy to rig. Weighing just 5.31kg, with a maximum draw of just 200W and flicker-free performance at any frame rate, shutter angle or intensity, the Gemini 1x1 Soft is one of the industry’s most agile lights.
Founded in Santa Monica in 2004 to cater for the needs of the Hollywood community of audio/
video creatives moving from analogue to the fledgling digital world, G-Technology launched its iconic first product – a robust, high-speed, two-drive RAID storage system. An agreement with Apple in 2006 to place G-Technology products in Apple stores led to the start-up brand becoming synonymous with a global creative industry. G-Technology can be found on stand 7.D02 at IBC. Since then, G-Technology has continued to demonstrate its technological leadership, from the world’s first 500GB and 1TB portable hard drives, through to 112TB transportable RAID solutions and some of the fastest portable and desktop SSDs on the market used in the most extreme conditions, from Aaron Lieber’s surf movie Unstoppable , to filming Deadliest Catch . Classic design is timeless, and 15 years later, G-RAID, with its aircraft-grade aluminium casing and instantly recognisable front grille, still retains its clean, premium visual signature. But when it comes to performance, it is unrecognisable. From the 800GB FireWire version of 2004 to the latest 28TB Thunderbolt 3/USB-C version of today, the G-RAID has continued to evolve to match the demands of the creative industry.
MARSHALL ELECTRONICS marshall-usa.com
On its booth (12.D20) at IBC, Marshall Electronics will spotlight the new CV380-CS compact camera, delivering stunning video up to 4K in a remarkably small and lightweight frame. The CV380’s 8.5-megapixel 1/2.5-inch sensor captures true colour video up to 4096x2160p, with support for all HD resolutions. It contains a single full-size 6G (BNC) output with 6G/3G/ HD-SDI capability and a simultaneous HDMI output. Its flexible CS/C lens mount also offers a wide variety of lens options with DC Auto Iris. Remote control is delivered via RS485 (Visca) or built-in OSD menu joystick. And a wide range of convenient settings allows for easy adjustment and matching, including paint (red/blue), white balance, gain control, pedestal (blacks), exposure, gamma and more.
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SET- UP | PREV I EW: I BC SHOW
Arri will be showcasing its latest camera systems and lighting products at a combined stand at Cine Gear (12.F21). The must-see Alexa Mini LF has been making its way around the world and will be on site at the show. The DNA LF lenses, in combination with the Alexa Mini LF, will be another stand highlight. The DNA LF lenses can be customised or tuned to a filmmaker’s personal taste. Winner of the iF Design Award 2019 and also on display, the Signature Prime lenses offer state-of-the-art precision with an organic and emotional quality. Arri Lighting will be presenting Stellar, an intelligent lighting control app for a new level of control. Of course, members of the SkyPanel family will be on display, along with some Daylight fixtures and ballasts. The newest additions to Arri’s Electronic Control System range and Pro Camera Accessories range will be on site, along with the Camera Stabiliser Systems Trinity and Artemis.
QUASAR SCIENCE quasarscience.com
Quasar Science is a company seeking to replace high-watt, high-amperage HMI and incandescent lighting fixtures with more efficient technology. Building off a singular low-profile 200W modular LED engine, the Hammer Series has two models: the four-engine Hammer 800 and the nine-engine Hammer 1800. The tessellated airflow system draws air past each engine, keeping everything cool. Hammers also have individual control of each LED engine for pixelated operation via remote wireless, wired data control or through the onboard control interface, which Quasar has kept intuitive and simple. Working with advanced optical technology, both versions of the light produce high output, with the Hammer 800 clocking in at over 450FC at 3m with the included 60°-wide beam angle lenses.
COOKE OPTICS cookeoptics.com
Cooke Optics (12.D10) invites visitors at IBC to see just what is meant by the ‘Cooke Look’ as it showcases – for the first time in Europe – the new S7/i Full Frame Plus T2 21mm, 65mm and 180mm prime lenses, as well as the new Anamorphic/i SF (Special Flair) zoom lens. Cooke has also announced that it has begun shipping of the Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus T2.3 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm, which will be joined by the 32mm, 135mm and 180mm later this year. The S7/i Full Frame Plus lens range is designed from the ground up to cover the emergent full-frame camera sensors up to the full sensor area (46.31mm image circle). It is an ideal partner for the Red Weapon 8K, Sony Venice and Arri Alexa LF – all three will be featured on the booth with lenses for testing. For those unfamiliar with the Cooke Look, Cooke has curated an online motion gallery at shotoncooke.com (#ShotOnCooke) highlighting the use of Cooke’s acclaimed lens ranges across a variety of production genres from around the world.
SAMYANG OPTICS samyanglensglobal.com
Samyang is exhibiting its full range of XEEN fast prime cinema lenses, as well as launching some exciting new products at this year’s show (12.C71). XEEN professional cinema lenses were launched by Samyang in 2015, guided by feedback from professional directors of photography. Since then, they have achieved worldwide acclaim, being cited by many leading directors and cinematographers such as Joseph Kahn, Harvey Glen and Shane Hurlbut. For IBC, the range has been extended to include eight fast aperture primes, ranging from 14mm to 135mm.
MOTION IMPOSSIBLE motion-impossible.com
Motion Impossible will be showcasing its Agito Modular Dolly System, demonstrating it’s versatility and adaptability. It’s the world’s first modular dolly system. Building on the success of the M-Series, Agito offers multiple configurations to suit filming needs, it’s a Swiss army knife for filmmakers. As a free-roaming dolly system, the Agito can create smooth camera movements up to two metres in height.
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SET- UP | PREV I EW: I BC SHOW
LCA is your one-stop shop for all your film and broadcast lighting and accessories needs, stocking products from a variety of leading brands (12.D39). LiteGear will be showcasing the new LiteMat
Spectrum, with an expanded Kelvin range and the ability to add accent colour through a patented colour mixing process. In keeping with the LiteMat series, the LiteMat Spectrum is thin, lightweight and easy-to-rig, while providing TrueHybrid white light that follows the Planckian locus exactly. The winner of the Cine Gear Lighting Technology for Production Lighting award, the Creamsource SpaceX, will be demonstrated with a number of accessories, including its optic lenses that double the intensity of the light. Plus, the IP65 rated Creamsource Micro Colour will be proving its weather durability. DoPchoice is maintaining its reputation for providing light-shaping tools for the newest fixtures with a Snapgrid for the new Astera Hyperion and Snapbag for LED fresnels and hard lights. Chroma-Q will spotlight the new Space Force onebytwo LED soft light; the Brute Force 6 powerful LED Wendy-light alternative powered by Studio Force II LED battens; and the Vista 3 lighting and media control system.
JVCKENWOOD has announced its new Connected Cam Studio
compact live production and streaming suites, designed for live events. The self-contained control rooms feature a production switcher with four or six IP inputs, which support HD-SDI and HDMI sources. The systems support for NDI and the SRT streaming protocol. With a built-in H.264 encoder, the Connected Cam Studio supports 1080p streaming at up to 10Mbps, with RTMP and MPEG- TS simultaneous output and direct streamlining integration to Facebook Live and more. Output choices include dedicated HD-SDI and HDMI ports, plus an HDMI display port for multi-view or programme monitoring. The system also includes simultaneous ISO recording of all camera, plus users can record the programme output and streaming output. You can visit JVC on booth 12.F31 at IBC.
The Shotover B1 is a six-axis, gyro- stabilised gimbal platform that delivers an unprecedented level of stability, control and versatility in an ultra- compact package that accommodates some of the world’s most advanced cameras and lenses. The system was developed from the ground up, with input from several of the top aerial cinematographers and broadcasters around the world. The imagery from the system does not require any post stabilisation, so it retains the native high resolution it was captured in.
Designed to meet the needs of a wide range of markets, including industrial survey, live broadcast, production and surveillance, the B1 offers unmatched control for capturing intense action in fast-moving and high-pressure environments. Weighing under 18kg with a camera and lens, the system is the most compact aerial camera system developed by Shotover. The lightweight design enables it to be utilised on an extensive range of helicopters, including the Guimbal Cabri G2, Robinson R44 and R66, Bell 206 and 505, Eurocopter AS350 and Cessna fixed-wing aircraft. The B1 can also be mounted on watercraft and ground-based platforms such as cable cams, tracks and rails. Head to stand 11.B49 to find out more.
Cineo Lighting, a NBCUniversal company, is expanding its presence in the UK and Europe to broaden availability of its digital lighting solutions for the motion picture, television and broadcast industries. Cineo is showing its digital lighting solutions at IBC in Hall 12 Stand C64. The full-gamut product line includes the Standard 410, LB800 and Lightblade Edge fixtures. The Standard 410 is a 1x2 soft light with a custom-formulated spectrum, variable from 2700-6500K, as well as a Rec.2020 saturated colour engine. The LB800 is a patented, multi-zone soft light, offering the same spectrum and saturated colour options as the Standard 410 in a 2x4in size, weighing under 25kg. The LightBlade Edge is a modular fixture that delivers the features of larger Cineo fixtures in a low-profile footprint, delivering more output per linear inch than any comparable solution.
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NOTHING BETTER THAN THE REAL THING? MPC’s animation aimed for the most realistic effect; but real filmmaking tools were needed to help this virtual production achieve greatness
WORDS JULI AN M ITCHELL, DISNEY / PICTURES DISNEY
T here was the movie Babe , with real actors, then Disney’s Jungle Book turned the tables and reduced the human count to just one child in a photorealistic jungle world. Now, with The Lion King , we have everything as real as the computer technology can muster circa 2017-2019 and the animals are still talking (and singing). So realistically in fact, that one of the film’s VFX Supervisors mistook a render for a still from Kenya where the crew spent some time referencing the real world before any virtual production started. Where do we go from here? It’s only going to get more realistic. At least when all the real lions have gone, we’ll have a memory of them singing and having fun. For us, the interest is the element that’s been added to the new production of The Lion King , the virtual side, taking keyframe animation and handing it over to the acquisition experts to ‘real’ it up. The term ‘virtual production’ is a catch-all phrase, but this movie is perhaps closest to the true meaning; when it strove for photoreality it knew that cinematography had to be a major animals talking with animated mouths. There was Avatar, with a few motion- captured aliens mixing it with real
part of the capture, and that people who shoot the real world for a living had to be involved. MARCH OF THE 600 Elliot Newman is a VFX Supervisor at MPC in London who had the job of animating The Lion King . After spending two years of his life working on the movie, he was in the mood for reflecting on this huge endeavour. “You do end up in a bubble and you can’t see it any more, but now is a good time to look back at how it was done. For instance, the virtual production aspect was something that was totally new to us but the scale of it is impressive. There were no plates, it was all CG so the closest thing to it was The Jungle Book – but it was still a different beast really. There were practices that we had refined since then; like how we broke down the sequences within the company, how review iterations worked and how we presented the work back to Disney.” 15 years ago MPC was just a couple of floors; for The Lion King , more than 600 people touched the movie for the company at some point. “There were plenty of people coming in and out while the movie was in production depending on what skills
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Everything we do is about how you mimic reality, photography and real light
IMAGES Young Simba in The Lion King: all stills © Disney
they had. The movie was also delivered in IMAX and in stereo so there were more dimensions to organise. It was creatively and technically challenging.” The mainstream press has tried commonplace. But Newman thinks that the striving for this level of reality opens new doors to the movie making industry. “Everything we do is about how you mimic reality, photography and real light. We decided to have a film crew bring their knowledge of reality to the fore, if you like. Caleb Deschanel was our DOP and even though he was on a virtual stage with to encapsulate what the movie is, and photorealistic is a term that is
VR goggles and a virtual camera with a monitor on it being tracked in real time, he could have easily done near impossible camera moves because he could, he had no constraints as he didn’t need to figure out how to make a crane big enough or a platform that was high enough so he could shoot where he wanted to. “But he wouldn’t do it for the sake of it and always grounded himself in reality; as in, if you couldn’t have achieved that shot in real life, you shouldn’t do it in the virtual world. What we’re trying to achieve here is something that makes you think you’re looking at a real photograph. That’s often a pitfall with visual effects and computer animation; it’s too easy to do the impossible. Things become overworked very quickly, there’s a concept that ‘more is better’ but something that director Jon Favreau was often reminding us about is that actually when you look at real photography, sometimes it is boring, sometimes you haven’t got the perfect sky, sometimes the light isn’t ideal on the day but you just have to shoot. If you’re running out of light you have to increase your ASA perhaps as you have a window to capture something, especially when you’re on location. “In CG there’s this beautification pass that happens and immediately you get taken out of the experience and it potentially breaks your reality. I think what’s special about this movie is that yes, there’s a lot of design and compositional considerations on a shot-by-shot basis; we certainly made sure that when you’re looking at the images they look pleasing. We didn’t want people
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walking away thinking, ‘that was an ugly shot’. We certainly made sure that there was a craft to the shots, not just scientifically going with values that made sense. “We kept everything as grounded in reality as possible. For instance, if Simba is walking into a cave, behind him in the savannah it would probably be bright sunlight and be very blown out. So you’re struggling to expose for the interior of the cave. We could have thrown lots of lights into the cave and added extra bounce and kicker lights with maybe rim lights around everything, and exposed it all that so it was compensating for the background so it didn’t blow out. But as soon as you do that you start entering the fantasy realm again and I think that’s part of why the movie looks the way it looks. Yes, it’s pretty but it’s not pushed, it doesn’t have that ‘overworked’ look.” It’s to the VFX world’s great credit that this reach for photorealism saw them also reaching out to the cinematography world. Deschanel actually shot the movie with his hands on the camera and with all the nuances that his experience has given him, in fact Newman thinks that this marriage of CG and traditional acquisition might have created a new genre. “There is a new genre that potentially will come out of this which is quite exciting for us. This is brand new technology and since The Lion King the technology we’re using for the virtual shoots has evolved even more. We’re already on a completely new revision of those tools and more and more filmmakers are interested in using them and it’s definitely exciting. Even if you have a project that you want to shoot on a plate and add a visual effect character
Jon Favreau has said that The Lion King could have been completed without the input from a film crew
to it, these tools will help you visualise those things as opposed to visual effects just being considered a post process.” PROCESS TOO FAR? Director Jon Favreau has said that The Lion King could have been completed without the input from a film crew, indeed it would have been cheaper to go that way. But what would be the difference between an all-VFX crew and a traditional filmmaking crew being involved? Luckily as the film
sails past the half-a-billion-dollar mark in ticket sales it’s not a pressing question. “The virtual production helps introduce very experienced filmmakers to the process rather than seeing all this in an animated movie,” Newman says. “You can bring a crew in that’s experienced at filmmaking and introduce them to a new set of tools and actually shoot the movie. It’s going to be pre-visualised in a real-time game engine and you will be able to use a camera and put some lights in as if you’re there on
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Once the camera shoot was completed and the voice performances recorded, the production shifted to the animation phase. For animation supervisor Andrew Jones, it was all about improving upon the past. “In terms of realism, I think this is a big step forward,” he says. “We achieved a certain level that I was quite happy with in The Jungle Book – but we wanted to push it even further in The Lion King . We wanted the animals more believable. We wanted to take a really beautiful story that everybody already loves and tell it in a new, unique way. It feels a bit more documentary style because you’re not anticipating everything the characters are going to do or possibly could do.” Once character designs were approved, artists from MPC built each character within the computer, paying close attention to anatomy, proper proportions, fur or feathers – applying textures and colour, shading eyes and ensuring their movement was authentic to their real-life counterparts. New software tools were developed by MPC R&D teams of more than 200 software engineers to better simulate muscles, skin and fur.
ABOVE Before in Unity and after with a final rendering by MPC London
location, you’re just using different tools. What’s special about the virtual production side is that you’re not taking away the filmmaking process from the filmmakers, it’s just using different techniques. It really only takes a day or two to adapt to these new tools so you don’t have to know too much about VFX as you’re using familiar gear and terms. “Real-time engines will get more capable and what you’re seeing through your view port will become more realistic,” he continues. “I know Deschanel adapted to it fairly quickly mainly as the tools are
designed around what you need. You can bring in your own gear and we will track it, if you’ve got a certain focus pull that you like to use bring it in, if you’ve got a special fluid head bring it in and we’ll encode it so we can capture it. A lot of the filmmakers respond to that because we’re here to offer a service and to help people make their films, we don’t want to be people who take the work away from you, it’s a collaboration. To do VFX properly it has to be involved from the start, it’s not just about people being in dark rooms and adding stuff at the end.”
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MODELLED CAMERAS As in most things in the professional media world, audio got there first. Decades ago real instruments were modelled through samplers like Fairlight and now are commonplace in the industry and even in apps on your smartphone. Virtual production is now doing the same for the real instruments of our industry. Look on IMDb and it will say that The Lion King used the Arri Alexa 65 to shoot the movie; obviously it didn’t, but the crew did take the cameras to Kenya to shoot reference shots that they could emulate for the animation. “There was a location shoot in Kenya that Deschanel went on,” says Newman. “This gave us some Deschanel photography we could all look at so we could learn his sensibilities and style – how does he like shooting things, what lens choices does it have? But it was also a great Alexa 65 reference for us, very rich and detailed and meant for us to try and capture the essence of the plates we got from it. “From that we said that we would just base the movie on that camera so the virtual camera that Deschanel was operating was based around the same Alexa 65 sensor with the same measurements, so we knew that
we had to match the same field of view as the camera had achieved with a particular lens. In post-production we would also simulate the correct depth-of-field, it might be a T2.8 shot so that would be the depth- of-field on that virtual lens for instance. “We also did a calibration shoot of the Alexa 65 as well so we mapped its noise characteristics, dynamic range, the quality of the lenses, bokeh and so on. Even though it was rendered we did our best to make it feel it was shot on a 65 which was our reference camera.” The team also went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida and the instruction from director Favreau was not to put any animals into a scanning or a photo booth. “He never wanted that to be a part of the making of this movie; everything we captured from real life we did from a distance with long lenses. We were able to take a slightly more technical approach with the Animal Kingdom because it’s obviously a park where we had safe distances to set up multiple cameras with multiple vantage points to study the animals. It’s always better to work from real references and it’s always more successful as there are so many semi-nuances available in real life.
We would base the movie around the Arri Alexa 65 camera sensor so we knew we had to match it
600 Number of people who worked on the movie at MPC London 1 BILLION Worldwide ticket receipts two weeks after release
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We had a call sheet. We had an AD. We had a DOP who worked wheels
brought the entire film into VR and let our live-action crew actually set up real camera equipment.” VFX Supervisor Rob Legato says the unique approach is groundbreaking. “People are studying animal reference and the animators breathing their life into these digital rigs. So, we’re taking an antiseptic digital medium and telling one of the most emotional stories that we have in our tradition using these tools. That dichotomy and underlying tension creates a lot of creative opportunities. This is as close to practical filmmaking as you get with an animated film.” Filmmakers kicked off production with a pre-visualisation (pre-viz) phase commonly used in animated filmmaking. Animation supervisor Andrew Jones and the team of artists created simplified animated sequences so that it could run in real time in VR. These early versions of environments and characters became part of the Unity gaming system. Favreau says, “Instead of watching it play on the computer screen, we could go into the environment and stand next to an animated lion.”
environment. We had food trucks pull up for the crew out front, or I would be cooking upstairs.” Producer Karen Gilchrist says that the production itself mirrored live-action filmmaking. “It very much felt like a traditional film,” she says. “We had a call sheet. We had an AD. We had a DOP who worked wheels. We had a dolly. We had a Steadicam. Even though the art and the production design were driven by a video- game engine, we had an art department and a script supervisor. We had video playback. Other than not having to wake up at five in the morning and drive to a new location or worry about the weather, it very much felt like a live-action set.” VIRTUAL PRODUCTION Everything that is being seen on screen was created in the computer, but it is anything but traditional animation. Favreau explains, “Where we departed from animation – beyond the photoreal look – was, at the point when you would normally operate the cameras in layout on a computer, we stopped the process and
ABOVE Optitrack cameras were used to help track the cinematographer’s moves
Like weight distribution, general animal behaviour, how much they flick their ears, how alive they seem in terms of each animal’s connection to the others, that kind of thing.” PRODUCTION STARTS Following the team’s extensive research trip, Favreau set up production of The Lion King inside an unmarked, purpose-built facility in Playa Vista, California, an area that has been recently nicknamed Silicon Beach for its gaming and high-tech industry. The facility was large enough to house everything under one roof, including a virtual-reality volume. With two state-of-the-art screening rooms, dubbed the Simba and Nala theatres, the Los Angeles team was able to interact in real time with the MPC Film team in London to collaborate on animation review and visual effects. Says Favreau, “On The Jungle Book , I was bouncing around to different facilities, and it was difficult. So, we concentrated everything and used the technology as a foundation to allow us the freedom to more efficiently use our time and be in closer contact with people that we collaborated with in other locations. That is also where we had our blackbox theatre to record our performances in the same room we used as our volume, where we scouted and shot the film. We had different VR systems and a dozen different VR stations around the bullpen. We wanted to make it feel more like a tech company than a movie studio, so we created a campus
BELOW The virtual camera system that replicates camera moves in virtual space
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