DataVideo iPad Prompter upgraded for Canon C300

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Sometimes you buy technology and it works just fine but the DataVideo iPad Prompter as it stands won’t work with the Canon C300 without severe vignetting.

The problem lies with the camera itself, it’s too high and brings the lens far to close to the top of the 45˚mirror and on a 17mm lens the top part of the mirror assembly and the sides interfere with your picture.

The answer is to lift the mirror assembly 32mm above the base plate.

I took off the end bit of plastic as I have no use for it as it was the same thickness as the baseplate which the mirror assembly slides onto. Cutting it to 60mm as shown above you need to have a clear 40mm in order for the mirror assembly to slide onto.

You then need to drill two holes to hold the mirror assembly, to get extra height I used 3 nuts as shown.

Before the extra height is added the black shroud runs across the top of the lens and is too high up the mirror to allow a wide shot. After the re-engineering as you can see the extra 32mm brings the lens down to just below the centre point allowing you to use a 17mm wide shot.

After the upgrade and using one of the first iPad 3 tablets from Apple, it’s always better to be prepared before you hit a busy spell when time for reverse engineering would become a nightmare.

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

When sachtler met manfrotto

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

I was in a panic this afternoon when I discovered that my brand new sachtler ACE tripod was missing it’s tripod plate, after about an hours searching I remembered the last time it was used…producing the Canon C300 User Review.

The day after the review the FS100 was to be sent down to Malvern as someone had bought it off me, did I leave the plate on the camera, that I will never know.

By pure chance I decided to see if one of my manfrotto 501 tripod plates would fit and amazingly not only does it fit but locks and releases as if it were ment to be there !

This is very good news for both manfrotto and sachtler…here’s why…

1. sachtler ACE owners can use their DSLR or small camcorder on the ACE or manfrotto 501 tripod head.

2. If like me you use a 501 on the Glidetrack slider you don’t have to swap camera plates if you are using an ACE.

3. You now have a cheaper alternative for a spare ACE tripod plate.

This is not by chance but rather by design in my opinion, sachtler were always going to be treading on manfrotto territory by entering the sub £600 part of the market so it would make sense to keep one part of the design the same.

The plate fits as if it were meant in fact it’s too close…I am assured that both brands are separate companies unlike Vinten and manfrotto.

All I can add is well done for a chance design that will benefit both parties and that does not happen that often.

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

Canon C300 “CA” seem to be with certain older Canon lenses ! (Updated)

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

I have been watching the small but growing band of C300 users who are experiencing a form of Chromatic Aberration (CA) that only happens on blown out highlights but not everyone and I must stress this, not everyone including me is experiencing this problem.

The video above is a prime example of footage shot with the C300 and some severe lighting conditions which would have certainly produced CA if this was inherent in all C300s. Note the lenses being used to produce the video above…Zeiss 28mm and 50mm 2.1 CP.2 Lenses…hey presto !!!

It seems we are getting conflicting results depending on how old your Canon lens is, after looking at Alister’s shots Canon UK told me… “These frame grabs are very over exposed and designed to show the limits of 10 year old optics.
The 24-70 f/2.8L was launched in 2002 and the difference in optical performance between this and the replacement announced earlier this year is huge.”

Q2. Why is the CA not as bad using a DSLR

“The new DSLRs have chromatic aberration correction built in to the camera and lens profiles to understand characteristics.”

I have not seen this problem on my Canon C300 and it strikes me that some people seem to be looking for problems with the C300 and like any camera ever produced if you dig deep enough…need I say more, so there you have it as far as Canon is concerned it seems to be the limit of the lens itself depending how old your Canon glass is…interesting !

If you wish to read Alister’s findings why not have a look here : http://www.xdcam-user.com/2012/03/c300-color-fringing-update/#comment-5385

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

You and your Canon C300 DVD in a film can, slightly cheaper at £24

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Just received this today and I think it looks the business…a film can.

This DVD includes the following…

Various options when assinging gain, white balance and shutter speeds.

A full range of Canon L glass demonstrated in situ i.e.. during a corporate shoot.

2 scenarios that you may find yourself using the camera, corporate and a commercial.

Setting up a Matte box rig

Using the right tripod

Low light filming

Working with and without the monitor

Choosing the right bag

Using a Zacuto EVF external viewfinder

Importing your footage into FCP-7 and FCPX

Workflow considerations

Using the right CF cards, 2 slots or one

Frame rates, using 24p, 25p, 50i or 50p

Custom Picture profiles and how they look on camera.

Using the C300 with the latest Glidetrack hybrid slider

Prompting with a DataVideo iPad prompter and iPad 3

If you think this may be of interest send me an email to hdwarrior@me.com and I will inform you when the DVD is ready. Note: The UK price of £24 includes 1st class postage, Europe and USA will be dearer and I will email you a quote.

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

Visual Impact in association with Tv-Bay at the Hub in Glasgow

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Crossing the water from the southside of Glasgow I attended the Visual Impact look, listen, experience show is association with Tv-Bay.

Canon gave me alone of their Canon 5D Mk111 and I had a whale of a time firing off pictures at 3200-6400 ISO.

There was one room cram packed with camcorders of all shapes and sizes for all to play with.

As usual the seminars were packed to the gunnels with people wanting as much information about solid state, this well attended seminar was held by Dave Chalmers of BBC Scotland talking about file based workflows.

As usual Canon did not disappoint with two EOS C300s, a range of glass, XF305, XF105, the new 1DX and the 5D Mk111. The above photograph was taken by my newly  acquired G1x at 1600 ISO @ a 1/60 sec, clean as a whistle.

Sony were showing off their PMW-F3 with an Atomos Ninja parked on top of the camera.

Panasonic were showing off their new AV-HS410 vision mixer which comes with 8 HD-SDI inputs and a new built in 7″ multi mode colour LCD monitor.

The ARRI Alexa was one of the cameras in the shooting gallery and its a beast and a half, this setup with a 45-250 ARRI zoom was impressive looking but not practical for hand held shooting.

Black Magic design had this rack mounted ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher which also looked very impressive.

This chap from Visual Impact was very helpful and took the time to describe all the different LED lights and their various features.

This is my good friend Tim who was an editor at Scottish TV when I knew him we have kept in touch ever since.

This was a very interesting camera or should I say lens, the Canon DigiSuper 27 AF is a studio lens with “Auto Focus” who would have thought we would see AF in a studio lens…fantastic.

This was a very friendly attractive lady from Visual Impact taking pictures with her iPhone, this was taken with a Canon 5D Mk111 at 1/125 @ 4000 ISO with the 70-200 f4 IS Canon L lens.

There is no doubt about it the Canon C300 stole the show along side the 5D Mk111, Canon hold all the cards and sitting in between Sony and Panasonic “that felt good”.

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

H Preston Media open day…this Thursday

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

New Download only for Canon C300 users (£25)

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Download-1

This download includes the following…

Various options when assinging gain, white balance and shutter speeds.

A full range of Canon L glass demonstrated in situ i.e.. during a corporate shoot.

2 scenarios that you may find yourself using the camera, corporate and a commercial.

Setting up a Matte box rig

Using the right tripod

Low light filming

Working with and without the monitor

Choosing the right bag

Using a Zacuto EVF external viewfinder

Importing your footage into FCP-7 and FCPX

Workflow considerations

Using the right CF cards, 2 slots or one

Frame rates, using 24p, 25p, 50i or 50p

Custom Picture profiles and how they look on camera.

Setting up an Adhoc Wi-Fi connection using the iPad 3 and Canon WFT-E6 (This may not be included if Canon can’t source another dongle)

Using the C300 with the latest Glidetrack hybrid slider

Prompting with a DataVideo iPad prompter and iPad 3

If you think this may be of interest send me an email to hdwarrior@me.com. Note: The is £25 download only.

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

“Loser’s Blues” a 35mm film shot in Glasgow during 1989

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

From left to right: Stephen O’Donnell,  Russell Hopkin and Alan McSheehy, and of course John Hannah and Sparky in front after doing some pick-up shots at Wishaw, DOP Grant Cameron had been called away on a commercial shoot.

The 18-minute shorts was shot in Motherwell and at Wishaw dog track and concerns the efforts of steelworker Tommy (John Hannah) to conjure up a last win from his dog Sparky before parting company with the greyhound – a condition laid down by his estranged wife (Louise Beattie) before she will accept him back.


The film, shot in 1989, is a quick sketch of a way of life that has disappeared. I loaned John Hannah my super 8mm camera on that job, he still has it. It was freezing on that shoot, not a Barbour in site, Berghaus was nowhere then.

Ravenscraig has gone, so has Wishaw dog track and most of the other flapping venues that were dotted over Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and all points between Thornton and Gretna.
Other familiar faces who make brief appearances are James Macpherson and Forbes Masson.

Technical talk.
The film was photographed in 35mm anamorphic by Grant Scott Cameron with an Arriflex Bl 35 supplied by Joe Dunton Cameras. The lens set consisted of an 85mm, 135mm and 400mm and the stock was Kodak 400ASA  processed by Rank Film Labs, with Dolby sound dubbed at Anvil Studios in Denham.

Those were the days, my thanks to my good friend Norrie who was the Director on that shoot Stephen O’Donnell DP (left) works on various TV productions his latest being River City. Alan McSheehy DP (right) is also an accomplished DP from Taggart to The Bill. John Hannah (bottom centre) has become an international actor staring in Four Weddings and a Funeral to The Mummy.

The film “Loser’s Blues” has been gifted to the Glasgow Film Archive.

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

Dan Chung tells us why he loves the Canon C300 for news inserts

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Filming in sub zero temperatures for Al Jazeera English

In January I collected a brand new Canon C300 from my friends at Jacobs Photo video in London. Since then I have been out shooting with it on a number of assignments and it has become my favorite video camera. I’ve used it for live crosses, interviews and news feature stories – each time I have been amazed by the results. The images are as sharp as anything I have seen from a HD camera and its dynamic range is impressive. The design is compact and it’s the first large sensor camera I’ve seen that I felt I could use straight out of the box, no extra accessories necessary other than a mic and cards. Its size makes it great for running around and quickly grabbing shots. It’s even possible to use handheld without a rig at all, although it does benefit from one.

The Super35mm sized sensor coupled with fast lenses give me shallow depth of field when I need it. The high sensitivity of the sensor allows me to stop down for greater depth of field at will, even in fairly dull conditions I can still stop the lens down to f5.6 and not have too much noise in the picture. This essentially means with the same camera I can get both deep and shallow depth of field looks in many light conditions. Check out this video by Mitch Gross of Abelcine which explains in more detail.

The camera has built in neutral density filters which allow for rapid adjustments as lighting conditions change – much easier than having to change filters by screwing them into the lens or using a mattebox.

The C300 is highly portable and small enough to fit in a discreet shoulder bag, fully rigged with lens and mics. I can comfortably fit the C300, a DSLR, several lenses in a carry-on backpack for airline travel. Battery life is amazing and you can go all day on a couple of Canon BP955 batteries.

When I bought the C300 I already owned a Sony F3 alongside Canon DSLRs and Panasonic GH2s. So why did I decide to buy a C300 and how can I justify it? The answer to that has a lot to do with the way I work and who I work for.

Broadcast clients often insist on certain technical specifications for HD – recording bitrates often need to be at least 50Mbps and sometimes they insist on interlaced 50i footage rather than 25P. My work is increasingly for TV and so this had become an issue trying to use DSLR. The C300 solves this problem by shooting BBC approved 50Mbps HD footage directly to its onboard CF cards. My Sony F3 can shoot beautiful 50Mbps footage too, but I need to add an external Prores recorder like the KiPro mini and that adds weight, bulk and extra cables. The advantage of the C300 is that does so without sacrificing the quick and nimble shooting style I have become accustomed to with DSLR video – you can handhold the C300 easily enough and it feels like an overgrown 5D mkII in the hand.

Setting up for an interview with the C300 and Litepanels

The built in EVF on the C300 is much better than the one on the Sony F3. I had to fit a Cineroid EVF to my F3 as the built-in one was so hard to use but I find using the C300’s built-in EVF is good enough for my daily use. The only thing I miss from DSLR is the ability to zoom in 5x and 10x for checking precise focus; the C300 only magnifies to 1-to-1 pixel on the monitor and EVF. Not having to use an external EVF keeps the C300 shooting setup even smaller.

I’m also especially impressed with the EOS standard gamma – most cinema shooters don’t need this but for news it’s important to have the option to shoot footage you can hand off for rapid editing without colour grading. I find the standard gamma footage from the C300 to have nice saturated colours that do not look too electronic or unnatural. I can’t say the same of most other camcorders.

Thanks to Canon’s plugins, editing the C300 footage is a breeze in Final Cut 7 (and now Final Cut Pro X). Footage is transferred to the editing software in no time at all and you can choose to edit in the native MXF format if you are in a hurry, rather than transcode to Apple ProRes. The MXF format the camera shoots is the same as the Canon XF300/305 and XF100/105 models which makes them a good option as a second camera for times when you may want a more traditional handycam style camcorder with all-in-one lens. I went for a XF105 which lives in my bag for the odd time that I need it.

For doing live crosses the HDSDI output of the camera becomes essential. Combined with EOS standard gamma and the camera’s amazing low light abilities I was able to shoot nicely illuminated backgrounds at night, where normally it would have been much blacker. The one complaint that I do have with the C300 is that there is no firewire port and so doing live crosses using Quicklink and a Satphone becomes a problem as that system needs SD firewire input. The only solution is to add a Canopus converter box, but that adds more cables and potential failure points. For now I am sticking to a regular camcorder for Quicklink live crosses.

Live cross with Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan

The audio jackpack/monitor unit gives two XLR inputs with Phantom power. This is much easier to use than any DSLR solution, but I have to say that I would have preferred Canon to put the XLR connections in the body of the camera itself and not have additional cables to the jackpack. While the pack is well built any bolt-on accessory stands a greater chance of being broken in the field. This is one area where I think the Sony F3 is better with its integrated XLRs. I thought I would hate the swivel LCD on the jackpack, but now I really like it. Its colours seem accurate and the sharpness of the display makes it a pleasure to use. You can turn it right around so the talent can see themselves and check how they look.

 The top LCD screen is clear and quite accurate

I bought the EF lens mount version of the C300 so all my EF glass fits straight on, as do plenty of other manufacturers’ lenses with the correct lens adapter. There is no autofocus using EF lenses on the C300 (no loss as I rarely use AF for video) but you do get image stabilisation which is great. To get EOS lenses working on a Sony F3 currently requires an adapter from MTF services – another great tool but again it adds bulk to an already large setup.

Do I miss the full frame sensor of the 5DmkII? Honestly, yes. I would rather the C300 had a full frame sensor only because it would make lensing easier with my existing Canon lenses – not because I need the extreme shallow depth of field. The 24-105mm F4L is my main run and gun lens on the 5DmkII, but on the C300 it is not quite wide enough. On the C300 I use the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 instead – it’s also a good lens but not quite as wide or as long as I would want. Hopefully there will be better run and gun EF lenses for Super35 sensors in the not too distant future. For now I have found the best solution is to carry a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 , Canon 17-55mm and 70-200mm f2.8 in a Thinktank Retrospective lens changer bag. This allows me to wear the lenses practically all day and they are close at hand for a rapid change.

The F3 alternative

My C300 and my Sony F3 – both set up to shoot 50Mbps

The Sony F3 is a great camera that I bought when there was no other clear choice for large sensor TV work. Like the C300 it shoots interlaced 50i as well as 25P but to get 50Mbps you need an external recorder. I bought the excellent AJA KiPro Mini but it adds considerable bulk to the setup.  If you want to use EOS lenses with aperture control and image stabilizer you now can thanks to the MTF services adapter. Image quality is excellent when recorded externally but behind the C300 when recording to cards internally.

Matt Allard and others have demonstrated what the F3 is capable of.  It is a better value proposition now too since Sony started offering the S-log upgrade for $699 instead of over $2000. The F3’s more traditional design and easily accessible gain switches and audio controls are preferred by many shooters. Personally I prefer the more DSLR style menus and dials – horses for courses.

The C300′s smaller body makes it far more suitable to my needs. It is discreet enough for me to use in many news situations where a bigger camera would prevent you shooting, I’d say this represents about 50% of what I do. I can use it almost with almost any equipment previously used with a DSLR – it works with my current Steadicam, Kessler Pocketdolly, tripod, car mount and lightweight shoulder support. I was in the process of upgrading/replacing all these items to take the weight of a fully rigged Sony F3 when the C300 came out – now I don’t need to.

For now I am keeping the F3 – it’s still a great camera that I can rent out to help pay its way. For some assignments it still makes sense but the C300 will replace it as my main camera. There may even be the odd occasion where I shoot them side by side.

C300 or DSLR?

Sony F3, Canon C300 and Nikon D4 together

As someone already joked on Twitter, maybe I should be renaming myself C300informer and not Dslrinformer – but rest assured, I don’t think the trend of news pros using DSLRs or mirrorless cams is going to stop. I am going to continue to shoot DSLRs alongside the C300 and will continue to focus on DSLR developments here on the blog.

I don’t think you need to buy a C300 in order to make a great news video or documentary – it just makes it easier and technically better. There are many videos on the blog shot on DSLRs to prove that you don’t need anything more to tell a story.  Content is king and a great eye and great storytelling don’t come from the camera you use.  Online or even on the big screen a DSLR can look great. My need for a better camera really comes from the fact that broadcast clients insist on certain technical specifications. My work is increasingly for TV and so this has become important.

I have also stated several times in the past that a top of the line camera is not as important gear wise as a good tripod, good lens, lighting or decent audio kit. Luckily I have accumulated all this kit in the past and so don’t have to budget for it again soon.

If your pockets are deep enough and your shooting style suits it then I recommend you try out a C300. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Read more story’s from Dan at  http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com

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

Larry Jordan makes sense of FCPX 10.0.3

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

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

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