3D Update Part ONE

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NAB 2011 has come and gone with a smattering of 3D camcorders the most interesting from Sony. Sony were showing the HXR-NX3D1U camcorder a fully spec pro camcorder in a handycam format.


Double “Sony G Lenses” Double “Exmor R” CMOS Sensors

Inside the HXR-NX3D1’s compact body there are two separate cameras each featuring a high-quality Sony G lens and a high-sensitivity, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor. High-quality 1920×1080 Full HD left and right images enable production of incredibly realistic 3D movies.

Active SteadyShot and Optical 10x Zoom (34.4-344mm)

One of the most important considerations during 3D shooting is obtaining stable images to prevent audience discomfort during viewing. The HXR-NX3D1 features Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode, 3-way camera shake stabilizing technology that smoothes out up/down, left/right and rotational motion when shooting in 3D. Capturing stable 3D images with minimal shake is possible even for hand-held shooting.

When shooting in 3D, the HXR-NX3D1 lets you zoom from 34.4mm to 34mm (when converted to 35mm equivalent). Frame composition while zooming is also possible just like in 2D shooting.

3D Shooting with Two Parallel Cameras

The HXR-NX3D1 features two parallel lenses mounted 31mm apart. (the inter-axial distance is 31mm) Disparity adjustment can be performed to change the read-out areas of the left and right CMOS sensors so that they are closer together or further apart. This lets you control perceived 3D depth and the proximity of regions of interest to a virtual screen. Disparity adjustment is also possible during shooting using the manual dial. Moving a region of interest closer to the virtual screen enables shooting of comfortable 3D images with the desired feeling of depth.

Please note, when capturing 3D images, the minimum shooting distance is 80cm (at wide-angle setting)

3.5″ Xtra Fine LCD™ display Providing 2D or Glassless 3D Viewing

The HXR-NX3D1’s glassless 3D LCD (2562×480 PIXELS) lets you preview 3D images while shooting. Switching between 2D and 3D display is also possible as well as separate display of left and right images and a composite mix of left and right images for easier confirmation of disparity.

User Selectable HDMI output for 2D and 3D viewing

Output from the HXR-NX3D1’s HDMI jack to a 3D TV is selectable between Frame Packing with Full HD output of alternate left and right images, and Side by Side with output of horizontally compressed left and right images packed into a single frame. Select the Frame Packing mode for a 3D TV (Sony BRAVIA) and the Side by Side mode for a professional 3D monitor. Connection is also possible via an HDMI-HD-SDI converter to enable compatibility with a wide range of 3D monitors.

Multi-Format Recording

Compatible with a wide range of formats, the HXR-NX3D1 enables 1080/60i/ 50i/24p 3D recording and 1080 60p/60i/50p/50i/30p/24p 2D recording.

XLR Adaptor with Selectable Phantom Power and ECM-XM1 Shotgun Microphone

The detachable handle has a compact, ergonomic design. Two balanced XLR audio inputs are built in with phantom power and attenuation options that professional shooters require for clean sound quality. Default audio settings for XLR recording are highlighted in green for easy reference in the field in order to reduce operator error under difficult lighting conditions.

The ECM-XM1 shotgun microphone, mounted on top of the handle, provides high quality linear PCM audio recording performance similar to larger shoulder-mounted ENG style cameras.

Large Capacity, Internal 96GB Memory and Multi Card Slot

The HXR-NX3D1 has 96GB of internal memory, enabling extended recording in 3D mode for approximately 7.5 hours. There’s also a multi-card card slot that lets you record onto Memory Sticks and SD Cards. You can also use these convenient recordable media to copy data from the internal memory.

Single 3D Recording File for Easy Editing and 2D NLE Compatibility

Easy workflow is an important consideration when creating 3D footage. The HXR-NX3D1 uses Multi-View Coding (MVC) to record left and right channel clips as a single file. Sony Vegas Pro 10.0d offers native import support for MVC video files, so footage can be directly handled as 3D clips to enable import of left and right channel clips together. By eliminating the need for time-consuming pairing, this provides an extremely simple workflow.

And Vegas Pro 10.0d provides the ability to adjust, edit, preview, and output stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray Disc and 3D media with side-by-side, top/bottom, or line-alternate encoding.

Support is scheduled to enable conversion of MVC footage recorded with the HXR-NX3D1 to Cineform codec using the popular Cineform Neo3D/NeoHD as a Codec Plug-In for 3D editing.

The supplied Contents Management Utility 2.1 software also enables conversion of MVC video files to 2D AVC files with independent left and right channels. With these capabilities the HXR-NX3D1 is ready for a wide range of workflows.

The other 3D camcorder from Sony was the PMW-TD300 essentially a PMW-320 with 3D added.

Sony :

Dual 3-chip 1/2-inch Type Exmor Full-HD CMOS Sensors

The dual 3-chip Exmor CMOS image sensors provide high-quality 3D images with an excellent sensitivity, as well as 1920 x 1080 resolution – meeting the industry standard for broadcast cameras. The 1/2-inch sensor size helps achieve an ideal balance between high quality and compact design – the camcorder body is of similar size to current 2D models.

Dual Lens System

The newly developed dual lens system allows fully synchronized operation between left and right lenses with high accuracy – in focus, zoom, and iris adjustments. With the minimized 45 mm IAD (Inter-Axial Distance) of the dual lens system, this camcorder offers a wide shooting zone to capture good 3D images – especially for near-side shooting, with its support for a 1.2 m minimum convergence distance.

XDCAM EX Recording

The recording format is identical to that of the highly successful PMW-EX1R, PMW-EX3, and PMW-350/320 Series. The proven, high-speed, and intuitive XDCAM EX workflow offers seamless integration with leading non-linear editing software.

SxS Card Slots

Left and right images are recorded on each SxS card separately, in synchronization. As the camcorder features two SxS card slots (one each for the left and right), it offers a long recording duration of over six hours in 3D (with four 64-GB cards).

3D/2D Recording Modes

A 2D shooting mode is available for additional production flexibility. With a single SxS card, the camcorder is able to shoot images only through the left lens. In addition, parallel recording onto the left and right cards is useful as a method of redundant shooting in 2D operation. (Images recorded on the left and right cards are slightly different, because different lenses are used.)

Intuitive convergence control with a dedicated dial feature

Viewfinder with 3.5-inch colour LCD…HD-SDI out (L/R dual stream, audio and TC embedded)…HDMI out (3D/2D) for viewing on consumer 3D displays…Genlock in & TC in/out for integration with multi-camera systems.

Tomorrow in part two I will have a look at the new JVC and Panasonic 3D camcorders.

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

Japan’s production output… Update

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The monumental disaster continuing to plague Japan was felt throughout the NAB convention, as many companies, most with Japanese roots, said that while manufacturing had been stabilized in factories that had escaped initial earthquake and tsunami, many component suppliers had been negatively affected. This in turn, could cause a delay in product shipments later this year.

“On behalf of Sony, I want to thank all of you and our valued customers for generously reaching out with offers of help and donations to Japan relief organizations,” said Alec Shapiro, before delivering his opening remarks during the Sony press conference. “I’m happy to say that Sony employees escaped the tragedy without any personal harm and that our facilities are being restored.”

He said that Sony’s storage media factory in Sendai (in northern Japan) was affected and that production of the company’s HDCAM SR videotape is targeted to resume in early summer. In the mean time, Sony will work with its customers to mange their inventory needs “and will provide any necessary assistance to keep their companies operation as close to normal as possible.”

John Baisley, Panasonic’s executive vice president of media and products services, also addressed the issue at the top of his industry remarks during its press conference.

“We have received many questions about Panasonic’s personnel and infrastructure, and your outpouring of compassion has been heartwarming,” he said. “Although our factories came away from the disaster relatively unscathed, we are having issues with component suppliers, which were located in the affected area of Japan.”

Panasonic is working on the “model by model” impact, he said, “but suffice it to say that we will experience product availability issues in the short term.”

He added that shipments of the company’s solid-state P2 cards and other tape media will be unaffected.


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The AF101 “A Glimpse into the future”

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Panasonic have been delighted with their first large sensor camera the AF100 series, it has caught the imagination of many disgruntled DPs who for many reasons did not play ball with the DSLR. The price has been the major factor for many DPs dipping their toes in the water only to be pleasantly surprised with the results.

The draw back with the AF100 series is the deliberate throttling back of many features that could have taken it to mega stardom but this years NAB 2011 has given us a glimpse into the future with Panasonic’s thinking and the road ahead.

The new Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 camcorder is not only a vast improvement in style for Panasonic but features to match…10bit, 4:2:2 with P2 AVC-Intra recording, this will set Panasonic well amongst the pigeons and once again give Sony a good run for it’s money.

If Panasonic turn their attention into producing a 10bit, 4:2:2 version of the AF100 series even dare I say it with P2 to give us AVC-Intra recording it would satisfy the broadcasters and even at about £6K price steal the market place from Sony a second time.

All manufacturers need to address the viewfinders in these cameras and either give us payed options or vastly improve on todays “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE VIEWFINDERS”.

It’s incredible that over the last 2 months we have seen about 5 EVFs appear on the marketplace and what amazed me was Panasonic having a demo AF101 at BVE with a Cineroid EVF a sure sign that even they are not happy with their own EVF.

The next hottest EVF to appear is from Zacuto and by all accounts this will be the de-facto EVF for the AF100 series of camcorders but we don’t see any until the beginning of May. Another enhancement would be a servo zoom and the inclusion of a zoom lens, the same as Sony giving the Panasonic a second string to it’s bow.

Will Panasonic have the balls to update the AF100 series…YES…Sony have put their cards firmly on the table with the F3 and FS100 which was Sony’s attempt at a Panasonic spoiler but if we get a 10bit, 4:2:2, AVC-intra P2 AF200 series camcorder it will take the market by storm.

Many DPs are now changing over to AF100 cameras and are becoming familiar with the camera and it’s menu system, the AF101 (UK) is a good starter but I think Panasonic have caught a glimpse of being top dog with this camcorder and don’t intend to let go with version two of this amazing large sensor camera.

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

Zacuto EVF shipping 1st May 2011

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Z-Finder EVF! If you are seeing this please upgrade your Flash Player at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

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NINJA Review

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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 Productions

NINJA Review…Wednesday evening

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

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 Productions

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 digitalworkflow@arri.de 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 http://www.arridigital.com/technical/simulator

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

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.

Email hdwarrior@me.com


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.

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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

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