The streets of Paramount Studios were dressed for Cine Gear Expo 2014 from June 6-7, with exhibitor booths demonstrating the latest in camera, camera support, lighting, grip and sound equipment. Advancements in 4K, LED lighting and aerial cinematography dominated exhibitor focus. Not all camera exhibitors, however, were interested in 4K.
ARRI, showcasing both its veteran Alexa and its recently debuted Amira, occupied the entrance to stage 31 with an exhibit space complete with cameras, demonstrations and an electric guitarist. The Amira was set up to demonstrate its strengths in both ENG and narrative film. When asked about the company’s interest in 4K development, ARRI sales representative Snehal Patel explained, “higher resolution means you lose dynamic range, which is what makes the image look like film. We’re emulating film. We’re not trying to do better video.”
Patel also explained ARRI’s labeling of the Amira as cine-style ENG, due to the camera’s flexibility in terms of accessories, mounting options and image capability, making it ideal for the feature filmmaker and documentarian alike. Additionally, ARRI showcased accessories and in-camera features that demonstrate the company’s support of the camera assistant, including an on-board Ultra Sonic Distance Measure for focus pulling on the Amira.
Occupying the entrance to stage 32 was one of the expo’s many 4K exhibitors, FOR-A, showcasing its FT-ONE, the super-slow-motion camera built for achieving close to 900 fps at 4K resolution. Used primarily in sporting event cinematography, the FT-ONE’s internal RAM memory can hold close to 10 seconds of 4K video at top fps settings. FOR-A Western regional sales manager Chuck Bocan explained the company’s excitement due to a growing interest in the FT-ONE from industries outside of sporting events with the need for slowing down time to a near halt for object analysis far outside of the capabilities of the human eye. “The military is interested in using the camera to analyze bullet-proof glass and other materials,” said Bocan. The camera has already been used to cover Olympic games, in particular, Olympic ice hockey.
AJA Video Systems showcased its new 4K CION, with an exhibit designed to encourage expo-goers to hold and operate the new camera. A large monitor played a loop of un-graded digital footage captured on the CION. “We’ve designed it so you can turn it on and be close to the film look without having to do a lot,” said AJA product marketing manager Tony Cacciarelli. “We want people to put our camera on their shoulder to see that we’ve designed it to save time and get a great 4K image. One of the last things you want to say on set is ‘wait.’”
One of the expo’s many aerial cinematography booths was Copter Shop, showcasing multi-prop units designed to take nearly any camera, from Epic to iPhone, to a bird’s eye perspective. With all of the aerial cameras at the show, one common topic was FAA regulations regarding commercial use of the vehicles. Steve McIrvin, Copter Shop sales representative, explained the FAA has yet to pass new regulations while others have expired, but that regulations will ultimately protect end users and those on the ground in close proximity to an in-flight unit. “Congress had given the FAA a deadline to clarify the regulations. They missed that deadline,” explained McIrvin. “The rule that most people have been operating on is that you can do it as a hobbyist but not commercially. But now, with the rule having expired, things are very unclear.”
McIrvin also explained the vehicles are built with technology that helps the end user avoid flight zones that are absolutely unauthorized. “I think the technology helps the buyer feel safer. It’s like a safety net, knowing the machine is smart.”
Other exhibitors included Mole Richardson, showcasing its new line of LED lights; Sound Devices, showcasing its new mixers and the Power Safe feature; and Cherry Box USA, which used Cine Gear to launch an eco-friendly line of apple boxes made from low-density polyethylene, to name a few. While exhibitors utilized the Paramount studio lot, additional seminars carried the event through June 8, utilizing off-site Hollywood venues.