Z Systems Project Update: “Air Lock” Week 3


Air Lock Promo 2
“Air Lock” Star Kendra Alaura

We had a very busy weekend of shooting for Air Lock.  I was excited to try out some new gear and unique rigging, which I will go over in this update.  We managed to cram in 6 and a half pages of the script, which included wire work and some heavy visual effects shots which take a lot of time setting up.  We have one more day with the full cast and crew and another half day doing pick-ups and inserts with minimal crew.  We hope to be wrapped with the shooting this coming weekend and moving on into post production.


Xeen set
The full line of Rokinon Xeen Lenses; 14mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm

We got this set of Rokinon Xeen lenses a week and a half ago and this weekend was the first time I got to try them in a real world scenario.  I liked how light the lenses were, it really helped save my shoulder as I was mostly shoulder mounted all weekend.  The images were nice and sharp to about T2.0 or so.  With the aperture opened up to T1.5 the images lose some sharpness and there is some haloing around highlights, but most lenses will have some issues when opened up all the way, particularly in the budget lens category.  The lenses have another amazing feature that I came to love over the weekend, and that is how close you can focus the lens.  The 14mm has a minimal focal distance of 11 inches, and the 24mm will focus at 10 inches from the sensor.  That means that you can focus on objects that are within a few inches of the front element of the lens.  It came in very handy for a few of our shots and really opens up the lens set for some creative uses.


Getting ready for a two camera VFX shot

The Flanders Scientific monitors are great tools.  We used ours on set to do a Picture in Picture feed of both cameras we were shooting with so they could be viewed simultaneously.  The monitors are also capable of displaying a higher dynamic range than most director’s monitors and have 10-bit color processing for a superior representation of what is being captured.  Combine that with great scopes, LUT capability, exposure tools, and a large 24” viewing area and you have an amazing device for on set monitoring.



I have never really paid much attention to the TV Logic VFM-065 field monitor, preferring the Convergent Design Odyssey or Small HD AC7 for on camera monitoring.  But this weekend I was going to be doing a special setup with the A7R II camera and needed something more light weight than either of the 7” monitors so I grabbed the TV Logic.  The image on the monitor looks good and can be easily calibrated for accuracy.  As an added bonus the monitor will do a cross conversion from the HDMI input to the HD-SDI output so I was able to send the camera signal out to the directors monitor without having to bring a separate converter or a long HDMI cable with signal booster.


Up close and personal with the body cam rig

Speaking of the A7R II, I had it out on set this weekend to do a setup where the camera was mounted to our actress’s body.  We used a camera shoulder mount and rigged it to the costume the actress was wearing and turned the A7R around to face her with the Rokinon Xeen 14mm lens.  I stabilized the camera and moved with the actress as the action took place.  The result turned out better than we hoped and even though the A7R II only records in 8-bit 4:2:0 XAVC-S, our initial tests with the footage look fantastic and will fit seamlessly into the final film.


That’s it for this week’s update.  The only thing special coming up this next shooting weekend is some crane and dolly work, which I will be sure to write about.  After that it’s going to be all about the post production which we will hopefully be able to update you on as well.

-Keith M