It could only happen in America !

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments

It could only happen in America, now following a lengthy court case on the 11th of Sept a USITC Judge upheld Litepanels complaint that the only way to prevent abuse of their patent was an import ban on any type of LED lamp designed for photo or video use that may infringe on their patents.

The final determination of the case is expected by January.

If Lite Pannels wins this case in January HD Warrior will instantly ban any mention of Lite Pannels or any LED light associated with this company and give as much publicity to all LED lights because we run a fair trade blog.

No one can deny Lite Pannels are one of the best LED lights on the market but the bar has been set at around £500-£700 max for a decent LED panel light, very few of us are now willing to pay beyond £1000 these days unless the light is specialised like the Anova from Rotolight.

We won’t ban VITEC as a group only LED lights produced by Lite Pannels, personally the power of the web could overturn this ridiculous stance taken by Lite Pannels…SIMPLE…IF YOUR LED LIGHTS WERE COMPETITIVELY PRICED WE WOULD ALL HAPPILY BUY YOUR PRODUCT.

Over here in the UK James Dyson tried to ban all bag-less carpet cleaners that were seriously infringing on his patent, that would have given Dyson a Monopoly and was thrown out of court.

Needless to say Dyson moved on and is still the number one bag-less carpet cleaner in the UK and the dearest but the point is we do have a choice.

The other point is…If the dearest is the best like a Dyson cleaner then you will buy one but not if it is FOUR times the price of the competition.

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

Quadro K5000 for MacPro $2,249

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

The K5000 for Mac GPUs from Nvidia, based on Kepler architecture, are twice as fast as the previous chips.

Processor manufacturer Nvidia announced the debut of the Quadro K5000 for Mac Pro systems. The graphics processing unit (GPU) is based on Nvidia’s Kepler architecture and sports a new display engine that can drive up to four displays simultaneously. Among the other features is Cinema 4K display support (4096 by 2160 resolution), which enables content creators to process and view high-resolution cinema content.

The Quadro K5000 for Mac GPUs is scheduled to be available later this year from select Apple resellers and system integrators and from Nvidia’s roster of authorized distribution partners, according to a company release. Estimated pricing will start at $2,249, according to a company release. The GPU is also designed to retain its full performance and features when using Apple Boot Camp and running Microsoft Windows-based professional PC applications.

“The Nvidia Quadro K5000 has great OpenGL and CUDA performance, so it’s ideal to use as a shared GUI and image-processing GPU in DaVinci Resolve 9,” Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design, said in a prepared statement. “Like many artists who use DaVinci Resolve, colorists seek the highest performance possible from their systems, and with just one of the new Kepler GPUs, our users will be able to work with 4K imagery on their Mac Pros in real time.”

engadget “As you’ll see in the video below, with 11 streams of 1080p video at 30 fps in Premiere Pro (and one overlay of the NVIDIA logo), GPU acceleration handles the workload seamlessly, letting us add effects in real time without any processing delay. Switching to software rendering mode in the editing program shows a night-and-day difference: video playback is extremely choppy, and processing moves at a crawl. Even with two K5000 chips in this desktop, Premiere Pro utilizes just one, but After Effects takes advantage of both GPUs. In this program, NVIDIA showed us ray-tracing, a computationally intensive 3D imaging feature, which only became available in After Effects with the release of CS6. Like in Premiere Pro, the program runs smoothly enough to let us edit images in real time.”

HDW: This may be a giant leap forward but it’s at a cost, I am not so sure I want to spend £1,390 on my dated MacPro when we are getting new Thunderbolt enabled MacPros early next year.

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

Soon you may only have one choice of LED light in the USA !!!

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

LED lights are one of my favourite accessories especially “V” lock battery plate versions, as an early adopter of Red Head lights I hated many things about RedHeads.

The heat build up in a room was often intolerable, the 650W halogen bulbs were dear and exploded like a volcano when you least expected them to. You often found yourself sticking a blue gel in front of the RedHead to give you a daylight balance and losing about 2.5 stops of light in the process.

LED lights are a joy to use, no heat, daylight balanced and run off 12v “V” lock batteries…no cables to worry about…so you can see my dilemma when Lite Pannels want to put an end to all LED lighting except their own expensive lights.

Lite Pannels, one of the most respected LED panel companies in the US is about to disgruntle the USA film maker population, fortunately this kind of law suit could not happen in the UK.

The argument:

Lite Pannels are insisting that they have the sole patent on LED lighting for video and photography.

Excerpt from a patent:

“While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described herein, many variations are possible which remain within the concept and scope of the invention. Such variations would become clear to one of ordinary skill in the art after inspection of the specification and the drawings. The invention therefore is not to be restricted except within the spirit and scope of any appended claims.”

“It’s important to realise the consequences of this action, if Lite Pannels wins this court case you will be restricted to buying one make of LED light in the USA.”

Preliminary Recommendation :

Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex on Friday issued an initial determination finding in favor of Litepanels and is recommending a general exclusion order barring the importation of all devices that infringe three patents owned by a top American manufacturer of LED photographic lighting devices, Litepanels, Inc. and Litepanels, Ltd. This sweeping decision is unusual because the general exclusion order prevents the importation of all devices that infringe the patents rather than just devices manufactured by the named parties.

Lite Pannels are used in a lot of major studio setups like MTV3 and CNBC London, they not only reduce the electric bill but being heat free cuts down on need for major expensive air-con units.

On the whole Lite Pannels are getting a wee bit miffed with cheap Chinese imports. The Chinese are used by many major companies to make their electronic equipment on the cheap then sell them on at over inflated prices, the down side to all this cheap labour is you get to see what goes into making your precious piece of electronic equipment and surprise, surprise it’s copied !Sadly for Lite Pannels films were being made with early LED prototypes before Lite Pannels came into existence and competition is good for business.

Lite Pannels are alienating the very customers they hope to capture with this law suit and to be quite honest a Bi-colour LED Lite pannel from CVP is £2154 or cheaper alternative from H Preston Media for about £500. (Note. CVP also do cheaper alternatives).

The other problem with LED lights is branding, many companies get LEDs from China pre branded, one of the better lights is the Calumet CF9030 priced at £399, I bought 2 of these lights and they are my workhorses.

My good friend Alister Chapman is also up in arms… “Litepanels didn’t invent the LED, they didn’t invent the video light and I don’t think they can legitimately claim that they alone came up with the idea of using LED’s to light a scene for photo or video. This is the US patent office at it’s worst. I didn’t think you could patent a concept. You can patent a specific design or an invention but surely not a the vague concept of putting LED’s in a frame for use in photography.  The Litepanels patents make amusing reading as they include lots of “maybe” or “might” statements and are as vague as you can get. If this ban goes ahead then Litepanels will effectively have a monopoly on the sale LED video lights in the USA. This will prevent competition which in turn reduces innovation and new product development.”

Lite Pannels are very well made “all American” LED lights but at just over £2000 for a Bi-colour that you can source for four times cheaper which light would you choose given a budget of £1,000. There is a faction petitioning not to buy from VITEC, personally that is just stupid.

If sanity rules the day, this law suit will be thrown out of court and Lite Pannels need to go back to the drawing board and bring out competitive LED lighting…simple or Lite Pannels will find a major backlash from the customers they hope to sell to if they win this test case, why they never thought of this before waisting big bucks on lawyer fees beats me.

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

LED 312AS mini REVIEW £169

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Today I used my new LED 312AS Bi-colour light from H Preston Media. I was interviewing a father of a child who has type one diabetes and I used the new light to great effect.

I had been looking for a smaller Bi-colour LED light for my highlights and the LED 312AS fits the bill.

The light comes with a magnetic diffuser, a bag, 2 NP-F570 type Lion batteries, double battery charger, mains adapter, car adapter and hot shoe adapter for camcorder mounting.

This compact flicker free LED light is now part of my lighting kit, the addition of a DC input is very welcome as most lights of this size use battery only which can be a pain if the light is being used for products shots.

This is version two and the build quality is very good indeed and comes with it’s own zip protective case, the LED 312AS costs £169 from H Preston Media.

You will get a fiver off the light if you mention you saw this review up until the end of October 2012.

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

A must at Malvern

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Tomorrow at H Preston Media you can see the new non faulty Sony PMW-200, a rare NEX-FS700 and a rarer NEX-EA50. My good friend Alister Chapman will be on hand to go over the technical side of any of the new Sony camcorders on show.

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

Sony PMW-200 mini Review “Faulty”

Categories: Miscellaneous 22 Comments

STATEMENT : Firstly it’s important that you understand that I do not get paid by Sony or do any consultation work for Sony so what you read is my personal findings on a camera that I had intended to buy from H Preston Media. I do part time independent consultant work for H Preston Media but H Preston Media have no input to this blog or it’s contents. What you get are my honest findings with no bias towards Sony, Panasonic, JVC or Canon. 

UPDATE : Looks like my PMW-200 was faulty so my findings are correct but not representative of a working PMW-200.

Probably the shortest amount of time I ever spent with a camcorder for review, the new Sony PMW-200 has gone back to H Preston Media…why ?

As you all know I have spent time with the Canon XF305 for run and gun but the 1/3″ chips don’t do it any favour’s but the media is a God send…Compact Flash is as cheap today as it’s going to get for a 32G 600x card at about £60 per pop.

The media is my main gripe with the PMW-200 and the reason I sent the camera back, I discovered the following…

The PMW-200 out the box is typically set up with far too much edge detail, this is common with most Sony camcorders. I was able to resolve most of the detail problems by tweaking the crispening and HD detail, this caused the picture to loose a fair bit of detail as you can imagine but preferable to the awful edge detail.

I also discovered that you can only use the MEAD adapter in FAT mode (35Mbps) taking away the 422 and giving me an organic picture that I had not seen with my EX-3. (This may be attributed to the fault in the camera).

Fortunately I had a 32G XQD card plus adapter that allows you to film in 422 full quality but the playback picture was not as good as I had been expecting which was very disappointing as this £130 card was to be my saving grace, this I hope was part of the fault within the camera.

Back to SxS and here the quality finally shines which is why Sony advise you use XQD as an emergency only in 422 mode. The XQD card is more than capable speed wise to handle 50Mbps 422 footage at full HD quality.

SxS is far too dear for my productions at £355 per 32G card it’s 5x the price of CF media and not any better in my opinion.

This is the part of the menu system that allows you to choose from PAL/NTSC, UDF (422) or FAT (420), HD or SD and Format 1080 50i/720 50p etc.

The bottom line is to get the best out of the PMW-200 you are going to have to use SxS cards which may not be a problem if you are coming from an XDCAM background, for me this expensive media is a step to far as I get very good results using my Canon XF305 with inexpensive CF cards but you don’t get the 1/2″ Exmor chipset for low light but then the majority of my low light filming is done with my Canon C300.

I really was expecting good things from my PMW-200, after all most of my professional cameras have been Sony and was not expecting to keep the Canon XF305 in favour of the PMW-200.

The camera produces great pictures via an HDMI feed and definitely better than my XF305 in low light but Sony have learned a hard lesson with the EX3 using SDHC card adapters so much so they have in my opinion gone too much the wrong way forcing you to use SxS in 422 mode only !

The one thing I do know is that SxS and P2 are far to expensive when compared to SDHC and CF cards, as I have said before we don’t mind paying for good camera equipment but I for one will not accept overpriced media due to the type of work I get involved with. I need archive, usually that means keeping the original CF cards for 6 months at a time, I don’t rely on computer hard drives as they have let me down in the past, so for archivists like me SxS and P2 camcorders are a no, no.

Further update : Someone correctly asked me what the fault was, during my testing I noticed the playback to be full of artefacts and some pixelation, I phoned Alister Chapman who told me that all modern camcorders should playback as faithfully as the picture was recorded. I also noted that the camera performed better at 35Mbs than at 50Mbps which gave me a good clue that the camera was faulty.

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

Sony PMW-200 arriving today

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Today my Sony PMW-200 arrives and I am looking forward to playing with her, I need a good run and gun camcorder and miss my Sony EX-3. The PMW-200 is an EX-3 on steroids with the capability of running at 50Mbps.

I will be doing a user review of the 200 within the next two weeks so if you have any questions for my review please let me know ASAP.

Unfortunately I have to part with my XF305 or I could have done a side by side comparison but I have no doubt that with Sonys 14x constant aperture lens and 1/2″ chips it will be far better in low light than the 305.

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

Canon 6D “Entry level full-frame DSLR”

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


Lets not get excited this is not a super duper 5D Mk111, it’s another full frame DSLR set clearly at the entry level rather than a step above the 5D series cameras which the number would have you mistakingly believe.


  • 20.2MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102800 expanded
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting
  • ‘Silent’ shutter mode
  • 1080 30p video recording, stereo sound via external mic
  • 11 point AF system, center point cross-type and sensitive to -3 EV
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 97% viewfinder coverage; interchangeable screens (including Eg-D grid and Eg-S fine-focus)
  • 1040k dot 3:2 3″ ClearView LCD (fixed)
  • Single SD card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Single-axis electronic level

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

Will the Sony A99 match Canon’s 5D Mk111 for video

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Let me take you back a model, the A77 this is a camera that I had for a few months and I preferred it to my Canon 5D Mk11 with one exception…the hot shoe. From day one my Sony F43 flashgun wobbled on top of my A77 making me very uncomfortable with the build quality of the hot shoe.

Overcoming the poor hot shoe design the camera was a joy to use though choosing lenses for it was not as easy as a Canon or a Nikon. You have three choices of lenses with Sony, Leica, Sony G and Sony plastic body lenses.

The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 was my lens of choice and it was a very good lens indeed, I also had the Sony 70-300 “G” lens a sample can be seen below.

So finally after four years starting with the Canon 5D Mk11 we get a DSLR with all the boxes ticked for video recording, the Sony A99 is not only full frame 35mm sensor but has a movable LCD and full HD output from the HDMI socket allowing external recorders or monitoring.

It has not only mic in and headphone out but can also take an XLR adapter, a major improvement for sound input over any other DSLR on the market today plus the ability to record 1080 50p onto AVCHD, this is not new as the A77 records in 1080 50p but the picture quality is outstanding as I have seen myself.

Is the A99 four years too late…with all the large sensor camcorders that are now available I can’t quite see the need for photographic cameras to evolve to this level though it does give the wedding photographer a second crack of the whip.

There is no doubt in my mind the A99 is streets ahead of the Canon 5D Mk111 from a video stance alone, photographically I think the A99 could give the Canon a run for it’s money but it’s hard to ignore the vast assortment of Canon “L” glass and by all accounts the Sony is very hard on battery power not something a pro would be very happy with !


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

Film stock to be discontinued thanks to upsurge in digital

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Fujifilm has mainly provided negative films for shooting and positive films for projection in its motion picture film business operations. However, in order to adapt to the recent rapid transition of digitalization in the shooting, producing, projecting and archiving processes of motion pictures Fujifilm has decided to shift its business operations to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and projection.

Digital cinema camera shooting has been gaining momentum, and digital editing that heavily uses CG composition and VFX processing has now become common in motion picture production. There is also an increase in the number of movie theaters that converted to digital projection, following the increase of 3D motion pictures, implying the dramatically advancing digitalization in the motion picture industry. In such trend, Fujifilm has strived to reduce the costs of the production process for its existing negative films and positive films and continued to supply such films. However, the dramatic decrease of demand in the last few years has become far too great a burden to be covered by corporate efforts. Therefore, it has been decided to discontinue the sales of negative films, positive films, and some other products of motion picture in a prospect of March 2013.

Fujifilm will continue to provide films suitable for long-term archiving, high-performance lens for motion pictures, and other products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and exhibition. Fujifilm will strive harder than ever to provide such products and services in its continuous contribution to the motion picture industry.

However, professional and amateur photographic still film will continue to be manufactured.

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

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