Newsletter #03 FX School Workshop by Stereovision

Last Friday, Stereovision had the pleasure to present a workshop at FX School Mumbai (www.fxschool.in). We were invited with warmth and excitement by Mr.Arun Kumar, Director and professor at the ideally located institution right in Andheri West, surrounded by all the industry’s top studios and production companies.

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FX School has various kinds of courses and degrees from Film-making, Cinematography, Editing, to VFX and Digital Art. I must say their facilities are equipped with the most advanced material, from last generation iMacs, to Canon 5D mark III, Red Scarlet, and a great set of Zeiss lenses. Their cafeteria is wonderful too. I had the pleasure to witness a lunch break of a production team who was working at one of the FX School studios… Overall a great ambience and working environment.

The workshop started with Atomos and their popular Samurai Blade, almost a standard in Indian TVC sets, together with its Ninja Blade and Ninja 2 (ideal for DSLR film-makers).

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Atomos ended with a quick run of their 4K capable recorder Atomos Shogun, a 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI Monitor & Recorder combines a color-calibrated 1920 x 1200 resolution display with 4K video recording and edit-ready codecs. The Shogun utilizes 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI inputs to record clean output signals at resolutions up to UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, and 30p, as well as Full HD (1920 x 1080) video up to 120 fps when used with capable cameras.

The Shogun records 10-bit, 4:2:2 UHD 4K and HD video to Apple ProRes HQ, 422, or LT formats. It can also record HD video using Avid’s DNxHD format, and UHD 4K raw video using the uncompressed Cinema DNG Raw format. Video is recorded to single or raided 2.5″ HDD and SDDs for fast and reliable write speeds.

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As a monitor, the Shogun features a 7″ IPS capacitive touch-screen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. It is Rec. 709 color calibrated and supports multi-frequency operation (48/50/60 Hz) for monitoring and playback of a variety of input frame rates. An SDI loop output is available for passing the signal to an additional monitor.

The Shogun adds several new features over previous Atomos models, including custom 3D LUT support, Genlock In for multi-camera syncing, and improved audio handling with an included LEMO breakout cable for XLR audio. There are also a variety of onscreen tools to help you set up your shots, including a full waveform monitor, RGB parade display, vector scope, focus peaking, and other framing, focus, and exposure assisting tools.

The Shogun comes included with a battery, battery charger, RAID adapter, two drive caddies, and XLR audio LEMO breakout cable. The students absolutely loved these toys!

We then continued the event with a set up of the Phantom Miro, a very popular High-Speed camera capable of shooting 1500fps at 1920×1080… The students at the school really enjoyed watching themselves throwing punches at each other and checking out the monitor to see it in slo-mo. They were thrilled to finally see a Phantom in action!

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Last but definitely not the least, we brought out the GoPro Hero4 as the grand finale! The new action camera recently introduced in India raised a lot of questions among the students who most owned early GoPro editions. Even Arun, while discussing Gopro with the students, recently bought a few and are available for students at FX school. 4K resolution and 120fps at full HD, remember? Welcome to the world of GoPro! The world’s most versatile camera!

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“We are happy to be exclusive distributors for GoPro in India” – Harish Samtani, Founder, Stereovision

By Philip Bode
November 15, 2014

They’re one of the oldest and most reliable distributors of filmmaking resources in India today, Stereovision is associated with top companies worldwide such as Vision Research, Hydroflex Deep Water, Kino-Flo lighting, Arri Lighting amongst a horde of other well known names. Talking about the latest products that Stereovision’s taken under its wings Harish says, “We have a new product from Australia called Atomos, a field recorder and the unbelievably versatile DJI Ronin, which made a giant step with camera stabilization technology that we are happy to be involved with.” Broadcast & Film, catches up with Harish Samtani, founder of Stereovision at his massive booth at the Broadcast India Show 2014 to talk about his initial beginnings, his Oscar winning cousin Kish Sadhvani, being exclusive distributors for GoPro in India now and participating at Broadcast India Show over ten years in a row.

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“We were able to access a lot of companies based out of Hollywood” So how do you go about gallivanting in the business of aiding resources and specialized products to film-making and broadcasting folks? Harish reminisces and says, “Stereovision, a company based in Chennai was established in 1975. About 15 years ago it moved into products that manly focused on film-making. Thanks to my first cousin, Kish Sadhvani who won an Academy Award many years ago, we were able to access a lot of companies based out of Hollywood since he lived in Hollywood boulevard LA. With my blood ties and good relations with him, we were fortunate enough to start dealing with people there. Back in those days, India was too far away from business dealings in filmmaking and nobody really wanted to do business with an Indian as such. It was because of Kish, I had the luxury of working and networking through the big players there.”

“We became an agent for ARRI”
Giving us a gist on their initial innings in the filmmaking business, Harish says, ”Kino-flo, one of the most popular and high selling lighting systems in the world today was the first product that we started dealing with. Gradually from starting with our first product we became an agent for ARRI, the most popular film camera manufacturers in the world. Today tells a different picture, we deal with special products on the movie making and commercial side such as, the Phantom camera. The Phantom Camera is one of the most widely used slow motion cameras in film and commercials today. Almost 90% of the slow motion content and footage such as cars flying, water, liquid simulations visible on TV is shot using the Phantom Camera. This camera retails at Rs. 1.2 – Rs.1.3 crores and this is one of our premier products at Stereovision.”

“Prime audience included enthusiasts who dove, jump off cliffs, planes”
Talking about being the exclusive dealers for the peppy and innovative Go-Pro Camera series Harish says, “Initially the first 3 years the business was a bit slow because, the Go-pro Camera was a very specialized product which targeted mainly sports people. Their prime audience included enthusiasts who dove, jump off cliffs, planes or even high-octane sports folk such as racers. Suddenly, the makers shifted their focus in a sense towards the broadcasting side of things. All of a sudden you would see that they were using Go-pro cameras for television shows, in broadcasting studios, for wacky interviews etc. The Go-pro Camera is a revolutionary product and it is one of our biggest selling products today, we are happy to be exclusive distributors in India.”

“One of a kind show in the country”
Talking about the importance and his involvement in the Broadcast India Show Harish says, “My involvement with Broadcast India goes back 10 years, and we’ve been supporting them throughout. It’s the only one of a kind show in the country. Although, there are similar shows in Delhi, but they cater to a much narrower targeted clientele such as Doordarshan. This is because they have a budget which needs to be spent or none would be allocated for the same in the following year. Here the story is more diverse because you got all the top honchos and players from broadcast, film, music etc. We have hundreds of these entire vendors and professionals under one roof, which is pretty amazing.”

Phantom Miro VS Mumbai City Football Club

Seeing Nicholas Anelka in India is quite bizarre. A football player who played in the top teams in Europe like Real Madrid, Arsenal, PSG, Chelsea… and now at Mumbai City ! Football is picking up in India and Rambir Kapoor (Mumbai City owner) did not want to miss the chance to record everything in slow motion with Stereovision’s Phantom MIRO at the Cooperage Football Ground in Colaba.

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Stereovision’s Phantom Miro. What a small beauty.

Shooting outdoors relying on daylight can be tricky, especially when needing to add light with HMIS as flickering can be an enemy to high-speed cinematography. Fortunately weather was cloudy almost throughout the day and this helped us to avoid high contrasted shadows and most important to rely on HMI’s on close-ups. It even rained for 10 minutes! A very welcoming shower in Colaba.

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We shot mostly at 1000 FPS; more than enough to record beautiful tricks performed Nicholas Anelka. The Miro’s exposure index of 1000ISO is just fantastic for such situations. No lighting whatsoever, only bounced light and rock&roll. Great images and room to play with apertures to have all stars sharp in focus.

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More Gopros, trying to be creative by rigging them in the most unimaginable places.

Gopro cameras (which Stereovision is the exclusive distributor in India) can be seen in most productions whether its TVC, Features, Documentaries, Broadcast, etc… They have become a standard for lightweight rigging such as drones, extreme sports. Super versitlie. Wit ha bit of imagination you can create superb shots. Check the rigging of a Gopro3 onto one of the players’ knee. This created a high angle shot of the player in action, only possible with Gopro.

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Gopros have become very frecuent on TVC shoots.

The new Gopro4 can shoot 4K , and also in FULLHD has the superb feature to shoot at 120FPS. A great tool when rigging in very bumpy or unstable surfaces as it does not have that “shaky” look on video.