Kuwait places a ban on DSLRs in public (Not True)

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KUWAIT: After the ban three ministries placed on photography, most Kuwaiti youth are a bit confused about what to do with their cameras if they can’t use them in public and why such laws were implemented in the first place. The Ministry of Information, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Finance recently came to the conclusion that photography should be used for journalism purposes only. This has resulted in the ban of Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLRs) in public, on the streets and in malls
What most Kuwaiti photographers have come to wonder is how such a decision could be reached by authorities, especially considering that digital cameras and cell phone cameras have the same abilities. What most people think of photography as a hobby has become a bit misguided due to the fact that the country has so little exposure to art. While using a DSLR, passersby may wonder if the camera is being used for the wrong reasons.

Mohammed Al-Eisa, who picked up photography as a hobby more than 10 years ago, said that he has decided to take photos of animals or still life due to the fact that these subjects don’t mind having their picture taken and don’t make a scene. “I started facing problems the very first day I bought my camera,” Mohammed added.

What often happens is that a big black camera tends to worry people. Taking a picture of a stranger would seem like much less of an issue if you were using a more discreet camera or even a cell phone. Mariam Al-Fodiry said that she has faced similar problems with her hobby and that being a girl doesn’t help at all. She said that in some cases it makes the problem even worse. “Switching to abstract and landscape photography was one the options I considered after getting into enough trouble,” Mariam said.

Majed Al-Saqer said that sometimes people stop him while he is in his car with his camera, as if he were planning to kill someone with it. He said that he isn’t sure what the real problem is, whether it is people taking photos of each other or the size of the camera.

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Filming for Sports News TV

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Sometimes I get the odd interesting job and to many football fans this job doesn’t come any better, filming pre match press conferences at Ibrox stadium in Glasgow then after match interviews tonight after watching the match itself (Rangers v Manchester Utd.)

That’s me filming at the Rangers training ground which is about 7 miles from the stadium, I am using my trusty Sony PMW-350 camcorder recording onto SxS cards at 750p 35Mbs. I prefer to film 750p as it gives me good action shots and it great for web content.

Once we got back to the stadium it was filming the opposition and Sir Alex Ferguson, seen here in the file and transfer window of Final Cut Pro 7. I have FCP loaded onto my MacBook Pro for this very occasion where TV companies need footage roughly edited and sent to a FTP somewhere in the world.

I use the SxS card reader rather than the camera, I am not a fan of using cameras for playback or connecting them to computers. The job was done and my final task was to make an .MP4 SD copy to send to a server.

My trusty Elgato Turbo .264 HD was on hand to produce that final down convert from 750p to SD 720 x 576 PAL. My boss was gobsmacked at how little time the Elgato took to convert the footage to SD as he also uses an EX1, needless to say he took note of the .264 converter.

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New iOS 4.2.1 for iPhone, iPad, iTouch software is causing major problems

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You have been warned, yesterday I installed iOS 4.2.1 into my iPad and caused FOUR hours worth of grief …DO NOT UPDATE TO iOS 4.2.1.

Apple have had a massive amount of complaints with people updating to what was 4.2 then became 4.2.1 so within a matter of hours Apple had changed the update themselves but I am not recommending you do so as it is clearly very buggy.

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Camera ident side plate “Simple ideas from HD Warrior”

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Freelancers like myself do not care to stick labels onto our camcorders as they have a better secondhand value if they look pristine. If you have not bought a camcorder for a while you will not have noticed the amount of easy smear plastic thats making it’s way into the market place. Sony use a strange plastic on the PMW-350 that smears very easily, you can wipe it clean at the end of a shoot but I am no fan of this type of plastic coating.

Most camcorders have a vacant space on the “tape/memory slot” side of the camera, I cannot imaging trying to scrape off a sticky ident label after a year in fact I have no doubt that it would damage the plastic.

My solution is simple…as always this is an idea waiting to happen, a side plate that is made of the same material as the camera body that you choose to screw on if you plan to use an ident label ie. BBC NEWS, SKY NEWS etc. How easy would it be for Sony, Panasonic, JVC to supply such a plate in the camera box that you could choose to use or not use depending on your type of work.

The screw holes on the camera body would be produced as part of the production line so all you have to do is screw your plate on and your away…how simple is that idea and it looks more professional.

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“There has never been a better time for shallow depth of field camcorders.”

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OK so this is a photoshop mock up but I warn Sony and Panasonic now…Canon will have no qualms in producing such a camera in the near future as they have already done so in the past with the XF305 !

The market is crying out for a shallow depth of field camcorder with 1080 50p, 4:2:2, 50Mbs, Super 35mm sensor, Canon and PL adaptor, this would rock the market to it’s foundations. The first manufacturer to come up with such a feature rich, spec camcorder at a competitive price will take the market by storm.

Canon have in my opinion sat back and let their photographic brothers take all the credit with various DSLRs but I think the XF305 was a glimpse of Canon’s future thinking. Unlike their competitors Canon have nothing to loose by bringing out a FilmLike camcorder like the XF-S35 all they will do is greatly enhance their profits and once again bring out a camcorder fit for BBC approval.

So far Sony and Panasonic want us to “buy into the future” in other words buy the lesser spec today and upgrade in the future, this madness has been going on for years and it will take an outsider once again to bring all the manufacturers to their senses.

RED Digital cinema are the only company who are ahead of the game with the RED ONE and the “buy and bolt” attitude, buy a simple working modular system then add a higher rez viewfinder, flash drive etc. when you can afford them. That philosophy makes a lot of sense, get the camera sold then earn out of the bolt on accessories.

We now have a market with the imminent Panasonic AF101 coming out during December at around the £4000 mark and I have to say with a lot of interested parties waiting to buy one…the Sony F3, launched only two weeks ago arriving during January 2011 at around the £12,000 body only and during the summer we should see the Sony NXCAM FilmLike camcorder for around the £5000 mark.

There has never been a better time for shallow depth of field camcorders the market is becoming awash with them. I still think Canon or JVC will pounce into the limelight with a killer camera…remember it only takes one to upset the apple cart and my money is on Canon.

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New Firmware for Sony NEX-VG10 (PC & MAC)

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A new firmware is now available for the NEX-VG10 for both PC and MAC. I have already tried it out on my review VG10 and it updates to V0.2 firmware. You must have the camcorder connected to the mains or it wont proceed. You connect your PC or MAC to the camcorder via the USB cable provided and follow the on screen instructions.

Click here for the SONY link… http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/camcorders/hd/msc/msc.aspx?&m=NEX-VG10E

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F3 Final thoughts…”A definite winner from day one”

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Sony invited me to London to get a hands on with the PMW-F3, no holes barred, I stuck my SxS card into slot one and Mr Bloom recorded me doing a piece to camera.

The frame grab below is from the SxS card and as you would expect it’s not a million miles away from the quality seen from any 35Mbs SxS footage, this proves that filming in SxS mode you are producing nothing better than an EX1R/EX3 can produce but with less noise and the shallow depth of field.

My main concern is the viewfinder, most DPs I know would not be happy with such a basic viewfinder, it’s just not good enough to see critical focus though Philip Bloom used what he called a “push in” where you press a button and it magnifies the picture on the LCD.

Sony did not take a leaf out of RED’s book when producing this camera and it’s viewfinder yet if they had only given us a connector to which we could attach a choice of viewfinders of varying qualities and prices. Sony’s reply would be the camera is made to a budget. My reply is that if you are going to use such a camera even as a “B” camera to an F35 then you must be able to see critical focus.

The EX3 was produced with a splendid viewfinder carried onto the PMW-350 yet a camcorder capable of so much more is compromised due to such a basic need as a decent Hi-Rez viewfinder, fortunately Sony have a fantastically sharp LCD monitor the PVM-740 OLED.

Both Philip Bloom and myself are of the opinion that the F3 would have been far better received if it had 50Mbs, 4:2:2 rather than 35Mbs 4:2:0. Cameramen as a rule do not like add on’s like NanoFlashes if we can avoid them, it’s not the NanoFlash itself but the fear of something going wrong between the camera and the external recording device being used.

When you see this camera beside the F35 and 9000 you can’t quite see the logic in Sony making it so small after all once you put your prime lens on the front you are not going to use it hand held if you can avoid it but I for one see it as a refreshing alternative to a 650 with 35mm adaptor.

The F3 can produce cracking 1080 50p 4:4:4 pictures but again uses the dual link HD SDI sockets and a payed upgrade into an SR Memory recorder, all these options cost a lot more money.

Paul Joy a film maker was taken by the fact that if he owned the F3 he could use it in many guises, corporate one day and ENG the next using the new zoom lens…this lens will not be previewed till April 2011 which means availability not till June 2011. Why ?

Sony must have known this camera was going to have a zoom control why did they not have a working zoom lens available with the launch of the camera, I would be stuck not having a zoom lens for my F3 from day one as most of my work does not involve prime lenses nor do I own any unless you count my Canon “L” glass.

This brings me onto my last topic, prime lenses ! Not everyone is going to use expensive PL mount lenses on their F3 so Sony had better contact Canon and Nikon adaptor manufacturers if they want a bigger audience to sell this camera to.

The F3 looks the business and will be a refreshing alternative within Drama, no more 35mm adaptors and oversized camcorders taking up excessive room, I think DPs will take to this camera like a duck to water and if Creative Video’s pre order for 100 units is anything to go by it’s a definite winner from day one.

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Talking about camcorder designs

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Having recently attended the Sony F3 launch in London we were treated to an exclusive viewing of a “CONCEPT” NXCAM Super 35mm camcorder which had all the design features of a “NORI BRICK” with a lens stuck on the front.

SONY Please, Please, Please do not continue down this route we already have one “BRIC CAM” from Panasonic affectionately known by one DP as “An ugly duckling with swan like pictures” yes the AF101 has been given the usual square box treatment something we have become used to with Panasonic.

We have 8 months or so before we see the new NX35CAM as I am christening it so lets not get tied down with “let’s make it as small as possible” like a DSLR. NO ! thats not what cameramen want…a top heavy camera on the end of a square box.

I have decided to give the boy’s in Japan a wee hand with the NX35CAM design so I have taken the features from the NXCAM and the F3 and done a splendid  Photoshop job by combining the features of both.

Make it bigger a few DPs I have spoken to have remarked that the F3 would have been better as a shoulder mount design then we could have had viewfinder choices, XLRs on the back and a body that would have coped better with heavier prime PL lenses but then again they did not care to come and ask my opinion.

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Support Children in Need…”Please donate to a good cause”

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You can donate by clicking here…http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey/donate/

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SONY F3 Video Press Launch in London

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[xr_video id=”f20e1daf98e2435a9c90234af8879b9c” size=”md”]

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