GlideTrack HD “My first day”

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glidecam-hdI bought one of these tracking units from Alastair Brown in fact I bought the newest model the GlideTrack HD. Now are you thinking what I was thinking…HD… how on earth can you get a High Definition tracking system ? Well all was revealed with a phone call to Alastair.

“Eh what does the HD stand for” Alastair “Heavy Duty”  Opps did I feel stupid but he went on to qualify the need for a bigger more robust version of his tracking system, the Desperate Dan of the family. I asked what camcorders he felt would benefit from this portable but more robust track. Alastair “Cameras like the Sony EX-3 upwards” Now that was music to my ears I was buying one of these goodies for my reviews and the very camera he mentions was my EX-3.

I jumped into my car and 30 minutes later arrived in Paisley just outside Glasgow to meet Alastair and hand over the dosh. I could not help feeling a bit of Dejavu as I drove up to his house then remembered that his house features in some of his promos. Alastair was very pleasant and told me ” You have two bolts to attach with the supplied allan key thats all and it’s ready to go” No chance I thought it can’t be that simple. We said our goodbyes and off like a bat out of hell with my new toy back to base.

It was in a rectangular FedEx box and the most difficult part of the operation was trying to prize the cardboard open. Once open I had 4 items, the track, two feet and a bag with two bolts and an allan key. Yes it’s that simple, it was built in jig time and I was off to find two tripods. That was the easy part as I had just replaced my photographic tripod two weeks ago and still had the old one. You can use it with one tripod but I felt safer with one either end of the track. There are six threaded holes,  five 1/4″ thread size and one 3/8″ thread at the centre.

I took the Manfrotto 501 HDV head off the legs and mounted it onto the GlideTrack carriage mount it also has an adapter to allow the bigger 3/8″ thread to fit onto the mount. Fifteen minutes it took from unwrapping to using the track and can I say as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I used it in my Panasonic 151 review in the edit suite and my son who had never used it before did two takes the first being my mistake fluffing my lines. What a dream to use and so portable, I really look forward to using it in some corporate environments soon.

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

Panasonic P2 HPX-301 First Impressions

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pana-hpx301-v21Taking this camcorder out of it’s box gives you the impression of something special, a camcorder for a cameraman, I am so used to using and reviewing smaller camcorders that I have forgotten how the shoulder mount, traditional style camcorder feels. Balanced …yes that’s my first thought as it sits on my shoulder, walking into my bedroom I look in the mirror, that does look the business.

ian-hpx301-smallerBack come all the early emotions I had as a thirty year old holding my first professional video camera, the pride, the feeling of empowerment…what could I achieve with a camcorder like this and how impressive would this look to the client. 

(Right : Ian an ex-cameraman stopped by to have a look)

There is no doubt full size camcorders have a ‘jenasaqua’ about them and the Panasonic HPX-301 is no exception. AVC Intra, DVC-PROHD, DVC-PRO50, DVC-PRO and DV every megabit rate from 100 to 3.6 you are literally stuck for choice but your client won’t be. Before I get carried away this camcorder has it’s inherent Achilles heal by having a 1/3 inch chip set. You can’t get away from it when you remind yourself that it’s big brothers and sisters all have 2/3 inch chip sets that’s not because they are older models it’s because broadcasters have set professional guidelines that camcorders must have a minimum of 2/3 inch chips and let’s not forget all the 2/3 inch lenses kicking about television stations.

So who is this P2 camcorder aimed at well frankly everyone from corporate to broadcast as long as you stick to the golden rule of filming at 0dB no one will be any the wiser and you will turn out superb pictures time after time. The Fujinon 17x lens has yet to be tested so I will give you my thoughts at a later stage. As from NAB 2009 if you purchase a 301 you will get a free 32Gig card (for a limited time) that gives you a great start as you only have to purchase one other card saving you about £400. 

I am trying to arrange to shadow a professional cameraman doing television work to give you a feel of how this camcorder performs in a real life situation. I don’t expect to get a video review out until next week but it will be worth waiting for.


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

Panasonic HMC-151 ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing’

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Having used this camcorder for a couple of days I have to admit I was very impressed with the picture quality, considering this camcorder is one year old it can hold it’s head high.

I am a 720 50P man myself and set this camcorder to these settings and I was gob smacked. It was as good in low light as the EX-3, stood up to a wide open lens my only fault with this camcorder was the boxy design and the 4:3 lower rez LCD.

dsc_6726Panasonic have an obsession with designing shoe boxes with a lens and a 4:3 LCD, this design is dated please, please, please  Mr Panasonic in Japan stop designing ugly camcorders. If you give me your design budget I will design one for you ! The 151 is not as boxy due to giving up the tape mechanism on the right hand side and gladly does not weigh the same as a Nori brick.

For years Sony rolled out the 12x lens, now good old Panasonic are stuck with a 13x lens, saying that, it’s a good 13x lens and is very sharp. 

A chap commented yesterday in ER that people should look at the JVC HM100 for the same price but I doubt it will come near to the 151 in low light and it’s very surprising 9dB capabilities. The SDHC card works a treat and is a very low cost outlay and gives you cheap archive. As I heard Philip Bloom comment recently about the EX-3 and most of your pro HD camcorders where has SD recording gone, once again the 151 gives you everything but no SD recording.

The HMC-151 is a “Cinderella” camcorder it’s ready to go to the ball, but no one wants to take it. I personally think this camcorder has a bit of bad timing, saddled with the AVCCAM which is a professional version of AVCAM but coming from a domestic codec does it no favors, psychologically that is and maybe a design that people are tiring of.

The sad thing is that we have a camcorder that arrived a year ago, hits all the right spots yet never got the hype it dually deserved.

NOTE : The Panasonic HPX-301 is the only camcorder to date at it’s price range to give you 100Mbs all the way down to DV. Other manufacturers take note. 


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

G.E.’s Breakthrough Can Put 100 DVDs on a Disc

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By Steve Lohr (NYT)

General Electric says it has achieved a breakthrough in digital storage technology that will allow standard-size discs to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs.The storage advance, which G.E. is announcing on Monday, is just a laboratory success at this stage. The new technology must be made to work in products that can be mass-produced at affordable prices.

But optical storage experts and industry analysts who were told of the development said it held the promise of being a big step forward in digital storage with a wide range of potential uses in commercial, scientific and consumer markets.

“This could be the next generation of low-cost storage,” said Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering, a technology research firm.

The promising work by the G.E. researchers is in the field of holographic storage. Holography is an optical process that stores not only three-dimensional images like the ones placed on many credit cards for security purposes, but the 1’s and 0’s of digital data as well.

The data is encoded in light patterns that are stored in light-sensitive material. The holograms act like microscopic mirrors that refract light patterns when a laser shines on them, and so each hologram’s recorded data can then be retrieved and deciphered.

Holographic storage has the potential to pack data far more densely than conventional optical technology, used in DVDs and the newer, high-capacity Blu-ray discs, in which information is stored as a pattern of marks across the surface of a disc. The potential of holographic technology has long been known. The first research papers were published in the early 1960s. 

(Pictured above is Brian Lawrence GEs holographic storage program)  (Excerpt from New York Times

So this is what Apple are waiting for ! Note. Some papers are still employing good photographers who can compose a picture and light it as well, great picture Mr Brooks.

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

Philip Bloom reaches 1,000,000 Clicks

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Bloom’s USA Blog Part 4 By Bloom Blog
View in HD  Download 720p HD Version  Visit Bloom Blog’s ExposureRoom Videos Page

p-bloom-v2Our good friend Philip Bloom over at has reached his one millionth click on his blog and we at HD Warrior congratulate Philip on such an achievement. Philip was lucky enough to go to NAB 09 this year and kept us all informed with his great video blogs. Once again well done Mr Bloom.

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

iMedia tutorial coming soon

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imedia-logo-v2Just to wet your appetite… iMedia has been developed for you and me, video professionals running our own production companies. For a long time I have been looking for a program that will keep a log of my mini DV tapes, HDV tapes, SxS, SDHC, Blu-ray etc. keep a note of my client base and project information. 

I was talking to my friend Chris about my dilemma and he kindly went off and designed such a program… iMedia. Now I can keep everything together on the one file. 

It has only been written for Mac at present but if enough interest is shown it could be written for the PC. If you think this may be of interest to you leave a note on the comments tab in this post. 

NOTE : I have started an iMedia page so click on it for further information and soon I will be telling you the best news of all… the price.

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

Coming soon the Panasonic HPX-301 v Sony EX-3

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The burning question ? How does the one third inch Panasonic HPX-301 perform in low light against the half inch Sony EX-3. 

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

Panasonic HMC-151 Review for Preston Media

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Panasonic HMC-151 Review for H Preston Media By Philip Johnston
View in HD  Download 360p Version  Visit Philip Johnston’s ExposureRoom Videos Page

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

Undercover 3 for Mac and iPhone

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Because laptops are increasingly popular, and desktops are becoming smaller and more portable, computer theft has reached huge proportions worldwide: there were about 600,000 laptops stolen in the USA in the year 2004. According to a recent FBI report, 97% of all stolen computers are never recovered. Many people we know have had their Macs stolen, often in ‘safe’ situations. That’s why we developed Undercover: a unique theft-recovery application designed from the ground up for Mac OS X.


What happens when my Mac is stolen?

Accurately locate your stolen Mac

Undercover uses advanced technology developed by Skyhook Wireless to locate your Mac based on Wi-Fi positioning. In addition, Undercover transmits network information, enabling our recovery center to accurately track and locate your stolen Mac within a range of 10-20 meters.


See what happens on your stolen Mac

Undercover is the world’s first theft-recovery software that will send screenshots of your stolen Mac at regular intervals. These screenshots will sooner or later reveal the thief’s identity (e.g. when chatting, reading and writing emails,…) making it much easier to work with law enforcement in order to recover your Mac.


See who’s using your Mac

Undercover introduces another world first: if your Mac has a built-in or external iSight, Undercover will transmit pictures of the thief and his surroundings every 6 minutes, making it even easier to identify the current user. It’s like having a private detective working for you.

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

Sonnet Fusion RX1600 RAID

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sonnet-raidFusion RX1600RAID is designed to provide high reliability in demanding editing and content creation environments. With its drives formatted as a RAID 5 set, this 16-drive system delivers data transfer speeds up to 1,000 MB/sec read and 750 MB/sec write. An integrated SAS expander facilitates fast, easy expansion of the Sonnet system, enabling the user to connect additional 16-drive enclosures. 

“The Fusion RX1600RAID storage system can be integrated into a facility very quickly to provide the performance, capacity, and security required for multi-stream HD work,” said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. “This system offers the high degree of reliability required to protect valuable content from drive failure. It is constructed of enterprise-class hardware such as redundant, hot-swappable fans and redundant, hot-swappable 350W power supplies. The system design maximizes uptime and contributes to continuous productivity through its use of hot-swappable drive modules and its incorporation of drive, fan, and power supply monitoring. 

“The RX1600RAID’s built-in SAS expander makes future growth simple, fast, and economical, saving post-production facilities both time and money. Incorporating another RX1600RAID into a facility is nearly as simple as installing another enclosure into the rack and connecting a few cables,” concluded Farnsworth. 

Fusion RX1600RAID provides users the flexibility of choosing from multiple RAID schemes. RAID 5 and RAID 6 support offer balanced performance and protection, and enable safe recovery from single- and double-drive failures, respectively. RAID 0 offers pure, unadulterated speed, while RAID 1 provides ultimate redundancy; RAID 4, RAID 10, and JBOD support are available, too. Fusion RX1600RAID systems support hot spares, which means a designated hot spare drive waits unused in the background to automatically replace a failed drive without further action from the user. This flexibility is accomplished without switches — a simple-to-use configuration utility makes optimizing the RX1600RAID setup for specific workflow requirements simple. 

The Fusion RX1600RAID is SES 2.0 compliant, providing operators with enhanced real-time monitoring and reporting of drive, power supply, temperature, and fan status. Operators can use S.M.A.R.T. monitoring parameters in configuring the system to issue on-screen alerts, trigger fault LEDs, and provide audible warnings via the drive enclosure’s built-in alarm and the computer’s speaker. The system also can be set up to send e-mail alerts to designated addresses. 

The Sonnet Fusion RX1600RAID is compatible with Mac®, Windows®, and Linux computers with an x8 (or x4) PCI Express® slot running Mac OS® X Version 10.4.8+; Windows Vista®, Server® 2003, and XP Pro; and various Linux operating systems. The high performance Sonnet RAID controller included with the complete Fusion RX1600RAID storage system incorporates an Intel® IOP348 RAID processor running at 1.2 GHz, and contains 256MB of ECC RAM. Available in 16TB and 24TB configurations, the Fusion RX1600RAID system’s drives are preformatted for immediate use with Mac OS-based computers. 

Complete Fusion RX1600RAID storage systems include the enclosure with sixteen 3.5-inch hard drive modules, along with a Sonnet RAID controller card, two heavy-duty two-meter mini-SAS data cables, two power cables, a software CD, and documentation. Four-meter and six-meter cables are optionally available. Fusion RX1600RAID expansion systems include the enclosure, drives, and power cables. 

Fusion RX1600RAID storage systems are expected to be available by April 30, 2009 with the following suggested retail prices: Fusion RX1600RAID (16TB) at $10,895 and Fusion RX1600RAID (24TB) at $11,995.

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

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