Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Big Geeky Trade Show Weekend!

I do love a good trade show. It’s a chance to see some cool stuff, and catch up with buddies.

The only film industry trade show used to be “Showbiz Expo”, but they pissed a lot of people off (jacking up the rate for booths, and just generally being unpleasant to exhibitors), so a couple of new shows started – Molepalooza and Cinegear. Molepalooza was never that good (and they had permitting problems because Mole Richardson – where the show was held – are located in a really high traffic part of Hollywood), so the main one now is Cinegear. It gets bigger every year – this year was on the “Ranch” part of the Warner Brothers lot. It used to be on the Universal lot, but I like this location better – I hope it stays at Warner’s.

Cinegear’s always been really tech heavy – mostly lighting, grip and camera, although this year there were a few computer booths, the FTAC and some film location commissions.

Highlights of the show were Hydroflex (they make underwater camera and lighting systems) passing out illicit rum shots in their promotional shot glasses

Hydroflex’s extremely cool tropical-themed poolside booth.

Plus, some very, very cool LED lighting systems – lighting wise, LED’s are the wave of the future. They don’t pull much power, and they don’t generate as much heat as traditional lighting units. They’re not capable of putting out a whole lot of light, so they’ll never replace the larger units, but for small units they’re much nicer than flourescents (the other lightweight light).

Coolest gadget ever
This is an LED “Diva Light”. Lights mounted to the lens smooth out wrinkles, and are a favorite of aging actresses – hence the name.

One of the major technical difficulties (movie wise, that is) is shooting actors in moving cars. For years, all you could do was strap a camera to the hood of the car and shoot through the windshield, or hang the camera off the side of the car on a really horrifying contraption called a ‘hostess tray’. Then, along came the shotmaker (which is basically a flatbed trailer with some railing around it), but the problem with those is that you have 15 people sitting on the platform as you’re driving around, so high speed stuff just isn’t possible (I think the fastest you can go with a Shotmaker process trailer is about 20mph). Also, since the car’s sitting on a flatbed you are limited in what the camera can see.

This year, there were three or four different camera/car systems – one of which I’ve seen before (The “Go Mobile” from Go Stunts was used on “The Bourne Supremacy”, and it enables one to do really high speed stuff. Plus, there’s no trailer, so you don’t have to worry about framing. If you rent the “Bourne Supremacy”, there’s a behind the scenes special feature about stunts and the Go Mobile), and two which I haven’t.

This is the “Go Mobile”, and yes, that’s the General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazard”.

Cinegear - Car system
This is another type of car mounted system, but I can see a problem with the front clearance – there’s about an inch of it. Can you say “crunch”?

Cinegear - more car stuff
This is just scary.

The other recent (within the past 5 years) technical breakthrough – lighting balloons. They’re big balloons filled with helium and lighting units, so they cast a nice, even light. Just about every movie or TV show who shoots at night uses them now. The advantage to using them is that they’re easy to position, and all you have to hide from the camera is a couple of head feeders.

Airstar” lighting systems booth

I had a great time, even if it was hot – I really wanted to jump in the pool.


More photos are on Flickr.

Filed under: Non-Work, Photos, Work

June 2005
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