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In other news: 3D, support and lenses

Sony gives 3D the boot; Glidecam offers hand-held stability; Prokit Shapes up support; and Fujinon is absorbed by Fujifilm.

Three-day 3D bootcamp

The BBC, Sony and RealD got together to host a series of Sony three-day 3D Bootcamps in London over the last two weeks, training about 250 people.

They were lead by Buzz Hayes (pictured), Sony’s Chief Instructor and Senior VP of its 3D Technology Centre in LA. He is a very experienced 3D producer, working on animated movies, concerts and live action features for Sony and other studios that have post-produced at Sony Imageworks.

One of the best things about the bootcamps is that they are free. They’ve been running this year at Sony’s Culver City studios, where about 300 people have been trained over some 16 weeks (the dedicated facility is a lot smaller than the two Television Centre studios provided by the BBC).

Sony isn’t just doing the training out of benevolence, it wants more creative people trained in 3D and producing 3D content people want to watch, to fuel its movie making, buy or use its technology, and to give the consumers who buy its 3D sets something worth watching. “Good 3D is good for the entire production industry,” said Hayes. Although, “it’s hard to do well.”

He focuses on how to tell a story in three dimensions, rather than getting too bogged down in technical minutiae (although there is a fair bit of technical detail too – and very well explained). If you get the chance to take part in one of the bootcamps, it is certainly worthwhile – although there is considerable demand.

If you want to read more about Hayes’ advice for 3D wannabes, read the full story in the September issue of TVB.

Put a Glide in your handheld shots

Glidecam has re-engineered its HD-Series of hand-held camera stabilizers to offer “advanced features and a degree of sophistication never before seen” with this type of stabilizer.

There are three lightweight models: the HD-1000, HD-2000 and HD-4000. Each has an offset, foam-cushioned handle grip that is attached to a free-floating, three-axis gimbal. This allows your hand to move up and down, and side-to-side, without affecting the camera. This up and down movement alleviates the bouncing, pogo type action seen on systems where the handle cannot move up and down. Coupled with the overall higher inertia of the HD-Series, this is claimed to produce “superior stabilization” when compared with its competition.

By varying the amount of counter weights on the base platform, or by changing the length of the no-tools telescoping central post, users can adjust the camera’s vertical balance, allowing the camera to float.

The proprietary Dynamic Base Platform can expand or contract, to allow users to easily adjust the system’s dynamic balance or to increase or decrease its rotational pan inertia.

The $399 HD-1000 extends from 30cm to 40cm, weighs less than 1kg (without counter weight plates), and can carry cameras up to 1.4kg. The $499 HD-2000 extends from 37.5-55cm, weighs just over 1kg (plus counter weights), and can carry compact, low profile cameras weighing from 900g to 2.7kg. The $599 HD-4000 extends from 50-70cm, weighs about 1.5kg, and can carry compact, and full size cameras weighing from 1.8kg to 4.5kg.

Shape supports get UK distributor

Prokit has become the exclusive UK distributor for Canadian camera support manufacturer Shape. Their products are built by cameramen, for cameramen, and include an evolving range of shoulder mounts, handles and supports, all of which are making their first appearance in the UK.

The Shape Sumo is a simple, comfortable, low-cost shoulder support for DSLR cameras and camcorders.

The Composite Grip range (pictured in use) offers a greater level of adjustment and customisation, also suiting a wide range of camcorder and DSLR configurations. 15mm parallel bars allow the addition of a matte box and follow focus unit.

The Shape Paparazzi is a lightweight handle that can be used to attach accessories such as LED lights, spotlights, LCD screens, remote controls, microphones, etc.

All shoulder models feature quick-release handle angle locks; each handle can rotate individually through 360º. Simply push and hold the button located at the articulation, and rotate the handle to find a comfortable shooting angle.

The range also includes waist supports, counterbalance weights and accessory holders.

Fujinon joins Fujifilm Europe group

As of this week Fujinon (Europe) is becoming part of the Fujifilm Europe group by becoming a subsidiary of Fujifilm Europe GmbH. This follows the absorption of Fujinon by its parent Fujifilm Corporation in Japan last month.

With the consolidation, Fujifilm is seeking to accelerate the integration of Fujinon’s optical technologies into its imaging, production and organic synthetic technologies to further expand its optical device business.

As far as broadcast users are concerned, there should be no immediate impact from the restructuring, which should be more noticeable in strengthening Fujinon’s endoscopy systems and Fujifilm’s medical systems markets thanks to combining forces.