Choose your mobile network provider with caution

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

As an Apple geek and someone who runs his emails through Apple Mail it made complete sense to buy into the iPhone as it syncs all your Apple applications together. 24 months ago I was looking for an iPhone 4s and the only shop in East Kilbride shopping centre who had one was ORANGE.

Over that 24 month period I was paying on average £50 per month on mobile phone bills but the hard lesson was the lack of signal strength and total black spots using Orange. Over at IBC in Amsterdam 2011 my Orange iPhone was useless, Arran just off the West Coast of Scotland…no Orange signal.

The best was yet to come after my 24 month period I decided to swap my 600 minutes of talk time and 200 texts £50 a month for a THREE plan costing me £25 for 2000 minutes talktime and 5000 texts and all you can eat internet data on a one month rolling contract.

I phoned Orange with my IMEI number and asked them for my PAC code, this allows my number to be used on my THREE network.

ORANGE asked me for my IMEI number but it was different from the number they had on record I told them it was a different iPhone because the other one went faulty and Apple replaced it, the stock reply was “We will need Apple to confirm this and this can take up to 28 days”.

So thats were I am now, with an iPhone 4S switched off on my desk, fortunately I had an iPhone 3s which was unlocked within 24 hours from VODAFONE  so I could connect my business phone up again which was in it’s 3rd day of no service !

APPLE could not help me, they insist it’s an ORANGE problem, ORANGE could not care less and are willing to have me wait 28 days with no business phone, if it was not for the fact of having the spare iPhone my business line would have been seriously compromised.

This brings me onto the new iPhone 5 coming out this September as you can see good old Apple are changing the dock port to a smaller 8pin connector, fortunately Apple are not changing the micro SIM card as the swap over from SIM to micro SIM was a pig. PS. The reason I can use my micro SIM in my 3s iPhone is because I am using a micro SIM to SIM adapter.


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

BBC promo 2008

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Has this codec been implemented within the BBC and is it still current today ? Dirac sounds like a planet from Dr Who !

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

New boss at the helm of Sony Professional Europe

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Sony announced today the appointment of Katsunori Yamanouchi as Vice President of its Professional Solutions Europe (PSE) business. He replaces Naomi Climer, who after 6 years leading the PSE business, has been promoted to a new global post within the Sony group. Based at the Sony Pictures studio lot in L.A., Climer will lead the development of a new global business focussed on the provision of media cloud services.

Yamanouchi joined Sony’s Professional Solutions Group in 1989 and has gained extensive international management experience through roles in the European, US and Asia-Pacific regions. From 2003-09 he successfully lead Sony’s professional business in the CIS, MEA and German-speaking territories. In 2009, he returned to his native Japan, heading up Planning & Marketing Dept., Content Creation Solutions Division, a role in which he took global responsibility for the core product and solutions developments underpinning Sony’s leadership in the professional Broadcast and Media industries.

Katsunori Yamanouchi said today: “I’m delighted to be joining the European team and building upon the business success achieved by Naomi and the PSE team. I know the passion and dedication of our European team to understanding our customers and responding with innovative technology and services. I strongly believe we can look forward to continuing growth in our European B2B business, both in our core established markets and also new segments including cinema, video security and sports.”

Naomi Climer said today: “Leading PSE has been both a privilege and an exciting adventure. In my 6 years with PSE, we’ve seen numerous waves of technology advances – HD, 3D and 4K to name just a few – providing our professional customers with the tools and inspiration to amaze consumers everywhere.

“I’m delighted to take up a new global challenge within the Sony group and also very confident to be handing over to Katsunori Yamanouchi who has the people, talent and experience to continue driving Sony’s professional business expansion in Europe.”

HDW : Lets hope Mr Yamanouchi can keep Sony focussed on new products not only fit for purpose but stop the rot in Sony’s recent cast of camcorders like the PMW-100 and the NX30, camcorders that were never produced with the professional in mind yet made the grade. Please stop this nonsense of upgrading domestic cameras to so called professional status…as professionals WE DON’T NEED OR WANT THEM !

Lets have a new line of cameras with the following features…

1. Minimum 1/2″ Exmor CMOS chip sets.

2. More professional lenses on the hand held camcorder with constant aperture and 2x optical converters.

3. Remember the second most important part of a camera is it’s ability to be focused by the user, better higher res viewfinders, especially on handheld camcorders.

4. Media that is priced with archive in mind, Sony can’t expect cameramen/women to purchase SxS cards at £400 a pop for 1 hours footage for archive, Sony still don’t get the importance of archive yet Canon uses CF cards on the C300, cheap enough for archive.

5. Minimum 50Mbps on any camcorder from hear on in.

6. Any reason why we can’t have CBR at 35Mbps ?

7. All camcorders should be able to shoot 1080 50p like the FS700 and NX70.

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

EGO REVIEW £159 from H Preston Media

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments

One thing I can say about this wee camera is the picture quality is very good but that said there are a few details which would make this a far better product.

The video camera has settings, within these settings you have Resolution (720 60p or 1080 30p), FOV (Field of view, 135˚ and 90˚) and Anti Flicker (50 and 60Hz).

Performance …At first I had a few teething problems getting the WiFi onto my iPhone but as usual a good look at the instructions gave me the key to viewing pictures on my iPhone.

The WiFi stream is about 4 seconds delayed but as Liquid Image point out it’s only for basic monitoring in fact the WiFi picture is cut off when the camera is in filming mode, you get two settings, 720 60p or 1080 30p, once again I would prefer a setting for PAL frame rates.

The camera produces a good 12MP picture as seen above and you can use your iPhone to setup and fire the camera remotely.


The first thing that must be updated is the ability to have manual iris/exposure, this one feature would enhance this wee camera ten fold as it has a tendency to close down at the hint of any skyline.

The battery lasts about 30mins max when filming 720 60p which is not very good as you can’t replace it when it goes down.

Secondly a few more 1/4″ tripod fixings would not go a miss and if you are going to produce a non standard micro HDMI socket then supply a cable or adapter please, the micro HDMI only playback files from the EGO, either video or photo files. The ability to monitor live output would be a good upgrade as the 4s delay on the WiFi is rather annoying.

The ability to stream the picture onto an iPhone or Android mobile is a major bonus but it’s not real time, you have a 4s gap between live and refresh.

 It’s very small for an HD video/photo camera and weighs 116 grams, you have various options to mount the camera from tie wraps to sticking it down with it’s big base plate.

It has 4 modes of operation 720 60p indicated by a blue LED, 1080 30p (Green LED), Photo mode (Red LED) and continuous photo mode (Purple LED).

Conclusions…So how does it perform, taking on board that the pictures from this camera would be interspersed with footage from other cameras 75x its price (Canon C300) it performs very well, I tried it on my dogs harness today and the pictures were all over the place, not a fault of the camera rather the fault of my understanding of strapping the camera to a solid object like a helmet and not a loose dog harness !

For £159 you cant go wrong its a great toy to play with and produces very usable 720p pictures, great for action sports and anything you need to strap a small 135˚FOV camera to.

I am filming a Roller Derby on Saturday and hope the lighting conditions within the hall will allow the camera to be used on one of the players helmets/roller skate but you will have to wait till then to see reality footage from the Liquid Image EGO, till then here is a small trip round my block sticking the EGO onto my car with gaff tape running at 720 60p.

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

EGO Xtreme camera from Liquid Image

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With an angle of view of 130˚ the new EGO from Liquid Image is not only wide enough to capture the action but has various modes from HD video to 12MP photo mode.

One of it’s best features is it’s ability to stream a WiFi image onto your iPhone/Android mobile making positioning of the lens a breeze. Full report tomorrow evening.

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

Problems with Premiere Pro CS6 and Super-whites not so super in FCPX

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Paul Joy “I switched from FCP7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 in November 2010, mostly because of the big steps Adobe were making with GPU accelerated effects and the ability to use media without the need to transcode. At that time FCP7 was still the current and trusted solution for Mac users and with no mention of a new version I had become tired of FCP’s lack of advancement and having to transcode DSLR footage.

I’d been using Premiere Pro as my main NLE for six months when Apple dropped the bombshell that was the release Final Cut Pro X. I felt quite lucky at the time because I was by then comfortable with the Premiere workflow and enjoying the benefits it offered. I had a quick look at FCPX when it was released but like many others I thought it seemed little more than a fancy iMovie so didn’t really give it much thought.

Premiere CS5 initially had a few problems running on the mac, I spent a lot of time highlighting issues both on my blog and directly with Adobe who unlike Apple are very happy to interact with their customers about problems and work with them to solve them. It took a long time for CS5 to settle down, many of the problems were not solved until CS5.5. In the mean time Apple released OSX Lion which interestingly helped with some of the UI problems premiere mac users were suffering with.

For me CS5.5 on Lion got to the point of being fairly stable, it’s weakness continued to be handling projects with a lot of media, I found that scrubbing through a timeline with hundreds of short clips would always result in playback problems so learned to not demand too much from it and avoided scrubbing through clip heavy timelines.

Before long CS6 came along offering some great new features, warp stabiliser in the NLE, more GPU based effects, enhanced FCP like timeline control and a lot more. For what seemed like months before it’s release there were numerous beta testers / bloggers who were raving about CS6 so I decided to jump on board.

I ordered CS6 Production Premium on the day of release and upon installation was immediately  impressed with the improvements. Unfortunately though I soon noticed that CS6 came with a whole new slew of stability issues. Many mac users including myself have had problems with system sound becoming unstable effecting the whole system and when working on a large project I would often see the ‘A Serious Error has Occurred and Premiere needs to close’ message many times throughout each day.

The Adobe forums are packed with users complaining of the same issues, one thread has over 250 posts by people with similar issues with over 17,000 views.

I really like using the Adobe software, but having to go through this whole sequence of Mac instability with each release of the suite is a drag, I’m sure once again Adobe will eventually solve the issues and patch up the Mac version to be almost as good as the PC variant but once again that will likely come along as the .5 version.

Because the .5 releases are full paid releases I have to wonder if Mac users would be better of doing things by halves and upgrading on the CS*.5 releases rather than jumping on the Mac problem solving wagon at the release of the new full suite, certainly from the past couple of versions that would have made a lot of sense.

I’ve actually started looking at FCPX  again which seems to have come on a long way since it’s release. It still requires some transcoding but after two days of playing with it I’ve not seen a single crash which is refreshing after using CS6!

Like any software reliability problems there are many factors involved including hardware used, other software installed etc etc so if you’re experience has been different then feel free to post a comment.

HDW : Paul is finding out what I already new, that Premiere Pro CS6 was not without it’s problems, I was put off by my early adoption and tinkering with CS6 it was not as stable as 5.5 so I stuck with FCP-7 and started using FCPX.

I had a duff AJA io HD and AJA to my delight swapped out my io HD, this gives me two monitoring options, one for my old faithful FCP-7 and one for FCPX using the Matrox MX02 Max.”

FCPX seems to handle super whites with less tolerance than FCP-7, it’s the modern gamma curves, Matt Davis explains…

Super-whites are a quick way of getting extra latitude and preventing the video tell-tale of burned out highlights by allowing brighter shades to be recorded over the ‘legal’ 100% of traditional video. However, it’s come to my attention that some folk may not be reaping the advantages of superwhites – or even finding footage is ‘blown out’ in the highlights where the cameraman is adamant that zebras said it was fine.

So, we have a scale where 0% is black, and 100% is white. 8 bit video assigns numbers to brightness levels, but contains wriggle room, so if you have the Magic Numbers of Computing 0-255, you’d assume black starts at 0, and white ends up at 255. Alas not. Black starts at 16, and white ends at 235. Super whites use the extra room from 235 to 255 to squeeze in a little more latitude which is great.

But that’s on the camera media. Once you get into the edit software, you need to make sure you obey the 100% white law. And that’s where things go a bit pear shaped.

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

0% Interest on the new Sony PMW-200 at H Preston Media

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Why not give John or Andy a phone and reserve your new Sony PMW-200 at 0% interest for twelve months…


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

YouTube Creator Space-London

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After uploading thousands of videos to YouTube making it a global sensation is it any surprise that it spawns it’s own production facilities to help you create even more polished videos ready for mass viewing.

No word on hire rates, yet, but you can be assured this new facility right in the heart of Soho will be a major competitor for any London facilities house and the hire rates might be frighteningly cheap in comparison.

The dedicated Green screen studio is useful though with a Green Lastolite and some LED lights Final Cut Pro 10 can more than match a dedicated GS studio in post.

Having the money in these hard times to produce such a studio complex is to be commended let alone the cost of the equipment and staff to run the studio, cost will be its main factor, if it’s up with the big boys I think it will be hard to promote but if it’s 20% cheaper than the competition and entertains student rates then it might be onto a winner.

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

The Sony PMW-200 shipping in September “The things you need to know”

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A great surprise, for once Sony have almost been listening to my moaning, we all love the 1/2″ sensor and all the rich features it brings especially in the low light department. 50Mbs destroys the constant bug bear of using 3rd party external recorders which is a blessing and much needed in the lonely world of Canons XF300/305.
Having a 3x 1/2″ CMOS Exmor chip set will bring a lot of fans to this camera, so many of us have bought into 1/3″ cameras and its not the same experience.
The 14x fuji lens is a good well tested, sharp, constant aperture lens that has my vote, others like Canon do give you 22x “L” glass but not constant aperture and thats important when filming indoors, the 1-2 f stop drop in light in non constant aperture lenses can destroy a great shot.
Bad news… I have it on authority the PMW-200 produces 422, 50Mbps on SxS, this limits the CBR (Constant Bit Rate) 422 to an expensive media, at £360 for 1 hours worth of footage is excessive in my books and will not compete with the Canon XF305 with its CF media which is 6x cheaper.
Good news…As far as I am aware you will be able to use Sony’s XQD cards to record 422 50Mbps, ranging from £170-£230 for a 32G card.
XDCAM is an 8bit format but you can get 10bit out of the HD-SDI port if you need the extra quality.
The camera records 1080 50i and 720 50p CBR at 50Mbps and 35Mbps at VBR and 25Mbps at CBR.
Electric Viewfinder (EVF); Approx 1.2 million pixels. 852 x 3 (RGB) x 480 a vast improvement on the PMW-100.
Here is a list of features that did not transfer from the EX1r to the PMW-200
  • The Shot Transition push-button feature for moving automatically between two sets of presets (focus, zoom, etc) has been discarded
  • Component video out is gone. Instead, the camera has a BNC terminal for composite video out that doubles as a genlock in. Another BNC enables timecode in and out. (The EXR1 had neither genlock in nor timecode in/out.) HDMI and SDI output are still there, of course. “We took off one output connector and gave you two additional,”
  • The PMW did not inherit the rotating handgrip from the EXR1r

Sony have missed a trick with this camera if it turns out that you only get 50Mbps using expensive SxS media or XQD cards, the only reason the EX1, 3 and 1r sold in vast numbers was because you could use SDHC card adapters, if you have got plenty of SxS media then clearly the PMW-200 is a good upgrade, second camera, but for those of us who relied on SDHC for archive and keeping the costs down you are limited to 420 35Mbps variable bit rate which is nothing better than an EX1r can produce for £2000 less !

Don’t get me wrong the PMW-200 will sell by the bucket load but if Sony could find some way of either reducing the price of SxS or the more domestic XQD cards all the better.

In the past Sony soon realised that by holding onto their legacy “Memory Stick” media, that they were severely hampering sales of solid state camcorders and changed over to SDHC card compatibility, one of the best moves Sony ever made.

So what now, it seems clear that Sony are driving a new path of XDCAM camcorders and the PMW-300 will be on the drawing board with similar specs to the EX3, interchangeable lens, semi shoulder mount and an LCD hood, lets hope it comes with super slow motion like the FS700 and the ability to record 50Mbps onto XQD cards !

PS. Please remember you still need to upgrade the F3 to the F5 with 50Mbps back end and super slow motion like 240 fps at full HD.

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

Alister Chapman reviews the Sony PMW-200

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Sony Professional: Sony PMW-200 review from Sony Professional Europe on Vimeo.

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

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