Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Toolbox

  • Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018
Addis Ababa State TV places Facilis shared storage at heart of new digital production workflow
Addis Ababa's TV control room
HUDSON, Mass. -- 

Facilis, an international supplier of cost-effective, high performance shared storage solutions for collaborative media production networks, has announced the successful installation of a multi-user shared storage system within a new state-of-the-art broadcast production facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Facilis has supplied a TerraBlock 24EX/16 64TB shared storage system to Ethiopian regional broadcaster, Addis Ababa State TV (Addis Ababa City Government Mass Media Agency). Throughout the project, Facilis worked closely with local channel partner, Onset Media Systems.

Addis Ababa City Government Mass Media Agency is known as “the voice of the city,” operating Addis Lisan magazine and the Metropolitan Journal alongside its TV station. Addis Ababa State TV is a 24/7 TV channel broadcasting a mixture of news, current affairs and entertainment programs over satellite and digital terrestrial broadcasts. To enhance its digital broadcast resources, Addis Ababa State TV appointed Onset Media Systems to design, build and commission a new digital workflow.

Onset Media Systems specializes in the design and integration of bespoke systems to meet the needs of mission critical applications within its client operations. At Addis Ababa State TV, it has placed Facilis shared storage at the heart of a complete new digital workflow which supports all of its TV and radio production operations. The Facilis storage system was commissioned in September and the new digital workflow will come online in the coming months.

The Facilis TerraBlock storage system features state-of-the-art high-speed connectivity. It provides a combination of Ethernet (10Gb) plus Fibre Channel (8Gb) connectivity. This advanced multi-user shared storage system is supporting a network of almost 100 editors and other creative production executives at Addis Ababa TV’s production headquarters.

Within this advanced connectivity, staff are able to share content and work collaboratively across the entire spectrum of production activities. The Facilis storage integrates alongside SI Media’s media asset management (MAM), ingest and playout systems, as well as Grass Valley Edius editing and SI Media’s Newsroom system.

Having installed this advanced storage architecture, Addis Ababa has effectively future-proofed its operations in the long-term. In particular, the Fibre Channel option means that the broadcaster can up-scale to HD and 4K workflows in the future, as and when it is needed.

Onset Media Systems is responsible for the design, integration and commissioning of this major new digital workflow--it was their decision to integrate Facilis shared storage in this mission critical application. “The client was attracted to Facilis because of its advanced connectivity options at affordable prices,” said Jody Dresner, managing director--commercial at Onset Media Systems. “Fibre Channel storage is a very attractive facility for Addis Ababa and this is integrated within a proven, reliable storage system that meets all of our production needs today and long into the future.”

“In Africa, we face a different set of challenges--both physical and economic--than you will find in Europe or North America,” Dresner added. “Facilis TerraBlock is a proven, reliable storage platform that offers advanced capabilities with associated investment costs that are affordable to our clients --it is a real win-win scenario.”

  • Monday, Mar. 5, 2018
Felix Fissel named VP of global operations at VFXnow
Felix Fissel
LOS ANGELES -- 

GPL Technologies has hired Felix Fissel to lead its VFXnow unit as VP of global operations. Fissel, an IT specialist with deep experience in the visual effects industry, will oversee VFXnow operations in Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. He will also lead business development and seek to expand markets for the unit, a hardware-as-a-service provider to visual effects studios, game developers, editing houses and other creative services companies. Additionally, he will spearhead the launch of a new cloud-based service that will provide visual effects companies with virtual access to rendering capacity, workstations and other high-performance technology.

“Felix brings impressive technical expertise and a clear vision for moving VFXnow forward,” said GPL CEO Brian Terrell. “His passion and experience in visual effects is critical to our ability to meet our clients’ current needs and develop innovative, new resources that will carry them into the future.”

Fissel joins VFXnow from the visual effects studio Pixomondo. As global head of IT, he was responsible for managing the technical infrastructure for seven facilities across three continents. Originally from Germany, he was trained as an engineer at Fachhochschule, Darmstadt, before joining Pixomondo in 2006.

A key mission for Fissel will be to broaden VFXnow’s offering through cloud-based services. The company plans to introduce a platform that will allow visual effects studios to access rendering, storage and computer resources on an as-needed basis through a private network. “We’re expanding the concept of hardware-as-a-service,” he said. “Companies often need to add capacity quickly but lack physical space to store extra rendering nodes and storage systems. Our clients will be able to access as many render nodes as they need, instantly, without worrying about things like space, power and cooling.”

Fissel added that VFXnow is uniquely qualified to deliver integrated cloud services for visual effects production. “Our model will be less expensive and more attuned to the needs of visual effects studios than other solutions,” he said. 

  • Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018
Filmotechnic gives smooth coverage to 2018 Winter Olympics
A Filmotechnic rig in action at the Winter Games
LOS ANGELES -- 

Filmotechnic, the Academy Award-winning fabricator of camera systems, camera cranes, and gyro stabilized heads for film, motion picture and ad industries, deployed its resources to provide viewers with extensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is the latest of multiple Olympic Games that Filmotechnic has been contracted to supply their image stabilization equipment. In the U.S., Filmotechnic USA is best known for its leading camera car fleet. 

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were expected to be cold, but the weather was more severe than predicted. Wind and ice pellets left Olympic snowboarders simply trying to stay on course. Ski jumpers dealt with snow “tornadoes” and swirling gusts. Bi-athletes tried to ski and to shoot straight in bitter cold and high cross winds. Qualifying runs for the Women’s Slopestyle were called off after 50 runs resulted in 41 falls or athletes simply giving up. Through it all, the Filmotechnic equipment performed flawlessly. 

Filmotechnic’s team began prepping two years ago for the 2018 Winter Olympics. To handle the demand for equipment, a new fabrication facility employing over 200 technicians was built in the Ukraine. Being engineered and tested in the Ukraine, known for its unpredictable weather, helped to develop trouble-free equipment. To cover all the venues, Filmotechnic deployed 30 cranes and other rigs specially designed to capture all the action. Depending on the day, 30 to 50 technicians were operating the equipment. 

Founded by Anatoliy Kokush, Filmotechnic is a front runner in research and development of camera car systems, cranes, flight heads and other image stabilization technologies. Kokush is a two-time Academy Award Winner in the 78th Annual Scientific and Engineering Awards for his development of the Russian Arm gyro-stabilized camera crane and flight head.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
Panavision panel on 8K set for SXSW
Dan Sasaki
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. -- 

Panavision will explore the beauty of 8K large format in an eye-opening presentation at SXSW on March 13 at 11 a.m. at the Vimeo Theater in Austin, Texas. Attendees at the interactive discussion will learn about the symbiotic relationship between full-frame imaging devices and large-format optics, and how these tools can help improve production value while remaining cost effective. The session will also present clips that demonstrate the benefits of 8K capture and how ultra-high resolution equates to more creative control.

Panavision’s Dan Sasaki, an optical engineer who has developed and customized lenses for such films as “Dunkirk,” “The Hateful Eight,” and “Saving Private Ryan,” will lead the presentation. Joining him will be Panavision’s Aaron Kroger, director of digital camera systems, and Light Iron Senior Colorist Sean Dunckley. 

Sasaki developed many of Panavision’s popular anamorphic and large-format lenses. Since joining the company in 1986, he has designed and customized optics for many award-winning cinematographers, including Steve Yedlin, ASC (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”); Haris Zambarloukos, BSC, GSC (“Murder on the Orient Express”); and Rachel Morrison, ASC (“Black Panther”).

Kroger began his career at Light Iron, where he was instrumental in designing the facility’s Outpost mobile post lab as well as training camera crews how to use them on-set. He supported Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” several seasons of “Criminal Minds,” 3D features such as “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and dozens of movies. After Light Iron was acquired by Panavision, Kroger joined the team that created the Millennium DXL camera and has been instrumental in demonstrating the new camera to cinematographers, directors, and studio executives.

Dunckley has collaborated with some of the industry’s top talent working on features, commercials, and television shows. His credits include Dan Fogelman’s upcoming feature “Life Itself,” past SXSW selections “Patti Cake$,” “Lucky,” and “Kelly & Cal,” and this year’s Oscar-nominated short “Heroin(e).” He has also colored music videos for John Mellencamp, Dr. John, and Beyoncé.

Panavision recently introduced the Millennium DXL2, a next-generation, large-format 8K camera that is at the core of a complete imaging ecosystem designed from filmmakers’ perspectives. The DXL2 seamlessly incorporates Panavision’s unmatched optics and camera architecture, the RED MONSTRO 8K VV sensor, and Light Iron Color 2 science (LiColor2).

Festival-goers must have an Platinum or Film Badge to attend.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
Jeff Rosica named Avid CEO after investigation results in termination of Louis Hernandez, Jr.
Jeff Rosica
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid Technology Inc.’s board of directors has appointed Jeff Rosica as CEO of Avid, effective immediately. He replaces Louis Hernandez, Jr., whose employment the board has terminated due to violations of company policies related to workplace conduct. Former CEO Hernandez also resigned from his position on the Avid board of directors and Nancy Hawthorne has been elected chairman of the board.

Rosica, who takes on the CEO mantle while retaining his role as president, joined Avid in early 2013. He is  a well-known industry veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast, media and entertainment. Prior to his role as president, he served as SVP, chief sales and marketing officer for the company.

Hawthorne said, “Jeff’s deep experience as an industry expert coupled with his impressive knowledge of Avid’s business and strategy make him the natural choice to lead the company.”

Avid president and CEO Rosica said, “I am honored and excited for this opportunity to lead Avid through this important moment in the company’s history. The outlook for Avid is strong, and I look forward to working with the leadership team, the board and our incredibly talented employees as we execute on our strategic priorities and continue our journey to be a best-in-class company and leader in our industry.”

With the assistance of independent external legal counsel, a special committee comprising independent members of the board of directors conducted a thorough investigation into allegations of improper non-financially related workplace conduct by Hernandez. After reviewing the findings of the special committee’s investigation, the board of directors unanimously concluded that the findings warranted immediate termination of Hernandez’s employment.

Hawthorne said, “The board is committed to the company’s core values and to upholding an environment of the utmost respect and integrity. We remain confident in the strategy and the long-term business plan of the company.”

  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
IABM unveils Supply Trends Report
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK -- 

IABM, the international trade association for suppliers of broadcast and media technology, has released the first of its new format Supply Trends Reports. Covering the six months to December 2017, the Supply Trends Report combines actual financial data on the broadcast and media supply sector drawn from public and private sources with survey evidence from members on current trends, issues and sentiment.  

Analysis of the data is carried out by IABM’s in-house analysts, headed by lead analyst Lorenzo Zanni, and gives an authoritative overview of the performance of, and outlook for, the broadcast and media technology supply sector. Following is a headline summary of the Report’s findings. 

Year-on-year sales in the broadcast and media technology market grew by 1.2% in December 2017, with SMEs’ performance improving at a faster rate than large companies for the first time in several years. But while sales improved slightly, profit growth continued to slow, running at 75.9% of the December 2016 level. The continuing shift in buyers’ preferences for software running in generic IT technology, their increased concern for efficiency and a highly competitive market are all continuing to exert pressure on selling prices, with margins reducing despite vendors decreasing expenditure on R&D, recruitment, sales, marketing and shows.

The transition to software (including the cloud) is well underway, though hardware remains the primary source of both revenues and profits for most suppliers--with profits in sharp decline. However, some respondents whose primary source of revenues is hardware also said that their primary source of profits is now software, which generally carries higher margins than hardware.

Unsurprisingly given the Supply Trends Report’s findings on profitability, the IABM confidence ratio, which reflects business sentiment looking forward for the next year, declined from a fairly robust 7.4 mid-2017 to a less optimistic 5.6 in December 2017; this is relatively low by historical standards. Companies that primarily rely on software revenues were however significantly more confident than those primarily relying on hardware revenues--reflecting the now long-standing transition of technology buyers from hardware to software.

The Report also reflects the continuing difficulty for companies in recruiting staff with both the broadcast and IT skillsets needed today.

“Although some suppliers are going through difficult times at present, there are reasons to remain positive about the future of media technology,” said Peter White, CEO, IABM. “2018 is a ‘spike’ year with plenty of events-related spending guaranteeing growth and opportunities for many--particularly with SMPTE ST2110 now published and giving end-users the confidence to move forward with their IP plans.

“Adoption of emerging technologies will continue to rise, driving more growth for those suppliers that have invested in them. In the longer term, technology spending will continue to grow as traditional technology users try to keep up with the volatile nature of online video, leaving a plethora of opportunities for suppliers,” White concluded.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
Call for papers issued for SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition
Audience members at the SMPTE 2017 Technical Conference
LOS ANGELES and WHITE PLAINS, NY -- 

SMPTE® has issued a call for technical manuscript proposals for the SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2018), which will be held Oct. 23-25 at a new venue, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles. Authors must submit their proposals by May 28.

Held annually by SMPTE, the technical conference is the world’s premier forum for the exploration of media and entertainment technology. This year’s program committee is co-chaired by two SMPTE Fellows: Thomas Edwards, vice president engineering and development at Fox, and SMPTE Education Director Sara J. Kudrle, product marketing manager for playout at Imagine Communications. The committee is being overseen by SMPTE Education Director for Conference Programs Yvonne Thomas, product manager at Arvato Systems, and by SMPTE Education Vice President Richard Welsh, co-founder and CEO of Sundog Media Toolkit.

“The program committee intends to build a technical program that will reflect the innovative spirit, dynamic nature, and growing inclusion that characterize today’s media and entertainment industry,” said Welsh. “Presenting a paper at SMPTE 2018 offers researchers, engineers, educators, executives, creatives, and students with a unique opportunity to share their expertise, and we welcome proposals from all variety of professionals working in our field.”

Authors of manuscript proposals selected by the 2018 program committee will have the opportunity to present at the event and network with the industry’s most esteemed technology thought leaders and engineering executives. Program sessions address advancements in current technology, plus future-looking developments in media technology, content creation, image and sound, and the allied arts and sciences. 

Proposed papers must be informational and must address technical theory, research, innovation, application, or practice specific to any of the evolving technologies associated with the media and entertainment industry. Papers that are commercial or promotional will not be considered, nor will those that have already been published. Student papers are strongly encouraged.

Possible paper topics include subjects such as ultra high definition (UHD); wide color gamut (WCG) and high dynamic range (HDR) management; the future of media distribution (OTT, ATSC 3.0, mobile, etc.); media infrastructure (SDI, ST 2110); workflow management (file-based, automation); cloud and virtualized media processing; image acquisition and processing; content management and storage, restoration, and preservation; cinema processing and projection technology; human perception of images and sound; quality and monitoring of images or sound; new compression techniques and implementations; content and network security; new audio techniques or technologies; advances in display technologies; future media technology (virtual reality, augmented reality, 360 video); machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for professional content creation; and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Instructions on submitting an abstract, along with a comprehensive listing of potential topics, are available here. Early submission of paper proposals will ensure consideration by the SMPTE 2018 program committee. May 28 is the firm deadline for abstract submissions.

Final proposal selection and notification to authors will occur no later than July 20. To ensure SMPTE has time to process papers for the conference, selected presenters must provide an electronic version of the final technical manuscript to the Society no later than Sept. 28.

Following SMPTE 2018, SMPTE will publish accepted manuscripts to the SMPTE Digital Library hosted on the IEEE Xplore platform, and video of each paper presentation will be posted to the Society’s YouTube channel. Submitted manuscripts will also go through peer review for possible publication in the award-winning SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.

This year the SMPTE conference will boast a larger high-tech exhibit hall and more seating for its three days of technical sessions. The event also will feature special events including two cocktail receptions, the Annual Awards Gala, and a preconference Symposium, all of which bring attendees unparalleled opportunities for professional development, relationship building, and “mind sharing.” SMPTE 2018 also provides exhibitors and sponsors with a unique opportunity to showcase their latest products and technologies while increasing brand visibility.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
TV Convergence Working Group approves file delivery specs for digital video
Ryan Schnizlein, chair of AICP’s Technical Committee and chief technology officer at Cutters Studios
NEW YORK -- 

The TV Convergence Working Group--an omnibus industry group comprised of nine leading associations for advertisers, ad agencies, media distribution companies, broadcasters and independent production and postproduction companies--has approved a set of digital video file deliverable specifications designed to simplify the distribution of digital ad content across media platforms.

The task force was launched in early 2017 to standardize the distribution specs for video ads to streamline cross-platform video delivery. After months of research and discussion, the group arrived at a set of delivery specs for digital video which it believes are well-suited to handle the large majority of spots seen on broadcast and cable TV, on the internet and on mobile devices.

The Working Group addressed specific areas the organizations have identified as being critical for meeting the ever-growing digital appetite of marketers and consumers. These included not just file delivery specifications but also advertising metadata and audio specifications and best practices for both High Definition and Standard Definition video. The file specs also include an embedded Ad-ID identifier, which supports a range of workflow improvements. The specs can be downloaded here.

To date, a number of media distribution companies have endorsed these specs and agreed to accept them as a current de facto industry standard. This group includes Adstream, Comcast Ad Delivery, Extreme Reach, Fotokem, Sound80, Spot Traffic, Syncro Services and Yangaroo. 

The TV Convergence Working Group behind this effort included representatives from AICP, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Technology Lab, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the Digital Production Partnership, Ltd. (DPP), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and Ad-iD, the service launched by ANA and the 4As to identify and track advertising assets across all media channels.

“By using the AICP File Deliverable Specifications, any entity engaged in the production or postproduction of digital video ad content will benefit from a simplified, more uniform process of encoding and uploading files,” said Ryan Schnizlein, chair of AICP’s Technical Committee and chief technology officer at Cutters Studios. “This move will go a long way to clarify a marketplace situation that’s needlessly inefficient and complicated, adding time and cost to the advertising supply chain.”

  • Monday, Feb. 19, 2018
FUJIFILM unveils new ultra-compact cinema lenses
The FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 cinema lens
VALHALLA, NY -- 

FUJIFILM North America Corporation announced the launch of FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 and FUJINON MKX50-135mmT2.9 cinema lenses for X Mount, new additions to the X Series line of interchangeable lenses.

Available in June 2018, these cinema lenses offer a lightweight and compact design with the same optical performance and operability as larger cinema lenses in their class. They cover 18-135mm–the most frequently used focal length in video production–and achieve a constant T2.9 aperture across the entire zoom range, enabling a shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh effect. With an enhanced optical and mechanical design, the MKX18-55mm and MKX50-135mm suppress focus shifts while zooming and reduce lens breathing, ensuring continuous sharp output. In line with the optical performance of the XF16-55mm and XF50-140mm lenses, these new MKX lenses offer a range of features that enable ease-of-use for capture in a wide array of shooting situations.

“The growth of video production has created a large demand among videographers and cinematographers for compact and easy-to-use lenses,” said Yuji Igarashi, general manager of the Electronic Imaging Division & Optical Devices Division at FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “In keeping with our commitment to deliver innovative products and solutions, Fujifilm has recognized this need and has introduced the MKX18-55mm and MKX50-135mm lenses, offering a lightweight design and affordable price point, while delivering great optical performance and operability as other professional cinema lenses.”

The MKX18-55mm and MKX50-135mm are lightweight and compact; achieving advanced optical performance utilizing the short flange focal distance of X Mount. This feature reduces the number of people needed for the shooting process, ideal for small budget productions.

In addition, the lenses offer advanced optical performance across the entire zoom range. Achieving T2.9 aperture, they facilitate the bokeh effect with shallow depth-of-field eliminating the need to readjust lighting. Combined, these features not only lead to beautiful videos, but also shorten shooting time, making the MKX lenses a very economical choice for movie production. Further adding to its superior output, contact with an X Series camera corrects distortion, color, brightness and achieves Fujifilm’s various Film Simulation modes.

The optical and mechanical approach employed in these new MKX lenses allows for elimination of time lag that is usually experienced with electrical control systems. Manufacturing technology developed for conventional FUJINON cinema lenses was applied to control the optical axis shift while zooming. The front inner-focusing system controls lens breathing, allowing for smooth focus over an entire scene. Additionally, when zooming, focus shift is suppressed by independently driving the front focusing group and zooming group of lens elements away from each other.

The MKX18-55mm and MKX50-135mm feature three fully manual rings for independent adjustment of focus, zoom and aperture, allowing for intuitive operation. The focus ring offers a rotation of a full 200 degrees to facilitate precise focusing even when shooting with a shallow depth-of-field where a high degree of precision is required. Further, all operation rings have a gear pitch of 0.8 m, allowing the use of all standard third party accessories for video production. With an iris that supports seamless adjustment, precise and silent exposure is achieved while preventing camera shake caused by clicking, making these lenses perfect for a wide array of shooting situations.

Adding to their high quality video production, these MKX lenses are designed for ease of use. The gears for all three rings are positioned in the same place eliminating the need to re-position accessories when switching lenses. Only one matte box with an 85mm front diameter and one filter size with a filter thread of 82mm are needed between the two lenses. Equipped with a macro function that allows shooting close-ups to broaden the range of scenes that can be covered with one lens, optimum performance is achieved.

FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 key features

  • Compatible with all FUJIFILM X Series interchangeable system cameras
  • Compact, lightweight lens weighing just 1,080g with external dimensions (maximum diameter x length) of 87mm x 206.6mm
  • Comprised of 22 glass elements in 17 groups with 6 super extra low dispersion lens elements and 2 extra low dispersion lens elements
  • Achieves maximum aperture of F2.8 and minimum aperture of F22 for close-up shots
  • Focus range of 0.85m/2ft 9” with wide macro function and 0.38m/1ft 2.9” at wide end and angle of view at 76.5° - 29.0°

FUJINON MKX50-135mmT2.9 key features

  • Compatible with all FUJIFILM X Series interchangeable system cameras
  • Compact, lightweight lens weighing just 1,080g with external dimensions (maximum diameter x length) of 87mm x 206.6mm
  • Comprised of 22 glass elements in 17 groups with 2 extra low dispersion lens elements and 2 super extra low dispersion lens elements
  • Achieves maximum aperture of F2.8 and minimum aperture of F22 for close-up shots
  • Focus range of 1.2 m/3 ft. 11” with wide macro function and 0.85 m/2 ft. 9” at wide end and angle of view at 31.7° - 12.0°

Accessories Included in both lenses

  • Tripod collar foot
  • Support foot
  • Zoom lever
  • Lens cap
  • Lens rear cap
  • Lens hood
  • Wrapping cloth

Availability and Pricing
The FUJINON MKX18-55mmT2.9 and cinema lens will be available in Spring/Summer 2018 in the U.S. and Canada for USD $3,999.95.

The FUJINON MKX50-135mmT2.9 cinema lens will also be available in Spring/Summer 2018 in the U.S. and Canada for USD $4,299.95.

  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018
Micro Cinema Cameras capture season 2 of NBC's "Better Late Than Never"
In this Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, photo, from left, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw, Jeff Dye, George Foreman and William Shatner, cast members in the NBC reality series "Better Late Than Never," pose together at NBCUniversal Studios in Universal City, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that DP David Ortkiese used Micro Cinema Cameras and Video Assist 4K monitor/recorders to capture and monitor in-vehicle and exterior camera shots for season two of NBC’s hit series “Better Late Than Never.”

The show follows five globe-trotting stars--Henry Winkler, William Shatner, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw and comedian Jeff Dye--as they set off on a wildly entertaining journey to Munich, Berlin, Lithuania, Sweden, Barcelona, Madrid and Morocco. Due to the show’s focus on travel, Ortkiese and his team required small form factor cameras that were easy to transport and mount, but that delivered a cinematic look.

“There were several factors that went into using the Micro Cinema Cameras,” noted Ortkiese. “Along with in-vehicle coverage, we wanted something that could dynamically capture car chases at 130 mph. We also wanted a camera that would match cinematically, and the Micro Cinema Camera does just that with its ability to shoot in 12-bit RAW cinema DNG and its 13 stops of dynamic range. Lastly, having an interchangeable lens mount gave us the creative flexibility to use the lenses we wanted, allowing us to get the coverage we wanted without sacrificing quality or image continuity.”

The Micro Cinema Cameras’ 12-bit RAW and dynamic range were also beneficial for the variety of shoot locations. “We would start out driving in a field and end up in a forest, or drive through a tunnel or under a bridge, so we needed that dynamic range and RAW control to help match the look,” said Ortkiese. “The show itself has a color arc as it travels from mid to southern Europe and into North Africa. The terrains all have different visual color palettes, and we needed that integrated into each location and episode. Shooting in RAW helped capture and enhance all that.”

In a similar vein, as the locations changed, the types of vehicles changed too. Ortkiese and his team rigged the Micro Cinema Cameras inside and outside a variety of vehicles, from taxis to a BMW i8, as well as on a Go Kart and even a camel.

“During the BMW driving experience, we wanted to chase a race car, so we mounted a Micro Cinema Camera to the front bumper of a BMW i8, as well as to the follow car, and chased the BMW at 130 mph around the racetrack. The footage came out fantastic,” explained Ortkiese. “In Morocco, we also strapped Micro Cinema Cameras to the front and back of a Go Kart driving at 60 mph, which is naturally going to be shaky because of the lack of suspension. The camera’s high refresh rate helped with image stability and overall, it eliminates any other sports camera on the market.”

Additional mounts included B roll of taxis from each location. “In every country, we needed to get a point-of-view driving shot on top of a taxi, looking over the sign on the roof. The only exception was in North Africa where we used a camel instead,” noted Ortkiese. “One of our camera operators was tasked with capturing these shots, so he would grab a Micro Cinema Camera, find a taxi, or a camel, rig the camera and drive around for 45 minutes. It was very ‘grab and go’ in that respect, and the biggest thing about these small cameras is that you don’t have to use a ton of rigging, which lets you be more efficient, creative and organic while shooting.”

“The show definitely has a comedic element, and with comedy, you can’t get too frustrated with changes in the creative; you have to go with the flow,” he added. “Having a tool like the Micro Cinema Cameras on set helped as it allowed us to seamlessly incorporate them into a scene and capture spur of the moment content. For example, totally impromptu, we attached one to a fake bull head, shooting through its horns for a special chase shot.”

Ortkiese concluded, “We have some unbelievable footage because of the Micro Cinema Cameras, including important and stylistic action shots. Such a little action camera with 12-bit RAW and interchangeable lenses make it a step above many other small action cameras, giving us the ability to control and match footage in extreme environments.”

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