NINJA Review

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

About three weeks ago I took delivery of a Ninja for review and as usual I have waited for a job to assess it on. My first encounter with the Ninja was less than satisfactory, I set it up plugged in the HDMI cable and as shown all the colours lit up, red, green,yellow and blue.

As you can see from above the missing component was the Time Code reading, I was just about to start filming for a client so I was not in a position to do anything about it, I pressed the record button and the screen changes as normal but no time code. The other thing that struck me was the overall time was not counting down. To cut a long story short I was running firmware V1.0 when I should have been running V1.04, it had been noted that the Ninja had been miss behaving with missed takes…it was a bug.

The Ninja is not only easy to use but has a very uncomplicated menu system and to go from ProRes HQ to 422 ProRes is a matter of a finger press on the touch screen itself, it uses NP-F570 Lithium Ion batteries which can run the Ninja for about two to two and a half hours.

I have a 2.5″ Intel SSD 160Gb drive which gives you about one hour forty five minutes of drive space at ProRes HQ (220MBs). You can use a 750Gb HDD drive but thats only for static situations like filming stage shows etc. I am a Solid State convert and would always recommend using SSD drives.


This is ProRes HQ 422 out of the Panasonic AF101 and I can assure you it delivers a far cleaner, less banding higher quality image than the SDHC card running at 24MBs. The final proof is a capture from the camera and the Ninja spliced together.

So there you have it, the Ninja must be set to firmware version 1.04 or more for it to work properly but the difference that ProRes 422 HQ makes to your picture is well worth the extra money this unit costs, the best part is the ProRes codec that brings your footage straight onto the Final Cut timeline assuming it is set for ProRes 422 HQ.

There are some minus points firstly there is no HDMI loop through and some customers are disappointed that you don’t get an HDMI cable in the box, the LANC control only works with Sony cameras, I could not get my AF101 to start/stop using a Panasonic zoom control which is rather disappointing, lastly I think a few extra settings would not go a miss especially some other codecs other than ProRes giving the Ninja a wider appeal. Version 2 of the firmware will give you a smooth video playback which should be out soon.

On the whole I can recommend the Ninja as a great tool for any job that needs to be the best that you can offer, ProRes 422 HQ (10bit) runs at 220MBs which is not widely known so is a must for anyone producing any HD content for the BBC etc. The Panasonic AF101 gives out 8bit which is a shame as the Ninja has 10bit but the extra colour space with 4:2:2 certainly gives the best picture possible from any camcorder outputting 4:2:2 out of the HDMI socket.

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

NINJA Review…Wednesday evening

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

My Prediction comes true !

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I wrote an article during July last year called “Sionara DSLR, Time is running out” at the end of it I made a prediction …

“A prediction for the future…

My money is on Mr Bloom the GURU of the DSLR, he will have a passing look at the Sony VG10 but it’s domestic feel will not entice him…the Panasonic VF100 will ring a lot of bells being a more pro calibre, prime lenses etc but I think he will plum for the Pro Sony FilmLike camera. Philip Bloom is a film maker at heart and is looking for a camera that suits his style of filming, the DSLR in my opinion is not an ENG cameraman’s natural choice ergonomically, Philip has adapted to suit his needs.

Philip has been an ENG cameraman for many years and used 35mm adapters to give him that SDoF but his cameraman’s sore back I suspect gave him jip lugging around such heavy gear which is why he took to the DSLR…great low light pictures, SDoF and 100 times lighter.

Philip is too much the gentleman to drop the DSLR so he will run in tandem for a while but my bet is that he will be persuaded by the FilmLike Pro camcorder for it is closer to what a cameraman is naturally used to using.”

Philip Bloom “The image this camera is capable of as it is is superb. Seeing it in the Zacuto Shootout 2011 literally blew me away. It performed amazingly. But this takes it to a whole new level. So much so that I took the plunge. I went in with Eric Kessler of Kessler Crane and bought a Sony F3 from Rule Boston Camera and I also personally  treated myself to something I have been desiring for over a year now…a set of Zeiss Cp.2 s. I have the 35, 50 and 85mm…Don’t worry I am NOT abandoning DSLRs. Far from it. Cannot wait until the 5DmkIII or whatever it will be called and still will be shooting a huge amount on them. This is a different tool for different jobs and with the S-log bang for buck that is unheard of!!”

S-Log is a gamma function applied to Sony digital cameras, so that digitally originated images can be post-processed in a similar manner as film originated materials. Since S-Log can reproduce the entire tonal range of what the CCD imager can capture, S-Log image can be described as the “Digital Negative”. Shooting in S-Log will enable the cinematographer to decide the exposure value by using a light meter, and offer a smooth transition from film acquisition to digital acquisition.

There you have it, yes I know Philip has an AF101 but that was obviously a passing fancy, Philip at heart is a Sony man you can tell by his camera list, in the end he has bought a mean looking kit and his Zacuto EVF will come in very handy for critical focus, especially with those Zeiss prime lenses, as predicted he has not abandoned the DSLR but would you if it takes you round the world, teaching and earning enough to buy an F3 and three Zeiss Prime lenses…fantastic.

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

If only all cameras were designed like this…”The ARRI ALEXA Simulator”

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The ALEXA Camera Simulator is an interactive training tool to familiarize yourself with the menu navigation of the new ARRI ALEXA Digital Camera. The main user interface shows an identical simulation of the current ALEXA with software version 3.0. Get started now by pointing your mouse (or fingers if you have a touchscreen) over the buttons below to control the Simulator; and learn first hand the simple, straightforward menu system that only ALEXA offers. For questions or help using this tool, e-mail and an ARRI representative will address your concern.

To save the Simulator to your iPad as a stand alone application capable of working offline, hit the Fullscreen button below. Then press “+” on the iPad menu to Add to Home Screen.

To play with your own simulator go to

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

Getting the best from your Panasonic AF101 (£25 plus postage)

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It’s taken a while but the all new updated DVD is now available exclusively from HD Warrior and H Preston Media. After producing my review on the AF101 which lasts 20 minutes I decided from the viewing figures 24,724 that maybe some of you would appreciate a more in-depth DVD about the AF101.

Topics covered are as follows…

How to adjust the camera via the menu system covering…Scene file One and noise reduction, Video to Film mode, Taking out Headphone echo, PAL to NTSC plus using non electronic lenses and how to change the menu to avoid a black picture.

I also cover the ATOMOS NINJA, the CINEROID EVF, the DataVideo iPad prompter, Glidetrack HD Hybrid slider, the BeBob Foxi pull focus system and Barry Greens book.

We look at the AF101 in Low Light, 6, 9 and 18dBs, tutorial on the AVCCAM viewer, FCP-7 Log and Transfer and I go through in detail how to update your firmware in the camera.

As you can see I cover a host of informative details on the AF101 and you now have the chance to buy your very own copy at the price of £25 plus postage (£2.50 UK). All you need to do is send me an email for a PayPal request and I will do the rest.

The SD DVD runs for 60 minutes and is a must for anyone who wants to know more about your AF101 or is thinking of buying one.



EXCLUSIVE OFFER : From today till the 31st of May 2011…If you buy the AF101 DVD and you then decide to buy an AF101 from H Preston Media you will get a further £25 off your camera giving you the DVD for FREE.

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

EVF Gamechangers $750

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Built-in features for precise image evaluation: Focus assist via red peaking over black and white, exposure assist with under and over exposure Zebras, 1:1 pixel zoom feature with positionable recall featureOn-board interchangeable batteries (4xAA) plus external wide band 4-16V DC input Super crisp 24bit 3” screen with 800×480 resolutionFull-featured HDMI loopthrough, including audio for uncompressed recording with an external deviceRED One/Epic/Scarlet compatible.

Sleek yet rugged physical design and maximized usability after hundreds of hours of testingAltera Cyclone FPGA chip: enabling lightning fast startup and seamless HD video processing at the highest image quality. It also provides a solid platform for future developments of additional features, such as remote control and vectorscopes.Optical construction offering generous diopter compensation. Vacuum laminated double element achromatic lens, utilising ULD glass element for perfect image quality.

MSRP $750. Shipping in Q2 2011

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

Gemini in August 2011

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

Final Cut Pro 10 “June can’t come quickly enough”

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

Final Cut Pro 10 “Now I am excited’

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Bon alors voilà il manque environ 3 min entre les 2 séquences j’en suis sincèrement désolé.
Plus d’infos sur

Musique du générique : Joe Satriani “The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing”

Thank you Emmanuel for giving me back my faith in Final Cut Pro…this looks exciting.

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

A word from Larry Jordan on FCP-10

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Larry Jordan is the one man on this planet that you can depend upon to have a sensible discussion about the new FCP-10.


“Apple this evening provided a “sneak peek” at the next version of Final Cut Pro – now called “Final Cut Pro X” at the NAB SuperMeet in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The new Final Cut Pro is a bold move – a totally redesigned interface, 64-bit memory addressing, multi-processor support, tight integration of metadata in the project file with metadata stored in the clip not just in the project, heavy use of automation to simplify tedious tasks, and a rethinking of the entire concept of what it means to edit.

I can’t think of any other company that could so totally redefine what a non-linear video editor is than Apple. Since the release of Final Cut Pro 1, each version of FCP has contained incremental improvements. This is a complete restatement at every possible level.

As Phil Schiller, senior VP for world-wide marketing for Apple told me after the presentation, “This is a total rethinking of how we tell stories visually.”

Love it or hate it, our editing life won’t be the same again.

Oh, and did I mention — it has a ship date of June, with a suggested retail price of $299, and will be sold through the Mac App STORE (more on that in a bit).


After the presentation, I went down front to talk with the folks from Apple about what I saw. And I asked Richard directly: “Explain to me why this isn’t a big version of iMovie?”

Richard replied: “We designed this to have professional features for the professional user. The reason we chose to present it here at the Supermeet was that we wanted the professional user to see it and understand what we are doing.”

What viewers in the audience did NOT see was who from Apple was attending the presentation that did not appear on stage.

Somehow, I managed to sit in the Apple executive section of the hall. In front of me was Phil Schiller, Senior VP for Worldwide Marketing. The head of PR was sitting to his right. The two lead engineering directors, or VPs, were sitting on either side of me. I was surrounded by top-level executives from engineering, PR, marketing, product management — literally a dozen extremely senior executives were sitting in the front two rows.

Apple would not send this level of executive talent simply to watch the roll-out of a product that they did not care about.

SIDE NOTE: I was sandwiched between two senior engineering executives who had as much fun as anyone in the audience watching the demo and applauding. I suspect it was because they were finally seeing the public result of years of behind-the-scenes work.

Another interesting data point. This presentation was almost exactly the same one that I saw six weeks ago in Cupertino. Apple used it then to get feedback from a small group; I suspect they are using this exact presentation tonight for the same reason — to get reactions from a much larger group.


Based on tonight’s presentation several long-standing irritants with Final Cut Pro disappear:

* Rendering is now in the background and much faster because it harnesses the power of the GPU.
* The 4 GB memory limit is gone – FCP will use as much RAM as you have installed on your system.
* FCP X now uses all the processors on your system, not just one and a half.

In addition, a flock of new features were added:
* It supports editing video image sizes from standard definition up to 4K.
* It uses fewer tools from the Tool palette (which is no longer there, by the way) by making the cursor smarter. WHERE you click something determines WHAT you can do with it.
* A lot of existing features are jazzed up (linking and grouping are replaced by the much more elegant Clip Connection and Compound Clips)
* While new features like the magnetic timeline, permanent audio sync and auto-metadata generation are flat-out stunning.

NOTE: Nothing said, or implied tonight, indicated that you would need any special hardware. My guess is that any Mac you buy now will run FCP perfectly. Also, contrary to some rumors, I spoke with Apple engineering about Thunderbolt. This is a system level I/O connection. If your Mac has it, ANY version of FCP – or any other Mac application – will take advantage of it.


While the slide show was identical to the February meeting, the demo was not. Randy Ubillos, who did the demo, added more features and additional explanations on effects (see the screen shot above). However, I was told later that the build that was demoed was the same build that was shown in February – and that the application has moved significantly forward since that time.

In other words, what we saw tonight was nowhere near the final form of the application.

I was also very impressed that audio was not treated as an unwelcome step-child. First, the demo paid a lot of attention to setting and maintaining audio sync, however lots of little details were also obvious:

* Sample rate precision in scrolling an audio clip
* Pitch corrected audio scrolling in slow motion
* Displaying waveforms at a size big enough to see what they look like
* Displaying audio levels within the waveform that are approaching clipping (as one engineer near me remarked, “And THAT took us a LONG while to figure out.”)
* Displaying audio peaks for the entire mix that are approaching clipping
* Improved audio cleanup controls, which can be applied or ignored by the user (these look to be borrowed from Soundtrack Pro)
* Adding fades with a keystroke, or by pulling in the top corners of a clip, with four different fade shapes, rather than the limit of two inside FCP 7; these, too, borrow interface ideas from Soundtrack Pro.


In brief, the crowd was loving it. Granted, many of them got well-lubricated at the open bar before the event, but nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time.

The new interface drew applause, 64-bit support and background rendering had people drooling and the new price of $299 received a standing ovation.


I’ve been thinking hard about this since I first saw the software six weeks ago.

And, truthfully, I’m very torn. There are some features here that I really like a LOT. There are a few that I don’t like at all. But there is a great deal that has not yet been said.

And that, I think, is the key point. The devil is ALWAYS in the details.

Apple has done its usual magnificent job of previewing a new product. But this is only the preview.

I met Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect for Video Applications at Apple, after he presented the demo of the software. I told him that parts of what I saw I liked a lot and parts had me quite concerned. And I asked if Apple was interested in our feedback. He immediately said that Apple is VERY interested in our feedback, that they are listening and want to make this application something that all of us can be proud of using.

I believe him. And I also believe that it is way too early to make any final decisions about this version. There are too many unanswered questions. For example, here are some questions the answers to which are still unknown:

* The retail price for FCP is $299 – but what is the retail price of the other software parts of the Suite? Are we back to ala carte pricing?

* The application will be sold through the Mac App store. What happens to all the great data files that were available with the suite in earlier versions?

* How does FCP X work with existing FCP 7 projects?

* What other applications ship with Final Cut and how do they integrate?

* How many of our existing plug-ins, peripherals, hardware, and other gear need to be updated to work with the new software?

* Editing does not exist in a vacuum, how do we share files, clips, metadata, and project information with other software tools?

* How does it handle media?

* Real-time, native video processing is great for editing – however, we still need to transcode to get files on the web. How?

As of tonight, Apple hasn’t provided answers to these, or many other questions. As they do, or as I’m able to find them out, I’ll share them with you in this blog and my newsletter.

As one engineer told me at the Cupertino meeting in February, Final Cut Pro is still a work in progress. We’ve seen the outline of the work – the rough cut, if you will. Now we need to give the engineers time to listen to our feedback, polish it up, and deliver the final cut of Final Cut.

My thanks as always to Larry Jordan the GURU of Final Cut Pro

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

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