AJA’s new CION £5,370 plus vat

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The new 4K camera from AJA has been given little press but is quite popular amongst my readership as Blackmagic have done a fair bit of damage with the previous Cinema Cameras and sensor problems. The CFast memory for URSA is $1,200 for a 128G card giving you 20m of ProRes in 4K.

The AJA uses their proven SSD cards with sensible card sizes like 256GB ($695) or 512GB ($1,295)…more space for your buck.

CION – The New Production Camera from AJA from AJA Marketing on Vimeo.

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

Have Blackmagic opened a Pandoras box that the video industry would have preferred to have kept tightly shut !

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For years we have paid through the nose for video equipment thanks in no part to inflated prices and inflated egos willing to spend silly money on kit.

Been there, done it, ate the pie as the saying goes…till now…the one clear message from Blackmagic’s latest offering is how much such a high spec camcorder DOES’NT COST !


If another manufacturer had brought URSA to market we would certainly be paying £10K upwards for this level of sophistication but the genius that runs Blackmagic Design Grant Petty has a clear vision…QUALITY at AFFORDABLE PRICES.

Granted BM have had a bad run of luck with the original BM Cinema camera but they have been honest enough to keep us informed about the duff sensors and hopefully with some better luck will start shipping the new URSA during July 2014.

At £3,785 plus vat the new URSA has set a new standard in not only quality but more importantly price that companies like Canon, RED, ARRI, Sony, Panasonic and JVC are going to find it hard to compete…especially those pitching at the 4K arena.

No surprise on the back of the BM announcement that Sony have announced an upgrade path for F5 owners to convert their cameras to the F55 which has delighted Sony F5 owners but at a price some are speculating about £3-4K almost as much as a new URSA !


Canon were rumoured to bring out a C400 with 4K specs but a rumour it stayed possibly a lucky coincidence as a newcomer to the camera market place the AJA CION priced at £5,370 plus vat, I can’t quite see how this camera is going to compete with the URSA at £3,785 plus vat.

So where does that leave similar spec camcorders like the ARRI ALEXA (Not 4K), RED EPIC, Sony F55 and Panasonics VariCam 35 well your guess is as good as mine but you can be well assured now that Blackmagic have taken the lid off over inflated pricing we may see some very good deals seeping out over the next few months as sales figures plummet and manufacturers get nervous.

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

Great news for JVC GY-HM600/650 owners…”FW v3 50Mbps”

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Firmware update for the GY-HM650 launched at NAB

JVC have announced a firmware upgrade that adds Zixi advanced streaming capabilities to its GY-HM650 mobile news camera. The 3.0 upgrade also adds the Extreme High Quality (XHQ) mode, which offers virtually lossless 50 Mbps H.264 recording to the GY-HM650 and GY-HM600.

Equipped with JVC’s exclusive dual codec design, the GY-HM650 allows live transmission or secure FTP file transfers when equipped with a 3G/4G modem (or hotspot) or Wi-Fi adapter. It supports live HD video streaming at web-friendly resolutions at various bit rates while simultaneously recording a full HD file to an SDHC or SDXC media card.

Using Zixi’s new Advanced Streaming Technology (AST), the GY-HM650 3.0 provides content-aware error correction and bandwidth shaping. It features JVC’s ‘Streamconfidence’ feature, providing real-time feedback of signal and streaming status. With bit-rates as low as 256 kbps and up to 3 Mbps, Zixi proprietary algorithms maximize bandwidth to ensure reliable transmission even under difficult conditions, while advanced content aware error correction compensates for up to 30 percent packet loss.

With the upgrade, the camera is also compatible with JVC’s Professional Streaming Services, including the new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi that provides reliable live content delivery to a variety of hardware decoders, CDNs, and the web. Other upgrades include large file size support with SDXC media cards and .MOV clip import capability for Mac OSX. Improved file transfers use RTSP/RTP protocol and can be controlled through a standard web browser.

“The virtually lossless 50Mbps XHQ 60p recording mode is commonly found in DSLRs, and we’re pleased to add it to our 600 Series cameras,” said Gustav Emrich, European product manager. “The Advanced Streaming Technology upgrade to the GY-HM650 is very valuable because it makes the camera compatible with our new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi, which will help news organisations manage and distribute live signals from their JVC cameras in the field.”

Designed for ENG, the compact GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 feature a built-in Fujinon wide angle 23x zoom lens with manual focus, servo zoom, iris rings, three ND filters and a removable hood. The cameras record HD or SD footage in multiple file formats and can produce full HD files on one memory card while simultaneously creating smaller, web-friendly files (1/4 HD) on a second card. Audio features include a built-in stereo microphone, two XLR inputs with phantom power, shotgun mic holder, headphone jack and separate input for a wireless mic receiver.

Version 3.0 upgrades are free to all current GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 owners, and will be available in May via a firmware update available through the JVC web site.


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

URSA the comic just out..Get one today

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

The DSLR 4K choice…not if aesthetics has anything to do with it !

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I had to laugh when I saw these pictures coming from Sony this morning its a feeble attempt to upstage the Panasonic GH4. Lets take a serious look at Sony’s meccano.


This Sony bracket is nothing short of a mess and very impracticable. Try mounting a tripod plate into that plastic screw head and you will be forever tightening it up.

Why Sony think this mess is any competition for the GH4 it beggars belief, Heath Robinson comes to mind, its a very ill conceived bracket from a 1980′s flash grip all because Sony choose to stick the audio onto a cold shoe, rather than design a fit for purpose cradle like the SDI/XLR adapter for the GH4.

This was the main reason I did not choose the Sony Alpha 99 and went for the GH3…the sound for these Sony cameras is a lash up and will do Sony no favours by turning out poor design like this.

Canon have proved with the C500 that its not a good idea to leave out the 4K internal recorder so why on earth do Sony think the 7s will sell leaving out its ability to record to 4K internally !

Can you imagine that bracket with an external recorder as well !!!

Once again Den Lennie has been let loose this time in my part of the world, Scotland, here is his film with the new Sony Alpha 7s…nice one Den !

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

More Magic from Blackmagic…”Studio Camera” $2,995

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Blackmagic Studio Camera

One of the problems with live production is that most cameras have not really been designed for live production, so they don’t have the features that we need such as a large bright viewfinder, talkback, tally, optical fiber plus almost all cameras are made from plastic.

We have been thinking deeply about what features a camera designed specifically for live production should have and we think we have solved these problems with the new Blackmagic Studio Camera!

This new camera features a very large and bright 10” viewfinder, built in 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, balanced XLR phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections that let you connect to a live production switcher with a single cable! The viewfinder’s LCD is extremely bright and has a very wide viewing angle so it is perfect for use even in direct sunlight.


The Blackmagic Studio Camera features an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount that is compatible with an incredibly wide range of lenses and adapters. This means you can use high quality photo lenses for smaller setups or high end broadcast ENG lenses for large live broadcasts using an MFT to B4 lens mount adapter.

The built in fiber optic connection is bi-directional and depending on the model carries HD or Ultra HD video with embedded audio, talkback, tally and even camera remote control all down the single cable. Talkback uses general aviation headsets so they are really tough and low cost.

The design is cast from magnesium that’s super tough and include a nice large sun shield for use outdoors. It’s an amazing design and having such a large viewfinder makes it amazing to use. It’s so different to any other camera I have used before. It’s so nice doing live production with full talkback to the director and knowing when you’re on air with the tally light.

There are two models of this camera and the Blackmagic Studio Camera is a HD model that operates up to 1080p60 and is available now for $1,995 while the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K updates up to Ultra HD 2160p60 with 12G-SDI and will be available in July for $2,995.


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

NAB Showstopper Blackmagic’s URSA £3,785 (EF mount)…”Fantastic”

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OMG…What has Mr Petty and the boys been hiding from us…OMG…No longer will anyone dismiss the Blackmagic camera the URSA will take the market by storm.


User Upgradeable Sensor and Mount

Choose from a range of sensors and lens mounts!

The Blackmagic URSA features a modular camera turret that can be simply removed by removing 4 simple bolts! The camera turret includes the sensor, lens mount and lens control connections and can be upgraded in the future when new types of sensors are developed. This means your next camera will be a fraction of the cost of buying a whole new camera! There are currently 4 models to choose from!

URSA EF includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and an EF lens mount with active lens control. Now you can use low cost DSLR photo lenses from companies such as Canon, Zeiss and more!

URSA Broadcast, due later in 2014, features a whole different sensor optimized for Broadcast Video in Ultra HD, combined with a broadcast B4 lens mount and broadcast lens control connection plus built in ND filter wheel.

URSA PL includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and the film industry PL lens mount. That’s ideal when you need to use feature film industry PL mount lenses for the most cinematic optics available!

URSA HDMI includes no sensor because it features an HDMI 4K input and mount plate for connecting any camera such as DSLR cameras! Get much better ProRes recording, monitoring, audio and timecode than what is ever included on simple video or DSLR cameras!


PRESS RELEASE “Over the last few years it’s been really amazing to watch some of the work being done on our cinema camera and some of the rigs that have been built around it. But when we designed it we never really thought it would be used on such large jobs. It was really designed to be a small intimate camera used for creative work where you need to get in close and personal.

So we have been watching these larger rigs and thinking about how people are working when they do large shoots. Our thinking is that we needed to design a professional full sized camera that had all the extra on set equipment built into it, so there was no need to rig it up as much. We also wanted a camera with enough size to fit a very powerful cooling system so we could run high frame rates without fan noise.

The result is URSA, our new camera for professional shoots. It features a stealthy machined aluminum design that’s incredibly strong and has been designed for large film crews. We designed the camera to be divided into separate DOP, camera assistant and audio engineer workstation areas so multiple crew can work around it at the same time.

The DOP station features a massive 10 inch fold out on set monitor and separate 5 inch screen for settings, camera status and scopes. The camera assist station features a separate LCD screen for camera settings, status and scopes and the audio station features audio meters, controls and audio connections.

URSA also includes an upgradable Super 35 4K image sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI connections, XLR audio inputs with phantom power and dual CFast based RAW and ProRes recorders. There is a total of 3 LCD’s built into this camera!

One of the reasons we have been able to put in such high quality displays and features is because the camera is user upgradable. What this means is the whole sensor and lens mount simply unbolts from the front using 4 bolts and then it can be removed and replaced. So in the future when new sensors are available you can upgrade simply by swapping the sensor and lens mount assembly. This makes the camera virtually future proof!


URSA is available initially in 3 models. One includes EF lens mount and one has a PL lens mount. An example of how you can upgrade the camera would be if you ordered the EF one, you could later purchase the PL lens mount and install it yourself.

One of the weirdest ideas we had was to make URSA available without a lens and sensor and the URSA HDMI features a ‘cheese plate” with threaded holes and a HDMI input where the sensor and lens mount would normally be. This means you can use any camera on the URSA body and get all the benefits of big screen, scopes, professional audio inputs, CFast recorders and more!

The camera runs at 60 fps, however the body has the high speed processing and high capacity cooling to run beyond 100 fps, so when faster sensors are available you could upgrade and then get higher frame rates.

There are a lot more features in the camera than I have space to describe here. The Blackmagic URSA EF will be available in July for $5,995 and the Blackmagic URSA PL will be available for $6,495 from July.”

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

New from NAB 2014…Sony PXW-X180

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Full HD XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP recordings and MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps offer budget savings and workflow flexibility for broadcast and professional applications

The PXW-X180 three 1/3-inch type Exmor™ CMOS sensors camcorder records Full HD XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP, as well as MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps, MPEG HD 420 35 Mbps, AVCHD and DV, making it ideal for a wide range of applications from education/videography to news and broadcast production. As the successor to the HVR-Z7E, HXR-NX5E and PMW-150, the PXW-X180 has a lot of attractive features, including dual SxS memory card slots, proxy recording on SD card, a G Series fixed 25x HD zoom lens with 26mm wide angle and variable ND filter, that provides four conventional mechanical 4 ND filter positions or a linear switch dial for more control in changing light conditions. The camcorder also has wireless functions and NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities.

  • Three 1/3-inch type Exmor™ CMOS Full HD sensors

    High resolution, high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range for enhanced shooting under severe lighting conditions and more creative freedom.

  • G Series fixed 25x professional HD zoom lens

    26mm wide angle zoom with three independent rings with end-stop and large focal length.

  • High quality XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP recordings on SxS memory cards

    Supports XAVC Intra and Long GOP codecs, as well as MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps, the widely-accepted broadcast standard compliant with the latest EBU recommendations. The PXW-X180 also records in MPEG HD 420 35 Mbps, AVCHD and DV, offering flexibility and budget savings on recording media.

  • Dual ND filter control mechanism for more flexibility

    The PXW-X180 is equipped with a variable ND Filter function. Users can chose either four conventional mechanical ND filter positions or the linear control dial, allowing you to quickly and smoothly adapt to different conditions of shooting.

  • Wi-Fi/NFC (Near Field Communication) with Content Browser Mobile™

    Offers remote control via a smartphone or tablet computer using a Wi-Fi connection, and recorded video files can be transferred from the camcorder to smartphone in MP4 format.* One-touch authentication is also possible with smartphones that offer NFC connectivity.

    * Wi-Fi operation cannot be guaranteed with all smartphones and tablet computers

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

4K Sony Alpha 7S “4K external recording only ?” UPDATED

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The innovative α7S camera features a newly developed, 12.2 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor paired with a powerful BIONZ X image processor, allowing it to shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 50 – 4096002 with unprecedented dynamic range and low noise.

The new model is also the world’s first camera to utilize the entire width of a full-frame image sensor in 4K video acquisition, and does this without cropping or line skipping as it can read and process data from every one of the sensor’s pixels. This allows 4K video shooters to utilize all of the artistic and creative benefits provided by the unique sensor.

“The α7S gives Sony the most complete, versatile lineup of full-frame cameras in market today,” said Neal Manowitz, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics. “Between the α99, VG900, RX1, α7, α7R and now α7S models, we have completely revolutionized what it means to be a ‘full-frame’ camera, bringing a new level of quality and portability to enthusiast photographers and videographers.”

Wide ISO Sensitivity (ISO 50 – 409,6002) and Impressive Dynamic Range
Sony, the world’s largest manufacturer of image sensors, has developed a unique 12.2 MP sensor with extraordinary sensitivity that allows the α7S camera to collect dramatically more light than traditional cameras and to produce beautifully detailed, low-noise images in even the darkest environments.

The camera also features a newly developed on-sensor technology that allows it to optimize the dynamic range throughout the entirety of the ISO50 – 409,600 sensitivity range. This on-sensor technology also broadens the range of tonal gradation in bright environments and minimizes noise in dark scenes, allowing the camera to deliver impressive results in these extreme conditions where other cameras (and image sensors) typically struggle.

World’s First Full-Frame Camera with Full Pixel Read-out3 (without pixel binning) during Movie Shooting
With the new α7S camera, the high-speed read out of the 35mm full-frame image sensor combined with the high-speed processing of the BIONZ X processor enables significant improvements in video quality.

These powerful components allow the camera to process data from all of the sensor’s pixels and output stunning HD and 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160 pixels) video3 while utilizing the full-width of the sensor. In addition to the benefits for low-light shooting, the read out of all pixels frees the video from aliasing, moiré and false color artifacts (as opposed to pixel binning) to achieve the highest quality video.


Additional Pro-Quality Video Functions
In video mode, the α7S can output 4K video4 at QFHD (3840×2160) to an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder, and can record full HD (1920×1080) at frame rates of 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p directly to a compatible memory card. Video modes can be changed from full-frame to APS-C (super 35mm equivalent) if desired, and in this crop mode, the camera can support high frame rate 120fps shooting at standard HD resolution (1280 x 720p), creating a 5x slow-motion effect.

The α7S camera is also equipped with S-Log2 gamma. Common to Sony’s range of professional video cameras, S-Log2 expands the dynamic range by up to 1300% to minimize clipped highlights and loss of detail in shadows. Additionally, for the first time ever in a Sony α camera, the α7S adopts the workflow-friendly XAVC S recording format in addition to AVCHD and MP4 codecs. XAVC S format allows for full HD recording at a data rate of 50 mbps with lower compression for improved video quality.

Other specialist video functions on the new camera include a picture profile that can adjust settings like gamma, black, level and color adjustment, and can be saved for use in a multi-camera shoot. It also has Full HD and 4K base band HDMI® output, time code/user bit for easier editing, synchronous recording feature with compatible devices, various marker and zebra displays on both the LCD screen and viewfinder and can dual record XAVC S as well as MP4 (1280×720 @30p).

The camera also has a Multi-terminal interface shoe that is compatible with Sony’s XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits (XLR-K1M plus a new model under development), allowing the use of professional microphone systems.

Low-light Shooting Advantages
The high ISO sensitivity range of the α7S camera is extremely effective for still image shooting, especially in low-light conditions, where the camera can shoot at high shutter speeds while keeping noise as low as possible. This is particularly useful for shooting indoor, dimly lit sporting events or other situations where most cameras typically struggle.

The camera is also equipped with the same high-precision Fast Intelligent AF system as the α7R camera, with drastically improved low-light AF sensitivity that can go as low as -4EV.

Expanding α Mount System and New Power Zoom Lens for Movie Shooting
Directly compatible with the growing family of E-mount lenses, the α7S camera can also be used with A-mount and others lens systems with optional adapters. Sony’s complete α lens system now includes 54 total lenses for both A and E mounts, including several premium offerings from Carl Zeiss® and G Series Lenses.

As a whole, Sony’s E-mount lens system is particularly well-suited for video shooting, with a variety of models containing “movie-friendly” features like smooth focusing, powered zoom control, and silent iris/aperture control. Building on this, Sony has announced development of a brand new, full-frame power zoom 28-135mm F4 lens E-mount lens that is an ideal match for the powerful movie capabilities of the α7S model.

Pricing and availability of the α7S full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be announced at a future date.

HDW : Sorry Sony this is not a patch on the Panasonic GH4 for professional usability, the sensor may be bigger and be slightly better in low light but in looks alone and inability to record 4K internally is a major turn off. I am assuming you did not see how badly the Canon C500 sold without an internal 4K recorder !

First video from the new Sony 7s shot by Den Lennie…

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

Panasonic PX270…”Update and Comparisons”

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


I have now used the Panasonic PX270 in anger during a corporate job and I am delighted with the pictures.


A first for a professional camcorder is the ability to use the viewfinder when needed…let me explain.


Looks like Panasonic are stealing features from each other, my GH3 has the ability to switch from the LCD to the eyepiece via a sensor that detects your eye, that same sensor is now in the PX270 and is a joy to use. This not only saves on battery power but during a sunny shoot allows the use of the VF to check the exposure and focus.


Panasonic have really thought about this camcorder from the professional camera persons point of view, the OLED VF has all the relevant information top and bottom in black spaces while keeping the picture clear of clutter.


Another very pleasant surprise is the colour matrix has changed, no longer do we get those browny reds allowing both Sony and JVC camcorders to match. The test above taken from my 50″ Panasonic TV clearly shows the Panasonic PX270 against the Sony EX3 match almost perfectly.


The blacks are very good indeed giving you a sharp punchy picture, its all part of the 10bit 422 output allowing you a far higher definition picture way beyond 8bit 420.


The LCD is very good and well colour balanced though you will need to use the VF during sunny spells like 99% of all other camcorders.


This is a low light frame at 0dB looking over the River Clyde in Glasgow city centre taken on Saturday evening looking at the new Hydro concert hall where Justin Timberlake was performing.


This is the same picture at 100% filmed at 720p 50Mbps @ Long GOP 50…stunning to say the least


Low light performance is very good from the PX270 especially at 0dB once you start adding gain it only affects the dark areas. The picture detail via the 10bit 422 is fantastic.


The yellow church lighting does nothing for this picture but the cameras tell a different story, 15 months ago these cameras would have been Sony but during todays multi cam shoot between 3 of us there were 5 Panasonic camcorders…!


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

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