Which cine camera produces the best image? Geoff Boyle has surprises in store

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Respected cinematographer Geoff Boyle and CML(the Cinematography Mailing List) have set out to evaluate the image quality of popular cine cameras in their annual camera test evaluation. The controlled evaluations were carried out at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK on the 24th & 25th January 2015.

The idea of the test was to push the cameras to their limits by going from four stops over exposed to four stops under exposed – both in daylight and tungsten lighting. It appears that this inherently gives single chip sensors greater problems than those with three imagers. You can see preliminary frame grabs from the tests here.

The full results and conclusions are yet to be posted but Geoff has given away some early clues about the results. The two traditional cameras that traditionally beat out everything else – the Sony F65 and Arri Alexa are now joined by the Red Dragon and the Panasonic Varicam at the top of the tree.

This from CML:
All Cameras were shot under both Tungsten and Daylight. This is not meant as a “shoot out” or a “camera comparison” it’s simply a fact finding mission, we exposed cameras either for 400 ISO or 800 iSO as requested by the manufacturers. Light levels in the daylight setting were adjusted to optimise exposure for 400 or 800 in daylight, in tungsten everything was lit for 800 and that’s why some frames indicate +1 stop as the iris was adjusted to compensate for the difference.

There is also a 5,000 ISO test as this is a major feature of the Varicam PL, we also included the Canon C500 in this test as I knew from previous experience that it was very good at 2,500 ISO. No other camera was included because they didn’t come close.


Exposure was set at T5.6. On the tungsten day we kept this level for all cameras, this meant that the 0-Stop reading on the 400 ISO cameras is actually -1-Stop

On the daylight day we changed levels, doubling the light level for the 400 ISO cameras so that exposures were constant.

The main light source was a Cineo Trucolor XS (remote phosphor LED) through a 8 * 4 trace frame to the left, and 8 * 4 bounce board to the right and either 1 or 2 12″ Trucolor MatchStix as kickers depending on the level we were shooting at.

All PL mount cameras were shot using the same Cook 50mm 5i lens. The B4 mount camera had a 20mm DigiPrime and the C mount camera had an antique 25mm T1.3

Here is a link to the RAW page.

Geoff also mentions that the common idea that three sensors will give better colour reproduction than a single sensor camera has been proven to be true without a shadow of a doubt. The colour off a three sensor camera is better than any single sensor camera evaluated.

Geoff will be part of the 4K Workflows seminar at the Post Production World conference at NAB – April 15th from 9:30 AM – 4:45 PM. There he will share his latest camera comparisons. We will also be talking to Geoff about his findings on our Teradek live show at NAB.

The cameras tested were:
Arri Alexa
Arri Amira
Canon C500
BlackMagic URSA
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema
AJA Cion
Sony F65
RED Dragon (Low Light & Skin Tone)
IOindustries 4KSDI
Panasonic Varicam (PL)
Panasonic Varicam(High Speed Version)
Digital Bolex

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Posted on March 31st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: AJA Cion, Arri Alexa, Arri Amira, Canon C500, Sony, Varicam 35 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zacuto release 1.1 firmware for their Gratical EVF – adds new features

By site editor Dan Chung:

zacuto fw

Zacuto have released a firmware update for their Gratical HD EVF. The new version 1.1 offers a range of improvements that includes the ability to export look up tables (LUTs) which can be shared between other Graticals. Audio metering is now enabled across SDI and scopes can now be set to toggle between showing the raw data input from the camera and the input once the LUT is applied. It can be downloaded here.

Importantly for users of the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q and 7Q+ the Gratical will now correctly detect the SDI signal coming from it. Below is the full list of features new to this firmware version taken from the Zacuto website:

LUT creation is now implemented. When entering this menu, the values of any active LUT will be
shown. This includes Zacuto preset LUTs, so users will now be able to tweak the LUTs we created
LUT export is now implemented. Exported LUTs will be saved in a .zlut file format. The .zlut format
is only compatible with other Graticals.

Scopes can now toggle between two settings: raw input data from camera or raw input data plus
Gratical applied LUTs

Error message is now displayed when attempting to import a 3D LUT

Exposure Assist (zebras) now appear at the correct setting

Audio Meters are now enabled on the SDI path

Frame lines now scale correctly with anamorphic settings

With anamorphic de-squeeze on and scopes active, the video image now centers toward the scopes

Scopes can be positioned along the top or bottom of the image

Custom LUTs can now be mapped to a function button

Red line peaking and zebras are now usable simultaneously

Stored frames can now be seen without requiring a video input source to be plugged in to the

Menu transparency setting added to the menu settings menu

Joystick controls will now flip when image flip is active

Frame Lines now have current video standard names

RBG setting is removed from the display calibration menu. This setting was not providing any
unique adjustment that is not already possible by adjusting the individual R, G, and B color channels

Gratical will now correctly detect the SDI signal coming from an Odyssey

SDI video detection and system stability improved

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: EVF | Permalink | Comments (0) launches – An interview with founder Emery Wells

By technical editor Matt Allard: officially launches today and I took the opportunity to speak to its founder Emery Wells. We discuss what was behind the original concept for Frame.IO, how it works, who it is aimed at and how much it will cost to use. is a sharing platform for video that allows you to upload all your source media, work in progress and assets into private workspaces where you can invite your team and clients to collaborate. It aims to replace the tedious tasks of using multiple programs such as Dropbox for file sharing, Vimeo for video review and email clients for communication. aims to combine all these processes into one easy to use application. Obviously to work this way requires good internet connectivity.

One thing to be aware of is isn’t a distribution platform. It is not designed to replace platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.

This from
In July of 2014 we announced to the world and with that, a promise of a more connected and collaborative way to create films, videos, and all sorts of multi-media.

But our journey started long before that. Three years ago my co-founder John and I decided the status quo just wasn’t going to cut it anymore so we set out to engineer the future. Along our path we’ve turned down work opportunities, relationships, and several acquisition offers by major tech companies because we’re committed to building a great business that will last.

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Posted on March 31st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (0)

What’s in your kit bag? – latest Rode video with DP Jason Wingrove

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Everybody wants to know ‘What’s in your kit bag?’ It has to be one of the most common questions asked of every filmmaker, DP or audio engineer. Australian microphone maker Rode’s continuing series asks this very question and in the latest episode they talk to our friend Jason Wingrove, a Sydney based director shooting TVC, documentary & high end corporate projects world wide.

What’s in Jason’s kit bag:
Crumpler Shoulder Bag
Grid-It by Cocoon
Suunto Tandem
Vocas Hand grip
RØDE Broadcaster
Dog Schidt modified lenses

You can follow Jason and check out his work at:

If you want to share what’s in your kit bag then post a video or pic and tag it with #WIYKB on Twitter for a chance to be featured on the Rode channel.

Rode is a sponsor of

Posted on March 31st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Audio, Camera bags, Lenses | Permalink | Comments (0)

A sneak peek at the new RED Weapon

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Jarred Land from RED has posted up a very brief video showcasing the new RED Weapon design. While it doesn’t give away much it is the first real sneak peak of the over all design of the new camera.


The exact specifications and upgrade path to Weapon are still yet to be announced, but over on the RED User forum there is speculation of a VistaVision sized sensor upgrade possibly coming down the track. VistaVision is a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35mm motion picture film format which was created by engineers at Paramount Pictures in 1954. Could RED be unveiling a 65mm Weapon at NAB to compete with the Arri 65?

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Posted on March 30th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, 6K, Red | Permalink | Comments (0)

AutoScript WinPlus remote iPad prompting system allows ‘live’ script updates on location

By site editor Dan Chung:

There are several iPad teleprompter solutions out there nowadays, but at BVE in London last month Vitec were showing a system that has some unique features. The new WinPlus remote iPad based prompter is designed to be used on location or in remote studios and can be integrated with the main AutoScript WinPlus system of a TV network.


It allows scripts to be downloaded and synchronised between field and studio via FTP, so that everyone is working to the same script no matter where they are. For breaking news and sports the script can be updated ‘live’.

A full Autoscript WinPlus system isn’t a prerequisite to use WinPlus remote. Users of other systems can manually copy scripts to the WinPlus remote FTP server and they can still be viewed remotely.

For more info go to the AutoScript website.

Posted on March 30th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: iPad | Permalink | Comments (0)

The ‘Shooter’s Affliction’ – Five easy ways to help prevent camera related injuries

By Rick Macomber:

Rotator cuff selfie

Rotator cuff selfie

Camera related injuries. They could easily be called ‘the shooter’s affliction’. Repetitive strain injuries. Bulging discs in your lower back. Referred nerve pain. Tendonitis. Injuries that are sustained slowly over time from repetitive strain on the human body. In other words – from doing the same movements with your battery-loaded camera and heavy tripod over and over again for long enough to cause serious damage. Oh, and did I mention that pack on your back filled with extra brick batteries, lenses and perhaps a live signal transmitting device? Really. It’s no joke. Although you don’t feel any symptoms while you’re young, if you keep lifting and carrying your camera gear incorrectly, you will eventually acquire shooter’s affliction. Just like me. And you’ll be rebuilt – one surgery at a time. Just like me. That’s why I’ve written this blog explaining five easy ways to prevent camera related injuries.

Shooting Celtics at the Old Boston Garden

Shooting Celtics at the Old Boston Garden

I’ve been at this for over 30 years, shooting with heavy ENG cameras in news, sports, entertainment and documentary work. When I was a bit younger I could shoot hand-held for hours on end. As a matter of fact I hardly ever took the camera off my shoulder. I shot lots of hand-held sports like the New England Patriots on the sidelines and the Boston Celtics in the old sweaty, rat-infested Boston Garden during the days of the great Larry Bird – Magic Johnson rivalry. Yeah, I sat cross-legged on the parquet floor with one of the first two-part ENG style cameras on my shoulder for entire games for many years (see picture above). Although I felt only muscle fatigue at the time, I was most likely doing damage to the discs in my lower back. I also carried the 3/4 inch U-matic tape recording deck on my other shoulder… for balance! When I think about it now, we lugged around 50 to 70 lbs. of gear on a regular basis. And we would walk some serious distances with it too; through ball parks, stadiums, hospitals – you name it. With no two wheel or four wheel carts.

Mt. Washinton Summit shoot

Mt. Washinton Summit shoot

Then came the Sony BETACAM, which consisted of a camera with a deck mounted to the back of it. Those suckers were heavy. The new design also shifted all of the weight to the right shoulder. There was no more equal distribution to both shoulders once the separate recording deck was eliminated. Shouldering that kind of weight regularly takes its toll on your body.

The most popular injury that seems to plague shooters – other than typical lower back pain – is the notorious rotator cuff RSI that eventually becomes a rotator cuff tear in the area of the shoulder and upper bicep, especially if your gigs include lots of hand-held work from shooting sports, news, reality TV, or feature films. Most broadcast TV cameras used for sports and news are still beasts, such as the Sony F-800 XDCAM, or you can find yourself shooting features with the tricked out 3D RED franken-rig. If you’re not careful in the way you handle these monsters, what can start out as simple tendonitis may sooner or later put you on the operating table of your orthopedic surgeon for a procedure that will give you a lengthy stay on the disabled list.


The reason both rotator cuff tendons can eventually tear over time with shooters is because of the way you raise your camera up to your tripod with the right arm, or up on the right shoulder with the left arm. The younger you are the more careless you tend to be in the manner you wield your rig around with one arm, as if you were a Jedi Master with your double-bladed lightsaber. It doesn’t matter how much weight you pump at the gym or how many push-ups you can do. It’s all about the unnatural way you’re lifting that rig up above the shoulder line with one hand. Unlike a rotator cuff tear that happens from a fall or other traumatic injury, this type is called an “attritional” or “wear and tear” type of tear, which is caused by that every day repetitive lifting motion. Trust me. I’ve been there. I’ve already done the damage to BOTH shoulders! I’ve been eating ibuprofen and acetaminophen like candy for at least a decade. But you can’t go on doing that forever. Taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs over a long period of time can result in stomach ulcers. And abuse of acetaminophen can lead to liver problems – especially if you drink alcohol. When you have persistent pain in either shoulder accompanied by muscle weakness, and physiotherapy strengthening exercises and/or cortisone shots have not done the trick, it’s time for a trip to your orthopedic surgeon for an MRI scan. I remember when it got to that point. I couldn’t even push a stinger plug into a wall outlet without severe pain and couldn’t sleep at night on the affected shoulder without waking up in pain.

There are different types of rotator cuff tears. A partial thickness tear means it was not torn all the way through the tendon. A full thickness tear is torn all the way through and can be difficult to repair unless it’s a “small” full thickness tear. There are also medium, large and massive tears. If you have a massive full thickness tear, the tendon may not be able to regenerate itself even with surgery. However, surgical techniques are forever evolving with new technology. For instance my first rotator cuff tear on the right shoulder occurred years ago. Back then the surgeon had to make that incision on top of the shoulder through all the muscle and nerve tissue, making for a much longer recovery. My left shoulder was done just recently. Both shoulders had large tears, but the latest procedure was an arthroscopic surgery, saving the muscle and nerves from damage under the knife and making the recovery time shorter and less painful (see below photo).

Stitches and black and blue

Stitches and black and blue

Another common camera related injury we see in our industry is the torn elbow tendon, which usually starts off as tendonitis – otherwise known as “tennis elbow”. I’ve had this affliction in both elbows. I ended up having surgery on my left elbow after the injury persisted and eventually tore the tendon. I can remember it got so bad that I couldn’t even grip a brick battery or a carton of milk from the fridge without severe pain in my elbow. Sometimes cortisone shots to the affected area in combination with ice gel packs can bring down the inflammation enough to end your misery without enduring surgery. You can also wear an adjustable forearm strap around your arm just below the elbow. The better ones include a small air pillow which adds a bit of pressure to the tendon. This takes the strain off the inflamed area when you try to grip something. In my case it worked with my right elbow. . .but unfortunately not with my left.

Another common condition that happens over time from hand-held camera work is the dreaded lower back pain problem. This starts out as nagging pain in your lumbar spine. Sometimes it’s just muscular, but repeated hand-held work can slowly damage your discs from the weight of the camera pushing down on your vertebrae. Eventually these discs start to bulge. . .until one or more of them hit a nerve root in your spine. This nerve root is usually located at the L4 and L5 vertebrae. Once this happens, you will most likely feel referred nerve pain down one of your legs and possibly even into your foot or big toe. The medical term for this is sciatica. It can be aggravated by sitting or driving daily for long periods of time. The pain can often be managed by changing your work habits, like standing more while editing or getting out of your car more frequently to stretch. Yoga or Pilates can also help by strengthening your core muscles. If this condition worsens it might be time to consider some cortisone shots into the area of the affected disc. Surgery should only be considered as a last ditch effort if all else fails.

These lower back, shoulder and elbow repetitive strain injuries are all being exacerbated by use of the latest and most popular piece of kit for camera motion stabilization called the brushless gimbal. Operators need to be wary of overbearing producers or directors who ask you to work handheld with this device for eight to ten hours a day over long periods of time. Remember – everything in moderation. If you abuse the body consistently, you will end up on the disability list.

Playing with Freefly MôVI

Playing with Freefly MôVI

Finally, while on the subject of bulging and herniated discs, another section of the spine that can become injured from hand-held camera work is the cervical disc area of the neck. More specifically C4 – C5 or C5 – C6 and sometimes C6 – C7. The nerve pain can radiate or shoot down the bicep, deltoids or scapula to the fingertips or thumb. As the nerve is impinged and inflammation worsens, the pain can be significant. Treatment should begin with rest followed by warm compresses and gentle neck mobility exercises, then some physiotherapy before resorting to steroid shots or surgery.

So, if you’re a person who makes your living by slinging a television or cinema camera, here are some simple ways to stave off these common disorders:

1. It seems elementary, but if you use both arms to lift a camera to your shoulder or tripod instead of wielding it around like a kettle bell weight with one arm, it will take a lot of strain off the joints and tendons of your wrists, arms and shoulders. That goes for reaching into a vehicle to grab your tripod with one arm outstretched as well. Always use both hands to grab heavy gear and bend the elbows instead of locking them in an extended position. This will save the tendons of your elbows from inflammation in the years to come. Oh – and always bend your knees when lifting gear to save your lower back. Which brings me to the spine.

2. To help prevent bulging discs in your spine, use a monopod for extended hand-held work like sports or long interviews that you might usually shoot off the shoulder when you don’t need to be moving much. You’ll be surprised how much longer you can go without feeling lower back or neck pain. Also use a cart to lug gear around when you can. For years I was one of the foolish ones who carried everything around in my arms, slung around my shoulders and on my back.

3. Don’t stand around with a camera on your shoulder when you’re just waiting for the next scene or for a hand-held interview to begin. Put it down either on the ground or back on the tripod. I’ve seen so many younger guys unwittingly abusing their lower backs by hanging around looking cool with their cameras on their shoulders. You can always tell the experienced shooters. Their cameras are “at ease” when not rolling on a shot. That goes for working with the new brushless gimbal stabilizers too. Do not abuse your back, arms and shoulders. Listen to your body when it signals you to take a break.

4. If you are doing lots of driving, stop your vehicle and give your spine a good stretch. Years of sitting in a car for long periods of time will do a number on your lower back down the road, causing irritation to your sciatic nerves and possible disc problems. The nerves can get so inflamed, the pain could travel to your right foot and actually prevent you from using the gas and brakes over time.

5. This one is important. Go to a gym and train your body with weights or yoga. Strengthen your core. There are a zillion YouTube videos out there showing proper methods of core training. I cannot stress this enough. I know so many filmmakers who become injured simply because they are out of shape. Obviously there are some injuries that occur with age no matter how strong you are or how much weight lifting or stretching you do, but having a strong body from the get-go is key to staying injury free and building that muscle memory as you grow older. So stay healthy and happy shooting!

DP/Director and photojournalist Rick Macomber is the winner of four Emmy Awards, nominated for eight Emmys in Videography and Editing and ten time first place winner for the Boston Press Photographers’ Association. His coverage of the Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand for CBS Boston has won him a prestigious Boston Press Photographers “Best of Show” award. Rick has also covered major breaking news stories around the globe including 9-11 from Ground Zero in NYC and the 50th Anniversary of D-Day from the beaches of Normandy, France. You can read more about Rick and his work on his blog


This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

The medical information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Macomber Productions/ makes no representations or warranties in relation to the medical information on this website.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, Macomber Productions/ does not warrant that:

The medical information on this website will be constantly available, or available at all; or
The medical information on this website is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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Nothing in this medical disclaimer will limit any of our liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law, or exclude any of our liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.

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Posted on March 30th, 2015 by Rick Macomber | Category: Journalism | Permalink | Comments (1)

BB&S Pipeline System – Remote phosphor lights for travelling correspondents

By technical editor Matt Allard:


Danish company BB&S have announced a new remote phosphor LED lighting solution aimed at reporters on the go. The new Pipeline system has a versatile form factor and according to BB&S offers superior color rendering. The Pipeline System features fan-less operation for both daylight and tungsten color output, wireless DMX control and can run on AC or DC. A diverse array of kits will be available to accommodate small to large-scale production.

Made to address the challenges of travelling correspondents who often deliver their reports via Skype or Messenger from a webcam on a desktop, the Pipeline Reporter 3200, 4300 and 5600 Kits will make their debut at NAB. BB&S claim the remote phosphor LED fixtures in the Reporter Kits deliver modelled lighting with a high CRI, to an on-camera reporter under a wide range of ambient lighting conditions. The footprint of each fixture is less than a computer mouse and set up takes just a minute. Each two-fixture kit comes complete with versatile power accessories and everything else needed. For transportation it also comes in its own lightweight case that easily meets onboard airline regulations.

It is good to see a company thinking outside of the box and coming up with a solution for a unique market. With more and more news reports being done by Video Journalists the Pipeline offers an interesting solution for adding an extra level of quality to online broadcasts.

BBS Lighting’s will also be showing the K7 LED Display fixture at NAB. Round in shape, the small and unobtrusive K7 hides in small nooks in the background of live television program sets, museums and other high-end displays where it provides high CRI illumination. It easily attaches to most surfaces via a strong neodymium magnet, and can be oriented in any direction. Beam control is provided by quick-change lenses and honeycombs. The fixture comes with a choice of 2W 3000K, 4000K or 5600K or 2W LEDs. The power supply runs off 120-240 VAC.

The Newsshooter team will be sure to check them out at the NAB show next month in Las Vegas.

Posted on March 28th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Lighting | Permalink | Comments (0)

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