Camera, Light, Projector and Sound Rental in Milwaukee & Chicago

            Renting cameras, audio, lighting & grip for Milwaukee, Chicago, and the surrounding area.

Archive: Jan 2014

  1. 4’x4′ and 8’x8′ frames/overheads and stands

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    We have 4’x4′ and 8’x8′ frames/overheads/butterflies/rags for light control.  Mount them with our C-stands or Junior Stands and grip heads.  Be sure to include your choice of rags, listed below.

    Our one-day rental rates

    4’x4′ 8’x8′
    Frame $10 $20
    Silver $7 $19
    Full Silk $7 $19
    Half Silk $7 $19
    Double Net $7 $29
    Ultra Bounce $7 $29
    Gold “Elvis” $7 $29
    Silver “Marilyn” $7 $19
    Black Solid $7 $19
    Bleached Muslin $7 $19
    C-stand $6
    Junior Stand $14
    Junior Grip Head $7


    Traveling light?  Our 8×8 frames collapse into a kit that’s just 4 feet long, and our 6’x6′ Scrim Jim gets even smaller.

    Our 4×4 frames are fixed, so you’ll want a large van or a truck to move them. They don’t fit inside most cars or SUVs.

    Suggested accessories:

    tent stakes

  2. N-Series vs S-Series XQD Cards in the Sony Z100

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    xqd-cardsWe recently added the Sony PXW-Z100 to our rental catalog, and one of the first things we wanted to test when we got it out of the box was real-world performance with N-series and S-series XQD cards.  Since S-series cards are, at the moment, much more expensive than N-series cards, we wanted to know what that extra cost was buying, in performance terms.  A scarcity of supply has driven the price of S-series cards up even further over the last six months.  We also wanted to clear up some of the confusion around XQD card speed ratings in general.  At one point, Sony offered H-series cards (with speeds similar to N-series), but those have been discontinued, so we did not test them here.  The S-series cards come in several varieties, rated by their read speeds (which don’t necessarily correlate with write speeds).  The S-series card we tested was the faster 180 MB/s variety, but Sony claims the 168MB/s S-series card is fully compatible with all Z100 video modes as well.

    For our test, we used two N-series 64GB Sony XQD cards and one S-series 32GB Sony XQD card. We recorded with a Sony PXW-Z100 with firmware version 1.01.  Each card was formatted in-camera before each test.  As of this firmware version, the camera only supports recording in one codec, XAVC, the same format used in higher-end cameras like the Sony F55.

    For the first test series (Test A) we recorded clips in mixed lighting, on a tripod with manual exposure and gain set to 0dB.  For the second test series (Test B), we recorded clips in a very dark room, handheld, zoomed in to max, walking around, with gain at 18dB.  We felt this was probably the most likely to max out the PXW-Z100’s bitrate, and represented a worst-case scenario for the cards.  A test was marked as a pass (✔) if the camera recorded successfully for 6 minutes, and a fail (✖) if recording was automatically stopped.  We tested each more than once, and used two different N-series cards, but we got identical results with each repeat test.

    For all settings of the camera, the N-series card returned a message “Not Guaranteed Media,” and for all settings with the S-series card, there was no message.  All of our failed tests stopped recording within the first 30 seconds of the clip.

    N-Series Card S-Series Card
    Guaranteed Test A Test B Guaranteed Test A Test B
    1920×1080 all framerates
    3840×2160 23.98p
    3840×2160 29.97p
    3840×2160 59.94p
    4096×2160 23.98p
    4096×2160 29.97p
    4096×2160 59.94p


    A quick peek at the file sizes indicated that the same 600Mb/s bitrate was reached for the 4096×2160 60p and 3840×2160 60p settings under all test conditions.  To put it another way: the bitrate is based only on the video size and framerate, not what is being recorded.

    The upshot is, if you’re recording in HD, or in 23.97p framerates, paying extra for the S-series cards will only buy you peace of mind.  If you’re looking to stay budget-conscious, or want to wait out investing in extra media until the price drops, N-series cards may be the way to go.  But N-series cards simply can’t handle 4K at framerates greater than 24p, yet.  To keep things interesting, Sony is expected to support writing lower-bitrate formats AVCHD and XAVC LongGOP with a scheduled firmware update.  The firmware update is also expected to enable the single SD/MemoryStick card slot, which is completely unused in the current version.  For shooters comfortable with AVCHD files, XQD cards may become completely unnecessary after the update.

    Posted by Jon Kline

  3. Seven Things to Do Before You Graduate with a Film Degree

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    graduateIf you’re a student studying film, chances are you have a lot on your plate.  Classes, productions, exams, and maybe a job and a social life, too.  But there are some key things you can do to give yourself a head start in the field, whether you’re interested in production. post-production, broadcast, or other media.  Complete this list to get a head start on a successful career.

    Get an Internship

    You are going to need something on your resume besides McDonald’s and a BA in film.  Find an internship in a field you think might be interesting.  Make sure you’ll have a direct supervisor who can help you learn something, not just have you do menial work all day.  Expect to spend 80-160 hours of college in an internship.  If you can’t find a paid internship, it’s okay to take an unpaid one.  I suggest limiting your work time to 120 unpaid hours, though.  After that, you’ve made your connections, left your impressions, and hopefully learned a few lessons.  Now you can put the internship on your resume and find an entry-level job.

    Need some ideas on an internship?  A lot of smaller businesses don’t post anything formally, but if you leave your resume on their desk enough times, you might get a call back anyway.  If you’re in Milwaukee, we sometimes hire interns, too!

    Create Something Impractical

    You will have your whole career to make other people’s projects.  When you’re doing work for clients or a specific television program or film, you probably won’t get a lot of creative input.  You’ll be subject to brand guidelines, messaging guidelines, tone, and budget in ways you can’t even imagine.  College might be your last chance to do something “crazy.”  You can work on projects without deadlines, spend hours on them without counting and budgeting, and finish when you decide it’s done.  And when you’re done, having something really unique to show as part of the interview process is a great way to be remembered.

    Submit Things for Awards

    If you’re doing it right, you’re creating things for class and campus groups non-stop in college.  Be sure to let your best work collect some awards.  Film festivals, advertising and media groups festivals, and student groups all have awards.  Winning is usually about a combination of talent, luck, and submitting to lots of opportunities.  Taking home a few awards will boost your confidence and add a line item to your resume, both of which are important when you’re trying to get in the door at your first “real” job.

    Start a LinkedIn Profile

    This advice applies to almost every college student.  You need to create your own personal brand, and waiting until after graduation is too late.  Almost every internship or job opportunity that considers you will probably look up your profile, see what you’ve done, and how you may be connected to their existing employees.  Create your profile, add some work experience, and start to find your voice.  Be sure to build your network, especially with faculty and students a year or two ahead of you.  You’ll be looking to work and get internships in the same places your friends are.  This can also be a great way to keep in touch and ask for career advice from people who have been where you are.

    Join Some Organizations

    Be sure to get involved with at least one organization on campus and one professional organization.  These are great ways to build your network and give you some introductions into the world of film and video production.  Personal connections are important in any industry, but for you, they will be extra important.  You could be moving from project to project as a contractor every few months, so the more people you already know, the easier it will be to find your next project.  Lots of professional organizations have reduced rates for students, too!  Not sure where to start?  If you’re in Wisconsin, I suggest Milwaukee Adworkers, Madison Media Professionals, and Milwaukee Film,  Different cities have different groups, but try to find one in an area you’re interested in, with regular events and a lot of members you’d like to get to know.

    Work as a Production Assistant

    There are two ways to make a living in the world of moving pictures: jobs and gigs.  Chances are, you’re pretty familiar with how a job works.  Gigs are different.  Usually lasting between a day and six weeks, gigs are project-based work and you’ll usually be paid a day rate, as opposed to hourly.  Production Assistants (called PAs) are almost always paid a day rate and usually get to be on set.  You’ll probably need to provide an invoice and get some experience in invoicing and taxes.  People who work as contractors on different gigs are called freelancers.  Even if you’re not planning on spending your career as a freelancer, you’ll still benefit from seeing how that world works.

    Make Some Cold Calls

    Even the most accomplished people in the worlds of cinema and television are just people like you and me.  Find an excuse to get in touch with your idol.  Maybe you’re writing a paper for a class and would like a quote, or you’re interested in touring their facility or finding out about their process.  These days, it’s pretty easy to send an email, and if you appeal to their ego, you’ll probably get a response.  Just be professional, concise, and end with a specific action you’d like them to take.  You might be surprised who emails you back.

    Now go create some projects, make some connections, and win some awards!

    Posted by Jon Kline

  4. Anamorphic Lens Rental

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    The SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x PL anamorphic lens set rental provides cinematographers with the anamorphic look for a reasonable budget.  All three cinema lenses are designed to create 2.4:1 ultra-widescreen (a.k.a. cinemascope) images on cameras with 16:9 super 35-sized sensors.

Can’t Find It?

If you haven't found what you're looking for, try the search box above, or call (414) 939-3653. We have way too many clamps, cables, and widgets to list everything. And we have new stuff coming all the time, too!