SFH-50 Remote and Motion Control Head

November 11, 2010 by  
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With the popularity of smaller and lighter cameras, Camera Control realized they needed to tool their remote heads toward being compatible with rigs like the RED One or the popular Canon 5D DSLR for both production and stop-motion photography.

“One of the most common requests we had was for a lightweight system that could be used for time-lapse with DSLR cameras and could easily be transported in a backpack to any location,” says Camera Control’s Jason Rau.

Enter the SFH-50, designed to mount DSLR, prosumer video and RED camera systems. The head is designed to run overslung or underslung, or in almost any orientation. “The mechanics of the head are totally different to any other in its size, in that it uses extremely high-quality zero backlash gearboxes and has full digital controls so it can be used in any application, even with extremely long focal lengths and with absolute repeatability and precision,” Rau explains. “Additionally, controls for the head allow it to run from something as simple as a tiny PDA via wireless Bluetooth, a joystick controller, panbars or full-featured handwheels, as well as a full Flair motion control system.”

Weighing only 11 pounds the SFH-50 can take loads of 30 pounds or more (i.e. a fully loaded RED One or ARRI 235 as well as a DSLR with a large zoom). It is extremely accurate and repeatable and can run moves as slowly as needed, doing a pan over the course of a week if necessary, or it can be fast enough for live action.

Designed for everything from time-lapse, animation, sporting events, and motion control to university research and surveillance, this brand new Camera Control head has already been used to get interiors of everything from a Lexus to a VW on many new car commercials.

Camera Control’s (www.cameracontrol.com) SFH-50 rents for $750 a day.

Wind Killer from California Sunbounce

May 21, 2010 by  
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“The Steadicam is a well-balanced camera support system that’s extremely sensitive to any kind of outside influences,” says Peter Geller, President, California SunBounce. “The balancing of the system is a precise procedure. You can imagine what the wind can do. In the past different types of wind blocks have been used. A 6-by-6 frame with a solid, or 4-by-8 foam core boards – having a camera assistant keep pace with the Steadicam operator to continuously protect the system from the wind. What they learned in the past was that the wind you block piles up on the edges and creates even more turbulence behind the object intended to block the wind.”

Enter California SunBounce’s team with a specially designed material called Wind Killer, which does not block all the wind – just 75 percent. “It is designed to let 25 percent of the wind pass (a light and even breeze) and uses this 25 percent to smooth out the wind before it hits the camera,” Geller explains. “The material is also semi-translucent and allows the assistant to look through and see the Steadicam operator and where he or she wants to go.”

The screen is sized to fit the California SunBounce MINI and PRO frames, making it an extremely lightweight and sturdy system (4.4 pounds/2000 grams) for the 4×6 Pro model – with three built in handles. On special request, the material can be custom made for up to a 20×20 foot overhead/Butterfly frame.

The price for the Wind Killer starts at $317 for the mini to $475 for the PRO, includes fabric and frame.

www.bronimaging.com

Glidecam X-22

May 21, 2010 by  
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Want to go up and down stairs, shoot from moving vehicles and travel over uneven terrain without any camera instability or shake? Then check out Glidecam’s new X-22 system. “It’s a professional, body-mounted, camera stabilization system designed for film and video cameras weighing up to 25 pounds,” explains Glidecam’s Thomas Howie, who describes the product as a game changer due to its versatile, affordable footprint.

Glidecam X-22 consists of Vest, Support Arm and Sled. The Support vest has been designed with both endurance and comfort. Weight is evenly distributed so that the operator’s shoulders, back and hips don’t suffer under extended use. For safety Glidecam has incorporated quick release high impact buckles that allow for quick removal should the occasion arise. “It also has a unique and proprietary Arm-to-Vest Connector that allows the Support Arm to be attached and removed from the vest without affecting the operator’s trim settings,” Howie explains.

The Dual-Articulating Support Arm incorporates precision radial bearings and needle roller bearings for minimal friction, allowing the arm to pivot and boom smoothly with virtually no noise. “We use four high-quality titanium extension springs which act upon internal fulcrum points to provide the arm with lifting power,” Howie continues. “They are field adjustable to allow for varying camera weights. And, we use our Light-Force technology so the operator has an optimum amount of camera buoyancy or float.”

The third part of the system is the X-22 sled with an x-y adjustable head assembly that incorporates drop-in style dovetail camera play for quick front to back balance. Howie says it’s a “no-tools gimbal with four bearings inside the handle yoke connection (tilt axis) and two bearings in each side for the roll axis. The no tools Telescoping Center Post allows for easy adjustment of sled length and position of the LCD and battery.”

The Glidecam X-22 sells for $7900

www.glidecam.com

Gear Guide: Digital Filmmaking

July 14, 2009 by  
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As digital cinematography becomes the rule instead of the exception for filmmakers in the documentary, news, television and even increasingly in the feature world, there is a hunger for more diverse and lightly encumbered, i.e., tether-free, technology. Every entertainment-oriented manufacturer and distributor is getting on the bandwagon, and a few that have serviced other industries, too.

This month, ICG features some exciting new products or processes that make digital cinema a smart, creative, and production-friendly choice. Once a “film only” company, Panavision, with their Genesis camera and other HD technology, has stepped up to the plate and found a way for cinematographers to view their HD footage on set in a way that cuts time, cost, and boosts creativity. Silicon Imaging, once a source for equipment only tangential to the movie industry, has exploded onto the scene with the camera that made quite an impact on the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

And, of course, there are recorders, wireless transmitters and even peripherals. Let’s hope that one of this month’s offerings can help make your job, whether it is a no-budget HD documentary or a mega-budget feature film, easier, faster, and more creative.

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Lighting Focus: The Cloud by Airstar

March 17, 2009 by  
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I was introduced to the The Cloud by Airstar on the Adam Sandler film Bedtime Stories. The look of the film called for a magical, stylized reality, and the filmmakers agreed that this reality didn’t include hard sun coming into contact with faces. Unfortunately, a number of scenes and locations were too remote to bring in a crane and overhead. My key grip, John Janucek, suggested The Cloud.  By the end of the film we had brought it out a dozen times.  It consists of one to four 20-foot by 20-foot balloons, which can be zipped together or used separately. Two Airstar technicians inflate the balloons quickly, and throughout the day reposition The Cloud as the sun travels from one side of the set to the other. Even when it got windy the tag lines held it in place. The techs don’t treat it as delicately as you might expect and one afternoon they lost a battle attempting to get it though some tree branches.  Twenty minutes later it was patched up and flying. In addition to sun control, we also used it as a 40-foot by 40-foot bounce for both day and night exteriors. It has attachments ranging from variations in density via nets or diffusion, to green screen.  I love this thing.  – DP Michael Barrett

Credits: Bone Deep, Bedtime Storie, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Mysteries of Pittsburg, Bobby, Goal, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

www.airstar-light.com

Sundance Focus: Innovision Probe II

January 5, 2009 by  
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With the INNOVISION PROBE II, a tubular lens that offsets from the camera, I can put my lens anywhere in a car without being restricted – on the dashboard, through the steering wheel, or even overhead – and set up is quick. I can also move the camera in ways that are impossible with conventional lenses. On the movie Staten Island I did a shot that started on the New York skyline. The camera pulls back to reveal the interior of a car with Ethan Hawke staring out the passenger’s window. The camera continues to pull back to reveal the driver and then pulls out through the driver’s window to reveal that they are in a truck at a red light. The truck pulls away and we end on the skyline again. With creative options like that, the Probe II gives my films a competitive edge at festivals like Sundance. I’m always looking for opportunities to use it.  –DP Chris Norr

Credits: What Doesn’t Kill You, Staten Island, The Hottest State, Second Best, One Last Thing…, Into the Fire, Timeless

www.innovision-optics.com

Still Photography: LitePanels Micro

November 7, 2008 by  
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This little LED unit, which offers continuous output and runs on AA batteries, is attachable to both Nikon and Canon stills cameras. Litepanels Micro for Stills can be dialed up to supply just the right amount of light to fill unflattering shadows and bring the subject’s face and eyes to life. No more red-eye or flash fill.
The Micro for Stills features an integrated dimmer 100% to 0 and runs 1.5 hours on 4 AA cells (Alkaline) and 7-8 hours on E2 Lithium AA batteries. It works with stills and camcorders, as focusing aid in low light, close ups, and can use warming and diffusion filters.
“I recently was able to use this light source in a setting having nothing to do with a film set,” says Barry Wetcher, the first unit stills photographer to use the new Litepanels Micro for stills. “I think it can be a great tool to have attached to a camera for those moments when you need to just have a little more light to make an exposure.”
Wetcher says he likes that the Litepanels allow him to dial in the intensity of the light. “We’ve all seen DP’s hand hold LED bricks just to get a little ‘something’ on the face,” he explains. “Now in some situations, we can do the same. For example, when the cameras aren’t rolling and it’s too dark to capture a candid moment without using a flash. I also like that this unit has a built-in filter holder to help match the color temperature of source lights on the set.”    www.litepanels.com

Documentary Tools: Cine Saddle by CineKinetic

November 4, 2008 by  
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It’s a lightweight pliable camera platform that allows you to easily and quickly compose stationary shots from a multitude of varying surfaces. From your lap in a car, to the handlebars of a bike, to just about any surface that a hi-hat would take time to stabilize. This bag saves me time and allows me to capture more stable shots with the least amount of effort. In a pinch it even works as a quick hood mount. On a recent shoot for the World’s Funniest Commercial, the director, at the last minute, asked if we had a hood mount. Although it’s not my first choice in car mounts, the Cine Saddle came through in a pinch. We got the shot. The director couldn’t have been happier.
www.abelcinetech.com