Product Test: The Insta360 is Hot, But is it Hot Enough to Make Us Care About 360° Video?

The Insta360 Is Set to Revolutionize 360° image capture, if we can wrap our heads around it.

"My wife has one of those. She loves it."

"A 360 camera?"
"No, an Instant pot!"

I was holding in my hands the Insta360, the hot new 360-degree camera that everyone was talking about, and of the two filmmakers who happened to be around while I was opening its shipping package, one was more impressed that it had been shipped over in a box that originally held an instant pot. The other bystander, an avowed 360 fan, was excited to play with it. We then tried to find a time in the next two weeks to get together and test it, and we couldn't.

Which isn't something I'm used to. If I get my hands on an early EVA1 or Ronin 2 or crazy LED light, people appear and want to play with it. The Insta360 was interesting, in that it is something that everyone I showed it to claimed they wanted to play with, but the effort wasn't really made.

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Lenses Without Rings and Super Duper Ultra WideScreen from Panavision

It's a return to the days of 2.76x1 ultra widescreen with new lenses and a host of other updates from Panavision.

Many aspect ratios were experimented with, but 2.39x1 was eventually settled on as the "standard" widescreen aspect ratio in the heydey of trying to get viewers away from their TV and back in the theaters. One of the most famous was Ultra Panavision 70, which gave viewers a native 2.76x1 aspect ratio, known for celluloid shot projects like Ben Hur and The Hateful Eight.

Panavision has a new line of lenses to make capturing natively in that aspect ratio easier than ever with the new Ultra-Vista lenses designed to work with the DXL2 line of digital cinema cameras. These use a 1.6 squeeze, since the original aspect ratio of the native sensor is no longer 1.33, and are sure to be popular not just on massive cinema epics but also music videos and commercials looking for a more diverse look. On top of that, Panavision rolled out new Primo-X sealed element lenses with no rings and an LCD screen, and more at a huge Cinegear for the Woodland Hills-based firm. See it all in the video above.

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DMG Lumière Rosco MIX Lets You Instantly Match Set Lighting to Photos

Match colors from a photograph to your set light—no gels required.

We've all seen a color in an image and wanted to recreate it. To take ourselves back to a magic moment in history, to capture a perfect sunset and bring that light to set. With the new features from the MIX line of lights from Rosco and DMG Lumière, we can do that more easily than ever before, by taking a photo or loading one in our phone, picking the color, and then bang, it should be recreated by the light.

Of course, factors like original camera, recording camera, and subject all play into it, but even if it can't perfectly match your original subject, there will be countless times this is useful on a set. An advertising creative director could dial in a specific lighting scheme for a campaign and roll it out through a variety of commercial spots. A DP and a Gaffer can share color schemes. This kind of technology will make life easier on set, as will the myMIX App, which not only allows you to control your MIX LED fixtures from your mobile device, but also to share your color mixes with anyone else who has the app.

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Why Renting Gear Just Got Easier & How to Overcome Your Creative Block [PODCAST]

Also in this episode of Indie Film Weekly, why Anthony Bourdain was "one of us."

Jon Fusco, and yours truly, Liz Nord discuss the absurd reality that pits a film star against a TV star on the geopolitical stage, and why we will miss Anthony Bourdain. Charles Haine joins us for gear news, including a move from ShareGrid that could change the gear rental market for the much, much better. Charles and Liz also answer an Ask No Film School question about what to do if you’re feeling stuck and having trouble moving forward on your films.

As always, the show also brings news you can use about gear, upcoming grant and festival deadlines, this week’s indie film releases, industry wisdom, and other notable things you might have missed while you were busy making films.

Please note: if you or someone you know is suffering, here is the list we mention of international suicide crisis lines by country.

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10 Things You Should Do to Your New Camera Before You Shoot

You just got a new camera? Sweet! But before you go out and shoot, you might want to do these 10 pretty boring things.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of bringing home a brand new friggin' camera. As you carry that sweet li'l thang over the threshold, I know the first thing you'll want to do is get it out of that packaging, run your hands over its smooth, beautiful body, and just go to town, but don't. A good camera is like a diesel engine; you can't just take it out and expect it to be ready to go when you are. You need to warm it up first. In this helpful video, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter goes over ten things you should do before shooting with a new camera to ensure that it's primed to capture the images you want.

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3 Stress Killers That You Should Bring with You on Set

Working on a set is like being inside a pressure cooker. Here are some things that will help you release some of that steam.

Set life is absolutely 100% bonkers. There are people zipping all over the place, you've got voices flooding the walkie, and there you are struggling to stay on top of the bazillion tasks you were entrusted to complete. To help you manage the pandemonium, Robbie Janney of Shutterstock lists three things that you can bring with you on set that will make your day of shooting a whole lot easier. Check out the video below:

The list of things that could help make set life easier is endless. With so many different tasks that have to get done in a day, every filmmaker could benefit from having comfy shoes, Sharpies, and other seemingly random supplies lying around somewhere. However, the items on Janney's list go after some bigger fish, the most common stress-inducing issues that are infamous on a film set, like transporting gear, unpreparedness, and organizing your shoot.

So, here are the three things Janney says can help make your life on set easier:

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Facing a Personal Hardship? This New Artist Emergency Fund Could Help

A new fund from American Documentary looks to help filmmakers in a pinch.

Let's face it: many filmmakers are trading in financial security to make our films. Especially early in our careers, we tend to get by with freelance work or day jobs and spend our free time and resources doing whatever it takes to get our films made. This means that, when an emergency strikes, we are often ill-prepared to handle it. Obviously, we all wish this were not the reality of the situation, and several institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts and the International Documentary Association have been working across the field to find solutions for a more sustainable industry.

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Take a Look at Zeiss Supreme Primes for Full Frame Production

While Zeiss has long had a full frame cinema option with the Compact Primes, the new Supreme Primes aim for the top of the market.

Zeiss has chosen Cinegear 2018 to roll out the new Supreme Primes, the lensmaker's answer to the burgeoning world of full frame cinema production. While Zeiss has long had cinema lenses that could cover full frame sensors, the Compact Primes, those lenses don't necessarily offer the features that top end DPs are looking for as full frame takes over the top of the market.

To address that need, Zeiss has brought its century of experience into the creation of the new Supreme Primes. Despite covering a larger area, these lenses are impressively quite a bit lighter than the Master Primes and feel very comfortable in your hand. With a package price of more than $100,000, these will be rental items for most of us, but as more camera bodies roll out larger sensors it's exciting to have more lens choices, especially from a maker with such a storied history in the cinema space.

Check out all the Zeiss lenses at Adorama.

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YeGrin AR-600 Lights Up the Entire Room

With enough punch to add to the fill level of an entire room, the AR-600 will be an affordable night exterior powerhouse.

Trade shows are crazy intense places, with lights flashing, strobing, and otherwise distracting you from paying attention to what is front of you. However, at the YeGrin booth at Cinegear 2018, we saw an amazing demonstration of just how powerful the new AR-600 light is as Irfan Merchant pointed it up towards the ceiling, easily 25 feet away. The unit bounced light off that high ceiling and created what Conrad Hall would have called "room tone," a base light level across the entire room that filled in all the shadows. As Merchant panned the light on and off, we were amazed at the noticeable difference in the room from this 600W unit, hitting the ceiling. We were so excited about it that we already wrote up our initial impressions, but now you can see for yourself in the video above.

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ARRI Amira Gets RAW

Little sibling to the Alexa, the popular Amira gets a long sought after RAW recording license option.

While the ARRI Alexa line remains the "premiere" platform for capturing digital images, and gets most of the press with the rollout of the Alexa LF, it's important not to forget the Amira. While it was primarily intended for doc and other non-fiction uses, it has been surprisingly also popular with some indie projects who appreciate its lightweight 9lb body size, internal 3D LUT support, and full 4K UHD capture. Now you can get your hands on all that and RAW recording as well.

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