Saturday, January 08, 2011

News From Here & There

RED Scarlet Updates
Seems they were showing the RED Scarlet at CES to some people; though why show this obviously pro camera at the CES? and didn't they already rename it the Epic-S and say it was going to be a lot more expensive?
Well, you can see the prototype (though no video from the camera.)
NotesOnVideo: Is Revolution Everything?; The End of the RED Scarlet Dream
Engadget: Working RED Scarlet appears at our trailer, we go hands-on! (video)
CrunchGear: Video: Hands-On With The RED Scarlet
[UPDATE] TheGuardian on YouTube: CES 2011: Red Scarlet Super HD camera

JVC Shows High-Frame-Rate Camera
JVC also showed at CES the GC-PX1 prototype camera that shoots Full HD at 60p, and 300fps in VGA. It's interesting, though note that it's VGA resolution above 60p.
PhotographyBay: JVC GC-PX1 High Speed Concept Camera

Snakes Don't Take Direction
An interview with the Coen Brother's about the making of the movie True Grit and the reaction to the movie:
“You might be surprised,” Joel said, “but if you went back and looked at the initial response to a lot of our movies, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read, ‘This is different type of Coen brothers movie,’ or ‘This is a Coen brothers movie for people who don’t like the Coen brothers.’ That response becomes weirdly the norm. We don’t really think about it that way. It’s just another story we’re telling.”
NewYorkTimes: Talking With the Coen ‘Boys’

3D TV Technology News
A piece in Bloomberg paints a mixed picture of the state of the 3D TV market:
The companies are ditching the stereoscopic 3-D standard used in first-generation sets sold starting in 2010. Those require active-shutter, or battery-powered, glasses to combine images into the 3-D effect. Customers complained about the $100 to $150 price and weight of such glasses, said Matthew McRae, chief technology officer of Irvine, California-based Vizio.
“We heard they were uncomfortable, they were heavy, they had to be recharged,” McRae said. “As a mass consumer product, it clearly was not the right technology.”
Masaru Kato, Sony Corp.’s chief financial officer, said in October that sales of 3-D sets, projected to account for 10 percent of the Tokyo-based company’s 25 million annual TV sales target, were trailing previous expectations.
Bloomberg: TV Makers Parting Ways on 3-D Formats May Hurt Sales by Confusing Shoppers

Vimeo Video School
Check the Vimeo Video School for a tutorial on 3-point lighting (the standard basic lighting form for a single subject.)
There's also an interesting recent piece on preparing your gear for a shoot.
Vimeo: 3-Point Lighting, Preparing your gear for a shoot

3-Point Lighting Explained! from Bill Simmon on Vimeo.

Sony PMW-F3 events and a review

If you're in Boston on January 19th, there are a couple of events scheduled on the Sony PMW-F3. Rule Boston Camera previously announced a LearningLab event for the morning of January 19th, on the Sony PMW-F3. Now they have also announced an evening event with SMPTE on the camera:

Jan 19th - Sony's PMW-F3 Super 35 Digital Camera

Learning Lab 10:00am to 12 Noon
Sony's Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager for Production, provides an overview of the highly anticipated PMW-F3 - a professional and affordable handheld digital camera with Super 35mm imager, interchangeable lens mounts, 1920 x 1080 full HD recording and proven workflow.


SMPTE Meeting in the AC Lounge at Rule 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Sony's Hugo Gaggioni, CTO, VP Technology and Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager, Production delve deep into the latest advances in CCD and CMOS sensors, new transmission and storage techniques in solid-state, S-Lo based processing workflows and the new PMW-F3 Super 35 digital camera (with F3 footage and hands-on time with the camera).


Note the different RSVP email addresses for the two events, though both events are being held at
Rule Boston Camera
395 Western Avenue

Creative Video does a sneak peak of the PMW-F3
They've posted a fairly in-depth look at the PMW-F3:
It really is all about the sensor and the F3's is a stunner which enables it to deliver sublime images with excellent sensitivity at a breakthrough price point.

Because that price point is three times the price of a Panasonic AF101 and about six times the price of a Canon EOS 5D Mark II the F3 simply can't be considered a DSLR or AF101 competitor. As you'd expect for the money it surpasses both when it comes to video performance - If you can afford an F3 you simply must have one, it's that good.
They also have a video with Phil Myers, a Product Manager from Sony UK:

Creative Video: Sony PMW-F3 Review: First and lasting impressions

Finally, B & H is now accepting pre-orders for the PMW-F3 [$13,300.00]

B & H Accepting Pre-Orders for the Sony PMW-F3

B & H has started accepting pre-orders for the Sony PMW-F3:

PMW-F3 Body Only [$13,300.00]

PMW-F3 With 35mm, 50mm & 85mm Lenses [$18,950.00]

10.6.6 and Mac Pro Nvidia Quadro 4000 issue

If you have installed the Mac OS X v10.6.6 Update on a Mac Pro that has an Nvidia Quadro 4000 retail graphics card, you may experience reduced graphics acceleration. You should reinstall the Quadro 4000 driver (downloadable from the Nvidia website.)

Apple Support: Mac OS X v10.6.6: Reinstall Nvidia Quadro 4000 driver after installing Mac OS X v10.6.6 Update

Friday, January 07, 2011

News from Here & There

Sony 3D
A short video at The Guardian showing the two new Sony 3D video cameras; the 3D Bloggie, and the HDR-TD10. You can see more pictures of the HDR-TD10 at the show on Sony Electronic's Flickr account:
Guardian: CES 2011: Sony's 3D HD camcorders
Flickr: Sony Electronics

Sony PMW-F3 Updateable Firmware?
Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager, Production, Sony Professional Solutions of America posted a note in a discussion about the PMW-F3 on dvinfo that the current cameras being used by some local people are pre-production units and do not represent the feature set, implementation of the official release version of the camera, due in February.

He then went on to add rather tantalizingly;
Also keep in mind, as with most new generation file based cameras, the firmware will be updated over time to expand the feature set.
DVInfo: A note about the PMW-F3 pre-production units

Roger Deakins on Digital Cinema and the Arri Alexa
The Black And Blue blog has collected together some comments Roger Deakins, ASC BSC (The Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men) has made on his own web forum about using the Arri Alexa, and going digital. He generally likes the Alexa, even if he does miss the optical viewfinder. He's also skeptical about the need for 5K resolution and the limitations of digital compared to film:
I get very confused and, frankly, irritated by all the pronouncements about ‘K’, bit depth, latitude etc.. In the past it was often stated to me by visual effects supervisors that there was no noticeable difference between a 2K scan and a 4K scan of the same negative. Does film really have a dynamic range of more than 13 stops? What film stock would that be and under what conditions? I don’t see it.
BlackAndBlue: Roger Deakins on Digital Cinema and Arri Alexa: "Images are of a quality comparable to film"

ContourGPS Will Stream To Your SmartPhone
Both Engadget and Gizmodo have short videos showing the ContourGPS streaming to an iPhone. Evidently the Contour GPS model has the Bluetooth chip already baked in. Streaming is at 8fps (which didn't seem too slow in the demo videos) and range is about 30 feet. The Android app will be available in the spring, with the iPhone app shortly after (iPhone users will evidently also have to buy a $30 transmitter that plugs into the ContourGPS expansion port.
Gizmodo: ContourGPS Uses Your Smartphone as a Viewfinder
Engadget: ContourGPS Live Viewfinder on iOS hands-on

Canon Lens & Camera Rebates End Tomorrow - Jan 8th!

Canon has rebates on some lenses and camera bodies that expire tomorrow, 1/8/2011
NOTE TOO: reported that Canon may raise prices in the US by 10% in February [BUT that is a rumor, the rebates definitely end tomorrow!]

Here's a few lenses that are particularly good!

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Autofocus Lens [$1,520.00 - $100 = $1,420.00] [@Amazon $1,419.00 ]
This is my favorite lens on my Canon 7D because it's wide, but also a zoom (though because the 7D isn't full frame, the lens really becomes a 24-50mm zoom lens.) It also has IS. A lot of people go for the 24-70mm f/2.8L, which is $1,300 (no rebates) but there's no IS and one thing I don't like about that lens is that the barrel extends as you zoom; the 16-35mm doesn't do that! But I also prefer wide angle lenses!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens [$2,269.00 - $200 = $2,069.00] [@Amazon $2,069.00 ]
Canon's 70-200 f/2.8L lens has been very popular with pros, and they just updated it this year (though goosing the price considerably!) This lens is great for shooting bands in bars; lots of light and you can get closeups! At $2,069 it's now only $170 more than what the previous version, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, is selling for.
Note that Canon sells a variety of 70-200mm L lenses, with minimum apertures of f/4 and f/2.8, and with and without IS. The cheapest is the f/4L without IS (only $636), though if you're looking to save money I think the better choice is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens [$1,210.00 - $80.00 = $1,130.00]. One advantage of the f/4L over the f/2.8L is that it is quite a bit lighter: 760g instead of 1490g and physically a bit smaller too.

Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Autofocus Lens [ $1,459.00 - $100 = $1,359] [@ Amazon $1,359.00]
This is a really fast 50mm, and if your $99 EF 50mm gives up the ghost, maybe you should replace it with this! If you have a Canon 5D, this is a "standard lens," but on the T2i or 7D it's more like an 80mm.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens [$944.00 - $60 = $884.00] [@ Amazon $879.00]
It was only when I tried to do a shoot that involved lots of close-closeups that I realized I didn't have a macro. I probably wouldn't buy a plane 100mm lens, but with the macro this lens becomes incredibly useful.

Canon Wide Tilt/Shift TS-E 17mm f/4L Manual Focus Lens for EOS [$2,200.00 - $150 = $2,050.00] [@Amazon $2,050.00 ]
I'd love to have a tilt shift lens; both for taking shots with tall vertical lines (like buildings) as well as for doing those "tiny model" distorted shots that seem to have become the rage. But the lenses are expensive! The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Manual Focus Lens for EOS Cameras [$1,940.00 - $130 = $1,810.00] is a bit cheaper, but not as wide. I'd probably save up for the 17mm!

Here's some camera rebates:

Canon: Promotions

Thursday, January 06, 2011

JVC Full HD 3D Consumer Camcorder

It's a little embarrassing when you announce the world's first full HD 3D Consumer camera a day after someone else does....but then again, you can't turn marketing on a dime...

JVC has a 3D camera coming, the GS-TD1 (couldn't they have put a 3 in there somewhere?) It looks a bit like a cross between the Panasonic and Sony consumer 3D offerings, though remember that Panasonic's uses a 3D lens unit attached to a 2D camera, while both Sony and JVC's offerings have two dedicated optical and sensor units.


The new GS-TD1 uses two camera lenses and two 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors – one for each lens – to capture three-dimensional images. JVC’s new high-speed imaging engine simultaneously processes the two Full HD images – left and right images at 1920 x 1080i – within that single chip. The newly developed “LR Independent Format” makes the GS-TD1 the world’s first consumer-oriented camcorder capable of 3D shooting in Full HD. JVC’s new camcorder offers other shooting modes as well, including the widely used “Side-by-Side Format” for AVCHD (3D) and conventional AVCHD (2D) shooting.

The camcorder uses a JVC 3D Twin HD GT Lens that sets a new standard in high-resolution lenses with extra-low-dispersion glass for crisp, high-contrast images, as well as multiple aspherical lenses for fine image reproduction. The GS-TD1 also features round iris diaphragms that enable beautiful bokeh effect (background blurring) shooting of video and stills alike.

Additional highlights include 3D optical 5x zoom, Optical Axis Automatic Stabilization System for disparity control to give depth to 3D images, JVC’s BIPHONIC technology for dynamic 3D sound and Automatic Parallax Adjustment to optimize the 3D-video comfort zone.

A 3.5” 3D touch panel LCD monitor displays 3D images without any need for 3D glasses, making it easy to check 3D images while shooting and watch 3D playback in the field.

The JVC GZ-TD1 Full HD 3D camcorder will be available in March for $1,999.95.

And Something Else...
JVC’s other new HD Everio with 3D capabilities is the GZ-HM960. Similar to other HD Everio models in size and features, the GZ-HM960 is distinguished by its 2D-to-3D output function, [so it doesn't really capture in 3D? - Ed] which turns any 2D footage into 3D. Output can be viewed without glasses on the camera’s 3.5-inch 3D LCD monitor, or by connecting the camcorder to an external 3D television. Bluetooth® wireless technology enables integration with other devices, such as smartphones, to synch images with Google Maps™.

The GS-TD1 and GZ-HM960 both use Everio MediaBrowser software (for Windows®) for full management, editing and sharing of content. In addition to full-fledged video and still image editing, files can be uploaded effortlessly to social media sites such as YouTube™ or Facebook. In the GS-TD1, the software allows 3D video to be shared on YouTube™.

The HD Everio GZ-HM960 will be available in February for $949.95.

JVC: JVC Full HD 3D Consumer Camcorder Is World’s First
JVC: New JVC HD Everio Camcorders Boast Improved Performance and Convenience

Mac Stuff

Apple kicked off the Mac App Store today, and unfortunately I can't download it because a) one Mac is still running Leopard, and you have to have Snow Leopard to install the store, and b) the second Mac that's running Snow Leopard can't be restarted right now - or for the next few days - and installing the App Store app requires upgrading to 10.6.6 (and restarting.)

So that's a drag.

Still, I look forward to trying it out one day.

In the mean time, yesterday I got a little pop-up saying that there was an update to Growl available. I'd never even heard of Growl, and wondered what virus I might have...Turns out that some apps are using this little third-party tool to display notifications, including Adobe Creative Suite 5. I think - though honestly, I'm not sure - that I might have installed a trial version of one of the those apps on this machine a while back, but I have no idea.

Anyway, it seems I'm not the only one to have had this happen, as the good people at Growl have a page that covers it:: Applications that install Growl without your permission

New Sony Handycams

Sony has updated their Handycam line as well. The three models at the top of the line are the HDR-CX700V ($1,299.99 Pre-order @ Amazon) HDR-CX560V($1,099.99 Pre-order @ Amazon) and the HDR-CX360V ($799.99 Pre-order @ Amazon).

These cameras all support 60p/24p recording and as with previous updates, Sony promises improved low-light capabilities.

I really hope someone will compare one of these to the new Canon HF G10 (Pre-order: $1,499 @ Amazon) so we can see whether the lower resolution chip in the new Canon is better/same/worse than the comparable Sony models.
Sony HDR-CX700V

SonyStyle: HDR-CX700V, HDR-CX560VHDR-CX360V

More 3D Stuff

Sony HDR-TD10
I think it must have been the pizza I ate last night, because after my "this could almost provoke me into buying the camera and a TV" comment last night, this morning I find I am a bit more rational and have reverted to my previous position on 3D - "No thank you."

Still it is an intriguing looking beast; if you like square boxy-shaped things (and I do own a Honda Element.)

Camcorderinfo notes that Sony is currently vague on the compression system for 3D recording.

One other advantage this camera has over the Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is that you can zoom while in 3D mode (the Panasonic disables zoom with it's add-on 3D lens.)

The Panasonic currently sells for $1,125.00 at B & H. That's $375 less than the projected price of the Sony, but if you're going to buy a camera for the 3D capability, then save your cash for the Sony.

Camcorderinfo: Sony Unveils HDR-TD10 3D Camcorder

Meanwhile, in budget 3D shooting, GoPro will soon be offering a plastic case called the 3D HERO for holding two of the GoPro Hero cameras and capturing 3D video. The case will cost $90, and you'll need two GoPro HD HERO Cameras -@ Amazon ($259 each). Sync is reportedly possible between the cameras using the multi-pin expansion connector. Precise alignment of the cameras - and syncing the two so that the frames are taken at exactly the same time - is important if you want to get the best quality results; so we'll have to wait and see how well this combination actually works.

Fox: New 3-D Camera Shoots the Action Avatar-Style

And speaking of the Panasonic HDC-SDT750, you can see some hands-on pics at Engdaget: Hands-on with the new Panasonic 3D camcorder and 3D still camera (though they seem to have miss-identified the model number) and you should also check out some reviews.

Boston DSLR Meetup: Jan 19th: "Pretty Pictures Don't Tell a Story"

The Boston DSLR Meetup group is holding a joint meeting with BOSFCPUG and BAVUG:

Wednesday, January 19th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm

The Cabaret at Emerson College
80 Boylston Street Lower Level
Boston, MA 02116

"Pretty Pictures Don't Tell a Story" with Sid Levin and Bruce Lundeen
Join Sid and Bruce for an engaging and motivating talk to understand the process of storytelling and the creation of an idea! Remember, it's not all about pretty images, shallow focus and excessive use of depth of field - it's all about the story! Sid and Bruce will also screen clips of their work.

Sid Levin is a three-time Cine Gold Eagle Award winner for Cinematography and Editing. Sid served as both DP and Editor on the Emmy winning "Song for New Orleans" in 2008, documenting the return to New Orleans of its surviving musicians after Katrina.

There will also be a presentation on EditShare's end-to-end production asset management workflow using the recent South Pacific Pictures studio installation as a case study.

You must register: Meetup Registration

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sony Announces it's Own Consumer 3D HD camera

Sony's upcoming HDR-TD10 supports 2D and 3D shooting, sort of like Pansonic's consumer HDC-SDT750, except that the lenses in the HDR-TD10 don't seem to detach. The flip-out screen evidently displays in 3D too!

In the video below they talk about it being the first consumer true full HD camera (because the Panasonic is storing the two frames at half resolution, rather than encoding both as full frames?...)

Not sure how potential buyers will take to the "just go out and shoot, you can't really edit it right now."

It's supposed to be available in April for about $1,500.

I know, I've been generally anti-3D, but this could almost provoke me into buying the camera and a TV...Shock! Horror!

CNET: CES: Sony launches prosumer 3D cancorder

Watch the Sony Press Event Live

You can watch a live stream of the Sony Press Event today, Wednesday 5th, at 4:55 PST.
Sony: Follow Sony Electronics News LIVE from CES 2011

Canon VIXIA HF G10 and "Pro" XA10 cameras

Two interesting camcorders Canon has announced are the top-of-the VIXIA line HF G10, and the "pro" XA10.

Canon VIXIA HF G10

The VIXIA HF G10 Flash Memory camcorder is Canon’s new flagship consumer camcorder providing the ultimate in HD video performance and quality. Recording Full HD 1920 x 1080 video, this camcorder features a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens (35mm equivalent of 30.4mm-304mm) with an 8-blade iris providing smooth background blur and reduced lens diffraction. The lens also includes a dedicated manual-focus ring for enhanced control.

The VIXIA HF G10 features the new HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor for high video resolution, outstanding low-light performance and an expanded dynamic range. It also features a 3.5-inch High Resolution (922,000-dot) Touch Panel LCD screen for a large, bright display and easy menu navigation. A Custom Key and Dial can also be used to assign commonly used functions for quick and easy access.

As the flagship model in the lineup the camcorder includes, selectable zooming speed, Face-Only AF, Canon’s new customizable Cinema-Look Filters and Tele-Macro as well as Touch & Track technology, Smart Auto, Relay Recording, Powered IS, and HD-to-SD Downconversion. The VIXIA HF G10 comes with 32GB of internal flash memory and dual SDXC-compatible card slots which allow for simultaneous card recording enabling users to create immediate back-up.

For more advanced videographers, the VIXIA HF G10 includes manual color temperature adjustment (2,000K-15,000K in 100K increments), color bars with test tone, manual shutter speed and aperture control, a built-in Remote Control Terminal (which supports LANC protocol), and Native 24p recording. For shooting on a sunny day, the camcorder also includes a color viewfinder which offers a reliable viewing environment when shooting in bright conditions. The VIXIA HF G10 Flash Memory camcorder is scheduled to be available in March with an estimated retail price of$1,499.99.
Canon: VIXIA HF G10

Canon XA10

The XA10 looks suspiciously like the HF G10, but with a detachable handle that adds XLR inputs.

The compact XA10 includes a detachable handle for low-angle shooting and portability. With the handle attached, the XA10’s functionality is further enhanced with the addition of XLR inputs and an external microphone holder. The camcorder features infrared video capture, ideal for Military and Law Enforcement markets, as well as Nature and Wildlife videographers.

The new XA10 provides the option of recording to a 64GB internal flash drive or two SDXC-compatible card slots, as well as Relay Recording and the ability to record simultaneously to two cards for instant backup.

The Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder features a Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens, Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor and a Canon 1/3-inch native 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor which delivers outstanding resolution and quality. The Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens on the XA10 camcorder boasts a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 30.4mm – 304mm withan eight-blade iris capable of rendering natural, smooth background blur with reduced lens diffraction. The lens also features Canon’s SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) system with standard, Dynamic and Powered IS modes for steady video in most any shooting situation. Autofocus speeds can be selected from Instant, Medium and Normal to match the shooter’s preference. A focus ring on the lens allows for manual focus as well. The ability to focus manually combined with other manual features such asshutter speed, aperture control, and gain settings provide users with complete creative control.

For extreme low-light shooting, the Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder includes an infrared feature to help enable the capture of HD video in conditions with little tozero ambient light. The camcorder also includes an infrared emitter with a diffuser as well as a Green or White color option to shoot pleasing high-definition infrared imagery even in complete darkness.

The Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder features dual XLR inputs for external audio sources as well as a built-in stereo microphone. The new camcorder supports Dolby Digital 2ch (AC-3 2ch) with automatic and manual audio level adjustment.

As with other Canon professional camcorders, the XA10 provides users with complete manual control of various functions including frame rates, zooming speed, focus, white balance and gain control. Various frame rates can be selected to match the user’s preference – 60i, PF30, PF24 and native 24p. Through internal menus, users can adjust zoom speed settingsfor High, Middle and Low in 16 one-step increments for both the body lever as well as the handle control. The focus ring on the lens can be customized for manual focus control and users can set the direction of rotation, as well as three levels of response control. In addition to the focus ring, auto focus speed can be adjusted for smooth auto focus transitions, as well as a Face-Only AF mode allowing for a blurred image as a person walks off-screen. The camcorder’s white balance is adjustable from 2000K to 15,000K in 100K increments.

The XA10 camcorder also features a waveform monitor for accurate exposure and detailed analysis of image brightness. The XA10 incorporates this high-end feature into the camera body itself, maintaining its compact size and cost effectiveness while providing professionals with the features they need.

Checking critical focus with the XA10 is extremely easy. In addition to the high-resolution LCD screen, the XA10 features both peaking and magnify focus assists. The camcorder also features Canon’s Edge Monitor Focus Assist system that is quickly becoming the standard on Canon professional camcorders. Through this dynamic focus feedback the user can intuitively tune focus in a scene and quickly change the zone of focus.

For in-camera cinematic effects, the XA10 provides ninedifferent customizable cinema filters. The amount of filter effect can be adjusted in three levels (Low, Medium, and High) Additionally the Standard Cinema Filter function is further customizable through Color Depth, Contrast, Soft Filter, and Key adjustments.

The camcorder’s overall design is intended for comfortable operation whether gripped in your palm, or by the handle for low-angle shooting. Compact and lightweight the entire camcorder weighs only 1.7 lbs. and measures only 3.7 x 8.1 x 7.0 inches including the lens hood and handle. The 3.5-inch High Resolution –922,000-dot – Touch Panel LCD screen provides a large, vibrant display and can be flipped for solo shooting with the LCD screen facing the subject. The camcorder also includes an electronic viewfinder for more for use in bright conditions and where it would be difficult to use the LCD panel.
Embedded in the detachable handle are the camcorder’s XLR terminal inputs, audio switches, infrared light, tally lamp, removable microphone holder, zoom and record switches and a “cold” shoe. For easy connection to both Canon and third party wired remote controllers, the XA10 has a built-in remote control terminal (compatible with LANC protocol). A custom key and dial allow for more convenient, one-touch access to various functions such as focus or exposure and are set through the camcorder’s menu system.

The Canon XA10 Professional camcorder is scheduled to be available in March for an estimated retail price of $1,999.99.

The XA10 is compatible with Canon’s new WM-V1 Wireless Microphone* for seamless audio recording from up to 164 feet away. The WM-V1 also features a function for two way communication between the transmitter and receiver, allowing the camera operator and talent to communicate even if beyond earshot or in noisy ambient conditions. The WM-V1 will be available in May for an estimated retail price of $250.00.
Canon: XA10

CES Stuff II

It's press preview day for CES today, so if it doesn't get announced today, then it probably won't be!

Sony is holding their press conference tonight (8pm EST). They may announce an NEX camera of some kind (probably not a primarily video camera.) There hopefully will be more information on the NXCAM 35mm camera, though remember this is the Consumer Electronics Show, and the NXCAM line is more pro-sumer....

The Contour Helmet cam is being updated with GPS and Bluetooth connectivity; you'll be able to stream video to an Android or iOS device and use it as a viewfinder. The ContourGPS will cost $349.99
Engadget: Contour adds Live Viewfinder

Canon has a refresh of it's consumer video line.

Most interestingly, they have introduced a new HD CMOS Pro Image sensor in the VIXIA HF G10 and VIXIA HF M-series camcorders. This sensor is just 2 megapixels (i.e. it matches the HD resolution.) This should improve image quality and low-light performance and dynamic range (at the expense of the quality of stills, but who really uses a video camera like this for stills?) They aren't using a larger sensor - so don't expect the shallow depth-of-field you get with DLSRs - but you should see improved image quality.

Canon HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor: A new 1/3-inch native 1920 x 1080 sensorwhich delivers professional-levelHD video performance. Unlike image sensors found in other consumer camcorders, Canon HD CMOS Pro uses fewer pixels, which are significantly larger (61 percent) and more sensitive, resulting in high video resolution, outstanding low-light performance, and expanded dynamic range[:

  • Video resolution of 900 horizontal and 800 vertical TV lines, for Full HD video with professional precision
  • A 25 percent improvement in low-light sensitivity with a minimum illumination rating of 1.5 Lux, Canon’s lowest Lux rating to date in a consumer HD camcorder
  • A 280 percent improvement in dynamic range for exceptional reproduction of both highlights and shadows

Canon has posted a video about it here: Canon HD CMOS Pro

[UPDATE: See all the new Canon consumer video cameras here: Consumer Cameras]

Apple Issues Minor Updates to iMovie and GarageBand

This update improves stability and fixes other minor issues, including:
  • Fixes an issue where stabilization would not be applied correctly to some video clips from iPhone and iPod touch.
  • Fixes an issue that prevented use of some valid Facebook passwords that contained non-alphanumeric characters.
  • Improves compatibility with some cameras that create content in multiple formats.
  • Improves performance when scrolling the Project Library.
This update is recommended for all users of iMovie 9.0.
AppleiMovie 9.0.1

This update improves overall stability, and addresses compatibility and a number of other minor issues.
  • Fixes an issue related to undoing Flex Time edits
  • Removes occasional latency that can occur on guitar tracks
  • Restores ability to use the Quantize Note Timing menu for tracks with Groove Matching
This update is recommended for all GarageBand '11 users.
Apple: GarageBand 6.0.1

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

News From Here & There

Is Resolution Everything?; The End of the RED Scarlet Dream
A couple of years ago, RED announced Scarlet, which was going to sell for around $3,000 and provide high quality video and stills; think of it as a serious competitor to Canon 5D, but with it's strength being video rather than stills.

Except that things went wrong; maybe the DSLR's were too good, or the tech to create what they had imagined was too hard, but now the Scarlet has become the Epic-S and will be priced at around $12,000.

RED thinks that the Epic-S "will have no price/performance competition" (because it will support 5k, REDCODE RAW, and HDRx.) Except that it will have competition; the Canon 5D, the Panasonic AG-AF100 and the Sony PMW-F3 to name but three.

Kurt Lancaster has written an interesting piece about the Scarlet/Epic-S, particularly focusing on whether their high-resolution (5k) support is what's needed, and he comes to the conclusion that he would be better off with a Canon 5D (As an addition to Kurt's notes; I was told that a lot of Avatar was shot in 1920x1080.) Why I dropped the Red Scarlet Dream and Got a Canon 5D Mark II

Rolling Shutter Comparison: 5D vs Panasonic GH2
Mike Kobal has posted a video comparing the Rolling Shutter of the Canon 5D vs. Panasonic GH2. The GH2 definitely does a better job than the Canon 5D (though personally I don't find the Canon's objectionable at typical pan speeds.)
MikeKobal: Rolling shutter comparison, Canon 5D mark II vs Panasonic Lumix GH2 @ identical panning speed

Installing QuickTime 7 on Snow Leopard
A FinalCutPro User's Blog explains an easy way to install QuickTime 7 on Snow Leopard (no discs required!): QuickTime7 & Snow Leopard

iTunes Supports Script Searching and Scene Sharing the iTunes version of the film "The Other Guys" users access a search button that allows them to input a word and find when it was said in the script, as well as pull up a link to the exact moment in the movie that the line was said. 
AppleInsider: New Apple iTunes movie features allow script searching, scene sharing

Editing Glee
An interesting article about how the TV show Glee is edited:
Often needing to complete an episode a week, the post production schedule on "Glee" is unrelenting. Brad's team gets five days to complete an editor's cut, then four more working with the director to incorporate his or her input, two days for the producer's cut and three or four more days for the executive producers to lock the show. 
TVTechnology: Editing An Attitude

YouTube IS a TV Station!
The Italian government's Communications Authority has determined that YouTube is a television station, and as such is subject to more regulation and responsible for content.
Engadget: Italy rules YouTube and other video sites are like TV stations, are liable for content

CES Stuff

Photo Rumors has news from Sony. A bunch of Cybershots, and three new Bloggies:
  • Bloggie MHS-FS1: 5.1MP, 4x digital zoom, HD video up to 120min, 2.7 in. LCD screen, 4GB internal memory, AF
  • Bloggie Duo MHS-FS2: adds LED light and a front facing 2 in, LCD screen
  • Bloggie 3D MHS-FS3: adds 3D movie recording and stereo mic
There will also be several other consumer camcorders, including a model that records in HD 3D. Full list of Sony cameras for CES 2011

16x9 not wide enough for you?
Philips already has a 21:9 display, but now here comes Vizio with 50 and 58-inch 21:9 displays, both with 2560 x 1080 resolution. Wow! Though I don't know how that interfaces with DVDs and Blu-ray discs...does Blu-ray support that format, or is it 16x9 and the top and bottom gets cropped (which is okay if the source is already letterboxed in the 16x9 frame?)
Vizio: (There's a teaser on their website at the moment.)

Has a couple of low cost video cameras, the $149.95 Playfull camcorder - with 1080p capture) and a new generation Playsport, which also captures in 1080p, is waterproof down to ten feet and costs $179.95.
Engadget: Kodak intros Easyshare Touch, Mini and Sport cameras, Playfull and Playsport camcorders

Samsung HMX-Q10 works for Lefties
The $299 Samsung HMX-Q10 records full HD at 60i, but will record progressive in 720. It also has a 10x optical zoom and a 5 megapixel sensor, but what really sets it apart is that the video screen image flips itself if you turn the camera upside down! (The press release says the LCD screen adapts to how the camcorder body is being held, but does that mean the image is still recorded upside down if you are holding it that way?)
DPreview: Samsung launches HMX-Q10 with BSI CMOS sensor

Monday, January 03, 2011

Final Cut Pro Update Soon?

French website Hardmac reckons there will be an update to Final Cut Pro in March or early April.
It should be a substantial update when compared to the previous version, but not sure it could bring all new features expected by all Pro users. Two versions are already running at beta level, one for Snow Leopard, and one for Lion. Some new features will only be available on Lion’s version, due to the changes made on QuickTime layer.
The article also talks about Xserve and Steve Jobs continued disinterest in Blu-ray. The latter is not news though; anyone paying attention would know that Steve Jobs hates Blu-ray.

Hardmac: [Rumors] Some rumors

Rule Workshops - including Sony PMW-F3 on Jan 19

Rule Boston Camera has announced the LearningLab events for January, which include coverage of the Sony PMW-F3 as well as Zeiss lenses (notably the cine-style compact prime 2 series lenses.) All events are held at Rule Camera from 10am to 12 noon. RSVP to

Jan 5th - Going Wireless with Sennheiser
David Missall of Sennheiser reviews wired and wireless mic technology.

Jan 12th - Media Assets And Shared Storage
Kevin Amoosa, Avid Applications Specialist on the challenges and solutions involved in managing media assets in a shared storage environment.

Jan 19th - Sony's PMW-F3 Super 35 Digital Camera
An introduction to the new Super 35mm imager camera.

Jan 26th - Zeiss Lenses
Richard Schleuning covers Zeiss' manual focus lenses, including the cine-style compact prime 2 series lenses as well as the ZF series lenses.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

DIY Slider Dolly

I'm pretty mechanically inept. I keep seeing these Do-It-Yourself projects on the web for building jibs and dollys and steadicams and figure "I'd never be able to build that and get it to work." But then I saw this video (below) for a DIY Slider Dolly built using the trucks from a skateboard, I thought "I can do that!"

And I was mostly correct; though it wasn't as simple as I had guessed it would be.

DIY on how to build a Spider Trax Dolly from Just Basl Productions on Vimeo.

1) Wheels - The video talks about a $15 skateboard at Target. And while they do seem to have some low-priced skateboards on their website, when I went to the local Target, the cheapest skateboard they had was $30. I almost gave up then!

But a trip to Toys-R-Us turned up a $17 skateboard that seemed to fit the bill: 21 inch Bakugan Skateboard - Dan and Dragonoid - Red [Note: I'd recommend checking them out in person to make sure you like the wheels and can adapt the trucks to work]

Disassembly was pretty simple, and I ended up with bolts I could use to attach the trucks to the base, as well as some plastic spacers that I also reused.

The slider dolly with video camera

2) Base Plate - Finding the baseplate was the hardest part. The builder talks about some "cheeseplate he had lying about." I went to the local hardware store and to Home Depot, and neither had anything remotely similar.

Frustrated, I went back to the video and read the comments (like, duh) and discovered that he'd used a plate from a Glidecam he had lying around. That was the bad news. The good news, you can get it for $15 from B&H, though they don't usually carry it in stock so it took two weeks to arrive: Glidecam Camera Weight Plate

Glidecam Camera Weight Plate

3) Tripod Head - I kind of went a little silly and bought a Manfrotto tripod head to slap on the top of this thing; I didn't have a tripod head just lying around. That immediately blew the budget, but it's a nice tripod head: Manfrotto 700RC2 Mini Video Fluid Head. For a model that better fits the budget of this project, you might try something like this: Velbon PH-157Q 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head

Manfrotto tripod head

4) Hardware - In addition to the above major pieces, I also had to buy a couple of nuts and spring washers to attach the skateboard trucks to the baseplate (using the two bolts that originally attached them to the skateboard), as well as an additional bolt and some washers to attach the tripod head to the baseplate.

spacers used to separate trucks from baseplate

Assembly: There is really nothing to this, though I did use a couple of plastic spacers from the skateboard between the truck and the baseplate. Also, the holes in the baseplate worked fine, but aren't symmetrical; the tripod is closer to the bolt of one truck than it is to the other. This may be a problem if the tripod head base is too wide.

Other notes: someone suggested just using the skateboard as the dolly. That may work, but having the trucks bolted to the base plate you can turn them and make the slider travel around an object or travel in a slight arc.

The Slider/Dolly needs a flat surface - like a table - to run on. Carpets don't work quite as well, and - at least with the wheels I have - very slippery surfaces can be a bit awkward. Otherwise, it works great!