Update Old Tungsten Fresnels with VisionSmith ReLamp LEDs

Update Old Tungsten Fresnels with VisionSmith ReLamp LEDs

VisionSmith ReLamp System

The VisionSmith ReLamp System just might be the LED solution I’ve been looking for to breath new life into my old fresnels. In the past few years, I’ve become more and more reliant of LED fixtures.  I’ve come to appreciate the low power consumption. The low power needs allow me to run almost everything on batteries, the lightweight of the fixtures and the versatility of LED in terms of color.

LEDs have really changed the way I work.  On many shoots, I’m able to move faster and be or agile with my lighting.  But sometimes I miss the utility of the fresnels in my trusty old Arri kit.  There a number of companies making very effective LED fresnels. Rayzar 7, Intellytech, Arri, and Ikan just to name a few.  The problem I have with these is a combination of the price, size and output trade-offs. Also, I have all these great fixtures gathering dust in my garage.

VisionSmith ReLamp is a direct replacement for Tungsten bulbs in most traditional fresnel lamps. It’s not retrofit that requires modification of the fixture, rather this upgrade is as simple as a bulb replacement. (Although, removing the internal reflector and swapping in VisonSmith’s fresnel lens does produce better performance.)

The ReLamp system offers replacements for 300w, 650w, 1000w and 2000w fixtures. They come in both Tungsten (98CRI) and Daylight (95CRI) options. As with other LED lights, they use a fraction of the power of tungsten or HMI fixtures of similar output.  They all work with common dimmers. No need for LED specific dimmers. Best of all the cost is about 1/4 of a comparable LED.

 

 

Fujinon MK 18-55 f2.8 E-mount cine zoom first look

Fujinon MK 18-55 f2.8 E-mount cine zoom first look

Dan Chung, editor as Newsshooter.com takes at deep dive into the new affordable, light-weight 18-55mm cine zoom lens from the Optical Imaging Division of Fujifilm. The new cine zoom is full of features that cinematographers will come – over the commonly used stills lens. Parfocal, Long focus throw, dampened and geared focus, zoom and iris rings, adjustable back-focus are just a few highlights offered by the 18-55mm zoom.

Newsshooter.com editor Dan Chung takes a first look at the Fujinon MK 18-55 T2.9 cine zoom lens. It is designed for E-mount cameras like the FS7, FS5, FS700 and a7R II and a6500. Read the full review at Newsshooter.com – http://www.newsshooter.com/2017/02/22…

 

The Color Grade: Episode 2 of the Cinema Camera Mega Test

The Color Grade: Episode 2 of the Cinema Camera Mega Test

Episode One of the Cinema Camera Mega Test gave us the opportunity to see how the #RedCine Epic, #SonyF5, #SonyFs7, #SonyFs5, #URSAMINI4.6K, and Canon #C300MK1 performed in our over and under exposure stress test.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch the results in 4K here.

In this episode, colorist Eric McClain, of Digital Pix Post, details the color grading process that was used for this test and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each camera.

RED EPIC DRAGON

Of all the cameras tested, the RED Epic proved to be the easiest to work with. The image right out of the camera rendered a well-balanced image. Hardly any work needed to be done to produce a neutral image from which to start the grade. The Epic performed very well in our overexposure test. For the most part, recovering the image to neutral from an over exposed capture was simply a matter of readjusting the exposure compensation in RED RAW tools. There were no adjustments required to the color or gamma settings.

Underexposure was a bit more of a challenge. As with most cameras, there was a fair about of noise in the underexposed images.  At -2 to -3 stops, it could be argued that the noise was acceptable, maybe even pleasing. Starting at about 4 stops, we found the noise to be far less acceptable. It suffered from harsh coarseness and poor color response.

Sony F5

The F5 was captured in S-GAMUT/SLOG-3. In Divinci Resolve, a REC 709 Input transfer was applied to render a neutral starting image.  Much like Epic, The F5 produced a very well balanced image right out of the camera. In our over exposure test, the F5 seem to thrive from being over exposed and pulled back down.  It easily retained highlight detail, even at +4 stops. When the overexposed image was pulled back into proper exposure,  much the shadow noise was eliminated. This produced a cleaner image than the properly exposed shots. It was necessary to make a few color adjustments to bring each over exposed shot back to neutral, but it was very light work.

Underexposure also proved to be an area where the F5 performed at the top of the group. At as much as -4 stops, the F5 continued to render a fairly usable image.  With a little noise reduction, -4 stop pulled up to proper exposure could be quite acceptable. That said, the underexposed F5 had much more difficulty reproducing the color and gamma of the properly exposed image.

Sony Fs7

If you’re looking for a good companion or alternative to the F5, the Fs7 proves to be an excellent choice. In our stress test, it performed almost identical to the F5. The differences presented themselves at the extremes. At +3 and +4 stops, the Fs7 isn’t able to retain the highlight detail and roll-off was well as the F5. In our under exposure test, the Fs7 at -4 stops produced far more noise and unacceptable color artifacts.

URSA Mini 4.6k

We chose to shoot RAW with the URSA Mini. Using the RAW tools to transform the image to REC 709, produced an image with a strong blue bias in the shadows and mid-tones.  (It should be noted that this test was conducted before the Black Shading firmware update. Maybe that would have help to produce a more neutral image) With some light color and Gamma adjustments, the URSA Mini produced very pleasing images. Of all the cameras tested, the URSA Mini rendered the sharpest image, without any sense of harshness. Much like the Sony F5 and Fs7, it seemed to thrive when overexposed, with any visible noise being eliminated when pulled back down to proper exposure. Both the F5 and the URSA Mini were strong performers at -4 stops.

Canon C300 MK1

The Canon aesthetic has long been a favorite. This stress test proved that Canons also produce a very a robust signal.  Our test footage was captured at 1920x1080p 23.98 (all other cameras were 4K) with REC709 baked in. The put the C300 MK1 at would should have been a significant disadvantage. In reality, the upscaled C300 footage looked just as good as the native 4k from the Sony cameras.  In general, the C300 had a slight green bias, but not nearly as pronounced as the blue bias of the URSA Mini or even the slight yellow bias of the Epic. At -4 stops the upscaled C300 performed about as well as the F5, in terms of noise and color artifacts. While this test is not the most comprehensive look at the image scaling capabilities of the C300, It does show that the canon workhorse can hold it’s own in a 4k workflow.

Sony Fs5

The big disappointment of this test was the overall performance of the Fs5 internal 4K. In HD, this camera shows great results. In 4k, It would seem that the combination of the 4:2:0 color sampling, 8-bit data, and log-GOP compression put it at too much of a disadvantage.  The Fs5 required the most manipulation is Resolve to render a neutral and balanced image. Like all the cameras in this test, the Fs5 benefitted from over exposure in terms of noise reduction when pulled back down to proper exposure. Of all the cameras, it required the most re-balancing of color and gamma to return to a neutral image. At -2 stops it was possible to recover a fairly clean image, but the challenge was returning to neutral color balance.  More the 3 stops of underexposure proved not to be recoverable.

Conclusion

In the end, the choice is up to you and the needs of your production. This test shows that not only are all of these cameras capable performers at overexposure and a fair amount of underexposure but with just a little effort in Resolve, you could easily mix most of these rigs in a multi-camera production.

Luxli Viola – One of the BEST On-Camera Lights!

Luxli Viola – One of the BEST On-Camera Lights!

On-camera lights come in a lot of forms these days. LEDs, for their low power consumption, light weight, and versatility, are the most popular. There are options in daylight, Tungsten and Bi-color. The Luxli Viola takes it a step further, adding full RGB color output.

Viola is part of the Orchestra Series from Luxli. Along with its elegant design is an equally elegant iOS app  (no Android yet) that offers full wireless control of animated lighting, color programming, eyedropper selection, and the ability to instantly control groups of Luxli Orchestra lights. For only $350, the Viola would be a valuable addition to any kit.

Luxli Viola Features

  • Light panel
    RGBW LED
  • Bluetooth version
    4.0 LE
  • Battery
    Sony L-Series type
  • DC power input
    2.1 mm 7.2–12 V
  • Dimensions
    5” x 1” x 3” (12.7 x 2.5 x 7.6 cm)
  • Weight
    .75 lb. (340 g)
      • 3,200K  –  597 lux
      • 4,300K  –  624 lux
      • 5,600K  –  643 lux
      • 6,400K  –  610 lux
      • 7,200K  –  612 lux
      • 10,000K  –  614 lux
      • Red (0°)  –  80.7 lux
      • Yellow (60°)  –  343 lux
      • Green (120°)  –  264 lux
      • Cyan (180°)  –  380 lux
      • Blue (240°)  –  143 lux
      • Magenta (300°)  –  194 lux

In the box

  • Orchestra Viola LED
  • Shoe-mount ball head
  • NP-F550 battery
  • Battery charger
Cinema Camera Mega Test 2017 – 4K Review

Cinema Camera Mega Test 2017 – 4K Review

About the Mega Test

With so many great cinema cameras on the market, at a wide range of prices, It can sometimes be tough to decide which one is the best choice to buy, as an owner operator or rent for a project. We had the opportunity to get 6 popular cameras together to do some basic testing. This was an opportunity to get an idea of some of their strengths and weaknesses shooting in 4k (UHD).  

Cameras Tested

RED Epic Dragon

RAW 3:1
ISO 2000

Sony F5

CineEI S-GAMUT3/SLOG-3
ISO 2000

Sony FS7

CineEI S-GAMUT3/SLOG-3
ISO 2000

Sony FS5

S-GAMUT3Cine/SLOG-3
ISO 2000

URSA Mini 4.6K

(pre black shading 4.2 update)
RAW 3:1
ISO 800

Canon C300 MK1

REC709
ISO 800

Let me start with one caveat. This in not a shoot-out to prove which is the overall best camera. Our goal here is to give you a little insight with regard to color, exposure response, and grading.  There are so many other subjective factors like price, ergonomics, post workflow, compatibility, etc, that go into choosing a camera. We just couldn’t address everything in this project.

Given the time we had available with all the cameras and our free studio space, we decided to limit our test to an exposure stress test. The RED and URSA Mini were recorded in RAW 3:1. All of the Sony cameras used SLog-3. The Canon was shot in Standard REC709 (we initially were not planning to include the Canon after our C300 MK2 got booked on a job.) Each camera was set to it’s “base ISO” and recorded at several stops over and under proper exposure. We used a grey card, in camera exposure tools, and our professional judgment to determine the best exposure for each camera.

Overexposure

All the cameras in this test performed extremely well. They easily recovering from as much as 4 stops of overexposure to render a pleasing image. It was not much of a surprise to see that the Sony F5 and FS7 were almost identical in this test. They both were able to recover from almost 6-stops of exposure while maintaining reasonably good detail in the skin tone of our fair skinned model (Claudia). The C300 performed much better than any of us expected, considering that it’s an HD camera that had to be up-rezed to 4K (UHD).

Underexposure

I know there are all sorts of ways to maximize the low light capability of each of these cameras. Without jumping thru too many hoops, we wanted to see how far under proper exposure they could go and still manage to render a usable image.  At 2 stops under, just about all of the cameras rendered an image that we all agreed was useable, after some basic primary adjustments in Davinci Resolve.  When pushed to 4 stops under, the Sony F5 rendered the most “usable” image. I’m sure that we would have gotten better results from the RED using the Low Light Optimized OLPF (optical low-pass filter). Similarly, the Sony cameras would have benefited from a switch from SLog-3 to one of the Hypergammas, like HG3. (Of course, we could have just bumped the gain, but what fun is that.)

The Grade

Colorist Eric McClainAll the footage was shipped out to Eric McClain (Digital Pix: Motion Picture Imaging) to be graded in Davinci Resolve. There is a lot that can be done in Resolve to make all these cameras really shine. Eric chose to limit this test to a single primary grade – opting to get each camera to clean and neutral looking baseline.

We’re working on a video that covers the entire grading process and will be posting it soon. As a quick overview, it turns out that the RED was the easiest of the group work with. This is much improved from its past reputation of having a difficult and lengthy post workflow. The Sony F5 and FS7 the next easiest to color correct. They required virtually identical tweaks to render a neutral baseline image. The URSA Mini required the most manipulation to get a neutral image. In the end, the result is one of the most pleasing (IMHO).

Conclusion

Really the conclusion is up to you. Take a look at the video. Watch in 4k on a decent monitor and keep in mind what’s important for your style of work.  I hope this gives you a better understanding of the capabilities of these 6 cameras.

Derek Allen

Derek Allen

Cinematographer / Editor

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Cinematographer / VFX

Chris Downing

Chris Downing

Video & Sound

Eric McClain

Eric McClain

Colorist