Cine Gear attracts international crowd

New technology demonstrated at exhibition

Cine Gear Expo -- held this weekend at the Universal Studios backlot in Universal City -- attracted an international crowd from the production community as temperatures soared over 100 degrees.

Armed with sunscreen and bottled water, visitors poured into the 12th annual Expo focused on workflow at a time when production and post are increasing digital.

"We want to make sure our vision is delivered to the audience," explained cinematographer Gavin Finney, who is president of the British Society of Cinematographers and was among the U.K. contingent that traveled to Los Angeles for the expo. "You can (invest in a production) on set, and you could lose it all downstream. Downstream in post is you can undo almost everything that was done on set. Workflow is about preserving that."

New technology was demonstrated at the exhibition. For instance, Dalsa previewed beta units of its Evolution 4K digital cinematography camera, which are scheduled to be available for testing beginning in July.

Dalsa also quietly previewed developing "visualizer" software designed to accomplish tasks such as color conversion in real time. Said Dalsa's Dan Rosen: "This offers a fast way to check your shots on set."

ZGC highlighted its Cooke Red set of S4/i lenses, as well as P+S Technik's compact Skater Junior camera dolly, which can be equipped with a range of small camera heads.

Letz unveiled its Brute 16 LED lighting fixture, which the company's Malcolm Mills claimed can produce light "powerful enough to be compared with a 200W HMI light in the flood position," but since it is LED, it's "far more energy efficient."

"The LED world is already contributing to the 'go green' model," he said.

Program highlights included a discussion of "The Dark Knight," with speakers including director of photography Wally Pfister.

The movie was lensed in anamorphic format and -- for the first time on a Hollywood feature -- Imax film format. "We did everything with Imax cameras that we'd done with 35mm cameras," Pfister told the crowd, describing the use of the 100-pound cameras, including use with a Steadicam.

Two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler presented cinematographer and Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown with a lifetime achievement award.

In his acceptance, Brown emphasized the importance of technological development. "Even the most trivial of the things we do are very fine tools and weapons," he said. "I'm very proud of all of our colleagues here. I'm proud of all of our years spent in the trenches actually making the business work."

In Cine Gear's film competition, "Broke Sky," from Thomas L. Callaway, took first place among independent features; "Parachute," from filmmakers Lucas Fleischer and Paul Grellong, topped the category for indie shorts; and "Tatterson," helmed by Michaela Danby, lead the student awards.

Two equipment companies received business anniversary awards: Lighting systems company Bron Kobold, for its 50th anniversary, and photographic innovator Photosonics, for its 80th anniversary.

Cine Gear last year attracted roughly 8,000 attendees. This year's figures were not available at press time.