4K is Here!

Have you recently wandered around Currys dazzled by the bright lights of the shiny multi-coloured rectangles all eagerly displaying “Ice Age 17” or “Shrek and Woody, The Early Years” and thought, mmm I really must upgrade my old Sony 28 inch CRT to one of these new fandangled plasmays, or is it an LCD?…. or maybe it’s an LED? or better still says the “man”, I need one of those OLED’s…now they really are the business. But does it have 3D? do I really need 3D? I remember going to see Freddie Krueger in 1991 and it wasn’t that good. Now, Jaws 3D with that chopped off arm floating out… I could almost shake it, it was that real.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, did you buy one? did that “man in the shop” up-sell you from the original £500 you wanted to spend on the 100Hz, 2010 1080p Sony Bravia to the latest Panasonic smart TV at £1500? Or did you just plump for the “eye-catchers” at the front of the shop.. “FULL HD READY SAMSUNG – ONLY £299!!!” just to get it home and find out that you’d been suckered into a 720P? shame on them. Did you also find yourself making another trip back to the local “refuse anemity centre” frantically searching through the fridges, microwaves, 80’s hi-fi and ikea shelving units trying to find your old CRT TV? The thing is, you may have discovered that your lovely new flat screen TV doesn’t actually look that good in comparison does it? certainly not in standard definition. The high definition channels look great though don’t they? there’s just not that many of them for free! But, the broadcasters are catching up, soon everything will be in 1920 by 1080 wonderment and we’ll be ready! – or will we.

You see just when we were getting used to 1080, this thing called 2K came along, and now we’re bypassing that all together to bring you 4K! Yes, that’s 4096 x 2160 pixels in one of it’s forms. On October 30th 2012 Sony confirmed it’s support of the format with the introduction of “XAVC recording format that will be at the heart of its new industry-leading 4K products. Sony’s XAVC provides a dedicated 4K format that will encourage the adoption of 4K beyond feature films, in genres such as TV Dramas, Entertainment shows, Documentaries and Commercials. As well as the widespread applications for the professional HDTV market, Sony has developed the XAVC format to enable the expansion of 4K content into the consumer market. XAVC is designed to provide a future proof codec that can meet customers’ rapidly developing requirements for 4K content production and HD120P high frame rate shooting.” (from the Sony Broadcast site). The format is based upon h.264 video compression.

Currently, 4K monitors a little expensive, however cameras are within reach!. Sony’s NEX-FS700 comes in at around £5K + vat and will be able to shoot 4K in the near future. Canon have released the C500, building upon the success of the c300. But the most exciting release for us is the PMW-F5 from Sony which seems to have a really great form factor, and to have addressed many of the “niggles” that have been reported from the FS series users. We look forward to getting our hands on one soon!

As for the 4K TV.. it’s here! http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sony-xbr-84×900/4505-6482_7-35431618.html

GyneHealth Video Production

We’ve just completed a promotional video for Gynehealth, a women’s health clinic based in St Johns Street Manchester. GyneHealth, part of Reproductive Health Group, is a leading, innovative, comprehensive health service for women and couples, committed to providing the highest quality care in gynaecology, fertility, IVF, reproductive medicine and surgery. The Reproductive Health Group LLP has been formed by bringing together the private practices of three of the North West’s leading gynaecology and fertility experts, Nabil Haddad, Luciano Nardo and James Armatage, offering a comprehensive range of treatments at clinics in Chester, Manchester, Nantwich and London.

80% Discount on Avid Symphony

Avid is offering an 80% discount on its editing, grading and mastering suite Symphony to Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro users.
This offer is designed to provide a way for Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro, and Avid Xpress DV users to crossgrade or upgrade to Avid’s professional editing, color correction, and mastering solution at a significantly reduced cost.
“With Symphony 6 software, customers get all of the same features, tools, and workflows of Media Composer 6 for editing, plus the advanced and secondary color correction tools and Universal Mastering they need for finishing,” said Avid.
This limited-time offer expires June 15, 2012. For eligibility requirements and more information. http://www.avid.com/US/

Canon EOS-1D C 4K DSLR

We’re still waiting for the EOS-1D X, but while we do Canon have announced the 1D C.
Yes, I know this is fairly old news but quite significant and I wanted to put a reference into our blog. This DSLR will be available in October 2012 and will retail for around $15000. Canon tell us that they have been in discussions with Hollywood and other filmmakers to ensure that they have added the features that they need. This machine will capture 4K video at 24p. It will also capture 1080p at 50/60 fps and output it uncompressed over it’s HDMI connection. The 1D-C will also share some features of the C300, such as it’s Canon Log Gamma to give a flat image that is easily cut with footage from other cameras.
Canon say that the 1D-C is quite significantly different to the 1D-X as the internal components had to be re-worked due to overheating issues caused by transfering the huge amounts of data required for 4K video.
4K video is not quite widespread yet (although Adobe CS6 and Final Cut Pro X support it), but there is no harm in archiving for the future.

Sony FS700 Camera Announced at NAB 2012

In the summer Sony are to relase the latest in Sony’s line-up of NXCAM interchangeable E-mount camcorders. The new Super 35mm model is designed for high-speed shooting and is capable of capturing footage at up to 960 frames per second. The camcorder also features a range of capabilities such as 3G HD-SDI output and built-in ND filters. Additionally, it also offers several creative options, shooting styles and enhanced ergonomics   The NEX-FS700, with its super slow motion mode, should be ideal for pop promos, commercials and documentaries as well as sports

The NEX-FS700 camcorder uses a new 4K “Exmor” Super 35 CMOS sensor (total 11.6 million pixels). This high-speed readout chip is optimised for motion picture shooting, giving high sensitivity, low noise and minimal aliasing.
The NXCAM’s E-Mount flexibility is designed to accept virtually all SLR and DSLR 35mm lenses, with the use of simple, inexpensive adapters without optical degradation. FS series owners can make use of their existing lenses and add more lenses without being forced on a brand or mount.It seems that internal recording is to AVCHD (oh well) and only 4:2:0 but 4K raw out of the 3G/HD-SDI port will be enabled later via a firmware update so you can use an external recorder.This camera should sit above the FS100 and below the F3. So should make a good B camera for the F3. It looks as though Sony have really listened to user comments and requirements from the FS100 and implimented some great features. We look forward to getting our hands on one!
Looks set to ship for under $10 000


Sony PMW-100 Announced at NAB 2012


Another compact video camera from Sony was announced at NAB and is available on pre-order from Jigsaw and Proactive Broadcast at £3234 inc vat. It looks fairly similar to the EX1 but Sony have fired a definite shot over the “Canon X105 bow” with a direct response of 4:2:2 colour space and HD broadcast standard 50Mbps instead of the 35Mbps of the EX1 and EX3. The PMW-100 records to S*S cards and the workflow remains the same. It’s marketed as an excellent partner for b-roll etc to the PMW-500 and borrows some cool features from the EX3 such as over and under-cranking. Unfortunately the PMW-100 has a fixed lens, but what do you want for just over 3K!? There are also genlock and SDI connections so all seems present and correct.

Children England Videos

We’ve just completed two videos for Children England. They were shot at their Manchester Conference held at the Midland Hotel in March. One describes the benefits of being a Children England member. The other describes the importance of children’s rights within their work.
Pleasure to work with Emily, Monique and Nick on this.

Adobe CS6 Launch Today!

Yes, it’s that time again. A bit like Christmas (although it doesn’t come around quite as often) where you don’t know what you’re going to get but you know you probably don’t really need whatever it is, and you know that the rest of whole occasion is likely to cost you a lot of money. The new full version of Production Premium (the one you want if you live in video land) is going to set you back £1810.80 precisely. If you’ve already got CS5 then the upgrade is £714.00 inc vat.
But wait…..there’s a new way to pay! In this downtrodden, cash-strapped climate we are all suffering at the moment Adobe is the new Brighthouse! – just pay for your software suite in several simple monthly installments and when you fall behing on the payments just give it back….just like the plasmay! – I like it.
It’s called Creative Cloud http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/creativecloud.html
Apparently you can download any Adobe software you like once you’re in the scheme.  Pricing is about £70 month to month or about £47 a month if you sign up for a year. So £564 for the year isn’t bad if you need loads of Adobe apps. It should only take you 12 months to work out how to use a few of them too. Can’t wait for CS7.
To be honest I’ve been an avid (please excuse the pun) Adobe Premiere user since 1996 and yes it has it’s little annoyances, but overall it gets the job done fairly simply and cheaply and it looks as though Adobe are heading for world domination in all things production. See the launch here: