MAKING MOVIES WHEN YOU’RE SKINT The shoestring-budget film that’s coming to Netflix
Wireless audio, lenses, lights and lots more BOX-FRESH GEAR TESTED
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All you need to know about these crucial lens accessories FILTRATION INVESTIGATION OPTICAL EXTRAS
FPV drone that hovers ALSO INSIDE...
FULL TEST OF SONY’S FX30 ENTRY-LEVEL CINE CAM PLUS
4K ZV-1F is a vlogger’s delight C2C for Red and Fujifilm Tamron zooms
HOW THE LATEST CROP OF CROSSOVER CAMERAS ARE TAKING OVER
The lasting brilliance of the Ursa Mini Pro G2 BLACKMAGIC BEST BUY RATED Small monitors go under the microscope SCREEN STARS BUYERS’ GUIDE
FOR THE SILVER SCREEN The new
Sony FX30, complete with Super 35 sensor, promises seriously cinematic footage
The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
Editor in chief Adam Duckworth Deputy chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editors Harriet Williams, Ben Gawne Editorial director Roger Payne EDITORIAL ADVERTISING Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 email@example.com Senior sales executive Hannah Gurney 01223 499463 firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN Design director Andy Jennings Design manager Alan Gray Senior designer Lucy Woolcomb Middleweight designer Emily Lancaster Designer and ad production Man-Wai Wong Junior designers Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman & Kieran Bitten PUBLISHING Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck MEDIA SUPPORTERS AND PARTNERS OF:
We seem to be on the verge of the great resurgence in Super 35 sensors – the traditional ‘large’ sensor size, before full-frame caught everyone’s imagination. I have to admit, I have always been a disciple of ‘the bigger, the better’ when it comes to sensors. Having a background in stills, even in the dark ages of darkrooms and film, bigger was better. Medium format – 6x6cm, 6x7cm or even 6x4.5cm – was preferable to 35mm, as it offered finer detail and the unique look of longer-focal-length lenses. In the same way, 5x4in or 10x8in plate cameras were even better – but, of course, were also monsters! As grain in film got finer, 35mm took over as the standard size – a happy medium. When stills cameras went digital, the same rules applied, as 6x4.5cm medium format machines outperformed full-frame 35mm and APS-C – or Super 35, if you prefer. But now, as sensors have improved, 35mm is pretty much the accepted gold standard. In filmmaking, Super 35 has long been the established ‘large’ sensor size. Although, full-frame sensors from DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have led the charge to bigger sensors. Now, many cinema cameras have these large options. All for the same reasons as decades ago – higher resolution, lower ‘grain’ or noise and a unique look. While the latest blockbuster might be shot on large sensors, it will be projected on massive movie theatre screens. You don’t need anything that big, even for large-screen TVs and computer monitors to watch YouTube. In recent months, we have seen brand-new Super 35s launched from Fujifilm with the X-H2S and X-H2, plus Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. Even the Arri Alexa 35 uses a Super 35 sensor. The Red Komodo 6K is also a dream machine. And now Sony boasts the FX30, a sibling of the full-frame FX3 but with a new Super 35 sensor. I’ve had one for a few months and put it through its paces. Like every other camera tested at Pro Moviemaker , we spend a long time pixel-peeping at results to see how it performs. The verdict – it’s simply staggering. Apart from the Arri, all these choices are cheaper than full-frame rivals, with smaller and more affordable lenses. So, if you’re in the market for a new camera, don’t write off Super 35. It has a lot of advantages that might just suit your work.
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Pro Moviemaker 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. ISSN number: 2045-3892. Pro Moviemaker is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Pro Moviemaker 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 are street prices. In sterling they include VAT (unless otherwise stated), but US dollar prices are without local sales taxes. Prices are where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
ADAM DUCKWORTH, EDITOR IN CHIEF
The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
NOVEMBER 2022 CONTENTS
AGENDA 6 UP, UP AND WAHEY!
DJI unveils the FPV drone that even the inexperienced can fly, along with an action camera to rival the latest GoPro. Plus, Sony shows its new vlogging camera and Sonnet unveils pro solutions for Apple Mac Studio. 9 TAMRON ZOOMS IN The indie lens maker debuts two optics for mirrorless filmmakers, Panasonic adds some free features to its award-winning GH6 and we explain how you can rent out stunning locations by the hour in the UK. 10 PRO AUDIO TECH YOU CAN AFFORD Sony’s C-80 microphone borrows technology from a broadcast-standard mic, but at a tenth of the cost. Also see the bigger CFexpress Type A cards and a cool solution to hauling large C-stands around. 12 NAIL THOSE COLOURS FIRST TIME Calibrite has a passport to accurate hues for video and stills, ProRes Raw comes to the latest Sony FX30 and PTZ Cinema Line cameras – and famous lens brand Cooke opens two new facilities. 14 FUJIFILM AND RED CAMERA TO CLOUD How owners of the X-H2S and V-Raptor will be able to upload to Frame.io direct from the camera very soon. Plus, Nikon takes on video pirates and we look at the camera control app that’s a costly buy.
ACADEMY 18 FILMMAKING WHEN YOU’RE SKINT
Meet the talented young creative who doesn’t let a lack of money prevent him making films good enough for the seal of approval from big streaming companies. 26 ROUND TABLE: THE GODS OF LIGHT SPEAK We get experts from the world of lighting to talk about the latest kit, what the future might bring and how filmmakers should spend wisely on new gear in this fast-changing market.
HYBRID SPECIAL 31 THE NEW WAY OF SHOOTING
They’re not ‘real’ cinema cameras and not truly standard mirrorless models. We look at the rapidly expanding range of hybrid – or crossover – cameras and put the new Sony FX30 to the Pro Moviemaker test.
The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
GEAR 48 FILTERS DEMYSTIFIED
We take a look at optical filters and all the accessories you need. From variable NDs to streak cinema filters and even some made from fabric – here’s how to make your next production look even better. 54 USED FOCUS: BLACKMAGIC URSA MINI There are several versions of this Super 35 cine camera, but we look at the Pro model – a steal as a second-hand buy. From the G2 to the 12K, we reveal which is the best to splash out on. 60 MINI TESTS: KIT USED AND RATED We try out a pair of inexpensive monitors from Desview, super-compact dual wireless mic system from Hollyland, Sony zoom lens, Beachtek audio adapter, Libec tripod and even more! 68 BUYERS’ GUIDE: ON-CAMERA MONITORS Explore some of the best on-camera monitor/recorders at a huge range of prices and specs, from basic and budget to fully connected cloud devices that record in Raw. Check them out!
Superfast hover craft!
4K/60p or 2.7K/120p with an f/2.8 ultra wide-angle optic that has a viewing angle of up to 155°. Flight time can go to 18 minutes per charge. The DJI Motion Controller steers the drone intuitively according to the movement of your hand, or you can use DJI’s FPV Remote Controller 2 and the DJI FPV Goggles V2. This video headset gives a clear FPV image thanks to a Micro-OLED screen with adjustable dioptres. The Avata and Goggles 2 connect with a delay of about 30ms, and will work until they’re 2km/1.25 miles from each other. The drone has 20GB of internal storage space onboard, as well as a microSD card slot. It costs £499/$629 for the drone itself, but you’ll need to already have a DJI FPV controller. A combo kit is £1229/$1388 and includes the Goggles 2 plus the new Motion Controller. dji.com
If you want to shoot from the unique perspective of a first-person-view drone but the technicalities of learning to fly one have put you off, DJI has the Avata: the first consumer drone that will hover rather than crashing when you make a mistake. While normal drones hover when controls aren’t being used, conventional FPV drones have to keep moving forward or else they’ll fall out of the sky. They’re tough to master and easy to damage. The Avata is made to be used in combination with the new DJI Goggles 2 and Motion Controller, which give the performance and agility of an FPV drone combined with easy in-flight handling. This drone has a compact body built for both speed and agility, weighing only 410g/0.9lb with integrated propeller guards for safety. Its stabilised camera has a 1/1.7in CMOS sensor with 48 megapixels, shooting in
HorizonSteady helps eliminate shake and even horizontally corrects tilt. That means footage can stay horizontally level, creating the effect of a perfect horizon without post-production. HorizonBalancing corrects the tilt horizontally within ±45° and supports 4K/60p. A middle ground between RockSteady and HorizonSteady, it’s ideal when prioritising a smooth, 4K picture in a dynamic environment. The Osmo Action 3 is the first action camera with dual touchscreens. For audio, three-mic stereo recording reduces wind noise and boosts fidelity, and Wi-Fi live streaming supports up to 1080p/30fps, plus pausing recording during the stream. UAC/UVC webcam support also offers high-quality video and audio for conference calls and live streams.
Drone giant DJI continues to do battle with action-camera rival GoPro, releasing the Osmo Action 3. This features the new 1770mAh Extreme Battery that lets the camera record for up to 160 minutes. It can handle temperatures as low as -20°C/ -4°F and can charge from flat to full in 50 minutes thanks to fast-charging support. The DJI has a 1/1.7in sensor, shooting in 4K/120p and providing a 155° super-wide field of view. There’s also an improved heat management system enabling continuous 4K/60p recording until the battery runs out of power. D-Cinelike colour mode is available in video, slow motion and time-lapse. This £309/$329 camera has three electronic stabilisation configurations. RockSteady 3.0 eliminates shake in all directions and works up to 4K/120p.
BACK TO THE FUTURE The new Action 3 camera abandons the modular design of the Action 2 for a conventional look
PRO SOLUTIONS FOR MAC STUDIOS
Apple Mac Studio computers are getting a major foothold in indie production companies around the globe, since they’re powerful, affordable and provide a lot of ports for connecting peripherals. But the lack of internal expansion card slots found in tower desktop computers limits connectivity, so many high- end users want them in existing rack systems instead. Sonnet’s RackMac Studio and xMac Studio enclosures address these issues while prioritising good airflow. Both rack mounts are rugged, with rubber cushions to securely hold the computer in place during transport. Sonnet’s enclosures allow Macs to be installed without tools, with space for Thunderbolt or USB SSDs.
The £540/$499 RackMac Studio is a shallow enclosure for up to two Mac Studio computers, ideal for installing in small travel racks. The deeper £670/$550 xMac Studio holds a single computer plus a Thunderbolt to PCIe card expansion module. Both systems fit standard 19in racks. Also available is the £1980/$1650 xMac Studio Echo. This comes with your choice of Sonnet Echo I or Echo III expansion modules, offering additional connections. sonnettech.com
GOPRO VERSUS DJI GoPro launched three new action cams the same day DJI revealed the Action 3. The flagship is the Hero 11 Black, which is a bit bigger and heavier than the Osmo. And while DJI’s camera can be submerged up to 16m without a case, the GoPro only manages ten. The £400/$449 GoPro can record at 5.3K/60p and take 27-megapixel photos, versus the DJI’s 4K/120p with 12-megapixel stills. But it does have the upper hand for most video, shooting 240fps at 2.7K and the extremely wide SuperView in 4K/120p. It also records in 10-bit, rather than 8 like the DJI.
Sony’s new pocket-sized ZV-1F is a fixed-focal-length version of the ZV-1, and the company’s new entry-level camera for content creators. It uses the same 13.2x8.8mm 20-megapixel sensor, but with a wide-angle 20mm-equivalent f/2 prime lens rather than the 24-70mm zoom on the ZV-1. Like the ZV-1 though, it can shoot in 4K/30p. When used with digital image stabilisation there’s a 1.23x crop, so the focal length becomes equivalent to a 25mm lens in full-frame format. This £549/$499 camera uses contrast-detection autofocus and shoots in 8-bit 4:2:0. It has lots of features for vloggers, like a soft skin effect that reduces wrinkles, and face priority AF that automatically adjusts exposure to focus on faces. A directional three-capsule mic and windscreen provide clear voice recording and reduced noise in wind, while the bokeh switch button allows users to quickly enable true optical bokeh for stylised shots. There’s even a product showcase setting for shooting videos of products for reviews. The ZV-1F can transfer footage over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with Sony’s smartphone app, and the camera may function as a high-performance webcam when connected up via USB. The optional wireless remote commander and grip can control zoom, recording and more – and expands into a handy mini tripod. sony.com SONY STAYS FIXED ON VLOGGING
Long and short zoom double
Tamron has unveiled two zoom lenses at different ends of the market; one super- wide and one super-long. The 20-40mm f/2.8 Di III VXD fits Sony E-mount full- frame cameras, while the 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is an ultra-telephoto Fujifilm APS-C cameras, next to the 17- 70mm f/2.8 and 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3. The all-new £1400/$1499 150-500mm lens is based on the Sony FE-mount version, and covers a full-frame equivalent focal length range of 225-750mm on an APS-C camera like the Fujifilm X-H2S. It’s equipped with Tamron’s VXD linear motor focus mechanism and vibration compensation mechanism. The £880/$699 20-40mm f/2.8 is a fast-aperture, ultra-wide to standard zoom – and is the smallest and lightest in its class at just 86.5mm/3.4in long and 365g/0.8lb in weight. This lens also uses the VXD AF system zoom lens for Fujifilm X Mount. This is the brand’s third lens for and can focus as close as 17cm/6.7in, making use of 12 elements in 11 groups with four LD (low dispersion), two GM
cameras, with a moisture-resistant construction and fluorine coating on the front lens element. This lens is compatible with most Sony functions, including Fast
(glass-moulded aspherical) and a single hybrid aspherical element. It’s also compatible with Tamron Lens Utility software for firmware updates. The zoom has a 67mm filter size, the same as most Tamron lenses for mirrorless
Hybrid AF and Eye AF. transcontinenta.co.uk
LOCATION SOLUTION From a colourful creative’s flat in Crystal Palace to a Victorian period pad, airy lofts and stylish houses to storefronts, tree houses and studios – Peerspace offers affordable hourly rental of more than 1000 locations in the UK, primarily in London and Manchester. It’s ideal for small indie filmmakers on a budget or documentary makers who want a cool place to shoot. Peerspace has more than 30,000 spaces to rent worldwide and you can check out the locations and prices online. Some prices are as low as £50 an hour. peerspace.com/uk
LUMIX UNLEASHES SSD RECORDING Panasonic’s award-winning Lumix GH6 now supports direct recording and playback of video using an external SSD connected via USB – thanks to a new free firmware upgrade. Firmware version 2.2 enables recording of Apple ProRes 422 HQ or 4:2:2 10-bit All-Intra directly onto an SSD drive with maximum 2TB capacity. Files can then be transferred via USB to speed up the post-production process. panasonic.com
Flagship tech for Sony mic
STANDS DELIVERED C-stands finally have their own custom carriers with this brand-new Matthews Shoulder Kitbag. Hold two fixed- or turtle-based stands in 20in or 40in sizes. With ABS honeycomb as well as high-density, closed-cell EVA foam padding, there’s a water-resistant, ballistic nylon exterior that unzips butterfly-style for ease of access. Dividers separate the stands and there are magnetic grip handles. msegrip.com
in low noise and clear sound by suppressing boomy low frequencies. The large-diaphragm condenser has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, with dynamic range of more than 125.5dB. It also has a -10dB pad and handles SPLs up to 138dB. With a cardioid polar pattern, audio is focused at the area around the mic, reducing unwanted sound from the rear and sides. A high-pass filter is onboard, in order to help reduce low-end rumbles, while a suspension shock mount is included to isolate the mic from vibrations and handling noise. Additionally, a carrying case will come supplied.
Sony’s new C-80 is a unidirectional condenser microphone ideal for voice recording, vlogging and podcasting. It inherits tech from the industry-standard C-800G and C-100 microphones, but at a much more affordable price. The £500/$500 C-80 uses the capsule derived from the £1200/$1050 C-100 and the two- metal body construction from the C-800G – which costs a staggering £11,550/$10,700. A dual diaphragm configuration suppresses sound changes when the mic is placed very close to the talent, and Sony’s noise elimination construction developed for the C-800G and C-100 results
KIND-HEARTED MIDWICH EASES THE BURDEN One of Britain’s major video equipment distributors has launched a cost-of-living package aimed at supporting its team of over 350 in the face of escalating inflation. Midwich, which oversees distribution of products like Atomos and Samyang, has put together a package for every employee – who already benefit from a profit-share scheme and free shares. New measures include fuel and supermarket vouchers, plus free lunches, drinks and snacks over at the onsite cafe. There’s free food, toiletries and cleaning products to take home, plus firewood and family treat bags containing sweets, hot chocolate and popcorn. Any items not used by staff will be given to a local food bank. midwichgroupplc.com
CFEXPRESS CARDS GO SUPERSIZE
Compact CFexpress Type A memory cards for latest- generation Sony mirrorless and cinema cameras are now available in bigger sizes. The 320GB version will cost £630/$650, while the mighty 640GB card is £1200/$1250. Maximum write speeds go to 700MB/s, with Sony’s Video Performance Guarantee VPG400, sustained read speeds of up to 800MB/s and 4K/120p high-bit-rate video shooting. The cards are part of Sony’s Tough range, so have IP57 rating for dust and water resistance. sony.com
Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Duo is a colour correction tool for both photo and video. It has four combined targets, with the ColorChecker 24 Patch Classic for custom profiles, a white-balance target for custom in-camera white-balance and two video targets for in-camera or post-production. The £202/$199 ColorChecker Passport Duo not only helps get colours right for one device, but can even match up those with different sensor technologies. With four targets, a Lightroom plug-in, camera calibration and compatibility with most editing software, the ColorChecker Passport Duo is ideal for hybrid stills and video shooters. There’s a video colour target which includes four rows of colour chips, and a three-step greyscale target provides white, 40IRE grey and high-gloss black. The 24 Patch Classic target combined with camera calibration software produces custom DNG and ICC profiles of a camera, so is ideal for stills shooters. This indispensable and pocket-sized tool also comes packed with a rugged 125x90mm/5x4in case. calibrite.com Passport to true colours
COOKE UPS ITS GLOBAL GAME
process, with a further six in the glass production group. Cooke’s creative centre in China has an in-house studio, meeting rooms and a lounge area for events. This is the second international Cooke facility to open in recent months, following the launch of the Burbank facility at Los Angeles, US in July. cookeoptics.com
Top British lens maker Cooke has invested in two new facilities and taken on more staff to support its ongoing global growth. There’s a new production facility in the UK called Crest Rise, which focuses on S8/i FF lens manufacture, while Beijing Creative Centre provides support for Asia. The new Crest Rise factory is near the existing factory in Leicester, to satisfy demand for the new S8/i FF T1.4 range. These lenses are among the fastest available for full-frame cameras, smaller and lighter than contemporary Cooke lenses, but still giving the ‘Cooke Look’. Digital optics require a more modern production facility, but Cooke is careful not to lose the hand-built craftsmanship for which it’s known. An additional 12 staff have been hired for the assembly
PRORES RAW FOR NEW SONY DUO ProRes Raw recording has come to Sony’s Cinema Line PTZ and FX30 cameras when employed with a compatible Atomos monitor/recorder via a free firmware upgrade. The PTZ can record up to 4K ProRes Raw at 120fps over SDI, and the FX30 shoots 16-bit 4.7K at 59.94fps over HDMI. There are now 46 cameras that can film ProRes Raw and Atomos aims to make it 50 before the end of January. atomos.com
It’s not quite the most expensive purchase on the Apple App Store, but the new Red Control Pro app still costs a whopping £450/$500. This gives advanced control over the Komodo and V-Raptor. The Pro app offers native iPad support, multicamera control, FTP file access and advanced settings for LUTs, among other functions. It has also been completely redesigned for larger computer screens and monitoring live streams from several devices simultaneously. The app can be installed as a native version on MacOS, which includes even more options such as clip auto- download and detachable or resizeable windows. APPY SHOPPER!
Fujifilm and Red go camera to cloud direct
based Raw workflows. It means high- budget productions can deliver original camera files directly to the post house, and virtual productions can send directly to the VFX house while footage is being shot. And it means Raw video and audio files can be synced, colour corrected and transcoded in the cloud via Frame.io’s integration with Colorfront. The footage will be packed full of metadata in order to simplify workflows, since it includes information such as a custom LUT and a WAV audio file. It will be possible to shoot in 8K Raw with a frame-accurate ProRes proxy. Then upload the Raw, the proxy or both for instant use remotely. The announcement was part of the Adobe Max conference in LA, where Apple also revealed that its new iPad Pro will be able to run DaVinci Resolve and record in ProRes from its internal camera. red.com fujifilm-x.com
Fujifilm’s X-H2S and Red’s V-Raptor will soon have built-in camera-to-cloud integration with Adobe Frame.io software. The X-H2S will be the first digital stills camera to natively integrate with Frame.io Camera to Cloud, but only when paired with the FT-XH File Transmitter handgrip, which is needed to make an internet connection. It will upload both ProRes and proxy video files to Frame.io, so editing can begin immediately without ever having to remove a card from the device. The firmware update is due in spring. Red’s V-Raptor cameras have been camera-to-cloud enabled through use of the Teradek Cube 655 unit. With this new innovation available in late 2022, the cameras will be able to upload 8K Redcode Raw files directly to the cloud without any extras needed. This requires access to high-bandwidth wireless or Ethernet networking, but it’s the next step toward the future of cloud-
LARGE-SENSOR STUDIO CAM The new AK-PLV100GJ 4K has a Super 35 5.7K MOS sensor and PL lens mount inherited from the Varicam cine camera, as Panasonic brings the shallow depth-of-field look to its studio cameras. It’s designed for IP-based workflows and features SMPTE ST 2110 compatibility to allow an easier connection to the Kairos streaming platform. IP-based live production is possible with just the device, doing away with the need for complicated systems. It can also output 12G-SDI signals directly, for maximum flexibility. No price has yet been announced. panasonic.com
NIKON AIMS TO SINK VIDEO PIRATES Nikon showcased the Z 9 full-frame mirrorless at the Adobe Max event, highlighting a security feature created in collaboration with the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI), to counter plagiarism and copyright infringement. The CAI is leading a global effort to promote
issues. Nikon is the first camera manufacturer to join the CAI and C2PA (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity) in protecting the rights of content creators. By attaching information to include photographic provenance at the source, Nikon is hoping to help tackle unauthorised use. nikon.co.uk
the adoption of secure attribution data for digital content to tackle the rise of copyright
ZEISS ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE World
lightweight champion! The ZEISS LWZ.3 zoom delivers a knockout
punch, taking top honours in our Pro Moviemaker Gear of the Year Awards
I f you are serious about filmmaking, demand a lot out of your kit and want it to not only last for a very long time but deliver stunning quality, legendary lens brand ZEISS should be on your radar. From sublime Supreme, Master and Ultra Primes, to the incredible Master Anamorphics and award-winning CP.3 Compact Primes, these are the lenses most likely to be coveted by creative cinematographers in the know. Not every shoot is perfect for a prime lens, with its ultra-fast wide aperture. Sometimes you need the convenience of fast focal length changes, for quick- moving jobs or dolly shots you can only achieve with a zoom, for example. Perhaps the budget won’t stretch to a full set of primes, but you still demand the sort of image quality expected from a premium prime lens. That’s why ZEISS offers the LWZ.3 21- 100mm T2.9-3.9 T*, with the renowned image quality, handling and ergonomics of a true cinema-style zoom lens – but one that works as an ideal all-rounder, covering most shooting situations. And as it’s available to fit Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, PL and Micro Four Thirds cameras, it’s one of the most versatile parfocal cine zooms you can buy at any price. Best of all, ZEISS supplies a range of mounts that filmmakers can easily change to suit different machines. That really does future-proof your investment, since any
camera purchases will be accommodated both easily and cheaply. And it comes with shims to perfectly set up the lens to your device, like many very high-end cinema lenses do. Combined with its low 2kg/4.4lb weight that’s ideal for compact Super 35 cinema cameras, it’s fast gaining a reputation as a true hero lens. That’s why readers of Pro Moviemaker voted it zoom lens of the year 2022 in our prestigious awards. Cine lens advantage The handling benefits of a real cinema lens include consistent T stops, long- throw focusing and zoom rings, plus de-clicked iris rings. Of course, a zoom can replace a set of primes when you can’t carry a bagful of lenses around, else they would slow you down. A ZEISS zoom offers the advantage of more precise framing, so there’s no time wasted changing lenses between shots. Compared to DSLR and mirrorless- type AF zooms, the ZEISS cine zoom is designed to minimise focus breathing and zoom shift – meaning you can do large focus pulls or zoom in during shooting, without having to stop and reframe. Not to mention, the tactile feel of the focus ring gives instant changes. There’s none of the lag that you’ll often find with electronically controlled optics. As a true parfocal cinema lens, the focusing lens group and zooming lens group are kept separate. When you zoom
“That’s why ZEISS ZEISS offers the LWZ.3, with offers the LWZ.3, with renowned image quality, handling and ergonomics of a true cinema-style zoom lens”
UNDISPUTED CHAMP The ZEISS Lightweight Zoom is a clear winner, defeating all-comers in the zoom lens class
ZEISS ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE
SPECIFICATIONS Focal length: 21-100mm, parfocal Mount: Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, PL, Micro Four Thirds Image coverage: Super 35 Horizontal angle of view (Super 35): 61-14° Aperture range: T2.9-22 Iris blades: 11 Rotation angle of focus ring: 294°
Aperture rotation angle: 48° Zoom rotation angle: 100° Construction: 22 elements in 18 groups Minimum focus: 0.8m/32in Dimensions (lxd): 226x114mm/8.9x4.49in Weight: 2kg/4.4lb
ROCKY II When you’re on location and need to react quickly, nothing comes close to the speed and flexibility of a rugged ZEISS zoom lens. Optical quality and colour rendition are simply stunning, too
know-how in a slighter, lighter package to match the more slimmed-down cameras of today. One small compromise is the variable maximum aperture. At the wide end it’s a T2.9, but at the long end it loses a little less than a stop – so it’s rated T3.9. ZEISS engineered this gradient T stop for how the lens gets darker in a very controlled way, with a linear transition and no sudden drop-off in exposure. The lens is built with a splash-proof body to fend off the worst. And the zoom, iris and focus rings are all naturally placed for handheld work. The fixed, standard-sized gear positions of the control rings are ideal for follow-focus rigs, and can even be fitted with wireless lens control systems. It helps that the iris ring is stepless for greater precision when changing exposure. Details like these show that the ZEISS 21-100mm LWZ.3 T2.9-3.9 T* is created by a company with decades of experience in making professional filmmakers’ lives easier. This zoom is a knockout blow for the opposition.
in or out, the subject remains in focus – unlike on many optics. That’s ideal for the zooming techniques the best documentary filmmakers employ. Such sophisticated lens design also means there is virtually no focus breathing, and the central axis of the lens stays constant as you either focus or zoom. It’s the mark of a brilliantly engineered tool – and the ZEISS has it. The LZW.3 is built to colour match with ZEISS primes, pin-sharp from edge to edge. There is very little vignetting or distortion with lots of contrast and punchy colours – but not too punchy. It controls flare excellently, too. Out-of-focus highlights are smooth thanks to an 11-bladed iris, producing a pleasing bokeh and focus roll-off that gives a real cinematic look. Size matters Despite the lighter weight compared to full-frame ZEISS Cinema Zoom lenses – and its lower price – the LWZ.3 is not stripped of its rugged build or legendary optical performance. It uses all the ZEISS
CASE STUDY LOTTERY
WHEN YOU’RE SKINT
Ryan J Smith didn’t let a lack of funds stop his dream of making a full-length feature film
WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH PHOTOS OLGA STEFANSKA
LOTTERY CASE STUDY
“The ultimate goal with the project was to make £7000 feel like £700,000 – and the fact that the movie has left people in tears is mind-blowing” Y ou don’t need to break the bank to tell a good story. Or, in this case, wait for your numbers to come up on Lotto. That’s the view of
23-year-old Ryan J Smith, who used an inexpensive Micro Four Thirds camera, some vintage, manual-focus stills lenses and purely natural light to shoot a thriller called Lottery . His aptly titled production group Skint Film Company first shot a trailer, then toured festivals with the finished movie this summer. But things have moved on since then. Now, this micro-budget film is heading to streaming services and indie cinemas in December. The film concerns a young tearaway who wins the lottery, but risks losing it all as he’s forced to battle new enemies and make amends with loved ones. Shot around Lytham St Annes in the north- west of England on a tiny budget, it looks every bit as atmospheric as a well-funded film with an army of technicians. “My ultimate goal with the movie was to make £7000 feel like £700,000 – and the fact that the movie has not only achieved this with those who have seen it, but left them in tears, is mind-blowing,” says Smith. “I have to give all the credit to my expert cast and crew, who graciously invested their talents to elevate the material to a level I didn’t think was going to be possible at our budget. I’m
very excited for a wider audience to see the movie.” Despite still being so young, Smith is driven to make films and get his work out there. “I’ve tried to pin a reason on why I started making movies, but I still can’t figure it out. I genuinely can’t remember any time at any age where I wasn’t shooting something,” he says. “It started with animating Lego motorbikes and now we’re here orchestrating motorbike stunts for real. A part of me blames my godmother Sam for showing me the behind-the-scenes of the original Pirates of the Caribbean . You don’t watch that as a youngster and spend the rest of your life thinking you want to be an accountant!” Lottery was conceived in 2017, while Smith was halfway through studying in the MetFilm School at Ealing Studios. “Cut to 2021 and I had something like eight short films, a music video and three feature films under my belt,” he recalls. “Most had been shot on a Panasonic Lumix G7 with kit lenses. The sheer versatility of it was lightning in a bottle for me when I was starting out – and the all-in-one quality is something I still look for in new gear. “You need to be using affordable kit that has your back, and that camera had mine for a long time. One of my films made on the G7 was a feature documentary shot in Amsterdam called Red Light Solo , which did very well at festivals. The great critical reception of that gave me the firepower needed to be taken seriously when setting up Skint Film Company.” During those early films, Smith ended up doing much of the work himself out of pure necessity. But it’s an incredible grounding. “It’s my firm belief now that you can’t aim to be just a director or just a camera operator, for example. It’s vital to have an invested and genuine interest for every aspect of the production
SHOESTRING BUDGET A Micro Four Thirds Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and pair of vintage stills photo lenses give Lottery a unique look that perfectly suits the subject matter
CASE STUDY LOTTERY
DREAM BIG Ryan J Smith started out making Lego motorbike animations, but now he’s working with the real deal (above). He shot the film himself, directing a talented crew of actors and fellow ex-students (below)
process,” says Smith. “If you walk into a meeting in today’s climate, but aren’t absolutely bulletproof on all fronts, you’re going to be at the mercy of those who are less fierce than you in terms of getting things done. “It’s purely because content is now being produced faster and cheaper than ever before. Having a knowledge across the board also means you know what to throw overboard first if you feel a production sinking under a rising budget. If you’re smart about where to invest, along with being a bit of a nerd, you can achieve much more for less with today’s consumer tech. I’m not the only filmmaker who knows this, either.” Smith’s friend and fellow director Lewis William Robinson recently wrapped on his first ever feature film Orchid Moon , which was very similar to Lottery in terms of being a stripped-back, yet totally professional production. “Ryan has a gift for setting the mood with natural light – and without the need for endless equipment”
enjoyed working with Ryan. He has the eye needed to capture beautiful shots and his presence on-set is calming, reassuring and friendly,” Fisher adds. Lead actress Niamh Branigan says: “ Lottery will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first time in a leading role, with the respect and freedom as an actor to explore the character of Ruby in order to bring her to life.”
“I’ve not worked on a pro film shoot as laid-back as Lottery ,” insists Robinson. “Ryan has a gift for setting the mood with natural lighting – and without the need for endless equipment to gain what he wants from the scene visually.” Smith says that Lottery is a ‘lean, mean emotional thriller’ written for his friend and regular acting collaborator Mitchell Fisher to star in. “I’ve always
CASE STUDY LOTTERY
A LOW-FIDELITY AESTHETIC SUITS GRITTY DRAMA The film Lottery was shot in eight days in Lancashire, with director Ryan J Smith doing the camerawork on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, a Canon 50mm prime stills lens and Sigma 28mm wide. Since there was no budget for lights, none were used. Although the 4K Blackmagic isn’t the best at controlling noise, its gritty look suited the subject – old-school lenses helped, too. “I shoot a lot of 35mm film on my ever- faithful Minolta XG-M stills camera. For this movie, I decided to fix stills lenses to the cinema camera,” says Smith. “It’s a rough movie emotionally and deals with toxic relationships, so there’s a lot of ‘finding’ the frame through uncomfortable close-ups, juxtaposed with massive wide shots – all very unpredictable. “Being a self-shooting director also has its advantages when dealing with actors; if anyone ever has a question or if I need to give a note, I’m not in another room, I’m right there beside them. Actors love this – it makes communication immediate, which allows for more takes as we often have time on our side.” “Being a self-shooting director has advantages when dealing with actors – as I’m right there beside them”
WINNING COMBO Smith was praised by lead actress Niamh Branigan for allowing her the freedom to do her finest work (top). Off the back of Lottery, Skint Film Company already has more theatrical feature projects in pre-production
That’s a great accolade for a young director/producer. “It’s interesting bringing new faces into the circus, as there’s always a certain anxiety regarding the stereotype of stripped-back productions being unprofessional – an image I’m proud that we’ve continually shattered,” beams Smith. “If cutting down set-up times without reducing production value can create a setting where actors aren’t sitting around for hours and instead feel actively involved, I’ve done my job well as a producer.” The team included sound recordist and camera assistant Lewis William Robinson, with visual effects supervised and created by Adam Bentley – both of whom Smith met at film school. “My production designer Katy Gittins also realised the world of the film fantastically. I don’t like the idea of having 20 people standing around waiting to do the work of three or four focused individuals. It all comes
down to this: if you enjoy it, you’ll do it – and you’ll never stop trying to do better. I’m very lucky to have friends who both share the same ethos and are technical and creative masters,” says Smith. Post-production happened over three months at Smith’s home studio, with the final edit completed at Ealing Studios, where cast and crew screenings were held. “And it has an original score composed and recorded by artists Alisdair Pickering and Zayence, who continually surprise and inspire me,” says Smith. With Lottery about to hit screens big and small, it’s no surprise there are already multiple theatrical feature projects in pre-production at Skint Film Company. A place where money – or lack of it – seems to be no object.
More information skintfilmcompany.com
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Ask the experts at CVP The clued-up staff at Britain’s top retailer answer
questions about kit – and how to choose and use it
systems. This, paired with a nice monitor could be a good option. However, the option that actually may be best, is to grab a Wi- Fi-based image transmission system, such as the Teradek Serv Pro, which is on the pricier side. There are loads of affordable options from Accsoon, Vaxis and Hollyland. These can distribute your image to anyone who has a phone or tablet on set, which can be a really powerful and easy way for people to see your image. However, quality and latency may be worse than other solutions. But given the massive price difference, that isn’t surprising! Q. My Sony A1 eats through batteries on long shoots. Is it best to buy a USB-C power bank and keep it running that way, or a more pro solution with bigger batteries? If so, what should I use? A. You have two options. You can run a power bank via USB-C, which is a really
A. Take advantage of that board, 100%! Both Tascam and Zoom make excellent external recorders that have XLR inputs. Q. When I do commercial shoots that have the client on site, they sometimes request to see a screen to watch with the footage being shot. Should I invest in a proper production monitor, or will a small computer monitor suffice? And what’s a cost-effective way of getting the signal to the screen without trailing cables? A. This really depends on the budget you have and what camera you are shooting with. We’ve produced an in-depth video showing off the different wireless video options, but really you have two options. You can either get a zero-delay wireless system, this will require more rigging and a dedicated monitor – and it can be expensive. You can also get higher latency – but more affordable – wireless video
Q. I’ve been asked to film an amateur song and dance show. No problem for the video, but how would it be best to record the audio from the performances? There is a sound mixer on site, so do I just take an output from that? And what audio recorder would be best? I usually record via XLR direct into my cameras.
BOOMING GREAT An XLR mic is perfect for a large shoot (top). An external monitor is ideal for nailing exposure (above)
CVP ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE TRY YOUR IDEAL CAMERA SET-UP WITH CVP CVP can build up your dream camera rig with all the latest accessories to see how they work together before you buy. You’ll get a real, hands-on feel for any new bit of equipment you’re thinking of, which is so much better than buying without a try. The Newman House showroom in London has lots of the latest equipment, and CVP’s experts are there to answer any questions you might have. To book a demo, talk to one of CVP’s experts and explore the Newman House showroom, call +44 (0) 208 380 7400, or email email@example.com or visit cvp.com A. While getting the correct exposure for your camera will depend greatly on the gamma profile you are shooting in, it can also be a creative choice. The tools in the Ninja V are great for evaluating where certain exposure values are sitting in your scene, what is deemed correct will depend on the scene. The best thing to do is test! Q. I will soon be shooting some action events inside large arenas. I’d like to shoot slow motion, but how do I avoid flicker? A. Make sure your camera is set to PAL. If you still have flicker, check to see if it has the ability to dial in your shutter more accurately than the regular steps. Plenty of video-focused cameras can do this.
“When using a good- quality dummy battery rig, it can result in a more secure system” cost-effective way of getting more power, but you are using a somewhat flimsy USB connection. This can easily be damaged and a bit more challenging to rig nicely. If you go down this route, make sure to use a cable-protector clamp. The second option is to use a dummy battery adapter and an external power source, such as a large V-Mount battery. When using a good-quality dummy battery and rig, it can result in a much more secure and safe system, but it will cost extra. Q. I keep hearing the audio from XLR shotgun mics is better than the DSLR- style shotguns with the standard 3.5mm plug. Is it true and if so, why? What about the latest mics that have noise cancelling? A. This comes down to two things – the quality of the preamps in the recording device and the quality of the microphone. Most 3.5mm inputs built into DSLR or mirrorless cameras don’t have great preamps, which is why using an external audio recorder or XLR module for your camera can result in better audio. There are also more and better microphone options using XLR as it’s the standard for professional audio work. Q. What’s the best way of getting your exposure right? As I use an Atomos Ninja V, I can use waveforms, false colour, highlight peaking, histogram or just look at the screen and judge it by eye. What’s the best?
Email adamduckworth@ bright-publishing.com and leave it to us! Got a question for CVP’s experts?
SOUND CHECK An external audio recorder like this Tascam is perfect for plugging into a sound board
ROUND TABLE ACADEMY
THE LIGHT BRIGADE LED INSIGHT Every filmmaker needs to know how to light a scene and deploy the right kit for all scenarios. We speak to the brightest industry experts for their inside info
INTERVIEW ADAM DUCKWORTH PHOTOS ROD GAMMONS AND JAKE HICKS
W hat have been the most important innovations in lighting over the past few years and why? TIM KANG: On-set, image-based lighting – using images to drive lighting fixture environments. And, of course, more portable units. The former has revolutionised the way filmmakers and technicians understand how to light their sets and environments – and will continue to develop in the next few years as ‘the normal way of doing things’ versus a fancy technological approach. Battery-operated LED units have changed the way lighting crews work. Because of their efficiency and stability, portable LEDs have removed the need for complicated wiring set-ups. TERRY CAWS: We have all witnessed a fundamental shift in the selection of lighting technology. With the increased sensitivity of ISO on DSLRs, combined with the social media explosion, even photographers just starting out tend to think of continuous lighting first, as it’s much more versatile. ROD AARON GAMMONS: There have been many innovations in lighting over recent years. These include Smartsoft, the world’s first electronic diffusion providing a harder and softer source all in one, controllable from 200ft via our dedicated iOS and Android app. Other Rotolight innovations include an industry-first touchscreen display that saves huge amounts of time when shooting, as well as hybrid continuous and RGB flash capability for hybrid stills and video shooters.
TIM KANG Principal engineer of colour & imaging Quasar Science
Why should a filmmaker invest in lighting when a camera’s high-ISO performance is so good now? CAWS: There is no substitute for light. Although the ISO sensitivity of modern digital cameras is off the scale, the ambient light that falls on the subject is likely to be soft and flat. Additional lighting will add extra brightness and is more controllable for creative effects. KANG: The sensitivity of a camera has nothing to do with lighting as a craft. Whether a camera can see in the dark, the same principles of telling stories with light remain the same, and filmmakers can only do this with fixtures. GAMMONS: High-ISO performance doesn’t negate the need for lighting, it simply means there are now more potential sources a filmmaker could use. Lighting is the fundamental ingredient to convey mood, add drama and emotion as well as directing the audience in the scene. It is the most important tool available in the arsenal of any filmmaker or photographer. RAINBOW HUES Small fixtures like this Nanlite 60C can output all colours thanks to RGBLAC technology
TERRY CAWS Product marketing manager Nanlite at MAC Group Europe
ROD AARON GAMMONS Chief executive officer Rotolight
batteries. For modifiers, either a softbox or a lantern with suitable and sturdy lighting stands. What’s the best seller in your range and why do you think that is?
What trends do you see from now on with lighting techniques and/or technology? CAWS: More power in smaller lighting units, and much more in the way of different lighting arrays. The future is bright, dare I say! KANG: More intense, high-wattage fixtures, and fuller-spectrum units that emit light in the violet and near-UV regions to better match true daylight. What is a basic lighting set-up every filmmaker should have, including modifiers and power solutions? KANG: Three or four lights. One big unit that has a lot of output with softbox and eggcrate modifiers. A tube light to adjust talent contrast and separate from the background, used from behind. One small light to use on the background to make it seem more ‘real’. And batteries, especially external ones, which always help because they can easily be swapped around.
CAWS: The Pavotube 6C RGBWW, because it’s compact, powerful and packed full of features. Its amazing portability makes this such a versatile lighting fixture, featuring maximum illumination of 520 lumens at 5600K, as well as full-spectrum RGB and pre- programmed effects. It’s powered by an internal lithium-ion battery, so with no cords to worry about and additional magnets to mount anywhere, the sheer possibilities are endless. Also, in the Forza spotlight range, the Forza 60B bicolour moonlight-style LED budget kit, which is lightweight, compact and powerful with remarkable output for its size.
CUTTING SHAPES The point light source of the latest COB LEDs make them ideal paired with projector units
KANG: That would be our Double Rainbow LED tubes. These are our favourite
CAWS: For location work, power block solutions that take either V-Lock or Sony
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