Problems with Premiere Pro CS6 and Super-whites not so super in FCPX

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Paul Joy “I switched from FCP7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 in November 2010, mostly because of the big steps Adobe were making with GPU accelerated effects and the ability to use media without the need to transcode. At that time FCP7 was still the current and trusted solution for Mac users and with no mention of a new version I had become tired of FCP’s lack of advancement and having to transcode DSLR footage.

I’d been using Premiere Pro as my main NLE for six months when Apple dropped the bombshell that was the release Final Cut Pro X. I felt quite lucky at the time because I was by then comfortable with the Premiere workflow and enjoying the benefits it offered. I had a quick look at FCPX when it was released but like many others I thought it seemed little more than a fancy iMovie so didn’t really give it much thought.

Premiere CS5 initially had a few problems running on the mac, I spent a lot of time highlighting issues both on my blog and directly with Adobe who unlike Apple are very happy to interact with their customers about problems and work with them to solve them. It took a long time for CS5 to settle down, many of the problems were not solved until CS5.5. In the mean time Apple released OSX Lion which interestingly helped with some of the UI problems premiere mac users were suffering with.

For me CS5.5 on Lion got to the point of being fairly stable, it’s weakness continued to be handling projects with a lot of media, I found that scrubbing through a timeline with hundreds of short clips would always result in playback problems so learned to not demand too much from it and avoided scrubbing through clip heavy timelines.

Before long CS6 came along offering some great new features, warp stabiliser in the NLE, more GPU based effects, enhanced FCP like timeline control and a lot more. For what seemed like months before it’s release there were numerous beta testers / bloggers who were raving about CS6 so I decided to jump on board.

I ordered CS6 Production Premium on the day of release and upon installation was immediately  impressed with the improvements. Unfortunately though I soon noticed that CS6 came with a whole new slew of stability issues. Many mac users including myself have had problems with system sound becoming unstable effecting the whole system and when working on a large project I would often see the ‘A Serious Error has Occurred and Premiere needs to close’ message many times throughout each day.

The Adobe forums are packed with users complaining of the same issues, one thread has over 250 posts by people with similar issues with over 17,000 views.

I really like using the Adobe software, but having to go through this whole sequence of Mac instability with each release of the suite is a drag, I’m sure once again Adobe will eventually solve the issues and patch up the Mac version to be almost as good as the PC variant but once again that will likely come along as the .5 version.

Because the .5 releases are full paid releases I have to wonder if Mac users would be better of doing things by halves and upgrading on the CS*.5 releases rather than jumping on the Mac problem solving wagon at the release of the new full suite, certainly from the past couple of versions that would have made a lot of sense.

I’ve actually started looking at FCPX  again which seems to have come on a long way since it’s release. It still requires some transcoding but after two days of playing with it I’ve not seen a single crash which is refreshing after using CS6!

Like any software reliability problems there are many factors involved including hardware used, other software installed etc etc so if you’re experience has been different then feel free to post a comment.

HDW : Paul is finding out what I already new, that Premiere Pro CS6 was not without it’s problems, I was put off by my early adoption and tinkering with CS6 it was not as stable as 5.5 so I stuck with FCP-7 and started using FCPX.

I had a duff AJA io HD and AJA to my delight swapped out my io HD, this gives me two monitoring options, one for my old faithful FCP-7 and one for FCPX using the Matrox MX02 Max.”

FCPX seems to handle super whites with less tolerance than FCP-7, it’s the modern gamma curves, Matt Davis explains…

Super-whites are a quick way of getting extra latitude and preventing the video tell-tale of burned out highlights by allowing brighter shades to be recorded over the ‘legal’ 100% of traditional video. However, it’s come to my attention that some folk may not be reaping the advantages of superwhites – or even finding footage is ‘blown out’ in the highlights where the cameraman is adamant that zebras said it was fine.

So, we have a scale where 0% is black, and 100% is white. 8 bit video assigns numbers to brightness levels, but contains wriggle room, so if you have the Magic Numbers of Computing 0-255, you’d assume black starts at 0, and white ends up at 255. Alas not. Black starts at 16, and white ends at 235. Super whites use the extra room from 235 to 255 to squeeze in a little more latitude which is great.

But that’s on the camera media. Once you get into the edit software, you need to make sure you obey the 100% white law. And that’s where things go a bit pear shaped.

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

0% Interest on the new Sony PMW-200 at H Preston Media

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Why not give John or Andy a phone and reserve your new Sony PMW-200 at 0% interest for twelve months…


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

YouTube Creator Space-London

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After uploading thousands of videos to YouTube making it a global sensation is it any surprise that it spawns it’s own production facilities to help you create even more polished videos ready for mass viewing.

No word on hire rates, yet, but you can be assured this new facility right in the heart of Soho will be a major competitor for any London facilities house and the hire rates might be frighteningly cheap in comparison.

The dedicated Green screen studio is useful though with a Green Lastolite and some LED lights Final Cut Pro 10 can more than match a dedicated GS studio in post.

Having the money in these hard times to produce such a studio complex is to be commended let alone the cost of the equipment and staff to run the studio, cost will be its main factor, if it’s up with the big boys I think it will be hard to promote but if it’s 20% cheaper than the competition and entertains student rates then it might be onto a winner.

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

The Sony PMW-200 shipping in September “The things you need to know”

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A great surprise, for once Sony have almost been listening to my moaning, we all love the 1/2″ sensor and all the rich features it brings especially in the low light department. 50Mbs destroys the constant bug bear of using 3rd party external recorders which is a blessing and much needed in the lonely world of Canons XF300/305.
Having a 3x 1/2″ CMOS Exmor chip set will bring a lot of fans to this camera, so many of us have bought into 1/3″ cameras and its not the same experience.
The 14x fuji lens is a good well tested, sharp, constant aperture lens that has my vote, others like Canon do give you 22x “L” glass but not constant aperture and thats important when filming indoors, the 1-2 f stop drop in light in non constant aperture lenses can destroy a great shot.
Bad news… I have it on authority the PMW-200 produces 422, 50Mbps on SxS, this limits the CBR (Constant Bit Rate) 422 to an expensive media, at £360 for 1 hours worth of footage is excessive in my books and will not compete with the Canon XF305 with its CF media which is 6x cheaper.
Good news…As far as I am aware you will be able to use Sony’s XQD cards to record 422 50Mbps, ranging from £170-£230 for a 32G card.
XDCAM is an 8bit format but you can get 10bit out of the HD-SDI port if you need the extra quality.
The camera records 1080 50i and 720 50p CBR at 50Mbps and 35Mbps at VBR and 25Mbps at CBR.
Electric Viewfinder (EVF); Approx 1.2 million pixels. 852 x 3 (RGB) x 480 a vast improvement on the PMW-100.
Here is a list of features that did not transfer from the EX1r to the PMW-200
  • The Shot Transition push-button feature for moving automatically between two sets of presets (focus, zoom, etc) has been discarded
  • Component video out is gone. Instead, the camera has a BNC terminal for composite video out that doubles as a genlock in. Another BNC enables timecode in and out. (The EXR1 had neither genlock in nor timecode in/out.) HDMI and SDI output are still there, of course. “We took off one output connector and gave you two additional,”
  • The PMW did not inherit the rotating handgrip from the EXR1r

Sony have missed a trick with this camera if it turns out that you only get 50Mbps using expensive SxS media or XQD cards, the only reason the EX1, 3 and 1r sold in vast numbers was because you could use SDHC card adapters, if you have got plenty of SxS media then clearly the PMW-200 is a good upgrade, second camera, but for those of us who relied on SDHC for archive and keeping the costs down you are limited to 420 35Mbps variable bit rate which is nothing better than an EX1r can produce for £2000 less !

Don’t get me wrong the PMW-200 will sell by the bucket load but if Sony could find some way of either reducing the price of SxS or the more domestic XQD cards all the better.

In the past Sony soon realised that by holding onto their legacy “Memory Stick” media, that they were severely hampering sales of solid state camcorders and changed over to SDHC card compatibility, one of the best moves Sony ever made.

So what now, it seems clear that Sony are driving a new path of XDCAM camcorders and the PMW-300 will be on the drawing board with similar specs to the EX3, interchangeable lens, semi shoulder mount and an LCD hood, lets hope it comes with super slow motion like the FS700 and the ability to record 50Mbps onto XQD cards !

PS. Please remember you still need to upgrade the F3 to the F5 with 50Mbps back end and super slow motion like 240 fps at full HD.

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

Alister Chapman reviews the Sony PMW-200

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

Sony Professional: Sony PMW-200 review from Sony Professional Europe on Vimeo.

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Sony PMW-200 “Specs” £6,192 incl vat

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Three 1/2-inch type ExmorCMOS Full HD sensors for a wide range of shooting conditions
The PMW-200 is the first handheld camera in its class to be equipped with three large, newly developed 1/2-inch Exmor CMOS sensors, which provide excellent sensitivity and depth of field characteristics. Each of the sensors has an effective pixel count of two million pixels and achieves Full HD 1920x 1080 shooting without pixel interpolation. By placing multiple A/D converters in parallel, it has also been possible to reduce the speed of the operating clock and lower power consumption.

14x Fujinon professional HD zoom Lens with three independent rings with end stops
The 14x Fujinon high quality lens has auto focus and image stabilising functions, with an exceptionally flexible control system, which gives the operator the ability to operate the focus manually.The independent control of each ring of the lens –focus, zoom and iris – makes for better and faster adjustment. It also makes the system more accurate when setting because of the ‘stop’ function of each of the rings.

Optical SteadyShot and LCD panel for focus assist functions
Optical SteadyShot is activated by the electric lens shift mechanism. The camcorder’s 3.5-type LCD panel also helps the precise manual focus operation.The central part of the shooting frame (854 x480) can be magnified on the LCD panel and the viewfinder. The function is automatically cancelled five seconds after the focus ring is no longer in use.You can also select the peaking level in the menu and also choose the colour for the peaking signal on the LCD and viewfinder.

High quality MPEG HD 422 recordings
The PMW-200 supports MPEG HD 422 50 Mbps in MXF, which is widely accepted by major broadcasters worldwide. HD 422 gives a high quality image with more detailed colour reproduction, as well as being ideal for chromakeying. It’s also compatible with other XDCAM HD 422 camcorders, including the PMW-500 and the PMW-100, which streamlines workflow and reduces time in the edit.

Switchable recordings for greater flexibility

As well as shooting at HD 422 50 Mbps, the camcorderalso supports MPEG HD 420 in MP4 file format, which is compatible with XDCAM EX camcorders and DVCAM at 25 Mbps.The file format is also selectable between MP4 (FAT) or MXF(UDF) in HD and AVI (FAT) or MXF (UDF) in SD.

WiFi remote control*
Apple iPads or Android mobile devices can be used as simple remote controllers. By attaching the optional CBK-WA01 WiFi adaptor, the remote can control zoom, focus, iris and white balance as well as the recording functions such as recording trigger.* Available with firmware upgrade planned for release in November 2012.

Continuous recordings for easier ingest
Multiple clips can be recorded as a single clip making the ingest operation to a NLE easy.

Slow and quick motion from 1 fps to 60 fps
Slow motion shooting is possible with up to 60 frames per second (fps) recording in 720P or 30 fps recording in 1080P, when used with the SxS Pro or SxS-1 memory card.Quick motion can be obtained by slowing the frame rate down to 1 fps.

Cache recording
Utilising a 15 second cache recording function, the PMW-200 can help prevent the loss of important scenes or events that occur up to 15 seconds before the camera’s REC start button is pressed.

Two SxS Memory Card slots
There are two SxS Memory Card slots, which allows for around four hours of continuous recording, with two hours of HD 422 50 Mbps recorded on each 64GB SxS Memory Card. Content can be copied between the two slots.The PMW-200 can use either SxS Pro or SxS-1 cards. It will also accept consumer recording media, including memory stick, SD card and XDQ card with an appropriate adaptor for emergency use.

Multi-camera operation
The camcorder has a genlockIn and timecode In /Out interface so that it can link together with other cameras. The function makes the camcorder a cost effective alternative for use in multi camera event shoots.

Planning metadata automatically recorded
By loading a pre-recorded Planning Metadata file (XML file) to the PMW-200, either from anSxS memory card or a USB memory, the metadata is automatically generated and recorded as described in the XML file while recording. Also the filename of a clip is automatically set as described in the XML file.

Shutter angle setting similar to a film camera
As well as the standard electric shutter speed settings, the PMW-200 has an angle shutter setting, popular when shooting with a film camera. This is particularly useful when combining with Slow and Quick motion. By using the angle shutter, the ratio between exposure term and a frame term is always consistent, whatever frame number per second is selected in Slow and Quick motion, which means that the ‘intermittent effect’ is consistent, even in Slow and Quick motion, in the same way as shooting with a film camera.

Slow shutter and extended slow shutter
The slow shutter puts the operator at an advantage when shooting in low light. It allows the charge accumulation period of the imager to extend longer than a frame (field) term and the minimum illumination is drastically improved. The function is also useful for capturing a moving object with a special effect or afterimage, such as people’s movement at a crossroad.

Full auto mode for exposure control
In Full Auto mode the iris, gain and electric shutter are conveniently controlled automatically in combination to get the right exposure level.

HD/SD-SDI and HDMI Interface
The PMW-200 has an SDI interface so that it can connect with professional equipment including a monitor, recorder and switcher. It’s also possible to down-convert from HD to SD. There is also an HDMI interface making it possible to link to consumer products, such as a suitableHDTV or projector.

Connection to PC or Mac
The PMW-200 can be connected to a PC or Mac using the USB interface.

i.LINK interface
i.LINK (HDV) Out can be activated while SP 1440 (FAT) or DVCAM (FAT) is selected and the i.LINK (HDV) In signal can be recorded while the video format is set appropriately.

Four hours of use with a BP-U battery
Around four hours of operation is possible with a mid-sized BP-U60 battery. A BP-U 30 or BP-U90 can also be used.

4 channels 24-bit 48 kHz audio recordings
The PMW-200 is equipped with an integrated stereo microphone in front of the camera handle. There are also two XLR connectors, which connect to a widerange of professional microphone products.24-bit 48kHz audio can be recorded in HD 422 50 Mbps, with up to four channels of audio recorded, using two internal mics and two external mics.

Aspect mask to show safety area
The PMW-200s viewfinder and LCD can display the aspect area information, which will show the safety area of a frame. When an Aspect Marker is selected, the white rectangle to show the aspect area is displayed and when an Aspect Mask is selected, the outside of the aspect area is displayed with reduced brightness.

Assign buttons, menu control and output setting for greater flexibility
There are five assign buttons on the PMW-200 to allow the operator to choose a range of functions to automatically assign. The PMW-200 also has a menu function that is the same as the PMW-100 and consists of camera set, audio set, video set, LCD/VF set, TC/UB set and others.The output signal from the PMW-200 can also be selected depending on the menu setting.

Power on Quick Rec to help getup and running quicker
If the camera power is turned on while pushing a REC button, the ‘Quick Rec’ mode is activated. By accelerating the power on process, the camcorder can start up and begin recording more quickly than normal.

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

The NEW Sony PMW-200

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Sony today unveiled a new addition to its market leading XDCAM HD422 line-up – the PMW-200, the only handheld camcorder in its class equipped with three 1/2 -inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and full HD 4:2:2 50Mbps recording. The 1/2 -inch sensors mean the camcorder performs exceptionally well even in challenging lighting conditions. The handheld PMW-200 inherits the operational versatility of the PMW-EX1R which has become the de facto camcorder for a range of productions.

Designed using Sony’s advanced sensor technology and decades of experience, the PMW-200 answers the industry’s desire for a 4:2:2 50Mbps camcorder that utilises three 1/2 -inch type sensors. With all other handheld 50Mbps camcorders on the market featuring 1/3 -inch sensors, the PMW-200 is unique in delivering outstanding  full-HD resolution image quality, while providing excellent sensitivity that captures greater detail in both low light and bright environments. In addition, a variety of recording formats such as 50Mbps/35Mbps MXF, 35Mbps/25Mbps MP4 and DVCAM are available for a wide range of applications and workflows. The exceptional feature set of the PMW-200, including its 1/2 -inch sensors and 50Mbps recording capability, make this camcorder fully compliant with the latest EBU recommendations for long form broadcast production.

The PMW-200 builds on the hugely successful PMW-EX1R within Sony’s XDCAM family, with enhancements like MPEG HD422 recording for superior picture performance, while retaining the same ease of use and accessories as the PMW-EX1R.

“With the new PMW-200, we are putting one of the most versatile handheld camcorders we’ve ever developed onto the market,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Professional Solutions, Sony Europe. “The PMW-200 combines exceptional picture quality, seamless HD422 50Mbps workflow and a whole host of other useful features, with an ergonomic form factor. The result for users is an agile, light-weight solution that meets their varied needs and is the perfect partner for shoulder camcorders such as the popular PMW-500. It is also the ideal A-camera in its own right for HD broadcast production.”

The PMW-200 also offers a powerful Slow & Quick motion function which allows capture at 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode, and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode, giving users real creative flexibility. An immediate playback function enables operators to view their shots rapidly and easily, without the use of external converters or processing on non-linear editing systems.

The PMW-200 is armed with a 14x zoom lens equipped with 3 independent rings for zoom, focus and iris adjustment, plus greater precision through indications of ring positions on the LCD screen. This provides users with a high level of operational comfort and control. Focusing on subjects and reviewing recorded footage is made easy with the full-colour 3.5-inch WVGA (852×480) LCD panel. The PMW-200 also comes with an invaluable 15 second cache recording feature, a function unique among handheld camcorders. It can use its internal memory to capture images, even before the recording button is pressed (maximum of 15 seconds), allowing users to record important moments that would have otherwise been missed.

Genlock and timecode interfaces on the PMW-200 make it a breeze for use in multi-camera operations and entry-level HD studio applications. The camcorder also affords users greater flexibility over recording media, operating with Sony’s professional SxS technology as well as other media such as SD, Memory Stick and XQD cards (adaptor required). A Wi-Fi remote control (adaptor required) for the PMW-200 enhances flexibility for studio or on-location use.

The PMW-200 is the ideal solution for a wide range of applications from broadcast programme making to corporate video and event production.

The PMW-200 camcorder is scheduled to be available from mid-September onwards. The Wi-Fi remote control function for the PMW-200 is scheduled to be available by December 2012 with a free firmware upgrade.

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“You will not be disappointed”…”One day to go”

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

One of the best time-lapse videos you will ever see

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View from the ISS at Night from Knate Myers on Vimeo.

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Fantastic “Dare you not to watch this video”

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

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