New web site for Small Video Productions

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


We seriously needed a new look and here is our new 2015 corporate web site for Small Video Productions

After some debate I decided to design the web site myself, after all if I want to change a graphic or add a new page I don’t need to wait for someone else to change it for me.

HD Warrior was to be a window for our work but it became more of a news, views and review site, and a lot of our work can’t be shown to the public by the nature of its content.

I have been delighted to pick up a few jobs this year from followers looking for work filmed in Scotland. Have a wee look at our new web site and let me know what you think.

Yip there are always people who are more literate than yourself telling me where to add apostrophes etc. and thank you for pointing out various mistakes on my web site.

Tonight I have just made the site iPad friendly, added a blog and generally faffed about with some extra information. It helps that my broadband is now top notch 76Mb BT Infinity, no more buffering and uploading HD videos is a dream.

Post v2

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

Some new products from Sony

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Sony’s newest addition to its PXW series of shoulder-mount camcorders – the PXW-X400 – delivers stronger network and wireless capabilities, improved weight balance, XAVC 50p recording*¹and pool feed functions to give ENG and field production professionals a versatile and high-performance tool.

“This new camcorder combines all the capabilities professional shooters need – enlarged connectivity for content faster to air, improved ergonomics for easier operation on the field, and high performance for efficient workflows – in a true news and broadcast production workhorse.” said Lucie Wendremaire, Product Marketing Manager, Sony Professional, Sony Europe.  “The various additions of features like XAVC 50p recording and pool feed make the PXW-X400 a perfect fit for today’s demanding field content creation requirements.”

The new camcorder’s Ethernet interface (RJ45 connector) enables direct connection to a network when wireless LAN is unstable or unavailable, for file transfer, live streaming and control from a web browser. A near-field communications (NFC) feature gives users a one-touch link between the camera and a mobile device. The Content Browser Mobile application enables users to preview or remotely control camcorder settings of various menu functions.

The pool feed function (HD/SD SDI) enables the recording of a 1.5G HD-SDI external signal on an SxS card, a useful function to record a distributed signal from another camera on-site without portable deck.

Redesigning the inner structure of camcorder body, Sony has drastically improved the weight balance and handling capabilities compared to predecessor models. The combination of the newly introduced manual lens and the well-balanced body resolve any front-heavy issues and dramatically reduce the load on the right-hand.

The camcorder’s “ONLINE button” lets users bypass a mobile device or the camera’s menu for direct on/off control over the following features: direct streaming transmission of AV signals from a PXW-X400 to assigned destinations; auto-uploading of proxy or high-resolution files to cloud services and FTP servers; and on/off control over Sony’s PWS-100RX1 network station enabling QoS live streaming while shooting.

The low-power (22W) camcorder PXW-X400 uses a 2/3” 3-chip CMOS image sensor and supports several HD and SD formats including XAVC. Lens options include a 20x Manual Focus Lens (PXW-X400KC model) and a 16x Auto Focus Lens*² (PXW-X400KF model). The PXW-X400 model is body-only with neither lens nor viewfinder. The new camcorder supports Sony’s new HDVF-series Full HD OLED Viewfinder (model HDVF-EL20/EL30) for a greater visual comfort, as well as the new URX-S03D, the first 2-channel portable slot-in receiver from the UWP-D Series, and a new bodypack transmitter, the UTX-B03HR, using a true diversity system and Sony Digital Audio Processing.

The PXW-X400 camcorder is planned to be available in February 2016.

*¹60p recording will be supported on only XAVC-Long format.

*²Auto Focus capability will be available in May 2016.


Sony is introducing a new 2-channel slot-in receiver, URX-S03D, and a new bodypack transmitter, UTX-B03HR as part of the UWP-D Series, designed for compatibility with Sony’s XDCAM & HDCAM camcorders. The URX-S03D is the first two-channel slot-in portable receiver in the UWP-D series for Sony camcorders providing a true diversity system with stable RF transmission and High-quality sound.

Since its launch in 2014, the Sony UWP-D series has been used for many applications such as documentary use, electronic newsgathering and field production and by broadcasters for news production, achieving stable wireless transmission based on Sony’s cutting edge digital audio processing technologies.


URX-S03D, 2-channel slot-in wireless receiver


Stable RF transmission and High-quality sound

The true diversity reception system achieves highly stable reception thanks to its two receiving antennas and separate RF circuits for each channel. RF signals from the two antennas are compared and the stronger signal is automatically selected for output, allowing the URX-S03D to reduce possible interruptions in reception to a minimum. Sony’s Digital Audio Processing, which uses DSP (digital signal processing) for digital companding, further contributes to high quality sound.

Compatibility with Sony XDCAM and HDCAM camcorders

The URX-S03D fits in the slot of Sony’s XDCAM camcorders with 2-channel digital audio connections directly from the DSP. It can also be matched with the slot of an HDCAM camcorder with single channel audio connection. It can also monitor the AF/RF status of the URX-S03D via the viewfinder of supported Sony camcorders.

User-friendly functions

  • Automatic channel setting: scans and determines available channels and sends information to the transmitter to complete the channel setting automatically.
  • Clear channel scan, active channel scan and IR sync provide fast, easy, and safe channel setup
  • Large display and simple menu for easy operation


UTX-B03HR bodyback transmitter

The new UTX-B03HR is equipped with a new 4-pin microphone connector designed to withstand the rigors of ENG shooting. A standard broadcast lavalier microphone (ECM-77BC) can be used with the new connector.

– Sony’s Digital Audio Processing

– Compatibility with all UWP Series / WL-800 Series

– Extremely compact, lightweight, and robust metal body

– USB for power supply or charging batteries

– Switchable MIC/LINE input level and adjustable

– Attenuator (0 dB to 21 dB, 3-dB steps)


“The new addition to our UWP-D series has been designed to provide the professional with another option for a 2 channel wireless audio slot-in, integrating seamless audio when using Sony XDCAM or HDCAM camcorders, and we’re really excited for our customers to get their hands on them in the field.” said James Leach, European Marketing Manager, Sony Professional Solutions Europe.

The URX-S03D and UTX-B03HR can both be used with the NEW PXW-X400 Camcorder and are planned to be available in Early 2016.

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

DJI OSMO arrives and is an instant success…£548 incl vat Production Gear

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Wow, wow and wow…the DJI Osmo is an instant success…why ? My son was filming a friends wedding today down at Seamill in the Ayrshire coast and asked me if I could help him with the ceremony. The DJI Osmo arrived in Production Gear on Wednesday, shipped it for Thursday and it was raining all that day.

The camera can film 4K 25p, I set it to 1080 50p, you can control the ISO, shutter speed and WB via your smart phone and there is a mic input which I will be trying out tomorrow. It comes with one battery that lasts about one hour needless to say I have a spare battery on order (End of November).

Keep the ISO as low as the lighting conditions allow as the maximum ISO 3200 is a tad noisy. The other noise comes from the fan in the X3 camera itself and the inbuilt mic is not so good. The way round this is to use a radio mic which plugs into the 3.5m jack on the handle of the Osmo, the sound is far better.

Osmo closer2

Friday was the first day I had to play with my new Osmo but I was filming the wedding that afternoon so I decided to run a wee test at the wedding. For years I have dreamed of running around guests with a steadycam and today was payoff day.

There is a known bug at the moment where the horizon goes squint, I did encounter this a couple of times but re-started and things were fine, Simon from Production Gear tells me this will be cured in the next firmware.

The DJI has exceeded expectations, so much so I had to produce a 1.5m demo of my exploits. This new tool will be a major asset in my “box” of video tools…WOW !!!

A wee note : Sadly I sold my Ronin M as to be truthful I was not using it, the Ronin is such a specialised bit of kit. My tip when buying a Ronin is to get a carry case otherwise you will find yourself not using it, the DJI Osmo on the other hand is so small and comes with its very own case.

I think this 3 axis gimbal with X3 camera will become the defacto event tool for 2016.

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

Rycote produce a sexy new website

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RYCOTE title

“In 1969, Rycote introduced the first windshield system used for Location Sound and ENG”
Since that time, they continued to refine their technology with industry-leading innovations for wind, shock and handling protection.  With a wealth of versatile tools designed to deliver outstanding audio while withstanding the harshest environments and the rigors daily use, Rycote remains the most trusted brand by professionals. New web site


This was me filming Tim at the Rycote stand during BVE 2014.

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

Ikegami 8K on its way from Japan

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments


Ikegami are charging ahead with 8K 7680×4320 which is 16x bigger than HD. Having seen 8K for myself it produces pictures to die for. If you think 4K is good wait till you see 8K. Just when we have passed “Back to the Future Day” no one predicted 8K so soon.

Ikegami has announced the completion of the world’s first 8K OB production vehicle. The new vehicle is designed to operate as a complete mobile 8K broadcast production facility capable of producing television of unsurpassed picture quality, complete with 22.2 channel surround sound.

In March 2015, Ikegami introduced its SHK-810 fourth-generation 8K television camera that was developed in co-operation with Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). This is about one tenth the size and weight of Ikegami’s first-generation 8K camera and offers significantly improved operability. The company’s efforts to develop 8K broadcast production equipment have focused on achieving extremely high resolution combined with Ikegami’s proven ability to deliver very wide dynamic image processing. Ikegami also has long experience in producing mobile television production trucks, having produced more than 800 OB vehicles.

In Japan, the road map for 8K broadcasting announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications specifies that trial broadcast transmissions will be conducted in 2016. Regular 8K broadcast services are planned to begin in 2018.


Many elements of 8K television production infrastructure are much larger in size, power consumption and number of cables than their HDTV equivalent. This is because 8K broadcast production captures 16 times more image information than HDTV. Organising an 8K OB vehicle is therefore much more challenging than designing and producing traditional OB vehicles.

The 8K OB vehicle produced by Ikegami delivers extremely high quality and high reliability in a compact size. The vehicle’s specifications allow operation not only in Japan but worldwide so it can be operated for global sporting events such as the Olympic Games. It can be expanded to accommodate additional equipment as and when required.

The 8K OB vehicle was delivered to NHK in September 2015. Its role will be to allow television audiences to experience the full reality of live events from wherever they choose to view.

NHK_8K_OB_vehicle copy

OB system outline

Vehicle size: 2495 (W) x 3330 (H) x 11,930 (D) (mm); (1000 mm (W) expandable when operating.
Switcher: 16 inputs, 4 outputs 1 mix/effects.
Router: 8K, 4K and HD (2K).
DSK : 8K.
Camera: Up to 10 8K cameras (Ikegami SHV-8000, SHK-810).
Recorder: 8K recorder (up to 4 units).
Slow-motion: 8K slow-motion player. Up to 4 units.
Audio router: Supports MADI.
Monitor for switcher: Main: 55-inch 8K monitor; Sub: 55-inch (with multiviewer).
Additional video monitors: 32-inch and others.

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

Coming up this week on HD Warrior

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

This week

A revolution in prompting with LIVE EDIT

Firstly a review of a brand new prompter hardware/software that will revolutionise the world of prompting…forget what you own this will be instantly better than anything you own and hears why… Via its own WiFi hot spot you can have control over 5 iPads, one for controlling the other 4 and one for changing text………LIVE as it happens, plus the second iPad can have the text un-mirrored…this is a truly revolutionary piece of kit all for under £400 incl vat.

JVC LS300 will be back with version 2 software

JVC are sending me the updated LS300 with the new v2 software that everyone is talking about with the new JVC Log mode sees the GY-LS300 deliver wide latitude and high dynamic range – up to 800% according to the company, with the unit’s Super 35 CMOS sensor providing details within highlights and shadows. 4096 x 2160 Cinema 4K and 2048 x 1080 Cinema 2K recording modes at various framerates have also been added, along with a 17:9 aspect ratio for digital cinema presentations, and ability to output a full HD signal via HDMI/SDI when in 4K recording mode for monitoring in HD.

Prime Zoom, which uses JVC’s Variable Scan Mapping technology. When used with a MFT prime lens, the image can be adjusted between the maximum scan area and minimum scan area using the camera’s zoom rocker, delivering a 2.3x maximum zoom for HD or 1.25x maximum zoom for 4K. Of course, it can also be used as a lens extender for actual zoom lenses like the Lumix 45-175 zoom lens.

Other new additions include a histogram display; a colour matrix adjustment; a new spot meter for setting exposure values; a black paint setting to precisely adjust colour temperature of master black; JVC LUT support via the Atomos Shogun external recorder; a 2:1/1:1 zoom for critical focus; and a 70Mbps recording mode that makes it possible to record 4K onto economical Class 10 SDHC/SDXC memory cards.


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

Panasonic DVX-200 “Stand out from the crowd”

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red brolly copy

One of our site sponsors Production Gear have the new Panasonic DVX-200 in stock why not give them a phone on 020 8236 1212.

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

Native ISO…Confused ?…”So you should be”

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments

native iso

What ever happened to signal to noise ratios the bar at which all video cameras were judged, we talk about native sensor ISO (International Standards Organization) these days, total confusion. Recent 4K/HD cameras give you a choice of either decibels (dBs) or ISO for gain, the problem with ISO is its far from standard.


Back in the days of film your film speed was measured as ASA (American Standards Association), as an example you had T-MAX 100 ASA and T-MAX 400 ASA film. The T-MAX 400 provides greater under-exposure latitude that results in more detail in the shadow areas. However, this is achieved at the expense of “smokey blacks”. Are we starting to see a similarity to filming in LOG which is where all this terminology originally stems from. We are so intent in making video footage look cinematic we have built a science around it.

During the 1960s news reports were usually filmed on 16mm film rated at 400 ASA allowing a faster shutter speed and footage in lower lighting conditions, it was slightly more grainy than 100ASA film.

Todays camera manufacturer sets the cameras native ISO (equivalent to film speed)  taking a few points into account…

1. Noise and grain

2. Optimum Dynamic Range (12-14 stops)

3. Detail

The sensor is at its best when all 3 are optimised and given its “Native ISO” but that may not correspond to 0dB.

In the world of ISO…if your camera has an ISO of 200 that should be the same on all cameras but in the real world that only works for the same model and make of camera.

ISO 500

Take the Panasonic DVX-200 its native ISO is rated at 500 which is the lowest ISO on the camera therefor it also equals 0dB. For every 6dBs you double the ISO, so 6dBs = 1000 ISO and 9dBs = 1500 ISO with 12dBs = 2000 ISO which is fine for the DVX-200 but if you have a Sony PXW-FS7…

FS7 ISO 2000 copy
The Sony PXW-FS7 has a native ISO of 2000 so you can see where the first problem lies there is 1500 ISO of a difference between the Panasonic and the Sony.

My gripe is that in the film days 400ASA was a set film speed that many makes of camera could use and exposing via a light meter would be standard throughout, today you can’t apply the same rule for ISO as the sensor sensitivity differs between each camera model.

Take the two cameras above, setting both cameras to 0dB at f4 will still give you vastly different exposures to each other. You would have to set the DVX-200 to 12dBs to match the Sonys native ISO of 2000, but the noise and grain would be a lot more visible on the Panasonic.

So is 0dB the same on all cameras ? 0dB should be the quietest point in a cameras sensor giving the best possible picture quality.

Why do we use ISO at all ? The camera’s ISO setting is its sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is. This is measured according to international standards. Each ISO setting is double the one before, if you increase the ISO from 100 to 200, you double the camera’s sensitivity.

XDCAM User “Sony’s native ISO rating for the FS7 of 2000ISO has been chosen by Sony to give a good trade off between sensitivity, noise and over/under exposure latitude.” and “If you were to use SLog2 or SLog3 with the camera in custom mode and not use the native ISO by adding gain or changing the ISO away from 2000, you will not get the full 14 stop range that the camera is capable of delivering.”


Now for more confusion the Sony FS7s native ISO is 2000 but you have ISO 800, 1000, 1250 and 1600 before you hit the native 2000 ISO, most FS7 users I know prefer ISO 800 in Cine EI mode. You have to make up your own minds on ISO, some so called scholars will tell you never to go below the native ISO, thats just nonsense.

Use your eyes it all depends on the lighting conditions and what overall effect you want to achieve, the BBC prefer not to have noise levels above 6dB but how can they tell these days with cameras like the Sony FS7 !

To me the whole ISO system stinks with deliberate confusion and is far from standard, I spoke to 2 engineers and three competent cameramen today who were all confused by this topic so what chance does everyone else have.

I have some simple tips as follows…

  1. Use your eyes, can you see grain in your picture, make sure you have a good monitor and a decent viewfinder.
  2. Use -dBs if available to avoid using the ND filter as even ND filters can introduce their own noise. (Its down to how perfect they are made and are they dust free). TIP. When changing lenses make sure you have the ND filter out (clear position) to avoid dust getting onto the ND filter.
  3. By using 0dB you may affect the full dynamic range of the camera i.e. 12 stops rather than 14 that in my opinion is a sacrifice I prefer to make to have noise free footage, remember the full Dynamic Range (DR) is only used in LOG mode once again something a lot of us do not bother with in day to day filming.
  4. Most professional video cameras give you the option for dBs or ISO, personally I am happier to use dBs to control gain.
  5. Remember dBs and ISO give you the same result its only useful to use ISO if you need to get all of your cameras dynamic range by sticking to its native ISO.



One of my readers David Heath has some interesting input…

“You have to go right back to basics – to sensor level – to really understand where the term “base ISO” comes from, and why it’s so important.

Start from total blackness, then gradually increase the light level – at some point the sensor will give a just discernible output. Carry on increasing light level and the output will correspondingly increase until it reaches a saturation point – no matter how much more light is input, the output won’t increase any more. It follows that the difference between these min/max points is the basic dynamic range of the camera, normally expressed logarithmically in stops.

Note this is AT SENSOR LEVEL, and is independent of such things as camera gain etc. Hence there is ONLY one grey scale range that can give this, so taking absolute brightness, f stop etc into account the camera can only have one ISO value where this is true. This defines the “base ISO”.

All “ISO value” really means is that for a given illumination, at a given shutter speed, it tells you what to set the f stop (more correctly, T-stop) to for correct exposure.

It’s not really true to say “0dB should be the quietest point in a cameras sensor giving the best possible picture quality”. It normally corresponds to MAX DR, which is not necessarily the quietest in terms of S/N. As example, on cameras before the complications of log etc it was typical to have a position for negative gain – which would give a better noise performance than 0dB. But at the expense of dynamic range, normally highlight handling, which is why the amount was typically restricted to only -3dB, or maybe -6dB on pro 2/3″.


So yes – the quote from XDCAM user is perfectly valid. By rating it at ISO 2000, you can then expect to set aperture etc to get THE BEST RESULTS THE CAMERA IS CAPABLE OF. (At least overall – I agree with the way the XDCAM user quote refers to best “trade off”.) It may not be a surprise that rating it at a higher ISO won’t give such good results – we’re all familiar that such implies gain and likely more noise – but the same is true if you try rating it at a LOWER ISO. In the case of the FS7, ISO 2000 produces the OPTIMUM result.

And if Panasonic say the base ISO for the DVX200 is ISO 500, then the same is true there. It then becomes worthwhile querying why the FS7 is then 2 stops better than the DVX200. Most obvious is sheer sensor size, but as s35 is only about twice as large as 16:9 4/3 (not 4x), that only accounts for about 1 stop in itself. I can only presume the other stop is due to Panasonic using a higher than 4K pixel count sensor (hence smaller than optimum photosites), and Sony exploiting their back-illumination technologies.

It does mean that assuming the same T-stop, the FS7 has a 2 stop advantage over the DVX200, and the FS5 (base ISO 3200) is nearer 3 stops!

And sorry, but your point 3 above is incorrect. You can expect 0dB to be where you get the BEST dynamic range. Using a log setting won’t automatically give you a higher dynamic range (contrary to a lot of belief) – what it WILL do is give better post flexibility as to how the basic camera DR is mapped to output. If you don’t use log, then the high DR gets mapped to a lower one (suitable for the eyes more limited range) in a set fashion, according to gamma curve, knee, slope and such factors.”

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

mMorph CUT from Motion VFX for FCPX ($59)

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

Morph CUT title

I am so impressed I needed to blog about mMorph CUT from Motion VFX but don’t just take my word for it, watch the video…

Premiere Pro boasts a similar in-house plugin called Morph Cut, but about 2 weeks ago I tried it in desperation. I had an edit that had little to no cutaways and Premieres plugin was very disappointing.

A morph cut is a plugin that disguises a jump cut making the interview look as if the person was word perfect with one take.

Today Motion VFX have brought out a plugin called mMorph CUT which actually works a dream within FCPX but it must be 10.2.2 or better. If you order it today from Motion VFX you also get 20% discount by adding October into the discount field.

Having had a play with it today you can extend the time it takes by stretching it along the timeline which is some cases can give a more natural looking transition.

Get your copy here

Here is the material I was editing 2 weeks ago without and with mMorph CUT

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

User Review of the Lumix FZ1000 (£599 Wex)

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

FZ1000 title

A few of my readers have asked me to do a review on the Lumix FZ1000 as I use it as my main camera to film blog interviews and many of you have been more than impressed with the results.

Filming Edradour

I bought the Panasonic FZ1000 a week before filming at Edradour, a whiskey distillery in Perthshire. I needed pictures for my blog and some video as well.

Why not use the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony A7s, tempted but we needed a run and gun camera, pick up and go, unfortunately both the GH4 and A7s are far from quick and easy.

Cam Scott1

The FZ1000 has one major omission that Panasonic can hang their heads in shame…no headphone output. Why on earth did they bother giving the camera 4K-HD video and no headphone output, lazy designers in my opinion !


The way I kind of get round this is to use Sony’s UWP-D16 radio mic system, having a headphone output lets you monitor the sound for breakup etc. As for the sound going into the FZ1000…your guess is a good as mine.

The FZ1000 does have audio indications on the LCD screen but you are relying on the audio limiter to make sure your sound is not distorting.

Int Allen v2

I have found this to work fairly well and using the RODE NTG-4 gun mic with the Sony radio transmitter keeps a lot of stray background sound to a minimum.

Kids WS

Photographically its not a GH4 but the 12fps using fast Class 10 speed 3 SDXC media allows you to track these children running up a hill.

Pic as is 100 crop
This picture of Scott is shot at 25mm f3.2 @ 1/125 at lowest ISO 125

Video modes are AVCHD or MP4…AVCHD is the choice for me along with 1920 x 1080 50p at 28Mbps though on the occasion MP4 as its the only codec to allow 4K 3840 x 2160, 25p at 100Mbps.

I have investigated AVCHD v MP4 without any success but at 28Mbps on both codecs I doubt there is much difference plus the camera tells you that AVCHD is better for HD footage.

The success of this camera is keeping the ISO to a minimum, the lowest is 125 ISO, keeping the ISO down certainly helps the quality of your video footage. I don’t use it in low light conditions as it was never bought with this in mind but having a 1″ sensor helps keep the grain to a minimum.


The CAMBO loupe with Schneider optics is great for outdoor sunny work and keeps your head away from the leads coming out from the Sony receiver.

Cambo Loupe

Unfortunately the CAMBO loupe uses a base unit that partly covers the battery compartment as seen above but if you start the day with a fresh battery and a 64G SDXC U3 card its not a problem. You only have to unscrew one bolt to change the battery.

Me 200 filming

Anyone who watches the footage I get out of this camera are blown away and some have commented they are more pleasing and less electronic than a GH4 !

On the whole I am delighted with my Panasonic FZ1000 with its 25-400 Leica f2.8-4 lens its a great blogging camera, 3 of us now own this camera, Allen (above) as you can see, myself and my ex boss Chris from Arran.

The behind the scenes video we produced at Edradour was mainly shot on the Panasonic FZ1000…

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

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