Adobe Encore encoding problem “SQSYSTEM ERROR = -37”

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

As usual I have spent over 2 hours trying to work out what SQSYSTEM ERROR = -37 stands for. I eventually Googled Mac error codes to find this chart…

Bad file name, that then led onto a forum where a chap had experienced the same problem and he was told to look out for / ” : in the file name. I looked at my video file name and I had ended it with (Aug/Sept 11)….NAILED…I had added a forward slash in the file name and this had caused Encore to quit transcoding my important job.

I took out (Aug/Sept11) altogether to be on the safe side and it worked a charm.

Here is the URL for the Mac error codes : 


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8bit v 10bit what does it all mean ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

8 or 10 bit it’s all hocus pocus to many of us so what do the figures mean in real life terms, I have trawled the internet to try and put this into plain man’s english.

In a nutshell…To start, 8-bit means that for red(R), green(G), and blue(B), the values 0 to 255 can be represented. For 10-bit, the RGB values can be from 0 to 1023. This means that per component, 10-bit is 4 times as detailed as 8-bit. Therefore, if you had a raw image with 10-bit depth, it would have a color palette 64 times as large (4x4x4=64) to represent the image on your screen. In the case of high definition video, with the exception of footage from EXTREMELY high end cameras (starting with the RedOne cinema camera and upward), you will never come across media of this scale. The reason is, it would require a signal of 3.125 gigabits per second to properly transmit this signal.

As you can see from the image above the 10 bit image is far more detailed the colours blend from one to another while the 8 bit image is blocky, you can see this effect on most 8 bit video cameras and is one of the less endearing features of the new large sensor camcorders.

While I had my Panasonic AF101 the main problem you were fighting was getting the balance between a less noisy picture and increasing the tendency for banding which is the drawback of any 8bit video setup.

So why was this not a problem in the days of DV…simple your picture information was a lot less, standard definition TV is 720 x 576. We are now we are seeing HD footage that is 1920 x 1080 which is like a magnifier to that same 255 bits of colour hence you get banding.

The new Panasonic AG-HPX250 camcorder is one of the new breed of camcorders with 10bit 4:2:2 giving you silky smooth pictures and no banding. 10bit is the future for all video camcorders, lets hope Sony and Panasonic update their present range of large sensor camcorders to take full advantage of that fantastic 10 bit processing.

As you can see having a 10 bit recording gives you 4x more colour information this is great for green/blue screen work and editing that needs colour grading. It’s all about striving for the best you can afford, the better your master footage is the more that can be done with it before degradation kicks in.

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CVP presents Camera Day at BBC Scotland

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

[xr_video id=”0f349e4f723046c5823de7b6d4322ba8″ size=”md”]

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China’s alternative to RED or Alexa…$8000 or less

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

This according to Dan Chung is China’s alternative to the RED camera, personally I don’t think Jim and the boys at RED are going to loose any sleep over this “alternative”.

BreadCam might be a better name for it as it looks like my grannies old bread bin with a lens stuck on the front, cameras need to aesthetically pleasing not something that looks cobbled together in grampas workshop.

It actually looks more like an old 60s cine camera made specifically for Desperate Dan, I do realise this is a prototype but I also think companies like this one in China should keep their early designs under wrap till they are happy with the “look”.


I think this is an attempt at ARRI rather than RED but who cares unless we see a radical re-design I think this may never see the light of day again.

If you would like to read more exiting details on this camera then click here :

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Back to Basics…Using ZEBRAS

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

It seems that some of us including myself are missing that all important basic information when it comes to HD video production so I have decided to run a series of  blogs called “Back to basics”.

Once a week I hope to explain some basic information about HD video production from audio basics like choosing PCM or Dolby Digital, why 10 bit is better than 8 bit but to start the ball rolling I am going or should I say Tom is going to explain how to use and set up zebras.

Most semi pro and pro camcorders have zebra as a choice in the camera setup menu as well as a choice of settings.

Rather than me prattling on I would like to introduce you to a complete stranger, Tom Tanquary, I have no idea who Tom is but his posting about zebras is very simple to follow and works like a charm…

Tom “I’ve been shooting video since 1977 and the introduction of the zebra pattern for exposure has been a total blessing. But, from the discussion above it seems not many people know how to use them. Zebras indicate a specific exposure level for a reflective surface at that iris opening. Overall exposure of any scene is determined by many other factors. Like a spot meter to a still photographer, the zebras can be very helpful if you use them on a known reference surface to determin proper exposure. And proper exposure simply means the “look” you want to get. 

Virtually all professional video cameras come with the zebras set at 70 which means 70% of a full signal. Even the pre-set on my PD-150 has only 100 and 70 as its zebra choices. There’s a reason for that. While each camera system will have a different dynamic range between 7.5 (black) and 100 (pure white), certain constants will always be true. The number 70 was picked for 2 basic reasons: it’s the proper exposure for a white sheet of paper while still seeing detail on it (such as writing, or it’s texture) and it’s the level of typical skin exposure where detail begins to be lost.

Skin tones usually fall between 55 and 65% for a very natural, well detailed, chroma-rich look. At 70% skin will start to “shine.” At 75% you are loosing detail, and at 80% most all the detail is gone. That maybe fine if you’re trying to make an old actress look 20 years younger, but in general it means that the person’s face is bland, pale and washed out. If the 70% zebras just barely appear on the most reflective portions of a face, like a cheek or upper forehead, then the rest of face falls into that 55 to 65 range. It’s a very simple way to maintain a consistant good look. 

But many times the scene is wider than a single face and other exposure factors may take over. Wide shots of people directly lit by the sun may have their faces at more than 70% to acchieve an overall good exposure. A washed out face in this case is hardly noticeable and that screen area is too small for much detail anyway. It’s at this point that the dynamic range of the camera comes into play. Which is more important: the shadows or the highlights?

Setting zebras at 100 has never made sense to me. 100 is pure white, no detail. So what? There are so many things in a scene that will be over-exposed long before you get to 100. The white paper is a good example. At 90% that paper is blooming big time, at 100 it’s gone. Most all of your exposure decisions are made well under the 100% video level. Which is why professional videographers have always used 70 as a benchmark. Most all surfaces in the upper third of reflective quality (reflect the most light) will start to loose detail above 70%. Whether it’s human skin, a white piece of paper, or a sun lit concrete wall, those zebras let you know how much detail you’ll get at that iris.

Trusting a tiny viewfinder, that may be out of adjustment, who’s picture quality is determined by the angle of your eye to it, under less than ideal viewing conditions is a dangerous way to make decisions on exposure.

And there’s this little switch on the back of the camera that can easily turn off the zebras once your exposure is set.”  

Tom Tanquary (From

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SONY UK deliver amazing news about the FS100 and NX70

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments

I sent an email off to Sony Broadcast UK last week asking about the discrepancy between the FS100 specs in the US and the UK.

In the US you can get 8bit 4:4:4 out of the HDMI socket while in the UK it was claimed to be 4:2:2, I decided this was nonsense and today came back the amazing reply…

Regarding this question, we would like to answer as follows.

 Simple version:

Q. What is the signal of HDMI output?

A. It is “YC422 8bit” which is one of the HDMI output standard (EE/PB).

     (Both FS100 and NX70)


Detailed version:

Q. What is the signal of HDMI output?

A. It is both “RGB444 8bit” and “YC422 8bit” which are one of the

    HDMI output standard (EE/PB).

* Both are automatically changed according to connecting equipment.

  Basically, “YC422 8bit” is output. If connecting equipment can receive

  only RGB, “RGB444 8bit” is output.

(Both FS100 and NX70)


 HDMI is very flexible for the resolution and bit, it can have 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4.

 On the other hand, the data of the image created by the FS100/NX70 processor is just 4:2:2.

 Then it is lifted up to 4:4:4 in the HDMI processor if the connected device is 444 capable.

(In fact, nobody knows the 444 HDMI device.)

But the picture quality is 422 (422 is just in 444 bucket).

As I read it and I am still a bit confused…You can get 4:2:0, 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 out of the HDMI socket but this depends whats plugged into the FS100 or the NX70.

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Steve Jobs resigns

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


What can I say but…thanks Steve without your vision Apple would not be the company it is today. Personally I think Mr Jobs needs to take a back seat due to on-going health problems which is a great shame.

I wish him all the best and hope he makes a good recovery.


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

CVPs Open Day in Glasgow

Categories: Miscellaneous No Comments

I had a superb day yesterday at the CVP Open Day at the BBC in Glasgow, Colin and the boys put on a great show which was appreciated by all the various production staff that attended.

The morning session was packed out as you can see with an excellent talk from CVPs technical expert Phil Myers followed by an interesting talk from BBC Scotland’s Dave Chalmers talking about HD acquisition.

I bumped into two cameramen friends, Ian Douglas and Ian Bodie who were very interested to see what CVP had to offer. Ian Bodie and myself worked for Clyde Cable Vision many moons ago.

This was my first encounter with CVPs 85 page magazine called the IRIS which retails for £5.95, it’s an excellent read and well recommended if you want to keep up to date with everything from Large Sensor cameras to Final Cut Pro. You can view an online version at…

I am producing a video about todays exploits so bear with me as I chop on my FCP-7 timeline, I hope to have the video available later on this week.



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Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

CineSkates Camera Sliders from Cinetics on Vimeo.

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

CVP Camera Day at BBC Scotland…Wednesday 24th August 2011

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One more day till the Glasgow Camera Day at BBC Scotland where you will entertained and educated all about Going HD-Going Tapeless.

There are two spots, Wednesday morning and afternoon, both consist of Phil Myers telling us all about Large Sensor Cameras and then onto ENG camcorders all tapeless !

HD Warrior has been invited to produce a web video, you will see the Sony FS100 being used in the field along with various lenses as a run and gun which may give you ideas for future productions you may have in mind. Remember CVP are here to help with any of your production needs big or small.

Details can be found here :



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