Jan C Livingston retires from Panasonic USA

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


If there was ever a lady who was more passionate about Panasonic video kit it was Jan, she knew her products inside out and was always a pleasure to interview.

Our last outing together was at IBC 2011, Jan was unique in the world of Broadcast Video Sales you point a camera in her face and there is nothing she did not know about her subject.

I will personally miss Jan at future video shows she was a lady and a half, the smile says it all…have a great retirement Jan from all at HD Warrior and here is a personal tribute I put together especially for you.

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

The Panasonic PX270 Video Review explained (Updated with video stills)

Categories: Miscellaneous 13 Comments


I keep getting asked to explain my conclusions within the Panasonic PX270 Video Review and why I reject AVC I Frame over AVC Long GOP.

If you read the specs about I Frame over Long GOP you will convince yourself that I Frame is the clear winner but although I had downloaded Panasonic’s white paper about AVC ULTRA it was a bit heavy going, I am a practical person I prefer to go on what I see rather than make my mind up with what other people think in theory.

My first footage shot on the PX270 was 1080 50p AVC I100, clearly the best Panasonic had to offer…but looking at it back on my 50″ Panasonic plasma via the camera itself gave me a different picture a rather noisey look, not what I was expecting. (PS. I also looked at AVC LongG 50 footage on the same TV and looked stunning in comparison).

i-frame-300x LG-at-300x-copy-v2

It may be down to a level of sharpening that I am seeing in one picture against another as these 300% pictures show but the LongG 50 codec does produce cleaner pictures.

I remembered my conversation with Rob Tarrant at BVE who told me that 1080 50p LongG 25 was cracking but LongG had not been initiated at that time so I was stuck with 1080 50i and recorded footage onto an SDHC card at the show.

The footage looked very good in my edit suite (FCPX 10.1.1) but I was actually watching proxy footage as it turned out. Apple’s FCPX is way behind Adobe on the LongG front as Premiere CC can playback AVC LongG footage. I do realise I had the option to import into Premiere then export over to FCPX but decided not to do that.

I had one option to get LongG footage via the cameras HDSDI socket into FCPX, Ultra Studio Express from BlackMagic Design comes with a smashing app called Media Express but once again limited to 1080 25p, 1080 50i or 720 50p as I am no fan of 25p or interlace I chose 720 50p.

As an aside it was 720 50p AVC Intra 100 footage that put me off buying the Panasonic HPX250 camcorder at the time.

After ingesting the footage the old fashioned way via the SDI socket I was armed with 720 50p AVC LongG 50 footage converted to ProRes 422 I fired it into FCPX and was amazed at the quality far less noisy than AVC I100…why ?


I started to question everything even my green screen footage but good old Adobe gives you a detailed properties window and there it was 10bit 422 AVC LongG. What I don’t understand

I phoned Panasonic to tell them my findings and was told that other people had reported the same results, this certified my findings so the review was filmed and edited mainly at 720 50p AVC LongG 50.

The other major news was you had a P2 camcorder that gives its best results onto SDHC cards saving you a fortune on micro P2 cards what a winner for both Panasonic and the end user, the only camera to date producing 10bit 422 footage onto SDHC cards…fantastic.

Why was this a winner for Panasonic…simple, they will sell many more PX270′s on the back of this information, Alastair who you saw on the review has bought two PX270s to mix and match with his Sony EX-3s.

As per the video Panasonic would prefer you to use at least one micro P2 card for belt and braces just in case you have a power failure or a corrupt SD card.


Since my review  I have passed on 2 requests to Panasonic…

Firstly if they could re design the VF to enable the cameraperson to lock it in position or make it more ridged while filming as it has a tendency to move easily.

Secondly like the AC160 the 2x digital zoom is quite usable but you have to toggle through 5x and 10x to get it off, could we have a limiter in the menu so you can choose to only have 2x and off rather than toggle through the other two useless magnifications.


Just before you all send further emails I also have a JVC DT-V21G11 reference monitor to view my footage on.

When I got the Panasonic PX270 I was looking for Panasonic’s newest codec the AVC ULTRA codec not realising that AVC ULTRA is the overall name that encapsulates AVC Intra, LongG, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50 and DV.

I hope this makes a wee bit more sense as to my findings with the Panasonic AJ-PX270.

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

New weekly electronic paper for everything XDCAM

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The paper is an adjunct to the www.xdcam.com.au website. Dedicated to all things XDCAM. The paper also includes the latest digital offerings from Sony, including the FS700.

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

Here is the long awaited Video Review of the Panasonic AJ-PX270 (Updated 18th April 2014)

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments


It took 2 weeks but its a far better and more informative review for the extra time spent researching such a complex new camcorder. The Panasonic AJ-PX270 is a joy to film with and having 10bit 422 really makes the pictures stand out.

Watching the review which is a massive 19mins long you will learn the camcorders most inner secret which I will talk about later on this week but till then watch the review and be amazed.

Note : FCPX was due to be updated around NAB 2014 because it won’t recognise AVC LongG as yet which means filming in 1280 x 720p till Apple get their act together. The video has been updated to show the difference between AVC i and AVC LongG it looks like AVC I has more sharpening going on.

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

A BIG News Story in Glasgow…”This will be part of my Panasonic PX270 review footage”

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments


8am Thursday morning while browsing the internet I came upon the Daily Records web site and a picture of a plane. The Emirates A380 was arriving at Glasgow Airport today.

Costing £241 million, the double decker Airbus A380 was making its maiden journey to Glasgow as Emirates Airline celebrated their ten year connection with the airport.


An airport bus arrived to take us to a fantastic vantage point, the bus was full of media from television to snappers.



The beast came right over our heads and it was later I discovered the big red Emirates sticker on the belly of the plane.


This was a great chance to finally put my Panasonic PX270 to the test, recording at 1280 x 720 50p 10bit 422 50Mbps this was as good if not better as any of the professionally used camcorders around me.

We had a birds eye view and the 22x lens coped very well indeed, out of a full days filming the lens went out of focus once…top marks for Panasonic engineers.

NOTE : As with most professionals I don’t usually use AF but when you are testing a camera you have to let the rains out, if the camera had “hunted” too often AF would have been disengaged but to give Panasonic credit this AF is as good as it gets in my opinion.


Picture above supplied by my friend Stewart McKenzie…fantastic


My good buddy Allen was also filming the plane with his new Sony NX3, one of Allen’s passions is aeroplanes, there is nothing he does not know about aeroplanes, once again soothing times like this take his mind off his sore foot.


The BBC were covering this event with a live feed back to the studio from what looked like a LiveU streaming box in a bag.


Everyone has an LCD screen to watch films and the beautiful young air hostesses make the journey a bit more bearable.


First class the only way to travel, this was a plane and a half, the airport staff were brilliant and the security was spot on.


The Panasonic PX270 was brilliant with a viewfinder to die for this was an easy job and a lot less weight than a conventional shoulder mount.


STV reporter Karen Greenshield’s an old friend from my freelancing days at STV.


My thanks to my son Scott for taking all these pictures and helping me in general…it was a great news story and a fantastic insert for my Panasonic PX270 review…coming soon. My thanks also to William Henshaw of the Rutherglen Reformer for getting us this gig.


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

Thoughts on the Blackmagic Studio Camera from Richard Crowley

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


What makes a broadcast camera is the ability to control multiple cameras by someone doing the “camera shading” job. This is management of all the camera adjustments in real time (even while on-the-air) to keep the camera pictures matched well enough to live switching without noticeable differences in the images.

This is typically done with a Camera Control Unit (CCU). A proper CCU with a “paint box” is what separates the major-leagues from the wannabees. BMD have acknowledged this requirement with a “soft control” CCU panel for their new range of switchers. Alas the “CCU” panel looks nothing like the traditional broadcast camera CCU, and lacks virtually ALL the traditional controls all broadcast engineers have been using for their lifetime. In fact, the “soft CCU” rather looks like a mini DaVinci color tweaking window (with a full-size DaVinci window available at the click of a button).software

IMHO, this shows an unfamiliarity with how multi-camera broadcast video production is done. Colorists working after-the-fact in post production can spend well beyond Real Time tweaking every shot to a fare-thee-well. But in the “heat of battle” of a multi-camera production, that kind of fine control is simultaneously too much, and too little. Too much detail control that a live program doesn’t have the luxury of time for, and too little of the familiar CCU controls that all video engineers have come to expect.


While this may be interesting to a new generation who don’t know any better, it seems rather to have dropped the ball for high-end broadcast production applications. A glaring example: there appears to be no white-balance control at all. While you could argue that you don’t need traditional “white-balance” controls with this camera, it appears that you will spend that much more time balancing all the cameras without any fixed reference point. It just makes me think that the design was created without any input from people experienced with standard, multi-camera broadcast hardware or procedures.


Now the “world’s largest viewfinder” screen is very nice, but its fixed position and angle supports only one style of shooting, where the operator’s head is directly behind and a bit elevated from the lens axis. While this may be suitable for sit-down (but not stand-up) chat/newsreader shows in a studio, or sports games from a distance, I have encountered a great many (perhaps the majority in my genre) situations where that position for the viewfinder is just not suitable. In live-event coverage where the camera head is higher than the operator’s head, that viewfinder becomes nearly useless (or neck-strain-inducing, if you try it). Not to mention a giant distraction to the live audience behind the camera). Don’t get me wrong, it is a killer viewfinder. I just wish I could put it where I could use it.

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

Rycote at NAB 2014

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The Super-Softie significantly enhances the performance achieved by the existing Softie windshield, through an innovative new aerodynamic shape, and brand new surface material – 3D-Tex, combining to achieve excellent acoustic transparency with superb attenuation of wind noise.

Key features are:

  • 3D-Tex & the novel shape and give greatly improved wind noise reduction compared to conventional “soft” windshields.
  • A true cavity design, with superb performance at extreme low frequencies
  • A rough-service windshield, robust enough for the most challenging ENG situations
  • Maintains excellent acoustic transparency in almost all situations,
  • High immunity to rain-soaking


The Super-Shield is the latest version of Rycote’s rigid basket windshield, replacing the S Series range, and sitting alongside the flagship modular windshield product.

Key features are:

  • A lightweight basket windshield system with a minimum number of parts, that is simple to use
  • Configurable for aerodynamic and centre-of-mass balance
  • Excellent wind noise reduction and lyre-standard isolation from handling noise
  • Removable fur Windjammer to add the highest levels of wind noise suppression

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

AJA’s new CION £5,370 plus vat

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments


The new 4K camera from AJA has been given little press but is quite popular amongst my readership as Blackmagic have done a fair bit of damage with the previous Cinema Cameras and sensor problems. The CFast memory for URSA is $1,200 for a 128G card giving you 20m of ProRes in 4K.

The AJA uses their proven SSD cards with sensible card sizes like 256GB ($695) or 512GB ($1,295)…more space for your buck.

CION – The New Production Camera from AJA from AJA Marketing on Vimeo.

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

Have Blackmagic opened a Pandoras box that the video industry would have preferred to have kept tightly shut !

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

For years we have paid through the nose for video equipment thanks in no part to inflated prices and inflated egos willing to spend silly money on kit.

Been there, done it, ate the pie as the saying goes…till now…the one clear message from Blackmagic’s latest offering is how much such a high spec camcorder DOES’NT COST !


If another manufacturer had brought URSA to market we would certainly be paying £10K upwards for this level of sophistication but the genius that runs Blackmagic Design Grant Petty has a clear vision…QUALITY at AFFORDABLE PRICES.

Granted BM have had a bad run of luck with the original BM Cinema camera but they have been honest enough to keep us informed about the duff sensors and hopefully with some better luck will start shipping the new URSA during July 2014.

At £3,785 plus vat the new URSA has set a new standard in not only quality but more importantly price that companies like Canon, RED, ARRI, Sony, Panasonic and JVC are going to find it hard to compete…especially those pitching at the 4K arena.

No surprise on the back of the BM announcement that Sony have announced an upgrade path for F5 owners to convert their cameras to the F55 which has delighted Sony F5 owners but at a price some are speculating about £3-4K almost as much as a new URSA !


Canon were rumoured to bring out a C400 with 4K specs but a rumour it stayed possibly a lucky coincidence as a newcomer to the camera market place the AJA CION priced at £5,370 plus vat, I can’t quite see how this camera is going to compete with the URSA at £3,785 plus vat.

So where does that leave similar spec camcorders like the ARRI ALEXA (Not 4K), RED EPIC, Sony F55 and Panasonics VariCam 35 well your guess is as good as mine but you can be well assured now that Blackmagic have taken the lid off over inflated pricing we may see some very good deals seeping out over the next few months as sales figures plummet and manufacturers get nervous.

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

Great news for JVC GY-HM600/650 owners…”FW v3 50Mbps”

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments



Firmware update for the GY-HM650 launched at NAB

JVC have announced a firmware upgrade that adds Zixi advanced streaming capabilities to its GY-HM650 mobile news camera. The 3.0 upgrade also adds the Extreme High Quality (XHQ) mode, which offers virtually lossless 50 Mbps H.264 recording to the GY-HM650 and GY-HM600.

Equipped with JVC’s exclusive dual codec design, the GY-HM650 allows live transmission or secure FTP file transfers when equipped with a 3G/4G modem (or hotspot) or Wi-Fi adapter. It supports live HD video streaming at web-friendly resolutions at various bit rates while simultaneously recording a full HD file to an SDHC or SDXC media card.

Using Zixi’s new Advanced Streaming Technology (AST), the GY-HM650 3.0 provides content-aware error correction and bandwidth shaping. It features JVC’s ‘Streamconfidence’ feature, providing real-time feedback of signal and streaming status. With bit-rates as low as 256 kbps and up to 3 Mbps, Zixi proprietary algorithms maximize bandwidth to ensure reliable transmission even under difficult conditions, while advanced content aware error correction compensates for up to 30 percent packet loss.

With the upgrade, the camera is also compatible with JVC’s Professional Streaming Services, including the new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi that provides reliable live content delivery to a variety of hardware decoders, CDNs, and the web. Other upgrades include large file size support with SDXC media cards and .MOV clip import capability for Mac OSX. Improved file transfers use RTSP/RTP protocol and can be controlled through a standard web browser.

“The virtually lossless 50Mbps XHQ 60p recording mode is commonly found in DSLRs, and we’re pleased to add it to our 600 Series cameras,” said Gustav Emrich, European product manager. “The Advanced Streaming Technology upgrade to the GY-HM650 is very valuable because it makes the camera compatible with our new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi, which will help news organisations manage and distribute live signals from their JVC cameras in the field.”

Designed for ENG, the compact GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 feature a built-in Fujinon wide angle 23x zoom lens with manual focus, servo zoom, iris rings, three ND filters and a removable hood. The cameras record HD or SD footage in multiple file formats and can produce full HD files on one memory card while simultaneously creating smaller, web-friendly files (1/4 HD) on a second card. Audio features include a built-in stereo microphone, two XLR inputs with phantom power, shotgun mic holder, headphone jack and separate input for a wireless mic receiver.

Version 3.0 upgrades are free to all current GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 owners, and will be available in May via a firmware update available through the JVC web site.


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

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