Canon 5D Mk11 updated firmware as early as February 2010

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Hot off the wires that Canon are to donate a Canon 5D Mk11 camera with the new firmware update at the San Francisco SuperMeet 5th February 2010. That should give you 24p and 25p frame rates.

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

2009 Awards… Wednesday 23rd December 2009

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

Tom Tom for iPhone 3Gs “Just got worse”

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7aba3f2329At £99 the Tom Tom car cradle is expensive but if you look closely at the picture above you will notice the iPhone has no protection. I went into the Buchanan St. Apple store with the sole intention of purchasing a Tom Tom car adaptor but had the sense to ask if the cradle could take my iPhone with my protective plastic skin. Stupidly Tom Tom have designed their cradle to fit the iPhone only ! This is a major design fault in my opinion as most of us have a tight fitting snug skin on the iPhone as in my opinion it’s far to easy to drop without an external rubberised skin.

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

Sony get media rights for 2010 World Cup

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Sony Corporation and FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) today announced an agreement for selected media rights of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in 3D. FIFA is to produce the world’s first FIFA World Cup™ in 3D. Up to 25 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ matches will be produced using Sony’s 3D professional cameras, which will provide coverage of the action that is unprecedented in depth, vividness and excitement to people around the world.

FIFA will utilise Sony’s experience and know-how of 3D content production to spread the passion inside the stadiums at the greatest sport event in the world to more people than ever before.

“Global sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup are very important drivers of new technology, particularly in the TV market,” explained Tom Morrod, Senior Analyst, TV Technology at Screen Digest. “ The news that the FIFA World Cup will be filmed in 3D for the first time will certainly increase the uptake rate of 3D TVs in the home and develop the installed base earlier than would otherwise have been the case. As a result of this news, and an increasingly bullish industry outlook on 3D, Screen Digest has increased its forecast, and now estimates that 13.6m 3D TV sets will be installed in Europe by 2013.”

“3D will undoubtedly transform the way we enjoy content in the living room,” said Fujio Nishida, President of Sony Europe. “At Sony, the 3D entertainment experience will not only focus on the 3D TV alone, but from 2010 will also encompass a range of 3D compatible products such as Blu-ray Disc players, VAIO notebook computers and PlayStation®3. During June and July 2010 we will provide our European consumers with the most compelling 3D content to enjoy and experience first-hand, for example at the FIFA International Fan Fests.”

Viewers will be able to enjoy 3D experiences at the following locations:

  • During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, FIFA will host the “International FIFA Fan Fest™” public viewing events in 7 cities around the world (Berlin, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, and Sydney). At Sony’s commercial displays located within the “Fan Fest,” people will be able to enjoy and experience promotional highlight trailers of the FIFA World Cup in 3D.

  • In anticipation of the Official 3D Film, viewers will be able to watch promotional trailers for the film of the World Cup in 3D at retail outlets (including Sony stores) that sell Sony products around the world.

  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment plans to produce and distribute the Official 3D Film on the Blu-ray Disc*1 and other formats.

  • By combining the excitement of the FIFA World Cup with 3D images generated using Sony’s technology and products, Sony and FIFA will seek to deliver 3D images that convey the action and emotion of the World Cup to viewers around the world, and a viewing experience as if they were on the pitch themselves.

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

    XDCAM 422 v XDCAM EX by Alister Chapman

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    What’s the real difference between XDCAM HD422 and XDCAM EX? Obviously 4:2:2 offers higher chroma resolution than the 4:2:0 of XDCAM EX, but is it really the case that XDCAM HD 4:2:2 is better at standing up to multi-generation use or more suited to broadcast due to lower compression? This is I believe important to consider when you look at the BBC and Skys regulations regarding HD. They say you cannot use an EX at 35 Mb/s while you can use a XDCAM HD 422 camera at 50Mb/s, as 50 Mb/s is deemed robust enough for broadcast by the EBU.

    So what makes a codec “robust”. Well there are many factors. The most obvious is compression ratio. With any given codec, the more compressed the image, the more artifacts it will show. Re-compress an image with artifacts and you get more artifacts, this is called concatenation. Another thing to consider is scaling and image size. Some codecs record at a resolution lower than the full frame size, for example HDV is 1440×1080. When edited or re-encoded this will be stretched to 1920×1080 and possibly back down again to 1440×1080. This scaling will have a detrimental effect on the final picture quality. This in itself is not an issue for XDCAM HD422 or EX as both are full frame 1920×1080.

    Now: what if I told you that XDCAM HD422 and EX both use pretty much same compression ratio, around 20:1. The only difference between the two is the chroma sampling.

    Lets look at some basics for a minute: Y is the luminance or brightness of the image, Cb and Cr define the chroma or colour.

    A full resolution Y CbCr image is 4:4:4. Subsampling that image to 4:2:2 is a form of compression. Compression is, in it’s simplest terms, taking a big thing and making it fit in a smaller space, whether that is through sub sampling, DCT, quantization or any other method, making a big signal smaller is compression.

    4:2:2 is the ratio between the amount of data used to portray the Y (4) Cb (2) and Cr (2) signals. So if you use 8Mb/s for the Y then for it to be 4:2:2 you MUST use 4Mb/s for each of the Cb and Cr and your total bit rate would be 16Mb/s. If you use anything other than this ratio then it is not 4:2:2 but some other ratio.

    The simplest way to achieve this ratio is to use the same compression for each channel and simply reduce the sample size by a factor of 2 for Cb and Cr. This is very easy to do. Most 4:2:2 encoding schemes use one encoder to encode the Y and then a second similar encoder running the same coding routine but alternating between one sample of Cb followed by one sample of Cr. In fact a better way to describe this would be 2:1:1 as for every two luma bits of data there are one each of Cb and Cr. This gives us the familiar 4:2:2 encoding ratio that we are all familiar with. The compression ratio is by default the same for each channel while the sample size is halved for each of Cb, Cr.

    With XDCAM EX the chroma is sampled at 4:2:0, so there are only half the number of Chroma samples for XDCAM EX compared to XDCAM HD422.

    4:2:2 = (1920×1080 + 960×1080 + 960×1080) x30(fps) x8 (bits) = 995Mb/s. Divide by 19.9 and we get 50Mb/s
    4:2:0 = (1920×1080 + 960×1080) x30(fps) x8(bit) = 746Mb/s. Divide by 21.3 and we get 35Mb/s

    So from this we see that the compression ratio for EX is 21:1 and for XDCAM HD 422 20:1. This is extremely close and in terms of compression artifacts means there will be little, if any, difference between the two.

    Starting with chroma more samples, ie. 422 over 420 should in theory at least give a marginally better end result as it is slightly easier to accurately decode. However this will depend a lot on the quality of the decoder and the image content. In terms of visible artifacts these are normally most noticeable in the full resolution luma channel and with both XDCAM HD422 and EX this is compressed by pretty much the same amount so there will be little to no difference in most cases. In terms of concatenation there will be very little, if any difference between EX and XD HD422 material. Visually the difference between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 is not huge. Especially if you shoot progressive where 4:2:0 subsampling is at least symmetrical which makes it easy to work out what the in between colours should be. In interlace the difference is greater as you can’t simply sample every other pixel, every other line because of the field structure within the frame.

    So while 4:2:2 will offer greater chroma resolution which is most noticeable on subtle textures such as fabrics and will give slightly better chroma keying performance the difference really is very small in every other respect. In many cases the end viewer will not see the difference. It should be noted that in most countries Mpeg2 or Mpeg4 is being used for HD broadcasts and in almost every case it’s 4:2:0 so most of the improved chroma resolution that 4:2:2 offers is lost anyway. In the UK, HD broadcasts are 1440×1080 and not 1920×1080. Blu-ray is 4:2:0 and HD on the internet is also almost always 4:2:0 as well.

    In robustness and multi-generation terms, differences in scene content, lighting and camera settings such as detail, gain and aperture will make a much bigger difference than the difference between 4:2:0 @ 35Mb/s and 4:2:2 @ 50Mb/s. The BBC are currently enforcing the 50Mb/s rule, yet don’t stipulate gain or detail limits. In the past it was possible to get a dispensation for 35Mb/s with an EX, but last I heard the rules were being much more strictly enforced and it’s all but impossible to get permission to use an EX, even for situations where shooting with a larger camera is impossible.

    While it’s easy enough to add a NanoFlash to an EX and record at 50Mb/s or better still 100Mb/s (BIG improvement in quality at 100 Mb/s) to comply with the rules, to be honest the rules don’t make a great deal of sense. The difference between 35Mb/s EX and 50Mb/s XD HD is very small from an artifacts and muti-generation performance point of view. A PDW-700 with a high detail setting or any gain switched in will produce an image that will fall apart quicker in a poor production chain that a well set up EX1. It is arguable that the ultra clean (59db) images from the PMW-350 will hold up better than the noisier pictures from the PDW-700 (54db). My belief is that the BBC have chosen to set the bar at 50Mb/s to prevent or restrict the use of small cameras as they are often operated by people that simply don’t know how to use a camera properly in the name of “cost savings”. What would make more sense would be to allow 35Mb/s while ensuring that productions use skilled and competent crews.

    There will be some application where shooting 4:2:2 will make more of a difference, chroma key is a good example or where a lot post production will be involved, but for general day to day productions it is my opinion that the end viewer won’t notice the difference.

    In the past programmes would be rejected for poor camerawork, dirty lenses and out of focus shots. These days it seems that provided it meets the correct technical specifications pretty much anything goes.

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

    Working with the BBC

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    Sorry I am doing 10 hour shifts on a BBC drama this week and won’t be able to update my blog as regularly as I would like to…but I can tell you the DoP is using a Sony HDCAM 750 camcorder with a 35mm adapter and Arri Prime lenses, his focus puller is using a radio focus puller, first time I have seen this and it looks great.

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

    Lighting on the run workshop from CVP

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    Friday 18th December 2009 and Thursday 14th January 2010…Priory Mill, Studley

    We’ve teamed up with Lighting Director Jonathan Harrison to bring you this invaluable and informative lighting seminar which demonstrates a wide range of creative lighting techniques that add real value to any production.

    When these workshops run at large trade show’s they are always oversubscribed. We’ve managed to secure Jonathan for 2 exclusive dates. Whether you are just starting out or an experienced lighting camera operator you are guaranteed to walk away from this workshop with new found techniques and tricks to improve your lighting – we’ll also have some special offers on the day


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

    HD Warrior in far flung places “The Power of the Web”

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    Sometimes its fun just looking at various referrer web sites, these are logged by Word Press when you have traffic from anywhere in the world, usually someone leaves a web link for others to follow. This is a web link from which is from somewhere in China.

    That’s the power of the web you can be transported all over the globe and why television is loosing advertising. If you have an idea or new product these days you can bet it’s on every specialist web blog within seconds that beats paid advertising to your local TV station hands down.

    Viral advertising relies on that very same concept…the best viral advert happened by pure chance early on this year when an unknown Scottish singer walked onto a stage in Glasgow, by the next day everyone on planet earth new the name of Susan Boyle, that was the power of the internet no amount of television advertising could have projected Susan into global stardom so quickly…and well done Susan a true star in the making.


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

    NY International Film Festival “Call for entries 2010”

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    LA Festival screenings will take place exclusively at the Regency Fairfax Cinema located at 7907 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 in February 2010 .

    ***All NYIFF films are screened in REAL movie theatres in NYC and LA! This is your chance to see your film on the Big Screen***

    Latest Festival Success Stories:

    The War on Kids (2009 Best Educational Documentary) is currently receiving its theatrical run in NYC. Marathon was just picked up by ITN Distribution & Breaking Glass Pictures.Moonlight Sonata was picked up by Wonderphil Productions. Moviehouse Entertainment picked up Crooked Business.


    The New York International Film Festival just wrapped its 2009 festival in NYC. Film screenings were held exclusively at the historic City Cinemas Village East.

    During the festival’s opening weekend, Peter Greene, Steven Bauer, Clem Caserta (NYIFF Best Actor in a Short Film & Best Director of a Short Film),Kathrine Narducci, Ray Abruzzo and Vinnie Vella came out to support indie film and attended the World Premiere of “The Last Gamble”(NYIFF Best Drama) and “Mafiettes” (NYIFF Best Comedy-Drama Short). French actors Pierre Richard (NYIFF Lifetime Achievement Award) andSylvie Testud were present at the World Premiere of “A Happy Man”(NYIFF Best International Feature Film). Talbot Perry Simon’s film “Still the Drums” (NYIFF Best Feature Film & Talbot Perry Simons-Best Actor in a Feature Film) had it’s New York Premiere before a sold out audience with a private after-party that followed.

    The Festival’s highly-anticipated closing night was well-received. “Marathon”(NYIFF Best Cinematography & Best Screenplay), produced by Richard Harteis, inked a distribution deal through ITN Distribution & Breaking Glass Pictures after the film’s World Premiere. The film explores the relationship between Harteis and William Meredith, former US Poet Laureate and winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize. Garry Pastore’s directorial debut “Waiting For Budd” screened before a sold out audience and Pastore picked up Best Directorial Debut of a Short Documentary. The NY Premiere of the multiple award-winning indie gem “Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!” (NYIFF Best Ensemble Cast & Audience Award) closed the festival and several of the films stars (Jai Rodriguez, Vincent Pastore) were spotted at the private after-party at Popburger.

    A complete list of award winners will be posted soon on . Photos from the Festival will be posted on . Also, videos/interviews will be posted soon on the Festival’s YouTube Channel:

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

    2009 AWARDS…”8 Days to go”

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

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