This Kodak Ektagraphic III E slide projector is a classic. You can project standard 2″ slides (yes, like made-from-film, sitting-in-the-attic slides). If you somehow ended up here because you were looking for a modern, digital projector, we rent plentyofthose, too.
Do people call you old school? A dinosaur? At MKE Production Rental, we prefer to think of film slide technology as “classic.” This rental slide projector may be old, but we keep all of our equipment in excellent condition. We include two slide trays.
The SLR Magic Anamorphot 2.0x-50 anamorphic lens adapter is a game-changer for cinematographers who want to get the cinemascope look without a six-figure lens budget. I spent some time shooting with the 2x Anamorphot (after working with various 2x vintage adapters) and have a lot of tips and tricks to share to get the most from any anamorphic adapter rig.
A frame from “Upstairs.” It was shot with a Sony FS7, a Zeiss 50mm ZE Planar T* lens with Metabones Speedbooster, the SLR Magic Anamorphot 2.0x-50, and Rangefinder.
This is the crazy rig I started using for the short film High Beam. It’s a Panasonic GH4, with an EF to MFT speedbooster, with a m42 to EF adapter, a vintage Helios 44-2 as the taking lens, a modified lens hood for mounting the Bell and Howell anamorphic adapter, which had the adjustable diopter cine modified. Then on the end, to get wide enough, I resorted to taping on a 0.7x wide angle adapter.
I started my anamorphic journey with a Bell and Howell 2x super 16mm projection lens. Getting the imperial threads of the lens adapter to fit onto the metric standards in use on my lenses and filters took a few deep dives on eBay. Figuring out how to mount and support the lens was a lot of trial and error, too. There are a lot of tips online, but with any modified projector lens, you’re going to need to figure out what works best yourself.
I learned one big lesson from shooting on the Bell and Howell: try not to change lenses. While I had lots of options, I ended up shooting almost exclusively on the vintage 58mm Helios 44-2. Since changing the taking lens meant changing the length of the crazy lens assembly, as well as using different stepping rings, lens changes were a 15-minute ordeal. I found it was easiest to switch between a “dumb” adapter for my telephoto shots, a speedbooster for my middle shots, and a speedbooster plus a wide angle adapter on the front for my widest shots. I found the the character of the vintage lens helped forgive some of the softness of the adapter.
Paired with a vintage lens, the Bell and Howell gives one-of-a-kind visuals, although it was bordering on impossible to use. Courtesy of High Beam. Click image to view in 4K
The rig was very inelegant, but did create some gorgeous images. The size of the Bell and Howell was suited to a Panasonic GH4, not s35 or full frame sensors. On MFT, it seemed a bit soft in 4K. Even with the modification to the variable diopter focus, focus was a challenge. It also looked so ridiculous that I couldn’t possibly suggest it for a “proper” shoot.
Looking for something that would be a better fit for the Sony A7s II, I picked up a Lomo 35 NAP2-3m. It’s a massive beast of a lens. While it does allow for relatively wide lenses even on a full frame camera, close focus is limited to a ridiculous 6 meters. The front element is so huge that no variable diopter would fit. Some anamorphic lensheads have done extreme modifications to the 35-NAP2-3M, but to do it right means building your own lens housing. Even with modifications, focus is difficult and requires the dual-focus method. After trying a few test shots, I quickly realized that the Lomo wasn’t a good option for me.
SLR Magic is the only company making modern “budget” anamorphic lenses and adapters. The Anamorphot 2.0x-50 is designed to work with the SLR Magic Rangefinder for single-focus operation. It has easy-to-use metric filter threads on the front and back. Everything about it makes it a lot easier to shoot with than any of the modified anamorphic projection lenses. I decided to work with the 2.0x model, since it gives a much more distinctly anamorphic look than the 1.33x.
SLR Magic definitely has some anamorphiles on staff. Everything in their Anamorphot line has a blue lens coating, which amplifies the blue-streak flares made famous by filmmakers like J.J. Abrams. The glass definitely has a unique character, like nothing I’ve seen from any other anamorphic lenses. The Anamorphot 2.0x-50 is relatively sharp when used with the right taking lens. I used it a lot around f/4 with Zeiss ZE series lenses. To get a tack-sharp image, you need to be sure that your taking lens and the adapter are at infinity, your adapter is mounted squarely, and of course your front focus element needs to be spot on as well. It takes some time and practice before that all happens naturally.
Lighting requires a different touch, as well. In general, highlights are to be avoided, except for the intentional lens flares and bokeh-ed points of light. High-contrast areas on a face, for example, can “bloom” and cause an out-of-focus look. In general, anamorphic shines most in low-key and night scenes. Getting the most from daytime exteriors usually means shooting low contrast, with a long lens and maximizing the oval bokeh effect.
After a few days of camera and lens tests, I’ve fine-tuned my ideal anamorphic adapter setup. I shoot on the Sony FS7, with an Atomos Shogun Flame to handle anamorphic de-squeeze and LUTs. A Zacuto Universal Baseplate provides a stable connection to rails (and gives the option to handhold the rig, if necessary). I use a Metabones adapter (not speedbooster). I found the speedbooster sometimes made focus even harder. I use Zeiss ZE lenses, or the Helios 44-2 for a more vintage look. The Anamorphot 2.0x-50 gets stepping rings to mount to the taking lens. I also use a Canon C-size tripod collar to help keep the adapter from rotating.
Playing with various lenses, I learned that the ideal taking lens has to have certain features. You need non-rotating front filter threads. Ideally, the lens maintains the same length when focusing. For full frame cameras, the front filter threads should be 62mm or smaller and the front element should be about 50mm or smaller. You can get away with slightly bigger numbers if you’re using full frame glass on a crop sensor.
Any comfort you have with lens lengths goes out the window with 2x anamorphic. Since a 50mm becomes a 50mm x 25mm lens, it can almost be wide and telephoto at the same time. Screengrab from Upstairs.
The Zeiss ZE 35mm f/1.4 on super 35, cropped to 2.35:1, was the absolute widest I could get, and required removing the Rangefinder. It still left me wanting a wider option when shooting interiors. It gives about the same horizontal field of view as a 28mm on s35. The 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 were both simple to use, and worked with the Rangefinder no problem. The 50mm was definitely the workhorse lens. Using an 85 seemed limited to large spaces and exteriors. I can see why the Helios 44 series is so popular among anamorphic adapter shooters. It’s an eminently useful length that’s long enough for bokeh effects and still wide enough to use indoors. On paper I was worried about not having a lens longer than 85mm, but in practice I never really felt I needed it.
Full manual is definitely the easiest way to go. Zoom lenses are tricky to use, since most of them change length while zooming. Primes are a much easier option. I experimented with a Canon 70-200, and it’s definitely not parfocal. In general, trying to focus past 135mm with an anamorphic adapter requires a zen-like patience, or a “good enough” attitude.
After shooting a few projects with various adapters, I really fell in love with the anamorphic look. It’s something I’ve wanted to take into my commercial work, but I didn’t feel an adapter was simple enough for high pressure work. I made the decision to add the three SLR Magic Anamorphot PL primes to my collection. I’ll post back here after I’ve shot a few projects with them.
What are your experiences shooting with anamorphic adapters? Let me know in the comments.
A document camera rental is an easy way to display a document, piece of art, or other item on a projector, television, or computer. This Elmo document camera can connect by VGA, HDMI or USB.
Document cameras combined with digital projectors have replaced classic overhead projectors. You can even write on your document and see the changes on the screen in real time, all without needing to use transparencies or staring into bright lights.
This Elmo camera is a modern, ultra-lightweight model, supporting full color. Weighing under two pounds, it’s perfect for courtrooms, classrooms, and anywhere you need to present documents. It can also function as a webcam, making it a great addition to a virtual sales meeting or collaborative Skype session.
This Elmo rental doesn’t include a way to display your video, but can be connected to a projector, television, computer, or other device.
We include everything you need in our backyard movie night package: a super-bright HD projector, a huge 120″ screen that’s easy to set up, two powered speakers, a DVD/Bluray player or TV tuner with Antenna, and all the cables you’ll need to make it work, indoors or outside. All you need to bring is the disc and the popcorn.
If you’ll be setting up indoors, we recommend a room with ceilings at least 10′ high. Outdoor areas should be clear of branches and overhead wires.
While you are welcome to connect our equipment to your own devices, we strongly suggest bringing a DVD or Blu-ray as a backup. We can’t guarantee your devices will work with ours, or the quality of your internet connection.
A backyard movie night is a great way to have a memorable night. We suggest inviting the neighbors, so you can turn up the volume! Here’s some more information about Preparing for Your Movie Night.
A perfect backyard movie night just takes a little planning and a nice summer evening. Here’s how to bring together a movie night that makes you the coolest neighbor on the block.
Start with invitations. As with anything that has the potential to be loud, you’ll want to invite the neighbors! Invite anyone you think might be interested and encourage them to bring outdoor movie necessities, including a blanket and bug spray. If your party is open to the public, or you’re charging admission, you’ll need to license your movie from the movie studio.
Pick the right spot. You’ll want to be away from streetlights and other bright lights, ideally in a space with some open grass for viewing. Or you can set up the screen above the pool and host a “dive-in” movie!
Plan enough food and drinks. Since your screening won’t start until after dark, you probably won’t need to provide a meal. No snack screams “movie night” more than popcorn, and you can serve it in classic paper popcorn bags for just a few dollars. Don’t forget, you’ll want to provide a trash and recycle bin, too, so your guests can clean up after themselves.
Start after dark. It’s tempting on late summer nights with kids to try to start the movie early, but the projection won’t be very visible until after sunset. Using a brighter projector can help, but no projector is going to work well while the sun is still up. At least you’ll have an excuse to use your glow bracelets. They’re for the kids, right?
Pick a spot where the lights won’t shine on the screen, to help keep the image easy to see.
Choose the right screen size for your group. Most backyard movies look best on a 16:9 screen that’s between 10 and 12 feet diagonal (usually for crowds between 20 and 120). You can build your own budget screen from a large sheet or project on a plain white wall, or you can get much nicer results from an affordable outdoor screen rental.
Use a bright enough projector. Projector brightness is measured in lumens. Here’s our suggested brightness chart for a good-looking projection on a typical summer night outside:
Screen Size (Diagonal)
Good sound is really important. Most digital projectors include some kind of speaker, but it’s not designed for large groups outdoors. For the outdoor movie experience, it’s best to use powerful speakers with good sound quality. For safety, you can add wireless audio to connect your speakers without running cables through your audience.
If you don’t want to worry about getting all the right av equipment and cables, we offer a backyard movie night package that has all the equipment you need. We can even have an AV tech come set it up if you like!
The Sony DVD/Bluray player is a popular renter with our projectors and screens. Sony makes the most reliable DVD and Bluray players in the world, which is why theirs are the only ones we offer for rental. The deck supports HDMI as well as component and composite outputs. It will play movie DVDs, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, Bluray, and recordable Bluray discs (BD-R). The included remote makes it easy to run the show from a distance.
$25 for a day or $50 for up to five days. Or add this DVD/Bluray player to your projector rental for just $10!
Rent a 55-inch ultra high definition TV for special events. presentations, trade shows, or as a featured screen on-camera or in the studio. The UHD TV features five HDMI inputs and smart connectivity with YouTube and other streaming services.
With brighter colors and higher resolution than a projector, you can count on this display to give your presentations and videos maximum impact. Widescreen UHD displays can increase traffic at conventions and trade shows, help keep your audience engaged, and make your product or service look its best. The slim screen fits almost anywhere, and the TV is lightweight enough to set up and take down easily.
We include a remote and power cable. Delivery to Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay or Chicago is available for all of our A/V and event equipment.
We believe anyone can make beautiful images and tell compelling stories, with the right gear and knowledge supporting them. With years of experience helping people make video, photos, and events, MKE Production Rental can help bring your dreams to life.
What do we do?
MKE Production Rental offers professional still and video cameras, light and sound equipment, and all the gear you need for your video or event! If you’re shooting photos or video in the studio or the field, we rent cameras, lenses, lighting and grip for motion picture, broadcast television, and events in Milwaukee, Chicago, and the surrounding area. If you need AV services like projectors, screens, sound systems, or event lighting, we do that, too. Save money by picking up your rental yourself, or let us deliver and set it up. Need an emergency rental on the weekend? We can do that. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
How do I get started?
Browse our catalog by category, or use the search bar above. Check out our getting started page. Ready to talk to a real human in Milwaukee? Call or text us at (414) 939-3653 anytime.
MKE Production Rental was founded by director of photography Jon Kline in 2013, to meet the needs of small and medium-budget video productions in Milwaukee. In 2014, we expanded into renting stage and event equipment, including stage lights, live sound, projectors, and screens. We have a growing team of employees and are always looking for our next team member.
As video and film production rental specialists, we provide the equipment and knowledge to get great video, whether your project is destined for TV, the internet, film festivals, or you’re just sharing it with friends. We rent more than a dozen different cameras and 100 lenses, to give you the perfect options for any project. We service film productions from our Milwaukee office, and frequently deliver to video productions in Chicago, Madison, and Green Bay.
Professional tools are now cheaper and smaller than ever before, and shooters of all levels are creating incredible work. But how do you know which equipment you need for your video? What if you don’t shoot often enough to purchase gear? Or what if you’re new to photography or video and just want to experiment? We can help you with the equipment, the advice, and the training to bring your dreams to life. Our customers are professionals, students, and weekend filmmakers from around the Midwest and around the world.
Our event and audiovisual rental services are targeted for corporate events, weddings, and entertainers on any budget. We can provide complete lighting, sound and projections for any event, or just rent you the pieces you need to set it up yourself. We’ve been involved with event productions in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Waukesha, Mequon, and the surrounding communities, and our list of clients continues to grow.
We also offer exhibitor services for companies and organizations hosting guests at the Wisconsin Center and other event spaces in Milwaukee
We believe being a partner to Milwaukee’s creative community means supporting organizations that share our values. We partner with nonprofits like UW-Milwaukee, CreativeMornings Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network. We also sponsor film festivals and events, including the Beloit International Film Festival, the Milwaukee Short Film Festival, and the 48 Hour Film Project in Milwaukee and Madison. We are always looking for ways to support our creative community.
We aren’t the biggest rental company in Milwaukee, but we strive to be the most helpful. We started out helping our friends make better videos. Today, that’s still what we do best.