The Sony LMD-9050 8″ pro LCD monitor

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lmd-9050-v5-aliI bought this just after purchasing my Sony EX-1 to allow my clients to see what I was filming and to give me peace of mind that my colour balance was correct. It runs of a 12v power supply that slips onto the back using a V connection.

I bought two 14.4 volt Lion batteries and a charger which seem to run the monitor all day. It has various connections…  Composite (BNC), S-Video, component (3 x BNCs) and HD-SDI (BNC). I was a bit miffed at the 4:3 screen but if you are inserting footage into an older 4:3 edit you do have the option to view it. I have not filmed or edited 4:3 for over two years now and the screen shows 16:9 with the press of a button.

So why did I go for the 9050 when most cameramen plum for the 9030?  Practicality and better screen resolution; I needed to view the HD-SDI signal coming out of the camera.  Before I bought this monitor I used an LCD monitor using the cameras component-out lead and, take it from me, that’s a messy way to monitor your pictures. The camera takes an SDI lead out of the HD-SDI BNC into the HD-SDI input of the 9050 which is the only one of three models to have this input, the other reason was the screen resolution — 1024 x 768 — the 9030 being 640 x 480.

The top-of-the-line LMD-9050 further provides a variety of digital progressive SD and HD formats through its HD-SDI interface. These include 480/60P and 576/50P and high-definition 1080/60i, 1080/50i, 720/50P, 720/60P as well as 1080/24PsF. You can buy the Sony LMD-9050 from Preston Media for £2242 (Tell John the HD Warrior sent you and you will get a further discount)

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

Blu-ray what are your options

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macbook-pro-15-with-fcpIt’s been well over a year and no updates to DVD Studio Pro nor any sign of Blu-ray support.  So, what are your options? Adobe’s Encore fully supports Blu-ray and it’s not that difficult to learn. I have produced a couple of Blu-ray discs using Encore and the best bit is the tie in with Photoshop CS4.

In order to re-jig your menus you simply send it to Photoshop and send it back when finished, there is no such tie in with Studio Pro though you can import your own menus made in Photoshop but it’s no way near a slick as Encore.

I have been told that Apple are waiting to bring out Snow Leopard — the next advancement in Mac OS X — but this brings present Apple users to another abyss. The code will change making everything before redundant so as I see it it’s a new start and possibly a new MacPro otherwise all your previous applications won’t work. Now please correct me if I am wrong with this news.

Even with a new version of Final Cut Studio it looks unlikely that Apple are going to support Blu-ray so they must have some other solution up their sleeve ?

Some of the boys out there are transferring their HD footage onto media drives, allowing their clients to watch the HD footage via HDMI, this is not a bad idea and could actually make money if you hire your media drives out for talking sake to a pharmaceutical company showing off their new product at a trade show on a 60″ plasma.

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

Apple introduce the new MacPro

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macproApple once again up the specs of the MacPro with the introduction of this new model.

Apple “Many quad-core processors are composed of two separate dies, which means some cached data has to travel outside the processor to get from core to core. That’s an inefficient way to access information. Enter the Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processor. Its single-die, 64-bit architecture makes 8MB of fully shared L3 cache readily available to each of the four processor cores. The result is fast access to cache data and greater application performance. Combine that with the other technological advances and you get a Mac Pro that’s up to 1.9x faster than the previous generation.”

“The new Mac Pro introduces Turbo Boost: a dynamic performance technology that automatically boosts the processor clock speed based on workload. If you’re using an application that doesn’t need every core, Turbo Boost shuts off the idle cores while simultaneously increasing the speed of the active ones, up to 3.33GHz on a 2.93GHz Mac Pro.”

“If you’re a pro who wants a desktop computer that keeps pace with your imagination, the Mac Pro delivers with faster graphics application performance across the board. Whether you’re decoding H.264 content in Final Cut Pro, creating 3D graphics in Motion, processing massive RAW images in Aperture or playing the latest games, the graphics hardware in the new Mac Pro makes graphics applications faster.”

“The foundation of this new graphics architecture is the latest generation of GPUs connected to the system via a fast and wide PCI Express 2.0 16-lane bus. Couple that with Core Animation, Core Image and Core Video technologies in Mac OS X Leopard. The result is a graphics platform for applications to seamlessly tap into a teraflop of graphics power.”

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

Larry Jordan the Guru of Final Cut Pro

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Me & LarryI was exited to get an email from Debbie Price confirming my place on the seminar “Final Cut Studio – Pro Techniques”, presented by Larry Jordan, this man is exceptional… what he doesn’t know about FCP is not worth knowing, a true Guru in every sense of the word.

Friday the 13th…of February 2009 in Glasgow city centre, Debbie “Bring pencil and paper and lots of questions!  There will be lots of material covered so be ready to take notes.  It’s classroom-style seating, so you have room to write or setup your laptop.  However, this is a presentation, rather than hands-on training.  Also bring some business cards, you never know who you might meet.”

The man is a joy, a master of his trade, I sat in the room immersed with everything he had to tell us. There were at least 55 people in this small room spellbound by Mr Jordan, his confidence and knowledge about Soundtrack Pro and FCP was like handing out chocolate bars to children.

If you ever get the chance to attend on of his seminars jump at it.

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

The problem with Panasonic’s P2 card

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ag-hpx301_p2card_inI love the new Panasonic HPX-301E but my main concern and it wont be the first time I have been down the P2 route is the cost and dated technology of the P2 cards themselves. If I were to produce work for television on HD the camera I would like to plum for is the 301 but Panasonic make this road very difficult with the price of the cards 32GB P2 card = £960 and the new 64GB card is £1708.

I would need two 64GB cards which would set me back a whopping £3416 !  If I sold the camera at a later date no one would pay any where near that price for the cards and I would take a big hit on it’s second hand value. I have always stated we only get these inflated prices because P2 is mainly Panasonic’s flagship broadcast kit, therefore we get inflated broadcast pricing !  

DV brought a lot of manufacturers to book in fact DV in my opinion killed of M2 and JVC’s D9, Sony’s betacam had a hand in this in fact the broadcasters were intrenched with betacam so much so they would not buy anything else giving Sony a great hold for many years. I remember years ago when I was at a trade show and Panasonic was showing off M2 and beside them was Sony with early DV footage and it blew M2 out of the water.

Sorry I digress, I find it very refreshing that Panasonic have brought out the 301 at a price of £8832 which is only £1589 dearer than the EX-3 but now the SxS cards are being sidelined by the MxM/SDHC card it’s takes the EX-3 to a new level of affordability. Knowing the video junkies as I am one of them we rook ourselves to get the best we can afford and forget about the ongoing cost of extra 16GB SxS cards putting us further into debt and sale close to the wind with our partners.

If Panasonic seriously want to make a dent in the EX-3 market they will have to re price the P2 card remembering that Sony will be on their heals with a 50mbs EX-5 full shoulder mount, 4 slot, broadcast 2/3 inch lens camera at a price of £8500…in my dreams.

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

iSlate for the Apple iPhone

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This is a great App for your iPhone it runs in real time, very useful if you are filming several locations in one day, type the persons name islate-v2in the “dir” column and you have a record of the interviewee , date and time it was shot. This I might add is more useful for the editor who in many occasions is not with you on the shoot. 

Along the top you will find ROLL in my case this would correspond to what SxS or MxM card I was using, then you have SCENE which can be changed and lastly you have TAKE which changes every time you activate the clapper. You can change the FPS from 25 to 50 if you are filming 720 50P and you can also change the camera number.  

I love the concept and it works to a degree but it can be fiddly to activate the editing screen but for £1.79 it’s a snip for such and advanced pocket clapperboard.

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

The LED 500 12v light

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led-500-81k1I have 2 of these cracking lights they are produced in the USA by FloLight and are 5600K daylight balanced. I have seen them advertised by  in the UK and now come in 500W (£399) and 1000W (£699) flavors.

These lights are well built, sturdy and heat free. Remember the burnt fingers using the old Red Heads, a thing of the past and the best news is the ability to add velcro to the back of the barn doors and velcro your scrim or colour filters…NO HEAT.

Another nice feature is the ability to dim the lighting from 100% to 25%. I tend to bounce the lights if I have a white ceiling giving a smashing 5600K diffusion with no shadows. One further feature is the 4 pin 12v XLR allowing you to run these lights on 12v batteries, great for outdoor work. A word of caution I find these lights very harsh if used direct with no scrim if filming an interviewee, in fact I will go as far as to warn you not to use these lights direct into someone’s face without diffusion.

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

ProPrompter review coming soon

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proprompter-v2This is one piece of equipment that has been a god send and is a must if you do a lot of pieces to camera. We use an Apple MacBook Pro to deliver the script but a word of warning Apple change specs constantly as new flavors of laptops appear but to my horror the latest 15″ unibody version does not have a video adapter so the only way to get a composite picture out of the new MacBook Pro is to use the mini display port to VGA adapter and convert this using an AVerMedia AVerKey Lite (£29) to go from VGA to composite video.

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

Sony EX-3 Vs JVC GY-HM700 — is it worth jumping ship?

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JVC GY-HM700Many of us with Sony EX-3s are contemplating jumping ship to the new JVC GY-HM700…why ? This will depend on a few factors but one of my sore points with the EX-3 has been solved with the introduction of the MxM (previously the MxR) SD-HC insert.

It makes what was previously a major hole in your budget having to buy a 16Gb Sony SxS card into a joy with the advent of the MxM card. Cost all in is about £70 per 16Gb against £500 for the Sony SxS card. So with the storage issue solved is it worth jumping ship the answer is not yet. Only a small handful of people have so called reviewed this camcorder but left us all with the same questions… how does the JVC perform against the EX-3 in low light and image performance?  I hope to answer these questions and more as soon as I get my hands on one.

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

Camcorder reviews coming soon…

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ag-hpx301_sidel-50kUser review of the Sony EX-3, a week with the Panasonic HPX-301E, review of the Sony HRV-Z5E and a user review of the new JVC GY-HM700 and how it performs in low light and it’s user friendliness in Final Cut Pro.

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

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