FOUR FOR 4K
Alongside street availability of the AK-UC3000 4K studio camera solution and the VariCam LT 4K camcorder, currently being used on productions like Bad Santa 2 and Orange is the New Black, Panasonic has expanded its line of 4K capture offerings with the new UX series of handheld solutions. Designed as successors to the FHD 1080p AVCCAM line of pro AVCHD camcorders, two models start off the UX family—the premium AG-UX180 with a 20x optical zoom lens and UHDp60, and the more economical AG-UX90 with a 15x zoom lens and top frame rate of UHDp30. With an effective 1-inch MOS sensor, the UX cameras will record to SD memory cards for dual codec options alongside 3G SDI/HDMI 2.0 outputs and infrared capture in low light. FHD 1080p is planned to be available in VFR (variable frame rate) modes from 2 to 60 fps. Now available, the 4K VariCam LT cinema and documentary solution has the same Super 35mm sensor and imaging capabilities as the top-shelf VariCam 35, but with Canon EF mount and a significant reduction to the size, weight and price of its bigger brother. For B4 mount needs, the broadcast- and 4K-ready AK-UC3000 outputs a UHD signal at up to 3840/2160/59.94p. List Price: Begins at $37,000 (AK-UC3000); $18,000 (VariCam LT); $3,000 (AG-UX90); $4,000 (AG-UX180). Contact: Panasonic, panasonic.com/broadcast.
JVC is breaking new ground with the GY-HM660, the first streaming camcorder to feature an internal IFB (Interruptible foldback) return audio channel, which allows one-way communication from a director to a camera operator or on-air talent. Suitable as an ENG, documentary, location or sporting and events solution, the mobile news camera with a 23x wide-angle lens (29-667mm/35mm equivalent) is small and light. With a 1/3-inch, 12-bit CMOS sensor, multiple encoding formats of up to 1080p/60 in 50 Mbps H.264 are provided to split footage between two SDXC/SDHC memory cards and live-stream when connected to a 4G LTE modem or hotspot. The streaming engine employs Zixi and SMPTE 2022 FEC (Forward error correction), ARQ (Automatic repeat request) and adaptive bit-rates for quality control of the broadcast. Low-light performance measures at a very high ƒ/12 sensitivity at 2000 lux. It can also be used to deliver an RTMP stream for live-streaming services like Ustream and YouTube. FTP upload of captured files will work in the background during video capture. Concurrently, the lower-priced GY-HM620 was announced with the same features sans integrated IFB. List Price: $5,495 (GY-HM660); $3,195 (GY-HM620). Contact: JVC, pro.jvc.com.
The ARRI/ZEISS family of Master Anamorphic lenses has been joined by two new members. The 28mm MA28 has the same extremely bright T1.9 aperture as the previous seven Master Anamorphics in the line. At T2.8, the longer 180mm MA180 has the common front filter diameter of 95mm. The MA180 is optimized for use with the ARRI LDS (Lens Data System for metadata) Extender 1.4x, extending the focal length to 250mm, or to 360mm when using an also available LDS Extender 2.0x. ARRI claims that the full 2.39:1 frame and wide aperture of T1.9 is usable in any focal length at any distance with virtually no image breathing across the line, which is also color-matched to other ARRI/ZEISS primes and ARRI/Fujinon zooms. With the two new lenses, the matched Master Anamorphic range of lenses now extends to nine prime lenses and a zoom, the Anamorphic Ultra Wide Zoom AUWZ 19-36/T4.2. Developed for flattering skin tone reproduction, precise color rendition, high contrast and smooth focus fall-off, these high-performance cine lenses have a characteristic oval shape to the bokeh thanks to a 15-blade aperture. List Price: TBD. Contact: ARRI, arri.com.
Blackmagic Design has announced two new monitoring systems. The Video Assist 4K is a touch-screen 7-inch, 1920×1200 monitor and video recorder with a built-in speaker and 135° viewing angle, accommodating any SDI or HDMI camera systems, like DSLRs. Capable of recording Ultra HD in either Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD formats at up to 2160p30 in 10-bit, 4:2:2-quality files, captured video is compatible with most NLE systems, including DaVinci Resolve, which comes standard with purchase of many Blackmagic cameras. Alongside 12V DC input and two LP-E6 battery slots for power, there are hot-swappable dual SD card slots and two XLR mic inputs with 48V phantom to use professional microphones with the Video Assist 4K, which eliminates the need for AV sync in post. The URSA Studio Viewfinder is sized specifically for the URSA Mini camera, providing variable tension mounting points, viewfinder handles and an attachment arm that allows articulation of the camera while holding screen. With customizable external controls over settings like zoom, false color, edge focus, 3D LUT and more, the URSA Studio Viewfinder is designed to convert URSA Mini cameras into an ideal multi-cam solution for live events and television studio situations. Each 7-inch URSA Studio Viewfinder has an RGB tally light with oversized clip-on numbering system that will light red for on-air notification and orange for ISO (isolated) capture with multiple camera video feeds. A B4 mount version is available to adapt broadcast HD lenses with full lens control to the URSA Mini PL, as well. List Price: $895 (Video Assist 4K); $1,795 (URSA Studio Viewfinder). Contact: Blackmagic Design, blackmagicdesign.com.
RACK ’EM UP
Available in 48 TB, 72 TB, 96 TB and 120 TB capacities, the sleek and stylish G-RACK 12 NAS (Network-Attached Storage) rack from G-Technology provides a centralized, high-performance video-holding system for small- to medium-sized production houses and studios. Featuring integration with most popular editing software suites like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer, the 12-bay 120 TB server can expand at up to an additional 120 TB through the optional G-RACK 12 EXP Expansion Chassis units. The 3.5-inch HGST Enterprise drives and Dual Intel Xeon E5 Haswell V3 6-Core processing with four 10 GbE connections offer a data transfer of up to 2000 MB/s. Rare in the rack-server space, it’s nice to see attention being paid to external design as much as to internal specs. List Price: Begins at $16,999. Contact: G-Technology, g-technology.com.
Compatible with Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C, and ARRI Master Anamorphic, Ultra Prime and Ultra 16 lenses, as well as the 28-80mm and 70-200mm ZEISS Compact Zooms, the Leica Cine MacroLux +1 diopter from CW Sonderoptic is a stackable front-end magnification lens that will enhance macro shots and tighten the field of view of a lens for a slight telephoto feel. For macro, the minimum focal distance of the lens is decreased, the MacroLux effect, which magnifies the image size relative to the sensor dimensions. This becomes more pronounced the longer the lens. The Leica Cine MacroLux +1 also enhances background separation while accentuating the natural bokeh elements and focus falloff to infinity. The characteristics of the optic are designed to closely match the look of the Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C lenses, which are looked at later in this issue. Minimum focusing distance can even be converted. When using a single optic with the 135mm Summicron-C lens, the minimum focus distance is reduced from 5’ to 2’ 6”, for example, while the 100mm and 75mm Summicron-C models are each reduced from nearly 3’ each to only 2’. With a 95mm front diameter, CW Sonderoptic claims no light loss, spherical aberrations, color or centering issues. A double-screw system tightens it all down. List Price: TBD. Contact: CW Sonderoptic, cw-sonderoptic.com.
A SMALL OVERHEAD
Available as a Standard Light Boom (#3800) or a Compact Light Boom (#3810), Chimera Lighting, who makes professional lightbanks and lighting accessories, has released new models in a range of lighting booms that are designed with a handle and scaled-articulation system for precisely setting the angle of adjustment. Both versions of the Light Boom have a sliding counterweight system for use with larger softboxes or other lighting modification systems. With sliding counterweight and self-arresting movement, the design of the boom arm makes it very comfortable and easy to move, even in tighter studios. The head extension is capable of 360º of rotation for a high degree of directional control over lighting angles, and the whole assembly can be put together within five minutes without the need for tools. The Standard Light Boom is also available as the Chimera Pancake Lantern and Standard Boom Kit (#1840) with Triolet and Chimera Pancake Lantern, which is a soft overhead source. List Price: $1,650 (Lantern And Standard Light Boom Kit #1840); $700 (Standard Light Boom #3800); $550 (Compact Light #3810). Contact: Chimera Lighting, chimeralighting.com.
Two 1920×1080 studio production monitors, the 24-inch 2403L Studio and the 17-inch 1703L Studio, are offered by SmallHD as more affordable versions of the daylight-viewable, HDR-capable 1703HDR and 2403HDR monitors announced just this last April at NAB. Designed for work in controlled lighting environments like shooting studios or video villages rather than direct sunlight, at 250nit brightness, the monitors are roughly a quarter as bright as the HDR production monitors, so they’re not capable of HDR preview, but otherwise they have the same features as their much more expensive counterparts, including a user-replaceable 3mm thick polycarbonate screen protector and the same 3D LUT support and internal modes. With one HDMI and two SDI inputs, each one also has a loop output for connecting other gear down the line without the need for an additional splitter. The monitors include SmallHD’s innovative RapidRail shoe-mount system that allows cold-shoe attachment devices like wireless systems to be quickly slid on and locked down to the backside of the unit. The aluminum housing also has an internal C-stand mount, XLR power input, 12v Lemo power-out, three USB 2.0 ports and durable top handle for portability. Separately available V-mount or Gold-mount battery plates can be used. List Price: $3,499 (2403L Studio); $2,999 (1703L Studio). Contact: SmallHD, smallhd.com.
The 1-Stop Circular Polarizer from Schneider Optics is the first filter solution in a new line of front-of-the-lens models for professional cinematography. Claiming only a single stop of light loss and polarizer efficiency far exceeding linear polarizers, the 1-Stop Circular Polarizer minimizes glare and reflections while removing haze to saturate colors and skies. It’s available in popular sizes like 4×4, 4×5.65 and 6.6×6.6, as well as customizable dimensions, if needed. Available in standard video and cinema sizes, Schneider has also released a new high-strength 8-stop 2.4 IRND filter that joins their family of IRND optics to reduce infrared spillage on the camera sensor. This extends color gamut and maintains color rendition in blacks, helping to maintain the MTF (modulation transfer function) results of the lens as they project to the sensor. The company’s True-Streak effects line of star-point filters has also been expanded with 4-, 6- or 8-point refraction points in a variety of available color patterns. List Price: TBD. Contact: Schneider Optics, schneideroptics.com.
WHAT A DRAG!
As an eighth-generation design, Benro has updated the heavy-duty BV4 Pro and BV6 Pro Video tripod kits for precise control over panning, tilting, drag and counterbalance. At up to 8.8 pounds on the BV4 and 13.2 pounds on the BV6, both two-stage, 3-section aluminum tripod solutions feature an ergonomic, oversized dial at the base with numbered levels of counterbalance for dialing in the right amount of weight when working with longer lenses and heavier systems. The BV4 offers six steps of counterbalance, from 0 to 5, while the BV6 literally steps up the offerings to eight steps at 0 to 7. There are also four steps of independent pan and tilt drag, plus a tilt range of +90°/-60°. Both systems include a 501/504PL-compatible QR13 quick-release plate and carrying case. Featuring a metal 75mm bowl, the adjustable double-tandem leg has a removable spreader. Estimated Street Price: $559 (BV6); $439 (BV4). Contact: Benro, benrousa.com.
ROCK AND ROLL
A new line of seven durable Think Tank Photo video bags provide run-and-gun solutions for documentary and ENG operators or live-event shooters who often need to be able to shoot right out of the bag. The large-capacity storage solutions are big enough to carry a fully assembled camcorder system so that they can be stored as-is between shoots. The oversized bags are light and soft-sided, in comparison to heavier hard shell cases, which saves on weight and shipping. The Video Rig 24 rolling case, for example, will hold a complete setup at 24 inches in length, which will accommodate systems like the Canon Cinema EOS series, the Sony FS700, FS5, FS7, F5 or F55, the RED EPIC or SCARLET, as well as Blackmagic’s Cinema cameras, Ursa or Ursa Mini, the AJA Cion, the ARRI ALEXA and many other ENG cameras. The Video Transport 20, a mid-range version, will hold a camcorder, four to six lenses and accessories. The smallest bag currently in the line, the Video Workhorse 19 shoulder bag, is capable of holding up to a 19-inch camera. There are four other bags in the line at varying dimensions and price points—the Video Rig 18, Video Transport 18, Video Workhorse 21 and Workhorse 25. List Price: Begins at $229. Contact: Think Tank Photo, thinktankphoto.com.
ikan has released a new line of gimbal-based stabilization systems that can support handheld cameras of any size. With quick and fast setup and a 3-axis gyro-stabilized brushless motor, the Beholder Gimbal MS1 is aimed at mirrorless solutions with weights of up to 1.9 pounds. Capable of supporting up to 3.7 pounds, the next model in the line, the Beholder Gimbal DS1, can even out footage for midweight camera video solutions like DSLRs. For professional camcorder systems and load capacities of up to 6.6 pounds, the WenPod MD2 is the most advanced support in the line. ikan also has released the smaller FLY-X3-PLUS gyro units for smartphones and action cams like GoPro models, as well as the FLY-X3-GO, which is specifically stabilized for GoPros right out of the box. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $199. Contact: ikan Corp., ikancorp.com.
WAX ON, WAX OFF
K-Tek is selling its “secret formula” Boomshine cleaning and waxing agent. For 20 years, the company has manufactured microphone boom poles since the original and lightweight K-Tek Klassic, still on sale now. Complementing Klassic K-Tek poles and K-Tek models made from Avalon Aluminum or Graphite, as well as boom and audio pole solutions from other brands, each 4-ounce bottle of Boomshine comes with two microfiber cloth chamois. List Price: $20. Contact: K-Tek, ktekpro.com.