Cinequipwhite's Blog


The Canon C300 is HERE! by cinequipwhite

Literally FRESH off the stage from Canon is the announcement of their new video-centric, removable lens camera the C300. Canon has had a rich history of professional quality in its video and photography equipment, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to most people that the next in their lineup of digital cinema devices is this Super 35mm equivalent CMOS camera. This innovative new Super 35mm chip is able to reduce rolling shutter effects and decrease moire artifacts. Many of the common downsides of current CMOS cameras are going to be almost unnoticeable in the C300.

It’s a serious step up from their DSLR bodies, and boy is that a relief. They have taken into account all of the functionality that was missing with the 5d mkII, 7D and to a lesser extent the T2i, and turned what is already a mainstay in production into what is sure to become a legend in the film and television industry. They still have kept the small form factor though. At only 3.5lbs it’s still small enough to get into the tight spaces full size rigs can’t quite get into.

It’s modular like the RED camera, but unlike RED it’s ready to integrate into your existing equipment, surely to save thousands of dollars as a result. For those who really want to maintain the high quality lenses they may already have for use with other cameras, there is a PL mount option available to take those beautiful PL pieces of glass you have perhaps just purchased.

It records onto 2 separate CF cards, giving individual or simultaneous recording options for immediate backup. No more corrupt cards or lost media. This is a security feature that really brings safety into the mix. It records as 50Mbps MPEG-2 4:2:2 MXF files in a variety of frame rates selectable at 1fps intervals for fast and slow motion. It also has a sure to be coveted 24.00 fps mode added in which means there’s no need for 2:3 pulldown or Telecine conversion for film integration. It’s ready for editing right out of the camera. On 2 32GB CF cards you could record up to 2 hours of footage.

When it comes to industry standard, the C300 kicks everyone else to the curb. It comes standard with Timecode, Gen Lock, HD-SDI, and HDMI outputs, as well as built in electronically switchable ND filters, XLR inputs, and something that is surely to take the community by storm – Wireless control with smartphone devices and tablets over wi-fi; giving you the option of wirelessly focusing with EF lenses, setting aperture values, and even entering Metadata.

Demo units will be shipping soon, so call in about checking it out. It is the ‘Must have’ camera for anyone looking to upgrade from a 5d mkII or a 7D, and it’s home is CinequipWhite Inc.

Also, keep your eye out for Canon’s new EF Cine prime lenses coming out starting the first half of 2012.

~Jonathan Stainton
CinequipWhite Inc.



Spotlight on Tony Wannamaker csc. by cinequipwhite
May 31, 2010, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Spotlight | Tags: , , ,
Inside Disaster
The Haitian Earthquake of 2010

Images from Inside Disaster courtesy of Tony Wannamaker cscImages from Inside Disaster courtesy of Tony Wannamaker csc

 

Images from Inside Disaster courtesy of Tony Wannamaker cscImages from Inside Disaster courtesy of Tony Wannamaker csc

Haiti, as most people are aware, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to the earthquake, the infrastructure of Port-au-Prince was spotty at best. I was there 15 years ago shooting a cultural documentary at the time when President Clinton was visiting President Aristide. Back then, I saw how poor its citizens were and knew how violent the place could be. It was a desperate place with good people who needed a break. Haiti, the first independent black state in the Western Hemisphere, has been persecuted from the day it declared independence from the France in 1804. Haitians have had to live under the kleptocracy governments of Papa Doc Duvalier and his son Baby Doc for 29 years and then try and deal with the foreign meddling during Aristide’s administration. Add to this background, a 7.0 magnitude quake in the city centre was incomprehensible to me.

We landed in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, in the evening and planned to depart overland by bus at 4:00 a.m. It was a 10-hour ride to reach Port-au-Prince. When we arrived at the Dominican/Haitian border, I thought I had arrived on set at a George Lucas Star Wars taping. It was madness! In one spot on an arid plain stood a 20-metre fence and gate that controlled who gets in and who gets out. Haitians were pleading for passage. Some fellas would run past the armed guards into the Dominican with a 50-50 chance of being shot. We rolled on in all of this confusion. It would be the tenor of the shoot. I knew from my many years of shooting documentaries that it was important to move quickly into the most effective positions to record these fleeting moments of the human condition. I needed to move precisely and quickly and then to dial down the noise and select movements that would provide compelling documentation. My audio partner and I clicked. We would become a great team, and it was evident from day one. We were the right guys and the perfect team to bang this chaos into a film.

By the January 14, we were set-up briefly at the Canadian Red Cross in Peitonville before moving near the seaport to the dusty and ridiculously hot environment of the abandoned warehouse. On the 14th we visited our first triage centre. Coming into Port-au-Prince, we witnessed the first scattered convoys of bloated bodies somewhat covered in the back of pickups leaving the city. We learned quickly to put on charcoal masks, and I always had a scarf ready to cover my nose. At the triage centre, which was ostensibly a heavy-equipment depot, badly wounded Haitians, victims of building collapses and falling debris, were brought for medical help. At this point, early in the rescue and relief efforts, there were sparse-to-no medical supplies for the injured. One overwhelmed doctor assessed the wounded and enlisted volunteers to care for them.

As the days progressed post-earthquake, we experienced many horrors and much hope. We witnessed the aftermath execution style of Haitian police shooting looters. Looters lay in the streets, some with their hands tied behind their backs and shot in the head. Others, whether they are looters or casualties of the quake, lay in the street burning; some lay there burning as protest; some lay there burning as notice; some lay there burning as protection from disease. In the 17 days I spent in Haiti, I only experienced two days that I didn’t see a corpse. Sadly, Adlaf and I learned too well the smell of decay and could lead you to a corpse faster than a Toronto canine unit.

In all this pain, agony and fleeting hope, we documented the FACT team and aggregate infusion of Red Cross delegates from around the world build, as a regiment of soldiers became a division of men and women. We documented the hardships the relief workers endured to get food and supplies to people in need. We witnessed the life saving efforts of the international community. I documented the dying of many people when I first arrived. That changed to amputations – the saving of the person to the saving of limbs. One young girl, we documented in surgery, will have the use of both of her legs. The risk the Red Cross delegates took in the form of disease and personal harm; the security measures they endured to operate were chronicled.

I shot this film from an up-close-and-personal account rather than on a long lens and from across the street. Paul, Nadine and I went into the story. We talked to the injured and we talked to the caregivers. We documented the rescue of people from collapsed buildings, the relief of water, food and shelter and we plan to return in a timely fashion and record the final phase of a Red Cross commitment, the reconstruction. How long will it take to fix Haiti? Who knows. I read all the trade magazines today to get another perspective on the situation, to get more objectivity. I still don’t know. But I will say that Haitians will need the world’s support for a long time and they will need a stable government for a long time. My hope is that when the great Kino eye of the world turns to another disaster, people won’t forget the reconstruction of Haiti. They need help and the pain won’t go away as fast as the media.

It was a little after 6:00 p.m. on January 12 when my mother came running into our Belleville kitchen to tell us that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake had just hit Haiti. My wife took a concerned look at me as she ran into the bedroom to filter more information. I slowly poked at my spaghetti dinner, knowing my world was about to change. “It happened near the capital,” Rhonda said with a knowing look. I’d been to Port-au-Prince 15 years earlier and knew it was an overcrowded capital city of two million. It was very poor and very desperate. I knew right then and there I would be leaving for Haiti. Within two hours, I had driven to my office in Toronto and finalized my preparation to go.

I had been waiting since September of 2009 to fly to a natural disaster site that would initiate the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to mobilize its FACT team (First Assessment and Co-ordination Team). Little did I know that this would turn out to be the biggest volunteer mobilization of the Red Cross in a single country in its entire history. I was hired early in the production to DOP this unique documentary, directed and co-produced by Nadine Pequeneza and executive produced by Andrea Nemtin and Ian Dunbar of PTV, to be initially broadcast on TVO. The three-hour documentary is entitled Inside Disaster. We had unprecedented permission to embed ourselves with the IFRC and stay close to the Canadian Red Cross. We planned to follow this organization and chronicle how it operates in some of the most difficult and horrendous situations.

There were six of us who travelled to Haiti. The A-team was myself, Pequeneza, sound technician Paul Adlaf and web producer Nico Jolliett, and we were the first team to travel to Haiti. The B-team was DOP Stephan Randstrom and sound technician Simon Paine, who were the second to follow. I had my bags packed and camera equipment documented and at the ready to go for four months. I argued at our early meetings to use the Sony XD-700 camera with the 24p card. I had shot a CBC Nature of Things documentary in northern B.C. a few years ago chronicling great forest fires. The older XD 530 was the perfect choice in an environment of airborne contaminates. The 2/3-inch chip 700 XD camera (Mpeg 422) with the 24p card and 1080p resolution and the ability to quickly thumbnail a scene was the perfect choice for documenting a disaster. I had no idea of how right I was until I was in Haiti.

I took my initial allotment of 30 doubled-sided XD discs (PFD-50), which allowed me to bang for 95 minutes at the highest resolution. Not knowing what infrastructure I would have to deal with, I took the following camera equipment: 12 charged batteries; four chargers; gel cell; car battery charger; one new Honda generator (no fuel); one Cartoni tripod with carbon fibre legs; soft case and hard case for transport; rain cover; two lenses (4.5 wide and 7.8 long); polarizer filter; matt box; easy rig; lens-cleaning cloth, papers, liquid and brush; and software and cables to output and screen rushes on Pequeneza’s laptop. We figured we’d needed to prepare for the worst for a duration of three days, maybe five days if it was really bad. We didn’t know we would be in survival mode and shooting the documentary for 15 days.

In addition to the detailed preparation and multiple purposed use of our equipment, we had to prepare ourselves for the camping trip of a lifetime. We carried the requisite camping supplies and then some. We left with our mosquito nets, leatherman tools, small diesel cook stove, flashlights, bedrolls, toilet paper, first aid kits, personal hypodermic needles and a lifetime of inoculations and MRE (meals ready to eat) rations to cover the first week. The MREs saved our hides, but I’m tired of eating them cold. My wife had picked them up at a local military supply store in Kingston, Ontario. Upon my return, friends inquired why was it that we needed food and bottled water when we were embedded with the Red Cross. The deal was that we needed to be able to look after ourselves and not become a liability for the Red Cross as they planned to save tens of thousands of Haitian lives. Furthermore, the numbers of delegates arriving with no provisions quickly overwhelmed the Red Cross. This statement might shed some light as to the difficulty operating in Haiti in the first days, post-earthquake. By January 18, when we had to move to the new base camp at an abandoned warehouse and set up in the open aired square, there were two portable toilets shared by 200 people.



February Freeze, tomorrow February 9th!!! by cinequipwhite

The countdown is on. Its gonna happen. Tomorrow this empty studio will be filled with people, talking to suppliers, networking with peers. Spending a delightful afternoon checkin us out.  Tomorrow morning, 11am– its show time!

I have to say, there is a lot here. MEGA is a huge studio- the largest in North America- and looking at it right now, its filling up quite nicely. Our suppliers have outdone themselves this year- stop by anytime between the hours of 11am and 7pm and you’ll see what I mean.

February Freeze is being Held at Pinewood Toronto Studios at 255 Commissioner’s Street.

You will find more information on the show here.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

~Tracy



February Freeze- Lowel Blender Giveaway! by cinequipwhite

Well Folks,  we are one day away from the fabulous February Freeze being held at the Pinewood Toronto Film Studios February 9th from 11am-7pm. For more information on the February Freeze, follow this link.

Did we mention that it’s in the MEGA Stage?  We’re pretty excited about that.  As I am writing this from the stage 4 production office, I ‘m checking out all the amazing suppliers setting up for this show, and all of the William F. White Gear is loading in and it looks Spectacular.  This is one massive space and there is a whole bunch of magic happening here right now.

One thing I have to mention, everyone has to get down here tomorrow, and visit Don Youngman at the Lowel booth. Ask Don for a ballot and enter to win one of the new Lowel Blenders!

While you’re at it, see Steve next door in the Tiffen booth, check out all the Steadicam gear, and enter win a copy of the Steadicam Operators handbook!

~Tracy Alves



Lowel’s New SoftCore™ by cinequipwhite

February Freeze will soon be upon us, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all there.

For the past couple of weeks we have been spreading the word about the amazing Lowel blender give away, but here is another reason to visit Don at his Lowel booth.

We weren’t sure if we would have this in time for the show, but its been confirmed and Lowel will be showcasing the new Lowel SoftCore!

Introducing SoftCore,

a compact light fixture that adds versatility and control to softbox lighting setups.

Its quick exchange lampheads swap easily, and give the option of using up to 5 screwthreaded

fluorescent lamps, for lighting larger areas with more output. Its unique patented 4 arm system

now makes conventional soft boxes fast to attach, and a breeze to rotate.

Used with our new 80 Watt high C.R.I. fluorescent lamps, SoftCore delivers beautiful, soft, constant source daylight that accurately renders all the colors of your shot.

  • SoftCore works with popular video accessory softboxes.
  • 3 easy to swap fluorescent lamphead options.
  • Uses Lowels High C.R.I. compact fluorescents and other Edison base CFL’s.
  • Patented 4 arm hooking system makes softbox attaching quick & painless.
  • Arms rotate & adjust for optimum softbox balance and position.
  • Convenient tilt handle for smooth lighting angle adjustments.
  • Allows attachment of a Lowel Pole &Weight for perfect balance on the stand, when using larger front heavy lampheads, lamps, & softboxes.
  • Folds down efficiently for compact kit storage.
  • US Patents: 6, 176,598 , 7,416,316

So come down to Pinewood Toronto Film Studios, February 9th, and have a look for yourself!

February Freeze is being held at Pinewood Toronto Film studios located 255 Commissioner’s Street, Toronto, ON. For more information on this year’s February Freeze go here.

~ Tracy Alves




Free stuff at the February Freeze! by cinequipwhite
February 2, 2010, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Shows, Spotlight, Uncategorized, Update! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

We have already told you about Lowel giving away a “Blender” and Steadicam giving away their “Steadicam Operators Handbook”, and now there is even more! There will be swag draws throughout the evening  for some amazing product, so be sure to stop by the CinequipWhite booth and speak to a representative for a ballot to win one of a number of  things from our great sponsors!  Join us for the February Freeze, Tuesday February 9th from 11am-7pm being held at Pinewood Toronto’s MEGA Studio. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!

-Jonathan Stainton

 

 



Spotlight on: Peter Rowe, CSC by cinequipwhite
January 26, 2010, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Spotlight on Peter Rowe Peter Rowe has long been popping by CinequipWhite to play with some of the newest gear, and to find equipment options for his shoots that will have the ability to withstand some of the more extreme situations that he often finds himself in. It’s always a pleasure when he drops by because his stories are always second to none.
   Most recently Peter has been working on a wonderful TV show called “Angry Planet”. It’s an adventerous travel show that takes the viewer to the most extreme and dangeropus places on earth to show how amazing and deadly our world truly is.
   The below article – written by Peter himself – details some of his most recent treks into the world of travel extremism and how it has effected himself and his gear. So without further adieu:

 

Shooting Angry Planet
December 2009
By Peter Rowe, csc 

 

 

Peter in Stomboli, Italy, Kitum Cave, Kenya
Stomboli, Italy, Kitum Cave, Kenya. All photos courtesy of the Filmmaker.
Peter Rowe csc
Antartica.

We’re charging south on US Interstate 95 through the swamps of eastern Georgia. I’m jammed into what I call my “office” – the thunderbird seat of the Stormobile, a battle-scarred, hail-dented CRV tricked out with radar, anenometers and ham radio to follow and capture wild weather and other extreme forces of nature. On the floor beneath me is a jumble of video cameras, invertors, chargers, guidebooks and telephones.

Behind me my waterproof housings, Spintec rain deflector, soaked microphone softies, cables, raincoats and boots are doing their best to dry out. We’ve just come through two hurricanes – Gustof and Hanna in Louisiana and the Carolinas – and the sodden Stormobile is taking on the familiar sweet, sickly smell of the bayous.

Beside me at the wheel is the series host/presenter/stormchaser/adventurer George Kourounis. I’m on the phone to a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After a long conversation, I hang up and whoop with excitement. After two years of negotiations and missed connections, it’s finally on. We’re flying into the eye of a hurricane with a USAF hurricane-hunting Lockheed-Martin WC-130J. George puts the pedal to the floor, and we head west across the Florida panhandle towards Biloxi, Mississippi.

Niger River MaliNiger River Mali.
Peter Rowe csc
Peter in Iceland.

The next day, we’re lumbering down the runway at Keesler Airforce Base, heading up into the sky to intercept the massive storm. As luck has it, we almost have the giant plane to ourselves. A visiting general has come along for the ride, and a local print reporter has jumped on at the last moment, but basically it’s just us and the aircrew heading into Hurricane Ike – the biggest storm of the season. Right now Ike is over Cuba, which adds another whole element to the day’s filming. It’s one thing to fly into the eye of a Class 4 hurricane. It’s another to do that while flying into Cuban airspace with the United States Air Force.

After eight hours of that bumpy and invigorating ride, we’re back on terra firma and back on the road again. Ike is heading for Galveston, and we’re going to meet it there. Now, there’s another whole set of negotiations, for the town has an official evacuation order, and so virtually every hotel, building and parking lot is closed and boarded up in anticipation of what NOAA Weather Radio is warning is a “life-threatening, highly dangerous” storm.

We hunker down with the police and emergency services in the one bullet-proof hotel in town that remains open, and are there to record the carnage as the vicious 20-foot waves crash across the breakwater, flooding most of the city. The Spintec gets another major workout.

The next day, we’re towed out of town. Our cylinder heads are filled with seawater, but eventually we find a cure for that, get the engine running and head north. We have our first episode of our new third season of Angry Planet in the can. Twelve more to do. At the time of this writing, they are almost all done, and the new season begins airing across the country in January on the Outdoor Life Network. The series also plays (as Planete en furie) in Quebec, and across Europe, Russia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Korea and Australia.

Within a few days, I’m back in my (real) office, making final plans for our next road trip. This one is going to be wild. On a season-one shoot in Congo, I learned of a huge cave high on Mount Elgon, on the Kenya-Uganda border, that has been carved out, over millennia, by elephants. It seems elephants need a daily salt fix. On the savannah plains they can get this from the grasses, but high on this mountain they have found the only way to get it is by digging and tusking for it inside this giant, dark cave. Hyenas, buffalo and other wild African beasts also join them in the cavern. And here is the kicker, two people – both visitors to the cave – have recently died of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever, a close cousin of the gruesome Ebola virus. Some scientists believe the thousands of bats that live in the cave may be the source of the disease.

Perfect. Sounds like our kind of place. Only trouble is Kenya (and particularly this part of western Kenya) has been in turmoil for the last year. There have been bombings right on the mountain. But it looks like the fighting has calmed down to a manageable level, so we’re on our way. At Heathrow, we meet up with our fixer for the shoot, cave biologist Don McFarland, and the three of us head for Nairobi. En route to the cave, I get an opportunity to film one of the most extraordinary sights in nature – the biannual migration across the Mara River of millions of zebras and wildebeests. The Mara has several obstacles – rocks, rapids, crocodiles and vultures. Not all the zebras or gnus make it. It’s an extraordinary spectacle.

At the cave, we begin exploring deeper and deeper every day. My lighting set-up is simple but effective. Every day, two porters climb up the mountain and down into the cave with us with a large truck battery and an invertor hanging from a bamboo pole. I plug a 300-watt soft light into it, fire up some sun-guns, and away we go.

On our third day inside the cave, we are exploring a bat roost deep inside. Our lights disturb the bats’ daytime slumbers, and thousands of them begin flying out past us. In the excitement and confusion, one of the bats bites George through his thin gloves. It’s one of the worst crisis we’ve had on the series. What if he has contracted the Marburg virus? If not that, what about rabies – neither he nor I are vaccinated for it. Should we abort – head for the nearest hospital, many miles away. There are no symptoms, so we keep shooting. It’s supposed to be an adventure show – so we shoot the adventure. He gamely carries on.

With that shoot complete, do we head back to Canada, home of our wonderful health care system, where he can get a check-up. But no, we’re booked to carry on to shoot another episode – this time in the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan (home of a health care system that is, let us say, somewhat less renowned). We fly from Nairobi to Moscow to Tashkent, on to the city of Nukus and then by Landrovers to Moynuk, a village that looks like it has changed little since the 1600s. The one change, and it has happened in just the last 20 years, is that the body of water it used to be on, the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest body of fresh water in the world, has now shrunk to one-sixth its past size, the victim of a botched Soviet experiment in irrigation.

An island in the sea is now just a peninsula of the land. And the island, Vozrozhdeniya, was for 30 years, from the 1950s to the 1980s, the centre of Soviet bio-weapons research – a nightmarish spot where monkeys and chimpanzees were tested with gruesome concoctions of anthrax, smallpox and plague, while scientists figured out ways to jam the deadly cocktails into warheads.

So here I am, travelling within a (long) stone’s throw of this mad place, filming Angry Planet host George who may be carrying (though we are becoming rapidly convinced is not) an even more deadly virus than the Soviets used on the spooky island. If anyone does get sick, what will we blame it on?

Peter Rowe csc
“While it may be an angry planet, there’s never been an angry moment shooting it,” Peter Rowe csc

Finally, we return home. George gets checked out. He’s healthy – but still needs a long series of rabies shots for safety’s sake. We have three shows in the can – 10 more to do. In another few weeks, we’re back on the road. And so over the past year, we’ve kayaked in the Antarctic with humpback whales, crossed Frobisher Bay and Baffin Island by snowmobile, dogsled and skis, filmed fer-de-lances and bushmasters in the Costa Rican rain forest, descended with refrigerated suits and respirators into the deadly but spectacular Cave of Crystals, Mexico, been pummeled by larger than golf ball-sized hail (they make things big in Texas), and sailed to the newest land on earth, a still-steaming, brand new island in Tonga that we were the some of the first people ever to see.

My cameras have suffered through minus 45-degree arctic temperatures, 225 F humidex readings. They’ve been blasted with volcanic dust, sulphuric acid, saltwater, rainwater and snow. Sandbags have been tossed by Antarctic winds, cameras have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, microphones turned red with rust. But we’ve always got the episode done. And, while it may be an angry planet, there’s never been an angry moment shooting it. Sometimes an exhausted one. I have five cards – two hours of memory. Sony keeps sending emails promoting their new 32-gig cards. More memory? No thanks. After a day climbing a volcano or hanging out in a hurricane, if you’ve shot two hours of material, I say the camera’s out of memory, and so am I. Let me get back to the tent, gimme a beer and I’ll download it all into the hard drive, re-format the damn cards and start all over again tomorrow.

___

Thanks again to Peter, as well as the CSC magazine for the article. If you are in the office take a look at the plasma display and every so often you will see some of Peter’s work on “Angry Planet”.

~Jonathan Stainton
CinequipWhite Inc.