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Union Roundup: Cine Gear Emphasizes Gun Safety, Proper Rest Periods, Demo Booths & a New Moderator

June 15, 2022 05:44 | By
Cine Gear 2022

Image via Mark London Williams

“A culture is an environment, a support mechanism.” One doesn’t necessarily come to Cine Gear looking for broad philosophical constructs, particularly in an era where cultures are at war with themselves, but then again, part of the fun of the show is you never know what kind of surprises you might find at a booth.

Or in this case, a panel. The speaker was ICG 600’s own Michael Chambliss, who was leading a small panel — a trio! — on “Establishing a Culture of On-Set Safety” along with DP/director Patrick Cady, ASC, and Local 600’s Rebecca Rhine, who will soon be exiting her National Directorship of the guild.

Coming from the IATSE and organizing side, Rhine said that when she first got to Hollywood, she was “shocked at the length of days” most film workers endured, also adding that supporting a “10-hour rest period is not an endorsement of a 14-hour day,” a reference to some of the issues and perceptions, coming out of the recent contract talks and strike-that-wasn’t, leading to her departure.

Rest (and sleep) was one of the main issues of the panel, as they showed a video with first-hand testimony of film workers who’d all “felt fine” at the end of extraordinarily long days, only to nod off, and crash or roll their cars on the way home. Luckily for them, they were all still here to talk about it.

Cine Gear 2022

Image via Mark London Williams

Gun safety was the other critical issue, coming in the wake of Halyna Hutchins’ killing on the set of Rust, with another video used, this from a Local 44 armorer, showing all the steps to be followed when bringing a prop gun to set, and Cady recounting his time filming the Day of the Dead remake, noticing curlicue metal shards coming off an Uzi replica they were using.

He showed it to the AD, saying, ‘I think we’re done with that gun,’ and the AD agreed, even though they didn’t have a back-up — a deference to real-life conditions that seemed to be lacking on the Rust set.

Or as Cady summarized, a “really great action sequence should be boring to film.”

We’ll have more on ICG’s safety panel in an upcoming column, but as for Cine Gear itself, Cady was the connective tissue to another program highlight, the traditional ASC Cinematographers panel, which had always been moderated by George Spiro Dibie, ASC.

Now it’s fallen to the Society’s own George Mooradian, a recent Emmy winner for the Netflix series Country Comfort. Mooradian has the same kind of gently bemused persona that Dibie did and seems like an astute choice. To recognize the passing, a toast was observed in Dibie’s honor at the outset of the panel.

But that wasn’t the only toast. The wine used came from the vineyard of Karl Kresser, Cine Gear’s co-founder, who also passed away this past spring.

His professional and life partner, Juliane Grosso, was there to lift a glass in remembrance of both, adding a somber though welcome note to the fairly lively proceedings, and a reminder that we’re all carrying on in increasingly unknowable times.

Cine Gear 2022

Image via Mark London Williams

Including, of course, the degree to which trade shows will remain viable in a period of inflation, digital networking, pandemic, and world upheaval.

The show itself was definitely better attended than its placeholder version last fall, and once again held at the north end of the LA Convention Center.

Next to it, for the first two days, was the Summit of the Americas, a hemispheric political gathering that included, at various points, President Biden and Vice President Harris, and resulted in rerouted traffic, blocked streets, etc., to the degree that there was some worry about whether Cine Gear crowds would be further depleted because it’d be too much of a hassle to even get there. But they remained steady — certainly in a not-quite-post-pandemic sense — throughout Friday, and grew even thicker on Saturday.

And while not like the cheek-by-jowl gatherings of the old Paramount lot version of the show, it turned out, with summer temperatures starting to bake much earlier in the season, that there were certain compensations for no longer being an al fresco gathering.

At least mostly. There were some vendor booths outside on the patio, including Matthews Studio Equipment, finding space for their cranes to really stretch out. And while Matthews was among the “few — the band of vendors” (to riff off a certain pre-studio writer) who came last fall, this time they were joined by many others, filling up the floor space.

Cine Gear 2022

Image via Mark London Williams

ARRI was there, with its spanking new ALEXA 35, with lots of hands-on demo’ing at the booth. This in addition to a whole spotlight presentation given by their cinema lens specialist Art Adams, who noted this was the company’s “first major sensor design in 12 years,” all toward the grails of not only a “faster, easier workflow,” but more accurate steps between hues, based on the look (and gradations) of HDR, rather than film (though the camera’s built-in filters, with names like “Nostalgic,” and “Soft Nostalgic” — names practically straight out of Alan Moore‘s Watchmen — can replicate those patinas).

In this pursuit of a truer, more expanded color gamut, Adams noted that “cyan is a very difficult color for cameras to reproduce,” which is exactly the task that new company 6P Color has set out for itself, with its FCR, or “Full Color Range” system, so that monitors and display systems can now fully use the information that cameras are already giving them. Let alone what newer sensors are going to bring.

Or as 6P’s COO Gary Feather told us, after we were pointed in his direction by the redoubtable Steven Poster, ASC, who sits on their board, “we want to suggest a big part of the color spectrum is missing.”

Which could almost serve as a metaphor along the lines of cultures needing to be support mechanisms.

As for colors and pigments, on a panel about the Sony VENICE 2, Robert Machlachan, ASC talked about the “painterly masters” the camera gave him,” as well as consistent options in post, noting he could “kind of do whatever I want as I go down the pipeline,” given how robust all the information and options were.

Cine Gear 2022

Image via Mark London Williams

Canon also touted workflow, with firmware updates for its EOS C300 Mark III and EOS C500 Mark II digital cinema camera, in partnership with Frame.io, allowing the automatic distribution of clips to any authorized device, for immediate review. And later this summer, as their senior Professional Market Specialist Peter Marr reminded us, new Flex Zoom lenses that will cover the same range as their current prime lenses do, but with apertures across their entire zoom range allowing for easier low light capture.

Despite its full frame capability, the name of the new glass actually harkens back to Canon’s Reflex Zoom 8mm cameras, from the 60s, which was its own kind of step in equipment portability.

But it may not be the only thing in the show “harkening back” to an earlier time. Cinematographer Luke Miller, just wrapping up a multiyear run as the co-DP (along with Gale Tattersall) on Grace and Frankie, dropped a note to say that his “main takeaway from Cinegear this year was that while there wasn’t any one product that really surprised me or knocked my socks off, it appears that companies are really making an effort to return control of the image to the cinematographer, and I really like that trend. ARRI’s textures, Angenieux’s in-lens filters, LED Volume production, are all leading to more in-camera filmmaking, and [fewer] post-production shenanigans.”

And hey — one’s culture is there to protect you from undue shenanigans, after all.

We’ll see you with a little more post-show musing next time out.


MLWIncrediHeadMark London Williams is a BTL alum who currently covers Hollywood, its contents and discontents, in his recurring “Across the Pond” dispatch for British Cinematographer magazine, contributes to other showbiz and production-minded sites, and musters out the occasional zombie, pandemic-themed, or demon-tinged book and script, causing an increased blurring in terms of what still feels like “fiction.”

Mark London Williams’ Union Roundup column will appear every Tuesday. You can reach him to give him tips and feedback at [email protected]. He can also be found on Twitter @TricksterInk.