What’s new at Cine Gear Expo

The big takeaway?  Robotics.  Everything exciting at Cine Gear Expo is about moving the camera with limited human input: remote controlled gimbels, drones, robotic arms, motorized follow focus mechanisms, sliders with memory, every sort of variation on the steadicam that you can imagine and of course, VR.  But when you are looking at a VR rig with 12 RED cameras, part of what’s amazing about it is how much it must cost.  All the big toys cost big bucks, so what’s new for the indie filmmaker?

We really liked the Eclipse, a follow focus mechanism from Red Rock Micro.  It’s designed so that one person can operate a camera using follow focus presets and hand controls without the need for another person to manage those tasks.  Shown here, a RED camera with a Canon cinema lens and Manifrotto tripod sports the Eclipse, which consists of a digital rangefinder, motorized follow focus mechanism attached to the lens and hardware for hand controls added to the arm of the tripod, plus video assist output screen with a detailed information frame around the image.

We also liked this little pistol-grip handheld rig with viewfinder, the Retroflex, also from Red Rock Micro.  Shown here is the Retroflex with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera and a Veydra Mini Prime lens thats all set for some run-and-gun guerrilla shooting in bright daylight.  The retro styling is completely unnecessary but kinda fun.

The biggest news in cameras for the indie filmmaker is the new Canon C200, just announced this week.  The C200 shoots 4K RAW but the files are a smaller format (Cinema RAW Light) than the C300, so it’s a bit more user-friendly at the lower-end of the filmmaking spectrum.  Smaller file sizes mean less time spent copying and transferring media later on in post.  This is the camera that a lot of indie filmmakers will be using to shoot their movies this year.

A couple years ago, it seemed like the only cinema lenses out there were Zeiss, now just about everyone offers a family of cinema lenses:  Canon, Leica (shown here), Sony, Veydra, Rokinon, the list goes on.

Cinema lighting made some leaps and bounds thanks to professional-grade LED lights a couple years back.  While there’s nothing radically new here, the varieties of cinema-oriented LED lighting and accessories abound.  My favorite is this  LED grid with an extendable textile housing, LiteTile from LiteGear.

Last but not least, I stood in line behind Otto Nemenz on the way in… that was kinda cool 🙂