The rift just got wider today or has it ?

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Many pundits like myself have predicted a cooling down for the HDSLR market after the introduction of the new camcorders from Panasonic and Sony, so whats the reality ! Today has been the second game changer in a matter of weeks as we saw the introduction of the Panasonic AF101 at IBC in Amsterdam only a few weeks ago then today Sony have come in with the F3K FilmLike camcorder.

So how do these camcorders change the politics of the game so far, we have to hark back to February 2009 when this all kicked off with Canon giving the 5DMk11 the ability to record HD video onto a Full frame 35mm photographic sensor but at 30fps not many of us payed attention…at first. Time marched on and the HDSLR band wagon started to roll with many more flavours of cameras from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. We were witnessing a major change in the way people perceived the filmlike camera and that change has set us all on a path that is changing film/video forever.

Students could finally afford to make low budget films that had that coveted shallow depth of field but the HDSLR came at a price and that price was quality…moire patterning has been a major setback for all but none of the HDSLR movement let alone the very poor sound facilities on such cameras.

One major player RED DIGITAL CINEMA had finally produced the RED ONE 4K digital cinema camcorder and at $25,000 is set at the hi-end of the FilmLike camcorders. RED are looking at introducing a lesser spec camera called the Scarlet but I think time and new camcorders from the big players my have put paid to Scarlet.

2010 can go down in the history books as the year of the FilmLike camcorder, it took Panasonic and Sony long enough to change tac but finally we are now sailing towards a great future for all companies concerned…yes ALL companies. No one denys the important part the HDSLR has played in the advent of the AF101 and the F3K. Canon, Nikon and Panasonic will no doubt come out with more enhanced features for their large following of students and professionals alike.

RED will still sell RED ONE’s for Hi-end productions though I do think Scarlet may now be shelved. Panasonic Broadcast are looking to have the first AF101s out for the end of December 2010 and Sony have announced their F3K to be shipping during January 2011.

So where do they all stand…the HDSLR will continue as long as DPs like Philip Bloom remain faithful to them, RED is priced at $25,000 and is priced accordingly though Sony have come in at £$20,000 with some would say a lesser spec camera than the RED ONE but with 3 prime lenses included and the backing of Sony…who knows.

The Panasonic is the RED herring among all the new camcorders, not that it will be any competition to the RED ONE or the Sony but out of all the new breed of cinematography cameras the AF101 is in my opinion priced at an affordable price of £4200.

The Panasonic AF101 price point gives you a fantastic shallow depth of field camcorder at a cost that won’t break the bank and with a special Canon adaptor just around the corner this camcorder is set to break all records when it finally hits the specialised professional video retailers at the end of December.

We are indeed living in exiting times and I for one look forward to seeing and reviewing both the AF101 and the Sony F3K as soon as they are available to me. DPs have a new choice when filming drama and you can expect all the hire companies to re stock with AF101s and the Sony F3K.

I hope with such quality now available to the professional FilmLike market we will no longer see HDSLRs used because the technology is limited and lets be honest Canon have stood aside for over a year now knowing that moire patterning is a major problem and done nothing to remedy the fault. As professionals we owe it to the future of our industry to embrace the new professional shallow depth of field camcorders from Panasonic and Sony…after all we have shouted for long enough about having a camera fit for purpose and the video manufacturers have delivered…BIG TIME.

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

Sony PMW-F3K from H Preston Media in January 2011

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

Live on Facebook…Sony discuss the PMW-F3K till 2pm today

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Sony European Product Managers Bill Drummond and Sebastian Leske will also be available to answer any questions about the announcement through the Sony Professional facebook page ( from 10:00am – 2:00pm today on the “Discussions” tab ( and then click on “reply to topic” to ask your question!

NOTE : Although this session has now finished there is a lot of great answers from Bill and Sebastian that is worth looking over.

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

Sony announce the PMW-F3K with a Super 35mm sensor

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Representing a breakthrough for filmmakers in terms of features, performance and price, Sony Professional is adding to its line-up of Super 35mm digital motion picture camera technologies. The family, which includes the legendary F35 and the recently announced SRW-9000PL, is now joined by the all new PMW-F3 camcorder.

Each camera in the line-up is based on a Super 35mm sensor and PL mount technology, and illustrates Sony’s unique ability to offer filmmakers access to the highest-quality imaging tools and most complete digital production workflows.

The new PMW-F3 is the latest example of Sony’s efforts to combine performance and price into a powerful and affordable production tool. Designed for television, commercials, music promos and budget features, the new camcorder is offered at a price point that will bring Super 35mm shooting within reach of a wider audience.

That, and the availability of a low-cost PL lens kit model which includes 35/50/85mm T2.0 fixed focal length lenses, makes it ideal for use as a 2nd unit 35mm camera or as a B camera to the SRW-9000PL.

“Sony has a long and successful track record of developing digital motion production technologies,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager at Sony Professional Europe. “Our cameras have shot everything from documentaries to big-budget blockbusters, totalling many billions of Euros at the box office. With the new PMW-F3, we’re putting the full power of our expertise to work, to bring precise control over depth of field, and access to the huge range of cinematic lenses available to a wider range of users.”

The new PMW-F3 camcorder is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow (codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8bit, 35 Mbps), and uses Sony’s SxS™ ExpressCard-based recording media format. Its Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers shallow depth of field, with high sensitivity and low noise levels (ISO 800, F11; and S/N ratio of 63dB in 1920×1080/59.94i mode), as well as wide dynamic range.

The camcorder offers a wide range of image creation options, as well as the ability to seamlessly inter-cut PMW-F3 footage with content shot on Sony’s F35 or SRW-9000PL cameras –  through the use of an HD-SDI dual-link output for external recording (4:2:2 1080 50/59.94P as standard; and RGB 1080 23.98/25/29.97PsF as an option).

Additionally, “S-LOG” and “Hyper Gamma” can be selected. This can allow users to take full advantage of the CMOS imager’s wide dynamic range, giving them the ability to tailor their images during post-production in the same way they would in a film based workflow. Recording formats include 1920×1080, 1440×1080, and 1280×720 at 23.98/25/29.97p, 50/59.94i and, in DVCAM mode, 25/29.97PsF and 50/59.94i. Filmmakers can also take advantage of “slow” and “quick” recording, also known as “overcranking” and “undercranking” from 1 to 30 fps at 1920×1080 (17 to 30 fps in dual-link mode) and 1 to 60 fps at 1280×720 (17 to 60 fps in dual-link mode).

The PMW-F3’s PL mount adapter can accommodate both PL and zoom lenses, and will offer compatibility with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss.

Sony is also announcing its plan to introduce a compatible SR Memory Portable Recorder for the PMW-F3 camcorder. This will add a high-end workflow option as well as full RGB capability providing native recoding in HDCAM SR codec.

“We demonstrated a prototype PMW-F3 on our stand at IBC and have been inundated with requests for more information ever since.  It’s great to be able to unveil the full list of features, and announce that first deliveries will be made well in advance of what many customers may have been expecting” concluded Drummond.

Two configurations of the PMW-F3 will be available (PMW-F3L body only and PMW-F3K with PL lens kit). First deliveries of are scheduled for January 2011.

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

BREAKING NEWS “Sony PMW-F3K FilmLike camcorder” £11,630 possible price

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The PMW-F3K is part of the CineAlta 24P family of digital cinematography products and its support for multiple frame rates includes a filmic 23.98P as well as S-Log workflows.

Sony’s Exmor™ Super35 CMOS sensor was designed with the benefit of two decades experience in Digital Cinematography, pioneering digital HD acquisition for feature films and broadcast TV through the legendary CineAlta product range. It brings a true ‘film look’ and superior image quality into reach for independent movies, pop promos, commercials and other applications, as well as making the PMW-F3K an ideal B-camera for high-end feature film production.

The PMW-F3K is supplied with three high quality Sony lenses and an industry standard PL Mount adaptor providing compatibility with industry standard 35mm lenses. (Also available is the lens-less PMW-F3L.)

Exceptional flexibility is a key feature of the PMW-F3K along with with multiple workflow options. XDCAM EX’s proven high-speed, intuitive workflow offers seamless integration with leading nonlinear editing software – as standard. In addition, a 10bit 4:2:2 HD-SDI output opens up hybrid recording possibilities with a variety of external recording devices. And from April 2011, a Dual Link HD-SDI option will enable 10bit RGB uncompressed signal output – ideal for the high-end film production.


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

The Panasonic AG-AF101 “A win, win for drama”

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I have collated some interesting comments from some of the bloggers who have tested the new Panasonic AG-AF101 and it looks to be a winner with DPs who never quite saw the benefits of the DSLR.

Philip Bloom

The waveform/ vectorscopes are fantastic, 100 times better than what the histogram on the Canon DSLRs. A very accurate way of judging exposure. The viewfinder on the other hand was not good, but that because this is not the one that will end up on the final camera. Just a temporary one. So I used the LCD screen all the time and sometime my Marshall 5″ HDMI monitor. The LCD screen is actually pretty good. You can help get focus by adding detail on and there is a peaking option too…No digital zoom in that I could tell, but that may be added in the 25% to come, or not!

I actually did not record any XLR audio. It’s there, I am sure it works a treat. It’s a proper video camera after all with XLRs, levels, a headphone jack. The thing that REALLY excited me was the overcrank mode. I could record 1080p 25p at 50FPS or 60FPS in 24p mode!! Wonderful, no more limited to 720p mode here! The overcrank in this camera is simply beautiful. I used to shoot so much slow motion with my EX1/ Letus combo but obviously not possible with my 5Dmk2 and the 720p 50p/60p of the 7D has so much moire and aliasing that it gets me down, shoot shallow depth of field and it works fine as demonstrated in my film “As the water”

Being able to shoot full HD overcranked to 50FPS or 60 and the ability to record high quality audio in camera has totally sold me on this camera.

Other upsides of the camera. It takes just about any lens with the right adaptor. Everything from PL to Leica M. Really useful that! Loads of really accessible and useful buttons on the outside include the ability to easily switch to overcrank at the touch of a button. I have heard rumours that you can change the speed during a shot but I was not able to do that. This may be because of the 25% or you simply may not be able to!

The US list price is pretty damn good too. It’s a lot of video camera for the money! Here in England we are a bit screwed as always. So frustrating that.

Yes it is a bit ugly, especially with little lenses…but I would rather have a camera that performs really well and was a bit odd looking than a beautiful camera that shoots ok pictures. But still a nice manly lens on there and she looks WAY better!

Nigel Cooper

To say I’m impressed by the AG-AF101 would be a gross understatement; the AG-AF101 is quite simply one of the best HD camcorders I’ve seen in many years. Everything this camcorder stands for is incredible; it is totally revolutionary, the large sensor, the HD viewfinder and LCD screen, uncompressed audio recording, interchangeable lenses, solid-state recording to low-cost SD/HC and SD/XC media, over-crank and under-crank at full 1920x1080p up to 60 fps, time-lapse, the list is endless; and all for £4,295. What is there not to like; this camcorder is totally freaking awesome. Oh, and the picture quality, well that certainly has the ‘wow’ factor too!

The AG-AF101 has a whole string of very cool tricks up its sleeve, many of which have never been seen before on a digital HD camcorder. One such feature is the automatic focus tracking. The AG-AF101 can automatically track somebody’s face and constantly adjust the focus on them as that person moves around the scene or moves towards the camera. This is achieved by setting the camera to recognize the subjects face using the small joystick on the side of the camera (or should I say thumb-pad-stick as it is quite small), then shifting the small spot meter box on the LCD screen and positioning it over the subject’s face; one set, simply hit the record button and step back in amazement as the camera tracks focus on the person’s face as they walked towards the camera. Of course it goes without saying that you have to have an autofocus lens for this feature to work. I never got to test the Facial tracking system as that is part of the 25% that is missing, so too is white balance so I was stuck with auto-white-trace.

HDW : So far both reviews were done using pre production models which were only 75% finished so both Philip and Nigel were not getting the “full picture”. Philip is reportedly flying to Japan during this month to give us a feel for full production model and do some interesting filming with the AF101.

Back in the UK we shall get our hands on a full production model during December and I am one of the few DPs in a rare position to be using an AF101 on a major documentary starting in January. Unlike the DSLR which has made a lot of friends the AF101 is the first fully professional shallow depth of field camcorder to be produced by a major video manufacturer.

As Mr Bloom points out it’s a bit of an ugly looking camcorder until you present it with the right lens and lets be honest it’s not how it looks that matters rather than how it performs. The AF101  records onto SDHC cards at 24Mbs and for a broadcast production you can take 4:2:2 out of the HD SDI socket into a NanoFlash running at 50Mbs upwards.

I have no doubt that this camcorder will see it’s introduction into the broadcast market place talking pole position from Sony 750s and 35mm adaptors. The size will be refreshing to drama producers as they no longer need large heavy, time consuming rigs like track and dolly setups. The camcorder will take up a far smaller footprint than a Sony 750/35mm allowing smaller sets to be used further reducing costs.

We are also getting a fully blown professional, wireless, pull focus adaptor for the AF101 which will be a joy to use, the company in the USA make pull focus rigs for the RED ONE camcorder so we are being treated to a Rolls Royce of wireless focusing aids, they hope to have it available for mid December 2010. The pull focus adaptor will only use Canon glass but I have no doubt that we will also see a prime lens version in the near future.

In fact if we talk costs alone a full blown BBC drama could be reduced by at least 15% using these camcorders if not by more if you take out all the expensive to hire, heavy duty Jibs, tracks, dollys, time dramatically reduced de rigging…rigging and that equates to more money in the pot for other dramas…now that must be a win, win situation for the bean counters alone !

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

Using the Panasonic AG-AF101 for a major new documentary on Type One Diabetes

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I have just secured funding for a major new documentary about Type One Diabetes which will be filmed using the new Panasonic AG-AF101 FilmLike camcorder. This will be very significant for various reasons but I will be one of the first DPs in the UK to use this new camcorder in anger and gain an inner knowledge of the camera for fellow DPs contemplating the purchase of this new camcorder.

I intend using a newly developed Canon lens mount with my Canon “L” glass to achieve that coveted shallow depth of field for all my interviews. The new Canon mount will allow all the functions of the new lenses including aperture and focus. A unit will be available to allow wireless focus pulling.

I will not only be blogging my experiences with the AF101 but producing a user documentary for HD Warrior and a user review for H Preston Media.

Having worked for over a year researching Type One Diabetes we are now in a position to produce a feature length documentary on the subject covering all aspects of diabetes from various interviews to drama scenarios all filmed with the new Panasonic AF101 FilmLike camcorder.

Why not shoot it with my Canon 5D Mk11…because I have never rated it for serious film work though Philip Bloom would say otherwise but I am a bit longer in the tooth than Mr Bloom and I prefer to work with video cameras like the AF101 as I can also choose the video format better suited to my style of work, 720 50p.

Why not choose 24p…simple I don’t want to give myself a major headache during editing and I prefer working with 720 50p I get great results from 720 and everything else will be filmed with 720, it also transfers cleaner and less problematic to SD DVD than 1080.

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

SONY PDW-HR1/MK1 HDCAM Field Deck with SxS Card Slot Option

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The PDW-HR1/MK1, is the PDW-HR1 mobile deck with the PDBK-MK1 SxS Card Option pre-installed. The PDW-HR1 the latest addition to the XDCAM family, is a highly mobile field recorder. The PDBK-MK1 SxS Card Option enables you to review material recorded on either Professional Disc or SxS Card media. Its design is similar to PDW-R1 SD Field Recorder, but the PDW-HR1 provides a lot of additional functionalities. Firstly the PDW-HR1 supports all the XDCAM formats as standard, including the frame rate of 23.98P in 1080i mode and SD (DVCAM and MPEG IMX). Also new concept GUI for EDL-based editing and direct DVB-ASI output provides the field operator more flexible workflow. Its compact, lightweight body makes the PDW-HR1 ideal for use in the field as a pool-feed recorder, backup recorder, comact recorder installed in an extremely confined space such as a car or helicopter and simple field editor by itself.

  • HD recording at up to 50 Mb/s using MPEG HD422
  • Support for existing XDCAM HD and XDCAM SD formats as standard
  • 1080i and 720P recording
  • Dual-layer disc (50 GB, PFD50DLA) and single-layer disc (23.3 GB, PFD23A) support
  • The pre-installed PDBK-MK1 SxS Card Option adds two ExpressCard slots to the PDW-HR1 which enables the PDW-HR1 to also read the FAT-32 formatted cards recorded by the XDCAM EX camcorders as well as the UDF formatted cards recorded by the PMW-500 camcorder.
  • Long recording time (at 50 Mb/s); Approximately 95 minutes on dual-layer disc and 43 minutes on single-layer disc
  • Thumbnail operation
  • Proxy data and metadata recording
  • Built-in up-conversion to HD from SDI input when recording
  • HD/SD conversion and cross conversion between 1080 and 720 at the output during playback
  • Multi-format compact HD/SD Recorder
  • Video format (4:2:2 HD 1080 50i, 59.94i)
  • High-quality eight-channel audio recording
  • 9-inch type color LCD display
  • VTR-like jog/shuttle operation
  • Video control (via front panel and remote)
  • Compact and lightweight
  • AC, DC, or battery powered
  • Ethernet interface
  • i.LINK interface
  • HDMI output for viewing
  • DVB-ASI output by PDBK-202 option
  • Key panel illumination light for use in low-light environments
  • Clip Continuous Recording
  • Direct FTP copy function

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

idustrial revolution do it again with Cover Flux 2

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

Panasonic 3D production monitor $7,000

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

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