On January 24th, Abel Cine Tech teamed up with their Mexico-based partner, Simplemente to present the Phantom HD high-speed camera at a special seminar and screening event in Mexico City. Pete Abel and Abel Cine’s Director of Technical Development, Jesse Rosen conducted the event jointly with Simplemente co-owners, Rune Hansen and Monica Reina.
Simplemente, one of Mexico’s premier Apple resellers and post-production facility and training centers, recently took delivery of a Phantom HD and CineMag from Abel to supplement its growing camera rental department. The event was designed to provide the Mexican broadcast and production markets with an in-depth look at this new high-speed technology.
“We’ve known Pete and Rich Abel for many years, since their facility was in Staten Island,” recalls Reina. “We’ve also been reselling their products for the past five years. We love Abel’s concept of putting together perfect solutions for the production world, and they always know what’s coming up next in terms of technology. Like Simplemente, they have a commitment to bring production into the reach of people, which we also set out to accomplish with this special event.”
The event took place at a 400-seat theater at Cinemex WTC, one of Mexico City’s largest movie theaters using a SXRD 4K digital projector provided by Sony. The house was packed with a cross-section of producers, cinematographers and directors from throughout Mexico. The country has enjoyed a fresh production renaissance in the feature world, as well as a long history of music videos, commercials and network television. These are all areas where the Phantom HD camera offers a new perspective in slow motion photography.
The presentation was broken into several topics, bookended with freshly edited reels of the latest Phantom cinematography. The session included a live high-speed production demonstration featuring Yazmin Garnelo, a famous Mexican ballerina, as well as a presentation of Phantom materials by Enrique Quiroz, co-founder and technology director for the Mexican commercial production house, Industria Films. The company has been using their Phantom HD to capture breathtaking imagery throughout the country for its largest client, the Mexican Board of Tourism.
Rosen and Hansen spoke in the interim, presenting an overview of the Phantom production and post-production workflow. They also answered questions from the audience, many of who were eager to learn more and try out the Phantom in their own productions.
“One challenging concept to communicate to people who haven’t actually had their hands on the camera is how triggering works with the circular memory buffer,” says Rosen. “You’re not starting and stopping recording in a linear way but rather you’re always recording. You can trigger the camera at the end of the event or anywhere in between and still capture everything into memory.”
“I think the concept of the raw Cine files as an actual digital negative is another difficult thing for Directors of Photography to understand,” adds Hansen. “It should be easy coming from a traditional cinematographer background. But since most of them are aware of the limitations of working with ‘traditional’ broadcast HD formats (highly compressed, limited color space, etc) they’re initially somewhat skeptical to the idea.”
“The reception and the openness of the DPs in general was even greater than I expected,” says Pete Abel. “I had always thought of the production market in Mexico as much more film-centric than what we experienced. To have people out of the gate ready to try this new technology without too many reservations was impressive.”
The event at Cinemex was part of an intensive week for Abel, Rosen and Simplemente, which included a visit to Industria’s impressive 25,000 square foot production and post facility, as well as hosts of meetings with other production companies already working in high speed with the Phantom.
Abel and Simplemente capped off the week working with executives and producers at Latin America’s largest network broadcaster, Televisa, to demonstrate and test the Phantom at a live venue. Televisa’s Phantom test day took place two days later at Estadio Azteca, the world’s fourth largest sports stadium, with more than 100,000 screaming fans in attendance.
“All in all, it was a memorable and productive week,” says Abel. “What I see in Simplemente is the same passion and understanding the folks at Abel bring to these amazing, new digital acquisition tools. They know the benefits of these new technologies because they understand film and how difficult it is to achieve what these new cameras can do. Simplemente is also data and IP-savvy, so the whole concept is something they immediately see the benefits of and embrace.
I felt so much at home at Simplemente, because they have the same excitement for Phantom that we have up here at Abel Cine Tech. Our passion brings us together – we’re such a natural fit.”
Below are more images of Simplemente and Abel with the Phantom.
by Noah Kadner