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by Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt has been working off and on in film and video for the past thirty years, while paying the bills writing software for animation, automation, broadcast graphics, and real-time control for companies including Abekas, Pinnacle, Omneon, CBS, and ABC. Since 1997 his website, adamwilt.com, has been a popular reference for information on the DV formats. He has reviewed cameras for DV Magazine and written its "Technical Difficulties" column, and taught classes and led panels at NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He co-authored the book,"Optimizing Your Fi...

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Locking HDMI cables!

Finally, a non-self-ejecting HDMI cable

By Adam Wilt | April 11, 2008

Left: normal HDMI cable. Right: locking HDMI cable. Note the cantilevered paddle with two tiny retention hooks.

A colleague and I were discussing the sorry state of the physical HDMI connection; we call it a "self ejecting" technology. HDMI cables fall out of HDMI sockets with surprising ease. Fortunately there's now a solution to this problem: a locking plug that works with any HDMI socket. Read More

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Review: Camhandle camera support

Renegade tripod handle makes handheld shooting smoother.

By Adam Wilt | April 07, 2008

The $220 Camhandle looks like a tripod handle gone AWOL from its tripod. Its attachment plate bolts to the underside of the camera, and it hangs off the left front side. It looks goofy, but it works surprisingly well. I tested it for two weeks on the notoriously hard-to-handhold PMW-EX1. Read More

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Pix: Zacuto rig; RED tests

A Zacuto support kit for small cameras; Art Adams tests RED build 15 at Chater Camera

By Adam Wilt | March 28, 2008

Art Adams uses his spot meter during exposure testing.

Camera porn: some photographs from the past couple of days... Read More

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RED? Or Cyan?

Why the RED's highlights went cyan and dark, and how to fix 'em.

By Adam Wilt | March 25, 2008

In my unfair comparison of three cameras, I found that RED's overexposed highlights went cyan and got darker than surrounding, non-overexposed areas. Here's why it happened, and how to fix it—it's an easy fix, but you'll appreciate it more if you see what happens if you don't use it! Read More

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Working with RED Footage

RED's postproduction tools, and some pitfalls of learning them.

By Adam Wilt | March 21, 2008

For my unfair comparison of three cameras, I had to process RED clips to a greater degree than I had previously, including dealing with odd overexposure artifacts. I relate my experience, both to describe the steps I took to decide on the processing parameters I did, and to show what I ran into when learning to use RED's tools. Read More

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EX1 Misfocusing Explained

Some PMW-EX1s show back-focus changes when internal ND filters are used

By Adam Wilt | March 21, 2008

[Updated 2008.03.29] I noticed in my unfair comparison of three cameras that the EX1's outdoor shot wasn't in focus. I was puzzled: I had zoomed in and focused carefully, then zoomed out and shot. Was back-focus that far off? It hadn't been when I last checked it. Hmm... Read More

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Three three-letter cameras: EX1, F23, RED

An unfair comparison of three entirely different cameras

By Adam Wilt | March 17, 2008

On March 7th, Tim Blackmore and I visited Videofax, a San Francisco camera rental house. Videofax is unique in the area (as far as I know) in having both a RED ONE digital cinema camera and a Sony F23 HDCAM-SR camcorder. Videofax's Leigh Blicher kindly invited us to come by and take a look, following the DCS RED Event the previous weekend. How could we refuse? Read More

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Exporting stills from FCP

Correcting for FCP's assumptions, and a surprising discovery.

By Adam Wilt | March 11, 2008

I recently had a chance to compare the PMW-EX1 with a RED and an F23 (about which, more will be said in coming days). I collected quite a few video clips from the cameras and I'm going through the process of exporting still frames from the two Sonys, using Final Cut Pro. As I want to capture the full exposure range in the stills, there's more to it than just parking the playhead on a frame and doing File > Export > Using QuickTime Conversion. As it turns out, there's also a surprise. Read More

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PMW-EX1: XDCAM Transfer 2.5.1 for Mac Released

Fixes clock-mode timecode import bug; qualified for OS X 10.4.11 and higher

By Adam Wilt | March 07, 2008

Sony has released XDCAM Transfer 2.5.1, software used to import XDCAM clips into QuickTime and Final Cut Pro. This version fixes a bug where PMW-EX1 recordings made with CLOCK-mode free-run timecode were not being properly imported, and it is qualified to run both on OS X 10.4.11 and 10.5.x. Read More

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PMW-EX1 Update 2

Corrections and details

By Adam Wilt | February 27, 2008

• Adam Van Voorhis of Boston Camera says that the EX1 does indeed supply Y/C video, using the same VMC-15FS cable that works on the HVR-V1.• Reader Mark Weiss ran a formal audio analysis for line-level inputs, with interesting results.My EX1 review has been updated with these tidbits. Read More

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Traveling with batteries, Pro Apps Updaters, etc.

Stuff to watch out for; tips 'n' tricks

By Adam Wilt | February 25, 2008

• FAA rules on lithium battery transport• Apple Pro Apps - save those updaters!• PMW-EX1: XDCAM Transfer 2.5.1 for Mac Released; fixes CLOCK-mode timecode import bug. Read More

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HPA Tech Retreat - Day 3, etc.

Cameras, compression & concatenation; displays, distribution, & demos

By Adam Wilt | February 24, 2008

Fox Network's Yves Montane showing one of many display performance plots.

Day 2 Revisited Larry Thorpe and John Galt argued for a more nuanced view of camera resolution, such as MTF (contrast) readings at 200, 400, 600, and 800 TVl/ph, as well as a subjective description, in addition to the standard measurement of the limiting resolution and report on aliasing (see Day 2 pictures). I will be modifying my review methodology accordingly. Read More

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PMW-EX1 - use regen timecode

Free run TC may confuse XDCAM Transfer

By Adam Wilt | February 22, 2008

A post on the Cinematography Mailing List yesterday indicates that XDCAM Transfer may not see all the clips on an SxS card if the EX1's timecode was set to "clock" mode, one of the free run options. Sony is reportedly going to address this issue with an updated version of XDCAM Transfer. For now, it appears the safe thing to do for now is to leave the EX1's timecode in regen mode. UPDATE 2008-03-06: Version 2.5.1 fixes this bug. Read More

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HPA Tech Retreat - Day 2 (abbreviated)

The website ate my homework.

By Adam Wilt | February 22, 2008

I logged in to PVC and spent 90 minutes writing up the day's events. Apparently I took too long: when I hit "submit" I was asked to log in again, and all my edits were lost. Oops. Yes, I should have copied my work to a nonvolatile file; no, I didn't. I don't have time to retype everything, so I'll have to leave you with a few pictures and some URLs. Read More

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hpa tech retreat

HPA Tech Retreat - Day 1

3D, AudioScope, CES, and the Analog Shutdown

By Adam Wilt | February 21, 2008

On this, the first "real" day of the HPA Tech Retreat, we were treated to 3D cinema demos and discussions, a CES review, a phased-array mic for sports recording, and more. Read More

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HPA Tech Retreat - Day 0

LCDs, Radiosity, and the AMPAS IIF

By Adam Wilt | February 20, 2008

This 3M film is used in the diffuser of a 23" LCD panel

"Day 0" of the 2008 HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Springs offered four sessions; I attended three: Euredjian on LCDs, Poynton on Radiosity, and AMPAS on the Image Interchange Format. Read More

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EX1 Gammas

Those cine gammas I like? They're not for everyone.

By Adam Wilt | February 17, 2008

When I reviewed the Sony PMW-EX1 camcorder, I raved about its cine gamma settings, derived from the hypergamma curves in the F23, F900/R, and various XDCAM HD 'corders. The email I've been getting indicates that my enthusiasm isn't universal. Let's explore the issue a bit further. Read More

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PMW-EX1 Update

A different PMW-EX1 has slightly different characteristics.

By Adam Wilt | February 17, 2008

A few days ago I obtained a new, production-build PMW-EX1 camcorder, serial #103171. Its shipment had just arrived in the USA, so it's a sample of what's shipping now. While it's 99% the same as the pre-production camera I reviewed, it has a couple of differences worth noting—having two samples gives a more rounded picture of the variations you're likely to see in wild, free-range cameras. The analog is cleaner on the new camera, the Lens Info readout is somewhat more accurate, and the lens vignettes less. Read More

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Whither The HVX200?

Does the EX1 render the HVX200 obsolete? Don't be too sure!

By Adam Wilt | February 11, 2008

The PMW-EX1 is Sony's answer to Panasonic's HVX200: a variable-frame-rate, progressive-scan, multiformat HD camcorder using solid-state storage. The EX1 has higher resolution; it lets you shoot VFR in 1080p as well as in 720p; it betters the HVX slightly in both zoom range and latitude; it offers more image tweakability. Why would anyone bother with an HVX now that the EX1 is available?There are plenty of reasons: the HVX200 does a lot of things the EX1 can't. Back away from the bulleted feature lists and the bigger picture becomes clear. Despite superficial similarities, these camera fill different niches and serve different markets. Read More

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review: Sony PMW-EX1 1/2” 3-CMOS HD Camcorder

The quirky first Handycam from Sony's CineAlta group offers stunning performance.

By Adam Wilt | February 01, 2008

The US$6500 (street price) Sony PMW-EX1 is a six-pound, high definition Handycam with three 1/2" CMOS chips. It resolves a true 1920x1080 image; shoots both interlaced and progressive; records 1920x1080, 1440x1080 (HDV-compatible), and 1280x720 formats; and offers variable frame rates from 1 fps to 30 fps (1080p) or 60fps (720p). The camera records using long-GOP MPEG-2 on dual SxS solid-state memory cards, and provides a 10-bit SDI output with embedded audio and timecode. It is awkward to handhold, some controls are hard to use, and it lacks SD recording, but its excellent pictures, comprehensive image tweaks, and pin-sharp LCD make it a compelling HD camcorder. Read More

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