Striving for the Film Look

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Film Look

The Film Look…

We seem to be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea…the one major advantage SLR photography has always had is the shallow depth of field (SDoF), this has been cleverly adapted by camera makers like Canon, Nikon and Panasonic with the ability to now film HD footage with certain SLRs.

The other option for the film look (SDoF) is to insert a film adapter like the Letus adapter between your camera lens and attach a 35mm prime lens on the front, now as you can see from the example above the major advantage with the digital SLR is it’s size. (Canon 5D Mk11 is not to scale)

When you use a 35mm adapter on your video camera it has limitations with apertures and  shutter speeds because of the ground glass used in the process, there are no such limitations with digital HD SLRs with apertures.

So where are we today with the budget film look…Philip Bloom a pioneer of this look seems to favour the digital SLR over the EX-3/letus combination, this in my opinion may be down to it’s size and weight, Philip like myself and 98% of cameramen suffer sore backs and anything that makes our backs easier after a days shoot is more than welcome. The main drawbacks and in my opinion MAJOR drawbacks with these digital HD film look cameras are as follows…


1. As yet there is no ability to adjust the sound on any of the HD SLRs which is poor.

2. No sound metering on the LCD

3. One 3.5 jack input for sound (No XLRs)

4. No headphone jack for monitoring sound.

Sound in all these cameras is a poor second best and is a major setback to taking these cameras seriously (Most people use external sound units like the Tascam DR-100)

5. Canon have just brought out a second HD camera in the form of the 7D with no swivel viewfinder ! (Panasonics GH1 has a swivel LCD)

A Swivel viewfinder is a must for filming.

6. No live LCD/HDMI output. (This feature would allow you to at least monitor your HD footage externally)

7. Limitations on filming times on HD 12 minutes at a time.

8. Ergonomics are all wrong for filming.

9. H.264 needs to be converted before you can edit the footage.

As you can see with 9 major drawbacks there is an opening for a company to bring out a film look camera that meets all 9 specifications mentioned above. The ergonomics to me are all wrong these are firstly and foremost photographic cameras with the ability to capture HD footage as an afterthought.

Let’s be honest we are biding our time till one of the giants like Sony or Canon (Pro-Video) waken up to the film look, it will only take one camera with the specs of the EX-3, large sensor and the ability to take 35mm prime lenses (SDoF)…My bet is on Canon Pro-Video, 16 months since the H1s means something is on the cards.

If the number one giant in this field RED could produce such a camera at the £4-5K price range then we could all switch over and let video be a thing of the past.

Update…Thanks to Deke Kincaid for pointing out that Live HDMI does indeed work what I meant was live HDMI/LCD at the same time. Deke also mentions Magic Lantern a group of indi film makers who have reverse engineered the Canon 5D Mk11 firmware to open up some new features see them here…

Photographs courtesy of

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

IBC Amsterdam “7% down on 2008″

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2078 Big Logo with ©

Despite some pessimistic predictions, IBC2009 exceeded expectations, delivering a final attendance of 45,547, just 7% down on the 2008 figure. Taking exhibitors out of the calculation, visitor numbers were even more impressive, falling by less than 5%.

In conclusion, IBC’s Michael Crimp underlined the importance of IBC being run by the industry for the industry, and the way that meant the event could move quickly to respond to changing requirements. “We are all about sustainability, for us, for our exhibitors and our visitors,” he said. “We build an event that is right for the mood of the market, and create a buzz around it to ensure that the right audience attends.

“I believe we have exceeded expectations in 2009, and I look forward to welcoming everyone to IBC when it returns to Amsterdam in September 2010.”

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

AJA Io Express now shipping with FCP-7 & Snow Leopard drivers £897

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AJA io ExpressFCP 7.0.x – Io Express Driver version 1.0 (Leopard and Snow Leopard OSX compatible version).

I had to download the manual in order to find out if the Io Express has FCP-7 & Snow Leopard compatible drivers…not having this information on the AJA website is a serious omission in my opinion and tells me why we are still waiting for drivers for the £2500 AJA io HD. This is in direct competition with the Matrox MX02 and surprise, surprise, it also has a PCIe card interface…this is my one big beef with the io HD as it uses the FireWire 800 port which in my opinion was a major mistake.

7-8 weeks after Final Cut Pro-7 we are still no further forward with new drivers for the io HD…simply in my opinion it has been put on the back burner getting kit ready for IBC in Amsterdam… which is shocking for a top end piece of video equipment at this price point.

AJA are too embarrassed to tell the world that their io Express is FCP-7 and Snow Leopard compatible when they know hundreds of video professionals all over the globe have been waiting for the new io HD drivers…it’s a disgrace.

Maybe someone from AJA will read this and kick some ass and get the drivers uploaded or explain what the problem is and how much longer we are going to have to wait.

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

Sony SxS driver for Snow Leopard

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SxS driver SL

My thanks to Bob Hawtin for giving us a heads up on the new SxS drivers from Sony you can find the drivers here….

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

Using copyright music…The Facts

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lock_smAs a royalty free music business, we get asked many questions about copyright. There are numerous people that believe they can legally use up to 30 seconds of music without any legal repercussions and without having to seek clearance or a license.

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news…. This is simply not true and a bit of a modern myth.

Copyright law is complex and varies in different countries. US copyright law in particular, has a fair use clause, whereas here in the UK, there is no such clause.

This fair use copyright clause is misinterpreted by many who think that using up to 30 seconds of music is legal. The fact is that any use of music needs to be cleared or licensed. Even where copyright law includes a fair use policy the legal interpretation can vary considerably.

For instance, using a 10 second music clip as an intro to your podcast would probably not be classed as fair use, whereas using a 10 second snippet to critique a piece of music may be seen as fair use in copyright law. However, never assume you are covered by fair use copyright as there is no guarantee you will be safe.

I once heard an American music lawyer say… “When your use of music gets challenged you need a defence; having a license is always your best defence. If your defence is ‘fair use’ this will probably not be sufficient to save you in court.”

She went on to say that it is not worth the risk in nearly all cases.

A good rule of thumb is that it is not OK to use any amount of copyrighted music without permission from the rights owner or a music license. If you do feel fair use applies you will need to study the fair use guidelines for the copyright policy of your jurisdiction and to be completely sure you would need a music lawyer to confirm your belief for your particular circumstance.

In my opinion, it is going to be much easier, cheaper and less stressful to get royalty free music licenses from a reputable company.

Excerpt from

Many people are under the misconception that as long as music is not used for personal gain within a video then it’s fine to use… WRONG ! MCPS told me today if anyone wants to use copyright music on a video for online use they need to negotiate a price with that artists record label which could start from £1000 upwards.

YouTube are now excluding music from home made videos as they are not willing to pay the copyright fee. YouTube have recently struck an agreement to pay for the use of commercially made music videos eg. Those made by the record companies themselves.

I have been a long time campaigner (15 years) for production companies to pay a flat fee allowing us to use copyright music anytime we like but so far this has not happened.

I reckon if all the video production companies in the UK paid £250 a year it would rake in £1.25 million…that’s a lot of money to share between music producers and owners.

If for instance you are filming a wedding video you need to have a Limited Manufacture Licence now this licence starts from £8 allowing up to 5 DVD copies…plus you must have a PPL licence (Dubbing copyright music) costing £19.55.

To be completely legal for filming and copying 5 DVDs of a wedding is £27.55 and that still does not cover you for putting any part of the copyright music online.

Limited Manufacture Licence

PPL licence via the Institute of Videography;n=40

I get asked many times by corporate clients if they can use copyright music in their video, my stock answer is…” £1500 plus or copyright free music at zero cost”…copyright free wins every time.

There is actually no excuse these days for not using copyright free music as it’s far better than it used to be…here are some links to the ones I have used over the years…

Trackline Music

NotePad Music

AKM Music

Digital Juice


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

Fletcher Camera and Lenses…Compare all Hi-End camcorders

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As you can see for yourself all these Hi-end camcorders are built like tanks and look like them, they are also heavy so it’s not surprising there is a market for cameras like the Canon 5D Mk11, 7D…Nikon 300s and the Panasonic GH1. Now no one is kidding themselves I realise the sheer difference in quality between the SLRs and Hi-end is streets apart but if you are looking for the shallow DoF you can get some great results from the SLR.

If you get a chance to look at the PDF above notice the good old Sony EX1 and 3 are part of the comparison list…this is a tribute to Sony who against all the odds decided the EX range was all about quality !

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

ARRIFLEX D-21 “Refining Digital Production” Price £44,128

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

5D Mk11 DVD now available from F-STOP Academy $120

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Trailblazing Philip Bloom has just introduced a new training DVD for filming techniques using the Canon 5D Mk11, when Phil gets back from the states I hope to interview him about using the Canon 5D and also review his new training DVD.

QUOTE : “You probably have the same frustrations as Philip felt when he first began using the camera.  However after immersing himself in it for 5 months he has figured out all the tricks, and cheats to make filming easy. Now he’s made them all available to you in this intensive training DVD he’s gone through the pain so you don’t have to waste time making the same mistakes he has. Absolutely everything you need to know in 24 ultra specific chapters.  No ‘long drawn out 3hr presentation’ Just the important stuff, the aspects that will get you out shooting video like a pro in less than 2  hours.”

NOTE : Not to sure why the price is in dollars but the DVD is available for a limited time period for $120 then goes up to $175.

DVD Contents

Chapters 1-8

  • Chapter 1 – The Evolution of the Canon 5D MK II
  • Chapter 2 – Philip Bloom’s 5D MK II History
  • Chapter 3 – Shooting with the 5D MKII
  • Chapter 4 – What Kit do you Need
  • Chapter 5 – Setting up the camera to shoot video
  • Chapter 6 – Setting your ISO
  • Chapter 7 – Getting the best in camera picture style
  • Chapter 8 – Getting the correct exposure

Chapters 9-16

  • Chapter 9 – Lenses
  • Chapter 10 – Lens Discipline
  • Chapter 11 – Using a macro extension tube
  • Chapter 12 – The matte box
  • Chapter 13 – Follow Focus
  • Chapter 14 – Using a video monitor
  • Chapter 15 – Mono pod & Viewfinder
  • Chapter 16 – Variable ND filters

Chapter 17-24

  • Chapter 17 – The IS lens
  • Chapter 18 – Shooting Handheld
  • Chapter 19 – Avoiding the “Jello” effect
  • Chapter 20 – Shutter Speed
  • Chapter 21 – Depth of field using the fader/vari ND
  • Chapter 22 – Shutter speed in artificial light
  • Chapter 23 – Sound
  • Chapter 24 – Best way to learn? Go out and shoot.

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

SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro CF 90MB/s and SDHC 32GB Class 10 30MB/s

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EDITOR : The best part about this news is that it should start reducing the price of Class 6 cards especially the 32GB Class 6 Transend card.

“The new SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash line is the direct result of SanDisk’s passion, commitment, and break-through engineering innovation to provide best-in-class flash memory cards for professional photography,” said Eric Bone, vice president, retail product marketing, SanDisk. “The SanDisk Power Core Controller delivers unmatched write speed and reliability, providing photographers with a spectacular combination of performance, capacity and peace of mind that images are safely stored.”

SanDisk develops its flash controllers and memory chips together, allowing the company to perfectly match and fine-tune the two technologies throughout the testing process, resulting in high-performance products with industry-leading endurance. The SanDisk Power Core Controller brings numerous benefits to the SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards, including:

  • High-Performance:The SanDisk® Power Core™ Controller’s dual-lane architecture and software algorithms double card performance, enabling the SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards’ read/write speeds of up to 90MB/s over a UDMA-6 bus.
  • Increased-Reliability: The SanDisk Power Core Controller’s firmware algorithms and 42-bit ECC engine maintain data integrity and extended card endurance through optimized wear leveling.
  • Simplified Design:To further increase overall card durability, the SanDisk Power Core Controller features an integrated design that requires fewer individual components on the card’s printed circuit board.

Professional-Grade Memory:
Faster read and write speeds mean more opportunities to capture the winning shot and less time spent offloading gigabytes of images afterwards. Large storage capacity enables photographers to capture RAW images and high-definition video clips in a single session without running out of space.

This unique combination of speed and capacity makes the new line of cards well suited for professional usage models involving large amounts of data and tight deadlines. The SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards’ 16 to 64GB capacity range offers the storage space needed to allow extended shooting sessions without having to reload.

“As a professional sports photographer, I rely on a speedy camera and high-performance SanDisk Extreme Pro cards to capture as many images as possible within a few seconds using continuous burst mode,” says Jeff Lewis, professional photographer and member of the SanDisk Extreme Team. “How fast you can download and edit images from the cards makes a big difference when it comes to getting sports images distributed. The first images out of the media room tend to be the ones that get picked up. Speed really counts for getting selected by the top photo editors.”

Renowned for their world-class durability, SanDisk Extreme cards guarantee operation at extended temperatures ranging from minus 13 F (minus 25 C) to 185 F (85 C). SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards feature RTV Silicone coating for added protection against moisture and humidity. The cards can withstand accidental drops of up to nine feet, and carry a lifetime limited warranty.3

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards are fully compatible with any camera, card reader or other device that supports CompactFlash cards4. The SanDisk Extreme Pro ExpressCard™ Adapter will be available in late October on and at select retailers. The reader is optimised to take advantage of the SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash card’s up to 90MB/s read speed.

SanDisk is also introducing new SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash cards at increased performance of previous SanDisk Extreme III CF cards. The new SanDisk Extreme and SanDisk Extreme Pro cards represent the step beyond SanDisk Extreme III and SanDisk Extreme IV cards, respectively, with exact pricing to be set by retailers.

CompactFlash Card Line Performance1 Available Capacity2
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s read/write speed (400x) 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s read/write speed (600x) 16GB, 32GB, 64GB

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

A Trade show with a Bang

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Turkish wepons

Both pictures © David Bebber/The Times

When I think of how much care is taken these days on airlines, especially security and this man gets on a plane from Turkey with a trunk full of machine guns !!! Sorry I know this has nothing to do with video but how on earth did this man get through customs with all these weapon’s…

Q. Anything to declare, sir ?

A. One red suite case and a trunk full of machine guns !!!

These pictures were taken at the Defence show in the ExCel centre in East London with more than 40 countries represented…that’s 40 airlines accepting shells, guns, and various weapons how is this possible ? My favourite picture is the one below of the man in a suit holding some hi tec machine gun, wouldn’t  like to upset this man on Monday morning or just maybe he has a pigeon problem to deal with at work !  The other man on the right seems to have a bad communication problem with the Starship Enterprise !


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