Midtown Video Kicks Off 2012 with Launch of Canon C300 Digital Cinema Camera

Canon Inc. has released the Canon C300, an all-new interchangeable-lens digital cinema camera and Midtown Video, based in Miami, Florida have been selected as one of only seventeen authorized retailers in the United States.

This state of the art camera combines incomparable imaging performance with outstanding mobility and expandability to meet the demanding production needs of today’s motion picture industry.  Featuring a newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent approx. 8.29-megapixel CMOS sensor, the camera will be available in two models: the EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, equipped with an EF lens mount for compatibility with Canon’s current diverse lineup of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras and new EF Cinema Lens lineup; and the EOS C300 PL Digital Cinema Camera, with a PL lens mount for use with industry-standard PL lenses.

The new camera allows users to adjust image quality to match that of professional camcorders and EOS-series digital SLR cameras, and offers maximum freedom in post-production editing and processing. The EOS C300/C300 PL features a 24.00p mode, matching the 24 frame-per-second frame rate of film cameras for high compatibility with common film-production workflows.

The camera’s video and audio recording file format uses the industry-standard MXF format, ideally suited for non-linear editing systems. Recording to CF cards, the EOS C300/C300 PL realizes high cost-performance and, equipped with two CF card slots, makes possible the concurrent recording of video data to two CF cards.

Other features include fast-motion shooting, and slow-motion down to 1/2.5x. Frame rates between 1 and 60 frames per second (fps)can be adjusted in increments of 1 fps. Additionally, a selection of Custom Pictures lets users freely adjust image quality for greater control over how content looks.

To learn more about the Canon EOS C300/C300 features visit Midtown Video online at https://midtownvideo.com.



Bet Shira Congregation Enters the Digital Age with Midtown Video’s Help

Last fall, Bet Shira Congregation in Pinecrest was looking for a way to integrate those congregants who couldn’t attend services due to their health or long distance. They reached out to Midtown Video for a solution to enable congregants to watch the services and events in the comfort of their home.

After meeting with the Midtown team, Bet Shira Congregation decided it was time to enter the digital age and begin streaming the synagogue’s services and other events live to their website.  They had two special requests, one, the system had to be simple enough to use that a video technician would not be needed to operate it and two, that it required a minimal amount of manual labor during the filming of the Sabbath services.
Gigi Sopo, Member Services for Bet Shira Congregation shares, “The Midtown team is great! They are all warm, friendly and professional. Whenever we’ve had an urgent issue that needed to be addressed, they were there. Virge Castillo has been my go-to person for all technology questions and has helped us a great deal.”

Midtown handled the Sony and Apple products installation and provided all the technological tools the synagogue needed, as well as providing training on the flash player set up, proper broadband selection and additional support as needed. The installation itself was a challenging one, as it required careful wiring to maintain the aesthetics of the sanctuary due to the type of existing ceiling tile.

“We have been using our equipment for several months now and we are very satisfied!” continued Sopo, “Our Tricaster is fabulous and the camera is high definition. The training that Midtown provided me was superb and has allowed us to use our new equipment effectively.”

Since they began video streaming the services the synagogue has received several e-mails expressing appreciation as well as contributions. Many of the web viewers aren’t even congregants. They are watching from Spain, Israel and other countries. The webcasting of synagogue services was most appreciated during High Holy Days when many people cannot afford tickets or are unable to attend due to illness. Added Sopo, “Streaming services brings our community together in a way it’s never been before.”

Bet Shira Congregation is a conservative synagogue in Pinecrest, Florida offering enrichment programs, adult-learning opportunities, social events, preschool and religious school. For more information, visit www.betshira.org.

To learn more about Midtown Video’s turnkey installations, click here.

All in a Day’s Work

When Felipe Marrou completed his documentary on pilots entitled Aviator’s Journey he approached local PBS affiliate WPBT-Channel 2. The station agreed to air the piece which Marrou had produced and filmed himself.  Recently, WPBT in turn, reached out to Marrou when the national cooking show Simply Ming was coming to Miami. The show was going to be filming on location and needed a Director/Cameraman and crew. Simply Ming featuresEmmy Award-winning host Chef Ming Tsai who along with renowned guest chefs creates one of a kind East-West pairings.

Marrou agreed and soon found himself out on location with host Chef Ming Tsai. The crew shot for several days at a variety of Miami locations, each with a local celebrity guest chef joining Chef Ming Tsai. Chef Michelle Bernstein as well as 3 others were featured preparing dishes unique to South Florida.  Professional golfer Annika Sorenstam was featured in a segment that was filmed at Turnberry Isle golf course.

“PBS requested a specific camera be used, the Panasonic 900, I knew Midtown Video carried it, so I rented it from them,” explains Marrou. “Everything went great, in fact,” continues Marrou,” this particular episode was nominated for an Emmy which was pretty cool.”

Soon after Marrou found himself in the process of a very different kind of production. His company VTM Productions was contacted by client Bupa Health Insurance with a request to do a live studio production and transmit it to locations across the globe. The live webcast went off without a hitch. “It’s great working with the crew over at Midtown, you can always count on them to be on time and do a good job,” said Marrou. “They do live transmissions all the time, they have experience, and you want to work with someone that is able to tackle the issues, someone you can trust.”

Marrou’s most recent shoot was for a local law firm which involved filming in a courtroom and required rapid set ups and break downs. He was pleased with one particular piece of equipment and wanted to share its benefits with others. “We used a new dolly that Midtown is carrying called the Dolly Wolly,” states Morrou. “It is a very helpful tool, very easy to use, set up and transport and at a good price.” Morrou is happy with how the commercial came out and plans to show the client the completed piece before he moves on to the next job. All in a days work for Felipe Morrou.

Car Crashes, Treasure Hunting and Fishing Shows

What do you get when you combine a tough, veteran breaking news photographer, who has filmed every major air and traffic accident in central Florida in the last 15 years with a seasoned man of the sea, once a diver for famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher, today a charter fisherman and colorful character in his own right? Well when its junior high school classmates and life long friends, Robert Kilroy and Roy Blanchard, you get a great looking fishing series with a natural born star.

It all began when Kilroy went out on the docks in his hometown of St. Augustine, seeking a charter fishing trip to take a break from his long work hours.  While on the dock he ran into childhood friend Roy Blanchard, otherwise known as Capt. Sharkey. Once a freelance Master diver, Blanchard worked for Mel Fisher, diving the priceless treasure cargo of the fabled lost Spanish galleon Atocha. Diving from the lead boat, the Endeavor. Blanchard found numerous artifacts and treasures including jewelry, emeralds, fine china and antiquities. An injury forced an early retirement and a move above water into the charter fishing business.

Capt Sharkey offered to take his old buddy out on a fishing trip and Robert was immediately enthralled. “The minute Capt. Sharkey started showing me what I was doing wrong I had the idea to turn this into a show,” shared Kilroy. “I went out fishing and discovered a star.” “Robert is a really good photographer” adds Capt Sharkey,” he sets up these natural backgrounds, just a perfect combination of worn driftwood and old buoys along the river, his equipment works beautifully and the footage looks magnificent.”

Kilroy and Blanchard have since filmed several instructional clips as well as fishing reports. The segments can be found on the St. Augustine Record’s website at http://staugustine.com/captsharky. Fox 30 in Jacksonville has also expressed an interest in airing the quirky fishing clips.  The duo has been working together for eight months and have received a positive response from both the newspaper and viewers. The plan is to continue to grow the show and promote it more by taking on sponsors such as local bait shops and restaurants.
When it came time for Robert to upgrade his equipment, he reached out to Midtown Video,  purchasing an HRZ5 Sony camera with an SD card reader as well as a laptop. “I went with Midtown because in the end it is about getting people to talk to you. Jesse Miller is really qualified, shares Kilroy. “He knows what he is talking about and takes the time to go over things with you. After work, after hours, this guy will talk to you.”

Kilroy continued, “On a recent documentary project Hallmark asked for a specific kind of look. Jesse explained how to adjust the settings on the camera to achieve more of a film look that they were looking for. He likes to talk about cameras and he takes the time for a little guy like me.” On a scale of one to ten I would give Jesse and Midtown Video a fifteen or twenty, just off the charts.”
The fishing show is actually a far cry from Robert’s usual vocation. On a typical workday, Robert receives notice by radio of an accident right after it occurs and the location, which could be anywhere in central Florida. Robert is first on the scene in his fully equipped mobile unit and films the accident for the Florida Highway Patrol giving him exclusive rights to the footage.  In addition, Kilroy is able to upload the footage via mobile satellite to local area news stations and CNN.

While Kilroy continues his work as a freelance news photographer, future plans call for the two to continue producing the weekly or biweekly fishing reports as well as additional instructional videos and on locations shoots. The trailer for the Hallmark documentary can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOYvVr6TGUE.

Mexican Body Guards

Janet Jarman is a photographer/multimedia journalist whose work focuses predominantly on current issues and news in Latin America. Over time her storytelling has evolved from still photography alone to including audio and most recently video. Jarman has produced documentaries on immigration issues, globalization and the possibility for sustainable development. Her photographs have been published in Geo, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Newsweek and Fortune.

Jarman’s latest project focuses on police reform in Mexico and offers an insider’s view of a rural training camp. Jarman began this project mainly to portray the realities of policing in Mexico, especially in small towns where security budgets are minimal and corruption is rife.
The shoot itself lasted 12 days, spread out over three visits in late 2010 and early 2011. Filming mainly focused on Jalapa, Tabasco in Southern Mexico. The city is located in the middle of drug and immigrant smuggling routes from Guatemala to the Eastern coast of Mexico, and from there onwards to the US border. A cartel named Los Zetas dominates this area. At first, Jarman saw the project as a still photos only piece; however, once there, she decided that video might better portray the intensity and emotion of the training.

Explains Jarman, “During the training coverage, I had to be very careful to stay behind the line of fire, since they were using live ammunition. Fortunately, the trainers trusted my judgment and worked with me so that I could get close enough to the action. Still, it was risky. Once, I did want a picture so badly that I decided to set up a remote second camera to nail the action.”

While visiting in Miami, Jarman decided to take the advice of colleagues from the University of Miami and reached out to Midtown Video. “I had decided that I needed a tapeless workflow, immediately,” shared Jarman. “Since I had shot predominantly stills my entire career, my knowledge of video camera specifics was limited, and the whole process of buying a video camera was slightly overwhelming.”

After consulting with Jarman on her shooting needs, Jesse Miller, CTO, recommended the Sony EX1. “I feel quite lucky that I found Jesse and Midtown that day, “ said Jarman, “Establishing a relationship with a place like Midtown, with their style of and commitment to customer service is of immense importance. You really feel like they want your business, and that they are interested in keeping it. On top of that, they even seem interested in your work! This combination of professionalism is hard to find in today’s fast paced profit driven world, but when you step into Midtown, you know the experience will be an honest and educational one.”

Jarman returned to Mexico to continue filming, using the Sony EX1 to cover the interviews and action. “Gaining people’s trust and keeping it was crucial in order to get this access, concluded Jarman. “I spent a lot of time building relationships and explaining to people that I was there to tell a story about their lives, not to get them in trouble or put them in risk – and that I wanted to tell a unique story about Mexico. In the end people let me into their homes and opened up, allowing me to work in a thorough manner. I am grateful to everyone in the story for their trust.”

To learn more about Janet Jarman and her work visit her online at www.janetjarman.com.