Canon 1DX “tamed down” by Canon Pro Video ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments

Whilst listening to an interview Dan Chung (Right) asks the Canon rep Mark Burnhill, why the new Canon 1DX has a limited HDMI output and Marks reply is very interesting.

Dan “Why is that” in reference to a non clean output from the HDMI.

Mark…Has a large hesitation…”I think the video guys are kind of still in discussion in Canon about a conflict between the EOS and the video market…”

In other words this EOS 1DX has been deliberatly tamed down in order to make way for a video version due to be released to the world on the 3rd of November 2011.

This makes sence as Canon cannot afford for it’s photographic side of the business to interfere with the Pro Video side and it’s very refreshing that the Pro Video side still have some clout.

As sexy as the 1DX is and from all accounts very clean in low light to deliberately reduce it’s video specifications after adding a ton of new video features is a tad strange unless you are guarding a new video product further down your timeline which is the most reasonable explanation.

I have also got to add here that if you are contemplating buying this DSLR for video use at £5600 it is now dearer than the Panasonic AF101 and the Sony FS100 which are far superior large sensor camcorders for SDoF video work.

You can see Dans interview here…

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

New LED lighting with a bonus feature built in… HP LED 500 £340 incl vat

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Today I received a new 500W LED light from H Preston Media the HP LED 500 and it comes with a fantastic bonus feature built in. The light is 5600 Kelvin making it a very useful light for interviews especially in daylight.

If you close the barn doors as shown you get a strange phenomena…ribbing of the light which looks mega on a plain wall especially when you introduce a yellow gel.

Before Susan got home tonight I used my skin tone dolly and the background light is something else. This is a real bonus as you could really utilise this effect during an interview.

It has all the newer features like Sony “V” lock mount making your interviews wire free, dual dimmers for even greater control of your light and a 4 pin XLR for your 12v adapter.

The best news is that this new HP LED 500 light is only £349 including vat exclusively from H Preston Media.


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

10 Months later with very few camcorders reaching 50Mbs recording

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

Amazingly it’s been 10 months since the first large sensor camcorder the Panasonic AF101 appeared on the market followed by Sony with their F3 and the FS100.

The AF101 and the FS100 are both £5K and under, with the Sony F3 popping it’s head just above £11K making it the “most” professional as far as pricing and level of features of the three camcorders.

Even more surprising is the lack of so called broadcast features on all three camcorders especially the F3 which is no better than an EX-3 with it’s 35Mbs SxS card slots. You do have the ability to output 4:4:4 from the F3 but Sony have misunderstood the animal who uses such cameras, in my opinion.

Cameramen do not like extra connections if they can avoid it, every extra connection coming out of a camera is one extra failure point in technical terms so bringing out a camcorder with a hi-end potential and not starting at the magical 50Mbs is ludicrous.

While all 3 camcorders produce fantastic pictures especially in low light they are limited to certain types of filming with one exception the F3, Sony decided the F3 was to take on several roles and is the only large sensor camera to date with a zoom rocker and a dedicated 14x servo zoom (Optional).

I said at the time this was a stroke of genius from Sony to include such a feature giving the F3 a far wider appeal but once again adding to the cost of the camera itself.

The BBC have gone down the road of Sony PMW-350 s and 500s with a few freelancers jumping onto the 500 bandwaggon giving them far more flexabilty and the  so called BBC HD starting point of 50Mbs for HD production.

The PMW-350 is an excellent camcorder but 35Mbs HD means Nano flashes and all the complications and extra cost that come with external recorders.

For years cameramen and women have been used to filming with a single camcorder like Betacam, especially for news, you don’t have time to faff about with Nano Flashes if you are sent out on a news job.

So 10 months down the line we have many new camcorders but very few making the grade of true HD broadcast spec out of the box…

Sony… PMW-500 (50Mbs),  PMW-F3 (35Mbs), NEX-FS100 (28Mbs), HXR-NX70 (28Mbs)

Panasonic…AG-AF101 (21Mbs), AG-AC130 (21Mbs), AG-AC160 (21Mbs), AG-HPX250 P2 (50Mbs)

JVC…GY-HM790 (35Mbs), GY HM150 (35Mbs)

Canon…XF305/300 (50Mbs), XF300, XF105/100 (50Mbs), XA10 (24Mbs)

So what have we got, not one large sensor camcorder hits the 50Mbs mark which is poor in my opinion though I do realise this will be a feature in version two of at least the F3 if it is to have any chance of selling second time round.

My productions do not suffer for not having 50Mbs but it leaves a large number of fellow professionals out in the cold as they would love to offer 50Mbs but not at the cost of a set of expensive “Christmas tree light wiring” to add to their complications.

As I said at the start of this blog cameramen/women do not care for extra bits of wiring, extra bits that add to something going wrong…Canon may change all this in 8 days time !

Different jobs require different looks therefore different camcorders, I have plumbed for 2 NX70s and 1 FS100 this year as all three camcorders record in 1080 50p, the NX70s are used for most jobs while the FS100 is used for interview work. I was sorely tempted by the Panasonic AC160 but the lack of 1080 50p with sound and differance in looks due to the colour matrix changed my mind, sad as it is a great camcorder brimming with lots of useful pro features like syncro scan.

For once I hope Canon come up with the goods on November the 3rd as for years Sony and Panasonic have been playing cat and mouse with us over features that magically appear on the next updated model but are always shy of being the “perfect spec camcorder”.

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

10 Days and counting…3rd November 2011 “Canon at Hollywood”

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

Canon have it in their power in 10 days time to change the game forever…if they have been as savvy with a large sensor camcorder as they have been with the XF range of cameras they will wipe the board if they bring out a camcorder with the above specs.

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

Mini Review of the RODE Lapel Microphone (Well Recomended)

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


Firstly I have no connections with RODE as a company and I bought my own mic system due to the quality of previous RODE products I already own.

I have a project that needs two identical lapel microphones, now the cheaper option was to buy another Sennheiser or AKG but to be honest I have not been very impressed with either lapel microphone.

Recently I have been buying into the RODE brand of microphones and after watching the “look around the RODE factory” video recently I was further convinced this was the road to go down.

First thing that strikes you is the sheer size of the RODE lapel mic, it’s by all accounts subminiature measuring 12mm x 4mm. The best news is the fact that it screws off the cable, this is very refreshing as 99% of the lapel marketplace are bonded on to the cable making it impossible to replace.

Secondly and just as important to me is the type of cable used, it’s a 1.5mm thin Kevlar reinforced low noise cable, and I can vouch for the low noise I used this mic for my studio inserts for the Panasonic AC160 review.

The third best part about the RODE system is the variety of end connectors you can get for this lapel microphone, I use phantom powered XLR connectors on the whole hard wired to the camcorder.

On the occasion when I need to use a radio transmitter I have the Sennheiser 3.5 mini jack connector and there is a further 6 connectors for various makers transmitters which is in my opinion very forward thinking indeed.

A truly modular system and extension cables as well, yes you can extend your mic cable with a 3 metre Micon cable for a further £27.

The microphone is an omni-directional polar pattern 60Hz to 18KHz and a sound pressure level of 94dB. I can hold my hand up and tell you that I am delighted with my two microphones, they come in an anti-trauma waterproof case and as you can see wind puffs are also part of the kit.

For £150 per microphone kit the RODE system is the best on the sub-miniature marketplace and you will be hard pressed to find a more versatile microphone system on the marketplace.

RODE are a very impressive forward thinking microphone manufacturer and every microphone I own which is now six, the sound from all six microphones are fantastic and quality at a price guarenteed not to break the bank.

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

Vision Charity “Think where you would be without your eyesight”

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My first encounter with Vision Charity was at the video show at Haydock Park last year.

“Vision Charity was created in 1975 and celebrates over 35 years of fundraising for the benefit of blind and visually impaired children. Its foundation was the professional and corporate television industry, but since then it has broadened its reach beyond the Visual Communications Industries.

 Our Mission is to try and inject fun into the lives of the blind and visually impaired children we support as well as their families. We have succeeded in doing this through the support of our ever expanding support base of corporate, celebrity and individual sponsors. Our board is well connected representing the worlds of broadcast, finance, private equity, venture capital, fashion retail, PR and Marketing. We also maintain very close links with professional organisations including the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Sense, The Royal London Society for the Blind, The Royal National College – Hereford, Autism Independent and many others.
We actively work with our Patrons, most notably the recent addition of David and Coraline Ginola, in the marketing efforts surrounding our various fundraising events most notable the recent launch of our sports legacy fund initiative.
Our primary aim is to raise money to provide access to facilities and equipment for our blind and visually impaired children. We have provided equipment including sensory rooms, the Katie Price playground at Dorton House School as well as weekend breaks for these children and their families. Making life easier for this community of people is our credo and there are many more opportunities that we can explore.
The management of the Charity has traditionally been through volunteers.”

Only this week I was photographing a wee cracker of a pup called Ike, he is 8 weeks old and starting out in his major career as a guide dog for the blind. These are very special dogs and I have a lot of time for people like my friend Lynda who has volunteered to look after and train wee Ike till he is about thirteen months old.

As cameramen and women we use our eyes daily to produce many types of programs for television, corporate and industrial to special events like weddings. We have a special relationship with our sight so why not give a donation to a well worth charity.

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

Panasonic AG-AC160 Video Review

Categories: Miscellaneous 38 Comments

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

NEW Canon EOS-1DX Price £5299 March 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Specific video features…

Improved movie mode with reduced artifacts and moire, no line skipping, better low light performance, no file size limitation, SMTPE compliant time code, on screen audio meter, new video compression Intra frame and IPB, 1920x1080p full HD shooting at 24, 25 and 30fps, 1280 x 720p at 50 or 60 fps.

This is fantastic news for not only serious photographers but for serious video producers who are kitted out for DSLR shooting. The best bit about the news is it clears the way for November the 3rd being a video camcorder and dare I say it a large sensor film camera.

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

ProVideo 2011

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ProVideo 2011 starts tomorrow at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry for 2 days run by the IOV. This is usually a great show, sadly I will miss out this year due to other work commitments but all the usual faces will be there.

Sony are exibiting  and will be showing off the NX70, PMW-350 and the FS100 camcorders.

John Preston and the boys will be selling a lot of major new kit from Sony NX70, F3, FS100 to the new Panasonic kit the AG-AC160 and the AG-HPX250 P2 camcorder to the new Canon 305 50Mbs camcorder and some new LED lighting, Rode microphones and lots more.

The address is Jaguar Hall 2, Ricoh Arena, Coventry CV6 6GE (19-20th October 2011…Day one 10-5pm…Day two 10-4pm)


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

Panasonic AG-AC160 Progress Report (Updated)

Categories: Miscellaneous 22 Comments

Why is it taking so long to produce the review of the new Panasonic AF160…Simple…I live in Scotland, the land of the rain. I kid you not this part of the world is like monsoon season at the moment plus I have had some paying work in-between so I am afraid it’s not been easy putting together a review of the AC160.

I found myself filming my local fox this morning a wee soul that lives beside us in some spare land the picture below was taken earlier this year with her new cubs. The AC160 has a fantastic 22x lens and amazingly has a digital zoom that’s worth its weight in gold.

Filming the fox I found myself playing with the digital zoom which just happens to be on USER preset No 2, the downside is that you only seem to be able to toggle from 2, 5, 10 and off which is a pain as 5 and 10x are not as usable as 2x.

This would be a great wild life camcorder as the 2x digital zoom is very usable and at 44x you are getting a cracking very un-digitised picture, the OIS is not as good as the steady shot seen on the likes of the Sony NX70.

Low light is better than I was expecting from a 1/3″ camcorder but I will be doing some further low light testing this week. The weight of the camcorder is very illusive as it looks a lot heavier than it actually is.

Although it seemingly has a variable frame rate I have chosen to record my footage at 720 50p because it does not film at 1080 50p unless you are willing to forgo sound.

I have tried simultaneous recording onto both SDHC cards and I have also used the syncro scan feature with great success, this very useful feature is badly missing from both the Sony FS100 and the NX70.

UPDATE : Shot footage at 9dBs this evening in a dark pub setting and I was very impressed with the footage viewed on a 50″ plasma TV. The phantom power switches are very small and a tad on the fiddly side for my liking.

Unlike the NX70 although this camera has a 2 stop reduction in light from wide to tight, filming outside this evening you were not as aware of that loss of light that is very apparent on the NX70 and the 160 has twice the zoom ratio !

Outside daylight footage is excellent and reviewing the 2x digital zoom is very impressive the 1st camcorder NOT to look digitally enhanced when using a digital zoom. (Note. using 2x only).

Auto focus struggles sometimes in poor lighting conditions…no more than the competition to be fair to the 160.

My friend Alister and I will be compairing the Panasonic AC160 alongside the Sony NX5 this weekend using a Panasonic vision mixer and both camcorders plugged via HD SDI.

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

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