Members of the ACS WA Branch attended two informative tech/gear events organised exclusively by the ACS WA Committee last month – by Erin Macliver
The first event afforded members the opportunity to spend the evening with Nic Sadler from Chemical Wedding, the creator of the much loved Helios, Helios Pro and now Artemis Pro and Artemis Prime. Sadler started off the night revealing all the features of Helios Pro, a software that can pinpoint the position of the sun, the moon and even the stars – which is new to Helios Pro – such as the new ‘milky way tool’ which gives you three different ways of visualising the position of stars in any location.
The star of the evening was a device that was half-hardware and half-software (and an integration with Helios Pro), a director’s viewfinder titled Artemis Prime. It is a sophisticated piece of software that allows you to use the taking lens that you would use on a job or on a scout/recce with a ‘digital director’s viewfinder’ software driven program that allows you to produce, and very precisely find the format of any digital camera and format – from super 35mm up to Vista Vision – along with an extensive database of lenses.
An image is captured from inside, on a focus screen which then views the image using an iPhone or iPad interface. iPad being the most preferred, especially on set, as it creates a more unified decision. Artemis Prime is ultimately trying to help the director, the visual effects supervisor and the cinematographer agree on a general approach. Exclusively, Artemis Pro and Artemis Prime emulates physical stand-ins, sort of working like a sketch pad in which you can also annotate, send and share to any crew members.
With Artemis and Helios being the preferred digital viewfinders for smartphone and tablets they have become a fundamental tool for professional filmmakers and cinematographers, especially for our very own Denson Baker NZCS ACS, Mandy Walker ACS ASC and Toby Oliver ACS.
The second ACS WA event was held at HD Rentals, in Leederville, one of the WA Branch’s gear-themed ‘Drop-Ins’, where members get the opportunity to meet local rental companies and see what they have to offer. The HD Rentals team set-up stations within their space that was stretched out to every corner of the warehouse. Each station showcased their extensive shop of lenses, gimbals, cameras, grip gear, lighting, drones, underwater housings, viewfinders and loads of other accessories.
The highlight of the night and most certainly and quite literally the centre of attention, was the Freefly System; MoVI XL. Holding an ARRI Alexa with the Canon Cine Servo Zoom 17-120mm T2.95 – T3.9 (a 4K ready, eleven blade iris, compact and lightweight lens), it was a big hit. Particularly, with the MoVI controller, which gave a whole new meaning to ‘control’, especially with the Alpha wheels.
An ARRI Alexa partnered with Cooke Optics sat – very securely – on a Mini Worrall geared tripod head that with two brass wheels, and by blessing, will allow for the smoothest of smooth pans and tilts, once mastered. Black Magic’s Ursa Mini Pro and Pocket Cinema Camera were also on show, alongside RED Dragons and Rick Rifici’s (Water Unit Photography on Breath) custom Underwater Housings.
On behalf of the WA Branch, we want to thank Sadler for his time, and for his wealth of knowledge experiences with Artemis and Helios. It was very engrossing and enjoyable. We also wanted to thank HD Rentals for giving the ACS WA Branch’s members the opportunity to share in common interests and spend a night with friends and colleagues in a space that really makes what we do worth the while. Especially when it’s not sitting in a case or packed away on a shelf!
Erin Macliver is a member of the Western Australian Branch of the ACS.