IBC kicks off in 5 days time

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This years IBC is possibly the most anticipated video show for a long time as we await the price and availability of the Panasonic AF101 and a similar version form Sony. The Panasonic AF101 is the HDSLR killer and shares the same sensor as the Panasonic GH1 prosumer HDSLR. A tentative price for the AF101 will be £4000…that’s £400 cheaper than a Canon EOS 1d Mk4.

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

Panasonic AG-AF101 £4000 quoted from HD Magazine IBC 2010

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£4000 is the price quoted by HD Magazine for the new AG-AF101 to be officially launched at IBC 2010. Now if this price is correct we are going to see an influx of DPs ordering this camcorder. The AF101 is due out during December 2010 but will be available in small quantities at first.

I have been bleating on about this camcorder for over a month now but it’s no secret that Scarlet has been put on the back burner knowing this camcorder is on it’s way to spoil the party.

There will also be an important announcement from Sony Broadcast from IBC about their FilmLike camcorder and I hope at least one of these professional models has 50Mbs or more though once again you can attach a NanoFlash via the HD SDI connector.

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

BBC Approved HD Cameras

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Just in case you get a call from the BBC you may like to know the approved HD camcorder list as from September 2010. You may notice the lack of Sony EX3 or PMW-350 camcorders even although the EX3 is widely used by the BBC for filming HD material at 35Mbs I may add.

You can use the EX3 or PMW-350 if you use a NanoFlash running at 50Mbs taking the signal from the HD-SDI connector. Personally the BBC should get it’s act together times are moving on and fast it’s all very commendable to have a pretend blanket ban on anything less than 50Mbs but it’s now creeping out like a bad smell that a few programmes have been made using the Canon 5DMk11 like “Shelf Stackers”. Independent cameramen are getting a little cheesed off not knowing what to buy as far as HD is concerned, Sky are now using P2 but very few independent cameramen work for Sky regularly to justify the £20,000 for an “Approved” P2 camcorder.

I am telling all my DP colleagues to hang fire, the PMW-350 is actually better by all accounts than the PDW 700 but good old Sony decided to stick with 35Mbs restricting it’s use unless you attach a NanoFlash, but the BBC have no indication for using EX3, EX1R, PMW-350 with a NanoFlash…YET !

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

BBC are now having second thoughts on HDSLRs for broadcast

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This has come from the very top in my opinion, Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD has put the lid on this story due to it’s detrimental effect it was having on the BBC as an organisation. HD Magazine has been asked by the BBC to pull a story about the BBC accepting HDSLR’s for broadcast…the plot thickens.

Extract from HD Magazine…
“Following our story on the use of the Canon 5D Mk2 on a BBC drama – transmitted on September 16, 9.00pm BBC 4 – we got a call from the BBC Technology department today asking us to emphasize that DSLRs were not on the approved camera list for the BBC but were being looked at for use on a ‘case by case’ basis.

Ian Potts who is an Executive Producer at the BBC and part of the approval process explained the BBC’s approach to these new cameras: “Cameras like the 5D and the 7D are going through our R&D departments and our simulations but at the moment they are not cleared for use mainly because of their aliasing issues. Moire patterns are also a concern but these aren’t new and cameras like the Arri D20 and D21 also show them. But the fact that the 5D produces a 22 megapixel image then brings that down to 2 for video without the necessary processing and filtering does concern us but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

“The images are very clean from the programme and it has passed our ‘tech test’. I’m just about to see it and will probably give it my approval as well. But it still has to go through our transmission chain and might not make it on to our HD channel.

“We are very interested in this camera and have taken the view to approach all requests to use the Canon DSLR’s on a case by case basis which means production have to send in camera tests without any grading and post route tests with grading. If we then felt the picture quality met the required HD standards we might agree to allowing the DSLR as the prime camera. This is how we approached ‘Coronation St’ and it was very touch and go as the early tests revealed unacceptable aliasing, but after much bouncing back of SR tapes between Manchester and TVC which ran into the first days of the shoot we found a camera setting that seemed to work. On this basis we gave them approval to use the 5D but reserved the right not to show the film on the HD channel if it fell short of BBC HD’s standards.

“To confirm the show has passed tech review and will tx on the 16th Sept 21.00 BBC 4 & BBC HD”.

There was a screening of the programme at BAFTA in London last night and a Q&A with the production team followed. All were pleased with the look but as the projection was from an uncompressed master judgement will be reserved until the TX date. Interestingly when Ian mentioned to the producer of the show that the camera wasn’t yet approved she was quite shocked.

Ian went on to say that at the moment the BBC is in the process of a massive tendering project to approve new HD cameras for use at the corporation and anything less than 50mb/s data rate is being looked at unfavourably. Results from the tender should be published next month.”

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

BBC4 uses a Canon 5DMk11 on a very low budget drama.

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Picture © HD Magazine

Excerpts from HD Magazine

DP Tim Palmer “Going in to the meeting for this drama I knew it was very low budget , it was BBC4 so they wouldn’t have any money for anything but at the same time it was a period film and they would want to have a very sumptuous look to it. Having had experience of the 5D and having been a stills photographer in my early days I knew that the camera could deliver better than cinema quality pictures better than a cheap broadcast video camera.

Obviously the BBC were very unwilling to sign off on something like that because it wasn’t on their approved list and initially they were saying that for an HD programme they could only support 25% of the programme shot on a non ‘so called’ HD camera.

We shot a lot of tests which looked wonderful but the engineers at the BBC were saying that there was aliasing and moiré patterns that would make them fail the use of the camera for HD broadcast.

The head of technology at the BBC, Ian Potts, who was very supportive in our early days saying ‘You have these technical issues that would fail our broadcast tests but it’s very interesting what you’re doing and please do some more tests because we’d love to see what you do’. After seeing the four day’s worth of rushes he was so completely smitten with it and said it was some of the best material they’d ever had, ‘finish the film on it’. It went from nought to 60 in half a second.”

Avoid fast pans over vertical objects but in practice when you’re filming actors and actors are moving around and you’re following their faces you don’t notice it really. There might be a bit of skewing on a lamp post on the edge of frame. If you’re watching a good story and it’s looking good you don’t think about it.”

HDW : I love the intro to this story “I knew it was very low budget” no surprise there then that BBC 4 decided to allow Tim to use his 5DMk11. It’s a joke these cameras are not fit for purpose and low to no budget BBC dramas are being shot with sub standard equipment. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this.

The Sony 750 plus 35mm adapter and a hired box of prime lenses is the BBCs preferred way of producing period drama, I was involved myself only last December with the BBC and DP Graham Smith used the 750, 35mm adapter and prime lenses.

Don’t get me wrong the 750 plus accessories is cumbersome to say the least but it’s the correct way as for now to produce shallow depth of field FilmLike pictures for the BBC.

It’s all dictated by budget or should I say lack of budget…IF THEY DON’T HAVE THE MONEY THEN DON’T COMPROMISE THE PRODUCTION. Cheap skate productions are not part of the BBCs remit and I for one are alarmed that BBC NO BUDGET 4 is allowed to get away with this decision.

Can I point BBC NO BUDGET 4 to IBC less that 12 days away and to Panasonic debuting the AG-AF101 FilmLike 4/3″ camcorder…THIS IS AT LEAST FIT FOR PURPOSE AND WILL DO EVERYTHING THE 5DMk11 CAN DO EXCEPT BETTER !

It’s all about working for next to nothing these days so production values suffer time and time again…this one camcorder from Panasonic will at least start to address the balance and bring back some sense to this HDSLR madness.

It does not matter how much meccano you put in front of an HDSLR they are fraught with serious problems which over the last 15 months or so have NOT been addressed by Canon or Nikon…WHY…because they refuse to compromise the number one feature of this camera and that is to take photographs…I rest my case.

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

My Memory reduce Transend 16G Class 10 to £22…BUY…BUY…BUY

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

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