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

So you need 50Mbs for Broadcast see how the NanoFlash can help

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Professional & Broadcast equipment product videos from Creative Video

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

Sony EX-1R Review by Alister Chapman

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

New Compositor’s Toolkit 2 19th November 2009

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

Power Skills learn about FCP-7 with Larry Jordan $39.99

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A copy of this book is winging it’s way to me as we speak as a prize for the Best of competition 2009, my thanks to Larry and Debbie for donating this great prise. Just before I give it away I will do a quick review and post it ASAP.

This quick reference book is filled with the fast tips you need to speed your work.

You have the basics of Final Cut Pro down but when it’s crunch time, it’s the hidden techniques, shortcuts, and workarounds—the power skills—that make the difference.

In Final Cut Pro Power Skills, you’ll learn better ways to organize and set up your workspace, new ways to tune the interface, faster ways to edit, add effects, and work with audio, and many more. While many of the techniques work with earlier versions of Final Cut Pro, you’ll find coverage of the new features in Final Cut Pro 7 included, such as new speed tools, alpha transitions, iChat Theater support, and the new Share & Send options.

With over 300 power skills techniques and an additional 300 productivity tips sprinkled throughout, this book will help you make Final Cut Pro FLY!

Over 600 techniques, tips, shortcuts, and notes

  • Use the new iChat Theater support and other tools for collaboration.
  • Learn how to work with tapeless media and the new ProRes formats.
  • Use a wide variety of troubleshooting techniques to keep your system up and running.
  • Quickly match frames, move clips, remove track gaps, and learn loads of other task-based editing skills.
  • Learn how to create stunning visual effects easily.
  • Use video scopes and other methods for better color correction.
  • Discover best-practice audio techniques, including multichannel output and integration with Soundtrack Pro.
  • Compress and export your projects with ease.

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

HD DSLR Review of 2009 “The Best…the choice is yours”

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

2009 Awards…win a copy of FCP Power Skills from Larry Jordan

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You have got until the 15th December 2009 to tell us your Best Camcorder…HD SLR…Best Retailer…HD field monitor…Tripod…HD Archive solution…Best Gadget…Apple App for Video. Leave your list in the “comments tab” above and good luck.

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

8bit or 10bit that is the question

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Over the years there have been many, often heated debates over the differences between 8 bit and 10 bit codecs. This is my take on the situation, from the acquisition point of view.

The first thing to consider is that a 10 bit codec requires a 30% higher bitrate to achieve the same compression ratio as the equivalent 8 bit codec. So recording 10 bit needs bigger files for the same quality. The EBU recently evaluated several different 8 bit and 10 bit acquisition codecs and their conclusion was that for acquisition there was little to be gained by using any of the commonly available 10 bit codecs over 8 bit because of the data overheads.

My experience in post production has been that what limits what you can do with your footage, more than anything else is noise. If you have a noisy image and you start to push and pull it, the noise in the image tends to limit what you can get away with. If you take two recordings, one at a nominal 100Mb/s and another at say 50Mb/s you will be able to do more with the 100Mb/s material because there will be less noise. Encoding and compressing material introduces noise, often in the form of mosquito noise as well as general image blockiness. The more highly compressed the image the more noise and the more blockiness. It’s this noise and blockiness that will limit what you can do with your footage in post production, not whether it is 10 bit over 8 bit. If you have a 100Mb 10 bit HD compressed recording and comparable 100Mb 8 bit recording then you will be able to do more with the 8 bit recording because it will be in effect 30% less compressed which will give a reduction in noise.

Now if you have a 100Mb 8bit recording and a 130Mb 10 bit recording things are more evenly matched and possibly the 10 bit recording if it is from a very clean, noise free source will have a very small edge, but in reality all cameras produce some noise and it’s likely to be the camera noise that limits what you can do with the images so the 10 bit codec has little advantage for acquisition, if any.

I often hear people complaining about the codec they are using, siting that they are seeing banding across gradients such a white walls or the sky. Very often this is nothing to do with the codec. Very often it is being caused by the display they are using. Computers seem to be the worst culprits. Often you are taking an 8 bit YUV codec, crudely converting that to 8 bit RGB and then further converting it to 24 bit VGA or DVI which then gets converted back down to 16 bit by the monitor. It’s very often all these conversions between YUV and RGB that cause banding on the monitor and not the fact that you have shot at 8 bit.

There is certainly an advantage to be had by using 10 bit in post production for any renders, grading or effects. Once in the edit suite you can afford to use larger codecs running at higher bit rates. ProRes HQ or DNxHD at 185Mb/s or 220Mb/s are good choices but these often wouldn’t be practical as shooting codecs eating through memory cards at over 2Gb per minute. It should also be remembered that these are “I” frame only codecs so they are not as efficient as long GoP codecs. From my point of view I believe that to get something the equivalent of 8 bit Mpeg 2 at 50Mb/s you would need a 10 bit I frame codec running at over 160Mb/s. How do I work that out? Well if we consider that Mpeg 2 is 2.5x more efficient than I frame only then we get to 125Mb/s (50 x 2.5). Next we add the required 30% overhead for 10 bit (125 x 1.3) which gives 162.5Mb/s. This assumes the minimum long GoP efficiency of x2.5. Very often the long GoP advantage is closer to x3.

So I hope you can see that 8 bit still makes sense for acquisition. In the future as cameras get less noisy, storage gets cheaper and codecs get better the situation will change. Also if you are studio based and can record uncompressed 10 bit then why not? Do though consider how you are going to store your media in the long term and consider the overheads needed to throw large files over networks or even the extra time it takes to copy big files compared to small files.


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

Sailing against the tide…”HD Video versus the HD SLR”

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Isn’t it strange that I should be the “only” one supposedly sailing against the tide of let’s all go out and spend the best part of £3K on equipment to make film like movies, when I have actually got a 5Dmk11 but heaven forbid I bought this camera for photography not for filming with.

I produce corporate videos for a living so my best, most expensive piece of kit is strangely enough a Sony EX-3 camcorder, I am also a professional photographer and have the ability to switch kit now and again…recently I switched from a Nikon D3 to a Canon 5Dmk11.

What I am trying to tell you in a round about way is that I am of the older school although I am fully committed to digital…be it video or photography. It has taken almost two hard years to work out a workflow for my SxS card system all be it MxR card holders using SDHC cards. I was all for solid state…bring it on, till it arrived and scared the pants off me…no archive or should I say “not as we know it , Jim”. (One for the Trekies).

Two years later I am happy with my lot… then, we get all this talk about the saviour of the budget film industry…hooraah…we can all make films now all you need is an SLR that has been frigged to take HD video footage but again in a format that needs converting.

I have won the lottery I own such a camera, I too can make film like movies and maybe save a buck or two and get rid of the EX-3…………………..till I take stock.

I decided to test this phenomenon myself getting the odd tip from the master himself Philip Bloom, after all Phil seemed to have thrown away his expensive video kit and travel round the world filming solely with the Canon 5Dmk11 so their must be some mileage in this.

Sadly unlike Mr Bloom I have decided not to embrace my HD video 5Dmk11 and use it for it’s intention…a photographic camera.

I have tried very hard to see the benefits of using the HD SLR as a video camera but the negatives far outweigh the positives…it has taken me two years to be happy with tapeless and embrace HD as a format…as a video cameraman I am happier using equipment that is fit for purpose than to use a camera that gives me more problems than it solves.

HD SLRs are in my opinion a sad reflection of todays society who want everything in the one small package, a cost cutting exercise for both video and photography…spilt 50-50 down the middle…we all know what dilution does to any business.

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

Wobble Vision from an HD SLR near you

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Having shot the sum total of 45 minutes of Canon 5D mk11 footage to date I am increasingly getting put off by “Wobble Vision”. I then look at some of the “Masters” of HD SLR filming to see it’s not just me !

Wobble Vision is nothing short of the cameraman’s ability or should I say lack of ability to keep the camera steady whilst filming, this is partly due to the impractical design of the SLR itself, we are so used to having “Steady Shot” in our camcorders that it comes as a shock to see how unsteady we all are.

It’s not all down to the shakes, HD has a tendency to magnify mistakes and small detail which is why actresses hate HD productions because is shows up the smallest flaw in make up etc. Canon have IS lenses which means Image Stabilizer…this can dampen the shakes quite considerably but sadly the most popular “L” lenses used to date are the 24-70 f2.8 L lens and the 50 f1.2 L lens both are not image stabilized.

Canon would be better to have the IS in the camera but that takes away their lucrative extra cost IS lens market so for the mean time we are going to have to use monopods or tripods in order to stabilize those rogue shots…the alternative is to accept a drop in standards…again…and I don’t think that will be good for our trade.

Personally I think this is an expensive game… First it was let’s all buy video adaptors…before you all got sore backs…now it’s HD SLRs with their two plus points shallow DoF and the ability to film in low light…big wow…once Scarlet appears you will all be following the pied piper down that expensive road…mark my words.

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

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