Stuff I saw on the final day of NAB 2008
By Adam Wilt | April 20, 2008
Softron's OnTheAir Video: playlist automation for OS X
Softron Media Systems demoed their suite of fully Mac-native broadcast automation apps, with OS X compliant user interfaces. Their capture and playout apps use AJA or BlackMagic cards, standard codecs, and are AppleScriptable. Never heard of Softron? They've been in TV Stations in Europe and Asia for several years; in Russia this past year; they're just now coming into North America. If you're interested in Mac-flavored broadcasting, dowload demo software or the user manuals and see for yourself. Of course, there are other Macintosh broadcast apps—BUG.tv is also Mac-centric, and Building4Media's front ends are cross-platform—but I thought Softron deserved a look since they're new to our market.
More pix from the show floor
By Adam Wilt | April 17, 2008
The Panasonic HPX170 is a P2-only update to the HVX200 (The HVX has been updated to the 200A and remains in the lineup). The HMC150, which records to AVCHD and lacks many of the 170's advanced features, looks much the same.
Codex Digital, SpeedGrade, Tangent, SI2K, and Nila
By Adam Wilt | April 16, 2008
Codex Digital Portable and disk pack
Highlights of my walking around the show floor on Tuesday...Codex Digital showed working versions of their Portable digital cine recorder. $44K gets you the lunchbox plus a three-hour drive pack, and the superb Codex user interface.
Various images from the show floor
By Adam Wilt | April 15, 2008
Carlos Acosta shows off his prototype shoulder mount for the F23
Carlos Acosta shows off his prototype shoulder mount for the F23 at the Band Pro booth. Fully flexible configuration: grips rotate freely or lock down, and adjust laterally, vertically, and in or out. Shoulder pad is positionable and can be angled; split foam padding velcroed in place allows easy changes, such as a thicker pad on the "outboard" side for better balance. Completely tool-free adjustment and assembly, too; and squeak-free by design. Nice work!
Some highlights of what Sony is showing
By Adam Wilt | April 14, 2008
PMW-EX3 with 2/3" cine lens, Sony HDD recorder
Sony's Juan Martinez gave me a night-before-the-show tour of the Sony booth (really a miniature city; "booth" doesn't do it justice), and here are some of the highlights from a camera operator's perspective.
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.
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.
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...
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!
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.
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...
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.