Filmmaking Paradise – Conventions concerning Filmgear
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in the filmmaking business or a long and hard-working DP (Director of Photography) you will always have to be on top of the gear game. It seems like every week something new is hitting the market. A new wireless follow focus system, a new mattebox, different new options to mount anything onto your camera – let alone mentioning all the new camera systems hitting the shelves every time another convention is close by. Since I unfortunately did not have the time to get to IBC this year the next reasonable choice was Cinec in Munich.
Concerning Cinec: Although there are way bigger conventions for filmmakers around the world, cinec has its own special place in the heart of german filmmaking industry. 180 exhibitors and over 4000 visitors every two years. Yes. It’s way smaller than IBC and NAB but the vibe is just so special. The good thing about smaller exhibitions is that you actually have the time to care about the users of your gear. And that is not meant in an offensive way, to the bigger conventions. There is much more potential customers there, and you want to talk to each and every one of them, but you just can’t do that in a proper way – unfortunately. This is not the case with Cinec. I went there the first time and was able to literally speak to each and everyone I wanted to talk to. It did not matter if it was a smaller company or one of the big names like Arri or Cooke. Everyone approached me openly and it was a blast talking to all of them! Here are a couple of pictures I took at Cinec:
My personal Impressions
As a fairly new filmmaker who has never been to Cinec before I literally had no expectations coming into Cinec. Which is a good thing in my opinion because I was not biased at all, in fact I was really hyped to be traveling to Munich with a couple of friends – Julian Schneider and Alexander Neu – and just having a good time surrounded by all the goodies all beginning filmmakers dream of.
Getting there… dear lord it was horrible. Raining cats and Dogs, lots of traffic and the typical drivers who just refuse to use their rearview mirrors. Basically just a typical day at “ze german Autobahn”. Luckily we got a good parking spot in the underground parking lot, so rain was not an issue any more. Alright, we parked the car, stretched a little bit after that 5 hour ride and in we went into the exhibition. Since we all preordered our tickets we just went through to the “VIP”-shelter, got our special visitor passes and into the filmmaker madness! The first and biggest exhibitor we saw was… well of course none other than Arri. Arri was displaying basically everything you could possibly imagine: Alexa, Amira, Alexa Mini, Master Primes, anamorphics, Arri Shoulder Rigs, SkyPanels, M40, M90, you name it they had it. Even for such a “small” exhibition Arri sure knows how to present themselves. As for the people working at the exhibition, they were really informative, approached us openly and explained everything we wanted to know about the camera and the equipment involved with it.
As you can see from the featured image I kinda fell in love with the Alexa mini… well, paired with a 28mm Master Anamorphic Prime on a Arri shoulder rig with on of Arri’s newest inventions: The Arri Master Grips. The Setup was so intuitive to handle, although I never used any of the gear before I felt right at home and ready to shoot. I was especially impressed by the quality of the lens. Although it is an anamorphic lens there was no visible distortion nor any lens breathing while racking focus – okay its a 45 000 $ lens but still outstanding lens quality! Secondly the Arri Master Grips were a blast to use! You can control the iris, focus and zoom with it, they fit perfectly into the ergonomic design of the grip and pulling focus is a piece of cake with it, when you got used to using your thumb for pulling focus. It’s the perfect solution for documentary and run and gun shooting scenarios! Big ups to Arri, you know why these guys are on top of the filmmaking game!
I wondered around a little bit more, had a talk with the guys from Dedolight, Schulz Camerasupport, two really nice guys from B&H Photo Video and finally with Alfred from Xinegear. I mean, as a filmmaker you would know Dedolight and Schulz for their outstanding gear and B&H – every European filmmakers dream of a professional reseller for anything our hearts request – but Xinegear?
If you are from Germany and your production company owned a Red camera, you might have come in contact with Alfred or one of his former employees at some point. I mean he just ran Red Germany over in Berlin… you know. However in the process of Red chosing resellers like Teltec Red Germany – unfortunately – got shut down. If you read the RedUser forum as I did by that time, Jarred Land told us that Alfred and the guys from former Red Germany had a new thing going on which was called “Xinegear” and we should not worry about them – well this was like half a year ago. I will not go into details, but it was not as uncomplicated as you would think. But that’s a thing of the past! Alfred is back! Same location as before and he’s getting his old crew back! THANK GOD!
If you wonder why this is such a big thing to me, here’s why: As I already wrote, Red decided to outsource their sales department to the guys from Teltec in Wiesbaden and technical support to Red UK in London. Let me tell you that I am not the only one concerned and not happy with that decision – for several reasons:
Red Germany’s support was just so outstanding! They knew their camera inside-out. It did not matter if it was a technical issue or a question concerning the combination of different modules of the camera or just general questions concerning any of Red’s products. The guys from Red Germany had you covered. You mailed them or just called them and half an hour into you problem the problem was gone. That was just such a nice experience and just phenomenal customer support. If you wanted to buy a camera, you had – and still have, heck even more now than before – an overwhelming amount of options to choose from. They assisted you in chosing the right configuration for your needs.
Well this was all gone the day Red Germany was shut down. And it left a big blank to fill. Red UK is overrun by all the requests from all over Europe and shipping your camera there is expensive and slow as hell compared to a 1 day delivery from Germany to Germany. Teltec is also completely overwhelmed by the amount of options in which you can configure a Red camera. No hard feelings Teltec, but you should have really stepped up your game.
But all of that does not matter no more! Alfred is back and may I say – better than ever! Not only has he the experience with Red cameras he gained as the head of Red Germany, on top of that he now also sells everything that you can use on a Red camera: Tilta rigs, Birght Tangerine matteboxes and follow focus systems, Wooden Camera gear, Offhollywood modules, KipperTie OLPFs and much more which is yet to be announced. And something I am really happy to hear: he got two of his former technicians back for maintenance of your Red camera! THANK GOD!
Well as a conclusion, I have to say Cinec 2016 was such a nice experience, friendly people all over the place, really impressive innovations by Arri and a really happy announcement on behalf of Alfred and Xinegear.
Since Cinec happens only every two years, next year’s stop will be IBC 2017 in Amsterdam – and boy am I looking forward to that!