MSE can’t keep Dutti Dolly in the shop

MSE can't keep Dutti Dolly in the shop

Matthews Studio Equipment recently finished another production run of their Dutti Dolly – and they are flying off the shelves. In different colors, according to the preference of the clients.

There may be many different dollies on the market, says MSE, “but James Saldutti’s is a unique approach, created by Saldutti, a working Dolly Grip, who needed to be able to multi-task, move quickly and work low enough to get gear into places other dollies can’t go. Dutti Dolly also configures so that it can be carried much easier, saving a grip’s back – and costly time from break down to set up.”

Cinematographer James Muro (for whom the dolly was created), takes it everywhere he goes. “It simply makes for an intuitive operating experience,” he explains. “Where there is not a lot of discussion, not a lot of laying track, not a lot of big equipment. With the Dutti Dolly I can be in and out of the location quickly and still have a massive amount of production value, just as if I had all the big gear.”

Now the dollies are leaving the shop as soon as they are available. First out the door are new black dollies for key grips Michael Pizzuto (Secrets and Lies, The Goldbergs, Matador, Vegas) of Bullet Proof Grips, Seth Greenwald (Glow, Ray Donovan, House of Lies, The Last Man on Earth) and Adrian “Ace” Dominguez (Speechless, NCIS, Ray Donovan), and for creator, Dolly Grip, James Saldutti. The opening image shows Seth Greenwood, James Saldutti, Adrian “Ace” Dominguez holding a Dutti Dolly.

MSE can't keep Dutti Dolly in the shop

“Since its debut in April, we have sold dollies to a wide variety of cinematographers, videographers, camera operators and rental houses, and now most recently a bunch of well-known local 80 union grips,” says Tyler Phillips, Vice President Product Development and Marketing for MSE. “Until now most of them have been renting their gear, but with its proven performance and reliability, Dutti Dolly has become a necessary part of their production package.

“They especially love the wide variety of affordable track options available that they buy at any local home improvement store, whether it is right-angle aluminum, square stock or even pipe,” he adds. “And, they love that we can customize it to their needs and color preference. Just the other day, I had a call from a local grip who needed a specific hole pattern in the base plate. No problem – we drew it up, and machined it on our 4-axis CNC -it went out immediately.”

“Recently we needed to do a shot over two set walls, spanning 14-feet,” explains Pizzuto. “Our first option was to use a Technocrane, which is very expensive. Instead, we purchased a Dutti Dolly. With 2″ aluminum square stock as dolly track, and MSE’s universal track brackets we had a great underslung set up using the Cartoni Lamda. Cool set up – on a reasonable budget.”

For Dominguez, who has been using Dutti Dolly since its first iteration, the fact that Saldutti’s invention is being manufactured by Matthews is an even bigger plus. “The array of accessories that weren’t previously available makes it even more useful,” he explains. “Add to that it is fantastic for small, tight working spaces. The design has allowed me to get low to the ground and also have full camera movement. I’ve also found it very useful on handheld shows when the camera operators want to make a lateral move but don’t want to fight the wheel change of a traditional ‘butt dolly’.”

MSE can't keep Dutti Dolly in the shop

“It’s that perfect arrow to pull from your quiver when the dynamics of the shot dictate your ‘opportunities’,” adds Greenwald. “As soon as you become familiar with its nuances, it becomes a filmmaker’s savior. On my current show, Glow, we spend a lot of time in a wrestling gym, in the ring and the bleachers. The compact size combined with low elevation allows me to put the camera almost on the canvas to get the perfect angle when the wrestlers hit the canvas – and still have enough room for the dramatic push in. And, when we need the shot behind the backs of the audience, I can quickly throw down some angle iron and slide behind their backs. No big ‘rigging’ or crane required.”

Created by Saldutti out of necessity, Dutti Dolly rolls extremely low to the ground at under 2-inches in height, rides on eight inline skate wheels mounted in pairs to the 1/2 ” thick aluminum plate. The sleek design allows the operator to do hard whip pans and quick tilts because of its width, length and weight. It will roll directly on any smooth surface or can be used with track, on or off stands, over and underslung. It fits into tight spaces such as airplane and bus isles where conventional dollies cannot fit. It is great for the long take, stunts or poor man’s process. And, the rigging capabilities are endless due to the numerous tapped holes on the dolly board.

“When I created it for cinematographer James Muro ASC, I really had no idea how popular the Dutti Dolly would become,” says Saldutti. “All I know was that he liked the shots and the ability to move quickly. I studied various dollies and realized most of them rest higher on a track. My focus was on giving a cinematographer the ability to position the camera lower – and make it much more portable. Since Jim’s first use, it has become a necessity on hundreds of feature films, television shows, and commercials.”

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.0 UI/OS Officially Released

Overnight Blackmagic Design released the new user interface and operation system for the URSA Mini out of Beta. Firmware 4.0 is official. Funny thing is the 4.0 Beta and 4.0 Beta 2 of the URSA Mini firmware worked so well I barely saw anything wrong or needing another look. Blackmagic Design says firmware 4.0 is the “other half” of the URSA Mini. I have both the 4.6K and 4K URSA Mini on hand and I can attest to their statement. The new UI / OS definitely helps to elevate the overall shooting experience with these cameras. If you have not updated or tested the Beta UI/OS, I would do so as soon as possible.

Interestingly, the new operating system in which each camera feature runs as a separate app. This gives you great stability and means Blackmagic will be able to add new features down the line. The great thing is, this firmware works for both URSA Mini cameras: the 4.6K and the 4K, however, some of the features will only appear in the 4.6K URSA Mini. For example, only the 4.6K URSA Mini allows 3K Anamorphic shooting.


The Highlights

Both the 4.6L and 4K URSA Mini gain a much friendlier heads up display. You can see an example above. This update allows a shooter to access key settings straight from the LCD monitor instead of diving through the menu. This also means one can change White Balance, Iris, FPS, Shutter, Audio Levels, and ISO setting right from the LCD screen. When shooting this way the URSA Mini becomes very easy to operate. Yet, hand-held shooting allows some setting changes too.

Function Buttons

Blackmagic has enabled to F1 and F2 buttons to be assigned. You can trigger presets, turn on / off features with the buttons, or you can cycle through setting by repeatedly tapping the button to find the right settings. You can turn Off-Speed Shooting on / off. You can cycle through project FPS. One of my favorites is the ability to cycle through the ISO Settings. This is the first time we have this option as an outside button and not a menu dive. Other settings which can be changed from the function buttons are: shutter, ISO, White balance, FPS, Off-speed shooting, and more.

Added Raw/ProRes Flavors

Shooting raw is one of the big benefits of the URSA Mini 4.6K or 4K. Now, one can now shoot raw at 4.6K, 4.6K 2.4:1, 4K 16:9, 4K DCI, Ultra HD, 3K Anamorphic, 2K 16:9, 2K DCI, and HD. This gives shooters many options for their raw recording. When shooting ProRes Blackmagic gives you the same options as raw when it comes to resolution. This gives you the option to shoot 4.6K raw, ProRes XQ, 444, HQ, ProRes, LT, and Proxy. All at 4.6K resolution. This, of course, goes for all the resolution sizes. We also get three different raw recording options: Raw, 3:1 and 4:1. For card space, I typically shoot 4:1 or 3:1.

LUTS

Originally, I did not think I would use the import LUTs feature, but I have turned to it more than expected. This is how it works. You can export, or create and then export, a 3D LUT from DaVinci Resolve and you save it to your CFast 2.0 cards. You put the card with the LUT on it into your 4.6K URSA Mini and you import it. This gives you the option to use this newly imported 3D LUT for your monitoring on you LCD or EVF. One can even use the LUT on the SDI out on the 4.6K URSA Mini.

Mini fps

For users updating from 4.0 Beta or 4.0 Beta 2, it is advisable to export your presets and LUT’s onto a card as they will be removed during this update.

What’s new in Blackmagic Camera Setup 4.0

  • Improved timecode accuracy.
  • Improved RAW 3:1 and 4:1 performance.
  • Improved RAW Lossless high frame rate off-speed recording.
  • Stability improvements.
  • Improved focus assist on URSA Viewfinder.
  • Improved audio meters on URSA Viewfinder.
  • Fixed bug where tally could not be disabled on URSA Viewfinder.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K and 4K

  • New URSA Mini OS.
  • New heads up display.
  • New menu system to allow faster operation.
  • Monitoring options separately configurable for all outputs.
  • Added ability to load 3D LUTs (Look Up Table) for monitoring.
  • Added ability to save and load camera settings presets.

New Heads Up Display Features

  • Swipe up or down to show and hide the heads up display.
  • Added pan-able focus zoom.
  • Added ability to change frame rate directly from heads up display.
  • Added ability to change iris from heads up display on electronic lenses.
  • Added ability to toggle timecode or duration from heads up display.
  • Added ability to toggle favorite off-speed frame rate quickly.
  • Added ability to change shutter angle from heads up display.
  • Added flicker free shutter angle suggestions.
  • Added manual shutter angle option for up to 2 decimal places.
  • Added indicators for genlock, timecode status, and sensor window in heads up display.
  • Added ability to change ISO from heads up display.
  • Added ability to change white balance from heads up display.
  • Added white balance presets including daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, mixed lighting, and overcast.
  • Added tint control.
  • Added auto white balance feature.
  • Added audio input and headphone level control from the heads up display.
  • Added media status page for formatting cards and media information.
  • Added ability to toggle battery indicator from heads up display.
  • Added monitoring option controls from heads up display including zebra, focus assist, frame guide and grids.

New Metadata Features

  • Improved slate and metadata functionality.
  • Added lens data information to slate metadata.
  • Added auto-fill lens metadata from electronically controllable lenses.
  • Changed slate shortcut from a single tap to a sideways swipe on the LCD.

New Record Features

  • Added additional ProRes resolutions for URSA Mini 4.6K including 4.6K 16:9, 4.6K 2.4:1, 4K 16:9, 4K DCI, 3K Anamorphic, 2K 16:9 and 2K DCI.
  • Added additional RAW resolutions for URSA Mini 4.6K including 4.6K 2.4:1, 4K 16:9, 3K Anamorphic, 2K 16:9 and HD.
  • Added option to select the preferred card for recording.

New Monitor Features

  • Improved screen colorimetry for the built-in LCD.
  • Added ability to switch 3D LUT on and off for each output individually.
  • Added ability to switch false color, zebras, focus assist, frame guides, grids and safe area guide on or off for each output individually.
  • Added clean feed toggle for each output.
  • Added program tally indicator for the built-in LCD and Front SDI when using ATEM.
  • Added monitoring option for the tally, crosshairs, and center dot as part of grids.
  • Added 14:9 frame guides.
  • Added configurable safe area guides.
  • Expanded options for focus assist to include red, green, blue, black and white as well as peaking.
  • Added option for viewing codec and resolution setting instead of meters on the built-in LCD.

New Settings Features

  • Added ability to program function buttons as a preset for frame rate, iris, white balance, ISO or shutter angle.
  • Added ability to program function buttons for Up or Down frame rate, iris, white balance, ISO or shutter angle.
  • Added ability to program function buttons as a toggle for clean feed, display LUT, frame guides, focus assist, false color, zebra, grids, safe area guides, off-speed and color bars.
  • Added flicker free shutter frequency selection for 50Hz or 60Hz.
  • Added support for drop frame timecode.
  • Added ability to trigger color bars from the camera.
  • Added factory reset function.
  • Added hardware ID display.
  • Added software version display.

New Presets Features

  • Added ability to create up to 12 global camera settings presets.
  • Added ability import and export camera presets to CFast media.

New 3D LUT Features

  • Added ability to monitor with 3D LUTs.
  • Added ability to import 3D LUT from CFast media.
  • Added ability to store up to 6 custom 17 point or 33 point LUTs into the camera’s internal flash memory.
  • Added the ability to export one of the camera’s 3D LUTs to CFast media so you can pass the 3D LUT to a colorist or editor.
  • Added ability to delete 3D LUT from camera’s internal memory.

New General Features

  • Improved timecode functionality for external timecode and jam timecode.
  • Improved white balance performance.
  • Added option for a single clip or all clip playback.
  • Added loop playback feature.

Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder

  • Improved colorimetry for the viewfinder.
  • Improved focus assist on URSA Viewfinder.
  • Improved proximity sensor sensitivity.
  • Improved proximity sensor timeout settings.
  • Improved frame guide appearance.
  • Added support for URSA Mini OS metadata settings.
  • Added support for new frame guides, safe area guides, and grids.
  • Added menu items for configuring overlay settings

Mini

About the Blackmagic URSA Mini.

The URSA Mini 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design is a Super 35mm camera capable of recording 15 stops of dynamic range. The ergonomic body design is easy to adapt for hand-held shooting as well as capable of being built into whatever studio configuration needed to get the shot. The EF-mount is compatible with a ton of lenses from the DSLR world opening up different aesthetic options. With the shoulder kit, the camera becomes a great run and gun shoot on the quick camera needed for documentary work.

MiniFor more flexibility in post, the URSA Mini can record raw sensor data in the CinemaDNG format onto CFast 2.0 memory cards at up to 60 fps. The raw files preserve the full dynamic range and color tonality output from the sensor so you can have greater control over the look in post-production. Yet, these files can require so serious heavy lifting in post, so the 4.6K URSA Mini provides compressed raw recording at 3:1 and 4:1 compression ratios to help save space on the in-camera media as well as giving post-production flexibility.

The URSA Mini also records UHD (3840 x 2160) and 1080p video using ready-to-edit ProRes files in many different flavors within the 444 and 422 chroma subsampling variations depending on your workflow. Starting at the high end, UHD footage can be recorded in ProRes 444 XQ at a rate of 312.5 MB/s all the way down to 1080p in a ProRes 422 Proxy file coming in at a relatively paltry 5.6 MB/s data rate. Since the camera accepts dual CFast cards, you can record for long periods of time by having the camera switch cards when one is full.

Power for the URSA Mini can be supplied via a 4-pin XLR jack at the rear of the camera. With an optional plate, the URSA will accept professional V-Mount or Gold-Mount batteries on the back. Once connected to power, the URSA can even distribute power through a second 4-pin XLR jack.

Highlights

  • Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
  • 4608 x 2592 Video up to 60p
  • Compressed Raw Recording
  • Ready-to-Edit ProRes 444 + 422 Recording
  • Dual CFast 2.0 Memory Card Slots
  • 12G-SDI Output, Timecode and REF Input
  • 1080p Flip-Out Screen
  • Touchscreen Interface
  • 2x XLR Audio Inputs with Phantom Power
  • Magnesium Alloy Body
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Fujifilm: the end of the Video Tape

Fujifilm: the end of the Video Tape

In a note to distributors and clients, Fujifilm announced this month that some of the products from their Fujifilm Recording Media catalogue will no longer be produced. If you want to keep using them, this is the time to stock up!

If there is a company from the analog era that has rapidly moved into digital is Fujifilm. Still, the company has kept producing some of their analog products, sometimes for surprisingly long periods of time. Yes, some references have vanished, prices on remaining products became higher, but we still have films, papers and tapes. Well, now we will have a little less, as Professional Video Tape is about to disappear from the market.

Fujifilm: the end of the Video Tape
The list of video tape products discontinued

This is probably the right time to remember that Fujifilm developed Japan’s first broadcast-use video tape in 1959, and rapidly became a leader in the development of professional-use video tape technologies. In fact, the milestones in Fujifilm’s corporate history reflect the pioneering role the company played within the industry, and form the basis for its worldwide reputation for innovation and excellence.

Some of the pioneering moments in the story of the company happen in 1984, when the company introduced Fujifilm M401 (MII format) metal videocassettes – the world’s first professional-use metal tape videocassettes, or 1990, when Fujifilm H471S D.C. (S-VHS format) professional use video cassettes – featuring the world’s first double-coated tape – are introduced. Three years later Fujifilm would present the Fujifilm Hi8 M221E and M221MP (High-Band 8mm format) videocassettes introduced. The M221E video tape is the world’s first metal powder tape to offer performance equivalent to a metal evaporated tape.

The market is shrinking, there is less demand for professional video tape so Fujifilm reached the conclusion that it is better to discontinue these products. However, the company will continue sales of Fujifilm Professional Video Tape until our inventory of these products is depleted.

It should be noted that this decision does not affect some products from the Fujifilm Recording Media catalogue. Fujifilm will continue to supply Fujifilm XDCAM 23 & 50 GB products as well as Fujifilm P2 cards in 30 & 60 GB. According to the company there is no plan to discontinue these formats at this time.

fujifilmrecordingmedia004

Developed for professional XDCAM recording, the Fujifilm PD711 Professional Discs single layer (23GB), launched in 2007, was well-accepted in the broadcast industry, so Fujifilm introduced the Fujifilm PD711 dual layer disc (50GB), to meet the need for higher capacity. By adopting recording layer which is appropriate for high density recording and dual recording layers structure on one side, Fujifilm has realized 50GB recording capacity. At the same time, Fujifilm has realized low error rate and ultra wide power margin at both layers with Super Advanced Rapid Cooling Structure.

Fujifilm: the end of the Video TapeThe Fujifilm P2 cards are low-cost, high-speed transfers F-series P2 cards compatible with Panasonic’s P2 systems. A single 60 GB card is capable of recording about 120 minutes of HD data, when used with an AVC-Intra compatible device using AVC-Intra 50 compression. The F-series can offer an impressive maximum transfer rate of 1.2 Gbps when used with compatible hardware, made possibly by newly developed high-speed memory controller.

Fujifilm remains also committed to the development and sales of Fujifilm Data Tape products.

First U.S. based shoot with the EOS C700

First U.S. based shot with the EOS C700

Still “untitled”, the final film will be screened on November 3 at the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood, California. During the filming the crew had the opportunity to test the Canon EOS C700 Digital Cinema Camera in different situations.

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The EOS C700 is a camera available in two versions: EOS C700 and EOS C700 PL, which are currently expected to go on sale in December 2016, while the EOS C700 GS PL is currently expected to go on sale in January 2017. Dual Pixel CMOS AF or Global Shutter, 15 stops dynamic range, recording high bitrate 4K files internally, supporting both XF-AVC and ProRes formats, while simultaneously recording 4K RAW files to an external recorder, are some of the features of the new camera.

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The videos available now from Canon show different moments of the first U.S. based shoot with the camera at different locations and covering different activities. Together on set are Canon’s Brent Ramsey, Cinematographer Russell Carpenter, ASC and Canon Explorer Of Light Tyler Stableford, with a large crew.

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The project was a creative collaboration produced by Canon U.S.A. to showcase the unique features, high image quality and superb color science of the new flagship EOS C700 Digital Cinema Camera. The final film will be screened on November 3 at the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood, California.

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Although the film, still in its final stages of production, remains “untitled,” Canon is very excited to share a sneak peek and behind-the-scenes videos from the set of the film. These exclusive videos that explore how they tested the camera in low light, took it through extreme levels of dynamic range and even showed its versatility of use on a rock climbing expedition can be now viewed on the Cinema EOS C700 Vimeo channel.

Additionally, Tyler Stableford, who will be present at PhotoPlus to talk about his experience with photography and video, recently posted a blog about his experience shooting the camera.

From Stills to Video 4K at PhotoPlus

From Stills to Video 4K at PhotoPlus

Video has become a popular field for still photographers, but to really control images that suddenly start to move you need to know more than which buttons to press on your camera. The three presentations at 2016 edition of PhotoPlus may assist you to become better at video.

Once the name PhotoPlus meant an event centered on still images, but the conference and expo have changed with the times, and video is an essential part of the three days of conferences and two of expo. The PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the largest photography and imaging show in North America, attended by over 21,000 professional photographers, photography enthusiasts, videographers, students and educators from around the world. PhotoPlus features over 100 educational seminars, Photo Walks and Master Classes, the Official Portfolio Review presented by the Palm Springs Photo Festival, the Lucie Technical Awards, and over 250 exhibitors displaying thousands of the latest products and services for you to touch, try and compare.

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From Stills to 4K Video: Making the Transition in Travel and Editorial Storytelling by Bob Krist is the first presentation to check. It takes place Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Room 1E07 and has Sony has sponsor.

Sony Artisan and longtime travel and editorial photographer Bob Krist will share his methods for making engaging, cinematic and beautiful short videos using a minimum of gear and a fair amount of ingenuity. Bob Krist is a freelance photographer who works regularly on assignment for magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and Islands.

Bob Krist will center is presentation on the idea that while video has become a popular field for still photographers, and while equipment has seamlessly transitioned, there’s more to shooting video than updating your gear. In this Master Class, you’ll be introduced to shooting sequences, thinking cinematically and other issues that vex the still shooter. This lively presentation will include several of the short, award-winning travel videos Bob has created for National Geographic’s “Intelligent Travel” blog and a host of other clients.

If the presentation by Bob Krist interests you… you may have a problem. At exactly the same time another presentation happens at PhotoPlus. Capturing The Dramatic Moment: How To Elevate Your Photography And Cinematography Style, by Tyler Stableford will be held at Room 1E14, Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.

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Join Canon Explorer Of Light Tyler Stableford for an unforgettable multimedia workshop going behind the scenes from his latest stills and motion shoots. A prolific director and photographer, Tyler will share a range of print and TV commercial campaigns in addition to award-winning short films and documentaries. Most importantly, Tyler will reveal the workflow and creative process driving each project.

The third presentation runs on Friday, October 21, 2016, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The title is simple: How to Produce Award-Winning Video. The speaker is Bob Sacha, a director, cinematographer, editor, teacher and photographer and, above all, a collaborator on visual journalism projects.

Whether you plan to produce video for editorial or commercial clients, your narrative skills are just as important as your technical know-how. Audiences ultimately respond to stories, whether they are told in a single frame, or at 24 frames per second. This seminar will teach you how to translate–and build on–your still photography skills to produce compelling short video narratives (:30, :60, 2-5 minutes).

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Bob Sacha, a former MediaStorm producer, will break the process down into its two primary components, focusing first on audio as the foundation of storytelling. He will explain how to use interviewing techniques that elicit surprising information and authentic emotion from subjects. Attendees will learn how to use ambient sound, sound effects and music to add emotional texture to the audio, and Sacha will offer tips and advice about the how to record high-quality audio. In the second part of the seminar, he will explain how to switch your visual thinking from still photography mode to video mode, so you can plan and capture the video sequences you will need to complement your audio and tell the story.

So, there you have it. Three good reasons to visit PhotoPlus this year. There are many other reasons, between the conferences and expo, but these three presentations, especially if you’re a photographer trying to understand video or simply need a refresher course promise to give you some shortcuts, through the experience of professionals that have walked that path before.

Zylight takes LED lighting to PhotoPlus

Zylight takes LED lighting to PhotoPlus

The PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, the largest photography and imaging show in North America, which runs Oct. 20-22 at the Javits Center in New York City, will be the place to see demonstrations of some of Zylights’s LED lights.

Zylight, a leading manufacturer of innovative LED lighting solutions, will demonstrate a variety of professional LED lighting instruments at the PhotoPlus Expo (Booth 147). The demonstration will include the F8-200 LED Fresnel, which provides traditional Fresnel brightness and functionality in a lightweight design that collapses to less than five inches thick for easy transport and storage.

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With a hot shoe mount and unique articulating arm for easy adjustments, the Newz on-camera light is fully dimmable with variable color temperature and strobe. Plus, the IS3c panel light provides a bright, soft light source for talent, or its Color Mode can produce millions of colors without gels or filters for cyc or mood lighting.

Built on the award-winning F8 platform, the F8-200 LED Fresnel continues the Zylight tradition of combining high quality optics with a special blend of quantum nanoparticles. The result is output that boasts high CRI and TLCI ratings, with a quality of light matched only by traditional sunlight and incandescent bulbs. And the F8-200 allows you to use your existing standard camera batteries for bright, color accurate LED output.

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Last spring, Zylight was named the exclusive distributor of Aladdin professional LED lighting instruments throughout North, Central, and South America. At PhotoPlus, Zylight will show the BI-FLEX family of LED panels that are literally flexible, so they can fit in a variety of spaces or be mounted in rigid frames for more traditional setups. Plus, the A-LITE and EYE-LITE BI are Aladdin’s ultra-portable dimmable lights with internal batteries that deliver great results for DSLRs and mobile devices.

Between Zylight and Aladdin, we offer an incredible selection of innovative professional LED lighting instruments for professional photographers and videographers,” said Joe Arnao, president of Zylight. “Our lighting solutions deliver excellent light quality and provide the flexibility to help shooters unleash their creativity.”

THX acquired by Razer

THX acquired by Razer

Razer, a company known for its gaming devices, acquired renowned audio technology company THX, opening new development horizons for a brand that is responsible for better audio quality in cinemas and beyond.

Videogames and movies have more in common than bullet-time sequences, and this acquisition confirms it. The acquisition follows an active growing period for THX, which in recent months expanded its certification program to live entertainment and concert experiences. Under the new ownership, THX will maintain its core mission – to provide quality entertainment experiences in the cinema, in the home and on the go – while simultaneously being propelled into new categories in order to address evolving consumer needs.

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“For over 30 years, THX has maintained a proud legacy of being one of the leaders in audio technology and certification worldwide,” said Laurie Fincham, senior vice president of Audio Research and Development at THX. “With their focus on quality, design and innovation, Razer supports our vision to optimize and deliver the best audiovisual experiences to audiences worldwide.”

Its only natural that Razer wants THX in their portfolio. In fact, Razer provides a wide range of gaming and music audio solutions including headsets, headphones, earphones and speakers, all of which are designed to deliver exceptional audio quality and to arm you with the tactical advantage, and now with THX wants to expand that offer.

Besides the hardware, Razer also has software, like the Razer Surround, which gives gamers the best virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience with any stereo headphones. Its only natural that all these products will be expanded with THX onboard.

Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan said, “Razer has a vision for innovation at every level of entertainment, a vision which THX has championed since its inception more than 30 years ago. This acquisition will allow us to reinforce Razer’s leadership in gaming and extend the brand into broader areas of entertainment, while at the same time empowering THX to develop into a global powerhouse, independently.”

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“Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs,” said Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO of THX. “As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers.”

THX certification programs are an assurance to consumers of uncompromised quality, as well as best-in-class performance and consistency, in order to truthfully deliver the artist’s vision to audiences around the globe. The THX certification program has since expanded to audio electronics, non-Internet-connected speakers, TVs, projectors, automotive audio systems and live entertainment. Moving forward, THX will focus on the expansion of its current certification program to include new technologies, such as immersive audio and HDR, and the introduction of whole new programs, such as headphone certification and, in the future, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences and their enabling devices.

SidePath or TrailScape: which backpack is right for you?

SidePath or TrailScape: which backpack is right for you?

The SidePath is a lightweight backpack for a day trip, or anything in between. The TrailScape offers a spacious interior, allowing for plenty of photo gear, yet maintains a slim and compact profile. Which one is right for you?

Photographers always tend to collect bags of different sizes and sorts. There is no such thing as having too many photo bags. It’s something me and my wife always laugh about: she has a collection of handbags that fills a lot of space in her wardrobe… and I’ve my photo bags and backpacks hanging around my office, because I always want to have a choice of bags for different situations.

When recently she asked me to choose some of my photo bags to store away, so as to get more free space in my working area… I could not find a solution to the problem. Although I’ve stored some older bags, some so battered they will not be used any longer – I’ve so many memories attached to some that is is hard to part with them -, I like to have a choice of bags around, because I always feel that I’ve to have the right tool for the right job.

I’ve a MindShift Gear rotation180? backpack which is used for when I want to carry more gear and use the rotating belt pack, which is great when you’re moving about in the field. Then I’ve a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker HardDrive, which I nicknamed the “little school”, that I use mostly when I’ve a workshop at a specific location. I carry flashes and LED panels inside it, with batteries, diffusers, reflectors, cables and everything else. I also have a MindShift Gear Multi-Mount Holster 30, for when I want to travel really light. The belt pack from the rotation180? backpack is also used on its own, as I it can carry quite a lot (a 100-400, 17-40mm, DSLR body, Speedlite 580 EX II and some batteries and a few extras) and is great to use on your shoulder or around the waist when you’re shooting.

SidePath or TrailScape: which backpack is right for you?

I also have a shoulder bag Think Tank Photo Speed Racer V2.0, although it does not see much use these days, but was my everyday bag for quite some time when Think Tank Photo launched it. I still keep around some older shoulder and backpack models from LowePro – even the original backpack Orion AW with beltpack, designed by the team that years later founded Think Tank Photo – and a model from Manfrotto that I tested last year and has been hanging around ever since. My cat Yellow sleeps on top of it so it must be comfortable.

Although years ago, when working for newspapers and magazines, I used shoulder bags a lot, backpacks have been always present and gradually became my main choice, because of weight distribution, especially when carrying more than a camera and lens. Backpacks are also the logical choice for outdoors and trekking, and that’s what I’ve mostly done. Because of that, for short day outings I still use a small backpack, a battered red LowePro Micro 200 that has long lost any resistance to water, but is suitable to carry some gear protected… as long as I don’t get caught in bad weather.

This is where the new backpacks from MindShift Gear come in. One of the greatest challenges outdoor photographers face is how to carry their smaller, and yet still sophisticated and expensive camera gear in a backpack of sufficient quality to endure the rigors of the wilds. To meet their needs, MindShift Gear has released the SidePath, a lightweight outdoor photography backpack that features superior materials and construction.

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The SidePath immediately attracted my attention, because it is red and would make a “nice pair” with my Jeep Cherokee. Although red is not the best choice for Nature, sometimes I do think you’ve to give in to fashion. The SidePath is a lightweight backpack (1.6 lbs.) made with superior materials and construction. It’s, says MindShift Gear, a great grab-and-go bag that can be used for travel, a day trip, or anything in between. Rear panel access keeps your gear secure and your harness clean. A roomy zippered compartment fits a 10″ tablet and all the supplies needed for one-day adventure. Interior trap door adds versatility by converting a camera bag to an open daypack.

The SidePath’s contoured back panel with lumbar support, air-channel, lightweight harness, and adjustable sternum strap provide all day comfort, according to the information provided. The backpack is constructed with P600D and 420D nylon, high quality YKK zippers, 420D high-density nylon with re-enforced stress points for long-lasting durability and strength.

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In terms of gear capacity, the SidePath holds 1 large (un-gripped) Mirrorless body and 1-2 standard zoom lenses or primes, or 1 compact DSLR (Rebel, 3300 or 5300 series) and 1-2 lenses, a 1 DSLR (5DMIII or D750) with 1 standard zoom or 2 primes. There is still space left so you can carry up to a 10″ tablet and 8 liters of capacity for personal gear. To better understand what the SidePath can hold watch the video. One note from MindShift Gear: the maximum lens size the backpack can accommodate is a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached to a D750 or 6D.

SidePath or TrailScape: which backpack is right for you?

The TrailScape is the next step in terms of space. With a capacity of 18L, about half the capacity of the rotation180?, this backpack fits a complete camera system, including a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached with hood in the shooting position. Examples? Well, a Nikon D810 with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached to a body and the hood in the shooting position and 2-3 additional lenses or a Canon 5DMIII with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached and 4-6 additional lenses or, if you go mirrorless, a Sony a7mII with 70-200mm f/4 attached and 5-6 additional lenses. With its multiple lash points, photographers can carry extra gear, such as a light jacket and lunch. And, its laptop and tablet slots allow them to use this as their “go to” backpack while in transit.

“At MindShift, we are focused on meeting the needs of outdoor enthusiasts who are often carrying sophisticated and expensive electronics deep into the wild. What they seek are protection and comfort,” said Doug Murdoch, MindShift Gear’s CEO and Lead Designer. “The TrailScape’s removable webbing waistbelt helps stabilize the bag while active and its contoured back panel with lumbar support and robust harness provide for all day comfort.”

Now that you know a little more about the two new backpacks from MindShift Gear, which would you choose? If you already have a backpack to carry all your gear, the SidePath may be a good option to try, as it seems ideal for small hikes. But if you are looking for your next backpack to carry a bit more gear, the TrailScape – I really like both backpacks and the names chosen – may be adequate. It holds everything the SidePath does and some more. Check the videos to get a complete idea of what these two new solutions offer photographers and videographers.

AMD aims to advance cinematic VR in China and France

AMD aims to advance cinematic VR in China and France

During the recent VR on the Lot, a 2-day content, technology and education summit held 13 and 14 October at Paramount Picture Studios, Hollywood, AMD announced it is working with VRrOOm to help advance cinematic storytelling through VR in cinemas across China.

AMD, which is one of the sponsors of the event, together with Intel, Google VR, Technicolor, Nokia, Oculus and many others, outlined at the summit new solutions to two of the largest issues facing professional VR content creators today: how to create compelling VR content that approaches cinematic fidelity, and how to maximize that content’s viewership.

In the opening keynote at VR on the Lot, a two-day summit bringing together the top players in media, entertainment and technology, AMD detailed innovative Radeon Pro technologies designed to fuel the creation of real-time photorealistic VR content, and announced collaborations to facilitate the distribution of premium VR content to out-of-home experiences around the world.

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“In creating Radeon Pro, we sought to address the industry’s biggest problems, and for many creators, there’s none bigger than cinematic VR content,” said Roy Taylor, corporate VP and head of alliances, content and VR, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “Bringing your creative vision to life can be a demanding and laborious process and working in VR, those demands are exponentially multiplied. Through extraordinary Radeon Pro hardware and software, we’re helping alleviate the technical burdens of creativity, empowering artists to focus on telling their story, and through our efforts in location-based entertainment, giving them new opportunities to share their work with the world.”

Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2016, Radeon Pro technology represents a fundamentally different approach to content creation, informed by a deep focus on open source software, and solutions that are built for modern content creation processes. At VR on the Lot, AMD addressed the challenge of achieving photorealism in real-time: how to deliver compelling synthetically-rendered and filmed content in a smooth and enjoyable VR experience.

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At the heart of the solution is the new Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU, capable of handling demanding media and entertainment workflows and professional VR content creation needs at a planned MSRP under $1,000. The Radeon Pro WX 7100 uses the award-winning Polaris architecture to deliver extraordinary performance while boasting workstation-grade components and build quality, with planned availability later this year.

Powerful software tools complement the Radeon Pro WX 7100, including Radeon ProRender, an open-source physically-based rendering engine available on GPUOpen.com, designed to deliver extraordinary photorealistic rendered content. By harnessing powerful hardware in Radeon Pro graphics and Radeon ProRender software in their systems, content creators can render final-frame quality outputs that appear true-to-life.

For filmed content, AMD’s Project Loom is designed to enable real-time 360-degree video stitching that combines the output of up to 24 cameras to enable 4K resolution at 30 frames per second in VR. Project Loom is targeted for availability later this year as open source on GPUOpen.com.

AMD aims to advance cinematic VR in China and France

To help in handling incredibly large datasets such as 360-degree video footage in 4K, AMD introduced the Radeon Pro Solid State Graphics (SSG) card. Initially available as a developer kit, Radeon Pro SSG gives content creators a full terabyte of memory directly attached to the GPU to drive astounding performance gains. For instance, the Radeon Pro SSG handles 8K raw video with ease, enabling real-time video scrubbing at 90+ frames per second, up from 17 frames per second using conventional graphics memory.

AMD also announced at VR on the Lot significant steps to expand the availability of premium VR experiences through new collaborations with Awesome Rocketship, Howie’s Game Shack and VRrOOm. The agreements will leverage AMD’s world-class hardware and software to drive new and exciting VR installations in malls, cinemas, i-cafes and other retail locations, providing new revenue opportunities for venues, expanded distribution opportunities for content creators, and incredible new entertainment experiences to consumers.

AMD is working with Awesome Rocketship, a provider of complete out-of-home solutions for monetizing VR content across a variety of locations including theater lobbies, trade shows, shopping malls, and museums. At VR on the Lot, AMD and Awesome Rocketship are showcasing the company’s sleek, premium-designed Venue VR Gateway pod, featuring stunning content in Phoenix One, a narrative science fiction adventure in VR.

Howie’s Game Shack, operator of one of the largest game centers in North America, has announced they will open three VR-oriented i-cafes in Southern California, the first of their kind in North America. These cafes will feature several dozen VR PCs paired with HTC Vive headsets, powered exclusively by Radeon(TM) graphics.

AMD aims to advance cinematic VR in China and France

AMD also announced a collaboration with VRrOOm to help advance cinematic storytelling through VR in cinemas across China. VRrOOm has developed an end-to-end model for VR entertainment including the VRrOOm Sanctum theater experience, a digital news and content distribution platform extension (www.VRrOOm.buzz) and VR content production. VRrOOm plans to use AMD hardware in VRrOOm Sanctum theatres in cinemas located in six Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, and two French cities including Paris starting this fall through VRrOOm’s exclusive partnership with China Film Group’s affiliated company CFEC and French cinema chain CineMovida. VRrOOm anticipates dozens of VRrOOm Sanctum installations across China and Europe by the end of 2017 and is currently discussing further deployment throughout the United States as well.

Demonstrating AMD’s commitment to Hollywood, AMD recently opened an office on Sunset Boulevard to more easily support productions and partnerships around media and entertainment.

Atomos Shogun Inferno shipping

Shogun Inferno shipping

Since its inception, Atomos have been famous for redefining what monitors and recorders can do for all types of cameras and all types of filmmakers. The Shogun Inferno continues that trend.

The Atomos difference is that they develop cutting edge technology to propel the industry forward but, says the company, “deliver it at a price point and with a user interface that opens the technology up to the entire filmmaking community.” Shogun Inferno gives the Atomos treatment to 4K 60p Log/Raw cameras, delivering high frame rate / high resolution recording & high dynamic range / high bright monitoring for under $2,000.

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“We are selling tomorrow’s 4K 60p HDR technology, today – future-proofing productions at price points that every filmmaker can afford”, said Jeromy Young, CEO and Co-founder of Atomos, “We can’t wait to see the wave of creativity that results from the arsenal of technology we’ve assembled in the Inferno”.

Shogun Inferno shipping

Shogun Inferno is shipping in quantity throughout the Atomos global network now. The initial launch firmware will have most of the announced functionality, however there are some features that will be implemented in the weeks to come and other features announced at IBC that were always scheduled for Q4 2016. A summary of the features ready now and those still to come with free firmware updates are summarized below; Shogun Inferno now shipping with the following functionality;

      • 4K60p video recording over HDMI and 12G SDI in pristine Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHR. Perfect for the ever increasing 4K 60p model list (Sony FS7, F55, AX1 & Panasonic DVX-200, HCX1000, UX180)
      • Capture HDR Log / Raw as ProRes or DNxHR and use the 10+ stops of the AtomHDR monitor to set perfect exposure using the log from Arri, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, JVC and Red cameras
      • The increased processing power of Inferno allows us to add 4K 30p DCI recording over HDMI. A huge feature request from GH4 users, it opens up the camera to cinema applications
      • The high resolution 7" calibrated monitor boasts 1500 nit brightness making it perfect for hood-free outdoor monitoring
      • With FS Raw to ProRes / DNxHR recording up to 4K 60p Sony FS5, FS700 and FS7 users unlock high resolution, high frame rate recording
      • With Canon to ProRes / DNxHR recording up to 4K 30p Canon C300MKII and C500 users unlock high resolution 4K record

Shogun Inferno shipping

According to Atomos, this initial release will be updated 4-5 weeks later with free firmware to add high frame rate recording for Sony FS5, FS700, FS7 cameras. These users will already be able to record Raw to ProRes/DNxHR up to 4K 60p in the initial firmware but will additionally add HD/2K 100/120/200/240p recording capability.

In terms of media Atomos says that only the highest speed SSD’s are capable of recording 4K 60p. There are already multiple models available from Samsung and Sandisk that are compatible with 4K 60p recording, with more models from Angelbird and other brands expected soon. The new Atomos website has been overhauled to make choosing the right media much easier. Visit www.atomos.com and filter for Shogun Inferno to see the full list of approved drives for every model in the Atomos range and find more information about Shogun Inferno.

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