Sony open a new Customer Experience Centre in Basingstoke

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Sony Professional has unveiled its first European Customer Experience Centre at its offices in Basingstoke, UK. The new resource will allow visitors to gain an understanding of the latest broadcast solutions in a relaxed and comfortable setting reflecting the work Sony is doing to ensure that the customer is at the heart of its propositions. The centre boasts a state-of-the-art 3D broadcast training facility, ensuring that stereographers and camera operators are equipped with the skills required to ensure that live broadcast 3D is a success.

The Centre is equipped to demonstrate the Sony ‘lens to living room’ story. The sizable training area contains 3D rigs and camera systems allowing users to learn how to capture the best 3D footage while dealing with issues such as changes in lighting, temperature and speed of action.  A section of the main lounge is set up as a production gallery, enabling visitors to experience the MPE-200 multi format processor box, which is central to the production of high quality live 3D. Customers are then able to view the output of their work in the lounge area where professional 3D monitors and consumer 3D BRAVIA televisions are set up.

Aside from 3D solutions, visitors will also be able to experience a fully functional TV production gallery including the latest switchers and Sonaps system. A further demonstration area will allow customers to get to grips with the latest software offerings, including XDxchange, Media Backbone and Ensemble. As well as the static broadcast solutions, customers are able to visit the Solutions team, who are responsible for large scale broadcast transformation projects as well as the design, fitting out and testing of Outside Broadcast trucks.

David Bush, Director of Marketing, Sony Professional, commented; “Until now our ability to demonstrate a functional broadcast workflow to customers has been restricted due to the space and equipment requirements. This new Experience Centre will change that, allowing us to work with our customers to understand the issues which they face and working collaboratively to solve them.”

Bush, went further; “We know from the Sony 3D Technology Centre in Culver City, USA, that customers are appreciative of being able to experience equipment and improve their skills in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. We hope that our European customers will gain the same benefits, from this, our first Customer Experience Centre in Europe.”

An exciting extension to this Centre is the upgrade taking place in the current Studio+ facility.  This area is being transformed into a fully fitted cinema complete with 2K, 4K and 3D projectors.  This project is due for completion in January 2011 and will complete the Sony Professional Customer Experience Centre.

While I was at IBC during the year Sony had a prototype shoulder mount 3D camcorder sitting in a glass case, there was no price or availability, this professional Full HD 3D camcorder features four SxS memory slots, left and right channel HD-SDI outs, and a dial for adjusting the point of convergence, extremely important when shooting professional 3D videos.

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

Hi Rez pictures of the Panasonic AF101

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So here we are…finally some good Hi Rez pictures of the Panasonic AF101, the PL mount in this case is the MTF PL to Micro Four Thirds Adaptor. This is proving so popular with customers that Mike from MTF ran out last week but he is expecting to have more from today.

We have not really had a chance to view the business side of the camera in such detail, I am glad to see a small joystick being used on the “FUNCTION” mode, I do hope this is an alternative navigation to the thumb wheel seen at the front of the camera. A nice touch is the removable panel covering the audio level controls. Note the mode button far right just above CH2 and the letters CAM & PB which can only mean “Camera” or “Playback”. Interestingly the OIS button will only work if you have Panasonic Micro Four Third lenses with the OIS switch. The 14-140mm lens has the OIS switch and this in my opinion will be “standard lens” for the AF101. Great to see a decent ND filter ring from 0 to 1/64 ND.

The two SDHC slots are at the top and a nice indication in yellow as to which slot is in use. There is HDMI, SDI and composite out and note where the headphone socket is.

This side is a bit like the dark side of the moon, a side we haven’t seen that often, note we have line and mic switches, the phantom power is switchable on the opposite side of the camera. This camera has grown on me since the early prototype… as one DP called it “an ugly duckling with a swan like picture” thats a perfect description of this camera. As they say it’s not all down to looks, it may be a tad boxy but from all accounts the camera performs and performs well and that’s the bottom line.

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

Peter Jackson with his RED EPIC

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The successor to RED’s industry changing RED ONE, the EPIC has 5K resolution, can shoot up to 120 frames per second and has a new HDRx™ mode for the highest dynamic range of any digital cinema camera ever made. Taking everything they had learned from building their first camera, RED designed the EPIC from scratch and have produced a smaller, lighter camera that is an order of magnitude more powerful.

The Hobbit will be amongst the first productions in the world to use the EPIC and at least thirty cameras will be required by the 3-D production. The EPIC’S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3-D – where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig.

Jackson has a long history with RED, dating back to when he directed the short film ‘Crossing the Line’ as a very early test of prototype RED ONE cameras. “I have always liked the look of RED footage.” he says, “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image RED produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the EPIC, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the EPIC not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The EPIC gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.”

Jim Jannard the owner and founder of RED flew to New Zealand earlier this year with members of his team so that Jackson could test the EPIC and assess its suitability. “Everybody at RED is incredibly proud that Peter has chosen the EPIC” says Jannard, “The Hobbit is a major production, and could have chosen any camera system that they wanted. The fact that they went with us is extremely gratifying.”

The Hobbit will start shooting in New Zealand early 2011.

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

Vote for The Footy…please

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My son Scott runs his own football blog and as anyone can tell you there is nothing he does not know about football, he has been entered into a competition and needs votes…your vote…he is currently second place so if you would not mind clicking onto the link below and voting for The Footy…thank you.  PS. The “Blog” he is up against “Inside Left” is no longer blogging !!!


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Stunning Canon 7D footage from Oton Bacar

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7D 2000 fps from Oton Bačar on Vimeo.

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Everyone want’s a Panasonic AF101

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The world has gone AF101 mad, just over a week till we get the first production models from Panasonic and the phones are red hot with orders…the AF101 is going to be an all time best seller for Panasonic and they will need to up production in order to keep up with demand.

DPs from all over the UK are pledging their support with pre orders, some people are paying up front to beat the 20% vat rise due in January. The last time we had such a rush on a camera was about three years ago with the introduction of the Sony EX-1 but we have not seen such enthusiasm for a long time.

The camera has sparked off so many other facets like Micro Four Third lenses, Prime Lenses, 4/3 lenses, Canon & Nikon lens sales, Lens adaptors, Matte boxes, camera bags, spare batteries and even SDHC card sales.

As we draw closer to “AF101 day” people are craving as much information as possible, bloggers like Philip Bloom and Barry Green have been one of the lucky few to actually shoot with almost production models which is why Panasonic are now struggling to make the December due date as they made final tweaks after taking on ideas and comments given to them from Philip, Barry and a small band of lucky shooters.

Everyone has commented on how fantastic the picture is from the AF101, my chap in the USA, Erik, has a model sitting on his desk as I blog and he is very impressed with the camera. Erik is putting the final touches to his Canon adaptor which will have full control over aperture and focus…electronically, pricing and pictures next week.

I am really exited by this “predicted” phenomenon, the Panasonic AF101 is taking the world by storm and is bringing a lot of third party sales with it, in these hard times it’s good to see such enthusiasm and commitment to a variety of products…all for that coveted shallow depth of field in a camera that’s finally fit for purpose.

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

A Canon to micro 4/3 mount from Hong Kong (£94)

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Those Hong Kong manufacturers have impeccable timing. Just as Panasonic are about deliver the AF101 out comes the best adapter for Canon lenses on the Panasonic GH2 DSLR yet seen. For the first time this one allows you to control the aperture and it costs £94 including postage to the UK.

The iris in Canon EF and EFS mount lenses is electronically controlled, like on many modern lenses. There hasn’t yet been an adapter which promises a full electronic interface between camera and body although an engineering company in the US is working on one, more info plus pictures next week.

So no auto-focus or OIS yet – but at least now we have aperture control.

Canon lenses are wide open when not connected to a Canon body, so this adapter has it’s own iris – a very nice 14 blade aperture, most lenses have half that number of blades. You will get gorgeous round bokeh with it along with the advantage of a sharper image when stopped down even just a little. Most fast F1.4 EF lenses sharpen up around F2, for example.

This will go well with the 85mm F1.8, the 50mm F1.2 and even help get an extremely deep depth of field on super wides, although it will not work with lenses that have unusual mechanics like the 10-22mm with it’s internal zoom and focus system.

IMPORTANT NOTE : This adapter is not compatible for Canon EF S lens, such as:  EF S 10-22mm; EF S 15-85mm; EF S 17-55mm; EF S 17-85mm; EF S 18-55mm; EF S 18-135mm; EF S 18-200mm and the EF S 55-250mm; EF S 60mm.

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AntiSpam programs can do as much damage !

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I have a client who won’t accept my emails because he has an AntiSpam program sitting in place, unfortunately for him he does not realise this is damaging his business. When his AntiSpam filter kicks in it tells me to click on a link and then enter a name and password, then it tells me that by accepting this I will sign up for a 30 day trial of the program !

No chance…I have seen how such programs hinder my clients without me signing up to it as well. Most computers these days have very good spam/junk mail filters without adding any further complications to the process.

My client does not realise he is now off the list of possible Panasonic AF101 owners…because I have no way of contacting him other than email.

One other client has a far “safer” spam filter…it asks you to verify a 6 letter word then tells you that your next emails will be accepted. So the moral of the story is don’t jump in feet first when you see the glossy adds telling you “NO MORE SPAM…EVER” as that very same filter may just cost you the next big purchase or a place in a very long queue.

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Updating micro Four Third lens firmware on the AF101 ?

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About a couple of days ago Panasonic announced a new firmware for their 14-140mm micro Four Thirds lens, firmware version 1.4 promises improved autofocus and image stabilization performance in movie mode.

So the dilemma is as follows…Panasonic “Please note that a camera body is required in order to update any Four Thirds lenses (including Micro Four Thirds lenses), while camera body can be updated without lens”.

The body it refers to is the following DSLR’s DMC-G1, G2, GF1, GH1, L1, L10…In order to update the lens firmware you need a Panasonic micro Four Thirds DSLR camera body which may or may not be easy to obtain.

I have a G2 in the office so this update can be done using the G2s body but what happens to the majority of you who do not have a Panasonic DSLR but you have micro Four Third lenses for your AF101.

Thats a question I will be posing to Panasonic this coming week and I hope to give you all an answer soon.

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

SDHC SxS card adaptors from Sonnet $50

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Low Cost Alternative to SxS Memory Cards

Do you love your new Sony camcorder, but not the prices for SxS memory cards? We’ve got an alternative—Sonnet’s SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot. This Sonnet adapter is designed expressly for use in Sony XDCAM camcorders which record to SxS memory media, and enables you to use lower cost SDHC memory cards in their place(1). When used with Class 10 or faster SDHC cards, the Sonnet SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot duplicates SxS Pro memory cards’ functionality, including support for overcrank and undercrank modes.

Sonnet’s SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot is the same size as an SxS memory card, and, unlike standard memory card adapters, allows the SDHC card to fit flush inside its shell. This critical feature makes the Sonnet adapter interchangeable with SxS cards, and ensures your camcorder’s memory card slot door closes completely with the adapter inserted. Using the SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot is easy. Just insert your SDHC card into the Sonnet adapter, and then insert the Sonnet adapter into your camcorder and format the card—you’re ready to record.

After recording is complete, remove the SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot from the camcorder and swap out SDHC cards using the integrated push-to-eject mechanism. Because SxS cards share the same form factor and interface as ExpressCard/34 adapters, you can insert the Sonnet adapter directly into your notebook computer’s ExpressCard slot to offload the files from the SDHC card.

If your computer lacks an ExpressCard slot, you can remove the SDHC card from the Sonnet adapter and use it with any SDHC-compatible card reader.

For the price of one SxS memory card, you can purchase Sonnet’s adapter and several equivalent-capacity SDHC cards to increase your recording capacity and lower your recording costs. You’ll get hours of extra shooting time without the need to stop, offload the footage and reformat the card to use it again!

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

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