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Bruce's Blog

by Bruce A Johnson

A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his firs... Read More

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REVIEW:  Blackmagic Designs Hyperdeck Shuttle 2

A lot of potential in a slab of aluminum

By Bruce A Johnson | March 12, 2013

(Music cue:  Also Sprach Zarathustra) (Lights come up on a monolith, perfectly rectangular and black as death)

OK, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic.   However, it is hard to have a first look at the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle and not instantly... Read More


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Straighten out some of those curves!

By Bruce A Johnson | February 23, 2013

It wasn't that long ago that getting a point-of-view shot was a major undertaking.  About a decade ago, a producer I work with wanted to do a story on the last of the bicycle newspaper delivery boys.  We acquired a bike with a front basket and a rear rack.  Gaffer-taped to... Read More


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First Look & Semi Review:  Sony NEX-EA50H NXCam Camcorder

The big chips are coming in better packages.

By Bruce A Johnson | October 19, 2012

I'm a TV guy. I've been shooting and editing in broadcast television for over thirty years now, and along with you have seen astounding changes in image acquisition and editing. One thing that caught me way off guard, though, was the sudden ascendance of digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) as a preferred way to capture video. The DSLR's combination of progressive scan and shallow depth of field, made possible by much larger sensors than found in traditional video cameras, really came out of nowhere to capture a large slice of certain types of production. One place you will rarely find a DSLR, though, is in the day-to-day work that television stations do. That's not to say that us TV guys might not want large sensors and dramatic depth of field, but few of us would - or could - put up with the limitations inherent in DSLR operation, not the least of which is the dismal audio sections that most of the cameras have. Dual-system sound may be okay when shooting a scripted production, but in the world of run-n-gun, there are rarely any dedicated audio people anymore. So why can't there be a large-sensor camera with a good built-in audio section? Well, finally...there is. And surprise: it's really affordable. Read More


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REVIEW:  Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Video Switcher

Dollars To Donuts: Through The Roof

By Bruce A Johnson | March 17, 2012

I've been working in TV stations for over 30 years now. I can trace one of the primary reasons I made this career choice back to a basic fact of my DNA:I love buttons. Read More


Things to know about NAB

There's more than gear to consider.

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2008

First thing to know about NAB: Las Vegas is probably one of the last cities in the world where you can routinely expect to pay exorbitant money for Internet service in your hotel room. However, at McCarran Airport, wifi is free. That probably explains why I'm posting this now, as I wait to board my flight home. Read More


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REVIEW:  Vinten Vision Blue5 Fluid Head and Tripod Legs

A Nice Set Of Legs For A Reasonable Price

By Bruce A Johnson | November 20, 2012

Tripods tend to fall into that broad category of items that we never notice when they work, yet can't live without when they don't. And there aren't too many things that can ruin a great shoot faster than a tripod that slips, catches, or doesn't stay put when you want it to. I've used or tested a lot of tripods in my career, and in my opinion Vinten tripods have always risen to the top of the pile, both in initial quality and longevity. The Vision Blue5 is a fairly new addition to the family, and it brings a lot of good features to the party. Read More


The Cure for the Slippery HDMI?

The Cure for the Slippery HDMI?

OK, we have half the solution…

By Bruce A Johnson | December 05, 2012

A few weeks back, I took a look at the Sony NEX-EA50H NXCam camcorder.  Alongside all of its many charms was a “feature” that several of my colleagues pointed out as a big minus:  The fragility and instability of the HDMI plug.  It’s true that in... Read More


NAB 2013: Blackmagic Design Part 1 - Cameras

Yeah, they have a couple...

By Bruce A Johnson | April 10, 2013

You might have heard some gossip about Blackmagic Designs new cameras.  Here are the details.



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NAB 2013: DJI Phantom Quadcopter

Fun *and* useful.

By Bruce A Johnson | April 10, 2013

There were more radio-controlled helicopters at NAB 2013 than at a hobby tradeshow.  The DJI Phantom was among the least expensive and the most accessible.



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REVIEW:  Canon XF305 Camera

50 Mpbs = Pretty Pictures

By Bruce A Johnson | November 16, 2010

Photo by Adam Wilt, NAB 2010

It's hard to believe that twelve years have passed since I bought my first DV camcorder. My 1998 purchase? A Canon XL-1. At the time it was just about the closest thing you could buy to a professional camcorder for under $20,000. I remember my engineer-friends sniffing at the XL-1. Their biggest gripe? That DV only recorded 480 lines of video (instead of a full 486,) at only 25 MBit/sec in a 4:1:1 colorspace. "No TV station will ever air that (expletive)," they barked. Boy, were they wrong. Canon kept coming out with updated versions of the XL-1, adding better viewfinders, some excellent lenses, and finally HDV capacity. But somehow the XL-series never seemed to gain the respect among broadcasters that their world-leading"big" lenses enjoy, possibly in part due to perceived "bandwidth bias."Well, Canon has knocked that final issue out of the park. Read More