The Equipment Show

Last weekend The British Society of Cinematographers held their annual ‘Equipment Show’ at Elstree Film and Television Studios’ Studio One…or as it has been renamed, ‘The George Lucas Stage’. Highlights included the new HD cameras from Arri and Panavision, whose differing design philosophies try to achieve the same end result of film quality images on digital video tape.

MC Rebbe features the Panavision Genesis in The Technofile alongside the Arriflex D20The Sony camera…or as it has been renamed…The Panavision Genesis…has a Sony image sensor, Sony circuitry and an integrated Sony HD ‘tape deck’. It is designed to take the full range of Panavision Primo lenses and because it features a single ‘full frame’ sensor, there is no magnification factor, which means that these lenses offer exactly the same focal length and depth of field as if used with a Panavision 35mm film camera.

The frame rate is variable and includes all the usual HDTV speeds: 24, 25, 30 and of course everybody’s fave…29.97. Panavision claim a massive 11 stops of latitude for the sensor, which is a CCD not a CMOS chip (something that the big P, somewhat questionably, claim is an advantage). Although the CCD has only 12 Million pixels, which seems small compared to the latest 16 and 22 million pixel digital stills backs, those don’t offer high frame rates…or 11 stops of latitude, anyway, it’s resolution, not pixel count that counts. The native resolution of this camera is apparently in the region of 6K, which is then downsampled to give a ‘true’ HD resolution of 1920×1080, which, according to Panavision, is similar to the actual resolution of an image projected from a print (as opposed to the theoretical 4K resolution of a negative that has been scanned via electron microscope)…whatever… I still say that one layer CCD/CMOS chip don’t give ‘true’ colour resolution, but you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the new Superman movie is released, as it is being shot entirely with this appropriately named ‘Genesis’.

MC Rebbe reviews The Equipment Show in The Technofile. Arri Arriflex D20, Panavision Genesis, Fuji Eterna, Cineled Yeylite, Kisslite and more.Arri’s Arriflex D20, takes a more traditional approach. For starters, unlike the electronic viewfinder found on Panavision’s Genesis, the Arriflex D20 has an optical viewfinder…which is exactly what DOPs and camera ops have been crying out for! Also it’s a two piece affair which needs to be plugged into a separate HD recorder…making it the HD camera of choice for bondage fanatics, who will have countless opportunities to tie themselves up with the connecting cable…just like in the bad old days of home video…how very retro…

On the not so traditional front, the camera uses a CMOS sensor instead of a CCD…but it’s only has 6 million pixels. Again it’s a single ‘full frame’ (super 35mm sized) sensor with a higher native resolution that is downsampled to ‘true’ HD resolution and again it is intended to be used with (Arri PL Mount) 35mm film lenses at their ‘native’ focal length. Also, like the ‘Genesis’, it boasts 4:4:4 output, but unlike the Panavision, it’s capable of delivering an amazing 150 frames per second…the one minor drawback being that nothing currently available is actually capable of recording the vast amount of data needed for 150 f.p.s. (at this resolution), making its top frame rate 60 f.p.s….for now…

MC Rebbe features The British Society of Cinematographers' Equipment Show in The TechnofileFrom the camera action, onto the lights…highlights of which included Gekko Technology’s ‘Kisslite’ and Cineled’s ‘Eyelite’. Both companies have hit on the same idea of making an LED ring light that fits around a camera’s lens, to give a highly flexible beauty light that is dimmable without changes in colour temperature (there is a choice of 5600K or 3200K units). Although both lights have been designed primarily for film/high end video use, both manufacturers tell me they are working on more modestly priced video versions, so DV heads should stay tuned.

MC Rebbe The Rapping Rabbi DJ, VJ, producer, Director, writer, actor, comedian & comic writes a feature about the British Society of Cinematogarpers' annual Equipment Show in The TechnofileAlso, on the lighting front, was the ‘Busterbite’ system, which combines a lightweight collapsible aluminium frame with a set of self adhesive pads. You attach the pads to each corner of your lighting gel, then hook it onto the frame using metal hooks attached to bungy cord, allowing you to quickly and easily setup, change and reuse gels whilst doing them minimal damage and preserving their working lives.

The Finally, to round off this report, Fuji were pushing their new Eterna motion picture stock. Released last month, it’s a 500 E.I. Tungsten balanced film that, according to Fuji, incorporates new technology to give a fine grain structure that is the equivalent to current 250 E.I. films. They also claim “superior colour saturation,” “excellent skin tone reproduction” and “extraordinary latitude and shadow details”…I can’t remember the last time a manufacturer didn’t… However, having seen their demo film “Shadow 2”, they might just be right…

© 2005 – 2010, The Technofile. All rights reserved. Moral Rights Asserted.