Early conclusions on the Panasonic AF101

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

You only get a feel for any camcorder when you use it for real in a live paying situation. The last two days have given me a clearer insight while using the AF101 and the best news is that it’s thumbs up all round.

I was slightly apprehensive using a new camera that I had used for less than a week on a job for a major client, admittedly we were filming updates to a DVD that was shot last year but fortunately the updates were to be self contained within their own DVD. Knowing Panasonic of old their “look” or colour matrix does not look anything like Sony’s, the first DVD was made using a Sony EX-3.

What did I learn…Firstly not to use the 7mm wide angle when filming people, it distorts then too much unless they are centre of frame. When switching from non electronic lenses to Lumix lenses to remember to switch off the autofocus. As usual the autofocus (AF) hunts when you least want it to…I used it more with the 7-14mm lens as it’s very hard to see focus. Tip…Set up your shot with the AF on check your VF that it’s sharp then switch off the AF.

I used the AF with the 14-140mm Lumix when I was manually zooming back from tight to wide as it tracked the subject quite well, unfortunately I don’t have the confidence yet to pull focus even using the Cineroid VF for such a long shot plus these lenses don’t lend themselves to pull focus due to the smaller diameter of the lens itself. You can be one and a half turns of the lens which is impossible to do manually.

The picture on my Sony 740 looked cracking and was commented by the client, then back at base the tell tail 37″ viewing…amazing is the best words to describe it, fantastic solid colours with the odd shot at 9dB and not a trace of noise.

The AF101 excels in every way, solid punchy pictures, sharp as a tac and with the odd NOKTON lens shot for that Hollywood shallow depth of field and best of all it’s not a heavy camera to use so you dont feel as tired or sore after a days shoot and a client who is very happy with the new look.

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

Cineroid Review “Well Recommended”

Categories: Miscellaneous 10 Comments

Today I had a chance to work with the Cineroid EVF and can I tell you it was a breath of fresh air. The Panasonic AF101 has a very crisp LCD and on the side of the camera you have a detail button which helps you while focusing.

The EVF in the camera is OK but for me far to small, it’s best to turn off the colour in the viewfinder and use the focus assist which gives you a red outline when you are in focus.

That said you can use a portable production monitor like the Sony 740 as seen above to check your focus but while on location you tend to hand your monitor over to the client to view your shots.

Enter the Cineroid EVF from Korea a cracking EVF, made for any camera that has an HDMI output or as was first intended a DSLR with a mini HDMI socket.

While filming today I discovered a great benefit while producing a high pull focus shot, the ability to see what I was doing remotely from the camera itself, fantastic.

As you can see from the picture above the colour rendition is very true which is essential if you are relying on your colour balance to be correct, the Cineroid is also as sharp as a tack and can easily be used for pull focus. You also get various functions like peaking in red or sharpness mode, zebra settings, monochrome, underscan, pixel mapping, 4:3 guide bar and the image can be rotated or mirrored.

CONCLUSION : It is well made, plastic construction, the battery compartment takes a nack to open it, looking at the picture above you slide the compartment to the right then it lifts off. The screen is as good as the Sony EX3 in both colour trueness and sharpness, it’s miles above anything you get with the Panasonic AF101 itself. Two minor details are the mini to mini HDMI cable supplied obviously meant for a DSLR but the AF101 has an HDMI socket so an appropriate supplied cable would be useful…mini HDMI to HDMI.

It takes one Sony like NP-F570 Li-ion battery which I am told will last you 3 hours, I am fortunate by having not only 2 F570 batteries but a Sony battery charger as well !

I found the power pins used to connect the battery a bit flimsy and I think with a lot of use may cause a problem but these are minor details compared to the quality of the picture itself…well recommended from HD Warrior.

UPDATE : Good news…the Cineroid EVF I have is a non production model and the battery pins have been changed for the production model due out this month (Jan 2011).

FURTHER UPDATE :  Hello, my name is Spencer Doran at OCTICA. We represent Cineroid in the UK and offer full technical support for the EVF. The note regarding  the centering of pixel to pixel mapping was reported to us yesterday and is being addressed. A software update has been developed at the factory and is currently being tested. We expect that it will be released at the end of this week once testing is complete. We will make it available to anyone who wants it as a free software update later.

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

Genus Matte Box Kit from H Preston Media

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

We have had a lot of interest in Matte Boxes for the AF101 so today after a lot of bolts and the odd rail or two a design was finally agreed on along with a follow focus unit as well.

There is no price as yet I will keep you informed of developments.

Another rig was put to the test, the Genus Shoulder Mount System, this will give the operator far more freedom and stability while going hand held, once again no price as yet.

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

The Interview situation with the AF101

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

While I was in Edinburgh today visiting Susan’s mother I decided to do a short interview with Mrs Peace about special moments in her life. My kit consisted of a Panasonic AF101, Manfrotto 504 HD tripod, RODE NTG-1 short shotgun mic, small LED camera light and a Voigtlander 25mm 0.95 mFT lens all contained in a KATA CB200 camera bag (Well recommended).

As you can see the lighting was simple,I decided to use her halogen lights in the kitchen to give a warm feel to the background and used the patio door to light her face with a small lift from the LED camera light. I placed the mic on the table hidden just out of shot, the fridge behind Mrs Peace has a tendency to make a small humming noise which I can take out at post.

This was a good test run for me as most of my work involving this camera will be interviews as you can see using the Voigtlander lens gives you that fantastic shallow depth of field and I am now looking for another fast lens for interviews which will be about 45-60mm.

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

New camera light from Ianiro with switchable colour temperatures

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New Minima LED light offers the ultimate on-camera solution with switchable colour temperatures, full dimming control and outstanding brightness.

Ianiro UK is introducing the new Minima pro LED light, manufactured by Visio Inc. The Minima is a very small unit that weighs a mere 190 grams. Despite its diminutive proportions, the Minima provides an excellent level of output at 100 lm / Watt, equivalent to a 50W tungsten. Uniquely, in a unit of this size, the light offers full colour temperature switching, with 6 settings from 2800K to 6500K.

The Minima is a major step forward for every production on the run. It does away with the need for colour gels to control image temperature, buying the camera team valuable time while reducing the size of their kit bag. But most importantly, the quality of the output is excellent, marrying outstanding brightness with amazing colour accuracy.

The Minima achieves this accuracy by combining red, white and yellow LED lights to form a continuous spectrum with full-range frequency. Low-cost and inaccurate analog circuitry has been replaced by a digital signal microprocessor and a 25k frequency PWM controller. This allows for the colour ratio of different LEDs to be adjusted precisely according to different colour temperatures. Minima’s CRI (Colour Rendering Index) can reach above 90% at any colour temperature from 2800°K to 6500°K. Minimum colour shift is guaranteed to be within the range of 3-step dimming.

With the unit featuring 144 individual LED light bulbs, the Minima delivers a pleasant, uniformly soft light that delivers natural skin tones with an excellent 3D effect. Despite the sophistication of its electronics and its powerful lighting output, Minima features a low power consumption design and with a run time of 1.5 hours.  Price £169

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

Testing the Nokton, Canon and the Lumix

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Tonight I decided to take a look at 4 lenses, the Nokton 25mm f0.95 mFT lens, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L lens on the Kipon adapter, Canon 50mm f2.5 macro on the Kipon adapter and the Lumix 14-140mm mFT lens. As usual the Nokton walked away with the title yet again with it’s fantastic shallow depth of field and amazing low light capability.

The other surprise was the quality of the 50mm f2.5 Canon lens as shown above and the ability of the AF101 to produce noiseless pictures at 9dB, I have not seen pictures this good out of any camcorder at this setting to date.

Looking at my piece to camera on a 42″ LCD Samsung blows me away, the cine gamma “V” gives it a rich deep black and the colours including my skin tones are very true. This is only day three and I am getting such a kick using this camera, filming bits and rushing upstairs to the edit suite to watch the playback. I have produced my version for NOISE REDUCTION that you can copy onto your own AF101, they are under SCENE FILES at www.101crew.co.uk

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

Something I wasn’t expecting !

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Day Two the low light test : I got a phone call from Tony today who asked me about the AF101s low light capabilities, I was honest with him, I didn’t know. Tonight around 5pm just as the last of the blue sky disappears into darkness I decided to test the AF101. I recorded a piece  to camera at 9dBs using one considerably dimmed 500W, V lock powered LED light and a NOKTON 25mm f0.95 lens.

As you can see there was nothing fancy just me a light and the AF101, just after filming myself I filmed my wife arriving home from work then some shots of buildings. Afterwards I had a look at the footage and once again nearly fell off my seat, there was no obvious noise at 9dBs what is going on here. This is indeed a strange camera I have seen the noise everyone is complaining about yet I have seen more footage with no noise, is this down to the VBR (Variable Bit Rate).

Everyone knows how your DVD performs so well 90% of the time yet some footage looks more pixelated than others, I am not seeing pixelation more a fine grain especially in the blacks but it’s not there all the time and it depends on how you are viewing the footage. I do not own a grade one monitor so I can’t see a true non processed picture but on the whole I do see a lot of cracking footage that leaves me stunned into silence.

UPDATE : This is a video still from last night and as you can see from a crop of the original frame their is no noise in this picture at all !

Since filming some footage this afternoon I have tweaked the camera bringing down detail etc. I will divulge my settings if they prove fruitful but till then I am still on the whole very exited with this camera and I hope to get some more filming done tomorrow.

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

Enter the AF101 in the flesh

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Here is the camera I have been blogging about since IBC during September 2010. One word…FANTASTIC…Panasonic have done a great job on this camcorder, I have shot some footage with various lenses from the Lumix, Canon and the Nokton. So far I am still in love with my Nokton it produces some great HD shallow depth of field pictures.

I did a piece to camera and played back the footage on my 50″ Panasonic 3D TV and the pictures are nothing short of stunning, the Nokton lens has to be one of your standard lenses in your AF101 lens kit, it produces better video footage at f0.95 than it does on a G2 at the same f stop.

So far I have found one niggle…the position and type of white balance switch, it’s a push button rather than the conventional micro toggle switch. I was filming my wife and noticed that she was slightly over exposed so I put my hand back to adjust the exposure wheel and hit the WB button. Future AF cameras please use a toggle switch.

I hunted for the quality settings in the menu but looking at the manual discovered the quality is dependent on what you are filming with eg. I was using 720 50p therefore defaults to top quality mode which is PH 21Mbps.

A DSLR quirk is the camera does not activate if you use a non Lumix lens unless you do the following first…

Scroll down till you find the OTHER FUNCTIONS, then you will find the words…

LENS CHECK, in this menu turn the “Lens Check” to off, then your camcorder will ignore the fact that the lens has no electronic functions. I hope to let you see some 1st play footage tomorrow evening.

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

Apple make Laptops obsolescent…what’s new !

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments

Take a good look at these power connectors and hope you are not working with the round version above. I gave my son my older G4 Power Book and today his power supply has packed in…can I get a new one let alone a second hand one. Apple should be ashamed of themselves by changing the power plug from the round version to the square four pin version leaving all the round pin users to drown in it’s obsolescence.

They are so proud of their “unique” look all the way through to the 24.5v power connector which lights up when plugged in, yet they care not a jot when they decide to re design such a crucial part of the design. My advice is buy a spare 5 pin power lead while you can if you intend using your MAC long after the power supply has been re designed !

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

Chrosziel’s New Accessories for the Panasonic 3DA1

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Chrosziel has a prepared the new 3DA1Kit (456-203DA1KIT) for the new S3D Camcorder Panasonic AG-3DA1 (seen here), consisting of a LightWeight Support (401-415) with 15mm rods, the MatteBox 456 Academy Double and the Retaining Ring (410-65) shaped to tightly fit the camera’s twin lens.

Those who already have the LightWeight Support for the Panasonic HVX200 can continue using it. It also fits on the Sony PMW-F3 (version shown in 2010) and the Canon XF300/305.

The MatteBox 456 Academy is equipped with two rotating filter stages with multiformat filterholders (510-01) for 5×5″ and 4×5.56″. When using the 5×5″ filters, both stages rotate without restriction.
All 2/3″ TV and Cine MatteBoxes with 142.5 mm connection can be used on the AG-3DA1 with the retaining ring 410-24 also shaped to fit the twin lens.

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

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