Articles tagged #CAMERA
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#NAB2014 Products To Watch - Accessories


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Panasonic unveils first AVC-ULTRA Handheld Camera Recorder AJ-PX270

Panasonic Professional Camera Solutions announces its first P2 HD handheld camera recorder with integrated AVC-ULTRA recording, the AJ-PX270. With inherent support for the AVC-ULTRA family, the camera recorder offers a wide range of choice between recording bit rates. The handheld features two built-in microP2 card slots with simultaneous recording functionality, a newly designed multipurpose compact zoom lens and wireless workflow options. The AJ-PX270 covers both low-bit rate and high-bit rate recording thanks to its inherent support for the AVC-ULTRA codec family. In addition to the established AVC-Intra100, the camera has AVC-LongG, which is designed for applications where file size is critical and enables long recording times. With the AVC-LongG codec, it becomes possible to record four times longer than with AVC-Intra100 on the same memory space thanks to the smaller file size. AVC-LongG enables long 1920x1080 10bit 4:2:2 broadcast quality recording, which is supported by the camera’s newly developed high-sensitivity and low-noise 1/3 type 3MOS sensors. Furthermore, the handheld optionally supports AVC-Intra200 that enables master level recording. The handheld’s two built-in microP2 card slots offer ultimate low cost operation. Panasonic microP2 card technology features the same reliability of P2 cards and can be used without an adapter in the AJ-PX270. Simultaneous recording to the two memory cards is also possible for backup purposes. The PX270’s newly designed built-in compact 22x zoom lens covers a broad range of shooting angles from 28mm wide to 616mm tele. The lens’ three rings (Cam-type zoom, Focus, Iris) offer the comfortable manual control experienced with exchangeable lenses, but without the need for actual lens changes. The camera recorder features a Wireless LAN function via an optional Wireless LAN dongle and supports the existing Panasonic live uplink solutions. Dongle support for wireless workflow over a mobile 3G/4G/LTE network is also scheduled for the near future. Thanks to these wireless features, users of the AJ-PX270 can easily uplink low-bit rate proxy data and full quality broadcast content. The handheld camera’s network function makes the production workflow more efficient and accelerates the broadcasting workflow from shooting to on-air. Panasonic’s first integrated AVC-ULTRA handheld will be launched in spring 2014 with a RRP to be confirmed.

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Panasonic unveils AG-AC8 Shoulder Mounted AVCCAM Camera Recorder

Panasonic Professional Camera Solutions announces a new shoulder mounted Full-HD 1080P AVCCAM camera recorder, the AG-AC8. It features exceptional ergonomics and functionality, simultaneous recording to dual SD Cards, 21x optical zoom and intelligent auto mode (iA) with up to 50x zoom. The AG-AC8’s exciting feature set makes it perfect for a range of professional and semi-pro users that require the best performance in applications such as weddings, business seminars and conferences, education, documentaries and nature films, sporting events and other events and shows. With dual SD card slots and the capability to record simultaneously, the AG-AC8’s new relay Auto Switch functionality means extended recording is made possible and signature Panasonic reliability and dependability is ensured so precious moments are continuously captured. Relay scene uses an external hard disk drive to enable continuous recording of audio, without voice loss when the file recording destination SD card swaps during Auto Switch continuous recording. The AG-AC8 comes equipped with a lens for wide 28mm/F1.8 recording, which delivers excellent recordings even in the most compact settings with the camera situated close to the subject. With this lens, every important aspect of in the scene is within shot also making the camera suitable for professional shooting at sports events, weddings and documentaries, and films where flexibility and convenient ease of use is often required. With a highly stable and ergonomic form factor that ensures the operator is in control, iA Intelligent Auto mode helps in situations where there is limited setup time for dialling in the cameras professional manual settings. An optical zoom of 21x is available whilst using iA mode and up to 50x zoom is possible. A 1/4.5 type high sensitivity sensor specified with 4.14M S-FS ensures bright and sharp images even in the most dimly lit scenes. Input control commands can be made by the AG-AC8’s integrated 3.0 type touch panel LCD with 460,800 dots and Smart Touch. AVCHD progressive recording modes range from 1920x1080/50p max. 28Mbps, 1920x1080/50i max. 24Mbps through 1280 x 720 8Mbps (PM mode) with a steady shot assisted by a powerful 5-axis hybrid OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser). Rushes can also be quickly offloaded to external hard disks for backup peace of mind plus flexibility and speed in post-production. Moreover, the AG-AC8 is Eye-Fi™ SD card compatible making the transfer of recordings to networked devices fast, simple and convenient. The AG-AC8 will be available at the end of October 2013. The launch offer will include a new high performance 2 channel stereo microphone plus a 3 Year Warranty Repair Program.

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Videocraft Provides Production Solutions For Beyond’s Pipsqueaks, Toybox And Lab Rats Challenge Tv Series

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Behind the Scenes of Toybox[/caption] When Beyond needed production solutions for their Challenge children’s TV series they turned to Videocraft for help. Their shows - Pipsqueaks, Toybox and Lab Rats Challenge are all original Australian concepts and broadcast both domestically and overseas. Beyond Producer Director Ian Munro explained, “For Toybox and Pipsqueaks our studio space came with no technical equipment so we were looking for a cost effective solution. Videocraft’s FlyPack kit provided all that we needed.These shows are switched, drama style, multi-camera productions requiring CCU, a switcher, cameras on pedestals and talkback communications as well as main and backup record. There are musical elements in the shows that also require 2 or 3-camera ISO recording and the Videocraft kit’s router also enables that when required.” The premise of Toybox is toys coming to life and having adventures in a child’s bedroom. To help create the illusion Beyond built sections of a bedroom at 5:1 scale and a matching complete bedroom at 1:1 scale for chroma key backgrounds. Munro added, “There is a considerable amount of chroma key in Toybox and fortunately the Panasonic switcher in the Videocraft FlyPack has enough options for us to make trial keys. It’s also useful as a reference for camera colourimetry and to fine tune lighting. With the switcher’s ability to shrink and position foregrounds we are able to match angles and correct eye lines. We are also able to record clean shots direct for higher quality keying in post and at the same time watch the live reference key to check for possible problems and cropping.” The production’s chroma key backgrounds are shots taken in the 1:1 set and Beyond now has many of the more common backgrounds stored in the FlyPack’s mixer as stills for quick shooting. The show also has two actors in full characters suits with Videocraft supplying independent IFB channels for each one enabling them to hear other actors on programme audio and the director’s talkback. Pipsqueaks uses the same Videocraft FlyPack kit but set to HD for switched multi-camera and ISO recording. As Pipsqueaks is a programme involving puppetry there are additional challenges which Videocraft were again quick to provide solutions for. Munro continued, “In a big set the puppeteers require numerous reverse scan monitors to perform. One option would be to go to a bigger switching desk with the ability to flip images on a separate layer but this is beyond our budget and small OLED monitors which offer the reverse option are too small for puppeteers to use across a big set. We were looking for a cost effective solution and Videocraft spent some time checking out possibilities and found a small converter they could feed into the router - happy days!” The third show in the series, Lab Rats Challenge, is a multi-camera science game show. Due to its unpredictable content it requires all cameras to be ISO recorded – another challenge met and overcome by Videocraft. Munro explained, “While the studio is fully equipped with technical gear the studio wasn’t able to dedicate six ISO recordings. We approached Videocraft to help and they designed a recording and post-production path within our budget, supplying and installing an EVS system to record all the cameras and the switcher output. The only issue was, for a one off production period, it wasn’t feasible to cable the EVS to the Avid. So Videocraft created a simple system of multiple portable raid drives to get the material from the studio to the edit suite. Videocraft also trained our crew to run the system and even though we were interstate, supplied support immediately when we needed it.” With three shows to produce, tight budgets to adhere to and seemingly ever-shrinking timelines it’s become more important than ever for Beyond productions to have an equipment supplier and systems integrator that they can trust and rely on. Ian Munro concluded, “I have always appreciated the help and care Videocraft have given us when designing an appropriate system to fit a show’s needs, especially when the budgets are tight. Working in the lower budget end of production on children’s television, you sometimes feel like the poor cousin but Videocraft have always understood and been totally accommodating. The end result is that we have been able to make extremely efficient television with great production values.” The latest series of Toybox starts on 7Two on 28 August. For more information on Beyond Productions go to:

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Videocraft sells first Sony F65 camera to DOP Peter Beeh

Videocraft recently sold their first F65 camera to Peter Beeh, the Sydney-based cinematographer who specialises in commercial, aerial, documentary and factual programming. Beeh said, “I have had a long time interest in the development of high end tools for digital cinematography. Traditionally the price point for such tools has meant there was near zero likelihood that buying the highest end cameras would be a viable business proposition for independent owners. Developments in the market and rapid advances in technology have completely changed this landscape in the past few years.” Beeh, a long-standing Videocraft client, approached NSW State Manager Andy Liell to discuss the F65 after having debated the camera with several industry colleagues. Beeh continued, “When Sony announced the F65's price point I realised that it could be viable for an independent owner. After much research and analysis of original footage I weighed up all its strengths and weaknesses and that’s when I called Andy (Liell) at Videocraft for his professional opinion.” Liell and Beeh discussed the many creative possibilities that an F65 would bring the cinematographer. Liell also liaised closely with Sony to ensure all of Beeh’s technical requirements would be met. Beeh added, “I've had a long relationship with Videocraft and have relied on them heavily in the past for supply and support. In the case of the F65 I asked Andy 15 million annoying little questions - as all overly particular cinematographers such as myself would. Andy was very patient, essentially assisting me in determining detailed specifics about the product, in order that I could assess whether it would suit my needs. Beyond that, as a professional operator, I rely on ongoing support after an initial sale. This is an absolute prerequisite to professional sales in my opinion and Videocraft provide this kind of support better than most.” According to Beeh Videocraft’s close relationship with Sony and their high levels of service and support were a big part in his decision to buy the F65. The supplier client relationship is something he also feels underpins a successful industry. Beeh added, “It goes beyond service and support. It's also about relationship. Sure I'm a good customer and that helps buy more goodwill. But sometimes, if there is a situation where I can return a favour, I'm happy to. I think this sort of two-way relationship is really valuable in our industry. For example, sometimes something goes wrong where it's no one's fault but my own, or I might need some one off something to get out of a bind. While Videocraft has no obligation to help me out, I know that if they can help, they will. That's also reassuring.” Since taking delivery of his F65 Beeh has used the camera with excellent results. He added, “So far I have used the camera on several TVCs. It's performed admirably and hasn't skipped a beat. I've also used it to shoot background plates for an overseas production and we've shot some fashion. Lots of need for good skin tones and in particular the need to accurately reproduce colour in garments. We've done a whole series of lifestyle type shots for another project. Everything you can imagine. Indoor moody, to outdoor sunny, to dusk lantern light. To make shots like this sing it's essential to have tools with wonderful dynamic range and an ability to perform brilliantly in very, very low light. The F65 does all of the above and more.” Beeh also took time to reflect on aspects of the F65’s workflow that were particularly appealing and why commenting, “What Sony does really well is to make robust systems that go from camera to post to finished master. The F65 is the only blue chip digital camera which at the flick of a switch offers 4K RAW recording, or high quality 10-bit HD recording. All this with a frame rates ranging from 1 to 60 fps and the ability to go to 120 fps soon. To Sony's credit they have also been very active in supporting the development of post production software and systems in order to make the system as user friendly as possible.” Beeh, like many of Australia’s cinematographers, has a busy and varied workload. In amongst the many shoots he has now completed with his new Sony F65 he pointed out exactly why it was such a special camera and why he was so happy with his choice to purchase it. Beeh concluded, “What I feel when I look at the pictures I'm making is that I see images that are taking another step away from looking 'electronic'. This camera has an amazing ability to resolve subtlety in colour. I see nuances in colour that I've never seen before. Reds and all its related shades are wonderful, and those all important skin tones are beautiful. The mechanical shutter is a corker. It completely resolves any issues with rolling shutter artifacts. The resolution is a major selling point for the camera. Put images of the F65 on a test chart and you'll find no other camera can come anywhere close to resolving the same number of lines. The F65’s sensor also generates very little noise for a device that carries something like 18 million pixels - the noise that is there is very, very fine. So, I confess, I'm now a 4K convert. As part of the mechanical shutter assembly Sony has been able to throw in a bunch of ND filters as well. I love this. Most modern cameras are very sensitive to light and heavy amounts of ND in front of the lens has presented its challenges with digital sensors. Now, when I'm shooting outdoors we can roll in three, four, five or six stops of ND at the push of a button. Such a time saver and it's all IR corrected. It’s safe to say that I’m delighted with the Sony F65 and Videocraft’s sales, service and support.”

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