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Jaron Berman

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Jaron Berman last won the day on May 7 2018

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About Jaron Berman

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    Cinematographer
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    New York, NY
  1. Depending on the strength of the laser and the pattern the laser is tracing, it will kill the sensor very quickly. Especially slow scans of short lines (narrow fans) or what they call "hot beams" which are just dots of full-strength laser where it turns on in one spot, turns off, moves and turns back on again in another spot. We did a follow doc in clubs, often no control over lasers and toasted a few C300. When you get "scanned" it looks like a hair, editors start kicking back to the AC's for hair or dust on the sensor. But it's not recoverable, it's a burn on some part of the sensor assembly. A lot of clubs use 1w or greater lasers (even some up to 5-10w indoors which is insane if they're scanning the crowd) - which will set fire to dark paper if held in one position. So yes, David's advice is sound - don't let it hit the lens! (Also consider what it will do to your eyes if you get scanned).
  2. I own Van Diemen Leica R rehousing, they're gorgeous. Yes, the iris is up front which makes clip-on matte boxes not a real option. I don't recall where, but I heard about their wire form drive system and went down the rabbit hole researching and finding their patent. It's a pretty simple and ingenious system and very simple [for a lens tech] to keep it tuned. I was smitten by how clever it was, so I went for it - there were other companies at the time doing the R's, though not as many as there are now. Currently I have 3 of my 4 lenses, going on year 3 with them. Van Diemen is not known for speed - I knew this going in - but keep it in mind that rehousing is basically a passion project when it comes to timeframes. As for original speed panchro glass vs. the re-released Panchro Classics - I love vintage lenses, yet I find myself far more attracted to the Panchro Classics than the rehoused originals. The originals tend to be in pretty bad shape in rental fleets or personal collections, so maybe I haven't seen any truly great sets. But the coatings of original panchros you find for sale now are generally in terrible shape - so the image you're seeing is a lot dreamier than the glass was capable of new. And every time I've used originals whether "naked" or rehoused I've found myself wishing they were a little...something else. The Classics on the other hand are stunning. And they're widely available. I bought a couple of original speed panchros with an eye to get them "TLS'd" until I worked with the classics. Immediately sold the originals - the Classics hit the sweet spot for me, they just look right. Lenses are insanely subjective, but I personally find something about the Panchro Classic image that I like more than both Superspeeds and S4s - two very different lenses, not to mention the originals. A little dirty, a little modern, super smooth.
  3. There's a big difference between wireless control and wireless dmx. A couple cautions - grab a spectrum analyzer and test whatever transceivers you're planning on using. ADJ / almost all of the chinese WDMX systems use insanely dirty transmitters that will blow-out any 2.4ghz gear you have. That may not be a problem - or it may be. A lot of current wireless follow focus use 2.4, some coms, some audio gear (even if the frequencies are TV-band, the telemetry may be 2.4). Basically just know exactly what frequencies you're stepping on before you start causing issues. Wireless Dmx is generally done to eliminate cable runs. However, aside from the GOOD (city theatrical, lumen) systems, it's generally adding a point of failure to a relatively bulletproof system. If you can run the dmx cables, do it. Inevitably, when you can least afford a hickup it'll happen. You bump a light level and the wireless focus jumps. oops. If your goal is to run some lights from your pocket there are so so so many ways to do that while playing nice with all the other rf in the space. Essentially every lighting board company has a remote app, there's luminair (decent for low channel counts), etc.. But when you start digging into skypanels, 12ch ain't gonna be enough. Martin, Hog, MA, Chamsys - all real lighting systems that have wireless apps to run them. Luminair uses the app as the lighting system, BUT the complexity of your "node" (the device that converts ethernet to dmx) is just as much as any other system and ultimately laminar isn't very powerful or fast to use. Personally I use chamsys, LOVE it and find it incredibly flexible. If you can find a cheap touchscreen windows tablet, wifi router and node - you're in business. For nodes - the chauvet netx is the best value there is and has a lot of features you don't need yet but will quickly grow into. That setup (win laptop, wifi, node) can run 8x universes of lighting - 4096 channels - or split into a lot of other configurations. Chauvet used to be a joke in lighting, cheap crap. That was as recently as 3yr ago, but a lot has changed and they're a real mfg now, their upper line is really good stuff. Regardless of the control system you'll use, I'd recommend buying a good node and wifi router, then you can play with every manufacturer's software and decide which works for you. I don't personally use any wireless dmx, I always run/have the cables run. You have to run power to them anyways, not a big deal to run signal as well. Plus - skypanels, nodes, any artnet device (dmx over cat5) can use cheap cat5 cable in long runs. Networked lighting is insanely powerful.
  4. You absolutely can, I haven't done it in a long while but I used to power it off the unregulated "12v" output on my steadicam all the time. The cams were all serviced and modern so the internal voltage regulators were plenty good to deal with slightly (1.5v) more voltage than normal. But because SR2 batteries are actually 14.4v - and modern bricks are technically 14.4v too, you're in luck and it should work. Just know that unregulated lithium bricks can be over 17v hot off charge, so I believe its prudent to not put that much out immediately unless you know the specs of the voltage regulator in your personal camera (SR2's were all over the place in what electronics were inside from service). But like all film cams, the initial roll-up of the motor is the largest current demand so as long as your battery can keep up with that initial spike, it'll power just fine. Most modern lithiums can handle well over 15A bursts/10A continuous which is plenty for much bigger cams than the little SR2. The old trick was - if you know your batteries are always going to come off charge at 17v then add two diodes to drop the voltage to 15.5v which was safe. I can't recall exactly what diodes/wiring but it's really easy to google.
  5. I assumed (incorrectly) that all water-based fluids are more or less the same. I was using Froggy's Beamsplitter in a Blizzard Arena Hazer for the majority of a show and found it to perform similarly to DF50 using DF50 Fluid. The hazer itself has significantly more output than the DF50 but the overall effect is about the same density and minimal movement with noticeably less hang time. Production replaced that fluid with Froggy's Faze Haze when our barrel ran out and didn't let me know they swapped types. So we ran the hazer exactly the same time (about 5 minutes on full power) but ended up completely fogging-out the stage. Running the hazer much lower and through big fans helped distribute more evenly but the Faze Haze juice was just way too dense and showed far too much movement. I haven't tested other fluids from their line but having seen that big of a difference between two of their haze products I'd definitely reach out to Froggys and ask which they recommend for the effect you're after, as they have so many juices tailored specifically for so many machines. If you're looking into machines, it's worth demoing the Blizzard Arena Hazer btw - the specs look inflated but they aren't - it's a tiny little beast of a hazer. It's so inexpensive, I got it to use alongside a pair of DF50's and ended up using only that and sending the DF's back.
  6. What's the end goal? Trying to reuse glass you own? Comfort of specific zoom ratios? Need for servo zoom? And "getting hands on" - to buy or rent or in hopes of owning and renting to others? There are legit uses for B4 adapters - the Sony F55 has a build-up kit that lets you benefit from that camera's latitude and color while using box lenses. Great solution for that purpose. But handheld w/ B4 21x - the optical quality just isn't anything special to necessitate the compromises. A buddy of mine used super 16 zooms on the F55 natively, center-crop mode, in order to have a 10:1 zoom on a Movi Pro for a couple months of car work. Clever compact solution, worked great for that purpose - but they still strapped a FIZ onto it. He would do it differently next time (with a S35 zoom and larger gimbal). Having used every flavor and iteration of doc-style lens on S35 cams, I can tell you I hate the B4 adapters. They seem like nice compromises to get massive zoom range in a small package, BUT the tradeoffs are generally not worth it. The HDx35 etc style adapters came out before the Cabrio or CN-E zooms were widely available, so they were filling a market niche of doc shooters suddenly using S35 sensors and pulling their own focus. Cabrio and CN-E are actually nice looking lenses (I prefer the look of the Canon). They mount natively, and if you need the servo it's there. They also interface with microforce, C-motion etc without external motors which does help keep things streamlined.
  7. PV Hollywood used to have some as part of their "New Filmmakers Grant." I don't believe they still rent them but relatively recently they would give them away as part of that program. Worth calling and asking - super friendly people.
  8. I'd say it's more the rule now than the exception. When the C300 came out originally, it moved from interviews into doc coverage very quickly when people saw how much better the image was. But I know a number of very good doc shooters who got fired in that first round because they were out of focus, dutch, and not "getting it." It's a very different way of shooting when the zoom ratios simply don't exist for the format the way they did for b4/s16. It's a lot more physical - moving your feet to get the closeup vs. snapping-in, always checking horizon because of the poor viewfinder/lcd systems generally involved. You may also start finding producers who have been in the industry short enough to only know the dslr "mostly out of focus except by accident" look - and ask you to shoot like that. Much like asking a steadi op to make it "more floaty." :) But no, it's definitely not the future - it's here and even old hat by now. I haven't seen a B4 camera in probably 5yrs except in live situations. The real problem is lensing because pulling your own focus needs different lenses than cinema 300-degree pulls and different than dslr autofocus lens 30 degree pulls. Canon 17-120 and Fujinon 19-90 are pretty much standard in the doc/reality world because of the range, ease of pull and optical quality. F55 w/ 17-120 is a nicely balanced setup BTW and w/ the LCD (not the EVF) it's very usable for pulling your own focus.
  9. If the Canon C series aren't too big for what you're trying to do, they're remarkably weather resistant and offer many features over using a DSLR. We recently shot 3x days in a facility that trains pilots for rescues at sea, and they simulate hurricane winds and rotor wash with torrential downpour. Primary cameras were Canon C300 (mk1) with Canon EF-L glass because that combination is rainproof. I can vouch that without any additional exposure coverage on the cameras themselves (we did wrap the audio, timecode, video transmitters), they were great for 3x days of 12x hours in heavy rain and humidity. I have never personally dunked on, but the camera is built to survive immersion. I have actually shot in russian steam baths with those cameras as well where the crew all had to bow-out from the heat and humidity while the cameras and lenses chugged along just fine. Any time I need a camera system that's bulletproof - Canon C series. For your purposes, shooting it like a hasselblad w/o the monitor will make it look/feel like a dslr. But FYI the monitor system itself is ALSO water resistant.
  10. There are basically two styles of photography - shadow and reflective. A lot of product photography (cars, phones, jewelry, alcohol) is reflective. You can't cast a shadow on the face of a mirror, right? So how do you get it to have shape? With reflective photography, you're playing with the shapes of light that the object "sees." If the object "sees" your source directly, it'll reflect that source. Try bouncing your light around so your sources are completely hidden from the object and see where that gets you - then start playing with the shape of light on the bounce surfaces to "tune" the reflections. And see if you can find a book about tabletop photography - the scale of objects may be smaller or larger than what you're trying to do but the concepts are the same and you can scale the concepts.
  11. Brian is correct. Don't overthink the technicality or downplay the skill of people who do these things well. Ops who shoot handheld doc-style every day hours on end tend to be pretty good at shooting doc-style smoothly. Balance is key, practice is key. There is only one trick involved in this type of thing and everyone has touched on it one way or another. It doesn't look "confused" because your eye knows where to look. Between the operating and the editing, your eye is drawn where they want it to be drawn. That's the trick. Your brain will stabilize shots for your eyes when you WANT to focus on something. If you're following the ball and clearly the ball is the focus then you're not aware of how the edges of the frame are moving. If 90% of the frame is one guy and you can follow him as he and the camera move - you're not paying much attention to the nuance of how the frame edges are moving. Part of that is because you brain is concentrating on the info you've been given and part of it is that the editors have chosen EXACTLY what information to give you. There is a misconception that handheld is "sloppy." Doesn't have to be. Good operating and editing go a long way.
  12. There are basically two models of doc production (simplifying bit here) - distributed and non-distributed. Non-distributed is the passion model - you're making a doc because the subject matter is important for you to share. Often that means you've concepted it, shot it, directed it, edited it, mixed it, etc...and funded it (or fundraised it). Essentially you're working spec to shoot and finish it with the hopes it "goes somewhere." Distributed means someone wants a doc about a specific subject and has a budget to produce that doc. It may find a life different at the end - but from the get-go there's a client with and idea of what it is and who the audience is. That can mean theatrical distribution or TV/streaming. In general, because there is a budget and client, this model has more complete crewing from research to field to post. If your goal is to work as an editor in doc, then you're basically looking at this style of production and you can focus your efforts on finding companies that specialize in doc/reality. Yes, some spec docs do hire editors but I wouldn't plan on making a career of editing spec docs. Making a passion doc is absolutely a great thing to do, BUT unless you hit it out of the park it's probably not going to lead you to job after job doing what you're looking to do. You'll certainly learn a lot. That said, there is so much to learn by working FOR as many people as possible and paying attention to the ways they deal with various situations that may have nothing to do with technical skills. In the US, in terms of getting a relatively intro understanding of the top-to-bottom of doc production the best position to aim for is AP (associate producer). AP's in doc here tend to have a hand in every pot from the research phase to the field shoots to the post process. Most doc AP's I know develop very tight relationships with their EP's, Producers, DP's and Editors and, at times, will be trusted to do elements of all those roles. Especially once footage comes back - often AP's will help the producers string-out sequences for the editors. Editors aren't often on-set outside of the spec passion projects where they're producer/director/dp/audio/editor / / / / . They rely heavily on the notes from the field, transcriptions, and those string outs that the producers assembled in order to speed-up the process. If your goal is to work into offline editing, it's super important to pay attention to the process as it passes from stage to stage. Taking a wholistic approach, seeing how elements are acquired in the field, how the producers tell the story, how the sequences are built - and finished by the editors - helps understand what does and doesn't work. Even seeing a talented editor take a string out and turn it into a segment is important in learning the nuance of editing which is a lot more than simply knowing some software. AP isn't an entry-level position. But often doc companies are loyal to their people and will promote PA's that show good work ethic and attitude relatively quickly to AP positions. It's important to communicate your goals to the people you work for so they can help you get there. Best approach is to work for people WHILE making your own doc. You get to try everything and apply lessons learned.
  13. basically any moving head profile or spot. Varilite / MAC are nicknames and also models but like you said - it's a stage light. Philips Vair-Lite makes about a dozen units that would do that as do Martin in their Mac line. Basically all moving spots have color wheels and beam effect gobos built-in so creating that effect would be almost instant. Bigger/heavier/more expensive moving profiles will have a lot more features like controllable beam shutters (like the framing shutters on a leko) and also many more gobos. BUT for a simple effect like that, basically every entertainment moving spot is loaded with at least 6x interesting beam effect gobos. That appears to be the "pebbles" gobo in a Varilite. Wheel 2 (fixed non-rotating). See which VL's your local rental house has, know for sure anything past the VL2K has that gobo. BUT even other brands will have something similar - it's a super basic breakup gobo meant to be seen as beams in haze. Any dot/spot pattern will give that effect.
  14. Ursa mini is roughly the same size as FS7 body but heavier and less features. What are you trying to shoot/what specs do you need the camera head to have? It seems a bit backwards to start with a compact gimbal and buy a camera to fit it. FS5 is actually quite capable. It does have cine EI (s-log3 or ) but does not have onboard LUTS beyond a simple S-log to REC709 that's very neutral. It is not the same sensor as FS7 but is still a nice picture and if you're generating your LUTS it's quite easy to make one to match it closely to most cams out there. As a gimbal cam, it's very feature rich - we had one flying on a Ronin2 for a couple months on a cable, matched to FS7s and it cut quite well. FS5 is basically the A6300 sensor with more features. I have used the Ronin 1 not the M so I can't speak to the capabilities of the M. But I can tell you that the Ronin 2 is a quantum leap forward in terms of capability and reliability. You can't see the 2 next to the 1 and believe they're from the same company. The 2 doesn't lose calibration and essentially every complaint I ever had with DJI products has been addressed - the 2 is a proper bit of professional equipment. And it's payload is 35lb, has built-in extended arms. Point being - upgrade your stabilizer to fit more cameras instead of finding one camera to fit your stabilizer. Cameras are flavor of the day, support equipment tends to have more lifespan. And - you can't always dictate the camera on the project, sometimes producers/outside forces dictate for you.
  15. It'll be more trouble than it's worth. BUT you can replace the onboard pots with Bourns motorized pots and figure out a way to control those motors. That'll do what you want. BUT at that point, you'll have spent more time/energy than just finding DMX'able lights. Matthew is 100% correct. And almost all current LED lights use PWM dimming which is switching on/off incredibly rapidly at full power to the LED's themselves. Dimming" the power to them will dim the input power - which gets converted to a specific voltage of DC before the LED driver - meaning that you'll do nothing until you hit a point at which the driver doesn't have enough current, then it'll shut off. Keep you panels for floor work and get cheap panels to fly.
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