June 18, 2021
The Digital Cinema Society is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educating and informing the entertainment industry about digital motion picture production, post, delivery, and exhibition.

Digital Cinema Society

October 23, 2014
Volume 10, Number 8


DCS Update

Halloween is upon us and there is lots of what could be scary new technology knocking at our doors. We’ll try to help you sort through it with news and analysis on the latest developments in Cameras, Post, and the Business of Show Biz. There are new cameras from Panasonic, ARRI, and GoPro, and Creative Cloud Mobile Apps from Adobe. We’ve also got news of the changing landscape for digital distribution being brought about by companies like Netflix, HBO, and CBS.

There is new streaming available of our last event exploring The Economics and Aesthetics of Shooting Indie Features on Film, as well as two upcoming DCS L.A. area events. First, on November 5, we’ll look at the new Panasonic VariCam 35 at Panavision, then on November 20th, we’ll be treated to an educational presentation by David Stump, ASC giving an overview of his new book, "Digital Cinematography -- Fundamentals, Tools, Techniques, and Workflows.” This will take place at the Canon Hollywood Center followed by a presentation on the subject of Monitoring for 4K featuring their new ACES compatible 4K monitor. There are additional details on these events below, and you can find lots more happening all around the world by visiting our DCS Calendar of Events located on our homepage.

Finally, check out James Mathers' essay, “Why We Ride - Thinking Differently to Create Successful Indie Distribution,” a case study of a self distributed documentary film recently made by DCS Members Bryan H. Carroll and James Walker.

For the full web version of the eNewsletter including graphics, please visit: http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/dcs-newsletter click here

DCS Event: Meet the Panasonic VariCam 35 — November 5th at Panavision, Woodland Hills

Join us to explore the latest entry into the 4K Digital Cinema Camera Club, the Panasonic VariCam 35. See the new camera, view demo footage projected in 4K, and be treated to a special presentation by LightIron’s Michael Cioni, who created the stunning demo showpiece. We are grateful to Panavision for allowing us to hold this event in their beautiful screening room located at their world headquarters.

Wednesday Evening, November 5th - Doors open at 7PM for light refreshments with the presentation from 7:30-9:00PM, Panavision World Headquarters, Woodland Hills, CA
Please e-mail us at: RSVPtoDCS@DigitalCinemaSociety.org with “Varicam” in the subject line for confirmation, updates, and more location details.

(Please note that we are accepting RSVPs for multiple events in November, so it is especially important to specify which one in the subject line and to include your contact details in the body of the e-mail.)

DCS Event: Digital Cinematography by David Stump, ASC plus Monitoring for 4K Presented by Canon - Thursday, November 20th

Cinematographer and Visual Effects Authority David Stump, ASC will present an educational overview from his new book, "Digital Cinematography -- Fundamentals, Tools, Techniques, and Workflows.” As in the book, David will focus primarily on the tools and technology of the trade, looking at how digital cameras work, the ramifications of choosing one camera versus another, and how those choices help creative cinematographers to tell a story.

We will also be treated to a demonstration by Canon on Monitoring for 4K featuring their latest ACES compatible reference grade monitoring solutions.

Thursday, November 20th, 6:30-9:30PM, Canon Hollywood Center
Please e-mail us at: RSVPtoDCS@DigitalCinemaSociety.org with “Digital Cinematography” in the subject line for confirmation, updates, and more location details.

New Streaming: The Economics and Aesthetics of Shooting Indie Features on Film

Visit the New Streaming page from the link on the DCS homepage to view our latest event coverage: The Economics and Aesthetics of Shooting Indie Features on Film. There has been a sea change for feature film acquisition in the last decade moving from primarily celluloid to digital capture.  The transition away from Film in Still Photography and the end of Theatrical Distribution on Film means the market for Film has shrunk.  Without economies of scale, the danger is that motion picture acquisition on celluloid could become more of a boutique business model with rising costs.   While established Directors, from Steven Spielberg to Christopher Nolan, have the clout to insist on shooting film, Indie Filmmakers might fear this will be out of their reach.

In this event we explore the economics of acquiring Indie Films on celluloid and demonstrate how film may still be the right choice for many projects.  Although it is not included in the streaming coverage because it has yet to be distributed, we screened the short film, The Red House to serve as a case study and are joined by the creative team behind the project.

Our Panelists include Director, Jiaqi “Maggie” Lin, Producer Larry Kaster, Director of Photography, Donald M. Morgan, ASC, Sr. Marketing Director at Panavision, Jim Roudebush, and Aaron Saffa from Eastman Kodak.  (Although not present in person, we also read a message on the topic from Robert Yeoman, ASC).  The discussion is moderated by Cinematographer and DCS President, James Mathers.

Held September 20, 2014 at Panavision World Headquarters, Woodland Hills, CA.  Special thanks to the entire Panavision staff, especially Bob Harvey, Judy Doherty, Heather Mayer, and Projectionist Adam Hodge.  Our volunteer Camera Operators were Casey McBeath and Yongmin Hwang.  Blame James Mathers for all Post Production; (FYI, he was learning to use Adobe Premiere on this edit, which actually worked out very well, and made the job a lot easier).

Industry and Tech News

New Canon Ultra-Telephoto 50-500mm T5.0-8.9 Large Single Sensor Zoom Lens

Canon has introduced a new CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens. Already the longest focal length for large single sensors, it also features a built-in 1.5x extender for an effective 75-1500mm at 20x magnification.

Available in either EF- or PL-mount, the new lens is quite compact considering it’s huge range. It boasts a form factor of only 15.9 inches in length (PL version) and a weight of just 14.6 pounds; (about 10lbs. less than the Angeniuex 24/290 T2.8). Canon imagines professionals will use this lens to “enable close-up 4K imaging of wildlife subjects or athletes while maintaining the physical distances necessary in such shooting situations”.

The new lens features a removable Digital Drive unit for traditional EFP-style operation with a zoom/rocker switch, programmable zoom and focus settings, and data connections for use with broadcast-type field/studio servo-demand controls for zoom and focus. Removal of the drive unit enables Cinema-style operation of the CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm lens, including clearly engraved barrel markings, an 11-blade iris to help achieve smooth bokeh, plus compatibility with lens-support rods, matte boxes, and other cinema accessories.

Lens/Camera communication is compliant with industry-standard protocols including the 12-pin serial communication (common to major broadcast camera brands), Cooke’s /i Technology and Canon EOS-LENS data communication technology (employed by the EOS C500, EOS-1D C, EOS C300 and EOS C100 Cinema cameras). In the case of the Canon Cinema EOS system, lens data including aperture setting is displayed in the camera’s viewfinder, as well as recorded in the video file as metadata along with the model name of the lens and the given focal-length setting. The new lens is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2015 for a suggested list price of $78,000.

New From ARRI — Alexa 65 with 6K+ Resolution and Codex Support

ARRI waited until they were on their home turf at the Cinec expo in Munich to announce a new VERY large sensor camera, known as the ALEXA 65. The sensor is around 3x bigger than that of a Super35 with an active image area of 54.12 mm x 25.59mm which is even larger than the film gate of ARRI’s 765 65mm film camera.

The A3X sensor boasts 6560 x 3102 photosites, with dynamic range of more than 14 stops. The sensor design, similar to the ALEXA XT, shares colorimetry and dynamic range characteristics to match well with earlier Alexa models. Preliminary Tech Specs:
• 65mm Digital Cinema Camera
• ARRI A3X CMOS sensor
• 5-perf 65mm (full camera aperture)
• 6560 x 3102 resolution (maximum recordable)
• 54.12 x 25.58 mm Sensor size (active image area)
• Weight: 10.5 kg / 23.2 lb
• ARRI XPL Mount (64mm diameter)
• 200 - 3200 ISO. Base is 800 ISO
• Dynamic Range: >14 stops
• Uncompressed ARRIRAW
• LDS metadata
• Electronic Shutter 5° - 358°, adjustable in 1/10° increments
• 0.75 to 27 fps (upgrade to 60 fps planned for early 2015)

ARRI has rehoused Hasselblad lenses to cover the much larger image circle including a 50-110mm zoom and primes that range from 24mm to 300mm. According to Marc Shipman-Mueler, ARRI, Product Manager for Camera Systems, the new camera will not be for sale and only available for rental through ARRI Rental.

Codex has also announced support for the new format, and the camera already incorporates a Codex recording engine, similar to the system that is built into the ALEXA XT. Existing ALEXA XR Capture Drives support recording from ALEXA 65 at up to 24fps, and a 512GB media card will record around ten minutes in full open gate mode. Next-generation Capture Drives developed by Codex will offer 2TB of recording capacity, and be capable of 20Gb/s data rates, enabling recording times of over 45 minutes.

A typical production scenario for the ALEXA 65 camera system might include the Vault Lab 65, with an enhanced Codex Vault S, GPU processing and 8TB solid-state Transfer Drives, and will support around three hours of open gate ALEXA 65 footage. The Codex Vault S also creates safety copies, allows for playback, image review and color-correction. The Codex Vault XL, including 24 processing cores, is used near-set for dailies, editorial deliverables, camera original archive to LTO, look creation, syncing sound, and other post production work.

Summary of Newly Proposed Netflix, HBO, and CBS Distribution Models

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos announced at MIPCOM last week that his company is going to modernize the distribution model of movies. Film deals including a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a four-picture agreement with Adam Sandler are some of the original films that will have a day-and-date release. This will give viewers the option of watching the movie in theaters, buying the DVD, or streaming it on demand beginning the same day.

However, the day-and-date release pattern faces opposition from theater operators. Regal Cinemas, AMC Theaters, and Cinemark are said to be considering countermeasures such as refusing to screen the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, installment in their IMAX theaters, thereby costing Netflix significant revenue as the Producer of the picture.

Following on the success of original series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix also has an agreement with comedian Chelsea Handler to star in several Netflix series as well as a deal with Dreamworks Animation TV for hundreds of hours of animated content as they continue their expansion around the world.

Meanwhile, just a day after HBO announced its plans to launch a standalone streaming service in 2015, CBS followed with news of their own subscription streaming service. It is designed to provide consumers with access to live CBS programming in addition to thousands of current and past programs on demand. "CBS All Access" service is priced at $6 a month and made its debut on Thursday while price details for HBO’s service, which is set to start in 2015, are yet to be announced. Both of these new services are thought to bolster the movement toward “cord-cutting” with viewers turning to the Internet for content instead of cable, satellite and telecoms. For better or worse, change seems to be in the wind for the way we will receive content.

Adobe Creative Cloud Now Extends to Mobile Apps

Adobe updates to Creative Cloud include new connections between desktop apps, which have now also been extended onto mobile devices.  The new group of mobile apps include Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom.  With this new integration, the idea is that you will now be able to import projects you create into the desktop version of Premiere Pro as well as onto your mobile device, and seamlessly move between the two.

A new series of mobile capture apps also connect to their suite of desktop apps. New in the Premiere software lineup, is Premiere Clip which transforms video shot on iPhone or iPad into edited videos that may shared, or sent to Adobe Premiere Pro CC for conventional editing and finishing.   Among other updates is GPU-optimized playback for viewing high resolution 4K and UltraHD footage in Premiere Pro CC.  Retina display, and 3D support has also been added to After Effects CC along with improved Mercury Graphics Engine performance.

Of course, Cloud Storage is an integral part of the platform and the new Creative Profile, or identity, not only connects users to their assets, but also their work preferences at all times and at any location. The Profile moves with artists between apps and devices, so assets automatically appear when required, in context.  These updates to Creative Cloud are available to members now as part of their membership at no additional cost, and the mobile apps work with all Creative Cloud plans.

New GoPro Lineup: Hero4 w/4K @ 30fps, Plus Entry Level Hero @ Lower Cost and More

Available since October 5th, the HERO4 comes in two versions, (although three new models were announced in total). The HERO4 Black shoots 4k up to 30fps, while the HERO4 Silver has lower specs but features the first built-in touchscreen in a GoPro. The third model is a budget camera, called “HERO,” at a new low price of $129. The HERO can record 1080p video at 30 frames per second or 720p video at 60fps, and is waterproof up to 40 meters.

In addition to 4k at 30fps, the HERO4 Black also captures 2.7k at 60fps, and 1080p video at 120fps. The HERO4 Silver can record 2.7k at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps. The Silver also features a new touchscreen interface, and the HERO4 Black features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®, allowing you to connect to the GoPro App, Smart Remote2 and more. The GoPro App transforms your phone or tablet into a live video remote for your camera, offering full control of all functions and settings, easy shot preview and playback, plus sharing via text, email, Facebook and more. The Smart Remote allows you to control multiple GoPro cameras from distances of up to 600’ (180m).

The HERO4 Black comes in at $499 while the Silver is priced at $399 and at $129 for the base HERO.

Modern VideoFilm Announces New Management Team

CEO, Moshe Barkat who founded Modern VideoFilm several decades ago has recently departed the firm along with CFO Hugh Miller.  They have been replaced by an executive team previously at The Culver Studios, namely Scott Avila as CEO, Cooper Crouse as president and Roxanna Sassanian as CFO. Long-time executives Bill Watt, president of digital media services; Mark Smirnoff, president of creative services and Jon Johnson, executive vice president/sales remain with the firm and will take on added managerial/operational responsibilities.

Modern VideoFilm employs nearly 500 artists, technicians, engineers, and support personnel in four primary facilities in Southern California.  They are currently nominated for four Hollywood Post Alliance HPA Awards for their work on Labor Day, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Reign, and Game of Thrones.  Other recent high-profile credits including Modern Family, Sleepy Hollow, Avatar, and Real Steel.  

One DP’s Perspective

By James Mathers, Cinematographer and President of DCS

Why We Ride - Thinking Differently to Create Successful Indie Distribution

With the accessibility offered by ever more affordable tools, it has never been easier to make an Indie feature. However, I don’t think it has ever been more difficult to earn a return on an investment in such projects. From unscrupulous Distributors to piracy, not to mention the huge glut of product enabled by this very “democratization” of filmmaking, it seems nearly impossible to get your movie seen, let alone make a profit.

The success stories are few and far between, and in order to better the chances that our cinematic productions will also be successful business ventures for our investors, we may need to start thinking outside the box. I would like to offer as a case study, a self distributed documentary film recently made by my two friends, Bryan H. Carroll and James Walker.

Producer/Director Bryan H. Carroll has a background working Post on such titles as Titanic before starting to work as a Producer with Michael Mann. With Mann, he is credited as Co-Producer and 2nd Unit Director on several of his movies including Collateral, Public Enemies, and Miami Vice as well as having worked on his latest, the upcoming Blackhat.

I met, and was impressed by the film’s other Producer, James Walker when he served as Producer on a little movie I shot a couple of years back called BRAKE. James was a veteran of two Fortune 500 financial groups before entering the entertainment industry to assist with the successful independent distribution of the documentary One Six Right: The Romance of Flying.

These two gentlemen know their producing ropes, how to get movies made, and how to get them seen through traditional distribution methods. However, for their latest venture, the documentary, Why We Ride, they chose a very novel route to get their movie out there and into profit. In this essay, we’ll look at the movie and how they built a community to promote it.

The complete essay including graphics can be accessed via the “Essays” link from our homepage, or as part of the full web version of the eNewsletter found here: http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/dcs-newsletter click here

All comments are welcome: http://www.facebook.com/DigitalCinemaSociety

DCS Road Test: K-Tek ProShot Monopod, etc., etc, etc.

By James Mathers, Cinematographer and President of DCS

When you’re working in a documentary situation, you don’t want to be carrying too much gear around, so one tool that can serve many purposes is essential.  The new K-Tek ProShot really fits the bill, serving as a very versatile Monopod or in place of a Hi-hat for cameras weighing up to 20 lbs.  Lighter weight cameras and DSLRs can also use it as a Counter-balance Stabilizer for moving shots or as an able Shoulder Mount Rig.

As a Monopod, it quickly transitions with quick release clamps between camera heights of 2 and 5 feet, which is a nice range for a lot of run-and-gun documentary coverage.  The base is weighted which helps stabilize, and features a round hard rubber bottom, which is easy on delicate surfaces and also allows you to roll back and forth to achieve smooth tilts without a fluid head.  Used as a low-level Tripod in place of a Hi-hat, the front grips become two of the legs while the center pole becomes the third leg extending to level and stabilize even on irregular terrain.

The maximum payload for these utilities is 20 lbs., which is just where my Canon C300 with Fujinon Cabrio zoom, Zacuto shoulder rig, Chrosziel Matte Box and Anton Bauer Dionic battery weighs in.  However, with a lighter small format camera or DSLR, there are even more uses for the ProShot.

Even though smaller cameras may not be too heavy, they can still be tiresome to operate handheld for any length of time because you’re forced to hold the weight unsupported out in front of your body.  In this situation, the ProShot can be configured as a Shoulder Mount rig, with the weighted base counterbalancing the front heavy rig and the padded post comfortably resting on the shoulder.

Off the shoulder, the weight of the base can serve to balance the camera vertically to help stabilize for traveling shots so you don’t feel your footsteps bouncing the image as you walk or run.  Packing so much utility into one extremely versatile tool should insure a place for the K-Tek ProShot as an essential piece of any documentary cinematography kit.

DCS Member News

n The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced that Canon’s Larry Thorpe is this year's recipient of the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors an individual whose on-going contributions have significantly affected the state of television technology and engineering. Thorpe has served as the head of HDTV market development at Sony Electronics as well as senior fellow at Canon U.S.A.  A graduate of the College of Technology in Dublin, he began his career with the BBC in London.  

DCS congratulations Visual Effects Training Guru and Author Steve Wright on his SMPTE® 2014 Kodak Educational Award. This honor recognizes his many outstanding contributions providing new or unique educational programs utilizing motion picture technologies. Steve has been a master visual effects trainer since 2005; his two books, "Compositing Visual Effects: Essential for the Aspiring Artist," and "Digital Compositing for Film and Video," are among the very few that actively instruct in film color science for digital intermediate and compositing.  

Spotlight on Lifetime Members

Cinematographer David Mahlmann hales from the Chicago area, but now resides in Los Angeles where he is very active in the production community. With a career that began in Lighting, David steadily worked his way into the camera department spending several years as a camera assistant. He enjoyed working alongside such cinematographers as Peter Biziou, BSC; Bill Butler, ASC; Albert Maysles, ASC; and Nancy Schreiber, ASC. David still serves as an Operator, but he has also added a number of cinematographer credits to his resume including the film festival award winning project Numb, for which he was honored with the 2011 Emerging Cinematographer Award.

Veteran L.A. area DIT/Phantom Tech, Enrique Del Rio was born and raised in Mexico City. A passion for working with light and images was instilled at an early age, and after acquiring a BA in Advertising he continued working in production, saving money to come to America and learn more about cinematography. Working his way through Vancouver, Canada he finally started in the camera ranks after spending two years as a PA; then 8 years as a 2nd AC, 5 as a focus puller/DIT and 1 year as an operator before settling in L.A. and specializing as a DIT. Recent credits include The Muppets Movie and the acclaimed series, The Bridge for FX working with another DCS Lifetime Member Attila Szalay ASC, CSC, HSC.

Renewing Your DCS Membership

We count on your dues and contributions to continue our mission and maintain our services to members. So, if your membership has expired, or will soon, and provided that you value our services and can afford to offer support, please take a few minutes to renew your membership at the $30 annual level or $100.00 for a Lifetime Membership. You can follow the convenient Paypal links, (using any major credit card, and you don't need to be signed up for Paypal,) or you can send payment to our offices at P.O. Box 1973 Studio City, CA 91614, USA.
Paypal Annual Renewal Link - $30US:

Paypal Lifetime Renewal Link - $100.00:

Checks should be sent to: The Digital Cinema Society, P.O. Box 1973, Studio City, CA 91614, USA. Check payments must be in US dollars. Please note that if you are a student, or otherwise cannot afford the dues, just send a note and we will be happy to extend your membership.Checks should be sent to: The Digital Cinema Society, P.O. Box 1973, Studio City, CA 91614, USA. Check payments must be in US dollars. Please note that if you are a student, or otherwise cannot afford the dues, just send a note and we will be happy to extend your membership.  

Calendar of Upcoming Industry Events

The large number of listings and hyperlinks in our full Calendar of Events causes many e-mail servers to reject our eNewsletter. So,for a complete calendar of upcoming industry event listings for both the U.S. and International please visit the Events Calendar on the DCS Homepage at: http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/events/dcs-international-calendar-of-events click here

Thank You To Our Sponsors

As always, we want to send out a big thanks to all "Friends of the DCS," whose support makes it possible for us to continue the DCS mission of educating the entertainment industry about the advancements in digital and cine technology: Panasonic - Canon - Sony - Panavision - ARRI - AJA - AstroDesign - Schneider Optics - Luminys - dedolight - K-Tek - Tiffen - FotoKem - K5600 - Fujinon - Filmtools - Sound Devices - Zacuto - Zeiss - Adobe - Digital Sputnik - Leica/CW Sonderoptic - The Studio-B&H - JVC - Nila - Adorama - Red Scorpion LEDs - AbelCine - Litepanels - Anton/Bauer - Sachtler - OConnor - Angénieux - Band Pro - Redrock Micro - Libec - Manios Digital & Film - Cartoni - Vision Research - Convergent Design - ZGC - Cooke Optics - Dolby - Blackmagic Design - Kino Flo - Wooden Camera -  NVIDIA - Codex - MTI Film - Cineo Lighting - Birns & Sawyer - Zylight

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Don't forget that the Digital Cinema Society has a Facebook fan page. Check in for the latest news, event details and general DCS hubbub at: http://www.facebook.com/DigitalCinemaSociety On Twitter, you can follow us @DCSCharlene

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