Reply to Panasonic

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

pana-hpx301a-blue1QUOTE JAUME “If you compare ANY OTHER 1/3″ sensor camcorder you will realize that HPX301 is less noisy and far sharper (thanks to the full HD sensor).”

When I review a camcorder I also compare the camera against a Sony EX-3. Why ? The Ex-3 performs great at 9dB the maximum noise I will personally accept and is in the £7K sweet spot the watershed between professional affordability and camcorders that need a mortgage just to buy the lenses… Yes the Sony is 1/2″ but does that not tell you something.

In my opinion Panasonic have produced a camcorder to knock the Sony EX-3 off the number one slot in the £7K price bracket and by all accounts the HPX-301 has everything the EX-3 has and a lot more… you nearly had it in fact you reduced the P2 cards by two thirds kicking Sony’s SxS cards ‘off the pitch’ but for one major miscalculation…you crammed far too many pixels onto the 1/3″ chips causing excessive noise which is exacerbated if you switch on the gain. In my 27 years as a cameraman I have never seen this phenomenon “Dancing black dots” in the shadows which you can only see on a 42″ LCD/plasma 1920 x 1080 screen. NOTE. Web presentations even in HD do not show this as there is not enough resolution.

I am a stickler for camera noise, as we all know if a camera performs well at 6-9dB you have a camera worth it’s weight in gold.

Sony decided that although the EX range was cheaper and could potentially affect the upper level pro camcorder market they were not going to compromise on chip noise and picture quality a very good philosophy and has paid off.

Panasonic on the other hand did not want to compromise the dearer 2/3″ camcorders so they took a fatal decision by using 1/3″ chips into the body of an amazing camcorder, this should be the entry level gold star camcorder of all time but unacceptable noise at 6-9dB in all HD modes cripples this otherwise fantastic camcorder. 

I dispair Jaume you talk about 1/3″ sensor camcorders but I bet you have not compared the 301 against your very own 151 well surprise, surprise I have, and it kicks the pants off the 301 at 9dB !

Panasonic were thinking of using the 151 chipset for the 301 but decided it would not have enough resolution, fair play, but this means you also know how good the 151 performs if you even considered this. I can’t quite get my head round a company who produces a camcorder for £3K (151 AVCAM) then designs a world beating full featured P2 camcorder (HPX-301) for £7K that has a SN ratio of 47dB.

Don’t bring out an all singing all dancing camcorder if the most important feature… it’s video performance needs to be compromised in the fear of costing sales to your far superior P2 2/3″ range, I have seen this strategy time and time again, the spanner in the works just in case it costs sales. The spanner could have been anything else…but the picture…the most important part of the camera…what else can I say…once again Panasonic have been let down by a poor design decision that could cost this fantastic camcorder sales and credibility amongst the people who judge you the severest…the cameramen and women who spend their hard earned cash to use your fantastic HD video products.

Remember not everything ends up in HD in fact 99% of my work ends up in SD DVD. You do not see any noise in SD mode. In HD mode the noise is very slight if you stick to -3, 0dB and will be helped when Panasonic come back with their new camera settings.

I would like to thank Jaume for replying to my blog… if it proves one thing good old Panasonic are listening and that’s a big thumbs up for them.

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EXCLUSIVE…Panasonic reply to HD Warrior about the “Dancing Black Dots”

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments



Hi everyone. Let me introduce myself first. My name is Jaume Rey and I’m the Director for Panasonic Broadcast in Europe. After reading the comments made in several Forums about this “Dancing Dots” I thought you all deserved an answer from Panasonic Europe and soon we will post more info about it in our webpage ( Some thoughts from our side:
1)The camcorder settings to “create” those dots are quiet unusual (in our understanding). There are several other camera settings for those light environments that would reduce dramatically the effect. Obviously, with other settings, you will need to compromise something else, but the overall result will be beter than those “Dancing Dots” (as seems people call them).
So sticking on those dots “case” is like saying “when listening my 100W HiFi system at full sound power volumen, with loudspeakers of 80W, heavy metal music and with the equalizer at full filtering on 125Hz, 1Khz, 3Khz and 12Khz the loudspeaker sounds awful”. Agree, they don’t sound well.
2) If you compare ANY OTHER 1/3″ sensor camcorder you will realize that HPX301 is less noisy and far sharper (thanks to the full HD sensor).
3) When I see people comparing camera performance only when talking about camcorders, I can’t do nothing else than smile. Because we produce CAMCORDERS, not STUDIO CAMERAS (for EU I mean). Someone can argue that camera head is very important, and obviously it is, but definitelly, not including on the test the performance of the codec (AVC-I100) sounds to me like comparing cars, excluding the wheels: nice but just partial test if you consider to buy a car to drive it instead of having it in the garage only. So in our eyes a fair comparisson is when you shoot, record, edit, include titles, etc…. and get the final result (same scenes, same process) because is then when you will actually see what you can get at the end. Having what EBU published is the recommended codec from a camcorder for the most high end productions in Broadcast Industry is not a bad thing, right? Specially if you are a professional (editing, titling, effects, etc..). I can understand for home application, 1st generation means everything, but HPX301 is NOT a consumer camcorder. Is for professionals, who need professional tools, go through professional processes and they want to have a professional look.

4) When comparing camcorders, including camera performance and codec performance you can realize that camera is not everything. Is like having large bottles with holes everywhere: you are unable to keep water inside and the more you move yourself the more water it drops. HPX301 is an slightly smaller bottle than others out there, but once the water is inside, no way even a single water drop gets out. In professional environments and with professional settings, HPX301 offers best value-for-money full shoulder camcorder deal in the market.

Once all this is said, we know that different customers have different tastes. In our opinion, no other camcorder can offer more overall at this price and those cameramen/women who will be able to take from HPX301 out the best of it, will be in a far better competitive position under current economic situation.

Thanks for reading up to here, wait for our recommended settings published in our web to reduce the effect and keep in touch.


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Panasonic Reply to HD Warrior “EXCLUSIVE”

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


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Upgrading to OS X 10.5.7

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New Comic (See comic tab above)

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Panasonic SDHC Class 10 cards

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Panasonic has launched the worlds first ‘Class 10’ series of SDHC cards. Class 10 is a new speed specification developed by the SD Card Association, it inherits the attributes of the current ‘Class 6’ line with further enhanced speed performance of up to 22MB/s. In addition to its Gold series Class 10 cards, it has announced a Silver series of Class 4 cards with a maximum speed of up to 20MB/s. The Gold series will start shipping by the end of this month in 4, 8, 16 and 32 GB capacities.

Panasonic is pleased to announce that it will launch new SDHC Memory Cards with Class 10 speed specification in Europe and other markets from the end of May, 2009. Class 10 is a new speed specification standardized by SD Card Association as part of SD Card Specification Ver.3.0 to meet the requirement for higher resolution consecutive shooting and large-sized high definition video shooting.

As an example of sequential writing of 3 frame/sec.(1 frame=3MB), the class10 card enables to write out large amounts of data continuously up until the card is fully written without missing any shots or writing stops. The Panasonic GOLD line series will be the world’s first memory cards* to adopt this new speed class. The new series will be available in the following four models: RP-SDW04G(4GB) / RP-SDW08G(8GB) / RP-SDW16G(16GB) / RP-SDW32G(32GB).

The current Panasonic Class 6 models are highly evaluated in the market for its superior speed performance and high reliability as well as user-friendly features like its memo label. The 32GB high capacity model was awarded the TIPA Award** as Best Imaging Storage Media 2009. The new GOLD line series inherits the advantages of the current Class 6 line with further enhanced speed performance. Its Class 10 speed capability as well as maximum speed of 22MB/s combined with intelligent controller is ideal for large volume data recording and transmission in high definition applications. The new cards also allows for high-speed data transfer from a card to a PC. A large volume of AVCHD Full HD video data fully written on a new Gold card can be transferred to a PC approx. 40% faster compared to the current Class 4 card.

Panasonic will also introduce a SILVER line series with Class 4 speed specification and maximum speed of up to 20MB/s, ideal for high definition video recording. All the new models will come with eco-friendly packages as the plastic used in previous packaging has been reduced by 90%.

The new cards will be available in the UK from June 2009.

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Larry’s Tip of the Day 8

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Techno Jib

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Techno-Jib was recently called on to provide up close and personal moments of rapper Kanye West’s performance for the VH1 series Storytellers. Following the show’s format, West performs a variety of songs from his hit albums and then answers questions from the audience. Shot on a small theatrical stage set up at Sony Studios in Culver City California, the VH1 event was too intimate for a traditional jib, which usually sits at the side or back of the house or upstage.

“Director Manny Rodriguez had the vision to place the Techno-Jib dead center where I could arm out and over the crowd. He understand that I would be able to give him the most coverage from that position,” explains Techno-Jib operator Devin Atwood. “I was on a small platform for added height and able to frame up a very dramatic shot, traveling the arm about 15 feet, across the light box looking down on the stage and Kanye to give the shot a lot of energy. “From my position I could cover about 180 degrees of movement, lead or follow Kanye’s movements across the stage, go high or drop down or even boom around from my position without interfering with the audience or having them restrict my movements.

Atwood says, “In my 20 years of experience I have never seen another piece of camera equipment that offers such freedom and endless possibilities. The Techno-Jib allows an operator to have control over six functions: pan, tilt, zoom, focus, arm movement and arm extension and retraction. Add to this, the ability to change the center post height and dolly position, and you have a piece of gear that is unmatched by any standard.”

LA-based Atwood owns the Techno-Jib 24, which extends from a minimum reach of 9 feet (2.7 meters) to a maximum of 24 feet (7.3 meters) allowing him to make shots that would traditionally be achieved by a telescoping crane. Techno-Jib’s arm can travel at speeds up to five feet per second and because of the unique “soft stop” makes each stop smooth. Each unit comes with a Mitchell Mount adapter and can accommodate a variety of remote heads either under-slung or over-slung.

From DV News

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Cameraman’s back problems

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


Only the other day I was reading Philip Blooms blog “This weekend I was invited by Teodor Stoyanov to do two workshops for an elite group of film makers in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. I went with my friend Dennis Lennie, who was an immense help not just in working out what needed to be taught but as I prolapsed a disc in my back on Thursday and was unable to move for most of the day! It was so bad that I  was going to cancel, but I felt I was getting some mobility back and this engagement had been booked for some time and these people had travelled from all over Bulgaria to come hear me talk and to learn things from me. So I had to go!”

A sore back is the number one health and safety issue with cameramen, it affects 95% of operators by the time they are in their late thirties. I don’t know any cameraman to date who has not suffered or is suffering from a sore back myself included. 

The rot sets in the early days when we are keen to please our employees and carry far too much video kit, broadcasters are notorious for sending you out with kit that is far too heavy for one man to carry… Tripod, DVCPRO Camcorder, spare batteries, lighting kit… if you are lucky the reporter will help you but the norm is to carry two tons of video gear on each shoulder and two hands climbing two sets of stairs… you get the picture and everything is done in a great rush increasing your chances of getting back problems.

When carrying gear you are under the same illusion… carry more saves trips out to the car… so what, why should you feel pressurized to get set up in jig time when a third trip to the car could save you a louping sore back 10 years down the line. Unfortunately sore backs tend to be accumulative in other words you will feel fine for years then the biggie will strike when you least expect it.

When you are young nothing phases you… “I’ll worry about that sore back if it comes in the future” Wrong attitude, once you suffer a sore back you can be out the game for months on end. My friend Alison a BBC reporter has a dickie back and she wishes she had not been so cavalier in her early days in video production. She has been off work for months at a time with a collapsed disc and it also affects her foot causing numbness.

So take a wise older owls advice… Your future is a consequence of everything you carry in the present.

Take more trips to the vehicle

Ask others to help you with the video gear

Don’t overload yourself with equipment

Decide before you get to your destination if you may need a second pair of hands

Think of yourself … not the pittance you are being payed to damage youself




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Camcorder’s that pretend to be professional

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mm-cams1hmc71-sideWhy do camcorder manufacturers feel the need to bring out “Walter Mitty” camcorders ?  

Time and time again over the years we see a camcorder design that should have never left the toilet paper it was designed on, why do the broadcast design teams feel the urge to bring out a camcorder that is so far from being professional let alone broadcast that you cringe when you see them displayed at trade shows.

Is there a yearly competition between manufacturers in Japan to design the ugliest, plastic, cheap looking camcorder they can. Take the Panasonic HMC71 it may reach the right price bracket £1800 but it looks no more professional than a gray shoe box. This good old shoulder mounted AVCAM quasi modo is partly responsible for the lack of interest in the far better HMC151. 

You see… people don’t forget basic, poor designs like the HMC71 and associate it with the HMC151 as they say tarring it with the same brush therefore people ignore the 151 as being semi domestic when it isn’t. So you see by cheapening the AVCAM from the start has a knock on effect for sales in the future for better are bolder AVCAM products.

If you are designing camcorders for professionals then please do not bring out poorly designed, grey shoe boxes with plastic lenses, leave them for the domestic boys or better still leave the design in your head.

PS. This is not a dig at Panasonic but the HMC71 is current and hits all the wrong notes.

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