AVID Media Composer 6 starting at £1799

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

While you are waiting for the Canon announcement here is some interesting info from AVID, Media Composer 6 is an all new built from the ground upwards 64bit edit system.

AVID could have stolen a fair number of Final Cut Pro editors but the general consensus is that it’s far too dear standing at £1799 which is a shame, £799 or less would have tempted a few us over to the purple side but when you consider FCPX is getting a major upgrade in January and at £199 is still a better option than AVID at £1799.

Just in case AVID are unaware we are going through a recession and everyone is tightening their belts, clients are not spending full dollar so it’s sheer madness to think we are going to spend £1799 on software we don’t need.

AVID is a “once upon a time” software in other words once upon a time AVID was the first name in NL editing but lost the plot a few years back and was largely overtaken by FCP and Premiere Pro…how sad !

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

All the latest Canon & RED info as it happens

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

All the info live from Los Angeles starts from 10pm tonight UK time. I will be glued to the keyboard bringing you all the exiting information from both Canon and RED…the event of 2011 tonight from 10pm.

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

The Canon question “Why is this important”

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

Around 9pm tonight we will be getting the first pictures of the new Canon large sensor camcorder more importantly the first specifications and pricing in fact Chris Hurd from DV Info Net has had an email from Canon…

“We are pleased to have you attend this historic Canon event on November 3, 2011. The exclusive unveiling and exhibit at Paramount Studios will showcase Canon’s commitment to play a larger role in the film and television production community.”

Why is this news so momentous, so far all we have is teasing from Canon themselves…here is my take on this news.

Canon have been a major player in the DSLR race with the 5D Mk11 being the first camera to have HD video built alongside the photographic part of the camera setting a new benchmark in video/photography.

Until the announcement of the 1DX this year Canon have done little to amend the inherent problems that dog the DSLR from being a truly professional filming tool but even the 1DX has built in flaws that were explained by a Canon rep as being a part of the pro video input in other words “we are just about to launch a large sensor camcorder and would prefer if the 1DX was not a competitor”.

Why is this even newsworthy…Canon have a knack of looking at a marketplace and introducing camcorders that don’t need add on’s to make them broadcast friendly. They also want people to buy lots of Canon glass as they have had the best two years of all time because of the DSLR phase.

Canon also recognise that cameramen/women do not care for expensive add on’s like NanoFlashes etc in order to “make the grade” with the likes of the BBC etc thats why Sony missed the boat big time with the PMW-F3 making it 35Mbs claiming to speak to the “right people” when they clearly got it so wrong.

Thats why this Canon announcement is so important, professionals may at last have a large sensor camcorder that will be fit for purpose straight out of the box and the other most important point is the EF lens.

The Canon community have been waiting for an electronic solution for almost a year without success or delivery for the Panasonic and Sony large sensor camcorders, MTF are bringing out 3 adapters later in November for the AF101, FS100 and PMW-F3 but only to control the iris.

Many users have been disappointed with 8bit 4:2:0 processing which can cause banding in certain circumstances, I predict the Canon will come out of the box with 10bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 processing once again giving the competition a major headache.

What about that all important sensor…I think the Super 35mm sensor is just fine on my Sony FS100 but some people are predicting a 4K sensor which would be fantastic as long as you have the choice to still shoot 2K as for the majority of us 2K is as much as we need without a major rethink in the editing department.

My prediction : Firstly we will see a minimum spec camera as follows : 10bit, 4:2:2, CF cards, 50Mbs, EF mount, Super 35mm sensor, HD SDI, Hi Res viewfinder…beyond this we might get a second camera with 4:4:4, 12bit, 100Mbs, PL mount with EF adapter, 4K sensor. Pricing £6500 and £12,000.

This will have Sony and Panasonic in a major panic as they will be forced to show their hand on any new development for a PMW-F5 or an AF201, RED are also announcing Scarlet specs and pricing this evening but if Canon pull out the trump card as I predict then RED will have a lot less customers banging on their doors.

It’s all about “GLASS” the majority of Canon users have Canon glass now remember Canon may not introduce a specific EF mount camcorder but they will have an adapter for EF glass similar to Sony’s LA-EA1 that allows the Alpha lenses to be fully functional with the E mount seen on the FS100.

If Canon have been clever they will have designed their EF adapter to be controlled externally with a pull focus unit…only my thoughts.

You can be sure we will have all the specs and pictures as soon as Canon post them later on today.

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

Scarlet announcement clashes with Canon

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

This is a strange one, RED are to announce the up and coming Scarlet camera about 3 hours after Canons announcement. It may be a tactical move by RED to ingest the Canon specs before announcing their own specs…who knows.

Discussing this with “He who should not be named” said that RED should bring their news 1 day forward as it will be lost with Canon’s news, I agree as RED have nothing to gain by taking this to the wire.

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

Canon’s best kept secret to be revealed on the 3rd November

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The rumours are flying in thick and fast as to what Canon are going to announce tomorrow it seems that we are going to be treated to 2 camcorders a semi Pro version and a Pro version.

Rumours have it that both cameras share the ability to accept the full range of EOS lenses while the Pro version will also accept prime lenses.

We are talking 2-4K in line with a poke at RED and pricing from $15K down to $10K or lower for the semi Pro version all total speculation.

If Canon finally enter the large sensor marketplace I think they will put less effort into making the “prefect” DSLR because it will have a knock on effect on video sales which is why it was interesting that they down graded the recent 1DX DSLR with a non clean HDMI output.

If proof were needed Chris Hurd from DV Info Net is attending the special event, if you take on board that Chris lives in Texas and Hollywood is 1245 miles away it takes one special announcement to get someone to travel a 22 hour journey so you can take it from me this is a big time large sensor camcorder or two from Canon.


Please remember there is also a 7 hour time delay so if the news is not broadcast till 3pm as Chris seems to think it will be 10-11pm in the UK before news filters through.

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

My Ex-boss reaches 60

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Last weekend I was privileged to be at my ex-boss Chris Attkins 60th birthday party over on the isle of Arran. The picture above spans 30 years, we have all changed mainly in the hair department.

This is me at the side of the Ross road doing a piece to camera that Mr Attkins has not yet seen. As usual I volunteered to produce a birthday DVD for Chris and was aided by another ex employee Frank.

Frank no longer films but has taken up photography, he noted the size of the Sony NX70 saying that it was a far cry from the shoulder mounted Betacam days.

In this photograph all three men are still filming professionally while Alison is now a freelance television presenter…not bad for thirty years and a testimony to Chris (far right) who gave us all a chance and a start on the video production ladder.

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

Canon 1DX “tamed down” by Canon Pro Video ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments

Whilst listening to an interview Dan Chung (Right) asks the Canon rep Mark Burnhill, why the new Canon 1DX has a limited HDMI output and Marks reply is very interesting.

Dan “Why is that” in reference to a non clean output from the HDMI.

Mark…Has a large hesitation…”I think the video guys are kind of still in discussion in Canon about a conflict between the EOS and the video market…”

In other words this EOS 1DX has been deliberatly tamed down in order to make way for a video version due to be released to the world on the 3rd of November 2011.

This makes sence as Canon cannot afford for it’s photographic side of the business to interfere with the Pro Video side and it’s very refreshing that the Pro Video side still have some clout.

As sexy as the 1DX is and from all accounts very clean in low light to deliberately reduce it’s video specifications after adding a ton of new video features is a tad strange unless you are guarding a new video product further down your timeline which is the most reasonable explanation.

I have also got to add here that if you are contemplating buying this DSLR for video use at £5600 it is now dearer than the Panasonic AF101 and the Sony FS100 which are far superior large sensor camcorders for SDoF video work.

You can see Dans interview here…



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

New LED lighting with a bonus feature built in… HP LED 500 £340 incl vat

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Today I received a new 500W LED light from H Preston Media the HP LED 500 and it comes with a fantastic bonus feature built in. The light is 5600 Kelvin making it a very useful light for interviews especially in daylight.

If you close the barn doors as shown you get a strange phenomena…ribbing of the light which looks mega on a plain wall especially when you introduce a yellow gel.

Before Susan got home tonight I used my skin tone dolly and the background light is something else. This is a real bonus as you could really utilise this effect during an interview.

It has all the newer features like Sony “V” lock mount making your interviews wire free, dual dimmers for even greater control of your light and a 4 pin XLR for your 12v adapter.

The best news is that this new HP LED 500 light is only £349 including vat exclusively from H Preston Media.


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

10 Months later with very few camcorders reaching 50Mbs recording

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

Amazingly it’s been 10 months since the first large sensor camcorder the Panasonic AF101 appeared on the market followed by Sony with their F3 and the FS100.

The AF101 and the FS100 are both £5K and under, with the Sony F3 popping it’s head just above £11K making it the “most” professional as far as pricing and level of features of the three camcorders.

Even more surprising is the lack of so called broadcast features on all three camcorders especially the F3 which is no better than an EX-3 with it’s 35Mbs SxS card slots. You do have the ability to output 4:4:4 from the F3 but Sony have misunderstood the animal who uses such cameras, in my opinion.

Cameramen do not like extra connections if they can avoid it, every extra connection coming out of a camera is one extra failure point in technical terms so bringing out a camcorder with a hi-end potential and not starting at the magical 50Mbs is ludicrous.

While all 3 camcorders produce fantastic pictures especially in low light they are limited to certain types of filming with one exception the F3, Sony decided the F3 was to take on several roles and is the only large sensor camera to date with a zoom rocker and a dedicated 14x servo zoom (Optional).

I said at the time this was a stroke of genius from Sony to include such a feature giving the F3 a far wider appeal but once again adding to the cost of the camera itself.

The BBC have gone down the road of Sony PMW-350 s and 500s with a few freelancers jumping onto the 500 bandwaggon giving them far more flexabilty and the  so called BBC HD starting point of 50Mbs for HD production.

The PMW-350 is an excellent camcorder but 35Mbs HD means Nano flashes and all the complications and extra cost that come with external recorders.

For years cameramen and women have been used to filming with a single camcorder like Betacam, especially for news, you don’t have time to faff about with Nano Flashes if you are sent out on a news job.

So 10 months down the line we have many new camcorders but very few making the grade of true HD broadcast spec out of the box…

Sony… PMW-500 (50Mbs),  PMW-F3 (35Mbs), NEX-FS100 (28Mbs), HXR-NX70 (28Mbs)

Panasonic…AG-AF101 (21Mbs), AG-AC130 (21Mbs), AG-AC160 (21Mbs), AG-HPX250 P2 (50Mbs)

JVC…GY-HM790 (35Mbs), GY HM150 (35Mbs)

Canon…XF305/300 (50Mbs), XF300, XF105/100 (50Mbs), XA10 (24Mbs)

So what have we got, not one large sensor camcorder hits the 50Mbs mark which is poor in my opinion though I do realise this will be a feature in version two of at least the F3 if it is to have any chance of selling second time round.

My productions do not suffer for not having 50Mbs but it leaves a large number of fellow professionals out in the cold as they would love to offer 50Mbs but not at the cost of a set of expensive “Christmas tree light wiring” to add to their complications.

As I said at the start of this blog cameramen/women do not care for extra bits of wiring, extra bits that add to something going wrong…Canon may change all this in 8 days time !

Different jobs require different looks therefore different camcorders, I have plumbed for 2 NX70s and 1 FS100 this year as all three camcorders record in 1080 50p, the NX70s are used for most jobs while the FS100 is used for interview work. I was sorely tempted by the Panasonic AC160 but the lack of 1080 50p with sound and differance in looks due to the colour matrix changed my mind, sad as it is a great camcorder brimming with lots of useful pro features like syncro scan.

For once I hope Canon come up with the goods on November the 3rd as for years Sony and Panasonic have been playing cat and mouse with us over features that magically appear on the next updated model but are always shy of being the “perfect spec camcorder”.

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

10 Days and counting…3rd November 2011 “Canon at Hollywood”

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

Canon have it in their power in 10 days time to change the game forever…if they have been as savvy with a large sensor camcorder as they have been with the XF range of cameras they will wipe the board if they bring out a camcorder with the above specs.

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

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