Page 1

AUGUST 2018

Vol 249

Email: finnzed@xtra.co.nz

MEDIATECH Pacific Conference 2018 "Great event – you should have been there" says I, though it did take me a few days to absorb all the ideas that the presenters left us with. We'll have to wait two years for the next one but, in the meantime, some responded to my request for a synopsis of their presentation and links to further information. These include links to some really excellent videos so do have a look in this issue and there will be some more in September we hope. I asked chief organiser David Barnard how the team felt the event went ‌ "After the event concluded on Thursday, the organisers got together for a pint and to reflect on the previous two days. We all agree that the event was a huge success. We had set a target of 150 attendees, which we felt was a stretch goal based on attendance of 100-125 in previous years. We easily surpassed this, but at 162 we Gerry Smith, MT Events: Dean Brain, Kordia: Audrey Campbell, Kordia: felt that the event David Barnard, Gencom: Amery Carriere , MT Events: Mark Johnson, Kordia.


still maintained the intimate character of previous events. We also felt that the range and overall quality of presentations was a significant improvement over previous events, and this is backed up by the feedback we received from attendees. We’re looking forward to making the next show in 2020 even better! One of the discussions that came out of the event is that we would like to build on the momentum by organising regular industry meet-ups, perhaps quarterly. One idea that has been raised is organising a NZ section of SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) and we’d like to gauge the level of interest in the industry. Anyone who is interested in participating should contact me directly." And now for the presentations in no particular order. A look at "Let's Play Live" and the e-sports scene in New Zealand with Duane Mutu, Director. eSports is possible because of digital data. We have the perfect data and now it can be driven. eSports are competitive video games played professionally for an audience. The question often asked is “are people spending too much time in front of screens?” Duane's view is that we’ve been doing similar things for many years and it hasn’t hurt too many people. A potential team for New Zealand are the eBlacks and the Olympics may yet include eSports. The audience was probably a little wary of thinking about eBlacks but then Duane showed a video of an NBA basketball eSports team and the room went quiet! Sky in New Zealand has been very supportive of Let’s Play Live because they want to show live eSports. We still have to work out how to do it the best way. New Zealand was the third global area in the world to provide a broadcast of eSports.

P21 Conversation with the Swami. P31 ARRI LF and Sony VENICE compared. Page 2

DISPLAY & CLASSIFIED ADVERT BOOKINGS BY WED 5 SEPT ADVERT COPY BY NOON FRI 7 SEPT UP ON THE WEB BY MONDAY 10 SEPT


What’s going to help explode this space are the kids coming through who know the technology, plus the content that’s now available. The average age of a gamer in New Zeaand is actually 34. Traditional media is on the decline and eSports is increasing. But is eSports a sport? Most people think that sport involves big muscle groups in action. Fine movements in archery and shooting sort of counter that and it’s those fine movements that are used in eSports. To use these motor skills, training and repetition is essential. We always want to see the very best do anything. Now more on the NBA eSports team. They have what they call a 2K league and this is the fourth of the leagues in the franchise, after the men, the women, and the feeder groups consisting of the young people learning basketball. When playing NBA 2K, the abilities are standardised. The gamer chooses the allocation of skills to the different players, with a total number being allocated. So, if they give the attack players a high ability score, then the defenders get a lower score, but the total score number remains the same. In the NBA 2K, they currently have 27 teams of six and there are another 13 more, likely coming on in the next 2 years. All chosen players receive a salary of between US$32-36,000 a year, medical benefits and they’re well looked after. The teams play live in the New York studios. When asked about burnout, Duane said that, because of the high speed reflex gamers need for games such as some of the "first person shooter" ones, they can fall over in their mid-twenties, or they need to get out in their mid-twenties.

If you are reading this by chance, you can request to be added to our notification list by emailing us at finnzed@xtra.co.nz

Page 3


A Panel discussion about the eSports scene – what's trending and what's next? The panel included Anna Lockwood (moderator) from Telstra Broadcast Systems, David Harris from Guinevere Capital, Jason Spiller from Omen by HP and Conrad Ware from Ping Zero Events.

AL: Telstra Broadcast Services got our first eSports assignment four years ago, and since then we’ve been working with eSports companies, venues, and publishers to support their connectivity and broadcast requirements. With our focus on live high value sports content, eSports is of obvious interest to us, and I’ve had the privilege of working closely with the games and eSports community through my role at Telstra Broadcast Services. DH: My role has been to bring the professional sports performance and commercialisation model into eSports. We have set up an eSports High Performance Centre in the SCG ( Sydney Cricket Ground ) precinct and recruit gamers into teams. We don’t just pick the five best players, but they choose who of the group can work well in a team together and have the highest future potential. Each member has their own position in the team and they each have different skill levels at different areas of play. One game, at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational had 127,000,000 watching it online. The eSports High Performance Centre is a 700 square metre facility with kitchen, rec rooms, trainers, coaches, a gym – everything a traditional sports team would have. On the subject of retirement from eSports, these eSports athletes have high skill levels that can get them good jobs outside of eSports. Some will become coaches or contributors in other ways and stay in the eSports business. Gamers usually bring their own peripherals ( mouse, keyboard and mouse pad ) to tournaments just like ordinary sports people would have their own tennis racquet or cricket bat or something that they feel comfortable using. They have special keyboards which are more expensive than an ordinary keyboard. What they do have to do though, is have their equipment checked for cheats, because it’s possible to put “scripts” in their peripherals to artificially add to their abilities. CW: Ping Zero is a New Zealand games and eSports events and communications company. Ping Zero hosts large games events in traditional sporting arenas but has a mobile facility as well for schools and smaller venues. For a games event Page 4


NEW DIONIC XT BATTERY MODELS XT90 / XT150 V-MOUNT & GOLD MOUNT Raising the bar on Performance and Reliability The Dionic XT battery series is a powerful and durable Li-ion solution in a compact, robust design to complement a wide range of ENG and cine-style cameras.

INTELLIGENT INNOVATION Using Anton/Bauer’s award winning mobile power excellence, the Dionic XT technology provides uniform performance throughout its long life. The intelligent on board battery management system enables you to manage your fleet efficiently.

LIFETIME VALUE The Dionic XT delivers powerful performance in a range of environments. Engineered to be recharged more times extending it’s cycle life compared to the other battery systems. Offering the best ROI and lowest management overhead.

VERSATILE SOLUTIONS V-Mount and Gold Mount Dionic XTs are certified as transportable by air for those long distance jobs. They are also cross compatible with multiple brand chargers and superior in powerering accessories such as portable LED lighting.

RELIABLE, COMPACT AND POWERFUL You can count on Dionic XT to power the most mission critical equipment with consistently high performance. Save valuable travel space with these reliable smaller form batteries. Dionic XT raises the bar on performance and reliability.

Contact Gencom for more information Tel 09 913 7500 email info@gencom.com | www.gencom.com


to work, you need a decent internet facility, and sufficient power and air conditioning. The events are broadcast live on Twitch at around 20 megabit upload speed. Gamers bring their own computers and pay a nominal entry fee to participate. There are some sponsorships of the larger events, but grassroots events can still happen with funding by the local community of gamers. The biggest prize pool that we offer in New Zealand is currently around $5,000 at the grassroots events, and this is likely to grow over time. Follow on Twitter: @PingZeroNZ @DaveHarrisAUS @TelstraBcast www.telstra.com/broadcastservices A case study looking at NEP's IP based broadcast production hubs in Australia by Marc Segar, Director of technology at NEP Australia. NEP Australia has designed and deployed one of the most comprehensive IP distributed broadcast production facilities in the world. 29 sporting venues are connected to the production hubs – one in Melbourne and one in Sydney by a diverse and redundant network. At 90% of the venues this is connected at 50 gigabits per second and uncompressed using SMPTE 2110. The remaining venues are at 10 Gigabits per second and operate using VC 2 compression for contribution only. Their setup is totally IP with no SDI or video cables anywhere in the transmission chain. To combat the varying latencies across the network and to cater for on-site commentary, a comprehensive system for mimicking audio mixes in the hub, on site at the venue was designed. This means all audio circuits on-site are created in real time with zero latency Any operational position can be anywhere on the network, in any state and because it’s IP the physical boundaries are now gone. This enables NEP to be agile with its freelance staff base and use staff where they live. When they did the FIFA Soccer World Cup for Australian audiences this year, they had 27 days of broadcast without an issue, all over IP. Earlier this year a trial event from Los Angeles to Sydney confirmed that this hub concept could be extended across larger geographical distances, the test confirmed that a replay operator in LA could operate hardware in Sydney with no perceivable issues at a latency Page 6


of 136ms round trip. Of course these latencies are only available over fibre. Satellite would be much too much latency and a huge cost, however as the world gets more connected in more places, and for lower cost, the economics of spreading this concept will extend way past these shores. The biggest challenge is no longer the technology, but the people that can make it all work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYt4vBPyBgU&t=9s is a link to the production video. An overview of new projects from Kordia by Mark Johnston, Sales Manager for Media. Mark talked about Kordia popup TV – that anybody can have a TV channel for one day and it’ll cost you $5,000 if you want it on Freeview, and $4,000 if you don’t. In Auckland, they have a 4K Ultra HD channel popup. This is to provide the very best signal for the new TV sets that are available. The idea of using transmission is that there are not variable costs as there are for fibre. So in transmitting, you can do it at one cost and not as a cost per viewer.

Their bit rates are 25 megabit per second and the compression is HDVC. One of the questions from the audience resulted in the answer that we are unlikely to see framerate standardisation between American type countries and New Zealand type countries, so there will be 50 and 60 frames per second or 100 and 120 frames per second, depending on the country. Page 7


The New Zealand Racing Board IP based production hub was described by Jamie Annan, Studio Services Operations Manager, and Michael Tompkins, Broadcast Engineer. NZRB covers thoroughbreds, harness racing and greyhounds. Their staff is around 800 people and they have OB trucks feeding broadcast delivery. ( See NZVN https://sites.google.com/site/nzvideonews/issues/2017/12december17 ) For greyhounds, they have 7 race venues with fibre and 8 equine venues with fibre and 47 other venues with satellite. The OB trucks are broken into 4 regions to cover New Zealand, with around 20-30 staff for each region of mixed speciality. Recently they made the change to IP with their infrastructure and the OB trucks.

Jamie Annan.

When they went about designing their upgrade, one of the key abilities was to be able to transfer audio, video and data from any of their venues to a hub.

Their core business is not networking, so to help them they brought in Vocus to do the business. They also decided that it was their customers that will drive the content that they’ve provided, so for choice they went with spending money on graphics rather than going to 4K, because they believe that that’s what their punters wanted them to do. The core sites of the network are linked by 10G, with each greyhound venue connected back to these by 1G. The compression chosen to deliver cameras from the venue is J2K. For their main hub they chose Christchurch, because it had good available space in an existing office; it had backup power and there was a good staff presence already in Christchurch. The design they went for was a hybrid one because of their existing infrastructure. Instead of the large OB trucks that they once had, they now use vans for the greyhound racing. A director used to vision mix as well as being the director and the audio guy also operated the replay system in the old arrangements. Although this is still the case, this is now done Michael Tompkins. at the hub, and no fewer or more people are required. Because these production staff are in one place, they can produce programmes on more venues in one day. They quite often do 2 dog races in one day. For the future, they’re getting 4 new OB trucks and they will continue migration to IP and include VSM to automate the redundancy, provide status reports and other features. An unintended benefit of moving to IP was the change from unreliable communication by cellphone to clear communications over IP.

Would you be interested in being part of a New Zealand section of SMPTE? If you think you can, then contact David Barnard at Gencom at DBarnard@gencom.com

Page 8


How the Freeview On Demand platform was built, insights around its key design considerations, what worked well, what didn't, and an overview of things to come by Luke Durham, Switch Media CTO. The aim of using OTT service provider, Switch Media to deliver the new Freeview On Demand platform was to improve overall user experience and make more content available to New Zealand viewers. This was done by leveraging existing OTT services to provide a flexible and extensible system that enabled easy on-boarding of participating broadcaster content. List of platform technologies is on the accompanying slide. Television app technology is HbbTV 1.5 and the Freeview recorder set top box is native Android version 6. Luke went through the smart TV brands available and pointed out those that worked well and those that didn’t. Some of the older so called “smart TVs” aren’t particuarly smart when it comes to a high quality experience and studio grade rights management … a variety of things can go wrong. The best models tend to be Samsung and Dish TV however in general the newer the model the better it performs. Future plans for Switch Media are to provide Freeview additional "IP only" channels, cloud PVR, remote recording, payment transaction services, Ultra HD content, HbbTV 2.0 and more cost efficient delivery. Page 9


A look at Freeview On Demand and the HbbTV implementation with Jason Foden, CEO Freeview. People in New Zealand are still watching traditional TV to get their News, live events and local programming. TV is a very social event with more people watching together, for longer periods. But viewers are also watching more non-broadcast services with Netflix, You Tube and Lightbox growing in popularity to drive overall video. 90% of New Zealanders watch TV via Freeview or Sky. Research shows that the living room is still the key viewing area in most homes. Viewers generally want to control when they watch and will trade convenience of access for content as fibre penetration grows. The successful UFB roll-out lays the foundation for IPtransmission over the long term. Traditional broadcast remains far reaching and the DTT 4K trial from Kordia will extend its life. The answer for Freeview is to provide ubiquitous access. A new approach is Freeview On Demand – a simple Freeview app that is supported by a switch media backend. This extends the platform to include all content services, but you can also still choose to have a channel view if you wish. It provides a new On Demand homepage with genres of programmes rather than channels and it has over 500 titles available. Dish TV is also supplying the new Freeview recorder with a one terabyte drive, live pause, support for 4K and access to the Google Play store. For a demo video of Freeview On Demand see: https://www.youtube.com/embed/yHKDIXY6bo0?rel=0&autoplay=1 Page 10


http://www.triad-orbit.com/new-products


Challenges that broadcasters and the professional media industry face and the benefits of transforming to "All IP." Also, an overview of the new SMPTE Professional Media over IP standards and AMWA Network Medio Open Specs (NMOS) by Matthew Goldman, senior vice-president of technology at MediaKind ( formerly known as Ericsson Media Solutions ). Matthew’s talk was about broadcast migrating to total IP ( internet protocol.) In broadcast, everything is live, so you cannot miss a shot – there is no opportunity to “fix” or retransmit if an error occurs; when the video is corrupted, it’s gone. In IT, it is common for a lost packet to simply be resent. The IT industry has several magnitudes more devices than we build for broadcast, so why not leverage off that technology to build better, more economical broadcast solutions? Our broadcast facilities will soon look like the data centres of the IT industry. Rather than purpose-built for broadband hardware boxes, we have software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. One wire now can carry tens or even hundreds of video services, instead of just one video service per SDI. In essence, few wires replace the old rat’s nest. There are dozens of different SDI cables, one for each different video format ( e.g SD-SDI, HD-HDI, 3G-SDI, 6G-SDI. 12G-SDI ). With the new SMPTE ST 2110 Professional Media over Managed IP Networks suite of standards, standard Ethernet cables ( coax or fibre ) may be used to carry the video signals, not only greatly simplifying the implementation, but also greatly reducing Page 12


the number and size of the wiring. Individual essence streams ( e.g video, audio, ancillary data ) are located and manipulated using standard IP addresses. There is no longer any need for purpose-built embedders or de-embedders to extract and recombine media elements. The transition to All IP is analogous to the transition our industry underwent when we moved from tapes to files. In the day, we had tape libraries to access, to dub, to edit, etc. If you just think of files as virtual tapes, you gain nothing from the transition to random-access and virtual files. For example, we were able to leverage off of standard file searching software to find the clips we needed, easily and rapidly. But there is more than one way to design an All-IP architecture, so the industry got together to define the standards and specs, so that it could realise the flexibility, agility, and economy of scales of a common, All-IP architecture. The future for broadcast is being “Cloud fit”, with software defined media processing leveraging off the new IP virtualisation techniques such as redesigning software into microservices encapsulated into generic containers, and using orchestration techniques to manage and control execution. Of course, all of this requires very tight timing and synchronisation of the new essence streams. The venerable black-burst timing signal does not work well in an IP environment. So a new timing mechanism has been created, known as SMPTE ST 2059 Broadcast Profile for IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP), which enables PTP to work in a broadcast facility and for production. It’s one thing to have an IP dataflow but there has to be control and security to give us smarter networks, and software defined networking does this. This is being addressed through the new AMWA NMOS specs. When all this is sorted, Page 13


you can plug your camera and your multiviewer into a switcher and they will find each other and just work automatically, without having the programmer or the operator to do anything to tell them to work together. One of the world’s most advanced implementations of SMPTE ST 2110 is what NEP Australia did for their Andrews Production Hubs and their remote Outside Broadcast trucks. The future of radio – DAB, streaming, video and podcasting moderated by Jana Rangooni, CEO at Radio Broadcasters Association of New Zealand. Panel: Joan Warner, CRA; Stephen Smith, Head of Audience Strategy at RNZ; Dean Buchanan, Group Director Entertainment NZME and Leon Wratt, Content Director for radio at Mediaworks. Jana introduced the panel by saying Radio has done well worldwide and especially in New Zealand because with the arrival of the internet we understood the need to think of ourselves as entertainment brands for audiences that would transcend platforms of delivery rather than just AM/FM radio stations. Radio has always been one of the leanest, nimble and adaptable media channels and still has over 3.6 million listeners which is around 86% of the population listening each week. Dean Buchanan: Dean agreed with Leon about the future of radio. Other countries work in media silos, but we in New Zealand are integrated and multichannel. We have all had to learn new media skills to advance from traditional radio to multi-media content generators. In all our careers, we’ve been told something new will kill radio. From MTV to the internet, it has changed over the years, but radio has the unique ability to adapt new devises and technologies to its ultimate advantage. Dean believes that localisation is the key to radio success. Stephen Smith: Radio New Zealand’s future is also with audio/visual. Traditional audio alone will not continue to grow. We have to improve and add audio and video and streaming services. When we add in all the new audio/visual costs, our nimbleness may suffer if we’re not careful, so we have to be careful and vigilant in what we do to make us stronger in the current media market. Joan Warner: radio needs to capitalise on its strengths – live and local highquality content. As long as we play to our strengths and move forward across platforms – using all platforms to get closer to listeners our future is bright. Radio is different from music streaming services – it has a connection and engagement with listeners / fans that goes far beyond music. Data is also key to radio’s future – we need to continue to expand and enhance the data and Page 14


insights we provide to key stakeholders such as advertisers and government to underpin radio’s ongoing penetration, relevance and influence. The Panel's Closing Discussion led by Jana discussed DAB's place in New Zealand and issues like the costs and future of AM transmission in New Zealand which is still used by many listeners in Rural regions because of our geography. However as the rollout of UF Broadband and Rural Wifi is installed this may see changes in consumption in the regions. Deploying workflow automation for Promo Versioning, VOD Assets and Playout within a singular workflow and a single technology platform by Mike O’Connell, executive vice-president at Pixel Power. www.pixelpower.com Mike started with a bit of history that around 30 years ago tapes and formats and different VTRs, different pre-roll times and robotic libraries all had their issues and all of them caused problems because of the time taken to find things and cue things up. Now we have play lists. Back in the day, there were stackers, auto loaders, cart machines, but they still had to be manually cued to be ready to present the next piece of off-air material that you might want to include in a News programme. Then DDR arrived, but this was only used for commercials because initially the compressed format was not considered good enough for programmes. Later, as quality improved, it was used for programmes and delayed sports broadcasts. In the last decade computers became the centre of managed playout with Channel in a Box systems. Page 15


Pixel Power carried out a survey with broadcasters, asking what type of automation would be wanted by broadcasters? 90% said they were interested in automating general workflows for content production. 70% said they wanted automation for VOD asset and Promo version creation. A major challenge for today’s playout centre is to deliver the same quality of experience, with slick, error-free presentation, to every channel on every platform, not just the headline premium channels. To achieve that, you need a playout platform that is powerful, but also affordable, which rules out the traditional architecture of discrete hardware. With virtualisation you can spin up ( and down ) these services as and when required. Billing of features can be managed by the automation / orchestration system. We now live in a world where you only pay for what you use, when you use it and we now have this available to broadcast workflows – including playout! A recent example of putting this into practice was Project Phoenix at ITV in the United Kingdom, which automates production of Promo videos across many platforms for one programme. Station creatives provide the rules, but automation does the rest. VOD should also be automated so the viewers can see any show in the way they choose. All of this needs to be done with one mechanism – a singular workflow eliminates many manual tasks and Pixel Power has the means to produce this for you. https://vimeo.com/222211317 is the link to the ITV Phoenix video. Page 16


The design principles, planning and outcomes in the relocation of Maori TV by Mark Bullen, Head of Technology and Operations at Māori Television and Mark Annett, Director of Services and Support Oceania for Grass Valley. The two Marks talked about the relocation of Māori Television from the Newmarket premises to the new premises in East Mark Bullen. Mark Annett. Tamaki and the issues involved. Grass Valley were given the job of setting up the new site including a new presentation and playout suite, dedicated Newsroom studio and control with automation and robotics, centralised edit suites, multifunction media operator areas and open and collaborative working spaces. Mark Annett talked about the project management requirement which included integration of third party technology providers, as well as the design and technical fit out. Also included was the commissioning and implementation of the whole setup. Due to the tight timeline, they had to do a pre-build in the underground carpark at East Tamaki where they replicated the CAR upstairs so they could ‘bump in’ the racks of equipment. They had to work alongside numerous other contractors, including the builders, to get it done on time. The migration and go live was critical and where the main action was. The systems were shut down at 11pm in Newmarket and then everything was trucked to East Tamaki in 2 large vans – splitting main and backup systems between vehicles and also driving different routes to minimise the risk and ensure they were ready to go on air the next morning. The tech migration was completed over 2 weekends and the on air operations maintained. The learnings from the operation are on a slide. Page 18


A look at new technologies within TVNZ, how these have changed workflows and achieved economies of scale and flexibility by Wayne Huggard, TVNZ Transmission Services Manager. Wayne spoke about how new technologies have been brought in to make changes in TVNZ’s operations, under four projects that were all really linked together – Exosphere, Radar, Playout and Headend were the names given to them. Exosphere was headed by Andrew Fernie. This looked at where news items were originating and where population was

growing in New Zealand and so reporters were added in 5 new areas, going from 4 districts to 9. However, the change was that, where once crews were required, now a lot of it’s done by a single person operator. This was made possible by 4G linking, portable editing and smaller broadcast cameras. Now they’re using a 4 module bonded cell device to send signals back to editing locations. All of this has seen an increase in regional stories. Radar, the next project was run by Tony Chapman and is about better handling of live News into the television centre. Previously, every News item went through master control. Now they go directly to the area where they are used and where these materials are able to be linked to the editorial people. Previously, many emails were required going backwards and forwards to direct the footage from master control to where it was going to be required. This is no longer necessary. Page 19


New NZVN Online Advertising Rates ( excluding GST ) from July 2018. A4 one $130 ....... more @ $100 A5 one $ 80 ....... more @ $ 60 A6 one $ 50 ....... more @ $ 30 Playout – TVNZ provides or produces and releases over 1,000 items per channel per day. This is a very complex chain that has evolved over time. The Playout replacement project was designed to simplify this, with many fewer steps and, with the introduction of IP, fewer vendors. The Headend project was for taking programmes out of Playout and formatting them to be broadcast by Kordia. In this process, the video must be compressed to fit the bandwidth that we have available, which is actually quite limiting. We use standard statistical multiplexing to allocate bandwidth to our channels over time and that is assuming that each channel does not need maximum bandwidth all at the same time. For the Headend replacement there were 2 good offers that we had to choose from – one provided both MPEG2 and an MPEG4 encoder and that was initially chosen; but then the second vendor, which also had an interesting offer, was taken over by the first and they incorporated all the features that we saw in those 2 vendors, in one box, and that was what we eventually got and that is NZVN what we have now.

Page 20


Conversation with the Swami We are at Auckland Airport with a man just about to get on a plane to California. I have convinced Swami Hansa to tell us about his life, his work and what he learnt from it all. Hansa: The biggest thing I ever learnt in filming docos was never pass a toilet by … you don’t know where the next one’s going to be! Ed: Well, I’m sure that if Cecil B DeMille were here he’d agree. However, let’s just first clear up the name, Swami Hansa, it’s not actually your passport name is it? Hansa: No, it’s not my name that I was given at birth. People say “birth name” but you don’t come out of the womb with a name. I got involved in an ashram in 1976 and got given that name. Swami’s a title, and Anand Hansa was the name I got given and I tend to use the Swami Hansa mostly these days. Ed: Well it’s very recognisable. Hansa: Yes. Ed: So did your camera work come before or after the time in the ashram? Hansa: Oh way before. I joined Broadcasting in 1958 I think it was, in Dunedin as a technician. I helped wire up the original TV studio before it started, which was 1962 if I remember rightly. On the first night, they had the technicians working the studio cameras, Marconi Mark IVs, massive beasts. Ed: But you haven’t done studio work for a long, long time – you’ve been out in the field as we have pictures of you with obviously motion picture cameras. Were you doing News at that time? Hansa: I’ll go through a wee bit of the history. I was there at TV in Dunedin doing a studio production called Music Hall and then the 2 directors left and what remained didn’t appeal to me much so I got a job with the Otago Daily Times as a News photographer for some years, which was quite a good start for me. They had a magazine going and I was just doing shots of people – it was very ho hum sort of work. But I got involved in doing some little stories, 2 to 4 pages. I remember the first one I did was on an NAC hostess. Then I went to India in 1964 for the first time – came back very sick, very broke and thought about what I wanted to do. I decided I only wanted to learn more about this film business, so I joined the National Film Unit, which was the only place that had any sort of training at that time. There I was using mainly 35mm cameras including ARRI IIC 35s. From there, I went overseas again, got involved in all sorts of stuff we won’t go into and became Swami Hansa. When I came back to New Zealand, I ran into a Page 21


friend Hal Weston at Avalon who I knew from Dunedin, who was one of the heads down there, an old mate, and he said “oh you should come down for a couple of weeks, we’re short of a cameraman.” I went down for a couple of weeks and I’m still there! That was 1981-82, somewhere around there. Everything was done on 16mm at that time – News and all sorts of programmes – Natural History was the main thing – and they were using those CP-16s which are just horrible cameras. At the Film Unit, they used 16mm ARRI BL and ARRI ST and stuff like that. So anyway, before long, we’d talked Natural History into getting ARRI SRs which are really great cameras. The CP-16 had the big ears out the top with the magazine. Ed: Was it was a double magazine? Hansa: No it was a single magazine, feeding from the front to the back. They were terrible, they kept getting jammed all the time. Anyway, the ARRI SR was superb. That was a double magazine and quite compact and low, so we used a lot of those there. Ed: But you must have had to have a sound recordist all the time you worked with film? Hansa: Well there was a bit of time there when I was doing News and they wanted to get more into video instead of film, and the first thing that came out were those ¾ inch U-matics. The sound recordist used to carry this massively heavy big ¾ inch recorder and we’d have the camera which wasn’t too bad, and the cable was an inch and a half … Ed: I know, I know, I used to carry one myself – I used to carry the camera and the U-matic and the blimmin’ Manfrotto tripod. Don’t talk to me about carrying too much gear! Hansa: I’ve done a bit of that too, but mainly the soundman was there for that, much to their annoyance. Ed: So what was it in those days that made you believe that you knew what you were doing – you were getting what the customer wanted? Hansa: They kept employing me – that’s the main reason. I always loved filming people, that was my main thing, and at the Film Unit I developed my operation mode – I used to get the cameras and play with them all the time. My whole concept was to get to know it so well that it’s like another hand; it’s not something you think about, it automatically does it, so you can concentrate on

Page 22


the rapport between the person and yourself which is what’s important. That’s been my main system of filming. Ed: So you get the person to relate to you rather than the camera that you’re pointing at them? Hansa: Absolutely, absolutely and relaxed enough that they’re not thinking about being filmed although they know they’re being filmed. I can remember at the Film Unit, those ARRI IICs 35mm stuff, they got the very first 18mm lens while I was there, which is nothing compared to now. I mean 35, it’s pretty wide … the lens at the front was about 4 inches across, it was quite massive. It was such an amazing camera and I remember going up and down Lambton Quay filming something – I don’t know what it was all about – but filming people walking along the street, and I’d come up beside people, not say anything to them at all, which in these days would probably be terrible, and with that wide angle, if you’re in close to someone, a slight variation closer or further, increased the distortion enormously. So I’d come up to people and put my fingers on their shoulder and walk along with them. Some people would turn away and I’d say “oh thank you, sorry” and other people would just act like nothing was happening and they were just brilliant. They picked up on my vibe – that I wasn’t threatening with it, I was ready to let them go if they wanted. But that’s the kind of thing that I do … I was developing those kinds of techniques at that time, which was in the late 1960s, and the cameras of today, the video cameras now, are operating in the way that I used to operate with those cameras. Because all those early film cameras had the problem of course, that the viewfinder couldn’t be twisted or anything – but I developed all sorts of ways of getting it down and aiming. I had the little things to aim with and stuff and I could do it down and move around and do all sorts of pretty amazing stuff. Ed: So you were developing a style? Hansa: Yes – that no one else had, and I was sought after around that place because of that style. Ed: I know cinematographers often talk about developing a “look” but that’s different to a style isn’t it? Hansa: Yes a bso l ut el y . Mine was much more style. From very early on, when things went well with people, it always felt like it was a dance more than anything else. A lot of cameramen talk about “making a painting” – but it never felt like that to me. It felt like a connection and moving and flowing with them and getting the dance going. Ed: Do you think that had a connection to your time in the ashram? Page 23


Hansa: I was doing that before the ashram, but it definitely improved it. Ed: But they must go hand in hand, that philosophy that you’ve developed? Hansa: They do, yes, and not only is it a dance from the ashram, from after that time, it felt like it was meditation as well. That whole thing was a meditative process. Meditation is an interesting concept because it means being in a “no mind” state – being in a state where you are connected to your environment without your mind interfering, but you’re conscious of oneself and what’s going on around. We often get into that thing without the consciousness of what we’re doing, but the consciousness is what makes it meditation. Ed: So, as well as a style, have you developed a “look”? Hansa: On the Heartland series, which we did for 5 or 6 years and about 10 a year … Bruce Morrison was the main director ( there were various other directors on it ) but, yes, we developed a bit of a style I guess in different ways. One of the things that we went for was getting wide angle shots and getting long lens shots – the in between we didn’t go for that much. It was there too, but long lens on the tripod – I used to say to Bruce “drop me off somewhere, I’ll get you a dozen shots no matter where you drop me, just try anywhere” and I would go for it. Ed: So that was a look for that series not a Swami Hansa look? Hansa: I still tend to do that a bit – it was a look for that series yes, but the interesting shots to me are always wide and close. Ed: And no zooms in between? Hansa: Oh yeah – I love zooms, but I hate the way people use it usually. Two zooms in a half hour show is about the limit for me. People do 6 zooms on one shot sometimes, it’s insane. A zoom well placed is just beautiful to me. When we did the Heartland series ( which I think is where I really developed a lot of what I did ) everything was spontaneous. When we did the first 2, Bruce and William Grieve, the producer, had all this massive amount of scripting and stuff, detail of what we’re going to do, because a researcher went in there first and it was in one location, there’d be some event going on, it might be quite small or quite big for that community, that town or whatever it was … they had all this scripting stuff and to me I found that quite difficult. I’m not a word person, I was terrible at school, I was dyslexic with a really bad memory, I didn’t thrive well at school. Ed: You’re a visual? Page 24


Hansa: A visual yes. Suddenly, when this camerawork started happening I realised “this is my cup of tea, this is where I should be, I do this really well.” And Bruce realised after a couple of the Heartland’s that we did, that he was much better off just to let me do it – I used to say to him “don’t give me too much information, I don’t want to know too much, I just want to respond to what’s happening and the people and how it goes.” Ed: You mean they trusted you rather than trying to manage you? Hansa: Yes, after the first couple we did. Ed: Gosh, what a novel thought for a creative! Hansa: I know, it is a bit isn’t it. Ed: Well, these days, with KPIs, it’s certainly a very novel thought. But, just going back to the look – you hear cinematographers talking about lenses, they choose lenses for the look of the lens and I find it humorous that they choose a Cooke for example, because it’s got all these distortions in it and they like these distortions. I think it’s crazy, but did you go down that road? Hansa: It can work, some of the distortions, but when I was at the Film Unit, the ARRI IIC is a turret camera and zoom lenses started to happen while I was there, and they were just shit, they were terrible stuff, you didn’t get any quality at all. Ed: You couldn’t really keep the focus on the travel? Hansa: No it would keep the focus, but it would keep the other focus on the pulls. I mean the quality wasn’t good, it wasn’t that it didn’t hold the focus, I

CS-M1 short shotgun for camera and boom          

The CS-M1 is lightweight with a rugged build and unique components which make it resistant to humidity and adverse temperature changes. It’s highly directional and especially suited to shoots where sound off-mic needs to be minimised and premium sound is the goal. It can be camera mounted to be kept out of shot on even a wide angle lens, On a boom it’ll fit into the smallest of places yet still provide the quality demanded by today’s professionals All at an affordable price.

Unique Sanken lightweight design Shotgun directivity Clear sound Short (103mm) and light (55g) Ideal for boom pole on drama and film shoots Ideal for mounting on cameras with wide angle lens Suitable for ENG applications Standard 19 mm diameter Advanced RFI rejection Wide 70Hz – 20kHz frequency response

To order, or for more information... Call: 09 366 1750; E: info@soundtq.co.nz FB: @soundtechniques; www.soundtq.co.nz

Page 25


think they’d managed that, but it just didn’t work really, they hadn’t perfected the lens system for them. So it was all fixed lenses like people get into now, but on that IIC, I used to love it because it had a 25mm, a 32mm and a 50mm – nothing very long, they’re all relatively wide, and I could follow someone and be on the 32 outside, moving around with them, and of course there’s no automatic exposure – everything was done manually in those days. But I’d set up the 25 for inside, 32 for outside, and I’d be following someone and get to the door, and just flick it round to the other lens, and it was perfectly exposed and because there was a whole lot of movement of the door and the person, you didn’t even see that it changed and you’d just follow straight through and it’s all set up. You had to set things up more in those days. Ed: It’s about getting it right at the time, rather than fixing it in post. Hansa: Exactly. Ed: So how do you feel then about shooting everything in 4K, so that you can reframe in post to make it high definition – do you have a thought on that? Hansa: Well it’s the way of the times now to shoot in 4K … it makes sense, yeah. The stills I do I tend to do that these days, but they’re just for playing around. It’s funny isn’t it – I remember shooting quite a lot of News on Bolex’s and things like that. The task that I used to do ( and you couldn’t do it with everything ) but because they would edit really quickly to put it out on the News, I would try to shoot a whole thing so that they didn’t have to edit anything. I’d do the cutaways as we went, and the close ins, all the backs, and the editors just loved it – through the processing, straight to air. But 2½ minutes, you haven’t got long. Ed: Well, you’re learning a discipline. These days, there’s so much being done in post with colourisation and shooting RAW so that the post people can play around with it and reframe it and do everything, to my mind, you lose control of that style that the cameraman puts in in the first place? Hansa: It has a certain advantage though. I’ve got an iPhone that I just play around with that these days, but it’s got this thing they call “Live” which will film about 2 seconds – this is in still mode, it does about 2 seconds and you can pick out which frame you want. It’s actually quite amazing going through the frames, how different each one is, you know people moving, that sort of thing, if it’s scenery you don’t see that. But there’s some advantages in that. For a period when I was with newspapers, I was with The Evening Star for a couple of months, they had the old Speed Graphic’s 4x5 plates, and they weren’t just the normal plates, they were glass plates, so they were heavy as. You had a magazine that had a plate on both sides, so you put it in the camera, take out the slide so it’s ready to expose, expose it, put that in, turn it over, do the second one. And all of the cameramen there, you’d go out with 6 shots, that was it. You had one magazine in the camera, another one in your left pocket and one in your right pocket – you had 6 shots and you came back with some amazing results. That’s like the 4K – because the frame is so big and it’s still pretty good quality, you could actually take out a little bit – take out a 35mm frame or even tighter, so you had zoom capabilities, close shots as well as long shots all there because Page 26


of that. And the great thing with the glass plates was, 2 minutes in the developer, a wash for 20 seconds and then put it in the fix for one minute, give it another wash and then put it in the enlarger. You didn’t have to dry it because the celluloid would buckle and move when it heated up from the enlarger and things, but the glass plates just stood there, you just wiped the surplus water off, put in there, boom. Ed: Well, from what I’ve gathered so far Hansa, you’re not a purist which appeals to me because you seem as though you’re quite happy to use a tool to get the look or the style that you want … Hansa: And get the feel, the feel of the person. Ed: And it doesn’t really matter what tool, I mean one of my questions was going to be “what’s your favourite current camera”, do you have one, is it your iPhone because it’s with you all the time? Hansa: Yeah, it’s there, I get unbelievable shots with that. I mean the quality isn’t up there in some ways, but I do it all the time and I get people. Ed: OK, you’ve got an iPhone but you know how to use it, whereas you give some people a fancy camera and they don’t know how to use it and they don’t get good pictures? Hansa: Although I’m amazed how good a picture people often get, because the cameras these days, not only iPhones, but most of the cameras do a lot of the work for you. The skill that I used I can’t use anymore, because the camera’s doing most of that. That’s progress I suppose.

Bundle pricing for a limited time:

UltraSync ONE Think big. Sync small.

Order a 2-pack or 3-pack and save Single $525+GST 2-pack $905 + GST 3-pack $1,175 + GST

Introducing UltraSync ONE – everything you ever wanted from a sync solution.       

Setup a Blink hub and link devices wirelessly with central control from an iPad or Android tablet

Super compact. Lightweight. Configure as a timecode master or slave. 25+ hour battery life to easily last even the longest shooting day Cost effective Timecode and sync outputs LCD display for easy setup and confirmation of timecode data

Or sync with other TimeCode Systems devices wirelessly over long range Units available for appraisal To see the whole range: Visit Sound Techniques www.timecodesystems.com.

To order, or for more information... Call: 09 366 1750; E: info@soundtq.co.nz FB: @soundtechniques; www.soundtq.co.nz

Page 27


At this point, we looked through some photos that Hansa had brought with him. Hansa: Oh this is in Mumbai with Bruce Morrison director and John Patrick on sound. We did a documenttary about James K Baxter, and this is right at Victoria Station (VT). There’s a couple of really big railway stations in Bombay and VT is the really big one. It’s a walkway away from the station out on to the street, and we were filming down on the street. Ed: Are there any particular difficulties in filming in those locations? Hansa: No, not really. People stand and stare a lot, that was the main hassle. I developed a bit of a technique there – you set it up on the tripod, push the button and then walk away and pretend nothing’s happening, have the red light off and you get amazing shots, no one looks at the camera at all. Ed: Yes, that’s the first thing I ever do is turn that red light off. Hansa: Sometimes I have it on because it’s useful occasionally – some situations, certain people. Ed: Politicians would like to know that they’re being recorded I guess? Hansa: Yes, but you turn it off when you want to get a sneaky one of them of course. This is on a shoot with the BBC Horizon programme on geology. There’s a geologist here – he was an amateur named Harold Wellman and we did this documentary about him. We had an actor playing his part as a young man discovering these things, but he discovered the whole tectonic plate thing. Ed: And what camera are you using there? Hansa: That’s an ARRI SR 16mm with funny lenses. Mike Knudsen was a grip who helped set the whole system up in a helicopter. I think it would be one of the most amazing aerials I’ve ever done, and it was following the actor playing the “young Harold” on this old truck going down the road, and pulled out from him with the helicopter to show this whole scene. Ed: So you kept the camera still but the helicopter did the pull for you? Hansa: Yes, exactly. The pilot was the key to that one, I just pushed the button really. Ed: And took the credit? Hansa: And took the credit of course. This one is of a group of cameramen, that’s Ian Taylor and Max Quinn and it was I think some kind of a race Page 28


down the Clyde river and we were setting all the cameras up and getting them in sync and things. Ed: So when did you move from film cameras to video cameras, or did you “mix and match” for a while? Hansa: I mixed and matched for a while, but it would have been in the 1980s somewhere. The first ones, especially with the ¾ U-matic recorders, were just terrible. The quality was way down on film, but now it’s the other way completely. Everyone’s using video cameras now for features and everything. Ed: So when did you come across your first video camera that actually gave you pictures that you said “wow, this is actually comparable to what I was getting with film”? Hansa: Probably in Heartland – they were still a bit marginal then, they’ve got a lot better since those days. It was Betacam. The quality wasn’t very good but after that, SP was reasonable … Ed: And better?

DigiBeta

was

so

much

Hansa: Yes much, much better. Ed: But again, that’s the recording format, that’s not the camera? Hansa: Exactly, but the cameras progressed with the formats too I think. It felt like they did to me, but it’s hard to tell. Ed: Yes, because you’re actually looking at it from the analogue tape rather than seeing what the camera itself produced? Hansa: Because video had that amazing ability that you actually looked at the image itself, whereas with film cameras, you weren’t. The ARRI’s had a mirror so you were seeing the image from the mirror when it wasn’t exposing to the film, and then, when it was exposing to the film, you couldn’t see anything. It was flickering in the viewfinder, as it does on the film. So if you got a TV screen in the shot, in the viewfinder, you had to get it so that it was flickering – the bar that went up and down, you’d get that in the middle as much as you could and then hopefully, when it was exposing, there wasn’t too much of the bar. It got really complicated. But wait … there’s more next month, including on the road with Mike King, action in Afghanistan and what Hansa thinks of 4K. Hold on to your hats! NZVN Page 30


ARRI LF and Sony VENICE Compared We are at Imagezone with Dean Thomas and he has both cameras. Ed: Dean, we are here to talk about a new addition to the Imagezone fleet, the Sony VENICE, and there must be some very good reasons for that. I do understand that, in the past, you had Sony, you had RED, you had ARRI – you had bits of everything, but then you consolidated along the ARRI line? Dean: Having multiple platforms in the early days and not a lot of any of those platforms proved a little bit complicated with accessories and making everything work all the time. So we decided that if we wanted to be really good, we needed to stick to a single platform and do that single platform very well. Ed: So you had a choice of going to any one of those 3 platforms – why did you choose ARRI? Dean: Having had all 3, it was very clear which one was going out the door more. Having said that, the ARRI has got a lot of positives in its own right including an extensive library of fantastic looking motion pictures which speak volumes to most cinematographers. Putting picture quality aside for a second – the actual build quality and reliability of the camera and the systems that wrap around it and accessories that come from ARRI are all very good, state of the art, and make common sense. Ed: And that’s good from a rental point of view, because you’ve got lots of different people using the equipment, you want it to be reliable? Dean: Yes, although they can take a hammering with everyone under pressure to get the day done. Typically, camera technicians are very good at looking after the equipment, especially with the likes of the key pieces – the camera body and the lenses – but all our rental items work hard and are often in tough environments for long hours ... this can take its toll so we need our equipment to be well made ... things like matte boxes, rods etc are very prone to getting a tough time, so they need to be robust. Largely, they survive very well, particularly in the case of the Minis and the accessories that go with them – they’re out every day. Ed: Recently, you added the Panasonic GH5S, really as a specialty camera. It wasn’t chosen to compete with the ARRIs – it was just something that you added there because it was special? Page 31


Dean: Again, it’s horses for courses, it’s got its own strengths. That camera sits very nicely when you need something that’s tiny to do a great job, and we actually find the picture qualities can be matched to the ARRI. Clearly, it’s not a perfect match, but it does fit quite well and we’ve had all sorts of applications where we needed a high end support camera, if you like, or a B camera on small shoots. It’s actually been used on some quite large commercials – it was the B camera on the A.J Hackett job and it was cut very nicely with the main ARRI camera on that job. Ed: But now you’ve gone and got a Sony again – you’ve got the new VENICE and there must be a very good reason for that? Dean: The VENICE is pretty exciting. significantly bigger sensor …

Full frame is where it starts, so a

Ed: Bigger than? Dean:

Than Super 35 which has been our mainstay.

Ed: So you mean it’s bigger than the ARRI Mini sensors? Dean: Yes, bigger than the ARRI Mini sensors, but the ARRI Mini sensors are the same size as the XT and the AMIRA approximately. So all the ARRI sensors are arguably the same with the exception of the LF. Ed: But that can’t be the only reason why you’ve got this Sony VENICE? Dean: No – the VENICE has a lot of pluses. From a technical perspective, a full set of NDs internally; a really clever workflow that allows you to shoot full frame motion picture, but record to quite easy to manage codecs; it doesn’t draw a massive amount of power … anyone familiar with using a Mini will be pleasantly surprised with the lesser power draw. It’s slightly more than a 55, depending on whether or not you’ve got the RAW recorder in there. It is built like the proverbial brick outhouse, which is a very good sign. Ed: It’s beginning to sound a bit like an ARRI? Dean: It has a number of points where it gets very ARRI crossover … the menu layout on the assistant’s side has become a bit ARRI-esque. It does add a lot to the party, with areas like having an operator’s LCD simple menu infrastructure built into the side of the body, which is quite a neat little touch. It’s got an E mount fully functioning underneath the PL mount, so standard stills glass from Canon and Nikon, Leica and such like can mount very well. This camera is full frame and covers any base from high end advertising content right through to Avatar going to be one of the biggest features made. Page 32


Wellington - Head Office Level 3, 127 Park Road Miramar Ph 04 380 5010

Auckland Level 2, 24 Manukau Road Newmarket Ph 021 066 9286

The experts providing end–to–end editorial solutions to New Zealand’s film & television industry

Authorised Elite Partner and Trainer for the complete Avid Video, MediaCentral, Graphics & Storage ranges. We are proud to have been selected as one of Avid’s top 100 partners worldwide.

Cut above the rest. Meet the new Media Composer family Now everyone has access to the best editing tools. Whether you’re just starting out, or editing to a tight budget, or part of a team building the next Hollywood blockbuster, the Media Composer® product family has a solution to fit your needs. Get started with Media Composer | First and use the tools the pros use for FREE. Or step up to Media Composer for just $289.00 + GST per year* for more power and versatility. For real-time collaboration choose and gamechanging features likeSymphony, Newscutter, ScriptSync® and PhraseFind™, advance to Media Composer | Ultimate or Media Composer | Permanent. * price is correct at time of printing and is subject to change

Avid NEXIS Pro With MediaCentral | Editorial Management No need to ditch your favorite editing and asset management tools to accelerate your workflow. Avid NEXIS | PRO enables real-time editorial collaboration using what you have, whether you edit in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Grass Valley EDIUS, or Media Composer. And it’s easy to integrate with thirdparty asset management systems too. Add powerful, simple-to-deploy asset management and web based reviewcapabilities to your file-based editing workflow. MediaCentral | Editorial Management is designed specifically for the needs of smaller post-production and broadcast teams working with Avid NEXIS. ediaCentral | Editorial Management adds a new layer of access to Media Composer and Avid NEXIS, making shared projects, bins, and media accessible to others beyond editors—without requiring Media Composer. Assistants, loggers, and other non-editors can perform media management tasks, greatly accelerating the ingest process, and search for and add media to projects—ready for the editor—using just a web browser. This also makes it easy for producers and directors to see what footage they have. To see NEXIS and Editoral Management in action please contact us to arrange a demo.

www.atomise.co.nz | atomise@atomise.co.nz


Ed: You say it’s got an E mount underneath the PL – not yet an LPL mount? Dean: No. LPL is part of the ARRI product range and that is exclusive to the ARRI LF camera. Ed: Right, but the VENICE has a large format mount? Dean: It has a standard PL mount that allows you to put large format PL glass on it. There is no LPL option yet for the VENICE. That may change. Ed: You think the mechanics are there that they could do it? Dean:

Oh yeah, easy.

Ed: But we won’t tell them yet? Dean: No … it’ll be a licensing / politics reason behind them having not released it at this point. Ed: That would make sense to me. I know how Imagezone is really keen on this LPL mount, this extra-large diameter lens capability, so it would make sense that any serious camera you bought should be capable of that at some stage? Dean: We’re right behind large format cinematography although that’s actually a bit of a misnomer. The correct terminology would be “full frame cinema cameras” which includes cameras up to that 36mm x 24mm sensor size. The large format actually covers the likes of the ARRI 65, 60-70mm sensor specs. That’s not commercially available to purchase but there are a few examples of it out there although only as rental product from the manufacturer. We’re backing full frame and we’re investing heavily in full frame; there will be multiple VENICEs here soon and multiple sets of lenses to work with these, that cover the spectrum of cinematography. The one thing that’s yet to emerge – but we know is on the horizon – is full frame anamorphic, so we’re expecting to see that – certainly announced – by the end of the year. Ed: So for owners or users of the Sony F5 or 55, is it a big step to go to the VENICE or should they stick with what they’ve got? Dean: There are actually 2 menu structures on the VENICE – one is a little ARRI-esque for the cinema crowd and there is a menu structure under there that the F5 and 55 users will find very similar. You’ve got to push a button and hold it for a second to reveal the more traditional Sony menu structure, but I think very much so, a regular F5 or 55 user will fall into this camera quite comfortably. They will notice it’s heavier; it is built out of machined aluminium as opposed to the slightly more plastic cases of those cameras, but things like Page 34


boot-up time and lots of internal NDs, the fact that they can use their existing glass to get full 4K. There are some differences between the VENICE and the ARRI product – one of the key things we like is that the VENICE will work very well in a Super 35 mode, and still get Netflix compliant 4K out of it, which is a big deal for people these days, on the grounds that if they want to have a potential market and create a product that they want to possibly distribute with Video on Demand platforms like Netflix … which insists that programmes are shot (Acquired) in 4K+. That means you can stay with common lenses and standard workflows and all that stuff. So the VENICE will fit nicely into a Super 35 workflow and still give you a 4K image. The dual ISO means that it’s going to compete very nicely in that same space where the Panasonic Varicam and LT have sat. It is smaller than the Varicam, so lots of positives there. Most of the users will find things like the boot-up time in this camera is incredibly fast; they will notice the heft if they’re used to run and gun shooting with an F5 and a 55. Ed: But if they‘re used to an ARRI? Dean: It’s heavier than the Mini. If you’re an ARRI Mini user, it’s going to feel heavy. As far as the actual figures, it’s not that bad if we strip all the accessories off the VENICE, there’s only around a 1Kg difference between the 2 bodies though that does represent a 30% plus increase. Ed: But then, still at the top of your stable, is the ARRI LF with that LPL mount. That’s a step above the VENICE yet again? Page 35


Dean: There would be plenty of people who would argue that. The VENICE with the RAW recorder on competes in the same marketplace as the ARRI LF. I think it would be slightly subjective to say that either tool is better than the other. We’ve got both, we believe in both; the ARRI is a heavy duty production body, there’s no two ways about it, it’s a big beast, it sucks a lot of power and you need serious manpower and it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from run and gun shooting. You need to craft your film with the ARRI, but make no mistake, the pictures that come out of the ARRI LF, which isn't significantly heavier than the Mini’s predecessor, make all those problems largely irrelevant. Ed: But isn’t the size of the LPL mount allowing those extra-large, but shorter lenses … isn’t that a serious positive? Dean: Okay, a little bit of a history lesson here. The PL (positive lock) mount format was clearly based around cameras which had a spinning mirror to send the light from one direction to the viewfinder for the DOP and the other part of the light would go down to the exposing film. Now that spinning mirror occupied space and the old PL mount lenses designed for that mount had to be a certain distance from the film to accommodate the spinning mirror. These days, with a sensor and not a film gate, there is no requirement for that space. Some say “now that we don’t need that space, we can actually use a different mount format.” Now the larger throat of the LPL mount, if you like, was designed to accommodate bigger faster glass but it’s not strictly necessary to do a full frame image. If you remember the Leica M-series cameras made famous by Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others, they were a rangefinder camera, they had no mirror that went up and down; the back of the lens was nearly hard up against the film plane – they only had to put the shutter in the middle. That enabled the camera to have a tiny lens that was incredibly fast with fantastic optics, because what we call the “nodal point” is much closer to the film plane. So the whole architecture of that lens could change and be quite different to accommodate that, and you get a better performing lens with less glass. Ed: But doesn’t that reinforce the whole LPL mount idea? Dean: No, because the LPL has gone bigger and further away from the plane – but not by much. What it does is that it allows for adapters to drop in there so it gives you scope for future that PL is largely hamstrung by. Now Sony, because they’ve standardised, they’re using current standard PL mount, which clearly, as Page 36


a rental house owner with millions of dollars invested in glass, is very well received. Having said that, ARRI does come with a standard PL insert. It will take time to crossover, nevertheless, the problem we’ve got is that there’s a lot of Super 35 glass, and I use the example of the likes of Cooke’s and Super Speeds – they’re not going to disappear anytime soon. They’re fantastic lenses that create great looks and different characteristics. I don’t see the standard of Super 35 going anywhere for at least 10 plus years. The internet is what it is and they’re still going to need to get content on the internet, and bandwidth what it is to the last mile, there will still be a desire for 2K content for quite some time to come. So we’re in absolutely no rush whatsoever to sell our high quality Super 35 glass. What we will see is the likes of Sony and others having forward looking options to change mounts as things emerge, and we’re more likely to see lenses emerging with multiple different mount platforms as the various different manufacturers all jostle for position to create an open standard. Ed: Do you think the choosing of the name VENICE is in homage to the ARRI naming system? Dean: I don’t think so, no. I think it clearly shows a sign of differentiation from Sony. Clearly, their background is in broadcast cameras and broadcast systems and their whole thinking, with the likes of the 65 and even the 55 to some degree, was that they had quite strong crossovers in the broadcast world. They still worked hard to accommodate that market with their cinema cameras. In my opinion, I think that’s a bit of a mistake. I think they’ve got a great broadcast solution and the 2 don’t really crossover between broadcast and cinema. I think there should be one camera for cinema and a different camera for broadcast. Ed: What’s the ideal camera for broadcast, how many chips should it have? Dean: Only the one – I am not sure 3 is an option still is it. The broadcast guys, and by that I mean the likes of rugby and OB, they run those big heavy tripod mounted units and long telephoto lenses. I don’t know if you’ve seen the golf – those guys chase golf balls as they fly through the air. You try and do that with a cinema camera, right. They’re quite different beasts. Then there is the infrastructure for broadcast. If you see the inside of those OB trucks, they’re the heart of the soul of the broadcast system, not necessarily the cameras; whereas the buck really stops with the camera and lens package in cinema. They are quite different affairs. But coming back to the VENICE, I think Page 37


it’s a little more of Sony saying “hey look, we’re having a creative look at cinema” so none of that technical numbering system which does feel a little bit “broadcast”. They’re saying this is a Creative look; I like to think that’s what they’re trying to get to, and they are getting much closer to achieving that. Things like their new S709 curve is very much more of a cinema curve. It’s there to create pretty pictures, whereas the first of the likes of the F5 and the 55 were broadcast compliant, mathematically correct 709 curves. Ed: But now it’s the “Netflix tick” isn’t it, that’s what they’re all after? Dean: Yes and a lot of that’s RAW pixel count. number of pixels top, bottom …

You need to have the right

Ed: And not much else matters? Dean:

It does to the DPs, it doesn’t to Netflix, but it does to the creators.

Ed: Unfortunately it’s Netflix that pays the money? Dean: That’s true, but a lot of people’s reputations ride on the products that they release and finish with, so they don’t want to be dictated to over which tools they use. Ed: I understand an iPhone has the correct number of pixels for Netflix? Dean: It does and there have been a number of jobs shot on the iPhone, but I think there actually is a point where they talk about bit depth in the compliance code – like I think it does have to be 10 bit plus and 422 plus and the iPhone wouldn’t actually tick any of those boxes. Ed: But you could up-res it surely? Dean: You anything!

can

up-res NZVN

Page 38


ALEXA LF lands LARGE in NZ

THE NEW LARGE-FORMAT CAMERA SYSTEM

ALEXA LF has landed Large Format in New Zealand with commercials and an upcoming major film already relying on the latest ALEXA-based cinema camera. Workflow and control are what you already know while the incomparable LF images will blow you away. Based on a larger 4K version of the ALEXA sensor, the LF series comprises the ALEXA LF camera with complete wireless control and wireless video transmission, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, LPL lens mount and PL-to-LPL adapter offering full compatibility with existing lenses, accessories and workflows.

find out more at www.arri.com/largeformat For a demo, a chat or info on where to find ALEXA LF or Signature Prime lens owners in New Zealand and Australia please contact Sean or Brett at ARRI Australia on:

Tel. +612 9855 4300 e: sdooley@arri.com.au e: bsmith@arri.com.au

t: +61 415 048 521 t: +61 417 663 803

NZVN August 2018  

NZ Television Industry News

NZVN August 2018  

NZ Television Industry News