Las Vegas Video Production

Our new camera bags - The High Roller

We decided on purchasing the Cinebags High Roller for all of our C300 and PMW-300 Camera Packages. The Lens Smuggler has been a great accessory to transport our lenses and additional gear as a carry on. The quality is what you would expect from a high end manufacturer. The Zippers and stitching are built to withstand heavy use. I personally love that there is a little more depth to the main compartment over the previous version the Camera Daddy. Because of the added space we can now store the C300 camera with the top handle as well as the 24-70 lens on the camera. This allows for quicker setups and I think the less we can take the lens on and off the body the better. Oh almost forgot... These new bags have a telescoping handle and wheels. No more lugging a 30lb. Camera bag on my shoulder running from plane to plane. Also, while we are on the topic of traveling. I have to mention the lens smuggler allows us to bring a variety of lenses and stash them under the seat very comfortably. It is slightly thicker than the laptop case but not one airline worker has given it a second look. A highroller and the lens smuggler are a great combination. One carry on and one personal item. We are very glad to have these new bags and I expect them to be a valuable tool for us for the life of our cameras.

Our new lineup of Camera Bags

DimpleSticks offer a new and innovation camera rig for the filmmaker on the go

Much of what we do at FiveSix Productions consists of ENG/Docu-style film making, which requires us to be quick and agile while still producing high quality work.  This can be challenging, especially when certain shots and setups require special equipment and attention.  We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to enhance efficiencies and a new product by DimpleSticks looks to do just that.  In terms of camera stabilization rigs, we have had great success with Tilta along with some of the Zacuto products, however, quite frankly, there are many parts to deal with and depending on the various camera that we own, limitations on how the rig can be set up.  With DimpleSticks, they eliminate the difficulties but offering a stabilization system that is fully customizable to fit virtually any camera and versatile enough to work in any environment.

Check out this writeup from No Film School.

Let us know if the DimpleSticks system is a tool you find helpful on your future projects.


Las Vegas Video Production

We go with American

American Grip is our grip gear brand of choice.  Their products provide a level of durability, versatility, and reputation that other manufacturers can't match.  Our American equipment has served us well during recent shoots out on location.

Grip head to a C-Stand

New Equipment

FiveSix Productions recently added some new equipment to their grip and lighting arsenal in order to better serve clients and enhance the already impressive offering from Las Vegas' premiere, full service production company.

Stands

 

Production_Gear
Equipment Room

 

Gear ready to go out on a job.

Camera bag for the Canon C300

With our new camera in hand we wanted to find the right case to transport it. For our day to day shoot we opted for the Cinebags camera daddy. The bag holds comfortably the camera body and 4 lenses and accesories. We considered the Pelican 1660 case, I loved the build quality and protection it offered but we would have needed another case just for lenses. I'm sure we will pickup one of these cases for when we travel.


Las Vegas Video Production

C300 in Low Light

DP David Dalasta of FiveSix Productions, decided to use the Canon C300 for our latest commercial production. Our shoot included filming outdoors at night as well as some driving down the Las Vegas strip shots. We were amazed that we only needed to bump the camera to 6400 ISO to get a properly exposed image. The versatility of the C300 was outstanding and exceeded our expectations.

Our subject a female atop the eiffel tower was lith three LED panels and our Male talent was lit with one LED while driving the car.

Director Bill Aylward, also had us shoot some macro elements using the Canon100mm L Series Lens. We overcranked at [email protected] shooting 720P. Our clients saw the footage and requested an additional spot based just on this footage.


Las Vegas Video Production

FloLight LED Panels

We bought a pair of Flolight panel lights about 6 months ago and I thought I'd wait a bit and see how they held up over half a year span.  The lights we purchased are daylight balanced with an anton bauer battery adaptor on the back. We've taken these lights all the way from red carpets to the middle of the desert and the ease of use and versatility have made us believers in this type of lighting.  For ENG, run and gun type productions, to be able to set up quick, toss on a battery and have 1000w of light without the hassel of cords was a life saver in many situations.  Top lights sometimes don't cut it.  We do plenty of quick shoots and I find myself packing a flolight more often then not.

 

There are a few problems I've found that should be shared.  First off, all are lights come in balanced between 6000k and 6300k, not 5600k as advertised.  The lights aren't built tough, meaning in the 6 month time period we've had them in for flicking, dimmer malfunction and one went toast and stop firing all together.  The build quality isn't up to what I would consider production standard.  The light can also be a little harsh so a couple pieces of diffusion are necessary if doing any sort of interview which drastically cuts the throw of the light.  And, even though we have the gel adaptors, adding gels or diffusion isn't an easy endeavor.   However, when we 'separately' purchase the barndoors that problem should be solved.

 

The most common question I'm asked is how do the Flolights compare to the LitePanels.  We rented a couple of LitePanels for a shoot and while we had them we decided to do a few tests for comparison.  The Flolights, despite being 6300k, had a more realistic daylight apperance then the LitePanels which didn't even make it to 5600k but closer to 5000k.  They were almost twice as bright as the LitePanels and lit our subjects at much further distances. The LitePanels did appear to be studier and have a better build and a few more features like the dual color temps. Oh and the one Flolight costs about 1/3 the price of a LitePanel.

 

I'm not going to use them for everything but these lights do have a place in my packages and I will continue to use Flolights until I see another panel light that can give me the same value.  And though they tend to have a few more malfunctions than I'd like, returning the poor units and customer service has been very good to this point.

 

The f-stops here.


Las Vegas Video Production

Terrablock 24EX Storage

We got our new 24TB Terrablock racked and ready to go. The entire process took less than a day to get everything up and running. The editors are loving the Fiber connectivity and have already started sharing project between the bays.

We had high hopes for this acquisition and so far it's living up to all of them.

 


New CineSlider Review

We were able to test out the new Kessler CineSlider on our last commercial shoot. We really got some nice table tops and bar shots that just were not possible with our doorway dolly. So far this is exceeding our expectations. The crew loves it. 

We shot with the HDX-900 on it as well as the Canon 5D.


What the Adoption of Adobe's Premiere Means for FiveSix Productions

In two words: Flexibility and Control

For the past few years, AVID and especially Final Cut Pro have been our NLE platforms of choice; with Avid as our high-end editing application and Final Cut as the everyday, workhorse solution.  Adobe products have always been a part of our post-production arsenal, such as After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator, but in terms of an NLE, the ease of use and familiarity of the FCP platform (prior to X) was what we always fell back on.  UNTIL NOW.

With the release of Final Cut X, we noticed some concerns within the industry.  This was primarily attributed to, what appeared to be an emphasis place on the amateur consumer market and a departure away from professional editors, in terms of features.  Also, FiveSix relies heavily on our ability to refer to our archives, which were all cut on early versions of FCP, which X initially did not support.

When Walter Murch, a highly decorated editor, with such credits as Godfather II and Apocolypse Now, viewed X for the first time, he stated, "I can't use this" (Macaulay, 2011).  In a Boston seminar speaking about the new FCP release, he listed several disappointing, underachieving elements that Apple failed to include and felt as if FCP was turning their back on the professional editors that had been loyal to the software for years.

Even with the recent fixes in the FCP platform, including the ability to work with edits that were cut in previous versions of the software, the damage had been done for us.  As soon as we identified the limitations of the new FCP, we sought other options.  One such option was Adobe Premiere, which was a NLE that we had experimented in the past but never considered migrating to.

When the commitment to make a change was made, we decided to continue editing with FCP 7 but beta test Premiere for a couple editing jobs to ensure that Adobe's offering was going to be the right fit for our company.  We knew immediately that we made the right decision.  First and foremost, the bridging capabilities with other Adobe Products that compliment the editing process is exponentially beneficial.  Also, the elimination of the transcoding of footage that was so bothersome with FCP, makes life incredibly easier.  We shoot a lot in Panasonic's P2 format and what would have taken FCP hours, depending on the job, only takes Premiere a fraction of the time.  FInally, Premiere offers a level of control that appears unmatched.  Because of the inherent creative capabilites that can be found in Adobe's flagship Photoshop and Illustrator software, an application like Premiere has acquired the same ability to manipulate and sculpt images like no other program.

All in all, FiveSix's migration to Adobe Premiere has been a great success.  In our opinion, the missteps of Apple's Final Cut X has given our organization the ability to offer our clients better quality and the ability to expand our creative horizons.

 

Sources:

Macaulay, S. (2011, October 29). Walter murch on fcp x: “what is the ‘pro’ part of it?”. Retrieved from http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2011/10/walter-murch-on-fcp-x-what-is-the-pro-part-of-it/