Thursday, September 02, 2010

Canon Expo

An abbreviated post from my iPhone about the Canon Expo. I'll just list the highlights and try and do a more in-depth report next week.

1. Coming down I read a couple of Tweets from another blogger that described it as "corporate" and rather lame. Maybe I was expecting the worst, or had my expectations lowered, but I'm pretty amazed. They have ice skaters!!!

2. Vincent Laforet looks like the guy from C.S.I.

3. New York is humid and crowded.

4. The 4k camera is amazing as a demo, even if they didn't really have many details.

5. Ice skaters!

6. Daniel Berube from the Boston Final Cut User Group may get drummed out of the group; he was demoing Adobe Premiere!

7. They have an amazing print-on-demand machine...for those interested in that kind of thing.

8. I was surprised by the best speaker of the day; Corbin Bernsen. He's pationate about indie film making. I may not agree with all his ideas, but he has a lot if them! Well worth hearing.

[UPDATED 9/5 - Minor fixes and corrected phone typing errors!]

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

One More Thing - Apple TV

Steve Jobs rolled out the expected new version of the Apple TV that's 1/4 the size, and geared towards streaming and rentals of TV shows/movies (it has no internal storage.) You can still stream from your computer, so I assume you'll still be able to buy TV shows and movies using your computer if you want to.

In the past, Steve somewhat dismissively said that Apple TV was a hobby, and they even riffed on that at the beginning when he said "One More Thing" and the screen changed to "One More Hobby."

I was a bit surprised that the interface seemed almost identical to the current Apple TV; it had been rumored that it would use iOS, but when introducing it, Steve listed things they'd learned from the original Apple TV, and one of them was that people "don't want a computer."

The Apple TV will retail for $99 and be available in four weeks. It has HDMI output only (which is a problem for my old component only TV.)

Steve also demoed AirTunes (now called AirPlay) and how you can pass things from one device to another; specifically he was watching a movie on an iPad, and then "sent" it to the Apple TV and continued to watch the movie there. I'm assuming the movie was being streamed from the network to the iPad, and the video/time information was passed between the devices. This kind of network-synchronization of devices/content may prove to be a more important "new technology" than the rolling out of a smaller Apple TV.

A note about the webcast.
This event was live streamed - the first time Apple has done that in a while - and for the most part it went very well. High quality video looked good, though a couple of times it froze or started to stutter, though it did recover. That could have been my connection too. But at the end, just as he was wrapping up, for some strange reason it started replaying from the beginning!

Apple: Apple TV

Today & Tomorrow

Today Apple is doing a press announcement, and everyone seems to think that they will announce a new iPod Touch, and a $99 Apple TV. The latter will be a new version that runs the iOS (like that used in the iPhone and iPad) and they'll also have rentable TV shows for 99 cents, and maybe other streaming deals (Netflix?)

I'm wondering if my old Apple TV will now become irrelevant.

Announcements start at 1pm, and Apple themselves are streaming the event. That in itself, might be a hint at what's to come, as they haven't been streaming their events for some time. Does this mean they think there will be a smaller audience than for iPhone rollouts, so they can handle it okay?; Or is it so there won't be so many bloggers live blogging the event and ruining Steve's wifi/cell access? Or does it mean they have a much bigger streaming service online to handle the demand? Guess we have to wait and see.

I'm really hoping they'll either announce the availability of - or the expected release date - of iOS4 for iPad.

And tomorrow is the Canon Expo in New York. I'm going down to check it out, and will try and post about it while I'm there. I don't expect any other new hardware announcements (they announced the 60D last week, and the XF100 / XF105 yesterday) but it should still be very interesting.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Canon XF100 / XF105 details

According to an article on Canon Europe's site:
  • The XF models use a new 1/3-type, 2.07 Megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, adapted from the 3CMOS sensor system employed in XF300-series models, captures Full HD video at native 1920x1080 resolution.
  • The XF100-series has a new Infrared (IR) shooting mode that’s activated via a switch on the front of the camcorder, beneath the lens. With a built-in IR lamp, both green and white light shooting options.
  • A single manual lens ring provides control over focus, zoom and iris, with a side-mounted switch allowing the user to switch instantly between modes.
  • A new Face-Only AF mode limits autofocusing to detected faces only.
  • Two CF slots for continuous (relay) recording. SD card slot for stills.

According to a post at the forum, the pricing of the cameras will be as follows:
The Estimated Street Price for the XF100 is $2999 and the Estimated Street Price for the XF105 is $3999. However, Canon has made a corporate decision to allow the dealers to establish pricing.

Canon Europe: Canon launches palm-sized XF105 and XF100 pro camcorders Canon introduces XF105 and XF100

Comparing the Canon XF300 and XF100


I'm still getting over the announcement of the XF100 today....okay, it's not like the world completely changed, but in this day of rumors and leaks, it's a little shocking to see something like this appear without any prior hint.

So what are the XF100 and XF105, and how do they compare with the XF300 and XF305? There's some information still missing (i.e. price) but comparing the available specs, you can see that the XF100/XF105 models are quite a bit smaller in size and probably lighter, with a shorter zoom (10x instead of 18x.) The cameras appear to use similar CMOS chips (at least the resolution is identical) with an approximate total number of pixels on the chip of .37 megapixels (2044 x 1160 pixels.) Obviously only 1920 x 1080 are actually used.

The other significant difference is that the XF100 & XF105 have a single sensor, while the XF300 & XF305 have three. Sensitivity seems a little lower too, though this could be due to the slightly slower lenses (f/1.8 vs f/1.6) on the XF100/105.

Frame rates, compression (4:2:2!) media support, image stabilization and focusing systems seem to be the same, but the resolution on the LCD and especially the viewfinder on the XF100 is lower than the XF300.

The chart below compares the features of the XF100 and XF300. Note that the XF105 (like the XF305) adds Genlock and an HD/SDI terminal


XF100 seems to have a SINGLE 1/3" CMOS chip, whereas the XF300 has three. Resolution is the same.

XF100: Canon 10x HD Zoom Lens, 4.25-42.5mm (35mm equivalent 30.4-304mm), f/1.8-2.8
XF300: Canon 18x HD L Series Zoom, 4.1-73.8mm (35mm equivalent 29.3 - 527.4mm), f/1.6-2.8

XF100: 0.24-inch color widescreen, approx. 260,000 dots, approx. 100% field of view
XF300: 0.52-inch color widescreen, approx. 1,555,000 dots, approx. 100% field of view

XF100: 3.5-inch color widescreen LCD, approx. 920,000 dots, approx. 100% field of view
XF300: 4.0-inch color widescreen LCD, approx. 1,230,000 dots, approx. 100% field of view

Minimum Illumination:
XF100: Full AUTO mode: 4.5 lux (Shutter speed 1/60, Gain +24dB); Manual mode: 1.6 lux (shutter speed 1/4, Gain +33dB)
XF300: Full AUTO mode: 4.5 lux (Shutter speed 1/60, Gain +21dB); Manual mode: 08 lux (Shutter speed 1/4, Gain +33dB), (when 60i is selected)

XF100: Approx. 4.8 x 5.8 x 9.8 in. (121 x 148 x 250mm) (not including lens hood, mic holder unit, grip strap)
XF300: Approx. 6.0 x 9.3 x 15.0 in. (153 x 236 x 382mm) (not including lens hood, eyecup, grip belt)

Frame Rate:
Both offer: 60i, 60p, 30p, 24p (50i and 25p optional upgrade available through Canon Factory Service Center). Though the XF300 lists 50p (as part of optional upgrade) while the XF100 does not. This could just be an error in the spec sheet.

Both support 16bit audio, and have twin XLR jacks

Recording Media:
Both have dual Compact Flash slots

Image Stabilization and Focusing System appear to be identical.

Canon Announces Two New Camcorders: XF100 and XF105

Well this came out of left field! Everyone was so focused on the 60D, that there wasn't even a hint of this announcement: two new "compact" camcorders that fit under the XF300/305 range, but look pretty "pro" anyway; 4:2:2 color! No prices and aren't scheduled for availability until first quarter 2011.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 31, 2010 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announces the new Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders for mobile HD video capture in a compact form factor. Canon's smallest professional camcorders, the new XF105 and XF100 utilize the same Canon XF Codec featured in the Canon XF305 and XF300, introduced earlier this year. The Canon XF Codec is an MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec used for exceptional high-definition image quality, full non-linear editing (NLE) systems compatibility and efficient, robust workflow. These camcorders include in-camera features enabling the easy set-up and capture of high-definition 3-D video when two XF105 or XF100 camcorders are paired, as well as Canon's built-in infrared low-light feature enabling the capture of HD video in complete darkness. Both models record to Compact Flash (CF) cards and feature hot-swappable card slots for maximum performance. Differentiating the two models are industry-standard HD-SDI output and genlock in/SMPTE time code (in/out) terminals available on the Canon XF105. The XF105 and XF100 camcorders are ideal for Electronic News Gathering, documentary and independent filmmaking and event videography.

"Whether used as a companion to the XF305 or XF300, or as a stand-alone camcorder, the XF105 and XF100 are geared for a wide range of applications where high image quality, extreme portability and efficient workflow are of the utmost importance. And with true stereoscopic 3-D production and infrared recording capabilities, they allow users to expand into new markets," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A., "This week we will be exhibiting both the Canon XF105 and XF100 at Canon EXPO 2010 in New York and demonstrate the versatile low-cost capabilities."

The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature a Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens which provides the mobility and optical performance required by the most demanding professionals. Each model includes a Canon developed and designed native Full HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor and the new Canon XF Codec for extreme color detail required for accurate chroma-keying, color-grading and compositing for digital filmmaking. For finer transitions in tone and color, 4:2:2 color sampling offers twice the color resolution of HDV and other 4:2:0 formats. And to maximize compatability with existing industry infrastructure, video, audio and metadata are combined in an MXF (Material eXchange Format) File Wrapper, a widely supported open-source format. The Canon XF Codec is currently compatible with leading software programs widely used within the video production and broadcast industries including those available from Adobe, Apple, Avid, and Grass Valley.

To maximize the camcorders' adaptability across various production environments, Canon has equipped each model with the ability to record at multiple bit rates, resolutions and variable frame rates for slow and fast motion.

50Mbps (CBR) 4:2:2
1920 x1080 60i/30p/24p
1280 x 720 60p/30p/24p

35Mbps (VBR) 4:2:0
1920 x1080 60i/30p/24p
1280 x 720 60p/30p/24p

25Mbps (CBR) 4:2:0
1440 x1080 60i/30p/24p

CBR = Continuous Bit Rate
VBR = Variable Bit Rate

Additional professional features include variable-interval (for time-lapse) and frame-record for stop-motion animation, and a photo feature for frame-grabs.

Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom Lens
The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature a Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 30.4mm - 304mm. For professional looking results, both models offer an eight-blade iris which yields natural, smooth background blur with reduced lens diffraction. The lens also features a SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) system featuring Dynamic and Powered IS modes for optimal performance in the greatest variety of situations.

DIGIC DV III Image Processor
The proprietary Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor and Canon Full HD CMOS Image Sensor render native 1920 x 1080 HD video, capturing natural, lifelike colors with remarkable tonal gradations and detail. The DIGIC DV III Image Processor also powers Canon's innovative Face Detection Technology, an autofocus option that can significantly reduce the effort required when camera operators work alone, such as in news gathering applications.

Compact, Comfortable Ergonomics and Operation
Weighing less than 3lbs, these models are designed to maximize comfort while shooting and enable fast on-the-go recording with both a top and side grip option. Each camcorder also features a convenient, freely rotating 3.5-inch, 920,000 dot LCD monitor and .24-inch 260,000 electronic viewfinder with approximately 100 percent field of coverage. The LCD monitor provides a display of the camcorders' built-in waveform monitor to aid in achieving accurate exposure while shooting. Additionally, the LCD can show peaking, edge-monitor-focus and magnify the image, enabling users to confirm critical focus, an essential objective in all HD production.

Affordable 3-D Shooting
Canon offers built-in features to assist with 3-D production, including OIS Lens Shift to aid in optically aligning two XF105 or XF100 camcorders and a Focal length Guide for displaying the zoom position of each camera in relation to each other and calibrating the zoom distance. This adjustment can be done through the menu system while the camcorder is mounted to a rig or tripod. Once aligned, the amount of the angle-of-view change is displayed after zoom adjustment, preventing camera misalignment and simplifying adjustment.

Infrared Shooting
The Canon XF105 and XF100 include an infrared feature enabling the capture of HD video shooting in conditions with little to zero ambient light, which is ideal for Military and Law Enforcement markets, as well as Nature and Wildlife videographers. The XF105 and XF100 also feature an infrared emitter with a diffuser as well as a Green or White color option to shoot pleasing infrared imagery even in complete darkness.

Audio Flexibility
The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature dual XLR inputs for external audio sources as well as a built-in stereo microphone. The new camcorders support 16-bit PCM audio at 48 kHz with automatic and manual audio level adjustment.<.p>

Both the Canon XF105 and XF100 are scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2011.


Canon Product pages: XF101 & XF105
Canon Press Release: Canon Introduces Two New Compact XF-Series Professional Camcorders: XF105 And XF100
XF100 Side view

Monday, August 30, 2010

News from Here & There

Jason Levine: DSLR Video Editing for Photographers
Jason Levine has posted part 1 of DSLR Video Editing for Photographers. It's centered around Adobe Premiere CS5.
Jason Levine: DSLR Video Editing for Photographers

Canon 60D lacks AF microadjustment
Heavens! I didn't even know what AF Microadjustment was until I saw this posted at the Canonfumors forum, but it appears the 60D lacks this feature. Petitions will soon be happening!
This article at Northlight Images explains how to do it (on cameras that have that function), though I'm trying to figure out if I even want to begin doing this... : Camera AF Microadjustment - for free The 60D Needs AF Microadjustment

Manfrotto’s 504HD Fluid Head overview
Ian McCausland at CineTechnica takes a look at the new 504HD Fluid Head in this two minute video. It's an overview of the features, not a review of the head itself.
CineTechnica: Manfrotto’s 504HD Fluid Head overview

B-17 Liberty Belle video

A couple of months ago the B-17 Liberty Belle visited a small airfield north of Boston, and I went out to shoot some video of it. It was mostly a learning exercise as it was one of the first time's I used the Canon 7D to do an extended shoot. The weather was awful; during all of the time you could get close to the aircraft it was pouring rain, and the sky was totally white with clouds.

I did a rough cut, and was somewhat happy with it, and then I went to the Philip Bloom workshop - it's never a good idea to do something like that in the middle of a project; you end up hating everything you've done - and decided the rough cut was too rough.

There wasn't anything I could do about re-shooting, but I could do some visual effects. I ended up adding cloud effects using Apple Motion, which got rid of the boring white skies, and some zoom and panning to give the thing more life. Fortunately, all of the middle sequences were shot on a tripod, which - luckily - made adding the skies much easier.

Note that the beginning and ending sequences were shot using a Sony Handicam, while the middle sequence was shot with the Canon 7D.