SONY PMW-EX30 firmware upgrade “A must if using SDHC adaptors”

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There is a new firmware upgrade that was announced at NAB 2010 but is only being implemented now and mainly affects the use of SDHC cards but adds the ability to be able to use 32Gig SxS cards. If you have an EX-30 and use it as a recorder read on…

I have a colleague who mainly films theatre shows using an EX-30, EX3 and an NX5. He runs the HD SDI cables out of the cameras into a Panasonic HS400A HD SDI switcher then an HD-SDI cable into the EX-30. This gives him fantastic picture quality and keeps the wide shot sharp as the SDI cables have no loss in signal over 100 meters. His achilles heal was the EX-30 …although sticking to Transend 16G SDHC cards via SxS adaptors latterly  he was getting error messages about the cards needing restored or needing formatted.

This nearly cost him the 2nd half of a theatre show and came to me pulling his hair out. I told him there was a firmware update for the EX-30 which brought the SDHC cards into line as they were not officially recomended media in firmware v.1. He took his machine along to Mitcorp in Glasgow where he had purchased it and they updated the firmware for about £130.

Since the update he has had no recurring error messages and as he told me “£130 well spent”. So if you have an EX-30 and use SDHC card adaptors I must recommend the new firmware update otherwise you will be stuck if someone brings you a 32G SxS card as it won’t play it. As a further note H Preston Media have just had all their current stock of EX-30s updated this week so if you are thinking of buying one from anyone other than H Preston Media ask if it has the new firmware update first…if it hasn’t you will have to send it back to a Sony approved service centre to have it done and may incur an extra £130 for something that in my opinion should be free.

I am informed that after this update any further upgrades will be done by the end user this is a further new feature to be added by the new firmware.

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

MovieSlate HD “The only professional slate for the iPad”

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This was a great APP in the iPhone but it’s 10x better in it’s new HD iPad guise…fantastic are my words to describe this APP.

[xr_video id=”9f3ab044a0b4408aa61f283a324b09dc” size=”md”]

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

Broadcasters “Sit on the fence when it comes to Solid State HD”

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It’s ironic that small independent production companies these days are streets ahead of local broadcasters when it comes to just about any part of video production. In the central belt of Scotland we have two main broadcasters…the BBC and Scottish Television (STV).

Both broadcasters are still using outdated SD camcorders for news output, STV are still supplying a cameraman with his trusty 10 year old Panasonic DVC-PRO camcorder and a reporter while BBC Scotland are sending out Video Journalists or VJs as they are technically called with Sony HVR-Z5s recording in DVCAM mode. The word is that good old STV are looking to hit rock bottom by training up VJs and “doing away” with fully trained cameramen for news…BAD MOVE !!!

Nothing being recorded for news so far this year is future proof …as the future is HD…so what’s the problem ? One guess…money ! News does not in practice make a broadcaster any money in fact it’s a large drain in resources. If they could they would drop local news programming altogether and feed us with generic news from London but their is a law that decrees a certain amount of local output including news must be produced by local broadcasters.

This lack of finance spreads throughout the broadcasters like a bad smell hampering any commitment to HD let alone solid state…Panasonic do not make tape based camcorders any more and Sony will soon be the same…tape is officially dead ! Solid state is now so good and getting cheaper there is no excuse to stay with tape.

The technical boys at the BBC state that 50Mb/s is the least the BBC will accept when at least 15% of HD programmes are being made with Sony EX-3s running at 35Mb/s so who’s kidding who. The problem is easily solved with the introduction of a NanoFlash, the HD-SDI out of an EX-3 or the far superior PMW-350 is 4:2:2. This means you can output 4:2:2 into a NanoFlash running at 50Mb/s or higher complying to any broadcasters HD needs.

Sadly if you ask around STV most people have not heard of a NanoFlash nor can 50% of their outdated Avids accept HD or Quicktime files…it’s a joke. The BBC are more “HD conscious” because they were built as an HD digital HUB but their news is still SD which makes it no better than the History Channel when it comes to local event SD archiving. The BBC are using EX-3s with NanoFlash recorders piggy backed, recording high quality HD programming though I do hope they swap the EX-3 for the PMW-350 which would give them 2/3″ lenses, lower noise and lower light filming.

One other point …local independent cameramen don’t know which way to go, they too are stuck with outdated DSR-450 SD camcorders and mainly hire HD camcorders as once again everyone is specifying different camcorders from Panasonic HPX-3700 P2 to Sony HDW-650s using a digital tape. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, formats don’t help the situation, P2, SxS, XDCAM, HDCAM, SDHC, CF the list goes on though out of the six I have named P2, XDCAM and HDCAM are the only formats that need special dedicated card reader/disc reader/tape player.

If the broadcasters want some friendly free advice don’t nail your HD flag to a “dedicated” format…SDHC and CF cards are available world wide so you won’t be stuck if you run out of cards in the middle of China. Lets not forget the new HD Canon XF305 camcorder running at 50Mb/s…4:2:2…no interchangeable lens but more than a match for anyone producing medium to low end HD programming and better still running onto CF cards.

The future will not thank the short sightedness of todays broadcasters for continuing to produce SD news footage when a fairly cost effective solution exists today in the shape of a NanoFlash and lets not kid ourselves 35Mb/s SxS HD footage is more than acceptable for HD news output.

Conclusion…We have two local broadcasters with two entirely different objectives the BBC are firmly committed to producing programming, more and more towards HD…then we have STV who are committed to produce programming at the lowest common denominator. The BBC are guaranteed a budget…STV are loosing advertising revenue. My solution for STV is to employ someone who can produce local adverts and programmes that are worth watching !

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

Kata’s new HDSLR kit bag “Resource-61 PL”

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

Could this be the answer to Radio Mic Future Proofing $1,495

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The new Mojo Pro Audio digital wireless body pack introduces breakthrough features and performance for ENG/EFP, studio, live production and house of worship applications. It incorporates fully-digital stereo transmission for simultaneous operation of two microphones and also offers a single receiver channel. Ultra high-fidelity sound quality is guaranteed through uncompressed 48 kHz/24 bit operation, a dynamic range in excess of 140dB and a signal-to-noise ratio of better than 100 dB. User-friendly features include full wireless remote control of the transmitter, including real-time audio sweetening, worldwide license-free frequencies, and automatic RF frequency hopping. The system’s range can be conveniently extended with Mojo Repeaters.

For more information on Mojo, please visit

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

Problems with users of the SONY MRC-1 CF recording unit

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I received an email from a fellow professional who bought into Sony’s Z7/MRC1 system this is what he had to say…

“Hi Philip, i have recently purchased 2 Transcend CF Memory Cards, 32 GIG,400 speed, pleased with the price, but having nothing but grief when using them with my Sony Z7 Camcorders and the MRC 1 Memory recording unit.

When the cards arrived i duly formated them in the MRC 1 Unit and used the cards to record a dance show as well as recording onto tape.
When the MRC 1 Unit was attached by firewire cable to my PC and attempted to download the CF Card to my Hard Drive there was constant problems with the PC eventually being HUNG and going nowhere.The footage was on the card and could be played back in camera but attached to my PC there was nothing but problems.

I done another test using Sonys Own Brand 8 GIG CF Cards supplied with the Z7s and they worked  perfect,no problems and no hung PC.
Tried the Transcend Cards again and the queer stuff hit the fan with one of the MRC 1 Units now not working and requiring to be sent back today to Sony for repair,under warranty,thankfully.
I have contacted both Memory Bits and Transcend who suggested various formating options etc but with no luck in getting these cards to DOWNLOAD in the MRC1 Unit.
They have to be removed from the unit and connected by CF Card reader and even then you can have problems.Possibly a failing MRC1 Unit is the cause of this problem!!!.
The Sony 8 GIG Cards work to perfection but the Transcend Cards do not.

Can i ask if any of your readers have had any problems with CF Cards other than Sony Brand Cards. I am suspicious that they have somehow knackered the MRC1 Unit or the unit was failing and this is the root of the hastle..
How they could do this i just dont know but things can go seriously pear shaped when using them. On one attempt to download from the MRC1 Unit to my PC the card was corrupted and the footage a garbled mess like serious drop out on DVTape, and all this from just trying to download to my PC.

On Saturday Night one Z7 Camcorder was hung and would not switch off until the MRC1 Unit was disconnected and then operated normally,thank God.
Checked the footage recorded to the card and it was a garbled drop out mess,fortunately the Mini DV footage was perfect.
It was this MRC1 Unit that went back to Sony today. I thought it was simplicity to select a CF Card  x300 speed or faster and then just plug and play like it says on the box but in practice the Queer Stuff can hit the fan,big time for reasons that are beyond me.

If you can offer any advice I would be grateful. I have had no problems with the MRC1 Units until i used another brand CF Card other than Sonys Own.Must admit my confidence in memory card recording like SDHC And Cf Cards has taken a bit of a blow. I was seriously considering buying a Sony AX 2000 Camcorder recording onto SDHC Cards but have put that on hold for now out of fear that you could spend a long day filming a wedding on HD and then come home to find out the SDHC Card has been corrupted by simply connecting to your PC at home. Obviously great care must be taken when downloading your work to Hard Drives etc but this Malarky can be quite scarry stuff. How i miss the days of SVHS, never a problem.”

After searching the internet I discover CF recording problems all over the place along with corrupt footage using the Sony MRC1, it seems to be an unreliable unit and is possibly a reason why it’s the only unit in Sony’s range to use CF cards.

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

SONY PMW-350 “Blunder may be affecting sales”

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I have a good friend who want’s to buy a Sony PMW-350L, NanoFlash, Sony PVM 740 OLED monitor etc, etc. Before he commits to purchase the camcorder he got me to check if the 350 outputs HD-SDI and composite video at the same time…NO ! Now this is not an issue for me because I don’t have a Super Bright Transvideo wireless  video monitor costing £3000. My friend John uses this piece of kit a lot as some directors enjoy wirefree monitoring.

Sony bring out a splendid camcorder in the 350 and by all accounts looks like you will get HD-SDI 4:2:2 out of the back socket and 525 SD out of the side VIDEO OUT but NO….instead you get HD-SDI 4:2:2 and HDMI but no composite out of the VIDEO OUT. At this time of writing Sony have not got back to me but be assured I will have an answer from them this week.

You would think a firmware update would solve this oversight.

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

The new SONY PVM-740 field monitor “Video Review on it’s way”

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Please note the picture you are viewing is a digital photograph straight off the screen. It’s not a Photoshop job !

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

iPad with ProPrompter “Another good reason to invest in an iPad”

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If you needed a reason to purchase an iPad then let me assist you…long before the iPad was delivered I saw the potential via ProPrompters web site in having the iPad as a teleprompter. It makes the whole process wire free as you control the iPad from an iTouch or an iPhone.

Fantastic is all I can say…once you have established a Bluetooth connection between the iPad and the iTouch you are off and running. The speed is controlled with swiping your finger down or up the screen…simple. You can edit your scripts, add cue points, what more can I say.

The only down point to this set-up is the Bluetooth connection does not always connect but I am sure this will be addressed by ProPrompter in a further update to this 4.5 star Apple APP.

IMPORTANT NOTE : As of this article ProPrompter HDi does not fit onto an ENG camera as shown…I have made my own bracket allowing the use of ProPrompter HDi and the iPad…The iPad is heavier than you realise so as yet ProPrompter do not recommend this type of fixing, thay are working on their own solution and you can be assured we will have one when it arrives and will update these pictures.

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

iPad arrived yesterday (Thursday) and is fantastic !)

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Apple’s iPad has had a lot of bad press not least from me when they decided to set Europe back by a month but that’s water under the bridge, this is one mega cool device and I have found three uses already for use in the video world.

The first is using an APP called “Air Display” this is a bit tricky to setup at first but once you read the instructions and open the APP when instructed it installs without a hitch. This APP allows you to have a second or in my case a third display and best of all a fully interactive display.

Take Final Ct Pro 7 the biggest bug bear is the audio mixer, even with a second screen there is no where to put it, enter “Air Display” I have had this working on a Mac Pro, iMac and MacBook Pro all intel it wont work on pre intel machines.

This not only allows you to display a second/third screen but you can adjust the faders in real time…how cool is that. I have a further two video examples but that’s for another blog.

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