Tiffen not playing ball with UK customers

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Tiffen-T1-IRI have seen various posts on US web sites about “how pleased” various cameramen are with their new 77mm IR filters for their Sony EX-1-3. I phoned our UK office to be told that the US market takes priority over the UK…………..THANKS TIFFEN.

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Another side to owning a RED camera

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“What I really want to comment on though is not the Epic-X but the announcement that they’re continuing work on the 2/3″ Scarlet. In this new era of small cameras with big sensors, I simply do not understand the interest in this product. True it’s going to do A LOT more than a Canon 5D/7D or even your typical video camera at that price point but what are you going to put on it? A Fujinon ENG Zoom? Any regular 35mm format lens is going to crop x2.5 so even a very wide 18mm will become moderately telephoto. I’m super enthused about this big sensor revolution we’re living in and if someone can give me a reason to get excited by a 2/3″ RED camera, I’d love to hear it.”

Ben Cain…HD Cinema

Ben you are correct while I was taken by the sexy pictures coming out of RED HQ I was forgetting the practical side of using prime lenses on all this equipment but I think RED are banking on this so you will be forced to buy their prime lenses…at a price.

You may be able to afford the price for a basic “Scarlet” but don’t expect to add to it unless you have some deep pockets or maybe you want to shoot wildlife and the 2.5x crop will be more than suitable for your needs. PS. Lets hope RED unlike the video manufacturers give us a decent WA like an equivalent to a 24mm as part of their 8x standard lens.

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2009 “So far this year” A wee reminder

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HD Warrior 2009 Awards Competition

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RED DSMC “EPIC Shoulder”

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Working with XDCAM EX material by Alister Chapman

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So you go on a shoot and start filling up you expensive memory cards, at some point you will have to start off loading your material onto something else. In the field this is likely to be hard drives of some sort. Backing up to a single hard drive should only be done as a last resort or for media that you don’t mind loosing. You have several options here, you could use Shotput Pro to backup to single or multiple drives. I really like shotput as you can use it to eliminate a lot of user errors. For a start shotput can be set to backup to multiple locations simultaneously from the source media. Then once it has made the copies and verified the copies it can, if you wish, format the card, ready for re-use. Allowing Shotput to format the media helps prevent human error. How? Well if I ever put a card in my camera and find it has footage on it, it means that card has not been backed up and verified by Shotput. This is better than backing up yourself as there is always the risk of a mix up between backed up and not backed up cards. The other way to backup with a computer is to use the Sony XDCAM EX Clip Browser. You should never use the windows explorer or Mac finder to backup your valuable media as there is no form of error checking. Clip Browser has built in error checking which is enabled under the preferences tab.

A further option is to use a dedicated backup device such as the NextoDi products or soon to be released Sony PXU-MS240 backup device. These are easier to use than taking a laptop into the field. The NextoDi devices can backup to 2 drives at once (full review of the NVS2500 comming soon) and the Sony device backs up to removable esata drive cartridges.

So what sort of hard drives should you use? Well I am currently using pairs of USB Western Digital “Elements” hard drives. Where possible I use 3.5″ drives as opposed to the smaller 2.5″ laptop type drives. These are low cost yet so far have proven to be reliable and of good quality. The larger 3.3″ drives should be more reliable, but they are bigger and bulkier and require mains power, so in the field I use the 2.5″ drives. By storing these drives at separate locations, one at home and one in the office, I have a very safe system. If my office were to burn down or get flooded, I would have a spare copy at home. Over time however these drive will fail so every couple of years I move my footage on to new, larger hard drives. Another hard drive option is to use G-Tech G-Raid drives. These units contain two separate hard drives and can be used in raid 1 mode so should one of the drives fail your data should be safe. The cost is similar to using a pair of drives and it’s certainly less fiddly than using pairs of drives but it doesn’t give the security of separate storage locations. If you are doing corporate videos then you could consider selling drives to your clients. The client then keeps the drive and as a result you are no longer responsible for it’s storage or safety, just like if the client kept your rushes tapes.

For longer term storage, again there are many options. I backup a lot of my material to BluRay discs. This is not a fast process, use high quality discs and you should be good for 20+ years. Another option is to backup to Sony Professional discs using a Sony PMW-U1 drive. This is a lot faster than most current BluRay burners and the discs are protected in a rugged caddy. Sony claim a life of 50 years for the discs so it is a very good long term storage solution. The new Sony PMW-350 and EX1R as well as the Convergent Design NanoFlash (next firmware release)  have shooting modes that allow footage to be saved on XDCAM discs (Sony Professional Discs) as video clips and not just data files. Using these modes you can put the discs in a player and play back the material directly.

A further long term storage solution is LTO tape. It seems strange to be going back to tape, but LTO4 tape is very reliable and widely supported. It’s not suited to applications where you need quick access to your footage, but is very good for long term security. A good compromise may be one copy on a hard drive as a working copy along with a backup on LTO for archive.

Raid Arrays can be used for long term storage, but even Raid arrays can fail. If the lookup table becomes corrupted it can be next to impossible to recover the data off the discs, so do be careful. Do remember however you store your footage try and be organised. Store your material in a sensible folder structure that will help you find your rushes quickly and easily. If you are out shooting for a day you may be generating a hundred or more files, do that day in, day out and you will generate thousands and thousands of files. Make sure you work out you clip naming and clip prefixes in such a way that you won’t get duplicate names and can find your footage quickly and simply.

And just one more reminder, always save the full file structure. In the case of XDCAM EX keep the full BPAV folder and all it’s contents, also don’t rename the BPAV folder. Even if you edit on a Mac and use the Sony Transfer Tool to make .mov files you should keep the BPAV folders as trying to edit the  .movs on a PC or AVID is a nightmare. If you have the original material you can easily work with it on any platform.


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KATA Dream Bag Challenge “Design your own bag”

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If you are not going to design your own KATA bag then vote for mine the KATA Bolt HD bag system   http://www.dreambagchallenge.com

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Sony Vegas Pro 9.0c

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Free Upgrade For Existing Vegas Pro 9.0 Software Users Provides XDCAM EX MP4 File Rendering, Enhanced MPEG-2 Smart Render, Enhanced Audio Capabilities and Expanded RED ONE Media Support

Sony Creative Software Inc., a leading provider of professional video and audio editing applications, today announced Vegas™ Pro 9.0c software, the latest update to its award-winning nonlinear HD video and audio editing (NLE) application. Vegas Pro 9.0c software features Sony® XDCAM® EX MP4 file rendering and the ability to Smart Render MPEG-2 video across different containers for faster, more seamless editing. New audio features, including exclusive élastique Pro timestretching and Import Stereo Audio as Dual Mono, offer provide even more professional depth to this award-winning NLE. Additional support for media filmed with the RED ONE video camera streamlines file access and efficiency for editors working with footage up to 4K resolution. Vegas Pro 9.0c software also includes additional card support for capture and output via SDI, HD-SDI and HDMI™.

“This Vegas Pro update delivers a stronger, more flexible NLE to better equip video editing professionals with the necessary tools to create exceptional results in an evolving digital editing landscape,” said Dave Chaimson, vice-president of global marketing for Sony Creative Software.  “With significant additions to XDCAM rendering functionality, expanded RED ONE media support and all-new high quality audio tools, Vegas Pro 9.0c software nimbly handles the challenging and diverse needs of today’s editors.”

Vegas Pro 9.0c Feature Highlights

* XDCAM EX MP4 File Rendering

XDCAM EX MP4 file rendering support provides a complete solution for professional XDCAM EX camera footage to be edited within Vegas Pro software and easily written back to the camera, essentially creating a quick and simple roundtrip that delivers significant time savings for users working independently in the field or in the studio needing to transfer final projects directly on the SxS (solid state) media.

* Cross-format MPEG-2 Smart Render

Leveraging exclusive Vegas Pro Smart Render technology across various formats for MPEG-2 allows video frames to pass through the engine unaltered, facilitating faster encoding while providing less generation loss for cuts-only projects or projects with minimal changes.

* Import Stereo as Dual Mono

The option to automatically split stereo audio channels into independent audio tracks as they are brought into the timeline increases processing control for variety of applications such as an interview in which channel one contains the interviewer’s voice and channel two contains the subject’s voice.

* Additional Card Support and MPEG Video Quality Adjustment

Expanded card support accommodates Blackmagic Design Decklink HD Extreme, AJA IO Express and AJA Xena LHi, supplying further support for high-end capture and output via SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI for increased editing workflow flexibility.

* Device Explorer RED ONE (.r3d) Media Display and Import

Similar in functionality to existing support for AVCHD™ and XDCAM EX devices, the ability to browse, display and import RED ONE (.r3d) files directly from the Device Explorer provides users with the ability to quickly import only the media needed directly from the camera.

* élastique Pro Time Stretching

Exclusive élastique Pro time stretch processes enable dramatic audio timestretching and pitch shifting. Significant user controls help to retain maximum sound quality, yielding more pristine audio results. The élastique Pro time stretch and pitch shift processes provide better sounding audio when processing audio files. Users can adjust settings and select from various stretching methods that are tailored to their source audio including Pro, Soloist, and Efficient modes.

Price and Availability

The Vegas Pro 9.0c software update is free for existing registered users and is available now for download online at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com. Vegas Pro 9 software is available in English, German, Spanish, Japanese, and French. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for Vegas Pro 9 is U.S. $699.95.

About Sony Creative Software

Sony Creative Software inspires artistic expression with its award-winning line of products for digital video, music, DVD, and audio production. The company develops applications that integrate with and enhance use of Sony cameras and other hardware devices. Sony Creative Software customers span the globe and include seasoned professionals in the film, television, video game, and recording industries, as well as students, educators, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. For more information about professional and consumer products, visit http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com.

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Sony’s SD Option for the PMW-350K “What are Sony thinking about” !

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Sony has taken a poor decision in my opinion to add an SD option to the PMW-350 that means opening up the camcorder in order to insert a circuit board at at a whopping cost of £500. When the EX-1R comes with this as standard and you are already paying £14,000 to add insult to injury this addition would also mean a hold up receiving your camcorder, what are Sony thinking about !

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Are SDHC cards usable in the new Sony EX camcorders ?

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