Apple’s new MacPro 12 core “Still no Blu-Ray”

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After months of speculation we finally see the new Apple 12 core MacPro…very un-exiting. We have had a run of new designs from Apple the most recent the MacMini with it’s HDMI socket but not the MacPro. It seems good old Apple are happy with their MacPro design and sadder still no HDMI and no Blu-Ray.

This does not bode well for the all new redesign from the engine up Final Cut Studio 64 bit…Blu-Ray is not on Apple’s antenna. How Apple are going to present DVD StudioPro 5 with no Blu-Ray authoring will finally cut the tie for a lot of professional editors who are waiting by the sidelines to jump to CS5 at the least hint of non Blu-Ray support.

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

Arran on a Plate this 1min Add shot on the new Sony HXR-MC50

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While I was over on Arran reviewing the new Sony HXR-MC50 we were taken to Arran on a Plate, a new exiting restaurant in Brodick. The client and myself decided to film the whole 1min advert on the new Sony MC50 as it was less intimidating to the customers. The results speak for themselves…this wee camcorder is fantastic and a full review will be on my blog sometime this week.

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

A hard time on the Isle of Arran

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As you can see it’s a hard job reviewing the new Sony HXR-MC50 over on the sunny Isle of Arran. So far we are very exited with Sony’s new baby and hopefully you will see this exiting review sometime next week. I interviewed a good friend of mine Chris Attkins who is looking to partner his EX-1 with the new MC50.

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

Angus takes the Sony NEX-VG10 out for a spin

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Angus…”I was lucky enough to get to shoot with the VG10E on Friday (edit will be up soon) and it is a nice bit of kit, but there is no doubt that it is a consumer bit of kit.
It is easy to use but the OS is still the same as the NEX still cameras so not totally suited. You can get some good stuff with it and in general I agree totally with the sentiment of this blogg but as others have said I think it will possibly be the Panasonic, but definitely a Canon or the first pro-sony camera that will really make the dslr crowd sit up and take notice.
As an eng style shooter not a film maker, dslrs have never given me the practicality I’ve needed to switch despite how good the footage looks, so I’m really looking forward to Sony’s first EX1 equivalent that gives decent sDoF in a formfactor that is easy and fast to use.”

HDW : I will be in contact with Sony domestic this week to see if we can get a pre production shot of this camcorder but there is one thing for sure FilmLike SDoF camcorders are all the buzz on most blogs, once we see the Sony shortly followed by the Panasonic there will be little else to talk about !

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

Sony HXR-MC50 First impressions”Is it a Pro camcorder”

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It’s funny how certain companies have their own ideas when it comes to presenting camcorders, this is our third baby to appear from a manufacturer …first being the HM100 from JVC, second Panasonics HMC41 and now Sonys HXR-MC50.

The major difference between the Sony and the other 2 camcorders is the lack of professional features, I could have sworn the Sony had XLR inputs till I saw a picture confirming a 3.5mm jack socket, so how has this come about.

Sony over the last few years have decided to bastardise domestic Sony camcorders changing little features hear and there then presenting the so called “new” camcorder with a pro badge. Personally I don’t think Sony have done a good enough job here as this is effectively an HDR-XR550 less the 240GB internal hard drive.

I can’t deny the picture quality but does adding a lens hood and a short shotgun mic really change this into a professional camcorder ? The main gripe I have with this camcorder is it’s domestic menu screen, not what you expect when you come from cameras such as a 350, EX1/3/1R, NX5 who all share similar menu screens.

I don’t take it out for it’s inaugural run till next Wednesday but is it worth the extra £450 against the domestic 550 time will tell.

My parting thoughts are that in my opinion a “Pro badge” camcorder should have the ability to allow you to choose the gain settings both JVC and Panasonic allow this, Sony allow you to manually override iris or exposure with no mention of gain. We are made to believe that the Exmor R chipset does a grand job keeping grain at a minimum…we shall see.

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

First play with the Sony HXR-MC50 “Very impressive pictures”

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Received my review camcorder today from H Preston Media and so far very impressive pictures, you get 64GB internal memory and a slot underneath for an SDHC card or Sony’s own Memory Stick Pro Duo. Took me ages to work out how to assign manual exposure but it’s simple when you know how. I am away part of next week and will be filming a review from the Isle of Arran, I will post this as soon as possible soon after. Note. I have replaced my 1st video as it had an encoding fault it is now on my trusty Exposure Room server.

[xr_video id="baea3e1cf1e940ebae2137f064fb48fd" size="md"]

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Sionara DSLR time is running out…!

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This is a bit like waiting for the final Harry Potter book…in two months time a new sun will rise and the Sony NEX-VG10 will be available for around £1600, this new camcorder will have interchangeable lenses and the coveted shallow depth of field (SDoF).

Although the first SDoF camcorder will be in the domestic camp it will shortly be followed by the Panasonic AF100 allowing Canon, Nikon, Prime lenses via special adapters. This will bring about a water shed …finally converting many DSLR followers back to the camcorder.

A camcorder like no other as Sony would tell us… interchangeable lenses, shallow depth of field, proper 16bit sound controls with inputs, hi resolution swivel viewfinder, ergonomically correct and no time limits when recording.

The Holy Grail is finally on it’s way and the end is in sight for the DSLR as we know it…I suspect we will see some “new video” features as Japan plays catch up but only the dedicated and to be fair those who have heavily invested in the DSLR will continue to sing it’s praises. They will become the minority as we see more SDoF camcorders roll out from Sony, Canon, JVC and Panasonic.

EBAY will be awash with DSLRs…selling to buy the latest FilmLike camcorder the equilibrium will finally be restored DSLR for the photographer and the FilmLike SDoF camcorder for the film maker.

Dont forget up till now when Mr Canon and Mr Nikon sit down to manufacturer your DSLR they place top priority getting the photographic side of the camera optimised to the detriment of the video side hence the ailasing problems shown quite clearly by Alister Chapman.

People go on about “how cheap” the DSLR is in respect to video but forget how much they have to spend getting extra lenses, external audio equipment, remote control, fancy magnified loupes the list goes on…so your initial £1200 purchase climbs up to nearer £3200…not so cheap !

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.

I on the other hand could not care less for 35mm adapters, using my Canon 5D2 for anything other than photography and look forward to reviewing as many camcorders that may come my way, the DSLR has given a lot of pleasure and opened up your choice when filming SDoF and thats to be commended but as a truly professional tool it is sadly lacking and a year from now the “talk of the steamie” on all our blogs will be FilmLike camcorders like it or not !

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

Sony NEX-VG10 E-mount HD camcorder due in September $1999

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Who could have envisaged that Sony would have an interchangeable lens domestic camcorder out before it’s professional big brother…this year…in September…fantastic ! This will certainly have a major impact on the DSLR at the price point of $1999.

I was alway curious when Sony kept omitting to add video function to their Alpha range (excluding the NEX camera) when Canon and Nikon added this function to their domestic and pro range of SLR cameras, now we know why !

I am one of the few DPs who never took to the DSLR for video use as they are cumbersome to use and not fit for purpose. Now we are seeing a fight back from the camcorder manufacturers the balance will be restored and the DSLR will become like the cine camera, useful for it’s time.

Everyone including myself have been banging on about the Panasonic AF100 due late October forgetting that Sony had mentioned that a FilmLike domestic camcorder was due in September and the good news is the price point of $1999 this sets the bar right smack in the lower end of the DSLR and can take Sony’s full rage of Pro lenses with an adapter and no doubt take Canon and Nikon lenses when an adapter is produced.

This in my opinion will take the feet away from the DSLR market and when we get the PRO versions we will see a serious decline in DSLR manufacture though Canon may have one more trick up it’s sleave…a parting shot like a 4 K DSLR to match REDs EPIC but then again pigs might fly.

With its included 18-200mm Image Stabilised lens f3.5-6.3, the Sony NEX-VG10 is the size of a prosumer camcorder. Theoretically, it could’ve been built to be just as small as its NEX camera siblings, but its bigger build and large top-mounted handle makes it more comfortable and versatile for shooting handheld video over long periods of time.

Sony has used this larger build to pack in a few more video-centric features—a microphone input, headphone output, an electronic viewfinder, two hot shoe ports (one compatible with Sony Alpha D-SLR accessories and a universal cold shoe for video accessories) and superior built-in stereo recording, which actually uses four cardioid microphones.

Two key elements will make video image quality from the NEX-VG10 superior to that of NEX cameras. First, the video recordings will pack in more data; the Sony NEX-5 offers 1080i60 HD recordings that display 17 megabits of data per second, while the VG10 will offer up to 24 megabits. Second, while recording video, the VG10 will let you control the aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and white balance. Basically, any adjustments you can make to still images on a NEX camera you can also make to video shot on the VG10, including controlling depth-of-field, the intensity of motion blur and adjusting color temperature.

Like the NEX cameras, the NEX-VG10 is compatible with Sony’s 21 Alpha lenses; but only three lenses are natively compatible. (The NEX-VG10 ships with an 18-200mm lens; 16mm and 18-55mm lenses are available separately). The remaining lenses require an additional $199 adapter and autofocus will not operate when using a lens with the adapter.

Unlike the NEX cameras, the NEX-VG10 camcorder does not shoot still images in the higher-quality RAW image format— it provides JPEG captures only. The VG10 features a Sony Alpha hot shoe for use with Alpha flashes; the NEX cameras only offer a proprietary port that have yet to feature any additional flash accessories. (The NEX-VG10 will also feature a universal cold shoe adapter for general universal attachments.) But the killer feature that the NEX-VG10 and the NEX cameras bring is blazing autofocus.

A traditional D-SLR can only offer fast autofocus when using the optical viewfinder; when switching to its LCD as a viewfinder, the D-SLR bypasses its mirror box and secondary image sensor, which drive its autofocus. In this operation, the D-SLR uses the main image sensor to display images on the LCD and process autofocus, which takes a few seconds. The NEX cameras (and its Micro Four Thirds competitors use faster processors to deliver quick autofocus.

The Sony NEX-VG10 camcorder (bundled with a 18-200mm lens) will be available for $1,999 in September.

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

Serious bug has prevented EPIC going into production

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RED may have shown off a working EPIC camera at NAB back in April, but a serious bug has prevented the camera from actually going into production — to the point which RED founder Jim Jannard himself says that they’re not just behind schedule anymore, they are “embarrassingly late.” He now says that the company has managed to nail the bug, however, and that the camera is back on track to head into production… sometime. Jannard also assures us that production of the Scarlet camera (also affected by the bug) will then follow, although that depends on “how fast we can get EPIC production rolling and solid” — he did later add that he expects it to be sometime before the end of the year, though.

I don’t doubt the quality of such a stunning stills-motion camera but I think if the Panasonic AF100 appears late October it will certainly take the edge off EPIC but will have also have a serious impact on Scarlet. Jim and his team have been struggling this last year to bring out EPIC and Scarlet and this “bug” seems to be intrinsic to both cameras telling me it’s a possible problem with the quality of the chip itself.

When Canon produced their first high quality 6MP chips they had no end of problems so much so that the same problems filtered into the marketplace causing Canon and their end users many sleepless nights.

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

The Glasgow Camcorder Centre “The End of an Era in Glasgow”

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

After 20 years on Great Western Road, in the heart of Glasgow’s fashionable West end the Glasgow Camcorder Centre  (GCC) closes it’s doors on the 23rd July 2010. From all accounts last year was a bad year financially, in fact things were so bad the shop could not continue a further year despite an upturn in business over the last two months.

I bought my first mini DV camcorder, the Sony VX-1000 during 1995 from the Glasgow Camcorder Centre…that was fifteen years ago. DV was the start of the big change both in broadcast and corporate video in fact good old broadcast as usual decided mini DV was not a broadcast standard…times don’t change nor does the snobbery within the broadcast industry.

The Glasgow Camcorder Centre was the place to go for all those nick nacks no one else bothered to stock like Sony’s 4 pin firewire cable, editing controllers, mini DV tape, standard DV tape, lens cleaners, Rycote wind jammers, Manfrotto camera plates, all sizes of batteries, AV cables, camera bags, camcorders from Sony, Panasonic and Canon.

I also bought my HDR1000 DV editing mains deck from GCC, all the boys got their kit from Bill…times were good not only for GCC but we all took to DV like ducks to water and the only place in town selling Sony DV kit was the GCC.

DV was an instant hit for the GCC and soon Queen Margaret Drive came knocking… the BBC had finally come to their senses and decided this upstart of a format (DV) was indeed good enough for broadcast work and started buying kit like it was going out of fashion, not using it for mainstream…yet…but as inserts to children’s programmes etc.

Yes those early days of mini DV brought a lot of customers to the shop and a new bigger fish was to enter…Education. With mini DV taking off it left a gap in the market for S-VHS camcorders and tape decks, no one was buying SVHS any more so it became heavily discounted and the education departments could not buy enough of the stock.

So what went wrong…firstly competition from down south, H Preston introduced part exchange, this took a lot of customers including myself and to be fair the GCC only stocked domestic and some semi Pro camcorders mainly Sony and Canon …so limiting the appeal of the professional marketplace. Another problem was that people would gleam information from the staff, buy the same model else ware saving £100 or so then go back to the shop, buy low profit accessories that the box pushers weren’t interested in stocking…a shameful practice.

The internet played it’s part with so called “companies” offering better discounts on video gear further eroding the shops appeal. Lastly the the BBC had moved away as did their business, education dried up, the internet was taking a lot of business and finally the 2009 recession came like the grim reaper destroying any 1920 x 1080 HD television sales dead in the water,…who wants to spend money on hi end televisions when your job is on the line.

Managing director Bill Forbes told me “After 19 good years of trading even the name went against us although we sell the latest LCD and plasma televisions people don’t associate the words Camcorder Centre with HD televisions”.

There are two stores one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh, Glasgow went big on Sony/Canon and Edinburgh sell Panasonic exclusively, the Edinburgh store continues to trade as normal while the Glasgow store closes on the 23rd of July 2010.

Is their a moral to this story…DV brought GCC a new type of customer in the way of professionalism from the wedding boys to the BBC but chose to stay semi pro and prices that were not competitive even to the extent of mini DV tape. I was using a fair amount of mini DV tape in the late 1990s so price was important, Bill could not touch the price I was getting for Sony DV tape, again I was having to source from down south nor could he compete with the likes of Preston’s and their part exchange scheme.

Strangely Sony have five arms one being domestic AV sales, Bill tried in the early days to get Sony to supply semi pro camcorders like the PMW-150 but in true Japanese logic you had to buy into a far bigger slice of the pro cake and Bill could not afford to go down that road.

As DV grew up to DVCAM so the new pro customers grew tired of the GCC and went their new ways mainly purchasing from down south, I am sad to be reporting the demise of a great institution like the Glasgow Camcorder Centre and the talented staff who are to be made redundant, in fact the moral of this story is that only a good shop can keep staff for 20 years service giving out good advice on video equipment they new inside out…unlike your big mainstream electrical stores !

Just a note if you live in the Glasgow area and are looking for some bargains… Glasgow Camcorder have some Sony kit for sale like this HDV 700 player with HDMI, component, 4 pin fire wire, composite out…YC and composite inputs….Also works with L or M Sony batteries. This unit is great for ingesting mini DV/HDV footage into your computer and can record as well.

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

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