Live Streaming from the back of a Mini Clubman

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In early 2018 I renewed my long relationship with streaming live video thanks to an encoder that for me revolutionised the process – the LiveU Solo, the sort of jobs I had been taking were growing from short corporate streams to day jobs, to festivals and ultimately to this.  The Solo is a reliable system, it’s easy to use with one touch streaming and super fast setup with little tech knowledge required.

But with any good story lets go right back to the beginning, in this case over 20 years ago to the 1990s where as a young chap I worked for a company called OpTex who had just bought a couple of satellite news gathering vehicles.  These vans were at the time cutting edge and I enthusiastically managed to get involved with a number of jobs they were booked on.  These jobs saw me travel as far as Monaco for the Grand Prix, to France for the World Cup and ultimately to Westminster on the eve and during the day of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. 

These satellite trucks ignited a spark, an interest that had been niggling me ever since.  Back in 2018 armed with cameras and my LiveU encoder I was streaming video live to platforms such as Facebook Live and Youtube.  The Solo is a great piece of kit and enables you to bond, i.e combine the data from a number of connections.  The Solo allows you to bond four connections, they are 2x USB modems for 4G SIM cards, 1x Ethernet and 1x Wifi connection.  By using mobile hotspots you can use SIM cards by ethernet and wifi also, giving you a mobile encoder that works on 4x mobile data 4G connections.

I live in Norfolk, it’s beautiful.  As I type I can hear cows in the field behind my garden, pheasants and rabbits wander free, deer eat my neighbours roses and my view is of trees and sky.  I live in a rural location and whilst it is very nice neither high speed internet or reliable mobile signals have made it the half mile from the village to my home.  I knew I wasn’t alone and this limited my ability to stream video locally.  I needed a solution…

It was on a hot and sunny summers afternoon that I pitched the idea to my wife whilst we were relaxing in the garden.  Our young sons played in their paddling pool and into the  conversation I dropped in true Blackadder style that I had a cunning plan.  My plan I explained to my long suffering wife was that I was going to build a satellite van with a difference, the difference being I don’t like vans and I was going to use the smallest car I could find.  Why?  Because it was quirky and fun.  At this stage and in the form of a disclaimer I should add that a Smart car is technically smaller but that was just not going to happen.  Later that afternoon after some convincing I headed off to my nearest Mini dealership to buy a used car.  

I had of course already done my homework and knew the Mini would be an ideal fit.  Road tax, fuel consumption, boot space and especially where I was going to drill holes through  the bodywork were already researched and planned.  As was the specification of the satellite system that was going to be fitted.  It was almost time to put it together.

Many other digital satellite trucks use the hardware system that I use, most commonly the BBC who have a number of vehicles built by the same company that modified and built the system into my Mini.  The satellite system in use is the KA-Sat system which provides a satellite internet connection across Europe, my contract gives me download speeds up to 50Mbs and upload of up to 10Mbs.  It’s a very simple system that works brilliantly.  My wish list for my satellite mini included:  Auto pointing dish, self powered for a number of days without a generator, wifi network, external waterproof CAT5 network port on the body of the vehicle and a router internally.  I can happily say all these specs were met.

Unlike other satellite trucks which have rows of monitors, audio and video mixers, recorders and more the diminutive Mini is setup for far simpler streaming jobs, the boot mounted rack can be fitted with and has been fitted with Blackmagic recorders and television studio mixer if the need arises.  At a recent festival I used a number of cameras to cover the stage, interviews and mixed on a Blackmagic Design desk which fed into my LiveU encoder before sending the stream down a CAT5 cable to the car, parked 50M away which transmitted live to Facebook.

The versatility, quirkiness and reliability of my setup led to the phone call that saw me offered the opportunity to spend three days stranded on an tidal island in the blackwater estuary with 450 female beauticians.  Naturally I said yes.  My job was to work with a video production company who I already knew to provide high speed satellite internet connections to allow them to stream a conference to multiple destinations.  Being on an island and despite the two windows to get on and off each day I knew I needed to be fully self sufficient and have a backup, backup plan.  Like a veritable Tardis I loaded the Mini with spare modems, dishes, other satellite system parts as well as my tent, sleeping bag and other necessary items.

In the end the job went like a dream with me providing satellite internet via the vehicle mounted dish, I also ran a manually setup flyaway dish that provided wifi access to the technical crew and was my backup incase of any technical issues – although it wasn’t needed.  

My satellite Mini is not only a great fit for jobs on islands or in remote locations around Norfolk but also provides a reliable connection in towns and cities where 4G mobile phone signals may be impacted by the number of users in the area, demonstrations, concerts, events etc.  By using the LiveU Solo I can combine 4G data and satellite data to offer a hybrid service where available and reduce satellite airtime costs.  

Further details from www.uplinx.tv

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

GoPro 7 has failed me for the last time

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Last week we filmed an amateur football cup match and decided to use what we call belt and braces by having a GoPro 7 behind one goal area and a DJI Osmo Action behind the other goal area.

Both cameras were powered by internal batteries with a constant power feed from the USB -C port via a 5000mAh external battery, to make sure that lasted 90 minutes.

All went to plan till half time when I decided to check the Osmo Action. I had tie wrapped it onto a metal fence which was about 6ft high. I tried to reconnect it via my iPhone but would not connect so I pressed the power button by mistake, remembering it was above eye level and I had never used the camera before.

The match stopped for only 5 minutes at half time rather than the usual 15 minutes so caught me on the hop. I had no time to check the GoPro 7.

The match ended 3-1 all the goals coming in the second half I used my GH5S with the Olympus 12-100mm f4 lens (24-200 35mm equivalent) to capture the highlights and fortunately all four goals.

At the end of football match we had the full first half recorded on the DJI Osmo Action (No goals in this half) and 35s of footage on the GoPro Hero 7. I have no idea what happened to the Hero 7 but conducting a test the next day it was fine.

Today I tested the GoPro 7 with its internal battery and it runs for 1hr and 12mins (72m) that would have been one battery per side of football but that would have meant removing the camera from its housing which I preferred not to do as showers were forecast that afternoon. Remember I was using an external power supply.

The DJI Osmo Action which I have only one internal battery runs for 1hr 7mins (67m) so I had no option but to use an external USB battery supply powering the camera via the USB to USB-C cable.

Its very annoying when new technology lets you down. This is a video I produced during 2016 using two GoPro Hero 4 cameras with a constant USB power feed recording for six months. (Footage was offloaded every week).

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

Sony PXW-X70 for Sale £995 with 4K upgrade

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The camcorder is in perfect working order and excellent condition, with only superficial marks through careful use. It has 230 hours on the clock. Its firmware has the paid-for 4k upgrade installed and the camcorder was recently used in the production of a UHD feature film. It will come with a smarter directional microphone than shown (which the dead cat fits properly!), three batteries and a charger/PSU. If the asking price is offered, we will also provide a professional camera bag and unused rain cover. Price new with 4k upgrade £1,700. Asking £995.

If you are in the market for a new 4K camcorder why not send an email to hdwarrior@me.com and I will put you in touch with the seller.

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

New 2019 MacPro update video

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A further update on yesterday’s announcement Apple seems to be throwing everything at this new MacPro. Here is a video that gives you an insight as to what to expect.

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

8K Editing with the new MacPro

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Nothing comes cheap with Apple and that includes the new MacPro at $6000 which is the starting price of what’s now known as the “Cheese Grater”.

Picture from FCP.CO

If you want the new monitors (Pro Display XDR) to go with the MacPro then expect to pay $6000 plus $999 for a stand and a VESTA mount adapter is $200.

Picture from FCP.CO

I love Apple equipment but once again Apple have decided if you are a professional then you are going to pay through the nose for the new MacPro, if you need it.

For further information on specs why not fly over to FCP.CO http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/news/2184-apple-announce-the-new-mac-pro-pro-display-xdr-at-wwdc-2019

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

NEW…The Panasonic Lumix S1H recording 6K video

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Panasonic LUMIX is proud to announce the development of LUMIX S1H, its latest mirrorless camera equipped with a full-frame image sensor. It is the world’s first camera capable of video recording at 6K/24p (3:2 aspect ratio), 5.9K/30p (16:9 aspect ratio), and 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K. Combining professional-level video quality and high mobility of the mirrorless camera, Panasonic will release the LUMIX S1H in Autumn 2019.

Firmware for the S1 has been announced and is FREE, available during July…(See warning below)

The new upgrade also adds the world’s first 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 25/30p internal video recording with no time limit. That means that without an external monitor, you can still achieve an incredibly high level of video quality.

Using the HDMI output, you will also be able to output at 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 60/50p. Up to 96 kHz/24-bit sound recorded internally via the DMW-XLR1 audio adapter.

As well as the V-Log recording, there will also be in-camera LUT application enabling playback of V-Log while or after recording, perfect for making sure you’ve nailed the shot in the field.

Warning Heads Up…The FW upgrade will be $199 for all new S1 owners starting October 1st 2019 

Panasonic LUMIX is proud to introduce a new standard zoom digital interchangeable lens, the LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. (H-X1025), £1800 which boasts a large F1.7 aperture throughout the entire 10-25mm zoom range with exceptionally high optical performance clearing the stringent LEICA standards.

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

US government warns of potential spying by Chinese drone companies

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Interesting, yet local police enforcement bodies in the US have invested heavily in DJI.

I do think these headlines are nothing short of propaganda because the US has fallen out with the Chinese yet almost everything built today with electronics involved comes from China.

While the report doesn’t name a specific company, Shenzen-based DJI, which dominates the U.S. and Canadian drone markets with close to an 80% share, according to a market sector report from Skylogic Research, is of utmost interest.

One of my favourite drone pilots Ken Heron was invited to the Splendora, Texas Police Department to see their new drone program.

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

Q. What do do want to see on HD Warrior ?

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As they say in 2019 I am “reaching out” to my readership to give me some ideas what you would like me to blog about.

I am open to suggestions, as the title suggests on my blog NEWS, REVIEWS and COMMENT.

I do try to keep everyone up to date with what I am doing and what equipment I am using and give you an overview of any new bits of kit that I buy.

We still produce reviews, news and sometimes video reviews, though they do take time to produce and edit.

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

Rode Wireless GO preliminary findings

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My preliminary findings for the new Rode Wireless GO radio mic system are not very complimentary.

I bought this system from a shop in Glasgow so my findings are based on a unit that I own. There is always a possibility my unit is faulty.

Rode Filmaker Kit = £289 (4 years ago 2015)

Sennheiser AVX-MKE2 = £690 (2018)

Rode Wireless GO = £179 (2019)

During the video review I started to notice drop out from the Rode Wireless GO at about 40 meters and decided to do my own testing while walking with the receiver attached to my camera. It does not cope well while moving around after about 40 meters and can completely drop out at about 60 meters walking to come back at 70 meters as long as you stand still but can completely drop out without any rime or reason.

I did the same test with the older Rode filmmaker kit to discover it actually performed slightly better. Having had the older Rode Filmmaker kit since new I never had the chance to use the older Rode wireless system at any distance short of about 10 feet.

The Sennheiser AVX-MKE2 out performs both Rode wireless systems with no drop out even at 100 meters from the camera line of sight.

I decided to test all three systems inside my house running through 2 double plasterboard walls and a brick wall, total distance of 12 meters to find the following…

At 12 meters all three systems performed fine.

At 20 meters only the Rode Filmmaker kit worked and the Sennheiser AVX. The Rode Wireless GO was out the game.

Surprisingly at 40 meters the Rode Filmmaker kit still worked as did the Sennheiser.

This kind of tells you once again you get what you pay for the Sennheiser AVX system is three times the price of the Rode Wireless GO but works flawlessly over distances of 100 meters up to 140 meters.

The Wireless GO uses the SmartLav+ mic and a second cable (SC3) which I was not happy about, the more cables plugged into a mic system the more chance of introducing noise or problems. Another bad part of the Rode Wireless GO system is how bad it is in sunlight to see if the kit is switched on. The internal mic worked well but the wind shield kept falling off and it is far too bulky while sitting on someones jacket.

Is it a good step up from the Rode Filmmaker kit, only if size is a problem. I have pulled my video review meantime while I send my unit back as faulty or not. Seemingly others have had the same problem, you would think a company like Rode who produce good quality sound equipment would have decided to test these radio mics before taking them to market.

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

DJI introducing ADS-B to all new drones.

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© Chris Attkins

Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS–B) is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked. The information can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a replacement for secondary surveillance radar, as no interrogation signal is needed from the ground. It can also be received by other aircraft to provide situational awareness and allow self-separation.

  • 1. DJI will install ADS-B receivers in all new drones above 250 grams
    2. DJI will develop a new automatic warning for drone pilots flying at extended distances.
    3. DJI will establish an internal Safety Standards Group to meet regulatory and customer expectations.
    4. Aviation industry groups must develop standards for reporting drone incidents.
    5. All drone manufacturers should install geofencing and remote identification.
    6. Governments must require remote identification
    7. Governments must require a user-friendly knowledge test for new drone pilots.
    8. Governments must clearly designate sensitive restriction areas
    9. Local authorities must be allowed to respond to drone threats that are clear and serious.
    10. Governments must increase enforcement of laws against unsafe drone operation.

You can view manned aircraft that currently have ADS-B using an app called FlightRadar24. It’s pretty cool to play around with but you will notice helicopters, private light aircraft and the military don’t use ADS-B. This extra technology will not protect the drone pilot against the aircraft that’s far more dangerous and probably closer to their altitude. I still think the military should be forced into using ADS-B only while on tactical training sorties in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/operational-low-flying-training-timetable

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

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