WARNING…Using the NanoFlash with a Sony EX-3

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It was a bit unnerving to say the least when Dennis Lennie showed us a deliberate but potentially fatal mistake during the making of his NanoFlash tutorial. We see a shot from his EX-3 footage showing a cameraman and all the viewfinder info is also in the shot.

I emailed Dennis to confirm he was using HD-SDI…so be warned…especially those of you who hire EX-3s that you need to have the SDI Out Display to the “OFF” position when using the NanoFlash otherwise you will record all the viewfinder info as well !

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

So you want to be a cameraman…Profile on Scott Duncan

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If Indiana Jones were a cameraman his name would be Scott Duncan. An eight time Emmy award winner, Scott is known for his artistry as well as his sense of adventure. Scott has filmed inside war zones, on top of mountains and under raging rivers. Last month he used the new Aaton Penelope camera to shoot one of Manhattan’s most menacing marauders – Donald Trump.

The project was the opening of a brand new season of Celebrity Apprentice with The Donald and a gaggle of…celebrities (who we can’t name right now – you’ll know them when you see them). It proved an excellent opportunity for Scott to become acquainted with Penelope.

The production took place over the course of 5 days and was shot in a studio and at various well-known New York locations. A long time owner of Aaton 16mm equipment, Scott felt comfortable immediately.

“I put her in as many real situations as possible while gathering imagery,” he said. “There are so many great details to the camera, I felt at home almost instantly.”

The Aaton design philosophy has always emphasized hand-held use, and Penelope brings the iconic ‘cat on the shoulder’ analogy to 35mm. Scott’s comments on the subject – “Handheld is very easy, the mag is very soft on the shoulder…that is what those little things on the bottom of the mag are for and they actually really work … I shot a lot of handheld.”

Scott chose to shoot 2-perf, because he is considering Penelope for an upcoming feature, and this was an opportunity to test the format. (The camera can be set to shoot either 2-perf or 3-perf 35mm film). Operationally, he was pleased with changing magazines and control of the camera.

“The Magazines on and off is butter…the operator side buttons for frame rate and other controls is super nice and easy.”

To sum it up, Scott Duncan said, “…amazing this Penelope!” A nice first impression from an adventurous and discerning cameraman.



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


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

So you need 50Mbs for Broadcast see how the NanoFlash can help

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Professional & Broadcast equipment product videos from Creative Video

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

Sony EX-1R Review by Alister Chapman

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

New Compositor’s Toolkit 2 19th November 2009

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

Power Skills learn about FCP-7 with Larry Jordan $39.99

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A copy of this book is winging it’s way to me as we speak as a prize for the Best of competition 2009, my thanks to Larry and Debbie for donating this great prise. Just before I give it away I will do a quick review and post it ASAP.

This quick reference book is filled with the fast tips you need to speed your work.

You have the basics of Final Cut Pro down but when it’s crunch time, it’s the hidden techniques, shortcuts, and workarounds—the power skills—that make the difference.

In Final Cut Pro Power Skills, you’ll learn better ways to organize and set up your workspace, new ways to tune the interface, faster ways to edit, add effects, and work with audio, and many more. While many of the techniques work with earlier versions of Final Cut Pro, you’ll find coverage of the new features in Final Cut Pro 7 included, such as new speed tools, alpha transitions, iChat Theater support, and the new Share & Send options.

With over 300 power skills techniques and an additional 300 productivity tips sprinkled throughout, this book will help you make Final Cut Pro FLY!

Over 600 techniques, tips, shortcuts, and notes

  • Use the new iChat Theater support and other tools for collaboration.
  • Learn how to work with tapeless media and the new ProRes formats.
  • Use a wide variety of troubleshooting techniques to keep your system up and running.
  • Quickly match frames, move clips, remove track gaps, and learn loads of other task-based editing skills.
  • Learn how to create stunning visual effects easily.
  • Use video scopes and other methods for better color correction.
  • Discover best-practice audio techniques, including multichannel output and integration with Soundtrack Pro.
  • Compress and export your projects with ease.

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

HD DSLR Review of 2009 “The Best…the choice is yours”

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

2009 Awards…win a copy of FCP Power Skills from Larry Jordan

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You have got until the 15th December 2009 to tell us your Best Camcorder…HD SLR…Best Retailer…HD field monitor…Tripod…HD Archive solution…Best Gadget…Apple App for Video. Leave your list in the “comments tab” above and good luck.

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

8bit or 10bit that is the question

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Over the years there have been many, often heated debates over the differences between 8 bit and 10 bit codecs. This is my take on the situation, from the acquisition point of view.

The first thing to consider is that a 10 bit codec requires a 30% higher bitrate to achieve the same compression ratio as the equivalent 8 bit codec. So recording 10 bit needs bigger files for the same quality. The EBU recently evaluated several different 8 bit and 10 bit acquisition codecs and their conclusion was that for acquisition there was little to be gained by using any of the commonly available 10 bit codecs over 8 bit because of the data overheads.

My experience in post production has been that what limits what you can do with your footage, more than anything else is noise. If you have a noisy image and you start to push and pull it, the noise in the image tends to limit what you can get away with. If you take two recordings, one at a nominal 100Mb/s and another at say 50Mb/s you will be able to do more with the 100Mb/s material because there will be less noise. Encoding and compressing material introduces noise, often in the form of mosquito noise as well as general image blockiness. The more highly compressed the image the more noise and the more blockiness. It’s this noise and blockiness that will limit what you can do with your footage in post production, not whether it is 10 bit over 8 bit. If you have a 100Mb 10 bit HD compressed recording and comparable 100Mb 8 bit recording then you will be able to do more with the 8 bit recording because it will be in effect 30% less compressed which will give a reduction in noise.

Now if you have a 100Mb 8bit recording and a 130Mb 10 bit recording things are more evenly matched and possibly the 10 bit recording if it is from a very clean, noise free source will have a very small edge, but in reality all cameras produce some noise and it’s likely to be the camera noise that limits what you can do with the images so the 10 bit codec has little advantage for acquisition, if any.

I often hear people complaining about the codec they are using, siting that they are seeing banding across gradients such a white walls or the sky. Very often this is nothing to do with the codec. Very often it is being caused by the display they are using. Computers seem to be the worst culprits. Often you are taking an 8 bit YUV codec, crudely converting that to 8 bit RGB and then further converting it to 24 bit VGA or DVI which then gets converted back down to 16 bit by the monitor. It’s very often all these conversions between YUV and RGB that cause banding on the monitor and not the fact that you have shot at 8 bit.

There is certainly an advantage to be had by using 10 bit in post production for any renders, grading or effects. Once in the edit suite you can afford to use larger codecs running at higher bit rates. ProRes HQ or DNxHD at 185Mb/s or 220Mb/s are good choices but these often wouldn’t be practical as shooting codecs eating through memory cards at over 2Gb per minute. It should also be remembered that these are “I” frame only codecs so they are not as efficient as long GoP codecs. From my point of view I believe that to get something the equivalent of 8 bit Mpeg 2 at 50Mb/s you would need a 10 bit I frame codec running at over 160Mb/s. How do I work that out? Well if we consider that Mpeg 2 is 2.5x more efficient than I frame only then we get to 125Mb/s (50 x 2.5). Next we add the required 30% overhead for 10 bit (125 x 1.3) which gives 162.5Mb/s. This assumes the minimum long GoP efficiency of x2.5. Very often the long GoP advantage is closer to x3.

So I hope you can see that 8 bit still makes sense for acquisition. In the future as cameras get less noisy, storage gets cheaper and codecs get better the situation will change. Also if you are studio based and can record uncompressed 10 bit then why not? Do though consider how you are going to store your media in the long term and consider the overheads needed to throw large files over networks or even the extra time it takes to copy big files compared to small files.


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