AJA io HD Week-9 FCP-7 & Snow Leopard Incompatibile

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

Shot with two ARRI D-21 HD cameras

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D21 banner

It’s nothing new that shooting on HD is known to be conducive for productions that take place in the studio and highly controlled environments. On the upcoming HBO series Bored to Death starring Jason Schwartzman, the camera crew put two ARRIFLEX D-21s to the test on a challenging shoot comprised mainly of location work.

Director of Photography Vanja Cernjul describes, “We shot in every neighborhood in New York City, at every different time of day. We were outside a lot with sunny exteriors and on the schedule we were on it was really hard to control the sunlight. I was lucky to have a camera that handled the highlights so well.” Read on to find out more about this highly anticipated series and Cernjul’s latest experience shooting with the D-21.


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

Calibrating a Broadcast LCD Monitor by Guy Cochran

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Calibrating a Broadcast Monitor + New Pro Features from Guy Cochran on Vimeo.

Got this neat tutorial from…  http://hd-cinema.blogspot.com/

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

Sony EX-1/3 that old Infra Red problem again

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Tiffen IR Filter Test on Sony EX3 from Mike Marriage on Vimeo.

QUOTE Mike Marriage (DVINFO.COM) “Carey Duffy of Tiffen (and formerly South London Filter Ltd) was kind enough to lend me the new Tiffen IR cut filter which is currently 4×5.65 but apparently will be available in different sizes including a screw on for the EX1/3.

I used it for a shoot at the National Theatre which is a short documentary that will be streamed into cinemas all around the world on 1st October. I was shooting on an EX3.

This will be THE MUST HAVE filter for EVERY EX1/3 owner. IMHO the IR contamination without this filter is unacceptable and has caught me out in the past. This filter corrects what I see as the biggest fault with the EX line. It requires about a one stop compensation, maybe a little less. It has a green tinge, which seemed to remain after white balancing to some degree but could probably be corrected in camera if I had the time to play with the settings. For this shoot I’ll just do it in post.

I have uploaded a video to Vimeo to demo the filter. It was shot very quickly between interviews, so sorry for the messy frame and terrible lighting, I just pointed a rifa straight towards the frame as I was lighting the interviews with kinos and wanted a tungsten source. The material in the background and draped over the chairs is black cloth of different types but all look black to the eye – Not to a bare EX3!! Carey’s jacket is also far better rendered with the filter in.”

bw-486_2Up till now the standard filter to help solve this Infra Red (IR) problem is to use a 486 IR cut filter.

Sony were far too quick bringing out the EX-3 and if they had spent more time developing the camcorder they may have solved this inherent IR problem.

If nothing else this test by Mike shows the IR problem very well and let’s be honest Sony should be the one’s supplying us all with FREE filters.

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

Creative Video’s new logo

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CVP new look

Phil Baxter and the crew at CVP have been busy designing a new logo and very nice it is…Creative Video have one of the cleanest, easy to navigate web sites for video professionals (I get nothing for saying that…but I do need a…..!)  Check out the link at the right hand side of my blog. If you order anything tell them HD Warrior sent you…you know it makes sense.

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

Striving for the Film Look

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Film Look

The Film Look…

We seem to be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea…the one major advantage SLR photography has always had is the shallow depth of field (SDoF), this has been cleverly adapted by camera makers like Canon, Nikon and Panasonic with the ability to now film HD footage with certain SLRs.

The other option for the film look (SDoF) is to insert a film adapter like the Letus adapter between your camera lens and attach a 35mm prime lens on the front, now as you can see from the example above the major advantage with the digital SLR is it’s size. (Canon 5D Mk11 is not to scale)

When you use a 35mm adapter on your video camera it has limitations with apertures and  shutter speeds because of the ground glass used in the process, there are no such limitations with digital HD SLRs with apertures.

So where are we today with the budget film look…Philip Bloom a pioneer of this look seems to favour the digital SLR over the EX-3/letus combination, this in my opinion may be down to it’s size and weight, Philip like myself and 98% of cameramen suffer sore backs and anything that makes our backs easier after a days shoot is more than welcome. The main drawbacks and in my opinion MAJOR drawbacks with these digital HD film look cameras are as follows…


1. As yet there is no ability to adjust the sound on any of the HD SLRs which is poor.

2. No sound metering on the LCD

3. One 3.5 jack input for sound (No XLRs)

4. No headphone jack for monitoring sound.

Sound in all these cameras is a poor second best and is a major setback to taking these cameras seriously (Most people use external sound units like the Tascam DR-100)

5. Canon have just brought out a second HD camera in the form of the 7D with no swivel viewfinder ! (Panasonics GH1 has a swivel LCD)

A Swivel viewfinder is a must for filming.

6. No live LCD/HDMI output. (This feature would allow you to at least monitor your HD footage externally)

7. Limitations on filming times on HD 12 minutes at a time.

8. Ergonomics are all wrong for filming.

9. H.264 needs to be converted before you can edit the footage.

As you can see with 9 major drawbacks there is an opening for a company to bring out a film look camera that meets all 9 specifications mentioned above. The ergonomics to me are all wrong these are firstly and foremost photographic cameras with the ability to capture HD footage as an afterthought.

Let’s be honest we are biding our time till one of the giants like Sony or Canon (Pro-Video) waken up to the film look, it will only take one camera with the specs of the EX-3, large sensor and the ability to take 35mm prime lenses (SDoF)…My bet is on Canon Pro-Video, 16 months since the H1s means something is on the cards.

If the number one giant in this field RED could produce such a camera at the £4-5K price range then we could all switch over and let video be a thing of the past.

Update…Thanks to Deke Kincaid for pointing out that Live HDMI does indeed work what I meant was live HDMI/LCD at the same time. Deke also mentions Magic Lantern a group of indi film makers who have reverse engineered the Canon 5D Mk11 firmware to open up some new features see them here…


Photographs courtesy of  ZACUTO.com

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

IBC Amsterdam “7% down on 2008”

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2078 Big Logo with ©

Despite some pessimistic predictions, IBC2009 exceeded expectations, delivering a final attendance of 45,547, just 7% down on the 2008 figure. Taking exhibitors out of the calculation, visitor numbers were even more impressive, falling by less than 5%.

In conclusion, IBC’s Michael Crimp underlined the importance of IBC being run by the industry for the industry, and the way that meant the event could move quickly to respond to changing requirements. “We are all about sustainability, for us, for our exhibitors and our visitors,” he said. “We build an event that is right for the mood of the market, and create a buzz around it to ensure that the right audience attends.

“I believe we have exceeded expectations in 2009, and I look forward to welcoming everyone to IBC when it returns to Amsterdam in September 2010.”

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

AJA Io Express now shipping with FCP-7 & Snow Leopard drivers £897

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AJA io ExpressFCP 7.0.x – Io Express Driver version 1.0 (Leopard and Snow Leopard OSX compatible version).

I had to download the manual in order to find out if the Io Express has FCP-7 & Snow Leopard compatible drivers…not having this information on the AJA website is a serious omission in my opinion and tells me why we are still waiting for drivers for the £2500 AJA io HD. This is in direct competition with the Matrox MX02 and surprise, surprise, it also has a PCIe card interface…this is my one big beef with the io HD as it uses the FireWire 800 port which in my opinion was a major mistake.

7-8 weeks after Final Cut Pro-7 we are still no further forward with new drivers for the io HD…simply in my opinion it has been put on the back burner getting kit ready for IBC in Amsterdam… which is shocking for a top end piece of video equipment at this price point.

AJA are too embarrassed to tell the world that their io Express is FCP-7 and Snow Leopard compatible when they know hundreds of video professionals all over the globe have been waiting for the new io HD drivers…it’s a disgrace.

Maybe someone from AJA will read this and kick some ass and get the drivers uploaded or explain what the problem is and how much longer we are going to have to wait.

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

Sony SxS driver for Snow Leopard

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SxS driver SL

My thanks to Bob Hawtin for giving us a heads up on the new SxS drivers from Sony you can find the drivers here….


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

Using copyright music…The Facts

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lock_smAs a royalty free music business, we get asked many questions about copyright. There are numerous people that believe they can legally use up to 30 seconds of music without any legal repercussions and without having to seek clearance or a license.

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news…. This is simply not true and a bit of a modern myth.

Copyright law is complex and varies in different countries. US copyright law in particular, has a fair use clause, whereas here in the UK, there is no such clause.

This fair use copyright clause is misinterpreted by many who think that using up to 30 seconds of music is legal. The fact is that any use of music needs to be cleared or licensed. Even where copyright law includes a fair use policy the legal interpretation can vary considerably.

For instance, using a 10 second music clip as an intro to your podcast would probably not be classed as fair use, whereas using a 10 second snippet to critique a piece of music may be seen as fair use in copyright law. However, never assume you are covered by fair use copyright as there is no guarantee you will be safe.

I once heard an American music lawyer say… “When your use of music gets challenged you need a defence; having a license is always your best defence. If your defence is ‘fair use’ this will probably not be sufficient to save you in court.”

She went on to say that it is not worth the risk in nearly all cases.

A good rule of thumb is that it is not OK to use any amount of copyrighted music without permission from the rights owner or a music license. If you do feel fair use applies you will need to study the fair use guidelines for the copyright policy of your jurisdiction and to be completely sure you would need a music lawyer to confirm your belief for your particular circumstance.

In my opinion, it is going to be much easier, cheaper and less stressful to get royalty free music licenses from a reputable company.

Excerpt from http://www.mediamusicnow.co.uk/blog/2009/04/18/fair-use-music-copyright/

Many people are under the misconception that as long as music is not used for personal gain within a video then it’s fine to use… WRONG ! MCPS told me today if anyone wants to use copyright music on a video for online use they need to negotiate a price with that artists record label which could start from £1000 upwards.

YouTube are now excluding music from home made videos as they are not willing to pay the copyright fee. YouTube have recently struck an agreement to pay for the use of commercially made music videos eg. Those made by the record companies themselves.

I have been a long time campaigner (15 years) for production companies to pay a flat fee allowing us to use copyright music anytime we like but so far this has not happened.

I reckon if all the video production companies in the UK paid £250 a year it would rake in £1.25 million…that’s a lot of money to share between music producers and owners.

If for instance you are filming a wedding video you need to have a Limited Manufacture Licence now this licence starts from £8 allowing up to 5 DVD copies…plus you must have a PPL licence (Dubbing copyright music) costing £19.55.

To be completely legal for filming and copying 5 DVDs of a wedding is £27.55 and that still does not cover you for putting any part of the copyright music online.

Limited Manufacture Licence


PPL licence via the Institute of Videography


I get asked many times by corporate clients if they can use copyright music in their video, my stock answer is…” £1500 plus or copyright free music at zero cost”…copyright free wins every time.

There is actually no excuse these days for not using copyright free music as it’s far better than it used to be…here are some links to the ones I have used over the years…

Trackline Music    http://www.trackline.com/

NotePad Music   http://www.notepadmusic.com/

AKM Music   http://www.akmmusic.co.uk/

Digital Juice    http://www.digitaljuice.com/

SmartSound    http://www.smartsound.com/sonicfire/

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

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