Cinematographers and camera crew filled the Paramount Pictures backlot for Cine Gear 2015, June 4-7. Two of the four days, June 5-6, featured exhibits by popular and up-and-coming gear purveyors ranging from pre-production to post. Below The Line sat down with a few key vendors to discuss the latest in cine-innovation.
Kodak, on a mission to rejuvenate filmmaker’s interest in celluloid, rolled out an astro-turf welcome mat and presented their exhibit in front of an Airstream trailer. Celebrating 50 years of super-8 film, Kodak teamed up with Pro-8 to feature the new Logmar super-8 camera. Additionally, the two companies gave Cine Gear visitors a chance to shoot on super-8 cameras provided by Pro-8, with the Kodak film to be developed and delivered to YouTube for viewing.
Kodak’s president and general manager of its entertainment imaging division, Andrew Evenski, shared about other initiatives that aim to put film cameras back into the hands of independent filmmakers, such as the Kodak Independent Production Package. Launched in the U.K., due to its large independent market, the initiative’s goal is to equip independent filmmakers with film packages suitable to their budget, the concern of most filmmakers debating between film and digital formats. “You come to us and you say, ‘here’s my budget.’ What we do is try to fit your budget within the film parameters. Your best shooting ratio,” explained Evenski. “We say, ‘It looks like 16mm, 3-perf is best for you.’ Then, here’s the camera, here’s the film, here’s the processing and here’s the telecine… You’ve got your package and you’re ready to go.”
Additionally, Kodak has started #filmworthy to encourage filmmakers to take pride in working with film and its process to tell their stories. “When you’re working so hard on a shoot, why wouldn’t you want the best?”
Pro-8’s Logmar S-8 camera features the mechanical operation of a classic super-8 camera, with the added benefits of an electronic viewfinder and internal sound recording capability to SD card. The camera also features video-out capability, remote controllability, 48V phantom power and a USB port for software upgrading.
The star of the Canon exhibit was its new 50-1000mm zoom lens. Weighing in at only 16 lb., the lens is a T5.6 in its standard mode. According to Canon technical advisor Brent Ramsey, it is the only lens made in the “super-telephoto” category. “Plus, it has a built in 1.5 adapter, so it can go to 75-1500mm at the flip of a switch,” said Ramsey. When in the 1.5 mode, the lens is a T8. According to Ramsey, it was engineered primarily for nature photography, though some of its capabilities have captured the attention of sports shooters. “It was designed, primarily, to give wildlife photographers a super-35mm solution… and it’s also a 4K option.”
OConner introduced its new 2560 fluid head, with carbon fiber construction and a 66 lb. load capacity. “It’s basically the baby brother to the 2575,” said Steve Turner, product manager. Based on OConner’s 2060 fluid head design, the 2560 answers the request of shooters for a head capable of broadcast production needs, but portable enough to accommodate the majority of modern light-weight digital packages. “You can put it with the carbon sticks rather than the full-on cine sticks.”
Hive Lighting showcased its Wasp plasma lights, configured as maxi systems. Hive offers up to a six light Maxi configuration, which only pulls 1600 watts. The Wasp configured as a two-light is termed the Killer Plasma Maxi. “It’s just like a nine-light, similar workflow, the only difference is you’re powering it with a single stinger,” said Jon Miller, co-founder and chief product officer of Hive Lighting. Additionally, Hive presented the Mobi, its remote controllable battery station. The Mobi has the appearance of a generator but is a re-chargeable battery station capable of powering a six-light wasp setup for “almost 36 hours,” according to Miller.
Panavision hosted a seminar with Dan Sasaki, the company’s vice president of optical engineering. The discussion centered on test footage shot by Panavision for Quentin Tarrentino’s upcoming film The Hateful Eight. In a collaboration with the film’s cinematographer, Robert Richardson, the company was able to discover a large format and anamorphic option which wowed both Richardson and Tarrantino, while simultaneously resurrecting lenses from the Panavision vault. Panavision engineered a magazine and camera package capable of handling a 2000 ft 65mm roll, allowing Richardson to accommodate long takes of vast landscapes imagined by Tarrantino, for the epic western. Richardson immediately loved the latitude of the 65 and 70mm stock presented by Sasaki, and was finally sold by the 1960s’ prism lenses, and the warmth they gave to the color pallette. “It was almost a perfect storm of optics meeting format,” said Sasaki.