NanoFlash HD/SD recorder

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Colorado Springs, CO — Convergent Design announced a $2,995 MSRP price for the highly anticipated nanoFlash, which will ship in June, now with analog audio I/O.  nanoFlash is the world’s smallest, lowest-power professional HD/SD recorder/player creating visually lossless Quicktime or MXF files stored on affordable Compact Flash media.

The diminutive (4.2×3.7×1.4” / 107x94x36 mm) nanoFlash easily mounts on any professional camera, adding less than 1 lb (400 grams) additional weight.  The very low power consumption of less than 6 Watts assures long battery life, while the very wide power input range of 6.5 to 19.5V makes nanoFlash compatible with most power sources.

nanoflash_in_hand_snanoFlash utilizes the very high quality XDCAM HD 422 CODEC (from Sony) at 50/100 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 100/140/160 Mbps (I-Frame-Only).  Quicktime and/or MXF files can be played/edited in Avid, Final Cut Pro, Edius, Vegas and Premiere (restricted usage) without transcode or re-wrap.  HD/SD-SDI and HDMI I/O ports support 1080p30/25/24, 1080i60/50 and 720p60/50 video formats.   nanoFlash can also be used as an HD/SD-SDI to HDMI or HDMI to HD/SD-SDI converter.

nanoFlash records embedded audio over HD/SD-SDI or HDMI.  Users can optionally input analog audio (stereo unbalanced line, stereo unbalanced mic or one balanced mic) via the 3.5 mm jack recently added.  Audio monitoring is available via a headphone output.  All audio is recorded at 24-bit, 48KHz sampling.


Two Compact Flash slots (32GB CF cards are US $75) provide 80 minutes of 100 Mbps record/playback time without touching the hot-swappable cards.  Video can be played directly off the CF cards using a FW-800 reader (attached to your NLE) or transferred at 3X to 6X faster than real-time to your hard-drive.

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

Larry Jordan’s Tip of the Day 4

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

Smart Sound plugs into Final Cut Pro (Now Shipping)

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SmartSound’s new Final Cut Pro Plug-In receives rave reviews from Final Cut Pro
expert Larry Jordan and attendees at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. 


Mark It, Score It, Send It – Instant Music, No Hassle
See your markers in Sonicfire Pro

SmartSound provides Final Cut Pro users with thousands of music selections that can be automatically edited to fit any length of media and dropped into your Final Cut Pro timeline in THREE simple and easy steps.

Step 1. Mark It – Using our new Final Cut Pro Plug-In, Sonicfire Pro 5 automatically reads your Final Cut Pro markers and in/out points and calculates the exact amount of music needed to compliment your visual media.

Step 2. Score It – Quickly search through thousands of tracks using keywords, categories, Sensory Searching (“More Like This, Faster, Slower, More Intense, Less Intense”), or our Tap Tempo feature, which searches using the tempo created by clicking your mouse. Once you find the music track you like, Sonicfire Pro automatically scores it to fit within your Final Cut Pro markers, while preserving the orginal beginning and ending of each music track so your SmartSound selections sound like they were uniquely composed for your project.

Sonicfire Create Soundtracks at Any Length you need Step 3. Send It – Once you have customized your music track in Sonicfire Pro, simply click the “Send To” button and your music selection is added directly to your Final Cut Pro project. 
Watch Our Demo Video


Roundtrip Editing that Works!

We know projects can evolve over time. That is why Sonicfire Pro 5 offers advanced editing and fine-tuning controls that allow you to reopen your SmartSound music directly from your Final Cut Pro timeline for quick and easy edits, from readjusting the lenght of the music track to adding a cymbal crash for an added effect.

Simply select “Open in Editor” when clicking on any SmartSound music track in your Final Cut Pro project and you’ll find yourself editing the music directly in Sonicfire Pro 5. 

Use the Open In Editor command to edit music in Sonicfire Pro
Sonicfire Pro 5 even remembers your Final Cut Pro scoring markers, so you can get the music edits right on your first try. 

SmartSound Music with markers and Mood Mapping
SmartSound gives you even more control by allowing you to access individual instruments and preset mixes with Mood Mapping®, move beats with Timing Control, and more.

Send To Final Cut Pro is Fast After customizing the soundtrack in Sonicfire Pro, just use the “Send To Final Cut Pro”option and your changes will automatically appear in your Final Cut Pro timeline.

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

Panasonic HPX-300 in America (UK HPX-301)

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By Mark Shepherd  (Creative Cow blog entry, USA)

I would like to thank Panasonic for showing off their cameras at special events so potential customers can get a hands on demo of their performance, not just reading spec sheets. I was blown away with the quality of the HVX 500 camera, and was very impressed with the “noise free” picture at high gain. I saw this camera demo’d at both Birns and Sawyer and at a HD green screen studio in Santa Monica. The 500 camera is a IT chip camera, but the chips will only produce 1440x 1080 at 24p, not the “full” 1920×1080.

The IT chips (I have been using IT chips for years Sony broadcast cameras, both SD and HD) in this camera produce an astonishing picture. I am looking for a “full” 1920×1080 24P camera in the $10,000. range with interchangeable lenses, so I went to see the new Panasonic HDX300 camera, a 1920×1080 3CMOS chip camera with 24P with a 17x interchangeable lens retailing for about $10K. People were already writing on the internet that this camera could be the “IT” camera for 2009.

They weren’t talking chips… I had high expectations. Upon viewing the displayed pre-recorded “African” footage shot with the HDX300, I noticed a lot of “noise” swimming around in the bright blue African sky. How could this be? Daylight, bright sky, noise? Shot most likely with no gain? I asked the Panasonic reps if I could take the HDX300 camera outside and shoot a test and they agreed. When I played back the 32gig card on an SDI input monitor, there was that “noise” in the blue sky, and in the all the shadow detail in other of my shots. My setting were 5600K preset with 0 gain. We made some other tests indoors with the tungston setting, in a dim part off the set with 0, 3, 6 db gain and the noise was extreme and at 3 and 6bd unusable. The Panasonic rep said that I should have used the -3db setting outdoors, and that my shot of the sky was “unprofessional” because I had underexposed it.

I intentionally used the manual iris to expose the sky so I would not blow out the sky, and why I panned the camera, the sky might have been a half or a quarter of a stop underexpose. My point to all this is that I am unhappy with the performance of CMOS chips, especially in this new HDX300 camera. Why can’t manufactures spend a little bit more and use the IT, or god forbid the holy grail FIT chips. I know that CMOS chips are cheaper, use less power and have “rolling shutter” but these are no excuses. The quality of the Panasonic HVX300 is unacceptable. Panasonic should not release this camera until they resolve this CMOS issue.


Reply by Jan Crittenden Livingston (Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100 Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems USA)

[Mark Shepherd] “but now that you are here I would ask you something. My question to Panasonic is why a company that has such a great history building professional cameras such as the Varicam, SDX-900, HDX-900, HDX2700, HDX-500, (all with IT chips) now start using CMOS, noisy, chips in there new shoulder mounted camera, the HDX300? Are there any other reasons but saving money? Noise, less sensitivity, rolling shutter are not good reasons for using the CMOS chip. The only good thing I have heard about CMOS is less power consumption.” 

You need to understand the camera market a little more thorughly to see why we did what we did. We have the HVX200/HPX170 at $6,000 the next step up for us is at $20,000 for the HPX500 with lens. There is a real sweet spot in camera purchasing world at $10000. So how do we make a camera that competes with other cameras in that range? Well with CMOS, yes I do get lower power consumption,in the 1/3″ domain I can’t get more resolution with a CCD, a CMOS can get the camera there. We could have put the HVX200/HPX170 chip in there but our feeling was that would not compete with the Sony EX3 that well, resolution-wise. CMOS also eliminates the streaking from light sources that do indeed happen with CCDs. There is no perfect solution. We couldn’t make a 1/3″ 2.2 million pixel CCD as it just wouldn’t be low light sensitive at all. This is another benefit of CMOS, more low light performance. 

Now in that low light sensitivity there is a gain in the noise department but as I mentioned the camera is not yet finished. Yes the rolling shutter is there, but you know CMOS imagers are in a lot of cameras these days, and if it could be used as an effective creative tool then there a good number of manufacturers that wouldn’t be able to sell cameras, starting with RED, Sony, Canon , Grass Valley and Phantom. 

[Mark Shepherd] “I rather change my battery more often than have bad quality. Don’t skink on the chips! The HDX-500 is an extraordinary camera (with IT chips) doesn’t downgrade the quality of your product line.” 

Frankly I think you are prejudging the camera. The tough part is that in order to make the price point the camera uses CMOS and I do fully believe that it will be very competitive in its market. We are not making it to compete with $20000 cameras, but $10,000 ones. Look at the field of cameras in this price point and I think you will see where we are going with it. The cooll part with this camera is the main competition uses CMOS as well, but this camera uses I-Frame codecs including a Master Quality codec called AVC-Intra, 4:2:2, 10 Bit. 

CMOS can be worked with, many do. Technology has driven shooting decisions for the last 50 years, starting with film. Wait till it is a finished camera to make your judgement and if you still feel adverse to the CMOS, then we do have a very nice line up of CCD cameras to choose from. 

Best regards, 


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

Further Update on the “Dancing Black Dots” Panasonic HPX-301

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I phoned Panasonic this morning and was told…”The technicians in Japan are looking into this though they have not yet been able to re create this particular problem”. I reminded Mr Tarrent that this problem only shows up when viewed on a 1920-1080 42″ screen with 6-9dB switched on.

Having done further tests myself I note…

Filming in 1080 50i the dots are finer and slightly more elongated at 6, 9 and 12dB, not so apparent at 0dB.

Filming at 720 50P the dots are rounder and seem more apparent at 6, 9 and 12dB, they are not so apparent at 0dB.

Filming at 720 x 625 DV mode the dots are not apparent.  (DV mode makes sense as you are taking a fair bit of detail out of the picture.) 

I had a play with the SCENE FILE settings,

Detail level is 0 default, tried -7 and +7 with no effect on dots.

V Detail Level is 0 dft, tried +&-7 with no effect on dots.

Detail Coring is +5 dft, tried -7 with no effect on dots.

Matrix is set to Norm 1, tried Norm 2, Fluo & Cine-like with no effect on dots.

Skin tone detail is off, tried it in the on position with no effect on dots.

V Detail frequency is set to thin, tried Mid and Thick with no effect on dots.

So I am no further forward with my production model, another camera will be tested and sent up to me ASAP.


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

Larry Jordan’s Tip of the Day 3

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

Update on the Panasonic HPX-301 “Dancing black dots”

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This is the best example of the “Dancing black dots” I have managed to capture, it is best captured photographing the LCD screen with a full frame Nikon D3 set at 200 ISO. A screen capture does not do this justice. I set the Panasonic HPX-301 at 9dB as I knew it exacerbated the dot problem and just by chance zoomed into a computer keyboard to set focus and got distracted, this allowed me to film a tad more of this out of focus shot than I had intended but it captures the black dot problem in spectacular fashion.

pana-hpx301a-blueSince my last post I have not spoken with Panasonic UK to confirm this problem and a possible fix, but you will be the first to know when I get an official reply. Please remember this problem is not apparent in 8-10″ HD-SDI LCD monitor screens nor does it show up looking at it in the browser screens in Final Cut it is only when you view the footage on a full HD 42″ LCD screen that the problem becomes noticeable. The reason they are called the “dancing black dots” is because they dance around the screen.

PLEASE NOTE : Panasonic are aware of the problem and that other users have not seen this problem, this in my professional opinion means it should be fixable.

To view the picture in it’s original 13MP look here


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

Samsung LED TV/Monitor Series 7 £1599

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samsung-ledThere can be only one thinnest, clearest, most elegant television. Easily, it’s Samsung’s LED 7000. Breathtakingly thin, it’s designed as one seamless piece of flawless crystal. On its LED screen, vivid details are captured in every frame. Picture edge-blur removed and full, robust colour restored to each pixel. Watch television programs, web content or your own, knowing you’re also being kind to the samsung-led-slimenvironment. It’s a remarkable feat of design, on or off.

For images that are stunningly true to life you need the 3 C’s: contrast, colour and clarity. LED 7000 has them. Its Mega Contrast Ratio feature brings out all the shades of grey as well the shades of amber, fuchsia and magenta. A Wide Colour Enhancer pro with LED gamut ensures every entire pixel is robust and vibrant. Plus our 100Hz Motion Plus technology removes edge-blur. Leaving your picture smooth and crisp. And your jaw, dropped.

Basic Spec…


Video Screen Size 40″
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Feature Game Mode Yes
Input & Output (Back) HDMI 4
Scart 1 (Mini jack)
This is possibly one of the most stunning HD TV/monitors on the market…not only does it look good but it’s 30mm thick. The picture quality is the best I have seen to date.

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

Panasonic HPX-301 and the “Dancing black dots”

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As you know I am doing a review of the HPX-301 camcorder at the moment and it has been delayed because I have discovered an unusual phenomena when I lift the gain to 9dB…’dancing black dots’. These black dots are apparent in the purple and black parts of the colour chart. I am now going to press with this because a few owners are now reporting this on various forums so it has become public knowledge. I phoned Panasonic’s Rob Tarrant last week and he has informed Panasonic Japan. Before we all get hung up on speculation and 1/3″ chip theories, this may only happen in a few camcorders some users are reporting no noise problems, if that is the case Panasonic will have a fix for the rogues that have entered the marketplace. Personally I don’t think it is a noise issue, I think the action of adding 9dB is exacerbating what seems to be electronic breakthrough in other words I think this is caused by a substandard PCB component that is leaking interference into the picture. I hope to get some answers on Monday morning from Panasonic UK, I will keep you updated.

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

Ripple Training…Free Tutorials

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ripple-v9Once again Ripple Training are giving us great FREE tutorials on Motion 3, Apples complex 3D graphics application for video editors. Motion 3 is very hard to understand and I for one would be lost without the help and tutorials from boy’s at Ripple Training.

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

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