The Newsshooter guide to the what, why and how of HDR

 Cinematography, Gear, HDR Digital Cinema, HDR Images, Technique  Comments Off on The Newsshooter guide to the what, why and how of HDR
Mar 312016
 

With the announcement of the Shogun Flame and Ninja Flame today, I thought now was a good time to explain what HDR is and why Atomos have made a panel that can resolve the brightness detail and colour accuracy of 10-bit HDR images.

Atomos have definitely been looking ahead to the future when it comes to HDR. While HDR is still very much in its infancy, Atomos have looked to future proof (as much as you can) their Flame series of monitor/recorders. By adding HDR support now, Atomos are giving you a monitor that will still be relevant for many years to come.

So why do we need HDR and what is it? Grab a coffee because this isn’t something that can be explained in a few paragraphs.

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Wave goodbye to your brushless gimbal? Say hello to the REVL Arc 4K action cam with built-in gyroscope

 Action cams, Gear  Comments Off on Wave goodbye to your brushless gimbal? Say hello to the REVL Arc 4K action cam with built-in gyroscope
Mar 212016
 

Brushless gimbals are great tools for stabilising your camera and creating smooth footage, but imagine if you could get similar results with just a small action camera with no add-ons.

A new company, formed by a group of passionate kiteboarders and action sports lovers, called REVL is claiming to do just that. The REVL Arc is a tiny stabilised 4K Action Camera that has just launched on crowd funding platform Indiegogo. It uses a hybrid stabilisation system, which combines both electronic and physical stabilisation to keep the footage smooth. A built-in gyroscope keeps the view level to the horizon – even if you’re upside down, or the camera is being moved around. The launch video shows several shots that are made possible due to the camera’s small size, including one where the camera is attached to the centre of a moving car wheel.

One of REVL’s partners in this project is Sony, so it is pretty safe to assume that is who is making the camera sensor. The Arc can record 4k at 30 fps, 1080p at 120,60,30 FPS and 720p at 240,120,60 FPS. There is no mention or indication that the camera can record the more cinematic 24 or 25p frame rates and unless these are added this will limit its usefulness for professional filmmakers. There is no mention anywhere of what type of manual camera controls are available, if any.

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A RED, a slider, an abandoned stadium: behind the scenes of Red Bull’s most popular video of 2015

 Cinematography, Technique  Comments Off on A RED, a slider, an abandoned stadium: behind the scenes of Red Bull’s most popular video of 2015
Jan 312016
 

So how do you go about filming BMX stunts in an abandoned sports stadium? Alex Horner filmed the video above for Red Bull in the abandoned Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. Featuring 19-year-old BMX sensation Tyler Fernengel, the video that resulted has received nearly 5m views on YouTube. Here he describes how his RED camera package and trusty Trost slider helped him get the shots he needed.

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Jan 172016
 

At CES manufacturers have shown quite a few television sets that incorporate Dolby Vision. Everyone is familiar with Dolby Sound, but Dolby Vision is something you may not have heard about before. Dolby Vision is a standard for what’s often referred to as HDR (high dynamic range).

Dolby Vision launched theatrically in the spring of 2015 with titles including Disney’s Tomorrowland and Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out. Recently, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was also shown in Dolby Vision, the new high-dynamic-range (HDR) format. The Revenant, shot on the Alexa 65 has also been released in Dolby Vision is select theatres. Currently in the U.S. there are nine Dolby Cinemas and in Europe there are just 4. That same technology is also being moved from the cinema into your lounge room.

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Jan 082016
 

Ever wanted to really fly your own drone, well Chinese company Ehang have shown the Ehang 184 AAV, a low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle, designed to be a medium to short distance transportation solution. The 184 can carry a single passenger, and has a flight time of 23 minutes at a speed of up to 60MPH. This would theoretically give the 184 a flying range of around 25 miles. It can fly at heights of up to 300 meters (984ft). The AAV weighs in at 440lb (200kg) and can carry a payload of up to 100kg (including the passenger).

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Feb 252015
 

I have been a big fan of ARRI over the years and am pleased to see the success they have enjoyed in recent years. It appears that success will continue to expand with the many new camera innovations they are bringing to the market.

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At the BVE show in London this week ARRI were showing the new ALEXA MINI publically for the first time. Newsshooter gained exclusive access to the camera and we were able to shoot with the prototype for a short time. Newsshooter team members Simon Glass, Elliot Smith and myself filmed handheld test shots in and around the EXCEL complex where the exhibition was being held.

We also spoke in detail with ARRI’s Michael Jonas about the camera. He gives us a full run-through of the features and offers great insight into the decisions ARRI made when designing the camera.

Announcing the new ARRI ALEXA Mini
ARRI announces the new ALEXA Mini, a versatile additional tool in the ARRI ALEXA camera range that combines a compact and lightweight form factor with the same unparalleled image quality that has made the ALEXA system a gold standard for the industry. Designed for specialized shot-making, the ALEXA Mini perfectly complements a full ALEXA shooting kit and allows crews to eliminate the complications of working with third-party cameras by keeping everything within a single system that is trusted all over the world.

To maintain ARRI’s famously rugged build quality in a small and lightweight camera, a number of unique design solutions have been incorporated. These include highly integrated and environmentally sealed electronics, a lightweight carbon housing and a solid titanium PL mount that connects directly with the new internal sensor mount to ensure a super-stable flange focal distance, even when using large lenses. Nimble in use and hardy on set, the ALEXA Mini is a go-anywhere tool, easy to transport in backpacks or as carry-on luggage.

The ALEXA Mini can be operated in a number of ways: by wireless remote control, as a normal camera with the ARRI MVF-1 multi viewfinder attached, or with an on-board monitor and controlled via the user button interface on the camera body. Light enough to be comfortably held at arm’s length in a hand rig, its compact size and extremely quiet operation also make it ideal for tight shooting conditions. The symmetrical design permits filming in any orientation, including upside-down and in portrait mode, while multiple accessory points enable highly creative mounting solutions. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s interchangeable lens mount can be replaced with any of those designed for the ARRI AMIRA, allowing the use of B4 video and EF mount stills lenses.

Equipped with a 4:3 sensor, automatic de-squeeze mode for anamorphic productions and frame rates of 0.75-200 fps, the ALEXA Mini records ProRes or uncompressed ARRIRAW either in-camera to CFast 2.0 cards or to a specially-designed external Codex recorder that can record image streams from up to four ALEXA Minis simultaneously — a compelling option for multi-camera setups such as 360° plate shots. Images from the ALEXA Mini will perfectly match those from all other ALEXA cameras, making the final grade easier and quicker.

Integrated functionality is at the heart of the ALEXA Mini’s efficient and self-contained design. A built-in lens motor controller allows new active lens motors to be connected directly to the titanium PL mount, while ARRI Lens Data System (LDS) technology provides frame-accurate metadata that can save time and money both on-set and in post. Wi-Fi connectivity means that iOS or Android devices can be used to remotely control camera functions such as the motorized internal ND filters, which permit rapid responses to changing light conditions without adding bulk to the camera configuration.

The body design is optimized for use with new-generation brushless gimbals, multicopters and other specialized rigs. It is compact enough in the lens direction to allow the use of standard PL mount lenses even on lightweight and space-constrained rigs, such as gyro-stabilized aerial systems. The camera’s superb low-light performance makes it perfect for underwater work; dedicated underwater housings are currently being developed by leading manufacturers.

Like the ARRI AMIRA, the ALEXA Mini can record 4K UHD ProRes images, facilitating real-time 4K UHD output and simple pipelines for high-resolution deliverables. More importantly, the Mini and all other ARRI cameras with the ALEV III sensor offer unrivalled overall image quality by focusing not just on spatial resolution, but also on other parameters such as colorimetry, skin tones and High Dynamic Range (HDR). This is equally true whether the chosen output is HD, 2K, 4K UHD or one of the native resolution outputs like uncompressed ARRIRAW 2.8K or ProRes 3.2K, ensuring that images captured with the ALEXA Mini are future-proof, whatever new industry standards emerge.

The ARRI ALEXA Mini is scheduled to begin shipping in May 2015, with orders being taken from March.