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DCS Newsletter


Although we have not had the usual live events, we have been keeping plenty busy here at DCS preparing our new website and building out the DCS Illuminates channel with custom videos exploring various lighting gear as well as an exploration of technology such as DMX.  We never had the chance to announce it publicly, but we had been planning to hold our annual DCS Cinema Lighting Expo in August.  Our 2020 Expo was the last in-person industry event before the lockdown, and we were hoping to be the first back for 2021. However, with Covid cases rising and unknown variants threatening public health, we decided it was prudent to postpone.  However, as you'll read in this eNewsletter Cine Gear Expo and NAB are still moving forward with Cine Gear Expo relocating to the L.A. Convention Center and strict Covid protocols announced for NAB.

In other news, Blackmagic Design has announced new Studio Cameras and HyperDeck models, ARRI has a new wireless Intelligent Hand Unit, Adobe has announced new Speech to Text capabilities for Premiere as well as native support for Apples M1 chips.  We congratulate our DCS members who have been nominated for Prime Time Emmy Cinematography awards including Mark-Doering-Powell, ASC, George Moradian, ASC and Donald A. Morgan, ASC who has actually been nominated for three separate shows.

In his essay this month, The Smartphone — Camera or Communication Device, a Crisis of Identity, James Mathers looks at the blurring line between cameras and smartphones.  They are now combined for added utility and ease of use, but the question is how much emphasis each manufacturer puts on the various functions and how they are used.


Industry News

Cine Gear Expo Comes to the L.A. Convention Center Sept 23rd-26th – Registration Now Open

CineGearToLA ConvCenterRegistration is now open for Cine Gear Expo LA which will take place this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, September 23rd – 26th, 2021.  As is a long held industry tradition, Cine Gear will feature exhibits, new product and service introductions, complimentary seminars led by industry leaders, and ample opportunity to network with peers.  Badge registration is now open for Cine Gear LA 2021. All attendees must complete the FREE registration process to obtain their credentials. Registration is free until 11:59 p.m. PDT, September 18th, 2021. Advanced registration will help Cine Gear Expo organizers convey their COVID-19 safety plans to guests before they attend.

Register here: https://www.cinegearexpo.com/la-expo/registration/

Cine Gear Expo LA 2021

Location: Los Angeles Convention Center


Friday, September 24th – Hours:  12:00 noon – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 25th – Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Film Competition Screenings
Thursday, September 23rd – Finalist Screenings: 12:00 noon – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, September 24th – Winners Announced at Awards Party
Master Classes
Saturday, September 25th – Lighting Master Class: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
at the Los Angeles Convention Center
Sunday, September 26th – Master Classes TBA
Tickets for the Film Series Screenings, Master Classes, and Gold & Silver Passes will be available soon. Check back regularly for show updates. www.cinegearexpo.com


'COVID Protocols' Announced for NAB 2021

NAB2021SocialDistancing2The current word from NAB is that all systems are Go for the 2021 NAB Show, running Oct. 9–13, but with a new set of safety protocols announced. Exhibitors and attendees will be asked to follow health and safety guidelines and allow for physical distancing due to COVID.  NAB is now recommending that all attendees wear masks while onsite. Previously, that recommendation was for non-vaccinated people, but like everything in this pandemic, it is constantly changing.

The New Guidelines Include:

- Visitors may be required to undergo health screenings such as temperature checks or other screening processes upon entry to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

- A “no contact” policy will be observed. Attendees are asked to refrain from greeting others using physical contact.

- Exhibitors will be asked to safely design booths and layout exhibit space. Exhibitors will have the opportunity to order enhanced cleaning and disinfection services for their booths.

- Hand sanitizer will be placed in all public areas, including meeting room corridors, show floor and food and beverage areas.

- Attendees will be able to download a free “COVID Trace” mobile app that notifies users of potential exposures to COVID-19.

To check for updates visit the NAB Health and Safety page:



Adobe Premiere Announces Updates Including Speech to Text and Improved Performance with Mac M1 Chips

Summer21 AdobeUpdatesCaptions have become increasingly important in the last few years, not only to serve the hearing impaired, but also critical for engaging viewers on social platforms since so much of the content is seen on mobile devices set on mute. Adding captions has heretofore been time-consuming, expensive, and fraught with errors.  Adobe hopes to remedy that situation with Speech to Text in Premiere Pro, the only NLE offering an integrated and automated workflow for creating transcriptions and captions. Speech to Text is, on average, 5x faster than other captioning workflows and included with a Premiere Pro or Creative Cloud all apps subscription at no additional cost.

One in five people around the world live with some level of hearing loss, but research also shows that viewers watch captioned videos longer, recall content better, and the content ranks higher in search results because they are more discoverable in SEO.  Premiere Pro now allows users to complete each step of the captioning workflow inside their video editing application. Speech to Text can save hours, automating the time-consuming tasks while still giving the user full creative control over the results.

There are additional time-saving advantages, such as new ways to search and navigate video sequences: double-click on a word in the Text panel and the playhead moves to that position in the Premiere Pro timeline. Speech to Text includes support for 13 languages, and when changes are needed, such as correcting the spelling of names, users can easily edit the text in the transcript. When the transcript is ready, Speech to Text automatically creates captions on the Timeline.  Once the words are on the Timeline, captions can be customized using the design tools in the Essential Graphics panel.

Native M1 performance on Mac Now Available in Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro and the Adobe video apps also announced native support for M1 on Mac.  This means that Premiere Pro now runs nearly 80% faster than comparable Intel-based Macs. As users upgrade to M1-powered Macs, Premiere Pro is ready for them. Along with Premiere Pro, the July release includes M1 support for Media Encoder and Character Animator. Premiere Rush and Audition received M1 support in April and May, respectively. And M1 support for After Effects will be introduced in public Beta later this year. After Effects integration features within Premiere Pro, such as Dynamic Link and Motion Graphics templates, have already been optimized for M1-powered Macs.


ARRI Announces Hi-5: Fifth-generation Intelligent Hand Unit

ARRI Hi 5The new ARRI Hi-5 is a sophisticated hand unit providing reliable wireless camera and lens control in demanding situations on set. Weatherproof and solidly built, it features extended radio link range and unique, swappable radio modules for different territories and shooting challenges.  The new unit replaces ARRI’s previous top-end hand unit, the WCU-4.  The new Hi-5 is central to the fifth-generation ecosystem of ARRI’s Electronic Control System (ECS). Together with a new radio system, new intelligent batteries, smart focus rings, and an iOS app, the Hi-5 is designed to modernize on-set connectivity, simplifying complex tasks for film crews.

4 arri hi 5 systemMost innovative of all are the swappable radio modules—a feature never before seen in a hand unit. With an often congested 2.4 GHz ISM band and different frequency regulations in different countries, the ability to exchange radio modules is a huge advantage, allowing crews to choose the module that best suits each shooting location.  ARRI will release three radio modules in the 900 and 2400 MHz ranges, using direct sequence and frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to cut through interference.  Available for preorder at $8,470 – $9,830US

Blackmagic Design Announces New Studio Cameras and HyperDeck Studio Models:

BMD StudioCamsAndHyperDeck2021Blackmagic Design has announced a new family of Studio Cameras for live production. The new compact all-in-one units are designed to help a wider range of live productions that require professional features that are also fast to setup on location. Features include a carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate body and large integrated 7″ viewfinders to make the cameras durable, yet light weight for easier transport and setup compared to large traditional studio cameras.  The touchscreen has menus for camera settings, and there are knobs for brightness, contrast and focus peaking. Plus a tripod mount with mounting plate is included for fast setup.  Blackmagic Studio Cameras have the same features as large studio cameras miniaturized into a single compact and portable design.  Advanced features include a 4K sensor combined with Blackmagic generation 5 color science for 13 stops ofdynamic range, talkback, tally, camera control, built in color corrector, Blackmagic RAW recording to USB disks and much more.   Plus, all models support from 23.98 fps up to 60 fps.

The Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pro model supports connecting cameras via a single Ethernet cable. Traditional broadcast studio cameras use SMPTE fiber to communicate and power cameras,however SMPTE fiber is very expensive. The Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pro model has 10G Ethernet as an alternative to SMPTE fiber so it's much lower cost. The Ethernet includes all camera video, program return feeds, tally, talkback, camera control and also power. The Blackmagic Studio Converter handles all video conversions at the switcher end plus adds power to the Ethernet cable. That means customers don't need to connect power to the camera.  They are available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide from $1,295US.

New HyperDeck Studio Models

Blackmagic Design has also announced a new family of HyperDeck Studio models that feature better design, upgraded codecs and support for more media types. All models now support record and playback to H.264, ProRes and DNx files, as well as PCM or AAC audio. Plus, all models support SD Cards and UHS-II cards, with the Pro models adding extra SSD support.  For ISO recording, there is even built-in timecode and reference generators for syncing multiple units.  There are four different models of HyperDeck Studio, perfect for all types of work. The 3G-SDI based HD Mini model records and plays H.264, ProRes or DNxHD files onto SD cards, UHS-II cards or external USB disks in SD and HD formats up to 1080p60. The larger HD Plus model adds better transport controls, front panel headphone and speaker, 6G-SDI with fill and key out, SDI monitoring and records H.264 up to 1080p60 or ProRes and DNxHD up to 2160p30. The full rack HD Pro model is the same as the HD Plus model but adds two SSD slots and a machined metal search dial with clutch. The 4K Pro model records H.264, H.265, ProRes or DNx in SD, HD and Ultra HD in standards up to 2160p60.  HyperDeck Studios are available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide from $495USs.

DCS Congratulates Members Nominated for 2021 Prime Time Emmy Awards

EmmyThe Digital Cinema Society is proud to congratulate its many members nominated for Primetime Emmys.  The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will honor the best in U.S. primetime television as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The ceremony will be held on September 19, 2021 and will be broadcast live on CBS and available to stream live or view on-demand on Paramount+.

DCS Member Nominations:

• George Moradian, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series, the Crazy episode of the Netflix series Country Comfort.

 Mark Doering-Powell, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half Hour), for the Know Yourself episode of the ABC series grown-ish.

• Donald A. Morgan, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series, for the A Stomach Ache episode of the ABC series The Connors.

• Donald A. Morgan, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series, for the Time Flies episode of the Fox series Last Man Standing.

• Donald A. Morgan, ASC, (yes, three separate nominations for Donald A. Morgan!), for Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series, for the Big Plans episode of the Netflix series The Upshaws.


One DP's Perspective

JM Headshot2014Med
by James Mathers
Cinematographer and Founder of the Digital Cinema Society

The Smartphone — Camera or Communication Device, a Crisis of Identity

SmartPhoneT2The question of what to call the smartphone/camera reminds me of the famous dialogue at the finale of Chinatown, “She’s my daughter…She’s my sister…She’s my daughter…My sister, my daughter….She’s my sister AND my daughter!”  It’s my camera and my phone!

I remember my first "cell phone;" it operated on a nascent cellular network, but it may more rightly be called a car phone.  It was about the size of a brief case with an old fashioned corded handset that needed to be connected to an external antenna to get even spotty connections.  It was 1984 and I was getting my mobile assignments to cover New Zealand and Mainland China at the Olympics happening all over Southern California.  As a phone, it did the trick, but obviously the technology has come a long, long way since then.

1991 Radio Shack AdThis Radio Shack add from 1991 features a little more modern version of the “Mobile Cellular Telephone,” but look at all the other things being sold at the time.  Today’s cell phones include all the functions of the other advertised devices, and out performs them; from computers to camcorders, portable music players, audio recorders, clock radios, etc., etc., etc.  The line continues to blur between all the things a modern mobile device can be and what we call the cell phone.  Nowhere is this more true than with the photographic capabilities that become evermore sophisticated with each new release.  Not only can they take better pictures than many standalone mini cameras, they are web connected which adds infinitely more layers of functionality.

The latest product announcement to blur the line between a high-end photographic capture device and mobile communicator is a Leica-branded phone called the “Leitz Phone 1”.  Many phone camera systems have bragged about using Leica lenses, but the Leitz Phone 1 is the first one fully branded with the iconic Leica red dot.  Whether you want to call it a phone or a camera, the photographic hardware is impressive.   The electronics are manufactured by Sharp and the Leitz Phone 1 seems to mirror the Sharp Aquos R6 in most respects.  Both feature a single 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, which is the largest of any phone on the market, with a 19mm-equivalent f/1.9 ultrawide lens.  (I gather this means it is a fixed focal length with other focal lengths virtually achieved using a digital zoom.)  It also features a 120HZ OLED 6.67” screen with 2,730 x 1,260 pixels and HDR up to 2,000 nits of brightness — the highest available on any smartphone.

SmartPhonebyLeicaThe device runs on Android 11 and the electronic specs are impressive including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB RAM, and 256GB of storage.  However, there are a few added touches and accessories that separate Leica's phone from the standard Sharp Aquos R6.  The Leitz Phone 1 features a monochrome interface that's been customized by Leica with the camera app featuring various 'Leitz Looks’ and a magnetic, circular lens cap. The Leitz Phone 1 is currently only sold in Japan with an MSRP of 187,920 yen (around $1,705US).  This rebranding of an existing phone may be more marketing exercise than true innovation, but I would be interested to see what a storied company, known for their design aesthetic, as well as their photographic quality, could do with a ground up rethink of the camera phone.  More on the Leica designed phone here:


RedhydrogenoneLeica is not the first to attempt to add advanced photographic capability to the smart phone.  Jim Jannard, the Founder of the hugely successful Oakley and RED Digital Cinema companies introduced what he described as “holographic media in your pocket” with the RED branded “Hydrogen One” in 2017.

JannardYaks400He received advance orders from RED devotees for the sight unseen product with advance payments of $1,200US for the aluminum version and $1,600US for the titanium model. Jannard had brought this refundable deposit scheme to the digital cinema camera world more than 10 years earlier with the RED One.  In fact, having a little advance knowledge of the camera, I was the fifth in line to plunk down my $1K at NAB 2006, and all things considered, it worked out pretty well.

HydrogenLensMountHowever, even with a host of impressive media creation features including an auto stereoscopic, (no glasses required), immersive viewing experience, a 5.7 inch 2560 x 1440 display, virtual surround sound via stereo separation, support for high-end cinema glass, and “Holo Chat,” sort of a 3D version of Facetime, the project was cancelled not long after delivery of the first units.  Jannard credits “a few health issues" for shutting down the project and for his subsequent retirement, but you gotta give the man credit for trying.

Apple announce iphone12pro 10132020 big.jpg.largeSo, let's look at Apple who are said to control 90% of the world’s mobile phone profits, earning $21.7 billion for the quarter that ended in June; the most successful quarter in the company’s 45-year history. The large majority of those profits come in on the back of the iPhone.  And the photographic capabilities of the devices only keep improving with each generation.  The top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with a triple-camera setup, and uses a larger sensor for the standard-wide and tele-lens, and achieves 12 MP in all three cameras.  Other key camera specifications include a 26 mm-equivalent f/1.6-aperture lens,  a 13 mm-equivalent (14mm measured) f/2.4-aperture lens and a 52 mm-equivalent f/2.0-aperture lens, LiDAR depth sensing, Dual-LED flash and 4K Dolby Vision HDR video at 24/30/60 fps.

But it’s not the specs, it is how you can make use of technology that is important, and the beauty of these devices lies in their ease of use.  Most of the original photos I take for DCS are via my iPhone, and last Halloween night, our neighbor was having an impromptu Jazz concert in his driveway.  I pulled out the iPhone, put it in full auto, (what I call monkey mode), and started covering the performance in one continuous roving shot.  Admittedly, the video gets a little noisy as it was starting to get dark, but it amazes me what quality is achievable with just an iPhone; no gimbal, no AC pulling focus, no fuss, no muss.  I came home next door, made one edit to shorten the piece, and had it to share with the musicians in less than 20 minutes after I shot it.



With easy access to a camera, everyone with a phone, and that is everyone, can potentially become a citizen journalist supplying user generated content of newsworthy events all over the globe.  It would have been hard to imagine the impact that a young women's recording of a violent arrest had after it turned out to be the murder of George Floyd.

So, I don’t care whether you want to call it a phone, a camera, holographic media in your pocket, or whatever, I’m a big fan.  I’m not ready to replace my high-end digital cinema cameras with a camera phone just yet, but at the pace that photographic and communication technology keep overlapping and melding, it might not be too much longer.

DCS Members On The Move:

Steve Cooperman Takes New Position as Senior Product Manager at Canon
CoopermanHeadShotAfter many years in the professional products division of Panasonic, Steve Cooperman has moved to a new role as Senior Production Manager at Canon USA. He will be primarily focused on growing and expanding Canon’s PTZ and Remote camera business, in addition to collaborating on other Professional Product lines.

Renewing Your Membership and Supporting DCS

We count on your dues and contributions to continue our mission and maintain our services to members. So, if your membership has expired, or you simply want to show your support of our effects, please take a few minutes to send a donation. Membership is available at the $50 annual level or $300.00 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 – $50.00US:  https://paypal.me/digitalcinemasociety/50

Paypal Lifetime Renewal Link – $300.00US: https://paypal.me/digitalcinemasociety/300

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. ** Student and Complimentary memberships do not include a membership card.



As always, we want to send out a big thanks to all "Friends of 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:

AbelCine – ACES – Adobe – AJA – Anton/Bauer – ARRI – Avid – BB&S Lighting – Band Pro – Blackmagic Design – Bright Tangerine –  Canon – Cineo Lighting – Cinnafilm – Cooke Optics – Core SWX – Dadco/SunRay – Dedolight California –  ETC – Fiilex – Film Gear – FLUOTEC – FootageBank – Fujinon – Infinity Photo-Optical – K 5600 – Kino Flo – L.A. Rag House – Lectrosonics – Leitz Cine Wetzlar – LiteGear – Litepanels – Litra – Luminys – MacSales – Matthews Studio Equipment – MACCAM – Mole-Richardson – Nanlite – Nila – OConnor – OWC – Panasonic – Panasonic Lumix – Panavision – P+S Technik – Quasar Science – Riedel – Rosco – Rotolight – Sachtler – SIGMA – SmallHD – Sony – Teradek – The Rag Place – The Studio-B&H – Vision Research – Westcott – Wooden Camera – Zeiss



DCS members in good standing can also receive significant discounts on products and services from companies including: Core SWX - The Camera Division Design Lab - Raleigh Studios Screening Services - LensProToGo – Final Draft – Wooden Camera – SimpleDCP – Zacuto – IMDBpro – DECKHAND Camera Rental – Tek Media Electronic Repair – AbelCine – BB&S Lighting – Kit & Kaboodle Craft Service – Birns & Sawyer – NightSky Web Hosting – American Cinematheque – ProductionHub. And if your company would like to offer your fellow members meaningful discounts on products or services, let us know and we’ll consider adding your offer to the page. Visit the DCS Member Discount page for all the details: www.digitalcinemasociety.org/member-discounts

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"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change." Charles Darwin