New Panasonic AG-HPX3100 camcorder

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Panasonic will launch the AJ-HPX3100, a compact shoulder mounted HD camcorder featuring P2 solid-state memory card recording, in October 2010.

The AJ-HPX3100 offers high image quality and performance for high-end video production, incorporating a 2.2 megapixel, 2/3, type CCD image sensor (3CCD) and the latest AVC-Intra Codec for broadcasting (compatible with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264).

The camcorder supports multi-format HD capability as well as SD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV recording. The AVC-Intra 100 codec records high-quality images using 10 bit/4:2:2 sampling and also supports high-quality 24 bit audio recording whilst in AVC-Intra mode. The camera also offers a Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC) function to compensate variations in the lens and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) which suppresses blocked shadows and blown highlights.

The AJ-HPX3100 offers a number of improvements over its predecessor; a newly designed compact and lightweight body provides a low centre of gravity ensuring an unobstructed view for the camera operator. It is 3.9kg (8.6 lb) lighter than the previous model, offering the camera person enhanced mobility. The camera also consumes around 23% less power than conventional 2/3 3CCD camcorders.

The camcorder has two easily accessible slots for reusable P2 solid-state memory cards which offer up to 64 GB capacity and a high data transfer speed. The new camera also includes a range of functionality to improve workflow including wireless metadata input capability and a new video encoder board capable of proxy recording supporting Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing system.

HDW : Sometimes you don’t read your own blurb…I just noticed this camcorder is using CCD technology, now I was under the impression that all camera manufacturers were going away from CCD due to it’s lesser low light capabilities, smearing and general outdated technology…has Panasonic re-invented the CCD…don’t know is the answer but you don’t get problems like rolling shutter with CCD, this will be a camera to watch out for at IBC.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

AG-AF100 prices and availability during IBC, September 2010

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HDSLRs will be dead in the water come September by all those using them for convenience, size and shallow depth of field. Professional DPs have had fun tinkering with HDSLRs but now a far better professional alternative is just round the corner we will see a major departure away from the HDSLR technology.

I put my hand up, I don’t use my 5D2 for video as they were never designed by Canon as a professional video tool, some people would have you believe otherwise.

Panasonic for once have been very astute by developing the AF100 to take micro 4/3″ lenses, prime lenses and 35mm lenses, the camcorder on paper looked like an old cine  camera when it first appeared in illustration form but as we are now seeing it in real life its looking fantastic.

The AG-AF100 series features HD-SDI output, XLR audio 2-channel input, and other interfaces that are typically found on professional camcorders. Time code, in addition to its compact, lightweight body, the AG-AF100 series’s professional camcorder design with grip, handle and large viewfinder.

A wide variety of lenses for Micro Four Thirds standard digital SLR cameras can be used for filming shallow depth of field productions. With the mount adaptor, it is also possible to mount 35mm film camera lenses and prime lenses, to render images that maximize lens characteristics.

The AVCHD recording format used by the AG-AF100 series includes a professional PH mode with maximum AVCHD bit rate for stunning image quality. Two SDHC card slots allow continuous recording for up to 12 hours in PH mode and up to 48 hours in HE mode with two SDHC/SDXC cards on board.

The AG-AF100 series records in


or 720:29.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/23.98p with its multi HD format.

The Dynamic Range Stretcher, Gamma Select and other image features have also been inherited from previous Panasonic professional camcorders.

Prices and availability during IBC in September.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony HXR-MC50 footage edited by Chris Attkins

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It’s always interesting to see your footage edited by someone else in this case my friend and colleague Chris Attkins who lives in the tranquil Isle of Arran on the West Coast of Scotland. It depicts village life on a small island during the summer period with a weekly family ceilidh in Brodick Hall.

This allows you to see how fantastic the Sony HXR-MC50 performs is in ambient lighting conditions and how usable the sound is considering you have no manual override.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sky News P2 HD Tapeless Workflow

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As the transition to HD tapeless news production workflows gains momentum throughout the industry, IBC2010 will present a forum to examine how one broadcast network has tackled the process.

EVS, which designs and sells video servers commonly used in fast-paced TV production, is organizing a workshop dedicated to the topic of HD tapeless news workflows, Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1:30 p.m., at the Elicium, Room 507, in the RAI Center.

Bevan Gibson, deputy head of technology at SkyNews, will present SkyNews’ transition to a tapeless HD production workflow. Alex Redfern, EVS technical support engineer and SkyNews project manager, will join Gibson during the presentation.

Since early May 2010, SkyNews productions at Osterley, London, and in Washington, D.C., have relied on an HD tapeless solution developed by EVS. The integrated solution covers the entire workflow from acquisition to playout, including central storage and media content management.

The workshop will present SkyNews’ original technical and production requirements, the advantages of going tapeless and the broadcaster’s plans for the future.

The catalyst for the move was coverage of Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in January 2009 which Sky News aired on Sky Arts HD. “It proved to be successful technically and in audience figures so there was a collective view to make this a permanent HD channel,” says Sky News Head of Technology, Steve Bennedik.

Sky News already had a tapeless strategy centered on media asset management and library system Viz Ardome and it had been capturing on Panasonic P2 SD/HD switchable (AJ-HPX2100) units for a couple of years. “We were also using Final Cut Pro in the field, so this gave us another advantage,” adds Bennedik. “We can ingest directly into the EVS servers system, or into our Ardome Ardendo tapeless library system. This can then be picked up by an editor in FCP, or journalist on EVS browser.”

Footage from Sky News crews is shot 1080i DVCPRO 100 and maintained as such through the process. Archive is the same as acquisition with P2 content ingested directly into the production environment.

Ingest is made into EVS via file transfer and can also be made into the Ardome system via Viz Media Porter. Two P2 players enable ingest in realtime if required.

Sky isn’t saying what percentage of its HD news channel will in fact be HD originated but it cannot mandate agencies like AP or Reuters to deliver in HD, even though both have standardised on P2.

“If the day features largely domestic news then you will see predominantly HD coverage, but if we have to rely on foreign stories or stories from remote locations then content is more likely to be SD uprezzed,” he reports. “Often where Sky leads, others follow but it would take other broadcasters transitioning to HD to ensure consistent agency HD delivery.”

HDW : So there you have it Sky are committed to P2 as their tapeless format so if you are a cameraman looking for freelance work then Panasonic P2 HD is your choice of camera…personally I think Sky are daft putting all their eggs in one basket, although high end P2 camcorders are cracking I don’t think the format matters these days as long as it’s delivered on 50Mbs or higher.

It’s not surprising that Sky chose Panasonic P2 as Panasonic were almost first out there with solid state P2 HD albeit a stupidly expensive workflow with P2 cards costing £1200 at one point, though Sky would not be paying those silly card prices. Companies like Panasonic throw themselves at news broadcasters to get a tender-ship, which is fine but more single users as a collective pay more for professional equipment over a year than broadcasters buy in ONE contract. I think single users should have a buying forum, if 50 end users wrote to Sony or Panasonic looking for 50 SxS or P2 camcorders they would get better prices than buying 50 single purchase camcorders…beat them at their own game…worth a thought.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

DVDirect from Sony… “VRD-MC6 (£225)”

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Most professionals like me are far to busy creating DVDs for clients that we forget our family’s when it comes to producing DVDs, can’t be bothered to ingest the birthday footage into the computer, make an MPEG2, produce a DVD menu and finally make a DVD.

It’s not that we are selfish it’s down to having literally no time…enter the Sony DVDirect Multi-Function DVD Recorder the VRD-MC6. A warning before we go any further if you film with the HXR-MC50 make sure you choose the FH mode which records at 17Mbs and not the FX (24Mbs) mode otherwise you wont be able to use this DVDirect recorder.

My friend over on Arran bought himself the lesser featured Sony VRD-P1 recorder and it makes such a difference when recording family events, Chris “What a cracking piece of kit I filmed Lewis our grandchild last week and had various DVDs available for the family members the following day”.

Because the MC50 is recorded on a card you can bring up the thumbnails and do a preliminary edit first before hooking up the DVDirect which consists of one USB cable. There is a button on the side of the MC50 with a wee disc symbol…press it and you are away.

Most professionals who buy the MC50 are using it as a second camera and a camcorder to film family events, the £225 for the VRD-MC6 is chicken feed compared to the time you will save and finally as is in my household I will be able to offer DVDs of family events the following day and thats no bad thing.


The VRD-MC6 can transfer AVCHD™ quality videos to DVD discs in their native 1080i HD resolution when connected directly to a Sony hard drive or Memory Stick® media-based Handycam® camcorder. AVCHD quality DVDs can be played back on compatible Blu-ray Disc™ devices, including players and computer drives, as well as PlayStation® 3 (PS3™) computer entertainment systems.

It can also transfer standard-definition home videos to DVD discs without the need of a computer from virtually any camcorder, VCR or digital video recorder. The new model includes Digital Video (i.LINK®/FireWire®/IEEE-1394), Composite Video inputs, and USB (for Sony hard drive, DVD and Memory Stick media-based Handycam camcorders). DVD video discs recorded in this manner are playable in most consumer DVD players.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

IBC Sneak Peek “Matrox capture software…Vetura Capture”

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Matrox Video Products Group announced Matrox Vetura Capture for Mac OS X, a stand-alone capture software application compatible with the Matrox MXO2 family of I/O devices. Matrox Vetura Capture lets users quickly and easily capture QuickTime files using popular codecs installed on their editing systems. With Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 the Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame codec and Apple Uncompressed formats are supported. With Final Cut Pro 7, ProRes, DVCPRO HD and other popular Final Cut Pro codecs are supported. With Avid Media Composer 5, the Avid DnX, DnXHD, and other popular Avid Media Composer codecs are supported.

“Matrox Vetura Capture enables new on-set workflows when used with a Matrox MXO2 device and a Mac Pro equipped with a Matrox CompressHD H.264 encoding accelerator card,” said Wayne Andrews, Matrox product manager. “While recording XDCAM EX, P2, or RED footage as usual, users can also feed the output of their camera through their Matrox MXO2 device and capture directly into H.264 .mov files using Matrox MAX technology that is built into the CompressHD card. Dailies are immediately available as low bit rate, manageable-sized files for delivery to the client.”

“We’re continuing to add value to the Matrox MXO2 product line,” said Alberto Cieri, Matrox senior director of sales and marketing. “With Matrox Vetura Capture we have started to implement our vision of expanding the capabilities of Matrox MAX technology beyond simple H.264 export acceleration.”

Matrox Vetura Capture will be demonstrated at IBC 2010 in Amsterdam, September 10-14, on the Matrox stand 7.B29.
Matrox products are available through a worldwide network of authorized dealers. The Matrox Vetura Capture application for Mac will be available in release 2.1 to registered users of Matrox MXO2 devices as a free download from the Matrox website in October 2010.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sony extends their 0% interest till September 2010

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For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

James Cameron slams Hollywood for poor 3D films

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James Cameron has slammed Hollywood for making inferior movies in 3D. Cameron’s 3D movie Avatar was the world’s highest grossing movie that earned around 3 billion dollars at the box office.

Movies like Clash of the Titans andThe Last Airbender were shot in traditional 2D and converted into 3D after seeing Avatar’s success. “I think it’s horrible and absolutely the wrong way to go,” Cameron said before the re-release of Avatar in 3D with added footage.

“I think it’s a quick, knee-jerk reaction to seeing the gold rush happen and the studios just wanted to jump in on it and that’s the only way they could do it. It’s the studio making the decision and then handing it over to some company to process it through a sausage grinder and come up with some kind of faux 3D, or a 2 1/2D mess,” he added.

Cameron has plans of releasing his 1997 hit Titanic, the second highest grossing film, in 3D. “We are going to release it in 2012 in 3D, but we are going to take every care to ensure it’s as indistinguishable from having been photographed in 3D as we can,” he said.

“We won’t succeed. It will wind up being 2.9D, but it will still be .9 better than the 2D we released before. These other slapdash conversions, where they are not spending the time and money and not involving the filmmaker, are like 2.2D,”

HDW “Nice to know I have James Cameron on my side when it comes to cheap, poor 3D films with FREE 3D glasses”.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Fujifilm introduce a 3D camera/HD Video “FinePix Real 3D W3” £399

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Following on from the successful launch of the world’s first 3D camera in September ‘09, Fujifilm continue to offer consumers the opportunity to make their own true, rather than interpolated, 3D content with the launch of a new camera – the FinePix Real 3D W3.

A world’s first!
While smaller and lighter than the original model, the FinePix W3 adds a bigger and better quality screen, an Auto 3D mode, stereo sound recording and the unique ability to shoot video in Real 3D in High Definition, with live or recorded playback via direct connection to any 3D TV – using an HDMI mini-cable (hi-speed type) 1.4 cable.

The FinePix W3 continues Fujifilm’s strategy of offering Real 3D content by replicating the human visual system in combining two high quality lens and two CCDs in the one chassis – and allows consumers the option of viewing 3D images and video either with or without special glasses.

3D content can be viewed, and on a huge scale, on any of the increasing number of large screen 3D TVs by using the sets’ supplied glasses.

Alternatively consumers can also view stunning 3D images and video without glasses through the camera’s built-in 3.5inch LCD display or via the optional 8” 3D digital viewer/photoframe. Images can also be made into special ‘lenticular’ prints – via a unique printing process which will shortly be available in the UK for the first time and in a range of sizes up to 9”x6”.

Owners of 3D TVs can also rest assured that the FinePix W3 will show their new screen at its very best, thanks to the unique 3D HD video recording and a parallax control function which helps to remove crosstalk problems by allowing 3D fine tuning, even after the images have been taken.

A rather special 2D Camera
They may already be bowled over by the unique 3D performance of the FinePix W3, but consumers can also be happy in the knowledge that they are also purchasing a very special 2D camera indeed.

This new technology has also brought some unique benefits to shooting images and video in the 2D world, bringing new creative freedom to the user.

By featuring twin high quality Fujinon lens and two CCD sensors the FinePix W3 effectively becomes two cameras in one body, while the powerful, proprietary processor allows the camera to take two different photos at the same time.

So photographers can select to shoot both close-up and wide angle versions of a photo, or two alternative colour balances or have an image with two versions with high and low sensitivity.

The FinePix Real 3D W3 camera will be launched in early September 2010 with an estimated selling price of £399 and will be available from major department stores and leading independent camera specialists.

Key features at a glance:

3D HD Movie (720p) and 3D still image capture
Instant 3D playback on build-in High Contrast, 3.5” 3D LCD (without the need for special 3D glasses)
Direct Connection via HDMI high-speed 1.4(Type A-Type C) cable to any branded 3D HDTV
Two 1/2.3” 10 Megapixel CCD
Two Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens
Compact and light-weight 230g body (excluding accessories, battery and memory card)
2D Special effects using Simultaneous Shooting functions

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

What are the BBC playing at “iMac cover up”

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Watching a BBC 2 programme called “The Home Movie Roadshow” I started to notice that they had gaffa taped the black Apple logos on all their iMacs. Sorry but if you are going to use Apple iMacs throughout your programme the least you can do is not stick badly cut out circles to conceal the black Apple logo, not only does it look stupid but it’s an insult to the technology they are obviously happy to use.

Oh I hear the BBC cry “that would be advertising” bollocks…you are advertising using an iconic computer like the intel iMac as it is so why sacrifice its looks for a mincy piece of gaffa tape. Once again we are seeing BBC executives landing on the side of stupidity…what next ?

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

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