Frank Glencairn talks about the demise of the VDSLR

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Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I think so.

As an answer on my last article VDSLR – R.I.P. Phillip Bloom wrote an interesting response:

I cannot disagree more and I am someone who will most likely buy the new Panny.
I have written a long blog about this called Future of DSLRs
There will always be a market. The price point won’t compare. He Canon most likely won’t be cheap either. There is room for both. I guarantee it.

Since Philip is THE GO TO guy when it comes down to VDSLRs – and there is probably no one out there, who knows more about shooting video on still cameras – I looked at my article again and at his commend, to see if I was on the wrong track.
I also checked Philip´s article “The future of video DSLRs” again.

Is VDSLR really about to extinct? I still think so.
Not for the mass market but for the filmmakers.

Philip, nobody preached the gospel of VDSLR more than you and god knows, I really love, admire and respect your work. But – as I said – I believe it was only the beginning, like the beginning of the revolution was the DVX. Sure it´s still around, but who would buy a new one today (if you can find one) when you get a much better tool for the same price.

As some guy on Stu´s Prolost blog said:

“The problem we feel: Canon doesn’t seem to target film/video makers (like Us) with its stills camera, nor listen to Our expectations (i trully share the frustration)… but why should they listen? People easily forget that the video mode of the DSLR is just an option. Canon is not selling 5Ds saying: “The camera you need for your pro-video work”…Instead, they’d better come up with a real pro-video-camera…..via their well established video/broadcast department dedicated to TV & video professionals.”

Of course there will be more HD VDSLRs in the future. (The new GH2 is a good example) In 5 years probably every still camera will be able to do what the 5D does today. But they will not be used by filmmakers. Why should they?

Moire will still be a problem because of OLP Filters made for stills. Same goes to aliasing (thou maybe they can fix that with faster processing and real downscaling in the future). But at the same time there will be tons of real video cameras, with the same or even better imagers, better quality (Panasonic is only the first) and with all the bells and whistles you have to ether add (like extra boxes for decent sound,) or have to work around on DSLRs.

Barry Green is not working with the DVX anymore and so will Shane Hurlbut not be working with a 5D (or the next, better DSLR mouse trap) n 5 years.

The AF-100 is officially listed at $4,995. In a year from now you can get it for a street price of $4500 or even less. This is way cheaper as the original DVX or HVX200 was.
For that you get a camera with XLR, phantom power, ND-Filters, SDI, full HD HDMI out for monitoring (while recording), Zebras, viewfinder, andwhatnot.

So $1500 for a 5D body
+BeachTek DXA SLR $400
+three ND filters $300
+Black Magic HDMI to SDI converter $500
+Viewfinder/Loupe $300
+Full HD HDMI out (priceless)

Almost $3000 – and you come not close to the features of a AF-100

Focus in red Assist – while recording
Line/Mic selectable
Variable frame rates in 20 steps,
P2/AVCCAM Metadata
Two card slots
Professional image controls
Filmlike Cinegamma gamma curves
Color-matched with other Panasonic professional cameras, such as the VariCams
Continuous recording capacity of over 12 hours in economy mode, and continuous recording of six hours in best-quality mode on a single card
Complete freedom from overheating
Colored Focus Assist that can be used while recording
Face-detection autofocus that can track focus on a moving face
Peaking/EVF DTL
Waveform Monitor
aspect ratio markings – 16:9, 4:3, 14:9, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1
Film-style variable shutter angles from 1 to 360 degrees, which track automatically with the variable frame rates to always provide consistent motion blur
SMPTE color bar generator
A much more robust recording format (AVCCAM PH mode) which is more resilient and better than the h.264 on the DSLRs
Greatly improved rolling shutter performance
Ability to take any PL-mount lens
Ability to take c-mount cinema lenses
Remote iris/focus/start/stop controller sockets
manual black balance

And this is only the AF-100 – others will follow.

This market is changing faster than we are able to save money for our gear. In 5 years there will be a new generation of cameras at Scarlet form factor – something between a DSLR and a HVX. Fast and light wight like a DSLR, but without all the workarounds and limitations. So why on earth should someone still use a limited DSLR (besides of money or stealth reasons)?

One doesn´t need a crystal ball to see that coming.

Having said that – I´m gonna shooting a commercial tomorrow – with a 5D.

Frank Glencairn

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

3D Wedding Highlights using the Panasonic HDC-SDT750

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Today I filmed my first Wedding Highlights in 3D using the Panasonic SDT750. This was indeed a challenge as I have little to no knowledge of 3D and how it works…which on reflection may have been a good thing, here’s why. Sometimes when you are too knowledgeable about the camera you are using you can waste a lot of time changing switches, being generally pernickety and loosing as many shots in the process.

When you use the domestic SDT750 the first and most important job is to set up the 3D Conversion lens. This is done by rotating three dials within the Conversion lens itself, the camcorder walks you through the easy 3 steps to ensure you get a clean, crisp, correctly aligned 3D picture.

As you can see from the front of the Conversion lens it has 2 rectangular holes, these produce the precise double image needed to make 3D pictures. This is why you cannot use the 10x zoom lens as by the action of zooming would drastically change the parallax.

Not one person at the wedding questioned the size of the 3D camcorder nor it’s strange looks but these ghosts remain fixed in some videographers heads who insist on using shoulder mount camcorders. George was using a relatively new Sony NX5 camcorder which he is delighted with and produces an HD wedding package that if requested gets burned onto Blu-ray.

The Sony NX5 is becoming the de-facto wedding camcorder as it produces clean pictures onto SDHC solid state memory cards. George was fascinated with the Panasonic SDT750 3D camcorder and can see the extra dimension that such a tool could enhance to his wedding armoury.

When filming with the SDT750 it’s important to remember…

Firstly it’s a domestic 3D camcorder so you don’t get full manual control of the camera while filming.

You only get a wide shot as the 10x zoom is disabled.

Get yourself a stick on Rycote patch for the 5.1 mic on top of the camcorder to prevent wind noise.

Use a pair of headphones firstly to listen to the sound and secondly to prevent camera noises as the camcorder is plastic and can produce handling noise.

Get at least 1 extra spare battery.

Editing…there is a short supply of editing packages for 3D at the moment but you can do some minor editing “in-camera”. Panasonic also supply basic PC editing software and Sony Vegas Pro 10 now ships with 3D editing as standard but once again PC only.
If you are a Mac person like myself you could install Windows 7 via boot camp that would at lease get Vegas on your system.

I had a lot of fun using the Panasonic SDT750 and the 3D effect is truly stunning, this camcorder can produce an amazing picture on a 50″ 3D plasma and is the way forward for domestic 3D. I will be showing my 26 minutes of 3D footage at the ProVideo show in Coventry on the 13-14th October just behind the IOV membership stand. My thanks to George and Maurine of GMW Wedding Productions for letting me hook onto their wedding.

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

A Tutorial with a difference

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

ProVideo 2010 13-14th October Ricoh Arena Coventry

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

New version of FxFactory and SUGARfx Lens Pack $99

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In case you are far to lazy… you can access Noise Industries by clicking on this link…

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

RedRock micro with their £595 microEVF electronic viewfinder for the DSLR

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The microEVF is the first electronic viewfinder designed from the ground up specifically for HDSLR cameras. The microEVF is not just a bulky repurposed LCD monitor: It is designed specifically for the needs of HDSLR emphasizing compact lightweight design, superior power consumption, and incredible affordability.

The popularity of HDSLRs such as the Canon 5D MKII for video and motion photography has skyrocketed in recent years, but the camera body is not ideal for video. The first generation of solutions for monitoring currently available –attaching an optical viewfinder to the back of the camera’s LCD screen –severely limit placement of the viewfinder and camera body and eliminate possibility of using additional monitors for camera assistants or directors. The new Redrock microEVF is an external electronic viewfinder that connects to the camera body and can be placed anywhere for maximum comfort and stability, and can be part of a multi-monitoring solution. The microEVF uses a custom made state-of-the-art backlit LED fitted in an attractive, ergonomic housing.

The microEVF is not limited to HDSLR cameras: it can be used on any video camera that provides HDMI output.

microEVF Features

Compact, lightweight electronic viewfinder
High resolution full-color display – greater resolution than the rear LCD on Canon EOS camera bodies
Fully coated optics
Adjustable focusing diopter
Built-in HDMI passthrough for supporting additional monitors
Oversized soft rubber cinema-style eyecup
standard HDMI input connector
Industry-standard 15mm rod pin: Viewfinder positioning infinitely configurable with Redrock support accessories
Lightweight design requires minimal support – can be mounted from lower rails, top rails, or shoe-mounted rails
Compatible with any HDSLR or videocamera that provides HDMI out (5D MKII, 7D, T2i, 1D MKIV, Nikon D3s, Nikon D3100, Nikon D7000, Panasonic AF100, etc.)
microEVF Advanced Electronic Assist Features*

additional features to be announced
microEVF Technical Specifications*

HDMI connection
1.2m total dots
Backlit LED, very low power requirements
Internal battery lasts 10+ continuous hours of operation
Weight: less than 6 ounces
Pricing and availability

Estimated $595 for the complete EVF – unlike other solutions with hidden costs, does not require additional viewfinder loupe.
Availability to be announced

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

What Format will come out on top !

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Once again Beta v VHS has raised it’s ugly head …this time it’s solid state…P2 v SxS. HD is now catching on in broadcast land and the BBC are specifying more programmes must be shot in HD now that’s fine, the BBC as usual are playing catch up with the independent producers like myself who have been producing HD programmes for over two years now.

The main criteria for all broadcast HD work is 4:2:2 50Mbs minimum spec. camcorders like the new Canon XF305. Canon have caught many other manufacturers snoozing with their astute marketing plan, these camcorders are game changers and the BBC are in the process of buying well over fifty of these Canon camcorders alone.

The Canon’s will be good for fly on the wall, inserts into children’s programmes etc. but most serious DPs are not going to give this camcorder a second glance…so whats the options ?

Surprisingly, there seems to be a two horse race between Sony and Panasonic, both vying for the coveted broadcast market. We have two formats in the running…Panasonic P2 or Sony SxS. Once again Sony have been sleeping and have lost a lot of ground to Panasonic recently with Sky adopting P2 as their main solid state ingest for filming and editing. Taggert made by Scottish Television has recently moved over to P2 leaving the BBC with no clear road other than the new Canon camcorders.

Is it good to pin yourself to one format…good question and one as an independent producer I have already taken, SxS is my preferred option for one main reason…it’s far more flexible. I do not want a format that solely relies on P2 cards nor do I rely on SxS cards because Sony unwittingly allowed an independent producer of card adapters to produce the MxM card adapter (Now the MxR card) that takes easy to source SDHC cards.

You can always source SDHC cards but try getting P2 or SxS cards in the middle of Africa…not only that but SDHC cards are now so cheap you can use them as archive…everything you film on P2 has to be archived onto a server simply because you need the cards back in the pool for the next days shoot.

So why has Panasonic scored so big with Sky Television, Sky had to make a choice and to be fair Panasonic had a ready made 2/3″ solution with the now dated HPX500 camcorders and P2 players, Sony put a lot of time and effort into the optical disc which was not as popular as solid state.

Sony once again have come to the starting line with a product to knock your socks off the PMW-500 but it’s a few month too late, the 4:2:2 50Mbs SxS camcorder has all the right broadcast qualifications but the price is prohibitive at £20K plus lens and viewfinder. I have no doubt that if Sony had the PMW-500 twelve months ago Sky may not have gone P2.

During IBC 2010 in Amsterdam Panasonic announced the HPX3100 2/3″ P2 camcorder which is a tad less than Sony’s £20K and also less spec than the PMW-500 but it’s down to brass tacks these days and in the broadcast world every penny counts.

How does this help the independent producer who has HD programming to produce next year let alone the DPs who have to kit themselves out…well take a tip from me, wait a couple of months…Sony have come to the race late but I think we shall see some aggressive marketing and if I were Sony I would reduce the price of the 500 down to £16K with a viewfinder…let the DPs determine the future of solid state, if enough DPs buy into one format people like the BBC will have no option but to adopt the favoured independent HD format.

Speaking to a few DPs over the last two days we all came to the definitive answer and that is for the edit houses to make sure they can accommodate all card inputs from CF, SDHC to SxS and P2, one company supplies a unit that takes the most common cards used today including P2 and SxS…that’s the Qio MR from Sonnet.

Key Features

Replaces Multiple Card Readers—Comprehensive card compatibility with support for Sony® SxS™, CompactFlash®, Panasonic® P2, and SDXC™ cards (with included adapter)
Fast—Uses PCI Express® bus interface to deliver far superior performance over ordinary internal card readers with USB interface; aggregate bandwidth of 200 MB/sec.
Versatile—Supports a wide variety of ExpressCard®/34 and CardBus adapter cards, including Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, USB, FireWire®, and more
Built-In SATA Connections—Integrated, fast SATA host controller based on Tempo™ SATA E4P with four eSATA ports supports SATA drive enclosures with up to 20 drives total

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

Sony NEX-VG10 “Problem Solved”

Categories: Miscellaneous 10 Comments

Something does not compute, up until today I have had nothing but fantastic quality from my Sony NEX-VG10 and I put that down to filming progressive till you read the Electronic manual and it clearly tells you that this camcorder films 1920 x 1080 50i and todays shots were indeed 1080 50i because they had the famous jaggies you only get with interlaced footage.

Yesterday (Friday) however my footage was jaggie free and looked progressive…now the only clue we get here is Sony’s strange reference to 720p in the AVCHD part of the manual. Why the need to mention 720p if the equipment does not record in 720p or does it ?

As yet I cannot account for my two distinctive qualities…one with and one without jaggies. I will update this post if I get an answer to this puzzle.

UPDATE…Note that like the SLD cameras, the 60 / 50i video is created from 30 / 25p sensor output.

Originally Posted:

FURTHER UPDATE SOLVED…It seems what I am seeing is MOIRE due to the subject matter. I was not aware until I filmed roof tops over Edinburgh but this camera suffers from moire as can be clearly demonstrated on roof slates.

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Sony NEX-VG10 lens comparison

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This is the lens that ships with the Sony NEX VG10 the 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 manual zoom lens. I find this lens very useful indeed it is definitely the right lens for the job, a very sharp lens I may add. The 200mm end gives you some stunning shallow depth of field shots. I can’t quite get away with the dynamic range of colours this camcorder produces from deep blacks to pillar box red to very true skin tones.

The camcorder records at full 1920 x 1080 25p this has been confusing me of late as Sony are very cagey about telling us what this camera records on, they even print 1080 50i on the box but the first pictures on the LCD tell you we are filming in progressive.

This is the “Pancake” 16mm f2.8 lens to be quite honest you are only loosing 1 stop between the 18-200 at f3.5 and 16mm at f2.8mm so we don’t get to see what it can achieve in true low light conditions. The optical qualities of the 16mm lens are as good as the 18-200. There is an “A” mount converter LA-EA1 which converts from the “E” mount to the “A” mount. You have a vast range of lenses for the Sony “A” mount system and some mega sexy f1.4 ZEISS T* lenses.

The 16mm E lens has the ability to be converted from 16mm to 10mm fisheye, now as you can see this is mega wide. My only observation is that it’s optical properties are not as good as leaving the 16mm without the converter but as a throw away shot in a wedding it would be fantastic.

During my mammoth corporate edit this week I had the occasion to need further footage of people walking in a town centre so I used the VG10 and the shots were converted from 1080 25p down to 720 50p and no one will be any the wiser plus the shots are very punchy indeed. I must thank Ian one of Preston Media customers who was very kind in bringing his NEX-5 lenses with him…16mm and WA converter.

I am warming to this camcorder the more I use it and I hope to film a video review at the beginning of the week for posting ASAP.

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

Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder “First Play” £1,300

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Like the local bus route when you are not looking for a bus along comes two, this happened with the recent delivery from H Preston Media I not only got the long awaited Sony NEX-VG10 but also the Panasonic domestic 3D camcorder. My priority has been to review the VG10 then the 3D camcorder.

Yesterday I had a play with the 3D camera and I did not realise that you have to align the 3D part at the front, fortunately I only shot about 30s worth of footage to see it back to realise there was something seriously wrong with the 3D picture. It’s quite easy as it’s almost like registering a video tube camera…that’s something that was done regularly about 20 years ago.

Once you have aligned the 3D head the rest is child’s play…now you have to understand 2 important rules about filming 3D.

1. Everything is shot at the same focal length in other words you cant use the zoom as it is disabled so you are restricted to one wide shot.

2. 3D depends on the subject matter if you are going to achieve a good 3D image you have to think foreground…3D looks far more impressive if you show something in the foreground…that gives it depth.

The camcorder is childsplay beyond the initial 3D head setup. I filmed my dog walking friends this morning and we noticed a large amount of spiders webs due to the type of morning. It was a tad misty therefore causing all the invisible spiders webs to become visible. Watching the footage back I was stunned by the depth of the spiders web and when I filmed two together you could perceive one in front of the other, fantastic.

This one £1,300 domestic 3D camcorder from Panasonic will in my opinion make the 3D plasma a worth while investment. I have not had much time to look at the instruction book so far so I don’t know if you can copy the footage as non 3D footage or if you can burn a Blu-Ray that will playback 3D from a 3D Blu-Ray player.

I think this camcorder will spark the imagination of young families who want to impress their friends with the latest in technology, 3D like it or loth it is here to stay and that’s mainly thanks to the introduction of the affordable Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder.

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

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