PART TWO…”Making the Jump”

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My son wants to produce a few video inserts during the up and coming Euro 2012 for his blog so today was the build a virtual studio in his room. Basically we have a green screen with five LED lights, four pointing at the green screen and one in front of Scott using his white door for added reflection.

I had read that FCP-10 was good at green screen but WOW…I had a perfect key without doing anything, obviously the Canon C300 with its 50Mbps, 4:2:2 and 50mm f1.4 Carl Zeiss lens helps but I was blown away with how easy it was to achieve such a fantastic key in a matter of minutes.

But I also discovered that in order to run in his iPad information I had to revert back to FCP-7 using log and capture, running the live iPad footage straight into the MacPro via the HDMI on the Matrox MX02.

Dilema time…As I have FCP-7, FCP-10 and Premiere Pro CS6 what do I choose…so for the rest of 2012 I am sticking with FCP-7 and FCP-10. I used this combination successfully with my C300 DVD, using FCP-10 for effects then re-importing back to FCP-7.

I think Adobe have shown me over the last 2 weeks that they are not as advanced in many ways as FCP-10 nor can you get the same level of 3rd party plug-ins as you can for FCPX, I left the PC many years ago and by all accounts has only grown up with Windows 7.

I may come back to Premiere Pro CS6 in the future but for now I will stick with FCP-7, FCPX and Motion 5.


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

ADOBE launch links but don’t work with Safari !

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This is very poor indeed but after waiting 7 days to add the missing content from Premiere Pro 6 and Encore the two ZIP files don’t work using Apples legacy browser Safari !

After all my blogging it appears that the Encore content of 1.7GB only downloads 205 MB of data this is a joke !!!

You are welcome to check for yourself here

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

PART ONE…Which way to go ?

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As far as I am concerned I have four choices when it comes to editing for the rest of 2012…

1. Stay with FCP-7

2. Move over to FCP-10

3. Re learn Premiere Pro CS5.5

4. Start afresh with Premiere Pro CS6

Lets start with FCP-7, a program that I have been editing with for the best part of 5 years and am very comfortable with but as a serious editing program has now been left behind with rendering and frame rate problems with no possibility of any further updates from Apple.

Final Cut Pro 10 has very good points not to mention the vast amount of plug-ins being produced almost weekly for FCP-10, Apple are supporting it and updating it with new features like Canon MXF and 1080 50p support… but it does not act the way you think it should act and thats a serious stumbling block and a lot of the FCP-7 style of editing is hidden. I have lost material using FCP-10 even lost edited projects and that disturbs me.

Premiere Pro 5.5 is a bit quirky and does not behave as you expect coming from Final Cut but it will allow you to use the same Matrox MX02 MAX box and drivers as Final Cut Pro 7 giving you a safety margin if all else fails.

Premiere Pro CS6 is very responsive using the Mercury engine via the Nvidia FX4800 graphics card for mac. It has a “Final Cut look” about it which is very satisfying and you can now choose between one clip or the other the same as FCP-7 which means Adobe have been listening to Final Cut end users. Adobe major on Premiere Pro as a company, the same cannot be said about Apple so Premiere in my opinion has a future. The downside is the Matrox MX02 box which needs “flashed” with drivers installs the Matrox MXO2 MAX v3.1 (build 86) software for Mac OS X Lion only (10.7.4). This software supports Adobe CS6 only (with Premiere Pro 6.0.1 and Media Encoder 6.0.1).

By doing this you are sailing with Premiere Pro CS6 alone with no FCP-7 backup.

I gave my friend Paul Joy a phone this afternoon who switched over to Premiere Pro last year and Paul told me that he is now glad to have swapped over as he feels Adobe are listening to the end users and have improved Premiere no end with the addition of CS6. There are a few bugs in CS5.5 that seem to have been dealt with and the look and feel of CS6 is very close to FCP-7.

Paul has written about his experiences using CS5.5

Philip Bloom has moved over to Premiere Pro and has been using CS6 for a few months now…”Since getting CS6, I have been sinking my teeth into it and found it incredibly rewarding and exactly what I needed FCP to become. It’s also better for mac users without Nvidia cards as the Open CL means we can get the Mercury Engine working on non-Nvidia graphics cards. Multi-format timelines with NO TRANSCODING? Brilliant! I can even mix 24p and 25p on the same timeline. One of the projects I am editing currently is a documentary with epic, F3, a f100,5dmk2 footage all on the same timeline, all native. It works. Yeah the 5k stuff struggles on my laptop and I have to drop resolution, but you can do it. The rest of the stuff works beautifully.”

Philip has written about his experiences moving over to CS6

In PART TWO on the 31st May “Making the jump” I will tell you my final decision to go with FCP-10 or Premiere Pro CS6

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

Probably the best Aurora footage you will see this year

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I am a big fan of the Nothern Lights, this has to one of the best collection of stop motion footage seen this year…fantastic !

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

Shocking development from ADOBE with CS6

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After 2 weeks of turmoil and Adobe accidentally erasing my order for Premiere Pro CS6 I get a further more serious shock…

When you load up Encore CS6 from the dock you do not have any buttons or templates rendering the program useless, this is shocking from such a so called professional company hard on the heals of Apple’s FCPX.

Was this a mistake or a case of getting the product onto the market at any cost, as a video professional I find this totally unaceptable to produce almost half a product, especially Encore which relies on the missing templates to function properly.

To add insult to injury we are supposed to believe it takes 7 days and counting to transfer and upload this content to their server, I am very angry but as was clearly demonstrated today by Adobe “NO ONE KNOWS WHATS GOING ON” as I was passed over to 4 separate departments with still no outcome…very poor indeed !

Here is the link

I was very hard on FCPX when it first came out and I also find after some investigation that Premiere Pro CS6, as yet…does not output the video to an external monitor if you are using a Matrox MX02.

Considering how long we have waited for CS6 this seems a sheer shambles, half-backed software with no thought given to editors like myself, eager to try it with the possibility of adopting it for professional use !!!

Do not install Premiere Pro CS6 or Encore CS6 because it will also wipe your CS5.5 content as well taking away all the buttons and functionality of BOTH CS5.5 and CS6.

I decided it was no great shakes as I would revert to Encore CS5.5 meantime to discover the stupid CS6 installer had wiped my CS5.5 buttons as well !!!


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

Nvidia QUADRO FX 4800

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Gripe number two is with Nvidia who sold me a Quadro FX4800 graphics card £1200 over a year ago for a Mac that will not accept it, if your Mac is 1.1 to 3.1 then this card will not work and hey presto no where in the NVIDIA bumf that ships with this graphics card tells you this, nor does the on line shop who sold me this card.

To put you in the picture I have a second Intel MacPro that was bought January 2008 but built late 2007 that I hoped to install the graphics card into to setup Premiere Pro CS6 giving me a second edit system utilising the Mercury engine.

The Quadro FX4800 for Mac was available May 2009 and there is no mention of this card not being compatible with MacPros pre 2008 other than small print on the Nvidia web site that I have not been able to locate yet !

This has been superseded by the FX4000 at £700 but I think its still relevant information.

I did a bit of swapping cards this morning and installed the latest Lion drivers for the 4800 on my main MacPro ver 5.1 and for the first time in over a year I now get a fully functional FX4800 graphics card working with Premiere Pro CS5.5 and it certainly makes for a snappier Premiere.

I look forward to receiving my copy of Premiere Pro CS6 on Friday and finally giving you all my account of what has been hailed FCP-8 !


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

The Canon EOS 1Dc “Where does it fit in”

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Have Canon bitten off more than they can chew with this camera ?

For all the hype over the last two years with the DSLR being used on various programs from corporate to broadcast it’s become very apparent as I predicted a year ago that the video DSLR would take a nosedive in favour of the large sensor video cameras being produced by Sony, Canon, Panasonic, JVC and BlackMagic.

This was very apparent last month when I was able to glance in a glass cabinet in my local Calumet to see a Canon 5D Mk111 for sale, not something I was expecting to see with the recent introduction of this camera.

With seven cameras to choose from sporting 2k to 4K the video manufacturers have not let us down…why are we still getting hybrid photographic/video cameras such as the Nikon D4, D800 and Canon 5DMk111.

Simple…Dual purpose = more money… professional photographers are seeing this explosion of the dual purpose camera and as they are upgrading to a D4 or D800 they are expanding their opportunities delivering TWO for the price of one and a half.

Let me explain, professional photographers are snapping up various corporate jobs like photographing a new complex being built from start to finnish, why not offer the client HD footage for a little bit extra giving the photographer two bites of the cherry after all the camera is capable of both so why involve the expense of a video company if you can do it yourself.

The same principal is now seen regularly on newspaper web sites they have the ticket to get into a press conference why not get an interview while your getting the snaps at the same time, makes complete sense for web content and keeps costs to a minimum.

So to conclude the market has now changed from everyone being able to afford a hybrid DSLR to almost fit for purpose expensive cameras being produced affordable by the upgrading pros yet Canon decide to produce the EOS 1Dc 4K camera for $15,000 against the 4K Scarlet-X AL Canon mount collection at $16,165.

I think the days are now numbered for the ergonomics of the DSLR, it was a test bed when we had no large sensor video cameras and was the catalyst for Sony and Panasonic to produce video versions, that we can be eternally grateful for the DSLR.

With less than professional grade connectors the Canon 1Dc at $15,000 affords you ONE 3.5 mini jack for audio which is NOT a professional sound connector, a mini HDMI output and no swivel LCD.

I can’t see where the EOS-1Dc fits into all these new cameras as everyone seems to be catered for and are professional cameramen/women really going to choose a 1Dc over a C500 if 4K is your goal…I don’t think so.

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

Canon C300 HD download now available £25

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I have found that our USA and European readers would prefer “You and your Canon C300” tutorial video as a download which is now available for £25.

The HD download file is 1.52 GB in size and will play on iTunes or your iPad. If you are interested please send me an email to and I will send you a PayPal request and a link to the file itself.

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

AUDIO AD 071 “First Look” £765 ex vat

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I was not aware this kit existed till it arrived this afternoon, it’s a three channel professional audio mixer with three XLR inputs and two XLR outputs.

This mixer from Audio Developments has been designed for a variety of applications. However, its small size (13.5×9.5×4.0cm) and low weight (400gm), lends itself to being mounted on a camera or attached to a belt. It has 3 inputs and two outputs with limiters on microphone inputs and the main outputs. There are two configurations; a one microphone plus two line inputs or three microphone inputs. It is capable of being set and left to process the audio.

MIC INPUTS – One or three electronically balanced type with XLR connector, 48V phantom power, high-pass filter, gain control and mic or line input selection.

LINE INPUT – Instrumentation grade electronically balanced with gain/level control.

ROUTING – Each input is routed to left, right or left and right by two toggle switches.

OUTPUTS – Electronically balanced with XLR type connectors and stereo rotary level control.

Can be unbalanced without loss of level or degradation of quality. A push-button switch selects line or microphone output levels to the XLR connectors. A 3.5mm jack socket carries output signals at microphone level.

LIMITERS – Incorporated in the microphone inputs and the two main outputs. The microphone input limiter is permanently in circuit. A push-button switch introduces the output limiters into circuit and two LEDs indicate the onset of limiting.

LINE-UP OSCILLATOR – 1kHz tone injected into outputs.

MONITORING – Headphone output on 3.5mm jack socket with a push-button switch selecting the direct or return signals. The return signals are brought in on a 3.5mm stereo jack.

METERING – Two LED ladders indicate output level

POWERING – Either external power, via a 4 pin Hirose connector, or a separate PP3 9V battery pack can be used to power the mixer. An LED indicates power present and flashes when the voltage is too low.

HDW : The AD 071 is a very hi-spec British made audio mixer capable of producing high quality sound mixes with toggle switches for line/mic inputs on all three channels, this would be a good mixer for ENG work and would make a hi end mixer for the DSLR market.

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

Green Screen work

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Recently I was filming a green screen with the Canon C300 set to 720 50p and 50Mbps, the results on FCP 7 were the best I have seen for a long time. I put this down to the 50Mbps CBR 4:2:2 which is a far cleaner image than 4:2:0. What about that shallow depth of field, how does it affect green screen, I must admit the last time I filmed green screen with a large sensor camera was with the Panasonic AF101 and the results were
less than spectacular.

Looking back at the AF101 I think it suffered in two accounts, lack of resolution (800 lines max) and 4:2:0 shot with AVCHD set to 28Mbps.

Shallow depth of field actually enhances green screen work as it gives a better overall diffusion to the screen itself taking out the odd wrinkle here and there.

Lighting is also critical when it comes to using green screen, six tips for less hassle are as follows…

1. Light the green screen (GS) as evenly as possible using as much diffused light as possible, the last thing you want with GS is hotspots.

2. Use the cameras ZEBRA to check for hotspots.

3. Bring the subject as far forward from the screen to avoid green spill.

4. Expose for the green screen first then adjust the lighting for the presenter, the last thing you want is an under or over exposed background.

5. Make sure you tell the presenter NOT to wear anything green and check how green his/her pupils are, if they are too green use a blue screen instead.

6. Film the presenter straight to camera as the best resolution of your lens is to the centre, move him/her to the left of frame later in post.

Green screen can be tricky to say the least, I have found that sticking to a medium close shot gives you the best results while a wide shot can give varying results from acceptable to unusable. One of the major bonuses of LED lighting is HEAT FREE lighting, I used eight LED lights for this chroma key set-up and the room temperature stayed constant throughout the 2 hour shoot.

CN600 seen above with 3200K filter in place.

Lighting is the key to a good green screen and I now use LED lighting to light my screen and presenter. Most LED lights are about 5200K to 5600K daylight balanced which does not affect the “greenness” of the screen itself though you do need to use at least one LED light at 3200K to give your presenter a nice back light.

I was recently sent one of these new CN-600SA LED lights to test, one of the new generation LED lights using moulded plastic and has a far smaller footprint than previous metal constructed LED lights.

I love the “V” lock mount that now comes standard on most LED lights allowing cable free lighting a God send for anyone using lights in public places. LED lights are a must for wedding videographers who use lights to film the speeches as long as you also use “shot bags” to weigh down the lighting stands.

The CN600 LED light costs £300 new and the UV160 “V”lock DSM battery both from H Preston Media.

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

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