SONY NEX-VG10 Conclusions

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This is a hard one…on one hand we have a superb shallow depth of field camcorder and on the other hand limitations. I have had this camcorder for at least two weeks now and although I have not been using it for a solid two weeks I have had some time to get to know it.

I am coming to this from a professional camera users point of view so I may be a bit harsh forgetting the domestic user this camcorder is aimed at.

The first thing that has confused me is the 1080 50i now for all intent and purposes this camcorder records 1080 50i but that is capturing at 25p and wrapping it as 50i why…Confused ? Well, you’re not the only one. In brief, what’s going on is that the AVCHD standard doesn’t include 25P, but it does include 50i. This is relevant for those that want to burn a Blu-ray disk because Blu-ray uses the AVCHD standard. So it seems Sony are not only confusing the human users but Blu-ray burners as well. The main point is that if you bring your footage into Final Cut Pro it will be seen as 1080 25p.

The dreaded “Moire”. Sony seem to have taken the NEX-5 chip and stuck it inside the VG10 hoping that the DSLR problem of moire will not haunt them…wrong…surprisingly Sony have not tackled the moire problem and to be fair only appears in less than a handful of shots mainly on tiled roofs. Remember moire is a natural phenomenon with photographic sensors and most people don’t know what it looks like till pointed out to them.

Using one of Sony’s sister camcorders the MC50 I have become used to lack of sound control but the VG10 takes this to the NEXt level with no control of the sound at all which is very surprising given the price of the product and the main jibe with DSLR is lack of sound controls. You can use an external mic and headphones but beyond this nothing.

I do think Sony have maybe taken the manual zoom a tad too far with this product, domestic users have never in my knowledge ever had a camcorder with no zoom control and not only is this confusing some people but can be a turn off as they don’t understand the concept. This camcorder would have been better placed as a semi Pro unit rather than confusing the domestic user.

This camcorder does not perform well in low light although the f3.5 lens @ Wide Angle that ships with this camcorder does not do it any favours. I would like to assess the low light with an Alpha f 1.4 lens to get a true reflection of low light capability.

The menus are as I would expect from a domestic camcorder and the big thumb wheel is nothing short of a pest…sit it out a bit and give it a rubber feel and I may warm to it.

Lastly the auto focus works very well when it’s locked onto a subject but has it’s moments focusing in general…if truth be told it’s a tad on the slow side.

So whats left…well surprisingly the “look” grows on you, as long as you take on board it’s limitations and use manual focus, turn it down to 0dB, turn it onto 24Mbs, take off auto white balance the camcorder performs very well in daylight. Unlike the MC50 it does have external buttons for direct access to WB, gain etc and that has to be commended. The 18-200mm lens is very sharp and so are the 14MP JPEGs. Note. You can’t take photographs while filming and vice versa.

As I have said before this is not a domestic camcorder as it is far from a point and shoot but if you are prepared to work at it you will get some wonderful footage that only this camera can produce and it does come with it’s very own wind jammer !

Tomorrow NEX VG10 versus the DSLR

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

Panasonic AG-AF101 from 27th December 2010 (Price £4,195)

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Panasonic Solutions Company today announced that the AG-AF100, the industry’s first professional micro 4/3-inch video camcorder optimized for high-definition video recording, will start shipping on December 27th at a suggested list price of $4,995. Highly anticipated since its introduction at NAB earlier this year, the AF100 is poised to set new benchmarks in digital cinematography.

Targeted at the video and film production communities, the AF100 delivers the shallow depth of field and wider field of view of a large imager, with the flexibility and cost advantages of a growing line of professional quality, industry-standard micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters, and adapters. The full HD 1080 and 720 production camera offers superior video handling, native 1080/24p recording, variable frame rates, professional audio capabilities, and compatibility with SDHC and SDXC media.

“The design of the AF100’s best-in-class 4/3-inch sensor affords depth of field and field of view similar to that of 35mm movie cameras in a more affordable camera body,” said Jan Crittenden Livingston, Product Line Business Manager, Panasonic Solutions Company. “What’s more, Panasonic engineering ingenuity has resolved the aliasing and moiré that has haunted the DSLR shooter. Indeed, the proof of concept of the AF100 was based on what we heard from and saw customers doing: purchasing DSLR cameras because they liked the look of the image, but then agonized over all of the workarounds required to come out with an acceptable high definition recording.”

The AF100 incorporates a large 4/3-inch,16:9 MOS imager that minimizes skew with fast imager scanning, and incorporates low pass filters for elimination of aliasing and moiré. Additionally, it has a built-in optical ND filter. The camcorder records 1080 at 60i, 50i, 30P, 25P (Native) and 24P (Native), and 720 at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p native,in AVCHD’s highest-quality PH mode (maximum 24Mbps). The AF100 also records in AVCCAM’s HA (17 Mbps) and HE (6Mbps) modes, 1080i only. Ready for global production standards, the camcorder is 60Hz and 50Hz switchable. Equipped with an interchangeable micro 4/3-inch lens mount, the AF100 can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as film-style lenses with fixed focal lengths and primes.

Variable frame rates are available in 1080p, selectable in 20 steps from 12p to 60p at 60Hz and 20 steps from 12p to 50p at 50Hz. Standard professional interfaces include uncompressed 4:2:2, 8 Bit HD-SDI out; HDMI out; and USB 2.0. It records SMPTE timecode and is able to perform timecode synchronizing via the video output seeing timecode in. It has a built-in stereo microphone and features two mic/line, switchable XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power capability. The camera can record 48-kHz/16-bit two-channel digital audio recording (in PH mode only) and supports LPCM/Dolby-AC3 in any of the modes.

This newest Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder is the first to enjoy the benefits of advanced SDXC media card compatibility in addition to existing SDHC card support. SDXC is the newest SD memory card specification that supports memory capacities above 32GB and up to 2TB. With two SD slots for continuous recording, the AF100 can record up to 12 hours on two 64GB SDXC cards in PH mode, with automatic clip spanning across the two cards.

Weighing only 3.5 pounds (without lens or battery), the AF100 is packed with high-end features including Dynamic Range Stretch in all modes and frame rates; six built-in, customizable scene files that are exchangeable for quick and easy matching between multiple cameras; seven built-in gamma curves with four selectable color matrices; Syncro-scan shutter; and a high-resolution LCD and viewfinder.

It also offers a focus assist that can be used while recording, which is color-on peaking and a focus bar; two sets of adjustable zebras; two manual black and white balance choices, and preset White Balance at 3200K, 5600K or variable; a waveform monitor and vectorscope for more accurate monitoring of broadcast safe levels. Other essential features include pre-record; an intervalometer function that can be set for up to 24 hours, programmable User Buttons; a Smart Battery interface for recording up to four hours with a 5400mA battery; metadata recording; and a wireless infrared remote controller.

Panasonic will support the AF100 with a three-year limited warranty (one year plus two extra years upon registration).

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

Vimeo Winner “Last Minutes with Oden”

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Thank You Jason Wood for allowing us this moment.
Oden’s struggle with cancer finally came to an end.
May he rest in peace and his memory be eternal.

Canon 7D

Directed/Edited: Eliot Rausch
Director of Photography: Luke Korver, Matt B. Taylor
Song: Big Red Machine / Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner

A story from the 8 LIVES Documentary.
For more of Jason Wood’s story from 3 years ago
see http://vimeo.com/14047489

www.PhosPictures.com

HDW : There is not many things that make me cry but this sensitive documentary brought out the dog lover in me and loosing my own dog 7 weeks ago brought back very powerful emotions…a wonderful bit of cinematography.

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

ProVideo 2010 Day TWO “A time to reflect”

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Day TWO, Ricoh Arena, Coventry…Times are hard but in the video production world there seems to be a underlying current of work that keeps us all in business and the ability to buy new camcorders at least every two years. There was for the first time a growing number of DSLR products for sale and Canon were here showing off the XF305 and the new EOS 60D with swivel viewfinder…at last. The IOV (Institute of Videography) has an unfair image of being full of wedding videographers not that that’s a problem in itself it’s the pre conception by others in the industry that the show is for amateurs when the opposite is in fact the truth, the calibre of professional stands alone should dispel this myth.

The pictures from the XF305 were truly stunning, indeed I would say the quality matched high end camcorders from Sony and Panasonic costing twice the price.

Good to see a full turnout from Sony Professional and Bill Drummond, Marketing Manager on hand to talk about various Sony camcorders. I quizzed Bill about the new FilmLike camcorder but he was tight lipped and giving nothing away so we will have to wait till December for any news on that front.

Everyone without exception was taken with 3D at ProVideo 2010, Preston Media had a 65″ Panasonic 3D TV and a fancy pair of 3D glasses on a retractable stand for customers to view and all but none were taken with my 3D wedding footage. The camcorder that did it for me was the Panasonic AG-3DA1, Holdan were showing footage shot at Brighton Pier and it’s the first time true 3D footage has blown me away, the depth was like looking at Photoshop layers it was fantastic, until ProVideo 2010 I had not taken this camcorder seriously but if you want to shoot stunning 3D footage without all the Meccano and 45˚ mirrors etc. this is your tool …and you can use the zoom as well.

The ProVideo 2010 show had all the ingredients, seminars from Adobe, Holdan…exhibitors like Sony, Rycote, Canon, Hague, AKM music etc. and sales teams from H Preston Media, CVP and Planet Video the one missing ingredient was Panasonics AF101 camcorder, that would have doubled the gate in my opinion and in these hard times of deep recession Panasonic need to take a good hard look at themselves.

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

Panasonic AG-AF101 “Launched at WILD Screen ?”

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During ProVideo 2010 we got the news that Panasonic were launching the AG-AF101 FilmLike camcorder at Wild Screen in Bristol, which is a charity working globally to promote an appreciation of biodiversity and nature through the power of wildlife imagery. That said, 79 miles up in Coventry was the jewel in the crown of video shows ProVideo 2010 where a huge number of professional video producers and Panasonic dealers, H Preston Media, Creative Video and their main distributer Holdan Limited were all at the show hosted by the Institute of Videography.

No disrespect to Wild Screen but Panasonic must have had only two choices during October to launch the AF-101 at a big event in the UK and they chose a charity event over a major marketing coo, Pro Video 2010 which had all the correct people attending this decision does not make any sense.

We all know the camcorder is a production demo which is 75% working so there was no problem here and amazingly Panasonics General Manager of Broadcast AV Systems Europe, Mr Takashi Uchida attended ProVideo 2010 personally, a lovely, very polite man.

I was informed by a chap from Holdan that the SDI socket was 4:2:0 so I put my concerns to Mr Uchida, I told him that professionals would not be happy with the HD SDI outputing 4:2:0 and would prefer 4:2:2 as comes out of the HDMI socket, Mr Uchida took notes so I hope this can be added before we see production models in December, to be fair to Mr Uchida my Scottish accent may have confused the issue. I have since been informed that the SDI socket does indeed have 4:2:2 so that is good news for NanoFlash users.

I also told him that a lot of DPs were sitting on the sidelines waiting for the AF101 and to expect a large order from Preston Media and CVP, though a chap from Holdan told me that the first cameras were being individually checked before they leave the factory so European orders will be limited as first. Mr Uchida knew about HD Warrior which I was delighted to hear, we exchanged business cards and he went on his way.

I spoke to a Panasonic representative about the decision to launch the AF101 at Wild Screen and he told me that “The camcorder is only 75% ready and was not appropriate for public viewing”.  I don’t agree with this so called  “public viewing” no matter where you show the camera everyone is public and I would suggest more companies and DPs were attending ProVideo 2010 than attended Wild Screen.

My take on this is Panasonic were only to happy to show this camera off at IBC to all and sundry and made a very poor marketing decision to launch this camera at Wild Screen when ProVideo was on at the same time. Pro Video would have been boosted in attendance with the launch of the AF101 and more importantly the camera would have been seen by the correct audience. Preston’s alone had major interest during ProVideo 2010 and took pre orders for the AF101, I spoke to a lady at Holdan four weeks ago asking if the AF101 would be at the show and she told me that Panasonic had told her that “It was not available “.

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

The face behind the phone-ProVideo Day ONE

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When you are looking for video equipment who do you call…the boys at H Preston Media, John and the boys were at ProVideo 2010 day one wheeling and dealing from 9 till 5pm.

There were bargains to be had from dead cat microphone wind muffs to 500W “V” lock LED lights for £330. Canon are here with DSLRs, Canon glass and XF305 4:2:2 50Mbs camcorder which produces very punchy sexy pictures. Canon have agreed to send me a model for review and I look forward to looking over the camcorder soon.

3D was very apparent and a frenzy of IOV members were very excited by the 3D wedding footage I shot last weekend with the Panasonic SDT750. The SDT750 is selling for £1299 including vat. Most people are very surprised at the quality of the 3D footage viewed on a new Panasonic 65″ plasma 3D TV.

The SDT750 is a domestic product in fact it’s two cameras in one package with the conversion lens (CL) attached it’s a 3D camcorder and take off the CL and you have a very capable top end domestic HD camcorder that can produce the worlds first 1080 50p pictures which are stunning.

If you are wondering what’s the difference between the Pro and domestic models it’s almost down to the front ends, the AG 3DA1 can change it’s focal length ie. zoom and the SDT750 is set on a wide shot with it’s zoom disabled.

The ProVideo show was reasonably busy for a first day though there is a strange stand that has one person handing out brochures claiming “we ship worldwide” well in my opinion it’s a sad day when the best you can do is hand out brochures when people like Preston’s and CVP have sales teams selling to customers on the shop floor and giving that all important personal touch.

Good to see Sony Professional out in force and Holdan representing Panasonic, Hague camera supports were swamped with customers looking at everything from stabilizers to full blown professional Jibs.

Manfrotto were showing off their HD504 tripod reviewed by HD Warrior, “one of the best heads to come out of Manfrotto for years”. AKM music were busy with customers listening intently to the latest copyright free music and Hireacamera were new to me, they hire HDV, AVCHD and XDCAM EX camcorders for delivery nationwide and they deliver your camcorder the day before and day after your hire.

More about ProVideo 2010 tomorrow.

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

ProVideo 2010 starts today. SAT NAV CV6 6GE

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

Frank Glencairn talks about the demise of the VDSLR

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Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I think so.

As an answer on my last article VDSLR – R.I.P. Phillip Bloom wrote an interesting response:

I cannot disagree more and I am someone who will most likely buy the new Panny.
I have written a long blog about this called Future of DSLRs
There will always be a market. The price point won’t compare. He Canon most likely won’t be cheap either. There is room for both. I guarantee it.

Since Philip is THE GO TO guy when it comes down to VDSLRs – and there is probably no one out there, who knows more about shooting video on still cameras – I looked at my article again and at his commend, to see if I was on the wrong track.
I also checked Philip´s article “The future of video DSLRs” again.

Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I still think so.
Not for the mass market but for the filmmakers.

Philip, nobody preached the gospel of VDSLR more than you and god knows, I really love, admire and respect your work. But – as I said – I believe it was only the beginning, like the beginning of the revolution was the DVX. Sure it´s still around, but who would buy a new one today (if you can find one) when you get a much better tool for the same price.

As some guy on Stu´s Prolost blog said:

“The problem we feel: Canon doesn’t seem to target film/video makers (like Us) with its stills camera, nor listen to Our expectations (i trully share the frustration)… but why should they listen? People easily forget that the video mode of the DSLR is just an option. Canon is not selling 5Ds saying: “The camera you need for your pro-video work”…Instead, they’d better come up with a real pro-video-camera…..via their well established video/broadcast department dedicated to TV & video professionals.”

Of course there will be more HD VDSLRs in the future. (The new GH2 is a good example) In 5 years probably every still camera will be able to do what the 5D does today. But they will not be used by filmmakers. Why should they?

Moire will still be a problem because of OLP Filters made for stills. Same goes to aliasing (thou maybe they can fix that with faster processing and real downscaling in the future). But at the same time there will be tons of real video cameras, with the same or even better imagers, better quality (Panasonic is only the first) and with all the bells and whistles you have to ether add (like extra boxes for decent sound,) or have to work around on DSLRs.

Barry Green is not working with the DVX anymore and so will Shane Hurlbut not be working with a 5D (or the next, better DSLR mouse trap) n 5 years.

The AF-100 is officially listed at $4,995. In a year from now you can get it for a street price of $4500 or even less. This is way cheaper as the original DVX or HVX200 was.
For that you get a camera with XLR, phantom power, ND-Filters, SDI, full HD HDMI out for monitoring (while recording), Zebras, viewfinder, andwhatnot.

So $1500 for a 5D body
+BeachTek DXA SLR $400
+three ND filters $300
+Black Magic HDMI to SDI converter $500
+Viewfinder/Loupe $300
+Full HD HDMI out (priceless)

Almost $3000 – and you come not close to the features of a AF-100

Focus in red Assist – while recording
Line/Mic selectable
Variable frame rates in 20 steps,
P2/AVCCAM Metadata
Two card slots
Professional image controls
Filmlike Cinegamma gamma curves
Color-matched with other Panasonic professional cameras, such as the VariCams
Pre-record,
Continuous recording capacity of over 12 hours in economy mode, and continuous recording of six hours in best-quality mode on a single card
Complete freedom from overheating
Colored Focus Assist that can be used while recording
Face-detection autofocus that can track focus on a moving face
Peaking/EVF DTL
Waveform Monitor
Vectorscope
Spotmeter
aspect ratio markings – 16:9, 4:3, 14:9, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1
Film-style variable shutter angles from 1 to 360 degrees, which track automatically with the variable frame rates to always provide consistent motion blur
SMPTE color bar generator
A much more robust recording format (AVCCAM PH mode) which is more resilient and better than the h.264 on the DSLRs
Greatly improved rolling shutter performance
Ability to take any PL-mount lens
Ability to take c-mount cinema lenses
Remote iris/focus/start/stop controller sockets
manual black balance

And this is only the AF-100 – others will follow.

This market is changing faster than we are able to save money for our gear. In 5 years there will be a new generation of cameras at Scarlet form factor – something between a DSLR and a HVX. Fast and light wight like a DSLR, but without all the workarounds and limitations. So why on earth should someone still use a limited DSLR (besides of money or stealth reasons)?

One doesn´t need a crystal ball to see that coming.

Having said that – I´m gonna shooting a commercial tomorrow – with a 5D.

Frank Glencairn

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

3D Wedding Highlights using the Panasonic HDC-SDT750

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Today I filmed my first Wedding Highlights in 3D using the Panasonic SDT750. This was indeed a challenge as I have little to no knowledge of 3D and how it works…which on reflection may have been a good thing, here’s why. Sometimes when you are too knowledgeable about the camera you are using you can waste a lot of time changing switches, being generally pernickety and loosing as many shots in the process.

When you use the domestic SDT750 the first and most important job is to set up the 3D Conversion lens. This is done by rotating three dials within the Conversion lens itself, the camcorder walks you through the easy 3 steps to ensure you get a clean, crisp, correctly aligned 3D picture.

As you can see from the front of the Conversion lens it has 2 rectangular holes, these produce the precise double image needed to make 3D pictures. This is why you cannot use the 10x zoom lens as by the action of zooming would drastically change the parallax.

Not one person at the wedding questioned the size of the 3D camcorder nor it’s strange looks but these ghosts remain fixed in some videographers heads who insist on using shoulder mount camcorders. George was using a relatively new Sony NX5 camcorder which he is delighted with and produces an HD wedding package that if requested gets burned onto Blu-ray.

The Sony NX5 is becoming the de-facto wedding camcorder as it produces clean pictures onto SDHC solid state memory cards. George was fascinated with the Panasonic SDT750 3D camcorder and can see the extra dimension that such a tool could enhance to his wedding armoury.

When filming with the SDT750 it’s important to remember…

Firstly it’s a domestic 3D camcorder so you don’t get full manual control of the camera while filming.

You only get a wide shot as the 10x zoom is disabled.

Get yourself a stick on Rycote patch for the 5.1 mic on top of the camcorder to prevent wind noise.

Use a pair of headphones firstly to listen to the sound and secondly to prevent camera noises as the camcorder is plastic and can produce handling noise.

Get at least 1 extra spare battery.

Editing…there is a short supply of editing packages for 3D at the moment but you can do some minor editing “in-camera”. Panasonic also supply basic PC editing software and Sony Vegas Pro 10 now ships with 3D editing as standard but once again PC only.
If you are a Mac person like myself you could install Windows 7 via boot camp that would at lease get Vegas on your system.

I had a lot of fun using the Panasonic SDT750 and the 3D effect is truly stunning, this camcorder can produce an amazing picture on a 50″ 3D plasma and is the way forward for domestic 3D. I will be showing my 26 minutes of 3D footage at the ProVideo show in Coventry on the 13-14th October just behind the IOV membership stand. My thanks to George and Maurine of GMW Wedding Productions for letting me hook onto their wedding.

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

A Tutorial with a difference

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

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