Affinity Designer: building the Affinity Suite, one step at a time

Building the Affinity suite, one step at a time

When Serif launched Affinity Designer for Mac the program soon received thousands of 5-star customer reviews on the Mac App Store. Now Windows users have their own version available, for $49.99.

Affinity Designer is not the first tool that most cinematographers of photographers think about, but some “one man band” artists moving between different areas may well be interested into this professional design and graphics app. Even more so when it is part of a suite that Serif is building, made of a trio of professional quality design software tools. Affinity Photo launched for Mac last year and is now in free public beta on Windows while Affinity Publisher is expected in 2017.

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The Affinity brand, initially presented as Mac only, has extended its offer to the Windows universe, by popular request, one may say, so we can expect to see Affinity Publisher for Windows also, which is great news. I’ve tried Affinity Designer mostly to understand what the program offers, but I’ve invested quite a bit of time on Affinity Photo for Windows, because the program is an exciting solution with an accessible price. Affinity Photo is now on its second public beta – which came out only after a few days of the first open beta – and is building itself to be a serious RAW and photo editor. More about this soon, as I’ve some more news to share, but right now let’s look at Affinity Designer and share the news Serif has to tell the world.

Since its launch, the fast, precise and feature-rich vector design tool has consistently been the top paid-for design app on Mac since launch. The response has been meteoric, including a coveted Apple Design Award and thousands of 5-star customer reviews on the Mac App Store. According to Serif, for many professionals, Affinity Designer has become their go-to app for everything from creating concept art, print projects, logos and icons to UI design, web graphics and mock-ups.

Building the Affinity suite, one step at a time

Now, and after a beta period, Affinity Designer is available for Windows, with a version that matches the Mac version feature for feature, meaning PC users will experience the same thrilling speed, incredible tools and supreme accuracy which have given Affinity Designer its formidable reputation.

To celebrate the launch, Affinity Designer for Windows can be bought for a discount price of $39.99 / GBP29.99 / EUR39.99 until 24 November direct from https://affinity.serif.com/designer/.

Ashley Hewson, Managing Director of developer Serif, says: “When we launched Affinity Designer we never expected the impact it has made. Seeing it so widely adopted by designers around the world – and all the incredible work people are creating with it – has been such a rewarding experience for the team here.

“We’ve released many updates to Affinity Designer since launch, adding hundreds of new features which users asked for. But by far the biggest single request has been for the Windows version so we’re delighted to finally deliver that.”

Experienced digital designers, illustrators and artists will feel instantly at home with Affinity Designer’s powerful selection of essential tools. Buyers can also expect:

  • A complete vector and pixel editing toolset
  • 10 million+ percent zoom
  • Non-destructive effects and adjustment layers
  • RGB, CMYK, LAB, Pantone and ICC colour management
  • Advanced typography, including text styles and text-on-a-path
  • Effortless PSD, SVG, EPS, PNG and PDF/X handling
  • Unlimited artboards with device pre-sets
  • Super smooth gradients and colour control
  • Standard and retina resolution pixel preview
  • Unlimited and saveable undo history
  • Incredibly powerful export capabilities
  • Symbols, including multiple versions and nested symbols
  • Constraints for pseudo-responsive design
  • Grids, guides and advanced snapping including pixel alignment
  • Fully customisable shortcuts.

“What might surprise some people is that the Windows version shares exactly the same back-end code as our Mac version,” adds Ashley Hewson. “Not only does this mean perfect cross-platform file compatibility, it means the same memory management and rendering technology which give Affinity Designer its blistering speed.”

Designed to work on 64 bit Windows 7 and above, and available with support for eight languages, the on-sale version has been refined over a public beta testing period with more than 180,000 users taking part.

Building the Affinity suite, one step at a time

Affinity Designer for Windows can be purchased direct from https://affinity.serif.com/designer/. The usual price will be $49.99 / GBP39.99 / EUR49.99 with updates included – there’s no ongoing subscription.

The official Affinity Designer Workbook (from https://affinity.serif.com/designer/workbook/) and Mac version, now with Touch Bar support, are also currently available with an identical discount.

Affinity is a next-generation suite of award-winning software for creative professionals, comprising Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, with Affinity Publisher coming soon. Built from the ground up with a meticulous focus on workflow and blazing performance, Affinity apps are the culmination of Serif’s expertise and over 25 years’ experience in developing creative software. Like nothing that’s come before, Affinity apps are engineered to be the smoothest, fastest, most precise, and most integrated creative apps available. And Affinity don’t do subscriptions.

360 video with Blackmagic Design cameras

360 video with Blackmagic Design cameras

The 360 video rigs from 360RIZE mount between three and eight Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema camera 2Ks or Blackmagic Design Micro Studio camera 4Ks.

The company, 360RIZE, announced it has started shipping its 360Helios 360 video rigs. The 360Helios ecosystem features components for filming cinematic quality 360 video with Blackmagic Design cameras and includes proprietary micro 4/3 lenses, genlock control, a multi-camera control board for simultaneously operating multiple cameras and four unique rig configurations.

360blackmagic003360Helios rigs position the company’s proprietary low profile lenses close to the nodal center of the rig to improve stitching quality and feature a patent pending variable camera orientation within each rig assembly, allowing users to position cameras in portrait or landscape orientation when mounted in the rig.

“We’re excited about the control and adaptability that our 360Helios rigs and accessories offer filmmakers,” said 360RIZE CEO Michael Kintner. ” In particular, our rig configurations make it possible to film with multiple Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Action Cameras in both portrait and landscape orientations. This variability allows users to dictate how the camera’s frames overlap and to easily incorporate other lenses, cables and accessories into the configurations.”

The proprietary micro 4/3 lens is a 2.7mm f/2.3 190-degree fisheye designed for optimum frame overlap and a shallow form factor. These features help filmmakers to correct parallax issues to allow subjects to get closer to the rig, aid in stitching out rigging and offer the ability to film in low-light conditions.

The 360Helios Bullet board offers a variety of tools for operating multiple cameras simultaneously:

  • Perfectly frame-synced genlock control when paired with Blackmagic Design Sync Generator
  • Compatible with Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema camera 2Ks and Blackmagic Design Micro Studio camera 4Ks
  • Control up to 8 cameras on/off simultaneously with settings sync control to force each cameras configuration to being the same
  • Constant 12v power to all cameras via one cable interface
  • Expansion port for interlocking additional 360Helios Bullet Control Boards to control unlimited number of cameras simultaneously in sets of eight.
  • Includes wired remote switch for manual camera operation
  • Onboard web server interface for wireless control via 360Helios Bullet web app (iOS, Android, PC, Mac)
  • Futaba interface for optional custom radio controlled configurations, great to drones and remote operations.
  • Micro USB input for 360Helios Bullet firmware updates

360Helios rigs, lenses and Bullet control boards are now available for order with limited quantities shipping in November. 360RIZE is accepting orders on a first come, first served basis.

National Geographic wants you!

National Geographic wants you!

Until November 30th aspiring digital correspondents to the critically-acclaimed series Explorer, from National Geographic, can participate to have the opportunity to join their ranks.

The Explorer series has long represented the best of the National Geographic brand with thoughtful investigations into important topics that inspire, inform and drive conversation. The new format of the series, launched this month, blends field packages with commentary from a diverse group of celebrity guests, experts and award-winning correspondents. Filmed before a live studio audience in New York City and anchored by broadcaster, journalist and author Richard Bacon, Explorer is a one-hour weekly magazine-talk hybrid, available on National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Bacon, host of Explorer, said, “National Geographic is the most liked TV channel in the world on Facebook, and with millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter, this is a tremendous opportunity to be in front of a huge global audience, and get to know them. They’ll have room to innovate, create, photograph, shoot video and write, and even to be a bit funny and cheeky. This is a great opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves and to join us on this wild, global adventure.”

For anyone who has ever been inspired by the great storytellers of National Geographic, the opportunity to join their ranks has arrived. National Geographic just launched Assignment Explorer, its first-ever nationwide casting call for a digital correspondent to join the team of reporters on the networks long-running, critically-acclaimed series Explorer. The search for a digital correspondent, who will curate social conversation around the topics discussed in each week’s show, will harness the power of National Geographic’s community of more than 250 million social media followers around the world. The online competition will unfold in three phases.

PHASE ONE: SUBMISSION
Until November 30th aspiring digital correspondents should submit a 2-3 minute video addressing one of the three following three questions:

. If you could explore outer space or the depths of Earth’s oceans, which would you choose – and why?
. Who or what is interesting in your town? Use interviews to tell the story.
. What’s next in culture, business, or science that could forever alter our lives?

All entries will be submitted through the online hub at www.assignmentexplorer.com. Once an entry is submitted, it will be displayed on the Assignment Explorer site, where fans can show support for the correspondent they’d most like to see by liking and sharing on social media. National Geographic will also share the best of these videos on its social networks throughout the submission process.

PHASE TWO: ASSIGNMENT NEW YORK
Once the submission phase closes, all entries will be reviewed by a group of advisors, including the Explorer production team and host Richard Bacon. Experience in the components of digital production, like shooting, editing and telling a story, will be considered favorably, but the key requirements are raw talent and unbridled curiosity to investigate the world and all that’s in it. From the entries, three finalists will be selected to travel to New York City in December for one final challenge.

PHASE THREE: SELECTION
The candidate who emerges victorious will take on the role of Digital Correspondent in January 2017, responsible for representing the voice of the people on current events and topics that matter most to the audience. Working with the award-winning team behind the newly relaunched series, the digital correspondent will produce regular stories for National Geographic’s digital and social channels. The correspondent will be held to the same high-caliber levels of journalistic integrity viewers have come to expect across all platforms from the National Geographic brand.

Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro, two new flying cameras from DJI

Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro, two new flying cameras

A few days ago DJI updated the capabilities of its largest drone series with the Matrice 600 Pro, and now the Pro label, already used in the Mavic, is used for a new Phantom 4, while the new Inspire 2 takes to the skies. The way it goes there may be a new Mavic Pro 2 flying around soon!

DJI is certainly working in all fronts, offering new solutions at a speed that suggests the company has been preparing this barrage of drones for some time, as if preparing everything for a great sales period next Christmas. This time with two new drones that raise the bar for professional imaging: Inspire 2, the best ready-to-fly platform for high-end film and video creators, and Phantom 4 Pro, the smartest and most creative flying camera of its size, according to DJI.

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“Professional filmmakers and photographers always push to create images that have never been seen before, and DJI never stops trying to give them the tools to achieve their vision,” said DJI CEO and Founder Frank Wang. “Our newest flight platforms and stabilized aerial cameras are smarter, faster and more powerful than ever before. We can’t wait to see how creators use Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro to capture dazzling images.”

Two cameras are something of a novelty on the new Inspire 2, which offers powerful capabilities and is easy to operate. The nimble new magnesium-aluminum alloy body increases stiffness while lowering weight. It has a top speed of 67 mph and takes only 4 seconds to accelerate to 50 mph. With the new dual battery system, flight time is up to 27 minutes. A new forward-facing camera offers the pilot the best flight view for operating the master controller, while the camera operator receives a separate feed from the professional Zenmuse camera mounted on the main gimbal. The Inspire 2 supports the brand-new Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras and will support additional cameras in the future.

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An entirely new image processing system, called CineCore 2.0, is embedded into the airframe, which allows processing large files faster than ever before. Inspire 2 captures 5.2K video at 4.2 Gbps for Adobe CinemaDNG RAW videos and leverages a newly-designed, fast CINESSD storage for a smooth work experience. A variety of video compression formats are supported by CineCore 2.0, including Adobe CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes 422 HQ (5.2K, 4K) and ProRes 4444 XQ (4K), H.264, and H.265. When recording 4K video in H.264 and H.265, the birate is up to 100Mbps.

Inspire 2 offers professional capability and control suitable for many scenarios. With optional high-altitude propellers, Inspire 2 can reach a maximum service ceiling of 16,404 feet above sea level, and the self-heating dual battery redundancy system maintains good performance of the battery to -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Through an optimized mode, Inspire 2 streams smooth video at the widely used 1080i50/720p60 broadcast standard. Enhanced Lightbridge video transmission makes smoother HDMI video possible.

The dual-battery system ensures that if one battery fails during a flight, the other will be able to provide power for a safe return to home. Stereo vision sensors have been included on the front and bottom of Inspire 2 for obstacle detection, and upward facing infrared sensors on top of the aircraft add protection when flying in enclosed spaces.

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The redesigned propulsion system can safely carry Inspire 2 through incredible vertical camera moves, climbing at almost 20 feet/second and descending at almost 30 feet/second. Redundant systems provide reliability for the IMU, barometer, electronic speed controller communication and satellite navigation modules. The master and slave controller range now extends to 328 feet and users can switch between 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequencies to cut through any noise for greater signal stability.

Safety is more and more a concern of drone companies, so the Inspire 2’s new intelligent flight modes expand DJI’s computer vision technology to safely fly routes that give creators new ways to capture what they envision. Spotlight Pro Mode locks onto a subject during flight while the aircraft flies freely in another direction – and automatically rotates the aircraft to stay on the shot if the gimbal reaches its rotational limit. The forward-facing camera offers TapFly, which directs Inspire 2 to any point on the screen while avoiding obstacles along the way. ActiveTrack recognizes common subjects such as people, cars and animals, sending Inspire 2 to follow behind, lead in front, circle above or track alongside while always flying forward, ensuring the forward-facing obstacle sensing system keeps the aircraft safe.

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DJI is enhancing the imaging potential of the Inspire 2 by expanding its line of interchangeable Zenmuse cameras, which are designed for aerial imaging and communicate directly with the aircraft’s gimbal and flight controllers. For situations that require a balance between weight and image quality, the new Zenmuse X4S has a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor with 11.6 stops of dynamic range and a 24 mm equivalent focal length. The Zenmuse X4S offers aperture control (f2.8-11) and a mechanical shutter that cancels rolling shutter distortion. The new Zenmuse X5S has a larger Micro Four Thirds sensor with 20.8 megapixels and an incredible 12.8 stops of dynamic range. The Zenmuse X5S camera now supports 8 lenses from wide angles to zooms. It shoots 20fps continuous burst DNG RAW (20.8 MP). In the future, a handheld mount will be available for the Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras, bringing those cameras down to the ground for more flexible filmmaking.

A series of powerful DJI accessories will meet the needs of operators under various filming conditions. DJI Focus, a battery charging station, DJI CINESSD, CINESSD station and other optional accessories are available.

An optional DJI Crystalsky high-brightness IPS monitor features an ultra-bright screen that is clearly visible in direct sunlight and ideal for outdoor shooting. It comes in 5.5-inch and 7.85-inch sizes, with the highest brightness up to 1000 cd/m2 and 2000 cd/m2 respectively, and its dedicated system reduces video transmission latency. Dual Micro-SD Card slots within the screen make it easy to back up footage and can also be used to transfer and play back files. It operates in extreme temperature conditions from -4 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The second drone from DJI to take to the skies is the Phantom 4 Pro, a professional imaging platform derived from the Phantom 4 launched last March. Phantom 4 Pro offers a powerful imaging system for professional photo and video creators as well as non-professionals who demand excellence from the camera and platform they use to pursue their creative visions.

The camera now packs a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, and almost 12 stops of dynamic range bring out levels of detail and low-light performance unprecedented in a flying camera of this size. Its mechanical shutter eliminates rolling shutter distortion in fast-moving scenes. Phantom 4 Pro can capture slow-motion 4K video up to 60 fps at a maximum bitrate of 100 mbps. In addition, the Phantom 4 Pro offers H.265 video compression, which substantially improves video quality at the same bitrate.

Inspire Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro, two new flying cameras from DJIand Phantom 4 Pro, two new flying cameras

A reliable flying system is a must for a drone like this, so the Phantom 4 Pro builds on DJI’s original obstacle avoidance system with FlightAutonomy – three sets of visual systems that build a 3D map of obstacles in front, behind and below the aircraft, as well as infrared sensing systems on both sides. FlightAutonomy can position, navigate and plan routes for Phantom 4 Pro, enabling it to avoid obstacles in a sensing range up to 98 feet at front and rear, even in complex 3D environments. When returning to home and tapping to initiate auto takeoff or landing, the Landing Protection function is able to detect and help avoid landing on uneven ground or water. Phantom 4 Pro has high-performance battery technology that provides up to 30 minutes of flight time. The Phantom 4 Pro flies at 31 mph in P mode with obstacle avoidance in effect, and has a 45 mph top speed in sport mode.

Phantom 4 Pro’s revolutionary new compact remote controller comes with an optional high luminance display, providing a clear and vivid live HD view from the main camera as well as essential telemetry data, even in direct sunlight. The aircraft will automatically choose between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz once powering on to gain a clear signal in areas with high radio interference. The new controller has a built-in GPS, compass, Micro-SD card slot and HDMI port.

New intelligent flight modes make Phantom 4 Pro the smartest flying camera of its size, opening new vistas for creators, such as the new Draw Mode that allows operators to draw lines on the controller display and direct the Phantom 4 Pro to fly that route, says DJI.

ActiveTrack recognizes common subjects such as people and bikes, then follows them from any angle while maintaining camera focus, and includes three new modes – New Circle, Profile and Spotlight.

Narrow sensing enhances obstacle avoidance sensitivity so the aircraft can fly through complex environments like narrow doorways. TapFly now works backwards and comes with a new Free mode that allows a pilot to set the direction of flight, turn the Phantom 4 Pro or tilt the gimbal without changing the direction of flight. With the new AR Route feature, operators will be able to tell the flight route on the screen.

Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro, two new flying cameras from DJI

As an additional safety feature, within a minute of losing GPS signal, the aircraft will automatically return to the last connected position and hover there precisely to wait for the pilot’s command. With the enhanced return to home function, the aircraft knows where it should be going from up to 984 feet away and avoids obstacles along the route.

Phantom 4 Pro’s U.S. retail price is $1,499 with a standard controller. The Phantom 4 Pro+, which includes a Phantom 4 Pro aircraft, and a high luminance display remote controller, will be available at $1,799. Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro+ are immediately available for pre-order from DJI’s website.

The U.S. retail price of the Inspire 2 aircraft is $2,999. The Inspire 2 Combo, which includes one Inspire 2 aircraft, one Zenmuse X5S, CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes License Key, is available for $6,198. Customers who order the Inspire 2 Combo before January 1, 2017 can enjoy a special price of $5,999. Inspire 2 and its accessories will be immediately available for pre-order from DJI’s website. Inspire 2 Combo will start shipping in early December 2016 while customers who purchase the aircraft and camera separately can expect their orders to start shipping in early January 2017.

HP Z2: the world’s first mini workstation

HP reveals the first-ever mini workstation

The HP Z2 Mini Workstation is expected to be available worldwide in December starting at $699.00. Although it is designed for CAD, its power will also seduce other industries… like video.

The new workstation is introduced as an answer to the millions of CAD users demanding smaller hardware without compromising acoustics and performance and mission-critical reliability, but this may well be the start of a new trend. Because cinematographers would surely appreciate a package with the performance of a traditional business-class tower in a size that’s 90% smaller.

With this new offering, the company is positioned to extend its workstation leadership by delivering a new category of workstation that offers superb performance, elegance and efficiency. HP Z Workstation products have become the industry standard for customers demanding a full performance workstation. Building off the success of the HP Z240 SFF, the HP Z2 Mini Workstation is twice as powerful as any commercial mini PC on the market today and has the ability to support six displays right out of the box.

HP reveals the first-ever mini workstation

“When designing some of the most technically complex architectural forms the need for cutting edge technology is essential,” said Daniel Libeskind, a world-renowned architect and founder of Studio Libeskind. “The speed in which we create, and the complexity of projects have become more intense over the years, but computers like HP Workstations are helping quickly bring the visions of my designers to life.”

Shorter than a cup of espresso, the new Mini Workstation is capable of designing anything from state-of-the-art electronics to home and office buildings. The workstation, running Windows 10 Pro or Linux, comes equipped with next generation Intel Xeon processors5, NVIDIA professional graphics and the availability of HP Z Turbo Drive for handling large files remarkably fast.

“The HP Z2 Mini, the world’s first mini workstation, delivers breakthrough power and versatility in a small, iconic design,” said Jeff Wood, vice president and general manager, Workstations and Thin Clients, HP Inc. “We’ve redefined the workstation in 2009 with the introduction of the HP Z series, and now once again is disrupting the category with the new HP Z2 Mini Workstation – the ultimate combination of space efficiency, elegance and power for our customers and partners.”

HP reveals the first-ever mini workstation

As workplaces become more space constrained, there’s a greater business need for smaller workstations. The incredibly compact form factor resembles more a super computer from the future than a PC of today. With its octagon form, it is the most uniquely designed HP Workstation in the company’s 35 years of workstation history, and incorporates HP Z DNA throughout the product including extensive ISV certification and 368,000 hours of quality testing.

The ultra-compact and aesthetically pleasing workstation provides users with numerous versatility options: on/under the desk, behind an HP Z display, or on a wall. The engineers responsible for the project created custom designed fans and a cooling system for whisper-quiet acoustics (63 percent quieter than a business-class mini PC) for workstation customers that need mission-critical reliability. The Mini Workstation design and engineering ingenuity will transform the way people think about workstations and workspaces.

HP Z2 Mini Workstation is expected to be available worldwide in December starting at $699.00.

Fujinon Day: December in Los Angeles

As part of the company’s overall initiative to promote its Cine-Style zooms among cinematographers, camera operators and camera assistants throughout the world, Fujinon started in May its Fujinon Days. The next is December 1, in Los Angeles.

Cinematographers and optical technicians have a chance to put Premier and Cabrio zooms through their paces during the series of educational seminars created by the Optical Devices Division of Fujifilm, Fujinon. The first session was held at the prestigious ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Clubhouse on May 24th. To date, three other events have followed in the U.S.: Austin at MPS on September 15th, Atlanta at ARRI Rental on September 24th and New York City at Abel Cine on November 1st.

“Fujinon Day at Sony DMPC” in Los Angeles is scheduled for December 1st. Upcoming locations include events in Sao Paulo, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Miami and Boston, confirming the international aspect of the event.

“Our goal with these events is to allow filmmakers to see for themselves the capabilities and characteristics of our extensive range of Premier and Cabrio lenses, and to combine that with the opportunity to learn from masters like Bill Bennett ASC, William Wages ASC and Dejan Georgevich ASC,” said Chuck Lee, Western Regional and Technology Manager, Fujifilm Optical Devices Division. “We strongly encourage comments and questions during the presentations. We see these days as educational in nature, a chance to talk about how the technical aspects of lens design relate to look and feel, rather than merely boast about our lenses.”

For three-time ASC Award winner William Wages, ASC (Buffalo Soldiers, Down in the Delta, Burn Notice, Into the West): “the Cabrio 19-90 and 85-300mm zooms are virtually the only lenses I’m presently using. The optical quality, small size and speed are unequaled. They’ve changed the way I shoot.” Wages, the ASC’s 2012 recipient of the Career Achievement in Television honor, added he’s taking his Fujinon lenses to South Africa in November for a feature film shoot with director Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields, The Mission, City of Joy).

Eric Steelberg, ASC (Baywatch, Draft Day, Juno, 500 Days of Summer) was among those on hand at the ASC event. “In the past, cinematographers have relegated zooms to a lower place in the hierarchy of lens technology,” he said. “If you wanted to use a zoom, you had to be willing to sacrifice. Fujinon, in my opinion, completely changed that paradigm. Now you don’t have to decide to shoot zooms or primes based on performance. Now it’s based on workflow form and factor, and a cinematographer’s philosophy. But the technical limitations have been solved. I’ve used them with Red, ALEXA, film, and across the board, they have performed. If you thought that Fujinon lenses were only for video or sports, I’ve got news for you.”
Fujinon zoom lenses have been used on major feature films ranging from Tomorrowland (Claudio Miranda, ASC) to Avatar (Mauro Fiore, ASC), to Jupiter Ascending (John Toll, ASC); and on TV shows such as The Last Ship (Rodney Charters, ASC CSC) and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Bill Nielsen).

After leading a discussion about the subtleties of lens characteristics at the ASC event, noted cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC concluded, “Many of the attendees were very experienced cinematographers. They don’t need to be told what a good lens is or what good performance is. They would just as soon come and see for themselves and make up their own minds. Everybody makes judgments about lenses in their own way, so we just gave people the tools to take a good look.”

Cinematographer Ian Ellis, known for his dramatically lit DP work on the TV series “The Lying Game,” and second unit DP work on “Friday Night Lights” and “Revolution” had never seen a Fujinon Premier lens in action before “Fujinon Day” in Austin. Ellis reports being “amazed” by the lack of breathing, vignetting, and overall beautiful imagery captured by the Premier and Cabrio zooms. “I would love to get the 25-300mm Cabrio on a TV show. It’s got such a huge range and doesn’t fall apart at the long end wide open. We tend to live on big zooms on TV dramas, and we could go so many directions with that lens. I really want other people to see what it can do. And the Premier 75-400mm lens is insanely cool. It would be my ideal long-end lens for a feature film.”

Steelberg added that lenses, like other filmmaking technologies, are evolving quickly. “It’s great to see companies like Fujifilm continue to push the envelope with zoom lenses,” he said. “Companies are really spending a lot of time and effort developing lens technology. They’re not accepting the status quo, and they’re pushing lens technology beyond what people thought was possible. I’ve been shooting with zooms for most of a recent project, and using primes only when necessary due to space or other restrictions. That’s saying a lot. You no longer need to worry about having enough T-stop. And that’s great for filmmakers and audiences alike. Some of these lenses are T2, which is the same as many primes, and they are just as sharp and free of distortion and aberration. They’re really spectacular.”

For many in the Austin video and film production community, the opportunity to provide feedback on lens performance from their hometown was a welcome one. According to Meredith Stephens, Vice President of Business Development, MPS Studios with offices in Austin, Dallas and Denver: “Fujinon Day brought industry professionals from across the state together to gain an in-depth understanding of the technical specs and capabilities of zooms, get a hands-on look at the quality of glass, and ask questions directly of the experts. I was particularly impressed with the lenses’ balance and contrast performance. They stay in focus throughout the entire image, unlike other zooms. The speed, clarity and crispness across the Premier line is excellent, and they pair nicely with Master Primes.”

Austin-based First Assistant Camera Operator Sebastian Vega (member IATSE Local 600) echoed this sentiment: “I appreciated seeing a major manufacturer visit our market, not only to share their sales catalog, but to seek feedback from professional users. As I’ve seen on set previously and again during this demo, the Premier zooms look terrific.”

Speaking about the ASC-hosted event in LA, Matthew Duclos, COO/Project Manager of Duclos Lenses said, “This was an excellent event. At Duclos, we’re very proud of our independence. We’re not devoted to any single manufacturer. And an event like this isn’t something you’d normally see outside of a dedicated service shop or rental house. It’s great to have a neutral organization like the ASC conduct an educational seminar.”

“Fujinon Day” provides an opportunity to learn about lens design, technology, applications and the company’s wide selection of PL mount zoom lenses. Workshops and panel discussions explore the creative, optical and budgetary considerations that are critical to modern optics design.

AJA releases Desktop Software v12.5

AJA releases Desktop Software v12.5

With support for Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3, Adobe Creative Cloud (2017), MXF files, increases streaming capabilities, the Desktop Software v12.5 from AJA also adds SMPTE 2022-7 support for the KONA IP, and helps enable the latest HDR pipelines.

The software was first announced last September, during the IBC conference, in Amsterdam. At the time, Sue Skidmore, head of partner relations for professional video at Adobe, said that “Our customers are looking to streamline and simplify their HDR workflows. The AJA update allows Adobe Premiere Pro CC users working with the high-end AJA products to monitor their HDR footage accurately while they work on their edits.”

It was said, then that the v12.5 software update extends users’ workflow capabilities with new support for MXF files, the latest HDR pipelines, increases streaming capabilities, and adds SMPTE 2022-7 support for the IP-video based KONA IP.

“Longtime AJA customers know that we are committed to building added value and extending the life of our products through frequent software updates. With v12.5, we’ve added a host of some of the most highly requested customer features, including the ability to read and write DNxHD and DNxHR MXF files, said at the time Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. “In addition to already existing SMPTE 2022-6 support, new SMPTE 2022-7 support for KONA IP is another step in simplifying the transition to IP-based methods of moving data.”

The promise is confirmed now, with the release of the software. The v12.5 update adds new support for Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3, Adobe Creative Cloud (2017), MXF files, increases streaming capabilities, adds SMPTE 2022-7 support for the KONA IP, and helps enable the latest HDR pipelines. This update enables Adobe Premiere Pro CC users working with AJA products to accurately monitor their HDR footage during the editorial process.

New features include:

  • Support for Final Cut Pro X 10.3
  • Support for Adobe CC (2017)
  • Capture and playback support for MXF OP-1A files in AJA Control Room
  • Capture support for MXF OP1a in Adobe Premiere Pro CC
  • HDR 10 HDMI infoframe output support in AJA Control Panel for KONA 4, KONA IP and Io 4K
  • 12-bit RGB frame buffer support in AJA Control Room, AJA Control Panel and Adobe Premiere Pro CC for KONA 4, KONA IP and Io 4K, for use in HDR workflows
    SMPTE 2022-7 for KONA IP, providing seamless protection switching for broadcast IP pipelines
  • Wirecast support for KONA IP and Corvid HB-R

“We are committed to meeting the demands of our customers, and we’ve engineered the v12.5 update to include some of our most requested features – like the ability to read and write DNxHD and DNxHR MXF files,” said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. “This update continues to streamline HDR workflows for customers, while building additional value in our KONA, Io and T-TAP products.”

AJA Desktop Software v12.5 is available today as a free download from AJA’s website.

A new Bolt is born… the Bolt 500

A new Bolt is born... the Bolt 500

Teradek says that the Bolt 500 is the new standard in short range zero delay wireless transmission, able to transmit visually lossless video up to 500ft with no delay.

Last August Teradek introduced its new zero delay wireless video systems that can transmit up to 1000ft and 3000ft respectively, the Bolt 1000 and Bolt 3000.The company said then that “the Bolt 1000 and 3000 feature new firmware that allows the device to achieve its maximum range and potential right out of the box, even if you’re operating in difficult environments.” And added that “reconnect times are now instantaneous following a dropped signal and each of the new models performs better under extreme conditions.” Now they extend the family with another new member, designed for shorter distances and with new features.

A new Bolt is born... the Bolt 500

Bolt is a premium wireless video solution for cinematographers, broadcasters, and independent content creators. The Bolt family includes five versions: 3000, 2000, 1000, 500 and 300. Here is what the new Teradek Bolt 500 has to offer:

2 New DFS Channels

Operate interference-free more often in the USA and Europe by making use of two newly introduced DFS channels.

20% Smaller Chassis

Not just smaller, but lighter too, allowing these models to integrate into any rig unnoticed.

Rapid Reconnection

Reconnect times during a dropped link are now instantaneous once you move back into range.

More Robust Than Ever Before

Reach your Bolt’s full range and potential right out of the box with new software that provides the most robust wireless link we’ve ever created.

Built-In HDMI to SDI Converter

Perfect for use with MoVI and other gimbals, Bolt’s TX has a built-in HDMI to SDI converter, allowing you to connect both your on-camera monitor and video source via the same device.

All the Rest

Metadata and timecode support, 3D LUTs, dual inputs/outputs, multicast capable, and USB 3.0 GRAB Engine are all included with the new 500.

The new system, with a price starting at $ 2,990, is available to buy directly from Teradek or a local reseller.

Hands-on: Affinity Photo for Windows

Hands-on: Affinity Photo for Windows

Affinity Photo for Windows is the Mac version converted for a wider audience. It wants to be your photo editor for less than $50 and without any subscription. The beta, available now, suggests that it may well be so.

On Mac, Affinity Photo was chosen as Apple’s App of the Year 2015, and voted Best Imaging Software 2016 by the Technical Image Press Association. It has also received thousands of 5-star reviews from professional photographers, editors, artists and retouchers from all around the world. Now, finally, PC users can get their hands on the app, and during the beta period it’s completely free!

The Windows version matches the Mac version feature-for-feature, so all the thrilling speed, sophisticated tools and pinpoint accuracy which have earned Affinity Photo its formidable reputation are now available to Windows users too without compromise. What’s more the Windows version shares exactly the same back-end as Affinity’s Mac version so you can be confident the file compatibility between both platforms will always be 100% perfect.

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Affinity says that this beta version even includes some new features which will be included in version 1.5 (to be released next month) giving you the chance to be among the first to try them out. They include:

  • HDR merge
  • Focus stacking
  • Macros
  • Tone mapping
  • Batch processing
  • 360 degree image editing

Developed through the last seven years, the Affinity apps follow a rule: they have to be cross-platform. The launch of the beta version for Windows represents a huge milestone for the team. One thing users are asked to bear in mind is that it is the first beta version, so there will be some rough edges and bugs to fix. Serif says that those who wish to help in the development process can report any issues found on the beta forum so they are fixed and adds “we should work through any problems pretty quickly with new builds coming out at least every week.”

Hands-on: Affinity Photo for Windows

Installing the beta is straightforward, on a Windows 10 64-bit machine. There is a learning curve to follow on Affinity Photo. There always has to be, when you move from one application to a new one. Still, without reading manuals or looking at videos, I managed to find my way around things as creating a panorama from multiple images, reducing haze or perform the most common operations you expect to use one photo editor for.

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Some shortcuts are the same, others are new, following new features that are particular to Affinity. There are also new names for some functions, and all that makes for some confusing first moments, but I can gladly report that after one hour opening and closing menus I felt almost familiarized with Affinity Photo and can start to explore further.

I started the difficult way for a test, but could not resist. Picked some 15 images to create a panorama. I ended with a huge image that slowed the program down, but I had a special reason to do so: I am still using Photoshop CS6, so I can not open the RAW files from my new camera directly in Photoshop. That has made me create an alternative workflow with Canon’s software, DPP, which is great to deal with Canon’s own RAW files but continues to depend on Photoshop for final editing. Affinity Photo means I can do everything under the same program, and it opens the RAW files from my new camera, meaning I can create a panorama directly from RAW files.

Affinity has different workspaces, called Personas. One of them, called Photo, is used to open JPEG files and other types of files directly. When you select a RAW file, though, it’s the Develop module (Persona) the program opens. And you can either open the file the classic way or drag and drop it into Affinity Photo.

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On the right side of the screen the menus – the area is called Studio – will change accordingly to your selection and you’ll soon discover that most of the things you need are all there. If you prefer to use the tools bar on top, a more classic way to access features, you can. Affinity Photo immediately creates a layer for each new adjustment chosen as the editing is no-destructive.

Besides those panels immediately visible, there are many others that you can make visible from the tools bar on top. Some are also activated from the right menu. Things like Scope, which allows to evaluate your image different ways. Or little tricks that are hidden under the apparently simple interface. The feeling one gets is that everything is very much at hand, paving the way for a workflow that you can easily adapt to and will become second nature.

Hands-on: Affinity Photo for Windows

Affinity Photo comes with a long help file that explains all the features of the program. Besides that handy help you have more than 100 video tutorials online, created for Mac, but as the interface is the same they will work to guide Windows users. The videos will help you to get to grips with more complex levels of the program. These first notes together with the videos included here will give you and idea of the potential of this new RAW and photo editor for Windows. Give it a try, as the beta is free. Follow the link to download the beta.

Naturally, Affinity Photo works perfectly with Serif’s stunning graphics editor Affinity Designer, sharing a common file type and shared save history. Affinity Designer for Windows is on the verge of full release.

Windows prices will match Affinity’s subscription-free Mac pricing ethos, with a one-off payment of $49.99 / GBP39.99 / EUR49.99 covering future updates.

Sony 4K robotic camera for Broadcast

Sony 4K camera for Broadcast

The new BRC-X1000 combines 4K resolution with flexible remote operation. A HD version, the BRC-H800 will also be available, says Sony.

The BRC-X1000 is ideal for small-to-midsize production companies as a primary camera for local broadcast affiliates, cable TV operations, education, hospital and government applications, as well as live event recording for houses of worship or weddings. It can also serve as a key production element in large, advanced media production facilities requiring the proven efficiencies BRC remote-operated cameras bring to a production workflow.

“Building on the heritage of Sony’s BRC lineup of cameras, the new flagship 4K resolution BRC-X1000 expands an already comprehensive family of Sony PTZ cameras,” said Terry Huber, Senior Marketing Manager for Remote Cameras. “The BRC-X1000 meets the demands of end-to-end 4K productions and is a smart choice for future proofing and preserving content as production requirements continue to change.”

Sony 4K camera for Broadcast

Besides the 4K BRC-X1000 Sony also announced a Full HD version, the BRC-H800, with a single Exmor R CMOS sensor.

The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 share much of what has made Sony’s HD BRC-H900 one of the most effective production tools available today. The ability to deliver extraordinary image quality and sensitivity that matches traditional manually-operated studio cameras is just the starting point. The heart of these new cameras is Sony’s 1.0 type back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and image processing engine coupled with a 12x optical zoom Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. Clear Image Zoom capabilities to 24x in HD and 18x in 4K allow users to enlarge an image while retaining its original quality.

The cameras’ high speed 60p HD mode can capture fast-paced subjects, useful when shooting live sports. Future support for 24P (planned for 2017) will give professionals added flexibility to use the cameras as a creative tool with a beautiful bokeh for dramatic depth-of-field effects.

Sony 4K camera for Broadcast

The new easy-to-use BRC cameras combine imaging excellence with advanced intelligent capabilities, enabling a single camera operator to manage a multi-camera production. The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 presently support up to 16 position presets (with additional presets planned for Spring 2017) making it easy for an operator to transition seamlessly between multiple speakers presenting on a dais or smoothly track a presenter walking mark-to-mark. More complex camera movements (gliding up, down and across from close-up to wide shots) can be pre-programmed with new control features such as Trace Memory and PTZ Motion Sync for added flexibility (planned for Spring 2017). In addition, the zoom speed is adjustable manually.

Sony is also developing a new remote controller to enable more intuitive and sensitive operation, as well as a one-time IP setting for the cameras, which is planned to be available in 2017.

Easy to implement end-user software upgrades via IP will be made available as more features and functionality are added to the cameras.

The BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 cameras are scheduled for release in December 2016. List price is $11,499 for the BRC-X1000 and $8,999 for the BRC-H800 camera.