Prokit's Blog

 

The second of our Open Days this week concentrated on our range of Gimbal stabilisers from Defy. We’ve seen gimbal stabilisers develop over the last two years and at Prokit we’ve selected the Defy range as they represent a combination of quality build, materials and performance at an excellent price.

Gimbal Wide Shot 3   With a Defy gimbal you can pull off fast tracking shots that skirt the ground and then tilt up, pan in different directions and float though open windows. The shot possibilities available to you with these gimbals are really down to the limit of your own imagination. We had the Defy G2, G5 and G12 gimbals set up and ready with a selection of popular mirrorless, DSLR and large-sensor video cameras.

THE G12:

G12 The G12 is at the top of the Defy range and takes up to a 6KG payload, so we put that to the test with a Canon C300, 24mm cine lens and Atomos Ninja Blade. This was the heaviest of our set ups but it worked a treat: We can see this system working well with Sony F5/55, Red Epic (stripped down) and the Canon C500 with an external recorder bolted to the top bar.

THE G5:

G5 The G5 can take up to 3KG and is perfect with a Canon 5D (and other DSLRs, even a 1DC) and stripped down C100 and Sony FS700s. This is their mid-range system and was very popular during the Open Day! We had this system decked out with a SmallHD DP4 monitor clamped to the top bar.

 THE G2:

BMPCC on Defy We coupled our G2 – the smallest Defy gimbal – with a super lightweight Sony NEX-3 mirroless camera. This system was a revelation: We could run with it, lift it high to low like a jib shot…anything we wanted! It really did pay to have an ultra-lightweight solution. Imagine this system with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera , or a new 4K Panasonic GH4. Or rather than imagining it, come down and try it out! We really enjoyed our Defy Gimbal Open Day at Prokit and thanks to everybody who attended. Remember our showroom is open Monday-Friday and if you could not make the day you can always call us and book some time with us to get to grips with these versatile new devices.

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It’s been a busy start to this week at Prokit with two Open Days in as many days.

Monday saw our Canon XF205 and Atomos Open Day here at our Chiswick showroom. We had experts from both Canon and Atomos demonstrating the new Canon XF205, Atomos Ninja Blade and new Ninja Star.

The Canon XF205 proved to be a compact and versatile addition to Canon’s XF arsenal. Slotting in between the XF100/105 and 300/305, the camcorder combines a new 1/1.28” sensor with dedicated focus/zoom/iris rings, 20x optical zoom and the proven 50mbps 4:2:2 MPEG2 recording capability, along with a 35mbps MPEG4 mode as well. We think it’s an ideal actuality/events/documentary camcorder thanks to the great zooming range and diminutive form factor.

XF205

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atomos have added a miniature Pro Res recorder called the Atomos Ninja Star to their range of inexpensive external recorders. The recorder is absolutely tiny, has an L-series battery mount moulded into the body and takes CFast cards. The kit (which is only £179 + vat!) includes a mounting cheeseplate and a small battery, along with a neat carry case.

It’s fair to say that we are excited by this recorder. It’s portable, low-cost and very simple to use. In the photo below we’ve bolted it to our C100, thus making it broadcast legal:

Star for C100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prokit would like to thank Saj from Canon and Richard from Atomos distributor Global Distribution for their expertise and help on the day, and everybody who came down to see these new products.

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NILA was privileged to be invited to light one of the arenas for the NBA Development League tournament that took place in Reno, Nevada, USA earlier in 2014.  The arena was lit exclusively with 115 tungsten-balanced NILA Boxers.  The lights had a total power draw of 23,000 watts.  That’s in place of the usual load of 100,000 watts used by the traditional fixtures at last year’s tournament.  

For those of you keeping score, that’s less than 1/4 of the power.  Nila was clearly the winner of this year’s tournament!

 

NILA LED Lighting is distributed by Prokit in the UK.

 

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In May 2014 American Cinematographer, Daniel Landin, BSC on Alien Ways:

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“In the living room scene when they’re watching TV, we could have really played with the TV effect, but instead we looked at the way the room was actually lit. It had a stark overhead source, so we just put a small 1K Rifa exactly where that fixture was.”

 

Lowel Rifa LC-88, 1000 watts

 

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Miller travels Japan’s Majestic Scenery for Shane Peel’s Debut Documentary Film “Snowsurf”

 

HOKKAIDO, JAPAN — When award-winning Australian photographer and writer Shane Peel, moved to Hokkaido, Japan for the production of his debut documentary film “Snowsurf,” Miller Camera Support Equipment, a leader in the production of innovating camera support solutions, was along for the ride to offer its assistance with its Compass 12 Solo 75 Carbon Fibre system.

“The reality of film making is that it’s a whole lot more complex than capturing stills; camera movements are the key to this type of storytelling, which is why I chose to work with Miller’s Compass 12 Solo 75 2-Stage Carbon Fibre system as my primary camera support solution on this project,” Peel says. “Miller tripods and fluid heads have been in my equipment roster since day one. Shooting in Hokkaido, where long hikes in waist-deep snow and negative 30 degree wind chills are the norm and a simple mistake can take your life, means that the equipment decisions have to make sense from the get-go. Working with Miller’s exemplary camera support solutions makes the most sense to me.”
Shane is currently one year into the production of his first full-length film, “Snowsurf,” which is a documentary that dives into the history of a special snowboard subculture that exists in Japan’s northern-most island, Hokkaido. Primarily a surf photographer, Shane is generally used to shooting projects in warmer, more leisurely atmospheres. However, for “Snowsurf,” he says that working in the back-country of one of the world’s snowiest, and sometimes incredibly treacherous, places makes the weight and functionality of his equipment of utmost concern.
Miller’s Compass 12 Solo 75 Carbon Fibre system consists of the Compass 12 Fluid Head and the ultra light, yet rigid, Solo 75 3-stage Carbon Fibre Tripod. Key features to the system that Peel found particularly useful while shooting through such harsh, snowy conditions include its selectable smooth pan/tilt drags, illuminated bubble level and quick release sliding camera plate with 60mm travel.
“Communications during this project have been difficult. As my crew doesn’t speak a word of Japanese, we are often faced with sudden changes while shooting, because language barriers often hinder the communication between the rider and the crew. For instance, a slow, steady panning shot can turn into a rapid double axis ‘L’ movement in a matter of seconds,” Peel says. “To be able to smoothly adjust the Compass 12 Fluid Head’s movement speed to any of the three pressure options in a moment’s notice has been a real advantage. Additionally, the illuminated bubble level has been incredibly handy, especially when working during the darkening blizzards I often experience! The head is a joy to work with.”
Peel also says that the light weight of the Compass 12 Solo 75 2-Stage Carbon Fibre system has proved essential when he shoots in really remote locations during this project, as the system is very portable. Furthermore, he mentions that the quick release sliding camera plate not only saves time with its efficient locking mechanism but also eliminates unnecessary pack weight.
“I have experienced some amazing days, shooting in unique places that boggle my mind—awesome silver-birch glades, natural hot springs and majestic snow-capped volcanoes are just some of nature’s amazing gifts that I’ve seen,” he says. “And, the defining element, through it all, has been the smooth, clean movement of Miller’s Compass 12 system.”
“Snowsurf” is slated to release in late 2015. To read more about the documentary film and receive exclusive insights into the latest project developments, visit its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/pages/Snowsurf/672189579472050
This is the latest publication in Miller’s Sharpshooters series.

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American publication VideoMaker gave the forthcoming Kino Flo Celeb 400 its top award recently: Best Light of NAB 2014.

Kino Flo Celeb 400 DMX

Prokit saw it there too, and are happy to highly recommend it. To date, we have still not managed to get one in our showroom.

Videomaker wrote: “The size of the Celeb 400 DMX helps shape how it emits light. We’ve already come to appreciate the Celeb 200 DMX, so when the LED panel is scaled up to 45-inches, it’s great to see the continued excellence. The Celeb 400 DMX has a color rendering index score of 95, which is most impressive in the full dimming and color temperature controls that this light offers. These are incredibly handy lights, that don’t get hot, don’t require non-standard power, and won’t bother your subject like some lights. To add gels or mount it is a clear and secure tasks, and ultimately it makes the job of lighting less of a chore and at nearly four feet long, it’s going to cover a lot of your set. The entire case will be about 55lb. and comes with a center or yoke mount.”

 

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Canon are encouraging you to keep your registered camera and lens equipment list up to date with them, in order to maximise the benefit from Canon Professional Services (CPS).

 

 

The CPS programme offers Canon professional video and photo users exclusive access to a range of benefits including a priority repair service, improved service turnaround times, support at major events, and free back-up equipment loans during repair periods (depending on your level of CPS membership).

The CPS Photo programme operates on a three-tier basis – Platinum, Gold and Silver* – with the level of membership depending on the qualifying cameras and lenses you own. To join you need to own at least two qualifying bodies and three qualifying lenses. To join the CPS Video programme you must own at least one of the qualifying professional camcorders or Cinema EOS Digital Cinema Cameras.

If you are interested in joining the CPS programme please follow this link.

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Falmouth University Marine & Natural History Photography course at Falmouth is one of a kind, so we thought we would tell you a little about it. We also have a ‘friend of Prokit’ there who loves the course.  Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) is a 3 year full-time course. Contact  admissions@falmouth.ac.uk, or call 01326 213730.

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The course offers you an unparalleled opportunity to engage with natural history image-making, conservation and environmental issues. The course caters both for terrestrial and marine-based image-makers, with an optional underwater programme. The environment in and around Falmouth makes this degree very distinctive. The photographic facilities are state-of-the-art with five fully equipped studios, darkrooms, print rooms, digital suites and a photo-microscopy laboratory. With access to hundreds of miles of coast, sweeping landscapes and a variety of different habitats, you’ll be constantly inspired and challenged to produce stunning natural history images.

 

The course will challenge you to extend your skills as a communicator using photographs, words and moving image. Blending craft skills, professional practice and theoretical knowledge, the course sets you up to develop a critical understanding of your work and an appreciation of the relevance of research skills and working methodologies.

Students have taken part in incredible projects such as assisting on an expedition to Norwegian glaciers to document climate change, and spending three months in the Ecuadorian rainforest carrying out research projects with American scientists.

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How is the course taught – You’ll study habitats and species, and understand the scientific basis for the planet’s diversity of life – all aided by scientific and photography field trips, international diving trips and our contacts with renowned organisations. Students are encouraged to interact with industry at every available opportunity and our visiting lecturer programme is continually seeking to obtain the highest level of guest speakers. These have included the BAFTA-winning film cameraman Ian McCarthy and award-winning underwater photographers such as Doug Allan. To add to this the internationally acclaimed BBC film cameraman Andrew Cooper has recently donated an annual student award that is open to final year Marine & Natural History Photography students; giving the winning student the opportunity to work with him after they graduate, and a cash prize. You’ll receive expert tuition from staff who are practising photographers and scientists, allowing you to acquire a deeper level of problem solving and conceptual thinking that underpins all your practical work. You’ll also engage with key environmental and ecological debates that will be vitally important to whichever profession you choose.

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 Area 48 Softlight reviewed by Barry Bassett from VMI.

” The Area 48  lamp is a very bright portable soft light which works with Phospor LED technology and works from mains or batteries (optional request).  It has very high light output which is sufficient to warrant bounced light operation and is loosely comparable with a 2K tungsten light output but only draws 150W of power.

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In fact, in tests, it had twice the light output of an 800W open face (redhead), which was daylight colour-corrected and fully-wide – see video below for test.

It runs very cool as well as it is a very efficient light and flicker-free, so suitable for high speed.

Review of Area 48 Softlight by VMI  ( link to YouTube)

Features

  • Very high light output – comparable with a 2K tungsten lamp
  • Very soft light output which is dimmable 0% to 100% in single increment steps.
  • Very low power consumption (150W)
  • Will run for 30 mins from a single AntonAREA 48 DOPCHOICE Snap Grid Bauer Dionic HC battery (Anton Bauer battery clip provided on rear of unit)
  • CRI > 90+ in warm white (3200 Kelvin)
  • CRI > 90+ in Cold White (5600 Kelvin)
  • Barndors for soft masking
  • Super fast strobe speed and duration
  • Silent fan free operation
  • High reliability using BB&S proven technology
  • DMX in/out for daisy-chaining
  • 4Pin XLR for power / Power+DMX
  • Excellent shadow rendering
  • Very compact versatile unit
  • Flicker-free DC dimming, can even be used for high speed video lighting
  • Super fast strobe speed and duration
  • Extremely long LED life – 50,000 hours with 70% lumen maintenance
  • Internal dimmer controlled by DMX 512
  • Long filter life
  • Reduced CO2 emission = smaller carbon footprint

Specifications

  • Power: Switch mode power supply, AC Power: 100 – 240 V nominal, 50/60 Hz.
  • Maximum total LED output power 125W
  • Ambient operating temperature: 0-40°C / 0-104°F.
  • LAMP: High quality Blue Led array 70%
  • CONTROL: DMX512 DMX in/out for daisy-chaining 8/16bit.
  • Up to 4 control channels in 16 bit mode, selectable via digital display.
  • Dimming 0-100%

Kit Contains

AREA 48 lamp head
AREA 48 Soft High CRI Media 32
AREA 48 Soft High CRI Media 56
AREA 48 DOPCHOICE Snap Bag
AREA 48 DOPCHOICE Snap Grid
DOP Choice Soft Box
C stand

Portable Battery kit

VMI can supply 2 x different battery kits depending on requirements.  Owing to the high power draw of these lights, battery supply is a chargeable optional extra.

Optional: 12V battery box kit (2 hours run time per battery) is available for an additional £5 per day per battery with charger.

Optional: Anton Bauer 5 way battery kit (30 mins run time per battery) is available for an additional £25 per day. “

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Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown was the honoured guest at Tiffen International Open Day held Pinewood Studios on June 16th. 2014. Garrett delivered an abbreviated version of his fascinating “Moving Camera” lecture to an engaged audience of over 70 people. He also spent the whole day there to talk and answer questions.

Garrett Brown

 

Visitors also had an opportunity to consider and review the forthcoming M1 sled concept – a radical new approach to flexibility from Steadicam. The day was complemented by lighting from Lowel, and some of the latest cameras from RED, Arri, Canon, Blackmagic Design and Sony.

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