Donate to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal

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As a photographer I have an eye for a good composition and the photograph above is a splendid  example of a good photograph, the young men helping the old ladies, such a powerful but positive picture. I would love to credit the chap but it does not come with any details.

As cameramen/women and video producers we are only able to practice our trade thanks to the efforts of many men and women in Japan who for over 30 years have supplied wonderful video cameras and photographic cameras and lenses so let’s all club together and donate to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal and say thank you for all your fantastic video and photographic products and your efforts in producing them.

“Let’s give a wee bit back to a nation that has served our professional needs for over 30 years”.

UPDATE : So far six of you have clicked on the link, thank you for making the effort but what about the rest of you, you get this resource for FREE…NO ADVERTS…so please if you own or use a video camera the chances are it was made in Japan…please donate TODAY !

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

F3 “First Play in low light”

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Tonight we were filming in a cold, Edinburgh city centre with the Sony F3 getting low light shots at 12dB and the camera excelled itself. I used all 3 lenses from the 35mm to the 85mm all T2 (f2). I could see from the LCD that we were getting amazing low light pictures but watching the footage back on a 55″ screen, the footage was just jaw dropping.

Question…Is it any better than the Panasonic AF101 in low light ? As yet I do not know but you can be assured I will know the answer by Wednesday evening.

No longer are you tied with a full lighting kit to produce a docudrama this camera excels in low light in fact once Sony give us their zoom lens you will have a fantastic ENG camera. I have never seen pictures shot at 12dB that are so grain free in my life and the quality of the Sony Prime lenses are exceptional.

You could produce a drama in street lighting and tell the Gaffer to take a night off, mark my words this will become the de-facto drama camcorder of 2011 and if the director of our local television drama Taggart reads this, start using a Sony F3 …YOU WONT BE DISAPPOINTED !

I have a lot on this week but I will have my video review of the Sony F3 in the can before Thursday, though it may not be edited before the end of the following week.

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

Poor Japan !

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How much can one country take, poor Japan, the sad thing for me was the land that gives us so many fantastic camcorders utilises all that technology to record the demise of so many innocent men, women and children.

All the media outlets have been amazed at the quality of the footage coming out of Japan while I personally see beyond the camera lens and think of the poor factory worker looking at his telly and seeing his house, wife and children being taken away by the force of mother nature.

It’s why I chose not to stay with television news as a cameraman, I hated every minute I spent with reporters knocking on poor souls doors who have just lost a loved one in order to score brownie points with the news editor, it sucks.

So the next time you see pictures coming out of Japan think of the humanity, the wonderful people lost forever who were doing their daily tasks innocent of the wave of destruction about to descend on them, and not about the technology that caught every last moment of these poor peoples lives.

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

F3 v AF101…”Head to Head”

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My Sony F3 arrived today from H Preston Media only for review may I add, not to keep and with it came Sony’s 3 prime lenses the 35mm T2, 50mm T2 and 85mm T2. It feels like a Desperate Dan oversized handheld camcorder.

Two things became apparent while looking over the camera today and by chance I had an expert on hand, Mike Lippmann from Miller Camera Support, I took the camera plate of the AF101 which has 2 tripod holes a 1/4″ and a 3/8″ which is industry standard in bigger professional shoulder mount camcorders.

We were very surprised to find the F3 a substantially bigger heavier camera did not have the statutory two different size tripod holes but the less sturdy 1/4″ screw holes ? Personally I am not a fan of mounting anything that can’t be held in place without two tripod screws.

Also it became apparent that Sony had left off a focus hook which is standard in their 700 series of camcorders, once again a second omission although won’t cause you to lose sleep over is surprising considering the camera is marketed as a film camera.

Apart from a review I am hoping to have a head to head with the Panasonic AF101 especially in the low light department and it will be interesting to see if the camera suffers the same 8bit banding problems that the Panasonic suffers from.

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

Sony MC-50 file problem

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While filming yesterday I got back to base to discover a problem that I had seen once before last year. My Sony MC-50 which is weeks old had decided not to offer me the first 4 shots that you can see clearly as thumbnails but will not play back.

You are presented with this screen when you try to choose any of the 4 thumbnails to play back, as I have said this very same scenario happened to me last year with a different MC-50 while filming on Arran.

My ex boss Jan had her 60th birthday party and once again the first 4 files were not available for playback once recorded, you are left with 2 possible causes…

1. The cameras filing system

2. The SDHC card

All I can add to the mystery is that the cards were indeed Genuine Transend 16G but one was a class 6 and the most recent a class 10, it seems most unlikely that 2 cards used 6 months apart would cause the exact same problem…in my opinion.

Both cameras were the exact same type, an MC-50 but not the same camera, one was demo stock and the other I now own and bought from new.

I tried to recover the files without much success but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth about using the MC-50 as a front line professional tool, the camera is fine otherwise and records onto the same SDHC card with no hitches.

As a further investigation the first 4 recorded files do not exist assuming the the counter starts at 00000.

CONCLUSION : Sony read this blog so I hope we can get an answer to this annoying problem, if I could at least recover the 4 files then this would not be as problematic nor cause anxiety for all MC-50 users. I think it would be prudent for all Sony MC-50 users to check the first few shots as you film them to be on the safe side and keep a random check throughout a days filming.

UPDATE : Having a further look their is some kind of repair under Media Management but I tried this with no success, secondly the thumbnails are produced with the first thing you film, that only proves that you filmed something but does not give any indication as to how long you were filming for.

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

Kipon adapter now failing after 3 months !

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I was filming today with my new Sanyang 85mm f1.4 lens using the Kipon adapter when I noticed a movement in shot that I was not expecting, on closer inspection it was found that the Kipon adapter is now failing.

I had been warned that this relatively cheap adapter would begin to cause problems but in less than three months of very light use is not commendable.

What happens is that the lens you are using has a rocking movement in other words you can physically move the lens up and down which should not happen. I accept that this was always a stop gap till the Birger EOS mount becomes available but a tad worrying.

I must admit to putting my 70-200mm f2.8 Canon lens on the adapter which will certainly have not helped though thats only been less than 5 times and the lens was supported.

My advice if you have the Kipon adapter is not to put any large heavy lens on this adapter and to use it sparingly.

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

Electronic Canon adapter for AF101 to be with us after NAB 2011

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Interestingly I had a conversation with Erik Widding (above) from Birger Engineering who are developing the electronic Canon adapter for the AF101/100 cameras and it looks like shipping after NAB 2011.

Other great revelations from a 50min Vimeo video is that Birger are working on an electronic Canon adapter for the following camcorders :

The Sony PMW-F3

Arri Alexa

Sony NXCAM due April-May 2011

Zoom motor for SLR lenses only

These are fantastic additions to a long line of large sensor camcorders and just in time as only today I had a phone call from my good friend Tony who discovered one of the few Canon L lenses that wont work with the AF101 as it stands the Canon 85mm f1.2 L USM lens. It needs power from the camera to run the focus motor.

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

Samyang 85mm F1.4 manual lens…FANTASTIC for the price !

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I thought this lens was arriving next week when out of the blue it arrived today and for £160 including Registered Delivery it’s a cracking lens. I have tested it out on the AF101 using the Kippon EOS adapter and what can I say…it blew me away.

This is a picture in my kitchen of my dear wife Susan and look at that shallow depth of field now  there must be a drawback I hear you say well the main drawback is the minimum focus which sits at one meter.

The picture it produces without any sharpening I may add are unreal for a lens of this price and don’t kid yourself it’s well made.

The company have already announced this 7.5mm f3.5 WA lens with a mFT mount which will be a great WA prime for the AF101…FANTASTIC. I would have no qualms about recommending the 85mm lens for the AF101 bearing in mind the one meter minimum focus restriction. I will be putting it to the test using it with the AF101 this Friday.

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

Sony to reveal 8K camera at NAB 2011

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The bar has been raised again. Sony is planning to show the prototype of a new >4K motion picture camera at NAB 2011. This could be historic.
We’re an hour southwest of Tokyo at Sony’s Tech Center in Atsugi. No pictures allowed, but we spent time with the development team and executives involved in this latest addition to the Sony CineAlta product line. It doesn’t have a name yet, but instead of calling it the Next CineAlta Camera, let’s give it the working title of Cine Altissima. She is not a mere 4K motion picture camera. Behind the PL mount, there’s an 8K sensor: 8768 x 2324 pixel single CMOS sensor (that’s 20.4 Megapixels) — Super35 3-perf size, 16-bit RAW output, 16:8:8.

Altissima covers a wider color space than any other digital camera, and will include ACES Film Emulation.
In normal mode, the new Sony 4K camera will shoot from 1-72 fps. In HFR (High Frame Rate) mode, she’ll go from 1-120 fps.
A 1 TB Memory Card recording at 24 fps will store about an hour of “footage.” A dockable SR Memory Card Recorder can attach to the camera for recording directly to an SR Memory Card of 256 MB, 512 MB or 1 TB. I imagine that other recording options will become available, both onboard as an accessory digital “magazine,” and tethered by cable in a separate case. Debayering for instant viewing or playback will be available with external real time hardware.

Altissima has the familiar look, in prototype form, of a high end motion picture camera: hints of F35, Arricam Studio or Panaflex Millenium. Power will be dual 12 volt; consumption is expected to be less than a Sony F35.
What does the image look like? The pictures from the prototype, on a large 4K monitor, were stunning. Rich blacks, incredible detail, superbly sharp. I’m guessing the native ISO sensitivity is around 800-1000 — just quick speculation in a dark test room and a tabletop set.

I think what makes this new camera possible is the fact that Sony manufactures the five secret sauces essential to practical 4K: sensor, storage, software, station, and screening. Sony makes the 8K sensor that subsamples to 4K. That’s a significant amount of headroom; higher resolution from this sensor might be seen in the future. Storage: Sony makes the SR Memory Cards–they have an impressive 5 Gbps sustained data rate. Station: Data from the SR Memory Card is downloaded, cloned, and copied via Sony’s SRW-5800/2 deck. Software: Sony announced that Avid, Final Cut Pro and other major editing systems will handle all this. Finally, Sony’s 4K digital projectors have been installed in more than 7500 theaters worldwide.

Sony’s new Cine Altissima camera has the potential to be the big breakthrough into practical 4K production. This isn’t the trickle of traditional workflow. This is the floodgates opening. Jon Fauer

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

Sony PMW-F3 firmware upgrade announced

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Sony recently let us know about a software upgrade for the PMW-F3. This addition adds many features to the F3, including several key features for getting the most out of the camera. The firmware upgrade product code from Sony is CBK-RGB01 and, once purchased, the firmware can be installed at any Sony Pro dealership, or by a tech savvy owner. It enables S-Log gamma mode, Dual Link 444RGB video output, 3G-SDI output, four pre-loaded LUTs (look up tables), and five custom user LUTs.

What does this all mean? This firmware allows the F3 to output full RGB video in S-Log – in other words, it opens up the true potential of this camera. S-Log ups the dynamic range of the camera to 800%, and effectively increases the ISO to 1600. Dual-Link SDI or 3G-SDI (dual-link on one cable) gives you full RGB444, and the LUTs allow you to monitor video normally while shooting in S-Log. Finally, the five custom LUT options mean that users can create their own looks in the same manner. The firmware will be available this summer for a list price of $3,300.

Thanks to Andy Shipsides for this info

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