An HD Royal Wedding and thanks to Japan

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When you pull resources like the BBC, SKY and ITV you get a fantastic HD wall to wall coverage of the Royal Wedding. Some of the shots were incredible especially the wide shots in the abbey itself.

Some fantastic wide shots, my hat off to the producer for this and many interesting camera angles throughout the six hour marathon.

My favourite shot of the day was this one a chap riding one of the horses had some unruly hairstyle which was unusual then I noticed this shot and I nearly fell off my chair…he was the double of Harpo Marks.

All kidding aside we were treated to this spectacular HD production largely due to the efforts of Sony, Panasonic and Ikegami HD cameras produced in Japan within the last 3 years, so hats off the the Japanese workers who are going through tough times and say a big “thank you” for supplying todays HD technology.

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AF101 DVD £25 plus postage

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[xr_video id=”e1558de7a2a940f4b22a6ba6b96baa86″ size=”md”]

NOTE : I can send you a PayPal request but you do not have to own a PayPay account to use the PayPal request.

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

3D Update Part TWO

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A camcorder I saw first hand at BVE was the GY-HMZ1U from JVC Professional. This looked a great wee camcorder and a further commitment to 3D by a professional video manufacturer.


The GY-HMZ1U is a 3D camcorder offering full HD recording (1920 x 1080 x 2) to dual SDHC/SDXC flash memory. Its unique integrated 3D twin lens delivers professional results in a surprisingly easy-to-use package. Equipped with JVC’s proprietary Falconbrid™ LSI processing, full HD recordings can be made in either 60i, providing smooth motion for sports and fast action, or 24p for a film-like effect.

  • 3D capture with dual back-illuminated CMOS sensors
  • 24p or 60i capture and recording
  • Twin F1.2 HD lenses with 5x optical zoom (10x in 2D)
  • 3.5-inch autostereoscopic (glasses-free) LCD touch panel
  • 34Mbps recording in 3D (24Mbps in 2D)
  • Memory card slot for SDXC/SDHC flash media
  • Internal 64GB memory recording
  • Built-in timecode
  • 3D digital still recording
  • Advanced Image Stabilizer
  • 3D time lapse recording
  • High speed 3D “motor drive” recording (up to 12 frames)
  • Zebra exposure indication
  • Includes professional handle with XLR mic inputs, shotgun mic holder (microphone optional)

This shoulder-mount Panasonic AG-3DP1, is a 3D twin-lens P2 HD camera recorder with 10 bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording. It offers all the benefits of a familiar, fast, file-based P2 HD workflow including such recording features as instant recording start-up, clip thumbnail view for immediate access to video content on all cards, and a host of time-saving recording modes including continuous recording and interval recording. Building on the success of the 3DA1, the 3DP1 is easy to use and now with the additional quality of the AVC Intra codec. The 3DP1 will be available this autumn, supported by Panasonic’s industry leading five-year warranty program.

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

AF101 training DVD flys all round the world

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My new training DVD “Getting the best from your Panasonic AF101” is flying all over the globe, from Australia, Japan, USA, France, Germany…Most of you own an AF101 but some of you are dipping your toe in the water by looking at the end result on SD DVD before you buy.

I have struck a deal with H Preston Media that if you buy an AF101 from them and you email me to tell me so, H Preston Media will refund the cost of your DVD by giving you a further £25 off the camera.

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

3D Update Part ONE

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NAB 2011 has come and gone with a smattering of 3D camcorders the most interesting from Sony. Sony were showing the HXR-NX3D1U camcorder a fully spec pro camcorder in a handycam format.


Double “Sony G Lenses” Double “Exmor R” CMOS Sensors

Inside the HXR-NX3D1’s compact body there are two separate cameras each featuring a high-quality Sony G lens and a high-sensitivity, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor. High-quality 1920×1080 Full HD left and right images enable production of incredibly realistic 3D movies.

Active SteadyShot and Optical 10x Zoom (34.4-344mm)

One of the most important considerations during 3D shooting is obtaining stable images to prevent audience discomfort during viewing. The HXR-NX3D1 features Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode, 3-way camera shake stabilizing technology that smoothes out up/down, left/right and rotational motion when shooting in 3D. Capturing stable 3D images with minimal shake is possible even for hand-held shooting.

When shooting in 3D, the HXR-NX3D1 lets you zoom from 34.4mm to 34mm (when converted to 35mm equivalent). Frame composition while zooming is also possible just like in 2D shooting.

3D Shooting with Two Parallel Cameras

The HXR-NX3D1 features two parallel lenses mounted 31mm apart. (the inter-axial distance is 31mm) Disparity adjustment can be performed to change the read-out areas of the left and right CMOS sensors so that they are closer together or further apart. This lets you control perceived 3D depth and the proximity of regions of interest to a virtual screen. Disparity adjustment is also possible during shooting using the manual dial. Moving a region of interest closer to the virtual screen enables shooting of comfortable 3D images with the desired feeling of depth.

Please note, when capturing 3D images, the minimum shooting distance is 80cm (at wide-angle setting)

3.5″ Xtra Fine LCD™ display Providing 2D or Glassless 3D Viewing

The HXR-NX3D1’s glassless 3D LCD (2562×480 PIXELS) lets you preview 3D images while shooting. Switching between 2D and 3D display is also possible as well as separate display of left and right images and a composite mix of left and right images for easier confirmation of disparity.

User Selectable HDMI output for 2D and 3D viewing

Output from the HXR-NX3D1’s HDMI jack to a 3D TV is selectable between Frame Packing with Full HD output of alternate left and right images, and Side by Side with output of horizontally compressed left and right images packed into a single frame. Select the Frame Packing mode for a 3D TV (Sony BRAVIA) and the Side by Side mode for a professional 3D monitor. Connection is also possible via an HDMI-HD-SDI converter to enable compatibility with a wide range of 3D monitors.

Multi-Format Recording

Compatible with a wide range of formats, the HXR-NX3D1 enables 1080/60i/ 50i/24p 3D recording and 1080 60p/60i/50p/50i/30p/24p 2D recording.

XLR Adaptor with Selectable Phantom Power and ECM-XM1 Shotgun Microphone

The detachable handle has a compact, ergonomic design. Two balanced XLR audio inputs are built in with phantom power and attenuation options that professional shooters require for clean sound quality. Default audio settings for XLR recording are highlighted in green for easy reference in the field in order to reduce operator error under difficult lighting conditions.

The ECM-XM1 shotgun microphone, mounted on top of the handle, provides high quality linear PCM audio recording performance similar to larger shoulder-mounted ENG style cameras.

Large Capacity, Internal 96GB Memory and Multi Card Slot

The HXR-NX3D1 has 96GB of internal memory, enabling extended recording in 3D mode for approximately 7.5 hours. There’s also a multi-card card slot that lets you record onto Memory Sticks and SD Cards. You can also use these convenient recordable media to copy data from the internal memory.

Single 3D Recording File for Easy Editing and 2D NLE Compatibility

Easy workflow is an important consideration when creating 3D footage. The HXR-NX3D1 uses Multi-View Coding (MVC) to record left and right channel clips as a single file. Sony Vegas Pro 10.0d offers native import support for MVC video files, so footage can be directly handled as 3D clips to enable import of left and right channel clips together. By eliminating the need for time-consuming pairing, this provides an extremely simple workflow.

And Vegas Pro 10.0d provides the ability to adjust, edit, preview, and output stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray Disc and 3D media with side-by-side, top/bottom, or line-alternate encoding.

Support is scheduled to enable conversion of MVC footage recorded with the HXR-NX3D1 to Cineform codec using the popular Cineform Neo3D/NeoHD as a Codec Plug-In for 3D editing.

The supplied Contents Management Utility 2.1 software also enables conversion of MVC video files to 2D AVC files with independent left and right channels. With these capabilities the HXR-NX3D1 is ready for a wide range of workflows.

The other 3D camcorder from Sony was the PMW-TD300 essentially a PMW-320 with 3D added.

Sony :

Dual 3-chip 1/2-inch Type Exmor Full-HD CMOS Sensors

The dual 3-chip Exmor CMOS image sensors provide high-quality 3D images with an excellent sensitivity, as well as 1920 x 1080 resolution – meeting the industry standard for broadcast cameras. The 1/2-inch sensor size helps achieve an ideal balance between high quality and compact design – the camcorder body is of similar size to current 2D models.

Dual Lens System

The newly developed dual lens system allows fully synchronized operation between left and right lenses with high accuracy – in focus, zoom, and iris adjustments. With the minimized 45 mm IAD (Inter-Axial Distance) of the dual lens system, this camcorder offers a wide shooting zone to capture good 3D images – especially for near-side shooting, with its support for a 1.2 m minimum convergence distance.

XDCAM EX Recording

The recording format is identical to that of the highly successful PMW-EX1R, PMW-EX3, and PMW-350/320 Series. The proven, high-speed, and intuitive XDCAM EX workflow offers seamless integration with leading non-linear editing software.

SxS Card Slots

Left and right images are recorded on each SxS card separately, in synchronization. As the camcorder features two SxS card slots (one each for the left and right), it offers a long recording duration of over six hours in 3D (with four 64-GB cards).

3D/2D Recording Modes

A 2D shooting mode is available for additional production flexibility. With a single SxS card, the camcorder is able to shoot images only through the left lens. In addition, parallel recording onto the left and right cards is useful as a method of redundant shooting in 2D operation. (Images recorded on the left and right cards are slightly different, because different lenses are used.)

Intuitive convergence control with a dedicated dial feature

Viewfinder with 3.5-inch colour LCD…HD-SDI out (L/R dual stream, audio and TC embedded)…HDMI out (3D/2D) for viewing on consumer 3D displays…Genlock in & TC in/out for integration with multi-camera systems.

Tomorrow in part two I will have a look at the new JVC and Panasonic 3D camcorders.

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

Japan’s production output… Update

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The monumental disaster continuing to plague Japan was felt throughout the NAB convention, as many companies, most with Japanese roots, said that while manufacturing had been stabilized in factories that had escaped initial earthquake and tsunami, many component suppliers had been negatively affected. This in turn, could cause a delay in product shipments later this year.

“On behalf of Sony, I want to thank all of you and our valued customers for generously reaching out with offers of help and donations to Japan relief organizations,” said Alec Shapiro, before delivering his opening remarks during the Sony press conference. “I’m happy to say that Sony employees escaped the tragedy without any personal harm and that our facilities are being restored.”

He said that Sony’s storage media factory in Sendai (in northern Japan) was affected and that production of the company’s HDCAM SR videotape is targeted to resume in early summer. In the mean time, Sony will work with its customers to mange their inventory needs “and will provide any necessary assistance to keep their companies operation as close to normal as possible.”

John Baisley, Panasonic’s executive vice president of media and products services, also addressed the issue at the top of his industry remarks during its press conference.

“We have received many questions about Panasonic’s personnel and infrastructure, and your outpouring of compassion has been heartwarming,” he said. “Although our factories came away from the disaster relatively unscathed, we are having issues with component suppliers, which were located in the affected area of Japan.”

Panasonic is working on the “model by model” impact, he said, “but suffice it to say that we will experience product availability issues in the short term.”

He added that shipments of the company’s solid-state P2 cards and other tape media will be unaffected.


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The AF101 “A Glimpse into the future”

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Panasonic have been delighted with their first large sensor camera the AF100 series, it has caught the imagination of many disgruntled DPs who for many reasons did not play ball with the DSLR. The price has been the major factor for many DPs dipping their toes in the water only to be pleasantly surprised with the results.

The draw back with the AF100 series is the deliberate throttling back of many features that could have taken it to mega stardom but this years NAB 2011 has given us a glimpse into the future with Panasonic’s thinking and the road ahead.

The new Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 camcorder is not only a vast improvement in style for Panasonic but features to match…10bit, 4:2:2 with P2 AVC-Intra recording, this will set Panasonic well amongst the pigeons and once again give Sony a good run for it’s money.

If Panasonic turn their attention into producing a 10bit, 4:2:2 version of the AF100 series even dare I say it with P2 to give us AVC-Intra recording it would satisfy the broadcasters and even at about £6K price steal the market place from Sony a second time.

All manufacturers need to address the viewfinders in these cameras and either give us payed options or vastly improve on todays “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE VIEWFINDERS”.

It’s incredible that over the last 2 months we have seen about 5 EVFs appear on the marketplace and what amazed me was Panasonic having a demo AF101 at BVE with a Cineroid EVF a sure sign that even they are not happy with their own EVF.

The next hottest EVF to appear is from Zacuto and by all accounts this will be the de-facto EVF for the AF100 series of camcorders but we don’t see any until the beginning of May. Another enhancement would be a servo zoom and the inclusion of a zoom lens, the same as Sony giving the Panasonic a second string to it’s bow.

Will Panasonic have the balls to update the AF100 series…YES…Sony have put their cards firmly on the table with the F3 and FS100 which was Sony’s attempt at a Panasonic spoiler but if we get a 10bit, 4:2:2, AVC-intra P2 AF200 series camcorder it will take the market by storm.

Many DPs are now changing over to AF100 cameras and are becoming familiar with the camera and it’s menu system, the AF101 (UK) is a good starter but I think Panasonic have caught a glimpse of being top dog with this camcorder and don’t intend to let go with version two of this amazing large sensor camera.

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Zacuto EVF shipping 1st May 2011

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Z-Finder EVF! If you are seeing this please upgrade your Flash Player at

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NINJA Review

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About three weeks ago I took delivery of a Ninja for review and as usual I have waited for a job to assess it on. My first encounter with the Ninja was less than satisfactory, I set it up plugged in the HDMI cable and as shown all the colours lit up, red, green,yellow and blue.

As you can see from above the missing component was the Time Code reading, I was just about to start filming for a client so I was not in a position to do anything about it, I pressed the record button and the screen changes as normal but no time code. The other thing that struck me was the overall time was not counting down. To cut a long story short I was running firmware V1.0 when I should have been running V1.04, it had been noted that the Ninja had been miss behaving with missed takes…it was a bug.

The Ninja is not only easy to use but has a very uncomplicated menu system and to go from ProRes HQ to 422 ProRes is a matter of a finger press on the touch screen itself, it uses NP-F570 Lithium Ion batteries which can run the Ninja for about two to two and a half hours.

I have a 2.5″ Intel SSD 160Gb drive which gives you about one hour forty five minutes of drive space at ProRes HQ (220MBs). You can use a 750Gb HDD drive but thats only for static situations like filming stage shows etc. I am a Solid State convert and would always recommend using SSD drives.


This is ProRes HQ 422 out of the Panasonic AF101 and I can assure you it delivers a far cleaner, less banding higher quality image than the SDHC card running at 24MBs. The final proof is a capture from the camera and the Ninja spliced together.

So there you have it, the Ninja must be set to firmware version 1.04 or more for it to work properly but the difference that ProRes 422 HQ makes to your picture is well worth the extra money this unit costs, the best part is the ProRes codec that brings your footage straight onto the Final Cut timeline assuming it is set for ProRes 422 HQ.

There are some minus points firstly there is no HDMI loop through and some customers are disappointed that you don’t get an HDMI cable in the box, the LANC control only works with Sony cameras, I could not get my AF101 to start/stop using a Panasonic zoom control which is rather disappointing, lastly I think a few extra settings would not go a miss especially some other codecs other than ProRes giving the Ninja a wider appeal. Version 2 of the firmware will give you a smooth video playback which should be out soon.

On the whole I can recommend the Ninja as a great tool for any job that needs to be the best that you can offer, ProRes 422 HQ (10bit) runs at 220MBs which is not widely known so is a must for anyone producing any HD content for the BBC etc. The Panasonic AF101 gives out 8bit which is a shame as the Ninja has 10bit but the extra colour space with 4:2:2 certainly gives the best picture possible from any camcorder outputting 4:2:2 out of the HDMI socket.

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

NINJA Review…Wednesday evening

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