Pimp Your Element Technica Mantis Shoulder Rig

Over the years with much use and time your Hand Grips begin to lose their density. The acids in palm sweat brake down the rubber and causes the grips to slip. The look of the rig turns sloppy and under maintained. Since the grips become softer it’s harder to keep a firm grip over long takes so your hands have to constantly re-adjust which effects movement in camera.

A great way to facelift your Element Technica Mantis is by ordering a set of ODI Lock-On HandGrips which are available in fun colours to best suit your personality. The bottom caps protect the Mantis Handle from getting scratches.

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To remove the old grips I’d recommend a compressor with a point tip for the easiest removal if not canned air will do with a few twist and turns.

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Keep in mind if you have an older style rig like mine with the Shorter Grip Post w/Remote Stop  you’ll have to order a smaller 90mm handgrip to compensate. The newer models use a pair of traditional 130mm length Grips.

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You can see the olds grips do no justice to the Lock-Ons!

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SOURCE: Element Technica MantisElement Technica Grips – ODI Lock Rings – ODI Grips 130mm/90mm


“I Got What Ya Need” Scarlet-X > < Behind the scene


Scarlet-X couldn’t have come at a better time, even though Canon and Arri will convince you 1080p will do, it’s a lie; rumors have it that both companies are working hard on a 4K camera. 4K represents a true Cinema grade image and it is the future of Digital Cinema. Red has done an amazing job of whipping the “industry” into shape by providing a cost effective solution for operators to own their personal gear. Having been a R1 DIT on a handful of Indi Features I can say that the Scarlet is the new MkII that does 4K and can handle abuse in a production enviroment. The amount of content that’s gonna be produced from these cameras will be revolutionary and set the new standard for tomorrow.

I have to thank everyone at Red for their support and hard efforts in designing cameras that we thought could never exist. It takes a great vision to picture a world where Ultra-Resolution is common in the entertainment industry and RED has helped us get there. Scarlets and Epics are assembled here in the Irvine CA with under 500 employees, cutting edge both in technology and manufacture techniques.

It’s been years of desire to own a Scarlet, at last that day has come…


Once my brain arrived I went on the hunt for a 5.0 Touch.  My buddy Paul was at Widespread Creative Studio in Downtown Austin, Kelly happened to have a Touch Screen but no brain. Together we merged powers like an 80’s saturday morning cartoon and had a working Scarlet-X for the weekend. The weather was much like LA and the light was soft through most the shoot giving us the prime conditions with a slight frosty breeze. While prepping the camera by the curb a car stops in the middle of the road to see what we where doing. A voice pokes out of the tinty windows, “Hey is that a Red camera?” We couldn’t believe ourselves, we haven’t even started shooting!

The Shoot:

Having the same build as it’s bigger brother Epic, it allows for a “DSLR” feel but can pack a 4K Cinematic image along with high fram-rates cropped at 3K 48fps and 2k 60fps. I wanted to experiment with the Variable Speed mode to see it’s limitations since there aren’t many videos that do so. 1/3 of our video is slo-mo, majority of the clips are at 60fps; very appropriate for when your subject is moving 50mph.

To match my mental storyboard to reality I needed to suspend the camera 6-inches above the ground safely. Using a wide Prime lens (ZE 21mm)  the riders needed to be 5-feet or less from the camera, as James would describe it “scary close” in order to feel like we’re riding next to Evan and Holt. Reminded me of WakeSurfing only on pavent at 40-50mph down a hill, on some runs they where so close we could carry a conversation with pointers to help improve the shot.

To keep the rig feather light we used the DC Power Adapter that was converted through the Cigarette Lighter. A GoboHead w/MafferClamp allowed us to strap the camera for ultimate protection.

UI is pretty straight forward, a whole bunch of tapping and swiping much like an iPhone. Fast and effective, the touchscreen can be locked/unlocked by leaving your finger in the top right corner until the “Lock” Icon is enabled to prevent accidental changes. I was amazed at how I could set Look presets in camera then further dial down the image in Cine-X; having RAW allows for the utmost creativity.

We finished the 2-Hour Shoot with one 64GB SSD, exposed 24 clips that summed up to 43GB of sweet sweet Scarlet footage. Chasing the light is never fun but the crew knew what we where up against so we shot non-stop. Everything happened so fast we where amazed at how many set-ups we where able to squeeze in. Feel free to click bellow at the screen shots to see them in full-res. The wide shot on the bottom is on the ZE 21mm wide open at 4K.

Lens where provided by On-Airstreaming.com and we used a set of ZE Primes, 21mm f2.8_35mm f1.4_50mm f1.4_85mm f1.4. As for filters HOYA ND 8 & CIR POLA except for 21mm (no mattebox or hood).

While Exposing I stayed between 320ASA and 640ASA. The high speed is done at F2.8_640ASA_225 Deg Shutter (60fps) & 180 Deg Shutter (48fps). All the 4K shots where at f3.2_90 Deg Shutter_320ASA. When shooting I enabled 2.39:1 Aspect Ratio frame guide which was then cropped in Cine-X along with first pass color then converted to ProRes 422. Final Color and Edit where cut on FCP 6 . I did it with a four year old laptop in two days of editing/transcoding. By only converting selective portions of a the clips it shaved loads of time rather than converting all the files.

More Pictures Here


I couldn’t be more thankful, happy, privileged to be apart of a new movement.

Thank You Red Team!

Arri Alexa Plus First Impressions

A couple weeks ago I got a last minute call for a commercial gig which was gonna be my first time interacting with an Alexa. This camera has become more common in LA since everyone is beginning to make the transition to Digital. Mad Men has shot film up until season 5 which is now shooting Alexa. Legendary Roger Deakins has shot “In Time” and the new Bond film “Sky Fall” on Alexa. Arri has made a huge impact for Digital Cinema and has proved that a DP can live without RAW and 4K images in todays fast paced world. With out a doubt the Alexa is very dependable and durable, it can even take explosions and still function.

In 2010 at Cine Gear I heard one call the Alexa “It’s a Red One that works”, pretty bold statement if you ask me. There’s been some internet drama due to the “Phillip Bloom incident” about RED cameras not being reliable. Like everything you take it with a grain of salt, some people don’t and tend to over exaggerate. I’ve heard horror stories and I can understand why some producers prefer Alexa, it’s a “dumb proof” camera. Every show has specific camera needs and the Alexa has some bases covered. It’s mainly made recognition in the commercial and music video scene. But shortly after “In Time” and “Drive” there’s been a growing buzz about it’s cinematic images. Without a doubt I’ve watched Alexa films on 4K projectors and not once did I think I was looking at a video image.

At first I was a little concerned as anytime you work with something new you try to do as much research as possible. How does it work? What problems can I come across? Etc. Strangely enough I was actually mad that I didn’t learn anything new. It was so easy and intuitive that it’s very much like Apple but in the Camera Industry. It’s super simple and it works but has limitations (really wish ArriRAW was more common).

Hardware/Design: In my opinion it’s a little big but that’s cause I love my Epic/Scarlet form factor. So yes you do need a 1st AC with this camera, I’d hate to go out solo with this thing. SteadiCam operators love it due to fast balancing both in High or Low mode. The Menu is well designed with lock features so you don’t change the settings on accident, the Screen is BRIGHT and is very conveniently located.

The best part is if your prepping for a job and would like to learn the UI, Arri has an emulator which allows you to finess with Menu on a browser. The camera takes about 12-15 seconds to boot up which isn’t painful at all.

I wish I could go more into RAW and 3D details but this shoot was pretty basic so I can’t really fill you in with those features. Most productions are scared of ArriRAW since you need a Codex recorder and most Producers prefer ProRes workflow. I have yet to speak to someone who has used ArriRAW on a production. Hopefully for another post 🙂

Image: Arri uses a Logarithmic decoding process which does everything in it’s might to prevent the Whites from clipping which creates an exposure curve similar to celluloid. This allows for an amazing 13-to-14-Stop Latitude which is awesome! Loaded with a CEMOS 2880 x 2160 resolution Sensor with Bayer pattern, it’s 1.5x oversampling for a 1920 x 1080 output. The AlexaPlus can do 60fps and a license is required to unlock 120fps. The camera has an On-Board Recorder which writes Apple ProRes 444 or 422 files onto Sony SxS cards. We recorded using C-Log Color Matrix to preserve the WaveForm for maximum Latitude and Post-Color manipulation. C-Log resembles an Exposure Curve similar to a negative scan from an ArriScan. The 60fps sequences where truly amazing and the light sensitivity is unreal at 800ASA.

One note, after about a year of digesting this cameras footage, to now having work with it, I can say that the color pallet for this sensor is different to a RED. The Red and Green reproduction is more of a Magenta and Cyan. Where I notice it most is in the mids-blacks and skin tones. See for yourself in the videos below…

Post/WorkFlow: We used six Sony 32GB SxS cards which would take about 8-12 Minutes to dump onto a drive. I was using a MacBook pro w/PCIe slot and two G-Tech via FW800 (Diasy Chained).

If the cards where coming faster than I could turn them around I’d use a Sony USB SxS reader to allow two Dumps at a time to speed up the transfer process. Luckily I only had to do it once which is always a life saver. If you shoot DSLR or R3D there’s transcoding involved, shooting SxS eliminates thats process for fast turn around.

The On-board recorder on the Alexa only records to Apple Pro Res and now Avid DNxHD. I just spoke with my friend who’s an editor and mentioned that the new Avid and Adobe can support ProRes which is great.

Wrap-Up: The Alexa is still fairly new but has been making a huge impact with all the older DP’s who are use to film. It’s made the switch super simple and has established a standard for True 1080p accessibility. I feel like the ease of use, reliability, and fast workflow are what sells this camera. Alexa is here to stay with new models yet to come, Arri has done an excellent job in creating a digital line of cameras and setting a great standard for a new age in cinema.

Videos Shot on ALEXA:

Probably one of the first projects to be shot on an ALEXA. The 30-min Kanye video “Run away” really set the tone of how one can manipulate an image through the crisp color rendering from an Alexa. (All the high-speed shots where done on a Phantom Felx)