I had ZEISS’ Snehal Patel over for a lively discussion about the new Compact Prime 3 and Compact Prime 3 XD lenses from ZEISS. This exciting new series of professional cinema lenses feature smaller and lighter housings than their CP.2 predecessors, consistent 95mm front outer diameters, and an updated focusing mechanism for a consistently smooth feel, even in cold weather. All lenses in the range are now “full frame” (covering up to the 35mm stills format, 24mm x 36mm, with a 43.4mm diagonal) and maximum apertures have been made more consistent as well. The 15mm, 18mm and 21mm focal lengths all open to T2.9 while focal lengths from 25mm and up all open to T2.1.
…continue reading At the Bench: ZEISS Compact Prime 3 and the Compact Prime 3 XD
Canon recently announced the new C700 camera, as well as the DP-V2420 4K reference display. We had our hands on an early prototype of the camera back in September, but the camera wasn’t production ready just yet. Now Canon has the camera ready to roll, and we had some more time with it for testing.
The C700 is a fully featured cinema camera, with all the features of the C300 Mark II and beyond. Some of the most exciting feature include a 4.5K sensor with 14+ stops of dynamic range, raw output and Codex integration, a simplified ‘cinema’ style interface, ProRes and XF-AVC internal recording, plus a shoulder mounted design perfect for both cinema and run & gun work. Watch the video above to learn more about the C700. I give a tour of both the camera and the great new interface.
…continue reading At the Bench: A Look at the Canon C700 and DP-V2420 Monitor
Most cinema cameras today can work with lenses designed for cinema use, as well as those designed for still photography, but there are still important differences between these lenses. I teamed up with Snehal Patel from Zeiss to answer the question “what makes a lens a cinema lens”? In the video, we cover the wide range of Zeiss Cinema Lenses, which feature interchangeable shimmable mounts that allow them to work with just about every camera. We also demonstrate how to shim a lens and what that means. Zeiss cinema lenses also have full frame coverage, and we give a demonstration of what that means as well. Finally we discuss what make a lens a ‘super speed’ lens and what that looks like.
Watch the video above to learn all about Zeiss Cinema Lenses or jump to a specific topic using the links below.
…continue reading At the Bench: An Inside Look at Zeiss Cinema Lenses
ARRI has now started shipping the ALEXA SXT camera, and we were lucky enough to have one in house for a short time. The ALEXA SXT is the latest evolution of the ALEXA camera line, with several new features and the horsepower of the ALEXA 65 camera. The SXT has a Swiss Army knife of recording options, giving you many ProRes and raw formats, and a wide variety of frame sizes to support anamorphic and aspherical acquisition. All of these can be recorded to the new Codex SXR capture drives, which give the highest frame rate options. Other recording options include CFast 2.0, SxS, or the ALEXA XT’s Codex capture drive with an adapter.
The camera now has the same powerful look management features found in the AMIRA and ALEXA Mini. It takes this concept further with four independently addressable outputs and remote color grading options via Pomfort LiveGrade or other applications. Any color adjustments performed on set can be saved as metadata to the camera clips. These can be easily applied directly from the clips in most NLEs and color grading applications. The SXT also has some image processing improvements and noise reduction options, and with the ALEXA 65 hardware inside, there are many possibilities for future improvements via firmware updates. Check out the video above to learn more.
Sony recently announced the AXS-R7 recorder for their F5 and F55 cameras. The new AXS-R7 is a robust dual-slot RAW recorder that enables recording up to 120 fps in 4K on the F55. At 120p, you’ll need one of two new AXS media cards. Available in 1 TB and 512 GB capacities, these cards can support sustained read and write speeds of 4.8 Gbps, delivering 44 minutes at 59.94p or 22 minutes at 120 fps (1 TB version). The dual-slot recorder also accepts current AXS media, but the new cards are designed to support the write speeds required for 4K RAW 120 fps.
In addition, the R7 now also enables Cache (buffer) Recording in RAW at 23.98p for up to approximately 30 seconds. With the recorder, the F55 and F5 will both get this feature, which is great for wildlife and documentary production where you never know what you are going to miss. Watch my video above to learn more about the R7 and also the new firmware, version 8, for the F5 and F55.
ARRI’s line of Electronic Control Systems are popular accessories to use with many cameras, especially the ALEXA Mini. This is because ARRI’s wireless control unit, the WCU-4, not only controls motors attached directly to the Mini, but with the right license, the WCU-4 can also change settings on the camera. The WCU-4 works directly with the ALEXA Mini, as well as other ALEXA Plus cameras (ALEXA Plus, ALEXA XT Plus, and ALEXA SXT), or with their UMC-4 receiver, which means you can use it for a wide variety of scenarios.
In this video series, I will break down how to connect the WCU-4 with the Mini, and how to remote control the camera. Then in the second video, I give a demonstration of how to create lens mapping files to work with non-LDS or Cooke /i lenses. Check out the videos and let us know what you think in the comments section.
…continue reading At the Bench: ARRI WCU-4 Wireless Control Unit
The Panasonic VariCam 35 has been called the “workflow camera,” as it offers multiple internal recording formats that can really speed up your workflow. The camera can capture a 4K or HD V-Log master, while at the same time recording both HD and proxy for instant dailies. The VariCam LT has the same function, but with just a 4K or HD master and a proxy recording. In the latest firmware updates for both of these cameras, Panasonic has greatly improved the file naming conventions, allowing both the main (master) recording and sub (HD/Proxy) recording to have the same file name. This greatly simplifies the whole process and truly makes these cameras unique and powerful.
Below is an outline of how to set up both cameras for action, and steps for importing footage into Avid, Final Cut Pro X, and Premiere. I’ll also outline a basic finishing workflow with DaVinci Resolve and 4K V-log content.
…continue reading How To: Step-by-Step Workflow for Panasonic Varicam 35 & LT