Here are a couple more stories from IBC to start us off for November.
Gencom – Ensemble Designs For Gencom, we are here at Ensemble Designs with Cindy Zuelsdorf. Ed: Cindy, you’ve travelled all the way from Vegas to do this interview and that’s much appreciated, but what our readers want to know is, what have your focus groups come up with as a name for this new product? Cindy: I’ve just got to say I didn’t travel here from Vegas this time – I travelled all the way from Grass Valley, California. But Vegas, I should have stopped along the way, you’re right Grant. Focus groups for the new product name … well you’ve got me on that one. We did decide on Avenue Layering Engine – what do you think of that for a name Grant? Ed: Avenue Layering Engine – it’s probably quite descriptive of what it does. That’s unusual for a focus group? Cindy: You’re right, most of them come up with some pretty caddy names … Ed: Or numbers – they’re very good at numbers I understand? Cindy: Yes, the GVG100, things like that, yes those are good numbers. Ed:
Did they ever come up with 42?
Cindy: Aaah that’s the number right – 42, the answer to everything. Ed:
Do you know that 42 is the answer to everything?
Cindy: Oh it absolutely is, whenever somebody catches me in the hall at work and has a question for me, I immediately say, “42!” Ed: Well there you are … we’re not talking number 42, we’re talking Avenue Layering Engine. Tell me what it does? Cindy: Well it’s a mix effect, so it’s a 1ME mix effect that let’s you transition between different backgrounds. You can bring keys on, you can have two keyer layers in fact, so you might have an animated logo going and you could bring up a video over the shoulder shot, lower third, those types of things, so a mix effect for OB vans, for small master control presentation.
And you’ve got it running here?
Cindy: I do – it’s so fun. You can control it from an iPad if you want to, and folks are liking that, because it gives them a different way to control it and some freedom. A lighting director could move around and maybe look at, “Hey, how’s camera one looking, how’s camera two looking?” and check everything from up in the catwalk. A presenter could actually switch his presentation right from the stage if he wanted to and the director could be up and moving around and taking a look at it on the iPad as well.
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Ed: So I understand Avenue is a broad group of products, but within that you have Layering Engine? Cindy: We’ve got about 100 choices inside of that Avenue product line so there’s everything from upconverters and down-converters to logo inserters, small routing switchers and audio embedders as well for handling Dolby and embedded audio. Ed: And again it’s part of the little boxes that you can plug into a central station and increase the functionality of the Avenue product? Cindy: Yes, the Avenue product line is used for signal processing in TV stations and there’s a 3U frame where a module ( just like that one away there ) gets plugged into the chassis and that module is a product in and of itself. Can I show you how the layering engine works? Ed:
Cindy: Yes, my favourite part. So here you can see we’ve got our programme feed right there, and there’s the preview. As you noted earlier, if you wanted to change the key on the preview, you can go into the menus, bring up the key fill and the key source that you want from the menu; you can adjust that key position on the fly and decide where you want to have it on the screen, so go ahead and move it … do you like it there Grant?
Ed: Okay, we’ve just had a little demo and Cindy has confirmed what I thought, that you can either do this live or you can prepare all of your graphics and all of your mixes that you might want to do and have them laid out on your screen ready for yourself or your director to tell you “cut to this one” “move to that one” etc. etc. Cindy: Exactly. So the preview or preset output lets you bring up the background video and the key in advance and then when you’re ready to do a take, simply take it to air, you can mix or a cut to air.
Cindy: Definitely. Some of the BrightEye products that we offer now are simply SDI to fibre converters, or fibre to SDI. There’s HDMI conversion as well with the fibre and, like you said, we’re starting to add fibre I/O into some products where it makes a lot of sense; and a scan converter is a piece where having it built right into the box makes a lot of sense. Ed:
I guess you can’t retrofit previous boxes?
Cindy: Well you’ve got your standalone BrightEye converters that take that SD-SDI or HD-SDI and convert it to fibre, so just a small outboard box next to any piece of equipment whether it’s an Ensemble piece or some other piece of gear in a facility … Ed: I guess that’s how you think isn’t it? You’ve got to think in modular terms and if you’ve made one module well, you can use another module to do a conversion to come up to make that more useful within the environment if the environment changes? Ed: And the fantastic thing is that you don’t require a big mixing desk, this is all done with – loud sigh – the iPad or a PC? Cindy: Ed:
Or a Mac.
A very flexible product.
Cindy: One of the really flexible parts to this product is the way that you set up the ports, so each BNC on the product is considered a port. The reason it’s considered a port is that you get to designate each BNC as an input or output. Grant, you make the call and say, “Hey, I want to set BNC 12 as an input, and BNC 13 is going to be an output,” and so you decide on a BNC by BNC basis, if it’s an input or an output for the layering engine. That way you can use any of the sources as a background or key material and you get to decide that. Ed: Wow, it’s your choice. uses that – Subway? Cindy: Zealand? Ed:
That sounds like … who have
Yes we do.
Cindy: Well Grant, you mentioned fly-pack and the fly-pack application is quite interesting because there’s a frame sync on every input of the layering engine and that makes it great for using out in the field. You can use asynchronous sources, your sources don’t need to be locked. Having a frame sync on the input ensures that you have a clean output every time. Ed: And now we’ve come to BrightEye Mitto HD Fibre Scan Converters in the typical Ensemble Designs blue box and lots of little plugs and connectors here. What do they do? Cindy: This scan converter lets broadcasters use Skype or YouTube video in a production. It also is great for presentation or colleges … Amsterdam University is quite interesting in that they use these to take the output of their cameras and medical devices in the machine room or operating room at their medical colleges, and take the DVI input in here and output 3 Gb/s or 1.5 Gig HD. That lets them bring it into a production or a classroom environment or even into a broadcast environment. So what’s new about this is the fibre output and that’s good for broadcasters who have multiple locations, or multiple campuses where they need to do a long run and the fibre lets them do that. Ed: I guess fibre is now becoming more and more useful because you can go for longer and longer distances with the 3G fibre, so is this something that we could see being added to more Ensemble products?
Cindy: Yes. By doing that you get exactly the inputs and outputs you want. It’s like the old stereo system, where you’ve got your preamp and your amp and all the different devices, your record player, your CD player … Ed:
Or your 8-track?
Cindy: Or your 8-track, yes, you could choose the 8-track that you wanted … the different components that you want versus buying an all in one kit where maybe it’s not optimised the way you would like it. By having the different pieces, you can choose exactly what you need for your facility. Ed:
Yes, have it your way?
You’re full of slogans today, Grant!
Ed: I’m full of something people say. Now Cindy, one of the strengths of Ensemble Designs is your speed to market. How are you able to manage this … with so many manufacturers manufacturing product in China, I guess it’s difficult for them, but for you it’s not a problem? Cindy: We really like manufacturing everything in house and that’s because we’ve got control over the manufacturing process and control over how long it takes to get something done. When we’re building up a new PCB, we get all of the placement machines programmed with the various reels and parts and we can build our first run of 5 or 10 and then do some testing with it in engineering. The engineers take the board, walk up a flight of stairs into engineering, do their tests … if they want to do any value changes or parts changes, they walk back down that one flight of stairs to manufacturing, make a change and test it and if it’s good to go, we can go into production the same day. Ed:
Cindy: I really like it. It’s near and dear to me that we can take care of our customers so well by building everything in house and getting things to market quickly. Ed: And with the US dollar where it is at the moment, it works. Cindy:
Ed: So in other words, New Zealanders Australians should be buying lots of this product?
Cindy: Everyone who needs them and loves them should be buying lots of our products. Ed:
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PLS – Dedolight We are on the Dedolight stand and we’ve had a discussion on the future of lighting with Dedo and Chris was very attentive – now Mr McKenzie is about to tell us what he’s learnt today from Mr Weigert. Ed: As your “starter for ten”, what have you learnt Chris? Chris: There’s a lot of new LED product around like everybody else, starting really with the new DLED range which has the standard Dedolight optics. Ed: These are these beautiful black and yellow creations of different sizes? Chris: Yes they are, so they are different sizes Dedo attempting to bounce light off a non-reflective surface. based around LED and Dedo’s famous optics, so you get all of the focusing, all of the light control, all of Ed: And when you get up to the big ones, you’ve got the sharp shadow formation, that you expect out of a quite a large ballast attached to them I see? Dedolight. Chris: Yes. Because all LEDs need a driver to Ed: So this is the replacement to the 12 Volt tungsten Dedolight? Chris: Yes, it will gradually replace it, but I don’t think it will ever completely supersede it because they’re so long lived. You know, if people want to go LED they will, but the DLH4, which is the current tungsten model, will have a long life, and these will certainly be the new ones that people will buy because they offer the same features of LEDs such as long life, with the expected low heat, and low energy consumption.
control what the LED itself is doing temperature wise and its running current … essentially, the way it uses power has to be monitored. The smallest one is the battery device which is the size of a packet of cigarettes with 12 Volt output. The mains units are actually slightly smaller than the current mains units, but they’re aluminium to dissipate heat. The head size and shape have changed to deal with the cooling of the LED. They really are a jump up. There are studio versions which can be run with DMX remotely so if you’re doing a small new studio you can have the dual advantage of Dedolight and LED in one package. Ed: So it’s a full range and the great thing is that a lot of the previous Dedolight accessories you can still use on these? Chris: Absolutely. All the DLH4 accessories fit the new range of DLED fittings so, yes, your existing accessories still fit. Ed: Now what about in the studio range … there’s a beautiful big black one here, the DLED12.0? Chris: These are aimed at the larger studio market, typically in the 650 Watt, 1 kiloWatt tungsten Fresnel range, so for the traditional key light and the larger studio news set – those sorts of things. The one in the middle is aimed at the more portable shooter type market where, say, news shooters have been using a 575 or 400 Watt HMI on location. Again, LED, long life, baggage handlers can try to kick it to pieces and it will survive …
Some of the new Dedolight range. Page 8
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Ed: Just going back to the discussions we had prior to coming out on the stand here, one of my questions to you and Dedo was about going from using a tungsten light in a production situation where you have external light as well, you have either daylight or you’re in a factory and you’ve got some nasty sodium light … you could sort of balance this with a tungsten light, but if you now change over to start using an LED light, are there any new difficulties in that? Chris: With a tuneable LED where you’ve got a tungsten to daylight tuneable fitting, you can tune to the colour temperatures in that range. What catches you out, and I think what Dedo was alluding to, is that he will be coming out with a fitting which tunes in the magenta-green axis, which is at right angles to our daylight to tungsten axis, because the magenta-green axis is where you get those weird colours from metal halides from mercury vapour lamps. Looking around us now, there’s a little bit of that sort of colour around, and so you would be able to tune it out. So, yes, there will be the ability to colour tune those things.
think particularly in the New Zealand market, there’s a demand for budget LEDs. You’ve only got to go on Trade Me to see the mega-budget LEDs which are certainly the ones that exhibit the problems that you’ve seen and other people have seen. So, rather than spending $200, you could probably spend $500 and get something that is a semi-pro piece of kit. You know, we’re also using these in an environment in a small news studio, as a fixed backlight. You don’t have to think of them only as portable always; they can be used in a permanent installation, because they do have external mains power supplies. People are very focused on running things on battery … battery is a good solution if you’re in the field, but it’s also a pain in the bum when you get back to the hotel at night and you’re faced with 16 batteries to charge and then you forget about charging your cellphone! Ed:
And these have got really nifty filters?
Ed: But the basics are that, if you are changing from tungsten to LED, you need to talk to somebody who knows about it, rather than just jump in there and think that the way you used to do it is going to work just as well?
Chris: Yes, magnetic attachment filters, both diffuser and colour correction; along with the ability to physically connect multiple panels, so if you want to build yourself up a panel size, not only do they mechanically join, but they electrically join, so you end up with one set of controls driving the whole panel, which I think is quite clever. They run on the smallest NP-F battery …
Chris: Yes, and this is one of the things that once we get these new products on line, we’ll be doing some sessions, some evenings and probably even some paid training sessions on how to live with LED, because I think it is important and as you well know yourself, you can think you’ve got the right thing, until it comes and bites you on the backside. Bigger people than you have been caught out …
Ed: So that battery you got with your little Sony camera that runs the camera for about five minutes, actually runs these for much, much longer? Chris: Yes, I think about half an hour on these and it takes double A’s as an option. So when you’re really in the back of beyond and have no batteries left, you can dive into the petrol station and keep going. I don’t know about whether the cameras do that or not.
Ed: But Dedo has moved out of his comfort zone a little bit here with a new product?
You mean they’ve got bigger backsides, yeah?
And on that subject, everyone should know my issue with that cheap LED panel and the rolling shutter on my CMOS camera, and if you don’t, look up the article in April 2012 – Warning – on page 16. Ed: Now Dedolight has also made a relationship with another lighting manufacturer to produce quite nifty little LED panels which I believe don’t suffer from the problem that I had? Chris: Yes, that’s true. F&V is a new product line for Dedo and it’s really answering the budget LED market, because there is a demand out there and I
Chris: Yes – out and in, because he’s always been a camera supplier and he’s a major rental house in Munich in Germany. They’ve come up with a stereo 3D camera system, which basically uses two side by side chips through a common optical block. So rather than having the under and over or side by side rigs through a beam splitter or a mirror that a lot of other manufacturers use, essentially you’ve got something the size of a Phantom camera with two lenses, with a lens block that carries two lenses. And so, all of your inter-ocular processing and all your depth of field processing is done inside the camera, inside the lens array, rather than having a whole bunch of hardware hanging out … Ed:
... and a stereographer hanging on to it?
Chris: Yes, and one of the examples he gave, was handholding it through a car window and you know you’d never do that with a 3D setup which is typically the size of a studio teleprompter. I think he’s on to a winner there, so if anyone’s interested, give us a call. Ed:
You might get one down to have a play with?
Chris: Well if there’s some interest … these guys are very keen on shipping stuff around the world for demo, so yes. And it might be another thing to do when Dedo’s in New Zealand in February – and that date’s to be announced.
A nifty F&V panel light.
Ed: Now one of the things that again we discussed with Dedo was LED lighting and cameras … you can set yourself up with one camera for your LED lights; then you put another camera there and things look different. And it’s not just different models it’s actually within cameras themselves. Why is this? Page 10
the quality down. If you go to the $2 shop you can throw away items with LEDs in them, this is where the bin 1 LEDs go, or into the really cheap LED light fixture. Ed: So that’s why you can look at a one square panel from one manufacturer, look at it from another, such as Dedolight … they look the same, but in fact the guts of them is entirely different and hence the price? Chris: And you get a different colour quality out of them. I had an interesting time on the Rugby World Cup when we had video crews from all over the world and I put two Felloni’s up and I had all these people coming around going “wow look at the colour of those – ours are bright pink in comparison” and when you see it, that’s the tendency, they either go green or magenta in comparison to true daylight balance. So that’s a very simple test and again, it might be beholden for us to organise a camera and lighting shootout at some point and get a bunch of cameras and a A clever stereoscopic camera from Dedolight. bunch of lights together and start doing some education. Chris: That I don’t understand. Between cameras you would expect consistent colour imagery. I can Ed: Well we’ll advertise that and we’ll be there Chris. imagine between different models of a range of cameras Chris: Let’s do it. there will be differences in colour response. A number Ed: Will there be beer? of lighting manufacturers I’ve talked to have mentioned NZVN that fact, and it is of concern for lighting. Kino Flo did a Chris: There will be beer. lot of work on their Celeb fitting to match it to different cameras and there were not two cameras that had the same colour response. In the end they ended up matching the colour output of the LEDs to their fluoro tubes and then leaving the DP or cameraman to figure out how to deal with varying camera responses. That might be a good question for camera suppliers, or something we could do with camera suppliers perhaps. Ed: Now Felloni is a Dedolight product, or it comes out under the Dedolight name, and I know one of the points with the Felloni that really hit home in our discussions, was the way the LEDs are chosen. Just tell us a bit more about that? Chris: Well, because an LED is a silicon device, it is produced in the same way as a processor chip or any other silicon chip; there is a variation in the quality that comes off when they cut the individual chips out of the silicon wafer. In LEDs, they have a bin number, bin 1 to 10, so 10 being the best, 1 being the ones that are quite suspect. It’s exactly the same thing as processors … the bin 1 processor chip is the one that goes in your $20 watch; the bin 10 one is the one that becomes an Intel processor. They’re probably the same processor, but the bin 1 has a bunch of components or elements of the chip that behave properly … Ed: This is because they’re made from a natural product, a natural block of silicon which obviously is going to have some impurities? Chris: Yes … and so in the entire LED market, there is binning of the LEDs. What the Felloni gets is a high quality bin and they become even more selective at that point. So out of, let’s say, maybe a 9 or 10 bin, they then narrow that down by matching the LEDs. How they do it, I don’t know, whether there’s a whole lot of people sitting there measuring them or how, I don't know… it’s a mystery, but they do, they narrow Page 12
PLS – Arri Lighting For PLS, we are at Arri Lighting with Chris McKenzie. Ed: Chris, we saw in our last issue, a big PLS advert saying …? Chris: now. Ed:
We are ARRI distributors in New Zealand
This is a good thing Chris?
Chris: This is a very good thing. ARRI are the world’s leading lighting manufacturer and offer high quality German product. They exist a lot in the New Zealand market, they overtook the Italians probably 15 years ago in the lighting market and they’re very well respected and we’re very pleased to be able to offer the product. Ed:
And now they’ve come to the right home?
We hope so.
Ed: Well the proof is in the pudding and the checker of this is Stefan Schmidt and Stefan, have you had any relationship with New Zealand and lighting before? Stefan: We did ship a lot of ARRI lighting equipment when they began shooting The Lord of the Rings so this was I think a good start in the New Zealand market. ARRI equipment has been very well known in the New Zealand market for film shooting with our ARRISUN range. That means a power reflector HMI plus lenses in front and, during the last six years, we have developed something different, something more sophisticated than the good old PAR lampheads with glass lenses. This is the M-Series, the MAX reflector
Stefan with one of the ARRIMAX range.
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HMIs. The first MAX reflector lamphead HMI was launched in 2005 and was the big ARRIMAX, the lamphead that we designed around the 18K single ended bulb, but we decided not to give this big 18K lamphead glass lenses. Bigger glass lenses mean a big investment and a lot of load and a lot of big problems if the glass lenses are breaking. That was the birth of the MAX reflector HMIs and that’s how they work. It is a lensless system and by the design of this special reflector, we are able to shape the beam from 15 to 50 degrees, so even more to 57 degrees. So it is a core beam, a good spot, a little bit like a round, but this is the good hot spot and then you can widen up the beam up to 55 or 57 degrees. Ed:
And this range comes in a number of Wattages?
Stefan: Yes it does. First lamp was an 18K, the big ARRIMAX and then we did an M18, which was an 1800 Watt, exactly a tenth of the Wattage. This is a small HMI; and then the third MAX reflector HMI was the M40, somehow following the good old ARRISUN 40/25. Now we are introducing the M90 or 9K as a new HMI Wattage. We asked Osram to design us an HMI bulb which you see here. So this HMI bulb is the basis for this lamphead. With this bulb, we designed the lamphead around it – very small, almost as small as our existing ARRISUN 60, and again with MAX reflector, with this far sighted reflector here. This is the last baby of big ARRIMAX so to say again, without the need of using glass lenses with a big, big light output you can compare the light output to the light output of a 12K bulb with glass lenses, and you have a small lamphead, small HMI and you have a very small ballast also. So
A very clever reflecting surface.
this 9K ballast is within the dimensions of existing 2.54K ballast. Ed: Now this particular design of reflector, I guess this still allows you to have that angle change, but it gives you a slightly softer light? Stefan:
We can switch it on …
Ed: No, no, just in terms of, if that reflector was a smooth reflector, you would get more shadows I imagine, or you’d have to be more precise in the actual manufacture of that dish? Stefan: Yes, this is true. It has to be very precisely milled and it is a very precise reflector. Only by the shape of the reflector can you get this very centred beam and also this widening up into flood simply by moving the lamp into the reflector. Ed: So having this faceted approach gets away from that ultimate or exacting precision? Chris: If you had a conventional PAR reflector, as Stefan is describing, with the spreader lenses, if you change the beam on it, what tends to happen is that you end up with a hole in the middle of the light beam, because that’s where the lamp is. And so there’s actually no light passing through that area. So when you vary it, you can end up with a large ring of very hot light and then a dark area and then a brighter area, so the very special thing about this reflector is the way that it homogenises the entire beam coming out of the lamp and without having to use lenses, and as Stefan said the ARRIMAX is about one metre diameter, or close to … Ed:
Chris: It’s big … that would be a very large piece of glass, in fact to have five of those lenses to change the beam angle and you would have a box almost the size of the lamphead to carry your lenses and in New Zealand when we use them in the rain, you break them. And Mr Arri is very happy because he sells you new lenses … Stefan: And also he complains about the broken lenses – lenses are a pain for everyone. Ed: Right, that’s HMI, but tungsten lights haven’t gone away? Stefan: Not at all. Here is a dimmed down tungsten lamp, again with a MAX reflector, so this very high efficient MAX reflector can also be used with a tungsten light source. This is a 750 Watt tungsten filament light source and this is a 2000 Watt tungsten Page 16
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light source and works pretty well also with a tungsten lamp. So we transferred also this MAX reflector technique into the tungsten world. And simply by moving this bulb in or out of the reflector, you get flood and spot. Ed: It’s very warm, at the moment I guess it’s quite dimmed isn’t it Chris? Chris: Yes, but also you feel the temperature comparison from the rest of the stand which is LED; I think this is the warm corner. Ed:
Keep your tungsten for winter eh?
Chris: Keep your tungsten for winter. The tungstens also have the M-Series reflector, but the small 800 has an on-board Chimera mount, so you can put a Chimera softbox straight onto it without an additional speed ring. Ed: Now, as a bit of a departure from these large HMIs and tungstens, we have Thomas Binsert and Thomas you’re the ARRI LED specialist? Why do you have to follow everybody else and make LEDs just because everybody’s making LED – or is it actually a good technology? Thomas: Yes, it’s not a hobby, it’s a need. So the oil price rose up and we’re talking about to protect our environment and even … Ed: In other words, people customers are asking for them?
Thomas: Of course customers, but it’s not alone customers, it’s a common need. It’s not a decision by some to follow one direction; it’s really a global need to reduce energy costs – at home, in theatre, studios, wherever … on the street; so it’s not a lone focus on TV stations or broadcast or whatever we’re doing here. Ed: So it’s not just adapting the technology that you already have, you’ve had to redesign your lights quite considerably and, looking at them from the outside, they look very ARRI, but in fact on closer inspection, they’re constructed quite differently? Thomas: The point is that you cannot change the way you’re doing the light. The Fresnel system, it’s a workhorse. All technicians know how to use Fresnel lights; the shadow quality, the colour rendering, the equal light via depth. It’s like what you reach over the years and years within light quality. But there some things, they are by accident. Maybe the red shift if you dim – for us, it’s quite logical that, if you dim a tungsten, you have that red shift; but it does not have to be.
Thomas: Between the 2700 Kelvin up to 10,000 just on a knob. And you can do the same with all the colours. But there is a “but” … that is why we have the T-version. We have the T-version just because there’s 40% more output, because of the peculiarities of the LEDs. If you could reach that output with a C-version, there is no reason to have a T-version. Maybe the price … the price is maybe 500 Euro less compared to the Cversion, but to cover the flexibility, you cannot compare the flexibility. My point of view, the focus will more shift to the C-version, because that’s really a tool. For that you want to have different colours, you need gels. And if you put a gel in the LED, this doesn’t make sense at all. Chris:
Only the Irish would put a gel in an LED.
Oh, I cannot believe!
Chris: Grant had a question about shooting in a mixed daylight or a mixed daylight and tungsten and maybe metal halide scenario, and I said one of the advantages of the colour tuneability is not only the tungsten daylight shift, but also the ability to go plus or minus green, and I think that’s a feature that’s worth explaining? Thomas: Yes, that’s very important when working with fluorescents for outdoor or for indoor shots. You must not forget that each lighting system brings new features in the arc of light. Now with LED in a theatre situation for example, if you want to change the dramatic way the colour, maybe the green or the red and you want it to move from green to red, so you light the person. Of course the green and the red position are different, so the shadow moves, yes, and the light position moves and that’s not what you mean with colour change. Now we have the LED and it can change the colour without any moving shadow. Years before, we didn’t have that. This will change the way to light, the aesthetical dimensions in lighting. Chris: Well the traditional thing I’ve found – and my background is in television – is, if you have an entertainment set and you have elements that you want to colour change for different musical pieces say, you always had four or five lamps with different gels on each set piece. Now you’d have one lamp instead, so you’ve saved five lamps, you’ve saved five dimmers, more on page 22
LED technology means that you have to redesign all studios completely, dimmerless, less cable, less airconditioning. Ed: In your design, there’s a huge heat sink area at the back of these which one would expect, but also you’ve gone for colour temperature variation within your lights. Just tell us how you managed that? Thomas: The best flexibility colour version. daylight into complete …
problem is of course the you will have for the The colours cover the the tungsten range
Ed: Completely them?
between Thomas Binsert from ARRI Lighting. Page 18
you’ve saved five electrical way lines, so your capital cost and your artistic flexibility is limitless. Thomas: That’s one thing you should really be aware of is the light output. If you ask for white light, output is now a bit less than compared to what you had from tungsten 1K whatever … Ed: But then the cameras of course are much more light friendly? Thomas: You don’t need 5Ks and 2Ks in studios anymore, because your cameras are so sensitive. I’ve never seen a studio with 2 or 5Ks where they have them at 100% – they just use 70%, so what colour temperature they have – 2600, 2700 – they are far away from 3200. So this is one point talking about the white light and colour shift, but if you ask what’s the light output if you use gels? Take a deep blue like a thermal blue, put in a 2K and do the same colour with the L7. This would be four times more light output compared to 2K tungsten. So that’s what the discussion of what output means, you have to ask where do we need, where do we want to use – in studio conditions, theatre conditions, so it’s not fair just to focus on one condition in light. Ed: So all of this is going to be very good for you Chris – it’s really opened up your field? Chris: Well it is and we’ve actually got a project coming very soon with a university studio in Auckland where they already have made a case to the New Zealand Government Energy Authority to provide them financing to buy LED fixtures, on the basis that they are saving a high proportion of their energy costs. We sat down with them a couple of months ago and made the whole case for lamp saving, power saving, airconditioning saving. Ed: And Chris, one last thing. We’ve taken a picture of this rather incredible looking hoist and lamp fixture, this is for the serious studio? Chris: Yes, one of the new products that ARRI have is a series of suspension systems for smaller and larger studios, and the idea is that you bring the rig to the studio floor … rather than having to climb up and risk falling off a ladder, which the Labour Department is taking a very dim view of these days, you bring all of your luminaires to the floor. The clever thing with this device is that also all the mechanics of the hoist are on
the bar as well. All of your mechanical maintenance is done at floor level, so for installation, all you need is to attach four wires to the roof structure of the studio. But also, you know, I see lots of other applications in hotel atria and comercial installations, where people have got to put up lights up high and they want to get to them on a regular basis, then you bring them back down to a safe working position. Ed: So in fact, it’s two products that we’re looking at there, we’re looking at the hoist system and we’re also looking at the lights that are on there, because all those lights are a different colour, but in fact they’re all the same lamp, they’re just set differently? Chris: They are the L7s that we’ve been talking about, set at different colours, so in terms of what you can see there, tungsten daylight and four what I call “fruity” colours, all out of the same luminaire and with a simple control system, all of those are adjustable. They could be any colour of the whole gamut. Ed:
And you can probably adjust it from your iPad?
If you have the right control system, yes.
Thomas: You just need a DMX luminaire and you need the interface from the wireless system to the control system and just a small box like this and then you can run it … Ed: That will make a lot of boys in New Zealand happy won’t it – another use for their iPads? Chris: Well we have a system that will even drive it off an iPod as well … Ed: My goodness. Chris: Yes, and one of the other solutions we have on all of these is the back end control. Ed: Is there anything you don’t have Chris? Chris:
I haven’t seen it yet.
Chris McKenzie is having the rest of the year off after a bit of a health scare. Chris is recovering well and is positive that he’ll be back in the office in January.
You will have to go to the web version of this issue to see all the colours on this bar. Page 22
Many thanks to all who have expressed their best wishes for Chris’ speedy recovery. The PLS Team.
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Sony HXR-NX30P Field Test In a word, “fantastic.” But why am I doing a camera test? I never do tests because it’s a lot of work, I’m not a camera specialist and there are plenty of others doing them on the internet. I was only going to be back from IBC for 18 days when my wife, a friend and I were to holiday in Japan. Our average age is 62 and we were hiring a car for 2 weeks of driving around the central area between Tokyo and Kyoto. This opportunity was too good to pass up, so I wanted a video record – perhaps just for us and our children but, ever hopeful, there might be a doco in it. I felt confident because I had been travelling in Japan on four previous occasions, mostly by train but also including a short car hire. What I wasn’t confident of was taking my relatively bulky Sony Z5P HDV camera and a stack of tapes. While the Z5 is a great camera for the corporate productions I do, it is not really suited to what I had in mind. I needed a small form factor to fit in my day pack, quick set-up, fully automatic everything and something that wouldn’t frighten the natives – but with excellent video quality in handheld mode. In a few more words, “the NX30 camera was perfect.” Sony’s Nick Buchner had showed me this baby of the NXCAM range at NAB ( see page 71 of May 2012 ) and I was impressed but didn’t then see an application in my line of work. So, the NX30 came to mind as being potentially suitable but $3K for a holiday camera? Not being known for my shyness, I asked Sony NZ’s Scott Webster if I could borrow one for a bit. “Sure” he said. There were no strings attached and I was fully prepared to return it after the trip with a “thankyou” but nothing more. As it turned out, even my wife said “why don’t you buy it if it’s so good?” and I probably will, but first, I want to share my impressions on its performance in Japan. This little camera proved itself to be something rather special and to an extent that I certainly didn’t expect. I knew the quality of the picture that came out of it because I’d read the specs and done a shooting test before travelling. It is AVCHD but it’s 1920 x 1080 and in 1080i mode, simply stunning. As well, I’d seen at NAB how it could be placed on a vibrating table and still deliver a rock steady picture. Until you actually experience it, it’s hard to believe how clever this little camera is. The size makes it such that nobody really thinks that you’re taking serious video; you’re just taking some home snaps and they don’t mind answering your questions on camera. In the first few
This is the position I found to be the most comfortable for long or pan shots.
days, I interviewed some Japanese gentlemen who may or may not have been judges of a flower show, but they certainly were very pleased to talk on camera about their garden; and some Japanese schoolgirls were quite happy to appear whereas, I guess, if I’d had a larger camera with microphones bristling off it and headphones, etc, they would have run away. If you really want to be sneaky ( and I did on a couple of occasions ) you can have the camera going with the flip screen closed – you just pull out the viewfinder about 1 centimetre, press record and hold it nonchalantly in your hand pointing roughly in the direction you want. It works because it has a very wide field of view. The only addition I made to the bare camera was its battery. The lens hood or microphone block would have
made it too bulky and delicate to fit into the new toiletries bag I had inside my back pack. I tested the on-board mic and found it perfectly acceptable for this situation. Anything else I need to do, I can do as a voiceover and just use the ambient sound. The really cool thing about it is that it’s just so quick and ready to use … you leave it folded up in a soft bag and as soon as you want to take a picture, you take it out, flip open the viewscreen and within seconds it’s ready to go; press the “Record” button and it’s recording. For “record” and “zoom” functions you can use buttons on the camera body or touch points on the screen. Both of these were a little tricky to get to work smoothly at first but it didn’t take long to get them working well. Everything’s on auto; I didn’t use any manual settings; it adjusts very quickly to any light changes and it shoots in extremely low light. There was a situation in the Shinshoji Temple in Tokyo where the light was so The field of view is very wide and the controls easy to operate. The big low that you would have had to use a battery wasn’t really necessary, but was there for my peace of mind. flash to take a still photo, but this another few seconds and it sorted its little brain out and camera just carried on and certainly in the viewfinder there you were. there were no signs of any graininess. I always used it on auto; the white balance adjusted itself very quickly I tried the night shot view when our travelling friend from one situation to another. There were sort of a few was snoring during the night. You go into that greenymoments when you looked at it and you thought grey look but you can continue to take pictures in “euurgh that’s not good colour” but you just waited almost total darkness. A major factor is that the more on page 32
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stability is just unbelievable … just standing in a temple and putting it on full zoom, it is as if you’ve got it on a tripod. You don’t have to hold it any particular way and you get perfectly steady shots, everything in focus. You have to practice panning in low light because there is appreciable lag in the steady-shot. Pick a point to stop before your chosen end frame and it gets there a second later! This is not appreciable in normal light.
I used a K-tech monopole with a Cartoni plate to get shots over the heads of the crowd.
It’s just a beautiful little camera to use. One of the areas I never tried was the projector because I didn’t see any particular need for this when I was travelling, but a feature in the camera that I did use ( just to see that I could use it ), was the “Photo Shoot” button. There is a button on the back of the camera for the mode, and you can either have “movie mode” or “photo mode.” When I changed it to “photo mode”, I also changed the media to the Sony memory stick that I put in the camera and then just used it as a still camera. The great thing was it gives you a shutter click which tells you you’ve taken the photo and then when I used it indoors, it flashed automatically. You can use this continuously as a video light but I never needed to. So having “photo mode” is a very, very useful addition to the main business of taking video. After four days of recording, I had over three hours of material, so I did my first transfer from the camera’s solid state memory onto a portable hard drive and that seemed to go successfully. The next big test was deleting the files off the camera itself, which again, I didn’t even need to read the manual; it was very selfexplanatory on the touchscreen viewfinder menu. Of course I was a little bit nervous that something was going to happen to the hard drive and all the early part of the video would be lost, but that didn’t happen. Back in NZ, it was time to transfer all the files for editing. The loading onto the computer is a very easy process. The camera is connected by USB; the computer finds it as a drive; “drag and drop” the files and each one is labelled with, not only its own code number, but also the date on which it was recorded, so it was very easy to make up a series of folders of different dates and load everything into the appropriate day. Once it was there, it was all in order. Very, very simple; very clear;
These three pictures are frame grabs from the Adobe CS6 timeline. The top one shows the detail in the black armour.
This shot shows detail in sun and shadow. None of these pictures were enhanced or corrected in Photoshop.
This one was in a very dark temple, showing amazing low light detail. Yes, go to the web to see them in colour.
no problems. The files that I’d transferred onto the hard drive in Japan came off just as easily. So they’re all there, everything was captured. I made a safety copy onto a server, so then I was able to delete the files off the camera to clean it out. As it keeps the timecode of the last shot, it will then continue when the next shot is taken. The AVCHD codec looks great in its original form and I’m going to be very careful to minimise changes in editing. I’m using Adobe CS6 with a very up-to-date HP desktop so I’m not expecting problems, although I intend to convert the trimmed timeline to the EX codec if I ever want to add effects. All in all, this little camera is, I think, a cut above anything I’ve seen in the small camera market. It does come at a price; it’s certainly more expensive than a consumer camera, but for the situations of travelling and taking professional footage, I haven’t seen anything that comes close to it. One very good example was in Nara, an early capital of Japan, where we went to see a very large Buddha statue inside a temple. There were signs all round saying you could take photographs, but no tripods, and this became evident once you got into the building. It was really quite dark and anyone who was trying to take a photograph with their still camera ( including many thousands of school children ), caused their auto-flashes to go off. This was pointless because it was such a big, big statue. However, the NX30 with its CMOS chip and the steadishot, was able to get close-ups and pulls on the statue that should be quite acceptable – certainly no grain was appreciable in the initial footage. It’s this combination of the steadishot, the small form factor, the solid state drive, the ease of use – just flip out the screen and within a few seconds it’s ready to record – that makes the NX30 truly amazing. My advice, get one yourself. NZVN
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It’s green but not grass We are here in Coatesville, not too far from the Dotcom mansion, but we’re not talking to Kim today, we’re actually talking with John de Vere. John’s been around an awful long time; both feet still working, not a wheelchair in sight. Ed: John, I remember you back in the old days of Super VHS … fond memories for you? John: Yes, Super VHS and Hi8. Thumping great machines with big black knobs – great use as a boat anchor. I started off filming weddings with a ginormous JVC KY-35 which weighed a ton, and with two 12v lead acid batteries around my waist I would come home John stands in the “sweet spot.” absolutely knackered after a job. Ed: But you’ve progressed from there and we’re here there’s a lot of trial and error. Chris from Professional Lighting paid a visit to see the unique shape of the today to talk to John about his green screen studio. ceiling and make suggestions. John, this is a very impressive green screen, but it didn’t start out that way? We started off using “Blondes” bouncing the light around. Unfortunately the studio became like a sauna John: That’s correct Grant. Initially I started off with and often the talent would get a bit sweaty! However some digi green fabric which was left over from The with side windows open to cool the place down, Oscar Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A friend of mine the cat would seize the chance to hop in and crawl who worked on the film, and also made hang gliders, under the thick green fabric. stitched the whole thing up for me. We did a job for an overseas gold mining company with Ed: But that digi green didn’t do everything you the CEO looking down at his feet wondering what that wanted it to do, did it? moving lump was, so I reached under and dragged John: No, we had a lot of trouble with it. Digi green is Oscar out profusely apologising. It wasn’t until I very reflective, and I discovered that the digi green is borrowed a bit of green material off Grant Cummuskey actually too bright. It’s probably very good for a very, … very large hangar, an outdoor studio but, because it’s Ed: Oh, that’s a famous name in the industry! got a lot of yellow in it, it was causing us problems with John: Speak of the devil … that I just had stunning people who had blonde hair, especially if it was frizzy. I results with a different darker shade of chroma green. found out that, when you’re setting up a green screen studio, there’s lots of things that you’ve got to think Ed: This particular green is certainly working for you about … there’s the lighting of course, there’s things like and the good thing is it’s very wide. How did you shutter speeds, there’s all sorts of camera settings and manage that extra width? more on page 39
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John: The width of this room is 4.5 metres and 7 metres deep. I have built some wings covered in the same green which are placed at an angle to conceal the light stands and sand bags. They can also be used as a walk on reveal. I can get the camera set on 1920x1080 wide angle and have the whole vista, the whole panorama of green, and so it gives me the flexibility that people can actually move around and interact with their website. Ed:
You want to show their feet?
John: Absolutely, we can show their feet … and we had lots of problems with shadows between their feet. In the early days, we had the lighting vertical, a light above the camera and a light below the camera, and that seemed to solve the problem, but then if you go wide and if you have the person walking around, that doesn’t work. So it’s live and learn, and I’ve gone more to the butterfly setting up of lighting. Ed: There’s a couple of Kino Flos here which seem to be doing the trick? John: Those Para Beam Kino Flos are superb. They are a fantastic light; they’re not cheap, but they’re dimmable and they’re an excellent quality light for my studio work – for my needs. Above all they run cool. PLS have not only supplied our stands but other bits and bobs to hang stuff off other things; they’re very good at problem solving. Ed: Okay, and what you’ve added to this is a virtual studio? John: Yes – that’s the wonderful thing with a green screen. You can buy, at quite affordable prices off the Internet, virtual sets. I’ve just bought a whole lot of PNG files of a Newsroom. So I can film myself reading the news or tell jokes to myself ... just kidding. You can buy Classrooms; you can buy Inside Corporate Buildings and you can actually place the subject – you can scale them up or down and make the virtual set fit the subject. Ed: And one other thing, of course, is sound. You’re in a room, with certain constraints, but because of the shape of the room, you’ve got good sound? John: We have – very important for such a studio. Initially, we were looking at going into an industrial area, the Albany Industrial Estate for instance, but there were great problems in there when heavy trucks go past. Even 100 metres away, you can hear the low frequency rumbles. Also most commercial premises have suspended ceilings which click and pop when the
wind blows causing more headaches, not to mention adjacent car parking and squealing tyres! Ed: And here you can’t hear Kim’s helicopter passing overhead? John: I can't remember if he owns one; perhaps ask John Banks ... see if he remembers! No the wonderful thing is that we ended up here in Coatesville; it is a rural area and it is absolutely dead quiet. It is the closest Rural 1 area from central Auckland, over the Albany Hill. We’re a kilometre away from the road and we back onto the Riverhead State Forest, so it is dead quiet and that’s so handy. As you look around the studio, you can see I’ve got some bass baffles hanging from the wall; the green screen wings I’ve got also help to modify the sound and, of course, this unique shaped ceiling also gives it a lovely timbre for the spoken word. Ed: You’ve got a live viewing screen here, so you can actually see the setup before you record it. You can set it up with the keyed virtual set and anything else that happens to be in there? John: Not everyone, of course, needs this feature, but with a live green screening capability, it’s just like the TV news; the talent can actually relate to a complicated graphic which is behind them, and they can point and they can interact with ( in this case ) their website, with pinpoint accuracy. Check out the Contegro job off our website examples; I've never seen anything else like it on the Internet. Ed: Now you’ve got this hooked up to an Adobe suite for yourself, but really anybody could come in, bring their own camera, and their own recording device and away they go – just use your green screen, lighting and sound system and make what they want to? John: Yes. I use an EX3 camera which I’ve found extremely good, but people are welcome to bring their own camera and work in this studio. I am happy to have a chat and help other video producers by offering them a generous wholesale rate so they can make money from studio time. Everything is permanently set up; lighting, sound, camera, teleprompter, live keying. A very laid back atmosphere; plenty of parking and we always have fun in what we do. Ed:
Can they see any of your work on the web?
John: Yes. Go to PWP (Personal Web Presenter) at www.personal-web-presenter.com to see the styles NZVN of work we’ve done here and my contact details.
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