2012 Camera Review “Coming soon”

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2012 has been another bumper year for camcorders with 16 produced over the last twelve months and seven of them large sensor cameras. Sony went on overdrive this year bringing out nine cameras alone making sure there was a camera for almost every eventuality.

The Black Magic story is the saddest of 2012 with a 6 month delay on delivery due to a sensor flaw and the delivery date seems to be shunted to mid January 2013…


“Ok good news everyone as the test run of sensors have just been built into cameras and they look good. Very good. So we have just given the sensor supplier the go ahead to commence volume production of the sensors and we hope to start getting them within the next week to start building cameras. How many cameras? I am not sure, as we have all stopped production and so we all need to restart production and see how many they can produce. However we will be working hard to build as many cameras as possible over the next few weeks.

I hope people start to see more cameras shipping, but it might be a good idea if I post another update early January to update everyone on how production is progressing.


As for the micro four thirds model, it’s ready to go, however the problem is I feel until we are shipping a whole bunch of EF model cameras, there is little point building any of the MFT model. So we will ship as many as we can and then perhaps see where we are mid Jan and do a few MFT models then.

It is sure a relief seeing this problem coming to a close. I cannot believe this happened and it’s been an incredibly frustrating delay. However I am feeling really positive now.”

Regards Grant, Blackmagic Design. (Via Phil Baxter CVP)

If you own any of the new 2012 camcorders like the ….Sony NEX VG900, NEX EX50, NEX FS700, HXR NX30, PMW-100, PMW-150 or the PMW-200 or the Panasonic AG AC90, AG HPX600 or the JVC GY HM600 or the Canon C100, C500 please give me your thoughts on your camera for my review.

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

BBC Worldwide “UK licence payers censored”

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Surfing my usual haunts I came across an interesting article in DPREVIEW that the BBC had written about fake photography, I clicked on the link and hey presto…WE the British taxpayer and licence fee payer who without us there would not be any BBC let alone BBC Worldwide are not allowed to view this article…it’s a FEKIN JOKE !!!!!!!!

Lets hope who ever decides to stand for the top mans job in the BBC kicks the BBC Worldwide’s ass…this is nothing short of censorship…WHY…because the BBC don’t want you to see all the advertising on this website that you don’t see in the UK…SIMPLE !


Here is page one of three with the advertising as suspected but no big deal, there is no reason why UK licence payers should not be given access to this web space other than censorship !


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

As Newspaper sales decline they turn more to the web

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As more and more newspapers turn to the web how does this affect the media in general, is there a future in photojournalism ?

To start with the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) are holding training courses, re-training many of their photographers and journalists on how to produce video as more outlets like newspapers are turning to video content.

Needless to say many more DSLRs like the Nikon D800 have been bought over the last 6 months to accommodate the second income stream, but are there any losers in all this seemingly extra work ?

The brutal answer is yes, as more photographers bring their skills over to video, work that was originally done by production companies is drying up. Many so-called professional stills people have always seen video second to photography, though that attitude is eroding as more photographers try their hand at video.

None more so than the wedding photographer who sees himself as the second most important person at the wedding other than the bride herself. Many a harrowing tale told by a videographer stems from a bad relationship at a wedding between himself and the photographer. I have seen weddings ruined by un-professional antics from so-called “professional” photographers and that was long before we had DSLRs that could also produce HD video.

Video and stills are two separate disciplines though photography does teach you how to frame a shot, handle exposure and ISO which does give a good photographer a head start when learning video techniques.


Agency’s are now offering both stills and video to their clients but at a cost and this is the crux of the matter, the rate for video work has dropped because photographers see video as a bolt on, an extra revenue stream. Although video rates on the whole were not over the top the more people who enter the frame and drive these rates down offering similar packages for less the less work all round and this is proving itself within the wedding market. 2012 has been the quietest wedding year for many seasoned video professionals and that is due to photographers now offering video and part timers offering cheap DSLR video.

Newspapers are declining for the exact same scenario, most of us are now surfing our daily news and thanks to the recycle brigade won’t buy wasteful newspaper to end up in the blue bin on a daily basis. As a last-ditch news media in general are turning to the web both newspapers and television, advertisers see the web as a cheaper more interactive way to advertise and a well produced video on any web site is a major bonus to keeping someone surfing on your site a wee bit longer.

Now the important part of all this is “WELL PRODUCED VIDEO” this sets the men from the boys, well produced video needs skill, knowledge and time. If you had to choose between two GPs one just out of medical school and one 10 years out of medical school, 98% of us would choose GP number two, the same goes for video, it’s a time served craft.

VJs are the perfect example of one person trying to do two jobs, most of the time you get talking heads badly exposed and poor white balance, it’s all down to cost, television news is under pressure to cut costs and cut out a time served camera person and you save a wage at the cost of better framed, properly exposed shots.

The recession is an excuse for employers to offer more for less forgeting that by driving everything down to the lowest common denominator the pool becomes full of half baked jack of all trades producing poor work for half the cost…not a bright future !

So what is the future of newspapers in this digital age…I suspect they will become internet only with printing being withdrawn all together, after all the paper is produced digitally on a computer so the drive is for more people to sign up for the digital version.

Kodak, stuck in it’s old ways is the prime example of how digital can ruin a multi-billion dollar company in a matter of a few years !

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

Adobe announces updates for cloud members only !

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Adobe have announced updated features to Photoshop cloud members only and have upset their loyal non cloud membership.

New Photoshop CS6 capabilities available to Creative Cloud members, include:

  • Immediate support for HiDPI (Retina) displays for Apple MacBook Pro. This feature was also made available to perpetual license customers as a free update.
  • Smart Object support for Blur Gallery and Liquify.
  • The ability to quickly export CSS code for text and objects, and import color swatches to easily design incredible websites.
  • New workflow timesavers including Crop tool refinements.
  • 3D enhancements including improved live (OpenGL) previews of shadow effects and additional control over illumination using 32-bit color picker to create glow effects.
  • Conditional Actions that automatically select the appropriate Action based on user-defined rules, giving users enhanced image processing speed.

For once I decided to join the cloud community at £27 a month for a year but it makes it hard when I have a full version on my iMac and a cloud version on my MacPro.

Some people are seriously not happy with this decision…

“The only possible way of slowing this abhorrent exploitation is to refuse to subscribe and to put immense pressure on fellow photographers to do the same.

This effectively triples the price for those of us who upgrade every three years. Looks like Adobe is betting that at least one in three of current users will roll over on their bellies and subscribe, in which case Adobe still wins, as they save on DVD production and packaging. If more than one in three subscribes, it’s all gravy.

Note that the subscription rate is “based on annual membership.” Tell me there aren’t plenty of users who go months without using a software product. Too bad, keep paying.

The apologists here remind me of misguided, cheerful victims of repressive regimes, including those of WWII.”

I’ve also read reports that Adobe customer agents are now telling people that the next version of Photoshop will be subscription only. This model may well be attractive for new users, but gouges existing owners – a 100% price increase? As soon as there’s a viable alternative sad to say I’m off. In the meantime I’ll look closer at Pixelmator and others. Adobe can do whatever they want with pricing and I’m free to spend my money however I want too. Shame on you, Adobe.”

Adobe have lost a lot of time and money to the hacker community who insist on cracking every version of Photoshop that appears on the market, this is who Adobe are fighting but sadly it’s the long term, honest users like myself who suffer.



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

The Hobbit filmed at 48fps “Causing motion sickness in 3D”

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Peter Jackson “I thought I’d address the news that has been reported about us shooting THE HOBBIT at 48 frames per second, and explain to you what my thoughts are about this.

We are indeed shooting at the higher frame rate. The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920’s). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok–and we’ve all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years–but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or “strobe.”

Shooting and projecting at 48 fps does a lot to get rid of these issues.  It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D. We’ve been watching HOBBIT tests and dailies at 48 fps now for several months, and we often sit through two hours worth of footage without getting any eye strain from the 3-D.  It looks great, and we’ve actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive. I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We’re getting spoilt!

Originally, 24 fps was chosen based on the technical requirements of the early sound era. I suspect it was the minimum speed required to get some audio fidelity out of the first optical sound tracks. They would have settled on the minimum speed because of the cost of the film stock. 35mm film is expensive, and the cost per foot (to buy the negative stock, develop it and print it), has been a fairly significant part of any film budget.

So we have lived with 24 fps for 9 decades–not because it’s the best film speed (it’s not by any stretch), but because it was the cheapest speed to achieve basic acceptable results back in 1927 or whenever it was adopted.

None of this thinking is new.  Doug Trumbull developed and promoted a 60 frames per second process called ShowScan about 30 years ago and that looked great. Unfortunately it was never adopted past theme park use. I imagine the sheer expense of burning through expensive film stock at the higher speed (you are charged per foot of film, which is about 18 frames), and the projection difficulties in cinemas, made it tough to use for “normal” films, despite looking amazing.  Actually, if anybody has been on the Star Tours ride at Disneyland, you’ve experienced the life like quality of 60 frames per second.  Our new King Kong attraction at Universal Studios also uses 60 fps.

Now that the world’s cinemas are moving towards digital projection, and many films are being shot with digital cameras, increasing the frame rate becomes much easier.  Most of the new digital projectors are capable of projecting at 48 fps, with only the digital servers needing some firmware upgrades.  We tested both 48 fps and 60 fps.  The difference between those speeds is almost impossible to detect, but the increase in quality over 24 fps is significant.

Film purists will criticize the lack of blur and strobing artifacts, but all of our crew–many of whom are film purists–are now converts.  You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience.  It’s similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs.  There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates.”

R. Norter “You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience.” Peter Jackson would say that, wouldn’t he? Having seen ‘The Hobbit’, I can tell you I did not get used to the new look at all. The viewing experience is so lifelike as to rob the film of all magic whatsoever: you see very clearly it is a bunch of actors in costumes in front of often wobbly sets, with every rubber prosthetic appearing extra rubbery. Add on 3D, which at times is less than convincing, and the viewing experience is anything but comfortable. I don’t get motion sickness in 3D, this time I did.

Just to add: the film is 169 minutes long, the script is dire, there is no tension or drama as the characters simply run from one set up to the next, the majority of the cast (the dwarves) merges into one indefinable clump, the SFX are at times of very variable quality and the colour palette is overwhelmingly dark. For the record, I really enjoyed ‘The Lord of the Rings’, this is nothing more than a money grab. Avoid.

HDW : It seems within the film industry that filming at the higher frame rates is going to catch on remembering that 24 fps has only been standard because at the time it was introduced technology could only produce a 24 frame rate recording and it became industry standard.

It’s not getting very good press and by our own readers experiences the 48 fps version is to be avoided at all costs, I think James Cameron who has said his next production will be shot at 48fps should fully assess the Hobbit before filming his next film.

3D at high motion has always caused certain people to feel sick so there is nothing new here, it seemingly takes about 20 minutes for the brain to accept the 48fps before you start to view it at “normal speed”.

DVD playerys and televisions will need a firmware upgrade if we are to be able to watch 48fps Blu-ray DVDs.

Cinema audiences will dictate if 48fps is to be the future and I can assure you the last thing a hot auditorium needs is a child puking up their MacDonalds causing mass sickness throughout the theatre.


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

Final Cut Pro X by Rick Young

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Ricks book arrived about two weeks ago and I have used it for a reference guide as there is still holes in my FCPX knowledge base. I downloaded Ripple Training iTunes tutorials but find them not only outdated but tedious to find instant information that only a book can offer.

Rick “I deliberately held off writing the Easy Guide to Final Cut Pro X as certain key features were missing from the original release. Now with many more features and the stability of a later release, Final Cut Pro X is ready for professional work at many levels. The software is fast, streamlined, and effective in delivering edited content. I have used Final Cut Pro X for paying work, on many jobs! With the right person at the controls, the editor is capable of producing work to a high level”

Rick has done a brilliant job making FCPX a lot easier to use with lots of easy to follow graphics along with hints and tips.

Rick is Director and Founding Member of the UK Final Cut Pro User Group and an Apple Solutions Expert. A freelance television director and editor with many years of broadcast experience, including work for the BBC, Sky, ITN, CNBC and Reuters. Also a Final Cut Pro Consultant, Rick has attended numerous UK and US exhibitions, is a liaison to the US FCP user groups, and author of the best-selling series The Focal Easy Guides to Final Cut Pro.

There is no better extra Christmas present you can give a Final Cut Pro Ten editor than a copy of Ricks book…

Rick being the generous man that he is has given you all a copy of his PDF update 10.0.6-10.0.7 for FREE…


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

CVP Glasgow “Canon Open Day”

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Today I was invited to the CVP Glasgow Canon day out at the Hub, CVP’s new premises. It was a typical frosty sunny Monday morning and I got a cracking shot of the Glasgow science centre.

The CVP window…very modern, Colin and the boys have done well to get their new offices up and running so quickly and it’s just the job for the odd open day.

Colin handing round the McVitties biscuits, there were four cameras on show from the C100, C300, C500 and the 1Dc.

Canon’s cinema expert Sundeep Sohal was available to offer some good advice on all aspects of the “C” range of cameras.

Danny from CVP was on hand as usual testing the water for a possible sale, Danny is the kind of salesman who does not sit in your face and is also quite technical which is also an asset.

Learning the trade, this wee girl was with her mother and took a keen interest on all the cameras though the Canon XF305 was the only camcorder on offer with a servo zoom.

So that was my morning at the new CVP Glasgow premises, this is such a major location for CVP being close to many of their customers and a bonus for me being on the South side of Glasgow.

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

2012 “A year of Camcorders”

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Canon, JVC, Sony, Panasonic and the illusive Black Magic camera, 15 video cameras in one year, from Super 35mm large sensor to one third inch CMOS camcorders.

This isn’t a review of the year…that comes later but more of a round up from a camera operators perspective.

What you choose depends on who or what you film, if it’s mainly broadcast from news to documentaries you will be more interested in the 50Mbps range of camcorders though 35Mbps is now acceptable for news.

If you film drama and commercials you will probably be filming with a Super 35mm camcorder from 2K to 4K.

Lastly wedding and event videographers will be filming with anything from a one third inch camcorder to a large sensor camcorder.

The big question is what camcorders out of 15 produced this year would make a good all round piece of kit and how many of these cameras do we need in reality.

As an all round camcorder the last camera you need is a Super 35mm camera, changing lenses let alone no servo zoom makes the large sensor camera a no, no.

What about the Sony EA50 with it’s 18-200mm servo zoom…at f3.5-6.3 it does not lend itself to low light without increasing the gain, gain on an APS-C sensor that is known to deliver moire and aliasing, not good for that fine mesh seen on most wedding veils.

Panasonic, JVC and Sony all produced 1/3″ camcorders this year with the Panasonic AC90, the JVC GY HM600/650 and the Sony PMW150. Out of the three manufacturers I have personally used the JVC GY-HM600 and was very impressed.

This is JVC’s first step into CMOS sensors and I take my hat off to JVC, I was expecting a noisy average 1/3″ camcorder and was very pleasantly surprised when I first saw the pictures in the edit suite.

With a 23x zoom, 29 to 667mm (35mm conversion) f1.6-3, this lens packs a punch and has been improved since I had the camcorder.

The JVC GY-HM600 is one of the main contenders for a good all round camcorder, especially for run and gun.

Sadly I have not seen the Sony PMW-150 nor have I used a Panasonic AC90 so I cannot comment on them.

If you are working for broadcast one of the few camcorders produced this year fits the bill, the Panasonic HPX600, with a 2/3″ lens mount, SN of 59dB and AVC-Intra100/50, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV format, this camcorder is not lacking.

The downside is the P2 format which is fantastic and very robust but has not taken off in the broadcast market in fact I only know of Sky TV who still use P2 with the BBC now using Sony’s SxS.

There is no reason why the BBC should not accept P2 footage but all my colleagues working for the BBC have kited themselves out with Sony PMW-500’s.

Drama and commercials now have a wide choice of camcorders to choose from, the Canon C500 films 4K to external recorder, the new Sony F5/55 shoot 2 & 4K though the F55 can shoot 4K internally without needing an external recorder.

As much as I use a Canon C300 myself and I love the camera to bits I suspect Sony have the edge over Canon C500 with the sheer specifications of the PMW-F55 not to mention it’s ability to record 2 & 4K internally, the global shutter is a very useful feature taking away any hint of a jello effect when panning the camera.

2 or even 3 camcorders…

Like me you may need two camcorders for varying types of work, one for interviews and one for general use, the large sensor camcorders are fantastic for interview, tripod work, for a tight budget the Canon C100 would fit the bill as you can run a Ninja off the back of the C100 and get the exact same pictures as a C300.

If money is no option then the Sony PMW-F55 is the camera to choose some of the early footage seen on Vimeo is very impressive.

As yet I can’t see past the JVC GY-HM600 for general use and at just under £3500 is a steal, it’s a cracking camcorder that has a team of engineers in Japan working to improve it even further as I write, JVC as a company have really impressed me and you can be assured if it’s at all possible they will be working to bring out that 1080 50p codec that will set the heather alight and bring a lot more cameramen and women over to JVC.

At the price you may even want to invest in two GY-HM600 camcorders if you produce two camera shoots like theatre productions, the HD-SDI sockets are also very welcome for vision mixer work.

Once again, money no option the Panasonic AG-HPX600 would be a fantastic all rounder, P2 is less of a problem for independant producers and smaller operators who are less restricted by older NLE software often seen in broadcast environments.

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

Canon C100 Full Review this January

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

Very funny “A new twist on old footage”

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

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