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

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

Archive: Apr 2014

  1. Rokinon Tilt-Shift 24mm f/3.5 Lens

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    The Rokinon tilt-shift 24mm f/3.5 lens is a wide-angle, full frame lens that allows both shift (+/- 12mm) and tilt (+/- 8.5°) adjustments.  This EF-mount lens is popular for architectural work, as well as adding a dreamy focus look to photos and video. It’s also useful for making real life look miniature, with a very distinct plane of focus.

    Usually, we find shooters using this lens at pretty narrow apertures, to regain some control over focus and keep the focal plane extra sharp.  Our tests put the sweet spot for this lens in the f/8 to f/11 range.  The minimum focus distance of 22 cm makes for some creative possibilities with macro, as well.

    The Rokinon tilt-shift lens is also sold as Samyang or Bower.  The front filter threads are 82mm.  The lens is fully manual.

    Rental Prices

    $49 for 1 day
    $98 for up to 3 days
    $147 for up to 7 days
    Call or email for availability.
    Suggested accessories:
    Canon DSLR
  2. ISOs, sensitivity, noise, and grain

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    This is part three in our “Exposure for Video” series

    When shooting video, the third piece of the exposure puzzle is ISO, also called sensitivity, ASA, or gain.   All the other ways to adjust exposure are physical changes, they change the number of photons involved in your exposure.  In a DSLR or video camera, the ISO adjustment is electronic.  Adjusting your ISO will change the quality of your image in a few critical ways.

    Much like shutter speed, doubling or halving your ISO is a one-stop change in your exposure.  So going from ISO 50 to ISO 100 is one stop brighter, and going from ISO 400 to ISO 100 is two stops darker.

    Digital cameras use one or more CMOS or CCD sensors to collect light.  Each one is made up of thousands of tiny light-sensitive cells in an array, working together to make the image.   These cells are called pixels. They convert the photons of light into electrons, much like a teeny-tiny solar cell.

    When recording a video, each of these cells “dumps” its collection of electrons to the computer once each frame.  When you’re in a dark situation, there are only a few electrons to dump, and the margin of error goes up.  These inaccuracies show up as noise, and (since we perceive light logarithmically – we’ll save this for another blog post) they are most visible in the darker portions of our image.  Noise can be distracting and make an image look cheap, especially in moving pictures. Most of the time, we want the least amount of noise possible.

    The more gain you use (the higher your ISO), the more noise you will introduce into your image.  Using less gain will reduce noise.  Noise is blocky and unnatural-looking, and most noticeable in the dark areas.  Compare the green areas of the photo below to see varying levels of noise in the 100 and 1600 ISO exposures.


    Click the image to enlarge

    The amount of gain you use will also affect the latitude of the exposure.  Latitude is the camera’s ability to record detail in the extreme highlights and shadows of an image.  Most digital cameras will gain a half a stop or more of latitude as you increase your ISO.  If you reduce your ISO, you’ll reduce your latitude and the image will appear more contrasty.  Most of the time, we want to maximize our latitude, since we can always increase contrast in post, but we can’t reduce it.  Look at the details in the center of the flower in the image above.  You can see the texture in darker areas much more clearly in the 1600 ISO exposure.

    So, we want the lowest ISO possible to reduce noise and the highest ISO possible to increase latitude?  Not exactly.  For digital cameras, the manufacturer determines a particular ISO that gives superior noise performance and acceptable latitude performance.  This is called the native ISO, and is dependent on a lot of factors, including pixel size, heat handling, in-camera processing, and aesthetic preferences.  Most DSLRs are rated around 100 or 160 native ISO.  Other cameras vary, but nearly every camera available in 2014 has a native ISO between 100 and 800.

    Most photographers and cinematographers find a few settings on a camera that they like, and stick with them when they are in certain situations.  On a camera like the Canon 5D mark III, I usually find myself somewhere between ISO 160 and 640, depending on circumstances.  I suggest experimenting and finding what looks you like with your camera.  Eventually, you’ll learn what to expect as you adjust your ISO and the rest of your exposure settings.

    Posted by Jon Kline

  3. Bubble Machine

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    Our bubble machines are incredibly popular at birthday parties, and also rent for parade floats, weddings, music videos, and special events throughout the Milwaukee area. This is a professional grade bubble machine with high output, creating many thousands of bubbles per minute.

    For best results, bubble machines should be used outdoors. Indoor use should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Running the bubble machine for an extended time can cause any area to become slippery. The renter is responsible for appropriate and safe use.

    You’ll also need fluid (bubble juice).  You can make your own with dish soap, or use our commercial bubble fluid for significantly more bubbles that last a lot longer. We can send you with a gallon for $25. That’s usually enough for up to an hour, depending on conditions.

    Rental Prices

    $34 for 1 day
    $68 for up to 3 days
    $102 for up to 7 days
    Call or email for availability.

    Suggested accessories:
    Extension cable
    Extra bubble fluid

  4. Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies

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    Our Blackbox Plus UHF two-way radios are the industry standard for large film productions and events. The walkie talkies feature 16 UHF channels, a durable all metal chassis and standard Motorola two-pin headset connectors. In urban conditions, the radios can reach up to four miles, or through 30 floors indoors.

    Each two-way radio rental includes the Blackbox UHF Plus series radio, one battery, belt clip, antenna, and a charger.

    We offer a 10% discount for walkie talkie rentals of six or more, and 20% off orders of 12 or more. Surveillance headsets are sold for $10 each (for sanitary reasons, we do not rent headsets).

    Rental Prices

    $10 for 1 day
    $20 for up to 3 days
    $30 for up to 7 days
    Call or email for availability.

    Suggested accessories:
    D-ring Headsets
    Surveillance Headsets

  5. Canon 24mm f/2.8 EF-S STM Prime Lens

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    The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens is a great option for crop-factor cameras when you want small size, or STM video autofocus. It’s a modestly wide lens, useful for group shots, especially indoors with the f/2.8 aperture.  Remarkably sharp, even wide open. It’s the lightest lens Canon has ever made.

    It close-focuses to about 6 inches, making it an appropriate lens for up close shooting.  The lens has 52mm front threads.

    Rental Prices

    $24 for 1 day
    $48 for up to 3 days
    $72 for up to 7 days
    Call or email for availability.

    Suggested accessories:

    Canon DSLR
    Filter Kit

  6. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Zoom Lens

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    Canon’s 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens is a natural choice if you need an affordable all-purpose zoom lens on a crop-factor camera.  The image stabilization helps with both photo and video shooting.

    The lens is definitely an upgrade from Canon’s 18-55mm, with more than twice as much zoom range.  This lens works only with crop factor cameras with EF-S mounts.  For a full-frame camera, we suggest the Canon 24-105mm f/4L instead.

    Rental Prices

    $29 for 1 day
    $58 for up to 3 days
    $87 for up to 7 days
    Call or email for availability.
    Suggested accessories:
    Canon DSLR

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!