Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quick Links

Comparing the Cinema Camera & 5D Mk III | OneRiver Media | Vimeo
This video compares the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera and the Canon 5D Mark III in several tests. This includes dynamic range, sharpness, pushing levels, banding, artifacts, rolling shutter, chromakeying, wide/telephoto lengths, DOF (depth of field), low light, macro blocking, contrast, and more.

Test footage from the pre-release Panasonic GH3 at Photokina | Andrew Reid
But I will say that the GH3 has an extraordinary codec, is a step forwards from the GH2 in every way. The only concern I have is for the stability of very fine textures – the GH2 remains unique for being so clean in the way it scales the full sensor from 18MP to 1080p in video mode. What is the tonic? I feel it is needed again here.

New lenses Ahoy! - Matt Allard looks at the latest offerings | Matt Allard
| DSLR News Shooter
Matt looks at several lenses, including the Samyang/Rokinon Cine lenses:
The 24mm and the 35mm offer a really good alternative to the more expensive brands out there. They don’t tend to be that sharp wide open and you do have to stop them down to get better performance, but that is to be expected for a lens that costs just over $500US.  If you put this into comparison, the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is $1800US and the Canon 35mm f1.4 is $1350.  Neither of those lenses I just mentioned has a de-clicked iris or cine gears.  While I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that the Rokinon is as good as, say, the 35mm Zeiss, it is pretty close.  

Nikon D600 capture through HDMI Blackmagic Intensity Pro has black box around
| Will Vazquez | Vimeo
Problems with the HDMI out from the Nikon D600:
I just captured some footage via the HDMI out of my new Nikon D600 and I'm shocked that it puts a black box around. WTF Nikon?? I tried every setting, taking the SD card out of the camera, etc. I used the HMDI input on my Blackmagic Intensity Pro card in my MacPro, and used their Blackmagic Media Express app. I heard this is happening with everyone, including the Atomos Ninja 2.

Nikon D600 HD Video Footage Ungraded Nikon 15mm F/3.5 AIS 28mm F/2.8 AIS Lens | Syberfilm | YouTube
Nikon D600 HD Video Footage Ungraded Nikon 15mm F/3.5 AIS 28mm F/2.8 AIS Lens. Straight off the camera. No color grading. I used a semi flat profile. I will color grade later.
Mostly shot at F/8 and F/11

Sony’s NEX-EA50 lets you zoom through prime lenses, losslessly | Allan Tépper
| ProVideoCoalition
Sony has contacted me to confirm that the digital zoom is 2x, so (as in their example) a 50mm prime lens becomes a 50–100mm zoom with a fixed aperture. The maximum zoom magnification is 2x (16 megapixels to 8 megapixels) in order to assure no quality loss

Vimeo Curator Tips: Your Thumbnails and Descriptions | Jason Sondhi | Vimeo
Suggestions on improving your viewership:
How can you get a great thumbnail? Well, just last month we unveiled a new feature that allows you to pick a frame from anywhere in your video. You shot at least one terrific image right? And of course you can upload a custom thumbnail to the site in JPG, GIF or PNG formats, allowing you to tweak an image to perfection.

What it takes to make a great movie | Richard Brody | The New Yorker
One of the keys to the current trend toward lower budgets for Hollywood projects of personal commitment is that they’re made like independent films (which explains the ridiculous crossover between the Oscars and the Independent Spirit Awards). When Darren Aronofsky made “Black Swan,” he and his actors sacrificed upfront pay for a percentage of the gross; when Steven Soderbergh made “Magic Mike,” he did it on his own dime.

Remastered: What I learned from watching The Master a second time. And a third | Dana Stevens | Slate
Slate has been doing some interesting things in reviews; having multiple people write about a movie, or in this case the same person reviewing a movie multiple times:
I’m aware that this mode of analytical rewatching isn’t for every viewer, and The Master is still plenty powerful if you just sit back and let it wash over you like that ravishing blue wake we glimpse in the opening shot. But if you find yourself mentally returning to this confounding film—even if you’re not quite sure why—it’s worth at least considering physically returning to it as well. To me, going back a second time (and then a third) felt not like homework but like luxury.

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4s Video Test & Comparison Front | Rear | Low Light | Outdoor | Stabilization | f1ipzid3 | YouTube
Comparing the video shots from the iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4sThis video looks at indoor and outdoor light, front and rear camera, depth of field & also notice the difference in stabilization.

Shuttle Endeavour: A piece of space history flies by in slow motion
| Vincent Laforet | Vimeo
NASA's Endeavour Shuttle lands at Los Angeles International airport on its final flight atop a 747.This footage was shot with a RED Epic, at 5K resolution, at 96 frames per second with a Canon 800mm 5.6 lens.

Shuttle Endeavour: A piece of space history flies by in slow motion from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick Links

Interview with Yoshiyuki Inoue, Senior Engineering Planner for the Panasonic GH3 | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Interesting interview about the Panasonic GH3, though there's a lot he can't say (like who makes the sensor!)
EOSHD: Are you aware of the hack for the GH2, the hack project?
Inoue: Ah yes!
EOSHD: How much of an influence was it for higher bitrates in the GH3?
Inoue: The reason we didn’t build on the high bitrate movie mode (officially), were internal Panasonic regulations for heat dispersion. Otherwise we could have had problems, we could not guarantee it.

Exclusive – Canon confirm 1D C 4K DSLR is identical hardware to a 1D X
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Interestingly depressing news if this is true; they charge twice the price for slightly different firmware? Then again, look at the price of Canon's video cameras...
Canon wanted to make a distinction in price because they believe (rightly) that Hollywood and many many pro filmmakers would be more than willing to pay $12,999 for a 4K DSLR. So why put this firmware in the 1D X for $6k? It is selling themselves short and most 1D X shooters don’t need it and don’t want it on their camera.

Black Magic Firmware Requests | Sam Morgan Moore | Blog
Seriously I would like an Image/Menu flip/mirror feature.
It occurs to me the the BMC will have less screen reflections and less cabling issues if  used upside down, not to mention 3 mounting points for a solid mount to the rig without the use of a cage.
Maybe the record button would be more findable too.

An important next step in transitioning from FILM to DIGITAL CINEMA: FilmConvert | Vincent Laforet | Blog
Instead of throwing a simple curve on the image to approximate the look of "film", FilmConvert accurately shifts the values of the image based on the sensor you shot, and intelligently converts the colors that sensor captured, to the type of film stock you choose to emulate.  In other words – they know not only how your individual sensor "sees" or captures a particular color, but just as importantly how each film stock would "see" or render that same color – AND HOW THE TWO CORRESPOND!

The Importance of Camera Tests | Shane Hurlbut | Hurlblog
I guess where I am going with all of this is that we have so many new digital tools at our disposal that you cannot just pick them up and start shooting with them. It is a disservice to the tool as well as to you, the cinematographer. Let’s think about it in a totally new way. Treat your new digital camera like a new film emulsion that needs testing. Why? Because every sensor is different.

Canon T4i/650D vs 60D Which One Should You Buy? | Dave Dugdale
Learning DSLR Video
I have a feeling both of these camera should have about the same aliasing and rolling shutter, I’m not sure the difference between the Digic 4 and Digic 5 processors will help much here. And sure enough it appears the Digic 5 processor doesn’t help with rolling shutter.

Comparing Nikon DSLRs: The D600 vs. The D800 | Dan Bailey
| Adventure Photography Blog
Although the D800 will obviously shoot quality video since it has more pixels on the sensor, both cameras will shoot Full HD and are very comparable in this area. The main limitation on the D600, though, is that you can’t adjust your aperture while you’re recording.

Rokinon 35mm T1.5 Cine Lens Review | Olivia | Olivia Tech
Focusing on a cinema lens typically has a longer and smoother travel, not like the short focus of a photo lens. This equates to more degrees of turning when focusing. The new Rokinon Cine lens has a slightly longer and smoother travel than the f/1.4 Photography lens. Additionally, the focal distance numbers on this Cine Lens are on the side of the lens, rather than on the top, for easier focus pulling.

PluralEyes 2 and DualEyes 2 Update | Aharon Rabinowitz | Red Giant Software
An update to the software because the license service has changed?
Seeing the problem, our crack team of engineers (which includes RG and Singular’s engineers, now under one banner) burned the midnight oil to make sure that PluralEyes users did not get stuck without the software they’ve come to depend on. We managed to get all of the existing licenses into our licensing system in record time.

RAIDs, SSDs, iCLOUD and Performance | Larry Jordan | Larry's Blog
If we ignore issues like file security, these services are excellent for backing up data, sharing files between devices, and moving files between computer systems. However, they are not good for storing source media files for editing. It isn’t because they don’t store enough. Just the opposite, these services can store a vast amount of data. The problem is that the connection speed – called the “data transfer rate” – between your computer and the iCloud is too slow. 

Time Capsule | Mike Sutton | Wide Open Camera
Archiving is important, though I'm not sure that packing away a computer with your archive is the best solution:
Whatever the format you choose to archive to, it just makes sense to make multiple backups to as many formats as possible.  If you can, vault all of it with the appropriate playback devices and a computer that can be offlined and stored with it.  This is the only way to do archiving the right way and the way that movie studios who are progressive and ensuring they have access to past projects.

Fantastic Fest Review: Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' Is A Rousing Return To Form | Drew Taylor | Indie Wire
"Frankenweenie" is stylized to an almost impossible degree. It's a black-and-white stop motion animated movie, shot in 3D and set in some bizarro version of fifties suburban California. It's about as far removed from reality as you can imagine.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quick Links

Vimeo: Tip Jar and Pay-to-view! | Vincent Laforet | Blog
Vimeo has added a way to tip film makers...
First is Vimeo’s Tip Jar which enables us to crowdsource funds to support future work. I’m a big fan of this! Viewers will be invited to give tips before, during or after watching a video. And Vimeo will give 85% of that money straight to the creator – which is more than reasonable. And you can start doing this TODAY if you’re a Vimeo Plus or Vimeo Pro member by simply activating the feature.

Introducing Vimeo Tip Jar and more Creator Services from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

Panasonic GH3 hands-on report | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
There’s very minor moire and aliasing present in this early hardware. Whilst the GH2 rendered sloping horizontals and fine patterns extremely cleanly with no shimmering, the GH3 I used had a touch of aliasing and in some cases even a bit of moire on a stripy shirt viewed from a distance. VERY minor, but like the OM-D E-M5 it was there, at this early stage.

Sony FS700 Scene Files from AbelCine | Jeff Lee | AbelCine
The scene files we’ve built are an attempt to match some of the other profiles we’ve created for other cameras and should serve as a great starting point in building your own “look.” Like we’ve detailed in the dynamic range test, the FS700 offers similar range to the FS100, but the addition of Cine Gammas help the FS700 match more closely to cameras like the PMW-F3.

Nikon D800E Review | Barrie Smith | Digital Photography Review
Unfortunately, this doesn't cover the video features:
Why you would buy it: you want large images, top quality and (surprisingly!) an easy to use layout; deleting images and reformatting a card is a little circuitous, with much finger and button work
Why you wouldn’t: it’s a big baby!

Fair And Unbalanced: Encore Video and the ARRI ALEXA help DP Todd McMullen create a cinematic look for The Newsroom | David Heuring | HDVideoPro
The newsroom set gives the operators plenty of room to set up interesting angles. The lensing tends toward the long end, which keeps the characters sharp while the background goes softer. Cameras are often on dollies, and usually the lenses are Angénieux Optimo 24-290mm zooms. A sudden frame size adjustment with the zoom—when it makes sense—is part of the visual signature. "We keep the camera moving a little bit, and follow the characters and the dialogue," says McMullen.

Vulture Explains: What’s All the Fuss About The Master and 70mm?
| Christopher Bonanos | Vulture
Most films shot in 70mm are also printed in 35mm for theaters that can't handle the big format. (This is how most viewers will experience The Master.) Neither has the visual punch of a film that's shot in 70mm and projected correctly, though. Especially in a large theater, where the image is thrown all the way across a big space, it's as significant as the difference between a big TV and a screening room. 

| Scott Macaulay | Filmmaker Magazine
5. Don’t bet it all on theatrical features. Christine said that her slate at Killer Films includes not just theatrical features but TV series and web programs. Tying yourself to a feature-film aesthetic will stop you as a director from getting out there, Christine said.

Seven Steps for a Friendly Follow-up | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer
Establish a follow-up Up-front. The first time you correspond with Jack regarding the gig, find out what his time-table his for hiring someone. Then ask if it’s okay for you to call him again as the time approaches. You can say something like, “Is is okay if I follow-up with you an a couple of weeks to see where you are in the selection process?”

CAMERAS: Rough Guide to Color Grading with the new DSC Labs OneShot
| Art Adams | ProVideoCoalition
In the old days we shot an 18% gray card to tell a film dailies timer where we wanted our exposure placed and what color we wanted dailies to be. Now that film is being replaced by HD a simple gray card is no longer enough, because while film colors are fixed by emulsion video colors are not. A gray card in video doesn’t communicate anything about accurate color. That’s why I designed the DSC Labs OneShot dailies reference chart.

IFA 2012: Hands on: Sony NEX-5R remote viewfinder | Networkworld | YouTube
If you've ever struggled with taking a self portrait, Sony's NEX-5R has something for you: the ability to use a phone or tablet as a remote viewfinder. The camera, an updated version of NEX-5, was announced at IFA Berlin and we got a chance to try it

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sony PMW-200, 160/150 & 100 Webchat

Sony Europe and US held two webchats last week on the new PMW cameras; the PMW-100, PMW-160 and PMW-200.
As I did for the NEX-EA50 chat from last week, I have edited the chat to put the answers next to the questions and cleaned up some of the text. 

Note that the PMW-150 is a European camcorder, in the USA this is the PMW-160 camcorder.

Q: What is the main differences between the PMW-100 and the PMW-150? Do you have the exact size in mm of the sensor for both?
Dave Stannard:  The initial difference is that the PMW-150 is a 3 chip 1/3" camcorder, however the PMW-150 also has a 20x wide angle zoom lens. The PMW-100 is a single chip 1/3" camcorder and has 1 lens ring with assignable control.
Kanta: PMW-100 is a single chip camcorder and PMW-150 has three chips. Both are using 1/3 inch.
Sebastian: One main difference is that the PMW-100 is using a single 1/2.9" CMOS sensor and the PMW-150 is a 3 CMOS 1/3" camcorder. Then you have a 10x Zoom lens with one ring for Zoom and Focus at the PMW-100 and a 20x lens with 3 independent rings for zoom, focus and iris at the PMW-150.
Sony PMW-100

Q: Are the main differences between the PMW-200 and 150 the sensor size (3x1/2" vs 3x1/3") and the lens?
Sebastian: You can also use wireless remote via a tablet or smartphone with the PMW-150 and PMW-200 and the PMW-150 is a PAL version only.

Q: THE PMW-150 is PAL only? A pity because it looks better than the 200 which does NTSC/PAL
Kanta: The PMW-200 is currently a flag ship model camcorder in handheld 50Mbps range because of the 1/2 inch sensors. PMW-150 is lower than it because of smaller 1/3 inch x 3. PMW-100 is entry level on because of single chip.

Q: Can you please explain a little about the HDMI interface. Is the PMW-150 ready to stream? Is the HDMI output clean?
Sebastian: You can use the PMW-150 to stream a video signal via the HDMI. The signal is clean. Normally I would recommend [that you] use SDI for streaming because the connection is much secured due to the SDI interface. The signal on the HDMI and the SDI is the same except the connector is different.

Q: Does the PMW-150 have separate iris and zoom wheels?
Kanta: It has three rings for iris, focus and zoom.

Q: What can you remotely control on the PMW-150 using the Pilot / iPad combination?
Sebastian: You can control Zoom, Iris, Focus, You can start/stop record. You can also change some parameters of the white balance and you have a terminal for playback the clips from your card. For playback it is just the remote [control] you cannot see the recorded picture on the tablet or smartphone.
Sebastian: You will need a new firmware to use WiFi remote which will come Nov/2012.

Q: When will the wifi adaptor for the PMW-200 be available?
Sebastian: The Wifi adaptor is already available. It is the CBK-WA01 which our shoulder camcorders are using for our XM Pilot planning tool. To use WiFi remote with the PMW-200 we are going to release a new FW version in November 2012

Sony PMW-160

Q: It appears you don't get the same kind of total control that you get with the RM-1000BP Lanc Control and the Z7E? That's a shame.
Sebastian: Yes that´s correct. Thanks for the feedback concerning features which would make your daily work easier.

Q: When are these cameras available?
Dave Stannard: the PMW-100 is available now, PMW-200 will be with our European dealers within the next fortnight and the PMW-150 is scheduled to be available in mid November
Alvaro Ortiz: For NTSC countries, PMW-160 is the equivalent to PAL countries' PMW-150

Q: Can you record at 50 mbit on XQD cards?
Dave Stannard: It is possible to record at 50Mbps via XQD cards, however slow and quick motion is not possible. We recommend XQD and other consumer media as emergency media as is doesn't include many of the Pro features found in SxS Cards - particularly important is the salvage function in the cards & recovery service we offer.

Q: When filming in 4:2:2 for example on a SxS card, is it possible to copy the footage to a SDHC card? This is for emergency sharing purposes, on the field.
Sebastian: Due to the FAT32 of SDHC cards you cannot use these cards for XDCAM HD 422 material. If you want to copy after recording the content from your SxS card you can use our new XQD media. This is a new consumer media which you can use with an adaptor like SDHC cards for emergency use. Please keep in mind that only SxS cards offer the full performance of the camera and are safe and fast for professional usage
Alvaro Ortiz: It's not only that SxS are so safe and fast (with adaptor for working on Memory Stick, SD or XQD cards, 2 interfaces are in the middle), but Sony also offers a recovery service. Even if the card is out of guarantee. In that case, if the card has not been just formatted, information can be recovered via our Professional Media colleagues: for firmware issues, in Belgium, and for hardware issues in Japan. Right now, almost every case was solved at the first step (Belgium), with fast recovery procedure in case any card is corrupted or damaged.
Alister Chapman: SxS is super reliable. I've frozen them in ice, boiled them in water and washed them in the washing machine with no ill effects.
Alvaro Ortiz:  But, children, DO NOT DO THAT AT HOME! Alister is always trying to damage our Media. We're really challenging him! :) Sebastian: Alister made also a video about this. :-)
Alister: SxS card frozen in ice. XDCAM EX1 memory card | YouTube SxS in ice.

Q: Are you planning to move all the XDCAM EX range into the 50mbps XDCAM 422 codec?
Alvaro Ortiz: Well, in fact, we have launched a whole lineup on the handy XDCAM camcorder, unexisting until now. The lower price XDCAM 422 camcorder was the shoulder version, PMW-500, and now we have launched this new full lineup keeping more or less the same pricing as on prior 35 Mbps models.

Sony PMW-200

Q: Is there any other feature, software and hardware, unique to the EX1-R that the PMW-200 does not have? Was there any other reason the PMW-200 design left out the pivoting zoom grip other than to improve the camera's center of gravity?
Alvaro Ortiz: Apart from the physical argument to not use pivoting hand grip on PMW-200, please bear in mind that costs have been highly reduced on our new lineup to incorporate the same recording features as the PMW-500.
Alvaro Ortiz: Also, some reports about physical fatigue were mentioned by customers when talking about PMW-EX1R, due to the high center of gravity. In fact, if you take a look physically on new models, their chassis is much wider and less tall, which allows the camera to be easily hand held.
Alvaro Ortiz: Despite the chassis has been newly designed, the applications will remain the same. In fact, we were talking before about the reasons to not use a tilting hand grip, in order to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. But the size and the basic design is, in fact, kind "continuous" with prior camcorders, such as EX1R Dave Stannard: In Alisters review he mentions the camcorder balance and what it's like to shoot with. I guess its personal preference.

Q: Why does the PMW-200 not have "Shot Transition"?
Alvaro Ortiz: Bear in mind that PMW-200, even being the successor of EX1R, was newly developed to integrate both workflows (the camera itself, and the recording features from PMW-500). So, one of the things that needed to be sacrificed at that time was shot transition. We really apologize for that.

Q: The PMW-200 1/2 sensors are not the same as EX1R ones?
Sebastian: The size with 1/2" is the same but the performance in terms of sensitivity is improved compared to PMW-EX1R. So when the PMW-EX1R was already a lowlight monster the PMW-200 is more sensitive.

Q: Is the HD-SDI on the PMW-200 4:2:2 10-bit?
Sebastian: Yes you will get 4:2:2 10-bit via the HD-SDI. This is for all XDCAM HD Camcorder and also the PMW-EX1R will give you a 4:2:2 10-bit signal via SDI.

Q: What about PMW-200 vents ? I mean against rain and dust...
Dave Stannard: These products are not rain or dust proof so you need to take the same precautions you would take with any Professional Camcorder.

Q: Is the PMW-200 USB 3.0 or USB 2.0?
Sebastian: The USB interface is USB 2.0

Q: Will the EX1R continue to be sold or will it be discontinued soon because of the new PMW200?
Dave Stannard: The PMW-200 is the natural successor to the PMW-EX1R, although the EX1R may continue to be available from Sony Solutions Specialist Dealers in the short term

Q: I have recently sold my EX1R due to the 35megabit issue, I am looking for a new camera, for ENG and doc, What would suit me fore 200 or the 150? Whats the main difference?
Alvaro Ortiz: The main differences between PMW-150 and 200 are the sensor size (3x1/3" vs 3x1/2") and the lens. So, the equivalent model to your former EX1R would be PMW-200; sensor size of PMW-150 is equivalent to that of HXR-NX5

Q; Will the EX1R batteries, the small and the large ones, last the same amount of time on the PMW-200 as the EX1R
Alvaro Ortiz: The power consumption of EX1R was 12.5 W with EVF on, LCD off, and recording, while in the same circumstances, consumption of PMW-200 is 12 W. So, you'll have slightly longer duration of the same battery.

Q: Noting the better low light performance of the PMW-200, is this a feature native to the sensor or something else e.g. prism, processing, etc.. Main question being is it a new 1/2" chipset or the same as the EX1R but enhanced.
Alister Chapman: I believe the low light gain comes from a new DSP, Digital Signal Processor, that performs more advanced noise reduction. The camera isn't really any more sensitive, but because it has less noise you can use more gain in low light before the image becomes unusable.

Q: I love that the PMW200 lens thread diameter is kept the same as EX1R. Does anyone know if the front lens accessory mount on the PMW-200 is unchanged from the EX1R? This is the mount on the front that the hood locks onto and also wide angle adapters for the EX1R. This would allow compatibility of EX1R accessories for the PMW-200.
Sebastian: The Fujinon lens we are using at the PMW-200 fits with the lens accessories from your PMW-EX1R.
Sebastian: It is the same lens as for the PMW- EX1R in terms of optical performance. we took serious care to meet the high picture quality with the new developed 1/2" sensors.

Q: Is Sony planning to launch any firmware upgrade that allows the PMW-F3 to record natively at 50Mbps in SxS cards?
Alvaro Ortiz: PMW-F3 chipset only allows to record internally on 35 Mbps. If we had incorporated 50 Mbps on the F3 two years ago, the size and cooling needs for it would've converted F3 into a big model, not so agile.

Q: Did you find the profile setups similar to the EX1R or the PMW-500?
Alister Chapman: Profiles are between the two. You have Hypergammas like PMW-500 but other settings like EX1. Lots of adjustment and the PMW100, 150 and 200 match together exceptionally well.

Q: Does the new PMW-200, 150 and 100 have an integrated Infra Red cutting (IR-CUT) optical filter on it? On the EX1/R and EX3 sometimes we get dark brown (redish) instead of black. I guess it may be the lack of an IR cut filter...
Alister Chapman: There is an IR cut filter. The problems with the EX1 (and most CMOS cameras) are with far Red that is not Infra Red, this is why it is so difficult to eliminate. The EX1R was better than the EX1. I did not test for issues with the PMW-200, but I did not see any issues either. If you cut off the red response too much you reduce the cameras image quality so it's a fine balance.

Q: Overall is the image out of the PMW-200 'as good' or 'better' than that from an EX1R? I know the improved processing reduces noise etc.
Alister Chapman: The PMW-200 images are IMHO better than the EX1R. Skin tones and mid range in particular are improved and show more subtle texture and detail.
Alister Chapman: When I tested the PMW-200 I found that the new processing used in the camera improves the noise performance and also gives better skin tones and better reproduction of mid tones, especially greens that can look a little muddy on an EX1/EX3

Jason Eng: With me today on this chat are Chris Tsai, Senior Product Manager of the XDCAM HD422 branded products for Sony Professional Solutions of America, and Chuck Fishbeing Director / Director of Photography at Crazy Duck Productions. Chuck is very familiar with our XDCAM lineup and has been recently given the opportunity to try out the PMW-200 as well.

Chris Tsai:  The PMW-200 Highlights:

  • The PMW-200 uses three 1/2 inch Full HD Exmor CMOS sensors
  • Uses the same 14x zoom fixed Fujinon lens as the PMW-EX1/R
  • PMW-200 viewfinder is same size and resolution as PMW-EX1/R (0.45 inch, 852x480)

Updates from the PMW-EX1/R: Supports 50 Mbps HD422 codec in the UDF/MXF recording mode. This mode also gives you the ability to record 4 channels of 24-bit LPCM audio (compared to 16-bit LPCM audio)

PMW-200 Workflow support:

  • Recording MXF files to UDF formatted SxS cards to match the broadcast workflows which have been established by the optical XDCAM product line. Note: like the PMW-100, proxy is not generated when shooting MXF files.
  • Backward compatible mode to support the XDCAM EX (Recording MP4 files to FAT formatted SxS cards)
  • SD recording (DVCAM) is supported in both UDF and FAT mode like the PMW-100
  • When recording DVCAM in UDF mode, you can record 4 channels of 16-bit audio.

Chuck:  The camera starts up in seconds compared to the much longer wait of the EX1 and EX3
Chris Tsai: The new HD422 camcorders - PMW-100, PMW-200, and the newly introduced PMW-160 have a quick start feature. If you hold the REC button down when you power on the camcorder, it will attempt to shorten its start up time even more and start recording!

Q: 4 channels of audio? I must have missed that. But still only 2 XLRs / 2 mic pre-amps, right? In what way can I input the other two channels?
Chris Tsai: One of the improvements on audio handling for the PMW-200 is the ability to record up to 4 channels of audio simultaneously:

From Built-in stereo microphone (Int-L, Int-R)
From the 2 XLR connectors for external audio sources (Ext XLR-1,Ext XLR-2)

Q: Can I share picture profiles with the PMW-200 from my EX3?
Chuck: I actually tried some profiles from Alister Chapman and they worked pretty well
Chuck: They were older EX1 profiles
Chuck: Actually with the addition of the Hypergammas the dynamic range is much wider

Q; What is the difference between the XDCAM and the AVCHD formats?
Chris Tsai: The XDCAM format uses MPEG compression while AVCHD is AVC compression
Chris Tsai: The AVCHD format is based upon a consumer standard whereas XDCAM is built upon SMPTE standards used in broadcast.

Q: Is the peaking on the PMW-200 will allow a (detail enhancer) instead of those new red or blue peaking!!!
Chuck: It is the same peaking as an EX1/3
Chuck: One of the nice things maintained from the EX1/3 is the video out which allows you to use inexpensive monitors for multicam shoots

Q: Will there be a 1080 60p support ?
Chuck: 60P is available only in 720

Q: Have you added the ability to move the area of focus assist magnification around the frame to any of your new cameras (be it in the XDCAM range or otherwise)?
Chris Tsai: No you cannot move the area of focus assist magnification - but this is a good suggestion.

Q: Is SDI 8 bit or 10 bit?
Chuck: SDI is 10 bit

Q: Any improvements in the zoom motor over the EX3?
Chuck:  I found no problems with slow zooms on the PMW-200 even using Varizoom or Manfrotto controllers

Q: Can you simultaneously record to both card slots, for instance backup?
Chris Tsai: You cannot record to both SxS card slots simultaneously.

Q: I already own the HXR-NX5U, and other than the bump in Mbps record speed (double), and the 1/2 chips, I'm trying to find the benefit? Is the low light performance that much better?
Chuck: Performance is very similar to the NX5U

Q: I trust the 200 works with SxS-1 media as well? Formatting compatible with the EX3? Pop one out of the EX3 with footage and pop it into the 200 and continue?
Chris Tsai: Yes the PMW-200 uses both SxS Pro and SxS -1 memory.

Q: Is here a port for RMB-150?
Chuck: there is no remote port for theRMB-150

Q: Does the PMW-160 have a no hard stop lens similar to the NX5U or what's the deal with that? Also, what else makes different from the PMW-200?
Chris Tsai: PMW-160 uses a lens which is similar to the NX5U. The PMW-160 uses three, 1/3-inch Exmor CMOS sensors (the PMW-200 uses three, 1/2 inch Exmor CMOS sensors.
Chris Tsai: PMW-160 vs PMW-200

PMW-160: F9 - PMW-200: F11
S/N Ratio:
PMW-160: 54 dB - PMW-200: 56 dB

Q: For the Fujinon lens on the PMW-200, is the manual focus & zoom controlled directly?
Chuck: It's still servo but the feel is that of a manual lens

Q: Why is there a PMW-160 coming out when the PMW-100 just came out?
Chris Tsai: We wanted to provide a variety of acquisition tools (at different price points) all using the 50M HD422 codec.
The PMW-100 (10x zoom) is smaller form factor camcorder than the PMW-200 (14x zoom) and PMW-160 (20x zoom).
Chuck: I found the camera to be pretty well balanced when used with a BP-60

Q: Will it work with XMPilot?
Chris Tsai: The PMW-200 will support XMPilot workflows - with one exception, since the camera does not create proxy during recording, you can see video preview on the XMPilot tool while logging
Chris Tsai: the XMPilot workflow has different facets:
1. Assigning custom metadata to clips - requires applications ingesting the files to recognize the "planning metadata" XML files. This also includes being able to set the naming prefix being used by the camcorder by a) remotely sending the planning metadata file over a Ethernet connection or b) transferring it using an SxS card). this aspect is available on the PMW-160, PMW-200.
2. Logging while seeing proxy video over a Ethernet connection (WiFi) - this is available for the shouldermount XDCAM camcorders which record proxy video while shooting. (i.e PDW-700, PDW-F800, PMW-500).

Q: On the PMW-200, does the the beginning and end of a zoom, ramp? In other words, is the start and stop of a zoom abrupt, or does it slightly speed up/slow down, like a pro eng lens?
Chuck: There is a slight ramping
Chuck: The lens is surprisingly smooth, especially compared to the EX3 I commonly use

Q: How many of the outputs will work simultaneously?
Chris Tsai: Many of the outputs are active simultaneously, but exactly how many depends upon the recording mode (i.e. 24p, 59.94i, or SD, etc) and if you have configured the outputs ( i.e HD output or SD output).
Chris Tsai: The PMW-200 (and PMW-160) also have a few additional I/O: TC In/Out (BNC) - (switchable)
Genlock In/Composite Video Out (BNC) (switchable)

Chris Tsai:  For current PMW-EX1 owners, I forgot to mention that the PMW-200 LCD is same size, but higher resolution than PMW-EX1/R (3.5 in/852x480 vs 640x480)

Q: Chuck, did you try shooting any multicam with the 200 or 160 ? -- and if so, did you try and how were you able to match it with your F3 or EX3?
Chuck: I just shot a music video using the F3 with S-log and the 200 with HG 4 and I was able to come pretty close
Jason Eng: Here is a link to the music video that Chuck shot using at PMW-F3, PMW-200 and PMW-100 Callison Nash- Forget Everything | YouTube

Q: On that music video, any guide to which clips are from the PMW-200?
Chuck: The PMW-200 was used for some of the wide shots on the roof and instrument closeups. The shallower depth shots were the F3.

Q: On the PMW-200, when adjusting the iris ring, is it a linear response to exposure, or does it produce a visible "stepping" from one f-stop to the next?
Chuck: the adjustment is smooth, just like the EX1/3 No stepping at all

Q: Do the audio level dials on the left side of the PMW-200 pop in and out?
Chris Tsai: No, the audio level dials do not pop out (i.e. spring loaded), but they are not flush with the chassis (so you can turn them easily with your fingertip)
Chris Tsai: Assume you were wondering how easily you could make audio adjustments... you have more knob surface area to grab and turn the knob than the EX1/R layout.

Q: Are there an increased number of possible picture profiles compared to the six of the EX1/3 ? Are the Hypergammas an add-on to or replacement of the CineGammas 1-4 on the EX1/3?
Chuck: The cine settings have been replaced by the hypergammas

Q: How does the PMW-200 deal with highlights? Is there a profile that smoothly rolls off the overexposed areas?
Chuck: Yes, using the hypergamas you can control the contrast of a scene and hence the highlight roll-off

Q: Chuck this is not fair the 500 and the 800 are way more evolved camera (lens mount EVF etc etc
Chuck: Yes of course they are, but in the 200 you have several of the tools and features found in the higer end cameras.

Q: Is the TC in/out selection a switch or a menu item? If a menu item, can it be assigned to a user button?
Chuck: It's a switch right near the input/output

Q: When the LCD of the PMW-200 is folded out perpendicular to the camera body, is it the same distance away from the back end of the camera as the EX1R?
Chuck: It's actually about an inch or two forward

Q: Please explain why to use 50M HD422 video (MXF) files. What benefit? I understand that MP4 recording is more consumer type and may be a bit out-dated.
Chris Tsai: With MXF recording, we are also formatting the cards as UDF (vs FAT used by EX MP4 format). This enables us to record long clips as a single files. So you can fill an entire card with just one MXF file. For some customers, who have to wrangle many files from different photogs, crews, etc this can drastically reduce the file management burden. As a matter of fact in this mode you can set the camcorder to append video to the current file rather than create a brand new file (this function is called continuous record).

Q: The PMW-200 still has the quick release rotating handle grip like the EX1R, right? And is it the more comfortable EX1R style one, not the horrible EX1 version? Do the PMW-100 and PMW-150 have the quick release rotate grip too?
Chuck: The handle on the PMW-200 does not rotate. Personally, I did not find it an issue. Depends on how you work.

Q: Since I don't really know the workflow for 50Mbit SxS recordings, is it possible to use the Main Concept (Rovi) conversion pack in XDcam Browser to direct transfer/transcode the 50Mbit data to XDcam discs - or is this a straight drag/drop with the U1 drive? Would the conversion pack be able to convert them to 35Mbit 4:2:0 disc? I have two clients who always want the disc.
Chris Tsai: Yes XDCAM Browser (with the conversion pack) can be used to transcode from/to the 50M HD422 codec (as well as any of the other XDCAM codecs - i.e. 35M 420.).
Chris Tsai: If you shoot with the 50M HD422 codec as MXF files, you can copy these files directly to the Clip folder of an XDCAM disc using a PDW-U1 or PDW-U2. No transcoding needed.

Q: So is the 200 shipping yet?
Chris Tsai: Yes, the PMW-200 just started shipping a few days ago.

Chuck: Because the LCD screen is situated like that of a Z5, it allows the use of a matte box without being blocked by the camera's mic
Also, like it's older brother, the camera does not have to reboot for playback. You can jump back and forth quickly between play and record
It's older brother being a PMW-500 or F800
Chris Tsai: One motivation for the addition of the MXF support to the XDCAM handycam line is to provide the same codecs and workflows to those customers who need a complete end to end MXF workflows as the optical XDCAM products (PDW-700/F800) as well as the PMW-500.
Chris Tsai:  The new HD422 handycam lineup also supports the new consumer XQD memory - XQD is a new memory card specification announced by the Compact Flash association. With this consumer memory format, you can also record 50M HD422 video (MXF files) as well as MP4 recordings made by the EX camcorders..

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Still Camera Stuff

It was the first day of Photokina yesterday, so it seems appropriate to cover all - or some - of the still camera news.

Mixed Feelings About The 6D
I really don't know what to think about the Canon 6D. As I feared, the 6D turned out to be - on the video side of things - very average. No great step forward in features or quality, and in one regard, a step backwards (no headphone jack.) It is smaller and lighter, and has built-in WiFi, but I don't think that would get me to buy it.

It's described as their lowest-prcied full-frame camera, but you can buy a new 5D Mark II right now for less than the list price of the 6D, so it's hardly breaking new ground. And on the video side of things, Canon really seems to be only going through the motions, leaving it to the video side of the company with the C100, C300 et al.

No headphone jack, no higher quality compression, no uncompressed video out through HDMI? Panasonic and Nikon could steal me away; it's only the fact that I have several Canon lenses that keep me hanging on...

Canon EOS 6D Sample Images & Movies | Canon Japan
In addition to some sample images, there are two movies, each with their own "making of" video.

Canon EOS 6D Hands-on Preview | Andy Westlake | DPReview
The elephant in the room, though, is the Nikon D600 - a camera that offers a higher spec in several key areas, with its 39-point AF system (including 9 cross-type), 100% viewfinder, 2016 pixel colour-sensitive metering, faster 5.5 fps shooting, dual card slots and excellent movie spec (including such things as clean HDMI output and a headphone socket for sound monitoring). 

Canon EOS 6D Preview | Bob Atkins and Josh Root |
The EOS 6D breaks new ground in being based on SD memory rather than CF memory. This is the first Canon full frame DSLR which doesn’t use CF cards. SD cards are significantly less expensive and are now fast enough that only the very fastest DSLRs need the extra speed which CF cards can provide.

Canon 6D officially announced – a more compact and affordable 5D Mark III | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
I’m expecting the video mode to be very similar to the 5D Mark III. As usual in the specs, gritty details are limited about what it does but I can see it has the ALL-I codec which is a good sign. The 650D lacked this and didn’t fix moire or aliasing.

The GH3 looks really interesting. Again, it's mainly because I don't want to buy new lenses - and I really want a 'real video' camera - that I'm not keen to jump to Panasonic, particularly as they have done nothing with the AG-AF100. But if your budget only goes to a DSLR, this might be the way to go.

The Panasonic GH3 is here | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
In 1080/60/50p ALL-I and in IPB 30/25/24p, the maximum bitrate drops to 50Mbit to save space and CPU resources. Both MP4 and AVCHD are inter-frame (IPB) not intra-frame (ALL-I) so if you want the longest recording times choose MP4 or AVCHD and if you want the best image quality choose Quicktime MOV H.264.

Official LUMIX GH3 Product Video with IRA Block, Daniel Berehulak and Kazuo Unno | YouTube

The Panasonic GH3 | Zacuto
Zacuto offers their thoughts...on rigs for the GH3:
With additional features and more advanced specs, the Panasonic GH3 is proving to be pretty impressive. Some exciting new features are; shooting 1080p at 60fps, allowing full 1080p slow motion, and recording a higher bit-rate (up to 70/mbs) as a .mov file. This makes viewing and editing a breeze. 

Nikon D600 | Barnaby Britton | DPReview
Yeah, the D600 seems to be the better choice over the 6D...
Something that we didn't expect on the D600 was the ability to shoot uncompressed video footage via HDMI. This, plus a mic socket for an external microphone, and a headphone jack should make the D600 very appealing to videographers. The only real difference between the implementation of the D600's video mode compared to the D800 is that you can't adjust aperture during movie recording on the new model (unless you use an older manual focus lens with a mechanical aperture ring).

Introducing the Leica M with 24MP CMOS sensor, Live View and HD Video
| Daniel Freytag | Blog
I'm sure this is a nice camera, and I'm sure I can't afford it!
Basically it sounds just like an improved M9P, but in fact it now supports HD video! According to Leica's fact sheet it can record 1080p, 720p, 640*480 (VGA) at 25 fps, 24 fps and 30 fps in VGA only. It has a Mono microphone and a stereo microphone adapter is available optionally. Furthermore it supports auto level adjustment, manual level adjustment (available while recording) and a concert preset.

Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II Resolution Tests | Roger Cicala | Lensrentals
When Canon first announced this lens, I couldn't believe the price [$2,299.00], but it appears that the lens is worth it:
The resolution absolutely, positively kicks butt and takes names. It is way better than the lens it replaces. It’s better at 70mm than the best Canon zoom I know of, the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II. It’s even better at 24mm than the sharpest 24mm prime we have, the Canon 24 TS-E. In the center, in the corners, it doesn’t care. We only had 5 copies to test, but they were all very similar with little copy-to-copy variation.

Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L II Arrived | CanonRumors
My first impression of the lens is very positive. I love the feel, weight and size of the lens. I actually have an event this weekend that I’ll be shooting, so I can put the lens through the paces in a real world situation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An exciting couple of weeks in Boston

Today Panasonic will announce the GH3, and Canon will announce the 6D. But that's not what's really exciting; there's a great series of events going on over the next two weeks here in Beantown:

September 19Social Media Tools for Today's Image Makers at Rule Boston: 10 AM - 12 NOON
Photographer, filmmaker and creative director Greg Hren shares his thoughts and experiences on the use of the blog and behind-the-scenes videos as poignant tools in today’s powerful social media landscape.

September 19MPC Meeting – OBERON in Harvard Square: 6:00 – 9:00 PM
We are delighted to announce the Fall MPC Meeting will be on September 19th at OBERON in Harvard Square. Welcome your friends and colleagues back for the Fall with a great night of cocktails, presentations, and networking.

September 20The State of Tax Incentives: 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Join us for an expert panel discussion where we examine film & TV production tax incentives in the region, and give you some tips on how to file and get the most out of these lucrative tax breaks.

September 25BOSCPUG Meet: Boston Premiere of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera: 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Joining us from Blackmagic Design will be Bob Caniglia, who will lead off the evening with an engaging conversation on the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Bob will share with us the driving forces behind the decision to build a camera; what the Blackmagic Cinema Camera brings to the table, and differentiating features and functionalities of the camera itself.

September 26The Impact of Cinema Cameras on a TV News Shooter at Rule Boston:  10 AM - 12 NOON
Award-winning DP and Photojournalist Rick Macomber discusses the challenges of covering breaking news stories for TV -- from talking himself out of dangerous situations to the tools he uses and the impact of DSLR cameras on the current style of news coverage.

September 26: University of Massachusetts Boston Film SeriesCRAZY HORSE: 7PM
Celebrated documentary director Frederick Wiseman spent ten weeks with his camera exploring one of the most mythic places dedicated to women, the Crazy Horse Paris. This legendary Parisian cabaret, founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin, has become over the years the Parisian nightlife ‘must’ for locals as well as any visitors, ranking alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Photokina is coming

IBC has been and gone, and here comes Photokina with possibly more goodies. Of course, this show isn't focused on video, but with most  still cameras blurring the line, we'll probably see at least a couple of interesting announcements.

If we don't already know what they will be...

Panasonic will announce the GH3. Francis Ford Coppola's favorite camera gets a serious upgrade, adding a video bitrate of 50Mbps (72Mbps ALL-I). Now that's serious.

Panasonic GH3 presentation video [UPDATE: PRICE $1299.99 samys] from van gogh on Vimeo.

In what must be one of the poorest kept secrets, Philip Bloom has already posted a video - and written in the abstract - about the camera: New short film “Genesis” shot on pre-production new “G” camera from Panasonic…more on Monday!

It's good to see that Panasonic has finally made another stop forward on the video side of things. Now what about upgrading the AG-AF100?


Meanwhile, Canon is expected to announce a 'lower-priced', full-frame camera this week. For at least a couple of years there have been rumors of a lower-priced full-frame sensor camera from Canon - whether it was the 3D or 6D. But nothing ever appeared, and they kept selling the 5D Mark II after releasing the III.

Interestingly, the 5D Mark II is currently selling for $1,899 with a $200 rebate (through September 23) and the 6D is expected to be around $1,999. It's a good guess that this is the end of the 5D Mark II.

But what will the video be like on the 6D? Will it be as good in the video department as the 5D Mark III, but perhaps without some of the high-end stills features in the III? Obviously, there has to be some reason why people would still buy the III, so what will they leave out?

I guess we find out tomorrow!

CanonRumorsCanon EOS 6D Specs Leaked?

For more on other camera announcements, check this article: Photokina 2012: The cameras we're expecting to see | Pocket-lint