Why there’s life after 35mm

After 120 years and countless movies, 35mm is officially on the way out. In January, 63% of the world’s screens will be digital, according to report from IHS. Last year, 67% of global screens were still 35mm. The year 2011 is the tipping point, when digital cinema replaces celluloid as the mainstream form of projection. It’s the end of an era and the start of something new.

“Since 1889, 35mm has been the principal film projection technology,” David Hancock, head of film research at IHS, said this week. “However, after 10 years of market priming, movie theatres now are undergoing a rapid transition … spurred initially by the rising popularity of 3D films.”

In 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar convinced the industry that it was time for an upgrade. Studios scrambled to slap a 3D sticker on their film, which would earn them both a ticket uplift and novelty audience appeal. And so cinemas joined the move towards digital, automating a process that projectionists have spent years perfecting.

The impact is as far-reaching as it gets. The distribution and manufacturing of prints has changed completely. In 2008, 13 billion feet of 35mm was used per year. Next year, 4 billion feet of celluloid will be used, as print production costs rise and films are sent out as files on USB sticks. The switchover is picking up speed. In America, the statistics warn, there will be no mainstream 35mm usage by 2014.

Many in the industry aren’t happy. The New Beverly cinema in LA, which only shows 35mm film, has started a petition against the end of print distribution.

“Films that make up the glorious history of the art … should be viewed as they were meant to be,” it reads. At the time of writing, it has 4,380 signatures.

There’s a lot of romanticising 35mm as a format. Tacita Dean’s Film (at Tate Modern until March) perfectly captures its fragile, deteriorating beauty, using techniques dating all the way back to Georges Méliès. It’s hard not to feel attached to a medium so steeped in nostalgia, but isn’t digital better?

High-definition picture and sound have eclipsed the quality of celluloid. All the major films are now digital, if not 3D. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus are both using the Red Epic camera, with Jackson shooting in 48fps – double the standard frame rate of 35mm.

Even that master of cinematography, Roger Deakins, is shooting Skyfall, the next Bond film, on Red’s rival, the Arri Alexa, according to the IMDb. If Deakins is doing it, surely digital’s a good thing?

But even if you can accept the improvement in quality, and the reduction in human and mechanical error, digital’s takeover has other casualties. With projectors now operated at the push of the button, projectionists are fading out from cinemas altogether. For the last few years, BECTU (the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) has struggled to negotiate employment terms with major chains. Many projectionists are fired, or resign, while cinemas retain a handful as maintenance staff to perform other technical duties in between pressing “Play” and “Stop” on screenings of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Without the watchful eye of a projectionist, things can still go wrong. Digital screenings can freeze, the sound can cut out – or in one manufacturer fault (now reportedly fixed) – the picture can turn completely pink.

By ushering in digital and ushering out people, it’s not the medium that’s under threat, it’s the wealth of knowledge the industry is set to lose, as the art of projecting gives way to pixels and software packages.

“I think that some of the cinema chains are in an obscene hurry to dismantle the projectionist’s role and are losing a dedicated skill base that will never return,” comments BECTU national 0fficer Mick Corfield. “They all know the cost of a digital projector but not the value of a dedicated projectionist.”

It’s a sad price to pay for a CGI Chipmunk, something shown by the documentary The Last Projectionist, which played at Cannes this year. And yet it found those facing unemployment quite pragmatic.

“The projectionists know they work with technology, and although it’s a 100-year-old trade, if you go back further, that trade didn’t exist,” explains director Tom Lawes. “It’s a transient thing, and they understand that.”

The Last Projectionist captures the history of cinema – particularly independent cinema – while the projectionist trade is still around. The documentary visits the IMAX at Birmingham’s Thinktank to film the setup of its 70mm projector. Since then, the IMAX has announced it can no longer afford to maintain the print format and has become a 4K digital screen instead.

While the Thinktank projectionist still has a job, the future isn’t bright for the man in the box. Eventually, someone will decide to streamline the system, and the role will be axed. But with the arrival of digital comes a new set of skills. In addition to the varying types of video files, there are events and satellite linkups that fill up cinema calendars. Digital theatre screenings, such as National Theatre’s NT Live, regularly sell out around the world, as people are given a new way to access culture that simply wasn’t possible with analogue.

The opportunities extend to regular programming too. While the New Beverly in LA continues its heartfelt campaign, the Electric cinema in Birmingham (owned by Last Projectionist director Lawes) has just upgraded its two screens to digital and enjoys the newfound flexibility.

“We can easily move films around from one screen to another,” Lawes explains, highlighting the changing relationship between studios and smaller venues. “We showed X-Men: First Class this year one week off release date – that never would have happened before.”

It’s good for independent productions too: “We don’t have to send a film off to another cinema. We can keep it here on the server and, for a small film such as Weekend, we’ve got the flexibility to show it again in a few months.”

Producing a digital print is also far cheaper for film-makers, giving them a better shot at distribution. “Ironically, The Last Projectionist couldn’t have been made without digital,” Lawes admits. “If we had to create 10 35mm prints, you’d be looking at £20,000. Where’s that going to come from? The Film Council? They’ve shut that down.”

As The Last Projectionist gets a UK theatrical run next year with City Screen (who operate the Picturehouse cinemas chain), it’s a fitting tribute to a dying age, as digital changes cinema for small companies as well as global corporations.

The year 2011 is the most important one for cinema since 1927. It’s sad to see 35mm become a specialist format projected by a few, but 120 years is a pretty good run for any form of technology – DVD has only been around for 14. Even once 3D’s appeal has worn off, digital will remain an exciting new medium for film-makers and audiences. And while the New Beverly and others continue to show prints the way they were originally intended, the machine keeps rolling forward. Film is dead. Long live film.

Is There Life After 35mm?

Image via m. gerwig Architects


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Don’t keep it reel: why there’s life after 35mm” was written by Ivan Radford, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 29th November 2011 08.29 UTC

After 120 years and countless movies, 35mm is officially on the way out. In January, 63% of the world’s screens will be digital, according to report from IHS. Last year, 67% of global screens were still 35mm. The year 2011 is the tipping point, when digital cinema replaces celluloid as the mainstream form of projection. It’s the end of an era and the start of something new.

“Since 1889, 35mm has been the principal film projection technology,” David Hancock, head of film research at IHS, said this week. “However, after 10 years of market priming, movie theatres now are undergoing a rapid transition … spurred initially by the rising popularity of 3D films.”

In 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar convinced the industry that it was time for an upgrade. Studios scrambled to slap a 3D sticker on their film, which would earn them both a ticket uplift and novelty audience appeal. And so cinemas joined the move towards digital, automating a process that projectionists have spent years perfecting.

The impact is as far-reaching as it gets. The distribution and manufacturing of prints has changed completely. In 2008, 13 billion feet of 35mm was used per year. Next year, 4 billion feet of celluloid will be used, as print production costs rise and films are sent out as files on USB sticks. The switchover is picking up speed. In America, the statistics warn, there will be no mainstream 35mm usage by 2014.

Many in the industry aren’t happy. The New Beverly cinema in LA, which only shows 35mm film, has started a petition against the end of print distribution.

“Films that make up the glorious history of the art … should be viewed as they were meant to be,” it reads. At the time of writing, it has 4,380 signatures.

There’s a lot of romanticising 35mm as a format. Tacita Dean’s Film (at Tate Modern until March) perfectly captures its fragile, deteriorating beauty, using techniques dating all the way back to Georges Méliès. It’s hard not to feel attached to a medium so steeped in nostalgia, but isn’t digital better?

High-definition picture and sound have eclipsed the quality of celluloid. All the major films are now digital, if not 3D. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus are both using the Red Epic camera, with Jackson shooting in 48fps – double the standard frame rate of 35mm.

Even that master of cinematography, Roger Deakins, is shooting Skyfall, the next Bond film, on Red’s rival, the Arri Alexa, according to the IMDb. If Deakins is doing it, surely digital’s a good thing?

But even if you can accept the improvement in quality, and the reduction in human and mechanical error, digital’s takeover has other casualties. With projectors now operated at the push of the button, projectionists are fading out from cinemas altogether. For the last few years, BECTU (the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) has struggled to negotiate employment terms with major chains. Many projectionists are fired, or resign, while cinemas retain a handful as maintenance staff to perform other technical duties in between pressing “Play” and “Stop” on screenings of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Without the watchful eye of a projectionist, things can still go wrong. Digital screenings can freeze, the sound can cut out – or in one manufacturer fault (now reportedly fixed) – the picture can turn completely pink.

By ushering in digital and ushering out people, it’s not the medium that’s under threat, it’s the wealth of knowledge the industry is set to lose, as the art of projecting gives way to pixels and software packages.

“I think that some of the cinema chains are in an obscene hurry to dismantle the projectionist’s role and are losing a dedicated skill base that will never return,” comments BECTU national 0fficer Mick Corfield. “They all know the cost of a digital projector but not the value of a dedicated projectionist.”

It’s a sad price to pay for a CGI Chipmunk, something shown by the documentary The Last Projectionist, which played at Cannes this year. And yet it found those facing unemployment quite pragmatic.

“The projectionists know they work with technology, and although it’s a 100-year-old trade, if you go back further, that trade didn’t exist,” explains director Tom Lawes. “It’s a transient thing, and they understand that.”

The Last Projectionist captures the history of cinema – particularly independent cinema – while the projectionist trade is still around. The documentary visits the IMAX at Birmingham’s Thinktank to film the setup of its 70mm projector. Since then, the IMAX has announced it can no longer afford to maintain the print format and has become a 4K digital screen instead.

While the Thinktank projectionist still has a job, the future isn’t bright for the man in the box. Eventually, someone will decide to streamline the system, and the role will be axed. But with the arrival of digital comes a new set of skills. In addition to the varying types of video files, there are events and satellite linkups that fill up cinema calendars. Digital theatre screenings, such as National Theatre’s NT Live, regularly sell out around the world, as people are given a new way to access culture that simply wasn’t possible with analogue.

The opportunities extend to regular programming too. While the New Beverly in LA continues its heartfelt campaign, the Electric cinema in Birmingham (owned by Last Projectionist director Lawes) has just upgraded its two screens to digital and enjoys the newfound flexibility.

“We can easily move films around from one screen to another,” Lawes explains, highlighting the changing relationship between studios and smaller venues. “We showed X-Men: First Class this year one week off release date – that never would have happened before.”

It’s good for independent productions too: “We don’t have to send a film off to another cinema. We can keep it here on the server and, for a small film such as Weekend, we’ve got the flexibility to show it again in a few months.”

Producing a digital print is also far cheaper for film-makers, giving them a better shot at distribution. “Ironically, The Last Projectionist couldn’t have been made without digital,” Lawes admits. “If we had to create 10 35mm prints, you’d be looking at £20,000. Where’s that going to come from? The Film Council? They’ve shut that down.”

As The Last Projectionist gets a UK theatrical run next year with City Screen (who operate the Picturehouse cinemas chain), it’s a fitting tribute to a dying age, as digital changes cinema for small companies as well as global corporations.

The year 2011 is the most important one for cinema since 1927. It’s sad to see 35mm become a specialist format projected by a few, but 120 years is a pretty good run for any form of technology – DVD has only been around for 14. Even once 3D’s appeal has worn off, digital will remain an exciting new medium for film-makers and audiences. And while the New Beverly and others continue to show prints the way they were originally intended, the machine keeps rolling forward. Film is dead. Long live film.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Don’t keep it reel: why there’s life after 35mm

After 120 years and countless movies, 35mm is officially on the way out. In January, 63% of the world’s screens will be digital, according to report from IHS. Last year, 67% of global screens were still 35mm. The year 2011 is the tipping point, when digital cinema replaces celluloid as the mainstream form of projection. It’s the end of an era and the start of something new.

“Since 1889, 35mm has been the principal film projection technology,” David Hancock, head of film research at IHS, said this week. “However, after 10 years of market priming, movie theatres now are undergoing a rapid transition … spurred initially by the rising popularity of 3D films.”

In 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar convinced the industry that it was time for an upgrade. Studios scrambled to slap a 3D sticker on their film, which would earn them both a ticket uplift and novelty audience appeal. And so cinemas joined the move towards digital, automating a process that projectionists have spent years perfecting.

The impact is as far-reaching as it gets. The distribution and manufacturing of prints has changed completely. In 2008, 13 billion feet of 35mm was used per year. Next year, 4 billion feet of celluloid will be used, as print production costs rise and films are sent out as files on USB sticks. The switchover is picking up speed. In America, the statistics warn, there will be no mainstream 35mm usage by 2014.

Many in the industry aren’t happy. The New Beverly cinema in LA, which only shows 35mm film, has started a petition against the end of print distribution.

“Films that make up the glorious history of the art … should be viewed as they were meant to be,” it reads. At the time of writing, it has 4,380 signatures.

There’s a lot of romanticising 35mm as a format. Tacita Dean’s Film (at Tate Modern until March) perfectly captures its fragile, deteriorating beauty, using techniques dating all the way back to Georges Méliès. It’s hard not to feel attached to a medium so steeped in nostalgia, but isn’t digital better?

High-definition picture and sound have eclipsed the quality of celluloid. All the major films are now digital, if not 3D. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus are both using the Red Epic camera, with Jackson shooting in 48fps – double the standard frame rate of 35mm.

Even that master of cinematography, Roger Deakins, is shooting Skyfall, the next Bond film, on Red’s rival, the Arri Alexa, according to the IMDb. If Deakins is doing it, surely digital’s a good thing?

But even if you can accept the improvement in quality, and the reduction in human and mechanical error, digital’s takeover has other casualties. With projectors now operated at the push of the button, projectionists are fading out from cinemas altogether. For the last few years, BECTU (the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union) has struggled to negotiate employment terms with major chains. Many projectionists are fired, or resign, while cinemas retain a handful as maintenance staff to perform other technical duties in between pressing “Play” and “Stop” on screenings of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Without the watchful eye of a projectionist, things can still go wrong. Digital screenings can freeze, the sound can cut out – or in one manufacturer fault (now reportedly fixed) – the picture can turn completely pink.

By ushering in digital and ushering out people, it’s not the medium that’s under threat, it’s the wealth of knowledge the industry is set to lose, as the art of projecting gives way to pixels and software packages.

“I think that some of the cinema chains are in an obscene hurry to dismantle the projectionist’s role and are losing a dedicated skill base that will never return,” comments BECTU national 0fficer Mick Corfield. “They all know the cost of a digital projector but not the value of a dedicated projectionist.”

It’s a sad price to pay for a CGI Chipmunk, something shown by the documentary The Last Projectionist, which played at Cannes this year. And yet it found those facing unemployment quite pragmatic.

“The projectionists know they work with technology, and although it’s a 100-year-old trade, if you go back further, that trade didn’t exist,” explains director Tom Lawes. “It’s a transient thing, and they understand that.”

The Last Projectionist captures the history of cinema – particularly independent cinema – while the projectionist trade is still around. The documentary visits the IMAX at Birmingham’s Thinktank to film the setup of its 70mm projector. Since then, the IMAX has announced it can no longer afford to maintain the print format and has become a 4K digital screen instead.

While the Thinktank projectionist still has a job, the future isn’t bright for the man in the box. Eventually, someone will decide to streamline the system, and the role will be axed. But with the arrival of digital comes a new set of skills. In addition to the varying types of video files, there are events and satellite linkups that fill up cinema calendars. Digital theatre screenings, such as National Theatre’s NT Live, regularly sell out around the world, as people are given a new way to access culture that simply wasn’t possible with analogue.

The opportunities extend to regular programming too. While the New Beverly in LA continues its heartfelt campaign, the Electric cinema in Birmingham (owned by Last Projectionist director Lawes) has just upgraded its two screens to digital and enjoys the newfound flexibility.

“We can easily move films around from one screen to another,” Lawes explains, highlighting the changing relationship between studios and smaller venues. “We showed X-Men: First Class this year one week off release date – that never would have happened before.”

It’s good for independent productions too: “We don’t have to send a film off to another cinema. We can keep it here on the server and, for a small film such as Weekend, we’ve got the flexibility to show it again in a few months.”

Producing a digital print is also far cheaper for film-makers, giving them a better shot at distribution. “Ironically, The Last Projectionist couldn’t have been made without digital,” Lawes admits. “If we had to create 10 35mm prints, you’d be looking at £20,000. Where’s that going to come from? The Film Council? They’ve shut that down.”

As The Last Projectionist gets a UK theatrical run next year with City Screen (who operate the Picturehouse cinemas chain), it’s a fitting tribute to a dying age, as digital changes cinema for small companies as well as global corporations.

The year 2011 is the most important one for cinema since 1927. It’s sad to see 35mm become a specialist format projected by a few, but 120 years is a pretty good run for any form of technology – DVD has only been around for 14. Even once 3D’s appeal has worn off, digital will remain an exciting new medium for film-makers and audiences. And while the New Beverly and others continue to show prints the way they were originally intended, the machine keeps rolling forward. Film is dead. Long live film.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Goes Balloon Popping!

Alfa Romeo UK’s latest publicity stunt is a good one. They decided to have a crack at the world record for popping balloons, which is clever as never before have so many balloons been burst by one car alone.

They’ve also launched a Facebook competition for it. The stunt driver Terry Grant has left four balloons unpopped. Now if you guess which ones, you will enter a draw to win an exclusive Alfa Romeo track day at the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit. Visit Alfa UK’s Facebook page for more details.

And check out the videos here. The slow-mo is filmed with a 300 fps Red Epic camera, so it looks pretty cool.

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Peter Jackson is Shooting The Hobbit in Stereoscopic 3D

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan who is anticipating the next film in the series with the younger Bilbo Baggings as lead then you may want to know that it will be a digital 3D film. According to Cnet, Peter Jackson is prepping up for a huge 3D release of The Hobbit and is using a stereo 3D camera rig to shoot it.

Cnet reports, “The movie is being made with 48 RED Epic digital cameras, and since it’s shot in 3D, those cameras have to be paired and positioned a specific distance apart.”

That is quite an impressive set-up and 3D fans should be in for a treat. This may be the biggest 3D films ever, even surpassing Avatar. Peter Jackson has to overcome some challenges with such a large 3D rig.

Jackson has to rely on the help of 3ality Technica to create specialize mounts for the cameras used in the upcoming film. The reason for this is that the lenses used in 3D camera rigs make it “nearly impossible” to place the RED digital 3D cameras next to each other. The company, 3ality Technica, that Jackson and the studio is using for the custom mounts happens to specialize in custom camera rigs.

The 3ality Technica mounts that are being used by the studio for shooting allow one camera to be pointed straight ahead at the subject and the other is used to shoot the images reflected off a mirror. In this way, the camera operators can change the distance between the two camera lenses easier. This distance is called the “interocular.”

The report goes into other details regarding just how high the stereo 3D quality should be in the film. It is actually being shot at 5K resolution. This is a resolution of more than six times that of standard 1080p. Another thing mentioned regarding The Hobbit’s production process is that it is being shot at 48 frames per second.

All this leads to the very possible conclusion that this may be the biggest 3D film ever. It may also offer the best 3D image for viewers.it will be interesting to see the depth perception that Jackson alters for viewers and how he takes on this (stereo 3D) style of film making.

The Hobbit will be released on Dec. 14, 2012, according to IMDB. It’s full title is “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and it will be the first of a two-part series of films. The second film will be called “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”


Is 4K in Your Future?

This year was the first time that the industry at large has started to take 4K seriously, with new 4K cameras and post solutions. Sony introduced the F65, which incorporates a 20-megapixel 8K sensor. Like other CMOS sensors, the F65 uses a Bayer light filtering pattern, but unlike the other cameras, Sony has deployed more green photosites—one for each pixel in the 4K image. Today, this 8K sensor can yield 4K, 2K and HD images. The F65 will be Sony’s successor to the F35 and become a sought-after tool for TV series and feature film work, challenging RED and ARRI.

Nov. 3rd became a day for competing press events when Canon and RED Digital Cinema both launched their newest offerings. Canon introduced the Cinema EOS line of cameras designed for professional, cinematic work. The first products seem to be straight out of the lineage that stems from Canon’s original XL1 or maybe even the Scoopic 16MM film camera. The launch was complete with a short “Bladerunner”-esque demo film produced by Stargate Studios along with a new film shot by Vincent Laforet (the photographer who launched the 5D revolution with his short film “Reverie”), called “Möbius.”

The Canon EOS C300 and EOS C300 PL use an 8.3-megapixel CMOS Super 35mm-sized sensor (3840×2160 pixels). For now, these only record at 1920×1080 (or 1280×720 overcranked) using the Canon XF codec. So, while the sensor is a 4K sensor, the resulting images are standard HD. The difference between this and the way Canon’s HDSLRs record is a more advanced downsampling technology, which delivers the full pixel information from the sensor to the recorded frame without line-skipping and excessive aliasing.

On the same day, RED launched SCARLET-X to a fan base that has been chomping at the bit for years waiting for some version of this product. It’s far from the original concept of SCARLET as a high-end “soccer mom” camera (fixed lens, 2/3-inch sensor, 3K resolution with a $3,000 price tag). In fact, SCARLET-X is, for all intents and purposes, an “EPIC Lite.” It has a higher price than the original SCARLET concept, but also vastly superior specs and capabilities. Unlike the Canon release, it delivers 4K recorded motion images (plus 5K stills) and features some of the developing EPIC features, like HDRx (high dynamic range imagery).

If you think that 4K is only a high-end game, take a look at JVC. This year the company has toured a number of prototype 4K cameras based on a proprietary new LSI chip technology that can record a single 3840×2160 image or two 1920×1080 streams for the left and right eye views of a stereo 3D recording. The GY-HMZ1U is derivative of this technology and uses dual 3.32MP CMOS sensors for stereo 3D and 2D recordings.

POST AT 4K

Naturally the “heavy iron” systems from Quantel and Autodesk have been capable of post at 4K sizes for some time; however, 4K is now within the grasp of most desktop editors. Grass Valley EDIUS, Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X all support editing with 4K media and 4K timelines. Premiere Pro even includes native camera raw support for RED’s .r3d format at up to EPIC’s 5K frames. Avid just released its 6.0 version (Media Composer 6, Symphony 6 and NewsCutter 10), which includes native support for RED One and EPIC raw media. For now, edited sequences are still limited to 1920×1080 as a maximum size. For as little as $299 for FCP X and RED’s free REDCINE-X (or REDCINE-X PRO) media management and transcoding tool, you, too, can be editing with relative ease on DCP-compliant 4K timelines.

Software is easy, but what about hardware? Both AJA and Blackmagic Design have announced 4K solutions using the KONA 3G or Decklink 4K cards. Each uses four HD-SDI connections to feed four quadrants of a 4K display or projector at up to 4096×2160 sizes. At NAB, AJA previewed for the press its upcoming 5K technology, code-named “Riker,” a multi-format I/O system in development for SD up to 5K sizes, complete with a high-quality, built-in hardware scaler. According to AJA, it will be able to handle high-frame-rate 2K stereo 3D images at up to 60Hz per eye and 4K stereo 3D at up to 24/30Hz per eye.

Even if you don’t own such a display, 27-inch and 30-inch computer monitors, such as an Apple Cinema Display, feature native display resolutions of up to 2560×1600 pixels. Sony and Christie both manufacture a number of 4K projection and display solutions. In keeping with its plans to round out a complete 4K ecosystem, RED continues in the development of REDRAY PRO, a 4K player designed specifically for RED media.

RED Scarlet-X camera shipping now

Why are these dudes so happy? Maybe because they’re among the first to get their hands on RED’s Scarlet-X camera. Indeed, the gentleman in the middle — Tonaci Tran — is officially the first, according to a forum post by RED’s President and “Fire Chief,” Jarred Land. We’d love to get our hands on the $9,750 device, which famously went head-to-head with Canon’s EOS C300 when the two firms had dueling press conferences earlier this month, but it looks like we’ll have to be content with Tonaci’s demos for the time being. And of course, this makes us wonder: is he being nice, or is he showing off? We bet he’s just happy: it has been a long three years (almost to the day) since the project was announced.

Paradise FX Launches Helios 3D Stereo Rig

Press Release from Paradise FX

Van Nuys, CA, USA – Oct 19, 2011 – Paradise VFX (www.paradisefx.com), the world’s most experienced provider of 3D stereo camera systems and production services, has launched HELIOS, a wireless, self-contained, 3D stereo rig, whose advanced design and operational features support faster on-set deployment, streamlined post production, and more cost-effective 3D stereo production.

HELIOS harnesses Paradise FX’s 20 years of expertise in 3D camera system design, and delivers a leading-edge, 3D capture system suitable for all types of untethered camera work, including handheld, Steadicam and studio applications, with optimized metadata handling, crucial to VFX-oriented 3D production. When provided as part of a production service package from Paradise FX, HELIOS reduces the technological and crewing footprints of 3D stereo cinematography, bringing them into line with 2D production practices.

HELIOS is manufactured from rigid, lightweight magnesium and aluminium alloy. It is currently designed for use with RED EPIC cameras, with future support for ARRI® Alexa M and Sony F3 cameras. It is offered with a range of matched lens pairs, including ARRI® Ultra Primes and Angenieux® Compact Zooms.

Using Preston G4 wireless controls, HELIOS’ interaxial range can be adjusted from 0 to 2-inches, and convergence from 10-inches to Infinity. It measures 18.5”(H) x 18.5”(L) x 8.5”(W), with a mirror box width of 15-inches. The rig’s naked weight is 18lb; 42lbs in Steadicam mode; 47lbs in handheld mode; and 53lb in full studio mode.

Paradise FX has designed HELIOS to meet the requirements of all key departments on a 3D stereo production – the camera team, producers and directors, and editorial/VFX. HELIOS builds on, and is complementary to, Paradise FX’s existing range of 3D stereo rigs, including the Atlas and Maxi studio rigs, and the Tridelta and Triton Underwater rigs.

As HELIOS is lightweight, self-contained and untethered, Steadicam operators can move as freely as they do on a 2D shoot. Its self-balancing design means that interaxial convergence controls move out from the center of the rig, preventing a weight shift from affecting the Steadicam operator’s performance.

For cinematographers, a unique design advantage of HELIOS is its ability to quickly adapt from one camera configuration to another, between tripod, dolly or crane, to handheld or inverted shooting modes, saving time and money.

When HELIOS is provided as a package from Paradise FX, the labor footprint emulates 2D camera positions, resulting in faster set-ups for the director, and significantly reducing the financial burden for producers.

To boost post production workflow, HELIOS can be deployed with Paradise FX’s Mercury metadata capture system. Files, timecodes, associated lens and 3D stereo information, such as interaxial and convergence metadata, can be offloaded for post or VFX. In addition, camera moves can be played back on-set in the same way as a motion control system. To support even more efficient post-production workflow, Paradise FX also provides an on-location Digital Lab facility for fast dailies review, archiving and post adjustment of 3D footage.

Outfitted with RED Epic cameras, HELIOS provides the smallest package for a 35mm chip, and unsurpassed quality and firepower allowing up to 96fps at 5K and 300fps at 2K.

“HELIOS meets head-on the demand for more versatile, cost-effective 3D stereo capture,” said Paradise FX co-founder/CTO Max Penner “It can be quickly deployed for different shooting modes, and supports highly-efficient capture-to-post workflows. By bringing the crewing requirement into line with traditional 2D, HELIOS provides a dramatic impact on the producer’s budget too”

Cinematographer Sam McCurdy BSC commented: “With HELIOS, Paradise FX has developed a system that gives me the ability to easily jump from Steadicam to crane to dolly with one rig. Its rigid, stable build has given me more freedom than ever when shooting 3D stereo. I don’t know of any other rig that performs as well as HELIOS in the constantly demanding environment we shoot in today.”