Volcanic ash and irritated eyes a warning for camera operators

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Strange but my mother started last week having very irritated eyes (not hayfever), this week I had what I put down to hayfever but my left eye became infected then to cap it all my friends husband who is a GP has an irritated left eye. That’s two people who don’t suffer hayfever having irritated eyes plus me.

As a cameraman I need my eyes to be A1 for obvious reasons but I do think there may be some milage in an upsurge of irritated eyes being down to fine volcanic ash. I would be interested to hear from any other UK or European cameramen/women with similar findings.

I now wear a set of clear lens BLOC glasses when I am outside to prevent pollen/ash entering my eyes.

It does mention the following warning in the NHS UK website…

Is anybody at special risk from the ash?

People with existing respiratory conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, may feel the effects more than others. In affected areas, they are recommended to carry inhalers or other medication as a precaution.

People who wear contact lenses may want to avoid wearing their lenses in areas with ash fall.

How do I know if there is ash in the air?

The HPA says that if people who are outside notice symptoms such as “itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or if they notice a dusty haze in the air or can smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors”.

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No one want’s to be left behind in 3D

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From the vendors selling 3-D equipment to buyers on the fast track to purchase it, NAB came back to life this year after last year’s economic meltdown. Whether 3-D succeeds in the long term or not, major broadcasters are fearful of being left behind.

One example is Turner Broadcasting, who is “moving full speed ahead” on 3-D technology, said Ron Tarasoff, Turner’s vice president of broadcast technology and engineering. He said Turner sees 3-D as a viable way of transmitting TV in the future.

Today, most of Turner’s work involves equipment testing as the 3-D standards bodies consider setting future standards. “There are many different possibilities in how you produce and distribute content in 3-D,” Tarasoff said. “We need to look very carefully at what will help us with 3-D delivery. We’re almost at the same point we were many years ago with HD. There’s this big push toward 3-D, and there’s very little 3-D equipment out there. There are still many different possibilities in how you produce and distribute content in 3-D.”

Also checking out 3-D gear was ESPN, who is committed to airing 85 events this year. Kevin Stolworthy, the network’s senior vice president of technology, said that at NAB he was looking for vendors with whom he was not familiar. “We think there’s going to be a lot more people out there with new 3-D equipment, software and production tools,” he said.

CBS’ Bob Ross said his network is also evaluating 3-D gear, though he’s not worrying yet about storing and playing 3-D programming. The network broadcast the recent Masters Golf Tournament in 3-D TV (distributed via cable operators across the country, thanks to Comcast Media Center in Denver), and it was shown throughout the convention and received overall positive reaction from viewers.

On the manufacturing side, there were many new 3-D products at the NAB Show, and several key strategic announcements as well.

Miranda Technologies announced a licensing deal with 3-D compression specialist Sensio Technologies to develop a line of 3-D playout products. The first product of the collaboration, shown at the show, was the Densité 3DX-3901 stereoscopic 3-D video processor module, which provides high-quality conversion of multiple 3-D formats.

Sensio is also collaborating with Grass Valley to include Sensio’s 3D Encoder IP Core software with the Grass Valley ViBE EM3000 H.264 HD encoder for program contribution and consumer satellite TV applications.

Panasonic announced the first customer for its AG-3DA1 dual-lens 3-D HD camcorder, which it unveiled last January at the Consumer Electronics Show. Rental house Video Equipment Rentals (VER) has purchased 10 of the integrated HD 3-D camcorders and will receive them in the early fall. Los Angeles-based VER will rent the products from its locations in major markets throughout the United States, which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, among others.

Elsewhere on the 3-D front, Panasonic will work with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to create a 3-D production studio at AEG’s L.A. Live complex in Los Angeles. The company also will collaborate with the University of Southern California Entertainment Technology Center to study the psychophysical effects of 3-D viewing in the home and create production guidelines for 3-D content.

Sony introduced a concept of a 3-D camera it co-developed with Discovery International at NAB during the Digital Cinema Summit. During his keynote speech, John Honeycutt, executive vice president and head of international business operations for Discovery International, called it the “camera of the future” and revealed it would include one 3in CMOS sensor per eye, HD (1920 x 1080) capability, interchangeable lenses, convergence control and metadata support. Field tests are scheduled to start in July.

At another point in his speech, Honeycutt held up the new Panasonic 3-D camcorder and described it as a tool to be used extensively (and cost-effectively). He also outlined plans for a 3-D channel from Discovery, Sony and IMAX slated to launch this year. The channel’s target audience is primarily men ages 25-49 who are tech savvy and likely to be early adopters of the technology.

“We think there is a real audience for this channel,” he said, adding that the “deep reservoir” of content that would be available on the channel includes Sony movies, Discovery TV content and IMAX films.

“We only have one opportunity to impress consumers,” he said. “We are not going to skimp on quality.”

Honeycutt said he was optimistic about 3-D TV set sales, although he cautioned that “approximately 12 percent of all people have issues with their binocular vision, making 3-Dviewing extremely difficult or impossible.”

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Have the codes of conduct changed in television news !

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As a cameraman I am very disappointed in todays “let’s trap the celebrity” culture that we seem intent on breeding. It’s all about the”exclusive” and less about the person’s rights you are abusing. Filming news ten years ago as a freelance cameraman we had two codes of conduct when filming celebrates which included politicians…

1st code was to remind the person wearing a radio mic that it was still live and NEVER to record private conversation.

2nd code was never to ask for their autograph.

Once again we see a politician caught with an open radio mic and broadcast for all and sundry. Gordon Brown had been asked if he could keep the radio mic on by Sky Television as things were hectic and it would save time between stops.

Sky in my opinion have breeched an unwritten code of conduct by recording albeit by mistake Gordon Brown talking to his aide in complete confidence or so he thought. This does nothing but harbour total distrust between celebrities and the media to the point that they have the right to demand no radio mics in the future, spoiling it for everyone else.

We the lesser mortals who have nothing to do with television still adhere to those unwritten codes and what is recorded by mistake remains a private laugh on the cutting room floor AND THAT’S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE !

UPDATE : Listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning not one mention was given to the fact that Sky were totally out of order recording this let alone playing it back to world wide media.

I also got a very good comment reminding me that… “Lets not forget that Bskyb and The Sun are owned by the same person who is trying everything to get Brown out.” It’s a disgrace…just in case you are wondering I am no big fan of Gordon Brown let alone politics in general but I do not tolerate unfairness and Sky have a lot to answer for in my opinion.

I think Gordon Brown has a strong case for abuse of his rights and should take this up with OFCOM…there is a clear understanding between a broadcaster who tells a client to keep a radio mic on “TO SAVE THEM TIME” that they will not abuse this very sensitive position by recording once the client is clearly OFF CAMERA.

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This is what HD Video was invented for

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Just in time for the weekend, here’s a technology that’s arrived before its time, I think. Winscape is a set of two plasma televisions set up behind window panes, and hooked up to a Mac Pro. The Pro is running the custom Winscape software, which controls the “view” out of the windows according to a sensor (they show it in the video above attached to a baby, and it actually looks really large and pretty unwieldy). So as the sensor moves around the room, the view changes, as if you were moving angles while looking out of the windows to get a different view.

Oh, and the whole thing is controlled with an iPhone app — there are a few different views, as you can see in the video above. You can buy the Winscape software for $10 over on the website, and the remote app is $2 in the store, but of course you’ve got to buy the plasma televisions and Mac Pro yourself (and cut a window into your wall and/or install them all the way you want them). So no, it’s not a very practical solution — at least until houses come standard with video windows.

But it would be great to wake up every morning and be able to look out the window and see whatever you want to see. Maybe someday we’ll see a setup like this as a more accessible investment.

Just think you no longer need to buy a house with a view Fake Windows does it for you. I have recently been producing DVDs for Long Term Conditions, now this would be perfect for a person who wants to spend their last days in comfort.

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Redrock Micro Wireless follow focus for HDSLRs $3000

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WOW…What an amazing piece of technology and it beats anything I have seen recently on a BBC drama. This could really help the case for HDSLRs though listening to the video it works on RED or any camera that uses prime lenses. Basically it’s a remote follow focus control that utilises the iPhone/iTouch on first looks it beats most wireless follow focus systems twice the price !

Redrock Micro – microRemote – NAB 2010 – Playback from camera department on Vimeo.

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HD and the future

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So what does the future hold in the world of HD video…I think we will see a swing away from conventional video camcorder to the shallow depth of field camcorder as demonstrated by the HDSLR we see today. Personally I think we will see the demise of the HDSLR into cult status mid 2011…with a few die hards and cost conscious film makers hanging on… finally we will have a choice of SDoF camcorders from both Sony, Panasonic and possibly Canon who stupidly had a chance to nail this marketplace with a SDoF camcorder but decided to go down the route of a conventional camcorder albeit a very high spec HD camcorder.

The problem I can foresee is that the world of video/film will become very samey… You expect to see wonderful SDoF shots when watching a big budget movie but do we really need to see SDoF shots in everything we watch ?  Sadly I think we will get to a point in time where 80% of what you watch will be film like and the exception will become the ‘video’ look. We may even see a cult following who only use video camcorders in order to get away from the film look.

Formats will become obsolete when we finally get 1080 50P in professional reasonably priced camcorders, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro etc will have caught up, 4:2:2 or better will become the de facto as will 50Mbs for all camcorders.

OMG will we get to a stage of having the perfect camcorder…nothing to look forward to… don’t be silly the future always holds better ways of doing things. I hope we will finally be rid of interlacing, it was good when it was needed but even today we are living an interlace free viewing experience  with Plasma and LCD screens all being progressive.

Solid State now thats the key to an HD future with both camcorders and computers, within the next 5 years we are going to see a massive shift towards solid state everything. The days of needing hard drives and their tendency to give up on you at the least inopportune moment will become a thing of the past. You will have a bank of HD-VID cards 10TB each 1200M/bs making everything you do instant, real time, rendering will become a thing of the past.

3D has a future but I can tell you one thing that does not have a future…red-green glasses… this is a dinosaur of the sixties I can’t quite believe there are companies out there experimenting with the red-green shift so called 3D when the future is obviously in polarisation. I will become a fan of 3D when you don’t need any glasses to view your subject in 3D space …until then it’s a dead donkey.

What about 100 years from now…2110…OK I will have a stab at it… video as we know it today will be everywhere, solid state will be king, TV stations will become a thing of the past, almost everything you do will be uploaded automatically, analysed and used from personal news that your grandchild will playback from any of her relatives, personal POV cams will become the norm. Space will no longer be an issue you will use HD TIME embedded chips, recording 24/7 one year intervals…not a future I relish or will ever be part of thankfully.

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Amazing pictures of the Volcano in Iceland

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Lucas “I realize that this photograph is pretty much the attention grabber from all those that I have taken in Iceland on this trip so I figured I would write up a little about what it took to get the image. As soon as I got this assignment, a photograph of a volcano erupting with lightning inside of the ash plume was on my mind. I had seen one a couple of years ago from a volcano in South America so I knew it happened. When I was watching the ash during the first dusk I saw plenty of lightning so I knew I had a shot at making this picture.

I have shot lightning a few times before but it tends to be a bit of a fishing excursion because of the erratic habits of lightning bolts, this was less so. I knew exactly where the lightning would be (in the caldera) and I just had to find a good vantage point. Earlier in the day I spent some time with some sheep farmers, who lived directly across the valley from this eruption. I noticed some cars crossing a river and driving northeast to get a better view inside the crater. With dusk approaching, I decided to make a go of that route. I drove my jeep across the river and down a very bumpy road that had been rebuilt through fields of mini-icebergs that had been deposited by a glacial flood triggered by the initial eruption. It was here that I made another of my favorite images showing the “Land of Ice and Fire” that Iceland is known for.”

HDW : Alister Chapman may be chasing Tornados in Texas but I think a more spectacular part of the world at the moment is producing amazing photography for storm chasers…Iceland.

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SONY PVM-740 OLED Field Monitor £2,936 incl vat

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The PVM-740 is a new type of 7.4-inch* high-resolution (960 x 540 pixel) portable monitor which incorporates an Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display panel with Sony’s unique Super Top EmissionTM technology.
Thanks to the nature of the OLED display panel and Sony’s Super Top Emission technology, the PVM-740 offers outstanding high-contrast images – for example, the deep black of a night scene can be accurately displayed and the black portion of an image is not raised even in a low-illumination edit suite. As the black color is deep, peak brightness becomes higher and can brilliantly express sparkling town lights and stars in the night sky. On the other hand, the high-contrast, low-reflection capabilities of the PVM-740 achieve monitoring in bright sunlight of delicate, clearer images during outside broadcasting and field production – performance that is difficult to achieve with CRTs and LCDs.
Incorporating a 10-bit panel driver, Sony’s Super Top Emission OLED display panel creates lifelike and smoother-than-ever gradation from dark to bright portions of a scene, such as in a sunrise or sunset. Also, an excellent blur-free quick response to fast motion benefits a variety of applications and scenes, e.g., sports broadcasting, monitoring of camera panning, and text scrolling.
In addition to the high-purity deep color reproduction characteristics inherent in Sony’s Super Top Emission OLED display panel, two other elements – Sony’s 10-bit panel driver and ChromaTRU technologies – work effectively to emulate the colors and gammas of CRT monitors, and to support broadcast standards (SMPTE-C, EBU, and ITU-R BT.709).
Incorporating a compact, lightweight, and robust aluminum die-cast body, the PVM-740 suits many different indoor and outdoor applications. The PVM-740 is equipped with standard interface connectors – a composite video, 3G/HD/SD-SDI, and HDMI – which accept a variety of video signal formats from PAL/NTSC up to 1080/50p and 60p.
The attraction of the PVM-740 goes beyond these qualities to also include much smarter and more convenient features and functions: DC/AC operation, a convenient control panel with luminous and assignable buttons, a camera focus function, a wave form monitor and an 8-channel audio level meter, a variety of marker setting, a native scan, and a flip function.
This PVM-740 is ideal for a wide range of professional monitoring applications including use in an editing studio, outside broadcast, acquisition, field production, and even research and development.

Sony’s New PVM-740 Organic LED from Abel Cine Tech on Vimeo.

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Sony’s Bill Drummond demonstrates the new HD baby HXR-MC50E

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Sony Professional – Bill Drummond – HXR-MC50E from Sony Professional on Vimeo.

The price in the UK for this camcorder will be £2346 incl vat.

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Samsung’s NAND technology producing 30% faster SDHC cards

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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, today announced the industry’s first production of 20 nanometer (nm) class NAND chips for use in Secure Digital (SD) memory cards and embedded memory solutions. Based on this cutting-edge technology, the introduction of 32 gigabit (Gb) MLC NAND will expand the company’s memory card solutions for smart phones, high-end IT applications and high-performance memory cards.

Mr. Soo-In Cho, president, Memory Division, Samsung Electronics, said “In just one year after initiating 30nm-class NAND production, Samsung has made available the next generation node 20nm-class NAND, which exceeds most customers requirements for high-performance, high-density NAND-based solutions.” He added, “The new 20nm-class NAND is not only a significant step forward in process design, but we have incorporated advanced technologies into it to enable substantial performance innovation.”

Samsung’s 20nm-class MLC NAND has a 50 percent higher productivity level than 30nm-class MLC NAND. The write performance of a 20nm-class-based, eight gigabyte (GB) and higher density, SD card is 30 percent faster than the 30nm-class NAND and it delivers a speed-class rating of 10 (read speed of 20MB/s, write speed of 10MB/s). By applying cutting-edge process, design and controller technology, Samsung also has secured reliability levels comparable to 30nm-class NAND.

Samsung Electronics first began producing 32Gb NAND with 30nm-class process technology in March 2009. Now it is shipping SD card samples to customers that are built with 20nm-class 32Gb NAND and will expand production later this year.

Memory cards based in the 20nm-class will be available from 4GB through 64GB densities

Samsung’s timely introduction of its high-performance premium NAND will better support the growing memory requirements of high-density smartphones, high-end IT applications and high-performance memory cards.

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