Sony trailer of the new FS700

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

Canon 5D Mk111 v Nikon D800

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

NAB 2012…The story so far…Sony

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So far we have only had Sony’s declaration, three cameras from the FS700 at 4K to the PMW-100 50MBps and the HXR-NX30. I will start with the weekest in my opinion the NX-30.

Sony seem to have this passion for building small cameras and an even stranger fettish for developing semi pro cameras from their domestic line up, the NX-30 comes with a projector built in. I may be wrong but do we really need a tiny projector on a semi pro video camera ?

The PMW-100 is far more interesting with its 4:2:2, 50Mbps, SxS…although for those of us who are cash strapped there is an alternative XQD card which is about £170 on the web, though it still does not compare to £70 for a 32G CF card that the Canon cameras use and CF cards are more accessible worldwide.

The big announcement is the NEX-FS700 with some very interesting new features not to mention the upgradable 4K output to a dedicated Sony 4K recorder.

The 10x Full HD slow motion will be a very useful feature and the camera finally sports an HD-SDI socket. We also see the addition of 3 sets of ND making this camera finally fit for purpose and the new handle design is also very welcome.

Once again Japan drives the “need” for 4K yet there is a very limited amount of 4K production houses in the UK let alone monitors to view 4K onto. It’s become obvious to all of us in the video line that 3D has not taken off so the boys in Japan are now driving 4K as the next big, must have format.

Will 4K be enough to persuade you to part with the best part of £6,634 not to mention the possibility of a paid 4K FW upgrade then a dedicated 4K recorder and media ?

Remember 4K is fine if the 4K picture is truly stunning but some of the tech boys I have been speaking to are worried that Sony are asking far too much from the Super 35mm sensor and noise may be an issue, especially at lower light levels. Sony do not tend to disappoint when it comes to video pictures so I am confident that the picture will be stunning…my man at NAB will tell me next week.


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

Sony PMW-100 (€4000 Euros) Pre NAB

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1/2.9-inch type Exmor CMOS sensor for uncompromising full HD image capture

The PMW-100 is equipped with a 1/2.9-inch type Exmor CMOS sensor, providing super low-light sensitivity with a low noise level, enabling the camcorder to capture beautiful pictures while remaining light weight and compact.

MPEG 422 / 420 HD and SD recordings ensure compatibility with existing XDCAM work flows

The PMW-100 supports both MPEG 422 and 420 recording modes, so footage can be easily intercut with material shot by either opticalor memory-based XDCAM and XDCAM EX camcorders. The PMW-100 also supports both UDF and FAT shooting modes on SxS cards so you can use existing XDCAM and XDCAM EXwork flows.

Large 3.5-inch WVGA (852×480) LCD panel

The PMW-100 is equipped with a large, easy-to-read, 3.5-inch WVGA colour LCD panel. This higher resolution LCD panel helps you to make more precise focusing adjustments as well asto read the status and markers displayed onthe LCD panel. When this LCD panel is not being used, it is placed above the lens so it’s out of the way when carrying the camcorder.

Over 4 hours continuous recording with two 64 GB SxS memory cards

The PMW-100 uses Sony’s renowned high-speedSxSExpressCard recording media. The PMW-100has two SxS card slots which support both SxSProand SxS-1 recording media. Using a singleSxS-1 64 GB memory card, you can record approximately120 minutes of 50 Mbps HD422 video.Using 64 GB SxS cards in both SxS slots enables you to record approximately 240 minutes ofvideo. While recording to one card, you can exchange the other full SxS card for an empty one. In case of an emergency, a Memory Stick*, SDCard* or XQD can be used as alternative recording media in the PMW-100 with the appropriate memory card adaptor.

*FAT mode only

Sony is the first to support the recently adopted XQD specification for high-speed, high performance digital image capture. With blazing fast data transfer speeds (up to 1GBps/125MB/s), Sony’s XQD Memory Card achieves stable, continuous shooting to capture each moment in the highest quality. Average price for a 32G card is £170 that compares favourably to a similar 32G SxS card at £390.

Slow and quick motion recordings

The PMW-100 offers over-cranking and under-cranking,which enables photographers to createslow- and fast-motion visual effects in-camera. Withthis Slow & Quick Motion function, images are recorded natively with no padded frames and at full resolution. The quality of the slow- and fast-motion images created in-camera is significantly higher than those created through an editing process.

Lens controls for greater versatility

Focusing and zooming are manually controlled using the focus/zoom ring. Also, the exposure level can be manually controlled using an exposure control dial. A wide conversion lens is also available for close range shooting.

Instant shooting with video buffer

Never be caught off guard and miss a critical shot. The PMW-100 will start recording within 3.5 seconds after turning the power on. Also, cache recording enables you to constantly buffer a 15-second video loop in camera. When you press the record button, the loop is written to the SxS card while normal recording begins.

SD operation

The PMW-100 supports DVCAM recording as well as MPEG HD recording. The file formatin DVCAM recording mode is selectable from either MXF or AVI, and most non-linear editing systems accept these files. The PMW-100 is also equipped with an i.LINK interface and ingestto non-linear editing systems can be done via the i.LINK (DV) interface as well.

Multi-camera operation

The PMW-100 is equipped with Genlock input and time code input/output (selectable) in order to support multiple camera operation. Video from the cameras (e.g. through SDI) can be connected to a switcher for live switching. Or the recorded content on the camcorders can be edited with a non-linear editing system that offers a multi-camera editing function.

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

Sony NEX-FS700 2K camera with 4K capability (€8,600 Euros) Pre NAB

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Finally Sony have something to shout about, the NEX-FS700 is a 2K camera with a 4K capability. Sony is planning a future firmware upgrade that will enable the NEX-FS700 to output 4K bit-stream data over 3G HD-SDI when used with an optional Sony 4K recorder. Gemini production should be stepped up now !

We asked for it and Sony produced it…a set of NDs from 1/4 to 1/64th, it’s amazing what engineers can do when they put their minds to it, this is a long overdue addition to the FS camcorder range and in my opinion should have been in version one !

The second bug bear with the FS100 was the handle, this looks to be a far better design let alone more sturdy, capable of the rough and tumble of daily use. Although you can’t see it Sony have also introduced an HD-SDI socket with the FS700.

I do wish Sony would get away from that silver domestic lens stuck on the front of the FS700 when they have such a choice of “A” glass used with a Sony A – E adapter a nice bit of Ziess would look fantastic.

You can see where Sony are going with the updated F3 if the FS700 is anything to go by…at about £8,200 this is a severe hike on the last model but having a 4K capability that might just be a price worth paying for some of you.

Sony is pushing the creative boundaries once more with the new NEX-FS700 Full-HD Super Slow Motion camcorder, the latest in Sony’s line-up of NXCAM interchangeable E-mount camcorders. The new Super 35mm model is designed for high-speed shooting and is capable of capturing footage at up to 960 frames per second. The camcorder also features a range of capabilities such as 3G HD-SDI output and built-in ND filters. Additionally, it also offers several creative options, shooting styles and enhanced ergonomics – all based on customer feedback – to deliver a flexible production tool that fits seamlessly into a variety of shooting applications.

“The NEX-FS700 opens the door to a new world of creative shooting,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Sony Europe. “You can record beautiful high speed Full-HD movies with the freedom of choosing interchangeable lenses. The NEX-FS700, with its super slow motion mode, is ideal for pop promos, commercials and documentaries as well as sports and a variety of events productions.”

The camcorder delivers Full-HD quality images at 120 and 240 frames per second in an 8 or 16 seconds burst mode respectively. The NEX-FS700’s high sensitivity and low noise shooting capability makes super slow motion shooting more convenient without additional equipment.  480 fps and 960 fps rates at reduced resolution are available for faster frame rate recording.

The NEX-FS700 camcorder uses a new 4K “Exmor” Super 35 CMOS sensor (total 11.6 million pixels). This high-speed readout chip is optimised for motion picture shooting, giving high sensitivity, low noise and minimal aliasing.

The NXCAM’s E-Mount flexibility is designed to accept virtually all SLR and DSLR 35mm lenses, with the use of simple, inexpensive adapters without optical degradation. FS series owners can make use of their existing lenses and add more lenses without being forced on a brand or mount.

Users can capture high-quality still images with the NEX-FS700. The camcorder also includes face detection and auto focus to help ensure the subject is always kept in focus.

NEX-FS700 operators can take advantage of the camcorder’s built-in ND filters, with a newly designed wheel that rotates across the sensor like a turret. The wheel includes positions for Clear, 1/4 (2 Stop), 1/16 (4 Stop), and 1/64 (6 Stop).

The camcorder is 60/50Hz switchable to give people the freedom of working in any geographic region without being restricted to only PAL or NTSC recording.

The NEX-FS700’s 3GHD-SDI and HDMI connectors can output Full-HD 50p and 60p, in addition to standard HD 60i, 24p, 25p or 30p frame rates with embedded time code and audio. 3G HD-SDI can output native 23.98, 25, 29.97 progressive signals; users can choose to output PsF over the 3G HD-SDI. Thanks to flexibility of the digital ports virtually any external recorder can be connected.

Users can save up to 99 camcorder profile settings on a memory card and can copy the same setting to multiple units. Compatible media includes MS and SD memory cards and Sony’s HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit that attaches to the camcorder.

The NEX-FS700 features include a robust detachable top handle, secured by a pair of screws (a cold shoe, plus two sets of 1/4 and 3/8 inch holes) that allow heavy accessories to be mounted. The handle is attached with a rosette mount.

A key element of the handle is an “active grip” that features four buttons for commonly used functions – expanded focus, auto iris, still capture and Recording Start/Stop – so users can easily operate the camcorder while holding it. Function buttons are also enlarged to make operating easy, even while wearing gloves.

The camcorder’s enhanced durable design also includes anchor points for compatibility with third party accessories.

Sony is planning a future firmware upgrade that will enable the NEX-FS700 to output 4K bit-stream data over 3G HD-SDI when used with an optional Sony 4K recorder.

The NEX-FS700 is planned to be available in June 2012.

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

VariDof at NAB 2012

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Revolutionary VariDoF (TM) Camera to be shown at NAB 2012 

As professional camcorder sales become more and more dominated by large sensor cameras designed to emulate the aesthetically pleasing shallow DoF (depth of field) normally associated with 35mm film, we’ve learned that Sony have recently licensed and implemented a revolutionary new technology called VariDoF.

The acronym stands for Variable Depth oField and through the combination of a super high resolution 65mm CMOS sensor, sophisticated secondary optics and a custom-manufactured RISC processing engine the system is able to seamlessly vary the effective sensor area, and therefore Depth of Field in real-time without the need to change lens or aperture…

Here is a schematic illustration of how the VariDoF system works:

VariDoF(TM) Schematic

This means that just as a DoP can today pull-focus or aperture, with a VariDoF camera it is now possible to ‘pull DoF‘ too, thus opening up a whole new dimension of creative possibilities.

Sony VariDoF Prototype Camcorder (PMW-V350)

The prototype camera looks like a PMW-350, however it is distinguished by a slightly elongated sensor block housing and VariDoF control port.The effective sensor size can be accessed and preset through the camera’s internal menu system. Preset sizes are 1/3″, 1/2″, 2/3″, s16, s35 and 65mm. A VDC-R1 remote controller can be connected to the VariDoF port to provide a precise control surface for real-time DoF control.

To vary the DoF the secondary lens system adjusts the lens’ area of projection whilst the active area of the CMOS sensor is simultaneously varied to match. Focus is tracked simultaneously so that the operator’s preset focus point is maintained.

Click HERE to view a demonstration of ‘Pulling DoF’

Here are some frame-grabs from the video:

Frame grabs from VariDoF video demonstration of ‘Pulling DoF’

The prototype camera featured a Sony 2/3″ B4 type lens mount, meaning that the camera could natively accommodate a wide range of ENG, EFP and Cine-Style lenses. Sony tell us that their adaptation of the VariDoF technology incorporates an inter-changeable lens mount system so that it can accept any lens from 1/3″ to PL mount with the secondary lens system compensating automatically for the different projected image sizes (via a menu setting).

Sony haven’t specified the resolution of their 65mm CMOS sensor, however they have confirmed that it can deliver a native 2K resolution in 1/3″ mode and would be able to resolve over 16K in 65mm mode if the recording medium and processing engine could handle it.

The VariDoF technology is the property of  VariDoF Corporation Inc. and has not been licensed to Sony exclusively, therefore expect to see a whole host of other manufacturers ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ to deliver VariDoF cameras in the near future (If they’re not doing so already.

For further information see the website or visit the NAB Show in Las Vegas later this month.

Written by Phil Baxter from CVP

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

Sony’s 8K PMW-F7 (£16,000)

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There are rumours of a Sony 4K camcorder called the FS700 flying all over the net and some interesting miss information as well, I have it from a source deep in the heart of Sony itself that we are about to witness not only a 4K FS700 but an 8K PMW-F7.

Sony have lost a ton of sales to Canon and are looking at throwing down the gauntlet with their new PMW-F7 8K sensor camcorder.

This baby will have 4:4:4, 12bit, 8K full frame sensor, at first it will only record 4K but with a paid firmware upgrade coming in June 2012 you will be able to record 8K onto an external recorder, this is also a direct hit at the ARRI Alexa and RED.

This holds problems with people using Nikon lenses that are not full frame FX lenses as you will get vignetting if you don’t use FX lenses or better still 4K PL glass.

It uses a new recording format called the “G” card, the “G” card will record at 150 Mbps and comes in 500G and 1TB sizes. Sony have a tentative price of G.500 @ £650 and the G.T1 @ £900. We are looking at about 40mins of footage onto a 500G card.

Sony have also struck a deal with Canon and developed the EF-F7.001 adapter that will allow Canon L glass only but with full electronic control of the iris and IS part of the lens if it has IS built in (June 2012), the reason for this is that the camera has digital handshaking between the lens, adapter and the camera so third party vendors will not be able to offer adapters for the F7. An electronic  Nikon adapter will be available in July 2012.

This news is earth shattering but the cost will be around the £16K mark so not a camera many of us will be affording but the quality will be astounding. In true Sony fashion the camera will down convert to 4K or 2K via USB3 or a Thunderbolt port. This is also the first camera to have Apples Thunderbolt technology built in.

The F7 does not ship with a viewfinder, like the PMW-500, but two hi res viewfinders will be available at the time of shipping, one being the conventional viewfinder as seen on the PMW-350 costing around £2000 and a higher spec cinematic type viewfinder costing £3500.

Update. This will also work with the Sony SR-R1 portable recording system compatible with any camera, camcorder, and other equipment with an HD-SDI interface, including the PMW-F3, PMW-F7, F35 and SRW-9000PL.

A Sony Cretanology tour will be arranged during July 2012 showing off the new FS700 and PMW-F7,

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

Filming a web commercial with the Canon C300

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Today we were in Edinburgh filming a web commercial for the Football Nation as part of my Canon C300 DVD.

After my Ice Cream shoot I discovered the on board mic holder to be a real pain, the holder itself being totally non standard, in other words the diameter is far bigger than it should be causing major problems with all my short shotgun mics as they are far too thin and need bulking up to fit in the holder. This caused me no end of problems with my Ice Cream shoot so I got to work on an alternative.

Simple…a micro magic arm with one of Rycote’s InVision Video suspension shock mounts and a bespoke XLR lead, works a treat, there is a 1/4″ tripod thread on the camera handle just the job for a magic arm.

Scott my lad was filming me with the Canon XF100 to make sure you get a blow by blow account of what we were up to.

The Glidetrack Hybrid slider worked a treat with the Canon C300 I used various lenses from the Canon 60mm macro lens to the 16mm Tokina wide angle lens, I had no issues using the C300 on the slider other than having to remove my Genus rig beforehand and having to replace my Miller tripod plate for a Manfrotto plate.

So that was us… in an Edinburgh sports shop for three hours producing a web commercial, I also used the Miller Solo legs to get an exceptional high shot and used the Zacuto EVF to monitor the pictures.

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

Our man in NAB 2012 (Updated)

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Although I won’t be at NAB 2012 myself we have a spy in the camp, he who should not be mentioned will be sending me up to the minute information regarding Sony, Canon, Panasonic and JVC.

What we do know is….Sony , Canon, Panasonic and JVC will all be showing off new cameras this year but what specs and pricing remains a mystery.

Sony…Sony are due to update the EX range of cameras and the NX-5 is looking tired, they also need to address the F3 @ 35Mbps because its now loosing sales over the Canon C300. Update. Since writing this I have actually seen what Sony are bringing out at NAB this year and there are a few surprises but I cannot divulge any information till the 3rd of April.

The one thing that is not embargoed is the new firmware for the Sony NX-70, they seem to have overcome the juddery zoom and it looks like we are getting smooth variable zoom control, I think this FW will be released during NAB 2012.

Canon…Canon are on a roll but need to be careful because the C300 is out selling all large sensor cameras in the UK alone, and for the first time in history the UK is outselling the USA. It looks like Canon will show their “C” badged DSLR but if its 4K as predicted could knock C300 sales if Canon don’t get the marketing right.

I think we may also see a 1/2″ 305 with interchangeable lenses as it’s the 1/3″ sensor that lets this camera down for full BBC HD approval.

Panasonic…Panasonic are not due to update the AF101 but many of us are predicting they will show off an August release AF301 with the same processing as seen in the HPX-250 with 4:2:2, AVC Intra and that all important 10bit and a change over to P2.

JVC…JVC will be showing off a further updated 4K camcorder with interchangable  Nikon lens mount.

Finally someone is listening to us… for cameras like the Canon C300 that does not come with a microphone I have been looking for an alternative…a short light alternative, like the new Sony ECM-MS2, it might not be the highest spec mic in the world but as a good old camera mic it will do me fine…SOLD. (€270 euros). Available from April.

Once again this NAB looks to be a cracking show and with all these new cameras the HD Warrior blog will be red hot reporting on all of them and I look forward to reviewing some of them during the year.

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

The C300 and the Ice Cream Factory for “You and your Canon C300”

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Today we were finishing filming at the Crolla Ice Cream Factory and the shot of the day came from a wee room tucked away that stores the mixes that they add to the ice cream like raspberry ripple.

I noticed a lady going into the room yesterday and when I saw the array of vibrant yellows and reds it got my mind racing. I had already shot in the factory itself yesterday and they were producing raspberry ripple ice cream in various tub sizes.

I needed a way to introduce the mixing of the ice cream and the raspberry plus add some form of dynamic shot within the short promo video and the “mix” room held the key.

I planted two 600W LED lights behind the mixtures but the white light destroyed the effect I was looking for so I added red and yellow gells to the lights and then added a third camera light at the back and lay a blue gel on top of it.

The effect was stunning and is the shot of the video I was using my Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 lens for the close up and the wide shot was at the 16mm end of my 16-55mm f2.8 Canon EFS lens. The Canon C300 performed like a dream and I will upload the “Ice Cream Factory” when I have finished the edit.

This is part of the “You and your Canon C300” DVD that I am producing and I have Scott and Susan filming me using the C300 giving you hints and tips as I go through the shoot. On Thursday we head to Edinburgh to film a web commercial for a sports shop using the C300 once again Scott will film my every move.

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

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